Although the economy is obviously not in the best condition right now, the holiday season is upon us, and while people might not be spending as much money this year as they have in previous years, people are still going to spend money on presents for their loved ones.
Since you are smart enough to spend your valuable time reading this blog, if you are a small business owner, I’m going to assume that you have a website for your small business. If this assumption is correct, I want to say congratulations, because you have a huge advantage over many of your competitors. While it seems obvious to me and everyone else who is involved in the Internet marketing industry, a large percentage of small businesses still don’t have websites (and even fewer have properly optimized online presences).
So, because we know people are using the Internet to shop for Christmas presents, and you have a website that you want to use to attract more customers for your small business, what’s the single most effective way to accomplish this goal? Not only is there a single method that is truly the most effective, but it is a simple, seven letter word: coupons.
Leads, leads, leads! Closing sales is all about the quality of the leads you acquire and how many of them you have.
In all my years of hiring, training, coaching and firing sales people, I’ve seen entry level sales people set company records and perennial quota busters crash and burn based on the leads they’re chasing.
In most businesses, sales leads come from at least two or three sources. Unfortunately, most sales people treat all leads the same.
That simple fact can be killing your sales reps and holding your company back from even greater heights.
All leads are not the same. Obviously, referrals from existing clients are more valuable in general than a name from the list of folks that signed up to win the free drawing in your trade show booth.
But what about a lead from your website? In many businesses where people visiting your site and filling out a form requesting info is not the most common source of leads, these “web leads” are treated as less valuable by the sales team. That’s in part due to the fact that a sales person will have more invested in obtaining a referral from their current client.
A web lead is actually one of the most valuable leads you could ever have in several ways!
In my 17 years as a newspaper reporter, I can not even count how many times an editor had me go through stacks of press releases that were faxed to us, to see if there was anything worth printing. Usually the answer was no.
Obviously every single person who sends a press release hopes their press release is worth running in the newspaper.
Most of them get it dead wrong. And 99 percent of them end up in what we call “The Round File” – otherwise known as the garbage can. Which means the press release writer wasted their time and money faxing their press release to us.
Here are some ways to make your press release newsworthy and figure out if a particular media outlet would be interested in your story:
- If it’s a small local paper, radio station, or TV station, they are looking for local news. If you self-published a book or just created a new product that you want to market…you need to find a local angle or the media will not be interested. If you live in town, that can be a local angle. If there is no local angle you are likely wasting your time and paper sending the press release to them. Blasting your press release to every media outlet in the country isn’t going to increase the chances that it will get published.
- Come up with a charitable angle – donate 20 percent of your sales to a particular charity in your town, or some variation of this. Let all of the local media in your town know.
So, you’re starting a company blog, and you want to know how to get the most out of it. If you’re new to the blogosphere, the first thing you need to understand are the mistakes many others often make. By learning from others’ mistakes, you can avoid them and have a more successful blog.
Here are 7 deadly blogging mistakes to learn from.
1. Ignoring SEO- While you don’t want to turn your blog into a bunch of keyword-stuffed filler content, you also don’t want to completely ignore SEO. Remember, the search engines crave fresh content because they want their search results to be as relevant as possible. By optimizing your posts for relevant keywords, you increase your chances of grabbing high search engine placement.
2. No Personality- The internet is brimming with blogs. There are over 100 million of them. How can you separate yourself from the pack? The best way is to use your personality. Blog posts aren’t like typical articles. What makes blogging so popular is the interactivity of it. That’s why you need to showcase your personality—to connect with readers. If you can connect with your audience, they’ll be likelier to continue coming back and to comment regularly on your posts.
If you read Internet marketing and SEO blogs on a regular basis, you undoubtedly come across posts about free SEO tools quite often. While there are a lot of great free tools on the Internet for SEOs, I have recently noticed that almost all of these posts profile the same core set of free tools (such as SEO for Firefox). Since you most likely already use the most popular free SEO tools, I want to look at five SEO tools today that are very useful, but simply don’t get as much attention as they deserve:
Google Insights Bookmarklet: While Google Insights can provide very valuable keyword information, you can waste a lot of time switching from one window to another window in order to use Google Insights. To eliminate the need toswitch browser windows , add the Google Insights Bookmarklet to your browser, and anytime you are browsing one of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo or Live), you can instantly access the Insights data for the keyword you were searching with a single click of the bookmarklet.
