Posted by enetwal on Aug 3, 2010
Direct marketing in the offline world has grown to huge proportions, becoming a very professional industry in which the biggest players are immensely successful. And these same direct marketing strategies and techniques are the hallmark of the most successful Internet marketing businesses, etc. In fact, every direct marketing professional should consider Internet marketing as a career or at least a sideline for additional income streams.
Direct mail pieces in the offline business world become email blasts online – and with more and more email programs now HTML capable, can be just as glossy and heavily designed as their offline counterpart. And just as direct marketers buy targeted leads or use location-based mail drops, Internet marketing pros rent email lists, buy solo ads and buy leads.
Direct marketing techniques also include classified ads and TV infomercials – online there are a number of classified-ad sites, some international and many based on certain locals. And video sharing sites are perfect for displaying TV-style commercials, infomercials, product demonstrations, etc.
And the ‘golden lists’ or the big Direct Mail houses, those lists of targeted leads that buy from them regularly, are no different than the customer lists online. Just as direct marketers have a pre-written series of e-mails and offers that go out to their previous customers on a regular basis, so too do online marketers who use pre-written autoresponder series to follow up with each purchaser.
If you own and/or operate an offline business in direct marketing, learn all you can about the strategies, tools and techniques being used by successful Internet marketing pros and use that knowledge to increase bottom line profits considerably. While some online regulations, like the anti-spam laws, make parts a little trickier in compliance, it’s more than made up for by the low cost of email blasts, the lack of lead time required for printing, and the free video hosting the video sharing sites provide. Start by putting every commercial and infomercial in your current library online at sites like YouTube, Viddler and Daily Motion and you’re already well on your way.
And if you’re currently working in the direct marketing industry with no equity in the company that employs you, consider starting a part-time job in online marketing and building it into your own full-time Internet marketing or affiliate marketing business. You have the skills so start investigating this low-startup-costs online industry for your own future today!
Having gone from newspaper advertising manager to founding and operating 2 full-service advertising agencies, Doug Champigny had already mastered the world of offline marketing before turning his attention to online marketing full-time. Now, over a decade later, marketing mentor and speaker Doug Champigny is a world-famous marketer with a major online presence who often appears live onstage at marketing seminars, conferences, conventions and workshops around North America. With more than 35 years of online and offline advertising and marketing experience, Doug Champigny is uniquely qualified to teach you how to succeed in online marketing through his Internet Marketing Coaching and his Affiliate Marketing Coaching programs. Give your online marketing the PowerStart it needs today – enroll now!
[tags]Doug Champigny, Powerstart 2010, powerstart, Affiliate marketing coaching, internet marketing coaching, offline business, Direct marketing, [/tags]
Posted by enetwal on May 13, 2010
I spent this past weekend at my niece’s wedding in the Tampa, Florida area, and took the opportunity to go fishing with my brother a couple of days later in the Gulf of Mexico.
While the oil slick is still a ways away, the fear of disaster was evident everywhere. Now I have heard of an interesting way you and I can help. By getting a hair cut!
It appears that hair is a natural oil absorbent, and may actually be an extremely effective way of helping protect significant areas, but its going to take a lot of hair. Its being stuffed into panty hose like material to create oil absorbing booms that will help soak up the oil. With luck and a lot of hair, it may be possible to save many natural areas.
As internet marketers we can help spread the word to our lists, and that would be good. The link to publish appears to be: http://www.matteroftrust.org/
But here’s one more idea for those of you taking your skills as internet marketers to main street. Talk to your barber or hair dresser. Ask them to consider how many people they could draw in for hair cuts if they had an email list of past customers, and were to send them an appeal to get their hair cuts so they as owners could ship the hair to fight the spill.
If nothing else, it would give you a talking point to bring up the topic, and perhaps land a new customer for email and auto-responder services that you could manage for them.
[tags]Oil Spill, Gulf Coast Oil Spill, Hair Booms, Hair Cuts, Barbers, hairdressers, main street marketing[/tags]
Posted by enetwal on May 3, 2009
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.
Posted by enetwal on Apr 13, 2009
Too many small businesses and even beginning internet marketers rely on someone else to handle all aspects of their web pages. While it’s good to delegate, for many micro-businesses it is also good to understand how the basics of your web site work. Then you can make quick changes when necessary and have a better understanding of what is and isn’t involved in making changes. That way when you do decide to outsource, you will know what can be done, what’s involved and how much (little) you should be willing to pay.
For new internet marketers, learning how to control your own page is all but required if you are bootstrapping your new online enterprise. There are two reasons for that. First much of the process is much simpler than most people would believe, and second by knowing what is involved and possible, you can delegate with more confidence and at lesser prices.
Learning how to access your C-panel and taking charge is roughly akin to the difference between being a passenger in your daddy’s car and learning to drive. Once you know how to drive, you have a lot more freedom about where and when you go places.
I got my initial education on C-Panel from Bob the Teacher and Chris Morris, and I highly recommend them to everyone. Their video series will unlock the potential of your web site for you. You will learn how to set up you own emails, create your own web pages, set up data bases, and much much more.
