Say What? Why You Need to Tap into Voice Search

Search isn't just about typing something into Google anymore. Here's how to make sure your business is heard on voice search devices.

“Ok Google” and “Alexa, what is…”.  These phrases are now part of the consumer decision making journey.  Consumers used to mainly leverage their eyes and search abilities to find businesses, but now their ears are part of the mix.  How can your small business leverage this new part of the marketing world?

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    Think of voice recognition has the “listening” part of search.  In the past, a customer may have just entered their question or search terms into the Google search box, but today they’re not only searching through the Google Search box but also vocally searching through products like Alex and Google Home.

    What do you need to keep in mind when building on this trend?

    • Consider conversations when selecting keywords.  In the past, phrases and words were most likely used to find a business through search engines.  With the voice recognition technology, consumers are asking entire questions and elaborating on what they want to hear to get the exact answer on the first try.  They’re less likely to ask the same question again and more likely to assume the first answer is correct, which means you want your business to be the answer when asked.
    • Build on the customization of answers. Google Home is able to customize how it serves up its information to certain users, such as relaying information at a specific time or day. Map out how your business fits into your consumer’s day and include it into your voice recognition search strategy.
    • Don’t ignore your search strategy. Whatever Google search strategy you have Implemented for your business should tie into your voice recognition strategy.  They go hand in hand and often will overlap a lot.

     

    • Monitor your results. Pay attention to how voice search technology is driving traffic to your business and optimize accordingly.
    • Start now! It’s predicted that 50% of all search traffic will come from voice recognition. Don’t miss the boat!
    • Think local. Include phrases like nearby and close to as many people using search recognition technology will use those terms to find a local business. They’re looking for close proximity to their homes.

    Don’t worry if you haven’t jumped on the voice recognition trend yet, but analysts say this trend is here to stay which means it will soon become the norm for many consumers.  You still have time to develop a strategy before it’s too late!  Do you have a Google Home or Alexa at home?  Test it out with questions that would relate to your business and see which answers are given.  This can give you an idea of your direct competition when it comes to voice recognition technology. 

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here.


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    Next up: SBA Regulatory Reform Roundtable Coming to Cleveland

    SBA Regulatory Reform Roundtable Coming to Cleveland

    The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Office of Advocacy, which serves as an independent small business watchdog within the federal government, will be hosting an Ohio Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Cleveland next month.  To secure your seat at the SBA’s Cleveland roundtable on Thursday, August 3 beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the Hilton Downtown click here.

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    The purpose of the event is to help the SBA identify specific regulatory barriers to small business growth and assist federal agencies eliminate burdensome regulations.  Representatives of federal agencies and Congressional offices are expected to attend the roundtable.  Your presence, experience, and feedback are needed as it will be used by SBA’s Office of Advocacy to pursue reforms that will benefit the small business community.

     If you are unable to attend the roundtable on August 3, but would still like to share challenges your small business has related to federal regulatory issues, you may share your input here.

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    Next up: Second Time Around: 6 Tips to Re-purpose Your Content

    Second Time Around: 6 Tips to Re-purpose Your Content

    Don't post it and forget it. Give your blogs, videos, photos and other items you worked so hard to create new life! Here are six ways to re-purpose your content.

    Quality over quantity is always important when creating content, whether it's a digital ad, a blog post, or a social media post. Many times, as a small business, you're rushing to get something—anything—up to communicate your message. Your message goes live. It serves its purpose, and you move on.

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    But did you know there is a way to recycle your content? Content optimization will save you time, money, and allow for your best content to work its hardest for your business. Here are six tips to give your old content new life.

    Tip No. 1: Monitor your content performance to improve second runs. Social media channels, such as Facebook, allow you to look at your highest performing content each month. Evaluate your content monthly and plan to build on your highest performing content.  Reuse that content and make changes based on your observations in future months.

    Tip No. 2: Stick with evergreen content. Evergreen content means that content can be used at any time.  For example, instead of positioning your product in holiday photography, consider seasonal photography to lengthen the time you can use that photo. Your post can still be holiday focused, but your main assets for the post (the photos) will be able to easily be repurposed.

    Tip No. 3: Create an "always on" piece of content to keep the message going.  Using everything you know about your content performance, create several pieces of content that can be repurposed during low seasons or to fill gaps when other content isn't relevant. Keeping content in your back pocket helps to keep your digital presence strong.

    Tip No. 4: Optimize content for changes in search terms. As the years go by, search terms might change. Be prepared to update your content, especially your website content, to stay up to speed with the latest keywords.

    Tip No. 5: Optimize content based on the user journey. Many times, marketers will look at a piece of content when in fact it's better to evaluate all the content involved in the entire user journey to keep the customer acquisition flowing.  Looking at the whole user journey will not only help you correctly optimize the content on that path but may help you optimize the entire digital user journey resulting in a better ROI for your business.

    Tip No. 6: Consider an optimization tool to help keep you on track. There are many tools out there that can help collect the optimization data for you and analyze it. Programs such as Sprout Social, Hubspot and Salesforce are great places to start depending on your business's needs.

    Challenge yourself in 2018 to create less content and create more good content.  You may be surprised at how much your marketing improves and how much less work you need to do to get your message out there!

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here. 
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    Next up: Secrets of Selling: Don't Spill Your Candy in the Lobby

    Secrets of Selling: Don't Spill Your Candy in the Lobby

    When meeting with a prospective client, do you try to talk less, listen more and provide thoughtful answers to their questions? Or do you just dive right in and let motor mouth get the best of you? Sell more effectively with this sales secret.

