Whether you’re a new business or one that’s been a part of the landscape for years, you want to take advantage of every tool that has the potential to increase your online visibility.
To that end, Google offers a multitude of free (and paid) services that businesses can use to their benefit. From designing a more intuitive website that also tracks site traffic to improving your website’s SEO rank, these Google services should be part of your company’s marketing arsenal.
Google Trends Google Trends isn’t your everyday SEO tool. The search feature is all about products and topics that are currently trending, and a large part of your marketing strategy should be focused on understanding how your target audience can find you.
With Google Trends, businesses can monitor industry trends and test specific words, terms and phrases in their marketing vernacular to see how well they hold up.
Updated in real time, this tool enables businesses to evaluate the popularity of their marketing language and compare them against other keyword variations, a feature that can be helpful in getting new keyword suggestions.
Think with Google Full of industry insights, helpful articles, case studies, research documents, data reports, innovative ad campaigns, videos, digital trends, infographics and interviews with top industry leaders, Think with Google is a one-stop shop digital newsletter that takes a deep dive into consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research.
The site is frequently updated with useful and inspirational content to help drive business growth and reach.
Google My Business More than 100 billion searches are performed on Google every month, which means that if your business isn’t discoverable in a search, you’re losing out.
Google My Business generates free business profiles that pop up when consumers search for related terms through Google Search and Maps.
By default, Google includes what it knows about a local business, including customer reviews from across the Web. But you can tweak your listing – and attract more customers – by submitting your own information, including photos, offers, promotions, news and text edits to Google Places.
As well, businesses can respond to reviews, message with their customers and see who follows you.
Google Alerts To stay updated about industry news – and news about your own company – take advantage of this useful free service from Google that sends you email alerts whenever there’s news about a topic that you’re following.
Signing up is free, and after adding a topic or search phrase, you’ll be notified whenever there’s a mention of your company, products, people or your competition.
Google Keyword Planner If you want to tun paid ads on Google, Keyword Planner is a must-have tool for your search network campaigns.
Aside from giving businesses estimates on search traffic, the free tool also shares the most relevant and successful keywords, URLs and phrases that people are searching for most often.
The tool even allows you to input your own list of keywords to see how they might perform.
To maximize your reach and covert your copy into a
convincing narrative, you’ve got to be thoughtful, captivating and
Follow these effective tips for crafting compelling email
marketing messages that will help grow your business.
Research Your Target Audience
Your audience is the most valuable asset to your business,
and it’s your job to ensure that you develop customer profiles that align with
your business and its values and mission.
That starts with compiling organic email lists based on
everything from demographic data to hobbies and interests.
Verify that every name on the list wants to be included in
your email marketing campaigns. The fastest way to get blacklisted by the major
ISPs is to purchase or rent email lists.
Building the lists from scratch is time-consuming, but the
reward is much higher engagement.
Test Your Email Content
Before you send out a campaign to hundreds, if not thousands
of readers, be sure to test your content first for broken links, image
resolution issues, spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and design layout.
It’s always best to send a few test mails to yourself to
ensure that everything looks correct.
Beware of Spam-Like Content
Always, always keep your content relevant to your audience
and consistent with your brand.
Everyone has spam filters and “junk” email inboxes, and if
your subject headers, for example, are too gimmicky, have too many exclamation
points or contain misspellings, it’s likely that your email campaigns will be
promptly dumped into the trash bin.
Always Include a Call-to-Action
There’s nothing worse than leaving your audienceat a dead end.
One of the most crucial email marketing best practices is to
be abundantly clear and direct with your audience – and that means telling them
exactly what you’d like them to do next.
The point to any marketing message is to get a response.
Provide sign-up links, for example, if you’re promoting a
class, workshop or webinar. If you’re hosting an event, be sure to include an
And if you’re offering promotional offers, use
action verbs – “reserve,” “act,” “subscribe,” “save,” “start” and “get,” for
instance – to persuade your audience to respond.
It used to be that personal recommendations solidified
decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company
travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a
primary source of feedback.
A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by
Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as
much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use
a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.
Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably
Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several
reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying
to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers,
you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building
The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans
and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to
a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are
multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow
these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.
Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults:When
a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your
business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re
responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and
provide solutions when feasible.
A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant
situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse,
suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes.
Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.
Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of
the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a
second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five
if your typing skills need work.
You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone
takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your
Don’t be a salesperson: When
a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with
your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.
If you have something new to share about your business, it’s
fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.
Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a
customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing
review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d
welcome the opportunity to do so again.
If you want people to continue to work with your business, you
need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.
