Claim Your Business | Top 5 Local Listings You Should Grab

As a small business, free marketing is always a welcomed resource. Claiming the local listings for your business is one of these free marketing tools out there…but the #key here is to make certain you are optimizing this opportunity and spending time on the listings that will give you the most value for your time and efforts.

As a small business, free marketing is always a welcomed resource. Claiming the local listings for your business is one of these free marketing tools out there…but the #key here is to make certain you are optimizing this opportunity and spending time on the listings that will give you the most value for your time and efforts.

What is a local listing?

Think of this as tapping into the “yellow pages”

Of course there are paid marketing packages that each of these will offer and there are also services you can sign up for that will set these up for you and manage them (Yext). If you have the marketing budget and want to try these things out, my suggestion is that you try them out one at a time and make certain you have some time dedicated to testing/tracking these services so you know what the return is on those hard earned dollars.

Yelp

Great for services based businesses. If you are not familiar with Yelp already this is a community platform that allows consumers to leave feedback, rate their experience and reviews. Simple set up…create an account, provide correct information about your business and upload logo/images.

Yahoo Small Biz

This is one of the top sites that pulls up when consumers are searching for local services and business. This listing is a must so you can have control over the information that potential clients are seeing about your biz. Simple set up…create an account, provide correct information about your business and upload logo/images.

YP

This is how Yellow Pages came into the digital age. This is similar to the Yahoo listing, another way to take control over the information that is provided to the digital community. Simple set up…create an account, provide correct information about your business and upload logo/images.

Google+

In order to fully use the free tools that Google+ have available, you will need to create a Google+ profile for your business and then also set up the Business Page that is then tied to your Google+ page (of course this is also tied to your YouTube and personal profile. You will need to verify your address by having Google send you a postcard to the physical address associated with your business. This postcard will have a verification code that will unlock you ability to fully optimize your listing.

Bing

This is tied to Microsoft, so you will need to set up an specific login with Microsoft to then login to this platform. Bing is a leader in digital marketing and is used as a primary browser landing page for many. In addition to their free listing there are opportunities to advertise, which if you have some extra cash flow and time to test is a good place to put some marketing dollars. You will need to verify your location via phone number through either a call or text code.

What Story Are You Telling?

Regardless of your industry, your business or organization has a story. What story are you currently telling? Is this the story I want to tell? Why is this important?

Story Book

Regardless of your industry, your business or organization has a story. This story is made up of the personal impression you have made (or those who work for/with you), copy on your website, your printed materials, your logo, your tag line and your overall digital presence.

It can even run as deep as what you do publicly outside of work. The big set of questions are: What story are you currently telling? Is this the story I want to tell? Why is this important?

This could be a very long post if I covered everything, so I am only going to highlight some action items to address the three questions mentioned above. This will help you get started with the process of unlocking your story.

story

What story are you currently telling?
To find this out you will want to schedule a couple blocks of time to evaluate what you currently have online and in print. Basically in technical terms you will create a digital audit. Compile this however it makes sense (word doc, excel, cloud doc, etc…). Here a few things to look for:

  • Is the description of your biz or what you do consistent in language on your website, social platforms, print media and local listings?
  • Does your logo and images represent what your company does, what services or product you provide and seem interesting?
  • Do all elements look polished and professional?

Is this the story I want to tell?
Not that you have done some homework take a look at all that is out there. What story is it telling? What message is it communicating to potential clients?

If you can see through the eyes of your target audience, this will allow you to see if you are hitting your mark or if you have blind spots in how you are presenting you, your business/org and what you are offering. If need be find a few trusted people and ask them to give you honest feedback.

Why is this important?
The reason all this matters is because this is what potential clients, customers or donors are seeing. This is what is forming their instant impression of you and will either attract or repel. If your messaging is inconsistent, messy and does not have cohesion, that is what viewers will take away as a subconscious impression of how you do business.

NEED HELP? Feel free to reach out by emailing silverkeysmedia @ yahoo.com or fill out the form below if you have questions or if you want to schedule a strategy session to get your story on track.

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”1″ /][/contact-form]

Why Are Reviews on Social Media Important?

