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Posts tagged: small business seo

Putting A Face On Your Website Using a Web Presenter

A web presenter is nothing more than an animated image of a person that appears on your computer screen and talks to you about the subject matter of the webpage you’re on. It’s akin to the old paperclip Office Assistant that came out first with Microsoft Word, only its human and doesn’t turn into a bicycle and roll off when you click the ‘X’. So what’s the big deal with these animated guides?

Well, it’s common knowledge that when a surfer arrives on a website, they only spend a few choice seconds looking for the clues that will tell them whether or not they’re going to click away or not. Videos have been shown effective in getting a surfer to stay and pay attention, but in many cases they take too long to load and the surfer is already gone. Web presenters tend to be quick-loading, and more importantly they instantly command attention by virtue of being unexpected — and unexpectedly human.

first page placementMost public speakers — and all politicians — know that 90% of human communication is nonverbal. It’s based on gestures, facial expressions, and posture. The way that people stand often tells you more about how they think of you than any amount of words that come out of their mouth. One of the things that makes a traditional text-and-picture website easy to click away from is the lack of that other 90% — the part of human communication that feels ‘personal’.

A skilled web presenter can add a lot of that missing communication back to your website. By giving it a face, a voice with human inflection, hand gestures, and inviting posture, a web presenter instantly gives your website much stronger ‘stick’.

Just as importantly, once the web presenter has the attention of your audience, s/he can direct that attention to other parts of the webpage. By communicating the essential message of your website in a human way, and then giving your call to action a bit more personality than the classic “only 7 left, 60-day guarantee, click here for a no-risk trial”, a web presenter can make the sale a much less jarring prospect for a surfer — and that means more conversions.

Creating a good web presenter with a quality presentation can seem like a lot of work, especially for a smaller web-based business, but professional teams of producers that are available online can get the job done effectively and at a very reasonable cost. The benefits are huge, and the process is relatively easy. Of course, you still need to get traffic to your site to make the web presenter fully effective, but once you’ve achieved your first page placement, the presenter will turn your natural traffic into hordes of conversions and sales consistently and without a lot of ongoing effort.

Targeted Email Marketing Is Your Most Powerful Profit Leverage

Targeted email marketing sounds like exactly what it is — a marketing technique in which you send emails to a list that you have somehow chosen as your ‘target’ market. The idea of sending emails to get people to buy stuff has been around for about three days less than email itself — so clearly the trick in targeted email marketing is the targeting part.

Without targeting, you’re a spammer — something that is both ineffective and, in many places, illegal. Without the email part, you’re trying to reach millions of ‘net surfers without any real way of singling them out personally; it’s less akin to sending out flyers and more akin to posting a billboard — and equally ignorable. And, of course, if you’re not marketing, you’re just sending out a bunch of emails that may get read and provoke an interested response, but won’t ever make you any money.

But let’s assume that you’ve got the marketing and the email part down — you can write an email that will come off as genuine, interesting, and worth reading all the way through, and put a call to action in that will get some decent percentage of the readers to go click where you want them to click. How, then, do you make sure that this Email gets into the inboxes of the kinds of people who will actually give a damn?

There are a few different techniques. One of the least effective involves renting an Email list from someone. This happens more often than you might believe — there are companies out there whose sole business is collecting lists of email addresses and matching them with interests. It’s completely possible to go rent 500,000 email addresses that some company has labeled as “interested in sports”, for example. It’s the least accurate form of targeting, and it’s only marginally better than spam.

You can also put an informational site up on the topic of choice, and invite people to leave their email address in order to acquire more information. Sometimes that more information will be in the form of an email, sometimes a free short ebook, but the point is that they’ve expressed interest in the subject personally — which is much more accurate than some listrenter’s labelling. Of course, this means you have to put up some free information and engage a bit of website SEO to make sure that people actually SEE that information, but the RoI is quite worthwhile when done well.

Finally, if you have an online business, you can send marketing emails out to your own previous clients. This is the most targeted and effective kind of mailing you can send out, because the people in question have not only proven that they’re willing to spend money on your product, but they have a relationship with you already. Leaning on that will result in much better conversions than in the previous two groups.

Regardless of how you go about getting your list of email addresses, by marketing to a select list of folks that have proven that they’re interested in what you have, you can leverage that group to produce much higher conversions and more sales than any amount of unfocused, shotgun-style marketing attempts.

