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Online Reputation Repair Can Be Avoided By Effective Online Reviews and Reputation Management

2012 June 1

Do You Know What People Are Saying About Your Business Online?

What Is Online Reputation Management?

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of Online Reputation Management:

Online reputation management is the act of monitoring, addressing or mitigating search engine result pages or mentions in online media and Web sphere content. It primarily involves tracking what is written about a client on the Internet, then utilizing sophisticated online and offline techniques in promoting positive and neutral content, while at the same time pushing down those links the sponsor may not want to show when their name is searched.

Did you know the 2011 “Social Shopping Study” indicates that 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online product research? Furthermore:

  • 92% of Adult Buyers Regularly Check Online Reviews Before Purchasing
  • 70% of Consumers Trust Other Consumers’ Opinions That Are Posted Online

Why Is Online Reputation Management Important?

Marketing local business online flourishes because the whole world is coming online, too.

  1. Your prospects are online
  2. Your competitors are online
  3. Your customers are online
  4. That includes your unhappy customers, too!

The Internet Has Changed Everything !?!?

Local small business marketing has benefited in so many ways from the Internet. However, the online universe has also empowered consumers.

  • Before the Internet, businesses delivered their messages to consumers via one-way communication channels that they controlled (think – TV commercials)
  • Business NO longer completely control their message!
  • Thanks to the Internet, everyone comments on business messages via blogs, social media, customer reviews, etc.

What Are People Saying About Your Business?

Your company’s online reputation is being discussed:

  1. By former employees
  2. By bloggers
  3. On forums
  4. On social media
  5. In customer reviews

Online Reputation Is Crucial For The BIG BOYS, Too!

Don’t believe me? Google the company names for which these all too common
namesakes sprang up:


What Are The Negative Effects Of A Bad Online Reputation?

  1. Bad customer experience
  2. Unresolved customer issues
  3. Bad reputation
  4. Lost revenue

What Can Happen If You Don’t Repair Your Tarnished Online Reputation?

Internet marketing for small business needs every advantage possible to succeed. A tarnished name puts you at great risk.

  1. You could lose existing customers
  2. New customers may be difficult to find
  3. Your business can suffer financial loss
  4. You could go out of business!

What Happens When You Repair & Defend Good Reputation?

  1. Your positive good online reputation stands out from the crowd
  2. You will retain existing customers
  3. You will get new customers easily
  4. Your positive brand image will be credible & authoritative!

How To Maintain Your Online Reputation

Marketing your business online is about building and nourishing relatinships. So, too, is reputation management.

  1. Be proactive instead of reactive
  2. Monitor online conversations about your business
  3. Respond and interact with consumers online
  4. Regularly create and distribute positive content

What Are The Benefits Of Actively Seeking Online Reviews?

Actively seeking online reviews from satisfied customers is certain to:

  • Boost conversions, and
  • Provide feedback about your product or service

Consumers trust and expect online reviews and, seeing them, will gravitate to your business.

How To Get Customer Reviews To Build Or Repair Reputation

Referrals and new sales leads continue to be your ultimate goal. What better way to build social proof than to ask for a review?

  1. Survey all of your customers for feedback all of the time
  2. Offer incentives in exchange for reviews (e.g., coupons, discounts, free samples)
  3. Ask customers to review products by placing calls-to-action on your product pages
  4. Send customers to your business listings on Google Places, Yelp, CitySearch, etc.
  5. Link your business listing profiles to your website

Always Create Positive, Branded Content To Promote Reputation!

Flood the first search engine results pages with positive, branded content:

  • Your well-ranked website must be the first result for your company name
  • On-going search engine optimization (SEO) for all of your webpages
  • Videos, press releases, photos, articles, etc. promoting your good name
  • Tips, tools, helpful tutorials & other useful content for your visitors

Monitor Online Conversations For The First Line Of Reputation Defense

Find out what people are saying about your business:

  • Do a Google search for your business name …
  • What do you find when you search for you?
  • Check articles, blogs, forums & customer review sites
  • Frequently check your own blog & website for comments
  • Pay close attention to the social network sites

Reputation Repair Requires Response & Interaction

  1. Listen to what people are saying
  2. Be respectful
  3. Display a helpful & friendly demeanor
  4. Respond to both positive and negative comments
  5. Always quickly offer solutions to problems

Why Respond & Interact To Fix Online Reputations?

  • It builds relationships
  • It allows you to actively manage & control your brand
  • It allows other people to see your point of view
  • It shows that you care

You do care, don’t you?

How To Repair Your Reputation

Do you already have negative online comments and reviews?

  1. Make brand optimization your main focus
  2. Use SEO to drive negativity further down the SERP’s
  3. Create and publish videos, press releases & articles
  4. Create a blog — regularly publish fresh & unique content
  5. Engage in social media to build a loyal & eager following

How to Improve & Fix Your Online Reputation

  1. Ask for negative reviews to be removed
  2. Promptly address issues
  3. Don’t ignore unhappy customers
  4. Don’t argue with customers
  5. Know when to walk away
  6. You cannot please everyone!

