Tips for Creating Content More Consistently

Consistent content creation is an important part of the online reputation management puzzle

There are many things that go into an effective online reputation strategy. You’ll need to claim your listings and keep them updated, consistently check in on review sites for new reviews, and respond to your reviews on a regular basis — just to name a few of them.

However, reputation management isn’t just about exercising some level of control over what people are saying about your brand online; it’s also about controlling the results people find when they look up your brand online.

When someone googles your business online, are they inundated with negative reviews and bad press, or do they find your website, social media profiles, press releases, and more?

Ensuring that, when people google your business, they find what you want them to is all about SEO (search engine optimization), and when it comes to SEO, there’s almost nothing more important than creating content consistently.

Google recognizes businesses that provide their customers with content that’s original, high-quality, and valuable on a regular basis, but creating content consistently isn’t always easy. What do you write about every day? How do you come up with fresh, new ideas?

5 tips for creating content more consistently

#1. Share your own unique knowledge

As a local business owner, chances are, you have a lot of knowledge to share. Whether you’re a chiropractor, a plumber, or an arborist, you know a thing or two that the rest of us don’t, and that kind of knowledge makes the perfect content to put on your website and to share on social media.

When Google ranks sites, it’s not looking for who can regurgitate the same information the most over and over and over again; it’s looking for content that’s original and authentic. And, as an industry expert, you’re in the best place to provide that kind of content.

How do you figure out what kind of knowledge to share? Pull examples from your day-to-day. If you’re an arborist, and a lot of your clients have been asking how often they should get their trees pruned or why it’s important to get them pruned, share that information in a blog or on social media!

#2. Save ideas for future content as you find them

If you wait until you’re ready to sit down and start blogging to think of a topic to write about, it’s going to make the whole process a lot longer and a lot harder than it has to be. You’ll be a lot better off (and you’ll be able to produce content a lot more consistently) if you have a few ideas socked away for future topics.

Oftentimes, when you’re doing research or on a job, you’ll come up with a great idea for a blog or a social media post. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of believing that you’ll remember it later. As a business owner, you have a lot going on, and the reality is that you’re probably not going to remember it.

Instead, take a minute to jot down any ideas you have in the moment, and keep them saved somewhere you can reference them later on. This way, you’ll always have something to write about.

#3. Let feedback guide you

There are all kinds of content that you could be creating for your audience, but not all of it will be effective or helpful for your brand. Luckily, you can use feedback on the content you’ve created so far to guide you when it comes to the type of content you’ll be producing in the future.

There are many places you could go to get feedback into the type of content you’re creating. One way to go about this is by using social analytics to find out which of your social media posts get the most engagement and clicks. On your website, you can keep track of how your content is ranking. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to feedback in any comments.

Another way to go about gathering feedback about your content is to simply ask for it. When you talk with your clients, it doesn’t hurt to ask them what they would like to learn or about any questions they may have that your content could answer.

#4. Outsource some of your content

No matter how much knowledge and experience you have, and how many sources of fresh topics you have at your disposal, keeping up on consistently producing content can be a lot of work. It can also get old quickly and easily become something that gets put on the backburner when your schedule starts to fill up.

But, there’s no rule that says that you have to produce all of your own content. In fact, if you are able to outsource some of your content to others, it will stay more fresh and interesting for your audience.

One great resource for content might be other businesses that you partner with. Ask them to publish content on your blogs in exchange for publishing content on theirs. This is also a great way to earn backlinks to your site, which will help with your organic rankings.

#5. Remember that there are many different types of content

Traditionally, when most people think of creating content, they think of publishing new blogs on their website or giving followers tips on social media. However, it’s important to remember that content creation goes far beyond text, and whether you’re sharing a video tutorial, an infographic, or even photos of your team volunteering or celebrating at your annual company party — it all counts as creating content.

If you limit yourself to text-based content, it’s going to feel like consistent content creation is an uphill battle. But, when you open yourself up to all kinds of content, it will help you tap into your own creativity and make it easy for you to consistently produce new content.

Consistently creating content is an important part of SEO, which is an important part of building and maintaining a strong online reputation for your business. And, the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to make creating content on a regular basis easier and less time-consuming.

Originally published on 1/31/20

Why Your Local Business Needs a Website

Does your local business really need a website?

It used to be that the only way for your business to be online was to have a website, but all of that has changed. These days, there are lots of ways to have an online presence, from social media to review sites and directories. However, regardless of whether or not you’re on Facebook or Google My Business, you need a website. It’s simply non-negotiable when it comes to the future success of your business.

Here at Top Rated Local®, we have an awards program that recognizes the businesses with the best reputations in each state across a variety of industries. While auditing our award winners, I’ve been struck more than once by just how many contenders still don’t have websites, and they’re not alone.

