New Google My Business Features For Your Business

gmb profile

I wanted to share some recently introduced Google My Business features that a majority of local businesses are not yet using. They were discussed in details during the ‘office hours’ webinar hosted by Local Marketing Institute.

These new features can help you further promote your offers or content and encourage/enable new ways for users to interact with your business. So without further delay, let’s dig into these 3 new(er) features:

GMB Posts:

Google Posts are similar to Facebook posts, except that you need to log in to your Google My Business dashboard and then create a post in there.

The advantage is that your post will show up on the knowledge graph when people search for your business on the Google search engine.

In this post, you can promote blog posts, events, offers etc…

As you can see, a thumbnail of the image, dates, short description and a link to your website or landing page can all be included.

Keep In Mind:

  • Posts will stay live for 7 days, after which they just get archived
  • It will be shown on mobile (Android and IOS), Google maps, desktop and tablets
  • Although there is no conclusive evidence, it appears that these posts can positively influence your business ranking on maps and organic search

Questions & Answers

This was a feature that was rolled out a couple of months ago. It allows users to ask a question which can be answered by anyone in the community and by the business owner.

To manage conversations, the owner needs to be logged into the associated Google account on an Android mobile phone or tablet. IOS devices do not have the ability to manage these conversations yet.

If you are signed in to that Google account on your Android phone/tablet, you will receive a push notification when someone asks a question or someone in the community responds to the question.

Just the way reviews show up, the name of the person who asks or answers the question will show up. If the user is a ‘Local Guide’, then that badge will show next to the person’s name. If the business owner responds to a question, it will show up as a response from the business.

Keep In Mind:

  • Only Google maps on Android/tablet can be used to manage Q&A’s
  • You have to be signed in to the respective Google account
  • You get push notifications on mobile when people ask or answer questions
  • Anyone can answer questions – answers will show up as answered by individuals name, individuals name (local guide), or the business owner

GMB Messaging

Business owners can login to the Google My Business dashboard and turn on messaging.

They can choose the phone number which will receive the messages if consumers choose to engage with the business in this way.

The option to message a business is, currently, only going to be visible to users who find the business listing via mobile web search. They will not see the option to message the business if they find the business on their desktops/laptops.

Interactions will be exactly the same as regular text messaging as the message from the user will reach the SMS app on the listed business phone number.

Keep In Mind:

  • Use Allo (app by Google) if you want to separate personal texts from business texts. It will allow business texts to be directed to the Allo app.
  • Enable if you can commit to reply within, at least, a day. Although, Facebook and Google want businesses to reply almost immediately – which is not always practical.

Note: If you are a dental clinic or a law firm, the Google My Business guidelines are slightly different than what they are for regular businesses. The features discussed above will still be applicable. But we had recently published a post to highlight some of these differences. Click here to read it.

How to do Keyword Research 101

After spending the last couple weeks doing keyword research for some of our clients, I’ve decided that now would be a good time to shed some light on how it’s done. Before we look into how its done, it is essential that we understand why it’s done.

“In order to rank for searches and be visible to potential customers, your website must be optimized”

If I had a dollar for every time someone said these words to me, I’d have enough money to make rent this month. However, it clearly doesn’t solve my SEO problems, neither will it answer your questions on Search Engine Optimization. Thus, I’m going to take special efforts to make it crystal clear for you.

To simplify, Keyword Research is the process of discovering key search terms that internet users may be using to search for products or services through the medium of a Search Engine. This is then followed by optimizing your website, to naturally contain these keywords in the text or other forms of content.

How To Do Keyword Research?

Understand The Nature of Your Business:

It goes without saying that knowing your business (or the one you’re handling marketing for) is one of the most important things in any aspect of marketing. If you don’t know your company’s values, products or services, it is a good idea to start off by getting your hands on a catalogue or a similar resource that lets you understand the business.