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Answer Questions: 612-235-6060

Reputation Management: 10 Things You Can Do To Repair Your Online Reputation

2012 May 22

Reputation Management And Your First Impression

Who says you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Indeed, you may have a second chance, especially if that first chance was taken from you. In this world where your reputation is everything and your name is far more than mere label, reputation management is a business necessity.

Internet media is complicated. Now we are all exemplary publishers and we the people build and extend the Internet a little bit more every day! Not only can anybody contribute; but, there are no rules regulating what is said, in which venue and how close any of it is to truth.

Who’s to stop a vindictive person from anonymously complaining online where everybody can see it? Often, by anonymous, it’s true that many of these complainers hide behind a shroud because they cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny. Did you ever know somebody who complains every chance they get? Far from a majority, it only takes one acerbic comment to destroy a beautifully constructed reputation. One bad review from one disgruntled or obnoxious trouble maker and years of carefully crafted integrity can come tumbling down.

How Can You Repair Online Reputation?

So, what can you do to put Humpty Dumpty back together again? Can you really repair a damaged online reputation? Yes, you can repair online reputations. Is it as simple as removing negative online reviews?

Sadly, no. For the most part, bad reviews are probably carved in Internet stone. But, one bad apple is no reason to throw out the whole bushel.

Ten Effective Reputation Management Practices

  1. Review Sites

    Review sites, also known as citation sites, are essential to successful reputation management. When people see stars on business reviews, it is social proof that your business has very positive fans. Five stars clearly indicate a winner! Three stars leave people thinking average and so-so.

    What do you think when you see a one or two star rating?

    One way to repair an online reputation is to amass as many five star ratings as possible on many different sits.

  2. Blogs

    Blogs continue to be extremely popular communications tools. Whereas, many estimates count as many blogs as United States population, that number is less important than how business benefits from blogs. Whereas, web pages are intended to present static facets of your business, blog posts are quite different. Blogging allows you to present the day-to-day elements of your business, such as events, success stories and milestones.

    Furthermore, your public audience is invited to comment on and interact with your business through your blog. Therefore, blogs become a chronology of the good things about your business and how your public responds to them over time. A continuous stream of great news eventually removes the effect of negative online reviews.

  3. Pictures

    Yes, a picture is worth at least a thousand words! Even Google recognizes images as their own search category. All else equal, people browsing on the Internet are far more likely to look at pictures than read text.

    Don’t you want your audience to see clean images of your company and happy, smiling faces?

    Cleanup your online reputation by positioning a plethora of positive images high in search results. Basic search engine optimization of your images includes:

    • Main keyword in the image filename
    • Main keyword in the HTML alt tag
    • Keywords in the image description
    • Keywords in the image caption
    • Position images on the page in context
  4. Video Testimonials

    Whereas, images are powerful, video is the single most powerful medium on the Internet! So much so, that Google often favors videos over most other online properties in the search results. Have you ever searched and found those remarkable video thumbnails on the 1st search results page?

    We all know that Testimonials are the best marketing promotion you can have, right? Video Testimonials are the most persuasive of all Testimonials. Keep it succinct, to the point and as specific as can be. Then, of course, position your Video Testimonials where they can be easily found and viewed.

    Who will remember that anonymous bad review?

  5. Press Releases

    Tell everybody who is anybody what’s going on with your business. Press releases announce noteworthy events and accomplishments. They are designed to attract news media attention, so they can help you spread the word to a larger audience.

    The fact is, you always want a lot of positive attention for your business. You need even more when you’re recovering from bad reviews. Regular press releases help:

    • Generate traffic to your website
    • Give your company more visibility
    • Build your brand
    • Provide credibility and authority
  6. Nullify Negative Keywords

    It’s a fact: Many Americans start their fact-finding and decision-making on the Internet. That’s good, isn’t it? Isn’t that why you’re on the web to begin with? They search and when they find you, you have a sales opportunity.

    However, when the 1st search results page includes links associating your company with “scam,” “scammers” and bad reviews, many people cannot get past the negativity. Instead, they use the back button and browse elsewhere.

    Your job, then, is to fill that 1st search results page with positive links to your business, whether they be blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook or citations. The point is, if you have only one reference to your business on a search results page, there are many more opportunities for negativity. Bury a bad review with many positive references to you.

  7. Local News

    Your business is part of your local community, isn’t it? How do you participate in your community? Have you contributed to a church group, civic activity or food drive? Do you partner with businesses down the block? Can you help celebrate and appreciate success stories in your neighborhood?

    The local Internet is a great source for local directories, special offers and collaborative opportunities with other local businesses. One of Facebook’s most powerful features facilitates “tagging” other business pages. Celebrate the best of your community online and ask other businesses to do the same. This will demonstrate your positive place in the community.

  8. Thread Authority

    Often times, you can participate in forums to express your authority in your field and build credibility. Find a local forum or one specifically about your industry and look for opportunities to help and provide information. When you see a discussion to which you can add value, forget your sales pitch and simply offer great advice and free information.

    When time is right, start a discussion, again offering great advice and free information. You may also write an article to guest blog on some other blog and get a whole new audience remarking about your credibility and perceived authority.

