From The Queen of Local SEO, Bernadette Coleman

How many times have you contemplated submitting your work for awards programs and then changed your mind? Perhaps you think it isn’t worth the time it will take to pull your entry together. As a CEO who has spent many an hour pulling together entries, I can tell you that it is indeed worth it. My company has won many awards, some of them because I took the time to personally pull the entry information together and hit submit. Don’t take my word for it, check out our trophy case!

Now I will share just some of the benefits that follow from participating in awards programs.

Reasons to Participate in Awards Programs

  • Increased exposure for your company/brand
  • Increased exposure for your client’s brand
  • Puts your company/brand in the position of a leader in the space
  • Preparation and Research for submission = case studies for your website
  • Preparation and Research for submission = presentations for potential clients

Exposure at Awards Ceremony/Conference

  • Potential on-stage time
  • Networking with top media executives
  • Dedicated online post-event exposure
  • Visibility with industry press

Tips for a Winning Entry 

  • Include the compelling reason you chose to submit the project for the award
  • Follow all the rules for a proper submission, including respecting the deadline
  • When submitting using a client’s information, be sure to obtain permission in writing from that client
  • Submit any questions well in advance of the deadline

All in all, this is an excellent opportunity for your company, your clients and the brands you represent to get noticed for their hard work and smart marketing strategies!

Expand Your Brand Reach: Submit for Awards Programs. @BernieColeman shares why! #Branding
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Have you entered your company for an award previously? What did you learn and how did it help your brand exposure?

The post Expand Your Brand Reach: Submit for Awards Programs appeared first on Advice Local.


Smartphones have created a wealth of new marketing opportunities for businesses. Having a mobile-friendly website is certainly crucial, but it’s not the only way to connect with mobile consumers. Since 90% of all time spent on smartphones and tablets is dedicated to mobile apps, even businesses with amazing responsive websites should create a mobile app that places their brand on the home screen of consumer devices.

Why Every Business Needs a Branded Mobile App

1. Stronger Brand Image

A mobile app provides a business with complete control over the way its brand is presented to smartphone users. An app can be tailored to embody the business’s tone, style, and desired customer interactions. Creating a branded mobile app makes it easier than ever to maintain a consistent brand image across all platforms and deliver an optimal experience to both desktop and mobile users.

2. Improved User Experience

A responsive or mobile-friendly website is important, but it can’t offer smartphone users the same smooth experience of a dedicated mobile app. That’s because apps are more efficient, more functional, and more convenient on mobile devices. Mobile apps are typically less cumbersome than websites, which allows them to load faster, reduce customer frustration, and minimize bounce rate. Offering a mobile app makes it easier for on-the-go consumers to interact with the brand.

3. Higher Engagement Levels

A branded app can offer specific features that integrate smartphone capabilities and drive engagement. For instance, a well-timed push notification can draw a customer back into the app, while the presence of a click-to-call button makes it simple for consumers to contact you with a single interaction. Plus, mobile apps offer more immersive experiences than websites because they are presented in their own customized environment, rather than hosted on a browser.

4. Superior Marketing Opportunities

Smartphones have limited storage space, which means every download places your brand among an exclusive group of selected apps. The fact that an app is always available at the consumer’s fingertips is not only convenient, but it’s also a valuable marketing opportunity. App icons are visible on the user’s mobile screen, which guarantees brand exposure any time they swipe through their phone – even when they don’t actually open the app.

Furthermore, an app doesn’t need to contain all of the information available on your website, which allows for a more efficient sales funnel that can guide customers towards specific interactions, encourage them to take action, and lead to more sales.

5. More Customer Insights

When it comes to delivering better customer experiences, knowledge is power. Mobile analytics provides businesses with precise data about how users interact with the app. These insights reveal how often a user accesses the app, the length of each session, what buttons or screens are most popular, and other patterns that can be used to better understand and leverage specific consumer behaviors.

