Uncategorized

How To Be A GREAT Team Player

Every company or organization, small or large, 1rely on solid teams for a positive outcome. For great results, not only does it take good team players, but rather GREAT team players. This is ever more important for smaller companies or organizations. Being a great team player in a small office setting is crucial for the company’s success.

Here are qualities which make a great team player:

  1. Commitment – Good team players will make sure they are where they need to be when expected, but great team players will do this and take it one step further by contributing to the team as much as possible, whether it’s through helping out or making suggestions. Great team players give 110% commitment to the job, not just 100%.
  2. Reliable & Responsible – A good team player will complete their tasks and prioritize accordingly. A great team player will complete their tasks, but with remaining time will assist the rest of the team in completing their tasks as well.
  3. Listen – Listening to others’ questions and concerns, without interruptions, makes you a great team player. Respecting others’ ideas, and considering their views makes a good team a great team.
  4. Inform – Keeping your team informed of opinions, ideas, changes, etc, makes a great team player. Yes, making yourself success is important, but you can’t achieve this without being a great team player.
  5. Respect – You may not agree with other teammates’ ideas, or may not even like another teammate, but it is important to treat your colleagues, or teammates with respect. You receive respect when it is given.
  6. Helpful – Yes, there are times when you have completed your tasks, or when you know how to do something but another teammate doesn’t. Whether in your job description or not, it is important to be willing to help your teammate. After all, you are working as a team, not yourself.
  7. Optimism – Sometimes when you see struggles in the workforce or even your own personal struggles, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try to take a more optimistic approach to keep your teams’ spirits high as well. Just because of your struggles, don’t boggle the whole team down.
  8. Participates​ – Great team players not only come to meetings on time, but they are active participants. They listen and speak up in discussions. They bring other issues or other feedback to the table.
  9. Flexible​ – Teams deal with constant changes, whether its work-related or staff related. Great team players adapt to these ever-changing scenarios. They don’t complain about a new avenue being pursued, or about a new staff member. Great team players know how to compromise and adapt.
  10. Error​ – Everyone makes mistakes. It’s human nature. But what makes a person stand out is when they own up to their mistakes. For example, if your approach in solving a problem was wrong, but another teammate’s was the better solution, own up to it and admit you were wrong and give your teammate credit for coming up with the better solution.Every person is of course human. Many times insecurity, jealousy, or old habits can 1interfere with teamwork, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what kind of teammate you would like to be, a good team player, a great team player, or maybe not a team player at all.
Uncategorized

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

One of the most important keys in SEO is to be sure your NAPW, name, address, phone number and website, are consistent across all online directories. Discrepancies in these would be reason for lower rankings.

Once you’ve verified consistency in NAPW across all channels, you should make sure your Google My Business listing is verified and fully optimized. 

To fully optimize your Google My Business listing:

  1. Get your listing verified – Once your listing is created, be sure to request a postcard from Google, which will be sent out to you with a PIN code. Entering this code on your listing will verify it. 
  1. Complete all pertinent fields – Be sure all the key fields are completed, accurately – Name, address, phone number, website, relevant category, and business hours. 

1

  1. Service Area Business – For service area businesses where you serve customers at their location, be sure to set the address field appropriately and complete the areas served by listing all the towns or counties you serve. The address on the public listing will remain hidden and should display a service area served on the map.

14. Phone Number – Use a local phone number on the listing and not a toll-free number. 

5. Photos and Videos – Add high-quality photos of your work to highlight your business and make you stand out from your competition.

1

6. Posts – Add a post to make yourself more visible. A post may be a special you’re offering or a highlight of your business. A post will stay active for 7 days unless you specify an expiration date. Within the post, try to use a couple of keywords, and add a relevant, high-quality photo to it.

1

7. Short Name – Short names selected are useful so you can add your short name to your business card, making it easier for your customers to find you.

1

8. Holiday Hours – When possible, add special holiday business hours to your listing to keep it more accurate.

9. Description – Add a description of your business using keywords and telling you customers a little bit about yourself. You’re allowed 750 characters but only 250 show up in the knowledge panel, so make the first 250 count. 

1

10. Services – Specify the services you offer.

1

11. Reviews – Try to have your customer leave a review, and respond to the reviews you receive. If negative, respond professionally, trying to resolve your customer’s dissatisfaction. If positive, a simple thank you would suffice.

1

12. Q&A – Sometimes someone may ask you a question via your Google My Business listing. Be sure to answer these questions in a timely fashion, showing your customers you care.

1

All of these are great ways to fully optimize your Google My Business listing, but one of the most important things to remember once you’ve optimized it is to be sure not to violate any of Google’s policies, which would result in having your listing flagged or suspended, resulting in your listing being removed entirely. Refer to this link to ensure all of Google’s policies have been followed, https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en.

Uncategorized

How To Optimize Conversion For Your Local Service Business’s Landing Page

Are you investing in SEO and PPC ads to promote your local service business and drive traffic to your website? Are website visitors contacting you for a quote or engaging your services?

To make the most of your marketing dollars, you need to turn as many visitors into leads or customers by optimizing the webpage on which they land when they click through your online ads.

Otherwise, you’d be paying for the clicks with little to show for. Here’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help you get the biggest bang for your bucks:

What’s Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

CRO are tactics that encourage website visitors to take an action (e.g., request a quote, sign up for your email list) by designing and modifying certain elements of a webpage. Often, the goal is to turn visitors into leads or customers before they leave the website.

While CRO can be applied to every page on your website, dialing in the landing pages you use for PPC ads has the highest impact in converting online traffic into prospects and customers.

CRO helps you make the most of your existing website traffic sources so you can turn more visitors into customers without increasing your marketing budget.

How To Optimize Conversion On Your Landing Pages

By definition, landing pages are designed to elicit a specific action from visitors. They’re set up to minimize distraction by removing the standard navigation, simplifying footer information, and removing all hyperlinks except the call-to-action (CTA.)

Creating dedicated landing pages that match the messaging and offers on your PPC ads can help maximize results. Optimizing the conversion rate on these landing pages allows you to get the most out of your online ads.

