Thursday, 21 June 2012

Launching A New Business? An Internet Marketing Company Can Help You Make Your Budget S-t-r-e-t-c-h Further

When you’re launching a brand new business every penny counts. And without careful budgeting in place, it’s all too easy for your start-up costs to spiral out of control. This isn’t the best way to start a new venture as I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

While there are some costs that are (happily) avoidable because they are not essential to your business, marketing is not one of them.

Marketing is a requirement every business will need to consider for as long as that business exists. Marketing is how the world will get to know of your business. At its most fundamental, marketing will bring about brand awareness and a steady stream of customers. At its extreme it has be known to create fame and fortune too, particularly within the realms of Reality TV. But I digress . . .

Either marketing will be a function you will choose to carry out in-house, or else it will need to be outsourced to an competent individual or company. If you’re not sure what kind of marketing activities would glean the best results for your particular business industry or sector and you don’t have the expertise or resources to market in-house, then assigning your marketing function to a professional Internet marketing company makes perfect sense.

Employing an Internet marketing company to kick-start your online marketing campaign can benefit you in a host of ways:

You won’t waste time and money carrying out ‘random’ marketing activities that might not be right for your business.

All marketing will be tightly focussed and designed to appeal to your target audience.

Your Internet marketing company will create an emarketing campaign that is within budget and where ‘actions’ are fully accountable and measurable.

Your emarketing plan will contain a number of elements designed to maximise your visibility to potential customers and the media. This ‘marketing mix’ generally works much better than singular marketing activities carried out in isolation, which can result in a lack of momentum.

Your Internet marketing company may be able to obtain discounts from relevant publications and advertising platforms by bulk-buying advertising slots.

Your chosen Internet marketing company will be experts in social media and can arrange for you to have these elements (Facebook, Twitter etc) integrated seamlessly into your marketing campaign (if relevant).

As you have seen, there are many reasons for handing your fledgling business to an Internet marketing company to work their magic. By teaming up with the right specialists early on, you will ensure that your business starts off on the right foot so to speak, and keeps on heading in the right direction.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Small Businesses – Gain The Edge Online

In today’s digital age, finding out all about your competitors has never been easier. With just a few clicks you can see who they are, how they are advertising and in some cases, even how much they are making online. The trick to gaining that edge online is to utilise this easy access of competitor information to your own company’s advantage.

Identify Your Competitors

The first thing to do is discover who it is that you are actually competing against. Online it not as simple as simply competing to get customers through your door, you need to consider search engine results, advertising banners and any other form of marketing techniques you are employing online.

A great tool for identifying the active players in your market is Google Alerts. The software will alert you whenever it discovers new content about a select group of keywords, meaning you can stay up to date with who is marketing in your industry or sector.

Dig A Little Deeper

Once you have identified who you believe to be your biggest rivals online it is time to delve into more detail about their companies and customers.

Another handy tool (also from Google) is the DoubleClick Ad Planner, which allows you to uncover the demographic of users visiting the websites of your competitors. In addition, you can see the types of website your potential customers are visiting, allowing you to place your marketing campaigns accordingly.

In terms of discovering how much your competitors are actually making, the internet has also made this much easier too.

A large percentage of firms use affiliate marketing, where other sites direct traffic towards the company’s in order for commission on any revenue they generate. In order to attract new affiliates, your competitors need to publish their commission rates along with estimates of how much the affiliates can expect to earn. Combing this data with the information you uncovered about their customers, you can gain a pretty good idea of the kind of money your competitors are making annually.

Structure Your Own Campaign

Once all this is completed, it is time to structure your own business’ campaign. Often, firms turn to internet marketing companies for professional advice on online marketing strategy and for small businesses this can often help them gain the edge.

Make sure you budget carefully for the amount your business can afford to spend on its campaign and take time to plan out your expenditure. Again, marketing companies can offer you expert advice on the most effective forms of online marketing and how best to spend your advertising budget.

How Long Tail Keywords Can Improve Your Web Page Rankings . . . And Help You Convert More Visitors Into Buyers

Long tail keywords are really keyword phrases which generally contain from three to five words – though it could be more. These are keywords and phrases that your website or blog could rank highly for, yet they are often overlooked by business owners, or at best, not exploited nearly as vigorously as they could be.

Using long tail keywords in your online marketing can benefit your business in several ways. Long tail keywords generally:

  • Are less expensive to bid for than single keywords when it comes to pay per click advertising.

  • Extremely specific terms which result in highly-targeted traffic, which in turn leads to more conversions.

  •  Lend themselves to better targeted content and ads which are more likely to reap successful results.

The key to long tail keyword success is in the research

Tailoring web page content and ad content to meet the needs of your target audience or market sector is by no means an easy feat. However, we’ve recognised the importance of ‘relevance’ in brand advertising – particularly with social media – and the benefits that can bring. It’s clear that today’s online customers are looking for personalised content rather than generic.

So as a business owner whose aim is to see your blog or website rise majestically through the rankings, how might you go about unearthing potential long tail keywords to target?

Let’s start with what you sell.

Do you know what the most popular search terms are when people search for your product or service?

