11 Ways to Market Your Fundraiser Offline

ways to market your fundraiser

If you are intending to raise funds through a charity event, there are marketing techniques that can help greatly both online and offline. Depending on your desire and budget, you can try a number of promotional activities for your charity event. If you have taken care of online marketing and are now looking for offline marketing ideas, then read ahead for tips to keep your momentum building. There are many offline ways to market your fundraiser effectively and without spending much money. The best advice is to be creative, enthusiastic and passionate towards your goal of raising funds for your charity. However, if you are still stuck on how to market your fundraiser through offline techniques, then you can include any or all below given offline marketing ideas to promote your fundraiser in the most effective way.

  1. Build a team: A team — i.e. your battery of friends, some volunteers from your fundraising campaign and family members — can contribute towards promoting your fundraiser. A big team like this can create a good buzz about your charity event. Marketing of your fundraising event can be done by knocking door-to-door and telling them about your cause and campaign as well as by word of mouth publicity. The more number of people know about your charity event, the higher are the chances of increasing funds for the cause.
  2. Posters: Posters have always been a very effective offline marketing idea. Get your poster done from a person who will charge you nominal or do it for free. Keep the posters attractive with the message written in bold. People looking at the poster will get the message clearly and instantly. Also try and stick your posters at strategic locations, i.e. where people are more likely to see. Posters can be stuck near schools and churches. You can also ask your local shopkeepers and medical stores to stick it in their premises. People coming to buy groceries and medicines can definitely have a look.
  3. Flyers: Just like posters, leaflets or flyers can also help a great deal. You can either give flyers door-to-door (which requires efforts and time from you and your team), or ask your local newspaper vendor to include your leaflet with every newspaper they drop. This can help promote your fundraiser quickly and to a lot of people at once.
  4. Announcements at other events: Official and unofficial functions and events keep happening every now and then. You can take advantage of such events to promote about your fundraising event. School sports days and annual day function, church meetings or congregation, an event organized at your local club, etc. can all serve this purpose. You can talk about your fundraising campaign to event organizers and include a short announcement about your charity event and your intention to raise funds to a large group of people present there, at the end of the event. This way you have a great chance of marketing your fundraiser to a group of distinct people in a straightforward and easy manner.
  5. Phone calls and direct speaking: If you feel that your offline marketing efforts like distributing flyers and sticking posters are not being seen by people, then you can make a direct call. Get a list of all previous donors and make them a phone call. You can also stand in front of a school or church and tell passersby about your intentions to raise fund for a noble cause. This is a direct way of spreading message about your fundraising event. While speaking to people, use emotional, strong and persuasive words. It works best.
  6. Public Service Announcements (PSAs): PSAs are a good way to market your fundraising event. Radios, magazines and even newspapers are effective in putting your message across to a large section of people. You can speak to local radios and get yourself included as a guest. You can discuss about your intentions and persuade listeners to donate generously. Similarly you can have a small section in a magazine or newspaper where you can advertise about your charity event.
  7. Hold contests: A wonderful way of marketing your event and get people interested is by holding contests. You can hold quiz contests, kite -flying contest or any other contest that involves minimal spending on your part. You can keep a sponsored prize for the winner to make the contest more engaging and competitive. This is also another good way of promoting your fundraising event.
  8. Get in touch with associate groups and clubs: As an independent volunteer and as a frequent fundraiser, you can get in touch with other affiliate clubs and groups that are known to make generous contributions or considerably help fundraisers through their unique ways of promotion. Find out about them and get in touch.
  9. T-shirt fundraisers: This is another very popular charity event marketing technique. If you have a social cause and want to seek funds then you can first get your and some of your friends t-shirts printed with the cause of your charity. Leave an e-mail ID beneath. T-shirt fundraisers are not only a popular idea, but also help you communicate your thoughts to a number of people, without actually conversing with them.
  10. Contact local businesses: There are many local businesses who would love to contribute to a charity. If they donate funds, then it would not only help them save money in tax but also showcase their responsibility towards the community. You can first try contacting established businesses, as they have a wider reach and can promote your cause effectively. If the business is very keen on helping, without donating funds, then you can move a step higher in promotion by including your message in their product. You can then try contacting lesser-known local businesses. Tell them it is not necessary that they donate funds, but they can be of great help if they promote the fundraising event through any ideas that are feasible for them.
  11. Try to convey your message through public speakers: There are many orators who know how to weave magic through words. If you feel that your persuasion powers are not that effective, then you can definitely seek help from a public speaker. Get in touch with someone who often visits schools, clubs and other events to speak on a given topic. Talk to them and ask them to make a message supporting your charitable cause and the need to collect funds to sustain good work in the community. This will help immensely.

These are just 11 offline marketing ideas to promote about your fundraising event. Now you know ‘how to market your fundraiser’ through offline techniques. With creativity and a bit of elbow-grease, you can certainly come up with more unique marketing ideas to promote your charity event and make it a success.

SEO Case Study: Content is NOT King

content is not king

The prospect wanted to go after the key phrase “corporate wellness Michigan”.

They had their heart set on this term. Now, this was not really based in any kind of keyword research they had done. They were in the corporate wellness business and, by golly, they wanted to dominate the search results for corporate wellness in Michigan. Their logic was sound.

They said they had been trying to rank for this term for about 6-7 months, and they were stuck at page 3. They had all sorts of content in their website. The term “corporate wellness” was woven throughout. Yet for some reason they just were not able to get pass the top of page 3.

So we conducted a little experiment!

The prospect contacted us on a Thursday and by Friday we had decided we were going to try this experiment, so we bought a domain. The domain we purchased was not even an exact match domain (EMD). We went with “corporate wellness”, then put the little “MI” in front of it so it read “micorporatewellness.com”.

Next, we stood a few things on the page. Not a lot of content, mind you; a page title, a sentence or two, an image and a link.  “Corporate Wellness Michigan” is the title for this particular page. We placed it in the title and meta tags. We were even bold enough here in this case to say, “Dear Prospect, you want to rank for this? Please click here.” After that, we pointed a couple links (literally, two) back at this very fresh domain.

Ranking Corporate Wellness Michigan

Turns out, we were able to rank this site by day six.

corporate wellness michigan day 6

All we did is buy a domain, stand up a barebones site, put a couple backlinks facing it, and by day six we had this brand new website on the first page of Google. Not too shabby.

And two weeks later? We were at the top of the search results!

corporate wellness michigan week 2

Keep in mind, nothing changed at this page since the day we built it. We never added any more links going back to it. Yet there it was, on the top of the rankings for those statewide state results. The same search this prospect could not attain on their own, even after six months of trying.

Want to see the page? (You probably want to see the page.) Here it is.

corporate wellness michigan page

This single page is the whole site. That’s it.

So, you know the whole notion that content is king? And how, in order to build up an authority site, you must produce reams and reams of blog posts, each thousands of words long, and they have to be so captivating that people will link to you naturally and (blah, blah, blah)—all the junk we been hearing ever since the Panda and Penguin updates from back in 2012?

It’s junk.

Content is NOT king, folks.

Content helps, especially on the long game (this experiment was a very short game we played) where it’s important to keep people at your site. You eventually want to show that people are staying on your page. Google likes pages that are sticky. With good content, people tend to stay at a website longer and when they linger longer, your bounce rate decreases and your page views increase. Google uses these metrics as social proof by which to weigh the value of your website, so—at some point—you’ll want high quality content on your website.

Again, if we wanted to keep this domain and really turn it into authority-ranked site, we would want to do something more to the site to build it out, but this was just an experiment. Do we have any desire to keep it and build it into authority-ranked site? No, not really. Not unless something happens along the way; maybe the prospect wants to buy this?  For now, it’s just an experiment to boast about and to use as a lesson.

Note: In this case, in this niche, competition was not terribly strong.  We saw things like indeed.com showing on the top of this search results. Usually when you see job sites coming up at the top for search results (when you weren’t searching for jobs,) what you’re seeing is Google not knowing what else to put up there, so it begins filling in the blanks.

P.S.- “Corporate wellness Michigan” was not a well-loved search term to begin with, so the notion that the prospect could not rank for this within six months? They simply did not know what to do. This is why they came to us.

So you there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed this presentation! Have questions? Leave them in the comments.

Want more leads through your website? Fill out our SEO questionnaire.

Harmonizing Your 2013 Marketing Strategy is Simple, Really

2013 marketing ideas

Harmonize your marketing channels by “seamlessly coordinating messages and offers across all offline and digital channels that include: point of sale, direct mail, call center, social, mobile, web and email,” suggests Chief Marketer Network. Email campaigns alone will not get you noticed. With the Information Age comes easier accessibility to any businesses that are active online. With that comes the challenge to get recognized and stand out from the rest. It’s now more important than ever to align your message/brand across all platforms in order to reach a diverse demographic.

Streamline Your Marketing Strategy

What exactly are the best marketing tactics to gain recognition for your brand? It’s actually simpler than you might think. Mix your campaigns by sending quality, focused direct marketing through the mail, followed by a smart email campaign and then an astute social platform. By tapping into physical mail as well as email methods and social media, you’re maximizing the potential of your marketing campaigns. And, if you need an advertising revolution, the unconventional is becoming the norm with guerrilla marketing. While it may seem simple, don’t miss a step.

Direct Mail

Small businesses are now coordinating and streamlining marketing messages across different advertising platforms. In-house organization systems such as Pitney Bowes mail services give easy access to marketing and communications tools that help small businesses do this. Don’t send direct mail to just anyone. Study demographics and target market your print collateral. You can gather this information from InfoUSA and USA Data to gather specific leads more likely to benefit you with this method of advertising. Small business consultant Evan Carmichael suggest you keep these things in mind when creating your direct mail:

  • Set an objective
  • Include an incentive to take action
  • Proofread, edit, proofread and edit again
  • Write a captivating headline
  • Do a test run

Phone

What happened to picking up the phone and calling someone? It’s not dead—personal communication, you know. Be sure to target this type of marketing specific to geo- and demographics. Don’t call a household in Florida and offer them a Jack-in-the-box coupon. The closest location is two states away in either direction. However, you could call a household in Miami and ask them to take a quick survey on their most recent experience with your new Miami business-finder app.

Web

Getting active on the web is imperative in the 21st century. Create a unique website and coordinating landing pages. All of these forms of contact can lead customers to your landing page, which captures their information and helps you convert them into legitimate leads. People need prompts. They need to be directed through the magical maze of the web. You don’t want to run the risk of getting them lost in your site and eventually directing themselves away.

Social

Become active on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Add sharing buttons to your email newsletters and your web content for social media integration. You have to be a part of the game. Crowd-sourcing is the new word-of-mouth. Once you are placing yourself on several social platforms, you will have people sharing your valuable content and traffic will increase. If you’re not social, you might be left out of the game.

Mobile

SoLoMo marketing — social, local, mobile. By activating a mobile device at any onsite location, one can instantly be connected to his social graph. Utilize smart phones in your small business marketing plan by incorporating QR codes in your direct mail, email and web materials in order to entice current and potential customers to your site by offering them reasonable offers and rewards.

Email

Don’t promise something you can’t deliver. (Rule No. 1: If you say “Free!” it better be free.) Email is a powerful tool if you know how to use it, especially if you have a small company with a smaller marketing budget. Getting crafty with your headline can lure current and potential customers in just as easily as a bad subject line can get your efforts deleted in one click of a button. Forbes reports that adding personalization in the subject line increased open rates by an average of 40 percent. Consider making an offer the customer can’t refuse in the subject line like, “Private Invite: Respond before Friday at five.”

Guerrilla Marketing

When all else remains stagnate, implement the outrageous … release the beast. Small-scale stunts offer a low-cost solution to your marketing woes. Remember 2002, when Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins sported a goldenpalace.com henna body tattoo on his back during a middleweight boxing match? A measly $100,000 helped that company become a household name. Guerrilla marketing intercepts public spaces and engages the consumer to have a memorable brand experience.

POS (Point of Sale)

While having an inventory system may seem not to have anything to do with marketing, it has everything to do with keeping your business running seamlessly. This in turn gives you an advantage because your processes are smooth, allowing you time to focus on your marketing. Having point-of-sale system software is fundamental in centralizing your business. Organizing your brand and inventory can help determine what type of marketing is working and what is not. Inventory control is essential in maintaining the efficiency of your operations, allowing you to make better use of your staff.

nonprofit affiliate network

Stephanie Cole is a freelance writer from North Carolina.

Marketing Ideas 101 Blog Carnival, March 3, 2013

Marketing Ideas 101 Blog Carnival

Welcome to the March 3, 2013 edition of the Marketing Ideas 101 blog carnival. This edition was originally scheduled for February 5, but.. well.. best laid plans and all. Thank you all for your submissions (over 50!) Here are the 14 finalists. Enjoy!

Matt

Blogging & Social Media

Jon Rhodes presents How To Get A Guest Post Published posted at Affiliate Help!, saying, “This article shows you some of the thought processes of a guest post publisher, which can be looked at to help increase your chances of getting published.”

