Number 1 reason small businesses shouldn't answer their phones


The number one reason small business should not answer their phone is because they hate sales and don’t want to make any money.

I work with small businesses all the time. The other day I tried to call for septic inspection that is necessary for me to do apparently because the government doesn't take enough of my money already. You know what happened? Most of the places didn't even answer the phone. So what did I do, I called the next one in the list of my Google search.  How many of you people do the same thing?

It has to be the single most frustrating part of trying to reach small businesses for me. I need a service  and I'm willing to pay but, no one answers the damn phone.

This might be one of the quickest ways for certain small businesses to make a huge impact on their bottom line. One company I know contracted with an answering service and his sales went up 40% in one month. Is that worth it to you?

Another way to look at this, is how much is a job or customer worth to you? How much profit do you make? Could you afford to even lose one? If you're missing your phone calls, I guarantee that you are.

Here’s how you fix it.

15 minutes of your time doing this research will more than likely save you a hell of a lot more than 15% or more on your car insurance.


Did Apple just resurrect the QR code and how it can help your business?

Give me a try with your iPhone and IOS 11 installed

Give me a try with your iPhone and IOS 11 installed

Hidden in the iOS 11 update, the iPhone camera has the ability to recognize QR codes directly with no additional apps necessary. I always thought the QR code was a neat feature but functionally it was never useful for businesses because it required opening up a separate app and it was clumsy and ineffective. Now Apple has hidden this feature in their update and it is pretty cool.

How to use: 

Want to make a QR code? Start here:

What can you do with QR codes? Here's a list.


Simply paste a URL of your choice in the destination box and the scanner of your Visual QR Code will be redirected to that webpage. Useful for advertising sites and products, this greatly enhances the accessibility of your product to the public.


Use your Visual QR Code to create a contact in your scanner’s address book! Especially useful for business cards, this eliminates the awkward process of exchanging details and printing out endless cards. Simply add a Visual QR code to your card and anyone who scans it will have your contact details automatically entered in his address book. It goes without saying that the more memorable and unique the QR Code will be, the more unforgettable you will be as well J

YouTube Video:

Use your Visual QR code to redirect the scanner to a specific YouTube video. This can be very convenient in how-to manuals and explanatory videos. You do not have to paste the entire URL of the YouTube video, its ID is sufficient for our generator to recognize the desired video.


Who doesn’t have a Facebook profile today? Redirect your scanner to any Facebook profile page and share your product or company with the masses in an instant.

Twitter Follow:

Interested in upping the number of your subscribers? Choose the Twitter Follow option and the scanners of your Visual QR Code will automatically subscribe to your Tweets. The perfect way to spread your message quickly and efficiently.


This is especially useful for sharing and advertising. Any scanner of your Visual QR Code will automatically Tweet the text that you have pasted in the destination box. As you can imagine, the potential for advertisement is endless.

Google Maps:

Ever seen a commercial for a product you liked but didn’t know how to get to the store? Today that isn’t a problem! Simply enter a location in the destination box and the scanners of your Visual QR Code will be redirected to the location on Google Maps and directed there using Waze. Problem solved.

LinkedIn Profile:

Advance yourself in the professional world by advertising your Linkedin profile page via your Visual QR Code. This is an effective way to share your professional details and an excellent addition to your business card.

LinkedIn Share:

Share a URL using your professional network in an instant! All scanners of your Visual QR Code will automatically post the URL to their LinkedIn profile page, spreading your message across the network.

ITunes Link:

As simple as it sounds. Simply paste an ITunes link within the destination box and all scanners will be redirected to that link.

Plain text:

Ever had a special message for a special someone? Use your Visual QR Code as an especially creative way to merge your message into a picture. Anyone who scans the Visual QR Code will be redirected to the text of your choice – a unique, memorable way to pass a message.

Phone number:

Why waste time writing down phone numbers? Using this simple technique, anyone who scans your Visual QR Code will automatically call the number that you have specified in the destination box. Simple. Effective.

Skype Username:

An especially ingenious twist for those who wish to employ their Skype account, our technology enables you to enter a Skype username in the destination box and anyone who scans your Visual QR Code will automatically call that user via Skype.