It’s highly probable that your top 10 keywords could be bringing in 80 per cent of your traffic. However on closer examination, you could find that 80 per cent of your visitors (traffic) only account for 20 per cent of your sales. In fact it’s the lesser-considered keywords and phrases that provide 20 per cent of your visitors, but 80 per cent of your online income. It’s like Pareto’s 80/20 principle in reverse!

Let’s say for example you sell running shoes. Wouldn’t it be great to be on Google page 1 for “running shoes”? Well of course it could be beneficial to you. However consider which of the following online searchers might be more likely to be primed to buy from you TODAY:
Customer A – whose search term is: “running shoes.”
Customer B – whose search term is: “Nike Air Max+ 2012 size 9.”
Customer B clearly has his credit card at the ready if you can supply the goods.
Of course, there is an outside chance that he is on your site checking out price comparisons, but there’s every chance you’ll make the sale. This is an example of our long tail keyword strategy in action.

One of the most proactive things you can do is to sit down and compile a list of the top 20 questions customers ask about your product or service. These questions make perfect topics for your blog content and they also give an indication of the long tail keywords your business should be targeting.
Thinking like your ideal customer and designing your content accordingly will attract lots of attention to your site.

Chasing the long tail can definitely be good for business. So get the research right, focus on your site’s content and consistently test your long tail keyword strategies and you could soon be onto a winner.

Monday, 4 June 2012

How Employing The Services Of An SEO Consultant Can Win You More Local Custom

If attracting more local customers to your business is important to you, then an SEO consultant could help you achieve your goals faster than you might think.

Let’s say you’re running the type of business where local custom is vital to you. In fact, it’s the lifeblood of your business – because 100 per cent of your custom comes from within a five-mile radius of where you are based.

To illustrate the point, let’s say you run your own driving school based in Newbury. You need your driving school to feature in the top search engine results for driving schools in Newbury. So whenever someone types: “driving schools Newbury”, into their search box, you want your company to come out top of the pile (or at least on Google’s first page).

We know for a fact that most people who conduct global searches won’t venture past the first two pages of search results. In a local context, however, being returned among the top 10 results is even more crucial.

If our driving school business does not appear on the first page of Google (i.e. the first 10 search listings) when a potential customer types in “driving schools Newbury”, then more than likely, business which could have gone to our driving instructor will go to somebody else.

Of course there are many other considerations with keywords too. A person wanting to learn to drive might not use our standard search term. She might use: “learn to drive Newbury”, “driving instructors Newbury”, or “pass my theory test Newbury”. We are assuming in all cases that the location will be an essential part of the search term as anyone wanting to learn to drive will want a service which is local.

It’s vital that our business owner thinks like a customer rather than a business owner. So what steps can our driving instructor reasonably take to ensure that his driving school business can compete with his local rivals?
Find out what keywords/ search terms his customers use most frequently.

Use Google’s Keyword Tool or Wordtracker which offers a 7-day free trial (great for determining long-tail keywords strategies).
Using these specific keywords and search term suggestions push his website up the rankings.

One of the benefits of ranking highly in the search engines for local companies is that those people searching for your product or service are more likely to be ‘primed to buy’ than those who search globally. People who search globally could be looking for information or making price comparisons, but those who actually enter a specific location can be considered ‘qualified buyers’.

It’s well worth spending time researching your customers’ online behaviour patterns so you can plan your marketing strategies accordingly. Don’t they say that “time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted?”

If you’d like some assistance with SEO techniques that will help more customers find you rather than your competitors, you can trust an experienced SEO consultant to drive your website into pole position.

How Creating A Compelling ‘Vision Statement’ Can Benefit Small Business Marketing

We’re not Virgin or Coca-Cola, why would we need a vision statement?”

“Vision statements . . . mission statements . . . aren’t they just whimsical phrases big companies put out to impress investors?”

“I’ve got a small business which employs five people . . . a vision statement seems, well, a tad fanciful.”

Fine. Having a vision statement is of course entirely optional, though it can be just as helpful for the sole trader as the multinational concern.

A vision statement can be both aspirational and inspirational. It will be at the heart of your small business marketing strategy.

So what is the difference between a mission statement and our vision statement?

Mission Statement: Defines what’s wrong with the world and how you intend to fix it.

Vision Statement: How the world looks after you’ve fixed it.

For example:

Microsoft: “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”

Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Harley-Davidson: “We fulfil dreams inspired by the many roads of the world by providing remarkable motorcycles and extraordinary experiences. We fuel the passion for freedom in our customers to express their own identity.”

The best vision statements are truly personal to a business rather than generic.

To begin to define your own vision statement for your business think about your ‘brand story’ to date. What are your hopes and dreams for your business? How might you articulate your vision in one or two concise sentences?

Once you have created your vision statement, share it with everyone connected to you: management, associates, team members, investors, customers, suppliers and include it on your website, blog and other marketing materials. You can also build it into your email signature and company newsletter if you have one.

If you would like some help with creating a knockout vision statement that truly represents your brand, your friendly business marketing specialist will be delighted to sit down with you and create something uniquely memorable.

It’s quite likely also that if you’ve been in business for some while that the vision statement you started out with will have changed over time. So don’t be afraid to revise an outdated vision statement so that you are working to a vision which accurately reflects your business today.

To sum up, a vision statement isn’t just for big household brands. It can be a useful working tool for keeping your business and marketing plans firmly on track . . . the beating heart of your brand in action.