Google’s Pac Map

April 1st, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

In the spirit of April Fools’, you can play Pac-Man on Google Maps right now. Please enjoy Customer Lobby’s detailed technical guide to improving your next break.

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1) Go to Google Maps.

2) Choose where to play

orange arrow

We’re playing near Arizona Painting Company, a business in Chandler, AZ that is getting 5-star reviews and 12x ROI automatically with Customer Lobby. Study- Arizona Painting Company

3) Click Pac-Man in the bottom left corner.

4) Don’t let the ghosts get you!!

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In with the New: Big Spring Updates at Customer Lobby!

March 26th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

Customer Lobby has worked closely with local businesses since 2008 to help them take control of their online reputations with great new reviews. Over the last year, we’ve tested and released a new product that helps local businesses get their existing customers back sooner.

Here’s what we’re up to…

New Releases: Spring 2015

Campaigns

Postcards for email

Customer Lobby has the best repeat customer marketing product available today.

This is the only system that’s fully customized for individual businesses. Get your free business analysis in 10 minutes, and see what owners and managers we’re working with right now are loving about it:

Study – Ace Plumbing, Heating & Air with 56x ROI

Study – Prime Time Window Cleaning with 46x ROI

Partnership Webinar

webinar

Customer Lobby’s Partner Network provides support for a wide array of Partners ranging from developers to marketers, associations to Web agencies, and more (see how to join the Partner Network here).

Current Customer Lobby Partners are invited to join us on Thursday, April 9th at 10:00am to see Campaigns in action.

Video

Check out our new video on CustomerLobby.com to learn more about what we’re doing for thousands of local businesses, and stay tuned for more updates next month…

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Google Announcement: Mobile Wins

March 10th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

king

Businesses need to make mobile engagement easy for their customers. This isn’t necessarily shocking news in today’s market, but leave it to Internet giant Google to make the big waves with its recent announcement:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

In other words, mobile is winning and is about to create noticeable change in the landscape of Google Search results.

So, What Should You Do?

Be ready on April 21st by making sure your business’s online reputation is as mobile-friendly as possible. This is a good move for local business owners far beyond April. By this time last year, 58% of adults in the U.S. used smartphones (42% for tablet computers), and user growth isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Tools

Check how your business’s site looks on mobile devices with Google Developers’ help, here.

Mobile friendly test

If your results indicate it’s time for a website makeover, you can find more helpful information on getting started from Google Developers on this page  – including how to find the right developer if you want to use that option.

For Customer Lobby Subscribers, Get More…

REVIEWS: Capture reviews from 100% of  your happy customers with your mobile-friendliness. Customer Lobby has released a new app that lets you or your staff get reviews on-site and face-to-face with customers who want to give back for great service.

Download the app here (iOS) or here (Android) if you’re a Plus account holder or higher. If you aren’t yet, get in touch with us to learn more!

OPTIMIZATION: Your Customer Lobby account dashboard shows you where traffic to your page is coming from, broken down by source. Anything over 20% coming from Google is great because it means your business is dominating Google Search results.

Consistently updated customer review content is still imperative to a competitive ranking on Google. Each review Customer Lobby gets for your business has a unique URL and is verified by Google for stronger ranking. Plus, we publish each review to 15 major directories to boost your business’s listings even more.

If you’re already a member, visit Reviews – Dashboard in your account for a real-time look at how your reviews are doing on Google.

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REACH: We have a new product specifically designed for local businesses. We know every business is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all optimized solution for reaching out to your current/repeat customers.

Our new product is a set it – forget it tool that helps you reach your current customers smarter.

We look at your data to predict which customers are most likely to need your service again soon. Then we send a series of customizable postcards and emails with the look and feel of your business.

Postcards for email

From there, we show you which customers come back and  how much money they spend for trackable, guaranteed results month after month. Get in touch to see what we’re doing for business owners and how it’s unique to what you may be trying right now.

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Are You Doing It Yourself or Doing Yourself In?

February 26th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

pacman

Quick and easy do-it-yourself (or DIY) projects are awesome. Not only do you end up with something useful and unique at the end, you also get lasting experience out of crafting that something from start to finish.

One example to try for fun? Coding with Codepen. Their site explains what the tool does best: “It is an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code editor for your browser with instant previews of the code you see and write”.

The real draw of Codepen is its instant gratification and validation. You type some lines of code or copy and paste example language from a tutorial like this (which I recommend for first-time explorers) into a fresh dashboard called a “New Pen”, and your banner, button, animation, or whatever else you want to test appears below.

Or just check out great projects shared by other users and see every piece of complex code that makes it run. I recommend this Pacman animation if you’re reading this on a break.

When to Avoid Doing It All Yourself

Answer: When you have zero spare time AND there’s a provable solution made just for you.

Customer Lobby recently released a customer communication product that’s easy to use and custom-designed for each business. Our new feature gets local businesses provable ROI and provides updated reports to continuously improve their marketing.

Get in touch with us for a quick demo customized for your business.

