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Internet Marketing

Tweets on Google Search Results

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

By | Internet Marketing, Social Business, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

Tweets on Google Search ResultsGoogle is now indexing Tweets from Twitter.  You remember Twitter right?  That social media site that you chose to ignore..the one only kids are using..the one you just could not understand.  Yes, that one.  Well you spent all of your time avoiding it like the plague and now Google is indexing tweets.

What does that mean to you?

Hypothetically a tweet might just out rank your website for the same search term. Imagine this scenario.  You are the owner of a pizza restaurant in Smallville, USA.  You work hard for years ensuring that your site is found by Google because Google is where people go to search for things. Then one day someone posts how Tony’s Pizza Shop in Smallville, USA is the greatest pizza.  Because of the relevance (time and date, locale and keyword) it now ranks above your website on a Google search.

Most Twitter users are also mobile and I am sure you have been hearing a lot about Mobilegeddon.  Not to beat a dead horse but you can no longer afford to ignore the mobile population.  Mobile search has surpassed desktop search for the first time in history.

Of course I am over simplifying this for the sake of argument but I think you get the point.  You spent years making excuses why you are not on Twitter and now it could come back to bite you in the ass.  What else are you ignoring?  Facebook?  LinkedIn?  Google+? Instagram or Pinterest?

A pizza restaurant would do well on Instagram, and you can cross post to Twitter and Facebook from Instagram allowing you to become more efficient with your social Pizza Restaurants Should Market on Instagram and Twittermedia efforts.  In fact I follow a pizza restaurant or two on Instagram.  They typically get a lot of likes for every picture they post.  Comments often include “What Are Your Hours?”  or “We’re Coming for Lunch Tomorrow” or “@joeschmoe when are we going?”.

What’s the Point?

Really, the point is this. You have only yourself to blame if you ignore any of the larger social media platforms.  If you feel you just can’t keep up, or you don’t have time to learn something new, or you simply don’t have time to manage another social media platform there are plenty of qualified individuals and companies that can manage it for you.

Social Media is a critical part of any marketing plan for a business.  It’s not an optional part of your marketing efforts, it’s almost mandatory.  If you can’t be found on the internet then you may as well not exist as a business.  Just look at some of the things you can do on Social Media.

  • Create a community of people who are in the buying process and educate them on your expertise.
  • Listen for questions, not just from your followers but from anyone…and answer the questions to build trust and good will.
  • Share blog posts from yourself and other relevant bloggers.
  • Share quick video tips (Video has the best reach of all forms of content).
  • Create Good Will by sharing other businesses you have worked with and their expertise.
  • Target and retarget those who meet your desired demographics
  • Attract people to your website or landing page with the intent of getting them into your sales funnel.
  • Much, Much more

Google Runs Things..Sort Of

Search Wars featuring Google, Facebook and TwitterAs the search and content wars continue to heat up you can bet more changes are coming.  In fact Twitter and Facebook are working on search in efforts to rival Google.  Facebook and Google want to be your gateway to the internet, and for some they already are.  If you’re not making an consistent effort to broadcast across the popular social media sites then you need to be.  If you aren’t able to for whatever reason (time, knowledge, otherwise) then it might be time to reallocate your marketing budget to a professional with the tools and know how to get it done.

As a side note..most professions also have social media sites specifically for their professions.  You should also join these site as it will allow you to get advice and share ideas with others in your profession.

Not sure how your marketing efforts are doing?  Find out in 60 seconds for free!

Is SEO dead?

By | content marketing, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Media | One Comment

SEO is DeadI have seen dozens, maybe more, posts claiming SEO is dead.  People tell me all the time they will not invest in SEO because it’s a waste of time or Google doesn’t care if you rank.   Well I am here to tell you SEO is dead!   I am also here to tell you SEO is not dead.  Confused yet?  Good!

SEO Is Dead

SEO as you probably came to know it is dead.  Gone are the days of getting your site added to every directory known to man.   Forgotten are the web pages stuffed with keywords that made no senses to the human reader.  Left back are the link farms who’s sole purpose was to increase your page rank.  That’s right, the short cut (black hat) methods of SEO are dead.

In that sense SEO is in fact dead.  Does that mean you shouldn’t concern yourself with search engine ranking on Google, Yahoo and Bing?  Absolutely not.

You see from the dust of past SEO black hatters rises a new crop of marketers who have been doing things right all along.  They take on many titles such as Inbound Marketer, Digital Marketer, Internet Marketer, New Media Marketer and some still call themselves SEO Experts.   They all do pretty much the same thing.  At one time marketing a company on the internet involved only what is now considered black-hat SEO methods and email marketing (many times spam).  Today that is not the case.

The fact is SEO should be a part of your overall inbound marketing campaign.

