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After reading this article you'll understand the value of your EL Dorado Guide Enhanced Business Listing and how to use it to increase traffic to your website and improve your Google rankings.
Your El Dorado Guide (EDG) Featured Listing and or Enhanced Listing includes an entire page (or pages) on EDG that you can fill with whatever content you choose. You create your page by inserting text and graphics into the HTML box on the "Update Your Business Listing" page after logging in to your EDG account. Or if you prefer, an EDG designer will enhance your listing at no extra charge. (some restrictions may apply)
You will receive an email from EDG shortly after signing up that explains how to log in to your account and find the area where you add content to your page. But the email doesn't suggest what content to put on your page to maximize its potential for turning viewers into customers. To help you decide what page content might work best, it’s good to understand what purposes an EDG Enhanced Business Listing page has.
What's The Purpose of Your EDG Page?
Your EDG page should contribute to these objectives:
Create the right first impression
Strengthen your brand
Make it easy to learn more about you
Improve your search engine rankings
In other words, your EDG page should function like a mini website for your business. It should work in tandem with your actual website and with your overall online marketing objectives. If you’re not sure what your online objectives should be, the list above is a good place to start. All of your online marketing efforts should work toward accomplishing those 5 things.
Create The Right First Impression
When people click into your EDG page, I suggest they see a page that doesn’t look like just another page on EDG. Once they scroll down away from EDG’s header graphics, your page should have its own look and feel. It should be instantly obvious that you do indeed provide the products or services they’re looking for from you.
Your page should not only look good, it should reflect the personality of your business and the target demographics of your customers. It should be orderly and easy for the eye to scan quickly. It needs images, color and graphic elements, and all text should be brief, easy to read and friendly in tone.
In those first seconds, you want your page to convey subliminally that you care about your business image, that your company is alive and thriving, and that no matter what your product or service, you are a people-oriented business.
Strengthen Your Brand
Use your EDG page to make clear who you are and what you’re known for.
Besides your logo, implement other visual elements on your page that represent your identity and contribute to your unique identity. In visual style and content, your page needs to reflect your niche, your specialty, your reason for being that sets you apart from the competition. The more specific you can be in this, the better.
But there’s a higher element in branding that must be part of your EDG page: your reputation. Using the biggest felt pen you can find, write these words where you’ll see them every day: “The world’s most valuable currency today isn’t money, it’s reputation.”
One of the most important things to include on your EDG page is a few glowing testimonials from your customers. If you can include a brief story (with photo) from someone saying how your product or service, or especially your customer service, has made them happy on a particular occasion, or in a particular way, use it. It’s GOLD.
Your online marketing should engage and hold people long enough (or often enough) to get your message across. The goal for your EDG page is to engage viewers well enough to understand your message, pique their interest, and make them click your conveniently placed links to your website in order to learn more about you.
Use lively language. (Write as if you’re talking to a friend.) Pose questions. Tell stories. Create curiosity. Use pictures of people and events that are colorful, clear and taken at close range. Include links to pages of interest on your website, to your email newsletter sign-up page, and to the contact page of your website. You might include a map or driving directions and a street view photo of your business.
Implementing the other 4 principles will naturally make your page more engaging and interactive.
Make It Easy To Learn More About You
The above mentioned “conveniently placed links” are the key here. You should include a short list of clearly worded links in a side column near the top of your EDG page. Links should also be sprinkled around in your text. If you mention how much your customers love the new purple spotted widgets you have in stock, do it like so: “Our customers love the new purple spotted widgets (see photo) now in stock”—where "(see photo)" is a link and an almost irresistible invitation to your website.
Say more than just “Visit our website.” Place links on your page to each major area of your website, reflecting the main menu links on the website itself. Create an email form right on your EDG page for people to send you their comments or questions.
An Internet outpost can be thought of like a "fort" established by you and under your control that lies away from your central website. The main purpose of Internet outposts is to fly your flag (your branding) and drive traffic to your website—which is the central hub of all your marketing efforts both online and off.
El Dorado Guide targets people in El Dorado County. If you do business in this county, your EDG page is a good geographically targeted outpost. It may even drive people literally to your business's front door. But more likely your EDG page will act as a virtual doorway to your website, especially for locals who have never been to your place of business and for travelers planning to visit our area.
Reputation is Key Branding
It’s fast becoming less and less effective in today's marketing to toot your own horn. People have learned to tune self-promotion-heavy messages out, and many run the other way. Because the social Internet gives us power as consumers to consult with each other and because corporate culture has lost favor, we don’t trust anymore what companies say about themselves. We want to see the benefits of a product or service for ourselves. We want to read about them in published reviews and comments, use the experiences of others—even strangers—to help us decide what businesses, products and services are reputable.
As a business owner, you have to find creative marketing means that clearly convey what your products and services are but rely on pictures, stories and testimonials from satisfied customers ("social proof" in today's marketing lingo) to confirm the quality of your products and services—and especially of your customer service. Demonstrating high customer satisfaction, and guarding it in every aspect of your business, does more ultimately to increase sales than offering price incentives. Use your EDG page and your other Internet outposts to cultivate and share good word-of-mouth.
You've heard this key principle of effective writing: Show, don’t tell. Don’t tell people you are an expert in purple spotted widgets, show them you are.
Inbound links bring people from one of your Internet outposts or other web content directly into pages of your website. The significance of inbound links is that Google and other search engines apply higher relevancy to those links and to the content of the pages they link to as more and more people click on them.
The more inbound links to your website you have embedded across the Internet, the better. To generate inbound links—inbound traffic to your website—is one of the best uses for your EDG pages, announcements, events, coupons and participation in EDG contests and sponsorships. I encourage you to use them all.
I also encourage you to have valuable and engaging content on your website itself as "landing pages" for all these inbound links. Your website is the core of everything you do by way of online marketing. It doesn't matter whether or not you actually sell things there. Every business today needs to have a lively relevant presence online.
In today's Internet environment, a relationship precedes every purchase. Every click on an inbound link carries the promise of a potential relationship with a new customer. This puts the burden on your website not to disappoint, but to engage and satisfy and strengthen the promise of value in relationship.