Getting Your Business to Show Up on Google Local Near Me Searches

It makes perfect sense for any business to be able to show up on Google when potential clients search for a local business near them. However, many businesses do NOT show up when potential customers or clients search. The typical search would be “jewelry store near me” or “dwi lawyer near me” or “general contractor near me”.

The landscape has changed in regards to the demise of Google+, sometimes referred to as Google Plus, which I personally considered pretty lame. However, the upside of this is the new and improved Google My Business. Which I am actually impressed with. And I’ll tell you why. It really enables the business owner to control their presence and to connect with their audience and potential clients.

The quick and dirty procedure to get your business to show up on the local near me listings is the following:

Google Maps Ranking Factors – fill out your entire business listing completely and comprehensively and you will see the rewards with better exposure.

1) It always pays to verify your Google My Business Information – so make sure you do this.

2) Encourage your current clients / customers to leave you reviews on Google.

3) Take the time to properly categorize your business – the more careful you are to target your niche, the easier it will be for people to find your business.

4) Optimize your listing description – this is all done under the INFO tab on the left. Categories, service areas, your hours, phone, website, appointment url (even if that is just your contact us page), description, and any photos you might want to add.

5) Using a local telephone number is preferable to using an 800 number. Many 800 or 888 numbers are robo call numbers or spam numbers. If you want to come up in local searches, use a local phone number. This also shows Google you really are a local business.

6) Embedding a Google Map on your website is further proof of credibility and legitimacy.

How to embed a Google Map on your website? Google My Business makes this super easy for you. From the dashboard of your listing, click on INFO in the left hand menu. Then, all the way to your right click on View on Maps. Next, on your maps view, look in the left hand column for the three bar menu icon at the top left of the page. Click on that and scroll down to where it says Share or Embed a Map. Click on that.

A small screen pops up that says Share. You have two choices – Send a Link or Embed a Map. Choose Embed a Map. You can choose the map size. Then click on Copy HTML and add that to your contact us page or your website footer widget or send to your website manager to do this for you.

The next step is to create posts with pictures. This is a mission critical step. Going back to your dashboard page, see Posts in the left menu. Click on that. Create a post complete with relevant hashtags, and a relevant image. Your post doesn’t have to be the Great American Novel. Keep it short and sweet.

Since we are always posting about a service we offer or a web design product that we offer, we choose What’s New. At the very bottom you can Add a Button. We always choose Learn More and put the link to the service or product in there. When done, hit Publish.

Be advised that all Google posts expire after 7 days with the exception of Event posts. So be sure to post on a consistent basis of every 3 or 4 days to serve up fresh content. Monitor your insights and watch the traffic to your listing go up. And watch your search engine visibility grow. And listen to the phone ring. It takes some time, as do all good things, but you will have done your business a great service by following these steps and maximizing your Google My Business listing.

***HINT: To make your posting easier and a more streamlined process, we create our original post in our business Instagram Account with all of the appropriate hashtags. We then share it from Instagram directly to our business Facebook page. From there, we copy the content to our Google My Business post. Upload the picture, and we are done. 5 minutes. Literally. And painless.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Is It Time To Turn Your Business Around?

Every business reaches a point where processes and tasks could be done more efficiently making better use of time and resources. Employee morale is directly tied to the company culture and what flavor of the company Kool-Aid is being served. Sometimes these things need to be changed up a bit so that the business can experience sustainable growth and take things to the next level. 

As a business consulting firm here in Northern New Jersey, we help clients throughout Bergen County and Rockland County New York turn their businesses around from stagnant to viable and growing. Sometimes it’s a simple issue such as the company or culture having gotten stuck in a particular groove that’s old and not very apparent until you look at it from the outside – and begin thinking out of the box.

Other times it’s a little more serious. Maybe some financial concerns because profits are down, or e-commerce is not what it should be, or new programs need to be introduced to breath life into the business. We are actually working with a local company now who’s mantra was “but we’ve always done it this way” and in the same breath “but everything we try never works” which simply screams “help we are stuck in the mud!!!!”.

How you do what you do sometimes also needs to be kicked up a notch or two. If processes are too clunky there would be a call for streamlining and efficiency and creating an easy to follow routine. This not only encourages efficient usage of time and resources but also can bring up employee morale which encourages teamwork and camaraderie. Maybe your employees would benefit from work at home flex time, a revamped company culture of a more relaxed and productive atmosphere. Rewards for jobs well done. Who knows? Some companies expect their employees to drink the company Kool-Aid while ignoring the fact that many are pretending to like the culture simply because they need the job, not because it’s actually an enjoyable experience.

