While there may be others, and there are, added to this list these are almost crucial to success. Can success be had without all, or any, of these? Yes, it can. These are the most common, high reward components which should not be easily discounted.
ANCHOR SITE www.yourname.com
Have a site you control, not on some free service or social network. Do your business here. Think about user experience and conversion ratio on this site as your most important tasks. Keep you blog separate or in a separate directory. Blogs have a tendency to overpopulate the index page and with today’s necessary trend toward flat and mobile design this is crucial to conversion success.
TWITTER ACCOUNT twitter.com/yourname
Having a Twitter site that matches your brand is one great way to push out relative content, build a following, and listen to the Internet on your topic. Learn to monitor Twitter with third party tools like Hootsuite and your life, and results, will be much better.
FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE facebook.com/yourname
While Facebook should never replace your anchor site not having a custom Facebook business page is a big mistake in today’s world. The content and design should emulate your brand and serve as a giant handshake to encourage people do to business with you.
I have no idea. Thank you for stopping in. Good-bye.
That’s not fair of course, and in reality, I do have an idea. Together, in fact, we can probably come up with a realistic, working number for you right now. First you’ll need to know some things about your own business. I will give you the numbers to work with later but for now be thinking of the following:
- How much are you willing to spend to get someone to buy your product or service?
- How many new customers do you need, per month, to reach your goals?
- What amount have you budgeted to new customer acquisition?
Now that you have those numbers in mind …. what’s that? You don’t know how much you have budgeted? Well, consider yourself Jane or John Average. Most small business owners and entrepreneurs are in the same position. So, let’s begin with that first question, “How much are you willing to spend to get someone to buy your product or service?” Continue reading
Real estate professionals are constantly barraged by “great marketing ideas for real estate agents” from just about every direction. This 360 degree assault includes everything from very expensive video production and website development to recurring fee subscription services for “exclusive real estate leads” and more. After time the excitement of being a new agent and having all this attention from companies looking to be at the top of the marketing budget list wains and too often the agent simply gives up and does what they can, on their own.
Be sure to watch the short animated video at the end of this post!
Real Estate Calendars
Calendars are a perennial favorite of real estate agents, plumbers, chiropractors and insurance agents. The idea is these calenders last for a full twelve months – and it is true. Calendars cease working as a marketing tool when they are placed in a drawer or the trash can. If they remain on the wall or refrigerator the lifespan may indeed be 12 months and this obviously creates more opportunities for engagement with the branded company.
Real Estate Closing Gifts
Getting a nice bottle of wine with a photo of the home on the label is a great, novel idea. Lifespan about 1 meal or stuck in the wine rack to be forgotten. While this idea, at a cost of around $45 including shipping, ignites all those good emotions it is short lived in market reach and is offensive to some. Do not send a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic or a teetotaler or you’ll alienate them forever.
Who needs a framed copy of themselves signing the closing documents? Sure it sounds good and, as with most other closing gifts, the emotions wane after the first couple of payments, the first roof leak discovered, the first call to the electrician or plumber. Frankly these end up in the trash pretty quickly. The same goes for that cute “golden key” with the purchase date inscribed on it, the gift certificate to Lowe’s or the Home Depot or even a favorite restaurant. None of these gifts provide real usefulness or longevity.
Title Analyzer Results
Let’s face it. Most of us are small business operators, advisers or entrepreneurs. We wear many hats – often too many. For the majority of us having our message stick out from the masses is very important and vital to our continued success and growth. Far too often we are forced to work our own miracles and many times that ends with less than desired effects or even abject failure. Failure, as is said, really is not a viable option.
One Solution: Hire a Content Manager
Hire a copy writer or a seasoned content manager. It may not be as pricey as you think and you may also hire one just to review your content and make suggestions. Just about any reliable copy writer with SEO knowledge can quickly craft powerful titles based on your subject matter. Likewise a content manager can scour your writings and come up with titles geared to appeal to both the human reader and the search engine robots and algorithms.
Another Solution: Use A Title Analyzer
There are a few title analyzers available online. The image to the right is from the title analyzer at The Advanced Marketing Institute. Try it with the actual title of this article “Proven Results For Writing Powerful Titles Immediately“. This one actually compares the words in your title to their secret sauce database and provides a score for reference. I like the idea even though I am not necessarily sold on it because I do not, yet, understand fully what they are evaluating.
It is important for the search engines that your title fit certain parameters and it is important to the human that your title appropriately convey the content of your article or post. Nothing is much more disappointing than seeing a great title which has no relevance to the content. The worst offenders to this, so it seems, are on YouTube.
