Today's Local Media, Dallas, TX

How One Dallas Business Boosted Google SEO Traffic 336%

How One Dallas Business Boosted Google SEO Traffic 336%

How One Dallas Business Boosted Google SEO Traffic 336%


Local Business SEO Rankings

Dallas Door Designs is a family owned and operated door company in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 2012, they have remained dedicated to providing high-quality products and services. This has allowed them to grow to suit the needs of their clients, whether residential or commercial, in the professional door and design space.

Like many companies, Dallas Door Designs had a plan, a vision, and a passion for what they do. They worked to build their reputation, build clientele, and respond to the needs of their customers. For years, Dallas Door Designs sought to be a trusted name when it came to home-improvement projects and worked hard to deliver dependable customer service and professional workmanship.

Background

In 2016, Dallas Door Designs decided to take a step for their company that not every company takes. They realized that marketing and advertising has changed profoundly in the digital age, even since the year they were founded.

They understood they needed to find a way to position their company on the cutting edge of technology in order to expand their business and launch them ahead of their competitors.

Once they made this decision, the growth was amazing. By 2017, Dallas Door Designs were realizing huge gains and seeing business success in online traffic for their website which they never would have imagined only a year prior.

Their newly gained website traffic and buzz directly led to new customers, high-end orders, and many new doors sold. Here are the questions we are going to answer today.

  • How did they see an increase in Google traffic of over 350%?
  • How did they realize a 416% increase of unique visitors to their site?
  • What did they do to start seeing their company ranked as the #1 listing on Google for searches such as “barn doors Dallas,” “Dallas doors Texas,” and “door company Dallas?”

The secret is in the sauce and for the past year, this particular door company has been enjoying the meal. The good news for your business – is that you can hire the chef as well.

Voted a Top Local Agency in Dallas by UpCity, this local media company came alongside Dallas Door Designs, highlighted the great work that they were already doing, and helped them broaden their online footprint.

Image of Positive Business Review

Signing up for TLM’s services in May 2016, Dallas Door Designs would realize positive increased gains in the course of only a year. Now, let’s talk about their strategy.

Strategy

The primary services TLM furnished were Web Design, Local SEO, and some Google AdWords. Additionally, TLM provided:

  • New Logo Design
  • New WordPress Website
  • SEO Optimization
  • Quick loading website
  • Mobile responsivity
  • Easy to contact setup
  • Forms readily available and automatically connected to CRM
  • Optimization and creation of some social media profiles
  • Addition of some online citations
  • Increased online rankings

Before TLM, their grand total of online reviews had capped out at 2 total between Google, Facebook, Yelp. They now have 17 reviews on Facebook, 6 reviews on Yelp, and 5 on Google.

With an increased online presence, Dallas Door Designs is happy to receive multiple 5* reviews in Facebook. This was actually one of the most surprising catalysts to their SEO rankings boost. Once the Facebook reviews started coming in, you could see the traffic increase.

Image of 5 Star Review

Image of Image of 5 Star Review

Image of Great 5 Star Review

Image of Happy 5 Star Review

Dallas Door Designs is now more visible to the online community in the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex and remains primed for success.

Results

An increase in online reviews was not the only positive gain for Dallas Door Designs. Google reports showing activity for the website, traffic, and clicks for both analytics and rankings were off the charts.

Below is their Google ranking report from May 2016 – July 2017. As you can see, they expanded their share of all local searches in their category to an incredible 23%. This was an increase of 597% from the beginning of the period to the end.

image of Google Rankings

Digging deeper into the analytics, and tracking google keyword searches, Dallas Door Designs show up as the #1, #2, or #3 website on 24 tracked keywords such as “doors in Dallas tx,” “entry doors Dallas,” and “exterior doors dallas tx.”

Their Google Analytics report was just as strong. Showing only Google organic traffic from June 2016 – July 2017 compared with the same month from the previous year, Dallas Door Designs received massive gains and an increase of 351% traffic between those two periods.

Image of Comparison of Year vs. Year Organic Traffic in Analytics

As an example, comparing the online traffic of March 2016 with March 2017, online traffic went from 277 visits to 1,432 visits – a 416% increase between the two months in one year.

Summary

Hiring a professional local media company might be one of the smartest moves you’ll ever make for your business. Think of it like a megaphone for your brand – telling more people about the great work that you do. Dallas Door Designs and many others have been happy they made that call.

Through website design, SEO, Google Adwords and more, Today’s Local Media has assisted Dallas Door Designs online – which turned into real dollars and cents – to become easier to find, easier to navigate, and easier to interact with.

This left them free to do what they do best – providing quality doors all over the metroplex.

Set up your free consultation today. Find out how Today’s Local Media can bring similar success to your business and bring your dreams for your company – and your life – closer into reach.

