Is your business taking advantage of Yahoo Groups to promote your business in Northern Virginia?
While many businesses are focusing their social media marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In, Yahoo Groups offer a marketing opportunity you should not overlook.
What is a Yahoo Group?
A Yahoo Group is a self-selected group of people who share a common interest. Yahoo group membership is free and open to anyone who has a Yahoo account, registers for membership and is approved by the group moderator.
The Fauquier County Yahoo Group is an active forum of 976 members who regularly post and share information about local community news, activities, events and resources. The Fauquier County Yahoo Group members frequently ask each other for recommendations to reputable local businesses that other members know, like and trust.
I monitor the Fauquier County Yahoo Group message posts and respond on behalf of my clients whenever I see people looking for the products or services my clients sell.
Recently, a local resident posed this question on the Fauquier County Yahoo Groups:
“I am looking for roofer recommendations: Who to get a quote from and who to stay away from.”
As you can see below, Paul Henry’s Windows benefited from the endorsements and recommendations he received from members of this group:
Yahoo group roofer recommendations
Online Word of Mouth Recommendations
We all know that people prefer to do business with businesses they already know, like and trust. Nearly every day, Yahoo Group members ask each other for word-of-mouth referrals to trusted and reputable local businesses. Alert business owners or employees can join in these conversations and attract more customers with thoughtful responses.
You can probably find other Yahoo Groups serving residents of your own town or local area that work the same way. It’s easy to join a Yahoo Group and get on the mailing list for real-time message alerts, or daily summaries of messages posted.
Facebook has launched a new search site (facebook.com/services) that makes it easy for prospective customers to find top-rated local professional services companies and decide who they want to hire for a wide range of services.
Auto repair services, dog groomers, hair salons, cleaning services, remodeling companies, photographers, plumbers and other services professionals should familiarize themselves with this new Facebook feature and start encouraging their best customers to review them on Facebook to achieve competitive rankings in the new Facebook professional services site.
What Does a Facebook Professional Services Search Look Like?
On the Facebook Professional Services page, you can type your exact query into two search boxes (one for business type and one for location), or you can browse through categories such as Automotive, Home Improvement, Financial Services, Medical & Health, and more.
More than 80 types of businesses are listed at the bottom of the page … but you can find many other business categories by typing in a business category into the search box. The Professional Services page automatically provides you with results for the town or city you are in, but you can specify a different town or city as well.
The search results display information found in the companies’ Facebook business pages, including the business’ name, phone number, hours of operation, street address, star rating, and even reviews. The top of the search results page also includes a background photo of the searched city.
Here are a few search results we found for various service providers in the Northern Virginia area:
How Will Facebook Professional Services Search Affect Your Service Business?
As a service provider, you will want to do what you can to leverage Facebook’s Professional Services site to get found by — and attract — potential customers in your local community. It creates yet another place where you can increase and benefit from online visibility.
We recommend that you take a look at your company’s Facebook business page and make sure that all your key business information has been added to your page. If you have not yet verified your Facebook page, be sure to do that too.
Make sure you have a process in place to ask your customers to rate your business and leave reviews on Facebook. The more happy customers you can get to share their positive experiences with your company on Facebook, the greater your chances of attracting more leads and customers with the new Facebook professional services search capability.
Here is a complete list of professional service companies that will be showcased on the new Facebook services site:
Arts & Marketing
Broadcasting & media production
Car parts & accessories
Car wash & detailing
Internet service provider
Decking & patios
Mattresses & bedding
Bands & musicians
Sewing & Seamstress
Medical & Health
Alternative & Holistic Health
Counseling & mental health
Pregnancy & childbirth service
Spa, beauty & personal care
Cosmetics & beauty supplier
Tattoos & piercing
Would you like to win more business from your top competitors’ customers?
It’s easier than you might think to figure out who your competitors’ customers are and then persuade them to try your own product or service. The secret is to do your research using social media.
Here are five simple steps you can use to capture the attention of your competitors’ customers who have already purchased products or services similar to what you have to offer.
Step #1: Do Your Research
In order to get the attention of your competitors’ customers you need to first understand what makes them tick.
Start by asking yourself some key questions about these customers.
– What is your competitor selling them?
– What do their customers like about their product?
– What do they dislike?
– How are your products or services better than what they are buying from your competitors?
– Do you have a better solution to their problems?
