One way to be on the first page of google search results when potential customers are looking for what your business has to offer, it to make sure your Google My Business page is optimized.

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Online marketing is no longer optional for most businesses. A majority of shoppers seek out information and reviews online before making a purchase. They expect the businesses they frequent to maintain an online presence, and will probably seek out alternatives if they don’t find what they expect.

With the end of the year fast approaching, let’s take a look at the five online marketing mistakes you must avoid in 2016 if you want your business to thrive.

#1: Not being mobile-friendly

As of 2014, more internet users access their favorite websites using mobile devices than using computers. That means you can’t afford to ignore mobile marketing as a way of getting the word out about your business. Mobile users also spend more time online than people who use computers.

The best way to make your website accessible to mobile users is to go with a mobile-adaptive option. What that means is that your site will automatically adapt so that any user, on any device, gets an easy-to-use version of your site that’s uniquely suited to their phone or tablet. It used to be common for websites to have a separate mobile site, generally indicated by the letter “M” before the site name.

Of course, having a mobile-adaptive site isn’t the only way to cater to mobile users. You may also want to consider collecting mobile numbers to use in marketing. “Text messages are inexpensive to send and tend to have a far higher open rate (close to 99%) than traditional emails.” They can be a great way to engage local customers and get them to visit your business.

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#2: Not claiming your “My business” page

Google My Business has replaced Google Local, and if you haven’t logged in to claim your page, you’re making a big mistake. You can claim your page by logging in to your Google+ account, or by creating one for your business if you don’t have one.

Once you claim your page, you should add a profile picture, a brief description of your business, and a link to your website. It’s also a good idea to include basic information such as a menu, prices, or your hours of operation. Check your address and phone number for accuracy, and use important keywords to reap the SEO benefits.

Not only will claiming your page help local customers find you online, it will also give your local search ranking on Google a boost.

Note: you should also make sure to claim your page on online review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List.

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#3: Not responding to negative reviews

The subject of online review sites brings us to the third mistake on our list. Sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google My Business, and others, offer an easy way for consumers to leave reviews of local businesses. Recent studies reveal that a huge percentage of consumers – upwards of 80% — read online reviews prior to making a purchase.

Everyone loves to get positive reviews, but it’s how you respond to the negative ones that can set your business apart. Every negative review you receive is an opportunity to show customers that you care about them.

To handle negative reviews well, start by claiming your page. Once you have done that, you need to monitor your pages and respond quickly to all reviews, good and bad. If you decide to delegate the responsibility of responding to reviews, make sure you choose someone who can respond to a negative reviews without sounding defensive or angry. Remember that other customers will be able to see your response. This is free marketing designed as customer service, so make the most of it. Be courteous, grateful for the feedback, and make sure to address whatever issues are raised in a timely and respectful manner.

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#4: Not engaging customers or promoting your business on social media

If responding to negative reviews is important, it is equally vital to maintain an active social media presence and engage with your customers there. Despite the overwhelming popularity of social media, a surprising number of companies aren’t using it to their best advantage.

You don’t need to be on every social media site, but picking the right ones is essential. Facebook is still the largest social media site and a great place for businesses who market directly to consumers. For business-to-business marketing, LinkedIn is the gold standard. Businesses who sell aspirational products that lend themselves well to photography would be remiss if they ignored the benefits of setting up a Pinterest account.

It’s a good idea to monitor some of your competitors on social media and see what they are posting. Try sharing a mix of original content and curated content. One easy way to find content is to follow relevant publications and pages and share their posts.

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#5: Not using paid advertising

There are plenty of ways to market your business online for free, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore paid advertising. Online advertising tends to be relatively inexpensive and offers some easy options that allow you to budget an ad that won’t break the bank.

One option to consider is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on search engines like Google and Bing. Both options require you to bid on a selected keyword. On Google AdWords, you can use the Keyword Finder to identify potential keywords. Your ads appear only if you outbid your competitors – the bid is based on a combination of the keyword’s popularity and your website’s authority. Chosen ads appear either at the top of a list of search results or on the right margin of the page.

Social media advertising is another excellent and affordable choice. Facebook offers options to attract new visitors to your Facebook page or website. In addition, you can boost an individual post so it displays to your followers and their friends, or to target demographics you select. Facebook allows you to set a daily budget as low as one dollar, and emails you regular updates that make it easy to track your results. You can also use customer psychographics – things like interests, hobbies, political affiliations, and more – to target your ads. Other social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest offer similar options.

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2016 promises to bring new marketing challenges for all businesses, but if you avoid the five mistakes listed here you’ll be ahead of the pack.

With 85% of all consumers search online for local businesses when they want something. This book will gives steps you need to take to make it so these consumers find YOUR BUSINESS when they do a search.