Small Business, Big Money: The Power of Local Internet Marketing

Local internet marketing — the term seems almost oxymoronic. After all, isn’t part of the allure of marketing online the fact that people from Poughkeepsie to Paris can find your webpage and learn about your business? Well, yes, but if you run a brick and mortar business, how likely is it that people will drive there from Poughkeepsie — much less Paris — no matter how awesome your website is?

Brick-and-mortar businesses can still benefit from internet marketing, but of a very different variety than is used by the infopreneurs, site flippers, and other money-from-nothing gurus of the ‘net. They shouldn’t be targeting broad keywords and trying to snag traffic from other continents — they should be focusing on locale-specific searches, trying to make sure that when someone from Sequim, Washington searches for “lavendar soap”, that their lavender soap making shop it the one that Google displays first.

That’s the essence of local internet marketing — marketing to local people that are using the internet. It seems almost tautological, doesn’t it?

local internet marketingBut for all that it makes sense, local internet marketing isn’t always easy. Depending on the location, “local” might mean a place with 50,000 people, or 5 million — and the more people, the harder you have to work to optimize your site for the search engines. Los Angeles SEO, for example, is a dozen times more competitive than Oregon SEO, which is still two hundred times more competitive than SEO for the aforementioned lavender shop in rural Washington State.

However, once you’ve made it to the top, the profit that comes through the door is astounding. Studies have shown that 70% or more of internet users look up products locally online, and they have a tendency to decide on a business based on their web presence more than on their phone voice or their yellow pages advertisements.

That’s why local internet marketing is so much more effective than an ad in the newspaper or handing out fliers. A properly-performed localized SEO effort will give you more bang for your buck than almost any ‘real-world’ marketing campaign, especially for a small business, and especially in a smaller town. It may be a small business, but with localized SEO services, it can be big, big money.

Affordable SEO, Not Amateur SEO

Affordable SEO is the heart and soul of any startup web-based business. Small businesses don’t have the budget to drop vast quantities of money on pay-per-click marketing — though it is usually smart to spend a bit on it, just to get your income kick-started. In many ways, smart PPC management is the perfect compliment to affordable SEO — you get the income fast from your PPC campaign, you spend it maintaining that campaign and investing in some inexpensive but effective SEO, and eventually, the SEO will take over and the PPC campaign can be dropped.

That’s the fundamental essence of an expert route to success online, actually — find a way to make some consistent money up front, often with pay-per-click marketing or some other method of expensive but high-volume traffic generation, and then use the money you make to create backlinks and other SEO substructure to get your website on the stop of the search engine results pages.

The problem that many webmasters have is that they hire an SEO freelancer for pennies per hour on ODesk or Elance, and then they wonder why it’s been seven months that they’ve been paying for a service and haven’t gotten anything out of it. The answer is that they hired an amateur. It’s possible — and common — for amateurs to spend hundreds of hours doing what seems like valuable SEO work, building backlinks, posting on forums, commenting on blogs, and writing articles, only to get no results at all.

Professional but affordable SEO services might charge a bit more than a freelancer, but the results will be evident from the first week. Professionals know how to perform proper SEO, often utilizing ‘tricks’ that make every effort they put forth perform multiple functions at once — like giving your site a high-quality backlink while also driving traffic to the site to create sales, or writing an article and submitting variations of it in different places that all link back to the main article, driving the article itself up in the search engine results and making it’s effect on your website that much stronger.

The lesson here is simple: when it comes to search engine optimization, not everyone can afford to hire a huge company to work for them and make them king of the hill overnight — but everyone can afford professional SEO services if they know where to look, and anything less is just a waste of time and money.

Organic SEO is Like Organic Food for Your Website

Organic SEO is, at heart, the practice of creating the circumstances that will make Google and other search engines show your webpage on their front page. It’s an absolutely vital practice to the success of any long-term web-based business — in a very real way, if you’re not getting natural traffic, your website isn’t healthy — it’s on life support.

Like a healthy diet of organic food, organic SEO doesn’t have instantaneous effects — the goodness builds up over time. No one expects that if they stop eating Happy Meals and start eating right, they’re going to magically become perfectly healthy overnight — it’s implicitly understood that building a healthy body takes time and continuous effort. Organic SEO is exactly the same.

organicSimilarly, like eating right, Organic SEO has some of the most profoundly positive effects on your business of any of the practices you could engage in. When you eat right and overcome your health problems, you wake up every morning feeling energized and ready to take on the world. When you have powerful backlinks driving your page to the top of the search engines, you wake up every morning to learn that you’ve gotten another thousand visitors, few hundred conversions, and dozens of sales overnight, and you’re ready to pay bills, set some aside for a rainy day, and go out for a night on the town.

