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How to execute a strong client onboarding process — and why you must

As a professional web developer, there’s a chasm you need to traverse between converting a client and starting their new project: that mysterious phase known as “client onboarding.” This process is crucial to ensuring you’ve got everything you need before starting the project, as well as making the client comfortable with how the project will progress.

Client onboarding: A guide for web designers & developers

Here’s what we’re going to cover in this guide:

  • Why formalize client onboarding?
  • Why you need an onboarding process.
  • Why your clients need an onboarding process.
  • Attributes of a successful onboarding process.
  • 7 steps to execute a strong client onboarding process.
    • 1. Collect information with a comprehensive new client intake questionnaire.
    • 2. Solidify strategy with a paid discovery workshop.
    • 3. Follow your formal administrative process.
    • 4. Do the admin pre-work to get the project started.
    • 5. Hold a project kick-off meeting.
    • 6. Follow up with your welcome package.
    • 7. Present plans for further follow-up.
  • Common onboarding errors.
  • Onboarding checklist outline.
  • Best practices for onboarding.

Let’s get started.

Why formalize client onboarding?

An established process relieves you from the stress of remembering every single question you need to ask, and helps you gather all of your resources in an organized way, enabling you to deliver the project smoothly.

This key series of steps provides the opportunity to build a strong relationship with your client, address early concerns, get everyone up to speed, and start on a positive note.

Why you need an onboarding process

As with just about everything in web design, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The process that’s right for you might not work for others, but it’s critical in helping you:

  • Create a great first impression that paves the way for a trusted, long-term relationship.
  • Build efficiency via clear communication.
  • Reduce scope creep by confirming details and setting expectations.
  • Make sure you’ve got everything you need before starting the project.
  • Anticipate exceptions, misconceptions, and potential obstacles.
  • Breed loyalty, fostering better retention and reducing churn.

Why your clients need an onboarding process

Clients also have additional needs addressing the many aspects they may be unsure of, and their need to just “know” what’s going on. In addition, the process can:

  • Assure them you have a plan, which should relieve anxiety.
  • Increase their comfort level about how the project will progress.
  • Allow them to understand expectations so they can collaborate with you more efficiently.
  • Reassure they are being listened to.
  • Reinforce they have hired a pro who takes their business seriously.

Attributes of a successful onboarding process

A thoughtful and deliberate onboarding process lets clients know that you consider them a partner in defining the success of the project. To ensure successful onboarding:

Know what questions need answering

Essentially, the onboarding process boils down to two critical questions:

  1. What do you need in order to deliver a successful project that runs smoothly?
  2. What must the client do to make sure you get what you need?

Of course, nested under these are many more questions. For example, once you know which deliverables you need, there will be additional questions about timeline, format and ownership.

Craft an effective onboarding checklist

Client Onboarding Checklist

A checklist lets you focus on discipline and structure — and following it with each project brings peace of mind. Referencing your checklist ensures you don’t forget crucial steps or take actions out of order.

At the same time, build in flexibility and scalability.

Both factors are key to every single process you undertake as a web designer — it’s important to know when you can bend or break your own rules, and you’ll want to make sure that it’s efficient to execute the process multiple times, perhaps simultaneously.

You’ll want the ability to skip steps if warranted, and at the same time, anticipate the trade-offs in doing so.

Make supporting materials available to clients pre-sale

The onboarding process starts well before a proposal is accepted, with your very first contact with a potential client.

For example, your website could offer details on how you work on projects. This could be a paragraph, a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, or even well-written case studies describing how you deliver a project.

Treat each client as a special case

We already know that each client is different, each project is different, and even your approach may be different. Use good judgment to customize the onboarding process as needed, taking the client’s unique goals and situation into account.

7 steps to execute a strong client onboarding process

A significant challenge we experience with any client is their lack of knowledge about what they need or why they need it. But if we are being fair to our future clients, should we expect them to?

As a website professional, you must be the facilitator, drawing out goals that even they might not realize.

1. Collect information with a comprehensive new client intake questionnaire

Start with a finely tuned and comprehensive client questionnaire that asks the right questions, so you have information even before there’s a project in place. It’s your first true opportunity to gather what you need, and asking the right questions will save both time and money.

The paid discovery workshop nails down the information you need to create the proposal and contract for the full project.

Sell this workshop as a true strategy session to work through the client’s needs, goals, and how they anticipate achieving those goals.

Through this engagement, you can walk your client through the steps to create a clear, defined vision for their website and what it’s supposed to achieve.

Offering the discovery workshop before website creation is critical in terms of building a website that works.

It also serves as a great way to be first in line for the job, before even offering a proposal. In the end, discovery will be helpful for the organization that needs the project built, not just for the ones doing the building. Still not quite sure what a discovery workshop is?

Digging into the discovery session

A discovery strategy session is a standalone paid service that clarifies what the project is all about before you even write a proposal. It covers information grouped into three sections:

Why, what, and who?

  • What is the Why behind what the client is trying to achieve, in terms of goals and impact they hope to make online?
  • What products and services do they bring to the market?
  • Who is the group of people that will most benefit from their What?

SMART goals

With answers to these questions, it’s time to define three to five SMART goals, where SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Most importantly, each goal should focus on something they are trying to achieve online, and something the website can make happen.

In guiding clients to articulate SMART goals, use these guidelines:

  • Specific — Does it target a specific area for improvement?
  • Measurable — How are you measuring your success?
  • Achievable — Is it reachable?
  • Relevant — Is it realistic to achieve?
  • Time-bound — When would you achieve it by?

The buyer’s journey

Client Onboarding Footprints In Snow

What steps will website visitors employ to eventually take advantage of what is being offered? This can be broken down into five areas:

  • Attract: How will your client attract leads? Will you need to replicate the experience provided by current tools?
  • Capture: How does your client capture leads? What can be given away in exchange for their email address?
  • Nurture: Is your client set up to currently nurture these leads via email marketing?
  • Convert: Most importantly, does your client know what steps they want people to take to convert and make a purchase?
  • Measure: Lastly, how do we measure all this? This is where your client determines the metric that matters the most, based on their SMART goals. It might be site visitors, email signups or something as simple as phone call requests.

In addition, you may have the opportunity for additional discovery work such as:

  • Competitor research: Working with the client to evaluate their competition and what they do well. If clients are having trouble articulating what they want their website to achieve, or which market they are trying to reach, this could be key.
  • Design research: Working with the client to further clarify what they want the site to look and feel like. Style and design can be part of the discovery workshop if this helps determine how to attract the “who” identified earlier in the strategy session.

After the discovery session, follow up by delivering a consolidated document summarizing the findings.

Yes, from here any other web designer could take the project away from you — but you’ll have been paid for the strategy work.

Doing that work for free to create a proposal is selling yourself short.

The client gets their money’s worth — and while they could very well go off and use this deliverable with another web designer, chances are they will see the value of working with you.

3. Follow your formal administrative process

Once you have that clear vision, you can proceed to a formal proposal for the project.

Invest effort in further research on your client, their history, and their competitors. Spend time reviewing the questionnaire responses, drafting the timeline, and identifying deliverables needed.

Make sure the proposal, contract and first invoice are addressed promptly, before proceeding to any additional tasks.

4. Do the admin pre-work to get the project started

Whether you use a project management tool or rely on a shared folder via Dropbox or Google Docs, set up everything you’ll need for this client, and invite them to collaborate as appropriate.

Add them to your mailing list.

Invite them to follow your social media accounts.

Relax knowing you can efficiently and effectively manage your client’s new website with the free tools and resources available through Upfiv Pro.

5. Hold a project kick-off meeting

If you’ve already conducted the discovery workshop, you’ve begun the process of building trust and setting the tone. Now the project work begins in earnest so it’s time to reinforce the seeds already planted.

Conduct the kick-off meeting face-to-face if possible (or via video chat if not). Plan to cover the following topics:

  • Schedule, with a focus on next steps
  • Additional homework needed to proceed with the project
  • Major deliverables
  • How you’ll handle future scope changes
  • Details about your work hours and availability via email or phone during specific office hours, including typical response times
  • How meetings are scheduled and take place — be sure they understand the platforms you use, such as Zoom or Skype, and how you schedule appointments, such as via Appointlet or Calendly
  • Preferences around how you want to receive deliverables
  • Q&A

If you have any swag you like to share with clients, be prepared to distribute at the meeting, or mail to arrive in time for the meeting.

6. Follow up with your welcome package

A welcome package is a set of files that welcomes your new client and includes key information that is necessary for the project to finish successfully.

Think of it as a roadmap that will guide your client through the process of working with you, helping them to stay on track with their tasks and commitments, and answering questions.

Your welcome package should:

  • reiterate your policies
  • prepare them to do their part
  • position you as a professional
  • eliminate confusion on what happens when
  • set the foundation to ask for referrals and testimonials

7. Present plans for further follow-up

While the kick-off meeting included an explanation of your follow-up methods — especially on initial tasks to gather information — you’ll also want to follow up with specific next steps in terms of schedule and deliverables.

Possible exceptions

Even with the best intentions to strictly follow your process, the occasional exception could make sense.

  • What if the project requires a very compressed schedule? Can any steps be skipped or combined? What trade-offs might be associated with those changes?
  • What if this is a new project for an existing or former client? Can any one-time setup steps be skipped or combined?

Common onboarding errors

Looking for ways to blow it? The following lapses may be the sure-fire path to failure — or at the very least, time and/or money lost to re-work.

  • Not doing your pre-work from the start, in terms of really understanding your client, their current situation, their needs and their competitors.
  • Skipping steps without considering the trade-offs or consequences.
  • Making assumptions instead of asking questions.

