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16. Marketing & PR In this chapter I’ll be breaking down marke6ng, par6cularly online marke+ng, which can be confusing but is an essen6al skill in the digital age. Learn the secrets of boos6ng traﬃc, from free SEO improvement tricks to partnerships with inﬂuen6al online publica6ons. When you’re ready to commit to a paid adver+sing strategy, I’ll guide you through the three key benchmarks that will help guide your success. Finally, I will clarify misconcep6ons regarding PR, and help you understand its limita6ons and advantages when it comes to gaining exposure and customers. Online Marketing Whether you have a simple website to market your physical business or a complex online product that deﬁnes your business, geFng traﬃc to your site is cri6cal to increase customers. You can always buy traﬃc into your site by buying online ads, but there are seven tac6cs you can try ﬁrst to drive traﬃc for free: Chapter 17: Marketing & PR 1. SEO Metadata The ﬁrst thing you should be doing to improve SEO is increasing your visibility to search engines by making your content easily labeled and searchable. You do this by ﬁlling out your metadata, including the title tag and the H1 tag (also known as the header). Make sure that each individual piece of content your site features has it’s own page with distinct title and header tags that properly describe the content. Inbound Links Increasing inbound links (external links that direct to your site) is crucial for improving SEO. To find which sites are linking to yours, go to Yahoo and type in “link: www.yoursitename.com” to see a list of incoming links. You can also search on Technorati to see what blogs are linking to you. Track this number, and be sure it’s growing every month. Chapter 17: Marketing & PR Indexed Pages The more pages you have on your website, the more trafﬁc you will get. It’s that simple. The more pages you build out, the more can be indexed in search engines, and the more trafﬁc you will pull. 2. Press Inbound links may be key to geFng more traﬃc, but how do you get more people to link to your site? One way is to get more press. Press doesn’t come from simply having an outstanding product that reporters no6ce. It involves diligently encouraging the right news sources to cover your site. Here are a couple 6ps: Get the Right Coverage Watch Competitors Technorati is a great tool Chapter 17: Marketing & PR Make a list of your top for discovering what ten competitors, then set bloggers are most up a Google Alert for relevant to your service; each of these search keywords and competitors. You will be topics that best notified when and where describe your website, they’re mentioned in and then filter the top articles, so you can track blogs in that field. Start what press outlets are by interacting with the covering what they do. bloggers, leave Look up the journalist comments on their blog, that wrote the article, and tweet them, and open a the news source, and log dialogue. Once you this information on a build a rapport, reach spreadsheet. Reach out out to them and ask to the people on this list them if they will cover every month, and be your latest product. diligent about it. 3. Social Media Everyone knows about tradi6onal social media, like Facebook and TwiRer, but there are en6re sites dedicated to helping people discover interes6ng content like yours, including Reddit and Stumbleupon. Leverage these link aggregate sites to get more eyes on your most interes6ng content. Produce Content Build Community Chapter 17: Marketing & PR Spend some time on Spend time engaging the Reddit, see what type community before of content makes it to submitting content. Sites the homepage, and like Stumbleupon are based what kind of posts on peer-sourced and people upvote. collaborative content Understand the sharing, so being an active community, and then member of the community create content that is will help you share pages appropriate for that from your site more audience. A post on organically and successfully. the homepage of Stumbleupon activity isn’t Reddit has the as viral as a single post on potential to drive up to Reddit, but has the potential 25,000 unique visitors to bring in more consistent to your site in a day. traffic over a few months. 4. Partnerships Partnerships and distribu6on deals take more persistence than any other eﬀorts, and aren’t guaranteed to succeed. But if you manage to make a deal with a top site in your ﬁeld, it has the poten6al to drive a considerable amount of traﬃc, as well as exposure. Learn about biz dev in this video and guide, then read these examples of small startups that got big companies to work with them: Mixx is a news aggregator site, similar to Reddit. The Chapter 17: Marketing & PR Founder, Chris McGill, built an incredible product and then leveraged his ties with the online publishing world. He made a deal with CNN so that each article CNN page contained a Mixx button, so that each piece could be submitted to Mixx. If you track Mixx’s traffic during this time, you will find that this subtle move affected their hits and uniques substantially. Docstoc noticed that prominent publishers, such as the New York Times and the Huffington Post, were NY Times using a competitor to embed documents for a prominent news story. So we picked up the phone and built relationships with these publishers, helped them embed documents on their site and showed them how it would improve their user experience. 