How Valuable are Google Reviews?

As consumers become more likely to search for goods and services online, the reviews they find there can be crucial to your business, but are some reviews more valuable than others? Trip Advisor, Yelp, Angies List, Consumer Reports, Amazon customer reviews and of course, Google reviews – these are just a few of the top review channels that consumers use to begin forming an opinion of your business.

It’s important that you monitor any review sites that are likely to have reviews for your business so that you can respond to any that you receive. Thanking people for good reviews and trying to resolve any issues that crop up in bad ones is good for your reputation – it shows that you are paying attention and that you want to make your customers happy.

What about asking happy customers to provide a good review? If you know that any particular client is happy with your product or the service that you provided, should you invite them to give a review? We say yes.

Many businesses put good reviews and testimonials from clients on their website. Which is fine, but most people will disregard this kind of review, for obvious reasons. Have you ever seen anything other than a glowing review on any business website? Of course not…

Can you ask customers to post a review elsewhere? Sure you can, and if you are going to do so, which one? Considering that most people will find your business online by ‘Googling’, if you can suggest they post their positive review to Google reviews, it will likely get in front of more eyeballs.

You will need to do your bit, by setting up your Google+ business page and having it verified. You might even want to provide guidance to your customer, because they will need to have a Google+ account to post a review, but it will be well worth the effort.

What’s so Great about Google Reviews?

Google reviews are pulled right into Google maps results so that a search for your business can deliver those great reviews to your audience very quickly. As well, an established presence on Google+ with reviews, images and comments will give you a boost in the search results.

While you should still consider asking your clients to post good reviews elsewhere, especially review sites that align well with your industry, we think that Google reviews can be especially valuable, contributing to both your online reputation and your search position.

If you need help with your Google+ business page or have any other questions about online reviews, drop us a line!

Does Your Content Connect?

Just this morning I read an interesting piece from Joe Pulizzi at the Content Marketing Institute about the mistakes that many businesses make with their content marketing strategy. He was leading a workshop of diverse small business CEOs and managers and after listening to numerous complaints about how HARD content marketing is, he interrupted his workshop to point out a few facts to his audience.

Those of us who earn a living by providing content development services to clients know all too well that content marketing is not simple. For every market, there are many, many voices clamouring to be heard online and innumerable pieces of content offering information on almost any related subject.content connect

How do you make your voice heard?

How can your content connect in a meaningful way with your prospective clients and current customers?

Most businesses rely on similar types of content, and when they don’t gain much traction, they become frustrated because they feel that they are doing a bunch of work with little or no reward. Mr. Pulizzi posed this question to his workshop attendees:

“Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”

What’s in your newsletter that will really make a difference to any of your customers?

Are you sharing information from your manufacturer that is also readily available to your competitors?

Is your advice to clients intentionally general so that you retain control of intellectual property?

If what you are offering is no different and no more useful than anything else out there, how can you expect to change people’s behaviour?

Differentiation is the key.

Joe Pulizzi calls it the content tilt. What he suggests is that you must find your own way of presenting content that captures and keeps your target audience’ attention. It may (probably will) require more work than simply churning out newsletters and blog posts, but it will be worth the effort.

How to Make Your Content Connect

You might try a tight focus on specific personas. For example, an organic seed company could create content for aging arthritic gardeners, or folks who garden in allotment gardens where organic practices are the rule. It may seem limiting, but niche targeting creates very compelling content.

Choosing the right platform for your content, and not necessarily the same one everybody else is using, can pay off.

For more ideas on how to make your content connect, give us a call.

Are Your Emails Mobile Friendly?

Everyone is busy, and busy folks manage their hectic schedules by multitasking. They depend on their smartphones to help them get stuff done whenever they have a spare minute, wherever they are. That might mean catching up on their emails on the bus, while waiting for appointments or at the office during breaks. This is why you need to ensure your emails are mobile friendly.

