HOW TO: Hire Someone for SEO - Learn what Google recommends when it comes to hiring for SEO

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I came across this great video from Google's Maile Ohye offering tips on how to hire someone to help your website get found using SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

 

SPOILER: Build a quality site that is good for your customers.

She goes into detail about linking, audits and optimizing, but upfront she shares my sentiment that the key to SEO is focusing on creating a great experience for your customers. After all, what Google is trying to do is send their customers to sites that provide a good experience.

It’s easy to be fooled by slick salespeople telling you that you will rank #1 and gain all the web traffic overnight. It takes time to build your business and reputation, online and in the real world. Slow and steady wins the race.


Want to know more? Check out Internet Marketing for Newbies.

 
 

HOW TO: Define Your Key Offer to Connect with Customers and Increase Sales

Netflix’s key offer is to start a free trial

Netflix’s key offer is to start a free trial

 

When working with clients I help them focus on providing a key offer. A key offer is technically a sales promotion tool. Sales promotions are a good way to break into a market by providing a motivator for new customers to try your product. Sales promotion is usually confused with personal selling because the term “sales” is used.

While they work well when used together, they are different marketing tools. Personal selling is the process of interaction between the seller and the consumer while sales promotion is the use of specific incentives or rewards to induce trial of a product.

Inducing Trial

Sales promotions typically offer a discount, rebate, or reward for trying a new product thus reducing the perceived risk for NEW clients to try a product.

For example, if you can buy the new “Brand X” toothpaste for half price with a coupon, then theoretically you have reduced the risk of trial by 50%.

The idea is that once the clients try the product, they will be sufficiently impressed to continue to purchase the product at the regular price. You are demonstrating to the consumer faith in your own product by providing incentives.

Types of Sales Promotion

  • Coupons

  • Buy one, Get one (BoGo)

  • Free with purchase

  • Bonus-size packages

  • In-store specials and sales

  • Contests

  • Loyalty programs

  • Sweepstakes

  • Rebates

  • Events

Make Them Effective

Be wary of discounts – when you lower your price, you are lowering the perceived value of your product. This makes it difficult to charge full price later. A good approach is to offer a buy one, get one scenario (BoGo). For example, buy one at full price and get one at half price. This helps you cover the cost of your promotion and does not devalue your product. In fact, it reinforces the value that you are offering.

Target carefully – if possible, only give coupons to new or potential customers. Your current customers should happily be paying full price.

Set a Time Limit – Sales promotions should be used for only a limited time. Always have an expiration date - the shorter, the better. Long-term expirations diminish urgency for consumers. Often they will set the offer aside and forget about it until it is too late. Another reason to limit their duration is that extended or continual sales promotion activities lead to a devaluation of the product in the eyes of clients. If there is always a coupon available for half off, they will not ever want to pay full price. The goal is to get customers to use the product and then pay the regular market price. Unlimited sales promotion for an item is not really sales promotion; it is a lowering of the price, which is not a good idea.

Develop Your Key Offer

You must develop a key offer that will take down the barrier between you and new customers. When I started promoting my marketing consulting company, I offered people the ability to download my marketing books for free from my website. While getting my books for free is a good value, it was not generating new clients.

My focus is on digital marketing and helping people get customers from their websites. Before I met with a potential client, I would always look over their website. A friend recommended I start offering website audits, which I did, and my business was transformed. Suddenly I was being rewarded for something I was already doing but not publicizing.

I realized that saying that I did marketing consulting or optimized websites still left a barrier in starting conversations with potential clients. I assume they were wondering “how much does that cost? What does that mean exactly?” and “I don’t want to waste his time.” By offering a free audit, I take those objections out of the equation and get the conversations started.

I now meet with a lot of people and go over their websites with them, and a certain percentage of them become paying customers.

One of the first things I do with my clients is to help them define their key offer to their customers. I have an attorney that would always provide the first meeting for free, but he did not tell people that. Now the focus of his website is to offer people a free consultation.

What is the key offer you can make that will take down the barrier between you and new customers?

Make it Digital

Call to action for Carla Jones Real Estate

Call to action for Carla Jones Real Estate

Since I focus on digital I help clients build websites that lead visitors into accepting their key offer. Whether starting a trial, downloading a guide or booking a consultation, the goal of the site is to generate a connection with qualified leads. Typically you will see a button with this offer prominently displayed on the site. What is your key offer? How do you communicate this to your target audience?


Need Help Defining or Promoting Your Key Offer?

Daehn's Hierarchy of Digital Marketing

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I am an expert in digital marketing. An important skill for experts is to be able to take a lot of information and boil it down to the essential must know components for success.

