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3 ways to tell if your online listings are holding you back

Online listings give your business the opportunity to show up in front of potential customers. Through this free form of advertising, you can appeal to customers who are looking for a product or service, which will lead to greater traffic and sales. Online listings can make a huge difference when used correctly. To see if yours are working for you, answer these three questions. Get traffic moving your way Establish a stronger online presence with an expert strategy that increases your organic search rankings. GET STARTED >> 1. Are your online listings thorough and accurate? The first step to harness the power of online listings is to claim your listings on websites like Google and Yelp. Once you’ve got them, the next step is to get the information right. When your listing is accurate, it speaks volumes to customers and search engines. Get found by making sure you have these listing essentials: Business name Hours of operation Address Phone number Category  Information that searchers want Beyond your contact information, searchers are likely looking for something extra. For instance, Morrison’s Irish Pub, one of the six businesses selected for a marketing revitalization during season 3 of Small Business Revolution — Main Street, discovered that more than 80 percent of customers read a menu before deciding to eat at a restaurant. Research also showed that searches including words like “open now” and “near me” have grown more than 200 percent, so Morrison’s owners added descriptive words and images to build a more robust listing for their pub. Additionally, Morrison’s realized that being listed as a bar led to many missed opportunities, and it wasn’t the most accurate description of the business. By changing the listing category to “Irish Pub,” “Irish Restaurant” and “Lunch Restaurant,” the eatery is getting found by people searching for pubs, restaurants and lunch. 2. Do your listings showcase what makes your business unique? Online listings serve as free advertising for your business; don’t miss the opportunity to highlight the factors that set you apart. Brainstorm the questions a customer would have — like what your business is, what makes you special, why…

8 free SEO tools for small businesses

Did you know that 76 percent of people who conduct a search on their mobile device will visit a nearby business within a day? You can connect with those consumers when they’re looking for products or services like yours by investing time into search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of improving your website’s visibility on search engines like Google in order to drive more traffic to your site, and hopefully, to your business. Get traffic moving your way Establish a stronger online presence with a strategy that increases your organic search rankings. GET STARTED >> While it may seem that only larger companies show up at the top of search rankings, businesses of all sizes can implement SEO strategies that help them reach more potential customers. Start optimizing your website today with the following free SEO tools. Data and insights Tracking your website’s performance can tell you if your SEO efforts have been effective and highlight areas that need improvement. Two of the best free SEO tools to measure your success are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 1. Google Analytics: Check your website’s overall performance with Google Analytics. Along with basic information like the number of page visits you receive, you’ll learn which buttons get the most clicks, where your visitors are located, which devices they’re using to access your website and so much more. 2. Google Search Console: See how your website is performing in Google search results and learn how people are finding your website with Google Search Console. This free tool will also alert you to any errors on your website and which pages are driving the most traffic. When used in tandem with Google Analytics, you’ll get a detailed view of your website’s performance and have the information you need to decide which technical changes to make to optimize your site. Research In SEO, keywords are the words and phrases that users type into search engines when making a query. For example, homeowners seeking a plumber may search the phrase “emergency leak repair,” or “unclog drain.” Incorporating the right keywords into your website content…

5 marketing tips to attract more local customers

Looking to boost your local search results with a better online presence? Join this free webinar, hosted with SCORE, to learn how small businesses can bring in more customers beyond relying on word-of-mouth alone. Gain insider marketing tips and inspiration, whether you’re in startup mode or have been in business for generations. In this webinar: See how to rework your website to highlight what makes you unique Get quick fixes to drive more traffic to your Google and Yelp listings Learn how to elevate your Google search rankings for your business Discover email marketing strategies to spur repeat visits and sales Get tips on boosting your brand identity online About the presenter Amanda Brinkman, Chief Brand Officer at Deluxe Corp., leads a team of experts who provide marketing services to millions of small businesses across America. Brinkman also produces and stars in the acclaimed Small Business Revolution — Main Street series, in which she and her team provide a $500,000 revitalization to one lucky small town and its Main Street businesses. The post 5 marketing tips to attract more local customers appeared first on Deluxe Small Business Resource Center.

Can consumers find your business online?

