How to get found using “Google My Business”

Why is this important?

By now, you should be aware of how important it is to be found on Google, and what ranking high on Google can do for your business.

However, there are a lot of new ways to get found on Google  – not just the normal search results.

And there are ways you can get your business in front of more people. Today we’re going to look at one of those ways; the “Google My Business” listing.

Your “Google My Business” listing

The “Google My Business” listing is a relatively new feature on Google. It seems to have developed from Google+ and is linked to the local business listings.

A lot of small businesses haven’t taken advantage of the “Google My Business” listing, as a way to get more business, and also to enhance their credibility to prospects.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

LMD design SERP-highlighted

 

We’re going to go through the basics of setting up your business listing and getting started with optimizing to increase your ranking.

Want to know if you’re making a lasting impression on potential clients? Grab the Brand Impact Scorecard and start making a bigger impact. 

Step 1 – Setting up, completing & confirming your listing

First things first – if you don’t have a Gmail account, go ahead and sign up for one. They’re free and Google have lots of great free tools for your business.

If you already have a personal Google account, you should set up one just for your business.

Getting your address confirmed

Once you have your google account set up, go to this link: [Google My Business – Get Your Free Business Listing Stand Out on Google](https://www.google.com/business/) and click ‘Start Now’ to set up your MyBusiness page.

Follow the instructions to enter your business name and contact details, business type (choose carefully!) website, and business phone number.

Google will send you a verification code by mail or text, so be sure to give your correct address. Google MyBusiness listings are also considered local, so give some thought as to where your target audience is.

If you work from home and you’re worried about putting your address online, there are options to hide it. You can also try getting a PO box or using a virtual office.

But you will need to have somewhere for them to post the verification to. It doesn’t usually take too long to arrive. Only then you can manage your listing fully.

Not getting the clients you want? Grab the Brand Impact Scorecard and start making a bigger impact. 

Setting up your MyBusiness Listing

During setup, make sure that your business address and contact details are /identical/ to what’s listed on your website, and other places online – this is key to helping you rank higher. This is super important.

Give as many details as possible on your listing. Google rewards your listing for supplying more information. Even if you’re not a traditional retail outlet, supply your opening hours and anything else you can.

Think carefully about the categories and attributes you select. It’s important to remember that your audience may not think as technically as you do, and probably won’t be searching that way either.

Use simple words and phrases about what people want, not just what you are. Keyword research, which we’ll get on in the next section, can be very useful for this.

Keyword research & optimizing your listing

Once you’ve set up your listing and verified it, you can go about optimizing it and helping it to rank. To do that, you’re going to first have to figure out what words and phrases you actually want to rank for. For that, you need to do some keyword research.

website designer suggestions example

Keyword research

Keyword research is not as complicated as it might sound. Basically, we just want to establish what words and phrases people are most likely to use when searching for you, or for services you provide.

If we optimize for these, then your business will appear and hopefully, people will contact you for help.

The obvious ones are anything related to your business name and brand – you’re going to want to appear high for these.

Then, we have search phrases related to your services – and I’m not talking about technical ones.

Think ‘best logo design’, or ‘best web design’ rather than ‘web design services’. There are literally billions of articles on keyword research, which I won’t go into here.

At this stage though, just try to put yourself in your client’s shoes, do some pretend searches for different services, and then see what comes up, and what Google suggests in the /’Searches related to’/ section at the bottom of the search page:

logo design search suggestions

In particular, you should make sure you add some of your keywords into the title of your listing, ‘design agency’, for example.

Adding photos & videos

Google has loved photos for years, and now, of course, it loves videos too. Whether it’s your project photos, examples from your portfolio, or just videos of you around the office, adding these to your MyBusiness listing is going to help it rank higher and more often.

One of the best ways to do this is to do a update post including photos. This is like a Facebook status update but through your Google listing. Make sure you add some photos to your profile page to start off with, but I would suggest making time to post photos and updates on your work regularly. Even if it’s just once a week, the more you post, the more it will help.