5 Reasons Businesses Need a #Mobile App via @Advice_Local #Business
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Ready to create a mobile app for your business or a business you represent? Request your free demo of Advice Mobile today and find out how easy it is to customize your own branded app!

The post 5 Reasons Businesses Need a Mobile App (Even If Their Website is Mobile-Friendly) appeared first on Advice Local.

From The Queen of Local SEO, Bernadette Coleman

So those of you that follow my writing know that I’m always talking about how local businesses can engage their local customers to expand their reach and brand awareness. Today, I’m going to give a real world example of a local business that is doing a good job of engaging their local customers when they arrive at their business, before they leave and after the fact.

How The Advice Team Ended Up in a Zombie Escape Room

As the CEO of one of the leading local presence management and digital marketing agencies in the United States, I realize that as an organization, we are only as good as our team. Because of this I make it a priority to get our team members to know each other. Building these types of relationships within a company creates camaraderie and increases productivity, as well as the success of the business. It is because of our team members that we have grown into the organization we are today. And team building is the key.

Zombie Escape Room

Yesterday we brought together the various Advice teams and took those interested to participate in an Escape Room. For those of you who haven’t experienced one, it’s literally a room where participants are locked inside. To escape, the group must complete a series of challenges, and to succeed in this effort the team must work together to solve the riddles, find clues and eventually break out of the room. Our room had a zombie on a chain, and every 5 minutes for up to one hour, that chain got longer. If touched by the zombie you had to go to the “dead area.” Not only was time limited, but we had to work together as a team to warn the others the zombie was coming for them! Working together to solve the challenge would also reveal other clues to solve another challenge.

Yes, You Can Learn About Local Business #Marketing from a Zombie Escape Room by @BernieColeman
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So, is this local business doing a great job to engage customers? Let’s explore it now.

Local Business Marketing in Action

1. Timing is Everything

One of the first things: I must award kudos for leveraging the time of the year to attract customers! Using holidays, seasons, and all the way down to people’s mindsets to get customers in the door is smart, smart, smart. They do a great job of this. What we experienced was a Zombie Escape Room. Halloween is right around the corner, so it only makes sense for them to tie the focus of this adventure to the time of year. Many local businesses actually plan to do this but then fail to follow through, or they wait until it’s too late and don’t fully achieve the benefit of a solid plan. I scheduled this adventure, and we have been on their calendar for over a month, so you know they planned on providing the Zombie Experience in October long before now.

2. It’s All About the Greeter

From the moment they walk in the door the customer is greeted with questions and information. You are immediately welcomed and given information about what you are about to experience. Believe it or not, there are lots of rules that come with a Zombie Escape Room. That information is provided via a host, but in a fun & informative style.

The takeaway for SMBs? Make sure the face of your business is an image you want to portray. This is someone happy to be at work and happy to be doing their job! They must be able to connect to the customer so the customer stays engaged throughout the experience.

3. Grow Your Email List

They did a great job here. Part of the process before entering the escape room was signing a release, and when a person signs this release digitally, they are asked right then to join the company’s email list. This box is automatically checked, so the customer must uncheck the box if they don’t want to be added.

I would recommend that the company take this one step further: set up an autoresponder that sends the customer an email providing them with social media links to follow. Then the next day it would send a follow-up email asking about their experience, and directing them to sites where they can provide an online review.

4. Help Them To Create Memories

Before entering the escape room, the host gathers all team members together to take a “before” group picture. The before picture is taken with the business’s tablet for sharing online later, and with the phones of the customers who would like to capture the experience and share on their social media accounts.

5. Get Them Relaxed

Another thing this business did well was getting the customers to talk with each other and the host. Small talk is one way of doing this. That’s right, the host makes small talk with the customers while waiting for them to take their turn signing the release. Anything from asking them what they do for a living to learning about what they do for fun. Getting the team talking to each other and the host increases their comfort level with each other, and with the experience.

