Short & Semi-Sweet Warning to Local Business Owners

If you are the owner of any kind of brick and mortar business in your local area, this message is for you.

It will be short and straight to the point, as the topic is in fact so important that it deserves a post of it’s own, despite how long it is. ūüôā

You should know that as technology advances, so will the number of people that use portable devices to search for what they need, including local services. So what does this mean for you as a business owner, and in English?

In short = if you have a website (and you should) then it needs to be mobile-friendly. i.e: comparable on all devices from tablets to iPads to soon enough, wearable technology.

While this may sound detrimental, it’s not. The only thing standing in your way of being optimized to give visitors the best user experience possible, is the simple fact of whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. If you aren’t sure whether or not you currently have a mobile optimized website, you can use Google’s very own testing tool.

If your website passes the test, congratulations! If not, sorry dude! Now you need to find a way to convert your website to a mobile-friendly platform, or hire someone to do it for you. Whatever your choice, I highly recommend doing deep due diligence first.

Having your website prepared to host users from all platforms is crucial, and is only becoming even more crucial over the next few years. Take my advice or leave it, but this information comes from time in the trenches testing – over and over again.

Take care now, ya hear.

What is Reputation Management Exactly?

Question of the day: What is reputation management and why do I need it for my business?

Scratch that.

What is online reputation management, and why do you need it?

Believe it or not, it does make a bit of a difference.

The online world is a gargantuous place, meaning it can be extremely hard to find a website if it’s not in place to be found. And if a website cannot be found, it won’t bring in any customers or sales, which defeats the purpose of having it in the first place. Wouldn’t you agree?

But instead of telling you what will happen without having an online reputation management strategy in place, how about telling you what you can do right now to implement one? But first, what exactly does reputation management entail?

Reputation management is essentially how a business presents itself online, and how it appears to potential customers.

This is important to consider now more than ever with the numbers of online inquiries constantly moving upwards. On top of that, more and more businesses are realizing this, and therefore jumping online to grow their appearance.

… but there are only so many “top” spots to be found online; Facebook, Google, YouTube, you name it, all have limited spots in their top search results. In English, when people use one of these (or other) mediums to search for a product or service, there are only a few businesses that can be found at the top.

Important Note: Most people never search past the first page of any search results.

People are busy, and most likely on a mobile device, meaning they want to find what they are looking for quick and easily.

Meaning, if you have a business, then you need to be able to be found online by potential customers. This is trend isn’t going away any time soon.

Reputation management is the key to any successful online presence, and it’s obvious which businesses are already doing this and which are not.Just look around the web with some basic searches in your area, i.e. tree services, limos, party rentals, etc, and you will see that the¬†companies¬†at the top have more interest than those that do not.¬†

Wouldn’t you choose the business that is the most conveniently positioned for your interests? When you think about this from a customer perspective, it all starts to make sense.

Why Reputation Management is Major for Local Businesses

If you’re a local business, your reputation is more important now than ever before. Up to 90 percent of¬†consumers will search¬†for an online review before making a purchasing decision, and a percentage of those people will make their entire decision based on what the review says.

This means that if you don’t have your online appearance in check, it may come back to bite you some day.

Knowing what people are saying about your business can be crucial to your online success. More importantly though, how many people will buy from or avoid you. Or even worse, ignore you altogether.

So if reputation management is so important for doing business online, what exactly do you need to make it work in your favor? We’ll give you the short version.

1.) See what kind of reviews have been posted about your business

There are now many available platforms for people to leave reviews for¬†local businesses¬†online, but some are more important than others. You’ve probably heard of all of these, since they include Yelp, Facebook, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Thumbtack.

What people are saying about your business on these platforms can literally make or break your ability to attract new customers online. With so many people using these social media networks to get feedback about a business they need to hire, it’s imperative to make sure your reviews are good. If you have negative reviews, make sure you are responding accordingly, and not in a negative or hostile manner.

2.) Make sure you can be found on major social media networks

The most important social media sites that every business should be using are Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

Signals from these platforms tell search engines and customers what they need to know as it pertains to the credibility of your company’s performance. More importantly, social media sites have become search engines within themselves, therefore, you need to make sure your business can be found on them.

On top of that, you need to interact with the community, as these are your potential customers. Whether or not you are willing to interact with your prospects on social media websites can tell people a lot about how you treat your customers, so it’s really important that you do so.

3.) Be sure that your business can be found, PERIOD

If new and old customers cannot find your business online, they may choose to move on to on of your competitors.

Being found means having social media listings, as mentioned above, as well as in the organic and map listings in Google. Google is the 800 pound gorilla, meaning the majority of people use it for search.

Naturally, you want to be where your customers are searching, so your website needs to be optimized for your location, products and/or services in order to be considered as a relevant search result.

How Hard is Local SEO?

How hard is local SEO exactly? Well, let me inform you, new friends.

First things first, local SEO is not a whole lot different from regular SEO, except for the fact that you are working with local businesses like limo drivers, carpet cleaners, repairmen, contractors, etc, etc, etc, which means that there is a lot less competition and people that know what they are doing.

This is what attracts most people to the field of local SEO since the majority of other products and services that are being promoted online are much more competitive. While this is a good thing, there are also some other differences to be noted.

For one thing, local marketing/SEO requires you to build relationships with business owners and prove to them that you have a skill worth them investing in, which is obviously way different than sitting at your computer all day implementing SEO strategies. You have to get comfortable in speaking and networking situations, and really become a person of value whereas online, you can get away with not having to meet people in person and manage an account for them each month.

This is usually the hardest part for most people, and the thing that will make them turn right back around to head towards regular marketing and SEO.

Overall, local SEO is simply skill set you can invest in to help owners of brick-and-mortar companies that includes knowing how to network and marketing yourself. This alone is what makes local SEO seem difficult to most, but in my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to start a business online that will surely pay you month after month for years to come, and you can’t always say that about most other online models.

Why Hire a Consultant When You Can DIY?

As a business owner, the pressure is put on your to decided how you want to market your company, whether it’s online or off. Either way, the big question that seems to fill most of the plate is usually about whether or not the work should be outsourced.

It’s a valid question though.

In the ever-changing world we live in, new methods of marketing and branding arise which can make it difficult for busy business owners to keep up. So in this article, we wanted to talk about whether they should be trying to keep up or if they should consult someone else.

Consulting Vs. DIY

As just stated, things are always changing and it’s important to keep up. The problem with that however, is that most business owners are busy doing what they do best – running their business. This simply leaves less time for the marketing part of the business, unless someone is already doing that in house.

The only alternative to doing everything yourself is to hire someone else to do it; the best way to look at this is to realize that you are good at your profession and so are the people that they work would be outsourced to (in most cases.)

So it basically comes down to whether or not you prefer to invest time or money.

If you decided to hire a digital consultant to do the work for you, make sure to perform your own due diligence first, as many don’t even do the work themselves. At that point, how can you truly know how well the job will be done?

How Consulting Can Help Grow Businesses Faster

Business people workers group.

Most businesses are busy doing what they do best – running their business.

Because of this, many don’t have the first clue how to market themselves, or take care of anything other than the day-to-day tasks of moving their company forward. This is where a consultant comes in.

There are many different types of consultants, obviously because there are many types of businesses, but in this case were are going to be talking about those that market online.

Hi, we’re Viaggi Consulting and we help companies with their online reputation management, which includes:

  • How they look to past and potential customers
  • What people are saying about their business around the web
  • Where they show up for potential customers and where they need work

Yawn.

We feel like we’re boring you already. This stuff may not look pretty on the outside, but it sure does matter when it comes to people making buying decisions, so it’s completely necessary.

This is where us consultants come in though, as many companies simply don’t have the time and/or interest to do the work themselves, so they hire folks like us. And believe it or not, it has proven to help businesses grow faster time and time again.

It all comes down to whether or not time or money is the resource at hand; or just a limited mindset that¬†has a difficult time accepting growth…