How to add your business to Google Local Business Search

Adding your business to Google’s Local Business Center is easier than easy; if you don’t have time to do it then really – give up, go home, be a fish.

Google Local Business Search

We’ve talked a lot on the blog recently about Social Media marketing for small businesses – the need to add new content through a blog, of maintaining a relevant and interesting Twitter stream, of using Facebook etc, etc.  We’ve learned that actually doing those things, regularly and effectively, can be outside the scope of some business owners - which is why we’ve developed our online business marketing services.

However – adding your business to Google Local Business Search is something that even the most time stressed and technophobic business manager can do. Google have this one down – just for a lark, Alex and I added the Denver and Los Angeles offices of Kilted Chaos during yesterday’s #KiltFeed. I won’t say who was quicker at it – but both of us were done and verified in less than 10 minutes. Here's what you do:

Go to:

http://google.com/lbc

log in using your gmail address. You do have a gmail address don't you - it's the the one you used to set up your google analytics - you do have a weekly google analytics report that tells you what's happening with your website don't you? If you don't - have a quick read of Kilted Chaos' approach to Analytics.

OK - so you've logged in, now click on the big button that says - "Add new business" - you will arrive on the following page:

Adding your business to Google Local Business Search is Easy

Enter your business address and your business telephone number into the form plus a little about what it is you do. Note - it is important that the business phone you enter here is sitting next to you - Google are gonna call you - yes - it is exciting!

Anyway - once you've controlled the anticipation and talked up your business a bit - click next and you get to the following page:

Adding your business hours, payment methods, Pictures and videos to Google Local Business Search is Easy

You don't need to be too crazy at this point - remember you can always come back and add some of the more entertaining media - but put your business hours in, payment methods and a picture of your business logo. What - you don't have a business logo? What are you using on Facebook, Twitter, your business cards? Read here for Kilted Chaos' super inexpensive approach to business branding and logos

Ok - so you've put your information in - you hit submit and you arrive on the following page:

This is the phone number which Google will ring to verify your business in Google Local Business Search

Now – here comes the tricky bit, yes it is possible to cock this bit up (cough cough @kilted_alex) You'll see the phone number you entered earlier - make sure it is correct 'cos in a minute you're gonna get a call from Ms. Google and she's going to give you a 5 digit number. Have a pen handy and hit Finish.

You'll arrive on the following page:

When Google Business Search calls you, enter the 5 digit pin number into this box

If everything has gone to plan, your phone should start ringing and a bizarre female robot should be on the other end. Write down the 5 digit number and enter it into the box. That's it - you're done.

Now - if something does go wrong, let's say your cellphone cuts out or you're trying to multi-task and you don't have ovaries - then you can always repeat the process. Just click the request verification link and the call will be repeated. Google will let you cock it up 5 or 6 times in a row before they give up on you and tell you that you've exceeded the number of calls for that account in one day. If it gets that bad - they can also send you a postcard - takes a couple of weeks - but hey you'll get there eventually!

If after reading this you still don't want to do it - then contact Kilted Chaos and we'll do it for you - of course you'll have to pay us and we'll almost feel guilty about taking your money but hey - we're here to make it easy for you and if that includes helping you get in touch with your inner ichthyoid - that's fine by us.

Marketing Your Business Online

Kilted Chaos is launching a new service for business owners who want to market their business online.  Focusing on four key areas, we will:

1/ Write quality content that is SEO optimized and interesting for the visitor to read

2/ Manage and respond to responses to content

3/ Produce easy to understand weekly analytics and adapt behavior in light of data

4/ Handle all technical upgrades and implement & suggest new technologies as appropriate

Kilted Chaos knows SEO

So you’ve got your easy to update website, a professional looking logo and avatar, a Twitter account a Facebook page and a few pictures of your business up on Flickr, what next?  Well, this is supposed to be the easy bit, (easy in that you don’t need any tech skills to do it): adding content, writing blog posts, talking about your business and what you do, responding to comments and tweets, making friends with your customers – oh and yes - still managing the day to day operations of your business.

For the majority of our clients it’s the business owner themselves who sits at the computer, during the trading day if they’re lucky, but more typically out of hours.  The rush of content that seems so easy in the first couple of weeks becomes harder to sustain and after a few months dries up.   There’s no doubt that marketing your business online brings customers in and it’s true that the tools developed in the last few years have practically eliminated the technical barriers – however, no one has yet invented the magic machine that generates the extra hours in the day needed to do all this.

