December 2014 Archives

Claiming your local business listing, not only verifies you as the owner of a valid business, but also gives you the authority to ensure the listing is up-to-date and strengthen your business's SEO.

Whether you have already started claiming listings or are looking to get started, a free SEO report will give you the perfect base of knowledge with optimization tips and top directories to be listed in.

While each local directory has its own specific steps (like the top 5 directories to get listed on), there's an overall general process for claiming your local business listing on directories and indexes. This post will provide you with tips and guidelines about the process of claiming your local business listing.

1. Does a listing already exist?

Many search engines and directories will ask you if your businesses already exists in their records. Even for businesses (including local ones) that have been around for as little as a month, there is a good chance that there is a record of it online somewhere. Don't be surprised to see your business listed with inaccurate or incomplete information. Over half of local businesses have incorrect information online (check here to get a free local directory report on your business).

2. Be prepared with your business's information

To claim a listing (whether there is already one created for your business or not), you will need to input general information about your business. The information required usually consists of:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website address
  • Business category

You want the information to be accurate and identical on every other listing on the web, not only to improve your SEO but also so as not to confuse anyone searching for your business. With 50% of mobile search users visit a store within a day of their search, inaccurate information could be the difference between a new customer or not.

Information that is not necessarily required, but improves your listings visibility is rich media. Optimizing local directories by adding descriptions, photos and videos to profile listings increases customer conversion by 5-10x. The more information your business provides, the more you're in control of your brand and can optimize conversions.

3. Verify your business

The last step ensures that you are the business you say you are. While it may seem inconvenient (because it builds in an extra step), the verification step is actually great for the security of your local business listing and your overall marketing.

There's three ways this verification can occur, two are fairly quick and the third will take a few days:

  • An immediate phone call where you will verify via a pin number
  • An email where you click a verification link
  • A mailed postcard with a pin number verification

One important thing to note regarding verification: you can't choose the method.

To make sure you don't miss your verification, answer all calls, check your spam inbox, as well as your regular email inbox, and make sure everyone in your business knows to be looking for a verification postcard (all depending on the method used).

4. Hurry up and wait

While you were able to complete the local listing process quickly, directories may take a little more time. Your listing changes can appear in a matter of minutes, days or months, depending on the review process.

When you need to make changes in the future, tools like Google My Business will allow you to change many details easily, without re-verifying. However, some local directories might require re-verification on any change (again, it's with your best interest in mind!).

If you are looking to claim many local business listing at once, SearchCast can help get you started and keep every listing up-to-date, taking all the work out of constantly having to keep on top of each listing site. Click here to see the impact claiming one of your local listings will make to your local SEO.

The post Claim Your Local Business Listing appeared first on LocalVox.

If you're entering 2015 with the decision to develop a public relations strategy, you may be stuck wondering who exactly you want in charge of execution.

When it's time to outsource your public relations efforts, be sure to choose a PR agency that is right for your business. If you are devoting company resources to hiring an agency, you want to ensure they understand your business goals and make a solid contribution to overall profitability.

Here are a few questions to ask before committing:

1. What experience is under the agency's belt?

You will want to pay attention to media coverage the agency has earned for its clients. Don't be afraid to ask for national media samples and client references before you take the leap. When looking at a PR agency's experience, also be sure to note the industries it has worked with. Do they have contacts within your industry? Do they understand the technical aspects of what you do? This is especially important in B2B public relations, as the supply chains and manufacturing processes are often technical in nature.

2. Does the agency promote itself?

An agency should be devoting time to promoting its own services in the same manner you expect it to promote your business. If you are interested in bylined articles, look to see if an agency team member is regularly published in media outlets. Does the agency blog look like a ghost town, or is it consistently distributing content for readers?

3. Do they have ideas?

When you talk to a representative from the agency, is he or she making suggestions for innovative PR solutions? You want to choose an agency that will come to you with solid ideas when you feel stuck. You shouldn't hire an agency to simply complete small tasks as you assign them, but rather, to be a strategic partner who offers consistent expertise. After all, that is why you are hiring a professional.

4. Do you like the agency?

References, experience, technology, expertise - all of these things are vital when choosing a PR agency to promote your business. However, you can't downplay the importance of picking an agency that you actually like. Choose an agency that aligns with your company culture and hires people who you enjoy working with. To make the most of your public relations strategies, you will want to maintain a constant and consistent flow of communication. This is easier when you find that you can build a strong working relationship with the professionals handling your brand.

Hire an agency that is persistent and determined to garner coverage for your business and its executives. A PR agency should work as a strategic partner, committed to the success of your brand. If it is time to start talking to PR agencies, contact Ripley PR to find out how we can assist you in reaching company goals for 2015.