Here’s how to make a landing page work harder for your local service business:

Hone In the Copy and Messaging

Most local business websites are rather generic – they have the essential information and are optimized for relevant keywords but fall short when it comes to making visitors feel that the content is speaking to their needs.

Here’s how to fine-tune your landing pages’ copy and messaging to increase conversion:

  • Ensure that the messaging matches the copy on your ad. For example, if you’re promoting “20% off” in the ad, include the discount in the landing page copy.
  • Mention specific information that’s relevant to the local market or conditions to highlight the relevance of your services.
  • Write a distinctive title that’ll capture the attention of your visitors. Again, include local references if appropriate.
  • Tell the visitors why they should respond to your CTA by highlighting the benefits of doing so.
  • Be succinct – focus on the pain points and desired outcomes of the audience segment you’re targeting on your ads.
  • Incorporate local and long-tail keywords in your copy to signal relevance to both search engines and the visitors.

Direct Attention To the CTA

The purpose of a landing page is to get as many visitors to take the desired action as possible and you can do so by directing attention to the CTA on the page.

Here’s how to make your CTA more appealing to visitors and entice them to respond:

Arrange the landing page’s content to follow the F- or Z-pattern, which is how most people’s eyes travel when reading a webpage. This will guide the readers from the title through the copy and to the CTA.

1.png

  • Image source

  • Use a heat map application to track how visitors interact with your landing page and place your CTA where their eyes naturally go.
  • Use visual elements and images to direct visitors’ gaze to the CTA (e.g., a model looking at the direction of the CTA, a graphic that points toward the CTA.)
  • Use CTA copy that’s relevant to the landing page message and make it action-oriented. For example, if your landing page is aimed at getting visitors to sign up for a video series on DYI house-painting, your CTA text could say, “Learn How To Paint Like a Pro Now.”
  • Experiment with the size and color of the CTA button, which can have a significant impact on the conversion rate.
    • Place the CTA close to the top of the page to minimize scrolling. If you have a long landing page, put another CTA at the bottom so visitors don’t have to scroll back up.

    Optimize For Mobile Experience

    Did you know that 78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase? In fact, mobile-friendliness is now the top priority for local businesses to convert online traffic into leads.

    Here’s how to optimize your landing page for mobile users:

    • Improve page load speed – a 1-second improvement can lead to a 27% increase in conversions! You can do so by using a mobile-first template, optimizing images, and making sure that the code is clean.
    • Include your phone number at the top of the page and add a tap-to-call feature to make it easy for prospects to get in touch.
    • Leverage geo-fencing technology to deliver the most appropriate content and auto-fill function to streamline form submission.
    • Ensure that the page is displayed properly on all browsers and devices. The fonts should be legible and the key information should be shown at the top of the page.
    • Reduce complexity in your CTA to make it easy to take action on the small screen. For example, request only the information you need immediately (e.g., an email address to download a lead magnet) – you can ask for more information later.
    • Remove intrusive pop-ups and interstitials that will not only cause visitors to leave the site but also impact your SEO ranking.

1

Image source

Consider the Entire Customer Lifecycle

Your landing page is just one component in the buyer’s journey. You also need to consider what happens after visitors have taken the action on your landing page so they’d turn into customers:

  • Set up a lead nurturing email sequence if you use the landing page to capture visitors’ email addresses.
  • Contact prospects immediately if the CTA is to request a quote.
  • Use a tracking phone number for each campaign to deliver a consistent experience (e.g., offering the same promotional package) when visitors call your business.
  • Set up retargeting ads that match the messaging on the landing page to drive visitors that haven’t converted back to your website.

Get the Most Out of Your Online Marketing Budget

Conversion rate optimization strategies can help you increase ROI by making the most of your current market and existing traffic sources.

After you have implemented these CRO tactics for your landing pages, conduct A/B testing to find out what works and what doesn’t for your specific audience so you can fine-tune the copy, page design, and CTA.

Don’t forget to dial in other components of your online marketing strategy – from PPC ads and social media to online review and monthly analytics – so they work together synergistically to optimize results and maximize your marketing ROI.

Uncategorized

Get More Leads at Less Cost – Target Cost-Per-Acquisition Smart Bidding

If you have been driving traffic with PPC ads for your local service business – great job!

But…

Do you know how much you’re spending on acquiring each lead?

After all, if you’re spending more on acquiring leads than the profit you generate from those leads – you’re losing money!

Thankfully, Google can help you control how much you spend on lead acquisition using machine learning technology to make sure that your PPC ad campaigns are profitable.

This smart bidding strategy is based on the concept of cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and we’ll show you how local service businesses can best leverage this feature.

 

What’s Cost per Acquisition (CPA)?

As a marketing concept that calculates the cost of acquiring new customers, CPA helps you determine if your PPC ads are attracting and retaining customers profitably so you can maintain a healthy ROI.

For many small businesses without sales people and the associated overhead, CPA is proportional to lead cost. Lead cost is the amount one pays for leads. If you win 1 in 3 leads, your close rate is 33%, and without sales overhead, your CPA would be 3 times your lead cost.

For instance, if you are a painting company and your average lead cost is $40, and you close 1 in 4 leads, then your CPA is 4 x $40 or $160. Each job you win costs you an average of $160.

How To Determine Your CPA?

Start with your average transaction value, which is the gross revenue you generate from each sale. Subtract the cost of delivering the service and fixed costs involved in running your business (excluding ad spending) from the gross revenue to get the gross profit before advertising.

Next, determine how much net profit you want to make from each transaction. Subtract this number from the gross profit and you’ll get the maximum CPA you should target for acquiring a new customer.

Keep in mind that some factors may affect this final target cost per acquisition (TCPA). For example:

  • If you have a high customer retention rate and high customer lifetime value, you may be able to afford a higher TCPA for the initial transaction so you can stay competitive and get the right customers in the door.

  • Your TCPA can vary based on the service area or type of service. Also, some customer segments may convert more easily so the cost associated with selling to the different prospects may vary.

Applying TCPA To Your PPC Ads

Thanks to Google Ad’s Target CPA bidding feature, you can easily set TCPA for your PPC ad campaigns. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s Target Cost Per Acquisition Bidding?

