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DESIGNED TO SELL 5 STEPS TO ONLINE SUCCESS

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					S U C C E S F U L   O N L I N E   M A R K E T I N G




                                  DESIGNED TO SELL
                                   5   S T E P S      T O   O N L I N E   S U C C E S S




                            BY     ANITA      SCHOTT            AND       CHRIS      BOGGS




                                              © Anita Schott and Chris Boggs,
                                         Search Engine Specialists at the G3 Group
                                                 832 Oregon Ave • Suite L
                                          Phone 410.789.7007 • Fax 410.789.7005




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S U C C E S F U L            O N L I N E         M A R K E T I N G




Table of Contents

MAKING YOUR WEBSITE THE BEST IT CAN BE ..................................................................................................... 4
  CONTENT IS KEY .................................................................................................................................................................. 5
    Writing Words that $ELL................................................................................................................................................. 5
  CALL TO ACTION ................................................................................................................................................................. 6
  LINKING AND STRUCTURE ................................................................................................................................................... 7
    Customer Needs ............................................................................................................................................................... 7
  DESIGN ................................................................................................................................................................................ 9
SEARCH ENGINES .......................................................................................................................................................... 11
  ORGANIC VERSUS SPONSORED ........................................................................................................................................... 11
  THE DIFFERENCE IN SEARCH RESULTS ................................................................................................................................ 12
  HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK........................................................................................................................................... 12
  SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION ......................................................................................................................................... 13
    How to optimize for organic listings.............................................................................................................................. 13
    Keyword Research ......................................................................................................................................................... 13
    Developer Tips for SEO ................................................................................................................................................. 14
  QUICK SEO CHECKLIST ..................................................................................................................................................... 15
    What NOT to do ............................................................................................................................................................. 15
  SPONSORED LISTINGS ........................................................................................................................................................ 16
    Introducing the Players.................................................................................................................................................. 16
    Sponsored Listings – Setup and Creative....................................................................................................................... 16
    Testing the water............................................................................................................................................................ 17
LINKING UP...................................................................................................................................................................... 18
     Internal Linking ............................................................................................................................................................. 19
     Inbound Links................................................................................................................................................................. 19
EMAIL MARKETING...................................................................................................................................................... 21
     How to send the email.................................................................................................................................................... 22
OTHER MARKETING METHODS................................................................................................................................ 23

CONCLUSION................................................................................................................................................................... 28




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S U C C E S F U L   O N L I N E   M A R K E T I N G




                           DESIGNED TO SELL
                           You can realize a positive cash flow from your website
                           by leveraging the power of online marketing.



                           I
                                 t may surprise you to know that many companies (large and small) have yet to
                                 develop a solid marketing plan for the Internet. Online marketing comprises
                                 fewer than 4% of total ad spending across all media. This is a huge omission.
                                 People often go to the Internet for information prior to making a purchase.
                           These prospects are people that are getting ready to start “the buying process” and
                           it’s the absolute best time for you to capture these prospects and turn them into
                           customers.

                           Imagine coming to work each day, checking your email and having more leads from
                           your website than you can handle. This can happen to you if you learn how to
                           control and direct your online marketing. Of the dollars spent advertising online,
                           Search engine        search engine marketing comprises more than 40% followed by
                           marketing            display ads, classified ads, email and all other online media.
                           comprises more
                           than 40% of all            In this guide, we will cover the five fundamental steps and give
                           advertising dollars        straightforward methods you can use to obtain success. You can
                           spent online.              use these methods to improve the results from an existing
                                                      website OR design a new killer site.

                           The Five Steps:

                                    Making your website the best it can be
                                    Search Engines
                                    Linking Up
                                    Email Marketing
                                    Other Methods




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C H A P T E R   1




Making your website the
best it can be
                             According to independent research for online retailers,
                             conversion rates are less than 3% and shopping cart
                             abandonment rates hover at 50%. This means that on
                             average, a whopping 97% of online shoppers leave without
                             buying, and only half of those who put items in their
                             shopping carts actually make a purchase. It doesn’t have to
                             be this way.

                         If this were common in brick and mortar stores, you
                         wouldn’t be able to afford the electric bill. This is not a
                         marketing problem – it is a usability problem. Online stores
                         are not addressing customer needs. Your website is the
intermediate between you and a customer – it is the storefront or office at which you
meet and greet each new prospect. It doesn’t matter if you have a professionally
designed website or you hired your wife’s nephew – some things must be in perfect
order for you to succeed. Although tedious, you must make sure your website is
designed to sell before you waste time on marketing and end up with disappointing
results.

The key ingredients:

1.   Quality Content
2.   Call to Action
3.   Linking and Structure
4.   Design


You can read every book telling you all the SEO secrets you want but we’re going to
give you the hard, unbiased truth. Sending traffic to a poorly constructed website will
result in failure. That’s why most websites are experiencing the poor statistics above.
There may be something relatively small that is wrong in their presentation (or lack
there of) that causes visitors to leave. It may be something that once identified can be
easily corrected or it may require a complete re-design. Either way, it’s better to find
out now before you spend precious time and money marketing a site that is destined to
fail.



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There must be something of interest to attract people for an initial visit and subsequent
returns. Once you have the visitor’s interest, there must be assurances injected on every
page. Even if your company is well-known, visitors are unsure of your online policies
and procedures. You must build trust and confidence and reinforcement them to start
placing orders or disclose information to you.



