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In this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, we have Viola Hutchinson, Founder and President of Effortless Marketing, a full-service Digital Marketing, and Web Development agency. Matt and Viola talk about the best practices for optimizing Google My Business presence in order to generate more leads and sales. Watch now.
Your business’s main digital property is the website. It is the one you control the most.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of Ecoffee with experts. I’m your host, Matt Fraser, and on today’s show, I have with me, Viola Hutchinson. Now, Viola is the Founder and President of Effortless Marketing, a full-service Digital Marketing, and Web Development agency located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She spent 13 plus years helping business owners and entrepreneurs grow their businesses using the latest web design, social media, and SEO strategies to succeed online and become profitable. She was born and raised in Transylvania, Romania, and moved to Norway when she was 20 to make her home in southern Alberta, Canada. Viola, thank you. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me.
In this episode, we will discuss getting more traffic leads and sales from your Google business profile based on your experience. Out of curiosity and to give our audience background, how did you get involved in starting a Marketing agency?
Oh, gee, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was a Systems Analyst before opening this agency. So I was a Systems Analyst at Shell, headquartered here in Calgary, and I like systems. So I understand them. I was at a stage when I wanted to do more and be more in charge of my own life. And I quit Shell, some people called me crazy because it was a very good job, from the point of view of money, vacations and perks and all that. But it was so boring, sorry Shell, but it was. So for the first few months, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was helping my husband with his business, and I wouldn’t say I liked that too much. So a friend of mine asked me to create a website for him because part of my job at Shell was maintaining our department’s internet. I was trained in HTML and software. I never even considered it because it was a small part of my job, and he knew that. So, I said, I never build a website from start to finish. I just maintained it and the changes. But I figured it out, and he owned a commercial cleaning company. He was very happy, and I enjoyed the process. So I started asking people if they wanted a website cheap. And that’s how it started. One more point to that, if I may, I don’t think that would have sustained me just building websites. That’s a constant struggle to get new clients all the time. So what I found out because I guess my systems background, I was looking, how come the websites I build are nowhere to be found? And I had never heard of search engine optimization before them. It was in 2008, 2009, something like that. And because I wasn’t in that sphere. But that’s how I found out about search engine optimization. And that’s how if you have a website, don’t just create it, but you do certain things for them to appear on the first and second page. So that’s what I started to do, and it was a win-win situation for me because it allowed me continuity with my business with the clients and for the clients. After all, they got better rankings.
Gets better rankings and more traffic and leads because of those better rankings. So when it comes to getting more traffic and leads from a tool that many small businesses use, especially service-based businesses, getting more traffic leads to their gig at Google business profile. So what are some of your top tips for that?
But first of all, I deal with many small to medium businesses. And Google business profile is a free listing, as we all know, that many businesses don’t even know or don’t fully realize what it is. And if they do, they may verify their business, which is very important. So, number one, verify and claim that listing. But they don’t do anything else. And we optimize. So number two is optimizing your listing, which means filling out everything you can on Google’s business profile and using keywords. So the whole internet is driven by search words and keywords. And if we use them and use them properly, not overdoing it, but just normal, then the search engines will understand what that business is about. Because so, that’s our number two, optimized. Optimize the Google Business thing. And number three is to be consistently active on that listing.
What are some ways to do that, that you found in your experience?
The best way is to post consistently, and that’s another thing business owners don’t know they can do.
What are some strategies or processes for generating ideas for posting different things? If you can share an example of one particular industry without revealing a client’s name, only mention the industry, like it’s a dentist or a plumber or a specific industry. Because that’s a hard thing, I think business owners don’t know what to post.
I know it’s a stumbling block for sure. There are different types of posts that you can create on Google’s business profile. And one of them is an offer. So that’s one type of post, and businesses do have offers. We just finished with one client in a wellness business, they all have a Wellness Center, and they had an offer for the whole month of July. So in the post, you start a start date and end date, you can put a coupon code in there, showing the whole time. So offers are a good way to use the post. We often use the ‘What’s New’, something new in your business. And this could be a strategy. It doesn’t always have to be some earth-shattering news because we don’t have that every day. So you can use blog posts or some topic you talked about, even if it’s once a year, but you never mentioned it before, a link to that blog post. And in my opinion, all blog posts should have some kind of call to action at the end. So there you go. So always add an image because we’re so visual. So add an image to that post and a couple of lines, just like a teaser, and then link it to your blog post, or you can link it to a web page you have for a service you offer. So it doesn’t have to necessarily be something like, oh, we have a new service or product. So those are good ones, but you don’t have a new product every month.
But you could create blog posts and work with a content creator to create a content calendar, create content, and then publish and share those things on your Google business profile. And, I think HubSpot came out with a study that showed that the more businesses, whether B2B or B2C blogs, the more content they produce, and the more they directly correlate to money. And I don’t think many businesses realize I was talking to you about my success story there, like even the dealership I was working at. It was hard to convince the business owner, my direct boss, to invest in content marketing, but he would easily drop five grand on the newspaper. But $5,000 on the newspaper for three days, and he wouldn’t think to give me $1,000. So you and I know how much content I could create with $5,000. And the return on investment of that? Because he didn’t understand it.
