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New York City: Local SEO Digital Marketing (NYC 2020)

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LGBT business owners, Steven Redford and Robson Teles of AG2 Media in New York City know how to reinvent during challenging times and thrive. During the COVID period, it is vital to really focus on your small business online local SEO strategy. Dust off your online marketing, give it a refresh with a keen focus on being found by local clients or your ideal online target audience no matter where they are located. Case in point, AG2 Media has worked with a local business for quite some time having done their overall branding and website. Yet initially the client chose not to focus on local SEO including online business citations because their business had great foot traffic and word of mouth referral. Fast forward and we all have felt the impact of COVID on business. This client laid most of their small business stars off due to a rapid sharp downturn in business. Then AG2 Media reminded them that they could get phone orders for delivery or pickup if they focus on being found if internet searches served up their business in results in a more targeted way utilizing all the features of Google My Business and more. After getting the green light the AG2 Media team swung into action. The results were quick and profound. Within just around 30 days the client was receiving a high volume of client orders a week and most where new customers. Within a short period, the client’s business was back to pre-COVID levels and they were able to bring back their staff. Had the business owner not invested into local SEO, today they would have been officially out of business. Local SEO literally saved the business. What can it do for your business?

WE LIKE SIMPLE DESIGN; WE THINK IT HELPS KEEP YOUR MESSAGE CLEAR.

AG2 DIGITAL Branding Marketing Local SEO Optimization Website development LGBT entrepreneur gay owned business

We believe design should be concept driven and engaging. Great design can shift the perception of your brand and is an investment in your company’s future. AG2 Digital will design a stylish, professional logo, website, business cards, branded social media platforms, in-house branded materials and custom icons. After we’re done, you’ll have a brand that inspires trust and confidence with consumers. 

AG2 Digital creates unique logo designs that relate to your customers and makes you stand out from your competitors. We’ll take you through our logo/branding discussion process to better understand your business, culture, personality, and aesthetics.

YOUR WEBSITE ACTS AS THE ONLINE FACE OF YOUR COMPANY, ITS STOREFRONT. 

The value of your web design can either increase site traffic or drive it away. If you have a poorly designed website that just doesn’t look “right” to a visitor, it is highly unlikely they will place enough trust into your business to make a purchase. A site’s design is the reflection of business behind it, and in order to create a reputable online profile, this is definitely not an area that can be ignored.

Since your website is often where customers have their first interaction with your business, it better make a good first impression. Our goal is to engage your audience while creatively telling your story through an aesthetically pleasing and functional website with clear navigation.

Conversation Auto Transcrpit

The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview.

Unknown Speaker 0:06
Hello, this is Dennis Velco with OutBüro where we bring you episodes featuring LGBT entrepreneurs, professionals and community leaders. Today we are joined by the two founders and principals of a AG2 Digital, a marketing and communications firm based in New York City who rah, welcome Robson and Stephen to the OutBüro voices show.

Unknown Speaker 0:42
I just Thanks for having us.

Unknown Speaker 0:45
Absolutely. And so, because I know we are on a time limit, because right now I’m on the cheap. So we’re doing this in 40 minutes to stay in line with the Skype limitation We’re going to dive right into you guys now do know that I will be switching this to the person who’s speaking. So just know don’t know how you guys are going to want to do a little hand signals. But if you find you’re going over each other just one of you kind of pause and let the other one take the lead and just bounce back and forth as you guys like okie dokie. And so what if one of you would like to give me a little bit of background on to how ag to digital got started? And then we’ll move on from there.

Unknown Speaker 1:33
Okay, well I tend to overtalk him, so I’ll go first. I got my background in hospitality, tourism marketing. I worked for 20 years in various boutique hotels here in New York City and a sales and marketing capacity. And then, like a lot of New Yorkers and like a lot of people now at a downturn of the hospitality and the Straight, like what’s happening now? I lost my job and started an art consulting and sales and marketing company. And then that helps him talk about his start.

Unknown Speaker 2:12
Well, I, I’ve always been a designer, I graduated in graphic design back on the early 90s. And right after school, I got a job at Hallmark. I worked for Hallmark for two years. And then I moved to New York, er, word for Forbes magazine Businessweek. And my last job was with new score. And as Steve was mentioning, with the downturn of the economy in 2008, my whole department was gone. And that’s when I start doing freelance and freelance turn into the digital agency that we have now. Student I have run the agents that’s pretty much good.

Unknown Speaker 2:58
Okay, so How long has a a GQ digital been around as a company?

Unknown Speaker 3:07
We started in 2015. And as we when we first began, we were a more of a old school print graphic design company. And we quickly saw that the real business was going to be in website design. So that’s, I would say three years ago, we shifted everything to web design. And then further we went into more SEO capabilities, sem SEO PPC on that we’ve been doing for about two years now.

Unknown Speaker 3:41
Okay, so

Unknown Speaker 3:43
are you guys do all or most of the work are kind of really focused on the client acquisition and then kind of subcontract out some of that work.

Unknown Speaker 3:54
Thompson does all the design work, which is amazing. We subcontract Drag out these some of the SEO work and the social media advertising.

Unknown Speaker 4:06
Okay. Kobe’s now you are in the New York City area. Therefore, I bet you guys have seen a lot of change here in the COVID. But I guess before we get to kind of that to understand the impact of COVID on your business, let’s kind of back up and talk a little bit about as you were starting your business, what are some of the ways that you guys have, you know, found your clients and you know, that the word out about your business?

Unknown Speaker 4:41
Yeah, definitely. We started the company. And I mean, I just want to back up a little bit and say that hausa and I both were never entrepreneurs to begin with. We both were raised to go to school, get a degree and get a paycheck. And that’s coming. of how we operated for most of our careers here, and I guess you would say corporate America. But when we found ourselves in a situation where we had to create our own company, we were a little bit out of fish out of water. And our first place that we started really practicing and learning about getting clients and selling for ourselves was like the LGBT networking community, specifically, our Business Builders is a breakfast meeting that we attended. We joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. And that was how we got our first clients. And that still to this day, is where we’re getting the majority of our clients is the networking that we’ve been able to do within the LGBTQ community.

Unknown Speaker 5:50
Oh, well, wonderful. And I guess I’ll kind of jump in and you know, say how, you know, there is no age limitation on being an entrepreneur, you can jump into to being an entrepreneur at any point in your, in your path, you know, from, you know, 16 years old to 76 years old. And it’s very interesting as I’m interviewing people right now, like my call earlier who I’m talking with next week, she’s she’s a young entrepreneur hasn’t even graduated from college yet working on a mobile app. And earlier today was a life coach. You know, who, from the UK? And, you know, I think it’s very poignant that life and businesses throw us curveballs. And you know, it’s no longer the day, you know, like whenever my father had basically worked for two employers his his whole life and you know, but But today, the reality is, is that companies really aren’t loyal to you. They’re only loyal to you as long as their profitability allows them to be so. And you know, for whatever reason, no fault of your own, you could be let go laid off, whatever nicety words want to be utilized. And in times like this encoded where people have been, you know, sent home and not call back. And so your story kind of really, really is one to pay close attention to because you, although it wasn’t COVID at that time, it was an economic downturn. So there’s that similarity and out of it, what I’m hearing is out of necessity. You had to kind of shake the old mindset that in the end the fallacy of you know, that corporate america Erica is going to look out for you and be your mainstay. And we had to dust that off and do it for yourself. I’m sorry,

Unknown Speaker 8:09
go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 8:10
I just wanted to add to that that they’re on. today. On we have all the facility in the world with technology, you know, you have a computer in your house and you have a printer, and right there and then you have an office full at office, you can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. And that makes it very easy to be your own business. You’re on there. So I just want to add to that.

