IDMD – Online Marketing and Reputation Management https://idmd.ca Online Marketing and Reputation Management for Business and Individuals Mon, 23 Sep 2019 20:00:22 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://i0.wp.com/idmd.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-favicon114.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 IDMD – Online Marketing and Reputation Management https://idmd.ca 32 32 167062101 The Basics of Online Advertising https://idmd.ca/2019/09/the-basics-of-online-advertising/ https://idmd.ca/2019/09/the-basics-of-online-advertising/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 19:49:05 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=19960 How does online advertising help a local business grow? Digital advertising increases awareness—it’s that simple. Digital advertising consists of a range of services, all of which work to promote a business online. More and more businesses are increasing the amount that they spend on digital advertising, and experts like Jamie Turner suggest digital advertising [...]

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How does online advertising help a local business grow?

Digital advertising increases awareness—it’s that simple. Digital advertising consists of a range of services, all of which work to promote a business online.

More and more businesses are increasing the amount that they spend on digital advertising, and experts like Jamie Turner suggest digital advertising on social platforms is well worth the spend.

If I were to provide one tip to people who are using social media, it would be this — don’t be afraid of paying for social media reach and clicks.” – Jamie Turner, 60secondmarketer.com

The best part about digital advertising is that results can be easily monitored and ROI can be easily tracked. You probably don’t want to be spending lotsa money without some proof of performance right?

With traditional media channels, there is sometimes no way of tracking the effectiveness of an advertisement in terms of advanced data analytics. With digital advertising, companies like Google and Facebook allow users to access advanced analytics. This way local businesses know that their money is being well spent and that the digital advertisements are positively impacting their storefront.

When determining the success of an ad, the important factors will differ case by case. For the most part, the success of an ad lies in the indicators listed below.

ROI indicators/measures of a successful campaign:

  • Impressions: the actual # of views on an advertisement
  • Clicks: the actual # of direct clicks on the advertisement
  • Engagements: Social & landing page clicks
  • Results: In most cases, results come in the form of a phone call or a store visit.

The Best Places to Advertise

Through our team’s extensive work in the digital advertising space, we have come to the same conclusion as pretty much every digital advertising company. The best places to spend money on digital advertising are Google & Facebook.

With digital advertising, not only is a local business visible online, but they are visible to the right people online. Platforms like Facebook and Google allow for advanced targeting, which puts a local business in front of consumers who are more likely to convert into a sale.

Plus, Google and Facebook accounted for roughly 60 percent of ad spend in 2017!

 

Why advertise on Google?

Reach: Google is the largest search network in the world, and consumers are using Google every single day to search for local businesses. Utilizing Google’s massive network capabilities, digital advertisers are able to find ideal prospects and get in front of users looking for their products/services.

In the age of digital, people are not looking at TV commercials or listening to radio ads to find a local business, they are searching for a service and then locating your business online.

With 3.5 Billion Google searches conducted every single day, customers are looking for local businesses and businesses should want to be on Google.

Flexibility: Google allows the local advertiser to spend whatever they want, whenever they want. With flexible options for ad spend, advertisers are able to test what works and what doesn’t work for a business. Spend a bit, wait to see how the campaign performs, and then reinvest in larger budgets for greater prospect reach.

Why advertise on Facebook?

AudienceThe audience on Facebook includes 1.32 billion daily active users (DAUs) on average, at an increase of 17% year-over-year. As a local business, you simply cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is likely an intersection in which you can find prospective customers. If the daily average users stat doesn’t have you convinced then let’s talk about how often social media is being used. The average person spends nearly 35 minutes everyday JUST on Facebook, according to a recent study by Mediakix.

If there is one thing to take away it is that the audience on Facebook is MASSIVE, and they are on Facebook a LOT.

Targeting: Facebook Ad targeting is a marketer’s dream. Facebook allows the ability to focus on users so microscopically that you can basically become a bit of a digital stalker (in a good way?). Target users by their interests, behaviours, age, gender, location, and really anything that their Facebook profile may reveal about them including job title.

The Facebook algorithm has brought about changes to the local advertising landscape, but it remains one of the best environments for local businesses to get the word out about themselves!

Conclusion

By leveraging these two platforms, every local business can easily take their advertising game to the next level, and begin to rake in new revenue—with the data to back their investment.

Source: Vendasta

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Big Changes to Facebook Newsfeed (Part Two) – Short-Term Pain Could Mean Long-Term Gain https://idmd.ca/2018/02/big-changes-facebook-newsfeed-part-two-short-term-pain-mean-long-term-gain/ https://idmd.ca/2018/02/big-changes-facebook-newsfeed-part-two-short-term-pain-mean-long-term-gain/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:54:42 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=18996 Don't lose faith now - there is hope for businesses using Facebook as a marketing tool. Short-term pain will lead to long-term gain if you're patient. Last week, I went into detail about the major changes to Facebook's newsfeed, outlining what they are and how they may affect you as a business owner. These [...]

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Don’t lose faith now – there is hope for businesses using Facebook as a marketing tool. Short-term pain will lead to long-term gain if you’re patient.

Last week, I went into detail about the major changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, outlining what they are and how they may affect you as a business owner. These changes have led to widespread fear and even a little panic among those who own businesses, small and large, who’ve made Facebook their primary means of marketing to and communicating with customers and clients.

It appears that Facebook, above all other social media outlets, is the most diverse the in the types of clients and customers it can reach. With television usage plummeting and people learning to psychologically tune-out the ads they see on websites and search engines, Facebook is the logical choice for most business owners and marketers in the online world.

