Google Maps: Your Guide To Improving Your Maps Ranking

Map And Magnifier

Your website’s ranking is crucial to the success of your business – the difference between a good ranking and a bad one could be what separates you from record profits or record losses. There are some really simple steps to improving your Google Maps ranking and I’ve explained them in this guide.

Recommended reading: Why Your Best Customers Are Walking Away

Make sure your Google My Business page is correct

Your Maps ranking begins with the details you add to your Google My Business (GMB) page. If it doesn’t have all of the relevant information for your business, Google won’t be able to link your business to all the searches relevant to you. Making sure your GMB page is correct is the first step in improving your ranking.

The information you must add is:

  • Location of your business
  • Business hours for your company
  • Details of your website – including a link to it
  • Contact information

Once all this is done, you need to verify your listing. This is simple to do but crucial to complete. This is because Google won’t include your business in its results until it’s confirmed it to be a real organisation. Another important thing to get right in your GMB page are the subcategories you use for your business. These are particularly useful if your business is based in multiple locations. For more on Google My Business, check out the video below:

Review your NAP for consistency

NAP is the Name, Address, and Phone (number) for your business. Getting it right on your GMB is essential but this doesn’t go far enough. Your NAP can be found in many online directories on the internet and it needs to be consistent. If it’s not Google has less trust in your business and lowers your ranking.

The various places your business could be listed include:

  • Better Business Bureau
  • Bing
  • Google+
  • Merchant Circle
  • Mantra.com
  • Yahoo
  • Yellowbook
  • Yelp
  • YP.com

There are a range of tools available to help you find where your business is listed. After you’ve found every listing, you must ensure all of the information is the same – including spelling and grammar. Doing this will increase Google’s trust in your business and improve your ranking. Watch the Q&A session underneath to learn more about NAP:

Optimise your website to match your GMB page

Once you’ve added your website to your GMB page Google associates the two. This means Google will use your website to help determine your Maps ranking. A quickfire way to improve your Maps ranking is to optimize your website, so that it’s consistent with your GMB page.

In order to optimize your website, you must include your company name, business type, location, and the primary keywords used in your GMB page. This must be added wherever it is relevant to do so on your website, with your focus points being:

  • Title Tags
  • URLs
  • Sub headings
  • Images

This is a great way to improve the ranking for well-established and newly-made websites alike, because it’s such a quick win. For example, optimizing images is one of the best ways to increase traffic, while your title tag is the most important on page ranking factor. For more information about website optimization, watch the detailed video underneath:

Boost your Google Maps reviews

Reviews are extremely important today. Your customers value the opinions of their peers as much as those from their friends and family. Because of this Google puts a lot of stock in customer reviews and uses it as part of your Maps ranking. What does this mean to you? Boost your Google map reviews and your Maps ranking will improve. Simple.

Google’s policy is that you can’t ask your customers to leave reviews. However, there are ways around this:

  • You can offer your them a discount on their next purchase for leaving a review
  • Reply to as many of your existing reviews as you can
  • Include the link to your Google Maps review section in your email marketing

Your reviews need to look natural for them to improve your ranking. This means if you get a bulk batch at the same time Google may get suspicious, particularly if you have a new website. To learn more about the importance of reviews, check out the great video below:

Spending time improving your Google Maps ranking can pay dividends for your business. It’s an important ranking factor in local SEO and could be the difference between your business losing a customer or winning one. Now you know how to improve your Google Maps ranking, all that’s left is for you to put my advice into practice. So go away and put your business on the (Google) Map(s)!

How to get more sales from your phuket website

Do You REALLY own your website?

A large part of my time is spent working on website re-designs. Many businesses are just early adopters noticing that times have changed but their site has not. Others just need a real business focused website with clear Call To Actions and a Fast Loading, Mobile Friendly website.

Then there are the unfortunate ones that find themselves with an out of date content and an outdated looking website they just can’t access. If that’s not bad enough, they are about to discover they don’t even own their own the domain name. The company who sold them the original website set everything up for them and didn’t transfer ownership.  Now the developer is no longer in business or has left the area, country (or worse) and doesn’t respond to emails. Sometimes they claim you were only renting the domain from them.

❝ Sometimes they claim you were only renting the domain from them. ❞

You’d think ICANN would be able to help with ownership disputes, they can and do to a certain extent but it’s not easy or cheap! So it’s best not to put yourself in that situation in the first place.

