Twitter to Share Performance Analytics with Some Users

Many contractor businesses are active on Twitter, which seems to be growing in popularity. Unfortunately, Twitter results aren’t always easy to quantify. That could be one reason for Twitter’s plans to share its performance analytics with some of its users. Although it’s not clear who will be able to access the new analytics, people and companies who pay for advertising on Twitter will likely be rewarded with access. However, after the product is rolled out to advertisers, non-advertisers may be given access to it as well.

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Timeline Activity

If your contractor business gets access to the performance analytics, you’ll be able to see how your tweets perform over time. The dashboard will show you:

  • How many followers you gained or lost
  • How many retweeted your tweets
  • How many made your tweets a favorite
  • How many people replied to your tweets
  • How many people clicked on a link in each of your tweets

New Performance Categories

The analytics tool aggregates all of this basic data for you and sorts them into three performance categories. The top 15 percent of your tweets, based on engagement, will be placed in the Best category, and the top 60 percent or so will be placed into the Good category. As a local social media marketing professional, you’ll probably be sure to review the tweets in the Best category and adjust your Twitter strategy accordingly.

Share Data with Colleagues

The new analytics tool enables users to share the data with colleagues. Just click one button to download a CSV or XLS file. This report contains all of the information on the dashboard except for the clicked links information. However, that feature may be included in subsequent analytics updates from Twitter.

Detailed Follower Information

The performance analytics also enables you to learn a lot more about your Twitter followers. Through the new tool, you can find out:

  • How much your Twitter follower base has increased over time
  • How many of your followers are male and how many are female
  • Your followers’ interests
  • Where your followers are located

Bring on the Analytics

More information is always beneficial to local marketing experts, and the new Twitter analytics tool is no exception. The interface is clean and easy to understand, and your contractor business will surely learn a few things about what kind of Twitter content your followers like.

Unfortunately, Twitter isn’t clear about who will get access and when they’ll have the data, but keep an eye out on your Twitter account page for any updates. Twitter may still be working out the kinks on some users’ accounts.

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Discover Your Contractor Business’s Top Twitter Influencers

Most contractor businesses that are active in local social media marketing have a Twitter presence, and for good reason. Some of your Twitter followers could be major influencers who help to solidify your company’s credibility and reputation. Although it’s great to reach your customers and prospective customers through your own Twitter communication, these thought leaders have the power to multiply your efforts.

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To tap the power of these influencers, you must first identify the people who are already on your side. These people might already be interacting with your company. Local internet marketing experts understand that social media is much more valuable when you can depend on others to do some of your communication for you. Here are some tools to help you get started:

Who Tweeted Me

Who Tweeted Me is a free Hubspot tool that measures influencers in terms of the number of Twitter followers they have. It lists all of your followers, with those with the most followers at the top of the list. Once you have compiled the list, you can send some of the top followers a thank-you message to let them know you appreciate their support.

Klout

Klout, another free tool, assigns a score to your influencers. Klout makes interacting with your key influencers seamless. You can respond to them and retweet them right from your Klout dashboard.

Commun.it

Commun.it has many features that will help you reach and engage your influencers. It ranks your followers’ influencers based on the ratio of the number of followers they have to the number of people they’re following. The higher the ratio, the higher Commun.it ranks them. From the Commun.it dashboard, you can see a list of your interactions with influencers, and if you replied to their tweet. You’ll also see how many people interacted with their tweet by either replying to or retweeting the post.

If you don’t follow your influencer, Commun.it will show you that too; you’ll probably want to start following any of your contractor business’s key influencers. Influencers appreciate  your influence on Twitter, so don’t be shy about mentioning them or retweeting their tweets.

If you sign up for one of these tools, Commun.it is a great one to start with.

Follow Twitter Etiquette

In the online world, manners are just as important as they are offline. When a Twitter follower goes out of his way to make your contractor business look good, be sure to thank the person. Also, it never hurts to help other Twitter users that you trust. Most likely, you’ll benefit as well. Sharing useful information from credible sources will build your reputation.

