The Importance of Local Listing Management

If you’re still using the phonebook to find local businesses than you’re in the minority. In this day and age, 85% of consumers turn to the internet when looking for a new business. While having correct information in the phonebook is great, having correct information across the web is what your business needs to get discovered and chosen by customers in our tech-savvy culture. 97% of all internet searches occur across Google, Bing, and Yahoo with a total of over 17 billion searches per month. Learn how your local business can start using your local listings to get more customers.

Claim Your Listings and Manually Update

The major three search engines use listings for small businesses in their search results. These search engines populate listings as accurately as possible from information found across the web. However, if you’re business has ever moved or had incorrect data online, your customers might be finding out-of-date or inaccurate information in their search results. If customers can’t find your address or phone number online, than they’re not spending their money with you, even if they want to.

Local business owners need to take control of their online presence by claiming their online listings. The process is different for each site but we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you start taking control today.

SinglePlatform

You can update and maintain your local listings across the major three search engines yourself, but that’s only the beginning to your listing management. Sites like Yelp, YP, Facebook, and TripAdvisor also pull in millions of users each month and all of these users are looking for businesses like yours. If your information isn’t accurate and up-to-date where searchers are looking than instead of finding and choosing your business they are finding and choosing your competitors.

With all of these sites popping up across the web how do you keep your information consistent and accurate everywhere? SinglePlatform is here to help. We are your connection to the top search engines, travel and review sites, online listing directories and mobile apps used by over 200 million people to find local businesses.

Learn more today!

Best Practices for Deal Sites and Check-in Offers

For small business owners, finding ways to increase foot traffic and create a loyal customer base can be a difficult. While traditional marketing methods may have worked for you in the past, the technology now available has made online marketing imperative to expand and market your business effectively. It’s important that small business owners stay current on the newest resources to help their businesses get discovered.

The first step to getting noticed by consumers searching on the web is creating a strong online presence. A great way to expand the reach of your online presence is to use deal sites, check-in offers, and loyalty programs that can incentivize customers to choose your business.

1. Deal Site Decisions

If you just opened your small business, partnering with sites like Groupon and LivingSocial is a quick and easy way to gain exposure on the web. When you entice customers to purchase with your business by offering them a discount or deal, they are more likely to give your business a try than more established companies. Not only are these sites great for increasing your reach on the web, they also motivate new customers to visit your business.

While deal sites are useful in gaining the attention of new customers, they haven’t proven to be the most profitable partnership for small businesses. If foot traffic and online visibility are what your business needs to increase, these sites can be a great resource to achieve those goals.

2. Check-In Offers Keep You Competitive

Put your small business at an advantage over your competitors by implementing check-in offers into your marketing strategy. Incentivize people to visit your business by offering specials, freebies, or discounts when they check in at your business on sites like Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare.

Check-in offers are an effective way to drive revenue and foot traffic but they also help to generate reviews for your business. Customers who check in online are often prompted to post a review about their experience online. Considering that 90% of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, this is a powerful tool to take your business to the next level.

3. The Power of Loyalty Programs

According to a recent survey, people are over 80% more likely to purchase with stores that offer some type of loyalty program. Harnessing that interest by implementing a loyalty program at your small business will not only increase traffic to your store, but also build consistent relationships with your customers.

While loyalty programs attract customers to your business, they also are an easy incentive to keep customers coming back.  80% of your revenue likely comes from just 20% of your loyal customers. So taking advantage of customer retention strategies like loyalty programs will ultimately ensure your business has repeat customers.

Deciding which marketing tactic works best for your business is key in expanding your reach and retaining customers. By implementing deal sites, check-in offers, and customer loyalty programs into your marketing strategy, you ensure success for your business. Learn more about SinglePlatform can help your business grow.

Build Your Salon & Spa Email List

In 2016, salons and spas owners know how important email marketing to help brand their business to new and old customers. The industry has moved away from word-of-mouth as the main source of finding more information about salons and spas. Digital marketing is taking over and email marketing is a key component of that strategy. Email marketing can promote specials, new packages, and company news. To make your email strategy effective you need to build a strong list to send to. Here’s how:

Promote In-Store Signups

The best time to get customers to sign up for your email list is during a visit. Some methods include asking when they check in or check out, leaving a bowl out for people to drop business cards, and keeping a sign-up sheet at your register. Offer an incentive for customers to sign up such as the chance to win a free service of a gift card.