I have realized several times without ever writing it that most people who say they are SEO experts are actually keyword users. Now there is certainly nothing wrong with appropriate use of keywords and, in fact, it is and essential factor in SEO. The problem, if you want to call it so, is many SEO professionals end at keywords. They don’t know how to really break down how a domain, site, page, article, or sentence actually work with or against the algorithms which result in higher ranking on the search engines.
By Danard Vincente
One big example I recently encountered was a client who had contacted a “competitor” about doing SEO for their site and the first thing the SEO company suggested was they change their domain name because their domain does not contain their keywords. Really? That’s the best you can do and that’s the punch you lead with? In reality had the client changed their domain name and done so the way the SEO expert suggested they would have tanked and may never have been able to get back their PR5 on Google.
Another bit of talk I hear from people who have spoken with someone either before speaking with me or who speak with someone else after speaking with me about Search Engine Optimization is this: They told me I need at least 4% saturation on my keywords but no more than 6%. Okay. If we’re looking at keyword density chances are that’s not an unreasonable range but where are those keywords and how do they flow with the conversation? Are those keywords in the footer in font designed to blend into the background? Are those keywords in the meta keywords tag? (I know, that was snarky.) Or are those keywords in the headings and body text in a natural flow for human readers?
Have you ever been to a business lead meeting or a meet and greet where each person was given “about” 30 seconds to stand up, tell what they do and then sit down? Have you ever heard how hard it is for most people to get it out and still get out the message including enough information to relay enough about what you do to interest the right people.
The actual notes from the meeting.
The idea of an elevator speech truly is not to sell. The idea of going to a leads swap meeting isn’t to sell. I don’t know how many times I have been to a leads swap where the facilitator says, “The idea is not to sell each other the idea is to become a trusted referral source for the others”, only to have one of the first few people use up their allotted time … selling. Would you rather use that technique and try and sell to 30 or 40 people or would you rather have 30 or 40 people trust you, remember you and refer people to you?
What is an elevator speech and how do you write one?
Yesterday I joined an impromptu meeting at CheepMonkey Companies world headquarters and the audio snippet below tells what happened.
Tips for writing an introductory speech:
There are plenty of guides on writing short introduction and elevator speeches available on the web. I have quite literally given hundreds and hundreds of them – most likely well over 1,000. And I have messed up a big chunk of those. When I was representing a mortgage technology company I simply stood up and said, “I have nothing to sell but I love to play golf and I like to eat sometimes too. So, if you love golf or if you love food let’s play or eat – I’ll buy.” I stayed kind of busy.
- Keep it short
- Keep it simple
- Keep it honest
- Avoid asking for a sale
- Leave unanswered questions
- Tell who you do it for
- Sit down
- Shut up
Remember the good old days of the “Website Under Construction” banners? That is actually how I used to find a lot of clients. I would use my spider to go out and look for “construction.gif” and a short time later have a small business website client ready to go. It was almost like, well – you know, fish in a barrel. Only clients aren’t fish. Clients are people and they have the same personality traits as the rest of us. Heck, you’re a client to someone.
The web has changed a lot since I did my first site for Media Play back in 1994 – which never made use of the afore mentioned (and pictured sample) greeting. In fact I rarely see the sign but what I do see is equally or more disturbing. Many of these are simple to address and cure even if you, heaven forbid, do you own online development.
Five Tips To Drive Away Clients
Small business websites are just as crucial, perhaps more so, to a small business as enterprise sites are to major corporations. For the small business person a website usually handles part of the job of sales clerk, part of the job as communications tool and even part of the job as marketing intern. Converting casual visitors to dedicated clients is generally the goal so wasting their time in the first visit generally means that’s there last visit.
- Noise that plays automatically – in crude terms people refer to this as ear rape and it’s a great way to have them click away from your site and even say negative things about your site in social media networks. Silent pop-ups, silent auto streaming videos and even silent redirects are all more acceptable to visitors than anything which makes noise when they visit your site. Imagine someone at work trying to sneak a visit to your site or someone in a shared workspace – or a parent who just got their children to sleep. Noise that plays automatically is here at the top of the list because it’s an horrible offense.
- Broken Links – websites with broken links are generally websites with too many links and no dedicated webmaster. Promising someone a peak at your menu using a broken link generally results in them navigating away never to return. The worst broken link you can have is your “Contact Us” link but any broken link is not a good thing. Trim your links, use a service to scan regularly and have a human person double check at least monthly.
