MyLocally to Attend Parker Seminars in Las Vegas

Carol Lee Collins of eLocal Listing/MyLocally will introduce MyLocally to chiropractic professionals at Parker Seminars in Las Vegas. 

MyLocally and The American Chiropractor Magazine have partnered to provide a FREE Micro Site for all of their magazine recipients.

 

 

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Don’t Use Email When You’re Angry and Other Great Business email Tips

Most businesses use email as a primary form of communicating with current clients and potential clients.  It is easy, convenient and free.  But emails tell a story and you need to be certain that the story that they tell is professional and representative of your business.

1)      Don’t Use Email When You’re Angry – Even if you are not emailing the person who is the recipient of the email, the tone of your email can be greatly impacted by your state of mind.  So if you are angry, hold off on writing that important email.

 2)      Be Professional – Emoticons and text acronyms are alright for personal emails and correspondence, they are still not accepted in the business world.  Trust me a prospective client doesn’t want to read that  you are “jk” or have you “;)” at them.

 3)      Be Professional Part 2 - Be aware of the professional (or not) relationship between yourself and the recipient before starting an email. Check the tone of your email and check spelling and grammar.  Re-read your email and if you have any doubt about the messaging or tone, ask a co-working to read it.

 4)      Include a Sig (Signature File) – Include a signature file, but keep it to no more than four lines: Name (use the name you want to be called), title, company, phone #s.

 5)      Be careful . Email is not private; it can be intercepted anywhere en route to its recipient. It can live on for years and posted or quoted on the Internet or emailed to one or more recipients.

 6)      Think About Your email “Handle” – Keep it professional and relevant to your business.  If you have a personal email with a “pet” name, that is great, but don’t use it for professional purposes.  For example is you have a cleaning services, prospective customers don’t want to hear from honeybear@gmail.com, instead they want to read an email from ProCleaning@gmail.com.

 7)      Images and Color – These are a great way to reach out to your customers and set your business apart from other businesses, but be careful a lot of email servers do not accept large files or put html emails in to spam.

 

 

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Turning Negative Reviews into a Positive Marketing Opportunity

On a recent trip I commented to the hotel clerk that I had read a review online complaining about the condition of the linens.  She proudly remarked that they had upgraded ALL of their towels and bed linens and that this wouldn’t be a problem.  I commented that this was great, but why hadn’t the hotel commented on the bad review, letting other potential guests know that they had made the change?  Then I thought to myself that the blog I had meant to write on how to use bad reviews to your benefit was long overdue.

Every business, even the most service oriented, will encounter an unsatisfied customer.  Maybe the customer or the employee was having an off day … but savvy business owners know how to turn lemons into lemonade and bad reviews into opportunity.  Here are some helpful tips:

Tip #1 – Resist the knee jerk reaction; accusations, excuses, and the worst anger.  It is a natural reaction, but one that you will only regret later.   So even if the review is completely off base; breath in, relax and read tip #2.

Tip #2 – Respond quickly and carefully, recognize the criticism or complaint, offer to correct the situation in private by inviting them to call you directly, and remind your customers that customer service and customer satisfaction are your top priority.  Invite the reviewer to return to your establishment or to try your services again, and if you have done something to correct the situation (for example updating your linens), for goodness’ sakes let the public know.  Reviews stay online for months, and future customers will be pleased to know that you have corrected the situation.

Tip #3 – You do not have to respond to every criticism, and while there was a time when courting negative reviews helped your business get found online, Panda has changed this.  When you do respond to reviews, do so with future prospects in mind.  Just like tip #2 encourages the reviewer to return, tip #3 invites future customers to purchase your product or services and see how you have improved or how the negative review was a misunderstanding.

Tip #4 – Know what the world is saying and what you can do about it.  First I recommend signing up for services like “Google Alerts” which notifies you when something is written about your organization online.  It is better to have read the review so that you can respond to any and all comments both online, in person, and make it part of your future marketing strategy.  Think of Domino’s Pizza, they took a risk and challenged complaints head on with promises of better products and customer care.  The risk appears to have paid off, although in my opinion they should be thinking about transitioning their strategy, but …

Tip #5 – Know what you can and cannot do about the reviews. Some sites let an authorized user respond to a review, some let an authorized user delete a review, and some allow business owners to edit a review.