Local Business Marketing

6. After-Event Wrap-Up

After you escape the room, the experience doesn’t end there. And they are pretty clever here – the host made notes while all of the customers were in the escape room. She documented a quality about each one and highlighted how they contributed to the team during the experience. These actions further solidified the team and how they worked together, and therefore managed to escape!

I was certainly impressed with the fact that they had fun signage, so the customers could each pick a sign and take photos individually with the zombie, and together as a group.

Again, the host would take these photos on the business’s tablet and on customer phones. We are a social people, so you know these photos were hitting the web with check-ins, sharing, and tagging before they even left the facility.

team adzombie

7. Keep Them Coming Back for More

This business closed out the experience for their customers by later posting the group photos on their Facebook page. This approach has three big benefits:

First, people that are following the page (but have not yet experienced an escape room) are going to like the fact that they see people having fun, and will be more likely to invest financially in the adventure real soon. Second, customers who have experienced the adventure in the past are going to enjoy seeing that others are having fun too, and comment and like the photos. And third, customers who just experienced the adventure are going to visit the Facebook page to find the photograph of their group. They are going to tag themselves and their friends in the photo, comment on the photo, like the photo, and click share. When they complete these actions all of their friends who haven’t heard of the business before are now curious, and are going to check it out. Most likely, they will click “Like” on the Facebook page so they can follow it, and think about visiting sometime soon with their group of friends.

7 Ways This Local Business Is Winning at Local Marketing and You Can too! by @BernieColeman
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So what do you think about this local business? How can you integrate some of these ideas into the customer’s journey when they visit your location? Customers want an experience! Give it to them, and you’ll win them in that moment and all the moments after.

Come back next week as this #QueenofLocalSEO brings you more insights into local and mobile.

The post What You Can Learn About Local Business Marketing from a Zombie Escape Room appeared first on Advice Local.

Google news

In a move that underscores the growing importance of mobile search, Google will soon begin indexing search results separately for mobile and desktop users. Not only that, but the new mobile index will eventually become the primary one – officially placing desktop search on the backburner.

Currently, all of Google’s results are pulled from a single index of documents regardless of whether the search is performed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. After the split, the desktop index will still exist and play an active role in search results for users on computers, but it will be updated less frequently than its mobile counterpart.

Google’s Gary Illyes made the announcement during his keynote at Pubcon in Las Vegas. He explained that the search engine giant is planning to split up its index to give mobile searchers the most up-to-date, relevant results available. Although Illyes didn’t provide an exact timeline for the update, Google’s new mobile index is expected to roll out sometime within the next few months.

Better Search Results for Mobile Users

Dividing mobile and desktop search results into two separate indexes will allow Google to serve up the best possible content to mobile users. The popularity of mobile search has already overtaken desktop search, so it makes perfect sense that the world’s biggest search engine would alter its index to reflect this.

Since the mobile index will be updated more frequently than the desktop index, it could become even less common to conduct searches on a computer. However, it remains to be seen how great the variance will be between search results on different devices.

It’s also unclear if and how the new indexing system will impact website rankings – though it seems likely that having a fast-loading, mobile-friendly website will become even more important after the update.

The post Google’s New Divided Index Will Prioritize Mobile Search appeared first on Advice Local.


As the most popular social media platform in the world, Facebook presents a powerful opportunity for businesses to connect with customers online. Maintaining a professional Facebook Page for a business requires uploading up-to-date, relevant, ‘likeable’ photos that adhere to the site’s size requirements for cover photos and profile pictures.

Cover Photo

  • Recommended size: 851 x 315
  • Minimum size: 399 x 150
  • Display size on computers: 828 x 315
  • Display size on smartphones: 640 x 360

Profile Picture

  • Minimum size: 180 x 180
  • Computer display size: 160 x 160
  • Mobile display size: 128 x 128
  • Feature phone display size: 50 x 50
  • Thumbnail size: 32 x 32

How To Do It

When setting your Facebook cover photo, it’s best to choose a unique image that is easily identifiable and accurately represents the business. Facebook recommends using an RGB JPG file of no more than 100 kilobytes to ensure quick loading time. Facebook displays cover photos at 828 x 315 on computers and reduces the size to 640 x 360 for mobile users, so the recommended upload size is 851 x 315 pixels.

