Most people enjoy the sound of a phone ringing, especially in business (unless it’s the car warranty people, of course!). For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the sound of a phone ringing is a very good thing indeed. It means people are interested in your business and called to find more information, or perhaps to even place an order.
Inbound calls have always been important to small-to-medium businesses, but never more so than in 2021. Pre-pandemic, 60% of customers preferred to call small businesses on the phone, according to a report cited by Small Business Trends.
During COVID, an analysis of 100 million phone calls revealed that customers called in even greater numbers, as a way of circumventing the need for in-person interactions.
The goal of a website marketing strategy is to drive website traffic, and motivate people to call you, but how do you measure success?
Which phone calls are coming from which keywords?
Which phone calls are coming from which banner ads?
Which phone calls are coming from Facebook? Instagram? Email?
How can you tell which segment of your online marketing strategy is pulling its weight in generating calls, and which might need a little work?
>> Enter CALL TRACKING.
That’s where a call tracking can prove to be an invaluable tool. Call tracking provides verifiable results that reveal which of your campaigns are driving those crucial phone call conversions. Instead of guessing which strategies provide the best return, call tracking provides exact performance data.
Call tracking automatically assigns phone tracking numbers to various components of your online marketing, such as Google Ads, Google My Business listings, Facebook Ads, Yelp, Email newsletters, etc. These calls are then forwarded to your business, and you are provided with data you need to track their sources.
Benefits of call tracking include:
Verifiable ROI: Most businesses don’t really know which components of their marketing strategy are doing the most work. This allows you to prove whether you are receiving a good return on your marketing investment.
Better Customer Journey: Sometimes one call is all it takes to make a sale, but it usually requires several steps to complete the buying journey. You want to make sure the customer has the information and motivation needed to proceed to the next step. If calls don’t come in from a marketing source, you need to re-examine it to determine what needs to change.
Drive More Traffic: Once you know what is working, you can invest additional dollars and effort into that channel to increase your traffic even more.
Which Call Tracking Tool Is Right For Your Business?
Call tracking is especially important for businesses that want to get to know their customers on a more personal basis. One tool I recommend is the highly-rated CallRail. The co-founder of CallRail was an entrepreneur, too, so he knew what would be needed in an intuitive call tracking platform uniquely suited to meet small business needs. Check out some of their case studies to see how other small businesses used the power of call tracking to their advantage.
CallRail Call Tracking software reveals the sources behind your calls, and provides access to each lead’s name, number, and location. After a free trial period, the call tracking suite starts at $45 a month, depending on the volume of phone numbers you need, the number of minutes your calls take, and other factors. Included in the basic plan are 10 local numbers, 500 local minutes, and 100 local messages. Basic features include:
Attribution matches incoming phone calls and texts to your marketing channels and tactics. This helps you measure the success of advertising campaigns while fine-tuning marketing strategies and spending.
Consolidate communications: With CallRail, you can talk, text, and track in one place. Advanced features like pulling up insights on a screen when a call begins give your callers a more personalized customer service experience.
Summary emails provide a breakdown of lead activity for companies within your account. You choose the data presented in your email, including total calls, total minutes, and statistics on new callers, keywords, and sources driving calls to your business. Here’s an example of a Summary Email:
Available for Apple and Android devices, the CallRail mobile app puts your call analytics in the palm of your hand, providing a real-time view of your inbound, outbound, and missed calls. You’ll also be able to listen to call recordings and communicate with customers via text message.
The keywords associated with calls can be used to gain insights into the language your customers use to talk about you, develop hyper-targeted ad campaigns, and include in blogs, ads, and other marketing materials to speak to your audience in terms they understand.
If you are trying to grow your business online by maximizing your web presence, driving traffic to your website, and presenting your website content in a way that more people will use your services or buy your products – tracking your phone calls is an essential ingredient for success.
Are you thinking about designing a new logo for your product or service?
Designing a new logo can be costly and time consuming.
The traditional process for designing a logo goes something like this:
Day 1: Hire a logo designer for $500.
Day 2 to Day 5: Review logo designs.
Day 10: Designer stops submitting designs or goes on vacation.
Day 15: You are unhappy and ask for a refund.
Day 30: Designer says no refunds are allowed. You have a mental breakdown.
Day 45: You settle for an average logo.
This is…well shall we say, not ideal!
What happens when your logo designer disappears mid project?
What if the logo designer decides to increase their pricing because you are being too picky?
You’re likely to run into some of these common problems when you take the traditional route with logo design.
Being stuck with a single logo designer will limit your options.
…what if there was a different way to design your logo, whereby you received submissions from 100’s of logo designers?
Crowdsourcing involves obtaining work, information, or opinions from a large group of people who submit their data via the Internet, social media, and smartphone apps, into a contest, which typically has a small prize.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to avoid all graphic design agencies. There are pros and cons to working with an established graphic design agency.
For example, if you’re a fortune 500 company, and time is more valuable than money, it might make more sense to have a graphic design agency take a full scope approach.
