Minggu, 29 Maret 2009

How to Tell if Facebook is Worthwhile for Your Business or a Waste of Time


By Tinu AbayomiPaul (c) 2009

Social media is here to stay. There. I said it. It will be around in some form for years to come. Do you really see Facebook, Twitter and Web videos going somewhere?

Or do you just see them evolving and becoming part of a larger system the same way business blogs did? Great. Then we can start figuring out how to use social media to our benefit.

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Now that we're past this issue of whether we are in love with MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Ning, etc., and we realize that we're focusing on whether these tools are useful or not, (not on whether or not they give us the warm fuzzies), there's still a fundamental question. This goes for whether you're using Facebook pages, Facebook ads, or a regular Facebook profile.

How do you know if sites like Facebook are for YOU? How can you tell if a social networking site can help YOUR company?

It boils down to three things.

1- Are There Enough People on the Site in Your Interest Area for it to Be Worth Your While?

You have to think about business connections too, not just clients.

You can connect with people who send you business. Think about what the value of a new client is too, whether you think you can get one out of 100, and how long it takes. When people come to your profile, are they visiting your site? If not, is your profile set up correctly?


Experiment. There are several very subtle things you can do that maximize your exposure, not just daily clicks through to your site.

To find out if there are enough people on Facebook who need your plumbing services, search for home improvement groups. Check your regional network and look on the Marketplace page. See if you can find people in your local area to befriend who would need your services - but for heaven's sake, don't be aggressive in your promotíon.

Instead, create a Facebook page, run an ad, or have the type of networking conversations where "so, what do you do?" will naturally come up. And you can take it from there.

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Networking at Facebook can be like hanging out at a neighborhood mixer. Yeah, you might want to mention that you're a handyman, or that you work at the bank, and give someone your card, but you don't want to turn those first few getting-to-know-you conversations into a sales pitch.

Let them know who you are, what you do, and after a few conversations, send them a no-strings coupon for them or a friend "just in case you ever need it buddy" and go on being friends.

They'll remember you if you keep in touch, and are a nice enough guy.

2- Does your company have an RSS-capable site that updates frequently?

If it does, a profile on Facebook gives you another place to share your RSS link. You can import your blog posts going forward, or summaries. There are also applications like NetworkedBlogs that will help your blog posts get exposure from interested readers.

3- Do you already have clients, friends, associates, whose signal you can isolate, or whose noise you can penetrate, using Facebook?

This has to be the most underestimated use of Facebook. My first month at Facebook I had direct interactions with ten influential people I admire. Some of them I look up to for personal reasons, others are greats in some aspect of search, the internet or technology. One actually sent me a client.

Instead of installing hundreds of applications and super-poking someone or posting spam to their Super Wall, you can be the smart person who sends a letter and gets a response, the one who sends a private message and is sent a gift in return, or just get the wonderful feeling of having a world famous personality you admire not only acknowledge you, but contact you directly.

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One of the greatest things about Facebook is how it can help cement relationships between you and people you know but didn't think you had much in common with. You know how sometimes, you want to write to say hello to someone, but at the same time, you don't want to waste their time?

Or when you think about some great author or celebrity you admire, and what you'd say to them if you could meet them? Maybe you just want to compliment a more famous colleague and not sound like a dork.

Facebook can help with this when it functions as an automatic ice-breaker, facilitating an intial contact between you and someone you wish you had more reason to interact with, then another, and another, until you become friends who call each other on the phone and plan to visit or meet at conferences.

Those are the reasons. It's not a matter of time because you can block all the nuisance requests and there are ways around the irritating app requests.

It's not a matter of just traffic because first, you can set up a profile in 15 minutes to automatically send you traffic and you don't have to mess with it again if you like. Or you can go in and meet people every day and it can be a major traffic source.

And it's not a matter of whether you can get anything out of it - it's more a matter of whether you're willing and whether the available traffic is targeted to your topic. It's not for everyone, because let's face it, not everyone wants to do the work, or even use Facebook that way.

And that's okay! For some people, it's a nice little escape, like a mental, online Starbucks. For some it's a bother, and the pain of learning a new way to do things isn't worth the time. I don't mean that sarcastically - if you're functioning as a CEO, you may not want to focus on Facebook.

