Say Cheeeeese!

It is imperative to have a good quality business photo for your website, LinkedIn profile, and articles you write for industry publications as well as to give it to journalists who request it. People who do business with you might want to see what you look like. Before you start with the excuses, let me be honest. Your selfie at the bar won’t cut it. Save it for your personal Instagram or Facebook account. If you are to be perceived as a professional, you need to hire a professional. Period. Think about it as an investment in your career. The cost need not break the bank. Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of your photo session:

  • Dress how your industry works. Are you an artist or a CPA? Needless to say, those in the art or advertising world may have a bit more creative freedom than say, an investment banker. The general rule of thumb from the pros is to dress classic, basic, and simple. This gives images longevity. Business casual is a broad definition and can include suit coats with informal shirts, polo shirts and tan pants, or turtle necks with jeans. However you define business casual, be sure to feel fabulous in your clothes, no matter the style!
  • Be yourself. Have fun, even. The key here is letting go. Look at the camera and imagine it is the face of someone you really care about and are comfortable with. Get creative with props, angles and your facial expressions. Show several sides of your personality. I loved the photo of myself (above) with my glasses because I was genuinely laughing. We were trying to get a serious headshot and I couldn’t pull it off. It ended up being one of my favorite shots. When you are comfy in your skin, you know it. The camera lens knows it. Your viewers know it. Be genuine. Always.

The creative adult is the child who survived. Show me your inner child.

  • What to wear tips for ladies. For headshots and professional photos in genera lavoid big prints and busy patterns. (Think grandma’s house dress). Oh, and your jewelry should not resemble “Gypsy Rose.” We want to see you, not your busy-ness. It’s fine to be fashionable but remember the picture is about your face not your soon- to-be-dated accessories or clothes. Also, keep in mind that different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety of shirts or blouses to see what works best. No cleavage. No cleavage. No cleavage.
  • What to wear tips for guys. For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts-ideally darker than your skin tone. The standard business look is still a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, gentlemen. A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie, (no jacket), or dress shirt on its own. Quick note. A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea. It just is. Trust me.
  • Tell the photographer how the photo will be used. Communicate your expectations and intentions for the picture, whether you plan on using it for your website, online marketing or print collateral. Be as clear as possible. Did you see some photos that you admire? Snap a screen shot and show your photographer what you like about it. The angle. The color. The pose. Whatever. If it is not appropriate, they’ll tell you.
  • Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. We all have that go-to outfit we pull out of the closet when we want to feel our best. Don’t have one? Go shopping. Today. Make sure it fits your body and personality well. You’ll know it the second you try it on. If you have absolutely no clue in the fashion arena of your life, grab a friend, partner, or colleague who does. They’ll help.

 

Here’s to your success! Feel free to contact me if you need addtional help finding the right photographer.

Audrey Gotto

 

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4 Painless Ways to Encourage Online Reviews

Online business reviews can influence internet search engine results. This is crucial for small business owners wanting to increase local seo results. Search engines such as Google take into account how many times your business is mentioned in reviews. Your business getting alot of mentions usuually translates into appearing higher in search results than a business that isn’t reviewed  often. Research suggests that consumers generally trust peer recommendations more than they trust advertising.

A recent Nelson survey found that of 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries 90% trusted recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

I’m not going to lie. Getting reviews is not always easy. In fact, I find it to be challenging for a number or reasons. 1.) Who has the time to find your review site, compose a review, and get it posted quickly? 2.) Some of your clients no doubt love you and your product but they just aren’t skilled writers. 3.) Transparency is always an issue. Have you ever read an online business review that just felt fake?  False reviews are tacky and will actually hurt your seo results.

That being said, here are 4 painless ways to encourage online reviews for your business:

  1. Encourage your customers to leave ratings and reviews of your business if they are satisfied with your work. Send them a simple email after a service is rendered, give them a flyer at checkout, a call to action on your website or a phone call or  direct text message. Don’t be shy. You’ve done a wonderful job. Asking for an endorsement is fine, as long as it is authentic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don’t miss our updates! Subscribe here.
  2. Provide customers with a variety of sites to post reviews about you. For example, if you are asking for a review via email, send the appropriate links in the body of your message so that they can easily click on the site and get typing directly.  Instead of just providing links at the bottom of your email signature, why not kindly encourage and/or ask for a review? make this the SUBJECT OF YOUR EMAIL, not an afterthought or closing comment.
  3. Respond to Reviews. The Good. The Bad. And The Ugly. Be proactive about responding to all reviews. Say thank you. Say you’re sorry. Say something! If the comment is a postive one, thank the customer for their feedback and encourage them (by name if appropriate) to use your services again. If the post is negative, explain that you appreciate their honesty and ask the customer to get in contact with you about their concerns so you can address their problems directly. And do that. I love seeing when business owners show the negative posts and their susbsequent  tactful replies.  Through your replies, customers can get to know you  as an individual, not just ‘business x.’ Transparency and authenticity are gold in the business world.
  4. Never ever post false reviews. False reviews are eventually discovered. Because of their obvious generic transparency, you risk the chance of losing visibility in search engines. Worse yet, the visibility you do get will not be the kind you want. Exercise patience and be consistent with points 1-3 and eventually you will build a strong  business online review sampling.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto- Fina Promos

