The importance of responding to customers online could not be more prevalent as reviews continue to grow more than ever before. Aside from the fact that reviews from customers help others decide whether they should visit a business or not, reviews are now more prevalent on search results pages—meaning a lot of eyes can see what is being said about your company online.
The influence that reviews have on shoppers is staggering: more than 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions (Webrepublic, 2015). Businesses are told to get more reviews on review websites to keep attracting new customers. With so many review websites out there, where does a business even begin? Your business may be afraid to manage customer reviews on review sites as you may not want to end up in one of these situations:
receive zero reviews
receive zero recent online reviews
receive negative online reviews
or, your business simply has unmanaged online reviews across multiple review websites
Unfortunately, your business is missing out. This lack of free online word of mouth is actually hurting your business through inaction, because reputation drives conversion.
1) Business reviews and social posts help shape your company’s online reputation
In fact, one of the worst things your business can do is ignore your online reviews and social posts. As easy as it is to make a mistake when handling your business’s online reputation, it can also be easy to recover if done properly (and with apology). While damage will inevitably happen, your business can take steps to mitigate the degree of damage that can occur. The biggest mistake of all your company can make is not participating in helping to shape the conversation about your company online.
2) Business reviews provide valuable feedback for your business
While it can be easy for your business to take negative comments to heart, it is important to recognize that reviews are constructive feedback. All in all, reviews are valuable feedback! They help your company gauge their performance and see how you can improve. There is always room for improvement and a lot can be learned even from positive business reviews. Through reviews, your business can see which products or services you should be boasting, which needs work, and even discover which employees rock at customer service.
3) Your business reviews can now appear in search results
Search engines have caught on to the popularity of reviews and are now displaying them more prominently. So, if someone searches for your business, there is a chance that reviews from review websites could be displayed on the search engine results pages. In Google’s markup—the annotated content that appears in search—of a company or product, business reviews and ratings can now be included in search results. In other words, when a user performs a search on Google, Google will find and possibly display review summaries from online business reviews and consumer ratings. Below is an example of how business reviews now showing up in search results.
How can businesses get more reviews?
There are a variety of methods your business can employ to ask for more business reviews, including emailing consumers manually, using surveys, asking consumers to leave reviews with codes and review sites on their receipts, or utilizing review generation software to automate the business review process.
Three important review website management tips:
1) Remember to add or claim listings on the top review sites
It’s a good idea to add or claim a listing or business profile on the most popular review sites (unless your business doesn’t fit with the niche), correct your business’s listing information and start getting more business reviews!
2) Your business should keep asking customers for reviews
Asking the average customer for a review can be hard work. Granted, it is often easiest to get reviews from consumers that are either really happy or really unhappy with the level of service they were provided. Your business should always remember to ask as customers are busy creatures and will not remember unless they are asked or reminded to leave feedback.
3) Customers are more open to leaving reviews on review sites
Why not just ask for business reviews or testimonials on your business’s website? Well, asking consumers to leave a review on your business’s website seems a lot more screened and inauthentic than simply asking consumers to leave reviews on a trusted review site. Since the review site is a third party, it feels more open for customers to leave an honest, unbiased review.
Business reviews are here to stay
In conclusion, there’s no getting away from business reviews. The good news is that there are methods to get more business reviews as well as effectively managing reviews from customers. Also, businesses needn’t fear negative online reviews, as there are ways to negate the effect of negative reviews.
A strong social media presence is one of the best ways to be heard, and businesses are no exception to this rule. Forget the doorstep; there’s a whole world of potential customers and fans at your fingertips who are actively looking for brands that they can identify and engage with on a personal level. However, social media skills have to be learned, and many businesses struggle to find an audience and connect with them online. If yours is one of them, what can you do to make the best use of social media and all its benefits? How can you create content that gets people to stop scrolling and start reading, liking and sharing?
These 7 social media strategies will help your business build a presence and a following in the most crowded rooms online by creating content that entertains, educates, inspires and engages.
1. Make a plan
Before you rethink your entire social strategy, ask the tough questions. What are your goals as a business, and how will a strong social media presence help you to achieve them? What actions are you going to take to build presence, and how will you measure your success? Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals, and put a time-frame on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right KPIs and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to change your tactics if something isn’t working.
And remember: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If you’ve done something in the past that worked well, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you go forward. Similarly, look to past failures and learn from them: how have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?
With a roadmap to social success in place, your business can begin to make guided changes to its social strategy that work toward definite goals.
2. Know your audience
There are so many eyes and ears out there on the web, but do you know who is going to listen to your brand’s voice? Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer. What interests them? What are they passionate about? What do they read, watch, and talk about with their friends? What are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them? The better an understanding you have of your ideal customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.
Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular. Find the keywords and phrases in these conversations, learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak – to walk the walk, your business needs to talk the talk.
Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.
3. Tell your story
Just like every person, every business has a story; no two are alike. Use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business that shows how it got to where it is today. Invite your audience to think about where they enter into that narrative: how are your followers involved and invested in your success? How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?
One way to nail a narrative is to find your niche and own it. If your service or product fits into a certain lifestyle, build a story around it, and highlight your place in it. You know the unique value of your business – tell the world about it, and appeal to an audience that will benefit from it.
