Customer Service Local Business Information Local SEO SEO

Customer Service Is Dead no longer

Local businesses don’t have time for marketing agencies who don’t provide customer service.  We live in a world where human to human customer service is a novelty. Or at least that’s how it would appear when it comes to marketing, advertising, digital solutions, software and really anything related to your phone or computer. When we have an issue today, we’re stuck with email or text support. If there is phone support available,we end up sitting on hold forever.

Most often phone support requires a deep search on the ol’ Google machine to find a human to speak to. In fact, there is now a whole subset of websites devoted to providing support contact information that is often buried on many business websites like Facebook, Instagram, Google and more (See for example).

Simply put, even with an available phone line support, it’s often quite lacking in personal care.

It’s even become humorous fodder in commercials for Discover credit cards like this:

One thing we’re seeing is the digital marketing industry latched on to the idea of automation for customer service very early on and never looked back. From our point of view, that is and was the wrong approach. Digital marketing, whether it’s SEO, Pay Per Click advertising like Google or Facebook Ads, or Social Media must have human-to-human interaction. The interactions necessary to draw customers to a business requires a personal touch. A personal touch is how an agency must represent the brands they assist.

If the agency and customer have no personal interactions, there is no way the personality of the represented business will show to your customer base.

Brass taxes, you need customer-care, not simply customer response. There needs to be active interactions on a  higher level than simply reports sent via email and chat. You need a team of people working on your behalf to implement your businesses vision and personality to the search engines for SEO, Ads and other digital platforms. There’s no denying expertise is necessary to build a better online world.

But if those experts aren’t providing you a human experience in your dealings, there is simply no way that they’re giving your customers a true preview of what to expect when they step through the door or call you to inquire about your services.

For more information on how we work to ensure you’re being represented online, talk to one of our Local Web Experts now!

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Local Business Information SEO

6 Reasons Your Local Business Listings Need to Be Accurate

As a business, how likely is it that potential customers will come through your door?
The whole point of an online presence is to entice customers into your store, your leasing office or your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers rather than just browsers online.

Further, nothing is more frustrating as a customer than finding out that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located. As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. In fact, according to Placeable, 73% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.

1. Missing hours of operation information can be a deal breaker

There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device. The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation, since their search is likely for a business that they frequent quite often.

In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most helpful feature in selecting a business during local search. 76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.

Even if people are new to a business, it doesn’t give people a good impression if the business hours are not listed and they don’t know that it’s only open from 11 a.m-6p.m. Tuesday-Saturday .Imagine that potential customer who is ready to spend their money in store, but shows up on Monday at 7 p.m. only to find it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.

2.You can’t spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an A(ddress)

While most people would assume that the number one reason people do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information. But, of course, the whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.

It bears repeating that if a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be crossing the threshold. A simple thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer cannot find you. The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to verify and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for correct mailing addresses.

What this means for the average new business owner is that unless a business is in an established location, getting the correct address on their listing means that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must be consistent. If USPS doesn’t recognize that address, then a business owner must contact them to verify their new address and get that information updated on USPS’s online database.

3. Local searchers are mobile creatures

According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct. Now if half of the people searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can’t find the store’s business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.

For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner. This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions.

4. Updated, accurate websites still serve as a first impression

At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms such as website portals, Internet Yellow Page directories and local sites have a similar chance of ending in a purchase. While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a customer searches, a business owner should not discount the power of a fulsome, consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.

Any listing should be linked to the business’s website and feature the exact same information, but more of it. While a website should be enough to entice a customer to visit or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust issues may arise in a business’s practices before a customer ever crosses their threshold.

5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, situations and times

People who search for listings are doing it in many more ways than when the Internet first coalesced into existence about two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets—and in each iteration, the methods of search have changed.

However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web developers realize that they need to be smarter. Rather than designing three different sites for three different platforms, they have created websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of types of devices in use everyday.

According to Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local information online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are searching for varies by the time of day and device. Entertainment is searched for during work hours on computers, restaurants during evening using phones and health/fitness evening using tablets.

The most important part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.

6. Local search results are trusted sources of information

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Raleigh”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.

Think about it, would you rather find a local store where you can get that latest purse in town right now? Or you can wait a week for delivery, which is four days past the event that you want it for! Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will convert that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer who feels like a million having spent a little more, but getting what they consider to be gold!

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.

Not sure how your business appears online? Scan your business now.



