Importance of Local Listing Pages of Public Adjuster Companies

Local listing pages should be a critical component within an organization’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy or digital marketing program. For public adjuster companies with multiple branches either regionally or nationally, it’s an essential component for enriching your online presence – and ultimately – being found by real customers looking to take action.

Let’s explore the reasons why local listing pages are important and the best ways to set-up and manage pages across multiple locations.

Importance of Listing Page

It’s no secret what Google’s goals are when it comes to its popular search engine product. It wants users to have fast, relevant results.

That’s it.

And that’s why it has a very minimalistic homepage with lots of white space, one branded graphic, and a search bar. Anything to cut down on load time. Even its results page is stripped down. It’s text heavy but with few graphic elements. Meanwhile, it has been making constant improvements to its algorithm for years to perfect its ability to rank the most relevant results and give users the best options on page 1. If you, as a user, perform a search and aren’t able to find what you want and have to scroll down or – heaven forbid – go to page 2, then Google isn’t doing its job.

In recent years, Google has put an emphasis on local listing pages. This includes awarding high rankings for well-optimized Yelp, Facebook and TripAdvisor pages. More importantly, for certain searches (typically branded search terms that feature the name of a business), it showcases MyBusiness profile information in the knowledge graph area. This is the information that is typically shown in the upper right corner of a search results page used as a “shortcut” to give users the information Google believes the user wants without having to click.

This can be both business information as well as everyday information that Google believes it can, or should, give users directly. Go ahead and type in “what is the temperature right now in Atlanta, GA” and search. It will give you the answer without having to click on the weather.com link. It’s highly useful.

As a public adjuster, having rich local listing pages and profiles help users get your contact information sooner and can lead to more action, especially when a user has an immediate need.

Step One: Creating a Local Website Page

Your first step, before embarking on your journey to set-up or claim all of your local listing pages, is to create a local page on your website for each location.

In doing so, you can help optimize your website for geo-based (local) searches and also allow users on your local listing pages to be linked directly back to a page on your website that is geared toward his/her own market.

Let’s say I search for “public adjuster companies in Utica, NY.” My preference is to arrive on a page that’s specific to my area, not the generic homepage.

These individualized location pages add value to your site since you are able to pair rich, important keywords with geo-targeted (location-based) terms together on that page. Here are some examples: “Public adjuster,” “insurance claims,” “insurance adjusters,” “independent adjusters” and “Utica, NY.”

You’ll want to also feature location-specific information such as address, phone number, and emails for staff members.

Moreover, be sure to include specific material that applies to that location – like local reviews, local photos of the office/staff/area, and any specific offerings that this office may have that differs from others. Try to stay away from stock photos that genericize the page and site. These local pages, if executed well, can rank higher than most (maybe all) of your other pages for geo-based branded terms. In fact, that’s your goal.

Step Two: How to Set Up and Manage a Google Listing Page

Google’s MyBusiness profile pages are the most important among all your listing pages. This is because of Google’s self-love for pages within its own network. Public adjusters with multiple locations will either need to create a new MyBusiness listing for each location or claim listings that may already be in Google’s system (for organizational purposes, keep your locations inside of a single group).

In many cases, the public (customers or active Google users) will create business listings and/or submit information for businesses on their own. If this is the case, and location information is already present in Google, Business won’t create a new listing but rather claim the existing one. Community managers should follow the prompts to claim the already existing page and take over. It’s important you do this because a) consumer-submitted information is often incorrect and b) you’ll want ownership over that page. If a listing doesn’t exist, you’ll follow the steps to create a new listing by adding contact information and business details.

In either case, you’ll need to show proof that you are the business owner or a partner of the business. In some cases, you can do this through a phone call verification. Make sure you have access to the business telephone line. In other cases, you’ll need to submit a postcard in the mail. This usually takes 3-4 days to arrive. When it does, submit the PIN that’s on the postcard and you’ll be able to verify and take over the page.

Google has made updates in recent years to more easily claim and manage multiple pages. You’ll set up a “brand” account and, within that account, you can access all your individual location pages. From there, you can access each one to update or override information, view the locations in Maps, upload photos, and view analytics and insights for each. If verified, you can also make mass edits.

Step Three: Other Local Listing Pages to Consider

Here are a few other listing pages you’ll want to create/claim for your public adjuster company:

Yelp: Although typically associated with restaurants, Yelp pages index well in Google, Yahoo and Bing search engine results. Similar to Google listings, community managers should create a master account and create/manage local pages that can all be accessed from one single login. If one chooses to become a Yelp advertiser, more benefits can be opened, such as: 1) preventing ads from running on your public adjuster pages, 2) featuring a video, 3) controlling the photos in your header profile area.

Facebook: An important channel for social media marketing, local Facebook pages shouldn’t be discounted as they are an important resource for customers/prospects to access contact information and read peer reviews. Beyond your social strategy, consider building out a master brand page for your public adjuster company, then individual location pages for each branch. Add localized information and photos to each. If you cannot afford the time to create and manage a local presence on each, use the “cascading” feature built into Facebook that allows you to automatically push content from your brand parent page to each child location page. That ensures you are continuing sharing relevant content on a consistent basis.

In addition to these local listing sites, a public adjuster company should also put a focus on their Better Business Bureau profile (quality of business) as well as Glassdoor and/or other job review sites, to promote the quality of your workplace and help with recruitment efforts. Both should appear relatively high in search result pages and aid in your SEO efforts.

