Marketing strategies

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

SEO for small business: How hard is it?

Posted in Building customer loyalty, Marketing strategies, Search engine optimization, Social media Be the first to comment

We all want magic wands. To lose weight. Get strong. Become rich. Find the perfect mate. “Just do this or buy that and you dream will come true.”

As small business owners, we want magic wands, too.  “Just wave it and customers will find you and flock to your store, office, or Website and buy, buy, buy.”

Today’s marketing “magic wands” often involve social media and search engine optimization.  “Just put up a Facebook page. Just use certain keywords in your Website text. Or just buy “top-rated” links.” Or more likely, “Just pay us to do it, and you’ll have to beat the customers away.”

Uh, no.

Like most of our other instant-success fantasies, social media success involves many tasks. It takes lots of planning, time, and hard work.

SEO success is also complex and requires hard work on many fronts. Take a look at the chart above, created by Marketing Sherpa. It’s based on the experiences of more than 1,500 search marketers.

Remember this chart the next time someone promises you that their magic wand is all you need.

Marketers market rather than buy social media ads

Posted in Advertising, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, E-mail marketing, Marketing strategies, Selling tips, Social media Be the first to comment

Here’s an interesting item, published last week by eMarketing.com.

When ad agencies decide on the ways to publicize their own companies, a full 87% choose not to advertise on Facebook.  Agency ads appear on even a smaller percentage of the other major B2B social media sites–LinkedIn and Twitter.

Here’s the chart showing the percentages:

Social Networks on Which US Ad Agencies and Public Relations Firms Purchase Ads, Q2 2011 (% of respondents)

“Overall,” eMarketer concluded, ” most companies prefer to focus on marketing on social networks, rather than spending money to advertise.”

To read the entire article, click here.

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.

Write ad copy that works: Don’t say “sale”

Posted in Advertising, Copywriting and content, Marketing strategies, Print materials, Selling tips, Special promotions Be the first to comment

Who would have thought that the word “sale” wasn’t always a sure-fire customer-grabber? Certainly not me.

Yet a new report from Buddy Media shows that people relate to the word with below-average engagement in social media.

According to the report, written up in MarketingVOX, “[t]he keyword ‘dollars off’ in a retail offer-related Facebook post provides the highest user engagement– 55% higher than average — out of 10 popular choices, according to a September 2011 report from Buddy Media. And ubiquitous ‘coupon’ ? It had an engagement 39% above average.

“On the other end of the spectrum, seemingly popular keywords, such as ‘sale’,  ‘save,’ ‘deal,”% off’ and ‘bargain’ have lower-than-average engagement rates –  30% lower in the case of ‘sale.’”

To read highlights of the interesting study on what works in social media, click here.