Archive for the ‘Online marketing’ Category

Ideas for Building Links

Anyone with a business online needs to understand the importance of links. Not only do they build authority for your business in the eyes of search engines (and lead to stronger rankings), they also deliver visitors to your business.

Link Building by Marketing SherpaThis article by Marketing Sherpa 7 Traffic Building Tips to Boost SEO is one of the best educational articles on link building I have ever seen. It is thorough and accessible, and packed with the sort of tips that will give you ideas on how to build links for your business.

Take notes as you read it, and when you have finished make sure you pick 3 action items to implement in the next 24 hours!

Talk to the Oracle and find Inspiration in Keywords

If you are considering new business opportunities online, have you talked to the Oracle lately?

If you have seen The Matrix, you might remember the Oracle saying:

“Do you know what that means? It means know thy self”

It is a bit like that with keywords. Use keywords to learn all about your business online.

Lets say you are thinking of going into business, and you are passionate about cooking.

Go to the Wordtracker Free Keyword Suggestion Tool.

First of all, type in cooking and then click the Hit Me button.

Based on what people have been searching for in the past 90 days, Wordtracker will show you the predicted searches for the next 24 hours that involve cooking.

Now type in recipes and do the same thing.

Notice the interest people have in recipes compared to cooking.

Rather than guessing what people want, use a keyword research tool to tell you. Do that research for a business opportunity you are considering. You will be inspired.

OM4 and Online Marketing

We have launched several new sites focussed specifically around online marketing.

Please visit our new sites at:

Thanks for your interest.

Click here for OM4

4 ways to build your email database

Your email database is one of your most valuable marketing resources, providing you with a captive audience for your marketing messages.

It’s important that your email recipients allow you to communicate with them by opting in to a subscription and sending you their email address. Email that is unsolicited is usually referred to as spam and is something you want to avoid.

So here are four ways to build your list:

1. Run a competition
Competitions and awards are easy to publicise through the media because they’re offering something for free – the prizes – and they usually have a fun aspect to them. The prizes need to benefit both the winners and you. For example, a new surfing magazine ran a photo competition to create publicity and pull in great photos for the magazine. Your competition entry forms will naturally require the entrant’s email address.

2. Publish an e-book
Not as hard as you might think. Your expertise, experience and knowledge – along with those of your team – will give you more than enough material to create a pdf document of value. Offer this for free on your site to those who sign up with their email address. Here’s an example of a business doing this.

3. Produce a newsletter
If you’re already blogging, a newsletter is only a step away. Review your posts each month and choose a selection to reflect your ‘news’ and then add sections such as ‘tips and tricks’ or ‘useful links’ – anything that will be easy to absorb and focuses on your readers’ needs and wants. Signing up for your newsletter requires an email address. Take a look at the right column of our PublicityShip site to see how simple the sign-up looks.

4. Tempt with special offers
If you are able to regularly discount your products or services, or better still, add value – include a ‘sign up here for special offers’ link. Glenn has posted on an example of this happening instore – and it can be done in an online store too. Do make sure you send out the offers to this list regularly – along with other messages.

Search marketing and the screaming fans

Crowd at the FootballWow, 90,000 screaming fans at the stadium, what an experience! The adrenaline is racing, the excitement is high.

What a chance to get your banner ad in front of all these prospects! Not.

What’s wrong with getting your message across to 90,000 screaming fans? Plenty. For one thing, they are thinking about the footy, which is maybe good if you’re selling beer or snack foods. But to advertise most effectively, you want to get their attention in the right frame of mind. That’s why its no good catching people’s attention with a scantily clad picture if you want them to pay attention to a product not related to the scantily clad model.

So getting your banner in front of 90,000 screaming fans isn’t always the best option.

Search marketing is very different. Imagine those same 90,000 people, but this time we can magically track what they do after they leave the stadium. We notice when they have a problem and go looking for a solution. A lot of them will use the Internet, and search using a keyword. Where do you want to try and get attention? In front of 90,000 screaming fans, with mad football skillz on their mind? Or after they have searched on a keyword that shows an interest in your product?