Content is Key
                   The single most important ingredient is good, solid information
                   that will attract new and repeat visitors. Information is what
                   everyone is searching for on the Internet. And it’s what you have to
                   offer, whether it’s information about real estate, software, books,
                   gifts or services. The more information you present, the better your
                   chances at success. Why? Because your website is like your business
office or storefront – the bigger it is, the more opportunity there is for someone to find
                        you. The better it is – the more reassured the customer feels
                        when they buy from you.
Add 2 pages a
week and your         You can start small… a 3-5 page website is not uncommon and
website will be       can be very effective. But, you must make a promise to yourself
over 100 pages in     to add content on a regular basis. Whether it’s one page a day
one year.
                      or two pages a week – more is better. Most people think they
                      can’t do this part. “I’m not a copywriter” or “I don’t know what
                      to write” are the common responses. Well, you don’t have to be
a writer… you have to be a “persuader”. As for what to write: anything related to
your industry, product or service.

If you add 2 pages a week, after one year your website will be well over 100 pages. The
pages don’t have to be huge… just 150 to 200 words discussing your topic. Content
about any topic related to your industry is going to help your search engine positioning
(and it’s useful for human visitors too).



Writing Words that $ELL
                    Get people to imagine the benefits of your product or service,
                    putting them in the driver’s seat. It really doesn’t matter what you
                    are selling, put it on an emotional level and tell your reader how it
                    will change their lives. Back that up with features and facts for
                    people that need the technical stuff and then polish it off with a
                    strong call to action.

This is what people want:

        Can it make me rich?


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           Can it save me time?

           Can it entertain me?

           Can it make me feel better about myself?

Don’t write, “Our product is…” This is harsh, but people mostly don’t care about you,
they want to read about themselves. They want to hear how the product will affect
them or make their life better. Look at this example:

        “ABC Skin Care has 10 skin rejuvenating ingredients.”



        “Your skin will look silky smooth when you use ABC Skin Care.
       We guarantee you’ll look 10 years younger. Use our easy,
       secure online order form today and save $5.”


EXAMPLE: The sample above promises to make the customer’s life better. It also builds trust with the guarantee and promises
the buying process will be simple.


        Get your reader to believe your product or service will make their lives better
        in some way.
        Give them reassurance that you will provide good support after the sale
        (building trust).
        Make the buying process as easy as possible.
Then sit back and watch your conversion rate soar.

Finally, you only have 10 seconds to engage the visitor. That’s right; today’s web surfer
has a lot of web to browse, so they will only give you about ten seconds to grab their
attention before they hit the back button. Get to the point, use bullets, use headlines
and keep your content as focused as possible.

Call to Action
                          Good marketing copy needs a “call to action” to drive the visitors
                          where you want them to go. The call to action should be a link to a
                          specific destination page – if you are selling online, the destination
                          page would be the order page – if you’re not selling online, it would
                          be the information request form or contact page.

Before you start writing decide what you really want readers to do after viewing your
information and then use your power of persuasion to get the reader to act. If you
are going to say, “Contact us” and send the visitor to a form; your responses will be
mediocre.



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Develop a creative way to get visitors to interact with you. Discounts, coupons, time-
based special offers and newsletters are all proven ways to entice people to act.

“Contact us for more Information” (Passive call to action)

“Click here to get 5% off your next order – hurry, this offer ends today.” (Aggressive
call to action)

Research shows a low 3% conversion rate on the Internet so you don’t have time to be
passive. In either case, if the visitor does take action you are able to capture their name,
email address, phone number and sometimes more. Save this information – it’s like
gold! Maintain a database or spreadsheet and use this as your lead list to follow up or
for future marketing efforts (email, direct mail, etc.).


Linking and Structure
                  You need to understand the buying process before you try to
                  organize the great content you created. The process may be quick
                  for some products and long for others but it’s still a process and not
                  an event. Your website should simulate the process for whatever
                  product or service you are selling, feeding the appropriate amount of
                  content to the visitor, allowing them to access more content or
backtrack if needed until they arrive at the destination page.

Customer Needs
It really doesn’t matter what you sell, your customers will go through a process
preceding their buying from you. Address their emotional needs and your success will
come naturally. Ask your existing customers; research other successful websites in your
industry and start building a flow chart of how your content should be navigated. The
goal is to organize your content in a way that matches the process for your specific
product or service.

Awareness: The prospect must be aware of your company when they have a need for
a product or service.

Confidence: The prospect needs to feel trust in your company.

Education: The prospect may need information about your product or service in
order to help make the buying decision.

Motivation: An invitation (call to action) that moves prospects into a position to
interact with you is required.

Satisfaction: The customer needs to feel good about the decision he/she made in
order to become a repeat buyer.



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Generally speaking, if you operate a department store and sell products that are already
well branded, the buying process is rather short. People know what they want and the
only decision is who to buy from. Educating the customer is not really an issue.
Conversely, if you’re selling a product or service that is intricate or expensive, the
buying process can be very long with many decisions along the path.

A short buying process doesn’t mean your website needs less content. It means that
your introduction should have one click to your “destination page” with supporting
content clearly linked in case they need it. With longer buying processes, you may want
to take the visitor from introduction through a series of stages before the destination
page.

It’s a good idea to have alternate calls to action because visitors may not act on your
offer the first time they visit your website. With a backup call to action you can appease
a variety of people in different stages of the buying process.

        For people who know what they want and are ready to act - You need a one-
        click, clear path to the destination page
        For people who are not sure and want more information - You need
        supporting content that is easy to navigate with “calls-to-action” that may be
        less aggressive like “sign-up for our free newsletter”.
        For people who don’t really know how they got to your site - Make it clear
        up-front what your website is about so these people don’t waste your time or
        theirs.
All the good content in the world won’t make a difference if your visitors find it
confusing to navigate. Draw out a plan that makes it easy for visitors to browse from
one topic to the next without reaching dead ends or continually hitting their back
button.