  9. Facebook

    Whereas, your website is mostly about your company and what you have to say about it, social media is primarily about what others have to say about you. Facebook is king of social media now, its members being the 3rd largest country in the world:

    1. China
    2. India
    3. Facebook
    4. United States

    Properly managing social media is a critical part of building your reputation in the community. Facebook done right is social proof, whether that be a Like, Share or simply interacting on your Wall. When many people are positively interacting with your Facebook page, newcomers start their relationship with you on a very positive note. Positive social media engagement and interaction is a powerful buffer to negative reviews that may be found elsewhere.

  10. LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world. Thread authority, mentioned above, is especially applicable here, too. By participating in Groups and LinkedIn Answers, you can quickly increase credibility and be seen as an authority in your field.

    LinkdeIn Recommendations, however, warrant mention here as an extremely powerful tool to present positive Testimonials. Whereas, elsewhere reviews and Testimonials are often veiled in anonymity, LinkedIn Recommendations cannot be anonymous. Furthermore, since LinkdedIn members are exclusively professionals, their Recommendations are imbued with professional credibility.

    Nothing squashes an anonymous bad review like a recommendation from a credible professional!

Reputation Management Is More Than Putting Out Fires

Although, you may not be able to remove bad reviews, certainly there are many ways to distract prospects with glowing references to your company. Truly, it takes a lot of work to build a good name and very little to destroy it!

It’s been said that the best defense is a great offense. The simplest reputation management is to build a wall of glowing reviews before any bad review appears. Short of that, you now see many ways you can repair your online reputation once it’s tarnished.

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Answer Questions: 612-235-6060

10 Internet Marketing For Small Business Ways To Attract Local Customers

2012 May 15

Easy Ways To Attract Local Customers

The Facts About Consumer Internet Usage

This trend continues to rise and Internet Marketing for small business must get on board with this — or perish.

  • Most Consumers search online for local products and services.
  • Approximately 35% of all Internet searches are for local things.
  • There are more than 250 Million searches on Google alone every single day!
  • Online marketing is predicted to be at least 15% of all media ad spending in 2013.

Internet technology is GREAT … But, it has caused Problems for Some Local Businesses! Here’s why:

  1. Consumers are using online search instead of yellow pages and newspapers when looking for local products and services.
  2. Some businesses still spend thousands of dollars on ineffective traditional advertising methods.
  3. And, some businesses are not yet investing in online advertising and marketing. Are you?

As a Result …

  • Business expenses continue to rise while profits decline.
  • Local Businesses are struggling to get new and repeat customers.
  • Great customers are buying from Local Businesses well placed online.

Here Are 10 Ways Your Local Business Can Connect With Your Local Consumers

  1. Connect With Search Engine Visibility

    • You must work hard to gain better search engine positioning and rankings.
    • You must search engine optimize your website using on-the-page factors, making certain that your money phrases are in your content.
    • You must search engine optimize your website using off-the-page factors, persuading other sites to link back to you.
    • Claim, verify and optimize your Google Places listing
  2. Connect With Your Professional Website

    • All Effective Websites MUST Have:

      1. An organized and easily navigable layout
      2. Fresh, relevant and compelling content everywhere
      3. A strong Call-To-Action on every page
      4. An integrated lead capture system
  3. Connect With Email Marketing

    • Local Internet Marketing Money Is In Your LIST!

      1. Email marketing is cost-effective, automated and easy to deliver.
      2. Email marketing helps you build trust and credibility.
      3. Email marketing allows you to generate business on auto-pilot 24/7.
      4. Email marketing statistics are simple to track.
  4. Connect With Mobile Marketing

    • There are approximately 4 BILLION Mobile users worldwide!
    • By 2014, Mobile Internet usage is expected to exceed Desktop Internet usage!
    • Business websites must be Mobile optimized to accommodate Mobile Internet on-the-go users too rushed to squint, zoom and scroll.
    • Text message marketing promotes and connects with local audiences on the go.
  5. Connect With Social Media

    • Search engine optimization (SEO) is NOT enough! Hang Out With Your Customers and Prospects Online …

      1. Consumers spend many hours on social media sites every single day.
      2. Building relationships on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube is necessary for business.
      3. Social media markets are so big, Facebook is the 3rd largest country in the world!

        1. China
        2. India
        3. Facebook
        4. United States
  6. Connect With Video Marketing

    • Online Videos are HOT … Perhaps, Too HOT To Handle!

      1. Videos increase your visibility in search results and positioning.
      2. Online videos help you develop trust and expert status.
      3. Videos increase conversion rates, website traffic and are the single most powerfl small business advertising!
        cVideos run on auto-pilot and set you apart from your competitors
  7. Connect With Publish Online Content

    • The Internet Revolves Around CONTENT! Effective Website Optimization Multi-Purposes Content Everywhere

      1. Publish keyword rich articles and blog posts related to your industry.
      2. Publish keyword optimized press releases to attract media attention.
      3. Publish content to online directories to drive traffic back to your website.
  8. Connect With Reputation Management

    • Do You Know What People Say About Your Business Online? Local Search Optimization Relies On The Social Proof Of Reviews & Testimonials!