Formerly called Conversion Optimizer, this is a smart bidding strategy within the Google Ad platform that optimizes bids so you can get as many conversions for the TCPA you set for your campaigns.

You can determine the conversion event (e.g., a click, a request for a quote, a purchase) and set the TCPA as a standard strategy for a single campaign or a portfolio strategy for multiple campaigns.

Google’s machine learning technology uses historical data from past campaigns and combines it with contextual signals present at the auction time (e.g., the user’s location, type of device, remarketing list, time of the day, etc.) to determine the optimal cost-per-click (CPC) bid based on your TCPA.

Setting TCPA In Google Ads

If you have historical conversion data from past campaigns (at least 15 conversions in the past 30 days,) Google Ads will make a recommendation on TCPA, which is calculated based on the actual CPA performance during the previous few weeks.

Here are some bid settings you’ll encounter as you’re setting up your campaign:

  • Bid limits: for most advertisers, Google doesn’t recommend setting a bid limit because it can restrict the platform’s automatic optimization of your bid. It could prevent Google Ads from adjusting your bid for each auction to the amount that best meets your TCPA. However, if you have a limited ad budget, you can set maximum and minimum bid limits to avoid overspending. This feature is only available for portfolio level use.

  • Device bid adjustment: you can prioritize conversion by setting adjustments for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. For example, if you want to prioritize spending on mobile searches, you can set a bid adjustment to +30% — in this case, if your TCPA for the campaign is $10, it’ll be raised to $13 on mobile devices.

  • Pay for conversions: use this setting if you want to pay for conversions, instead of clicks, in your Target CPA bidding. You’ll only pay when visitors convert on your website or app.

Your TCPA can influence the number of conversions you get from the campaigns. For example, if you set the number too low, you could be shown on fewer search result pages and miss out on clicks that could lead to conversion.

To gauge whether your TCPA is performing optimally, you can review a campaign’s performance using the Target CPA Simulator, which shows you how an ad could have performed if the TCPA was set differently.

A Few Things To Know When Using TCPA Bidding

Since Google Ads determines your TCPA based on historical data, make sure that your conversion tracking is set up correctly. Otherwise, the data won’t be accurate and this will likely affect your TCPA bidding.

In addition, you should have accumulated a good number of conversions (e.g., 30 to 50) for Google to accurately estimate your TCPA.

If you’re just getting started, set realistic initial goals so you don’t limit the auctions you can enter. For example, if your average CPA is $50 in the past few months, setting your TCPA at $25 is likely to be too low and prevents you from taking full advantage of the smart bidding feature.

Also, note that you’ll probably go through a learning phase during the first two to four weeks. Setting a slightly higher TCPA can give you some room to find your footing and then you can bring it back down to your goal TCPA.

Using TCPA Bidding For Your Local Service Business

There are some nuances when it comes to using TCPA bidding for your local service business.

Let’s say a carpet cleaner wants to advertise for his various offerings, such as carpet cleaning, rug cleaning, and upholstery cleaning, which may have different margins and cost associated with delivering the service. Also, certain towns may be more profitable, due to factors such as a shorter travel distance or larger average job size.

As such, the carpet cleaner may be willing to pay $35 for carpet cleaning leads but only $25 for upholstery cleaning. Meanwhile, he may be able to afford a higher CPA for town A than town B.

In this case, the carpet cleaner can set TCPA for carpet cleaning leads at $40 for town A and $30 for town B so he can stay competitive in each location without spending unnecessary ad dollars.

The Biggest TCPA Challenge For Local Service Business

As we discussed earlier, Google needs the right conversion data to recommend optimal TCPA.

This is technically more challenging for local service businesses thanks to the often-complicated buyer’s journey. For example, most prospects would click on a PPC ad, visit the website, and then call to make an appointment.

As such, more clicks than Google recorded have likely turned into leads. If you don’t provide that conversion information to Google, the recommended TCPA can’t be optimized properly.

99 Calls has devised a specific solution to help contractors accurately track conversion (i.e., clicks turning into leads) and supply the data to Google Ads.

Our system is set up to track each click and call, match them up, and then mark clicks that have turned into qualified leads on Google as a conversion. This allows Google to learn how to get more clicks that are most likely to turn into leads.

In addition, 99 Calls can run Google Ads campaigns to target a specific lead price, a specific ROAS (return on ad spend,) or simply get as many leads as possible for a given budget – depending on your business objectives.

See how we can help you optimize your PPC campaigns here.

Uncategorized

Key PPC Metrics for Local Service Businesses

As more local service businesses (e.g., painters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, cleaning services, etc.) are using PPC ads to get in front of prospects and drive traffic to their websites, it’s not enough just to run a few online ads and hope for the best.

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” If you want your PPC ads to yield the results you want, you need to measure their performance so you can adjust your strategies and fine-tune the results.

However, for many local service providers, plowing through a PPC ad campaign report is no walk in the park.

Which metrics actually matter? What should you focus on to move the needle?

Measuring the wrong metrics is at best a waste of time and at worst, it could derail you to spend your time and resources on improving numbers that won’t translate into profits for your business.

In this article, we’ll explore the PPC metrics you should focus on and what they mean for your online marketing. You’ll also learn the one simple metric that shows whether your ad campaigns are profitable and what you can do to make them work harder for you.

PPC Metrics That Matter For Your Local Service Business

Here are some key PPC metrics and what they can tell you about your PPC campaigns:

  • Impressions: it refers to the number of times an ad has been displayed on search results pages and it’s an indication of visual awareness. Getting prospects to see your ads on relevant search result pages is the first step to raising brand awareness and getting clicks.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): calculated by dividing the number of times an ad was clicked with impressions, CTR is a good indicator of the ad copy’s effectiveness. A low CTR means searchers are seeing your ads but aren’t compelled to click through – which could indicate a message mismatch between the keywords or audience you’re targeting and the ad copy.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): the total cost of all clicks divided by the number of clicks and is an essential metric for evaluating the ROI of the campaign.
  • Conversion rate: it measures the completion of an action by a searcher after clicking your ad, such as completing a form to get a quote, calling a tracking number, or scheduling an appointment. If you have a high CTR but low conversion rate, you should make sure the messages on your ad and the landing page are consistent and the landing page is optimized for conversion.
  • Cost Per Conversion: also called cost per acquisition (CPA), it shows you the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer. A low CPA is a good indication that your ads are yielding high ROIs while a high CPA means your PPC strategy probably has room for improvement, e.g., by lowering the bids, using more specific keywords, and improving the ad copy.

