When it comes to business marketing, one of the most important things to consider is your online reputation. Remember that 90 percent of all consumers search the Internet to look for products and services; therefore, what those consumers find online about your business will determine whether or not they choose you over the competitors. There are so many forums in which both happy and disgruntled customers can air their emotions about your business – including social networking sites, review sites, and blogs, among others – and it is your responsibility to manage what is being said about your business.

How do you do that? Here are three ways to protect your online reputation:

Good business practices. Think of it this way: when you are doing things the “right” way, and acting as an upstanding business entity, it will be harder for people to say bad things about you online. Stock your website with relevant and useful content, participate in social forums in a positive and progressive way, and exhibit good customer service practices in order to stay on peoples’ good sides.

Respond to negative reviews. Of course, you can’t please everyone. It is inevitable that you will eventually face a bad review or two (or more). Rather than dwell on the negatives, it is best that you learn how to respond appropriately, so that you can actually turn a bad review into a positive testament of your business practices. (Yes, it IS possible.) First of all, don’t ever ignore negative reviews; doing that is as bad as agreeing with what is being said. When you do respond, keep all emotion out of it; instead, console the customer on having had a bad experience and offer a viable solution. For example, if a customer posts a review complaining about the service in your salon, offer a coupon and ask the customer to come back in and see you personally, for a better experience.

Monitor your online reputation. While you can’t remove things like bad reviews and negative social media gossip circulating about your business, you can take steps to counter negative occurrences as soon as they happen (and before they get out of hand). Make use of monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and Socialmention to identify trends in what people are saying about your business online, and then develop strategies to diffuse any negativity that springs up around your business name.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Getting started with your first pay-per-click campaign can be daunting to say the least. But with a little research, know-how and practice it can be done – and is done successfully everyday. If you can add a profitable PPC campaign to your marketing, you’re on to a winning solution for your business.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

#1 – Do read the provider’s free information. Adwords, the biggest provider of PPC advertising, has tons of free information and practical tools to help you set up your first PPC campaign.

It does take time to read through all the information but it’s definitely worth it, and it’s actually a must-do before starting. Take advantage of all the free information they provide. They can have you up and running with your first campaign in as little as twenty minutes.

#2 – Be prepared to sacrifice profits to start. You can do all the research in the world, but the best way to get to grips with PPC is to try it. Start slowly; you can invest as little as $25 to $50 to get started and learn all the ins and outs of PPC marketing.

Many experts believe that you should see this as an initial investment in your education and not really expect a return. If you do get one then that’s a bonus. This time and investment will give you the opportunity to tweak your campaign and basically learn all the ropes. You’ll soon be able to improve and move on to more profitable campaigns.

#3 – Do your keyword research. One of the most important aspects of PPC marketing is the keyword research. The right keywords will make the difference between a winning campaign and a dud. Adwords provides free keyword research tools to get you started, but you can also try paid programs like Wordtracker to really get a good grasp of the right keywords.

It’s worth noting that certain keywords like “diet,” “weight loss” or “make money” are highly competitive and not the right choice for a beginner. To start, you’ll want to use lower volume keywords which means you’ll get fewer visitors but you’ll also pay a lot less than you would for the main keywords.

This gives you plenty of opportunity to really test your product and market as well as to make changes to your campaign. Once you’ve found a winning formula you can expand to more high-end keywords.

Interested in a Free Adwords Audit? Simply go here and check “Pay Per Click”

#4 – Get your marketing right. The keywords in PPC are important but the marketing is just as important. The keywords will get visitors to your website, but you then need a positive outcome once they are on your website.

Many marketers don’t think this part through and end up wasting a lot of money with PPC. Before starting, make sure your website is ready for visitors. Have a clear call-to-action on your page so that the visitor doesn’t get distracted and click away.

Your call-to-action tells the visitor what you want them to do. Do you want them to fill out a form? Purchase a product? Sign up for a free newsletter?

Build a webpage which explains the benefits clearly the visitor and make it easy for them to do what you want them to do. This is where good copywriting skills come into play.

Practice your copywriting and concentrate on headlines which will draw the visitor in. If you’re not proficient in this area or not able to take the time to learn, you may want to consider outsourcing this part to a professional.

Getting your webpage right for your campaign, like everything else in marketing, will take time and testing to find the wining combination. However, it is definitely worth it to your business in the long run.