    Imagine you and your significant other have decided to catch the latest thriller at the local multiplex movie theater. After purchasing your ticket, you head directly to the new candy station that allows you to choose a few pieces of each of your favorite brands. You formulate a plan: You’ll eat the jelly beans during the previews, then the nonpareils during the first part of the movie, and save the malted milk balls until the thrilling climax. As you head toward your theater, you fail to notice the teenager leaning against the lobby wall, his foot just slightly in your way. You trip, but catch yourself before you fall. Your candy, however, isn’t so lucky. It is strewn all over the lobby floor. You didn’t even make it to your seat!  What about your plan? How are you going to enjoy the movie now?

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    What does this have to do with selling? All too often, we salespeople do the equivalent when we interact with a new prospect. We have a plan in mind for the initial sales interview. We have learned that it is important to ask a lot of questions; that is “selling isn’t telling.” We know we want to gather as much information as we can before we make our “pitch.”

    We shake hands and sit down, and after a little bit of rapport-building banter, the prospect asks us a question like, “So, what can you do for us?” or “Why do you think we should do business with you?”  Unfortunately, we have become so well versed in our features, benefits and advantages that we can’t help but share our excitement. We begin to talk passionately about our wonderful products and services, about all the wonderful things we have done for other people, about how our stuff is the greatest in the world, and how, best of all, it comes with us and we provide the best personal service in town.

    The prospect might then ask how much this stuff will cost, so we share our pricing schedule with them, and perhaps launch into a return-on-investment analysis to show them that other clients have recovered the investment in as little as six months. 

    Then, all of a sudden, it dawns on us: We just “spilled our candy in the lobby!” What happened to our plan to get to know their business better, to ask more questions? We’ve been there for an hour, and we were talking for 50 minutes of it!

    Why is this a problem? Because they have our information, they have our price. In other words, they have everything they need to start shopping us around, or maybe even do it themselves. And what do we have? Only a sore throat from talking too much.

    The challenge lies in how effectively we can learn to use our product and industry knowledge. We certainly know a lot of stuff—we proved that when we talked for 50 minutes without a break. But did we accomplish our goals of finding their real issues, determining their budget and understanding their decision processes?

    We use our knowledge effectively when we ask the right questions—questions that will allow our prospects to discover that we are the answer to their problems. Next time, don’t spill your candy in the lobby! 

    Tom Scully is sales consultant and owner of a Sandler Training franchise in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.


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    Next up: How to Sell When Times Get Tough

    How to Sell When Times Get Tough

    Selling is not for the faint of heart. But often times negative feelings breed negative outcomes. Learn how to change your mindset and give yourself a little edge over the competition.

    Many people I talk to are saying in frustration, “I’m not having fun selling anymore!” or, “It’s really tough out there!”

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    It is all a matter of perspective. Sure, it can be “tough” and not as much “fun.” You know the old saying:  “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!” and it would probably be worse because you would have even more competition and receive more stalls, objections, put-offs and excuses.

    If you believe it is tough, it will be tough. Napoleon Hill said, “That which your mind can believe, it can achieve.”

    If what you believe is negative, what do you achieve? Right! The negative!

    I suggest that we look at our paradigms. A paradigm is an accepted model of the way things are, or a belief, or a perception about something. Change your paradigm. Change the way you think about it.  When you change the way you think about something, you change your behavior and, in turn, change the result or outcome.

    Let’s look at some past paradigms that have changed. Many of us, when we were kids, would hear: “We can no more do that than fly to the moon!” We’ve changed that! Some of us are still waiting for something wonderful to happen to us. Some people don’t realize that it is up to them to make things happen.

    So let’s revisit the “Tough Times” paradigm and change it. If it is “tough” out there, that could be positive. That means your competitors are faced with the same potential obstacles you may be facing.

    What does that mean? All that means is that you need an “edge.” You just need to be a little bit better.

    We don’t get better by:

    • Complaining about it;
    • Feeling sorry for ourselves; or
    • Sitting down after a tough day and watching TV and having a few drinks

    We get our “edge” by:

    • honing our skills;
    • learning from every situation we are in by debriefing ourselves;
    • practicing;
    • thinking;
    • dreaming;
    • visualization;
    • goal setting;
    • planning;
    • developing new tools;
    • learning;
    • implementing;
    • challenging ourselves;
    • going beyond the norm;
    • risking;
    • education; and
    • asking ourselves: Where can I be better and how do I get better?

    Sure, it is hard work, but the reward! Ah, the reward!

    You all know successful people and you may be one of them. They didn’t get where they are by accident.  They got there by working at it one step at a time and continue to do so.

    That starts with understanding yourself.

    Tom Scully is sales consultant and owner of a Sandler Training franchise in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

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    Next up: Selling Tech in a Volatile Economy

    Selling Tech in a Volatile Economy

    Signs are appearing that the economy is improving, but it remains on shaky ground.  Our panelists, from Warwick Communications and Hileman Enterprises, both veterans of multiple business cycles, share their take on selling tech in the current economy.

    Signs are appearing that the economy is improving, but it remains on shaky ground.  Our panelists, from Warwick Communications and Hileman Enterprises, both veterans of multiple business cycles, share their take on selling tech in the current economy.

    Listen here.

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