CNN Interview: Social Proof & How it Affects Consumer Buying Decisions

Let’s talk about how to leverage social proof to influence your customer’s buying decisions.

What is the psychology of decision making?  How does that fit into the new world of communication and how people research decisions?

Check out Laurel’s interview on CNN where she answers these questions and more:

A transcript of the interview is below:

There has been a powerful shift in consumer behaviour in the last 10 or so years.

Previously consumers didn’t have that much power when they were making a buying decision, they would have to go into a showroom and talk to a salesperson to get information.

With the advent and extremely huge adoption of web usage, consumers now have most of the power and are doing most of the pre-buying research before they even contact the business in question.

So, one of the things customers are looking for as they go through the buying process is social proof.

Social proof essentially provides trust that the business has done good work before and can be trusted to do so again.

The way that that is conveyed typically is social proof: testimonials, recommendations, credibility of having up to date website, presence on social media etc. More importantly that other people have interacted with the business and had a positive result.

In this transparent internet world, customers have the ability to submit reviews and testimonials and reviews basically anywhere on the web.

Consumers can review your business on google, Yelp, Facebook.  What this does is affect your search rankings as a business owner on the internet.

The more positive reviews you have for example, on google the higher your business will rank over and above those that don’t have as many positive reviews.

It is one of the top ways people are able to vet your business and see if they will have a good experience. Its certainly recommended to get as many positive reviews as possible.

Also acknowledge any negative reviews you get. Let’s face it, you cant please everyone but by ignoring negative reviews it actually does more damage than simply addressing those concerns people have. it is tremendously affective in convincing your customers you do provide great service.

Q. How do product and service endorsements fit into the modern world?

Product and service endorsements are one of the most powerful ways to sell a new client or customer.

You can tell them all you want how great you are but having words come from someone you have done business with already, using their experience, will most precisely mirror the experience of your future customer.

To have older clients and customers positively reviewing you and going through the experience that they had will tick all the boxes in terms of addressing the concerns your future customers will have.

Q. There is an idea of a difference between implied and explicit endorsements. What is the difference between the two?

Implicit endorsement is something that is occurring a lot through social media.

For example, If you have a Facebook business page and you have 7 people like your photo, they are implicitly endorsing you as someone they do and would do business with and that they know, like and trust.

That is the power of social media and why it works so well. It could also be how many fans you have and followers on your youtube channel. It builds credibility.

Explicit endorsement are things like reviews and testimonials from past clients as well as any reviews you may have or items that would position you as a thought leader.

Any PR or being featured in magazines, interviews on TV stations like CBC, CNN etc, that is also very credible social proof that gets a bigger spread and impact.

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Get more sales using internet marketing: 3 steps to creating a simple digital sales funnel

As a small business owner, you have more in common with a fishermen and farmers than you may think. 
Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

When you’re marketing your business, sometimes you’re harvesting the results of your efforts and and sometimes you’re planting.

And sometimes, you’re fishing for prospects.

In order to make the most of your marketing budget, maximize the return on your investment with a strategic sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is the process which a consumer goes from casually interested, to actively purchasing. The funnel takes into account the emotional and logical stages the buyer goes through, and nurtures them on to the next phase. 
By creating a well thought out sales funnel, you will increase the yield of your harvest.
So, just because someone isn’t ready to buy the first time they see your website, flyer or sign, doesn’t mean that they wont ever be ready to buy.
By offering multiple ways to engage with you further, you’re effectively casting 3 nets to  capture prospects and turn them into clients.
Cast 3 marketing nets to capture the most fish
1. The net with the biggest holes will ask your prospect to contact you to buy- a certain  percentage of people will be in this phase of the buying cycle and will respond. For those who aren’t though, they could be lost to you, unless you offer some alternatives.
2. Offer a second option that is less commitment- join our VIP (newsletter) list for “sales, giveaways, contests and other specials”. This type of option will capture prospects that are teetering on the edge; they’re thinking about buying from you but aren’t quite ready.
3. Thirdly, offer a third net with the smallest holes. This “net” is designed to capture the information of those parties that are just in the beginning stages of the buying cycle, where awareness is key. Catch these smaller fish now and watch them grow into big fish customers. Ask them to like you on Facebook or join you on Twitter to get entered into a contest to win free stuff. 
Permission  Marketing:
Essentially, you are ensuring you have received permission to further market and build 
 a relationship with even the most timid and unsure prospect. This will dramatically
 increase the odds of this prospect making a purchase in the future.
Then, work to build value and nurture these relationships on your social media platforms.
Offer valuable insider tips, how to steps and information that help solve the problem your  customer has. Show examples of your work, testimonials, and profile your staff to build trust and rapport with your audience.
This is a simplified version of creating a sales funnel. But it’s this approach which will measurably increase the efficiency of all your marketing initiatives. 
Do you have a sales funnel working in your business? Tell us all about it in the 
comments below:

Your Cheat Sheet: 22 Social Media Do’s and Don’ts:

social-media-dos-and-dontsForgetting the “rules” of social media? No worries, things change so quickly it can be difficult to keep up.

