Posted by enetwal on Jan 16, 2011
I bet you have taken the time to search for your businesses web site on Google just to see where it ranked. When you searched for it by name using your url or most of the words of your domain name it probably did pretty well. However if you are a bakery, and search for “Bakeries”, the odds are that you are in the nether regions of the 13,900,000 listings.
A lot of small business people have given up on their websites as a result of this apparent invisibility. The gallop to the internet was all the rage before and after the dot com bust. However, for most small businesses, it has had little if any positive effects for their business.
The alternative that was easiest to figure out was to buy pay per click ads. They cost money, but at least they had an active prospect on the other end – usually. When some one did click on the ads, they were shown your offer and either did or didn’t buy.
At first a lot of keywords were real cheap, as little as a dime or less. Some still do, but many clicks these days run from $2-5 each and some go well beyond that into the $20 -$50 each and even much higher. You really need to know what you are doing to spend that type of money. And yet it can be well worth it.
Initially the pay per click ads were on the right side of the “organic” listings. The term organic listings refers to the free information that Google would find relevant to a searchers keywords. These free organic listings are the target we are shooting for when we try to get a top Google listing. Eventually, Google added some ads on the top of the left side as well, but we are still referring to the top organic listings.
When thinking about the value of this top organic spot, we can compare the value by looking at the equivalent cost of the top ads for the same search term.
It would cost $25 for 100 clicks to the advertiser. And this would be the equivalent value for 100 clicks on any of the organic searches.
Thus if a business were to get their organic site listed so that it got a hundred clicks a day, that listing would be worth the equivalent of $25 a day to them.
Now multiply this out for higher pay per click rates of say $2-5 each or much higher. Some keywords get a lot of searches every day, and this could multiply the value. The term “dog training” for example gets over a half million searches every month in the US alone. Dog training is a competitive word that would cost you $2.44 on average if you wanted to get the maximum pay per click volume for it. According to Google’s Traffic Estimator, if you were the top advertiser, you would expect to get 358 people clicking on your add every day, costing you $895.28. [Note that estimate of 358 people is 2% of the daily traffic.] (550,000 / 30 / 358) = 2%]
On the surface this would seem to indicate that have a top organic listing for Dog Training on Google would be worth almost $900 a day, assuming that the top listing got the same number of clicks as did the top ad.
It does not.
It probably gets a lot more.
Some time ago, as many as a fourth of all visitors would click on one on the ads on they typical results page. Recently, that number is closer to 18%
Industry experts suggest that a whopping 43% of people will click on the top organic result. This is significant.
It is even more significant when we understand that the percentage of people clicking on ads means those clicking on any of the ads.
Thus the top organic search result is getting between 8 and 22 times as many clicks as the top pay per click ad!
Calculating the results for our Dog Training example where the pay per click ad was worth about $900 a day, our top ranked listing should be worth roughly anywhere from 7 to 20 thousand dollars!
And that is why, getting to the top of Google’s Organic search is so valuable. As a result a whole new consulting industry has emerged to deal with this potential for value creation. Getting a listing to the top of the search engines is a worthy goal.
There are some additional caveats that need to be taken into account, but the central thrust of the above still holds true. People who choose the ads may for example be more actively looking to make a purchase compared to those who click the organic results who may be more interested in getting information.
Being the top organic listing may be meaningless, if the page people are taken to does not result in a desired action, etc.
That said, it should be obvious that getting a top organic search result is worthwhile.
[tags]Google, google Ranking, Organic Search value, top organic search, SEO, SEO Value, Why do SEO, Search Engine Optimization, pay per click[/tags]
Posted by enetwal on Jan 15, 2011
If you are thinking about the marketing plan for your business, one of the key things to think about is the long term value of your average new customer. Finding new customers is one of the primary functions of your marketing plan, but not the only. What is a new customer worth?
The profit you make from their first purchase may be negligible compared to the value of all the future purchases they may make. If a barber had a new customer who came in once, teh value would be that one haircut. If that person came in once a month, the annual worth of that customer would be tweve times as much.
