We’re Winning Recognition!

I was just informed by Thumbtack.com that my Minneapolis Internet marketing services have been ranked in the top three of such services in Minneapolis by them.  All such recognition is welcome.

Internet Marketing Consultants, Minneapolis

My efforts in Minneapolis are focused on helping local businesses attract new customers by being more findable online.  Pretty much the same as here.  I do tend to focus more there on non internet marketing businesses, and have been pushing as hard as I can for businesses to take advantage of the new Google Places pages opportunity.


Internet Marketing Consultants – Minneapolis


[tags]thumbtack, Minneapolis internet marketing consultant, awards, Local Business, [/tags]

Getting Mobile Ready

Change is coming every more rapidly to internet marketing. At first we rushed out to put up web sites, thinking customers would be rushing to find us. We quickly learned that a web site by itself was not the end all and be all.

We leaned to redesign it so that it was optimized. After that we discovered why we needed to pay attention to what our customers thought our business was and focus on the keywords they used to find us.

Even then we learned as time went on that we had to do more. We needed to create back links from other web sites to help build the authority of our sites. And recently we can’t help but notice that video is playing a larger and larger role online. And today, all of that remains the case.
The dirty secret is that while we may do all of the above, so too does our competitors. To stay ahead we need to be constantly on the look-out for the next big change that is coming down the pike. A lot is going to change as a result of the dramatic new change in the coming months.

For most businesses, just keeping up with the day to day business of running a business is time consuming enough. Most of us are hard put to stay on top of this constant wash of online changes. Too many of us have already been left behind or on page 22 of Google results where no one can find us. Planning for the future is problematic when you haven’t caught up with the current state of affairs. This is why the SEO or Search Engine Optimization consulting industry emerged in the past decade.

These constant changes are not just hard on small businesses. Many of the majors, like microsoft, AOL, Netscape, Yahoo and many others have stubbed their toes. New players are emerging and new trends. The cell phone is making some significant inroads. Cell phones? I thought we were talking the internet and computers.

The trend has been underway for some time already, but increasingly in the next few years there will be a massive turnover in how people access and use the internet and that change is the smart phone in its many and future guises.

Today over half of all log ins to Facebook are done from cell phones. And this trend will continue. Now there are three things most people make sure they have with them when they leave home: Their cell phones, their wallets and their car keys. Soon their phone will do all three and more.

Within a couple of years, for many people, their cell phone will do all three. The desk top computer will be playing a smaller and smaller role. Instead of it, your customers will be using their phones to find barbers, restaurants and hardware stores.

Among other things, this change will require businesses and other web site owners to rethink how our sites look. The canvas is about to shrink. What once filled a wide screen monitor will now need to be squeezed into a diminuative phone screen.

We don’t want to have to reintroduce scroll bars to see our sites. It means we need to create mobile ready web sites in addition to those we already have.

The coming 18 months to three years will mark a significant transformation. Those who are early adaptors will gain a significant temporary advantage. Whether we like it or not, this change is coming. Either we will lead the way, or our competitors will.

[tags]internet marketing,internet marketing consultant,cell phones,marketing,small business marketing[/tags]

What’s the Easiest Way to Make Money Online?

I recently got asked again about the easiest way to make money online. Now my feeling was the asker was looking for a sure fire, push button way to get rich quick for no investment on their part.

I’ve puzzled over how to advise newbies many times in the past, and despite my feeling that he wasn’t serious I took the time to answer and I am sharing it here. In the process I am introducing a new product by Ken Sar and Leon Klepfish called List Catcher. I think it may be a real shortcut for many starting out, and even established marketers.

Here’s my reply to my wishful thinker.

You need a product to sell, and a list to sell it to. It’s that simple.

To do it online you need to have an auto responder. There is no way around that. This is the tool that captures and allows you to automate emailing to your list.

Once you have an auto responder, you need a product, but more importantly you need to have a squeeze page. That’s the page you send people to. It is a very simple web page, but it must be hosted somewhere. Usually that means you must set up a hosting account with a hosting service. this is your second ongoing cost. Normally, it also means that you need to buy a domain name, which is cheap, but also an expense. These three ongoing expenses are essential. If you’re not willing to invest in these, there is no way you are ever going to be successful on line.

However, with the program I mentioned to you in my last email, you can avoid the second two for a while. You will eventually need to get all three.

The program I mentioned also costs, but it will save you a lot of time in getting started.

You will still need an auto responder.  I recommend you go to aweber and set up an account there.

Then go to the List Catcher Service and join there program.

They provide you with a professionally designed squeeze page that offers people a free product. When they get the free product they are offered a second paid product. Most will not buy it, but some will.

To make this work you will need to set up a free account with Clickbank. Once you join the list catcher program they will take you step by step through the sign up process. It’s easy.