The trap that a lot of small business owners fall into at this point is to think that it is all about the addition of content – and nice “keyword heavy” content at that.  It’s pretty easy to find someone who will write you a keyword packed article for $5.00 that is practically unreadable.   For a better understanding of what your site content should be, check out this great article on web copy from Claire Mason of Leapfrogg – a classy boutique digital marketing firm in the UK.

 But say that you’ve seen the light and have employed a professional writer, one that can actually project enthusiasm for your product with correct spelling and grammar – what happens next?  A new blog post will register on your Twitter feed and on your Facebook page and a customer can interact with that content through a blog comment, a retweet, a reply to a tweet, a post on your wall, etc – who’s going to respond to that?

And with all this activity taking place – who’s tracking what’s working and what isn’t?  Sure you have sales receipts as the ultimate arbiter of success but using blogging and social media to market your business takes time.  You don’t see results straight away, it takes a while to generate reputation and for people to react to that reputation.  If you’re really dropping the hammer you might have produced 25 blog posts over a two month period – which ones were successful and why – how can you learn from your content – what do the analytics say?

Finally – the predominately free tools that you’re now using – WordPress, Plugins, commenting systems, etc – they all get upgraded as new technologies are implemented and security holes fixed.  They’re super easy to upgrade but someone needs to be on top of it – and if you’re allocating out one aspect of your online marketing – should you not make sure the core machinery is taken care of?

There’s a lot to think about – as evidenced by the length of this post – but if you want to start taking your online marketing seriously – get in touch – prices start from as low as $100.

Photo Credit: grunge on Flickr

Social Media Douche

[flickr size="small" float="left"]http://www.flickr.com/photos/21896484@N02/2726201320/[/flickr] When technology disrupts the traditional way of doing things, the small business owner can be at a distinct disadvantage. If like the majority of our clients you don’t have a technology team or a dedicated marketing department – all you have is you – then how do you find the time to learn all this new stuff?

By now you’ve seen the benefit of having an easy to update website and you’ve heard of Twitter and Social Media, but how do you incorporate all this into your daily operations without going crazy and throwing the computer through the screen?

Simple – you hire someone (preferably us) – and as usual you should hire the best expert you can afford. But before you start the hiring process, check out this beautiful paragraph from Wikipedia on Snake Oil Peddlers:

The snake oil peddler became a stock character in Western movies: a travelling "doctor" with dubious credentials, selling some medicine (such as snake oil) with boisterous marketing hype, often supported by pseudo-scientific evidence, typically bogus. To enhance sales, an accomplice in the crowd (a "shill") would often "attest" the value of the product in an effort to provoke buying enthusiasm. The "doctor" would prudently leave town before his customers realized that they had been cheated. This practice is also called "grifting" and its practitioners "grifters".

Now, with the above in mind and to help you in your decision making – Alex and I compiled our personal top 5 tips on what we look for in Social Media Consultants:

Alex:

1

@kilted_alex says be real when you use Twitter otherwise you will be a Social Media Douchebag

Be real – people tweeting the same banal shit as everyone else aren’t exactly adding to the conversation – you might not want to use the F word in a corporate stream but blandness is almost as bad!

2

@kilted_alex says don't be a power re-tweeter otherwise you will be a Social Media Douchebag

Sure re-tweeting adds value but if someone’s stream is nothing but re-tweets then you gotta wonder if they have anything of value to say themselves.

3

@kilted_alex and @snipeyhead say don't be a Social Media Douchebag

Come on – if it looks like a douche, tweets like a douche and reads like a douche – then it’s probably a douche. Check out @snipeyhead for an example of what a good consultant looks like!

4

@kilted_alex says don't pretend to be an expert otherwise you will be a Social Media Douchebag

Just ‘cos you know how to do something doesn’t make you an expert. Tools like Twitter are constantly developing and changing – it’s perpetual beta all the time – beware the Expert.

5

@kilted_alex says unless you can do more than talk a good game you will be a Social Media Douchebag

Sure you can talk about the importance of having a blog – but do you have one – and if you do – is the content worth reading?

Andrew:

1

@kilted_andrew says Social Media Douchebags often have little experience with social media

How can you be an expert in this if you've only be doing it a couple of years - go read what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about the whole 10,000 hours thing

2

@kilted_andrew says if all you do is Tweet, you may be a Social Media Douchebag

Working with 140 characters is one thing - actually writing something of length that has value - well that's another thing entirely.

3

@kilted_alex and @kilted_andrew say if you give yourself a title like Guru, Expert, Visionary then you might be a Social Media Douchebag

The title Guru should be reserved for those teaching Tantric Sex. Nuff said.