If they get their hair cut every two weeks, they are worth twice as much. If they stay with you for five years on average, because most people in your market area move every five years, you can multiply that total by five to get your lifetime value.
Now not everyone will keep coming back forever. Thus you need to temper your estimates of life time value with a realistic understanding of your own past performance. Recognizing that people will leave is a critical reason to make sure you are constantly marketing to attact new customers. We will talk about this in another post.
If your product cost more than a haircut, that value is correspondingly greater. If your customer buys only once or twice a year or once or twice a lifetime, it could be lower.
Now there are several reasons to evaluate this concept of life time value. First, it can help you justify the money you spend on your marketing efforts.
It also is useful to stimulate your thinking about how you might be able to increase their lifetime value. For example, what can you do to extend their lifetime? Can you develop a personal relationship so they still come back for their haircut even after they move to new suburb in your metro area? Building loyalty by way of building a strong relationship is one way of extending the life time value.
If you can find ways to get people to spread the word, through positive reviews, outright referrals or just positve word of mouth, you have added to their value. Any new business they send is worth at least as much as you now have to pay to recruit a new customer. And probably more, as the new customer is already warmed up to you.
There is also the upsell. After a while our barber may increase the periodic sales value by adding a shave to the visit. You may design your business around offering an entry value or deal and then move customers to higher level or services as they build trust and familiarity.
Getting a new customer in the door is the hard part. Once you have them, assuming you treat them well, it is easier to get them to make their second and subsequent purchases.
When considering your marketing campaign you want to focus on both. As you put together your long term business and marketing plans be sure to keep the idea of each customers lifetime value to your business front and center.
[tags] Lifetime value,marketing tips,new customers,life time value,customer worth,marketing plan,marketing[/tags]
Posted by enetwal on Mar 31, 2009
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.
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.
Posted by enetwal on Mar 28, 2009
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.
Posted by enetwal on Mar 2, 2009
In another sign of the times, it appears that more and more people are searching the internet to find coupons before making pruchases. This has lead to an increase in the number of blogs catering to “Frugal Mom’s.” This has been noted lately by the Wall Street Journal, Minyanville, and even the Financial Times of London.
Coupons are certainly one way to attract customers, and they definitely have their place as part of an overall marketing strategy. But coupons can be expensive, when the cost of distributing the coupon is added to the coupon cost itself.
And while a coupon may bring in a few new customers, most are probably redeemed by existing customers who may well appreciate the coupon, but probably indirectly thank their local newspaper for the freebie and not the merchant.
To the extent store sponsored coupons are involved, it makes far more sense for these to be distributed to exisiting customers as part of a loyalty campaign designed to get customers to return to the store on otherwise slow days, and or to increase the total size of purchase by the customer.
Rather than spending money on distribution, these coupons should be distributed via email to a list of customers built over time.
But not every email promotion need be a coupon. Instead, features on particular products can entice buyers to try new items, or return for old favorites and can be used to attract traffic almost as well as a coupon.
Posted by enetwal on Feb 10, 2009
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.
Posted by enetwal on Feb 7, 2009
Have you ever passed by a blank billboard on a backwater highway with a 1-800 number on it? Or perhaps one saying, “Your message here?” I have, but it’s been a while since the last time. Mostly I suspect, because I seldom venture off the main freeways in my normal travels these days.
In past years, I did a bit more traveling to smaller towns in out-state Minnesota and Wisconsin and I would see a fair number of them. Mostly on roads that used to be the main thoroughfare in the pre-freeway era. I suspect a good many of them still exist.
In those traveling days I used to consult with towns and counties on how to attract businesses to their communities. Today, I consult with businesses on how to attract customers. Same business, different focus.
A billboard is a marketing device some businesses use to attract customers. It’s like a display ad in a newspaper or magazine. It provides a graphic image and perhaps some keywords to people who happen to be passing by. On the highway, in their cars. In the newspaper or magazine as one’s eyes pass from one article or story to the next, one page to the next.
