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Hello all blog readers and ships at sea…

I have one housekeeping note for my readers. I am all for sharing the latest tools of internet marketing, but PLEASE don’t use my blog comments as a place to advertise. I will just delete, or mark your posts as SPAM. When you have a JV opportunity which you want to share contact me offline. Enough said.

We’ve been having some really rough weather here in Connecticut. Bad rain last week, and third day or watching the rain fall this week sparked thoughts of traffic. Not the crappy traffic on I-95, 84, or any other major highway, no I’m thinking about website traffic.

Many prospective customers ask “how can my small business reach more customers on the web?” Technically there is the fast lane method and a slow lane method. You really need a mix of both to get effective website marketing success.

Slow Lane methods are institutional advertising – branding marketing. Yellow Pages, Newspaper, Mailers, Snail Mail, Signage, Brochures, Business Cards, etc. All valid but a much slower way to reach customers.

Fast Lane Marketing – hit the customer where they are looking for a product or service…right on the web. This is why you need to be ranked on Google. Statistics prove people don’t look past the first three pages of Google. This is why ranking high on search engine traffic (for keywords) are so critical.

There are several different ways to get your website recognized on the web. First consider the age of the domain. Let’s say for arguments sake you’ve been on the web for five years. Google will give you more rank recognition than someone who just got onto the web last week. Really this isn’t something you can control, so it “is what it is.”

Second – how many people visit your website from keywords on the browser? This is where my business (and other competitors) enjoys a love/hate relationship with Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. Obviously we know the insider secrets of the HTML code and what the big dogs at Google are looking for.

Back to the traffic conundrum (for my fellow readers a conundrum is a question without an answer).

Third you should have content that people want to see. Let’s say you put together a website that is static. This is something that stays the same year in and year out. BORING! Don’t change your website look and content every day, but have some interesting content to lure your visitors back. Website surfers (and Google or other search engines) have the attention span of a 2-year old. They get bored and move on to another site if you don’t have something new to say.

Last, share links with other website. Google loves links, especially links with educational or civic organizations. Link building adds legitimacy to your website. This is the equivalent method of being recommended by a friend or colleague.

Now let’s focus on local versus global traffic. When you are a Brick and Mortar business focus on local website marketing. A civic organization like the local Chamber of Commerce usually has a website which is linking tool. Use the local website marketing techniques especially if your business comes from a small circumference from your front door. Now if you’re service is delivered electronically you may have to compete on a global level. That means you’re going to look at global traffic such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Adwords and possibly PPC campaigns.

When you are reviewing your 2011 marketing plan do a quick market research project, think Show Me the Money! Review your 2010 revenue and sales. Once you’ve determined who those customers are, and where they live, and how they found you, adjust your marketing plan to reach more of the same type of people.

I’ll close with this…focus your energy on running your business. I found that when you are a small business owner you can get distracted. One of my favorite authors about personal development and time management is Dr. Steven Covey. Currently I’m reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” for the 30th time. My advice is balance your time and commitments. Pay someone to get you on the right road with website marketing. Consultants can move you much further ahead than doing it on your own. As always contact me if you have a website marketing project – BestSEOintown

Market Well To Enjoy More Profits!
Christine

P.S. – check out my friend blog (Daily Marketing Tips - http://www.dailydirectmarketingtips.com). You’ll uncover a treasure trove of information about marketing

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Howdy all – we’re enjoying a rainy, windy night – hope the power stays on… So far so good

Thought I would talk about something related to customer conversations this week. Should I use mailing lists to promote my business service? Short answer – YES!

I remember back to my first marketing job selling mailing lists. I didn’t appreciate what I was holding in my hands. Really a mailing list is a legal money printing press. I should have paid closer attention, or read some of those direct mail proofs and mockups. It was marketing gold wrapped up in great copy. I didn’t realize what a goldmine selling “CPM Sweepstakes Yes” and “Ecofriendly Affluent buyers” would be. Mailing lists reach deep into the pockets of targeted hungry customers!

Next question I’m asked – how do I write a sales letter? First suggestion – call me. If that isn’t in the cards remember there are two different types of writers in business. People who breakout in a cold sweat when they have to write, and people who believe they can beat the best copywriter at their own game.

