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Technology

Common Website Tips and Tricks to Help Your Business Grow

By Sales, Small Business, Technology, Website No Comments

What we’re going to go over are some very common mistakes that we see when we’re reviewing a client website and some of the things that we like to always suggest to most businesses. 

Call to Action Page

Firstly, online tools or common practices that we like to implement on a website is giving clients or customers the option to contact you or do business with you, get a quote, or schedule a consultation through several different options. We know that this can be different depending on your industry and how you prefer to be contacted. But generally speaking, when we’re looking at small, local, even mid-sized businesses and we look at their call to action page, contact page, or their consultation page, we’re always pretty shocked at just how much missing information there is. There might be just a contact form, but there’s no phone number when they definitely should. have a phone number. 

As you can see here on this website, College Planning Institute (CollegePlanningInstitute.com), what we’ve done is we’ve got two columns here on the “Schedule Free Consultation” page. As you can see within the same frame, there are several ways that you could get started. If you’re more in exploration mode or just looking for a quote, then you might complete the form. It’s not going to be as time sensitive. It’s going to submit the info and their responsibility is to reach out to me. That’s a much more passive approach. 

But as you can see above, the email and phone number is also listed. Both of these are linked. So if you click on this, it will call the phone number on my phone. We see this mistake a lot with small business websites where they have just the text for the phone number and it’s not a button or it’s not linked. Have you ever tried to copy a phone number using your thumb on a mobile phone while you’re in a meeting or talking or driving? It is horrible. So make sure that it’s mobile, responsive. They can tap it and get in touch with you right away. 

But why not skip all of this? If you know you want to get started and you want to take advantage of the free consultation, just go ahead and schedule with them?

Calendly

Use a tool like Calendly, for example. Calendly is great. We have used Calendly for years because there’s a great free version and there’s a lot of fun stuff you can do with it. We have other videos and blogs about how to set up and use Calendly. As you can see here, you can customize it as well. It syncs with your calendar, so it’s only going to show times that you are available. If you go and edit my calendar and I’m blocked off Thursday for a doctor’s appointment and I use Calendly, it’s not going to have those time slots available for my customers or clients. 

We’re shocked that more business owners are not taking advantage of these real time synched calendars. They save so much time. They’re going to help you get more leads. They’re going to help you get more business.

I can tell you from personal experience, we went through our Big Red Jelly website and we started putting in embedded calendars using HubSpot, or CRM, very similar to Calendly. And right after we did that and we put those calendars on our call to action pages, we saw a significant, measurable difference in scheduled calls from real people who wanted real advice. 

Relevant Home Page

This is WaytoMoab.com, a website for an amazing tour guide company. One of the things that we like about their site is this little banner at the bottom, “Booking Now for the 2021 Season,” even though it seems minor looking. Point number two is try to have something that’s time or season relevant on your home page. 

A lot of people will design a website or digital platform and say, boom, it’s done. Maybe I’ll refresh it five years from now. The home page is probably going to be one of your most visited pages. You should have a promo, discount, something that’s seasonal, something that’s relevant. It shows that your business is updating your website consistently. It’s growing. It’s changing. It keeps up to date. 

As human beings, generally, we have a hard time thinking far ahead in the future. If you are an e-commerce brand, there should be a banner there or something there that says 25 percent off until the end of this month. There’s a price and a time incentive. 

So think to yourself, what’s a banner coupon, discount, an event, something relevant that can be added to your home page and something that you can update on a monthly basis. You will see results from something as small as that. 

Testimonials

This is something we see again and again with local businesses. They don’t have any testimonials or reviews listed on their website–at least nowhere really easy to find. What a lot of people do is they will have a page where they dump all their testimonials. Or they’ve just got one section where they’ve got testimonials and then nowhere else. 

Here on this website (triedntruecoaching.com), there’s actually testimonials on several pages. Above is an example of a carousel on the homepage with some testimonials. Even though these are static testimonials right now, just that cherry on top, adding validation onto all the information that was digested before is priceless. 

Don’t be afraid to strategically place single testimonials throughout your site. Small business owners do that nearly enough, especially if that testimonial is relevant to the information that it’s next to. 

Let’s say you have a bio about you on a team page. You might have a testimonial from a client that says it was great working with you. It adds validation to the information that someone just digested by visiting your website. Do not be afraid to be strategic with your testimonials, your reviews, your case studies. Use them as a tool to add validity to information on your website. 

Live Chat

Second to last point is just some very basic but easy to set up tools like this OnPoint website that we built (OnPointavl.com). As you can see here in the bottom right hand corner, this is a live chat plugin using the Zoho CRM, which was their preferred CRM. It’s like a sales software. This is a live chat tool when someone on their team is online, this will give a little green light. It will show that someone is online and when they’re not. It turns into a really easy to find contact for these tools.

There’s so much you can do and it can feel like you have an additional mini me who’s doing this work on your website while you’re asleep or while away. Think about a CRM, live chat, chat bot, or a combination of the two. Really leverage your time a little bit better by using these tools. We have other videos and posts about tools like Live Chat Chat, 

Secondary Call to Action

Let’s go to this website here. Get in the Cashflow Game (GetintheCashFlowGame.com). Very fun brand, very fun website that we made a while ago. 

