Archive for the ‘customer experience’ tag
Posted by Casey Meraz
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
So you want to rank locally? If you have already worked hard to add a few citations, complete your on-site local optimization, acquire customer reviews, and build some locally relevant links, well, now it's time to shift your focus. According to David Mihm, citations make-up roughly 25% of the overall local ranking factors.
Why It's Time to Change Your Thinking…
I've mentioned before that it's time to stop chasing links, and for local SEO it's time to stop chasing citations! What do I mean by that? If your whole purpose for creating citations is to improve your local rankings, then you are probably relying too much on Google. What would happen if those rankings were to suddenly go away? Instead of viewing the process building your brand in the local ecosystem as a laborious task that needs to get done so that you can rank, then you aren't seeing the big picture.
Each of the citation sites that you're trying to get listed on were created with goals far beyond just helping businesses rank for Google's local results. In most cases, they were created to provide a good customer experience and send potential shoppers to worthy vendors. Each of these sites gets their own traffic, and setting up your business listing on them is another place for potential customers to find you.
Below is a quick example from a fairly low traffic attorney site. In a one month period, they are getting traffic from other websites where their citations also reside.
It's time to change your mindset and get motivated to start building citations for the right purpose. If you do that, the rankings you long for will come with it. Now, here's how we find and get our business listed in these citations in an organized and speedy fashion at my firm.
Make Sure Your Information (N.A.P.) is Accurate.
Having accurate information that correlates across your website, Google Plus page, and local ecosystem citations is the most important part of building and fixing your businesses citations. Your business Name, Address, and Phone Number (referred to as N.A.P. format) is essential for local rankings. Make sure this information is 100% consistent before moving forward!
Below is an example of the appropriate NAP format for a Law Firm:
The Reeves Law Group 515 S Flower St Los Angeles, CA 90071 (213) 271-9318
You will notice that most directories display information like the example above. Some will allow you to add a link to your website, but some will not. In this case, the link is not the important information. The accurate listing of the business in the NAP format is.
We've established that having accurate and consistent listing information is critical, so how do we do it?
The Easy Way May Not Be the Best Way
One easy way to get listed consistently on multiple directories is by using a service like Yext. While that can be a great option, depending on your situation, make sure you know what you are getting into. Yext, for example, will easily publish to dozens directories with the information you submit. Some will start showing instantly, and some will come up within a few days with very little work. But at over $475 a year (yes, annually) for the retail version, you might think twice about it.
If you are not looking to purchase services like Yext…
Here are Three Fundamental Steps to a Great Alternative Approach:
Prepare Your Information
I always like to start by creating a quick Google Doc with the client's NAP information at the top. This allows me to easily copy and paste the fields if I need them while I'm building citations. It also allows me to keep the data consistent across the board. Typically, I ensure my Google Plus page is 100% accurate with my business information, and then copy and paste the information from Google Places. I will also use this same Google Doc for tracking my citation sources in one easy to use place.
Feel free to download this free Local Citation Building Template.
In case you decide not to use the spreadsheet I created, you will see I have fields for some of the most common information that citation sources ask for- including:
- Your Name – Your actual name or the name of business owner
- Email Address – The Email Address that will be checked by the business
- Company Name – The company's exact name as it appears correctly on Google Plus
- Address – The company's exact address as it appears correctly on Google Plus
- Suite or Floor Number – Only use if there is a Suite or Floor number
- City – The company's exact city name as it appears correctly on Google Plus
- State- The state the company resides in
- Zip – The zip code of the company
- Phone Number - The LOCAL phone number of the exact business location
- Landing Page For Location – The landing page for that office or physical location
I also added some advanced fields that I also see on some submission sites. Here are some examples:
- 800 Number – The 800 Number of the Business
- Logo URL – The URL of the company's logo hosted on your website
- Facebook URL – The Facebook URL of the company
- Twitter Handle - The company's Twitter Handle
- Places Page Link – A Link to their G+ Local Page or Google Places Page
**Below is an example of the header from my Local Citation Building Template.
Citation Building Can Be a Bit Tedious, So Here's an Easier Way…
If you're like me and you have the attention span of a lemming, then you need some reinforcements. But when dealing with something that's so important, how do you prevent data corruption and ensure accuracy at the same time?
My answer is Roboform and it costs between $9.95 and $39.95. To be clear I am not affiliated in any way shape or form, it's just the program that I found works best for me. So, I will share how I use it.