- No live chat response – and I admit I have been guilty. If you are going to install one of the many “Live Chat Now” services on your small business website be sure to either (a) turn it off when you cannot monitor it or (b) pay someone to monitor it at all times. In addition be lite on the canned responses. For example if the user types in “small business help” as their user name and your system says, “Welcome small business help, what is your question?” then ten seconds later posts “Just one moment small business help I am answering your question”, then ten more seconds “While you’re waiting, small business help, please check our FAQ section” … you get the picture.
- Past date events and announcements – not too long ago I stumbled on a site which offered a local meeting I was interested in. It was talking about “next week” and giving the date of May 11 and I was interested in going. As I was completing the free RSVP I noticed it was May 11, 2010 and this is 2012. Why is that still on this site? What else on this site will I waste my precious seconds reading?
- Excerpt marketing – you’ve seen it. You go to your favorite search engine and typed in “price of 10k gold” and clicked on the link which took you to a page that simply has a link to another article about the price of gold. Just a short line designed to capture search engine traffic for page impression purposes. Google is trying to thin these out but they often pop-up, get high in the ranking and trick a lot of people before they are de-indexed. That’s the black hat method but you can also be guilty of it on a small business website by doing the same thing in innocence.
Small Business Websites and Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM)
It is my belief every small business needs a web presence. While brochure sites are easy to build they don’t do much for the prospective client except ask them to pick up the phone or stop in. Contact automation has a powerful place but must be used wisely. Using the big name companies with fees of $30 to $100 per month just to manage a small list of contacts really doesn’t make sense when you can own your own, custom developed CRM for about the same as it costs to subscribe to a major service for a year. You never worry about a customer who forgot they signed up and reports you for spam or how many emails you can send to each contact per month when you own your own Customer Relationship Management System.
Almost every day the question is asked why some old school technique doesn’t work anymore. The answer is some actually do work – they just don’t work on new buyers like they work on old buyers for the most part. Don’t throw away decades of sales psychology just take a look at the mechanism and process by which you are delivering. The buy decision is still a function of the human mind – it’s the form of engagement that has changed.
Here are just a few examples which come to mind – please add to the list in the comments. I know you have more!
OS: I speak you listen
NB: You address our concerns and acknowledge us or we’re done – and by done I mean I’ll tweet about my experience with you, Facebook about my experience with you, Yelp about my experience with you, blog about my experience with you, make a YouTube video about my experience with you …
OS: Our product tests and focus groups are all the information you need to make an informed decision
NB: I’ll Google everything you print and check some trusted blogs to see what they say about you and alternatives to you
OS: We focus on the positive and squelch the negative
NB: If your service isn’t mentioned on any ratings or feedback sites it’s a gamble – I may give that to you if I can find you on Foursquare or Yelp
OS: Order our brochure by calling our toll-free number
NB: Where’s your QR code? I want video content now on my mobile device while I’m standing in front of your product at the store
OS: We have toll-free phone support during normal business hours
NB: If you don’t have 24/7 live chat support with someone who actually speaks and understands my language and lingo you’re not the right company for me to deal with
A few days ago Jeremy Blanton, a friend and regular contributor to Social Media Edge, was telling me about a new way he had discovered to put a little more change on the table without too much effort. Interestingly enough I have had the same conversation with a few others I consider “inside the industry” when it comes to online and social marketing. These ideas ranged from creating accounts as ad resellers, marketing Amazon products, reselling web hosting, and many other ways I know from experience can put a few hundred dollars in your pocket every year even if you don’t push them to hard.
While he was visiting my office I showed Jeremy my Google AdSense account for one of my account names and it averages about $50 per month without me ever touching it. The account I showed him goes back to 2008 and I literally sat it up on a semi-popular site and never touched it again. What if I did touch it again? What if I did decide to really work my Amazon account and up the numbers from a few dozen dollars per year to a few dozen dollars per hour?
The companies I have associate accounts with include Amazon, HostMonster, Commission Junction, Google AdSense, and Cafe Press. I have others but these regularly result in enough to buy my gas, a few meals and pay some hosting fees. What is missing is that I am not really pushing any of these. Occasionally I log in and check to see what my balances are or I notice a small deposit of $150 or so into my bank account. So am I inspired enough to actually put my skills to work, trim back a few clients – mostly the ones who hire someone else to set up their WordPress account then come to me bitching about how much it cost and that they don’t get any support after the fact – and see how well I can do? Research … show me the numbers!