4. Get conversational
Social media is a two-way street, and driving engagement with your brand means taking hold of the reins and engaging with your audience. Make your business part of the conversation online by asking and answering questions, making friends, and following back. Things don’t always have to be about sales: sharing holiday greetings, discussing local events, and starting a dialogue about current news stories are all ways a business can drive engagement from their audience and learn more about their demographic.
Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. If you see someone doing something cool with your product or sharing a success story, like it, retweet it, or give a shout out! When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.
5. Go live!
Facebook Live has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and can join at any time to watch you broadcast the things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone, or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans! Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works, or simply broadcast a day in the life of an employee. When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal, and eager to see more!
6. Call to action
Make your statements short and sweet, and provide a way for your audience to follow up and learn more. Succinctness is a virtue and brevity is the soul of wit, especially in the fast-paced world of social media, and many social media platforms have embraced this philosophy to the point of integrating it into the very nature of user interaction. Twitter’s 140-character limit is an obvious example, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that inspire interest and are digested at a glance. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for an email newsletter, or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content that hooked them!
7. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…
Finally, always be improving. Don’t focus on a single successful formula and stick to it. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, new conversations, and new mediums to get your message out there – but be scientific about it. Keep your eyes on the KPIs, put your strategies to the test by comparing their results, and learn from your failures as well as your successes to evolve along with your audience and your social media networks as they grow.
To wrap things up
The world of social media is constantly evolving, and with these tactics your business will find its place in the world beyond a brick and mortar shop or a domain name. Take stock of how far you’ve come, and set clear and measurable objectives that correspond to your business goals. Get to know your audience, tell them your story, and get involved by listening to what they have to say. Go live, give your followers a taste of what you have to offer, and provide the means for them to learn more about what you can do for them. Always pay attention to what works, learn from what doesn’t, and test out new ideas to keep improving your reach. Most importantly, remember the point of social media: to connect people! Use your social media channels as a platform to connect to and grow your audience, not just as a megaphone to talk at them. Now get out there and give the people something to talk about!
From startups and small businesses to huge brands, every business can benefit from an e-commerce website, where they can sell their products or services. In today’s competitive and convenience focused society, no longer do consumers want to go out to buy items, instead, consumers want to shop from the comfort of their own homes, making e-commerce a perfect solution for both businesses and buyers.
But while setting up an online store might seem complicated and time-consuming, it’s actually not too difficult.
Getting your business up and selling is possible with Website Express. This powerful product allows you to quickly and easily create a website and online store powered by WordPress and WooCommerce. To make the transition to e-commerce seamless, we also have a visual builder within every Website Express account. This allows you to design and create beautiful websites without having to write a single line of code.
What you’ll need to get started:
A Website Express account
Products or services to sell
30-60 minutes to set up and add products to your online store
Before you begin
Before you jump into Website Express and start building your store, consider the following:
Understand your inventory situation. What kinds of products do you sell? How are they typically sold?
How are you wanting to sell? Local delivery? Pick-up only?While shipping is possible using Website Express, it will cost money. Initially, it may be best to start out with local delivery and pick-up.
Set aside some inventory for online-only selling.Managing inventory with multiple selling platforms can be tricky at first, so it’s best to make it as simple as possible and develop a personalized system as you go along.
It may be best to start with about five products or services. Putting your entire inventory into your ecommerce store at once could be overwhelming, and managing the listings, sales, and fulfillment can feel like a lot for an online newbie as well.
Once you’ve chosen the products or services you want to focus on, find or generate pictures, pricing, and a description for each. Note any important attributes or variations in your products (e.g., dimensions, various sizes, colors).
Let’s start building your ecommerce website!
Setting up your website
Enter the Website Express product by clicking on the ‘Website’ tab in the left navigation menu.
You will be directed to confirm your site name, tagline, and set your subdomain. This is the URL that users will type in to find your site.
Now it’s time to choose your template. The three at the top are the Dark, Light, and Blank options. These templates DO NOT have an easy commerce solution and may require more advanced coding. Select one of the options that are [Vertical] – With Divi and WooCommerce to ensure your site has the proper functionality.
Preview and compare several different templates. Once you have chosen a template, you cannot change it.
Once you select a template sit back and relax while your new website spins up. This process may take 3 to 5 minutes to load.
You will arrive at your website’s dashboard. Your stats will be at zero at the moment, this is the place you can return in the future to see how well your website is performing.
On the left-hand side, there will be a button “Edit My Site”. Click it to start editing the front end, or content of your website.
It’s time to customize your site! Let’s start with text elements. Click on the text box you’d like to edit and start making changes.
Alternatively, when you hover over an element, a small dark toolbar will appear. Click on the gear icon to pull up a window that provides more options for editing and customization. Click on the window’s green checkmark to save changes.
This same process also works with any buttons on the page. However, as buttons have more options, you’ll need to pull up the editing modal to further customize it. You can do this by double-clicking the button, or pulling it up through the tab bar in the same way that you did with the text boxes.
Now it’s time for images! Many templates will have a large picture set as the background or banner across the top. To change the image, simply hover over it (while not interfering with text or other elements) and double-click. An editing modal should pop up. Click on the “Background” headline. Your current background image should be showing. Click the garbage can icon to delete the placeholder image and then click on the “Add image” icon that appears. You can either drag the image from a file on your computer or click to browse your files for the image you prefer.
