Digital Marketing

In this post I’m going to show you How to rank your local business in google searches in 2020 in four simple steps. For most businesses ranking well in Google for a target search term is something they leave to chance. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’re a local business then there are some simple ways you can give your website is real boost in the search engines.

https://youtu.be/kWgUg-UV1cQ

The difference between position one and position eight in a Google search equates to the difference between more enquiries than you can handle and tumbleweed… so isn’t it worth doing everything you can to rank well?

Stick around and I’ll show you how.

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All my ideas in one handy mind map.

For local businesses discoverability matters. Being offered as an option when someone is searching to fill a need clearly a good thing and in a local market it’s not too much to expect from Google. 70% of online sale begin with a Google search… so this matters.

This isn’t an exhaustive post about search engine marketing. This is quick guide to the things every business owner should do but which most don’t bother with. Google has hundreds of ranking factors but if you focus on these four elements you can see some surprisingly good results.

Step 1 – Your Google my business account

First of al claim and complete your Google my Business Account. This is your businesses official listing page with Google. You must complete every field in as many of the forms as possible. Within this profile you can also manage your Google reviews and post to your Google my business social stream.

Reviews and posts are important. Google wants people to get when they need so reviews are something they really reward. The same goes for posting to the Google my business social stream.

Lastly you should verify your address with Google. This is also done through your Google my business account and involves them sending you a postcard with a code on it. This is needed so they can be sure of where your business exists, that you are legit and they’ll also then show you on a map search.

Step 2 – Fix your website

Most website were built by people who didn’t really know what the search engines were looking for. Not only that, but Google’s standards are evolving. Keeping your website on Google’s good side can feel like a moving target.

If you’re not a web developer than making all the changes you might need could be too much for you. Even if you have a budget and a developer it still often a game of balancing priorities as to how much you decide to do.

With fixing your website you have firstly need to know what to fix. I’m not going to go into that because there are hundreds of things to consider. You’ll either need a good consultant or you can use an automated scanning tool such as this web page analyzer.

This tool will scan your site and report back you you any search engine optimisation issues on your site. I did this myself recently and fixing one error saw my site jump in the search engines. Either start working through the suggestions or take the report to your web developer.

Step 3 – Inbound links

Links into your website from other websites are an important ranking factor. The more relevancy and authority these sites have the more impact these links can have. Start a list of all the other businesses you know who could link back to you. Think about joint projects you’ve done where they might put an article on their news page. Get on podcasts and they’ll link back to you. Have you been featured in the news?

Link building is something you are in complete control of. They say the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is right now – so get started.

Step 4 – Content

For a lot of people this is where it starts to fall apart. They don’t like producing content for their website. Writing isn’t why most business owners go to work in the morning. Well, you have a choice. You can play Google’s game or you can play your game. How’s that been working out for you so far?

So how much is enough? I recently asked a few people I know about this and for most small business where competition in terms of content isn’t serious ( this is probably you ) then 350 words per week could see a big change in your search engine fortunes.

This content would normally be added to a blog or news page, but the thing is once you have the content it opens the door to all kinds of things. You can post links to it on social media. You can chop it up and use it as smaller social posts. You can record it as a podcast or a video. Content is the seed for greater visibility online. We’re talking here about SEO but there’s so much value creating content.

Conclusion

None of this is very hard. It’s all within the capabilities of most people. But the thing is most people won’t take action on any of this. And for you thats’s great news. That means you, if you do take action, have an advantage.

Take ownership of building your business online. Don’t leave it to chance or think it’s too technical or just for the kids. That’s just weak. Take the steps I’ve outlined here and you’ll move forward. Then go and reach or watch my other content and you’ll move forward again. Always be moving.

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All my ideas in one handy mind map.

Likes, shares, follows, comments, retweets, trending. If chasing these down is getting your down then stick around. I want to share why so many people are focusing on the wrong things online – and what you should focus on instead.

Let’s get one thing straight. Facebook, Google, Instagram, Linkedin – They’re not our friends. To them, we’re not even customers. We’re users.

There’s a saying which goes – ‘if you’re not paying, you are the product’.

When these platforms start telling us to focus on engagement what do they really mean? They mean they want us to spend as much time as possible on the platform, consuming content and importantly, ads. Advertisers are the actual customers.

