Making The Most of Your Total Online Presence

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blackboard with textYour company’s online presence is a huge opportunity to grow your business.

Unfortunately, it’s also an excellent opportunity rob you blind . . . of your time if you aren’t careful.  BUT . . .

Here are five (5) ‘basic’ options that will:

1.  build your online presence, and

2.  require very little time to maintain

Create a Google Alert for key brand, industry, client and competitive terms
You can create an ‘alert’ on Google for any phrase, name, competitor, client, etc. to stay current about their online mentions and activities.  I’m often surprised to learn what a client (or, competitor) is doing.  Often the only way I’d learn what they’re doing is when a Google Alert tells me about them!

Create Twitter lists of your clients, competitors and key media contacts.
Lists on Twitter are a great way to create highly targeted groups of key people for you and your business.  If a message is more relevant to some than others, have a list of those who are most likely to enjoy it.  At the same time, lists that segment your contacts can help you ‘tune in’ to what your clients, competitors, peers are saying.  Very helpful!

Create a Google Reader account and follow 25 ‘Top Dog’ blogs in your industry
People are talking, aren’t they?  But it’s hard to keep up, right?  Wrong.  So go to Google, create a Reader account and ‘subscribe’ to some great minds offering the best and brightest ideas for your industry.  A quick scan of recent posts will make you a ‘sparkling conversationalist’ at your next meeting with clients.

Use social media settings in your CRM and add Rapportive to your email
Wouldn’t you love a personal assistant who can whisper in your ear everything someone you know has been doing online?  Rapportive is a great plug-in / add-on that will do that for you.  It saves you time and makes you wise.  How cool is that?

Monitor mentions using tools such as TweetDeckHootSuite or SproutSocial 
These are called ‘Listening Posts’ for a (very) good reason.  They search out ‘mentions’ of you, your firm, your competitors, trends you’re watching, etc. and ‘deliver’ them to you.  Again, these serve to keep you ‘in-the-know’ about what’s important to you and, once you set them up, they work 24/7 for you.  Cool, huh?

KEY POINT:
Creating your total online presence begins by LISTENING . . . but it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to do it if you use technology wisely! 

LIVE Webinar from KC, MO — Noon, May 23rd

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Do you know what 90% of your prospects and customers do? They ROBO.

So what does ROBO stand for?

Research Online to Buy Offline and it’s one of the most important dynamics that local business needs to understand in order to gain a competitive local advantage.

In conjunction with Small Business Week in the United States Duct Tape Marketing Founder, John Jantsch is presenting a live webcast where he’ll present . . .

5 Ways to Use Your Online Presence to Drive People Into Your Stores Meetings Presentations and Offices.

We’ll stream the event from a recording studio with multiple cameras and slides so the experience will be a lot like attending an in person event at a conference.

The event is being held Wednesday, May 23rd at Noon, EST 

You can join the thousands of small business marketers that tune in via the web, or . . .  you can join a group of CT businesspeople hosted by Farmington Bank and SellMore Marketing — your Duct Tape Marketing Consultant in your area.

Either way, this is must know information for local businesses.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

KEY POINT:
When you enroll you will automatically receive the recorded version after the event — even if you can’t attend in-person!

Getting Found Online

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Google SearchOK, so yesterday . . . I made a post on this blog: “Inbound Marketing in Connecticut”.

Today — just one day later — I do a search on Google for what I’d like to think a prospective client might type into Google assuming, of course, that they were interested in ‘Inbound Marketing’ and entered (as many do) a geographic factor i.e. ‘Connecticut’.

Relevance Makes You Rise To The TOP!
Well, lo and behold . . . My post is found on PAGE 1 of the Google search for the phrase (some call it a ‘long-tail keyword’) that was the title of my post.  (you can check it for yourself — click the image to open in a new window!).  

What Were The Ingredients That Worked?
First, I
t was only 230 words (quality beats quantity in a blog post, folks!). Second, I used the keyword phrase ‘inbound marketing’ but in a meaningful and relevant way.  Third, I included a video that was ranked well on YouTube.  Fourth, I used the phrase (keyword) ‘Outbound Marketing’. Nothing magical there.  Just basic SEO that you can do, too.

