customer conversion Archives - MiShop.local

What Are Google Product Listings?

Google Product listings appear prominently within Google My Business and are seen every time customers search for your store.

Features:

Listings may contain several key product images, descriptions, pricing and links to your website.

It’s a great feature for any business that sells a few products or wants to showcase a few key items.

However, ongoing maintenance and getting the most from the Google Products service can be a challenge.

What Are Google Products?

Google Product listings are a feature of Google My Business that helps businesses showcase the products they sell.

Within your Google My Business profile, you will see the option for Google Products.

Simply, populating a list with images and pricing information will produce a prominent section underneath your contact details, and just before the Google Updates section.

It’s a neat sandwich of promotions which really compliments your offerings and improves your public profile.

Why Are Products Useful?

Small to medium sized business who only stock a few products are unable to afford a full e-commerce site, or rely on footfall alone.

Google Products is comparatively easier than complex e-commerce and maintenance of a website.

However, be aware that ongoing maintenance of Google Products is a task in of itself with several pitfalls, especially if you are a multi-location retailer.

Thus, it’s easy enough to setup but becomes an extra headache if mismanaged.

How Are They Used For Best Effect?

Each time a customers searches for your store, and ends up browsing or comparing local offerings, Google Product listings appear.

Your products are presented alongside your NAP and just when customers are seeking you- both increasing their awareness of key items and enticing them to visit your store.

Together, this promotes footfall, clicks and calls to your business.

What Is The Best Way To Use Google Products?

Ideally, a medium business would regularly update their key and current offerings.

Examples of use:

  • Shoe Stores: Promote that latest, greatest designer trainer.
  • Car Show Rooms: Hit sales targets faster by attracting attention.
  • Estate agents: Help customers browse your key properties.
  • Banks: Display financial products and services.
  • Florists: Utilize this virtual shop window to display your bouquets.

As you can see, Google Products is not limited by sector.

Google Products noticeably increases product presence to drive footfall, clicks and calls.

However, larger businesses may wish to use the See What’s In Store feature in Google My Business instead. It’s easier to update on a rolling basis.

Bad reviews can be good!

Customer Reviews increasingly play an important role in our purchasing decisions.

Reviews written on local listing sites associated with the NAP of a business location can influence its local organic search performance.   They not only raise the profile of the location within the listing site itself, they can provide key-word references for search engines.  Importantly, they are permanent!

Colourful reviews which describe in detail the customer experience are more engaging and more influential.  Think of reviews as mini blogs written by your customers.

Fundamentally, reviews are written by customers that are either happy or unhappy with your service.  You need to focus on delivering the good service and encourage them to write reviews. No amount of SEO activity can can fix bad reviews.

Bad reviews can be good reviews!

Prospective customers will read reviews and make a reasoned decision about whether to proceed to purchase.  People read the bad reviews.  The odd bad review amongst predominantly good reviews is unlikely to put them off, however, if the review is recent, detailed, scathing and appears genuine, then it can affect their decision.  We’ve seen examples of very unhappy customers going out of their way to write long bad reviews on several different listing sites, just to make sure that everyone got to read about their poor experience.

However, and ironically, the way you handle a negative review as a business can positively influence customer decisions.  As the business owner, you can respond to the review via the listing site.  If you handle a bad review in a constructive and professional way, not only could you win back the aggrieved customer, but also win new ones!

If you can resolve the customer’s issue to their satisfaction, many will go back and adjust the review to reflect this.

A trade customer of ours said that a negative review led to more business as people were impressed by the way that he had handled it.

The lesson is, listen to your customers and respond to the negative reviews!  (Responding to every positive review is too much and unnecessary)

A few do’s and don’ts for managing customer reviews on local listings:

Do:         

  • Encourage customers to write reviews in Google + Local and the listing sites.
  • Provide printed guidelines or prompts to remind customers to write a review, where to go and what to do.
  • Get into the habit of asking for reviews (ideally you want a steady stream of reviews rather than a surge and then nothing).
  • Monitor the reviews and respond to them; it shows that you care. Reviews can also provide valuable feedback and insights into what customers think about your business.
  • Think of reviews as a positive force. You can’t stop people writing about you, so go with it and use them to your advantage.
  • Get staff involved in understanding their value and how to encourage customers to write them.

Don’t:

  • Ask customers to write reviews in store – or on the same device. Multiple reviews written on the same IP address will be penalised.
  • Absolutely do not write your own reviews.
  • Pay for, or reward customers to write reviews.

How to create high performing local franchise websites

Local Franchisee websites can perform better in local search, be more engaging and drive customer conversion.

Franchises operate locally and as such need an online presence that captures and engages consumers locally. Locally optimised websites can perform better in local search than traditional location finders or landing pages on corporate websites.

Small locally focused franchisee websites can perform better in local search than big franchise websites that use ‘franchise locators’ and franchisee landing pages.   They can also be more effective in driving customer conversion.

What makes a high performing local franchisee website?

Locally optimised URL

for example; www.yourfranchisename-brighton.co.uk

Locally optimised title tag:

Local franchise + keyword + cit

For example:  ‘Your Franchise Name’, plumber, plumbing services, Brighton.

Mobile optimised (Mobile Responsive):

Over 50% of web search is now done on mobile devices.  Non-responsive websites are penalised by search engines as they do not provide a favourable user experience.

NAP Anchor:

(NAP = name, address, and phone) should be consistent with all local listing sites and presented in schema micro-format.

Local Phone Number for “Click to Call”:

Customers searching for a local business online show a strong preference for local phone numbers. More people are using “click to call” when using their mobile phone to search for local services. However, our research shows that 78% will not call a 0800 number (or any number beginning with 08) using their mobile phone.  Far better to use a local number to get the customer to call you there and then.

Local content:

Use local content to differentiate local franchisee sites.

It is difficult to create totally unique content for every franchisee website particularly when they should all be ‘on brand’.  It is easier to intersperse brand content with local references such as locations, points of interest, news or social events.  This not only avoids the issue of duplicate content, but will improve your local search performance.

Call to action and simple lead forms:

Goes directly to the franchisee or franchise lead management system.

 Service Area Businesses (SAB):

Business such as plumbing, cleaning, home care, etc, should offer “service area location pages” on the website and optimise them for key locations.

The temptation is to just list lots of towns in the service area, but this isn’t very effective.  You need to create locally optimised pages for the key locations that you service. (Call us for more advice on websites for Service Area Businesses).

As franchises grow, the tendency is to move towards a centralised ‘corporate’ site that tries to serve every franchisee.  This is perfectly understandable, however it does not necessarily serve the franchisees.  A corporate sites tries to be “everything to everyone”, but in doing so, this can diminish the very strength that all franchisees have –local presence and knowledge.