SEO Is Not Dead

Today some of the key components still exist.  You should have keywords in your content, so long as your content makes sense toSEO Is Dead human beings.  You should have authoritative links to and from sites, just not from spammy sites or irrelevant sites.  You should make sure your titles and urls match keywords whenever possible.  And there are a lot of other considerations when it comes to HTML mark up and related website material.

However; to win the marketing game, that is to beat your competitors you need to include some other avenues of marketing.  Just take a look around the site and you will see it is everything that I do!  Oh, you prefer it to be in one nice neat post?  You got it!

Here are some of the other pieces of the inbound marketing puzzle:

Social Media Marketing-Sounds simple but it’s not.  Marketing on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc..) can be very complex.  For starters you need to know your target audience, then you need to know how to engage them, and eventually convert them.

You also have to consider industry specific social media platforms, or local platforms.  For example, for Real Estate Investors there’s BiggerPockets.com.

Social Media Marketing can also be very time consuming.  You have to develop a qualified audience (don’t go for those 10,000 followers for $20 deals), engage the audience and work on converting them without coming across as a pushy salesman.   This takes time and lots of energy and patience.  It also takes a thick skin at times.

Email Marketing-Email marketing has been around for some time but has evolved slightly.   Email marketing fell out of the graces of legitimate marketers because of the abundance of spam email.  It’s estimated that arounbd 80% of all email is spam.  Marketers moved away for fear of being labeled as spam, or being drowned out by spam.

Today’s inbox is much more intelligent than that of years prior.  Spam is filtered much better now which allows legitimate correspondence to arrive in the audience’s inbox because they have said they want to see this.

Videos-Probably one of the fastest ways to gain traction on Google is through YouTube.   Don’t believe me?  Google “CT Twitter Expert”.  Because YouTube is owned by Google it helps to have videos on their platform.  Probably more important is the fact people prefer audio/video over reading.  I know I do.

Guest Blogging-This is a little bit of a sticky subject right now.  Guest blogging for the sake of building link authority is not a positive route.  Guest blogging on a relevant site because you are the authority on a subject is a great way to build up your web marketing.  Matt Cutt’s of Google has stated that this strategy used for the sole purpose of link building will probably wind up getting your website penalized.

It’s really quite sad that people are not paying attention.  I get requests from people to write a blog post all the time but a little research and due diligence leads me to a negative response.  Why?  Because the person is not relevant to my site, and is obviously someone who is attempting to spam their way to the top of Google.  It won’t work!

Pay Per Click-Pay for advertising on Google has been around for a number of years now, and it’s quite effective if done properly.  What a lot of business owners don’t realize is you can do the exact same thing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and soon Instagram.

Traditional Marketing-Direct mail is more effective than it has been in years, because people’s mailboxes are empty now.  Years ago we used to get inundated with junk mail but marketers have moved on to the internet to reach new audiences.  As a result direct mail has a much higher ROI than in years past.

You can also take the traditional route of marketing at events, through traditional media (TV, Radio, Print) but that’s outside of my scope.  I do know some great marketers in those areas if you are shopping for one.

Content Marketing-Blog posts, videos, images and many other forms of content fall into this category.  Are you developing fresh content on a fairly regular basis?   In previous blog posts I have talked about the importance of having a content marketing program.  It is crucial in today’s internet marketing campaign.  If you’re not developing content you will eventually lose the battle for internet supremacy.

That sounded a bit extreme, I admit it. But it is true now.  I formed this company just over a year ago and I already show up on the first page for many of my desired keywords.  That’s because I invested the time and energy into my content, and plan to do even more soon.  Meanwhile many other marketers have fallen off the face of Google.  Hmmmm

Local SEO-It’s exactly as it sounds..building an SEO campaign that is oriented to your area.  It’s a lot easier today than it was years ago because the search engines have built some incredible tools for that.  What makes it a little more difficult is submitting to local directories and knowing which ones are going to help versus which ones will hurt.

Stop Buying Into Your Marketer’s Excuses and BS

If your marketer, or even worse, your SEO guy is still living in the past you need to kick them out.  I hate to say it but I still see tons of websites being marketed the old way of SEO.  There are no links from Social Media, no blog posts, random keywords all over the place, no video and that’s just the basics.

There’s so much more that can be done to increase your engagement and conversion rates.  If your marketing team isn’t up on the new way to market it’s time to find a new marketing team.

Get Your Inbound (Web) Marketing Program Audit for Free

 

Free Inbound Marketing Report from Scott Gombar

Free Inbound Marketing Report from Scott Gombar

 

7 Steps to Grow Your Following Responsibly on Social Media

By | Facebook, Facebook Pages, Google Plus, Google+, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Business, Social Listening, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

Social Media is not a Popularity Contest

Popularity Contest-Not for Social MediaIf you want 2500 followers on Twitter or Instagram tomorrow I can help you for just $39.  Guess what, it won’t help your business at all!  If you think having a large number of followers is the end game on any social media platform you are sorely mistaken.  Even worse, if you have a “Social Media Expert” telling you to do this you had better run far away.

