Sunday, November 29, 2015


Employee engagement and exceptional customer service play a critical role as a competitive advantage in the business landscape. Great customer service built on a foundation of high employee engagement isn’t a revolutionary concept. More companies are recognizing just how important a deliberate and intentional customer-focused culture is, but few companies do it well.

Related Article: Designing a Customer Experience That Drives Results

Here are 12 simple steps to ensure your organization is maximizing this important competitive advantage:

  1. Lead by Example: Leaders set the tone and direction. Make customer service a key priority. Make sure your own behaviors are ones you want modeled by your team.
  2. Involve Your Customers: No one knows what your customers want better than your customers. If you ask them with genuine interest, they will tell you.
  3. Engage Your Team: Your team understands your customers and how to deliver the service they want. Include them in gathering customer information, setting standards and designing processes.
  4. Set Expectations: Publish your service standards so your team and customers are clear on expectations. You can never exceed expectations if you don’t set them.
  5. Solicit Feedback: Be a good listener. Make it easy for customers and your team to provide ongoing feedback about how to improve the service experience—both good and bad. Follow up and ask open-ended questions.
  6. Be Customer-Focused: Put your customer needs ahead of your own. Design your processes and procedures with your customer in mind.
  7. Provide Tools: Develop tools and processes that help your team understand the customer and equip them to deliver a consistent customer experience.
  8. Empower Your Team: No one turns an unhappy customer into a fan faster or better than a team member empowered to instantly fix the situation. Provide training and guidelines—then trust them to make the right decision.
  9. Measure What You Want Done: Create a balanced performance scorecard that measures financial, productivity and customer experience. What gets measured gets done.
  10. Recognize Performance: Establish a program to nurture and recognize outstanding performance. Make sure both customers and team members are encouraged to participate. Continuous improvement needs reinforcement. An ongoing recognition program keeps customer service in focus.
  11. Say Thank You: Thank your team for their hard work. Thank your customers for their business, their feedback and their complaints. Remember, without them you have no business.
  12. Have Fun: Remember—you chose to be in a customer service business. Choose your attitude and enjoy the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s day. Your attitude will rub off on your team and your customers.


Taking money from professional investors such as angels or VCs usually requires that you agree to seek an exit for those investors in your plan, often targeting five to seven years as the ideal period for growth before a liquidity event.

Of course, even though that is your contract with the investors, way over half of those implied contracts never work out that way.

It is perfectly OK for you to want to grow your company and plan to keep control for you and your offspring, with no intention to sell. There’s a name for this. We say that you are growing an evergreen enterprise, one in which outside money is to be taken in the form of loans or royalty agreements, not shares of stock or ownership.

Related Article: What is the Best Exit Strategy for Your Small Business?

If you have no intention of giving up ownership or even control over time, state that early and plan accordingly. Assume that your sources of funding will be limited, but that one hundred percent of less is perhaps more attractive than fifty percent of more, given the restrictions usually placed upon management of companies using outside investment funds.

One thing that becomes obvious when there are no investors looking over your shoulder is that you can plan for a pacing of your growth, focusing upon long term strategies that might be very comfortable for you but not so much for outside investors. (You may recall my story of the company that was forced to grow to death by a famous venture capital investor expecting massive profit or nothing, with no expectations in between.)

Evergreen companies can focus upon profit as more important than rapid growth, upon customer service above immediate profit, and upon people first before all of these. For some, that comfort is worth forgoing building high equity value.

In fact, sometimes entrepreneurs will do better financially just taking profits over the long run than they might have building equity for an ultimate sale.


Few organizations have the ability to reach every possible customers themselves. They can’t afford to hire enough sales people to cover the markets, they don’t have enough deep expertise in certain markets, they need to collaborate with others to provide a complete solution to their customers.

Most organizations have found they need to leverage some form of partner or channel to reach all the potential customers, maximizing their ability to sell and grow.