AdWords Solutions for Small Local Businesses

Last week we published a blog that weighed in on a post discussing the “Top 5 AdWords Strategies to Avoid”.  We were almost 100% in support of all the strategies to avoid.  You can read that post to find out which items we had qualms about in particular. Today though we want to dive into some of the scenarios we are able to use Google AdWords for small local businesses in ways that provide realized value and success

Call Only campaigns for your business name

Even if you have a very small budget or don’t think you want to spend advertising dollars on your core service it may still be advised to run a call only campaign bidding on your business name, nick names, or maybe even competitors.  When we go with a branded campaign we break those terms out from the other keywords and set them aside with unique budgets and bids and ad copy.  This is a recommended strategy to ensure that your reporting is clear and your strategies remain manageable.  With a properly structured campaign we are able to identify opportunities and weaknesses as well.

Branded Name Campaigns Perform Better…Hopefully

In fact, when we structure our campaigns in such a way we generally see better conversion data than our local campaigns.  You can see this from the screenshot below.branded adwords campaign vs localThe example above is of AdWords campaign we run and optimize.  This example shows why you should consider running a branded AdWords campaign even if you feel like you don’t have the budget.  Let’s break down just how the two campaign types compare:

  • Period Cost: The branded keywords, in the same time period, spent only 5.23% of the budget.
  • Period Total Conversions: The branded keywords had 21.43% of the total conversions.
  • Period Cost per Conversion: The non-branded keywords cost 493% more per conversion
  • Period Conversion Rate: The branded keywords converted at an almost 16% higher rate

So basically, branded keywords perform much better.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise really but it demonstrates that for a relatively small budget (who can’t spare $20 to get 6 phone calls/form submissions?) you can reach your customers still.

Use Local Business Manager to Target Local Searches

With our Local Business Manager tool and service we are able to claim, verify, and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing.  If we manage your AdWords campaigns we always link your GMB listing into your campaigns to target local map search results. Using the same campaign from above we can see that using this strategy is great for local businesses.  Remember, in this post we’re highlighting that a “Branded Call Only” campaign is worth the small budget and ad spend required due to how effective it is for local businesses.

local ad extension conversion rates

This screen capture shows that of all the 28 conversions above that 27 of them occurred when the GMB listing was integrated into the search results.  Furthermore we are able to identify that 22 of those occurred with the “mobile click to call” conversion metric.  Again, we remind you that we’re showing you the value of a AdWords “Call Only” campaign for your business.  This means that 78.6% of the total period conversions came off a mobile click to call conversion.  If you’re curious about the Branded Campaign discussed above all 6 of the period conversions came off of the mobile click to call ads. So it is safe to say that the Local Business Manager subscription/tools and the Branded Keyword Campaigns work together to hit your local customers quite well.

ServiceHoot helps optimize your local click to call campaigns

We hope you would consider hiring our team to help you realize performance numbers like those shown above. Our value can be expressed to you in many ways.  We may be of value simply for our peace of mind knowing you have an expert resource to rely upon. You may value your time the most and appreciate knowing your campaigns are being taken care of by ServiceHoot. While those are some great reasons, no other reason is greater than the DOLLAR.  We save you money and/or make your more money when we manager you AdWords campaigns.adwords management performance comparisonThis screenshot is taken from the same campaign above and compares the analyzed period used above with the previous period.  This happens to represent the time period of ServiceHoot optimizing the campaigns. When working with a local business we have to ask ourselves many questions. One of those questions is, “How far out are our client’s customers in actuality?”  We discussed this with the client and decided that we would narrow our search area.  In doing so we ended up delivering a campaign that not only spent less overall but also increased the total number of leads/conversions. In fact, you can see in the screengrab above that we improved conversions 15.79% in our local campaign and 500% in the Branded Campaign.

So in this particular example we not only saved the client money but we made the client more money as well!

We are happy to discuss your business’ AdWords opportunities any time. We can work with almost every type of business but our toolset and services are especially powerful for local brick and mortar or service area businesses.  If you’re interested you can sign up here and get started today!


A Quick Happy Fathers Day

Just wanted to say, thank you and Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there!  We love our papas and are thankful for everything they’ve done for our team and personal development in our lives.

Give a big hug or kiss or just a “thank you” to your father today, too!


Top 5 AdWords Tactics We Don’t Do Because We Shouldn’t

Search Engine Journal (SEJ) has recently posted a helpful article about managing and optimizing AdWords campaigns. We always like these professional quick takes to see whether our internal practices are inline with industry norms or if we have a different way of doing things. We think, luckily, this time around we are 100% on board with what SEJ thinks is the top 5 Most Overrated PPC Tactics

What are the Top 5 PPC Campaign Mistakes?