You might be wondering why I bring this up now.  I have spoken with business owners who were approached by the so called experts who tell them I will get you this many followers within this much time.  I have spoken with business owners who have taken these so called experts up on their offer.  At the end of the day the business owner walks away with a sour taste in their mouth.  Because of this the business owners often swear off social media all together.

Then when I have a conversation with them regarding a social media marketing plan the business owner is not open to the discussion at all.  I spent over a month and multiple conversations with a small business owner before they would even listen to a plan of action and why their first so called expert did not work out.   After about 5 weeks and at least 4 conversations I finally convinced them to let me show them the power of a properly run social media marketing plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem EARNING a clients business.  In fact I encourage all small businesses to use this model.  Taking the time to explain how social media can benefit someone who understands what social media is should not be part of earning the business.  Look at any blog and you will see the power.

What You Should Not Do on Social Media

Let’s start with very basic rules about what you should avoid like the plague.

1.  Buy Followers:  I already stated one that really gets my blood boiling.  Alright, maybe not that serious but you get the idea.   Simply paying money to gain thousands of followers will only improve someone else’s bank account.

There are networks of people/accounts that serve this single purpose.  You may have a bloated number of followers now but they will not engage with your conversation and will not purchase from you.  They are just a number to your profile page, and nothing more.

But hey, that’s cool…you’re popular now, right?

2.  Sell, Sell, Sell:  We’ve all been the victim of the pushy salesmen at the used car lot or the electronics super store.  After you’re done you need a shower because you feel so filthy.  Don’t be that person on social media.  Follow the 80:20 rule or better.  I almost never sell on social media and usually recommend that businesses do the same.  You will not build a rapport with your followers (if you used social media correctly your followers are all potential clients) using this tactic.

3.  Ignore Your Social Media:  Today people are very savvy when it comes to looking for a product or service.  Speaking from personal experience if I am looking for something I will research it first.  If I look for your business on the internet and there is little to no current information and your Facebook page is a wasteland with tumbleweeds floating around I will probably move on to the next business.

4.  Let your nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend run your social media campaign:  Do I really need to explain this?  You need experts, and you get what you paid for.  What would you tell someone who has their nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend changing their brakes?

5.  Bury Posts in Hash-tags:  #ItJustLooksChildishToMostSoIWontSayAnyThingFurtherAboutIt

What You Should Do on Social Media

1.  Target Followers by Demographics:  It’s not hard, really.  Target followers who are interested in what you are offering and are relevant to your business.  For example, I look for small to medium business owners in CT.  On some social media platforms you can even target by income level or net worth.  Why just blanket the entire population if it’s not going to help you grow your brand or business?

2.  Use Ads (Wisely):  It’s OK to use ads on social media.  In fact I encourage it.  Again, make sure that your ads are highly targeted.  Think about who your ideal customer is.  Not everyone wants what you are offering.  Ads will cost you a lot less if you focus on those that would be interested in your product and have the purchasing power to turn interest into a conversion.

3.  Create Social Conversations:  I always hear “I tried Facebook, posted a feel promotions and no one bought anything“.  Well why would they?  As I said earlier social media is about building a relationship, earning your audiences trust.  That’s how you’re going to get them to purchase from you.  You have to participate in conversations and create your own conversations.  Figure out how to get your audiences attention and then hold it.  Do they want to know more about what you do?  Do they understand how your product or service will benefit them?  You can even have conversations about stuff not even related to your business offering.

I sprinkle in personal stuff like pictures of my kids or rooting for local sports teams that I am a fan of, even the weather.  Let me tell you it’s a scorcher today in Connecticut..thank God for Central AC.   It’s OK to partake in conversations that have nothing to do with why you are on social media to begin with.

4.  Share your blog:  Ultimately you want people to visit your website.  Your website is your virtual brick and mortar store, your yellow pages ad and so much more.  It’s where your business starts and ends.  If you are using your Facebook page as your website, shame on you.

Your website will move up on the major search engines if you have relevant and fresh content.  The best way to ensure this is with a blog.  You should blog about different aspects of your business and your products or services.  You can post how to’s, videos and much, much more to generate unique and timely content that will help you move up in search rankings.

Don’t believe me?  Google “CT Twitter Expert” and look who is number 2 after I posted the Ask the Expert Call to Your YouTube and my site.