That’s why we’ve created this printable social media cheat sheet – 22 Do’s and Don’ts for success!

12 Social Media DO’s

1. Champion others – share their stories, like and comment on their news feeds and support them in their endeavors. The law of reciprocity means they will return the favor.

2. Give to get – Give helpful, entertaining, funny, inspiring or clever content to your social media audience. The more you can provide value, the better your odds of ensuring your content is shared, thereby growing your network.

3. Use multimedia – Use image or video based content whenever possible.

4. Optimize your accounts – YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook properties all appear in Google Search, Google + does as well, but Twitter does not anymore. If possible, use your keywords in your usernames.

5. ASK. Ask people to share, comment, like, re-tweet, sign up for your newsletter, visit your website or whatever you want them to do.

6. Be interested not interesting: be genuinely engaged with your social media contacts. Check in and see how they are, like their statuses, wish them happy birthday, ask their opinion.

7. Grow your network: Add all contacts you meet in real life and send them a hello message. Regularly add your email contacts and people you might know to your various social media profiles.

8. Add your social media live feeds, or at the very least, icons to your website or blog.

9. Suggest your Facebook page to friends on a weekly basis and participate in Follow Friday on Twitter

10. Ask your network to promote you

11. Comment on the news and events of the day

12. On Twitter – Use Hashtags to contextualize your conversation and connect with others discussing the same topics

Social Media Don’ts:

1. Don’t create an account and abandon it – set aside 10 minutes a day to check in and post something

2. Don’t be offensive or post in bad taste – you can be opinionated without being rude

3. Don’t talk only about yourself – self-centred people are as off putting online as they are off.

4. Don’t fail to acknowledge when people interact with you – it’s just rude

5. Don’t Sell, Sell, Sell! – no one likes a pushy sales person

6. Don’t make Spelling Mistakes: Use spellcheck!

7. Don’t expend a bunch of energy without a strategic plan

8. Don’t assign your social media marketing in its entirety to an intern – they can help you, but make sure their work is on point and you’re coaching them. Remember they are representing you online.

9. Don’t get too familiar – you can be cordially social without providing too much information

10. Don’t get into contentious or political conversations unless they’re part of your brand and you’re prepared for the fact not everyone is going to agree with you


Follow these 22 simple tips and you’ll have a failsafe methodology for engaging with your customers, clients and prospects on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google + and more.

Behind these points is the guiding principle of being genuinely likeable and providing value to your audience.

By being interested in others and consistently applying these tips, you’ll be well on your way to social media mastery


Learn more about Social Media.


Your Turn!

I’d love to hear your questions or challenges – Tell me in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.

What Should You Pay To Get On Google?

internet-marketing-resultsThere is such a huge range of costs and methods of billing to get on google that it can be confusing to know what is a good deal, and what is too good to be true. Likewise, it can be hard to understand why some firms charge 10 times more than others for what appears to be the same work.

Here is a breakdown of the different billing types, SEO Package services, and rates that typical SEO Companies will offer you to ensure your company’s website will get on Google:

Billing Type:

  1. Per hour: According to a 2012 survey by SEO MOZ, most SEO professionals charge between $76-$200/hour to help you get on Google.
  2. Flat rate or per project: Many firms will charge a flat rate for a very specific service to be performed ie: keyword analysis, site optimization or backlink creation
  3. Retainer: By far the most popular, a monthly retainer ensures specific services are performed each month. The advantage of this model is flexibility in allocating resources to what service within the offering is needed the most at that time.

Most common types of services needed to help you get on Google:

  • Pay per Click: offering to create and manage your ads for you
  • Google + local: claim your google + page
  • Inbound organic optimization: creating backlinks and directory listings to point back to your site and drive traffic
  • Web optimization: adjusting and tweaking the code of your site, including metatags to better “tell: the search engines what your site is about
  • Content marketing: Creating keyword heavy blog posts for distribution across the web.

