Don’t Be Afraid of Google

Google

I recently attended a networking meeting that had a business round table format and I kept hearing two reoccurring themes. The first that a few people wouldn’t let drop was how our local Chamber is worthless. The Chamber bashing was so bad I almost got up and left. I felt uncomfortable sitting there while a member from the Chamber graciously took the abuse. But, instead, I chose to speak up and share how wonderful the Chamber has been for me and my business. My Chamber launched my writing and public speaking income streams.

The second reoccurring theme was your Google presence. No matter how it was sliced and diced the message was clear, “If you don’t follow me and do what I say regarding your Google listing you and your business are doomed.” Well, their mission was accomplished. Attendees sat there with looks of fear on their faces. The room was silent. Business owners looked to their left and their right and were met with faces registering fear.

As a psychologist and business owner, I realized very quickly what was taking place. A few members were using this networking/business round table as their stage to get clients. They were tag teaming and invoking fear and singing praises to how great Google is as a search tool for new customers who want their products. This was followed by again more beating up on the Chamber and how no one goes to the Chamber any longer for local information. In psychology, we use the term “confederate” to describe a person or people that are specifically planted in a group to sway the group regardless if they are right or wrong. Research studies on conformity use confederates and an example can be viewed at this link
https://youtu.be/-qlJqR4GmKw?list=PLB72C822FB82E1A6D

That is exactly what was happening here. Three individuals or couples dominated the meeting by invoking fear, offering a testimonial, and then offering a solution to the group. Think back to large sales meetings or conferences you attended and I bet you can recall a similar incident but didn’t realize it for what it was – a sales strategy.

Now, I am not advocating not worrying about having your Google listing accurate and up to date. But, most of you who have been with me for any length of time have already claimed your business listing and know it is accurate. You also know that if you put all your eggs in one basket and worry only about Google analytics you would get nothing else accomplished. Google is often changing their algorithm. Many “experts” will tell you not to focus on the Google analytic. I agree. Outsource this task. Focus on what you can control.

As a small business owner, you probably do not have the budget to compete with larger companies who have one person devoted to monitoring changes Google is constantly making in how it ranks who get the #1 position. But, you can focus on your lead attraction strategy. That was the missing ingredient at this meeting. No one talked about lead attraction and the things you can do to drive traffic to your website, blog, or social media accounts.

Content marketing is a great tool to use to drive traffic to your website. Content marketing helps you rank higher in Google search results. But, more importantly, you don’t have to wait for your customers to Google you. You are getting your message in front of them so they don’t have to Google you. Content marketing has many forms. It can be the publication of an article or blog post. Media releases are a great way to get your business noticed as well as radio and other guest interviews. Social media also helps you appear in search results. Host a Blab, post a video on YouTube or Pinterest. Published posts on LinkedIn are also great ways to claim your spot in your niche on Google. Get creative. Use your key words. Google rewards good content. Content marketing should be included in your marketing strategy.

Don’t live in fear of Google. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. Take control of the things you can control. You can control your lead attraction strategy. If you don’t have one call me and I will help you design one.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

accessI’ve noticed lots of buzz around ADA Compliant websites, have you? Technological advances make using a computer and working, browsing, and shopping online assessable to everyone regardless of their disability. You do not want to risk losing a customer because he or she cannot navigate or view your website. You also do not want to risk getting a hefty fine for not being ADA compliant.

Below you will find exerts from various articles I’ve read to help you understand this new topic circulating.

New legal landscape is taking shape
The DOJ’s proposed amendments to the ADA, expected in April 2016, would “require public entities and public accommodations that provide products or services to the public through websites on the Internet to make their sites accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” The DOJ is careful, however, not to suggest products and services currently offered through websites are excused from ADA compliance, despite the fact that amendments to that effect are currently being proposed.

Thompson Information Services published an ADA Compliance Guide Newsletter in late 2014 that suggests the DOJ will likely adopt the most recent version of WGAC 2.0 — written by theWorld Wide Web Consortium, an international community that develops open standards for the Web — as the standard for accessibility. The newsletter holds: “Costly or not, and the lack of website regulations notwithstanding, DOJ is pressuring companies to modify websites and mobile apps to meet WCAG 2.0 technical standards.”