5.  Help Others with Questions:  You can LISTEN on social networks.  When someone needs help or has a question you can help them.  I know some people are thinking why would I give something that I normally charge for for free?  You have to think big picture.  That little piece of advice you give today just might generate bigger rewards tomorrow.  Even if it doesn’t, there are others watching.

I had to run to the grocery store to get chicken nuggets for my son while I was attempting to write this blog post.  While I was in the store a man approached me and asked for $2.  I don’t know what he wanted that $2 for and I will never know.  I normally don’t have cash on me but today I did, I had $7.  I could have given him the $2 but instead I gave him all $7.  Did it really cost me anything besides the $7?  I don’t believe so.  Will I be rewarded for this?  I don’t know but it certainly can’t hurt.  The point is if you’re not willing to give then you will never receive.  It’s OK to give some help with no expectations of return.

6.  Use Hash-tags in the Conversation:  I wrote earlier that hash-tag overload is a big no no.  Hash-tags are OK though.  A typical post on any social media platform from me might look like this:

5 Ways to Jump Start Your #ContentMarketing Program Today.  Learn more now!  

A few things to point out.

  • The hash-tag is part of the conversation and is legible
  • The CTA (Call To Action) is direct without making the reader believe they will have to Read More
  • By titling it 5 Ways, I also grab the audiences attention.  Readers love numbers and always think-oh, 5 steps to get going right now..I’m in.
  • I would also include an image..see next point

7.  Use Images and Videos:  A picture is worth a thousand words.  You know it, you heard it before and you heard it again.  Use pictures, audio and videos whenever possible.   I include a picture on almost every single post on Facebook and Google+, and probably about 50% of the time on Twitter.   Just don’t use copyright protected images or videos.

Stop The Madness

business woman shouting to a phone

Alright Connecticut business owners, there you have it.  Stop trying to buy and/or cheat your way to the top, it will not work.  At one time these not so ethical methods might have worked but today it’s more than obvious to anyone with some knowledge of social media what you are doing.

Some of the don’t dos above will quickly turn off your audience.  While other methods will gain nothing for your hard earned money.  So wow bother with any of them?  Stop buying your audience and start learning how to earn an audience, or call/email me.

 

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

By | Facebook, Google Plus, Google+, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

I often see people offer a definition of Inbound Marketing that is not very accurate.  I have even seen blog posts that state Inbound Marketing is dead, and that what I do is actually Outbound Marketing.  I would have to disagree.

CT Inbound Marketing

The reason why some believe it is Outbound Marketing is because of the methods used to generate leads.  You see, typically I use a combination of methods that include posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and other social media outlets, blog posts, search engine optimization and online advertising.   All of these activities would be considered outbound marketing.

Traditional Marketing Efforts

Let me see if I can explain using a different method.  A large corporation that sells products or services typically has 2 sales teams.  They have an inbound sales team and an outbound sales team.

The inbound sales team has it relatively easy.  They field calls from potential clients who are already looking to purchase the product or service that the company is offering.  All the inbound sales rep has to do is take the order and possibly up-sell.  The outbound sales rep (sometimes door to door sales) is essentially cold calling.  They are trying to produce something out of nothing in reality.

What both groups have in common is a marketing team who is trying to develop brand and offering awareness.  The marketing team’s job is to make you and I aware that the company and what they are selling exists.  Traditionally they would use advertising through television, radio and magazines/newspapers.  The marketers really help the inbound sales team more so than the outbound sales team.  Well fast forward a few years and we have a new form of marketing.

Connecticut Inbound Marketing Expert

What I do is use the formula I mentioned early, although that formula is a bit simplified.  Using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and a blog I can target people who are already interested in the product or service that a company has to offer.  In fact the targeting is so specific that most people are ready to buy when I get them to your online presence (which should be a website).

I also optimize your site (repeatedly) to get the most traffic possible, and the most interaction possible.  Getting a website to the top of Google, Bing and Yahoo is only part of the battle.  Your site also has to be ready to convert the visitor once they do come to your site.   It’s not enough to have a static page that does not engage the customer.

Finally, we may include online advertising on either social media, Google, Bing and Yahoo or a combination of social media and search engine advertising.  This method is used sparingly by me, usually more so in the early stages of a campaign.

If you want to play with the big boys you have to be prepared to put in some work.  Having an active presence on Social Media, maintaining a blog and constantly re-evaluating your website for opportunities are very time consuming but in today’s economy people are more likely to get information using the internet than any other resource.

This is a very scaled down overview of Inbound Marketing.

So Why Call It Inbound Marketing

It’s simple..all of those outbound activities serve one purpose.  The primary goal is to generate inbound traffic, and conversions.  It is the economy of the internet now.  People do not trust one sided TV or Radio commercials anymore.  And even if they showed any interest chances are they will take to the internet to find out more.  What happens if they can’t find you?  Even worse, what happens if they find your competitor first?   Can you afford that, especially after you paid all that money for the Radio or TV ad?