These partners come in all shapes and sizes. They may be strategic technology partners, they may be resellers, systems integrators, distributors, VAR’s, VAD’s, manufacturer’s reps, agencies, outsourced sales partners—or combinations of these various types of partners.

Ironically, while many organizations invest a lot in developing channel relationships–too often, the attitudes within the sales organization are, “They are the enemy.”

It’s manifested in a variety of ways—sometimes as blatant as open hostility and competition between the direct sales teams (inside or field), sometimes more subtly in terms of lack of information flow or failure to embrace the partners as partners.

Related Article: What is a Sales Alliance, and How Can It Help You?

As a result, open or covert hostility begins. Partners stop listening, they focus their time on other product lines, they openly compete.

Sometimes it isn’t as blatant, a quite peaceful neglect on the part of everyone settles in. We tolerate them, communicate with them, they tolerate us, attend our meetings, get our information, pass some information back to us. In the end, through this benign neglect, the channel never quite reaches its potential.

Channel partners aren’t the enemy!

We enlist partners to build our mutual businesses—to create revenue and success for each other.

Without these partners, we can’t achieve the growth and market penetration we expect. Rather than treating them as the enemy, we have to treat them as extensions of our company, working with them to build our businesses.

We need to think of our channel partners in very much the same terms as we think of our own sales people, whether they are field direct or inside sales.

We would never think of withholding information our sales people need to be successful in developing business in their territories—it has to be unthinkable to withhold information our partners need to be successful.

We invest in tools, process, methods, programs for our own people. We need to invest in the same for our partners.

We know we need to help our people develop and execute their territory, account, and deal strategies. We know we have to set performance expectations, coach and develop our people to maximize their performance. We need to do the same with our partners.

We want to make it as easy as possible for our people to do their jobs selling—removing barriers, roadblocks and providing resources to help them succeed. Our partners deserve no less.

We know if we don’t provide an environment where our people can be successful and thrive, they’ll go someplace that does. So will our partners!

Together, we must create more value for our customers than we can create individually. But to achieve this, we must first create value for each other.

It seems trite to say win-win. Each of us (on both sides of the discussion) is comfortable with this, but only when we win more, always. But these attitudes create barriers to success.

Successful channel and partner development requires balance on both sides of the relationship. We each need to share in the resources we invest, the risks we undertake and the rewards we reap. Underlying this we are more likely to achieve success in the relationship if we share similar visions and values.

How does your partner and channel strategy and implementation stack up?


Sometimes, customers need that little extra incentive to come calling at your small business.

Consider the coupon.

Long viewed as the housewives’ shopping companion (Grandma loved it when the 7-cents-off creamed corn hit the paper!), coupons in this century have taken on a life of their own, with blogs and videos showing extreme shoppers taking their couponing expertise to the extreme.

For the average consumer, though, coupons have become more than the circulars you receive in the mail or your Sunday newspaper. E-coupons—those scanable coupons from your phone—are becoming more routine. And more businesses are getting in on the action.

Small business owners would be wise to look into this method of bringing in and keeping more customers in the loop. What’s more, coupons are a great way to track your customers’ shopping patterns. Some approaches to consider:

  • Discounted merchandise/services. Set realistic percentages that serve a dual purpose: maintain profit margins while increasing visits. You’re the boss and know exactly when a discount might be too steep.
  • Go “E.” Never pay to print another coupon again. Place coupons on your web site (let customers print them out) and accept coupons on phones and tablets.
  • Sure, you can accomplish the Buy One-Get One through in-store signage, but when you send out a coupon you create a buzz among potential shoppers to make a special stop at your business.
  • Limitless opportunities. It’s a broad canvas: newspapers, local penny savers, mail packs – you name it. Source an option that cost effectively works for you.

Related Article: 3 Top Myths Surrounding Product Discounts

Also, follow the footsteps of some major retailers and select an item or service for which the coupon never expires. So, add coupons to your marketing repertoire and watch incremental business grow.


The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.

