Jul 212011

Gail Gardner of GrowMap Helps Grow Business

Every Cause Needs A Champion …

Profile: Small Business Advisor, Gail Gardner of GrowMap.com, A True Influencer

GrowMap Small Business Advisor, Gail Gardner, Nominated for Small Business Influencer Award

Spotlight on
Small Business Champions

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

Local Search

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. 1One 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. One of the best ways to show you know how to use social media is to not abuse your huge following.

GrowMap Twitter Elite Influence

Mashup from Twitter Influence Report

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.

Jensen continues:

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 Lofts 2Comment on GrowMap, Couponing Bloggers.

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,

Vernessa Taylor - Technology Consultant & Editor of CoachNotesBlog

Want to do more? Share this article on BizSugar, Blokube, or BlogInteract. Post an excerpt on FaceBook and Google+. And tweet it! (Remember, a personal request to your followers will get more response than a general tweet.) Thanks again!


Connect with GrowMap

Business Blog: http://www.GrowMap.com
Twitter: @GrowMap
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/growmap

Recent Technorati Interviews by Pace Lattin

Gail Gardner and Her Map to Small Business Growth: Interview Part I
Gail Gardner and Her Map to Small Business Growth: Interview Part II

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Vernessa Taylor

Technology Consultant, Business Writer at Local Business Coach Online (LBCO)
Founder and editor of the blog here at LBCO. Thanks for reading, sharing, commenting and visiting. See you next time.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. 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.
2. Comment on GrowMap, Couponing Bloggers.

4 Ways to Leave a Comment . . .How would you like to comment? Select a tab below!

  34 Responses to “Who Helps You Map Your Path, Grow Your Business?”

  1. WOW Vernessa. That’s all I can say. I know this post must have taken you an inordinate amount of time to write. A freelance writer friend of mine who has been published in dozens of print magazines taught me that great quotes are the hallmark of superior articles. I see you’re a fan of that too.

    I had no idea you knew in such detail what I’ve been doing at GrowMap. I am truly blessed to count someone like you among my most trusted collaborators, advisors and mentors. If you ever have time in your busy consulting schedule do be sure to let me know so I can send more referrals your way.

    • Hi Gail,

      Yes, I love a good quote. Oftentimes, they serve as the testimonials so sought after. As you can see, so many people attribute some portion of their success to your help and they don’t mind saying so!

      Ah, indeed I do pay attention to the happenings at GrowMap because the information you share is on point. I am happy to recommend others to you. It was my pleasure to draw attention to the wonderful work you do. (I’m glad you like it, too!)

      • I do, Vernessa, very much. I shared a couple of really great videos about Content Marketing last night that you may want to watch. I’ll use that post in CommentLuv in this reply.

  2. Vernessa, Nice job on the page and article. You really put some work into that page. Love the layout! I hope Gail gets the award! She really deserves it. Thank you Gail!

    I also would be remiss if I did not thank you for your counsel as well. You have helped me as well.

    • Hi John, welcome to CoachNotesBlog!

      Many thanks for your compliments. I agree with you in hoping Gail snags the award in News category. I’ve been watching the tally and people are really showing some love. :)

      Your testimonial (quote) was a great way to get to the meat of what Gail does with small business owners on the social media front. Thanks for allowing me to use it.

      And, Skipper, I appreciate you skipping over to say a few more words. :) (I always wanted to call someone “Skipper”!)

  3. Gail is generous not only with her knowledge, but in sharing credit for ideas, articles, and ways of doing things with her collaborators. In the year or so I have known her I have entered a world I didn’t know existed and learned to stay afloat in it. That never would have happened without Gail’s generous help.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      It’s really great to see you here. (Welcome!)

      You’ve got a lovely mixture of blogs and businesses. Gardening, photography, woodworking — not to mention your writing and web design activities. I can see how you would benefit tremendously from the social media aspect and as a collaboration member. Wow!

      I want to keep up with your progress; I’m adding you to my TwitterFeed and reader so I can stay in the loop.

