Digital Marketing That Works: Why Reputation Marketing, Local SEO, And Social Media Work So Well Together

Digital Marketing That Works: Why Reputation Marketing, Local SEO, And Social Media Work So Well Together

TSPB 2 | Digital Marketing


How do you know your digital marketing efforts are working? It’s pretty straightforward because everything in digital marketing is measurable. Are you getting enough traffic? Are closing more sales? Is your revenue increasing? In this episode of The Sensei Playbook, Bill Courtright and Chris Snellgrove answer some of the community’s questions about digital marketing.  They discuss why reputation marketing, combined with local SEO and social media, is a powerful trifecta that will give you amazing placements in local search. They also discuss the importance that Google places on business getting reviews and, more importantly, responding to those reviews. Finally, they help us understand what progression really means in digital marketing. All these and more in this packed episode. Stay tuned!

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Digital Marketing That Works: Why Reputation Marketing, Local SEO, And Social Media Work So Well Together

We’re going to focus on some pretty interesting questions that we gleaned from our clients, prospects, and friends in the industry. We’ll be answering three of those questions on this episode. Those questions will be, “How do I show up in the Local Pack in Google? How important is review responding? How do I know if my digital marketing is working?” At the end of this episode, Chris and I will be back. We want to thank you for your attention. We want to offer you more and more value each time.

We know for those of you out there that are using this information as a way to improve your digital footprint and optimize your online presence overall, we’re going to have a tool for you that should be exactly what you need to bridge the gap between where you are and where you ultimately want to be online. Stay tuned to the end. We provide an opportunity to reach out directly, so if you have any questions, comments, feel free to leave them here, Like and subscribe if you can. Thank you again.

Our first question will be, “How do I show up in the Local Pack in Google?” Chris, do you want to take that one first?

Sure thing. This one is a common one. It’s a pretty common question, complex answer. This is the intent of every business that I think would love to be in the 3-Pack. It gives you, as a business owner, the competitive edge in your local area. When we engage a client, our primary objective is to work on getting them into that 3-Pack. It takes a well-defined strategy that combines reputation and some local SEO. It begins with listing management, making sure you’re listed on the data aggregators with your correct information, voice search, the directories that pertain to your business. Also Google posts on a weekly or at least monthly basis. Google loves content, so feeding Google content is going to move you up in the search results.

Most importantly, adding reputation review generation to that mix is very important. Not only getting reviews, but getting them on a frequent basis, weekly, daily, monthly is very important. That is a major factor for the Google algorithm. Also, the next one is responding to the reviews. Google looks at if the company is responding to the reviews. That’s very important too.

Feeding Google content is going to move you up in the search results. But most importantly, adding reputation review generation to that mix is very important. Click To Tweet

There’s a lot there, Chris. You said a lot, and I know sometimes we take for granted the level of expertise and experience we have. I want to add a few things. Everything that you can do to maximize your local presence is super important. We live in what’s called a zero-click environment. What that means is if someone is searching on a mobile, especially an industry, an area or a service followed by Near Me, if they’re not seeing a positive impression on that Google business page, whether it be a decent quantity of reviews, a relative recency to those reviews, meaning reviews that have come in the last few days, hopefully weeks or if not months, they’re not likely to hit that phone or even go to the website.

That said, you have a very good chance as long as you’re concentrating on your Google Business profile page and you’re listening to Chris’s advice, and you’re generating and curating reviews, you’re being aware of your Google Business profile page, and you’re posting content directly there. You’re likely going to show up in that Local Pack, that Snack Pack, that Map Pack, whatever it is that you call it. It’s that area right on Google before anyone looks at an ad or goes down to an organic search results. They’re looking to have something done for them to them around them immediately.

When they’re on that page that, that confirmation that you’re serving customers and you’re serving customers well, you’ve got a positive rating, 4.5 or better, you’re getting a quantity and quality of consistent reviews. There’s an opportunity for me to validate the fact that, you’re in business, you’re doing a good job, I can click the phone, see if there’s a table available or appointment available for me, or I can receive some more information by clicking the globe icon to go to your website.

I think in this environment now, it’s most important that you first lead with reputation in order for people to find out logically exactly, whether or not you’re going to be a good fit. They want to see that you’re serving customers and you’re serving customers well. The saying we use around here is, “If the world says it’s so, it must be so,” so we want to lead with that. That’s called zero-click. Focusing on the Google Business profile page, specifically for restaurants, for people that are in the personal and professional services area, that’s going to be a huge help.

