3 Simple Ways for Your Business to Be Found

mobile and desktop

Small Business Saturday (November 26th) and the holidays are right around the corner.  That means more shoppers and more people looking for your business.  Can they find you?

A google study showed that 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase. 

Here are 3 simple ways to help customers find you:

1 – Make Sure You Are Listed In Directories

Not only do you want to get listed in Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages, to name just a few, but it is a great idea to make sure that those listings are up to date.  Check the listings and make sure the name, address, phone number, hours, email, and website are added and correct. 

2 – Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly

This is such an important step in being found, especially for businesses who have had a website for quite a while.  Take a quick look to make sure you are mobile friendly by simply using a smartphone to perform a quick look up.  Does your site load quickly?  Most people will leave a business search on their phone or other mobile device if it doesn’t load within 3 – 5 seconds.  How does it look?  Now perform the same look up on a tablet.  If your site doesn’t load quickly, or if it isn’t easy to read your content, you may have to make a change in your website template to a responsive format.  If this is not your forte and you are in need of help, Manta (a great small business resource) has said: 

There are a lot of free web tools that let you test the load time of your website.  Test your site using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Google’s site tester.  Google’s site tester will tell you how mobile-friendly your site is and provide a free report on how to fix it.  Click here to read full article

3 – Make Sure Your Web Content is Fresh

Have you updated your website to include your newest products or services?  This is especially important for your returning web visitors.  If the content is stale, there is no reason for them to return.  For service based business, providing information and announcements of any newly added services can entice existing visitors to contact you.  For a product based business, having the newest product information will keep visitors coming back for more. 

Along with fresh content, it is always best practice to ensure that all contact information such as phone number, address, hours of operation, and email are up to date on your website as well. 

Here’s wishing you a fun and prosperous busy shopping season.

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Patch Tuesday Reminder

microsoft logo patch tuesday

I have posted in the past about Patch Tuesday but thought it merits a reminder.

Microsoft has rolled out a huge update.  Great changes and additions have been added to Edge, including numerous add-on extensions, to make the user experience even more superb.

Therefore, be sure to shut down and restart your computers each Wednesday in order to get all the updates that come out.  I recommend on Wednesday mornings because Microsoft tends to push out their updates on Tuesdays, hence the name ‘Patch Tuesday’.

After you have had some time to explore the new changes to Edge, please feel free to drop me a note and tell me which ones you find the most exciting!

 

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Top 5 Places to List Your Business

Pinpoint-on-a-map

Pinpoint on a map

We all know that mobile is everything, right?  That means that if you have a business, you need to be found, whether that be on a desktop or a mobile device.  Getting your business name listed is paramount.  I found this great blog article from Manta which lists the top 5 places to list your business.  Thanks for the helpful info, Manta!

Read their article here

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Are You Slacking?

slack-logo

I recently came across this hot new messaging app called Slack.  Well, maybe not so new; it launched in 2014, but it is becoming the hottest new messaging tool out there, with more than 2 million users on board.

I’ve had some time to play around with it and do some research on it, and I think it proves itself to be a great channel for communication when it comes to B2B.

I fully agree with PCMags’ review, who says:

BOTTOM LINE:   Slack is an excellent online communication tool with a rich collection of settings and options.  It’s not a soup-to-nuts collaboration tool, but there’s nothing better for messaging and back-channel chat.  read full review here

I think MIT Technology Review has it right as well with their review of this product.  Here’s what they have to say about it:

Slack give you a centralized place to communicate with your colleagues through instant messaging and in chat rooms, which can reduce the time you have to spend on email.

Whether you’re on a mobile device or a desktop computer, you can upload files, get and manipulate information in spreadsheets or other business application, and easily search through past conversations.   read full review here

The downfall of this app, while being a great tool for communication, is that there is no calendar or task-management features as of yet.  Here’s to hoping this is an addition they will make in the near future.

I would encourage anyone to try this Slack app out.  And to help, Hubspot has produced a great list of tips and tricks, which can be found here.

Further, I would love to hear from you!  If you or your company are using Slack, please leave a comment to let me know what you think and how you use it.