      1. Pay attention to what is being said about your business online.
      2. Promote positive online reviews & testimonials about your business.
      3. A bad online reputation can negatively impact your business.
      4. Respond promptly and handle all negative remarks quickly.
  9. Connect With Online Classified Ads

    • Effective Marketing Local Business Is All About Promoting Your Business Everywhere Local Customers Hang Out

      • Online Classified Ad sites are free or are very low cost.
      • Craigslist is one of the most popular online classified ad sites.
      • Optimize your ads with effective keywords to show up in search results.
      • Images in your ads make them more attractive to consumers.
  10. Connect With Paid Online Advertising

    • Successful Internet Marketing For Small Business Quickly Learns Its Best Market From Paid Advertising!

      1. Paid online advertising is effective at gaining more exposure quickly.
      2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is one of the most popular paid advertising methods.
      3. Google’s paid advertising platform is called AdWords.
      4. Facebook also has paid advertising to get in front of your best prospects.

Call Now
Answer Questions: 612-235-6060

WARNING: Minneapolis Local Business Wants To Be Found By Enough Of The Right People

2011 September 12
What's In The Minneapolis Local Business Forum for YOU?

What's In The Minneapolis Local Business Forum for YOU?

The Minneapolis Local Business Forum is the brainchild of a local entrepreneurs who want to promote business growth in the greater Twin Cities metro area. Introducing business owners to each other and to local residents, we hope to kick start our local economy. The Forum is totally free and without obligation. Unlike other recent initiatives, we want you to remember that free bit. This is our commitment to you. That and, in exchange for your participation, we promise to deliver to you value that you are not likely to get elsewhere regardless of price. This community has given us so much and we are giving back to you, our community, with this mastermind group.

The Minneapolis Local Business Forum is About Free Exposure and Prosperity

Minneapolis Local Business Forum focuses on providing ideas, strategies and tactics to grow your business. There is no free lunch; but, by banding together, we can act together today to promote and grow our businesses. Our forum is an opportunity for free exposure, valuable contacts and invaluable promotion for every business owner who decides to participate. This endeavor can only work for all of us when all of us contribute. In addition to solving your most difficult problem, others will benefit from the problems you have already solved. Participation in Minneapolis Local Business Forum can hook you up with other local business owners who could:

  • Complement your own skills
  • Provide contacts
  • Possibly use your services

How can you help us get the word out to your local business neighbors?

Although our goal is to jumpstart business throughout the Twin Cities, we are focusing on our own backyard now: Golden Valley, New Hope and Plymouth. Your credibility in this community is extremely valuable to us. Your help in promoting the forum helps your own business growth. Please, help.

What’s In The Minneapolis Local Business Forum for YOU?

Of course, you want to know, What’s in it for you? There are no guarantees. However, it’s widely known that “two heads are better than one!” Who knows? You and your business could:

  1. Make new friends and strategic partnerships.
  2. Identify possible vendors and clients.
  3. Solve problems with like minded professionals.
  4. Be recognized for your expertise.
  5. Showcase your business to eager buyers.

Some Minneapolis Local Business Forum Tangible Benefits

Yes, we want to grow our businesses, too. We are local entrepreneurs, just like you and everybody we are inviting to this group. In exchange for meeting you and sharing ideas, following are some of what we offer to you:

  1. Free exposure for your business.
  2. Free membership in the Minneapolis Local Business Forum.
  3. Free listing on the Minneapolis Local Business Forum website.
  4. Free video commercial about your business on your listing.
  5. Free Minneapolis Local Business Forum Facebook promotion.
  6. Free Minneapolis Local Business Forum Twitter promotion.
  7. Free access to our Minneapolis Local Business Forum LinkedIn group.

The Minneapolis Local Business Forum is Opportunity Knocking On YOUR Door

But, you MUST participate. The Mayors of Golden Valley and New Hope have expressed their support for our forum and are actively recruiting local businesses. All business owners in our community are cordially invited to attend our inaugural meeting which will be:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

6 to 7 PM (5-6 PM videos)

Master Communications Group

3410 Winnetka Avenue

Back Entrance (East)

New Hope, MN 55427

The Minneapolis Local Business Forum Website Is All About YOU

At that meeting we are unveiling our website. Listings are free of charge for local business owners and include a complementary video clip about each business and business owner shot by local videographer Master Communications Group. Come early (5:00pm) to our first meeting and we will walk you through their free video at that time.

Please, Join Us At The Minneapolis Local Business Forum Inaugural Meeting

We would love to see you, too, on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 5:00-7PM. We very much look forward to meeting you so we can exchange ideas, share experiences and generally support one another in a proactive and relaxed fashion. Thank you, for your esteemed participation.

Call Now

Answer Minneapolis Local Business Questions: 612-235-6060

Call MDS Resource For Special Offer Now: 612-235-6060

Give Me Search Engine Optimization And I’ll Give You Targeted Sales Leads

2011 April 12

Targeted Sales Leads Are The Goal Of SEO

Targeted Sales Leads Are The Goal Of SEO

I talk with a lot of business owners and executives. One of the biggest problems I’ve been hearing is the dearth of targeted sales leads. There are, of course, plenty of books written on just this subject. Some will say, buying leads is the way to go. Others will say that success comes only through referrals. Lately we’re hearing about the Internet being a bountiful source of qualified leads.

