Lean & Mean: Marketing Your Business in Uncertain Times

Lean & Mean: Marketing Your Business in Uncertain Times

Unless you’re an ostrich with your head in the sand, you don’t need to be reminded that these are some pretty tough times. And when times are tough, our instincts tell us to stop spending, tighten the old belt buckle and adopt a wait-and-see approach. But, it is through this very approach, that we will undoubtedly begin to watch our sales drop, our in-store traffic die down and our anxieties rise. Economic slowdown shouldn’t mean a slow down in marketing efforts. In fact, several studies show that advertising during a recession not only maintains your presence in the marketplace for customers who may need your products or services during this period, but after the tough times subside, you’re apt to gain more market share than the competitors that chose to be nonexistent, cutting their advertising all-together. Case-in-point is the McGraw-Hill study following the 1981-1982 recession that determined the business-to-business firms that maintained or increased their advertising during that recession grew their sales 275% from 1980-1985. Those firms that cut ad spending only averaged 19% growth during the same period. The best advice in times like these is to cut back, but not altogether. Think of it as going on diet. You have to eat, just reduce the fat. You have to advertise, just be lean and mean. And, being lean and mean means making sure your message is relevant, consistent, and commands action. How to compose a LEAN and MEAN advertisement. First and foremost, know the market you want to reach and know what they want to hear. Ask your closest customers for their opinion and why your product or service appeals to them. Also, ask what would make their buying decision easier. Is it really price? Or is it convenience, quality, or value? The answer may surprise you. This information becomes the foundation of your advertising message. The headline of your ad should capture your prospects’ interest with an appeal. Keep in mind, nothing will happen unless your headline makes the reader want to learn more about what you are offering. Be bold, exciting, even daring! Understand that your reader will simply turn the page if your ad bores them. Use eye-catching graphics or a compelling photo or illustration to add interest. Incorporate tried and true appeals that focus on things like: Making money, Saving money, Security, Better Health, Better Job, Better Future, Prestige, Enjoyment, Easier Living, More Leisure, More Comfort, or Freedom from worry. Add positive action words like: Introducing, Announcing, At last, New, Now, Beginning, How to. Avoid the negative approach whenever possible. Use “You’ll get more”, as opposed to “Don’t get less”. People want to hear the good, not the bad, especially in these tough times. Maintain interest throughout the entire body copy. Keep the ad focused on the benefits your customer will receive by using your product or service. And finally, always include a call to action. Is this a limited-time offer? Is the supply limited? Make the customer think that they may miss out if they don’t call or visit today. Executing a LEAN and MEAN marketing campaign: To be truly effective your ad should run repeatedly over a period of time, we recommend a minimum of six times. The more readers see you in print, the more they will remember you. It is always better to run a smaller ad with repeated frequency than a larger ad just once. Keeping the format of the ad consistent can help bring recognition to your company name and its products or service. MEASURE and ANALYZE your efforts. Make sure to weigh your efforts! After the campaign is all said and done, measure its impact on your business. What was the increase in sales? Did you gain more customers? Analyze what worked, and what might have worked better. Understand that marketing is a process and that every effort helps to fine-tune and better plan future strategies. On Track Marketing Consultants is an Orlando-based consulting firm that focuses on integrated marketing solutions. You can reach them by phone at (407) 375-5598.
Two Clicks Is All You Get For a Website Conversion

Two Clicks Is All You Get For a Website Conversion

So you have a website. Great! But how well is it working for you? Do you send your prospects to your site to demo your products or service? Can customers place their orders online? Can new prospects find you on the Internet through search engines? Can your sales staff access status reports and download company forms as needed? Or does your site simply facilitate e-mail correspondence and show that, yes, you are on the Internet and have a web presence? Many companies consider their website simply as an online brochure. And while the Internet can offer a low-cost method of distributing your information in some very sophisticated and creative manners using four-color photographs, graphics, flash, music, and even animation, this doesn’t begin to tap into what a well-designed website can offer your company. A successful website should streamline the sales process efficiently and effectively. It should also drive Internet traffic to your site. To be truly effective web sites should be designed for two entities: The End-User and the Search Engines. The first entity is the end-user, your customer. And two clicks is all you get. If your customer cannot find the information they are looking for or how to place an order within two clicks, they will exit your site and move on to your competitors. Intuitive usability and site functionality are critical to the success of your site. Get your customers’ feedback on your current site. Are they finding what they want with ease? Or does your home page take too long to load? The other entity a website should be designed for is the search engines. Optimization of your site for the search engines consists of several factors, including: keywords, relevant text, site design and navigation, coding, internal hot linking, reciprocal linking, search engine hand submissions, (search engines no longer accept electronic submissions), paid inclusions, paid placement and key word auctions. Does your company need all of this? Not necessarily, but online marketing and optimization should definitely be addressed in your company’s annual marketing program. Web site optimization can begin simply with content review. Text on a website is not the same as copywriting an ad or brochure. The search engines are designed to examine your site for keywords and phrases that are relevant to your product offering strategically placed throughout the text. Effectively saturating your content with these words and phrases without spamming is one of the best ways to begin to rank in the search engines. If your home page is multi-media with graphics and flash, search engines can’t read your site. That doesn’t mean your site can’t have photos and graphics, it just means that they need to be properly placed and contain relevant programming code and microdata so they can be read by the engines. Search engine optimization is a powerful marketing tool that can make your website found. A website by itself is passive. Statistics show that customers using search engines have already made the decision to buy, they are just determining where and when. If you want these potential customers, not only do you need to optimize your site, you need to maintain optimization. Unfortunately what might have worked yesterday to rank your site, will not work tomorrow. Search Engines are constantly changing the formulas used to read sites and thus it is essential to maintain online marketing efforts to fine-tune websites. Overwhelmed? The first thing to do is evaluate your site. Ask your customers for feedback. What information do they find useful? What information would they like to see? Type in some keywords or phrases in some of the major search engines and try to find your site. Talk with your website company about changes and optimization. Just like your advertising program, website optimization and online marketing need to be included in your sales and marketing budget. And finally, understand that two clicks can mean a sale for you or a sale for your competitor. On Track Marketing Solutions is an Orlando consulting firm that focuses on integrated marketing solutions. You can reach them by phone at (407) 375-5598.
Turning Your Website Into a Powerful Marketing Tool

