Create Content For Your Painting Company That Your Clients Care About

Do you find it challenging to come up with new content to post online for your painting business? You may even think that it’s not worth it, because who would see it? In a survey conducted by Facebook, 81% of people said that they use Instagram to learn about products and business services. We’re here to tell you that your content definitely won’t go unnoticed.

Today, you would be surprised at how many people seeking painting services turn to social media to check out different painting companies.  58% of consumers visit a brand’s social media pages before visiting their website. Sure, people can take others’ recommendations on a painting company. But if you can show these potential clients your work first hand, you’ll be able to win them over without hesitation!

Your target audience wants to see original content that is valuable and actionable. Whether the content that you are putting out is in the form of a blog, video, or infographic, it has to be digestible for your audience.

In this article, we are going to cover the top 3 types of content that your clients REALLY care about. We also suggest some content ideas that will grab your audience’s attention!

Video Content

Video content allows you to capture the attention of your viewers within seconds. 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Post your video to YouTube, then break it up into shorter video clips to be used on your social channels. This way, you can get many pieces of content from one single video!

Here are a few video content ideas for your painting business:

“Oddly satisfying” videos

Oddly enough, people love to watch other people paint! This content can be seen as “oddly satisfying” to users. If your audience is like most of us, it’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole watching these satisfying videos!

Testimonials

People that are looking to hire you love to hear directly from others that have had work done by your business. What better way to showcase your work and a five-star testimonial all in one?

Day In The Life Video

Everyone loves to see a little behind the scenes, am I right? This is a great way to show customers what they can expect when they hire you for a project! 

Blog Content

Blog articles are a fantastic way to provide long-form content to those searching for information.

FUN FACT: Any blog topic can be turned into a video! These videos can then be turned into informational social media posts. NOW we’re talking about getting the most out of your content!

Here are a few ideas for blogging that your audience will definitely want to read:

Paint recommendations

As we all know, there are many different kinds of paint out there. For some people, choosing the correct paint for their project can be a daunting decision to make. Between chelpbrand, finish AND color, a little assistance and good word from a pro can go a long way! 

Frequently asked questions

Everyone is going to have questions. There are tools available such as SEMrush that can provide you with FAQ’s surrounding any given topic. This tool will also tell you how many times those questions are searched per month. Use this information to your advantage and write about the topics that you know people are searching for.

Why you should hire a professional

Many people don’t realize what they are getting themselves into when it comes to tackling projects around the house.  How many times have you had to complete a project that has already been started? Give your reasoning as to why it is more time and cost effective to hire a professional from the start!

Social Content

Social content can be displayed many ways, especially depending upon the platform you are using. Whether you are posting to your Facebook feed or Instagram stories, keeping your audience engaged and interested is your number one goal.

Here are a few ideas that you can use to create content for your social channels:

Before and after

These photos are always a hit! Who doesn’t love to see a great transformation? You have the opportunity to lay out the quality of your work right in front of a potential client’s eyes.

Helpful information + tips and tricks

Providing helpful tips and tricks shows that you aren’t just about making a sale. You can provide information about handyman services done by painters and tips on how to know when your home needs a fresh coat of paint. You can also give tips on different painting techniques. Who knows, you just may end up with a sale after all!

Images of your team

A great way to humanize your business is by showing pictures of your crew hard at work. People love to have an idea of who will be working on their project and this way, they are able to put a name to a face. Plus, if they see quality work before their eyes, they’ll be sold!

If you aren’t sure where to begin with posting content on social media, don’t panic! Give IFTS a call at 412-715-6266 and we can discuss a social strategy that will work for you.

What Social Media Platforms Should My Painting Business be Active on?

social media platforms for painting businesses

Is finding customers online proving to be quite the struggle? If it is, then social media would be the remedy to that. 

Traditionally, painting businesses have predominantly relied on word of mouth to gain new customers. While this is still a very valid – and constructive form of marketing, modern-day digital advertising is gaining more and more ground thanks to technology. The Internet particularly gives companies an array of opportunities to reach wider audiences and control their reputation. One such tool is social media.

And to be fair, it’s one of the best tools for businesses.

Social media platforms are not just places where business pages and profiles are housed. They are hubs for people to communicate, share their opinions, make recommendations, and express their likes or dislikes — now doesn’t that sound a lot like word-of-mouth marketing? 

So how do you select the right social media platform for your business? 

It all comes down to each platform’s rules and restrictions, content specifications, marketing options and available audiences. It also boils down to your personal preference, and how you prefer to showcase your services, promote your business, and interact with customers.

 

In this article, we are going to list the top 5 social media platforms and reveal the specifications of each platform.

The Top 5 Social Media Platforms for Painting Businesses

YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search platform globally after Google. It appeals to an audience of 18 to 65 years and has more than 2 billion active users. 

This platform is video-based and has other sections that allow you to share photos, go live with an audience when premiering videos, and build a community. Want to show off your painting skills? Or maybe share a DIY tutorial on how to paint like a pro? If you want to go the video route, YouTube is your best option.

YouTube’s algorithm, however, like all other platforms, periodically changes to keep up with consumer needs. Hence, when making content for YouTube, keep it informative and in line with the platform’s rules. Keep the videos short, interesting, and high quality.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the platforms that have continually changed its settings to accommodate business needs. It has more than 2 billion active users globally, most of whom are between 18 and 65 years old. 

Creating a Facebook Business Page is a top choice for all types of businesses. You can utilize it to create a wide range of content aimed at attracting, nurturing, and retaining clients. Facebook allows you to post text, images, videos, contests, events, and build an e-commerce page on the platform where you can sell products/services or book appointments.

With Facebook, you can also automate a good number of marketing activities and take advantage of targeted advertising and paid ads.

Instagram

Instagram is relatively newer than Facebook and has more than 1 billion active users globally. It attracts a younger crowd than Facebook, and has quickly grown into the easiest platform to advertise services to a younger target audience. But who ever said that young people aren’t homeowners or ever in need of painting services? Many people like to spend time on Instagram looking for new ways to spice up their home, especially DIYers.

This site supports photos and short videos; using the right hashtags when posting these may draw in more followers than you expect! The platform also offers various tools that allow you to run surveys and polls, create longer videos, and share something interesting from within the platform. You can also integrate Instagram with other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. 

To win on Instagram, you need to have good quality images and videos and be consistent in your posting schedule. Make the content interesting, and use paid ads whenever you need to reach a bigger audience. You can also make use of IG influencer marketing as it has done wonders for numerous businesses.

Twitter

With more than 330 million active users, Twitter is a platform that appeals to businesses and experts of all sorts. It particularly attracts an audience aged 18 to 49 years and is more formal than Facebook and Instagram. 

If you are looking for a formal way to communicate with your audience, Twitter is a good option. Text content on Twitter is limited to 280 characters. As such, if you have a longer message, you can create a thread or use other platforms to pass the message across. 

If you want to grow your market using Twitter, be sure to optimize your business profile and use such tools as hashtags, retweets, mentions, and replies.

LinkedIn

When it comes to professionalism, LinkedIn takes the cake. It is the one social media platform where formality is the order of the day. However, you won’t see business pages with a lot of action on LinkedIn; rather it’s the business owners and their employees who are more actively and constantly in pursuit of connections. B2B networking is a big thing on LinkedIn. 

