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seo getting found online mike coleman blog

Getting found online is key to your success if you are depending on your website, social media, and other online collateral to help market your business. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating a web presence that is search engine friendly, it can seem like you are trying to hit a moving target.

But if you follow a few simple rules, you can hit your target and win the game of SEO. Here are seven for your consideration:

1.  Create great content on your website. Google is always looking for “relevant” content, and a lot of it, so when someone searches on a keyword phrase, your site is found to be more relevant than your competition. This will also decrease your bounce rate, which is another key factor in your ranking. Change your content periodically and have a blog on your website that you update on a regular basis.

2.  Create profiles on the main social media channels – Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest. Make sure you place your domain name in each of your profiles.

3.  Place short (less than one minute) how-to, instructional, or informational videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Place your URL as the first thing in your video description and write a good description using your keywords. Also, use your keywords in the title of your video.

4.  Use your keywords in your domain name and in the title of your blog posts.

5.  Optimize your images. Use image editing software, such as Photoshop Elements or Gimp, to decrease the size of your images. This will also decrease the load times of your web pages.
Make use of and populate the “ALT=” tag on your images.

6.  Promote your website, both online and offline, on all your materials – business cards, store signage, networking events, direct mail, your social media channels, etc. Something as simple as driving more people to your site can improve your SEO.

7.  Use Google Analytics and Google  Webmaster Tools to track your progress and monitor your results.

Doing the things listed above will not “guarantee” your success, but doing all of them will increase your chances of being on the first page of the major search engines when someone searches for your business.

There are many other elements to developing a good SEO strategy for your website, such as link-building, but the steps listed above are a great place to start.

Remember, it does take time to develop an SEO strategy, so don’t get discouraged if in a couple of months you are still not on the first page of Google or Bing. There are a lot of factors involved, and it takes consistent, ongoing effort to make it work.

mike coleman nashville online marketing

One of the big mistakes many people make with their email and social media is trying to say everything. Remember, less is more when it comes to email and social media marketing. Your emails and social media are not for telling people everything that you do. Thats what your website is for.

Consider offering one thing at a time and remained focused on one topic at a time when it comes to crafting your blog post, article, newsletter, or social media post. By doing this you accomplish a couple of things:

1. You make it easier for your audience to digest the information you are sharing with them.

2. It takes the pressure off you to write a lot of content. And one more thing about content. You don’t have to be “original” and have something profound to say every time, but you do need to be delivering content that is helpful and applicable to the audience you are trying to reach.

3. It’s much easier to track your results. Anything is your online marketing strategy, just like your offline marketing strategy, should be measurable. You want people who read your blog post, article, or social media post to take some type of physical action. That physical action could be a click, a download, a phone call to your business, signing up for your services, or any number of other things.

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When it comes to writing sales copy, there is nothing more powerful than a strong call to action. Anytime you send an email or direct mail piece, the most important part of your communications is your call-to-action.

This is NOT a strong call to action: Call BR549

This is a strong call to action: Call BR549 before 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning to receive 15% off our services.

You’ve told your audience what to do, when to do it, and why they should take action. If you have these three things, you have a strong call to action. If you are missing one component, then it will not work.

I would like to hear from you. Send me a few of your calls to action you have used in the past.

 

social-media

How do I find the time to implement a social media strategy? The short answer is have a plan and make a schedule. Like any other aspect of your marketing, it’s important that you know your audience and post content that is interesting to your audience so they want to comment, share, retweet, etc.

Have a plan and a schedule for what you will post on a daily basis. This saves you time trying to figure out what you are going to post. Here is an example and you are welcome to modify it to suit your needs:

Monday: Link to an article

Tuesday: Quote

Wednesday:  Tip of the week or a short recipe.

Thursday: Promotion

Friday: Link to a video

Saturday:  Comment on someone else’s post or retweet something. Join a group discussion and share your knowledge.

Sunday: Post a photo with a comment.

You can also use Hootsuite to schedule posts to go out at certain times of the day.

The goal is to strike a balance so you are not posting 10 times a day, but you are posting enough to be considered active. That means 3 – 4 times per week. Find what works for you. I have just given you a basic blueprint for planning and scheduling your social media interaction. You can tweak it to fit your needs. And you may not want to post every day. That’s okay, but you still need a schedule so you know what you are posting on any given day.

What is your social media posting strategy?

social-media-tips

It doesn’t matter if you are a nonprofit or a for-profit business, you will benefit from implementing a few simple strategies that have been proven to get results. In today’s world, it’s all about transparency. Let people know what’s going on in your business – profit or nonprofit – so they can feel like they are a part of the action.

