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Local Facebook Marketing

8 Secrets of Local Facebook Marketing in 2018

Have you made New Year’s resolutions for your business?

If not, why not?

Think about it. It’s a new year and it’s one that’s full of opportunities. Even if you killed it with your marketing in 2017, there’s always room for improvement. So, here’s one suggestion for a resolution:

Master local marketing on Facebook.

Facebook is huge, with 2.2 billion users and counting. The chances are good that many of your customers use it daily – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing a great job of connecting with them.

And let’s face it – social marketing has some challenges. Facebook keeps refining their algorithms, and that’s made it harder than it used to be to be sure your target audience sees the content you post.

With that in mind, here are eight things you can do starting right now to ring the new year in with a bang – and become a master of local Facebook marketing.

#1: Create a Facebook Event

Create a Facebook Event

Creating events on Facebook helps raise your visibility, engage existing customers, and attract new ones. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Come up with an event. It could be a sale, a social event, or even a performance.
  2. Go to the Events tab to create your event.
  3. Fill in the date and time of your event, choose a category for it, and put in keywords that will help people find it.
  4. Add a Google map or directions.
  5. Link to a ticketing site if people need to buy tickets.

Once the event is set up, you can invite people and share it on your page. You can even pay to boost it, or run it as an ad to attract more attendees.

#2: Create and Share Local Content

Create and Share Local Content

You’re a local business – so show some local pride to connect with potential customers! If there’s a local tradition or event coming up, or if you see an article that highlights something unique about your city, share it with your followers.

Of course, you need to do more than share. You can increase your page’s visibility by tagging other local businesses, events, or landmarks in your post.

This is an opportunity to connect with other local business owners, too. You might be able to help one another out!

#3: Let People Know What You’re Doing

Let People Know What You’re Doing

Are you attending a trade show? Hosting a booth at a community event? Maybe you’ve sponsored a soccer team and you’re attending a game.

Whatever it is, it’s an opportunity to check in at your location, tag other businesses and events, and keep your audience up-to-date on what you’re doing.

It’s important here not to overdo tagging. Nobody cares if you stopped at Starbucks for a latte. Stick to events and locations that highlight your business and your audience will thank you.

#4: Get People to Write Facebook Reviews of Your Business

Get People to Write Facebook Reviews of Your Business

Reviews are hugely important. They provide social proof – and a recent Bright Local survey found that 92% of all consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase.

Facebook reviews can help increase your profile and attract new customers. You can encourage people to leave reviews by reaching out to your list or creating a post where you ask for reviews.

Keep in mind that star reviews without a written review accompanying them won’t get you as much visibility as written reviews. You may want to create a template for people who aren’t sure what to write where you ask things like:

  • What problem did you have before buying our product or using our service?
  • How did working with us help you?
  • What were the biggest changes you experienced because of your purchase?

Once you’ve collected some reviews, you can share them on your page. You can do the same, of course, with reviews from Yelp and Google.

#5: Create Groups for Your Followers

Create Groups for Your Followers

Did you know that Facebook allows you to create groups for people who follow your page? Creating a group can be an effective way of building a community and focusing conversations and content on a topic.

For example, if you offer an array of services, you might create a group for each one. That way, people can connect with others who use the service, ask questions, and even recommend your services to others.

#6: Give People a Reason to Come to Your Store

Give People a Reason to Come to Your Store

Many local businesses rely on foot traffic to drive sales. If you do, you can use your Facebook account to encourage people to come see you in person.

For example, you might create and share an in-person coupon that people can use when they come to your store. Or, you might offer a giveaway for those who visit your location.

Other things you can do to entice in-person visits include:

  • Aligning yourself with a local cause or charity
  • Hosting in-store events
  • Teaming up with other local businesses to create joint promotions
  • Having a contest or sweepstakes for people who make a purchase within a specified timeframe

These things can all help attract customers to your store – and get them to make purchases.

#7: Run a Contest

Run a Contest

Running a contest on Facebook can help you attract new followers and build engagement. If you decide to do it, keep in mind that Facebook has strict rules about what you can and can’t do. For example, you can’t require followers to Like or Share a post to enter.

Make sure that your contest has:

  • A clear start and end date
  • Prizes that are appealing and relevant to your target audience
  • Well-defined rules

And, of course, you’ll need to deliver prizes on schedule and as promised.

#8: Market Your Facebook Page in Your Store

Market Your Facebook Page in Your Store

In local marketing, one hand washes the other. While you might put your focus on bringing customers from your Facebook page to your store, it can work in reverse, too!

For example, you might put a link to your Facebook page on flyers, business cards, and coupons. You can also ask customers to take a picture in your store and post it on Facebook while tagging you. Offering an incentive, like a 10% off coupon or a gift card, can help.

 

Conclusion

Local Facebook marketing poses some challenges, but now you know how to address them. Local content, events, and contests can all help you attract new customers to your Facebook page – and your store.

Guide

Following the Tips in This Guide Will Result in a Perfect PR for your Local Business

How to Turn Your Business News Into Publicity to Attract More Customers

A well-known actress, Jane Russell once said “Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any”.    

It’s true. Your business needs publicity and there is no better marketing tool for your business than publicity, it’s “grade A” online exposure.