19 Ugly Logo Designs You Do Not Want to Copy

19 Ugly Logo Designs You Do Not Want to Copy


There are some great logos out there. But there are also some horrible ones too. Ultimately, a good logo is a vital aspect of your company brand. Many times, the first thing people see is the logo.

Like a sales rep for your company or a TV commercial, a logo tells your company’s story to everyone who sees it. That is assuming of course that you have a great logo.

Many times, the logo is the first (and only) advertising piece people interact with. A good logo must be simple and memorable, represent the company, and be easily identifiable. Logos that are too complicated, messy, or abstract can actually turn people away from the company and be quickly forgotten.

But before we get to the logo fails, it is important to talk about what a good logo should be.

What is a logo?

A logo is usually a combination of an image and text. Logos serve multiple purposes. Logos create a visual symbol that connects people with your business, and are indirect advertising pieces that work for you, 24/7.
Example of a Business Logo
Good logos along with a savvy marketing team can even create a sense of “belonging to something bigger” within their customer base. When a computer company’s customers are fixing the logo to their cars, you know they have done a great job.

Classic Logos

Some of the largest companies in the world have logos so recognizable they only need to show the image, and people immediately recognize the company.

Image of Apple Logo
A logo that is timeless and universal is imperative for the logo design. If a logo can remain unchanged for 20 or 50 years, it is a a strong design.

Designs That Did Not Work

Now that we have discussed a few great examples, it’s on to the bad ones. In no particular order, here are 19 awful examples of logos you should not copy.

1. The 2012 London Olympics

Bad Logo of London Olympics

As one of the most widely known logo failures, the 2012 London Olympics Logo was so abstract, people are still talking about it. If your customer has to study the logo to find out what it is saying, you have lost them.

2. Mega Flicks

Image of Bad Mega Flicks logo

This Mega Flicks logo fell in one of the classic pitfalls – spacing. Simple grammar rules still apply in logos. End design of any logo is still just as important as initial concept. Make sure your logo’s final result comes out as originally intended.

3. State of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup

Picture of Logo State of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup

Before you go to print, it’s important to look at your logo from every angle. What you see may not be what everyone else sees.

4. The 2000 Columbus Blue Jackets

Image of Logo for 2000 Columbus Blue Jackets

Sports teams also can benefit from a good logo. This confusing piece of art was the initial logo of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000.

5. The LA Clippers

LA Clippers Bad Logo Example

Unless you are a die-hard Los Angeles Clippers fan, you would probably have no idea this logo is for an NBA basketball team.

6. Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams Logo Fail

Many companies have grand visions for where they want to see their company go. Having a world enterprise is not a bad goal, perhaps except when it looks like you want to cover the earth in blood.

7. Cat Wear

Best Logo Fail

Whether you have a good sense of humor or not, a logo is not the place. A Logos need to remain clear and simple.

8. Fido

Image of Funny Logo for Fido

If someone looks at your logo and has no idea what it possibly could be, it’s probably a poor logo.

9. TSA

Fail Logo by TSA Government

Even if your mission is to “stop the bad guys.” It’s always a good idea to keep your logo as far as you can from any inappropriate imagery that people might easily see.

10. The Unknown Logo

Bad Logo Example

Whatever this is. It might be a logo from a hair band from the 80s, but other than that, we have no clue.

11. Priority Medical Services

Image of Priority Medical Services Logo

A play on word with an acronym is usually a risky choice. Especially when that acronym involves blood and discomfort to millions of people every month.

12. Ascension Salon & Spa

Corporate Logo of Ascension Salon & Spa

There is probably something meaningful to the owners of this salon and spa that involves a butterfly, scissors and ascending. However, if that meaning is not easily understandable, it’s probably lost on the customer.

13. Hilton Worldwide

Corporate Logo of Hilton Worldwide

Alignment is important with logos. With so many people out there who care about details when things are even slightly out of place, this logo for Hilton is making perfectionists everywhere cringe.

14. GAP Clothing

Company Logo Fail for GAP Clothing

Timelessness is important in logo design. When you think of GAP clothing, do you think of this? With a former memorable logo for years, Gap’s logo was redesigned to lowercase letters and a small blue box.

15. AOL

AOL Bad Logo Example

In an attempt for a newer, fresher look, AOL redesigned their logo to a messy green image and is also now known as AOL. As in AOL with a dot.

16. American Airlines

Corporate Logo of American Airlines

Redesigned in 2013, American Airlines moved away from the iconic AA logo it had held since 1968. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

17. Path Mark

Logo of Path Mark Company

Path Mark was a US based supermarket chain that opened in 1968. They went bankrupt in 2015. Though a once popular grocery store, their logo is rather poorly designed.

18. Fort Collins Cycling

Logo history for Fort Collins Cycling

A simple design is more powerful than an artsy picture. A universal design is also not something to forget. Will bicycles always look the same way? Will Fort Collins be able to use this design in 20 years? If a logo has to be redesigned to fit in with the times, it was a weak logo to begin with.

