5 Online Reputation Management Tips to Avoid Problems!

Having a good online presence isn’t an exclusive privilege for large enterprises anymore. With as many as 95% of consumers reading online reviews for local businesses, small companies also have to pay attention to their digital reputation.


That said, learning how to properly manage your online image can be difficult. Besides the fact that you may not even have opened any profiles, you also have to understand the way consumers behave online.

Managing a local company’s online reputation may take time, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. As a matter of fact, racking up good reviews and creating a positive image for your local business can increase your credibility


This, in turn, can make you a crowd favourite and reel in more foot traffic through the front door.

Why Does Online Reputation Matter?

Local businesses have survived through word of mouth for centuries. With this in mind, 91% of people under the age of 35 trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 

Having a good online reputation with plenty of reviews is like having a group of satisfied customers vouching for your service. Unfortunately, this also applies the other way around, so having a bad name can damage the financial side of your business. Companies are adopting new ways to reward their employees and customers for better online branding, showing how important it is to maintain a good image for anyone who is involved or interacts with your business.


By monitoring your online presence, you’ll make sure that potential customers have a positive image of your company.

5 Online Reputation Management Tips that Help Prevent Problems

Managing your digital reputation is a great way to proactively seek the benefits of a positive online presence. But, finding the best way to control your reputation may not always be easy, especially if you’re not technologically savvy. 

Below, we’ve listed some tips to help manage your online reputation and prevent potential issues.

Target Any and All Relevant Channels

The internet has come a long way since its early days. Today, this ecosystem consists of websites, apps, social media platforms, and other channels that users occupy on a regular basis.

Having a good presence means that you have a good image wherever your audience is present. Identify the channels they use the most and make sure you target these above all others.

Showcase Your Brand and Products as Well

Although having fun and entertaining content can add personality, it should never be the main focus on your digital channels. Instead, you should display your top products and use virtual channels as a branding tool for your company. 

And, you can even produce videos and rich imagery that highlights the quality and features you have to offer.

Bolster the Presence of Your Company Leaders

The leaders within your company should also have a good digital presence. This will give your company more credibility and make your team members accessible to the average consumer. Keep in mind that you should follow the same protocol as with your company page in order to maintain a jovial appearance.

Share Your Knowledge Through a Blog

It’s common to find potential customers who want to know exactly how you do what you do. In these cases, sharing your knowledge via a blog can help cement your position as one of the best local businesses in your area. You can even post blogs designed to showcase specific pieces that you’ve worked on before.

Interact with your Online Audience & Avoid Arguments

Participating in forums and other platforms that allow you to answer questions will also show your local audience that you’re knowledgeable and active. You should look at local directors and virtual community boards and address topics that relate to your industry.

Just remember to veer away from arguments as getting involved in a heated discussion with a consumer or competitor will not do your brand any favours.


Get Expert Advice & Mentoring Services for Business

Whether your business needs assistance in sales, business development, general P&L management, or others, LongBow Digital has the right know-how and experience to drive results for your business.

Get in touch with us to find out how your business can grow and thrive amongst your competitors in the industry. 


Author’s Bio 


Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for iChoose Gift Cards.


Risk vs Effort in Online Marketing

Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s an incredibly risky endeavour with no guarantees it will succeed. In fact, the odds are against you. Data shows that more than half of new businesses will fail within the first five years of operation. 

Just having compelling products with a clear value proposition isn’t enough then. So how can you increase your chances of building a successful business? The answer is with a solid online marketing plan.

The advent of the Internet has completely changed consumer behaviour. The Yellow Pages may have been widely used to find local businesses but they are now a relic of the past. Consumers today largely rely on channels like search engines and social media for product research.

Marketing on these two channels gives you an opportunity to reach more of your audience online. But before you dive into them, it’s important to understand the risks and effort for each.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation or SEO is the process of optimising your site to rank higher in the search results for certain keywords. These include optimising individual aspects of a web page (e.g. title tags and content) and building relevant links from other sites. Both can boost your rankings in search engines like Google and Yahoo.


Risks

The main risk with SEO comes from not adhering to the Webmaster Guidelines. Any attempts to manipulate your search engine rankings like using automated programs to build spammy links or scraping content from other sites could lead to ranking penalties. You can minimise your risk by focusing your efforts on publishing quality content and avoiding any questionable tactics. You’ll also need to stay up to date on the latest changes as Google frequently updates its algorithm which can have a direct impact on your rankings.