Unknown Speaker 8:41
And we’re perfect examples of the situation. What’s happening now with COVID is exactly what happened to us. So a lot. I know a lot of people are going to be losing their jobs. A lot of people are already starting the freelance work. We’re here to say that it can be done and ironically, that’s what we Do we help other individuals or small companies brand themselves, which, and to get online, we offer all of the things that you would need the brand, the logo, the website, the SEO capabilities, we’re you know, and ironically, our business has grown more in the past two months because of the services that we offer that we’ve experienced in years. So I don’t I don’t know.

Unknown Speaker 9:37
hatred. Okay. Well, well, so I’ll kind of back that up for you in that. You know, probably that’s stemming out of people are, especially in New York, I’ve lived in New York myself, I know, you know, heavy pedestrian cities. So you’re you’re walking around, you know, you’re taking that street. Taxi or Uber or Lyft? Yes, you do do the subways as well. We’ve never I live there, but a lot of you know, when you’re living in New York for those that aren’t aware of it, yes, it’s this huge city, but it’s also small communities. Like, whenever I lived there, you know, we had some of our favorite restaurants that we would go to you know, the ones on a regular basis were within a couple of blocks the the little place with the flowers on the corner, were just two blocks away. I always heard if I can, I always love fresh flowers in the house. And, you know, so it’s a very, although, it seems overwhelming to a lot of people like oh, my gosh, how many millions of people live there? Well, you know, if you live out in Queens, you’re not going into Chelsea for your prescription or you’re not going you know from the Upper West Side, all the way out to Brooklyn for your groceries right? You have within a certain area a certain distance, it’s more like a small town. And so, as an

Unknown Speaker 11:10
example, one of our clients now is actually a florist. And because of the downturn in the COVID, he was actually gonna have to close his business. He had laid off all of his staff. He was not sure he is going to be able to pay the rent. And he is also a member of one of our networking groups. So we met with him and we, you know, we had been talking about SEO for months years with him. So he finally agreed to do it. And his business after one month of local SEO, working with his Google My Business platform, getting him signed up with local listings. He was able to he’s his business is now where it was before. The Coronavirus

Unknown Speaker 11:58
issue. credible. He’s

Unknown Speaker 12:02
in one month, he has 13,000 new searches. And majority of that is new, new people looking at his website. In the past couple weeks, he was telling me 65 new phone calls most of those new clients. So he’s, if not, he’s thinking about having to rehire, um, and here he was thinking he had to close. Wow, what a great, what a

Unknown Speaker 12:28
great story. And you know how true because you know, when you are no matter where you are in the country or the world, I mean, taking that right there for an example in an area where possibly even those new customers were within a certain distance, right, because they looked online for a local florists. If your competitors aren’t online, if your competitors are not optimized, then you taking those extra steps to Ensure that your website is optimized, you have great content, but especially for those kinds of businesses where you’re ensuring that you are showing up in the Google Maps and getting as many what’s called business citations. A business citation is a listing on a local service. So for an example, LGBT businesses out there you can add your business to our bureau comm that is called a business citation. And that also helps your overall business website ranking, move up and it helps especially when you have your full address. When Google sees that you are on a, you know, X number of sites with a business citation listing not only are you on their record, but when they see that you are also on all these other websites. Yo you know whatever other business site listings there are, that’s going to further give power give Google says, Oh, yes, that is a business it is because I see all of these listings on all these other various websites. And so therefore, I’m going to increase now i’m also pulling that together with local content. So blogs and so forth, having a Facebook page with rankings there. So So let’s talk about since that is a recent customer, and and as I understand it, you’ve been trying to work with that person. And you’ve been cultivating that client for quite some time, correct?

Unknown Speaker 14:43
Yes. And I think maybe perhaps you can talk about the process that we went through with them on the branding process and the process that we go through and how he took him

Unknown Speaker 14:54
from the logo to now being very

Unknown Speaker 14:57
successful. Yeah. left row darlin came to us out say four or five years ago, he was one of our of our first clients. He came to watch because he was with Brenda, he was changing the pricing. It was good branding. And through that we created a new logo, we created a new website for him new content, social media platform, all the collateral material for the store as well. Or in we read it in such a way that it matched the interior of his store. He got an architect and did his store with the columns that he wanted with all the image that he wanted inside the pattern of the wood. And from that I do buy all the creative elements and in the website in the store, they are a perfect match. And then once we did that, that’s when we came with the idea of enhances business with SEO, but he wasn’t so well at the time and everything was working so perfectly. That, you know, we took a little leap to get him to do SEO. So as Steve was mentioned, just recently, he switched to SEO as well. But he has been a client of ours for for many, many years. And, you know, that’s how Frodo and cat came to us.

Unknown Speaker 16:19
I think he’s, you know, he’s obviously benefiting from the fact that internet use is up by 70% since everyone started staying at home, and data usage on your phone is up by 47%. And I was looking at this statistic, the, you know, when someone buys a product at a store, and then goes and picks it up, like you would do at Home Depot or any other store like that, that kind of purchase is 554%. So, you’ve just got to be online, and you get I think that’s the most important thing. Is that is being have a strong digital presence is the is the way you’re going to succeed now

Unknown Speaker 17:08
I couldn’t agree more and so part of the heart of the lesson though here too, for the entrepreneur is you have to be online and for the entrepreneurs out there, take a look at your current and past client base if you have some and revisit them, especially if your services will enable them to as a as a business enable them to thrive better in this environment. If you do do marketing and web service and web development and local local SEO and so forth. You are perfect you are crying. If you are if you are not going back to clients These folks have here. If you have if you’re not going back to clients who said no to you over and over again for the last several years, now is a time where they potentially will say yes. Because look at this as a case in point right here as to how valuable that is. Because they’re, you know, being in New York again, getting back to that foot traffic that florists was, was doing great had a beautiful shop and that’s what gets those people who are walking by on the street front to walk in, right. But and they had the website but they weren’t optimized. They didn’t at that point get to see the need back several years ago to invest that additional funds and taking it to the to the next level. And, and that’s okay. Because Because now look at what has been able to be to be accomplished.

Unknown Speaker 18:56
So another thing another thing that

Unknown Speaker 19:00
People in business have to think about is your presence online, it is extremely important. Because your presence online is going to give you reviews. And over 90% of people who shop online, look at reviews, if you have less than 4.0 they move away from you immediately. So you have to have a presence not only online, but you have to have you have to keep that up in order to have good reviews.

Unknown Speaker 19:33
So you know and eat anywhere at this point in your city. There’s nothing we’ve been we’ve been restaurant deprived for so long, but anyway, yeah, it’s true. I you know, when the restaurants were open, and we had our choice, you know, anything less than a 4.3 or, you know, below I just wouldn’t go. You know, Nancy Pelosi said that all roads lead to Russia, right? In my case, I make, I’m changing A little bit of all roads lead to your website and your Google reviews. And, you know, the the, you know, the Google is offering an incredible free product. Um, you know, Google My Business, it’s such a strong platform now. And just downloading photos. If you’ve got 20 or 30 photos, you’re already beating your competition. And you’re going to get much more hits. Google loves photos on your Google My Business by putting your business address in the footer of your website, so that Google can verify the website address to your Google My Business. Again, you’re going to increase your search capacity, little things like that having your hours, nine to five, Monday through Friday on your Google My Business platform, immediately increases. Little things you can do for free. goes there. They want you they want you to spend more more time on the internet. So they’re gonna try to keep you there.