Important Information

There are a number of information pieces that local listing pages allow businesses to feature. For public adjusters, make sure the information and material you upload are accurate, relevant and up-to-date. This includes the following sections:

  • Business name
  • Business classification(s)
  • Description
  • Address
  • Hours of operation
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Amenities
  • Opening date
  • Photos
  • Timely news

Site-Seeker’s Experience

Adjusters International is a public adjuster company comprised of branches all across the country. The organization helps homeowners and business owners in various markets recoup what they deserve after a natural disaster. The adjuster teams represent end users and work directly with insurance companies for fair compensation.

Site-Seeker worked with the Adjusters International team for multiple years on search engine optimization and pay-per-click strategy and management. The Adjusters International brand had to be “findable” throughout the country, whether there’s a wildfire in California or a hurricane ravaging the east coast. Making sure its presence was strong nationally would make a major impact on organic (search engine) traffic/views and help the company secure new and relevant customers through lead generation among those qualified visitors.

In these instances, people search the internet for immediate help. They aren’t going to conduct weeks’ worth of research to find a public adjuster. Therefore, the buying cycle is rather rapid. Users want to file claims and get money from their insurance companies as soon as possible.

We also helped organize their web presence. First, we used an SEO tool called BrightLocal to identify and fix citations (local listing information) across the web. This allowed us to see which citations were correct and which needed updating. Google and other search engines love consistency because they want to provide the most useful information possible. BrightLocal gave us the ability to ensure all of our citations were accurate and up-to-date.

Google MyBusiness was also a huge factor for Adjusters International’s organic growth. With different branches scattered across the country, our job was to make sure the correct locations were appearing in their respective areas when searched.

Each branch was claimed and verified by adding correct contact information (website, phone number, address, email, hours, etc.). We took it one step further and added custom photos for each branch. Google MyBusiness, and other local listing efforts, paired with proper on-site SEO, made for a successful search engine presence in the 50+ markets across the country.

Let’s Get Down to the Facts

Site-Seeker helped Adjusters International appear at the top of search engine pages through both paid and organic tactics. Google AdWords, now known as Google Ads, was extremely beneficial to driving traffic to the appropriate branch’s website. Plus, Google has a click-to-call feature where users can directly tap and call a business.

Specifically, in one 12-month span, pay-per-click traffic grew 241% year over year with our help and, in the same period, we drove cost per click down from $3.08 to just $1.86.

On the free, organic side, similar successes were seen.

In that same time period, organic traffic grew 40% year over year. Keep in mind, organic traffic made up 78% of all traffic, so this was an impressive feat and heavily impacted customer acquisition.

Hard conversions (form completions) grew from 1035 to 1553, or 50% growth. Soft metrics like downloads and interest-based clicks grew from 4,368 to 5,879, or a 35% increase.

Original article: https://www.site-seeker.com/importance-of-local-listing-pages-of-public-adjuster-companies/

How To Help Your Content Get Clicked, Read and Shared Online

I conducted a very simple A/B test not long ago.

I wanted to try and see what type of post would gain more traction online – specifically on LinkedIn – on an influencer marketing topic that I recently researched.

I was interested in finding out how people interact with link-based posts vs. plain-text posts. Both would feature the same information. (For reference, I have 2,800 connections on LinkedIn).

Test #1: Full Article

First, I researched and prepared an 1,800-word article on the subject. It was rich in insight, included imagery, and referenced reputable third-party resources through hyperlinks. I wrote it originally on WordPress but later published it to LinkedIn Publisher. By default, with that publish, there was a post that went out featuring an accompanying image and a direct link to the LinkedIn article.

Results: 43 views, 9 likes, 0 comments.

Test #2: Plain-Text Post

I then decided to summarize all the info within the 1,800-word post and re-publish it as a short, plain text post. This time, I would give away all the need-to-know answers, bullet it for better readability, and include no link or photo. It was 200 words total.

Results: 945 views, 17 likes and 2 comments.

Test #3: Results of the Test

Finally, not to get too  “Inception-like,” but I thought the test I ran was quite telling and decided to do a third post. This time, it wouldn’t focus on the influencer marketing topic, but rather, the results of the above test. It would also be a short, plain text post and include my data points.

Results: 3,003 views, 49 likes, 14 comments

In reviewing the results and thinking through the style (and information) of each post, I think there are a few important takeaways here…

1) People are LAZY

It’s common today for marketers to make the big claim that “humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish!” Okay. That may be true, but let’s consider what that actually tells us.

  • People are looking at [most] content for a very short amount of time.
  • You only have a few seconds to impress them and get them to commit to spending more time with you.
  • You can’t ask for actions that require TIME without REWARD (even if that reward is simply education or entertainment).

Many marketers are solely interested in driving people off social and onto their sites. Why? Because that’s where a sale or conversion can take place.

But you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger at the bar and immediately ask them to come to your house. You’d probably talk at that bar first, then ask for a coffee date, then maybe dinner at a restaurant for a third date, etc. – before a house date.

So why are we not having conversations and communicating with these users directly on the platforms where they are?

What I’ve noticed over the years is that people prefer to stay within the confines of the platform they are on. For example, they would rather watch a native Facebook video than click and be brought to YouTube to watch it (I’ve tested this multiple times).

Beyond video, an even better example is Instagram Shopping where large e-commerce brands are building systems where purchases can take place right on Instagram without breaking that session. I think this will ultimately lead to greater social-related sales. We are lazy creatures and want to get information quickly and easily, and anything that disrupts that flow isn’t ideal.