Something we don’t see a lot of business owners do very well is offering kind of secondary calls to action or other pieces of value or content. As you can see here, decently, far down the homepage for this website, there’s kind of this secondary call to action, which is getting a free video course. A lot of people say, well, I want people to call me, I want leads. I want them to fill out my form. That’s your primary call to action. But are there other things that you could provide for the majority of your website, visitors who aren’t ready to pull the trigger and do business with you right now? 

We challenge you to maybe think about. What’s something of value you can offer that you’re not going to require anyone to pay you? What would be of great value content to share with future customers that might warm them up to do business with me in the future?

This is applicable to just about every industry out there. So as you can see here, this is a video course, a little bit more complex. If you were to fill out this form, it sends you an email sequence with videos and once per week each email comes with a new video. It’s really cool and really engaging. 

It’s always helpful to have a secondary call to action on your website. You’d be surprised how many people would take advantage of that. 

There are some tips and tricks for some common things we like to implement in websites and online business strategies for most of our clients. Hopefully you found one or two of these to be helpful for you. 

And don’t forget, you can go to bigredjelly.com/comeback and download the free guide to read about more of these points or schedule a free consultation with our team. 

Let’s get to work and do something fun together.

The First 5 Steps to Take When Launching Your Business into the Digital World

By SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Technology No Comments

What we’re going to talk about today is a question that we get a lot with small and local businesses that are trying to make a comeback in 2021. After what was a rather rough year being 2020, how do I launch my business into the online world? There are five key steps for any business to take when they feel like (1) I need to get into the online world, or (2) I need to be better at doing business online. 

If you are a brick-and-mortar store and you have not yet really thought about how you could do better business online, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, this post is for you. If you’re a business that does all of your business online or you’ve already been doing it for several years, this post is still applicable to you. 

So here are five steps that we say to any business before they launch into the digital universe. 

Get Your Domain 

Step number one seems obvious, but it’s important to get your domain. So what is a domain? For example, www.BigRedJelly.com, or your URL. It is your identity on the internet. There is only one of those. There’s only one BigRedJelly.com. When you buy your domain, you have now reserved that turf on the Internet. It is priceless. If you are thinking about going into doing business online or you’re saying, gee, I’ve been meaning to get a website or I might want a website in the future, first things first, go get a domain. 

They’re not that expensive. Most domains can vary anywhere from $15 to $25 a year. It usually depends on if it’s a common name. If you’re to go look for a domain that’s thebusinessattorney.com, that’s probably going to be thousands of dollars. You have to get creative with it. But most unique domains are very cheap. People are often shocked, they say, “wait a second, this isn’t per month? This is per year?” That’s right. It should only be a couple of bucks a month. 

You can go to digital.bigredjelly.com to find your perfect domain name. It’ll tell you if it’s available or not. It will also show you some variations of your searched domain. The .com might be taken, but the .co might be available or the .org. We recommend looking into that, though. If the .com is taken, it might be from a competitor. It might be worth thinking of a different name. This is a great tool to be able to show you what is available. Right from there, you can select the domain of your liking, register the domain and you’re good to go. 

Set Up Communication Channels

Moving on to number two. Once you’ve got your domain, go set up your communication channels correctly. We understand that it might be a little overwhelming at first, but once you have your domain, you can sign up for or set up a business email or online storage. For example, instead of joshbigredjelly@gmail.com, it’s just josh@bigredjelly.com. It really does make your email look that much more professional. 

When we get business emails, inquiries, or someone wants to do business with us, and it’s still @gmail or @yahoo, it’s a real quick indicator that their business probably isn’t big. It may seem minor, but it is important. 

We recommend setting up a business phone number as well. We see a lot of small business owners that are still using their mobile phone number. Here’s why that’s an issue: When you inevitably change to a business phone, such as when you add people to your team and you can’t just keep using your mobile phone number forever, you’ll have to switch to a new phone number. If it’s been several years that you’ve been using your mobile phone number and then you switch to a different phone number, your CEO is going to take a hit and you’re going to have to reprint and redesign so many more assets. So why not go get a business phone number now if you’re serious about your business?. 

We recommend tools like Google Voice where they used to have a free version. It’s unique to you. It’s one of the first things we did when we set up Big Red Jelly. We knew we didn’t want to use personal phone numbers. We wanted to look a little bit more professional. So we got a Google Voice number and then I just had to go forward to our personal phone numbers until our team grew. It’s very easy to do. There’s a lot of alternatives out there as well. 

Control Your Brand

Once you have your domain, your communication channels are set up, take some time and control your brand.. This goes back to number one. Improve your brand and take control of it. 

We can’t tell you how much of an effect it has when your email signature, website, business cards, logo, business email, business phone number, even a shirt with your logo on it, all communicate your brand. These little details really add to your brand story. They add to your brand loyalty, they make you stand out and people will inevitably take you more seriously and want to do business with you. 

That’s when you can hire someone like Big Red Jelly, for example, or anyone for that matter, to help you design a logo, get a brand style guide. What’s your messaging? What are your dos and don’ts, your colors, your typography, those types of things. Figure that stuff out early so you have consistent marketing and advertising going forward.

Build Your Website

Our favorite topic or one of our favorite topics: website. Go in and get your website created. We’re not saying you have to hire an expert right out of the gate. You can use really easy, affordable website builders like Wix or Squarespace, for example. They are very easy drag-and-drop websites. 