There’s one last nugget that I’ll give you. This is a little next-level, and it’s called local backlinks. All I’ll say is the listing services that Chris mentioned and the directories, the purpose of those are to give you the Google business page some high-domain authority backlinks. These directories are massive websites. These listing services are massive websites. That high-domain authority listing directly links to your Google Business profile page, which gives your page weight. It gives your page gravity.

Another thing you can do is have a strategy to actually engage with local newspapers and chambers of commerce, professional organizations, networking groups. Local colleges are outstanding. If you can get a link from a .edu or a higher engage with an internship program or tie your time to sit on a panel or offer some services to the local community, you’ll likely get that .edu link. Those local backlinks are worth their weight in gold. They will do for you what very few business owners are taking the time to do.

You’ll stay in that Local Pack because of not only the reviews that Chris mentioned, but the fact that you took the time to engage with some high-domain authority backlinks, whether that be chambers, directories, listing services, local colleges and universities, church groups, networking groups, anything like that is going to really serve you well, specifically in that local backlink area. That is top-level stuff. We’d be more than happy to consult with you on that because that might be a little bit more complicated, but when done, it’s absolutely out of this world effective. Listing services, review generation, optimizing your page, content, followed by some backlinks, and if you’re doing great content, those backlinks are going to be easy to find. Good stuff there.

Bill, let me add one to what you just summarized. Frequency is very important, not only from a Google algorithm because Google is looking at how often your business is getting reviews, but BrightLocal did a study last year 2021, and found that 74% of people only care about reviews that were written in the last 30 days. If you’re not getting reviews on a regular basis, you could literally be missing out on 74% of the market. That’s why it’s so critical to get reviews from your customers on a regular basis.

It makes total sense. If we’re going to go to a Thai food restaurant, we want to know how the current chef is doing, not how the chef six months ago did. That’s a great point. Way to drive that point home. Next question. Chris touched on this, he’s going to go a little bit deeper now. How important is review responding?

We just spoke about how important it is to Google from an algorithm standpoint and how it can change your positioning, but also from a customer experience perspective. Think about this for a moment. Think about I’ve come into your business, had a great experience, and then gone out of my way and written you a nice review, and the company doesn’t respond. It’s a slap in the face because I’ve gone out of the way. It’s an opportunity for that business to engage with their client and interact with them after the sale.

What better way to bring someone back than to engage with the client after the experience. Oftentimes, we see companies that will focus on their negative reviews, respond to the negative reviews, and ignore the positive ones. We have a philosophy of you should respond to each and every review. Make it personable. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do it, hire an agency or a company that can help you do that. There are specific companies that can help you in engaging with your client, and that’s just important from a customer experience perspective.

I could not agree more. Anyone who knows Chris knows that for his entire career, he is focused on client, patient, and customer experience. There is nothing more important now. The work that we’re doing is an extension of that commitment that the business owners are demonstrating to their teams and to their clients.

As far as how Google looks at review responding, Chris is absolutely correct that they are rewarding responses within the Local Pack and within the search engine results pages. That said, they’re not exactly forthcoming in how that algorithm works, but on their own recommendations page, they’re saying, “Businesses should interact with their customers, responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers clearly and the feedback that they leave about your business.” This is directly from Google.

That said, when there are responses to each and every review, we have demonstrated an uptick algorithmically in traffic generated. This can be for 1 or 2 reasons. This could be Google saying, “We want to reward the businesses that are genuinely taking good quality care of their customers. If they’re taking the time to actually respond and appreciate the feedback, they’re likely going to be a better suit for this customer.” Google is in the business of providing for the searcher that which the searcher will value. It’s in Google’s best interest to align that search with a well-run business.

One way you can show Google, “We’re a well-run business that cares about our clients,” is to respond and appreciate the reviews that you do get. That’s just common sense. Google is taking it one step further. They’re actually reading those responses, counting characters, and benefiting you algorithmically, albeit somewhat secretly. We have seen evidence that with each and every character you write in a response to a review, you will be rewarded. Anybody who raised kids knows that which gets rewarded, gets repeated, and Google is trying to perpetuate that behavior.

If you’ve ever experienced a Google update, you know some of their updates are specifically generated towards user experience. They want users to love their search engine. They want users to get what they’re looking for. One of the ways they can validate you as an organization is for you to validate their rules and best practices.

