Online Marketing: Lessons from a Google Leader

We all know Google is where it’s at when it comes to finding a business to fulfill a need. Make sure your business takes advantage of the many online marketing services—most of them free—that Google has to offer.


During a breakout session at this year’s BizConCLE, attendees heard some lessons from Google Digital Coach Angelina Darrisaw Cheeks about online marketing from the perspective of a Google leader.

We live our lives in moments. We come to Google to search for something in the moment we need it, whether it’s a recipe, directions, a 25th anniversary gift or a zillion other things we might want to know.

With Google, business owners have the opportunity to connect with customers in the moment they need something. If your business doesn’t come up in that search, then it’s harder for potential customers to take action with your business.

Here are three keys to connecting with customers.

Key to Connecting No. 1: If you have a brick and mortar shop, reach customers where they are.

Smart phones know your location and are usually tracking where you are. You need to make sure your business shows up around people who have an intent with your business. These are referred to as “near me” searches—allowing potential consumers to see the locations of businesses that meet their needs. People rarely scroll past page two, so it is crucial your business shows up in the first page of search results.

Here are some ways Google can help you improve where you appear in search results:

Verify your business on Google My Business. You’ll receive a free business listing and have access to helpful analytics, among other things.

Collect reviews from happy customers. Once you verify your business, you will be permitted to respond to reviews posted about your business. Responding to reviews, especially ones that are negative, shows you care and you’re responsive.  

Hire a Google Trusted Photographer. A professional will take pictures of your business to go along with your verified business description. We are living in a visual world—show people what the experience will look like when they come into your business.

Take advantage of other Google services. These include the ability to feature special hours, engage with customers through messaging and share unique information about you or your company, thus enabling you to differentiate your business in a crowded online space.

Key to Connecting No. 2: Be accessible across all streams, platforms and devices.

People tend to start their journey on one device and finish it somewhere else, so it’s important that you show up for your users across all devices and know how to talk to your audience on all platforms.

Keep it fresh. Regularly refresh your website content. Doing so will not only show you’re an active business, but it also will improve your presence in Google search results.

Provide value. Make sure you are providing useful, powerful and engaging content. One way to offer valuable information on your site is by offering tutorials to convey your expertise in your particular industry.

Email is still king. Platforms change, social media changes—but emails rarely change. Part of your marketing strategy needs to be a robust e-marketing tactics. When you have the opportunity to appear in someone’s inbox, you have the chance for a direct conversation with them. So instead of focusing fully on social media, as many business owners tend to do, build your base using email as a tried and true method of communicating and solidifying loyalty.

Analyze the results. When assessing how well your approach is working, do not merely focus on vanity metrics such as how many people open your email or follow you on Facebook. The clickthrough rate from your e-newsletter to your website is a better measurement of how successfully your message got through to your readers. Take into consideration these guidelines:

  • Have a clear subject line
  • Thoroughly proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Provide content that’s useful and engaging
  • Create content that’s shareable
  • Use qualitative data based on what your customers are constantly asking you questions about

Key to Connecting No. 3: Use other valuable Google tools to grow your business.

Google provides myriad other tools that can help to better your business.

Google Search Console. This program is comprised of tools and reports to help you measure your site's search traffic and performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google search results. It can tell you what queries people are using so you can insert those key words more often throughout your site.

Testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. Most sites lose half their visitors while they are waiting for the sites to load. This service allows you to test your mobile speed and provides you with an assessment of your site versus those of your competitors. It can give you a sense of your load time on mobile devices and how you can improve that time.

Google Ads. Specifically, Google Ads Smart Campaign is designed for small business owners. Using this service can help you identify what information is important to turn potential customers into actual customers. Keep in mind that one ad can’t accomplish everything. The benefit of using digital ads is that, while you will be more specific in the reach and engagement will be higher and the cost will be lower.

Consider the following guidelines when using Google Ads:

  • Don’t put too much information into one ad
  • Tell your audience what you want them to do and what you have to offer in a clear way
  • Don’t just list your business name and its tagline or logo
  • Think of ad copy as a promise you are making to your customer
  • Hyperlink to the exact URL you want to direct people to; this is the first step in delivering on your promise
  • Google Trends. While this program isn’t specific to your website, it can give you a deeper understanding of trending key words to put on your site and to feature in your marketing pieces and other promotional materials. Trends change, especially as the seasons change—you need to maximize on what’s trending and capitalize on what’s in style based on your industry.

BizConCLE is just one of the many events hosted by COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership each year to help give businesses the education and resources needed to succeed. Click here for a list of upcoming events that can help your company grow, too.

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  • Next up: Senate OKs Priorities, State Budget Bill Due Soon

    Senate OKs Priorities, State Budget Bill Due Soon


    The state legislature has a few days to iron out their final priorities for Ohio's next two years of policy in a multi-billion-dollar spending bill that sets the state budget.  Last week the Ohio Senate passed their version of a proposed FY20-21 budget. A final bill will be presented to the Governor by month’s end and after the Ohio House and Senate conference.

    Among the many issues GCP is engaged in, the Senate’s budget bill would require state agencies to review and repeal regulatory restrictions over the course of the next four years, an element of regulatory reform measure Senate Bill 1, legislation which GCP supported.

    In addition, the Senate budget maintains language for an Opportunity Zone tax credit, including allowing the transfer of credits and increasing the share of invested assets in zone property from 90% to 100%. An amendment supported by GCP—to create an Opportunity Zone Study Committee to study best implementation practices from other states and impact investment strategies that support more highly distressed rural and urban communities—was not included in the final bill.