If you’re a little bit more skilled, you may use WordPress or Shopify. There’s a lot of really great tools and platforms out there. But when you are ready, we do recommend reaching out to an expert or a team like Big Red Jelly and having a professional design and build your website. It really can take your business to the next level.  

Once those steps are done, you might say, I’ve got my domain, I’ve got my email and phone number set up, my brand, overall, I’m pretty happy with it. My website is done. Now what? 

People sometimes will jump straight into the marketing and advertising, but there’s a half a step that a lot of people forget once you have these things done. In other words, your business information is complete. Your brand is there. It looks nice. Your website is done. Now, it’s time to list and manage your business. So, for example, if you have a restaurant, you’ve got a domain, communications, brand, and website done, now you should list your business and manage those listings. We recommend for all small business owners that you manage your listings for a while.

So what we mean by listings? If you’re a restaurant, number one thing you should do is get listed on Google My Business It’s your Google listing. It makes you show up on Google Maps, Google Search, local search, and where you manage your reviews. You add your phone number and website link. People can talk about you, people can message you, they can see posts, and so on. 

Get listed on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Yelp, and get listed on maybe some other platforms that would be important for your industry. But if you’re a restaurant owner, we would say the top four to be listed on are definitely Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram, probably in that order. 

Once they’re listed there now, you can go through and add your professional information. Email, phone number, short description logo, that’s all been done. Your brand is on point. Now you have your website and all of these major listings or marketplaces where the people are now. It’s time to just manage those listings. 

Right now, each one’s different. Managing your Facebook listing is managing your Facebook page or posting, sharing reviews, etc. but also managing your Google my business listing. This enables you to do a couple of things. Number one, you get to better understand how these platforms work. And number two, it will give you really key insights into who your customers are and how your business should perform online so that when you are ready to start running ads or do marketing or hire an agency, you’ve already got a fundamental understanding of how these platforms work. 

When you’ve gone through all of these steps, your domain, communications, brand, and website, it’s time to start listing your business on some really important marketplaces, make sure they look accurate, make sure they’re updated. If you already have your business listed, now’s a great time to go through and do a little bit of a refresh. It’s important for the business owner or a manager to go out and actually list the business on these platforms, get used to managing them for a while, just posting now and then, sharing updates, and so on. Then you can start to market and advertise. 

To review the five steps, get a domain, set up your business communications, control your brand, build your website and then the list and manage your business on your own, at least for a short period. 

Don’t forget to go to BigRedJelly.com/Comeback to download the free guide and you can read about all of these points in more detail and then you can schedule a free consultation with us. Thank you.

The Small Business Comeback Guide for 2021

By Marketing, Small Business, Technology, Website No Comments
Here at Big Red Jelly, where we help brand, build, and grow your business by combining powerful digital tools with human creativity and customization. We work in a lot of different areas to help businesses do better business online. In this post, we’re going to touch on a big campaign that we’re doing to kick off 2021 to really help small businesses come back. We’re going to dive into easy-to-use tools or platforms that a lot of small businesses can use.
Two of these tools are mentioned in our 2021 Small Business Comeback Guide. This is a free eBook that our team has created to help small businesses come back this year. You can download the free PDF guide here. If something intrigues you, or if you have questions, schedule a free consultation with our team. There really are not any strings attached. We are on a mission to help small and local businesses bounce back this year and we have a really strong feeling that is going to happen.

Use Digital Tools

Let’s jump into one of the steps: use digital tools. Powerful digital tools to help your business grow or scale.