The audience you will find on this platform aged between 25 and 64 years – and most of them have a higher education and several degrees to flaunt. But that should not deter you, especially if you are looking to make connections with other companies — and you never know what that may bring your business down the line…

It is not necessary for your business to be present on every single one of these platforms to become noticed on social media. Some sites are increasingly gaining popularity within a short period of time, that it’s only natural that others slip through the cracks. 

To make your decision easier, think about your marketing. All the social media platforms we mentioned come with inbuilt statistics that show the return on investment (ROI) for organic and paid marketing efforts, and some of them come with inbuilt ad campaign management tools you should learn to be savvy at — but if it all sounds like too much to stay on top of, you can turn to us at IFTS for advice.

Your success on any platform depends on the audience you want to reach, the type of content you post, and your understanding of the platform’s algorithms. Remember that these algorithms change periodically, so you need to always be at the top of your game.

Download our free guide, The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect. This guide will walk you through 7 simple steps to bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond!

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Get a FREE download of our 7 simple steps that will bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

Ready to roll?

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Position your business to get in front of the right customers with 7 easy steps

 

If you would like more information on the best social platforms for your business specifically, Give IFTS a call at 412.715.6266 for a free consultation.

How To Build a Website for Your Painting Business + 5 Alternatives

A professional website is an essential element for every business’s brand strategy. Apart from being an authoritative platform on which the company communicates its brand, it also helps considerably with engagement and conveying your services.

Having a website makes it very easy for people to find you and discover what you do. It also makes you stand out as a professional in your field.

Then, there’s marketing. Through website analytics, a business owner can quickly tell the demographics of those who show interest. On-page and off-page SEO also goes a long way in building online visibility and search engine ranking.

But how do you actually build a website? And what are other options if you can’t afford one?

Before we get started.. We have 7 simple steps that will help you get your business in front of the right customers, downloadable as a free guide.

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Get a FREE download of our 7 simple steps that will bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

Ready to roll?

How Do I Build A Website For My Painting Business?

There are various ways to go about building your painting business website. And frankly, anyone can create a website these days with a good Internet connection. Here are your options:

Template-based website builders

These require no design or development skills at all and are exceptionally popular when it comes to building a website on a low budget. Some of the best website builders out there include:

Do keep in mind that you will still need to pay for things like a domain name, business email, hosting, and customized themes. There’s also photography to take into account, or the purchase of stock images. You will additionally need to put in some time and effort to learn the platform of your choice. WordPress, in particular, is the trickiest but also the best when it comes to ranking on the search engines.

Seek out a freelance web designer/developer

It is not a secret that you can hire freelancers online these days for a fraction of the price you would pay your local creative agency. This again applies to those on a small budget who are also short on time and other resources.

Some of the most popular freelance outsourcing sites include:

While this is an affordable option, finding the right freelancer will take some time and effort. To streamline the process, make sure you create an ad with specific details about what you want, so that the freelancer can bid on it knowing all the specs of the job. 

Don’t hire someone simply because they’re cheap; check out their profile and portfolio first and have a look at what projects they are currently working on (you would want to avoid anyone already working on 27 other projects!).

Before you decide to hire, hop on a video call with your candidates to verify that they are not scammers or fake profiles — unfortunately, this does tend to happen when there is no supervision or control over who creates a profile.

Hire an agency

Agencies will be your best option when it comes to creating a professional-looking, fully functional website. 

They won’t limit your options with template designs and quick fixes, and they usually consist of specialists, in which case you may be able to get a full package of web design, marketing, and branding services by a team of real experts who know what they’re doing.

But do be aware, these professional services come at a higher cost due to the quality they offer, and a website alone could cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000!

As a small business that requires an uncomplicated website with only a few pages, consider putting aside $1000-$3000. If you’re serious about your painting business, you will not hesitate at making such an important investment.

At IFTS we work with our clients to make customized solutions for your website development and marketing needs.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are considering creating a professional website for your painting business.

5 Alternatives to Building a Painting Business Website

Are you hoping to avoid the whole website-building hassle altogether? If you are, you can still build your online brand and presence. It’s only the platform that will be different.

A website is not the only tool that a business can utilize to create an online presence. There are various alternatives you can look at which are much less pricey, too.  Below are some of the most commonly sought after alternatives for painting businesses:

1. Google My Business

A Google My Business page is an all-in-one listing management tool. This tool displays your business information and your business’s location will also appear on Google Maps

You can also take advantage of other tools, like Reviews and Insights. You can even create a DIY site if you like and promote events and special offers. It will boost your visibility on the search engine results page when a relevant query is placed. 

A GMB page is responsive, mobile-friendly, and can be optimized for SEO.

Need help creating or optimizing your Google My Business profile? Check out our Introduction to Google My Business for tips on how to set up your profile correctly and accurately.

2. Online Local Business Directories

Yes, you can pay for a listing on your local online business directories such as Yellow Pages and Foursquare.

These online directories allow you to optimize your listing for SEO and showcase as much information about the business as you can. You can also just list the basics – name and contact information of the business and services and working hours, and you’re good to go.

3. Review Sites Listings

Review sites such as HomeAdvisor, Yelp, and Angi are well-optimized for search results. Hence, a listing on these sites will allow you to take advantage of their undeniably impressive business-boosting functions.

The best part of registering your business with review sites is that clients tend to trust any review they read on them! And if you’re low on reviews, you can always invite your current customers to these platforms and have them give their two cents.

Want to know how to win over customers with your online reputation? Here, we discuss proactive tactics for online reputation management to get more clients.

4. Facebook Business Page

Facebook has over two billion active users. It is one of the few platforms that are continuously improving their B2B offerings and helping new businesses promote themselves. 

With a Facebook business page, you can create an ecommerce store, accept payments, book appointments, share content through posts, create promotions, announce events, set up ad campaigns, and do pretty much anything you need to attract and retain customers. 

You can also use Facebook for SEO purposes or targeted advertising. The possibilities are endless!

5. Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces perform well on the search engines, and a listing on them can significantly boost your presence and sales.

They are also a great starting point for small niche businesses, as you can position your business in front of your target audience without the need to resort to advertising.

For home services business, your go-to marketplaces should be Handy, ProReferral, and Serviz.

Regardless of the options you choose, you must maintain a professional online presence at all times. 

Be sure to craft an online marketing strategy and implement, review, and improve your online marketing efforts constantly.

Click the button below to download our free guide, The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect. This guide will walk you through 7 simple steps to bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Position your business to get in front of the right customers with 7 easy steps

If you need help creating a website for your painting business, or figuring out a marketing strategy that drives results, feel free to ask us any questions! Give IFTS a call at 412.715.6266 for a free consultation.

How To Market Your Painting Business – 8 Benefits of Local Marketing for Painters

In today’s world, technology is a small business’s best friend. It has made it exceptionally easier to reach out to target customers, set different variables when marketing, and ensure that those customers stay up to date about what you are offering. 

As a painting business, it is essential that all of your customers, especially those in the same local area as your business, know about you and are able to find you should they need your services. This is called local marketing.

With local marketing, a painting business can advertise specifically to the targeted location where the business operates. 

Businesses of all sizes, including large firms and corporations, utilize local marketing to grow their sales and customer base. Even the little guys are killing it, and so can you! But how exactly can you benefit from it?