Domain Name & Hosting

If there’s one issue I see time and time again with redesign projects, it’s that clients don’t control or even have access to their domain registrar or hosting accounts. Which essentially means they don’t actually own their company website.

Rule #1 = Make sure you OWN your domain name.
Rule #2 = Make sure you OWN your hosting account.

❝ As the two most essential elements that control your website/business online, make sure you OWN your domain name & hosting account! ❞

Ownership: Does it really matter?

I won’t tell you how many times I have heard the same story. They signed a contract with a bad vendor and ended up with a site that they couldn’t update and/or didn’t get the site they expected.

The day comes when you want to move your site to a new hosting company or change DNS settings on your domain.

Faced with losing business the original provider refuses to raise a finger during the migration process or worse actively sabotaged the process. Unfortunately, this is not simply a one-time case, but a business practice where unscrupulous web providers build and host web sites but the knowing clients don’t actually own the sites.

I’ve also had lots of good experiences too. But until you start the process, you never know which way it’s going to go.

Responsibility:

It’s not just the vendors, often clients seek a hands-off solution for their website – especially when it comes to domains and hosting. It does take more time to have clients register their own accounts or to create them and transfer ownership. Sometimes even though it’s in the clients best interest there’s often resistance.

So I completely understand the temptation to do it the easy way. I just prefer to help people make the right choices because it’s in their companies best interest. Even if they don’t know it yet.

Just as it’s never a good idea to build property on land you don’t own (or have the rights to). Don’t build a website on a domain you don’t own. 

Protect Yourself: ask the right questions.

The final decision to invest in a new website or redesign is often made in a rush. There’s almost always some deadline looming, or the business needs to prepare for a seasonal sales/marketing schedule. That’s just the way of the world. But there’s no reason to skip over important details.

Protecting yourself is as easy as asking the right questions.

  1. Will the Domain name be registered to me? 
  2. Will we have full & direct access to the DNS registration (ie. username + password)?
  3. Will we have complete access to the website backend if requested? (This would include FTP, Control Panel and/or Shell access)
  4. Is the CMS or e-commerce system proprietary or is it a system that is commonly used by other service providers?

If the answer to any of those questions is anything other than YES, you could be in for an expensive shock down the line.

While you’re at it ask if the site will be secured by an SSL Certificate and use the new http2 protocols.

5. Does the hosting include SSL certificate?

Finally, ask if there will be other websites on the same server? If yes, ask how many?

6. How many websites will share the same IP address? 

If you’ve ever run too many apps on your phone at the same time and noticed it slow down slightly,  it’s common for budget shared servers to have thousands of websites running on the same server. There’s a reason these are cheap. Check how many websites are on your shared server.

Website Hosting: Fast, Reliable & Affordable

Controlling your own hosting account isn’t as vital as owning your own domain name, but it’s a really good idea. Having a fast host that’s reliable just makes sense.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. Hosting is no different but selecting the right hosting package can be overwhelming. Plus most hosting companies don’t make it easy to compare apples to apples and often the stats displayed are of little relevance.

Shared Hosting

Most small businesses only need some form of shared server. Shared hosting is where your website shares hosting space with other websites. Just as any phone or computer will start to slow down the more apps and programs you run at the same time, shared hosting shares the server resources across multiple websites.

Not all shared hosting is equal. Modern servers are impressive bits of kit, having a hundred small domains on a server isn’t that much of a problem 99% of the time. But really cheap shared hosting can often have thousands of websites on a single shared server. For hobby sites, it’s not a problem. Your site goes down a few times a week or month and it’s no problem at all.

For a business website. It’s important to be fast and reliable. Your website reflects 100% on your business – not on the hosting company. If your site is out of date, slow and frequently doesn’t work, the message you’re sending isn’t one of professionalism and reliability.

❝ First impressions take less than 50 milliseconds, that’s faster than the blink of an eye❞

I like to keep it simple. From shared to dedicated servers, there’s only one hosting company I’m confident will maintain the quality of service I work hard to provide my clients.

Siteground Website Hosting

Because of our Website Maintenance service, I still get to work with a wide selection of hosting companies, including most of the largest names in the industry.  It’s also worth mentioning that I practice what I preach. Having moved all my hosting to Siteground a few years ago, I’ve never looked back or regretted it since.

Siteground is still a recommendation I’m very comfortable to make.