To edit other images on the site, simply double-click the image and replace it with your own.
Adding and removing elements on your website
If there are any elements (text blocks, images, etc.) that you don’t want on your website, simply hover over the element and select the trash can icon.
If you want to add elements to your page, either:
Hover over the area you’d like to add an element and click the grey “+”,
Hover over the element above the spot you’d like your new element to be placed, and look for a green “+”. You may have to actually click on the element above for it to appear.
This will bring up an “add row” selector with different options as to the number of columns in your new element. Perhaps you would like three blocks of text side-by-side? Choose the row with three columns. Maybe a wide picture on the right and a narrow text box on the left? Choose the row that shows the corresponding spacing. Just want something to go straight across your entire page? Simply choose the first option available, the one with a single column.
Another window should pop up now with several different element options. Search for the Image option to add a picture, the Text option for adding text, or browse to see what other options are available.
Saving your work and moving on to edit another page
Once you’re happy with how your website looks, or every so often along the way, you’ll want to save your progress. Look for the purple icon with three dots at the bottom of your page and click it. The icon should multiply and you’ll now have several purple icons. You’ll also have a green “Save” button in the bottom right corner. Click it to save your changes.
To move to another page to edit, click “Exit Visual Builder” at the top of your page. Once you’ve done so, you’ll see your page exactly as your customers will see it. To edit another page, navigate to that page and then re-enable the visual builder using the button at the top of the screen.
Changing the logo and contact information on your website
To change the logo and contact information on the website you will need to navigate to the WordPress dashboard. To do this, click the name of your business in the top left corner of the screen. Once in your WordPress dashboard, in the left navigation bar click the Divi tab.
You are now on the general settings tab. The top row is where you change the logo. Click the “Upload” button.
Once you’ve uploaded your logo, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click the green “Save changes” button.
Next, we’ll plug in your business’ contact information. Back in the left navigation. You may notice that the Divi Builder tab has extended to include several sub-headings. Click on “Theme Customizer”.
This should bring up a new page with a different left-hand navigation. Click on “Header and Navigation”, and then “Header Elements”. The navigation bar should now contain two text bars for you to plug in your business’s information.
Click the blue “Publish” button at the top of the page to save your changes to your webpage.
Setting up your online store
To begin building out your store, you’ll need to navigate to your WordPress dashboard. Once on the WordPress dashboard hover over the WooCommerce tab in the left navigation and click Settings.
Once on this page, look to the top right corner. You should see a tab with the heading, “Help” and a downward arrow. Click on it.
An entirely new menu should pop down. Looking at the top left side, you should see four different tabs. Click on the Setup Wizard tab, then the blue Setup Wizard button. Follow all the steps and fill in all forms (as applicable).
Now it’s time to add products into your online store! Back on the left side navigation bar of your WordPress Dashboard, you should see the tab, “Products”. Click it.
You will see a couple of placeholder products already in your store. You can either edit one of these, or you can start from scratch to add your own products to the store by clicking the “Add New” at the top of the page.
To use the template, simply double-click the product name and replace the existing text with your own. By scrolling down you will see a space for you to input the price of your product, as well as the number of items in your inventory, and a place to add any attributes.
You will also be able to replace the image by clicking the “Product Image” on the lower right side. Click on the image to replace it with your own. If you’d like to add additional images, look just underneath to the “Product Gallery” and click on “Add product gallery images”.
Setting up payments for your online store
To set up the ability to take payments, hover over the WooCommerce tab in the left navigation and click “Settings”.
Click the “Payments” tab.
There will be a number of options available to you. All are turned off unless you enable them, which you can do by clicking on the toggle. It should turn purple once activated. Next, click the “Setup” button to the right of the option you just chose, and it will take you to a page of information to fill out to fully setup the process.
If you would like to use a different payment processor (ex. Stripe), WooCommerce has a variety of additional plugins for this. To add it, hover over the Plugin tab on the left navigation bar, then click “Add New”. Once on that page, look for the “Search Plugins” text box and search for “WooCommerce Stripe”. Once it appears, simply click “Add” and “Enable”. Then return to the payments tab from previous to set it up.
Have you heard that improving your SEO will help you get found online more easily? You’ve probably heard that implementing keywords into the content on your website, blog, and URL are key strategies for improving your SEO ranking. However, including the wrong keywords or too many keywords can be just as detrimental.
Although you may not always notice them, keywords play an integral role when it comes to helping a small business get found online. So let’s get to it by breaking down the long and short (tail) of it.
Do Your Own Keyword Research
Keyword research should never be a one-time commitment, but rather an ever-changing process that involves a strategy and a comprehensive understanding of your business and your industry. Including keywords that are specific to your business and industry will help to ensure that the right customers are being driven to your door rather than just any customer. Although we want to increase our customer base, we don’t want to target consumers that may not find the value in our business.