Unknown Speaker 21:04
Right, and they’re trying to be relevant. They’re trying to be the most relevant search results out there. And so you know, as Steven is indicating, the more information that you provide, you’re making it easy for Google to serve up your business to its searchers. And therefore, the more the more information you have, the better. So I’m going to give you one tip, and it’s the reason why we use search. Google for LGBTQ aren’t for LGBT entrepreneur, LGBT professional, or LGBT employer ratings or LGBT reviews LGBT employer reviews, why out Bureau is either number one or on the first page. So here is a tip for you when you are uploading those images. Don’t just take a photo and go Upload. Because if you do Guess what? The image file name the dot JPG file name on that is going to be something like image 300178 dot jpg. Well, what the hell does that mean? It means nothing. So if you can google this how to search engine optimize your photos. So what I do is every single image on my website of our bureau comm every single image is keyword optimized in the file name itself. So it will say something to the effect of out Bureau, dash, LGBT entrepreneurs, corporate equality employee raise LGB, our gay, lesbian, transgender, queer online community dot jpg, right. So all of those key words are stub In the dot jpg, file name, or PNG file, you know, file name, and so forth. So when you get back to your website, there’s additional things you can do there. And that’s I will leave it to these great folks to inform you, I don’t want to take away all those secrets. However, you can Google it, it’s not that much of a secret. But just so that all of you are aware less than 1%, less than 1% of the websites that are on the internet right now. Do that. So if you just do that you are already promoting yourself up to the 1% category. Now, when you upload those images to your Google My Business Page with all of the other information, those keywords on your electronic file name of your images are also going to help Google knows exactly what your business is about, because now it’ll say New York, Chelsea Flower Shop dot jpg, not just image 3.1707. So take that tip and run with it. And when you need additional help on furthering it, make sure you you seek some professionals. You know what you don’t do your own taxes, do you? Probably not. most business owners don’t do their own finances or many other tasks. So it’s just like that when you’re looking at hiring professionals to help you stand out on the internet with your local searches and wider. It’s best to hire a professional who does this all the time.

Unknown Speaker 24:38
Because Google will change it. Once it once you think you’ve got it. It will change. There’s this new thing. Have you heard of bird I guess you’ve heard bird. I don’t even know what it stands for. But Google is now getting away from keywords. That’s why you might want to if you want to know why you’re being told to write blogs and do podcasts have videos. It’s because Google likes big chunks of information now. And so if you can write, copy and write blogs in a conversational tone that Google can understand, because now Google is moving to more voice searches, so Google can’t just look for keywords, they want a big chunk of information. And that’s why content marketing blogging is so important. ads.

Unknown Speaker 25:29
And that would those images are just one piece of the of the huge puzzle, right? But that’s one thing that again, 99% of websites don’t do. And there’s an easy way to check that. By the way, if you go to your own website, just hover over an image and right click it, you’re going to see the alt what’s called the alt, the title and the alt text. And again, google google image website image optimization and if Go to right clicking download, you’re going to see what that image is. It is named. So although Google you are right is moving away from the amount of emphasis that they put on keyword past that that image optimization is a huge gaping open opportunity where the vast majority of people don’t don’t pay attention to. So

Unknown Speaker 26:29
I’m doing this just to illustrate a service that we have for free. If anyone wants to know more details about their website and how it is running, and they go to our website, and we offer free reports on local SEO and SEO, all they have to do is type the domain of their website and they will have a report landing low exactly what you’re saying us today you have miss a special All images, if the website is running slow if they don’t have the right content, if they have broken links, all that will be on a report. And we can talk to them and help them out to clear that out so they can take the report with them and do themselves wherever they need to argue for.

Unknown Speaker 27:22
You don’t have to, in order to get that do they fill out like a contact form providing either information? No, no, no, no, they just type

Unknown Speaker 27:29
their domain and the report comes up to them. It’s pretty much that simple. Yeah. Hello. Wonderful.

Unknown Speaker 27:38
And I will point out that we are running some private packages. So everything from branding website and SEO is all on a page called ag to digital.com slash packages. So check it out. Good prices.

Unknown Speaker 27:57
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for that. So, um, you know, being entrepreneurs is a difficult journey. Right? You know, you’ve got your ups and your downs, you know,

Unknown Speaker 28:10
it is it is it is very difficult but it is very rewarding, you know, you, you help people out people come to us with a need and deliver what they want. We sit them grow, we sit our business grow, we deliver exactly what they want. We do research and our business, we come up with strategy, we do implementation, and at the end, it is it is a 360 degree circle of just enjoyment. That is Bob Santa Rosa, you’re there because in kind of work that you do, we find bumps in the road, but at the end of the day, it is extremely rewarding. And it is very rewarding to work with the gay community as well, just getting back to people who gave to us.

Unknown Speaker 28:54
Much. So and you know, I think Love as an entrepreneur, I love that the branding and the building thing, you know, getting the word out, and that’s what this is really about. You know, because if you have a business, let’s say you’re, you’re, you’re a lawyer. Well, if no one knows that you exist, if they can’t find you on, you know, there’s multiple ways in which a lawyer should be marketing themselves. But you could say, Oh, I went to law school and I’m opening my own practice. And you rent an office and you go and you sit in the office all day. Well, if you’re not doing marketing, guess what? You’re not going to get any clients. I mean, because you got to get those clients in the door somehow and mountain word of mouth will get you so far, but there has to be that constant, you know, education and awareness out there. And as you guys have pointed out, and made it very clear, you know, having an online presence because no one goes to the Yellow Pages, you know, anymore, do they? I don’t know why they make them Yeah, and part

Unknown Speaker 30:00
of our implementation is the outreach as well. Once your website is done, dusted, implemented, we go further by, you know, get in contact with all the clients have metrics finish the job and communicated that there is a new website after there are new service up. And we do that in print format. And we can do digitally as well. Whatever is the best suit for the client. Right now. We are working with a lawyer we are just in a final phase of her work. And she wanted to do the outreach by print which we are doing, as opposed to digital is she says that has a little bit more of a personal touch to get a card and to get a brochure. So we are doing that but we do.

Unknown Speaker 30:53
Yeah, and I will have another attorney we’re working on. We work with a lot of law firms and financial companies and We started with SEO legal about six months ago. And they weren’t really ranking they were ranking on the 11th page of Google for a lot of the services that they provide immigration law, Bitcoin and real estate law. They’re now on the first page of Google after six months for immigration, and the real estate. Yeah, so it definitely works. And, you know, I just want to encourage anyone out there that’s maybe going to lose their job or one thinking of going out on their own is starting off freelance or a small company. We’ve just seen so many success stories. SEO is one of those words it’s hard to explain. It’s hard to sell actually, but once you see the results, um, it’s it’s it’s such a it’s such a good feeling to see and to watch someone business grow and to be able to say, Yeah, I told you so.

Unknown Speaker 31:58
Yeah, in a good way.

