Tag : online business

Why Do I Need Online Reputation Management?

Why Do I Need Reputation Management-You’ve spent years building your business. You’ve invested time, sweat, and tears. You’ve missed dance recitals and soccer games as you’ve toiled to create it. You finally feel as though you can relax … until the day when the phone calls stop, the new customers vanish, and you can’t understand why.

You’re still providing excellent service and your existing customers love you, but your business is struggling. You learn from an existing customer that your company has some very negative reviews posted online. It dawns on you that your online reputation is presenting a twisted perception of reality that is really killing your business.

Sound like the plot of a B-movie drama? It’s true for hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses across the country.

Local Business Reviews = Reputation
What people say about your company online has become the single most important reflection of your company’s skill, quality, and reliability. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, a plastic surgeon, a carpet cleaner, or a painter. In Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising study, 70 % of global consumers indicated they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions.

Improving Your Reputation is Your # 1 Marketing Priority
Your number one marketing priority should be developing a 5-star online reputation. Why? All your other marketing efforts, whether they be online such as SEO, social media, PPC, or offline such as direct mail, magazines, radio, or TV, will ultimately lead the consumer to learn more about you online. There, your less than sterling or non-existent reputation drives them away.

Most business owners fail to realize is that what consumers want is information that will help them feel confident they’re making the best, most well-reasoned purchase. Today, quite a bit of that confidence comes in the form of online reviews reflecting others’ experiences.

The 3Rs and 2Qs of Local Reviews and Reputation
When it comes to taking an active role in developing, building, and protecting your online reputation, you need to keep five points in mind:

Range— While it might seem as though getting a few positive reviews on Google+ or Yelp is all that’s needed, we advocate a wide-ranging approach to online review management. Just visit this Facebook page, We Hate Yelp, or read this thread on Google, and you’ll understand why. Your business is too important to you and your loved ones to let its success be dictated by one or two companies with no vested interest.
Real— Make sure real client reviews are getting posted. It’s tempting to game the system and pen some glowing reviews, however, it’s not only unethical, you’ll undoubtedly get caught, and that can have some unintended consequences.
Recent— It appears that more recent reviews weigh more heavily by the search engines in terms of ranking. For this reason alone, creating a steady stream of new, positive reviews makes sense. Additionally, the fact that more recent reviews pack more powerful social proof with potential customers than older reviews, and you simply must put systems in place to continually gather reviews.
Quantity— Ask yourself: If one dentist has 25 reviews with a 4-star average and the next best has one 5-star review, who are you going to call? Reliability is proven with consistency, particularly where reviews are concerned.
Quality— This one is pretty obvious: The higher your reviews, the better your status will be– within reason. A business with nothing but 5-star ratings can look suspicious but, in general, the more favorable your reviews, the better.
Make Reviews Part of a Comprehensive Reputation Marketing Strategy
While review and reputation building arguably may be the single most important online marketing tactic for local businesses in 2013 and beyond, the most successful businesses won’t stop there. Since reviews are most prominently displayed in conjunction with the hyper-local maps of search engines, they don’t generate many leads outsidePoor Online Reputation Reveiws Image this area.

For the vast majority of businesses serving multiple cities from a single location, reviews should be just one building block in a larger reputation marketing strategy. That strategy should employ SEO to ensure the company’s website ranks near the top in all the cities they serve for their most important buying phrases. The good news is there’s a positive, synergistic relationship between a strong review presence, well-optimized local pages, and an authoritative website.

With the dominance mobile devices display in local purchasing, companies should make sure their websites not only rank highly, but are also mobile-friendly with click-to-call, click-to-map, and other navigable engagement features. You want to remove as much friction as possible between your customer’s need and his ability to contact you.

  1. One Hidden– but Powerful– Benefit of Positive Reviews
    Clearly, your business needs to put a review-gathering, reputation marketing culture, and process in place. The investment you make will return outsized profits from the new customers you’ll attract. There is one other “hidden” benefit that an outstanding online reputation will bring: pricing power.
  2. For years, nearly every business has struggled to defend its price in a world of “me too” competitors. Imagine how easy it will be to respond to “Why should I pay more for your service?” when you can simply reply, “Have you taken a look online to see what our customers say?”.
  3. Companies need to leverage the power a 5-star reputation brings. You’ve worked hard to establish your business and sacrificed plenty along the way. Are you willing to let that hard work get flushed down the drain because of a single disgruntled customer or competitor?