Onboarding checklist outline

Start with this basic onboarding checklist to develop your own customized version that best covers everything you need to start the project off successfully.

Client Onboarding Man Working On Laptop

Gather basic information

  • Confirm names, roles and contact information of each participant

Process intake questionnaire

  • Send questionnaire and instructions
  • Receive completed questionnaire
  • Check for missing information and request if needed

Execute paid discovery workshop

  • Confirm if being conducted for this project
  • Schedule discovery workshop
  • Hold discovery workshop
  • Send follow-up materials

Manage project proposal

  • Prepare and send proposal
  • Revise if necessary based on feedback or questions

Manage contract

  • Prepare and send contract
  • Receive signed copy of contract

Handle invoicing

  • Generate and send the first invoice
  • Confirm payment receipt

Wrangle project management

  • Set up internal project management systems and tools
  • Invite client to access any systems where information will be shared

Welcome

  • Introduce client to any additional team members
  • Add client to communication and project management channels and tools

Plan and hold a kick-off meeting

  • Schedule meeting
  • Prepare meeting materials including agenda, to-do list with items needed from client, draft timeline including future check-in dates and milestones
  • Hold meeting: review agenda, review to-do list, review/adjust/agree on timeline, milestones, goals

Follow-up from the kick-off meeting

  • Update project management system
  • Send welcome package, summary and any follow-up information
  • Plan schedule for next follow-up conversations and/or reports

Gather and use feedback

  • Request feedback on onboarding process
  • Incorporate process revisions based on feedback

Best practices in onboarding

Now that you’ve got a strong client onboarding process in place, stick to some general guidelines to ensure a smooth experience for all involved.

Educate clients around expectations early and often

Explicitly set expectations around how you run your business — whether it’s payments, communication methods, or delivery of information. By including this information in your kick-off meeting, proposal, welcome package, and on your website, you optimize collaboration with clients to get your work done most efficiently.

Stay accessible and responsive

Be ready to address questions or confusion quickly and thoroughly. Reassure clients that you know what’s up, and that you’re there to guide them along the way. Encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand — it’s preferable to answer early on, and nip potential issues in the bud.

Keep information flowing

Do your best to keep everyone in the loop regarding status, deliverables, timeline, budget and potential issues — and do all in your power to avoid surprises. It’s almost impossible to over-communicate about these topics.

Improve the process

Every new (or departing) client provides input to improve your onboarding process, which translates to improved client satisfaction, and more opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Closing thoughts

Of course, it’s up to you to determine the detailed onboarding process that will work best for your clients — based on understanding the success factors of your own established working environment, and their goals and expectations for the project.

Your ultimate objective is to have the right tools and processes in place, keep the workflow moving in the right direction, and deliver a final outcome that aligns with your client’s vision of success.

Use these suggestions and best practices to get a head start on defining the process that works best for you.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Aaron Reimann, Cody Landefeld, Kristina Romero and Tom Rankin.

Image by: You X Ventures on Unsplash

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Your definitive guide to holiday email marketing

Whatever your niche or sector, email marketing is a promotional medium that will generate amazing results — if you do it right. Harness that power for holiday email marketing and you stand to increase brand awareness, grow your audience and boost your bottom line, big time.

Studies show that more than 50% of U.S. consumers check their personal email account more than 10 times a day. And it’s their favorite way to receive updates from brands.

During the holiday season, eight in 10 shoppers are influenced by online information before making a purchase.

When we say holiday email marketing, we’re not just talking about Christmas or Thanksgiving. There are countless annual holidays and celebratory seasons out there. By tapping into the right ones, you can transform a promotional email into an invaluable profit-generating tool for your business.

Guide to holiday email marketing

We’re going to show you how to create a holiday email marketing strategy for your business from start to finish — a definitive guide that you can use for seasonal success all year round.

  • A few steps to get started with holiday email marketing.
    • Know your audience.
    • Consider your email subject lines.
  • Building your holiday email marketing strategy.
    • Create a holiday-themed design.
    • Share holiday gift guides, deals and teaser emails.
    • Produce a holiday marketing video.
  • Holiday email marketing optimization and retargeting.
    • Set up referral rewards.
    • Deliver post-holiday or follow-up emails.
    • Embrace email automation.
    • Don’t forget holiday email mobile optimization.
  • Research, track and refine your holiday email efforts.
    • Benchmark your results.
    • Peek at your competitors.
  • Conclusion and next steps.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

A few steps to get started with holiday email marketing

Whether your holiday email efforts are centered on Hanukkah, Christmas or Groundhog Day, to enjoy maximum promotional success, you need to start planning early.

Get together with your colleagues or team to decide on the holidays you feel will work best for your business and mark them in a dedicated content planner as early as possible. This will give you ample time to prepare, plan, create and deliver.

But, before you start creating content, the first thing you need to do is get under the skin of your customers.

Know your audience

If you don’t know who you’re aiming your holiday email marketing efforts at, it’s unlikely you’ll see any return on investment (ROI). That said, you should build a holiday-specific buyer persona so that your marketing communications will resonate with your audience.

By building a solid customer profile or persona, you’ll be able to personalize your emails to offer a level of personal value to all of your recipients, based on their preferences and needs.

Armed with your buyer persona (or personas), you should make sure that your existing email lists are up to date and your subscribers are segmented into sub-lists (such as repeat customers, frequent buyers, new subscribers, special offer redeemers, etc.) so that you can enhance the personalization of your content for maximum results.

Consider your email subject lines

If you’re going to send out a holiday email, you need to get your subject lines right. It’s the headline that will make people click though, after all.

Tip: Always aim to make your email subject lines short, sweet and relevant.

Here are a couple of our favorites from Black Friday for your reference:

  • “Let’s sweeten the Black Friday Deals with …”
  • “Are you taking time for YOU this Black Friday?”

Once you’ve taken the time to plan, get to know your audience and create effective email subject lines, it’s time to start rolling out your strategy.

Building your holiday email marketing strategy

Acorns Greenery Illustrate Holiday Marketing Design

When creating content for your holiday email marketing strategy, you should always try to speak to your customers on a personal level, remaining conversational while designing your emails in such a way that makes your intent clear and concise.

These tips will help you create promotional email content that works for any holiday or occasion.

Create a holiday-themed design

When it comes to holiday email marketing, a digestible design coupled with striking themed imagery will excite and inspire your customers. And that’s likely to result in action — people buying stuff from you.

By creating a holiday-themed email banner image and creating call-to-action buttons (“Buy now,” “I want one,” “Start shopping”) that match it, you’ll build a sense of festivity.

Plus, if you place your discount codes, deals or offers near the top of your holiday email, you’re more likely to encourage click-throughs and increase sales.

Share holiday gift guides, deals and teaser emails

When you’re creating a holiday marketing email strategy, it’s important to provide a unique level of value while offering exclusivity and, of course, creating urgency — for example, “Quick, buy now while you still can!”

With this in mind, when crafting a holiday email, employing these additional tactics to encourage your subscribers to buy your products or services will yield positive results:

  • Create a holiday gift guide with tips, advice and consultancy on what’s best to buy this holiday season.
  • Send out holiday teaser emails leading up to the holiday in question, getting your prospects excited by promising to deliver exciting seasonal content, news, and offers. Our guide to email drip campaigns will help you get your timing and ideas just right.
  • Offer exclusive holiday-based deals, offers and discount codes. Encourage your customers to take action by placing a redemption time limit on the offers you provide.
  • Send last-minute emails offering free shipping or reminding your subscribers of their deal, offer or discount redemption deadlines.
  • Offer one-click or instant purchasing options.
  • Launch a holiday-themed competition, encouraging your email recipients to enter by replying to your email or sharing a piece of content via social media. Brand awareness and engagement in one neat promotional package.
  • Go the traditional route by designing and sending out an eye-grabbing custom graphic or image to use as a greeting card.

Be aware: While encouraging action and creating urgency works, don’t over do it.

Putting too much pressure on potential prospects to subscribe to your list or buy your products could hurt your brand reputation.

Offer deals and incentives and implement redemption time limits, but whatever you do, be natural and conversational when speaking to your customers rather than forcing their hands toward the shopping carts. Essentially, you should create excitement and leave the hard sales pitch at the door.

Produce a holiday marketing video

As humans, we’re visual creatures. In fact, 54% of today’s consumers want to see more video content from the brands they subscribe to or follow.

By creating a fun, inspirational or topical holiday-themed marketing video, not only are you likely to boost your brand awareness, but you’ll have a powerful asset to share in your promotional emails.

To help you on your quest to video marketing perfection, read our guide on different types of video content to move customers through the sales funnel.

Holiday email marketing optimization and retargeting

With your timing, content, deals, design, offers and visuals firmly in place, now’s the time to optimize your holiday marketing email efforts while thinking about retargeting subscribers to enjoy maximum value from your campaign. Here are four ways to do that.

Set up referral rewards

Reward repeat buyers or first-time holiday purchasers by sending a follow-up email offering an exclusive referral reward.

The reward could come in the form of a discount code, two for one offer, first dibs on brand new products or free shipping for a month — the choice is yours.

By prompting existing holiday customers to encourage their friends or relatives to subscribe to your email list, you’ll have a bigger, more engaged audience to target when the next holiday rolls around. A real win-win.

Deliver post-holiday or follow-up emails

Follow-up or retargeting emails work well when delivered near the end or shortly after your holiday marketing campaign.

When it comes to following up with a holiday marketing email recipient, there are several approaches you can take.