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If you intend to expand your content in the future, you do not want every page linked
from your home page. (See more about this subject below in “Linking Up.”) Starting now,
categorize the content similar to the sample above. The home page links to the major
sections and then each major section can link to sub-sections. Think of it as a family
tree: the parent links to the children, the children link to their siblings and their own
children. Every page should have a link back to the home page just in case something
goes wrong, your visitor can start over.

A site map is important, not only for visitors who are lost but also for search engines to
find your content. For search engines, the site map should be very plain, just text links
to every page in your website. For visitors, you may wish to categorize the text links.




                  Design
It’s not
                  Pictures don’t sell - words sell. Pictures do help you create
creative if it
                  atmosphere and reinforce branding. Often it is very hard for people
doesn’t SELL.
                  to understand that a “professional website” does not mean it has
                  beautiful graphics or flash. A professional website is eye-catching, fast
                  loading and designed with the customer needs in mind.

Note: The good thing is that the same elements that make your website “visitor friendly”
also make it “search engine friendly”. This is important to you financially. Search engines
will give you free exposure, sending highly qualified, potential customers to your website
everyday.


The best website designs are:

        Visually appealing and load quickly

        Compliant with most browsers with error-free HTML

        Have a clear navigational path

Test your plan

In order to ensure that you take advantage of the investment your website represents,
you need to test the website for effectiveness. Once you have a structure, build out a
prototype website and try it out on a few people before committing. Select friends that
have a similar profile to your target customer and then ask them to browse the site.
Watch and see if they are naturally led to your destination page. If you find yourself
answering too many questions or they continually hit the dreaded back button, rethink
your plan.



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                   The only way to find out the true ability of your website is by
                   analyzing your traffic behavior. In order to analyze traffic, you
                  need traffic. There are multitudes of ways to get traffic to your site
                  but a very effective way to get targeted traffic right from the start is
                  through the use of Paid Search Advertising, often called “Pay-Per-
                  Click” (PPC) or Sponsored listings advertising (discussed in detail later).
Use web analytics software to help you analyze the site and select one that is capable of
determining:

        What terms are people using to find your listing?
        What path do most take after arrival at your site?
        Is your destination page being reached most of the time or hardly ever?
        How long are people spending on each page?


                    This research is going to give you valuable insight into how well
Your web logs       you’ve structured, presented and linked your content based on
can help you        customer needs. Better to start slow, get a little traffic to the site, do
save time and       the research and then address any issues before you get more
money.              traffic. Remember, first impressions are lasting.




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C H A P T E R   T W O




Search Engines

                                        Search engine traffic may be all you need to
                                        make your website truly successful. Most
                                        companies don’t realize the impact search
                                        engines can have on your traffic. In fact, because
                                        of this lack of understanding, most websites
                                        only get 1-5% of their traffic from Search
                                        Engines. But, the companies who have mastered
                                        the art of search engine marketing get 30- 50%
of their traffic this way. That’s equivalent to multiplying your traffic by a factor of 30
times or more!

Search Engines are what many consider to be the most effective form of direct
marketing available today. By comparison, Newspaper or Radio advertising sends your
message to the masses. These forms of marketing rely on a small percentage of the
viewers/listeners actually being interested in your product or service at the time they
are exposed to the advertisement. By contrast, search engine listings will present your
website to a searcher at the time he or she is seeking your product and entering the
buying process!

Organic versus Sponsored




Search engines typically display two types of results when someone performs a
search: organic (sometimes called “natural”) and sponsored. Statistics
overwhelmingly show the top ten “organic listings” for any search command the
highest click through rate. Organic results are usually displayed on the left side of the




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search results page and people tend to click those listings in much higher numbers than
the sponsored results.



The difference in search results
                  You do not have to pay anything to be listed in the organic results.
                  Sponsored results (sometimes called Pay-per-click) require that you
                  bid on search terms and pay the search company each time a visitor
                  clicks on your listing.

                    To get listed in the natural (free) results of a crawler-based search
engine, your website needs to be “optimized.” To be listed in human-edited
directories, you have to pay a fee and be subject-relevant to the category where your
listing will appear. See more information about directories in “Linking Up” below.
For sponsored listings, you need to be prepared to pay for each visitor sent to you.
Your online marketing budget should include time and money to do all of these.
The reasons for this are that:

     1. You can use sponsored listings to obtain immediate visibility
     2. Organic listings take longer to acquire and necessitate time and money for
        optimization
     3. Organic positioning can be boosted by having paid or free listings in
        directories.


We are about to discuss search engine optimization and sponsored listings. Keep in
mind that when you do begin to appear within the organic results, you should consider
remaining within the sponsored listings as well – at least for your best keywords.
Think of it as “real estate.” There are only 10 organic and up to 10 sponsored listings
per page. Since most search engines will only place you once within the organic results
for a particular term (there are exceptions), why not pay to get that second listing?


How Search Engines Work
                 Search engines have three parts: a spider, an index and a search
                 interface. Spiders” are programs that crawl the Internet collecting
                 from websites like yours. They store the results in an index. They
                 compile the information and when someone types a word or phrase
                 into the search box, they display results based on relevance. The
                 search engines each have their own closely guarded algorithm. The
algorithm determines which website listing is more “relevant” than another.