And it’s so long term, and so it’s sticky, we call it. And it brings you leads for a long time.
I had no shortage of ideas of content to create. I had to maneuver around what I needed to do, take my time, be patient, and educate him. But in some ways, it was very frustrating. I don’t want to go there and talk about that. I had success there. I’m not there anymore, and it’s probably for the best. But I’m talking about content like there’s so much content you can create, coming up with ideas for content, and creating and posting on a Google business profile. Interestingly, many business owners, I mean Google, have changed the iteration. We’ve gone from Google Places to Google My Business. My God, you guys, can you get it straight, like seriously? Come up with a name and stick with it. So why did they have to go from Google My Business to Google business profile? I get why they changed it from Google Places. But like, there’s nothing wrong with Google Places. I don’t understand the logic behind what Google does, but they are Google. So what would you say the main thing is optimizing their Google business profile to get higher? Like what have you seen work for local search rankings? What are the things they should focus on?
What I found that makes a difference is if a business has a keyword in its name. It helps. So, we tested this, and Google specifically says you should use your legal business name. But you could sometimes try it, try it, experiment if you like, with adding something. So, for example, if you say you’re a consultant, what kind of consultant are you?
Yeah, are you a food consultant? Are you?
I understand that Google built bots that crawl anything on the internet are not humans. So they’re not going to understand just consultants or even if you have pictures, especially if they’re not optimized, they are not going to understand any of it, but humans do. So we had, that’s one example. Where it says consultant, then somebody’s name, like, let’s say, John Smith consultancy. Well, that doesn’t mean anything, but if you put business consultant or something like that, it starts to make sense.
Like small business consultants, restaurant growth consultants are very specific.
To say, John Smith consultant doesn’t mean anything, but that’s your legal name. You can go and change your legal name. It doesn’t cost that much. And have that keyword in your business. So that’s number one, have a keyword in the main business name. And we tested, and it does make a difference.
And change your business name if you have to. Some businesses have such an ambiguous name. And not only will it help you online, but it’s going to help you in your business overall, for people to identify across all marketing channels.
Because even if you have business cards, and if you go to networking meetings and meet many people. I see John Smith consultant, I don’t know what he does, but if it says small business consultant or something more specific, I know. I know exactly how to get in contact with that person.
Or you might think of someone who could use their services. So, as I said, John Smith Consulting, you could be small business consulting or small business consulting experts or whatever you want to think of. Are there any other factors?
Another factor that I think is very important, and we played with this too, is choosing the right category. Sometimes it’s hard because you might not find the exact category, but it has to make sense and be close to what you do.
What about businesses that have multiple categories? For instance, a renovation company that does the kitchen, bathroom, and basement renovations even do home inspections. And Home Inspection is a different niche, and they may do roofing. So what are your thoughts on that? You can only choose a certain number of categories. Should you start a separate business?
I wouldn’t. I would just think about your most profitable and go with that as a primary category, and then choose the secondary categories. You have options to choose quite a few.
That makes sense. So you’re most profitable and then drive those things first. And the other things you can focus on are organic search, paid ads, or other ways to reach clients. So I’m thinking here for a minute. So what are some of the ways to drive traffic to those sites? I know people are searching for things in Google, but are there other ways to drive traffic to that Google business profile or increase traffic?
Yes, they are. But, like anything else, if you have a link, go back to that profile, and if you’re on social media, for example, when you post, there is a little share icon under the posts, and you can share that post on your social media. You can share it on Twitter and Facebook. I can’t remember what else. So share it, it’s easy to share the post, let’s say, on Twitter, and when people click on that post, they see your Google My Business Profile post.
Do you think business owners should drive traffic to their Google Business Profile rather than their website?
I always say that your business’s main digital property is the website. That’s the one you control the most. And anything else, social media and such, you are at the mercy of that company. So digital, like the website, is your main digital property. For a local business, you should focus more on Google’s business profile than any other social media, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a social media presence. But I know horror stories where somebody just did Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. Well, they did something that Facebook didn’t like, shut them down and lost everything.
Oh, wow. That’s the thing people don’t realize.
Yeah. So for local businesses, especially those with a physical location, a Google business profile is the best way to drive foot traffic and get online traffic.
What about tracking the traffic from Google My Business and the leads? What are your thoughts on the best ways to go about doing that?
Well, Google’s business profile has a built-in analytics section called Insight. And you can take a look at that. And then, within that, you can see the keywords people are typing in search words to find your business. And sometimes, it’s surprising what they type in. But if you know, you can build out your content more to either increase a search word or that’s related to your service. So that is maybe not that you’re not being found, or to increase the search words, the traffic to certain search words that you’re looking for. But you want to be at the top.
What about using paid ads like Google Local Service ads or other such sponsored local ads for her to get more traffic? What has been your experience?