Did you know that fewer than two-thirds of all small businesses have a website? The reasons for this may vary, with some businesses believing that they’re too small to need a website, some business owners citing the cost of building a website and some believing that a website is irrelevant for their industry, among other things. But, the fact of the matter is that, no matter what size your business is, what industry you’re in, how many clients you have or how many word-of-mouth referrals your clients give you, having a website isn’t optional for your local business or, for that matter, your business’s online reputation.

5 reasons why a website is a must for your local business

#1. To build an online presence

The first and most essential reason to build a website for your business is that it’s the first step toward establishing its online presence. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a Facebook page and a Google My Business listing, you’ve got an online presence, but without a website, it’s missing its main hub.

Think of your business’s presence on review sites, social media and directories as the introduction to your business online. Often, these are the places where people can find your business online, but they’re not their final destination. In most cases, when someone finds you on one of these sites, and they’re interested in the possibility of working with you, they’ll go to your website to learn more about who you are, what you do and if you have what it takes to meet their needs.

#2. To establish credibility online

When someone finds your business on a directory or a review site, the next logical step in determining whether or not they want to work with you usually consists of visiting your website. As a result, if you don’t have a website, it can turn visitors off, and many of them will move on to the next business on the list.

Although there are still a large number of small businesses that don’t have a website, consumers still expect that you have one, and if you don’t, it can lead to questions about the credibility of your business. In fact, a majority of people won’t trust a business without a website.

Think about it from a consumer’s perspective. First, they find your business on a directory — let’s say Google My Business. They then spend a few minutes reading your reviews, and you seem like a decent company to work with. Now, they’re at the stage where they want to learn more about your business, but there’s no website to visit. Without a website, they’re left wondering if you can meet their needs or if your business is even legitimate. Finally, they decide to move on to the next listing.

#3. To gain more control over your online presence

There’s a lot that goes on online that’s totally out of your control as a business owner. You can claim your business listings, write your own business description and respond to your customers’ reviews, but you have no control over what those reviews say. On social media, too, you can start the conversation, but you can’t control it. You have some measure of control over your online presence across the web, but your website is the one and only place where you’re totally in control.

On your website, you decide which testimonials to highlight, which images to use, how to describe your business, etc. It’s the one place where you get to fully decide what kind of impression you make on your visitors and what they come away with.

#4. To inform consumers about what you have to offer

Too many businesses make the mistake of believing that having a Facebook page or a Google My Business listing is the only thing they need to do online. And, while these sites are great for helping people find your business online, they don’t tell people a whole lot about your business or what you have to offer.

Let’s say someone is looking for a specific service, like the dry foam method of carpet cleaning. They know enough to know that they don’t want a typical carpet cleaner, but there’s no “dry foam” category of carpet cleaning on Yelp. So, when they find a carpet cleaner that looks like they have decent reviews, they go to their website to ensure that they offer what they need.

Directories and listing sites often allow businesses to write their own descriptions, but it’s not always easy or possible to give consumers the information they need to confidently choose their business in a few sentences. Your website is the perfect place to go into more detail about what you offer and how you can help.

#5. To get your name out there

Staying competitive online means making your business as visible as possible online. That means, regardless of whether someone is searching Google, Facebook or Top Rated Local for a local business, your business needs a presence.

Having a website is just one more avenue for people to find your business online, and what’s more is that there are a lot of things you can do on your website that you can’t on your Facebook page or Google My Business listing that will help it rank higher in the organic search results, and for lots more keywords.

Online reputation management is important for every business to think about, but your presence online will never be as strong as it could be unless you have a website. If you’re interested in building your own local business site, the Marketing 360® Websites app can help.

With an intuitive drag-and-drop editor and a library of beautiful design templates to choose from, Marketing 360 Websites makes it easy to build your own website, no matter how much design experience you have. Get started! 

Originally published on 2/7/20

Your Guide to Showcasing Customer Reviews

Reviews are a very powerful thing for your business’ online reputation, as well as for its overall success. But have you ever wondered if there’s a way to get even more out of your reviews?

Showcase your reviews to get the most out of them!

Even if you never do anything but let your reviews sit on Google, Yelp, Facebook and any other review site they were published on, they’ll do your business a lot of good. Reviews help with everything from SEO (search engine optimization) to credibility and trustworthiness, but that’s not all they can do!

With a little know-how, you can make every five-star review you get go a lot further!

A note about showcasing reviews:

A negative review can be a powerful thing, and for reasons that are both psychological and — believe it or not — physiological — people are naturally more drawn to negative reviews and have a tendency to give them a lot more weight than positive reviews. This fact alone makes taking the time to showcase your positive reviews is well worth it.