#5 – Follow the rules. Finally, it’s important that you read all the rules and regulations before setting up your campaign. You don’t want to get banned because of breaking the rules (even accidentally). There are many regulations and important points you should do and shouldn’t do with Adwords, so it’s worth taking the time to read through the rules before starting.

3 Helpful Tips to Make Sure Your Online Reputation is Protected

Your business’ online reputation can literally make or break your business success. Why’s that? Because, statistically speaking, around 90 percent of all consumers use the Internet to research businesses when they are looking for a product or service. Your online reputation will determine whether those consumers choose you or one of your competitors. You can also be sure that if you do not manage your online reputation, it will be managed by other people, who will inevitably post reviews, comment on your business in forums and social media sites, publish blog write-ups concerning your business, and more. For this reason, you need to do everything you can to ensure that what people see when they find your business online is as positive as possible. How do you do that? Here are three helpful tips to make sure your online reputation is protected:

Monitor your reputation. Make use of social media monitoring tools like HootSuite, and web monitoring tools like Google Alerts, to find out what others are saying about you, when they say it. When you know what you are facing, it makes it much easier to address it in a timely manner, and also to assess your best approach.

Participate. It is inevitable that people are going to talk about your business (if you are doing things right). Your best bet is to involve yourself in the conversation. Make it a point to respond to both positive and negative feedback, and also to volunteer information that will help keep online conversations about your business going. Establish your social media presence, maintain a website, write a business blog, or more – the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination (and the amount of effort you are willing to put in). Just remember that participation is key.

Optimizing your responses. Once you have developed the habit of monitoring your online reputation and have established yourself as a willful participant in the development of your online reputation, you need to make sure you are participating in a way that is most conducive to bettering that reputation. As previously mentioned, participation is key. However, there are some best practices to consider, especially when it comes to handling negative items: respond in a timely manner (NEVER ignore negative feedback), be diplomatic and fair, avoid using a defensive or demeaning tone (stay positive!), and offer viable solutions.

Online reputation management is a complex process, but it is also tantamount to your business success. To make the most of your online reputation, you may want to enlist the help of qualified and competent professionals like us. Get answers here.

Local consumers today spend a great deal online trying to find local businesses who have what they need or want – this includes food, entertainment, banking, shopping, auto repair, hair care, massages, lawn care, and the list goes on and on. According to Google, one in five searches includes a “location”, which prompted them to create a solution that will help businesses attract new local customers.

Today, that solution is Google+ Local, which is a portal of business profile listing pages that replaced what was once known as the popular “Google Places”. In an attempt to make local search more effective and interesting, Google created Google+ Local by integrating Google Places with their new social network, Google+ (also known as Google Plus or G+).

Similar to Facebook pages, Google+ has already gained massive popularity in the social networking arena due to the fact that it is owned by the largest and most powerful online search engine; Google itself. Therefore, Google+ Local is expected to receive the same level of success as it creates a unique, yet effective way for small businesses to gain local online exposure.

3 Easy Ways Google Maps and Google Places Will Deliver Customers to Your Door

If you know anything about business web marketing, then there is no doubt that you’ve heard of two powerful offerings from the Internet powerhouse, Google: Google Maps and Google Places. Google Maps is an interactive map application that encompasses features like driving directions, zoom in/out, multiple map views, business location and contact information, and more. Google Places is an extension of Google Maps, bringing points of interest from Google Maps to life with individualized Places pages. If your business is not using both Google Maps and Google Places to attract new customers, then you should work on setting up your Google presence, and right away.

Want to know more? Here are three easy ways Google Maps and Google Places will deliver customers to your door:

Highly targeted marketing. When you complete your Google Places listing, you have the option of targeting your listing for your ideal consumer market in a number of different ways. You do this by enriching your content with keyword phrases that are aimed at reaching the very people your business serves, by choosing categories for your business that will attract those who are most likely to become paying customers, and by creating ads and deals that are specifically designed with your primary market in mind.

Your Google Maps place marker. When you create your business listing on Google Places and have the corresponding business location marked on Google Maps (with that familiar blue pin that Google users have come to know and love), you are literally making your business available to everyone who searches for a business like yours in your area. That means that even if someone doesn’t know the exact name of your business, or that person is searching using general keywords that pertain to your business, your business’ location marker will show up on the Google search Map results.

Two powerhouses, working together. Think of it this way: everyone who searches the Internet using Google (and let’s face it, that’s practically everyone who uses the Internet) sees both Google Places page listings as well as Google Maps results. This means your business has an even greater chance of standing out and getting the attention you want it to when you take advantage of using Google Places and Google Maps together.