Saturday, June 19, 2010

Effective Keyword Research Done Right!

To achieve search engine dominance you can gain an advantage by focusing on keyword research. After working with dozens of clients on competing effectively in a specific niche, I've discovered how powerful the right type of keyword research can be for creating improved rankings and traffic. When competing in a difficult niche, the keywords you select can make the difference between long term success or failure.

To be successful with keyword research you must go beyond the concept of competitiveness. After finding a keyword that doesn't have much competition, the next step is to research the type of traffic you can expect from number one rankings with that keyword. Using the Google keyword tool or other traffic estimation software is a good way to see what type of traffic can be expected. Don't focus on keywords that can't generate enough traffic to make things worthwhile.

After finding a keyword or keyword phrase that isn't all that competitive but receives an sufficient amount of traffic, you should spend time researching your competition for that keyword. An effective technique is to visit each of the top ranked sites, competing for the chosen keyword, and analyze them. Pay particular attention to the Google Page Rank of competing sites and number of inbound links. If sites are well established and have been online for a long time, it may be difficult to achieve a higher ranking.

After you have selected the keywords you want to compete for, it's time to enhance your web pages using the chosen keywords. Begin by enhancing your meta tags, page titles, and copy, including your keywords where appropriate. By including your keywords in this manner, you're indicating to search engines what your web site is about. This allows the engines to rank your site for appropriate keywords. In addition to the on page factors, Google considers off page factors to determine web site ranking. Off page optimization involves generating links from third party websites. Focus your efforts on link building through article directories, web site directories, blogs, social bookmarking sites, and other sites.

Your optimization strategy should include a plan for the continuous creation of inbound links. Build links too slowly and you'll never get the authority needed to achieve the number one ranking. Develop links too quickly and search engines may think you're up to no good. If you want to improve your organic search engine results, begin with keyword research before link building. Having the right keywords makes the difference in your overall optimization results. Update your meta tags and web pages to integrate your keyword phrase, focus on building links over the long term, and you're sure to achieve search engine dominance.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Qualified Leads From Twitter?

By now you know that Twitter has taken on a life of its own. What was once considered a micro-blogging site is now the topic of most online conversations. You might be asking yourself what that may mean to your business and more importantly what it means to you.

After some time I opened up my own account on Twitter. This was mainly due to curiosity and the fact that Twitter like discussions are happening throughout the internet. I quickly found out that Twitter operates like many other social media sites and web tool in that it is a communication vehicle that helps you communicate to your niche in real time.

One of the best things about this social media tool is the ability to follow like minded individuals. Said another way, you can access what people are saying within a given industry or niche. This is vital to staying on top of things and continually learning about your trade. In the past, you had to sign up for RSS feeds or continually read online articles, reports, and posts. With Twitter you simply follow others who provide valuable information and access valuable content through posts and links.

You may be thinking that Twitter sounds great for learning about a particular but what other value does it provide. After you've identified those you want to follow for work related reasons, you should also consider adding some individuals to your list that are aligned with hobbies you may have, goals, or aspirations. Twitter is shaped by you the user so consider what content would add value to your life.

Once you've gotten comfortable with Twitter, its time to start building a following. Just you follow others, others may want to follow you. The best place to begin is by adding quality posts on a regular basis. What are you reading that may be of interest to others? What type of tools are you using to accomplish a specific goal? Share those things that provide value to others and you will quickly create a large list of followers. Once you have a list, you can begin to utilize your list of followers much like you would a direct marketing house list.

Once you've established a list and provide a good deal of value through your thoughts and ideas that are shared on a regular basis, you can begin offering information on affiliate products or your own products and services. When done correctly, others will learn more about these offers and even make a purchase. This is direct marketing at its best. One must be careful though as you don't want to abuse your list.

If you haven't already reached this conclusion, using Twitter is like have a direct dialog with prospects. Begin by offering something of value, gaining their trust and following. Once you've proven yourself as an expert or having authority in a given area, it's time to promote products or services that help to solve a problem. Twitter is a great tool for building your online business and targeting prospective customers.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting Past Go

So many times we feel like our job in marketing is to simply make the phone ring or get a prospect to reply to our email.  The reality is that marketing goes way beyond the initial buying signals.  In fact, good marketing know that they need to manage the entire purchase and renewal process effectively to show lasting results.

Getting Past Go

Instead of thinking about lead generation, think about the entire customer experience.  Not only will you attract users to your product or service, but you will maintain them, communicate with them, and leverage them to continue buying from you long into the future.  

