Category Archives: Online Marketing
What is a Promotional Mix?
In business theory, you have probably heard of the “4 P’s” of marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Promotion means “Promotional Mix” and it determines what actions you will need to take to reach your target customers and get your offerings into the market. Or, put plainly, it’s also about where you’re going to spend your “marketing bucks”. In fact, it’s this “P” that most people understand to be “marketing.”
The Promotional Mix is a combination of 3 kinds of activities: 1) branding and advertising media 2) online presence and 3) your selling processes. This tends to be where people become fixated on the question, “How do I know what works?”
What Are the Best Marketing Methods?
The truth is anything can work, but depending on your business, some things will be less costly, and more effective than others. The answer begins with your target customer.
If you had one target customer and you knew she worked at at a business nearby, what would you do to catch her attention?
a. Pay $3000 for an ad in her favourite trade magazine
b. Send her an email
c. Give her a phone call and ask for a meeting
If you picked “c”, you’re on our wavelength. Certainly, with only one target customer, giving her a call and asking her to meet you, perhaps over a coffee or offering to buy lunch would be the most obvious, and probably the most effective. And yes, it is better than email, because the sound of your voice is much more enticing than plain text can ever be within an email.
Now, in addition to calling her, there’s a good chance she’ll want to check out your website to see what you’re about, so you’ll also want to have a good name, image and information there in place, but remember that the heart of the Promotional Mix is you, or a whoever else will be making that sales call on your behalf.
Now, what if you want to gain 100 customers, and they are spread out all over your city, or perhaps further? Then things get more complex. A sales-anchored approach could still be your best bet, especially if you are targeting people within businesses, although it does take time. Or, you might use “inside sales” – and call them personally, chat, follow up with email or a sample. You could still plan to travel to meet the qualified ones who seem genuinely interested. If these are industry-specific customers, places that give you opportunities to reach several industry contacts at once are also a good idea: trade magazines (and their online equivalents), sponsoring industry associations, and even attending trade conferences. These are also great for your professional development in terms of education.
But what if you want to target say 1,000 or 10,000, or 100,000 customers, and let’s say any female homeowner is your target…now your marketing (promotional mix) has to grind a little harder. You could buy a list of names off a broker on the web, and start telemarketing to try to get appointments, but really the initial sales approach isn’t very efficient here. If you need to see them face to face, it would perhaps be better to set yourself up in locations where they will be walking past you, or within range – and put signage where they will see it.
But there are other ways to reach a mass audience. Many radio stations have predominantly female audiences of a certain age. Women are also on social media frequently. Creating social profiles and posting helpful “how to” content can attract the appropriate people to your website. There are tons of other ways as well — and you need to screen these methods through your “Will this actually reach my target customer?” lens. Here is a list of ideas to give you a kick-start. The price ranges represent “the lowest number for which you can get something professional” to a “sure to knock your customers’ socks off” solutions.
Inexpensive Marketing Methods
Choose a Great Business Name - The business name is a critical element to being remembered – and worth getting right. If you want to do-it-yourself, read our article on How to Name a Business. ($2000 – $10,000).
Design a Logo – A logo is not always inexpensive, but it is a must-have. ($2000 – $10,000)
Write a Slogan – A slogan is a short descriptive phrase. It’s optional, but can really reinforce your offering ($600 – $5000)
Website – Developing a website can be free, or nearly free, from an online template (and we recommend WordPress template, so you can update it yourself) or be a substantial investment. It will cost less if you can write it yourself and supply the photography, but if you aren’t good at it, it’s always better to invest in a professional. To save money, put some really clear thought into what you want first – text and photos, on each page of the site. ($5000 – $50,000).
E-Newsletters – Free templates can be set up using Campaign Monitor, or any number of online e-newsletter programs. ($50 – $1000 as a one time, and sometime a small sending fee.)
Social Media Profiles – Set up your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn accounts so that they are all pointing to your business, and customized with logo, photo, and information. There is zero cost to doing so, and if you’re not sure of their function and setup, simply watch some how-to videos on YouTube.