Targeted Sales Leads Are On The Internet

The Internet is a big place. How do you go about finding sales leads on the Internet; or, rather, how do targeted leads go about finding you and your company? We’ve touched on this before: the Internet, in a sense, is an enormous library and search engines are its card catalogs. As we learn to search and find what we want on the Internet — when we want it — we respond less and less to offline media. How, then, can you be found by these eager buyers on the Internet?

Do You Need Targeted Sales Leads?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tactic the goal of which is to get more business and more customers. Filling your sale funnel with sales leads is a marketing strategy accomplished online by three tasks:

  1. Be found by search engines
  2. Be found on 1st search engine results page
  3. Maximize the number of website visitors

What Are The Requirements For Targeted Sales Leads?

Of course, nobody can know your business better than you. In order to attract targeted sales leads, we must understand the products and services you sell. Furthermore, your unique selling proposition allows prospects to see the difference between you and your competition. Who is your very best customer? Why do best customers stay with your company? We must identify your buyer personas before you can use the keywords that your best buyers actually use to search for you.

SEO Benefits Targeted Sales Leads

For many, that is a lot of work, especially all of this thinking about your business from your customer’s point of view. Why go to all this bother? Google recently remarked that every day four billion searches are conducted, one billion of which seek something local to buy. Done right, SEO benefits you in several ways:

  • Search engines respect your website and place it on the first search results page for specific keywords.
  • People searching for specific keywords will find your website on the first search results page.
  • Being found by more searchers, more visitors will visit your website.
  • More people visiting your website could translate into new business.
  • Organizing your website to better be found makes your website more interesting to visitors.
  • Organization of web pages and content to better be found makes your website more interesting to visitors.

SEO Deliverables Result In Targeted Sales Leads

Whether you do your SEO yourself or pay somebody to do it for you, you’re hoping for more customers, aren’t you? SEO sits on the marketing side of business and can deliver the following:

  • A defined service area by which to be found in local business results;
  • A manageable list of keywords and phrases for which great prospects are actually searching;
  • Distribution of keywords by web page, focus and intent;
  • Organization of web pages by intent, theme and relevance;
  • Every web page detailed by keywords, title, headers, descriptions and service area; and
  • Solid foundation and flexible design for ongoing and growing first page search engine exposure.

Some SEO Expectations Are Targeted Sales Leads

Although black hat wizardry may fool search engines quickly, the history of search engine algorithm changes indicates that these tactics are short lived tactics and not strategic. Following sound relationship marketing principles, your online properties will attract great customers and steadily build great new business over time. The time factor must not be underestimated and optimal progress may not be appreciated before three to six months. Some keywords are more competitive than others and will take longer to show first page search engine results. Competitors want first page search engine results, too, and some competition will slow your website progress.

Targeted Sales Leads Are The Goal Of SEO

Being found is not enough; nor is being found by a lot of people. Being found by enough of the right people is the only true success in marketing, regardless of medium. Success is more a function of converting great leads into great customers than it is in simply attracting large numbers of random visitors to your website. Targeted sales leads, then, are the ultimate goal of search engine optimization.

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Answer Questions: 612-235-6060

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How Local Small Business Marketing Creates Unlimited Opportunities To Be Found

2011 April 4

Local Small Business Marketing Solves Problems

Local Small Business Marketing Solves Problems

Local small business marketing sees every web page as another unique opportunity to be found. Traditionally, local small business advertising designed the home page like the dust jacket of a book and its table of contents. Usually any backlinks point directly to the home page, regardless what specific information the visitor was seeking. The only way to find and get to inner web pages is via the home page and elaborate menu navigations. Google and other search engines catalog web pages and their content. Every one of your web pages is an opportunity to be found for some specific content, keywords and phrases which introduce visitors to the rest of your website. Each blog post becomes another web page, another leaf on the tree that is your website. Blog software like WordPress facilitate categorization and tagging blog posts and phrases in your content which, in turn, provide additional opportunities for your content to be found and cataloged by search engines.

Local Small Business Marketing Wants Great Customers

Take a long close look at your very best customers. You know, those two or three customers who, if cloned ten times, would totally transform your business forever! If you had ten more of them you could simply fire the bottom ten customers, sleep better at night and you’d be ever so much more profitable at accounting time. Identify those factors in each of them that make them great customers. Imagine, if you will, one of your ideal buyers browsing the Internet looking for a solution to their problem which, unbeknownst to them is sitting right here in your hand. Their circumstances are far more than simply the keywords they type before clicking [Search]. Indeed, their circumstances include environment, education, age, family, ethnicity, geography, attitude, health and a host of other factors.

Buyer Personae Love Local Small Business Marketing

Why don’t you ask them why they bought from you? Why are they so loyal to you? Why do they keep coming back to you? What is your relationship all about? When you know your great customers so well that you immediately see them, or don’t see them, in a stranger you just met, then you have identified one of your buyer persona. Marketing ideas begin with the reality of your business.