With a little research, you can find out what kind of role it will play in your life.


About The Author
Confused about how to get clients, joint venture partners or more blog traffic from Facebook without violating their terms with traditional online marketíng techniques? Go to http://freetraffictip.com/1-facebook to learn the advanced secrets of Facebook Marketing.


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4 Stealthy Sources Of Powerful Internet Marketing Intelligence


By Willie Crawford (c) 2009

In online marketíng it is critical that you keep up with what is going on in your industry. You do need to know who is doing what - and why they are doing it. You do need to take the time to research potential joint venture partners, products, and competing businesses.

Here are four excellent tools and how to use them.

1) Internet Archive - Also known as "The Way Back Machine".


There are actually many facets to this amazíng site but the feature that I use most is the ability to look at a historical snapshot of a website/domain.

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There is a box on the site where you can enter any url, and it will show you "snapshots" taken of that website over time.

For example, if your were to enter my domain "williecrawford.com" you'd be able to sift through actual archived pages from my website between December 1998 and today. Every week or two a new snapshot of the site was taken and stored in the Archive.org database.

That lets you confirm how long a website has been online (provided it was archived), lets you see how a business evolved over time, and will even reveal to you things a marketer may have been testing that perhaps didn't work out.

I use this tool to confirm how long a site/person has been in business. I also use it to confirm how long a person has actually been in a particular niche or discipline. I use it in deciding who to actually form business relationships with.

If you discover practices contrary to your standards, or that a potential business partner hasn't been totally honest with you, then you certainly want to proceed with caution... or look deeper.

2) Google Alerts

You can set an alert to have Google notify you via email any time that it finds a new occurrence of a term online (on a webpage, blog, etc.)

I set alerts for my name, my product names, my urls, and competitors' names/products/urls.

Any time the system finds someone "talking about" the target term, it will send you an email (at whatever frequency you specify) notifying you of the new finds.

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Once a day, I get emails notifying me of where my target terms have just been discovered. This points you to places where you are being blogged about, mentioned in articles, discussed on forums, etc.

It could alert you to positive or negative publicity that you want to be aware of.

3) Tweet Beeps - Similar To Google Alerts, Only On Twitter.com .

Found at http://tweetbeep.com, I use Tweet Beeps the same way that I use Google Alerts. Any time that my target phrases are found in ANY Twitter posts, I get a notification.

That will point out to you discussions that you may want to join for various reasons, to include "damage control," thanking them for a nice compliment, to answer questions about your product, etc.

One creative way to use Tweet Beeps would be to ask those "tweeting" positive things about your product for testimonials, or to become your affiliates.

4) International Association Of Joint Venture Brokers

Found at http://IAJVB.ORG, The International Association of Joint Venture Brokers is a collection of joint venture brokers, super affiliates, product owners, publishers, and webmasters who use the site to keep track of product launches.

The site is a database of upcoming and ongoing product launches, live events, tele-events, and even free giveaways.

Members of the site enter their events into the database as an easy way to recruit new affiliates AND to let other members know that they are "claiming" a given launch date.

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Savvy affiliates search through the database looking for product launches in their niche. They understand that when you know about an upcoming launch a month or more in advance, you can do things to gain a tremendous advantage in the search engines before most other affiliates EVER hear rumors of the launch.

During many product launches, your potential customers often go to the search engines to see what reviewers have to say about a given product.

Affiliates who knew about, and obtained a review copy of a product a month in advance, will have their reviews listed at the top of the search engines, getting sales from people who are not even on their lists... or have ever previously visited their websites.

Members pull up the listings of other launches planned in their niche and use that information to plan when they will do their own launch. This keeps them from going "head-to-head" with big launches that would otherwise drown out their own.

This also shows them launches that they could perhaps piggyback on.

They can often get mention of their product INCLUDED in an upcoming product, or they can plan on releasing their product just as the commotion from a big launch is dying down.

