HometownLocal Analytics

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Online Marketing

How Online Reviews Can Save Your Business

By | Local Search, Online Marketing, Online Reviews, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Are you a “luke-warmer” regarding online reviews? Have you ever mentioned the following?

  • “I know reviews are important but I just don’t have the time”
  • “I wish getting reviews was easier”
  • “No one really bothers to read reviews anyway”
  • “Reviews don’t really impact my business”
  • “I have some reviews already”

If you uttered any of the above, you are probably in denial regarding online reviews. Here are 5 reasons that may save your business.

1.     Google Reviews – Website Ranking Factor

Google Maps now heavily incorporates online reviews into their website ranking algorithm. The algorithm calculates review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc. This increased algorithm emphasis not only affects Google Maps, but also the Search Engine Results Page or more commonly Sterling Carting - Google Map Examplecalled, the “organic listings”.

It only makes sense that Google would rely on the public to list the best companies at the top of the search results page. Why? Remember, a searcher that uses the Google search engine is a customer of Google. Not yours. This is important to understand, Google doesn’t care if a business employs good people or operates a great business. They use algorithms (robots) to rank businesses either first, last or somewhere in-between. Businesses need to show them that they run a great business by letting the public respond in the form of online reviews. If they have bad reviews it gets reflected, if they have little or no reviews, it gets reflected.

Customers want information about a business, little or no reviews is the same as having bad reviews.

2.    90% of Customers Are Influenced by Online Reviews

Have you heard of ZMOT (no, it’s not a new electric car)? This is Google’s comprehensive consumer study titled “The Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT for short. The study examined how buying decisions are made today. Past consumers used to use three decision buying steps (stimulus, shelf, experience). Today, a fourth buying step developed called “The Zero Moment of Truth”. This is when customers do research, consisting of looking online at reviews, websites, search for coupons, comparison shop, etc. They do this before they head to a store or pick up the phone to call a business. In fact, Dimensional Research (online research company) study results show that 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Moreover, a high-value purchase decision yields more online research by the customer. If a business doesn’t have reviews and the competition does, who do you think generates more trust (with consumers & Google)? Read More

How Do I Get More Online Reviews? [VIDEO]

By | Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

Online Reviews Are the Equivalent of Currency.

Poor reviews or a lack of reviews can cripple a business.  Gone are the days where “word of mouth” ruled the day, now online reviews are everywhere and studies show upwards of 90% of consumers make their buying decision based on reviews.

The choice is clear, you can dominate your competition with a review generation strategy or you can hope you don’t get dominated. Remember, “hope” is not a strategy!

Learn how to generate more online reviews and make the process a breeze.

How Do I Get More Leads? [VIDEO]

By | Google AdWords, Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Reputation Management

Looking for more leads?

Today, home service providers have multiple sources to obtain leads. However, most businesses think of the traditional ways of acquiring leads, like a business website, phonebook, newspaper ads, and word of mouth. While these sources can be effective, businesses need to also consider multiple online sources to remain competitive.

Many of these online sources do not require big marketing budgets, in fact, many business owners are surprised when they realize how cost effective it is to acquire additional leads.

This short video details these sources that every business should consider to achieve their growth goals.

5 Tips For Website Domination [VIDEO]

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Your website is your single most important marketing tool. Think of it as the front-door to your business. Like it or not, customers will judge you and your business on the quality of your website. My goal in this video is to give you 5 dominating website tips to help your marketing message fly off the screen and acquire more new customers.

These tips are Google related, but Yahoo and Bing are important too. Google market share in the US currently stands at 63.8 percent, with Bing (including Yahoo’s search volume) coming in at 33.5 percent. Ok, let’s dominate.

How To Dominate Google Maps [VIDEO]

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing

Looking for more new customers? This video contains 8 “must-do” tips to help you DOMINATE Google Maps and improve your local online visibility.

If you are unsure about Google Maps, basically it is the top 3 listings on Google’s search results page (below paid advertisements). Google now calls these listings Google Maps. This is where your business information resides, things like your location, website, reviews, and other contact information. Showing up consistently on Google Maps will generate a lot of new business. All local home service providers need to be located here!