However, if you’re on a shoe string budget like most people, the crowdsourcing route, in my opinion, is the better option to consider.
Whether you’re an established businesses or a startup, you need your logo to stand out. From the website to the product packaging, you need a jaw-dropping, communicative, intelligent logo design.
Your logo should match your preferences, business and style, grab your customer’s attention with color and design, and make your business memorable. A eye-catching logo will help you stand out from the competition.
Image matters. And having a professionally designed logo is the first step in web branding.
Below are several logos which are a result of a crowdsourcing contest.
Three of the best crowdsourcing websites, when it comes to logo design, include 99designs.com, designhill.com, and designcrowd.com.
Each of these sites offers you the ability to launch a design contest in which designers compete for the prize of winning your contest, which is typically $299.
But it gets better.
These sites also offer a 100% money back guarantee.
So, let’s say you are not happy at the end of the 7 day logo contest. Simply request a full refund. No questions asked.
Crowdsourcing your logo design is a great way to design a logo.
Which crowdsourcing site offers you the best deal though? How about the best designs? Let’s deep dive into these three companies to learn which produces the best choice for you.
99designs, now a Vista Print company, was the original kid on the block. They were the first really popular crowdsourcing site for logos. Logo contests can launched for $400. The designers at 99designs were the best ones you can find online when the site first launched. However, soon after they launched, clones started popping up and woo-ing designers away from 99designs with better pricing splits. I honestly saw a noticeable decline in the quality of the logo submissions over the years with 99designs. However, 99designs still has a great pool of designers, and if you know who to work with, which designers to invite to your contest, you’ll be fine. At 99designs you can get a logo design whether you hold a contest, or you hire outright.
DesignHill offers contests and for-hire options, too. Spend $130 to $500 to get yourself a beautiful looking logo. The high-end of the range includes the graphics intensive, “wow” types of logos you might expect from a corporation while the low-end will get you lower quality designs. Between that, you find a sweet spot of design and affordability. To hold a contest, you need to already have a design idea and know the colors you want. The site takes you through a multi-screen quiz that helps you build your site request. You do not set the cost of your contest yourself.
DesignCrowd only offers contests. You set the price as long as it meets the minimum prize. Costs for a logo contest range from $100 to $500. DesignCrowd seems to have pulled many of the best designers over from 99designs. I found myself working with many of the same designers. The quality of the logo you end up with will also depend on how smart you are at managing the designers, directing them and communicating your needs clearly. Since everything’s a contest, you cannot hire any of the designers outright.
Overall most affordable
A massive community of 640,000 designers
Most streamlined request briefings to complete
Commonalities of the Three Sites
Besides logos, each site offers websites, branding items, product packaging design, and other marketing collateral. You can hold a contest for each, but if you need all the products as a startup would, there’s no option for a contest for a full package. You would need to run a contest for each item.
Since you would probably want all branding to match, you would need to start with the basics — your logo.
The logo is the most important part of the entire web branding process. Re-branding is always very costly, so make sure you get the logo done first, then you can move on to the rest of branding tasks, such as a website graphics, social media graphics, email graphics, letterhead and more.
Why not hire an Agency instead?
When you need a design quickly, but you also need something affordable, you find out that hiring a graphic design agency probably isn’t within range. You also might have a tough time conveying to a professional designer what you want. If graphic design were your specialty, you could just make it all yourself. That’s where contest sites come in handy.
You could hire a freelancer, but that’s probably even riskier. They let you see finished work from prior projects. You cannot see the designer’s vision for your company. You also have to interview and choose one freelancer which can mean wasted time. You might choose someone who just does not work out because they may not understand the vision you have for your website or logo or product packaging.
Why Hold a Contest?
With a contest, you get to see the options in front of you and choose which design best meets your needs. The winner of the contest gets paid by you the prize money and in return, you obtain full rights to the design. It becomes a work-for-hire and you own the copyright.
Contests make sense for obtaining a logo design for less money. You could spend up to $10,000 hiring a professional graphic design agency, so $299 makes for a pretty good deal. You don’t need a business loan for that. You can just put it on your credit card.
A logo design is essential for a company’s branding because it is a visual representation of your company’s values and features. A good logo can improve a company’s brand awareness and exposure.
There’s another advantage to these design contests that many people overlook. Free marketing. You can promote the contest on your social media. You probably already have a Twitter or Facebook Page. Those free social media accounts can help you land your first customers plus posting about the contest for the design of your logo, website, product packaging, etc. can get you followers and vital re-tweets.
All of those graphic designers who like and re-tweet your posts about the contest have families and friends and clients who are not in competition to design for you, but they might want your service or product. You get free advertising by posting a poll and asking people to vote on 3 options for your logo design.
Starting your ‘logo contest’ is easy.
Input a few simple details (company name, sector, preferred colors etc.), post your brief and, and presto, you’ll soon have hundreds of hungry young designers from around the world submitting their proposals, of which you get to choose one. All for as little as $299. The best part is there is a 100% money back guarantee with no strings attached.
Before you start your logo contest, consider these points below.