Publicity is vital to the growth of your business because it gets people talking about your business and brings customers through the door (or to your website).  It is so powerful that companies have huge marketing budgets and hire specialists and agencies in order to generate a steady stream of publicity for their company.

The internet has created a level playing field. Now any business, no matter how small can generate publicity easier and more efficiently than ever before.

It is now possible to generate publicity “on demand” and it’s time you capitalize on it.

If you have struggled with ideas on how to “get press” for your business, read on because we’re going to reveal 21 ways you can turn your business news and events into publicity that will attract eager new customers that are excited about what you’re doing!

Turn your story into an online press release:

At first you might be thinking that you don’t have any stories to release but when you think about it, as a business you make news regularly.

In addition to the obvious milestones such as opening your business or launching a new product or service that you can easily capitalize everyday events that you take for granted into stories that can generate publicity. For example:

  1. Has your company or member of staff recently won an award or have you had a major breakthrough like landing a large contract? If so, that is a valid story to people interested in your industry.
  2. People always like to read inspirational stories, so if you have been successful in your business or you have recently run a marathon for charity, tell people.
  3. If you are a skilled craftsperson or your business specializes in a particular niche why not share some of your expertise and teach others how to do something similar. It helps you to build credibility and be known as a true expert in your field.
  4. Are you passionate about a particular charity? You can create awareness about a cause you believe in and create some publicity for your business. Companies do this all of the time and that is why so many of them are keen to sponsor charities and be involved with them.
  5. If you notice alarming trends happening in your industry you can share this news and turn your knowledge and expertise into a marketing asset for your company.
  6. There are many holiday events throughout the year and almost every type of business celebrates these events in their own way.   This is a great opportunity for your business to team up with a charity or local organization.
  7. Put an end to a popular myth or misunderstanding in your industry. For example, if you are a dentist you might want to release a story explaining that bad breath can be caused by several factors, only one of which is poor dental hygiene. Explain some of the causes of bad breath and what people can do if they experience it. There will be a common myth in your industry too. Journalists and online bloggers love these kinds of stories and they can go viral very quickly.
  8. Is your business contributing to helping the environment? In the days of global warming don’t underestimate how making even slight changes to the way that your business does things can make a difference. You can win customers over with a ‘green’ story.
  9. Turn to any magazine or news story and there will be some kind of stats or survey result mentioned. Everybody loves stats and surveys and none more so than journalists. Why? Because they find ready-made stories to write about in this type of news release. Stories like this are quick to go viral too as readers love to share facts and figures and will provide links to them on their blogs, they will tweet about them add them to their Facebook or other social media page. If you can share new market studies, research, survey or poll results from your industry you will find that this will be a popular story for you and your business.
  10. Provide helpful tips. Be generous and get your industry out there by publishing a few helpful tips. You will be rewarded by converting search engine users into potential customers. If you sell digital cameras, for example, you could publish a list of features that potential buyers should be looking out for when buying a camera or produce a guide on which type of camera would best suit the kind of photography that they are wanting to do.

As an expert in your niche, you have all of the knowledge and tips and there are thousands of people out there searching for them so press releases and publishing these tips is an ideal way to get connected.  It is worth remembering that just one or two brilliant tips are much better than a long list of useless ones.

You can no doubt think of many other ways that your business can create PR stories and get your business noticed.

Breathe some life into your story

Now that you have received some inspiration it is time to bring your story and press release to life particularly if your story about your new product or promotion seems boring.

  1. Give it a human element

If your story feels a bit flat try putting people at the forefront of the story. Your story will have much more success because people are much more likely to share stories that involve people rather than the story being focussed on the product, especially if it features people that they know or who are local to their area. For example, if you have a happy customer who had great results using your product or service you can write about that. Or perhaps you have an employee who could demonstrate how effective your product is.

  1. Link your story to a current trend

If you have a story that comments on and contributes to industry trends it will get a lot of buzz on social networks because that is what people interested in your industry are interested in and want to read, not to mention journalists and bloggers who cover your industry. By linking your story to an industry trend can help give your story more legs and the potential to create a buzz so that people will share it.

  1.  Attract attention with an image

The Internet is very visual so it is a good idea to break up a copy in your press release with a well placed image that gives visual impact to your story. Don’t worry too much about the image itself. You might just want to include your logo or a picture of your product or service. It will add interest to your story and make people more inclined to read it.

  1. Direct people to your website

If you have submitted a great story that captures people’s imagination don’t leave them hanging at the end of the story. It is the perfect opportunity to direct them to your website using a strong call to action. This could be something as simple as “Find out more at www.YourWebsite.com”. It doesn’t really matter too much how you phrase it. The aim is simply to instruct your readers to take action and to make it easier for them.

Use Social Media to create a media buzz for your story

Once you have created your press release it is time to promote it on your social media networks. This is going to give your publicity and even bigger boost and drive thousands of extra people to your website.

How to promote your press release on Facebook

  1. Link to your story on your Facebook status:

This is a simple way to promote your news to your whole network in a single click. If your network happens to include bloggers and reporters your news will reach them without you having to do a single pitch and they will be able to run with the idea immediately.

  1. Share an interesting fact from your story

Despite having a great headline for your press release it is a good idea to give your readers yet another reason to click through to read the press release. You can do this by adding an intriguing quote, fact or statistic out of your press release and make that the main focus of your Facebook post.

