Online reviews of your business are inevitable, but how you handle the good and the bad can make or break your reputation. With sites like Google displaying reviews in searches, Facebook aggregating them on your company page, and the myriad of review sites like Yelp ranking you against competitors, customers have plenty of opportunity to seek out product and service advice before they buy. While negative reviews can seem detrimental to small businesses, here are four reasons you should consider responding versus deleting:
Customers Want to Hear from Customers
Online customer reviews are today’s “word-of-mouth” recommendations. Including testimonials on your website and enabling reviews elsewhere can help people feel more comfortableabout making a purchase. A few “less than perfect” reviews here and there won’t hurt your brand. Now that fake reviews have become a concern, studies show consumers start to become suspicious of a company if it has only glowing praise.
Reviews Lead to a Boost in SEO
The more sites you are active on, the greater your presence in search engine results. Potential customers will often seek out reviews before making a purchase, so enabling reviews on your site and optimizing for keyword searches like “review” or “rating” can help your website rank higher than other review websites.
Reviews Provide Feedback
Though every business strives for positive customer experience, negative reviews can provide important insight into how to improve your products and services. While it may sting to hear criticism, respond quickly and positively to the feedback and take it back to your team to create an action plan to avoid similar experiences in the future.
Show Off Your Customer Service
Negative reviews also give you a prime opportunity to display your high-quality customer service. Responding publicly to a customer in a polite and helpful manner may help “right the wrong.” Offer an incentive, like a free product or service, to win their business back. This will also allow other customers to see your customer service in action.
The first step in reputation management should always be keeping an eye on your online business reviews. At the USA TODAY NETWORK in Nashville, Tennessee, our digital advertising experts can help you monitor your reviews and find ways to enhance your online reputation. Contact us today for a free marketing consultation.
Over time, many myths have surfaced regarding display advertising and its effectiveness for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Some think that it is hard, if not impossible, to track ROI from display ads. Others think that display ads are only for big advertisers with large marketing budgets, making search engine marketing a better alternative.
Are these common myths holding you back from enjoying the benefits of targeted display advertising? The truth is that display advertising has made significant improvements and can now offer advantages to those SMBs that include display ads as part of their marketing mix.
Use Targeted Display Advertising to Boost Results
One of the most popular myths about display advertising is that it does not deliver results in the same way that search engine marketing does, making it a less worthwhile investment for SMBs with limited budgets. However, new data-driven targeting abilities have increased the accuracy and effectiveness of display ads.
When developing a display ad campaign, you can use a variety of targeting strategies:
Content – Place your ads on sites that offer specific types of content.
Demographic – Target ads to certain demographic groups.
Behavioral – Target users based on their specific interests and actions they take online.
Geographic – You can reach users based on their geographic location.
Display Advertising + Search Engine Marketing
Though search engine marketing certainly has stand-alone merits, businesses of all sizes can see a significant boost in campaign success by using targeted display advertising and search engine marketing side-by-side. In fact, research from companies like Yahoo! shows that running display ads alongside search efforts resulted in a lift in both campaigns.
The USA TODAY NETWORK in Nashville, TN helps businesses of all sizes connect with their customers through targeted display advertising and effective search engine marketing. For more information about how we can help your company get more leads with display ads, contact us today.
Integrating your search and social marketing efforts can help you multiply results: Insights from the Marin Software white paper
Most marketing directors today have learned the power of search engine marketing and social media marketing. Unfortunately, while most of them understand the return on investment that these two channels can offer, many of them continue to operate both channels separately from one another. Integrating the two channels into a single marketing platform can drive even higher ROI by giving a complete 360-degree view of the customer and better identifying potential high-value customers.
That’s the message behind “The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising: A Best Practices Guide for Cross-Channel Marketing.” This new white paper, published by Marin Software, argues that SEM and social media marketing operate differently from one another, play a different role in the buyer journey and are much more effective when used in combination with one another.
According to the white paper, marketing efforts suffer when different channels are siloed-off from one another. Today, marketing must be all about the customer, instead of being about the channel used to reach the customer. Since search engine marketing and social media marketing provide different insights about the customer, the white paper argues that the two channels should be combined into something that can give a complete view of the customer.
Search can tell a marketer what a customer wants
Social can tell a marketer who a customer is
When examined separately, these two insights don’t mean very much. However, when search and social are combined, giving an integrated view of who a customer is and what their buying intentions are, marketers have a much clearer perspective on how to best target that customer.
The benefits of marketing channel integration don’t stop with greater customer insight. It also helps ensure that marketing messages and promotions are clear and consistent across all channels. As the Marin Software white paper points out, when search and social channels operate separately from one another, messages can get muddled.
