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The Benefits of an FAQ Page

Francesca
June 7, 2017

Does your website have an FAQ page?

If the answer is no, this may want to be something you consider adding! Also, if you’re answer is “ummm…. I have no idea” then this article is for you too!

An FAQ page may sound rather generic in theory, but can actually service as an awesome customer service AND SEO opportunity for your website. An FAQ page can work to alleviate any questions or concerns a customer may have about doing with you. Although an FAQ page is often forgotten when developing content for a website, it can actually work to answer questions that a customer may not even know they had and/or work to keep customer inquires from coming through your contact form on your website.

Although an FAQ may repeat some pieces of content that can be found on other pages, like your about or products pages, it actually works to solve a very different purpose. Instead of speaking in broader terms like you might on other pages, an FAQ page provides an opportunity to answer questions in a very specific away about a variety of topics. A variety of topics may include:

  • Product return information
  • Holiday hours
  • Credit applications
  • Job applications
  • Sponsorships (who to ask)
  • Gift Card purchases
  • and more!

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Not sure you’ll be able to come up with content to add an FAQ page?

Ask your customer service reps!

“What questions do customers ask over and over?”

Any questions like this would be a great addition to your FAQ page and help to ensure it’s a valuable asset to your website!

An FAQ page can also be a great opportunity to show your fun side! You don’t need to answer questions in an ordinary way, get creative with your responses to truly show your company culture.

Interested in adding an FAQ page? Connect with your Specialist today to see how you can have this page added to your website! 

Why It’s Important to Make Content Specific Pages

Francesca
July 29, 2016

The beauty of a small-to-medium sized business is the unique products that you can offer all in one place. I’ve worked with dealers that sell jam, NFL jerseys, and gardening products all in one place – and their business, and web traffic, continued to grow each year. Making yourself unique inside of your business is great, but when it comes to marketing those departments online there is a specific approach we should take to ensure that search engines understand how to present searchable content to customers.

Back to the jam, NFL jersey, and gardening products example above – adding all of this content to your website is of course something that a business owner would want to do. As we’ve talked about previously, the first step to being found online is making sure that the content is on your website. But adding all of these different departments to the same page would be very confusing for search engines. A search engine wouldn’t understand the specific purpose of the page and would have a difficult time listing a page properly in a search result.  All three of these very different departments would appear on a results listing for a search that was done for “garden products.  If all three of these departments were on one page, you would probably just search okay, maybe page 2 or 3, for various search terms. If you break out the content and make a specific page for each of the departments you would have a much better chance of showing up at the top of search engine results for your area. Creating pages with specific content also makes the user experience better because it breaks up the content for customers. This way they don’t have to spend time reading all of your sites content at once.

Search engines are continuing to evolve all the time. Search engine results used to be based on the search query that you had typed in. Now they focus on providing content that you haven’t even searched for yet, but that you may be interested in based on your initial search. Search engines, like Google, are trying to be one step ahead for users and in order to do that they need to be able to understand the specific function of each page on your website. The content of a page on your website is what makes it worthy of a search result position, so you want to make the content as specific as possible.

Online Reviews Still Important

Francesca
June 22, 2016

As a consumer, you’ve probably bought something and have read an online review before doing so. You might have been considering hiring a local company, but found through online research that they had a very low star rating and this may have negatively impacted your decision. Although it may be clear that some reviews are more valid than others, online reviews have a significant impact when it comes to influencing a consumer.

It’s clear that online reviews can be significant, but how significant can they be – and does this impact both small and large businesses? According to BrightLocal, 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. This number continues to increase year over year. It’s not surprising that this number continues to increase, but it is astounding how much trust consumers put into online peers that they may have never met when it comes to their views on a local business.

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This means it’s more important than ever to take part in the conversation that’s happening about your business. This isn’t something that you can afford to ignore, as the same survey mentioned above found that only 12% of consumers don’t read online reviews. The majority of consumers are relying on customer reviews to impact their purchasing decision, so jump in and take part in the conversation!

Research

Do a search for your business name online and see what conversation is already taking place. Depending on what you see, it may be important to take action! It’s always a good idea to respond to online reviews, whether good or bad, so that is certainly a good place to start. If you like what you see, great! Continue to monitor reviews and encourage customers to post a review for you online. If you don’t like what you see, it’s important to create an online review plan and share with your employees. You might want to consider this either way!

Ask for reviews

Asking for reviews should become a part of your daily work routine when dealing with customers. Plan to ask customers who have been satisfied with your service to leave you a review online about your business. The easiest way to do this is via email, as you can provide direct links to review sites making it as easy for the customer as possible. Having a natural, organic system set in place to collect reviews is a great way to build your reputation online.