Social media hold the keys to getting these answers quickly and easily.
Start by checking out your competitors’ profiles and postings on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and so on.
- Do your competitors have online reviews?
- What are their customers saying about their products?
You can also set up a Google Alert to notify you whenever your competitor’s name or individual product names are mentioned anywhere on the web.
Some basic research like this will give you plenty of insights that will help you figure out how your products or services are different from and/or better than your competitors’ products and services.
Step #2: Connect With Your Competitors’ Customers
Now you are in a position to use social media to target your competitors’ social media followers and fans with an intriguing offer or message.
It’s easy to do this on Facebook and Twitter because they give you the exact tools you need to advertise directly to these customers.
Facebook lets you create a Lookalike audience consisting of the fans of your competitors.
Twitter offers Follower Retargeting to create audience segments based on the businesses they already like.
Step #3: Impress Your Competitors’ Customers
The next step is to impress your competitors’ customers with an attention-getting offer that is genuinely interesting and valuable to this target market.
You’ll need to set up a one-page website (known as a landing page) with an offer and a form that people must fill out to claim the free offer, discount, or other incentive you are advertising.
By requiring people to provide their name and email address (at a minimum) to claim the offer, you are creating a highly valuable email list that will be a genuine asset to your business and help you make more money easily.
The easiest way to create a landing page that will get people interested in your product or service and collect names and email addresses is to use a software tool called Lead Pages.
At this stage, you should not be focused on making a sale. Your goal is simply to attract the attention and interest of potential customers with a valuable free (or discounted) trial offer and get them onto your own proprietary email list.
Step #4: Sell
Once a potential customer has subscribed to your email list, then you can take the next step and invite them to buy something.
Since the people on your list have already indicated an interest by providing their name and email address to you, the sales process will be easier and faster.
Since you have already delivered value in the form of a free or discounted product or service and cultivated some goodwill, your potential customers will be more likely to buy when given the opportunity to do so.
Step #5: Retain
Now that you have ethically attracted the interest of your customers’ customers, you must work to cultivate their loyalty and retain them as a long-term customer.
The easiest way to do this is to ask your customers what else they want or need that you can provide them .. and then give it to them.
Take a look at the chart above and think about its implications for your business.
Google’s 2014-2015 Consumer Barometer Survey (from which this chart is drawn) clearly shows that search engines are the top resource people are using to find local businesses online, followed by:
- Business websites
- Online map / navigation services
- Online business directories (Houzz, YellowPages, Yelp, etc.)
- Advice or review sites
- Social networks
What do Google’s findings mean your business?
If you are among the 28% of small business owners who don’t have a website yet .. it’s time you got one. And, make sure it is “mobile friendly” so your audience won’t be frustrated when viewing it on a smartphone.
A website is one of the most affordable and cost-effective investments you can make in your business because your customers are looking for your business on the web.
But don’t stop there! To truly leverage the power of the internet to bring you more business, you need all five of these “Must Have” marketing tools to reach and attract today’s consumer and compete effectively in your local marketplaces:
#1 – A Website
Your website should showcase your business to customers and prospects and make it easy for them to call you, email you, and find you (if customers come to you.) Your website should have all the key information your customers want and need to make a purchasing decision or action.
Your website also needs to be optimized so your customers can find you fast when searching for businesses like yours from their computers or smartphones.
Optimizing your website requires both on-site and off-site work. On-site work includes giving each and every page a unique page title, unique page description, and unique content. Each website page’s content should include the words and phrases that will help people find you online for the products or services you provide. In addtion, all photos and images on your website should be given meaningful and optimized file names, titles and descriptions we well. Optimizing your photos and images can help more people find you online and help bring in more business.
Off-site optimization includes getting your business listed in key online directories and making sure that your directory listings provide accurate and consistent name, address, and phone number data. will help classify you as a local business.
Your website also needs to be designed with conversion in mind. That means it needs to have well-placed highly-visible calls to action (phone numbers, contact forms, and short messages inviting people to contact you.)
#2 – Social Media Presence
At a minimum, your business needs to have a Google My Business page set up and linked to your website, a business Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn profile.
Next, set up a YouTube channel and develop a library of educational and/or entertaining videos to introduce your preferred customers to your business and build rapport with them.
Instagram and Pinterest offer additional platforms to showcase your home remodeling projects and give them wider visibility. Posting photos of your work in multiple online venues can help you initiate conversations with potential customers and your community.