Inbound Marketing Funnel

This image gives more detail, some things I did not really touch on in this post including calls to action and landing pages.  Something you can see I obviously do on this site and even on my Facebook page and Twitter Account.   I can’t give away all my secrets now can I?

If you are looking to find out more about what I do just fill out the form at the bottom of the website.  If you want to see how your website performs against your competition then you might be interested in my Free Inbound Marketing Audit.

No sales from your website? Here’s why

By | Internet Marketing | No Comments

I Have Visitors but No Sales

Sales Bar GraphHave you ever wondered why you’re not converting sales from your website visitors?  Your SEO company delivered on their promise to bring you more traffic, they show you the reports that indicate more people are coming to your site but no one is biting.   First of all if your SEO brings traffic and that’s it then they are not doing their job, but I will save that for another post.

You need to look deeper at the numbers to understand why it is no one is making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter or contacting you about a service.   Even more importantly you have to look at your website and understand what it is that is turning off visitors, and correct it now.

So what is it that is making your customers turn away, and possibly go to the competition?  How do you even know if it is your site and not your online reputation, or lack of?  What can you do?

What’s wrong with your site?

Address BarYou have a gorgeous site, at least according to you and your web designer.  You advertise your products or services clear as day and you offer competitive pricing.  That’s all great and will help but that’s not what is going to keep the people visiting your site.  Chances are you have competition that offers similar products or services at similar prices so the only way you can compete, especially if you are not established is to provide something that your competition does not offer.

So what is it that your website does not have, or maybe does have, that is turning people off?   Let’s look at 3 things that could improve conversion rates.

1.  Remove unnecessary interactive (flash) content.  Flash is a killer.  If your website takes longer to load because of flash content people will leave and continue the search elsewhere.  Get rid of the flash.  Flash has fallen so far out of grace that they have created a new version of HTML (the language of web pages) that makes flash useless.

2.  You need something to make your visitors feel warm and fuzzy about your product or service.  For example, we were recently tasked with helping TechsRUs with their site.  Among other things we had them include some guarantees on their site.  Nothing over the top or outrageous but we noticed a few things that might help, things that their competition was not doing.

  • Include detailed pricing information-most of the time people are looking for how much they can expect to spend.  Many businesses do not publicly advertise pricing, or make it obscure.  Why?  The client will find put eventually.  It’s better to be up front and set the expectation beforehand.
  • Include testimonials when possible, but make sure they are real.  There is nothing worse than made up testimonials.   Visitors can often see right through them.  Testimonials give you a level of credibility with new visitors because they know you have worked with others in similar situations who are more than happy to express their pleasure with your business.
  • Don’t go for the kill.  Your website home page should not ask for the sale right away.  It should be a welcome mat telling visitors “Hey, we have all of this wonderful information and stuff for you to look at, stay a while”.
  • Offer a guarantee or refund policy.  On the TechsRUs site they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, or you pay nothing.  I know this sounds risky, and while it may back fire from time to time most people are honest and will pay for the product or service at the rate you requested.
  • Tell your visitors why they should choose you over others.  Throughout the TechsRUs site there are explanations as to why they would be best suited to be your IT Support team.  None of them really cost too much money or time, or even impact the bottom line negatively but people are more apt to do business with their team because of the little things they offer to potential clients.
  • Get an unbiased third party opinion about your site.  Sometimes what you and your web designer think looks great may not be that appealing to others.  And often that third party can even point out what it is about your site that is turning people off.

3.   Don’t build your site for you, build it for your visitors.  Remember what you might think is great might not be appealing to others.  For example, on the TechsRUs site they recently posted a blog about ways to maintain your computer for free.  What might seem very basic to a lot of techy people is not for the people that TechsRUs is trying to attract.  They designed the content for their audience, not for themselves or their peers in the industry.

You have to know your audience, your potential clients.  Otherwise you are essentially writing content for yourself, and if that is what you are doing then you will undoubtedly fail in business.

Build it and they will come

Business Men Shaking HandsWhen you tell people about your business you explain it to them as they understand it.   You present it in a manner that the target audience can easily grasp and comprehend why they should be working with you, and not the guy down the street.   If you feel that your target audience of the moment is not grasping your message you restructure it so that they can understand it.

That is the process of Optimization (SEO).  You design your site to reach your intended audience, not your peers or experts in your industry.  You have to find out what will make your audience stick around and convert.  That really should be the job of your Internet Marketing team whether in-house or contracted.   Your website will need to be tweaked from time to time to make adjustments to further optimize your opportunities.