Develop a system to ensure your biggest fans are louder than your biggest enemies; the payoff is worth it.

You learn from an existing customer that your company has some very negative reviews posted online. In Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising study, 70 % of global consumers indicated they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions.

Range— While it might seem as though getting a few positive reviews on Google+ or Yelp is all that’s needed, we advocate a wide-ranging approach to online review management. Additionally, the fact that more recent reviews pack more powerful social proof with potential customers than older reviews, and you simply must put systems in place to continually gather reviews.
For the vast majority of businesses serving multiple cities from a single location, reviews should be just one building block in a larger reputation marketing strategy.

IF you need help or you’re curious about your online reputation, contact us on our website OR call us, we LOVE to chat (412) 374-1558.

By the way, if you’re thinking that since they charge more than $2,500/month on the West Coast for this service that our price would be similar…NOPE! Our service is less than $9/day AND encompasses 4 additional lead generation services that theirs does not!! Cool, huh??

 

Here’s to Your Online Reputation!

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412)n 374-1558

(We actually answer our own phones!)

3 Reasons Wix.com Fails For Business Websites

Hey there Friends!! We saw this article and thought that it would help our readers understand why Wix.com has its place, but for businesses who want traffic, you might want to think otherwise before you invest your time and hopes into a “free” website!! ENJOY!

 

3 REASONS WIX.COM FAILS FOR BUSINESS WEBSITES

By Jessie-Lee Nichols Posted Jul 23, 2014

I have a confession to make. I HATE Wix.com!

As a professional web designer for an inbound marketing agency, I have a personal problem with a product when it sets the expectation that anyone can design and develop a website…for free no less.

Wix.com boasts that all you need to do is choose a template, input some text and then – bam! – you have a website that will get you found online.

Wrong. In so many ways. 

Designing for the web is tough. Not only must you solve various visual problems and adhere to specific client branding, but you have to rise to the challenge of making hundreds of pages, blogs and downloadable pieces of content cohesive and relevant to the user across a plethora of different devices (desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc.).

Despite my less than mild attitude toward this DIY service, there are some concrete reasons that businesses should not rely on website builders like Wix.comm for their website.

1. SEO

A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the most important pieces of any website. It’s one of the first things our clients focus on, before aesthetics and before traffic analytics. The question always comes back to, “How do I rank higher?” SEO is easy to tackle when building a website in a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla,Drupal, or HubSpot. You develop your strategy and you implement it across every page, blog post and portfolio piece. It works and it’s a proven system.

With a Wix.com site, implementing an SEO strategy is nearly impossible. You do not have the ability to download an SEO boosting plugin. Instead, you simply have the on-page SEO that Wix.com offers. Yes, you can get the basics done here, but it doesn’t offer you any Search Enginge previews or any help along the way like one of our favorite SEO plugins, WordPress SEO by Yoast, does. For a tool that caters to beginners, Wix.com is really missing the mark.

Most troubling is the link structure that Wix.com employs. In every single Wix.com site URL, you will notice a # or “hashbang” which is being served through javascript, and in turn is not readable by search engines.

Major fail.

Even worse, if a user has javascript disabled on their browser then the site will not render at all. Wix.com used to be built with Flash technology (which is not compatible with most mobile devices), and while that issue has been corrected, they have opened an entirely new can of worms.

How exactly is a business supposed to get “found online” when the basic structure of the site does not allow for search engine access? If you dive deeper into Wix.com’s page structure, you find that all pages are canonical, or simply tabs of the homepage, and therefore they could never rank on their own.

With Wix.com you can build an attractive (albeit generic) website and it may be easy for you to update, but if your site isn’t search engine compatible, or potentially even viewable, how is it going to work for you?

2. SITE OWNERSHIP

Site ownership is essential for every single website. Every business should own their own web property and they should have a relationship with their web host company. A company website is just as valuable and important for you to understand and maintain as any other business asset.

Wix.com states:

“Wix does not claim any intellectual property rights over the User Submissions. However, under the Wix.comTerms of Use, you grant Wix worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such User Submissions.” 

That is scary. By signing up for Wix.com web services, you are allowing Wix.com to modify your site and your site’s content simply by agreeing to the Terms of Use.