Here are a few tips to consider:
Logo Design Tip #1: Identity: Before you pick a logo (or hire a designer), you must consider the message your logo will send to consumers. In order to design a logo that will resonate with your target market, you must determine your company’s identity and the elements that separate you from your competitors. Think of a few keywords that describe your business and its values then make sure your logo captures these concepts.
Logo Design Tip #2: Color: Humans are wired to respond to colors. When used appropriately, color can have a significant emotional impact on consumer behavior. It’s an important element in logo design that you need to take into consideration once you know what emotion you want your logo to elicit. Various social media sites use blue in their logo design to portray calmness, popularity, and security.
Check out this color emotions infographic.
Logo Design Tip #3: Font: Just like colors, different fonts stimulate different emotions too. It is obvious to avoid Comic Sans in a professional logo (or in any design), but picking the right font is still a difficult task. Make sure your font choice aligns with your company’s identity. Usually, serif fonts (e.g. Times New Roman) seem traditional and san serif fonts (e.g. Arial) look modern. If you already have a symbol designed for your logo, you should consider using a simple font that won’t take the attention away from the design. Try to keep your logo nice and simple by using no more than two fonts. Coca Cola’s swirly red font looks vibrant and refreshing.
Here is a great tool that will help you visualize your logo text:
Logo Design Tip #4: Adaptability: A logo should be so versatile that it can look great across multiple mediums. Some designs look great on the company website but loses its detail when printed on stationary. Avoid using overly complex designs and stick with vector graphics instead of pixels. Starbucks’ logo redesign allows viewers to see the twin-tailed mermaid clearly even when it’s minimized.
Logo Design Tip #5: Professional Design: Your logo represents your company so the design should reflect your organization’s purpose. Unfortunately, even an experienced designer with the good intention of creating a logo for your business can still fail to take a step back to evaluate their design objectively. You may have a great design but ultimately what matters is what consumers associate your logo with. Make sure your logo design is appealing and appropriate before you decide to use it on various mediums.
Lastly, below are a couple logo design videos you may find entertaining and educational.
What are your thoughts on crowdsourcing a logo? Have you had success with other platforms? Please share in the comments below.
Unless you work in the marketing industry, chances are you’ve probably only heard of them occasionally.
A QR code is essentially an enhanced version of the average barcode. However, they can hold roughly 350 times the amount of information that could be stored on a typical one dimensional barcode.
QR codes saw a sharp increase in popularity when they were first introduced, but then started steadily declining in popularity when they were not widely adopted by Apple and Samsung smart phone manufacturers.
In addition, WiFi technology had made serving in-store advertising easier, which pushed QR codes further down the “must have” list.
During the month of June 2011, 14 million American mobile users scanned a QR code or a barcode. Some 58% of those users scanned a QR or barcode from their homes, while 39% scanned from retail stores; 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34.
QR code usage decreased to 9.76 million in 2018 but is expected to grow to a total of 15 million households by the end of 2021. This is largely due to the newer smart phones adopting the technology “natively”, meaning, you don’t need to download a third party app, it’s built right into the phone camera.
The pandemic also created a huge need for QR codes with contactless shopping and delivery. I t also created a need for communicating information without touching an item others had touched, too. This meant developing a way to communicate lots of information quickly without touch. Rather than reinvent the wheel, marketers and computer techs realized the power of QR codes to do exactly what is needed.
The humble QR code stepped in to provide a succinct way to communicate information and complete transactions. A business can provide a QR code for customers to scan that lets them instantly register for delivery programs, loyalty programs, etc. It provides a method of completing contact-free retail purchases via mobile wallet. According to Juniper Research, by 2025 about 2.2 billion people will use QR codes for payments. That’s nearly one-third of smartphone users – 29 percent.
What is a QR code?
The term QR code refers to a Quick Response (QR) code. A smartphone can read this two-dimensional code using its camera. This lets retailers place these codes in store windows or at checkout stands or on the aisles of a store to provide consumers with a way of quickly scanning to obtain more information.
Consumers can also create QR codes using the retailer’s website or an app. These codes can contain the information from a coupon, gift certificate, or online order number. By displaying their cell phone at the register, the sales representative can scan the item using the register wand. Neither party needs to touch, and the entire transaction can occur through a clear plexiglass sneeze guard.
Which country has the largest QR code adoption?
Asia, specifically China, uses QR codes most frequently. It has also seen the greatest adoption of e-wallets such as WeChat and AlliPay. In 2019, almost half of the point-of-sale payments in that country used QR codes, a total of 48 percent.
Plaid and PayPal have introduced a QR code option. This lets users of those two worldwide payment services use the technology to accept or make payments.
According to a 2019 Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, 91 percent of Australians own a smartphone. Only ten percent of those use QR payments though, says a Roy Morgan report from the same year. Australia’s mature market with widespread NFC and a massive 900,000 point of sale (POS) devices make it easy for the country’s residents to make contactless payments. In 2019, most of the country’s purchases were contactless – 83 percent. Since its populace would likely immediately adopt a QR code option, its federal government plans a national plan it will implement in 2021.
