Thursday, January 31, 2008

Top search engine marketing tips

On July 4th 2007, one of my clients made a decision to declare his commitment to independence. He decided to fast track the opening of his start up business. He told me he would trust his future to my coaching. I felt the pressure but no stress because of his commitment to a 12 month SEO marketing campaign. I wasted no time setting him on course. It all began with my 5 top search engine and marketing tips.

The short version of the story is the revenue for this start-up company moved from $0 to $7 million in monthly revenue in 9 months. The first 30 days were focused on building the foundation and optimizing his websites. After a review of his initial plans it was clear search engine marketing was essential. My five steps for search engine marketing formed the foundation. Here are the main search engine ranking tips that can help fast track any business Internet marketing success.

1. Build a solid foundation. Use a proven keyword search tool like provided by Google or Yahoo. Go for quality rather than quantity once your keyword choices produce results. For example, if your business is related to credit cards, search a variety of combinations e.g. credit card services, qualify credit cards, credit card sources, etc. This starts the ball rolling with hundreds of choices. Select both high popularity and low popularity ranked keywords and merge them into your marketing materials. This is a proven formula for driving waves of traffic to your door.

2. Once the traffic starts to build test several versions of your marketing materials. Do not be stingy with your investment of time, money and sweat that must be poured into testing. Focus on your graphics, colors, fonts, wording, spelling, etc. A side note regarding a recent test. One client experienced a 20% increase in her conversion rate by purposely misspelling four words in various parts of her material. She didn’t place all of the words on the same page and only tested one misspelling on the main page. The point is to TEST TEST TEST and don’t be afraid to take risks. Your focus here is to find the right mix of search engine optimization and results generated through the variety of approaches you try.

3. If your service or product appeals to the 20 something market do not overlook the social media marketing sites. This requires you join and explore you membership to the fullest extent. Join the forums and submit comments, and participate. Remember you’re there to participate and observe, not to promote and sell. Your time investment will pay off larger than any sales you might be lucky enough to make. This is especially important if you are older than the prevailing members. This is a huge marketplace and the insights you obtain will serve several purposes. The most important take-away is learning about the needs and interest of the energetic, pragmatic, artistic, and just plain folks that make up the largest population segment in the world.

4. SEO articles are a big part of any search engine marketing focus. However, you don’t want to miss most important part of marketing. Namely, your product or service. No mater how flashy or techy or absolutely perfect your product may be, it will not move if your customers don’t understand the value. In this instance value means benefit. Your marketing materials must clearly communicate the answer to “So What?” For example the 70” LCD TV I’m still waiting to arrive from the warehouse wasn’t ordered when I first saw it in November. At that time my 72” Magnavox was still providing the best picture available. Yes the 70” set was newer, more high tech and flashier, but it didn’t provide a good answer for my So What? question. However, once the picture on my other set began to fade the answer to So What? changed. Try to answer the So What question from your prospects perspective and you’ll see the difference in your results.

5. Add testimonials to your SEO marketing materials and don’t be stingy. I always recommend a full page of testimonials to fast track the acceptance of your products. Human nature is a solitary thing in many ways; however, most of us find it easier to make a positive decision when others have already tested the waters so to speak.

5.5 My Bonus Tip.... Start a Blog. If you have not started a blog dedicated to your start-up business you’re missing out. Simple blogs take about 20 minutes to start and about an hour or less a week to maintain...unless you’re serious. The benefit is credibility. Let’s face it. You’re the expert on your business and your service or product. No one knows it like you do. In fact, no one knows you like you know yourself. In today’s reality TV crazy world, everyone wants to know as much as they can about anyone they haven’t met, especially if they share themselves in a public forum. Blogs are a perfect way to begin your PR campaign, especially when it comes to search engine marketing. Stay tuned for more SEO marketing tips.

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