To make this all work, you need to learn how to send people to your free offer on your squeeze page. There are lots of ways to do this, many of which are free. The easiest is using Twitter and Facebook. I also like to do article marketing, blogging and occasionally I will do Pay Per Click advertising. There are also a lot of free traffic exchanges which can be used to send people to your offers. Generating traffic is a key skill that you need to learn.

It’s easier to learn when you actually have someplace to send them. So as I see it, this program that gives you a series of products and squeeze pages makes a lot of sense. You can start promoting these and learn how to do traffic. Once you are successful here, you can spend time learning how to set up your own web sites, create your own products, etc.

Making money online is not easy. It takes time and you need to learn a lot of different skills. The most important part of the equation is the act of starting.

The List Catcher program allows you to short cut part of the learning curve, by not needing to learn how to do your own squeeze pages, and not having to create your own products. It does require you to get an auto responder, and then to learn how to generate traffic. But for now you can skip getting web hosting and learning how to manage your C-panel and create your own squeeze pages.  They also provide you with a series of profitable click bank products you can sell, so you have a constantly expanding inventory you can promote over time.

As the saying goes, there is no free lunch. It will take some monetary investment, a significant amount of time, and a commitment to persevere.

My only question is, do you have the willingness to take action?

[tags]Leon Klepfish, Ken Sar, List Catcher, aweber, make money online, getting started online,[/tags]

Powerstart 2010- A Testimonial

As many of you will know, I have been taking Doug Champigny’s PowerStart 2010 course the past few weeks. It’s a four week course and we are in week three.

This week we are working on podcasts and video as well as continuing to pursue article marketing in support of the new blogs we have each created as part of the course.  Last week we focused on getting a product created using both Master Resale Rights and Private Label Rights.  The first week was real heavy duty with a lot of article writing as well as blog set up and much more.

I have just finished the podcast section of this weeks work and am about to move on to the video section, but thought I would do one more quick Flip Camera video today to sing the praises of this course, and what it has done for me so far.

Unfortunately, my little Flip Camera is catching all my explosive S’s and you will hear them when you watch.  But please don’t let that get in your way.

Doug is going to be offering the course again starting the first week in March. It may be right for you, it might not be. That’s why I created the video below.

Listen and if it is for you, sign up at


By the way be sure to visit my new blog,  its at


[tags]powerstart2010, internet marketing, internet marketing training, Doug Champigny[/tags]

Puzzle Piece Pi

Pi is a printers term for when a job case full of individual letters used for setting up a page to be printed is spilled and all the a, e, i, o, u’s together with all the consonants both lower case and capital are mixed together. A frightful mess.

Internet marketing can be like that as well.  There are a lot of ways to do internet marketing and a lot of individual pieces.   Because internet marketing is not a single thing, but rather a system of multiple pieces put together in an ordered sequence.

What makes it most confusing for people is that there are a lot of different models you could follow.  And many of the different models use some of the same parts, but none require that you use everything.

This causes confusion for people when they are trying to learn the business. They are often tempted to buy a product for a part that they don’t really need, or maybe will need, but not until they have mastered another part of the puzzle they may not even be aware of yet.

My family likes puzzles and we got three new ones for Christmas, all of which were 500 piece puzzles from the same maker and very similar in the way the pieces were cut.

Unfortunately, while everyone was busy visiting my grand daughter dumped the contents of all three puzzles on the floor creating puzzle piece pi.  If putting one of the puzzles together was challenging, imagine how challenging it was to do three at once.

We tried to create borders to frame the puzzle, but pieces from puzzle A seemed to fit with pieces from Puzzle B and C. It was a real nightmare.

Eventually over a week, the dinning room table, the kitchen table and a dresser top, we were able to get it done, but it took much longer than it should have.

My guess is that same thing is happening with your internet marketing education. You are spending time leaning stuff you don’t need right now, trying to get it pieced together with a different strategy you think will work for you in the long run.

Why do I think that, because that’s what happened to me. I bought a ton of stuff, and found myself going in a half dozen different directions. It wasn’t until I accidentally ran into Doug Champigny at the right time. He was putting together a mentoring group he called Team Champigny. That was a little over 15 months ago.

It’s made all the difference in the world to me.  Before I was spending more than I was making online. I lost a small fortune trying to make pay per click work for me.  My only understanding of one time offers, was that I hated them because I kept buying them. I had no idea how to connect the dots.

I’ve broken through many barriers since then, learned to create my own products, learned how to promote other peoples products, built a list and much more.

Now I’m not where I want to be yet, this is an ongoing journey and always will be for me, and for you if you are going to be truly successful. After all success is in the journey.  But if you are going to step up and start that journey, you really and truly need to have a solid coherent game plan.

Next month, my mentor and friend Doug Champigny is starting a new professional internet coaching sequence, a 4 week high intensity power-start.