Once you understand the products or services that the business offers, you’ll be able to categorize the keywords according to product or service type and also be able to figure out which keywords are more relevant than others. Let’s say we have a small online store that sells two products- Bread and Butter. When we try to hunt for keywords to target, we can separate them into two sections (at least) by product type so that it is easier to implement optimization and also track keyword performance.

Focus on Your Buyer Persona:

Buyer personas play a huge roll in keyword searches. If you know the kind of customer you are trying to target, you’re already halfway there. The challenge really is to be able to think like the buyer of your product or service. Let us look at an interesting scenario:

Case Study

One of ElementIQ’s clients, Keating Dental Arts, is a full-service dental lab that caters to dentists across North America. Let’s take a look at a snippet of their website traffic source by keywords.

If you take a look at the image above, the phrase ’emax stain and glaze’ brings 99 visitors to their website. The phrase is quite technical and will probably be used by dentists or people who are in the profession. Since KDA is a dental lab that only caters to dentists and not dental patients, It is a good idea to spend time optimizing for more technical keywords like this one so that it drives more traffic from dentists.

Just like the example above, focusing on industry-specific keywords and how the buyer uses those keywords, most definitely will benefit your process of optimization.

Start With Words Then Move to Phrases:

There are three kinds of keywords that you must consider when trying to optimize your page for both organic and paid searches – Generic Keywords, Broad Match Keywords, Long-Tailed Keywords. You can read more about these types of keywords here. The idea is to jot down words that are most relevant to your business or product/service. Let’s say you are a dentist (or you’re marketing on a dentist’s behalf), the words that you should start your research from would be something similar to these:

  • Dentist
  • Teeth
  • Denture
  • Dentistry

The above list is just an example, your list may look different in comparison to the one above depending on the nature of your business. The idea is to use these words to generate other keywords closely related to them using sophisticated tools.

Once you have this list, it’s time to put some tools to use.

Grab Your Toolkit:

The tool I like using for keyword generation is the built-in Keyword Planner (formerly keyword tool) that Google offers in it’s AdWords platform. The keyword planner looks something like this:

The keyword planner can be accessed by clicking on the tools menu in AdWords. You will need an AdWords account to access this feature. However, you do not need to spend money on ads to avail this feature.

Once you’ve gained access to the keyword planner, its only a few minutes before the magic happens!

We want to work in the ‘Multiply keyword lists together to get new keywords’. The idea is to enter a set of keywords in the List 1 section and another set in List 2 section. Here’s what I’ve entered, just for example sake:

Next, we want to adjust the location settings to our liking. This is important if your business caters to a specific locality. I’m going to set it to Burnaby.

The resultant page will give us a few keywords that are a product of the two lists. It is important to note that NOT all of those keywords are going to be relevant.

Once we have our final list of keywords, we can move to optimizing the pages we like.

Keep Track of the Keywords That You Feel Are Most Important:

Ranking for keywords is always a quality over quantity game. You’d rather rank for the most relevant keywords to your business to get the best possible conversion rate. However, to get the best possible results from keyword research and optimization, it is essential that we track the keywords that seem most relevant to the business and it’s goals. I personally use Ahrefs to accomplish this. I will soon be writing more about Ahrefs to help out with keyword tracking and analysis!

Contact Us

If you have more detailed questions related to Search Engine Optimization, you can leave a comment down below or get in touch with the ElementIQ team here.

Create A Great Email Marketing Campaign

I recently had the pleasure of attending a webinar lead by Eric Shanfelt, email marketing guru, and digital marketing specialist. The webinar was hosted by the Local Marketing Institute. They provide frequent webinars about various e-commerce and digital marketing subjects.

Eric shared some valuable information that can often be overlooked when you are trying to coordinate an email campaign. Sometimes we get so caught up in deadlines and clients that we forget about the most important factor in email marketing: the audience itself. Eric gave some insight into what users really want to see.

