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: Register Now for a Morning Conversation with Congressman Dave Joyce

    Register Now for a Morning Conversation with Congressman Dave Joyce

    On Friday, August 16 from 7:45 – 9:00 AM, U.S. Congressman Dave Joyce will join GCP for our Morning Conversation series. Congressman Joyce is a lifelong Ohioan and represents the 14th District of Ohio, which includes Northeast Ohio communities like Twinsburg, Mentor, and Mayfield Heights.

    Congressman Joyce serves on the influential House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for reviewing federal spending and determining how tax dollars are spent. Since he came to Congress, Congressman Joyce has established himself as a leader in bipartisan efforts to preserve and protect the Great Lakes.

    To learn more or register, click here.

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  • Next up: Register Now for a Morning Conversation with Opportunity Zones Expert Shay Hawkins

    Register Now for a Morning Conversation with Opportunity Zones Expert Shay Hawkins

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  • Next up: Sales Q & A: Goal vs. Objective

    Sales Q & A: Goal vs. Objective

    If you own a small business, then you need to know how to sell. So, what are your most pressing sales questions? Let us provide expert answers to them in this new Mind Your Business series.

    With this article, we are introducing a new series inviting questions about sales pitches and responding to them. A COSE member recently asked about the specific objective of an effective sales pitch versus the goal. Here’s a summary of our conversation.

    Effectively Setting a Sales Goal

    Let’s start by re-examining the actual goal of any sales process. Obviously, it’s to make the sale … win the business … beat all the other competitors. But, remember that the goal from the prospect’s perspective is to choose the best provider/product/service that meets their needs and works within their limits of time, budget and staff. The two should not be mutually exclusive. Consider both sides of the proverbial coin as you work to set your sales goals.

    Keeping it Classy When Losing

    Also consider a counter-intuitive secondary goal for your sales process - lose with class. When you get that dreaded “Thanks, but no thanks” call or email, respond with class and style following these steps:

    Classy Step 1: Thank the prospect for the opportunity to work with them and present your product/service.

    Classy Step 2: Wish them success with their choice.

    Classy Step 3: Ask who did win the business and why and what was your proposal lacking? This is important information that you might not want to hear but need to. And while you might not get straight answers to these questions, you’ll never learn anything if you don’t ask.

    Classy Step 4: Close with a genuine wish that your paths might cross again with a future opportunity.

    Classy Step 5: About the time the project should be completed or the product/service they bought should be fully operational, follow up with a call or note. Simply check in to see how they’re doing and their overall level of satisfaction.

    Classy Step 6: Once in a while, the prospect may confess that their first choice didn’t work out or meet their expectations. And, by losing with class, you might get a second chance to win the day. Of course, that will rarely happen if you don’t casually check in with them.

    Setting Pitch Objectives

    That all said, the specific objective of the sales pitch is also important, but very different. Consider this approach: The objective of your sales pitch is to provide the prospects with all the information they need or want to make a fast, fact-based and logical decision on whether or not your product or service meets all their needs. Sounding rather counter-intuitive, you can accomplish your sales pitch objective by showing the prospect that you’re not their best choice. So, you can lose the goal while still winning the objective—no small solace, I realize.

    Next time, we’ll consider another question about sales pitches. Until then, if you have a topic you’d like to have us discuss, contact me anytime.

    Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, 440-449-0356, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, communication styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.  


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  • Next up: Save Time Using Office Depot’s Product Subscription Function

    Save Time Using Office Depot’s Product Subscription Function

    Does your organization purchase the same products on a recurring basis? Office Depot’s product subscription allows you to schedule and control automatic deliveries on your organization’s favorite products. The subscription service makes thousands of products available for automatic delivery including ink & toner, paper, coffee, cleaning supplies, water, shipping materials, snack boxes, and so much more. Simply follow the steps below and you’re all set.

    office depot subscription function

    As an added bonus, you can receive special discounts on subscription purchases for thousands of eligible products. Plus, if the product is on sale when your subscription ships, COSE Members will receive the subscription discount in addition to the sale price.

    You can easily modify, skip or cancel your product subscription at any time. Yes, it's easy to change or cancel your Subscription.  All you have to do is sign in to your Office Depot account and open Subscription Manager.  Here you can change the frequency, item quantity, skip a delivery, or cancel your Subscription.  You can also update your payment information.

    What’s Trending?

    It’s no surprise that among Office Depot’s most popular subscription items are paper, toner, and coffee! Office Depot’s large assortment of printing supplies offer an easy and risk free way to cut costs, without sacrificing quality. COSE recently added to the Core List over 20 new multi-use copy paper options, including color and recycled paper. We further increased the opportunity for our members to maximize their office supplies savings with the addition of over 200 remanufactured toner products. The Office Depot brand replacement toner and inkjet cartridges can save you up to 30% off the price of the equivalent national brand cartridges.

    Coffee is another popular subscription item. Office Depot carries a variety of coffee options, including Executive Suite® brand, now available in K-Cup® pods. Right now, you can get a free coffee maker with a two-year coffee subscription.

    To learn more about Office Depot’s subscription service click here.


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  • Next up: SBA Hosts National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

    SBA Hosts National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) National Ombudsman office held a National Regulatory Fairness Hearing in Washington on August 19.  The office is responsible for investigating and resolving challenging rules or regulations for small businesses and GCP volunteer leader Keith Ashmus of Frantz Ward serves on the Regulatory Fairness Board. 

    The hearing afforded a unique platform for small businesses to surface concerns regarding inequitable federal regulatory enforcement actions taken against small businesses involving any federal agency which impact them, their members, or others in the small business community.

    While regional regulatory fairness hearings and roundtables are held around the country, the recent national hearing allowed stakeholders to hear directly from small businesses and provided an opportunity for representatives of small businesses to report significant national trends in federal regulatory compliance and enforcement and thereby, inform their assessment of systemic regulatory barriers to small business growth and prosperity.

    Comments and concerns raised at the regulatory fairness hearing will be directed to the appropriate federal agency for a fairness review to reduce undue regulatory burdens, while helping small businesses succeed. 

    Click here to visit the SBA Office of the National Ombudsman’s website.


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