For example, marketers in the search silo may be sending customers a message of “high quality,” while marketers in the social silo are sending a message of “low price.” Integrating the two silos ensures that both search and social will be sending customers consistent messaging, which helps increase the likelihood that customers will identify with the message and find the company trustworthy.
The white paper also points out that search marketing and social marketing should not function separately from one another because they both serve a different purpose in the customer lifecycle. For instance, many users click social ads early on in their buyer life cycles. When they eventually make a purchase, those social ads will only be attributed as a factor in their conversion if the social channel is integrated with the search channel.
The final reason that integrating search and social together is perhaps the most powerful one of all: integration leads to higher marketing ROI. A survey performed by Marin as part of the white paper demonstrates that customers who interact with both social and search ads from a company are far more likely to purchase from that company than customers who only interact with search ads or only interact with social ads. In addition, customers who interacted with both search and social ads drove significantly higher revenue than customers who interacted with only a single channel.
What do these results mean for marketers? According to the Marin white paper, they illustrate the fact that customers are more likely to do business with a company if that company’s messaging is reinforced over multiple channels, while marketers are more likely to make informed decisions about how to optimize marketing resources when they have a clear view of a customer’s complete buying journey over multiple channels.
Search Marketing, synonymous with Search Engine Marketing, is the process of gaining exposure on search engines through paid and unpaid efforts. Search Engine Marketing is one of the most important types of marketing for companies in the ever-evolving digital world.
Why is Search Engine Marketing so important?
The days of just running a print ad in the newspaper or in the Yellow Pages to generate more business are long gone. Print can still be an effective medium for the right demographic and can play an important part in an overall marketing strategy, but will not work as a stand-alone product in today’s world.
According to the US Census Bureau, 74.8 percent of American households had internet at home in 2012 and a whopping 45.3 percent of individuals 25 and older were using a Smartphones in 2012.
Why are these numbers important?
Consumers go to the internet to find answers and they start looking on search engines. This is why you need to market to them there. It is much easier to pick up your phone and search for a company/service than it is to find an ad you saw or look in the big yellow door stop.
What types of Search Engine Marketing are there?
Originally Search Engine Marketing, SEM for short, was considered an umbrella term that encompassed Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, and Pay Per Click ads, PPC. It is now widely accepted that the term Search Engine Marketing is the same as PPC, but for the purpose of this article we’ll use the original meaning.
Since marketing on search engines is what we’re talking about, I’ll break it down into the ways you can achieve just that.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization has to do with showing up in the Search Engine Results Page, or SERP, and there are two types of results:
Local Maps Listings
Organic Search Results
Local Map Listings are shown for local business that align well with the terms searched. Whether or not a listing shows is determined by proximity to the location being searched and the number of reviews to that location. So, in the game of Search Engine Marketing, this is the best place to start. Creating the listing is free and it is in your best interest to fully complete the account. Add images, hours of operation, categories for your business, basically the more the better.
Google is the best place to start as it receives over 60 percent of internet searches. Create a Google+ profile for your business and drive your happy customers there to give you reviews. This is one of the best and cheapest way to help your business show up in search engines.
The game of Organic Search Results is a much harder one to play. Over 200 factors go into Google’s Ranking algorithm, and how long your site has been around is one of them. You can have a website and be nowhere near the front page of Google, which to most, is as far as they go when searching. This is a long-term strategy that is always changing.
Be weary of companies promising first-page rankings as they often are going to target low-traffic keywords that won’t drive results for your company. Most SEO campaigns take 3-6 months to really see an increase in qualified traffic.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click, which has become synonymous with the term Search Engine Marketing, is the other method to put yourself in front of internet searchers when they are looking for your products/services online. This method is also the quickest way to get your company found online.
With PPC ads, you are able to target any and all keywords related to your business. This is one of the best ways to drive phone calls and leads for a new business that currently doesn’t have a presence online. It is also great for companies that want to supplement their current exposure by expanding the keywords they are targeting. But it comes at a price, which is your Cost Per Click.
Benefits of PPC:
Transparency: You know exactly how much money you are having to spend to get X amount of leads. And if you are savvy and have call tracking set up, you can listen to those calls and map those to sales to get your ROI or Return On Investment.
Quick Turnaround: PPC campaigns can be set up in a matter of weeks depending on the solution with TN Media.
Scalable: PPC campaigns can start with smaller budgets and grow as your business grows.
Targeting: You are able to finely target what geographical area you want to display your ads in. This can be done with a radius from a location, zip code, state or country.
Summary: What is Search Engine Marketing?
Basically, if you are going to have one type of marketing in your plan, Search Engine Marketing is the best option for most companies.
My advice is to usually start getting leads and growing your business with PPC. Once you have some positive ROI from those efforts, start investing in an SEO campaign to help drive those organic visits.
In the end, it’s all about trackable investments and the revenue it produces.
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