Unknown Speaker 32:01
Yes, there, there’s whenever I’m working on on things for myself, it’s like, oh, I’m going after these keywords, I’m expanding my, my vocabulary on what I’m going after. And it’s like I’m going after this. And then after, you know, a set amount of time and set amount of work and then seeing the result, like, yes, yes, yes, yes. And then seeing the traffic come in, you know, because of that. And I can imagine how much how rewarding it is for you because you get to do that on a regular basis with your clients, and help them and guide them through all of the critical, critical things to take action on and thing and you begin to see those results. To me, that’s really I enjoy it for myself. And I’ve done a little bit of this work in the past for past clients, but like I needed a focus on my own business for a while, do definitely appreciate and value what you do. And again for whether you’re looking at starting a new business or you currently have a business and would would like to take your game up into the next level, you know, you don’t extract your own teeth, you go to a professional, hopefully you don’t, you don’t have to file for divorce but if you do, who do you use a professional divorce attorney. So whenever you are looking at taking your business to the next level, or launching your business, you know you have to focus in on on your online marketing that is that it is not optional. any longer. It is a absolute must have you also, it is no longer optional to focus on localization. If you do serve a local community and even if you’re national, you still want to turn get, you know, major metropolitan areas, you still need to localize, even if you’re a national company. So hire, hire folks like, ag to write here and support your local support your other LGBT businesses. And as you heard, they have some special offers here in the month of cry. We have just a few more moments here. So if I could, if you guys could share a little bit about how you guys kind of handle the stress, what do you guys do to kind of let go and relax? I personally like to go in a lot of walking, hiking. What do you guys like to do?

Unknown Speaker 34:41
I play tennis.

Unknown Speaker 34:44
I play before co but I was playing once a week or so difficult in New York. But I do play tennis. I bought a like recently to try to get a little more exercise in my office. My gym is closed. And so no more yoga classes. I’m doing yoga on YouTube, yoga with Adrian, check it out.

Unknown Speaker 35:08
Yeah. Adrian gray. How about you Rapson?

Unknown Speaker 35:12
Yeah. You know, I am privileged to live in New York City as I am the law. I love the arts. I go to the museum constantly I go to openings. I’m 30. So a lot out. And I like to travel. We were We were just in cut to hammer a one week prior to the closing of the outwards, which was, I still have a friend on Peru. She lives in Germany, and she has been there like for four months. So I love to travel as well. So in New York City, is a city that you can do so much on. So in addition to movies and all the things that the city has to offer. Right, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 35:58
Well, well. Good to hear that you guys have some balance in your life. I know it’s can be challenging as a small business owner and working with other entrepreneurs, you have deadlines and what things done yesterday, what’s the makeup finally get get off the or get off the boat and make a decision, right? It’s like, Oh, I want this done yesterday, right? So definitely good. You guys have your your hobbies and things to focus on what balances you. So again, that is a G to digital.com. Why thank you guys so much for taking time out of the day today to chat with us and especially sharing your success story with the local florist. I think that’s very a story that is right on point for today. So I’m sure folks will be very interested in hearing that and looking at that as inspiration. So thank you. Thank you so much for joining us. Today this is Dennis belko. Without bureau voices you can find this episode and others at out bureau comm that is owed utbuo.com and that has now changed to episodes of at the top. And if you are viewing this on YouTube, please go ahead and hit that subscribe button down below. Also be sure to check it out on the different podcasting websites such as Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, I Heart Radio and about 10 others. You can take this on the go. Thank you so much. Have a great day. Bye bye.

Unknown Speaker 37:40
Thank you

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54 Marketing Ideas for Your LGBT Owned Small Business or Non-Profit

Are you a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer small business owner or non-profit leader? If so, you have to market your business like any other. However, if your business also focuses on the LGBTQ community as your target customers/clients, you have even a little more work to do to reach them. No one wants to waste money and your business needs to be marketed in many ways to create brand awareness and convert passive prospects into an initial customer/client. Afterward, your continued marketing will keep those customers coming back. You likely have competitors all around you and some might have big marketing budgets. So how can you compete to stand out in your market? You have to market smarter and leverage a multi-channel marketing approach.

Start by brainstorming with your business partners, family, friends and community connections to come up with several inexpensive outside-the-box marketing ideas to get your business out front and zipping along with marketing buzz. Listen for repeated and unique ideas. They may suggest local area opportunities marketing opportunities you’ve not considered before.

To help you along your path to a great marketing plan, we’ve consolidated the below marketing ideas for your LGBT owned small business:

1. Create relevant content on your website. As Google itself has stated publicly numerous times. Your website content is KING!! Be sure to keep it focused on your business and industry. Don’t be tempted to use it as a personal interests blog with images of fluffy kittens, unless that’s your business. Publish new content regularly. The more you do it the easier it will become. Do Google search for your industry for ideas of what kinds of content ranks highly. Then read it and rewrite the content in your own words and post away. Fresh and helpful content helps to engage readers, build valuable links, attract leads and convert them to new sales/contracts.

2. Publish articles in trade or local magazines. Your average Joe and Jane believe printed published articles is more valuable than an online blog post. Since everyone searches online though keep a keen focus on #1 above. However, all marketing is good marketing – for the most part. So consider printed materials as another way to reach a wider audience. Contact the publication to introduce yourself and your company. ASK to be interviewed or if you may provide the story yourself. Make it easy as pie for them to pick up your story. Be sure to have several nice digital images of 300 dpi (dots per inch) ready featuring a great headshot of you, photos of your business and products if pertinent. You can even use the camera on your phone. When saving the digital images be sure to name it with your name, company name and a few SEO keywords. Example: “Darrel Dartson – Sit Happens – Dog Obedience Training – Atlanta GA Georgia.jpg”

3. “How-To” Content. A pool company in California had a great idea. They started blogging how to fix it and treat it informational short articles and videos on their company website. For those do-it-yourself, it is a treasure trove of just about any and every problem a homeowner can have with pool equipment and how to get the water sparkling clear again. This may seem like they are giving their knowledge away and would have fewer customers because of it. The absolute opposite happened. This demonstrated that they are not only pool installation and maintenance experts, but it demonstrated that they are kind, courteous and helpful too. After a short while, they became #1 on all internet search engines not only locally, but nationally. Their phone started ringing off the hook and their company grew hundreds of percent annually in no time. It set them vastly apart from their competition. It cost them ZERO money – just their time and willingness to share.

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4. Reuse content. As your content grows, consider re-purposing it. Blog posts can be combined into an informative ebook that provides just enough information to educate and present yourself as the expert. It can be an electronic downloadable document, a single video or a series that can be played by the site visitor 365 days a year 24 hours a day. You can even implement a lead capture system on your website that requires basic contact information input in order to download or view this content.

5. Guest blog or cross-blog your content you are working so hard on. As an example when you join OutBüro for free, directly from your personal profile you have the ability to submit articles/blog posts. They become part of the OutBüro blog and gain all the SEO love we’ve worked hard to build and continue to grow weekly. Locate other blogs in your industry and contact the website owner about the potential to guest blog. They can be small or you might land a contributor role at a major website. That will only happen if you reach out and put the ball in motion. Be sure to focus on item 1 first so that the other blog owner/editor can see your great content and how it might fit with their audience to magnify your reach and exposure.

6. Use every opportunity to push a press release. Check out our article titled, “Press Release Tips for the LGBT Entrepreneur and Non-Profits”. Did you know that as a free member of OutBüro you may use the article posting feature on your profile to self-publish your own press releases or for a small fee we can help give it a bit more extra SEO kick and share it with our network? Check out the article titled, ” LGBT Business and Non-Profit Leaders: Create Buzz and SEO Love” for more information.

7. Sponsor a local youth or LGBT sports team. Send out a press release or feature article, get your logo on the team uniforms, host event for the team at your business location if you can, or offer free iced water at the games with an information booth if you can. This makes you a valuable community member and builds awareness.