Write a Blog - Writing a blog is free, and easy to do once you have a WordPress website. Creating a blog helps you keep your website content fresh. If you use the SEO Package that comes with WordPress, you can add descriptions to your content, and headings, so that the content helps your site rank for whatever subjects you’re blogging about. Try to keep the blog content relevant to your business, and if you need ideas for blogs, use the Google Adwords Keyword tool for ideas.
Signage – Signage is a critical component of letting your neighbours know you exist. Signage should facilitate people easily finding your location, but also set the tone for what people can expect. A great sign sets up excitement for your business, and gives it a brand personality. We keep a Pinterest page with interesting signage, if you’d like to see it here, CLICK HERE. (Cost $100 for a small sign – $100K or more!). Go as big as you can get a permit for!
Finding Independent Agents - Finding an agent or distributor to sell for you doesn’t typically cost money, but it does take time to find the right fit, establish a relationship, and then support that agent with marketing materials. If you are reaching out geographically, and if your product requires a personal touch (instead of online sales) it could be your best bet. However, always remember to screen your agent thoroughly, and then collaborate with them closely to make the relationship succeed.
Classified Ads – Whether online or in a newspaper, Classified ads are inexpensive and quite targeted. People searching for specific items can locate your ad by category, and it’s a great way to sell one-off or even ongoing inventory of various products. ($25/each)
Community Newsletters – If you’re trying to reach into a specific community, the local area newsletter is a trustworthy resource. Rates are very reasonable, and businesses using this method are generally perceived to be “the neighbourhood’s own” resource ($50 – $500 depending on size of ad.)
Outdoor Advertising – Outdoor advertising covers a variety of media, from lawn signs and bus benches (0 – $200/month) to shopping mall signs and mega-tron video boxes in football stadiums ($5,000 – $50,000 or more). You’d be surprised that if you want to spend a few hundred or a few thousand, you can make a physical presences in your community and build awareness and credibility quickly.
Not Inexpensive, but Affordable Marketing Methods
If you’ve covered off the least expensive methods, and are ready to reach the next level, consider these:
Video – Videos are extremely worthwhile nowadays because they can be used for website or Television, depending on the quality you shoot. ($2000 – $50,000)
Sales Process Development & Training – If you hire a skilled person to develop your sales process and train your team, it can pay off many times over. ($5000 – $10,000)
Outsource Blogging and Search Engine Optimization – Make sure your website is ranking using the help of an expert. This can ensure your content is working its hardest for you. ($1000 – $5000/mo depending on intensity)
Hiring Dedicated Sales Representatives – Salespeople are not inexpensive, but if you cannot do it yourself, it will certainly be worth having someone handle the role. ($30K – $200+K/yr)
Localized Radio Broadcast Advertising - Getting your name on the radio helps people remember it. Attach with a musical slogan and it can become indelible in whichever market you target. ($3000 – $5000/mo per city of 1MM.)
Localized Television Advertising – Sponsoring or advertising around local television content can be a great way to magnify your presence, and become a recognized brand in the community. It can also be done on a much wider scale to build global brands. (Estimate $5000 – $10000/mo for a city of 1MM)
Local Newspaper Advertising – Newspaper is a way to get “immediate” attention on a single day, such as for a splash sale. It is also a great way to build awareness of sales or promotions of price-sensitive items where listing pricing helps to facilitate the traffic (homes, cars, electronics) ($5000 – $8000 for a full page)
Promotional Products - Items that you might brand with your logo — i.e. pens, clothing, giftware can be a great way to be remembered or to gain attention ….we definitely recommend you check the quality and get good ideas from salespeople here. (We recommend www.cstone.ca)
Direct Mail Campaigns – Some might argue this should have been listed in “inexpensive marketing methods” but these generally are somewhat costly in terms of either time delivering, or mailing costs. ($1 – $3 per household is typical, depending on what you’re sending).
Online Advertising – There are tons of new online advertising vehicles to consider. YouTube Advertising Sponsorship, Google Pay Per Click Advertising, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and more. The good thing is that these ads can be very specific, and appear only when the user types in specific keyword searches that are relevant. The budget can also range from $1/day to $100/day or more — that’s the beauty of it — and you can pay by click-throughs (when someone actually visits your website) or by number of impression, making is very easy to track effectiveness.