Perhaps your product does the same thing as product with a huge launch planned, but your product is cheaper. You could time your launch to catch potential customers who have a heightened awareness of the problem that your product solves, but who couldn't afford the other product. You can sell to a lot of customers who actually feel POWERFUL resentment towards the product that they wanted but couldn't afford.

As you can see good intelligence is extremely valuable. You absolutely must know what is going on in your niche. Fortunately, with the above four tools, it's very easy.


About The Author
Willie Crawford is an internationally-acclaimed speaker, author, seminar and radio show host, and leading Internet marketing expert. When not out fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, Willie can be found sharing his 12 years of online marketíng experience with members of The Internet Marketing Inner Circle. Join them at: http://TheInternetMarketingInnerCircle.com

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7 Things You Can Do Now To Cash in On Social Marketing

By Jonathan Jay (c) 2009

Seven is a magic number. Why? Because there are seven simple strategies every small business can employ to jump on the social marketing bandwagon. The best part: most require only a moderate investment of time and/or money.

1. Start Blogging - Blogging is old news to many. Not quite the distant past, but still not the future... sort of a Web 1.5. Is blogging what's 'hot' at the moment? Well, no. It certainly doesn't compare with chasing a link from the front page of Digg. But blogging is alive and well! It continues to be a great way to get interactively connected with your customers. 'Dialoguing' is the reason social marketing exists. How much time you invest in your blog is up to you, but you'll get out what you put in. You don't have to drive yourself crazy putting in daily entries, but you should establish a regular schedule for your blog updates. Otherwise, when people check your blog they'll see the same-old/same-old so often that they'll stop visiting your site... which is the whole reason you started the blog! So don't shoot yourself in the foot by creating a blog that's a visitor-repellent rather than a visitor-magnet.

Create A Virtual Employee!

Blogging is not a monologue. Your blog is not the electronic equivalent of Hamlet's soliloquy. Just the opposite! Blogging is about creating conversations and joining others in progress. Take time to read what others in your industry are saying. Get in on the discussion (and get your name out there) by posting your comments on other blogs. It's free, and again, the amount of time you invest can bring some very big returns. The beauty of blog posts is that you'll almost always be encouraged to supply your name and URL when leaving a comment. This is a great way to build visibility and create a springboard to catapult traffic from other blogs to yours.

2. Take and Share Digital Photos - Flickr can be a tremendous marketing tool thanks to its incredibly active photo groups. The time and cost investment are minimal, and you can use Flickr to reach thousands of highly targeted prospects with compelling images of your product.

3. Be The Answer Man (or Woman) at Yahoo Answers - There's one thing you have to provide that no one else does - your expertise. If you're a service-based business, your knowledge is your #1 marketing tool. Yahoo Answers is a great place for you to hammer away at prospects. Imagine being the go-to person that people seek out. That's who you'll be at Yahoo Answers.

There's no better way to share your expertise and make an instant and direct connection with potential customers. I know dozens of marketing pros like me who spent as little as an hour or two each week answering SEO and promotíon-oriented questions there. They tell me that they've been able to track big results from even that small investment of time.

4. Get Into the Movie Business - Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but moving pictures are worth their weight in solid gold marketing. Fortunately, good video cameras are cheap these days, and a short video needs little editing/production work in today's "everyone's a filmmaker" environment. And if you've got the creative "chops" to add some sizzle to a video, go for it! Be the next Scorsese, if you can. Fortunately, the software you need to add special effects won't break the bank. The most "viral" videos are usually spontaneous and unproduced... merely "captured" by a videographer. For marketing purposes, however, a produced video is the way to go... and a how-to video featuring your product is a good choice. If the look or location of your business is a selling point, "tour" videos - of a workplace, a restaurant, the homes you sell, the real estate you landscape, etc. - are your best bet.

Get the Number 1 Position on Google!

Marketing videos are finding a home on local search portals like CitySearch. The find-it-in-your-town site announced that local video ads will be added to its listings. YellowPages.com is also exploring the idea of video opportunities.

Upload your videos to a unique page on your website or add them to your blog page. But don't stop there! YouTube is the most obvious - and the most active - sharing destination. And there are so many others. Just nose around the web and you'll find 'em.