Your Domain: How to check it yourself

If you registered your own domain, you shouldn’t have a problem but if it was set up by a third party then check your domain with whois.icann.org and you should see your own details under the Registrant Contact and especially the Administrative Contact sections should display an email address that ONLY you have access to.

If the details are marked as private. In which case can just contact the company who set it up and ask them.

Most times when a business/vendor has registered a domain for you, it’s because you asked them to. So now that you know better, it’s something they should be more than happy to resolve for you. Yes, it’s a little hassle, but it’s worth doing!

Without direct access to the Administrative Contact email account listed, you do not control your domain name.

Administrative Contact Email Address

Remember, if it isn’t your email address displayed as the ADMIN, then you will need the cooperation of the person with access to the email, to help transfer ownership to you.

While it is a very straight forward process, taking a few minutes to implement.  Getting a third party to co-operate in a timely manner (in my experience) takes 2-3 weeks and a dozen or more emails, messages, and phone calls. It’s precisely those bad experiences, reclaiming clients websites that prompted me to write this article.

NOTE: Moving a domain to a new registrar will involve your website going down for short time. So the best option would be to make a new account with the registrar and get your third party to process a change of ownership.

Useful Links

If you’re thinking about updating your website or have run into similar problems, we’d love to hear what happened. Feel free to add your comments and or questions below and I will respond ASAP.

Website Redesign

2 Duplicate Content Tests You Need To Do Today

Check your website to make sure its not a lemon. SEO Canonical Issues

When visiting a website for the first time there’s one tell-tail problem that I always look for. And I’m constantly surprised by how often I see it, especially considering how damaging it can be to a site’s potential for growth.

It’s a particular kind of duplicate content. If you don’t know what to look for. You may never notice the problem. Even if you did spot something a little odd, chances are you’d be oblivious to the damage it’s doing to your business.

❝ With the number of websites that are unknowingly handicapped by these issues. Small business owners need to be aware of it too. ❞

The technical name for this particular issue is canonicalization. 

Besides being difficult to say and tricky to spell. It’s also easy for business owners to overlook.

There are thousands of articles for webmasters and developers. Explaining how to fix canonical issues in great detail. But they all assume, prior knowledge of the problem to begin with. With the number of websites that are unknowingly handicapped by these issues. Small business owners need to be aware of it too.

Duplicate pages caused by canonical issues can affect every page of your website. Especially your home page. Establishing your content as high quality and relevant is much harder to do if your website structure is working against you.  

It might seem a little backward, but I’m going to start by showing you how to check your own website first.  Then I’ll explain what canonicalization is and the effect it has on your business.

Check Your Website


I’ve broken the process down into two separate tests. Each one takes just a few seconds to complete. There’s no need for any special software or technical knowledge. It’s not complicated at all, you just need to know what signs to look for.

TEST #1 – (takes less than 30 seconds)

The Objective:
Every domain has at least two versions of every page, a www. and non-www version. When a website is created you’ll pick which version you want to use. It doesn’t matter which version you use as long as you are consistent.  In test 1 we are going to see if the basic redirects are in place for your domain.

a) www.example.com
b) example.com

The pages will look identical, you need to focus on the page URL’s to tell them apart.

Step 1. 

To check your domain, all you have to do is type your website address into a browser address bar. Start with the www. version first.

Canonical Test URL eg www.yoursebsite.com

When your home page loads – take a look at the URL in the address bar.

Can you still see www. in front of your domain name?

Canonical Test URL - Can You see the www ?

Yes = Continue on to Step 2

No = Great, your website is set to display only the naked URL’s (without the www.) – there’s no need for you to do step 2, you can go straight to TEST #2.

Example:  
www.hue-marketing.com will ALWAYS redirect to  hue-marketing.com  (without the www.)
It doesn’t matter which version you display (www or non-www) as long as you don’t display BOTH.

Step 2. 

This time, type your  website address without the www. (or highlight and delete the www.) and press enter.

Canonical Test URL without the www.

When the page reloads – look at the URL in the address bar once again.

Do you see the www. in the address bar?

Canonical Test URL - Can you see the www?

Yes = Great. Looks like your domain is set to always display the www. versions of your website.

No = Ouch! Your site displays both www. and none www versions of every page (duplicate content). Even though these pages look identical, they each have different URL’s. Confirming that you have canonicalization problems affecting  every page on your website.

Continue onto TEST 2 to check if you have any internal links that are handicapping your potential.