They have a hard job to do. They need to make an impression on your conscious or sub conscious mind quickly. It must be the sub conscious the advertiser is aiming for because there are very few such images that ever really capture my conscious mind’s attention.
Now as a kid, I remember the old Burma Shave signs because they were different and funny. I remember a number of teaser campaigns over the years that had me guessing as to what was coming next, but I can’t remember what any of them were about at the moment. I admit that I do notice some of the new billboard campaigns from time to time when they change along one of my regular routes. But I don’t remember ever buying something because I saw a billboard, do you?
My uncle Urban had a billboard on the highway from the Minneapolis to St. Cloud where he had a butcher shop. The sign read, “Gaida’s Meats” with a sausage on on fork that protruded above the sign. It was a clever enough visual effect, breaking out of the box. I suspect he got at least occasional comments from customers in the store about it. Particularly when it was new. But I doubt it brought in any new customers. It may have, however, brought in a few more existing customers. Not because it made his product any more valuable, but because it created status. A sense of importance because everyone who lived in St Cloud saw it whenever they returned home from a trip to the cities.
In my uncle Urban’s eyes the sign wasn’t meant for people from Minneapolis that happened to be going to St Cloud, it was for people from St Cloud who happened to have traveled to the Twin Cities. They would be coming back on this road. And that’s where he placed his sign.
Now I’m talking about billboards today, because in many ways they are like a business website. The clever ones may catch my attention as I browse through many related sites online. But only if they are on the highway I am traveling. If I am on the freeway, and the web site is on a dusty county road, I will never see it. And no matter how cute, creative or otherwise inspired it may be, it may as well not exist at all. It may as well be blank. In my book, it’s not even worth a toll free call to find out how much someone wants to put my message on it.
When it comes to online advertising, far too many people have spent all their effort coming up with a great image and feel for their sites and not given any thought to whether to put their site on a freeway where it will be seen by thousands or on a dirt road where only the crows and gophers will see it.
On the internet, the way you get in front of the traffic from Minneapolis to St Cloud is to make sure the keywords in your meta tags put you on the right highway. In addition, you need to use those same keywords in your message – in the body of your web pages.
This is particularly easy for local businesses, and a bit more difficult for those who compete on a national scale.
If my uncle still had his butcher shop, I would encourage him to use St Cloud Butcher Shop, St. Cloud Meats, Saint Cloud Butcher Shop, Stearns County Butcher Shop, Benton County Butcher Shop, and Polish Sausage as just a handful of maybe several hundred keywords in his meta tags.
In fact, I would take every conceivable term like meat, sausage, etc., and pair it with every conceivable geographical term that people in the area might use to find what they were looking for in a computer search. I call such terms geographical long tail keywords. And they are designed to mimic the actual phrases people might type into their search engine. While they might type “sausage” the first time, when they see over 20 million responses they will quickly find a geographical term to narrow their search if they are looking for a place like my uncle’s where they can get good Polish sausage.
And yet if you look at most business web pages you will see terms like plumber, attorney, dentist, groceries, resort, bait, or what have you in their meta tags. Such keywords are worthless. But so too is having Minneapolis, or Saint Cloud, or New York.
As my frequent readers know, I have been working with the Home Staging Industry for the past 9 months or so. As I dug deeper into the keywords that people actually use, I have grown a list of 124 terms for the home staging industry. Most were fairly obvious, others less so. I have been offering a service to the industry where I concatenate the various keywords I have researched together with the relevant geographical modifiers for individual home stagers. It gets a bit tedious and time consuming. But the result has been a block of keywords that puts my client’s web pages on the internet freeway, while their competitors are advertising their business on the dusty back roads of the internet where no one goes.
Where do you want your billboard to be? If it’s appropriate for your business, follow my example and create a series of geographical long tail keywords. It will make a difference in how often your potential customers find you. It also will make it far more likely that you get top ranking for a keyword phrase when you are the only person who has taken the time and effort to include in in your keywords.
Don’t forget that you also want to incorporate as many of the major terms into the body of you text as well. So if you are a Homestager in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, make sure to say so in the text of your web page as well as in the meta tags.
