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How To Market Your Business Online
How To Market Your
Business Online
Online
Instead Of Marketing Your
Business On Paper
By Wayne Coakley
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 1
How To Market Your Business Online
Marketing, very simply, is all about communicating the benefits of your
products or services to your customers and prospects. It’s also about
continuously educating your customers about the benefits you can offer
them and accelerating the speed with which they make their decisions.
A simple definition, from Kendrick Cleveland, one of the world’s top
authorities on influence and persuasion is that marketing should be
“Selling to people you’re not in front of.”
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 2
How To Market Your Business Online
About Me
After 20+ years managing a successful mortgage practice in Ohio, I was in
search of a new challenge for a few good reasons. One, the business was
losing steam for a number of reasons. The constraints to help people were
more challenging and with the mortgage meltdown that amassed our
industry, my passion for originating loans was just not what it once was.
I have always enjoyed the marketing side of the business and helping my
realtor partner database expand their own business by assisting them with
creative marketing strategies. It was always something I enjoyed. So, if you
notice that I reference realtors or the real estate industry, it’s simply my
background and experience with this group of entrepreneurial mindsets that
understand the power of personal branding in a highly competitive field.
I decided to keep the mortgage business. I downsized, cut expenses and
allowed a long time loan officer friend stay on board and specialize in a niche
lending product that we were experts in, thus allowing me to concentrate on
developing my business as a consultant for the self-employed business
owner and small to mid-sized businesses.
I have learned what the power of a high converting, search engine optimized
Blog can do for your reputation as a leader and expert in your profession, to
be seen by those that are looking for your products and services and
ultimately in the profits it funnels to your business!
I wrote this book to help you follow a simple formula:
1. Get out there and get found
2. Engage with your prospects on THEIR terms
3. Continue to engage & follow up with them building long term relationships
I am my four son’s proud father and blessed beyond words to be sharing life
with my amazing wife of 21 years.
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 3
How To Market Your Business Online
Why Internet Marketing?
Over the last 10 years or so, the internet has become more and more
ingrained in our daily lives. People use the internet to search for almost
everything, including local businesses and other local information.
And with the explosive growth of smartphones like Blackberries and the
iPhone, this move to searching for everything online is just going to happen
faster.
If you're not reaching your customers (and potential customers) in the
places they're searching for information, you're going to get left behind by
your competition that is.
In this book, we're going to look at some of the things that you need to be
aware of when marketing on the web, as well as some of the ways that you
can not only reach new customers, but get your existing customers to spend
more money with you, and do it more often.
The Move To Online Search
According to Google, 20 percent of all searches are related to location. And
comScore reports that Google served up 10.7 billion searches in April, 2011.
That means that approximately 2.14 billion searches were related to location
- in other words, local search.
These numbers have been increasing every year over the last several years.
Compare them to April, 2008 when Google served up 6.5 billion searches,
which means roughly 1.3 billion local searches.
The bottom line is that more and more people are using the internet to
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 4
How To Market Your Business Online
search for local information, including businesses like yours.
And one of the advertising mediums that is being hit the hardest by this
move online is Yellow Pages directories. Traditionally, the Yellow Pages has
been the "go to" source for local businesses, and as a result if your business
wasn't listed in the Yellow Pages, you would be missing out on a lot of
potential customers.
But with the transition to internet-based local search, those searchers are
becoming less and less likely to use the Yellow Pages. And not only because
of the convenience and speed of the internet - they're also looking for
reliable sources for reviews and other information about the companies
they're considering which isn't possible with print advertising.
The Yellow Pages Dilemma
Yellow page providers realize that they need to do something to keep from
becoming extinct in a few more years. One of the solutions they've
attempted is internet-based Yellow Page directories.
These directories work much like the printed version. Your ad gets placed in
whatever business category is applicable, on the assumption that people will
use those directories to find local businesses. But the reality is that those
sites have very little traffic - Google, Bing and Yahoo are the places that
people turn to when they're looking for local businesses.
This is good for you for several reasons:
1. You have much more flexibility in how you present your business
through the search engines than you do with online Yellow Page
directories.
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How To Market Your Business Online
2. Your costs will be much less than what you would pay for an ad in the
print version of the Yellow Pages, particularly compared to larger ads.
3. With local search marketing, you can update or make changes to your
ads as often as you want. Compare that to a print ad that can only be
changed annually.
And on top of all those things, the internet gives you a much larger reach.
Yellow Pages directories generally get distributed once a year, and only to
households that have landline phones.
According to a study that the Department of Health and Human Services at
the National Center for Health Statistics ran from January to June, 2010,
approximately 24.9% of all adults live in households with only wireless
phones. They have given up landlines completely.
That means nearly 25% of your target market may not even receive a
Yellow Pages directory. They rely on the internet for virtually 100% of their
searches.
And interestingly, even more children (29%) live in households with no
landline phone. So as those children become adults and move out on their
own, these numbers are expected to grow.
Connecting With Your Customers
There are a number of ways you can connect with your customers online,
and if you want to get the best results you need to be take advantage of as
many as possible. Because the internet makes it so easy for people to find
the solutions they're looking for, you can't afford to hope they come to you you need to meet them wherever they might be searching.
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How To Market Your Business Online
The most important place you need to establish a presence is in the search
engines - specifically Google, Yahoo and Bing. Of the three, Google gets the
largest percentage of searches (roughly 65% in April 2011, according to
comScore) so it is the first place you should focus your efforts.
There are several aspects to having a presence in Google:
-
The search results
-
Google Places
-
Sponsored ads
-
Google Images
-
Google News
-
Google Video
These are all part of Google, but in many ways they are independent of each
other. We’re going to cover them all in detail in this book, but it’s important
to remember that each of them works separately from the others so you
want to show up in as many as possible when your customers are searching
for you. If you show up in most or all of them, it’s going to create a strong
impression with your customers, and make them much more likely to choose
you over another business.