Dana Sitar presents 6 1/2 Things To Stop Doing on Twitter in 2013 posted at DIY Writing, saying, “As much as I love all my tweeps, though, I can’t help but still be completely annoyed at some common bad practices on the network. I know if you’re committing these faux pas you probably don’t even realize how annoying they are, so I’m sharing this post to enlighten you and give you a chance to make things right as we start fresh this new year.”

Meg A. presents How to increase your online influence in just 30 minutes a day posted at Bloom Online, saying, “Three simple ideas to help you build your online influence and reach, build your network and increase your sales.”

Astrid van Dorst presents Further your Social Media Plan posted at Cloud Analysts, saying, “30+ tips to further your social media plan, from the strategic to the practical.”

Ink’d Content, LLP presents Facebook Releases Killer Rabbit posted at Ink’d Content, saying, “Facebook made big waves last week by announcing its first new product in seven years: Graph Search… and it subverts the need for the rest of the Internet.”

Deena presents Twitter Primer for Authors posted at E-BookBuilders, saying, “This was a beginners informational post I did for authors but the same information applies for small businesses just getting started with Twitter as part of their social media efforts.”

Creativity & Inspiration

Byteful Travel presents How to Release Attachment to Outcomes & Embrace Joy in the Present Moment posted at Byteful Travel, saying, “Have you ever felt like you weren’t doing enough? That, no matter how much you created, you could still do better? Have you ever had a feeling of quiet doom in the back of your mind? I know I have, and the good news is, you’re definitely not alone. It seems to be pretty common among creative and intelligent types, and today we’re going to explore the antidote: non-attachment.”

Marketing Best Practices

grimm560 presents This Should Be Called 12 Essential Marketing Tips For Up And Coming Artists, But Its Not posted at Grimm Factor Music, saying, “This post was created to give some ideas to up and coming musicians that may not know how to best set up their inbound marketing campaigns or if their efforts thus far have not gotten them far.”

Angela Giles presents Tweeting Tips For Newbies posted at Showcasing Women, saying, “This is an article I wrote for best practices for tweeting. Thanks for the consideration. Learn. Share. Thrive. Angela!”

Marketing Ideas

Theresa Torres presents 6 Tips for Pitching Your Startup to the Media posted at Business 2 Community, saying, “If you’re a business owner, there are traditional and nontraditional ways that you can use to get the word out about your product or service. Here are some tips to help you get customers’ attention better.”

Peter J. Buscemi presents Leverage Marketing, Sales Development, Sales Enablement & Executives to Sell posted at Four Quadrant, saying, “Every company has a finite set of resources so it easy to understand why each functional area is usually at or near full capacity with Sales being no exception.Assume the sales pipeline has six primary phases that include: qualified opportunity, forecast, technical win, executive win, contracts and closed won.”

SEO & Driving Traffic

Chief Dodo presents See How Easily You Can Get More Traffic With 6 Simple Steps posted at Dodo University, saying, “An Article Highlighting 6 tips on how to increase the amount of traffic to any blog.”

Susan Wowe presents SEO Tips | Guest Posts For A Win-Win posted at Online Business – Make Money Online, saying, “Use guest blogging to build up traffic to your websites.”

Harrison presents Link Building Demystified for Small Business (VIDEO) posted at eSpire Marketing, saying, “Find out what link building is, why it is important to your small business, how it drives traffic, and where to get started in this week’s edition of Whiteboard Wednesday.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Marketing Ideas 101 Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Pick Your Customers Wisely (or Prepare to Pay the Price)

marketing ideas 101 pick your clients

Chris Lema, VP of Software Engineering at Emphasys Software is a WordPress advocate. He maintains an informative, engaging blog at chrislema.com where he regularly discusses the in’s and out’s of WordPress development, best practices and client engagement. In his post Two Kinds of Customers, he describes two common scenarios in the web development world:

Customer #1: The Savvy

They’re clear about the tasks they want to assign you and have reasonable estimates about how long it should take. They want to know about your availability and cost to see if they can afford you. […] they want a web site, they know they want WordPress used as their CMS. They know that some themes are better than others, so they’re ready to pay for one of the more popular and well-coded ones. […] You get off the phone, having enjoyed your time and no more than a minute goes by before it rings again.

Customer #2: The Neophyte

This customer sounds like they don’t know a thing about what they want. […] They’re not clear on the tasks or why you might be the right answer. They don’t know anything about technology […] And they’re hoping you have time and aren’t too expensive to help them. […] They have no sense of budget and can’t grasp what aspects of the project could be done in minutes verses days. […] All they know is that they need something – and of course, they’ll know it when they see it.

Chris’ big question:

If you could only pick one customer, which do you pick?

pick your customers

At first blush, Customer #2 is the kind of customer I think we all cut our teeth on and eventually strive to get away from. Of course, there are always exceptions to every stereotype. Some of these Customer #2 types turn into fast friends, great advocates and long-time clients, while Customer #1 projects can fall prey to phenomena like bad technical karma, long response times and “design by committee”.

Still, stereotypes exist for a reason and Chris has held up these two for us to consider.

We who have been in business long enough to have been knocked around by customers who think we wave magic wands that materialize websites (widgets, whachamahoozits, whatever.. you name it..) eventually begin to gravitate toward more savvy clients. Why? Less heartache, higher-profile projects and “professional grade” budgets and attitudes.

Yes, margins can be wider for that lower-hanging, Customer #1 fruit. If a customer just needs to migrate to a WordPress platform (as many do), an outsourced migration can offer a wonderful return. We’ll do those too, so long as the prospect answers an extensive questionnaire designed to solidify their vision. If they don’t survive the questionnaire process, we figure they weren’t serious about their project and we have managed to keep our attention on the folks that matter most; those who already know us, like us and rely on us for web and marketing services.

My recommendation: Develop a questionnaire to help you address the price-comparing tirekickers. Include all the questions you typically need to answer in order to develop a proposal. Include questions about their budget, timeline, goals, audience, tone, and competitors. All of this will assist you in bringing together a project that fits the client and it will serve to separate the chaff from the wheat.

P.S.- We recently ‘fired’ a prospect who said he didn’t have time to answer our web design questionnaire (a 7-page Word document.) He wanted an overhaul to his ecommerce site, but resisted updating the look and feel to accommodate a new cart (WooCommerce). When he said he couldn’t find the cart on the example we gave him (it’s located prominently in the horizontal navigation bar) we knew disaster lay ahead. In our eyes, that project was not worth the $5,000 he said he was willing to invest. We have ZERO interest in doing work for folks who don’t have time to invest in their own projects, resist change for the new and better, and have problems navigating websites based on common user interface standards.

Once upon a time–when we were hungry for work–we may have taken this client under our wing. In this case however, I let them know we would not be a fit for what he was looking for and I respectfully referred him to some other web designers in town.

What would you have done?

In support of your efforts,
Matt

Writing and Buying Articles: Is iWriter Right For You?

marketing ideas iWriter review

If you have a blog online, you need articles to ensure the success of your blog. If you want to make extra money online, then writing articles for other people is an excellent way to get money quickly. An online writing service called iWriter caters to both people wanting articles written and people wanting to write articles. But is iWriter right for you?

online writing

For People Who Want to Buy Articles

If you need articles written for you, then iWriter can definitely be your best friend. There are not too many downsides for people requesting articles.

Personally, I have not seen anywhere else who offers articles as economically as iWriter. You can get a 500-word article for as low as three dollars. That is cheap!

However, the cheapest articles are written by the most nubile writers. Most of these writers have been negatively rated by other people buying articles, or they are just starting out on iWriter. Obviously, if you get someone who is just starting out, you could end up with a really great writer at a really low price, however you are rolling the dice here because most the writers in the basic category are not excellent writers. More like “writers in waiting.”

The great news is—if you’re willing to spend a few more bucks—your article will only be seen by the top writers on iWriter (the ones who have been consistently rated as “premium” writers.) There are some really talented writers in the 4-stars-and-up group, and there are even more masterful writers in the elite group. These folks will cost you twice as much, but that is still a cheaper price than any other article-buying site once you figure in your time to rewrite that pathetic little article you got on the cheap.

You Choose The Articles You Want

You get to dictate what kind of article you want, what keywords you want in the article, what your article purpose is for and any other instructions at you want to include. This can take a few minutes, but it helps you get an article that meets your needs.

No matter who writes your article, you can choose to accept it or to reject it after you see the full article. This is quite unique to iWriter. Other article buying sites only allow you to see part of the article before you decide to buy it, to hedge against plagiarism.

One of the great features of iWriter is that you can send your requests to specific writers. This means once you find that excellent writer, you can specifically request them for every future article. A huge time saver!

Even though iWriter’s focus is articles, you can also get e-books and article rewrites done. Again, buying e-books on iWriter is much cheaper than buying e-books anywhere else. However, as of now, there is not much formatting the writers can do. Authors can write the content for you, but you will still need to format the book. Still, this can save you hours and hours of writing if you want to create a report or e-book.

Is iWriter Worth It For Requesters?

Absolutely. If you can find yourself in elite writer who understands what you want in an article, you are set. You’ll be paying less than most people on the Internet for content that is just as good.

And of course, if you simply want a deluge of almost-readable articles stuffed full with keywords for SEO purposes, then there is no other place like iWriter to get articles. You can buy hundreds of articles from basic writers at a very low cost.

»Visit iWriter.com

online writing

For the People Who Want to Write Articles

If your intention is to make some extra money writing articles, then iWriter can be a great option for you, depending on how well you write. Writers do have slightly fewer perks than requesters, however. First, the good news:

The Plus Side to Writing for iWriter

Once you become an elite writer, you can choose to write any article you want. Every day there are hundreds of articles available for you to write. In fact, you will notice there are new requesters almost everyday because iWriter is growing at such a rapid pace. (Good news for writers!)

This means your income potential is only limited to how much, how quickly, and how professionally you can write. If you have a good grasp on the English language and can write quickly, you can potentially make a full-time living off iWriter.

If you impress enough requesters, you will never be short of work.

Requesters are able to choose their favorite writers, so you can easily become a favorite writer of many requesters and therefore always have work available and (as a bonus) earn more money.

You earn a percentage of each article you write. As of the time of this article, iWriter takes 29% of the total cost of the article. This means if you’re writing a 700 word article, the cost to the requester five dollars and you, as a basic writer, will earn $4.05. However, if you get a personal request to write the article, then you earn another 5% of the total price paid. Therefore, getting people to request you definitely works in your favor over the long run.

As a writer, you also earn extra money through tips. When a requester accepts the article, they have a choice to tip. If you can find generous requesters, tips help supplement your income.

The Downside of Writing for iWriter

Let’s face it; rejection sucks. At iWriter, requesters can reject your article without reason. If you are someone who takes an hour or longer to write an article, this can greatly affect the amount of money you make. Wasting an hour or two on an article that doesn’t earn you any money can really chew glass. However, if you own other blogs, you may be able to repurpose those rejected articles, or try sell your rejected articles at other places such as Constant Content.

For writers, probably one of the largest drawbacks of iWriter is the effort required to get yourself upgraded to elite status. Currently, you must write 30 articles at a basic level before you are allowed to move up to premium or elite status. If you write slowly (but you are a good writer) this can require saint-like patience. Nobody wants to earn a few bucks for a lot of work. The two ways to get through this seasoning period? Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and choose to write longer articles (which earn you more money.)

The other drawback is that you are graded on a five-star system. Requesters give you a star rating when they accept or reject your article, and this can greatly influence the amount of money you make. A basic writer is one who receives an average of 4 stars or less. A premium writer has an average of 4-4.6 stars. And an elite writer has an average of more than 4.6 stars.

While most requesters rate you fairly, there are many who may give you 4 stars for no apparent reason. Understandably, this can become very frustrating when you are trying to work your way up to elite status.

Is iWriter Worth It for Writers?

It can be. If you

  • can work yourself up to an elite status,
  • have good research skills or knowledge to write from,
  • have people who request articles from you, and
  • can produce an article with an hour,

then iWriter can be an excellent place to earn a part-time or full-time income from!

»Visit iWriter.com

Online Writing Made Short Work at iWriter

marketing ideas online writing

Your new website or blog needs content that is going to grab and keep your viewer’s attention. It also needs to appear as if it was written by a true professional. Let’s face it. We’re not all loquacious blog writers and sometimes, our written word may not offer our website what it truly needs to compel readers to action.

If you want content that impresses, you may want to consider paying for articles and buying blog posts. There are many sites where you can find online writing services offering top notch writers (oDesk, Elance, Guru, etc.,) but how do you know where to start? Two popular sites many people use to find writers work are iWriter.com and Fiverr.com. For this article, I will use iWriter and Fiverr as opposites on either side of the online-writing spectrum.
online writing

What is iWriter?