8. Join industry and LGBT professional associations. If the organization has an accreditation, work toward achieving that. It will demonstrate you’re a pro at what you do. Some association also have lead generation programs. Check them out.

9. Join your local and LGBT chambers of commerce. They have many resources available for entrepreneurs from education to networking. Being a member lends credibility to your company, and you can find new partners or clients, or discover opportunities to teach or speak.

10. NETWORK online – Be a good online group member by liking and thoughtfully commenting on what other people post. It still gets your name out there and demonstrates that it’s not “only about you”. Also, Join local or national Facebook groups. Join the OutBüro site for free, then join groups or start a group and moderate it so that others who join it you’ll be seen as the leader and expert. Additionally, join the OutBüro on LinkedIn group with 44,000 global LGBT professionals. Via your LinkedIn group settings, you may hide that group from your LinkedIn profile if you choose while still being able to leverage it.

11. Your LinkedIn personal profile LinkedIn is WAY MORE than a site when you are looking for a job. Sure, that’s a big part, but over the years it has morphed and with Microsoft now owning it continues to morph. As a business owner, your LinkedIn personal profile SHOULD NOT be your resume. Don’t list that you worked at McDonald’s when you were 18. WHO CARES? As LGBTQ business owner your LinkedIn profile should be treated as a business marketing piece. You can list your qualifications if it supports your credibility as a professional in your industry and business. Keep it short and on marketing message with all the SEO keywords.

12. LinkedIn Articles – As you create that wonderful content for your site, you may also cross-post that content as a LinkedIn Article that gets associated with your LinkedIn profile. Be ready with your feature image, article body images if appropriate and most definitely call to action images that have the URL link to your website pages. See my LinkedIn profile as a humble example. While on it, request to connect with me. My 23,000 1st degree connections will then be your 2nd.

13. LinkedIn company page – No matter the size of your company, when adding your company to your personal profile as your current employer, if not found, LinkedIn will ask if you want to create a company listing. Yes – do it. You’ll then be the associate manager of your LinkedIn Company page. Fill in as much marketing information there as you can. In addition to adding your website blog postings as LinkedIn articles as mentioned above, add your website blog postings to LinkedIn Company page. This is as simple as while on your company website blog, copy each blog post’s URL and paste it. Do one per blog post. Why? Exposure and SEO.

We mentioned the LGBT professional and entrepreneur focused OutBüro on LinkedIn group which you should join. There are tons of other industry-based group to consider too. Explore. If needed you can always leave them. Don’t forget that you may also hide any LinkedIn group from your personal LinkedIn profile in the group settings.

14. Be a people person. When you network, follow up with all leads. Remember conversational and ask them questions to get to understand as naturally but as quickly as possible if this lead might have a need for your product/service. You don’t have all day and they don’t have to become your new Yoga partner, but you need to be genuine and not come across as desperately rushing to a sale. For first conversations, you might call with the idea to learn more about them first and foremost. If there is potential, schedule a meeting over coffee. In person, conversations are so much more productive when you have the opportunity but don’t be afraid of the phone, internet or email. They are necessary. No one likes to make cold sales calls. As you do all the other ideas here, your calls will not be cold. You would have met them or interacted with them in some way. Or from your great content they found you and your phone rings away with leads dialing in. No matter what, keep it productive yet warm and friendly.

15. Strive to separate work from personal life issues. This may seem like a huge “duh factor” but I’m constantly amazed how a business owner’s bad day (personal life) or lackluster employees can ruin an interaction experience that otherwise should be amazing. When at work, be focused on it. If you have too put your game face on. Check that bad thought/emotion until after your work day is done. It’s a great idea to have either a close friend or a professional counselor to regularly check in with and help provide guidance in personal matters. How is this about marketing? See #34 above. When you interact with potential and current clients/customers your language, tone, approach, and body language can speak volumes. Don’t lose a client/customer due to personal issues. If that happens too often you’ll be spending more money and time trying to regain them or replace them with new clients/customers. So yes – this is very appropriate for your marketing.

16. Subscribe to marketing blogs and video series. Find some that are very informative and subscribe. When those first emails come in, tag them so that when you have time you can easily find them and review them to continue to keep ideas, tips and trick rolling in from the experts. Just as your good content should be, scan the title and first paragraph to see if the article is something you want to spend time on. If not, get back to work. If so, either spend the time now or flag it to review when you’ve allocated time to self-education which should be about an hour a week. This could be over morning coffee, a cold one a night or over the weekend. Expanding your small business marketing and all small business operations knowledge doesn’t have to eat into your productive work day. But it’s so valuable to your personal and professional growth as a business owner.

17. Keep your inbox clean. If your inbox is cluttered with lots of unread, categorized, unprocessed or not deleted message you run the high risk of missing opportunities to grow your business. You’ll miss communications or reply super late and look unprofessional. If you have several inboxes as I do, have them all aggregated into a single mail reader. I use Gmail. Each is categorized so that I can quickly see it’s source. I use tags and the star to keep it organized. I also delete emails I don’t need and I unsubscribe from list often (once to twice a month) if I get no value or I cannot perceive value for my own audience from the content streaming into my inbox. My email time is over my morning coffee and near the end of my day. I don’t live glued to my inbox. Neither should you. You have other marketing activities to get accomplished.

18. Seek out or be a business/marketing mentor. You are great at what you do, but as a small business owner, you have to do EVERYTHING and do it amazingly well else your business may not survive. If you do something very well, consider being a mentor to another. Either way, you’ll both learn something and form a great business and friendly relationship to support and promote each other’s businesses. On your www.OutBuro.com profile, you may indicate if you’d like to be a mentor or mentee. See if other organizations you are a member of have Mentor/Mentee programs to be a part of.

19. Donate product or services to a local charity if they have an auction fundraiser. Be it art, disability, veterans or LGBT focus. Find the local charities that you feel passionate about and get involved. It’s a great way to network and gives back to your community. If you can afford it sponsor the event at some level that gets your information on the event material and co-market the event sharing it online and in person widely.

20. Speak at seminars and host your own workshops. You’ll get publicity from marketing the event and from the event itself. Besides, you’ll look more professional in your customers’ eyes. A natural medicine center in Central Florida I’m very familiar with uses this tactic with fantastic results. Every month they host an informational seminar at their offices. They ask every prospective client to bring a family member so they can learn what it’s all about. Further, they ask every current client to invite a family member, friends, and co-workers who might have interest. Every month they pack in 20-40 people and of those typically gain 8-12 new clients. To top that off, they take their show on the road participating in local health and fitness events, fitness centers, nursing homes, churches and more. It’s an effort that pays off nicely for them.

21. Enter business award competitions. If you win, you get a badge on your website and a lot more sales. Even if you don’t win, you can still get lots of publicity if you place high enough and broadcast your participation. Your local and LGBT chambers of commerce may have some. Also look into local publications and website. Research what it takes to get on the nomination list. If you can do it yourself, note the time window and add it to your calendar. If someone else, like a client/customer, must nominate you, don’t be bashful. Ask your best client/customer to do it and follow up. Heck, ask a few to nominate you.

22. Create your own business award competition. If there isn’t a competition in your area and/or industry if there’s no way you can compete in one, hosting your own unique competition creates buzz as other businesses scramble to win your award. They will share they will invite all their customers/client to vote for them sending them to YOUR WEBSITE. How awesome is that? Being the award creator positions you and your company as the local leader.

23. Host/participate free events. Reporters are always looking for a good story. Give them what they want and get some free publicity by hosting a free event. You’ll get more attendees if there’s food or freebies involved. This could be separate from your educational seminars. If you aren’t up for hosting an event, evaluate all the events that go on in your area where you might participate with a booth or sponsorship of the event.