In this article we are going to cover 8 benefits of local marketing for painting businesses and why you should start implementing these strategies today.

Before we get started.. We have 7 simple steps that will help you get your business in front of the right customers, downloadable as a free guide.

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Get a FREE download of our 7 simple steps that will bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

Ready to roll?

Benefits of Local Marketing for Painting Businesses

Painting businesses that implement local marketing strategies can attest to the growth that comes with it. Here are some of the benefits that you cannot afford to miss out on:

1. Highly Targeted

Your painting business may be located in New Jersey, but how do you get the locals to even notice you, let alone schedule an estimate? Thankfully, local marketing allows you to specify the demographics and location of your potential customers. 

It also allows you to target customers based on their interests, and even filter through the timewasters. Local marketing is the best way to get in front of those local customers who are really hungry for your services and are willing to make a purchase. And all this can be done while you’re on a low budget.

2. Low Cost

Forget what you thought you knew about marketing and advertising 20 years ago. Local marketing these days is known for its low-cost strategies, thanks to the web. Traditional forms of advertising can still be a bit costly, reserved mostly for larger companies with an in-house advertising department who can afford the expenses; but you’re not Home Depot, are you?

When it comes to local online marketing, marketing strategies are significantly low-cost and customizable, even for the smallest of businesses. 

3. Local Search

With local marketing, you are positioned right in front of your future customer — a local who is either actively searching for your painting services or has a significant interest in them.

You will appear in the search engines based on local queries (“professional painter near me”, “New Jersey painting company”), and rank the highest if you go about it strategically and have the know-how of ranking factors and things like SEO.

Local search is on a constant rise, with the words “local” and “near me” being searched 350 times more than they were 10 years ago. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of this!

4. Lasting Business Relations

Customer loyalty is one of the cornerstones of a successful painting business. In the world of digital, we like to replace the term with “community”. 

Building local online communities is not only easy, cost-free and accessible, but it also results in lasting business relations. You don’t need to be Coca-Cola or Apple or have your own in-house PR department to build good, long-lasting customer relations. All you need to do is choose a platform and start building a community around your business. You can do this by sharing information, photos and other content related to your painting services, and by keeping in touch with your customers through direct messages and comments.

Besides the free consumer information, your business can advertise bonuses, discounts, or new products. This way, you can retain customers even after a sale, and nurture repeat client relationships that will last.

5. Branding and Brand Control

Branding might sound a bit too technical for most people but with local marketing, small businesses can dominate and establish themselves as industry experts if they can position and brand themselves effectively. You can always contact us at IFTS if you want to learn more about branding rather than figure out and do the legwork all by yourself.

As an industry expert who is well-branded, you will draw in more customers without having to do much work — your branding does the work for you. Customers will know your brand when they see it, and learn to trust and identify it. 

You can then reap the benefits of your branding efforts by easily keeping track of clients’ opinions of your services and rectifying dissatisfactions before they get out of control. Armed with clients’ preferences and consistency, you can retain your relevance in the market and, in turn, convert more locals into paying clients. It’s all about branding, baby.

6. Scaling Your Business

Have you ever watched a YouTube video on DIY painting by an average Joe who owns a small local painting business on the other side of the country, yet has a slew of worldwide followers? That’s what scaling your business may look like in the digital world.

Because you are on a globally-accessible tool called the Internet, your small local business may grow beyond its regional status into possibly national and international levels. 

As the business scales, the established local communities will help you maintain your relevance locally as you garner attention from others beyond your local area. While this may not result in actual service sales, boosting your following will, more often than not, boost your digital visibility, ranking, positive reviews, Likes, and referrals — regardless of where your web-based supporters are located.

7. Accessible Booking

Another benefit of local marketing is making use of online booking tools. If you have a local Google My Business or Facebook page, for example, you can add your phone number, email, or even make use of the scheduling button to make booking accessible to your potential customers as soon as they visit the page.  

80% of home services queries lead to a phone call after search, but that’s if you make it easy for them to call you.

8. Keeping Track of Marketing Efforts

Online local marketing is one of the easiest ways to keep track of the performance of your ads and marketing efforts. 

As a business, you can access low-cost and sometimes free statistics. You can get and analyze information such as website hits, engagement on posts, and even sales for free from the available inbuilt platform statistics. If you feel fancy, you can pay for marketing automation tools that also keep detailed business statistics.

Any kind of painting business stands to grow tremendously from implementing a well-thought-out local marketing strategy. 

Don’t forget, we have a FREE guide that you can download for instant access to 7 simple steps that will bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Position your business to get in front of the right customers with 7 easy steps

If you’d like us to do some or all of the work for you, contact IFTS for a free consultation and let’s talk about your business specifically.

How To Create The Perfect Landing Page For Your Painting Company

Are you spending money on digital ads and not getting the leads you want? 

This could be due to the web page that you are sending people who clicked on your ad to. This page is called a “Landing Page”.

Creating a well-designed landing page for your painting company can be the answer to getting more leads. In this article, we are going to cover the basics on what a landing page is, and we’ll provide tips on how to optimize each section to increase conversions.

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone web page that is created specifically for advertising campaigns to send people to. This is literally where your visitors will “land” when they click on a digital ad.

The purpose of a landing page is to have one focused page where you tell your visitors why they should hire you for a specific job and how to start the process. You just want them to take one specific action.

How Does A Landing Page Convert Visitors?

While homepages are still very important website elements, they are usually not specific to one particular task.  They are also designed to give your site visitors multiple avenues to explore your business. 

With a landing page, you are able to control how visitors arrive on your site and direct them to do one thing.  If they click on an ad for interior painting, they should see specific information about painting services.  If they click on an ad for handyman services, they should see specific information about handyman services.  This makes a landing page the very best place to send them when you want to convert higher percentages of visitors into leads. 

With that said, here are 7 tips for creating the perfect landing page for your painting business that will help increase conversions:

1. Stick to One Call-To-Action (or CTA for short)

Your CTA is simply the action that you want your visitors to take. You will want to give this main action high priority on the page. The CTA should be the first thing that catches their eye when “landing” on your page.

Pro Tip: Most CTAs are a unique-colored button that reoccurs throughout your landing page.  The wording for each button should be EXACTLY THE SAME.

When a visitor clicks on your ad and arrives at your landing page, you want to make their decision as easy as possible – don’t give them a number of actions to take. Keep the objective as simple and as clear as possible.

Whether your landing page objective is for visitors to give you a call, schedule a free consultation, or sign up for a newsletter, make it consistent across the board. Only focus on one action for them to take. The more choices they have, the harder it will be for them to make a decision.

Include your CTA at the end of each text block to guide them and tell your visitor what to do. You don’t want to leave them hanging wondering what’s next.

2. Match The Message of Your Landing Page to the Ad

Consistency is key here. If a visitor clicks on your ad, clearly something about it caught their attention. They click because it either fulfills a need of theirs or it found them at the right time. Regardless, they clicked because in that moment, they felt that it was worth their time!

This is called “Ad Congruity”.  

Pro Tip: If your ad congruity is on point, Google actually lowers the cost per click when you run ads.

If your ad talks about a free consultation for exterior painting services, and your landing page talks about cabinet painting, you will not meet the visitor’s expectations. In this scenario, you are more likely to lose visitors than convert them because your landing page does not specifically align with your ad.

