Is your website a glorified business card?
Are you even being "found" by search engines?
How much traffic do you get?
How do people find your website and what keywords do they use?
I met someone last year that is a great example of not knowing what to do to promote their business in this new Web 2.0 information age. Liz Stapleton. She is an expert electrologist here in Chicago. (And she was written up recently in the Chicago Tribune about her blog.)
Liz had a good website - called ArtClip and it's all about a video and photo production - but she did'n make a rule number 1 - marketing promotion. At least one of your main keywords (in this case it would be freelance videographer or video production), should be in your domain. Lets see another grat example. Take a look on this website about almost the same thing, but with a little bit more narrowed niche, called wedding videography industry. The name of this business is WeddingTales and the name says almost everything about this type of business.
Obviously, you should click on the link and read to description to get to know that this business is related to wedding videography and wedding photography in particular. But overall, the name is speaking about themself very well: The stories about Weddings. Which could lead us to the opinion that this website is about the wedding storytelling. And Videography as well as photography is fitting perfectly to this name.
When you open the Yellow Pages (does anyone use those doorstops anymore?) or when you search online, if you don't know the name of the business you are looking for, you look through the category for what you need. You would look under electrolysis - or electrologist - and probably look in your area. So I would search for CHICAGO ELECTROLYSIS or CHICAGO electrology. - I like to search for "Best" when I search. I will search for the BEST CHICAGO PIZZA. BEST DIVORCE ATTORNEY CHICAGO. BEST GAY TRAVEL. BEST BLOG CONSULTANT. And I usually only look through the first couple of pages of Google and find what I need.
After hearing me speak about the possibilities of blogging and how it can attract new customers, Liz had me help her set up a blog. Step one was the name. For ease of remembering for her clients, since her main site was www.facereflections.com - she bought the domain www.facereflectionsblog.com - this has no search engine pull but would be easy for people to remember.
For her main domain, she chose 2 with great keywords -
www.bestchicagoelectrolysis.com and she also bought www.bestchicagohairremoval.com
So all three of the domains are used for the one blog.
Websites are usually good selling tools. They describe your services, prices, location, hours, and all of the basics. A brochure of your services. Sometimes companies will post some descriptive articles on their website. Or maybe they send out e-mail newsletters to existing clients. This is usually a good starting point for your content development.
A lot of clients ask "What am I going to blog about?" The answer: INFORMATION. What would someone be looking for, that could lead them to you. In Liz's case, THE BIG MYTH ABOUT LASER HAIR HAIR REMOVAL, PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL, TRANSGENDER HAIR ISSUES....
Video content is another attraction strategy. You are going to post a video information people are looking for you, the blog becomes your online newsletter. Your own little magazine but with photo and video illustrations . And you can post as often or as little as you want. However, think of it as a huge mall in the middle of nowhere, when you first set it up. Each time you post something, you are creating a new road that leads people to your mall. Put up 10 posts, you have 10 "roads" leading to you. Mix every post with some video and you will get much more ways leading to you. The more "roads" you build, the more ways search engines can index your information and lead people to you. If you are not able to produce or edit a video clips for your blog, just hire some video production company to make a video for you.
Not every reader of your information will be your client. If your services are local, of course only local readers can be your client. If your product or services are not localized, then the world is your market. Liz currently gets about 20-30 hits a day - and most of that traffic is coming in by way of Google searches around her keywords and what she posts about. Pure organic traffic. She is "pulling" people to her, 24 hours a day. In the last 3 months, 10 new clients have come to her through her blog and hired her!
Out of those 20-30 hits, which equals about 700-800 a month, she has readers in 78 countries! Most of the readers are in the United States, and a lot of hits come from the Chicago area but is reaching a worldwide audience. As a blog grows, you can develop an audience. People who look to you as an expert. They may not be a client today, but they could be tomorrow. Or maybe they work with a group who might hire you to speak at an event. Or maybe the publisher will find your site and think your posts are terrific and offer you a book deal! The possibilities are endless. Blogs blow away websites, print advertising, direct mail and even radio and TV advertising! Today the Internet has become the ultimate place to accelerate the flow of relevant information and the fastest growing form of media.
When you Google "Chicago electrolysis" there are 2500 entries - Liz is on Page One!When you Google "health and wellness expert" - there are 6200 entries, our client,
Dr. Gaziano is one page one with his blog www.feelgoodhealthnow.comWhen you Google "gay travel" - there over 1,500,000 entries! And our site is on page one!Is your website on page one, around your keywords? Probably not.
So why aren't you blogging??
Blogging, Web 2.0 and social media must be examined very differently when it comes to returning on investment. A blog account and domain are usually less than $50 a year, plus your staff time. I bring 5000 new eyes to your business, is it worth it? If you get 5 new clients, is it worth it? If even a few customers are helped as a result - the cost is cheap!
Katie Paine is an expert on blog ROI. And she was quoted in Paul Gillins The New Influencers. She is a veteran public relations executive and has spent the last fifteen years researching, writing and speaking on the topic of measuring the value of public relations and social media investments. She believes nearly everything online is measurable; it’s just a matter of choosing what to measure.
We always say, and she agrees, blogging and social media marketing is a competitive necessity and can be a competitive advantage. If you are not out there building new networks and webs, chances are your competitor already is. If he is not, great! You get the first-mover advantage. If he is, you can catch up.
Paine has said for her own business, she likes to monitor click-throughs from her blog to her website. We also monitor very closely performance on Google key search terms and the traffic those bring in. Good search performance is money in the bank. If you can “own” your keywords, that’s a huge ROI, that isn’t quickly translated to dollars, but will, eventually.
It’s all about search. We say it time and time again. Can you be “found” easily online? Are you coming up in keyword searches? Search is the best thing that ever happened to small businesses. Many companies can not afford costly pay-per-click campaigns around certain keywords. However, through blogging and Web 2.0 strategies you can come up in the same searches and reach an international audience for much less.
We had a client recently spend $5000 with us. Within 90 days he had traffic, owned 4 of 6 keywords on Page One Google, AND he got a new client for $4000! THAT'S HUGE ROI! That DOES NOT usually happen. We usually caution clients to view their investment and ROI over a one year period. It takes time to plant all the seeds and watch them grow. But the return is that people have so many new channels to find you and your services - besides just 1 static website.
Remember, it's all about SEARCH! Can you be found?
Over the last 2 years, we have come into contact with numerous people who wanted to start a blog and most never did. Or they did, and got off on the wrong foot, abandoned the blog, or they had unrealistic expectations about what the blog might deliver in the short-term from an SEO perspective and were frustrated.
We have been doing this for over 2 years now and have launched about 25 blogs. We have made many mistakes along the way and therefore, also have learned a lot. And continue to learn every day as these business changes. Eventually, all of our blogs have ended up on Page One of Google for organic, primary and numerous secondary keyword searches...
Here are some of the most common blog mistakes we've seen:
1. Never actually starting one! I have 3 friends and 5 clients that have been talking about launching a blog for a year now! Do they realize, if they had in fact launched their blog one year ago, where they would be today??? Just DO IT already!
2. Using Subdomains. We are not a big fan of hosting your site somewhere that has to use a subdomain. (ie TypePad, BlogSpot). If it's personal, that's fine. But for anything business-related, where you hope to get search engine lift, we do not recommend it. - Buy a domain and use it. In fact, buy a few domains. If you don't buy it and you don't own it, it's not yours. So www.worldsbestflorist.typepad.com really belongs to TypePad. Plus, you deprive yourself of potential search engine lift by hosting your site with subdomains.
3. Design. DO NOT get caught up on design. Blogs are about words, not design. Blogs are all about the content. And that content is indexed by search engines. You can be one page with the most awful-looking blog out there! Search engines do not care about flash and design. Blogs are about simplicity. That's why search engines like blogs more than websites.
4. Expecting too much too soon. The first 90 days are about building "the temple." Most directories won't even let you list with them until you are 90 days old or have more than 36 posts. Don't even try to get traffic or build traffic for the first few months. It's all about planting the seeds, building the temple, and then traffic will come!
5. Making Money. Every month I have clients that want to start a blog to make "some extra passive revenue." MOST blogs do not make a dime! At least the first year or two. Once you get a page rank of 5 or 6, in about 18 months to 24 months, then maybe, you can start to monetize your blog. Sure you can put Google AdSense on your blog. And make about 25 cents per month. If you are lucky! The focus should be on building the blog. Build a following. Positioning yourself as an expert in your area of expertise. If you do it right, you will come up in searches and be found by new readers and potential new customers!
We get clients all the time, who already produce a successful newsletter and send it out to hundreds of exciting customers. The problem is, it is off the radar screen of the search engines. You have got to take all the content you already are using and allow the search engines to find it! Thus attracting new customers. Let the whole world in on what you are talking about!
We live in the age of search. Everyone is online searching for something. Products, information, answers to questions...your content needs to found by the search engines and put into the hands of potential customers. It's simple as that! It becomes a search engine optimization for your keywords and searches engine marketing to attract new customers.
Content is an attraction strategy. You "push" your newsletter out to people asking them to read it. You "push" your website address in front of people, in the hopes, they will read it. What you want to do is strategically place your content online, on blogs, on social media, to "pull" new eyes to your business.
Attraction marketing is the new phrase for an old idea that has re-emerged as a hot new strategy for online selling. Attraction marketing is the ability to literally have people pursuing you rather than you pursuing them.
Attraction Marketing is a new marketing category, a hybrid cross between public relations and journalism.
You can provide valuable information to your customers. The more helpful and valuable your information is the greater the chance those customers will purchase from you. This is the finest form of advertising yourself and PR for your business.
Good content will attract prospects to you by positioning yourself as an expert!