Digital Experteers specialises in offering cost effective, results driven “Local as a Service” digital programs to SMEs and Franchised/Multi-site operations:
Local As A Service (LaaS)
- Website Plans
- Marketing Plans
- Social Media Plans
- Website Audit
- Google Keyword Research & Planning
- Competitor Analysis (value canvass and marketing comms effectiveness comparisons)
- On-page optimisation for location-related queries
- Schema markup implementation
- Citation building & cleanup to ensure consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) mentions on the most important business directories
- Content development and content calendar planning
- Link building
- Other services as required, for example…
- Google My Business profile optimisation
Local Digital Services to SME’s
Google my Business (GMB) was the leading factor driving local search in 2018.
Understanding and mastering Google My Business is now critical for local SME’s and multi-site operators. Digital Experteers are specialists in offering low cost, results driven Local Digital Services behind a deep understanding of what works and how to implement it. Interested? Read on..
If you queried Google with the phrase “book flights to Barcelona” several years ago, the search engine would have returned a long list of Barcelona-focused travel websites or agencies.
Fast forward to the present and business websites aren’t the first listings people see anymore. Instead, Google aggregates third-party website data (of its choosing) into its local search results. This data cluster allows users to gather as much information about their query in the shortest time possible. This means that you can book your flight to Barcelona without ever leaving Google’s search results or visiting another website.
For web searchers, this is great news.
For businesses trying to connect with customers? SEO life just got a whole lot harder!
You now have much less control over the business information your customers see in Google, because when users get exposed to your business, it probably won’t be from your website. Google no longer thinks of your business as a listing, but rather an entity. And the search engine constructs your business entity by aggregating online information about your company — whether or not it is flattering — and compiling it together in one place (your knowledge graph).
That’s why it is vitally important to keep your Google My Business listing updated and optimized. It’s the primary place users will get information about your business.
Google will pull from the information in your Google My Business listing to build your entity, because the search engine will want to serve up its own data to users. So, if you want to enjoy higher local search rankings, you must keep your GMB listing updated and active. A robust, well-optimized profile is more likely to rank highly in Google’s index and convert users into actual customers.
Your Google My Business listing can allow users to call you directly, add your address to Google/Apple Maps, schedule appointments, get answers to FAQs and more — essentially do what they could do on your website. Here are some of those features:
How do you optimize your Google My Business listing? Use as many features that Google offers as possible. Below is a list of the most important ones.
Basic Profile Features
The most valuable profile features are the ones that make it easy for your customers to find and contact you. They are:
- Business name
- Link to website
- Contact phone number
- Business hours
- Business category
Adding and keeping this information updated is the least you can do to ensure you are providing an easy way for customers to connect with you (which makes Google and your customers happy).
Keeping these fields updated and matching the details you have on your website is critical otherwise Google will consider the data outdated and may penalise you for it.
Using the following features will help you stand out and outperform your competitors (especially those who aren’t using all of these features):
- Google Posts: These posts are similar to social media posts, but they live on your Google My Business listing. And because they display prominently, especially in the mobile search results, they can help your business get noticed, if you set them up correctly.
By using your Google My Business posts as mini-advertisements you can drive competitive advantage. Add compelling images to capture attention and calls to action to visit your website. Think promotions, events, sales, product launches, content releases — if you would announce it via an email or social post, you can add it to a Google My Business post.
- Questions and Answers: This feature allows users to ask you questions directly through your listing. Consider adding FAQs to your listing, as well, so users can get the answers to most of their questions quickly. Note that anyone can answer the questions, so monitor the incoming questions regularly.
- Business Descriptions: Add a business description to your Google My Business listing. Use this space to share your business story and unique value proposition.
- Images and Videos: Use images and videos to capture attention and give potential customers a look behind the scenes of your business. For example, restaurants can add tantalizing food shots and images of special spots in their restaurants (private tables by the fireplace or the bar at happy hour, for instance). Doctors surgeries can add warm, heartfelt shots of satisfied patients and pictures of their comfortable practice environment, so prospective patients can see what the experience will be like when visiting the practice.
Shoot behind-the-scenes videos of your company, employees and anything else that will humanize your brand and enable consumers to feel more connected with you.
- Reviews: In the last two to three years, on line reviews have emerged as one of the biggest trending signals for Google My Business listings. Business with more reviews are two times more likely to rank in Google’s top three results. This is especially important because when users search with “near me” phrases (“Italian restaurants near me”), Google shows the top three local listings right away (called a local 3-pack). Getting in those top three results is ideal, but it will take consideration of the following factors, as this is what Google looks for when ranking your listing:
- Review sentiment – Is it a positive or negative review?
- Review ratings
- Number of reviews
- Review frequency – How often they are posted
If your review frequency appears unnatural (suspicious) and outside of your industry’s typical profile, Google may not give them as much weight or may even discount them completely. This often happens when businesses try to “game” the system and post fake reviews.
Receiving ongoing reviews is one of the most important reputation factors. Not only does it increase your Google My Business listing rankings, it directly boosts your reputation. A higher Reputation Score generally equates to a better customer experience and higher revenues and potential profits
- Additional Features: Google My Business also has features to help you improve customer experience and increase engagement with consumers directly from your listing, such as automatic bookings, text messaging and service/menus.
When optimizing your Google My Business listing, Digital Marketeers recommend you pay particular attention to the following best practices:
- Claim ALL of your Google My Business Listings and Keep Them Updated
- If you have multiple locations, claim all of your listings and fill out as many fields as possible, optimizing each one according to the best practices outlined. Doing so will keep your business listings competitive.