Using the Right Keywords
Short-tail keywords, or keywords composed of very generic keywords, might seem appealing because they’re searched more often than long-tail keywords, however, they’re also a lot more competitive. So, unless you’re writing content for a large organization, like Apple or Macy’s, and consumers are likely searching specifically for your product, you don’t want to enter into a sea of competitors with big brands that have even bigger pockets.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, may not be as frequently typed into a search engine—think, “Egg” vs. “Poached Egg with Avocado and Bechemel”. By including more long-tail keywords into the content on your page, you’ll attract a larger number of customers who are likely to search for any combination of those long-tail keywords.
Location-based keywords are keywords that directly relate to your business’s physical location. For example, if your business is a bakery in a popular neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, you’ll want to include not only Charlotte, but also the name of that specific neighborhood. By doing so, you’re more likely to target visitors in your area rather than across town who may or may not ever make it to your location.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Speaking of misleading customers that may not find value in your business, adding practically any keyword under the sun is referred to as keyword stuffing and is largely considered a taboo in the digital marketing world. Like with any other digital marketing rule of thumb, less is more and quality will always conquer quantity. Ideally, a website’s content should include keywords in a natural way. However, by inputting keywords into a few sentences and repeating them over and over, you’re stuffing your content with keywords. Even if they’re good keywords, it’s still too much.
Now that you’ve read through these tips, you’re ready to become an SEO expert too!
Have you ever noticed that some website URLs start with HTTP while others start with HTTPS? Maybe you’ve noticed a tiny lock icon in the top left corner of your browser? What exactly does it all mean?
Websites that are HTTPS have an SSL certificate.
SS-what? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a secure protocol developed for sending sensitive information over the internet. If a website you are on has an SSL certificate, it means that the site is secure and encrypted. Any data you enter is safely shared with that website and that website only.
Let’s talk technical for a second. How does SSL actually prevent information theft?
When you start to break down what SSL is, you’ll discover it’s asymmetric (or public-key) encryption. This requires each party to generate a public and private key pair. Imagine a padlock on a gate. Anyone can go up to the lock, inspect it, and even try to open it with their key. However, only the right key can actually unlock it. In this example, the padlock is a public key, they are visible to the general public. Private keys are exactly that, private. These private keys are used to unlock public keys.
When you fill out a form on a website without an SSL certificate, the information can be intercepted by a hacker. This site would be classified as not secure.
The information you submitted could be anything from a banking transaction to your credit card information. A hacker could intercept your information in a number of ways, one of the most common is when a hacker places a small, undetected listening program on the server that is hosting a website. That program ‘wakes up’ when a website visitor starts typing their information. This listening program will begin capturing the information and send it back to the hacker.
When you visit a website that has an SSL certificate, your browser will form a connection with the web server and bind to it. This connection is secure so that no one besides you and the website where you’re submitting your information can see or access it.
This connection happens instantly. There is no manual work required. You simply need to visit a website with an SSL certificate and your connection will automatically be secured.
Why is SSL so important?
You might be thinking, I’m not accepting sensitive information through my website! Regardless of if you are in the business of accepting delicate information or not, having an SSL certificate is still incredibly important.
SSL and SEO
In 2014, Google made adjustments to its ever-changing algorithm for SEO rankings. The major change? Websites using SSL certificates. Google began and still continues to flag sites without SSL certificates as untrustworthy.
Sites with an SSL certificate receive an SEO boost and will be the default result for searchers. If you want to be findable on Google, having an SSL certificate on your website is absolutely necessary.
SSL and online payments
If you are conducting online transactions through your website, it is imperative that you have an SSL certificate. As an online shop, it’s your primary responsibility to ensure that the information being exchanged over your online store is protected.
How do you prove to your customers that their usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers are not being revealed to malicious hackers? Having an SSL certificate!
SSL and consumer trust
Did you know that Google Chrome is the most popular web browser? 44.5% of internet users search the internet using it. On the Chrome browser, you are able to easily spot a site with an SSL certificate. Next to the URL is a tiny lock icon. If a site has an SSL certificate it shows it locked, however, if a site does not have an SSL certificate the lock will be open and red text will read ‘Not Secure’. The second a customer lands on a website that is labeled ‘not secure’, they are going to feel less comfortable browsing it, even if there is no sensitive information being passed across it. SSL certificates have become an absolute necessity for any business that wants to be perceived as trustworthy.
There’s no denying the confidence and trust that an SSL certificate can provide to a site. Choosing an SSL certificate to secure a website demonstrates that a business values customer trust, which is essential to financial success, customer conversion, and business growth.
Selling your products and services online rather than in-store means that you need a website with the capability to handle an online store. But while setting up an online store might seem complicated and time-consuming, it’s actually not as difficult as it seems!
Where possible, many businesses are moving some–or all–of their products and services online. Have you been investigating transitioning some of your business’ sales and operations to ecommerce?
To get started, all you need is a website that’s powered by WordPress—we’ll show you how to do the rest using WooCommerce, a free and open source plugin that allows you to easily set up a functioning web store, complete with payment and shipping options, in minutes.
What you’ll need to get started
A website powered by WordPress
Products or services to sell
30-60 minutes to set up and add products to your online store
Set up and install WooCommerce
Step 1: Find and install the WooCommerce plugin
First, you’ll need to install WooCommerce on your WordPress website. You can download it for free from the WordPress repository, or you can install it directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for “woocommerce”, and click Install Now on the WooCommerce plugin (Note that the correct plugin’s author will be listed as Automattic). Wait a moment for the plugin to install, and then click Activate.