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Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an established process of improving how your
web site interacts with search engines thereby boosting your overall search engine
ranking. SEO involves many processes including research and selection of popular
search terms (keywords), performing HTML code improvements, optimizing word
density, enhancing content, enhancing page construction, testing, verification and
submitting to search engines. SEO firms and specialists spend time studying search
engines and have insight into how their algorithms work.

Whether you hire a professional SEO firm or do-it-yourself, getting positions in the
natural results takes time, sometimes 6-12 months or more. Don’t be discouraged,
however, because you can get listed in the sponsored results almost immediately.

How to optimize for organic listings
Let’s assume you’ve created a website with quality content and great structure. Your
site looks good and loads fast and you’ve checked it for HTML errors. You’ve also
tested it for “usability” and people browsing your site seem to find everything they are
SEO takes six looking for. It’s a killer site: now it’s time to optimize.
to twelve
months to       There are two main components to search engine optimization
realize         (SEO) - “on-page” and “off-page” factors. On page factors are those
meaningful      that you can directly control such as your content, keyword density,
results.        meta-tags and internal structure. Off-page factors that influence your
                ranking are the incoming links to your site from other web pages,
which we discuss later.



Keyword Research
Your prospects are searching the web for products and services. You want to attract as
many as possible but the first thing you need to know is what words they are using to
search. Enough cannot be said about selecting the right keywords. So many companies
overlook this important aspect in their marketing plan and end up with listings under
keywords that nobody uses in searches. Or, they end up at the bottom of a long list of
competing sites for keywords that are way too general.



Research shows that most (31%) people search for two word phrases, a large
number (25%) use three word phrases and fewer (19%) try searching with a single
word query. People are searching this way because they want relevant results... they
don't want to wade through tons of listings to find what they are looking for. This is a
good reason to make certain your keywords are specific and targeted.




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Tip: http://www.instantposition.com Use the keyword research tool to find out
how many searches there are for your keywords or phrases.

In order to get ANY meaningful traffic from search engines – you have use the same,
exact words people are using in searches. That’s a real tough concept for some people.
If you want top positions in the organic results, those words need to be used IN THE
VISIBLE TEXT on your website. And they need to be the exact words or phrases
people are using.

For best results: select only one to two keywords for each page you plan to
optimize. Build your visible content and your META-tags around these words. Do not
try to optimize a single page for every possible keyword combination - you'll simply
dilute your effectiveness. Instead, target the highest searched and/or most relevant
words or phrases. If you have more search terms, build new pages around these words
or word combinations.

Go to any website and right click to “view source”. You don’t have to be an HTML
wizard to understand what I’m about to tell you. Many websites have a hundred or
more lines of code before you get to the main content. When search engines index
your site, they read the source code starting at the top. This is where you want the main
content and this is where you want your keywords – not buried at the bottom.

Search engine crawlers (spiders) generally cannot read images, flash and scripts. So if
the navigation of your website is all images the spider won’t be able to go past your
home page. This results in the majority of your website not being indexed. One
approach to fix this is to at least put a text link to a site map on your home page. The
site map should then list all pages in your site (using text links). Optimally, the text links
should use keywords within them.



Developer Tips for SEO
Search engines will “crawl” your website as soon as they find a link pointing to any of
your pages. The following tips deal with “optimizing” your website so that you achieve
higher rankings on search engines.



        Instead of putting your JavaScript and style sheets in the HTML document
        itself, link them as external files. This reduces the code in the HEAD of your
        HTML and moves your main content closer to the top.
        Minimize your use of Flash and graphics – search engines can’t see these
        elements.
        Never use frames – this is a virtual road-block to search engine spiders.




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      If you have graphics as your navigation, repeat the links as text on each page.
      Alternately, you can use style sheets to create your buttons instead of graphics.
      If your content is dynamic or database driven, make sure your URL’s do not
      contain special characters. (Sometimes called a dirty URL, these characters
      (&,%,#, etc.) are hard for search engine spiders to crawl) If you have this
      problem, ask your web developer or server administrator to install a Mod
      Rewrite. The Mod Rewrite can be used to optimize your URL’s.
      Search engine algorithms give weight to keywords in the URL so you might as
      well use this to your advantage. Structure your website files in a way that
      optimizes keywords in your URL’s. Example: ABC Company sells widgets.
      They have a special product that is a Blue Widget. Their home page links to
      the product page like this: www.abc.com/blue.html. A better way to link to the
      page would be: www.abc.com/blue-widgets/. The keyword “blue widgets” is
      inserted in the URL.
      Use hyphens instead of underscores in directory and file names.
      If you have a picture of a “blue widget” on your page, name the picture file
      “blue-widget.gif” and the ALT tag “blue widget”. Even though Search
      Engines can’t “see” pictures, they can and will read the code you use – so use it
      wisely.


Quick SEO Checklist
   Fast loading page (under 50k including images)
   No HTML errors (Use http://validator.w3.org)
   No broken links
   Your title tag uses keywords, describes the page and is 6 to 12 words long
   Your META Description tag uses keywords, describes the page content and is a
   maximum of 200 to 250 characters.
   Your META Keyword tag uses keywords that describe the page and is between 7-
   48 words.
   Your visible content contains several keywords used at least 2-3 times.
   Your visible content is between 200 and 500 words.
   Your keyword is used as a text link on the page.
   Your keyword is used as a headline or bold type.