- Google uses hundreds of signals to rank listings. Show Google your business is active by taking advantage of all the features offered and regularly updating them (responding to user questions, getting and responding to ongoing reviews and updating outdated information).
- Pay Attention to User Interactions
- Google is starting to weigh user interactions in its search results algorithm. For example, when a user enters a phrase such as “restaurant near me,” the search engine will assess which of the results are getting the highest click-through rates.
- When users see your knowledge graph, are they clicking on your website? Are they calling you? Are they leaving a review after doing business with you? While some of those factors may not hold a lot of weight with Google currently, this is where the future of local search is going. Pay attention to these metrics, so when they are fully integrated as signals, you will be ahead of the game.
Digital Experteers can help you to manage low cost, measurable and cost effective solutions to optimising your Google My Business listings to make you more competitive in your area..
Franchised and multi-site operations
The franchisor-franchisee dynamic is one of the most unique relationships in the business arena. The franchise model requires compliance while also encouraging independence, and that can be a complicated environment to maintain. Coordinating marketing initiatives within that model can be particularly challenging. But if both parties wish to succeed, they must strike the appropriate balance in executing key tactics that each is best equipped to manage.
This is especially true in managing digital strategy, where available resources often dictate the channel and scale of the tactic. Digital Experteers can help you build a marketing plan for your franchise system with strategies, frameworks and tactics, so that that each party will know what they are responsible for and you can build a relationship that benefits all.
We can help the Franchisor build a marketing plan that positions the brand to differentiate from competitors, has a clear segmentation and targeting strategy, has an engaging brand vision and creative proposition and identifies which communication channels it will use to reach the target consumer.
Paid Search: Franchise brands can drive customers to individual franchise locations by delivering national paid search campaigns. These campaigns combine online ad copy and geographic targeting to connect with potential customers who are searching online for specific solutions. Managing these campaigns requires significant resources and expertise, making it a tactic fit for a corporate team.
Paid Media: The modern media landscape is complex and requires that brands use a variety of outlets to reach consumers. Using advanced targeting techniques and ad optimization tools, a brand team or partner is capable of serving ads to the consumers most likely to make a purchase based on demographics, location, previous behaviours and preferred device. Whether it’s video, social media advertising or display, the franchisor should be responsible for creating efficient campaigns at the national level that drive both brand awareness and customer actions.
Technical SEO: While franchisees should incorporate basic SEO tactics into local content, brands should support them with a more in-depth SEO strategy. The foundational elements of SEO, including keyword selection, title tags, meta descriptions and backlinks aren’t as exciting as a new video campaign, but they set the stage for overall SEO success for all franchise locations.
Content and Social Planning: Coordinating content and social media initiatives at the corporate/national and local levels is among the most important tasks in this relationship. In addition to strategic guidance, franchisors should provide a content calendar and brand style guide for franchisees and establish well-defined guidelines for publishing content. Frequent communication between parties is vital for encouraging local content creation that simultaneously promotes the franchise location and the overarching brand.
Location Data Management: Distributing key location data across hundreds of channels and optimising that data helps your customers find your locations. This foundational tactic is most effective when location data is centrally managed as opposed to leaving it to individual locations. A central management partner or technology platform is more capable of leveraging this data for customer acquisition.
Analytics: Increasing efficiency across the board, whether it’s measurement, tracking return on investment, attribution measurement or customer relationship management, is only possible through tools and technology. Effective analytics allows national brands to monitor all of this data in one place — providing quick insights on past performance while guiding future strategy. We can help you to define objectives, build a measurement plan, select tools and build a dashboard of key performance indicators for you to use to benchmark results from multiple campaigns, using multiple channels in different franchisees. This will enable you to share best practice amongst franchisees and decide where marketing budgets should be spent effectively. Digital Marketeers revolutionary “ABC” analysis tool suite can assist
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Local Content: Creating content at the franchisee level can seem overwhelming, but it’s important for franchisees to set aside time and/or resources to build out and execute a content strategy. Local content including blog posts, video and social media posts build trust and loyalty with customers in the community. A priority should be video because of its superior ability to engage viewers and convert them into customers.
Customer Review Management: Managing online business reviews can be stressful, but reviews are a valuable forum for franchisees and their customers to share and validate personal experiences. When customers leave reviews, it builds brand awareness. When franchisees respond to reviews, it builds trust with local customers. When responding to reviews, franchisees should remember to keep responses short, be polite and thank both positive and negative reviewers for sharing their experiences.
Google Posts: Franchisees can promote events, products or services through Google Posts, a Google My Business feature that allows franchisees to publish text, video or photo content directly to Google Search and Maps.
Questions And Answers: Google Maps allows users to ask questions about businesses and places found in the app. Franchisees can respond directly to these questions, providing another avenue to connect with potential customers. Franchisees should answer the questions as specifically as possible and avoid “yes” or “no” answers as users can edit their question at any time.
Cooperation between franchisors and franchisees is critical to success, but franchise digital marketing is multi-faceted and requires a variety of skill sets. Franchisors should focus on national campaigns that require digital expertise and larger budgets. Franchisees should focus on local campaigns that require area knowledge and a personal touch.
The result should be a highly coordinated national plan that efficiently drives potential customers to franchise locations, where the brand-customer relationship is created and supported through local knowledge and service.
Digital Experteers have a proven track record of delivering low cost, measurable and cost effective solutions to both Franchisors and Franchisees alike. We can help you to build your strategy, execute the campaign and measure success.