Here are just a few examples:

  Respond to a Review Edit a Review Delete a Review
Google Places Yes Yes Yes
Yahoo! Local Yes Yes Yes
Yelp Yes No No
Merchant Circle Yes Yes Yes

Tip #6 – Andrew Shotland and other SEO experts say that business owners should NEVER ignore reviews, and while I agree 100%, business owners should resist the temptation to get caught up in a dialog where you invite more negative comments.  Make your statement, invite personal correspondence and remain calm and level headed.  Never fall into the trap of personal accusations and attacks, but remember reviews have legs and if you ignore them they will certainly run away and have a negative impact on your business.

So while every business owner would love only positive reviews, savvy business owners can turn these reviews into a positive marketing opportunity if they follow some basic guidelines.

 

 

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Blogs – Not Just for Nerds Anymore

To Blog or Not To Blog

Just in case you have spent much of the last few years under a rock blogging has gone main stream. Blogging once belonged to political fanatics or nerds. In the age of twitter (the world’s most famous micro-blogging site) where micro thoughts allow everyone to be famous for fifteen minutes everyone blogs….even me. The key question is does blogging help the average business owner’s bottom line. According to Hubspot, the answer is YES!

In a recent survey Hubspot asked companies what marketing efforts resulted in an increase in new business leads. The highest value was attributed to good old fashioned Search Engine Optimization (something eLocal Listing knows a thing or two about) which gets the credit in 75% of the cases.

Surprisingly, just behind SEO is blogging at 69% and somewhat lower is social media at 47%. Shockingly according to Hubspot, paid search advertising trails almost at the back of the pack with just 16%.

Why is blogging so effective?
Blogging gets credit for driving search engine visibility, which in turns drives new clients.

Blogging drives repeat traffic where your message is interesting people come back for more.

If you drive a visitor to your site through your blog, they may stay on your site and perhaps then become a lead. A blog may even go viral, which is perhaps the best possible result. All this activity tends to lend authority to your site which in turn drives more business.

Blogging is at the heart of our new platform MyLocally. On MyLocally local businesses can blog about their businesses, clients can post reviews and all that blog content contributes to search engine visibility. It’s interesting to note that although, SEO, blogs and social media get credit for driving new business, ultimately all of this effort pays of high search visibility.

Blogging, not just for nerds anymore!

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Good Bye Steve Jobs

This could be a long winded post about this amazing man who will be seen in the history books as the Thomas Edison of our generation, but a conversation with Mark Cahill, a friend from my Atex days who pondered whether Steve Jobs wished he had spent less time working, made me change the direction of my post and I found some quotes from his commencement speech given at Stanford in 2005; one year after his diagnosis.

Of his success and of love, to which I feel he felt were indelibly entwined, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do … If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Thanks Steve, you were an amazing man!

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Facebook Freak Out!

The speakers at last Wednesday’s f8 conference were barraged with complaints about Facebook’s new features.  Facebook’s answer: “people will get used to it.” Interesting response, but I guess when you have 750 million users you can dictate how the market SHOULD respond to your initiatives!  I wonder if while at Harvard Zuckerberg learned about the fall of the Roman Empire or the old adage, “Before pride comes a fall… “

Regardless, they are Facebook and it appears that the changes are here to stay.  I do have to admit that MyLocally is including some of these features in our new online directory, so hopefully Zuckerberg is right that people will get used to features like tickers and activity news feeds.

While I doubt that Facebook sees MySpace as a threat to domineer the world of Social Media, it does look at its rise and fall as a lesson they should choose not to follow.  According to a Facebook executive, as a company they realize that in order to survive and thrive they must change and adapt.  I recall just last week, when a musician friend of mine, Adam Bubert, wrote a post on Facebook about his MySpace page, some bewildered 20 year old asked ½ tongue in cheek what MySpace was!  I guess Justin Timberlake isn’t “bringing MySpace back” quite yet.

While many of these changes were in the works before the introduction of Google +, its meteoric rise (and slide) certainly gave notice to Facebook that they weren’t the only game in town.  That being said, according to eMarketer, Facebook has $3.8 billion in worldwide advertising this year and a predicted $5.8 billion in 2012 – so they are doing something right.

I wrote this blog last week on my way to the Lake Tahoe Marathon and never posted it, so a week has passed since “Black Wednesday” when many of us Facebookers woke up to find our beloved home pages altered.  Since that time I can tell you that I have gotten used to the changes, and the ticker on the side has some interesting features that I like, such as scrolling down and seeing someone’s post appear with images and the thread!  But I did find it a bit disturbing that Andrew Shotland of LocalSEOGuide.com was listening to some band I have never heard of and NOT returning my calls…can you say “Facebook stalking” Andrew?