Seven Ways to Showcase Outstanding Customer Reviews

#1. Publish reviews on your website

Your website is a great place to publish reviews you want to highlight or are especially proud of. And when you do, you may even enjoy a subsequent boost in sales, as reviews help to establish trust and give buyers more confidence.

At Top Rated Local, we’ve seen a lot of businesses publish reviews on the front page of their website, which is a great way to get attention with them, but they also work beautifully on testimonial pages, as well as relevant product pages and pages for any specific services mentioned in the reviews.

You could also utilize a positive review to give credence to what you say on your ‘About Us’ page. For example, every business says they’re the best, but when you publish a customer review also backing up your claim, your customers don’t have to take your word for it!

#2. Share reviews on social media

If a customer has left you a five-star review on your social media page, especially if it was well-written and tells a story that tugs at the heartstrings or otherwise stirs up emotion, sharing it on social media is a great way to ensure that it gets noticed.

Posting on social media is something you should be doing on a regular basis. Luckily, posting a review every now and then will give you a break from constantly having to come up with new content to publish on your social media pages, and it gives you the opportunity to thank your client for taking the time to share their experience in a public way, as well as to brag on your business without having to be the one to brag.

#3. Utilize reviews in print ads

Online reviews don’t have to be used strictly online! They are a great way to make any print advertising you do more trustworthy and comfortable. Regardless of whether you’re putting reviews in newspaper ads, magazine ads or even in direct mailers, they’ll go a long way toward making your business look good.

When it comes to adding reviews to print ads, direct mail may be your most impactful option. Surprisingly enough, in the digital age, direct mail is still an incredibly effective way to get your business’ name out there, and a lot of consumers have come to know and trust direct mail, even if they don’t love it. Because direct mail already enjoys so much trust, you can make a direct mail campaign even more effective by incorporating your online reviews in your mailers, postcards and other marketing items.

#4. Display reviews in your store/office

Some reviews are so perfect that they are worth framing — literally.

If you’ve received a real show-stopper of a review, and you’d love to spread the word about it high and low, one cute and effective way to utilize it is by printing it out in a nice font, framing it and hanging it in your store or office.

Having a great review hanging in your store or office is an effective way to remind yourself of the standard of service you want to set and reach each and every day. It also shows anyone who comes into your business what kind of service you strive to offer.

#5. Publish reviews in your monthly newsletter

Sending out a monthly newsletter is a great way to keep your customers informed about what’s going on in your business, including any promotions or sales that are coming up, any big projects you’ve recently completed, what you can help them with, etc. These newsletters are also the perfect place to share reviews that your especially proud of.

Part of your monthly newsletter should include updates on what your business has been up to for the last month, and if you’ve received a five-star review in that time, there’s no better way to showcase it than in your newsletter. Sharing reviews in a newsletter is powerful because you can give it context and add more information to help your readers get more out of it.

#6. Write about great reviews on your blog

If you know anything about SEO (search engine optimization), it’s probably that content is king — which it is. Adding fresh, unique content to your website on a regular basis is the number one most effective thing you can do to improve and maintain your website’s organic ranking on search engines. But adding all of that content on a regular basis can get old, and it’s not always easy to think of new topics to write about. Luckily, reviews help you break the mold!

You could promote your reviews on your blog in a couple of different ways:

  • Tell the story of a great experience with one customer, highlighting that specific review. If the customer is willing, you could also ask them about doing a case study with them or interviewing them further about their experience.
  • If you’re writing a blog based on a specific product or service, you could pull a list of several reviews that you think give valuable information on the product or service.

#7. Display reviews on the shelf

Product reviews are powerful things, but you don’t have to limit using them to online marketing and promotion! If a particular product in your brick and mortar store has a stand-out, five-star review online, you can utilize it in your in-store marketing efforts to great effect.

Displaying outstanding product reviews on shelf displays is a superb way to bring attention to products. Plus, it lets your reviewer explain the benefits of purchasing the product, which not only gives you a break but also makes for more credible and convincing claims. Having a review on display will also help to establish more trust in the product and could lead to an increase in sales!

Make the most of your online reputation

Building and managing your online reputation can be challenging, but when you have the right tools in front of you — as well as the knowledge of how best to use those tools — there’s nothing stopping you from building the kind of online reputation for your business that you want. Marketing 360®’s reputation management software is here to help. Learn more and see plans and pricing.

Originally published on 10/21/19

Your Guide to Managing Your Business Listings

There are so many local directories that your business could be listed on.

You never know how someone might find your business in this day and age.

While Google is, by far, the most common place where people search for local businesses, they could also find your business listings on many different local directories, apps and sites.

This is a double-edged sword for many businesses.