We live in an age of information overload. Learning about digital marketing is but a Google search away. What I present here are the four areas that are foundational to a successful digital marketing strategy.

They are chronological and should be built out in order.

1st Website

Your website is your most important digital asset. Everything you do should be built on driving traffic to your website. Your site should be built for conversion and turning visitors into customers. Content is key to creating a well converting website.

2nd Email

Email is the primary form of digital communication. Your website should be built to obtain email addresses so that you can continue to talk and market to your site’s visitors and customers. Automated campaigns, confirmations, onboarding, triggers, reminders, customer service and newsletters are all important components of your email strategy. Email should be used to distribute content from your site, and drive people back to your website for conversion.

3rd Social Media

The best social media builds a community around your product or service. This requires interacting and building relationships. Social media should also be used to distribute content from your site, and drive people back to your website for conversion.

4th Paid Ads

If the first 3 areas are in place and you still have a budget and/or need to generate leads, you are ready for paid ads. Ads should drive traffic to specific areas of your website and/or landing pages that directly relate to the content of the ad.

Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Let me know.

A New Look for Your Google Results

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Google's New Look

Just a quick word on an updated look for Google's Mobile Search Results. They will soon be adding a logo for your brand next to your name on the page. This is the image that appears in the browser tab - also known as a favicon.

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If you need help adding or updating the favicon/logo for your website, I can help.

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Read the full details from Google

Let me know if you need help updating your favicon.

Why Your Website is Your Most Important Marketing Asset

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  • 65% of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source.

  • 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website.

  • 46% say a website is the biggest determinant of whether they trust a company.


If you own a business today, your website is your biggest marketing asset. Even if you get most of your customers from other channels like networking or foot traffic, people still look at your website to see if you are legitimate. Make sure you are using your website as a tool to educate, delight and instill trust in your customers.

What is SEO?

An easy way to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is that it is your reputation with search engines like Google. If you have a good reputation, based on the content on your site, the search engine is more likely to list you as a top result when people search for your product.

The best way to improve SEO is to provide a good user experience (UX) for your site visitors. This is done by providing information, products and/or services in an easy to use way. If your site works well for people, the search engines will like it too because search engines like Google are trying to provide good results to their users.

Understand the Customer Journey

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The Customer Journey is the path your customers will take to make a purchase with you. The path will depend on what you are offering and who your customers are. Be sure to create personas for your target customers first.

So when people visit your website, what do you want them to do? How do you lead them down that path? How do you ask them to do it?

Here’s a clue, if you don’t have any call to action (CTA) buttons on your site, you’re customers probably don’t know what you want them to do.

Why Start with Your Website?

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius

 

I’m a marketing professor and have written several marketing books, I love marketing and will talk your ear off about it if you let me. One thing I work with people on is to be strategic. Do some thinking before you spend money. The website is part of your marketing tactics, not really your strategy, so why do I jump ahead to talk about websites with people?

  1. Everyone has a website or needs one

  2. People know what websites are so we can have a conversation

Websites are the way for me to start a conversation with people about their business. From there I can backtrack and make sure their strategy is on target before actually building or updating their current site.

Are You Getting Customers From Your Website?

How many of your customers come from your website? How many people look at your site to see if you are legitimate before they do business with you? If you aren’t sure or you don’t have one, let’s talk.


Do you want an expert to look at your website
and give you recommendations?

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 7 - Mashups, Feeds and Gadgets

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Google Gadgets

When you visit a site and see a little box with news results it is more often than not coming from a news feed place inside a gadget. If your site has great content you should syndicate and make it available to others in the form of gadgets. You can also open up proprietary information and allow others to mash it up into their own creations. Feedburner can help you turn your blog into a feed and sites like Widgetbox and Google Gadgets can help you turn them into gadgets.
 
Making a widget on Widgetbox 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 8 - Browser Based Traffic

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 5 - Microsites and Subsites

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

 

Having multiple subsites and microsites that point back to your main site can be good and bad. On the good side, you can customize these sites to target audiences better. You also have inbound links coming from your own sites coming back to your main web address. The bad news is that unless you are careful, it is easy to confuse your customers as to what site they are on.

Often subsites will click through to a main site and people get lost. You also are diluting the power of your main brand and website when you have subsites. It is better to have all of your traffic going to your main domain so it gets credit for being a popular site with search engines.

Sometimes it makes sense to have a landing page for a campaign or promotion. These can be very effective when they have a single purpose and a clear focus. Make sure that you explain what is happening and where people will go when they click if you send them away from the page.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 6 - Blogs

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 3 - Email Marketing

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Email is not new and not as glamorous as some of the cutting edge web technologies available today, but done right it can be the number one traffic driver for your site. The chart below lays out a solid strategy for any web marketing program using Chuck as your hypothetical subscriber.