In support of this prediction, the DOJ reached a settlement agreement with edX Inc., a provider of online courses, in April 2015. The settlement resolved “allegations that edX’s website … w[as] not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities … in violation of Title III of the ADA.” In the settlement, edX Inc. entered a four-year agreement to make its system “fully accessible within 18 months.” The agreement also requires edX Inc. to provide training for course creators, appoint Web Accessibility positions, solicit feedback, and “retain a consultant to evaluate conformance of the website, platform, and mobile applications.”

Read more at http://www.technologylawsource.com/2015/06/articles/information-technology/the-focus-of-the-ada-turns-to-websites-in-the-digital-age-is-your-website-compliant/

Who Does This Apply?
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses and nonprofit services providers make accessibility accommodations to enable the disabled public to access the same services as clients who are not disabled. This includes electronic media and web sites. While the ADA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, even smaller businesses can benefit from ensuring that their websites are ADA compliant. Doing so opens your company up to more potential clients and limits liability. Web developers should include ADA compliant features in the original site and application plans.

This is particularly important when working for a government agency or government contractor, as these organizations must follow web accessibility guidelines under Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Although ADA and Section 508 compliance are different, the published checklist for Section 508 compliance offers insight into ways to make websites accessible for people with disabilities, and thereby work toward ADA compliance.

Learn more at http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/web-designer/creating-an-ada-compliant-website/

Test Your Website
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools – I did test several of these and they flagged what I or my web designer needs to fix to be compliant.

http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php – this one offered an explanation in language I understood and seemed very specific with an explanation how to repair the offending item.
http://wave.webaim.org/
https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/

I recommend you contact your web developer or designer and inquire about making your website ADA Compliant and continue to educate yourself on this topic.

Resource
ADA Best Practices Took Kit for State and Local Governments – this is an excellent resource to learn about why you want an ADA Compliant website and some common problems and solutions.
http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm

Example on a Website Showing Compliance
http://www.right.com/wps/wcm/connect/right-us-en/home/info/accessibility

 

All About Branding: Curb Appeal

Your storefront

As a business owner you know that branding is important. Branding encompasses not only your logo, marketing message, your personal appearance but your store front or home office. When was the last time you looked at your business from the eyes of the customer? My five tips for branding your business with curb appeal will walk you step by step through the eyes of your customer.

Five Tips for Branding Your Business using Curb Appeal

1. Parking Lot: When your customer drives into your parking lot what does he or she see? Is there litter and debris leftover from lawn mowing or spring or fall foliage from trees? Do you have dead or near dead plants that need replaced? Is your grass green? Is the concrete clean? Is the sidewalk full of cracks with weeds in the cracks? Do you have a trash can or cigarette butt can that is overflowing? Is there a dead bird in the parking lot? I had a client tell me she would not go to a restaurant because there was a dead bird lying in the parking lot and when she mentioned it to the restaurant owner the owner shrugged and commented “they didn’t pick that up?” It is imperative that the first view of your business is favorable and invites the customer to stop and get out of his or her vehicle.

2. Store Front & Door: Is your store front and front door clean? Are there fingerprints? Go right now and grab the glass cleaner and get that door cleaned. When was the last time you painted or pressure washed your business? If your business looks old and drab you will attract clients that expect to receive a low cost product. If you want to charge a premium price for your products and services you must have a storefront that attracts the clientele that will pay your premium price. Think about it. When we go to a mom and pop diner we expect to pay for a low cost but yummy meal. When we go to a glitzy restaurant with fancy lighting and furnishings we expect and happily pay a premium price.

3. Welcome Mat: Is your welcome mat clean? When was the last time it was replaced? Your welcome mat not only welcomes the customer but it will catch dirt from his or her shoes and aid in keeping your store clean once he or she walks inside.

4. Lighting: Is your parking lot well lit? Do you have bulbs that need replaced? When your customers arrive at night is the parking lot well lit? Is the path and entry to your business well lit to provide safety to you customers? I recommend you visit your business when it is dark outside and get a good view of what your customers see.