Email Address:

A real time-saver. Anyone who scans your QR Code will have a “compose email” box opened on their phone that’s addressed to the address that you have entered in the destination box.

Application URL:

Enter the specific application URLs that are appropriate for each phone type (ITunes, Blackberry, Android and Windows) in the four destination boxes that will appear, and our technology will redirect all scanners (according to their specific type of phone) to that app in the suitable app store. An excellent way to advance your app!

Why you shouldn't boost your Facebook posts


One of the easiest ways that people find to get traffic is by boosting their Facebook posts. I agree that it is fun ( for lack of a better word) to watch all of the likes, views and maybe even follows. It's validating in many respects. For those of us that have pages  instead of just personal accounts, we can actually see how many views it is had rather than just the reactions.

From a business standpoint, for most people, it's a horrible idea to do this.

Why you might ask? The answer is because most people are not good copywriters and  there is no outcome defined for the paid for advertising. What does that mean? That means when someone clicks on your link that you are paying for it should take them to a website where you can hopefully grab lead information from them. I run across so many businesses that don't do this well. For me, I don't care how many views there were. I don't care how many likes there were. I don't care much anymore about how many people follow my page. Facebook has changed over the last couple of years. For businesses, it's a paid platform only. In many estimations you only get about 15% of your followers to see your posts. Unless you have a rabid fan base that isn't much. Unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers that isn't much.

So what should you do? Learn how to do it right. Facebook is a behemoth. It can send you lots of traffic. The traffic only exists to provide leads or sales. Stop thinking of it as anything but that. One of the things I love to say to clients is to stop building your farm on someone else's land. Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg land and you need to pay him. So if you're going to pay him make sure that you're getting the most out of it.

Create lead pages that work. Forms. Compelling reasons to get someone to call you, give you their email address or sign up.

Then your ready to boost and make it worth your while.

If they are zigging - you should be zagging

[00:00:00] It is August of 2017 and I thought I'd share this. I just got an email contest basically in they're going to give away a fidget spinner if I signed up for whatever it is. A perfect example of in business and life for that matter that if everybody is zigging you should probably zag. You can't be a leader if you're following the pack and you certainly can't be a leader if you're following the pack and you are at the tail end of whatever is the fad at the moment. So take advantage of it. Don't do what everybody else is doing. Be unique. Be original. Be authentic and make sure you get your message out there the right way because that was just a joke. [49.2]

How to ask for reviews from customers in a way that works


One of the problems that we have as business owners is trying to procure reviews from customers. A lot of people that I've spoken to over the years have likened it to cold calling. They don't like it. So I'm going to give you this format that has worked for me and that I have developed over the years. Make it your own.

First, you have to ask. There's no way around it. You just have to bite the bullet and do it.

Second, if you want this to really work you have to make it a habit. I suggest that you make it part of every process in dealing with a customer. I suggest that you included in your follow-up. I suggest that you actually put out calendar reminder on your phone and spend five minutes a week reaching out to people doing it. I'll show you a little bit more about that below.

Third, use a system that works. Customers don't want to leave reviews. They don't want to be bothered. However, they don't mind helping you out. So ask them for some help.

As a small business owner, I/we work really hard at trying to make sure that you had the best __________ possible and I hope that you got everything you expected and even more. I want to ask if you could help me with 60 seconds of your time by leaving me a 5 star review online. Thank you as this would help me out a lot.
— Local Result Marketing

Use this template to ask for help. Make it a habit. Remember that this is a Marathon Race and not a Sprint.

Consistency:  when we are looking for reviews we are looking for consistency rather than a quick flood. I would rather have 2 per week over five weeks then 10 all at once and nothing after that.