First, if a promotional email recipient has clicked through to a purchase page but for some reason, decided to stop their transaction, it’s possible to retarget them with a cart abandonment email.

Cart abandonment emails allow you to re-engage your subscribers with some sweet holiday messaging while reminding them of their previous purchasing activities.

If sent in a timely fashion, cart abandonment emails earn solid results. If you have a template up your sleeve that you can edit according to campaign or occasion, sending out these types of emails will take minimal effort.

It’s also possible to send follow-up or retargeting emails with personalized holiday gift suggestion or, as mentioned, free shipping or deals with expiration dates. These approaches boost engagement while creating a sense of urgency.

Whatever approach you decide to take when following up with a promotional email, it’s important to include a clear-cut call-to-action to guide your customers to the next stage of the sales process — whether it’s a product page or instant purchase shopping cart.

But, whatever you do, make sure you avoid these costly mistakes.

Tip: When creating calls to action for your promotional emails, keep it simple! Even adding a linked phrase like “Shop Now” can do the trick.

Also, you should make your links noticeable. Most clicked links have slightly larger text or are in all caps, with a different color than the rest of the text surrounding them. Red often works well.

Try to stick to just one link per email to keep your promotion simple and clutter-free.

You also can try using a linked image. Visuals immediately catch the eye and you can use them to incite a call to action. The example below features a clickable image that yielded the lion’s share of the clicks:

Holiday Email Craftsy

Embrace email automation

Email automation is a process that makes it possible to send time- or action-triggered emails to your subscribers with relevant content.

With automation, it’s possible to create and schedule emails to be sent to different segments of your subscriber base at times when they’re most likely to be engaged.

Essentially, you can set everything up and monitor your success with minimal intervention.

For a seamless, time-saving email retargeting experience, there’s no denying that email automation is your best option.

This practical guide will help you get started, saving you time and money in equal measures.

Holiday Email Woman Holding Phone

Don’t forget holiday email mobile optimization

Studies suggest emails that display poorly on mobile are usually deleted within three seconds. And, when you consider that emails are now opened more on mobile than desktop, making sure your holiday email marketing communications are optimized across all devices is essential.

It’s a make-or-break situation.

Your promotional emails must be fully mobile-optimized, offering a seamless level of user experience (UX) while looking great on screen. Otherwise, your customers will put them in the virtual trash bin, posthaste.

With testing, time and development, you can ensure that all of your emails work perfectly on mobile devices. But the most effective solution is to use an email marketing tool like Upfiv Email Marketing that will optimize your designs automatically.

Doing so will allow you to preview them across devices before sending them to your recipients, resulting in time and money well spent.

Research, track and refine your holiday email efforts

Sector or niche aside, your marketing success as a business owner will depend on your ability to test and refine your activities for future holiday campaign success.

Testing your holiday emails boils down to good common sense.

In terms of checking and testing your emails before sending them, you might catch typos or broken links, or discover a better way to lay out a module. And by measuring the success of your emails after your campaign, you’ll be able to identify what works well in addition to areas that require improvement.

If you don’t have a marketing team to test your emails, you should send a test to yourself or a trusted friend. It really does help to see your newsletter as it appears in your readers’ inboxes.

Plus, if you’re starting a drip campaign, or continuing one, it’s important to ensure your campaign is functioning optimally.

Here are two tried and tested strategies to ensure you holiday email efforts work for you time and time again.

Benchmark your results

By using email campaign data to your advantage, you’ll be able to benchmark your holiday email marketing efforts, empowering you to make vital improvements during the next seasonal period.

The best way to benchmark your campaign efforts is by analyzing metrics — such as open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates — based on the performance of individual emails. You can do this through platforms like Google Analytics or your email marketing platform’s built-in performance data, using your discoveries to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

By drilling down into your performance data, you’ll be able to decide the best and worst times to send emails, the types of content or offers that work best, and figure out which elements of your holiday marketing efforts need improvement, so you can take action where necessary.

If you measure, track and benchmark your efforts on a continual basis, you’ll keep evolving, increasing your holiday marketing sales year after year in the process.

Failing to do so will only dilute your promotional email efforts.

Peek at your competitors

The best thing about holiday email marketing is the fact that the holidays (in their various forms) happen every year, offering a fresh opportunity to dazzle, amaze and engage your audience every 12 months.

One of the best ways to get inspiration for your holiday marketing efforts is to look at what your competitors are doing.

Follow them on social media and sign up for their email lists to gather as much intel as possible.

Peeking at the competition is great because not only can you utilize the best parts of their campaigns to your advantage by placing your own spin on their ideas and delivering them to your customers, but you can also spot content gaps to exploit.

For example, if your competitor is doing a “12 offers of Christmas” campaign — sending out a different deal each day on the lead up to the big day — you could evolve this idea by delivering an email that includes a “12 days of Christmas advent calendar” graphic that your customers can open for exclusive deals and content.

With holiday emails, the sky really is the limit. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to look at what your competitors are doing with their holiday email marketing activities.

Conclusion and next steps

There’s no doubt about it: for businesses of all shapes and sizes, the holidays offer a prime opportunity for increasing your sales, boosting brand awareness and growing your audience.

By planning early on and delivering content that will inspire as well engage your audience in equal measures, you stand to enjoy great success with your holiday email marketing campaigns.

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches — at scale.” —David Newman, author of “Do It! Marketing”

As a quick recap, here is a rundown of the best general practices for holiday email marketing:

Be clear and direct

Always have a clear goal for every promotional email you send to make your communications concise and impactful. Plus, if you’re looking to attract new subscribers, make sure your opt-in information is easy to read, letting prospective subscribers know what you intend to do with their contact details.

Stay recent and engaged

When dealing with your email marketing lists, make sure you remove any subscribers who are inactive or unresponsive, giving yourself the space to focus your efforts on new customers or existing recipients who are likely to engage.

Exert no pressure

Adding a sense of urgency to your holiday emails with deal and discount code expiry messaging, for example, is effective. But, don’t over-pressure your holiday prospects as it could damage your brand reputation. Make sure your communications are as natural as possible, leaving the hard sales pitch at the door.

Test your emails

Measuring, tracking and testing your emails is essential to your ongoing holiday marketing success. Testing your emails before you send them will ensure you capture any typos or formatting issues across devices.

And, by drilling down into your performance data, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t, empowering you to make improvements for future campaigns.

Care for your customers

Make sure you reward loyal subscribers with exclusive content and incentives, and always remember to offer a unique level of value with every single piece of content you send.

Whether it’s a greetings card, gift guide or an exclusive discount code, you should always strive to keep your holiday email recipients coming back for more.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Christina Berry, Emma Wilhelm, Macdara Bracken and Mira Lynn.

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Influencer Marketing: the $68M secret you don’t know

Pura Vida Bracelets reported $68.3 Million in revenue for 2018 leading to an incredible acquisition by Vera Bradley — and they credit a lot of that success to influencer marketing.

Gretta Rose van Riel used influencer marketing to build multiple 8-figure ecommerce brands.

Scott Paul got LeBron James to promote his business for FREE! (Okay, there’s more to that story, obviously – but you’ll have to keep reading to find out the rest).

But how? And what the heck do they know that you don’t?

I’m going to give away their secrets, and fill you in on the absolute best insights from the genius influencers and marketers on the front lines making it happen.

Oh, and if those numbers don’t impress you, maybe this one will:  $10,000,000,000

That’s the predicted size of the influencer marketing industry within the next 5 years, according to Mediakix, a media company that has been closely monitoring growth and trends since 2015.

While that’s not quite as big as a googol, it’s still an enormous number and some truly impressive growth for a business category and marketing channel that was virtually non-existent a decade ago.

Upfiv Websites + Marketing is the perfect ecommerce companion to your influencer marketing campaign.

Influencer marketing was destined to be a juggernaut from the very beginning. As soon as social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube made it possible for the average person to become a content creator — someone who could create their own brand, their own following, their own influence — the game officially changed. A new player stepped forward, one that would force marketers to alter their playbooks in ways that, at the time, seemed unimaginable.

Quote about influencer marketing

Jane Doe became Jane Dough, and before we knew it, the modern social media influencer was born.

As brands continue allocating and shifting more of their marketing dollars towards influencer marketing (18% are spending between $100,000 – $500,000 per year, according to data shared by Bigcommerce), the biggest question everyone has is this:

How do I make this work for ME 

This guide will give you the resources, best practices, and actionable advice you need to create and execute a winning influencer marketing strategy for your business.

Let’s jump in!

Influencer marketing is about being picky: choose the right influencer

For most people, diving into the world of influencer marketing is like blasting yourself into space — you’re out of your element, there are a lot of unknowns, and it can feel suffocating.

At least, that’s how I imagine space…

Ask anyone who has invested any money into influencer marketing where to start and how to be successful from the get-go, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: it’s all about finding the right people for your business and your audience. Without the right people in place, you can still spend a lot of money but see very little return from what you put into it. The people you work with matter.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right influencer:

1. Know who wouldn’t be a good fit

When you’re trying to decide who to reach out to and partner with, sometimes the best thing to do is spend some time thinking about who you are not looking for.

cat fit in small box

That’s the advice I got when I spoke with Neal Schaffer. Neal is the author of “The Business of Influence,” and President of a social media agency called PDCA Social which works with Fortune 50 enterprises and Grammy award-winning musicians — so he knows a little bit about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to influencer marketing.

“Before looking for an influencer, visualize who the ideal influencer should be,” he says. “Marketers waste a lot of money and time reaching out to, and/or working with, influencers who weren’t a good fit to begin with.”

