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google+ local Archives - STRYDE

Ten Things SMBs Can Do To Better Market Their Businesses (On The Cheap)

By | Small Business Marketing | No Comments

For those who don’t know, I am a fairly active advisor over on the American Express Open Forum and one of the questions I see more often than any others are… “how do I market my small business that does [insert industry here] without spending thousands of dollars per month?”. The answer will typically vary based on the industry the individual is in, but there are many things that can be done for all businesses to help generate online awareness and help grow their companies.

In today’s post, I will be outlining ten things that any small business can do to better market their business and do it inexpensively.

Blog Like Crazy

One of the easiest ways to better market your business, and probably my favorite is to blog like crazy! Every day if possible!

Small businesses should keep a list of the most common questions asked by their prospects and customers and work diligrently to create content for their blog that speaks to those questions. If you don’t have a lot of customers, you can also monitor the best blogs in your space by using Feedly and working to create similar content that seems to get shared socially and that individuals engage with.

One thing to keep in mind is that quality is more important that quantity, so if you don’t have time to post every day, don’t. Post a few times per week, but make it awesome!

Google+ Local Page

Many small businesses are local businesses trying to attract customers within a geographic location. If this is you, you should setup and optimize your Google+ Local Page so that it become relevant for the products or services you offer and your geographic location.

Here’s a great guide to setting up and optimizing your Google+ local page.

Citation Building

After setting up your Google+ Local Page, you will want to setup other map/business directory listings. These are referred to as citations. Citations always contain your business name, address, and phone number, also referred to as NAP.

Citations help solidify in the eyes of the search engines that your business is legitimate and deserves to show up high for localized search queries. One of the best places to start is by running your business name and zip code through GetListed.org.

Help A Non-Profit

One unique way to help market your business is by helping a non-profit organization, or several organizations. If your business chooses to engage in such a practice, you need to make sure you are doing it for the right reason. Just to get publicity, brand awareness, and links to your site is an awful reason to help a non-profit. If you do it for the right reason, the non-profits will talk about you and you will get the publicity you deserve.

Write A Guest Post

Not only should you be blogging like crazy on your own site, but you should put forth some effort to contribute to other high visibility blogs in your industry. The purpose of writing a guest post is two fold, one to help get your name out there as a thought leader. A good guest post will will drive traffic back to your website and will often times bring potential customers. To vet the sites you want to post on, I like to look at social activity on their posts, if their readers leave good comments, do they have a decent number of RSS subscribers, do they have an email newsletter, do they have a following on Facebook, etc. If not, I’d probably look elsewhere. Here’s a good post on guest posting.

Shoot & Publish A Video

Gone are the days of needing expensive video cameras and video editing software to produce a video that drives interest for your business. Most individuals are packing a far better video camera in their pockets that most households could afford just fifteen years ago.

Bust out that smartphone and snap videos of your products or services in action. Take video of your clients providing testimonials and so forth. You’ll then take this video content and publish it to YouTube and other platforms like Vimeo.

Give Products or Services Away

I don’t think I have to tell you that people love free stuff. They especially love free stuff that’s valuable or extremely relevant to them. One of the quickest ways to generate visibility for your business is to give away your products or services. When you do this, tell everyone you know and ask them to spread the word. You can also run a contest on Facebook using a services like Rafflecopter to help you organize and execute your contest.

Guest Lecture

Guest lecturing is another fantastic way to promote your business. Every college and university professor would love for a seasoned professional in their vertical to prepare a lecture and relieve them from their daily duties. I have guest lectured dozens of times at local universities here in Utah on marketing and business topics. Each time I have, I have generated leads for new clients and I’ve even found some great employees from it.

Build Out Social Profiles

You can and SHOULD build out the four big social profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, brand them to look and feel like your business, and participate on a regular basis. When you are participating make sure to tag your content with relevant hashtags to ensure your messages get in front of your target audience.