Now Doug is definitely a high intensity fellow, so be aware that you will need to be prepared to take action. But if you are, if you really want to break through and make this internet thing a source of wealth for you and your family, then you owe it to yourself to grab this opportunity.  If on the other hand, you are looking for someone to molly coddle you forward, and hand you wealth on a silver platter, save your money.

When Doug say high intensity he means it. And if you are up to the challenge, you will succeed a lot faster and go a lot further if only because you will be putting together one puzzle, and better yet a puzzle that has all the pieces you need, if you know what I mean.

Doug has made a real difference in my life and he will yours as well.

Get your decade off on a solid footing with Professional Internet Marketing Coaching

PS: The next post in my niche marketing – market research series will be posted on Sunday.

Breaking Barriers Starting with Basic HTML

Learning how to use the internet is not easy.

Despite the claims of all the eBook peddlers selling their alchemists stones, the reality is that there are many barriers to success online.

There is much to learn.  And it appears to never end. At least I still have a variety of hurdles yet to overcome.  I have made some progress though, and will in the next several posts here discuss how I made it over some of the hurdles that may still be holding you back.

These will be pretty basic for some of you, and for others hopefully just what you are looking for.

The first discussion is HTML.  The code that sits behind much of the web.

I am not a programmer, and have no desire to become one. But as I got serious about establishing a presence online it soon became clear to me that I needed to learn at least some basics.

You can get by not knowing HTML by using various WYSIWYG services to design, highlight, bold etc you text and even insert images. But as time goes on, you will eventually come to the place where you will want to learn how to create anchor text, insert photos, create ordered lists, etc. by the use of HTML.

If you are depending on “your computer guy” to make tweaks to your pages, a lot of tweaks end up not getting made, or get made wrong as a result of the time lag and communication barriers. When you can do it yourself, you are freer to make changes, and then change things back. And that ability to tweak a page is critical to your success in the long run.

I found myself looking things up on Google, which worked well. But my retention of information wasn’t very good.  And it seemed that there were actually too many places to get free help. All arranged differently, all with a different level of assumed prior knowledge.

In my case, I did not really break through until I came across the chance to acquire rights to a short ebook called HTML in Simple Terms. I originally got it for my own use. Over past few years I have given it away and or sold it to almost a thousand different people.

I printed a copy of it out, and keep it by my computer, and use it as a quick reference. As time went on, I learned the bulk of the material by doing it over and over again.

I may be old style yet. But I have found it easier to look up items on paper.  It seems easier to find my place again, when I am going back to double check things.

HTML in Simple Terms will walk you through the steps needed to create your own web page. It explains basic tags, how to add links, work with images, using tables, setting up meta tags, using fonts and colors.

I still don’t know it all. But I know I can find it when I need it, as my copy is always handy. That’s what I like best about having my own copy. I know where it is when I want it.

I am selling copies of this useful text at HTML Guide

Getting to the Top of the Search Engines

What’s a top listing on Google worth?

Whether you are a home stager in Philadelphia or a shoe store in Omaha, or a Dentist in Los Angeles, getting your business to the top of local search engine results can make a significant difference to your profitability.

How much more traffic does the top listing get, compared to the number two listing? I don’t know. It varies. But I have seen estimates that claim the top listing can expect from 1.5 to 3 times as many visitors compared to the number 2 listing. These same estimates suggest that the number three listing gets roughly the same drop off compared to the number two listing.

What’s that mean in numbers?

Say on a given day or week, 100 people search for “Chiropractors in Minneapolis,” the odds are that 95 of them will look at the top listing. (Count on 5% doing something else)

If the ratio of drop offs is one and a half – on the low end of the above estimate, that means about 63 people would see the second listing and just 42 the third listing.

What’s that mean to your business?

Fewer eyes on your website results in fewer eventual conversions, which is marketing talk for sales. No matter how effective your web site is, it can’t create customers out of people that don’t see it.

Now some web sites convert better than others. And just getting a lot of traffic isn’t a substitute for having a web site that produces, but that is another topic. The first objective is to get eyes on the page. Then we will worry about getting those eyes to do something.

If that first website is a dog, the second one will see more traffic as a result. If it’s great, the second site may see even less traffic, as it scoops up all the business right then and there. This and many other factors may affect the actual drop off in your market, for your specific keywords.

The bottom line is that there is a drop off, and it matters to you and your business whether you are on top or not.

Now, what if you are no where near the top? Your web site can still be useful if your drive traffic to it by other advertising efforts. So don’t give up on your site. But there may be ways to climb from page 3 or 23 to the top in many markets, once you learn a few of the tricks to search engine optimization.

For many locally based businesses, getting on the first page of the search engine listings is very doable. The reason I say that is because the majority of your competitors don’t understand search engine optimization either. If you follow me and this series, and apply what I will be sharing with you, most of you will be able to make some significant progress.