Ideal influencer quote from Neal Schaffer

Schaffer adds that in order to start identifying or disqualifying potential influencer partners, you should perform a simple litmus test. “If your content appeared on their feed, would it be a natural fit? If not, that influencer relationship will not be a natural fit either,” says Schaffer.

2. Don’t let the numbers fool you

Vanity metrics are kind of the name of the game when it comes to influencer marketing, but you have to be careful when it comes to making decisions based solely on follower counts and likes. Some things are not always as they seem.

sesame street one of these things is not like the other big bird

“It’s not all about the follower numbers, it is about an authentic following and reach & engagement,” says Meghan Connolly, a digital marketing expert and owner of Snowbird Social.

Meghan is skilled at knowing how to build a true community on social media. She grew her own dog’s Instagram following to over 40,000 and now helps other brands run successful influencer marketing campaigns.

“An influencer with 10k followers can have as much or more influence than one with 20k, if the 10k has followers who listen to him/her/them,” Connolly adds.

Meg Connolly quote about influencer engagement

When I spoke with Kurt Elster, Host of The Unofficial Shopify Podcast and ecommerce consultant for Jay Leno’s Garage, he agreed.

“When it comes to follower counts, bigger isn’t necessarily better,” says Elster. “In one recent campaign, we worked with several influencers. Our largest at 150,000 followers had zero clicks. Not sales… clicks! Our most successful influencer had 20,000 followers but tremendous engagement with his audience.”

Elster wants people to understand that follower count isn’t everything, and that oftentimes you’re better off partnering with a handful of smaller players than one highly expensive, too-good-to-be-true player.

“I’d rather have 10 influencers with 10,000 followers each than a single 100,000 follower influencer any day of the week,” he says.

influencer marketing numbers quote from Kurt Elster

3. Look to your brand champions first

It might feel like you need to go to the ends of the earth to find the perfect person to represent and promote your brand, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, the perfect influencer is right under your nose, according to Scott Paul, CEO at Wooly. “I wish marketers knew that the best influencers are actually their customers,” says Paul.

Best influencers are your customers according to Scott Paul

I talked with Scott because he co-founded and sold an influencer company and spent millions of dollars hiring influencers and building effective influencer marketing campaigns for major retailers (seriously — we’re talking about the absolutely biggest ones, single retailers hiring him to find 200,000+ influencers for their campaign). He shared a great perspective on the value of reaching into your own existing community to find winning promoters.

Scott recommended that, before you spend a lot of time and money searching for a Lebron James-level influencer, look in your own backyard.

LeBron James - Scott Paul's secret influencer
That’s a photo of Lebron “promoting” Scott’s company for free – you can read more about that here.

“Make sure you look deep at your customers and followers on social media before hiring an outsider to promote a brand,” says Paul.

4. Remember the 3 R’s

To find the right influencer, you have to take a number of factors into consideration — again, it’s not just about reach and follower counts. There are other things you should be thinking about.

Gretta Rose van Riel talked me through this idea and gave me some good pointers when I asked what else someone should be looking for and thinking about when trying to hire the right influencer. In the past, she’s used influencer marketing, including her own 16M+ followers, to build multiple 8-figure ecommerce brands. Today, she’s the founder of Hey Influencer, which she describes as a dating platform for matching influencers with brands.

“We use the 3 R’s to assess the right fit of influencers for our campaigns,” she says. “Reach (the size of their following), relevancy (their niche and type of content) and most importantly relationship (having a strong, trusting relationship with their followers often displayed by quality engagement).”

The three R's of influencer marketing by Greta Van Riel

To ensure that you’re on the right track when searching for an influencer to hire, spend time thinking about the partnership you want to build, the type of person you want to work with, the goals you want to achieve, the brand style you want to support, and the audience you ultimately want to engage and build trust with.

5. Become familiar with average costs before negotiating 

Before reaching out to an influencer and talking about price, it’s helpful to know what some of the industry averages are. The investment you make will ultimately depend on the social site you’re trying to tap into and how much true reach the influencer you want to work with has.

Alfred Lua of Buffer put together an impressively thorough resource on the topic that is worth digging into if you’re thinking about allocating any of your marketing dollars to an influencer marketing strategy.

Here are some benchmarks he shares in his article that you can use when talking with influencers about price:

  • Instagram – $10 per 1,000 followers or $250 to $750 per 1,000 engagement
  • YouTube – $20 per 1,000 subscribers or $50 to $100 per 1,000 video views
  • Snapchat – $10 per 1,000 followers or $100 per 1,000 views

how much do influencers charge by platform

When it comes to talking with influencers about your budget, don’t be afraid to negotiate — but don’t be surprised if the quotes you get fall closely in line with the averages compiled by Lua shared above.

6. Pick true partners

To be successful with influencer marketing, you have to be willing to spend a lot of time searching for the right people — people who are actually going to be worthwhile partners who can help you achieve your goals and grow your business. That means experimenting with people who might turn out not to be the best fit for your business, and ultimately being OK with it.

For Bobby Umar, President at Raeallan, it’s not about finding influencers that look good on paper — it’s about finding influencers who will go the extra mile for you when it comes to engaging with the people you’re trying to reach.

“Some influencers only do the minimum amount of work. Others work over and beyond to build relationships and truly engage their audience,” says Umar. “Knowing the difference between the two will really set you apart when it comes to your influencer marketing.”

some influencers only do the minimum

I spoke with Umar because of his experience leveraging influence and building community. He has over half a million social media followers and has helped thousands of business leaders leverage their influence and grow their business with influencer marketing.

Some influencers aren’t what they seem, so it’s important to spend time doing work upfront to try to identify which ones are legitimate and which ones aren’t, according to Bill Widmer, Co-owner of The Wandering RV. Bill Widmer is a content marketing expert who’s worked with Shopify, Bold Commerce, and dozens of other high-growth online businesses, using influencers to build up backlinks to his 10x content.

When I asked him about what his biggest tip was when it comes to hiring influencers, he had this to say:

“Understand that it’s completely possible (and very easy) for “influencers” to buy followers and likes en mass,” says Widmer. “Before you hire an influencer, do your due diligence to make sure their followers are real and actually engage with their content,” he adds.

it's possible for influencers to buy followers and likes

On the flip side, some influencers might not look like they have much influence when you consider the size of their audience, but looks can be deceiving.

There’s a growing trend in partnering with micro-influencers — people who have a smaller following but a more active, engaged, and loyal audience. These can be some of the best people to work with when you’re experimenting with influencer marketing — but people don’t realize it. They get stuck on follower counts and end up missing out on smaller partners who might actually be able to help you more than a big celebrity influencer would.

When I spoke with blogger and influencer Brittany Porcelli, she agreed. “The biggest myth is that micro-influencers will not help your brand,” she says. “Often times micro-influencers are more willing to do more for your brand — more posts, more Instagram stories, etc., and are willing to put their resources towards a longtime partnership.”

micro-influencers are willing to do more

Joel Hansen is a Business Development Manager at Skidmore Group. He also helps brands like Adobe, Canucks, Clippers and Linkedin with youth engagement.  Hansen agreed with Porcelli when I asked him about the value of micro-influencers.

“The biggest myth I believe that stands to be true is ‘the more followers an influencer has the more effective a campaign can be’. You’d be surprised the amount of impact a variety of micro influencers or a local community leader can have compared to a celebrity account with 40% dormant followers,” says Hansen.

Finding true partners, and working to build long-lasting partnerships with them over time, will ultimately make your investment in influencer marketing much more worthwhile in the long run.

To find great partners, consider exploring influencer sourcing platforms like HireInfluenceTribeFamebit, or Upfluence.

Influencer marketing is about more than likes and followers: Use influencers as content creators

Launching a successful influencer marketing campaign isn’t just about connecting with the right influencer — to be effective, you have to take it one step further: you need to find the right influencer who can help you create the right content for your audience.

Influencers only exist because they create content that resonates with an audience. While we’re here to discuss how to optimize influencer marketing, it all leads back to creating great content.

Content is still king.
You can hire a dazzling influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers, but if at the end of the day they can’t help you connect with your audience, you’re just wasting your time and money. That’s where content comes into play.

Here’s a real life example — through my advertising agency, my team and I have done some crazy stuff, like helping a client scale from $20k to $4M in a year. As an ads company, we’re accustomed to paid promotion as a means of delivering content, and less accustomed to leveraging an influencer’s influence to deliver content.

In both cases, the content is the real draw that creates value with an audience. The influencer / paid promotion are just the vehicles.

Influencer + Content is the key formula for influencer marketing. Here are a few tips that will help ensure that you’re set up to build winning content into your influencer marketing campaigns:

1. Evaluate influence AND content 

A big part of your time discovering and evaluating prospective influencers should be spent looking at the other content they create for themselves and for the other brands they work with.

Ted Rubin, CMO at Photofy, supported this line of thinking when I asked him about how content plays a role in influencer marketing campaigns. Rubin was the Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias (an early entrant to the content and influencer marketing space). Today, he’s a well-known speaker, author, and consultant. Here’s what he told me:

“The vast majority of ‘influencers’ are simply talented content creators,” says Rubin. “Treat their influence like you would good content. Consumers like it, share it, and rely upon it to help make decisions…so measure it the same way you would media.”

social media influencer are great content creators

In other words, don’t choose to work with an influencer solely based on the size of their audience and the level of engagement they receive. Evaluate the type and quality of content they create, and decide if it aligns with your brand and your audience.

