Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today's Good Marketing Tip

Don't forget the business cards.

With more marketing happening online, the traditional forms of marketing are getting more attention. I recently received a business card that used the back to invite me to a free online demo. I simply had to visit a web page and register with a name and email.

Not only did the use of the business card help to drive me online, but it allowed me to take advantage of a very "special offer". You know as well as I do that the offer wasn't all that special but it certainly got me to take action - online.

Consider your business cards. Are you using them to push information to prospects that don't want your product or are you using it to drive prospective customer's online. Consider a promotion or teaser that can drive anyone who has your card online.

You'll not only have a reason to distribute your business card more aggressively, but you'll leverage a pretty common marketing expense you may otherwise have forgotten!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marketing Tip: Duplicate Content

Duplicate content.. is it an issue? I'm getting this question quite a bit these days and have to say that my opinion has changed. I used to think that duplicate content wasn't an issue. The reason I think that it truly matters is that I'm seeing an impact on results.

One of the most popular methods of site promotion was article distribution. You simply write an article and submit that article to article directories, blogs, and other sites that may publish. Essentially, this distributes your single article to many web sites.

There are now many more tools available for creating unique content. I have personally used Instant Article Wizard, but I know of at least 4 similar tools that can help generate unique content for you to publish to your website and other sites that can provide back links.

The key is to focus on creating unique content on a regular basis. In addition, you want to think about distributing unique content. There are other tools available for distribution purposes. Many of these tools are available on a monthly basis and allow you to distribute unique content.

Consider how to create unique content and build links to your website. Google love unique content and you'll love the positive impact on your search engine rankings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today's Marketing Tip: SEO

Marketing Tip: May 2009

Despite popular belief, search engine optimization isn't entirely free. In fact, some companies spend tens of thousands of dollars each year trying to get their websites ranked in the number one position organically. This is not only expensive, but can take loads of time. If you think SEO is free, than think again. However, if you have the time to spend, you sure can save a lot.

Before starting your search engine optimization journey you need to think about the keywords you will be building your program around. Keyword selection is one of the most important aspects of SEO because if you spend you time optimizing for keywords or keyword phrases that no one is searching on, your search engine optimization efforts are wasted. There are plenty of tools available for free that can help you find keywords that are relevant to your niche, have adequate volume but at the same time aren't overly competitive. This is essential if you want to achieve top rankings for highly search keywords.

Before choosing a keyword phrase for search engine optimization purposes, size up your competition. Look at the number one ranked website and learn more about them. Consider the websites age, Page Rank, and number of in-bound links. This can give you a good understanding of how solid a competitor that site is.

You can also discover about a topped ranked website by researching it via Alexa.com for additional ranking information. Shoot for keyword phrases that have less than 2 million competing pages, less than PR 6, and less than 500 in-bound links. If the top competing websites are too large, you should pick a different keyword phrase to focus on.

Upon deciding which keyword phrase is ideal for your search engine optimization campaign, the next step is to design your site in a way that is both easy to read and highly accessible by all search engines. Consider breaking up your search engine optimization campaign into on page optimization factors and off page optimization factors. By addressing both, you can quickly influence rankings in a positive way. Consider starting with site design that integrates SEO best practices including meta tags, headers, and typeface. Once complete, turn your attention towards building links to your web site.

I'm often asked for the one magic formula that will raise someones search engine rankings above all others. The answer is very simple, in bound links. Google evaluates the quality of a website based on a number of factors but the most important include page rank and inbound links. Focus on building inbound links from third party sites that are well established, have a number of sites linking into them, and carry a Google page rank of three or more. This will improve your rankings very quickly.

Succeeding with organic rankings is easy if you take the time to optimize your site and focus on building in bound links. The result is a site more valued by search engines, improving rankings for keywords and keyword phrases. Stay the course and build links over time. This ensures that you outrank your competition over the long term.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Test Your Offline Marketing Campaigns

Split testing for a campaign using offline media? There are many tools to do so with online media, but how do you measure the design of two different magazine ads? I find this question being asked by more and more people as the economy continues to raise the cost of online marketing.

I've been testing offline campaigns for over a ten years. The only change in the last few years is that many offline campaigns have been expanded to have an online component making it easier and quicker to track results. A good example is when you send a post card or publish and ad and have individuals fill out an online request form. This shows you quickly what type of results your campaign is generating in real time.

I recommend that you read, "Tested Advertising Methods" by John Caples the father of direct response marketing. You'll learn the methods John has used to evaluate campaign effectiveness. When marketing offline, you should always test one element at a time such as your headline. Split test ads or run them consecutively within the same publication.

Your direct marketing should always have a direct response mechanism. This can be an eight hundred number, an email address, or business response card. By having a direct response element, you can always test the response of your print campaigns. Different methods require different measurement techniques.

Test your print campaigns by publishing multiple versions of your creative in each campaign. Put in some type of mechanism to measure results that you can tie back to the unique version of your post card, magazine ad, or prospecting letter. You'll always be able to test and improve your print campaigns.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Improve Your Marketing Results Via Demand Generation Tools

In today's difficult economic times, generating more leads for your business is essential for survival. I've consulted with a large number of businesses who struggle to do more with less and nothing could be more essential when it comes to website traffic and leads.

The good news is that online marketing has become incredibly sophisticated, allowing small to large businesses to identify true opportunities that can generate sustainable revenue. Tools such as demand generation and lead management help companies focus on prospects with the greatest chance of conversion.

Using lead management tools and identifying segments for growth enables marketers to execute, automate, track, and analyze online lead generation campaigns. This boosts revenues through increased sales efficiency and shortened sales cycles. Vitally important given the current climate we're facing and something that is rarely implemented by even the top marketing professionals.

In my opinion, if you're not engaged in lead management, scoring, or prioritization, you still have a significant opportunity to grow your business - even now. Start researching the different ways you can improve the effectiveness of your marketing and learn more effective ways to find those prospects with the highest probability of conversion.

One of the quickest means of success is by focusing on both lead generation and lead management. In combination, finding the "right" leads, evaluating them in real time, and putting follow up processes into play can be your formula for success. The fact is that the more you learn about your lead flow and the type of prospects that convert, the more effective your marketing spend can be.

After learning more about these marketing concepts, start reaching out and finding vendors who can both educate you about making improvements in your marketing systems as well as provide affordable tools that can take your business to the next level.

I personally recommend Manticore Technology for demand generation and lead management tools. Alternatively, you can work with your existing vendors to learn more about these marketing disciplines.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Original Content is King

One of the most important things you can provide on your website is original content. Original content, information that is unique to your website, is one of the most effective ways to improve search rankings and build a loyal following.

If your site is simply repeating what is found elsewhere on the web, there's really no differentiation. Blog readers and web site loyalists want relevant information they can't find anywhere else.

Some proponents to this idea or concept make reference to sites that aggregate content. I will admit that some sites do a good job of aggregating content and presenting it in a meaningful way. However, over the long term, these sites can't succeed. They offer nothing original and provide questionable value.

In addition to the benefit of building a loyal base of followers - finding value in the information you provide, original content helps with search ranking. Google looks for new and unique content and rewards sites that provide it on a regular basis. Think unique and you'll have website success!

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