So, all this rambling leads to two important recommendations:

Sometimes short, simple posts generate better results. But remember, short, simple posts don’t always take less time to prepare. I believe Albert Einstein was the one who once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” You’ll still need to research, you’ll still need to analyze. It’s not that your plain-text posts should lack substance or richness, it should simply be short and to-the-point to help give people what they want faster.

Keep as much content on the platforms themselves as you can. Only direct people to your website (or other relevant places) when it makes sense. That is: when it can’t be contained within the platform due to restrictions (ex. videos that exceed 1 min on Instagram) or after you’ve done enough “dating” and you feel they are ready to come over. Like in sales, you need to raise awareness, then nurture, and then strike with the offer when you believe it’s the right time.

2) You Have to TEST

Even if you have a very good understanding of your target audience, even if you’ve built out buyer personas and know what makes them tick, even if you have been working directly with these customers for years, it’s still nearly impossible to predict how they will engage with the majority of your content online. The only way to move beyond gut instinct or educated guesses is through testing.

The test I did was pretty simple and clear cut. And it provided some good data. If I continue to run similar tests, I can gain even more valuable insight. Turn that data into digestible information that you can reference later.

You must classify your content and measure its impact.

First, do this over a full quarter period. It needs to be long enough where a variety of content types will have been published. If you are posting 4 times a week on Facebook, that’s going to be 52 posts that you will analyze.

Pull all of your data into a spreadsheet. You’ll want the following stats included for each post:

  • Total impressions
  • Total engagements
  • Engagement rate
  • Cost per engagement
  • Total clicks
  • Cost per click
  • Click thru rate
  • Total conversions
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Total cost

Now, you need to add columns for classifications and content types. If you’re a restaurant brand, you might break it down like this:

Classification:

  • Food
  • Health and Wellness
  • Promotions
  • Community/Goodwill
  • Events
  • Staff

Content Type:

  • Plain text
  • Link
  • Photo
  • Video
  • Animation/Gif
  • Offer
  • Other

Now run analyses on the content by groups. What trends do you see? Do food posts produce the best levels of engagement? Do promotions produce the most conversions? Do plain-text posts produce the best cost-per-click? (Just kidding, there is no click). Spend time filtering and examining the best and worst of your quarter’s posts. Adjust future efforts based on your goals and what you’re seeing. Your data will vary by brand/audience, thus, not everyone will see the same trends.

3) Man Bites DOG

It should come as no surprise that if you’ve posted 1000 photos to Instagram, the ones with the most likes and comments might be… your graduation photo, your first wedding photo, a photo of the first day at your new job, or the first photo of your newborn baby.

These photos stand out.

They aren’t everyday life. They aren’t everyday occurrences. They are unique, memorable, and worthy of extra praise.

Now put on your marketing cap.

You always need to be thinking about what that “wedding photo” might be for your business to help really stand out, get noticed, garner engagement, and make an impact.

Like a major life milestone, they don’t come every day. There’s going to be “filler” content to help stay top of mind. But you should always be brainstorming and working your killer creative ideas into your strategy and your content calendar so you can bank on when these big splashes might be.

There’s a reason my third post – the one with the test results – produced far more views and engagement than the previous two. It’s a case study. It’s real, first-hand primary data. It’s something that one might not easily come by. So it stands out, and it’s useful news too.

So what might make a big impact? Take into consideration events that you participate in, sponsorships, volunteer days, staff promotions, discounts and offers, etc. Anything that stands apart from everyday brand life.

Let’s call it the 80/20 rule. 80% of your material should be organic, everyday filler content. It should still be relevant, and high quality, but it helps fill the gaps. 20% should be those campaigns and “big moments” that stand out. This balance is really in place for two reasons:

  1. To conserve cost. If every day you had an amazing video or a cool animation, you’d quickly run out of resources. Most marketers or marketing teams simply don’t have the time and talent to make every single piece of content that stellar.
  2. To make the stellar posts stand out even more. You don’t get married every day. When you do, people notice. This balance ultimately drives an overload of action on your best material.

Conclusion

Digital storytelling is a big buzzword in our field today, but it’s a real thing. Consumers are tired of one-way communication from brands and the high-pressure sales messaging that comes with traditional advertising. They want to be talked WITH, not talked TO.

I think good digital storytellers take into consideration all that’s referenced above. These marketers consider their audience when posting and the type of content that will resonate best. They consider creativity and put extreme thought into their efforts. They measure and lean on facts to drive future decisions within their content calendar. They’re strategic and organized and every post serves a purpose. They focus on entertainment and education rather than buy, buy, buy! Most importantly, they keep in mind the buyer’s journey – slowly reeling people in before it’s time to talk business.

Keep in mind, it’s a funnel.

Most people are at the top (awareness), some are in the middle (research, consideration) and less are at the bottom (decision, renewals). Your content should reflect this.

60% of your material should be top of the funnel, 30% middle of the funnel, and 10% bottom of the funnel. If you are supplementing your efforts with advertising – and using specific targeting and remarketing parameters – you can do a better job at serving the right content to the right audience at the right time.

Digital storytelling is simply social media marketing with strategy and structure. Done right and it will help your content get clicked, read, and shared, and entice consumers to slowly become buyers over time.