~Warren Buffett

Another lesson from my recent 450-mile trek on the Camino de Santiago in Spain is about baggage.

As you might guess, when making this walk, you have to travel as light as you can to take the pressure off of your back and hips. I, for example, started the trip with a 12-pound pack, which included the pack weight.

You do not have to carry sleeping gear, tents or food on the Camino de Santiago, so all I carried was clothes and some first aid supplies. I lived for 40 days with only two pairs of shoes—one for walking and sandals for when the boots came off—three pairs of pants, four shirts, three pairs of socks, three pairs of undies, rain gear and a sweat shirt. I frequently wore the same clothes two consecutive days after they had been washed.

Living this long with such a limited amount of stuff showed me I just really do not need much. Honestly, it was so freeing knowing that everything I owned was in one little backpack.

Related Article: Focus on Your Top Priorities

So many of us—businesses, too—carry so much stuff with us, just in case it is needed someday. While that practice may seem sensible, the only thing it really does is load us down and inhibit our ability to just be.

I have seen many businesses carry so many spare parts that they fill separate buildings.  These building require security, insurance, and so much more. These firms would be in so much better shape if they just let go of all of these extra parts.

On the Camino, I quickly learned how all these extra things weigh you down. If I had carried everything I thought I might have needed on my trek, my backpack would have weighed 50 pounds or more. Many people tried to carry everything they possibly could and struggled under the weight of it. I even saw one person with a pack weighing close to 70 pounds.

Now, by “stuff,” I mean both tangible and intangible things. Tangible items you must physically carry, but even intangible things such as memberships and involvement in organizations can weigh you down mentally.

The one luxury I took with me was my iPad Mini as it has a keyboard that makes writing much easier than on my phone. The physical weight of it was minimal, however, it was a constant mental burden. I was always worried about leaving my backpack alone for fear someone might steal it. If I would do the Camino again, I would leave this at home

Now that I have returned home, I am reflecting on how many boards I want to be on and how to eliminate as much stuff as I can from my world. I know that by having less of these things, my life will be better, more efficient and just easier.

Now go out and see if you cannot reduce the unnecessary “stuff” you have around. I promise your life is going to be so much better if you do.

You can do this!


Have you ever come across one of those Buzzfeed quizzes before and wondered how well a social media quiz would do for your marketing strategy?

Surprisingly enough, social media quizzes when paired with a lead capture have the innate ability to generate leads from the sheer amount of entertainment value that comes along with them.

As a form of interactive content, these social media quizzes attract social traffic, engage audiences through questions, and often educate prospective customers about a brand.

The following step-by-step guide will show you how easy it is to create your own social media quiz.

Pick the Type of Quiz You Want To Make

Before you create your quiz, come up with a concept for it and give it a title. Your quiz could even be based on your brand. Whatever you choose, here are the two types of quizzes you can create:

  1. The Personality Quiz: This type of quiz categorizes individuals into personality types based on their answers. If you were a brand that specializes in product sales, you could offer personalized product recommendations for each personality type.
  2. The Knowledge Test: This type of quiz tests the knowledge of an individual and gives results based on accuracy. You could quiz your audience about your brand, its products, or one of today’s trending topics.

SM Quiz 01

Let’s Craft the Questions to Your Quiz

Once you have the foundation for your quiz, it’s time to craft the questions. This is your chance to establish a connection with your audience through a one-on-one medium.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when creating your questions:

  • Inject Your Personality into Your Questions. Treat your audience as if you were talking to them in person. This sets a more relaxed tone and allows your audience to get comfortable with your brand.
  • Include Images to Makes Things Fun and Relevant. Throw in some images into your quiz to spice things up. Adding pictures can easily transform boring questions into a fun trivia game.
  • Keep Things Short for Your Audience. People don’t have a lot of time to waste on entertainment pieces, so make the most out of it by limiting your quiz to between 6 to 10 questions. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes to complete, which is just the right amount of time for people.