On one hand, when your business is listed on a plethora of review sites and directories, it means that there are a plethora of avenues for people to find your business online.

This potentially means more customers and more sales, which is the end goal of any marketing effort.

But, on the other hand, when your business is listed on multiple review sites and directories, it means that you have listings on multiple review sites and directories to manage, and that can quickly become overwhelming.

If someone finds your business on a directory that you haven’t updated in a while, it’s possible that they’ll get an old phone number or an old address.

If people can’t get ahold of you, it may lead them to believe that either you have gone out of business or don’t care enough to keep your business information up to date — neither of which is a good thing for your business’ online reputation.

Another reason why it’s important to ensure consistency in your business information is that, if you don’t, it could hurt how your website ranks organically in the SERP (search engine results pages).

Google rewards businesses that diligently take care of their online presence, and that means managing your listings.

Today, I’m going to break down a few steps you can take to make managing all of those local listings easier.

How to manage your business listings across the web

Step #1. Figure out where you’re listed

Sometimes, your business is listed on directories and review sites because you signed up for them. Other times, your business information gets pulled in by an algorithm. Either way, the first step to managing your business’s listings is finding out where they are.

There are lots of tools out there that you can use to determine where your business is listed.

Yext even offers a free scan of business listings online across more than 50 services, including Google, Yellow Pages, Bing and many, many more.

Step #2. Pick your most important listings

Once you run a listings scan for your business, there’s a good chance that you’ll find that your business is listed on dozens of sites across the web.

The idea that you’d be able to manage all of them is nice, but not practical for most small business owners.

There is a fast way to, at least, ensure that your business information is accurate across all listings, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

There are only so many listings that you’ll really be able to manage, so it’s important to figure out what your top priorities are, as well as how much time you’re willing to spend on managing your listings.

A good place to start is by choosing 10 or 15 listings that are your highest priorities. You can always manage more listings in the future if you find you have the time, or fewer if you’re feeling pressed for time.

When you’re selecting your top listings to manage, be sure to consider both popular sites and sites specific to your industry.

For example, if your business has anything to do with weddings — like if you’re a photographer, caterer, event planner, etc. — you’ll want to make sure that you’re listed on The Knot.

And, if you’re a home contractor, you’ll want to make sure you’re listed on HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List.

Step #3. Claim your listings

Now that you have a good list of your high-priority listings, it’s time to claim those listings.

Claiming your listings gives you greater control over the information people find on them, and it allows you to optimize listings for increased conversions and better representation of your brand.

When you claim your listings, it allows you to update your contact information, which will ensure that people can always get ahold of you when they need to.

It will also allow you to upload photos and a more personalized business description, which you can optimize with your most valued SEO keywords.

Claiming listings and optimizing them will also help your listing to stand out! When people find accurate business info, images and branding on your listing, it helps to make the right first impression.

Step #4. Update your contact information

There’s a lot of business information that you’ll want to keep secure and protected, but any information that can be used to get ahold of you or visit your business, like your phone number, address and business hours, needs to be shouted from the mountaintops.

And, that means updating that information on all of your listings across the web.

Ensuring that your business is listed correctly establishes trust in your brand, makes it easier for people to contact you when they need you and is even helpful for your organic rankings on search engines.

However, if the idea of updating dozens of listings one at a time seems daunting, that’s because it is. Luckily, though, there’s an easier way.

Listings from Marketing 360® helps you get listed and manage your listings across more than 50 of the most popular local directories, sites and apps without the arduous task of updating them one at a time.

It’s a program that will save you time — which means that it will save you money — and it will give you peace of mind knowing that your information is listed exactly the same way across the web.

Managing your listings across the web takes some time, but it’s an important piece of the online reputation management puzzle. A great place to start managing your listing is by claiming your Top Rated Local® profile! Get started today!

Originally published 2/3/20

Simplifying SEO for Local Businesses

Local SEO isn’t as complicated as you may think

Being visible online isn’t something any local should take lightly in this day and age, and there are two basic ways to ensure that your website is visible online — paid ads and organic results. Paid search ads are a great way to get your name out there when you’re just starting out, but when you’ve dominated the organic search results, you’ll save money with each and every lead that you get.

SEO (search engine optimization) is all about increasing both the quality and the quantity of the organic traffic that your website gets from search engines. And it’s something that every local business should think about. After all, a business that learns how to dominate local search results through SEO not only saves money on paid search ads but also benefits from better, more qualified traffic to their website.

As important as SEO is, it’s often an overlooked piece of the online reputation management puzzle for many business owners. That’s because SEO can seem like an overly complicated thing, and while it’s true that it takes time and hard work, it’s actually a lot more simple than you probably think.