Just for the sport of it, pick one keyword you would like to rank for in your market. In the example above I used, Chiropractor in Minneapolis. Find one appropriate to your business and market. Now go to Google or MSN or which ever search engine you use and figure out where you web site is. Write it down.

At the end of this series, I’d love to hear from those of you who made the greatest progress. If you’re already number one, don’t get too comfortable, one of your competitors may be reading this and planning on overtaking you.

The internet has changed, Davids of the world its your turn!

While we were sleeping, the internet changed.

Well, actually we knew it would. We saw it do so. In fact we have all been fully involved in the new wave that has now for years been called web 2.0.

But have we stopped to pay attention to the power it has given us?  Not me. At least not until I got my copy of Mike Paetzold’s new releaste, Authority 2.0.

You see, I have been content to be a little guy. And while I wouldn’t typically admit it, a bit intimidated by the Goliaths of the internet world. The huge mega sites, that draw in hundreds of thousands, even millions of visitors on a daily basis.

I’ve been shopping for the tiny niches, the crumbs no one else would bother to care about. How about you?

In my post yesterday, I talked about hitting singles. And frankly, I like hitting singles.  But wouldn’t it be nice to get that occasional home run?

Well home run hitting requires a bit of training, and this new ebook by Mike Paetzold is just the ticket.

It spells out what it takes to plan and execute the creation of a genuine authority site. The top dog within your chosen niche. Where you are not just one of the players but the recognized industry leader.

And the surprising secret, is that the tools that have evolved over the past few years, the web 2.0 we have all been immersed in; have made the process simple enough that even us little Davids and Diannes can create a powerful authority site.  One that once took a wallet and a sizable staff.

In this 159 page document, Mikes lays out a clear path to niche dominance using the social networking tools that surround us. The pathway he draws is clear and surprisingly doable.

A blueprint to success this well assembled should cost an arm and a leg, but that’s not Mike’s style. In fact, he even included master resale rights to this game changer of a document. But you must be one of the first 100 to grab the book, if you want them.

If you are able to dream big, if you like to aim for the wall, grab your bat, and grab a copy of Authority 2.0.

Now one last comment. Not everyone is a Babe Ruth or Harmon Killebrew.  Some of us would give our eye teeth to be a Tony Oliva, (Age and georgraphy hint) The beauty of this ebook is that even if you decide not to go for the home run and set up an authority site, much of what you will learn here will apply to your other sites. They may give you just that extra kick to stretch some of your singles into doubles, and that’s not a bad outcome at all. Authority 2.0.

Niche Blogs and Web Sites are Ideal for Home Gamers

Much of what I write about here is oriented to the “Bricks and Mortar” business person, but the Micro Business Specialist is a “Big Tent.” concept and particularly includes one person shops staking out a claim via the internet.

For a few home run hitters, the internet is a place to dominate a field. To be the top guru in pay per click, or Adsense or Article writing etc. And then to make millions selling how to books to all of us wanna bees.

A better strategy for most, is to strive to become good a just getting hits. Singles will do nicely if you can string enough of them together. And one of the best ways to get hits consistently is with niche marketing.

I have two suggestions today. One for those of you already aware of the power of niches, and a second for those who may still be getting their feet on the ground here in the less than solid cyber fields.

First the immediate and urgent. It’s one thing to identify a niche, its another to fill that niche with useful material.

One of the best shortcuts is to find and use quality private label material. Private label material is like the store brand of green beans at your local grocery store. It may have the stores label on it, but it was grown and packaged by someone else.

This is done everyday in many fields including article research and writing. You have all heard of ghost writers. Private Label Rights is the term used to describe articles and even books that have been ghost written, and are available for you to use.

Some are PLR material is better than others and some niches are better than others. I will return to this topic again. But I want to share with you my most recent niche and the source of material I will be using. Because if you hurry, you too can grab on of the few remaining rights packages.

The niche is aroma therapy. Aroma therapy is a sweet smelling niche. It’s been around for thousands of years and will likely be around for the foreseeable future. It’s also a niche that isn’t over saturated. That’s why the recent release of a quality PLR package on the subject is worth more than passing attention.

There are a lot of ways to build a successful online enterprise. But one of the surest is to focus on niche markets, and create internet properties that serve those niches. When you can find a quality PLR product that fills a niche you have a tremendous head start.

Doug Champigny, who is a PLR master if ever there was one, has just released an Aroma Therapy package. It includes a 50 page ebook that you can sell as your own, a set of ten articles and ten podcasts of those articles. It also includes a set of graphics you can use and a blank set that you can edit to rename the eBook to your own title.

You could have these added to a web site or blog in short order and add adsense ads, click bank products and a wide number of related products from elsewhere.

Now word to the wise, you will have much more success with this if you rework the content to make it your own. I spent a chunk of my yesterday doing just that. I reworked each of the articles into my own words. It wasn’t difficult as the material was well written. In the process I learned a lot about the topic, which is a plus.