#3 – Local Directories/Maps
The more places you list your business, the more likely you are to be found by your ideal prospects and customers. Business listings in directories and location-based local listing services also provide valuable backlinks to your website which will help your search engine optimization efforts.
Attention to detail is critical when listing your business in other directories. Your business name, address, phone number and website URL must be listed consistently everywhere in order to avoid confusing search engines. Inconsistent data about your business can harm your search rankings and make it harder for potential customers to find and contact you.
#4 – Reputation Management
Be proactive about getting your best customers to review you online. You can have a special page on your site reserved for publishing and highlighting customer feedback and testimonials. You should also have a system in place to follow up and ask your customers to review you on Houzz (if you have a Houzz business profile), Google, Facebook, Yelp and other popular and authoritative review sites. Since reviews appear on search results themselves, the more 5-star reviews people find for your business online, the more you are likely to attract the attention of potential customers.
#5 – Measuring and Analytics
Google Analytics and other tools can show you how many website visitors you are getting, which website pages are most popular, and where your visitors are coming from (both geographically and via other social media or websites.) This data can help you evaluate what is working well, what is not working, and identify ways you can improve your online marketing activities.
Call Herbst Marketing For Help With Your Web Presence
Most home remodeling contractors do not have the desire, the time or the required expertise to create a robust well-rounded and comprehensive web presence that will position them at the top of their local marketplace. Herbst Marketing can help you with all your online marketing needs, including: search engine optimized and lead-generating websites, online copywriting and content development, video production, social media setup and marketing, and reputation marketing.
Call us today to discuss your needs and request a quote for marketing services.
Today’s featured client is Sandra Brannock, owner of Expert Kitchen Designs, a custom kitchen design company serving homeowners in Northern and Piedmont Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.
Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Amissville, VA
Sandra’s new website has been generating highly qualified leads for her through free organic search results, without spending money on expensive pay per click advertising campaigns. Sandra says her website paid for itself within six months.
Social Media Marketing and Online Reviews Land a $100,000 Client
Why did you choose Herbst Marketing to create a new website for you?
Would you like to have more money flowing into your business effortlessly?
Most small business websites were not designed with sales in mind. Typically, they share three common errors that are blocking money flow into the business.
But with a few simple tweaks, you can transform your underperforming website into a powerful round-the-clock sales force and profit center that will get more money flowing into your business with less work and effort.
Here’s how: (more…)
FauquierNow.com is a popular online newspaper serving the Warrenton/Fauquier County Virginia community. It is also a favorite venue for Warrenton/Fauquier businesses to advertise online. What these advertisers don’t realize is that their ads are not well-structured to convert visitors to valuable leads; therefore, they do not provide the best return for their advertising dollar.
This article analyzes a few local business ads on FauquierNow.com and explains what I would change to bring about a higher conversion rate (i.e., lead generation) and make the ads as effective as possible.
Sales Funnels Explained
Structuring a sales funnel for your business is key to increasing sales and profits. The illustration below provides a simple example of a sales funnel and how it works:
Effective online advertising
As you can see from the illustration above, there are 4 key components of a sales funnel:
1. Creating consumer awareness of your business through advertising.
2. Capturing contact information through your ad (“lead capture”)
3. Subsequent follow up communications with prospective customers who have responded to your advertising by providing their contact information.
4. Sales resulting from your follow up communications with people who have indicated an interest in your products or services by providing their contact information to you.
Poorly Structured Ads = Poor Conversion = Low ROI
The ad examples below are typical of local business ads on FauquierNow.com and most other online advertising venues. Note how the ads click through directly to the advertisers’ websites. The problem is that the ad destinations (advertiser websites) are not structured to convert visitors into genuine leads.
How to Structure Ads for Better Conversion and Return on Investment
Latitudes Fair Trade, The Town Duck and other Old Town Warrenton shops have formed a marketing alliance called The Shops at Fifth and Main. If I were in charge of marketing the Shops at Fifth and Main, I would start by making sure that their website(s) as well as all online advertising were structured to (a) provide a powerful call to action / incentive to provide a name and email address; and (b) set up and implement a follow-up marketing strategy using both email and text messaging to stay top of mind with their subscribers every week. Step 1 of the sales funnel might look like this:
Call to Action and Lead Capture Example
A Compelling and Irresistible Offer is Key
In the example above, the irresistible offer is an opportunity to win a $100 gift certificate honored by any of the Fifth and Main Street shops in a monthly drawing. The $100 amount is high enough to generate interest and willingness to provide one’s name and email address for a chance to win the monthly prize. The long-term benefit of developing a highly-targeted list of local consumers who have given these shops permission to email and message them is well worth the short term cost of a monthly $100 gift certificate drawing.
