Marketing Strategies for Businesses

Online Marketing Strategies that work for Traditional Businesses

Facebook Timeline

Have you filled in your Timeline?

Just activating your Timeline is not actually filling it in.  Before you can use Milestones (which you need to be doing) then you need to give Facebook a starting point.  I took the time this weekend to fill in my Timeline.  I actually discovered a few very important things like:

  • I had lost a year – I have been in business a whole year longer than I thought
  • It was encouraging to see how my business has grown over the years
  • It was uplifting to remember some of the Milestones along my journey
  • This is an opportunity to highlight some of your clients as well

Facebook TimelineI will be adding more Milestones from the past as I think of them.  This was a fascinating and enlightening experience.  Some of the things to add into your Timeline are:

  • Company Start Date
  • Yearly Anniversaries
  • Conferences
  • Education completed that shows your credentials or shows your knowledge growth
  • Awards received
  • Associations joined
  • Websites launched or revamped
  • Employees joining your company
  • Sales or Client goals reached
  • Any Goal reached
  • Mergers, Acquisitions, Company changes
  • Highlight Ideal Customers
  • Customer results
  • Anything that is a positive light on your business

Make sure you stick to Business Milestones.  Leave any personal ones for your personal profile.

YouTube Playlists: Organize your Videos

YouTube Added Playlists

YouTube PlaylistsHow can this help you?  If you are like me then you have a few videos uploaded on YouTube that may not be business related.  You know ~ your kids sports videos, birthday parties, vacation videos.  Videos you want to share with your family but not necessarily with your clients or customers.

Playlists allow you to Organize and Separate your Videos

A Playlist works like a Category on your website or blog.  A video can be added to a Playlist then several things can be done with the list.

  1. Your entire list can be embedded into a website.  You can see an example of how that works on the Fort Vancouver Lions website.  Part way down the home page is a playlist with 19 videos in it.  They will play one after the other in the order you designate in YouTube.
  2. your Channel can display certain Playlists (and not others).  This is a great way to be able to share those family videos and keep them separate from your business YouTube Cahnnel.
  3. Keep your Channel fresh by changing the Playlist it displays.
  4. Are you running a special in your business?  Want to show or highlight  a specific video for the special?  You can do that with Playlists.

YouTube became a better marketing tool when they added Playlists ~ are you using them yet?

Daily Deals: Should My Business Participate?

Would Daily Deals like Groupon or Living Social work for me?

Daily Deal ProfitThere are so many Daily Deal sites popping up everywhere.  The original one – Groupon to all the local ones like Fox 12 Daily Deals.  I get this question a lot:  Can my business successfully use a Daily Deal site to grow my clientele? Would this be a great marketing strategy for my business?

Marketing with these types of websites really works for the right type of businesses.  The main deal is usually sold at a loss for the company.  The extreme discount is what brings in the new customer or client.  Where the money is made is in the follow up with that new customer.  How will you get that customer to return?  How will you get that customer to refer their friends and family?  How will you get that customers loyalty?

Is there Profit in Daily Deals?

The profit on a Daily Deal comes after the initial visit.  A Daily Deal is an extraordinary opportunity if you can get that new client to return and refer.  Some ways to make this happen:

  • Provide a coupon to use on a next visit
  • Provide a reason to have them return ~ excellent customer service, excellent food, excellent whatever
  • Up-sale the initial offer ~ make the offer for a basic version of your service/product and up-sale the new client
  • Provide referral rewards

If your business is not set up to up-sale or promote quick return visits or referrals then the daily Deal type marketing is not for you.

How to Become Locally Famous

Become the Go-To Person

I recently had the opportunity to interview with Dr. Shannon Reece on the topic: How to Become Locally Famous.  Learn my methods used to grow my business.

Google +1 ~ Social Marketing?

Plus 1 image

Google ~ Social Network?

Google recently released an experimental +1 (Plus One) for a select few in the United States.  This is clearly to rival the Facebook Like button.  Google is looking for ways to break into the Social Network arena – Buzz was a flop – what will the future hold for the +1

Social Marketing Google +1

By clicking the +1 icon next to a listing (you must be signed into your Google Account) you are publicly voting for that website.  When your friends (connected to you through your Google Account) are searching for something and you have already voted for that website it will show in their search results.  It is like saying, “I trust and recommend this site – why don’t you take a look also.”

Since this is in a testing phase I am sure there will be features and benefits added before it is widely released.  For now if you want to be on the cutting edge then ask for your friends to +1   your website in the Google listings.  Time will tell what advantages this will provide.  Whatever they are I am sure it will be better for our marketing efforts to participate.