Aim High With Local Small Business Marketing

If marketing is truly the relationship between your business and your marketplace, and every relationship begins with a single conversation, why would you ever intentionally go out of your way to start a conversation with somebody who does not fit your buyer persona? On the other hand, when you have an absolutely clear picture of your best customer in mind, if you meet a prospect identical to that best customer, what will you not do to convert them into another great customer? This isn’t so much a matter of scheming and plotting as it is an organizational principle. There are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in your life. Focus exclusively on those prospects most likely to become great customers. If you’re going to market anyway, aim high, aim at those that will benefit most from what you offer, from what you do best. So, when it comes to web pages, put yourself in your best prospect’s mind.

Local Small Business Marketing Solves Problems

What is it they most want to see? Paint them a picture of you and your company fully solving their problem. Tell them stories of how you have solved these problems for other people and how your customers benefit from your solutions. Everybody is an expert at something. When you go eyeball-to-eyeball with them across the sales table, you will tell them your most persuasive story. Put those stories in writing and publish them on your blog or web pages. Convert that to a video and syndicate it to Youtube and podcast it and publish it every way imaginable online. Seed the entire Internet with breadcrumbs, with stories specific to each persona’s needs … many will follow you and heed your call-to-action and convert from lead to prospect to great customer.

Wasted Local Small Business Marketing Real Estate

Small business marketing can’t waste web real estate. It’s not that you can’t create more. You cannot afford to confuse or mislead visitors. It wastes your time and theirs. Wasted web space is wasted effort that can produce nothing of value. If a web page does not have a specific purpose, if it is not intended for a specific buyer persona, it is more likely to turn away business.

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How To Begin Inbound Marketing Your Business Online Success

2011 March 20
Inbound Marketing Your Business Online Begins With Keywords

Inbound Marketing Your Business Online Begins With Keywords

Marketing your business online effectively depends, of course, on getting great new customers from the Internet. On the one hand, you must be found on the first page of search results or your chances of being found at all drop precipitously. When was the last time you searched online and actually clicked on a link on page two, ten or one hundred? Yes, I, too, sometimes go beyond page one; but, how often do you do it?

Inbound Marketing Your Business Online Depends On Being Found

On the other hand, you must be found by a large enough population of searchers. Clearly, not even you can sell everybody who crosses your path today, can you? The truth is, some are ready to buy from you today, some later and some, quite frankly, will never buy from you. That they many not buy from anybody any time is no consolation, is it?

Marketing Your Business Online Puts You In Front Of Great Prospects

The trick is putting yourself directly in front of the very best of the best prospects. Quite some trick, indeed! Anticipate eager buyers shopping specifically for what you offer and you can appear before them as if they sought you out. Inbound marketing is all about empowering consumers. Be found by enough of the right people and inbound marketing your business online is profitable.

Keyword Analysis Drives Marketing Your Business Online

Taking a tip from the search engine optimizers (SEO’s) you need to study the key words and phrases those eager shoppers type into the search box before clicking search. For simplicity, let’s call the words or phrase of words people type into the search box a keyword. Keyword analysis then is the study of keywords and how you will be found by people using them.

Answer Four Marketing Your Business Online Questions

There are four questions every business must answer if they are to get great new business from the Internet:

Marketing Your Business Online Seeks Buyers

  1. What are people actually searching for?

    Although many start by listing those keywords by which they want people to find them, nobody can control the keywords searched by others. If you want to be found by a specific keyword, but nobody is searching by that keyword, you will not be found. Hence, anticipate eager buyers shopping for what you offer.

Marketing Your Business Online Demands Buyers

  1. What is the commercial intent of each search?

    The history of the Internet is a long story about sharing information between government agencies and educational institutions. Little by little all of this world’s information is finding a home online. Any type of research you can imagine can be conducted over the Internet, including names, addresses and phone numbers; texts of the greatest world literature; and known species of fish near New Zealand. I can’t speak for your business; but, my business needs paying customers. Hence, anticipate eager buyers shopping for what you offer.

Begin Marketing Your Business Online Simply

  1. How difficult is it for me to be found on the first page of search results?

    Even if eager buyers are searching for your keyword and they have every intention of purchasing, there remains the daunting task of being found in search results. Some companies have been at this for many years. Some have earned great authority, credibility and trust from search engines and consumers. Difficulty to reach the first page is a function of passing your competitors on the way from last page to first. Many well searched keywords may be easier for your business than others.

Marketing Your Business Online Demands Your Choice

  1. For which keywords do I want to be found?

    Knowing the keywords eager buyers search to find you, knowing which keywords are searched for purchasing purposes and knowing the less difficult keywords on which you can build success demands another decision from you. From this sea of opportune keywords you must sort, prioritize and select a subset on which to build your foundation. Know this, a list of keywords by itself holds little promise for you. Great prospects already know the keywords they are using — it’s the solution to their problem that they seek.

Inbound Marketing Your Business Online Begins With Keywords

Inbound marketing your business online effectively depends on delivering great content to great customers on the Internet. The truth is, some are ready to buy from you because they come to believe that you have the solution to their problem. That they use specific keywords when searching for that solution means that content featuring those keywords will attract their attention. Once you have their attention, then you have the right to call them to action and invite them to interact with you. Nonetheless, inbound marketing your business online begins with thorough keyword analysis.

