FACEBOOKING OR BLOGGING WHAT WORKS BEST?

December 9th, 2010

This is a question that I often get asked. First, you should be using both a Facebook account and a Blog. But what works best in regards to getting more visitors to your website is the real question? The answer depends on what you are trying to achieve. Facebook is a great tool once you have a following. Hopefully your followers are really potential new customers.

If you are using Facebook for sending out cute little messages and posting pictures of your vacation, it won’t do you much good in attracting customers. On the other hand, if you have a Facebook account that is just set up for business, that’s a different story.

The message here is to set up a separate Facebook account just for your business and post your cute stuff to your personal Facebook account.

After you have set up your business Facebook account do a deep search using the Facebook search bar, and find potential customers to add to your following list. As an example, if you sell cut-glass flower vases, you might want to invite all owners of flower shops to follow you. There are over 2,100 flower shop listings on Facebook that I recently found. It will take some work, but sending out invitations to these and other potential customers is well worth the effort. Just make sure when you do invite them to follow you, you send something that is of interest to them. Remember you are trying to build a relationship, not to try and sell your products with the first contact that you make.

I won’t go into what you should send them via your business Facebook page. That’s a whole topic unto itself.

Now on to Blogging!

I believe setting up and using a Blog is a lot easier than using Facebook or other social media sites. Blogs were used for short communications like a Facebook or LinkedIn account is now. A Blog should be used to send out articles, lists of tips, helpful suggestions and recommendations. However, using it to publish articles is the real key.

Why publish articles? The first thing to understand is that the Search Engines (especially Google) love content. By content I mean a 300-500 word article written about a subject that relates to your business. You are the expert in your business, so coming up with an article every other month shouldn’t be that difficult.

A good article will have a greater chance of being recognized by the Search Engines. The Search Engine will index your article and will list it in their organic search results. On the other hand, a short little note on your Facebook account is not going to get spidered and indexed by the Search Engines. Good content on a Blog will almost always get spidered and indexed by Google and other major search engines.

The more listing that you have in the organic search results of the major Search Engines, the more chances you will have that someone will find you, visit your Blog and eventually visit your website. That is exactly what you want to happen, and using a Blog is the way to do it.

Helpful Tip

When you write an article for your Blog, remember that you want to get your article to show up on the Search Engines. So be very selective in which keyword/phrases you use when writing your article. As an example; if you are writing an article about the variations in quality among various manufactured cut-glass vases, use the keyword/phrase “Quality Cut Glass Vases” several times in your article. Also, use this keyword/phrase in the title of your article, use something like: Quality Cut-Glass Vases:  Price is Not Always the Best Guide”.

Print Advertising vs. Search Engine Optimization -Which Offers The Best Value

May 8th, 2010

Print advertising has its place within a good marketing mix. However, other media like the Internet, specifically search engines, has proven to be a better long term value.

 A one-page, four color advertisement in Pharmaceutical Technology or other trade publications as example can cost $10,000 or more for a one time placement. This one time placement is not sufficient to obtain the necessary exposure to reach the maximum amount of readers. Secondly, most magazines are not read cover to cover. In fact, with busy work schedules this month’s issue usually doesn’t get read by the subscriber before the next issue is delivered.

 Another area to consider is the readership of the publication. A high readership circulation of a publication does not reflect the actual number of readers that have a true interest or the decision making authority to purchase a product or service. In many cases this figure is less than 20% of the total publication’s circulation. This means that 80% of the cost of advertising is wasted by not reaching potential customers.

 Most publication’s circulation does not change more than a few percent in any given year. This means that if a company advertises often, they are reaching the same fixed audience time-after-time. This is good for reinforcing a brand, but not a good way to gain new customers.

 Where are potential customers going today to find new products and services? The answer is the Internet. This is especially true for technology products and services. Individuals in all technology fields are very savvy and are big users of the Internet. Google and other search engine have proven this fact.

 So what are the advantages of using Search Engine Optimization as part of a good marketing mix? The three most important advantages are: reaching new potential clients, continuous exposure and low cost.

 Reaching New Potential Clients

Not all potential customers read trade magazines when searching for products to solve a problem, to replace old equipment or expand production. With the advent of the Internet, more and more potential customers use search engines to find sources to meet their needs. Magazine publishers fully understand the importance of the Internet and this is why most every trade publication has added a website to their media offerings. However, most visitors to a trade magazine’s website are already part of their magazine’s circulation.