This is also a great way to get on the image search, and a great opportunity to showcase your work, which will help to generate leads etc. Whenever you finish a project – just add it in.

Want everyone talking about your business? Grab the Brand Impact Scorecard and start making a bigger impact. 

Using hashtags in your post.

Hashtags aren’t just a trendy thing to do, they help your posts and business listing get found.

Google ranks you higher if you post on Google MyBusiness, even for shares and tweets. Make sure you use hashtags that are related to your tweets.

For hashtag ideas you can try going to Twitter, typing in design, seeing which ones are suggested. You can also use a service like ritetag.com, and I’m sure there are other similar websites and services.

ritetag.com home page search xample

The key really is posting regularly, using consistent hashtags and keywords, adding media to your posts and linking a lot back to your website. Get creative with your posts too – have some fun with it and show off what you can do.

If you want engagement – don’t sell yourself, inspire people with your posts. People are so inundated with messages, you need to make yours stand out. Don’t fake it though, people are super tuned to that kind of thing now.

Improving your ranking

The first thing to say is that improving your ranking will take time. You may start to appear immediately for some keywords, but it could take years to appear for others, depending on your location and the competition in your niche.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself rank faster:

Posting regularly

This is key. Once a week is ok. More is better. Keep it simple and don’t over promote yourself. Have some fun, get creative, and see what your audience responds to.

Not sure why branding matters? Grab the Brand Impact Scorecard and start making a bigger impact. 

Sharing your posts on other social media sites

You can just copy and paste for most other social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. These platforms will be a much better way of gauging what your audience thinks of your content too!

Getting reviews.

Getting reviews on your Google page is probably more important than getting testimonials for your website. I’m not saying hound your customers, but definitely, make a point of asking them to leave you reviews – the more the better.

design agency reviews highlihght

Don’t be worried about negative reviews. Just respond nicely to them all, as this will help to increase your ranking a lot.

Keep repeating because it’s going to take time

You don’t need thousands of leads – you just need to show up and show up well as a business. You want to look active and interesting.

The key to seeing results is to keep it up regularly!

 

 

 


Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

Changing Your Mindset About Money

Money. We all want it. Some people have it by the truckload. Most of us could do with a little more in our pockets.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in the same boat as the rest of us. So, how do we get into that big, gold-plated boat over there instead?

A Money Mindset = More Money

Back in 2010 when I started my business, I discovered there’s actually a certain type of mindset that you need to have if you want to make more money.

Most people believe their income is determined by external things that are outside of their control. We make excuses for ourselves like, ‘I can’t find the clients’, ‘I don’t have the time’, ’The economy is weak’ or ‘99designs are killing the industry’.

time is ticking watch face close up

Every single successful entrepreneur – creative or otherwise – knows that really it’s our internal dialogue, our internal mindset, that determines what we get paid.

Want to get paid what you deserve for your creativity? Learn how to create your money mindset with my free money mindset worksheet here.

 

Of course, acquiring this mindset isn’t instantaneous. It takes time, and it takes practice to figure out. Some people can do it overnight, but for most, it’s an ongoing process.

Today we’re going to start that process for you.

Step 1: Get Clear About What You Want

One of the reasons you’re not making the money you want is that you don’t actually know how much money you want.

Do you know EXACTLY how much income you need or want?

someone counting a stack of dollars close up

The best most of us have is a general idea about our income and expenses. We aren’t clear on what we want. The first step to making more money is to get clear about how much more money you want. Here’s a little exercise you can do to help figure that out:

Figure out where you want to be

Grab a piece of paper (or you can download my Money Mindset worksheet for free here) and write down the answers to the following:

What are your monthly expenses? What are your expenses and what would you like to put into savings, set aside for taxes, investments etc. Write down everything you can think of and add them up.

Now, write down what would you like extra money for. Is it for education? Travel? To expand your business? A second home? Whatever it is, write it down how much you’re going to need every month to have those things.

Take those two numbers and add on another 10% for unforeseen and emergency expenses. Now you know exactly much money you want. Simple!