Pay Per Click Advertising That Works

Pay Per Click Copy Writing can be tricky

Pay Per Click Roulette

Pay Per Click Roulette

The biggest complaint I get about Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is the quality of the clicks. A campaign that gets a great deal of clicks but does not convert those clicks to sales is simply quite expensive. Small businesses are less likely to take a chance on PPC simply because they have no faith in the click converting into a sale.

Online Sales Cycle

If you think of PPC as a sales cycle, and learn to grab the shopper at the right moment during their product/services research then PPC can be very rewarding.

Let’s analyze how people usually become buyers of online products and services. One of my potential customers is starting their online research for purchasing a website. They probably do not know what to ask a web designer, or even what they are searching for. They may type something like “Web Design” They will get several of the huge nation-wide companies that market to large businesses. By reading the sites they learn that they want a local web designer that they can meet in person. Or they may decide they need a website that is smaller in scale than what they are reading about. So they now search for “Web Design Vancouver Wa” This is a key phrase that will get them a list of designers local to them (assuming they live in Vancouver WA). This could be web designers that are all over the board in what they actually do. They are now reading sites by the larger design firms all the way down to the college student that creates sites on the side for extra cash. After spending some time researching Web Design they have a better idea of what they are looking for in a website and in a designer. While conducting this research they have been clicking on PPC advertising – but not actually buying. They have not been in the buying mode but in the research mode – this means that all the sites they have visited had PPC campaigns that is costing them money but not converting sales. Now they have a better idea of what they want they type in “Small business website design in Vancouver WA” or “E- commerce website designer in Vancouver WA” or even “5 page informational website Vancouver WA”. All of these are considered buying keyword phrases, and if you were a website designer in Vancouver Wa and had PPC campaigns with these buying keyword phrases then you would likely have a new customer (assuming you are a good web designer with a website that will convert sales)

This process works for any product – the more generic the keywords the more virtual tire kickers you will attract. The more specific your keywords are to the product or service you offer then the more qualified that click traffic will be.

Of course if you do not have a quality website that clearly states what you do and what your product/service will do for someone then a quality PPC campaign just wont matter. If your site is state of the art and full of benefit oriented information then you are ready to embark into the world of PPC armed with the knowledge of choosing buying keyword phrases that your potential customers will be searching with at the end of the cycle – when they are ready to make the purchase.

To get more education on Online Marketing…

Local Search: Online Profits

Small Businesses Move Online

get listed locallyMore and more business owners are moving away from the expensive local directories like all the various yellow pages,  simply because of cost vs effectiveness.  When was the last time you used the physical phone book to search out information?  I personally recycle mine as soon as I get them.

More and more people are looking for information Online ~ researching products, services, and companies ~ then choosing to buy local.  With statistics like:

  • 97% of Internet users in the U.S. gather shopping information online, and of those consumers 51% explicitly characterize their behavior as “Shop Online, Purchase Offline” (NPD Group)
  • New Research by The Kelsey Group and ConStat Indicates 70% of U.S. Households Now Use the Internet When Shopping Locally for Products and Services.
    Findings also suggest the Internet is poised to surpass newspapers as a local shopping information resource.
  • 60% of activity online is one way or another “related to local content” (Google 5/03)- For every one dollar U.S. consumers spend online, another five or six are going to offline purchases that are influenced by online research
    (MIT Technology Review, April 2005, “E-Commerce Gets Smarter“)

Do you want your business to gain from Local Search?

Ways to capitalize on the Local Search Trend for your business

There are basically 2 ways to get your company listed locally ~ pay to have a company do it for you or do it yourself.  For the DIY business owners out there ~ here are a few ideas and strategies that can help you get your business listed locally and start to gain more local clients and sales.
1) Do a search for your main keyword followed by your city and state.  Make sure your business is listed in any online directories that come up in the search.
2) Get a Google Local account, Local Bing account, and Local Yahoo account.  Make sure your site is listed in local versions of all search engines.
3) Participate in local directories that offer consumer ratings or reviews.  Ask good clients to give a positive review at the different Online review sites.  A few examples are:

  • Yelp.com
  • MerchantCircle.com
  • CitySearch.com
  • InsiderPages.com
  • YahooLocal
  • Google Local

Online review sites are becoming very popular and users are checking up on businesses before deciding who to buy from.  This is a must for a local business that is wanting to pull in more Online business.
4) Local events ~ if your business hosts local events then get them listed online at sites for local events in your area.
These are a starting point for getting your business recognized online locally.  As all search engine efforts – this is an ongoing process that needs ongoing attention.  Some effort each month will build to quite a large Online presence over time.

For more strategies for marketing your business online visit: Internet Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

How Does Your Name Rank In Google?

What Do People See When They Google Your Name?

Positively Rank Your Name

Positively Rank Your Name

As a small business owner it is essential that people trust you online – if you ever plan to actually sell online. People buy from people they trust ~ any “negative press” can kill the deal ~ even if the press is not actually about you, but about someone else with your name! It is hard to tell when researching online if you are reading something about the right person. Have you ever researched someone and read something bad about that person just to find out that it was the wrong person ~ with the same name? Something like that can absolutely kill the sell if it happens when someone is researching YOU!

The goal is to get anything bad associated with your name to be somewhere beyond the 2nd or 3rd page of the search results.  Everything on the first 2 or 3 pages of the search results needs to be positive, items you have published, and positive feedback from customers.

Strategies That Work

Let me share what I have done to dominate the search engines for my name ~ feel free to use these tactics to help with your name as well.

  • Get a BizNik account ~ BizNik is a highly optimized and trusted site. BizNik profiles get ranked in Google ~ my BizNik profile is the first listing for my name. BizNik is only for traditional businesses – if you are in network marketing do not do this strategy.
  • Get a Facebook account and have your profile URL be your name ~ mine is facebook.com/dotty.scott
  • Make a video and get a YouTube account in your name.  Be sure the description of the video includes your name. These can be educational videos, video testimonials, or something entertaining. YouTube ranks well in Google (it is owned by Google).
  • Be a guest blogger for someone else’s blog, and sign your name that links to your blog/website.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and fill it out completely.
  • Create a MySpace profile
  • Post articles on BetterNetworker ~ even if you are not in Network Marketing. This site gets ranked in Search Engines.
  • Fill out your Google Profile completely so that it will be displayed on Google when someone searches for your name.
  • If you provide trainings, seminars, or any online event have it posted Online at several different sites.
  • Set up profiles at places like Naymz.com, fastpitch.com, Ning.com sites, Plaxo.com and any other social media site.
  • Put your videos out on other video sharing sites like yahoo, vidler, howcast ect. I use TubeMogul.com to upload videos to more than one video site simultaneously.
  • Create testimonials for other people with websites, and link your name to your website.
  • Make sure your name in on your website as text, not in an image.
  • Post articles at article repositories like amazines.com, ezine.com, and others.
  • Twitter reTweets with your name in them will get ranked in the search engines.
  • Get a written interview posted online – this can be a transcript of an audio ~ my example: http://renegadeproactive.com/
  • Your videos and other content can be picked up by other blogs – very common for video interviews.
  • Comment at different places and be sure to include your name.
  • Forum posts can get ranked by search engines.

This is a list of strategies I am using to control my name. The last thing I want is for someone looking for a Web Designer to find my site then research my name and find anything negative. I don’t care if it is something talking about a different Dotty ~ people will think it as me and go elsewhere for their business ~ something I just can’t afford.

If you have more ideas for people feel free to add them in the comments section!

More training on Online Marketing for Small Businesses…

Search Engine Optimization: Basics for Business Owners

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  Basics

seoBusiness owners know a few things about Search Engine Optimization ~ it  is expensive, difficult, and needs to be outsourced. I am here to tell  you a secret – are you ready?  Are you listening? SEO is not hard, not complicated, and not beyond your reach.  It is actually easy, just time consuming.  The most basic concept is this – use keyword phrases that you want search engines to index for your company. That is it – the whole concept.  Now for the strategy ~ where do you use these keywords? Here is a rundown of several  places where keywords need to be utilized:

  • Website Title
  • Page Titles (each page needs to be different)
  • Article Titles – These titles need to be Header1 or H1 tags
  • Articles need to use subtitles – Header 2 – Header 6 – like an outline
  • Anchor text (the link that is actually clicked is the anchor)
  • Near the beginning of each page’s first paragraph
  • Bold keywords have more weight
  • The last phrase on the page
  • Picture alt and title tags
  • Meta tags

Let’s  explain a few of these. Continue reading

Marketing Your Business Online

Mike Klingler of Renegade University interviewed me at the Marketing Merge offices in Portland Oregon.  My focus has always been helping brick and motor businesses figure out how to gain clients and sales form the Internet.  Enjoy the interview – It is my hope you will gain a few nuggets that you will find useful in your business.

Learn to market your business online…