Always have control over your website and your content. Period. End of story! 

3. MOBILE SITES

Mobile sites are the VHSs to today’s DVDs. They will eventually play the same movie, but one has a substantially more sophisticated user experience than the other. Mobile websites were cool and effective before your parents started using Facebook, but now they just don’t make any sense. In their place, responsive websites are not just the new trend, they have officially become the new standard. Having a completely seperate site for mobile users with a completely seperate editor leads to complications like two separate analytics accounts. Ugh.

Modern browsers like Google Chrome can pick up where a browsing experience leaves off on a different device. Having a totally different mobile site from your desktop site provides a user with a lot of inconsistencies and most of the time, irrelevant or unupdated information.

The biggest disadvantage I see with Wix.com in the mobile category is that you have to specify that you would like to build a mobile site and then enter into the separate editor. None of the site templates are responsive. As of 11 hours prior to writing this post, the Wix.com forums are full of posts begging developers for this feature. As the original forum post was written in January of 2013 (and I’m writing this 7 months later), it leads me to believe that there is little hope that this request will be fulfilled.

WHAT IF I AM ALREADY ON WIX.COM?

Already have a website on Wix.com? Don’t worry! You aren’t a total sitting duck. Unfortunately, you don’t have the ability to pick up your site as is and move it to a new hosting company (you don’t own your site, remember?). But, you can have your website professionally designed and implemented on a proven platform like WordPress or HubSpot (our two favorite CMS platforms). In doing so, you can even harness the SEO you have managed to build up on Wix.com by putting in place some 301 redirects.

CAN YOU HELP?

Of course! Simply get in touch with us and we will be happy to provide you with an honest evaluation of your site from a design, functionality and SEO standpoint. All three of these essentials need to be aligned for a successful website and we are more than confident that a switch to a proven CMS platform will drop your anxiety levels down a few notches and get you better business results.

Are you currently using Wix.com? How is it working for you? Let us know in the comments.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website OR by phone at (412) 374-1558!! We would love to help you build your new website or optimize your current structure!

Happy Marketing!

Alex, MPeMG

There’s Digital Space JUST For Restaurants & Event Industries

It’s True: 64 % Of Mobile Restaurant Searchers Convert “Immediately Or Within An Hour”

Restaurants are consistently the top local and mobile search category according to considerable query log data from multiple sources. The Telmetrics-xAd study reinforces this.

Mobile Resataurants SearchThe study found that 95 percent of smartphone users conduct restaurant searches. It also found that 90 percent of these users “convert within the day,” meaning they go out to eat. Perhaps more striking is the fact that 64 percent were found to covert either “immediately” or “within one hour.” This is reminiscent of the 2010 statement by Microsoft-Bing that 70 percent of mobile search users complete a search-related task within an hour vs. one week on the PC.

Tablet and smartphone user behaviors are not the same, however. While that may now be common knowledge, the study documented some specific differences in the restaurants category:

    While 64 percent of smartphone restaurant searchers convert within an hour, just 44 percent of tablet owners do so

  •     In the context of restaurant search most smartphones are used “on the go” (outside the home) while tablets are used primarily in the home.
  •     Tablet users are more likely to look for reviews and menus; smartphone owners are more likely to look for directions or call restaurants
  • As indicated, the top activities among restaurant searchers varied by device. Among smartphone owners the hierarchy of activities was the following:

                 -Call a restaurant

                 –Look up directions

                 –Look up locations near me

  • Tablet owners were much more in “research mode” and were more likely to do the following:

                  –Look at ratings and reviews

                  –Find online coupons and promotions

                  –Research menu / specific food items

The study also discovered that more tablet and smartphone owners used mobile websites more often but considerably more time was spent with mobile apps. Accordingly, 70 percent of total time spent with restaurant content on mobile devices took place in apps. In other words, the mobile web saw greater reach but users were much more engaged with  mobile apps. This is a microcosm of larger mobile user behavior patterns.Yelp - Review Image

One of the more interesting findings — one that is positive for mobile advertisers — is that “3 out of 5” mobile restaurant seekers had no particular place in mind upon embarking on their research. In addition, 75 percent of study participants reported noticing mobile ads. So the capacity for marketers to influence mobile user behavior in this category would appear to be great.

Use of technology

One-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant – and experts anticipate this will continue to grow.