Original article: https://www.site-seeker.com/how-to-help-your-content-get-clicked-read-and-shared-online/

How To Best Reach and Sell to Millennials in 2019

Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) make up a significant portion of today’s population – 25% actually. And within the next year or so, they’ll make up more than half of the workforce.

For brands, they have tremendous buying power. They are now at the age where they are graduating college, growing their careers, having families, buying homes, traveling, investing in the stock market, etc.

Because of this, Millennials are a critical audience type for many brands and it’s worth considering some of the significant impacts they have, as well as how you and your PR and marketing teams can continue to best adapt your tactics to convert these tech-savvy folks better.

Here are the five biggest areas that should be considered if your brand’s most coveted audience is made of Millennials.

1) New School PR

When we think about traditional public relations, press releases, news conferences, and publicity stunts might be the first that come to mind. On a deeper level though, we might consider this team being “the voice of the company.”

PR has been responsible for controlling the message, developing and maintaining a positive perception, improving brand reputation, and making sure relevant, newsworthy information flows and penetrates its way into the minds of consumers.

With the emergence of digital, are all those things still important?

Of course.

They have not gone away; they’ve simply changed.

VHS doesn’t exist anymore. But movies are as big as ever. In fact, Netflix recently claimed that more than 45 million accounts watched its made-for-stream movie Bird Box. There wasn’t a VHS player in site but look at that incredible reach.

The rules of PR are different today. It’s still about messaging, reputation, awareness, and relationships, but there are tools and technologies available today to help us do our jobs differently.

  • PR is now responsible for social media to disseminate content, in addition to social engagement to help control message and voice.
  • PR must pay attention to bloggers and influencers, rather than just the media.
  • “Pay for play” is a real thing. It might blur the lines of journalistic ethics, but that’s the world we live in.
  • Everything must be measured, and PR must fully understand and embrace analytics.

With Millennials really acting as the drivers behind social media, it’s important that PR teams understand the usage patterns of Millennials and apply new digitally-focused tactics.

2) Next Big Thing: d-Commerce and Social Buying

Often dubbed as d-commerce (digital commerce) or m-commerce (mobile commerce), these general terms encompass the many ways that consumers can purchase products through digital means.

There are 7.6 billion people in the word. Among those, 1.66 billion have bought online, and that number is expected to grow to 2.14 billion within the next two years. That shows the buying potential among the masses – and Millennials do this without even thinking twice.

To me, this is the future of PR and marketing: being more mindful of the buying patterns of our audience and allowing them to have a better buying experience.

The biggest shift here is social buying. We’ve already see some of the larger brands perform tests to integrate their online shops with Instagram ads – called Checkout – to showcase products and act as an extension of their online storefronts.

From CNET:

To buy something on Instagram, users tap on a photo’s “product tag” and are shown an option to “Checkout on Instagram.” Users then enter their contact information, address and payment information to purchase a product. That information will be saved on Instagram for future purchases, and users manage their orders through the photo-sharing app. The new feature also gives Instagram, which earns money from ads, another way to rake in revenue. During the test of the checkout feature, the company is charging brands a selling fee to help fund the checkout feature and offset credit card processing costs and other expenses. Instagram could also use a person’s shopping history to show more targeted ads.

From voice-activated purchases through Google Home or Siri, or one-click purchases through Amazon, it’s evident that brands are helping consumers buy more quickly and, fingers crossed, more often.

Marketing and PR folks need to be mindful of the presentation of their products and the user experience on their websites that allow for more improved ads and content delivery.

3) Peer Influence To Help With Purchases

Let’s say your best friend told you to buy a Mazda because she just purchased one and liked it. Then, you saw an ad from Mazda that said they make the best car on the market and their cars are highly efficient. Which would you believe more?

From Wordstream, 89% of Millennial consumers trust recommendations from their peers over ads. It’s plain and simple. Millennials are skeptics towards ads.

This is why brands need to focus more on education, entertainment and storytelling as influence tactics, rather than going straight for the jugular with direct selling techniques.

Sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook contain review systems that let users review businesses and provide direct feedback. These ratings, which are seen and engaged upon by peers and fellow consumers, are trustworthy because these sites have terms and services in place that do not allow brands to offer incentives in exchange for reviews.

To encourage users to submit more reviews and upload more valid information, Google built a global program made up of serious reviewers with perks and gamification features (not to brag, but I’m at 5,273 points and counting!).

From 2016 to 2017, the number of guides in Google’s Local Guide program grew from 5 to 50 million. In that same year, 700,000 new places were added by guides each month.

Overall, peer reviews are incredibly important to Millennials in their buying decisions. Brands and businesses need to take review programs seriously to ensure they are not only getting more reviews, but they are garnering 5-star ratings with solid, genuine feedback.

On top of that, taking advantage of influencer marketing is vital for both big and small brands alike.

4) Authenticity Matters, And So Does Having A Crisis Plan In Place

It’s true that your marketing mix should change if Millennials are your point of focus. If you are still investing in broadcast TV and terrestrial radio…stop.

Research shows that Millennials are using streaming services. Spotify alone, which has a ton of competitors, has 150 million users72% of which are Millennials.

On the TV side, Netflix is approaching 150 million subscribers. Beyond the numbers, digital channels allow for extreme targeting and better tracking over traditional methods.

While where you are is vital, don’t stop your marketing mix choices there. Adjust what you say too.

Your message needs to resonate among this audience and encourage engagement and action. One of the best ways to do this is through transparency and authenticity.