  • They want short emails
  • All emails should be mobile responsive
  • The information should be relevant and useful to the user

Eric noted that emails should be relatively short with a single CTA (call to action). You don’t want to distract your users with long, intricate copy, too many offers or irrelevant information. A good email is a simple one. In order to have a focused and clear email, there are a few things you should keep in mind first. Eric outlined six main factors that contribute to a great, streamlined email campaign. These are:

Audience, Acquisition, Content, Frequency, Delivery, and Analysis

Let’s discuss what each topic means and the ways in which they, as a whole, can create a great email marketing campaign.

1. Audience: Define Your Audience

Your audience is the first and most important factor in your email campaign. These are the people who open and interact with your messages. In order to send emails that these individuals want to open, you need to be sure you know your audience.

If you work in the field of e-commerce or digital marketing, you may be familiar with the concept of buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your target audience. They are the product of market research and analysis into your customer demographics. Before you create an email campaign, you must consult your buyer personas.

Ask Yourself The Following Questions:

  • What is my audience interested in?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What’s their daily life like?

You want to make sure that the people receiving your email newsletters truly like the content you create for them. Do the market research before-hand and find out the age of your audience, their interests, and daily routine. Once you have a good idea of who you’re sending these emails to, you’ll be able to create custom content, catered to what they like.

2. Acquisition: Build Your Email List

How do I define an audience when I don’t have subscribers? There are many different ways to build your email list. A powerful email campaign coupled with an organized, clean list of subscribers is the recipe for success when it comes to email marketing. You can’t send out a campaign without subscribers. Here are a few ways that you can attract new email subscribers.

How To Build Your Email List

  • Have a prominent signup form on your website. You don’t want potential subscribers scrolling and searching your site to sign up for your list.
  • Ensure you have a prominent signup form on social media. You create and share quality content on your social media channels. Build your email list by letting your followers know where they can get even more great content and insider information on your email list.
  • Leverage POS systems (point of sale systems) You can automate subscriptions to your email list. Simply incorporate it into your POS system. After a purchase, let your users know where they can learn more about you, and stay updated on your products. Create an automated request to subscribe.
  • Have a strong customer feedback system. Gather customer feedback at every opportunity.
  • Train your employees to ask. If you are a business owner, let your employees know that they should always be gathering potential email subscribers for the business. They can ask your customers directly!
  • Use incentives. Give your customers that extra push and give them an immediate reason to sign up for your email list. Let your customers know that they can receive special offers and give them a sample by offering a one time discount to those who sign up. You can use different offers or create a giveaway to get them excited about receiving your emails.

3. Content: Plan Your Content

There is nothing worse than receiving an email that doesn’t make sense, seems out of context or contains information that you don’t find appealing or relevant. Create and share quality content with your subscribers to keep them up to date and in the loop.

Ask Yourself

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What information would your customers find valuable?

Email campaigns are part of your content marketing strategy. You need to carefully plan out what each email will say. Set a positive tone for your email and pick your voice. Are you speaking on behalf of your company, the owner or is the email going to sound more personal?

You can share your current site content in your email campaigns as well. Let your users know about a recent ebook you’ve created or share the latest blog post with them. Make sure that the content you share with your users is relevant, relates to your company and to your users. Here are some tips on how to write good copy for the web.

Another important aspect of content is images. Try to avoid putting all of your written email copy in your email as an image. Images are unreliable and do not always render. Have the core of your email copy in plain text. Use images to supplement your message but make sure that your email is still easy to read and understand without any images.

Pro Tip

Eric Shanfelt mentioned that you should never use canned content. By this, he means that you shouldn’t buy content that is created in mass amounts for your industry. This copy is often general, it is not tailored to your business. Share posts that are about specific aspects of your company and avoid sharing general or bought content. Your users want to feel as though you are writing to them personally. They want the content you share with them to apply to your company and their interests.