Turning Your Website Into a Powerful Marketing Tool

Chances are when you first developed your business website you took your company brochure and transferred it up online. And that was great for initially getting you up on the Internet and being able to say, “Yeah, we have a website, we are internet savvy and professional”. But, if you haven’t done anything past the point of just getting your brochure up online, you are missing out on the best marketing tool you may ever have.

When properly conceived and developed, your website can serve as an online sales mechanism collecting data from your web visitors for subsequent campaigns that build stronger relationships with your prospects and customers. Just as a salesperson keeps in touch with their prospects periodically by calling them, stopping in, or sending them a newsletter, your website can streamline that process, by generating automatic e-mails to your online database.

Is that SPAM?

Spam is when you send out e-mail campaigns to people who have never requested it. Like junk mail and telemarketing, those tactics are under close government scrutiny and will soon become a thing of the past. However, your company may want to consider “opt-in” lists or, (even better), “double opt-in” lists from people requesting information either specifically about your company or about the service your company may offer. These opt-in lists are a great way to jump-start your internet database.

Integrating all marketing efforts.

Want to drive traffic to your website? Include your domain name in every collateral piece you have, and in all radio and television campaigns. Set up a mechanism to collect customer information once they get on your site. Produce simple forms that generate an e-mail to your company or even better store the information in your server database.

What’s the trick in getting them to give you information? Offer real VALUE, like a money-saving discount. Ask them if they want to be notified of new products or promotions, or would like to receive a newsletter with relevant information that educates them about the benefits of your product. Or, simply have them sign up to receive a free sample or win something of value. Keep the form simple with just a few key questions and required fields. Follow-up by phone or use future e-mail campaigns to further qualify them.

The importance of a privacy statement.

Don’t forget to tell them you’ll keep their information private. They have requested information from you and only you. Earn their trust by telling them you will not share their information with other companies. Inform them that you support an ANTI-SPAM policy and include in all e-mail campaigns the opportunity to unsubscribe and then make sure you take them off your database.

Respond to inquiries immediately.

When you do receive information from a prospect, respond to them immediately. If they have given you their e-mail address, automatically confirm that you received that information and let them know what will be happening next. (Autoresponders work great for this.) If they requested that someone call, tell them that a representative will be calling within a certain time period. If they requested a newsletter, tell them when the next newsletter will be published. If they requested a free sample, let them know how and when they will be receiving it.

Analyze web activity and track its source.

Your hosting company should provide you with a way to track activity on your website from the source of unique visitors to their activity on the site. This reporting is often an additional fee to hosting but is well worth the money to track all marketing efforts from online to traditional.

Track your e-mail campaigns.

Track your e-mail campaigns as well. The company managing your campaigns should provide reporting on e-mails that bounced back, those deleting your e-mail, those opening your e-mail, and those who clicked through to your website.

Test different subject lines to test your prospect’s hot buttons. What subject line in an e-mail campaign was opened more? What is it that people are responding to the most?

Research like this is readily available through integrating all marketing strategies with your website. Now is the time to consider upgrading your site from the online brochure to the real marketing tool it can be.

Janet Bronte is part-owner of On Track Marketing Consultants, a marketing consultation firm offering integrated marketing strategies designed to work in today’s economy. She can be contacted at (407) 375-5598.

Maximizing Your Internet Exposure

So you have just put the finishing touches on your website.

You’ve honed every aspect from usability to navigation. The content is strong and packed with keyword-enriched phrasing. All tags have been optimized, the title is clear and images are compressed.

Visually, your website is exciting and slick and it brands your company’s image perfectly. It begs for action from the user and conversions are measurable.

NOW WHAT?

Adopting a “wait and see” approach is sure to disappoint. Search engines can be slow to index a site and building page rank takes time. Considering the competition on the Internet today, with millions of new sites being launched daily, you simply are not going to automatically place in the top of search engine results.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

On Track Marketing uses a variety of methods to maximize your Internet Exposure while maintaining your marketing budget…

Sponsored Search Engine Ads, Pay Per Click Campaigns

You’ve optimized your website, yet your site still doesn’t rank on SERP – Search Engine Result Pages

What can you do to get top search engine results?