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Why Long-Tail Keywords May Be Making a Comeback

When it comes to local internet marketing, trends aren’t often recycled. But long-tail keywords are one exception to that rule. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are used in place of one- or two-word keywords; for example, “how to start a vegetable garden” or “how to optimize my website” are long-tail keywords.

Keywords

How Searches Are Changing

Before search engine optimization really took off about six years ago, long-tail keywords helped contractor businesses work their way up to the top of search rankings, which translated to more search traffic. But now, because mobile phone users have grown accustomed to asking their mobile phones complete questions, the way people search for content online is evolving, too.

The Influence of Google Now

Google is focusing on a product called Google Now, which allows users to ask Google any question. That type of search is carrying over to basic web searches, and it will likely become a habit for people to search the web in the form of a question or phrase rather than a single keyword. For example, homeowners searching for a roofing contractor in their local area are most likely to put “Who is the best roofing contractor in Columbus, Ohio?” in the search box rather than “roofing contractor”.

Google as a whole is working to become a hub where people ask questions and expect answers. You can even ask Google to compute a math problem. This shift toward a question-answer format is another signal that it’s time to start thinking of longer, more specific keywords. You can learn more about Google’s powerful services through this Google guide.

The Advantages of Using Long-Tail Keywords

Because people searching with longer phrases often have a more specific goal in mind, there will be less competition on the search results page, and people will be more likely to end up on your company’s website. If long-tail keywords are well-executed, they can set your company apart from your competition. Also, because they’re often not as attractive to a large number of your competitors, you won’t be paying a premium for those highly sought-after single keywords.

The most important advantage of using long-tail keywords is that the person already knows exactly what they want; if they use a broad single-word keyword, your contractor business may or may not be related to what they have in mind. Therefore, the person is much more likely to become a customer.

Because many businesses have stopped using long-tail keywords, you may be wise to jump back in just in time for their resurgence. The challenge for businesses is to think of all the ways in which your customers might be trying to find you. Fortunately, Google Analytics can give you helpful insights into how people find your website. If you turn to Google itself for help, you might start with a long-tail keyword.

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Google Maps Revamp Likely to Help Contractor Businesses

Google has just announced major changes to the desktop version of its Maps application, and the overhaul will most likely benefit your contractor business. When people use Google Maps to search for businesses, detailed information about the business will appear on the left side of the screen. They’ll be able to see your contractor business’s address, phone number, website, photos, reviews, and even the hours of operation. That way, your customers have all the information they need about your business on one screen without having to open another browser window.

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As it is today, a large white navigation bar on the left side of the Google Maps screen occupies a large portion of the browser window. The new version eliminates all of that, which allows people to view more detailed maps that occupy all of the available space.

For companies looking to improve their local business listing services, the new Maps application is a great opportunity to make sure that you have updated all of your Google Places information as it will now appear in Google Maps as well. Check out our Google guide to learn more about marketing your business on Google.

Better Directions

If the person likes what he sees, Google Maps will show him the best ways to get to your location. Even people on bicycles can find the best route to your business. The new Google Maps might also be helpful to your own business operations. Your employees will likely find the new Google Maps easy to use, especially if they use it to find jobs in residential areas.

Personalized Search Results

Google Maps remembers the places that people have searched for, so it can suggest new businesses based on their previous searches and places that their friends have visited. This can be helpful to contractor businesses; people who have recently purchased a home, for example, might be searching for plumbers, appliance retailers, and carpet installers at the same time. It could be a win-win for customers and businesses; Google Maps helps them find services they need, and your business gets more visibility.

After a person begins to use the application regularly, the maps become more and more personalized. Eventually, landmarks that are important to the user are automatically added to their Map. This can be tremendously helpful for your business. If, for instance, someone wants to find a contractor near their workplace, it’s easy for them to find what they’re looking for because their workplace location will already be marked.