What NOT to do
      Don’t use frames or create a site that is all flash or graphics.
      Don’t stuff keywords or use any other “tricks” to fool search engines.
      Don’t register 100 domain names all pointing to the same site.
      Don’t duplicate your content to other websites owned by you (or anyone else).
      Don’t trust your SEO to firms that make claims they can’t support or firms
      that use any unethical methods such as gateway pages, keyword stuffing, etc.




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Resource: Use the Free SEODoc Tool at http://www.instantposition.com to quickly
check your pages for SEO.



Sponsored Listings


As described previously, people use specific terms when searching the Internet for
particular products or services. Using effective SEO it may take 6-12 months to gain
organic positioning; however, you can be listed on the first page for your keywords
within hours using sponsored listings, AKA PPC (pay-per-click)!



Introducing the Players

Google™ provides sponsored listings through their Google AdWords™ program.
Google AdWords provides listings to AOL®, Earthlink™, and AskJeeves®; as well as
in countless websites that utilize the Google AdSense™ program. You have probably
seen AdSense in boxes titled “Ads by Google.” This from of site marketing is called
contextual advertising, an important sub category of sponsored listings. You can
signup online with Google or through an outside firm that handles management for
you. If you hire a firm, make sure they have a Google® AdWords Qualification and
expect to pay a fee for creation of your listings and management of your account.



Yahoo!® Search Marketing (formerly Overture) also has a “top tier” sponsored listings
system. Yahoo! listings are shared with MSN®, Alta Vista™, CNN™, and
InfoSpace®, among others. MSN is developing its own PPC system to begin testing
in France and Singapore in the summer of 2005. There are many “second tier” or
specialized “vertical” (industry-specific) search engines that offer PPC. However, the
majority of them are classified by many professional search engine marketers as
“dogs”. Although they do deliver traffic at cheaper prices, it is somewhat dubious as
their visitors rarely demonstrate the results that Google and Yahoo traffic does.



Sponsored Listings – Setup and Creative
If you do-it-yourself, carry out some research about creating your listings before you
start. Google provides tutorials to help you create successful listings designed to get
higher click-thru rates. They also provide online tools to help you discover what search
terms are performing for you and help you determine the expected conversion rate
based on the costs.




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Testing the water
Setting up a test PPC campaign that has one main
purpose: to analyze your website’s effectiveness at
making sales. The cost is often justified by simply
calculating the Return on Investment (ROI). If
you spend fifty cents per click to get 100 visitors
to your site, and generate a ten percent conversion
rate, it costs you five dollars per sale/lead. If this
is under your acceptable marketing cost per client,
then you are on the way to making millions.



It is important to conduct a PPC test in order to judge the effectiveness of your
website. If there are people searching for your product or service (which you know is
the case if you have done keyword research), a certain percentage will click on your ads,
depending on your position within the listings and the style of your PPC Title and
Description. You should have some web analytics software in place, which will allow
you, at the very least, to verify the numbers offered by Google and Yahoo. Combine
this data with the sales metrics over a particular time, and you will be able to see if your
site needs more marketing “oomph.”

When trying a PPC Campaign, it is suggested that you use a firm that professionally
creates your ads and is willing to do a test first. This will ensure that your ad is more
likely to be clicked-on by relevant searchers. It is important that you spend time with
such an agency outlining what differentiates your product/service from your
competition. Also, if your product or service is costlier than most, or can sometimes
be confused with a less expensive product, you may consider using a price-point in
your ads to pre-qualify clicks. As an example, if you sell top of the line “Blue Widgets,”
then you want to try and ensure that no college student doing a report on Blue Widgets
clicks on your ad. This is but one of the many factors involved with starting a PPC
Campaign.

Another important decision related to PPC Advertising is deciding who is to manage
your account. It is recommended, as mentioned previously, that you use a professional
PPC management firm to do this, unless you have the time to monitor the listings on a
daily basis and to create and analyze reports periodically. Although the major PPC
portals do offer management services: would you let your child run your candy store?
Third party management providers generally charge about 15% to manage and provide
reports. Chances are that the cost of such campaigns will still be significantly less than
“traditional” advertising and will yield consistently higher ROI.




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C H A P T E R      3




Linking Up
Search Engine submissions are almost obsolete – get links from others to boost
your visibility and your ranking.

                             In the old days it used to be called “search engine
                             submission”. Well, search engines have changed. Most do
                             not require a submission to list your website. In fact, you
                             don’t really have to do much of anything for them to find you.
                             Get one link from another website and search engines will
                             follow that link to your website, index the site and rank you
                             based on how relevant they deem your content. Of course,
                             this takes time and we want to move as fast as possible so we
                             will take a more proactive approach.



The biggest factor in most search engine algorithms is linking. In order for a web page
to be deemed relevant for a particular search term, search engines rely on “votes” from
other pages. Before describing how to gain these important “votes,” let’s step back for
a moment and discuss structure again. Notice that the term “page” and not “site” is
being used here. This is a very important concept to grasp. Any page on your site can
be about any particular topic. So if you have more than one product or service, it is
wise to establish a page dedicated to each of those products in order to clearly define
such product.



Think of it this way: let us say one web page talks about Product “A,” “B,” and “C,”
and another talks about Product “A” only. If someone searches for Product “A”
alone, search engines are more likely to give more credence to the page that speaks
solely of Product “A,” since the page is not “watered down.” Now this brings us back
to the point of “votes.” Any web page that links to another is giving a “vote” to that
page, in search engine terms. So if your homepage speaks of Product “A,” “B,” and
“C,” and links to each specific page, it is giving each page a vote for the particular
product.




