Picture this if you will and follow me for a moment, think of your online presence as your personal appeal and your content as your charm and personality. With this in mind, I want to state my personal belief in that the things we say, write and illustrate online are more than superficial tactics to get a laugh, like or follow and as we continue to evolve in our approach and understanding of digital marketing, we must come to the conclusion that our content is a written expression of who we are and who we represent. For example; when meeting someone for the first time, it’s a common practice to dress appropriately with a sense of style and appeal. You’ll introduce yourself and engage in a meaningful conversation, in which you try your best to do more listening than speaking. After a few ah-ha moments and a cup of coffee the meeting is over and you take a mental assessment of what took place. Your assessment includes the basics such as, is this person trustworthy? Could I see myself working with or for this person? And do I actually like this person enough to share my skills, talents, time and money with? Getting to know someone in a meaningful conversation allows you to have a deeper insight as to what type of person you’ll be working with. What I’m about to share with you is absolutely practical and worth implementing if you want to strengthen the relationship between you and your clients. In doing so, you can potentially increase your SERP rankings, customer response and engagement with strong opportunities to close on new business.
The following are some of the first steps you’ll need to take if you want to see a return on your website and social media efforts:
- Assess and Address. Take an honest assessment of your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and other social media sites that you’re currently using for your business. The first thing you want to do is to make sure that they’re all in sync with updated pictures, logos, profile bio’s and content. You’d be surprised as to how many people have outdated pictures and content from one site to another. Conduct a sweep and clean it all up. Take a weekend and listen to some music, read a book, watch a TED talk and spend some time doing something that inspires you. Use that motivation to tap into your creative personality and harness all of the good ideas, words, phrases and visuals and then get to work on your upgrades. When you get new ideas, write them down and add them to your calendar to avoid the grim reaper of entrepreneurs otherwise known as procrastination. Next, you want to lay it all out and renovate.
- Renovate and regulate on your competition. Take some time to skim, browse and learn more about your industry’s latest trends and hot topics. Take notes and highlight the key points of interest that you think your audience will connect with. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT plagiarize. If you’re going to use someone else’s content, be sure to either get their permission or give accurate credit to the original author or source. Google and Bing will typically honor and elevate original content that is current and trending. They love content that is meaningful, searchable and full of rich snippets of pictures, video and precise definitions of common keyword searches and phrases. If you’re a small business owner and don’t have a social media manager to create new content, then I suggest you implement your changes in phases. Try not to allow yourself to feel overwhelmed and conflicted. If you simply make a checklist of what you need to update and what type of new content that you’re going to create, it’ll make things a whole lot easier. However, if you do have a social media manager, then it’s time to let them loose and regulate on your competition. It’s time to rise up from the forgotten and launch a marketing plan that’ll grow your business beyond your expectations. Have the (SMM) craft a 3-month social media marketing plan that includes Q&A podcast interviews about your industry experience, product or service – short blog posts and weekly live video feeds on Facebook live or Periscope. Stay humble – stay hungry and most importantly Know Your End Goal.
It’s time to rise up from the forgotten and launch a marketing plan that’ll grow your business beyond your expectations. @jesus_gonzales7
- “Just Google it!” Google has become a household name and spoken of quite often amongst Millennials and Generation X families. Google still seems to be the premier source of information gathering, fact finding and mapping sources for most people, even though the majority of them have a Facebook and Twitter page. Speaking of social media, when was the last time you searched using Bing, Yahoo or Facebook? Believe it or not there are some people who prefer these search engines and social sites for their personal and professional inquiries. So let me introduce you to the 30 – 30 – 30 plan. This plan is solely focused on gathering at least 30 reviews on Google, Bing and Facebook. If you don’t know by now, then it’s time you do, that online reviews are highly valuable and hold a lot of weight in terms of SERP rankings. Designating a full “On-line Customer Review” campaign is definitely worth the time and energy. Your return on investment is long-lasting and increases your credibility. Here’s a great way to get started; create a list of your current and past clients that you know had a great customer experience in the last 3 -6 months. This is the list that’s going to get you going in the right direction and give you a boost not only in reviews but in your confidence as a leader and entrepreneur. Next, move on to creating a 2-3 step customer user guide to completing Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews. A good tool and resource you may want to use is Canva, which is an online Photoshop type of website. This site is awesome and allows you to create or use existing templates that are specifically designed for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram including proper size imaging for each site. Create a “We Appreciate Your Reviews” campaign both on digital and print so you can use the flyers to promote and encourage customer reviews while they’re in the office. It really works – but the key to closing any type of sale including persuading your clients to take a few minutes to write their review – is to simply ask. Ask for reviews often and early in the conversation, for example, you may want to say something similar to “in just a few moments we’ll be wrapping things up along with a quick Google review of your experience with us today.” However, ask them in a way that makes them feel like it’s all a part of the process and most importantly make it seamless and fun.
