Content Marketing For The Modern Age

Having an online presence is becoming more and more important for businesses of all types. A website and social media profiles give your customers a convenient way to find out more information about who you are and what you do.

These can also be a fantastic way to get the word out about your business, spread your message, and show off what you have to offer. While having a great looking website is essential, it's also necessary to have the information that people are looking for available in a format that's easy to find and understand. You can use content marketing to help you create fantastic and effective content for your website, and draw in traffic to your site. Read on to learn more about what content marketing is and how it can work for your business.

Topics: Content marketing Marketing POV

The Basics of Building an Effective Google My Business Listing

Google My Business, sometimes called Google Business or GMB for short, is the number one most important facet of any local business digital marketing campaign. Sure, you've got killer content, a growing social media community, and a beautiful web page, but can people find you?

Putting Your Business On the (Google) Map

With the Nexus line of mobile devices taking the lead and Google products casting an even wider net than their mobile operating system, it should be no surprise to discover that Google Maps is the number one mobile navigation app on the market. Even people with iPads, Surfaces, and Kindle Fires are downloading Google Maps in lieu of the native navigation apps that come with their devices.

Part of the reason for this that Google Maps is well designed and continues to get better with stealth updates, but the true driving force of the app is that it is connected to Google's extensive information network. Among the most important is Google My Business which literally puts your business on the map and makes it an available, searchable venue for people who are already on the road or preparing to depart who want something to eat, buy, or do. This is your golden opportunity to get the best possible inbound marketing, the kind that kets customers inbound through your door.

However, top businesses listed in Google My Business aren't at the top by accident. They worked at it, they built their listing, cultivate their reviews, and make sure that potential customers can see what they are coming for. The key to any great GMB business listing, the kind that will entice drivers toward your venue, is transparency. The more positive, informative, and easy to understand your listing is, the easier it will be for future customers to think "I want to go there". Let's look into the basic ways to optimize your GMB listing.

Claim Your Business

First and foremost, if you haven't already claimed your business on Google, do it now. This is the process of acknowledging and proving that a business already on the map belongs to you. Why might your business be listed without your action, you ask? Many people online are incredibly helpful and while not all businesses wind up on GMB without any effort, a lot of them do simply because someone noticed the shop and entered it into the map as existing. Some people even do this to leave their first review of your venue.

Become the official owner of your business and prepare to manage the listing.

Make Sure the Address is Accurate

The next step is to triple-check everything about your address including your ability to see the venue from the street-view map to be absolutely certain that the marker is in the right place. This is vital because where GMB thinks your business is, including the correct side of the road, is where Google Maps will lead drivers as they take turn-by-turn instructions to pull into your parking lot.

If that little marker is even 50 feet off the mark, your potential customers could wind up lost, confused, and frustrated. Even if they hunt around and find your venue after a moment, their mood will not be nearly as positive as it might have been. All it takes to bring in smiling relaxed new customers is to ensure your position on the map is exactly correct. We advice setting the marker at your parking lot entrance so a customer's navigation journey is officially complete when they pull into the correct driveway.

Include Your Hours

No one likes to research a place, get excited, and drive out only to find a 'Closed' sign hanging in the door. This is a waste of customer time and you know as well as we do that this creates a sour association with the venue even if you are always closed on that day of the week or by a certain time. Of course, keeping your hours on the door isn't enough anymore. The courteous and smart way to prevent any mix-up of this type is to also include your hours clearly on your Google Business listing.

There will be a special data field where you can enter your hours for every day of the week which will allow Google to sort venues for customers and only list the ones that are open, or to clearly indicate the ones that are not. This simple step can earn you many new customers who are searching for an opportunistic stop that is open 'right now'.

Fill In the Details

Now that you've got the basics covered, write a few entertaining and informative details about your venue in the rest of the data fields and bio section. Don't forget to include a full set of contact information including your website, phone number, support email address, and a link to your online ordering site if it is separate from your central website. You may also want to include links to social media or other major reviewing platforms to help give any future browsing customers the big picture.

Be detailed, friendly, and welcoming in the way you write your information and maintain the same voice throughout the listing and your interactions with commenters.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures 

Never go without pictures. Even if your venue wasn't designed for artistic value, customers want to know what they're getting into. A clear set of pictures can show them the difference between a real venue and a hole in the wall someone jokingly listed as a business. Take pictures of the front of the building, wide-angle shots of the layout, and detailed shots of whatever it is you offer. 

Every GMB listing is made better with pictures and these give future customers a vivid idea of what they can expect from your venue. If you have colorful shelves full of tidy products, that's a good sign that you also run a tight ship with good customer service. If you're a restaurant, post pictures of your tastiest dishes and encourage reviewers to do the same. If you're an entertainment venue, take pictures of the attractions.

Reply to Reviews and Questions 

Reviews are another incredibly important part of any modern business, not just local ones. However, if you want feet through the door, your ideal goal is an avalanche of positive reviews to reassure future customers that a good experience is guaranteed. To boost both your number of reviews and their impact, always respond to every review with something positive, grateful, and helpful. Thank positive reviews for their kind words and invite them back and respond to negative reviews with genuine sympathy and an attempt to make whatever their bad experience was right.

