Hello! This is Kelly, the CEO of Beyond Indigo. We have taken our focus on Positive Based Marketing a step further and putting our research and knowledge into a blog as well as a Facebook page. This week we are focusing a post from this new blog. We look forward to your liking our Facebook Page as well as following our new blog on Positive Based Marketing vs. Fear Based Marketing.
The idea seems “cool” to be positive, but really what is Positive-Based Marketing vs. Fear-Based Marketing? When a business uses Positive Marketing, what they are doing is creating and empowering relationships between themselves and their current/future clients. This creates a whole and a oneness with all parties that are involved. Ideally, the business creating the marketing is trying to improve the value and quality of the life of the person using that business’ services. In return, the person using the services is enabling that company to stay in business through his or her engagement and interaction with the business. It is a win–win and creates a positive atmosphere. Plus, people are encouraged to think whether this particular product or service is a good fit for them. People tend to be happier and more fulfilled with Positive-Based Marketing.
Now, think of the negative marketing campaigns that you have seen. Fear is used in Fear-Based Marketing to sever relationships or isolate people from their relationships. It backs people into a corner and makes them panic thinking they will no longer be accepted by the group/society if they don’t use the product or service being marketed. Fear-Based Marketing also encourages people to react — and not to think. For example, if a female watches a cosmetic commercial, she is usually told that she will not be beautiful or accepted by society unless she wears that exact shade of red. She will be “kicked” out of the group, so to speak. To be included in the whole, she needs to wear that shade of red and, therefore, she must immediately go buy that shade of red. She is not empowered to think: This shade is great for me; therefore, I will purchase it. People tend to be more fearful and anxious with this type of marketing.
To read other posts on this blog please click here.
Just as we were enjoying our Memorial Day weekend, Google went quietly about making some significant changes to its algorithm that heavily impacts local businesses. If you want to understand how to keep being “seen” in Google, these new changes must be adapted in your practice’s online marketing program.
First Change: Google Search Results Went Hybrid
This past year, when we used Google for an online search, the results would show paid advertising at the top or far right (which only 25% of people click on), with local search results shown next — listed in packs of 7 or 10 and accompanied by corresponding map markers starting with the letter “A,”, followed by organic (non-local) results. Google has now integrated organic and local search results together, which currently display on the search results page in varying ways — in packs of 3, 5 or 7 for example, depending on the search query. Search results are still formatted with paid advertising at the top or right under the map on the results page, but you’ll now see organic results listed BEFORE, and blended with, local search results. How does a business become listed in this new hybrid format and at the top of local search results? What we have learned is to focus on the following:
- It is crucial to have a custom-designed website that can be optimized (coded) down to the page with local search terms, specific relevant industry keywords (veterinarian, pet cancer, etc.), and appropriate geographic regional terms.
- When choosing location keywords, check how close your business is to the center of the city. To do this, go to Google Maps (maps.google.com) and type in your city and state; e.g., Minneapolis MN. Google will then display a marker on the map with the letter “A” — where it considers the center of the city to be located. This letter “A” is what Google calls the “centroid.” The closer your business is to the this centroid, the more “votes” your local business listing receives toward being near the top of local search results for that city. With this approach, Google is attempting to make the search experience most relevant to the searcher’s query.
- Plentiful (five or more) positive online reviews help maintain good positioning in Google Local Search. Google purchased the Zagat review site and is now incorporating these reviews into Google local listings. Reviews are becoming increasingly important. Having reviews associated with your business listing is yet another key ranking factor and one of the many signals Google looks for.
To read the rest of this article in a PDF format please click here: Fasten Your Seat Belt – Google Made Changes Again
More so than ever a business has to watch its brand on the Internet. People can interact and define your brand without your input. As I have stated in many speaking venues even though most veterinarians are face to face and on the phone type of people doesn’t mean your pet owners are! Here are some tips to get you started with your brand management.
Where People Can Interact With Your Brand
People perceived your brand and your business differently 10 years ago than they do today. Now, people have choices and the ability to research information themselves before making a purchasing decision. In the past, we used to have to rely on the vendors to give us information about their businesses. Now, with a few quick taps of our fingers, a wealth of knowledge is available for us to consume. What people find about your business and where they find it determines how they see your brand. Does your business seem trendy? Up to date? Resourceful and helpful? Can a viewer find the information he or she needs quickly on any device, 24/7? These are questions to ask when reviewing how your business is perceived online. Where are people making these decisions?
Today, people are using multiple touchpoints when making a purchasing decision. A touchpoint is a place people start at or go to when researching. A pet owner could start at Google, read reviews, leap over to a business website, click through to Facebook, follow on Twitter, read a blog piece, and so forth. These touchpoints, when joined together, turn into a marketing circle. The goal is to keep an interested pet owner in your marketing circle. If there is a disconnect, a person might leap to another business’s marketing circle and you have potentially lost that sale. Each of these touchpoints (or platforms) defines your brand in the eye of the viewer. Here are some key points to keep in mind.