19. Verizon

Image of Bad Early Verizon Corporate Logo

Decried for it’s strangely placed red V, disappearing red Z, and a noticeable background gradient, Verizon has long taken fire for this logo.

A Logo For You

As you can see, a logo that is clear, simple, and memorable is important and necessary. With the wrong logo, your company can easily be lost in the sea of noise at best, or at worst, even ridiculed for poor design.

In today’s market with so many companies competing for business, your company needs a logo that is versatile, appropriate, and recognizable. Creating such a design that is distinctive and universal is no easy task. It is worth your while to hire a professional.

The good news is that Today’s Local Media, a trusted logo design company, can help with the entire process.

From concept to design, TLM will oversee your logo design project and present you with a logo product you can be proud of. Our creative team will present you with your choice of 5-8 logo ideas, and you will choose what works best for you. Call TLM and rest in the knowledge that you will have some of the sharpest logo design skill in Dallas working for you.

How to Create a Small Business Blog (in 6 Easy Steps)

How to Create a Small Business Blog (in 6 Steps)

Vintage Image of Business Blogger Typing

If you are late to the blogging game, no worries. It’s never too late to get in on this social media tool to pull in more customers for your small businesses. Whether you’re a dentist or a real estate agent, blogging can do you a world of good, bridging the gap between existing and potential clients.

First off, let’s define what a blog is. Essentially, this is a web page that is regularly updated with relevant, interesting content written in a conversational and informal tone.

Think of it as a combination of a journal, educational tool and advertising technique. The trick is to make it look more like an informational piece of content than a blatant advertisement for your business.

With that in mind here are 6 simple tips to follow when creating your small business blog.

1. Balancing Your Blog

Therein lies the rub: how do you craft your blog to contain a blend of all of the above without it sounding like you’re making a pitch? Well, the best way to go about this is to hire a content professional who does this for a living. They have the time, experience and skill set to make this happen, whereas you may be extremely busy trying to, well, run your business. That being said, we have some pointers for you if you’re going to tackle this solo.

2. Use Your Voice

In general, you want to nix the marketing jargon and focus on speaking in your own voice. Save the pitch for the rest of your website. For your blog, get loose, get comfortable, and get real.

The truth is, your customers want to hear the real deal. What’s going on in the industry today and how does it affect them? How can they save money or time? These are the questions you want to be answering.

Make it easy for people to share what they find interesting. For that, be sure to embed social share triggers in key strategic locations within the blog, says Social Media Examiner. By keeping your blog social, you’re encouraging feedback from your customers and potential customers. Don’t hit them with underhanded sales tactics; that will just scare them off. Get on their level and foster ongoing relationships.

3. Go Beyond What’s Expected

Writing a blog off the cuff is no small feat. In many instances, it becomes necessary to back up what you’re saying with reference links, research and articles. Linking to those resources is a critical part of educating your customers, so that they can do their own research and validate what you’re telling them. It’s a good idea to link to white papers, YouTube videos, research papers, and articles that further illustrate your point.

After all, part of the strategy of a blog is to position yourself at the forefront of your industry as the leading expert in your field. Your blog should become an education center of sorts where customers and potential customers can learn more information. Link to your social media accounts and other resources to always keep the door open. Don’t let your blog end there: always keep the lines of communication and further knowledge open. Put the content out there, become a teacher, and watch the customers come to you.

4. Regular Updates

That leads us to the importance of updating your blog. The only thing worse than not having a blog is letting your blog become stagnant. We’ve all run into this at some point while browsing business websites. You click on the Blog page to see what you can learn and all you come across is a blog dated two years ago. What a let-down. This tells the viewer that the website is neglected, and, by association, the business must be neglected too.

If the company can’t keep up with a simple blog, how can they meet your needs as a customer? Many times, people move on to a competitor if a website shows signs of neglect. Fresh, engaging content is imperative, not just in blogs but in all pages of the site. If you let your blog content stagnate, you’re losing customers. Period.

5. Well-Written Content

A blog with typos and bad grammar does more damage to your reputation than if you simply had no blog at all. Just like a blog that’s not updated regularly, a poorly written piece of content will turn readers off. if you can’t spell right, why would anyone trust you with their dental work?

6. Implement Calls to Action

The best-crafted blog in the world won’t do a bit of good if you don’t incorporate a call to action at the end. Think about what you want to accomplish with that particular blog and where you want to drive traffic. If your blog is about how spring and summer are the hot times to sell your house, back it up with stats and links of course, but don’t forget to call your readers to action in some way: perhaps offer $500 off closing costs if they put their house on the market by July 31 with you.

Entice them to call you, offer them a way to save money, and you will get results. Show them the benefits — not just of putting their home on the market — but why they should do it with you.

Give our team a shout if you need help crafting your blog and drawing in customers. We do this all day long and know a thing or two about crafting compelling content that’s engaging, relevant and refreshing.