3. Offer and Emphasize Value

Every visitor to your landing page is most likely considering your company to take on their painting project. They are going to assess whether or not they believe you can provide value to them. Here is where you are going to focus on the client, not your firm. 

In order to secure a conversion, you’ll need to offer something of value to your site visitors. 

You only have a short amount of time to convince your site visitors that they have found what they have been looking for. Use this time wisely to reel them in with the benefits they will receive by working with you and be sure to focus on what’s in it for them. Emphasize how you will handle their project from start to finish.

If you want them to hire you as their painting crew, you need to show that you are worth the investment.

Pro Tip: Spin your language to talk about your customer. Minimize the amount of times you say “we” and instead, use “you” or “your”.

4. The Length of the Landing Page Matters

The length of your landing page depends on your end goal. Do you want your visitors to fill out a contact form? Do you want them to call you? Or do you just want to educate them? 

For example, you may need more content if you are asking a visitor to call you, as opposed to downloading a brochure about your painting process. It takes a lot more effort to pick up the phone and schedule an estimate than it does to submit an email address for more information. Therefore, you will need to provide more information that will convince them your company is the perfect fit.

5. Add A Video to Your Landing Page

A study shows that having a relevant video on your landing page can help increase conversions by 86%.

Now, slapping any old video on your landing page isn’t going to be a shortcut to success. While incorporating video can be a total power move, it could also distract visitors from your CTA. This video needs to complement the rest of your landing page, tying everything together. Keep it short and to the point without making it the primary focal point of your landing page. 

The best place for a video is partially above the fold of the page. Here, it will not distract from your CTA and value proposition, but it shows that you have even more value to offer as your visitor scrolls through your page.

6. Feature Supporting Proof

The best social proof will come from your clients. Include testimonials and quotes from real clients that talk about their experience with your company. When you talk about yourself, it’s usually seen as marketing fluff, but when someone else says it, it’s more powerful.

Did you know that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family? Having these reviews visible on your landing page will provide the validation that potential painting clients are looking for.

Pro Tip: Be sure to use reviews from 3rd party, reputable sites like Google or Facebook. These look much better than just having a client give you text to use on the website.

7. Optimize Your Form For Conversions

The number of fields required can make or break conversion rates. It is imperative that you collect as much information as possible so you are able to follow up with a potential client, however, if you ask for too much information, this will reflect poorly on those conversions. 

We recommend using the following fields: 

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Message (describe project) 

Giving the option to leave a message allows the visitor to explain their project, creating a bridge between new clients and the person that will be leading their project. This will give you the opportunity to get a step ahead and learn what they are looking for before you schedule an estimate.

Landing pages are the way to go when it comes to converting as many visitors as possible into clients from online ad campaigns…and now you know all you need to know to get started! 

But…how’s your website’s homepage?  Is it optimized to convert visitors? We have a free 47-point homepage quick guide for painting companies that you can download and begin using today!  Visit our guide’s landing page to get started (see how well a landing page works?).

Still not sure where to begin? Let us help you. Send me (Stacey Ivol) an email at si@iftsdesign.com or give IFTS, Inc. a call 412.715.6266 for a FREE consultation.

How To Create The Perfect Landing Page For Your Law Firm

Are you spending money on digital ads and not getting the leads you want? 

This could be due to the web page that you are sending people who clicked on your ad to.  This page is called a “Landing Page”.

Creating a well-designed landing page for your law firm can be the answer to getting more leads. In this article, we are going to cover the basics on what a landing page is, and we’ll provide tips on how to optimize each section to increase conversions.

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone web page that is created specifically for advertising campaigns to send people to. This is literally where your visitors will “land” when they click on a digital ad.

The purpose of a landing page is to have one focused page where you tell your visitors why they should hire you for a specific job and how to start the process. You just want them to take one specific action.

How Does A Landing Page Convert Visitors?

While homepages are still very important website elements, they are usually not specific to one particular task.  They are also designed to give your site visitors multiple avenues to explore your business. 

With a landing page, you are able to control how visitors arrive on your site and direct them to do one thing.  If they click on an ad for Divorce Law, they should see specific information about divorce cases.  If they click on an ad for personal injury, they should see specific information about personal injury.  This makes a landing page the very best place to send them when you want to convert higher percentages of visitors into leads. 

With that said, here are 7 tips for creating the perfect law firm landing page that will help increase conversions:

1. Stick to One Call-To-Action (or CTA for short)

Your CTA is simply the action that you want your visitors to take. You will want to give this main action high priority on the page. The CTA should be the first thing that catches their eye when “landing” on your page.

Pro Tip: Most CTAs are a unique-colored button that reoccurs throughout your landing page.  The wording for each button should be EXACTLY THE SAME.

When a visitor clicks on your ad and arrives at your landing page, you want to make their decision as easy as possible – don’t give them a number of actions to take. Keep the objective as simple and as clear as possible.

Whether your landing page objective is for visitors to call your office, schedule a free consultation, or sign up for a newsletter, make it consistent across the board. Only focus on one action for them to take. The more choices they have, the harder it will be for them to make a decision.

Include your CTA at the end of each text block to guide them and tell your visitor what to do. You don’t want to leave them hanging wondering what’s next.

2. Match The Message of Your Landing Page to the Ad

Consistency is key here. If a visitor clicks on your ad, clearly something about it caught their attention. They click because it either fulfills a need of theirs or it found them at the right time. Regardless, they clicked because in that moment, they felt that it was worth their time!

This is called “Ad Congruity”.  

Pro Tip: If your ad congruity is on point, Google actually lowers the cost per click when you run ads.

If your ad talks about a free consultation for a personal injury case, and your landing page talks about divorce, you will not meet the visitor’s expectations. In this scenario, you are more likely to lose visitors than convert them because your landing page does not specifically align with your ad.

3. Offer and Emphasize Value

Every visitor to your landing page is most likely considering your firm to handle their case. They are going to assess whether or not they believe you can provide value to them. Here is where you are going to focus on the client, not your firm. 

In order to secure a conversion, you’ll need to offer something of value to your site visitors. 

You only have a short amount of time to convince your site visitors that they have found what they have been looking for. Use this time wisely to reel them in with the benefits they will receive by working with you and be sure to focus on what’s in it for them. Emphasize how you will address the specific needs of their legal issue.

If you want them to hire you as their attorney, you need to show that you are worth the investment.

Pro Tip: Spin your language to talk about your customer. Minimize the amount of times you say “we” and instead, use “you” or “your”.

4. The Length of the Landing Page Matters

The length of your landing page depends on your end goal. Do you want your visitors to fill out a contact form? Do you want them to call your office? Or do you just want to educate them? 

For example, you may need more content if you are asking a visitor to call you, as opposed to downloading an ebook about bankruptcy law. It takes a lot more effort to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment than it does to submit an email address for more information. Therefore, you will need to provide more information that will convince them your firm is the perfect fit.

5. Add A Video to Your Landing Page

A study shows that having a relevant video on your landing page can help increase conversions by 86%.

Now, slapping any old video on your landing page isn’t going to be a shortcut to success. While incorporating video can be a total power move, it could also distract visitors from your CTA. This video needs to complement the rest of your landing page, tying everything together. Keep it short and to the point without making it the primary focal point of your landing page. 

Pro Tip: Want to know how to create an awesome video and content to go with it?  Check out Law Firm Marketing Year’s “Content Planner for Attorneys”.  Use code “attorney2021” to get $20 off!

