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local internet search often overlooked by Small Businesses

Local Internet search is increasingly being used by consumers.

According to Google, 80% of consumers use local internet search engines to find local business information. The most common searches are to get addresses, hours and directions, or to find out if a product or service is available.google local internet search jax fl

This is combined with consumers’ growing use of mobile devices to search the web. The same Google  study underlined the power of mobile local internet search: Half of consumers who did a local search on their phones stopped into the store within 24 hours.

But the gap between consumer behavior and small-business capabilities is large and growing. As more consumers turn to their smartphones to find local goods and services, small businesses stick with web sites designed for a pre-mobile era. The sites may be attractive. But if they aren’t optimized for local internet search, they are leaving a lot of potential business on the table.

Some small-business web site gaps are very basic. According to a recent study by BIA Kelsey, 60% of small businesses don’t have a phone number on their web sites. Three-quarters don’t have an email contact. A staggering 93% do not have a web site that is mobile optimized.

What can a small-business owner do to make their web site appear in local internet search? And, more important, move potential customers to take action?   [READ MORE]

 

Social Sharing & Relationship Marketing Drives Smart Business

Relationship marketing and social sharing drives smart business because Americans love to talk about what they buy.

relationship marketing, Drives Smart Direct selling network marketing Business

As a natural extension of that love, millions of U.S. adults are actively engaged in buying products or services from independent sales representatives with whom they have forged a personal connection.

Social Sharing Drives Smart Business because these types of transactions, whether called direct selling, social selling, relationship marketing or social sharing, have become a common channel of distribution.

New research from Harris Poll and commissioned by Direct Selling News found that the prevalence of direct selling, buying a consumer product or service person-to-person away from a fixed retail location, is high. More than 156 million people—two in every three U.S. adults—have made a purchase from a direct seller. The online survey of 2,060 U.S. adults 18 and older found that more than 81 million people have done so within the past six months.

And that’s just the activity on the purchasing side of the equation. For millions of people, direct selling through relationship marketing, has become a viable business opportunity that has given them the ability to make a different choice for themselves and their families.

In a world of economic ups and downs, growing job insecurity and dismal retirement portfolios, building a direct selling business makes perfect sense for many. It offers an opportunity to supplement their household income to meet a specific goal, such as paying for a new appliance, covering a child’s private school tuition or managing a car payment. Some go on to expand their businesses to equal—or even exceed—their previous corporate paychecks.

The giant leaps in technology employed by companies level the playing field even further. With sign-up apps, point-of-sale technology, online sample requests, and social and email follow-up, a business owner’s digital tools can equal those of a much larger corporation. Further, social media has turned traditional marketing on its head, and companies of every design are scrambling to capitalize on digital marketing tools. For direct selling companies, social media just enhances the relationship marketing business model already in place.

In addition to offering a lucrative business model for entrepreneurial-minded individuals, direct selling companies also boost local economies where they operate. Companies on the list of the world’s 100 largest direct selling companies employ more than 175,000 people, spanning the full spectrum of corporate positions.

Amway, No. 1 on the DSN Global 100 list, prides itself on giving its independent business owners the training, education and mentorship they need to become successful. “We believe we are the cure for the common cubicle, offering entrepreneurs the possibility of self-fulfillment through hard work and dedication,” points out Managing Director Jim Ayres. The company also has a powerful, wide-reaching corporate presence; it recently announced a $375 million manufacturing and research and development global expansion that includes four facilities in the United States, a new manufacturing facility in India, and second sites in both China and Vietnam. Operating in more than 100 countries, the Ada, Michigan-based company employs more than 21,000 people worldwide.

With millions of customers, a wide variety of goods and services, and great performance on the stock exchanges, direct selling as a Main Street, through relationship marketing models of distribution seems to be working very well. “In an uncertain market, people gravitate toward security, and that is what the direct selling industry can offer,” says Dan Macuga, USANA Chief Communications Officer and Executive Vice President of Field Development for the Americas. “In direct sales, the security you have is the security you create… when you create your own business, through relationship marketing, you shape your own future.”