Google typically rolls out new products to a select group of users, and the same is true for Google maps. However, you can request an invitation to try the new Google Maps; you might give your business an edge on the competition. If you’re looking for a sneak peak without signing up for the new desktop version, the mobile Google Maps are similar to the upcoming desktop version.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing

We’ve talked before about capturing more of your customers’ email addresses, but once you have the ability to reach your customers, how do you make the most of it? When your contractor business combines local social media marketing, website optimization, and email marketing, you will most likely notice a significant increase in business.

email marketing

Although most businesses have been running an email marketing program for several years, there’s usually room for improvement. Our tips might help you improve your email marketing results.

Make Sure Your Emails Aren’t Marked as Spam

Your email marketing strategy is sure to be completely ineffective if your messages are consistently ending up in your customers’ spam or junk folders. Be sure to review any complaints you have about spam and adjust your email content accordingly. Sometimes words and phrases such as “No money down” or “100% free” trigger email service providers to send your messages to spam folders.

Optimize Your Message for Mobile

These days, many of your customers are checking their email on mobile devices. Instead of making your regular email messages smaller (and probably hard to read), shorten your message so that it’s easy to read on a smaller device. Otherwise, your message will probably be ignored or deleted.

Content is King

It can be tempting for local internet marketing professionals to bombard customers with special offers, but the majority of customers appreciate relevant, useful content as well as promotions. It’s important to find a balance between promotional and informational content.

It will be easier for your contractor business to deliver relevant content to your customers if you place your customers into segments. For instances, you’ll likely send different messages to new customers and established customers, and you might even target people who are interested in different types of services.

Tie It to Social Media

If your customers are email users, they’re most likely active on social media as well. Make sure that people who receive your email messages can also find the content on social media, too. That way, your message is more likely to sink in. Also, make sure it’s clear in your email messages that you’re active on social media by including icons and links to your social media pages.

Track Your Results

With any type of marketing, it’s always best to track your campaigns. Pay attention to which kinds of messages resonated most with your customers. Use software that tells you how many of your messages were delivered, how many customers opened your email, and how many clicked on a link in the email for more information. Do your customers respond better when you present them with a special limited-time offer? Paying attention to these details will help you hone your email messages.

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Turn Your Website Into A Lead-Generating Machine

Despite the popularity of local social media marketing, your contractor business’s website remains a powerful marketing tool. Social media sites help to direct web traffic to your website, where the real sales conversion often happens. Nearly every marketer can make changes to improve their website’s lead-generation capabilities. Some of the changes are simple and won’t require a significant amount of your company’s time, which we know is valuable. Our list might help you identify ways to improve your website.

website traffic

Set Goals for Lead Generation

Although it’s a good idea to follow best practices for web design, each company should set its own lead-generation goals. Determine what a lead means for your business. For your company, is a lead considered someone who requests a consultation? Someone who fills out a web form? Once you nail down your definition of a lead, it will be easier for you to set your lead-generation goals.

Show Your Credibility

These days, consumers are wary of internet scams. Even if you prefer to book appointments online, including your company’s phone number will lend credibility to your business and tell customers that your company is trustworthy. Also, make sure that your business’s phone number is easy to find on your website’s homepage. Some companies have even included their phone numbers in their domain name. However, this is only advisable if you have a phone number that’s easy to remember, such as 88-DOORS.

Make Noticeable Web Forms

Make sure you give potential clients several opportunities to connect with your company as they browse your website. Your web forms should be simple and easy to find. Also, clients are less likely to complete a web form if they’re required to enter a lot of information. Keep your forms simple, and they’ll be more willing to complete them.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Whitespace

People in the local internet marketing industry often feel pressure to fill up all of the available space on their website, especially their website. However, whitespace can give other important items, such as photos and calls to action, more prominence. Adding too much content to your website can distract customers from your message, and your conversion rate could suffer as a result. Fortunately, it’s easy to create more whitespace without overhauling your entire website.

Evaluate Your Lead-Generation Strategy

None of your lead-generation efforts will be effective unless you test your website regularly to find out what works for your contractor business. Use Google Analytics or other metrics tools to see track how well your website is generating leads. Real-time data will help you narrow down exactly what’s working.