TEST #2 – (takes less than 30 seconds)

The Objective:
Test 2 is like Test 1 in that we are still looking for different URL’s that display the same page. But this time we are looking for changes at the end of your URL.  If www.example.com was your home page all the options below could be potential duplicate pages. You will not have every one of these, but you might find more than one. This problem happens because internal links on your site point at duplicate pages. It’s caused by poor web development and site architecture. The most common errors are ones linking back to your homepage.

a) www.example.com
b) example.com
c) www.example.com/index.html 
d) example.com/index.html
e) www.example.com/index.php 
f) example.com/index.php 
g) www.example.com/home.aspx 
h) example.com/home.aspx 

Step 1. Type your website address (with or without www.) into the address bar of your browser and press enter.

Step 2. Use the main site navigation to click on the ‘HOME’ link. Sometimes poor site architecture creates a different link for your homepage in your main site navigation.

Look at the URL in the address bar. Is it exactly the same as you typed in step 1?

Yes = If your home page URL is exactly the same as when you first typed it into the address bar. That’s great, test 2 is complete.

Canonical Test URL eg www.yoursebsite.com

No = It’s not so great if the URL now has something extra at the end. (ie. something like  /index.html,  /index.php or  /default.aspx ). This means you’ve found another duplicate page.

Canonical Test URL's ending with index.html

These tests don’t catch all canonical issues. But they do show you how to spot them and how easy it is to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for. If you are unsure of what you’ve found and want a second opinion. Feel free to contact us at Hue Marketing and we’ll check your website for you (free of charge).

STILL NOT SURE? We Will Take A FREE Look For You

It doesn’t take us long to give your site a once over and check if you have any canonical issues that need to be addressed

Your Website Address*

Your Email Address*

YOUR TEST RESULTS

If you found duplicate pages for your domain in test one. You have at least two versions of every page on your website. If you found duplicate home pages in test two,  you have slightly more complicated issues with the architecture of your website.

There may be more issues with other pages on your site.  The two test above only highlight the most common versions of the problem.

These issues are so simple to avoid in the first place, it’s often just the tip of the iceberg. That’s why it’s something I always look out for.

Fixing the problem isn’t difficult. But you should definitely take a closer look at your website. Make sure it’s doing exactly what you intended it to – helping your business.

While it might be a little strong to label your website a lemon. If the goal of your website is to develop and grow your business – to handicap your potential in this way was counterproductive.

❝ If the objective of the site was to develop and grow your business – to handicap your potential in this way is quite counterproductive. ❞

On the bright side –  60 seconds ago you didn’t know there was anything wrong. Now you’ve identified a problem and know it can be fixed.  Keep on reading to find out how and why these duplicate pages affect your business. And the importance of fixing them.

What Is Canonicalization?

Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices. The illustration below highlights the correct way to display one constant URL  vs  eight possible variations of your homepage. The URL you choose can be with or without the www. it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you pick one and use it consistently.

Canonical Issues and Duplicate Pages

As a human visitor, you focus on the content displayed on the screen. If two pages look identical, it’s understandable to assume its the same page. Search engines see your website very differently.  If the URL is even slightly different, it’s counted as a unique page and this, duplicate content.

There are other canonical issues to look out for, like dynamic session id’s. These will have something like  /?PHPSESSID=123 at the end of your page URL’s. But the 8 examples listed above are the most common ones that trip up most websites.

❝ Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices… ❞

Source: Matt Cutts

Good News For Canonical Duplicate Content

The duplicate content caused by canonical URLs generally are not a problem. As long as your pages are not considered spammy. Full of keyword stuffing and intentionally misleading to visitors or search engines. You shouldn’t be in danger of getting penalties for duplicate pages.

Search engines can generally figure out what’s going on with duplicate pages. They will pick one to index or even follow sitemap instructions on which pages to index. All the other pages will be ignored as duplicates. But this is where the real problem starts.

If someone links to one of your duplicate pages (that’s ignored by search engines). Your website will not benefit from that backlink to your website. 

These backlinks are an important to your websites development and competitive edge. To get a better idea of how and why this is harmful to your business, you need to know a few things about backlinks.

Why Do Backlinks Matter?

Search engines try to calculate the quality and relevance of the content on each page of your website. There’s a long list of criteria used to calculate which pages will best fulfill the customers search. But if other internet users like your content enough to share it and reference to it on their own websites. This is still a powerful indicator of quality.

