Every Cause Needs A Champion …
Profile: Small Business Advisor, Gail Gardner of GrowMap.com, A True Influencer
As a small business technology consultant, I’m immersed in online systems and processes. Ever protective of my clients and readers, I want to be certain of the integrity, professionalism, and knowledge-base of any service provider recommended to them. These are some characteristics found in the kind of resource person and consultant I find invaluable to small business owners:
- breadth and depth
- general and specialized understandings
- application of knowledge and concepts
- ability to teach as well as train the trainers
- thoughtful networking and sensible socializing
- an innovator where innovation is called for
Gail Gardner, GrowMap.com, Champions Small Business
Gail Gardner, advisor to small business owners and social media maven, encompasses all these characteristics, and then some. Honesty, even though I am not much of a fan of anything, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Stay with me while I shower some credit on GrowMap’s founder, then take a few moments and give her your vote over in the Small Business Influencer Awards, because she deserves it.
Down to earth, horse-trainer, survivalist, pragmatist, Gail Gardner is as real as it gets while being out-of-this-world knowledgeable about what makes a small- or medium-sized enterprise successful. Not shy about offering up industry analyses as they relate to small business prosperity, Gardner makes her opinions known through her writings and her copious tweets. I’ve spoken with Gail on numerous occasions and there is never a dearth of topics to talk about relative to global affairs, big business, back-to-basics, and small town needs.
Gardner uses GrowMap.com as a springboard to provide expert advice to small businesses that can least afford to hire the best through the GrowMap blog. With a strong, deep background in project management, web usability and design, ecommerce strategy, pay-per-click consulting, and business advising, Gardner has the breadth of experience necessary to go from generalist to specialist in any small business setting. Making so much knowledge available to those savvy enough to take it and run with it, is why GrowMap has gained both respectability and a vast, loyal following.
Style and Voice
It is unlikely that you would characterize Gail Gardner as the touchy-feely type. Encountering her articles and tutorials, you’ll find her style and voice are straight-forward, directly to the point with enough statistics, infographics, and how-to screenshots to get the point across.
While I consider the information she shares A-List quality, you will note she goes above and beyond the traditional A-Lister behavior, inviting and responding to comments, opinions, and questions with honesty and truly helpful, actionable advice. Every method possible for contacting Gardner is prominently displayed; she’s available to her readers, Twitter followers, and the general public.
Leading Small Business Owners To Greener Local Pastures
When it comes to guiding local business owners through the process that gets them ranked highly in local search engine directories, Gail Gardner is a force to be reckoned with. At one time, she managed pay-per-click accounts at Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft Ad Network, Looksmart, FindWhat, Kanoodle for small businesses across multiple industries. From this experience she has culled the ingredients that make for a winning recipe: one of her specialties is helping both online and offline business owners increase their visibility through local search engine listings. In her own words:
Every business – whether they operate in a limited geographic location or totally online – has a HUGE opportunity to quickly and easily improve their visibility and get more business . . . by maximizing listings in Local Search Directories.
A jumping off point for gaining a better understanding of how local search affects business, and how to reach those greener pastures, is shared in GrowMap’s evergreen article, Why Your Geographic Location IS a Niche. And if you don’t know that she absolutely knows what she is talking about, she shares startling statistics in Local Search Case Study: Local Search Directory Referral Traffic.
See why when I need advice on local search, whether for myself or my clients, Gail Gardner is my go-to source?
Social Media Done The Right Way
The 2011 Cornell University/Yahoo! Marketing Twittersphere Study, Who Says What to Whom on Twitter, recognized Gardner as one of the top elite Twitter influencers whose impact reaches hundreds of thousands intermediaries.1 One of the best ways to show you know how to use social media is to not abuse your huge following.
Well-recognized as as an influential blogger with a solid message and understanding of all things SEO, PPC, business blogging, and local search, it is no wonder her Twitter following, and friends in other important social media outlets, has reached numbers beyond 19K. But, Gardner does not abuse them with constant offers or irrelevant “look-see” materials. As such, the social media meters keep rising, and any offers put forth do well.