      Hope to talk again. :)

  4. I can honestly say that Gail was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever done.

    • Hi Pace,

      Most interviews I read (skim) are so lightweight, a reader can’t possibly gain any insights or learn anything they didn’t already know. Your’s was in-depth, thoughtful, and unhurried. That allowed people to really see the breadth of knowledge and hear the “why” behind her approach to small business success.

      It was a stroke of genius to break the full interview into two parts. Like your style Pace!

  5. Awesome write up for an inspiring woman Vernessa!

    I’ve had the priviledge to engage with Gail on my blog and hers on several occasions and found it to be challenging, enjoyable and enlightening to connect with her.

    She has my vote certainly, as does your write up on her behalf.

    Love that you’ve gone to such length to give a fully rounded perspective on Gail’s contribution to the blogging community, as well as individuals and groups within it.

    Well done and thanks for sharing your selfless support of Growmap

    (I have warm fuzzy feelings from the goodness in this one!)

    • Haha, warm fuzzy feelings, eh? Your endorsement means a lot, Jym. I’m hoping by others helping raise awareness of Gail’s service to the small business and blogging community, many more will benefit from all that GrowMap offers.

      How about you, are you participating in any blogging collaboratives?

      • Valiant intentions Vernessa! You’re certainly doing a great job…

        To answer your question, no, not yet, but I’m open to offers! I hadn’t really thought about the whole concept of a blogging collaborative until now!

    • Thank you Jym,

      I am fortunate to have such accomplished peers willing to raise our collective visibility. I do hope we’ll all be doing much more collaborating in the near future.

  6. Vernessa, this is front-page sticky worthy! Or page two of a highly useful Who’s Who on the Web e-book (hint-hint).

    Everyone else has already said everything I could think of to commend you for this stellar piece.

    I love Gail. She must have clones if she’s paying as much attention to each of us! My biggest thunderclap of praise goes to her personal advice to me about rethinking my blog. She was the right teacher at the right time (think Brainquake).

    I definitely voted for her! Thanks for sharing those article links, too! Geographic niche – who’da thunk?



    • Hi Mitch,

      The universe is always on our side. Serendipity is like a force that puts in our path just what we need when we need it. Gail must ride that wave!

      The whole notion of geographic niche is indeed something I’m starting to think about more with respect to my websites. (That’s not much of an issue with offline work.)

      Glad you could squeeze a few minutes from your tight schedule to come by and give GrowMap another thumbs up! :)

    • Thank you Mitch,

      I agree that this is some of the most exceptional copywriting I’ve seen. I’ve sent it to a couple of people recommending they contact Vernessa if they ever want really high quality copy for clients and are willing to pay a reasonable price to get it!

      I wish I had dozens of me so I could do more and spend more time with every blogger or business owner who could use what I have to share. No clones of me, but I do have the good fortune to often be available to give my full attention when someone needs me.

  7. Wow, Vernessa, this is really a great piece and great presentation style. There’s so much detail here about various areas of Gail’s work that benefit home and small business owners.

    I agree with Mitchell, this is the kind of write-up that should be a press release or on some big business newspaper. God knows how long it took you to put this together – it’s so complete.

    I can agree with what you said about Gail, having come into contact with some of Gail’s blog posts and recently, reading pieces about her initiatives such as the blogging collaborative and others. Those got me wondering about who Gail really was – she came across like a selfless giver. Remember, I sent you a GooglePlus message telling you about her initiatives I read about.

    By the way, I found one of such Gail’s very informative tutorials via Google search, when I wanted to setup my TwitterFeed.

    Gail’s already got my Vote and I hope she wins for that category she’s nominated for – she deserves to because she has already done a lot in the online/offline sphere.

    • Hey Stella!

      You and Mitch — wordsmiths that you are — make my day brighter with your many compliments. I don’t mind reshaping this in any way that will give Gail and GrowMap additional exposures. I’m open to ideas. :) Now that you mention it, I think I’ll ask Bev Mahone about the press release angle . . .

      As I really admire and respect the work you do on your Strategic Marketing blog, it was a real pleasure to have you share how you’ve also found GrowMap to be useful and inspiring. It’s a true case of iron sharpening iron. (And I used one of Gail’s tutorials for setting up my TwitterFeed, too. Small world!)

      Stop by anytime, Stella.

      Oh, and I haven’t forgotten the questions you asked me in a comment on your keywords post. I’ll be back!

  8. Your sure did a great buildup on Gail’s prowess in helping others to grow their business Vernessa. I seen her champion them on her blog on more than one occasion. That being the case I’ve given her my vote, and I’ve also tweeted this post to give it some extra exposure.

    • Hello Sire –

      Being the astute businessman you are, I know how you watch for good opportunities then weigh the cost of going forward or holding your hand. This write-up on GrowMap sorta fit that mold.

      The Small Business Influencer Awards came up, and they had a deadline that was both far enough away and close enough to press me to put forth the effort so the article would coincide with nominating Gail for an award.

      I’m really proud of how she does what she does; it’s not easily duplicated, that’s for sure. Thanks for both your vote of confidence in Gail and the extra Tweetluv.



    First off, Vernessa this is a brilliant piece of writing. Seriously awesome writing. It was absolutely engaging from the first word to the last. Wonderfully written!

    And for folks that haven’t connected with Gail yet, when you do, you’ll fully grasp the sentiments this article portrays. Gail is as busy as a bee with all of her efforts, yet is always willing to volunteer her time at the drop of a hat.

    She has been the single most influential person in what I do online and I’m sure I’m not the only person that can say this. She has been an awesome mentor and a great friend, and someone who lives to see other people succeed.

    Thanks Vernessa for this write up, this seriously made my day.

    • Hi Rohan and welcome to CoachNotes Blog!

      You are the type of protege Gail loves to work with. (She told me that herself!) :) I’ve seen your other local networking site for D.C. collaborators, and it is an awesome piece of work. Others can take a cue from you because you not only see and hear, but DO!

      You and Gail can be proud of the concepts in action. Feel free to come back and share the link to that site.

      Are you still running your DC Food Blogger Survey? I hope you asked Gera and his connections to weigh in there. (BTW – what did you use to create the survey?)

      And thanks for the compliments on the write-up. See you again soon!

      • Great to hear that Gail enjoys working with me. I try not to let her words fall on deaf ears (not too often at least):-)

        Here’s the site for the DC blog collective: http://districtblooms.com/


        Here’s how Gail lit the fire under me to do this.Her comment on this post (and check the date of her comment):


        So in less than 3 weeks since that comment, we got the site up, and 50 D.C bloggers signed on with combined page views exceeding 600,000 per month. This week we sent in two proposals to firms looking to advertise across the entire network. If anyone wants to do something similar in their city, let me know and I’ll share all I can.

        Oh the Food Blogger survey is complete, releasing the 2nd half of the results this weekend. I used Wufoo.com, it’s a great solution for forms, surveys, etc.

        Thanks for letting me share this here Vernessa, not only to say that Gail is awesome (well she is :-) ), but as proof positive of the soundness of her concepts and ideas.

        • Come by and share anytime, Rohan, or write an email if you don’t find a specific post for your thoughts. :)

          I read the comment Gail left on your survey. Ideas like those she provided are worth their weight in gold. Because of givers like her, many are prospering far more than if they had to burn up the brain cells (or spend the years in the trenches) to come up with their own ideas. My hope is that those who benefit so richly will find ways — even if non-monetary — to somewhat reward the givers.

          I’m so pleased to see you off and running, Rohan. And thank you for offering to share what you’re learning. I’ll bet there will be some who take you up on your offer.

          Until next time!

        • This is why I remain subscribed to comments for at least thirty days.

          Rohan, the work you’ve done is fantastic! I had a bit of fun looking at your blogger survey results.

          Sitting alone at the bottom of almost every question is a 55 year-old divorcee who, for the past five years, has been making over $2,000/month from her 750 readers.

          I’m kidding: it’s just fun to play what-if on anonymous surveys.

          Congratulations on taking action with the collaboration, too!



          • Mitchell,
            Thanks very much for the kind words sir.

            And RE your response on the survey, I wouldn’t be too surprised at all if that were true!

            Thanks again, really appreciate it. Loved your Fox and Elephant story :-)

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