                                                   18
Internal Linking
Links start with your own internal structure, since you can in essence vote for other
pages on your website as many times as you want. It is important to do this, in order
to make a clear path for searchers and search engines to the particular product. As
described above in the Design section, if your keyword is “blue widgets”, use this word
to link to your blue widget page from other pages.



Inbound Links
The next types of links that you want to establish are inbound links. These are defined
as “votes” from other web pages or, even more importantly, relevant Directories.
Search engines give greater credence to inbound links from relevant sites than non-
relevant sites. For this reason it is important to avoid “easy” methods, and go about
this in a methodical, ethical manner. Avoid e-mails that advertise “thousands of
inbound links within days.” Search Engines such as Google are getting smarter every
day, and will actually penalize you in some instances for gaining too many votes “in an
unnatural timeframe.” Directories, unlike search engines, DO require submission.

Where to submit your website

        Yahoo Directory (www.yahoo.com and click on directory, cost is $299/year)
        DMOZ (www.dmoz.org – free)
        Industry relevant portals and directories
        Other websites with similar content


It is wise to first get listed in relevant directories such as the Yahoo! Directory, in the
category most specific to your site’s product/service. Find or have a professional help
you find Directories that are worthwhile and also relevant to your industry. If you
belong to professional organizations or associations and they allow a link to your site,
use it to your advantage. Every relevant vote counts – even links from other search
engines (like Yahoo!) can help your rank on competing search engines (like Google).



Once you are listed in Directories, find sites that are similar to your content and try to
get listed there. Once again, some sites will help and others will not. The rule of
thumb is this: If a website is highly ranked for your keyword and it links to you,
chances are this will increase your rank. This is mostly depending on the site’s
structure. If the links are “invisible” to search engines, it may not help you in your
rankings. This is not to say the link is worthless, as the site may have lots of traffic that
will see the link and possibly in turn visit your site. Traffic is a very important factor in
gaining rankings as well, and any method to gain such traffic should be investigated. In
many cases, sites will only link to you if you link to them. This is called reciprocal




                                             19
linking. Reciprocal linking, although not as valuable as one-way links, can be very
beneficial in increasing your link popularity.



To sum it up, look at linking as a way to provide exactly what search engines are
seeking in order to give more credence to a web page: relevant content. It may seem
strange to link in a reciprocal manner to competitors, but very rarely will someone lose
a potential client because they are linked to a competitor. Both sites will benefit
because each is providing links to further relevant content. Avoid obtaining links to
your site from unrelated pages or directories. These may help in the short-term, but
the more non-relevant sites you link-to or that link back to you; the less likely your site
will be given credence for your product or service. If you do not have the time or
knowledge to do this step, an SEO firm can help you obtain quality, inbound links.




                                            20
C H A P T E R   4




Email Marketing
                           The important part about email marketing is to avoid
                           SPAM. Everyone knows that SPAM is annoying, simply
                           because people do not have the time or inclination to read
                           random messages about Viagra or College Degrees. If they
                           do, they probably have too much time on their hands.

                           SPAM: Sending emails to anyone who has not agreed to
                           receive them is spam. Purchasing a list from unknown
                           sources can lead to being a spammer although
                           unintentionally.

NOT SPAM: Sending emails to people who have agreed to receive them is a
legitimate form of communication with prospects and customers. The email should
contain a method for the person to “opt-out” at anytime. Obtaining email addresses
should be from a trusted source or from your own efforts.

Obtaining a List

There are two options to find recipients for your email marketing:

    1. Buy a list.
    2. Build your own.


If you choose to buy a list, buy from a reputable source that guarantees that the
addresses have “opted-in,” meaning that they have signed up to receive messages
about your product or service. Seed the list with email addresses of your own to make
sure the message is actually sent and implement a method to track the response rate.
You can easily track responses by making your call to action click to a special page on
your website for this purpose. You can then track the number of visits via your log
files. Keep in mind; list brokers collect addresses from people who have agreed
(hopefully) to receive information about a topic. This means they really don’t know
you from Adam, so it’s not uncommon to get a percentage of people complaining they
don’t remember opting in to receive email from you.




                                          21
Building your own list can actually be fairly simple and this is the best way to insure
your list is truly “opt-in”. Everyone searches the Internet for one thing – information.
And, they are usually willing to give something up for it. If you provide information,
many are willing to give you their email address for the right to see it. Include an
option to “opt-out” of further email contacts from your website and some will choose
to do so. However, those that choose to receive further messages will become a part
of your marketing database for future messages.



Once you have established a database, it is up to you to decide when to market the
individuals with offers and opportunities. It is recommended that you do not use this
right too often, or you will soon receive a message asking you to remove their name
from your list. If you provide good information or valuable offers such as discounts,
etc., your conversion rate should be fairly good from these contacts.



How to send the email
                  Common mistake number one: sending a mass email out to
                  everyone on your list at once, without personalizing it or, even
                  worse, by putting all the addresses in the “To: or CC:” box, thereby
                  showing e-mail addresses to everyone on your list. The way to
                  avoid this is by sending personalized individual e-mails to everyone.
                  If you have hundreds of people on your list, it would be wise to
invest in software that is CANSPAM (a recent US Law regarding SPAM) compliant.
There are some basic features you should seek when deciding on such software.

The system should:

        Be CANSPAM compliant
        Allow you to create and send personalized HTML or Text emails
        Give you access to an e-mail server if your list is large
        Allow for the import of your current database
        Have a viral marketing feature (“Forward to a friend!”)
        Have the ability to send attached documents such as coupons or further
        information
        Have advanced tracking features allowing you to know who opened the email
        and who didn’t
These are basic features that most good software will have, and they are all important
to successful e-mail marketing campaigns. Remember, it is easier to sell to an existing
customer than to make an initial sale. If you have a history of good customer service,
people will be more likely to open your e-mails and see what you have to offer.