Need an article written? Can’t get to that third blog post this week? Looking for essay writing? Have your writing project done easily by using iWriter.com. Here, “requesters” post requests for writing work. Pick your keywords, suggest the topic and write a short summary to help your prospective writers read your mind. Be sure to include special instructions if you have any other directions that could help a would-be author zero in on your perfect article or blog post.

marketing ideas online writing iwriter

Visit iWriter.com

Your writing jobs are then posted to the writer community (those seeking author and blogging jobs,) at which time someone grabs your request and tries their hand at writing for it. The requester (you who’s buying the article,) can read the article or blog post before you pay. Like the work? Pay for the article. Need revisions? Request them and be specific!

What if you don’t like the article written by your iWriter author? You have no obligation to buy the article. The iWriter website allows you to reject any writing jobs and let someone else try writing it for you. (Keep in mind however, the lower your approval rate, the less likely the higher-quality writers will invest their time into your jobs!) You can also ask the writer to make adjustments to the work so you don’t have to reject them completely (full rejection wastes both yours and your writer’s time, so avoid it when you can.)

To sum up, iWriter is a professional online writing site made for writing and writing only.

online writing

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is a site where people pay exactly five dollars for a wide variety of services. Here are the categories Fiverr offers:

  • Gifts
  • Graphics & Design
  • Video & Animation
  • Online Marketing
  • Writing & Translation
  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Programming & Tech
  • Music & Audio
  • Fun & Bizarre
  • Lifestyle
  • Other

marketing ideas online writing fiverr

Visit Fiverr.com

If you are looking to have something written for your website or you need some help marketing, you can find that on Fiverr. You will pay no more than $5 for each service or “gig”. While there are some fun gigs on Fiverr, there are also a fair amount of dregs and scams, so buyer beware here! Certain services (such as having fun videos created for you) have a higher chance of quality delivery than others (like this traffic generation scam I ran across.)

With Fiverr, you can also reject your articles if you’re having someone write for you, however you may find your review disappears! (As in, your warning to others that the Fiverr gig vendor is shady or subrate is mysteriously deleted!) Fiverr takes an undisclosed cut of all their gigs, and they seem to protect their top earners; regardless of any sense of good business ethics or transparency.

In review, Fiverr offers an online marketplace for a wide variety of random services.

online writing

Why Use iWriter?

There are several ways you benefit from using the online writing service iWriter for you article-writing needs. Here are some reasons why you should consider becoming a requester on iWriter today.

iWriter is Simple

To begin receiving articles from iWriter, simply sign up, post your writing job and then sit back while writers do the work! Paying is simple and you don’t have to search for good writers to do the job; the writers come to you. Need a really high-quality article written? Pay a little more to have your writing job placed in front of writers with a 4.6- to 5-star rating.

iWriter is Inexpensive

You can pay as little as $1.25 for a quick article. The more you pay, however, the better quality writing you receive. You can pay as much as $18 for a 1000-word article and expect to have gleaming perfection delivered to you from one of iWriter’s premium writers. The amount you pay is up to you. If you are putting the writing on the main page of your website, you may want to spend a little extra to ensure that post is excellent quality. For article marketing, you may feel the backlinks are more important than the quality of the article, so you may target a lower pay range for this work.

As an iWriter Requester, You Call All the Shots

When you place an order for articles you need to have written, you explain exactly what it is you want done in the special instructions area. This is where you can explain to the writer what you want written, how you want it written and what to include. There are also fields where you will specify keywords, article length and article tone so the writer can keep the keyword at a certain percentage if you are using the articles for advertising and marketing.

When a writer completes the first draft of your article, they submit it for your review. If you like it, you simply pay and download. If you don’t like it, you either ask the writer to make revisions to the article or—if it’s a real train wreck—you have the option to turn it down completely. This means you can turn down as many attempts as it takes until you get the article you really want. (As mentioned earlier, it’s best not to reject articles will-nilly because this lowers your approval score and can drive talented writers away from you.)

iWriter Saves You Time!

Often, the turn-around time it takes to receive your article is very fast. One of the ways writers establish their reputation on iWriter is by providing quick responses to writing jobs. Usually, your blogging jobs are accepted right away, which starts the clock on the job. This means you can have quality content written for you within a few hours. If a writer submits their article and you like the first draft, you simply pay for it and it’s yours right away!
online writing

Afterglow

Ultimately, using the iWriter online writing service can save you a lot of time and heartache while bringing you great content for your readers. But then, iWriter is a service dedicated to writing.

While Fiverr is good for certain things, online writing doesn’t seem to be one of them. There are occasionally talented authors found on Fiverr, however they seem to quickly be crushed by a deluge of $5 requests once the Fiverr community discovers them. (I’ve seen several of the best writers on Fiverr remove their writing gigs or fall ridiculously behind in their writing assignments, regularly failing to meet deadlines and compromising their ratings.)

While any online writing service may require some hunting to find your favorite writers, once you have them selected, using a writing site like iWriter can help make your website a content-rich powerhouse. Highly recommended.

»Visit iWriter.com

101 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Over 100 ways to drive traffic to your website, drive traffic to your website

One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

  • Content & Article Marketing
  • SEO & Search Engine Marketing
  • Video Marketing & Podcasting
  • Email Marketing & Syndication
  • Advertising & PPC
  • Public Relations & Spreading the Word
  • Social Media & Bookmarking

(Of course, some techniques could arguably be placed in more than one category. Enjoy!)

P.S. – Was this helpful? If so, please

SHARE!

Have more ideas? Add them to the comments below!!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

Content & Article Marketing

  1. Start a blog or add a blog to your website. Use WordPress. Tip: Don’t go with the free WordPress hosting offered by WordPress.com. It’s a watered-down version of WordPress you cannot optimize!
  1. Research your article keywords using the Google keyword tool. Target your blog posts and articles using these keywords. (Read How to Add Keywords to Your Website.) This will help your posts rank higher in the search results.
  1. Update your website or blog frequently. Three times each week is great. Daily is better.
  1. Write better headlines. Writing compelling headlines that convert into views is an art. Make sure you research your keywords and work them into your headline. Keep your headline congruent with the webpage it describes.
  1. Stay away from duplicating other posts and articles. Duplicate content is one of the big no-no’s according to Google and your site can be penalized or banned if you are engaging in this practice. Tip: If you’re hiring out your content writing, ensure the contractor knows their work needs to pass a plagiarism-detection tool like Copyscape.
  1. When considering content for your website or blog, there are two approaches to consider: timely hot topics or evergreen. Hot topics—like world events, emerging technology or celebrities—will offer you a chance to speak to something that is on everyone’s minds, however those topics often cool off and fade from relevance over time. Evergreen content—as the name suggests—is content that provides timeless value, based on principles that aren’t as likely to change with the public’s mood. A good piece of evergreen content can bring traffic steadily, year after year, and makes for a real asset to your website.
  1. Convert your blog articles to Adobe PDFs and offer them on Scribd.com.
  1. Offer to guest post at other highly-ranked websites. Include your URL in your resource box (your brief description about you and how to reach you for more information.)
  1. Comment on other blogs in your industry or niche. Make your comments thoughtful, courteous and use a keyword or two. Include the link back to your site.
  1. Similar to blog commenting, offer helpful solutions on Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora. Place the brief synopsis of your solution in answer to the question you’re addressing and post the link to the full article (already posted on your website) if they want to learn more.
  1. Join niche-related forums and offer advice, ask questions, etc. Include links to your websites in your forum signature.
  1. Offer a whitepaper that answers a common challenge for your audience. Collect email sign-ups in exchange. Deliver your whitepaper automatically using your confirmation autoresponder.
  1. Write an ebook. Include links to resources and to your own URL. Offer the ebook on your website.
  1. Place your new ebook into ebook directories for free or low-cost download.
  1. Convert your ebook into a PowerPoint presentation and post on SlideShare.
  1. Repackage your ebook for delivery on the Kindle, Nook and other tablet platforms. Then offer it for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
  1. Add your blog posts to BlogCarnival.com. Host a blog carnival to bring exposure to others within your niche while building the value in your own site.
  1. Form a blog promotion network. Agree to retweet, mention, link or otherwise promote one member each week. (This requires 100% dedication from all members to make it work. If a member begins falling down on their commitment, they’re out.)
  1. Article marketing. Submit your pithy articles to sites like the following and remember to include keyword links leading back to your website. (Read Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing.)
    1. Ezinearticles.com
    2. Ehow.com
    3. Hubpages.com
    4. Articlesbase.com
    5. Buzzle.com
    6. Associatedcontent.com (now Yahoo Voices)
    7. Suite101.com
  1. Build a quiz or self-test that shows people something about themselves. Entertaining, informative or both, bring value through self-discovery. Though I am certainly biased, here is an example I especially like: Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz
  1. Create a Squidoo lens. This is a collection of original articles that link back to your site from your Squidoo page.
  1. Add a forum or discussion group software to your website. (Be warned: It takes time, dedication and love to grow a thriving community, but it can be well worth it.)
  1. Offer regular webinars and communicate the schedule and topics through your website and mailing lists. Tip: Record the seminars and add them to a members area on your website, or make them available 24/7, thereby bringing even more value to your site.
  1. Offer a free tool, template or software. When Hotmail was first introduced, each message carried a little signature at the bottom of each email that said “Get your free email at Hotmail”. The email system went viral, spreading naturally from inbox to inbox.
  1. Need help getting posts out regularly? Hire a ghost-writer through an outsourcing service like iWriter, oDesk, Elance, etc.
  1. Create a compelling infographic. When done well, infographics make even the driest material visually interesting, effectively grabbing and holding the reader’s attention long enough to deliver the message—and your URL.

SEO & Search Engine Marketing

  1. Use keyword-centric tags with your WordPress posts.
  1. In WordPress, make sure to leave trackbacks turned on. When you link to other site owners, an email will notify the blog owners of the new link and they will likely visit your site. They may even link back!
  1. Install the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress. It automatically sends updates to Google and other search engines when you make a new post, helping your material get indexed more quickly. Don’t have a WordPress site? Use Ping-O-Matic to accomplish the same thing.
  1. Can’t use the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress* to create your sitemap.xml or robots.txt files (used by Google and other search engines?) Use a sitemap generator like XML-Sitemaps.com.
  1. Two words: Google Authorship. Set it up and get your face to appear next to your posts in the Google search results. (Read Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results.)
  1. Install Google Analytics on your site and actually look at it once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be Google Analytics, but you should be able to see how much traffic you’re receiving on a weekly basis and where your visitors are coming in from? How can you intelligently drive more traffic to your site if you don’t know what’s already working for you?
  1. Submit your website to search engines and search directories. Seems obvious, but most folks don’t know where to start. Here is a list of some of the top search sites:
    1. Google
    2. Bing
    3. Yahoo! Search
    4. AltaVista
    5. Excite
    6. Go.com
    7. HotBot
    8. Galaxy
    9. Lycos
    10. Gigablast
    11. Alexa Internet
  1. Use the linkdomain command in Google (ex. linkdomain:marketingideas101.com). While this only shows a subset of the links that lead into a domain, it can give you an idea about how your competitors are getting their rankings.
  1. Research popular misspellings of your company’s name and those of your competitors. Buy those domain names and forward them to your website.
  1. Find expired domain names in your niche that are still receiving traffic and buy them, directing them toward your site. For this, I recommend Expired Domains.
  1. Use a custom 404 page to help people find the information they are seeking from your website in the event it moves or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  1. Reciprocal linking campaigns with mid- to high-PR sites can offer a boost to your rankings and traffic. The best backlink is a one-way, dofollow link from a high PR site. Also, if you’re just getting started with your website and you have low PR, you had better have some great content, otherwise your opt-in rate with a reciprocal campaign is likely to be low.
  1. Join a web ring like WebRing. Advantage: Niche-related linking. Disadvantage: Uglies up your site. (Not as much of a disadvantage if you already have an ugly site. If that’s the case, jump in!)
  1. Pay a freelancer or company to generate obscene amounts of traffic for you. Just beware of the very real chance it could be a scam (Read How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr.)

Video Marketing & Podcasting

  1. Read or speak to your ebook contents in an audio post or series of audio posts and place on BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.
  1. Why only create audio posts of your ebook, blog post or web content? Create a video demonstrating the same information and post to YouTube and Vimeo. Include links back to your site in your video description and in video captions. Tip: you can do this either by presenting the material yourself, hiring someone to present it, or by creating a video with something like Animoto.