So when a potential customer searches for a product or service that you provide. If two websites have similar content but one has more quality backlink  from other sites. The quality backlinks will make all the difference in the search results.

It’s in the search engines own interest to deliver the best possible website to any search term. If they don’t help their users find what they are looking for quickly – they will start using a different search engine. It’s an area they focus on constantly – and so should you.

There are many factors that search engines use to calculate search engine results. Having a mobile-friendly site can give you an extra advantage over your competition. Updating your website on a regular basis is another good indicator that your content is current and more reliable. But it’s hard to compete if everything you do is handicapped by duplicate pages.

Understanding Quality Backlinks

For a long time, backlinks have been used to gauge a website’s reliability and importance. It used to be a case of the more you have the better. Now it’s not so cut and dry.

Recent changes and updates to search engines haven’t changed the importance of backlinks. Algorithms continue to improve their ability to determine quality and relevant content. And with it, the value (link juice) of each inbound link to your site.

These days it matters where links come from, the relevance between the two connected pages, the quality and reliability of the site and more. In short quality trumps quantity every time.

Just one high-quality link to your site could be worth a thousand low-quality links. In fact, too many low-quality links could even damage your own sites reputation.

Relevance:
Supposing you sell garden furniture.  If you have backlinks from landscaping companies. These are relevant and good quality backlinks to have for your garden furniture business. But if your backlinks come from porn sites, those links will likely damage your websites credibility. Relevance matters a lot!

Quantity:
If your backlink originates from a page that’s full of other links to other websites. Any link juice it sends your way will be close to worthless. But, if your backlink is in the middle of an article about a related subject, the link could be worth considerably more. Depending on the quality of the site displaying your link.

Quality:
A website with an established history of regular updates. One that attracts large numbers of visitors because they provide quality and reliable information. These sites will always make great candidates for backlinks. Especially when they also meet the Relevance and Quantity considerations.

Canonicalization & Link Authority

Your website will only receive credit for backlinks that point to the page index by search engines. And they will index only ONE of your duplicate pages. All the others are ignored by search engines completely. Even if you’ve submitted an XML sitemap to search engines to state which pages to index. You still can’t control which URL’s people will use when they link to your page.

Let’s say you have 4 duplicates versions of your home page. Each one with a different number of backlinks.

www.example.com (55 backlinks)
example.com (10 backlinks)
www.example.com/index.html (25 backlinks)
example.com/index.html (15 backlinks)


If you think you have 100 backlinks. Your wrong.  
If the search engines index your page using www.example.com, you will only be credited with the 55 backlinks pointing to that URL.

At first you might think that it’s not so too bad. But what if you have several high-quality backlinks from relevant businesses that point to the other URL’s? You won’t be getting any credit from those links at all. Your 55 backlinks might be close to worthless depending on their origin.

The Solution

The best solutions for canonical issues are permanent 301 redirects.  The redirect works just like it sounds. When the server receives a request to display the URL www.example.com/index  it automatically redirect it to the correct URL of www.example.com . All the pages still exist on your website, but thanks to the 301 redirect no one ever sees them.

Best of all, using 301 redirects, you can forward between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page.

There are a few different ways to make 301 redirects, but my preference is to make them at the server level. If you don’t have access to your server you can also perform 301 redirects via your the htaccess file (apache servers only).

There are also rel=canonical link/tags when placed into the header section of your pages will tell the search engines which page to index. But it’s preferable to solve these problems as far upstream as possible (so server level is the best choice).

Picking the right method for your website will depend on your site structure and your level of access to the back-end of your site. A word of caution, make sure you fully map out your pages and understand which ones you’ll identify as your primary pages.

Making a mistake with 301 redirects can remove your site completely from all search results, a simple typo is all it takes. So be careful.

It goes without saying that the best solution of all is to not create a problem in the first place. One of the biggest advantages of using WordPress for website development is that it has an SEO friendly approach to its architecture.

On the off-chance that your canonical issues were just the tip of the iceberg. And you’d like to upgrade your website to one that’s actually designed to help your business. We deliver mobile-friendly, responsive designed websites using the latest Content Management System available. Making it easy update, add to and manage your content as often as you like.

Our websites don’t just look the part, they mean business!  We’ll turn your lemon into delicious lemonade!

(We don’t actually make lemonade. But we will make you an awsome business website that does everthing you expected it to do in the first place.)