Finally, don't forget that Google My Business has recently added a new category of customer feedback for questions but they do not send an email to the account manager when a question has been asked. So check back in at least once a day to reply to comments and provide answers to GMB askers.

Google My Business is a vital part of any small business marketing plan, especially if your goal is to see more feet come through that front door. The best part? Google My Business is a free service because Google wants to serve your data to users. For more tips, tricks, and techniques to optimize your local SEO reach and results, contact us today!

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Topics: digital marketing marketing results Marketing POV

5 Simple Steps to Align Your Business and Marketing KPIs

When you start to really consider it, it's really not rocket science. We tend to treat marketing as a separate entity from most other business processes. It's the promotional side of the house, tasked with pushing a message that gets you customers. And yet, that relative isolation can mean death to an effective marketing strategy.

Sure, we could tell you about the various digital marketing strategies bound to help your business succeed. In fact, we've done just that on this blog. And we wouldn't be lying, either. Social media, content marketing, and effective lead nurturing can do wonders for your customer acquisition. But even then, they still need to connect to your larger business goals. If they don't, you might as well pack it up and go home.

Consider the importance of a potential connection. Even at its simplest, a social media ad that links to your website means little. It might generate some awareness, and even some leads. But it will not ultimately lead to new business and loyal customers if your overall message, product, and priorities don't all line up together.

That alignment, in turn, requires a close cooperation and integration of goals. That sounds complicated. It doesn't have to be. In fact, these 5 simple steps can help you align your marketing and business KPIs to achieve sustainable business success.

1) Find the Connections Between Business and Marketing

First things first: you have to get on the same page. In this context, that means making sure everyone in marketing is aware of, and embraces, the larger business priorities.

That step might be as simple as internalizing the mission and vision statement. But it also pays to get more specific than that. Which of your marketing efforts can be directly connected to the larger strategic plan of your business? Which aspects of that strategic plan should be, but are not covered from a marketing standpoint?

Each of these questions will be crucial to answer. The more closely you can relate your marketing priorities to those of the organization as a whole, the better. Consider your marketing plan the sub-plot of the movie that describes the journey of your business.

2) Leverage Integrated Analytics for Comprehensive Success

At their best, analytics are more than just a buzzword that helps you determine the reach and engagement of your social media strategy. They're the tools you can use to track progress in business growth and marketing success, ultimately aligning them in the process.

Closely review your business and marketing KPIs, and you might find something surprising: they're not always that different. Consider this article by the Harvard Business Review, which lists true measures of success for organizations across industries. Surprise: the process of finding them is exactly the same for both marketing and business leadership.

If the goals are the same, are you making sure the ways you are measuring them are as well? Integrated analytics are as much about the systems you use to track them as the KPIs themselves. Look for a solution that gives leadership across the organization insight into your progress toward goal, both in marketing and business as a whole.

3) Get Everyone Talking

No shocker here. For true alignment, marketing has to be integrated into the larger organizational conversation, both on a strategic level and on the execution side. That might seem obvious, but still requires significant collaboration on all sides.

Don't be confused by headlines at publications like Forbes, proclaiming collaborative marketing to the "the next big thing." It always has been that big. It's just that now, as marketing is incurring greater responsibility across the business, that collaboration has begun to enter the spotlight in a way that wasn't the case previously.

What does that look like in real life? For starters, regular check-ins between marketing and business leaderships make sense. These check-ins could also expand to related departments like sales. The key here is not to bang the drum of your promotional tactics, but to ensure that these tactics are aligned with efforts occurring across the organization.

4) Conduct Periodic Reviews of Alignment

Setting up the framework for successful alignment is not enough. In addition, you should also set up a mechanism that allows you to periodically review how well that alignment is actually working in practice. 

What those reviews look like depend on your organizational structure. You might hold regular presentations in which you show your progress toward organizational and marketing goals. It might occur in electronic forms, through dashboards and email communications. Either way, information sharing will be the core underlying principle of this step.

Let's be honest for a second here: no one particularly likes reviews. But that doesn't make them any less important. Simply put, communication is the key to ensuring successful alignment not just of data metrics, but organizational priorities and qualitative efforts. The more structured that communication, the more likely you will be to stick to it over time.

5) Work With a Partner Who Agrees With Your Marketing POV

Finally, don't underestimate the power of a potential partnership. Aligning your marketing and business KPIs might sound easy in theory, especially considering the natural fit of the above steps. Often, though, it is not.

All of the above require a comprehensive strategy. They require clear statements of priorities, and analytics that can clearly outline and track progress toward these priorities. They also require significant credibility on behalf of marketing from experts who know about its importance to the success of the business as a whole.

The right partner can help to provide all of that. Not just that, they can act as consultants that ultimately improve not just marketing, but business operations as a whole. That's the nature of true alignment.

We can be that partner for you. In fact, BOLD Worldwide has partnered with countless businesses on a sustainable marketing strategy that doesn't just seek to achieve its own KPIs, but expands those efforts to the entire business. Contact us to learn more about our process, and start the conversation to partner with us today.

Topics: marketing strategies marketing analytics marketing results Marketing POV