The last thing your company needs is a negative tone. This is picked up by employees and customers alike. You don’t need production slipping, you need it to grow. You don’t need staff turnover, you need staff to be happy and productive and to do their best every day.

Working with Maureen McCullough LLC, we help you:

  • Identify the challenges
  • Develop a customized plan of action
  • Create a make-sense execution strategy
  • Build an operational groundwork for success and growth

We will help you implement systems and processes while providing common sense guidance, enabling everyone from the executive wing on down the line to cultivate a thriving and sustainable business.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

3 Reasons Why A Large Marketing Agency May Be Dead Wrong For Your Business

Many small businesses are correct in knowing that they need to hire a marketing agency to beef up brand recognition, search engine visibility, handle email campaigns, setup and monitor pay per click PPC campaigns as well as organic campaigns, and much more.

In the same breath, many of these same small businesses, regardless of industry – be it attorneys or manufacturing or food and hospitality – make a critical mistake when choosing what type of marketing agency they will work with.

Many are under the misconception that the MORE they spend means they will get more at the end of the day.  Many feel it’s worth it to spend $3000 a month as opposed to $300 a month just because the $3000 simply MUST be better quality. They could not be more wrong. 

Let’s examine this for what it’s worth.

A) Let’s get the basic cost bit out of the way. Large marketing agencies have overhead, employees, consultants and more high maintenance costs. So by the nature of the beast they MUST charge more. And they do.

Small hometown marketing agencies do not have these costs. Many work out of their home office, and do not have employees and consultants but instead have teams that work remotely from their home offices. Sure they still have to pay themselves and their remote team members, but the cost to expense ratio is far diminished. 

B) Large marketing agencies are hung up on numbers, flowcharts, pie charts, funnel charts besides which THEY tell YOU what keywords they are going to list you for or spend your ad dollars on. They do not take the time to explain Google Analytics to their clients who actually have an interest in understanding it. They are SO caught up in the numbers game with their clients, caught up with feeding the client all possible industry buzzwords, they actually brainwash the client to an extent. 

Small marketing agencies operate the exact opposite way. They realize the client really doesn’t care about all the intricacies of Google Analytics, or industry buzzwords, or charts. They realize the client wants one thing to happen.

The client, at the end of the day, wants the damn phone to ring. That’s it.

That’s the point of first contact. The phone ringing, even if it is a tire kicker on the other end, is a good thing. The tire kicker may be converted to a customer or client. Maybe not. But the phone is ringing. 

Case in point: A colleague and I were discussing this and she pointed out the case of Proctor & Gamble and also Unilever. Proctor & Gamble cut $200 million of it’s marketing spend and they reduced spending with what they called several “big players” by 20% to 50%.  The cuts enabled Proctor & Gamble to eliminate 20% of it’s ineffective marketing and actually INCREASED the company reach by 10%. 
Read original article here.

C) The Personal Care Aspect. Large marketing agencies do not preach nor do they practice the personal care aspect. They do not take the time to get to know you, the client. They do not take the time to get to know your business, your goals, needs, aspirations for success, or wish lists. They take your money, assign you to an account manager who may or may not be the same account manager the next time you call, and they do not focus on you. Often the marketing efforts are not closely tailored or even closely focused on what your business needs but instead are focused on what they feel is best for you at this time.

Small marketing agencies embrace the personal care aspect and the hometown feel of “we’ve got your back and if what we are doing is not working we’ve got a Plan B in the lineup”. With many if not most smaller marketing agencies, you are taken care of personally by the owner or a dedicated account manager who knows it’s your 5 year old’s birthday this coming Wednesday. If you are local to them they are willing to meet with you on a monthly basis or whenever schedules permit to discuss what’s working and what’s not. 

If you are not local, they are willing to Skype a meeting with you to accomplish the same goals. Small marketing agencies don’t tell YOU what’s good for you. They instead LISTEN to you, and create a personalized plan accordingly. They exhaust all organic methods before spending your money on pay per click ad campaigns. Small marketing agencies work WITH you and FOR you, taking a sincere interest in your business and your success. NO ineffective marketing tactics allowed.  

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Leveraging Google My Business for Business Success

Google is finally doing away with Google+, which in my eyes, was fairly useless as far as business is concerned. Up on the up side, they have made Google My Business much easier to use, more clear cut, and have incorporated the posts feature from Google+ into Google My Business.This is a key selling point in why your small business should take advantage of this and leverage this tool for your business success.