24. Build a referral network. Referrals and word of mouth are the most powerful advertising, so build relationships with professionals and other businesses you would happily refer your customers to and who can send referrals your way, as well.

25. Make partnerships for co-promotion. Several related but non-competing businesses working together on a promotion can afford bigger ad space, better prizes, and other advertising expenses. For example, a carpet cleaning service that co-markets with a pet training and daycare company. Those carpets could be dirty from pets, right? Or maybe a wedding planning company and catering/cake decoration business. Think about, when a client/customer seeks out my services/products are there other non-competing business where their products/service might also be a natural potential need/desire by the target audience. Give it a try.

26. Send handwritten holiday, birthday, or thank you cards to past and current clients, valued partners, vendors in your referral network, connections who have helped you–everyone you can think of. This is a low-cost and in today’s everything digital world, it will stand out as unique and thoughtful.

27. Open as many communication channels as appropriate, including but not limited to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, OutBüro, Instagram, a toll-free phone number, live chat on your website, email, and related forums and blog comments.

28. Be where your competition is and is not. Research your competitors. If you’re a roofing company you may feel like that obligatory home delivered coupon pack is your only open. NO, it is not. Quality and value are the clients you seek, not the coupon junkies – right? Do your homework and seek out all the potential places to get the word out. Take a note from many of the ideas here that your competitors are not doing. If you want to do local direct to home mail advertising, find the vehicle for that that contains none of your competitors. Get more leads as the only major player with your products/services. If printed consider the content side of that publication. Can you provide a quarter article about your industry that is not only touting your company but actually informative? Think about that pool company mentioned above. If you are helpful, informative and provide your information you’ll build the awareness that you are the go-to company in your area.

29. Be everywhere. Having a blog, YouTube channel, and podcast on iTunes in addition to social media makes you more well known and credible and helps improve your own website search engine optimization. Expand beyond your website to get more traffic and leads. This is called “off page content”.

30. Local, local, local. To be found by people on Google, Bing and Yahoo searching for your types of products/services those search engines must clearly understand WHERE YOU ARE. Note that business citations are not beneficial to businesses where everything you do is online only. It’s all about helping users/customers find LOCAL businesses near them. You should have business citations on as many business related sites as possible. Think about the last time you popped out your phone, clicked Google Maps and searched for pizza or Greek food. That Google Maps listing is a business citation. Powerful heavily used potential here.

But don’t stop at Google Maps. Google Places and Bing are absolutely free for local businesses, while Yahoo Localwork is a paid service allowing to list your business in 50 directories (Yahoo Local, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, Mapquest, etc.). Once you’re listed, start taking advantage of local search results, and don’t forget to ask your customers to leave reviews on your page. I do NOT recommend Yext. STAY AWAY or pay forever. If you stop paying for their service they literally remove all your listings everywhere it was placed by them – once you use them you are trapped or will have to start all over with another service.

So why not start with a company like BrightLocal who I have personally used before and like. When they hand enter your information to business listing sites, that’s it. You have access to an online progress report and can click directly to your listings to see them live. Later, you may use them to update the information if it changes but if not, those listing remain active forever without ever incurring any additional fees. Sweet. Right? Think of all those backlinks and local indicator love.

31. Claim your online business listings. Search your business name. When you find a listing of it, copy and paste that URL into a spreadsheet to keep track of it. There are hundreds of websites out there that contain your business information. Claim your business online and enjoy better rankings in Google, greater visibility, and more traffic. You may add your business to the OutBüro Company directory too.

32. Setup an affiliate program. You get more sales and brand ambassadors for less. This is great if your business is online. There are online affiliate systems that are hosted off your site and depending on what you use for your website there are plugins for the major players including WordPress. Affiliate systems aren’t for your customers. It is for bloggers / online marketer to write content about your product/service on their owned websites and then drive that traffic to yours with a web token that gets passed and your affiliate system tracks the site visitor and credits the referral with a set % of the sale if a purchase if made. For local, check out the idea above about referrals with other professionals and business owners.

33. Create a customer loyalty program to encourage future purchases and referrals. It may seem a little old school if using a punch card. But do whatever you can. You may not have the budget for a cool app like Starbucks, but that works. I know, I write a lot of my articles while sitting there. 🙂

There are online customer loyalty systems. If your point of sale (POS) system does not have one built in, consider upgrading/changing your POS to a system that has one built in or that integrates with a good 3rd party customer loyalty program. Do your online research to find options.

34. Use bumper stickers and window decals – Create a monthly live video streaming contest. In addition to putting them on company vehicles and customer/clients’ cars theme the m for free to employees, partners, stakeholders and investors, charities you donate to, and other contacts to display. Pass them out like candy any and everywhere you go.

Maybe host Facebook live events in where you announce you’ll be at a certain location or area while streaming live the first person to arrive with your company sticker on their car wins something. Be creative. Do it regularly – say monthly. Make it fun and inexpensive. Think about the social media shares something like that can create.

35. Ask for testimonials and reviews. This includes online reviews on websites like Yelp, Google and others. Be sure the client/customer is happy and ask them to do it before they leave. Make recommendations on LinkedIn and ask for them too. Create a testimonials page on your website and use the best reviews in as many promotions as makes sense.

36. Answer questions on forums and answer sites such as Quora. Help out people with free advice on topics related to your products and services. Create your profile with your business info, not your personal. Add your company website URL. This will be one more SEO love juice item. Keep your comment 100% professional. Just be sure to not get sucked into spending too much time on this. Don’t get baited into political or religious questions or anti-LGBT stuff unless you are very comfortable with that being associated with your business.

37. Create customer case studies. Ask your happy customers to share their experience of using your product or service. Treat it like an interview. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, ask someone else to interview them and you and write the document. Maybe it could be a story featuring your company on OutBüro. Search case studies guides for ideas if keeping it pure to the concept. These stories add credibility to your company and help you get more customers.

38. Ask your customers for referrals. You cannot be shy. Simply ask – and you’ll receive. It might go like this, “So Jack you have mentioned a few times that you are very happy with our products/services. We are so happy to have a customer/client like you. Can you think of two to three other companies/people you know who might also like to have our products/services that we can say you suggested them to us?” Sit there with your pen and paper or tablet in hand ready to write/type. That action and asking for 2-3 will compel him to cough up those contacts for you to follow up with.

39. Post your company offers on a coupon and deal sites. People love special offers and discounts. Getting a great product at an excellent price is what everybody wants. But be very careful to not be the perceived as the cheap discount king. When stuff is priced too low it can actually make the person feel that your product/service is cheap, your service will suck and if they have any problems they’ll be lucky if you answer your phone. OCCASIONAL specials are OK. But if there’s a “Sale” sign hanging in your window 365 days a year, you know the types of customers that attracts. Enough said.

40. Offer free consultations. Free consultations are a great way to showcase your expertise and get more clients. Basically, it’s a short 30-minute or less needs assessment and sales demonstration. Keep it simple. If you don’t make the sale there, collect their contact information and put them in your customer relationship management system to follow up with them appropriately.

41. Optimize your website for mobile. Google considers it in search rankings and more and more people search the web on their phones and tablets. Sites that are not mobile ready get clicked away from super fast. Just think of your own phone internet browsing for proof.

42. Add SSL to your website. SSL is Security Socket Layer. It is an encryption that ensures all the interactions your visitor has with your website is encrypted and secure. Google is taking SSL into account when presenting searchers with results. If your competitor has SSL and you don’t, you’ll be penalized. If you have it and they don’t, you’ll crush them. We’re adding SSL to OutBüro too – if not already implemented when reading this, it’s in the works.

43. Create a giveaway. Please, be creative. You want to give away something cool your customers want and need rather than something you don’t need. I always need a good quality coffee travel mug and personally love the adult sippy cups with a lid and straw – I actually like them so much that I purchased a box of 12. I knock over water and iced tea glasses all the time. They save me from cleaning up a spill. Think of giving away a set of 6 in early spring – just in time for summer pool parties and barbecues which can lead to conversations about your company. “Cocktail please.”

44. Print your company logo on hats and T-shirts. Your loyal customers will be happy to wear them and will become free brand promoters. Yeah. Old school but folks love them. I have a friend that seems to not own a single unbranded t-shirt. Me not so much. But, if you contact me to do a story about your business to be on OutBüro’s blog and send me one of your company t-shirts, then I’ll have a connection with you and likely also wear it. Remember, this is one thing in a multi-channel marketing approach.

45. Exceed your customer expectations. Reputation is everything these days. By exceeding your customer expectations and walking that extra mile – you’ll drive more business.

46. Translate your website to multiple languages. If your business sales products/service online, then why limit yourself to English only speaking potential clients/customers? The world is a big place. Go get ‘em.

47. Celebrate your company birthday with customers and the media. Use the opportunity to deliver a special message to your clients. Create a press release to distribute and post it on OutBüro.com for free via your profile article submission or leverage our low-cost LGBT press release service to SEO optimize it, post and feature it via our social media channels to give it a bit more SEO love and distribution kick.

47. Say “Happy Birthday” to your clients. Have a discount or a special offer ready to give as a gift. It works!

48. Use voice mail and an autoresponder to let your customers know about your special offers. It’s a great way to get your message across during closed hours. It won’t cost you a penny!

49. Survey your customers for great ideas. Talking to your customers is the easiest way to understand what they need and what they value the most. Can you capture more of your client/customer if you tweaked your offering? Don’t know if you don’t ask

50. Share product samples with as many people as you can. You will attract the right customers who are right for your business.

51. Add Schema.org markup to your website key data. Google can show much more than your website URL in search results. Reviews, ratings, exact address – all of it can show up in search engine results if your website HTML is marked properly. More data in search results = more clicks and traffic.

52. Set up a pay per click (PPC) campaign. In most cases, you can get a free $50 voucher from Bing or Google. If competition is not fierce – you’ll be driving more sales soon.

53. Create infographics for your website. Do you have some data that could be represented graphically? If not start thinking of what kind of data via a survey, you could collect to then create an infographic. Think about how that information could be used in local or national media, online, in print, and on TV even. If you are a professional dog walker, could you take a survey of local dog owners about the health and happiness of dogs and owners? A local news station could give you free coverage for interesting info with a local slant. Search the internet for ideas and think about how you could make it local or spin it. But collect your own data or cite the source while creating the graphic.

54. Join Help a Reporter Out. HARO is a free way to get media coverage. Register as an expert source on HARO and whenever a journalist needs a quality source for an article – you’ll get an email twice a day listing all the article ideas reporters need expert input by. If you see one that is in your area of knowledge you reply and who knows, you could be cited or featured in a major publication.

What creative marketing ideas for LGBT small business have you implemented and worked? Share your ideas in the comments below.


Send us your news tip regarding LGBT employees. Are you aware of a LGBT owned business or community non-profit we should inform our readers about?  Contact us with an LGBT owned business lead or news tip.

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LGBT Business and Non-Profit Leaders: Create Buzz and SEO Love

Getting coverage for business launch, new service, successes, and milestones can be difficult. Press releases are still an essential part of getting the word out about your business or organization. Using press release distribution services are great, but no certainty that your press release will see the light of day or be targeted to the LGBT professional community you seek.

OutBüro is the fastest growing LGBT professional and entrepreneur focused website with great page ranking. On OutBüro you have a platform to promote your business/organization in many ways. We’ll always remain professionally focused office friendly even if that means excluding some segments that have plenty of coverage elsewhere. Your news will not be competing with circuit party ads or Hollywood gossip.

Free Press Release Submission – Self Serve

After joining OutBüro for free, complete your personal profile. On your profile, you have the ability to submit articles to promote your business products, services and industry similar to submitting articles on LinkedIn. After your submitted article is reviewed and approved it will become part of the OutBüro main blog. Be sure to choose the category “Press Release” and other categories as pertinent. Contact us to potentially add categories. Be sure to add a great captivating featured image too.

Press Release – Full SEO Optimization and Leverage the OutBüro Growing Online Universe

At OutBüro we know how to maximize the search engine results for your press release. We leverage full-page text and image optimization techniques targeting the LGBT professional and entrepreneur. We can do the same to expand that to your niche market if not solely LGBT focused. Not only would it appear branded on our blog, we’ve built an off-site social media distribution network that includes our own LinkedIn LGBT Professional Networking Group with 45,000 global members. Submit your press release for a small fee to cover the cost of our time in editing, SEO optimizing, image cost and image editing and our time is socially promoting your news.

Create A Group on OutBüro

You are amazing at what you do. Demonstrate it by being a leader on OutBüro. Start a business/organization, industry or topic-focused group in where you are the group administrator. Post regularly, invite your network to it and engage your audience. As your group grows and you engage you will be viewed as the leader in your field and can turn that into opportunities.

Online LGBT Business Citation

Add your LGBT company/organization or company seeking LGBT employees to the OutBüro company directory. After joining OutBüro, anyone may add a company/organization of any size and anywhere in the world for free. The free listing has limitation such as no website URL, no social media links and cannot list if they have LGBT friendly company policies. Gain the full features and demonstrate your support of the LGBT community with a full feature listing. There is a non-profit rate with full feature too.

Employee/Volunteer Engagement

After adding your company OutBüro company directory invite staff and volunteers to join OutBüro and rate/review your business/organization from their LGBT employee/volunteer perspective. Additionally add your business QueerReviews business listing for customers/clients to rate/review your organization, its products or services from a public perspective. Have them share what a great experience they have working for you. We have company review guidelines and moderate when necessary.

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OutBuro - 10 LGBTQ Corporate Equality Ratings Employer Reviews Monitoring Workplace Diversity Inclusion Recruitment Marketing Branding LGBT Professionals Entrepreneurs Community

LGBT Entrepreneurs Focus on SEO to grow business

As a business owner, it’s important you understand that ranking highly in search engines is vital for your website. In fact, it could be your golden ticket to immense profits. But how? The answer is search engine optimisation (or SEO).

As an LGBT entrepreneur SEO improves website’s visibility

SEO is the process of making your website visible in search engine results pages (or ‘SERPs’ as they’re often called). And what a process it is. The Google algorithm considers over 200 factors when determining what websites to show for a certain search term.

It all starts with your website. Google sends out automated ‘robots’ (also called ‘spiders’ or ‘crawlers’) to visit every accessible page on every website across the internet. These robots gather information on each webpage and store it all on the many Google servers located around the world. This way when someone searches for a term related to your site, the Google algorithm goes to work, processing all the information that has been collected from your site and similar sites. It then determines which sites are most authoritative and relevant to query. The results are presented in the form of an ordered list, with the best options at the top.

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.

