Googgle+ LocalYour Google+ Local listing can be a very valuable tool when it comes to web marketing and establishing a strong Internet presence. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to use your Google+ Local listing. For this reason, Google has outlined certain policies regarding your listing content, and you must adhere to these policies if you are to use Google+ Local to its optimum potential. Here is a guide to understanding Google+ Local content policies and why it’s important to follow them:

Your business listing. You must list your business name, location, and contact information EXACTLY as it is on your business license. You may not place keywords, taglines, or other marketing phrases in your listing.

Illegal activities. You cannot advertise anything illegal through your Google+ Local listing, or use your listing as a means to discuss or conduct illegal business practices.

Violent or bullying behavior. There should be absolutely no content on your Google+ Local page that could be considered threatening to other people, and your page content should not represent violent or bullying behavior of any sort.

Pornography. Anything considered obscene, sexually explicit, or otherwise indicative of graphic sex is strictly prohibited on Google+ Local. That includes any type of nudity.

Misleading representation. You may not impersonate a person or business through your Google+ Local listing, or otherwise mislead people about the nature of your business. This even pertains to images and videos you upload to your listing, which must be directly related to your business.

Malicious content. Things like Trojans, password phishing scams, spam, worms, and any other type of harmful, malicious, or threatening content are not allowed in Google+ Local listings.

Copyright infringement. You must respect all laws pertaining to the protection of intellectual property. That means you cannot use copyrighted materials on your Google+ Local listing without proper permission.

Review content. You cannot remove a review yourself, but you can flag it as inappropriate, in order to request a review by Google. Google will remove review content that is proven to be spam, off-topic, illegitimate, inappropriate (according to general Google+ Local content policy), or unlawful.

Why follow these policies? Simply put, Google+ Local content policies were designed to enhance the user experience, which ultimately ensures the success of your listing and improves your bottom line. Not following these policies jeopardizes your standing with Google, and could also alienate those visiting your Places page. Better safe than sorry, right?

Join us for a webinar: How To Turn Your Google+ Local Page Into A Magnet For New Customers! Get the details here:

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5 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fan Activity

facebook10waystitleslide150Gone are the days when you marketed “to” your customers. Now, with the popularity of social media, there is a new way to market: it’s interactive. You no longer have to figure out creative ways to relay messages that will somehow get peoples’ attention, and then sit back and hope it’s working. By marketing through social media, you get to hear your customers’ reactions first-hand, and can tweak your marketing efforts accordingly. If you have accepted the new reality of social media marketing and are ready to take your Facebook potency to the next level, it’s time to start thinking about improving your interactions with your fans. How do you do that? Here are five ways to increase your Facebook fan activity:

Interact on other fan pages. This is quite simple: if you want to establish your credibility on Facebook and lend some relevance to your fan page in order to stimulate fan interactions, then you need to be active in the Facebook world. One of the best ways you have of doing that is to be visible on other, related fan pages. Get involved in serious discussions, post useful tidbits of information, or even just show support for the page, and people will reciprocate by participating more on your fan page.

Apps. There are a number of useful applications that you can plug into your fan page in order to encourage interactions amongst your fans. For example, the “Fan of the Week” app actually keeps track of your fans’ participation and acknowledges your top fan of each week. People love recognition and this app will encourage them to hang out on your page more often.

Be genuine. Your fans don’t want to feel that they are communicating with a robot. Be human. Be yourself. Interact on a personal level and people will respond.

Fan page partnerships. Make it a point to promote other fan pages that you support, and those fan pages will do the same for you. You can promote other fan pages by sharing their pictures and posts, and by linking to their pages from your own page.

Have a contest. Host a giveaway of some sort and provide your fans with a chance to win it, based on their participation. You can set this up any way you like. Many fan pages pose a silly question, or even a photo caption contest, and then advertise the prize and the deadline date.

As you can see, there are some very simple steps you can take to increase your Facebook fan activity. If you want to get the most out of your social media marketing, join us for a webinar! Straight talk about how you should (and shouldn’t) use Facebook to market your business.