Posted by enetwal on Feb 3, 2009
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
Posted by enetwal on Feb 1, 2009
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?
Posted by enetwal on Jan 26, 2009
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 email@example.com.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 24, 2009
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.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 21, 2009
So far, I haven’t found a single home staging web site with good keywords in the meta tags of their web site. In my search of web sites in South Minneapolis, I have found fewer than 1 in 20 that was even close to having effective keywords. In general, that’s true of most small businesses.
This is a big mistake, as the keyword placed in your web pages meta tags are what almost all the search engines other than Google uses to find web sites to display. And while Google may have the largest chunk of web search, they certainly don’t have it all.
That’s because most people are likely to use the search tool that comes with their computer. My wife for example has Yahoo on hers. While she may say she is going to “Google” something, she actually uses Yahoo. Yahoo uses meta tags. So does MSN, ASK and virtually everybody but Google.
I have been focusing on the Home Staging Industry for the last half year or so. As part of that effort I am trying to help these small businesses improve their web sites to first draw more traffic, and then get more of those people who do visit to do something.
I have created a base list of some ten dozen key words people often use to search for home stagers in their market. I add or subtract a few depending on the scope of service of the individual home stager, and then incorporate geographical elements to come up with a comprehensive set of what I call, “geographical long tail keywords.” These are the phrases people actually use to search for to find a business in their neighborhood. For a recent client in Virginia, I ended up with 599 keyword phrases. In time this should more than double the amount of traffic her web site receives.
Every locally based business should have a comprehensive set of geographically relevant keywords in their meta tags. This is the hidden code that the search engine “bots” see, but no one else does. Unfortunately most web site developers are techies, and not marketers, and they often don’t have a clue as to what they should put in there.
Depending on the industry sector, I can create a set of geographically tied keywords for as little as $75. I will review your web site for free, in advance to determine whether or not it’s needed in the first place. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 20, 2009
Generally, I don’t recommend businesses use monetization techniques on their business blogs. Your focus should be on your product and driving traffic to your offers. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot write additional blogs on topics of interest to you. These can and should be monetized and can even serve to provide links to your main business blog. That way, you can both build link power to your blog and make some money on the side.
To learn how to monetize your site, you may want to check out the set of 13 videos below. They will help you get started as quickly as possible, using not only adsense but Commission Junction, affiliate marketing, and other sources. For sale at less than $10, these are a quick way to get your blog up to speed.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 8, 2009
This is the fifth of five posts comparing web pages to a trade show. In the first we compared the multiple reasons people have for being at a trade show and how people browsing the web have varying interests as well.
We then discussed exhibitor’s booths and drew comparisons to web page design, booth location with keywords and exhibitors signage and the importance of the the web real estate that is “above the fold.”
We then talked about attractors, how they bring people passing by to the booth and how their goal was to transform prospects into leads. I suggested and maintain that this is precisely the purpose of both a trade show and a web page.
And yesterday, I discussed the people at a trade show and how this was one area where a trade show had a distinct advantage over a web site. It’s much easier for people to be interactive. To ask and answer questions. I went on to talk about an empty trade show booth with just brochures left behind. I think you would agree with me that having people interact with prospects is far more effective than a stack of brochures, however nice they may be.
Unfortunately, most business’s web pages are just that, electronic brochures. This is a shame as its not difficult at all to begin the process to change that. The key component is an opt in box that can either be tied into the web page design, ideally “above the fold” and promoted with an valuable attractor. Of note, its possible to add a “light box” style Opt In form, that doesn’t require you to make any changes to your existing web site.
For many businesses the best type of attractor is a free down loadable report providing useful “How to,” or “What to look for” information. Think about the types of questions the people at your trade show booth would be most likely asked and answer them in a short and concise format.
The goal of both a trade show and your web site is to transform the web browser from being just another face in the crowd into a “lead.” A lead is someone the trade show people call or mail to after they empty the sweepstakes box of all those names that didn’t win the “free siding” or what ever they used to capture people’s names and contact info.