SM Quiz 02

Get the Most Out of Your Lead Capture

Make a trade with your audience by asking for their contact information through a lead capture form in exchange for their quiz results. This is how you will generate leads through your quiz.

When creating your lead capture, here are a few ways to your audience’s opt-in rate:

  • Try Using Incentives as a Sweetener. If we’re going to ask our audience for their contact information, why not include some incentives to encourage them to opt-in? Try anything from free eBooks, to an entry for a free giveaway. Give your audience a reason to opt-in other than receiving their quiz results.
  • Remind Your Audience That You’ll Be Contacting Them. It isn’t rocket science, but sometimes people forget that you’ll be contacting them after they opt-in, so make sure you remind them that they’ll be receiving a message from you shortly.
  • Only Request Information You’ll Be Using. We’re not trying to horde all of someone’s personal information. At most, all we require is a name and an email address. Be sure you only ask for information your company will use.

SM Quiz 03

Create Results Your Audience Would Share

Your quiz is coming together now, so it’s time to wrap it up by working on the results. A quiz’s success rides on how well it’s shared, so focus on creating results worth sharing.

Here are some ways to optimize the chances of your quiz results getting shared:

  • Compliment Your Audience to Increase Sharing. They say that positive emotions increase the chances of sharing, so why not evoke those positive emotions by complimenting your audience? Just be sure you’re honest about your compliments, don’t lie.
  • Use Images That Will Attract Others When Shared. Consider using attractive images. These are what others will see when your audience shares their quiz results via social media feeds.
  • Don’t Forget to Add a Call-to-Action. Provide a call-to-action at the end of the quiz your quiz by including a link to your site or other products.

SM Quiz 04

Let’s Review What We’ve Learned

And that’s it! Today, you learned how to create your own quiz, from the quiz type, the crafting of questions, the creation of a lead capture, and delivering results worth sharing. With that, try and implement social media quizzes into your marketing strategy.

JP MisenasAuthor: JP Misenas is the Content Marketing Director & Audio/Visual Technician/Engineer of Interact, a place for creating entertaining and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about innovative ways to connect with customers and to build professional long-lasting relationships with them.


Elvis Presley did not originally have a plan to become the huge star that he was. He simply wanted to make a record for his mother. One thing led to another, and he became one of the biggest stars ever. That is the part of the American dream—everybody can make it, even if they do not have a lot of money. While it may seem like a dream, some companies managed to pull it off. Here are some of the companies and people that didn’t invest more than $1,000, but ended up earning a whole lot more.


The most successful chewing gum became a business by chance. It all started with William Wrigley Jr. selling his father’s product: soap. To attract more customers, Wrigley offered little gifts with the soap. He noticed that the most sought-after gift was the baking powder. He responded to the market and started producing the baking powder. Soon enough, he offered chewing gum as a new gift. As you can guess, it led to the amazing Juicy Fruit and a big company was born.

Buschman Corp.

This is one of the great examples of how locating a great niche and taking a chance that presented itself can turn into a lucrative business. Tom Buschman was an electrician in Avery International. He noticed that the metering rods that the company used had a 50% failure rate. Buschman took that opportunity and promised to build better rods if the company agreed to buy them from him. He made a deal and delivered rods that had only a 2% failure rate. His total investment was $500 as he worked from home, where he built his mini factory from things that he reused and repurposed.


Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Roland Wayne started with their idea about building an Apple computer. Wozniak built it himself. Soon enough, Roland sold his share of this little company to Jobs and Wozniak. To be honest, while the beginning was quite cheap, what really set it off was the investment of $250,000 that came later on. Still, the company itself started on far less money. This was a case of a well-noticed moment in the market. That’s something that you can achieve today only by keeping a close eye on online publications with blogs like ProOpinion, Toluna, and similar media outlets that keep track of public opinion.


