BY Jeanne Eury
The first of the year brings no shortage of resolutions, commitments and plans. How can a business owner discern the ‘sounds great’ from the ‘really effective and necessary’ things on which to devote their time and energy? Focus on actions that serve multiple purposes, can be implemented alongside regular activities, and can provide quantifiable value that benefits the entire business. Here are three that check all of these boxes.
Commit to Fully Utilizing your Google Business Map Listing
Take advantage of the Google Map listing for increased calls, increased reviews (which leads to more customers), free advertising, and increased opportunity to continue to rank higher organically in Google search results.
Every business needs to be certain they have claimed AND verified their Google Map listing. Visit www.gybo.com/business to walk through the steps. Don’t dismiss this as insignificant; it is much more important than most business owners realize.
Activity from Google Maps combined with activity on your website will boost your organic search results. Paying attention to the map app provides the opportunity for higher Google rank. 78% of location based mobile searches result in an offline sale within 24 hours…78%.
Google reviews are more trusted than any other search engine or app reviews. Always ask customers and clients for reviews. Respond to every review you receive, both good and bad, as it will increase the perception of your customer service.
Many businesses can also upload videos and photos to their maps account. Adding media produces up to five times more traffic, and businesses can add posts daily to their Google map page allowing customers to see information about upcoming events, current specials and more. This is FREE advertising.
Commit to Being Visible
Visibility is more important than ever and, luckily for business owners, easier than ever as well. Getting visible provides a number of benefits both tangible and intangible. There is no one-size fits all so use your creativity to maximize visibility.
Use video. It is the single most influential and popular platform available and doesn’t require any additional budget. Every smartphone made within the last three years has a camera that can produce quality video, and every platform comes with basic editing software. Video is time effective because it can easily be incorporated into the daily business routine, and then uploaded across multiple platforms for maximum exposure. You can use the same video on your website, in your e-mail, and on your social media accounts.
Retail stores, restaurants, yoga studios, bakeries, and many other businesses can easily use Facebook Live to create new content. Show off the personality of your business and encourage customers be part of the newest offerings and activities by showing the meals for the day being prepared, unboxing the latest merchandise or giving a glimpse of an ongoing class.
Service businesses can greatly benefit from creating a YouTube channel. Instructional videos, how-to repair or replace videos, before-and-after videos, and fun tips for multi-purposing a product or service are wildly popular, and can be uploaded from your phone’s video recorder in less than five minutes. Build a video resource library on your website and watch your Google search rank rise.
Visibility also includes in-person networking events, involvement in community philanthropic endeavors, volunteering, serving on a committees, donating to silent auctions, sending press releases to media outlets about a new product, a new employee, or an industry or community recognition. Keep people aware of your company name, even if they aren’t actively looking for what you offer. This does require time management, but strive to attend at least two in-person events per month, find one cause to become involved with, and send one press release to news outlets and/or one article/blog post to local/regional/industry publications per quarter.
Commit to Asking for the Business
Many owners are so involved with the day-to-day of operations of their business that they forget that nothing happens without sales…nothing. Too often, the focus on marketing overshadows the actual business of selling.
Every interaction with your customers should include an ‘invitation’ to buy. This doesn’t have to be annoying or tacky, it simply needs to supply information that enables them to feel like they have an opportunity to do something smart and personally beneficial. Every email, every video, every interaction in your place of business and with your staff should be filled with helpful information.
We’ve all been asked ‘can I get you anything else’ at the end of a shopping trip, but that does not count as a real invitation; it’s too routine and lacks personalization. Instead train your staff (and remind yourself) to ask about a specific product or service when speaking to customers. If someone buys a pair of shoes, ask about a matching purse or even socks. Ask about an upgrade or service that would improve their current purchase.
Don’t just make a recommendation: sell it. There is a huge difference between asking a customer if she would like to add a sweater to a purchase and actually showing her a sweater and saying ‘I had someone purchase a similar dress last weekend and she grabbed one of these cute cardigans so she could wear her dress all four seasons instead of just two. I thought that was so smart.’ No one wants to be sold but everyone wants to buy…so give them a reason to add to their order in a conversational, personalized, and practical way.
Businesses who implement a commitment to asking for the sale, or presenting their offerings in a way that someone feels compelled to purchase them, report an average increase of 18%. Every business could use an extra 18%!
The first of the year is hectic and everyone is bombarded with opportunities for self and business improvement. By taking on these three recommendations you will make strides across almost every aspect of your business: marketing, sales, and community integration. It is a great way to start the new business year.
Jeanne Eury is a digital media and marketing expert. Her company, 8 Arms Group works with businesses to increase their marketing reach. Visit www.8armsgroup.com to learn more about promoting your business effectively. Want more information about the suggestions Jeanne provided here? Visit the PCWJ blog at www.PittCountyWomen.com.