Something is missing from yesterday’s post, though.  Can you tell what it is?  If not, I’ll share it tomorrow.

KEY POINT:
Content attracts people who are looking for what you do . . . so plan to use it effectively in 2012. 

Inbound Marketing in Connecticut

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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
One of many changes I’ve seen this year is the movement toward marketing that focuses on ‘Inbound’ strategies and tactics vs. ‘outbound’ strategies and tactics.

It’s kind of cute . . . but also accurate to depict the ‘old’ with the ‘new’ marketing along the lines of the famous Apple vs. PC commercials . . . Enjoy!

OUT is ‘Out’ and IN is ‘In’
In 2012, we live in a robust web-based world — based on the fact that tweets, texts, email on your smartphone, and even McDonald’s has free WIFI.  You may or may not like that but . . . you can’t really ignore it, either.

The fact that we’re so digital has irrvevocably changed the world as we (once) knew it.

Marketing  . . . Then and Now
Not too long ago, if you were going to ‘do some marketing’ . . . you were likely thinking about running ads, making phone calls (cold calls!), sending out direct mailings, attending trade shows and the like.  Without a web-based medium (i.e. the Internet), what other choices did you have?  None, really.

Today, the options and expectations for marketing your business have changed.  Seriously changed!  The name for the new approach is ‘Inbound’ (vs. outbound) marketing.  This refers to being found — online — by people who want and are searching for what you can offer and/or do for them.

KEY POINT:
It’s a ‘Brave New World’ . . . are you planning to be in it?

Don’t (just) Chum . . . CATCH!

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In the movie, “Jaws!” there’s a scene where the shark hunters are chumming — putting a vile-smelling concoction of fish parts over the side to attract sharks to the boat for a ‘great day of fishing!”.

As you may also recall, Roy Schneider’s character got a classic line when, after chumming, ‘Jaws’ rears his head out of the water startling Schneider and he says, “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat”.

Bigger boat? Are you kidding me?  How about a bigger HOOK or HARPOON or NET or . . . something to catch what you attract!

Attraction is Good . . . Catching is Better!
Attracting the shark was only 50% of their challenge’.  The other 50% was actually catching it!. It’s no different for your business and your website visitors.  If all you do is attract visitors to your website but you don’t catch them . . . all your work to attract them to you in the first place will be for naught!

Are You Capturing Your Website Visitors?
A recent survey of over 2.500 SMB’s by MerchantCircle/Reply.com revealed that ”SEO Is The Single Most Important Marketing Channel For Small to Mid Size Businesses.”

As the graph shows, SEO or Seach-Engine-Optimization was easily the most attractive option.

OK, that’s nice –– a nice START!  Merely attracting traffic won’t put money in your bank.  You have to ‘convert’ your visitors into qualified leads.  If you don’t you’re wasting your time and money on SEO-only vendors.

KEY POINT:
If you ‘only’ attract traffic to your website but you don’t convert faceless visitors into viable prospects, all the SEO in the world will be for naught! 

6 Questions to Ask Every Client (#6)

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What would you type to find firms like ours on GOOGLE?

As you probably know, it’s 2011 and marketing is increasingly less about interrupting potential clients to share your messages and more about being found by prospects when they are searching for an answer or solution you have to offer.

That’s the basis of Inbound Marketing — being find-able when people are searching online for what you offer.  The way you get found, of course, is to have content on your website that’s based on the very phrases (i.e. keywords) that people are searching for on Google.

So asking your Ideal Client, “What would you type into Google to find firms like ours / that do what we do?” is going to really help you create content that is going to increase your attraction and traffic levels.  Nice!

KEY POINT:
Learning WHAT people would use to find a firm like yours makes it easier for you to create content that will make them find you . . . rather than your competitors 

What’s Your Magic Number?

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I just read a great post by a Marcus Sheriden.  Marcus is in the pool & spa business serving the VA and MD area. He’s been through some rough times in the last few years.  He was embezzled out of over $200K in 2005, the economy tanked in ’08 and (oh, yes!) the IRS  actually put a lien on his home to help ‘get his attention’.

