How a Niche Service Business Helps People Find Them

Michael Himelfarb, founder of Global Prevention Services, a mold-removal company with locations across the US, knows that his company is unlike most service businesses.
“Finding someone when you have a water emergency or a mold problem isn’t like finding a place to buy tires. You can’t just look in any newspaper or call up the same guy you’ve been going to for 40 years,” says Michael. “Looking for a person that’s reliable and knows what they’re doing can be a hassle.”

For Michael, marketing his niche company effectively means making it easy for people to find Global Prevention Services when they really need them.

“We’ve tried TV, we’ve tried radio, but traditional advertising really never made sense for us,” Michael explains. “People need to find us in a moment’s notice. That’s why we think the internet offers the biggest opportunity.”

Over the last few years, Global Prevention Services has worked to build an online presence any way that they can.

Doing so has presented new challenges.

“Keeping up with all of the different listings sites and platforms hasn’t been easy,” says Michael. “The information that’s out there really hangs around. So if our information changes, the stuff people are finding on a lot of these pages might not be accurate.”

Michael decided to look for a better way to tackle this ongoing problem since being found by potential customers is crucial for the success of his company.

“I wanted to find a company that could start to help us consolidate various vendor relationships into one, and would understand our business and take the time to do things right,” says Michael. “I also wanted help getting our business on to the sites we needed to be on, and really help clean things up.”

In 2013, Michael found SinglePlatform from Constant Contact.

“The concept of having a single source that can take you to the breadth of the internet, is certainly a great idea,” says Michael. “I also liked the relationship with Constant Contact, because we had used Constant Contact for marketing in the past.”

Within SinglePlatform, Michael was able to upload his company’s information and automatically create a mobile-optimized page that includes a listing of their services, information about their safe and effective solutions, and background about why other customers have chosen Global Prevention Services in the past.

With the company’s information now available on SinglePlatform, Michael could then have his information shared across the SinglePlatform publisher network — including Yelp, YellowPages, and Foursquare.

He also added the listing to the Global Prevention Services Facebook Page, so that people searching for help on social media could easily find his business’s information.

For Michael, the benefit of delivering a better way for potential customers to access this information has been clear.

“Our story is long, and it takes quite a bit of time to really tell why we are different and why we should be considered,” says Michael. “By having our list of services out there and knowing that we can update them when we need to, we’re able to tell our story and give people the information they need.”

What’s next?

Michael says that he is excited to do more with SinglePlatform in the future, and would recommend the tool to other businesses faced with similar challenges.

“I would recommend SinglePlatform to anyone in our situation who is also trying to get everything together,” says Michael. “SinglePlatform is a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. It is an affordable way to attempt to keep these directories in line.”

If you want a partner in managing your online business listings, SinglePlatform is here to help! Visit our site to learn more about our services.

How a Busy Marketer Stays on Top of Her Online Listings

Managing the online presence for a gourmet restaurant, a boutique bakery, and a premier wedding and event venue is a task that most people wouldn’t consider taking on.
But that’s the task Deena takes on every single day as marketing manager for a New Jersey-based hospitality company.

“As marketing manager, I’m responsible for maintaining the web presence for our company and its properties across a multitude of media outlets,” says Deena. “That includes keeping our website up-to-date, but also means interacting with our customers and making sure we are in all the places we need to be.”

According to Deena, the biggest challenge in taking on this impressive task is deciding how to manage her most valuable resource — time.

“Today, there are just so many places we need to be. Weaving through all these different platforms can be a huge time commitment,” says Deena. “As a company, we want to get the most from the work that we’re doing, but also don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to get our name out there.”

Deena was referred to SinglePlatform, a local business listing platform. She signed on hoping it would help put some time back into her busy schedule.

“I felt like we were doing a good job keeping up, but when we found out that there was a tool that looked easy-to-use and would let us update everything in one place, we decided to give it a shot,” says Deena.

Multiple properties, one platform

Working with a SinglePlatform success manager, Deena uploaded business details for the company’s restaurant, bakery and event venue—into SinglePlatform.

In addition to business information like name, hours, and location, Deena was able to upload menus for the restaurant and bakery, and a list of services offered at the event venue.

With SinglePlatform, Deena could publish this informaton across the SinglePlatform publisher network, including review sites, search engines, and mobile apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and Urbanspoon.