Mobile Phone Advertising – How about an ad that goes to a mobile phone — via texting or a through a popular app? This media is still very new — programs are based on daily budget for impressions or clicks, $10- $100/day per zone).
Big Budget Marketing Methods
Of course, if you’re ready to go big or go home, here are some of the upper end methods you might consider.
National Broadcast Television Advertising – National television advertising gets a product brand launched into the minds of consumers. Sometimes it is just plain necessary, especially when a product is something the public wouldn’t normally seek out, for example, a revolutionary health procedure, and it requires the credibility of television to be taken seriously. In this case, a public relations campaign to cover the story of your product would also be recommended as a public interest story. Other consumer products, if more easily understood without advertising, can simply be launched with distributors (such as through chain stores) and promoted using in-store means. ($10K+/mo per market)
National Magazine or Newspaper Advertising – National credibility can also be built using well-established print media. This kind of advertising again has the effect of taking products that might be scary and making them seem more mainstream – think of all the disclaimers on the back of the pharmaceutical ads in magazines like People! ($10K – $250K for a full page+ each – check rate cards, most of which are online.)
Celebrity Endorsements – Finally, if you have the deepest pockets, you can get celebrities to endorse your product. This of course comes with the risk that the celebrity may or may not instantly fall from grace due to drug use or other scandals. It’s a quick ticket to the big time, but it can certainly backfire. Always consult an attorney in this area!
For any major budget investment, we recommend you enlist the help of a professional strategist (such as Tenato) and media buying agency (whom we will enlist on your behalf).
How to Build your Promotional Mix
Choose the promotional mix based on the volume, type, and geography of the target customers you are trying to reach. Choose whatever method is the most direct, the most obvious, and the most likely to give you immediate attention the most quickly — and ensure you allow enough budget to carry your campaign on steadily over time (quick hits are forgotten, whereas brand building takes time!). Avoid methods that offer only a “chance” of being seen by the right people.
And of course, ensure your entire promotional mix is being carefully tracked throughout so that you can measure what is working, and what is not.
Now, we know that this list is not exhaustive….and there really are an infinite number of ideas when it comes to marketing. If you’d like to add your ideas (or if you have a new advertising or promotional vehicle you think our readers should know about) let us know, and we’ll post your comments and links.
If you need a hand in really hammering out your promotional mix, please CONTACT US today!
Give us your feedback below – and thanks for reading!
As Google gets better, SEO matters less
I had an interesting training session with Jeremy Kitson of Pixel Science the other day. Since I’ve been handling a lot of Tenato’s content development, I decided I should not only read online and offline sources on SEO (which stands for “search engine optimization” – activities to help a site rank higher in search engines) techniques, but also get some training from various pros in the industry. If you found this site easily, you may have noticed that we’re ranking quite well now on various search terms related to Calgary, market research, and strategy.
How SEO Has Changed
For a long time, I had been thinking about SEO as kind of a “magic” process whereby highly technical experts inserted special tags, links, and formats to make a site rank well. While this used to be 100% true — i.e. said technical experts could use these techniques to “fool” a search engine into thinking the site was valuable or had good content — search engines have gotten smarter. The real goal of the search engine is to emulate the way a human would judge a site, i.e. Does it actually relate to the search term inserted by the user? Is the content fresh? Is is local? Is it structured well? Not very “technical” criterion. But of course, emulating a human brain is probably extremely technical from Google’s perspective!
Search Rankings at Tenato
This might be why our site’s rankings have improved over the past six months: sheer brute force of blogging! In fact, we haven’t contracted any SEO services in about a year, and when we changed the domain, we pretty well had to start from scratch trying to rank. So, we’ve been writing a lot, and then sharing our content online. Yes, there are a few key other things we’ve done, like making sure we’ve gotten legitimate back-links from industry associations in which we’re involved, but none of this could be described as highly technical. It’s just a matter of making sure that when we join these associations, we’ve got our listing up with all the other members, properly filled out and linked back to our website.