Social Media Metrics Greasemonkey Plugin for Google Analytics: I know I’m not alone when I say that Google Analytics is one of my favorite analytics packages. Although it’s not perfect, this package can provide you with a significant amount of very useful information. In addition to the information that is already provided, you can increase the data you have at your fingertips by installing the Social Media Metrics Greasemonkey Plugin. As you can see from the screenshot above, this plugin not only adds data for content from all of the major social media websites, but it also adds Yahoo’s backlink data directly for you to see.
I have personally been using Google webmaster tools for only a couple of years now, however I could not imagine my life/career as an SEO professional without it now. For those of you who don’t currently use Google webmaster tools you should start right away. You can go here www.google.com/webmasters/tools and simply sign in with your Google account.
What is Google webmaster tools?
Google Webmaster tools is a very powerful tool that was created by Google a few years ago in response to popular demand of many webmasters wanting a better way to become more “Google Friendly”. Google webmaster tools can help you get a great deal of feedback from Google regarding how Google robots view and index your site as well as assisting you in diagnosing potential problem areas in your site.
Read more >>
What’s web 2.0? According to an old joke, for a site to be a web 2.0 startup, it needs to be in beta and have a strange hard-to-pronounce name. With hundreds of so-called web 2.0 startups popping up daily, this joke actually describes the reality. But not everything is that bad. There are still new projects that do have something unique and innovative to offer. I tried to pick those 4 standing out in the crowd that have emerged in 4 different niches:
- search engines;
- social networking;
- social bookmarking and annotating;
- user-generated content.
Compare CognitionSearch is a new enhanced semantic search engine.
Key feature: search Wikipedia using semantic search technology.
What’s so innovative about CognitionSearch? The tool allows to compare their search results with the "simple" search (i.e. Google. Yahoo, and MSN) giving a better idea of what behind the semantic search technology is and how it is different from the conventional or "simple" search. The difference is graphically represented showing you the overlap and the number of unique results for both cognition and simple search. What’s more, it shows you which exactly meaning of the term(s) searched the comparison was based on.
Social media being a fairly recent phenomenon, some marketers still have yet to dip their toes in the social media river. This post is intended to help newcomers get started in the social media world. There are many social sites out there; however, the following 5 should be a part of any social media marketing plan. The following is a synopsis of the author’s 5 favorite social media sites; an in-depth blog relating to each of these sites will follow.
Twitter: Follow Me!
is at the forefront of the current social media craze. If you do not already have a twitter account, you need to get one right now and you can do that here www.twitter.com. (Ok you can finish reading this post first).
In this post we will be talking about increasing conversions with good landing page strategies.
Tip 1: Have an offer, along with a clear call to action
Your landing page was created with one idea in mind and that is an online conversion. Now a “conversion” can mean different things, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Whether it is for the user to fill out a contact form, or to make a purchase, you need to have a clear call to action that very clearly informs your visitor what needs to be done. (i.e. “Call today!”,or “Fill out the form to the left!). It helps to give users an incentive such as a special discount or a free consultation (remember to put a time limit on your special offer). Read more >>
Plagiarism is a growing problem for webmasters these days, given the implications that plagiarism can have on a webmasters search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, this is an area that deserves some attention. Many webmasters spend hours upon hours writing content for websites, only to sometimes have it stolen or scraped by unscrupulous webmasters, who are either lazy or do not want to take the time to create their own content for whatever reason. Aside from the obvious fact that it is unethical for someone to copy original content and pass it off as their own, the implication that duplicate content can have on search engine optimization goes much deeper than that. Duplicate content can and probably will depreciate the search rankings for one or both of the sites with duplicate content. Read more >>