It’s 2019 and Q1 is quickly coming to an end, leaving many businesses scrambling to hit their numbers, reach their goals and position themselves for success in the months to come.

But in 2019 competition is as fierce as it’s ever been before. Add to that, the ever-evolving nature of digital commerce and rising costs of marketing and you have a recipe for disaster if you’re not well prepared to weather the storm and take advantage of powerful and easy growth opportunities at your fingertips.

This guide will cover a number of the most powerful, yet simple strategies you can implement today to ensure the success and growth of your business for months (if not years) to come.

1. Google My Business (GMB)

What it Is

Google My Business, also known as “GMB” for short, is a free marketing tool made available by Google to any local business. In short, GMB is a robust directory of local business listings that generally is displayed above “organic” search results. These results display your business name, location/map, and other profile information.

Why It’s So Powerful

According to research published by Fronetics, over 62% of B2B buyers start their purchase process with an online search. This number rises to over 79% for B2C purchases.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, another study published by Accenture states that 94% of ALL buyers, both those that made purchases online and offline, stated that search was part of their purchase process.

By ignoring Google My Business and organic search you are potentially losing up to 94% of your customer base.

Worse yet, if you aren’t showing up when and where your prospective customers expect, you can be sure your competitors are.

Benefits Overview:

  • Helps customers find your location
  • Improves brand visibility online
  • Provides useful information such as hours of operation
  • Generates web traffic, phone calls, and sales both on and offline
  • Is another place for you to communicate with customers
  • Provides insightful data and metrics that can be leveraged to make better marketing decisions.

What you Can do to Take Advantage Today

A. Claim your GMB

First up, if you haven’t done so already, claim your GMB on Google. The process is fast and easy to complete in a few minutes.

B. Fill Out Your Profile

Once you’ve claimed your GMB, now it’s time to fill out your profile. The more information you can provide the better.  

Items to Include:

  • Products and services you offer
  • Geographic locations you serve
  • Hours of operation
  • Relevant photos and/or videos
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email

C. Optimize your Listing

Next up, time to optimize. Simply follow the steps below to get started.

NAP Information – This refers to your business name, address, and phone number. It is vital that you make sure these are both accurate AND that they are the SAME across all your digital assets including but not limited to social media and your website.

Business Description – Make this accurate, informative and engaging. Also, be sure to include primary keywords that represent search terms your customers may type into Google when looking for the types of offers you have.

Google Posts – think of these like “mini” adverts for your products/services/brand. You can also include photos to make them stand out and draw attention.

Services/Products – Again, think of these like mini advertorials for each service/product line you offer. Include keywords here as well.

Earn & Respond to Reviews – Positive reviews not only help your GMB rank higher, but they also will improve click-through rates and conversion rates on your site.

D. Promote your GMB

Promoting your GMB rightly deserves its own guide. For now, think of ways you can make your GMB more visible, the places you can publish your information online, and ways you can organically earn more backlinks to your profile.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Social media
  • Local directories
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Content marketing

2. Use Call Tracking Software

What it Is

As with any type of marketing, being able to “know your numbers” is critical for making informed business decisions and growing your business. But how will you know which marketing campaigns are responsible for actually generating customer phone calls to your business?

Call tracking software allows you to gain detailed, actionable and insightful data about which of your marketing campaigns is generating high-quality phone calls.

Why It’s So Powerful

Call tracking software allows you to tap into a treasure trove of important data that can be leveraged to help you optimize the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Benefits Include Tracking:

  • Number of calls
  • Call duration
  • Day/Time of calls
  • Landing page performance
  • Conversion rate
  • Lead scoring
  • Call recording
  • Email alerts
  • Google analytics or ads integration
  • And more…

What you Can do to Take Advantage Today

Today there exists a wide selection of call tracking software to choose from. Our #1 Pick is CallHippo. But if you’re shopping around, consider the following…

Important Factors to Consider when choosing a call tracking provider:

  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness of support
  • Value and features
  • Integrations that are important to you
  • A depth of inventory (i.e. area codes)
  • Documentation and setup
  • Track record of customer satisfaction

Business Phone number

3. Use a Reputation Management Platform

What it Is

Reputation management platforms are those platforms that help you:

  • Monitor your reputation and what others are saying about you online
  • Analyze reputations of the competition
  • Quickly identify and address customer concerns or issues
  • Attract and encourage positive reviews online

Why It’s So Powerful

According to the World Economic Forum, more than 25% of a brand’s value is directly attributable to its reputation. Another study found that around 85% of individuals would pay more for offers presented by a company with higher ratings and better reviews online.

But that’s not all. The US White House Office of Consumer Affairs reported that a dissatisfied customer will tell anywhere between 9-15 other people about their bad experience with your brand.

Fact is, in today’s globally connected economy, your market has options. As such, the reputation of your company is worth more now than ever before, because all things being equal, consumers will buy from the brand with a better reputation than their competitor.

Benefits of Reputation Management Platforms:

  • Helps you build trust
  • Aids in positioning your brand as a trusted authority
  • Enables you to tell your side of the story
  • Improves conversion rates
  • Boosts sales
  • Build a defensive wall against any future negative publicity
  • Attracts more reviews
  • Enables you to address issues fast and efficiently
  • And more…

What you Can do to Take Advantage Today

There are a number of reputation management services and platforms available on the market today. Reputation Desk is one of the most affordable options on the market and some of their features include:

  • Review capture and publication/syndication
  • Social and web monitoring
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Real-time (or near real-time) alerts

4. Get Listed on All Online Directories

What it Is

In short, an online directory is a website or digital property that “lists” businesses within specific niche categories.

They may further classify these listings further by:

  • Location
  • Services/products
  • Size
  • And more…

Details provided in each directory may vary, but often include items such as:

  • Business name
  • Contact information (phone and/or email)
  • Website address
  • Physical location/address
  • Number of employees
  • Hours of operation
  • And more…

Why It’s So Powerful

While many businesses know about the existence of online business directories, most are unclear about the benefits or advantages of using them.

These comprehensive directories enable users (i.e. your target market) to quickly and easily find, identify, learn about and contact those businesses that are relevant to the products and services they are looking for online.

Benefits:

  • Amplifies your online presence
  • Backlinks and citations to your GMB or website, improving SEO
  • Often include a review component
  • Strengthens your reputation
  • Increases brand awareness
  • Generates more traffic to your site or store
  • And more…

What you Can do to Take Advantage Today

First, you need to find the directories relevant to your business. Luckily Google is your friend and you can quickly find a number of opportunities with the click of a mouse.

Look for those directories that are:

  • Relevant to your geographic location or services area
  • Relevant to your niche
  • Authoritative and trustworthy
  • That has a good reputation and real traffic

Next up, simply fill out your profile on each and submit for review.

Closing Thoughts on Growing your Business in 2019

No matter the niche, competition these days is tough. Luckily there are still a number of high impacts, easily adaptable strategies and actionable tactics you can implement to skyrocketing growth in 2019 and beyond. By following the steps in this guide you too can quickly gain up a leg on the competition and solidify your position as a major contender in your niche.