5. Don't Wait To Visit StumbleUpon.com - There are many so-called 'discovery' type sites in social marketing. The best-known are Digg, Reddit, and Netscape, but they're also a bit complicated. StumbleUpon requires the lowest time investment. The site's functionality makes it much quicker and easier to join groups related to your industry and add friends from those groups.

Once you've joined and created your lists, you can start to upload "sticky" (appealing to visitors) content and before you know it, other users will "stumble upon" what you've added. That's when the "magic begins". When visitors give your pages good feedback, your content is shown to even more users.

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You can't sell your product or service on StumbleUpon. The benefit it offers is increased traffic, which can lead to increased profíts. Those profíts are just a click away because your site is just a click away. Think of StumbleUpon as a way to raise awareness, Blog readership, grow subscribers, etc... all of which ultimately feed into your profit stream.

6. Join Up - A HUGE part of social marketing is detective work. You need to find your customers where they like to hang out. Well, if your customers are like most people on the planet, it's pretty likely that they hang out at Yahoo Groups or Google Groups to share interests and opinions.

Fetch, Marketer! Go get those prospects.

Like Flickr, the groups at Yahoo and Google are organised into interest-based lists. When you join the lists and discussions, you can provide your expertise (there's that word again) and become a trusted member of the community... the person that other people will want to do business with. There's no better outcome to marketing than that!

7. Make Friends, Not Noise - As you explore social marketing opportunities across the web, be sensitive to the rules and regulations posted on various websites. As a member of a social community, it's your obligation to play by the rules... so make sure you know them and follow them! But here's one general rule for using these sites as marketing tools: Don't spam the system. Flickr doesn't want your entire product inventory posted, and they have rules against doing so. But a few high-quality photo submissions that add to the community are fine.

Whatever social marketing you do, make a contribution to the community. Try to add content and comments of value, not an endless spew of "Buy my product" messages. In other words, don't be a leech that's merely there to suck up prospects. Give back a little. Or, better yet, give back a lot! When you do that, you're on the road to social marketing success. (Translation: more money than you'll know what to do with!)

And remember, with social marketing we're not talking about any old traffic. We're talk about platinum, USDA Prime, pre-qualified, eager to do business, trusting, ready and willing prospects who don't think of you as a business... they think of you as a friend.

So be a good friend. Deliver on the promise of quality and service. If you do that, social marketing will make you rích beyond your wildest dreams.

So stop dreaming and start marketing... socially.


About The Author
By Jonathan Jay: Founder and Managing Director of SuccessTrack. Helping Business Owners Make More Profit in Less Time With Less Effort. Strategies like that can explode your small business quickly, that's why you should go right now to www.freemarketingbook.org and request a copy of Jonathan Jay's new book "Marketing Secrets of a Multi-Millionaire Entrepreneur", a 72 page book with hundreds of practical ideas. About SuccessTrack - www.successtrackonline.com

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Improve Every Aspect of Your Business With Twitter!

Improve Every Aspect
of Your Business With Twitter!

By Abe Cherian (c) 2009

You've seen countless articles and e-books written about it, but do you know how to market online with Twitter? If you don't, you're not alone. Most marketers are still boggled when it comes to using Twitter in their promotíon efforts. The main reason is because marketers don't realize the sheer ingenuity of our favorite microblog's 140-character limit communication. The reality is that the internet is information overload for most people. The genius of Twitter is that communication is forced into small chunks of information which most people can willingly digest. Presented with the option, people are more inclined to read a sentence or two as opposed to a long, involved blog entry or email! In this article, I will demonstrate how Twitter can not only be used by your business for marketing purposes, but also for customer service, product development, free publicity, and valuable access to experts!

Top Positions in the Web's Largest Article Directory

Twitter for Marketing

If marketing entails everything you do to place your product or service in the hands of potential customers, including all communication, relationship building, and brand recognition - Twitter makes it instant.

For this reason, it is the perfect social networking platform for announcing sales, specials, and promotions. Many larger companies, such as Dell, have a Twitter account to announce sales as soon as they become available. As a small business owner, you can harness the power of Twitter this way too!