And keep in mind that the other search engines have many of these same
features. We’re going to talk about Google in most parts of this book
because they are the largest, but virtually everything we cover translates
over to Bing and Yahoo as well.
Google Places
Google has a service for local businesses called Google Places. This service
lets you set up a profile for your business where you can showcase various
things, such as:
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How To Market Your Business Online
•
Special promotions
•
Offers
•
Photos and videos
Google Places also lets your customers post reviews about your business and
you can respond to those reviews, creating a dialog with those people.
Your Google Places listing will show up when someone searches for the
products or services you offer in your area, along with other companies
offering the same things.
Now imagine how this process is going to work for a moment. When
someone goes online to search for a company that provides the solutions
you can, they're going to see several results in Google Places. What is going
to make them choose one over another?
One aspect will be the ranking in Google Places. The top 3 results get the
majority of their attention, with the first one getting more than the rest. So
you want to be sure your listing is at or near the top of those results. (We'll
look at some strategies for accomplishing this shortly.)
Another aspect is how much information is shared. If your company has a
full profile with pictures, reviews, special offers and other information, it's a
lot more likely to get the searcher's attention than another listing that just
has the bare minimum information showing.
If this is a potential customer's first impression of your business, you need
to be sure you're putting your best foot forward.
There are other important ways to connect with your customers beyond
Google Places, however. Some we already mentioned – other Google
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How To Market Your Business Online
properties – which we will cover in more detail shortly. But first, let’s look at
a relatively new way to reach your customers – social media.
Social Media Sites
One of the fastest growing segments of the internet over the last few years
is what's known as Social Media. Facebook and Twitter are the two most
well-known examples of social media sites.
Having a Facebook page is becoming more and more important, because
people have come to expect it. There are over 600 million users on
Facebook, and if you don't have a presence there you're missing out on a lot
of potential business.
Plus, for many people Facebook has become synonymous with the internet.
A lot of people spend most of their time online using Facebook, so if you
aren't reaching them there, you may not have a chance to reach them at all.
Facebook started out as a way to connect on a personal level, but over the
last couple of years they have added a lot of features that are targeted at
businesses. You’ve probably already started to notice a lot of big companies
adding “Find us on Facebook” to their websites, advertising and other places.
It can work just as well for local businesses, in fact it can work even better.
Because Facebook is by nature a place to be “social” a local business fits in
much better than a big, faceless corporation.
Setting up a Facebook Page for your business gives you a way to connect
with your customers “virtually” and it can help to create a real sense of
community.
Twitter is another social media site where you should definitely have a
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How To Market Your Business Online
presence. It’s a little different beast, because the whole point is to post short
updates (up to 140 characters at a time) so you can only share so much
information.
It can be useful for sending out messages about special offers and other
news, but more importantly it’s another way for your customers and
potential customers to contact you.
Your customers can send you messages, called “Tweets”, via Twitter so it is
similar to email in some ways. But because the messages are so short, it can
be an effective way for them to ask quick questions or give you quick
feedback, without having to invest a lot of time to do it.
Aside from reaching potential customers, there's another reason you should
have a presence in these places - managing your brand. People will talk
about their experiences with your company on the internet whether you're
part of it or not. It's important that you are.
Managing Your Brand
One of the biggest hurdles for a lot of business owners to leap when it
comes to the internet is realizing that people will be talking about your
company whether you like it or not.
And that includes good AND bad. Mistakes are bound to happen in any
business, but when they do it's quite possible that the story will wind up on
the internet where anyone searching for your business can find it.
If you're not maintaining an effective presence on the web, you're going to
have two problems if this happens.
1. The negative review could wind up ranking high in the search results,
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How To Market Your Business Online
so whenever somebody searches for your business, this could be one
of the first things they see. The review might be accurate if a mistake
really was made, or it might be completely inaccurate, but that
potential customer has no way of knowing for sure (and is more than
likely going to accept it as fact).
2. You won't have a chance to explain the situation and fix it.
The solution here is to be a part of the conversation. In other words, engage
your customers where these kinds of things might appear so you can try to
correct any mistakes that were actually made, or explain your side if it's
completely inaccurate.
We've already discussed two of the places that these kinds of discussions
can happen - Facebook and Twitter. It's important that you have a presence
on both, if only as a point of contact for your customers who are already in
those places.
Imagine this scenario…
One of your employees has been dealing with a customer, and the customer
is unhappy with the service they received. But instead of coming to you and
giving you the opportunity to fix the problem, they go to these websites and
post about the problem and how unhappy they were with your company.
If you don't have a presence on Twitter or Facebook, you might never know
about it. But people who are looking for information about your company
online could quite likely find that information whenever they search for you.
Now think about this...
If you are active on those sites, on the other hand, you can jump in and try
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How To Market Your Business Online
to correct the situation. This is not only going to give you a chance to turn
an unhappy customer into a happy one (who might also become one of your
biggest supporters at that point) it's also going to add your side of things to
the "record" of the situation on the internet.
Now when someone searching for you finds that review/complaint, they're
also going to see your response, and the fact that you tried to correct the
situation for that unhappy customer.
Which scenario would you prefer?
Review Sites
Another place that it's important to maintain an active presence is review
sites, including:
•
Yelp.com
•
Where.com
•
Citysearch.com
•
Insiderpages.com
•
Yahoo Local
•
Google Maps
These sites are local business directories of a sort, which let people post
ratings about reviews about them. Much like any other website we've
discussed, you need to maintain a presence here if you want to be able to
manage your brand and what people are saying about it.
One of the reasons these sites are so important is many of them have apps
for the iPhone and other smartphones, so a lot of people use them to look up
local businesses when they're on the go. If they find a listing with low
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How To Market Your Business Online
ratings or bad reviews, they can just choose another one - the business
owner will never know they lost a potential customer.