I found the course to be my personal emancipation proclamation. It allowed me to escape the tyranny of being locked in web hosting agreements and the need to play a waiting game to make changes to my own site.
It was a breakthrough. It may well be the same for you. Remember the feeling of freedom you had when your first had your own car and then the ability to travel where you choose. Discover C-panel will be like getting the keys for the first time. And while you may need some time to learn and master your new skills, it will set you on the path where you can soon be traveling cross county in no time.
Bob and Chris offer a free initial video lesson, which will give you a good idea of their teaching method and the topic. From there you can decide whether or not to proceed with the full course. I did, I encourage you to do so as well.
Click on the Image above to learn more and get access to your first free video.
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 27, 2009
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 22, 2009
A decade ago, small businesses flocked to the internet. It was going to transform the way business is done and they wanted to be part of it. And many are today quite disappointed and perhaps philosopical about how their web pages didn’t do didly squat.
While there is no doubt the internet has changed how business is done today, for most businesses all that changed is they now have an internet Yellow Pages add in addition to there actual listing.
The only people that go to their web site are people who already know about their business, and are jsut checking for a phone number or the times we are open.
While that’s certainly not true of all businesses, it is true for a good many, how about you?
I’ve been preaching on three major topics here about why I think most business web sites stink.
- Most aren’t using their ability to list their business in multiple categories.
- Most have just a billboard, or an electronic brochure and not an interactive site
- Why most web sites are so bad, even when you paid good money for them.
In my prior posts on this blog, I have tried to use the trade show as a metaphor as to what the role of your web pages should be. I encourage you to look back at my past postings and read them.
In the last few days, I have been focusing on how most web sites I’ve reviewed lately have poor and often no keywords.
If you were able to afford it, and were in the wall paper business, you might buy a yellow pages ad under wall paper, and maybe under decorating or a number of other yellow page headings. Most businesses don’t as its very expensive to do so, even with multiple category discounts.
With your web pages, you don’t need to pay extra to be listed in multiple categories. You just need to do a systematic listing of all relevant keywords that your possible customers might use in an effort to find you.
This may take a little time and effort, but once done, it will pay tremendous rewards in additional traffic and potential new business.
You may have thought your web designer would have done this for you. But unfortunately most web designers are not marketers. They tend to be graphic artists or techno geeks. Great at creating web pages, but not necessarily at getting your web site to generate the business you had hoped it would.
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 email@example.com with any questions.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 15, 2009
As I have been working with small businesses in the off line world, I have discovered that most of them have poor to non existant keywords in the hidden meta tag code of their web sites. Since Google apparently doesn’t give these much weight these days, it appears some web designers skip over them. That’s a mistake. While Google is the big daddy out there in search land, it has at best 60% of the search market, and the other 40% of the guys do use meta tag keywords to find your site.
I don’t know about you, buy I can’t afford to miss out on 4 of 10 customers.
This is particularly important for small businesses in the current slow economy. I’ve made a special offer to my friends in the Home Staging industry, where I have done some fairly extensive research in the past and offered them a special deal. My advantage is that I have already researched the keywords appropriate to the industry, and it’s easy to massage them to meet each individual’s circumstance.
I am open to doing additional work along these same lines for other industries as well. A solid set of meta tag keywords can also serve as a good start on pay per click advertising as well.
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Posted by enetwal on Jan 14, 2009
There’s a new wave underway in internet marketing circles. And , if you want to, you can be part of the transformation. I just got permission to invite you to join in a major new product launch that is on the cutting edge of this new wave.
First let me tell you about the new wave.
The new wave is taking online marketing techniques and applying them to new niches, including off line businesses. I have started to do this myself, and the results so far are incredibly promising.
With the economic downturn, more and more on and off line businesses are struggling, and looking for better ways to compete and stay alive. This new wave is rushing into an eagerly waiting marketplace.
Within every economic collapse are sown the seeds of the new emerging businesses, and I highly recommend you find a way to orient your business to take advantage of the changes.
The new product.
Is presented by Jason James. It’s been in development for two years and builds upon the free GiveAway concept that I and thousands of internet marketers have used to build our online businesses.
Jason is on my “Good Guy” list. I’ve purchased and benefited from his past products and respect his as a “class act.” When he puts out a product, I know I can count on having positive response from my customers.
The giveaway has been very effective, and what Jason is doing with this release is making it possible for you and me and others to effectively run our own give away events in non internet marketing niches. That may or may not sound exciting to you at the moment, but let me assure you, it will become a vehicle for many people to establish themselves in hundreds of different niches in short order.
But the opportunity I am offering you today is to become part of the launch for this winner of a concept. The product won’t be released until February 3rd. I am not even allowed to promote the product until January 20, except to recruit additional joint venture partners like you.
Whether or not you are interested in running your own giveaway events, you can profit from the launch if people on your list may be. If you are interested in becoming an affiliate promoter of this new product all you need do is sign up at http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?Clk=2791188
If you have any size list at all, I recommend you do.
PS: This isn’t the whole new wave by any means. But it is part of a major trend, and an excellent way to start moving your self into position to be part of it.