My goal is to help you dominate Google Maps with 8 important tips.

Google is Moving Away from Google+ for Business Reviews. Your Current Online Reviews and Local Listings will be Affected.

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

Google announced late last year that they were introducing a “new redesigned” Google+. This is their fourth attempt at gaining additional market exposure in an otherwise crowded arena. First launched in 2011, Google+ was a way for Google to enter the social media frenzy.

Google’s new redesign is centered around Communities and Collections, they hope to capitalize on people’s shared interests and topics. Google ultimately hopes this new design and concept will compete better with Facebook and other social media platforms. Additionally, it offers ease of use and a better mobile-friendly experience.

New Google + Introduction

How does this affect my reviews and business listings?

Google has separated local business pages (remember Google Places?) from Google+. You now get directed to a business’ Google Maps listing rather than their Google+ page. As you recall, reviews were collected and displayed on Google+, now reviews are collected and displayed on the business’ Google Maps listing (see below). Read More

New HometownLocal Resource Center & Support Portal [VIDEO]

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing

HometownLocal was founded in 2008 with a vision of providing expert lead generation, effective local marketing, and exceptional personalized care to our home service contractor clients. As our product offerings and customer base grow, we want to continue to provide customized support and resources tailored to your specific needs. We invite you to check out our new Resource Center and Support Portal.

In the Resource Center, you’ll find:

  • answers to frequently asked questions about optimizing your HometownLocal account
  • articles and videos for helping you succeed and grow as a local service provider

The new Support Portal will let you access our Client Care Department instantly. You’ll be able:

  • update your account information
  • request changes to your HometownLocal services or service area
  • submit revisions to the content of your HometownLocal advertisements
  • ask questions about a charge or invoice

To learn more, check out the short video below:

DirectFeed – Your Business Needs This Service!

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Did you know over 40% of business listing information is incorrect across the internet.

This bad information is costing you customers and hurting your online marketing efforts. The simple way to start correcting this bad data is to use DirectFeed. DirectFeed is an enhanced owner-verified business listing service.

DirectFeed submits your accurate business listing to the four major data providers: Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup, and Neustar (Localeze). Together, these data providers are referenced by over 300 online listing directories.DirectFeed - Listing Distribution

Optimize your listings for four factors that impact local search rank:

  1. maximize the number of online citations (very important trust factor for search engines)
  2. ensure listings appear on public, trusted sources  (like Yelp, Google, YP, etc.)
  3. improved accuracy and consistency of business listing information
  4. increase direct website traffic from directories (i.e. get more new customers from online directories)

To see how DirectFeed works, check out this video.

Google My Business – Adding Your Business to Google [VIDEO]

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Uncategorized

It is very important to establish a listing on Google My Business. Google My Business is a platform that puts your business information on search, maps, and Google+. It creates a cohesive environment and it makes it easier to manage how your business appears across those three platforms.

Now if you’ve previously used Google Places for Business, your account has automatically been upgraded to Google My Business, but you’ll want to review the information as new options are available to you.

Let’s walk through how to set up your page on Google My Business.

 

Customers May Not Like Your Business – Online Reviews

By | Food for thought, Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

How do potential customers view your business online?

As a business owner or manager, you should be able to answer this question quickly and confidently…and hopefully the answer is “very positively”.  You need to be completely sure of your answer.  If not, you may need more space for that “white elephant” in the room aka “online reviews”.

Today’s customers do not behave like they did just a few years ago, for you to be successful you need to understand behavioral changes. Questions to consider:online reviews elephant image

  • How are MY customer’s behaviors changing in today’s digitally powered world?
  • What effect does new media like reviews and social have on my business?
  • Where do my customers look for my business or service?
  • How much research goes into their decision to purchase?
  • When I search for my business online, what shows up?
  • What does my online review profile look like?

These types of questions have a direct effect on every business operating today, whether you are a roofer, a demolition contractor, or a home service provider.

Google (& others) recognized these shifting behaviors and decided to uncover how buying behaviors have changed over the last few years.  So Google being Google, decided on a large-scale study to find the answers.  The study, called “The Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study (ZMOT)” was in partnership with Shopper Sciences.  The methodology consisted of: Read More