Just like Facebook and Twitter, you want to have an opportunity to either
correct the problem or explain your side of it when these low ratings and
review happen.
These sites aren’t only about reviews, however. Many of them let you make
special offers to your customers, in the way of discounts, giveaways and
more. These special offers can be another great way to draw in both new
and existing customers through their smartphones and other mobile devices.
If they are searching for a local business using one of these services, seeing
an offer from your company will make them a lot more likely to visit. And if
it’s combined with good reviews and interaction on your part, it’s going to
cement their decision even more firmly.
Engaging Customers
Another aspect of managing your brand online is simply engaging your
customers. This comes back to have a Facebook Page, setting up a Twitter
account for your business and all the other things we've talked about.
This lets you connect with your customers without any of the cost associated
with traditional advertising.
For example, if you have a Facebook Page where your customers can follow
you, you can offer special promotions and other offers through it. A lot of
people spend a great deal of their online time using Facebook, so you can
reach a lot of people this way, with no advertising costs at all.
Let's look at a pub as an example. It's a Wednesday afternoon, and the
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How To Market Your Business Online
week has been slower than normal. They've got an order arriving on Friday
but still have too much inventory of a particularly brand of beer from the
previous one. They've been building a following on Facebook by letting their
customers know about their page. So they post a special offer on Facebook
for that brand of beer, good for the next two days.
Do you think that might bring in a few customers who wouldn't have
otherwise showed up over the next couple of days? Probably, and they more
than likely won't stop with the special promotion, they'll order food as well.
So a free promotion could turn a losing situation into additional profit for
that business.
Facebook is one example of how to do this, but there is an even more
powerful tool for getting these kind of short-notice promotions in front of
your customers - mobile marketing.
Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is a huge growth opportunity for local businesses. More
and more people are carrying smartphones that have always-on internet
connections, and they're using them to find local businesses when they're on
the go.
There are very few businesses that approach mobile marketing correctly,
however.
Most companies have either no "mobile" version of their website, or if they
do it's really just a smaller version of the same site. The latter is a little
better option, but it's still not very effective.
As far as the first problem - having no mobile-specific version of your
website - this makes it extremely likely that someone searching for more
information will simply leave the page and look for another site that's more
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How To Market Your Business Online
friendly.
Look at this website for the City of Boston, for example:
This is what a "regular" website looks like on a typical smartphone. It's
practically impossible to read, and even if someone zooms in to see what's
there, it's still not going to be very effective.
Having a mobile-friendly version of your website is a better option. You can
see what the City of Boston’s mobile site looks like in this example:
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How To Market Your Business Online
Much easier to read, right?
This type of site might be fine for the City of Boston, since people are more
than likely looking for information. But it isn’t the best option for local
businesses. After all, what are people looking for when they look up a
business on their mobile phone?
99% of the time, they're looking for one of two things - a phone number or
an address. They don't want to read the website or anything else, they're
just trying to either call or get to the right location.
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How To Market Your Business Online
Let's look at an example of a much more effective mobile website:
If someone searches for a local business on their smartphone, and winds up
on a page like this, don't you think the chances are much better that they're
going to actually call and/or visit as a result?
And that's not all you can do with mobile websites. Most of today's
smartphones have various other functions that can be integrated into a
mobile site.
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How To Market Your Business Online
Many smartphones have GPS functions built right in. What if you could
include GPS coordinates on your website so all your potential customer had
to do was click on the link and it would open their GPS and give them exact
directions to get from wherever they are to your location?
Or how about including all that contact information on your website so that
customer could click another link and automatically have it all loaded into
their phone's address book? Don't you think they'd be a lot more likely to
make multiple visits to your business if the details were all loaded in their
phone whenever they needed your products or services?
But there's one more incredibly powerful aspect of mobile marketing that is
still extremely under-used by local businesses - text messaging.
Text Messaging
Text messaging, or SMS, has experienced huge growth in the number of
people who use it regularly. And it's not only younger people who are using
it - it's becoming more and more common with older users as well.
Local businesses can use text messaging to engage their customers on a
much more personal basis than even email marketing can provide.
There are two huge advantages to text messaging that really can't be
matched by any other method of communication.
1. Most people have their phones with them virtually all the time, so
those messages will reach them no matter where they are.
2. The vast majority of text messages get read almost instantly when
they're received. Compare that to email that may go unopened for
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How To Market Your Business Online
several days.
How can this work in your favor? Going back to our pub example, text
messaging could work much the same as Facebook promotions, except it
would be even more immediate.
If the pub was slow on a particular day, they could send a text message at
5:00pm and reasonably expect a response that same evening. There's just
no other advertising medium that can reach your customers as immediately
that is virtually guaranteed to be seen.
So does that mean you need to be feverishly tapping out text messages to
all your customers every time you want to send something?
Not at all. There are services that will broadcast a text message to everyone
who has requested to receive them from you. These services let you choose
a number, called a Short Code, to use as your point of contact. Your
customers just have to send a text to that number to sign up to receive text
messages from you whenever you broadcast something out.
You can even set up an automatic response from these short codes, giving
you the ability to offer an incentive to get people to opt into receiving those
messages.
For example, a restaurant might offer a coupon for a free appetizer on their
next visit by texting the word “appie” to their short code number. When the
customer sends the text, they get a response virtually instantly with the
details of how to get the free appetizer. This can be as simple as “Show this
message to your server on your next visit to claim your free appetizer.” But
now whenever you broadcast a text message, they will receive it virtually
instantly.
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How To Market Your Business Online
Coupon Sites
“Deal of the day” sites like Groupon and Living Social are another highly
effective way to reach people through their mobile devices. You can
advertise a special offer on these sites, which have apps for smartphones
like the iPhone and Blackberry.