These recent changes have left many of those people wondering, “Did I put too many eggs in the Facebook basket?”

If those worries sound familiar, keep reading. The trick to overcoming the recent changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, ads, and algorithms is to leverage them in your favor. Let’s look at how you can do just that.

Just Hang in There – It Gets Better

While spreading your marketing and social media eggs out into a variety of baskets is always a good idea you can rest assured that you don’t need to abandon your Facebook efforts on account of these new changes. You simply need to adjust your approach to your Facebook page and your Facebook ads.

Instead of seeing Facebook as a place to passively post advertisements you need to see it as a place to actively interact with your community of clients and customers. The more you see your customers and clients as a community (one you are a part of) the more equipped you will be to use these changes to your advantage.

Better Targeted Content

Since Facebook is focusing on giving people more of what they want and less of what they don’t want your business will benefit from reaching more of your ideal target audience than anything else. Despite being able to pick a target audience based on metrics such as age, gender, location, and (to some extent) interests, the manual targeting of Facebook ads still managed to bring content to a large portion of uninterested individuals.

Together with manual targeting, Facebook’s new algorithms will make sure that the people who see your ads are those who are most likely to interact with those ads based on their interactions with previous content of a similar style. It’s unclear exactly how the entire process works (and would probably take a mathematician to explain) but the evidence strongly suggests that this is a very good step for Facebook business ads.

More Involved and Invested Customers and Clients

Since these new changes are going to force businesses to create more engaging content the end result will be that customers and clients will become more engaged. It sounds like something everyone should have been doing for some time now and, let me tell you a secret, the bloggers are far ahead of the pack on this one.

About a year ago there was a major shift in the blogging community away from Facebook business pages toward Facebook groups. A major driving force behind this movement was that small blog owners weren’t able to compete with larger companies to rank high enough to make it onto a Facebook newsfeed, anyway – something the rest of us are about to experience. Ever the clever ones, the bloggers found a way around the issue. They formed groups.

It wasn’t long before they realized they’d stepped in a gold mine. Properly curated Facebook groups begin driving readers to blogs at lightning speed. Why? Because they were much more visible than business pages, and because they were much more engaging.

Though it may seem like quite a time investment, a bit of short-term pain in setting up and learning to properly leverage a Facebook group may not only help you overcome the lack of visibility you will now face, it will encourage brand loyalty through a feeling of community and comradery.

And If You’re Invested?

It’s no secret that Facebook’s shares took a bit of a dip at the news that there would be less promotional content on its platform (and it, thus, may produce less revenue in the short term). However, market analysts and Facebook execs both predict that these changes will be good for the company in the long run.

The idea is that if people like using Facebook more (because they are getting better content) more people will use Facebook in general. Also, since these new algorithms will show people more of what they want to see in terms of ads and business page posts, the hike in ad rates will be justified and businesses will be willing to pay them.

Of course, no one can predict the future – this is all speculation. But the intelligent people at Facebook wouldn’t have made such a drastic change if they weren’t nearly certain it would work out in the end. With many business analysts backing them up, you can rest mostly assured that your investments will be profitable in the long term.

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Big Changes to Facebook Newsfeed (Part One) – What We Can Expect as Business Owners https://idmd.ca/2018/01/changestofacebook/ https://idmd.ca/2018/01/changestofacebook/#respond Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:23:01 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=18745 was there for the first big “Facebook algorithm change” and my page, Good Food Group, with 48,000 followers all but collapsed on that fateful December day.  Why? Because with 48,000 followers, the page didn’t have the user interaction or the frequency of posts to sustain its popularity based on the new rules, and what posts [...]

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was there for the first big “Facebook algorithm change” and my page, Good Food Group, with 48,000 followers all but collapsed on that fateful December day.  Why? Because with 48,000 followers, the page didn’t have the user interaction or the frequency of posts to sustain its popularity based on the new rules, and what posts were made, went unseen.

Lesson learned… Facebook owns Facebook and it’s foolish to invest heavily in a house built on shifting sand.

There are some things you can do to leverage the recent changes to your benefit, though. In the coming weeks, I’ll be releasing a few more articles focused on just what you can do to work around some of the issues these changes will inevitably bring and how you can even use some of these changes to drive more business to your door.

First, though, I want to go over the basics to be sure we’re all on the same page and that we all know what we’re working with here.

A Complete Overhaul of Facebook Newsfeed Algorithms

To put it plainly, Facebook will not be allowing as many business posts, media posts, or advertisements on people’s newsfeeds. In turn, this will make it harder for your business page posts to be seen on Facebook and will drive up the price of Facebook ads.

A Focus on the Familiar

The changes have come about, according to Mark Zuckerberg, as a result of complaints lodged by Facebook users. Facebook users have reported that they want to see more of what their friends and family post and less of what businesses post. They also want to see fewer ads – by far.

So, what has Facebook done to combat these issues? They’ve decided to completely change the way that their system decides what you see – their ‘”algorithms.” They will boost the posts from your family, friends, and groups while reducing the posts you see from business pages. You will also see far fewer business posts on the Facebook newsfeed.

In what has been called the “closer together initiative,” Facebook has taken a stance whereby it claims that it wants the website to be focused on bringing people closer together. As such, it will deprioritize things likes ads and even news stories in order to focus on the posts of family and friends and content that families and friends are likely to discuss together.