The Most Important PPC Metric You Should Know

While the various metrics discussed above can help you gauge the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and fine-tune the different components, they don’t directly answer the most important question – is the PPC ad campaign profitable?

After all, if a campaign is driving traffic or even generating sales but the revenue isn’t covering the cost of the ads – you’re losing money!

If you only track one number, make it the ROAS (return on ad spend) of the PPC ads because it tells you whether your campaigns are generating profits.

How To Calculate ROAS

To calculate ROAS, simply divide sales by ad spend: ROAS = Sales / Ad Spend

For example, if you spend $20 on an ad and generate $100 in sales, the ROAS is 5.

ROAS shows you the amount you spend on a PPC campaign in relation to the sales resulted from the ads. Simply put, if you aren’t making enough profit, you should tweak your tactics or stop running the ads.

How To Determine Minimum ROAS

To find out if an ad campaign is profitable, you need to determine the break-even point, which is represented by the minimum ROAS.

You’ll just need a few numbers to figure out the break-even ROAS:

  • The revenue generated by the ads.
  • The cost of the services sold by the ads.
  • Other fees involved in the sales (e.g., transaction fee.)
  • Profit per sale.

Then you can calculate the minimum ROAS for the PPC campaign. For example:

If the revenue is $100, the cost of delivering the service is $50, and the fees are $5, then the profit will be $45 (Revenue – the cost of goods – other fees.)

If your ad spend is lower than $45, the campaign is making money; if it’s $45, you’ll break even; if it’s higher than $45, you’re losing money for every service package sold.

In this case, the minimum ROAS is ($100/$45) = 2.2.

Keep in mind that ROAS doesn’t cover other costs that you may incur in running the campaigns, such as hiring a copywriter or a graphic designer, which you’ll need to take into account when evaluating the ROI of the ad campaigns.

As such, your target ROAS should be higher than the minimum ROAS in order to generate a profit.

How To Track Your ROAS

ROAS is campaign-specific and can be set up to evaluate the effectiveness of an individual campaign, ad group, or keyword.

To correctly attribute each sale to a traffic source/ad campaign and calculate the ROAS, you need to set up conversion tracking.

This is where things get more complex for service-based businesses because unlike eCommerce websites, the conversion event may not be an immediate online transaction. Also, both online and offline interactions are often involved before a sale is made.

However, with the right tools and some thoughtful planning, you can set up conversion tracking on your website to collect accurate data:

First, you need to have a lead-generation website with Google Analytics installed. Then, set up goals on Google Analytics to track conversion events, such as form submissions, phone clicks, or email clicks.

From there, you can associate the conversion event with the specific PPC ad that brought the visitor to your website and track the prospect’s subsequent interactions with your business using a CRM system.

Due to the less linear customer journey, it’s more challenging to map a prospect’s interactions with your business from an online channel to an actual sale – especially for local service businesses that also use other offline marketing tactics, such as word-of-mouth, print ads, or billboards.

For instance, a PPC ad may generate brand awareness but a prospect may finally call using a tracking number on a print ad. Or he may be seeing your company vehicles around enough to build trust before he searches online and clicks on your ad.

To understand how these online and offline tactics work together, you can ask your customers how they learn about your business and what prompted them to get in touch so you can fine-tune your ads to match the customer journey.

How To Improve ROAS For Your Local Service PPC Campaigns

One of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns is to focus on maximizing their ROAS.

Remember ROAS = Sales / Ad Spend? In order to increase ROAS, you need to increase sales and/or lower ad spend. Here’s how:

Increase Sales and Revenue

Generate more sales by driving high-quality traffic that’s most likely to convert by doing the following:

  • Improve ad copy to attract high-quality prospects that are ready to engage your services. For example, mention a special offer, include social proof, highlight unique selling points, and add a compelling call-to-action.
  • Match ad content to the target audience segment and make sure the messaging on the landing page is consistent with the ad copy.
  • Review your search query reports to identify “cost-effective keywords” so you can allocate more budget to those that generate the most conversions.
  • Include keywords that indicate high purchase intent, e.g., business name, specific service category, or brand names of products you use.
  • Target local keywords, such as the specific areas you service or local conditions.
  • Improve your website’s mobile experience as more consumers are using mobile devices for local searches. In fact, 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile-friendly site.

Reduce Ad Spend

Here’s how to allocate your ad budget strategically to lower ad spend:

  • Review your search term report to identify keywords that are getting clicks but don’t result in a conversion event. Add these terms to the campaign’s list of negative keywords so they won’t trigger the ads.
  • Improve your Google Ads quality score, which often translates into lower ad cost, by making sure the ad copy and landing pages are relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.
  • Optimize your bidding strategy, e.g., only show the ads when your target audience is most likely to be searching for your specific services. Experiment with Google’s Smart Bidding feature, which automatically adjusts the bids based on various auction-time signals such as device, location, time of day, remarketing list, and operating system.

Final Thoughts

PPC advertising is a great way to get in front of more prospects and you can augment its effectiveness by using marketing strategies that foster trust and credibility with the community, e.g., by building a strong and recognizable brand and proactively managing your online reputation.

Meanwhile, the various PPC metrics associate each ad with the revenue it generates to offer key insights that will help you understand the effectiveness of your online ads.

By closely monitoring your PPC campaigns and leveraging the right analytics, you can gain insights into the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy and make accurate data-driven decisions to improve your ROI.

Lastly PPC advertising can be a highly productive and cost-effective way to generate leads for local service businesses. However successful PPC ad campaigns require time, effort, and hard-earned expertise. As a local service business leader, you can choose to roll-up your sleeves and dive into the details of PPC. Or, another option, outsource PPC advertising to a local lead generation expert such as 99 Calls.