Use Your Website

Your website is a great marketing tool for your business and you can also use it to expand your email marketing efforts. Place a prominent form on your site for customers to sign up for your newsletter subscription. If you want to provide an incentive for clients, offer them a 10% off their first treatment for signing up. This strategy should lead to an uptick in email opt-ins for your business.

Push Signups on Social

Your social media platforms are also a great place to drive email subscriptions. Currently there are approximately 1.23 billion users on Facebook, 645 million on Twitter, and 400 million on Instagram. Using Facebook boosts, placing links in your Instagram bio, and using strategic hashtags in your tweets will help you expand your reach to prospective customers. If you link to the sign up page on your website, you have the opportunity to drive a lot of traffic there.

With these tips, you should be able to expand your reach to more customers and better communicate your offerings. Follow SinglePlatform on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram today for more marketing tips and industry news.

Email Marketing for Your Restaurant

Even with the ever-evolving technology and social media outlets for small businesses, email is still one of the most reliable methods of communicating with customers and building loyalty. According to Restaurant Engine, small businesses are spending about 15% of their marketing budgets on email. An effective email marketing strategy needs some thought behind it. Check out these tips to learn more about how your restaurant can get the most out of email marketing.

Get Reliable Email Marketing Software

The first step to effective email marketing is picking reliable email software and building your email subscribers. Constant Contact, Fishbowl, and Mail Chimp are all reliable email marketing companies that are user friendly and cater to small businesses. Email software allows you to send emails to large groups of recipients and track key analytics such as open rates and click-through rate.

Create Useful Templates

While from time to time you’ll want to send out emails with new messaging, it can be helpful to have a few templates ready to go. Creating a happy hour template to promote your specials or creating an email for offers on customers birthdays are great templates to have at the ready as you will use them time and time again. Make sure to include all of your business information in each e-mail, such as your name, address, phone number, and hours of operation so that your customers will have quick access to the information they need to visit you again.

It’s All About Timing

When you send emails such as newsletters, VIP promotions, or specials announcements is just as important as the messaging itself. When is your audience most likely to read your e-mail? According to Lisa Sparks, Constant Contact’s Regional Development Director for Florida, studies show that sending an email in the middle of the day is better than mornings or evenings and Wednesday and Tuesday are the best days of the week to for optimum results. If you send too many emails or send too infrequently, you run the risk of customers opting out. Send one or two messages per month to keep them interested but not overwhelmed.

Grow Your Email List

Letting your customers know about your e-mail program in the restaurant and through community events is a good way to increase your email base. Provide incentives for your staff to sign up customers. Creating special offers for your email base will encourage more customers to spread the word about your program. You can also promote your email list across your social media platforms.

SinglePlatform is dedicated to helping restaurants like yours. Learn more about how we help restaurants stand out everywhere that matters online.

Pet Services are Booming

Between Millennials delaying marriage and Baby Boomers facing empty nests, Americans have a lot of love to give and pets are increasingly becoming the recipients. As pet ownership is on the rise, that means that pet service professionals like, dog walkers, pet boarders, and pet groomers, all have an opportunity to grow with the expanding marketplace. Check out the below infographic on how the industry had changed:

SinglePlatform helps pet service businesses like yours stand out amongst the competition and get chosen by customers. Learn more about how we can help you. 

 

Six Simple but Effective POS Systems for Local Businesses

As a current or prospective local business owner, your top priority is sales. While the marketing strategy matters for getting customers in the door, it’s closing the deal that will make your business successful. Whether you‘ve been in business for years or you’re starting one today, the type of point-of-sale, or POS, system you use is crucial to running your day-to-day business operations smoothly.

If you’re simply looking to upgrade your system or implement an entirely new one, there are plenty on the market to choose from. Although finding the system that fits your local business’s every need may seem like a tiring task, it’s necessary for it to run properly.

To help you decide on the system best for your business, we’ve compiled a list of six of the best options available:

1. ShopKeep

Started by a small business owner who was unsatisfied with the way his POS system was working, he decided to ditch it and create his own. Specifically designed for quick-serve restaurants and bars as well as bakeries, juice bars, food trucks, and pet shops, ShopKeep provides an easy solution for local businesses looking to control business operations in one, central place.

With several features to make local business owners’ lives easier, like detailed reporting, custom modifying and offline transactions, as well as opening, updating, and closing multiple checks across multiple registers, ShopKeep is great for those looking for a simpler way to manage their growing businesses.