Amping Up Engagement

The focus isn’t only on family and friends, though. It’s a focus on “engagement.” Let’s be honest, here, Facebook is a company and, just like any other company, they want to focus on what works. If people aren’t happy with the number of ads and business posts on their newsfeeds Facebook is placed in a position where they must reduce those ads and business page posts to keep users flocking to the website as they currently do. But, Facebook still needs to make money.

So, what will Facebook do? Three things. First, they will, obviously, reduce the ad space on their website. Second, they will increase the cost of that ad space. Third, they will focus on the ads and posts which get the most engagement.

It’s the simple logic of supply and demand. There are fewer spaces available so now Facebook can charge more for each of those spaces. They also kind of have to charge more for ad space, now, if they want to bring in the same revenue. Not only is that just good business, it also ensures that they aren’t flooded with people who originally chose Facebook ads because they were a cheap source of advertisement – now, they will attract serious advertisers.

Since Facebook wants to appeal more to what users want to see, the few business page posts that they will allow onto people’s newsfeeds will be those which receive the most engagement. On Facebook, engagements are measured by likes, shares, and comments. But Facebook also knows those tricks many businesses use, and they will not be prioritizing posts which actually call for people to like, share, or comment. They want users to naturally and organically choose to engage with the content.

So, they will prioritize those posts which receive likes, shares, and comments without being prompted to do any of the above. Even more important, the Facebook algorithms will track the back and forth conversations sparked in the comments sections on posts

 

How Will This Affect You?

That is the burning question, after all. How will these changes affect you as a business owner?

First off, your page will be much less visible. While there are certain things you can do to increase visibility (a topic I’ll cover in the coming weeks), you must begin by accepting that you simply will not have the same level of reach you once had.

If you want to connect with your customers and clients on Facebook, now, you will have to give your marketing approach a bit of an overhaul as well. Although Facebook is still encouraging people to use their business page best practices and engagement assistance pages as a roadmap for success, even they caution that now is a time to begin learning and exploring new ways to get in touch with customers. Essentially, Facebook seems to want you, as a business owner, to engage in meaningful conversations with your customers and clients instead of saturating them with information and ads.

Key Points

  • Facebook will allow fewer business page posts onto users’ newsfeeds.
  • Facebook will not have as much ad space.
  • Your business page will have less reach.
  • The prices of ad space are going to rise.
  • You’ll have to focus your business page posts on engagement.
  • You will have to learn how to craft excellent Facebook ads to make them worth your money.

Over the next few weeks, I will go into more detail about what you can do to overcome the challenges presented by this huge change to the Facebook newsfeed. I’ll talk about perspective, interest groups, strategic page development and more.

 

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Optimizing Online Reputation by Increasing Visibility on Key Review Websites https://idmd.ca/2018/01/optimizing-online-reputation-increasing-visibility-key-review-websites/ https://idmd.ca/2018/01/optimizing-online-reputation-increasing-visibility-key-review-websites/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:42:55 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=18707 Over the past few weeks, we've been looking at the numbers presented in Bright Local's online consumer habits survey. We've been looking at what is most important for growing your business's positive online reputation and driving more consumers to your door (or website, as it may be).   Last week, we looked at the importance [...]

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at the numbers presented in Bright Local’s online consumer habits survey. We’ve been looking at what is most important for growing your business’s positive online reputation and driving more consumers to your door (or website, as it may be).

 

Last week, we looked at the importance of building trust with consumers. Before that, we looked at the current trends in the world of online reviews. This week, we home in on one very important factor that a lot of the other articles analyzing the results have ignored: which websites you should encourage consumers to post reviews on.

 

It’s not enough, anymore, to slap a few good consumer reviews and testimonials on your website. People got wise to the fact that you weren’t going to post the negative ones. Plus, there are often times that people come across your company (or any company in particular) by searching in general terms directly on a review site.

 

Consumers are not necessarily looking for information about your company, they are looking for information about companies in your field. If you are lucky and have received enough positive reviews on their websites of choice, you will come up in their search results.

 

Which Websites Are the Most Popular for Reviews?

 

The survey by Bright Local revealed that Facebook and Yelp are both tied in terms of popularity for online review readers. Though they didn’t really get much information regarding where people are happiest and most likely to write reviews, it was clear that, with 20% each of the total share, these two sites were the preferred places to read reviews.

 

Coming in close behind with 16% of the total share, Google was the third choice among surveyed consumers as a place to read reviews. It should be noted that, on good authority, Bright Local suspects Google’s share will increase in future years as they begin adding more and more review options to their search and maps platforms.

 

Why Does it Matter Which Review Sites Are the Most Popular?

 

Great question! It’s important because you want to be visible. The more visible you are on the internet the more likely it is that consumers will find your company. The more visible your positive reviews are the more likely it is that consumers will trust your company.

 

And let’s face it, with Yelp reporting 84 million visitors per month (on desktops alone) and Facebook boasting about a possible 2.07 billion visitors a month, you are much more likely to be seen on these popular websites.

Therefore, having positive reviews for your company on these three most popular review websites is an essential part of your company’s overall marketing efforts.

How To Drive More Reviews on Popular Website

The first step is to create a profile on these websites. It is with a profile on these sites that you can collect all of the reviews about your company in one place. It is also with this profile that you can respond to negative and positive reviews, alike – showing the personal side of your business.

A profile on these websites is also a great way to encourage more reviews. By linking to these profiles on your website, social media pages, and in your mailing list emails you can encourage consumers to visit the review websites.