  1. Ask for a Like

This is one of those occasions where you should not be afraid to ask for likes or reposts when you promote your story on Facebook. If you have already built a loyal following of fans and have been an active part of the community they will be happy to spread the word for you, especially if your story is interesting.

  1. Promoting Your Press Release on Twitter

Twitter is perfect for telling people about your press release because you can easily reach a wide audience and it is easy for your followers to share and re-tweet your post. You can literally spread the word in seconds.

  1. Tweet your story more than once

Not everybody will see your Tweet depending on the time you post it and where in the world your audience is so don’t be afraid to repost your Tweet a day or two later and at various times. To avoid annoying the ones who might have seen the tweet already, change the headline and be careful not to post it too many times.

  1. Be Generous and promote those who promote you

If one of your followers has been kind enough to re-tweet your post, acknowledge it by thanking them. Not only is it courteous but it is also a good way to create a second round of buzz and publicity on Twitter. It means that your story will appear twice in the feed every time it is re-tweeted.

  1. Use Hashtags

Categorize your story by adding a Hashtag to a keyword or phrase relating to your story or industry. As well as getting your story seen by people outside your network of followers it will also put you on the radar for journalists and bloggers who follow that particular Hashtag.

Getting the story out there

Social media, of course, goes beyond Facebook and Twitter. You can Pin your story on Pinterest and Google+ it as well as blogging it and sharing it on LinkedIn.

The online world really is your oyster and provides you with many exciting opportunities to get your story out there and have people all around the world reading about your brand in a matter of minutes.

If you have an announcement or newsworthy story about your business, here are so many places that you could promote it.

Our job is to help businesses like yours to get the word out and drive thousands of new clients to your website and company.

Contact us and discover what we could do for your business.  

Creating Killer PPC Ads

Make Every Click Count: Tips for Creating Killer PPC Ads

When you create pay-per-click ads, you pay for every click you get. So, it stands to reason that you want to make every click count.

But how can you do that?

The key is to hone your ad creation skills so that your ads:

  • Appeal directly to your target audience
  • Give people what they need and expect to see
  • Persuade them to click through and visit your site

The good news? Even if you don’t think of yourself as a marketing pro, there are some simple tricks you can learn to take your PPC ads to the next level. Here they are.

#1: Make Your Ads Mobile-Responsive

Make Your Ads Mobile-Responsive

You probably already know that mobile searches now outstrip desktop services. That means that your PPC ads must be adapted for mobile users if you want to get great results.

Here’s what to do:

  • Make your landing pages mobile-responsive so they can be read on any device (Bonus: you won’t have to create special mobile landing pages)
  • Add a “click to call” button on your ad
  • Use IF functions to add special text and deals for mobile customers. For example, you might offer free shipping on mobile orders.

These simple tweaks to your ad can drive mobile engagement – and sales!

#2: Use Numbers in Headlines and Copy

Use Numbers in Headlines and Copy

People respond to specificity in ads and headlines. If there are dozens of ways to use your product, or customers get access to millions of email addresses, say that in your headline.

Using numbers adds to your credibility, too. It’s why politicians often reel off a string of statistics when they’re in a debate.

Try adding numbers, percentages, and other stats to your PPC ads. Of course, make sure they’re both accurate and relevant to your target audience. If you do, you’ll see what a difference a number can make in your click-through rate.

#3: Tailor Your Message to Customers’ Places in the Sales Funnel

Tailor Your Message to Customers’ Places in the Sales Funnel

The people who see your ads won’t all be at the same place in the buying cycle. Some may be looking for general information to help them solve a problem. Others may be ready to pull the trigger and make a purchase.

Often, you can tell where a customer is based on the keyword they use to search. A customer who searches for general information about pest control might say:

How to get rid of pests

Someone who’s ready to hire an exterminator, on the other hand, might search:

Best termite exterminator in Grand Rapids

See the difference? When you write an ad, you choose keywords to target. Make sure your headline and copy match the intention of the keyword. You’ll have a better chance of getting people to click if you do.

#4: Use Persuasive Language in Your Headline

Use Persuasive Language in Your Headline

If you’re running an AdWords campaign, your headline is likely to be the focus of anybody who searches your keywords. That means it’s got to be snappy, direct, and appealing.

It’s important not to be misleading in your headline. It should be clear what product or service you’re selling.

Originally, AdWords allowed only a few words per line – so there wasn’t room to get fancy. Now, with the new expanded headline format, you can add a few more words. But your goal should still be to get to the point quickly.

Of course, if you’re running a Facebook ad, you have a bit more room. The key thing is to make your headlines persuasive without resorting to clickbait.

#5: Use a Compelling Image for Your Facebook Ad

Use a Compelling Image for Your Facebook Ad

On Facebook, users are accustomed to seeking out images and looking at them first. It’s why visual content gets so much more engagement than plain, written content.

You can increase your clicks by finding a compelling, relevant image to use in your ad. This isn’t the place to use an image that’s unrelated to your offer.

Original images (meaning, not stock images) are best. Photographs, illustrations, and infographics can all get the job done if you use them properly.