Immediacy:  looking for reviews now? Why don't you ask people that already know you? here's a simple way to do it. Use the template above Add contact five friends or acquaintances every week through Facebook Messenger or email. Write down who you contacted and mark off those that left reviews. The only problem with this method is that you will be disappointed in the people that you know as many of them will not do it. ;)

How to see more results on Facebook with one simple step

[00:00:00] Just left a meeting and I thought I'd make a quick little video here here's a simple little trick that is. I'm still amazed that so many businesses don't do this. Everybody wants social media interaction everybody wants more. More fans on Facebook and I don't blame them it's a simple way to really get your message out there and tell your story. However what I am really noticing is that people are missing out on this super easy way of doing things. Check in when you arrive at work. Not only do you check in as an owner or as an ATM but have your employees check in too because what it does is on everybody else's newsletter feed everybody else's feed. It shows that hey they checked in at work whether it's a restaurant or plumber it doesn't really matter it just gets your name out there and reminds people that you exist. And there's some type of marketing. Top of mind marketing approach there as well. So it's a really good habit to get in every single day you arrive. Check in on Facebook. Just check in and have your employees check in. And not only that. Just remind people because you know it's a habit that people get out of. I mean that's that's the real thing is the discipline that it takes in order to be successful. That's where people lose is the lack of discipline. [1:16.7]

[00:01:17] So remind yourself every time you are you know people have reminders on their phones every time you arrive at work check in have your employees check in to send an email just remind them to do it on a regular basis so you can create a positive habit for the entire company and the culture there. [16.4]


Restaurants and bars are the indicators of the future...

[00:00:00] It's a beautiful day and I'm just up for a walk and I had some thoughts that I wanted to share. So here's the deal. You know everybody's looking to make more money bring in more customers make the business look more professional. Restaurants bars real public facing companies like that. Those are the ones that are indicators of the future. Right. Those are the ones that are most people are searching for get the highest views on a regular basis. So when you have other smaller service business that's not going to get the same reviews that a pizza place and is going to get. That's not going to get the same you know traffic a pizza place is going to get. But it is the one that Google is going to cater to that Yelps going to cater to that everybody is going to cater to. From a perspective of you know the digital the Digital Media place. So when you were looking to boost your business and bring in more areas the people that are going to be the ones to emulate are going to be the restaurants they're going to be the pizza places they're going to be the bars they're going to be the night clubs or the the places that more people look up. [1:10.0]

[00:01:11] So when somebody is looking for your you know you as an attorney when somebody is looking for a doctor when somebody is looking for somebody to clean their carpets or a plumber or whatever it is what you need to do is you need to have all of your digital places claimed you have them cleaned up branded properly you have to have everything moving in the right direction. And you also have to have good quality reviews. You know I've I'm a little partial because this is what I do for a living. But one of the things that I really think is you know particular the just review generation are the local customer reviews is fantastic and the local result marketing just from a full fledged perspective social media you name it we can take care of everything. But look up restaurants just google restaurants in your area restaurants Green Bay restaurants Madison Milwaukee Chicago you name it. Look up restaurants. That's what the future is going to be. That's what the future is there for them. That's what the future is for you. And that's what you need to do if you really want to stand up from your competition. Oh and the other thing this is the most important is that nobody else is really doing it if they are they're doing a pretty poorly. So most of you business owners have a real opportunity to leapfrog anybody else and just go out and kill them. It's quite an amazing opportunity so I hope to hear from you because I'd love to do it and if you if you're not going to work with me do it yourself. And you know what if you want to step up the level of professionalism all you know how to get in touch me. Thanks. [1:33.8]


Get Serious with Google to help your local Wisconsin/Michigan business

[00:00:00] So thanks for taking a moment to watch my video and I apologize for my face here last week and a half I've had poison ivy or oak or sumac reaction that's just absolutely been atrocious as you can see. So anyway I wanted to talk a little bit today about what does it take in order to bring in customers on a local level. Forty years ago it was the yellow pages if you missed your deadline you were done. You kind of you're out for the year. As you progress with your scale of your business you can afford more and you get bigger ads and quarter pages and full pages and half pages and those you know that was the mark measure of success and the ability to do that billboards wherever else. How do people find your business today? People find them through a variety of means. Most of what you see behind me here. But one of the biggest ones is Google. So let's just think about Google here for a minute. How often do you use it? It has a two thirds market share with search engine traffic. And I know personally I mean I I use it all the time but most people do if they're looking at the business looking at restaurants looking up anything it's so critically important that you have a polished look and feel and not only that an authority to what you're doing there. It's really critical. This is just one aspect of many when it comes to digital marketing management. So your Google.