After a customer makes a purchase you can specifically ask them for a review on any of these platforms and link directly to your profile instead of simply sending them to go to Google, or Yelp, or Facebook and expect them to do all the work themselves. Unless they are very upset with you, few of them will go to the trouble of finding your profile on those platforms.

How to Set Up a Profile on Popular Review Websites

Google profiles can be made using Google+ and Google’s webmaster tools. Facebook business pages are simple and easy to set up as long as you already have a personal Facebook account they can be linked to (don’t worry, you won’t make your personal profile visible if you are set to private). A Yelp profile is a little bit more tricky. When you get to Yelp’s website navigate to the bottom area where the footer is and click “Claim Your Business Page.

What About Industry-Specific Review Sites?

It’s important not to get too caught up in the big names and forget about the small, industry and niche-specific websites. There will be many occasions where consumers search for review sites for specific things like “Review Websites for Car Rental Stores.”

We recommend doing research on the other possible review websites that are geared to your specific type of industry and focusing some effort there. This is especially important if you are in an industry related to hospitality or travel. For example, Trip Advisor took a top spot in the rankings on Bright Local’s survey, snagging 11% of consumers who look for online reviews.

 

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2018: The Year of Trust – Building Solid Foundations for Successful Reputation Management https://idmd.ca/2017/12/2018-the-year-of-trust/ https://idmd.ca/2017/12/2018-the-year-of-trust/#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 22:04:33 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=18061 2018: The Year of Trust - Building Solid Foundations for Successful Reputation Management As we move into 2018, it is evident that the trust consumers have in companies is becoming more and more influenced by what they see online. How you represent your company online could have a dramatic impact on consumer evaluations of your [...]

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2018: The Year of Trust – Building Solid Foundations for Successful Reputation Management

As we move into 2018, it is evident that the trust consumers have in companies is becoming more and more influenced by what they see online. How you represent your company online could have a dramatic impact on consumer evaluations of your business. A few key strategies can help you avoid potential unforeseen pitfalls while also catapulting you ahead of the competition.

Getting Ahead of the Trends

Every year the marketplace shifts a little in all sorts of directions. Consumer habits change. Stock markets fluctuate. Something that wasn’t important last year is suddenly the most important thing for a company to consider.

Things progress. It’s all about evolution and positive forward movement.

In this series of blog posts we’ve begun looking at the forward motion of online reputations and consumer research habits. Using information from the trends of last year, we’ve peaked into the future to help you get ahead of the curve and ahead of the game.

Last week, we used results from an extensive survey conducted by Bright Local (an online SEO strategy company) to analyze the most telling trends of online searches and the online marketplace over the course of 2017. Our focus last week was primarily on trends regarding searches and how your online reputation influences your positioning and appearance in search results. This week, we’d like to change course a bit to focus on trust.

Trends in Consumer Trust of Companies

Just what can you do to help consumers trust your business more? What does Bright Local’s study reveal as the most influential factors for gaining consumer trust? What are consumers looking at or for when they evaluate a business online? Most importantly, how can you harness all of this information and put it to good use in 2018?

Let’s start with the results.

Most Consumers Trust Online Reviews

Bright Local found that a whopping 93% of consumers read online reviews when making purchasing decisions. This figure has grown by 22% since 2011. Whether those reviews are good or bad, consumers place a lot of faith in the things they read online about your business, especially when those things are written by other consumers. In fact, of the 93% of consumers who look for online reviews, 83% report trusting them as much as they trust the opinions of their family and friends.

Positive Reviews Improve Trust More Than Negative Reviews Destroy It

It should go without saying that, if consumers trust online reviews (as outlined above) they should be positively influenced by positive reviews. However, it could have been that they were only trusting the negative reviews. Luckily, the survey revealed the opposite to be true: positive reviews have the largest impact.

73% of consumers are influenced by positive reviews

50% of consumers are influenced by negative reviews

Let’s take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief, here. It’s much easier to encourage positive reviews than it is to try to put out fires after negative reviews have been posted online. In fact, we’ve written entire blog posts about how to properly deal with negative reviews so as not to further tarnish your company’s reputation. Tips for encouraging and improving positive online reviews will be detailed in the third part of this article.

 

Harnessing Trends to Improve the Trust Consumers Have in Your Company

What good is all this information without putting it into action, right?

 

Getting More Reviews

Obviously, if reviews are this important and have steadily grown in importance over the past 6 years it should follow that a big part of what your company should focus on in 2018 is getting more reviews.

 

The more reviews you have out there the more that people see your company. Not only will it be more likely to pop up in search engines, it will also show consumers that you are a popular brand. The study also revealed that consumers will often read up to 6 or more reviews before trusting a company, so the more positive reviews, the better.

 

Here are a few ways you can get more reviews from consumers without breaking ethical guidelines:

  • Include information about how to leave a review with physical purchases (in the form of an advertisement card).
  • Email consumers after they’ve made a purchase asking about their satisfaction.
  • Ask for permission to post the reviews consumers have sent you on their behalf.
  • Encourage consumers to post anonymous reviews so that they do not feel intimidated to leave positive ones (it may seem counter-productive but there is no better way to improve your company than to hear about its shortcomings).
  • Direct consumers to popular online review websites.
  • Set up your business on Google so that people who physically visit your business will be prompted by their cell phones to leave a review.

 

Improving Positive Online Reviews

 

It’s not just about getting online reviews, it’s about securing quality reviews. Think about it, which would you trust more: a review that simply states “I was satisfied” or one that goes into detail about quality, customer service, and more? The quality of your positive online reviews defines how convincing they will be for the reader.

