Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Peter Short Falsely Claims to be from BBB

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Wisconsin is issuing a warning to BBB accredited businesses to watch for phone calls from a “Peter Short” claiming to be associated with the Better Business Bureau. These phone calls are NOT coming from the BBB Serving Wisconsin, but from a call center in California. He has been calling businesses throughout the country and prompts that he is networking and has an opportunity for you. Short says he used to work for the BBB and eventually tries to sell a mobile application to your business. He calls from the number (408) 500-7150. We want all BBB accredited businesses to know that this man is in no way affiliated with the BBB. 

BBB warns that, unfortunately, scammers oftentimes prey upon the BBB name and may give false information to the businesses and/or consumers they call. If you have any question regarding call from the BBB, please call our main number: (414) 847-6000.

Accredited Businesses may call the accredited business only hotline: (800) 273-1024.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New BBB service connects you to potential customers faster

It’s good to be fast, especially if you’re a race car driver or a business responding to a question from a potential customer. The first one to cross the finish line (or connect with the customer) gets the prize.

That’s why the Better Business Bureau has made it easier for BBB accredited businesses to respond to potential customers quicker, perhaps while you’re stuck at a job site or away from your computer and email inbox for days at a time.

One of the benefits of being a BBB accredited business is that you can receive requests for quotes from potential customers directly through the BBB’s website. So, after a potential customer has checked out your company’s Business Review on the BBB’s website, he or she simply needs to click on a link to request a quote from you. And now, you can receive those requests via text message, making your response time quicker and, perhaps, faster than your competitor’s.

To start receiving these requests, you must first “opt-in” to the service. Go to the BBB’s homepage, www.bbb.org/wisconsin and click on “Business Login.”   Then enter your login credentials:  your BID (or Business ID) number, your company’s primary email address and your password. Confused? Here’s a short, video tutorial: youtube.com/watch?v=71WqlwIgDd4

Once you’ve logged in, click on “Business Review Services” and then update information within your BBB business profile – specifically your phone number and how you’d prefer to receive requests for quotes (either via email, text message or both). If you choose to receive the service via text message, you’ll need to provide your cell phone number and your cellular provider.

Not a BBB accredited business? Then you’re missing out on this great service. For more information about this and other accreditation advantages, go to accreditmybusiness.wisconsin.bbb.org.

Written by: Susan Bach, NE Regional Director at BBB Serving Wisconsin

Monday, April 14, 2014

How Google AdWords Can Help Local Businesses

If you’re a local business that provides a common service, acquiring new customers can be a challenge.  Many local business owners have noticed that while traditional marketing strategies have weakened, marketing their businesses online has become almost unavoidable.

“One of the fastest and most effective ways to get in front of people who are looking to hire a local business is through Google AdWords,” said Mike Arce, CEO & Founder of Loud Rumor, an internet marketing company for local businesses.

What is Google AdWords?
Google AdWords is an online advertising service in which advertisers bid on keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear at the top, bottom or next to a list of Google results after a search query.

Benefits of Google AdWords:
  • Control how much or little you spend.
  • Geographically target (country/state/city) ads.
  • Track and adjust almost instantly.
  • Effective tracking tools through Google Analytics and agency software that integrates other marketing campaigns running in platforms such as BingYahoo, or Facebook.

Expert Tip:
Daniel Henderson, head AdWords pilot at Loud Rumor, shares that relevance is key.  Ensure keywords used through AdWords match ads and landing pages. For example, if you are running an ad for black running shoes, ensure that once clicked, the ad links to the page that displays information on black running shoes, not the company’s home page.  Linking to relevant content will help keep costs down while generating more quality leads.

“As an expert in Google AdWords, the best advice I can give is to learn AdWords before you start spending,” added Arce.  “There are many free articles, books, and videos online or you can always hire a professional.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

Custom Short URLs

If you’re a regular Twitter user or engage in other social media, then you've no doubt seen shortened URLs, also called shortened hyperlinks or links. They save space, making them convenient for social media messages with character limits. Shortened URLs give you more room to express yourself in a condensed space. And, let’s admit it, they look much better than a link that sprawls across two or three lines of text.