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience, but if your emails aren’t mobile friendly, you are likely to be losing their attention quickly. If they can’t easily read your emails, they will simply erase them. Your valuable email lists could even shrink! Don’t encourage your audience to opt out of receiving your marketing messages; mobile-friendly emails will help you retain and engage with your prospects and customers.

Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emailsmobile friendly email

  1. Brevity – keep everything concise; subject lines should be 40 characters or less.
  2. Clarity – choose your words carefully to provide the most important info up front. Keep conversion in mind.
  3. Clean design – use whitespace to make your text pop, large fonts and headlines to establish a clear hierarchy.
  4. Strong CTA – your call-to-action must be prominent and large enough to tap.
  5. Practical links – any web page you link to from your mobile friendly email MUST also be mobile friendly.

Your subject line is such a critical part of your marketing email that you should create several and test them against each other. Even small variations can have a surprising impact on your open rates.

A survey by Constant Contact found that 75% of smartphone owners would likely erase emails that aren’t mobile friendly. Don’t alienate your audience!

If you need help with mobile marketing give us a call, we’d like to help.

Marketing Automation and the Customer Experience

It seems contradictory – using marketing automation to improve your customer experience.

The term automation conjures up robotic, or machine-based images, the opposite of what you picture when you think about creating more intimate connections with your customers and prospects.

We‘re all chasing that holy grail – the perfect way to connect with those who need or want our products and services. And once they have purchased from you, you need a way to build a relationship that keeps them coming back for more.

To achieve that, you need to have a deep understanding of who your target audience is and you need the ability to track any and all interactions with your online presence – across all channels. If they have visited your Facebook page or read one of your blog posts – you should know about it.

With marketing automation, you will gain a deeper understanding of your target audience and provide them a truly personal experience that can not only win you a loyal customer, it can create a valuable brand advocate.

It’s rather like making a new friend. If all you do is talk about yourself, you won’t learn anything about them, and sooner or later, they will tire of listening to you. Everyone wants to be heard, real relationships are built on two way communication.marketing-automation-and-customer-experience

Create a Personalized Customer Experience with Marketing Automation

With marketing automation, you can follow your visitor’s specific actions and respond appropriately to each, creating a personalized customer experience. It’s all in the setup of your automation tool. If they do this, then you respond with that.  For example:

If someone returns to a specific product page more than once, they might want to know more about it. You could automatically contact them with a link to further information or a video about how to use the product.  If they click on that link to learn more, but don’t follow up with a purchase, perhaps another message offering a discount on that product will seal the deal.

The idea is not to send out automated messages to force someone to buy something they don’t really want – it’s to figure out exactly what they are looking for and then show them that you can fill that need.

If you would like to learn more about how marketing automation can help you improve your customer experience, drop us a line.

Marketing in a Digital World

Absolutely nothing has had more impact on the marketing industry than the rise of digital culture. Traditional marketing practices have been stood on their ear, and in some cases digital has completely usurped what was previously standard and effective methodology. It’s past time to be thinking about incorporating digital marketing into your business’ strategy – you need to learn how to market in a digital world.marketing-in-a-digital-world

It’s about changing your viewpoint – digital marketing isn’t just a new place to allocate some of your marketing budget, it should be incorporated into the core of your marketing strategy. Getting to this can be difficult due to a serious digital skills gap among traditional marketers. Your marketing team needs ongoing training to learn about and keep up with the rapidly changing digital landscape.

An article published recently in the Globe and Mail, written by Erin Craven, Executive Director of Marketing and Sales at 3M Canada, delves into this problem, examining some of the obstacles that need to be overcome.

Changing viewpoints is a start, and creating a culture that’s open to learning new technologies to deliver your marketing message. The skills gap can be harder to address, and in the article, Ms. Craven recognizes the need to find outside expertise to answer this need.

If you are struggling with your business’ marketing strategy in this digital world, perhaps you should consider hiring some help. WSI has been providing digital marketing services for years; with a wide network of well-trained professionals, we can bring you up to speed.

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