Monday, April 28, 2008

Our Small Business SEO and Social Media Teleseminar

Last week our MarCom associate Carole Hodges hosted a free teleseminar where I focused on small business websites, SEO and social media marketing. Carole's latest venture is The Yes Connection at where she assists business partners and individuals with their start-ups and small business decisions.

There is a lot of confusion these days about what is needed on the Internet to market new and existing websites. So our teleseminar addressed the questions that the non-techie business owner may have.

The free teleseminar is about 40 minutes long, but in the end has some really good tips and information. To listen online: go to

In summary, some of the points we covered included how you should spend your marketing dollars wisely insofar as the complexity of web marketing. We answered questions including:

Does every business need a website? Are there times when an inexpensive “Website Tonight” type product from GoDaddy is an appropriate choice? If you don’t have a lot of money, is a free Blog a good starting place? How do you differentiate between the types of websites? For example: Brochure – e-commerce – Membership Site – Services (online purchase and not.) Do you NEED to be selling something online to benefit from a website? What brings traffic to a website? Why do I care about SEOCouldn’t I just pay for clicks to my site? What are traffic statistics? What are keywords? How do I know what keywords are right for my business? How do I determine how much traffic I really want on my site? What makes people STAY on your website and look around? Why should I look for competitors on the web? What if I have BIG plans for growth... is there a way to structure my website so that I start out simple and later add product sales or a membership site? What advice do you give to someone who is starting out and does not yet have a website? What advice do you give to someone who has spent a lot of money on their website but it is not giving them the results that they want?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tough Times Require SEO and Social Media Marketing

Most of us over 40 years of age have all been though tough economic times in our careers, and having just done my taxes, and reading the Wall Street Journal every day, plus watching the news ... I can now admit, times are getting a bit tough. It's an election year.

Many folks have been talking to MarCom about doing search engine optimization and social media marketing -- and my associate Mike and I agree on this one -- the worse thing companies can do is stop marketing altogether. This is a huge mistake, because while you stop marketing, your worse nightmare of a competitor is ramping things up.

The reality these days is that in order to keep your small to medium sized business afloat - you need to do a minimum of a limited amount of marketing and advertising. But then what does that mean today? Many folks are just realizing that SEO and social media are party of the marketing mix, therefore they had just started to get serious about hiring experts like us to help them.

The bottom line? Do it. Here's why. If you have a company with products and services, and you rely on website traffic for sales, if you don't appear on the Page One of Google and other search engines, chances are people will not find you. And many folks are already optimized. We have a dentist client - as an example - Wilshire Dental Care. Just as fast as our client's website increases in its ranking with Google, his competition is working just as hard or harder and paying their SEO specialists allot to keep them on top! So our client really should increase our SEO and social media marketing efforts so that he stays on top and ahead of his competition. The bad news is IF he were to stop, his rankings will diminish, and six months from now? His competitors will be on page one of Google, and he will not.

Also the crazy thing is that right now, many SEO specialists are charging more than we do. I just did an analysis of Los Angeles SEO experts -- and we came across others who do what we do but who charge triple what we charge.

Here are some pointers you may want to keep in mind when considering SEO and social media marketing.
• There should be a compelling reason for you to look at it, read it, listen to it, watch it, like it, interact with it, and ultimately buy it!
•Today, people use search engines, like Google, to get what they want, how they want it - fast.
•The biggest challenge now is how to communicate your story over multiple channels, including the Internet.
•Becoming an “Authority Website” is the gold rush of the Internet.
•Authority = Attention
•Attention = Money

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ten Steps: Defining Social Media Marketing

The Internet is not just a different advertising channel, but an entirely new and unique culture with a multitude of online communities. Although there are many folks that think social media marketing is just the latest fad, it is not. The reality is, it is changing how we do business.

Although traditional marketing and new media strategies continue to morph, the Internet has emerged into a tremendous platform for direct and open communications among the media, businesses, and individuals worldwide.