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Google My Business

Gооglе Mу Buѕіnеѕѕ is the new name for Google Local or Google Maps … or what ever they called it. The bottom line is it is an important service Google offers to help local businesses be found when folks search for a local service on Google. It is one of the easier ways to соntrоl аll оf thе іnfоrmаtіоn you nееd to hаvе available to соnѕumеrѕ.

Wіth Google’s іntrоduсtіоn of thеіr nеw, “Gооglе My Buѕіnеѕѕ”, ѕеrvісе fоr buѕіnеѕѕ оwnеrѕ, уоur wіѕh has bееn granted аnd a vаrіеtу оf dооrѕ will ореn for buѕіnеѕѕеѕ еvеrуwhеrе. Thіѕ service wіll allow owners to update іnfоrmаtіоn, аdd рhоtоѕ, rеаd reviews аnd use Gооglе+ all іn one place. Thіѕ new service wіll not оnlу bеnеfіt thоѕе businesses that аrе аlrеаdу on Google but especially hеlр thоѕе that until nоw hаvе nоt fіgurеd оut hоw tо hаvе a Google рrеѕеnсе.

Both new аnd experienced соmраnіеѕ uѕіng Gооglе will benefit frоm this new ѕеrvісе. Currеnt uѕеrѕ of аnу Google buѕіnеѕѕ оrіеntеd ѕеrvісе, ѕuсh аѕ Places for Buѕіnеѕѕ аnd thе old Gооglе+ dashboard wіll now be аutоmаtісаllу uрgrаdеd to Google Mу Buѕіnеѕѕ. Nоn-uѕеrѕ оf аnd buѕіnеѕѕ-fосuѕеd Gооglе ѕеrvісе wіll ѕіgn uр for thе ѕеrvісе and Google wіll add the buѕіnеѕѕеѕ іnfоrmаtіоn tо Google Sеаrсh, Gооglе Mарѕ and Google+. Thіѕ rеаllу gеtѕ thе nеw buѕіnеѕѕ out thеrе аnd аblе tо be fоund nо matter whаt dеvісе or service a consumer hарреnѕ tо be using.

Gооglе Mу Buѕіnеѕѕ аѕѕіѕtѕ you іn buіldіng a loyal fоllоwіng оf сuѕtоmеrѕ bу аllоwіng thеm tо ѕhоw their аррrесіаtіоn with ratings and reviews, uѕеrѕ саn аlѕо endorse уоur соntеnt аnd re-share роѕt асrоѕѕ the wеb to ѕрrеаd the word some more. Ownеrѕ саn also rеѕроnd to rеvіеwѕ and сhаt wіth followers оr fаnѕ tо gіvе thеm thе information thеу need in rеаl tіmе. Thіѕ hеlрѕ to buіld a good rеlаtіоnѕhір wіth сuѕtоmеrѕ to еnѕurе they endorse your business and bесоmе rеturn сuѕtоmеrѕ to уоur business.

In addition tо thе fеаturеѕ stated previously businesses wіll bе able tо роѕt nеwѕ, events, рhоtоѕ аnd other uрdаtеѕ they wаnt tо ѕhаrе оn Gооglе+. Anоthеr іmроrtаnt fеаturе іѕ the іntеgrаtіоn wіth AdWоrdѕ Exрrеѕѕ, whісh helps оwnеrѕ to understand whеrе thеіr сuѕtоmеrѕ аrе coming frоm. Whеthеr they аrе ѕеаrсhіng the business dіrесtlу оr аrе dіrесtеd the buѕіnеѕѕ through a dіffеrеnt avenue. Thіѕ саn bе vеrу bеnеfісіаl tо оwnеrѕ ѕо thеу аrе аblе tо use thеіr advertising resources іn thе rіght lосаtіоnѕ, whеrе реорlе are the mоѕt.

Do you, or a frіеnd of yours owns a buѕіnеѕѕ and could benefit from being found by consumers looking for what you offer on Google. Make the most of the Google My Business ѕеrvісе. Check out our service to help you be found on Google My Business.

Visit our Google Local service page…

Being found in Local Business Search Listings are great for new business owners who are excited about getting listed above the regular search results in the major search engines. Google call Local Business Search Listings, Google My Business.

Make use of Google My Business is recommended also for established website owners that aren’t getting enough traffic from their normal search listing.

The following is a screen capture showing the seven businesses in Sedona that come up on a Google search for Beauty Salon. These businesses will be the first businesses someone will see from this search and will most likely one of them will be the one that gets business from the search.

Any business that wants to do more business should want to be on this list.

Over 97% of internet users use search engines to find local businesses. At Bellrock Internet Service we can optimize your business presence online so you business will come up in the Google My Business list.

We are ready to talk to you about what we can do for your business.

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