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Win Customers Over With Original Web Content

Contractor businesses like yours should be applauded for jumping into the social media world, which can often be unpredictable and somewhat risky for your business’s reputation. Nevertheless, you took the risk, and it has probably paid off for your company.

Now that social media use is widespread, you’ll have to do more to attract your customers’ attention online. When social media networking sites were new and still gaining momentum, you could post your existing web content onto Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or other networking site. Users were attracted to the novelty of a social media website and how they could interact with brands online.

content is king

How Social Media Has Changed Over Time

Users’ expectations have become greater over time, and marketers need to draw them in with original, engaging content. Think of all of the social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, as conduits for your creative content. Although all of these sites limit the space for your ideas, they don’t limit your company’s creativity. There are unlimited possibilities for engaging your customers with interesting content.

Many entertainment companies have already tapped into the power of social media websites to share music, photos, and videos, but contractor businesses like yours can get in the game, too. Since users have become accustomed to multimedia, take the opportunity to showcase your company’s creative side. Local Internet marketing experts know that advertising is effective when consumers make an emotional connection to the ad.

What This Mean For Your Contractor Business

Because millions of brands are competing for customers’ attention on social media, your contractor business will have to step it up, so to speak. We assume that you know how to set up a social media account, follow your company social media policy, and stick to a social media schedule; but now that’s not enough. The only way to really get through to customers is by creating original content. Some ideas include:

  • Humorous blog posts
  • Photography
  • Illustrations
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Photos

Take Note Of Successful Social Media Marketers

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of creating your own content, be sure to pay attention to how other brands capture your interest online. When you browse Facebook, what grabs your attention? Most likely, it’s something funny, interesting, or profound. Then think about how you can you apply those principles to your contractor business. Photos or videos of recent projects might inspire homeowners to start similar projects. Or maybe you can find a comic strip that relates to your business.

Local social media marketing demands time and energy, but if it’s well executed, it can be a powerful way to reach your clients.

 

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Is Google Hangouts Right For Your Contractor Business?

We in the local social media marketing industry know that your marketing resources are probably limited. Before you begin devoting your contractor business’s valuable resources to an up-and-coming social network, it’s wise to consider whether or not it will add value to your local internet marketing strategy.

One of the most popular social networks, Google Plus, comes with outstanding features that may be useful to your business. Its most popular feature, Google Hangouts, is unrivaled. People can use Google Hangouts for live video conferences and collaborative activities. The best part is that up to 15 people can use Google Hangouts at once, so you could use it for a business conference or for interacting with several of your company’s clients. After you finish your chat, the video can be saved on YouTube, which is owned by Google, for future viewing.

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The Advantages of Google Hangouts

The price of Google Hangouts (free!) is hard for small businesses to beat. For this reason, many small businesses are turning away from social media sites like Facebook in favor of Google Plus, where they don’t need to compete with paid advertisements.

The software is simple use, and it’s open to anyone with a basic Google account. If your contractor company does a lot of teleconferencing, Google Hangouts could help you cut costs and make it more convenient for your employees. Many small businesses are using Google Hangouts for their internal business needs. In many cases, streamlining your business operations ultimately benefits your customers, who may appreciate more efficient service and lower prices.

How Can You Use Google Hangouts for Your Business?

Some companies have found success with Google Hangouts by hosting tutorials that relate to their business. When customers see the faces of your company’s representatives, you become more personal in their eyes, and they might be more likely to trust you for their next project. After the Hangout, you can save the video to your company’s YouTube channel.

One distinct benefit of Google Hangouts is that your customers don’t expect perfection. Hangouts are inherently casual and spontaneous, so you won’t need to spend a lot of time and resources on your content. Videos for YouTube or your website, on the other hand, can be expensive and might require the help of a multimedia professional. Because Hangouts are so easy to execute, it won’t take long to build a library of short Hangout videos.

Keep in mind that what’s best for one company may not be best for your contractor business. As the marketing expert at your contractor business, you make the ultimate decision about which social media networks work best for your company.