Here’s the big secret… you don’t need to be an excellent writer to be a great copywriter. The trick is to give your prospects something to salivate over, and offer them an ethical bribe within great copy! For people who write use AIDA (AIDA isn’t my girlfriend) – AIDA is a standard formula for writing marketing copy.

Attention – Grab your reader in the first few words. You only have 10 seconds to get them to read your email or letter. Attention starts right from the beginning: Jump off the page promises, controversial title of an article, the punch you in the face headline, or an awesome offer on the envelope. You are starting to get the picture of getting attention.

Interest – Keep your readers attention. Whether you’re writing an e-mail autoresponder series or a 20-page sales letter speak directly to your audience. Remember the term WIFFM – or what’s in it for me. Frame your text with the reader in mind. The best way to write is keep a mental image in your mind who you’re speaking to. What do they care about, what’s their pain, and how can you fix the problem.

Desire – You want to tap into a pool of white-hot burning desire. You want to tease, tempt and tantalize them. Leave them wanting what you offer. I hate to say it but you’re performing an old fashioned striptease when you write great copy.

Last A is Action – Tell them how to take action. Don’t write great copy, put together an irresistible offer. Just remember to ask for another date. This means give them 10 different ways to buy what you’re offering. The sooner the better on your call to action. Get them to purchase on the web.

I realize I just posted this but I wanted to add one more thing… Take away their objections. Give them a money-back guarantee. Take away all the fear of doing business with you. Of course you put yourself at risk, but if your business service is as good as you’ve promised you don’t have to worry about returns.

Remember good copy can overcome a lot of objections. Let me reiterate – don’t let direct marketing’s bad reputation spoil the party. People who hate direct mail don’t understand its power. They think direct mail is cheesy. They assume people will judge them as a blue suede shoe salesman running a second class business. Nothing is further from the truth – you are a smart business person. Bottom line – direct mail & direct website marketing works.

Until next time – keep those comments coming – I appreciate people reading the blog. If you have a copy project or need research for writing projects give us a ring.

All my best – Christine

Please check out my Search Engine and Social Marketing website


I found found a great blog for marketing information – visit it – join the mailing list

Daily Marketing Tips

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Howdy everyone in cyberspace. I’ve been getting some great feedback from people. It’s exciting that someone is actually reading the blog, so keep those cards and letters coming. Today I’m focused on a kitchen renovation.

I’ve been considering remodeling my kitchen for about a year now. UGHHH – I’ve done most of the house at this point, but now I have the big nut to crack – the heart of my house. The kitchen is about 25 years old, and badly in need of a modernization. Bonus renovating my kitchen will keep my home value in the current housing market. Once I started to put the plan together I realized what a daunting task this could become. Not only from the perspective of cost, but time, and inconvenience. I forgot having a major part of my house out of commission for a few weeks will cause chaos. Why am I blathering about renovating my kitchen? Well it is right in line with my topic of renovating a marketing plan.

I have a feeling that many business owners have the same impression about updating a marketing plan as I do about updating my kitchen. In their minds updating a marketing plan is as much fun as a deep cleaning at the dentist.

I found during consulting meetings many small business owners didn’t bother to create a marketing plan in the first place. WHAT?? You need to know where you want to go to actually reach a destination. Personally I don’t take a trip without a map, or at least an idea of where I want to go. Obviously if your in that boat there are lots of tools for you to create a plan. One that incorporates daily business needs with your future marketing expenditures. Remember time never stands still, and your marketing plan is a work in process. You’ll pull it out often – especially if you’re updating a piece of your marketing home.

Now let me touch on one of my favorite marketing tools – a website. Here are a few helpful renovation tips for a website.

Flash is a cartoon superhero, period. Please get rid of flash on a website, especially a landing page. Yikes, flash reminds me of my parents 1974 avocado green appliances. Trendy in it’s day, but out of favor in 2010.

Along those lines please get rid of audio features you can’t turn off. How many people are surfing the web during the business hours – Do you want to put them on the unemployment line?