[00:01:34] You know I mean if you're looking for roofing businesses you're looking for plumbers you're looking for dog groomers. It doesn't you know restaurants. You want to see authority. You want to see a polished clean professional. You want to see great reviews and you want to see them and you want to stand out above everything else that's out there and you want to beat your competition. It's critical that you do this it's critical that you get it done properly. So please if you don't reach out to me at some point you're going to have to take care of yourself. And you know that you specialize in what you specialize in and I specialize in what I specialize in and believe me it's a lot more affordable than you think because we're able to do it remotely and we're able to do it. I live in the Green Bay Wisconsin area. I work with companies all over the area but we kind of specialize in Wisconsin. So if you are looking for you know that edge on your competition if you're looking for that boost in sales you're looking for the additional traffic if you're looking to get a new Web site with the mobile friendly platform, reach out and let me know with what we can do to help you out. Absolutely no cost. I'll talk to you on the phone. We can do a video conference maybe not with this going out but we can you know definitely look at your business and see what it has at the very minimum you're to walk away a lot more informed than you are today. So I look forward to hearing from you and for your call and enjoy the rest of your week.

What I tell prospects...

[00:00:00] Hi. Thanks for watching. You know the first thing I do when I talk to potential clients when I'm discussing their business is I explain what digital marketing is. Digital visibility. And the thing you know the analogy I like to use is 40 years ago we all had ... businesses had yellow page ads. Right. And if you didn't make the deadline for your yellow page ad you were pretty much as SOL for the remainder of the year. And that's because y after that what do you have you have direct mail marketing. You know all the other expensive forms of marketing. But the one that the people use really go to especially kind of service industries and restaurants and things of that nature that's you missed out. You started with a really small little one and that he worked up to a quarter page and a full page of you really super successful business. And you paid $5000 a month for that depending on your city. You can't can't buy your way in anymore. I mean Google right now Google, Bing, Yahoo all the other search engines... this kind of stuff. I mean that's the sort of stuff that you have to earn your way in. Right. And you can do it on your own or you can you know have a professional help you out and this is something I've been doing for years and years. The reality is is that you know when you earn your way in. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Right.

[00:01:16] I mean it's not like Google just shut you down. I mean they may change you may have to adapt but all the hard work and effort you've put in order that we've put in for you basically kind of continues on. And the next month and the following month and the month after that. You keep getting the phone calls you keep people keep visiting you keep going your website and providing fresh leads for you. That's just organic that's that's how it is. So being strategic about getting this is really a cornerstone foundational piece of your online marketing abilities and what you need to do. So what I would highly recommend is you know reach out to us. I would. I've been doing this for nearly 20 years. I'd be happy to give you a free review of your Web site where you kind of stand and most everybody kind of knows... in case I need to be online. But the reality is that how online do you need to be. What else do you need to do. And everybody knows they need to do something but what exactly is it? Well that's what we specialize in. So reach out let me help you. Let me give you a free review. It's no obligation. And the very minimum you're going to know more about it after our 15 minute conversation than you would before. So real in all reality this is time very well spent for you and I want you whether you're able to do it now or are you going to do it later... I mean if you're serious business you do need to do this and whether you do it now or later.

[00:02:51] I want to be the guy that helps you out with it. So I'm here The long for the long haul and I'm here for your success. Thanks

How to get more phone calls.

Hi Eric Thompson here from Local Result Marketing in Green Bay Wisconsin I want to talk today about getting phone calls basically the lifeblood of lot of what our businesses do. And in order to do that in order to really get more phone calls and get the traffic that we're looking for we have to understand a couple of different things. First where's that traffic coming from. And second how are they getting there and what's the decision making process that they do in order before they do call. So understanding that most of the people that are going to call you right now are usually looking up businesses on their phones or computers. And most of those people are using Google. So obviously the most important thing to do is to make sure that your Google listing looks Tip-Top. Now what makes somebody call one business over another business let's just use like dog groomers for instance what makes one person choose one dog groomer to call over another. Certainly location plays into that. But above and beyond that and almost more importantly is the reputation and the reputation is how you look, how you present to the world, the reviews you have the quality of reviews you have the quality quantity of reviews that you have. And you know whether or not your website is modern up to date basically you want to put the best foot forward for the customer to look at you and say this is a company that's really has their act together and this is a company I want to do business with. So in order to do that what you're really looking to have happen is you're looking to make sure that your reviews are set in place your digital properties are looking Tip-Top and you outperform to everybody else in your vertical. That's how you get more phone calls. That's how you the game of beating out your competition