5. Windows: Do you employ a window cleaning service? When you hang posters or sales fliers is there leftover tape stuck to the window? When the customer approaches your business what do they see when they look in the window? Is it an inviting image? Do they see your merchandise, stacks of boxes, employees washing dishes or cobwebs? Again, now is the time for you the business owner to take a good look at your business from the outside.

Now is the time to focus on curb appeal. Many of my tips are very low cost to implement and require only a bit of elbow grease or sweat equity. Painting, pressure washing and replacing furnishings may require being added to your budget. Curb appeal is the first step in branding your business. If your business does not look inviting people will not stop. When people do not stop you do not have customers. When you do not have customers you do not have a business. Branding is a necessary step in growing your business.

Get Your Customers to Fall Back in Love with YOU!

Welcome, February! Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day fast approaching. February is a great month to reach out and reconnect with your customers, clients or engage with your leads or referrals without feeling salesy or spammy. Below are tips to help you keep your customers falling in love with you over and over.

Show the Love Tips

  1. Send a Valentine’s Day card. Go to the store and buy some Valentines. Write a handwritten note specific to each customer or client expressing your appreciation for their continued business over the years. If it is a new client express gratitude and let the person know how much you are enjoying working together. If the person is a referral or lead tell the person how much you look forward to working together in the future. If you are creative you could create your own cards and have them printed at Walgreens as a photo. Then mail the photo in the same manner you would mail a postcard. This is cost effective ensuring you will not be left with hundreds of extra cards.
  1. Enclose a Sweet Treat. Remember, when you were in grade school and exchanged Valentine’s? Did you put a few of those cute little confection hearts with sayings on them in the envelope? If you are like me you labored over the hearts picking just the right ones for the person. Heaven forbid you put a mushy one in an envelope of someone you didn’t really like. Pinterest has great examples of how to send a fun size candy bar with a corresponding Valentine’s jingle. You could also enclose a gift card or gift certificate for a coffee or sandwich at a local establishment. Know your customers and clients. Send what will brighten their day.
  1. Offer a Sweet Treat for Free. Do not ruin the romance by offering a sale. Include an offer for a sweet treat from your business. This could be a free product or service. It does not have to be expensive. A tip sheet that saves the person money is appropriate. This is an opportunity for you and other business owners to promote each other. If you cannot think of what to give away then purchase gift certificates from another business.

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to connect with your customers and leads. The hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday are over. If you didn’t send a holiday or Christmas card now is your opportunity to reach out and express gratitude. If you did send a Christmas card and a small gift this is another opportunity to continue cultivating the relationship. Know your budget. Do not spend money you do not have. A box of the silly cards you sent in grade school will solicit a smile from the recipient and send the same message as a fancy card. I had a student a few years ago bring everyone a Valentine using the cards that school age children often exchange. I still have the “teacher” card. It brings back sweet memories of the class and my student. So, take a few minutes and decide who will be your Valentine this year. Design your Sweet Treat strategy and get to the store and buy those cards or have your design team create one unique to your business.

Spread the love in 2016!

Enjoy a Free 15 Minute Strategy Session with Me!

Happy Valentine's Day

 