The advantage for the web site is that it’s easy to capture your leads name and email address, if you offer the viewer something they want. What I call an ethical bribe. And once you do, you can design a series of follow up emails to provide them additional useful information they need to make a wise buying decision.
There are two types of emails a business owner might send these new leads. This first set is a structured series of email that are pre-written and are “dripped” on the recipient at appropriate intervals. These are “evergreen” messages that once written and installed in an auto responder can be left to do their thing over time. Once set up they run on auto pilot.
These can be simple or sophisticated. An initial email for instance could ask the recipient if they want specific info an several different topics. If they pick one or more they can opt into as many different specialized series of followup messages as may be desired. This is useful for firms with multiple product lines.
Designing and creating this initial series of follow-up emails is the biggest investment in the entire process. A top notch auto responder service such as AWEBER can cost under $20 a month and will reliably capture the lead from your web page or even permit people to sign up even if you do not have a web page. Once the initial series of emails is created, will work day in and day out for you for peanuts.
A second type of follow-up message is the broadcast message. These can be used to advertise special sales, or send out holiday greetings or any other message you want. The combination of preloaded evergreen messages and occasional broadcasts can fulfill many purposes and can serve to not only win new business, but effectively stay in touch with existing customers as well.
This ongoing aspect of maintaining periodic contact with current and past customers is one of the best uses of an auto responder, and one that will generate significant new sales for any business that takes the time to creatively apply it to their specific circumstances.
Follow up is the name of the game in new sales and in developing repeat business. As I said in the title, it’s what happens after a person has been to your web site that counts, when you get around to counting your bottom line.
Check out the page above that discusses my services. I can help you apply these concepts to your business and help it grow, even in these challenging times.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 7, 2009
This is the fourth in a series of postings comparing a business web site to a trade show. In the initial post we discussed the traffic flow at a trade show and how it resembled web traffic. Then we looked at the exhibit booth and showed at least three corresponding aspects of a web page. And yesterday, we talked about attractors used at trade shows and how they too could and should be applied online.
Today we will talk about the people behind the booth at a trade show and see if we can’t learn some lessons from them as well.
I almost touched on the people in yesterday’s post on attractors, as it’s common for firms, particularly larger corporations to use models in their booths. Pretty women do seem to have an attractive quality.
But the main purpose of the people in the booth is to engage in conversation with the passing traffic.
The booth setup itself may have optimum placement on the floor, and attractors up the wazoo but it really doesn’t matter if there’s no one there to meet and greet, ask and answer questions.
Now some firms may just rely on pictures and exhibits posted in their booth to convey their message, and others may put a stack of brochures on the table for passerby’s to pick up. This may be better than nothing, but do you think it’s as effective as having a real live person who can engage prospects in conversation? Not likely.
Remember that we discussed the varied makeup of the crowd. Some are there for exercise or entertainment, others to get information, and a few to buy. As they walk past our booth, it’s the job of the booth staff to engage them in conversation, to inquire about their needs, interests and to elicit their questions.
Getting to understand what they are looking for is one of the key ingredients for both the seller and the prospective buyer to learn whether or not a transaction is possible. When it is, the conversation also serves as an investment by both parties in terms of time and effort toward a mutually agreeable solution. If properly handled, if the sales staff is good and skilled in their conversation, this is the process that leads a prospective buyer to the decision point, and ultimately the successful sale.
This is one area, where the trade show has a distinct advantage over the web site. The personality and skill of a good sales person in an interactive conversation with a prospect is hard to replicate online on a web page.
Because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean that steps can’t be taken to design the web presentation in a way that at least mimics the live relationship.
A few paragraphs ago, I suggested live staff were better than a table full of brochures or static pictures on the booth wall. That is precisely the level where most small business web sites are now.
They are little more than brochures. And like most brochures they get tossed into the mental round file almost immediately.
We want to avoid that. We want instead to mimic the live salespeople and set up our web sites to answer questions. To do that we need to think about what our least informed prospective customer might want to know. When designing your web pages, imagine that you are at a trade show. What questions did people ask? These are the questions your page needs to begin to answer.