How to take a good video/photo for your business

[00:00:01] This is Eric from Local Result Marketing here in Green Bay Wisconsin where we specialize in helping local businesses basically make more money using their online digital assets that are usually underutilized. We do search engine optimization, search engine marketing, SEO, SEM as well as social media management you name it. We pretty much take care of it and do it for companies especially small and medium sized companies that don't have the inside infrastructure in order to handle it. In today's video I want to talk about what we do in order to make videos in order to help out with product demonstrations on social media or on your website. You know there's a lot of people that are missing you know have misconceptions where they need a nice big SLR fancy camera in order to make things happen. But the reality is is that your phone has an amazing camera built into it already.

[00:01:00] The problem is is that most people don't know how to use it properly and they're working with kind of outside you know outdated information. So what I'd really like to do is kind of basically show you what I do for my clients and what I suggest other people do themselves. And that's really understanding what the customer wants to see if they want to see just an overview of you know the product and you know big shots from far away getting everything in at one time making the manufacturers website what you want to do is you want to get attention with people you want to get in close you want to be show different angles you want to basically get excited and build a relationship with them. So in order to do that would you need to do is first off stop holding your phone vertically go horizontal always horizontal you know just like a TV screen. And you know you can either do it and it's kind of a selfie mode or you can you know get in there but the sound quality is decent. The video quality is outstanding. Same thing goes with pictures go at different angles. Get down on the ground get a pie. Show something. But really you know kind of get in there be excited when you're talking to somebody and above all get nice and close get in there good detail you know what I mean.

[00:02:24] The thing is is when we're looking at things and you can show some real interesting detail and you can and you can say OK well listen here's my hand this is what I you know it's more interesting than this big panoramic shot where everything gets in show. You know if you're showing a car show the wheels show the tire tread show whatever is exciting in your industry as well and really get in there do that talk for maybe two minutes three minutes. You know if you get really high end thing go for 10 minutes. I mean it doesn't really matter. Throw it up on Facebook throw it up on your website. And you know if by all means to if you're doing photos please take two seconds apply a filter go on your put it on your computer make it look prettier. I see so many horrible photos out there that just haven't been touched. And for two you know for the first 30 seconds that it's going to take in order to touch it up it's going to make a world of difference. So use the phone that's more than ample. I mean if you have a million followers you have a different problem already. Use a phone. Put it up there. Run some videos. It's really not that hard. In fact you know just maybe don't script everything. Just be real. Be yourself. People like to see mistakes people like to see behind you know what's in the kitchen. They like to connect with someone. So utilize that in order to promote your products and services and start building up report with your audience. I think you'll find that will work out really nicely for you.


What does it take to win?

[00:00:00] Hi. Thanks for watching this video. My name's Eric and I specialize in helping small businesses make more money. Small businesses like yours. What we do is we manage all of the online digital properties as it were out there your social media marketing. Google, Bing, Yahoo. Basically all these guys you see behind me here. I know that you as a you know if you're care about your business at all. I know that you are interested in doing better I know you're interested in making more money gain more market share whatever it takes. So we specialize in the Wisconsin area at this point right now and growing all the time. By the way if you're looking for a position please don't hesitate to reach out as well. However what we need to do is we need to grab ahold of all of these different products all of these different assets that you have and put them in the best foot forward. You need to basically think like a customer. All right. These guys behind me specialize in thinking like customers. When you do a google search Google wants to give the best result humanly possible not only can they charge more money for adwords but they can also you know increase their market share and make sure that they maintain the dominance that they have. They specialize in that. And in order to get high in the results you know if you you know the generic somebody is looking for a plumber right.