These apps offer what is known as “push” notifications of new specials. This
works very similar to a text message – when a new offer is posted, the app
displays a message on the phone.
Let’s look at Groupon.com as an example, since it’s the largest of these
sites.
You list a special offer of some type with Groupon, offering a discounted
price, a two-for-one special or any number of other special deals. Groupon
posts the deal on their website, sends it out by email and pushes it to all the
users of their mobile applications.
Because the offers are geographical, only people in your general area will
see it by default. The users of the service benefit by getting a great deal on
what you sell and your company benefits by getting a bunch of new
customers who might never heard of you otherwise.
Plus, people outside of your immediate market can also view your offer, and
buy it as a gift for someone who lives nearby. So you can reach people who
don’t even use the service via the people that do.
Keys To An Effective Website
Having a good mobile version is one aspect of an effective website, but there
are several things that your main website should offer as well. Your website
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How To Market Your Business Online
is responsible for several things:
•
Educating your audience
•
Branding your company
•
Establishing your expertise in your industry
•
Generating leads and sales
•
Building relationships with your audience
There are also a couple of things it's NOT responsible for, however:
•
Miraculously drawing in people searching for what you offer
•
Replacing personal connection and interaction
One mistake that a lot of companies make is trying to cram as much
information as possible into the home page of their site. This is a sure-fire
way to overwhelm any new visitors, and in many cases they will just click
away and keep looking.
Instead, use the home page to grab the visitor’s attention and help them
find the right page on the site for whatever information they’re looking for.
Think of it as a sort of “directory” for the rest of the site. You want people to
be able to find what they want within 5 seconds of landing on your website if
at all possible.
Try to look at your website from the perspective of someone who doesn’t
know your company and may not even know what you offer. If you look at it
from the perspective of someone who already knows everything there is to
know about your business, it makes it much harder to optimize for your
visitors.
If you find it hard to distance yourself from your business this way, an
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How To Market Your Business Online
effective way to do it is to create a customer “avatar” that you can use as a
model for your typical customer.
Create a fictional customer who has most of the traits of your typical client.
Give them a name, consider their age, their sex, what kind of knowledge
they have about your product, their income, how many kids they have, etc.
The more complete this avatar is, the better.
Then, whenever you are writing something for your customers, whether your
website, an email, an article or any number of other types of content, write
it as though you’re addressing that fictional customer directly. This can really
help to filter out the stuff that’s either unnecessary or confusing and get
right to the point you want to make.
We'll talk about how to get the people who are searching for what you offer
to actually visit your website shortly (in fact, that's really the ultimate goal
of everything in this book) but as far as personal connection and interaction
goes, the internet has one very useful tool for this - email.
One of the most critical things you should be doing on your website is some
kind of lead capture - getting your customers' names and email addresses so
you can contact them via email.
Email Marketing
"66% of those surveyed said they had made a purchase because of a
marketing message received through email."
- ExactTarget, "2008 Channel Preference Survey"
Every page on your website should have an opt-in form where people can
sign up to receive your emails. While text messages, Facebook and various
other methods of contacting customers are important, email is still one of
the most widely used technologies on the internet.
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Virtually everybody has an email address, and by building a list of your
customers' names and email addresses, you can keep in touch with them on
a regular basis to keep your company at the top of their mind.
You can send various things via email:
•
Upcoming promotions
•
Coupons
•
Newsletter
•
How-to information
•
Anything else that would be relevant to your customers
Unlike flyers or other types of advertising, email doesn't have a per-message
cost. Whether you send 20 emails a month or 2,000 emails a month, your
cost isn't going to change by much, if at all.
What that means for you is that you can send an email as often as you like,
and you can do it on short notice. So if you have a special event coming up
or some other special promotion that you want to remind your customers
about, it's just a matter of writing a quick email and sending it out to them a
couple of days ahead of the event.
But it's not just a tool for sending special promotions like this. You can also
use what's called an "autoresponder" to automate a certain amount of your
email contact.
When a customer signs up to receive your emails, an autoresponder service
will automatically send a certain number of messages at whatever interval
you want. This lets you queue up a number of emails that will go out to your
customers with absolutely no effort on your part.
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You can use these emails to educate your customers about the products or
services you offer, educate them about how to use those same products or
services, or even just send monthly reminders that you are there to help if
they need it.
You could even use it to send reminders of appointments or other due dates.
For example, a dentist’s office could send a reminder via email a day or two
ahead of a scheduled appointment (not to mention a text message with the
same information the day of the appointment) or a car dealer could send a
reminder that it’s time for the next oil change at the proper time following a
customer’s last visit.
And perhaps best of all, email is a two-way communication tool so you can
even use it to ask your customers for feedback. There are various ways to
take advantage of this:
•
Ask them what their biggest questions are about the products you sell,
so you can tailor your advertising and other promotions to answer
those questions.
•
Ask them what products or services they want or need that you don't
currently offer.
•
Get feedback and testimonials from them that you can use in future
promotions
When you do this, you're not going to get responses from every customer
who receives your email. In fact, you may only receive a couple of
responses. But the responses you do get could help you make a lot more
profit simply by providing the products or services that your customers are
actually looking for.
How do you get people to sign up to receive your emails? There are various
strategies that will work.
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If you deal with people in person in your business, such as a retail shop or
restaurant for example, you can have a computer or a portable device such
as an iPad where people can enter their name and email address right at the
point of sale.
This is considerably more effective than the low-tech method still used by a
lot of businesses – a notebook and pen. Why have your customer write their
name and email address in a notebook when you can have them enter it
directly into a lead-capture form on a computer? This puts them directly into
your email service’s database so you don’t have to manually enter that
information yourself.
Plus, if you use a device like an iPad you’ll often get even more people who
will sign up to receive your emails because they want to “play” with the
device a bit. Even if it’s just a matter of entering their information on your
lead capture form, the novelty is still there.