Last pet peeve’s…old homemade website pages with tons of affiliate banner ads. Yes I have a few on the site, but they are useful to a customer who wants to “do-it-themselves” – I can’t control everyone’s marketing. Might as well give them some free ideas.

Nice part about updating a website – it can be your best tool for marketing. Flexible, easily updated, bottom line…there are a lot of new options in 2010. Use the web to your advantage with search engine optimization (http://www.bestseointown.com) look at the different types of optimization tools you can incorporate.

OK, I’ve taken a few deep breaths. I know that people instinctively hate change. Moving from a comfort zone isn’t a favorite activity. Remember there are some easy-peesy-lemonsqueezy ideas to put a new coat of paint on your website.

You can freshen up your website with a new theme. WordPress is a great tool, and even a novice can put new themes onto a website. I had one theme for a while, but eventually picked the one I’m using today. WordPress is a blog tool so you can put your thoughts out on the web in word form.

Last thought for today. By all means, make your website your own creative venture. Feature your USP on your little space of the universe. Let your customer’s know what you can do for them. They should be able to know within 10 seconds what you do, and WIFFM (what’s in it for them).

Happy Marketing – Make it a profitable week
Christine

P.S. – For those who wonder, yes I can be grammatically challenged (must have missed a few days in grammar school). So if you catch something please let it slide. I’m an internet researcher and marketing person, not an English teacher. :-)

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This was the recap of the blog I posted on Merchant Circle earlier this month.

Today business owners have so many more options in marketing. Questions that come up during conversations… “Should I spend my day blogging or checking Facebook? How about LinkedIn? Local website marketing? Is print dead or the best place for a bargain? Should I spend money on direct mail? What about my website – how much information should I put there? How often should I update information…” the list goes on and on. These are all good questions – while the answers are case specific – are you looking for visibility or sales?

Ahhh – so many questions, so little money (or time) to try them all. My first suggestion is “STOP TRYING MARKETING!”

Personally I hate the word try. Trying is weak, and you’re already expecting to fail (or receive minimal success). Both advertising sales people and consultants say “Let’s try this – or that” Business owners think “if it doesn’t succeed it was his/her idea – I’m just following orders…” Belch – time to get rid of that thinking.

Many business owners are confused about website marketing. Most of our consultations center on using on-line marketing to get the most out of a small marketing budget.

Traffic, visibility, hits, eyes – website owners call it different words, but it’s all about people clicking on a link to visit your website or ad. My opinion – most of the time branding a company through advertising is a waste of time. People buy from people, and the mood of the country is “don’t trust anyone, especially a business.” You can’t buy credibility with print, web or traditional advertising. Put a bio, picture and map – put a human face on your website.

Next idea for a business owner – have a happy customer or colleague recommend your business or services. Word of mouth advertising is really important for small budgets. One caveat – you can’t buy great press – but you can be devastated by bad web press.

Be aware consumers are brazen with their opinions on the web – it’s still anonymous and everyone has a comment. Many websites (Yahoo Local, Yelp, Etc.) allow consumers an opportunity to post their opinion about anything. One dissatisfied customer can blow-up the best website marketing plan with a low customer rating or bad opinion.

Last thought for today – have you developed a customer mailing list to share news? Write an an e-zine monthly, put a blog together. There are so many places in the world where you can control the marketing message for low cost. Those are usually really effective, but lower cost means a longer time frame.

Well that’s enough for today – Stay busy and make money.

To your success…
Christine Cavaliero

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Shark Tank Blog – August

August 23rd, 2010 | Posted by Christine in Shark Tank Blog - (0 Comments)

This summer has been brutal.  Heat, humidity, rain, more heat, no rain – yuck.  Customers have been MIA, unless you’re working with Air Conditioning or a vacation destination.  People are spending money again on themselves and their needs.

Something  business people can be thankful for – the economy has settled down – at least a little bit.

Summer is almost over so let’s talk about Fall – and how it correlates to a business cycle.

Fall is a mature product, or a core promotion.  Something that is a stable part of your marketing mix.  This is the 80/20 rule!  Most of your business is coming from a small group of customers.  They are the customers who know you, your products and services.  This is where you can really put your profits into overdrive.

