3 Revenue Growth Opportunities for SMB Marketing and Ad Agencies

While SMB digital marketing spend has seen a steady rise, SMBs are being more conservative about the agencies and vendors with which they partner. In the transparency era, consolidating spend with a select group of trusted agency partners that offer multiple core services is now the norm.

For agencies that cater to SMB brands, these trends have created opportunities and challenges. There is money to be had, but only organizations that differentiate themselves from the competition and can deliver clear ROI will benefit. So how can SMB agencies show their value to brands and ensure revenue growth? There are three opportunity areas, in particular, that can help.

No Matter What Business You’re In, You Are In The Business of Selling

Kendrick Shope: I coach a lot of entrepreneurs, many of whom are brilliant at what they do, have excellent people skills, and should be setting the world on fire. Unfortunately, they’re stuck trying to make ends meet when they should be doing seven figures in a year because they haven’t mastered the art of selling. It’s a skill like any other, and once you learn it and become really good at it, your business is going to change forever. If you really want to up your sales game this year, focus on these five selling strategies.

Increasingly, Your Brand Is Its Reviews

Mihm to Blumenthal: The famous Jeff Bezos quote comes to mind: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Increasingly, the room is not a physical place but a virtual one—and it’s not a place you own. Reviews really bring the need to run a decent business at your core into stark relief.

Four Keys to Ensure Your Brand Has Local Authenticity Online

Taking time to ensure that your brand is represented authoritatively and genuinely online helps build a solid connection with your audience. But how does your brand communicate that authenticity at a local level? Here are four essential ways to build local authenticity through your localized social marketing efforts.

In Age of Social Media, Brands Must Stay On Top of Reputations Capable of Changing on a Dime

A single video posted to YouTube was all it took for Chuck E. Cheese’s online reputation to go up in flames this month, at least temporarily, when an internet celebrity posted his theory about the pizza chain’s misshapen pies. As viral conspiracy theories on social media become increasingly common, brands are finding that their initial response can set the tone and create a carry-on effect that impacts customer sentiment across dozens of multimedia channels.

5 Platforms Using AI to Analyze Customer Reviews

Beyond the star ratings lies a wealth of information. Sentiment and opinions can be used to shape the way brands develop their highest-selling products. Given the volume of reviews posted each day, however, it would be impossible for most major brands to analyze every customer reaction individually. Instead, a growing number of brands are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to extract and analyze the sentiment from product reviews. Here are five examples of platforms that offer this type of AI technology for analyzing customer feedback posted online.

Heard on the Street, Episode 20: Local Reviews Tactics from a Travel Giant

Even in a hyper technology-driven world, one of the most influential forms of local marketing remains word of mouth. But of course that universal principle has taken on new digital formats, including social influence and good-old local business reviews. Reviews optimization is the name of today’s game. We spoke to TripAdvisor Restaurant Division Lead Mark Goloboy on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast to find out how his company is innovating in reputation and identify best practices for businesses.

6 Next-Gen Review Marketing Platforms for Retail Brands

Determined not to fall even further behind their online-only competitors, retailers are investing more heavily in a new breed of review platform. These next-generation solutions integrate written reviews with pictures and videos to create more cohesive omni-channel shopping experiences. Here are six next-gen review platforms that brands are using right now.

Google Appears to Test Netflix-Like Personalization Score for Local Businesses

Just as Netflix displays match scores in the arena of entertainment, showing users a percentage indicating how likely they are to enjoy a new film or TV show, Google appears to be testing a feature that shows searchers how likely they are to enjoy a local business.

Evolving Our Lens for Local Ranking Factors

Blumenthal and Mihm: We in the Local Search industry are not served by relying so heavily on traditional SEO logic and tools—in our approach to the Local Pack, our understanding of the ranking factors, and even what we suggest to clients as appropriate activities.

Consumers’ Reliance on Online Reviews, Evolving Rapidly, Is Reshaping Local Search

Recommendations gradually exchanged in person are now flooding webpages, most notably Google’s SERPs. Twenty-seven percent of consumers are now reading reviews of local businesses every day, marking a staggering jump from just 12% in 2017, according to a recent report.

Google Reviews Hit with Massive Spam Attempt

Google reviews, increasingly essential to the online search presence of brand and SMB brick-and-mortars alike, were hit by a massive spam attempt last week. At least 2 million fraudulent reviews were posted, according to ReviewFraud.org.

2018 Ranking Factors Report Emphasizes GMB and Reviews

Damian Rollison: The annual report’s main takeaways are clear: to rank competitively for local searches today, you must focus your attention on three areas: one, providing Google with as much relevant local content as possible; two, pleasing your customers, pointing them to where they can review your business, and responding to their reviews; and three, creating a useful, relevant local landing page or website with authoritative backlinks.

Review Strategy Is Key to Restaurant Success, Says TripAdvisor Restaurants Marketing Leader

What’s one of the secrets to a coveted top spot on a TripAdvisor Restaurants list? Respond to every review within 24 hours, said Mark Goloboy, the marketing leader for TripAdvisor Restaurants, at a panel during Brandify’s 2018 conference. Responding to reviews effectively can make the difference between showing up on the first and fourth pages of the site.

A Dozen Takeaways and Follow-Ups from the Bright Local Review Study

David Mihm: BrightLocal’s study of reviews is interactive, digestible by the average small business, and useful for agencies and resellers, too. In this column, I provide some of the highlights and pose questions for further research in the reviews space.

Street Fight Daily: Boosting Sales with Google My Business; Battle Over Yelp Reviews May Go to Supreme Court

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Heard on the Street, Episode 14: Boosting Sales with Google My Business… Battle Over Negative Reviews on Yelp Could Go to Supreme Court… Apps Downloaded on Millions of Android Phones Tracked Users in Ad Fraud Scheme…

Street Fight Daily: Unstructured Data A Big Local Opportunity; Small Businesses Need Cybersecurity Help

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Not All Burrito Eaters Are the Same: Why Advertisers Need to Think Local… Report: Half of Very Small Businesses Suffer Financial Losses from Website Hacks… Why I Love First-Party Reviews…

Heard on the Street, Episode 12: How Important Are Online Reviews?

Considering the level of influence that online reviews can have on any given business, it’s become increasingly important to optimize them in various ways. How is that done? There are lots of tactical ins and outs we highlight on this episode of the Heard on the Street Podcast.

Street Fight Daily: Google Cedes Some Control of AMP, How Important Are Online Reviews?

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Google Is Giving Up Some Control of the AMP Format… Heard on the Street, Episode 12: How Important Are Online Reviews?… After Amazon Storefronts, A Self-Service Suite of Ad Tools…

TripAdvisor Wants to Become Your Social Media Network for Travel

What started as a site for travel reviews is pivoting to become a social media hub for travelers, providing a personalized travel planning experience that combines reviews and recommendations from friends, publishers, and influencers, the company announced Monday.