 

Here are a couple of tips for improving the overall quality of consumer reviews:

  • Encourage consumers to write about details by listing the types of things they could write in their review (this is most useful when prompting a review with an advertisement card or email).
  • Create an online form consumers can fill out in a question and answer format (to further improve trust, leave a space on this form for them to suggest improvements).

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Online Reputation is More Important than Ever – 2017 Review of Online Consumer Research Habits https://idmd.ca/2017/12/online-reputation-is-more-important-than-ever/ https://idmd.ca/2017/12/online-reputation-is-more-important-than-ever/#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2017 18:10:03 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=17845 2017 Review of Online Consumer Research Habits Bright Local - a popular online SEO company - recently completed a thorough review of consumer habits, concerns, and motives in the online marketplace. Comparing this research to years gone by, we can see the most telling trends of 2017 and just how those trends are likely to [...]

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2017 Review of Online Consumer Research Habits

Bright Local – a popular online SEO company – recently completed a thorough review of consumer habits, concerns, and motives in the online marketplace. Comparing this research to years gone by, we can see the most telling trends of 2017 and just how those trends are likely to impact your business’s online experience in 2018.

Consumers Are Researching More Companies Online

To be expected, one thing that was discovered in Bright Local’s review is that people are increasingly turning to the web as a valuable source of information about the companies they are thinking about working with or purchasing from. Though they don’t necessarily research every single purchase they will make, a whopping 97% of surveyed consumers reported that they had researched at least one company over the course of 2017.

This statistic is up 2% from the same survey conducted last year. Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? The truth is, though, that the statistic has been climbing incrementally over time. In 2010, when Bright Local completed their first survey, only 70% of consumers researched a company online over the course of the year. That’s an increase of 27% over the past 7 years. And, at 97% in total, this stat tells us that nearly everyone is researching companies online.

So, what does this all mean to you and your company?

Your Online Reputation is More Important Now Than Ever

When we talk about your online reputation we mean just that: your reputation. It isn’t enough to just have an online presence anymore. Now, you need to have an online presence that shows your company to be stable, trustworthy, and personable. Your online presence needs to be powerful and positive.

The Powerful Online Presence

The first (and probably most important) step in using this information to your advantage is to have an online presence. These days, that should go without saying. Clearly, your customers want to find you online and it is up to you to make that happen.

 

Your presence should be strong enough, though, that it captures the attention of search engines as well. Otherwise, your teeny tiny website will not even pull up in search results when they try to look you up.

How do you create a powerful online presence?

 

Creating a Positive Online Reputation

Here at IDMD, we are all about reputation (could you tell?) so we really want to emphasize the importance of your company’s online image and just how you can help guide it in the right direction.

Bright Local’s research found that most consumers turn to online reviews when they research companies online. They want to know what other people are saying about their experiences and tend to value online reviews about as much as they value word of mouth from family and friends.

We’ve looked at the importance of maintaining positive online reviews – and avoiding negative ones – in the past. According to Bright Local’s latest research,

Bright local found that 73% of consumers are likely to see a company in a more positive light based on positive reviews and 50% of people will begin to question your company if they see negative reviews.

It’s not enough, though, to simply create an environment where consumers want to leave you positive reviews based on their positive experiences. You also have to promptly deal with negative reviews. We’ve suggested before that it can be helpful to respond to the negative reviews left by consumers who haven’t enjoyed their experiences. This has been further backed by the results of Bright Local’s survey which found that 30% of consumers at least partially base their decisions to work with a company on the way that the company responds to negative reviews.

So, how can you put this information into action?

  • Create all-around positive customer experiences as much as possible.
  • Address the concerns of your customers in person and online.
  • Encourage your customers to post reviews online about your company and their experiences.
  • Reply graciously to negative online reviews to show you’re a company that cares.

 

For more information about how to harness the power of online reviews, read our article on the Dos and Don’ts of Securing Quality Online Consumer Reviews.

 

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Now Drive Traffic to Your Social Media Pages with Google’s Knowledge Panel https://idmd.ca/2017/12/now-drive-traffic-social-media-pages-googles-knowledge-panel/ https://idmd.ca/2017/12/now-drive-traffic-social-media-pages-googles-knowledge-panel/#respond Sun, 10 Dec 2017 22:20:33 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=17457 Your social media pages allow your customers and clients to stay connected with you. They allow you to market directly to interested parties, keep yourself fresh in the minds of your target audience, and to build a personal rapport with your clientele. Directing people to your social media pages is a very important part of [...]

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Your social media pages allow your customers and clients to stay connected with you. They allow you to market directly to interested parties, keep yourself fresh in the minds of your target audience, and to build a personal rapport with your clientele. Directing people to your social media pages is a very important part of the online marketing funnel. Now, you can use Google’s knowledge panel to increase your social media traffic.

Maybe you already know about knowledge panels and how helpful they can be to your website (if not, we’ll explain it quickly below). Latest breaking news in the marketing game, though, is that you can now add links (and cool little icon buttons) to your social media pages. These links allow people to quickly and easily jump right to your social media pages without having to navigate your website.

In order to take the best possible advantage of them, you’ll have to follow a few somewhat simple steps.

Getting Into the Google Knowledge Panel

If your company normally comes up in a Google knowledge panel when it’s searched for, your business profile will pop up on the right side of the screen like it does in this picture.

As you can see, this panel already increases your website’s visibility in the search result. It takes up a large amount of space, drawing the eye to a profile of your company with photographs, charts, large text and more. The more real estate (space) you have on a search results page, the better. Potential customers and clients will be drawn to your company’s profile and much more likely to click through.

