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Finally, Google Maps Option For Real Estate Pros

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Note from the editor: Please welcome AG’s newest writer, Marty Martin who is well respected in the SEO/SEM industry and is accomplished most notably in his work with higher education, government and business clients. Marty shares our sentiment of being the “anti-consultant” in an environment where everyone’s a “guru” or a “ninja” and his passion is evident in all of his writing. Marty is a licensed agent but has for many years been devoted to the advocacy of businesses as he helps to implement cost effective SEO/SEM strategies. Please welcome him in comments.

Search marketing is more than just SEO

CompassFirst of all, as a local real estate agent, if you don’t know about the Google Local Business Center, you owe it to yourself to get in there and figure it out.

In a nut shell, when potential customers are searching Google Maps for something like “real estate” or “homes for sale” when viewing their town, neighborhood, etc. you can have your agent profile, name, address, website, address, phone number and more all show up in a handy pop-up. For free. (And honestly, what real estate agent’s heart doesn’t leap at free advertising?)

So what’s new?

Prior to the last week, only businesses with fixed locations were able to add a listing to the Local Business Center, so as an agent, you had to either use your broker’s address (and compete with all the other agents at that location) or use your home address (which is kind of awkward if someone comes driving through your neighborhood looking for a business at your home).

Enter “Service Areas”.

Roanoke, Virginia - 30 mile radiusNow, for us service industry pros, we can select a physical business location or even better, a circular service area from a center point (think city center plus a 30 mile radius) or a list of cities or zip codes. Brilliant.

Now more customers can find you

By picking one location and creating a service area or adding a list of zip codes or cities served, your Google listing is not restricted to showing up based on one physical location. The end result for you should be your listing showing up in more local map searches. And if you throw your website into the listing, some more exposure there as well.

Other features for the uninitiated

With Google Local Business Center, you can also add coupons to your listing (examples might be a free credit review, free home inspection, free title insurance policy … be creative to catch the users eye).

You can also add to your free business listing:

  • Up to 5 videos
  • Operating hours
  • Service area(s)
  • Payment options (not really applicable to agents)
  • Up to 10 photos or images (why would you add your portrait and logo?)
  • And other “Additional Details” (this is a good place to add some key words ;o)

Get started: Add your own free business listing.  Folks, this is so easy a caveman could do it.

One small thing to watch out for

Some folks have reported a problem with Google merging multiple business records of businesses using the same location and updating the same day. So if you’re using your broker’s address, you might want to wait a few weeks until Google irons out this small wrinkle. (or just switch to your home address).

Marty Martin is an accomplished SEM/SEO anti-consultant with a broad range of experience working for a wide variety of clientele including colleges and universities, regional and state tourism, government and business.

An advocate for business, Marty works hard to share accurate information in a world suddenly overrun with “social media consultants.”

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Matt Stigliano

    March 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Marty – Welcome to AgentGenius. First post out of the gate and it’s a winner. I wasn’t aware of the service area part. I’ll have to try and get over there tonight and get this done!

  2. Erion Shehaj

    March 25, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Welcome Marty! I have been using Google LBC for about 3 years now and I love it. But didn’t know about the service area option – thanks for sharing.

    Something tells me this was a great addition…

  3. RealEstate_Mktg

    March 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Welcome aboard, Marty! This is a great tool. I’m planning on passing your post on to all of our agents so they can cash in on this great tip.

  4. Heather Jacobson

    March 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Great article Marty! And of course I tweeted it! 😀

  5. Michael Bertoldi

    March 26, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Welcome Marty! Nice post. About to dive into this topic. Thanks for dropping knowledge.

  6. Karen Goodman

    March 26, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I’ve gotten a lot of website traffic in the last year from my Local Business Directory listing,but I didn’t have any idea about the service area or that I could upload videos. I just tweaked my listing, uploading pictures and videos, and changing my old address location to a service area.

    I also think it would make a big difference to have some positive reviews on the listing, so I shot over to Facebook and sent a message to about 15 former clients, asking them to go leave a review on my services. If they actually do, then I’ll also link to the reviews on my website Client Reviews page.

    Thanks for pointing out how I could ramp this up!

  7. Joe Loomer

    March 26, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Welcome to the party Marty!

    The Local Business Center increased our business over the last year – mainly by targetting the long tail folks who searched for our city and “real estate agents” or “companies.”