Our web sites should thus focus on setting the basic parameters of our product, so that viewers get a sense of what we are about. So they are able to make some basic self assessment as to which type of product or service they might be interested in. But then, most businesses should stop.
They should turn the responsibility back to the prospect to declare themselves a “Lead” by having them opt in for more information. This is similar to a person in the crowd at a trade show walking up to the booth. The booth staff engage in small talk and lead to some basic clarifying information. When the prospect asks a relevant product oriented question, they may still be just fishing for general information, but they are also beginning the sales process. It’s time to bring them into a sophisticated sales presentation.
In real life, your sales person would answer and followup with more questions. Online, you need to convert that person then and there. Convert them from being a prospect in the crowd to a “Lead” in your sales funnel. You need them to opt in to your auto-responder service, so they can get more detailed information to enable them to make a “wise decision.” This is exactly what we discussed yesterday in our conversation about attractors.
Don’t miss the point about giving them information to make a wise decision. Design your opt in “ethical bribe” as a tool for them to make a wise decision. Offer them the information they need to do that. Offer them the info they need, when they need it and you are well on your way to the sale.
Once they have opted in, the conversation is now interactive. They came to your site. You provided information, They responded by opting in. A conversation has begun.
Once you have the leads, you need to do the follow-up. That’s our next topic. Till then…
Posted by enetwal on Jan 3, 2009
I had trouble sleeping last night.
My head was working on a speech, I will give to my Toastmaster Group Thursday morning. I’ve decide to talk about why I think most small business’s web pages stink.
I’ve been toying with the content of this speech for a couple of weeks now. I know why I think they stink, but have been having trouble coming up with a hook and a word picture I can use to convey my message.
The added difficulty is that I need to compress my comments into a 5-7 minute time frame.
Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find the right formula, and so I did a lot of tossing and turning despite my best efforts to just forget it and sleep.
Eventually, I did, and lo and behold as I woke in the morning, in those luxurious moments before I actually woke, the winning concept occurred to me.
It’s hard on my beauty to sleep this way, but I do come up with much of my speeches at night.
A web page is very much like a trade show.
But unlike a trade show, where most businesses would have a sales person up front to greet and engage passersby, most web pages use a deaf mute to do the same task.
This week I will work on this concept. Today let’s look at the crowd at the trade show and compare them to web browsers who may chance on your web sites.
Imagine a typical home improvement show or similar trade show. Think of the crowd. They are like web browsers. There are a lot of different reasons someone might be at a trade show. For some it is simply an outing, a form of entertainment or exercise. Some are there to get ideas, or maybe looking for comparison products, or alternative suppliers. Some want information on prices, or learn about features or other options they may want to consider. A few may even have come to the show to actually buy something. This last group is probably a minority.
So too, with web browsers. If you are a business on or off line, most of the people who walk past your booth or browse by your web page are not actively looking to buy.
If you are to meet the needs of those people actively looking to buy, you need to give them the information they need and and the means to actually do so.
If your web page does this, you may have met the needs of the active buyer, but what about the others, those not quite ready to make a purchase?
Has your web site met their needs to the point that they will come back to you when they are ready to buy?
When you think of the crowd at the trade show, they tend to be moving in some sort of circle, streaming through the displays, browsing as they go. Often overloaded in stimuli as each exhibitor tries to attract their attention. If they are like me, they pass most booths with scarcely a glance, unless something grabs them and then holds their attention.
Same to with a web site. I don’t know what the actual number is, but many people suggest you have but 2-3 seconds to catch the crowds attention with your web site. And even then, you have an uphill battle to keep them at the site. That’s why I like the web sites the folks at David Goes Online produce for small businesses. As part of their deal, they are offering a free video, that gives their site some stickiness.
But that is getting into the next discussion which is on the booth exhibitors set up. In future blog posts I will also discuss the ethical bribes they offer to convert traffic into leads and then the follow-up they do, once they have the lead. And most importantly I will discuss why they don’t hire the handicapped. Why they don’t use deaf and dumb sales people to meet and greet their visitors, and why I think most business web pages do.