If your business isn’t showing up in online searches, it’s as good as invisible. Consumers are increasingly using the internet to find and choose businesses: More than 51 percent of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone. And that’s exactly why local listings are so important. A local listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number and other details people need to find and visit your business. How does your business show up? Ensure your business and contact information are correct on over 50 online directories with our free scan tool. SCAN NOW >> But there’s more to getting listed than just entering your information. You have to claim, optimize and manage your listings. To help you make a great first impression and secure a top spot in the search engine results, Deluxe SEO Specialist Abel Johnson shares these expert tips: 1. Be accurate and consistent It might not seem like a big deal if your address is listed as “123 Main Street” on one local listing, and as “123 Main St.” on another. However, when your listings are inconsistent, you risk confusing potential customers — and search engines. Here’s a great example of how getting listed accurately helped one business stand out online and reel in a steady stream of local customers: Bluff City Outdoors was the only business in Alton, Illinois, that carried bait, tackle and specialty catfishing gear that the big-box stores didn’t have. Since Alton is a hotspot for trophy catfishing, Bluff City should’ve been popular with the locals. But when people searched online for bait and tackle shops, it was nowhere to be found. Instead, they’d find variations on a theme, including the store’s previous name — Rodney’s Bait & Tackle. The Deluxe team worked with owner Mark McMurray to update all of his listings with the right name, so people could easily visit the store. The lesson here: Keep your business name, address, phone number and other important information consistent across the board. This matters down to the smallest detail. Since many of online directories pull data…

SEO and SEM tips for construction or contracting businesses

For construction and general contracting businesses, the best form of marketing has traditionally been word-of-mouth. When you do good work, clients recommend you to others, and business builds from there. But word-of-mouth can only take you so far. In an increasingly digital world, you need search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to propel you to the next level. Here’s an overview of how these tools work and how you can use them to generate leads, and ultimately, more business. The basics of SEO and SEM SEO and SEM are marketing methods that help your business rise to the top of results when potential customers search for providers online using search engines like Google and Bing. SEO includes the techniques you can use to drive quality traffic to your website. On the other hand, SEM includes paid marketing techniques on search engines. While these SEM methods require an upfront investment, they can be effective at creating and increasing awareness of your business in your local area. What’s more, you can combine SEO and SEM to increase your visibility on the internet and boost your flow of customers. But before you add these tools to your toolbox, here’s what you need to know: Strategies to boost SEO The simplest way to utilize SEO involves researching the top keywords that people may use to search online for businesses like yours, and then scattering these words and phrases across your website and business listings. This makes your website and listings more likely to appear when potential customers use them on Google, Bing or other search engines. With that in mind, here are four things you can do right now to boost your SEO efforts: 1. Create a list of keywords and phrases Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, and ask yourself what you would search for when looking for a business like yours online. Remember to be specific and detailed. Come up with 5-10 phrases that you think fit your business best. For example, if you run a construction business, simply using “construction” won’t cut it. Using a more specific phrase such as “custom…

Before & after: Website gets stunning makeover

How are things between you and your website? If the answer is uncertain or less than stellar, don’t panic. Instead, think of your website as a marketing tool that needs to accomplish four things: establish value, build trust, make a great impression, and help visitors take action. Here’s how to put these four crucial components into action. Get answers to all your website questions Get all the secrets to an effective website when you download our free Guide to Websites eBook. DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK >> 1. Establish value to visitors First, look at the value your website promises visitors. Your website speaks on behalf of your business, and it should address a need or needs that your target audience/customer may have. Are visitors able to find the information relevant to them? Let’s use a real-world example: Ramona Jones is the owner of Discover, Learn & Grow, a preschool that provides affordable education and child care to families in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. Success for Jones is dependent upon generating awareness, connecting with families in the community and encouraging them to enroll. To reach these goals, Discover, Learn & Grow’s website needed to articulate the organization’s value and inspire confidence in its services. The Deluxe team helped revamp the website, starting with research into the needs of parents and guardians of young children. The team determined that searching for preschools and child care services online is a high-investment choice. There are many factors that families consider before they feel comfortable committing to a child care program, from the safety of the facility to the quality of the instruction. Discover, Learn & Grow’s website needed robust content that addressed these concerns. The revamped website includes specific pages — including a Q&A section and a Health & Safety page — that address these concerns. Scannable bullet points were used to make that information easy to digest. And to give families a solid understanding of what they could expect from the program, a schedule describing a typical day at the center was included. By taking stock of its audience’s concerns and addressing them clearly, the Discover, Learn &…

Create a successful holiday marketing plan

It’s time to get into the holiday spirit. Ring in the season with a marketing plan that works. This webinar will provide guidance on how to get, and stay, in front of your customers this season, as well as tools and SEO tips to get your website found by holiday shoppers. In this free webinar: Learn why sending holiday cards is important for businesses See how to use print marketing to boost sales throughout the season Get tactics for making sure your website can be found online About the presenters: Sonia Mansfield, Content Marketing Manager at Deluxe Corp., has been writing helpful and fun content for small business owners and nonprofits for nearly 10 years. As the Content Marketing Manager for Deluxe subsidiary PsPrint, she gained a wealth of insights about how businesses can leverage print marketing to grow their brands. Noah Turner is the Senior Manager of Search Engine Optimization at Deluxe Corp. He has more than 10 years of experience in online marketing and web development and enjoys helping Fortune 100 companies and small business owners create winning online strategies. The post Create a successful holiday marketing plan appeared first on Deluxe Small Business Resource Center.