New Zealand joined the fray in 2020 when the Union Pay International (UPI) system it uses introduced a consumer payments QR code program. Australian retailers can also use the UPI system. Its competitor, Azupay, and the regional NSW government partnered to offer QR code payments.
QR Codes = Simplicity and Usefulness
As part of a payments system, the simple technology has grown quickly due to its easy adoptability and adaptability. It requires no extra hardware since the user’s smartphone can scan the code to complete the transaction. This use of existing hardware also makes the QR code more convenient. Although a tiny two-dimensional picture, a single code holds lots of information. Its data capacity is such that it communicate payment, identity, and loyalty.
Some older phones require a separate app. Newer smartphones come ready to scan though. They use built-in software. This means any customer with a smartphone can install the app needed to read the codes which are also free.
Its only two drawbacks include risk of fraud since a customer could scan a fake code which results in them completing a phone call they’re charged for or otherwise losing money and privacy issues. The customer may not immediately understand what information the QR code accesses or uses.
QR as a Marketing Tool
The QR code offers an opportunity for retailers to market their products or business more effectively. Because it can quickly communicate information, the codes provide a useful mechanism with many uses including:
Restaurants: communicating the entire menu through a code to eliminate hands-on menus. The restaurants’ website or app also enables touchless, contactless ordering.
Hotels: provide contactless check-ins, room service menus and ordering mechanisms, lighting and air conditioning controls.
Museums and art galleries: provide visitor maps and guides.
Medical facilities: communicate health education materials.
Other ways to use the QR code include as an advertising tool. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram require a square photo or graphic.
When you create an ad on Facebook, it warns you not to use text. The reason for this is because ads with lots of text simply don’t perform that well. Using a QR code lets you embed the code in the center of the graphic, and this enables you to put all a large amount of text in the page which the QR code sends the visitor to.
You can communicate all the information you need in that one QR code.
Your one sentence headline can be concise and direct, while the QR code carries all of the extra information. Users can like your post and scan the QR code to gain access to more information. This lets you embed a paragraph on a code so you can provide users with details instead of the bare minimum.
Similarly, you use QR codes to sell products. A customer only needs to scan the code to order the product. You can set up an entire store on any platform even if it does not offer an e-commerce option or interface with a store environment like Etsy.
QR codes can help you accept orders, take payments, advertise products, offer coupons, communicate information. You can create a QR code that houses your entire menu or sells a t-shirt.
Provide a QR code on a poster to link to a website with further information. Gyms can use them to educate consumers on how to use each piece of equipment or use them so patrons can check in on each apparatus.
Any time you need to graphically communicate lots of info at once, leverage a QR code. They’re not just for e-books anymore.
While they did wane in use for a little while, once people could not enter stores, they made a comeback.
Whether you use a tablet, smartphone, or a computer, you can create, obtain, or access a QR code. This makes it simpler for all sizes of businesses to utilize this technology and improve their sales, tracking, and customer service.
If you’re searching for a free QR code generator, I evaluated and compared several tonight, and found this one to be best for my needs: https://www.qrstuff.com
100% Ad Free QR Codes
QR Stuff has QR codes that are guaranteed 100% ad-free, even for free users, so you can get on with promoting your product without someone else’s brand getting in the way.
I used this QR code generator successfully for my pest control Brezden Pest Control. They needed a QR code added on a few of their products so that technicians in the field could quickly pull up ingredient lists and instructions.
Here is QR Stuff FAQ:
Can I use the website as a free user?
Yes. You can create fully functional QR codes anonymously as a free user with no need to sign up or open an account. No sign-up = no email address harvesting = no spam from us 🙂
Also, unlike some others, our free QR codes aren’t crippleware that stop working 14 days later. Our free QR codes aren’t time-limited in any way, don’t expire, and are ad-free.
What’s the subscription fee for?
The subscription fee charged relates to providing time-based subscription access to the extended feature set of the website for the period of the subscription purchased.
Opening an account is required for paid subscribers in order to co-ordinate the functionality of your account and to allocate the QR codes you create to your account history (but still no spam!).
No component of the subscription fee relates to purchasing the QR codes themselves.
Will my QR codes “expire”?
No. The QR codes (and any underlying short URL’s) created by both free users and paid subscribers are permanent and will continue to function indefinitely, however temporary scan limits may apply as outlined below.
Can I use your QR codes commercially?
Yes. There are no restrictions on commercial use however temporary scan limits may apply as outlined below.
Are there any limits on use?
The short answer is Yes, but the reality is that the vast majority of users won’t be affected by them. These limits only apply to dynamic QR codes that use our (optional) URL shortener – QR codes that do not use our URL shortener (static QR codes) have no scan limits.
Free Users: While there are no limits on the number QR codes you can create as either a free or paid user, a limit of 50 scans per month is applied to each QR code created by free users. This monthly scan limit presently affects less than 0.001% of the QR codes in our system so it will not impact the overwhelming majority of users. If you anticipate that your QR code will be scanned more than 50 times per month, you should probably consider a paid subscription.