When shortened by the following popular URL shorteners, the link becomes: 

TinyURL.com: tinyurl.com/ng3x8ph
Bit.ly: bit.ly/18pPms0
Ow.ly: ow.ly/v3gX5
Goo.gl: goo.gl/6Yq9R6
Tiny.cc: tiny.cc/5qwddx

These custom short URLs are great for building your business and brand, which brings us to our next point; you can purchase a domain for your shortener. This is similar to finding a domain name service. It's important to note that the short domain name can only be used as a shortener. 

For example, BBB has the custom short URL, go.bbb.org. The previous example using the custom shortener would look like this, http://go.bbb.org/1ss876O.

Once you've purchased your new shortened URL, you can set it up with a service like bit.ly.

Originally posted by BBB here  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm Going to be in Top Executive Magazine!

Today must be my lucky day. I just received an email that I’ve been chosen to represent my industry in the next “2014 Top Executive Magazine.” It’s strange that the editor would inform me of this honor via email. Since this honor is “only bestowed upon the most distinguished men and women”, you would think the editor could spring for a real letter and 49 cents postage. I would have expected more from the editor of a self-proclaimed “esteemed and professional magazine.” But, before you run out to your local newsstand and buy your issue of “2014 Top Executive Magazine”, don’t do it. It doesn’t exist.

While it might be flattering to be considered a “top executive”, the truth is that this honor isn’t worth the paper it was written on (if it HAD been written on paper, that is). This is what the Better Business Bureau calls a vanity award, which is an award that gives the false appearance of a legitimate honor. Usually, the awards come with some type of catch, in which the honoree is required to pay to win. 

It’s difficult to spot these vanity award pitches at first, because they come from organizations with legitimate-sounding names, such as Small Business Commerce  Association or U.S. Commerce Association, neither of which are associated with local chambers of commerce. How do you spot a vanity award scam? If you’re approached with a vanity offer, here are a few questions to ask:
  • Are the “winners” publicly listed somewhere? A legitimate award should offer a website where the judging criteria are listed, and past “winners” are also available.
  • How was I nominated? Be leery of awards you’ve “won”, even though you never completed an application or were asked to submit any information to judges.
  • What are the terms and conditions? Do you have to pay for your award or join an organization to be a winner? Sometimes, these types of charges can cost a business owner hundreds to thousands of dollars.
  • What does the BBB say about this company? Always check out companies first with your Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.

Winning an award is a great way for small-business owners to set themselves apart from their competitors, but only those awards that are truly earned and not bought. Unfortunately, vanity awards are more about making money for the award company than they are about recognizing outstanding companies.
Since this magazine editor thinks so highly of me, I’ve decided to give his company an award, too. I’m calling it the “Most Likely to Scam Businesses Out of Their Money” Award, and, unlike my “Top Executive” award, he’s definitely earned it!
Written By: Susan Bach, Regional Director of the BBB Serving Wisconsin

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

GOOD, CHEAP, FAST…What’s your expectation?

Like most consumers, I like to set the bar high.  When I’m looking to remodel my house, fix my car, or consider any new major purchase, I like to think I work with a “I want what I want” philosophy.  If I can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll shop elsewhere.  Unfortunately, this high expectation usually ends with disappointing “you get what you get” results.  Why?  I think the answer is in what some marketers are calling the “Holy Triangle.”  If you’ve ever seen the sign that reads, “We offer three kinds of service:  GOOD-CHEAP-FAST.  You can pick any two,” you might know what I’m talking about.

Good + Cheap = SLOW
Good service that’s cheap won’t be fast. Customers who are willing to pay more will likely take priority over you.

Good + Fast = EXPENSIVE
Good service that’s fast will be expensive.  Businesses will put everything else aside to complete your job but this priority comes at a premium.

Fast + Cheap = INFERIOR
Fast service that’s cheap will not be any good.  Let’s face it, this is where the expression, “You get what you pay for” comes from.

Keeping this triangle in mind, it might be easier to keep our results aligned to our expectations.  We can still “want what we want,” we just need to choose exactly what we want and what we’re willing to sacrifice.  Is speed more important than cost?  Is cost more important than quality?  Let’s consider the “Holy Triangle” with our next purchase and we’ll more likely be happy when we “get what we get.”

Written By: Kimberly Hazen, Regional Director for the Southwest Region of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau.