Blogging

Small business owners and search

Posted in Blogging, Marketing strategies, Search engine optimization, Social media Be the first to comment

Like lots of other people, I bought a MegaMillion ticket last Friday, and spent hours deciding how I’d spend the $640 million. I wound up with a good mix of the charitable, the frivolous, and some sound investments to ensure that the money lasts.

It’s easy, I fantasized: “Spend a buck, win a gazillion dollars.”

Lots of small business owners view Google rankings in much the same way: “Pay someone to optimize my Web site, watch the rankings soar.” Or even better, “Slap up a Facebook page and watch the new orders pour in.”

This kind of stuff  is called “magical thinking.”

I just saw a pretty good reality check, from Carl Weiss in yesterday’s SiteProNews:

“While even the smallest of businesses can generate page 1 results on Google today, it is a far more complicated affair. And in the wired world, complicated translates into time and money. Whereas back in 2000, it was relatively simple to have an SEO expert tune up your homepage, in the modern world of Internet marketing, there are 31 points of light that every search engine spider alights on today, including such things as blogs, social networks, backlinks, and video. If your web presence is lacking in any of these, or you aren’t adding compelling content to them on at least a weekly basis, then your chances of achieving a page 1 result are slim at best…

“Not only are there far more stops on the technology train in 2012 then there were in 2000, but a number of the stops have siderails. Consider social networking. If you are serious about making the grade online, then being on Facebook (the second most visited destination online after Google) isn’t enough. You also need to Tweet. Not to mention the fact that back in November of 2011 Google launched its own social network Google+. So if you are looking to make the grade with Google, it’s probably a good idea to add this to your marketing mix as well.”

Ah, yes. Fantasies are fun….. I wonder how much I’ll win in this week’s lottery. As for the rest of it, I’d better get back to work.

To read the rest of the SiteProNews article, click here.

Image Credit: Pat’s Papers

Blog ideas

Posted in Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, Marketing strategies, Social media Be the first to comment

Blog ideasIf you’ve followed this blog, you know we’re huge fans of blogging (even though we don’t do it often enough!)

We believe that after creating a professional, user-friendly Web site, blogging should be the next layer in the foundation of any small business marketing plan–and specifically, of any social media plan. Valuable blog posts can pay dividends many times over.

For some reason, blogging intimidates people. It shouldn’t. You’ve got ideas, opinions, suggestions, and experience that can benefit others. Blogging is simply a great way to share that knowledge and introduce yourself to people.

Here’s a quick pointer on blogging from infusionsoft, a marketing automation company.

“The key is to create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. Keep it consistent and keep it real. Other than that, just have fun with it!  Some suggestions for blog posts include:

  • Industry-specific tips and insights
  • Special offers or give-aways
  • Analysis of recent news items
  • Product tutorials
  • Humorous anecdotes
  • Interviews with employees, customers or partners”

If you’re set up to blog, think of anything in the short list above, and jot a quick post. If you’re not set up, check out WordPress (the format we use) or the also popular blogspot.

Take advantage of one of the best–and free–ways to connect with customers.

Top social media sites? B2B or B2C?

Posted in Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Marketing strategies, Social media 1 Comment

Here’s a continuation of what we showed you about social media yesterday. This report, however, is from Hubspot, a company that specializes in inbound marketing–or drawing customers to businesses rather than pushing sales messages outward.

As you can see once again, the success that marketers had with various social media channels depended on whether they were selling to consumers or to other businesses.

Instead of the, “very or somewhat effective” responses given in the Marketing Sherpa chart, the Hubspot  study measured which channels had resulted in the acquisition of a customer. Once again, blogging scored very high in both the B2B and B2C categories. Facebook was strongest in B2C marketing. And LinkedIn was the best social media channel for those businesses selling to other businesses.

So once again, here’s the takeaway: All your friends may be saying, “You have to be on Facebook.” The truth is: You don’t necessarily have to be on Facebook. You need to be where your customers are.  Check around. Look for names of your customers on all of the channels. Then look to see where your competitors are trying to interact with and attract customers.

That simple and cost-free exercise will tell you how best to spend your time, and possibly, your money, on social media.

Top social media sites? It depends on your goals

Posted in Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, Marketing strategies, Social media 1 Comment

A new study, from Marketing Sherpa, has found that your best choice for  social media networks depends on whom you’re trying to reach.

For example, if you’re selling to consumers (and provided that your customers are actually using Facebook, and that you can lure visitors with compelling content and/or games, contests, discounts, or coupons), Facebook is probably your best bet.  On the other hand, if you’re selling to businesses, you may want to put your social media resources to use elsewhere–say, on LinkedIn. Take a look at the survey results:Allen T. Sutton, who wrote the blog post describing survey results, noted what he’d expected and a couple or results that surprised him:

“Blogging sits comfortably on top. This does not surprise me since creating content is the most effective SEO tactic , and SEO is a vital part of a good inbound strategy.

“However, two things do surprise me. First, I expected LinkedIn to rank high with B2Bs, but I did not expect it to so clearly beat Facebook. Fewer than 50% of B2B marketers report that their efforts on Facebook were effective. LinkedIn appears to provide the most effective social network for inbound B2B marketers.

“The second thing that surprises me is that YouTube and other video sharing sites are well within the top tier. I have seen great YouTube strategies from a select few marketers, but I did not realize that strong performance was this widespread. I expect even more marketers to start using video sites in the coming years.”

What marketing strategies should work best for you? And especially if you have a limited marketing budget?  We can help you figure it out and start attracting new customers. Contact us.

Business blogging don’ts

Posted in Advertising, Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, E-mail marketing, Print materials, Selling tips, Special promotions, Web design Be the first to comment

Whether you’re creating or updating a Website, an e-mail marketing program, printed materials, or engaging in any type of social networking, providing content that your customers want and need is not only essential, but also highly cost effective.

Giving customers marketing materials that focus only on how wonderful your products and services are is a waste of your time and money.

Hubspot, a company that markets business software, offers some solid advice about business blogging. The company recently published a free e-book that highlights 13 mistakes that business bloggers make. Number 1 is not integrating your blog with your Website. Here’s number 2 :

“Mistake:
The content you publish on your blog is too heavily focused on you – your products, services, achievements, and why you’re awesome – and it’s seriously lacking thought leadership.

“Why It Hurts:
If people are visiting your blog expecting to find educational content and all they find is you talking about how great your products and services are, you’re not going to accomplish the same goals or attract as many readers as you would if you published thought leadership-based content.”

Amen.

To read or download the free 13 Business Blogging Mistakes & Their Easy Fixes, (registration required),  click here.