A Beginner's Guide to Local SEO for Small Businesses

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As a small business with a physical location, you've probably heard about "local SEO" or have been told that you should really be optimized for local search.

In return, perhaps you've had a confused or overwhelmed look on your face, wondering 'what exactly is local SEO?, 'how's it different from your existing SEO efforts?', and 'how exactly do you get started?'

Not to fret, this is the first of a series of posts outlining how your business can be optimized for local search engine marketing. As a subset of a broader SEO marketing practices, basic local SEO encompasses the following three factors:

  1. Local Listings and Citations
  2. Online Reviews
  3. On-Site Local SEO optimization

I'll be providing an introduction to each of these three components in this post and providing more in-depth posts in the weeks to come. If you're ready to start cashing in on greater local search visibility, you've come to the right place. But first, we'll look at how the modern day consumer searches and shops in today's world. 

Let's dive in. 

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Announcing Shopify's 4th Build-A-Business Competition Winners

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Today we’re excited to announce the winners of Shopify’s fourth annual Build-A-Business Competition.

During the eight month competition, more than 21,000 entrepreneurs created new businesses that sold more than $120 million in products.

When they entered the competition, each participant chose a category best describing their shop. The store that sold the most in each category during a two month period would take home the prize.

Each of our winners will receive $50,000 and a VIP trip to New York City to meet with industry experts who will become their mentors. In addition to the money and NYC trip, winners will also receive a Shopify POS package with an iPad.

The number of participants in this year’s competition more than doubled over last year, and the total amount of revenue generated nearly tripled. It’s pretty inspiring to witness brand new businesses go from zero to multi-million dollar companies on Shopify in the span of a few short months.

Here’s a visual overview of the competition, including our 10 winners. 

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How to Track Your Marketing Campaigns in Google Analytics

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On the Shopify blog we discuss a lot of different ways to increase sales. Whether it's Facebook ads, Google Adwords, email marketing, guest blogging or product reviews, there are a lot of different methods to market your store and products. However, marketing only represents half of the equation. The second half, and arguably the most important, is tracking your efforts. Without proper tracking and analysis, you'll always just be guessing the true success of your campaigns.

In this post, we're going to look at how to track your campaigns in Google Analytics so you'll know what's working, what isn't, and how to make the most of your time and marketing budget.

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11 Easy Content Marketing Ideas You Can Put Into Action Today

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If you’re running your own online store, then you know that having a blog is critically important for generating traffic to your store. A blog significantly improves search rankings and gives you a chance to connect with more customers.

But what if you’re not an amazing writer? And what if you don’t know what to blog about?

Don’t worry. The first blog post is always the hardest. That’s why we collected examples of different kinds of posts for your inspiration.

Take a look, and consider writing to tell your story, announce a sale, or give a guide to your products today.

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Google Analytics For Ecommerce: A Beginners Guide

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Google Analytics is a valuable ally in the ecommerce battle for consumer dollars. The insights it provides contains a wealth of information about your site, your visitors and where they came from. All this information can be used to find new customers and increase conversions.

In this post we will look at exactly how to set up Google Analytics for your store, the basic reports you should be checking and a few other goodies to help supercharge your knowledge and drive sales.

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How to Create a Successful Pop-Up Shop [New Video Series]

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When Marc Jacobs, J.Hilburn, or Prince of Scots want to create a unique pop-up experience for their customers, they turn to none other than Melissa Gonzalez from the Lion'esque Group to guide them through concept to execution. 

Not only has she helped create more than 70 pop-up retail experiences in New York City, Los Angeles and the Hamptons, she also sits on the board of advisors for the Storefront, a pop-up space marketplace, and is a co-founder of The Market, a pop-up retail and branding program.

For her work in helping create such outstanding pop-up experiences, Marc Jacobs was honored with the CLIO Image Award for experiential engagement, and J.Hilburn was recognized as a finalist for the New York Design Award for marketing and branded experiences. 

Clearly, she's a busy woman. But, we've been lucky to have her share her insights from the field in the form of blog posts spanning topics like how to plan a pop-up and designing immersive retail experiences all the way to case studies from merchants she's personally worked with. 

Today, however, we're excited to launch our new video series "How to Create a Successful Pop-Up Shop" featuring Melissa, where she breaks down everything you need to know to create an unforgettable temporary retail experience for your brand. 

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13 DIY Crowdfunding Tools For a Successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo Campaign

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Noah Dentzel of NOMAD has run two crowdfunding campaigns in two years on two different platforms. His first campaign, on Kickstarter, reached 322% of his funding goal. His second, on Indiegogo, went even higher.

Noah learned a lot the second time around, “And it took one-tenth of the effort of our first campaign, in part because of the software that we used,” he said in an interview with Shopify.

His favorite two tools that reduced the workload of his second campaign by 90%? BackerKit and Shipstation, featured below. In addition to tools related to crowdfunding fulfillment, we’ve included tools to manage press outreach, simplify social media engagement, and make your visual assets the very best that they can be.

Let’s go make your crowdfunding campaign a success.

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How Two Fashion Designers Used a Pop-Up Shop to Build Their Brand and Better Understand Their Customers

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Last winter, the designers behind VallarinoSaltonstall contacted our offices inquiring about popping-up for spring at RSPOP, one of our partner spaces at the Roger Smith hotel. This was their first experiment with brick-and-mortar retail and they wanted to “get it right”.

For the following three months, we worked closely with designers Hattie and Vanessa to conceptualize and plan for their first pop-up store.

The original plan was for a 1 month pop-up and after a successful opening they extended for two months. Wanting to profile their success as inspiration for other brands interested in doing a pop-up, I interviewed them for a case study around how they went from idea to executing their pop-up for two whole months. 

From merchandising and marketing to how weather and store hours affected sales, here is what Hattie and Vanessa had to share about their experience.

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How To Start An Online T-Shirt Business: The Ultimate Guide

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The t-shirt is a staple in casual wear and has been universally accepted by both men and women the last few decades. Not only are they a classic piece of casual wear, but t-shirts are a blank canvas for artists and entrepreneurs alike. Because of this, online t-shirt businesses have become a popular business choice these days. For many entrepreneurs, starting an online t-shirt brand is a great and inexpensive way to start an online business, whether it’s your first, second, or tenth business.

With the growth in popularity of t-shirts businesses, there's no doubt you'll be facing some stiff competition. So to break through, you'll need to have designs people love, a brand people cherish and quality people trust. In this guide we will go through the creation process for starting your own t-shirt line and online store. We will look at each of the steps involved and the keys to success to help you get started as a t-shirt entrepreneur.

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Consumers Are Showrooming and Webrooming Your Business, Here's What That Means and What You Can Do About It

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Buzzwords can be tough to keep up with. Especially if you're in retail and can't spend hours figuring out what each word means, how it affects your business, and what you can do about it. Two words in particular that I'd like to tackle are "showrooming" and "webrooming."

Yes, we all know that consumer shopping habits are changing, that they're equipped with smartphones, using online reviews to form their opinions, and have preferences for what kind of products they purchase online, in-store, or online and pick-up in-store.

Big box retailers have boatloads of cash to throw at the problem of catching-up with consumers and their demands, however, as a small business owner, things can be a little more complicated.

In this post, I'll be exploring what "showrooming" and "webrooming" are, how they effect your business, and what specific steps you can take to combat or welcome their impact on your store.

Here we go.

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