 

To simplify things, think of the web like your local library. Your site is a new book that has just arrived and the librarian is the Google robot. She gets familiar with your book and determines the most logical section to display it in. A visitor comes to the library and they aren’t aware your book exists but they’re interested in the genre or topic. So they head to the relevant section, explore the different titles and eventually decide to check out your book because it’s just what they’re looking for. Success!

SEO is constantly evolving as an LGBT Entrepreneur – Keep Up!

Website owners have been thinking about how to make their sites rank in search engines since the rise of the internet in the 1990s. Along the way, some SEO practitioners figured out ways to trick the algorithm into thinking their site was more relevant and authoritative than it actually was. This type of optimization was coined ‘black hat SEO’. It quickly became frowned upon due to the negative experience it created for web users. Some SEO techniques were originally acceptable (known as ‘white hat’) but moved into the black hat category as they became overused or as the web matured.

Search engine algorithms are consistently updated to make black hat techniques less effective. SEO is always in a state of evolution – so it’s important to remember that what mattered a few years ago could now be less effective or completely discouraged. If the Google crawlers identify black hat SEO on your website, your site could be penalized and drastically drop in search engine rankings. The best way to avoid black hat SEO is to always ask yourself if you are improving the experience on your site or providing valuable and original information. If the answer is ‘yes’, you can feel confident that your website is search-engine friendly.

Seven ways to optimize your LGBT Business website for search engines

If you ever tried to learn about SEO, you’ve likely heard dozens of different things you should do. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.

The best place to begin is with the list below:

  1. Keywords
    These are the queries that your prospects would likely search for when looking at your type of business. Start by coming up with the obvious ones and then use a keyword research tool to identify other terms that could direct people to your site. You can get an idea of how competitive terms are and how often they’re searched for and go from there. Once you have your keyword list determined, you need to make sure these terms exist throughout your site. It’s important not to overuse keywords – search engines will penalize any content that looks spammy. Aim for roughly 2 percent keyword density.
  2. Page copy
    It should contain your keywords but be sure not to overdo it. The Google crawlers read text just like us humans do, so it’s more important that copy is readable and well-written. Many people use their keywords too much in their website copy, thinking they are really letting Google know what terms they want to rank for. In reality, they are writing poor copy which makes for a bad experience on their website and can actually hurt their site’s ranking. Before you publish a new page, double-check your copy. If your grammar school English teacher wouldn’t like it, neither will search engine crawlers. See our article on Content Marketing.
  3. Title tags
    This is the copy the appears as the clickable link in SERPs and in the tab of most web browsers. It acts as the title for each individual page so it carries a lot of weight with search engines. You’ll need to make sure each title tag is unique, contains relevant keywords, and follows a consistent format across your site. It’s best practice to include a keyword specific to the page. If you have space you should also include your brand name. It’s best to use a hyphen (-) or a vertical bar (|) to separate keywords from your brand name. Keep copy to under 55 characters to make sure it’s not too long to display.
  4. Heading tags
    There are six different heading tags you can use (from H1 to H6). H1 is the most important heading tag to search engines and should be applied to the page headline. It’s important not to use the H1 tag more than once per page, as it could result in an over-optimization penalty with Google. The other title tags can be used multiple times on a single page. On a page that contains a lot of copy, the H1 tag can act as the headline and H2s can be applied to each sub-headline. This format sends signals to the search engine crawlers, while also making for strong user experience by breaking text into separate sections.
  5. URL structure
    URLs present another opportunity to showcase your keywords to search engines. Be sure they’re included in the resource path – or the part of the URL that comes after the domain name or /. It’s best practice to use all lowercases and hyphens to separate words when optimizing URLs. Here’s a good example: rockyardshoes.com/running-shoes.
  6. Images
    Search engine crawlers can’t see images like humans so they rely on the code behind the image to understand what it is being displayed. They gather information from the alt tag, image title and filename.
    • Alt tag text is the copy shown in place of an image when it can’t be displayed – perhaps it failed to load, or the user is visually impaired and uses a screen reader. You should provide a brief explanation of the image for alt tag text. For example, ‘Woman wearing running shoes’.
    • The image title is the copy that appears when you hover the mouse over an image. The copy should build on the description the alt tag text provides. Think of it like an image caption. For example, ‘Orange running shoes for women’.
    • The filename is the name applied to an image when it’s saved. For example, image337.png isn’t great. But running-shoes-women.png is. Take a moment to make sure it is descriptive and only use lowercase text and separate words using hyphens.
  7. Meta descriptions
    A meta description may seem daunting – but it’s just a name for the two lines of text that appear in search engine result pages under the clickable link and URL. If you don’t provide Google with a meta description, then it will display random text from your page that may mean nothing to a user. Meta descriptions no longer factor into search engine rankings, but they can help encourage searchers to visit your site by providing a preview of what’s in store. It’s best to keep the copy under 150-155 characters and to include a call to action. For example, ‘Start your free trial today’.

Updating your website usually requires editing HTML code. However, many modern content management systems, like Squarespace or WordPress, enable you to build and edit a website with no coding knowledge.

Commit to SEO for the long haul

Once your website is optimized for search engines, you’ll need to form an on-going SEO strategy. This is the hard part of SEO but it’s what will separate you from your competitors. Think of it like going to the gym. You need to devote time and energy, stick to a plan, and patiently wait for results.

 

Three ways to provide visitors with great content

For the people at Google, the internet is all about the exchange of information. This means that the Google algorithm places a lot of weight on the quality of the content on your site how often you publish it.  See our article on Content Marketing

Content is a blanket term that refers to the descriptive copy on your webpages, in addition to blog posts, articles, case studies, videos, infographics, slideshows and so on. Anything that provides valuable information and is accessible to search engine crawlers is considered content.

The key to producing great content for SEO purposes is to make it fresh, relevant, and unique.

  1. Publish fresh new content frequently
    This shows Google that your website is still active. Old content quickly goes stale if it’s in a prominent area of your site.
  2. Keep content relevant
    Your content should be related to your website and what your business offers. Don’t stray off-topic. It could confuse search engine crawlers, as well as visitors to your site.
  3. Always be unique
    You should present information that is not available on other websites or at least in a different form than it exists on other websites. Never copy and paste content from other sites onto yours. It will do more harm than good.

The importance of inbound links

Links on other websites that point back to yours are known as ‘inbound links’ and play a huge role in obtaining favorable search engine rankings. If the web is all about exchanging information, then inbound links are essentially other sites endorsing what your site has to say.

Not all inbound links are created equal in the eyes of Google though. A single link from a major website like nytimes.com or bbc.co.uk can provide value equivalent to a dozen links from average websites.

Creating great content and obtaining inbound links go hand and hand. When you write a great blog post or guide, it’s going to influence Google crawlers. It’s also going to impress visitors to your site, who will want to share it on social media and link to it on their own websites.

Be visible to local searchers

If you run a brick-and-mortar business, you want your website to convince people in your community to visit in person. Optimizing your site to appeal to people close to you is known as local SEO.

Be sure to include your location in your main keywords. If you run a seafood restaurant in Boston, you’ll want to be sure that your website is visible to local searchers seeking a seafood restaurant. You’ll want to optimize around the term ‘seafood restaurant Boston’ in order to let Google know where your restaurant is located.

It’s also important to sign up for a Google My Business account. This ensures that your business contact information is consistent across Google search, Maps and Google +. It also gives your business a greater presence in search results. Your customers can leave reviews, which naturally attracts new customers.

SEO will help your website succeed

As you can see, putting in place a strategy is essential if you want your business to succeed online. If you constantly improve your website and publish great content then you will have a better search engine ranking than your competitors. It’s that simple.

 

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