The plugin will now be active on your WordPress site.
Step 2: Follow the Setup Wizard
After installing WooCommerce, you’ll have access to the WooCommerce Setup Wizard to configure your store’s key settings like location information, payment and shipping methods, and types of products that you’ll be selling. Note that everything you choose in the setup wizard can be changed later on in your WooCommerce settings.
You’ll first enter information about your store’s address, the currency you accept, and whether you’ll be selling digital or physical products (or both).
Step 3: Choose your payment processing methods
Next, you’ll choose which payments you’ll accept using your online store. By default, you can use Stripe and/or PayPal, but you can also choose to accept offline payments like checks and cash.
Select the options you’d like to use, and WooCommerce will set them up for you. Extensions that allow you to use more payment processing methods are available, if necessary.
Step 4: Choose a shipping method
You can also configure how customers will be charged for shipping. You can set one rate for your specific business area, as well as other rates for customers outside of your business’ area.
Step 5: Choose optional add-ons
Once you’ve configured the basic settings for your online WooCommerce store, you can review optional add-ons. None of these add-ons are necessary to run your store, but some, such as Storefront, can simplify certain aspects of setting up your store.
Step 6: Finish setup
Before completing the setup process, you can choose to enable Jetpack, which is another WordPress plugin with additional features that can help in setting up and running your store. This plugin is not required, however WooCommerce recommends that if you’re in the U.S., you’ll want to enable Jetpack given recent legal changes.
Once you’ve completed the steps above, your store will now be ready for use, and you can begin adding your products to it.
Managing your WooCommerce store
After installing WooCommerce, two new tabs will be available on your dashboard’s side menu: WooCommerce–which contains your store settings, and Products, containing your product settings.
Follow the link at the end of the Setup Wizard or go to Products > Add New to begin adding products to your store.
WooCommerce has extensive documentation and tutorials on how to set up, manage, and operate your store. Here are some handy links for how to add products, sell and ship them, manage orders, and more:
We are happy to bring SEO reporting to your Executive Report through Google Search Console! In this article, you will learn why SEO is relevant to your business, what Google Search Console is, and why it’s important to connect your Google Search Console Account to your Executive Report.
You work hard to be found by your customers online. Right now, you can see your performance pay off in several individual areas, whether it be managing your reviews, listings, social media, or advertising, which is of utmost importance. With Google Search Console reporting, you can also see how all these efforts come together to improve your overall Search Engine Optimization performance. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. For a business to appear in top organic search results, you need to have a strong SEO strategy. Many components make up your website’s SEO – the number of reviews you have and your star rating, how many listings are correct and consistent across the web, how active you are on social, website speed and security, mobile responsiveness, and more.
What is Google Search Console in the Executive Report?
Google Search Console is a tool that Google provides at no charge to website owners, to measure a website’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results.
Among its many features, one is the ability to see detailed analytics about organic ‘SERP’ (Search engine rank position) of a website, what search queries (keywords) are being typed into Google, and what pages are appearing the most via organic search. Our integration brings these features into the Business App Executive Report.
With the Google Search Console section in your Executive Report, you get metrics on your website’s SEO performance. This provides proof that all the work and resources you are putting towards being found by your customers is resulting in your business’s website appearing more often right where your customers are searching: On Google.
By connecting Google Search Console to Business App, you can see detailed automatic proof-of-performance analytics on searches happening on Google:
how many queries their website appears on page one of Google
how many clicks their website is getting
how many impressions their website is getting
which queries are getting the most clicks, and their avg. position in search results
which website pages are getting the most clicks and impressions
With this powerful no-cost feature, you can see how all the hard work you do on your business’s marketing (website content, blog, listings, reviews, social media, etc) is resulting in real-world improvements in your SEO – and helping you get more customers!
Connect now, or read on to learn more.
Understanding the importance of Google Search Results
Google search results have three primary forms of results. The first is paid media, such as Google Ads. The advertiser is paying to be at or very near the top of Google search results. The searcher knows what results are paid ads, as seen in the screenshot below.
The second section in Google Search Engine results is the local pack. This comes from owned and earned media. It showcases local businesses close to your search location. SEO always plays into the local pack ranking factors.
The third and final result are organic search results. This is where 40% of website traffic comes from, so it’s extremely important your business’s website is ranking on the first page of search results so that customers can find you.
Why connect Google Search Console?
With the addition of Search Console to the Executive Report, you have a powerful tool for SEO reporting that will help you see how all the hard work you do for your business is paying off in higher search ranking.
Our reporting also provides a unique KPI that is not available from within Google Search Console itself: “Queries on 1st page of Google Search”. This number is calculated daily, and reveals if your business is making progress in the outcome you truly want: to show up on page one of Google search, and get more website visits from more potential customers. This metric tracks exactly that, with no extra noise.
Best of all, this reporting is automated. Connect it once to deliver automatic, ongoing proof-of-performance reporting.