If you can get hundreds, or even thousands of people interested in your niche to follow your company's tweets, you have a targeted líst of prospects at your fingertips. Simply tweet a brief detail or two about the special, and include your link. It's that simple!

A líst of businesses on Twitter:

http://www.twibs.com

As a marketer, you know that the speed at which you can get your message out to your potential clients before your competition can reach them essentially determines your success. Twitter affords marketers the advantage of communicating with thousands of new prospects at the speed of light, and allows them to see your offer in real time.

Twitter for Customer Service

Many companies are designating human resources and time exclusively to enhance their customer service via social networking. Companies can find out the challenges, questions, and troubles that their clients are facing by reading their tweets to others.

Customer service representatives or public relations liaisons can immediately resolve any problems by engaging themselves in the conversation. Customer service representatives who engage their clientele via Twitter improve their company's transparency, and show that they not only are concerned about their customers, but they also care about their brand.

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Twitter for Product Development

Twitter can be used as an instant survey tool for product development. You can simply ask the likes and dislikes of others with a simple tweet and can incorporate or improve your current products or services.

It's catching on. In fact, software development corporation Eclipse is working on a Twitter plug-in called Twitterclipse, which will tweet announcements, findings and questions within their development team. It is faster and more convenient than email, and also avails an RSS feed for posting their development updates within the Eclipse website.

Twitter for Free Publicity and Brand Awareness

As you know, free publicity is priceless - and it can be difficult for a small business to get access to the media. Companies regularly pay millions of dollars to imprint their brand in the minds of prospective clients.

With Twitter's personalization features you can place your brand or company logo on your Twitter page. Because of the viral nature of Twitter, traffic and publicity comes for free.

Forget Expensive PPC Advertising - There is an Alternative!


People will associate your Tweets with your company, and their trust will grow in your products and services.

Twitter Gives You Access to Important People

No other media gives you direct access to leaders in your market like the internet does. Twitter gives you personal access to leaders and mentors that you have only ever dreamt of connecting with.

I bet you didn't think you would ever get the chance to be 1-on-1 with Brian Tracy on Twitter, right?

http://twitter.com/BrianTracy_

---
Editor's Note: Several Twitter related sites provide a means to identify Twitter users in your geographical area or relevant to your business:

http://mrtweet.net
http://www.twellow.com
http://justtweetit.com
http://www.twitterlocal.net
---

Simply follow them, and open up the channels of communication with your tweets! The leaders of your field impart valuable knowledge that you can apply to your online business, and can be a great source of free marketing tips.

Improve Every Aspect Of Your Business With Twitter!

Twitter is extremely simple, but this fact also adds to its versatility. You may not realize the effect of Twitter on your business when your followers are at a single digit - but just imagine the scope of your business reaching tens of thousands of followers! Many online businesses are using Twitter now... what are you waitíng for?


About The Author
Abe Cherian is the founder and CEO of AdClickMedia.com, an online advertising network and a subsidiary of Multiple Stream Media.

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How to Spring Clean Your Website

Spring is a wonderful time of year but it might not be so wonderful for our online business. The weather is getting nicer and people are spending more time outside, away from their computers. One way to get more people to come to your website is to do some spring cleaning and I don't mean your house! Our websites can get stale and outdated if we do not clean them up periodically.

There are lots of things you can do to freshen up your site and bring new life and new customers to your online business.

1. Add a new section filled with resources, information and maybe even some special deals for your customers. Use relevant keywords to improve your ranking. For example: if you own a home decor business, offer decorating tips and advice. Show people how to decorate on a budget or how to redecorate with things they already own. By providing information and resources along with your products, you are giving people a reason to keep coming back. This is how you build trust with your visitors and get more sales.

2. Remove all dead links, outdated information and products. Nothing is worse than going to a site and finding links that don't work or information and/or products that are no longer useable or helpful. Go through all the links on your site and freshen up the content to offer up to date information!

3. Give your homepage a facelift by adding new graphics, text, etc. Redo your banner and give it some new life. Take out the old graphics and add some fresh new images. Research your keywords and revamp your text with some effective keywords. Write a new introduction to your site detailing all your new additions.