First, make sure you aren’t afraid to show them what’s behind the curtain. Take care in your sourcing and procurement methods and make sure you are proud of what you sell and who works for you. Then show them.

Woven tightly within your social content, make these messages focused around transparency forward facing for all to see. That’s what Millennials are after.

Don’t forget about goodwill efforts and philanthropy. From Forbes, 84% of millennial employees give to charity, and 70% of them donate their time to charitable causes.

Remember, having cause-related efforts in place and being transparent is not a fool-proof plan for avoiding bad things from happening.

In fact, your outlook shouldn’t be: “I hope my brand doesn’t get hit with controversy.” It should be: “What should I do when it happens?” Because at some point or another, your brand will be struck by a crisis.

In the world we live in today, there’s a public outcry over everything. Social media makes it so easy for people to voice their opinions, whether warranted or not, and it puts your brand on the verge of being struck down at any moment.

How can you combat this?

First, make sure you have a system of checks and balances in place that’s made up of a diverse group of people.

Everyone has a different perspective, and a feedback loop with approval processes should consist of different viewpoints. This can help catch issues before they arise – before products, ads or posts go to market.

Secondly, put a crisis communication plan in place. You should:

  • Monitor media/social media mentions of your brand to catch issues as early as possible.
  • Have statements ready to go for issues you know may emerge based on your brand and product offering. Food companies, for example, may have statements on hand for product recalls or food safety issues.
  • Identify your spokesperson and make sure he/she is media trained. Ideally, you’d want a statement delivered via live stream or on video, so make sure he/she is comfortable in front of the camera too.
  • Have your crisis team identified and pre-select your distribution channels. Have members ready to act as customer service professionals. You will have an influx in comments and @ replies, and your team members should be prepared to respond quickly with accuracy, honesty, and transparency.
  • Delivery your message fast, within hours at most.

5) If you Can’t Beat ‘Em, Hire ‘Em

It’s one thing to study and learn about Millennials, but there’s no better resource than someone who is actually a part of the culture.

The fact of the matter is that Baby Boomers have a limited time here. Within 20 years or so, Millennials will become the single most prominent generation on the planet. It’s essential to have staff that can not only speak their language but also can walk the walk for added authenticity.

I tell my undergrad students that the most important skills you can leave with after graduation are writing skills and photo/video skills.

Writing will always be critically important. Whether it’s long articles, white papers or Instagram captions, solid and creative writing stands out, and it’s absolutely essential in our world.

Photo and video continue to be the most critical elements in one’s digital suitcase and having media-savvy in-house team members can make it much more efficient in getting content planned, created, produced and published – both quickly and at a lower cost.

If you remove engagement from your social media duties for just a second, you’re left with content planning, creation, and scheduling. Across those three tasks, creation is going to make up about 90% of that workload. It’s a huge time suck. If you plan on producing good, quality content, it’s going to take even longer. Having team members who can create creative work productivity will go a long way.

Among missing qualities from Millennials: business savviness.

For example, Millennials often lack an appreciation for profit margins, the average lifetime value of a customer, true return on investment, and the entire finance side of marketing.

Old PR was focused on awareness and reputation. In its merge with marketing and advertising as a result of digital, all of us are playing for the same team. That means, the bottom line becomes a central focus.

PR folks can no longer only lean on soft metrics like impressions or event sign-ups but should be turning their attention to hard metrics like form fills and sales. Putting a dollar value on everything is what really matters.

That also means having skills within analytics.

From Google Analytics to BuzzSumo to BrandWatch, the technologies we have today at our fingertips allow us to measure the impact of PR and marketing more effectively and tie it back to important, real business goals.

Original article: https://www.site-seeker.com/how-to-best-reach-and-sell-to-millennials-in-2019/

Why Influencer Marketing is Important and How SMBs Can Get Started Today

I recently did an interview with one of our local news stations on influencer marketing and what consumers need to know. You can view that piece by clicking here.

It got me thinking. Influencer marketing is already a very popular tactic among large brands – and it’s continuing to grow.

According to Marketing Land, brands are projected to spend $101 billion on influencer marketing by 2020. But why are small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) slow to embrace this promotional activity?

Background

This isn’t a new tactic. In 2011, when I was a heavy Twitter user, I was contacted by a social agency representing Applebee’s. They offered to give me free food and drinks to live tweet the Dallas Cowboys game from my nearby restaurant. Are you kidding me? Yes!

Unfortunately, when I responded that I was interested, they didn’t follow through. I imagine they had reached out to many users and only had a set number of vouchers to hand out. I should have replied sooner!

The reason why we’re still here talking about influencer marketing in 2019 is because of its extreme value. It can be cost-effective, especially compared to social advertising.

It’s also a growing concept. It may be old news for large B2C companies, but for B2B and SMB brands, there’s still a lot of potential.

90-9-1

The same Marketing Land article also goes into detail around the famous 90-9-1 rule. This has been a model that’s been floating around since the early days of social media.

The model shows that the majority of users on social media (90%) sit back and take it all in. They are viewers (some might say creepers). They can be found in your impression and reach stats, but not in your engagement reports. For the most part, they are silent.

A small population (9%) helps to promote and re-share your material. These are the engagers. They are helpful in content distribution, getting the content into the feeds of the viewers.

The smallest population (1%) is made up of those who are thought leaders, trendsetters and content creators. They are creating the majority of the original material found on the web that is later engaged and viewed by the remaining 99%.