 

Not only that, it also provides a great deal of information about your company at a quick glance. Things like your website link, the most popular times people frequent your place of business (and, thus, the least busy times to pop in), your phone number, directions, and much more.

 

Everything a potential customer could want to know is right there, at their fingertips. This is much different than a regular search result (which contains a basic overview of your company and a link to your website) or sitelinks (which direct people around different parts of your website) and clearly has its own benefits.

 

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ensure that your company will appear in the knowledge panel area. For more information about how to actually get your company to pull up in the knowledge panel area you will have to increase your local search ranking. Read more about that in our post on local search ranking.

 

Adding Social Media Links to the Knowledge Panel

The new social media links will show up at the bottom of your business’s knowledge panel in an area called “Profiles” – see the image below for an example. As you can see, sometimes “People also search for” will show up just below your social media results. Though these links and their colorful buttons may distract from your social media profiles it’s still good to know that people can see your social media profiles prominently displayed.

So, how do you add this feature to your Google knowledge panel? Well, it’s not as easy you might think. It won’t just happen automatically, based on Google searching the internet to find your social media pages. There’s a little bit of work you’ll have to do in terms of development.

Place the Proper Markup Code on Your Website

Markup codes are developer tools that embed certain information into your website. Placing the proper codes in the proper places allows Google to find the information about your company’s social media pages so it can be displayed. Since Google’s searching robots are programmed to only look in specific places for specific information it is crucial that you have the right codes and that they are placed in the correct areas.

A detailed article by 9 Clouds gives you step by step instructions, a sample code, and information about placement. There’s even a testing tool you can use to make sure that it all actually worked properly. This tool will let you troubleshoot in case your social media profiles are not properly displayed in your company’s knowledge panel.

Unblock Robots

If you do everything outlined above and still can’t see your social media pages it could be because of a robots.txt file. A robots.txt file on your website will block robots from crawling your website. This can be helpful in deterring spambots but it will also stop search engines from properly indexing your website.

Since Google itself uses robots to crawl your website you will have to ensure that they aren’t blocked. Otherwise, the information you put in the markup won’t appear. For more information about removing a robots.txt file for your website check out Google’s own article on the topic. You may also want to look into information about robots.txt files from your web platform (such as WordPress) or the developer of your website’s theme.

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Gain Attention, Improve CTRs and Increase Customer Satisfaction with Google Site links https://idmd.ca/2017/11/gain-attention-improve-ctrs-increase-customer-satisfaction-google-site-links/ https://idmd.ca/2017/11/gain-attention-improve-ctrs-increase-customer-satisfaction-google-site-links/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 22:14:09 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=17018 Google's new site links section is a HUGE advantage for companies claiming top spots in search engine results - as long as they have properly set up their websites to take advantage of this mysterious algorithm-based system. Let's explore the ways that site links can give your business an edge and just how you can [...]

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Google’s new site links section is a HUGE advantage for companies claiming top spots in search engine results – as long as they have properly set up their websites to take advantage of this mysterious algorithm-based system. Let’s explore the ways that site links can give your business an edge and just how you can best set yourself up for success by taking advantage of them.

What Are Google Sitelinks?

Have you noticed that there are two new columns of miniature search results that sometimes appear below the top search result when you search on Google? If you’ve ever searched for a company by name you have probably seen these little in-site links before.

Generally, these special results only show up when you search by company name or use a search term that is so specific a company’s main page pops up at your top search result. Google says that they choose to show these in-site results only when they think they’ll be beneficial or interesting to the searcher.

But what are they? What is their purpose? In short, they help you find more specific things you may be looking for on a company’s website. It’s easiest to think of site links as sub-links. Like sub-titles in an article such as this one, sub-links lead you to more and more specific areas of a website. Each site link (or sub-link, if you will) in a Google search result takes you deeper into a company’s website. It lets you jump to your area of interest without having to navigate the entire website.

Here’s an example of what came up when we typed “global tv” into the Google search bar:

Do you see how options like “Schedule” and “Live TV” came up? These are areas of the Global TV website that people who search for Global TV may be interested in. It saves them time from having to navigate the entire website to get where they want.

How Can Sitelinks Help Your Business?

Now that you know how they are helpful to consumer and general web searcher the question remains, how are they helpful to you? According to one small-scale study, just the addition of site links to a company’s search result can increase click-through rates up to 64%.

Gain A Prominent Place on the Results Page

When your page appears with site links attached it suddenly went from being a few lines of space on the results page to taking up about a quarter of the page. Talk about prominence!

Your result isn’t only larger, though, the site links actually draw more attention to it. Most search results look almost identical to each other. The link to the actual site is larger and (usually) blue, followed by the URL in green and a few lines explaining what the page is about. This repeats over and over for each search result. Since the site links look different they act as a barrier between your result and the other results, setting it apart and drawing more attention to it.

Promote Internal Content

As Neil Patel pointed out in an article he wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine, site links not only help you dominate the top spots in a list of search results, they also help you promote the content inside your website. Though people may see what your company is and what it does from your site description in a typical search result, they may not know important specific things they can accomplish on your website.

 

For example, site links can highlight the following functions of your website:

  • Direct contact forms and online appointment booking.
  • Educational information about industry-related things on your blog or other pages.
  • Free and paid resources you offer that people can access through your website.
  • Links to your social media pages.