The basics of SEO for local businesses

Keyword research

Keywords are what people type into Google, Bing or other search engines to find the topic they’re searching for. Identifying the appropriate keywords to optimize your website for is done through keyword research, and it’s the first — and arguably the most important — aspect of your entire SEO strategy. The bottom line is that you need to be able to identify which terms you want your website to rank for, and once you do, you’ll be able to base the entire rest of your SEO strategy off of it.

The keywords you choose will have a direct impact on both the quantity of the traffic your website gets and the quality of that traffic. Choosing broader, more general keywords will mean more competition, and choosing irrelevant keywords will hurt your ranking and diminish the quality of your organic leads.

Learn all about how to find the best keywords for your business.


If you’ve talked to many people who work in digital marketing, there’s a common saying about SEO you’ve probably heard — “content is king.” Everything in SEO has to do with content, and it’s one of the easiest and also one of the most challenging aspects of SEO for local business owners.

The good news is that SEO won’t require you to have a whole lot of technical knowledge or marketing savvy, but the bad news is that it requires you to create original, high-quality content on your website, social platforms and beyond on a regular basis. That can be daunting for business owners who may not exactly think of themselves as writers or already have an over-flowing schedule to contend with.

Luckily, Google doesn’t expect every business owner to be Hemingway, but they do expect them to create content that adds value. And for the benefit of your website’s SEO, that content should be built around your keyword research. Keep in mind that it’s more important to use keywords naturally than it is to force them into your content as many times as possible.

As a business owner, you have a lot of knowledge about your industry that the average consumer does not, and a great strategy is to use that knowledge to create content for your website. Tips, how-to articles and client testimonials are the perfect things to put in your blog.

It’s important to know that content isn’t just text. There are many different types of content that should be added to your website, and when optimized correctly, videos and photos can be valuable commodities when it comes to organic rankings.

Not many businesses think of them this way, but reviews are actually another type of content that can help a business rank higher organically in the SERP, and the best part about reviews is that you don’t have to write them yourself! Google also weighs what other people say about your business more heavily than what you say about yourself, and reviews can be a major benefit for your SEO.

In addition to adding content to your website consistently, posting on social media should be a regular part of your SEO strategy. Excerpts from blogs on your site, tips and tricks, photos of your team and client testimonials are just a few examples of the kind of content that works well on social media.


The other major aspect of SEO is link building. Link acquisition can be challenging, and it will take a solid investment of time and hard work to achieve it. One of the most straightforward ways to acquire it is to email website owners directly, and ask if they would allow you to publish a guest post on their blog.

Contacting website owners directly is just one aspect of earning links; you also need to have link-worthy pages on your website to link to. What makes a page linkable? Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine linkability:

  • Is the content useful? – Link-worthy pages are informative and useful. How-to guides, advice and concept explanations are just a few examples of the kind of pages that are linkable.
  • Is the content original? – In order for a page to be link-worthy, it can’t have the same information that’s available everywhere else. Use your industry expertise by taking a new perspective on something, or share original data or research to create link-worthy content.
  • Is the content entertaining? – There are a lot of ways to make an impact with your content, but the best way is by creating content that entertains. Humorous content, as well as interactive content, like quizzes or games, can be very entertaining and link-worthy.

In general, the most linkable pages appeal to a wider audience, which means that they probably won’t be your highest-ranking pages. But as long as your content is strong enough, you’ll earn links to those pages anyway through your manual efforts to reach out to site owners. And when you do, those links will add credibility and authority to your website and your brand.

SEO often gets a bad reputation for being overly complicated, but it really doesn’t have to be. Neglecting SEO can hurt your business’ visibility and online reputation, so it really isn’t something you should overlook.

The Marketing 360® Content app can help you monitor your organic performance, including keyword rankings, traffic and more. Work with a dedicated Content Marketing Specialist to reach your organic goals. See plans and pricing.

Originally published on 1/14/20

Build Ready-to-Go Forms for Anything

Whether a local business is collecting customer feedback or information, accepting a payment or growing your monthly newsletter, website forms are the perfect tool.

Having the right website forms builder on your side can make it easy to create the forms you need. The Marketing 360® Forms app has everything you need.

How Marketing 360® Forms can help you reach your goals and grow your business

Save time with ready-to-go forms, or create your own

Unsure of where to get started when it comes to making forms for your small business website? Not to worry, the Marketing 360 Forms app offers a library of ready-to-go forms for your industry, saving you time and hassle.

Alternatively, if you want something specific, it’s easy to create your own website forms from scratch. And, it only takes a few minutes.

Gather data and get leads

Website forms are the perfect tool for collecting data from leads and customers. Whether the form is an application, an onboarding form or an estimate request, it’s the perfect way to gather key information.