1. Setup Google Search Console
Ensure you have a Google Search Console connected to their website using the URL-prefix property, and fully verified. If you don’t yet have a Google Search Console account, you can set one up in a few quick steps here or reach out to your account rep.
Note: it takes 24-48 hours after a new property is connected to Google Search Console for data to start to appear on Google’s side.
2. Connect Search Console to Business App
In Business App > Connections, you’ll find a card to connect Google Search Console.
Click ( + ) to add an account. Only one connection per account is permitted at this time.
Log into your Google account that has permission to access this Search Console account.
All accounts that can be connected will appear in this list. Choose the account you want to connect.
Once connected, it will take up to just a few minutes for existing data to appear in the Executive Report. 30 days of history is pulled in when an account is first connected.
Note: If the account you want to connect does not appear here, make sure it is a ‘URL-prefix property’, and not a ‘domain property’; make sure it is fully verified; and make sure the Google account you are connecting with has sufficient permissions to view this search console account.
3. Customize the queries tracked in the Exec Report
You can completely customize the keywords that are tracked and reported on in the Executive Report, via Search Console.
When Search Console is first connected, Business App will automatically pull in the top 10 search queries for this business, by clicks for reporting
You can customize these keywords, remove, or add, up to 20 keywords to be reported on in the Executive Report.
Go to Business App > Connections > and click the kabob > click “Edit Queries”
I’ve connected Search Console to Business App, but I don’t see any data in the Executive Report?
It can take up to 5 minutes to pull in data to display in the Executive Report. The app automatically pulls in 90 days worth of data, and you should usually be able to see data in the most recent weekly Executive Report.
If there is nothing appearing, this will happen when there are no queries that have received clicks in the last 30 days. With no clicked queries, there are no performance metrics to report on, and therefore the cards do not appear. As you work at improving the SEO of your website, and it starts to receive organic clicks, data will appear in the report.
Everyone can recall a time when they’ve received excellent customer service. Whether it was the clerk who was extra helpful or the hotel staff who went above and beyond, we’ve all experienced it. Unfortunately though, the bad customer service is almost always recalled more easily.
In the pursuit of excellent customer service, several dos and don’ts should be followed:
Do: Anticipate Their Needs and Wants
Instead of merely listening to your customer’s needs, a business needs to understand their unexpressed wishes and anticipate their next move. Staying one step ahead of them—literally giving them what they didn’t know they needed—is how you will stand out from the rest. This builds exceptional rapport with your customer and makes them feel like you really, truly value their business (Forbes). They will want to come back, and what’s more, they’re going to tell their friends all about your customer service.
Do: Show Genuine Interest
If you haven’t heard it yet, here it is: customers want to feel appreciated and they value an honest-to-goodness relationship. If your customer service staff can build, nourish and manage relationships with your customers, then you’re golden! One way for you to build the relationship and make them feel special is by genuinely caring about what they’re telling you. Listen to them grumble, show sympathy, laugh when they laugh and don’t be afraid to get personal (Inc.com). Something as minute as memorizing the name of their granddaughter or asking about their last trip to Hawaii will help solidify your relationship.
Digitally speaking, doing this well means using social media to engage in a conversation and being open and transparent online! Your online customer service is as important, if not more so than the face-to-face interactions. At the root of it all, the customer wants to feel that they’re spending their hard-earned dollar on a business that cares about them!
Do: Have the Answers and Deliver
While it’s up for debate on whether customers are always right, the fact of the matter is, you are the expert and not your customer. You should always have the answers and be able to deliver. That is why product and service knowledge is the most vital skill a customer service representative can possess (Digitalist).
If you don’t have the answer, try your best to find it out or direct the customer to someone who can answer their queries. Avoid saying the phrase, “I don’t know” at all costs. Remember, you’re the expert. Having the answers and delivering them promptly and respectively will build trust and confidence in your customer.
Don’t: Restrict the Customer
Customers hate to hear the word, “no.” It’s a fact of life. Though it’s not always possible to say “yes,” best practice dictates that you should be as flexible and accommodating as possible for your customers (Customer Service Manager).
If there’s one thing a customer hates to hear more than “no,” it’s that something is “company policy.” Why? First of all, the customer likely doesn’t care what your store policy is. Second, they don’t see you as a customer service provider following policy, but rather as the company as an entity restricting them from getting what they want. Another reason this is such a big no-no is that it’s like putting a big road block in the conversation. With both you and the customer at a loss for what to say, the interaction (and possibly the relationship) is subsequently squelched.
Don’t: Make Things Overly Complicated
A good rule of thumb to follow is that getting assistance and service should not be more painful than the problem itself. Behold! The wonders of a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page! If this isn’t really your style, and as a necessary fall back, the next step is to make your customer service staff incredibly accessible. You know what they say: a quickly diffused customer service issue keeps the bad reviews away. Right?
Speaking of which…
Don’t: Ignore Feedback or Complaints
Feedback, no matter its form, is always a plus. Who better to hear from than the customers who are literally the lifeblood of your business?
Embracing the good, the bad and the ego-deflating will ultimately help you to strive for better in the long run, we promise. You’ll be able to understand your customer better, identify and solve your pitfalls and grow bigger and better (MinuteHack)! So, the next time a customer wants to give you their feedback, don’t brush it off, but rather see it as an opportunity to improve.