The Top 10 Fort Worth Marketing Companies

The Top 10 Fort Worth Marketing Companies

Image of Fort Worth Landscape
You know you do great work. You have a great company, you have great people, and you have an awesome product. And if you are located in Fort Worth, and ready to grow, that means you are ready to partner with a marketing company.

You might have been talking with your coworker the other day saying something like, “I love what we do, and we’re so good at it! I just wish more people knew about us. We’re like one of the best kept secrets out there.”

In north Texas cities, having a great product or offering awesome service is not enough. Without exposure to new clients in the metroplex, business can dry up. The bottom line is, no matter how good you are at what you do, if consumers can’t find you, you might be closing shop soon.

Today, it is essential to make your Fort Worth area business findable in the depths of the overcrowded waters of global internet searches.

Enter the new best friend you didn’t know you needed, the marketing company.

Retail is changing. More people are shopping online than ever before and trends are pointing towards more and more digital. If you are wanting to grow your business, a digital marketing company can help you become more searchable, more findable, and in turn, more profitable.

Some of the services your business needs to grow include web development, digital advertising, Local SEO, social media branding, mobile optimization, and increasing website traffic volume. All while creating real-life, exceptional ROI.

To help you get that jumpstart, here are Ten Top Fort Worth Marketing Companies you should check out:

1. Black Anchor

Black Anchor Client List in Fort Worth
Black Anchor Design is based out of Fort Worth, and focuses on brand storytelling. They are a ThreeBestRated company, as well as an UpCity Top Digital Marketing Agency in Fort Worth. Notable clients include Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Brothers, Capcom, CocaCola, Quicksilver, and Nokia.

2. Enilon

Image of Fort Worth Marketing Home Page
Enilon creates and optimizes digital customer acquisition and retention. Services include paid digital marketing, SEO marketing, web design and development. They have a 2017 Gold Microsite Addy Award, 2016 and 2017 DFW AMA Marketer of the Year for Interactive Media, and first place for innovative use of search in 2016 with the DFW Interactive Marketing Association.

3. J.O. Design

Image of Clients in Fort Worth Texas
J.O. Design is ThreeBestRated company for advertising and has a 2015 Worthy and Marcom Award. Much of J.O. Design’s work has been associated with the City of Fort Worth as well as Goodwill. Notable for J.O. Design as well is their “Cause Agency.” A service dedicated to giving back by assisting in the non-profit sector.

4. PMG

Digital Marketing in Fort Worth
PMG manages campaigns in over 50 countries. PMG focuses on creating results and growing partnerships with their clientele. They were the 2016 imedia Agency of the year, and an UpCity Top Digital Marketing Agency in Fort Worth. They have been awarded 7 Cannes Lions and listed as a top 5 place to work by Advertising Age. Notable clients include Crew, Apple, and Cirque Du Soleil. PMG offers data analytics, paid search and social, SEO and programmatic display.

5. Qualbe

Image of Qualbe Marketing Home Page
Qualbe marketing group focuses on building your business through digital marketing. Qualbe develops and optimizes websites and drives online traffic to their client base. They are an UpCity Top Digital Marketing Agency in Fort Worth, a 2016 FWInc best company to work for, and a 2017 Entrepreneur Top Company.

6. SRG Creative

Creative and Brand Company Serving Ft. Worth Texas
SRG Creative is an UpCity Top Digital Marketing Agency in Fort Worth and has been awarded 7 Telly Awards. They provide customized solutions to tell the story of your company or brand successfully. Notable clients include local Fort Worth Churches and public venues such as the Bass Performance Hall.

7. Starr Conspiracy

Brand Marketing in Fort Worth
The Starr Conspiracy is a Fort Worth UpCity Top Digital Marketing Agency. With a focus on strategic marketing and advertising, the Starr Conspiracy can manage your media acquisition and production and provide both strategy and execution to propel your company forward. Notable clients include ADP, CareerBuilder, and Thomson Reuters.

8. Thrive

Marketing Company Home Page in Fort Worth
The Thrive Agency delivers massive and sustainable sales growth for your business by attracting and converting leads. Featured in business.com, Forbes, Huffington Post, Moz, and the Search Engine Journal, they are a 2017 com agency, a Clutch Top Agency, and an UpCity Top SEO Agency. Thrive Agency offers Website Presence, Online Marketing, Social Media, and more.

9. Today’s Local Media

Dallas Fort Worth Marketing Company
We tried to be objective, but it’s hard to leave ourselves off this list. Right? Today’s Local Media is a local marketing SEO and custom web design media company. Whether you are a roofing company or an auto repair shop, TLM brings new leads to small business. TLM is a Google partner and a 2017 UpCity Top Agency for an SEO Company. TLM can increase or create brand awareness to give you the best ROI for your digital marketing dollars.