The key to using Google My Business correctly for best business exposure is simple.

  • Fill out your INFO section as completely and thoroughly as possible. Don’t have a dedicated appointment URL? Use your contact us page. Be sure to pick the most relevant categories for your business.
  • Reviews. Respond to your reviews, both good reviews and not so good reviews. It shows you’re keeping up with your client feedback.
  • Turn on messaging. Get the Google My Business App so you can respond quickly to any inquiries that come your way.
  • Upload some photos of your business. They don’t have to be images of your office if you prefer not. They can be images you use in your blog posts or social media as pertains to your business.
  • They give you a free website. We don’t need it because we have one of our own. However, you can turn this one page freebie into a useful landing page for your business. Food for thought.
  • Above all, take advantage of posting POSTS. What we do is we post on Instagram, share it to our Facebook business page, then copy it to our Google My Business Posts. All posts expire after 7 days so it is important to keep your feed fresh. Save images from expiring posts in your photos.

Be consistent and watch your INSIGHTS grow and your phone call rate go up!

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

The Retail Store Bust Could Be Your Boom

As consumer shopping preferences turn towards the convenience of shopping online, many retail store chains are shutting down or consolidating their efforts into many less stores. Consumers prefer to shop with their devices – phones and tablets – and computers, instead of sitting in traffic, wasting time looking for parking spots, and walking miles and miles inside of shopping malls.

The Fingers vs. Feet revolution has begun, and it’s changing the landscape of retail shopping drastically. Which could be a serious good thing for your online e-commerce website. Or for that start up business you’ve been thinking about. Time to make a plan and put it into action.

The list of retailers who are either on the brink of bankruptcy and considering shutting down, who have already shut down, or who are streamlining their efforts to keep their noses above water (they hope) is major. Many have been around for years. It is the price they are paying for not being vigilant and observing the trends and shifts in consumer shopping.

Payless Shoes, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Sears, K-Mart, The Limited, Crocs, CVS, Sports Authority, Womrath’s Book Store, and Bebe are just a partial list of casualties.

Consumers lead busy lives. The convenience of shopping on their devices at any time of the day or night and the deals they receive far outweigh the traditional shop til you drop shopping methods of the mall. Free shipping, online discounts built into the shopping cart, coupons, deals of the day, free returns and more are very attractive.

If you currently have an online e-commerce store or are considering starting an e-commerce business online, this could be a golden time for you. Yes, there is a great deal of examination, planning, implementing strategies, and good old fashioned work involved. But when you find your sweet spot, the rewards are priceless.

We work one on one with businesses throughout Bergen, Morris and Sussex County New Jersey, with all aspects of business planning, implementation, marketing, website design, seo and more. As a soup to nuts marketing agency, we’ll guide you down the path and away from the costly mistakes towards success.

Not sure how your company, product, brand or service should be effectively marketed? Do you need to set YOUR business apart from the competition?

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

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Are You a Brand or a Product?

For marketing to be as effective as humanly possible, one of the most important things a good reputable marketing agency needs to know in order to promote your company properly is: Are you a product, or a brand?

There are marketing agencies out there that promise the same thing to every client……… they will put everyone on page one of Google. They will make your company come up first for your geographical location. Etc. etc.

First of all no marketing agency has the power to manipulate placement on Google, and second of all there are no guarantees in life.

For a marketing agency to do an honest good job by you, they need to know and understand your business, your needs, your goals for the company as well as where you want to be, what your niche is, and much more. This is accomplished only by an in depth interview with you, your company and your team. And followed up with by interaction on a regular basis, so processes and campaigns can be evaluated for what is working and what is not.

Moving on to the product or brand discussion, proper marketing for this is done differently depending on which way you choose to have your company represented. The dividing line is quite simple. If you offer a product that is entirely exclusive to you, hand crafted, hand made, custom made, you need to get that out there as a BRAND. This registers “exclusive” and “unique” with the buying public, the consumer. Yes, down the road there may be copy cats, but there is only one real genuine brand of that item, and that’s yours. Copycats can be dealt with legally.

If you offer a product that is also sold by others, that is mass produced, and that is not unique and original, then you need to have that marketed as a product line or lines.

If you offer a service, instead of a product, you are a BRAND. Yes, attorneys, insurance agents, caterers, home improvement, etc.

If you treat your service as a product, massed in with the rest of the pack that offers similar services, you do yourself a huge dis-service.

Why?