Good customer service always will be an essential part of a business. It’s your customer’s first point of contact with your business and allows them to connect and build trust with your business or brand. In today’s world, delivering excellent customer service is sometimes more effective than any advertisement could be!
Follow these customer service dos and don’ts so people talk about you for all the right reasons.
Have you ever been at a party and caught a person or a group glancing at you while whispering covertly?
What’s up with that? Is your fly open? Does someone have a crush on you? Does someone want to throw a drink in your face?
You’d want to know, wouldn’t you?
The online universe is a lot like that party; It’s a system of digital communities in which people are gathering and discussing a wide variety of topics, including YOU. In your personal life, you may or may not care to find out what they’re saying, but in business, it’s essential to your survival that you know.
At the party, you may never get the answers you seek without shaking someone down. However, online, you can use social media monitoring to track mentions of your brand, competitors, product and any other keywords that are applicable to your business.
Monitoring your social media channels is about more than just listening.
The information you accumulate can help you make major decisions about your marketing strategy, the products and services you offer and how people regard your brand. Plus, it can help you identify leads, build relationships, stay on top of trends, learn about your competitors, protect your brand and more!
Note: This post is outlining organic social media monitoring tips, as opposed to paid social campaigns. Organic social media is more geared toward building brand awareness and connecting with your target audience. Paid social is typically centered around driving targeted actions like content downloads, webinar or appointment signups, and other specific goals.
Here’s more on why it’s so important that you monitor what people are saying about your business online.
Why Should You Use Social Media Monitoring?
1. To gauge social sentiment
What do you know about your brand’s reputation? You can get a feel by reading your reviews and speaking with customers, but you’d be missing a wealth of more informal brand or product mentions.
Plus, you need to be there to respond! In a recent survey, Sprout Social found that 89% of social messages go ignored. That’s a problem—and an even bigger missed opportunity.
People use social media to discuss the topics they care about within the communities they choose. That’s where you need to listen to truly discover how people regard your business, the issues they’re having, and the things they love.
2. To find leads & build relationships
Are people searching for your products and services? You’ve seen those calls on Facebook for recommendations, or the plaintive cries for help on Twitter: “I want pizza!” When you monitor your brand’s keywords or phrases, you can jump in and answer these requests (Just mention your current Monday 2 for 1 pizza deal!). NOT selling anything can be really effective too. Be a part of the conversations that are happening online about your industry.
3. To stay on top of trends
When you’re closely monitoring discussions in your niche, you may be able to catch new and evolving trends as they emerge. For example, when Instagram launched its “Stories” product, Snapchat growth took a major hit (growth slowed by 82%). In response to news like this, you may decide to alter your marketing strategy to be one of the first to dive into a new social channel or try a new tactic.
Why is this important? In an over-saturated market, doing the same thing as everyone else can get you lost in the crowd. Finding ways to stand out will help you get noticed and stay relevant in your industry.
4. To perform competitor research
Has your competition launched a product similar to what you offer, but at a lower price or with a few more bells and whistles? Did they just launch a marketing strategy that your customers are loving? Did they just screw up royally using a tactic you’ve been considering? Keeping your finger on the social pulse will alert you about these types of scenarios and unforeseen issues that may have huge repercussions for your business.
5. To protect your brand
Building your brand’s reputation takes a lot of time and effort, but it can all be lost in seconds.Monitoring your social channels allows you to identify any issues customers have and jump on solutions before they blow up.
Stuff happens. It’s inevitable.
It’s how you respond and how quickly you respond that matters. In fact, we’ve found that if a business resolves its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers return to you.
Listening, identifying the issue and showing your customers you care and are taking steps to resolve the issue is what can turn them from a brand killer into a champion for your business.
What to Do With Your Social Media Monitoring Insights
So once you’re set up with the tools you need for monitoring, tracking, measuring and analysis, what do you do with the information? This is the key moment where you determine how to act on the knowledge you’ve received.
Shift Social Strategy
Is your strategy working? Are you truly getting traction on your primary social channels? You may discover that it’s time to re-evaluate the resources and effort you put into certain channels.
For example, maybe you discover that your people are super engaged in Quora. Devoting more time and resources there would be worth pursuing, even if it’s at the expense of another social channel.
Results from monitoring your competitors on social media could also yield some interesting insights as well. You may find that a new video tactic has people in your area or industry buzzing about a close competitor. Why let them go unchallenged?
Work on Developing Relationships With Leads & Influencers
If you can jump into conversations and authentically solve problems for people, do it! This tactic can be especially relevant when it comes to people’s frustrations with your competitor’s products or services. When you do this, it’s essential that you come from a really genuine place and offer tips or advice geared around helping people. People don’t want to be spammed, and sensitive topics like plastic surgery should be off-limits.
However, in many industries you should feel free to have real conversations with people around the topics they care about (which also happen to be topics YOU care about as a business owner!).
Spotting and reaching out to influencers in your industry as outlined in this post (Salesforce) can have an amazing amplification effect for your brand as well. People look to influencers to help them make purchasing decisions all the time, and if you can develop strong relationships with key influencers you can expect better results for much less work.