The best place for a video is partially above the fold of the page. Here, it will not distract from your CTA and value proposition, but it shows that you have even more value to offer as your visitor scrolls through your page.

6. Feature Supporting Proof

The best social proof will come from your clients. Include testimonials and quotes from real clients that talk about their experience working with your firm. When you talk about yourself, it’s usually seen as marketing fluff, but when someone else says it, it’s more powerful.

Did you know that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family? Having these reviews visible on your landing page will provide the validation that potential law clients are looking for given that 65% of people found attorney reviews to be extremely or moderately influential in their decision.

Pro Tip: Be sure to use reviews from 3rd party, reputable sites like Google, Facebook or FindLaw.  These look much better than just having a client give you text to use on the website.

Another way to brag a little bit to your visitors is by advertising other impressive metrics or features that can include case results, firm credentials or awards.

If you decide to incorporate firm features, don’t over do it. You don’t want to over-saturate your landing page with features as they should be seen as complementary to the benefits that were discussed above. When deciding on the benefits and features that you want to put on your landing page, make sure there is a strong correlation and consistency between them.

7. Optimize Your Form For Conversions

The number of fields required can make or break conversion rates. It is imperative that you collect as much information as possible so you are able to follow up with a potential client, however, if you ask for too much information, this will reflect poorly on those conversions. 

On the other hand, if your form is too simple, only including name, email and phone number, this may come off as a simple information grab. 

We recommend using the following fields: 

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Message 

Giving the option to leave a message allows the visitor to discuss their situation and creates a bridge between new clients and their attorney.

Landing pages are the way to go when it comes to converting as many visitors as possible into clients from online ad campaigns…and now you know all you need to know to get started! 

But…how’s your website’s homepage?  Is it optimized to convert visitors? We have a free 47-point homepage quick guide for law firms that you can download and begin using today!  Visit our guide’s landing page to get started (see how well a landing page works?).

Still not sure where to begin? Let us help you. Send me (Stacey Ivol) an email at si@iftsdesign.com or give IFTS, Inc. a call 412.715.6266 for a FREE consultation.

Is Your Business Ready for 2021 – 8 Simple Steps to Take to Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet

Is Your Business Ready for 2021 - 8 Simple Steps to Take to Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet

Are you a small business owner ready to say “Bye Felicia” to 2020?

I think that we all are!

However, if there was one thing that 2020 taught us, it was that your online presence is now more important than ever…and this doesn’t just mean your website.  Your online presence consists of many pieces, like your website, your Google My Business Profile, your social media spaces and so much more.

Want 2021 to be your best year yet?  In this article, we are going to cover 8 simple steps that you can take in January (2 per week) to help your business get ahead of the game!

Week One will cover choosing the best keywords for your business and improving your onsite SEO.

Week Two will take you through everything that you need to do in order to improve your Google My Business profile and start getting leads through Google Local Search.

Week Three covers EVERYTHING that you need to do to create content for the whole year and how to save time and money while doing it.

Finally, Week Four forces you to up your video game and start using the second largest search engine in the world.

Are you ready?  Let’s get started!

Week One – Up Your Onsite SEO Game and Be Found More Easily In the Search Results

STEP 1 – Figure Out What Keywords Are Best For You

Is your website working for you as well as it should be?  Are people finding your business online?  If not, your search engine optimization, or SEO, may be to blame.

To improve your SEO, the first step is to create a list of popular keywords or phrases that you want to rank for.  To create this list, I recommend a combination of brainstorming, asking your current clients what they typed in to find you and an online keyword research tool called SEMrush.  You can use the free version to find the information that you need.

Take thirty minutes and brainstorm the keywords that you think your ideal clients would type into Google or Bing.  When this is done, send an email to a few of your best clients and ask what they would type in to find you.  It’s always great to get into their minds.

As an example, one of our clients is a personal injury firm in Greensburg, PA.  Their brainstorming list included the following:

  • Personal injury law firm in Greensburg PA
  • Personal injury attorneys Westmoreland County
  • Greensburg Personal Injury Attorneys
  • Personal Injury Attorneys

However, when they asked a few of their clients what they typed in Google to find them, they received a slightly different list:

  • Personal injury lawyer
  • Personal injury lawyer near me
  • Personal injury lawyer Greensburg
  • Greensburg lawyer personal injury

They found out that while they were calling themselves attorneys on their website, more of their clients were typing in lawyer!  They also discovered that none of their clients even thought to use the county that they were located in.

Want to know what keywords you are currently ranking for as well?  Be sure to add them to your list!  IFTS can send you a free report with that information.  Enter your information below.  You should receive your report within 10-15 minutes.

Once you have your list, you are ready to use SEMrush!  This tool will help you figure out what the most popular phrases are on your list.

First, sign up for your free account here: https://www.semrush.com/signup/?src=header

Then, after you have created your account and are signed in, you are ready to start using this tool.  Enter the first keyword phrase from your list into the search bar.

In this example, we will use the phrase “Personal injury lawyer Greensburg”.  The following results are returned to us:

This tells us that the number of times that this phrase is searched monthly on Google in the United States is 30 times (the VOLUME).  The keyword difficulty (or how hard it is to rank organically for this phrase) is 54%.  Anything under 60% is normally a great keyword to rank for quickly.

The other important results to look at are the “Keyword Variations” and the “Related Keywords”.  The keyword variations will show you common variations on your searched phrase.  The related keywords list shows you phrases similar to the one that you searched.  This is a great way to find phrases that you may not have thought about.

Repeat this process with all of your keywords from your list.  If the “Related Keywords” list has any good suggestions, add them to your list as well.  We recommend creating a spreadsheet that looks like the one below:

Once you have the data for your whole list, go through and highlight the keywords that are searched often and have a lower keyword difficulty.  These will be perfect keywords to target across your online presence.

Keep this list for the rest of the steps in this process.  It is the basis of everything else!

STEP 2 – Incorporate Popular Keywords and Locations into Your Page Titles and Headers

Now that you have your list of popular keyword phrases, you will need to use them in your website.  You will want to choose one or two keyword phrases to be the main focus for each page of your website.

The first important place to use keywords is your page title. The page title is the text in the browser tab.  It is also the text that shows as the title in the Google search results.

A good rule of thumb for a page title is to use the following convention:

“Keyword 1 – keyword 2 | Name_of_Company Location_of_Company”

So, for our example, a good homepage title for our law firm may be “Personal Injury Lawyers – Accident Attorneys | Law Firm Name Greensburg, PA”.  This lets Google know exactly what your page is about and who your company is.

Create new page titles for each page of your website.  In WordPress, you can do this using the Yoast plugin.  If your website is in SquareSpace, you can change this in the general page settings.  If you have a website developer, just let them know the text that you want to use.

After you have changed your page titles, you will want to be sure that each page of your website has one <h1> header on it and that it contains one of your important keywords in it.  This header is the most important and it is another sign to Google that tells them what your page is about.