I bought a new domain name, www.aromatherapyscents.com which I will launch as a wordpress blog site in the very near future. I will offer the eBook for sale and provide useful information in the form of the 10 articles on Aroma Therapy that were included in the package.

I will probably add Adsense ads on the site and offer a set of additional products from a select few of the hundreds of aroma therapy and related companies that offer affiliate programs. I will also set up a Google Alert for the term Aroma Therapy and monitor what comes my way. That should allow me to add relevant material to the blog format as time goes on.

I’m slow, and I have many diverse tasks on my daily schedule, so this may take me a few days to get set up to the point I like. But once done, I will have an internet property that will attract visitors and sales for years to come. That is what I call a single. Now if it gets really hot, and I discover that I am getting a lot of traffic I may try to stretch it into a double, but I will take a look at that once I round first.

Now heads up, Doug Champigny the author of the PLR Package on Aroma Thearpy is no fool, and he restricts his PLR material to just 100 copies. That way the internet doesn’t get over saturated with the stuff. This works to my advantage, and yours if you decide to jump on this bandwagon.

But you need to grab your copy today. This one is already largely gone. There’s a growing group of folk who grab Doug’s stuff as soon as it’s issued and run with it. I’m one of them and I think you should be too.

Go to http://askearlabout.com/champignyAromaTherapy.php

Now if this is all new to you, let me suggest that their are dozens of people who teach bits and pieces of this approach. I’ve spent tons of money over the years on eBooks and courses that covered various parts of the whole. Sometimes the parts meshed together with one another, and other times  they didn’t. They almost always had a hole, sometimes a big hole when it came to implementation of the theory being taught.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve become such a fan of the Niche Profits Classroom. If you are still struggling to find your way online, they have an extremely comprehensive training program and some cutting edge tactics that will get you up and running in the right direction fast.

I don’t know if it’s the best such training resource out there or not. It may be. It is certainly the best I have encountered, and rather than charging $1,000’s you can access it for a small monthly fee, take what you need and leave. They have a huge array of videos that walk you through the steps to almost everything you need to know. And they share some top end secrets that will make your head spin.

So in this relatively long post I have shared an immediate opportunity to grab great material for a lucrative niche, and my best recommendation on how to move forward online if you aren’t fully up to speed yet.

I hope you will take action on both.

Squidoo – Rank on Top Twice!

Squidoo – Rank on Top Twice! PodcastSquidoo – Rank on Top Twice!

Getting your web site to be top ranked on Google and the other search engines is a complicated task. Particularly, if you are one of many within a given market area.

A little known tool for many main street businesses is an internet portal called Squidoo.

It’s similar in many ways to sites like Facebook, and Myspace in that it allows people to create a web presence easily, but unlike the aforementioned, it unabashedly permits commercialization.  That means you can put up sites that advertise your business.

The easiest way to do so is to reuse much of the content you have on your web page now.  Just rephrase and reorient it to fit the new medium.

Squidoo calls it’s pages, lens.  There are a group of modules that you can create and edit in minutes once you get the hang of their system.  There are a lot of interesting things you can do with the various modules. The main thing you want to do is use your Squidoo lens as additional advertising tool for your services and as a funnel to send traffic to your main web site.

The most critical point when setting up your first lens is what you call it.

If you are a butcher in Minneapolis, you want to do some keyword research as to the best term to use for your market. It may be “butcher”, it may be “quality meats”, it may be any number of things.  What ever it is, you want your first lens to use the best of the picks and then add the words, “in Minneapolis” or what ever the top geographical term is in your market. Then after you set up a lens,  “Quality Meats in Minneapolis” set up another for “Best Brats in Minneapolis.”   Since Squidoo is free, there is no reason for you to not set up multiple Lens on your best keyword phrases.

If you do, you will often find that your Squidoo len(s) will get higher ranking than your own web page, even if you have optimized your web sites meta tags geographically, as I do for my clients.

That’s because Squidoo itself has a high PR or page rank in the eyes of Google.

Now what you want to do is include links in your Squidoo Lens to your web site’s home page.  This helps raise your web sites ranking in Google’s eyes as well.

It sees Squidoo as an “authority” site and gives more credence to links coming from it.

There is a lot more to internet marketing than just having a web site.  That’s what keeps internet marketing consultants like me in business.

While Squidoo is easy to use, like everything, there is a learning curve.  Once you master the basic mechanics you also need to learn the strategies to make it work for your particular needs.  There are a number of eBooks about Squidoo out there.  I publish one called Squidoo Basics. It is a general introduction to Squidoo.