Image Source: Salesforce
Develop New Products/Services
Listening to the needs of your target audience is a smart way to refine your solutions and develop new ones. If enough people are saying they hate a product, or wish they could tweak it, it’s probably worth looking into what the issue is and try to determine what could make that product better.
For example, Natalia Chrzanowska of (Brand24) notes that GoPro did exactly that when they introduced their new camera – GoPro Hero4.
“We analyzed the social media discussions regarding both releases – Hero3+ and Hero4. The insights gathered during the Hero3+ premiere included lots of suggestions for features that could improve customer experience, which then appeared later on in the succeeding model – GoPro Hero4.”
On the flip side, if your customers LOVE one of your products, there may be an opportunity to develop similar or complimentary products or services.
You can then turn around and apply all this awesome feedback as testimonials for new campaigns. Think ad campaigns, email campaigns, social campaigns and beyond!
Update Customer Service Policy/Process
Social media has led to a major shift in how customer service is carried out by many companies. People want instant answers, and are less likely to put up with call centers. Many won’t even pick up the phone when they have a problem; They’ll just tweet about it! According to a new report from Conversocial, 54% of customers prefer customer service via social media and SMS. The upcoming generation of millennials will only amplify this trend.
People are sticking to their favorite social media platforms to air out their complaints, and you need to know if this is happening in your industry (and be ready for it).
In Jay Baer’s book Hug Your Haters, author and consultant Dave Kerpen notes that:
“If a customer calls you on the phone to complain, surely you wouldn’t hang up on them. And not responding in social media is akin to hanging up on them, only worse, because there are actually other people watching and listening.”
Letting complains hang out there unanswered is not acceptable to current and potential customers, and it shouldn’t be to you!
4 Easy Wins
I’ve thrown a lot of information you’re way. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and put off testing these strategies for yourself. To help you get started, here are a few easy action items for you to try out.
Jot down 3 of your top goals that you’re hoping monitoring your social channels will help you with. (example: Find out if people are liking the new kombucha flavor we just released).
Contact us to get set up with the social media monitoring tools you need. Poke around and see what value you can get out of the tools.
Enter a few of your brand’s keywords and see what data the tools come up with.
Look through the initial results. Make a list of 3 things you learned and whether you should discuss with your team.
Most businesses are aware that they should monitor social media for mentions related to their brand, products, services, competitors and industry. You might actually be doing so already. But do you have a plan in place to analyze, respond and integrate results into your business’s ongoing strategy?
If you don’t, you might be missing some golden opportunities…or you could get a martini in your face!
Choosing the right digital advertising metrics to track and measure is crucial to your campaign’s success. If you aren’t tracking advertising efforts correctly, you’ll never know what’s working and what channels to focus your advertising dollars on.
Determining your core ROI goals means you’ll be able to measure data that tells the story of how your target audience interacted with your ads.
Here are a few of the key metrics to track that will help you measure success and determine ROI:
CPA – Cost Per Acquisition
How much does it cost you to acquire a new lead on any given channel?
Knowing the cost to acquire a client for your business is the basis of your marketing budget, so it’s crucial data to add to your ROI analysis. Combined with other ad data, this will determine whether your business will make a profit.
Ideally, you’ll want to get a sense for which mix of ad channels (Search, Facebook, Display) work best for your business. Then you’ll be able to better optimize your ad budget going forward.
Here’s the formula for CPA:
CPA is a simple but valuable formula. Knowing how much it costs to acquire a new lead is key to understanding your ad ROI.
However, we still don’t know the actual value of your client’s customers. The next thing we’ll discuss is LTV, which is essential for further ROI analysis.
LTV – Lifetime Value
Do you know the lifetime value of your customers? You should!
Why? Because this will give you a number that represents an approximation of the revenue a new customer brings in, with all associated costs factored in.
If you know your LTV, you’ll be able to compare it directly to the cost of acquiring a new client through your digital ad campaign.
Here’s the formula you can use to determine your LTV.
CR – Campaign Revenue
Now that we understand how to calculate and analyze the lifetime value of your customers, we’ll be able to track the revenue generated by your digital advertising campaign. As you can see below, you just need to multiply your campaign’s conversions by LTV and closing ratio (50% would be .5).
Why include closing ratio? Obviously, every new lead you generate isn’t going to become a customer, so you’ll need to factor in how often you are able to close new leads to estimate campaign revenue correctly.
ROAS – Return on Advertising Spend
ROAS is an illuminating metric to use for ad campaigns, and a lot of marketers use it interchangeably with ROI itself. However, there are significant differences between the two. What is the difference between ROI and ROAS?
“ROI measures the profit generated by ads relative to the cost of those ads. It’s a business-centric metric that is most effective at measuring how ads contribute to an organization’s bottom line. In contrast, ROAS measures gross revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. It is an advertiser-centric metric that gauges the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns.”
So advertising ROAS is much more focused on the results from specific campaigns, while ROI incorporates the bigger picture relative to the business. This means that it’s much easier for you to be tracking and analyzing advertising efforts with ROAS! You know the cost and you can calculate the revenue.
Setting your own benchmarks and campaign goals based on past performance is the best way to proceed with your advertising efforts.
Want to skip all this confusing jargon and let the experts handle your digital advertising? Contact us today!