10. Wired SEO

Dallas and Fort Worth Local Search Company
Wired SEO is a 2016 Clutch Top SEO firm, the winner of the 2017 com top ten company globally, and a 2016 UpCity Top local agency. WiredSEO specializes in customized digital marketing solutions to help you get traffic and increase revenue. Wired offers SEO, PPC, Social Media, and Local SEO services. Reputation management and content marketing are important qualities WiredSEO offers their clients.

The world is a noisy place. With all the competition in today’s marketplace, a good marketing strategy can come alongside your business to help you become easier to find.

And by partnering with a great Fort Worth marketing company, your business will be easier to find online, and in turn, more profitable over time.

6 Simple Marketing Tips from Successful Moving Companies

6 Simple Marketing Tips from Successful Moving Companies

Owning a moving company can be a rewarding business venture. And it if you know these simple moving company marketing tips, your business will have a better chance at growing too. It can provide a great way to make an income for you and your family, and for icing on the cake, movers will always in demand.

American families tend to move about once every five years. With over 325 million of us, we are looking at the possibility of around 65 million people moving from one place to another in any given year. That’s a lot of moves!

With all the competition for those millions of potential customers, here are three must-dos to making your moving company a success.

Great Customer Service

Without a doubt, this is the most important piece to the puzzle. If you only remember three words for making your business a success, let it be these: service, service, service.

The competition is just too great to not have great customer service. With thousands of other companies, you’ve got to distinguish yourself from the rest and give people a reason to go with you. The Golden Rule will open doors for you: “Treat others as you would want to be treated.”

People are creatures of habit. Once we have an experience, good or bad, we remember it and make future decisions based directly from it. This is why referrals are powerful. If you can win over one customer, they potentially become free direct-advertising for your company.

Remember Dale Carnegie? He emphasized the smile. He said “A smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” American philosopher John Dewey, said the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.”

Happy Employees are Great for Moving Company Marketing

If you want to succeed in the moving business, you have to make people your priority. Success in the moving business really is more about service than it even is about moving. If you can make people feel important, they will enjoy doing business with you, and come back again.

An easy way smart companies provide customer service i by simply giving something for free on their websites to begin with. You can providing moving tips, give the option of online quotes, or offer utility set up.

Competitive Pricing

After you have completed your cost analysis and have your business plan, you will need to set a fair price for your services. A fair price doesn’t necessarily mean a low price. If you offer a quality service, you should be able to charge a quality price. You might not consider pricing a tool in your marketing toolkit, but it is.

People generally know they get what they pay for. If you offer great service with quality work all in a reasonable timeframe, people won’t be too surprised when you offer your estimate. Most people who care about what they own would rather pay a little extra to make sure everything is transported safely and professionally. Providing a free estimate is an easy way to make customers feel at ease about the entire process.

Moving Company Marketing and Pricing Page

As a general rule, your revenue will vary based on how much time you have to make moves each month and how much business you can generate. Bear in mind your overhead costs such as insurance, materials, and gas as far as expenses, but if budget well, you should be able to turn a profit each quarter.

Though competition is fierce, there are ways to increase customer retention. Whether that is offering a simple way to pay, building customers first, or simply listening to the needs of your customers, you can set a price that is fair for your customer and profitable to you.

A Compelling Online Presence

Remember the adage, “first impressions last’? Your online presence is your company’s first impression. The best part is that you can make an easy to use website that helps people understand your company and why they should call you.

If you can win people over on your website, you’re well on your way to winning their business. Here are three more quick tips:

Mobile Design

Always ensure your moving company website is mobile responsive. Basically, that means when someone looks you up on their phone or tablet, your website adjusts itself to the screen. This is crucial, because people are beginning to use their mobile devices over computers.

Great Moving Company Marketing Means a Good Website

Search Engine Optimization

The next moving company marketing strategy is SEO. Search Engine Optimization is when search engines such as google or yahoo are optimized to bring your company to the top of the list of the myriad other options. You want people in your local area who look up your service to be able to find you quickly and easily. Most people choose from the first few options listed online once they do a search. Having your page optimized is so crucial that page one typically garners 92% of all traffic, with traffic dropping 95% on page two.

Social Media

A great avenue to reach your customers is social media. Social media doesn’t have to cost much, yet it gives prospective customers an easy way to engage with you. Consider that nearly 1/3 of the world regularly utilize social networks, and 74% of people report they use Facebook alone for professional services. Marketing your company on social media is a significant piece of pie.

You can be successful at running a great moving company. Master these simple moving company marketing tips and customer service skills, use fair prices, and have a compelling online presence, and you are well on your way!

You can also grow your business with Today’s Local Media. We would like to work with you.

4 Lessons I Learned in 4 Years as a Small Business Owner

4 Hard Lessons I Learned in 4 Years as a Small Business Owner

Small Business Marketing

I took the plunge and went into business for myself four years ago, shunning a regular paycheck for the freedom, adventure, and sometimes challenges of owning my own company.