There are other formats beyond Squidoo, like Hub Pages, but Squidoo is probably the best place to start building a broader internet presence.  To get started all you need do is open an account at www.Squidoo.com

In due course, you will not only get your web site on the top of the Google Rankings in your home town, you will also have a Squidoo page there as well.  When prospects see you listed not once, but twice, in the top of the local listings, they will begin to understand that you are the person to go to locally for home staging services.

And that’s where I intend my clients to be.  On top of their local markets.

Money Word Matrix- An internet marketing idea you should steal.

Normally, I focus this blog on internet marketing tools that can be adapted by offline businesses. Last Friday, I came across a new approach to finding relevant keywords that amazed me in terms of its simplicity and power.  The technique is called the Money words matrix.  Two very successful young marketers discovered and refined the technique.  It has ton’s of applicability to many offline businesses.

They gave the idea away for free as part of a series of promotional videos for a new membership site they have opened.  The site is designed for folk who are looking to build an internet business, and in today’s economy that’s a lot of people.

On the strength of their free promotional videos, they had their new membership site explode.  They initially hoped to attract 250 people, within a 2 weeks they had 1500. I am one.

They just plain have a solid approach to internet marketing that will work for a lot of people. But whether you are interested in finding a new way to make money online or not, you have to check out their Money Word Matrix.  It will transform the way you think about keywords and keyword advertising. Whether you are primarily an on or offline business.

Now that is covered in the second of their promotional videos, so you will need to sit through the first as well. But I think you will find that interesting too.  (Even if you’ve never met a Beta Fish before.)

Click on the banner below and relax, listen and learn. Be sure to sign up for the second video, and be blown away.  I was.  You may even decide to join the Niche Marketing Classroom.  Like I said, I did.

Which is Worse no Meta Tag Keywords or the Wrong Ones?

This afternoon I am giving my short version of my “trade show as web pages” talk to the board of a local business group. My goal is to find additional speaking opportunities where I can present to larger audiences of business people. Because as my report says, I think most small business web pages stink!

In preparation for the meeting, I checked the web site of the host location as well as the associations meta tags. I offer businesses a free worthwhile tip just for listening to my pitches and felt I should offer the same to these good people as well.

It turns out the association had no keywords or site description in their meta tags at all.

But perhaps even worse was the host locations web site. It is a private housing facility offering student housing. Its meta tag keywords were totally irrelevant to its web site and mission. It included keywords of voting, survey, course evaluations, census, segmentation, and others that clearly were intended for a totally different site.

Presumably someone copied a desirable format as a template and plunked the residence halls content on someone else’s framework.

I’m not sure which is worse to have no keywords or bad ones. What do you think. I’d appreciate any comments you might have as I will probably use it as a bad example in future presentations. I will of course keep the people involved secret so as not to embarrass anyone.

As I spend more and more time looking at local business web sites, I find such omissions and or errors are not uncommon. Usually, people just plain have ineffective keywords.

Some will argue that meta tags don’t matter, but they would be wrong. While Google may spend less attention to them than in the past, a good 40% of all computer searches still use other search engines that do.

Outside the internet marketing niche’s internal wars, most main street businesses are too busy getting product out the door and struggling to meet payroll to worry about meta tags. Their web pages are built by their son’s or nephews of techies who may know how to put a page together but are clueless about how to market.

No wonder most small businesses are disappointed with their web pages. They don’t get the traffic they should, and then when they do get traffic, most people don’t seem to do anything.

In the resources section of this blog, I offer a report for sale called HTML in Simple Terms. It’s only $9.97 and well worth the price if only to get the information on pages 16-18 on Using Meta Tags.

My guess is that over 80% of all small business web sites need work in this area alone.

This Might Not Be Appropriate for You

This might not be appropriate for you.

But rather than deciding that for you, I feel obligated to share it with you. Then you can decide.

As you know, I am a big believer in the maxim, “Give and you shall receive.”

That’s why I promote Giveaway Events, and products like Jeff Dedrick’s Instant Bonus Pages.

Now while I have benefited from participating in Giveaway events, the organizer of such events does way better.  They end up with everyone on their list.  Contributors and Members. And they know which contributors promoted the events and which sat on their hands.

Think about the power of that.

Now, Imagine you were the promoter. Not in internet marketing where a new Giveaway event launches every other day, but in your niche.  Whether that niche is online or offline, you could take the same free giveaway idea and over night build a massive list of both people interested in the niche and joint venture partners who you can work with to mutual benefit.

Now I said overnight, and the truth is it won’t actually happen overnight. It will take effort and a strategy and follow through.

Frankly, I don’t know if you have the vision and maxi to make it happen.  Now I’m not saying you don’t. I’m saying I don’t know if you do.  Do you?

Well to make it happen, it will take that maxi, some determination and a workable plan. And that’s the reason for today’s post.

Jason James has just released his “Giveaway Riches” Manual.  This is your key to unlocking the locked door that is holding your back.