Everybody knows about Barbie. You can love it or hate it, but you cannot underestimate the influence this doll has on popular culture. This is another example about how a successful business evolved. At first, Harold Matt Mattson was manufacturing and selling picture frames and dollhouse furniture. The first toy the company produced was a ukulele. However, once they created Barbie, their luck changed. Still, the start was very rocky, but the outcome has been tremendously profitable.


It can almost be said that eBay was an accidental success. Pierre Omidyar originally set up a website which was called AuctionWeb. Just as a test, he placed an ad for selling a broken-down laser pointer. He was surprised when the pointer was sold for something under $15. Soon enough, this website took over Pierre’s entire Echo Bay domain.

You can see that most of these companies were built on very little money, but were rich in creativity and a talent for feeling the market. These founders were not afraid to repurpose and reinvent their businesses once they realized that it was what the market demanded. Soon enough, they turned their small investments into extremely successful businesses.

Author: Dan Radak is a web hosting security professional with ten years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of online security, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.


Thomas Edison’s famous saying, “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent” reveals one of the secret tips to become a successful entrepreneur.

Professionals from sales and marketing, human resources, and finance are flocking to get established in start-up roles. But, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Diligence, superb social skills, ability to overcome hardships, and the ability to build a unique marketing strategy frame just some of the characteristics of entrepreneurs.

When we think of entrepreneurs, iconic figures like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Gordon Moore instantly spring to mind. Years of hard work, unique ideas and strategic marketing skills helped them to realize their dreams. Here are 7 tips and tricks all entrepreneurs should implement to ensure strong establishment of their brands.

Build Anxiety Among Your Audience

Keep your products secret. Engage users by enabling them to make a wild guess. Just give a hint about your awesome product or service and don’t spread its details. Let the customer engage with the brand through a guessing game. Apple implemented the same strategy during the launch of iWatch. Its launch process was initiated with the name Apple watch, rather using its actual name, iWatch, and its design was kept secret. Self-marketing strategies can be implemented by initiating viral discussions on social media.

Perform Vigilant Risk Assessment

Small business entrepreneurs enter the business world to turn their ideas and knowledge into moneymaking companies. But, the failure to assess the risks associated with a startup pulls down its success rate. The reveals some of the reasons responsible for startup failure. Extensive research and analysis, effective goal-setting, hunting high and low, and studying the target market can play a crucial role in helping your business deal with hardships successfully.

Answer Customer Needs Satisfactorily

Failing to recognize customer needs lead to business breakdown. Create a compelling message that describes features and benefits of the product, and its unique selling points. Pricing forms the critical part of your brand development. Choosing the right price can help you maximize profits and build up healthy relationships with customers. Also, active engagement and dialogue with the customers can help to acquire better understanding of the customers’ needs.

Build an Appealing Visual

Powerful visuals can create strong brand image and help its quick establishment. Interactive and engaging visuals enable you to build a long term relationship with existing customers and create new customers. You can communicate some useful messages through visuals and ensure everything in your design serves an objective. Also, compile brand attributes in the message and use them effectively in every marketing campaign.

Frequently Approach Customers and Prospects

Frequently connecting with customers and prospects using latest promotional offers can help build a perfect image of your brand. Generating referrals and examining the customers’ experience with the products and services offered will enable them to engage better with the brand. Only a small percentage of customers may respond to the approach made. That’s normal. But, frequently contacting the customers will help generate interest among them.

Create Less and Earn More

Some research based on the marketing strategies of brands such as Nokia, Samsung and Apple suggests that what matters is giving less but with utmost value. Steve Jobs always excelled in this mantra. However, Apple has deviated from its ideology since the death of Steve Jobs, with the launch of so many variants of iWatch at the same time.  It becomes difficult to choose the best out of many. Contrary to this, creating just one perfect product can help to better establish your brand.

Make Wise Use of Everything

Utilizing the best resources available in the market can help you to reach informed decisions. Growth hacking is a well-known branding tool making its presence on the market. A successful business website can be promoted and marketed by performing social media optimization, A/B price testing, website analytics and implementing content marketing strategies. Track what satisfies the customers most. Understanding where, when, and how to spend will help you better fulfill the needs of all your customers.