Another effective way to get people to sign up to receive your emails is on
your website itself. Add a lead capture form (known as an “optin box”) to
every page on your website so people can enter their name and email
address no matter what page they might be looking at.
To increase the number of people who sign up to receive your emails, you
can offer them some sort of incentive for doing so. This could be something
like a free report or white paper that will help educate them about the
products or services you offer, or it could be some sort of special offer or
coupon that gets sent to them automatically after they sign up to receive
your emails.
Or you could do both to improve your conversions even further. Offering a
report or white paper has another advantage as well – you can use it to
promote all the reasons why a potential customer would want to deal with
your business as opposed to your competition.
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How To Market Your Business Online
That’s not to say you need to badmouth your competitors. Just explain why
your company is their best choice, and what unique benefits you can offer. If
you provide them with a report that helps them learn more about what you
have to offer them, and then include a bit of a sales pitch at the end, it can
generate a lot of new customers for your company.
You can also use what is known as an “exit popup” on your website. This is a
popup window that gets displayed when someone goes to leave your
website. This popup can make essentially the same offer as the optin forms
on every other page of your website, but it has been proven that these
popup windows are more effective at convincing visitors to sign up for your
email list.
The worst case is they will leave without signing up, but they were leaving
your website anyway so why not make one last attempt at capturing their
contact information?
Another way to get people to sign up to receive your emails is to use other
advertising media to help promote it. If you send out flyers, include a brief
call to action on each one letting people know they can sign up to receive
special offers and other information by email by visiting your website. If you
want to continue running Yellow Page ads even after reading this book,
include that same call to action in your ad the next time you renew and have
the opportunity to change it.
You could even add a message to the end of every customer receipt or
invoice, asking them to sign up for your emails at your website.
Treat this email list as a valuable part of your business – because it is – and
promote it anywhere and everywhere you can.
Multiple Methods Of Contact
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How To Market Your Business Online
Your website should make it easy for your customers to contact you, no
matter what method of communication they prefer. All the places they can
get in touch with you should be easily found when they arrive at your
website. This includes things such as:
•
Your phone number
•
Your address
•
Links to other websites like Facebook and Twitter
•
A "contact us" form where they can send you a message directly from
the website
The more ways you give your customers to contact you, the more likely it is
that they will. And different people prefer different methods, so make it easy
for each of them to do it the way they want.
If you’re really ambitious, and it fits the way you do business, you could
even offer a live chat function on your website that lets your visitors chat
with someone directly over the internet.
This is similar to a telephone conversation in many ways, except the
communication is typed through the chat service instead.
This method of contact won’t work for every business, but if you or a staff
member is sitting in front of the computer for much of the day, it may work
for you. And while it may seem a bit “anti-social” to some people, there are
a lot of people who aren’t comfortable calling and speaking to you “in
person” but would be very comfortable chatting over the internet instead.
Promotional Strategies
One of the biggest advantages of using the internet to reach new customers
is the low cost of advertising, and the speed at which you can implement,
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How To Market Your Business Online
test and change things. There are many different promotional strategies you
can use to both improve your rankings in the search engines and get your
business listed in various other locations.
Press releases are an effective way to do this, for a couple of reasons. First,
when you send out a press release, it is going to get listed on a lot of news
websites quite quickly. Because you can include a link back to your site in
the press release, it can drive a lot of potential customers directly to your
site as well as help improve your site's rankings (which of course will also
result in more potential customers).
And second, your press release might actually get noticed by a local
newspaper and you could wind up getting some free press out of it. Many
local newspapers are desperate for stories about people or businesses in
their town. If you have something newsworthy in your press release, this is
exactly the type of story they would like to print. And the fact that you're
local just makes it that much better, since they can contact you for further
information if need be.
There are a number of press release services that will distribute your press
release to various newspapers, websites and other media outlets. Some of
the most effective include:
-
PRWeb.com
-
Webwire.com
-
Marketwire.com
-
PR.com
-
WirePRNews.com
You submit your press release to these services, and they in turn broadcast
them out to many different news outlets, both online and offline. The cost of
these services varies, depending on the number of outlets they broadcast to
and what other additional services they provide.
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How To Market Your Business Online
If you distribute press releases on a regular basis, you will not only be more
likely to get noticed by one or more media outlets, you will also get SEO
(Search Engine Optimization) benefits that can help your website rank
higher in the search engines, and ultimately generate more traffic.
We’ll look at SEO in more detail shortly.
Media distribution is another highly effective way to get more customers to
your website. This means submitting articles, video, images and other types
of content to various sites. When your content get posted on those sites, it
can result in new customers coming as a result of both finding that content
and your website's ranking improving.
Video Distribution
Video is one of the most powerful types of media you can use. We already
mentioned adding images and video to your Google Places page, but that's
not the only place those types of content can be used. There are dozens of
video sharing sites, the most widely used being YouTube, where you can
also share your videos. Some of the other popular video sites include:
-
Vimeo.com
-
Dailymotion.com
-
Veoh.com
-
Justin.tv
-
Buzznet.com
-
Collegehumor.com
-
Ustream.tv
-
Revver.com
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How To Market Your Business Online
Some sites are focused on certain types of videos, such as
Collegehumor.com which is focused on funny videos. Other sites have a wide
range of topics, like YouTube.com, so you can post virtually any type of
video.
Those videos could be a commercial format, or they could be something
more educational if that style suits your business.
For example, if you operate a computer store you could set up a YouTube
channel where you show people how to do various things with their
computers. This would give you two opportunities to reach your customers.
First, people searching for a local computer store could find your videos on
Google or another search engine, and they would see how knowledgeable
you were. If you have a collection of videos showing various things they
need to know to use a new computer, you'll have set yourself up as the local
expert before they ever set foot in your store.