The caveat to this is that the person who originally designed the site DID know SEO, and made sure the site was structured well, but once the site was complete, it still had a long way to go to get good rankings.
Conclusion: Writers Should Handle SEO, not IT Types
The major revelation I’ve had through this is that the art of getting a site to rank would be better left up to good content developers (i.e. talented writers) than it is to IT types. Once a website is built and structured well, according to Jeremy, the only ongoing work really required is thoughtful writing to build fresh content, along with perhaps, a little bit of training on how to post it and get it out on Social Media. A couple hours’ training provided to someone who can write well would do far better job of getting rankings than would leaving it to an IT-type person who can’t write to save his life. And in fact, this was verified by my own experience with content development.
So, what sort of content should you write? Well, my friends, that is a question of strategy — what niche you want in the marketplace. And that is certainly where we can assist you – with developing the right market position, developing the content you need, and maybe providing that little bit of SEO training, just in case you’re a good “do it yourselfer”as I am. Call us to chat today and learn more!
Click: The Beauty of Explaining Something Complex in a Simple Fashion
“Do or do not. There is not try,” Yoda, my hero of wisdom once said. It’s not often you come across someone with wisdom on a subject that is so new, you can’t even get a diploma in it. This is why I would like to give kudos to Cameron Prokiw of Vovia for his enlightening presentation Friday on trends in search engine optimization.
For the past 3 – 4 weeks, I have been on a mission to really figure out the big picture of what is really going on with online marketing. So, I went about blogging 3 – 5 times per week, doing onsite optimization of all the content on this website, joining online groups, seeking out key blogs, and tweeting until the wee hours. I also shelled out thousands to attend major conferences such as the Mirren Conference in New York City in early May, and a major Social Media Shift Conference held at MRU.
I think people around me were getting a little tired of my angst in trying to figure out this entire quest. My husband said, “Look, all this social media and blogging crap is completely burning you out!” In addition, two of my associates cornered me into a meeting to tell me they were worried about me. You get the picture.
However, as a person who at the age of 9 learned how to do a Labyrinth game backwards and forwards with not only my hands, but my toes, I am not one to give up easily. (Not to mention an obsession with conquering all 8 levels of Super Mario brothers – luckily I have steered clear of video games since!)
The problem has been that on this quest, I was mired in a lot of conflicting information about what works, and what doesn’t. What? Meta tags don’t matter? Commenting on blogs is a waste of time? Why wasn’t all my great new content getting traction? I had asked my own online marketing guru, but it is easy to see how a big-picture understanding can mired by technical and tactical issues.
This is why I would like to thank Cameron. I decided to attend 1 hour free lunch-and-learn presentation by Cameron Prokiw, founder of Vovia, on trends in search engine optimization. As a fellow who has been immersed in SEO for 14 years, he had created a simple chart showing what factors actually made a difference to search rankings.
Here’s a quick taste. In 1994, meta tags made up 100% of the factors by which pages ranked. Tag your page right, and it would rank for those words. Then a couple years later, the search engines realized that the content on the page was also important, so the importance of meta tags dropped to 50%, and page content mattered the other 50%. Then a few years later, the links pointing to your site , ie, “off-page factors” began to matter. So the proportions changed again. Cameron took us through the whole picture, showing what today’s make-up is, and where it’s going – with about 7 important factors, only about 4 which I was personally aware of.
Now, I’m talking about Cameron’s presentation, so I won’t give it all away, but he laid it out in a beautiful and simple graph, that not only made perfect sense, but showed an enlightening big-picture overview of what’s really going on. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re now dying to see his presentation. I asked him about making it available, and he said he’s going to post a blog at Vovia, which will be the place to look (if it’s not already live by the time this posts.)
Funny how you can spend thousands to get a clear picture, running all over the place to fancy conferences, wasting countless hours… and then a quiet, humble guy (with a very successful online marketing company, mind you) sums it all up in one hour with a free sandwich.
The funniest part? Cameron doesn’t even use Twitter!
I guess 14 years in SEO = 900 years in Yoda.
But even for Marketers, Change is Good
If you’re a marketing company, advertising agency, or even an in-house marketing professional, you probably know what when the going gets tough in a company, you and your projects get axed first. It ought NOT to be this way, but it is.