- Google now focuses on local search for a business. This local search feature focuses on online reviews, Google+, Twitter “tweets,” and blog comments. Google’s goal appears to be to give us as much information about a business in one “snapshot.” For example, take a look at Animal Medical Hospital in Charlotte, NC. You will see my picture listed under the search result because I +1 this brand or “liked” it, in other words. Google is providing social media information now mixed in with search engine optimization results. Why? To keep a person using Google and not Facebook.
To read the rest of this article please download this PDF. YourBrandYourReputation
Note from Kelly Baltzell CEO Beyond Indigo Pets: We are going to take a few weeks to review what has happened on the Internet the past year. We will be posting pieces that I have written from AAHAMarketlink through MWI to catch hospitals up to speed and to review what we have learned. Thank you for joining us!
This first piece covers one of the basis of marketing – Know Thy Self. If we do not know how we think and how our market thinks then it is much harder to engage and interact with our clients.
How Do Pet Owners Think?
After speaking to more than a thousand veterinarians and their staffs this past year, I have recognized several general concepts regarding how veterinarians view the world versus how their pet-owner clients view it. Talk about a cultural divide! Following is a list of ways in which vets think and what pet owners actually expect.
1. Vets are check-the-box type of people. “I have a website. (Check!) Does it work? I have no idea, but I have one! The Yellow Pages rep came around, and I handed him a check. Are my clients finding me in the Yellow Pages? Who knows? But I am done with my marketing, right?” When speaking to vets and their staffs, I ask them how many still use the local Yellow Pages to find information. Maybe 5–10% of the people raise their hands. Then I ask how many businesses in the rooms still advertise in the Yellow Pages. About 95% of the people raise their hands. Even among veterinarians, there is a disconnect on ad placement versus use.
On the other hand, pet owners want ongoing interaction and engagement with the veterinarian, who is their credible source of information about animal health. The majority of people shopping online today consult from 2 to 10 sources before making a purchasing decision (Google, ZMOT). This search tends to follow the path of starting on Google, going to online reviews, and then going to a website. Or, people start their search on Facebook, go to websites, and then to online reviews. Other sources include blogs, YouTube, e-newsletters, next-door neighbors, a business sign, and a few look at court reports for criminal records on a prospective
2. Vets have said to me: “My medicine stands for itself so why should I ask?” Veterinarians have been trained not to ask for reviews or accolades. They believe that they either practice good medicine or they don’t.
Now 70% of people, per Google, research online reviews before making a purchasing decision.
To read the rest of this article please download the PDF of the original AAHAMarketlink publication: Veternarian vs. Pet Owner Thinking
As most savvy online users know, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing or improving the visibility of a website or web page so that searchers can more easily find that site. Needless to say, the more frequently a site is ranked on page 1 of search engines (e.g., Google), the better the chance that a searcher will visit that site. So, how do we measure how a site is ranking? A search engine ranking report is a simple way to give us a sense of where a website stands in major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing; these reports are a reference point for visibility and progress from month to month, especially given that traffic and queries can vary over time, from season to season.
For those receiving ongoing SEO services and ranking reports, broadly speaking, what are some basic aspects that are generally included?
Before we get into components of an SEO report, let’s first consider that the reporting should feature highly relevant keywords—meaning phrases pertinent to your industry, relevant to your area, and used frequently by searchers. Selecting appropriate keyword phrases is the foundation of getting a site found. Once these phrases are determined, elements of a ranking report basically include:
1) Monthly status updates
2) Keyword progress and change in status from previous month—again using keyword phrases that are relevant to your industry, your area, and what searchers actually use in search queries
3) Tasks performed
4) Recommendations for continual improvement
Numbers to look for: The lower your ranking number, the better your position. For example, if you are #1 in Google rankings, your site’s link is what searchers will see at the top of the search results page. Please note that rankings are definitely a moving target. Search engines are continually tweaking their algorithms and competitors are also working to improve their positioning and traffic. Your ongoing ranking will depend on such factors as the competition in your area, quality of incoming links to your domain name, and location for optimization, to name just a few.
Ranking reports should be kept in context and are certainly only one facet of the much larger picture of an online marketing campaign. Although good rankings do not guarantee traffic and new customers coming in the door, they are worthy of consideration and a piece of the overall performance pie.
Verifying and taking control of your Google listing enables you to add relevant, accurate information, edit your listing as changes occur with your business, and respond to reviews, as well as add photos, videos, and special promotions.