Uncategorized

Top 3 Online Logo Makers For Local Service Businesses

In a previous article, we talked about why you need a well-designed logo for your local service business (e.g., painter, electrician, landscaping, house cleaning) and how to effectively apply it to your marketing materials to enhance your local presence and make your brand instantly recognizable.

If you’re ready to take a stab in creating a logo for your business, there are many online tools you can use to generate a logo that you can apply to all customer touch points.

Here are 3 popular online logo makers and how they stack up against each other:

VistaPrint Logo Maker

  • Choose from a list of designs and explore different icons, colors, and layouts to narrow down your options.
  • Personalize the template with your business information and customize the design to meet your needs.
  • Use the logo on any VistaPrint products at no additional cost or download the files for $20.
    1
    Source

LogoMix

  • Enter logo text, such as your business name.
  • Choose up to 3 logo styles (e.g., badge, text, icon, or initial,) up to 3 fonts, and up to 3 logo layouts.
  • Select a template and edit the design by entering your business information, choosing the font, and adjusting color options.
  • Save and download your files.

BrandCrowd

  • Enter your business name and the application will generate a series of logo ideas. Or you can choose from designs based on industries or keywords.
  • Select a template and customize the design by changing the colors or fonts. You can also add a tagline.
  • Download your logo file.

Logo Makers Comparison

When selecting an online logo making tool, you should consider the ease of use, template variety, customization options, file format variety, cost, and future application:

Ease of Use

All three logo makers offer a simple step-by-step process that involves not much more than choosing a template, colors, and fonts.

In addition, VistaPrint allows you to filter logo ideas by style and BrandCrowd offers the option to choose from a list of industries or filter by keywords.

1

Source

Design Options

Get started on VistaPrint or BrandCrowd by choosing from a wide range of design templates as a starting point from which you can customize the text, colors, and fonts.

LogoMix offers fewer layout options and you can begin the process by choosing a style, color, and font.

Customization Options

All three logo makers offer templates you can use as starting points to customize your design with their editing tools.

Brandcrowd offers the most user-friendly editor with many options to adjust text, fonts, layout, background, icon, and shapes.

Output Variety and Cost

You need the ability to download the final design files in a variety of formats and resolution so you can apply the design to different marketing materials (e.g., website, print, etc.)

You can apply the logo you have created with VistaPrint’s logo maker onto its own products at no additional cost or you can download the files, including color and black-and-white versions, icon-only versions, landscape and portrait layouts, and high-quality PDF and JPEG for $20 each.

BrandCrowd is free to use and you can purchase your logo in a standard package ($45) that includes high-resolution PNG and JPG files (for web), vector SVG, EPS and PDF files (for print), files with transparent background, and multiple logo variations.

For $39.95, you can download high-quality source files you can use for documents, business cards, and websites from LogoMix. The logos are available in multiple sizes, black & white, and transparent formats.

Future Usage

VistaPrint and LogoMix allow you to apply the logo you have created using their logo makers to business cards, brochures, shirts, stationery, website, promotional products, labels, stickers, etc. directly on their website so you don’t have to spend the time to download and upload the assets.

Keep in mind that printing can be tricky because the colors you see on the screen may not be the same as it comes out on paper, especially if you use different vendors. Having the same service to design and print your logo can minimize unpleasant surprises, saving you time and money.

If you plan to use different vendors, check that the file formats provided by the logo maker are accepted so you don’t get locked into a single provider.

Final Thoughts

The various online logo makers offer easy and affordable options for creating a visual identity that can help you build brand awareness in your community and attract more customers.

Your logo, when applied to various customer touch points such as website, social media, third-party review sites, and offline promotional materials – can help you deliver a consistent customer experience that’ll help you augment your local presence and build trust.

Uncategorized

Help! My Google My Business listing was suspended!

In the last few months (Summer 2019) , we’ve seen an increase in Google My Business (GMB) listing suspensions. Why? Maybe Google filters have become more stringent. Maybe Google is cracking down on spammy listings. Whatever the reason, yes, there were many spammy listings removed, but there were also many legitimate businesses affected by this crackdown. In fact, there have been so many suspensions, and reinstatement requests that Google’s incorporated a banner notifying all users of the high volume of suspended listing questions.

1

What’s a Suspended Listing?

First of all, what does it mean to have a suspended Google listing? There are 2 types of suspensions, a soft suspension, and a hard suspension. We are not seeing many soft suspensions anymore, but once in a while, you may. This is simply when your GMB listing is still live, but in your account it shows as suspended. However, you no longer have the ability to manage it. On the other hand, hard suspensions are much more common. In this case, your entire listing has been removed from Google and shows as suspended in your account.

1

In either case, when your listing is suspended, Google feels you have violated their policies in some way, and you need to try to get it reinstated.

Why was my GMB listing suspended?

If your Google My Business listing was suspended, you’ll want to ask yourself if you are following all of Google’s guidelines. The number one reason a listing is suspended is because of Google’s policy violations. Some of the most common violations include:

  • Your address is a P.O. Box or mailing facility
  • Keyword stuffing – Your business name is stuffed with keywords and not simply your business name
  • You are a service area business but haven’t listed yourself as a service area business
  • There’s already another business or multiple businesses at the address you’ve provided
  • Your listing has a website which is a forwarded URL
  • You have multiple listings for the same business within close proximity
  • You’ve had several recent changes to your business listing
  • You’ve made multiple field edits at once
  • Simply because you’re a “high-risk” industry which seems to many spammy listings such as Garage Door Contractors, Locksmiths, Plumbers, or other home-based, service-providing businesses

What can I do now?

Once you’ve reviewed all of Google’s policies and confirmed that none have been violated, or you’ve rectified any policy violations, you’ll need to “appeal for reinstatement”. To appeal, it’s fairly simple. You need to complete this form, https://support.google.com/business/troubleshooter/2690129?authuser=1. Once the form is completed, you’ll need to patiently wait till Google’s reviewed all your information. Once reviewed, they’ll send you a response via email with either a rejection:

1

Or approval of reinstatement:

1

Once in awhile, upon completion of the appeal for reinstatement form, Google may email you requesting proof of your business, it’s legitimacy and that you own it. In this case, depending on whether you’re a brick and mortar business or service area business, they may ask for an image showing signage of your storefront and the address or a state license or registration. Once submitted, you wait.