One final note

Music NoteI mentioned earlier that your SEO probably helped increase traffic.  While that is great is it qualified traffic?  Do you know how many pages of your site they visited?  Do you know how long they stayed on your site, or where the traffic came from or went to?  And is Social Media part of the plan?

It’s not enough just to get people to go to your website.  If you are paying large monthly fees just to increase traffic without fully understanding where it is coming from and what they are doing while they are there then you are not getting your moneys worth.  And your Internet Marketer is failing at his job, which means most likely they are also failing at improving your sales.  Isn’t that what a marketer does, improves sales?

 

Want a free analysis of your internet marketing program?  Give me a shout by clicking here or call 203.806.0736

Local Search Infographic. Are You Measuring Up?

By | Internet Marketing, Local Search, Organic Search | No Comments

A lot of numbers to look at with this one.  Are you taking advantage of your local search opportunities.    Probably the most interesting to me is that there are 350 million business reviews done DAILY!  If you are a local business you definitely need a piece of that action.

By the way, over 40% of Connecticut is on Facebook.  If you do not have one of those 16 Million business pages you are doing your business a dis-service.

Which fact do you think is the most interesting?

Local Search Infographic

The importance of local search

You’re a local business in Connecticut and you need to target consumers and/or businesses in Connecticut.  You have a website but your not sure who is seeing it.   You need to focus on your Connecticut Local Search Marketing but now you are wondering how to go about that, or if your current internet marketing team is doing that for you.

There are numerous directories dedicated to local businesses and the consumers who support those CT local businesses.  Almost half of the app downloads on iOS are social and local.  This means that not only are consumers looking for businesses on the go, but they are looking for your product or service.  Is your competition getting the business because you’re not taking advantage of the directories and local search/social media?

Mapquest lists restaurants, banks, stores and other brick and mortar locations when anyone uses their service.  Is your business showing up on their site?  Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp are all dedicated to local business growth.   Many other sites tie in with local directories and search.   Millions upon millions of people are using local search to find what they are looking for, and many of them are ready to purchase.  Don’t miss out on the potential!

Ready to see how your doing with your local internet marketing? Click here…

5 things you should not do as an internet marketer

By | Internet Marketing | No Comments

Internet Marketing 101

What to look for from your marketer?  Not everyone is an expert

Internet Marketing

Any business owner will tell you to keep an eye on what your competition is doing.  As such I am constantly looking at what other SEO and Internet Marketing Firms are doing.   I generally focus on those that I would compete directly against but occasionally go outside of my area just to see what others are doing.

Some of these firms look very strong and seem to know what they are talking about based on their content and social media presence, while others could use a few lessons.  It always amazes me when someone advertises services that they are not proactively using themselves.  For example, if you look through craigslist you will see numerous people advertising that they are expert web designers, yet they do not have a website.

Often I come across a site that advertises SEO but they do not seem to have a strong understanding of what SEO is in 2014.  The game has changed.  You can no longer rely on a strategy that focuses on link spamming, email spamming or keyword stuffing.  You cannot pay a black hat SEO to get you on the first page of Google.  The tricks that many would be SEO firms used to get their clients to the top no longer work, and their clients are suffering while they scramble to correct everything,  The fact is if the SEO firms were doing it right all along, and heeding Google’s warning, they would not be scrambling today.

Today your focus should be content, content, and content.  Developing original, quality, relevant content is what will drive your site to the top, as long as everything else is set up properly.  As long as the content is there, the rest can be achieved with a little help from a qualified internet marketer.

Rather than list everything you will need to do,  I am going to list some of the things you should run away from if you see it on another firm’s site.  This is not an all inclusive list but is a good starting point.  If you are looking for a true expert in the field of internet/digital marketing make sure they are not trying to include any of these items as part of their own strategy.   Your firm should be transparent.  If you don’t know what they are doing then they may not be using ethical online marketing methods.

If you are looking for some things you should be focusing on as part of your plan, learn more on our guest blog post on Business2Community.com.

Probably most important, if they promise to get you the top spot of Google’s search results instantly…run and run as fast as you can.  No one can guarantee that.

What Internet Marketers Should Not Be Doing

1.  Flash Content-Flash content is not crawled by search engines.  Meaning it is not seen by Google, Bing or Yahoo when they send their spiders out (sounds creepy, I know) to look for content.  Flash content (as well as other similar content) is not readable by the search engines.  The more flash content you have the less likely you will be found by search engines, which means you will likely not be discovered when people search for your product or service.

Np FlashIf your home page has flash content, or you have a flash intro as part of your site there is a very good chance the search engines will never find it.

Flash has also fallen out of favor of many people who use the internet, so much so that HTML5 was developed and it is rumored that Flash will eventually be phased out.  HTML is the language of the internet.  Other languages are built on top of HTML but without HTML you do not have websites.