    The merging issue you pointed out is true, and if more than one agent at your firm is doing this, you’ll want to play around with the wording and the keywords to make sure Google doesn’t bundle you all up and mix website names and links.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  8. Benjamin Bach

    March 26, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Great stuff Marty, Thanks!
    Welcome to AG 🙂

  9. Marty Martin

    March 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Hello folks,

    Thanks for the welcome and the positive comments; I plan to bring you more great gems like this in the coming weeks so stay tuned! Sometimes even the things we know can surprise us with new features!

  10. Kelley

    March 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Thank you for this very informative post. I’m going to give it a “retweet”!

  11. Jeremy Hart

    March 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Good to have you here, Marty, and particularly nice to have someone from the RNR on AgentGenius!

    • Marty Martin

      March 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Jeremy (or should I call you #2?)! It’s a great crowd to be associated with for sure.

      I love what you-all are doing on CB’s website with video, etc. Met your broker and relocation director at #rkeunwind last week, nice folks!

  12. Abbotsford Real estate

    March 26, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for the information, I wasn’t aware that you could do this.

  13. rob | atlanta homes

    March 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Nice post. Good info. Well written and useful.

  14. Roscoe Property Management

    April 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    This is my first read on Agent Genius, and I will be back. I found out about this little Google gem last week by accident. This is very helpful for us as we are a property management company that in some areas have multiple properties on one the same road. 🙂

    Another bonus is that you (Agent Genius) are from Austin also! Keep up the good work!

  15. anthonys indianapolis homes for sale

    April 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I wasn’t aware of the option for video uploads. This sounds like a service that should be taken advantage of before way too many people start using it and it loses its value for any one user.

  16. ohalloran

    May 18, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Marty–This is awesome. Absolutely love the radius part and have updated all of my info. Thanks so much!

    • Marty Martin

      May 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      You’re welcome; happy you found it helpful!

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Business Marketing

TINA.org is helping the FTC crack down on Kardashian-esque influencers

(MARKETING NEWS) The Kardashians are just five of the seemingly endless amounts of influencers companies are using for marketing but TINA.org is over their tactics.

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tina kardashian influencers popeyes

A brand could find no better influencers than the Kardashians – the family who proved that you can get famous just for, well, being famous. Each Kardashian sister has an astronomical number of followers, making them obvious trendsetters.

That’s why brands pay the Kardashian sisters – Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie — tens of thousands of dollars a pop to post pictures of themselves on social media using their products.

Perhaps you find it hard to believe that the Kardashians stop by Popeye’s Chicken to grab a to-go meal before boarding their private jet. Regardless, the Kardashians, and the brands who pay them to pump their products, would prefer that you believe that these endorsements reflect the Kardashian’s actual preferences, rather than the paychecks they receive for posting them.

The Kardashians have been attempting to make their endorsements seem more “authentic” by totally disregarding Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules that require influencers to disclose when their posts are paid endorsements.

In August of 2016, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) filed a complaint about the Kardashians to the FTC, saying that the (in)famous sisters had “failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections to brands or the fact that the posts were paid ads, as required by federal law.”

After receiving a finger-wagging from the FTC, the Kardashian sisters corrected less than half of the posts, generally by adding #ad to the post. The remaining posts, according to a recent TINA.org follow-up investigation, either have not been edited at all, or contain “insufficient disclosures.”

For example, some posts now read #sp to indicated “sponsored” – as if anyone knows that reference. In another tactic that also got Warner Brothers and YouTube influencer PewDiePie in trouble with the FTC, the Kardashians are posting their disclosure information at the bottom of a long post so that users will only see it if they click “see more.”

The Kardashians have also been posting disclosures, but only days after the original post. Considering that the vast majority of viewers comment on or like posts within the first ten hours after it’s published, most of them will never see the disclosure when it’s tacked on days later.

Some of the “repeat offender” brands, who came up both in last year’s complaint and in the recent review, include Puma, Manuka Doctor, Jet Lux, Fit Tea, and Sugar Bear Hair. This time around, the Kardashians have also failed to disclose sponsorship on posts promoting Adidas, Lyft, Diff Eyewear, and Alexander Wang.

TINA.org found over 200 posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat where products are promoted without the Kardashians letting on that their raking in big bucks in exchange. The organization has notified the Kardashians, the brands they represent, and the FTC.

The FTC has recently been cracking down on deceptive influencer marketing, targeting not only the brands, but the influencers themselves.

In April, the FTC sent letters to 46 social media stars reminding them of their legal obligations to disclose, and followed up with 21 letters in September warning the influencers that they had until the end of the month to disclose sponsorships, or face legal consequences.

