Using Google My Business to Expand Your Reach

google my business

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, part of marketing your business properly is making sure you have an online presence so that potential customers who are searching for your business, as well as other business owners with whom you need to connect, can find you. A Google My Business account can help with just that.

One of the easiest tools you can use to help people find your business is called Google My Business (GMB). Google My Business is a free tool that helps you to manage the information that your potential customers see when searching for you online. 

What is Google My Business?

When you do a Google search for a business, if they have set up a Google My Business account, you will see a card on the right side of the page with all kinds of useful information including customer reviews, a map, and other information that potential clients may need. This is an extremely valuable tool to catch potential leads. When people want to find your business online they don’t want to invest extra time to find your phone number, business hours, or business location. Creating a business profile on Google with Google My Business ensures that all of that information is front and center for them. 

The Google My Business platform lets you easily add, verify, and edit your business information. This will affect your listings all across Google including Google search and maps. In addition to basic business information customers will be able to see photos and reviews, which can help them decide if they want to do business with you. 

If you want to go mobile there is also a Google My Business App. This tool lets you manage and edit your online presence on the go. Recently, the app has also added something called a “customer tab”. This new tool allows you to see your followers, your reviews, and your messages simply and easily, as well as messaging functionality so that you can respond to customer questions simply and easily. 

Benefits of Google My Business

The benefits of Google My Business go beyond simply setting up an informational page. Statistically, when you verify your information with Google My Business you are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers. Additionally, you’ll get insights that can help you grow your business and give you a better idea of what marketing options work best for you such as finding out how customers searched for your business and where they’re coming from. You can even see how many people called your business from the number displayed on local search results in search and maps. 

The interaction features are important because it is always a good idea to respond to customers, whether they have had a good or bad experience. If they have had a negative experience for some reason you can turn that into a positive by reaching out to them, finding out what went wrong, and offering to resolve the issue in a manner that works for you both. Adding photos to your listings is another great idea as businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t. 

All in all, Google My Business is a great option for the marketing beginner to dip their toe into the waters of advertising, and to begin to handle their online presence and reputation. 

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Industry Celebrates Inaugural National Vending Day

BY Emily Jed
Posted On: 3/7/2019

CHICAGO – As the industry celebrates the inaugural March 7 annual National Vending Day, the White House has sent the National Automatic Merchandising Association a proclamation hailing the occasion.

From product sales and contests to parties and educational events, industry members across the country are finding creative ways to mark the occasion. 

According to the White House message: “Vending machines and other convenience services play an important role in bolstering our nation’s robust economy.  From production and purchasing to manufacturing and distribution, the convenience services industry supports jobs for hardworking men and women in communities across our country.”

To mark this day, NAMA will showcase the U.S. services industry — the majority of which is comprised of vending — and its total economic impact of nearly $25 billion.  The association is emphasizing that the industry is represented in every community across the United States through traditional vending and micromarkets — unattended retail — as well as office coffee and pantry services. 

According to NAMA, the industry provides 140,000 good paying jobs with $7.21 billion in wages, and pays $3.5 billion taxes at every level of government. 

Click here to learn more about National Vending Day and find tool kits, logos and more to help you celebrate our industry. Operators can join the conversation on social media using #VendingDay. 

“We are thankful to the White House for the message of support for National Vending Day.  This inaugural celebration represents a win-win, with the industry working to together to increase awareness of its enormous value to consumers and the U.S. economy, and build excitement in the channel,” said NAMA president and chief executive Carla Balakgie. “Vending machines and other convenience services play an important role in bolstering our nation’s robust economy.  From production and purchasing to manufacturing and distribution, the convenience services industry supports jobs for hardworking men and women in communities across our country.”

Source :
https://www.vendingtimes.com/articles/industry-celebrates-inaugural-national-vending-day-12356

Local SEO For Your Business

Local SEO

An important step a vending route operator needs to take in establishing a profitable route is finding client locations for their vending machines to be placed to become high traffic and income-producing vending locations. Advertising and local SEO is the key to finding new clients for any small business and these days when clients want to find a product or service the first places most people turn to are Google and other similar search engines.