#6: Match Your Landing Page to Your Ad

Know Your Ad Types

Nobody (and I mean nobody) likes a bait and switch. When your ad and your landing page don’t match, it tells people that you can’t be trusted. And considering how essential trust and authority are in marketing, you can’t afford to do anything to undermine the trust you’ve acquired.

In other words, if your ad promotes an offer, it should direct them to a page that promotes the same offer. When the details match, it creates trust and reassures the people who click. That means they’ll be more likely to take the next step, whether that means opting in to your list or making a purchase.

To make it easier, you can even use dynamic text replacement technology to swap out text based on the keyword used to find your ad. That way, you’ll always be sure that your page and your ad are in synch.

#7: Use Retargeting to Close the Deal

Use Retargeting to Close the Deal

You already know that your first “touch” with a potential customer is unlikely to lead to a sale. You may need to connect with them several times before they’re ready to take the leap.

You can use PPC ads on Google and Facebook to retarget people who’ve clicked on an ad and visited your site. Specifically, you can target them based on what they did on your site.

For example, the Facebook pixel lets you track which pages people visit or even which blog posts they read. You can then retarget them with content that you choose based on what they looked at. That increases the chances that they’ll click again – and maybe this time, they’ll buy from you!

You’re going to pay for clicks one way or the other…

That’s the nature of PPC ads, after all. The best thing you can do to improve your CTR and conversions is to dedicate yourself to using these seven tricks to create ads that compel clicks – and ultimately, increase your sales.

SEO Strategies

These SEO Trends Will Dominate in 2018

Trying to stay on top of SEO trends is like trying to hit a moving target while on a speeding train. The landscape and perspective changes so quickly that it can feel impossible to keep up.

But you need to try.

The good news is that there are some new trends on Google that can help increase your visibility – if you know how to use them.

There’s a bit of a learning curve here, but we’re going to break it down for you and tell you how to take advantage of each one… so 2018 can be your best year yet.

Use Google’s New SERP Features

Use Google’s New SERP Features

You’ve undoubtedly noticed that Google’s search results have changed in recent years. Where there used to be a list of ten links per page, now you’ve got all kinds of features, including:

  • Knowledge Graphs
  • The Local Three-Pack
  • Featured Snippets

These things can all help you get more traffic. For example, strong local SEO that includes local keywords and links can help you earn a place in the three-pack. Having great instructional content can earn you the Featured Snippet position, which appears above organic search results.

Use Structured Markup to Enhance Your SERP Listing

SERP Listing

Have you ever noticed that some businesses have pictures, review stars, and other relevant information alongside their link on the SERP? You can do that, too.

Structured markup allows you to use HTML to give Google instructions about what to display when one of your keywords is searched. For example, you might choose to display:

  • A picture of your business
  • Your business hours
  • Your average review rating in stars

You can find a detailed explanation of how to do it here. It’s important to think about what the people searching your keywords are most likely to want. Then, you can use structured markup to include those things in your SERP listing.

As a bonus, including structured markup can increase the chances that you’ll end up with a Featured Snippet or Knowledge Graph spot on the page.

Increase the Relevance of Your Content

Content Marketing

Every time Google updates its algorithm, it gets more difficult to appear near the top of the SERP.

Why? Because the increasing sophistication of Google’s ability to determine the relevance of a page – its new RankBrain features is a key example – means that you can’t get away with sub-par content.

Of course, there are things you can do to increase your relevance. One of the main things is to use LSI – that’s Latent Semantic Indexing – to bolster your keywords.

LSI are terms that relate to your main keywords. You can find them by searching your keyword and scrolling to the bottom of the page. LSI terms appear beneath a headline that says, “Searches related to [your keyword]”.

Using LSI in an organic and informative way can improve your relevance and help Google index your site. It also reduces the chances that your site will be penalized for low-quality content.

Add Voice Search Keywords to Your Site

Increase the Relevance of Your Content

If you’ve ever said, “OK Google” to search for something on your phone, you know that voice search is here to stay. In fact, usage of voice search is very likely to increase in the coming year.

To make the most of it, try researching the questions and search terms people are most likely to use in voice search. One tool you can try is Rank Tracker (they have a free version.)

Some of the keywords you come up with may include misspellings. You’ll have to decide whether you want to try to rank for those. The addition of Google’s RankBrain has made it easier for Google to determine what searchers want, and it can hurt your credibility to include awkward phrases and misspelled words on your site.

Make Sure Your Site Loads in Three Seconds or Less

Make Sure Your Site Loads in Three Seconds or Less

Three seconds isn’t much, but if your site takes longer than that to load, you may end up frustrating searchers and making them hit the dreaded back button.

Both mobile and desktop users are impatient. The first thing you need to do is test your page – and it’s essential to test each page of your site separately. Your home page might load quickly, but if even one of your landing pages is slow, you could be losing out.

Google has a free tool you can use to check your loading speed. If your site loads quickly, you’re good to go. If not, they’ll give you an explanation for the slowness and some tips to help you fix it.

Use Google Personalization to Your Advantage

Use Google Personalization to Your Advantage

Increasingly, Google (and other search engines) are tailoring the SERP to the searcher’s preferences and history. That means they use the searcher’s:

  • Location
  • Previous searches
  • Demographic info (age, gender, etc.)
  • Social media profile (think Google+)

If you want to get a look at your unbiased SERP, use an incognito window to do it. You’ll need to do your best to earn a spot near the top, but once a user clicks your listing, you’ll become a preferred listing for them.

