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 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.
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.
Time Saving Tips and Tricks
Running out of time to manage social media? By now, you know the value of social media to your business development. It’s a vital avenue to reach new business, strengthen existing relationships and maintain positive connections with current and future employees. It’s a way for you to share your business culture, events and news in your communities.
But finding the time to create all those posts and review your post performances is the challenge. So, how can you do that when your time is spent out networking and conducting your daily business operations?
Here are time saving tools that allow you to share valuable content with your audiences. Social media scheduling tools allow you to manage multiple profiles and networks from one location. So, you can schedule your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other posts for the week (or the month or longer) via one tool, saving you valuable time. You can also review reports (or customize reports) to view your post performances. For instance, you can track how many people you reached, how many people liked, shared, commented on, etc. each post.
Since there are numerous social media scheduling programs available, each with their own set of advantages, drawbacks and prices (some programs are offered at no charge), be sure to do your research prior to choosing a social media scheduling program for your business. Here are a few of the more popular social media scheduling programs:
This program optimizes your time by allowing users to manage all social profiles from a single dashboard. Users customize their dashboard in the way they want to see their data. The program comes with a default reporting system for social media analytics and you can also customize the reports to meet your particular needs. Hootsuite is a popular and widely-used program for businesses of all sizes.
MavSocial is a platform that allows users to schedule and track social media posts and their performance. Another MavSocial time saver is its large stock image gallery for ease of finding images for your posts.
Built to scale, Sprout Social saves time for teams of varying sizes. This social media management platform provides engagement, publishing, analytics and collaboration tools. Sprout Social includes a robust selection of reporting tools to analyze your social media performance. Sprout Social is a popular program for advertising and PR agencies that manage multiple client social media accounts.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to advise and educate independent agents on social media best practices, including which social media management tool is ideal for your needs.
Here’s How to Increase Audience Engagement Via Social Media
Social media is everywhere. And it seems like every day another social media network pops up. How do you make the best use of your time, while also keeping up with new networks, new ideas and all that posting work?
Start by understanding which networks are available, and of those networks:
- Who is their target audience?
- What is their primary purpose?
Then, match that data to your target audience to determine which networks you should engage with to get maximize your audience engagement. Alliant National’s marketing team can help you make that determination. The most popular social networks for Alliant National’s independent agents are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Once you know which networks to join, create a strategy that includes: topics you’ll post about, as well as the frequency of your posts (2-3 times per week, consistently, is great). Here are a few tips to get the most audience engagement out of your social media activities:
Include graphics in your posts. Everyone loves graphics in social media posts. They are easy to spot when scrolling though our feeds and the more eye-catching, the better. Make sure you use clear, politically-correct and appropriately sized graphics for your post. Do a quick google search to determine size requirements. Also, be sure to give appropriate credit to each image.
#UseHashtags. Hashtags help keywords stand out in the post, and they’re also handy for tracking discussion around a specific topic and connecting with people who are searching for that particular hashtag.
Create interesting posts. Posts should be insightful, informative, fun and thought-provoking to audiences. People don’t want to be advertised to through your social media channels. Share industry-related articles, fun holidays, pictures and stories of your business supporting local charities, events happening in your community, etc. Invite your audience to share their stories and pictures and to comment on your posts.
Join the social media party. Don’t just post. Read and respond to all comments you receive on your social media networks. Comment on social media posts from business contacts. Think of it as a networking event. You have to get out there and be social in order for it to be a valuable experience.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to agents in helping them with social media best practices. We can get you started and/or help you get on the right path to increased audience engagement. We love our independent agents!
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for marketing and growing your business. If you aren’t already utilizing this method of marketing, you’re missing a big opportunity.
And, hopefully you don’t have the mindset that, “I’ve done great so far without it, why start now when it may just be a fad?” Influencer marketing is here to stay!
Influencer marketing has been here for centuries, but in other forms. Referrals and customer complaints are influencer marketing. The art of influence elicits changes in thinking or behavior.
An influencer is someone who has the power to change our perception and behavior.
Because social media is now mainstream, influencer marketing is everywhere. Customers don’t have to go looking for referrals. Referrals (and other influencing content) are everywhere.
So, what’s the best way to use influencer marketing to grow your business?
Here are several ways to increase influencer marketing within your business:
- Know the influencers and build relationships with them. Influencers include “influential” people within your community, such as prominent bloggers and local non-competing business people. The influencer’s audience should be the same audience you are trying to reach.
- Offer valuable information (contributed article, tips, etc.) to the influencers, asking them to consider sharing the content on their blogs or other social media. The key is to make it pertinent information for the influencer’s audience, and not “salesy” content.
- Ask your satisfied customers (who, by the way, are influencers) to review your business on Yelp, Google and Facebook. They love you, so be sure they share their love for you. The goal is for prospective customers to see these reviews when they are researching and making purchase decisions.
- Ask customers to “check-in” on Facebook when they visit your office. This is a great method for growing your business’s popularity on Facebook. Consider offering a small monthly prize ($25 gift card to local restaurant) via a random drawing from all people who’ve checked in over the past month.
- Engage with your clients via social media. This is a great method of personalizing your service and further integrating into your community. Be cautious of sharing, liking or commenting on any potentially objectionable content. Keep it clean!
One additional note: you should avoid paying influencers to market your product, as paid endorsements lose credibility with buyers.
Follow these tips and you’ll be practicing influencer marketing! It’s not rocket science. It just takes a conscious effort, a plan and a common-sense approach.]]>
While the millennial generation is now the largest homebuying cohort, they aren’t the only ones who Google everything. We all like to know as much as we can about who we’re doing business with, and we all tend to rely on the opinions of others (our friends, or even online reviews by strangers) to help us make the best decisions.
As a title agency owner, it’s important to put yourself into the shoes of a prospective customer so you can provide the information they are seeking when they perform a Google search – as well or better than your competitors.
For homebuyers and sellers, a real estate transaction is likely an uncommon experience and they may be feeling anxious about exchanging such large sums of money. If the customer is a lender, there are always concerns of tolerance violations. And if the customer is a Realtor, settlement delays or other customer service issues may be a top concern.
Online reviews are a window into your title business. Studies show consumers are more likely to contact a business if it has a 5-star rating, and improving your title agency’s star rating from 3 stars to 5 stars, for example, can yield as many as 25% more clicks to your business profile.
Your title agency’s online reputation may be the deciding factor between whether a prospective customer reaches out to your business or contacts the competitor down the street. In today’s world, managing your business’s online reputation is essential – here are four platforms that should top your priority list.
With more than 123 million reviews to date, Yelp is no longer just a place for reviews of the new sushi restaurant that opened down the street. Realtors discovered the benefits of having a Yelp presence years ago, and now other professionals involved in the real estate transaction are jumping aboard the Yelp bandwagon.
The search engine behemoth holds roughly 75% of the Internet search market, and it’s no coincidence that Google reviews are one of the first things to pop up when a prospective customer Googles your title agency. Google reviews appear not only in Web search, but also Maps search.
With nearly 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the largest social network on the planet. Users spend an average of 15 minutes on the site, which means you have ample opportunities to connect with your target audience in a forum where they interact almost daily once you’ve claimed your title business’s Facebook page.
Many title insurance businesses overlook Angie’s List, which means there’s less competition for visibility on the platform (for now). People who pay for an Angie’s List subscription are more likely to be in immediate need of the services. While the quantity of leads may be fewer, the quality is as good or better than other review sites.]]>