Local Marketing Source Blog

Local Marketing Industry Weekly Update – #147 – 2/11/15

Weekly Update Overview

– Getting Yelp Reviews When All Else Fails
– What % Of Your Marketing Budget is Spent On Internet or Mobile Marketing?
– Will You Increase Spending On Internet Marketing In The Next 12 Months?
– How Do You Feel About Google+ Local/Google My Business?

Getting Yelp Reviews When All Else Fails

It’s hard getting any review but it’s particularly hard getting Yelp reviews. They filter many, many more than make it through. I have seen filtering rates as hight as 85% of first time reviewers. Unless the reviewer has either lots of Yelp friends or lots of Yelp reviews, their reviews will be nuked.

Yelp, of course doesn’t want you asking for reviews. That is, to some extent, craziness on the part of Yelp and you are going to ask anyway. (As a note it’s not against their TOS, it’s just a “recommendation” that you not ask for reviews.)

So what do you do if you absolutely, unequivocally have to get a few reviews at Yelp? Laser sharp targeting of who you ask.
There is no sense asking 100 people if there isn’t a snow ball’s chance in hell of any of their reviews showing. Time waster for you and your client. And wasting client time is something you should not be doing.

Only ask your customers that you know have at least 10 or more reviews already on Yelp and/or lots of friends.

Yelp makes finding which of your “friends” have enough reviews or social strength easier than you think. If you have been using your personal Facebook account for interacting with your buisness clients or you have most of you clients in a major online mail service (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook) here are the steps:

1- Login into you Yelp personal accounts.
2- Click on the Find Friends link on Yelp
3- Start with your Facebook friends and identify any that meet the minimum requirements for total reviews or friends. Reach out to them and ask for a Yelp review. I am sure that David Mihm and Bill Slawski would do me the kindness.
4. Once you have exhausted your Facebook friends, upload your Gmail (or other) mail contacts and do the same:
5. Assemble the list of those likely to get reviews approved and reach out to them via email or Facebook. And I can’t see any reason to friend them.
6. You probably SHOULDN’T do the following but the irony of using Yelp’s very own friending mechanism to ask for a review was too rich  not to mention. If you can’t reach them via email or

Facebook then the following is a good backup:

Here is the email that your friend will see

I would love to hear from you if you have been successful getting Yelp reviews this way.

This tip was shared at the recent LocalUp.

SMBs Divided On The Effectiveness Of Google My Business

Columnist Myles Anderson digs deeper into BrightLocal’s 2014 SMB Internet Marketing Survey to learn more about the attitudes of small and medium sized businesses.

In January, we published the findings of the 2014 SMB Internet Marketing Survey.

In this post, I am going to share the result of further analysis from the same survey, this time comparing the data for certain Industries and their attitudes, spend and commitment to internet marketing.

The industries covered are selected based on the number of respondents within each industry. In total, we had 736 SMBs complete the survey from over 30 different industries.

We have only included analysis for 15 industries that had at least 20+ respondents. We felt that if an industry had below 20, we couldn’t trust the data; anomalies would have too great an impact on the averages and would skew the results.

The following 4 charts represent some of the key findings from this deeper analysis.

What % Of Your Marketing Budget Is Spent On Internet Or Mobile Marketing?


Web Designers (70%) & Marketing Businesses (57%) allocate greatest percent of their budget to online.
Retail (25%), Interior Design (25%) and Pet Services (27%) allocate the least.
We can see a broad distribution of marketing budget allocation to online across the industries studied, ranging from 25% to 70%.

It’s not surprising that Web Designers and Marketing Businesses spend the majority of their marketing budgets online — they understand the channels, they know how to get good ROI and so they invest in it.

At the other end of the spectrum are Pet Services, Interior Designers and Shops. These industries spend the smallest percent of their marketing budgets on digital marketing. Perhaps they see the low returns from their digital marketing, have low understanding of the channels and have low confidence in them.

Will You Increase Spend On Internet Marketing In Next 12 Months?


It’s useful to compare results of this chart with the previous chart to get a complete picture of confidence that different industries have in internet marketing.

Some industries, such as Construction and Mechanics, spend over 40% of their budget online and don’t plan to increase this. Do they find that further investment won’t deliver more customers? Are they committed to spending the other 60% on other offline channels because those channels reach customers that online doesn’t — e.g. trade customers, contractors, etc.?
Conversely, some industries – Insurance and Retail – spend less online right now but are more likely to increase their spend to digital in 2015.

Marketing businesses already spend a larger percent of their marketing budget online, and 65% of respondents said they planned to increase this — further evidence that it works for them and their confidence is high.

Interestingly, Tradesmen currently spend 44% of their budget online but are the least likely to increase that in the next 12 months. So this industry may not be a great one for search consultants to target or up-sell digital services to in 2015.

How Effective Is Internet Marketing At Attracting Customers To Your Business?


93% of Medical businesses say internet marketing is Effective or Very Effective.
93% of Real Estate businesses say it is Effective or Very Effective.
45% of Marketing businesses say it is Very Effective.

40% of Financial businesses say it is not effective.
33% of Tradesmen say it is not effective.
Just 15% of Insurance businesses say it is Very Effective.