                                          22
C H A P T E R   5




Other Marketing Methods
                           Search Engines are one way to market your website, but it
                           can take time to build listings, or even interest in your
                           particular product. We’ve discussed Search Engine
                           Marketing (through organic and paid listings) and Email
                           Marketing (through opt-in direct email) and now let’s talk
                           about other ways to promote your website.



                                   Traditional or “Classic” Offline Advertising
                                   Forums and Blogs
                                   Banner Ads
                                   Viral Marketing
                                   Articles and Press Releases


“Classic” Marketing

When you are considering any form of marketing, it is always important to consider
the classic “4 P’s” of Marketing: Price, Product, Place, and Promotion. This e-Book
has focused on the last two P’s, Place and Promotion. The place that you are trying to
sell your product or service or to gain leads is the Internet, and the promotion methods
you must focus on should be Internet-related. You have to get people to your site to
see if it sells.



In terms of “traditional advertising,” we do not suggest that you give up on those
forms either, especially if your industry has had success in the past with particular
mediums. However, it is strongly suggested that you include your URL (website
address) in ALL form of offline advertising, from your business cards all the way to
television. In this day and age, people with websites tend to do better at gaining leads
from traditional “push” advertising if they can lead the prospect to a website that
provides more information. If you have a website and do not include it prominently
on your business card and in your other advertising, you are again wasting your
Internet investment.




                                          23
Calls to action within offline marketing that entice the reader/listener to visit your
website can also be very effective. If you offer a coupon or an Internet special,
chances are more people will visit.



If you have an easy to remember URL, this makes it more likely that a person having
heard your radio spot, or seen the airplane-trailed banner at the beach or races, will visit
your site. Avoid “.net” or “.biz” URL’s if possible, as most people will think “.com,”
and you may end up leading visitors to your competitor. Avoid dashes in your URL
for this reason too. Think of a catchy name, and more people are likely to remember
the URL. If you sell Blue Widgets, it is no longer important to have bluewidgets.com
as your address- a professional SEO can help you decide how to properly structure
your URL for maximum effectiveness within search engines, without having to
sacrifice your “catchy name.”



Forums and Blogs – Virtual Networking

The Internet has always been a place for like-minded people to share ideas. Recently it
has also become a popular place for “enemies” such as, for example, extremist liberals
and extremist conservatives to fight. Anonymity often allows people to truly express
their feelings. People are getting more and more used to finding information about
many different viewpoints on the Internet. Non-anonymous forums and blogs (online
journals generally signed by the author) and now “Wikis” (collaborative blogs editable
by a number of authorized individuals such as, for example, the entire marketing
department of a corporation) allow for a truly powerful form of marketing: to post and
share information with your target market.



Forums allow people to exchange ideas based on questions asked by various forum
members. Often, the ability to post in such a forum requires membership, which can
be obtained by providing an active email address. If that makes you think about
marketing to those people, you probably were paying attention when e-mail marketing
was discussed, but that is not the point of this section. The point is that if you can
present to people viewing your posts in a forum or blog that you know your “stuff,”
they may be more likely to contact you in regards to possibly working for or with them.
Many forums and blogs do not allow blatant self-promotion, but there are ways to sell
widgets than with flashing signs!



As was previously mentioned, the primary purpose people visit the Internet is to gain
information. If they find posts within a blog, forum, or wiki that contains such, they



                                            24
are more likely to become future clients or networking associates. Wikis are especially
powerful because they allow for collaborative content creation. If Joe from sales
knows a discount has suddenly been issued, he can go directly to the sales department
wiki and post it. The same goes for forums. Announcements can be made in a way
that it seems like you are just presenting new information, while you are in fact driving
traffic to your site and thus possibly increasing sales or leads.



It is thus recommended that you find a forum to “hang out” in and become respected
because of your knowledge as well as politeness. Networking in this manner is an
underused tactic that can lead to business from sources you would have never
imagined. Building a company blog or wiki is also an important way to provide
information about your organization. Beware, however, allowing open responding and
posting, because competitors could enter and slander you. It is a good idea to use
“moderators” with a sharp eye for such behavior.

Viral Marketing

                  Viral marketing is a strategy that persuades people to pass on a
                  marketing message to others, creating an exponential effect in the
                  message's exposure and influence. Similar to a “pyramid” in the way
                  the message is distributed, a good idea can produce explosive traffic.
                  This type of marketing is commonly referred to as “word-of-
                  mouth” or “network marketing”, and more recently the term “viral”
was coined.

Most successful viral campaigns all have one element in common: they give something
of value away to encourage others to pass their message to friends or acquaintances. It
can be free email services, cool web buttons, wallpaper, pictures and animated
cartoons, software downloads, discounts, products information and more. The more
value perceived by people, the more exposure your message can be expected to achieve
as it is passed from person to person.

On the Internet, the favorite method of distribution for viral campaigns is email. A
viral campaign may have several different goals. One goal is to achieve immediate
response. This would require a strong call to action and offer an incentive such as a
coupon or discount in the email. A viral that is designed for branding may not have
much in the way of calls to action; however the goal is to be seen by as many people as
possible.

Banner Ads

Many people nowadays simply ignore “banner territory” when visiting a website, with a
few notable exceptions such as adult content sites that can make banners more
“attractive” to visitors. Banners ads have come a long way in recent months.