If you’ve waited for a few weeks and haven’t received a response from Google, the best way to reach out to Google support is via Twitter, @GoogleMyBiz.

How do I prevent a GMB suspension?

The first, and foremost way to avoid a GMB suspension is to not violate any of Google’s policies/guidelines. Check and double-check for policy violations by referring to this site, https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177.

Secondly, only allow manager access to people you actually want to manage your listing. Remove any additional users such as previous employees or previous marketing agencies.

And finally, keep your basic profile info consistent across the web, such as your name, address, phone number and website.

Uncategorized

How To Supercharge Local SEO With Branding

You have read up on local SEO, done your keyword research, and optimized your website for search engines.

All good! But… why isn’t the search engine ranking for your local service business skyrocketing?

The truth is, your competitors are getting SEO savvy too. Everybody is chasing after the same keywords and reading the same how-to articles.

Now, we’re not saying don’t get your SEO ducks in a row – that’s the absolute minimum you need to do to thrive in today’s competitive market!

After all, your online traffic could suffer dramatically if you don’t get onto the first page of Google since 90% of searches don’t go past the first page of search results.

Meanwhile, spending a lot of money on ads may get you temporary results but they’re not nearly as cost-effective in the long-run as optimizing your website for organic searches.

1

Source

However, simply doing the basics is no longer enough to help you stand out from a large pool of service providers in local search results.

How can you capture the attention of your potential customers… and Google?

Turns out, they’re not that different!

Google considers user behavior as a signal of relevancy and uses it as a ranking factor, so what works for your audience will work for Google too!

How do people decide that they can trust a product or service provider?

In today’s crowded marketplace, we don’t have time to compare and research every single product or service. We take a shortcut by choosing those that we recognize.

We take a recognizable brand as a shorthand that we can trust the product or service. Have you noticed that when you’re looking for a product online, you often type in a brand name instead of the generic name? (E.g., Band-Aid, not self-adhesive bandages.)

When a website gets a high amount of brand queries (i.e., people use the brand name in their searches) compared to their competitors, Google takes it as a signal that it’s preferred over the others.

Since consumers prefer and search for brand names, Google gives them higher priority for all the terms they’re optimized for. As such, Google considers these sites to be more relevant and therefore, will rank them higher in relevant search results.

So, what can you do to build a brand for your local service business?

How To Create a Successful Brand For Your Local Service Business

First, keep in mind that establishing your brand is a long game. It’s not about making immediate sales.

The goal is to stay top of mind and position yourself as an expert. You want people to recognize your brand, remember it, and trust it. So when they need the services you provide, they’ll search for your business name.

Here’s how to build a brand that’ll capture the attention of your prospects and Google alike:

1. Choose a Unique And Memorable Business Name

If people can’t remember your business name, they won’t enter it into Google, right?

Your business name should be easy to recall and hard to misspell. For example, if you print out the website URL on a poster or say your URL on a radio ad, will your prospects be able to remember it clearly and spell it correctly?

When naming your business, also consider the names of your competitors. For example, if your business name is very similar to that of more established competitor, you’re likely to lose out on the SEO ranking.

In addition, include keywords in your brand name or URL if possible. This will not only aid recall but also signal to Google that your website is relevant to the search terms.

2. Deliver Great Services And Leverage Word Of Mouth

Providing outstanding services is the key to getting known for your expertise and building a stellar reputation that’ll benefit your business for years to come.

If you deliver great results, then your existing customers are likely to look you up online when they need your services again. Or they’d share their experience with others, who’d then search for you online. As a result, your brand queries will increase and Google will take notice.

Also, leverage the power of word of mouth by asking your happy customers to post online reviews about your business. This will increase your brand’s visibility on third-party sites, build brand recognition, and boost your credibility.

3. Create Value And Share It Everywhere

Creating value is one of the best ways to build trust and nurture relationships with your prospects and customers.

Publish relevant and helpful blog articles regularly (e.g., once a week) and don’t skimp on the promotional efforts. Share the content with your email list and on social media to build credibility while driving traffic back to your website.

You can also create videos to engage viewers and build a personal connection. It also helps you get found on YouTube and leverage the increasing popularity of video content on social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram.)

Select topics that allow you to showcase your expertise. Focus on helping your audience solve their problems rather than talking about your services – nobody wants to watch a 5-minute infomercial!

4. Engage With Your Community

As a local service business, you can enhance your brand by building relationships with the local community online and offline.

Participate in and/or sponsor local events and take advantage of the in-person interactions to build rapport with prospects. Take photos and videos then share them on your website, email newsletter, or social media to boost your local presence.

You can also join online neighborhood communities, such as Nextdoor, in which you can participate in conversations, add value, and become a trusted resource for topics in your area of expertise.

Conclusion

Establishing a unique and memorable brand can help you create a virtuous cycle that drives more traffic and improves your search engine ranking.

Of course, just building a brand and driving traffic isn’t going to bring you customers. You also need to dial in your lead generation and lead nurturing strategies to progress prospects down your sales funnel.

That’s why a lead generating website is such a critical component of SEO – when you drive traffic to your website, you want to get the highest ROI by capturing visitors’ information so you can follow up and close the sale.

Here at 99 Calls, we not only help you drive high-quality traffic but also build an optimized lead generation website to optimize your conversion rate. Learn more and request a free demo here.

Uncategorized

Grow Your Local Service Business With Multi-Channel Marketing

Is there a “right” marketing channel for promoting your local service business?

The truth is, it’s no longer enough to use just one or two marketing channels. Consumers are interacting with brands across a variety of platforms at different stages of their customer lifecycles and they expect to do the same with local service providers.

How can you be “everywhere” and meet your customers where they are?

What’s Multi-Channel Marketing?

Multi-channel marketing is the strategy of communicating and interacting with prospects and customers across a variety of channels, such as website, online ads, social media, direct mail, email, mobile app, print ads, etc.