And second, you could use this as a benefit for your existing customers.
They could get tutorials about their computer on YouTube, and you could
even take questions from them via email, Facebook or various other sources
and create videos explaining how to do whatever they're having trouble
with.
Do you think that would help cement your customer relationships a little
more effectively?
By submitting your video to multiple sites, you will extend your reach to
more potential customers. Not only can they find the video on those sites
directly, they can discover them through search engines like Google Video.
You just never know where people will find your content, so the more places
you can share it, the better.
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How To Market Your Business Online
Article Distribution
Article distribution is another highly effective way to reach your customers
online. There are just as many article directories as there are video sharing
sites, if not more. Some of the most effective sites to get your articles
distributed include:
-
Ezinearticles.com
-
GoArticles.com
-
Articlesbase.com
-
WebProNews.com
-
ArticleDashboard.com
-
Article-buzz.com
Much like video sharing sites, some article distribution sites are more
focused on certain topics, such as WebProNews.com which is mainly online
marketing related information, while others cover virtually everything.
The way these sites work is you submit your article to get published on their
website. You can include a short “bio” at the end of the article, telling the
reader what your company offers along with a link back to your website.
The link in your bio has two benefits:
1. People who read the article will click on the link to visit your website,
and once they do they can sign up for your email list, read more about
your company or anything else that you offer on your site.
2. The link helps your website rank higher in Google and other search
engines, so the more articles you distribute, the better you will rank
when people are searching for local businesses.
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How To Market Your Business Online
The real power of these article sites is in the syndication features they offer.
Most of these sites let other websites use your article on their site, as long
as they leave your bio intact at the end of it.
So as other sites syndicate your article, you will get even more opportunities
to reach your customers as well as more and more backlinks helping to push
your website up in the search engine rankings.
And while all this is happening, you will help to establish your reputation as
an expert. If someone goes searching for reviews or more information about
your company, they will find all these different websites where your articles
are posted. This will help make you the local expert on what you have to
offer.
After all, if you saw the same author’s articles in every magazine you read
about a particular topic, you would probably think they know a little
something about that subject, wouldn’t you? Being mentioned all over the
internet has the same effect.
Images
Images are another type of content that can help you extend your reach and
get your company in front of potential customers. There are many different
photo sharing sites where you can post these pictures:
-
Flickr.com
-
Photobucket.com
-
Imageshack.com
-
Imgur.com
-
Picasa.com
-
Smugmug.com
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How To Market Your Business Online
The value here is twofold. First, if it suits your business, you can share
pictures of the products you sell, work you do or almost anything else. For
example, an interior designer could share images of past jobs or before and
after shots.
For someone searching for a local interior designer, a picture is worth a
thousand words so having those pictures available for people to easily find
can be invaluable. Google and most other search engines have mixed
images into their search results, so you could end up attracting a potential
customer’s attention through those images.
But even if your business doesn’t necessarily translate well into pictures,
there are reasons you might want to distribute images to these sites.
One reason is for brand recognition. If people are searching online for what
you offer and your company name or logo comes up in the search results,
that will help to brand you in their mind. When they see your website listed
in the search results, or find your Google Places listing on their smartphone
the next time they go searching, they’re going to recognize you over other
companies that they haven’t heard of.
And if you have pictures of your office or place of business online, it’s going
to make it easier for them to recognize when they get there.
All these things make dealing with your company a little easier for your
customers, and when you add them all up it can make a big difference.
Paid Advertising
There are also a number of places that you can buy advertising on the
internet, including:
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How To Market Your Business Online
•
Pay per click (PPC) ads
•
Banner ads
•
Direct ad buys with other websites
•
Facebook ads
Pay per click ads are one of the most cost effective. These are the
"sponsored ads" that are displayed at the top and right of the search results
on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
The way these ads work is you only pay whenever someone actually clicks
on your ad, not when it gets displayed. And the cost per click can range
anywhere from a few cents to several dollars, depending on what industry
you are in and what keywords you're bidding on.
You create ad campaigns based on keywords that people who would be
searching for your business might use to find it.
For example, if you were in the tool rental business you might bid on some
of the following keywords:
•
<city name> tool rentals
•
<city name> power rake rental
•
<city name> sump pump rental
…and so on.
You can set it up so your ads will only get displayed to anyone who is
actually in your city or general area, which means that even if someone in
another part of the country were searching for these phrases, your ads
wouldn't be displayed.
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How To Market Your Business Online
Because you can control exactly where your ads get displayed, you can
target the people who would be most likely to become potential customers
very specifically.
And while the general keyword might have a high cost-per-click, when you
are bidding on the local version of it (with the city name included) the cost is
generally much lower. This will depend on the size of your city and the
number of competitors who are also bidding on those keywords, however.
Banner Advertising
If you've been online for any length of time yourself, you've more than likely
seen banner advertising in action. These are the graphic ads that you see on
many sites. There are a number of ways to buy this advertising space. You
can work with an ad network that handles the placement of your ads for you
- choosing relevant websites, controlling what cities they get displayed in,
etc. - or you can work directly with other websites to buy ad space on their
pages.
You can even team up with other businesses in your local market to “trade”
ad space on each other’s websites. There are lots of ways to work with
people who don’t compete with you directly but would still be getting visitors
who would be interested in what you have to offer.
For example, let’s say you own a plumbing business. You could partner up
with local electricians, realtors, contractors and various other businesses to
share ad space on each other’s website. Someone who is looking for an
electrician will quite likely need a plumber at some point, and vice versa.
Someone looking for a realtor may be looking for a whole bunch of other
businesses because they’re moving to the area and aren’t familiar with it
yet.
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How To Market Your Business Online
This can even be taken a step further by offering “finders fees” for any
referrals that you get as a result of another local business. You can set up a
system that will track any new customers who click through from an ad on
one of your partner businesses’ website and wind up contacting you. You can
then pay the person who referred them a finders fee. If you set up these
types of partnerships with several other complementary businesses, it can
work out well for everyone involved without taking anything away from their
own bottom line.