Wrapping it up

Starting your own venture is an exciting journey.  But, certain things need to be considered before making the first move. A perfect blend of a game-changing idea and vigorous marketing efforts can turn any entrepreneur into a more successful entrepreneur.

Author: Shraddha Tewari, is an Editor formally associated with AceCloudHosting that offers services related to QuickBooks Cloud. She has diverse professional experience in digital marketing. Her strong interest in reading and writing about technology, cloud computing and latest software developments enables her to develop effective and informative technology oriented content. She can be followed @tewarishraddha1.


Time is the great equalizer. We all have 168 hours in a week. So why is it that, while most just struggle to keep up with the pace of life, a select group of people seem to have an abundance of time? Sound familiar?

There exists an elite 1% when it comes to time. These time-billionaires have red-carpet access to a reserve of hours, minutes and days that others desperately wish they had. I call this reserve The Bank of Time.

Average humans continually make withdrawals from the Bank of Time, and as a result, find themselves in time debt. Alternatively, the time-wealthy make consistent, calculated deposits into the Bank of Time. These time-preneurs get the Bank to pay them a steady flow of compounded time-dividends.

I’ve experienced this contrast firsthand. I was one of the most time-starved, disorganized people in the world, often late, and chronically busy. By using my five Laws of the Bank of Time, I’ve helped myself and others find an abundance of hours.

Law #1: Use a Time Budget

A fiscal budget keeps spending in check because it requires a person to account for all expenditures against an available pool of income. A time budget is similar in that you account for all your appointments against an available pool of time. In simpler terms, your time budget is your Calendar.

This may sound overly simplistic, yet I’ve found a shockingly large percentage of people fail to use a calendar consistently. Often this occurs because they don’t want to confront the harsh reality of their limitation of time. They spend time on a “credit card,” hoping that somehow they’ll be able to pay for those commitments …later.

Law #2: Underspend Time

Rather than trying to cram 65 minutes into a 60-minute hour, allow some breathing room instead. Buffer time—carefully scheduled and protected open space in your calendar—is actually your friend. You live in a world that will interrupt you. It is inevitable. So prepare for the interruption by “saving some time for a rainy day,” so to speak.

Law #3: Maximize the Value of Your Time

Consider this. You meet two people. Both Person A and Person B make $200K per year. Seems equal? But what if you learn that Person A works an 80-hour week while Person B works just a 30-hour week? Your perspective shifts quickly, doesn’t it?

Related Article: The Entrepreneurial Time Machine

While most of us wish to free ourselves from the tyranny of an hourly wage, we risk losing sight of the most important metric in becoming time wealthy: the net, realized dollar-per-hour value of our time. The time-wealthy avoid doing low-value work, not because it is beneath them, but because doing such work damages their ability to have free time. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are particularly prone to the trap of doing easily replaceable low-value work such as bookkeeping, janitorial, and admin tasks. Instead, they would earn freedom through focusing on higher value tasks such as visionary work, big-ticket sales, and strategy.

Law #4: Invest in Time Assets

Wise money investors make calculated investments in assets. Time tycoons can do the same, by investing in the best quality tools, technology, and a streamlined workspace.

Consider having a slower, outdated computer. If an upgrade resulted in just a 2% increase in performance, the net gain is just over one extra workweek every year. Isn’t dropping a few hundred dollars to upgrade your output a savvy investment?

Law #5: Earn Compound Dividends

Advanced practitioners of time wealth multiply their efforts by enlisting the help of others. They wisely hire, train, and delegate to employees, contractors, and virtual assistants.

When the world is clamoring for your attention and you feel starved for time, how should you prioritize? Here is the system I share with my coaching clients:

  1. Is there anything repetitive I can delegate so others will multiply my effort?
  2. Am I holding up any process? Never be the bottleneck.
  3. Can I create something that will work for me while I am sleeping?
  4. What will make the money per hour?