For increased exposure and to attract new clients vending route operators need to raise their business website’s position in local search engines and make sure that they appear in other platforms that display local content like Google maps and Apple maps. The key to success in this is Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

What Can You Do?

SEO agencies can charge high fees but there are several easy steps that vending route operators can do themselves that will help improve local search ranking visibility of their products and services. An important first step to local SEO is to claim their Google my business page, which can be done with or without making the brick and mortar location of their business public. That way vending route operators who have home offices can maintain their privacy by having only the town and state listed but still have the advantages of being treated by Google as local for SEO purposes. Having a business identified as a local listing combined with targeted keyword research can raise their local search ranking in geographical areas the vending route operator wishes to gain exposure. If a vending route operator has a larger geographic area that they wish to operate in it is also possible to have multiple locations listed in each of the locations the business services.

A good way to find out what keywords are most effective in increasing local search ranking is by using a search engine optimization tool to find out what keywords your competitors are already using. Many of these will be the obvious terms one might think of like “vending machine operators Long Island” for example, but some less apparent terms can also be found by this method. 

An effective brand presentation is important for increasing the market share of the products stocked in vending machines. But it is also important for vending route operators to distinguish their vending machine business from their competitors’ businesses that are trying to service the same schools, hospitals, office buildings, and other locations. A clear well-designed web site that has been given local search engine optimization (SEO) and has been listed in Google local will stand out to new clients who are targeted by strong keyword research.

Conclusion

The important point is that vending machine operators, like any small business, need to increase their market share in order to increase their profit. Social media and local content make reaching target clients an easily achievable goal. Listing management for local SEO might seem confusing at first but vending route operators can easily make a big difference in their ranking factors just by setting up their Google My Business page and choosing the right keywords to be listed in the top local search results.   

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National Vending Day – March 7, 2019

National Vending Day – Thursday, March 7, 2019

National Vending Day, March 7th

National Vending Day is a celebration for the millions of Americans who buy their snacks, beverages and non-consumable items from a vending machine every day. It’s a point-in-time to recognize vending and the value it provides to millions of consumers, 24/7/365.

Vending is the cornerstone of the conveniences services industry. With a total economic impact of nearly $25 billion, the US Convenience Services industry is represented in every community across the United States through traditional vending and micro markets — unattended retail — as well as office coffee and pantry services. The industry, providing 140,000 good paying jobs with $7.21 billion in wages, pays $3.5 billion taxes at every level of government.

Check out the tool kit to learn more about how you can participate and add value to your customers.

  • The inaugural National Vending Day is Thursday, March 7. It is a national celebration of
    vending, including a proclamation from selected states and cities throughout the
    country.
  • National Vending Day is a celebration for the millions of Americans who buy their
    snacks, beverages and non-consumable items from a vending machine every day
  • Vending is the cornerstone of the conveniences services industry. With a total
    economic impact of nearly $25 billion, the US Convenience Services industry is
    represented in every community across the United States through traditional vending
    and micro markets — unattended retail — as well as office coffee and pantry services.
  • The industry, providing 140,000 good paying jobs with $7.21 billion in wages, pays $3.5
    billion taxes at every level of government.
  • From manufacturing to small-drop distribution, the industry meets the needs of
    consumers everywhere they are — at work, home and play.
  • Vending is fun! It is uniquely able to meet the needs of today’s consumers who know
    what they want, when they want it. The breadth and scope of products available from a
    vending machine is nearly limitless – office supplies, hospital scrubs, ballet flats, salads
    and gourmet sandwiches– you name it.
  • More than anything, vending has always and will always deliver convenience – directly
    to consumers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Learn more from NAMA: https://www.namanow.org/convenience-services/2019-national-vending-day/

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Run your vending machine route like a business, not a hobby.

dn 501 e break room 1024x768 - Run your vending machine route like a business, not a hobby.

For many vending machine route operators their business management style is casual. If the vending route is a second source of income it feels as though they don’t need to run it as a “real-world” business, complete with a business operations plan, marketing strategy, resource management, etc.; but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. 

The fact is, you don’t have to have a degree in business management or even a bachelor’s degree at all to reap the rewards of implementing a business management program that will drastically improve your efficiency and, as a result, your profits. 

Certainly, some of the business administration tasks that you already execute would be seen in the business world as the very same tools that would be used by a more polished executive to run a business. Your knowledge of information technology (the systems you utilize to reorder your supplies and to receive repair requests), your resource management skills (ensuring that your machines are properly stocked), and even your ability to navigate the supply chain (finding new vending machine vendors to supply better offerings for your machines) mean that your skill at business operations are just as good or better for what you need to accomplish than a person who has been through a business degree program. But just because you’re already functional doesn’t mean you can’t improve in many departments. Passive income only happens when a business is running smoothly, and that entails a lot of initial legwork.

People in every kind of business—whether it’s running a physical store, a vending machine route, or an online business—can often benefit from improving their organizational behavior. Operations management for any business can become complicated, and online learning courses or even the free courses available at your local library can be a great help with developing the kind of organization that is necessary for business whether you’re in a management position or run the entire business yourself.

Ensuring that you have a daily checklist of “to-do’s” which are adhered to in a regimented manner, maintaining consistent communication with your suppliers, and dedicating regular time to researching new supply options are all ways to implement an organizational system which will help you identify new opportunities to grow and find ways in which you may be able to streamline your process and prevent wasted time and effort. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend your entire day on a business that you maybe have intended to be a second source of income. Spending an hour a day can reap tremendous rewards and help ensure that your vending machine route makes the most money it possibly can. Just because a vending machine route can sometimes be considered “passive” income doesn’t mean you don’t have to work on the business to help it to grow.

Remember that you have to treat your business as a business and not a hobby in order to achieve the level of success that will make all of the efforts you put into the company worth it. A bit of planning and organizational effort will have you reaping the rewards you crave in the end. 

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Why Having a Backup Vehicle Is So Important For Your Business

having a backup car

The vending machine business can be a competitive one, but the first step to success is the same with vending as it is with anything else: you have to show up. 

The problem with that comes when your vehicle breaks down, gets a flat, has a fender bender, or is incapacitated in some other way. Without a way to move machines, or get to where you need to service them, losing out on contracts is a guaranteed outcome.

Success and growth are the goals for every business, and a vending business is no different. One of the best ways to ensure success is to be prepared and being prepared means having a backup in case of an emergency. 

Buying a second vehicle can seem financially daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider adding a “beater car” to your business to use in case of emergencies. What’s a beater car? A beater car is an older car (usually more than 10 years old, and with a low market value.) Remember, it doesn’t have to look great. It just has to be reliable. Since the car is older, you can likely pay for it outright; this would mean a minimum to no monthly payment at all and a very low insurance rate. If you insure it under your business, the rate will be even lower. 

Doing an extensive online search can ensure that you get the lowest price in your area. Sites like carfax.comtruer.com, and carsdirect.com can help you get an idea of what the car you’re looking for will cost in your area. You can also look for private sales through places like craigslist.orgeBay.com, and more. 

Another thing you may want to do before you actually buy the car is to discuss the tax ramifications of your purchase with your accountant. You’ll want to ask important questions such as:

Does the vehicle need to be in the business’ name in order to write it off?

What vehicle-related expenses should be accounted for so they can also be deducted? (Items such as gas, oil changes, maintenance, and others may be tax deductible.) Normally, you should be able to deduct the finance charges on the loan as well as fuel and maintenance costs for the vehicle, but it’s important to ask because tax laws change regularly!

Can I deduct the interest I pay on my auto loan from my taxes? 

How do I maintain mileage records separately for personal and business use? 

What specifically counts as “business use?”

What type of vehicles do you recommend I consider?

What type of vehicles do you recommend I avoid?

There are many other questions you may want to ask, but these are a great start to ensure that you are in the best possible position, tax wise, with regard to your second vehicle.

When having a backup vehicle, make sure that you don’t make the mistake of neglecting the first just because you have a backup. Maintaining your vehicles, personal and business, is just as important as maintaining the machines on your route. 

Remember that if you don’t show up to maintain a route, there is always someone else who is willing to do so. Losing contracts because you don’t show up can cost a lot more than whatever payments are required to maintain a second vehicle. 

What you are really buying with your second vehicle is peace of mind. If your car has to be in the shop for repairs, you’ll still be able to service your route. This peace of mind isn’t only valuable to you, it’s valuable to your staff, the people on your route, and your family as well. When you can depend on your vehicles, people can depend on you, and that’s the most important thing to sell in a business such as yours. 

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Do I really need a website for my vending machine business?

need a website

Need a website?  Most small business owners who sell products online already know that they need a website in order to compete for potential customers. Having a web presence is a boon for people who are looking to tap into that ever-growing online market.

For businesses that don’t sell products online, the question of whether or not to have an online presence may not be quite as clear. Some people are intimidated by the idea of creating a website. Website design can be complicated, and some owners are nervous about investing in a custom website.

Regardless of the industry, your business is sure to suffer without a website. Whether you have an established business or you are just getting started, it is essential to have an up-to-date website. This will help take your business to the next level. 

Why You Need a Website

Creating a website for your business is the best possible way to create a presence for yourself. In today’s climate, when people want to learn about you, the first thing they look for is an online presence. Think about it, the last time someone handed you their business card, what did you do? You went to their website. But why did you go there? Whether or not you realized it, you wanted to get a feel for them. You wanted to judge their trustworthiness, and see if you really wanted to do business with them.

The same is true of the people to whom you give your business card. By now, consumers (and that includes the people you’re looking to do business with) expect companies to have an online presence which includes both a website and some social media, and if they see that you don’t have those things? You’ll be viewed as far less professional, this is another reason why you need a website.

A Good Website vs. a Great Website

So, now that you know why you need a website, you should also take the time to learn a little bit about web design, and what makes the difference between a pretty good website and a great one.

Effective digital marketing aims to help people find your website. If people find your website before the website of competitors, it becomes a passive steam for leads and possible income. While there are many sites that will offer free or low-cost website services, these are not necessarily the best choice for your business. Whereas you may pay less up front, the result will be a less user-friendly website. If your competitor’s website is more user-friendly or better designed than your own, you may end up losing business. Additionally, if any website issues arise, there is no provided team to help and you will end up paying more money to an external source.

A good web design firm will be able to handle all of your requests. They’ll build a visually pleasing website that will both engage customers quickly and project a sense of reliability. Your site should be user-friendly so customers or clients can find all the necessary information, while also fulfilling best search engine optimization practices. These practices change regularly, as Google updates its algorithm, so a good company will also help you with ongoing changes over time. Many companies will also help you build a strong social media presence. Keeping your social media presence active and lively is vital in today’s competitive business world.

Conclusion

In short, do you need a website? You certainly do. Curious about where to start? Go with someone you know and trust. If you love your supplier’s sites, ask them who they work with. You might just find out that getting a great website and building up your online presence is a lot easier than you thought.

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5 ways small vending machines can bring in big profits. 

Small vending machines are a great option if space is limited!
Small vending machines can make big money!

When people think of vending machines, they often think of large, hulking machines that hold dozens of snacks and take up lots of space. However, many vending machine operators have discovered that smaller, wall mounted snack machines can offer a great way to improve your bottom line. Here are 5 ways considering small vending machines may be useful to your business.

1) Small vending machines, big choices!

Small machines aren’t just for snacks and candy. Smaller vending machines offer the opportunity to sell beverages, snacks, prepared food choices, and more.

2) Up to date payment options.

Smaller vending machines don’t have to stick with coin-operated payment options. They can now also take bills, and even credit cards, giving your customers more flexibility.

3)Saving energy

Some businesses are hesitant to host a vending machine because of concerns about energy consumption. Small vending machines, however, are more energy efficient and tend to be more attractive to retail centers.

4)Saving Space

Another issue which may cause businesses to be hesitant to host your machines is the square footage they take up. Mini vending machine options and wall mounted machines in particular, eliminate this issue.

5)Flexibility

While smaller machine brings to mind gumball and candy machines, today’s small and even mini vending machines are incredibly flexible. They can sell everything from cheap vending machine fare, such as typical snacks and candies, to full-service options that can make espresso, or serve up prepared foods and drinks. There are even machines that serve soft ice cream options.

The fact is that a business based on bulk mini vending machines can make as much, or even more than larger, bulkier machines, and their small size and flexibility in food offerings mean great opportunities to make money in almost any setting!

One of our favorite small vending machines is the AMS Slim Gem Snack Machine. With 24 selections available and weighing only about 500 pounds, it is a great choice for small spaces or to start your blossoming enterprise!

New Vending Machines - A&M Equipment

Vending Machine License: Is It Something You Need?

Vending Machine Licenses are an important element of your business
Vending Machine Licenses are an important element of keeping your business above board.

When considering starting a vending machine business, many people fail to consider the vending machine license one must obtain for their business. The truth is most states require vending machine route operators to obtain both a business license and the permits.

There are several mandatory licenses to operate a vending machine business, including a machine license and a sales tax receipt certificate. Depending upon the items you wish to place inside the machines, there may be additional licenses. Soda and snacks, candy, milk products, and tobacco all have different regulations and local ordinances may vary from the state ordinances. Failure to comply with these can mean revocation of your license. 

Vending machine sales are eligible for tax in the same fashion as food items in more traditional stores. If an item would be exempt when sold in a store, the same would be true for a vending machine. However, if it is eligible to taxes in a brick and mortar store, it will also be eligible for tax in your machines. The only exceptions from this rule are:

Hot beverages sold from a vending machine are always exempt. Certain items that are taxable when sold by food stores are exempt when sold from a vending machine for $1.50 or less. When you file your sales tax returns you’ll need to separate the number of sales you made from the sales tax you collected.

Before Obtaining Your Vending Machine License

Consider the location where you will be placing your machines. If they will be in schools, regulations may be different than if you are placing them in commercial areas.

To run your business legally it is important to not only know your local regulations. Adhere to them carefully, ensuring your business is above board and reproach.

To learn more about the vending machines available to you, visit our website: https://www.amequipmentsales.com/ 

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FDA Requirements for Vending Machines: What You Need to Know

FDA Logo Black Large
FDA regulations on vending machines aren’t too difficult, but you need to ensure your company is abiding by the law!

Whether you’ve had your vending machine business for a long time, or you’re just starting out, there are some FDA requirements on vending machines that you should know about.

The Food and Drug Administration, to tackle the obesity epidemic, has created food labeling requirements for all foods sold from vending machines.

Because Americans eat about one-third of their calories away from home, the FDA has created these calorie labeling requirements for vending food items. Food labeling has become more popular in all venues, from restaurants putting calorie counts on their menus to companies redesigning their cans and box packaging to more prominently display nutrition information.

Vending machine labeling requirements mean that vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines, have the duty to disclose calorie information for the food sold from those vending machines, subject to certain exemptions. The compliance date for these changes went into effect on December 1, 2016.

Most packaged food items have calories posted on the back, but for vending machines with glass fronts, the calorie declaration that is now often part of package design on the front of packaged food is acceptable, rather than having to post signage on the actual machine. If the foods you stock do NOT have calorie information on the front of the package, then you must adhere to the following policies:

Calorie declarations must be clear and conspicuous and placed prominently and may be placed on a sign in, on, or adjacent to the vending machine, so long as the sign is in close proximity to the article of food or selection button.

Calorie declarations for total calories present in the packaged food are not informative for gum, mints, and roll candy because consumers typically do not consume the entire packaged product at one time. In order to consider this issue further, FDA is extending the compliance date to July 26, 2018, for gums, mints, and roll candy sold from glass- front machines in packages that are too small to bear FOP labeling. In the interim, FDA encourages vending machine operators to provide calorie information for such products through a sign in close proximity to the gums, mints, and roll candy inside the vending machine.

Visit our website to see our catalog of machines: https://www.amequipmentsales.com/

FDA website: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm515022.htm

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