4. If you haven't yet tried blogging, read up on blogging and zap some life into your site. Some free blogging sites are Blogger and WordPress. Blogging is a great way to improve your search engine ranking while expanding your network.

5. Update your product line. Add some fresh new products and offer the old products at clearance prices. Have a Spring Sale and liven up your sales! Keep those customers coming back for more!

6. Add a What's New page so you can let everyone know about all your updates now and in the future. This feature could get more people to return to your site to see What's New?

7. Research the colors used on your site. You may find changing the colors of your site can bring a whole new life to your business.

8. Put a small survey on your site. Ask your visitors what they would like to see and what type of products they are looking for. Getting the information straight from the horse's mouth could do your business a lot of good. Offer your visitors a small gift for answering the questions on the survey.

9. Renew your goals! Make new goals and write out a new business plan. Learn from your experiences, good and bad, and improve your plan for success.

Spring is a time of renewal, revitalization and reenergizing! Our online businesses are no exception!


About the Author: Terri Seymour (also known as "The eBook Lady") has over ten years online experience and has helped many people start their own business. Visit her site at http://www.seymourproducts.com for resources, $1 resell ebooks & software, free tutorials, affiliate programs, free ezine and free business ebook with Master Resell Rights. http://www.seymourproducts.com/free.shtml

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Senin, 16 Maret 2009

SEO: How Do I Give My Website A Quick SEO Tune Up?

Cars need tune ups and airplanes go into the hanger to get optimized for the next flight. If you are a web owner that has the "upload it and leave it" mentality, consider adding a weekly or monthly tune up to your website. Ten to Fifteen minutes here and there can only do one thing--make you more successful.


1. Start small with the meta information.

a. Examine your Title meta tag on each page. Do they describe the page contents? Do they contain the right keywords to drive traffic to that page? Is at least one part of the Title geo-specific? Example, "Attorney, Los Angeles, CA" and not just "Attorney" or "Lawyer" or "AdvertiseShare" or "Advertise Share" or "Advertising Share" or "Iklan" "My Law Firm."

b. Examine your Description meta tag. Make sure that each page, if it is at all possible, has a different meta tag description. Google does not like repeated information.

2. Check your links.

Use a free online program to make sure you don't have any broken links. Go to your favorite search engine and type in "free link checker" and use one that looks good to you.


3. Do a little marketing.

Go to your favorite search engine and search for something you do or sell. Let's say you are a dentist. Perform two different kinds of searches, global and geo-specific.

Example: 1. "dentist," global and 2. "dentist, (city)", geo-specific. Examine the backlinks to make sure that you are also on the same business directories as the top ranked websites. You do this quickly using a "backlink checker." You can easily find one of your choice through a quick search engine search.

Steps 1, 2, and 3 can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly--whatever your schedule allows. The next 2 steps go a little deeper into your maintenance plan.

4. Google Analytics.

It's free, it's easy, and it's extremely useful. If you aren't paying an SEO company to handle your website, you should definitely take advantage of this amazing tool.

You sign up for it here: http://www.google.com/analytics/.

Google will give you a unique code to put on each page you want to track. You don't need to be a programmer to figure it out. It's just a few lines of script that you paste into your webpage exactly where Google shows you to do it.

It really is as easy as it sounds. And what do you get? You find out how many people are visiting your website, what keywords brought them to your website, what websites referred them to your website, where they are from, how much time they spent on your website and much more.

This is an amazing free treasure trove of information. You will find out if the people visiting your website are, in fact, the type of visitor you are targeting. If not, all you have to do is tweak your Title meta tag and your content to let the search engine know, for example: you want people who were searching for "logo design" not "graphic design" or "child therapist" not "couples therapy."


5. Alexa.

Alexa monitors traffic levels for websites. While arguably a flawed system, it is still used as a measuring stick to gauge your website.

Why should you care?

Let's say you own a flower store in Boston. You look up your competitor and find that they have an Alexa ranking of 79,000 and you have one of 4,500,000. This is a quick indicator that THEY and not YOU are getting all the flower shop web traffic in the area. Additionally, the more traffic you get, the more likely your organic search engine results will go higher. Marketing activities that increase web visitors will give you a better Alexa ranking.