    After the Governor prescribed no significant tax changes earlier this year, the Ohio Senate recommended an 8% income tax decrease and the Ohio House approved a 6.6 percent income tax cut. That aside, GCP has continually requested state leaders consider the following:

    Preserve Ohio’s current small business tax deduction, which is utilized by our members for reinvestment back into their companies, workforces, and communities.  Reducing the deduction for business income, as proposed by the House, by 60% is significant and it would seriously jeopardize future planning and investments.

    Maintain the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000. Should elected officials choose to eliminate the current rate and increase the tax rate on these Ohio businesses, allowing entrepreneurs an opportunity to plan and budget for it in the future, as outlined in the Senate’s proposal, is absolutely critical. Because most businesses are set up as pass-through entities, they pay taxes on business income at the income tax rate of their individual owners. Ensuring the proper treatment for a variety of business types, expenses, and investments made by business owners—to support the growth of their businesses—is a crucial focus in deliberations on tax policy.

    Late last week the House and the Senate named members of the budget bill conference committee. To view a summary document of the Senate’s latest amendments, click here.


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  • Next up: Share Thoughts on Workforce Needs: Take In-Demand Jobs Survey

    Share Thoughts on Workforce Needs: Take In-Demand Jobs Survey

    A new survey tool launched by InnovateOhio and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation will help the State of Ohio direct its spending to train Ohioans for the workforce. Currently, the state’s In-Demand Jobs List—which will utilize survey data—directs the spending of 85% of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act training funds.

    Speaking about the newly launched survey, Lt. Governor Jon Husted stated, “We’ve heard the concerns of business leaders, we’ve built a system that fits their needs, and now we need their help by filling out the survey, so we can invest in developing people with the skills that are most in demand.”

    The survey tool was developed with businesses of all sizes in mind and is open to all registered Ohio businesses, giving both small and large companies the opportunity to have their voice heard. The tool offers a simple user experience and allows businesses to give input on the state’s current and future workforce needs.

    Interested in sharing your perspective in how Ohio prepares people for the workforce? The In-Demand Jobs survey is available now here. The State’s updated In-Demand Jobs List will be published at the end of 2019.

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  • Next up: State Budget Bill Passes; Business Income Deduction Largely Preserved

    State Budget Bill Passes; Business Income Deduction Largely Preserved

    Ohio lawmakers passed the state’s biennial budget Wednesday with bipartisan support. Notably, Ohio’s tax deduction for business income will largely be preserved. The budget deal keeps the first $250,000 of income for limited liability corporations and other business entities tax-free, as well as keeping an existing 3% flat rate on income above that.

    Language will be included that make lobbyists and lawyers ineligible for the deduction. This change is supposedly meant to address one of the primary complaints with the tax deduction—that individuals can form businesses without hiring any employees. 

    The deal also eliminates taxes for people in Ohio’s lowest two tax brackets, while cutting other tax rates by 4%.

    GCP supported:

    • Preserving Ohio’s current small business tax deduction, which is utilized by our members for reinvestment back into their companies, workforces, and communities. 
    • Maintaining the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000.

    GCP will continue to track ongoing budget developments that impact our members. 

    The Governor received the budget bill late last night and is expected to sign it, with possible line-item vetoes, today.


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  • Next up: Substitute HB 166: State Budget Process Continues

    Substitute HB 166: State Budget Process Continues


    A temporary Ohio budget extension was recently approved to keep the government open for business.  Ohioans may expect the Ohio General Assembly to vote on a final state budget bill between now and July 17; the lengthy legislation will then be sent to the Governor for his review and approval. 

    Among the many issues GCP is engaged in, the Senate’s budget bill would require state agencies to review and repeal regulatory restrictions over the course of the next four years, an element of regulatory reform measure Senate Bill 1, legislation which GCP supported.

    In addition, the Senate budget maintains language for an Opportunity Zone tax credit, including allowing the transfer of credits and increasing the share of invested assets in zone property from 90% to 100%. An amendment supported by GCP—to create an Opportunity Zone Study Committee to study best implementation practices from other states and impact investment strategies that support more highly distressed rural and urban communities—was not included in the final bill.

    After the Governor prescribed no significant tax changes earlier this year, the Ohio Senate recommended an 8 percent income tax decrease and the Ohio House approved a 6.6 percent income tax cut.  That aside, GCP has continually requested state leaders consider the following when it comes to predictable tax policy entrepreneurs can plan for:

    • Preserve Ohio’s current small business tax deduction, which is utilized by our members for reinvestment back into their companies, workforces, and communities. 
    • Maintain the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000.

    To a view a comparison of budget priorities up until this point between the Governor, Ohio Senate, and Ohio House click here.

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  • Next up: The Importance of GCP’s Political Action Committee

    The Importance of GCP’s Political Action Committee


    GCP members are extensively engaged in and understand the importance of our collective linchpin efforts to boost the economic vitality of the region.  The GCP Political Action Committee (GCP PAC) is an important tool to that end.

    Crucial public policy issues in Ohio today include the state budget process, tax and trade policies, the Great Lakes, infrastructure projects, education reform, a predictable regulatory environment, air service, and others.  And, as the political landscape continually evolves it is more important than ever for our business members to have a seat at the table.

    Learn more about the GCP PAC and how you can make a contribution to our shared cause today.


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