If this is the first time doing a search for reviews for your business online, there may be a knee jerk reaction to reach out to a variety of current customers and quickly asking them all to review you at once. Please, don’t do this. Review sites are smart. If you all of the sudden receive a few highly positive reviews on one day they will look into the activity. If it seems not authentic, they will delete all of the activity on your page and you’ll lose everything that may have been on there. Create a natural, easy-to-use system that all employees can take part in to build your reviews online naturally.

As always, if you have any questions on this, reach out to your Marketing Specialist!

 

Represent All Areas of your Store Online

Francesca
April 29, 2016

Each month your Marketing Specialist talks to you about adding content to your site – and for good reason! Adding content is a great way to keep your website up-to-date and to improve rankings on search engines, like Google. You might think of adding monthly content to places like your special offers pages, product catalog and blogs – and those are great ways to add fresh content each month – keep it up! But it’s important to make sure that all areas of your business are represented on your site, including all of the departments in your store, even if it isn’t content that you’re updating monthly.

Representing all areas of your business online is important to help make sure your website shows up when customers are searching. This can be accomplished through departments pages, free for all of our responsive customers!

Departments pages allow you to give a high level overview of everything that’s going on in your store. Each department added will create a new page on your site which allows you to add content, manufacturer logos (with links to their sites) and list services that may be available within each.

Examples of Departments pages

gift paint

 

Departments pages vary from the product catalog in many ways, but can be a great companion to the product catalog on your site. We recommend focusing on adding the most important products to your business to your product catalog firs and then work backwards from there, but departments pages help to make sure all areas of your business have representation on your site even if you haven’t gotten around to adding those products yet.

Adding departments pages to your site is an easy way to represent all areas of your business online – and they are east to set up! If you’re on our responsive platform they are free to add to your website, just contact your Marketing Specialist today!

 

Should I Add Videos to my Website?

Francesca
March 31, 2016

As we continue into 2016 it’s clear that videos are certainly a hot topic of discussion. We have a lot of business owners wondering if they are valuable to add to their site, where we should place them and what benefits adding videos to their website might have.

Videos can add a lot of benefits to your website in a variety of ways, but business owners often wonder where they should get started. Creating videos for a website can certainly seem very overwhelming and may even be an added expense for your store. Although creating a video about your business is certainly a great way to tell your story, this isn’t the only option available to you if you’d like to add videos to your site. There are about 4 billion video views on YouTube each day, which means there are plenty (millions) of videos for you to search through to add to your site. These videos have already been created and can be embedded to your site to add value to your customers. Still wondering where to get started when searching? Try checking out some of the websites of the manufacturers that you carry in your store to see if they have a YouTube icon with their social media buttons. If so, this is certainly great content to add to your site.

Value

You often hear people use the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and if that’s true, then a video is worth about 24,000 words a second. Let that sink in for a second. Of course adding photos to websites is very important, but videos take that even one step further. Businesses that include video on their site generally see higher visitor engagement and click-through rates.

Adding videos to your site also have an SEO benefit in a number of ways including increasing click through rates and lowering bounce rates. According to ComScore, users will stay on your site an average of two minutes longer if you have video. Google cares not only about quality content on your site, but also about content that engages.

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Placement

You can add videos to your site in a variety of places. The most popular for us being the homepage, a videos page or including a video inside a product description. Adding videos to the homepage or videos page allows you to showcase generic or brand related videos all in one place. Including videos inside a product description gives you an opportunity to show instead of tell. According to Animoto Research, 73% of US adults are more likely to spend having watched an explainer video which makes including videos in your product catalog a no-brainer to help influence purchasing decisions.

Getting started adding videos to your site is easy! Contact your Marketing Specialist today!

Understanding Google Local Listings

Francesca
June 30, 2015

Google has been making updates to its search result listings to better serve local searches for years. In doing so, Google has introduced a “pack” local result. This is typically a listing of three businesses, although there are also 5 packs and 7 packs, which helps to provide the most relevant results for a searcher.

If you haven’t seen a pack result yet, here is an example:

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Pack listings are extremely valuable real estate because they carry so much information and tend to show up at the top of search engine results. A pack listing includes your business name, address, phone number, and a link to your Google + page which has a link to your website, reviews, photos, etc.

Pack listings appear typically near the top of the search engine result page. On the screenshot posted above, there are Google paid ads at the top, one organic listing (Yelp), the pack results, and then organic results below. Pack listings do stand out from the rest of the listing on a results page because of their dual screen layout with the business address listing showing on the right.

Reviews Matter
One of the few differentiating factors that appear on the pack listing is the appearance, and number, of star ratings. Research shows that five customer reviews generates the star rating, whether they are positive or negative. Encouraging reviews from customers is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition that appears in the pack local results.