Website Redesign

Why Your Best Customers Are Walking Away

Customers Retention New vs Old Customers

When the balance between new and repeat customers changes suddenly it can have a devastating effect on your business. A high influx of new customers can overwhelm your current service capabilities, which can seriously damage your existing customer base.  Before you know it, your regular customers are taking their money somewhere else.

If you’re thinking that your new customers will simply replace your repeat business on a one to one basis you’re in for a big shock.

❝ No matter what you sell or service you provide, you are in the business of making customers happy. If not, you are going out of business. ❞

If your customers keep coming back for more, then you’re doing something right! Keep on doing it. But if your customers never return to your business, you need to identify why and do it FAST!

Often the first and most obvious place to look is your customer satisfaction levels. At the end of the day, when bills have been paid, are they happy? Do they feel they are getting good value for their hard earned money? This can be a big pill to swallow, so let’s take a quick look at the benefits to your business when you get it right.

Why Customer Retention Matters

It’s common knowledge that it costs a lot less to encourage an existing  customer to make a second purchase, than it costs to attract and get a sale from a first-time customer. But just in case you’re not convinced why repeat business is good business, here’s a few things to consider:

    • It cost 6-7 times more to find a new customer than it does to keep a current one.
    • The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%
    • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%
    • New customers are more price-conscious.
    • Average conversion rate (sales) from promotions sent to new customers is less than 1%
    • On average loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
  • 80% of your total revenue comes from 20% of your customers.

That being said, attracting fresh new customers is still a vital part of any marketing strategy. Though one area that does not get emphasised enough, is the importance of balance between your new and experienced customers. Keeping that balance can be difficult, especially since many factors may be outside of your control. Understanding that your business has different types of customers and finding the ones that generate the most income is just the first step.

The Effect Your Customers Can Have On Each Other

Imagine that your business is a simple ATM (cash machine).   Your service does not change from person to person, so ‘customer experience’ will be affected by the customers themselves. Their direct interaction with your business, as well as your other customers waiting in line behind them.

The Effect Customers Can Have On Each Other

Imagine your business was like an ATM machine.

Repeat Customer

Picks the right machine and has the right card ready to go. They know the pin number and more importantly, which buttons to press in order to complete the desired transaction.  The whole process takes less than a minute. The repeat customer satisfaction is high and your business is ready and available for your next customer – perfect!

New Customer

They don’t really know if your ATM is the best one to use but will give it a go, they have a selection of cards to pick from and will need to find a compatible one with the ATM.  Next they have to carefully read the on-screen instructions and locate the correct buttons for the options they are looking for. Naturally it takes considerably longer for a first time customer to achieve the exact same service results as a repeat customer. Although they are happy to have got their money, the experience wasn’t as enjoyable or as simple as they are used to.

If  your first-time customers do return to your business (and it’s not changed too much) they will have a more enjoyable experience and before long they may transition into repeat customers.

The Point

If you have more repeat customers than new, the queue at the ATM machine will move quickly and at a fairly predictable pace. There might be a slight delay from time to time but for the most part all your customers will be happy.  As a result, you will get regular customers visiting your business.

If new customers outnumber your regulars each process will take considerably longer, everyone feels the effect of a drop in service.  It’s unfortunate, but the first people to see the drop in service levels and value are always your most regular customers.  They will also be the first ones to go elsewhere.

Lifetime Value:  If your regular customers visits you machine every week for a year that’s even better than 52 first time visitors that use your ATM only once. Why is it better and not equal? Because your repeat customer needs no assistance and does not cause unexpected delays to your other customers.

Sometimes purchase frequency can be much slower, but even if your customers purchase cycle is once a month or even once a year. Over 10 years the lifetime value of that customer to your business is significantly greater than a single first-time customer. So when considering your customers lifetime value, focus on purchases over an extended period of time.

Advocate PotentialWhen every customer has an on-line voice (social media) all your customers have the potential to be powerful advocates for your business. It’s one thing to read a review or recommendation from a stranger, but when that advice comes from a friend it’s hard to ignore.

Repeat customers make powerful advocates for your business.  For a start, they are more likely to be happy customers (which is good). But they are also more likely to promote your business with friends, family, on social media sites and even blogs. If that wasn’t good enough already, the icing on the cake is the frequency that your regular customers act as advocates on your behalf.  The more they visit your business the more opportunities they have to talk about you.

