On 25 September 2017, the Mums Enterprise Roadshow event came to London. The Perfect Layout team took time out of their busy schedule to go and assess the event and see if any networking opportunities presented themselves.
Located in the London Business Design Centre close to Angel tube station, we arrived to see a queue of women already eagerly waiting to see what the day had in store for them and what new opportunities would arise. The uniqueness of this event was present early with the audience (mostly women) carrying babies on their fronts, backs and in buggies.
The atmosphere was one of anticipation and expectation (in between the background din of babies babbling) as the welcoming atmosphere embraced the almost playpen-like environment. It was refreshing to see how relaxed everyone was and feel the excitement of this day - potentially being the day that their life would change forever.
The main area was full of stalls offering women part-time and full-time opportunities of work. Flexible work that would allow them, if required, to fit around childcare. There were also franchises to be purchased for those wanting to take the plunge and truly be their own boss of something tried and tested. For those already in the throw of setting up their own business, there were companies offering outsourced services too.
The conference part of the event offered multiple tracks, where speakers changed every half an hour, talking about their areas of expertise. Many in the audience were frantically scribbling down their every word, in between offering their little ones a bite to eat or an iPad to keep them quiet.
Whilst we were there, we spoke to several interesting characters, but one in particular stood out. Her name was Poppy. A thirty-something from Hampstead Heath accompanied by her 3-year-old daughter. She was ready to go back to work, but not in her previous role as a Social Worker. She desired to have more kids in the future, but also wanted to start carving out something for her to work on now. Her dilemma was not knowing what she wanted to do. A feeling that resonates with so many of us. Do we ever truly work in an area that we love and enjoy until retirement?
She continued by saying that her passion was crocheting. She was able to crochet anything and everything. From an adult hat to baby booties for a newborn. She had sold some items through Etsy, had a Facebook page, but was at a loss as to how she could increase her visibility and actually begin making enough money so that she didn’t have to go back to work.
We told her about our business, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing. That we were a website company based in Romford, Essex, there to help small local companies across Essex and London to increase their visibility online. We explained that having an e-commerce website was something that she should consider to really exploit her audience – which was effectively, the entire world wide web.
She would be able to display all her merchandise in categories and offer her clients a portal into what makes her company tick the way that it does. Having a website was a real must. It would allow her to have a blog and create interesting keyword rich content that would grow her followers. She was already on Facebook so we suggested that she join other social media platforms, like YouTube and Pinterest to optimise being seen. These platforms could then be linked back to her website where the full range of her merchandise could be viewed.
We also suggested that she put her business on local directories like Google My Business, Bing and Thomson Local. They were numerous other directories she could list her business on with the bonus of being all for free. The knock-on effect would be that search engines, like Google and Yahoo would see her business as being trustworthy and credible and rank her well.
Running a Google Adwords campaign was another way to be seen above competitors. It would allow you to set the budget and the keywords most likely to be searched for by your customer. As well as being seen above your competitors it works as a Pay Per Click which means that you only pay Google when a customer clicks on your advert.
Whilst these were all services that Perfect Layout were happy to do, we explained that a lot of it she would be able to do herself. Optimising her site (creating keyword rich content and backlinking to trustworthy external websites) may be something she could seek professional help with.
Poppy was a little overwhelmed at first, but grew more confident in understanding each aspect as we spoke over coffee. She was very grateful for our advice and felt empowered to know that her future could change if she decided to take the reins and explore the unknown.
But now she didn’t feel that she was quite so alone. She had the team at Perfect Layout to hold her hand and build up her knowledge about all things digital.
So what is a citation?
A citation, or being listed, is an online reference that contains information about a business, namely their name, address and phone number (NAP). This mention can be made on directories, like Thomson, Yell or 192, on websites like Netmums, or social media platforms like Facebook.
Google My Business is a core platform that all businesses should try and list their businesses on as it’s key to being seen on Google Maps. It also allows customers to connect with companies directly via a search, Maps or Google+.
Is it worth taking the time to cite your business on local directories?
Yes! It allows you to be found by a greater number of online customers and search engines like Google and Yahoo. The more directories your business is cited on, the better, as it will increase your chances to rank highly for local searches.
Online directories have replaced the paper versions of Yellow Pages and Thomson Local. Whilst they still exist in paper form, how many of us actually access them to find out where the Chinese restaurants are if visiting a new town? Or which shop on the high street sells your favourite perfume? Are you really going to carry a paper directory around, just in case you need it? Didn’t think so!
The fact is, online directories offer the facility for customers to find out much more about a business other than just the name, address and phone number. It has the added bonus of being accessible whilst on the move via your mobile phone, laptop or iPad.
Here is a list of the information that a business may include on a directory listing:
Listing a business on a directory is not difficult, but it can be time consuming. If you choose to give it a go yourself, make sure you do the job properly. If you don’t, it could affect your income, online rankings as well as your reputation.
Follow these tips to ensure that search engines, like Google, view you as a business that’s real and worth trusting and ultimately worth ranking:
Have you undertaken a review of where your business is cited lately?
A Google My Business (GMB) profile is essential for local Search Engine Optimisaton (SEO). It’s easy enough to set up and will show your business in local search results for queries specific to your products or services. This is something local and small business owners can capitalise upon. Without it you won’t be appearing on any local map listings which Google displays for the vast majority of local queries.
Ensure that your name, address and phone number are consistent with the website that it is pointing to. Then ensure that you fill out the details as much as possible, including, opening times, payment methods, adding images that relate to your business etc. All of this is fuel for the Google tank.
Getting positive reviews for your products and services is critical these days. Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB listing; this will rank your business higher.
If you would like Perfect Layout Digital Marketing to set up your Google My Business listing, we can do so for a small fee.
Call Perfect Layout’s team on 01708 578 015.