 

Week Two – Quickly Improve Your Google Local Presence

STEP 3 – Perfect Your Google My Business Profile

If your business depends on people finding you locally, your Google My Business profile is a great advertisement.  If you have not claimed your business profile yet, go through that process described here by Google: https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

Once your profile is claimed, there are 11 things to complete to make sure that your profile is optimized.  We have listed them below in an easy to use checklist:

For more in depth information on filling out your profile, check out this article: https://blog.iftsdesign.com/introducing-google-my-business/

STEP 4 – Get More Reviews (and Answer Them)

When Google is deciding whose business to show in the Google Local area (also known as the map pack or 3 pack), they look at a multitude of factors.  One main factor is the proximity of the person to your business location.  Unfortunately, you can’t do anything to affect this.  Another factor that Google will look at is the number of reviews and your overall rating, which is where you can shine!

Google’s number one priority is to be helpful to their end user (the searcher).  So, they want to show people the best option for their query.  It is up to you to prove that you are that option!

Create a system for requesting reviews from your satisfied clients.  If you have one-time clients, ask them for a review via email or text at the end of their purchase cycle.  This also gives you an opportunity to have one last touch point.

If you have clients that have a renewal cycle, ask them for a review at the end of that process.  This is a nice way to end the renewal and get you credit for doing a great job!

A common objection that we hear is that people don’t know what to say.  Make it easy on your clients! Send them an email with a direct link to leave a review on Google as well as a suggested list of questions to answer for the review.  This also allows you to “sneak” keywords into your questions…and hopefully, they will repeat those keywords in their answers!

The most important thing to remember about reviews – when you receive a review, reply to it!

This works in a positive manner for your business in multiple ways.  First of all, the person that left the review feels appreciated because you took the time to thank them.  Prospects who are looking at your profile will see that you read/reply reviews and care about your clients.  Finally, it helps with your local SEO because you and your clients are using keywords and phrases in the review and reply.

Need help getting more reviews?  Check out our article on “10 Proven Ways to Get More Online Reviews for Your Business.”

Week Three – Make Posting to Social Media A Breeze

It’s hard to have a consistent social media presence without a plan and the right tools to do it!  Week 3 is where this is addressed.  You should be able to spend less than 4 hours per month to create and post all of your content!

STEP 5 – Sign up for a OneUpApp Account

There are multiple social media scheduling apps available.  The one that we recommend is OneUpApp.  One of the main reasons is because it connects and posts to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most importantly, Google My Business.

Google has said that starting in 2021, they will be looking to see who is utilizing their GMB profile updates.  These updates will start to be shown on Google Maps.  So, if you have recent, consistent updates, your profile is sure to stand out!

To sign up for an account, go here: https://www.oneupapp.io/register

There is a small cost associated with OneUpApp, but because it connects to all of the profiles that you need, it’s worth it!  Most free scheduling apps do not connect to Google My Business.

Take a few minutes and connect your social media profiles to finish the account set up. You will now be able to schedule posts to all of your social media accounts at one time!  This will save you a huge amount of time and make your business look professional while doing so.

STEP 6 – Create a Schedule for the First Half of the Year (and repeat for the second half) 

Now that your social media scheduler is set up, you need to create some content to post.  To create this content, start with another list.

Write down every question that you receive from your clients on a regular basis.  Most companies can come up with at least 10 or 20.  Make sure to include questions, even if you think that the answer is obvious because it may not be obvious to your client.

Aim for 24 questions, which allows you to address one question every week for 6 months.

Why questions, you may ask?  As we mentioned before, Google wants to be as helpful as possible for their end users.  They want to answer their questions, which is what your content will be doing.

Can’t think of 24 questions?  Again, we will turn to SEMrush and your keyword list!

Let’s use the term “Personal Injury Attorneys” as an example.  The results for the term are below:

Look at the section titled “Questions”.  This gives you frequently searched phrases that pertain to your keyword phrase.  So, one question that an attorney should put on their list is:

“Is it worth hiring a personal injury attorney?”

Once you have your list of 24 questions, put them in an order that makes sense.  Typically, I suggest putting them into main categories if possible and addressing one main category per month.

As an example, let’s say that the personal injury firm mainly handles cases that revolve around auto accidents, medical device defects, trucking accidents and workplace injuries.  These would be great main categories and each one could have 6 questions associated with it.

Assign a week to each question in your list.

There are 2 ways to create the actual content itself.  The one that you pick depends on your personality.

Option 1 – Write down the answer to the question.  Then, once you have your answer written, record yourself reading the answer as a video.

Option 2 – Record yourself answering the question in video format.  Try to keep your answers within 60 seconds.  Then, use a free transcription service like otter.ai to create the text.

Once you have the text, post it to your blog and schedule it to release the Monday of the week that it is assigned.  Make sure that the page title contains the main keyword in the question.  Be sure that your <h1> is the question itself.

Next, edit the video if you want.  There are multiple video editing software apps out there that make editing a breeze.  

Upload the finished product to YouTube and schedule it to release the Tuesday of the week that it is assigned.  Again, be sure to make the title of the video the question itself.  The description should have the question repeated in it plus a small summary of the answer.  Bonus points if you have incorporated keywords into your answer!

Now, here is a posting schedule to get a week’s worth of content from one question:

Monday: Post the link to your blog

Tuesday: Post the link to the YouTube video

Wednesday: Pull out one helpful sentence from the text and create a quick “quote” post.  This can be done using the free version of Canva in less than 2 minutes.

Thursday: Post an additional fact that goes along with the question.  You can do this with plain text or you can create another “quote” post. 

Friday: Post a link to the video from the week before with the label “In case you missed it” (Obviously, this cannot be done the first week, but it works for every other week)

You get bonus points for using hashtags!

Once you know what you want to post, sign into OneUpApp and schedule the posts.  To learn how to schedule posts, check out their video here: https://www.oneupapp.io

I’d recommend scheduling at least one month at a time.  This way, you can take a small amount of time from your day and get all of your social media for the month done in less than 2 hours!

Once you get through the first 6 months, you can just repeat your content. The average life of an online post is less than one month, so don’t worry about people seeing repeats.  I promise, they will not remember.

Week Four – Take Advantage of Offsite SEO Opportunities

 

STEP 7 – Optimize (and Create if Needed) Your YouTube Channel

If you don’t already have a YouTube channel, you are missing out on a traffic opportunity.  YouTube is the second most popular search engine and it’s owned by Google!

Create your YouTube channel for your business if it doesn’t exist already.  Need help with this task?  Follow these instructions from YouTube: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1646861?hl=en

Once you have signed in, you can start optimizing your company’s channel!  Try using the following tricks:

  1. If you can, use a keyword in your channel’s name.  This can help your channel show up for organic searches.  For example, an easy way to do this for a law firm would be to name the channel “[COMPANY NAME] – Your Personal Injury Law Firm in Greensburg, PA”.
  2. Make sure to completely fill out the “About Us” section.  Be sure to include relevant keywords.
  3. Include a link back to your website.  If people want to learn more about your company, make it easy for them to do so.  It also helps with your SEO rankings.
  4. Fill out your channel keyword tags.  This tells the search engines what your channel is about and who you are.
  5. Create a “trailer” video for your channel, if one does not already exist.  Typically, this should be a 30-60 video that introduces you, your business and lets people know what they should expect to learn about in your videos.  
  6. People typically decide whether to watch a video within the first 15 seconds, so make that time count!  Try to grab your audience’s attention with a big motion, a relevant prop or a question that makes them say “I want to learn more about that!”  Bonus points if you can include a major keyword phrase in this time as well.
  7. Do you have videos that would group well together?  Create a playlist with them and send your viewers on a journey through your material.  Try to create at least 2 playlists.