Current Full Paid Subscribers: There are no pre-set scan limits for QR codes associated with current (paid-up) full subscriber account.
Expired Full Paid Subscribers: A 50 scan/month limit is applied to QR codes associated with expired paid subscriber accounts. This scan limit for expired subscribers is a “per QR code” limit and is only applied to the individual QR codes that exceed the monthly 50 scan limit, and does not affect any other QR codes associated with the expired subscriber account. The scan limit is re-set at the start of each calendar month.
At our discretion a temporary Fair Use monthly scan limit may be applied to unusually high scan-volume QR codes (>30,000 scans/month) belonging to current paid subscribers. This Fair Use Policy limit is intended to ensure that the scan activity of a minority of users doesn’t adversely impact optimal platform performance for all users.
Don’t worry – current subscribers will be contacted well in advance if any of their QR codes are approaching a Fair Use threshhold so that we can work out a solution with them.
Collectively, these measures will only affect about 1 in every 10,000 users – the other 9,999 won’t even know that any limits exist 🙂
And just to reiterate – these limits only apply to dynamic QR codes (the QR codes that use our optional URL shortener). All other QR codes are unlimited.
What do I do if my QR codes are scan-limited?
Expired full subscribers simply need to renew their subscription and the scan limit status of their account will be automatically reset from expired to current.
Free users who upgrade to a full paid account (1 month or longer) can contact us to have the QR codes they created as free user moved to their subscriber account which will remove the 50 scans/month limit from them. This is a complimentary service for up to 10 QR codes.
Are your QR codes ad-free?
Yes. Both our free and paid QR codes are guaranteed 100% ad-free. If you see an ad after scanning one of our QR codes, the QR code scanning app that you’re using put it there.
Is a license required to create QR codes?
No. The QR code is clearly defined and published as an open ISO standard. Denso Wave owns the patent rights on the QR code creation process, and the methods used to encode and create them, but has chosen not to exercise those rights. The term “QR code” itself is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated.
The answer to the following questions is always “No”
Can I add a QR code to my account that I created somewhere else?
Can I get analytics from you for a QR code that I created somewhere else?
Can I have a free trial subscription?
I’m making my own QR code website. Can you tell me how you did everything on yours?
Google Local Service ads empower small businesses to advertise on Google and receive leads directly from potential customers. Google Local Service ads appear on the top of the SERP’s – or search engine results page – when people search for services within your area.
By interacting with the ads, they will be able to see a list of all of the participating local services that are associated with the entered keywords. It’s a powerful way to onboard local customers and garner trust from current clients.
Why You Would Want To Invest in Google Local Service Ads
Cost-effectiveness. Unlike other ad networks, participants of Google Local Service ads will only have to pay per lead, instead of per click with the lead pricing varying largely depending on your location, and the type of industry or niche you cater to.
Businesses that participate with Google Local Service ads will be “Google Guaranteed.” This badge not only helps with your reputation, but it also indicates a dedication to customer service that is further backed by the search engine giant. As more customers become savvy as to where they spend their money, this Google Guarantee badge can be a significant differentiator between your business and competitors.
Expanding your businesses reach beyond the traditional search ads. Google Local Service ads offers maximum exposure and visibility. 71% of online searchers interact with the first page of Google, with the majority only showing interest on the first page. Having a business at the top of the first page will create a traffic stream of quality visitors who are local and interested in your services.
7 Best Practices For Your Google Local Service Ads Campaign
1. Ensure that you are in the proper market. Currently, Google Local Service ads are only available to businesses within the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Within the United States, the local service ads cater to major cities as well as surrounding suburbs. Also, not all niches are eligible — Google has a list of industries that can participate in the Google Local Service ads program.
2. Become certified. Google requires all participating small businesses and service providers to complete a background check, with United States participants going through a self-service application via Pinkerton. To streamline the process, make sure that you have vital information at hand when applying to Google Local Service ads. These include the name of your business, accurate address and contact information, federal employer identification number, and the number of employees in your company. Each employee will have to pass a background check. For your Google Guarantee badge, you will need to provide additional information designating insurance and licensing information.
3. Understanding what constitutes a “valid lead.” Since you are only charged for valid leads, you generate a more predictable return of investment. However, for the uninitiated, it may be confusing as to what factors Google uses to determine validity. These factors include text messages or emails from potential customers, voicemails, phone calls, and text messages, phone calls, or emails you made in response to missed calls.
4. Creating Your Local Services Ad – doing it right the first time. The settings you choose when you create a profile will act as your targeting data, making it imperative that you provide accurate information. Include your business hours, specific service areas, job types, as well as your weekly budget. Keywords for Google Local Service ads are a bit different from AdWords. Keywords relevant to ad categories will trigger the ads. However, those keywords need to include modifiers like “New York City cleaning services” or “electrician near me”. The good news is that you do not need to bid for keywords anymore — the ads are automatically triggered based on thousands of search terms at any given moment.