Talking with John Jensen of Jensen Maritime Group (@JensenMaritime), he had this to say concerning Gardner:
I was asked recently to [speak] on the effect Gail Gardner of GrowMap has had on me and my work/learning more [about] social media. There is only one word to describe it: Phenomenal! Gail has opened a world to me in the last two months I knew was there. She provided the keys.
Of course, more! more! more! is the battle cry of businesses trying to understand how social media fits into their short- and long-term strategies. GrowMap responds with battle plans like Twitter Best Practices: How to Use Twitter Effectively. And when her readers and clients pressed her on ideas for using social media to drive traffic to their business entities, she created the Social Media Priorities Funnel to kickstart their efforts.
She is a powerhouse of knowledge on the subject and if she does not know the answer to a question, she knows who does. But in most cases, [she] can fire me a link to an article about it, either written by her or one of her vast collection of collaborators, bloggers and subject matter experts. She is also a wonderful mentor as well… What more could one ask for?
As a business-to-business teaching resource built upon a philosphy of collaboration and recognition that every web site or business – online or off – can benefit from growing and could use a detailed, customized map to get where they are going, the GrowMap.com blog helps business owners realize their goals for generating more business, sales, leads, visitors, and visibility. Using a combination of comprehensive tutorials, infographic analyses, and guest posts on bottom-line topics affecting small business, GrowMap ensures its clients and readers have the tools they need most.
The proof is in the pudding: GrowMap is currently ranked as a Top 100 Small Business Blog on Technorati. Getting to that position is no small feat; holding the position attests to the power inherent in Gardner’s approach. The foundation of that approach is contained in one five-syllable word: Collaboration.
Collaboration takes on the meaning it was intended to have in Gail’s hands and on her tongue:
Bloggers who are wise enough to collaborate with each other will end up with the lion’s share of the traffic and be able to do greater good. You will grow your lists faster and when you have larger lists you will be able to negotiate special deals to offer your readers – making your blogs even more popular and influential. Gardner in a comment to Gardening Blog Collaborator, Stephanie Suesan Smith
Gail Gardner understands how valuable this concept and practice is for blog owners and has elevated it to its rightful place on GrowMap, proclaiming “Collaborating is THE Word for 2011″. Hardly a month goes by that Gail Gardner doesn’t find a way to raise the flag high over the idea of bloggers in the same niche collaborating for power, profits, and popularity.
Memorial Day Giveaway to Small Business
GrowMap offers an extensive Small Business Starter Package to business owners. Cognizant that tight budgets often prevent business from engaging professionals when they need them most, she goes well beyond the call of duty.
To put her money where her mouth is, so to speak, earlier this year Gardner held a giveaway, awarding a small business owner a suite of business-building services. As a result, GrowMap is working with a newly-formed blogging collaborative to teach each member the concepts, help them apply them to their individual blogs, and work in concert for aggregated results.
Gardner has promised to share incremental developments from the group’s collaborative activities. An important milestone will be GrowMap’s publication of a replicable best practices case study.
Your Chance To Give Back or Just Show Your Support
Personally, I really appreciate the fact that you are helping small business owners. When you are passionate about helping others, they will feel it and most, maybe not all of them, but most people will be genuinely grateful for the help and they will try to return the favor. — @danfresnourban of Fresno Lofts2
Map Your Path . . . Grow Your Business
That’s GrowMap’s motto. I would not want to end this profile — which only gives a glimpse into the resourcefulness and capacity of Gail Gardner and GrowMap — without saying this: Small business advisor, GrowMap, is a true business influencer! Don’t you agree?
Thanks for reading, listening, and voting up GrowMap.
See you next time,
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Connect with GrowMap
Business Blog: http://www.GrowMap.com
Recent Technorati Interviews by Pace Lattin
- One of a kind joint report of study conducted by Wu of Cornell University and Hofman, Mason, and Watts of Yahoo! Research in 2011, Who Says What To Whom On Twitter tags a small percentage of bloggers as Elite, and extrapolates their influence over the whole twittersphere. The report is free to download. [↩ go back]
- Comment on GrowMap, Couponing Bloggers. [↩ go back]