I knew it would not be easy, but both of my parents started and ran small businesses most of my life, so you might say it was in my blood. Around 400,000 new businesses are started in the United States every month. And statistics show that 90% of those businesses will fail. But your chances of surviving increase dramatically if you can make it past the first few years.

So, I wanted to share some things that have helped me get to the place I am today, in the hopes that it will help other small businesses make it here too.

Here are the four most valuable lessons I’ve learned in four years of being a small business owner.

Lesson 1: Customer Service Can Be Your Best Ally or Your Worst Enemy

Customer service is a double-edged sword. Bad customer service (ignoring customer complaints, responding late, giving inadequate solutions) can tear down your goodwill, and eventually your bottom line. But good customer service grows your business. What makes it good? The customer feels heard and feels like you offered an appropriate solution.

In this age of social media, companies have a harder time controlling their message and maintaining positive-only reviews online. The key isn’t to delete bad reviews, but to make it right. Respond in a quick, polite, apologetic, and professional manner. Taking pride in your work is a good thing, but sometimes you have to set it aside, even if the customer may not be right.

A perfect example of this happened on a local businesses Facebook page. A customer commented that it took three days for someone to return her call for an appointment. The office replied to the comment within an hour, apologized, thanked her for the feedback, and assured her that they were training a new front-desk manager and wanted to exceed her expectations in the future.

It was the perfect response, and the customer even replied with a follow-up comment thanking them for their willingness to work on the issue. That negative comment won’t disappear, but now every future visitor can see the company’s humble response, appreciate their transparency, and know that the business welcomes feedback in order to grow.

Lesson 2: If You Want Something Done Professionally, Pay for a Professional 

My father owns a construction business and remodels old homes for a living, so he was pretty handy around the house, and he taught me a lesson that would serve me well as a small business owner. You get what you pay for. Cutting corners may save you money upfront, but could end up costing more in money and frustration.

But that voice in my head retorts, “I can do it myself, it’s not that hard!” Yes, I probably could look up some YouTube videos and figure out how to write an air-tight contract. But I always look at my time as money. It’s the same thing I ask small businesses to trust me with each day as a local marketing company.

Lesson 3: Hire the Right People and Let Them Do Their Job

Every interview I hold with a potential contractor or partner, I repeat to myself, “Hire hard; manage easy.” It pays to be picky with personnel choices. And once I get the right person, I try to give them wings to do their job well. Micromanaging only puts more on my plate, and stresses both of us out. And I believe my employees’ morale soars when I’m not policing them at every turn.

I’ve learned that one of my jobs as the boss, is to set the vision for my employees, and periodically check in to make sure they are walking down that path, towards that vision in their own way. Giving them more power in the day to day decisions even opens doors for their own innovation and efficiencies.

Lesson 4: Don’t Neglect Your Personal Life

The first year you are in business is usually awful. Every waking moment is focused on the business, and how to invest in its growth while still putting food on the table. But being deliberate about balance made me a better business owner, person, friend, and husband. In a Harvard Business Review study, several themes emerged on how to balance the seesaw, suggesting managing technology, traveling selectively, and collaborating with your partner among other tips from executives.

My Wife (Cassie) and I in France

Whether you define balance as physical (working out, eating healthy), emotional (meditating), or relational (spending quality time or traveling with friends and family), your day must be marked by intentional planning. As one executive from the study said, “I just prioritize dinner with my family as if it was a 6PM meeting with my most important client.”

I’m sure the next four years of owning a small business will reveal even more lessons learned. What are some other lessons you’ve learned the hard way?

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5 Proven Strategies to Grow Your Moving Company

5 Proven Strategies to Grow Your Moving Company

The moving industry is an extremely competitive landscape. Moving companies largely offer similar services, so how can you differentiate yourself from the competition? How do you convert interested customers into ones who are confident enough in you to schedule their move? The answer is marketing. Most movers don’t have the staff or resources to market their business, but Today’s Local Media (TLM) is a small digital marketing agency that does. We have advised moving companies nationwide and helped their business grow. A client even called us “a small business owner’s secret weapon in getting an edge on competitors.”

Through our vast experience, we have found processes and strategies that deliver results. Here are five proven ways to market your moving company.

Build a consistent brand and professional website

A brand is what the customer visualizes when she hears your company name. A brand is bigger than a website. But a website is the most outward facing representation of your brand, and having a professional looking one will engage your customers and build brand-trust, increasing the chance they will choose you for their moving needs.

Research says 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. How something looks completely affects how someone feels about it. And we’re not all graphic designers, so websites are one thing to outsource. TLM is one company that develops appealing, customized websites that are SEO friendly. They are fully optimized, mobile responsive (automatically change to fit the device you’re reading it on), and they load fast. Time is money, and over a third of customers will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load, or take too long to load.