Now What- You Just Survived A Business Expo

Expo and trade show season is upon us. However, many business owners do not know what to do after the expo is over. So, before you pack up your display items and wait for the phone to ring with new orders you need to do five things.
1. Review photos of your booth. Make time to self reflect. Look at photos of your booth with a fresh eye or ask a friend to provide you feedback. Where people able to see your business name? Was your business name viewable from various directions? Was your business name too small? Sign displayed to low? Did people know and understand what you were selling or what service you provide? What was your purpose of being at the expo? Did your table display work for you? Did you get the traffic you wanted to your booth? If no, why do you think you didn’t? Did you sit behind your table or were you standing and out front of your table display? Did you actively engage the crowd or were you shy?
2. Inventory your supplies. Business owners will want to take an inventory of what marketing materials they need to reorder. Did you run out of business cards or brochures? What promotional or marketing item was untouched? Do not place an order in such a large quantity that you may not give the items away before they become obsolete i.e. calendars or candy. Don’t wait until the day before your next event to order new marketing or expo supplies. You will save money by doing it now and not needing to pay for rush shipping.
3. Follow up with your leads. If your mission was to capture leads you will want to take time to follow up. It is highly recommended that you do so immediately after the event before your competitors get to the lead first. Also, follow up with the same theme as the event. If it was a pirate theme use a pirate them in your follow up email or written correspondence so that the lead remembers where and when they provided you their information. Next time you may want to already have your follow up letter prepared so when you get home exhausted the task is less daunting.
4. Evaluate your Return on Investment (ROI). Trade shows and expos are not a good return on investment (ROI) for everyone. When you are reviewing what worked or didn’t you will want to also consider your personality. If you are shy or timid maybe this is not the place to spend your money. Business expos and trade shows are not for the timid. They require stepping out and talking with the attendees. Also, take time to focus on the ROI of your marketing materials. Where they worth the expense? Did they bring you paying leads? Or where they just free goodies for the adults that used the expo as a grown up trick or treat event?
5. Celebrate. Celebrate that you survived another Business Expo.
Business expos and trade shows are a part of many business owners’ grassroots marketing efforts. When you follow my five tips by reviewing photos of your booth, inventorying your supplies, follow up with your leads, reviewing your ROI, and making time to celebrate surviving the expo you will be guaranteed business expo success.

My online course is available now!

http://www.coachjaynine.com/home.htmlBusiness Expo

Seven Tips For a New Year, New You – Refresh Your Business Brand

As we begin a new year, it is time to refresh your business brand and present a new you to your target niche. Using my seven tips, you will present a new you to prospective customers and clients while inshareasimage (54)creasing your credibility and developing your expertise.

1. Toss the t-shirts. This is the year you upgrade your business appearance for you and your employees. This is the year you toss the t-shirts and start wearing a polo shirt with your logo on it or adopt your industry uniform. T-shirts are cheap, comfortable and unstructured. As a business owner, you want to present a polished and professional appearance. Bakers and restaurant cooks may want to adopt the professional chef or bakers’ appearance for 2010. Take a few minutes, look, and see what your competitor is wearing. Your business will stand out from your competitor this year when you adopt a uniform that promotes your expertise.

2. Review your marketing materials. Now is the time to review your marketing materials and replace any items that have an incorrect mailing address, phone number or email address. You will also want to replace any inventory that has become worn or faded. Your marketing materials represent you make sure they do not make you look bad.

3. Update your copyright dates. Business owners need to make time to review their websites to ensure the copyright date is current. People do check the copyright date and use it to determine if the business owner and his or her employees are still in business. They also use it to judge how up to date they are on the latest industry trends. If the date is outdated, customers see the business as outdated. Attention to detail is important for you and your business to succeed.

4. Update your online business listings. Getlisted.org is a great resource to that will show you where your business is registered online. Business owners may be surprised that they are not listed where they thought they were. You will also want to review your listings online to ensure they are correct.

5. Refresh your content. Review your website content and your marketing materials. Is the content still current? Does it still reflect your mission and vision for your business?

6. Remove the holiday images and greetings. Now is the time to double check that you removed the holiday greetings, videos, or pictures from your website or blog.

7. Verify your business links. Does your business link to other businesses? Do you use links in your email tagline? Now is the time to verify the link works.

When business owners make time to use my seven tips, they will present their business in a positive manner for the New Year. This will aid in establishing the business owners credibility so he or she is seen as the expert, which will result in an increase in business revenue.

 

cropped-RunyonPhoto_JHoward004webcopy.jpgJaynine's work as a Coach has been recognized by professional organizations throughout the nation. She has served as a guest expert for the Huffington Post and has been quoted in Military Times and USAA magazine. Her Pinterest Board for job hunting and interviewing was listed as one of the Top 100 Pinterest Boards for Job hunting. Jaynine's expertise was also fundamental in the certification program for the Social Media Institute where she served as a test question contributor. Her clients have increased their online presence by over 400% in one week after implementing the strategies she taught. Her online and offline marketing strategies contribute significantly to business owners increasing their revenue. Are you ready to turn your dreams into reality? If so contact Jaynine today at www.coachjaynine.com or 910.539.2810.