 To reach new potential customers, Search Engine Optimized web pages are created for specific keyword/phrases that they would likely use when conducting a search. Search Engine Optimized web pages are created in a specific way (the way search engines want them created) to obtain high listings (ranking) within the organic search results of the search engines. Obtaining high search engine ranking on all major search engines, for keyword/phrases related to specific products or services, will allow more potential customers to find your website and the products or services that you offer.

Continuous Exposure

Unlike an advertisement which shows up and then disappears unless the ad is placed every month, listings on the search engines are displayed 24/7/365.

 Cost Saving

A one time placement of a full page advertisement cost many thousands of dollars, as compared to professionally optimized web page which cost a few hundred dollars.

Build A Website and They Will Come!

January 24th, 2010
Field of Dreams

The 1989 movie Field of Dreams was a fantasy that used the phrase “If you build it, he will come!” which is sometimes misquoted as “If you build it, they will come.” In the movie, Kevin Costner built a baseball field because he thought that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson would return and once again play baseball in the field.

 If you build a website will visitors come to your site? If you believe they will just because you have a website, then you, like the movie, are living a fantasy.

 Today it takes more than just having a website to get visitors (potential customers) to come to your site.

 You wouldn’t design a brochure or catalog and not mail it out to potential customers would you? No, of course not! Unfortunately, most website owners are doing just that with their site. They are not taking the proper steps to promote (market) their website and therefore are not getting the traffic they should.

 Today, the Internet (specifically search engines) is the number one source that individuals use to look for products and services, even for local sources. Without properly promoting your website, you will be sitting in the stands waiting for the game to start.

 So, what do you do? The following list gives some of the best proven ways to get significant, quality traffic to your website of potential customers looking for your products or services.

Search Engine Optimization

Writing Blog Articles

Submitting Articles to Article Websites

Using Social Media

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

 The primary goal of a well established plan to promote (market) your website is to get your website listed high in the search engine results. Not just for the name of your company, but for keyword/phrases that potential customers would search on when looking for your products or services.

 This goal holds true whether you sell nationally or locally. With the search engines being the number one place individuals go to search for products or services; don’t you want your website to show up high in the search engines or do you want a “Website of Dreams?.”

 Where do you start to promote your website? Most website owners lack the knowledge of how to properly promote their site, so the best staring point is to find an Internet Marketing company that has the experience to guide you.

If you are interested in learning more about the best ways to promote your website and generate traffic, please contact us today at USA Marketing Associates. 508-223-3653 or jconant@usamarketingassociates.com

Jim Conant Interviewed on Technology Today TV

January 23rd, 2010

I was recently interviewed by Ron Haley on Technology Today a cable broadcast television show which has aired several times. Below please find links to several segments from his show.

Blog and YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foC3teAal9s

LinkedIn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIoWrVTIRno

Article Websites

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh4vlVEdH-0&feature=related

Search Engine Title

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK8rSF8GFwk

FaceBook

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9r75xhy8Lc

 

I hope to have the entire presentation on my website soon.

Social Media Marketing and Other Sites Now Ranking High On Google

January 19th, 2010

Achieving high rankings in Google’s search results is getting more difficult as more non-traditional websites are now being spidered and indexed. If you are seeing your search engine rankings on Google slowly dropping, it’s most likely not you, it’s Google! Here’s why.

You might have noticed recently that Google’s search results are listing pages from sources other than traditional business websites. It’s certain that Google is now taking a big interest in ranking, within their search results, with more unique information. It most likely started when Google purchased YouTube three years ago and started listing video from YouTube in their search results related to the specific keyword/phrases being used for the search.

 With videos being hotter than the SUN as far as search popularity is concerned, Google made a very good choice in their purchase of YouTube. So what does that mean for individuals searching on Google?  The first clue is that search results are showing small jpeg graphics of videos Google believes are relevant to the search. If an individual thinks the video would be of interest, they now can click on the link and view the video on their computer.

However, what Google is now displaying in their search results doesn’t just include YouTube. We are now seeing listings from LinkedIn, FaceBook, Wikipedia, MySpace, EzineArticles, Scribd, Flickr, Search Directories, and Twitter to name just a few. Yes, even Twitter is showing up on the first page of Google’s search results.

This is both Good news and Bad news for website owners trying to obtain high rankings! The Bad news is your previous high rankings in the search results might get pushed down to the second or third page. The Good news is you can regain your rankings by taking advantage of all of the Social Media sites. In fact, it is possible to obtain several listings on the first page of Google’s search results by providing good content to the Social Media, Article, Directory websites and good optimized pages on your site.

So if you are not using LinkedIn, FaceBook, MySpace, EzineArticles, Scribd, Flickr, Search Directories, and Twitter, you should. And the best news is they cost nothing to use.