We all know it’s easy it is to forget about these customers – that is until they begin to defect to your competition.

Idea #1 – Special promotions for your loyal customers.  Many business owners spend so much time, money and energy trying to get people to buy from them the first time.  Once they are your customer you can redirect some marketing money to keeping them happy, and making them buy again.  Pure Profit!

Idea #2 – People love something for nothing – give them free information – preferably “insider information.”  Give them the feeling of being in the know.  That’s where you can use articles, whitepapers, sales and hot insider how-to information.

Not that I’ve given you an extensive list – these are just a couple of marketing ideas.  Every business is unique so if you are  considering new promotions contact us.

Just a quick update to this blog post – I’ve been inundated with spam messages on this blog post so I’m going to close the comments. I like to hear from my readers (actual people please), but I’m going to have to add some spam filters to the entire blog.

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Today’s shark tank marketing blog message… Don’t let your kid design your marketing please.

When your website or your marketing collateral looks like your local high school AV team put it together it’s bad and ineffective.

This came about when I saw a website in my business development travels that looked like my 13 year old put it together. It was TERRIBLE, but the owner just raved about it. When I asked her how much traffic it generated – or if anyone contacted them about work – her deer in the headlights stare said it all.

Everyone knows they should be on the web – but please, please don’t let your design look like a kid put it together.

With all the graphic design programs (standard on your home computer) anyone can put together a marketing piece. Sorry to say small business owners are the biggest offenders. Canned art from Microsoft doesn’t cut it any more. You message must say competent, exclusive and sought after. Stop being another me-too company, stand out and be seen.

Your audience expects sophistication, clean graphics, quick website load times, and other bling with your marketing message. With the click of a mouse a small business can access great art, website design and print materials. The prospect is judging you every time you walk in front of them. And believe me the competitors dying for their dollars.

Give yourself the added advantage of expert marketing help, whether it’s on the web or in print. A prospect is willing to pay a little extra to the company who puts time and effort into their marketing. Sexy advertising pieces are cosmetics for your company.

Remember your marketing message is your sales force – automated and on virtual steroids. Well designed marketing is an Armani suit, and the fancy foreign car.

Now think what does your current marketing say about you and your company?

Toss time line – if your marketing pieces are older than 12-18 months it’s time to recycle them. Everyone you have contacted has seen them. Studies have proven you need to reach your prospect a minimum of 5 times to get a decent response to a marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean you need only expensive 4-color marketing collateral. Rather a drip message every few days by different media will do.

Website – update your text every quarter. Not your mission statement or about us, but the what’s new. You want to give your customers a reason to keep checking back.

E-zines and e-mail marketing. Get the customer’s email and reach out to them – it’s still free and most small business owners don’t use it effectively.

That’s all to say for today (I know terrible grammar)… Remember if you need an objective 3rd party review of your website let http://www.bestseointown.com conduct a free SEO optimization plan.

As always – contact Christine@ladyinredmarketing.com to discuss your marketing needs. Until next time – watch your tails, and be a big fish in a small pond!

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OK folks I’ve been lax trying to keep up with all the next generation Web 2.0 marketing thoughts. I get a headache trying to figure out how many links I should have, how much social networking I should do. It’s enough to make a person crazy.

Then it occurred to me – I don’t need to stay up with the Jones – rater find some top rated talent who is able to handle different items on the web development front. I think I’ve found some great people – now I just need to get them to work. Have a partnership with a new company whose looking to use a new technology to break up leads for industry specific domain names by zip code. Very cool patented technology. Check them out at zipsmart.com.

Adding some more information to the website soon – give us a ring if you want a free evaluation on your website or webmarketing program.

October 11th update – Thank you blogger poster that let me know about my bug on the website post – I’m closing the comments for this thread. Please read further and if you need to post a comment on other sections I’ll look forward to reading them all.

Market well and have a profitable day!
Christine

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This is our first post – today was a beautiful day to enjoy the weather and get our website up and running. Thanks for everyone’s patience and we will post blogs more often. Thank you also to Christian for your hard work. We’re looking forward to getting some video and digital media work collaboration done.

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