Inbound Marketing . . . to the rescue
In 2009, Marcus started using Hubspot to attract interested people to his website.  And his business is doing very well — even though many others in his industry have closed their doors.  He owes it all to learning how to be a business that attracts prospects to him — AKA ‘Inbound Marketing’ and using the Hubspot platform to do that easily and effectively.

The Magic Number: “30 Page Views”
Marcus discovered something very interesting using Hubspot’s built-in website analytics.  Specifically, he’s seen a positive correlation between:

•  the number of website pages someone visits, and
•  their propensity to buy a pool from him

Marcus learned that if a prospective client has at least 30 unique ‘page views’ they present his company with an 80% or better chance of buying a pool.  And with over 600 pools sold and installed by his company, Marcus’ insight is worth noting!

KEY POINT:
The more familiar prospects are with your business, the more likely they are to buy 

Generating Business with LinkedIn — Part 4

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We took a break yesterday from this theme of ways to use LinkedIn.  Now, it’s back to work!  ‘-)

An Example Worth Noting
The other day I mentioned that sharing your expertise on LinkedIn, by answering questions posed by other members, helps your VCR (visibility, credibility and reputation).  While looking at some questions on ‘marketing’ (my area — you look in yours!) I found a truly ‘killer’ response to a question on whether management consulting and internet marketing were mutually exclusive or, not.

In fact, I liked his answer so much that I ‘tracked down’ the person who posted it — a Carl Diamond who owns Diamond Website Conversion — a firm from the Seattle, WA area:

I then sent him a short note of appreciation acknowledging the superb quality of his answer.  Well, before the day was over, Carl had replied to me and we had become part of each other’s LinkedIn network.  More importantly, the foundation was laid for a possible future collaboration between us.

Will that ever happen?  Who knows.  But I do know this — if we never connected, the chance for something coming from this day would have been 0% — GUARANTEED!

KEY POINT:
Social networking is about planting seeds of opportunity . . . then nurturing those opportunities until they blossom! 

Generating Business with LinkedIn — Part 3

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OK. LinkedIn is a great online venue for generating business opportunities.  Potentially.  But to realize the benefits of this powerful professional networking site, you need to use it.  Here are some ideas:

LinkedIn Answers
One of the ways you can get noticed very quickly by a significant and diverse group of people on LinkedIn is to simply answer questions other members are posting in hopes of finding good answers.  Merely answering questions in your area of expertise gives you great visibility to many LinkedIn members.

If your answer is chosen as ‘best’, that gives you some bragging rights on LinkedIn.  In fact, LinkedIn will post that on your profile for you.  Free PR!  it never hurts!  Also, whether you ‘win’ or not, if someone else likes your answer, they may check out your profile and then reach out to you directly.  Yes, it does happen!

LinkedIn Search
You have a lot of options here. One is to use LinkedIn’s ‘search’ function (upper right screen) to find a business you’re interested in.  Assuming the firm’s name pops up, click on it.  You’ll then see anyone you are already connected to as well as people in the business you may want to know better.  Now, generating some powerful and personal connections should be relatively easy for you to do.

More to come tomorrow!

 

Generating Business with LinkedIn — Part 2

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Regardless which approach you choose to use (and BOTH is a very good option!) there’s one thing you must be sure to do or neither approach is likely to be productive.

The King and I
Yul Brenner, the iconic actor, was renowned for portraying the Kind of Siam in Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, “The King and I”.  One of the songs in that play was, “Getting To Know You”. The lyrics are: “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you . . .”.  It’s a good idea to do this on LinkedIn, too.

It’s Not About You
Social media in general and LinkedIn in particular are not about marketing that interrupts other people.  You want to ‘blend in’ to join in with the LinkedIn member community.

Take the time to really understand who you may want to approach — directly or indirectly.  Study their profile.  View their connections to other people and groups on LinkedIn.  Learn what you both have in common.  Engage with people based on what’s interesting to them. You’ll be far more interesting to them as well.   And do this all before you ever approach anyone on LinkedIn for an overt business purpose.

KEY POINT:
Getting to know LinkedIn members before you approach them is smart!