For all businesses that offer services, a smart marketing angle is to set yourself apart by offering several “niche” services, either actual niche services or niche services within a geographical area. A reputable marketing agency will know how to market that for maximum benefit to your company or practice.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Own a Start Up? 7 Tips for Taking the Next Step

So you own a start up business. You came up with a great product or service and have had some success with it. You even have a website and a great domain name.

What are the next steps to taking your business to the next level?

  • Establishing Your Brand
  • Deciding which segment of the market to target
  • Retail, wholesale or both – what are your realistic capabilities?
  • Product or service production and refinement
  • Selling on multiple venues – what is appropriate for you?
  • Refining your presentation from a personal approach to a professional approach
  • Setting realistic goals for the future

Setting Realistic Goals For the Future ~

This is listed last however it is something that you will find is constantly evolving over time. It is also a point that you need to keep in the back of your head at all times. As your business evolves and grows, suffers setbacks, changes direction, starts growing again, you’ll find that your realistic future goals will need to be adjusted as well in order to keep your business on a healthy path way to success.

Establishing Your Brand ~ Brand Recognition

Your eventual “brand” that you establish is what sets you apart from all other companies and businesses that might be offering / selling the same or similar services or products that you do. It makes you identifiable visually to the consumer and makes you stand out from the pack.

Your brand is the visual message you send out to all who see it. Careful planning needs to be given to the visual, the colors used, the headline, and the tagline. Color psychology plays a big part in your branding as does your message.

Your branding will be used on business cards, brochures, company letterhead, social media, signs, and more. That’s huge.

Deciding Which Segment of the Market To Target ~

If you offer a product, who is your target market? Retail, consumer, wholesale? Sell directly to consumers via your website? Open a retail brick and mortar store? Sell wholesale to distributors and retail businesses, essentially becoming a supplier?

If you offer a service, the same question applies. Will you offer your services from your home office, going out to meet with clients? Will you open an office on Main Street so the clients can walk in and come to you? Does your pricing structure lend itself well to offering service packages, bundling services?

You can always open yourself up to more options as time goes on. Starting out, this is a critical decision. Make the wrong decision and the life of your business hangs in the balance.

Retail, Wholesale or Both – What Are Your Realistic Capabilities?

This step ties in directly to the one above, your target market. It also addresses a key point. If you offer products, are you in a position to offer them wholesale? Can you keep up with supply and demand? A business that cannot keep up with supply and demand gets a bad reputation and often closes down.

If you offer services, there is a supply and demand issue there as well. Can you keep up with regular on demand services for your clients as well as those carefully crafted packages and bundled services? How many clients can you realistically deliver to in a day? In a week? On time and high quality services are of premium importance.

Product or Service Production and Refinement ~

Over time, as you become more successful, you will see products or services that will need to be refined as the business evolves and customer needs evolve. Some products or services will need to be deleted from the lineup. And new offerings are always a possibility based on customer need and demand.

This important point will become the bridge by which your business crosses over to either becoming more successful or staying stagnant and eventually dying. Don’t turn a blind eye to this. It’s part of the heartbeat of your business. A regular review of products and service offerings is your best bet.

Selling on Multiple Venues – What is Appropriate For You?

We are assuming you already have a website. Again, products or services makes no difference, multiple venues will open up doors for your business. The big question is, which venues are right for what you offer?

This is a critical step and not to be taken lightly. Just throwing your products or services to the wind will do more damage than good. This usually happens when a business is motivated strictly by making as much money as possible quickly (dare we say it – becoming money hungry) instead of carefully crafting a brand, a reputation that can be trusted and doing their due diligence – research.

Research, vetting and making a plan is so very important when expanding out to multiple venues. This needs to be manageable, and cost effective and in line with your business plans and goals.

Which will it be for your business? eBay? Amazon? Etsy? Your own e-commerce website? A combination of some or all?

Refining Your Presentation From a Personal Approach To a Professional Approach ~

This is the “grow up” phase you must learn if your start up is going to take off successfully. It’s time to stop thinking of it in a personal sense, as “me”, and think of it and treat it in a professional sense, always as “we” and “our”. You are a company now, out to make your impressions on the world and attract new clients, customers and businesses. Start acting like a company and not as a personal endeavor you hope people will like.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Don’t Under Estimate the Power of Expert SEO

Why is SEO so important? Visibility, search engine visibility. This is key. Let us explain what expert SEO can do for you.

A website can be built and can be beautiful. But without carefully crafted content, and equally carefully crafted organic SEO, that beautiful website is going to just sit and become another piece of fluff on the Internet.