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How to Overcome a Bad Yelp Review

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase

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Yelp is a very powerful review site, where your customers may go to publish their personal experiences of dealing with your business. Of course, it is only natural to hope that these testimonials are good. However, you will eventually run into a bad review, and it is in your best interest to learn how to handle such reviews. Believe it or not, you can actually turn negative reviews into positive affirmations of your business credibility. Want to know how? Here are some tips for how to overcome a bad Yelp review:

Pay attention to what is being said. Sure, it may be hard to read anything negative about your business, but instead of jumping to defense, you need to keep in mind that there is likely some truth to the review (even if it is derogatory or exaggerated). By carefully considering what you are reading, you may be able to pinpoint some areas where your business could legitimately use some improvement.

Respond. You may do this privately or publicly, but it’s a good idea to do both. That means sending a private message to the reviewer, asking what you may do to remedy the situation, and then posting publicly that you are sorry the reviewer feels that way, and that you would like the chance to make things better. Also, it is always a sign of good business to offer a viable solution to the problem. Others who read the review will see this as a testament to your commitment to customer service. For example, if a customer was unhappy with meal from your establishment, then you may choose to offer a coupon, and then ask the customer to give your restaurant another chance.

Things to avoid. Don’t ever ignore a bad review. That’s probably the worst thing you could do. Don’t ever deny your own responsibility in the matter, or attempt to justify bad business; if something truly went wrong, acknowledge it. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of providing a neutral, diplomatic, and genuine response.

Be realistic. When it comes to dealing with negative reviews on a personal (or emotional) level, here is something to keep in mind that may assuage some of your anxieties: potential customers do not trust when a business has all-positive reviews. Remember that these are real people you are dealing with, and real people understand that no business can truly satisfy every single customer. Be realistic in thinking that you will inevitably get some negative reviews, and focus on creating positive outcomes, rather than dwelling on negative feelings.

UPCOMING WEBINAR – Warning: Are Negative Online Reviews Costing You Sales? Register here:

Online reputation management is a complex process, but it is also tantamount to your business success. To make the most of your online reputation, you may want to enlist the help of qualified and competent professionals like us, The Website Marketing Pro. We can be reached by phone, at 919-636-9623, or by email:

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7 Requirements of a Google+ Local Listing

Google PlacesOne very important tool that your business should have in its Internet marketing arsenal is a Google+ Local listing. Not only is Google+ Local free and easy to use, but it is also one of the most prominent and powerful entities on the web when it comes to business advertising. As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that Google+ Local has completely taken over the yellow pages market, making that bulky book a thing of yesterday. Your business should be taking advantage of all Google+ Local has to offer, and that begins with a complete listing. Want to know how to get the most out of your Google+ Local page? Here are seven requirements of a Google+ Local listing:

A Google account. Before you can set up a Google+ Local listing, you must first have a valid Google account.

Your business name. It is required that you list your business name exactly as it is on your business license – no exceptions. This means that you cannot place keywords into your business name, no matter how tempting it is.

Business address. Your business address must be listed exactly as it appears on your business license (or, how you would list it on any business correspondence).

Business telephone number. You must list a valid, verifiable business phone number. Be sure to include the area code.

Proof. Before Google will publish your Local page to the web, you must provide proof of the accuracy of your business information. This may be in the form of a business card, an advertisement, or a verifiable phone number.

Compliance. Google sets some stringent guidelines when it comes to content, and you must comply with these guidelines, or else risk being blacklisted by Google altogether. Google+ Local content guidelines address everything from copyrighting laws to pornography, and can be accessed through Google+ Local support (on the website).

Completeness. Although it is not exactly necessary that you complete each and every space on your Google+ Local listing in order to publish the page, it is absolutely necessary that you fill in all the blanks (even the optional ones) if you want to score a 100 percent. A perfect score is necessary to earning a high Google search engine ranking, so make sure your listing information is complete.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer by enlisting the help of competent professionals like us, The Website Marketing Pro.