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How Inbound Marketing Attracts New Sales Leads And You Give Them What They Want

2011 March 14
New Sales Leads Are Looking For You

New Sales Leads Are Looking For You

New sales leads, I am told, are the bane of small business today. Or, shall I say, there is a dearth of new sales leads everywhere struggling business looks. To what do we owe this sparsity? I talk with a lot of business owners. Lately, the two biggest problems I hear are too few targeted sales leads and poor return on advertising investments. Do either of these ring true with you?

How Rare Are New Sales Leads?

Was it always this way? Most business owners tell me, “No, in better times customers were plentiful.” Is this only a matter of good times versus bad times? They tell me that not too many years ago, new customers found them in the yellow pages and called for an appointment. New customers read a newspaper ad and came through their door ready to buy. New customers used to answer the telemarketer’s call eager to give up their credit card number. Really?

Did The Internet Destroy New Sales Leads?

Some bemoan the Internet. “The Internet is a scam!” they tell me. “There are so many hooligans out there selling Google salvation.” OK, now we’re getting somewhere. It’s true, Google is not in business to give you customers. Google is in business to make money and lots of money they are making. Their best customers, however, are not you and me, business owners, and not you and me, website owners. Google’s best customers are advertisers who pay Google to place their ads where eager shoppers will find them, click on them and see what they have to offer.

Does Google Eat New Sales Leads?

Why, then, is Google so large, so dominant and everywhere we look nowadays? They are in our smartphones. They are renting out commercial movies and competing with broadcast media. They are developing a driverless car. But, clearly, they started on the Internet and the Internet is the foundation on which they built this behemoth. Why? The Internet is where consumers have migrated. Yes, those consumers not flipping through yellow pages, those consumers not calling the classified ads, those consumers not answering their phones — those consumers are on the Internet. Eager shoppers are scouring the Internet to buy today’s whim. And they’re telling their friends and family what they found.

New Sales Leads Respond To Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing takes advantage of the Internet and the sea of shoppers there. Anticipate eager shoppers searching for what you offer. Identify the best of these shoppers, identify that most interesting of your offering and place your virtual kiosk directly in their path. Instead of intruding into their lives shrieking “Buy me!” and “Give me money!” demonstrate to them what you have to help them. Offer your visitors some token of your expertise with no strings attached. Show them that, indeed, sometimes lunch is free. New sales leads like that.

Can New Sales Leads Can Find You?

Inbound marketing success is predicated on three things:

  1. Be found! Until you are found there is no chance new sales leads will come to you.
  2. Be found by enough people. It’s truly unlikely that you will sell all of your prospects today. Some will buy, some will not and others may buy another day.
  3. Be found by enough of the right people. At any given instant, some percent of the world is looking to purchase what you have to offer. Regardless the number, these are your prospects — nobody else. How likely are you to persuade a diaper shopper or diner looking for great Chinese food to open their wallets to you?

New Sales Leads Are Looking For You

Are new sales leads the bane of small business today? To what do we owe this sparsity? Many business owners say, “In better times customers were plentiful.” The problem is you are looking in the wrong places. Worse, your best prospects are looking for you and you’re nowhere they are looking. Inbound marketing attracts new sales leads and you can give them what they want.

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How To Get Great Customers With Online Marketing For Small Business And Search Engines

2011 March 8
Online Marketing For Small Business Creates Great Customers!

Online Marketing For Small Business Creates Great Customers!

OK, sure, if you’re big business like Wal Mart or Amazon the Internet is great. But, what do search engines have to do with online marketing for small business? In short, search engines are a tremendous opportunity to be found. How’s it working out for you in the Sunday newspaper classifieds? How many new customers found you in the yellow pages last month?

Online Marketing For Small Business Works Locally

Truth be told, right this minute, right here in the Twin Cities, eager buyers are searching for what you offer. Anticipate these eager buyers and you have the opportunity to stand up directly in front of each of them and tell them your great story. Once you identify the buyer personae of your greatest customers, what’s to stop you from stalking your perfect prospects? Isn’t creating great customers the best action you can take in growing your business? Is it possible to have too many great customers?

Search Engines Help Online Marketing For Small Business

Let’s look closely at typical search engine results to see what’s in it for you. For the sake of illustration, we’ll use Google. Sure, lately we’re seeing a lot of commercials about Bing, and certainly Facebook, too, has an impressive number of searches. Google recently reported four billion searches every day, one billion of which are seeking to buy locally. With two-thirds of all search engine searches, Google epitomizes the online search experience.

Depending on your specific search phrase, the Google search results page may contain three different types of results:

Paid Search And Online Marketing For Small Business

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising may appear above all other results and/or down the right side. First and foremost, know that these are paid advertisements. Every time somebody clicks on one of these ads, whoever placed the ad pays Google. From the time you sign up to the time you start seeing results can be as quick as a few hours. Paid advertising can quickly pull prospects, test landing pages and gauge the market.