Housecall Pro

The first tool we will discuss is a little bit industry-specific, but there are many tools like this for various industries. This one here is called Housecall Pro. This is a tool that we often recommend for small businesses who are in the home services industry. If you
have a business model where you send technicians or professionals to the houses of your customers Housecall Pro is a tool that would fit your needs. This can include electricians, plumbers, HVAC, garage door installation, cleaners, people who do home cleaning, commercial cleaning, residential cleaning, or any other industry that required you to go to the location of the customer in order to complete your job. House Call Pro is also a tool Big Red Jelly has been partnered with for a long time. We know how to set this tool up. We know how to integrate it with your website and we can also get you a discount on the subscription. Win-win!
Firstly, in order for small businesses to really come back, we have to embrace digital. We have to embrace online. It can be overwhelming and scary. The biggest question or concern that we get from small business owners is they don’t even know where to get started. Concerns such as a platform to invoice, send meaningful reminders, do my bookings, send out review requests, schedule people online, integrate with my website, have a live chat on my website, or interact with my customers. These are at least half a dozen different digital platforms to learn how to use and sign up for. And sounds expensive. But that’s not always the case. There is great software like Housecall Pro platform that brings it all together and makes it very easy to use for small businesses. They even have a mobile app so you can manage your business on the go.
So what does Housecall Pro actually do? It can do scheduling, dispatching, invoicing, software, and more. Again, if you’re an electrician, plumber, or if you go and do salon work if you’re a hairdresser or babysitter, a tutor, this tool will work for you. You can also integrate a calendar onto your website so visitors can see when you’re available and book an appointment. You can also set up memberships or recurring jobs. In order for small and local businesses to succeed, we have to do a better job of finding that recurring revenue. So you might already be doing a great job of landing sales, selling a certain product, but you have to think outside the box and think, is there a way for me to make this a subscription, a membership, some type of recurring revenue stream for my business? It’s going to help you scale and grow. Let’s say you are a company and someone books one of your technicians for a job. They book your technician for Wednesday at two o’clock p.m. to come to a check-up on the furnace. You can also set reminders. You can set a reminder to go out 24 hours before to Becky who booked your technician that Bob is coming out to check on her furnace at this time. Then it will send out another reminder a couple of hours before. This is going to greatly mitigate no-shows or last-minute cancellations, which is going to save you a lot of money. Then after the appointment or the booking is complete, what happens? You need to collect payment. You can collect payment right there on your phone using Housecall Pro. You can also send an invoice via text or email that they can open up on their phone and pay right there and then with their preferred payment method. One of our favorite little automations is after the job is complete, they’ve paid, they get a review request. They get a text message that says, “Hi, Becky. How was your experience with Bob today? If you enjoyed your experience, please take 20 seconds and leave a review here.” Which would then link through to Google, Yelp, Facebook or whatever preferred site.
We are huge believers in automating these things, getting your invoices sent out, review requests sent, making booking seamless on your website, and can be tracked on your phone. All of this can be done through Housecall Pro for reasonable prices. If you’re a startup, solopreneur, all of those things combined for $49 a month. If you’re interested, Big Red Jelly can help you out. We can actually get you a discount as well as help you integrate these things with your website. There’s no real benefit for us to refer people to Housecall Pro other than we just really enjoy it and know how to use and integrate it with the websites that we build.
Although Housecall Pro is a little bit specific in terms of the business model that they target, there are very similar customer relationship management, or CRM, tools like this. Housecall Pro is kind of a CRM plus. It’s a CRM plus invoicing, plus booking, plus project management, plus review requests, software plus more built into it. There are equivalents of this software for almost every industry out there. If you’re an attorney, if you’re a restaurant, if you are a whitewater rafting guide, if you are a business coach, talk to us and we can walk you through the equivalent of what this is for your business. You can automate so much of what you do. You can save time, money, get more reviews and higher conversion rates. You can make the customer experience so much more enjoyable because they can book online, pay online and do everything that they really want to online. And that’s just going to make them happier and coming back for more.

Google My Business

This platform is free, at least for now to use. This is your Google listing. So when you type in “best Chinese restaurant near me,” what pops up on your maps are different Google listings. Or you might see it on Google search. That is Google my business. If you have not gained access to your Google My Business account, or you have not verified your Google my business account, that should be a top priority. If you don’t know how to do that, shoot us an email. We can help you do that for free. Google My Business is probably the most important digital tool for a small or local business, especially if you are a brick-and-mortar store. Google My Business has been making some changes recently where if you’re in these service industries where you go to locations and service your customers at their location, Google My Business is also effective for you too. When you set up your Google My Business profile, you can actually dictate what your service area is. If you serve the entire state of Utah or serve your customers within a 25-mile radius of your zip code, that is a setting in Google My Business. They really are trying to create this social platform between customers and local businesses.

It is so intuitive and easy to use. If you go to Google and type in Big Red Jelly, luckily, we’ve been doing a good job on our Google My Business, you can see that this listing has our Google card on the right. In our Google card, you’ll see people also searched for social media profiles, posts we’ve done from Big Red Jelly, our latest reviews, questions and answers, products and services, then, of course, our information. You’ll also see 153 five-star reviews. Not bad where we’re located. After a Google search, your eyes are naturally going to go toward those visuals on the right. That is Google My Business. That is your Google listing. And guess what? You can dictate what shows up here. Once you’ve logged into your account and you’ve verified your account. On your homepage, it gives you a really cool dashboard where you can see your performance locally and how many people have viewed you Google listing. You can also see your reviews here. Also what we really like, you can share your business profile right here so you can send people to your Google My Business listing. In fact, that’s our invitation right now, find your Google my business, get it verified, copy your Google My Business link and send it to your closest colleagues, your team members, family, friends, anyone you’ve done business with or met with in the last
week.
Go get yourself 20 reviews right now. After all, why not? You can post as if it’s a social media profile. The insights are super helpful. The reviews you can go respond to your views, manage reviews from there.
Google My Business also has a free mobile app. You can go download it onto your phone so you can log into your listing and respond to reviews, post on the go, update your info, such as hours of operation, phone number if you are a local business owner. Get on Google, search for your business, try to find your business listing. If that doesn’t pull up your business, try to put in some extra information to really get it to appear. If it doesn’t appear, contact us and we’ll help you find it and get it verified so you can log in
and start growing your business using this free online platform.
Don’t forget to go to bigredjelly.com/comeback and download the free guide to see some of these other realistic, practical steps, tricks, and tips to help your business come back in 2021 and then schedule a consultation so we can chat. It’s all free, no strings attached.

Will 2021 be the Comeback Year for Small and Local Businesses? 4 Tactics to Employ to Compete with the “Big Guys”

By Small Business, Technology No Comments

It doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get the point across that there are many big companies out there, big corporations that seem to have taken over certain sectors. There’s Amazon, Netflix, Disney, Biomax, NBC, Hulu, Wal-Mart. When it comes to retail and other big-box corporations, it’s so easy to shop with these people. 

 

Covid-19 made that even more true. We’re seeing huge growth with DoorDash, Postmus, Ubereats, and the fast-food chains, many of which have actually seen the best numbers they’ve ever seen through this Covid-19 pandemic. So who’s been suffering the most? It is the small local businesses, the mom and pop shops, the brick and mortar places.  I mean, specifically within the food and nightlife industry and those places that have a physical store that are restricted to their local area. That is very, very unfortunate. 