2. Throw out the cookie cutters

Every influencer will approach content differently. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Because of the unique relationship and opportunity that exists, you should spend time developing an individual content strategy for each influencer you work with.

“Work with individual influencers to brainstorm ideas for co-creating content,” recommends Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, Host, Punch Out With Katie and Kerry.

When I asked her to elaborate on what she meant, she said, “each one has more reach on one platform or another, and specializes in certain types of content. Some would be perfect for live tweeting your conference sessions, but others are qualified to handle on-site interviews or to create original video content.

“Know your influencers and create a strategy that maximizes each one’s unique talents and abilities,” she adds.

create an influencer marketing strategy

Spending time upfront to think about the unique content a particular influencer could create for your brand and audience will help ensure that you’re building a more interesting and compelling library of content in the long run. It’ll also help you experiment with different types and styles of content in order to learn what your audience likes and responds to best.

3. Look within your existing community

When you’re looking for good content partners, sometimes it’s as easy as looking within your existing community.

“Influence is everywhere, so consider not just collaborating with micro and nano influencers but also with your followers, your fans, your customers, your partners, and even your employees,” says Neal Schaffer.

David Brier, Chief Gravity Defier at DBD International, took this idea one step further when I spoke with him about where to go to find great influencers. Looking at your existing community is one thing — but what about even looking to your own profile?

“BECOME the influencer you seek. Seriously. Too many seek some “impact” from others who have done the hustle,” he says. “The BEST influencer marketing is to elevate your own profile to become an influencer.”

become the influencer

And that’s not just talk for David.

Daymond John (yes — the Shark Tank guy) calls Brier “brilliant with branding.” Grant Cardone calls him “a branding genius,” and Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer of Gary Vee’s VaynerMedia, when asked about David’s bestseller said, “This is not only an outstanding book on branding but is an excellent example of branding, design and content I keep in my office. I only wish I had this book at the beginning of my career.”

Before you spend too much time evaluating talent agencies and negotiating with top-dollar influencers, find out if you have any passionate and willing content creators within your own audience (it could even be you!). Going this route will allow you to spin up campaigns sooner — you won’t have to spend time educating influencers on your products and business because they already know it well).

It’ll also likely cost you less money — brand loyalists and brand champions might help you in exchange for free products or because they simply want to see your business continue to succeed.

Influencer marketing isn’t a “quick fix”: measure influencer campaign success

Because influencer marketing pretty much always requires you to allocate a significant portion of your marketing budget toward something that might not make a directly attributable impact on your business, it’s important to think about how you’re going to ultimately measure success.

Here are a few tips to consider as you think about what you’re trying to get back from your influencer marketing campaigns:

1. Be willing to play the long game 

The first thing you need to realize is that influencer marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. It can take a while to see any sort of return or impact.

“Do not expect people to buy your product straight away when they first see it promoted from an influencer,” says Nathan Chan, CEO of Foundr Magazine.

I talked with Nathan, who used influencer marketing to build Foundr from nothing to one of the top 10 business magazines in the app store in just a couple of years, about this idea of having patience (which as an entrepreneur is really, really hard to practice). Chan recommends trying anyway and to not be discouraged just because you’re not seeing sales skyrocket right away.

“Be prepared to play the long game, a lot of those influencer’s fans will follow your company, and eventually buy over time,” he says.

play the long game with influencer marketing

Chan also wants people to realize the additional long-term benefits of building out an influencer network for your brand — benefits that don’t always appear right after launching a campaign.

“It’s not just about generating a return, it’s about the content and the long game and building your brand using influencers overtime,” says Chan.

Ted Rubin, mentioned earlier in this article, agrees. He says that the idea that you get immediate and instant return from an influencer in the form of sales is a myth.

He explains that there’s this mistaken belief that, “influencers actually influence people in the way that they jump up to go buy something when those you are paying as influencers tell them to.”

Rubin adds, “there are perhaps a handful of people who can make something like that happen and they don’t come cheap. The majority of “good’ ones create great content that consumers like to read and watch, and via that ability provide a great deal of reach and attention.”

2. Know which metrics truly matter

When you’re thinking about what success looks like in an influencer marketing campaign, you also have to recognize the difference between views and true engagement.

“I’m glad that the industry overall is maturing but I think that many people fall into vanity vs true engagement metrics,” says Brian Wallace, Founder and President of NowSourcing.

When I spoke with Wallace, who, in addition to running his company, is a Google Small Business Advisor and on the SXSW Advisory Board, he confirmed something that I’ve been hearing from many other experts in the industry. “If you are just counting a number of likes, you’re likely to be disappointed and in many cases those numbers are going away,” said Wallace.

disappointed with influencer marketing

In other words, don’t get distracted by big numbers. Focus on how your audience is engaging with and responding to influencer content to truly understand how it might be impacting your business and relationships with potential buyers.

3. Recognize the true value of an influencer marketing campaign

When you’re spending real dollars, it’s easy to want to dig into the exact financial impact of a campaign — you want to be able to measure direct ROI. But with influencer marketing, you have to understand that the return is significantly more complex. It goes back to being willing to play the long game and seeing what impact you can make to your business over time and in what ways.

Nathan Chan, mentioned earlier in this article, shares an example to help bring this point home:

“When working with influencers it shouldn’t be treated as a transaction and measured just on ROI. This is only one measurement of success on working with a particular influencer,” says Chan. “What about the content they create for you? If you paid Kylie Jenner to do a post, the post, yes, might make you $$$ from her followers, but what about the ability to use that image of her with your product in your PPC ads? What is the cost of that? These are the things that you need to be looking at for a successful influencer marketing strategy / campaign!”

Instagram Influencer Kylie Jenner

Chan is essentially saying that although you might not see an immediate or direct return on your investment, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to add value to your business down the road. The point is that you are building a library of content that you can repurpose in a number of ways and on a number of platforms.

4. Be true to your primary objectives

Before getting too deep into launching an influencer marketing campaign or hiring influencers, you have to set some clear objectives.

“Know the specific objectives for why you want to work with influencers and how you will measure their success,” says Neal Schaffer, mentioned earlier in this article.

Schaffer explains that setting clear objectives will help you evaluate performance during a campaign and allow you to make the right adjustments along the way.

“Every influencer will deliver different results, so being able to measure and compare their effectiveness will allow you to achieve greater ROI by shifting more budget to well performing influencers,” says Schaffer.

This willingness to plan ahead and make decisions in real-time is the difference between launching a one-time influencer marketing experiment that doesn’t show clear ROI and building a repeatable, scalable strategy that brings measurable ROI and value to your business long into the future.

Influencer marketing is a repeatable process: How to be successful

In most cases, you’re probably not going to experience overnight success when you launch an influencer marketing campaign. It’s going to take time, experimentation, and effort.

That being said, there are some things you can do that can help ensure your success:

1. Be patient and put in the time

Influencer marketing is just as much an art as it is a science. You have to understand that going into it. There’s an art to building community and content that will resonate with people.

Spock is a scientist

Ted Rubin, mentioned earlier in the article, mirrors this line of thinking:

“Influencer marketing, when used to its best effect, is about building a network of business relationships that will yield results over time,” he says. “You’ll get as much out of the program as you put into it. So if your goal is to find a platform, and make this like programmatic advertising, and do whatever you can to automate the process… you will be throwing the majority of your budget down the drain.”

2. Know where it fits in your overall strategy

Don’t just invest in influencer marketing because it’s the latest buzz word you’re reading about everywhere. Instead, decide if it’s actually a worthwhile tactic to test in order to meet your goals and better serve your audience.

Sofiya Deva agrees. She’s the VP of Marketing at Zen Media and has won both a gold ADDY and a platinum Hermes award, and has worked with incredible brands like Chase, the US Navy and Tupperware.

“If you want to invest in influencer marketing, make sure you understand how it fits into your larger marketing strategy, and more importantly — your customer journey,” she says.

invest in influencer marketing

Deva believes that before jumping into this particular tactic, you should ask yourself, “What will engaging with these influencers allow your customers/clients to do, say and be?”

Joel Hansen, who currently directs CIMC (Western Canada’s largest marketing/PR conference) and works with brands like Adobe, Canucks, Clippers and Linkedin with Youth Engagement, echos what Deva says with some very practical feedback on what he likes to see from brands that reach out to influencers, “A brand guide and overview of the marketing campaign and how you play a role in shaping the outcome can be a very helpful foundation to introduce a relationship. I always appreciate when there is proof that they’ve done the research on my content and know my audience demographics. Lastly, a couple references from other influencers they’ve worked with always goes a long way.”

build a relationship with influencers

When I talked with Sujan Patel, one of the most recognizable names in growth hacking and founder of Mailshake, about this topic, he suggests that people should not get too enamored by the idea that influencer marketing has a guaranteed and immediate return no matter what.

Instead of putting all your eggs (and money) in one basket, he wants people to focus instead on what truly matters.

“Influencer marketing can drive huge sales and drastically grow your business,” Patel says. “It can be and has been for certain companies but it’s not always the case. It’s worked well for direct-to-consumer companies and ecommerce businesses but, as time passes, the things that worked a few years ago will become less effective and played out. Don’t get caught up in the sexy-ness of an influencer marketing campaign…instead, focus on building a product and brand that people love.”

sexy influencer campaign

3. Build out your network

If you’re going to experiment with influencer marketing, don’t just dip your toes in — do a cannonball.

Don’t just work with one influencer. Instead, work with and learn from many.

“Work with multiple influencers at once, and use those relationships to cross-promote each influencer’s post,” says Bill Widmer, who was mentioned earlier. “Tag them in one another’s posts and help them grow off each other’s audiences as well as your own.”