Using Google AdWords doesn’t cost you anything to display your ads. Choose your keywords, write your ad, set your landing page. No cost. If they click on your ad and come to your landing page, that costs you. How much depends on the keyword. If its a niche keyword, it will possibly be between 10c and 30c. If you get 300 interested clicks, that might be between $30 and $90.

But consider these differences:

  • They are interested in your product – its not just a random screaming fan.
  • They are in the right frame of mind – they are searching for a solution to their problem, not doing something else.

Not only does search marketing cost less than equivalent traditional marketing approaches, it gets the right people in the right frame of mind. Search marketing means small business doesn’t have to pay through nose to try and compete for the attention of 90,000 screaming fans, when what we really want is the attention of just the right people at just the right time. And search marketing offers us just that.

Search marketing has changed the rules in favour of small business. Take advantage of that. Leave the super boxes and banners to your big competitors.

Don’t boil the ocean

Boil The OceanIts such an exciting time to be a small business! We can do big things, on a budget that would have been laughable not that long ago.

If you aren’t already reading Seth Godin’s blog, well, you should be, you’ll find lots of inspiring ideas about marketing your small business. Seth’s writing is masterful and concise. His most recent post One, a few, most or all provides a brilliant framework to look at a small business marketing strategy.

When I read Seth’s post, it made me think of the saying “Don’t Boil The Ocean”. Its a bit of a cliche, but so often marketing efforts can get lost by attempting to do too much. Thinking about your market in terms of one-few-most-all helps you get clear what you are after.

As a small business, what would happen if you focussed your efforts on the ONE or the FEW customers?

ONE: You’re a needle, the market is a haystack … A FEW: Being exceptional matters most. Stand out, don’t fit in. Shun the non-believers.

Lets leave it to the bigger (richer) companies to focus on the ideas that need the ‘most’ and ‘all’ markets. They can try and boil the ocean. We don’t need to. A small business focussed on the one or the few is in a powerful position.

The value of a blog for your business

One of the blogs I find most valuable is Brian Clark’s Copyblogger. His most recent post on The Real Secret to Getting Tons of Blog Subscribers might cause small business owners some dismay – after all, how can a busy small business owner hope to do what Brian does?

Some bloggers build a large audience. Reading their blog is like reading a great magazine or newspaper column – just in a different medium. Their opportunity is to build a new audience that competes with newspapers, magazines and other media for readership.

As a small business owner your opportunity is distinctly different. What you should be considering isn’t audience size, but audience quality.

For a traditional publisher, building a large readership means more revenue in the form of advertising or subscription fees. A blogger who is aiming for revenue from advertising is in the same boat, a large audience means more money. So getting tons of subscribers really matters to them.

But a small business isn’t a traditional publisher. The value of attention can be far greater than just advertising revenue. We have clients who blog for attention – and when they get that attention, it might lead to:

  • a new client worth many thousands of dollars (we have a client who measures customer value in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars).
  • a new influencer who can indirectly lead to many new customers.

You don’t need a massive audience for blogging to be worthwhile. Getting the attention of a niche audience can be extremely valuable, but not if you think in terms of advertising revenue.

Here is an exercise for you. Visualise your ideal prospective clients and your ideal influencers (the people who can send lots of small customers your way).

Now imagine your top 100 prospects and influencers worldwide. That’s right, the top 100 prospects or influencers for your business around the world. If you run a business that relies only on local (geographical) customers, this may be a very short list. But for most businesses, that isn’t the case.

How much is it worth to you if you could be remarkable to your top 100 prospects or influencers? Guess what, blogs give you the ability to open up a conversation with them. Its not easy, but possible. You need remarkable content, and to learn how to reach people using it. 5 years ago it wasn’t possible, but blogs have changed the rules in favour of small business. Now its viable for a small business to become a publisher of niche content. And usually for less than it costs to run advertising that could well be ineffective (and definitely not remarkable).