The whole point is for that beautiful website to bring you phone calls, leads and sales. And, if you have a brick and mortar store, to bring you the foot traffic and sales as well. Expert, best practice SEO and a strong digital marketing plan will do just that.

Maureen McCullough LLC is YOUR Bergen County NJ SEO Company. As your SEO Expert, using only the best organic SEO techniques, we produce results that generate leads and sales.

Our agency takes a personal interest in each client we work with, meeting with you personally, listening to what you have to say, and crafting and implementing a personalized plan of success for your company.

SEO is the first step in a multi point organic digital marketing strategy designed for business success.

SEO is always the first step, and the most important step that your business will ever take to gain search engine visibility, and generate phone calls and sales. If you cannot be found in the search engines, your business will not gain the success it needs to be sustainable.

You can spend thousands of dollars on online advertising, and still come up way short, with little or no gain or sales. Why waste your hard earned money? That makes no sense whatsoever.

Expert, quality SEO is your best tool to use to get your website the search engine visibility it needs. And in the big picture, quality SEO is much more affordable than expensive advertising campaigns.

We work with many small businesses across the United States, even though our home base is here in New Jersey serving Bergen, Morris and Sussex County. And with each small business we work with, the core values and results remain the same.

Maureen McCullough LLC implements the following strong SEO Digital Marketing concepts:

  • A thorough website analysis and complimentary competitor analysis
  • An evaluation of your brand or service by which we begin creating your strategy for success
  • An analysis of your current online marketing efforts, if any
  • A thorough evaluation of your current keyword usage within your website content
  • Recommended improvements are then suggested for every page of your website
  • Substantial recommendation and tweaks are usually suggested for your home page
  • A comprehensive digital marketing campaign is discussed, covering blogging, social media and more
  • Email marketing may also be an option depending on your type of business
  • Brand recognition is implemented, with transparency across all of your online venues
  • Reputation management is analyzed based upon your online reviews
  • Geo targeting and audience segment targeting is implemented

Why are there no search engine ranking guarantees?

There are no search engine ranking guarantees, and any reputable SEO company you work with will tell you the same thing. Anyone who tells you anything else is not reputable and should never be used.

Simply put: no reputable SEO company can guarantee search engine rankings because none of us control the search engines. It’s that simple. You cannot ethically guarantee something over which you have no control, bottom line.

We work with your company and your budget to design a digital marketing SEO strategy that will best serve you. We keep you as involved as you want to be with analytics, and the rest of the program.

How long does it take to begin seeing results?

Again, no magic pills are involved! No waving of the magic wand takes place! You *may* see some results as early on as 2 weeks. A much more honest and realistic expectation is 6-8 weeks.

Over the long term, your comprehensive SEO and digital marketing program may completely replace any need to spend big bucks on expensive advertising! That money saved is can be put to much better use.

Search engine usage has replaced the phone book. Over 90% of all internet querying is done by potential customers and clients. Each one could be a lead for you. Why not let excellent SEO help you take advantage of the unlimited potential waiting for you?

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Attorney, Lawyer and Law Office Marketing

In a world where there seems to be an attorney or law office on every other corner, more and more small practice attorneys and solo practice attorneys are having a harder time marketing their business and getting the phone to ring.

Even when the economy is doing well, there is just so much competition and the market is so flooded with lawyers it’s hard to put your law office in the “A Cut Above The Rest” level.

Many attorneys then resort to paying for search engine position and paying for directory listings that advertise other lawyers on the same page as your listing. Or get involved with attorney marketing companies that charge exorbitant fees. And still your phone does not ring.

What to do?

If your law practice is located in Bergen, Morris or Sussex County New Jersey, our marketing agency can help. Maureen McCullough LLC represents many attorneys throughout Northern New Jersey, with website design, marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), niche marketing, and geo targeted marketing.

Our agency specializes in unique ways to bring your business to the forefront using organic search engine optimization methods, without costly advertising or Adwords expense.

When you work with our agency, for one reasonable affordable monthly fee you receive ongoing support focused on getting you the clients you need at a price you can afford:

  • Business coaching that helps you define your target audience
  • Website content review, website analysis and audit plus suggestions for improvement
  • Organic search engine optimization that gets results
  • Organic geo targeted marketing
  • Organic niche market targeted search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing that is niche market and geo targeted
  • Saving you thousands of dollars each year in advertising and pay for placement

Every attorney is different, each law practice is different, and each niche market and target audience is different. That’s because YOUR law practice is unique, and even though the market is flooded, we help you stand out from the crowd to the people who need you most – your potential clients.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

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