Your profile picture is the face of your brand on Facebook. Choose wisely to ensure your image is high-quality, relevant to your business, and fits neatly into the square space reserved for your profile picture. Although profile pictures are displayed at different dimensions depending on the user’s device, they must be uploaded at 180 x 180 pixels and cropped to fit a square. For both profile pictures and cover photos, a PNG file is suggested if the image contains a logo or text.

What NOT To Do

Your cover photo is publicly viewable by anyone who visits your Facebook page, so it’s important to follow Facebook’s guidelines and restrictions. For instance, you can’t ask Facebook users to add your cover photo to their personal Timelines. You must also adhere to the following rules for both cover photos and profile pictures:

  • The image can’t feature third party products or brands.
  • The image can’t be copyrighted.
  • The image can’t be misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive.

Obviously, none of the images on your social media pages should contain fraudulent content anyway, since that would be a poor way to represent your brand online.

Best Image Sizes for a #Facebook Page via @Advice_Local
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If you want more tips for managing your business’s Facebook photos or improving your social media presence, reach out to Advice Local today. Contact us online or call us at 855-714-7634.

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From The Queen of Local SEO, Bernadette Coleman

Mmm, micro-moments! Mobile makes micro-moments possible. Think on this for just a moment. Did you want to pick up your phone to Google “micro-moments”? If yes, that was a micro-moment.

It’s important to understand these identifiable moments, leverage them, and reach people during their micro-moments. The growth of mobile has morphed behavior and expectations for consumers and brands alike.

Micro-Moments Infographic by Bernadette Coleman

In this article, I will break down in detail the “11 Ways to Win with Business with Micro-Moments” infographic. This is a companion piece to a research paper, “Consumer Micro-Moments and Businesses: Trends & Best Practices.” Compiled by BIA/Kelsey, this research paper dives into understanding consumers and micro-moments, and ends with “Best-in-Class Local Presence Strategies” for businesses to start implementing right way.

What is a Micro-Moment

What is a Micro-Moment?

Simply put, a micro-moment happens whenever a person accesses a mobile device to learn something, do something, or buy something.

Digesting the above statistics is important for understanding the prevalence of mobile use and the resulting micro-moments.

Leverage Micro-Moments

In micro-moments, people are seeking ready-to-consume satisfaction in the present, at the time of search, rather than delayed satisfaction a week from now.

If micro-moments produced fruit, the micro-moment would serve up fully ripened, ready-to-eat deliciousness. This is what consumers are looking for and in today’s digital age, expect.

It’s time to ramp up your knowledge and turn searchers into customers.

I’m studying 11 Ways to Win Business with Micro-Moments by @BernieColeman #Mobile
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Use the following 11 tips to take advantage of the micro-moments that are happening constantly. Tips are laid out in order of importance. And sure, some could swap places but there’s no argument about the number one position: First of all, get that website.

11 Tips to Capture Micro-Moments

Micro-Moments Business Website

Do you find it hard to believe that only half of small businesses in the US have a website? I do too, but it is so. These website-free companies will more than likely remain invisible to people searching for immediate solutions and products during their daily micro-moments. Get a website, don’t be left out!

Micro-Moments Mobile-Friendly

Great—you either have a website or you’re going to get one ASAP, right? The growth of mobile dictates that websites must render well on phones and tablets, not just on the desktop.

Since currently less than 15% of small businesses use a mobile-friendly structure, this is a great way for businesses to differentiate themselves from the competition. Google will be on your side during search, as it looks fondly upon mobile-friendly websites and displays them in mobile search results first in most cases.