Click image to enlarge

Chuck Gets Email Infographic

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 4 - Social Networks

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 2 - Banner Ads

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Using Banner Ads
Placing a billboard type ad on other websites has been around for a long time. They have waxed and waned in popularity as some studies show that many people ignore banner type advertisements. 
 
Banner Blindness
Many studies have shown that people are good at ignoring advertising. Site visitors have learned to hone in on the main content and ignore banners as demonstrated in the heat map below. The red areas show where people look the most. Notice that the text is red and the images and banners are rarely seen.
 
Heat map showing banner blindness. Yellow boxes are banners, red and yellow areas are what the visitor is reading
People do block banner ads for the most part, but don’t rule them out completely for your site. Sometimes a well placed banner ad that contains related content can be effective.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 3 - Email Marketing

MPulse Mobile Web Application added to the Portfolio

Campaign:
Entry into the Maritz Mprize competition

Client:
marketingenious

Address:
mpulsemobile.info

Summary:
This project involved creating a moblie application for entry into the Maritz Mprize competition. I created the initial concept for the project as well as developed the video, Google video ads, logo, colors, marketing plan, social media sites (Twitter and Facebook), QR Codes, and presentation to judges.

 

MPulse Overview (Artwork by Jon Bullok)
 

 
Ad: QR Codes + Mpulse = The Future
 

 
Ad: How to Give Feedback from Your Mobile Device
 
Check out the rest of my portfolio

TIP: Boost User Experience By Adding Hyperlinks

I got the above email from my daughter's grade school the other day. Sure there are many things that could have been added to this email to get my attention like what the newsletter contains, that there is important information I need to know, maybe even a line from the person or organization that sent the message. Not to mention the CANSPAM Act mandated unsubcribe links or a physical address.

But the one thing that could save this email is a hyperlink.

All the schools are given long URL's containing some combination of edu/us/k12/kitchensink. I can't ever remember it, and even if I do, now I have to hunt for the newsletter link.

I appreciate that schools are embracing technology, and I give them points for trying, but next time send me a link please.

A good rule of thumb for them, and you too, is "When in doubt hyperlink."

 

Are your emails useful? Is your site easy to navigate? Do you take the guesswork out of how to find information on your site?

Should You Build a Mobile Website or App?



I've been working with a team to build a mobile app for Maritz in the MPrize competition. One of the first debates was whether to build a mobile app, or a mobile website.

I argued that a mobile website would be easier to implement and be available over multiple platforms all at once. Mobile apps are great, but they take a lot more effort to put together. Then you have to get people to install them, and keep them updated. The team decided to go with the mobile website instead of an app.

Today Mashable posted a report of how the top Twitter client Tweetdeck is building a mobile web interface, which makes it sound like I may have been right ;)

The article goes over in more detail the many reasons why they chose this path.

What do you think is the best approach?

Quick Guide to Internet Marketing: 9 Tips for Success on the Net


To market successfully you must incorporate the Internet into your business plan, but be sure to follow these 9 tips for success on the net:


1 Get Sticky

Your site is sticky if it keeps visitors looking and returning to your site. A good way to do this is to have up to date relevant information or “heroin content.”


2 Heroin Content

“Heroin content” is what web usability guru Vincent Flanders calls the information that people would crawl through a sewer for. Heroin is the most addictive drug on the planet so people will do anything for another fix. What does your website provide visitors that they just gotta have?


3 Customize

The unique quality of the internet is the ability to interact and customize content. Customized content keeps them coming back for more. Keep the connection alive by following up with useful information and news.


4 Start Your Engines

Customers that don’t know you will likely find you through a search engine. The trick is getting the search engines to find you first. Invest in good search engine software, or pay someone who knows how it works.


5 Provide Answers

People use search engines to find solutions to their problems. Is your site about solving your customer’s headaches? Most sites are self centered. Make yours customer centered by providing answers to their questions.


6 Hard Sell Vs Soft Sell

Build relationships by providing value before the sale. When it comes time to purchase, you already have an established relationship. Ask yourself what you can do for your customer rather than what your customer can do for you.


7 Navigate Straight

Don’t create a million dollar website with ten cent navigation. Simple easy to follow navigation is far more effective than nonsensical animated graphics. Think Google!


8 Be Professional

Your site reflects your work ethic and the type of service you are likely to provide your customers. Put some time, effort and money into your site to show you are top notch.


9 Don’t Be Professional

People are looking for an original and authentic voice, not the same boiler plate information. Nobody likes stiff and snobby people and they won’t like their websites either. Take advantage of the rare opportunity when someone reads your content to make a real personal connection.