5. Be aware of what contributes to your ranking. As a small business owner, you must be aware of indicators to ensure that your ads are effective and cost-effective. The first is the vicinity your business has to the searcher. While this is relatively out of your control, make sure that you specify which areas you are servicing to initiate quality leads. Google will also prioritize small businesses with a higher review score. Generate customer reviews by incorporating it into your early advertising strategy. On the Google Local Service ads panel, you can ask customers for a review, giving you the option to personalize the sent message. Custom emails will encourage reviews from your past clients.
6. Your Google Local Service ads work with Google Home. Google is beginning to roll out Google’s Local Search ads that will connect to those who use Google Home to inquire about potential service providers in the area. Google Assistant will now provide Google Home users with a few nearby options. To increase your chance of Google Home recommending your service, you want to continuously collect reviews, provide top-tier service, and be highly responsive to inquiries. Google has shown a preference for active users.
7. Visit and revisit your inbound call structure. Whether you will be charged is largely dependent on your lead call time and habits. You do not want inbound calls to be riddled with unrelated questions and inquiries — this is a waste of time for your business, and you will be charged after a certain time on the phone.
To ensure that you do not experience time wasters, ask the right questions to find as much information as quickly as possible. Lead them to a specific goal, informing the caller what the next steps are going to be. Then once you have piqued their interest, quickly gather details like their contact information and inquire when you can call them back to confirm information and then thank them for their time.
Learn the 3 biggest mistakes to avoid when setting up Google Local Ads:
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Schema markup and Structured data are an SEO tool that can help improve the click through rate of your website on the search engine results page (SERP).
While schema and structured data are not required they are highly recommended by all major search engines to help them pull the best data from your website in a way that makes it easy for users to view on a results page.
Schema and structured data improve the look of your websites listing on Google increasing potential traffic and showcasing the products, services, or information offered on your website. This will potentially decrease user bounce rate and increase your organic traffic revenue generation.
Schema gives you more control over how your website shows up on Google and the information users see when they search for your product or service offering.
Having accurate schema markup will improve your website’s local search ranking and help Google prioritize your website above competitors that have not invested in this untapped SEO tactic.
This guide to Understanding Schema Markup For SEO will outline:
The difference between Schema markup and structured data
How Schema and structured data affect a sites SEO
Types of Schema markup and structured data available
How to implement Schema and structured data on different web platforms
Below we will start by clarifying what schema and structured data are, how they are implemented on common web development sites, and what they can do to improve the search ranks of your site.
What Is Schema Markup
Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to help a search engine pull the right information from your website. Schema creates better descriptions, accurate company information, and enhances the users experience on the search engine leading to higher quality traffic for your website.
Schema is an open sourced code that anyone can use. To get a better understanding of how it works you can visit schema.org.
What Is Structured Data
Structured data is a way to organize data in a standard form that Google and other search partners can easily pull from. Thinking of structured data like a database each item or description on your website will have its own structured data. Company information can be structured along with products and services.
Structured data is how Google sets up shopping ads or understands which products are in stock on websites. There are many types of rich snippets and markup options for your site.
How Do Schema & Structured Data Affect SEO?
Schema markup and structured data tell Google what important information should be pulled from the website. This improves search listings with accurate and well-thought-out descriptions and information. Structured data also helps Google know what rich snippets are available on a website.
A rich snippet can be anything from a question box in position zero, book review, or FAQ. It is information pulled directly onto the search page to improve the users experience. A rich snippet increases the size of a site’s listing and allows for more information on the results page increasing the likelihood of a click through to the site.
Structured data is not a ranking factor for Google, but it does affect a site’s overall rankings.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Schema markup will have an impact on your CTR. A higher CTR, will increase your rankings by signaling to Google that your site is a good result for that search.
Structured data can help you with CTR because rich results catch the eye of the searcher and provide an outline on the information they will find on site potentially lowering the bounce rate and improving on site traffic quality.
Schema Markup Types Supported by Google
Structured data is available for almost any type of product or service and a full list of available markup can be found on schema.org.
There are also many types of rich snippets that Google has developed. You can find a full list of available rich snippets in the Google Developer.
Common snippets include:
Local business information
Product based markup is required when running paid shopping ads on Google. Paid shopping ads are a form of PPC ads on Google Ads that list items for purchase directly on Google. Using Shopping Ads can give a product company an edge over the competition as the product shows without the need for a user to click into the website. Schema works hand in hand with the merchant center to list products seamlessly.
How To Add Schema Markup On Your Website (The Right Way)
Implementing Schema on a web platform like WordPress and other eCommerce sites has become easier with WordPress schema plugins. If you are looking to implement Schema on a custom site it is best to hire a web developer to help implement the proper HTML code in your specific system.
Here’s how you can implement structured data correctly on your website, on different platforms:
Schema markup on your website does not guarantee that Google will implement a rich snippet on the SERP. The schema is only there to help tell Google what you want. If the information you shared is useful to the search Google will include your schema.
The best thing for you to do is test your rich snippet to guarantee it is working with the Rich Snippet Validator.
Voice search is the future of how we will interact with our devices.