If you are using FaceBook, LinkedIn, and other Social Media websites for personal use, create new accounts for business “only” use.

Realizing high rankings on Google and other search engines using Social Media and other sites, will require that your content be of high quality, and relate specifically to the keyword/phrase or phrases for your business.

If your business sells “home gardening supplies” as an example, you will want your content to be written for this topic (keyword/phrase). Make sure you use the keyword/phrase in the title of your content, whether you are describing your business in your LinkedIn profile or if you are writing an article and submitting it to an article website.

One thing you should remember is that your Social Media site listings on Google and other search engines will not give you direct links to your website. Someone clicking on one of these listings will need to go from the Social Media site to your website with another click or two. The primary way to get potential customers directly to your website is with optimized web pages. The next best thing is all of the free Social Media sites that will help you generate more visitors to your website.

Is Your Website Invisible on Search Engines?

October 3rd, 2009

Many website owners believe that once their website is designed and posted on the Internet everyone will be able to see it (find it). Unfortunately, this is not always true! Many times the website is invisible for most individuals searching the Internet. Is your website invisible? Let me show you how to check to make sure it is visible, and if it isn’t visible, how to help make it visible.

Visibility Test #1

Go to each of these search engines (Google, Ask, Yahoo, Bing, and Netscape) and search using your company or website name. You should find it listed high in the organic search results on all of the major search engines. If your company website doesn’t show up within the first few listings in the organic search results you have a major problem.

Visibility Test #2

The second test is to search using the same five search engines, but search using phrase(s) that relate to the products or services that you sell. As an example, if you own a landscaping service in Boston, search using phrases like “Landscaping Services Boston” or Boston Landscaping Services”. What was the result of your search using your keyword/phrases? Did your company website show up within first 10-20 organic search results for those or other keyword/phrases that relate to your products or services? If it didn’t than for all intents and purposes your website is INVISIBLE.

Summary

If you show up high in the search results when using your company or website name, that great! But this will only help you if potential customers know the name of your business or website. But what about all of the other potential customers that don’t know you, how will they find you on the search engines?

Potential customers will use keyword/phrases to find your business. This means that anyone who is searching for your products or services using keyword/phrases like “Landscaping Services Boston” or Boston Landscaping Services” as an example, may not be able to find your web site. “No visibility on the search engines means no sales.”

Make You Website Visible!

The first step to make your website visible is to submit your website to all of the major search engines and directories. Start with the five search engines listed above and also include any other popular search engines that you know. Also, submit your website to DMOZ (www.dmoz.org) the leading search directory. This is very important since many search engines use DMOZ’s listings to find new websites for their database. To get a quick start on getting your site listed on search engines, place a link to your website on a business associates’ website that is already listed on the major search engines. This will speed the process of getting the search engines to find your website. This is very important for new websites.

The second step is writing good content. Content is king in regards to getting your most important website pages ranked high in the search engine results. Search engines do not use colors, graphics, photos, videos, or banners on your website when they rank pages. Search engines want to see good content specifically related to the theme or topic of a page.

What is the optimal amount of content to get a web page to rank high on search engines? There is no perfect answer for this question, as each search engine has their own formula for ranking web pages. But be sure of two things: if your website is not listed on the search engines you won’t be found, and if you don’t have good content, only the people that know the name of your company or website address will be able to find you.

If you still can’t obtain high search engine rankings for the keyword/phrases related to your business that potential customers would used to search the search engines, what should you do? You should seek the help of an Internet Marketing company that has professional experience in creating web pages with powerful content that will get ranked high in the search engine’s rankings.

Pay-Per-Click or Search Engine Optimization?

September 7th, 2009

I’m often asked which is the best method of getting quality visitors to a website; is it Pay-Per-Click or Search Engine Optimization? Without taking into consideration many other techniques that generate high quality visitors for a website, let me address the PPC vs. SEO question.

 Before getting into this, let me start by saying, that for most business owners with a website, their first question should not be PPC or SEO, but what do they want to happen when someone visits their website. Does the website owner sell products? If so, are they simple products that can be purchased online with a credit card, with minimal product information, and just the need to answer basic questions using a FAQ page? Or are the products more expensive and complicated, potentially requiring a phone call or possibly a visit from a sales person? The same types of questions need to be answered for service businesses as well.

 For low cost products that are very competitive, meaning there are lots of websites that sell similar products, PPC may be too expensive on a per click basis. As an example, the keyword/phrase “replacement ink cartridges” has lots of bid competition on Google (over 100 PPC advertisers). One click on a popular PPC keyword/phrase like “replacement ink cartridges” on Google will cost the PPC advertiser $3-$5 or more.