At $69 per month for a POS system, trained setup, and 24/7 customer support, ShopKeep is an inexpensive way to complete your daily operations.

2. Vend

Geared towards businesses in the food and beverage industry, coffee shops, computer shops, and bike shops, Vend allows you to oversee all day-to-day business functions from one dashboard. With the ability to manage inventory, automate restocking, view customer statistics like purchase history and account balances, as well as manage employees and view detailed reports, Vend provides you with in-depth insight to almost every facet of your business.

Offering three plans, Starter, Advanced, and Multi-Outlet, that aim to cater to every set of small business needs, each cost $39, $79, and $199 per month respectively. Get more detailed information on what each of these plans entail here.

3. Square

Founded in 2009, Square has been easing the payment process for small business owners ever since. Extending its capabilities beyond just mobile payments, Square now offers an all-inclusive dashboard that allows small business owners to control employee access and monitor their shifts, manage multiple locations with one account, filter reports, get customer feedback, sell gift cards, and use email marketing.

You can get started with a free mobile payment device, then build your full POS system from there. Priced between $1,126 and $1,326 depending on the iPad purchased, Square’s POS package includes a stand, cash drawer, receipt printer, and iPad. In addition, Square charges 2.75% per swipe and deposits money into your account within one to two business days. Learn more about Square here.

4. Clover

Another mobile payment processing product turned POS solution, Clover has four different systems to choose from. With Clover Go, Clover Mini, Clover Mobile, and Clover Station, each product offers features for every type of business. Offering clients the Clover App Marketplace, local businesses have access to a customized website for their business, security and encryption for each payment, rewards, gift cards, accounting, insights, and employee scheduling.

Charging 2.69% plus $.05 for every swipe, and an additional $19 per month for the customized website, Clover is another viable POS system for your small business to consider.

5. Bindo

Best for pet stores, salons, spas and restaurants, Bindo provides central customer management for your business through their online dashboard. Packed with features like invoicing, employee shift monitoring, inventory management, creating customer profiles, loyalty programs and reporting, Bindo provides businesses with insight into every part of their business.

Providing businesses with a customizable online storefront and integration with apps like QuickBooks, Xero, Powa, and API, Bindo covers all the bases at your business. Get a pricing quote for your business here.

6. TouchBistro

Designed specifically with restaurants in mind, TouchBistro is best for local businesses in the food and beverage industry. Streamlining the dining process, TouchBistro allows you to take orders (even complicated ones) with ease, automatically generate delivery routes for drivers, combine bar tabs, import your restaurant’s blueprint to control seating and add reservations, and split checks by seat.

Offering four plans, Solo, Dual, Team, and Unlimited, they’re priced at $60, $129, $249, and $399 per month, respectively. All plans include cloud reporting and analytics, 24/7 phone and email support, full tableside and quick service POS features, and unlimited users. To learn more about TouchBistro’s pricing and plans here.

Operating in a fast-paced world, our local business customers are always looking for ways to save time and money.  Choosing the right POS system can streamline your business and make your life easier.

Find out how SinglePlatform makes life easier for local business owners here.

3 Ways to Boost Your Grooming Business Online

This year the pet grooming industry earned nearly 7 billion dollars which means this is the perfect time to expand your business. A strong first step to boost business is to give your customers additional ways to book appointments. While phone appointments and walk-ins are great, the added convenience of online booking will be sure to increase bookings and profits.

Booker

Booker is an online tool that allows customers to book appointments from their computer or smartphone in real time. Not only does booker integrate with your website but it also allows customers to book with your business on top review sites like Yelp. Business owners can customize, manage and accept appointments through their booker calendar. According to Fit Small Business 35% of customers want to book an appointment during off hours and 25% of millennials will only book appointments online.

Booker’s basic package starts at $85 dollars a month.

Add eCommerce to your Website

If you’re not ready to take the plunge with Booker, many websites are easily integrated with a billing system. WordPress offers many free eCommerce plugins that will help you book appointments online. Similarly, Squarespace offers eCommerce as a part of their website templates. Adding an online store to your website is most likely a cost efficient way to dip your toe into online booking.  

Optimize for Mobile. 

Online booking is important but if your website is not optimized for mobile then that added convenience is lost on a lot of searchers. 74% of consumers will abandon a web page if it takes more than 5 seconds to load on their mobile device. SinglePlatform creates mobile friendly site for businesses that needs them while helping them get discovered everywhere that matters online. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help you.  

To learn more useful tips about managing your business, follow SinglePlatform on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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