“Being able to log in, update our menus, and see where our information is being distributed has been a huge time-saver,” says Deena. “I don’t have to go to each of these sites and update our information. I can do it once, and know that our menus are staying up-to-date.”

A tale of three venues

In addition to saving time and helping her take control of the information people are seeing when they view the properties online, Deena says that SinglePlatform offers a number of benefits for each venue.

For the restaurant and bakery, being able to have their menus accessible on mobile apps like Foursquare and Urbanspoon has given both locations an unexpected advantage.

“When people are on-the-go and they are looking for a place to eat in their area, they’re pulling out their phones and want to be able to look at menus on a mobile device,” says Deena. “For our restaurant and bakery, it’s so important that they’re able to find our menus and see what we have to offer because it can really make the difference when people are deciding where to eat.”

For the event venue, which hosts more than 100 wedding per year, Deena says that the tool has made it easier to promote everything that the premier wedding venue has to offer.

“For newly engaged couples, finding a venue for their wedding is one of the most important decisions they need to make,” says Deena. “We know that they will be searching online, wanting to see what each venue has to offer and will make their decision based on that.”

Continuing to grow with SinglePlatform

More than two decades after opening its first location back in 1992, Deena’s hospitality company continues to deliver outstanding experiences to every guest who eats in their restaurant, visits their bakery, or attends an event at their venue.

With this commitment to excellence and the right tools to help them get their name in front of their audience online, the company will continue to bring new customers through their doors for decades to come.

Want to learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your small business connect with consumers online? Check out our website.

How a New Jersey Salon Found a Better Marketing Solution

With so many places for consumers to find information online, small businesses have never had more opportunities to be discovered by their next great customer.
This has opened some important new doors for business owners like Gary Talvacchio, owner of D’Nicole Salon & Spa.

“In our industry, the marketing end is extremely important,” explains Gary, who opened his New Jersey salon in 2006. “In the past, we were making costly investments in print advertising and really weren’t seeing the return we were looking for. With the way things are today, we can get our name out there in a much more effective way.”

But in addition to the incredible opportunity for growth that comes with having your business information available on review sites like Yelp or being found on search engines like Google or Bing, there are also challenges that come along with it.

“The time commitment has really been the biggest hurdle for us,” says Gary. “As a business owner, I don’t have the time to log into all these different platforms trying to update our information in all these different places.”

Finding a Platform That Works

In August, Gary discovered SinglePlatform from Constant Contact.

“What I really liked about it was that I could go to one place and do all of my updates,” Gary explains. “Rather than having to log into one place to update my website and another place to keep all of our different listings up-to-date, we could do it all from one location.”

Gary worked with a success manager from SinglePlatform to identify the top places that his target audience might already be finding information about his business online. He was then able to upload his entire list of services into SinglePlatform and have that information distributed across the SinglePlatform publisher network of search engines, review sites, and mobile apps.

He was also able to add his list of services to his own website as well.

“For us, it’s a better way to get our name out there,” says Gary. “When we make a change or update our services, that information is updated in many different places. It lets us stay consistent.”

One Platform, Multiple Benefits

In addition to helping D’Nicole Salon & Spa provide consistent business information on their own website and across publishers like Yelp, YellowPages, Google, and Foursquare, Gary says that SinglePlatform has allowed him to expand his marketing efforts in ways he never expected.

“We’ve really been able to open up our activity on social media as well. We have our menu of services right on our page and can also post announcements which saves us a ton of time,” explains Gary. “People aren’t just coming to our salon because they saw a big ad in the paper, they’re coming because someone told them about us. When we have people commenting and sharing our stuff on Facebook, we’re able to introduce our business to even more customers.”

For those customers who are searching for D’Nicole Salon & Spa on their mobile, Gary says that SinglePlatform has provided a much-needed solution for his business.

“When people land on our website on mobile, they’re directed to a page that displays our information in a way that’s easy for people to view it,” Gary explains. “If they have any questions or want to book an appointment, they can just click a button and the phone dials, which is important for our business.”

A Marketing Solution That Works

As D’Nicole Salon & Spa enters its sixth year in business, Gary says that he is optimistic about what lies ahead in 2014.

“Whether people are looking on search engines, or Facebook, or on their phones, we’re able to get our name out there using SinglePlatform,” Gary explains.