[00:01:27] Google's going to spit out a result and it's going to be up on top here or you're going to be on the bottom. Now how you maintain all of these things behind me that's where you rank whether it's on top or bottom. So restaurants plumbers lawyers doctors you name it everybody if you can look. If you think that people are calling you or you want them to stop in your store or look at your Web site or sending an e-mail that's critically important in order to maintain these things. People ask me all the time how they can do this. Well you can do it yourself you know or you can hire a professional I'm damn good at what I do and I take a lot of pride in bringing a lot more visitors money. And you know revenue to my customers because that's what it's all about at the end of the day it's increasing the revenue and building up this digital. You know it's 2017 we have to build up this digital marketplace and really push push things forward in order to make things you know roll and be perfect for you now and in the future. This is a long term strategy can also be a short term strategy with some advertising dollars behind it. But this is a long term strategy really to solidify your brand in the community to gain instant acceptance so when people look it up and they're looking up plumber somebody comes up on top and somebody comes up well-rested and somebody comes up looking great. And that's the person that's going to get the phone call. Are you like that in your market. Are you like that in your vertical.

[00:02:54] If not you need to do something about now and sooner rather than later because you know everybody is starting to realize that this is important. And you know what it's it's becoming easier and easier and ever to basically leapfrog your competitors so I would highly recommend you get a jump start. Give me a call. Go to the Web site get a free evaluation and make it happen for yourself. So looking forward to hearing from you. And that's where we start. You know just get the free valuation. I'll talk to you personally. Thanks

Standing out from the crowd...

Eric: [00:00:00] Hi. Thanks for watching the video. I want to talk today about standing out and what does it take in order to stand out on the Internet. What does it take in order to stand with your customers. I relate a little story back from my own personal experiences back in the early 90s when I was going to Arizona State University. I started working you know to pay some bills like everybody else I was eating ramen noodles and kind of get sick of it. So I started working as you know and a Bennigan's actually. And what I did is I noticed that some of the people down the street that worked at a nice restaurant were coming in and they had a lot more money to spend on drinks than I did. So after a while I talked to one of them and said What does it take in order to move up in this industry.

[00:00:49] I learned what I learned my wines and learned my food and then soon got into that position was making a lot more money.

[00:00:59] And then from there you know in Phoenix it's a big city so we had a lot of opportunity to move ahead and then move to the cream of the crop the very upper echelon I mean the people are making nearly six figures. Being a waiter you know the $100 plate sort of crowd you know really in this area we don't have much around here like that except for maybe Kohler. And you know figure out what to do there. And the way that I did this and this is back where it was not very easy to do as is I shrunk my resume down to the size of a wine label and I plastered onto a bottle of wine and I sent it off to the hiring managers at the top the very cream of the top establishment in Phoenix at the time and I got hired at one of them shouldn't have I didn't have the experience they didn't have the pedigree but I got hired and even years later when I was working at another you know finishing up with school and working in another establishment and we had sort of a benefit that we were doing I was in a back office of another restaurant that I went to and I saw my wine bottle. This is three years later I saw my wine bottle sitting at the desk of one of the hiring managers. And I asked him about it and he said yeah this is the greatest thing I know. You know he said this has been on my desk and I use it as an example of what it takes and I asked him why the hell didn't you call me then.

[00:02:28] It was really nice to see the thing is is that it was a little more difficult to shrink things down and to paste it and send it off. Today we have so many more availabilities to stand out. I know there's a lot of clutter. I know there you know to get on Facebook and stuff like there's a lot of clutter but to utilize search engine optimization to get on social media to do things running contests whatever it takes. And even just kind of taking a step back and looking at your whole customer experience what does that look like. What you know walk through the front doors of your business. Are there cigarette butts on the front door is it dirty. Are you having paint missing. What's the messaging as you walk in versus walk and walking out. You know really take a fresh look at different things and really stand out. I worked with one aspect of it and that's kind of the online visibility of the different property management that we handle.

[00:03:26] But the you know and this is a cornerstone piece of what it is.

[00:03:32] But at the end of the day I'm about business I'm kind of the business geek here in this.

