Last week, I was speaking to a group about small business marketing and touched on the topic of what makes a good small business website. Whether you are DIYing or hiring a website expert, make sure you’re hitting these four key points to small business website success. Continue reading “Four Keys to Creating a Great Small Business Website”
Last month, we launched an exciting project we’ve been working on for a few months. Office Gallery is a leading provider of office furniture and design services in MA and RI. We were so pleased when we were chosen to redesign their website. Not only was there some great space for growth and creativity, but they’re also a joy to work with. Continue reading “Office Gallery’s New Site Hits a Home Run”
The last week of August, SEO consultants everywhere were scrambling: Google had just released one of its “quality updates” into the wild and our alarm bells were going off. A quality update is when Google reprograms its search engine to try to offer better search results to users.
Sounds great, right? Overall, it is! Better quality search rankings mean users (including yourself!) find what they are looking for more often.
But as a business owner, it might mean that your site’s rankings and search traffic disappeared overnight. Why? Because Google’s “secret sauce” is just that – secret – and when they change it, your business can be unintentionally hurt.
So how did you fare in the latest updates? Here are a few things you can do to find out:
- Go into Incognito Mode in your browser and perform a few searches:
- Your business’s name (“Jane’s Cleaning Service”)
- Your business’s products or services (“Boston Cleaning Service,” “House Cleaning,” “Office Cleaners”)
- For each one, look at where your rank is. Are you on the first page? Second page? Below that?
- If you use a service like Google Analytics, look to see if there is a trend in your traffic patterns. Has it increased or decreased lately? Are as many customers seeing it as you’d like?
In our next post, we’ll talk about a few basic steps you can take to improve your Google ranking. In the meantime, if you’d like a professional to take a look, contact us or learn more about our SEO services.
(PS – You can also run a free SEO Audit on your site from here.)
You took the plunge and started your small business—congratulations! Now you’re wondering how to make the most out of marketing on social media websites. Can my clients benefit from my business being on Twitter? How will being on Twitter benefit my business? What do I post?
IF I PUT MY BUSINESS ON TWITTER, WILL ANYONE SEE MY POSTS?
Maybe. More than half of top brands have more than 10,000 followers on Twitter. Small businesses tend to have far less, and customers really need a reason to follow you. Maybe you are posting behind the scenes content from your bakery, or offering advice on mortgage rates – somehow, you need a unique hook to get customers interested.
WHAT TYPE OF THINGS DO I POST ON TWITTER?
- Make sure to have some sort of photo, graphic, or video along with your Tweets. Tweets with visuals get 150% more retweets.
- Include links with your Tweets that push to your website. You want potential customers to learn more about your business!
- When you’re launching a new add-on service or promoting seasonal discounts, customers can tell their followers by retweeting your promotion.
OK! I SENT MY FIRST TWEET … NOW WHAT?
- More than a third of all Twitter users report they feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to—so make sure to Tweet back to as many customers as possible.
- More than 90% of companies Tweet more than once a day, so make sure your content is consistent. A great way to control this is to download a program called TweetDeck. The app can help you schedule Tweets to go out when you want them to, plus you can keep track of all your posts, retweets, and replies.
- Tweet at popular times of day. In the U.S. peak hours are 8-9 a.m. for Pacific time, and 12-1 p.m. Central and Eastern time.
- More than half of Twitter users say they’ve visited a business’s website, searched for the brand, or retweeted content after seeing a brand mentioned in a Tweet. So, don’t be scared to connect with other like-minded small businesses and promote each other.
WHY MIGHT TWITTER NOT BE THE BEST FIT FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS?
- It’s time consuming! Crafting a great Tweet in 140 characters with a link and an exciting graphic is a lot more work than it may seem. Without all the right parts of a Tweet it might fail to push consumers to your business and be a waste of your time and resources.
- Although there are millions of potential customers on Twitter, which means millions of Tweets out there. If your Tweets are boring or always about promoting something people won’t pay attention to them. It could hurt your business more than help it.
- If you don’t have time to Tweet regularly or don’t have the funds yet to hire a social media coordinator than Twitter is not right for you. Out of sight, out of mind—if you’re not consistent with your posts it’s not worth your time.
For most small businesses, we don’t recommend Twitter as a first social media channel. It tends to have a more specialized set of users compared to Facebook, and requires a lot of attention to get any return on your investment.
For many small business owners, the prospect of advertising online is equally scary and exciting. They understand intrinsically there are huge groups of potential customers to tap and they want great qualified leads, but at the same time they’ve heard horror stories of campaigns gone wrong from their colleagues.
Advertising on Google seems mysterious, but we’re here to help demystify it so you can grow your business. When can this have a positive ROI for you? Let’s take a look.
You see Google ads all over the internet, even when you don’t realize it. Google powers a lot of the ads you see on sites totally unconnected to Google itself. So even if you’re looking at your favorite fishing website or shopping at your favorite store, chances are good that there’s a Google ad somewhere on that webpage.
But what we’ll talk about today is the most common type – Search Ads. Why, when, and how should you consider search ads to boost your business?
WHAT TYPES OF BUSINESSES DO BEST?
- Businesses who sell a distinct service that people can easily search for. Here are some good examples of businesses who can benefit:
- Dentists and Doctors
- Insurance Agents
- Theaters and traveling shows
- With Google, you’re able to target your ads based on geography and demographics.
- So let’s say I’m a dentist in Providence, RI. I only want potential patients in Providence searching for a new dentist to see my ads.
- Ads can be targeted to only people who search for “dentist” in the Providence area, and more specific keywords like “Blue Cross dentist,” “pediatric dentist,” or other specific terms.
- The result is that the only people seeing your ads are pre-qualified leads who are looking for your product within your service area. This can be a powerful tool and have a higher ROI than some traditional forms of advertising.
- Increasing the ranking of your local business profile and enabling “click-to-call” can be especially effective in helping local businesses grow.
OTHER WAYS TO ADVERTISE VIA GOOGLE
- Did you know? Google provides the display advertising on millions of sites across the web. So even if your customers aren’t searching for something specific, we can get your brand in front of them.
- For instance, we can get ads for your fashion line in front of fashionistas, whether they are browsing the NY Times or the hottest fashion blogs.
Nothing makes us sadder than when we see a poorly targeted ad for a business, because it means the business owner is losing money. We’re a certified Google Adwords Partner and offer free consultations for any business owners who are thinking about using digital marketing the grow their business.