Roboform allows me to input the information about a location and have it autofill on many of the submission sites. It's not perfect and it requires a manual review, but spending a couple of minutes setting this up is worth its weight in gold. Not only will it ensure it outputs what you put into it, but it will also store the information and you can share the data with your team. It will also integrate into your browser where you can use a drop down and select the auto fill information you want. Basically it just saves a ton of time.
How to use Roboform for Citation Building
Once you've downloaded the program from Roboform.com and installed it, you can open it up and go to File > New > Identity to create a new identity. You will end up creating and naming a new Identity for each different business location you have. You can then click the edit button and spend a few minutes and fill out all of the information you want to your heart's desire. If you're just building citations through Roboform, then you can stick to the Person, Business and Address sections and only fill out the fields I have listed in my spreadsheet.
Start off with the Person section and fill out the following fields that are circled below including:
- First Name – The first name you want to display on the listing. Typically, it is the same as the person registering the account.
- Last Name - The last name you want to display on the listing. Typically, it is the same as the person registering the account.
- Phone - The Business Phone Number for that location (Your NAP)
- Email - The mail address that is going to register the account and be the contact email. Use this if they're going to be the same email.
Next Move On To the Business Section
On this page, I typically only use the company name and website. The company name will be the actual company name in your NAP format and the website will be the landing page of that physical location. Sometimes these are truncated to just the domain, but it's always better to try and get the link you receive to go to the actual landing page for that location.
Lastly, You Can Move onto the Address Section In this section you will add your address from the NAP format.
And that takes care of that part!
Now you are setup to start finding citations and knocking them out! We will use Roboform to auto fill the fields instead of typing them each time. They will still require manual review but it will save a lot of time!
Now, Let's Get Listed on Some Local Directories, AKA: Build Some Citations
The goal of doing all of this citation is work is to make sure we end up with good data. Check it to make sure you're not already listed before you add your listing to each of these websites. Spamming the web is not cool; even if it is unintentional. So follow this quick three step process called CHECK, FIX, ADD.
- Check to see if the listing is there
- If the listing is there, make sure the NAP is 100% accurate. If not, fix it!
- If the listing does not exist, add it
If you are using the free Local Citation Building Template I created, you will see a list where you can easily add the information along with notes about your new citation sources. I highly suggest keeping track of this information. Remember that you're not just doing this to impress the search engines. You want to have access to this information in the future. What if you decide to move one day and didn't have this?
A Screenshot from the spreadsheet:
At my company, I also give this information to our clients in the unlikely case that they felt we were doing a bad job and wanted to fire us.
Make Sure You Have the Top Citations
Whether your business is brand new or old and established, I suggest you start off by adding a new listing or correcting your incorrect listing at the Top Citation Sources suggested by Getlisted.org. They worked hard to put together this list of citation sources they believe carry the most weight in different industries and geographic areas. They provide two great resources to act as a starting point:
Just like with every citation source you come across, make sure to add them to your tracking spreadsheet.
Next, Don't Re-Invent The Wheel. Find Your Top Competitors
Do you already know who your top competition is? Check them out and see who ranks consistently for the keywords you want to rank for.
Finding citations a year or two ago was a bit harder than it is today. These days you have some easy and affordable options to see where your competing businesses are listed. In this article I will discuss an easy way using Whitespark's Local Citation Finder and another method for searching for them manually through Google. As with any data collection, I always recommend using multiple sources to ensure greater accuracy.
Method #1: Using Whitespark to find your competitors citations
Start by navigating to the "Your Projects" tab.
Step 1: Create a new project. To keep things organized, I will typically create a new project by using the "+ Create new Project" button under the "Your Project" tab. It will ask you for your business Name and Phone Number and hit the Create Project button.
Step 2: Find Citation Sources by Keyword – Use the option to "Search By Keyphrase" and enter the keyword information you want to rank for.
Step 3: Wait For the Results – After starting the search, wait for a few minutes for it to compile the results. In my experience, it's typically pretty fast. You will also get a confirmation email when the process is complete.
Step 4: See What Came Out and Start Getting Citations – After it's complete, click back on the your "projects link" to see a list of your projects. Select the pink Citation Sources link to see what results came up for your listing. One of the best things about Whitespark is that they have also compiled site submission URL's in their data.
For some listings, you can easily just click the link "Submit Your Business". You can then just use the RoboForm drop down to autofill the information making citation building simple! You may not want to bring Whitespark home to mom because she's so easy.
Method #2: Conduct a NAP Search in Google
You can also conduct the searches you want in a search engine, and come up with your top competitors. This is also a great way to do it because you can use the compare option to see which competitors have.