When someone fills out a form on your website, their information is stored right in the CRM app, where you can access and organize it.

Give customers the option to book online

A lot of consumers these days prefer to schedule their own appointments online, as opposed to calling you to schedule an appointment over the phone. With the Marketing 360 Forms app — backed by the Scheduling app — you can give them that option.

With the Forms and Scheduling apps, you’ll spend more time serving your customers and less time on the phone booking appointments.

Make sales without a shopping cart

You don’t necessarily need an e-commerce website or even a shopping cart to start making sales on your small business website. The Forms app makes it easy to accept payments, donations and more quickly and easily.

Payment forms are backed by the Marketing 360 Payments app, where you can store and analyze payment information, manage your invoices and more.

Collect feedback from your customers

For many small business owners, it can be difficult to get a clear view of your customer service from where you’re at. That makes it hard to tell what’s working and what’s not.

Gathering customer feedback is the best way to identify and address issues within your business that may be holding you back. And, with Marketing 360 Forms, you can collect customer feedback right on your website.

Get more applications

Are you looking to fill open positions in your small business? You’re not alone. Businesses of all sizes and in many different industries are facing a shortage of employees. But, you can increase the number of applicants you get by making it as easy as possible to apply.

With Marketing 360 Forms, you can create custom job application forms that your candidates can fill out from your website. Applicant data is stored in the CRM so that you can follow up.

Grow your newsletter subscriptions

Want to stay top of mind with your customers and leads? A monthly newsletter is a fantastic way to do just that. But a successful newsletter requires a healthy subscriber list.

Marketing 360 Forms gives you an easy way to grow your newsletter subscriptions. In just a couple of steps, your website visitors can sign up for your newsletters, and you’ll have the information you need to create automated email marketing campaigns.

Simplify with full platform integration

Marketing 360 Forms is an all-in-one tool that makes creating your own website forms quick and easy. But, the very best part is that each and every form you build integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Marketing 360 platform.

Create forms to book appointments online and manage appointments with Scheduling, organize customer data in the CRM, build automated email journeys with Nurture, accept and manage payments with Payments and more.

Start creating forms for your website the easy way with Marketing 360 Forms. See our plans and pricing.

Manage Contacts, Projects, Deals and More

Every successful local business has one very important thing in common — strong customer relationships. It’s not enough to rely on new customers. Not only are new customers more expensive to attract, but it’s your loyal customers who have the biggest impact on your business.

Having the right small business CRM (customer relationship management) software on your side is the key to great customer relationships. The Marketing 360® CRM app is a fantastic option. Here’s why.

How the Marketing 360® CRM can help you stay organized as you scale and grow your business

Manage your business your way

Many of the small business CRMs available are one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t account for how different businesses operate, forcing you to change or adjust the way you do things. The Marketing 360 CRM, on the other hand, is fully customizable, giving you the ability to manage your business the way you always have.

With Marketing 360’s CRM software, you don’t have to change your business to fit the technology. Instead, you get technology that changes to fit your business — a tailor-made solution.

Convert more leads into customers

Most marketing strategies are built to get new leads into the door, whether that’s through online advertising, content marketing or social media marketing. But, few help with the next step — nurturing leads into customers. That’s where the CRM app comes in.

The Marketing 360 CRM can help you create a more effective sales process by streamlining all of your sales data into one place, including leads, sales representatives, deals, sales stages and so much more.

Maximize the lifetime value of your customers

As I mentioned, new customers are great, and it’s always a good idea to do whatever you can to expand your customer base. However, compared to loyal customers, new customers, on average, spend less, nor will they tell their friends about their experience.

Just as the Marketing 360 CRM can help you keep track of important information about your leads, it can do the same thing with your existing customers. Having one place to store key data about your customers means better customer service and long-lasting customer relationships.

Stay organized and efficient

Most of the time, people who build local businesses aren’t necessarily doing it because they have a passion for business administration and management. They do it because they want to serve people and give back to their communities. Luckily, the right CRM software for small businesses can help with the behind-the-scenes business management tasks that can bog you down.

The Marketing 360 CRM helps you stay organized and increase efficiency, even as your business grows. Create task templates for common tasks within your business in seconds to keep your team on task.

Manage everything from one place

If your local business is like most, then you have multiple moving parts to keep track of, and you may not be the only one who needs to keep track. Having a single place where you can store data will help to simplify the process.

With the Marketing 360 CRM, you can manage all of your deals and projects from start to finish. This includes creating unique stages for projects, assigning tasks to specific team members, setting deadlines and more.

Save time with automation

The customer data you collect in the CRM can be a very powerful tool for your small business, because it allows you to personalize your marketing efforts and increase your ROI through automation.