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It’s Time to Give Apple Maps a Second Chance

February 19th, 2015 By Kelsey Smith

We recently posted about Google MapMaker, but what about adding your business to Apple Maps? Apple Maps debuted in 2012 to less than stellar reviews and quickly became the butt of many jokes and Internet memes (personally, I like the one below). Apple, however, has been working quietly at improving the feature and released Apple Maps Connect a few months ago. The product was recently released in several markets outside of the United States.

apple maps development team

Apple Maps Connect is a free service that allows local businesses to quickly update and add their business information to Apple Maps. These listings will then appear on both the desktop and mobile version of Apple Maps.

Like most Apple products, Apple Maps Connect has a sleek, modern design and is fairly simple to use. To get started you log in with your Apple ID (the same one you use for iTunes or the App store), and search their database for your business. You’ll then receive an automated call from Apple to verify that you’re are the business owner or an authorized representative. This call will provide you with a code that you’ll enter to be able create a new listing or to update the following:

  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Map Location (you can drop a pin on a map where your business is located)
  • Place Status (i.e. is the business open or closed down)
  • Categories (you can select 3 categories and a sub-category for each. You can also suggest categories.)
  • Open Hours
  • Business website
  • Yelp page
  • Facebook page
  • Twitter page

Unfortunately, there seems to be some bugs and the verification call may not always work the first time, resulting in a wait time between attempts. Luckily, it seems Justin Mosebach and Mike Blumenthal have found a hack for this problem.

Apple is also working on indoor mapping (which works with iBeacon), but you’ll have to meet some restricting qualifications to be eligible for this feature now.

As always, it’s important to make sure your business’s information is correct in Apple’s database, and that it appears the same there as it does in all of your other Web listings.

Updating or adding your business to Apple Maps will help increase your Web presence and provide another place for prospective customers to find you.

 

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Opportunity Isn’t Polite Enough to Knock

February 5th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

Yesterday, one of my coworkers sparked a discussion on powerful inspirational quotes. Today, I have this line displayed on my desk:

“Opportunity does not knock. It presents itself when you break down the door.”

Who originally said these words? Well, it depends on which website you choose to click in the Google search. Yep, the same idea is attributed to wildly different “original” speakers when you look it up.

Similarly, pinpoint origins of big ideas that few people saw coming (or many underestimated) can be and often are overlooked down the line.

That’s why innovation is vital. Even once you have a totally unique idea for your business – which is a huge challenge in itself – you risk leaning on one idea so much that you eventually fall behind while new competitors have pre-broken ground to soften their entry into the market.

Latest Door Broken Down by Customer Lobby

Customer Lobby supports thousands of local businesses by helping them collect more reviews and get more business. Customer reviews and reputation management solutions as unbeatable online marketing assets aren’t going away anytime soon, and we’re going to continue to lead the industry.

While we continue to provide support here, we have added new features to help local businesses get more after the sale with more repeat revenue from past customers.

Stay tuned, and get in touch today to see what trackable predictive advertising to your top customers will do for your business. Call us, no knocking required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From: Comcast, To: Mr. %$!#@ Customer

January 29th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

What happened in the office did not stay in the office in this latest case of Comcast customer “service”.

The news and photographic evidence broke yesterday about a Comcast customer named Ricardo Brown in Spokane, Washington who received his bill and a salutation I can’t write here without the comic book censorship above. (Classic hint: Hold your tongue and say “apple”.)

Getting a bill is never fun, and this one added insult to injury in a blunder not too far off the heels of the company’s last bad PR event. Rather than add more negativity to this unfortunate story, we can visit customer service lessons that stem from it like last time.

1) Don’t bulldoze your customers.

Ricardo’s wife, Lisa, says she had tried to cancel the cable part of her service and was met with refusal and a transfer to a “retention specialist”, who then pushed her toward an even tighter contract. When she saw the…um…alteration the company made on her husband’s name she said, “I was never rude. It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.”

Customer Lobby has found that the majority of revenue for local service businesses comes from repeat customers, not brand new ones. When keeping customers happy is your lifeblood, it’s not a good idea to alienate them with poor communication and give them stories like Lisa’s to share online.

2) Take the high road, because you’re a pro.

Clearly, someone at Comcast let a personal grudge translate into professional damage. What was probably a very quick edit has now landed that employee’s employer on the “bad business practices” list again.

The occasional negative customer experience is inevitable for ANY business, just like losing customers occasionally can’t be 100% avoided. But your online reputation and your revenue don’t have to suffer from these problems, and there are measurable solutions. Just like responding well to a negative review is a great solution for your reputation (remember, we’ll help you write the perfect response), responding professionally to your customers’ concerns has a lot more measurable staying power than burning the bridge.

 

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High-Conversion Content in Just 15 Seconds? It’s Not Impossible. Join Us!

January 22nd, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

We loved the turnout at last week’s presentation, “Asking Customers for Reviews: Why, When, and How,” and invite you to join us next week for our third broadcast:

“How To Make Your Business Remarkable in 15 Seconds”

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Free Broadcast
Thursday, January 29th
11:00am-11:15am PST
Hosted by Kelsey Brown, Marketing Manager

Fact: Most online traffic bounces off a page after 15 seconds.