If you access this material and put the plan into action, you will be able to use the power of the Giveaway to catapult yourself into a dominant position in whatever your niche market is.

The cost of this key is only $37 during launch week, which began today Tuesday February 3, 2009 at noon EST.  The price will be going up next week and then again the following week.

If you have been exploring internet marketing while working in another niche or job, imagine the power of being the first to bring to your field the power of the giveaway.  This is the type of technology – the type of idea – that can take a 1or two person company to the top of the heap.  By passing the established “Old Style” firms virtually overnight.

Do you have the guts to transform your industry?

Those who accept the dare and take action will be winners.

The innovators who lead their sector, their industry, their niche out of the current economic downturn.

They will be the ones others will marvel at and wonder how they managed to become so successful overnight.

And the answer to that question will be, as it always is… you had a plan and you took action.

Now I still don’t know if you are up to this.  Frankly I have my doubts. But if you are go to Giveaway Riches

Do You Need More Than One Web Site?

Within the internet marketing world, people have ten’s and hundreds of web sites. Each with a different URL and each targeted to a specific niche or purpose. That permits each web site to be addressed to a particular audience. And since the site is targeted, so too are the keywords, which means these sites tend to rank higher than if they were attempting to be all things to all people.

Off line businesses and those firms operating online in niche arenas should consider whether or not they too would benefit from multiple web sites.

I will once again use my friends in the Home Staging Industry as an example of a situation where two web sites may make a lot more sense that one.

If you go to most home stagers web sites you will see that they are primarily directed to the home owner. But if you were to survey home stagers as I have done, you will see that most of them market not to home owners but to Realtors, who they hope will refer home sellers to them.

This means the Home Staging company has two different marketing objectives. One is to convince realtors that they can help sell a home faster and for more money, and the second is to convince the home owner that they can help sell a home for more money and faster.   While it appears to be the same objective, it’s not.

For the home stager, the sale to the individual home owner is critically important, but represents just one sale.  The sale to the Realtor, might not in itself win any direct business, but represents a series of prospective future business.

Home stagers offer two primary benefits to their customers,  faster sales and higher price.  While both are important to home sellers and to Realtors, the relative ranking between the two vary.  A home owner is more likely to be impressed with the prospects of a higher price, as any such higher price will help pay for the services they are being asked to cover.  For a Realtor, the higher price may mean a marginal improvement to their commission.  More important to them, is the speed with which a home sells, so they can go on to the next.

Now while both share same objectives their motivations differ.  To be most efective, the sales pitch to either market should lead off with their primary motivation. That in turn calls for two web pages, and two marketing pitches.

This is going to be true for any business that markets to distributors as well as final customers. And probably many more circumstances as well.

How about your business. Do you have multiple audiences you are marketing to?

If so, you really should be thinking in terms of multiple rifle shots rather than a blunderbust shotgun spread.

Most businesses try to accomplish this with multiple pages on one web sie.  And this may be an adequate compromise in some cases, but it is always a compromise, and an opportunity for a competitor to step in and out compete you.

One objection has been the need to buy multiple domain names and hosting accounts. And while this is a pound wise penny foolish objection, the fact is that with the right hosting service there is no need to pay any more to host a second, third, fourth, or even twentieth web site.

It would take me a while to sit down and even count the total number of web sites I have. And they are all on one account. And that account costs me less than $25 a month. I use HostGator

They offer me the opportunity to have an unlimited number of web sites on one account and enough bandwith to cover my needs and that of most small business people. These can be readily stepped up should my increased use of video require a future adjustment.

I mention the hosting problem, as just one barrier to having multiple sites.  A second site, probably means reworking the first and then adding the second. This will take some site design work and of course that entails a one time expense.  But the final result is a more clearly targeted marketing campaign, and better marketing results.

I would have two “ethical bribes,” one each on each of the two new web sites to build a separte email list of prospective home owners and Realtors.  Using my home staging example, I might offer a report on how to de-clutter your home on the web site directed to homeowners, and a different report on how to discuss home staging with your clients on the Realtor Oriented Web Site.

The prepackaged follow-up messages would be distinctly targeted as well.

It’s important to clarify your marketing objectives, and then to develop approriate marketing tools such as web sites and autoresponder porgrams to meet those objectives over time. If you need three web sites, you should have three.

What do you need?

Auto Responders: The Magic Pill to Transform Your Web Site

The key component required to transform your current static web site into a marketing tool, is your auto responder. The service I use and recommend is Aweber, www.BuildRelationships.aweber.com . It is by far the preferred service, and is used by most of the internet marketers I know.

While it’s possible to have a programmer develop an auto responder service on your own web site, using a professional service makes a lot more sense in the long run. First, it’s cheap. Rates will vary depending on how much traffic you generate, but as of my writing this, most small businesses will be able to start for well under $25 a month, even less if you take advantage of their annual payment plans.