4

@kilted_andrew says that people are not dumb - if you insist on trying to sell shit using the same techniques that worked 10 years ago then you might be a Social Media Douchebag

I can't believe that these single page supposed sales funneling techniques are still used - even if it is "by internet marketers for internet marketers". If you see something like this - run - run away, fast.

5

@kilted_andrew says expect your consultant's site to look cool - if it isn't you might be dealing with a Social Media Douchebag

This one is common sense - if the people you are thinking of hiring have a crap website - what makes you think they'll be able to make yours look any better?

Photo Credit: virtualreality on Flickr

Small Business Online Marketing Plan (Restaurant)

Having run a small business we know how essential it is to develop a useable marketing plan. It doesn’t matter how fancy and detailed the document is – if it isn’t easy to execute – you get lost in daily operations and your business doesn’t grow. Having an online marketing plan is as easy as talking to customers about your product and services (you are good at this yes?) but instead of talking, you are writing.

When you get a small business website from Kilted Chaos we use a tool that makes it easy for you to add content – what we would call a “post” - to your website. It really is no different than using a word processor; there’s a small learning curve as you deal with things like tags and images – but basically – adding content to your website will be as easy as creating a new flyer, adding an item to your menu or writing text for an advertisement.

We’ve been on a restaurant kick for the last couple of weeks so let’s see how adding new content can drive a restaurant’s digital and physical marketing:

1/ Every week write a new post about a different menu item
2/ During that week, reduce the price of the menu item by 50%
3/ Have on-table flyers promoting the item with a photo, price reduction and your website details
4/ Encourage diners to comment on the website – every week 1 commenter will win a free entrée
5/ On payment hand every diner a business card with the web address on the front and comment competition details on the back.

This is amazingly simple to do and to manage. The only time consuming thing is to produce the on-table flyers – but it’s definitely worth it in order to drive awareness of the menu, create customer generated content on your website and bring diners back. If you have 100 menu items – there’s 2 years of online marketing – already planned out!

A couple of points to remember: When you write the post – don’t just describe the dish – get someone you know who absolutely loves it to talk about why it is so good – make the description so tantalizing that people have to try it. Also, take your time to produce a good photograph of the dish – you’ll get better at this over time – but a simple camera phone with a good background can suffice – make it look appetizing – if it looks crap – don’t post it.

Quick and dirty sure but amazingly effective and you’ll be astonished by how much you learn about your menu. This approach can be used by any type of business and modified depending on what products and services they offer. Want to get started? Contact Kilted Chaos now and we’ll show you how.

Don't Call it a Blog...

Call it whatever you like!

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If you think of your website, you’ll need an about page where you talk about your business, what it is you do, where you are, etc, you’ll want a contact page – let people know where to find you and how to contact you and then you want an area that reflects the changing priorities and offers that you want to show your customers. You can call this anything you like – Promotions, Newsletter, Announcements, Current Specials, etc – you could even call it a blog!

When we think of the word “Blog” we think of left wing media, self-obsessed egotists and unreliable information – certainly having a “Blog” is not something that’s high up the list for a traditional small business – however…

Forget the name!

Think of the underlying principle! The reason there are so many blogs is that they are seriously easy to use. It’s just like using a word processor except you are doing it online and when you hit save, it is published to the Internet. If you, as a small business owner stop and think for a minute – this is a fantastic tool for you to promote your business. It makes sense to have an area on your site where you promote what is going on – it’s no different than if you are running a promotion in your store – you want to have signage that  tells the customers what is going on. If you are a restaurant, you need to have your Menu online, if you run Auto services, what about your pricing list?

When is a blog not a blog?

If you think of your website, you’ll need an about page where you talk about your business, what it is you do, where you are, etc, you’ll want a contact page – let people know where to find you and how to contact you and then you want an area that reflects the changing priorities and offers that you want to show your customers. You can call this anything you like – Promotions, Newsletter, Announcements, Current Specials, etc – you could even call it a blog!

Everyone’s different!

Some Small Business Owners will get addicted to writing on their website – comments from customers are like candy to a baby and writing a regular update can be rewarding to your bottom line. Other businesses may be content with writing up what this month’s specials are, the current promotion or service that they want to feature. The bottom line is: there's no right or wrong way to go about it, only the way that works for you and even more importantly - your customers!

Trading Up...

We think that once you get the hang of regularly updating your website you will want to move forward with other social media tools. Check out the Social Media Business package  for more details.

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