 

Will 20201 be the comeback year for small local businesses? Personally, I think so. I’m optimistic and I also am hopeful that generally, our population is going to swing back and put more focus on local shops, buying local, local farmers markets, etc.  There are certainly pros and cons, but I am a believer that the pros far outweigh the cons? That customer service, the personal touch, the local expertise outweighs that extra margin that you’re probably paying for something that’s more local, instead of going straight to Amazon.

 

There are more than a few reasons I’m confident that 2021 will be the year that small businesses come back and I have statistics to prove it. Did you know that small businesses generate $68 of local economic return for every one hundred dollars spent with them? In case you’re wondering, that’s a very high return. That means that over 9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy if every U.S. family spent just ten dollars a month at a local business. That’s a lot of money. 

 

Did you also know that businesses with fewer than 500 employees account for 99.7% of all U.S. employers? Small businesses are the backbone of America. 

 

Did you know 108 million shoppers spent 12.9 billion on small business Saturday? That’s optimistic. I love that fact.

 

Small businesses also donate 250% more than large businesses to community causes, employ 58.9 million people, and generate 70 % more local economic activity per square foot than big-box retail. Those are some very interesting statistics that should make you optimistic for the future of local and small businesses. 

 

Big Red Jelly is very passionate about working with small and mid-sized businesses and helping them leverage technology and effective branding, effective web design and digital build to compete with the “big guys”. Here are four simple tactics you can implement to make sure your small business makes a strong comeback. 

 

Take Control of Your Brand

The first thing that will help your small business make a comeback is to take control of your brand. You would think it would be easier for small businesses, but for some reason, we see that it’s harder for small businesses to develop a strong brand. There are a few aspects of your brand that you need to define: your visual identity, establishing yourself as an expert, and figuring out how to be a superhero for your customer. 

Get Visual With Your Brand

If you are a small business owner reading this right now, ask yourself these questions. What is your business name? Is that related to your website domain name? Do you have a website domain name? Are your social media handles or at least the page titles for your Facebook and your LinkedIn and your Instagram? Are they the same? Does your email signature have the same company name? Do you have the same logo across all these platforms? Are you using the same colors? Are using the same fonts, are using the same general short description? Do you have a cohesive message across platforms? The answer is probably, maybe or not as much as I would like. 

 

I continue to be shocked at very small businesses that have maybe a dozen people working there, but they’ve got an umbrella brand with a branch that does this and another logo that does that. There are universal global brands out there that are more simple, streamline, and that flow better than what you’ve got going on here with your 12 people. You’ve got to take control of your brand. What colors are you using? Is your logo consistent throughout? Have you updated all of your social media, your website, your email signature, things that are quick and easy? When you focus on having a simple, clear visual brand identity for your business customers are able to find and recognize you easier.

Establish Yourself As an Expert

Part of taking control of your brand is establishing yourself as an expert.  If there are Facebook groups, communities, networking events related to what you do, you should be involved and you should be solidifying and positioning yourself as someone with expertise. You should be saying for example, “hey, I am the barber and I know how to cut hair.”  I am in these groups. I always offer advice. I’m involved in the community. 

Be A Superhero For Your Customer

Finally, you need to take control of your brand by building a reputation of being a superhero for your customer. When someone comes to you to do business, what are you doing to be a superhero for that customer? What are you doing so that when they leave they say, “I’m glad I picked this restaurant over McDonald’s. Wow. That customer service was amazing.” It’s the little things that matter like that chocolate on the pillow at the hotel. It’s remembering their name. It’s putting that better packaging, that custom-written thank you note.  If you are an e-commerce store, it’s things like that that take it to a whole other level. That’s why people love shopping locally. Be the superhero for a customer and customers will start remembering your brand. 

 

2. Use Google My Business

 

The second thing small businesses can do to make a comeback in 2021 is to use Google My Business. This one is a very practical tool. What is Google My Business? It is your Google listings. When you type in “best Chinese near me”, there’s a bunch of restaurants that pop up on your phone when you use the internet, Apple Maps, Google Maps, or some other maps. Whatever is popping up there most likely is Google my business or it’s dictated by Google my business. 

 

If you are a brick and mortar local business, you have a story of a physical location. If you are a restaurant, a chiropractor, a dentist, an attorney, a barber, a salon owner, a spa owner, you need to go and set up your Google My Business. It’s a free tool. It’s the place where you manage Google reviews, it’s where you put your phone number directions, your address. It’s where you can post deals, promotions, special offers, photos of your office, photos of outside your office, photos of your storefront, photos of your team. You can describe your services, hours of operation when you’re open, and when you’re closed. It really is your website before your website. The vast majority of people who encounter your brand or business for the first time are going to see that. They’re never even going to visit your website which is why your Google My Business needs to be on point.  If it’s missing information or the address is incorrect or the picture that you see there is like an old parking lot that I see all the time, it’s got to be updated. 

 

I really kind of hit my head against the wall when I bump into small business owners who say they’ve never even heard of Google My Business or that it’s just where they can respond to their Google reviews. Often people will think it’s just Google who makes those listings. The listing for your business might already exist because Google is going through and kind of creating these listings based on customer feedback so you may need to claim ownership of your business. 