Banner advertising can be very effective, but for local business purposes you
need to be sure that you are able to control where your ads get displayed. If
you're an electrician in Portland, Oregon there's really no point is having
your ad shown to someone who is surfing the web in Sarasota, Florida.
Facebook Ads
Facebook ads have some things in common with pay per click advertising you only pay when someone actually clicks on one of your ads and you can
target very specific people. The difference is instead of your ads being shown
based on keywords that people are searching for, they're displayed based on
demographics that you choose.
You have a great deal of control over the ads you display, so you can get
very specific with who sees your ads. For example, if you own a gym or
fitness club, you could create an ad that would target women between the
ages of 35 and 50 who live in your city, have a college education and are
interested in other health-related topics.
Then you could create a different ad that would target men with all those
same demographics. And another one for each group between the ages of
50 and 60, or any other demographics you wanted. Facebook makes it very
easy to put your ad in front of the people who are most likely to be
interested in what you have to offer them.
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How To Market Your Business Online
And it also makes it easy to create multiple ads that ultimately bring
potential customers to the same offer, but each ad can target a very
particular group of people.
Whether or not you use Facebook yourself, keep something in mind Facebook is growing at a much faster rate than other websites, including
Google, so it is becoming more and more important that your business has a
presence there, both in the way of a Facebook Page and advertising. This
chart shows just how much faster Facebook is growing:
Search Engine Optimization
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How To Market Your Business Online
A lot of the things we've discussed in this book come under a subject known
as search engine optimization, or SEO. This is the process of optimizing your
site to improve your rankings in the search engines. Some of this involves
things you can do on your site, such as using the "keywords" that your
potential customers are using to find your site within the content of your
pages.
There are tools that will help you determine exactly what those keywords
are, such as the Google Keyword Tool. This tool is designed for Google
Adwords advertisers, to help them figure out what keywords to bid on for
their ads. But it works just as well for figuring out exactly what people are
searching for. Because the things that people actually search for might not
be what you would expect.
Let’s look at a quick example. This screenshot shows a search for “Dayton
plumbers” (Dayton is a city in Ohio with a population of about 166,000
area).
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How To Market Your Business Online
This is just a few of the keywords that the tool returns, but you can see what
people are searching for and roughly how many times each keyword gets
searched every month.
You can see the keyword phrase “dayton plumbers” (the one we searched
for here) gets 1900 local monthly searches. That’s 1900 potential customers
who are searching for that term every month, on average.
You can see several other variations on the main keyword we searched for:
-
Dayton plumber
-
Plumber dayton
-
Dayton ohio plumbers
-
Plumbers in dayton oh
If you owned a plumbing business in Dayton, you would want to work these
variations into the content on your website to help improve your SEO and
get ranked higher in the results when people are searching for those terms.
The other part of Search Engine Optimization involves things you post on
other sites, like press releases, videos, images and various other types of
content. The links that point back to your website from these places will help
your site's ranking improve.
And the more sites that have links pointing back to your site, the better. Part
of the calculation that Google and other search engines use to rank your
website is the number of links, and the “power” of the websites they’re on.
For example, if you had a link pointing to your website from a site like
CNN.com it would be considerably more valuable to your ranking than a link
from BobsWebsite.com.
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How To Market Your Business Online
There are various ways you can generate these links to your website. We’ve
already discussed some of them, when we looked at media distribution.
Articles, videos and various other types of media can include links to your
website, so as you distribute them to more and more places you will
generate more and more links back to your site.
You can also buy links on other websites. This is essentially a form of
advertising, but instead of paying for another site to display your banner or
paying for clicks on Google or Facebook, you’re paying another site to link
back to yours with the goal being better rankings.
Getting involved with some of sites we’ve already discussed elsewhere in
this report can also help generate more links to your site. If you’re active on
Facebook and Twitter, you can use those sites to link to your website.
Review sites like Yelp.com will also have links back to your website.
You can even set up multiple websites of your own, each with a very narrow
focus. All of them can link back to your main site, helping to push its
rankings up. For example, you might set up “minisites” for different product
lines that you sell, or different services that you offer – each with a very
specific focus. And these sites won’t just be useful for linking back to your
main website, they can also generate even more visitors and new customers
as people find them in the search engines and various other places.
As you can see, many of these strategies work in tandem with one another.
Media distribution doesn’t just get your name out there, it helps with SEO.
Being active on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t just give your customers
another way to contact you, it also helps your website rank better.
The more you market your business online, the more everything will
compound to give you better and better results.
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How To Market Your Business Online
But keep in mind that SEO is not a one-time thing. You can ease back on the
amount of content that you are distributing to various places once you've
made an initial push to get your site ranked, but to maintain those rankings
you'll need to do a certain amount of this on an ongoing basis. Otherwise, if
your competitors are also improving their SEO, they could knock your site
down and replace it in the rankings.
Tracking Your Results
Something that is fairly unique to the internet, compared to many other
advertising methods, is how much information you can track about where
your customers are coming from and which sources are the most (and least)
profitable for you.
The nature of the internet lets you track the source of every visitor to your
website, so you can tell how many potential customers are arriving from
Google, Facebook, videos on YouTube and any other place you post your
content.
You can even track these sources down to specific messages or media. For
example, if you post a video on YouTube, you can code a special tracking
link into it so you know exactly how many people end up visiting your
website as a result of that specific video.
If you do any other advertising, like flyer or Yellow Pages, do you know how
many visitors those sources are sending you? Probably not - there's really no
way to track them with any accuracy, beyond asking every customer where
they heard about you.
There are many tracking services available to you, ranging from free
solutions to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars per month. One of the
most effective is actually free to use – Google Analytics.