Gretta van Riel has similar advice to share.

“What you’re looking for is audience overlap amongst your influencers. This repetition will mean far higher conversion rates as consumers often need to be exposed to a brand several times before purchasing,” she says. “We look for what we call influencer ‘clusters’ or groups of influencers that share very similar audiences for example family members, friendship circles or the fact they’ve all been on a recent reality tv show for example.”

Blogger and influencer Brittany Porcelli recommends building a strategy that leverages both major and micro-influencers to get the best reach and engagement possible.

“Use a combination of influencers and micro-influencers with higher engagement to help drive purchase,” says Porcelli. “Micro-influencers help push your message through the lower funnel.”

4. Keep experimenting with influencer marketing

Finally, never stop experimenting and learning—even while a campaign is still running.

Larry Kim, CEO at MobileMonkey and founder of WordStream (which was acquired by Gannett for $150 million), explains why you need to be constantly testing in order to experience the full potential that influencer marketing has to offer.

diminishing return of influencer campaigns

“There is a diminishing return due to audience fatigue. The first time you partner with an influencer, your products/services are totally new to that audience,” says Kim. “Over time, the novelty wears off. It’s similar to the concept of “Ad Fatigue” in online advertising. Thus, you need to keep changing the content campaign being pushed by your influencers, and periodically switch influencers you partner with, too.”

Goldie Chan, founder of Warm Robots, agrees. Goldie is the top LinkedIn Video creator with the longest running daily video series on the platform amassing over 5 million views and counting earning her the title of, “The Oprah of LinkedIn” by Huffpost. She’s also a global keynote speaker and digital strategist.

“Influencer marketing is constantly in flux,” she says. “One day a platform may be the number 1 way to drive traffic and the next day, it may fall completely flat. It’s not always influencer-specific, on occasion it is the overall health of a platform that can determine campaign success.”

measure influencer marketing success

Wrapping Up

Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s not a golden nugget or a silver bullet. Like most marketing tactics, it’s easy to plan but hard to implement effectively.

It takes time, money, and effort. You’re going to fail, but you’re also going to learn, and through the process, you can build a strategy that meets the needs of your business, and more importantly, your audience.

Partner with Upfiv Websites + Marketing to add simple, affordable ecommerce tools that will help you take your influencer marketing campaign to the next level.

This post was co-authored with Rob Wormley.

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What is local SEO? Everything you need to know.

The internet is an enormous place filled with millions and millions of websites. Competing in such a massive world can be daunting for small business owners trying to promote their local shops. But don’t fret. There is a way for your business to stand out and connect with nearby customers. It’s through local SEO.

Local SEO helps brick-and-mortar and service-based businesses get found through search, even when competing with large brands and national businesses that have a massive online presence.

Everything you need to know about local SEO

The rest of this guide will explain what local SEO is and how you can use it to drive more traffic to your website and business. It covers:

  • What is local SEO?
    • What’s the difference between SEO and local SEO?
    • How does local SEO work?
    • What do local search results look like?
  • The benefits of local SEO.
  • Local SEO best practices.
    • Managing online contact info.
    • Understanding the SEO landscape.
    • Putting user experience first.
    • Understanding backlinks.
    • Considering all search engines.
  • Local SEO checklist: 11 steps to success
  • Local SEO tools.
  • Next steps.

What is local SEO?

Before you can understand local SEO, you first need to understand what SEO is.

SEO stands for search engine optimization.

SEO refers to the tactics and strategies that marketers use to help their brand show up organically when a user searches for a keyword related to the brand’s business, products, or services.

For example, Fantastic Sams Cut and Color would want its business to show up when a user searches for “hair salon.” And, Dyser Plumbing Company would want its business to show up on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for “plumber.”

Businesses want to show up when someone searches for a topic related to their brand, products or services. SEO helps them do that.

What’s the difference between SEO and local SEO?

Brands that offer services to anyone anywhere — like a car insurance company or an online software provider — want people across the country (or even the world) to find their business through search.

But local brick-and-mortar and service-based business owners don’t need people around the world to find their business. They only need nearby searchers to find their business. Local SEO helps them do that.

Local SEO refers to the tactics and strategies that marketers use to help their brand organically show up when a nearby user searches for a keyword related to the brand’s business, products or services.

It optimizes a brand’s online presence so that local customers can find the brand via search.

Fantastic Sams Cut and Color in Tampa, Florida, doesn’t care if someone in San Francisco, California, finds the brand while searching for “hair salons.” That searcher isn’t going to become a customer. So Fantastic Sams Cut and Color uses local SEO to help people near the business — the people most likely to become customers — find them via search.

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO follows many of the same rules as SEO. Of the three primary categories that drive local SEO, two are also related to general SEO.

  1. Relevance: Search engines want to show results that best match what the user is looking for. Relevance helps them match results with search phrases and intent.
  2. Prominence: Search engines want to show results from leading brands and publications. Prominence helps them determine which sites are the most well-known and trustworthy. Sites with higher online authority receive higher search rankings.

Both relevance and prominence are related to general SEO.

Search engines want to present results from top websites that are closely related to search phrases. But in local SEO, search engines consider another factor.

  1. Proximity: Search engines want to show results that the searcher can use so they prioritize results that are near the searcher when the search is related to a local need. Proximity refers to the distance between the searcher and the location of the business displayed in search results.

Later in this post, we’ll look at the steps you can take to optimize your web presence to appeal to the three factors of local SEO: relevance, prominence and proximity.

What do local search results look like?

Now that you know how local SEO works, let’s look at what local SEO looks like when you see it in search.

General search results and local search results can sometimes look the same in search.

For example, when you search for “hair salon,” you will see results for local businesses and general results mixed together in organic and paid search results.

General organic search results

Organic search results display websites that search engines have deemed to be the most useful for searchers. The top placements are earned by websites that have strong SEO. In organic search, you might find results that are tailored to your location as well as general results.

Local SEO Google Hair Salon Search Results

General sponsored search results

In general search, you will also find sponsored search results. These results appear because the brand paid for the placement. The position wasn’t earned; it was placed through pay-per-click (or PPC) marketing.

You can tell the difference between an organic result and a sponsored result by the “Ad” designation on the search result. Like organic results, these results might be closely related to local search or relevant for a wider audience.

Local SEO Google Hair Salon Sponsored Results

While organic and sponsored search results appear for both general and local searches, there are some results that are specific to local SEO. They are Google My Business (GMB) and Google Guaranteed Listings results.

Google My Business results

Google My Business results are rich results that appear differently from general results. They might appear as listings and maps that show businesses relevant to the search phrase and located near the searcher.
Local SEO Google Map Search ResultsFor a business to appear in Google My Business search results, it must have a page set up on Google My Business. Google pulls information from those profiles to create listings as well as rich search results for individual businesses.

Local SEO Google My Business Results

The results in the listings can be organic and earned by following local SEO best practices, or they can be sponsored and paid for through PPC campaigns. The same “Ad” notation differentiates organic listings from paid listings.

Local SEO Search Results

Google Local Service ads

Other search results that are unique to local SEO are Google Local Service ads. Google Local Service ads feature service-based businesses by positioning them at the top of search results pages.

Local SEO Plumber Search Results

The results might also be featured on a Google Local Services page when a user searches for a service-based business.Local SEO Plumber Search Google Guaranteed

Businesses that appear on this list have signed up through Google Local Service ads, met certain criteria and paid for placement. Some businesses have taken it one step further and become a Google Guaranteed business.

Google Guaranteed businesses have a special destination that shows that they have passed a Google screening and qualification process and are backed by a guarantee.

If a customer uses a business backed by The Google Guarantee, and is unsatisfied with the work, Google might refund the amount paid for the service.

Service-based businesses might want to join Google Local Service if they are looking to stand out in search.

The benefits of local SEO

Having your local business appear in any type of search results is beneficial. Of course, the more people who find your business, the better. But local search is helpful in other unique and specific ways.

Local search is widely used

A lot of customers use local search. Forty-six percent of all searches on Google were for local information (GO-Gulf), and between 2015-2017, there was a 500% increase in the number of mobile searches that include the phrase “near me” and a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” (Google).

Local search is specific

Local searchers are often near the end of the purchase funnel. They often know what they want and just need to find a place that sells or provides it. Eighty-eight percent of searches for local businesses on a mobile device result in either a call or a visit to the business within 24 hours (Nectafy via Hubspot).

Local searchers are eager to visit a business

When someone searches for a local business, they are usually only a few steps away from visiting the business. As of 2014, half of the consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day (Google).

Local searchers are eager to buy

People who perform a local search are often ready to buy.

They’re looking for a place that offers what they want and are only a few steps away from making a purchase.

Eighteen percent of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day (Google).

If your business isn’t showing up in local search, you could be missing an opportunity to connect with customers at the right time. Local searchers are eager and ready to do business with a local brand. You need to use local SEO to make sure you are the option they find while searching for their options.

Local SEO best practices

Now that you know what local search is and why it’s so important for small and local businesses, let’s look at how your brand can set up a successful local SEO plan. Here are some top local SEO tips to keep in mind as you build out your strategy.

Closely manage your business’s online contact info

Proximity, or the distance between the searcher and the business, is a top local search component. So it should be no surprise that the management of your business’s address needs to be a top priority for local SEO.

Your business contact information needs to be consistent and up to date across your entire online presence.

Your business contact information, often referred to as your NAP (name, address and phone number), is what tells search engines where your business is located and how customers can contact you.

If it is inconsistent, search engines might decrease your search rankings or fail to show your business at all.