As marketers, tapping into these influencers and having them create content on behalf of your brand, naturally allows your material to be seen by large amounts of people within a given market. It’s a true top-down approach.

Relevancy is Key

The most important word in influencer market is relevancy.

For example, @Coco_pinkprincess is a “kid influencer” who focuses on kids’ clothing and fashion. The profile, which has nearly 700,000 followers, is geared toward young girls and their parents.

If I’m a brand that sells John Deere tractors, I could pay this influencer tens of thousands of dollars for an impressive volume of viewers. But those views are not going to turn into engagements and sales. It’s just not the right audience.

It seems logical, but it’s the first, foremost, and single most important thing in influencer marketing.

Not all likes are created equal.

Follower numbers, engagement rates and price tags may seem enticing (if the price is right), but finding influencers with the right audience is critical for a successful program.

That John Deere distributor is better off seeking an influencer with a more relevant audience of a few thousand, instead of hundreds of thousands, in order to get in front those who are more likely to be potential buyers. Most of the time, these smaller influencers come with a cheaper cost too.

Developing an Influencer Strategy

This is where things get exciting. If you think you’re ready, here’s how you’ll want to build your influencer program:

1) Determine your target audience.

Hopefully, if you are already conducting marketing and social efforts, you have an excellent understanding of who this persona is. Remember, think about the type of person that leads to the greatest level of revenue for you, or who is most apt to help spread the word about your brand’s products and services. Document the details about your audience.

2) Determine your objectives.

What are you trying to accomplish with influencer marketing? This is typically one of a few things:

a) impressions/reach if you are merely at an awareness/brand penetration stage,
b)engagement if you want to build brand buzz and get people talking about your company’s products or services, it’s great for inexpensive market research, or for action-based metrics like downloads or entries,
c) sales if you are focused on the bottom line and want true return on investment (ROI) for your influencer efforts.

3) Identify the cost structure and how much (if any) is worth investing.

To me, influencer marketing is very similar to social advertising. If done right, both can get you in front of your target audience at a fee. This means that you want to pursue the avenue that’s most cost-effective (or both to complement one another).

Remember, stats show that users trust peer reviews more than ads (Nielsen says that 33% trust ads whereas 90% trust peers). So if consumers deem the influencers they follow as peers, the ads and message can have a greater effect.

It’s best to run a social ad program first to create baseline metrics. That way, you know what’s fair market value for the metrics you’re trying to gain. This can include the cost to acquire new fans, garner likes and comments, get clicks to your site, obtain downloads, or achieve sales.

Once you know what the typical cost of all those KPIs are, you can begin nailing down the cost for influence marketing, and compare between influencers too.

Let’s say you normally spend $2/click on your social ads. If you invest $1,000 on an influencer promoted post and it brings in 600 clicks among a relevant audience, that’s $1.66 per click.

As long as the quality of those visitors is just as good, or better than advertising, it’s a worthwhile investment. In anything you do with social media, you’ll want to keep those costs top of mind.

So what will you expect to pay per post? It all depends on the type of influencers and their niche. Influence.co says that the average cost per post, across the board, is $271 per post. If you’re dealing with micro-influencers who have less than 10,000 followers, it is $83 per post, while celebrities or macro-influencers with more than 100,000 followers charge an average of $763. Modeling and photography are the most expensive industries while lifestyle and music are least expensive (among the categories researched).

4) Find your influencers.

If your planning is in place, and you’ve reserved your budget and labor resources, most of your time is going to be put towards identifying your influencers. That should take probably one to two months. The rest of your program will be devoted to managing the relationships and developing content suggestions and/or offers to supply to them, as well as testing and measurement.

Influencer research requires sifting through social search and identifying influencers who make sense for your brand. To find them, you’ll want to perform searches and look through the following:

  1. Keywords: what keywords are people using online and on social platforms.
  2. Check-Ins: who is posting from locations that make sense for your brand.
  3. Hashtags: what hashtags are they using?
  4. Similar followers of profiles you’ve identified from above.
  5. Consider the following platforms to find your content creators: Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, LinkedIn, online blogs, Tumblr and Twitter.

Like media relations, you need to build a spreadsheet of those who you identify are potentially good fits for your brand.

Indicate name, handle, platform, contact info, audience info, influencer type, topics they cover/industry, and follower count.

When logging, don’t forget to indicate “influencer type.” From SproutSocial, most fall into one of four categories: social media expert, YouTube creator, blogger or famous person. This helps tell you a bit more about their audience and engagement rates (celebrities will have a more diverse audience and lower expected engagement rates than social experts).

You’ll also want to calculate the average engagement rate and average impression level so when you are comparing and analyzing which influencers will drive the best results based on cost, you know who to turn to.

How to Calculate Engagement Rate (number of people who will engage upon a post, on average):

  • Look at all that person’s posts from the past 30 days.
  • Write down the number of likes and comments on those posts.
  • Add the numbers together within that window and divide by the number of posts. That’s your average engagements per post.
  • Now divide by the total number of followers for an estimated engagement rate. Log that in your spreadsheet.

How to Calculate Average Impression Level (number of people who will see the post, on average:

  • Users can typically see between a 40 and 60% impression rate. I determined 45% from a study I performed for a brand, but real influencers tend to have a bit higher. So let’s call it 50%.
  • Multiply the follower count by 50% and you should get the average impression level per post. Log that in your spreadsheet.