One of the most important thing you can do to take advantage of personalization is to use local keywords and SEO to improve your rank.

Cultivate Linkless Mentions

Cultivate Linkless Mentions

Link building is a cornerstone of SEO – but what if you didn’t need someone to link to your page to reap some SEO benefits? That seems to be the way things are headed.

Bing has already confirmed that they’re using linkless mentions of brands to rank pages. There’s some reason to believe that Google may be headed the same way.

That means that anything you can do to encourage people to mention your brand by name can potentially help you build authority and improve your SERP.

SEO is always changing…

But you can keep up! The seven trends mentioned here are likely to make a big impact in 2018. By getting on top of them now, you can get a leg up on the competition – and grab the lion’s share of clicks and sales.

Ways Facebook is Becoming a Threat to Google in Local Search

5 Ways Facebook is Becoming a Threat to Google in Local Search

What if we told you that Google might not be as important a resource for local search as you think it is?

You’d probably think were crazy. Nobody can challenge Google when it comes to search supremacy.

Right?

Well, when it comes to local search, that might not be true.

We’re not talking about Bing or Yahoo or any traditional search engine. Instead, the search option that might overtake Google in local search isn’t a search engine at all.

It’s Facebook.

The social media giant is undeniably a powerhouse when it comes to marketing small businesses. And given how likely consumers are to connect with local brands on social media, it should come as no surprise that Facebook searches are making inroads against Google.

Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of Facebook search for your business.

#1: Facebook Is Using Location in New Ways

Facebook Is Using Location in New Ways

As recently as 2015, Facebook’s search function was quite ineffective for local search. People who searched for businesses near them got incomplete (and often inaccurate) results.

Today, in mid-2017, Facebook highlights the locations of businesses at the top of their home pages and on the “About” tab.

Facebook’s search function defaults now to local search. Before, if a user searched for a type of business, they might get results from their hometown – or from halfway around the world.

Today, the search returns only businesses located within a couple of miles of the searcher’s location. That’s a huge improvement.

Another key change is that Facebook now recognizes when to use location – and when to leave it alone.

For example, a search for a type of business or an attraction – such as a restaurant or a park – returns relevant local results showing Places first, and then local businesses as appropriate.

When a user searches for something else, such as a celebrity or book, Facebook disregards locations and returns other results that are relevant to the search.

#2: Facebook Local Searches Return Helpful Information

Facebook Local Searches Return Helpful Information

One of Google’s big advantages in local search is their ability to show relevant information – such as hours, distances, and maps – in their search results.

And now Facebook does that too.

In fact, when you search for a business on Facebook, you’ll see a ton of pertinent data in your list of search results, including:

  • Profile picture and other photos
  • The street address of the business
  • The distance from you
  • Whether the business is open or closed
  • The average star rating from Facebook reviews

That’s a huge amount of information – and it can make a tremendous difference when it comes to attracting Facebook users to your business.

Everything they need to know is at their fingertips, and that means that you’ll get more clicks, calls, and visits as a result of Facebook search.

#3: Facebook Is Crowdsourcing Its Databases

Facebook Is Crowdsourcing Its Databases

One of Facebook’s value propositions for businesses is that it’s a social media giant with a huge number of users. As of June 2017, that number has topped two billion!

Two billion people have a ton of collective knowledge, and Facebook is now putting that knowledge to work for local businesses.

When a user checks in at a local business on Facebook, they get a series of questions about the business – questions designed to help other users learn about it.

For example, they might be asked:

  • Does this business have parking?
  • Does our map show the correct location of this business?

The benefit of this type of crowdsourcing is clear. It ensures that anybody who searches your business on Facebook will have access to accurate and detailed data about your business to help them decide whether to buy from you.

#4: Friend Posts and Local Search Are Integrated

Friend Posts and Local Search Are Integrated

Would you be more likely to frequent a local business if you knew your friends liked it?

If you’re like most people, the answer is yes. That’s because social proof is a huge driver of business in digital marketing.

Even reviews from strangers on sites like Yelp carry a lot of weight, with 88% of people saying they read reviews at least some of the time.

Facebook now uses Friend check-ins and posts in combination with local search.

What does that mean? When you search for a local business, you might see an announcement that the business was “visited by friends.”

You can click to see which friends have visited. And when you search for a business, you will also get Friend Posts in your search results so you can see what your friends have to say.

#5: Facebook Has Created City Guides

Facebook Has Created City Guides

Which would you rather do when you visit a new city: go to a business that caters to tourists, or visit one that the locals love?

If you’re like a lot of people, you’d choose the latter option. Now, Facebook local search makes it easy for people to find out what the locals say about your business – and for locals to get to know about your business in a new way.

In addition to displaying business information such as location, hours, and reviews, the city guides also show which friends have visited each business listed.

Make the Most of Your Facebook Profile

Want people to be able to find you on Facebook? Here are some quick steps you can take to make it easy for them.

