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4 Powerful Ways to Use QR Codes

Business is not for the weak.  Competition for customers is getting tougher every day and you need to do everything you can to keep your business in business.  In this post, I will share with you a relatively new tool for enhancing your promotion and advertising strategy, the Quick Response or QR code. QR codes are popping up everywhere! QR codes are small square symbols that can be read by QR readers on mobile devices.  QR codes can launch your website or contain text about your business.  It provides INSTANT information about your service, product or special offer, so mobile users can immediately act on that information.  Delayed gratification is no longer part of the marketing equation, for you or your customer. Here are 4 ways you can use QR codes to boost your bottom line: 1.      Social Platforms –          Social media is the powerful new venue businesses are exploring to attract new customers.  QR codes can be attached to your website or social media profiles such as Facebook or Google Plus to directly communicate the information you want your customers to have. 2.      Business Cards –          With a QR code on your business card, customers and prospects can easily go directly to your website or promotional offer. 3.      Packaging Products –          You can use QR codes on product packaging to direct customers to online guides and presentations about your product.  User manuals can also be distributed using QR codes, saving on printing costs and always having product information up to date.  4.      Include on All Printed Advertisements –          QR codes are perfect for branding your business and smoothing...

How to Choose the Right Categories for Your Google Plus Local Listing

Claiming your Google Plus Local page is a great way to expand your marketing reach.  It is not, however, as simple as plugging in your information and launching your page.  Time and effort have to be invested in optimizing your listing for search engines.  Put some thought into important items such as keywords and categories.  Google lets you choose any number of business categories to associate with your listing, and while you may be tempted to pick one that seems to fit best, understand that the categories you choose have a huge impact on how many visitors are attracted to your Google Plus Local page.  The following guide will help you choose the right categories for your listing: Selecting Google Plus Local Categories Going with Google’s categories versus creating your own.  Although Google will let you create your own business category, and although I’m sure your business is totally unique and deserves a category all its own, don’t.  Google’s category list is keyword rich and proven effective with Google’s (duh!) search engine rankings. List your possible choices.  Start with Google’s list of categories from your Google Plus Local Account link.  Be thorough – the time you invest up front will pay off in the end.  Make a list of every conceivable category under which your business may fall, even if it seems too much.  Imagine all the ways potential customers can need your products or services and come at it from many different angles. Research and analyze your list of possible categories.  Choose the strongest, most relevant categories (using keyword tools like Google’s free Adwords tool) to narrow down...

How to Set Up a Coupon in Google Plus Local

Google Plus Local is a powerful new marketing tool for your business.  Make it your top marketing priority to claim your free Google Plus Local listing.  To leverage your results as quickly as possible, here is a guide to setting up a coupon on Google Plus Local: Google Offers.  Setting up a coupon through your Google Plus Local is very simple.  Just access Google Offers and Deals under the Offers tab in the top left corner of the page, click New Offer and create your coupon. Coupon information.  On the Google Offers screen, fill out the pertinent information for your coupon offer.  Start with a headline with up to 25 characters, make sure it will grab the attention of your prospective customers, and make it rich in keywords.  You can add a sub-heading with as many as 35 characters and you should use this opportunity to further promote your coupon.  In the details section, list the essential information about the deal, including costs and restrictions, such as an expiration date.  You can only run one Google Offer at a time, but you can change the offer whenever you like.  Insert an image if you like and a coupon code to optimize results and expedite tracking. Publish your offer. You can preview your coupon as you create it on preview screen.  To publish, simply click the publish button and within 24 hours you go live.  To edit your coupon or set preferences for either mobile or print coupons, simply access the deal via the Google Offers button. Start taking advantage of all that Google Plus has to offer your business...

9 Advantages of Using Google Plus Local

Google is giving away an amazing gift to smart businesswomen (and men) and if you are not taking advantage of their offer, you are missing a huge opportunity.  Google Plus Local can become your most cost-effective marketing tool, and you need to fire up this money-making machine.  Let me show you nine benefits of using Google Plus Local. 1) It’s free!  Come on, you can’t get more cost-effective that free.  Not even a set up charge.  You know people use Google – it’s crazy not to let people know where you are. 2) Google Advertising.  Claim your rightful place on Google Plus Local and you can then access several Google Advertising tools available to you and your business. 3) Customer review forum.  Once you set up your Google Plus Local account, you have a perfect spot for your satisfied customers to post positive reviews and testimonials.  For less-than-satisfied customers, you can openly address and handle complaints to that potential customers can see for themselves that you are eager to work with customers to make them happy. 4) Google Maps.  You’ve seen a few business embedded in Google Maps when you zoom in - very few.  Be one of the few.  Google will place a marker for your business on Google Maps, and if you act now, you will be one of those identified businesses. 5) The new Yellow Pages.  You’ve seen the statistics – over 97% of all consumers search on the web to find local businesses.  The Yellow Pages is so last century.  If you want new customers to find you, a Google Plus Local listing is essential....

Understanding the New Google Plus Local

Not long ago, Google rocked the Internet business community when it announced that Google Places was changing its name.  In addition to renaming it Google Plus Local, the boys and girls at Google HQ moved the service to their relatively new social networking platform, Google Plus.  The functionality didn’t change much, but was just upgraded to provide both businesses and consumers with more options.  Here are the new features and benefits: Social networking and Google Plus Local Google Plus is a fully functioning social networking platform and Google Plus Local is nicely integrated.  Now businesses can interact with their customers and prospects by posting to their Google Plus Local pages.  In addition to posting updates, you can send and receive private messages, promote yourself to develop a following, group your followers into categories (known as “circles” on Google Plus) and even review other businesses using your Google Plus business profile.  These dynamic social networking features offer a wide range of lucrative opportunities for staying close to your customers and prospects in unique and powerful ways. Google Plus Local reviews Google Plus solves your biggest problem with the way customers review your business:  customers who want to leave reviews must be signed in to their Google Plus account.  That fact means there will no longer be anonymous reviews, which delivers two very important benefits: 1) malicious reviewers will no longer be able to operate, and 2) you will know who reviewed your business and you can respond to them through their Google Plus profile. In addition, replacing the old 5 star rating system is the Zagat 30-point rating scale that...

More Mobile Devices Than People?

Brace yourself; this might strike you as a something to worry about.  However, it is also proof that this is a great business opportunity if you are willing to embrace it. Cisco Systems, the leading networking company in the world, estimates that the number of mobile devices will surpass the number of human beings on the planet by the end of 2012.  Cisco goes on to predict that in four short years, there will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices on said planet, exchanging 130 exabytes of data annually, roughly equal to 33 billion DVD’s.  All that communicating will be done by only 7.3 billion earthlings in 2016. And this growth will occur after mobile data traffic already expanded eight-fold in the last ten years. The Internet may have seemed new in 2000, but it was already imbedded in our daily lives.  We have never seen an industry or a communication medium accelerate like this before. Here is the most astonishing finding of the Cisco study:  Average smartphone usage almost tripled in 2011. Other key points: Smartphones represent only 12% of  handsets in use today worldwide, but they handle over 82% of total mobile data traffic. In 2011, the typical smartphone generated 35 times more mobile data traffic than the typical basic-feature cell phone. What’s in store for humanity when the machines overtake us in sheer numbers?  Only time will tell.  For now, let’s focus on the staggering opportunities the massive growth of the smartphone industry present for those of us who know how to capitalize on the fantastic power of mobile marketing and apply it to our own businesses. Mobile...