To do this, simply pull up Google and enter your competitors NAP information. Below I entered a company name, their address, and phone number that I found from their Google Plus Local page.
With this information, I can now visit each one of these sources, and add my business to the same sources if they allow a submission. You will find some sites do not allow submissions, or are owned by the business themselves. Whitespark has a cool option to mark these as useless which makes their data very clean and accurate.
Be Very Careful If You Outsource Citation Building
If you don't have the time and are considering outsourcing citation building please be careful, and have some serious QA. If your people are not being meticulous with your data, you're going to have a lot of data confusion on your hands, and spend twice the amount of time trying to fix it. On the other hand, some companies like Whitespark offer these services a la carte as well.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more advanced citation building after you have exhausted these resources, I suggest you read my write up of some tips from David Mihm's presentation from Local U Advanced Baltimore. Better yet, if you have a chance make sure you attend the next Local U Advanced session.
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Knowing now what I’ve learned about creating remarkable customer experiences, I wish I could go back to the Pike Place Market to observe world class great in action! In the meantime, you may enjoy this article:
Thanks for reading!
Here’s a question for you: How much does customer experience factor into your marketing strategy?
If customer experience (CX) is a new concept for you as a marketer, think of it as the overall experience a customer has with a partciular business, from their discovery and awareness of the brand, all the way through their interaction, purchase, use, and even advocacy of that brand. In today’s wired world, chances are good that the relationship you have with your customers is going to include one or more digital channels — your website, landing pages, email communications, mobile interactions, social media participation, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
Iedereen wil zijn klant centraal zetten, hoe je dat doet verschilt van bedrijf tot bedrijf. Dit blijkt uit een kwalitatief vooronderzoek uitgevoerd door InSites Consulting in opdracht van SAS. In een reeks interviews met marketingverantwoordelijken werd gekeken naar de invulling van customer centricity. Bekeken over drie assen: Customer Value, Customer Experience en Customer Life Cycle en de rol van data hierbij. Lees meer
For many organizations, integrating the customer experience with social media remains a challenge. The teams in charge of advertising, product marketing, and public relations are still learning to work together. While those discussions are taking place, the customer is the driver’s seat.
Marketing that makes business sense, means taking a look at how you design and build the entire organization, nnot just the promotional end of things. Solid execution is key to results. How do you get all your marketing and communication to work together to deliver performance?
For starters you design a product or service the market wants — use research and feedback to gain insights to learn what works and the promises you were able to keep and look to make better ones in the future.
You may be covering the same road, yet the customer experience will be different each time — for starters, the value you deliver should be different and set you apart.
Just like a good Pininfarina design, you want to have beauty, elegance, and functionality in your marketing and communications to convert content — value proposition expressed with the promise you make, which fuels your business — into performance.
Start by discovering who needs your services.
Since it’s possible to take analogies too far, please don’t take them for a ride. Allow them to test drive a day in the life of a customer using your product or service. The authentic impressions will help you convert them faster than showing a polished front with no backing.
And while we’re talking about cars, is it not time to get a bit more creative with test drives? How is anyone going to switch from a known (read safe/the one they already drive) brand by kicking the tires and taking a 15-minute drive around the block with you?
Where can your organization go when it aligns the teams who are good at creative, those who excel at building relationships, and those who improve products and experiences work together?
Take five areas of opportunity overlap and start looking at tactical improvements to integrate — online and off line. How would you buyers and customers respond to relevant experiences throughout?
Some ideas to get started:
(1.) provide enough information so they can make up their own minds while you get to be useful (the point formerly known as thought leadership)
Think of information, stories, data, product and industry knowledge as the fuel. With the social Web this is more important than ever because your customers are searching online and asking their friends.
Valuable content attracts and spreads.
Who says you can lead only with articles in the Harvard Business Review? Useful information is judged by the reader (your customers), the community (their peers), and the industry (your peers). It equals valuable information and insights.
Once you invested in content, give people ways to share it. Use bookmarking widgets, email to a friend option, syndication (RSS) feeds. Also use outposts with embed codes like YouTube and SlideShare.
(2.) be findable (this is not a hide and seek game)
This is not just SEO. Be where your customers are and give them a compelling reason to invest their time and attention with you. This is not just about reading your message, think kicking the tires on a product demo or checking out your service with you.
It’s being in the right place at the right time to get them acquainted with the experience behind the brand. Note to brands: If you use a toll free number, pick up the phone… on the first ring. Every time.
Give people ways to find you online and visit you offline. Participate by bookmarking articles, helpful Q&As — yours and those of others — commenting, using tools suitable for storytelling like Pinterest and Instagram to tell a story.