  1. Position 1 No Matter What – Totally agree. It’s  not usually in the best interest of a campaign to just attempt to be number 1 all the time.  We have always stressed that you can get a better ROI if we can settle your ad in the top 3 positions with more compelling ad text and structured data.  This is especially true if we are also managing your Local SEO or you’ve been optimized with our Local Business Manager tools.
  2. Not Bidding on Brand Keywords – Agreed 100%, again.  Your business is local and your brand is your name.  The importance of reputation management (part of our Local Business Manager toolset) can be leveraged in your AdWords campaign by bidding on your business name and similar names.  You should own your brand name AdWords…and perhaps it’d be the only time we’d recommend to ignore point #1 above.
  3. Casting the Net Wide – Agreed, but with caveats.  As a local business you may need to expand the audience you’re attracting in a limited geography.  Sometimes, when we are confronted with an underspending campaign with additional ad budget available we will broaden out our keyword list.  However, it’s important to do this intelligently and make proper use of keyword match types so you don’t waste money.
  4. Single Keyword Ad Groups – This recommendation is, we think, self-fulfilling and able to be avoided when you build your campaigns out correctly from the beginning.  You should be organizing your account by conceptual or similar idea ad groups.  We hardly ever have single keyword ad groups because we like to think ahead of how to best optimize and manage the account in total from the very beginning.
  5. Remarketing First – We agree with caveats again.  Unless your business model is specifically well suited for remarketing first then we believe kickstarting your business with an excellent AdWords campaign first is ideal.  You can always add remarketing later (that’s recommended actually) but you should try to capture NEW VISITORS first with a targeted local AdWords campaign first and foremost.

You can see why those are important AdWords tactics to avoid and why, sometimes, there are exceptions to this.  Still, as a rule, we agree wholeheartedly and appreciate the affirmation from SEJ that we manage our client’s AdWords campaigns effectively and are applying the right skillset and tactics.

SEO Social Media

Study: Does Social Media Help SEO?

We’ve told clients and potential clients in the past that a regular social media posting strategy is helpful and should be considered crucial to every local business marketing strategy. We’ve explained to the business owner that social media posts on a regular basis create a sign of life social presence but also that it is part of an overall SEO strategy. Our rationale for that has always been anchored in the same wisdom that local citation optimization and building is important; that you have the potential to show up higher on and for search results on those 3rd party sites. This is especially true for branded search terms as well. We know that our clients experience this via our rank tracking tool in our SEO Dashboard.

social rank tracking example
Our ranking tracking tool highlights your social links as well.

Over at the Search Engine Journal they published a post and study on whether or not social media posts and activity have any other type of impact on your core website SEO rankings.

So, does Social Media posting boost search results?

So does it?
Short answer: yes. – SEJ Post

…But wait! The post goes on to explain this further. Sometimes simple answers aren’t quite the most reliable.

Google officially states that social media profile links ARE NOT a ranking factor as seen here in this YouTube video. So there we have it a resounding “NO”. This means that spamming posts onto Twitter and Facebook will not help you. We should note that this is true for everything else with internet marketing. You should never spam links, posts, responses, etc. That’s a big no no.

Now we have both a YES and NO answer. We’re not contradicting ourselves too much though. Let us explain.

While social posts are officially not a factor in search results ranking algorithms, they can, as highlighted with our SEO Dashboard, show up as search results for your name and services.

This is in line with how we’ve described SEO for our clients all along. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization This means that you take all aspects of your online presence as your SEO standing. You’re probably now putting the puzzle together and realizing that as long as you are able to drive searchers to ANY property of yours with your accurate business information then you’re looking good. Remember, the idea is that your intent is to show up SOMEWHERE for a search term or inquiry about your business in lieu of a competitor. There is only so much screen real estate in the search engines on both mobile and desktop screens. So if you are able to get your Twitter profile link in the results, or a Facebook event, or your Yelp profile, or your main website, or even an image, then you’ve eaten up that valuable space. The only possible next move for a user is to land on one of your properties and choose your service to contact.

The top ways Social Media Helps SEO

According the the SEJ analysis they break out these simple points as to how social media posting helps SEO.

  • Potential for Links: The top reason we just described above. Your social profiles and posts may also be ranked.
  • Build an Audience: As you create a community of users and reputation additional content you create, like a blog post, will be shared more often and drive website visitors and conversions.
  • Branded Searches: Again, this mostly stems from your solidification of social profiles with your business name and information
  • Helps Promotion: YouTube is the second most used search engine. By creating videos about your content you increase the likelihood of being found.


Social Media is technically not a part of your core website SEO ranking factors. But, because search engines are far richer and integrated into other services it is a crucial aspect of your search engine optimization campaign.

Luckily we enable you to do all this with our core Local Business Manager subscription. With this toolset you will be able to:

  • Post to Twitter, Facebook, Goolge+, and LinkedIN
  • Schedule Social Posts
  • Monitor Twitter for Customer Leads
  • Create Prepared Social Media Responses
  • Allow Staff to Post on the Business Behalf or Their Own
  • Track Rankings of your Social Profiles
  • Gauge Community Sentiment

And all this functionality is integrated into your Reputation & Local Presence tools as well!