  1. Fill out your profile completely. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number are listed properly and consistent with other online listings.
  2. When you put in your address, check to make sure that Facebook displays a map with a pin at the top of your profile. (It should show up automatically, but doesn’t always!)
  3. Answer as many questions as you can, even if it means simply answering “no” to questions that don’t apply to you. This eliminates the need for crowdsourcing and ensures accuracy.
  4. Activate Facebook buttons like “Call” and “Make an Appointment” to streamline the interaction process.
  5. Add additional business categories if they apply to you. You only need to provide one, but adding additional options can broaden the chances that people will find you.

Providing Facebook with the information needed to help searchers find you is easy – and can have a huge impact on your traffic.

Google Still Matters…

… But Facebook matters too when it comes to local search.

Take a few minutes to optimize your business description and page – and see the difference that local Facebook traffic can make to your business.

Blog Titles

Creating Killer Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist

The one thing you need to know about creating killer blog titles is…

What? What is it? You need to know…

… and that’s the point.

The title you put at the top of your blog post can make or break everything that follows. Slap a dull headline there and readers will leave before checking out the first sentence.

But… come up with a compelling headline – the kind that’s irresistible to readers – and they’ll not only read your post…

They’ll share it.

Since virality is a key goal for online content, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that writing fantastic blog titles is a skill you need to have in your arsenal.

Here’s how to do it.

Aim for Accuracy

Aim for Accuracy

Accuracy might seem like a dull bit of advice to start with, but it’s hugely important.

Why? Because your title must reflect the content of the post!

If it doesn’t, readers may suspect you of pulling a bait and switch – attracting them with a headline that makes promises the rest of the post can’t fulfill.

A good way to ensure you achieve this goal is to come up with a working title. It doesn’t have to be sexy – we’ll get to that later – but it does have to describe the general direction of your piece and what readers can expect to learn.

Keep Your Keywords Front and Center

Keep Your Keywords Front and Center

Keywords aren’t everything – but they’re not nothing, either, especially when it comes to titles.

If you want your blog post to kill it on Google, then you need to make sure that you use your best keyword as close to the beginning of your title as possible.

We’ll get into more detail about how to fine-tune your headline later, but identifying keywords is a must. It’ll give you the best possible chance of getting a high SERP.

Give it Some Sexy Oomph

Give it Some Sexy Oomph

We’re supposed to sell the sizzle and not the steak – so add some sizzle to your blog titles to make sure they’re seductive to readers.

Let’s look at a few sexy options to try:

  1. Use strong language – selectively. People react to superlatives whether they’re positive or negative. In other words, using words like best, worst, brilliant, terrible, love, and hate inspire strong emotions. But… don’t overdo it. Everything can’t be the best or the worst – so choose wisely.
  2. Use a little alliteration. Sometimes, repeating sounds makes titles more appealing. Using two or more words that begin with the same letter can give your title a little something special.
  3. Add value to your headline. If you’re offering a freebie or giveaway, then bracket it at the end of your headline, like this: Creating Cheat Sheets Customers Crave [TEMPLATE]. The value is clear – and customers will click to get their hands on that enticing template you’ve promised to give them.
  4. Add visuals. Now, you can’t make a picture part of your title, but you can let people know that your post includes photos, videos, or an infographic. You have the choice of incorporating a word like “photos” into your title, or bracketing at the end as we did in the example above.

Adding just one sexy plus to your title can make a huge difference in the number of clicks you get for your blog post.

Use Numbers

Use Numbers

How many tips will I get if I read this post?

Readers love numbers. They provide important data about your blog post and help quantify the post’s value to your readers. They also provide a sense of certainty in an uncertain world.

A Conductor study found that 36% of readers preferred headlines with numbers – and that more women than men preferred them.

You don’t have to use a number in every title, but adding them when it makes sense is smart.

Remember that Short is Sweet

Remember that Short is Sweet

A long title might be accurate – but it’s also not likely to be very appealing or memorable.

A lot of blog posts have bloated titles that could be made a lot better. Here’s an example of a too-long headline that could be improved:

Think You Can Ignore Snapchat for Marketing? Here Are 12 Statistics That Prove You Shouldn’t

There’s nothing wrong with that title exactly, but it’s not exactly bewitching anybody with its elegance or snappiness. We might rewrite it like this:

12 Stats That Show Why Snapchat Should Be in Your Marketing Mix

Not only is the second title better – and more interesting – but it’s also shorter. We’ll explain more about why that matters in the next tip.

Another thing to keep in mind when shortening blog titles is that the rhythm of your title matters. Even if people are reading it on a screen, they still feel the rhythm as they read it. If your title’s clunky, they’ll know.

Write Titles for Search and Social

Write Titles for Search and Social

Do you want your title to show up in full when people search on Google? That means you need less than 70 characters.

Look up above. The first headline – the clunky one – has 92 characters. That means the title will be cut off when it appears on Google.

The second headline has only 63 characters. Readers will be able to see it in its entirety – and that can make a difference when it comes to the number of clicks you get.

Now let’s talk about Twitter. You know that the limit for a Tweet is 140 characters – so what does that mean for your blog title?

According to one study, titles shared on Twitter should have between 120 and 130 characters, leaving enough room for the Tweeter to include a brief comment or hashtag.

Of course, Twitter users have the option of shortening a link using bit.ly or another site, but then all the time you put into creating a killer title is wasted because users will have to click to see it.