The Marketing 360 CRM directly connects to the Nurture app — Marketing 360’s email marketing software — giving you the ability to send the right message to the right customers at exactly the right time through automated email campaigns.

Simplify with a full platform integration

Even as stand-alone software, CRM software is something every small business needs. But, manually entering data and extracting it for your other efforts, undoubtedly, takes a lot of time and effort.

One of the biggest reasons to use the Marketing 360 CRM is that it’s a part of and integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Marketing 360 platform. That means when someone fills out a form, schedules an appointment or makes a payment on your website, their information is stored in the CRM, where you can use it to send out personalized marketing emails and texts.

The Marketing 360 CRM is a powerful tool to help you stay organized and build strong customer relationships — one that scales with your business as it grows. See plans and pricing.

How to Hire a Great Team for Your Local Business

All successful local businesses, regardless of how big they are or what industry they’re in, have one very important thing in common — a great team.

Your team sets the stage for the kind of service you offer, how you communicate with customers and more. They’re the face of your local business, which is why it’s incredibly important that you hire the right team for your local business. Here are a few tips to get you started.

5 tips for hiring a great team for your local business

#1. Know what qualities you’re looking for

Before you start accepting applications and resumes or interviewing applicants, you need to know what you’re looking for in a candidate. Is it work ethic, the ability to work with a team or fantastic communication skills?

There may be many things that you value in a potential employee, but if you look for too many qualities at once, it can confuse what really matters. It’s better to identify your highest priority and focus your efforts on finding someone who embodies that trait.

Build your employment process on finding people who have the quality you’re looking for, including designing your interview questions around it.

#2. Fill in the gaps

We’ve all heard employers say that they wish they could clone a member of their team. While that may seem like a good idea, it’s actually for the better that cloning existing employees isn’t possible — nor should you look for people exactly like your existing team.

Successful teams are a lot like puzzles. Every piece is different, but they all fit together perfectly to create the finished product. If you try to fit the same piece into the puzzle over and over again, it won’t resemble anything like it’s supposed to.

Instead of looking for candidates that are exactly like your existing team, think about the areas your team falls flat or could be better. And, look for candidates who can fill in the gaps.

#3. Prioritize soft skills

Hard skills, like the ability to make a sale, produce a video, manage inventory or to do the bookkeeping for your business, are skills that many local businesses prioritize in potential candidates.

And, while hard skills are important, the key part of hard skills is that they are both measurable and teachable, which means that these skills can be developed in your employees over time. If you focus too much on hard skills, you can overlook a candidate’s soft skills, which are often even more important.

Soft skills include communication skills, the ability to work as a team, etc., and they are harder to pin down because they’re not measurable. But, it’s important to look for soft skills when you’re hiring because they’re also not teachable.

#4. Hire for company culture

Have you heard the phrase, “One bad apple spoils the barrel?” The same goes for your company. If you hire someone who doesn’t mesh with your company values, mission or goal, it can impact your entire team.

When hiring for your local business, it’s important to keep your company culture in mind. While it’s important that your employees have the skills and experience you need, it’s also important that they fit in with your team and culture.

To hire for culture fit, you first have to know what your culture is all about. Think about your values and goals, and look for candidates who share those same values and goals.

#5. Take your time

Hiring a great team is a lot more involved than just looking for skills or experience on a resume or application. It requires you to really learn about and get to know your candidates beyond what you can find in writing.

Chances are, if you look beyond the application or resume, you’re not going to be able to find the right person for the job overnight. And, while it may not be ideal to have an open position, it’s better (and cheaper) to find the right person the first time.

Hiring the right candidate or team can take time. But in the end, it’s well worth it.

Local businesses don’t always have the resources to offer competitive pay or benefits to attract great employees, but Small Business Benefits™ can help.

When you become a Small Business Benefits member, you’ll gain access to Fortune 500 group health insurance that’s normally unavailable to small groups, giving you an edge and helping you take better care of your employees.

Learn more about Small Business Benefits and create your free account!

Stay Relevant and Connected With Email and Text

Getting leads is just the first step to success for a local business. Local businesses also need a way to nurture their leads and stay top of mind with their existing customers. Email and text message marketing are powerful tools to do just that.

Email and text message marketing are especially effective with the right software, and Marketing 360® Nurture is the ultimate email and text message marketing solution for local businesses of all sizes and in all industries.

How Marketing 360® Nurture helps you stay connected and nurture leads and customers

Build campaigns specific to your industry

Whether your local business is an auto shop, a pest control company or a retail store, email marketing is a powerful way to turn leads into customers and to turn customers into loyal fans.