Email Marketing & Syndication

  1. Link your blog with your Aweber email marketing account. Take signups for your newsletter, ebook or other promotional/informational offers. This will grow your emailing list.
  1. Establish an RSS feed for your site. Add it to FeedBurner.com. (Well.. what was Feedburner. Google gobbled them up.)
  1. Connect your RSS feed broadcasts to your Aweber email marketing service. This will deliver your blog posts in an enewsletter format to your mailing list. Set the mailing list to weekly or whatever is appropriate for your posting frequency.
  1. Email your current and past clients regularly. Ask them about their interest in new products and services (segment your list accordingly.) Send letters of appreciation, short polls, tips, client spotlights and other relevant correspondence to stay at the front of their minds.
  1. In your enewsletter, don’t embed complete articles. Instead, display hook paragraphs with links back to the full articles on your own site. This also allows you to gauge what topics are most important to your readers.
  1. Don’t stop with only offering your whitepaper from your newsletter signup confirmation page. Include your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ profiles and links to other websites you own that complement.
  1. Syndicate your blog with Technorati.
  1. Include your website URL in your email signature. (It’s a good place to offer some of your social media URLs as well.)
  1. Run a solo ad, whereby you pay someone to market your offer to their list. Research your list owners carefully here; all is not as it may seem. (Proceed with caution. Read Solo Ads Advertising: Why Solo Ad Scams Suck.)
  1. Conduct an ad swap. You have a mailing list. Another marketer has their mailing list. Your offers align with each others’ mailing lists. The other marketer sends your offer to their list and you send their offer to yours. All things being equal, you both should see your opt-in lists expand. (Get started at Safe-Swaps.com.)
  1. Join venture with another marketer. Similar to a solo ad, you run your ad to their list, with the difference being they get a cut of the sales instead of taking a flat fee.

Advertising & PPC

  1. Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads using Facebook ads, Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Tip: Watch your ad performance carefully at first. You can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t pay attention!
  1. Pay for banner ads on other websites. Target websites in your niche, preferably. This is a quick way to begin receiving qualified traffic.
  1. Banner exchange. Similar to reciprocal links, you agree to trade banner ads with other website owners. Aim for the same or complementary niches.
  1. Post free or paid ads on classified ad sites like Craigslist, ClassifiedAds.com, and Backpage.
  1. Begin an affiliate marketing program and spread the wealth! Pay others to promote you to their website visitors and mailing lists by giving them a cut. Make sure you can track referred traffic correctly before rolling this out.

Public Relations & Spreading the Word

  1. Offer to start an advice column for local media outlets. Have some example column posts and know your pitch well before approaching publishers. Finally, make sure the publisher’s audience matches your own.
  1. Along the same lines as an advice column, offer to write an editorial. This is akin to guest posting on someone else’s blog. By offering thoughtful insight into a common challenge or current event, you bring value to the publication and a spotlight to your own efforts.
  1. Write a compelling press release and post to free press release sites and local media outlets. Here is a short list of free and paid press release sites:
    1. eReleases.com
    2. Free-Press-Release.com
    3. Free-Press-Release-Center.info
    4. 24-7PressRelease.com
    5. 1888PressRelease.com
    6. PRBuzz.com
    7. PRCompass.com
    8. PRUrgent.com
    9. Express-Press-Release.net
    10. ClickPress.com
    11. PR9.net
    12. EcommWire.com
    13. PRLog.org
    14. I-Newswire.com
    15. PressAbout.com
    16. NewswireToday.com
    17. PRLeap.com
    18. PR.com
    19. TheOpenPress.com
  1. Are your offline marketing materials supporting your online marketing efforts? You should have your URL on your business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead; any and all stationary.
  1. Pay a high school or college student to place flyers with your offer and URL around town. Include college campuses, malls, grocery stores, houses, etc., so long as business proprietors are asked and so long as the location is congruent (or neutral) with your offer. These locations should be places where your target audience frequents. Tip: Not sure those flyers won’t end up in the trash? In today’s age of smart phones, pay for each image of the flyers as they’re placed.
  1. Drive your URL all around town. Brand your URL onto your license plate cover, bumper sticker, or have it added professionally to your vehicle’s rear window, tailgate, side, etc. Better if your car is unique in some way (and I’m not talking about that rust spot shaped like Elvis or the Virgin Mary.) Want to take this over the top? Invest in an eye-catching vehicle wrap.
  1. Buy a pair of sandals or boots and carve your URL into the bottom of them. Then go walk on wet sand or snow and give those who follow in your footsteps something to think about.
  1. Hold a contest. Winner gets a rave review on your site, a fun toy or gadget, cash.. whatever. The more compelling and niche-appropriate the prizes, the better. Announce the contest winners on your site.
  1. Join a local business group or association. Members often benefit from being listed in the member directory, complete with their website’s URL.
  1. Your business card should have your link on it, of course. Better, use the back of your business card to state a special offer, coupon code, promotion or other thrilling reason for them to visit your site. Now those networking mixers may actually bring some visits to your site instead of seeding your business cards at the bottom of trash bins all over town.
  1. Sponsor a league team. This might be softball, darts, roller derby, bowling—even chess. Consider the audience (the players and their families and fans) and your own interests when choosing your sponsorship opportunity.
  1. Get seen on television. This technique worked well for Dave Mayer of CleanBottle.com. Dressed in a gigantic bottle costume—complete with URL—Dave was first caught on video running along Tour de France bicyclists. The video went viral and CleanBottle’s orders exploded. He has since made this technique a cornerstone in his marketing strategy, though he’s occasionally roughed up by drunken cycling fans.
  1. Give a live talk, presentation, seminar or workshop. At the end of that event, you should be collecting a short survey to see how to improve the next event. Request email addresses from those who confirm they would like to opt into your mailing list.
  1. When folks were registering for that event, did they fill out a registration form? It better not have been printed! Any flyers or advertising for the event should point to your website where they’ll find more event details and the registration form.
  1. Give an interview. Regardless of the format, a recorded interview can offer you great exposure to your market and places you in the expert seat. As the interviewer for a list of questions ahead of time, or offer your own. Practice being at ease and ask for a copy of the interview for use in your own marketing efforts.
  1. Interview others. With every interview you conduct, the easier it will become for you to interview larger names in your industry. The larger the names, the larger the draw. Tip: Have your recorded interviews transcribed and offer them on your website. It’s a great way to generate fresh content!
  1. Offer to give a product review (whether positive or negative) or testimonial in exchange for a backlink.
  1. Send your product (for free) to other site owners for an online product review.
  1. Hand out promotional items with your URL on them. Don’t skimp here. Nice metal pens and USB drives tend to tend to stay with me for a very long time, even if they have a logo and URL emblazoned on them.
  1. Hold an online treasure hunt. Contestants compete to answer riddles and collect clues to win mind-boggling prizes. Of course, one of the clues (or maybe the treasure!?) will be on your website.
  1. Printed banners, billboards and skywriting. Enough said there. Better: Save yourself the printing costs. To retaliate against political sign thieves, Michigan digital marketing agency, Oneupweb projected a 30-foot video loop of a dancing Senator Obama onto the side of their building. The stunt made the evening news all over the country.
  1. Produce viral content. How? One idea is to make a legend come true. Athletic shoe manufacturer Hi-Tec, made a series of “reality” videos showing their new line of running shoes were so water-resistant, people were attempting to run on water—and they were succeeding.
  1. Tattoo (temporary or otherwise) your URL onto your body. Anything that important is sure to get looked up.
  1. Ask a celebrity to wear a t-shirt or dress with your URL printed on it.
  1. When attending a tradeshow, you and your team wear the same shirts, visibly labeled with your URL. Buttons and hats are another version of this.
  1. Create an award program. Establish the guidelines, the award graphics, press release templates, etc. Be discerning about how you select your candidates and make your announcement. Encourage the winner(s) to place the new badge on their website. Of course, it’s a link to the award summary on your own site.
  1. Promote a sale, introductory pricing, free trial or other enticing promotion to lead deal-conscious buyers to your website.

Social Media & Bookmarking

  1. Facebook. Share interesting or relevant posts, images and videos on your Facebook ‘fan page’. Every now and again, include a link to your own website.
  1. Facebook. Install the NetworkedBlogs Facebook app and connect your blog to Facebook. When you post to your blog, your post automatically shows in Facebook.
  1. Facebook. Link your Facebook account with your Twitter account so a post in Facebook automatically posts in Twitter. This lightens your need to log into both accounts and adds diversity to your Twitter posts, especially if you’re smart enough to automate some of them using…
  1. MarketMeSuite. Manage your social media streams and accounts from one place. Best: Create, schedule and upload your social media broadcasts a week, month, quarter or year at a time. Greatly reduces the social media marketing burden.
  1. Twitter. Display your Twitter feed on your website or blog. If you’re using your Facebook or Twitter account regularly, your tweets will display and serve to freshen your website. This encourages repeat visits and updates your website, keeping you fresh in Google’s search results.
  1. Twitter. Include your website’s link in your Twitter bio.
  1. Twitter. Tweet about your product, service or articles. Include links to your onsite material. Use hash tags (#) to add your tweets to relevant topic streams.
  1. LinkedIn. Connect your WordPress blog with your LinkedIn account so your blog posts appear on your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Include your URL in your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Start a LinkedIn group. Best: Target your niche and mention your geographical location in the group’s description to build a more focused group.
  1. LinkedIn. Too busy to start your own LinkedIn group? Join other groups and add value to those communications. Often, those posts can be expanded to become full articles on your own website. Then offer the link to the group.
  1. Pinterest. Add interesting, non-copyrighted graphics to your web pages and blog posts then pin them to your Pinterest account.
  1. Create a profile in any of these popular social bookmarking sites. Include your URL in your profile.
    1. Digg.com
    2. StumbleUpon.com
    3. Delicious.com
    4. Fark.com
    5. Slashdot.org
    6. Newsvine.com
    7. DZone.com
    8. Diigo.com
    9. Tumblr.com
    10. Pinterest.com
    11. Reddit.com
  1. Using these popular social bookmarking sites, bookmark links of value, related to your niche. Your own website should be one of these bookmarks.
  1. Ask others to bookmark your site. Or bribe them. Either way.

And finally–because you can’t have a list of only 100 marketing ideas on a website called “Marketing Ideas 101”:

Content & Article Marketing (cont.)

  1. Make a “100 Ways to” list post and ask people to share if they found it helpful. Not quite that ambitious? Make the list “10 Ways to”, “3 Ways to”, “50 Ways to”—you get the idea.

Share if you approve!!

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

References

Boorn, Cassie. 50 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog. Retrieved from http://askaprgirl.com/50-ways-to-drive-massive-traffic-to-your-blog/ on 12/17/2012.

SEOLogic. Web Traffic 101. Retrieved from http://www.seologic.com/guide/traffic on 12/09/2012.

WarriorForum. 50 Great Ideas to Get More Traffic to a website – I found it and you might find it useful. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-warriors-success-power-self-improvement/166835-50-great-ideas-get-more-traffic-website-i-found-you-might-find-useful.html on 12/17/2012

 

(* Did you see a pattern? I’ve mentioned WordPress a few times now. I wonder if WordPress could be a powerful option for those who want to have a search engine optimized website that draws traffic. I wonder…)

Banned by Fiverr for Exposing Fiverr Scams

marketing ideas banned by fiverr

I’m continuing some consumer protection work covering Fiverr scams and the manner by which the popular Internet company continues to defend and support these scams. The initial portion of this post began as a response to a rather long thread in the WarriorForum and I’ve gone on to expound from there.

Post response by Chris Kent on July 1, 2011 to “Ban by Fiverr? Here the reason” [sic]:

“Fiverr will ban you if they might lose out of it. On the other hand, they hardly ever ban scammer providers.

“I have twice gotten a refund out of scammers with the help of their helpdesk.

“For example, the first was someone who posts your link on his wall which is a fake “chick’s wall”. He adds several thousand in Photoshop to his list of 72 friends.

“When you get your refund, your negative rating disappears. Fiverr know they have scammers and refuse to ban them. They just want to keep people getting scammed so they make more money.” (Kent, 2011.)

marketing ideas, fiverr scams, scams online, banned by fiverr

marketing ideas fiverr scamSo true!! Here’s a firsthand account (complete with screen captures) about the first Fiverr scam I became aware of. (How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr | Marketing Ideas 101) This scam was for increased traffic to my website for a month, but the seller was supplying junk traffic. I called the gig off early and Fiverr gave the scam artist the out and removed my negative rating and removed my warning to future shoppers.

A couple weeks later, I ran across another scam involving Craigslist ad postings. This particular gig seller couldn’t produce any ads that weren’t ghosted (in Craigslist vernacular, a ghosted ad appears to be live, however it does not show up in the index pages nor through search.) Apparently, the seller’s previous buyers were blissfully unaware the ads the seller was providing were relatively useless.

As of today, I have officially been banned by Fiverr for the first time after buying $830 in $5 gigs from them over the past year.

My offense? I asked a content writer to work up a blog post about Fiverr scams. No kidding. The gig owner wrote this shortly before my account was restricted:

“Hi there Matt! I’m very sorry but I have to pass this time. I don’t feel confident or competent enough with your particular topic or requirements. Requesting for the cancellation of the order and the funds will be refunded back to you. Thanks for understanding!”

When I went to decline the cancellation request and give her a different topic she might better be suited for, I found my account was unable to complete the action.

marketing ideas fiverr restricted account

The error message said my account had been restricted and that I could forward any questions to Fiverr support.

Here’s how that correspondence went:

Matt, Nov 29 17:21 (IST): Folks, I have a gig seller that is trying to cancel an order because she does not feel qualified to write on the topic (scams on Fiverr). That’s fine, but I want to keep the gig and simply give her a different topic. The system is not allowing me. Any thoughts?