Variables to the cost to get on Google:

  1. Amount of competition for keywords/ complexity of goal
  2. Size and complexity of site
  3. Experience of SEO firm
  4. Range of services provided- full service to bare minimum

Price Range of services that will help:

Keyword Analysis:  The low range is around $250, and the highest range is $2500. The variable can be attributed to how in depth the report is, and how experienced the SEO packages professional

Site Optimization: The low range is around $300 and the high range caps at $3000. For best results, ask for a price range based on hours of work. This directly correlates to how big and complex the website is.

Monthly retainer: For on-going SEO Packages: (Site and External to Site Services) $1000-$3000.

Content Marketing: Blogging + content submission: $500-$2500 a month, depending on how many hours/blog posts.

Google + Page Claim: $300 month seems to be the average price, but they go as high as $500.

Social Media Management: Yes, Social Media and SEO are blending into each other, making it hard to do one without the other.

Internet Marketing Consulting and Recommendations: Range from $76-$200 on average. Most SEO firms will include a set number of hours in their monthly retainer SEO Packages.

It’s recommended that, at the very minimum, your SEO package includes not just recommendations, but actual hand coded SEO Optmization of your website.

It is also recommended that your provider use the triple prong approach to off page SEO: Places, Organic, and Paid. This way you can cancel your SEO Package and still receive the benefits of a high ranking website well into the future.

For more information on the three ways to get on Google.

Your Turn!

I’d love to hear your questions or challenges – Tell me in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.


NEW! Passion Powers Profits- Online Training Course Launches

65563_454706097934085_1225617833_nI am so unbelievably excited to announce my latest project.

It’s been over 2 years in the making and I am so proud to finally launch my do –it-yourself internet marketing training course.

It’s quite literally everything I’ve learned about using the internet to get more business, for the first time, all in one place.

And I am offering it by-donation…

Continue reading

How to: Track and measure your internet marketing results.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.netMost of our clients contract us because they want a steady flow of qualified leads to their business, effortlessly.

As one of the only firms in Calgary that guarantees internet marketing results, I often get asked, what results do you guarantee and how can we track them?

The most obvious results we generate are leads.

Leads are typically thought of as phone inquiries, web inquiries, or walk-ins to a retail location. However leads from an internet marketing campaign can also take the form of Facebook fans or messages, sign ups to your newsletter or webinar etc.

By determining what a lead looks like for you, you’ll then have a great foundation from which to measure the results of your internet marketing campaign.

What you can do is download the internet marketing results tracking template from our blog. This gives you a handy spot to measure all contacts to your company. It’s as easy as asking every single inquirer how they heard about you, and marking it down all in one place.

This information will not only show you the return you’re getting on your investment in an internet marketing campaign, but also what methods are the preferred and most successful in terms of driving business.

From our perspective, generating leads is the end result of a lengthy sales funnel we’ve created for you as the core of our internet marketing strategy.

Typically a consumer needs to go through a 7 step process to get to the point of being a qualified lead.

So, we view results as being quantifiable increases in all the factors that contribute to converting a prospect from mildly interested, to the- cheque-has-cleared.

In a very common situation a consumer will conduct a search online and find your site. If they’re satisfied with the information on your website, they’ll take action to contact you. This is internet marketing in its simplest form.

In order to generate these types of leads, we work backwards, delving into detailed metrics.

Based on a 4% conversion rate (the average percentage of people who will take action based on a website visit), how many visitors do we need to get to the site? So, we measure increased visitors as a metric of a successful internet marketing campaign.

Likewise, page one placement on Google is also viewed as a success factor, as this generates the exposure and traffic necessary to generate the leads.

Fundamentally, we ask, are we generating enough exposure and interaction with prospects to generate leads?

If you’re the business of selling to other businesses, the sales cycle may take quite a bit longer than the ideal internet marketing situation described above.

Typically a business or commercial consumer will go through more steps before becoming a customer, but the payoff is generally larger per lead closed if you end up with a customer for life.

In this case, we measure things like the open rate and click through rate on your newsletter, as well as the rate of sign up.

No matter what your unique situation, you can be sure we measure all the pertinent statistics on our end. Using Google Analytics, a free web traffic measurement tool, we’ll deliver monthly reporting on your web traffic and all internet marketing success factors.

However, the most accurate measurement needs to take place internally. You may even need to provide an incentive for your staff to provide accurate measurement for you.

Here’s the template.

Your Turn!

I’d love to hear your questions or challenges – Tell me in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.


How to Get on Google: 3 proven tactics to drive new business.

Google-RankingYou already know that having a presence on Google is critical for maintaining a steady stream of automatic leads.

