Boosting your credibility with marketing can drastically improve your business, from increasing demand to growing your profits. If you are viewed as a credible company, it creates a bond of trust with consumers and can open the flood gates. People often ask, how can we build our credibility and become a more attractive option for consumers? While the ways marketing can boost your credibility are endless, my favorite strategies include empowering your staff, ranking in Google, garnering positive attention, perfecting your brand, generating online reviews and increasing your SEO and online awareness.
Empowering your Employees
Companies that restrict their employees’ social media profiles baffle me. I understand that brand integrity matters, but when you hire someone, you are already potentially compromising the brand’s integrity by taking a risk. Each employee is an extension of a company’s brand. The key is to have your employees fall in love with the company because the company is doing incredible things. One way to do that is by launching a comprehensive Cause Marketing initiative. Cause Marketing focuses on bringing nonprofits and businesses together to help promote one another. Cause Marketing increases employee retention as well because the employees feel part of something larger and philanthropic.
Let’s imagine a new wave of companies that understand the interconnectivity of the web, SEO in particular. They provide each of their employees the opportunity to send in posts (to be approved) for the company’s social media channel and ask them to take pictures and make YouTube videos. Imagine a company that consistently provides their employees with volunteer opportunities, or even creates a philanthropic budget that allows for their employees to spend time giving back. Thousands of photos and videos are waiting to be taken and the impact on social and SEO would be staggering, exponential in fact. Now, there should be restrictions to what can be done, but not so strict that it’s no longer fun to do. A brand is simply an idea that people share and when the employees of a business have no say in the branding of the company they work for, there is a disconnect. Companies that leverage the willpower of their employees online will take the lead.
Ranking in Google
How does your business rank in Google? As you may already know, your Google ranking can drastically affect your business – for better or worse. No matter how much you pay to outsource your Internet marketing, the company can only complete approximately half of the work needed to boost your online awareness.
Ranking number one in Google requires teamwork between the Internet marketing company and the company that retains them. Every business needs to leverage its customer service, reviews, videos and photos to increase its Google ranking. If the marketing department is within the organization, they need to leverage employees outside of the marketing department to get the media needed to share something worthwhile.
As an example, a client hires someone to write blogs for their company but doesn’t provide the content writer with any pictures. How is she supposed to tell a compelling story without images that relate to the company’s work? People don’t read blogs, they skim them. A blog should contain headers and pictures and if the person responsible for writing that blog doesn’t have access to that media and has to take photos from sites like Shutterstock, there’s a problem.
Ranking #1 in Google for a keyword that matters to your business is the cumulative effect of an interesting Internet profile from your blog to Pinterest to Facebook to onsite SEO. These pieces all work together. Google’s RankBrain is the smartest entity on planet Earth. It’s best we don’t underestimate it.
Attention is Currency
Attention can make or break a business. In order to turn a consumer into a customer, you need to grab their attention and keep it. In today’s world there are advertisements everywhere you look, but there are a few tricks that can help you beat out competition.
Currency can be measured in attention. More money can be made the longer we hold someone’s attention. The best advertisements echo and hold attention long after they’ve been experienced. The very best advertisement becomes culture. The creation of culture is also called “art,” and art requires courage. Courage can lead to spectacular success in advertising. Without a willingness to take bold steps to gain attention, you may as well stop trying.
Similarly, if you find yourself giving your attention to aspects in your life that don’t return on the attention invested, move on fast. Your time and attention have value. In your professional life, you must measure the profit of putting your energy into what you do. This is simple risk assessment, which every businessperson understands. This applies in all aspects of life, from school, family, to work and marketing.
The time you spend looking at something, listening to someone or experiencing something has worth. We create money – money does not create us. Since we are the creators of currency, we manipulate and determine its value. Think about the phrase “pay attention.” It combines two important elements of business – currency and attention. In order to master the ability to hold people’s attention over time, you need to become a leader. To do that, you can start by noticing where you pay the most attention. What thoughts do you allow into your life through the media? What are the brands that you most notice? Do you spend a lot of time at Target, Starbucks or Macy’s? These brands have their patrons’ loyalty (or not) for good reasons. The products a given brand offers might be the best in the market at a given price, but not always. Most likely you are comfortable with a given brand and trust it. People gravitate to the familiar and known.