4. Frequency: How Often Should I Send An Email?

The consensus on this varies. On one hand, you don’t want to overwhelm your email list by sending too many emails too frequently. Your subscribers are likely to get irritated, annoyed or mark you as spam and abuse. On the other hand, you don’t want to send your emails out so infrequently that users forget they’ve subscribed to your list.

They may wonder why they are receiving an email from your company if they’ve gone months without seeing a notification from you. This is also a reason that many people unsubscribe. So how frequently should you send out your email campaigns?

  • No more than weekly
  • No less than monthly
  • Every other week is optimal

You want to keep your emails short and sweet. In order to do this, you should send them out on a regular basis. Otherwise, you’ll end up cramming too much information into your messages. Keep your emails as simple updates to stay in your subscribers’ minds and avoid giving them too much information all at once.

Welcome Emails

Outside of your regular email campaign, be sure to send out welcome emails to those who are new to your subscriber list. You can include a double opt-in form in this email to ensure that your new subscribers really want to receive your emails.

Thank them for signing up and share the perks or benefits of being on your list. The welcome email should leave them excited and awaiting your next newsletter. You can create a welcome email template and schedule it to send to every new subscriber. Most email service providers allow you to automate this process.

5. Delivery: Help Your Emails Get Opened

When you put effort into your list, audience, and content you want to be sure that your emails actually get opened! This can often be one of the trickiest parts of your email campaign because it relies on getting into your users’ inbox. Avoid spam filters by using a reputable email sender.

Once your email gets into the users’ inbox, you need to give them a reason to click on your message. Use a “from name” that you know they will recognize, generally, this should be the name of your company. However, if your name is used synonymously as part of your brand, you can use your name as the “from name” You can also make the email sound more personal by using your own name and the name of your company. For example: “Karmen Clark, from ElementIQ.”

Similar to your subject line, your preview text gives context and credibility to your email campaign. Give your users incentive to open your email by creating a compelling subject line.

In Summary

  • Use a reputable email sender
  • Make emails mobile responsive
  • Use good from and subject line
  • Leverage preview text

These are the most effective ways of getting a higher open rate. When your email provider sees that your emails are getting opened, you gain credibility as a business and your emails are more likely to be seen as informative, rather than spam.

6. Analysis: What Are The Results Of Your Campaign?

Whether you use your email campaign to drive online sales, provide updates to your subscribers or promote exclusive, in-store offers there should always be a clear goal in mind. In order to improve your campaigns and determine whether or not your emails are achieving your goals, you need to analyze the results of your campaigns.

  • Look at the metrics and adjust
  • Look at any replies to your email and respond to people who write to you.
  • Analyze the ROI. The rate of return is the best way to determine whether or not your email campaign is actually driving sales.

Eric Shanfelt shared a list of statistics at the close of his webinar. These were the general numbers that determine good a good email campaign. You can use these benchmarks as a basic indicator of whether or not your email campaigns are meeting your goals and serving their purpose.

Good Email Benchmarks

  • 20% Unique open rates – If it’s less than this, your subscribers aren’t that interested. How did you build your email list? You may want to clean out your list or change your on-site opt-in process.
  • 2.5% Unique click rate – This is a good click rate. This depends on the nature of your email and your brand it only applies to a direct offer
  • 0.3% Unsubscribe rate = Good
  • 0.02% Abuse report = Anything more than this and your users are thinking “I didn’t sign up for this, it’s spam”
  • 0.45% Hard bounce rate = This is an optimal percentage for hard bounces. Anything more and you should look into cleaning your mailing list.

Note

Clean out your unresponsive emails regularly. Remove subscribers that show no activity over a year. They’re dead weight. When you send to a streamlined list you have a better response rate. Your subscribers are there because they are interested in your products and your company.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, the information from this webinar was helpful. Eric Shanfelt holds frequent webinars about various aspects of digital marketing. He is well known in the industry for his success with email marketing and e-commerce. He’s also the Founder and CEO of Local Marketing Institute. If you are interested in staying up to date with our blog posts from ElementIQ, be sure to subscribe or comment below!