(3.) listen (this time for real)
If marketing’s fuel is content, its engine is sales. Listening occurs between fuel and performance. There are plenty of tools available to start a good listening program and online it’s easier than ever to identify who’s talking about you and help them talk with you.
In addition to the mechanics of tonality and sentiment, time frame, quality of mentions vs. competition, potential for response and by which department, reach of mention within each network (link backs, retweets, followers, web traffic, subscribers, etc.), you can take action within your listening program.
Give people easy ways to talk with you, then do something with it. Enable comments and trackbacks on your blogs, implement chat boxes on your site, and take action on behalf of customers.
(4.) be responsive (this is an opportunity)
We described before how being responsive increases your reputation index. Let’s separate for a moment public display with responding. You don’t need to look responsive (public display) to be responsive. A personal email that communicates how you’re going to fix the problem is a much better option, for example.
Showing true responsiveness by taking action will give you better mileage with a customer.
Give people ways to know you’re responding and where. They may be monitoring only Facebook, for example. Answer online and then follow up with details by email, if the issue involves personal data.
(5.) be of service
This means leaning forward and having that interaction with your customers.
Without this the rest is a house of cards carefully constructed but not believable. A very smart and practical business leader I talked with recently described it this way — lean forward, take the initiative, listen aggressively.
The one time when you have the opportunity to really appreciate your car make and model is when you take it in for service. Is the interaction going to cost you a customer, or is maintenance an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the brand? My car dealership service department makes the brand just by doing this right.
Give people an exceptional experience. Period. No matter where they contact you, lean forward and embrace the conversation. While you’re at it, share with them the data you have about their purchases and transactions to help them continue to choose you.
Do you design an experience like this beauty up here? As a customer, I’m pretty sure you still find a way to make that purchase when the experience is worth it. Am I wrong?
[image of marketing-refurbished 2006 Ferrari 612 Kappa, special build by Pininfarina]
[updated from archives]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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She doesn’t follow any of the rules we set in the marketing and communication social media world.
She doesn’t have a calculated quota of likes to reach, or number of friends she absolutely needs to have.
It’s easy to see how she might think “I’m the only one who uses it this way”, because it’s personal.
There are millions of similar reasons why social networks and tools work for people who just want to share who they are with their friends and family.
Young and old, any color in the rainbow, as far as they know, they’re the only ones doing it and thinking like they do.
Where we start to get into a murky zone is when someone who brands themselves a professional pronounces statements like “In fact, as far as I know, I’m the only blogger that [fill in the blanks]” when talking about well-known (and discussed) issues in the use of digital media and social networks.
The mark of a professional is being apPROpriate, especially with colleagues and peers. Regardless of what the rest of the world might or might not do or know.
There are consequences to our actions and words.
Imagine what kind of environment a customer service representative who complains to his colleagues that their understanding of the company’s product and service is superior creates. The whole category suffers.
The customer experience is impacted.
Just not in the desired direction.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
For in depth content Sign up for the Premium Newsletter.
De afgelopen jaren zijn word-of-mouth, NPS (Net Promotor Score) en customer experience voor veel grote ondernemingen hete hangijzers geworden om de consument binnen boord te houden. Terwijl de discussie over de perfecte meting van klanttevredenheid nog altijd loopt, zijn er bedrijven die zich al blind staren op dit soort KPI’s. Lees meer
This past Monday in Austin, I moderated a Customer Service Think Tank that was hosted by Dell. Companies such as Intuit, Citrix, Nationwide and Wells Fargo as well as customer experience experts Liz Strauss, Becky Carroll, and Susan Abbott were in attendance. We discussed challenges and best practices in social service, internal issues, mobile, tools and technology, and more. We also talked about trends and the future of service.
Find the graphic recordings, tweets, photos and videos of the event here. . Thanks to Dell for inviting me to be part of the event!
De voorbije maanden werkten wij (te weten InSites Consulting, sample- en datacollectie partner SSI en vertaalbureau No Problem!) aan een onderzoek over de integratie van sociale media in de bedrijfswereld. Als basis voor dit onderzoek gebruikten we het 4C-model uit mijn nieuwe boek ‘De Conversation Company’. Dit model heeft tot doel het conversatiepotentieel van een bedrijf te maximaliseren. De vier componenten zijn Customer experience, Conversatie management, Content marketing en Collaboratie. Lees meer over: Onderzoek: Gebruiken bedrijven de 4 Cs van de Conversation Company?.