Across the board, SEO experts agree that if you download the "Alexa Toolbar" and visit your website once a day, encourage friends and colleagues to download the tool bar and visit each other's websites--that this will increase your Alexa ranking, too. It's a simple thing to do, but don't expect dramatic results. You can also flaunt your url in Alexa forums, but the best use of your time is simply to try to get targeted visitors to your website through standard marketing channels.

That is always the bottom line.

About the Author: Matt Chansky provides graphic design for businesses of every shape and size, including startup businesses. To view the ample portfolios, read lengthy testimonials, follow the latest news, or view more articles you are invited to visit Raleigh Graphic Design.

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Increase Landing Page Conversion By Testing These 5 Elements


Are you satisfied with the conversion rate on your landing page?

I hope the answer to that question - no matter what your conversion rate - is an emphatic "No!" Because no matter what your conversion rate is, there's always the chance that it can be better.

You'll never know how much money you're leaving on the table until you start measuring, optimizing and testing. If you're a newbie to website testing, there are two different schools of thought as to how you should get started.

The first says you should start with an "unimportant" page on your site. Use that page as your "practice field" to avoid making any grave mistakes while you're learning the ins and outs of testing. I, on the other hand, subscribe to the second school of thought: start with a high traffic web page so you can see results more quickly. If there's one thing the internet era has done to all of us, it's turned us into a society of "immediate gratification seekers". We want results now. We don't want to wait for the answer.

The danger in starting your website testing with an "unimportant page" is that it will take too long to see any real results. You'll grow impatient, you'll get bored, and chances are you'll abandon the concept of testing before you've had a chance to appreciate its amazing merits.


So let's start with your highest traffic page (if you're scared you'll make a mess, start with the second or third highest traffic page - but don't worry. As long as you back up ahead of time, anything you "mess up" can be undone!)

The page components you want to test are:

1. Your Headline

Without a doubt, your headline is the most important component of your web page. It's the first thing your visitor will see when landing on your site. It will either compel him to continue reading, or convince him he's at the wrong page.

And the best part is, it's super easy to test. You don't need to get your graphic artist involved, or even your copywriter. You can easily craft a few benefits-laden headlines to test on your own. I suggest writing at least four different headlines and designing an A/B test to verify the effectiveness of each.

2. Your Opening Paragraph

Just as in offline direct mail marketing, the opening paragraph of your web page sales letter must pull the reader into your copy and make him want to read more.

Because many small business owners have a harder time writing opening paragraphs than headlines, you might want to get your copywriter involved in this one. But again, a simple A/B test can be used to measure the effectiveness of each paragraph.

3. Your Call to Action

There are dozens of different ways to spell out to your reader exactly what you want him to do. And depending on your product, your niche, your audience, etc, some will definitely be more effective than others.

This is one component of your web page that you don't want to leave to chance. Rather than simply copying what other marketers are doing, choose several different calls to action and test them each against each other.

4. Your Product Benefits

Your sales copy will be most effective when you list the most important benefit first. But Wait!! Your prospect might have a different opinion of which is the most important benefit.

Try varying the order of your benefit statements to test which positioning converts at the highest rate. This could also provide some valuable insight into rewriting your entire sales letter for higher conversions - or writing the sales letter for your next product.

5. Your Graphics and Visual Elements

They say a picture is worth a thousand words - but what is the wrong picture worth? Some colors, graphics and photographs can actually hurt your conversion rate. Some can provide a so-so conversion rate. While others can have your conversion rate soaring through the roof.

The only way you'll know for sure that you're using the right visual elements is to test. A multivariate test will allow you to test several different elements simultaneously to ensure you have the right combination.

Once these initial tests are done, it will be time to move on to more tests. Never rest on your laurels and never assume that your conversion rate is as good as it could possibly be. There will always be room for improvement - and room for more testing.


About the Author: Karen Scharf is an Indianapolis marketing consultant who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her free Can-Spam checklist and free email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read. Download your copies at http://www.ModernImage.com.

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Minggu, 01 Maret 2009

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