 

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Mobile Commerce to Double in 5 Years

You may have noticed that lots of retailers now offer mobile transactions, and it may be in the works for your contractor business. But mobile commerce may be growing at a faster rate than you think. eMarketer researchers project that just five years from now, 25 percent of online transactions, excluding air fares and event ticket purchases, will be on mobile devices. In 2017, mobile transactions will account for $108 billion in retail sales in the United States alone.

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According to the study, the growth in mobile commerce is expected to be steady over the next several years. In 2012, 11 percent of online retail transactions took place on a mobile device, so in five years the figure will likely double. Mobile commerce is expected to grow to 15 percent of all online retail transactions in 2013, and to 18 percent in 2014.

Unfortunately, local marketing experts don’t always agree. For some, the eMarketer research may be an overestimation of the growth of mobile technology. A study completed by Forrester is less confident about the growth of mobile commerce. According to its research, mobile sales will only account for about 10 percent of all retail sales in 2017. Either way, mobile commerce is growing, and your contractor business needs to prepare for it.

Tablet Transactions Increasing

The eMarketer research also found that more and more consumers are using their tablets, rather than their smart phones, to conduct retail transactions. About 60 percent of mobile transactions take place on a tablet, and five years from now, that figure is expected to increase to 70 percent. If your company is considering mobile transactions, it may be wise to invest in tablet technology rather than smart phones. However, smart phones are still widely used for mobile transactions.

What the Growth of Mobile Commerce Means for Your Business

The growth of mobile commerce means that consumers everywhere will come to expect the ability to make purchases on their mobile devices. Your contractor business may have to consider mobile commerce sooner than you had planned. Even if mobile commerce does not fit your business needs, it may be worthwhile for your business to consider it as a way to improve your local internet marketing.

Mobile transactions could set your contractor business apart from your competition. A number of contractor businesses have already implemented mobile transactions, and many customers appreciate the ease of paying with a tablet or smart phone. Although it is sometimes costly for businesses to adopt new technology, it could prove profitable for your business. Many contractors travel frequently, and it could be more efficient for them to carry an iPad with them, for instance, to organize their jobs and keep track of billing.

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Smart Ways to Capture Your Customers’ Email Addresses

Despite the growth of social media in the last few years, email marketing still remains a powerful tool that can work well in combination with your local social media marketing efforts. When you consider that most people check their email inboxes daily, and often several times a day, email marketing can be a powerful component of your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many contractor businesses have email addresses for less than 30 percent of their customers.

email marketing

Choose Quality over Quantity

Although you can purchase or rent email lists, this strategy can backfire. Your emails will be more likely to end up in your recipients’ junk mail folders, where they’re likely to go unread. The best email addresses belong to customers who are interested in your services and want to know more about your company.

Take Advantage of Your Website

First, make it easy for people to sign up for email updates on your website. For best results, make sure an email opt-in field is prominently displayed on your homepage. Even better, provide some sort of an incentive to your customers for signing up for email updates. If your customers redeem their special email offers, you’ll also be able to test the effectiveness of your email marketing.

Once an email opt-in field is on your website homepage, don’t stop there. Add more throughout your site and make sure it’s in a place that’s easy to find. Some of your customers may skip your homepage altogether and go straight to the web page they need. If your website allows people to set up appointments, be sure to include a way for customers to sign up for email updates on the “thank you” page.

Collect Email Addresses through Mobile Devices

Your customers are using their mobile devices more than ever, and it’s also a great way to capture their email addresses. An opt-in form on your mobile site is another opportunity to capture email addresses. Use the form to enable people to opt in to text messages from your company as well. Remember that the form should be simple enough for users to opt-in on small devices. They might be turned away by long, complicated forms.

Use Your Social Media Sites

Don’t forget about the local internet marketing strategy that’s already working for your company. You can build a simple opt-in form right on your Facebook page. The advantage of using social media networks to capture email addresses is that those users have already opted-in to your company’s marketing, so they’re likely to opt in to your email marketing, too. Make sure that you tell your followers how email communications will be different from their social media interactions with your company; otherwise, they might not bother to sign up for email. 

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