Julia – Fiverr’s Customer Support Team (Fiverr Customer Support), Nov 30 04:01 (IST): Hi Matt, we are unable to reinstate your account at this time. Users who violate our Terms of Service and get their account permanently restricted will be able to complete any active orders they may have; and will continue to have access to their completed orders. The funds in your shopping balance have been returned to your PayPal account.

Regards,
Julia

To which I responded:

???
How did I violate the Terms of Service???

I still haven’t heard back. The only opening for an infraction I can find in Fiverr’s Terms of Service (which is heavily slanted toward controlling the gig seller) is the following clause:

“Posting or sending adult, illegal, rude, abusive, improper, copyright protected, promotional, spam, violent, nonsense or any uncool stuff is strictly prohibited. Doing so will get your account blocked permanently.” (Fiverr, 2012.)

So, was I “improper”, asking for “nonsense” or just being “uncool”? It’s hard to say. With terms as vague as these, Fiverr can do whatever they want, really.

Just slimy. Surprisingly slimy for an Internet company I assumed was based in the U.S. Wait! They’re not based in the U.S. at all!

“Fiverr, stylized as fiverr, is an Israel-based global online marketplace offering tasks and services starting at $5. […] The website was founded by Israeli internet entrepreneurs Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger. […] Entrepreneurs and freelancers can use Fiverr to monetize sell their services. Customers in need of services can find and commission that service directly through the site. Currently, Fiverr lists more than 1,000,000 services on the site that range between $5 and $150.” (Wikipedia, 2012.)

I assert that Fiverr is well aware of their shady business practices and they work daily to protect the con job empire they are creating for themselves. They are really a great study on how easily we trust a well-established name and how easily that trust can be grossly abused. Here is a definition for racketeering, which is essentially what I believe Fiverr is engaged in:

“A racket is an illegal business or scheme, usually run as part of organized crime. Engaging in a racket is called racketeering.” (Wikipedia, 2012.)

Oh, and of course there’s fraud:

“Fraud can be committed through many media, including mail, wire, phone, and the Internet (computer crime and Internet fraud). International dimensions of the web and ease with which users can hide their location, the difficulty of checking identity and legitimacy online…” (Wikipedia, 2012.)

Caveat emptor, folks. “Let the buyer beware.”

In support of your efforts,

Matt

P.S. – Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: Consider for a moment Fiverr isn’t just overrun with scam artists, but that it actively and consciously houses a network of them. Just a thought. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

 marketing ideas, fiverr scams, scams online, banned by fiverr

References

Fiverr. Terms of Service. Retrieved from http://fiverr.com/terms_of_service on 11/29/2012.

Kent, Chris. July 1, 2011. Ban by Fiverr? Here the reason. WarriorForum. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/main-internet-marketing-discussion-forum/406608-ban-fiverr-here-reason.html on 11/29/2012.

Wikipedia.org. Fiverr. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiverr on 11/29/2012.

Wikipedia.org. Fraud. Retrieved from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraud on 11/29/2012.

Wikipedia.org. Racketeering. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeering on 11/29/2012.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

marketing ideas drive traffic blog

Driving traffic to your blog can be one of the most difficult things to do.  With so many blogs starting up each day, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself and your blog from the others online and to culminate an effective online presence.  While it does take hard work and perseverance, driving and maintaining traffic to your blog can be done by utilizing a few key practices to your daily blogging habits.

Blog Targeting: Keep Your Audience in Mind

This is imperative when creating a blog and writing posts.  Have a targeted demographic in mind and write for them, covering topics they want to read about and that they would find useful in their lives. Often over-looked is the tone of your blog posts, which is crucial to your blog’s success.  If you’re writing a fashion and style blog, make the tone fun, informative and friendly—even casual, as if it’s between friends.

On the other hand, if you’re writing a blog for business men and women, or financially-minded people, then you want the tone to be business-like and knowledgeable. Business readers don’t want to feel like they’re getting information from an unreliable source, just as fashion readers don’t want to feel as if they’re being told what to do.  Knowing who is reading your blog and then writing to them will not only set your blog apart but ensure you have repeat readers.

Blog Optimization: Keep Your Search Keywords in Mind

Once you have your blog written in the appropriate tone and content, go back through and ensure that you’ve used words and phrases that will be picked up by Google search bots. (Read How To Work Keywords Into Your Website.) Using a SEO platform to build your blog on can make it extremely easy to ensure that your blog posts will be returned in searches for your topic.  Having good quality blog posts come up in results will make readers take note of the source and come back to peruse the rest of the blog.

Blog Management: Share, Post and Interact

Having a blog that isn’t seen isn’t really a blog at all.  Make your blog something that you are proud of, sharing it on all social media platforms so that you can encourage traffic and increase the amount of clicks on your links.  Sharing photos and posts on platforms that your readers are members of will increase your traffic and increase reader awareness of your blog.  Social media can give your blog a trustworthy reputation and brand it as a trusted source for your topic.

Drive traffic to your blog to help more, connect more, and earn more.

Before you decide to employ these small changes to your blogging practice and aim to make them a habit, install an analytics program so that you can see the results and increase in your traffic these techniques have brought to your blog.  Once you have mastered these habits and can create effective blog posts, there are many more techniques you can incorporate that are more advanced to drive traffic to your blog.  Because ultimately it is traffic to your blog that will eventually make your blog lucrative and help your message reach many more people, so do what you can to increase your blog traffic!

How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr

marketing ideas driving traffic fiverr

(Subtitled: Beware the $5 Traffic Gurus)

I thought I was being smart. I thought I could pay someone five bucks and they would work their magic and funnel all sorts of traffic to my new blog. Of course, I was experimenting, but I had no idea what kind of a fail to expect, so—naively—I hoped for success.

I went to Fiverr.com and dove into ‘Online Marketing,’ then into the ‘Get Traffic’ category. I sorted by rank and found a promising ad. Here’s what it said:

[Name removed to protect the guilty] will drive UNLIMITED
genuine real traffic to your website for one month for $5.

Sounds good, right?

And the job profile comes with lots of rave reviews. I shrugged and hopefully gambled away my $5. The profile asked me the right questions. What’s the URL, what areas do you want to target, etc. Since the job promised to be delivered within three days, I spent three days haunting my Google Analytics reports, eagerly anticipating the hints of a traffic tsunami.

Then it happened! Traffic went from zero (this was a brand new site) to 60 hits and then climbed to 70 hits! Yes! $5 well spent, right!?

Wrong!

Upon further inspection, it appears all the traffic is of the BOUNCING variety (read Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate? for a better understanding on why high bounce rates are undesirable.) Eyeball the web traffic report below and see if you see what I see:

drive traffic with fiverr

More, if you’ll notice the referrer URL’s, I’m sure you’ll see a trend. Visiting some of these sites will clue you in further to the junk traffic they bring.

Well, there’s an experiment in traffic generation that gives some important feedback. While I might not have benefited from massive volumes of quality traffic, five dollars is cheap tuition. I feel wiser already!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas leadership

Update! (November 2, 2012)

Well, folks.. after writing this post, I opted to go back to the Fiverr vendor and ask them to discontinue the gig, which was supposed to last for a month. I gave them a “thumb’s down”. Here is our discussion:

Me: please discontinue this program. the traffic is junk.

Guilty: Hi, Can I know what happened? And why did you leave a negative feedback without asking information? The traffic is direct to ensure an high level of security with adsense and affiliations, and the bounce rate is related to that because it’s direct. All information are in the document and it’s described, please remove your feedback, and let me know if you are interested in a refund instead.

Me: See attached. Of course you should be expecting negative feedback. There is no value in the traffic you are providing. fiverr-traffic-generation.gif (36.175 KB)

Guilty: My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it’s a consequence of setting the traffic this way. Some people are converting as they reported me and wrote in the feedback, so it’s valuable for someone, I’m truly sorry it isn’t working for you. As I said, I will refund your order, if you agree to remove the feedback. Please help me maintain a good service, I always do my best to provide that but I know sometimes can’t give the expected results.

Me: Will remove the feedback as soon as we see our sites (both of them) removed from these spammy sites. If we look at our Google Analytics tomorrow and we can see all this bouncing traffic has fallen away, we will remove the comment.

Guilty: I will suspend your campaign immediately, you will notice the removal from a few minutes. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Guilty: I suspended them as agreed, if you will check the tracking url you won’t see any more visits from me.

Guilty: Hi, Please check the tracking url and you will see the campaign is no longer active, I’m waiting for you.

Me: Go ahead and refund these orders. Thanks.

Guilty: No problem, but you should remove the feedback before I ask the refund or you won’t be able to modify it anymore… Write me as soon as it’s done and I will send the refund, thank you.

I allowed them to sweat a little until the next day. I was still debating taking the review down–after all, wouldn’t the honest feedback protect others from making my same mistake? However, it seems the decision was made for me! I received the following email from Fiverr:

Your order #FO_____________ was cancelled by Fiverr’s customer service team.

Your funds have been returned to your Fiverr Balance and will be used automatically for your next purchase.

Thanks,
The Fiverr Team

So I guess the vendor didn’t want to wait. However, much to my surprise, Fiverr actually removed my feedback from the vendor’s ratings completely! See below. Notice two things:

  1. My negative feedback has been removed, as well as my comments!
  2. Another person has gotten an inkling that the traffic they are receiving isn’t doing them any good; though they are much less confident about what they should be seeing, they suspect there’s something wrong.

drive traffic fiverr

Now, it’s somewhat disheartening to recognize most of these folks see the spike in traffic like I did, however they aren’t looking at their bounce rates or the referring URL’s, so they aren’t realizing they’re being duped.

I liken this to ordering the steak dinner at a restaurant, being served a rice cake, and commenting how full you are now that you’ve eaten so well.

And what about Fiverr in all this? They didn’t reach out to me at all. They just deleted the truth and will let this person continue their deceptive practices. Yikes!

Ah, buy why the heck should they do anything? Fiverr gets paid on every sale, don’t they?

Buyer beware, folks.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

P.S. – The vendor said, “My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it’s a consequence of setting the traffic this way.” That’s junk, people. Traffic being direct versus referred has no bearing on the quality of the traffic; it’s merely an indication of how people are getting to your site. If there were even people behind those hits. It’s quite possible that traffic is from bots.

Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate?

marketing ideas bounce rate

by Lucy Beer

A low bounce rate is often cited as a hallmark of a good website–40% or lower is typically heralded as the goal–signaling that visitors are engaged with your site and finding useful content. A high bounce rate is often assumed to mean that your site is not doing its job. In reality, bounce rate means different things for different sites and the emphasis you place on it will vary according to the type of site you have and its goals.

What Does Bounce Rate Mean?

The definition from Google’s Analytics help pages is: “Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.”

When is Bounce Rate a Relevant Metric?

  • If you have a sales or conversion process which requires the user to follow through multiple pages on your site.
  • If exploration of your site is important to your goals. If you are trying to turn new visitors into loyal readers or customers.
  • If yours is a retail site and you want people to shop around and make purchases.
  • If your homepage is not inducing further clicks, particularly if it contains blog excerpts or other ‘teaser’ content.

What a High Bounce Rate Could Mean:

1. Keywords and content are mismatched.

In cases where visitors are coming from search engines, a high bounce rate may mean that the keywords they used and the content they found on your site are not aligned–so your site doesn’t meet their expectations in some way.

What you can do:

Analyze your keyword traffic and make sure your pages are optimized for the keywords you want and that the content is closely aligned with keywords and not misleading in any way.

2. The next step in your conversion or goal process is not obvious or easy enough.

What you can do:

Look at your landing pages with an objective eye and make the next step clear and easy to take.

3. The navigation on your site is confusing or unclear, making additional content hard to find.

What you can do:

Re-evaluate the navigation and see if there are ways to streamline or simplify. Also double-check for browser compatibility–perhaps the page is not displaying correctly under some conditions.

4. Your offer or product is not presented in a compelling or easy to understand way.

What you can do:

Look at your sales copy or offer details and see if you can refresh it or make it more appealing. You could try split-testing different versions to see which performs better.

5. Your site has technical problems. Particularly if your bounce rate suddenly spikes or displays an unusual trend, it could be an indication of technical issues–broken images or links, or something on the page not loading correctly.

What you can do:

Check for compatibility and broken links. Test the load speed of the page and generally make sure your code is as clean and functional as possible. Check for server outages and other issues that could have temporarily affected the functionality of your site.

A high bounce rate might not be a problem if:

  • You have a blog homepage containing all your recent posts in their entirety – Blogger blogs are notorious for this. When all your posts are presented up front there would be little reason for someone to click to any other pages.
  • You have a loyal blog following and your site has a higher proportion of returning visitors than new visitors. Your followers and subscribers may just want to read the newest post and have no need to visit other pages.
  • You are promoting a landing page which contains the call to action within it, such as submitting an email address. That single page can do its job effectively without requiring further clicks.
  • The call to action or conversion takes your visitor off-site–to an external shopping cart or email sign up for example. This would look like a bounce, but can still be a conversion.
  • Blogs typically have higher bounce rates compared to other types of sites so the same benchmarks do not apply.