Some Google updates are specifically generated towards user experience. They want users to love their search engine. They want users to get what they're looking for. And one of the ways they can validate you as an organization is for you to validate… Click To Tweet

In some cases, it’s “Do as I say, not as I do.” In this case, Google is telling you, “Show you care, and we’ll reward you for that care.” As Chris said, “It’s just good business.” There’s feedback, there are nuggets, there’s opportunity, there’s gold there in those reviews. If you just read them, you can actually find a lot of the answers that puzzle you as far as where you can benefit your client experience, patient experience, how you might be able to improve the process.

People will tell you what they need, want, or desire to be sold, marketed to, or delivered to. Effectively, a lot of that information is in those reviews. Sometimes, it’s in the not so decent or possibly even negative reviews, so don’t refrain from acknowledging those either. Anything you want to add to that, Chris?

To add to that with the interview that we had with Monique Hicks, I remember her saying specifically in terms of review responding. She goes, “There is no greater way to keep a pulse on my business than to get reviews on a frequent basis.” That says everything. Getting those reviews, getting that feedback keeps you in touch with your customer experience or patient experience. It helps you interact with them and make sure you stay in touch with them.

There is no greater way to keep a pulse on your business than to get reviews on a frequent basis. Click To Tweet

Reward that behavior, and it will be repeated. Acknowledge and validate their feelings, and they will become those loyal, hopefully, raving fan customers that attract your future and better business. Well said there. Finally, this one I’ve been looking forward to since I read it, which is, “How do I know if my digital marketing is working?” Go for that.

This is one of my favorites. My response is always, “Can you feel it?” The way you feel it is you look at your Key Performance Indicators. The Key Performance Indicators is, “Are your new customer accounts increasing?” In all likelihood, if you’re investing in some online digital marketing, it means you want new customers. It means you want increased revenues. Is this occurring in your business? I’ll give you a situation where we engaged a new client. They were investing over $30,000 a month for digital marketing.


TSPB 2 | Digital Marketing


Their return on investment, they were seeing about 40 new patients in this particular business. When you do the math, $30,000 invited by 40, that’s $750 per new client. It takes a long time of engaging with that client to recoup that cost. There’s an imbalance there. You need to make sure that there’s a good customer acquisition cost factor going. That’s the first thing. Are you experiencing new clients walking into your business on a monthly basis? Are your revenues going up as a result of your initiatives?

The second part, and this is important as well because we see this lacking in some of our interactions with new clients when they’ve been with a previous agency is what are your metrics showing? If you’re engaging in online marketing, you should be looking at your metrics. Those metrics should be showing progression. Progression is key in the metrics. If you’re not showing an uptick in your traffic, in your lead accounts, then there’s a problem. There’s something going on with your marketing efforts.

TSPB 2 | Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing: Progression is key in the metrics. If you’re not showing an uptick in your traffic and in your lead accounts, then there’s a problem with your marketing efforts.


We talk to clients all the time who get no reporting. Sometimes, there’s zero reporting or very little reporting or a dated reporting, but you should be getting reporting in real time on a monthly basis, and having conversations with whoever is doing. If you’re not having conversations with whoever is executing your digital marketing, that’s also a problem because there needs to be synergies there.

I love that. What gets measured gets improved. Classic line, we all have read it, we know it, but sometimes it’s easier to look the other way. The point that you brought up, which really resonated me with me, is accountability. Whether you’re handling your marketing yourself, handling the marketing in house, or you’re delegating your marketing services to an outside agency, someone needs to be held to an account.

If you’re not looking at the numbers, the metrics that matter, the KPIs, and understanding first and foremost, “Which metrics should I be focusing on? What is my end result to this campaign? What is my goal? What am I trying to accomplish? Is it likes, awareness, or engagement? Is it list building? Is it sales appointments, webinar attendees?” Decide what it is that you’re trying to increase or maximize, then set a course and build, measure, and learn. We win or we learn. There is no failure. You’re constantly gathering information. This is an iterative process. Digital marketing, more so than any other marketing we’ve ever been associated with, is data driven almost to a fault.

You can measure anything such as time spent on site, clicks, opens, engagements, shares, comments. There’s a ton of things that we can measure, but ultimately, I think it was either Russell Brunson or Dan Kennedy that said, “Whoever can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.” If you have all things being equal, you have two similar products, the company that can spend the most to acquire a customer is ultimately going to win out. Chris touched on it. What is our cost to acquire a customer? Simple business knowledge would say if your cost to acquire a customer is less than your average transaction value, you’re winning. That’s a profitable engagement.