Marketing 360® Nurture doesn’t just have email marketing solutions for one or two industries — it’s a customizable platform that works for every industry. Enjoy ready-to-go templates for your industry to help you save time and get results.

Get more out of email marketing with automation

Rarely does a single message reverberate with every customer. Furthermore, depending on your audience, some times may be better than others to send your marketing emails.

With automation through Marketing 360 Nurture and the CRM, you’ll have all of the tools you need to send the right message to the right people at the right time. It’s the easiest way to save time while driving success.

Save time with industry-specific templates

Local business owners are some of the busiest people around. No one understands this like Marketing 360 does. That’s why the Nurture app comes equipped with a library of ready-to-go email templates.

With industry-specific email templates, you don’t have to build every email you send from the ground up. Just pick a template, customize it for your needs with an easy-to-use editor and send it to your leads and customers.

Increase your open rate with personalization

Email marketing is only effective if your recipients are actually opening and reading your emails. But, you don’t have to write unique emails for every recipient. Dramatically increase your email open rate with personalization.

With the Nurture app, you can personalize your emails the easy way by dynamically adding information, like the recipient’s name, to the subject line and content of your emails.

Make real-time connections with text message marketing

Whether you want to remind a customer about an upcoming appointment or spread the word about a limited-time offer, there’s no better way to communicate with your customers and leads in real-time than text message marketing.

The Marketing 360 Nurture app makes building recipient lists, and creating and sending text message campaigns, fast and easy.

Monitor and maximize your campaigns

No one wants to waste their time or resources on an email marketing campaign that’s not working for them. That’s why it’s important to monitor your campaign performance.

The Marketing 360 Nurture app makes it easy to keep track of everything from average open rate and click rate to bounce rate and unsubscribe rate, giving you the information you need to maximize your success.

Take advantage of a fully integrated solution

While email and text message marketing can be powerful on their own, they work a whole lot better when they’re an integrated part of your overall small business marketing strategy. That’s where the Nurture app really comes in handy.

The Nurture app seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Marketing 360 platform, allowing you to use key customer insights from the CRM, request and monitor reviews through Reputation and more.

Getting leads is just the first step to success for a local business. Nurture your leads and customers, and be the first local business your customers think of, with Marketing 360 Nurture. Learn more and see our plans and pricing.

Do More of What’s Working and Less of What’s Not

Every local business needs marketing, but not every marketing strategy will work for every local business.

More than anything, local businesses need unique marketing strategies that work for them, which means that they need to be able to monitor their performance and maximize their success. Learn how the Marketing 360® Intelligence app can help you do just that.

How Marketing 360® Intelligence can help you maximize your marketing efforts and investment

Let the data guide your decisions

Part of what makes marketing so difficult is that A + B doesn’t always = C. What works for one business won’t always work for another business, and what worked yesterday may not work as well tomorrow.

The Marketing 360 Intelligence app has the performance monitoring tools you need to see exactly what’s working and what’s not. It takes the guesswork out of making decisions about your marketing budget and strategy.

Keep track of your leads, sales and calls

At the end of the day, everything you do to market your business – from your website and social media profiles to ads and content marketing — is about driving leads and making sales. It’s a powerful thing when you can keep track of all of those leads from one place.

The Leads and Sales inbox within the Intelligence app gives you the ability to keep track of all of your leads, calls and sales from one place. Know exactly where every lead is coming from, and rate the quality of each lead so that you know what’s driving your best leads.

Build a more effective marketing strategy

Most small businesses don’t have a bottomless marketing budget. Small businesses need to be able to make every marketing dollar count. To do that, they need to be able to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not, which means that they need the data on their side.

The performance monitoring tools in the Intelligence app gives you the information you need to keep track of your performance across multiple channels. From one place, you’ll have the necessary tools to build a lean, mean marketing strategy that maximizes results for your business.

Drive better results with your website

Your small business website is incredibly important not only to your digital marketing strategy but also to your success overall. It’s your business’s main hub online, and often, it’s the first impression people will have of your business.

With Site Analytics in the Intelligence app, you’ll be able to see key data for every page of your website, including page view, average time on page, bounce rate, load time and other key points. Plus, see where your website traffic is coming from, the conversion paths your customers are taking and more.

Monitor your performance over time

When you make changes to your marketing strategy, or decide to invest more time and money into a particular channel, you need to be able to determine if those changes have paid off or not.

With the Intelligence app, not only will you have the data you need to make necessary changes, but you’ll also be able to easily monitor the impact of those changes with period-over-period reports. Compare periods side by side to see how changes to your strategy and budget has impacted your ROI, website traffic, conversions and more.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to small business marketing, but luckily, the Intelligence app gives you all of the tools and information you need to find the right solution for your unique business. Learn more and see plans and pricing.