Getting Your Website Found Online

This last week I ran an online marketing workshop where no less than 140 people attended – primarily marketing managers – on the subject of word of mouse marketing.

With marketing budgets decreasing or at least being under pressure, business leaders are realizing that they need to integrate an online marketing strategy to attract more leads to their business.

One business owner I spoke to had also recognized that their business needed to be online to help them with cash flow. Some of their customers were waiting 120 days before paying them. However, making their products available online eliminated the wait for payment – something people rarely evaluate when they are looking at the pro’s and con’s of developing a business online.

One of the attendees of the workshop wanted to know how to get their business found online – the business is totally online. In fact here is their question:

I have just launched my new website but am struggling to get it found. I am wondering if you have any quick and easy formulas.

During the workshop we had covered strategies including understanding the key words that people search for you online, how ad where to use those key words on your website and in your blog, and the benefits of building links to your website or business blog.

Getting found at the top of the search engines is not I am afraid a quick and easy thing to do – if it were, wouldn’t we all be at the top of the search engines?!

When you are considering your online marketing strategy, especially if you are a totally online business as in the case of the delegate from the Word Of Mouse Marketing Workshop who asked the question, it’s important to recognize that you need to develop and implement an online marketing plan. It may seem obvious, but many people think once they have built a website their work is done.

Make sure that you allocate resources to your online marketing strategy – that may be time for training yourself and your team, time to update your own website or blog, writing articles and implementing inbound link building strategies or investing in hiring an expert in search engine marketing to assist you with this strategy.

Online marketing is going to become an increasingly competitive area in the year ahead as marketing managers look to make their marketing dollars go further.

Perhaps it’s time to assess your marketing plan for the next 180 days so that you make sure that you are investing your marketing dollars and time wisely? Are you planning to allocate more resources to online marketing next year?

Marketing Your Small Business With ShareThis

In today’s challenging economic environment you might be noticing that companies are cutting prices and offering additional benefits and bonuses so that they retain market share.

It’s also likely that you might be finding it a longer lead time to closing the sale.

It’s at times like this that if you have a strategy of creating great content – in other words educational marketing – that provides real value for your clients and customers really starts to pay off.

Let’s take for example having as part of your marketing strategy a business blog with frequently published articles covering the subjects that your clients and potential clients want to know about.

If you write compelling content that is relevant to your readers and the search engine robots, then you increase the likelihood that people will find your articles when they search online for the kinds of products or services you offer.

And remember that the person reading your article may also know of friends who would find what you have to offer of relevance to them.

So how can you easily provide the opportunity for people to share the great articles on your blog to their social networking sites and spread the word about you and your company?

You might recall I wrote about one tool recently that you can add to your website or blog that allows people to save PDF’s of your articles and even email them to others.

Another tool that you might want to consider for your business blog or website that is becoming increasingly popular is ShareThis.

ShareThis is available to use across a host of blog platforms including WordPress.org and TypePad.com

You’ll usually see the ShareThis logo at the bottom of an article or blog post.

When you click on it you will see your readers have several options:

  • to post the article and share it to their favourite social networking sites such as Digg and Ma.gnolia
  • to share it with their friends at their social networks such as Facebook and Twitter
  • to email themselves or others a copy.

Of course it’s not just making sure the readers of your articles understand what the ShareThis logo means – it does rely on us as content creators and educational marketers writing content that people want to pass on to their friends or keep as reference material.

So why not consider adding ShareThis to your business blog and implement the really low cost strategy of educational marketing?

ECO-SAFE Blogging

Have you ever come across a website or business blog and have wanted to print out an article or blog post but find that there is no print icon on the web page or blog site?

I always think that we need to make it as easy as possible for people to access our content from our websites so one of the things I did some time ago on my main blog was to add some plugins so that people could then print a blog article or email articles to others.

However I recently came across a service that enables us to guide people to alternatives to print pages but still makes your content accessible to readers and enables you to virally market your blog to others with a tell a friend functon – and it’s free!

Eco Safe Blogging

The ECO-SAFE Merit Badge can be added to your website and offers the opportunity to website and blog visitors to:

  • send themselves or other an email of the article or page
  • send themselves or others a PDF of the article or page
  • download a PDF of the article or page.

Why not add the ECO-SAFE Merit Badge to your blog, website or ecommerce site.

Oh I almost forgot to let you know, you can also register for free iTunes music of your choice when you add the ECO-SAFE Merit Badge to you blog or website.

Yahoo Pipes – A Tool For Your Marketing Research Kitbag

Are you researching for a key branding project or marketing assignment you are working on?

I know many of us turn to the web to find information perhaps about a potential client as we write proposals, about the industry sector a client is involved in so that we come well versed in their business and so we can identify where we can add value, or even checking out a competitor as part of the development of our brand strategy or marketing plan.

A free tool I have recently come across which I think has tremendous opportunities for research is Yahoo Pipes.

Yahoo Pipes provides you with the ability to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web creating a feed with relevant information. you can also publish your Yahoo Pipe so that others can access it or modify it for their own use.

Take a look at this video that shows you how to create your own pipe of research data.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

I use Google Alerts to support my research,and you can read an article here about 10 ways I use Google Alerts in my research.

Writing Reviews Reinforces Your Personal Brand Online

If you are looking to position yourself as a thought leader in your field, one of the opportunities that many people forget to use is that of becoming a central resource for their clients and potential clients.

By keeping up to date with the leading edge thinking in your area from books to research, or even events that you attend, your clients will soon come to realize that you know your area of expertise.

In addition, writing reviews of those books or reports with your perspective is also a valuable resource, and increasingly you can do this online at your website, business blog or even sites such as Amazon.com. This also reinforces your personal brand online and reviews you write will be found in the search engines

A relatively new service is available online called Loudervoice dedicated to reviews.

You can register for a free account at Loudervoice and you can post your reviews directly on the site or from your own business blog, from your mobile phone or from micro blogging sites such as Twitter.

So the next time you read a book or report, attend an event or programme related to your field of expertise, consider consolidating your views, add your perspective and then write up and post the review on the web for the benefit of your own clients and to attract more clients and customers.

How To Damage Your Brand Through Your Ezine

As we discuss here at Small Business Branding, our brand gets expressed in everything that we do – as I like to describe it – at every “touch-point” a business partner, prospect, client, employee or other stakeholder may have with us.

One of the ways that we express our personal brand and our company brand is through our writing – whether that be through copy on the web, offline marketing materials or letters that we write.

If we are building our business online, providing a content rich newsletter is a great way to express our expertise and also provides us with the permission to promote our products and services.

However there are some things to watch out for which I was reminded of when I read a newsletter today from a training company in Ireland.

They made two fundamental flaws with their newsletter:

  1. the first two sections of their news letter was promoting their new training courses [Read more…]

How Brand Centric Is Your Marketing Plan?

So often when I review the marketing plan for my clients, I often notice there is lack of connection between their brand strategy and their marketing plan.

Getting clear about your brand is one of the first steps we need to take as we develop and grow our professional services practice. But without a focused marketing plan, we certainly will not be able to realise the benefit of investing in developing our business strategy nor will we build a distinctive brand.

Here are 3 steps you can use to evaluate how brand centric your marketing plan is: [Read more…]

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