Best of all, Google Places gathers important statistics to help you learn how your business listing performs. When you log in to your Google Places account, you’ll see the Dashboard, which has several categories of activity, with the default date range being the past 30 days (you can change the date range at the top right to suit your needs). These insights help you to make your listing more relevant to potential customers. The following statistics are shown:
Impressions indicate the number of times users saw your business listing as a local search result on Google, Google Maps, and Google Maps Mobile (on select mobile devices).
Actions report how many times users showed interest by interacting with your listing, such as clicking for more information on Maps, to get driving directions, or to go to your website.
Top Search Queries are the top Google search queries (on Google, Google Maps, and Google Maps Mobile) for which your business listing appeared, along with the number of times users saw your business listing in the search results for those queries.
If your business receives enough requests for driving directions, you’ll be provided with Where Driving Directions Requests Come From, a list of the top locations where your customers are coming from.
Please keep in mind that statistics may not be in real time. Statistics are compiled over the past 30 days and may take 48 hours to populate in your Places dashboard, so we can’t guarantee the complete accuracy of the provided statistics.
Creating a great listing takes just a few minutes—and it’s free. Google doesn’t accept payment to include particular listings or sites in their search results, making for a cleaner, easier experience for searchers. Places helps you proactively reach customers and build a relationship with them before they even walk through your door. They’ll find the information they need to know about your business, and you’ll discover insights about your potential clients to assist you in making important Internet marketing and business decisions.
Google Places for business is a free promotional platform for local businesses. Your Google Places listing can help your business get found in local Google search results. Claiming your listing enables you to make your services stand out by giving you control of your profile. You can add photos, videos, and offers to show customers why they should choose you. You’ll also be able to post updates and respond to reviews that are left about your clinic. Monitoring your Google Places account will also help you learn more about your customers: How many times did searchers show interest in your listing? What are the top search queries that they are using to search for you? But first, you need to create your account…
- Go to www.google.com/placesforbusiness to sign up. (Free!)
- You will need to create a Google account first, if you don’t already have one. Best to not use a personal one and just create one for the clinic. Google has pretty clear instructions that walk you through the process.
- Many businesses that have been around awhile already have Google Places listings that can be pulled in from various sources such as online data aggregators. If you type in Your Clinic Name, City, State in Google Maps search [maps.google.com] and see a listing link to the left of Google Map search results with red map pinpoint next to business name, this should indicate if one exists or not. Also, Google can check for you—when you go to the “Google Places for Business” page, Google searches to see if you have a listing when you type in your business phone number, and then walks you through the process of claiming or editing your listing. However, it’s best to take advantage of any existing listing with good reviews and conduct a manual search as mentioned above, so you can be sure of which listing is being claimed. If you have a brand new business, needless to say, this won’t be an issue and new businesses can sign up directly at www.google.com/placesforbusiness.
- If you DO have a listing that already exists, click on the business name link, which will take you to your listing. Once you are on the actual listing page, click on the link in the upper right that says “Business Owner?” You will be prompted to sign in to Google in order to edit info in your listing. (Once you have verified your listing, that same link will change to “Owner Verified Listing.”)
- At the end of the process, Google will prompt you with a verification code that can be sent via mail or phone. The mail option can take a number of weeks and gets tossed inadvertently. Best to choose the phone option and have someone standing by at your main business number, because the verification process is automated and the call will be sent immediately. (New businesses that are creating a listing from scratch will only have the mail option.) Google is using your business number to verify you are indeed a real business and you’re not misrepresenting yourself and trying to rip off someone else’s listing. Once you have the verification PIN #, plug that number into the field where Google prompts you to, and you’re done. You now can edit away, consolidate any duplicate listings, and add information.
- Best to add service keywords about your business to the “Category” section, as well as add specific services to the business description section, as done here: http://tiny.cc/kn5xx. Google has streamlined the listing display, so some information in the admin area of your listing may not show up in the public display.
- Consider asking satisfied customers if they might be willing to share their thoughts online at Google (and other sites). It’s always best to “capture the moment” when a client offers positive feedback and ask if they would be willing to “digitize” their comments, which can then help other pets and pet owners just like themselves… Plentiful positive reviews is one factor that can help your Google Places listing rise to the top of local search results. Some businesses put up a review page on their website with links to online listings to help precipitate action on this (e.g., www.animalmedical.net/review/); others also offer an incentive (raffle entry or similar offer) to encourage follow through, so you might consider these options to help gain good reviews. A raffle entry is considered a better incentive, as direct discounts for each review posted is considered less ethical (like buying reviews).
- Keep your Google Places listing current to show how your practice stands out from the rest. You can post information about your business, monitor website traffic, post coupons, and so on. Check out the Google Places YouTube channel and Google Places Support to find out more about how this can work for your business.