If you want your business to show up in voice search, you need accurate Schema markup and structured data programmed into your site.
Voice search is a natural way to ask for information and get results. It’s hands-free, eyes-free, and all about you. You can use it anywhere – in your car, at home or on the go – as long as you have an internet connection. And it’s not just for Google Search anymore! Now Siri on iOS 11 lets you access Apple Music with just your voice.
Schema markup will provide more information about your website and it’s content in order to make it easier for voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa to understand what you’re offering.
The goal is to make it as easy as possible for Google to understand the kind of content you want to show up when people search for specific things like “restaurants near me” or “movies starring Tom Hanks.”
Structured data and Schema should be your first priority when it comes to site wide SEO, it is an important step in improving the long term quality of your website traffic.
Like any other SEO tactic, Schema should be part of a larger strategy that focuses on the entire optimization of your website.
Rich snippets and markup provide Google and other search information an easy way to improve a search result page and improve the user’s experience while on the search engine. The more information you give to a search engine in an easy-to-understand way the more likely they are to prioritize your site.
Improving the quality of your website traffic can help increase inbound revenue generation. Schema markup and structured data is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your organic traffic coming from Google.
Our sense of hearing is what enables us to connect to the world in so many vital ways. It allows us to communicate with others in a way that is different from the other senses. We hear the words others say, and listen closely for clues that reveal their true intent. For me, I have also found that hearing and listening not only bring pleasure; they can also make a difference in the overall quality of my life.
Although I have always had a thirst for knowledge, it was sometimes hard for me to gain full meaning just from the written word. I am an auditory learner, so I started using audiobooks as a way to learn. To me audiobooks are an immersive, educational, and entertaining experience. They improve my comprehension, and give me access to information that helps me learn more about a wide variety of topics.
I don’t just listen to audiobooks for business or marketing information alone. I also like insights that can help me become better as a person. Here is a list of 12 spiritual audiobooks that helped change my perspective. I am sharing them in case you might find them helpful for your own personal life journey.
Loving What Is by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell: Here readers are challenged to answer four questions that are designed to change the way they think about life. This book gave me ideas that helped turn negative thoughts into positives, and changed how I react to people and events that cause stress in my life. Instead of focusing on what I wish “would be,” I now focus on trying to love what my current reality is.
Ask and It Is Given by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks: The problem with attempting to manifest your own desires is that sometimes you don’t even know how to ask for or received what you want. This book offers 22 separate and powerful processes that help you identify and achieve your personal life goals. This is the power of positive thinking taken to an entirely new level.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson: This may be an oldie, but it is still a good read, and a great listen! Just like Carlson says, I was allowing all the little everyday details to completely take over my life, so much so that I started losing focus on my much more important life goals. Instead of long, explanatory chapters, this collection of 100 short affirmations helps remind me on a regular basis of simple actions I can take that will have a big impact on how I can control my own destiny.
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck M.D.: Although it was first published in 1978 (and updated since then), this refreshing read gave me new insights into how traditional values and spiritual growth can change our life for the better. Life may indeed be difficult, but the author gently provides ways to bring fulfillment and peace.
The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines: This book addresses the question of what prosperity really means. In a world as money-centric as ours can be, that is certainly a deep question. What is more important – gaining money or gaining spiritual prosperity – and can those two goals co-exist? Can you follow the four laws: set specific financial and spiritual goals; forgive others and yourself daily; tithe ten percent of all you earn or receive; and find and commit to a divine purpose?
Enneagram by Adam Night: An Enneagram is a model of the human psyche that is based on understanding nine interconnected personality types. This book offers a step-by-step guide to discovering your spiritual personality. The goal is to create better relationships by understanding yourself and others better. Be sure to take the included test!
Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss M.D.: If you believe in exploring the lessons learned from your past lives, then this is the book for you. Although regression is often thought of as an alternative form of psychotherapy, this can be an interesting foray into your psyche in order to make more of your present life. What lessons have you already learned and have yet to learn?
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer: Do you know what is tying you down, and holding you back from reaching beyond the boundaries in your life? Are those boundaries of your own making? This #1 New York Times bestseller offers simple answers to some of life’s most perplexing questions. Find out what you can do to stop living with the habits and thoughts that keep you from achieving your very best being. You might be surprised by what you can achieve without those inner tethers!
Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh: Although not strictly about organized religion, the author does draw heavily from the spiritual teaching traditions of Buddhism and Christianity to help readers commit to mindfulness, so they can find the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: The New York Times recognizes Tolle as one of “the most popular spiritual authors in the United States” for good reason. His guide to spiritual enlightenment forces you to reject the self-made concept of ego, and to live in the here and now that surrounds you. This can be a difficult task with all we try to accomplish, and all that works against you to keep you from your peace, but it is possible to relieve yourself of the psychological pain you experience by accepting what is and being present in the Now.
An Invitation to Freedom by Mooji: Mooji is a Jamaican-born spiritual teacher who has attracted followers from around the world to his lessons on finding spiritual contentment by connecting with your true inner self. This book provides a guide to finding that sense of fulfillment we all seek, even in this cluttered, busy world. I enjoy the questions which force you to discover the truths in your life that can help lead you to emotional freedom.
Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts: If you spend too much time living in your head, then it is time to get out of your mind and focus on new perspectives. A former Anglican priest who mixes in a generous appreciation of Zen Buddhism, Watts provides listeners/readers with twelve pinnacle teaching sessions. These help you break through the boundaries of your rational way of thinking, to help you expand your appreciation for that which Watts calls the “Great Game.”
Once you have used these books to make a start on understanding spirituality and its applications to life and work, I’m sure you will find many more on your own that will help lead you down the path to peace and prosperity. Feel free to share your insights and ideas with me, as I am always open to new concepts that can help change my perspective as I continue to grow into my own reality. Happy Travels!
Keeping track of unique passwords for various devices is a never ending scooby doo mystery for most business owners.
LastPass is a password management software that simplifies your password management strategy. It allows you to store all your passwords in one secure location, which you can access with one master password. LastPass offers packages for personal use and for business use.
In the personal category, you can choose a premium or a family package. You need not purchase either one immediately. You can sign-up for a 30-day free trial to see if you like it. No credit card is required.
When your premium trial ends, you can continue with a few basic features, including a secure password vault, access to one device type, and a LastPass authenticator, at no extra charge. If you want to access more advanced functions of the site, then you will be required to pay $3 a month.
There is also the LastPass Families package. You can use it to store and share medical, entertainment, and credit card accounts that everyone in your family can access. This costs $4 a month and allows up to 6 users.
LastPass also offers packages to businesses and organizations of all sizes. LastPass can provide solutions for password and information storage and management for individual teams and across an entire enterprise. LastPass MFA uses biometric and contextual intelligence as authentication factors, which gives your people an even more robust way to protect valuable data. The company also offers business and IT executive the ability to centralize and track authentication so that they know who is accessing what content, from which platform or device. LastPass is open to working with companies on an individual basis to address specific needs.
LastPass is one of the most trusted brands in password management. Here are 10 reasons why you need LastPass to store, secure, and manage your passwords:
Secured Through Encryption: You may feel uneasy about storing all your passwords in one digital space. But you should know that LastPass stores your passwords in one place on your computer and protects it with encryption. The master password is the only way to access this information, and it is not stored anywhere. You will be the only one who knows your master password. Not even the LastPass team has access to it; nor do they have the ability to retrieve it.
Saves You Login Time: LastPass automatically gives you the option of adding password-protected sites to your vault. When you add a site to your vault, LastPass will automatically fill in the username and password for you every time you visit it. You can also add multiple accounts on the same site to your vault. If you have a number of accounts on different social media sites, LastPass allows you to save multiple login credentials for each of them.
Accessible From a Range of Platforms: LastPass is available through Google Chrome, Mozilla, Firefox, Microsoft Edge. It can also be accessed on smartphones that are run by Android, iOS, or Windows Phone.
Other Storage Options: LastPass is known primarily for its password storage and management system. But you have the option of storing other sensitive data and information on it. Users can put credit card, banking information, and notes that they do not want to commit to memory or write down on paper. You can also use LastPass to automatically fill in credit card information for purchases you make online.
A One-Time Password Feature: There may be times when you need to access your LastPass account from a public computer. If it is one that you do not trust, then LastPass has a feature that allows you to punch in a one-time password to access your vault. You may prefer this to entering your master password on a computer that you do not know.
Helps You Create Secure Passwords: If you are having a tough time coming up with a good password, LastPass will generate one for you. It has a feature that allows you to tailor the password to a specific number of characters, numeric digits, and special symbols. The system will then fill in this generated password to any site you add to your vault.
Transparent: LastPass monitors its network around the clock, and there have been no known breaches of the system. However, no data storage site is completely secure. The professionals at LastPass are honest about any security issues they may have with the network. And they send their members updates until the matter is resolved.
Sound Authentication Procedures: It is quite hard to get into your vault. In addition to entering your master password, you must also punch in another piece of information. LastPass gives you the option of using Google or Grid Multifactor authentication, both of which are free. You can also use more advanced authentication procedures such as a smart card or a fingerprint for a fee. The aim here is to deter hackers from trying to break into your vault and steal your passwords and information.
Cost Effective: LastPass is a relatively inexpensive password manager system. You can get access to basic functions and support for free. The more advanced features that come with a premium personal account will cost you $36 a year. This is very little money given the many benefits gained.
Trusted By Experts: The thing about the computer and computer security industry is that those who work in it tend to share their opinions about various IT companies and the services they offer. LastPass has received mostly glowing reviews by these experts. There is a world of difference between companies that promote themselves as a trusted brand and those that are accepted as such by industry leaders. LastPass is in the latter category.
Creating and memorizing unique and strong passwords for each of the password-protected sites that you visit is impossible. Using LastPass is the best way to avoid this struggle. No matter the particulars of your situation, if you are active online and must access multiple password-protected sites every day, you need what LastPass has to offer.