 

 

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7 Ways to Keep Your Inbox Manageable

Girl at computer

Picture this; it is 3:45 in the afternoon, and your inbox is full.  Does panic set in?  Are you worried about that email you miss from a potential client?  Are you overwhelmed by just how many emails you get in a single day?  Don’t worry, you are not alone.

We all get bogged down at times, either from work or phone calls or sometimes just plain old daily life.  And email seems to be on the bottom of most of our lists of daily priorities.  And the next thing we know, our inbox is full…of everything.  Newsletters and blogs we’ve signed up for, daily (or worse yet multiple daily) emails from store sales you signed up to receive, emails that need a response, emails that need to be archived, emails that just need to be dumped.  The list goes on and on.

I once worked for a person who felt they needed to respond to every single email.  The problem was their mailbox typically had more than 1200 unread emails!  1200!

I know you can readily acquire a great deal of handy ways to keep your inbox under control by a simple google search on the topic, but I feel some of them bear repeating.  So here are a few from the top of my list:

1 – Unsubscribe.  First and foremost, unsubscribe, unsubscribe, and unsubscribe some more.  Decide which of those newsletters and blogs you actually read, and then unsubscribe from the rest.  Did I mention unsubscribe?  These emails, and I am so guilty of this, tend to just pile up.  If you are like me, you flag them so that you can read them later.  The next thing you know, later gets even later, and you find yourself with a multitude of flagged emails.  When you finally get to them, you either can’t remember why you flagged it in the first place, or it is no longer relevant.  So pick a time and go through those built up flagged emails and start unsubscribing and then dumping them.

2 – Set aside a block of time (standard rule in every time management self-help manual) to do nothing but go through your inbox.  Experts say to pick one hour either in the morning or in the afternoon.  Start with deleting and unsubscribing (see #1).  Then decide which emails need to be answered.  Once your inbox is under control, depending on your workload, an hour should be sufficient time.  If it is more than enough time, take the rest of it to do something enjoyable.  You’ve probably earned it.

3 – Set up folders in your inbox.  Be careful that your list of folders doesn’t end up longer than the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Just some main categories.  Whatever works for you.  Every person’s situation is different.  Set up a folder for each client (easier to archive later), or a folder for each of the subjects you deal with frequently.  Here’s the no-no on the folders:  DO NOT set up a folder called ‘read later’.  Trust me a lot of people do this.

4 – Take on a one click mindset.  For every email you open, decide if it needs to be filed, answered, unsubscribed from, deleted, or archived, and take action.  Open it, handle it, and then it should be gone from your inbox.

5 –   Set up filters.  A lot of folks find that setting up a filter works well for them.  This can be done in an email host, usually by going into the email settings.  Set your filter up so that emails from a person that you want to see, or from a certain business, or the blogs you like to read, etc. go directly into a folder that you have set up.  It keeps them out of your inbox.  But don’t forget the same rule of the one-click per email still applies.  And don’t forget to set aside a time block to devote just to this filtered folder.

6 –  Shut off your notifications.  Now that nearly everyone has a smartphone, we seem to feel that we need to be connected to everyone; always.  We are owned by our phones, constantly checking to see if we have received an email, or a text, or a comment on social media.  It is hard to even have a face to face conversation without one or both parties needing to take a glance at their phone.  Turn the notifications off, so you don’t get the constant buzz of the phone or the notification ding.  A simple setting adjustment on your phone can take this added ‘busyness’ away.  Just shut them off.  When you sit for your allotted time each day to go through your email, you will see who sent you an email and you can handle it then.

7 –  Don’t keep ‘reinventing the wheel’.  If you have certain responses to emails that you get regularly or certain emails with the same or nearly the same message every time (i.e. sending out newsletters or marketing), set them up as a signature in your email settings.  They can be ‘tweaked’ from there.  It will be a huge time saver if you have this situation, because you won’t have to re-type the same or nearly the same thing over and over.  The main email can be generated in a second.  On that same note, set up a signature with your name, contact info, photo, logo, etc. in your email settings, so that your signature block gets automatically inserted into your emails.  If your email carrier doesn’t have this automatic option, it will at least have a signature block that can be saved and inserted into any email.

I know that there are many more tips and tricks for managing your email, so this list is certainly not exhaustive.  If you have any tricks that work for you I would love to hear about them and how they help you.

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