Proof: Plenty of research.

Additional Proof: Think of the last time you really read online (no skimming!).

 

How do you project high-conversion messages about your business when you only have your audience for 15 seconds?

You can’t make a first impression twice, so join us for just 15 minutes of your day to find out about:

  • Hitting all the right notes with your Web audience.
  • Answering “Who am I and what can I provide?” for your visitors.
  • Real local businesses who are using design to draw customers.
  • Exceptions to the 15 seconds rule and why they’re special.

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Google MapMaker: How It Can Help Your Business

January 15th, 2015 By Kelsey Smith

We already know that it’s important to keep business information consistent across the Internet. In fact, inconsistent information can not only confuse your prospective customers, but it can also negatively affect your ranking in search engine results. In addition to the directories your business is listed on, you should also make sure that customers are able to find you and up-to-date information on Google Maps.

logo-map-maker

 

NAP, It’s Important

First things first, it’s important to verify that your business’s information is correct wherever it is listed.  The most important thing to check is your company name, address and phone number (also known as NAP for those who like acronyms or sleep-related terms). This information is like your company’s fingerprint, it’s a unique identifier that helps Google and other search engines recognize your business and it helps potential customers find you.

Inconsistencies in your information are problematic for several reasons. A major one is that having conflicting information is bad for search engine optimization (SEO). Conflicting information can also hinder review syndication.

 

What is MapMaker and How Can It Help Local Businesses

Google’s MapMaker allows people to become cartographers and use their local knowledge to update Google maps by adding and editing locations around the world. It provides access to correct errors you may find, add missing points of interest and add details to existing content

To confirm user contributions are accurate, each edit will be reviewed. After the additions are approved, the edits will appear in Google Maps within minutes—dramatically speeding up the time it takes for online maps to reflect the often-changing physical world.

These user updates help determine whether your business is listed correctly in Google, and how visible your business is in Google+ Local search results.

To see if your Google Maps information is accurate, perform a search of your business’s address and look at the map results to see where your business shows up. Is the pin dropped in the right location? Is the content and NAP that appear accurate? In addition to being able to edit this information, you can also add extra details, like hours of operation, if your business is located in a shopping center or if there’s a parking lot available.

It’s a good idea to perform Google searches of your business anyway, to make sure your online reputation is fair and accurate (if you don’t like what you see, here’s how we can help).

There is also an Edit/Report button in MapMaker, where you can request a listing be changed by providing an explanation as to why certain information is incorrect and any valuable information supporting your claims, though be advised Google can reject your appeal.

Updating your business location with accurate detail on Google MapMaker will help your customers to find you, and will give you an edge during map location searches. MapMaker also feeds data to Google My Business.

Note: Google has several YouTube Videos and a FAQ to help users navigate and make edits with MapMaker.

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3 Internet Marketing Takeaways from BrightLocal’s Latest SMB Survey

January 9th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

BrightLocal just released results from its survey, “SMB Internet Marketing Survey 2014″. Like this study on the increasing importance of online customer reviews, BrightLocal’s recent research (in which 736 SMBs participated) provides plenty of remarkable stats. This time, on the ways small to medium-sized businesses use online marketing, and how they prioritize their strategies when trying to engage customers.

The survey is worth checking out in full, but I’ll review my top takeaways for SMBs, by SMBs:

 

1) 75% Consider Internet Marketing “Effective” or “Very Effective” at Boosting Business

When surveyed, a whopping 75% of the 736 small businesses included said that promoting themselves to online prospects is a sure way to attract new customers (32% in the “very effective” group and 43% in the “effective” group).

This is up from 68% in 2013, and correlates with the trend we’re seeing over and over: The online evolution of “word of mouth” referrals.

 

2) Google+ and Google My Business Confuse Some SMBs

20% of the businesses surveyed said they understand these platforms are significant, but find them difficult to comprehend. 17% said they find it annoying trying to keep up with Google’s numerous tweaks.

We first covered Google’s new small business product here, and got granular with a series of instructional videos Google released here. With many SMBs finding it impossible to use Google+ and Google My Business smoothly, it makes even more sense to release a “how-to” series like this.

Huge note: Platforms that are confusing to business owners are often just as confusing to their customers. Additionally, Google+ and others like Yelp and Angie’s List require account sign-ins for customers who want to write reviews.

Streamlining the online review process on the business owners’ end AND their happy customers’ end is what we do.

 

3) 70% of SMBs Spend Less than $500/Month on Online Marketing

My first reaction to this? “As it should be!” SMBs should focus on quality Internet marketing – like turning their best customers into their best promoters – instead of falling in the “higher cost, higher value” trap. It’s interesting to note that this is the same group who said Internet marketing is effective or very effective at generating new business for them.

Note: Getting online content that performs across several sites, drives traffic, pulls in new customers, and keeps current customers coming back doesn’t cost nearly this much. In fact, it doesn’t cost anything in a full trial.

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