Effort

SEO is a proven online marketing strategy that can drive more targeted traffic to your pages. But building a campaign requires considerable effort. Ranking for certain keywords can easily take months or longer depending on how much competition there is. If you manage to secure the top spot, you’ll need to maintain your efforts to keep a competing business from overtaking your site in the search results.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using social networks to promote your business. Facebook and Instagram both have well over a billion active users so there’s a good chance that your target audience is on at least one of these platforms.

Risks

One of the main risks with social media marketing is chasing vanity metrics like shares and followers. They can be used to a certain extent to determine how effective a post is but they don’t paint the full picture. Instead, measure actionable metrics like engagement rates and leads generated. Be sure to also monitor any conversations about your brand so you can respond accordingly.


Effort

Social media marketing takes a good deal of effort to build a successful campaign. You can’t suddenly grow your audience overnight with a single post. Building a social media following that actively engages with your brand can take months or even years. Start by researching your target audience and sharing content that is useful to them. If you plan to advertise on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll also need to put in the effort to manage those campaigns.

SEO and social media are both effective marketing channels that can be utilised to reach your target audience online. Whether you are a start-up or an established SME looking to grow your business, we offer ongoing mentoring and advisory services. Contact us today for more information and we’ll be happy to help.

Author’s Bio 

Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for iChoose Gift Cards.






How Google Search Works - Why Nobody Should Miss This Opportunity

Think for a second just how incredible this is – You open up Google and type in a query. In a fraction of a second, a whole slew of results are presented starting with the most relevant at the top. Search works exactly the same whether you’re searching from a desktop or mobile device. For all the latest updates, people from around the globe turn to Google which now processes over 3 billion search queries a day.


The entire process is something that most of us undoubtedly take for granted. But have you ever wondered how Google Search works? If you have then read on for an overview of how Search works and how you can improve your own rankings in the search results.

How Google Crawls the Web

Google’s goal has always been clear – To provide the most relevant search results. But doing that first requires finding all the pages that exist on the web.

Crawling is the process where Googlebots (automated programs) scour the entire web of hundreds of billions of web pages. The process starts with crawling a list of URLs that have previously been crawled. As the Googlebots visit these pages, the crawlers follow the links and

discover new pages. Automated programs are used to determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch.

You want Google to crawl your site so any new pages you create are added to the index. While you can request a URL to be crawled, it’s strongly recommended to create a site map (a file containing a list of pages on your site) and submit it through Search Console.

Googlebots can crawl most content types with the exception of rich media like Flash. Keep that in mind when building your site to ensure it appears in the search results.


How the Search Index Works

Crawling simply finds new information. Now comes the hard part of actually organising the mountains of data and making it accessible to online users. Obviously, when you perform a search you’re looking for the most relevant results based on your query.


The search index is comprised of hundreds of billions of web pages. Delivering relevant results based on individual queries is no easy task. So Google relies on complex algorithms that evaluate hundreds of different factors from keyword usage to inbound links and more. Other factors like how fast a site loads and whether it’s mobile friendly also affect where a page ranks.


This is good news as it means that following the basics of SEO (search engine optimisation) can go a long way towards improving your rankings. These include:


  • Optimising your title tags and subheadings to include your keywords

  • Adding relevant keywords throughout your content

  • Including images and other media like videos

  • Implementing a responsive design to be mobile friendly

  • Increasing loading times for a faster browsing experience


By optimising individuals aspects of your site, you’re not only making it easier for Google to crawl your pages but also increasing your visibility in the search results for target keywords. Higher rankings ultimately means more targeted traffic to your landing pages.


More people than ever before are relying on Google to find all kinds of information. This represents an opportunity that you simply can’t afford to miss whether you sell products online or have a local storefront. A deeper understanding of how Google search works enables you to better optimise your site and drive more sales as a result.






Author’s Bio 


Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and health care. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.


4 Tips For Hiring Candidates With No Similar Work Experience

There are almost 13 million people in Australia working in a huge variety of industries. While some of these professionals will remain in the same industry, there’s a good percentage that will branch out and find that their skills are also valuable in other trades.

Hiring a candidate that doesn’t have similar work experience can be challenging. There are many prospects that may seem like a great fit. But, if they haven’t proven themselves in the industry, you may have to groom them before they start performing at the level you desire.