STEP 8 – Check Out Your Current Backlinks (and Create a Plan to Get More)

A backlink is a link from another website to your own site.  Most businesses will have backlinks from a multitude of places, such as:

  • Local chamber of commerce
  • BBB
  • Social Media Profiles
  • Local News Story
  • Company that you collaborated with
  • etc

One major factor that Google looks at when it comes to deciding who shows up first in search results is the number of backlinks that a page has.  Now, when the Google algorithm was first invented, it would only look at the volume of links.  This paved the way for link farms and other dishonest means of creating backlinks.  However, this is no longer the case.

Google now looks at the number of links that you have along with the authority score of those sites.  Authority score is basically a measure of trustworthiness.  So, more links is not necessarily a good thing.  They have to be links from a reputable source.

To see the backlinks that you currently have, go back to SEMrush.  Enter your domain name into the search.

The results will show you the number of backlinks that you have as well as the number of referring domains.  The referring domains are the websites that contain links to your website.

In the example below, you can see that there are 498 backlinks from 35 domains.

If you click on the backlink number, it will show you some of the links and referring domains.  With a paid plan, you can actually see all of the links and the referring domains.

Now that you have your baseline, you are ready to start building links.

One way to build links is to make sure that you are in all of the top local business directories.  IFTS offers a list of the top 25 places to get a free business citation here: https://blog.iftsdesign.com/local-citation-pdf/

Another way to build links is to look at your competitors.  Make a list of your top ten competitors and enter their domains into SEMrush.  How many backlinks do they have?  You should have a goal to have more backlinks than them.

You can also look to see who is linking to them by clicking on their backlink number.  Check out the referring domains.  Go down the list and look at each backlink.  Is it a niche directory that you hadn’t heard of?  Submit your listing there.  Is it a local business group?  Enter your name as well.  Is it an organization that accepts articles from people in your area?  Send them a link to yours!

Backlink building is tough and requires you to stay on top of the task.  Choose a ten minute time period each week and start working on this.  Aim to gain 1-3 new backlinks per month.

Congratulations!  You Made It Through All 8 Tasks!

This is just the beginning, but by jumpstarting January 2021, you’ll be setting yourself and your business up for success in the new year.

Have any questions or need help with any of the tasks listed above?  Send me (Stacey Ivol) an email at si@iftsdesign.com or give IFTS, Inc. a call 412.715.6266 for a FREE consultation.




Is Your Business’s Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) Consistent Across the Web?

Think about the many places your business’s contact information is displayed on the internet. Is the name, address, and phone number consistent with spelling and capitalization everywhere? 

Now that it’s on your mind – It’s a great time to double check on this information if you are looking to improve your search ranking and drive local traffic to your site.

Using this guide, we will cover:

  • What is NAP?
  • How to optimize your NAP across the web
  • How NAP consistently impacts SEO
  • What is the difference between a citation and a directory?
    • Free download: Top 25 local citation sites

What is NAP?

NAP stands for name, address, phone number; referring to the business name, address and phone number that you use on all sites that you appear. Local SEO depends on your NAP being consistent across the web. This means that your business name, address, and phone number are listed and spelled the same exact way everywhere they are found on the internet. 

From your own website to each of your social media profiles, directory listings, other websites, and even business cards, this information needs to be EXACTLY THE SAME across the board.

NAP consistency is a foundational local SEO strategy, but many people may see this as a daunting task. If your citations across the web are inconsistent, or if you don’t have any at all, this is the first place you should start.

How consistent does NAP need to be?

Search engines focus heavily on details. Consistent listings will include your basic information, but they need to have the same spelling, formatting, and punctuation.

When checking the consistency of NAP, keep these points in mind:

The company’s full name

  • Make sure that you use the full name of your business (no abbreviations) and that the capitalization remains consistent. Example: “Big Shot Berry’s House of Wings” in one citation should not be represented as “BSB house of wings” in another.

The address

  • Is the address correct in all places that it appears? Are there any abbreviations? For example, if the address is 1234 Star Street, make sure that you stay consistent with using either “Street” or “St.”

The phone number

  • Is the business’s phone number correct in each place that it appears? When it comes to the phone number being consistent, make note of the punctuation used. For example, your phone number may be shown as (123) 456-7890 in one spot and 123.456.7890 in another spot. Choose one option and make it the same across the board. Consistency matters even down to the parentheses. 

QUICK TIP: Don’t forget about your business cards! Although this will not factor into your SEO strategy, the consistency still matters! You want to be sure that these have the correct information on them if they are being handed out.

How NAP consistency impacts SEO

Consistency with NAP is crucial for any business that wants to rank highly in local search results. This will allow search engines to understand a little more about your business, what you do, and how users can find your information on the internet to reach you.

In a way, search engines and users think alike. Inconsistency causes confusion on both ends. Businesses listed as multiple names, with different addresses and inconsistent phone numbers is bound to leave everyone feeling a bit confused, not to mention, lessen your ranking.

Conflicting information will lead search engines to be uncertain about what your business is or where it is located. They will not lead their users to a listing that they are not confident about.

The same goes for leads – they will also turn to other businesses who have consistent information because they will have more confidence in that listing and feel that they can trust that business.

If you want to rank higher and show up in search results for keywords that are relevant to your business, checking over your company’s NAP consistency needs to be your starting point.

What is the difference between a citation and a directory?

Citations are references that include information about your company’s name, address, and phone number on local directories, review sites and business listings. Any time a business is mentioned on the internet and contact information is shown is considered a local citation.

Something to keep in mind: every directory listing is a citation, but not every citation is a directory listing.

Do citations have to link back to your site to be relevant?

Citations don’t necessarily have to link back to your site to send positive signals to the search engines about your business. By having consistent data across your business listings, this is a signal in itself to Google that your business is authentic.

What if I don’t have citations? Where should I start?

Google My Business  

If you have not yet claimed or created a Google my business profile, let this be your first step. We have an entire guide on creating a Google my business profile that will help walk you through setting this up. Being present on Google my business will link your business to a local audience and ultimately provide the best SEO benefits of any directory.

Facebook

Today, Facebook is an important part of local marketing strategies. Some leads may not bother to check out your business on Google but will still see what you have to offer on social media. Creating a Facebook page is a great way to open more opportunities for your business.

Apple Maps Connect

On every Apple device, Apple Maps is the default map app. This is similar to Google My Business, but specific to Apple. When you search locally on an iPhone or iPad, you will be connected to businesses via Apple Maps.

These are the top 3 directory sources, but we have created a list of the Top 25 Local Citation Sites!  Download and use it to build a presence on highly ranked local citation sites and directories. This list of the top 25 local citation sites will help you build a solid foundation for your local SEO strategy.

Go here and claim your copy today: https://blog.iftsdesign.com/local-citation-pdf/

Why Should Online Reputation Matter to a Small Business?

Small businesses (especially those with local brick and mortar locations) seem to underestimate the importance of having a positive online reputation.  Without national or international customers, you may ask – “What’s the big deal?”

The big deal is that 82% of searches done online are followed up with an in-store visit!

It is very clear that local consumers are utilizing the internet to research businesses close to them.  The real question is, “What is the internet telling them about you?”

Any business that is not taking this seriously risks losing business…to your neighbors that position themselves online well (even if their product isn’t better than yours)! 