It allows you to stay accessible to your target market and deliver your marketing message in the right place and at the right time.

Why Multi-Channel Marketing Works For Local Service Businesses

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to establish a presence on a variety of marketing channels, consider these benefits of multi-channel marketing:

  • More than 70% of consumers look up businesses in three or more channels before making a purchase. It’s important that prospects can find your information on the platforms of their choice.
  • Being present on multiple channels will allow your information to be found by more prospects.
  • People need to see a marketing message more than 10 times for it to have a long-term effect. Showing your ads on multiple channels increases exposure, reinforces your brand image, and helps you stay top of mind.
  • Different channels have different advantages. For example, digital channels can deliver personalized promotions in real-time while offline channels are effective for building brand awareness.

The Most Effective Marketing Channels For Local Service Businesses

The next question, of course, is which channels to use. Here are the marketing channels most suitable for local service professionals:

Organic Search (SEO)

Did you know that 97% of consumers search online for local businesses? Getting found on relevant local search results by optimizing your website for SEO is one of the best ways to reach more prospects.

While Google is the most popular search engine, don’t forget to consider other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo.

Of course, driving traffic is only the first step. You also need a well-designed lead generation website so you can capture the leads and turn them into clients.

Relate article: Top SEO and PPC Trends For Local Service Businesses, Google E-A-T: the Key to Improving SEO For Your Local Service Business

Online Advertising

PPC ads allow you to set up highly targeted campaigns that are shown to prospects located in your service area and triggered by specific keywords in their searches. They can drive high-quality traffic that’s most likely to engage your services right away.

To optimize your PPC campaigns, you need to select the right keywords, target the right audience segment (e.g., by location, demographics, etc.), and optimize your bidding strategy.

Besides typical text ads, you can use Google Local Services Ads (LSA) to get your information shown in “position zero,” above all other paid and organic search results to capture searchers’ attention and generate more clicks.

1

Related articles: How To Dominate First Page Of Google Search Results, How To Increase the Effectiveness of Your Local PPC Ads

Third-Party Review Sites

Consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and neighbors. Establishing a positive online reputation on review sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau) can help you attract prospects and increase conversion rate.

Since these sites have high domain authority (aka, “Google juice”,) your listing is more likely to appear close to the top of search results while the backlink to your site will help boost your SEO.

Start by claiming your business listing and optimizing your business profile on these sites. Then, implement an online review strategy to get happy customers to post reviews and manage your online reputation.

1

Image source

Related article: How To Leverage Online Reviews To Grow Your Local Service Business

Online Communities/Local Listings

Target prospects in your service area, establish a local presence, and build relationships with the community by using sites such as Craigslist and Nextdoor.

These platforms give you a no- or low-cost way to reach the local community. You can get in front of prospects that are searching for the particular service you provide or build trust with your target market.

Due to the different nature of these sites, they have varying guidelines. Follow the rules and develop a strategy for each platform so you can reach the right audience with the most appropriate messaging.

Related article: How To Generate Leads For Your Local Service Business on Craigslist and Nextdoor

Lead Generation/Pay-Per-Lead Services

Platforms such as HomeAdvisors, Thumbtack, CraftJack, etc. connect local businesses with customers that are looking for service professionals in specific geographic areas.

These services vary from one vendor to another, e.g., pay-per-lead vs. monthly fee; exclusive vs. shared leads; verified vs. non-verified leads. You should select the type of service based on your needs, budget, and resources.

Here are some top lead generation sites for plumbers, painter, electricians, HVAC contractors, handyman, and carpet cleaning services.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to nurture customer relationships, increase credibility, stay top of mind, and build loyalty. In fact, it’s almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in customer acquisition!

Sign up for an email service (don’t send email campaigns from your personal email account!) to ensure high deliverability and leverage various features such as mobile-friendly templates, automation, segmentation, and analytics to optimize your results.

Use emails to share valuable content, deliver personalized offers, and ask for reviews. Be consistent with your mailing schedule to stay top of mind and nurture relationships with your subscribers.

Related article: How To Use Email Marketing To Promote Your Local Service Business

Social Media

Since most consumers are already using social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) to connect with friends and ask for recommendations, you should make it easy for prospects to look you up and interact with you on these platforms.

Set up a business page and complete your company profile. Research local keywords and use the appropriate hashtags to increase exposure to users in your service area.

While you can use PPC ads on social media to promote your services, don’t forget the “social” part! You should focus on interacting with your followers, increasing engagement, and building relationships on these platforms.

Mobile Apps and Text

More consumers are interacting with businesses and making purchases via their mobile devices. Mobile apps, messaging apps, and SMS are great ways to reach prospects and customers in real-time to deliver the right message in the right place and at the right time.

SMS messages have a 98% open rate and you can also use it to boost engagement on other channels (e.g., email.) Meanwhile, mobile apps allow you to send push notifications and leverage other mobile-specific features (e.g., geo-fencing, autofill) to improve customer experience and increase sales.

Offline Channels

There are many offline marketing channels you can use to increase brand awareness and build relationships with your customers, such as:

  • Local events: boost your local presence by hosting or participating in community events. You can use the opportunity to showcase your services, build your email list, and get prospects to connect with you through other online channels so you can continue building relationships.
  • Direct mail: done strategically, direct mail has almost 4 times the open rate when compared to email. Choose the right kind of format that’s appropriate for your budget, offerings, and target audience. Don’t forget to write engaging copy to drive conversion.
  • Signage: vehicle decals, yards signs, branded apparel or products, billboards, local print ads, and posters are just some examples of signage you can use to build a local presence and increase brand awareness. Include your website URL or a QR code whenever appropriate to drive traffic to your website and capture leads.
  • Yellow Pages: you can claim a listing for free or pay a small fee for a highlighted listing (which is different from an ad.) The fee depends on your location and you can also get priority listing on YP’s online directory.

Keys To Multi-Channel Marketing Success

Multi-channel marketing is highly effective since you can create synergy among the different touch points to amplify results. Here’s how to make the most of your multi-channel marketing efforts:

  • Research about your audience to create the most effective marketing message and offers.
  • Choose the right channels to meet your target market where they’re at.
  • Be consistent with your brand image and messaging across all channels to deliver a seamless customer experience.
  • Integrate your campaigns across channels to increase engagement and exposure.
  • Use retargeting ads (e.g., on Facebook) to show specific offers to prospects who have already visited your website.
  • Use both online and offline channels to enhance each other for a seamless customer journey.