Gold Rush on for Florida medical marijuana business

As the fourth largest state, interest in Florida medical marijuana laws is very keen

By Dara Kam Thu, May 8, 2014 @ 4:09 pmMedical Marijuana CANNABINOIDS and CBD

 

TALLAHASSEE | State lawmakers want to keep Florida medical marijuana home-grown. But the low-THC medical marijuana recently authorized by the Legislature has sparked an out-of-state “green” rush before the bill has even been signed into law.

Pot-related business owners from outside the state are less interested in the low-THC strain that will soon be legal — Gov. Rick Scott has said he will sign the bill — than the regular old weed, if only for limited medical use, that might be authorized by voters in November.

“Florida’s a super-interesting market for us because of the potential size of it in the future. But this is a great way to get started and we certainly don’t want to miss the opportunity,” said Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, whose subsidiaries include a medical marijuana dispensary in California and Edible Garden, a hydroponic produce company.

The bill that passed last week would help patients get access to a strain of marijuana that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Parents of children with a severe form of epilepsy believe the substance dramatically reduces life-threatening seizures and lobbied for the measure this session.

Lawmakers broadened the eligibility to include cancer patients as well as those suffering from severe muscle spasms or seizures, meaning a wider market for potential sellers.

At the same time, in an effort to reduce the risk of sketchy, out-of-state operators spreading like weeds in Florida, the Legislature limited who would be eligible to grow the low-THC, high-CBD strain.

Only registered nurseries that have operated in the state for 30 years, produce more than 400,000 plants and have the ability to process the product — usually delivered in paste or oil form — as well as distribute it will be in the running. Right now, there are 21 nurseries that fit the bill, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The state Department of Health will choose five nurseries — one in each corner of the state along with Central Florida — to grow, manufacture and sell the product.

“Our goal was not to convert Florida into a magnet for the pot industry,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who, with Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards, shepherded the measure to victory after it was considered a long shot early in the session.

But pot growers from outside the state are already trying to pair up with eligible Florida nurseries.

“We know the market’s a lot greater when they ultimately pass some broader medical law and/or, down the line, potentially recreational as well. So we want to, no pun intended, we want to plant our roots and get situated there as quickly as we can,” Peterson said.

Peterson and others are hoping that an early foot in the door to one of the country’s largest potential pot markets will give them a leg up if voters in November approve a constitutional amendment that would allow doctors to order medical marijuana — the kind that gets users high — for their patients. A variety of polls show overwhelming support for the measure, which, like all constitutional questions in Florida, requires 60 percent voter approval for passage.

Peterson said he has been in touch with half-a-dozen Florida nurseries, which he believes can benefit from his expertise in the pot business. Apart from the dispensary, Peterson owns GrowOp Technology, a “plug-and-play” company that sells trailers tricked out with everything needed to grow medical marijuana hydroponically. And Peterson owns MediFarm, one of dozens of medical marijuana dispensary applicants in Nevada’s Clark County, where Las Vegas is located.

Florida nurseryman Kerry Herndon, whose operation meets the eligibility criteria, said he is unimpressed by what he’s seen of pot growers from other states, many of whom, unlike Herndon, cultivate their products in warehouses or through hydroponics.

“Very few of them seem to have any idea what they’re doing,” said Herndon, who also owns a plant-tissue culture lab and said he is interested in participating in the program. “It bothers me a little bit because you see that get-quick-rich mentality in a lot of this. I’ve been in this business for a lot of years. There’s no such thing as easy money. … And the people who think it’s easy usually produce really bad products.”

Edwards, a Plantation Democrat who is a lawyer with a background in agriculture, said she was dismayed at what she called “a revolving door” of lobbyists representing clients with a sudden interest spawned by the low-THC bill and the proposed constitutional amendment.

“In the last six months, what I’ve learned is everybody now is an expert in marijuana and everyone now has a client who has capital or who has expertise or who has an interest,” she said. “It was like a revolving door. ‘My clients, they’re the largest dispensary in New Jersey, or Colorado.’ Where were these people a year ago with this kind of interest? That is concerning, especially when we’re talking about the integrity (of the product).”

Individuals who want to make money off medical marijuana should “go look at the amendment,” Edwards said.

“None of these folks have come to us and said I have an interest in helping kids with pediatric intractable epilepsy. This is all about what they can get for themselves, not for helping patients,” she said.

For much of the legislative session, debate about the low-THC bill focused on helping about 150,000 families with children who have what is called “intractable” epilepsy, which can cause hundreds of seizures a week. Adding cancer patients as well as those suffering from severe muscle spasms or seizures — which would include patients with multiple sclerosis and ALS — significantly grew the patient population. On Thursday, state health officials were unable to estimate how many Floridians would meet the criteria for eligibility under the bill (SB 1030).

Peterson said his company hasn’t completed an analysis yet on the low-THC, high-CBD users in Florida but anticipates it will be a “good market” — with a caveat.

“You’re not building a long-term business based upon that market alone. It’s just people that want an entrée to the market want an entrée to the market for the broader medical program as well as potential recreational. That’s where your bigger patient numbers are. That’s where your bigger customer numbers are,” Petersen said. “Can you do a decent business based upon those (low-THC) products? Probably. Are they going to be overwhelming? Probably not.”

Yahoo Local Replaces Business Reviews With Yelp Reviews

Yahoo Replaces Business Reviews With Yelp reviews, frustrating business owners.

Local Business Owners Complain That Years of Good Reviews Are Being Sent to the Trash

yelp - yahoo reviews

A recent deal by Yelp Inc. to provide business listings for Internet searches on Yahoo Inc. is getting bad reviews from some small-business owners, who say years of positive feedback from customers have vanished from Yahoo.

Colonial Hardwood Flooring of Lexington, Mass., amassed six years of mostly positive feedback on its Yahoo Local listing, says owner Dan Tringale. But several weeks ago, after Yahoo began posting reviews from Yelp, nearly 50 Yahoo reviews disappeared, he says.

In a deal announced in February by Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, Yelp’s business listings, including consumer reviews and photos, are displayed whenever users search Yahoo for local services, from restaurants and stores to beauty salons and chiropractors.

Since mid-March, new reviews about a business posted on Yelp replace reviews that had been posted on Yahoo Local, the Web portal’s own consumer-review tool. Until a new Yelp review is posted, the Yahoo reviews remain. The listing changes apply for desktop, smartphone and tablet users, as well as for search results on Yahoo Maps. [read more]

By

Angus Loten
April 9, 2014

Can Daily Deal Offers Translate Long Term?

Can Small Business Owners Use Daily Deals To Their Advantage?

Daily deals are those prepaid online coupons that started getting very popular about four years ago. In some cases, the deals offered as much as a 75% off discount. Services made money by charging merchants a percent of each sale, which often left sellers with little to no profit margin.daily deal sites for local buainess

Today many daily-deal services offer more flexibility. Offers can run for any length of time, and do not require a minimum number of sales. Some services allow merchants to offer less steep discounts. In the U.S., consumer spending on daily deals is projected to hit $5.5 billion by 2016, up from $1.8 billion in 2011, reports research firm BIA/Kelsey.

Daily-deal promotions tend to be popular with small business owners just starting out because they have the potential for quick sales and a lot of exposure. Experts warn that the strategy can backfire if not executed correctly. Mishaps include taking more orders than can be delivered on time, building up more inventory than the business can sell and aslo making the discount too big.

It never makes sense to allow a deal to be built where the business where the business loses money. At the least, you want to break even.

The ultimate goal of daily-deal campaigns should be to acquire new customers and retain them over the long term.

An anecdote of a recent visit a father made with his 16-year-old son to a local restaurant that was offering free breakfasts for a short period. The father, a marketing professor at a prestigious University, says his son wondered how the establishment could afford to be so generous. He responded by asking the teenager if they would have dined there had it not been running the promotion. The answer was no, because it was their first visit to the restaurant and they had never even considered going there beforehand.

He also pointed out that they paid for some items, including coffee and juice, and that because they enjoyed their visit, they would likely go there again.

Some entrepreneurs say daily deals tend to attract “coupon junkies.” These are customers who are only interested in saving money. They have no loyalty, and move from deal to deal.