Bounce Rate is Not the Only Metric.

Don’t look at bounce rate in isolation–look at the overall picture of your website and how it’s performing according to the metrics that matter to you. What DO you want your visitors to do at your site? Are you making it easy for them to do that, and are you measuring it?

Look for trends and other data that give you a fuller picture of what the bounce rate really means:

  • Is the bounce rate higher or lower for certain keywords?
  • Does it vary according to how people found your site? Search engines vs. social media, for example.
  • How does it vary with New vs. Returning visitors?
  • Which particular pages or types of content on your site have higher or lower bounce rates?
  • Look also at length of time the visitor spends on the page which could indicate whether or not they are reading what they find–this is very important for a blog.

marketing ideas leadership

Lucy Beer of WebTrainingWheels.com is a marketing professional of more than 8 years. She has been using and loving WordPress since 2004 and provides WordPress training services. She also consults with small businesses on their marketing online strategy, helping them develop and execute a plan that increases their business and engages their target audience.

Did Motorola and Verizon Miss the Mark?

marketing ideas motorola ad

I’m not sure this ad achieves what Motorola and Verizon hoped to achieve. I don’t see people untethered by longer battery life; I see a digital culture of disconnect. No one is actually looking at each other. All eyes are on their phones. Yeesh. Is this what we’re becoming?

The digitally divided?

Six No-Hype Copywriting Techniques: How to Be Lively, Appealing and Truthful in Sales Writing

marketing ideas copywriting

by Marcia Yudkin

A lot of my clients shrink from using hype in their marketing messages. Hype is a style of overexcited, exaggerated writing that can fire up the eager reader, but at the cost of trust or credibility in the eyes of someone who is temperamentally or professionally skeptical.

how to write the perfect blog post
10 Powerful Blogging Secrets of the Pros that Dramatically Increase Your Readership and Convert Your Prospects into Raving Customers

For instance, here is a hype-y headline of the sort found all around the Internet: “If You Can Write Your Name, You Can Write and Publish a Book in 7 Days – Guaranteed!” Having been a writing teacher, I know that the only way such a claim could be valid would be to play games with the accepted meanings of the words “write” or “book.” People who can write their name cannot necessarily write a coherent sentence or paragraph – much less have enough ideas in their head to fill a book of average length. Because of its implausibility, such a headline is all the more appealing to those who feel impatient for results.

Many copywriting experts hold that if a headline or marketing pitch sells and is not downright illegal for some reason, it’s the right way to write. However, I support my clients’ instinctive recoil from hype and help them with more truthful yet still lively and appealing persuasive techniques. You can create vivid, powerfully persuasive copy without crossing the line into hype by learning these techniques.

No-hype Technique #1: Create rapport with the reader

Think your way into the mind of your ideal customer and express what they’re thinking and feeling. Then build on that. This wins over readers by connecting with where they are and showing them the next logical step. For example:

Wishing that your book in progress could just finish itself already? Writing a book can be an exercise in procrastination, frustration and roadblocks. But when you use the “Two-a-Day” Method, your book gets completed easily, steadily and finally.

No-hype Technique #2: Use emotional words and phrases

Dry, matter-of-fact language isn’t as persuasive as wording that acknowledges and expresses what’s at stake in the customer’s situation and the feelings involved.

BEFORE: Our database offers detailed listings of more than $3.7 billion in available scholarship funding.

AFTER: Access to our members-only database of more than $3.7 billion in free, no-strings-attached scholarship money means you can attend the college of your dreams without enslaving yourself to future loan payments.

No-hype Technique #3: Add colorful details

For every general concept you want to mention, substitute or add specific, concrete details. Abstractions and generalities never hit home as well as statements containing numbers, names, places, stories and other specifics. Also, general statements have little impact because they sound like things we’ve all heard a zillion times. Copywriters call the technique of adding detail “dimensionalizing” because it turns a square little statement into a 3-D patterned shape that the reader has never quite encountered before.

In these two examples from Paul Lemberg’s home page, the section in parentheses dimensionalizes the claim just before it:

  • How to boost sales quickly; (50-100% year-over-year sales increase is not unusual among my clients.)
  • Escalate short-term profits and build long-term equity; (One client recently sold their company for three times what they had been led to expect by the so-called expert investment bankers…)

No-hype Technique #4: Pair problems with solutions

Listing problem after problem that a product solves or prevents can come across as unbelievable and even depressing. The opposite strategy, listing benefit after benefit from the product, can seem too good to be true. When you link the problem with the solution and at least hint at a reason for the positive result, customers feel they’re getting something solid and valuable when they buy.

To illustrate this, here are three bullet points from Susan C. Daffron’s description of her book “Happy Hound: Develop a Great Relationship With Your Adopted Dog or Puppy”:

  • The two main reasons dogs generally jump on people and four ways to convince the dog you really don’t need that type of greeting
  • Six safety instructions you must teach your children not to do to avoid dog bites and the four things they should always do if they encounter a dog they don’t know
  • Three keys for surviving “canine adolescence.” As with human children, adolescence is a time when dogs test limits and try your patience!

(By the way, the numbers in those bullets help dimensionalize the book’s content, exemplifying tip #3.)

No-hype Technique #5: Paint vivid scenarios

Feed the reader’s imagination with what can realistically happen after they buy your product or service. You’re not promising this will happen, but by putting the reader into the future, he or she pictures it happening and feels motivated to have the result.

Here, for instance, is how I fed the reader’s imagination in promotional copy for my report, “Marcia’s Makeovers: 24 Press Releases Transformed from So-So to Sizzling”:

I challenge you to cite a greater return on investment than that produced by a world-class media release that lands you on page 1 of a major newspaper, in a two-page spread in your top industry magazine or in the fluffy final segment of a network newscast. Just one major score like this, and you can milk the credibility payoff for your business practically forever. Inspire a feature story that gets picked up by the Associated Press, and enjoy people all over the world clamoring to get their hands on what you sell.

No-hype Technique #6: Incite curiosity

Reread the bullet points for tip #4, and if you have any interest at all in dog behavior, you’ll find you really, really want to know the techniques that are described there in an incomplete yet tempting fashion. Reference to the “Two-a-Day” Method has the same kind of effect – the reader wants to know “two of what?” Show a little while holding something back.

Like the other five techniques described here, enticing the reader is a truthful, effective, no-hype way to make the reader want to step forward and buy.

marketing ideas leadership

Veteran copywriter and marketing consultant Marcia Yudkin is the author of Persuading on Paper, 6 Steps to Free Publicity and nine other books. She runs a one-on-one mentoring program that trains copywriters and marketing consultants in 10 weeks, providing neophytes with no-hype marketing writing skills and business savvy. For more information, go to http://www.yudkin.com/become.htm

Defining ‘Moments of Truth’ in a Business Customer’s Lifecycle

marketing ideas romancing the customer

by Joseph Fiochetta

There are several critical times during a customer’s relationship where a decision is made–by the customer–to continue or discontinue interacting with a company. This may be the first bill, a customer service call, a retail experience, a Web site…any event that helps clarify the relationship with a particular brand, product, or service.

We call these “moments of truth” and how a marketer interacts with the customers can significantly increase (or decrease) the long-term viability of that relationship. Identifying and anticipating those points of clarify is critical to maintain and grow a profitable customer relationship.

Staying Connected with Customers
For one telecommunications leader, economic and competitive pressures were making it increasingly difficult to attract and keep new customers in a highly competitive space.

New small-to-medium-sized business customers represent a substantial economic gain to this communications services provider because these customers generate a higher percentage of cross-sell opportunities and are one of the faster growth segments in business today. But new customers typically tend to be more vulnerable to competitors and generally churn at a higher rate during the first weeks and months of the business relationship.

Within the company, customer communications were siloed–in the same way that products often are siloed–and “touch points”–points of interaction–with small business customers were driven by regulatory and budget constraints. They were not based on each customer’s actual need. For example, within the company’s old business model, small business customers received multiple contacts from various channels (direct mail, e-mail, teleservices) across various products with no integration.

A customer’s first contact included an informational and legal document to confirm an order–traditionally a generic, off-brand direct mail piece with no offer.

This was followed by a number of different welcome kits from each product category that were sent up to three months after a new customer’s service activation. In addition, customer service was not integrated into the marketing mix so contact with the customer was conducted independent of other channels.

Senior management recognized that the more services a customer purchases from a telecom provider, the less likely customers will take their business elsewhere, but the move from a product focus to a customer focus was not an easy one and required a commitment from multiple stakeholders within the organization. The shift away from how the company was organized versus how customers engaged with the brand created an impact on the organization at strategic, tactical, and operational levels.

Developing a Plan to ‘Onboard’ New Customers
Critical to success was key stakeholder buy-in throughout the process. To combat the problem of new customer turnover, the telecom performed a number of qualitative and quantitative measures necessary to realign the new customer experience.

First, three guiding principles were established to focus the plan:

  1. All communications should generate a measurable response so that management may tell–at an individual level, as well as at the intervention level–what worked and what did not.
  2. Customer-centric communications must be frequent and consistent, targeted, timed, and delivered in a manner that is most appropriate for the individual customer. Tracking preferences and behavior is essential.
  3. Communications should be focused on increasing “stickiness”–which is the ability to keep a consumer coming back for more. Thus, each customer’s value over the time of the relationship is tracked.

The first step was to understand business priorities and analyze and document the telecom’s current state. Through customer focus groups, data analysis, contact mapping, impact analysis, and an environmental scan across multiple industries, a “best-practices approach” to prevent customer churn was developed.

As the company set out to develop best practices in developing new customer communications, it learned that:

  • The first 90 days are critical – there can be as much as a 15% to 20% “take rate” of additional products and services during this initial period.
  • The sooner one can engage a customer, the better.
  • Messages developed early in the relationship should be designed to set and validate customer expectations.
  • Personalization works!
  • Using multiple touch points across a variety of media are preferred by customers – because channel preference is situational.
  • Multiple response channels are essential.
  • Surveying and data gathering are critical components for gaining customer insight. Programs that are data gathering stimulate: customer interaction, transactions (revenue), stickiness (retention), and usage.
  • The velocity of customer communications and engagement should increase during “moments of truth.” Trigger-based programs, ones where offers and dialogue are built upon data-based business rules, can enhance an already effective new customer strategy.
  • Consultative selling is a key part of any customer program and can help avoid negative “moments of truth.” Right-sizing and proactive account management can effectively stem high attrition during choke points in the customer relationship.
  • A product-centric focus is not the key driver in new customer retention. Customer-centric programs that address the lifecycle of the customer through vulnerable periods are more profitable.

From this insight, the company set out to identify the critical milestones for each business customer through time-driven occurrences and data-driven activity. The customer’s “relationship” with the company was marked by five key lifestages: courting, honeymoon, newlywed, settling-in, and getting-the-itch. Within each lifestage, expectations were established and the metrics for success were developed to support the business case for this new change.

Implementing the New Approach
At the core of the company’s new strategy is a precise contact strategy that optimizes each customer interaction. Channel alignment, combined with predictive modeling and analytics as well as customer-centric messaging and creative, is the foundation of this evolving new customer onboarding process.

At each lifestage, the focus and intent of the communications change as a customer progresses from one stage to another. As a result, the telecom is able to identify each stage and allocate the right offer, message, and budget to that customer’s situation. This enables the telecom to communicate with customers when they are prone to churn.

Small business customers are contacted several times within the crucial first six-month period, not including billing and account information. Number of contacts, channel mix, message, and offer are determined by in which lifestage a customer resides. Further, each contact is treated as part of a continuity curriculum, where the conversation with the customer extends over a period of time versus the traditional single message approach.

For example, during the “honeymoon” period, a single welcome kit is sent within five to ten days from service activation (versus 12 weeks). This package establishes the one-to-one dialog with the new customer and thanks the customer for choosing the telecom, delivers product information, sets expectations for the customer experience, and validates the decision to interact with the brand.

While entering the “newlywed” stage, new customers receive messaging that acknowledges the products/services the customer currently has and offers additional solutions or offers based on how they migrate through the telecom’s solutions. The goal of this effort is to provide the customer with evolutionary products or services rather than the telecom’s focus product during that time period.

In the “settling in” period, customers can expect to receive loyalty-based packages with savings designed just for them–so the more detailed the information about the customer, the more dynamic the communication stream, and the more successful (and profitable) the customer interaction.

This right-message, right-time approach extends to other channels throughout the process. The sales and direct marketing channels work closely together to present a consistent and cohesive face to the customer.

Throughout the onboarding period–from service activation through month six, the telecom company is able to “right-size” a customer’s product and service mix through: account reviews, consultative-selling via inbound and outbound telemarketing, and rules-based triggers that can help identify and stem a potential churn event.