Join us for a webinar: How To Turn Your Google+ Local Page Into A Magnet For New Customers! Get the details here:

FacebookFacebook’s geotargeting feature now makes it possible for you to pick and choose the exact target location of your audience, on a per-post basis. This has many useful implications when it comes to business marketing, so it’s a good idea for you to learn how to use geotargeting to maximize the effectiveness of your business’ fan page. Need some tips? Here are five ways to use Facebook geotargeting for your business:

Time zone effectiveness. If you understand the ins and outs of social media marketing, then you know that your posts are most effective when they are live – that is, when other people see them fresh on the newsfeed. News travels quickly, and fades just as quickly, when it appears on a rapidly shifting newsfeed, so it is important that you get your posts out to all of your customers in real time, no matter where they live, and without clogging everyone’s newsfeeds. You can do this by sending your posts to the appropriate time zones at the appropriate times, and geotracking enables you to do this.

Keeping it local. If you are sponsoring a local event or offering a special that is only relevant to your local customers, then it is pointless (and a nuisance) to repeatedly advertise it to people who are not in your target area. Use geotracking to keep local news local, and to spare everyone else of wasteful posting.

Targeting photos and videos. You can really customize your targeted marketing campaigns by posting geographically-specific photos and videos to areas of your choosing. This is a great way to create a memorable, interactive experience for customers all over the globe, on a per-location basis, and that means loyal customers all around.

Multi-lingual opportunities. If your business caters to a mixed crowd who speaks a variety of languages, then you can use geotargeting when you post language-specific posts that might otherwise crowd your fans’ newsfeeds with text they can’t read or understand.

Comparison testing. You can use geotargeting to gauge your fans’ responses in different geographic locations. That way, you can identify market trends that are location-specific, and can create campaigns to target specific zones that you know will be most responsive.

As you can see, Facebook geotargeting can be a very useful tool in your marketing grab-bag, and it may be used to size up your social media market for other marketing outlets outside of the Internet.

Join us for a webinar! Straight talk about how you should (and shouldn’t) use Facebook to market your business:

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How to Leave a Review Using New Google + Pages

Reputation ManagementGoogle’s recent announcement of the absorption of Google Places into Google + Local sent a flurry of panic throughout the Internet business community.  After all, Google Places was known for being a very powerful tool for businesses concerned with reaching the web crowd.  Fortunately, adapting to the new Google + format is relatively simple, and customers can still leave reviews quickly and painlessly.  Here is a brief rundown of how to leave a review using new Google + Pages:

Create a Google + account.  If you haven’t already done this, then it is time to create your Google + profile.  That is because reviewers can no longer post anonymously.  This is very advantageous to businesses, as it deters spammers and malicious reviewers.  Head over to the Google + page for easy, step-by-step account set up.  You must sign into your account in order to leave a review.

Visit a business’ Google + page.  From there, you will be able to find a “Write a Review” button, located in the upper right hand corner of the screen, which you can click to get started on your review.

Choose your user ratings.  Now, instead of leaving stars when you review a business, you will have to grade the business on a scale of 0 to 3, for a variety of factors related to the business (food, customer service, and atmosphere when reviewing restaurants, for example).  This rating system, based on the Zagat scale, is more comprehensive and reveals more granular rating nuances.

Write a review.  Underneath the user rating section, there will be a text box in which you can write and edit your review.  Google recommends being as specific as possible about your experience with the business in question.  Include helpful advice for customers who may be using your review to assess the business.

Publish your review.  Once you are satisfied that you have rated the business appropriately, and have looked over the written portion of your review to make sure you have conveyed what you want to about the business, it is time to publish it to Google +.  This part is simple: just click the “Publish” button at the bottom of the page.  Your review will then appear on the business’ Google + Local page, beside your Google + screen name and photo.