There are a couple of things you should understand. Aweber uses what’s called a double opt in system. What this means is that when a person signs up to be on your mailing list, they are actually signing up on a form you create at BuildRelationships.aweber.com. Once Aweber gets their initial message, they send out a confirmation message to the email address registered. This asks your new subscriber to confirm that they want to be on your list. Your new list member must confirm, or they will not be included.

This accomplishes two things. First, it keeps people from putting in phony email addresses, just to get your free report. And more importantly, it serves to protect you against spam complaints when people register someone else’s legitimate email address instead of their own.

Aweber is a known entity in the internet marketing world, and it’s well known they use this double opt in system. Thus the folks who monitor and prosecute SPAM complaints are far less likely to raise any issues with you, even when someone forgets they signed up for your list and complains. This avoids problems you don’t need.

In addition to the double opt in feature, they automatically insert both an automatic “opt-out” link and your legal address at the bottom of each of your messages. This means you will always be compliant with the anti Spam laws, and your subscriber knows that they can stop your emails whenever they want. Best yet, if your subscriber decides they want to stop, all they have to do is click the link and it’s done automatically. You don’t need to be involved at all.

These peace of mind features make the monthly fee more than worthwhile by themselves.

But you get a lot more than peace of mind. Aweber offers a lot of features, more than I can cover here now. But lets lay out a few, for the sake of clarity.

First, you can have multiple lists, at no extra charge. You can have a list for those people who sign up on your web site. You can have another list for people who sign up because you add, an invitation to do so on you cash register receipt or invoice forms.

This may make sense as a way to conduct separate conversations with prospective customers who are first finding you online, as opposed to the conversation you want to have with people who are existing customers.

You may also want to use this capability to focus on different product lines. Say you are a restaurant that also does catering. You might have a sub list for the catering business in addition to a primary list that promotes your weekly or monthly specials.

This ability to run multiple lists is a great asset. It allows you to have multiple conversations going on, with multiple people at the same time. All on autopilot.

There is one more basic concept to get across regarding auto responders. There are two types of basic messages. The first is the follow-up message. These are written and stored in the system and are sent automatically once a person signs up for your list. The first one goes out immediately once they have confirmed that they want to be on the list. Then you can pre-schedule any number of additional lists as you wish. Depending on your particular needs, you may want to send a second message three days after they get the first one, and then maybe another in 3-5 days, and then weekly thereafter.

Some people set up mini courses on topics of interest to their customers. A Liquor store may for example create a series of posts on wines, or the characteristics of different beers they sell. A restaurant, may do recipes or cooking tips, etc. The key thing about follow-up messages is that they should be “Evergreen.” With any luck people will be signing up to your list every day from now till the end of time. You want messages that make sense no matter the time of year. So event though it may be Spring, when you are writing you messages, eventually it will be winter when someone joins your list. All of these follow-up messages are sent sequentially based on the number of days since the person signed up on your list. So on any given day you will have message 1 going out to newly signed up people, message 3 going out to people who signed up last week, and message 14 going out to people who maybe signed up four months ago.

The second type of message is the Broadcast. This is sent to all people no matter when they signed up. This type of message is ideal for sending out messages about this week’s specials, of attractions for the coming month, or holiday greetings. If you are a dentist and want to let your patients know to schedule their appointments prior to you upcoming two week vacation cruise, you send them a broadcast message six weeks in advance and then again periodically up until you send them a message on who to contact in case of an emergency.

The best part of this, is that you can pre-schedule broadcast messages. Thus if you want, you can send a Happy New Years message for exactly at midnight next year right now.

If you have a three month advertising plan, you can schedule all your broadcasts for the coming three months at one time, and then forget about it. The messages will be sent automatically, and your customers will get you messages and respond and it won’t cost you any more than the cost of your auto responder and the time to write the messages.

There are other more advanced features available once you have you system up and running. For example you can do split testing to see which of your ads get a better response, and there are ways to tie your blog posts into the process and even pod casts. But such services are beyond the scope of this report.

Again the service I recommend is www.BuildRelationships.aweber.com.

They offer a series of helpful tutorials which should be more than adequate to get you up and running in no time. I am also available to assist you. Contact me at enetwal@gmail.com.

Most Business Web Pages StinK! Free Download Now

I just completed my newest report, called “Most Business Web Pages StinK!” subtitled, Web Sites are like Trade Shows.  Readers of this blog will soon realize this is a recompilation of five previous blog posts on the Trade Show theme. The current version is number 1.2, I am working on 1.3 which will be revisions after my wife gets done proof reading it, and a resources section at the end.

I intend to use this as an eye opener for hopefully thousands of small business people. In these tough economic times it only makes sense to better utilize all of our existing resources such as our web sites.

And since upgrading them is not difficult or expensive, it makes even more sense.

Let me know if you need my help.