 

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Facebook and SMBs

Tim Judd sent a post from DMS 2011 with some interesting updates about Facebook.  His comments come on the heels of major (and somewhat annoying) changes to Facebook and the f8 conference in San Francisco.  f8 is Facebook’s conference for developers and innovators.

The news from DMS was surprising, confusing, and promising.  Facebook reported that although Facebook has over 750 million users and that over 48% of all SMBs are “doing” Facebook; most create a page, update business hours and little else.

SMBs are still confused about how to use Facebook (and social media in general) as a marketing tool.  Facebook provided some great tips for SMBs to reach out to their fans through targeted ads, promotions, events, and deals.  It reinforced what many of us already know;  it is difficult to use Facebook to drive calls.

During the session, Facebook revealed that the cost of advertising on Facebook had decreased and that inventory had increased.  This was promising news, as it would allow SMBs with a more affordable and targeted advertising option.  Then, surprisingly, they announced that it had a total of three people working on Small Business Strategies.   I am still scratching my head over this one!  I guess Facebook felt it was important enough to attend DMS, but not to read the first paragraph of their home page;

“Globally there are an estimated 50 million SMBs, spending tens of billions of dollars on media and advertising. BIA/Kelsey’s new U.S. SMB Spending Forecast (2010-2015) indicates that SMBs will allocate 70 percent of their marketing budgets to digital/online media, performance-based commerce and customer retention business solutions by 2015.”

There is no real news here as SMBs and lead generation providers like eLocal Listing continue to try to find a way to drive calls to SMBs.

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Deals – The Way of the Do Do Bird

OK, I am probably predicting the death of Daily Deals a bit too prematurely, but Tim Judd, CEO of eLocal Listing is sending me updates from the SMBs and Deals: The Next Wave session being held at the Directional Media Strategies Conference in Denver and informs me that perhaps I am not the only one that is annoyed with the constant barrage of deals.

Groupon has become controversial with thousands of users complaints, plus it is a crowded space with over 600 different deal sites.

Deals have spread beyond just spas and salons, it has twice as many email subscribers in Chicago than both the Chicago newspapers.

Building a social buying community which focuses on vertical communities is key to deals’ success!  Creating virtual communities where “word of mouth” becomes a part of a successful business’ marketing strategy helps drive deals and trusts!

Tim, you must be pretty excited in these sessions, since this is exactly the direction of MyLocally.com.  In reading Tim’s summaries, I can see that Deals are still a “Do Do”, but unless Daily Deal sites don’t adapt and become part of the newly socially engaged Search world – Deals may be a “don’t don’t”.

Great info Tim, keep the posts coming!

 

 

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Google wants “YOU!”

Do you think that Google wants “YOU!” to sign up for Google +?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that according to industry experts, Google + posts have decreased by 41% since its invitation only launch earlier this year.  According to industry experts,  the average number of public Google+ posts per day has decreased from 0.68 between July 19th and August 20th to 0.40 between August 19th and September 14th.

Does this decline in public posts mean that Google+ is losing its momentum? Is it the new kid on the block phenomenon? Or could the labor day weekend and a general drop in searches the first week of September (for everything except back to school searches -as indicated in research using Google’s Insights tool) be the cause of the drop?

Time will tell, but in the meantime maybe now Facebook can stop trying so hard …

 

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Social Media; the new Paul Revere

One if by Facebook, two if by Twitter and three if by YouTube!

To paraphrase Longfellow’s historically inaccurate poem outlining Paul Revere’s warning that the “Red Coats” were coming, so did Social Media warn New York that a revolution of sorts was about to take place on Wall Street.

Appropriately dubbed “Operation Icarus” after the boy who flew too close to the sun despite his father’s warning, the movement sent a clear message to bankers and other CEOs that their hubris has caused the American public pain, and that they won’t stand idly by.

While the crowds were not as large as Anonymous (an activist magazine) had hoped, it was a rallying cry for the public to get involved.  Now I have to admit that while (like John Hancock and Samuel Adams) Anonymous is a bit of a trouble maker, it reinforces the power that Social Media has in uniting people against politicians and companies who do not take their role as stewards for the common man seriously.

If only Longfellow were still around …“Listen my children and you shall hear about a thing called Social Media …….

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