5. Refreshing Content A lot of what we discussed will help you drive unique visitors to your site, which is valuable. But it’s also very important to keep customers coming back, so you don’t simply have spikes in traﬃc, but are consistently building upon your traﬃc. Consider this: why do you return to sites you love, or bookmark them? Because they have new, interes6ng content. Don’t let your Chapter 17: Marketing & PR homepage become a sta6c business card for your website, ﬁnd a way to keep fresh content cycling through. Automatic vs. Manual Refreshing Once you’ve built a repository of content, if you don’t have the time or resources to sift through it for the best content to feature, you may choose to automate the process. At Docstoc we created an algorithm that calculates the most downloaded documents (which we assume have a certain level of quality), and surfaces them to the homepage. In our case, we often rely on user-generated content, which means we aren’t spending our own resources creating new content in the first place. 6. Viral Loop A viral loop is essen6ally any way that you can turn users into marketers for your website. This is a great example of a viral loop: LinkedIn and Contacts The most classic example of a viral loop was LinkedIn in 2003, when the site was still fairly unknown. Back then I was in business school, and I created an account on Chapter 17: Marketing & PR LinkedIn. While searching the site, I saw another user who had over 500 connections on LinkedIn, and had a little badge next to his name designating him as a special user. I wanted a badge too, so I copied my 800 contacts stored on Outlook and sent them all a message to join my LinkedIn network. A meaningful percentage of my contacts that day that signed up for LinkedIn. Why? Because I was a warm contact, the invite came from somebody that these people already knew. And many of them probably sent invites to their contacts, sparking a chain of outreach that drove tens of thousands of users from my one decision. LinkedIn had turned me into a user marketer, who brought them an exponential boost in traffic for free. 7. Solve a Compelling Need This may be the most obvious strategy, since everyone wants their product to be useful and to fulﬁll their customer’s need. Chapter 17: Marketing & PR However, solving a compelling desire can be surprisingly diﬃcult. Some6mes it’s easy to lose sight of human beings’ most basic needs: 1. Money 2. Love 3. Health We all want to lose weight, to make enough money, and to be loved. The best networking plays oﬀ our need to connect, to feel beau6ful, to interact with those we love. Consider how you can link your product or service to one of those most visceral desires. Paid Marke6ng Once you’ve mastered the free methods to gain online traﬃc (and when you have a source of money), you can consider paid adver6sing through Facebook, LinkedIn or AdWords. This strategy can apply to both online products, physical products, and even retail businesses, who can target their Google AdWords adver6sements using geoloca6on. The goal of paid marke+ng is to make sure that the life+me value Chapter 17: Marketing & PR of the product you sell is in excess of the cost per acquisi+on. This means that whatever money you’re puFng into acquiring customers, make sure that you consistently make more money from the actual sales. These three variables will determine if you’re mee6ng this standard: CPC Price CR Cost Per The price of Conversion Click, the your Rate: how amount you’re product, the many people charged per amount a who click your click. Usually customer site actually ranges from 50 will pay you buy the cents-$1.50 product? Leveraging Public Relations You may know about press releases and “damage control,” but a lot of business owners misunderstand the purpose of PR, and what it can do for your business. PR will probably not drive a lot of customers or sales, but is important in the long-‐term for the following beneﬁts: Chapter 17: Marketing & PR 1. Building Awareness 2. Adding Credibility A mistaken assump6on that I hear a lot is “if I just get more press, we’ll get a boost in sales.” If you’re featured on Fox business or wriRen up in a popular news source like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, your sales won’t necessarily jump. You will, however, increase awareness of your product, while adding credibility of being in a recognized publica6on.
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