 

 Google My Business also has a mobile app so you can respond to reviews on the go. The best part of all this is that it’s free. It’s free! You can take control of your Google My Business and see real results. I challenge you to be active there at least once per week just by posting something.. In fact, we did a little exercise regularly quite a while ago where we would post just a photo of our office and a team member update on our Google My Business profile. We saw an 11.9% increase in our website visitors directly from Google By Business to our website after just over a month. So think about that. Was it worth taking five seconds to upload that photo? Absolutely. Using Google My Business can help your small business make a comeback in 2021.

 

3. Focus on Strategic Partnerships

The third thing small businesses can do in 2021 to make a comeback is to focus on strategic partnerships. In order to survive and to succeed, I think local businesses have to be better at partnering strategically. If I am a burger joint, I might want to partner with the local barbershop. I might want to partner with the pool or the pool next door. I might want to partner with the four-wheel rental next door and do cool promos or combined activities or co-branded events. For example, I may say, “Hey, come get a burger and test drive a four-wheeler or every time you rent a four-wheeler you get 50% off a burger.” We have to start getting strategic with partnerships.

 

Big businesses are doing it all the time. They’re just doing it behind the scenes. I’m sure there are a lot of moving parts there. If local businesses can be more strategic, it’s a win-win for everyone. Find someone that can benefit you. If you’re a chiropractor you should definitely have strategic partners in the insurance space. If you’re an insurance agent, you should definitely have your go-to chiropractors that you can refer people to. That way you build your network. 

 

If done correctly, it ends up being mutually beneficial. My challenge to you is to sit down and draw a Venn diagram. Think to yourself, “ If I am a burger joint, what are related businesses to me?” You might decide you want to find an ice cream place because I don’t do desserts but people always come to me and ask me about that. You might also want to find an event planner or someone who does catering but doesn’t actually do the food themselves. You might want to find someone who’s a foodie blogger. You might want to find someone who does merch and I can give them free burgers in exchange for some free merch. There are endless possibilities. But most importantly, have that strategic partner list. You’ll be surprised how much you use it. 

4. Get online and make technology your friend through automation.

The fourth thing small businesses should do to make a comeback in 2021 is to get online and make technology your friend through automation. Check out Big Red Jelly’s videos to learn more about this. 

 

In a small business, you wear a lot of hats. You might be representing 80 percent of your business as the chef and the cashier and the server all the same time. You might have felt overwhelmed at first, but with technology and automation, you can feel like a team of twelve. On any given day, you have to make technology your friend. There are certain things that you should be working toward including automating invoices, automatic reminders for your invoices, automatic text or email follow-ups to confirm appointments, online scheduling, online ordering, online booking, online chat. These all make your life easier. You have all these tools, these little robots that are working for you. 

 

Often people don’t know where to start and it can feel scary to implement new technology. One important thing to remember is that there is a lot of free stuff out there. I’m happy to chat with you about how you can make technology your friend. You can schedule a time to talk about digital tools with me here. Don’t be scared. It’s intimidating at first, but it will ultimately help you scale your business. 

 

So will 2021 be the year of the comeback for small and local businesses? I think so. By following these four steps you can do more than you’ve ever done before. Take control of your brand. Use Google my business. Focus on strategic partnerships. Make technology your friend. 

For more tips and tricks for small businesses and big businesses alike check out our weekly Facebook live here.

3 Digital Trends to Watch for in 2021: Why Businesses Need Robots to Survive

By Technology

Today we are taking a deep dive on the big trends the business world will face in 2021. 

This topic has been addressed thousands, if not millions of times by now. It’s related to COVID-19 and how, in my opinion, it’s going to affect the business digital landscape in 2021. We will dive deep into the three obvious, or not so obvious, trends that businesses will see more of in 2021 because of COVID-19. How has COVID-10 shaken up the business world and changed it for the foreseeable future, on a local and global level?

What three obvious (or not so obvious) trends are we going to see in the digital business world in 2021?

NUMBER ONE: The Necessity of Analytics + an Online Presence

Companies who weren’t heavily invested in analytics in 2020 probably won’t be in business in 2021. Now, when I say analytics, a lot of people are going to say, well duh, of course analytics are important for any business. We are seeing the importance especially for small businesses. Large enterprises, large brands, and corporations are accustomed to analytics, data, business intelligence, and using data and statistics to back their strategic decisions and make calls related to their business. Small businesses, even mid-sized businesses, are not. 

The pandemic thrust analytics, or the importance of them, onto small business owners already full plates. The reason being that margins have been smaller now than ever before because of COVID-19. Every decision that a small business owner makes during this pandemic is that much more crucial to the survival of their business. It could be the life or death of your business. What was once a menial decision could now end your business today or tomorrow, or those decisions may keep your business alive. Having analytics, data and hard numbers behind decisions for small business owners adds value and confidence in what they’re doing.

Analytics pairs perfectly with the most obvious change due to the pandemic for small to mid-sized businesses: diving into the deep end in the digital world. An example of this is mom and pop shops that were not involved previously using digital have been forced to use PPC for the first time. They are looking into SEO and investing in a website. They’re trying to sell their products online, replacing in-person sales. These digital platforms are ways of advertising and marketing. 