    70% of smartphone users view restaurant menus on their phones at least a few times per year.

    34% of consumers say technology makes them dine out or order takeout or delivery more often.

6 in 10 chefs encourage consumers to take photos of their food and post it on social media – they consider it free advertising.

(To grab your FREE “Power of Online Directories” Cheat Sheet, visit: http://0s4.com/r/JPFCZV)

Restaurants are the most searched for local topic and the most popular industry to search for on mobile devices, with more than 80 percent of searchers looking for places to eat either on a mobile web browser or mobile app. In order to drive visibility through search results and drive sales, local and mobile optimization is a must for any restaurant.

                                                  Conclusion

Mobile Review ImageLocal and mobile consumers actively search out review and menu information before making a purchasing decision. Restaurants that make this information available to search engines like Yahoo! and Google to prominently display to searchers will be at an advantage compared to local competitors. For restaurants, dominating local and mobile search is about proving the information searchers want as easily and quickly as possible. Google and Yahoo! are helping restaurants do that, but restaurants need to be proactive in disseminating information, making it available to search engines, and eventually local searchers.

To Higher Profits in the New Year!

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 215-3650

We Answer Our Phones!

No More Humbug Sales

Slow Holiday SalesWith the Thanksgiving weekend behind them and the big final rush of holiday shopping still to come, independent retailers & service providers have to get creative to bring customers in during the slowest part of the season.

The Shirt Box, a men’s clothing store in Farmington Hills, Michigan, is holding events like bourbon tastings and giving lessons on tying bow ties on weekends. The retailer also uses giveaways– co-owner Rod Brown is planning to offer free cufflinks when shoppers buy shirts with French cuffs, or scarves if they buy outerwear.

Brown tries to be innovative to get his customers to shop at his store on slower days.

“It’s make or break time for the independent retailers,” Brown says.

Small and independent stores usually can’t offer deep discounts like the national chain stores because the smaller players don’t have the big sales volume that would allow them to absorb thinner margins from the come-ons. They can offer customers something most of the large stores like discounters and big-box retailers can’t: a warmer, more emotional shopping experience.Slow sales for retailers

“A lot of the independent and smaller retailers actually have an advantage if they really leverage their strengths,” says Randy Allen, a lecturer in management at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Many smaller retailers are well acquainted with their regular customers, which gives them the ability to create a more personal atmosphere, Allen says. Those who serve shoppers mulled cider or other seasonal drinks or use cinnamon-scented candles give their stores a holiday feel. That get customers in the mood to spend, Allen says.

Smaller stores that provide gift boxes and free gift wrap, saving their customers time and money, are also going to get more business.

“That personal touch can make a big difference,” Allen says.

Batch Nashville, which sells food, clothing and other products made in the South, is getting through the slow time with Breakfast with Santa, extended shopping hours one evening and weekend tasting events that let customer sample different products. The Nashville, Tennessee-based company, which also has a big online business, is promoting in-store-only special items via email and social media, CEO Sam Davidson says.

“We’re making them feel like this is an experience item,” Davidson says.

Events like these were so successful last year that Davidson anticipates Batch Nashville won’t need to discount merchandise to draw shoppers later in the season. Because the special events are bringing shoppers in, he’s also optimistic that higher-priced items like leather goods and jewelry that it stocked for the holidays will sell well. The company also lures shoppers with services like free gift wrap and packing and shipping gift boxes.Slower Sales Period Sales

Rastelli Market Fresh, which operates food stores and caterers in Deptford and Marlton, New Jersey, has a lull in business between Thanksgiving and the last 10 days of the season, spokeswoman Andrea Carr says.

“You have to calibrate and calculate for that,” she says.

If customers know prices will be going up, they have a sense of urgency that encourages them to buy, Carr says. It also has product tastings and offers entertaining tips like how to pair wine with holiday dishes– motivating customers to do their shopping before the final days of the season.

Many smaller retailers are well acquainted with their regular customers, which gives them the ability to create a more personal atmosphere, Allen says. That get customers in the mood to spend, Allen says.

If customers know prices will be going up, they have a sense of urgency that encourages them to buy, Carr says. It also has product tastings and offers entertaining tips like how to pair wine with holiday dishes– motivating customers to do their shopping before the final days of the season.

Happy Holidays,

Alex, MPeMG