6 Tips To Put Your Web Marketing On Steroids
By Doug Hay and Sally Falkow
Published October 18, 2006. Copyright © 2006 Doug Hay and Sally Falkow. All rights reserved. Published at websitetips.com with permission.
The Internet has changed and will continue to change the way we do business. It has also created amazing marketing opportunities.
The rules of the marketing game have changed big time. The new reality:
- Over 80% of all web traffic is coming via search engines.
- 88% of economically active Americans go online everyday
- A recent study showed that 85% of users research products and services on the Internet before they purchase.
- 77% get their news online through Google or Yahoo news.
- 80% of all business on the Internet goes to the first three listings on the first page of a search result.
- Research shows that searchers (your customers) regard good placing in the natural search results (as opposed to pay per click or sponsored links) as an indicator of a company who is tops in their field.
- 99% of reporters start their research for a story on the Internet.
The bottom line is that your potential customers are researching their purchases online before spending their money. This also includes big-ticket items like cars and houses.
In a recent study, “Search Before the Purchase” from DoubleClick and comScore Networks notes half of all online purchases are preceded by multiple product-specific searches.
For the brick and mortar retail world keep in mind that consumers are using the search engines like product catalogs to research products and services — then printing out a map on how to get there. Yellow pages may become a thing of the past.
Use these tips to take advantage of the ever-increasing influence of the World Wide Web:
- Do your homework on key words. The huge majority of people use search engines to find products and services that they are looking for. Find out what key words they are using. This is the heart of an Internet Marketing strategy. Consider it a mandatory form of survey and market research. Once you have determined the key words that people are searching for, check the number of competing pages on that keyword or phrase in the search engines. Create your key word strategy from your research.
- Tune up your web site. Re-structure the content of your site so it attracts the users you want. Change the keywords in your title, description and keyword tags. Rewrite the home page and interior pages text using the key words that people are searching on.
Remember search engines can't read pictures so include lots of text on your site. The home page should have a minimum of 250 words of text.
Keep in mind, that your web site has to attract the search engines before anyone can find it. The design, content and programming of your site all influence your search rankings. A well-written and designed web site is the foundation of your Internet marketing program. No matter how great your product is, if the public can't find you the sales are lost in the second it takes to click the mouse. On the flip side, the content of the site is primarily for your visitors. Don't only write for the search engines. An effective web site is the key to quality leads and volume sales.
- Create regular online newsletters and encourage all visitors to the site to sign up for the free newsletter. A newsletter is an excellent and cost effective way to stay in touch and build a relationship with prospects and customers. Get an email distribution program that tracks the stats i.e. quantity sent, opened and clicked through to your web site. Use the free offer to build your list — you want to get a large volume of subscribers. Add the newsletters to your web site to increase content.
- Start a blog to raise search visibility, create page-one search results and build an audience. A business blog can position you as an expert and drive tons of qualified traffic to your website. The May 2005 cover story in Business Week magazine was “Blogs Will Change Your Business, Look past the yakkers, hobbyists, and political mobs. Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out. Our advice: Catch up...or catch you later.”
- Syndicate your content via RSS (really simple syndication) feeds so that you get exposure in other places on the Web. This also increases the number of links to your website. Syndication is a process of providing your content to others, doing updates of information and generally spreading your content from one place to another. One example is syndication in newspapers. You sometimes see a column that appears in several papers at once. It is syndicated. Syndication online allows you to share your content with your visitors and other websites. Search engines are paying attention to RSS feeds right now.
Online syndication has many advantages: It vastly improves your site's visibility; makes your content available in a more convenient manner; feeds your content directly to interested parties; broadens your reach on the Internet and best of all, costs almost nothing to implement.
- Send out optimized press releases about your products or services so they get into the News Search Engines and New sites. Your audiences are actively online searching for news, products and services. It is no longer enough to send out press releases only to the media — or pitch journalists and hope that you will reach the right audience. This will attract visitors and increase the number of links back to your website, which will raise your ranking in the search engines.
As consumers are actively searching for you using key words, then you need to put your press releases where they're looking — on the search engines and news engines. 98% of journalists start a story by doing a keyword search in the search and news engines.
The vast majority of economically active people are Internet savvy today and are using the Net to research products and services before they buy. Use these effective marketing and PR tools or you will simply be cut out of the picture.
About the Authors
Expansion Plus, Inc. is an Internet marketing and PR firm based in Los Angeles, CA. Ms. Falkow, principal and web content strategist at Expansion Plus, Inc., has held senior positions in marketing and public relations in large and small organizations in the US and abroad. She is a top performing professional with proven abilities gained through three decades of experience in BtoB and BtoC marketing and public relations. Read her Internet Marketing Strategy Blog (http://falkow.blogsite.com). Visit the Expansion Plus website (www.expansionplus.com.)
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