Of course, this new approach requires changes to infrastructure, budgets, and available resources that will be deployed over several phases. Although still in the first phase, early indicators point to the success of the new program. The telecom company was able to reduce customer churn, increase sales and revenue, and experience higher overall response rates as a result of the innovation.

By implementing customer-focused communication “best practices,” a marketer in the business-to-business space can optimize the profitability of new small business customers for the long term.

marketing ideas leadership

Joseph Fiochetta is director of strategy for Harte-Hanks, a worldwide, direct and targeted marketing company that provides direct marketing services and shopper advertising opportunities to a wide range of local, regional, national and international consumer and business-to-business marketers. He can be reached at (215)750-6600 or at joe_fiochetta@harte-hanks.com.

How To Work Keywords Into Your Website

marketing ideas how to add keywords

One of the most important things you can do to improve your rankings in the search engines and directories (Google, Yahoo, Bing, DMOZ, et cetera) is to ensure your website is optimized in accordance with the keywords and key phrases you are looking to target.

To “optimize” a website for search engine relevancy means going over it with a fine-tooth comb and seeking out ways to make the website more targeted toward the topic it incites. There are a number of ways to do this.

Domain Name

Does your domain name carry with it “maximum information per square inch?” As in, is your product or service in your name? While this can help your rankings, it is not the end all, be all. After all, do a search in Google on “fast food” and you will notice McDonald’s and Wendy’s sites come up to the top and their domain names are not mcdonaldsfastfood.com or wendysfastfood.com.

Page Titles

Each web page on your site should have its own distinct title. A web page title should tell the user and the search engines what the page is about and you want to make sure to work in a couple keywords relevant to your website and specific to that page. Recommendation: Resist the temptation to place your company name first in the title—your keywords are more important to both humans and bots, so they go first.

Metadata

Add keywords and key phrases into your website’s metadata. Every web page has the capacity to have within it a hidden description and set of keywords. Whether web designers make use of this feature is another matter. Besides your domain name and page titles, this is one of the first things the search engines use to determine where in their indexes your site should be placed. While the importance for metadata has been greatly reduced over the years, it is still something you want to address as it’s the meta description that shows up in the search results.

Copy

Your copy (the text you write,) your links and the images you choose can all be constructed to give the search engines a greater idea about your website’s singular reason for being.

When you seek to “keyword optimize” your website, you begin by knowing the keywords you want to target. Once you have a list of 20 to 30 keywords or key phrases, you may then begin to craft your message to your public, sprinkling in those important words along the way. A good rule of thumb here is to focus on a few keywords per page, rather than trying to stuff them all onto every page.

Tip: Write for humans, but optimize for search engines. Do not pack your site with your keywords. The top search engines have algorithms in place that will penalize for “keyword stuffing.” (Keyword stuffing is considered to be a “black hat” search engine optimization technique and is wonderful way to get your website banned from the search engines. Not recommended.)

Links

Descriptive links are another great way to tell the search engines what your site is about and they carry a good amount of weight and should be used wisely. If you are merely stating “click here” or “read more” you are missing an opportunity. Instead of stopping at “read more”, build a little more information into the link by saying “read more about online marketing” (or whatever your topic.) Assuming “online marketing” was one of our key phrases, we just gave that search engine a little more reason to promote our site when someone searches on online marketing.

Images

Even the images you use can build relevancy for your website. For example, if you have a dog grooming company, abstain from putting up pictures of your clients that still carry the same filename as the day they were pulled off the digital camera. “DC3459.jpg” tells the search engines nothing about the subject of that image. Since search engines cannot actually see the image to interpret it (yet,) they can only rely upon the filename you give your image (and an “alt” tag, which we will discuss later,) balanced against the rest of the page on which it resides. A better filename might be “dog-grooming-service.jpg” or “pet-grooming.jpg.” This same principle holds true for every filename you use on your site (.doc, .pdf, .gif, .htm, .php, etc.,) including even the pages of your website.

Does it sound like we are catering to the search engines? We are. Search engines and directories are large conduits into your website. Without them, there would be considerably less traffic on your site, so you want to make it clear to them you are 1) an authority in your field, and 2) your website contains great value to those who will find it.

Marketing Idea #202: Pretend You’re a Celebrity

marketing ideas be a celebrity

LOL. From YouTube:

“On the night of July 27th, 2012, a huge prank was pulled in New York City and this is the video of what took place. Brett Cohen came up with a crazy idea to fool thousands of pedestrians walking the streets of Times Square into thinking he was a huge celebrity, and it worked! Not only did it work, it caused quite a stir. This social experiment, of sorts, makes a profound statement about how modern culture is so attracted to pop culture, without any real credibility needed.”

No kidding. Enjoy!

Matt

Marketing Idea #9: Match Competitors’ Prices

marketing ideas match competitor prices

Offer to match your competition’s prices. Bargain shoppers thrive on being able to bring in your competition’s ads to have you beat the prices. There are a few things that work to your advantage here:

  • Your regular patrons will be less likely to be swayed away from you because of price.
  • The hunt for the lowest price is a process that engages the public and draws attention.
  • You never have to worry about keeping a tab on the competition’s price strategy (but you do have to worry about being able to maintain the same price strategy).

Caution: Make sure your margins allow for price wars. There is something to be said for positioning yourself as the premium product or service in the marketplace. For instance, Ruler or Sage brand archetypes may not want to battle at the low end of the pricing scale since those brands lend more to a moderate to high pricing strategy. In contrast, the Jester or Regular Guy/Girl brand archetypes would be better suited for this tactic, due to their broader mass appeal.

Marketing Idea #18: Start an Affiliate Program

marketing ideas affiliate programs

Create a referral or affiliate program. Otherwise known as making it worth other people’s time to help you reach new clients. The goal of a referral program is to create revenue or to provide some other incentive for those who help you reach more people.

Example: Dreamscape Multimedia offers a referral program with our web hosting service and makes it free to sign up using a simple one-page form. We call it our Prosperity program, as it pays a hefty 50 percent monthly commission* on web hosting accounts you refer to us.

*Giving back 50 percent of a revenue stream may not be possible for your company. Determine what a responsible return might look like, and proceed conservatively at first.

Marketing Idea #25: Always Carry Business Cards

marketing ideas business cards

Always have enough business cards with you. While this seems like it should be obvious, people are still caught off-guard without their business cards. You’ll never know when or where opportunities will arise. Also, whenever you know you’re on your way to a trade show, mixer, or other networking event, make sure you take a lot of business cards. It’s better to have too many than not enough!

Tip: Keep a number of “card caches” around you at all times. Keeping business cards in your car, at your desk, at your home office, and in your briefcase or purse can keep you from looking ill-prepared if you forget to replenish the cards in your wallet.

What NOT to do: I’ve seen people leave their business cards randomly at restaurants, in rest rooms, and on bar counters by registers. Maybe this works, but I’m doubtful. In my mind, this would be even less effective than placing your business card on a bulletin board! Do you really think the wait staff are going to keep you business cards after you leave? Nah. I think they’re going to clean the table and those expensive die-cut, embossed business cards you had to have are going to end up wearing your table scraps in the trash.

Hint: Save your cards for the people who care.

Marketing Idea #83: Tradeshow Giveaways

Marketing Ideas Tradeshow Giveaways

The best and most obvious reason for visiting some tables at trade shows is for the free giveaways. You will find that many people will make the rounds to collect the free stuff. In some cases, the booths without free giveaways may experience lower traffic as a result. It’s a cheap ploy, but the right giveaway can gain you exposure you wouldn’t have had without it. Of course, you have to question the quality of your traffic if it’s only coming over to steal another one of those great metal pens…

Tip: Have fun with your giveaways! After all, if it’s really good, it will likely end up in the hands of their kids.


 

10 ways to master the tradeshow giveaway game

by Susan Friedmann

Walk around any trade show and you will be able to collect a bag full of trade show giveaway items all designed to promote business. Everyone enjoys receiving a gift. Gift giving creates a favorable impression. It can build goodwill, be an incentive, communicate a message, and create awareness. However, how many promotional giveaways do an effective job?

Before jumping into the trade show giveaway game consider the following 10 ways to master the tradeshow giveaway game:

Define Your Audience: Having a focused objective for your trade show giveaway will also help you decide who should receive it. Consider having different gifts for various visitors. You might have different quality gifts for your key customers, prospects, and general passers by.

Set Your Goal: What do you want to achieve by giving away a premium item? Trade show giveaway items should be designed to increase your recognition, communicate a message, motivate an action, or promote your small business. It’s important not only that the message have an impact, but also the premium itself.

Find the Right Item: There is a multitude of different items you could consider as a premium giveaway. However, which one will best suit your purpose? To select the right item, decide on your objective. Do you want it to enhance a theme, convey a specific message, or educate your target audience? Set a purpose to make your selection process easier. A promotional specialist can also help you make an effective selection. Remember your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away.

Add Your Message: Is there an item that naturally complements your marketing message? Have the message imprinted on the item with your company name, logo, and phone number. An important aspect of any gift is to remember who it was from long after the fact.

Set a Price: The price range for trade show giveaway items is enormous. Quality, quantity, and special orders all impact the price. Establish a budget as part of your exhibit marketing plan. Consider ordering the same item for several different shows. The greater the quantity of your order, the lower the individual unit price.

Establish Qualifiers: What must visitors do to qualify for a giveaway item? There are several ways to use your trade show giveaway effectively:

  • as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation, or contest
  • as a token of your appreciation when visitors have given you qualifying information about their specific needs
  • as a thank you for stopping at the booth

Use the Pre-qualifying Secret: Trade show giveaways can be used to pre-qualify your prospects. One company uses playing cards. Prior to the show, they send “kings” to their key customers, “queens” to suppliers, and “jacks” to new or hot prospects. They request that the cards are brought to the booth in exchange for a special gift. When the cards are presented, the booth staff already knows certain information about the visitor. They can then act on their previous knowledge and use time with the visitor more productively.

Have a Sales Incentive: Will your trade show giveaway directly help future sales? Hand out a discount coupon or a gift certificate requiring future contact with your company for redemption. Consider premiums that will help generate frequent visits to customers and prospects, such as calling you for free refills.

Inform Your Target Audience: Novel trade show giveaways can actively help to draw prospects to your booth. Make sure your prospects know about it. Send a tickler invitation with details of the giveaway, or create a two-piece premium, sending one part out to key prospects prior to the show and telling them to collect the other half at your booth.

Have a Tracking Mechanism: Establish a tracking mechanism to measure the success of your trade show giveaways.

If it is a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show. Post-show follow-up could include a question about the premium: Did visitors remember receiving it, and how useful was the item? After the trade show, critique your giveaways with your exhibit team:

  • Did it draw specific prospects to the booth?
  • Was it eye-catching enough to persuade passers by to stop?
  • Did your customers find it useful?
  • Did it project the right corporate image?

There are plenty of exciting trade show giveaways for you to choose from to avoid the usual pens, pencils, and key chains. Make your premium work for you by applying the 10 ways to master your trade show giveaways and experience show success…it will be money well invested.


Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, is The Tradeshow Coach, and author of “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,” working with companies to improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training. For a free copy of “10 Common Mistakes Exhibitors Make”, e-mail article4 (at) thetradeshowcoach.com, or visit her website www.thetradeshowcoach.com.

Marketing Idea #2: What is Your Marketing Budget?

Marketing Ideas Marketing Budget

Set aside money for marketing efforts each year. Don’t use it for anything else. Often, we have a tendency to pull our marketing funds from the same pool of money as our operating funds. This habit can reduce an organization’s ability to market itself when the time is right. Be especially protective of your marketing budget; this is the investment that pays the bills.

Below, I’ve reposted a brief article by the Wall Street Journal which discusses the success of companies who remain steady in their marketing efforts, even in the face of a recession. Folks, if this can’t convince you to invest in your own marketing efforts, I don’t know what will.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas Google Analytics divider

The Basic Argument for Advertising in a Recession

from The Wall Street Journal (publication information unknown)
View the original article

When times turn bad, they’re made worse by hesitation, halfway measures, and panicky decisions. Such as the decision to reduce or eliminate advertising. The fact is, companies that maintain or increase their advertising spending during recessions get ahead. A less crowded field allows messages to be seen more clearly, and that increased visibility results in higher sales both during and after a recession.

Recessionary Advertising Works

Studies by the American Business Press examined the relationship between advertising and sales in 143 companies during the severe 1974/75 downturn. They found that companies that did not cut advertising either year had the highest growth in sales and the net income during the two study years and the following two years. The studies also proved that companies that cut advertising during both years had the lowest sales and net-income increases during the two study years and the following two years.

And not surprisingly, companies that cut advertising during only one of the recession years had sales and net-income increases that fell in between.

Long-Term Benefits

A study by McGraw-Hill of both the 1974/75 and 1981/82 recessions confirmed the long-range advantage of keeping a strong advertising presence. It found that companies that cut advertising in 1981/82 increased sales by only 19% between 1980 and 1985, while companies that continued to advertise in 1981/82 enjoyed a 275% sales increase.