Focus on creating happy customers.  Many companies simply market on the front end, not after the sale.  If you focus on building strong relationships with your existing customers, they will often do the selling for you and become some of your greatest marketing assets.  Consider the type of communication you provide to your existing customers.  Are you simply contacting them to buy more?

What Annoys Me

I recently bought a product that I was really excited about.  It was a video training program that offered daily information.  No less than a week went buy until the videos, which were supposed to be delivering value (and something I paid for) started asking me to "upgrade" ad pitch the video to others to start earning affiliate revenue.  I don't know about you but it certainly made me unhappy with my initial purchase.
After about a week of this I cancelled the subscription and was glad a I did.  As marketers we need to be concerned with our messaging before, during, and after purchase.  If you're not, you'll find your job getting more and more difficult each and every year as customers become harder to attract and retain.

Focus on your marketing communications throughout the customer life cycle.  By thinking beyond the initial purchase, you'll develop a customer base that sustains and grows your business over time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Good Marketing Tip #229: Start a Blog

Today's good marketing tip is: Start a Blog.  By doing so you can quickly and easily improve search engine rankings, expand your reach and build a following.  There are many free and inexpensive ways to start a blog and it doesn't require a great deal of internet marketing knowledge.

Free services like Blogger and WordPress are well known in blogging circles. These two programs are used to create free blogs that essential work as content management systems allowing you to make posts, updates, control web pages, and come with tons of additional features.

There are many benefits to blogging.  The first is that by adding a blog to your website, you're creating additional exposure to your products, services, and information.  As your blog starts showing up in search results, you generate more traffic to your site and can quickly build a list of followers.

Individuals can choose to follow the posts on your blog via an RSS feed or via email. Each time you make a post, they receive a notification and can easily view your content.  This type of system allows you to push out valuable information on a regular basis - essential for building and maintaining customer loyalty.

In addition to building a following, having a blog can actually improve your search engine rankings. Search engines like Yahoo and Bing like to see social media sites related to a particular website.  This means that you are interacting with your audience and creating a great user experience.  Additionally, once you are posting original content on a regular basis, you start to generate inbound links.

In bound links are essential for improvements in your search rankings.  As sites attract more inbound links, Google and other search engines see this as a vote of confidence.  The more sites that are voting for you the more weight your site has and therefore will appear more readily at the top of search engine result lists.

Whether you've been blogging for a long time or are new to the blogging phenomenon, be sure to make blogging an integral part of your overal marketing plan.  Being found online is the first step towards building a successful business either online or offline.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good Marketing Tip #228

This week's marketing tip is all about generating quality traffic to your web site or blog.  When thinking about web site traffic always focus on quality over quantity.  You want to focus on keywords that are truly relevant to your offering.  For example, if you are tyring to sell men's shoes, stay away from generic keywords like "foot wear."

The best place to start is with the Google AdWords keyword tool.  This took is easy to use and can help you find keywords that get enough traffic but aren't all that competitive.  If you're not sure of the competitiveness of a keyword, look to see how many people are advertising for that keyword (using the tool) and using supplemental tools as well.

Once you have identified the right keywords for your web site, focus on search engine optimization best practices and PPC marketing.  By using these two techniques together, you can start to deliver quality traffic that gets results.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Today's Good Marketing Tip: Measure Your Advertising

So right now I'm watching the super bowl and can't believe that GoDaddy is the only advertiser that has a measurable call to action. Why haven't other advertisers figured this out.  Whether the call to action is going to the web or calling an 800 number, if you can't measure it don't do it!

What's so embarassing is that these advertiser are spending millions.  Bud Light, Coke, Hyndi, should all know better.  I guess they're just too used to not being held accountable for their marketing.  I for one think it's a bit disgraceful but I suppose it's different when you're spending tat much money - but it shouldn't be.

If you want to make the most of your advertising, then make sure you have a clear goal and know whether or not you've achieved it.  If you don't have the means to measure a specific goal, then change the goal or find a way to measure it before making a committment.  This can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your advertising and ensure that you're getting the most bang for your buck!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Marketing Tip: Social Media

We all know the importance of social media and what it can do for your brand or retail establishment. We also know that Social Media is a monster. Where do you being? What's your strategy? How are you going to be successful? These and other questions are the topic of regular conversation among marketing professionals.

I for one wondered a great deal as to how effective social media would be for me and my business. I think the answer can be found in what you consider social media to be. From my perspective it's more than just Twitter and Facebook. It's about being part of social discussion.