Grab My Traffic & Conversion Prompts

All my ideas in one handy mind map.

Now I know that posts which get engagement are rewarded with more reach and visibility by the platforms. I’m not stupid. But most people respond to this by producing posts which might get engagement but they’re not achieving much else.

What I see a lot of is..

  • Here’s me with a fancy car
  • What do you like best- cheese or beer?
  • Some polarising political nonsense
  • Leading questions

I’m not judging people who shit-post just to drive engagement. But I have to ask myself – what are they actually achieving by it. Ask yourself this… ‘Why are you on social media? ‘ You can’t eat fake popularity, you can’t spend engagement, so why are you posting on social media?

Social media is about connection. If you have one goal in all your content is should be to connect with someone as deeply as you can. The truth is that there is no correlation between engagement as a social media KPI and ROI – none. There is a profound correlation between connection, trust and influence.

Express yourself and your value through your content. Know you’re value and be clear on who you bring that value to. Express your values, your mission, your goals, who you serve, the problems you can help people transform into opportunties, your passion, curiosity and your enthusiasm.

Post less often if you need to, but aim for education, inspiration and entertainment. Let engagement come as a by product – but don’t make that your main aim.

Don’t be a consumer, be a creator – don’t play by the algorithm’s rules – play by your rules.

Every single bit of content you put on social media reaches hundreds of people – don’t be greedy – Know who you’re or and be there for that one person.

Grab My Traffic & Conversion Prompts

All my ideas in one handy mind map.

Have you ever lost a sale and thought to yourself – why didn’t they choose us? We’re so obviously the best choice – why didn’t they know this – if only they understood?

Or perhaps you fail to break through on social media and nobody pays you any attention at all. Perhaps your business finds it hard to stand out in a competitive field in any meaningful way. If this sounds like you then stick around.

Let me ask you this. Is your business the same as your competitors? Do you do the same things in the same way as all the others. Are your values, motivation, ethos and mission the same. Is it true that you bring nothing different to the table?

If you’re like most business owners you’ll probably scream back a big fat NO.

But how would I know this. How, unless I’m your mother, would I discover this X Factor you and your team can see – but which is largely invisible to the rest of the world?

What even is that X Factor?

You might tell me it’s your story, your motivations, your systems, your values, pricing, customer service or a whole bunch of other things. Through all these things what you’re doing is expressing the same thing to me in different ways.

It’s your value.

Every business is essentially the same. It’s a value exchange. I have something of value. I look for the person who wants that the most and we trade.

If you want to succeed in business then you need to refine and perfect that value and then show it as clearly as possible to your ideal customer.

There are two traditional tools businesses are taught to use. The long winded and frankly boring Value Proposition and on the other hand the snappy Elevator Pitch. Neither of these are particularly useful at helping us with anything other than having more documents to store.

So let me introduce you to the very useful and easy to create – Value Positioning Statement.

Grab My VPS Worksheet

Everything you need to craft your value positioning statement

At first this might seem so simple it’s silly. But I promise that if you follow through with this you’ll have a powerful tool. Pretty much every time I work through this with clients it gets exciting and emotional.

The value positioning statement has three parts. The trick is to be a specific as possible.

1 – I help… ( ideal customer )

2 – To … ( do a specific thing )

3 – So that they can … ( enjoy a specific benefit )

Now at this point you might be laughing into your soup. Imagine for a second that you didn’t have to fight for all that second rate work. That you were, in fact, always chosen first. If this were true then what client would you always choose? That’s who you put in part one.

If you could only work on your favorite most profitable work, or the work you love doing the most, what would it be. This is what goes in part two.

And when people hire you it’s because they’re looking for some kind of transformation. They want to move from where they are to where they want to be. What is the result or benefit. This is what you put in part three.

Watch the video above for some examples.

From these examples you’ll find that we’ve connected much more deeply and in something really simple and snappy. Now when someone says – ‘so what do you do’ – you’ll have that wow answer.

The VPS is simple and because it’s simple it’s practical and like any practical and simple tool – it gets used!