The shift to digital is a silver lining for small and midsize business owners because it allows them to see insights, statistics, and analytics that they otherwise were not seeing before. Having always relied on traditional marketing and advertising pre-COVID-19, a shift toward all digital is not easy. But moving online opens up the possibility of tracking and measuring everything that happens in real time, if done intelligently. 

Being able to track, measure, and record results from the digital world is a silver lining for all businesses. This is something that small and mid-sized businesses are going to carry well into 2021. And hey, we can and should use analytics, data, and statistics the way the big businesses do. This trend will allow small and mid-sized businesses to be more strategic, confident, and ESPECIALLY efficient going forward. Expect to see small and midsize businesses using Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Instagram analytics, and other basic analytics and statistics to back their decisions going forward. They will be more efficient because of it. I guarantee that in 2021. 

NUMBER TWO: AI + Machine Learning

In 2021 we will continue to see AI and machine learning come into play, quicker. It will be faster in 2021 and adopted more in 2021. In speaking with some colleagues, it feels like the year 2030 has been thrown at us, but a decade sooner than anticipated. Because of COVID-19, we have seen aspects of the digital world and technology we would not have seen until 2030. We’re going to see these advances early into 2021. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot words and topics right now. AI and machine learning will be critical for the success of businesses with the influx of data and analytics as a result of the pandemic. The drastic increase of data will overwhelm the human capabilities, our human systems, and our understanding. To cope, we’re going to need systems and processes like artificial intelligence and machine learning to sift through, share, and make sense of this data to make strategic decisions at higher levels. There’s too much data for any one human or even a team of humans, an army of humans, to make all of the decisions. We’re going to see A.I. and machine learning become a part of every business. 

We will see new platforms, tools, and agencies that are going to employ these strategies enabling businesses and business owners to use data and analytics to help their companies grow and succeed. Small businesses will see the use of artificial intelligence in SAS tools or platforms in 2021. I’ve seen the power in digital marketing tools available for small agencies to leverage artificial intelligence. Although these tools and processes are new and unfamiliar, there’s plenty of things to work through and work out. It’s exciting to see how this area of technology, and how fast it has grown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

NUMBER THREE: Robotic Process Automation

The new year will usher in an increase in RPA. RPA stands for robotic process automation. RPA provides organizations the ability to reduce staffing costs and human error. David Chatzky, a managing director at Deloitte L.P., points to a bank’s experience with implementing RPA. The bank redesigned its claims process by deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes, handling one point five million requests per year. The bank’s RPA added capacity equivalent to more than 200 full-time employees at approximately 30% of the cost of recruiting more staff. This is something we’ve already heard, and we kind of roll our eyes and say, “Robots? Really?” Or we say, “Oh my gosh, we’re putting computers in the fast food lines where they’re taking our order instead of humans.” But it’s all a bit more nuanced than that.

You’re going to see businesses of all sizes looking to use RPA on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. They’re going to look for ways to use robotic process optimization because it makes their businesses more efficient. It’s a fancy term, but at the end of the day, it’s trying to find ways of using digital or automations to make your business more efficient. Finding lower quality tasks, ones that do not require high levels of creativity or strategy, the irreplaceable human element, to complete. Let’s be honest, when you think about it that way, those things should be automated.

I know that the immediate response is, “Robots are taking our jobs!”. My take is that RPAs free up the human species to focus on what we do best. Humans are best at creating and being creative. We excel at strategic thinking and implementation. We work well with other humans. We are entrepreneurs. We are pioneers. Automating lower tasks frees up time for innovation. When you kind of look at someone’s task sheet, you might say, “Wow, you know, I feel like 70% of these tasks could be automated.” Automated tasks can include email responses or chatbots on a website. We can automate welcome emails, newsletters, or drip campaigns through a website. We already automate online ads and bidding strategies. Most digital tools have the capacity to automate these processes. As previously mentioned, the biggest benefit is more time to focus on what you do best: creativity, strategy, and human interaction. 

You will see all business types and sizes continue to leverage RPA, robotic process automation, going forward. My challenge to you is to write out some of your daily or weekly tasks. Write them all down on a list and circle the ones that you feel like could be automated. You will be shocked at the amount that can and should be automated. Make it a 2021 resolution to look into automation processes. Many businesses have been forced to do this. Automation is another silver lining from this coronavirus pandemic. Businesses will come out the other side more efficient and with the ability to see the power of digital, allowing for more creativity. 

Those are the three obvious (and not so obvious) trends and changes we will see more of in 2021. To review really quick: 

  1. Use of analytics, especially for small businesses and decision makers 
  2. Increased artificial intelligence and machine learning to interpret, understand, and digest analytics and data 
  3. RPA, or robotic process automation to free up time on menial tasks and dive into innovation, creativity, human interaction, and strategic thinking and implementation  

These are the three things that Big Red Jelly will continue to implement for our business and our clients. What do you think? What are some digital trends that you think are going to make waves in 2021 because of this COVID-19 pandemic? 

Let’s continue this conversation on our social media channels! Check out our weekly industry videos on our Facebook or Instagram accounts at 3PM (MST) every Thursday.

Today’s article comes from a previously recorded video. Check out the video here!

girl in vr headset

7 Fascinating Facts About Technology 

By Technology No Comments

7 Fascinating Facts About Technology 

It is amazing, and almost a little scary to think about how advanced technology has become in just a few short decades. Here are some facts about technology that will put what you thought you knew about technology into a whole new perspective. 