TSPB 2 | Digital Marketing


However, some people would say subscription-based services, healthcare services, things that are going to have lifetime value, they may be able to pay a great deal for a cost to acquire customer because they know the value is going to come and continue to be delivered to them over time. Ultimately, the company that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins, as long as the cost to acquire a customer is less than your average transaction value, you’re profitable. Even if it’s not, where is the lifetime value of that engagement? How is the lifetime value relating to your cost to acquire customer? That’s ultimately what’s going to keep you in business. If you’re not looking at the KPIs, as Chris said, if you’re not looking at the metrics that matter, if you’re not quantifying your efforts in holding yourself or your employees or your agencies to an account, which is to say, “Show me,” because this is all about results.

We are in a results-driven business. It’s not enough to talk about it. We have to be about it. More importantly, we have to show return on investment, whether it’s social media marketing, digital ad marketing, web development, email or marketing automation. At some point, as Chris said, people are marketing to grow. If I’m paying something to grow, I need to see a return on investment in some frame. Where you can become an expert digital marketer, or at the very least an expert, enforcer, or officer of digital marketing efforts, is to understand first, “How am I going to gauge success? What am I trying to accomplish?”

We are in a results driven business. It's not enough to talk about it. We have to be about it. More importantly, we have to show return on investment, whether it's social media marketing, digital ad marketing, web development, email or marketing… Click To Tweet

I can take a lot of pride and have a lot of satisfaction in what exactly what Chris said, which is nominal marginal improvements. Understanding that, “I’m getting better. I may not be where I want to be, but I’m better than I’m where I was 30 days ago. I’m better than where I was six months ago. That’s progress. I’m on it. As I stay, I’ll develop more relationship. That relationship will develop an air of social proof.” You will convert a lot better.

I’ll throw this back to you, Chris. When I was a young seller, I had a mentor. He said, “Bill, when you’re young in this business, there are a lot of deals you miss out on that you absolutely should have closed. I’ll tell you something. If you stick around and you’ll find yourself in your 40s and 50s closing deals, you never had any right to win.” What he’s saying is you develop a credibility, you develop a relatability. You develop some gravitas throughout your career. It’s no different online.

You develop staying power. The average life span of a business is less than ten months. Just by you being there for five years shows you’re doing something right. Some of this just has to bear itself out. What a great question. I’m so glad we had a chance to discuss that. Chris, you get the last word on that.

To cap off the example that I used earlier with the client that was spending over $30,000 and only getting 40 clients. It has a happy ending. We took that client and we reduced their cost to $10,000 a month and more than triple the results. We believe in a highly effective return on investment. We make sure that’s in line for our clients, and that’s what we strive for. If you’re talking to a digital marketing agency that’s executing campaigns for you, make sure they understand the numbers. The metrics need to make sense.

Folks, on behalf of Chris and the entire Reputation Sensei and Digital Media Nation family, we want to thank you for your time. We really love and get a kick out of doing these shows. It has been great for us to get our finger on the pulse of what’s important to our clients as well as our community. There are many do-it-yourselfers out there that we truly want to be an asset and a resource to going forward. It’s a labor of love. We’re going to continue to share.

For those of you do-it-yourselfers, for the weekend warriors that are running their own marketing or building their own websites, the one thing we’ve always said here at Digital Media Nation is knowledge is power. To understand what’s going on, first and foremost, allows you the opportunity to make improvements, adjustments, or course correct. Without that knowledge, you’re literally blind. You’re completely blinded in the marketplace.

What we’ve done is we’ve included on our website an amazing online presence report, thousands of data points delivered to you by our team. It’s a completely free tool. We’re going to show you not only what’s wrong or where the opportunity for improvement exists within your online presence. It’s not just your website, but everywhere you are, online, social media, directories, listings, everywhere. We’re going to show you precisely how to optimize that. I promise you folks, these things are done step-by-step. You will be able to do them yourself. If not, you can always reach out to us with a comment or a question, grab the chat box on our website, and we’ll walk you through it.

As a thank you to all of our recent subscribers, our loyal listeners, our prospects, client vendors, and community family, we want to offer this online presence report because it is an absolute invaluable tool to understand first what the heck is going on behind the scenes, and most importantly, how do I optimize it, improve it, and make it better so it’s completely congruent with the value that I’m trying to give to my customers, prospects, and community? I wanted to thank you once again. As always we’ll throw it back to Chris to send us out.

That online presence report can be quite eye-opening. I encourage everyone to check it out. There’s no charge. Just enter your information into it, and we’ll get the report back to you. I enjoyed this talk. I look forward to the next one. Thanks, guys.


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