When you start using it in social profile descriptions, email signatures, website headers, business cards and anywhere else you regularly show up it starts to have an impact. But more important that this is that it acts as a compass for your content marketing. Your VPS acts as a little Value Power Station fueling a beacon to attract your ideal client online.

Have a go at creating your own VPS. You’ll find the temptation at first is to make it quite ling but keep stripping it back and distilling it down until it’s simple and powerful. Once you have it, use it everywhere. Let it be the power station which fuels and directs all your content marketing and provides you with a much stronger sense of identity.

Grab My VPS Worksheet

Everything you need to craft your value positioning statement

If you want to build your business online, to build your reach, impact or authority then at some point you need to graduate from posting on social media and become a creator of content. When it comes to content there are two formats which stand out.

Video and Audio

Why? Because they open the door to building relationships at scale. You can create marketing content, products, podcasts youtube channels and all of this ultimately leads to generating revenue.

A lot of people try to do this with a blog. And some succeed but the written word just doen’t connect or transport us in the same way as the moving picture or the spoken word. Blogging is great for lots of things but if we’re honest we’re lazy and prefer to consume TV and Radio.

So why is it that we all know the impact audio and video can have but so few make that step to take action?

Well a lot of people are uncomfortable with video. But if we dig into that a little it’s not the video side of things at all. Most people just can’t bear the sound of their voice when they hear it back. This is the very first barrier.

It’s very common for someone to film them selves and be fine with the process but the moment they hear themselves back – delete. Time for a coffee and some real work.

When I started my podcast this was a huge challenge. I understood because I’d done some research but even then it was a big issue. Editing myself was like hearing fingers on a blackboard. When I was a guest on other people’s podcasts I couldn’t listen. Over time this faded. I’m fine with hearing my voice now but it wasn’t easy.

So what’s happening here? First of all what you hear as your voice when you speak is not your voice. It”s only the version you hear. When other people hear your voice it’s transmitted through the air and the frequency range is wide. When you hear your voice it’s transmitted through bone with a low frequency range. It’s a totally different sound.

A second factor ( and there are a lot more ) is that there’s a part of our brain which reads emotional queues in voices. When we speak ourselves we don’t activate this part of the brain. But when we hear ourselves played back it activates and this causes a very strange emotional feedback loop which causes us to react so strongly.

Interestingly studies have shown that when your voice is played back and you don’t realise it’s your own you are likely to rate it higher than normal for attractiveness.

If you want to build your brand online then the voice barrier is one your going to need to push through. Once your get through it you’ll find all the reactions vanish and you can start enjoying things but you’ll only get through it with consistent action.

Try this 👉 Record yourself daily saying something short and listen back. This simple daily practise will desensitize you. What you say doesn’t matter. Just that you hear your voice back once per day.

Every body has this. Some stay trapped by it and never break through – other push through and those are the people you know through video and audio.

I’d love to know if you have any ‘hating your voice’ stories or your tips for getting over it. Let me know.

If setting up a podcast is on your list of marketing goals then you’ll quickly find there are a lot of moving parts. It can take weeks of trial and error to work out the right tools, tech and quirks. Never mind the requirements of Apple podcasts and Spotify.

So – sit back and chill as I walk you through it all.

And if you want to download the notes and links – they’re all here.

Digital marketing skills are in demand for a good reason. Money flows where attention goes and most of the time your attention is online. Because of this business small and large are willing to pay for the support they need to compete.

Specialist digital marketing businesses are thriving all over the world. But often there’s a problem. A lot of socialists work in silos and it can be hard for the client to discriminate or prioritise. Software vendors offering marketing automation platforms compete for attention. There are more methodologies, frameworks and hacks than you can shake a stick at. It’s a confusing and noisy landscape with no apparent clear path for the business owner.

I often describe the problem a business owner has when approaching digital marketing as being like walking into the control room of a power station. It’s just a wall of dials, buttons and controls. If I wanted to take control I would have no idea where to start. But what the control room operator knows is that there are only a handful of buttons which really matter. The rest are for special circumstances.

The demand for digital marketing know how in businesses leads to people looking for training. When they do they find the same problem. Every provider want’s to stand out and they promise the world. The promise to train you on the whole ‘control room’ in a vast sprawling course which you never complete or can’t possibly retain.