On the other side of the fence, which people CAN’T a company easily walk away from? It’s the computer-savvy IT-oriented people – the ones technical enough that, without them, no one has a clue how to run things. These people have job security.
In light of the above, consider what happens when IT types and marketers must converge to build business-driving initiatives through online marketing and e-commerce. Some marketers will run and hide. And others, the ones who learn to work with it, and stick it out, will have power – power to drive new business, and the metrics to back it up and keep their jobs. Yeah!
I’m here in New York City learning about how the world of marketing has been completely turned on its ear as a result of the growing importance the internet. Coming from Cowtown, Canada, I expected that most of top agency people here in the Big Apple would be well ahead of what we’re doing in little old Canada, but I’m quite surprised to discover that this is not the case.
Not one has yet shown how online metrics can be used to uncover competitive positions and build strategy. No one has really cracked which kinds of content really drives business, or shown ways to generate it quickly and inexpensively. Even a company specializing in market intelligence hadn’t heard of social media sentiment monitoring(?). (I gave them Canadian-based Sysomos‘ name!) But I’ve got two days to go, so the jury’s still out. Did I mention there are loads of people using Blackberry phones here (yay Canada)?
While there are some very forward thinking speakers here, I was surprised to see that so far, not many of the attendees were really deep into online integration yet. So the coming days will tell where the Canucks stack up, and where we’ve got to go next.
The morning began with a fellow who goes by the title of “Digital Prophet” at AOL, David “Shingy” Shing. His appearance is the first thing that catches you – a young Asian fellow with hair spiked in every direction, black leather and high top sneakers with big yellow wings – a strong resemblance to Edward Scissorhands, actually. But the second thing was the pace at which his presentation zinged by. He went so fast, blasting through websites, technology, etc. that everyone just shut up, trying to catch as much information as we could while it was all flying past. Shingy whizzed by tons of interesting stats about user growth and endless examples of what a few elite tech-savvy digital agencies had accomplished before most of us knew what a hash tag was.
On the other hand, it was kind of neat to have a speaker give you a high-level taste of what was to come for the weekend, and the pace certainly added to the feeling of “gotta know this – yesterday!”
The overall message: People don’t want to be pushed ads anymore, they want to interact and engage with your brand. Whether you take a print or billboard ad and create an “augmented reality” element, get people to use a QR Code to scratch and win, tag your images with “Stipple” content, or simply write good blogs so that you stimulate meaningful online conversations, the direction is clear: Marketers must go beyond “brand awareness” and get people into an experience that connects them and excites them to want to share it, and come back for more.
Yes, it’s difficult for most companies to learn this, at least quickly. However, if we do it, we have an opportunity to really take that interaction, and grab that data off of it as never before – and use it to prove that it’s working, vital and valuable.
The model, as I see it, is like this:
And even without the initial “Reality” interaction, the point is that when you get an online interaction, you get data, and the data gives you the GOLD: proof of what’s working and what’s not. And as long as you get it right, the proof is a positive thing!
So as marketers, we should see this as a good thing: Don’t learn it, and get early retirement. Or learn it, and get a serious chance at job security.
I’d write more, but I now have about 15 web sites I’ve gotta look at NOW!! Stay tuned for more blogging and tweeting in the coming days!
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!
Do numbers really matter all THAT much? It seems like people judge you immediately by how many followers you have on Twitter – and that some numbers just don’t make sense. Recently I came across a site with a total of 20 tweets, and it had about 7000+followers. The tweeter certainly wasn’t a celebrity. Clearly, there are people out there working the system, and finding ways to create exaggerated profiles of themselves.
But, since numbers seem to still have an influence, and since I haven’t made a concerted effort on Twitter until about 3 weeks ago (read: As of the beginning of this blog, I have less than 200 followers) I thought I should see what could be done to accelerate my little sphere of influence, so to speak!