New customers are also very likely to share their opinion of your service. But there’s no guarantee it’s going to be good so you can’t count on them being advocates.  New customers by nature are more demanding of services and are far more likely to complain on-line if your service doesn’t meet their personal expectations.

The bottom line is that when you introduce new customers to your business, you’d better give them your A-Game.

Find Your Balance

Maintaining the right balance of repeat and new customers, so that your business can keep its service standards is essential.  It’s not so much about specific numbers, it depends entirely on the service you provide and your ability to provide consistent levels of service to all your customers at all times.

It’s important to be aware if this balance point for your own businesses and if your customer base changes, you need to adapt your business to match.

The ATM example although simplistic, highlights the fact that customer satisfaction and your ability to attract repeat business can be affected even when your service remains exactly the same.

❝ Loyalty goes both ways – If you are not loyal to your customers, why would they be loyal to you? ❞

Keep Them Coming Back For More

For all the above reasons (and more) most companies work extra hard with their new customers to encourage them to become repeat customers. The good ones also make sure to keep their repeat customers happy; the great ones even make their customers feel special.

Like many small businesses, you might feel you have little or no control over which customers visit your business, even if that was true (which it certainly is not), you do have complete control over the service you provide and how you provide it.

If you’re looking to build your repeat clientèle – consider who your ideal customers are and where you could find them.  If you operate a business that doesn’t attract locals in your area, then you need to establish why. It’s not always easy to identify the problems yourself. Your best bet is to ask your customers, or even your staff.

Problems With Service

If customers have had a bad experience with your business it can be hard to get them back. Start by admitting that there were problems with areas of your business (be specific) and fixing them. Once fixed, let people know you’ve made some big changes and ask them to come back and try again.

Just make sure you’ve really fixed the problems first.  Second chances are hard. Third chances are very rare.

Problems With Value

If your customers think your prices are too high it doesn’t matter if they are or not. Your customers won’t buy. You should review your pricing structure to evaluate where you stand in the market. It’s also possible your customers don’t fully understand the value of what you’re offering. This is very common with service related businesses. If this is the case, you will need to educate them accordingly. Using printed flyers and leaflets are a great conversion tool when customers are already considering your company but need a little more convincing to make a sale.

Ideally you should be educating potential customers while they are in the investigation phase of their purchase. Having  the right information on your website helps your customers early on in the buying process. It also builds trust that you are a reliable, informed and have a professional attitude to your business. All good signs that potential customers like to see.

Problems With Awareness

This is always a big one. Are you the best-kept secret in town.  If this is the case, double check you don’t really have a Service or Value problem (ask your customers) and then identify who your customers are.  Then target your advertising directly to them.

Before buying additional advertising or promotions, double check your web content and landing pages. Even if you are handing out flyers in the street, most customers will check you out online before they contact you directly. If you fail to impress, they are just a click or two away from your competition. Check your website is listed locally and that you contact information is easy to find and accurate. If you’re listed in directories make sure your information is up to date and that your company is accurately represented.

If your website is mobile friendly then social media targeted advertising campaigns are relatively inexpensive and simple to create. You need a good idea of your target market if you want to get results and when you’re attracting customers, and as always it’s vital you have a decent online presence for your business or you’ll just be throwing money away.

If you’re a local Phuket business and you’re struggling to find customers or feeling the effects from a drop in repeat customers, feel free to get in touch. We’ll help you identify who your customers are, where to find them, how get their attention and keep them coming back for more.

How to get more sales from your website

The Biggest Facebook Mistake Made by Small Businesses

Facebook small business mistake

If you already know what inbound marketing is then this article probably won’t be for you. But if you’re one of the many small businesses that use Facebook as your company website, you’ll want to know why you’re making a mistake and the benefits you’ll get from changing your strategy.

❝ By only posting your content directly onto Facebook, you are making a huge mistake! ❞

I won’t argue that the benefits of setting up a Company Facebook Page are clear; it’s free, you probably already know how to use Facebook so it’s easy to share or add content whenever you like, as often as you like. Plus you can even interact with your customers in real time and even get page insights and follower demographics. But if you think that this is all you need to get your company on-line, you’re making the biggest Facebook Mistake ever.

A quick internet search for “how to use Facebook to promote your business?“ will reveal pages and pages of guides that all explain how to make interesting posts, how to work out post frequency and target your customers as well as how to gain more followers and even connect your e-commerce store.