Figure out where you actually are

Now, what are you ACTUALLY BILLING in your business monthly?

If you don’t have this number to hand, you need to ask yourself why not.

If you don’t have a proper book-keeping and tracking system in place, you need to get one together, and fast. Your expenses can add up incredibly quickly, especially if you’re not keeping an eye on them. You need to know that you are making money in your business.

laptop compter with reporting data on it

Not getting paid what you deserve? Use my free money mindset worksheet to start creating the income you want.

If you don’t have that expense report in front of you on a regular basis, how are you going to know where you can improve? An expense report doesn’t need to be complex software – a spreadsheet will do.

Now you have a bit of clarity on your finances, you can take some action steps.

Step 2: Save 10% – no matter what!

Your first action step is something everyone should be doing, business-owner or not; saving 10% of your income.

Whether it’s a $2,000 invoice or a $20 invoice, once you get paid, stash away at least 10%, somewhere you can’t get your hands on too easily. In a matter of months, you’ll have a nice little financial cushion in your back pocket (not literally!).

You’ll notice that as your savings grow, your mindset around money begins to change. When you feel you have money to spare, it helps to create a mindset of abundance. It’s this feeling of abundance, instead of the stress and worry that you’re aiming for.

As you give yourself a little more space financially, you’ll start to notice that the way you’re thinking about money changes too. This is something you want to encourage.

Change the Way You Talk About Your Money

You may have heard an old saying that goes something like this: “Your thoughts become your words, which become your actions, which become you.”

This is so powerful because it’s true. The words you use to think about money are actually influencing your financial reality. And this goes beyond just finances.

Start paying attention to the way you’re talking to yourself and to those around you about your situation – financial or otherwise.

are you still begggin for money for you business? homeless signs

Start paying attention to your thoughts and you’ll be surprised how much else will change. This happens because most of the stuff in our heads is not terribly helpful; it’s where we find all our worries and fears. The first time I consciously listened to my train of thought it was a bit of a shock – there was some pretty unhelpful stuff going on there!

We walk around all day with all this chatter going on in our heads, telling ourselves what we can and can’t do…

If you’re telling yourself you’re bad with money, or that you can’t afford something, or you have too much debt, or not enough time, you’ll end up being right. Henry Ford memorably described this problem: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.’

So, think about the language you’re using. With every thought try to ask yourself, ‘is this helpful to me?’. You’ll find that a lot of it is not. The rest you know you can act upon.

How do you start creating a money mindset? Use my free money mindset worksheet – you can download it here.

 

When you’re constantly focusing on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T, you’re constantly refocusing and redirecting your efforts for growth. Which brings us quite neatly to the final component, visualization.

Feel Your Success

All the top athletes know that success isn’t just a matter of training, or attitude, or luck. Continued, repeated success requires feeling into it.

athletic runners starting a race in black and white

Champions like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt know this well. Of course, they train hard and have a great biological platform. But that doesn’t account for the kind of success they have both attained.

There have been many studies around training, which have demonstrated that, not only does visualization activate the same neural pathways in the brain as performing an actual exercise, it can also activate the muscles.

In fact, that same study shown above demonstrated that visualization had an equal impact to physical training. Why? Because your brain can’t actually tell the difference is between reality and imagination. Children take advantage of this all the time without realizing – it’s part of their learning process.

Think about that figure you wrote down earlier – the amount of money you’d like to be making. What would it feel like to have that money coming in? What would you be able to do? What would your life be like?

Who do YOU need to BE to have that money coming in? How do you dress? How do you talk? How do you approach a problem?

When you concentrate on where you want to be instead of revisiting where you’ve been, you’re moving yourself into that reality.

man throwing arms in the air in victory

Want to start getting the income you deserve from your creative business? download my free money mindset here worksheet to start changing your mindset about money.

 

Here’s an exercise to help you get started:

Imagine bumping into a friend 5 years from now and telling them what your life is like, and all the things you’ve achieved. It might sound silly, but promise me you’ll try it out – you’ll be surprised at what comes out, and how it makes you feel!