But did you know there are three different ways to attain the coveted position of page one on Google?

Here’s the lowdown on your options.

Get On Google, Fast: Pay Google Directly.

Also known as setting up a Pay Per Click or Adwords account, paying the search engine giant directly is the fastest and easiest way to get to page one.

How it works:

You create a Google Adwords account, create your ad, set a daily and monthly budget and supply them with your credit card number.  Each week they will bill your card for the amount of clicks your ad received.

graphic 1


Your ad will then display near the top of search results.  Where you show up exactly, and how often depends on your ad budget and what your competitors are spending.

What you need to know:

You need to do 2 things to maintain your page 1 position.

  1. Check your ad regularly and implement the not so optional suggestions.
  2. Continue to pay

Fail to do these 2 things and you will drop into oblivion.

Get on Google: organic ranking

Organic ranking is when your website shows up on page one without directly paying.

How it works:

Typically Organic Ranking is achieved with Search Engine Optimization services, which is when your online presence is optimized based on best knowledge of Google’s algorithm.

Google has a mathematical algorithm which dictates where your website displays in their ranking. There are many factors that go into this algorithm including how your website is coded, how many visitors you get to your site etc. To be ranked high, your site and presence on the web needs to adhere to and be optimized for all factors in this algorithm.

graphic 3


What you need to know:

Organic ranking typically won’t change too drastically, even if you stop marketing for a particular set of search terms. So, while it may take longer to achieve page one ranking, the payoff is much higher as the benefits of page one last far beyond the initial investment.

Typically results can take up to 90 days to appear.

Get on Google: Google Places Account

The third way to get on page one is to claim and optimize your Google Places account.

This means you’ll show up in the maps search section of of a search results page.

graphic 2

How it works:

You’ll need to claim your Google Places account – which requires a physical address, as they will send you a postcard to verify.

Once you have claimed your account, you’ll need to spend time filling out your profile and soliciting reviews.  Where exactly you’ll rank depends on what your competitors are doing, as well as how active your places account is. For best results get as many people to review your business on your places account as possible.

We have covered three ways to get on Google. The tactic that works best for you will depend entirely what you’re trying to achieve and what resources you have to allocate to your objectives.

For best results, a combination of all three tactics is recommended for best possible internet marketing results.  But, the best thing to do is start anywhere you can right this minute.

Your Turn!

I’d love to hear your questions or challenges – Tell me in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.


Top 7 Ways To Ensure A Successful Internet Marketing Campaign

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.netFrom a desire to enhance your quality of life by providing automatic, qualified leads from the internet, we’ve analyzed our most and least successful online marketing campaigns.

From this analysis, we’ve determined the top 7 ways you can help your internet marketer create and execute a successful and profitable internet marketing campaign on your behalf. So take out your pen and get ready to make some notes! Here they are.

1. Have a USP.

Many companies we work with can’t tell us why it is that a consumer should choose their business over the competition. This makes it extremely difficult for us to “sell you” to your target market. If you don’t have a USP (unique selling proposition), you’d be better off investing your internet marketing budget in a business or marketing coach prior to launching a new marketing campaign.

2. Know your target audience.

Do you know who your ideal customer is? The product or service that makes you the most profit? What your customers are most concerned with, and how you help solve their concerns?

The more you can tell your marketer about your target audience, the better the odds will be of them delivering your dream clients on a silver platter.

3. Commit.

We’ll generally start an internet marketing campaign with a keyword research report which will show us the demand for what you’re selling. Your internet marketer will need 90 days of solid effort targeted on one set of keywords in order to get you on page one of Google. So, it’s really important you’re committed to that course of action.

Changing the target product, service or keyword mid-stream will dilute the internet marketing efforts and net you almost no results.

In addition, do understand that all marketing efforts create a snowball effect of delivering leads over a period of time. We generally need the entire 365 days to deliver ROI. So will your marketer.

4. Delegate and Trust.

There’s a reason businesses turn to professionals to solve their internet marketing needs. It’s because we have the track record that proves we can get the job done.

We’ve achieved amazing results based on executing internet marketing strategies that work. Therefore, we recommend you give your marketer the permission and license to execute these strategies on your behalf.

Of course, they’ll require you to vet and approve all our efforts on your behalf, but please don’t cut them off at the knees by requesting fundamental changes to their efforts unless you find it offensive or misrepresented.

We’ve had internet marketing clients that request fundamental changes to our strategies and then complain they aren’t getting results. With all due respect, if you focus on your business and let them focus on theirs, the results will be much better! We promise.

