Google uses the term direct when people search for you using your name or the name of your business. It usually means one of two things. The person already knows you and simply needs to get your phone number. Or, you have just received a REFERRAL. Someone heard about you from a friend and they have come to check you out. Your referral program is bearing fruit.
Some of our clients speak of their business as “referrals only.” They use a referral program exclusively to sustain and grow their business. Some of them say the referrals they receive each year create all the new business they want or can handle. If that’s you, the J1 Direct Visibility strategy is exactly what you need. And there’s something you don’t need … SEO. The J1 Direct Visibility Strategy does not involve the rigors of Search Engine Optimization.
Here’s how it happens. Let’s suppose you are a dentist.
Marcy just moved to Tucson. Her husband flies Tucson’s famous A-10 fighter jets for the US Air Force. She’s been getting her teeth cleaned since she was three and she’s raising her kids like her mom raised her. She needs to find a dentist. She starts asking around. Her new friend Samantha tells her about her dentist. Her dentist is you. What does Marcy do? She sits at her computer or picks up her smart phone and types or speaks your name.
J1 Direct Visibility strategy makes sure that when your customers and friends refer their friends, they easily find everything they need to know. And because of J3’s trust building, relational marketing approach, after a visit to your website, they feel they already know you, like you, and trust you. They are confident in their decision to do business with you. Actually, they feel way more comfortable calling you than any of the other service providers they encounter during the due diligence phase of their search. For this Strategy you need the five basic pieces that complete your Internet presence.
Your website is the hub of your internet presence. Don’t skimp here. It’s the one thing you can do about marketing your business that will make everything else you do a lot easier or not even necessary. Done right, it will pay for itself over and over because of how it improves your referral/conversion ratio (The percentage of people referred to you who become your customer). Your website is the hub of your referral program.
Today, design matters. In the first nano second, the look and feel of your site has it’s effect. That first impression creates a feeling…positive, neutral or negative. People don’t actually say, hey this site makes me feel good or bad. It’s not necessarily a conscious thing, but that first impression sets the stage for how your visitors will react to everything else they are going to see.
Many websites talk about the things that excite the owner. The smart website puts the focus on things that please the customer. Sites that talk about the business from the owner’s perspective are filled with words like we, me, I, ours and mine. We call those “I” words. Customer centered websites use words like you, your, you’ll, and yours. We call those “you” words. The low touch site is packed with facts. The high touch site is filled with pictures and stories. Pictures and stories that cause the visitor to feel what it will feel like to use your products, or receive your services.
Obviously, no matter how functional, beautiful, or relational your website, if no one sees it, the marketing effect is zero. These days, you need much more than a website. You need a highly visible Internet Presence.
Your website must be impressive to Search Engines. This is where SEO comes in. You start with carefully chosen key words around which you develop great content. Make it user friendly in multiple ways…it loads fast, it’s mobile friendly, it’s easy to find what people want to find… There are dozens of details that search engines evaluate to determine whether your website is the one it will show on the golden first page of search results.
You may even opt for one of several powerful Paid-For visibility strategies.
For your website to contribute to your bottom line, there are two optimizing threads that you must weave into its fabric.
Your Website is essential, but these days, your Google My Business is just as important.
What’s Google My Business?
Google My Business is a Google Account where a business can register a great deal of information. Google in turn publishes that information in two places: 1) Google Maps 2) Google Knowledge Panel
Under the map you usually see a list of three business locations and the orange review stars. By the way, those three listings are called the “Map Pack.” Google is showing the top three of a longer list of locations. To see more listings, you click on see more. When someone searches with the actual name of your business…your business will most likely be the top of the three business listed. That’s called a “direct result” because they searched using your name or the name of your business.
Google Knowledge Panel. That’s what Google calls the rectangular box on the right side of the page. Google My Business fills that Knowledge Panel with all kinds of information you provide about your business: You business name, phone number, address, reviews, pictures, video, descriptions, hours, business category. There’s a link to your website, a button that gives people directions to your location, a button that let’s people leave you a review. You can post articles, promotions, info about events. Google My Business is information central about your business.
Why may Google My Business be as important as your website, or even MORE important than your website?
It’s simple. It’s the first thing people see when they perform a search. Everything about the Knowledge Panel is scientifically calibrated to make it the FIRST place your eye goes when the search results page pops up. When people see your Google Knowledge panel they may click on the link that takes them to your website, but often, they don’t do that because they see your phone number as well. Instead of going to your website, they call you. Or they may simply click the button to get directions to your place, again never making it over to your website. We tell our clients that regardless of the visibility strategy, include Google My Business along with a website in your plan.
You newsletter keeps you tightly connected with your customers and others who are interested in what you do. An essential piece of your customer retention system. It brings you to mind. It supports your referral program because of how you can use it to encourage your customers and your friends to give you their referrals. It brings people back to your website and your Facebook page. It informs everyone about promotions, events, community service and such you have going on or coming up.
Your business Facebook Page is branded to match the look and feel of your website. It is fully set up. It’s active. That’s essential. They see at least one or two posts per week. Things that:
It’s a social place. Its also a business place. That means every tenth post or so, your fans are happy to see you make an offer, promote a product, or ask them to do some business with you.
We like to think of your Business Facebook Page as the The story of your business in real time. Social-minded-people will definitely check out your Facebook page to see what’s going on. The pictures they see and the conversation they encounter will round out their impression of the type and quality of service you provide. It confirms what they already believe to be true because of the cool things their friend told them about you. It will encourage them to give you a call.
For the company that wants to reach the vast audience that lies beyond the reach of their referral program a different type of visibility strategy is called for. We call it our J2 Organic Visibility Strategy.
This strategy incorporates the Search Engine Optimization of your entire Internet Presence.