Keep your NAP consistent by always:

  • Using your official physical address.
  • Carefully spelling out your business’s name and address.
  • Using the same variation of name, address and phone number all across the web.

Even just a small change in your address (e.g., having one listing that includes your suite number and one that doesn’t) can throw off your NAP consistency. So make this a top priority for your local SEO.

Editor’s note: Upfiv’s Local Business Listings product enables you to manage multiple local business listings from one dashboard.

Fully understand the local SEO landscape

While there are best practices to boost your local SEO (which we’ll discuss later in this post), there is no exact plan to get your brand to the top of SERPs.

How much work it will take to improve your ranking depends on the competition in your space.

So before you start your local SEO plan, take some time to review your sector to see what you are up against. If the competition is high, know that it will take more work to get top placement. If the competition is low, expect to see results quicker.

Research your industry and competitors

First, look at the brands that are already winning in your industry and location. Perform a search to see which brands receive top placement. Also, look at how many other businesses are in your category and in your area.

Look closer at the brands in the top placements. Understand that you will need to outperform them in order to claim the top spots in search.

Make a list of top competitors and research their strategies to see what you will need to do to compete and overtake their rankings.

Pro tip: Search engines personalize your results depending on past actions and preferences. For example, if you have already visited the website for Fantastic Sams Cut and Color and you search for “hair salon,” it’s likely that Sams will show on the first page of results. So, if you want to get an objective, unaltered view of results, search from a private or incognito browser that doesn’t consider preferences or past searches.

Research your keywords

Next, research the keywords that are top terms in your industry or category. We’ll dive deeper into this later in this guide. But at this point, understand that some keywords will be more difficult to rank for than others.

While you might go into your local SEO strategy planning to rank on the first page of search for broad keywords like “hair salon” and “hair stylist,” you might have to adjust your strategy depending on the competition for those terms. You might find that you need to focus on terms that are less popular but also less competitive (such as “best Tampa hair stylists” and “best hairstyles for the beach”).

Always put user experience first

While there are more than 200 ranking factors that help search engines decide which sites to put at the top of organic SERPs, search engines are really looking for one thing — what results will provide the best user experience.

Search engines want users to find the best results. They want to offer the most useful and relevant information in the best packaging. So as you go through the local SEO checklist, always keep this in mind.

Follow local SEO best practices, but always think about how what you’re doing will affect users.

Do what will provide the best experience for them. Pleasing users helps to build brand trust and affinity. Plus, keeping users on your page longer helps boost your SEO even more.

Search engines also consider engagement metrics (like time on site and bounce rate) as ranking factors. So always keep the user experience at the forefront of your SEO strategies.

Gaining links back to your brand’s website is a top ranking factor for both general and local SEO. But it’s important to know that backlinks can be both good and bad.

  • Not all links are equally valuable.
  • Backlinks from sites that have high online authority are more likely to boost your SEO than backlinks from lesser-known sites.
  • Backlinks from spammy sites can actually negatively impact your SEO.
  • Links from a few quality sites are better than a lot of links from low-quality sites.

So as you develop link-building strategies and build citations for your website, always check on the quality of the linking site before creating the connection.

Consider all search engines

While most of this post is about Google, most SEO advice refers directly to Google and most searches are performed on Google—you can’t ignore other search engines.

Remember that searchers might be using other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo.

Many of the tips for optimizing for Google will be the same as optimizing for other search engines. But as you go through tips for optimizing for Google, keep in mind that you might need to repeat steps for other search engines — such as creating a local listing on Bing Places for Business and running sample searches on sites like DuckDuckGo.

Local SEO checklist: 11 steps to success

Now, let’s look at the specific steps you can take to improve and optimize your brand’s online presence to boost your local SEO.

  1. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
  2. Make sure your site is fast.
  3. Claim your Google My Business page.
  4. Optimize your Google My Business page.
  5. Build other business citations.
  6. Create and optimize your social profiles.
  7. Get more backlinks for your site.
  8. Feature your online reviews and encourage more.
  9. Optimize your content for keywords
  10. Optimize your content for your location.
  11. Don’t forget about general SEO best practices.

Read on to learn more about each step.

1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly

A mobile-friendly site is a responsive site that automatically repositions its layout so that the content looks good and is easy to read on every screen size. Mobile friendliness is crucial for local SEO for three reasons.

Mobile friendliness is a confirmed general ranking factor.

Search engines give higher rankings to sites that are responsive.

Mobile friendliness is a top ranking factor for mobile searches. Google can tell what type of device someone is searching on. They want to give the best results possible, so they are more likely to show a site that is mobile friendly when the search is conducted on a mobile device.

Many local searches are conducted on mobile devices. When people look for a nearby business, they are often on the go and searching from their mobile devices. Eighty-two percent of smartphone searchers conduct “near me” searches and 90% were likely to click on the first set of results.

It’s imperative for your business website to be mobile-friendly so that search engines show your business to the customers that matter most.

A poor mobile experience will cripple your local SEO and drive away people who are actively trying to give you money. Get this one right from the get-go; and if you aren’t sure if your site is mobile friendly or not, run a test.

Make sure your site works properly on mobile by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your site URL, and the tool will report back with any problems that might exist on the mobile version.

Local SEO Mobile Friendly

2. Make sure your site is fast

People want a good experience while using a website. They want it to look good on their screen size, and they also want it to load quickly. That is why search engines also use page load speed as a ranking factor.

Search engines give higher rankings to sites that load quickly, and they prioritize this even more for mobile searches (which is where many local searches take place). Quickly loading sites:

  • Provide an overall better user experience, which search engines want to provide.
  • Make your site easier to crawl, which helps search engines quickly understand and better rank your content.
  • Reduce bounce rates and increase conversions, which tell search engines that your site is engaging and useful to users.

To follow local SEO best practices, focus on building a quick-loading website and regularly checking in to make sure your site speed stays high.

Check your site speed

Google helps you quickly identify if your load speed is up to par. Use its PageSpeed Insights tool to measure the load speed of your site.

Enter your site URL, and the tool will provide loading scores for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site. It will also provide tips for what you can do to improve your site speed.

Local SEO Speed Test

Improve your site speed

To improve your site speed, use the opportunities and diagnostics reports from Google PageSpeed Insights, and follow these other best practices for improving site loading speed:

  • Enable browser caching.
  • Use file compression to reduce the size of CSS, HTML and JavaScript files.
  • Reduce image sizes.
  • Improve server response times.
  • Reduce the number of redirects.

Many tactics to improve site speed require technical knowledge, website development tasks, or back-end coding. If you can’t implement these yourself, look for a service provider who specializes in site speed to give your site the boost it needs.

3. Claim your Google My Business page

Earlier in this post, we talked about how local search results appear as Google My Business listings and featured search results. So, it should come as no surprise that setting up your Google My Business page is an essential step in a local SEO checklist.

Your Google My Business listing is the heart of your local SEO efforts and gives you an authoritative presence across Google search as well as Google Maps.

It also gives you an integrated way of attracting reviews and ratings, which can help you improve your standing in Google’s revised local 3-pack results and add authority to your paid advertising.

To get started on Google My Business:

  • If you haven’t already claimed your listing, create a listing for your location.
  • If you have more than one location, create a listing for each location.
  • Make sure there aren’t duplicate listings for a location. If there are, decide which is the most important and delete the other pages.
  • Make sure the page is verified.
  • Use an account email address that matches the domain of your website.

Pay close attention to the official Google My Business guidelines as you set up your basic profile information. And remember to be particularly careful in establishing your official NAP information here.

This is a core set of information you want to be cited consistently online over time.

Editor’s Note: Upfiv Websites + Marketing Ecommerce now makes it easier than ever before for local consumers to find your business via Google Web Search and Google Maps, and even improves your website’s search engine optimization ranking.

4. Optimize your Google My Business page

Once you set up your Google My Business page, you might think your work is over—but it’s not. To give your brand the best local SEO, it helps to regularly engage with, optimize and update your Google My Business page.

  • Description: Add a short blurb about what your business does and why you do it.
  • Categories: Add categories that closely describe your products or services. Be as specific as possible.
  • Appointments: Add a button that leads users to the page where they can make an appointment.
  • Business hours: Make sure your hours are always up to date as this information appears prominently on your profile.
  • Images: Start by adding cover photos and an album of photos that show the interior and exterior of your business. Then, continue to add fresh photos that show off the personality, products and services of your business.
  • Videos: Add a video that gives potential customers a closer look at your business and what you do or sell.
  • FAQs: Keep an eye on this section and answer any questions that come in from customers. If customers don’t provide questions, enter your own. Add the frequently asked questions that your team hears most, and provide the answers to help build out your profile.
  • Google Posts: Utilize Google Posts to share information about your business, promote events and highlight new products and services. Also, use offer posts to set a time-sensitive special offer that can drive in new customers.

5. Build other business citations

While Google My Business is the most important place to list your business, it’s just the beginning when it comes to using business directories and citations.

Google uses prominence and authority as ranking factors. It wants to show the businesses that are the most well known and trustworthy. Business listings and citations send those trust signals to Google, increasing your chances of ranking.

Having more citations makes search engines view your business more favorably, so build profiles on online business directories based on your location or industry.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Angie’s List
  • Yellow Pages
  • TripAdvisor
  • MapQuest
  • Apple Maps
  • Citysearch

To find directory sites based on your location, use Moz’s Citations by City list. It includes the most popular sites in your area so you can be sure to create profiles on the sites where your competitors already are.

Bear in mind that you’re after quality when it comes to these local links.