Interested in trying SinglePlatform from Constant Contact for your small business? Visit SinglePlatform.com to learn more.

The Power of Customer Testimonials

There’s no better lead generation tool for your business than positive word-of-mouth feedback. At first glance, it may appear that there’s little in your control when it comes to what customers say about your products and services. However, there’s actually a lot you can do to facilitate and share positive feedback. In this article, we’ll discuss why customer testimonials are important, how you can obtain them, and how you can use them to generate leads.
Why Bother with Customer Testimonials?

Consumers are much more inclined to believe feedback from other customers than from a business itself. A recent study found that 79% of consumers trust online feedback as much as personal recommendations, and 73% of consumers are influenced by customer feedback when it comes to trusting a business. Anything you can do to facilitate testimonials and use them in your marketing will help generate new leads.

How Do You Obtain Testimonials?

Customer testimonials can come from both unsolicited and solicited sources:

  • Unsolicited sources include social media comments, emails or calls from customers, and quotes from online reviews
  • Solicited sources include customer surveys, testimonial contests, case studies, and in-store comment boxes (the original, analog way of obtaining customer feedback)

Soliciting feedback can happen in your store, in emails you send to customers, on your social media channels, or as part of the checkout process. Think about what makes sense for your customers and the type of feedback you want to obtain before putting a plan into action.

How Can You Use Testimonials to Generate Leads?

Once you’ve gotten positive customer feedback, what should you do with it? Share it! Consumers are much more likely to become leads if they hear that other people have had great experiences with your business.

A few ideas for sharing testimonials include:

  • Featuring customer quotes on social media
  • Incorporating testimonials in your marketing emails
  • Using feedback in your print or online advertising (with permission, of course)
  • Including a quote carousel or testimonial section on your company’s website
  • Posting customer quotes in your store on a quote board or wall

Once you start getting a regular flow of customer feedback, be sure that you have communication channels in place to share it with prospective leads.

The Bottom Line

Testimonials, whether from close friends or strangers online, are a powerful lead generation tool for small businesses. If you’re not already using testimonials to get new customers in the door, make sure you incorporate this into your business marketing efforts for 2014.

How One Vermont Restaurant Achieved Online Marketing Peace of Mind

When it comes to online marketing, peace of mind is rarely something that small business owners are able to achieve.
Whether its planning out your next email, keeping up with the newest trends on social media, or trying to make better decisions about where to invest whatever marketing budget you may or may not have available—it can be difficult to ever feel completely comfortable that you’re doing all the needs to be done.

This is certainly true for small businesses when it comes to managing their online listings.

Today, 85% of small businesses believe it is important to be seen on major search sites like Google, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yellow Pages. Unfortunately, only 30% of those businesses say they have the time to actually manage all of their own listings.Needless to say, that has caused a lot of uneasiness amongst businesses that rely on these sites to get discovered online.

A restaurant owner struggles with keeping tabs with his online listings

Since opening for business in 2010, keeping up with his restaurant’s online listings has been a major concern for Ned Church, owner of Church & Main Restaurant in Burlington, VT.

“As a restaurant, keeping up with review sites and local listings is a huge part of our business,” explains Ned. “We know a lot of patrons rely on these sites to find the information they’re looking for.”

But while Ned recognized the value of keeping track of the information that customers were finding on these sites, keeping that information up-to-date has not always been easy.

“A lot of these sites don’t make it easy for you to update or change your menu,” explains Ned. “Depending on where people are searching, they would be seeing different menus. That was causing a lot of problems for our business.”

With a menu that changes with the seasons and a wine and special list that change by the week, Ned knew he needed a better way to keep the information that his customers were finding online up to date.

Discovering peace of mind with SinglePlatform

A while back Ned was approached by a representative at SinglePlatform.

“At the time, SinglePlatform had secured places with Google, TripAdvisor, and a lot of the places we were already keeping an eye on,” explains Ned. “We were really impressed.”

For Ned, the benefit of publishing his menu with Singleplatform was twofold. For starters, it helped Church & Main get listed in all the places he knew his customers were already searching. In addition to sites like Google and TripAdvisor, by publishing his menu with SinglePlatform he was able to reach audiences on more than 100 major online listing sites and mobile apps.

“The additional exposure has definitely been one of the biggest benefits,” explains Ned. “It’s been extremely valuable to have our menu displayed in so many places.”