Become THE Thought Leader In Forums

Lastly (for this post), you should identify 2-3 forums in your space and participate on a daily basis. Set aside 20 minutes each morning to go in and answer questions that you are capable of providing an amazingly helpful response. After several months of doing this, you will start to be known as the industry expert that everyone can go to for answers to their questions. Another awesome thing about forum participation is that you can see what questions are being asked most often (kind of like questions asked by your prospects and customers above) and create content for your blog that answers their questions.

If you’re quick about it, you can head back to the forum and add links to your new content on your site and bring those potential customers to your front door!

So there you go, ten ways to market your business, without spending a lot of money. Obviously, this isn’t an extensive list, but a list that I use on a regular basis to better market Stryde and many of our clients.

The Ultimate List of Maps Optimization Tools

By | SEO | No Comments

maps optimization

Today’s post is going to be the third in our series of “lists of tools” posts, today’s focusing specifically on maps optimization. This post will probably be the leanest of all posts in this series since there aren’t a ton of maps optimization tools on the market. I am going to cover three areas, maps setup and optimization, do it yourself citation building, and automated citation building tools. Let’s jump in!

Maps Setup & Optimization

Google Places for Business –┬áSetup and optimize your Google+ Local listing.

Yahoo Local – Setup and optimize your Yahoo Map listing.

Bing Places – Setup and optimize your Bing Map listing.

DIY Citation Building

GetListed.org – GetListed.org was created by David Mihm and was recently acquired by SEOmoz a few months back. Get Listed isn’t an advanced tool by any means, but is a nice little tool to help you get started with your citation building. Just enter your business name and zip code and it will tell you where you have and haven’t claimed the basic citations.

Whitespark.ca – Whitespark was created by the Edmonton SEO, Darren Shaw and is a tool for beginner and advanced SEOs looking to find the best citation opportunities online. This is a paid tool, but is well worth it!

Automated Citation Building

Localeze – Localeze, recently purchased by neustar helps companies gain greater control of your local footprint by managing and distributing your local listings to hundreds of trusted providers online.

Universal Business Listing – UBL also allows you to manage and distribute your local listings to hundreds of providers across local and mobile search, GPS, maps and the social web.

Yext -Yext allows to to submit or correct current local data found online and manage it going forward. With Yext, you can instantly update your information across their network that reaches over 150 million customers each month.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, this is a small list, however it should be enough to help you get started and take your maps optimization to the next level! If I’ve missed any tools, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Image Credit: http://www.synergedesign.com

How To Properly Set Up Your Google+ Local Page

By | Small Business Marketing | No Comments

If you are a small business owner, you most likely had a Google Places or Google Maps page to help your customers find your business. In the last few months, Google has decided to replace Google Places pages with the new Google+ Local pages. In most cases, if you had a Places page, it should have been transferred over for your. If it wasn’t or you are going to be setting up a new Google+ Local page, you should follow our step by step guy to properly setting it up.

The first thing you will need to do is log into your Google+ account and hover over “more” in the lower left navigation and click on pages.

pages

Next, you will want to click on “create a new page”.

new page

Next you will want to select “Local business or place”.

local business

Next, you will want to select your country and local phone number. Pro tip: make sure this is the phone number you use for your business and the same one that is listed everywhere online.

Next, you will add your business name and the address of your offices. Pro tip: make sure this is the name of your business that is used everywhere online as well as the same address that is listed everywhere online.

business name

Provide a link to your website… yes, this will count as a “created” backlink toward your website

Lastly, customize. Add your logo. Add a cover photo. Add your email address and then click finish!

customize

Okay… you may think you are finished, but you are not. The next thing you need to do is verify you page.

verify

The verification code will most likely be mailed to your place of business. Sometimes, Google allows you to get your pin via phone. In both cases, they will provide you the instructions you need to get verified.

The very last thing you will want to do is add a bunch of photos and videos. This tends to add a personal touch to your page and helps your potential customers connect with you and your employees before ever picking up the phone or visiting your store.

I hope that this has been a helpful tutorial on how to set up your Google+ Local page. If you have any questions, please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section below.