This is the key: once you realize that having that peace of mind, feeling financially secure, and feeling empowered, is something that you project on the world, rather than be subject to, you’re starting to move into a money-making mindset.

This isn’t just about money either – this works for anything. Imagine you’re going on holiday. Imagine you’re buying that second home. Imagine dinner at the Ritz-Carlton.

You choose. You’re the creator of your reality – what are you going to create?

 

 


Photos thanks to Agê BarrosSharon McCutcheon , Lukas Blazek,  Matt Artz , Japheth Mast  and Braden Collum  on Unsplash.

How to Create Remarkable Client Relationships

Unremarkable Experiences Are Everywhere

When you think of the companies you deal with, are they remarkable – in a good way?

It’s probably easier for you to remember which companies are unremarkable. There are many successful businesses that have frankly awful relationships with their customers.

Cable companies are a great example of this, as I recently discovered when I stayed at my parent’s new house in Florida. I couldn’t sleep because of all the electronics in their spare room, so I unplugged it and got my solid 8 hours.

I woke the next morning to a household in absolute pandemonium. It turns out that I hadn’t just unplugged the Wi-Fi, I’d unplugged the whole house. The electronics was their SmartHome Hub. Everything was down: the air conditioner, phone, internet, TV, security alarm, washing machine – the lot.

unhappy customer -painted faceThe whole process of dealing with the cable company was painful; ridiculously long account numbers, getting passed between departments, long periods on hold. I’m sure many of you can empathize. Finally, I’m informed that they’ll send an engineer out to restart the system…in 6 days.

6 DAYS!

After a lot of back-and-forth, they finally agreed to send an engineer the next day. It was an uphill battle just to get a basic service from a company we were already paying. I was left stressed out from a simple phone call.

When it comes to business relationships, this was definitely at the low end of the scale! But really, you don’t see a lot of really remarkable relationships out there – at all.

Think about it. You’ve definitely had an experience that makes you remember it, in a positive light.

woman-remembers-great-experience-on-phone-smiling

Those are the companies that you recommend, the times you think of when someone asks you about your experience. Have you ever said to a friend, ”Oh, use these people, I had the best experience with them…?” I’m sure you have…

Use my free worksheet to start creating remarkable relationships with your clients – download it here!

What’s a Remarkable Client Relationship Anyway?

When someone goes out of their way to create an exceptional experience, you’ll remember it. Here’s a story I heard recently about exactly that:

My friend, Bob, gets in a taxi to catch his flight home from Houston airport. As soon as he gets in the cab, he notices a copy of the Wall Street Journal on the seat. The driver turns around to Bob, greets him formally, points out that the newspaper is his to take on the plane if he wishes, and invites him to help himself to a cool drink from the cooler.

new-york-taxi-cab-meter

This quickly turns into the best taxi Bob’s ever had. When they arrive at the airport, the driver helps him out, directs him to his check-in desk, and hands over his card, saying,

“I’d love to be your driver, whenever you’re in Houston. Whenever you’re here, give me a call and I’ll pick you up at the airport.”

Thinking about the experience later at home, Bob Googles the average cab driver’s salary in Houston. It’s around $20k. So, he emails the guy to thank him and commend him on his service and asks him how much he makes. It turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that this taxi driver makes $150k a year! All of that from regular clients, who call him when they’re in town.

So, this clever taxi driver is making 7x the average salary, simply by providing a great service and building remarkable relationships with his clients.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Even A Little Goes a Very Long Way

Creating a remarkable client relationship doesn’t mean you have to perform some back-breaking client service. Far from it. Less can often be more

Take one of our BA members, who was dropping off his car at an airport carpark. All the stresses of finding a spot to park, along with the general travelling woes we can all get, was making the experience pretty awful.