Digital marketing courses are inherently obsolete. Things just move so fast that the moment a course is designed – everything has changed. An in depth course just can’t keep up with the pace of change.

Digital marketing needs to be done differently. Not as a training event but as a learning lifestyle. You need training on some foundations and support of the specifics. Knowledge is built and deepened over time and this happens best in a community of learning. We also learn best from experts who are working – right now – in the field. Ask anyone who’s good an they’ll tell you the same thing. The learned by looking over the shoulder of someone great.

This has been something which has bothered me for a long time. Watching small business owners being treated as prey in a churn and burn approach to providing a service is painful. I spent a long time thinking about how I could approach filling the knowledge gap and finally completed the Amplify Digital Marketing Accelerator.

The Accelerator is designed to address the challenges and opportunities of small business owners directly in a way that provides long term value and will deliver results. Business owners are natural problem solvers and action takers. I argue that controlling the flow of inbound opportunity for your business is the single most important activity in your business – so why would you.

A – leave that to chance

B – Delegate it to some hipster teenager

The digital marketing accelerator contains the training, support, community and leadership you need to not just get a quick hit of knowledge, but to gradually layer your knowledge and experience over time. All the while observing and discussing what’s working for your peers and learning from the rest of the members.

Running one of the worlds top digital marketing podcasts also has its perks. I’ve made some very smart friends and they all want to help out too. Every fortnight we have masterclasses with some of the biggest names in digital marketing. Members can ask their questions and get direct answers. Many of these guests charge thousands for workshops.

One question which has come up occasionally is if creative or digital marketing agencies can join the accelerator. The answer is a whole hearted yes. I love working with creative agencies and even digital marketing agencies or contractors will admit that often they’re not soo good at practising what they preach and tend operate in a very narrow silo.

I really had intended this to simply be a warning that digital marketing training is often inherently obsolete. Ask anyone who’s making waves online and they’ll tell you that it’s not about knowledge. It’s about consistent action and a digital marketing ‘lifestyle’ which demands a very different perspective. The Amplify Digital Marketing Accelerator will open the door to that lifestyle and I will see you inside.

You can find out all about the Accelerator right here.

One of my roles is as a digital marketing advisor or coach and when I work with new clients I’m asked one question more than any other and it’s :

“How often should I post on social media.”

They understand that posting on social media is one of the keys to building your visibility, discoverability, likeability, credibility and your authority.

It’s important to post on social media because if you don’t then unless you’re just there to be nosey ( which is fine but don’t expect to grow your business ) then you may as well not be there. Just log out and do something productive instead.

There’s no simple answer to how often you should post. It really depends on what you have to work with but I hope that these suggestions might help you.

There are two types of post I see on social media and they fall into two simple categories.

1 – This that are just noise. These are posted for the sake of posting and the authors didn’t really plan they’re post ahead of time. This is what you see most of, particularly on Linkedin.

2 – Those that add value. These are planned out ahead of time and should inspire, educate or entertain. You want to add value so you’re going to need to plan these out ahead of time.

Plan your topics

In order to add value you’re going to need to plan your topics. Know what you have to work with. Make a list of the topics you can regularly turn to for social content. You can download my social media topics prompt list for some help if you like.

What are you for and against

Posts which have a little emotional energy in them often do well so take sheet of paper, lay in on it’s side and draw a line down the middle. Put a title on the left and right saying FOR and AGAINST. Now make a list of things you love and a list of things your against. This should help you get fired up a little – but don’t go nuts.

Know who you’re for

You’re posts are on social media for all to see but they’re not really for everyone. They’re for that one person who matters to you. Do you have a customer avatar – watch mu customer avatar video

Schedule ahead of time

Don’t sit there in front of social media all day like a zombie consumer. Use software to schedule your posts ahead of time and get on with something productive instead.

Consistency then frequency

Consistency on social media is more important than frequency. Do what you can consistently sustain without burning out. If you get some systems in place this can be a lot more than you’re doing right now.

But Bob I just want and answer – how often should I post on social media.

I post once per day on most platforms. It’s that simple. You can do more or our can do less. I often recommend aiming for three posts per week as a good frequency for the average business owner – but make sure you plan ahead of time and avoid sucky posts.

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