So I started doing some investigating into various websites. Turns out you can buy followers, or buy “seeds” to get followers, or buy “billboards”. Here’s the low-down:
- www.fiverr.com Well this site surprised and tempted me. 3200 followers for only $5. The site is basically a classified dollar store, with a service theme –i.e. “what will you do/give for $5?” People post things like “I will give you a video testimonial for your business saying anything you want,” “I will doodle your face” and really weird things like “I will be the secret admirer you never wanted” for 5 BUCKS. While its by far the cheapest way I saw to grab followers, one has to question this….if Twitter is aware of these kinds sites (of course they are – because their mere existence undermines Twitter’s own legitimacy) then they might be “planting” fake accounts to catch people trying to buy followers. This would be a really fast way to get your account shut down, wouldn’t it? I’m also told that if you get phony followers, they will “unfollow” you just as fast, and that would be a waste, and a ruin of your reputation.
- www.klict.com I had a look at this site, and for some reason it wasn’t very user friendly. In fact, my browser said it prevented the site from opening no less than 18 popup windows. So I should just hope I didn’t get a virus by visiting it.
- www.tweinds.com This looked like a legitimate site, where basically they use you “seeds” and advertise your account to people they think might want to follow your content. It seemed kind of pricey. You can state your interests, but not target geographically beyond the “country” level. Packages range from $29.95 for a one time purchase of 1250 “seeds” to $99.95/week to get 1000 seeds daily. You offer your “seeds” to other Tweeters as a bonus for checking you out. Then, they can spend them to advertise for themselves. It’s not directly “buying” accounts, but it sort of it like a “carrot” – the problem is, nowhere on the site does it give any approximate performance numbers. So I risked $29.95, and then another $9.95 (about $40 bucks)…and offered 8 seeds/follow (a little better than the 7 that the other were doing) and off these virtual “seeds” went. It was a little like watching money fly away – but the followers did grab them. Anyway, for my $40, I purchased about 2000 seeds, and I’ve gotten 250 new followers; but it remains to be seen whether any of them will stick! I will keep you posted. If they don’t stick, it probably isn’t worth it. A lot of people will follow, and then “unfollow” very quickly, so as to ensure they look like they are being “followed” more than “following.” Everyone wants to be chased, after all, not do the chasing!
With that said, I’ve done my wee “seeding” experiment. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not – but better to risk on our dime than our clients’! I’ll post again in a couple days. By the way, from the start of writing this blog, to the end, I went from 155 followers to 406. If I’m back down to 155 in two days, I will let you know. At least www.tweinds.com says they have a money-back guarantee. So of course, I’ll tell you if that works as well, if I need to!
Are you tired of seeing your competitors hit #1 on Google, while your website languishes on page 2, 3 or nowhere at all? Or, are you paying for pay-per-click advertising to compensate for this, yet getting none of the desirable traffic you need? Good news: Google isn’t random, nor has it been paid off by your competitors through some sneaky back-room deal.
Google’s methodology for determining website rankings (also known as Google’s “algorithm”) is made up of several factors – factors which are, in fact, constantly being tweaked. Why is this? There are millions of websites trying to rank, and some of the SEO (search engine optimization) firms who are hired to get their clients’ sites ranking don’t hesitate to use sneaky tactics.
For example, a few years ago, Google determined a page’s ranking for a given keyword phrase such as “real estate” based on the number of times that key phrase appeared in the text of the page. Rather than create quality content about the subject of real estate, these SEO firms would add the phrase “real estate”, over and over again, repeated on the page, in a text colour that matched the background so that a human reader wouldn’t notice it, while at the same time, it would fool the search engine’s robotic reader into thinking there was lots of content about real estate on that page. Of course, Google soon got smart, and punished those sites by dropping their rankings when it discovered the trick.
In the SEO world, these are called “Black Hat” techniques, because people know they are wrong, and take advantage of some loophole in Google’s algorithm. The problem is, they are generally temporary, and often result in a website’s being penalized by Google in the end. The good news is, there are also “White Hat” techniques that, while they take a little more work, have lasting, enduring effects on gaining positive rankings. Here are some of the key principles of good white hat techniques.