Reviews from customers will help your pack listing stand out from the competition and it will help your ranking on search engines. Reviews from customers play a role in overall ranking factors and pack results.

Looking for tips on how to collect review? Click here for ideas to get started.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them
As mentioned above, other organic listings that do appear on search engine result pages are a variety of business listing sites such as Yelp, YellowPages, Angie’s List, etc. If you do a search for a service that you provide in your area and one of these listings is showing up above your website then take action! You know the old saying, if you can’t beat them, join them? Well that’s exactly what you should be doing. Claiming these pages gives you the ability to edit your listing information to make it more accurate and add your website address to the listing. This will help your website appear in more places, which will help with your ranking on search engines.

Introduce Your Staff on the Web

Francesca
April 30, 2015

As a small business, each person that you bring on to join your team has a real opportunity to make an impact on your business. Over time, each employee will begin to find their strengths and build relationships with your customers. Having good employees can make your job as a business owner much easier. Quite simply, the best business strategy in the world doesn’t mean anything without the right people to execute it. That’s why it’s important to make your staff as approachable as possible and really give your current and potential customer a chance to get to know them!

People like to do business with companies that they feel they “know,” and there’s no better way for them to get to know you than by introducing them to your employees. Including a staff section on your website is a great way to create an opportunity for people to get to know your team.

Include a photo
When you’re introducing your staff on your website, include a photo so customers can easily put a face to a name! This doesn’t have to be a professional shot photo – give your employees a chance to show their true personality and submit a photo or take a selfie.

Contact Information is Important
If you have several locations, be sure to include where each employee works. You may also want to consider putting contact information for managers of each store so that customers feel management is accessible to them for any comments, reviews, or questions.

Encourage Accomplishments
If your employees have certificates or training in an area that pertains to your business – be sure to include that information on their staff page! This is a great accomplishment that would also benefit your business and should definitely be shared with customers. Highlighting your employees’ accomplishments is a great way to boost likability and show customers that your employees are serious about their job!

Passion Goes a Long Way
Some employees really seem to shine when talking about certain products or departments within your business. This would also be great information to include on a staff page. For example, “If you’re looking for a new Deck, stop in and see Bob! Bob has worked with hundreds of customers to help them design their dream deck. Come on in and meet with Bob and see how he can turn your outdoor dreams into a reality!” really gives this employee a lot of recognition about his interest in designing deck and builds credibility to customers.

Top 5 Ways to Stay On Top Of Your Online Marketing in 2015

Francesca
January 30, 2015

It seems like we say the same thing every year, but where did 2014 go!? 2015 is officially underway and it’s going to be a great year. This year, more than ever, we need to make it a priority to update your website each month.

It’s easier than ever for consumers to find information online. We’ve seen a huge shift from desktop activity to mobile activity over the year. Consumers are searching not just to find anything, but to find the right thing. Search engines, like Google, have tried to make this as easy for consumers as possible – even going as far as providing extra content that the consumer may have been searching for without even realizing it. You make think having a website isn’t important or you’re too busy to update your site this month, but the truth is if you don’t have a website that search engines care about then it’s pretty much like you’re invisible online. It would be like having boards over your windows with no sign out front as customers drive by – they would just keep driving.

Sure it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the tasks that you have going on, but even spending as little as 15-20 minutes per month on your website can go a long way. Adding fresh content is key for two reasons: 1. It helps your website be found more in search engines and 2. Your customers want to see fresh, new content each time they come back.

We’ve certainly talked about Google preferring frequent website updates before, but it’s important enough to cover again. Search engines, like Google, rank websites that are frequently updated higher than those that are not because they consider it to be a fresh source of information for searchers. Here’s a super simple example, if you subscribed to a monthly magazine and each month you received the exact same magazine in the mail with all of the same content you’d probably cancel it pretty quickly. Similarly, if searchers are finding your website with the same content again and again then they will stop going to it. Understanding that, search engines rank websites with fresh content higher to consistently provide new, quality content to its users.

Consumers are smarter than ever, let’s be real, they have small computers in their pockets. They can find anything they want online and with that their expectations have grown. Searchers expect new content each time they visit your site, and by providing them with this you’re actually giving them a reason to return!

Of course we understand how overwhelming this may sound, but you have the help of a Marketing Specialist to guide you through this whole process. Here are 5 ways that you can stay on top of your online marketing this year:

1. Take some time and plan your website updates out for a whole year in advance
This will make it seem much more manageable when new, exciting things are going on to contact your Marketing Specialist! You already have a bulk of the work off your plate.