From the marketer’s perspective, everything is a brand of sorts. This can be a useful way to see our capitalist environment. Your employer is a brand. You have a brand at your job. Call it your “reputation” if you like. Your relationships, taste in music, food preferences, religion and political ideology are riddled with brands, brand identities and competing figures. We think of a donkey when someone mentions “Democrat,” an elephant when someone mentions “Republican” and a cross when someone mention “Christianity.” Brands are comprised of messages and symbols, combined to form metaphor, which in turn generates a set of feelings. Much of this happens subconsciously. We don’t even notice we’ve formed these elaborate associations. Try to imagine “Nike” without the corresponding logo and motto – hard to do. Knowing the world is awash in brands can inspire us to make conscious decisions. Everyone advertises something and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is to remain oblivious to that concept once you know better.
As soon as you understand the motives behind people’s actions, you can make informed decisions toward your goals. Likewise, when you advertise, you can respect your audience’s intellect, empathize with them and treat them with the integrity people deserve. While doing that, you will provide them with something may not have even known they wanted until you show them. Now go ahead. Just do it.
If my business has 143 positive Google reviews and the nearest competitor has three, who would you choose? Consumers are wired to assume the crowd is making the right choice. When people read reviews, they get interested in the products or services you offer because of how many others are also interested.
Reviews are an easy way to increase business and right now we live in a golden age of Google reviews. The best part about Google Reviews are that they are exceptionally simple to earn. Currently, it’s as easy as asking someone with a Google account to write your business a review and eureka, you’ve got one. If they need help, with their permission you can navigate to the page on their phone where the person can write the Google review.
Yelp, on the other hand, is a strict platform on the web in terms of reviews. Yelp is like a bouncer in front of an exclusive club – only pretty girls and famous guys get in. Yelp will only allow a review if it passes their strict metrics, which include how long the reviewer has had a Yelp account, the number of reviews they’ve written and the quality of the review. Yelp even goes so far as to tell businesses to not ask for reviews. Yelp’s recommendation software is designed to highlight reviews from people inspired to share their experiences with the community.
The first reviews will be the hardest, but know that once you’ve established a rhythm, momentum will pick up. Having more reviews than your competitors will instill within potential customers and give clients the sense that people trust you, you are the best choice and that they are smarter if they choose you. That mentality is deeply ingrained in our psyches. What the majority of people choose attracts our attention. Having more reviews than your competitors is wonderful advertising.
Replying to reviews is an underutilized strategy for many business owners and entrepreneurs. Don’t just respond to only bad reviews. Responding to good reviews is equally as important. Remember that every word written that relates to your business is being measured by Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm RankBrain. When you respond to a review, you are showing potential customers that you care enough to communicate with them. You also give Google the evidence it requires to rank you well in their search rankings. The impact of Google reviews is undeniable. We’ve seen meteoric jumps in rankings in Google Maps based on reviews alone.
SEO and Online Awareness
Developing and increasing online awareness is key for small business owners, and there are many simple, inexpensive strategies. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a battle. Each of the hundreds of businesses I’ve worked with over the last decade have wanted the same thing – return on investment. Most believe if they rank well in Google, they will see the desired return. Their success, of course, is completely dependent upon the keywords which they can rank for, the likelihood of getting to rank high with those keywords, and their competitors’ strategies and tactics. With SEO, every advantage counts. The top tips I recommend to my clients involve utilizing YouTube videos and link building.
A billion hours per day cannot be ignored, and yet many businesses still live in a world where a YouTube video is considered to be more like a TV commercial than an online video. Quantity matters online. In the television age, you had 30 seconds to advertise your message, and that cost you handsomely. Now you have as much time as you’d like to push forward regular content. One easy SEO tactic to implement is using YouTube to increase your company’s SEO by creating “insider tip” videos.