Business experts say there are many reasons why daily deals work better for some types of businesses than others—including the structure of the deal, when the deal takes place and the types of goods or services offered in the deal.

An L.A. business owner says she runs her own daily offers through Facebook and Yelp for her ice cream shop so she does not have to give the deal service 50% of sales. She recently put up a Facebook post inviting her fans one weekend to buy a four-ounce treat at the normal price of $3.75 and get a second one free. They just had to mention a word known only to her Facebook and Yelp followers, to get it.

“It’s not scientific, but I’d say about a third that came in were first-time visitors,” She says.daily deal follow up

It’s also important to incorporate a way of starting an ongoing dialogue with customers that use the deal, in order to increase their “lifetime value”. Presenting pre-printed cards offering the same discount on their next visit, thereby cutting out the middleman. Asking for contact information so that they can be first to know about new promotions. Offer a similar discount for a “like” on Facebook, so you can follow them on social media. Ask for their email or mobile info so that they can get “special” deals.

 

The important point for the business owner is to turn the “deal” customer into a loyal, long term customer with an increasing “lifetime value”.

Shaklee Bo Short – Roger Barnett Interview

Blue arrow for Google Local Places Map


To Join the Shaklee team of Bo Short, Ty Tribble and
Lou Abbott, (the "MLM The Whole Truth" Guy!)... CLICK HERE
Our Two Business Partnerships; Income and Perks

To Join the Shaklee team of Bo Short, Ty Tribble and
Lou Abbott, (the "MLM The Whole Truth" Guy!)... CLICK HERE

SEO Case Study – Local Search – Buy Sod

Buy Sod Jacksonville, Buy Sod Augusta Georgia and Buy Sod Macon Georgia
are search terms a client wanted to be found for in those markets.

Google knows that most people searching within a local market area are looking for products or services from local businesses.
Because of this, search results are presented with preference toward local businesses with properly optimized pages, images and videos.

Proper Local Search SEO  tactics can give a local business Page 1 search ranking advantages:

Buy St Augustine Sod Jacksonville Florida

Google loves You Tube videos… You tube is owned by Google!
Google videos can have links within the description back to a local company’s website or landing page.

Even though the “buysodmacon.com” listing is out of the “local Market”,
it was listed by the search engine for the keyword.
The listing serves the function of moving prospective competitors down, and off page 1.

In this SEO Case Study – Local Search, the buysodmacom.com and the buysodaugustaga.com
had similar ranking success:

buy sod augusta Georgia

If your local business would like a free Local Search SEO Evaluation, please call us at 904-625-0796

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Internet Marketing Changes

How has internet marketing for cosmetic plastic surgery surgeons changed today?

The days of focusing just on Google are over.

Marketing your cosmetic plastic surgery practice online has gotten a lot harder.

Google is the 8 foot gorilla, but even there, there’s more – There is still organic search, universal search, images which must be optimized, and now, even Google Places has changed to Google+ Local!

As Cosmetic plastic surgery surgeon you have your reputation and your practice’s reputation  to monitor and manage.

Social Media strategy is becoming critically important for the cosmetic plastic surgery practice, including Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and now even Google+ and Pinterest.

To get more new cosmetic plastic surgery patients online in Jacksonville Florida:

Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

Brian Solis: “social media is the new normal.”  “Social media is different than other media channels before it. With Social Media, it’s about relationships, recognition, engagement, value and help.”

The MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012 audience was treated to Brian Solis, author of The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the way you work to succeed in the customer revolution.

He opened with the idea that the real marketing challenge is the culture of the organization, and he provided a phrase he uses to describe this:

“Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt.”

Another big idea he offered was “social media is the new normal.” He continued that, “Social media is different than other media channels before it. Here, it’s about relationships, recognition, engagement, value and help.”

As you might guess from this set-up, the intro of Brian’s talk focused on social media and the mobile experience, and he offered many data points, such as:

  • More than 350 million Facebook users access the platform via mobile devices
  • Daily mobile social networking grew 58% in 2011
  • Accessing social platforms via mobile browser is up 25%
  • Accessing social platforms via mobile apps is up 126%

And given these numbers, Brian offered a chart that illustrates that the “connected consumer” isn’t limited to a certain age group:

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