1. Show people what you are doing. Anyone who contributes to your nonprofit probably wants to know if the dollars they are donating are having an impact. There are many opportunities for you to do this. For example, you can post a picture of a child on your Facebook page with a brief post letting people know the impact you had on this child’s life. You could create a board on Pinterest and pin pictures of people or places who have benefitted from your nonprofit. The bottom line is this – you want to use every opportunity on all your social media channels, blog posts, YouTube channel, and newsletters to let people know the impact you are having.

2. Use hashtags in Twitter to create an ongoing conversation with your donors about your cause. Check out my blog post to learn more about hashtags. Simply post something about your organization followed by a hashtag. For example, you could post – we are looking for ideas for our next fundraiser #nonprofitideas.

3. Use a tool such as HootSuite to listen more effectively. Find where people are mentioning your organization and engage in a conversation with them by retweeting their posts, following them, or just sending them a direct message to let them know you appreciate them mentioning your organization in their post.

4. Create videos and post them to YouTube. Post a video of someone who benefited from the efforts of your organization. Create a video that shows your offices and introduces your volunteers. This makes it a little more personal.

These are just a few of the ways you can engage your donors and supporters to increase donations, increase your volunteer base, and show people the difference your nonprofit is making in the community.

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Using LinkedIn is like having an almost unlimited number of prospects and contacts, and it’s a great tool you can use to grow your business. The average LinkedIn user has a 6-figure income and there are more than 250,000,000 users. So, as you can see, there is a huge benefit to utilizing everything you can in LinkedIn.

When you create your LinkedIn profile, it’s a good idea to also have a LinkedIn Company Page to start making full use of everything LinkedIn has to offer. The Company Page allows you to tell a little more about what you do, add employees to the profile, list your products and services, list job openings, and more. You also have Page Insights for your Company Page that will show demographics, page views, etc.

One of the requirements to create a Company Page is to have a company email address. It can’t be a yahoo, gmail, or any other generic email address.

Four simple steps to create your LinkedIn Company Page:

1.  Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and select Companies from the dropdown menu.

2.  Click the Add a Company link in the upper right area of the page.

3.  Enter your company’s official name along with your work email address.

4.  Click Continue and enter your company information.

Note: If the email address you provide is an unconfirmed email address on your LinkedIn account, a message will be sent to that address. Just follow the instructions in the message to confirm your address. Then use the instructions above to add your Company Page.

Once your Company Page is created, your URL will be your company name with hyphens. For example, http://linkedin.com/company/abc-company. LinkedIn will follow up with you via email with other tips and suggestions to enhance your LinkedIn Company page.

Let me know your LinkedIn Company Page URL so I can see your handiwork.

mike coleman seo online marketing nashville tn

Creating quality content is a key component of your overall online marketing mix. And if that’s all it took to get people to your website, then it would be easy. Unfortunately, having quality content and keywords and all the other things that go into creating a solid SEO strategy are not enough.

And that is where off page SEO strategies come in. By “off page” SEO strategies, I mean anything you use that is outside of your website, such as video, social media, etc.

Let’s talk about a few of those now.

Video is one of the driving forces of online marketing today. YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, DailyMotion are just a few of the places where you can post videos. Post short 2 minute (or less) video clips of you talking about your area of expertise. You do not need a huge production studio. A simple home video camera or even your smart phone will suffice to get started.

Social media is one of the best places to share information about your industry. The key to making this work is to post shareable content, such as article links, video links, new trends in your industry, your thoughts on industry trends, etc. Just ask yourself this question before you post something – “Is this information something my followers will want to share with their friends and peers?”

Creating a newsletter is a great way to start building one of the most valuable assets in your business – your list (or database). Communicating with your list on a regular basis will help you maintain top of mind presence with your target market and drive visitors to your website if you are consistently producing quality content that your readership wants to receive and share. Constant Contact is a great place to get started.

Article sites, such as ezinearticles.com provide a valuable outlet for you to share your expertise by writing articles that are pertinent to the people you want to serve. It’s great for search engine optimization (SEO).

Press releases – both online and offline – are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Check out onlineprnews.com and helpareporterout.com (HARO). Do a search for online press release sites and you will find both free and paid versions.

Also, contact your local newspaper. For example, if you are having a seminar in your local area, contact the local newspaper to let them know. See if they would be interested in covering the event. I did this for one of my seminars and a reporter from the paper actually attended. It was local front page news.

Just remember, you need a good mix of both online and offline strategies to market effectively.

When I find a new tool, technique, or strategy in the area of marketing that works, I like to share it with my readers. This week I am introducing you to a great marketing tool for anyone who has events, non-profit fundraisers, etc. It’s also a great tool for professional speakers, seminar leaders, and musicians.

From a business perspective, one of the best ways to reach a lot of potential clients is through an event. Speaking at an event allows you to share your expertise. Fundraising events are a great way to raise awareness for your charity or non-profit. If you are a musician, you have to get people to attend your shows before you can build your legion of loyal fans. As you know, one of the biggest challenges a speaker, seminar leader, non-profit, or any other professional or organization who has events faces is filling seats.

I recently discovered a great tool for doing this called EventSpot. It is one of the products in Constant Contact’s suite of online marketing tools. EventSpot’s easy to use interface handles three things that are crucial to having a successful event:

1. Promotion

2. Registration

3. Payments

You can promote your event through all your social media channels using EventSpot. Use it to create event invitations and webpages and to share your event with the social sharing tools. It will handle the registration process for you allowing you to create registration forms, accept online payments (or donations), and get whatever attendee information you need.

One other thing it provides is tracking and reporting. You can track RSVPs, attendee preferences, who has (or has not) paid, and even issue tickets online.

So go to the Constant Contact website, click on the products tab, and select EventSpot from the drop down menu to give it a try. And there is special pricing for non-profits.

Having a blog on your website is essential to your overall online marketing strategy. And I have mentioned in previous newsletters how you can get ideas for things to blog about by reading, researching, and brainstorming ideas. Today, I want to give you seven tips on how you can improve your blog once it’s written.

1. You can dramatically increase your open rate by creating a great subject line for your email and a great title for your blog post.

2. If possible, use your keywords in the title of your post and use keywords throughout the copy. You can use Google’s free keyword tool to do this. This tool also can be helpful in generating ideas since you can find the keyword phrases people are using to find services or products related to what you have to offer.

3. Link to other pages or other posts within your website from your blog post. These are called internal links and Google likes this.

4. Use pictures and graphics in your blog posts. It has been shown that doing this increases interest and increases the likelihood someone will read it.

5. Share your posts on all your social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).

6. Set up a way for someone to subscribe to your blog so when you post something, they will receive an email of your post. This really helps increase readership and makes it easier for them to keep up with your posts. My favorite one for WordPress websites at the moment is Subscribe2.

7. Be consistent in your posts. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, or whatever you decide, but make sure you post on a consistent basis. 3 or 4 times per week is ideal, if you can find the time to write.

And, of course, create great content that people want to read. You create great content by constantly working on your writing chops and never running out of ideas.

Keep a notebook or a file on your computer where you jot down ideas for future blog posts. A great way to do this is to use a productivity tool, such as Evernote. This allows you to jot down notes, record ideas, clip websites, and many other things that will assure you never run out of ideas.

I hope this helps.This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as things you can do to improve your blog. Let me know what you think, or if you have any other ideas.

Have you ever bookmarked something in your web browser, such as a website you really liked, so you could easily get to it later? That is basically what social bookmarking is, but instead of saving the links to these websites in your browser, you are saving them to the web.

Since these bookmarks are online, it’s easier to to share the links with your friends. Social bookmarking sites also make it easier for you to see what other people are sharing. And you can do searches on specific topics of interest to find what other people are bookmarking.

Just as there are a lot of social media sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and countless others, there are also many social bookmarking sites.

One of the newest social bookmarking sites on the scene today is Pinterest. Just think about a cork board you may have in your office where you pin specific things you want to remember or pin pictures of your vacation, favorite car, or whatever.You can do the same thing in Pinterest, except now your cork board is online.

In Pinterest, you can create boards and pin your favorite things on the boards you create. This allows people to interact with you and learn more about you and your interests. For example, you may create boards for your favorite music, favorite books, places where you like to eat, amazing products you’ve tried, sports, etc.

It is currently an invite-only site, but you can request an invite directly from Pinterest or be invited by someone who is already a part of Pinterest. Once you are invited, they will send you a link where you can click and set up your account. You can register through Facebook or Twitter. Once you are registered, you can remove Pinterest from your Facebook timeline and your Twitter account.

And you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with marketing my business?”

Everyone knows people have to know, like, and trust you to do business with you. Pinterest is just another window they can peak through to learn more about you and get to know you. They learn about the books you read, the music you like, where you like to eat, etc. All these things can tell you a lot about a person.

One of the things I like about Pinterest is people can follow you without you needing to approve them or do anything. And it’s easy for you to follow other people. It’s similar to how you follow people in Twitter and people follow you.

Go to pinterest.com and request an invite so you can get started.