September 2014

Offline Signage: Does your signpost suck?

**UPDATE 5-10-2015** It appears that this business is now closed. Trada was shut down by their creditors. Perhaps it’s safe now to link to my true feelings from 2012 about how this is the worst logo of all time. Perhaps some of the $19 Million they raised should have been spent on a new logo. That would not have made much of a difference on their bottom line, but having the worst logo of all time might be a signal that other things aren’t doing so well either. If you are a business owner, you may have found yourself driving around town looking at signs of other businesses – and judging them, studying them, and understanding what makes a good sign vs. one that sucks. It’s amazing how terrible some signs can be. Really, what were they thinking?? Elements of a good signpost: 1. Can people read your sign? Is it understandable? Pronounceable? Clear? Legible? 2. Does your sign convey what your company does? What service it provides? Is it a mystery? 3. Does your sign look great? Is it attractive? Appealing? Catchy? Noticeable? Special? Cool? 4. Will your sign stick in my head when I need the product or service you are offering? Let’s look at a few signs: 1. McGuckins Hardware in Boulder has some awful signage. Yes, it’s true everyone LOVES McGuckins and we all know what it is and where it is and that they sell everything awesome. But take a look at their signposts: This sign above the North entrance  is not sexy – but it’s clear. I know what’s going on here. What is this above the West entrance? Is that a Logo? A fancy “M h”? Is this clear? The rest of the sign is behind a tree. I’m not really sure why this …

September 9, 2014 on Local Search Marketing Blog

The Elements of Local Search Optimization

In a Nutshell, these are the elements of Local SEO campaign: 1. Search Engine Listings: Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local Search – Most important of these is Google Places (now called “Google My Business”). Having accurate and consistent information is critical to your online presence and rankings. 2. Accurate & Consistent information in what’s known as Google’s “Trusted Data Providers” – business directories online where Google collects data about your business. Inconsistent data (especially Name, Address, Phone) can ruin local rankings. 3. Citation Building: Citations are online mentions of your business. More citations are better but they need to be consistent and accurate. 4. Niche Industry & Hyper-local directories: In Googles opinion, if your business (Chiropractor in Denver for example) is legit then it would be listed in (specialized directories of chiropractors and also denver-specific directories). 5. Other Local factors: Having online reviews about your business is very helpful, as it enhances trust that customers are engaging with your business. Quantity of reviews matters. Has anyone included your business on custom Google maps? Are you engaged in Social Media locally? 6. Website SEO & Link-building: Currently the top 3 or 4 listings in Local are known as “blended listings”. Blended listings take info from Google Maps algorithm and the Googles Organic Search Algorithm to establish ranking. The strength of the businesses website SEO & inbound links are very important factors for ranking. Potential Issues with Local SEO that may need to be addressed: 1. Reputation management: If your business already ranks well, does your ranking positively reflect your business? 2. Inconsistent Information. Inaccurate data diminishes trust and thus reduces ranking potential. Citation “clean up work” can be tricky and exhaustive. The culprit is often an address change or the previous use of call-tracking phone numbers in advertising. 3. Mystery Problems: There are …

September 9, 2014 on Local Search Marketing Blog

How to Get Online Reviews for your Business

Yes, online reviews are important. In fact they can make-or-break your business! Here’s the scoop: The words in the review itself give [ranking] signals to Google – so keywords do matter, and thus, longer reviews are better. Good reviews are great. Bad reviews are not the end of the world. The more reviews the better – no matter if they are good or bad. If you solicit reviews – send people to more than one place to write reviews – Google, Yelp, Citysearch, Superpages are good ones (in that order). I’ve been lately hearing from local businesses in Colorado that Yelp reviews are generating lots of new customers. Don’t ignore Yelp! Most Businesses struggle with reaching out for reviews. We don’t recommend just adding a mention of reviews in your email newsletter. It’s just not effective. Don’t just put up a small sign in your office or on the door. Nobody cares that your business is on Yelp. What people want to know is that you care about them. Set a goal to get 5 reviews. Be inspiring. Make it easy for your reviewers. Start now.   The very best way to get reviews is this: Reach out individually to your customers or clients and ask for a review. Period. I’ve got a great example for you – it’s from a medical clinic here in Boulder who had accumulated a considerable number of reviews on Google. Their practice ranks really well and is operating at capacity. Most of their new patients found them online and each had read the reviews to make their decision. How did they know? They Asked! How did they do it? I too had become a patient of theirs after a minor whiplash episode, so I experienced it first hand. It went like this: #1) A few days after my first visit to the office, I got a phone call – a follow …

September 8, 2014 on Local Search Marketing Blog

What to do When Your Business Gets a Negative Review

Getting a negative review is no fun – but it’s not the end of the world! Actually research has shown that people are less likely to trust a business with ONLY positive reviews. Really! Readers of reviews are most familiar with movie reviews or lengthy reviews on books at Amazon.com and basically they all know how to filter out the reviews that don’t really pertain to them. When was the last time a movie or a book had 100% positive reviews? It rarely (if ever) happens. What the reader – your potential new client or customer – is looking for is this:  “Will this business (or “movie” or “book”) be something I’d like?” and then, “Should I choose THIS one?” Ultimately its up to the discernment of the reader. Of course, all of humans have our own manner of discernment. So rest easy if you just got a negative review. In fact, a negative review is actually a great opportunity for the business owner to make a public comment to the reviewer. If done properly this comment can showcase how well the business takes responsibility for the poor experience of the reviewer and what the business owner is offering to do to make it right for the customer. This can have a greater impact to a reader than scrolling through a list of 5-star reviews! Would it make a difference to you? Of course, the best strategy is to avoid getting bad reviews. If most of your reviews are negative or you have negative reviews on multiple websites, people will simply not visit your website or choose your company. They’ll go someplace else. Or worse – they might share via word of mouth how they heard/read that your business is perhaps “not that great”. One easy example is my own …

September 5, 2014 on Local Search Marketing Blog