If the internet marketer you are looking at has a lot of flash content, or java content, especially on the home (index) page of their site you can bet they are not very strong in the field of SEO.

2.  Focus on link building as a primary strategy-At one time adding your link to as many resources as possible was indeed a strategy that would work if you wanted to get to the top of the search engine results page.  So much so that large corporations invested a lot of time and money into this as their primary strategy despite warnings from Google.

Today, with Google’s recent algorithm updates, this strategy will prove costly.  If your site invested in this as a strategy it is most likely suffering today.  You should not be paying for links back to your sites, or exchanging links with others as methods for link building.  Google wants links to your site to basically be someone saying you are an expert on a subject.

If an internet marketer’s primary focus is on link building (most likely spamming) then their plan will not work with the algorithm that Google has in place now.  It will most likely have the opposite impact and cause you to drop in the ranking.

3.  Ignore Social Media-It’s the elephant in the very small closet.  You simply cannot afford to ignore social media.  If a firm says they are SEO experts but only have a couple hundred followers on Twitter or no presence on Facebook/Google+ then they do not take social media seriously.  If they have not heard of pinterest or instagram then they are not prepared to develop your social media plan.

Social Media cannot be ignored.  There is no question about it.  You cannot survive without a presence on the major players of the social media world.  It’s really that simple.  Without this presence, and interacting with your audience you will lose out to your competitors.

4.  Duplicate Content-Duplicate content on your own site, and on other sites can be harmful to your internet health.  Google does not like duplicate content.  If there is duplicate content Google will discount at least one of the sources.  If one of the sources is discounted, can you afford to have Google decide which one it is?

If an internet marketing firm  has duplicate content, duplicate pages or duplicate sites then chances are they are not aware of this rule, and probably others.

5.  Ignore Your Audience-So many times I see where people are commenting on blog posts, social media posts or other internet content by an internet marketing company where a representative of the company does not reply.  It seems to happen most when  the comment is not favorable to the topic of the post.

This means the company is not engaging it’s audience.  This is not behavior you want from your internet marketing firm.  Engagement is one of the most important aspects of internet marketing and should never be ignored under any circumstance.  If you see an internet marketing not interacting with it’s audience this indicates they do not value their audience, and will not value your audience either.

The Final Word

Ask a lot of questions before you commit to a firm.  Understand what their plan will be, ask for reports on the results of the strategy they have in place.  Any good internet marketing plan will include tweaks to improve upon results or address negative results quickly.

SEO plans are constantly adjusted, updated and optimized and should include social media, content development and multimedia such as images and video.  The best marketers use tools to check for all possible problems and correct them quickly.  Ask what tools a potential firm will use.

Transparency is always key.  If the firm cannot tell you exactly what they are doing and how they are achieving the results you should express concern.  Remember, you are the client, not vice-versa.

If you have questions about what your firm is doing feel free to ask!  We’ll look into it and let you know, for free!

Internet Marketing Strategy

CT Internet Marketing Facts in 2014

By | Internet Marketing, Search, Social Business, Social Media | No Comments

Have Website, Will Search

Rocks and PlanningIf you own a business you undoubtedly heard of the internet.  As a matter fact unless you have been living under a rock you have probably heard of the internet.  It has become almost critical that your business have some sort of presence on the internet or risk becoming irrelevant.  It’s so easy to start a business and establish it on the internet with the amount of resources available at little to no cost.

But it’s not enough to just create a static web page and upload it to the massive world wide web.  There are literally billions of web pages on the internet, some of them competing for the same audience you are trying to reach.  Let’s take a look at some simple statistics just in Connecticut Internet Marketing.  I will list some of the things CT residents are searching for and how many times they are searched in a month, just on Google.

CT Search Facts

    • CT Plumber-12,100
    • CT Electrician-5400
    • landscaping in CT-12,100
    • CT Computer Repair-3600
    • Italian Restaurants CT-6600
    • CT Life Insurance-1900
    • Financial Planning CT-390

As you can see you may have some stiff competition, and this is just Google.  What about Bing and Yahoo?  What about Facebook, Twitter, and Google+?  You have your work cut out for you now that you opened the business and uploaded your static site.  So what’s a business to do?

Local Search Marketing in Connecticut

Connecticut Flag

Here are some tips to improve your search results.  You can do most of these on your own with little to no financial commitment but the time involved may prove to be overwhelming especially if you are trying to run a small business.