In overview, the results are very positive for Internet Marketing. All these industries say that Internet Marketing is effective rather than not effective with each industry returning >60% Effective or Very Effective.

However, certain industries (Financial, Tradesmen and Legal) had a much higher % of respondents who said it was Not Effective.

Tradesmen are the least likely industry to increase spend in 2015 (see previous chart) which is not surprising when we see that 33% of them say online marketing is not effective at bringing in new customers.

There is a similar correlation for the Legal sector — low effectiveness = no increase in budget allocation. We found this result surprising result given how competitive online legal marketing is and how many specialist legal marketing firms there are. Is this a symptom of too much competition? Is it too difficult and expensive for many practitioners to invest in or to see decent returns from the budgets they have?

For us, the most confusing result here is for Insurance businesses. This sector is most likely to increase their spend in 2015, but returned the lowest score for “Very Effective” (just 15%).

Marketing businesses are again extremely positive, with 45% saying Internet marketing is Very Effective at bringing in new customers. This is a useful, if not surprising, insight for other marketing consultants and agencies who are analyzing their own spend.

How Do You Feel About Google+ Local/Google My Business?


64% of Cleaning businesses have a positive sentiment about Google +Local and Google My Business (GMB).
61% Medical businesses have a positive sentiment.
60% of Marketing and Web Design businesses have a positive sentiment.

31% of Insurance businesses have a negative sentiment about Google +Local and Google My Business.
29% of Real Estate businesses have a negative sentiment.

In this question, we asked SMBs to pick a statement which best summed up their feelings about Google+ Local/GMB. The statements covered the usability and importance of +Local/GMB, and we aggregated the answers into 3 “pots.”

Sentiments vary widely across different industries, with some businesses in each industry finding it confusing — so it’s clear that Google still has work to do to educate and convince some businesses of the benefits of +Local/GMB.

Cleaning, Medical and Marketing businesses are most positive (>60%) while Financial, Insurance and Interior Design are least positive (<40%). Interestingly, 31% of Marketing professionals are confused by or frustrated with +Local/GMB. Given that it is their business to know digital channels inside and out, it is worrying that many still find it hard to work with. Real Estate and Insurance businesses have the most negative sentiment. Real Estate agents have been the big losers since the Pigeon update with a huge drop in local pack results being served for real estate/realtor terms – so it isn’t surprising that these businesses would feel negatively about the service.

Google Introduces Rich Medical Content Into Knowledge Graph

Users will soon see deeper health information for more than 400 conditions.

Google has said that “one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information.” Yet, the information available in search results can be incomplete or untrustworthy, though there are many credible sources, as well.

To improve the quality of health-related search content, Google is introducing structured and curated health information into the PC knowledge panel and info cards that appear in mobile search results. Google has tapped doctors, medical illustrators and the Mayo Clinic to develop in-depth information for more than 400 health and medical conditions.

The rollout is for U.S. English, for the time being, on the Google app (Android and iOS) and for the PC. However Google plans to expand the number of conditions and later make the information available outside the US.

The screenshots immediately below reflect current results on the PC and mobile for the search query “tonsillitis.” Soon, U.S. mobile and PC users will start to see content and imagery that look a lot more like those further below.

In its press materials for this release, Google is showcasing the mobile experience, which the company said is a primary use case for the information.

It’s also an effort to promote and enhance the value of mobile search.

After collecting the basic factual information, Google worked closely with doctors in reviewing and verifying the information. The company said in its blog post, “All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.”

Apparently, every fact presented has been reviewed by an average of 11.1 doctors. I was also told by the company that to provide this information, there was some under-the-hood reworking of Knowledge Graph.

Google is quick to point out that the information in the health cards is not exhaustive and that the company assumes people will dive deeper into the broader internet to get more information. The hope is that when they do, they’ll be more informed and better able to select reliable information.

Remarkably, there’s still considerable ignorance and misinformation about various health conditions in the U.S. (e.g., safety of vaccines). However there are also numerous places in the developing world where people don’t have access to good health information. Though not a substitute for actual medical consultations, this information has the potential to be very helpful to many people globally.

Cynics might say that Google is moving into yet another vertical content area and usurping third-party publishers. I don’t believe this is the case. Google isn’t going to be monetizing these queries; it appears to be genuinely motivated by a desire to show higher-quality health information and educate users accordingly.

There’s a secondary aspect to this that is very interesting. As an aside, Google told me that it hopes this initiative will help motivate the improvement of health content across the internet. The company also said that comparing its curated health content and that of third-party sites may lead to a better understanding of which publishers offer solid information.

We also discussed the possibility that educating users would enable them to then select or identify higher quality content on third-party sites. Signals from those users, such as time spent, could also give Google information about which sites are better sources.

I’m speculating about this last part. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to consider that Google could potentially use content it develops to motivate others to improve their content or to indirectly generate additional potential ranking signals.
For the time being, however, this initiative is all about providing more reliable health content and a better health-search user experience on Google — especially in mobile.

That’s the conclusion of today’s update. I’m going to take 30 seconds and I’ll be back to answer any questions that may have been asked.

The Local Marketing Industry Weekly Update, presented by Scott Gallagher. Scott is the co-founder of Local Marketing Source and has become the recognized expert in providing local marketing services to local businesses.


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