“The Kardashian/Jenner sisters are masterful marketers who are making millions of dollars from companies willing to turn a blind eye to the women’s misleading and deceptive social media marketing practices,” says TINA.org’s Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “It’s time the Kardashians were held accountable for their misdeeds.”

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Business Marketing

Dove dropped the olive branch with new ad campaign

(MARKETING NEWS) With any ad campaign there will be misses but take a note from Dove’s playbook and learn how to not repeat mistakes.

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dove ad

Dove’s latest Facebook ad really hit the mark for whitewashing in advertising. The ad, since removed, essentially implied their soap could turn a black woman into a clean white woman.

In a three-second video on the company’s Facebook page, three women transformed into the next when they removed their shirts. The first transition caused an uproar: a woman of color lifting a brown top over her head to reveal a different woman, who is very, very white.

Although the white woman then lifts her shirt to reveal another woman with darker hair and a darker skin tone, the initial transformation is problematic in its implications of whiteness as cleanliness.

Dove has since removed the ad and issued an apology, stating in a tweet “In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”

Wait, haven’t we been here before? At this point you’d think skin care companies would have realized a little more delicacy is required when rolling out ad campaigns. Remember Nivea’s disastrous, short-lived “White is Purity” mishap? How about Dove’s other blunder in their 2011 VisibleCare ad?

These featured another series of three women standing in front of close-ups of skin, with the darker skinned woman in front of the “before” label, and the woman with the lightest skin by the “after” picture. Although Dove didn’t intend to imply white skin is cleaner, oops, that’s what happened anyways.

While Dove has gotten many things right in terms of inclusivity and featuring models of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, there have also been several instances of intentional racist missteps. Let’s use this as a teachable moment for handling marketing mishaps.

Whenever an ad campaign offends people, the company’s response can make or break the business. If you find yourself in the midst of a marketing crisis, you can take some mindful steps to manage the situation and begin repairing your public image.

First, acknowledge the problem and issue a genuine apology that gets to the core of what your audience is saying. Dove recognized they upset people, and instead of taking a defensive “sorry you felt offended” stance, took responsibility for their actions. Once an apology is issued, explain the original intent to provide context for the situation.

Dove meant to create an inclusive campaign featuring a diverse cast of women. Lola Ogunyemi, the first model featured in the now controversial shirt ad, has even defended the ad. She stated, “I can see how the snapshots that are circulating the web have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue. There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage.”

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Business Marketing

Aori helps you pack a punch with AdWords

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Aori is the newest tool designed to help anyone using AdWords to kick more butt.

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google adwords aori

Search ad campaign managers constantly wrestle with the best way to organize their keywords into campaigns. Most of these decisions strive to balance the time needed to manage the campaign with efficiency of campaign expenditures.

Take the SKAGs strategy, for example. The SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Group) system is setup to trigger a unique ad for every single keyword by placing each keyword in its own group.

There’s lots of literature touting the benefits of the SKAG system. Generally, the hyper-specific match between ads and keywords improves click-through rates.

This leads to higher quality scores, which leads to lower costs for click, which leads to lower costs per conversion. The tradeoff with this system is the setup. You could be looking at hundreds of keyword groups to set up and maintain, and that’s a lot of work for a small business or startup.

This is where Aori comes in.

Their system helps to automate the process of setting up a SKAG system for your AdWords campaigns.

According to the website, the tool’s primary function is to automate keyword generation. Users enter a set of “root keywords” and common keyword extensions, and Aori will automatically generate all possible combinations of those keywords for your campaigns.

Additionally, through Aori, users can create ad templates using a “dynamic keyword insertion tool,” to enable you to utilize the strongest ad copy across multiple phrases.

In what is the least clear value point of the whole pitch, Aori also uses what they call a “unique bid-optimization algorithm.”

There is almost no detail to be found on how the algorithm works. If the tool handles all bid management for you, this could be a handy tool for PPC novices who are less familiar with the process and lack the time to learn it.

Aori appears to run cheaper than the others we know of, but that may be due to the level of automation available. For example, Aori requires the user to feed it keyword inputs, both root and extension words.

It’s also important to understand where a SKAG system can and can’t work. It is likely a better system for smaller campaigns where ad testing wouldn’t yield statistically meaningful results.

Because every keyword group targets one phrase, you can’t readily say that improvements in ad copy will translate to other campaigns.

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