1.  Website Content-You should strive for original, fresh and related content for your website.  This is probably the single most important piece but as you will discover the other pieces all tie in together.   If you are Financial Planner in Connecticut you will want to develop a blog with relevant content.  While not every post needs to be Connecticut specific it should have some flavors of Connecticut, and of course Financial Planning.Your ‘static’ pages should also be relevant and contain material that is up to date.  You will need to refresh and optimize on a regular basis to obtain your ultimate goal of reaching the top of the search results.   The percentage of content on your website should be significantly higher than the actual coding behind the site.  You should also have a clear structure to your website using a menu and internal links.  Google wants to be able to find other pages on your site easily.Images on your site should contain the proper description.  You should limit the amount of flash and java content.  If you are looking to have more media on your site use pictures and videos but ensure they have proper descriptions and coding.

2.  Social Media-At the very least you will want to develop social media profiles on what I call the Big 3.  (No not the Miami Heat).  Your social media should be used for community development and not for the cold sale.  If you set out to attack customers with sales pitch after sales pitch you will fail to develop a community and brand awareness.Facebook-right now Facebook is easily the king of the jungle.  In Connecticut alone there are over 1.6 million people over age 18 on Facebook.  That means using Facebook you can reach almost half of the states population.  Where else can you do that for no financial commitment?Alright, it’s not quite that simple, it will take some time, and at first you may want to invest in Facebook’s advertising system to get your page jump started.  With Facebook Ads you can target a very specific audience, and as soon as you reach 30 followers you can get more insights into your Facebook page to help optimize it further.

Google+ has taken over the number 2 spot from Twitter as far as number of users.  Google+ is Google’s entry into the social media world after a couple other failed attempts.  Google+ also let’s you set up Google Authorship which will help ranking in the Google Search results tremendously.  As a matter of facts Google has said if you have Google Authorship set up you will rank better.

Twitter is a micro-blogging site.  It has slipped to number 3 in number of users just recently.  It offers a platform to post short (140 Characters or less) updates about whatever you want it to be.  Twitter made the hashtag famous and while all the aforementioned sites use hashtags as well Twitter seems to thrive with them.

3.  Keywords are also important but not in the same way as they used to be.  It is important to have Keywords on your website (and social media profiles) but they should be a part of the content.  Search engines are not using meta keywords anymore.  Keywords should also be added using H1 and H2 tags wherever possible.It is also important not to overuse Keywords (called Keyword Stuffing).  This can have a very negative impact on your site’s ranking in search engines.  Using your keywords should not make your content unreadable.  If it does not make sense to you then it probably will not to your audience.

4.  Link Building is also a good way to get your site noticed by search engines but can also have a negative impact if not done right.  You should strive to quality, related sites link back to your site.  Google looks at this as meaning you are considered an expert in your area if other people in your field, or related fields are linking back to you.The reverse is possible if your site is linked from sites that are unrelated, or even worse are considered spam.  This can have a very negative effect on your search engine results.  Another no-no is posting on blogs solely for the purpose of adding a link back to your site.

5.  Guest Blogging is a good way to get your name out there.  There are many sites that allow people to blog as a guest which will do a few things for you.  It allows you to show your expertise in an area, making you the authority on the subject.  It also allows legitimate back links to your site if the blog has a by-line (which it should include, using Google Authorship). With that being said make sure that your guest blogs are also tied into your Google Authorship account.  This goes a long way in making you the expert on the materials you are covering.

You will want to be careful with Guest Blogging.  Make sure you are not using it as a form of link building.  You should only guest on high quality blogs, and do so on a regular basis to ensure that Google does not view it is spam.  You also will want to limit guest bloggers on your own site.  Make sure they are legitimate content developers and not spammers.

6.  Email Marketing can be a very useful tool in your toolbox.  This allows you to send email to people who have opted in to receive notifications from you and may include product or service updates, tips, promotions and pretty much anything else you want to include.   Using a service like Constant Contact makes email marketing very easy to manage, and it is very cost effective.Email Marketing still has one of the highest ROI in the marketing world.  It is a good idea to invest in it since the cost is minimal but the potential is limitless.  It is important to note that your email should be considered an extension of your website.  It should have well thought out content that follows the same guidelines as your site, no keyword stuffing or other behavior that will turn your audience off, or encourage them to opt out.

7.  Adwords-While this one will cost some money it may be a good idea to use it initially to build your websites presence.  Using Google Adwords you can target specific audiences who are looking for exactly what you are offering.  This means that you are getting pre-qualified leads to your website, and now it’s up to you to convert the visit.

These are just some of the things you should be focusing on.  It is a good starting point to help your CT Internet Marketing plan get off the ground but there are many other things that you can do.  Keep in mind you are creating a web presence to attract potential clients, not for your own ego.  You should always get the perspective over an unbiased person whenever creating or drastically changing your website or other web presence.

It is also a good idea to keep in mind the don’ts of local search marketing.  Anything that seems unethical probably is.  Link Spamming and Keyword Stuffing are two things you will definitely want to stay far away from.

Not sure how your internet marketing plan is going?  Ask us, we’ll let you know…for free.

Happy Marketing!

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