Try this: Type in a keyword that someone might use to find your business and hit “GO!”

Where does your website fall in the search results? Is it even on the First Page? The Second Page? Do you really think anyone will continue to click to the Third, Fourth, or Fifth Page of search results to find you?

You need to be the First, Second or Third listing on Page One to be found and if you are not then a sponsored search engine ad campaign, (also known as Pay Per Click or PPC campaigns) may be just what you need to increase web traffic and make your website the marketing tool it should be.

Basically, sponsored search engine ad campaigns work like this …

You determine which key words you want your ad to show up on Search Engine Result Pages, (SERP). You then select the dollar amount you are willing to pay to have your ad show up, (Remember for the best results you’ll want to be the First, Second or Third Listing.) Then you determine the daily budget you want to spend. (There are other factors, like determining what regions you’ll want your ads to display and if you want them to display on relevent websites, and more.)

Then you create a compelling ad that will entice some one searching that keyword to click on your ad. If you have selected a number of key words than you will want your ad to be key word specific. Don’t use the same ad for all keywords. Special offers and discounts are very effective in these tough economic times.

You will also want to make sure to create seperate landing pages for specific ad campaigns. The biggest mistake businesses make is to dump the interested visitor on the home page of your website where they have to look for the information your ad described. Landing pages also provide a method to measure the effectiveness of your search campaign.

Contact the experts at On Track Marketing to find out more about how sponsored ads can help increase your web traffic and boost your business’s bottom line.

Search Engine Marketing SEO & Internet Marketing

On the Internet, SEO marketing is the way to go if you want your business to be seen and noticed. There is such a thing as a SEO marketing specialist who aids clients and website owners in their quest to have bigger sales and more traffic to the site.

The Aim of SEO Marketing:

SEO marketing has mainly one aim and that is to bring traffic to a certain site. Traffic is seen as prospective buyers and clients of the site owner. Therefore, traffic is a much needed “commodity”. Many Internet users visit sites that they have been redirected to or sites that have been presented by search engine results, and they get hooked on these sites. In other words, some users do not specifically seek out that particular site but they might have been led to it by it being in the top ten high ranking sites presented after a search engine query.

Now you see how important getting high ranking is during searches. Sites that rank in the top ten are most likely visited by more users than those that are ranked lower. Many users do not bother to look for more sites if they find what they are looking for in the first few sites presented in a search. This is why many sites employ search engine optimization methods to encourage higher ranking and to achieve successful SEO marketing.

The Value of SEO Marketing:

The value of SEO marketing is that people who work to market your site know what they are doing and may be objective about what your site requires. By hiring and working with a SEO marketing expert is also a way of fully understanding how the search engines work and what is needed to meet the requirements of being in the top ten pages of a search engine.

SEO Marketing Tools and Strategies:

There are many ways of getting your site in front of many Internet users. These strategies are all included in search engine optimization and website optimization. Most sites are optimized to suit the requirements of search engines. Many search engines index and catalog sites in accordance to the data and information that the site owners have submitted and the data and information that the search engine crawlers have gathered from the web site. The way that the data and information is presented in the site is important and so is the submissions that are given to the search engines. It is the role of the SEO marketing expert to be able to fully recognize the right data and information to supply for the site and submit to the search engines. SEO marketing companies are hiring, at an unprecedented pace, SEO marketing consultants to accommodate the increasing demand for quality SEO marketing experts that can handle search engine optimization and SEO marketing for various sites

Among the many SEO marketing tools that can propel a site to the first page of a search engine result is content. Content that is relevant to the site is what sites need to make it stand out from others that have irrelevant content and improper web design. This is the importance of keyword or key phrases that are integrated ion to the article used for the site. These articles carry the information that robotic crawlers need in order to properly index a site according to what it contains and what it can offer to users. The relevance factor holds true when link building. One way inbound links from relevant sites are extremely relevant.

SEO marketing strategies also include designing the web site in such a way as to make it easier to use and for the texts and images to load quickly. It is important for the web site to be quick loading in order to hold the attention of the users. Sites that take too long to load or have large images that hinder quick access to the texts will most likely be abandoned by the users in favor for a much faster site. Part of SEO marketing is to meet the demands and needs of the people by providing a web site that has relevance and the information that the users need.

The problem with SEO marketing is that there is a fine line of distinction between black hat and white hat methodologies. Some SEO experts employ underhand methods to gain high ranking for their clients’ sites. Many overzealous SEO experts might integrate a few well placed codes and hidden texts that could raise the ranking of a certain web site. Human users will not be able to see these codes and text but the spiders and crawlers used by the search engines to help index a site will be able to read these and gather these as relevant information regarding the site. The results of these actions will lead to the site being banned from the search engine and the SEO company might be included with this. It is best to practice white hat methods of SEO marketing to have long lasting results.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/seo-articles/seo-marketing-strategies-that-propel-website-traffic-271155.html

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution