Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’
Friday, May 10th, 2013
It doesn’t matter what kind of content you have, if it isn’t strong content, then your visitors will leave. Your content must do three things really well.
- First, it’s got to keep your site visitors informed about key information related to your niche.
- Secondly, it’s got to present you as a subject matter expert without making a sales pitch.
- And thirdly, it’s got to interest your audience in wanting to learn more about your business.
Content that does these three things is really strong content.
Before I went out and started producing all kinds of content that nobody is going to care about, I’d start with coming up with some content goals. Your goals should state what you want your content to accomplish. You should also discuss the types of content you want to produce and how much of each kind of content you want to produce. Finally, your content strategy should discuss specific accomplishments you want to occur by a deadline date.
Strong content is made stronger with a strong Web strategy. You have to set goals for your business and follow through. Failing to do this almost ensures that your content will be spotty and lack quality.
Before you can provide quality services for your clients, you have to attract those clients. The way you do that in the 21st century is with powerful content.
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Small business owners often have difficulty understanding who they’re competing against online. It’s much easier off line. If you run a local restaurant, then your competition are other local restaurants trying to attract the same demographic of customers. Online, it’s a bit more tricky than that.
For instance, let’s say you sell widgets. Is every widget maker in the world your competitor? Probably not. If there is a widget maker across the street from you in your home town, they’re likely not your competition online. If they don’t have a website, then you aren’t competing with them. If they do have a website, you could be targeting different key phrases.
There’s the key. Your competition online is everyone who is targeting the same search queries that you’re targeting. Even if those businesses aren’t in the same niche as you.
If you sell books, Amazon is your competition. If you sell computer peripherals, Amazon is your competition. And so is eBay. So is Wal-Mart. It is likely that those three top businesses are targeting some of the same product keyword phrases that you are targeting. If they rank higher than you in the search engines, then you have some work to do.
Online competition is all about rankings. There’s a good chance that you have competitors you’ve never heard of. Do your research. Find out who’s targeting the same key phrases you are. How do they rank? It’s your job to beat them.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
The reason you decided to outsource your online marketing is because you don’t have the expertise to make it successful. Or, it could be that you don’t have to the time. Either way, you still need to be involved in the process.
Your Internet marketing consulting firm is going to rely on you for certain information. And they may rely on you to implement certain key aspects of your online strategy. You shouldn’t let them down.
Here are 5 specific ways some companies sabotage their own online marketing efforts.
- They aren’t involved in the process – Don’t just hire an Internet marketing firm and never communicate with them. Instead, be a part of the process. Create an ongoing dialogue with your company and learn how the process works. The more you know about what they’re doing, the less likely you are to get into trouble that could cost you more in the long run.
- They aren’t fully committed – Are you committed to the SEO, social media, or other marketing program your firm recommended? If not, let them know. Nothing can kill a campaign faster than the client not being fully committed.
- They don’t review their keyword lists – If you don’t review your keyword lists, you’ll end up targeting keywords that won’t help your business. You’ll get the wrong kind of traffic and see fewer conversions. That will cost your business money and lower your ROI.
- They don’t do what they say they’re going to do – If you promise your online marketing consultant that you’ll do something, follow through. They could be waiting on you before moving to the next stage. You’d expect the same from them, right?
- They are slow to respond to requests – If your Internet marketing consultant requests something from your staff, there’s a reason for it. Don’t blow them off. Your input is a valuable part of the overall process.
Internet marketing is not a “set and forget” process. You have to be involved in every stage of the program. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time looking over your consultant’s shoulder, but the more input you provide the more likely you’ll see positive results.
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Content marketing is more than just creating content and spraying on the wall of the Internet in hopes that something will stick. You have to have a plan. But which plan is the best plan?
The best content marketing plan is the plan that works for you, but one plan to consider is what I call the “Hub and Spoke” content model.
With this plan, what you do is establish your home base – your hub. That should be your website with a blog. You want a blog because it’s the easiest and most effective way to keep your website up-to-date with fresh and unique content. But if you stop at the hub, then you’ll miss out on opportunities to connect with your audience and drive them back to your home base.
That’s why you need the spokes.
The spokes are your outlying bases. These are the posts you set up in social media circles, other blogs, forums, and where ever your target audience can be found. Don’t spread yourself too thin, but pick as many spokes as you can manage effectively. That could be three or four or it could be a dozen. It depends on your strengths, your budget in money and time, and what’s available in your niche.
You should plan to post something to each of your spokes at least once a day. Ideally, you’d stick around and interact with your audience in those outlying bases. Build your audience, engage with your audience, then send your audience back to your hub where you’ll take your relationship deeper.
This is a simple online content model, but it works. Give it a try.
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
One of the biggest mistakes YouTube marketers make is thinking they’ll get a rush of traffic from their uploaded videos. More often than not, the referrals from YouTube are pretty low. That’s because people go to YouTube to watch videos. They are not looking for websites to visit. They want to be entertained or informed.
That doesn’t mean, however, that marketing through YouTube has little or no value. It actually has a lot of value.
But what about rankings?
If you think that uploading vidoes to YouTube and then embedding them on your website is going to improve your website’s rankings, then you’ll be disappointed by that too. More than likely, those embeds will help YouTube rank better. If you own the channel those videos are uploaded to, then your YouTube channel could see a rise in rankings based on number of video embeds and social shares. That’s not a bad thing as it means your brand will have one more ranking than it did before. That’s great for reputation management.
The real benefit to marketing through YouTube, however, is in branding. YouTube is one of the top 5 most trafficked websites online and the second biggest search engine. That means you have a powerful marketing medium.
If you can get your YouTube videos in front of a lot of eyeballs, that’s powerful branding. And it’s the true value of marketing through YouTube. Forget about rankings and traffic.
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
It doesn’t matter if you operate a local business trying to market yourself online or if your audience is global, online surveys can be a resourceful way to get feedback on your products and services, help you improve your delivery, and grow your business.
The first, and natural, benefit you get from online surveys is realtime reporting. You can see results as soon as they are available. Realtime metrics makes this possible, and if you need data fast to make a quick decision, then an online survey can be your rescue team.
A second benefit is you can often mine great data from your customers. Provide a couple of open-ended questions on your survey and see what people come up with.
If you want to roll out a new product or service and have several options to choose from, ask your customers or website visitors. There’s nothing worse than rolling out a new product that no one is interested in because you didn’t ask for their feedback before putting out the cost. Instead, present a survey and ask which product or service respondents are most interested in. Ask the right questions and you can get invaluable feedback before you spend the money.
Don’t forget to thank your survey respondents. The best “thank you” is a valuable freebie or discount. If you offer an incentive for taking your survey, you are more likely to get the feedback you desire.
Monday, March 11th, 2013
One growing trend with content publishing online is the institution of the paywall. Many publishers are opting to put premium content behind a paywall and charge subscribers for access to that content. Three such content producers are:
In all three cases, these publications still offer free content. This content allows readers to see the value of what is offered and make a decision to subscribe based on the value of that free content. This is a business model that is catching on.
One reason for paywalls is that companies are finding the cost of advertising going down. People just don’t click on display ads.
But what about consultants and freelancers? Will a paywall work for small business entrepreneurs? I think you have to give this a lot of careful thought before you decide to go the paywall route. It might work for you and it might not.
If you publish content to display your expertise in your niche, you should consider that a marketing expense. But I wouldn’t tell everything you know. If you give away everything, then you’ll end up with nothing. Many freelancers and entrepreneurs are discovering that readers will take their knowledge and do it on their own. That leaves you out in the cold.
Online publishing has become a balance between establishing yourself as an expert and making a good living from your knowledge and expertise. Find that balance and create a business. The rewards are out of this world.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
There are two ways that small businesses go about marketing online. They either “push” or “pull.” Let’s talk about the difference.
Push Marketing is when you push yourself in front of your prospects and offer them a come-on or a sales pitch. Many companies have used this type of marketing for many years. Most marketing in the 20th century falls into the category of Push Marketing. Television advertising is Push Marketing. Radio advertising, billboards, newspaper ads, etc. are all forms of Push Marketing.
Essentially, Push Marketing is marketing you engage in by interrupting people and trying to sell them something. It’s not a good model for online marketing.
Pull Marketing works better online. Pull Marketing is the process of putting content in front of people who are looking for information about a topic. For instance, if someone is interested in finding affordable modest clothing and that’s what you sell, then the way to get their business is to let them find you. But you have to pave a path from them to you somehow.
This is where social media and search marketing come in. You provide information in various outposts on the Web that helps people make decisions about the information they are looking for. If they like the content you produce, they’ll want to know more about you. They’ll go looking for you.
Marketing online is more about luring people to your store or marketing hub. Instead of interrupting them, lead them to you by dropping nuggets of enticement along the trail from where they are to where you are. That’s Pull Marketing at its best.