 

Linking Your Way to SEO Success

Links from your website to other related websites, and vice versa, play a role in your business’ local SEO visibility, because they help to establish the authenticity and credibility of your business. Without appearing “spammy” use these 5 action items in your website link strategy:

  • Consistently share links to your website via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, and encourage others to pass along the information as well. Speaking of links; Here’s a few of ours: Fina Promos Website  FinaPromos Facebook Page  I find myself struggling with this at times. But really, the next time you are sending off an email try and take a few seconds and include a link to a special blog post or article from one of your social sites or website that would help, entertain or amuse your recipients.
  • Include links to your website in email newsletters and other updates to customers. Posting a link back to your website on your LinkedIn and GooglePlus Page updates/posts can greatly increase your search engine optimization efforts. Again, without being a self-serving spammer, try to include your website link if it would actually be helpful to your associates or readers.                                                                             breastcancergirls
  • Host or sponsor local events, or provide discounts for neighborhood students, and then encourage neighborhood businesses, the local chamber of commerce, charity organizations and other partners to link to your website when talking about those activities. And don’t forget to return the favor.
  • Create a local directory of community resources including your favorite nearby restaurants, stores and cultural attractions, to provide an opportunity for you to link out to others (and for them to return the favor). Even consider starting a blog where you can talk about your business’ neighborhood and link to businesses and places of interest.
  • However, be sure that your link strategy is authentic in that you know who you are linking to and that they have relevance to your business. Also, do not create link schemes like spamming your business’ domain name on websites, forums or blog comments.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

5 Ways to Optimize Your Business Listings

Twitter Tips, Social Media Marketing

Achieving effective local search engine optimization for your business is like striking gold. In my last blogpost,  I suggested that we begin with properly optimiizing information that appears on your business website. Read article  Today, we will discuss an issue often overlooked by small business owners-How your business appears on websites and business listings.

One of the most effective ways to boost local SEO is to be consistent with your business listing information. Google and other search engines LOVE consistency. When your business is not listed, or worse yet, the information listed is incomplete or inaccurate, this can negatively effect your placements in search results. Here are 5 tips to help optimize your business listings:

  1. Search local listings websites like Facebook, Yelp, GooglePlus, YP, Yellowbook and TripAdvisor to be sure your business is actually listed. If not, be sure to claim those listings, and be consistent and acurate with your business name, phone number and address. If your business is listed as located on 6th St., use 6th St consistently, NOT Sixth Street. Make changes as neccessary and delete duplicate pages.
  2. Include videos, photos, your website URL and any other key information to make your listings attractive, interactive and informative. I get reaaly annoyed seeing the unprofessional looking “blue silhoette” in place of a photo or logo. Really. COMPLETE the listing.
  3.  Categorize your business properly. This greatly aids in properly optimizing your business website. If you happen to have relevant key words in your business name that helps. For example my company sells promo products. I choose the company name Fina Promos for that reason, and the domain name of finapromos.net
  4. Work with a “listings provider” such as Moz.com to automate the process for all local sites. Usually the price for this service is reasonable and worth your small investment in dollars compared to your large investment in time to care for this manually.
  5. Does your business have more than one location? Create a seperate listing for each location on your website to boost visibility of your brand and each of your stores or offices.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Website

Do you own or manage a local small business? If so, you’re no doubt painfully aware of the need for strong  local SEO (search engine optimization) success.  Just like your computer is the new typewriter; Local search engine optimization is the new Yellow Pages.  If you want to be found online, you must be seen online. Your website is your most important and valuable online assest, so ensure that it is properly optimized to appear high within search results. Let’s assume you do not have thousands of dollars to spend on  SEO AdWords. Here are 4 action items to boost your local SEO.

  1. Choose a domain name that reflects your business location and business typeFor example, Joe’s Lawncare located in Pittsburgh, PA  could use the domain “joeslawncarepittsburgh.com” which says it all.                   
  2. Add key words on page titles that identify with your business, its products and services and its location.            
  3. Be sure to add your business name, phone number, address and social media links on EACH INDIVIDUAL PAGE of your website, not just your homepage.                    
  4. In your website copy, be sure to mention not only your products and services, but include as much as possible about your local area. This associates your business with the nearby vicinity. Remember, we are after LOCAL optimization here. Include if possible, what sports teams plays in your city, what section of town you’re in, what special place of interest is just around the corner. Not only will this added information improve your website copy for customers, it will also boost your search visibility as a local business. 

My next post will discuss how to utilize local business listings to boost SEO success.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

Fina Promos Website