 

Shorten the Marketing Funnel

Linking people to these parts of your website quicker, site links allow you to skip entire portions of the traditional marketing funnel. Instead of having to click through your website and possibly sign up for something to help them figure out what they need, your customers can just click directly on one link to take them to the service or purchase page they desire.

 

Happier Customers

Life is picking up speed at every turn. In this fast-paced world, you customers need things at their fingertips as quickly as possible. Giving them a full understanding of your company at a glance and allowing them to navigate to their desired pages quicker will make their lives easier. Easier lives = happier customers.

 

How To Take Advantage of Site links to Give Your Business an Edge

So you know how helpful site links can be, but what do you need to do to use them to your advantage? It’s actually pretty easy. You just need to know a little bit about how they work and follow a few simple steps to make your website’s full sitemap more visible.

 

How Do Sitelinks Work?

According to Google, it’s all based on algorithms. Whether or not site links pop up for your search result when it is first in line and which pages of your website are included in those site links is entirely up to the algorithm to determine. We assume that, at this point, it’s based on the popularity of particular pages of your website. Google says that they might place some of this under webmaster control in the future.

 

Have a Clear Sitemap

If you aren’t already familiar with what a sitemap is it is certainly time for you to learn a little bit about it. In short, a sitemap shows the hierarchy of your pages. You have one main page (your homepage), followed by subpages (i.e. – your blog, your news section, your contact area, etc.). Your subpages may have smaller pages connected to them as well. Establishing a clear hierarchy on your sitemap is essential to allowing Google to search through your website and decide which pages it will pull up into the site links area.

 

Upload Your Sitemap to Google

There’s not a big awesome thing about having a sitemap if you haven’t properly shared it with search engines. Uploading your well-laid-out-sitemap to Google is an essential part of this process.

 

Create Linked Text On Your Main Pages

Instead of just filling your homepage and main landing pages with pictures and buttons and relying on your navigation menu to move people around your website you will need to employ some internal links to your landing pages and subsections directly on pages themselves. These links are what the Google robots use to crawl through your site and to decide which links to put into the site links area.

 

Use Your SEO Best Practices

By now you should know about SEO and SEO best practices (if you don’t, you can learn more about some of our other blogs posts. Though they may not be directly related to Google’s site links algorithms, SEO best practices affect the way that the Google robots view your site in the first place and have a great impact on whether or not you make it to the top spot on the results page – the ONLY spot that gets to use site links.

Amy-Lynn Vautour, IDMD

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How to Rank Better on Local Search Engines https://idmd.ca/2017/11/rankbettersearchengines/ https://idmd.ca/2017/11/rankbettersearchengines/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:05:49 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=16372 NAP and Citation Consistency at the Heart of Local Search Ranking - How to Rank Better on Local Search Engines Maintaining up to date information about your business on listing websites sounds important, but did you realize that it could be a major part of maintaining a good search engine ranking? Your Business's Website May [...]

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NAP and Citation Consistency at the Heart of Local Search Ranking – How to Rank Better on Local Search Engines

Maintaining up to date information about your business on listing websites sounds important, but did you realize that it could be a major part of maintaining a good search engine ranking?

Your Business’s Website May Be Overlooking One HUGE SEO Error

By this point in your business’s lifespan you’ve probably begun to learn about the importance of SEO or “Search Engine Optimization.” You’ve at least heard the term thrown around on occasion in one article or another. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, let’s catch you up to speed quickly. An “optimized” website is one which meets a specific set of criteria search engines use to decide which websites are placed near the top of the search results. If you’ve ever typed keywords about your business type and location in a search bar and could not find your business’s website it’s probably because your website isn’t optimized to these standards.

If you are familiar with SEO best practices at all, you might know that it is important to use keywords on your website and in your page headers. You probably know that the names you give your pages and the articles on your business’s blog affect how visible you are in the internet marketplace.

You may have read our post about how online reviews affect SEO and followed our advice for getting good reviews to boost your company’s reputation as well as your search engine ranking. You may have even enlisted some of the advice we’ve given along the way on our posts about SEO in general. You might think that, thanks to the few SEO techniques you’ve taken on when working on your website and your blog, you’ve done all you can to drive traffic to your website (and ultimately your business). Guess again.

There is one HUGE wasted SEO-related opportunity your business may be overlooking: Citation and NAP Consistency.

The Rise of Local Search Engines

You may not have guessed it, but citation and NAP consistency are actually two key ingredients to your local search engine rank and they aren’t just going to affect your general search engine ranking, they will even affect your ranking on specialty searches such as Google+ Local. Unless you operate fully as a web-centered business you need to take advantage of local searches like Google+ Local to ensure that the people who are actually in the vicinity of your business are able to locate you (preferably before they locate similar businesses in the region).

A recent study conducted by the staff at SearchEngineLand.com shows just how important other businesses and search consultants believe these services are for the operation of small local businesses. They found that 64% of respondents believed that Google+ Local (as an example) has a good or excellent return on investment. Harnessing this type of return could be a key part of setting your business apart from similar businesses in your local area. Even if you don’t have a lot of direct competition, these kinds of services can drive more business to your door by bringing in tourists and newcomers. Getting this type of return, though, relies heavily on your website’s citation and NAP consistency.

Why Citation and NAP Consistency Are Important for Local Search Engines

More and more people are turning to specialized searches like these instead of just typing a business category and location into a standard search bar, because they know that they are bound to get more accurate results – provided, of course, that the businesses using those search services have entered accurate information.

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number. Search engines use this information to decide which categories you fall into when people search for you using basic searches and, most importantly, when they use local searches. Just like the way relevant and proper use of keywords gets you inched up the search results for topic searches, accurate NAP information gets you placed closer to the top of a local search.