That said, choosing to hire a new employee that doesn’t have industry experience can actually have a rejuvenating effect on your company. In this article, we’ll provide 4 awesome tips to help you hire candidates that don’t have similar work experience.

Why Consider a Candidate that Hasn’t Worked in the Industry?

Before looking at the tips to help you find the best prospects, it’s important to understand how hiring employees without similar experience can benefit your business.

Bringing in a new team member that doesn’t have any experience in the industry means that you’ll have to take the time to prepare them for their tasks. But, this means that you get the chance to mould their particular skill set to match your internal processes. And, because they haven’t learnt any shortcuts, there’s a strong chance they’ll follow your instructions very carefully.

Not only this, but having someone that has a different perspective can also help you find solutions to recurring problems. You can also develop better workflows and create alternative processes that can be more efficient than your previous setup.

4 Tips to Help You Hire Candidates With No Similar Work Experience

Employing a person that doesn’t have a proven track record in your trade may be challenging, but it can also bring a number of great benefits for your business. Here are some tips to help you recruit candidates with no similar work experience.

Assess Communication Skills

Communication skills are important in most business environments. Great communication skills can help new employees integrate quickly and allow them to interact with customers as well as their team members in a more effective way. Assessing this skill will help you decide whether the prospect will be easy to train and how well they will interact with your customers.

Evaluate Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Despite the fact that most companies try to provide the best tools and structure, it’s common to encounter unpredictable problems. Always try to evaluate your prospect’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to determine if they will have a positive impact on your company.  

Consider Initiative and Personality

It’s common for managers and recruiters to look at technical skills, but you should also keep team chemistry in mind. During your recruiting process, you should determine if your candidates have the tendency to take the initiative. Also, try to assess their personality and figure out if they will make a good fit with your current team.

Keep Adaptability and Collaboration in Mind

Two of the most important skills that all employees should master is adaptability and collaboration. If you have a potential team member who doesn’t have industry experience but has the ability to adapt and work in a collaborative environment, you should take the chance an bring him or her on board.

Get Help from a Reliable Firm

Hiring the right team member is challenging, especially if you are considering a candidate that doesn’t have work experience in your industry. The tips above should help you identify the best prospects and find a reliable team member that will be easy to groom.

If you want to work with a professional consultant to find the best candidates, get in touch with us and our team will be glad to help.

Author’s Bio


Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for Acclaim Rewards.

Lessons I learnt from selling my business… (1)

In 2010 I sold my  Australian Ad Network business ( PostClick ) that I’d started in 2002, to an emerging SE Asian tech player (Komli Pte Ltd ). Here are 3 lessons I learnt along the way during that process.   

PostClick was an Ad Network – i.e. – an aggregator of websites that it acted as a sales agent for in the market selling ad space and with the increasing importance of digital as an advertising medium and with the emergence of major overseas players entering the Aussie market, local players in this space started to gradually get sold off throughout 2008/2009.

With this in mind and being acutely aware of the need to grow my business quickly in order to compete effectively, I started to look around for financing options to assist my growth. Since inception we had grown organically in line with market trends and rising ad spend patterns, but being primarily a services-based model with little IP apart from exclusive sales contracts with web publishers and strong relationships with ad agencies and certain clients, funding was not exactly easy to come by, nor was there the plethora of options which seem to exist for start ups today.

So, if your business is of a reasonable size and you’re in the market to sell, here are a few points, based on my experiences, you need to consider:

Hire a reputable and trustworthy Corporate Advisor

The business sale process can often be a long and torturous one and so having a trusted advisor on board can help alleviate the pain and provide you with someone who is better skilled in negotiating a successful outcome for you. Having said that, it’s important to work with one that you have a high degree of trust in and an alignment with.

As the GFC in Australia took hold in 2008, I signed up somewhat reluctantly to the first advisor I engaged with; I say reluctantly because at this time I hadn’t fully committed myself to the sale process and truth be told had felt somewhat pressured into signing them up on an exclusive retainer basis. Whilst the mood was not as sombre as in the US, UK or Europe it was still fraught with uncertainty and with this in mind I had decided that it was maybe an appropriate time to cash out if I wasn’t able to raise finance to accelerate the growth of the business.

In hindsight, it’s obvious that if you feel you are being pressured in to signing something it’s not a good indicator of a mutually beneficial working relationship, so my advice to others in a similar situation would be to listen to your gut instinct and ask yourself would you trust yourself to buy a used car from this person or their business.