[00:03:36] I want people to make money I want people to do well and in order to do that what we need to do is really push for doing everything right and heating up the customer experience and really making a go at it and making sure that they get our best foot forward and that they're seeing everything that we can do in order to try to connect with them because you know as in today's economy everything is about connection. Everything is about touches everything you say about that. So the better you can do that the more it is. So what can you do to stand out today and what can you do to reach somebody. You know bear in mind even like updating your social media just you know

once a day you're you're on par at that point that with some of the major brands out there in the United States in the world really. So it doesn't take much in order to really compete but it does take something.

[00:04:31] So I hope this is informative and you know it's sparked a little interest and a thought process of what you can do in order to really take it to the next level.


"Website Designers": Thanks for the crap websites

When it comes to the skill that is required in order to make any effective business website I'm often shocked by what I see getting published. As a website designer it is your job to do the right thing for your customer. And that is not asking them "what do you want?" I suppose that the problem is actually greater in the definition of what a website designer is. You see, I am of the opinion that a website designer should understand exactly what the website is for. For most small businesses it is to create a level of trust instantaneously with people viewing the website and secondly to create some sort of conversion. This is achieved through competent and modern design with a strong emphasis on usability and current website marketing principles. Sadly what I usually see is "look how good I am with Photoshop!"

When I deal with small businesses and their website needs I don't ask them what they want. It's my job to know what they want. Or should I say what they need. Every business is different. Every business has its own needs in conversion goals. It's my job to be able to see them and implement them. On occasion I will have a client try and build the website by giving us design direction. Unless they are skilled in this, I don't allow it to happen. A few color choices...a few images...that's all you usually. I usually find that small business owners are skilled in their business but not this. If I have someone coming to my house to do some service I treat them as the expert rather than stand over their shoulder telling them how to do the job. 

So if you are a small business owner and are looking to fix your website there is but one criteria you should use for picking a company to work with. What have the results been for other clients? Your website is a 24/7 billboard that showcases your business to potential clients. What is it really saying? Is it saying that I have been made by an amateur or perhaps it is saying maybe you should go look at my competitor. Your website should say that we are serious, we are good and you won't regret doing business with us. Take two steps back and look at your website from fresh eyes or even better, ask a stranger or several strangers to give you an honest opinion. Most of all remember that although bad design may be inexpensive up front, in the long run you are just giving the money you saved to your competitors along with all the customers you have the given the wrong impression to by looking at a horrible respresentation of your business. 

To all the Photoshop cowboys that think they are website designers, keep up the "good" work. We appreciate the business. 

SEO and Local Results: Time well spent or an afterthought

The best SEO or search engine optimization for local businesses has been the subject of many conversations on and off-line as of late. While I think that the idea of good keyword analysis and implementation is very important I don't think that with Google's and other search engine's focus on local results that it is Everything like it used to be. However, one would argue that is still the case for nationally used sites.

So what does that mean in reality? How do we apply that to business and the bottom line? 
If you are running a local business, understand that a website is only part of what you need to be successful online today. There are many channels that need your attention as well and are equally or perhaps even more important than a website itself. But focusing on the website, a clear understanding of why a website exists in the first place is important. Why do you have a website? For most of the businesses that I deal with it comes down to two things. A website exists to provide a level of comfort and trust to the customer. That is reflected in clean, modern design and usability. The other reason is to create some sort of conversion. For most local businesses, it is a phone call or email. More often than not taking two steps back and looking at the project from the perspective of a new customer or better yet having strangers walk through your website with you watching (mini focus group) is very helpful and eye-opening. So while I think that making sure that you are including your keywords I think it's more important to have a usable website coupled with the understanding that it takes more than just the website to make it online these days.

What is this discipline supposed to be called anyway?

What I do...what we do is often mislabled and certainly often misunderstood. SEO - search engine optimization. Reputation management. SEM - search engine marketing. Add to that all the sub disciplines and practices such as social media management, citation development, link building, website usability design, email list building, email marketing, PPC (pay per click) management. 

My thought is that we need a new word that accurately describes and encompasses all of it. I'm calling it Online Visibility. Now everyone agree with me and we shall call it a day. Tomorrow we can deal with the big SEO companies that charge a lot or a little but, do even less for their clients.