An industry-specific study published by the Harvard Business Review found that airlines that increased their advertising expenditure during 1974/75 increased sales and market share in both years, while airlines that cut advertising in both years lost sales and share both years.

The results of all three studies are consistent, clear and unequivocal: Those companies that advertise during a recession have better sales than those companies that don’t.

The way to minimize a downturn and take maximum advantage of the upturn is to maintain a strong communications link with your buying public.

Marketing Idea #4: Note Those Hot Ideas

Marketing Ideas Hot Ideas

You probably already have ideas and future plans for your company in your head. Put these ideas down in print somewhere. Include a section for collecting marketing ideas and opportunity information. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you lose track of as you get caught up in your day-to-day efforts. Make it a point to review this file quarterly and delegate the best ideas if you can’t tackle them yourself.

Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing

Marketing Ideas Article Marketing

Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of online marketing available to small business owners and non-profits. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing”, here is a quick definition:

In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back into the author’s own website, raising their website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing their qualified web traffic.

You Are the Expert

Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing—and yourself—through the proper lens.

When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:

  1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
  2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)

Warning: Don’t get caught on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.

Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain

Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and non-profit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naïve? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:

  1. Provide a solution to a problem,
  2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
  3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
  4. Entertain and enthrall.

The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.

Step 1: Target Your Topic

What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.

Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!

Step 2: Write the Article

To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:

  1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your own material,
  2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
  3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.

Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a body of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”

To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a friend, and use spellcheck.

  • First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel this friend if they came to you seeking this advice?
  • Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.

The Resource Box

The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?

Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)

Step 3: Launch!

There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.

  • Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately.)
  • Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
  • Submit your article to free article directories! Here are the top 10 most popular article directories, according to list of the top 50, found at http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php:
  1. seekingalpha.com
  2. ehow.com
  3. hubpages.com
  4. biggerpockets.com/articles
  5. ezinearticles.com
  6. brighthub.com
  7. buzzle.com
  8. textbroker.com
  9. selfgrowth.com
  10. knoji.com/articles/
  • Use an article submission software or service to shorten this process. One good example is isnare.com.
  • Feeling brave? Record your article as you read it into a microphone and post it to iTunes.
  • Braver still? Use your digital video camera and post your work to YouTube, Vimeo and the like.

Step 4: Track Your Results

Just because you’ve accomplished the first three steps of deciding, drafting and delivering your article, don’t think you’re done! You should be watching to see how this article affects your traffic. Did you see an increase? Did your website’s conversion rate (the number of calls, emails, sign-ups, sales, etc.) edge up? If not, did your article compel people to want to know more? Did it provide enough value? Was it placed properly?

Marketing Tip: Use the powerful and free traffic-tracking tool, Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics). Design your Analytics reports and schedule them to automatically arrive in your inbox as frequently as you like.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Now do it again. Find different-but-related categories to place your articles under so they don’t compete with each other. Discuss different aspects of products and services you offer. Determine how often you will produce and post your articles. This depends on how intensely you will run your article marketing campaign. You’ll need to weigh your priorities against your normal day-to-day workload, your goals and the competitiveness of your industry.

If you’re just starting out, aim to write weekly or bi-weekly articles using the promotional campaign in Step 3 as a model. If you are an ambitious writer or blogger, step up your efforts to daily and spread your articles across the media outlets.

Marketing Tip: Since you’re writing these articles anyways, you may as well post them to your website to keep your site’s content fresh. Then place them in your online newsletter and send them to your mailing list.

Afterglow

At this point, you have enough of a blueprint to successfully manage your own article marketing campaign. Writing articles can be a fun way to promote your website and your effort, but it can also be a great way to collect your thoughts and bring greater clarity to challenges you and your audience may be facing. Use articles to entertain, educate and inspire!

In support of your efforts,
M

How to Market a New Business


Marketing Ideas for Small Business

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, by now you’ve hopefully come to the conclusion you don’t want to compete with folks selling their services for $5. So then, how to market a new business and build a brand? Here are a few ideas:

First, I would consider your story. Why do you do what you do? Why are you personally invested in your clients’ success? Why have you chosen to make this your personal mission and what can you tell us about your personal mission? What is your ‘why’?

Further, what sets you apart from the other guy or gal? Why would people pick you? What makes you so special? Something does, so what is it? By answering these questions, you are beginning to develop your value proposition.

Testimonials are another useful tool. Go to past clients and ask them why they chose to work with you, what problem they were seeking to solve and how you provided the solution. There is a template here that helps with that:

Marketing Idea #89: Collect Testimonials

 
Don’t have any past clients yet? You may want to do some free work to build up your client porfolio. Once people can see others have trusted you in the past, it becomes easier for them to trust you. Think of this as building social proof.

Case studies are very similar to well-constructed testimonials in that they offer a description of the problem and then tell how you provided the solution and finally communicate the happy result.

Best recommendation: Share before-and-after stories. If you’re a writer, show the ad copy in its prior miserable state and then show the revised ad copy after you’ve finished with it. (“Feel the difference?  Here is how we saw conversion rates improve…” P.S. If you’re not tracking this yet, you need to start!) Another example could be for an orthodontist; here is the patient’s mouth before we fixed their snaggle-teeth, and here is the patient’s sparkling smile after the procedures were completed.

Finally, since we’re on the topic of building a brand, you may want to work through this short brand archetype quiz:

Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype (Quiz)

 
The quiz results will provide you with three archetypes, listed in order of relevance. This will definitely help you determine the “flavor” you want your brand to exude. For instance, if you are a rough and tumble pioneer type, the Explorer archetype may be the archetype you identify with most. Once you know your archetype, you can ensure your ad copy, imagery and brand all align with that archetype, which strengthens your position in the mind of the consumer.

Okay, this should keep you busy for a while. If you have more ideas to share or have questions about applying any of these marketing tactics, leave a comment below!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship

You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search in Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”

For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”

Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.

The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile

If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:

  • Introduction
    • Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
  • Profile photo
    • Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
  • Work Email
    • Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is yourname@yourdomain.com and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
  • Contributor to
    • This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile

Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts

There are a couple different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”

Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb. Here is mine:

Marketing Ideas Author Matt SchoenherrWritten by Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com

As you can see, I’ve included links to some of the other social media channels I use, the same headshot I used for my Google+ profile (this could be any picture; I’m just being consistent) and a little about myself.

Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>

Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and

  1. do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
  2. Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
  3. You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile ID

Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/posts

Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/

Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:

<img src=”https://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by Matt Schoenherr</strong><br />
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/mattschoenherr” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”https://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

Step 3: It’s Alive!

Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Testing Tool

An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Verified

Afterglow

Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:

“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)

Marketing Ideas Rich Snippet Results

True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors whom have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.

In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

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Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today!  Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written. See below.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Results

As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.

If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!

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References

Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.

Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.

Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.

Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.

Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.

Marketing Idea #44: Showcase Local Artists

Marketing Ideas Local Artists

Display artwork for sale from local artists. In doing so, you support the local artist community, gain word-of-mouth through the artists, and bring more interest to your walls. This can be done by writing up an offer and presenting it to a local art gallery. You may want to bring focus to the display either by centering on a specific artist or by having the showing coincide with a particular (and appropriate) event.

Marketing Idea #79: Can’t You Read The Sign?

Marketing Ideas Signage

Consider the signage at your office or facility. Can a visitor find you easily? Can he find his way around your facility easily? Large buildings such as hospitals, office buildings, and malls often suffer from poor signage, creating a sense of unease and annoyance in their patrons. You know that even grocery stores can benefit from clear signage if you’ve ever had the misfortune of searching for way too long to locate a certain item on your grocery list.

Marketing Ideas Signs

To Market Online, Know Your ‘Why’

Marketing Ideas Know Your Why

Question: When marketing online, I have always focused on marketing only one of my many services. Should I market something else? How should I market my business online?

Answer: Many folks wonder how to market businesses online. I believe your starting point depends upon where your heart lies.

If you’re in love with one particular element of your business, focus on that. For instance, if you’re a photographer who favors working weddings, I would recommend staying focused on ‘wedding photographer’ as a keyphrase. Then add your target location (where you want to work these jobs.)  Your keyphrase would then look like ‘wedding photographer Detroit’ or ‘wedding photographer Chicago’.

Yes, if you’re a talented wedding photographer, you probably do well photographing other events. If you prefer photographing sporting events, sure, follow that. However, know that maintaining a singular focus over time will yield more singular results than a dispersed focus (better position in the search engines, more qualified traffic, therefore higher conversions to paying wedding photography jobs.) When choosing keywords during your online marketing activities, take aim at your singular idea—your one thing—and charge after that.

At the time of this writing, MarketingIdeas101.com is only about five months old. Judging by the domain name, it’s safe to guess ‘marketing ideas’ is one of the coveted keyphrases. Well, it so happens there are lots of top-dogs ranking well for that keyphrase, nationally and globally. When the Marketing Ideas 101 site first hit Google, it was on page 2 for ‘marketing ideas 101’ and between pages 13-17 for ‘marketing ideas’. For ‘marketing ideas’, that’s a position of 130-170 out of the approximate 196,000,000 results found by Google. Who is going to go to the 17th page of their search results? The site may as well have not existed!

It took only five months and now Marketing Ideas 101 dominates ‘marketing ideas 101’ (top four positions when I looked this morning) and is now on page 3 for ‘marketing ideas’, surpassing even an Inc.com page. During this time, Marketing Ideas 101 has been grown from a single page to over 50 pages, most of which have ‘marketing idea’ or ‘marketing ideas’ in the title and URL.

(Note: Don’t think for a second I believe there are throngs of people looking for ‘marketing ideas 101’ as a keyphrase. This phrase—which coincides with the domain name MarketingIdeas101.com—was simply one of the smaller milestones I used to gauge progress. Now that the top position for the full phrase has been captured, we’re continuing on after the big fish on the national and global levels; those who sit atop the ‘marketing ideas’ search results.)

The off-site marketing of the MarketingIdeas101.com site has not been aggressive. Maybe there has been a blog comment every two weeks? Maybe there has been a broadcast for new post or article to Twitter and LinkedIn about once a week? More importantly, there are 2-3 new posts every week. Plus, most these posts carry titles based on low- to medium-competition keyphrases with higher search volume.

The aim is to reach folks who have specific marketing questions on topics that have been under-served. Combine this with broadcasting new posts through Facebook, Twitter (automated), LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest (my photographer example should definitely be using Pinterest) and Marketing Ideas 101 moved up to an average daily volume of 50-60 visits each day. The Marketing Ideas site cleared 100 visits in a day last week. Yes, these are still small numbers, but for many small businesses and nonprofits operating at a local level, it is targeted traffic at this volume that begins to make the phone ring.

Again, the only aggressive effort here has been in the delivery of solid content. This content was designed to provide answers to current marketing questions, assisting as many people as possible (e.g. where to find Google Analytics report templates, what’s hot in social media, why you don’t care about building a mobile app, etc.)

Make no mistake; claiming page 1 positioning may take a couple more years even though the Marketing Ideas 101 site jumped to page 3 after 5 months. I can be patient. I understand this is a journey. As long as I’m serving others with the goal of making a difference for as many people as possible, I’ll keep after it. You must know your ‘why’ though; otherwise you may find it easy to become distracted or frustrated when you occasionally lose position to a competitor (or the latest Google update,) or when you lose a client, etc.

My goal for this project is to serve as many folks as I can by providing great content, tools, instruction and support. The intent is to help my followers and students 1) gain the competitive edge in their marketplace and 2) see their dreams through to fulfillment and expansion. Ultimately, my ‘why’ is to fortify or restore hope in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the freelancer, the nonprofit–anyone who would have more from life from the status quo. Then I arm them with a set of the tools by which to do this.

Knowing your ‘why’ will help you focus your direction and your dedication. Then you can begin selecting your keyphrases. Then you can really get into your online marketing strategies.

So my question to you is this: What is your ‘why‘? Why is it you do what you do? What does driving toward your mission fulfill for you and what does it fulfill for those you support?

What is your ‘why’?

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Update, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It appears the Marketing Ideas 101 site has jumped to page 2 in at least one of Google’s indexes (Google has at least two I’m aware of.) Since this original post 20 days ago, I’ve produced three light posts and two full-length articles. Additionally, I had an online article publisher offer to publish this article and Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results. (Read more on article marketing.)

Page Position Marketing Ideas

I’ll report back once I’ve achieved a first page position for “marketing ideas”. Until then, go forth and conquer.

Matt

Marketing Idea #91: Send Reminders!

Marketing Ideas Send Reminders

Send reminders to refresh your clients’ memory of specific recurring events, such as dental appointments or subscription renewals. If you’re using direct mail (postcards, letters, and so on), have your clients fill out the address information for their next reminder at the time of checkout.

Tip: Go one step further and hand them a sticker with the date of their next appointment, for easy placement in their wall calendars.

Example: Oil-change shops are great at this. They are always certain to leave those little window clings on your windshield for easy reference. As a result, you always know exactly when you’re due for a visit!

Better: Send them their calendar appointment electronically. (You are collecting their e-mail addresses, right?)