Dec. 3, 2014 - HALIFAX, Canada -- Progress magazine ranked Wired Flare Inc. No. 3 on its list of 2014 Fast Growing Companies in Atlantic Canada. The list is now in its 15th year, and every year it is a highly anticipated ranking of Atlantic Canadian companies that have seen the most significant revenue increases over the past three years. According to Progress, these companies are setting the pace for the new economy, not only in Atlantic Canada but across the country.

"We're so proud to be included as one of the 2014 Fastest Growing Companies in Atlantic Canada," says Frances Leary, President and CEO of Wired Flare Inc. "This ranking is a celebration of our growth and the growth of so many other Atlantic Canadian businesses. We've worked hard to get here over the past three years, and I can say without a doubt that this is just the beginning. We plan to keep growing for years to come."

Wired Flare Inc. is a Halifax-based online communications company that specializes in "telling stories that ignite inspiring and meaningful conversations online." The team of online marketing specialists, social media experts, storytellers, and filmmakers works with franchises and organizations throughout Canada and the United States to leverage the power of the Internet and help their clients grow.

The 2014 Fastest Growing companies were announced at a reception in Moncton on November 25 and featured in the November issue of Progress magazine. Total revenue growth for this year's 40 Fastest Growing Companies ranges between 25% and %4,848%, with a median growth rate of 201%. Fourteen of the companies boast annual sales of more than $25 million while 26 report less than $25 million in sales. Almost all of the companies anticipate increased employment, revenues and profitability in 2015.

"These Fastest Growing Companies come from a wide array of sectors, and the ones reporting the most rapid growth are in innovation, IT, aerospace and defense, ocean technology, and hospitality," says Progress Publisher Neville Gilfoy. "Even companies that are experiencing 40% growth are showing us that a spike in sales is possible, even in challenging markets. A combination of innovation, talented people, marketing, and new product and export development are key factors, of course."

According to sponsor Phil Clarke of PricewaterhouseCoopers, "These are the Atlantic companies who know what it means to experience tremendous growth, and it's not just growth, but growth in challenging economic times that set these companies apart."

You can read more about these exciting and innovative companies in the November issue of Progress magazine: http://www.progressmedia.ca.

Learn more about Wired Flare Inc. by visiting their website: http://www.wiredflare.com.

Media Contact

Wired Flare Inc.

902-407-2699

***@wiredflare.com

In order to set your franchise system and your franchisees up for long-term online success, it's crucial to create a well-defined online marketing model that identifies how the Internet will be used in marketing and who is responsible for various components of that process.

Unfortunately, this is an element that is often overlooked.

1. Search Engine Marketing

It's important to consider the search engine marketing components as well as the social networking components.

  • How will the Internet be used to ensure the franchise website lands on Page 1 for relevant searches in all of its local markets?
  • Who will ensure that happens... franchisor or franchisee?
  • How will social networking be utilized? Only at the brand level or to help local franchises engage with their markets? How many pages and profiles are required to do this?
  • Who is responsible for setting up and maintaining those social media networks?

There are many options for creating a model that fits each franchise system's unique needs. Some franchisors prefer to control the use of online marketing and social media entirely. Some encourage their franchisees to engage online locally using social networking, search marketing or both. Some franchisors control all of the content and customer services, whereas others leave that entirely to the franchisees. Many franchise systems utilize a mix of both.

2. How to Make it Run Smoothly

While we have our opinions as to what works best based on the franchises we've worked with, what's important is to identify the system that works best for your franchise and then specify the ins and outs of how that's going to work, along with guidelines to make sure it all runs smoothly.

Elements to consider include:

  • How to maintain brand consistency.
  • How to monitoring and respond to customer feedback in a consistent and positive way.
  • How to implement a crisis media plan so everyone involves knows how to respond to serious online issues and prevent the rapid spreading of negative customer feedback.

In the event that the responsibility lies largely with franchisees, it is very important to specific y in advance the online expectations and boundaries by which those expectations should be achieved. Items to consider here include:

  • Will social media participation be mandatory, and if so what measures of success will be put in place and what level of interaction would be required?
  • How much time would franchisees be expected to spend on social media in order to accomplish necessary goals?
  • What costs would be incurred to achieve these goals? Time or money or both?
  • Would franchisors recommend outsourcing as an option, and if so how would that be funded?

These are just some of the aspects to consider when designing an Internet Marketing model that meets the needs of your franchise. Each franchise is unique, and it's important to create a tailored model that benefits both franchisor and franchisees.

Also, remember that whether your franchise is a start-up or is well-established with many franchisees, it is never too late to implement a model that will support your online success.

Society-City-Country-Cartoons-Punch-1962-03-21-454.jpg

Robert Cialdini is rightly praised for his work Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition).

Cialdini has trenchant obsersations how seemingly irrelevant features of our social landscape determine much of our choices.

We are familiar with the parlor trick- 3 people conspire together & look up at something in the air.

All in an effort to trick passerbys to join us -in looking at nothing.

Punch as a great variation on this theme!

Frances Leary talks about what makes great social media content...it's really quite simple.

Just put your audience first.

Google Maps recently updated their local page quality guidelines.

The updated guidelines include changes for both single and multi-location businesses with a focus on creating consistencies.

The major changes include:

1) Descriptors can't be used in listings

Descriptors refers to the title of a listing where you could previously add a place or service, such as "Starbucks Downtown" or " Joe's Pizza Delivery." Google now requires businesses to use the exact name of the storefront in order to create consistency across listings. Extra descriptors, while helpful at times, can be confusing to online searchers and should only be included in the business description. One thing to note: individual practitioners with specified degrees are not considered a descriptors.

For multi-location businesses, the main business name should be used, unless location(s) in a certain demographic area have different names. For example, Panera and Saint Louis Bread Co. are part of the same business but have different names based on geographic region.

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2) Two or more brands that share the same location must pick one name

If your business is a bookstore with a coffee shop inside, you will be forced to choose the primary focus of your business: either bookstore OR coffee shop, not both. Google made this change in order to provide searchers with a clear idea of the type of businesses that are located on Google Maps. Google does not want to direct a searcher to a mislabeled small coffee shop that is really a large bookstore at the same location.

3) If different departments have individual pages, each must be labeled with a unique category

This rule applies to public-facing departments that operate as a distinct entity, such as the Toyota of Escondido Collision Center. The name and primary business should be differentiated from other departments (Collision Center vs. Sales Department) and will typically have separate customer entrances. In addition to having separate categories, each page may have different hours of operation.

The "Toyota of Escondido" dealership would fall under the category "Toyota Dealer," while the "Toyota of Escondido Collision Center" will be in the "Auto Repair Shop" category.

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4) Virtual offices are not allowed

If a you have an employee who works remotely for you out of their home in a different city, you can not list your business as having a location in that city in an effort to have your business appear bigger. Your business must have a physical location that is staffed during regular operating hours in order to be included on Google Maps.

5) Your business category should be as specific as possible

Since this new rule is a SEO best practice, I know you are already doing it!

However, if you aren't, make sure to choose specific category names instead of an overarching category in order to show up accurately in searches. Stay away from broad categories and dig into the nitty gritty of your business.

6) Solo practitioners who work in multi-location practices should display both names

Any professional that is the sole public-facing figure in a location should display both the brand/company and his/her name. Professionals who fall into this category would be doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, insurance agents, etc.

Example: [brand/company]: [practitioner's name]. Therefore, Joe Miller, the sole agent at an Allstate insurance location would use the name: Allstate: Joe Miller

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It is not yet clear how strictly these changes will be enforced, but Google implemented these changes to make it easier for customers to find your business, not to hinder your chances of being discovered. By not updating your Google Maps local listing to meet the new guidelines, your business runs the risk of being suspended - a high price to pay for not making a few quick changes.

If you haven't created a Google Maps listing yet, fear not! With the introduction of Google My Business, the technology giant has made it easier for small businesses to dominate local search from one central dashboard.Download LocalVox's free eBook to learn more.

Are you making lasting connections with potential customers? For B2B companies, connecting with C-level executives at different businesses is vital to generate leads.

But are those executives actually reading the content you produce?

A recent study by The Economist of brand marketers and their B2B audiences highlights the growing divide between company executives and the marketers handling their brands. The survey cites that 93% of marketers will maintain or increase their current content marketing efforts in the New Year, but they may be missing the mark on your brand's overall goals.

With the primary purpose of producing content for most marketers being to increase sales, many unsatisfied execs feel that their efforts come across as self-serving.

The main citied reason for content not making a lasting impression on business leaders is that it seemed like more of a sales pitch rather than compelling information. With 75% of executives researching content to find new business ideas, developing informational pieces that shed light on a particular subject matter would prove more valuable.

This disconnect may be a sure sign that some of your marketing dollars need to be allocated to other areas, such as public relations.

In B2B public relations, there are many different ways a comprehensive PR strategy can assist your business. The study shows that 86% of businesses prefer classic text content over emerging forms, and, even while using solely text, the possibilities to showcase your company's expertise are endless.

A PR team can develop a plan that includes creating white papers, developing blog posts, distributing informative press releases, introducing you as a speaker or attendee to an industry event, or writing bylined articles for a well-established publication.

If you aren't seeing a solid return on your investment from current marketing initiatives, now is the time to try new methods. At Ripley PR, we stay up-to-date with industry news to ensure your brand's content is timely and relevant. Our job is to establish you and your business as reputable experts in your field, and create a desire for the valuable information you publish.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2014 is the previous archive.

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