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How To Market Your Business Online
Google Analytics will track visitors coming to your website, where they’re
coming from and many other things. It will even tell you what keywords
people searched for when they found your website in the search results.
This data can be invaluable to you because over time you can analyze it and
work it back into your website to get even better results.
For example, using our Dayton plumbers example again, when you analyze
your site’s data you might find that you’re getting traffic from Google for the
phrase “dayton plumbing and heating” – a phrase you didn’t do any
optimization for.
Seeing that, you could hop over to Google and see just where your site
ranks for that term. Let’s say you find it towards the bottom of the page,
maybe spot 7 or 8 (there are normally ten results shown on each page).
From this research, you now know two important things – people are already
finding your site using that phrase and you could quite likely improve your
ranking by doing a little bit of SEO for that phrase.
You might write a new article to add to your website that uses the phrase
“dayton plumbing and heating” or you might just add it to a page or two that
are already on the site.
Simply by doing this little bit of work, you would most likely start getting
more visitors who are searching for that term because your site would move
higher in the rankings.
Google Analytics doesn’t just track your visitors, however – it can also track
the actions those visitors take once they arrive at your website.
For example, if you have a lead capture form on your site to get people’s
name and email address so you can follow up with them in the future, you
can track the people who actually sign up for your email list. With Google
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How To Market Your Business Online
Analytics, you could track all the way from the click on one of your ads
through to someone signing up to receive your emails.
And from there, you could use tracking codes to identify those people when
they come into your place of business or contact you for more information.
This lets you track the exact cost per customer by calculating your
advertising cost versus the number of people who wind up doing business
with you.
You’ll know which advertising sources are most profitable, which ones are
not working very well at all, and which ones are generating the most new
leads. This is the type of detail that is extremely difficult, if not impossible to
track through traditional advertising mediums like Yellow Page and
newspaper ads.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that the internet gives you far better results than
most traditional advertising methods. And it’s not going anywhere, it’s just
going to become more and more important to local businesses as time goes
on. If you aren't taking advantage of all the opportunities it offers, you have
two choices - start taking advantage of them or don’t do anything and fall
behind when your competition does.
And believe me, your competitors are hearing all these same things. Take a
look at this slide, which shows the results of a McKinsey quarterly survey of
business executive:
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 43
How To Market Your Business Online
Notice that this survey was done in 2008. These results will be accelerating,
not tapering off, as more time passes.
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 44
How To Market Your Business Online
Summary
So what have you learned over the course of this book? My goal was to
introduce you to the following aspects of business building online:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Personal Branding and Social Media Sites
How To Get Your Websites To The First Page Of Google
Customer Engagement
Mobile Marketing
Promotional Strategies
Video Distribution
Tracking Your Results
Where To Get Tools And Resources
By compiling and creating content that you want indexed, you will want to
have a consistent message of who you are, what your best qualities and
values are and how your customers can get to your services and products.
You want to secure your own domain name and publish your unique content
on your domains. Secure the usernames for YOURNAME on all the top social
media websites and directories. Because they are free or cost very little, you
must secure yours as soon as possible. Its your piece of digital real estate.
You want to get as many authoritative backlinks as possible to your websites
in order to increase your search engine ranking. This process requires
consistent effort and it will be an ongoing process.
What’s your excuse in today’s rough times?
Life can be tough, but the true champions in life are not the most talented,
not the best looking, not even the smartest! The winners are those that
refuse to give in to self pity or negative thinking. They take unrelenting
action to overcome the obstacles that are set before them.
You might be caught in tough times, but as long as you believe in the power
of hard work and focus, as long as you have the passion and the will to
succeed, you will triumph! Throw the excuses out the window, head out the
door and face the world with conviction. Miraculous things happen when we
believe they will and are willing to pay the price today for tomorrow’s
dreams
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 45
How To Market Your Business Online
Where Should You Start?
We've covered quite a bit of ground so it's quite likely that you've got a
bunch of ideas swimming around in your head, wondering where to start.
But let's face it - is this the kind of stuff you want to be doing?
You could probably figure all this technical stuff out for yourself, but is that
really the best use of your time? We believe it's important for any business
to work on their strengths.
Did you know you already have an Internet presence?
The only question is whether you’re in control of it, or are others you have
never met are adding to and manipulating it?
Our company specializes in helping local businesses get more customers by
making them findable on the internet. If you'd like to learn how we can help
you find new customers, as well as better engage the ones you already
have, all at a much lower cost than most traditional methods of advertising,
call us today to set up a free consultation.
Wayne Coakley
www.OnlineMarketingGrenade.com
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 46
How To Market Your Business Online
Disclaimer and Copyright Notification:
Copyright © 2011 by Wayne Coakley
The contents are based on the author’s personal experience and research. Your results may
vary, and will be based on your individual situation and motivation. There are no guarantees
concerning the level of success you may experience. Each individual’s success depends on
his or her background, dedication, desire and motivation.
NOTE: Some of the recommendations in this report might contain affiliate links. If you click
on the link(s) and purchase such a product based on my review and/or recommendation, I
will receive a referral commission. Whether I receive a commission or not will not have any
effect on the purchase price of the product. Additionally I am sometimes offered a
complimentary product to review. My decision to promote these products is based on my
own satisfaction with the products. I do not recommend crap, and any review I make will be
based on my own experiences, which are not typical. You could do better, you could do
worse, you could do nothing at all, and that is totally out of my control.
We make every effort to ensure that we accurately represent our products and services.
There is no guarantee that your results will match examples published in this report.
Some links may change or even not work for many reasons beyond the control of the author
and distributors. They cannot guarantee or otherwise be responsible for what you might find
when you click through to sites not under the control of the publisher of this report.
Copyright © 2011 Wayne Coakley All rights reserved – Page 47

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