Get a Second Opinion

Get a Second Opinion

Sometimes, there’s no better way to fine-tune a title than to get another pair of eyes on it – particularly if you’ve been working on it for a while.

Have a trusted friend who’s good with words? A marketing buddy who knows what customers want to read? Try sending them your headline and workshopping it a bit.

If you don’t have someone to help, then put the headline away and sleep on it. After a day or two, you’ll be able to come back to it with fresh eyes – and fresh insight.

Want Your Titles to Slay?

Stop settling for subpar titles and insist on the best. The tips we’ve shared here will help you craft compelling, killer titles that’ll have readers clamoring for your content.

Paid Ads Not Performing

Paid Ads Not Performing? It’s Time to Rethink Your Strategy!

If your paid ads aren’t getting the results you want, you might as well set your money on fire.

That might sound harsh, but it’s true. Continuing to pay for clicks that aren’t going anywhere – or spending time creating ads that nobody’s clicking on – is a waste of time and money.

Your audience is waiting – but they’ll find someone else if they can’t find you.

Not sure how to turn those paid ads into the lead generators you want them to be? Never fear, we’re here to help. We’re about tell you how to revamp your strategy and start turning clicks into profits.

Strategy? What’s That?

Strategy

Are you mistaking tactics for strategy? A lot of people do – so let’s start by defining strategy.

A strategy is the road you take to achieve a goal. It’s not specific. It’s broad and always has its eyes on the prize.

For example, if you want to increase your sales by 50% with PPC advertising, that’s a strategy. Choosing new keywords to target? That’s a tactic – one step of many that you use to achieve your goal.

You must know what you want to accomplish with your PPC campaigns before you get started… because knowing helps you map out the road ahead of you.

Moving the Goalposts

Moving the Goalposts

Before you get excited and start reworking your ads, take a step back. You may have defined a goal – but is it achievable?

Increasing your sales by a certain percent – or generating a chosen number of leads – might be very achievable. Or it might not. If your current campaign is generating ten leads a week, you might not be able to get to a thousand a week in one campaign.

Be realistic. Evaluate your current position and pick a goal that you can reach. It might be a challenge, but it must be within the realm of possibility to be useful.

Find the Gaps

Find the Gaps

You’re already running PPC ads… that aren’t working… but do you know why they aren’t? That’s the next step – and proceeding beyond this point without identifying those gaps is a mistake.

Maybe your ads aren’t worded persuasively enough. Maybe you’re targeting the wrong keywords – or you haven’t researched your competition – or you’re not retargeting properly.

Whatever they are, those gaps exist. You can’t revamp your strategy if you don’t acknowledge them.

For many companies and entrepreneurs, that means going back to the drawing board:

  • Re-doing (or doing for the first time) keyword research
  • Identifying competitors (and the keywords they use)
  • Evaluating the wording and images in your ads
  • Looking at the rest of your sales funnel and testing it for weaknesses
  • Reworking your retargeting strategy

That’s a lot – but it’s going to be time well spent. You can’t hope to get better results from your PPC campaigns if you’re not willing to get a little dirty in the process.

Now, let’s look at three things you can do to ramp up the clicks you get from your campaigns – and the profits your business earns.

Tip #1: Double Up on Your Keywords

Double Up on Your Keywords

This first tip is one you can you use if you already have a high SERP placement, and it can help you to dominate the search results if you do it properly.

Let’s say you have a page – or a piece of content – that’s already ranked near the top on Google. That’s great – but you can double down and grab even more PPC traffic for yourself. Here’s how.

  • Make note of the pages or content with the highest SERP rankings – and the keywords they’re ranking for
  • Create compelling PPC ads that use the same keywords

Now, your page will appear near the top of the SERP – as it always did. However, you’ll also have the advantage of having your ad appear at the top of the page too.

That’s a one-two punch that can make your company and content stand out and give you a distinct advantage over your competitors.

Tip #2: Branch Out and Run Gmail Ads

Branch Out and Run Gmail Ads

Gmail ads might not be in your marketing mix right now – but they should be. Why? Check out this statistic:

Gmail has 1 billion active monthly users as of 2016!

That number’s no joke – and attention must be paid.

Gmail ads are affordable and quick to set up – and there are a couple of great ways you can target your competitors’ customers. For example:

  1. You can target keywords used in emails – and that means you can focus on keywords used by your competitors. Google is ending the practice of mining emails for keywords at the end of the year, but for the next few months you can take advantage of their current targeting methods.
  2. Another tactic to try is adding your competitors’ URLs to your targeted keywords. This is a sneaky way to reach their customers. However, you do need to keep in mind that Gmail will treat the URL you add as a keyword.

Gmail ads allow you to reach a huge audience in return for a relatively low expenditure – and that will ensure that every click counts.

Tip #3: Retarget, Retarget, and Retarget Again

Retarget, Retarget, and Retarget Again

You’ve probably heard the old saying that a customer must be “touched” by a brand between 7 and 10 times before they’ll bite and make a purchase.

It would be easy if you could count on customers to visit and revisit your website until they reached their comfort level – but that’s not the way it works.

The answer is artful retargeting. By artful, we mean that you need to think about which actions you’re going to retarget and how you’re going to retarget those customers.