Creating a good user experience includes putting your contact information on every page, and have attractive estimate forms to make connecting with you painless. Your website should work for you, not against you, and should make it as easy as possible for customers to quickly choose you, and to quickly contact you.

moving company web design

Get listed on online directories

Claim a presence on online directories. Some of the more important ones for movers are Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s list, Movingcompanyreviews.com, BBB, Homeadvisor, Thumbtack, and Yp.com. While Google is the number one search engine (Bing is second), think of every directory as another chance to get found online. Most of these are even free, like Google My Business, which complements your website with a public presence on Google search and Google Maps. You can add images of your trucks and crews as well, which will come up on the right side of Google results with your hours and contact information.

Should you pay for advertising on these directories? I don’t recommend it until you get at least five reviews. Which leads us to the next tip.

get listed on directories

Get reviews

As long as you are providing excellent customer service, ask customers for reviews immediately after the move. Potential customers read reviews, and 88% trust them as much as personal recommendations. On the flip side of the coin, if you ignore online reviews in your marketing plan, you are isolating yourself from 88% of potential customers. And consider negative reviews as learning opportunities—without feedback you won’t know how you can improve.

If you need help, there are services that can help collect reviews, such as Podium.com (my personal favorite). They let you send texts and emails with links to the review sites directly to the customer. As your collection of reviews grow, you are building your online reputation. I also recommend responding to all online reviews publicly. This shows the visitors that you care about your reputation.

Post to Facebook

Once you get a good amount of “likes” it is important to stay at the top of their feed by interacting with your customers. Post a couple times a week with funny photos, pics from your jobs, links to videos about packing-hacks, and challenges you solved (like lifting that grand piano up four flights of stairs).

Respond quickly and humbly if someone posts a complaint on your Facebook page. NEVER delete comments, you will just make a frustrated customer that much more angry, and they may even start a comment-war about how you just deleted them. Instead, apologize, pledge to improve, and move the conversation to a positive place.

Customers want to see how you handled a complaint just as much as they want to see positive reviews. With an active Facebook profile, people are more likely to remember your company name when it’s time to pack the boxes.

olde world movers facebook

Network with real estate professionals and others that may refer you to their customers

Real estate agents are the perfect referral. After months-long home searches, moving is the final step to coordinate, and agents have built rapport with clients both moving out and in. Most agents depend on the network around them, but maintaining their trust is paramount. If your hired-help drops the antique china, it reflects badly on the agent’s reputation as well.

Bring lunch to larger real estate groups and talk for a few minutes about your company. Some brokers may have a relocation division which works with a pool of moving companies directly.

It’s also important to create a Linkedin profile, be active on it, and connect with others in the industry. On LinkedIn, you can connect with those realtors, property managers and even customers. A couple of good LinkedIn groups that I recommend joining and being active on include “Marketing Your Moving Company”, “Movers Referral Network”, and “Moving and Storage Salespeople.” Jump right in to those groups. Ask questions, share helpful tips, and answer questions and more. You’ll be surprised at how often these interactions can turn into long-term business relationships.

linkedin moving company groups

Luckily the information age has made it easier to network and market your moving company. These five tips can help you grow and expand your business, and give you a competitive advantage in the industry.

What do you think? Which of the tips above do you think is most important to marketing?

4 Tips For Building Your Local Moving Company Website

4 Tips For Building Your Local Moving Company Website

Web Design for Moving Company

If there is one thing we know at Today’s Local Media it’s moving company web design. Whether it is Around the Clock Movers in Dallas, Moving Proz in Lawrence, or Olde World Movers in Fort Worth, having a great website will make or break your business.

Moving is a process that consumer take very seriously, which is why sites such as moving company reviews are so successful. That being said, here’s 4 quick and simple tips for making your website a money making machine for your company.

1. Mobile Responsive Design

More customers looking for local movers access websites from handheld mobile devices than desktops now. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website design you are missing out on customers who are looking for moving companies on their iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows phone. Better the a mobile website, a mobile responsive design means that your site looks great regardless of device.

How can you tell if you have a mobile friendly responsive design? It’s fairly simple. Pull up your website on various devices with different screen sizes. If your website is difficult to read and navigate on smaller screens such as mobile phones, you probably are missing this critical element to your online presence.

2. Desktop Layout

Now that you have your mobile visitors covered, it’s time to focus on your traditional desktop visitors for a second. Look at your moving company website on a typical laptop of desktop computer. Having your contact information easily visible is an important part of your local website design.

Is your logo on top? What about your phone number? It should be a easy to read and on the top right corner of your website where most people expect it. For people who don’t want to call you, have a quick quote or contact form for those that would rather email to get the process started.

3. Share Cities You Service

Finding a mover is an important part of relocation for millions of American families each year. When they start their search online for a qualified and trustworthy moving company, they want to know that they have found somebody familiar with their local area.

Most small to medium size business owners serve a very specific local area. They know where there best clients come from, and so do you. That’s why when you set out to redesign or improve your online marketing, start with local cities you service. If the majority of your business comes from a certain city, it makes sense for your website to specifically call out that area.