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New & Experienced Sales positions available. Commission-based position with recurring monthly commissions on every client. Experience recommended by not required. Will train the right person. Must be a driven, self-motivated, & a detail oriented person.

Must be able to grasp concepts like search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and have at least a general understanding of digital marketing/advertising.

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Social Media

7 Social Media Tactics for Businesses That Struggle With Social

A strong social media presence is one of the best ways to be heard, and businesses are no exception to this rule. Forget the doorstep; there’s a whole world of potential customers and fans at your fingertips who are actively looking for brands that they can identify and engage with on a personal level. However, social media skills have to be learned, and many businesses struggle to find an audience and connect with them online. If yours is one of them, what can you do to make the best use of social media and all its benefits? How can you create content that gets people to stop scrolling and start reading, liking and sharing?

These 7 social media strategies will help your business build a presence and a following in the most crowded rooms online by creating content that entertains, educates, inspires and engages.

1. Make a plan

Before you rethink your entire social strategy, ask the tough questions. What are your goals as a business, and how will a strong social media presence help you to achieve them? What actions are you going to take to build presence, and how will you measure your success? Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals, and put a time-frame on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right KPIs and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to change your tactics if something isn’t working.

And remember: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If you’ve done something in the past that worked well, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you go forward. Similarly, look to past failures and learn from them: how have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?

With a roadmap to social success in place, your business can begin to make guided changes to its social strategy that work toward definite goals.

2. Know your audience

There are so many eyes and ears out there on the web, but do you know who is going to listen to your brand’s voice? Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer. What interests them? What are they passionate about? What do they read, watch, and talk about with their friends? What are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them? The better an understanding you have of your ideal customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.

Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular. Find the keywords and phrases in these conversations, learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak – to walk the walk, your business needs to talk the talk.

Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.

3. Tell your story

Just like every person, every business has a story; no two are alike. Use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business that shows how it got to where it is today. Invite your audience to think about where they enter into that narrative: how are your followers involved and invested in your success? How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?

One way to nail a narrative is to find your niche and own it. If your service or product fits into a certain lifestyle, build a story around it, and highlight your place in it. You know the unique value of your business – tell the world about it, and appeal to an audience that will benefit from it.

4. Get conversational

Social media is a two-way street, and driving engagement with your brand means taking hold of the reins and engaging with your audience. Make your business part of the conversation online by asking and answering questions, making friends, and following back. Things don’t always have to be about sales: sharing holiday greetings, discussing local events, and starting a dialogue about current news stories are all ways a business can drive engagement from their audience and learn more about their demographic.

Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. If you see someone doing something cool with your product or sharing a success story, like it, retweet it, or give a shout out! When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.

5. Go live!

Facebook Live has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and can join at any time to watch you broadcast the things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone, or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans! Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works, or simply broadcast a day in the life of an employee. When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal, and eager to see more!

6. Call to action

Make your statements short and sweet, and provide a way for your audience to follow up and learn more. Succinctness is a virtue and brevity is the soul of wit, especially in the fast-paced world of social media, and many social media platforms have embraced this philosophy to the point of integrating it into the very nature of user interaction. Twitter’s 140-character limit is an obvious example, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that inspire interest and are digested at a glance. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for an email newsletter, or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content that hooked them!

7. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…

Finally, always be improving. Don’t focus on a single successful formula and stick to it. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, new conversations, and new mediums to get your message out there – but be scientific about it. Keep your eyes on the KPIs, put your strategies to the test by comparing their results, and learn from your failures as well as your successes to evolve along with your audience and your social media networks as they grow.

To wrap things up

The world of social media is constantly evolving, and with these tactics your business will find its place in the world beyond a brick and mortar shop or a domain name. Take stock of how far you’ve come, and set clear and measurable objectives that correspond to your business goals. Get to know your audience, tell them your story, and get involved by listening to what they have to say. Go live, give your followers a taste of what you have to offer, and provide the means for them to learn more about what you can do for them. Always pay attention to what works, learn from what doesn’t, and test out new ideas to keep improving your reach. Most importantly, remember the point of social media: to connect people! Use your social media channels as a platform to connect to and grow your audience, not just as a megaphone to talk at them. Now get out there and give the people something to talk about!

How The Nest helps

With The Nest, you’ll have real data to make educated marketing decisions on your social media marketing. You’ll have the knowledge to see which social engine generates the most traffic. You’ll no longer need to simply rely on your gut. Our tools align your marketing with the metrics needed to keep things moving in a positive direct.

To learn more contact our sale department at or call us at 1.855.884.4668.


Happy Holidays!

Don’t forget to update your Holiday Hours!

Happy Holiday Hours