Here are some examples:

  1. If people bounce away from your landing page, you might retarget them with an ad with a fresh message and a different value proposition.
  2. People who begin to fill out your opt-in form but don’t finish might respond to an ad reminding them of the benefits of signing up with you.
  3. For those who have opted all the way in but not made a purchase, targeting with a coupon or discount can help close the deal.

Note that all these options use a similar tactic by offering customers something that’s the same, but different.

In other words, your ads shouldn’t reuse the same copy that’s on your website. Users have already seen that and it didn’t work, so make sure your retargeting ads offer them something new to think about.

Making Every Click Count…

PPC ads aren’t doing you any good if nobody’s clicking. If you’re going to pay for a click, you want it to mean something – and these ideas can help you get the targeted, pre-qualified traffic you need to succeed.

Google Posts

What You Need to Know about Google Posts

You already know that Google is the search king – but now there’s a new way for local businesses to use it.

We’re talking about Google Posts. You might not be using this feature of Google My Business yet…

But you should.

In fact, done properly, Google POsts can help you share vital information about your business – and attract new customers.

What’s a Google Post?

In case you don’t already know, a Google Post is a short post (300 characters or less) that you can create using GMB. Most businesses use them to:

  • Promote upcoming events
  • Share daily specials and current promotions
  • Showcase your top-selling products
  • Highlight newly arrived products
  • Connect with customers by including a clickable link

The posts last only a week, so this is a marketing tactic that you need to use on an ongoing basis for it to be effective.

Where Do Customers See Google Posts?

Where Do Customers See Google Posts?

When customers search for your business, they see a box displaying information about your business at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

That box is Google’s Knowledge Panel, and it’s where your Google Posts will appear after you create them.

In other words…

Creating a Google Post ensures that anyone who searches for your business will see, highlighted at the top of the screen, a post of your choosing.

Make the Most of Google Posts

Make the Most of Google Posts

Are you ready to start creating your first Google Post? Here are some tips to help you out.

Don’t Worry about Keywords

While keywords play a big role in your placement on Google’s SERP, they have nothing to do with your Google Posts.

The best use of a Google Post is to highlight a unique selling proposition, announce an event, or get customers to make a reservation or sign up for your list.

You only have 300 words to use – so make every word count and focus on getting customers to take the action you want them to take.

Use a Properly-Sized Image

As you might expect, Google Posts have guidelines for images. If your image is too small or too large, Google will reject it.

The ideal image is 750 X 750 pixels. Anything smaller than 250 X 250 will be rejected. Making sure to resize your image if needed will ensure that it displays the way you want it to.

Center Weight Your Images

The next tip is to make sure you center weight your images. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of having the top of your image chopped off.

The last thing you want is to post a picture of yourself with the top of your head missing – so be careful and use this tip to ensure your image looks great.

Create a Unique URL

One of the few downsides of using Google Posts is that Google Analytics doesn’t break out their performance so you can track your results. However, there is a way around that.

Instead of sending traffic from your Google Posts to your home page or your usual landing page, create a unique URL.

That way, you can track everything click that comes to you via the Google Post link and get a good idea of which posts are working – and which ones aren’t.

Perfect Your First 100 Characters

As we mentioned above, your Google Post may contain up to 300 characters… but they won’t all show up in the Knowledge Panel.

Only the first 100 words will appear there, and that means they must be perfect.

To get the results you want, craft the first 100 words so that they’re clear and appealing. You should also take care to make sure that you don’t get cut off in the middle of a sentence.

That might sound persnickety, but you want to highlight your value proposition clearly so that people know they want to take action as soon as they see it.

Google Posts are Made to be Shared

One of our favorite things about Google Posts is that they’re meant to be shared. In fact, each post has a share button on it, and clicking it will give customers the chance to share it on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Email

In addition, each post has a unique URL that people can use to share it in other places.

Keep sharing in mind when you conceptualize your posts, particularly when you’re highlighting an event or a new product. They’re a great way to get the word out on social media.

Post Frequently

How often should you create a new Google Post? The short answer is: frequently.

Here’s why. Each Google Post you create will be live for a maximum of 7 days. The exceptions are:

  • Posts highlighting future events stay active until the event is over
  • If you create more than 10 posts per week, only the most recent 10 will display

Multiple posts display in a carousel format with the newest post first. When the knowledge panel displays, people will be able to see the first two posts in their entirety, plus half of the third.

Keeping the overall display in mind while creating Google Posts can help you attract customers.

Have Future Posts Lined Up

Unfortunately, at this point Google doesn’t allow businesses to schedule future posts. It’s an inconvenience for sure, but you can still prep your posts in advance and then post them manually.

Since frequent posting is a must, it’s a good idea to create several posts at once and have them in the queue so you can share them when the time comes.

Know the Exceptions

While most businesses can take advantage of Google Posts, there’s one exception. Businesses in the hotel industry cannot currently create Google Posts. However, that may change in the future.

The other exception you need to know about regards the images you post. As of this writing, videos and GIFs are not supported. You’ll need to focus on compelling photographs if you want to create Google Posts.

Want to Increase Your Clicks from Google?

Creating Google Posts provides potential customers with valuable information that can help them make the decision to click, reserve, buy – or to visit your business in person.

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