Citations, in this instance, refers to other places where your business is described, for example in your advertisement listings on other websites, your Yellow Pages business profile, government business listings, or your Facebook page. Since search engines rely on computer programs and algorithms to do most of the work, they crawl the internet looking for information about your business when deciding your search ranking. To determine how reputable your business is they check those web citations against your own website’s NAP information for consistency. The more mismatches they find the further down the search result you fall.

In that recent study by SearchEngineLand.com search consultants with experience working with a total of over 3000 small businesses reported that the largest problem they found on their clients’ websites were inconsistent citations and NAPs.

So, the moral of the story? It is important to stay on top of all of your business listings across the web to ensure that your information is accurate and up-to-date at all times if you want to guarantee the best search listing for your company.

 

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Should Companies Sue for Negative Reviews? https://idmd.ca/2017/11/companies-sue-negative-reviews/ https://idmd.ca/2017/11/companies-sue-negative-reviews/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 23:23:36 +0000 https://idmd.ca/?p=16062 Negative online reviews from unhappy customers can really hurt your business. As we explored in a recent article on our own blog, studies repeatedly find that consumers are relying more and more on "word of mouth" and much less on actual advertising when making purchasing decisions. It's rather simple: if you get too many [...]

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Negative online reviews from unhappy customers can really hurt your business. As we explored in a recent article on our own blog, studies repeatedly find that consumers are relying more and more on “word of mouth” and much less on actual advertising when making purchasing decisions. It’s rather simple: if you get too many or too damaging of negative online reviews your company may have a very difficult time recovering (or may not recover at all).

It’s not all stormy clouds and bleak outlooks, though. There are things you can do to rectify these issues and, most importantly, to stop them before they begin.

Are Lawsuits the Answer to False Negative Consumer Reviews?

You worked hard to create a positive image in your niche market. It doesn’t seem fair that one person’s negative review can tear it all down, does it? Especially if that review is false or exaggerated. Some company heads see the negative reviews posted by unhappy consumers and think that it’s important to strike back. They see it as the most effective way to show that they were, indeed, false or exaggerated.

We already touched on this topic a bit in our previous article The Dos and Don’ts of Securing Quality Online Consumer Reviews, but wanted to take the time to delve a little deeper into the topic since it has really hit headlines in recent weeks. Some companies are turning to the law to prove their point when it comes to false negative online reviews, presumably assuming that a reactive PR campaign isn’t enough to undo the damage done.

Lawsuits By Companies Against Consumers Are Flooding the News

Last week, we told you about a plumbing company in Toronto that filed a lawsuit against unsatisfied Moore Park resident Bill Genova. But the headlines don’t stop there.

A recent CBC article entitled ‘A year and a half of hell’: Customers, businesses pay price for online reviews discusses a handful of unhappy consumers, including one couple who was sued by Design-Spec Building Group over a negative online review.

In September, CTV News reported about a few more consumers, from a tech solutions consumer to a psychiatry patient who were sued over negative reviews. Similar articles have been posted by CBS and Huffington Post.

So, if you’re asking yourself “Can I sue over that negative review?” the short answer is: yes. Before jumping in and going straight for the lawsuit, though, there are a few things to consider.

The Effects of Lawsuits on Your Company Image

If you read the CBC article about Design-Spec Building Group, chances are that you didn’t come away with a great feeling about the company.

In the interests of honest reporting, most reporters will contact the business for its side of the story. That’s not always the case, though. And, oftentimes, if you are already involved in a lawsuit your company lawyer(s) will advise you not to comment on the matter. What does this do? It creates a situation where the disgruntled consumer’s thoughts and opinions are receiving, even more, attention and you aren’t necessarily able to defend your company’s image.

The Key to Success Could be Graceful Responses

As we briefly outlined last week, the best way to handle a negative review is often to handle it with grace instead of force.

The effect of the negative review itself should be all the evidence you need that your company’s image is a key part of its success. Handling the situation with grace is the best way to protect your company’s image. Not only are you not giving amplification to the complaints, you can demonstrate that your company cares by publicly displaying your efforts to correct the situation. Yes, this applies even to some of those consumers who have posted false reviews.

Why Work To Fix Relations With Those Who Post False Reviews and How Do You Do It?

It seems counterproductive to try to work with someone who is out to hurt your company. Sometimes, though, the old saying is right “you catch more flies with honey.” Publicly appeasing an unhappy consumer shows that yours is a company that cares – a company willing to go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.

But what about the fakers? Does this mean that you will endorse their false reviews? Not at all. You can certainly call attention to the inconsistencies in their reports. You do not have to admit fault. There is a difference between saying “We are sorry we make a mistake” and “We are sorry you feel you’ve had a negative experience.” The whole point is to show empathy and ask what your company can do better in the future to improve the experience of all future consumers.

Stay On Top of Consumer Reviews

Vigilance is key. Although avoidance of any issues whatsoever is, obviously, preferable we all know that just isn’t possible. Even if your company and all of its representatives did everything perfectly there will always be at least one unsatisfied customer who has unreasonably high expectations or who just had a bad day and nowhere else to direct their anger.

Since perfection is difficult to attain and there will always be someone to complain it is important to stay on top of consumer reviews as they are posted. This can be difficult, though, since there are many places these reviews could be posted and it can distract you from other important duties. If this sounds like too much work, you can always outsource your review monitoring to a reputation manager.

IDMD

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