                                           25
Continuous increase in the percentage of high speed Internet use has allowed for more
modern ads that literally zoom across the page to ensure that they will catch your
attention.



The problem with such ads is that many people consider them invasive. Much like
pop-ups, which we would almost never recommend, they can be quite bothersome to
someone. This can be damaging if the person is actually reading and interested in the
content of the webpage he or she is looking at, so most websites that provide good
content designed to sell a product or gather a lead are less than likely to employ pop-
ups or “high speed” banner ads.



That being said, there are benefits to using “interactive” banner ads that tempt the
visitor to participate and thus actively imply they will see your message. Some great
examples include offering games such as “shoot a duck” or “make a bird poop on
Saddam Hussein.” Because of the cost and low click rates, banner ads should be
reserved for highly popular sites relevant to your industry, and only used if you have
the budget to produce it and then effectively test it across many websites.




Articles and Press Releases

                    A website owner should never underestimate the power of a well-
                    written and distributed Press Release. There are a few respected
                    firms that handle dissemination of press releases to the Internet, and
                    have had success in helping gain search engine rankings for featured
                    websites. These firms include Internet News Bureau and
                    PRWeb™, among others. Some will even provide writer and
editors that can rewrite the press release to be “optimized” for particular search terms
that the website seeks rankings-for. Press releases capture the important aspect of
“fresh content” that many search engines, especially Google, seem to favor. The more
often you can afford to distribute a well written optimized press release, the better
results you will see in the form of search engine rankings. Remember to place links to
these press releases or an actual copy on your website, preferably on a page titled
“News”.



This leads to the next and last “trick” described in this e-book. If you can write articles
about your product or service or hire someone to occasionally interview you or your



                                            26
employees or clients and write such articles, you are well on your way to gaining traffic.
Articles help your website in two ways:

    1. They provide fresh and relevant content
    2. They give people a reason to link to your site


As mentioned, search engines love to see new content on websites. The Google spider
will actually come back more often if it sees that you constantly are adding new
content, because of its unquenchable thirst for updated information about all web
pages. Articles about your products and services allow for this content to not seem
duplicated or stale, and likely will help to increase your rankings for terms related to
their subject, especially if properly linked-to.



Once you post articles on your website, you should submit them for free publicity.
Find industry associations that publish member articles and join! Submit the articles to
the local business journals. Submit the articles to forums and blogs. Whatever you do,
ensure that the article has a link to your website and that it is clearly copyrighted. The
more articles written about or by your company, the more respect you will gain within
your industry and from people seeking your services.




                                           27
C H A P T E R   6




Conclusion
Following the five main factors we’ve outlined in this guide will help you in gaining
traffic for your website. Traffic is not the same as customers, so the old adage “You
can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” still applies. Content and the
way you present your message are of utmost importance. If you have an existing
website, you need to take a close, objective look at the effectiveness it has. Be honest
with your assessment, use scientific testing - even if it means you may require a re-
design. And, quite frankly, sometimes a redesign is easier than fixing up an existing site.



For those that decide to redesign, here is a checklist you should follow:

    1. Select the right Keywords: Using free tools available, determine what people
       are searching for before you build the website. Select keywords with higher
       searches and select niche keywords that are less competitive. Choose the best
       of the best for the home page and reserve the rest for other pages.
    2. Whether you are doing SEO or Paid Search, people want to see pages relevant
       to their searches. Build your content around the keywords you selected. Use
       the keyword as text links to sub-pages about the same topic. Use the keywords
       in your title, meta-tags, and headline as well as throughout the content. Focus
       on one or two keywords per page.
    3. Create a navigational plan and organize your content in a way that matches
       your target customers buying process. In this step it may be necessary to build
       a prototype, test and adjust your plan based on people’s reactions.
    4. Build the site. Practice “less is better” with flash and graphics and design the
       code so that the main content is as close to the top as possible. Use HTML
       validation to make certain the site is ready for primetime. Use keywords as the
       naming convention for files and folders within your website.
    5. Setup an account with Google and/or Yahoo!. Make sure you have web
       analytics or statistics installed. Create some listings and do a PPC Test
       campaign. Based on the results of your testing, go back and revisit the steps.
    6. Seek links from industry-relevant sites and well-known directories on the
       Internet. Provide reciprocal links to the best of the best but strive for one-way
       incoming links first and foremost.




                                            28
    7. Tweaking your website, link building and PPC advertising will be ongoing.
       Search engines algorithms change often and it pays for you to stay informed
       since these changes can affect the way your content is presented.


E-mail marketing can help get the word out and increase traffic to your website, which
is a big plus when it comes to ranking. Other marketing methods such as traditional
advertising, forums and press releases will also help to increase traffic numbers.



Website popularity can be achieved through careful planning and dedication of
resources. The old saying “build it and they will come” does not apply anymore, with
millions of competing web pages on the Internet. A methodical marketing plan should
include all of the above mentioned factors, and patience is a virtue when working
towards high search engine rankings. Once they come: the sky is the limit.



Resources:

Instant Position: Free learning and tools for SEO and Marketing.
http://www.instantposition.com

G3 Group: SEO and Marketing Specialists http://www.g3group.com

Email Marketing Solutions: http://www.targetware.com



About this E-Book:

Follow up information from the authors including new tips and tricks will be available
in our monthly newsletter. Information about receiving our newsletter can be found by
visiting: http://www.g3group.com.




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Description: DESIGNED TO SELL 5 STEPS TO ONLINE SUCCESS