There are many ways that you can attract clients and more business, however what impression are you leaving with your digital thumbprint? Through your website, social media, local listings and digital content (more in future posts on these specifically) you can have quite a bit of control over the story you are telling. A key element you can leverage are the reviews on your social media.

There are many ways that you can attract clients and more business, however what impression are you leaving with your digital thumbprint? Through your website, social media, local listings and digital content (more in future posts on these specifically) you can have quite a bit of control over the story you are telling. A key element you can leverage are the reviews on your social media. Why not ask clients to share their experience. It is proven that prospects typically base their decision to use a business or give to an organization based on what others say in reviews. Think about how you make these types of decisions.

Below are a few step-by-step instructions for the top three social platforms.Take control of your branding and story, this can help you attract more clients and build a solid community of followers. In a later post we will explore reviews on your local listings.

Facebook Reviews
We will start with Facebook, one of simplest platforms to request reviews for. To get a link to send.

Don’t have a branded (or Vanity URL as they call it) click HERE for a how-to.

Facebook Reviews.JPG

Google Reviews
Google is an important one to keep tabs on. Why, well it’s Google and this is something that will pop up when someone searches your business. So kind of important!  Here are the official steps that Google provides to help you create a link for reviews:

google-id

LinkedIn
There is not a way to create or send a specific link that directly takes someone to recommend you on LinkedIn, but you can send them a link to your profile. Written recommendations are at found at the bottom of your profile. To encourage recommendations, send someone to your profile (use the public or serial ID URL) and ask them to scroll (or hit Ctrl+End) to go to the bottom to see your recommendations.

If you have not already, you should brand your LinkedIn URL so that your community can easily find you. Click HERE for a link on how to do that. If you have customized it, the link to your public profile is www.LinkedIn.com/in/YOURBRAND.

linked-in-branded-url

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Product Video | Corporate Commercial

You can tell the story of your product, services and company with a simple video. Make sure to keep it short and sweet. Here is a great sample of using intentional words and striking images to create a visual message.

 

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Marketing Yourself While Being Realistic

As a small business owner you wear many hats. You do the work, manage the books, pull the trigger on your marketing….it can be a lot. One of the first things have my clients do is to tell me what they are doing for their marketing and then we talk about what makes them happy…and what is purely a chore.

Marketing your business is different for everyone and there is no magic formula. The key to figuring it all out is to look at what is realistic for you. What? Realistic…what does that mean? Well that means you need to access the time you have, what you enjoy doing and what you can leverage to others. This may mean you need to pay someone to pick up the tasks you do not like or do not have time for, but by taking the time to think it through you can make an educated decision.

Marketing Yourself

Here are a few tips that will help you along the way to make this assessment:

  • Social Media: Do you like social media, know how to use it and have at least 2 hrs a week to manage it? Keep in mind, you do not have to be on every social profile, choose what fits your business and ability to use.
  • Email Marketing: Do you have a way to capture customer contact information? Do you have content that you can send regularly (bi-monthly or monthly)? Do you have the ability to pay for a management system?
  • Digital Ads: Do you know how to do basic design? Do you understand Google Ads, Facebook Ads or any other ad platform? Do you have at least 45 minutes a day to check in and manage ads (this can be less on one and more on another)?
  • Blogging: Do you like to write? Do you have the unique content needed to maintain regular blogging? Do you have at least an hour a week to manage this?

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Lights, Camera, Action…My Life on a Film Set

Stepping on a film set is amazing. I have had the opportunity to do it for a professional film company here in Portland as a paid extra on “Portlandia” and I have had the opportunity to do so for the last 5 years with Marble Mountain Films working on the short film “Unmarked” and the current film project “Dead Lake“.

My Life on a Film Set

It is not glamorous as one may think. I have hiked miles to locations, nearly frozen my feet off, baked in the 100 degrees weather, mucked around in dirty water and hauled tons of gear. But I have loved every bit of it. There is a thrill of working with actors and directing them to tell a story. To orchestrate visual, emotional and audio to impact an audience.

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What Story Are You Telling Without Saying A Word?

You don’t have to hang around me long to know that I am a bit dramatic. I have been acting, dancing and performing since I was 4 years old. My mother put me in dance and acting to increase my confidence. Both of these crafts focus on how you present yourself and how to communicate with out words…to tell a story with out even saying anything.