Here’s something from Google itself to assist you. Click here to analyze your site (or anyone’s) for mobile-friendly qualities.

Micro-Moments Business Listings

You should feel as protective of your business’s NAP data (name, address, phone number) as you do your storefront, products, and reputation. Incorrect data can exclude your business from a searcher’s plan of action. No business, big or small, should rely solely upon automated listing processes to get it right.

Be sure to check all citations (mentions of the business) online; ensure that all the information, including current hours of operation, product images where possible, and so on is entered and is accurate. Here’s a complimentary eBook on how to audit a business’s citations (written by me) you can download and read to get you started.

Micro-Moments Google My Business

Do you use Google My Business? You should—Google controls 2/3’s of the search engine market. Google provides this tool for businesses & brands to manage their online presence across the Google product family, including Search and Maps. Get listed and ensure your NAP data is right-on. Be sure to upload images to your listing so you can avoid photo mishaps, like this one that appeared in map results for Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Micro-Moments Data Aggregators

One of the easiest ways to get the information about your business or the businesses you represent onto the internet is to submit to the top data aggregators. These aggregators will then submit the information to other directory websites. Accurate data ensures your business will be helped. Inaccurate info such as a previous address listed as current or an old phone number can hurt you.

Micro-Moments Local Content

Local “near me” searches have exploded, doubling in the past year, and will continue to climb. A majority of mobile users are likely to buy from businesses that are closest to their current location. Take action to help these searchers by providing local content that will get your business found when they search in the moment.

Micro-Moments Page Speed

Admit it—you’ve left many a website because it was too slow! We all have; statistics show that over 2/3’s of us will leave because a page or site takes too long to load.

This is a great free tool from Google, PageSpeed Insights. It will analyze the content and tell you how long it takes for pages to load. Importantly, it also generates suggestions to make pages load faster! Go check it out and not just one time, but make it part of your regular process to audit how your website is performing.

Micro-Moments User Experience

Speed is important but it’s not the only factor. If pages load quickly but navigation is clumsy, if there’s TMI—literally too much information required by form fields, or if it’s too complicated to make the purchase, people will bolt.

Statistics show that a very few super-patient users, less than 10 percent, will stay on a mobile site though it fails in some way to satisfy them. The other 90 percent of users have already clicked on to the next site to make their purchase, or get the answer or information they were seeking.

Micro-Moments Reviews

I love reviews and so do consumers! Look at this monster tidbit of knowledge: 88 percent of us put as much trust in an online review as a personal recommendation. Today, most of us are actively seeking online reviews and we trust them to guide our buying decisions.

Make it easy for your customers to leave that review. Follow up with the customer, solicit feedback, and interact with them.

Micro-Moments Google Analytics

Do you have a Google account? Then you have access to another free tool that will reveal important data, such as what website pages your visitors are clicking on, how long they stay on your website, how they got to your site in the first place, and where they are coming from location-wise!

If you use Google AdWords, you can connect the AdWords and Analytics accounts. Linked together, these tools produce even more useful information.

Micro-Moments Google Maps

It’s true: businesses that cannot be found in local search results cannot be found by consumers.

When a user determines that a visit to your location will solve their issue, that user must also have your accurate map & GPS info, so don’t slide on this. Here’s a fun video example of when three fans tried to meet with #AlexFromTarget and they kept getting bad directions from a Google My Business listing.

Micro-Moments Quiz

Did You Pass the Quiz?

Now that you’ve absorbed these important tips, run through the quiz and hopefully did a little thinking, what’s next? Comment below and let’s discuss.

#Mobile Makes Micro-Moments Possible. Insights by @BernieColeman, #QueenofLocalSEO
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Come back next week as this #QueenofLocalSEO brings you more insights into local and mobile.

The post Mobile Makes Micro-Moments Possible: 11 Must Do’s to Capture these Moments appeared first on Advice Local.