For a small business SEO is even more important, because the budget is that much tighter and the profit margins are that much more critical. SEO represents that investment into your future, without which your business will be permanently hooked on ‘fast food’ — by which I mean paying for banner space, classified ads, and other expensive, less-focused traffic.

Like McDonalds, these alternate traffic sources are fast, easy, and they claim to be cheap — but in reality, in the long run, they cost you so much more than doing things right. Just like eating junk will eventually cost you more in medical bills than you could possibly save on your monthly food bill, paid traffic will always eventually catch up to you, wallet-wise, as your conversions suffer.

Far better to ‘eat right’ from the get-go, and achieve a truly healthy web-based business sooner rather than later.

The Three Top Benefits Of Local Internet Marketing

For many small to medium sized businesses, local internet marketing makes as much since as trying a global approach to their marketing scheme. Businesses of that size have a large portion of their sales in a small geographical area. Local marketing will help your return on investment because you are better able to target your audience and focus your marketing dollars. There are three main benefits to local internet marketing and here they are.

Targeted marketing

Local internet marketing allows you to highly focus your marketing efforts. You can virtually hit your geographical area from every conceivable angle. There are localized search engines and directories that will allow you to establish a profile that will tell your potential customers who you are, what you believe in, and what you have to offer them in the way of products or services.

Weekly updates

When you hire a company to do your local internet marketing, they will update your profile and product information weekly and submit those updates to all of the local directories and search engines. Since most of the major, nationwide search engines depend on these local search engines for some of their listings, it only makes sense that your national profile will be updated, also. These updates will appear as a slow, natural building of your web presence and help with your page positioning.

Low cost

Once your basic profile is established, local internet marketing can be done for a cost comparable to a simple yellow book listing. That gets your company’s information distributed to all of the major search engines and directories. With such a low cost you are bound to see a great return on investment.

The history of the internet has always been a series of small databases linked together to produce all of the listings and info that you need. The average owner of a small to medium sized business does not know of the existence of local internet marketing nor do they realize the amount of time that can be spent doing it. It is all there at your fingertips, but you can wear your fingers out trying to perform all of these submissions yourself, even if you know where to submit to. Local internet marketing is better left to a professional company.

Why hire a professional to do affordable SEO for you?

People who want to improve traffic to their site, create their site in such a way that search engine optimization will be utilized properly. Other people hire professionals to do the job for them.

Perhaps one of the biggest debates when you are starting your own small internet business is whether or not you need to do your own affordable SEO or hire a professional. Of course, if you do not know anything about SEO, then it would be wise to hire someone, to do it for you. But if you are armed with a vast knowledge about the subject, then you can do it on your own. However, before jumping on a decision, you need to consider first what you will be getting if you do your own affordable SEO or not.

If you are still starting out your small business SEO, then you probably do not have a very big money to invest on SEO.  It has always been a misconception that hiring an SEO company can be expensive. There are companies that do charge a lot. But, if you know where to look, then you can definitely find the right SEO that will provide you with an affordable service. Hiring an affordable, yet professional SEO company omits the chance of you committing any errors when it comes to building your SEO.

Of course, people think that building their own SEO is cheaper than hiring a company. However, this is not entirely true. You may have evaded spending too much by not hiring an affordable SEO company but what you did not realize is that, building your website incorrectly leads you to opportunity losses. Thus, hiring an SEO company is the best way to ensure that you are not wasting your money. Sure, the cost might overwhelm you at first but you are definitely going to save a lot, in the long run.

One of the disadvantages of doing it yourself is that you need to keep up with the technology, all the time. This means that you need to invest on your education so that you can keep up with all of the trends, aside from maintaining your business. Basically, technology changes everyday and keeping up with it is something that can be very hard to do. You ought to go back to old school to be able to maintain your website.  Thus, hiring a professional can free up your energy and time, so that these can be invested in managing your business.

Basically, organic SEO can be important in improving the traffic on your site. So it is important to consider building it in a way that you will gain more revenue than loose them.