Building solid relationships with the press is the golden
ticket to getting that story published. Here are few tips to help you become a
trusted member of the media:
Be Mindful of Language Blunders
Spelling counts, as does grammar and professionalism. You’re not sending a text to your best friend, your kid or your mom. One of the biggest pet peeves of journalists is misspellings, text abbreviations (“LMK” in lieu of “Let me know,” for example) and incorrect grammar.
These blunders spell laziness in the mind of a journalist.
Take the time to run a spell check; use Grammarly, on online tool that
essentially proofreads your copy and alerts you to errors; and read your
e-mail, press release or document out loud to ensure that it’s properly
structured and flows with ease.
Don’t Pitch the Wrong journalist
You’ve crafted a thoughtfully researched, compelling, error-free pitch and you’re anxious to see the fruits of your labor in print or on a website or blog with a robust, high-traffic readership.
And then you send it off to a journalist who doesn’t
write—and will never write—about the topic at hand. It’s imperative to do your
research, and that means reading a journalist’s work before you press the “send” button or pick up the phone.
There’s nothing that journalists hate more than receiving
useless information. If you’re going to pitch a writer, make sure it’s someone
who covers the relevant subject matter.
More important: Make sure your pitch is newsworthy. Another
tip: read mastheads of magazines, newspapers and digital sites to determine the
beat of their writers.
Avoid Pitching Stories on Weekends
Unless you know for a fact that the reporter is a weekend writer or editor, avoid sending communication on Saturday and Sunday.
Journalists, like the rest of us, have lives, and it’s
important to respect their time off the clock. Weekend pitching has other
pitfalls: If you send an-mail on a Saturday, and it’s read, the journalist may
well have forgotten it by Monday morning. By then, it’s often buried beneath a
deluge of other pitches.
Every reporter and publication has different
deadlines, but according to a Business
Wire Media Blueprint survey of more than 600 members of the media,
Tuesday morning is typically the best time to pitch a story.
Gone are the days
when branding was limited to simply promoting a product or a business.
Today, companies are
increasingly being challenged to incorporate a meaningful purpose into their marketing
and advertising campaigns.
research, 75 percent of consumers – here and abroad
– expect businesses to contribute to their personal wellbeing and quality of
life, while 84 percent expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells
stories, provides solutions and creates experiences and events.
Purpose is especially important when marketing to
percent of whom say they’re
partial to brands that implement environmental and social change into their
A new biometric
research report from Porter Novelli/Cone, published earlier this week, goes
even further in suggesting that purposeful content should lead the narrative of
“Purpose ignites physical and
emotional responses: Purpose-driven
advertisements were more effective in two-out-of-three brand categories tested,
with higher levels of attention, emotion and arousal from these advertisements
overall,” the study found.
other words, businesses that are searching for ways to build – and
maintain – customer loyalty would be wise
to focus on purposeful messaging that supports, for example, responsible
business practices, a charity or a social cause.
Purpose builds deeper bonds
Other key findings
in the report suggested that purpose builds deeper bonds.
A whopping 79
percent of Americans, noted the study, said they feel a deeper and more personal
connection to companies with values aligned with their own. Moreover,
respondents said they’d be more likely to feel better about brands with
And that’s not all:
brand advocates and amplification,” research showed.
viewing purpose-driven advertisements, those who were surveyed also said they’d
be more likely to talk about the advertisement and the brand with friends and
family and share and discuss the advertisement on social media.
the biggest takeaway, though, is this: Nearly 73
percent of respondents said that given the current social and political
climate, they feel an urgency to support social issues, while 76 percent noted
that businesses dedicated to addressing social and environmental issues helps
them feel like they’re doing their part.
About the study
The research combined an
online study of more than 1,000 American adults with the results of biometrics
testing among a select group of respondents.
It measured facial, heart
rate and skin conductance impulses that captured levels of emotion, attention
and arousal/stimulation upon viewing a randomized set of advertisements.
Respondents viewed two ads
from the same brand: a Purpose-driven advertisement (e.g., support of a social
issue, responsible business practice) and an advertisement focusing on the
functional attributes of the product (e.g., performance, features or
The research found that purpose-driven
messaging has a greater ability to capture the physical and emotional attention
of respondents compared to functional narratives.
If you’re exploring the rental market, it may be time to lower your expectations when it comes to landlord discounts, gift cards or complimentary amenities, writes Diana Olick, real estate correspondent at CNBC.com
As the rental market heats up and home ownership cools, rent prices are rising and freebies are falling out of favor.
Listings on HotPads, Zillow’s rental website, that mention at least one concession are down nearly 30 percent from the same time last year, and just one in 100 rental listings currently show any kind of move-in special.