You should have a lead-generating website to which you can direct online traffic and capture prospects’ information. This will allow you to continue to build trust and nurture relationships through other channels (e.g., email.)

Last but not least, track your traffic source and conversion rate to see which channels yield the best results so you can focus your budget and efforts.

Uncategorized

How To Dominate First Page Of Google Search Results

Q: What’s better than ranking #1 on Google?

A: Dominating page 1 of Google by getting featured multiple times!

If you wonder whether ranking high on Google search results is important for a local service business such as plumber, electrician, housecleaning service, or landscaper – get this: 46% of all searches are local while 76% of them result in a phone call!

1Source

Getting mentioned multiple times on Google SERPs (search engine results pages) can amplify your local service business’s online presence and increase its credibility, which in turn will drive more online traffic and attract more high-quality leads.

Here’s an example:

Colonial Carpet Cleaning shows up an amazing 6-8 times on SERPs for “rug cleaning Wilmington MA” and “carpet cleaning Wilmington MA”!

1.png

1.png

The chances of this business being seen by prospects that are actively looking for carpet cleaning services and making an impression have increased greatly since it appears so many times.

So, what can you do so your business shows up multiple times on the first page of Google search results?

If you look at a local search results page, you’d notice that there are a few different sections – the local ads at the top (“carpet cleaner nearby”) the text ads, the local pack (with map and links,) and then the organic search results.

By optimizing for all these different components, you can appear multiple times on relevant local search results on Google.

Local Service Ads (LSA)

At the very top of the SERP are the Local Service Ads (LSA). It’s a pay-per-lead platform by Google for local service businesses.

1

These ads are shown on all devices and display key information that helps increase conversions, such as star ratings, business hours, and phone number.

Since it’s an independent product, you can run LSA alongside Google Ads without them interfering with each other’s ranking or effectiveness.

To set up your LSA, simply visit the LSA website, follow the online instructions, estimate the ad spend, and create your profile.

Make sure to submit your business license and insurance details for Google to verify your information. The “Google Guaranteed” badge will then be added to your ad to increase credibility and drive more traffic.

Local Pack

Many SERPs for local service inquiries (e.g., “near me” searches) display the search results on a map with the businesses’ locations and website links.

1

The local pack is shown on both desktop and mobile search results and is a very effective way for capturing the attention of high-quality leads that are ready to hire a service provider.

To get listed on the local pack, you need to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing and optimize your GMB profile by filling out as much information as possible, including a client-attractive description, and using GMB posts to boost your visibility.

Star ratings and customer testimonials are particularly powerful for increasing your credibility and attracting more clicks. You can put client testimonials on your website and then use schema markup so they show up on organic Google listings.

In addition, monitor your GMB listing regularly to ensure that you’re responding to queries and comments in a timely manner. Keep in mind that anyone can update your GMB listing so log onto your dashboard regularly to make sure that the information is accurate.

Google Ads

Text ads are still one of the most effective ways to reach prospects that are located in your geographic area and have high purchase intent. These ads are simple and easy to create, not to mention Google is always adding new features to help advertisers optimize results.

1

Google has access to a tremendous amount of user data. With the help of AI-driven technologies, it’s now possible for small businesses to tap into that wealth of information.

Leverage the granular targeting options available on the Google Ads platform to help you reach the highest-quality leads. For example, you can choose targeting segments based on demographics, in-market users, custom intent, similar audiences, and remarketing.

Use Google’s automated bidding feature to optimize your bids, which uses machine-learning technologies to tailor the right bids for every single auction.

In addition, Google often introduces new ad formats to help advertisers improve results. For example, by using ad extensions (e.g., call extensions, location extensions) you can provide additional information and increase the “real estate” your ad occupies on SERPs so you can capture more attention at no additional cost.

Last but not least, optimize your ad copy to include relevant long-tail keywords and a call-to-action to drive targeted traffic.

Organic Search: On-Page SEO

While ads are becoming more prominent on SERPs, it’s not to say that organic search isn’t important. In fact, many consumers still prefer to click on organic search results instead of ads.

1

As more consumers are using their smartphones to search for local service providers, it’s becoming even more important to get ranked high on the first page so your link can be seen with minimum scrolling.

On-page SEO is one of the most effective ways to improve your ranking on SERPs. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Mobile optimization: since Google introduced mobile-first indexing, websites that are optimized for mobile devices are given priorities in search engine rankings.
  • Site speed: reduce load time by optimizing assets (e.g., images) and cleaning up the code.
  • Navigation and usability: simplify your website structure so users can find the information they need quickly and easily.
  • Long-tail keywords: optimize your content for long-tail keywords, which helps you rank high in relevant search results and attract visitors with high purchase intent.
  • Visual content: leverage the power of images and photos to increase engagement. Use alt tags with the proper keywords so search engines can index the content.
  • Videos: post videos on YouTube (which is another great way to get listed on the first page of Google) and then embed them onto your website.

1.png

Third-Party Review Sites and Local Directories

Many third-party sites (e.g., Yelp, Google) have high domain authority, which Google uses as a signal for trusted sources. By listing your business on these sites, you can leverage their “SEO juice” to get extra spots on the first page.

Listing on these sites also adds backlinks from high authority sites, which can help improve your website’s ranking.

Make sure to complete your profiles and include your website URL so you can increase your reach on the review sites and drive more traffic back to your website.

Online reviews, especially on your Google My Business listing, is another signal Google uses to determine ranking. A 5-star review will add credibility to your local pack listing or LSA and attract more high-quality prospects.

Conclusion

While it’s important to show up on Google first page so you can drive more website traffic, your website also needs to be optimized to effectively capture leads so you can turn them into customers.

That’s why here at 99 Calls, we combine the latest SEO best practices with a lead generating website to maximize your marketing ROI.

Learn more and see how we can help you dominate Google first page here.