Local Business Results And Online Marketing For Small Business

Have you noticed the maps? Unless you’re totally oblivious to the Internet and online search, these last two years of online marketing for small business are remarkable because of the local business results.

Google and the other search engines realize that there is an enormous demand for local and neighborhood search results. Why? Because eager buyers are shopping and ready to buy; but, they’re not prepared to put a new house in a shopping cart and purchase it from Amazon. For many items consumers still insist on buying from a person. They still put the relationship before the deal. And that is great news for local business.

Getting on the map is not a function of paid advertising. Nor is it simply a matter of having a great website. Local business results feature businesses that are remarkable in their community. First, they claimed their listing in the local directories, such as Google Places, Yahoo! Local, Yelp, etc. Second, these businesses made the effort to standardize their listings everywhere, including using the same local telephone number and spelling consistently. Third, customers find them remarkable enough to leave online reviews, endorsements and testimonials for local business. The search engines are gathering many public reviews into the local business results.

Organic Results And Online Marketing For Small Business

Last but not least are the well known organic results. They are called organic because they are the “natural” ordering of all web pages cataloged across the Internet. Although, different search engines rank and order web pages differently, the notions of credibility and trust and back link references from other websites are shared. Clearly, if your business is found on the first page of Google results, eager buyers searching for what you offer may click on your link. Also, the more eager buyers find your link the more likely your business is to sell. Although, many say organic results are “free,” do not forget that consumer searches vary and the search engines change their rules to appeal to searchers.

SEO And Online Marketing For Small Business

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of appealing to search engine algorithms in order to place high in their rankings. Effective online marketing for small business must consider SEO because each business must be found by buyers if they are to sell. Neither SEO nor marketing, however, is simply a matter of adding some ingredient to your website. If marketing is the relationship between a business and its marketplace, and every relationship begins with a single conversation, how many conversations with eager buyers do you want online?

Online Marketing For Small Business Creates Great Customers!

Is it possible to have too many great customers? Search engines are a tremendous opportunity to be found. Right this minute, right here in the Twin Cities, eager buyers are searching for what you offer. Is creating great customers your goal in online marketing for small business?

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Secrets Of Targeted Sales Leads Reside In Your Buyer Personae’s Eyes

2011 February 24
Targeted Sales Leads Are Real People

Targeted Sales Leads Are Real People

I talk with a lot of business owners every week. One of the biggest problems I’m hearing over and over is too few targeted sales leads. We’re all facing extreme challenges in these trying times. Bottom line, there’s little going down that wouldn’t pale in light of simply finding more business. So long as we’re seeking more customers, why not aim for targeted sales leads?

Targeted Sales Leads Seek Benefits

First, we need to focus clearly on the best possible target. We’ve all had customers who gave us so much grief, never meeting another might itself be success. Why take on more troublesome customers? Remember, instead, the best customer you have ever had. You know, she came to you with the perfect problem, you proposed the perfect solution and she asked to become your perfect customer. Describe in minute detail the persona of your best customer. Profiling your buyer persona includes gathering many facets of her personality, background, daily activities and current solutions for her problems. Seeking a solution to her problem, knowing the solution, you have what benefits her. What’s in it for her? You.

Buyer Personae Represent Targeted Sales Leads

Start by seeing every interpersonal interaction with a prospect, whether on-line or in-person, as an opportunity to listen and identify patterns. Really knowing how buyers think, what matters to them and where they are when they’re ready to buy, you no longer guess what to say, where and how to communicate with them. Have you ever noticed how much simpler and effective it is to listen before you talk to prospects? They will tell you just how bad their problem is. They will describe in great detail just how valuable the solution to that problem is. Indeed, they will tell you how long they’ll endure the problem and when and under what conditions they will buy the solution. Profiling buyer personae gives you a prime opportunity to truly empathize with target sales leads.

See Through Targeted Sales Leads Eyes

Stop promoting a product and see through buyers’ eyes, see clearly the circumstances driving their decision process. A buyer persona is a person, a short biography of whom describes your best targeted sales leads, not just their job description. Break all of your buyers into distinct groups. Catalog everything you know about each of your best customers. Buyer personae make it easier to create content targeted to important demographics.

Targeted Sales Leads Are Real People

High quality, relevant online content is the best and most effective way to communicate with and persuade targeted sales leads. Remembering that great customers are also real people, with real people problems, ought to simplify your side of the conversation. Simpler, though, only inasmuch as your audience is truly in need of what you offer. An archetype of your ideal buyer is a buyer persona, an example buyer representing a real audience, an audience eager to listen to you the more they need what you offer.

Be Found By Targeted Sales Leads

I talk with several business owners every day and I’m hearing over and over that too few targeted sales leads is a major concern. Bottom line, there’s little going down that wouldn’t pale in light of simply finding more business. If we’re truly seeking more customers, why not aim for targeted sales lead? By describing your buyer personae in great detail, you paint a clear picture of exactly who really needs what you offer. Anticipate eager buyers shopping for exactly what you offer and you can place yourself in front of them everywhere they look. Sufficient targeted sales leads are as simple as knowing who they are and be found where they are looking.

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