1. In the 1950’s PCs went by the name “Electronic Brains.”

Although this may seem funny to modern viewers, this was a serious term back then. It makes you wonder about the sorts of names we have for modern-day technology that will be made fun of in the future (although I think we should never have deviated from that cool nickname).

2. Technology companies HP, Google, Microsoft and Apple were all started in garages.

Next time you have a great idea you better head straight to your garage! Many of the creators were also college drop-outs, so remember to never give up hope. You just might create the next big thing because you failed something else first.

3. When it was released, the Apple ll had only 5 megabytes of storage on its hard drive.

This is an incredible comparison to the whopping 130 GB you can get on the new Macbooks. At the time of the release, however, this was considered a huge amount of storage for such a small portable device.

4. 51% of internet traffic is, in fact, made up of hackers and spammers. 

Seems like 51% of all emails are spam too…

5. The first computer ever was almost 2.5 meters high and weighed almost 60,000 pounds.

Compared to the size and weight of today’s computers it is pretty astonishing to think there could have been a computer that large. 

6. Time magazine named the computer “Man of the Year” in 1982.

No real successful human feelings were hurt in this decision, hopefully… Read more on this here

7. The name Google was actually created by accident. A spelling error was made by the creators who were intentionally going for the name Googol.

For those of you that don’t know what a Googol is, it is the number equivalent to ten raised to the power of a hundred (10100).

 

Utilize these fun facts about technology to improve your company’s online brand. Our experts at Big Red Jelly can help you up your technology game. Visit our website for additional information, or schedule a free consultation with one of our experts now.

What’s the Hype Over AI all of a Sudden?

By Technology No Comments

What’s the Hype Over Artificial Intelligence all of a Sudden?

AI. What is the hype around Artificial Intelligence and why now?

Artificial Intelligence, AI is computer intelligence and machinery combined with human touch and reaction according to Technopedia. This includes speech recognition like Siri or Alexa, self-driving cars like Tesla, customer support like Cognito, recommending shows or movies like Netflix, recommending music like Spotify and so on. Our thermostats, watches, vacuums, they all are using AI to produce the work we want.

So what about companies using AI to select employees? Companies like JPMorgan Chase, Delta Airlines, Unilever, Oracle are just some of the companies using a digital interview software that uses AI. The digital interview software offered by HireVue, Montage Talent and more are popping up during recruiting processes.

Why should we be looking into this more? This digital interviewing software is using AI to recruit and hiring the “best” people. Companies that use software with AI are creating ethics behind AI. HireVue lists their ethics behind AI and explains the principles they have put in place.

Artificial Intelligence is something to be aware of. Know what software you are using with it to better aware of yourself. It’s better to learn the facts and understand the ethics behind it.  AI is all around us. It isn’t something new and it’s not going away.

Technology Over The Past Decade and How it’s Improving

By Technology No Comments

Technology Over The Past Decade and How it’s Improving

To some 2009 might seem like it was just yesterday, but we are in 2019. Ten years later with lots of advancement, yet it still seems like yesterday. Ten years, 120 months, 521 weeks; a ton of technological advancement.

In 2009 many major events occurred. President Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president, the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII, a volcano in Alaska named Mount Redoubt erupted after being dormant, and after eight years, The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopens to the public according to On This Day.

But over the past ten years, major advancements in technology have taken place. From new gaming consoles to digital interviews to Instagram to more advanced smartphones; technology has skyrocketed.

Smartphones

Smartphones themselves have added new enhancements for the users. Take a look at the iPhone 3GS back from 2009 and the latest iPhone XR.

Features from iPhone 3GS included:

  • Faster performance, which is what the “S” stood for.
  • 7.2 Mbps 3G network connection.
  • Bigger storage capacity.
  • 3-megapixel camera.
  • Improved battery life.
  • Video-editing software
  • Voice Control
  • The size was 4.5” tall x 2.4” wide x .48” deep

Features from iPhone XR include:

  • No home button
  • Face ID
  • Six new colors
  • Wireless charging
  • Better battery life

But Apple isn’t the only Smartphone developer to come out with new advancements. In 2009 there was the LG enV Touch, Samsung Omnia, RIM BlackBerry Storm, LG Dare, Motorola Droid, and Palm Pre according to CNet. Now in 2019, we have phones such as the Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy X, OnePlus 7, and Motorola Moto G7 according to Stuff. As technology advances, more and more smartphones pop up with new features that are better than ever before.

Earphones

One day people won’t know the struggle of untangling earphones just to listen to your jams or watch that YouTube clip. Earphones have changed since 2009 by becoming wireless and Bluetooth. Before you would have to untangle the pair every time no matter how you stored them. But now you can find wireless and Bluetooth earphones from almost anywhere. From Beats to Apple to Skullcandy and much more.

Social Media

Social media ten years ago was definitely not what we see today. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ have all developed over the years. LinkedIn was created in 2002. Facebook first came out in 2004. Twitter was launched in 2006. Instagram and Pinterest were founded in 2010. Snapchat and Google+ were born in 2011. All having a different idea of content but all for the same function, taking up our time. Social media is a place for business, friendships, inspiration, blogging, and much more.

Technology will always keep changing. It changes overnight, by day, and every year. By 2029 who knows what we will be using. New ways to live our lives will be developing and evolving.