If you are selling a $15 ink cartridge your cost of sale would range from 20-30% if you are paying $3-$5 per click. (That is if 100% of everyone that clicked, purchased.)  If 5 visitors land on your site from PPCs and only one purchased (a conversion rate of 1:5) you will lose money by spending $15 to $25 for that traffic. That is not to say that repeat orders and multiple cartridge purchases wouldn’t help, but it might take you months to find out that PPC won’t give you the sales you want at a reasonable cost of sale.

 Don’t give up on PPC just yet. I suggest that if you can purchase PPC traffic from Google and other engines, for less popular (less expensive) keyword/phrases related to your products, you should do so. Then test to see if your conversion rate per sale is acceptable. If it takes 8 clicks at $0.25 per click or $2.00 total to obtain a purchase of one ink cartridge at $15, (a conversion rate of 1:8), your cost of sale would be just 13.3%. That’s far better than losing money with more expensive clicks.  If your PPC bids are lower, you will most likely get fewer clicks, but with your conversion rate staying the same, you will lower your cost of sale.

 I’m not anti-PPC; they do have a place in almost anyone’s marketing mix to maximize market reach while holding down cost. The key to PPC is to test, test, and test!

 However, most users of search engines know that when they see the words “Sponsored Links” or “Sponsored Results” they are looking at a list of paid advertisements and not real search results. Most searchers click on the real search results, the “Organic Search” results, instead of the PPC “Sponsored Links” or “Sponsored Results” listings.

 On the other hand, one professionally written and crafted, optimized SEO web page on your site that gets listed high in the search results on Google and other major search engines, can generate 100’s to 1000’s of visitors to your website. That result would have cost $300 to $5,000 if you went with PPC. If you have deep pockets like large companies then go ahead and spend your money on PPC.

 If you have a professionally written SEO page created for you, it will appear high in the search results on all major search engines not just Google, but MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Netscape, ASK and others. When utilizing SEO pages it doesn’t matter if someone clicks on the search engine link for a page 100 times or 10,000 times, you get all of the traffic without paying anything to the search engines.

 What is the answer to the question of which is better, PPC or SEO?  The answer is; there is no best one. My recommendation for all clients is that they need to use a mix of PPC and SEO. Use PPC for the low cost keyword/phrases and SEO when the cost for PPC is greater than $0.50 per click. If a keyword/phrase is likely to get 100 or more clicks per month at $0.50 per click, your monthly cost will be $50 per month. Multiply that times 10 keyword/phrases and you will be paying Google or other PPC engines $500 per month or $6,000 per year. Ouch!  

©2009 USA Marketing Associates, Inc.

Meta Tags Generate More Visitors and Sales

August 21st, 2009

Not many of us know what Meta Tags are and how they relate to our website. Meta Tags are a set of coding tags on a website that contain important information about the website and its content.

If you want more visitors to your website, you need quality Meta Tags or your competition will be getting your business.

There are many kinds of Meta Tags. However, for a website there are a few which are extremely important when it comes to how search engines rank and display a website in the search results. Without proper Meta Tags, a website listing on the search engine’s results can be so confusing or irrelevant that someone looking for your product or service will not click on your search engine listing.

A recent search on Yahoo using the words “Spring Candy” provides an excellent example of what happens to a website’s listing when no Meta Tags are used.

EXAMPLE #1

Welcome to springcreekcandy.com

©2006 The Dalton Brothers’ Spring Creek Candy Company …

www.springcreekcandy.com – 4k – Cached

Example #1 used a Title Tag <title>Welcome to springcreekcandy.com</title> but didn’t use a Meta Description Tag. Without a Meta Description Tag the search engines read the website page and take whatever readable content is available. The only readable data the search engine found and displayed was located at the very bottom of the website.

If you were searching for a good website that sold spring candy, would you click on that link? Most likely you would not, and would continue looking at other listings in the search results to click on.

The next listing on the page was one that used proper Meta Tags.

EXAMPLE #2

Palm Springs Candy Company – Home

Palm Springs Candy is made completely by hand using the founder’s original recipes. … known as the ‘FUN IN THE SUN CANDIES’, we continue to specialize in the finest …

www.palmspringscandyco.com – 8k – Cached

The Example #2 website used a Title Tag: <title>Palm Springs Candy Company – Home</title> and also used a Meta Description Tag: <META Name=”description” Content=”Palm Springs Candy is made completely by hand using the founder’s original recipes. Our bakers continue the tradition of quality using only fresh creamy butter, the finest imported fruits, and rich dairy cream and roasted nuts. We invite you to taste the tradition – Palm Springs Candy Company simply the best.”>

The search engine used both the Title Tag and the Meta Description Tag information to create the search listing shown above. The search engine also read the page and added the second sentence of content to the listing.