Citations on high-quality sites can boost your rankings, while citations on spammy, low-quality sites can decrease your rankings. Be mindful when reviewing directories, and only create profiles on trustworthy, high-quality sites.

6. Create and optimize your social profiles

Another way to show that your business is trustworthy and legitimate is by claiming your social media handles and building social profiles. Social profiles provide links back to your website and present another opportunity to share your brand’s NAP, which are both beneficial to your SEO. Plus, social media is a great way to get in front of your local customers.

If you have one location, create one social media profile on each of the top social sites: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Consider what other social media sites might be right for your brand, depending on your industry and audience. This could include:

  • LinkedIn (If your brand focuses on professional services like an accounting firm or a marketing agency.)
  • Snapchat (If your brand targets customers 30 and under like a clothing boutique or a nightclub.)
  • Pinterest (If your brand is visually driven like a hair salon or interior decorating firm.)

For the most part, you can use one social account for your brand as a whole. But if you have multiple locations, you might want to create a separate account for each location.

Facebook and Instagram rely heavily on location.

Facebook has a section to add your full address and allows check-ins at individual locations. Instagram also uses geolocation tools to allow users to tag their specific location. It might be worthwhile to create those accounts for each of your business locations.

As you create your profiles, always include a link to your website and include as much relevant location information as possible.

7. Get more backlinks for your site

By creating business directory profiles and building out social profiles, you’ve already started the next task in your local SEO checklist — building backlinks.

Backlinks are the lifeblood of the internet. They connect pages, show relationships between information and help search engines decide what content is the most valuable and useful.

When you have a lot of high-quality links (links from authoritative websites) pointing to your site, it tells search engines that your site is valuable and should receive high rankings.

So in addition to building citations and social profiles, put a plan in place to build links back to your brand website. To build links for your website:

  • Approach relevant local bloggers about reviewing your business
  • Send press releases to local news sites (it’s always best to have some actual news to share)
  • Engage in guest posting
  • Link share with other local businesses
  • Produce great content and ask other websites to link to it as a resource
    For more tips on how to create valuable backlinks for your website.

8. Feature your online reviews and encourage more

Search engines use prominence as a ranking factor. To gauge how prominent a brand is, they rely heavily on reviews. Profiles with a larger number of reviews are more likely to show up in search in places like Yelp and Google.

Good reviews help customers decide to do business with you, while also improving your visibility in local search. So, encourage customers to leave reviews on social sites as well as your Google My Business profile page.

To get more reviews:

  • Don’t be afraid to come out and ask your customers for reviews.
  • Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by creating a page on your website that directs customers to where they can leave reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook.
  • Put up signs in your business that feature review-site logos.
  • Ask for reviews in your email newsletter.
  • Feature and ask for reviews through your social media accounts.
  • Engage with existing reviews to show that your brand cares about reviews.

For more tips on how to get more reviews for your brand, check out our comprehensive guide: Generate reviews —8 ways to get more product reviews.

9. Optimize your content for keywords

So far in this list of local SEO tips, most of the tasks have related to Google’s proximity and prominence ranking factors. Now, let’s look at what you can do to appeal to Google’s relevance ranking factors.

To give searchers what they want, Google matches search queries with the most relevant content. The search engine wants to provide the content that best matches what the searcher is looking for.

To help Google see your content as the most relevant information, you need to use keyword optimization.

Through keyword optimization, you:

  • Perform keyword research to identify the top search terms that your target audience is searching for related to your business, products or services.
  • Create a page of content and assign one keyword to that page of content.
  • Use on-page keyword optimization to help search engines see that the page is relevant to the assigned keyword.

Through this process, you create content that users want, appeals to search engines and helps boost your local SEO.

How to conduct keyword research

Keyword research is the process of looking up the terms and topics that will be most likely to attract your target audience and drive traffic to your site.

To find potential keywords, start with a list of terms that are relevant to your business. Research the terms using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to get information about the term’s search volume and competition and then:

  • Look for keywords with low competition. Highly competitive terms might be difficult to rank for if you’re just starting out with SEO.
  • Look for popular terms. You want to target terms that people are actively searching for, so look for terms with a decent amount of search traffic.
  • Identify terms that might be good for a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign. Through a local Adwords PPC campaign, you can pay for placement on SERPs for terms that are too difficult to rank for organically.
  • Consider targeting long-tail keywords (phrases with three or more words). As voice search continues to grow, more and more searches include long phrases and questions.

How to perform on-page keyword optimization

When you find a keyword you want to use, optimize ONE page on your site for that keyword. Never assign a keyword to more than one page on your site. This leads to keyword cannibalization — where search engines don’t know which page is more important so they don’t rank either page.

Optimize the page for the keyword by using the term or phrase in the:

  • Headline
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Subheading
  • Page URL
  • Naturally in the content
  • Image alt tag

Remember, don’t go overboard and flood your pages with keywords. Write compelling content with important lingo naturally spread throughout.

Also, as you create content, consider the search intent of the keyword. Ask yourself why someone would be searching for the keyword. Then, give the user what they would want to find in the content.

10. Optimize your content for your location

Keywords that relate to your brand, industry, products and services help your business show up in search when users are looking for solutions you offer.

For local SEO, you also need to use location-based keywords to help nearby customers connect with your content.

Location-based keywords are terms that reference your region or area. They might include your city, neighborhood or district. There are two ways to optimize your site for location-based keywords.

Optimize your website to highlight your address.

Show search engines which areas and cities are relevant to your content by optimizing your site for your location.

  • Add your address to your website. Add your physical address to your contact page. If you have one location, also add your address to your website footer.
  • Embed a Google map on pages that feature one address.
  • Create a locations page. If you have multiple locations, create a page that lists the address of each of your locations.
  • Create a page for each location. Take it one step further and create a page for each of your locations. Include the full address as well as an embedded Google map.
  • Optimize your homepage’s title tag and meta description to include your city, neighborhood or defining region.
  • Use Schema markup to add your business address and details to the backend of your website. Schema markup is a type of structured data that provides extra information to search engines so they can better understand and rank the page.

Optimize individual pages to target location-based keywords.

Optimize individual pages of content by targeting a general keyword along with a location-based keyword (e.g., “hair salon Tampa” or “plumber in San Francisco”). Also, optimize your site for searches that include a general keyword plus a “near me” phrase (e.g., “hair salon near me” or “who’s a good plumber near me”).

Use the same on-page keyword optimization tips listed above to optimize pages for location-based keywords.

11. Don’t forget about general SEO best practices

When it comes to local SEO, general SEO is still very important. You need to implement SEO best practices on your websites to ensure that your business can compete in search. You should:

  • Create an on-going content strategy that allows you to create fresh content that engages readers and attracts search engine bots.
  • Submit your sitemap to search engines.
  • Use an organized and natural site architecture.
  • Add security to your site by installing an SSL certificate.
  • Use redirects or delete repeat content to resolve duplicate content issues.
  • Use both inbound and outbound links to tie your website to the rest of the online world.

Local SEO tools

As you go through the tips outlined in this post, try using local SEO tools to help you through the process.

Google My Business

Your local SEO presence is built around your Google My Business page, so it should be no surprise that this free tool is at the top of the list of local SEO tools.

Sign up for free, and use it to manage the local search results that show up for your business. Create your free Google My Business business profile.

Schema plugins

In the list of local SEO tips, we briefly mentioned using schema markup as a way to provide extra information to search engines to let them know what your page is about and where your business is located.

Adding Schema markup requires adding code to the backend of your website. But there are plugins that make it easy to add Schema markup through simple front-end forms. Top Schema plugins include:

Upfiv Local Business Listings

Citations and directory listings for your business are essential for building strong local SEO, but the process can be tedious and time-consuming. You not only need to create listings for your business on multiple sites, but you also need to constantly monitor those profiles to make sure your business information is correct. Upfiv Local Business Listings makes this process easier.

Through Upfiv Local Business Listings, you tell Upfiv your business information, and the company creates and manages profiles for you across dozens of sites.

Take it for a test drive by using its free scanner tool to check your current local business listings for errors.

Upfiv SEO Services

Another way that Upfiv can help you improve your local SEO is by helping you improve your overall SEO. Upfiv’s SEO Services takes over your site’s search engine optimization so experts can guide your SEO plan. Sign up for a monthly SEO plan and Upfiv will:

  • Examine your website to find optimization opportunities.
  • Walk you step-by-step through keyword and phrase suggestions to improve your website’s search rankings.
  • Track your search metrics to show you how your SEO improves over time.

Use these local SEO tips to grow your business

Now you know the answer to the question “what is SEO?” You know what local SEO is, why it’s important to brick-and-mortar and service-based businesses, and you have the steps you need to implement a local SEO plan.

Use these local SEO tips to build and grow your online presence and start driving more traffic to your business and website.

  1. Make your site mobile friendly.
  2. Speed up your site.
  3. Claim your Google My Business page.
  4. Optimize your Google My Business page.
  5. Build other business citations.
  6. Create social profiles for your business.
  7. Get more backlinks for your site.
  8. Feature your online reviews and encourage more.
  9. Optimize your content for keywords
  10. Optimize your content for your location.
  11. Don’t forget about general SEO best practices.

But if all of this still sounds too daunting even with the list of local SEO tools, Upfiv is here to help.

Upfiv SEO Services can work on your site to boost your local SEO and start driving more local traffic to your website and through the doors of your business! Consult with our experts, and they’ll get your local SEO up and running.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Ariana Crisafulli, Emma Wilhelm, Erik Deckers and Tom Ewer.