Email Marketing

Email MarketingYesterday, I decided to work late into the night and use the time to focus on “marketing my business”. I looked at what resources I had, and I decided to do “email marketing”.

Not with Aweber, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, or Intellicontact.

I didn’t blast out 7000 emails.

I sent 7 personally hand-crafted emails just from my Gmail account, asking for referrals from existing contacts and clients.

Guess what? Within 24 hours, now I have at least 5 potential deals lined up and I’ll be meeting up with some of these business owners tomorrow and on Friday to discuss their web design and SEO requirements… and that is not taking into the “broadcast” which one friend offered to help me do when he gets back from his holiday – to his colleagues, over on the other side of the world in Austin, Texas.

I was very surprised with the response and I’m so glad I have so wonderful clients and associates. I really appreciate their help!

The Money is in the List?

In the Internet Marketing arena, they always say that “the money is in the list”.

While that is true to an extent, I feel that what is more important is for you to have a good relationship with the people in your “list”. Many small businesses read too much into the idea of building a massive list, and really fail to focus on building those relationships.

Then we end up with “lists” that are so void of relationships that when we email out we need to track “open rates”.

I’ve certainly fell into this trap myself, and the short marketing exercise yesterday was a good wake up call for me to focus back on relationships. This will not be easy for me, since I can really be a total woodblock when it comes to socializing.

But I think it will be worth it.

How about you? When was the last time you sent a really personalized email?

SEO Tips from Finggle SEO Workshop

I’ve had an intriguing 2 days at the Finggle SEO Workshop. Here are some of the top tips I’ve learnt from the SEO trainer.

  1. Know Your Purpose – Before you craft your first HTML tag, decide on the purpose of your site. Are you going for sales, leads, market awareness, or just to inform?
  2. Keyword Research – Especially if you are targeting local traffic, most popular “keyword tools” are secondary as compared to a good empirical subject matter research.
  3. Ranking is Dead – With Google Personalized Search in effect today, SEO is not only about ranking on page one, but also getting the clicks from the searchers when you do so. Ranking doesn’t mean traffic and traffic doesn’t mean conversions.
  4. Build Links Naturally – Even as you do your link building campaigns, strive for a consistent growth in link popularity and equity.
  5. Internal Linking – Half the war is won by linking the pages on your site correctly. Plan your site well so that you can achieve a good internal linking structure.
  6. Build Link Baits – Search your industry for examples, or think of something newsworthy, informative, humorous, or controversial. A well promoted link bait can give you thousands of links!
  7. Google Webmaster Tools – Check your account regularly so that you have a good overview of how Google sees your site.
  8. Analyse Your Analytics – Your analytics is your gold mine for SEO. Consult your analytics data regularly to uncover more keywords you can easily rank for.
  9. Write for Humans – Even though you need to include your target keywords in your web copy, don’t compromise human readability to cater for search engines. Write naturally.
  10. Don’t Make Your Visitors Think – Web design should be predictable, consistent and simple.

Finggle will be conducting their next workshop in mid-September 2010. Check out the out their SEO Workshop page for more details!

Analyzing Web Analytics

To many people, installing web analytics for their site seems to be an ego issue – they want to know how much traffic they have so they can brag about it to everyone they see on the street. To a web marketer, however, being able to understand the data from these web analytics packages and using them to make marketing decisions is a must.

If you want to learn to use your analytics data for marketing, here are some snippets of information worth gathering and some questions worth asking yourself, when you view your web analytics reports.

1. Keywords – What are the keywords that lead people to your site? Which ones of these keywords are converting into inquiries or sales? How are these keywords already ranking on the search engines this month? How can you get these keywords to rank better?

2. Bounce Rates – What is the bounce rate for your website? Benchmarks these rates with similar sites in your industry. How are you doing? How do you improve your bounce rate?

3. Time on Site – What is the average visitor time on site for your website? Is this reasonable, considering the type of content on your site? If not, how can you engage the visitor better so they spend more time on your site, or how can you help your visitor perform their transaction faster, so they spend less time on your site?

4. Geographical Traffic Sources – Are you getting to the countries that you want to target? If not, what factors can you change in your website configuration (hosting, domain, content, marketing) to make sure you be more prominent in the search engines for that country?

5. Top Content Pages – Which are the pages that are most viewed on your site? Look at the top 10 pages – what do they have in common, and how can you create more pages that are similar to the top 10?

6. Screen Resolutions and Web Browsers – What are the screen resolutions used by your visitors? Is the current design of your website catering well to these visitors, or do they have to scroll horizontally in order to view all your content? Are your visitors coming to your site through a mobile phone browser? If so, are you catering to that segment of visitors by offering a mobile version of your site?

When you have your analytics tracking code installed correctly to track events and virtual pageviews – that is where the fun comes because you can not only track which pages of your site gets visited and for how long, but also what your visitors do on each page (to a certain extent).

Remember, the inferences you draw from your analytics data and the decisions you make can make or break your site. Take time to answer these questions as you look at your analytics reports.

The WHY, WHO, WHAT, HOW web asset creation strategy

Just in the last 2 weeks, I’ve been asked to create or install several new web platforms for my clients – new microsites, new forums, new blogs, new slideshows, videos… even database search engines! However, the trouble with these requests are that most of them don’t have a content strategy to start off with.

You see, web platforms like these are just… platforms. Platforms are useless without content. Having more blogs and forums for your web visitors to collaborate and connect and discuss is useful only when you HAVE sufficient visitors in the first place. Slideshows and videos are useful only when you have something to say, an experience to relate, or a story to tell. Content is and will always be king.

Follow the WHY -> WHO -> WHAT -> HOW method in your web assets creation strategy.

#1 Why

First and most importantly, WHY do you want to create a new web asset in the first place? Examine this. Will this really bring more profits to your company bottom line… or are you doing this because “XYZ company has it?”

#2 Who

You need to know WHO you are targeting. As they always say, targeting everyone is equivalent to targeting no one. Go niche. Identify the “ideal visitor”. Describe him with as much detail as possible. What does he do? Where does he live? When does he surf the net and end up on your site?

#3 What

Now that you have identified the WHO, you will decide WHAT kind of content appeals to him. Does he prefer videos, or text? How-to guides, or conceptual articles? Does he like to interact with others, or is he more of reader? What content can you present to him so he will take action?

#4 How

The HOW phase is only where the web platforms come in. If there is minimal need for interaction between visitors, don’t use a forum. If you want feedback and comments, use a blog. And if you just need a plain old information page with an enquiry form that emails you, a simple 3 page website can do the job faster, without fuzzing over plugins that don’t work or pulling your hair out over incompatibility issues.

… plus it’ll cost you cheaper.

Remember, technology is a tool. It is a means to an end. Listen and follow Stephen Covey’s principles – Begin with the end in mind.

Know your WHYs, WHOs and WHATs… and the HOWs becomes much easier for you to implement.

Visual Search with Google Goggles

After collecting all those photos on Google earth, integrated with location and GPS data, together with all the images they have in their search database – they mesh it ALL up together and tada!! Google Goggles!

Soon, you’ll be able to point an Android phone at someone and have his name pop out (together with his favourite food, lifestyle habits, and how many girlfriends he’s juggling – photos included) :mrgreen:

That’s Google’s mission – to organize the world’s information.

I must say, this is amazing technology.