Now when you compare the two search examples listed above, which of the two listings do you think potential customers would click on? The second listing is far superior in it description, thereby generating a lot more site visitors and more sales for the Palm Springs Candy Company.

So, does your website have the right META TAGS?

Articles, Videos and Social Websites Oh My!

August 21st, 2009

Recently, I spent two days checking out some of the more popular Social, Article Submission and Video Submission websites like Facebook.com, Youtube.com, Metacafe.com, Scribd.com, PR.com and others.

You might think I have a lot of free time on my hands to be checking on these types of websites, rather than the typical marketing websites that I usually review.

We all spend some time looking around the Internet to find new, interesting, or funny websites. But my review of over 100 websites wasn’t for fun. You see, recently I came across an interesting article that talked about using Social, Article Submission and Video Submission websites for marketing purposes. Yes, Marketing!

I knew there had to be a connection between theses types of websites and getting improved rankings on the search engines for my websites. I also thought there might be away to use these types of websites to actually direct potential clients to my website.

Through my review of these websites, I found out that search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and others are now using content they find on these websites in their search results. What’s so good about that? Well, if you write a 300-700 word article on a topic related to your business, you can submit it to an Article Submission website like ezinearticles.com

When your article gets listed in the directory of the Article Submission website, the search engines will find your article, and will rank that page in their search results. Your article acts as an advertisement promoting your knowledge of the topic you wrote about. With a link in your article that points to your website, you will get more visitors to your website.

The same holds true for Video Submission websites like Youtube.com and Bebo.com when you upload a video to one of these sites. For a simple video; record yourself reading the 300-700 word article that you wrote. Add some graphics and you’ve got your first business video.

Social websites like Myspace.com, Facebook.com and others are great places to build an online network of business owners with products or services that are not competitive but synergistic with yours.

These websites can be a good source for referral business. There is a lot to learn about how to use these sites for marketing, and my best suggestion is go slowly and learn the ropes first. You certainly want to make your best impression using this type of media.

I almost forgot to mention that with many of these Social websites you can upload articles and video.

There is another type of Social website that is more for business. Linkedin.com, Fastpitchnetwork.com and Xing.com are growing fast in popularity will business owners.

These sites are excellent for building up a network of other business owners willing to network with you and exchange referrals. On some of them you can post press releases, submit business events, add your Blog, search for businesses and services and a lot more.

If you decide to join any of the above websites that I’ve talked about you need to carefully read their rules and regulations as to what is and what isn’t permitted.

So the next time you have some free time and want to learn about the next level of Internet marketing you should checkout these Social, Article Submission and Video Submission websites. I did and I’m already seeing the results with more visitors to my site.

©2008 USA Marketing Associates, Inc.

Generate More Business by Networking Online!

July 24th, 2009

 

 blitzlogo

 

I’m usually up on most new Internet ways to help my clients market their products and services, but I initially missed this one.

 Would you like to network (meet one to one) with potential customers without leaving your office? Well now you can. And best of all, you can try it out 2 times for FREE!

 How do you do this?

 You do it on BlitzTime! What is BlitzTime? It is an online “LIVE” networking website that allows you to participate in five minute conversations with 12 different people in one hour.

 One of the great things about BlitzTime is that before you begin networking, you can select who you want to speak with and who you don’t. As an example, if you sell business insurance to larger companies, you can just select the networkers on a BlitzTime event that you think best match your sales market. You can also select from the list of participating networkers, those that might be a good referral source for you.

 How do you select from the list of networks for a specific event?  Simple! About 15 minutes before the networking event starts, login and select the event that you have registered for. Next, click on each of the participants who have signed up for the networking event and read their information to see if they are a match for you. Then select if you want to speak with them or not.

 Check out the Big Boston Blitz #5 event this Wednesday at 5:30 PM, it has lots of local people!

 I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let me slow down and show you how to sign up for two FREE online “LIVE” networking events.

  1. Click here BlitzTime.
  2. Click on the link Register at the top of the page
  3. Fill out the registration form (don’t forget to write down your password)
  4. Click on My Profile
  5. Fill out your profile information
  6. Click on an event that looks like a good match for you
  7. Click on the “Click here to Register for this Event” button

I hope to see you on BlitzTime!

Copyright © 2009 USA Marketing Associates, Inc.