Just How Important Is It to Create a Positive Web Presence?

When looking for great service or a great price, local consumers turn to their phones and tablets.  With just a few clicks, they are able to peruse Google, Bing, social media, other review websites and forums for businesses that have exactly what they are looking for.  

Your company may have an amazing product at an unbeatable price with the world’s best customer service, but if your online presence does not reflect this and you have negative social signals, you will have a very hard time convincing new customers to trust you…and pay for your product.

Many people are using word of mouth on social media, online reviews and company content to make informed buying decisions.  In fact, more than 90% of people trust online reviews as much or more than a recommendation from a friend or colleague!

Two important questions to ask yourself when it comes to your online presence are:

  • When your ideal client searches for your product (or service) near your location, do you show in the search results or the maps results?  
  • If so, does he or she see a professional online face to the world with glowing reviews?  

If you answered “No” to either of the previous questions, the chances are that you just lost a great customer.

What are the Benefits of Online Reputation Management?

You need to have a positive web presence for the survival of your business.  It can help:

  • Establish your credibility with positive testimonials
  • Give you an edge over your competition
  • Build trust with current and future clients

Position your company as the first and best choice for your ideal clients.  When they are researching, you need to be the obvious decision.

A well-positioned online reputation is also your best sales person, working for you 24/7/365, especially to those people in your community searching for your specific offering.

Finally, having good reputation management can help you rank higher organically in search engine results, which will expose your business to more customers.  Good reviews that mention where you are, what you do and your company name will help tell Google a bit more about your offerings.

How Can a Small Business Build a Positive Online Reputation?

Your website, print advertisements and social media posts are not the only things that make up your web presence.  It is a much wider net than most realize.  Your online reputation does include those things, but it also is made up of reviews from various review sites, comments on your website or blog, “complaint forum” threads, “Top 10” lists that your company may have made, photos tagged with you or your business and much more.  Anywhere that you (or your business) is mentioned, tagged, linked to online – that is all part of your online presence.

Managing all of this seems like it could be akin to “herding cats”, but there are a few impactful steps that you can concentrate on to start.  This will help ensure the future success of your company.

Step 1 – Monitor Your Online Reputation

The first step to taking control of your online reputation is to monitor it daily.  You can handle this yourself or you can outsource this activity, but it is very important that someone is watching.

You need to make sure that you know exactly what your ideal client is looking at online about you.  If you find any negative information, be sure to remedy that quickly.  With so many products and services available to today’s consumer, there is no reason for him or her to trust you (or buy from you) if there is negative information readily available about your business.

Step 2 – Acquire Positive Reviews and Mitigate Negative Reviews

Online reviews are one of the major factors when it comes to your online reputation.  Remember, 90%+ of people trust online reviews as much as or more than a friend or colleague.  This is why there are more important than any content that you could create.

How many times have you seen a company with multiple one-star reviews and decide to buy from them anyway?  I would bet on a very small amount.

Be sure to create an automated system for monitoring, soliciting and responding to reviews that you receive.

If you happen to receive a negative review, it is imperative that you respond to it quickly and with a level head.  Remember, your response is for your future clients and not the person that left the bad review.  Be sure to apologize that they had a negative experience and offer to talk about their issue offline.  This way, people can learn something positive about your company (that you care about your customers) from a negative review.

Step 3 – Get on Social Media

Where do your clients hang out online?  Are they on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? LinkedIn?

Do a little research and find out where they are most likely to be active.  Then, concentrate on those social networks and build your profile to be attractive to your ideal client.  Be sure to completely fill in the profile and include photos and videos to keep it engaging.

By keeping your social media simple, it will help you avoid overwhelm and really concentrate on activities that will give you the best ROI.  Create a schedule for posting regularly and use a tool that helps you automate the process.  This allows you to use social media for your business, but cut the time that it takes in half.

Leveraging Your Online Reputation

You’ve worked hard on your business over the years to build up your name!  Don’t jeopardize that fact by neglecting to build and monitor a positive online presence.

Overwhelmed or unsure where to start?  Contact IFTS to learn more about our online reputation management program and steps you can take to better position your business.

7 Facts You Need To Know About SEO

When it comes to SEO, there are many factors that determine the way your website is indexed and ranked by the search engines. That in mind, it’s obvious that by focusing on the right SEO techniques, you can maximize your marketing efforts and grow your business into a success.

But other than improving your visibility on the search engines, what else does SEO offer? 

Here are 7 facts you should know about SEO and why it’s so important for businesses when trying to take their brand to the next level.

1. Most traffic on websites comes from organic search

Organic search is currently the main source of traffic for websites. While you can direct targeted traffic to your website through paid ads or a social media marketing campaign, being visible on the search engines is always going to work in your favor. With organic search engine optimization (as opposed to pay-per-click ads) people will more easily find your website on search engines while they are looking for a product or service you provide. Making it more likely that they will convert from visitor to customer. No one searches for a product or service that they don’t want, so they’re already in the mood to buy. You just have to stand out among the competition. Additionally, when you rank on the front page of a search engine, you are showing potential consumers the legitimacy of your products or services because of your high ranking.

2. SEO is the best long term strategy to market your business

Results don’t happen overnight – organic search engine optimization takes time, patience, and consistency. While PPC or retargeting campaigns are great ways to reach your audience and sell more of your products, keep in mind that your ads will stop showing up the very moment you stop paying for them. With search engine optimization, that doesn’t happen. If your website is well optimized using the best SEO practices, it should continue to show up on search engines for months or even years to come. 

3. Good SEO is NOT expensive

Contrary to what many think, SEO is relatively cheap, considering the payoff. If you were reluctant to spend money to optimize your website for search, think of SEO as an investment. The sooner you invest in good SEO implementation, the sooner you’ll gain more visibility on Google and grow your brand for the long haul. 

4. SEO best practices are constantly changing

Did you know that ‘pausing’ an SEO campaign for too long can have a negative effect? While it’s true that SEO is a long term strategy to rank your business, what’s also true is that the search world is always changing. Google alone is known to make often algorithm changes. This means that, if you fall behind, getting back on track may be quite the challenge. 

5. SEO and User Experience are related

Few people realize that today, user experience is a big part of ranking well on search engines. Google already knows what a positive user experience looks like on a website and how to spot a negative one. The better your website is structured, the more likely it will gain more visibility. 

Google and other search engines take hundreds of factors into account when determining which pages rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs). With that being said, today, elements of user experience have been rolled into SEO best practices. How easy is your site to navigate? Do you have quality content that makes visitors want to stay and engage? Is your site secure, fast and mobile-friendly?

Think of the partnership of SEO and user experience this way: SEO targets search engines and user experience targets your website’s visitors. Both share a common goal of giving users the best experience.

Some common website elements that impact both SEO and user experience are:

-headings

-easy navigation and site structure

-site speed

-mobile experience

6. Great rankings influence conversions

Customers today do a lot of research before buying something – whether it’s a product or a service. This is a big advantage! Not only does good SEO help you rank well in Google, but it allows you to send a positive message about your offer. Using this SEO best practice to outrank your competition will definitely have a positive effect on your conversions.

7. If you’re not on Page 1, you’re losing business

Obviously, if you’re not #1, someone else is! And that means you’re losing business… If you need assistance in improving your SEO, contact us at IFTS and we will help get you on the road to page number 1!