These skills translate to everyday life. I think all too often we float through and are note aware of what we say with our body, our eyes and the energy we focus from ourselves. This blog post is an overview of a few key non-verbal elements (there are many more) to be in tuned to. I will be offering a workshop & webinar soon that I will to help give more application.

What are you saying with out speaking a word?

Body Energy
We all have energy that flows from our body, but it is how we channel this energy that tells the story. When you are in a situation at work, at home, under stress…what energy is flowing from you. It is a different way to look at things, but awareness of this can help you turn a situation around or elevate the mood of things.

Stance
How you simply stand gives a lot away about how you are feeling and the confidence you have.  A tight, closed down or twisted stance sends a message that you there is insecurity and that you are not as open. A wider stance communicates that you are rooted and thus signals confidence. The most strength lies in the “Power Pose” (think superman or wonder woman) to take charge of a situation (for yourself and to give those around you the cue that you are in charge).

Bubbles
We all have a bubble…some have the need for lots of space and others are very comfortable when someone gets into their bubble. I am a notorious hugger…which I am very aware of being very intentional. But just like the three little bears, there is a way to approach the “bubble” that is just right for a professional setting when you are networking or just meeting people. When you are a step to close while you are speaking this is a signal of control and dominance. When you are just a bit out of reach (to far away) you communicate that you are either insecure or uninterested. To find a distance that is just right will signals confidence and that you are sure of yourself, but takes into consideration the other person.

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Content is King: Create Your Own Meme

Part of this fun journey of blogging for 29 days is to provide some quick tips on how to create unique content to tell your story.

Original content is so important to have in your social media and digital marketing. Do you like those images with text…or better known as meme? You can easily create these with your own photos in a very simple way. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to creating fun, inspirational and informative content for your business.

Meme
Sample Seasonal Meme from Original Photography

First…Identify your Screen Capture Tool

PC = Snipping Tool

  • Locate Snipping Tool in Accessories (Start Menu Search) and Open
  • A communication window will appear
  • Click on arrow next to choose the type of snip you want. Rectangular Snip is best for memes
  • Once you have the item you would like to capture prepared, click “new”
  • Drag cursor over area you want to capture
  • Save as the image format you want

Mac = Command (⌘)-Shift-4

  • Press Command (⌘)-Shift-4. You’ll see that your cursor changes to a crosshair pointer
  • Move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot
  • Drag to select an area. To adjust the area, hold Shift, Option, or the Space bar while you drag
  • When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. Or to cancel, press Escape (esc)
  •  Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop

Second…Create Meme in a Word Doc

  • Open Word Doc
  • Go to Insert tab and select Picture…this will allow you to import the image
  • With image selected go to Format and click Wrap Text and select In Front of Text
  • Click on Insert tab and select Text Box…this will give you the option of which text box you want to use
  • Double click on Text Box content and then type the quote you want on your image
  • Make certain that Text Box is still selected and click on Home tab. Highlight the text you just added and format using all the Font formatting tools
  • Make certain that Text Box is still selected and click Format tab. This is where you will select Shape Fill (none) and Shape Outline (none)
  • With box selected drag the Text Box to where you want it on the image.
  • Use screen capture tool to capture and save as either a png or jpg

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My Favorite Quotes

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –  Maya Angelou

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  –  Helen Keller

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”  –  William Shakespeare

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Eight Things About Me

At first I thought it might be difficult to come up with 8 interesting thing…but this was a rather fun exercise to examine the life of Amanda Goff to dig up some fun and funky facts.

  1. I started my “career” as a performer at the tender age of 4 at my first dance recital. I was done for after that and bitten by “bug”.
  2. I love to people watch. It is one of the best ways to study as an actor and also learn about the stories people tell with out even knowing it.
  3. I cannot parallel park to save my life. Well I can, but avoid it at all costs.
  4. I went to Jr High & High School with the Disney TV actor Jason Earles. We acted together in several productions.
  5. I have been working for the last 5 years on local independent film projects right here in Clark County with Marble Mountain Films….. I have loved every moment of it!. Thank you to my hubby and son for supporting me in this crazy en-devour.
  6. I have visited Costa Rica twice on mission trips. It was amazing and I think I could live there someday. It was not just the beauty of the country, but the wonderful people who live there.
  7. I could eat sushi or Thai food everyday if given the chance. Love the freshness and variety.
  8. I have worked several crazy jobs (call it life study). I have been a nursing assistant, preschool teacher, nanny, legal assistant, concert promotions manager and education assistant for a whole body donation organization.