The purpose of most social media is conversational. "What are you doing now?", product reviews, sharing experiences. When you think about social media in this way, you are getting closer to the true meaning of social media - being part of the conversation. To be part of the conversation you need to know where it is and what's being discussed.

Start your social media marketing strategy by focusing on where the conversation(s) about your brand or your business are taking place. For example, if you're in education, focus on educational social media sites, blogs, etc. If you're in auto, focus on car review sites, blogs, networks, etc. Keep it targeted and relevant.

Finally, participate in the conversation. You want to be involved and transparent. If there's a thread about your company or product, identify yourself as such and engage in the conversation. Being genuine goes a very long way when it comes to social media.

We all know social media is important... it's time you got engaged!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today's Good Marketing Tip: Premium Pricing

Pricing can have a significant impact on your sales.  But today we're not talking about discounting.  Rather, we're talking about raising prices.  I know, you're probably saying, "There's so much price competition that I have no option but to discount my product!"  This is pretty common but I'm here to tell you that many companies have been using premium pricing strategies and continually outshine others in their industry.

Take a look at a Bently or Rolex watches and you'll see what I mean.  Are these cars and watches really that much better than similar products in their niche?  They may have some advantages but hardly enough to justify the outrageous prices that accompany them.  This is because they are using a premium pricing strategy that works.

A great example is when you buy a bottle of wine.  Unless you've gotten a recommendation or stick with the same wine on a regular basis, premium pricing can play a major role in your buying decision.  Trust me, I've purchased expensive bottles of wine and they rarely justify the price.  I'm no wine expert but I know what drives buying behavior.  Two similar bottle, one costs $30 bucks and the other $7.99 and your gut says that the more expensive wine tastes better.

If you're struggling with moving products off your shelves or web site, consider a premium pricing strategy. Try testing the strategy with an aspect of your product line and tell potential consumers that it's very limited (scarce).  This should help you test the premium pricing strategy and see if it increases sales.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Today's Good Marketing Tip

Get better results with personalization. How often do you receive a message from a seller that is generic? Whether the message comes from an email or direct mail piece, I still get messages that say "Dear Customer"? I mean come on!

Not only do your marketing messages needs to be personalized, but the content and tone of the message needs to reflect the previous purchase behavior of your customer. Alternatively, if you're searching for prospects, make sure your message speaks their needs.

Good messaging is essential for improving the effectiveness of your marketing. Focus on needs and test multiple messages. Be sure to track results for each message you deliver. Start by focusing on testing your headline first followed by body copy. Changing just one factor can have a significant impact on results.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Marketing Tip 224: Effective Communication

Today's good marketing tip is all about communication.  Not only does your message need to be on target but your message needs to be targeted to the right audience.  The success of any direct marketing campaign comes down to the list (target audience) and message (promotion).  Are your messages on target?

Test. Test. Test.  As I've said time and again, effective messaging is really all about understanding your market and testing.  What you may think is a good message may not have the desired result among your target market.  Come up with multiple messages and let your audience decide which is most effective.
Alter your timing to make sure that your message is being heard.  Sometimes your message may be right on but your timing is off.  This can have a negative effect on your results.  So make sure that you're testing your message at different times to see if you get a different results.

Effective communication takes the right audience, the right message and the right timing.  Keep working until you get it right!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good Marketing Tip #223

Each week I provide you with good marketing tips that can improve the overall effectiveness of your online and offline campaigns.  This week,my tip is designed for the new year.  Instead of focusing on discounting, focus on value.

Each year we say we wont do it.  We say that we are going to avoid discounting but inevitably we give in.  I think this year can be different.  My challenge to you is to focus on value.  This is what good marketing is all about.  Are you offering your products at a fair price in a way that makes sense for both you and your customers?

I know that at certain times during the year you need to discount.  Once could argue that discounting also makes tracking a lot easier.  So if you can't eliminate discounting all together, consider selective discounting and limit it as much as you can.  Instead, replace your discount with something of value.

When I work with customers I find that many of them must work hard at defining something of true value to offer customers.  But creating value is relatively easy if you know your customers well.  For example, if you are a shoe store, perhaps you can offer a customer fitting.  Or maybe you offer some time of "exclusive showing" when new styles arrive for your best customers.  Whatever the value happens to be, make sure to promote it in place of a discount.

For 2010, think value. Try to break your habit of discounting this year and everyone will benefit.

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