I think it’s good. We have a few clients, and we do ads for them too. Our main product, so to speak, is SEO. And search engine optimization, but we also do Google ads. And I find that the combination of doing ads and search engine optimization is the ideal one for any business. But it’s expensive and expensive is a relative term, because it’s expensive not to do.
Because it is a lost opportunity and loss of leaves link, somebody else gets that traffic and gets those customers.
But when first presented, the client might say, Oh, my God, that’s a lot of money. But if you explain and they’re open to listening, they realize I will be getting a lot of business.
I find they need to know and calculate their customer’s lifetime value. And I find a lot of business owners don’t know that. It is unfortunate because how can you know how much money you’re going to spend on marketing if you don’t know what the lifetime value of your customer is on average, how much money you make per customer, how long they stay with you, and so on. And even then, going back to the car dealership, they didn’t know that information, and they’d been in business for ten years under one brand and over 20 years overall. So they have all the data you can easily look at and see, how long has this customer been with me? How many cars have their kids bought from me? And how many referrals have they given me? And then you can figure out, Holy smokes, this customer is worth $50,000. So why would I not spend 500 bucks to acquire a customer when you’re going to make 50 grand? And it’s interesting they only think about one transaction.
The immediate, and that’s it.
And it’s ridiculous, so let’s say you sold a car to someone, and you broke even, you’re going to make money, you’re going to make $50,000. Even if you lose money if you can make it up on the back end through service, referrals, or whatever the case may be. I mean, you talked about how you got started in marketing in your business. You worked for nothing to get referrals and then grow your business. And I know that you can’t work for free forever, but when you take it from the mindset of what is the total amount of money I make from a customer? And this goes back to having a CRM. I was in BNI, and many didn’t have a CRM. I’m like, how can you not be using a CRM? I just, that is mind-boggling to me. So when it comes to calculating advertising, as you said, it is relatively expensive, but it’s expensive sometimes not to do it. Because Acme’s competitor is getting that traffic, and when I was doing what I was doing, one of my colleagues at a competing dealership in the same brand was like, I don’t know how Matt’s doing it. He’s everywhere all the time. And that was the whole point, to be everywhere all the time so that we were the only choice. And we didn’t start doing that until we figured that information out to figure out how much we could spend per client to acquire them and on a per car basis. But it could be up for a plumber, and being a plumber doesn’t always have the highest. I talk to plumbers, and I know it’s not the most profitable part of their business, more commercial and so on. But there are other things you can do. It’s interesting how plumbing and HVAC go hand in hand because HVAC is the moneymaker. So interesting. Very interesting. So what’s the best way to create a strong link between your Google business profile on your website for a small business owner?
Strong link, meaning people know about or the search engines realize that you are on?
Yeah, the latter.
Well, the strongest link is used when you create and use the posts. At least once a week, small businesses should be posting on their Google business profile. And the call to action, there are buttons that you can use there, and one of them is called so that you can call the business. So use that call to action, but also make sure you learn more, that button goes to your website. So it could be to your service page or your blog post, that way, they’re always connected. And now, each entity knows about the other.
What about using UTM links and parameters in those posts? Is that possible so you can track that?
Yes, it’s a good idea. But I have not used it yet. I know the UTM tags you use in Google to show where the traffic comes from. For sure. That was one.
Yeah, shout out to utm.io. It’s an amazing tool if people haven’t heard of it. utm.io. Dan McGraw.
I guess I need help with that.
I will talk about it after. I’ve done quite a bit of learning on that aspect of marketing. Any other means you’ve seen success with tracking, like call tracking numbers for small businesses?
So we have a software we deal with, CallFire. So we use CallFire to identify where the calls come from, so that’s a good one.
Yeah, no. There’s CallFire and CallRail. So I like WhatConverts. I don’t know if you’ve heard of what converts or not.
No, I haven’t.
Yeah, WhatConverts is a great platform. You might want to check it out. So what’s one big takeaway you want listeners to get from this episode?
Please be active on Google’s business profile because that’s where people don’t even realize that they’re on it. That’s the three pack that shows up on your phone, and people use mobile phones, it shows up well on mobile. And you can get traffic that you didn’t know you could have. But you have to be active on it. And consistency, that’s just me. So that’s the mantra of marketing be active and consistent.
How can our listeners connect with you online?
The easiest way is to go on my website, which is effortless.marketing. So there is no .com or.ca. I know that it confuses some people, but it’s only effortless.marketing. You can hit the contact page on my profile page, and we can go from there. I offer a 30-minute free consultation. So that’s on the contact page too. I am happy to talk to you, and I am an easy and not pushy person.
Are you on LinkedIn as well?
LinkedIn? Yes, I might be under my previous name there. Viola Olah and not viola Hutchinson. Okay. Check on that. It’s been a long process changing my name. So my previous name and I still have lots of profiles as Viola Olah, O- L- A- H.
We will check and put it in the Youtube description and show notes. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to be here, it’s been cool talking to you.
Thank you, Matt.
You have a great day.
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