More importantly than being listed on all these sites, Ned says that he finally has the ability to do something that had challenged his staff for quite some time.

“I can’t tell you how valuable it has been to be able to quickly and easily update my menu in a single location,” explains Ned. “To have a platform where I can make these changes and have it automatically populate in so many places has finally given us peace of mind.”

The many marketing challenges of small businesses today

Like most small businesses, keeping up with online listings is just one of the marketing challenges facing Church & Main.

“We do a lot on social media and have tried different forms of online and print media,” explains Ned. “We also do a lot with our own website as well.”

Today the Church & Main menu is not only getting discovered on some of the most popular listing sites, but is also available to customers on both his website and Facebook Page. Ned recently started using SinglePlatform to launch the restaurant’s first ever mobile website.

“It’s great to have our menus there and have the flexibility to update them as we need to,” explains Ned. “It’s been a huge timesaver.”

How Blinker’s Tavern Makes Social Media and Online Listings Work

If you own a small business, there’s a good chance that marketing probably doesn’t fall within the category of things you love to do.
After all, you didn’t open your doors for the thrill of creating marketing emails, managing a Facebook Page, or monitoring your online listings. You did it because you wanted to build a business—to do something you’re passionate about, and to share that passion with each and every customers that walks through your door.

But these days, running a business does come with a full plate of marketing responsibilities. And the reality is that businesses—especially new businesses—cannot afford to ignore online marketing and the responsibilities that come along with it.

That was certainly the case for Sandy Meyer, owner of Blinker’s Tavern in Covington, KY.

“We opened in 2011 and knew right away that there were things we needed to be doing to attract new customers,” explains Sandy. “But as a new business, it wasn’t clear where we needed to start.”

Starting with social media

Like a lot of new businesses, one of the first things Sandy did when she opened her doors was to set up on social media.

“We knew social media would be a good tool for getting in front of our audience,” explains Sandy. “We always have a lot going on and it’s important that we’re able to keep people up-to-date.”

In addition to building an audience of local fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, Sandy says that one of the most important parts of being on social media is to connect with the hospitality industry in her community.

“It’s really important for us to be able to get in front of the hotels in our area,” explains Sandy. “We depend on tourism during our busy season.”

Managing a social schedule

As valuable as building awareness on sites like Facebook and Twitter has been to Blinker’s Tavern, it has also come with plenty of challenges.

With a rotating schedule of daily specials for both lunch and dinner, a menu that changes with the seasons, and a wide range of events for things like holidays, anniversaries, and other local happenings—Sandy has plenty to talk about with fans and followers.

What she doesn’t have is the time to actually do it.

To make matters worse, with so many changes and special occurrences taking place week-to-week, it has become increasingly more difficult to get the menu that’s been offered in the restaurant each day in front of the people who actually need it.

Finding a better social media marketing solution

Rather than spending hours each week trying to get sites like Facebook and Twitter to work for her business, Sandy decided early on that she was going to need some help.

In September of 2012, Sandy spoke with a representative at SinglePlatform.

She discovered that on top of helping businesses manage their online menu and listings, SinglePlatform also offered a range of features designed to help businesses like hers on social media.

She worked with the representative to put together a plan for how SinglePlatform could help alleviate the stress of keeping tabs on social media and make the most of all the tools SinglePlatform has to offer.

One of the first things she decided to do was put together a calendar of special announcements for things like daily specials and upcoming events. She could manage these updates ahead of time without having to log in to Facebook or Twitter throughout the day.

“For us, SinglePlatform has been a great tool for sharing reminders about our specials and other things we have going on,” explains Sandy. “It has taken a lot of stress out of being on social media.”

That’s not to say she forgets about her fans and followers. On the contrary, she still takes the time to respond to customer questions and say thanks to fans when receiving positive reviews or recommendations.

Not only that, but with SinglePlatform Sandy has also found a better way to keep her daily lunch and dinner menus in front of her target audience—using SinglePlatform to share her menu directly to the Blinker’s Tavern Facebook Page.

“SinglePlatform makes it easy to update our regular menus and make changes when we need to,” explains Sandy. “Which is important because we know the menu our fans are seeing is the same one we’re offering at our restaurant that day.”