Link building is the foundation for increasing SEO, and now possibilities are exponential with the use of images and video on social media. For years, link building referred to any link from a site outside of your own which points to your site. There was a time when we could trick Google’s algorithm to believe that we were more important than we actually were, but those days are over. When link building is done right, it creates content relevant to your business, which is shared on social media platforms that Google recognizes and can be measured via Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools, an absolute essential for anyone seriously interested in SEO, shows a detailed list of links that Google has found on the web that point to your site.
Your ability to provide evidence in the form of photos, videos and blogs will define your Internet presence and rankings in search engines. Give your employees the ability to promote your business through photos and videos. For example, we work with a garage door repair franchise with locations throughout California, and we’ve made it abundantly clear we would love photos and videos from them. They sent us a video, taken from a smartphone, of a garage door that had gone off its railing. The whole situation looked like a train wreck. Our client was called into fix the garage door, and the tech had been told by management that, should they run into something noteworthy, photos and videos would be appreciated. That video is up on YouTube, was embedded in the blog and shared via social media. The tech was also wise enough to take some pictures. All that media provides the evidence we need not only to rank well in Google, but to create blog and social media content that is worth watching, liking and sharing. When you create blog content, remember that you can build links from YouTube and Pinterest, and those links will appear in Google Webmaster Tools. Remember to always take and share photos and videos!
As you read through this article, the wheels in your brain probably started spinning. These are a few of my favorite strategies that have effective and beneficial results when conducted properly, but the opportunities are endless. Take time to analyze your marketing plan and see what strategies you can implement to boost your credibility. Sometimes even the smallest changes make a world of difference!
About the author
Serial entrepreneur Kellen Kautzman is the founder and operator of Send It Rising where he manages business development and strategy for more than 30 clients, while overseeing a team of over 20 internet marketing professionals.
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota, Kautzman began his professional career teaching K-12 and later as a Spanish teacher at the prestigious Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.
After five years of teaching, Kautzman got the itch to start blogging in 2007, and in turn became an early player in the practice of SEO. He began blogging for Bright Hub and Associated Content, and later served as the Director of Operations at ADvise Media Group, an SEO and social media-based internet marketing company, prior to forming Send It Rising.
Kautzman is a well-regarded expert on growing small business with internet marketing and SEO, and is a regular guest on national business-related podcasts, such as Business Show 2.0, The Entrepreneur Way and Money for Lunch. Kautzman is an accomplished public speaker and has been featured as the keynote or guest lecturer at dozens of universities, conferences, workshops and networking events including the Westman Group Incorporated Sales Conference, Entrepreneurs Assembly, Roseman University, University of Nevada at Reno, and the Cessna Pilot Centers Conference in Daytona Beach.
Inspired by motivational business writers like Simon Sinek (“Start with Why”) and Malcolm Gladwell (“The Tipping Point”), Kautzman was led to author his own self-help book “Everybody’s Doing It – Advertising Redefined by an SEO Expert,” which initially launched as the #1 New Release on Amazon.com in the SEO category in August of 2017. Kautzman has also been featured as an SEO expert in his published articles for Nevada Business Magazine, Small Biz Daily, Small Biz Club and Las Vegas Business Press.
Kautzman is obsessed with continually adopting new business strategies, exploring new endeavors, and engaging in new marketing trends, serving as a leader in emerging fields. This entrepreneurial spirit has led Kautzman to start up other ventures including Kautzman Properties, a family-run real estate investment company; and Crypto Miner Group, a crypto-currency mining company he co-operates with three business partners.
Originally from Mandan, North Dakota, Kautzman relocated to Las Vegas in 2011. In his spare time, he enjoys playing board games, running, basketball, and listening to audiobooks on business strategy. Kautzman lives in Anthem Highlands with his wife, Lonaeja, a video game recruiter, and their two young children.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of My Entrepreneur Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, The Property Investor and Gold, Oil and Diamonds, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.