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The Kitchen at Middle Ground Farms

Cooking Show
Professional Services / Marketing Tool
Demo Reel Sample

Amanda Goff – Creative Director of Silver Keys Media
Ryan Erlandsen – Creative Partner
www.SilverKeysMedia.com SilverKeysMedia@yahoo.com
Music: “White Stones” from Playonloop.com

Jessica owns The Kitchen at Middleground Farms, a culmination of her experience in the food industry, her culinary travels, her love of animals and a deep appreciation for some of the lost arts involved in cooking locally sourced ingredients. Her food “career” has come full-circle: from catering to Portland’s high-end “foodie” clientele back to picking berries, churning butter and “putting up” the harvest. Jessica is passionate about cooking, passionate about life and would like to share her journey with you.

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Check…Check…Double Check | Quality Control in Your Marketing

Recently I received a letter in the mail from my health care provider. Well after a moment of reading and then re-reading this I laughed out loud so obnoxiously that everyone in the house wondered what the heck I was reading. Really? “Insert disease/condition”….well someone did not get their caffeine in before they hit print and sent this on its merry way. And excuse me, I have a few pounds to lose, but I am not pre-diabetic. After my initial shock, I was delighted to get this and knew right away that it would be a great sample of how in any and all marketing you must check…check…double check your work. Sure we are human, however quality control is so very important and a mistake like this can be costly. How you say? Well my health care provider had to send a letter out after this as a follow-up with an apology and an updated message. So double the postage $$ was spent on this “Research Study Opportunity”.

Ooops Quality Control

So what can we learn from this?

1 – Be certain to check your work yourself and whenever possible have another set of eyes take a look. I am a notorious miss-speller (yes that is not spelled correctly on purpose), so I try to always have extra help in that area.

2 – Quality control is important! It can cost you cold hard cash and possibly some credibility…or the embarrassment when you have to go back to fix things.

3 – To put your best foot forward make certain you are clear-headed and give yourself some time to work on, edit, step away and then come back for a final go over before you send things out into world.

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Why is the Right Image Worth a Thousand…

An image can truly be worth a thousand [fill in the blank] when it comes to marketing. This could mean “likes”, dollars, clients or whatever other type of return matters to you as the end goal regarding your marketing efforts. You put in time, brain-power and money into promoting your business right? So why not capitolize on one of the elements that is known to draw in clients / supporters / the community [pick your target].

 Today if you do not capture your audience visually, they will move on and you will lose them. So what to do if you want to do a better job of visually communicating your company’s message?

Know Your Message

#1 Know Your Message: You want to make certain you know what your main message is for your website, social media cover image, blog posts, etc…Your audience will notice when you match your images to what you are saying.

2# If You Use Stock Images…Pay For Them: Don’t just download from the internet…those images belong to someone and they deserve to be compensated for them. If you do not make certain you have the rights to use images, you will pay way more if the owner finds out (I love 123Royalty Free Images).

Show som personality

#3 Have Fun: Look for images that reflect some personality and will make a visually enjoyable experience for your clients, donors or community.

#4 Create Something You Are Comfortable With: This is your business. Your marketing reflects you who are. Yes it should match your marketing message, but it should also be something you are proud of.

Professional Photography

#5 Hire a Professional: Original images add amazing value to your marketing…because no one else has them. Also with a professional you can rely on them to help guide you through telling your story.

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Local Indie Film: Unmarked

Marble Mountain Films just released online the independent short film “Unmarked”. This was co-directed by Ryan Erlandsen and Amanda Goff and produced in association with Silver Keys Media. It is very exciting to see this project completed and ready to share with the world.

Unmarked is a story about a teenage girl and her boyfriend who venture into the woods and mysteriously disappear. The girls older sister ventures out looking for answers and uncovers a well guarded secret. Marble Mountain Films used an all volunteer cast and crew. The film was shot in Vancouver, WA and surrounding Clark County.

Check it out and watch:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqH1-bBdvhA&w=560&h=315]

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