Can a social media marketing plan help your business grow?
Small businesses that engage in social media marketing can reap significant rewards over time. When approached in a systematic and disciplined manner, social media marketing can:
- Help you reach a wider audience than you can reach in-person at Chamber of Commerce and other business networking events.
- Grab attention and arouse curiosity about your products and services.
- Put you in control of your company’s messaging and branding.
- Educate your ideal clients/customers about your products and services through articles, pictures, and videos.
- Establish and reinforce your position as a knowledgeable expert in your market niche or local marketplace.
- Generate more calls to your business.
- Create relationships that lead to more sales.
Social Media Marketing Checklist
The Whole Brain Group’s social media marketing checklist and infographic provides a helpful and comprehensive visual guide for planning your social media marketing activities. Companies that do not have the in-house resources to plan and execute a comprehensive social media campaign can expect to pay $2,000 – $7,500 per month for an experienced social media marketing firm to professionally manage your entire social media marketing campaign. You can also assign the tasks to a knowledgeable employee or contact Herbst Marketing to request a quote for social media marketing services at more affordable rates.
Social Media Marketing Checklist Courtesy of The Whole Brain Group
Recommended Blogging Activities
- Write and publish at least one original well-written blog article or video each week.
- Syndicate/repost links to your blog post to each of your social media profiles/pages.
Blogging, combined with social media marketing, has paid off for Expert Kitchen Designs by generating more high-quality leads and sales for kitchen design services.
Recommended Twitter Activities
- Follow 10 new people each week
- Re-tweet 2 interesting tweets per day
- Send at least 3 tweets daily
Recommended LinkedIn Activities
- Update Company Profile and Status
- Connect with 3-5 new people each week
- Follow 3 new companies each week
- Ask for 1-2 recommendations each week
Recommended Google+ Activities
- Share content at least twice a day to your Personal Google+ Profile and your Google+ Business page
- Add 5 new people to your Google+ Circles each week
- Offer a Google+ Hangout session for a topic in your industry (Click Here for a Google Hangout example)
Recommended Pinterest Activities
- Add one new board containing at least 6 new pins (pictures) each week to your Pinterest page, with links back to your website/blog for each photo posted.
- Be sure to use relevant keywords and descriptions for each new pin you publish.
- Follow 5 new interesting and inspiring pin boards each week from users in fields related to your business.
Recommended YouTube Activities
- Find and share three new videos each week to your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter pages.
- Subscribe to 3 new channels in your industry each week.
- Post video replies to relevant videos in your industry each week.
- Plan and create one new video each week to showcase an area of your business.
Small Business Social Media Marketing Examples
Mommy Zen Video Blog
Expert Kitchen Designs Blog
Georjeans Dog Grooming
Herbst Marketing Blog
Girls Stand Strong Blog
Eileen Lonergan WordPress Blog
Expand2Web Online Marketing Blog
Sullivan Roof Cleaning YouTube Channel
You Might Also Like …
Social Media Cover Photo Guide
M&P Pizza Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant in Bealeton, Virginia specializing in fresh, homemade pizza, gyros, Italian and Greek specialties, chicken, seafood and homemade desserts.
They have been open for business since 1982 but only recently decided that they needed a website that would make it easy for customers and potential customers to find them online and see their menu, prices, location and phone number.
Herbst Marketing created a simple but effective restaurant website on a premium WordPress theme that the owners will be able to easily edit and update as needed.
New Website for M&P Pizza Restaurant Bealeton VA
As an added bonus, the website is configured to automatically display a mobile-formatted version of the website (see the illustration on the left) that is easily viewed and read from smaller mobile phone screens, with a Click to Call Button and Google Map integration that makes it easy for users to find directions to their restaurant.
Do you own a local business serving a local clientele? (i.e., most of your customers live within 20 miles of your business location).
Do you know how to leverage the internet and social media to reach more people who want and need your products or services?
The Three Most Important Things for Local Business Marketing Online