I’ll give you an example from one of our small business clients. Paul and Jenny are expert in making artificial eyes. That is pretty obscure for many people. But if you (or one of your family) was to lose an eye because of an accident or cancer, all of a sudden you would learn about what an Ocularist does. Paul and Jenny have been using their blog to talk to people interested in artificial eyes. People from all over the world now get in touch with them. They run clinics outside Australia, in Asia and the Middle East, and they are busier than they have ever been. And you know what? They had a web site for years that didn’t have much influence on their business at all. So what changed? They became remarkable, because they started talking about what they knew. People who are dealing with eye loss find their content remarkable. They don’t have an audience remotely like the A list bloggers. But blogging has transformed their small business.

So, think about the value of a blog for you. What could it mean for your business? Do you know things that a niche audience will find interesting? Could that lead to new sources of revenue for your business?

Read Brian’s post to refresh yourself on the importance of being remarkable. Finding a niche audience can be a great way to build your business.

The Role of a Home Page

Over on Seth Godin’s blog, there is a post called Blow Up Your Home Page.

Now Seth is talking about the fact people get information about people – and businesses – from all over the place, you can’t manage their experience through a home page. But the concept of home page thinking should be blown up for small business for another reason as well.

They aren’t that interesting. Readers aren’t really that interested in your brochure – they are more likely to be interested in solving a problem. Their problem. So create a home page that helps solve your prospect’s problem. They can find out about you later on – not on your home page.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

New Rules of Marketing and PRBuilding your business through the power of positive publicity is a big theme for us over at PublicityShip, our main online venture. David Meerman Scott has now published The New Rules of Marketing and PR. If you are interested in how to publicise and market your business online, then you must read it. The idea that new rules apply is an important one, its not just hyperbole. The ‘old’ marketing industry is going to get a massive wake up call over the next few years, and if you read this book you’ll not only understand why it is happening, you’ll have ideas on how to take advantage of the new rules.

The new rules represent an incredible opportunity for small business, much more so than big business.

To get an idea of David’s early thoughts on how public relations has changed, you can read The New Rules of PR, a free ebook that David published last year. A great read in its own right, it will get you to ‘Think Like a Publisher’.

David publishes a great blog, and has generously acknowledged the people who had something to say about his new book while he wrote it. That includes me, and thanks to David’s generosity and the democracy that is the Internet, I crack a mention on the same page as Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki. Hmm, I wish my readership bore some relation to theirs. Well David, I appreciate the link out, as I’m sure everyone who is included does. The New Rules of PR was extremely successful in getting attention from bloggers all around the world, and I think the launch of this book will be even more so.

Our posting frequency has dropped in recent weeks, as we are gearing up for the launch of two new ventures. The first is an online marketing service for small tourism operators, that makes it easy for them to get up and running with content marketing, search marketing and email marketing. The second is an online platform for change management, a tool to enable personal and conversational communications during a major change process. Not really for small business, so you won’t read about it much here.

As you can see, the interest in small business inspiration isn’t just theoretical, I get inspired by new opportunities for online business all the time. If you are running a business on the Internet, attention management is one of the most important skills you can have 🙂

Why it’s not the size of your business that counts…

We all remember that old saying “it’s not the size that counts, but how you use it”. Well, in business that hasn’t always been the case… until now.

The advent of e-commerce has resulted in a relatively even playing field for businesses. It seems that now, even as a small business, you have the same chance of grabbing the customer’s dollar as your larger competitor does.

One thing that’s misunderstood about online marketing, is that you don’t need to have the most flashy, graphics-driven site on the web. What you do need though is great content, and to distribute it through the right channels.

A recent article by eMarketer talks about how online marketing is resulting in massive changes in tourist research and buying behaviour. Specifically they mention how niche travel sites are overtaking the (often larger) online travel agencies in traffic and bookings.

More than ever, travellers are looking to RSS feeds, e-newsletters and blog postings (all tools that are well within reach of even the smallest business operation) to help them make their purchase decisions. That is, they are looking for information and stories from other travellers and the small businesses that are close to the action, not the large corporations with their flashy posters and catchy phrases.

This quote from eMarketer Senior Analyst Jeffret Grau sums it up nicely (and can be applied to all industries).

“Lower industry entry barriers have paved the way for new online travel business models. In this dynamic environment, current industry players must stay alert, otherwise they risk being blindsided by new competitors that fall off their radar screens.”

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