It’s a useful litmus test to apply because at the end of the day your advisor is supposed to become your most trusted ally in selling your business. Your business is an asset – just like your house or any other investment property or share portfolio you may own, and as such it should be treated as an investment. In selling your house you would engage a real estate agent you knew or trusted and in choosing a stock broker/investment advisor you would again apply the same criteria.

Advisors are essentially sales people and their job is to spruce your business – whether that be for sale or financing and so they have a vested interest in achieving a good result for you, but they also have a much stronger interest in achieving a result of any sort for themselves.  It is important therefore to ensure that the result they want to achieve for themselves is aligned with the result you want to achieve for the sale of your business.   

As it was we were unable to flush out any suitable offers and we abandoned the process; fast forward though to early 2010 and the advisor I engaged then was much more aligned with my thinking, which along with the improved economic conditions meant we were able to achieve a successful result.

Valuation Methodology

One of the difficulties in valuing a business for sale especially in an emerging sector of industry is the valuation methodology employed in arriving at a value for it and the fact that whilst you may compare the sale price of a similar business with yours and use that to arrive at a determination, there is not a huge amount of information available in the market to arrive at a more definitive value of its worth.  

The details of many sale transactions are kept private and in many cases are tied into earn outs that are attached to future sales and profits – not all of these future projections actually materialise and so the value of a sale is often less that maybe initially reported .

The contrast in selling a property though is quite marked; there are many sources of historical information that will tell you what a property last sold for and what its current value maybe worth. There are way less sources of information that will help you arrive at a value for your business & whilst EBITDA, Annual Growth %, Revenue, Market Share & Sector are all major factors that are taken into consideration in pricing a business , a lot of the pricing is subjective & determined by the perception of how much the acquirer needs to acquire your business. 

For example: is the acquirer an overseas player looking to gain a foothold in the local market?... Are they another local player looking to consolidate their market position with a complementary offering, or do they wish to diversify revenue streams and gain market share with a different offering?... Or do they simply wish to shut you down and remove competition?...  The question you really need to know the answer on is - why do they wish to acquire you?, and the answer they may give you is not necessarily the real reason they wish to purchase your business. It is therefore your job to research and find this out ahead of any sale going through.

Getting your business "Sale Ready"

One factor often overlooked in selling a business is the sheer amount of time and effort taken up in getting your business “ sale ready.“

In preparing an IM (Information Memorandum) there needs to be a solid overview of the business and its place in its sector along with an appraisal of the opportunity and why the business needs funding or is a good buy for a purchaser. Solid financials for the last 2-3 years at least need to be prepared and accurate revenue projections need to be presented that factor in not just known probabilities but also that make allowance for unknown possibilities and mitigating factors .

Whilst your corporate advisor will help you flesh all this out with the assistance of your internal Accounts & Sales teams, at the end of the day you will need to be actively involved. As such you need to consider the impact on your own time and how that affects your ability to do your job in managing the ongoing operation of the business. In my experience I found it a major distraction and due to the length of time it took to complete, it also became known within the company that the business was up for sale.  In a relatively small business it is often difficult to mask what is happening in this regard and it then becomes a challenge to keep employees motivated and on side.

The fear of a change in this regard can often result in employees looking for opportunities elsewhere so it becomes imperative to keep your team onside with you as the value of your business to a purchaser will in many cases depend on the quality of your team, their internal cohesion and their ongoing employment with the business. 

In some ways, I was lucky to be the only shareholder and director in my business when I sold; it meant that I didn’t need to confer with a business partner or another shareholder as to the value of the business and what I wanted for it. On the flip side it also meant that I didn’t have another person equally vested in achieving a positive outcome that I could bounce ideas off or discuss the acquisition with. In hindsight, I would have been wise to have at least an advisory board in place when I started the sale process and this is something, I would recommend to any owner(s) of a reasonable sized business when considering divesting or raising finance. 

 

About Andrew Lockwood:

Ex Founder & Managing Director of the PostClick Ad Network, sold to Komli Media in 2010. Currently both Managing Director of TopMedia Global – www.topmedia.com.au - an outsourced Ad Operations provider working with Publishers & Agencies alike; and Freelance Digital Consultant working with Publishers & Networks to better monetise their web properties.