But then, when the shuttle arrived to take them to the airport, all these were completely mitigated by the attitude of their driver. She went so far out of her way to improve the experience of her passengers that it changed their entire trip. She even hugged everyone as they got off the bus, wishing them a safe flight and a ‘see-you-soon’.

cool-sparklers-memorable-experience (1)

Now, that’s a remarkable experience. And if you think about it, it really didn’t cost very much at all, apart from a bit of energy and love. Those little extras really can go a very long way. How often do you find yourself talking about an airport car park in a positive light?

Southwest are excellent at doing this exact kind of thing. They take it as a matter of pride to hire people who are exemplar at customer service.

And when this naturally creates remarkable moments with their customers, they’re great at talking about it too. Even something as little as one of their pilots waving back at a little boy becomes a life-long memory (and a great viral marketing video!):

 

How to Create Remarkable Relationships With Your Clients

What does an exceptional/remarkable experience look like for your clients?

With my own business, I try to create systems that make it easy for my clients.  It used to be that everyone would be looking for the Zoom link before a group call. Then I started sending reminder notes with the link the day before. Problem solved. That’s just one point of contact but there are many.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Commit to Creating an Amazing Experience

Try to write down what kind of experience you want your clients to have with your company. Write this down and fill in the blank: ”I want my clients to have an amazing experience that…” You decide.

freelancer-business-meeting -handshake

From this vision, you can start creating a system that you and your team can follow, to help ensure your customers have the best experience.

Whether that’s a birthday card, a ‘welcome kit’, a ‘feedback survey’, or simply reminders to touch base regularly with clients, it all helps. If you’re unsure of where to start, examine each stage of your customer’s journey and ask yourself, ‘how can I make things easy and even fun for my clients here’.

Once you’ve committed to a vision of a great experience, and put systems into place behind it, you’ll be well on your way to creating remarkable client relationships.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Create a Memorable Client Onboarding Experience

One of the most important processes for creating great client relationships is you on-boarding; how your clients are initiated as customers.

woman-client-onboarding-creaative-agency-meeting

You want to start thinking about how you can make it easier for yourself and your team make every client interaction memorable, creating a great relationship from step 1 onwards.

Start with a ‘touchpoint’ analysis for your business. What are the touch points for your business? Can your prospects and clients find you when they want to? Can they call you? Are you creating an easy and comfortable customer journey?

Sometimes bad clients aren’t bad, they’ve just never worked with a creative before and need you to help you guide them. To remedy this, you could create a project schedule, so they understand where the project is and where it’s going at all times.

Often you may find things you think they know all about, they actually know NOTHING about. Take the time to explain the work and the process and they will really appreciate your honesty and transparency. Maybe even let them glimpse your working process, and they may appreciate the skill what you do even little more.

open scheduling planner book agenda (1)

Create Real Connections With Your Real (Human) Clients

Sometimes, just reaching out to people on a human level, genuinely being interested in their lives and listening to what they are actually saying is remarkable.

Even if you’re not going to end up taking on a project, it can’t hurt to take 5 or 10 minutes to help someone out. Giving your advice and taking the time to engage with people and figure out what they need is memorable. You’ll probably find that approaching your prospect meetings like this gets you referrals, even if it’s not from them!

man and his client having a casual conversation

The most important thing here is connecting with your clients on a human level. I always phone or Skype when interacting with my clients about anything remotely important. Not only can they reduce the confusion and time taken on a task, they also help to make the relationship real, as opposed to just a business one.

Once your clients are ‘through the door’, think of ways you can do something unexpected for your clients, things that make them enjoy working with you – things that make them say, ‘wow’.

Even something seemingly small and un-businesslike can help build these relationships. When you take the time and thought to send someone something, even a card, sharing an article, asking after their family, you’re creating that remarkable client relationship.

Get As Much Feedback As Possible

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, and implement it! Embrace all your negative feedback because it will help you to improve. Pay attention if things get a negative reaction. What can you do to make it a better experience? Often those that give negative feedback which is resolved turn into your most satisfied (and vocal) customers.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

 


Photos by Andre Hunter, Kinga Cichewicz, John Cobb, rawpixel.com, Tim GouwCollin Armstrong, Eric Rothermel and Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash