17 October

Simple Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation

Simple Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation

Marshall Slaton

By: Marshall Slaton – Bayshore Solutions’ Digital Marketing Team

More Actionable Takeaways from Bayshore Solutions’ Experience at the Recent Digital Dealer Conference

Many of the clients that engage us as their professional marketing agency usually have the same goal – “How can we improve our online reputation?”. Whether you are an automotive dealer, online retailer, or government agency, your online reputation is typically researched by your prospective customers and buyers, before they engage or buy from you.

To help you get there, follow these simple steps to improving your online reputation today:

The first step to reputation management is understanding whether you are listening to your customers. For consumers, online reviews matter:

  • 86% of consumers use ratings and reviews before doing business with a company
  • 84% of consumers trust other consumers opinions about a company
  • 68% of consumers trust consumer opinions posted online

Given those consumer statistics, it is clear that online reviews affect the bottom line for most businesses. At the recent Digital Dealer conference, Cobalt worked with VW to better understand the impact of online reviews. Their research showed that 32% more traffic visited dealerships that had 4+ star reviews than stores with 2 star ratings. That is significant!

Furthermore, if Yelp is a major influencer for your business, there is a ~20% decrease in in-store traffic with just a half-star decrease in Yelp reviews. However, with a one-star increase in Yelp, businesses can typically experience a 5-9% increase in sales.

Understanding the impact, how can we listen to our customers more effectively? It is easier than you think:

  • Consider using a software tool to monitor reviews – there are even free tool options available!
  • Setup and get alerts from the tool – to your email, via apps, or text messages
  • Look at ongoing scores instead of spot scores – how your score trends over time is a better indicator of your improvement
  • Focus on the right networks
  • Google your own reviews/complaints and focus on those websites that rank well. Perhaps eopinions.com is more important than Yelp for your business or industry.
  • Pay attention to Google+ reviews for the simple fact that Google generates the most organic search traffic to websites. You must have a Google+ page with at least five reviews for ratings to appear next to your search listings.

Now that we are monitoring our online reputation, we must work on our listening skills. Essentially, people want to be heard – and then leave bad reviews. If you are not addressing their needs via email and phone calls, they will resort to posting their experience online. Therefore, taking care of customers before they go online and post a complaint is the best way to manage online reputation.

However, we all have those moments where we failed to execute as designed, resulting in a bad review being posted. Now what? Respond! Show your customers and the online world that you are listening. The faster you can respond (which is easy because you are monitoring), the faster consumers respond with appreciation. Speed is the key, and you have just demonstrated to others researching your products and services that your are responsive and genuinely care about them.

Here is something you may not know about responding and actively managing online reviews – you can simultaneously increase your SEO value! What is this blasphemy? No, really, Google values interaction, and as more interactions are created, the main website will show up in search results with the most active review sites following. So, you can influence which review sites may show for your company.

Now that you are responding to the reviews, you need to make sure you are responding correctly. Don’t get into details or argue position.  Simply acknowledge the issue and suggest contacting you or them directly to resolve. The quicker you move the conversation offline, the more of a chance you have of preventing more negative comments.

A good practice is having some formalized responses on how to handle negative reviews – but, learn to customize them by addressing the individual by name. This will help humanize the interaction and defuse negativity. Lastly, don’t just respond to the negative, be thankful for the positive! When someone posts a compliment on your great product or service, thank them! This goes back to creating interactions to influence SEO value.

Okay, so you are monitoring and responding, now what? Ask for more reviews! Studies show that moderately unhappy people will share their experiences, while moderately happy people remain quiet about their experience. Make it part of your customer service process and train and incent your team to ask for the review in-person or over the phone when finishing the transaction.

Hopefully, sharing these thoughts on improving your online reputation will inspire you to make changes to your online strategy. Reviews are everywhere. Social networks and reputation management have merged and you cannot have one without the other in an overall reputation management strategy. We at Bayshore Solutions are happy to help provide the strategies and solutions to help you implement a successful reputation management campaign, so contact us today. to find out how we can help you!

Marshall Slaton is Director of Digital Marketing at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

9 October

Digital Dealer Conference Takeaways That Every Marketer Can Use

Digital Dealer Conference Takeaways That Every Marketer Can Use

Marshall Slaton

By: Marshall Slaton – Bayshore Solutions’ Digital Marketing Team

For the past several years, Bayshore Solutions has attended the annual Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas. The conference is one of the largest gatherings of auto dealers and auto specific software offerings focused exclusively on online marketing.

We attend on behalf of our automotive clients in order to bring them the latest case studies and ideas from the conference, but we also find and discover marketing strategies and tactics that are beneficial to other industries and clients.

Over the next several weeks, we will be highlighting several of the sessions that we found to be of value and provide you with insight as to how it may effect or benefit your current online marketing strategies and efforts.

Beyond the education sessions, there were also some great keynote sessions that delved into improving the sales closing process, improving customer service, and transforming your culture.

Here are some of the session summaries to look forward to:

Ways You Can Increase Your Search Engine Marketing ROI

  • Simple Steps to Improving Your Online Reputation
  • Keynote Session – The Wolf Of Wall Street and the Straight Line Selling System
  • How To Maximize Inventory Conversion from Search to Showroom
  • Secrets to Social ROI Success
  • Practices to Engage with Customers via Email, Phone & Text
  • Direct Response Selling on Facebook
  • Getting Creative With Your Content Strategy
  • Website Analytics vs. Shopper Analytics
  • Creating the Perfect Customer Journey
  • Cultural Transformation Experiences
  • Digital Strategy as an Ambassador

Overall, the most significant takeaways from the conference that applies to any business dedicated to increasing their digital marketing awareness are:

Video Content – Engaging consumers via video content is essential. Consumers today do research via video and will refer to videos when getting ready to make their next purchase. It’s easy to digest content for the consumer, so must be part of your marketing plan.

Mobile Devices – The trend continues to show that the mobile phone is today’s Swiss army knife for information and interaction. Are you mobile optimized for generating action?

Texting – More people engage via text messages than email across all age groups. With the growth in mobile device usage, have you considered how texting can provide that extra channel of engagement?

Segmenting – With more data available to businesses, are we still communicating the same standard message across all of our consumers? With technology and analytics, we should focus more on segmenting our messaging and work to improve personalizing our content.

Customer Service – The elements and practice of customer service is imperative in today’s digital world. It is quite easy for customers to comment and express opinions online, therefore, we must have a plan that is communicated organization-wide to care for our customers through anticipation, and not reaction.

We look forward to sharing with you our discoveries and insights, and we’ll update this post with links for each of the sessions we will be highlighting in the upcoming weeks.

If you’d like to get started designing and deploying digital marketing that drives results for your business, contact us today.

 

Marshall Slaton is a Director of Digital Marketing at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

30 September

Video Marketing Ideas & Insights

Video Marketing Ideas & Insights

Valerie Noel

By: Valerie Noel – Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team

Can you believe on February 14, 2015 the video-sharing website YouTube will turn 10 years old? It’s almost unfathomable the amount of videos on YouTube, which boasts over 100 hours of video uploaded every minute.

YouTube may be the biggest, with more than a billion unique users monthly, but depending on the type of video you’re looking for, there is no shortage of outlets for video content, including:

  • Vine – a short-form video sharing site where all videos are 6 seconds or less
  • Vimeo – a video-sharing website that was launched a year before YouTube
  • Wistia – offering video hosting and analytics for businesses, and even sites like
  • Powtoon – that create animated videos for you if you can’t film live action.

How to Incorporate Video Marketing
You may be wondering how video can apply to your brand if you aren’t a celebrity or business that already uses video in some capacity, but don’t over think it. Try re-purposing some existing content to see if it translates to a visual medium. If so, you can use what you already have to start a YouTube channel to communicate in a new way. Keep in mind that video is just another channel to reach your potential customers, just like your website, offline marketing efforts and mass media. Keeping your message consistent across all of your channels is important.

Show & Tell and Instructional Videos
With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, the ability to watch videos is only going to increase. Did you know that 15% of all online video hours globally are viewed on a tablet or smartphone? Shopping videos can be a great way to showcase your product in a real-time fashion. If you have a product that is complex to understand, an instructional video is a great way to make sure your potential customers have a good experience.

Inside View Videos
For B2B businesses, videos are a way of personalizing your company. Reading about the benefits of your company goes a long way in learning about a business, but what about a video from your last company luncheon showing the people and stakeholders in their element? Videos have the ability to be very influential and persuasive, when done correctly.

Review Videos
Much like learning about your company from the content on your website, customers are also very likely to read feedback about your company from third-parties. Testimonials are very common on websites in 2014, but wouldn’t it set you apart from your competition if you have video snippets of people giving testimonials about your brand?

Don’t Forget Video SEO
Producing a video and adding it to your website is not sufficient, however. The traditional rules of Search Engine Optimization also apply to videos, such as:

  1. Optimizing your website to increase your chances of appearing in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Help make your site easy for crawlers to find your video files by adding to your navigation a directory or subdomain that only houses your videos.
  2. Add a Video Sitemap to your website for optimal crawling and indexing.
  3. Utilize in-file metadata to describe your video, this includes the Title, Description and Keyword tags.
  4. All videos should have individual pages on your site with optimized Title, Description and Keyword tags, like your video metatags.
  5. Opt for embedded video players instead of pop-up players so visitors stay on your site. YouTube provides the HTML code needed to place an embedded video player on your site.

If you’re looking for ways to add video production to your digital marketing strategy, Bayshore Solutions can help you brainstorm, produce and edit videos for your brand. Contact us today for more information!

Valerie Noel is on the Digital Marketing Team at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Agency.

23 September

6 Easy Steps to Impact Your Company’s Financial Success

6 Easy Steps to Impact Your Company’s Financial Success

By: Rachel Murphy – Bayshore Solutions Accounting Team

At Bayshore Solutions, we take pride in viewing our customers as partners. One of our goals is to ensure a positive customer experience not only from a front-end aspect, but also from our back-office practices, such as invoicing and payables.

I’d like to share some best practices that may not only help your relationship with your external customers, but may help to enhance your practices and services to your internal customers and contribute positively to your bottom line.

1. Most billing discrepancies can be resolved quickly through communication. Often times the operations departments negotiate the terms of a sale and this information may not be relayed correctly to the back office staff. By simply reaching out to your vendors and requesting a current statement of your account you can quickly review the invoices for billing accuracy and ensure payments were applied properly. If you find a discrepancy, reach out to the company to resolve. It is better to be proactive on a situation rather than getting that dreaded “past due” notice, especially when it may be due to an oversight.

2. Remittance Information is extremely important when sending a payment. It helps to ensure the payment is applied to your account correctly. This may seem like an obvious step, but companies often will forget to include an invoice or account number when making a payment which can make it difficult for the receiving department to apply the payment appropriately. Leaving it up to the receiving company to “guess” may result in misapplied payments and a potential future frustration for both sides. This is not just a best practice for paper payments, it is also important that electronic payments include remittance information as well.

3. Electronic payments- Checks have become an expensive form of tender – issuing payments by check can cost your company on average $7.78. This cost includes employee time, check stock, envelopes, mailing and reconciling the payments. You can reduce costs for your company and have a better understanding of your cash flow by processing payments electronically via ACH (Automated Clearing House) when possible.

4. Open Credits- You should periodically request and review statements from vendors to find open credits on your account that you may not be aware of. This simple step could help save your company money. These credits could be attributed to duplicate or misapplied payments, returned goods, or billing adjustments. Typically, it is not a top priority for vendors to notify customers of open credits on their accounts.

5. Credit Score- Did you know aging invoices with a vendor could have a direct impact on your company’s credit score? As with your personal finances, a company’s credit score is an extremely important tool for measurement. It can be used in negotiating vendor terms to help your company’s working capital and it can be used to determine whether or not your company is a viable customer. Also, having a good credit score is key to obtaining funding necessary for your growing company.

6. Updating Contact Information- How many times have you updated your vendors when the contact employee has changed on their account? If your vendor has outdated information you may not receive important notices about your account.

A simple way to avoid updating all of your vendors, is to create a generic email inbox or distribution list that multiple associates have access to. For example, payables@xyzcompany.com rather than bobsmith@xyzcompany.com. This way the vendor only needs to know the general email box and you can manage all of your updates internally.

These are just a few simple suggestions to help strengthen your company’s financial success. Bayshore Solutions strives to maintain a “world-class” financial department and provide outstanding customer service to our customers and purveyors. Part of that goal is ensuring our customers have more time to spend on growing their business rather than dealing with administrative issues.

If you ever have any questions about your account, or would like more information about how Bayshore Solutions can partner with you in the future, please contact us via our website or at accounting@bayshoresolutions.com or marketing@bayshoresolutions.com

Rachel Murphy is on the Accounting Team at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

17 September

7 Key Lessons in Digital Project Management

7 Key Lessons in Digital Project Management

Amanda Eichmann

By: Amanda Eichmann – Bayshore Solutions Project Management Team

In my last post I wrote about how project management goes well beyond executing project tasks. Since then, I have celebrated over a year on Bayshore Solutions’ Project Management team executing tasks, building partnerships and everything in between. What I’ve learned the most is that you never stop learning and are always adapting with each new partner and website. Below are seven lessons I’ve learned and how we and our partners can learn from them moving forward.

1. Don’t Forget Your Target Audience

It’s easy to get lost in all the details, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to not forget about your audience. Your website should be designed in such a way that a customer or potential customer can get to the information they are looking for quickly and make it clear and easy for them to act. Consider the top three reasons they are on your website and the top three actions you want them to take and don’t lose sight of them. It should be equally clear for people to leave feedback and get in touch with you in such a way that they will get a response within a business day.

2. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Business Goals

Going hand-in-hand with lesson #1, it’s important to remember your website is a marketing tool in your overall marketing plan and to not lose focus on the big picture. When considering the necessary elements of your site, ensure they are aligned with your key marketing objectives and plan. This includes identifying your key performance indicators early and planning your website around how to best achieve and maximize your ROI.

3. Ask the Right Questions

As I previously wrote about envisioning together, a key activity in the process is asking the right questions. At Bayshore Solutions, we use an Account Profile to help guide the conversation with you as we review these questions. As important as it is to ask the right questions, it’s equally important to keep asking and keep an open dialogue. We may have the knowledge and experience to ask most of the questions, however, you know your business best, so it’s important that both of us understand the complexities we need to consider and plan for.

4. Remember There Will Be Discoveries

As we continue to ask questions and learn from one another, know this process will open our eyes to many business messaging, processes and opportunities moving forward. No matter how much planning we do, you can’t avoid discoveries and it’s easy to get lost in larger plans and ideas than what was originally discussed and scoped. Be prepared to be flexible, focus and prioritize together.

5. Don’t Default to Custom Development

If you have a clear idea of specific functionality or a tool to use on your site, first consider if there is already an existing tool you can use and save on hours of custom development. Saving the time will not only help your budget, but also help avoid excessive maintenance in the future. Many content management systems have enough out-of-the-box technology to accomplish more than you think. Do some research first and ask yourself, do you really need a custom registration tool- or can you use an existing service like Eventbrite first and take feedback/data to better plan from there?

6. Know When to Get Stakeholder Buy-in

Since your website is an essential tool in your overall marketing plan, there will most likely be key stakeholders who want to ensure the website is aligned with the overall business strategy and plan throughout the process. While it may not be necessary to have them sign-off on every detail, it’s important that they are involved in the key milestones and the project doesn’t get too far without their buy-in. The wireframe process may not be the best time, but once the design is applied to the layout, it may be a good time to get sign-off before beginning the build.

7. Appreciate the Process

Although it may sound good to cut some corners for the sake of time and budget, there is a method to all the madness. Having a process in place is vital for the checks and balances of the website. There are key players including: designer, marketer, front-end/UI/UX developer, back-end programmers and IT who bring their expertise and checklists to cover all the bases. Each perspective is unique and important to review and consider before a website is officially launched.

If you are interested in learning and growing together, partner with Bayshore Solutions and grow with us today!
What are some important lessons you’ve learned while planning and executing website development? Please share in the comments below!

Amanda Eichmann is on the Project Management at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

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