- The Power of Print. Use the printed Google Review flyer as a display in your office and make it visible to your staff and clients. Regardless of what type of business you’re in, you’ll have a great number of opportunities to present this flyer to your clients. While you’re researching information, taking a payment or booking their next appointment, simply direct your client to the flyer to follow the steps to complete their review. One of the first lessons I learned in business was to “Always be closing and Never Assume The Rejection.” Thank your client for their business and direct them, I mean ask them to complete the review which only takes about 3 minutes. Let me back up for a second and remind everyone that you should have at a minimum a Google, Facebook and Yelp business page. Bing loves and feeds off of Yelp reviews which can significantly increase your search rankings on Google as well. The digital Google – Yelp or Facebook review flyer will be used to promote on social media as a promoted or boosted post. You’ll also want to Invite your staff, friends, and relatives to join in on the fun. They can write a review and reference your company’s strengths, character and of course their own personal experiences. If your staff are paying customers and have conducted business with your company, they have every right to legitimately write a review of the company. Let everyone know just how fun it is, because it really is fun when you start to see reviews coming in and begin to read people’s thoughts and feelings regarding their past experiences working with you and your staff. It’s definitely reassuring and reinvigorates your passion for doing what you do.
- Be where your clients are – but not everywhere they are. In my experience as a marketing professional, I have noticed that many companies have just about every social media page listed on their websites, email signatures and business cards. If you truly think about it, most people who are online typically have a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook account they typically prefer and primarily use. Unless you’re in marketing yourself, you may want to steer clear from trying to maintain a manageable presence on all of the social media sites that are out there today – including Instagram and Snapchat. Maintaining a strong presence on social media sites should serve your business well but not at the expense of neglect. However, depending on the type of business you’re in, you may want to consider adding Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat to your digital arsenal. The reason you want to avoid a social media overload is because it can become very overwhelming to maintain and manage as a business owner, sales professional and even a social media manager who has to show proof of ROI. The time, effort and finances that it takes to maintain your accounts may not be worth your time and may not produce the best ROI that you or your CMO would like. Keep in mind that your prospective and current clients usually have at least 1 of the 4 major social media sites. They key to conversion is user engagement and conversation. Be visible and available.
- The Power of Google. This last segment I’m going to talk about is how to leverage the unique algorithms and power of Google. I want to put my disclaimer out there noting that Google is constantly and consistently changing up their search algorithms that is run by Rank brain and that your results may vary. However, there are some tried and true ways of maximizing your site for your benefit, the first thing you’d want to do is to set up a plan of action. Coordinate your SEO tactics with your social media messages in order to demonstrate a cohesive marketing plan. Craft your website to attract the web crawlers of Google. Create original content that allows the reader to stay on your page with integrated content including short videos or snippets of podcasts lasting at least 3 minutes. However, it was recently noted that millennials are more willing to watch videos on twitter if they were 30 seconds or less, so just like most tings in business, it’s trial and error till you find the sweet spot. Integrate the most commonly used keywords and search results for your industry as part of the Headline and in the message of your sites landing page. Use words like “Best” and “Top” throughout your site, site links, site summary, meta tags and navigation bar and headers. Allow me to back up for a second and first make you aware of the fact that if you don’t have a product or service that people will want and use than all of your SEO efforts will be a waste of time.
You must have a product or service that is highly valued and or be on the rise. If you’re a Solopreneur, then you want to perfect your craft and become the go-to person in your profession. When people are in need of your services, you’ll be the first one to pop in their head as a result of your credibility. Having this type of prestige as a business will definitely play a role in acquiring online reviews and therefore assisting in the increasing of your search rankings. Next, you want make sure you’re listed on a variety of outside sources that people are using for advice, planning and resources. Get listed on sites such as Yellow Pages, Citysearch, Foursquare, Chamber of Commerce blogs and websites including guest blogging on cross industry news sites. The more credible backlinks that you can have directing people back to your website the better it will be. You can use sites such as Godaddy as a source to have your site listed on all of the major search sites using their GetFound product. There is a fee for this particular service but I assure you that it is well worth it. Next, would be acquiring a SSL Certificate, which basically means that your site is listed with Google as a safe and secure website. This certificate is another way you can increase your rankings by leveraging the credibility that Google gives your company’s website and reassures consumers that it’s safe for ecommerce transactions. The tips I noted above will put you in a position that’ll have Google working for you and not against you.
- Responsive Design. Responsive design is basically a measurement of just how user friendly your website is on mobile devices. It’s now more beneficial to streamline your design in order to have a better and more productive responsive design and user experience. Back in the day it was all about splash, flash and tons of videos and slideshows, but now – you have to be very creative and disciplined in your approach while designing your small screen storefront. Properly staged content is the key to success.
The last thing I want to mention regarding success and the use of these tactics is to simply apply them along with the wisdom of the Lord, because With God All Things are possible!
Matthew 19:26 (NLT)-Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
I say this to remind everyone that growing your business, ranking on the top of Google or becoming an Influencer seems like a task or a goal that is just too big – but I’ve learned that with God’s wisdom and insight, all things are indeed possible even getting to the top of Google, and that my friends is my encouragement to you. Keep writing, creating and dreaming and soon you’ll be well on your way to regulating the completion.
If this piece intrigues you and you’d like to learn more about integrating content marketing with your SEO and customer experience plans, then please contact me @jesus_gonzales7 on Twitter or visit gonzalesmedia.com.