Finally, you’ll need to get info on cost. Contact influencers through DM, the email they direct you to in their bio, or their publicist/agency’s email. Ideally, you’ll want that number broken down at a per post basis, even if they give it to you as a package deal cost, so you can easily compare influencers.

After researching the cost, you can then do divisional math and calculate data for two additional columns – “cost per engagement” and “cost per impression.” These two are the cornerstone of your comparisons.

Remember, only use the impression number if the goal of your program is impressions/penetration. If it’s action (engagement or sales), you’ll need to use the cost per engagement metric.

Scrunch, a social influencer application that helps identify and manage influencer campaigns,lists the following engagement rates as being industry standard:

  • Less than 1% = low engagement rate
  • Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate
  • Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate
  • Above 6% = very high engagement rate

This is important to keep in mind when deciding whether an influencer is worthwhile or not.

5) Select and contact your influencers.

Coordinate with your chosen influencers to identify your offers and links, and run a test program. You’ll want to use a few so you can see the impact of each (and which audience is the best fit).

Make sure to run these test campaigns at separate times so you can keep your data segregated.

6) Analyze the results.

What results did you see? What was the cost? Which influencers worked the best? Decide which ones you want to continue to work with and decide what changes you might want to make to your content or offer moving forward.

Getting Help

Don’t want to do the manual research in identifying influencers? You can find a software or agency to do the work for you.

Some tools have influencer directories built in and might even manage the relationships and coordination of fees for you, while agencies can also remove the heavy lifting on your behalf. Most have working relationships with influencers in certain markets or niches.

Tools you’ll want to consider if you’re serious about pursuing influencer marketing:

  1. Scrunch
  2. Upfluence
  3. BuzzSumo
  4. SproutSocial
  5. Influence.co

And there you go. Happy influencer marketing!

Original article: https://www.site-seeker.com/why-influencer-marketing-is-important-and-how-smbs-can-get-started-today/

Local SEO for Franchise Restaurants with Multiple Locations

I have a crazy sweet tooth – but I don’t like sugar coating. Search engine optimization (SEO) is hard! Over the past 15 or so years, we’ve watched Google and other search engines implement

Site Seekers Local SEO for Franchise Restaurants with Multiple Locations

challenging rules to reduce the number of black-hat optimizers who try to “rook the system.” As a result, SEO best practices have become increasingly more complex and it takes a good deal of time to appreciate results.

Doing SEO for multiple locations is even harder. You aren’t worried about indexing and ranking in just one city, state, or metro area, but many. It’s not just one set of local competitors, but many. Let’s look at some tips for performing SEO for franchise restaurants with multiple locations, where each market may differ.

What is SEO? A Brief Explanation

SEO is the driving force behind how your website ranks in search engines for certain specific searches, based on on-page factors (site content, structure, code) and off-page factors (authority/trust, link quality, social reputation). In most cases, businesses don’t have trouble being found for branded search terms (like “CoreLife Eatery”), but rather for non-branded search terms (like “healthy restaurants”). It’s this type of keyword that helps to bring new, untapped people to your site. That’s why SEO is an important part of digital marketing – for audience capture.

When Site-Seeker was first founded in 2003, SEO was a relatively straightforward (and even easy) concept. It consisted mostly of site structure, URL structure, navigation, title and description tags, and links. It wasn’t unrealistic to help a small business – who wasn’t even indexed in Google – achieve top 10 status within a month or two.

Most companies rely on organic (free, search-based) traffic to help get visitors on their site. The percentage of organic traffic compared to other sources ranges from brand to brand, but restaurants should see at least 50% of all traffic coming from search. For example, 53% of CoreLife Eatery’s traffic is organic. The opportunity to grow that number through SEO tactics is there and the potential to find new and relevant visitors is high. Remember: while the systems have gotten smarter over the past 15 years, so have marketers, and SEO has since become a much more skilled art as a result.

Performing Keyword Research for your Restaurant Chain

Keyword research is always the first action you should take once you’ve developed your SEO strategy and hit “go.” You can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to identify new-to-you keywords and to gauge the popularity and competitiveness around certain important keywords. There are three types of keywords that should be focused upon:

  1. Branded: These are the easiest keywords to rank for and require very little research to find. These are any and all keywords that have to do with describing your restaurant brand. Consider the actual name as well as any nicknames for the restaurant. For example, we might look at “CoreLife Eatery,” “CoreLife” and “Core.” Ranking for these terms is somewhat easy since this type of keyword will naturally be woven throughout your website, exist in the URL, be emphasized on third-party sites across the web. Ideally, your website will rank #1 for all branded search terms, ahead of your social media channels.
  2. Non-branded general: These are general, high-level terms that get used in a search. It includes keywords like “restaurants,” “restaurants in Utica, NY,” “best places to eat for lunch.” Here we’re targeting users who aren’t aware of you or your restaurant’s concept and are simply looking for a good place to eat. Also, consider how they might modify that search based on their location.
  3. Non-branded specific:  On the one hand, these terms are the most difficult to find and rank for. On the other hand, these are what make the biggest difference when it comes to SEO success and driving new traffic to your site. Consider restaurant-related keywords that your potential customers might use to find you. For CoreLife Eatery, this might be “vegan restaurant,” “gluten-free restaurants,” or “fresh food.” There could be anywhere between 30-40 keywords you might have on your list. Be careful: if it’s too large of a list, you’ll risk not having enough focused pages/content on your site and end up not ranking for any of them. Make your keyword list manageable and specific.