These questions put the priority not just on doing work, but doing the work that works for you, freeing up bundles of precious hours. Not all investments need to be with people. Some creations, such as an online article like this, can work for you driving traffic and opportunities your way even while you sleep.

If you feel starved for time, begin with just the first law. Create a budget, and stick to it. Then, as you experience the benefits of living in balance, make small deposits by taking on the other four laws.

Dave Crenshaw HeadshotAuthor: Dave Crenshaw works 30 hours per week or less, plays video games, and has plenty of time to spend with his wife and three children. He is also the master of helping business owners triumph over chaos. He has appeared in Time magazine, FastCompany, USA Today, and the BBC News. His first book, The Myth of Multitasking: How ‘Doing It All’ Gets Nothing Done, has been published in six languages and is a time management bestseller. As an author, speaker, and business coach, Dave has transformed thousands of businesses worldwide. To get free access to Dave’s online Time Management Fundamentals course on, please visit:

Twitter: @DaveCrenshaw



For the past few years Google has put a lot of emphasis into local search. In response to the growing desire for local information, Google has taken steps to improve local search for consumers and businesses.

You have probably noticed when searching for local information the results are different; If not, don’t worry we’re going to break it down.

Related Article: Getting to the Top of Google

What’s the difference between an Organic Search and Places Search?

If I searched for “Electrical Contractors in CT”, Google will recognize that this is a local search. Unlike an ordinary search (for example “Weather”), the search engine gives me two sets of results: Organic and Local/Map/Places.

  • The first returns listings from Google Places into what is known as a ‘Local 3 Pack’. Google will select the most relevant businesses based on our location and search query.
  • The second is what we call an ‘organic listing’; it’s the type we are most familiar with. To get here we would expect to use traditional Search Engine Optimization methods. Let’s take a look at the two and what you should be aware of as a local business owner.

What makes them different?

It is important to remember that organic search & Google Places are very different.

  • Google Places ranks businesses—Not websites
  • You don’t need a website to appear in Google places results
  • Google puts more emphasis on reviews when ranking places listings.
  • Ranking organically requires traditional SEO methods, ranking in the 3-pack is much simpler.

At first you will probably notice the places results appear at the top, above the organic results.

This is not uncommon and why it’s important to understand the difference between the two. If you know how to get into the local 3-pack or map box, you will most certainly stand out from your competitors, especially if you have reviews.

Good Organic Rankings but no Places Ranking?

A common problem for local businesses is a good organic ranking, but no Google places ranking.

Take a look at this example, again searching “Electrical Contractors in CT”. appears in the organic search but not in the local pack above. Here are some reasons this can happen:

  1. The business is too far from the search location
  2. The business website has no NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
  3. The NAP is inconsistent with the Google Places listing.
  4. The Google My Business listing is incomplete or wrongly categorized.
  5. The business doesn’t have enough ‘local citations’ including your business name & address.
  6. You have no business reviews – This is not a definitive solution to the problem, but reviews certainly help to promote local rankings.
  7. Your Google Places listing is new – With SEO nothing tends to happen overnight, if you have only just created or updated your listings, give it a little while to before expecting positive results.
  8. You aren’t keeping to White Hat SEO techniques – If you have paid for cheap SEO or anything that automates the process, you may have been penalized by Google.

Note that Places listings have little effect on Organic listings. The two are separate entities; however a good Organic Ranking may lead to a better chance of a good Places Ranking.

Good Places Ranking but Poor Organic Ranking?

You might have the same problem but the other way around. Why am I ranking in the 3-pack but not organically? The answer is simpler than you might think.

  • Remember that Google places ranks businesses
  • Organic searches rank websites

The requirements for ranking a local business are far less than an entire website. To get your website up the organic search results you need to focus on traditional SEO methods. These include:

  • Generating quality backlinks
  • Social activity
  • Quality, regular content
  • Highly relevant pages