Online reputation management is a complex process, but it is also tantamount to your business success.  To make the most of your online reputation, you may want to enlist the help of qualified and competent professionals like us, The Website Marketing Pro.  We can be reached by phone, at 919-636-9623, or by email:

To download your FREE copy of What You Should Know Before You Hire a Reputation Management Company Click Here:

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5 Ways to Use Google Places for My Business

Google PlacesLaunched in 2009, Google Places was developed to serve as an online yellow pages – allowing businesses to park virtual offices in their prospective locations on Google Maps, and then to furnish those offices with everything relevant about their businesses that they would want potential customers to know.  Since then, Google Places has completely overtaken the yellow pages market, making that big, cumbersome book all but obsolete.  As a matter of fact, statistics show that 97 percent of all consumers use the Internet as their number one source for finding local businesses.  In light of these startling numbers, it seems that many businesses are still struggling with the logistics of using Google Places to its maximum potential.  How can you get the most out of your Google Places listing?  Here are five ways to use Google Places for your business:

Your Google Places listing.  The first step to establishing your presence on Google Places is to create your listing.  This is done in three simple steps: submitting all of your pertinent business information, providing Google with verification that your business is what you say it is (business card, website, business advertisement, etc.), and then waiting for Google to approve and feature your listing.

Keywords and relevant content.  When adding content to your Google Places listing, be sure to make it as relevant and keyword-rich as possible.  This will improve your organic search engine ranking.  Take time to do ample keyword research when creating your content.

Images.  Load your Google Places listing with plenty of photographs, and even videos, depicting your business.  Studies show that web surfers are much more responsive to images than to text, and using keyword-tagged images also moves you up in the Google search engine rankings.

Encourage reviews.  Your Google Places listing allows for your customers to write and post reviews to your space.  Customer reviews are a great way to promote your business, so be sure to ask your satisfied customers to help you out in this respect.

Google Business Photos.  Although this free Google service is still just catching on, it can be a great way for you to dramatically improve upon your Google Places listing.  Basically, when you sign on with Google Business Photos, Google will send out a photographer to do a 360 degree photo-shoot of the interior of your business, so that visitors to your Google Places listing can take a virtual tour.

As you can see, there are a number of ways in which a Google Places listing can greatly benefit your business.  Take advantage of everything Google Places has to offer by enlisting the help of competent professionals like us, The Website Marketing Pro.  We can be reached by phone, at 919-636-9623, or via email:

To download your FREE copy of 5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Google Places Listing Today! Click Here:

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FacebookMany of those who are new to Timeline are quick to question the need for yet another new Facebook makeover.  After all, didn’t we just recover from the last one?  The thing is, Facebook’s Timeline is really cool, and it has some great new features that can really improve your business’s online credentials, as long as you know how to use it to its full potential.  Need convincing?  Here are five ways the new Facebook Timeline will help your business:

Your cover art.  Perhaps the first thing people notice about Timeline is the huge, banner-style cover photo that frames the top of the page.  This eye-catching space is a great way to really showcase your business’s logo, your team, and other business-related images in a creative way, and is a marked improvement over the previous Facebook format.

Staying current.  In today’s techno-centric market, staying current is as important to your business’ reputation as is your knack for great customer service.  As people are often slow to accept what they aren’t familiar with, and businesses are no different, you can really gain a competitive edge and prove that your business is current, by learning the ins and outs of Timeline right away and using that knowledge to your advantage.

Easy to Navigate format.  Timeline really is easier to navigate than the old format, plain and simple.  By putting things in chronological order and providing useful navigation tools for your page’s visitors, Facebook is enabling you to provide for your customers your complete company history, and in a visually pleasing format.

New ads.  Along with Facebook’s new Timeline format, the social networking giant has also revamped the look of their ads to fit into Timeline in a streamlined fashion.  The new ads sit on the right side of the page and actually look like content.  Therefore, these ads can be a great new tool for marketing your business.

The highlight option.  Highlight important events, specials, and business announcements on your Timeline to give it a full-page horizontal spread.  This is a great way to put a spotlight on things you really want your customers to know about your business.

Facebook Timeline is not exactly a complete overhaul of how you choose to market your business through social media; After all, the idea is still to attract people, engage them, and inspire them to send others your way.

To make the most of your social media participation, contact the professionals.  We at The Website Marketing Pro can help take your Internet presence to the next level.  Contact us by phone, at 919-636-9623, or email:

To download your FREE copy of Facebook Timeline Success for Business Click Here:

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