Most of this advice is spot on and if you are responsible for your companies FB page you’ll do well to follow their advice. Just make sure you’re using Facebook as a marketing tool and not a replacement for your on-line presence.

So you think you control your Facebook Page?

Yes, you can control what your post onto your PB page, but just how much control do you really have?

  • Facebook Tabs Landing Page
  • At one time you could create a default landing page for your Facebook page. Many used that option until it was removed by Facebook in March of 2012.
  • Facebook will be severely restricting promotional posts (January 2015)
  • In their words, “Pages that post promotional content should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”  The Guardian
  • Constant changes to complicated and detailed privacy and sharing settings
  • By using our services after January 30, 2015, you agree to our updated terms, data policy, and cookies policy and to seeing improved ads based on apps and sites you use.  Source
  • Facebook Profile & Cover Photo
  • Seems to change at least once a year. Not a huge inconvenience, but it’s not your choice either.

I highlighted these points not to be negative, but in order to illustrate how little control you really have over your content if the only place it exists is on FB which is at the heart of the biggest Facebook mistake.  Facebook have already started demoting your promotional posts because they want companies to use their advertising. What they do with your content is also prone to change new updates. Do you always read the new terms and conditions?

As a small business you can’t afford to have all your eggs in one basket. Especially when that basket belongs to someone else! What would happen to your business if one day Facebook became unfashionable, or was replaced by something even better? Do you have the time and energy to start all over again? Remember MySpace?

Facebook Mistake, keeping all your eggs on one basket

How can posting all your content be a Facebook Mistake?

There is nothing wrong with sharing your content but one thing that most Facebook how-to guides miss out completely is your content should first be on your own website.  It’s probably overlooked because it’s all too obvious to the marketers who write them. But if you’re a small business owner with a million other things to do, you might be unaware that using social media as a marketing platform for you business should be part of an inbound marketing strategy.

Inbound marketing refers to activities that attract visitors to you. This is done by increasing your exposure among people who share a common interest or have friends that do. Therefore your message is received by a higher number of potential prospects compared to outbound marketing (like placing an advert in a newspaper) where everyone sees your ad even if they are not interested in what you provide.

The Facebook mistake being made is posting straight to FB.  As a business you still want to convert those visitors into customers, right? Plus you want the benefits of your hard work to grow over time. To do that you need to own your content and you need to have complete control of how you communicate your message, the most cost effective way to do this is through your own company website.

If all your content is on Facebook why would anyone want to visit your website? If they don’t visit your website, then you don’t have much say in your conversion process or any chance to improve it. You might have thousands of followers but unless those followers are sending money into your business you’re missing out. Big Time!

If you are not comfortable sending visitors to your website, then you need to change whatever you dislike about your site. Avoiding the issue isn’t the answer, website redesigns don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, there’s even Free options you can use (free options generally place adverts on your website but then again so does Facebook).

If you don’t have your own dedicated website that you can easily update and edit yourself (it’s not difficult these days),  you’re sending a very clear message that you’re not a business to be taken seriously. Do you also use hotmail for your business email? If so, you need to catch up, fast!

❝ If you do not take your own business seriously, your customers may think twice about how professionally you will treat them! ❞

Content belongs on your website first & then you can share it!

The seemingly obvious concept of adding content to your website first, before sharing it to potential customers via social media now becomes crystal clear. So why is it that so many small businesses are still making this fundamental and potentially disastrous Facebook mistake?

  1. Firstly, I think that it’s as simple as just not knowing; after all it’s really hard to know what you don’t know.
  2. Secondly, many small businesses may have set up a website or a page in a local directory several years ago. Unfortunately they can’t add new content or even update old content without paying a web developer to do it. (refer back to point 1).

Although today that’s not the case, websites created on the WordPress platform make up around 30% of sites on the internet and use Content Management Systems that allow website owners to log in and add or change content using an interface that looks more like your email client than programmers code. So there are certainly lots of viable options for any small business.

But it’s not just small businesses that use WordPress; New York Times, CNN, Forbs, UPS, eBay, Sony, Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones and Samsung are just some of the big names using WordPress to power their websites.

The good news, now you can do something about it!

If you are a small business owner and would like to take control of your online presence and make the most of all your hard work on Facebook, drop us a line and we’ll have a chat.

Hue Marketing can help guide you through the modern marketing minefields and offer practical solutions for your business.

How to get more sales from your website