5. Get back to them quickly.

Our internet marketing campaigns are set to run on a flawless 30 day production cycle. This cycle has been perfected and optimized over the years to deliver the best results in the shortest amount of time. This is how most internet marketers are able to provide consistent growth for their clients.

Please help your marketers help you by getting back to them within 24-48 hours of us requesting your feedback. This will help them stay on track for you.

6. Measure Results.

A good internet marketing company will agree on what success looks like for you, well in advance. Please help them by measuring your results internally, so you can be sure of your return on investment, and they can be certain they’re achieving what you want us to.

7. Help your marketer help you.

They may request that you place posters (that you’ve approved) in your place of business, or send images or any other materials to use in campaigns for your business. Please do your best to accommodate these requests. By failing to deliver the materials needed for your internet marketing campaign, you effectively leave them powerless to help you, and neither of you will feel good about the results you get.


Now that you know what your internet marketer needs from you – and why – the whole thing probably makes a bit more sense. Take a minute to note down which ones need a bit of work, and commit to making a difference to your business this year by changing the things that might be hindering your marketing campaign’s effectiveness.

Learn more about Internet Marketing and what it can do for your business.

Your Turn!

I’d love to hear your questions or challenges – Tell me in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.

9 Easy Steps to Success: A Sample Internet Marketing Plan

internet-marketing-sample-planThis year, resolve to be present where your future customers are searching and interacting – online. Our gift to you this New Year’s, we’ve decided to give you an outline to put together your very own Internet Marketing Plan. Follow the steps below, and your online presence will become a great contributor to your bottom line.

1. Determine what the objective is.

Determine your revenue goal this year as it relates to internet marketing. For best results, target the most profitable products or services you sell.

2. Find out what people are searching for:

The most important part of your internet marketing plan. In the Google Keyword Tool , type in what you think your future customers are typing into Google. You’ll soon find out the actual demand for your services, as well as the level of competition. Choose about 3 terms that have low competition and high searches and write them down.

3. Create your yearlong content strategy

Create a table with 3 columns and 12 rows: one for each month. In the first column to the right of the month write in what your customers are doing or are concerned with in that month. For example in January, a lot of consumers are concerned with New Year’s Resolutions. In the next column write down anything you’d like to promote as it relates to their concerns.

4. Commit the time :

Block out 15 hours per month in your calendar now and commit to them, (or hire an assistant) they can be either scattered throughout the month or all in one chunk. This time will be used to execute your marketing plan each month.

5. Review your sales flow:

Modify your process to ask your customers for 2 additional pieces of information. The first is permission to use them as a case study, the second is a testimonial. Once you’ve finished the job you’ll now have a critical part of promo for your internet marketing plan; social proof.

6. Review your internet marketing tools:

You should at the very minimum have a decent looking website with a blog section, a Facebook or LinkedIN page and an email marketing account (like with Mailchimp). If not, get signed up for each of these now, or make the updates necessary to bring your accounts up to speed. In addition, sign up for Google Analytics and YouTube if you’re feeling ambitious.

7. Optimize your internet marketing tools.

Ask your webmaster to embed the Google Analytics code into your website, and add in the Mailchimp signup code and the Facebook Like box, and then add in a blog if you don’t have one.

8. Internet Marketing Content Creation.

• Write 3 blog posts a month. For best results aim for 3 posts per month using the keywords you arrived at in step 2, as it pertains to your customer’s concerns and your promotion of the month from step 3.

• Collect and organize any new case studies or testimonials, photos, videos etc and post them to your website

• Post each blog post to your website

• Add new contacts to your Mailchimp list, or friend them on Facebook.

• Create a monthly internet marketing schedule for when you’re going to release this content via social media and email marketing tools- and commit to releasing it this way.


9. Track your internet marketing results:

Keep track of subscribers to your newsletter and Facebook , phone and web inquiries.

Check Mailchimp and Facebook – are people opening your emails, commenting on your posts? Login to Analytics and compare your results from last month.

Check that your internet marketing campaign is generating more traffic to your site, and better ranking on Google.

It’ll take about 90 days, but with sustained effort you’ll see results from your internet marketing campaign.

Learn more about Internet Marketing and what it can do for your business.



How Internet Marketing Works

The widespread adoption of New Media into our lives has drastically changed consumer behavior and with it, the need for businesses to adapt to a new way of attracting customers.

Consumers are now in control and perform the majority of their pre-purchase research and decision making prior to picking up the phone or stepping foot in your store.

What this means is, in order to maintain your success, you need to be present where your future customers are; online.

About the Author:

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.