1. Lots of content in text form. Write regularly about your area of expertise, and add this content in text form to your website, preferably in a blog. Blogs should be 400 – 1000 words, and contain key words and phrases that people are likely to be searching for. This will build you a treasure trove of information, and Google will see that your site knows a great deal about your subject area. (With good research, you can also find out what your competition is ranking on, which will help you choose your content direction.)
2. Label your content. The title and description you use for your content are important. If you use WordPress to create your blog (an open source platform that can be plugged in as a page to an existing website), then the program will ask you for a title for your blog. Now, if your blog’s title exactly or closely matches a commonly used keyword phrase, your blog post may actually rank on that keyword phrase. For example, if your blog is titled “How to Market a Small Business” it will probably generate many more hits than “Strategic Principles of Small Business Marketing.” Google has a keyword search tool that will allow you to input your keywords – and it will shoot back a long list of related variations of your keyword phrase. These variations show the amount of traffic on each phrase and the level of competition for that key phrase. (For accuracy, you may also wish to select which country you are in, to localize for country-specific dialects). Ideally, you want a phrase with lots of traffic, and little competition. You can also use this tool to get ideas for new blog posts!
3. Release your content. Now, imagine you’ve just written a really helpful blog post – wouldn’t it be a shame if nobody ever knew it was there? If you’ve got a good label, people searching for that content WILL find your blog. But, the next step is to take advantage of social media. Write a short post on Facebook and Twitter and use a grabbing headline such as, “Easy marketing tips for your small business.” Then paste in the link to your site. This will let people know the content is there. While on Facebook, this content will only reach your friends or fans, on Twitter there is much more potential. Even if you only have a few fans, you can include a “hashtag” – this means a “#” before your keyword, for example #marketing or #smallbusiness – so that people who are following streams of keywords on a given subject will see your content on that subject, and then check out what you have to say. You can also search for good hashtag ideas; your city hashtag, which generally corresponds to the airport code (calgary is #yyc) may attract the attention of Calgary media who are trolling Twitter for local stories.
4. Build good back links. If people from around the world are checking our your content through Twitter, will they really become clients? Maybe not, but the fact they are visiting, and potentially making a link to your site will help. This is due to “back links” – another important Google metric. When websites first came out, a lot of people put a “links” page on the site, which linked the user out to dozens or hundreds of other places they could go for more information. This really had no positive effect on the site’s ranking. What DOES help the ranking is the number of sites linking BACK to you. These are like “votes” from other sources saying, “This site contains something worth looking at.” The more sites that link back to you, the higher Google will perceive your site’s value, and the higher it will rank you. Now, back links can be generated in many ways. There are thousands of generic “directory” sites where you can list your website for free – and this is usually what SEO companies do – send out an automatic listing to these free directories, which link back to your site. That part is easy, and something any SEO can do for a client’s site within a couple of hours. But to really secure good rankings, you need to get QUALITY back links. For example, did your company appear in the media recently? You many already have a link back from their site. Of if you wrote an article they ran, you should ensure they include the back link as a stipulation of providing the article. Or, do you have an association, or government department? Getting live links from from .gov, .org and .edu websites greatly enhance your Google rankings. Sites such as PRWeb and Canada Newswire will also release your content, and give you ongoing, powerful back links.
5. Your website’s optimization. The structure of your website is very important to its ability to rank. Some sites contain mostly images, lots of flash, and very little pure text. Remember that text is the most important factor, and should not be embedded into images. Ensure the pages within your site are optimized separately according to the content that appears within each page (for example, if you distribute several branded products, give each one a page and label it “BRANDNAME” in “YOURCITY” - matching the key phrases on which people are searching. Finally, content such as video and photographs can also help you if you have them tagged appropriately – label your images with descriptive keywords (for example, an image of an ice cream cone is titled icecreamcone.jpg instead of image1112.jpg), likewise with videos – title, and tag!
The good news is that 1) Google is not random 2) It is not illogical, and 3) It is not expensive to rank well. It just takes knowledge, and persistence. At Tenato, we can assist you in strategizing your decisions on which areas you wish to rank, help you develop excellent content, and drive the right kind of business, helping you rank well on Google in a sustainable, consistent fashion.
Would you like to know more? Contact us to have a chat.