Digital marketing basics: Internet marketing strategies for today

For most businesses, an online presence is crucial for driving business. That said, building and maintaining a website is only the first step. To get the most out of a website, it’s important for small business owners to utilize internet marketing strategies to build buzz and interest, and ultimately drive revenue. We’ve all been there before — when a specific service or product is needed, we go online to see the options available and narrow it down until we find the right fit. For small business owners, it’s important to realize that potential customers are doing the same when it comes to the products or services you offer. Learning the basics of how to market online can help give your business a leg up on the competition and encourage potential customers to give your products or services a try. To give your business a boost, here’s a look at online marketing for beginners, along with six digital marketing tips and online marketing tools you can begin using right away. Digital marketing 101 What is digital marketing? The most basic definition of digital marketing is using digital platforms to market your products or services. First and foremost this means advertising on the internet using search engines such as Google, but it also includes other platforms such as social media and mobile phones. Here are six steps every business should take when it comes to digital marketing strategies: 1. Create a website This may seem like a no-brainer; after all, one of the main goals of digital marketing is to drive potential customers to your website. Think of your website as a window into your business that gives people a look at the products or services you offer, along with other key information such as your location and contact information. You want your site to have a modern look and feel, but also be easy to use, so anyone who visits can find the information they’re looking for. 2. Sign up for social media accounts Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or any of the many other platforms on the market, many consumers these…

What is search engine marketing?

If you’ve been wondering how to get potential customers to visit your website, search engine marketing (SEM) can help. When done strategically and consistently, all of your marketing efforts — from email to social media to print marketing — will come together to help your business grow. SEM, however, can give those efforts a boost, increasing your visibility in online search results and connecting you with more potential customers. You may have heard the term before, but what is SEM exactly? Here’s how it works: What is SEM? When you search online, do you ever click to the fourth or fifth page of search engine results? If you do, it likely doesn’t happen very often. Recent studies have shown that while the first page of Google captures 71 percent of clicks, the second page only captures around 6 percent. To get your business seen in those results, you have to rank high on search engines like Google and Bing. SEM is the quickest way to accomplish that. After entering a question or topic into Google, you’ve likely noticed that some of the results — typically the ones at the very top or on the right-hand side of the page — are labeled “sponsored.” These results are ads, and examples of SEM in action. Broadly speaking, SEM encompasses the paid and unpaid techniques used to generate website traffic, but it typically refers to the practice of using ads displayed on search engine result pages (SERPs) to market a business. How do I get started with SEM? In order to launch an SEM campaign, you bid on keywords associated with your products or services. An interior designer in San Francisco, for example, might target keywords like “interior design San Francisco” or “living room interior design San Francisco.” When people search for those keywords, that interior designer’s ad will appear at the top of the results page. With so many companies vying for the same customers and trying to be seen online, it’s crucial for businesses to get listed in the top results. Instead of having your listing buried in the outer reaches…

The do’s and don’ts of responding to online reviews

With 90 percent of consumers reading online reviews before visiting a business, you can’t afford to ignore what’s being said about your company on websites like Yelp, Facebook and Google. Responding to online reviews and comments is an important part of managing your business’s reputation and persuading potential customers to call or visit you. But knowing how to respond isn’t always simple. To ensure your responses strike the right chord with online reviewers, follow this list of do’s and don’ts. DO respond to reviews If a customer has taken the time to write a thoughtful review, they deserve a thoughtful response. When the review is positive, thank the writer and tell them that you appreciate what they’ve said. When the review is negative, politely apologize for the poor experience and address the issue. In either case, try to establish a personal connection. Call the reviewer by their name and reference specific details from the review to show you care about their needs and value their opinions. DON’T become defensive When faced with a negative review, your first instinct may be to defend yourself and your business. However, disputing the facts described in the review or blaming someone else makes you appear combative, even if you’re right. A defensive response could also make prospective customers think that you’re dismissing a customer’s concern. Arguing about the details of the review isn’t going to resolve anything. You may make yourself feel better by snapping back at the reviewer, but you might have also lost a customer — and turned off prospects in the process. DO take a breath A negative review isn’t necessarily an attack on you or your business, even though it’s understandable to feel that way. You work hard to provide the best products or services you can, so it’s difficult to hear that someone wasn’t pleased with what you’re offering. But resist the urge to fly off the handle, even if the reviewer was incorrect or rude. Take a few minutes to really think about what the person has said in their review — perhaps step away from the computer for…

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