2. Track your analytics
Spend some time with your Marketing Specialist to see what worked for you last year for each month of updates that you are working on. If you had a lot of activity around “pet dental products” in February or “decking options” in April, they you may want to focus on adding what’s new in your store relating to those topics this year.

3. Schedule it out
Create a time once a month where you and your Marketing Specialist take as much time as you need to work on all of your website updates at once. This can be as easy and walking around your store and reading off SKUs or getting some good ideas for coupons. Having this time set monthly will be an easy way to rely on knowing that your website will be updated each month.

4. Use seasonal purchases as a guide
Create a seasonal chart based around your business and use this as a guide for website updates for years to come! For example, if in the spring your customers are ready to head outdoors to work on DIY projects then build your content around that. Make it as easy for your customers to find you – and rely on you – as possible.

5. Check out your competition
As a business owner, you are probably already checking out what your competition is up to. If something that they are doing sparks your interest, do it bigger and better than they do!

The Importance of Customer Feedback

Francesca
September 30, 2014

We regularly talk about the importance of customer feedback on our blog for two main reasons, it helps current and potential customers understand more about your business and search engines want to see reviews.

Your Customers Care About Reviews

Search engines, like Google, know that customers care about reviews and in an effort to provide customers information that will help them with their searches, have been building reviews into a more prominent placement on search results pages. This prominent placement is known as a Knowledge Card, seen on the right side of the image below.

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Because the knowledge card is so visual, your eye is automatically drawn to the right side of the page. Think of yourself as a consumer, your first impression of this business is generally good, but you probably won’t order the chicken wings. If you don’t have a loyalty to them, or an incentive, you’re probably not going to try the chicken wings. Of course, chicken wings are a smaller ticket item, but put this into perspective for your own business. This is a specific example of how reviews impact current and potential customers.
(Side note: We did get permission to talk about the business example above.)

According to a survey by Dimensional Research, roughly 90% of respondents claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. Are your current reviews holding you back from selling products or services and therefore effecting your bottom line?

Search Engines Care About Reviews – But How?

Reviews should be important enough to your business because of the impact reviews have on customers, but there is also an SEO factor to consider. According to Moz’s 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors, online reviews make up 10% of your search engines rank your website.

What Can I do Moving Forward?

Make it a priority to work review requests into your everyday business practices. Of course there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this, don’t be too pushy with this request. Simply make it a point to email customers once the sale has been completed and ask them to leave you a review on a variety of accounts that you use, but remember, you can’t ask for a review on Yelp. Other than Yelp, most review sites are okay with you asking for a review, as long as you aren’t specifically asking for a positive review.

Once you start receiving reviews, respond to every single one! Don’t just respond to the bad ones. This shows current and potential customers that you are a human, it shows that you care to thank each customer for their feedback, the same way you would at the register.

What do Potential Customers and Search Engines Have in Common?

Francesca
April 24, 2014

This just in! Potential customers and search engines have something in common: they both want more reviews from your current customers! Reviews will help to improve your local search engine results and help to improve your company growth through an online version of word of mouth marketing. But how can you get more?

For the most part, review websites are okay with you asking your customers for a review, as long as you’re not specifically asking for a positive review. The only review site that definitely does not allow this is Yelp. Other than that, you can ask that customers review you and you should encourage that they do!

When asking for reviews from customers there are some do’s and don’ts that you should know before your pages get flagged and potentially amazing reviews get deleted:

Don’t

  • Don’t send out a mass email to customers to ask people to review you – all of the sudden getting a review a day or a few a week is going to look suspicious and probably show they are not legitimate.

Do

  • Follow up with satisfied customers via email and let ask them about their experience with you. This is a great opportunity to hear honest feedback from your customers. Once you’ve opened up that communication, let customers know that you’d appreciate their feedback about their experience with your business to help future customers who may be looking for similar services.

Don’t

  • Ask for reviews all on one review site, such as Google. Although you may want to encourage more reviews than Google because it may be the most well-known, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Also, the more variety of sites you have reviews on the better you’ll be in building search engine results.

Do

  • Let customers know which sites you are building your reviews on. Include links to your specific page on a variety of review sites and let customers choose which they would feel most comfortable with. It’s also better to have reviews on a variety of sites so that it’s easier for potential customers to use whichever sites they feel comfortable with and still get accurate reviews.

If you haven’t searched for reviews on your business, it’s definitely a good time to start. If you find that not all of your reviews are as positive as you’d like, you may want to make those pages a priority to improve. Just remember, slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to take time to build reviews than to get a lot at once and lose them in a filter to Google or Yelp! If you have questions, or are looking for more tips, reach out to your Marketing Specialist!

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