Many of our new clients need some basic education on what we recommend, why and how we do what we do. We have been using these ten steps in most of our proposals for quite some time now.

Search engine optimization, social media marketing and online PR tactics include:
1) Fully analyze your situation, including competition, market, etc.
2) Conduct keyword research to determine the keywords associated with your name most likely to achieve high search-engine rankings and create a keyword strategy to map the keywords to specific website pages.
3) Optimize the pages of the website,
4) Create a blog and ghostwrite apx. -1 to 2 posts per week recommended.
5) Social Media Marketing: Create additional site content through writing and publishing articles to disseminate over the Internet
6.) Post and distribute electronic press releases (Using wires such as MarketWire or PRWeb)
7.) Create bookmarked posts to social media sites. (DIGG, Del.ic.ious, Stumble Upon, etc.)
8.) Optimize existing and new content over the next three months and execute the social media PR plan.
9.) Acquire reciprocal links and incoming links via article submissions, electronic press releases and a blog.
10.) Purchase directory listings for your new website to provide additional, high page rank links. Directories include Yahoo! Directory, Superpages as well as any industry specific directories with high page rank. (Yahoo is $299/Year Superpages runs $22/month)

The real truth is that although these basic steps are usually recommended, there is no single template for every client, because every client's situation, website, and place among thier competition is unique. MarCom's Social Media Marketing proposals are customized for each new client, and then throughout the yearly campaign tweak their strategies based on results we are seeing from the tracking results.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Versus Pay per Click (PPC)

We had a new business opportunity this week with a medical professional client who is completely confused about search engine optimization (SEO), versus Pay per Click (PPC) advertising. And she is not the only potential new client who doesn't get it. Some of my most sophisticated professional friends are having a hard time grasping the new media tactics that we do required for getting their websites onto the first pages of Google and the search engines.

This gal asked about her PPC campaign, and why it isn't getting any results after three weeks... so my associate Mike spelled it out. First he did her competitive landscape, and determined that she only had three other real competitors in her geographical area. One of the three was getting 15,000 visitors per month. But they also had more than 300 pages of content on their website. Her site had very few in comparison. He researched and noted that the competitor was spending about $700 in PPC advertising. The lesser known competitor got about 570 visitors per month, and did not have a PPC campaign. Both of her competitors have press rooms which means she will need one too and they are a great place for linkable content. The more content on your site with relevant keywords the better.

If your goal is to book five clients per week initially, and then eventually in a year, you want to have ten clients per week, think about these numbers. Typically conversion rates for Internet customers are a three to five percent lead generation per visitor to your website. Out of 100 visits per site, you should get three to five leads, and out of those, one percent will buy. Basically it takes 20 leads for one customer. You need a minimum of 100 visitors per day to get business, or about 500 visitors to get a sale. It's compounded as well, so the more visitors, the better the chances for sales.

But here is the deal insofar as PPC. It's important to remember that PPC may be beneficial when launching a company and its products and services online, but ultimately PPC and offline advertising benefits will disappear as soon as you stop spending money, while SEO keeps on working long after the money is spent. We actually helped wean another client off of spending thousands on PPC ads, while increasing their SEO results. The Entertainment Connection, who offer film schools for audio engineers and radio professionals - people who want to learn how to be a DJ for instance. One of the tactics I worked on was to get their press room up and running with press releases and a press kit. Next I will be writing articles and blog content for them to provide links back to their website, while Mike will continue adding website content and track their optimization, tweaking their site for increasing their customer leads via SEO.

That said, our goal for clients is to evaluate their needs, by asking these six questions:
1) What is your URL or website address?
2) When people search for your product or service on Google, where does your website appear?
3) Do you have a tracking or measurement program for your website?
4) Who are your top five competitors (National/Regional/Local)
5) How much traffic do you think your website can get by this time next year?
6) How many customers from your website would you like per month?

For a free analysis feel free to email us - check out