Extending her reach beyond social media

In addition to social media, Sandy has also taken advantage of SinglePlatform’s network of more than 100 online listing sites and mobile apps.

As a new business, Sandy recognized that awareness needs to extend beyond her social communities. By publishing her menu with SinglePlatform her business has a better chance of getting discovered online.

And because the changes she makes to her menu on SinglePlatform are automatically made on Facebook and across the entire network of SinglePlatform’s partnering online listing sites and apps, she knows the information they find will be up-to-date.

“Keeping our menu up-to-date on review sites and online listings has never been a problem for our restaurant because we’ve been with SinglePlatform since the start,” explains Sandy.

“That’s been important for our business.”

Download the full case study

How Summer Kitchen Cafe Evolved to Meet the Needs of Their Customers

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you know that the way consumers find local businesses has fundamentally changed.
This is something that all local business owners need to be aware of, but it is especially important for local merchants who own or manage a restaurant.

Take James Dillon, owner of the Summer Kitchen café in Rosemary Beach, FL. When James opened for business in 1999, most restaurants were not thinking about the value of having their menus available online.

“When we first got started, we actually walked around handing out paper copies of our menu,” James recalls. “A lot has changed since then.”

Part of what’s changed for restaurant owners like James is that the needs of his customers have also changed drastically. Paper menus, print advertisements, and passing foot traffic are no longer enough to bring new customers through your door.

Customers are searching for businesses on their mobile devices, checking review sites and online listings, and using social media to connect with their favorite restaurants and local businesses.

“Today, there’s so much more we need to be doing,” explains James. “It’s something we’ve started paying attention to in the last few years.”

The danger of not being in control of your own information

Like a lot of restaurant owners, James jumped into the online world by first creating a website and eventually getting started on Facebook.

He then began to use search engines to search for his business online. The good news was that there was already a lot of information out there about Summer Kitchen Café. The bad news was that most of that information hadn’t been updated in almost a decade.

“I’m not sure if everyone is cognizant of the information that’s out there, but the stuff that’s online really never dies,” explains James. “We found menus on some sites that were 10 years old and had never been updated. It really got my attention.”

With the help of his daughter, James began looking into how he could take control of the information that was out there. Their first attempt was to track these menus down one-by-one.

“The process was way too cumbersome,” James recalls. “On some sites the menus were embedded, on others we found outdated pdfs. It was impossible to keep everything up-to-date.”

Fed up, James decided to look for a better option.

“We began looking for an easy platform that would let us update our menus and distribute them more easily,” explains James. “That’s when we discovered Single Platform.”

Managing expectations

At first, James wasn’t sure what to expect. Up to that point, keeping up with his online listings had been a nightmare with more negatives than positives for his business.

After working with a representative at SinglePlatform to set up his new digital listing however, James’s expectations slowly began to change.

“We were surprised at how easy it was to use,” James recalls. “To be able to update our menu in a single location and have it published in so many places without any extra work has been a huge timesaver.”

With SinglePlatform, the hours James had spent updating menus online were replaced with a few easy steps. Now when a change or update was made to the menu, it would repopulate on sites like TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, YellowPages, and other places he knew his customers were searching.

Finding time to do more

With less time spent keeping track of online listings, James says he has more time to help grow his business.

“We’re focused now on improving our own site and doing more on social media as well,” explains James. “Being able to have our menu populate on our website and Facebook has been a huge help.”

Now, no matter where people are discovering Summer Kitchen Café—whether it’s on their website, through Facebook, or via an online search—James knows the menu they find will be the same one being offered at Summer Kitchen Café that very day.

That’s also freed him up to be more proactive about getting that information in front of his target audience.

With SinglePlatform’s social media tools James has the ability to schedule and share special announcements with his more than 1,100 Fans on Facebook. He has also started encouraging Fans and patrons at the café to help “share the love” and review Summer Kitchen Café on sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon.

Why it’s important for small businesses to evolve to meet the needs of their customers

A lot has changed for James since the days of passing out paper menus to local residents. What hasn’t changed however is the type of service or the quality of the dishes being offered at Summer Kitchen Café.

That’s great news for James and his customers. Today it’s never been easier for people to find out what’s on the menu.

“We depend on customers being able to find us—whether they live in our community or are located hundreds of miles away,” James explains. “Knowing we’ll be found in the places our customers are already searching has given us peace of mind.”

Download the full case study

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