4. Free Estimate Page

The last tip is very specific to the moving industry, and it’s that your website includes a free estimate page. One of the biggest complaints against moving companies is related to the price or quote that was given to them. Even the most successful moving companies still deal time and again with upset consumers based on pricing issues. Here’s an excellent example of a moving company website that has a free estimate page:

Moving Company Website Free Estimate Page

Adding a free estimate page is a great way to not only put the customer at ease, but capture more leads from your website. A visitor might not feel comfortable speaking to you yet without a price quote. The free estimate page can be a great source of referrals, revenue, and future business for your company.

Conclusion

If you own and operate a local moving company, you know the online space is more competitive than ever. Putting these 4 practices in place on your website can not only help immediately improve your bottom line, but ensure healthy growth long into the future.

5 Ways Arlington Businesses Dominate Their Competition with Internet Marketing

Arlington TX Skyline View I30 Freeway

When Jerry Jones built the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, he knew it needed to stand out from among the rest. Residents who live in Dallas/Fort Worth are busier than ever with work, school, and entertainment activities.

That’s why if you own or operate a business in the area, you absolutely need to have a first class website optimized for both mobile and desktop devices. With that in mind, here’s 5 quick ways your Arlington website can stand out from among your North Texas local competition.

1. Responsive Website Design

Mobile commuters in the Arlington area are using smart phones to find your business online. There’s no denying the impact mobile phone trends have had on the way customers connect with local businesses.

Most Arlington businesses still DO NOT have a mobile friendly website design in 2014. That’s an amazing statement considering that most people now connect with businesses via their mobile phones.

Arlington is a huge commuter town due to all the visitors traveling to UTA, Cowboys Stadium, Six Flags, DFW Airport, and the Ballpark in Arlington. If you are buying a website in 2014 that is not mobile optimized, you are wasting your time and money.

2. Optimized Local Content

Arlington is a part of one of the fastest growing communities in Texas, it’s important to stand out between large cities Dallas and Fort Worth. That’s why optimized local content is critical to the mix when you are playing the internet marketing game.

SEO is about more than just copying and pasting “Arlington TX” ten times on your landing page, nobody wants to ready repetitive words like that! What makes your DFW area business unique to the local area? Why is it that you enjoy doing in Arlington? Do you have other locations outside of metroplex, or even outside of Texas?

3. Fresh Blog Posts

Do you like to read news or blog posts online? So do your customers! Helpful articles and blog posts for your customers will make sure you stay relevant in the eyes of local search in places like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Almost every search for a local business now starts on the internet. If you haven’t seen the latest internet meme, you know how fast things move online. If you don’t have a blog you are posting on regularly, you will quickly become yesterday’s news in the digital space.

4. Suggested Similar Services

From I30 to I20, there are many businesses in a small area you can connect with in the Arlington metroplex. If you sold carpet would it make sense to have a great relationship with a carpet cleaner? Absolutely! Networking is key to local marketing, and the internet hasn’t changed that one bit.

Just as you would advertise in your local chamber of commerce for referrals, the same is true when it comes to connecting in the digital space. The quality and quantity of your connections will make or break your local business online.

5. Accurate Driving Directions

People are commuting in and out of Arlington constantly, from throughout the DFW metroplex. That means the concentration of mobile searches in the area will be much higher than other surrounding suburban areas. Making sure you have accurate and easy to find contact information is a critical part of making sure that visitors to your website can become customers to your business.

If you don’t have your business phone number with a local area code like 682 or 817, you can forget about customers calling you. If you don’t have a local address that’s easy to read and listed on local maps websites like Google, Apple, and Yelp, you can forget about customers finding you. They might as well end up in Dallas!

Summary

If you truly want to stand out among the thousands of other Arlington businesses, you have to work smarter not harder. Internet marketing and mobile website design can be a fantastic strategy to get more leads and increase your annual revenue.

Google Testing Orange Review Stars for Businesses Again

It looks like Google has been testing large orange stars for the business ratings in the SERPs. I found that it is pretty consistent across browsers. I first noticed the change when using Google Chrome and searching the query “movers dallas.”

google shows reviews

For some reason, I had the hunch to check the same results on Safari and it seemed to still have the Zagat rating system… that is until you click on the listing and see that it showed the orange stars.  Being the nerd that I am, I also looked on Safari on my iPhone and it does show the stars.

iPhone search results

Google Much Improved From Zagat System

For local businesses, this is a much improved feature from Google. When they first changed to the Zagat rating system, I thought small, local businesses (with great reviews) were doomed because ratings and reviews were not showed prominently. If local business owners weren’t serious about reputation management before, this surely will force them to pay more attention. Here is a great guide for those to are concerned about the reputation of their business and how to manage it wisely.

What Are Your Thoughts On This?

I am curious of others opinions on this change. What are you noticing? How much does this help local businesses and SMB owners? I think it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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