Local SEO for Restaurants: The Basics

In general, there are a number of SEO tactics you’ll want to implement site-wide, regardless of how many locations you have. I won’t spend too much time on these because a basic search in Google for “SEO help guide” will provide more thorough information on all of this:

  • Keyword research: Determine the best keywords that will drive the highest quantities of relevant traffic to your site. Select 1-3 important keywords per page.
  • XML sitemap and robots.txt: Select the pages you want to be indexed and submit them to search engines to be crawled. Utilize Google Search Console to monitor any errors that web crawlers may uncover on your site. Fix, as needed.
  • Navigation: Rule of thumb: If a user can’t easily find a page, then Google can’t either. Anything you want to be found in a search engine should be included in the navigation on your site.
  • URL structure: Consider clean, yet descriptive, URLs that are organized and feature the keywords you want to rank for.
  • Titles and descriptions: Probably the most notable aspect of SEO, titles, and descriptions are the first things a user sees in the search engines when they submit a search. After performing keyword research, be deliberate in the writing of your title (straightforward, consistent structure between pages) and descriptions (encourage action, include keywords).
  • Alt text: Ensure keywords are used across your site’s images.
  • Schema: This type of markup is written at the code level and helps categorize or label certain types of content. Schema exists for things like events, products, and restaurants. Make sure you implement restaurant schema for your site.

Local SEO for Restaurants: The Advanced

Beyond what you’ve already done to your site, you’ll now want to take things to the next level to help your location pages rank in each of your restaurant’s markets.

  • Local Activity (Social Media, Reviews, and Links)

Make sure you have a rich social media presence and engage with all of your local audience members. Implement a reviews program – both in-store and online – to drive more online reviews. User-generated feedback, which will naturally include keywords and geo-locations, will help with your SEO work. Additionally, you’ll want to implement a PR/linking strategy to secure local links that point back to your local page. Consider local news articles, charitable partnerships, and local school or university submission boards if you have jobs or internship programs.

  • Building the Perfect Location-Based Page

Regardless of how large your operation is, you’ll need to have a store-locator feature (or some way to easily find individual stores) and, most importantly, a local web page that represents each of your local stores. This is vital to local SEO success. On each of these pages, feature important location-based information that best serves your local customers and allows Google to differentiate it from other local pages. Some suggestions include: local store information (like address, phone numbers, and location-specific menu items and prices); an embedded Google map for directions; local photos of that location including storefront; local reviews (WordPress plugins like the Google Reviews Widget will help populate this); and local charitable or philanthropic ties to the community. Also include links to your local business listing pages, as well as content that contains the keywords you’re targeting.

  • Local SEO for Restaurants: Business Listing Pages

Do not discount the importance of your business listing pages. They are massive contributors to local SEO success. There are many listing pages that exist on the web, but the “Top 5” you’ll want to put the most focus on for restaurants include Facebook (all of your locations should have their own page, checked/managed by your team, you can push content to those pages from the brand page if you wish), Google MyBusiness, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Apple Maps. Like the location pages on your site, you’ll want to customize each local listing page with rich information. Include address, phone number, store hours, your menu, and price range. Add your best-localized photos. Add any appropriate attributes that the site allows: accepts credit cards, off-street parking, vegan meals, family-friendly, etc. Encourage users to add reviews too.

Measuring SEO for Restaurants

There are many articles out there that discuss the many KPIs you can measure for your SEO efforts. You certainly could do that. It’s good to look at the many angles of both organic traffic and the quality of that traffic. But if you’re a restaurant focused on sales, then there are only three metrics you should be worried about:

  1. Organic Traffic: Remember that SEO is a long-term investment. It’s not uncommon to roll out an SEO plan and not see solid results for at least 6-12 months. Knowing this, you’ll want to examine your Google Analytics account (or your website tracking software of choice) and filter by organic traffic. This will allow you to see any growth, over time, of your search engine traffic. Annotate when you make SEO changes on your site so you can see what tactics can be attributed to each of those changes. Additionally, you’ll want to add geo-filters so you can see how organic traffic is affected in each of your local markets. The increases will likely be subtle, but over time, those results add up to significant new, relevant traffic.
  2. Conversions: If you’re a restaurant, conversions = sales. You are likely utilizing an e-commerce component to your site to collect online orders. You’ll want to track these. Consider also marking direct emails or phone calls as conversions (since that is often people asking for directions or reservations). Once your goals are labeled accordingly inside of Google Analytics, monitor your goal completions through the filter for organic traffic. Are there more organic conversions over time after implementing your SEO plan?
  3. Organic Traffic Conversion Rate: This is the rate at which you are driving conversions and measures the effectiveness of your site’s pages. Let’s say your organic traffic conversion rate is 10%. If you have 100 organic visitors come to your site, that means only 10 converted. There are two ways to get more conversions on your site. First, you can send more traffic to your site. If your SEO efforts now help to drive 200 visitors to your site instead of 100, at 10% conversion rate, you will now have 20 conversions. Or, you can work on improving your website so more people convert. If you drive your conversion rate up to 20%, then even if you have 100 visitors coming to your site, then you will have now 20 conversions. SEO efforts often help improve your organic conversion rate since navigation and on-page user experience is improved. Monitor your organic conversion rate to see how it’s affected.

Original article: https://www.site-seeker.com/local-seo-for-franchise-restaurants-with-multiple-locations/