Tag Archives: SEO

The 3 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Creating a Website

So you have decided you need a website! All of a sudden you are faced with a few choices, which we will discuss in-turn;
• Outsource to a Web Design company for a custom-made website
• Use a freelance web designer and adapt a template to suit
• Use a free template based design and do it yourself

We see many small business owners decide to go down the path of having a custom-made website through a web design company. This can require a sizeable investment, with many (by no means all) website companies targeting their product towards larger businesses with charges upwards of $5,000 (we have heard of up to $15,000 being paid).

Mistake One: Not knowing your ongoing costs. The problem here is not so much the quality, as these websites usually look and work fantastic; the issue is cost to manage. We have many clients complain that they have ended up locked in contracts where every little change costs them again, to the point where many have told us they just put up with what they have.

Our Tip: Find out the cost to develop AND the cost to maintain your website
Using a freelance web designer and adapting a template to suit can cost up to around $1,000. That’s factoring in buying a domain and hosting, buying a template and paying for it to be adapted and having a marketing / copy professional write your copy and assist you with targeting your market. This is our preferred method and developing web content and strategy has become one of our most popular services. The big advantage here is you usually get an easy to understand back-end system, which means if you want to change a picture or update some copy, add a promotion or feature a new product, you can do it yourself.

Mistake Two: Being convinced your website has to be one of a kind. The biggest downside here is that using a template generally means your website is not an original – that said does it need to be? If it looks professional, meets your objectives and connects with your target market, it doesn’t need to be one of a kind.

Our Tip: Make sure the web designer and the content writer can work together. You don’t want to ‘middle man’ every question.

Lastly the cheapest option is using a free template and DIYing.

Mistake Three: Not factoring in your time into what DIYing is really costing you. It costs nothing but your time, which can be considerable and sourcing a good hosting company. Be careful though, your website is a reflection of your business and is used by consumers to determine if you are a credible, trustworthy, quality brand. It’s imperative your website communicates that. Only DIY if you have patience, some creativity and great problem solving skills.

Our Tip: Consider outsourcing bits and pieces where you just can’t crack how to do it right.

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and identifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next time, W is for Websites. And that just leaves X.Y.Z! Are there any topics you would like covered once we close off the A-Z of Marketing?

Mary-Anne

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Mastering Keyword and Keyword Phrases for SEO

Keyword strategies to increase SEO (See J is for Jargon to decipher) is a topic I talk to almost every client about. This post will get you up to speed on what keywords are and how they should form the very basis of every online communication you make.

I have been looking forward to writing this post for a few weeks, as K was a letter in the “A-Z of Marketing” that I could easily define, meaning I didn’t suffer the usual deliberating. I hope my enthusiasm for this topic gets you motivated too.

What is a Keyword?

We can all define a keyword in its traditional sense:

“A word or concept of great importance”

Thankfully the use of the word in the world of internet marketing is extremely similar:

“A word used by a search engine in its search for relevant Web pages” (Source)

So you see Keywords in this sense, are words with great importance to you, your target consumer and your overall online success.

When your target consumer performs a search, they enter a word or series of words into their chosen search engine, then that engine searches for matches. If your web page is deemed rich in those words, you will be returned as an answer to the search question.  These words are what are labelled keywords and keyword phrases.

Now it’s important to note here, it is unlikely you will be the only website rich on those keywords, so there are more complex processes at work to decide who ranks where – more on that in an upcoming post.

Defining your Keywords

Choosing the right Keywords for your business is more difficult than it may seem.

Firstly, you need to put on your target consumer hat. Start thinking about all the ways your target consumer would label your product or service. Think about the solutions you provide, then as your target consumer,
imagine you are searching for that solution. You may be aware of it by name, or you may just search on your need.  Brainstorming for different keyword and keyword phrase ideas is a good exercise to undertake (See I for Ideas)

SEO Google AdWords KeywordFor example, if you sell Sharpie Markers, your keywords to focus on may be Pen, Marker, Purple or Sharpie. Your keyword phrases may be “permanent marker”, “freezer proof marker”, “pen to write on plastic”, “pen for labelling DVD” and so on.

Testing Your Keywords

When I work on Keywords for clients the first thing I do is open up the Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Firstly plug in your website and the tool will show you keyword suggestions based on your website content. If the keywords are aligned with what you do, fantastic – this means your website is already sending out the right message and may just need a tune up. If you the keyword suggestions seem largely irrelevant, you have a big hint as to why your traffic probably isn’t what it needs to be and you’ve got some work to do.

Then I pop in a few thoughts in the very top box for keywords and keyword phrases. The search results show your words grouped together and then show you lots of suggestions based on your words.

Look for keywords that return a strong volume of searches and medium to low competition, this is a mass marketing approach. Also look for keyword phrases that have low volumes of search and low competition. If 5,000 people search that keyword phrase a month and there is very low competition, you have  an opportunity to maximise your ranking against that keyword.

How to use Keywords for SEO

After you have defined and tested your keyword and keyword phrases, establish a top 3-5 list of keyword or keyword phrases you will focus  on. This list will form an important part of your SEO strategy.

On your Website

Ensure your website Title Tag, Meta Data and Meta Keywords (ask us about these if you’re new to this), are written within “the rules” of  length and use as many of your keyword and keyword phrases as possible.

On your homepage ensure you have at least one text box of information (text boxes are easily read by search engines, words in a picture are not). When you write this text use as many of your keyword and keyword
phrases as possible while still reflecting your brand’s tone and image (B is for Branding).

Using Google AdWords

If you decide to use a Google AdWords campaign make sure the keywords you target are linked back to the ads you write and are the same keyword and keyword phrases you have selected on your top 3-5 list.

On your Blog

Research keyword and keyword phrases relevant to every blog post you write and make sure you use them appropriately. This article http://www.propagandahouse.com.au/blog/seo-2/how-to-blog-for-seo-beginners-guide/ by Propaganda House helped me immensely and I am using Dan’s Blog Plan template as I type this.

So I can’t stress to you all how important keyword and keyword phrases are for SEO and for the success of your online presence. We are currently running a Wise Up to Search package to help small business with their keyword strategy and to trial Google AdWords (who are currently offering a $75 credit for new accounts). Please get in touch if you want to know more information about the package or about this post. I would also love to hear your Top 3 Keyword or Keyword Phrases.

Until next week K is for Keywords and also Key Lime Tart http://www.joyofbaking.com/KeyLimePie.html (why not?)

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au

P.s. A quick word on keyword stuffing before you go. Like all loop holes and quick fixes, some SEO companies a few years back recommended that people repeat their keyword and keyword phrases in large blocks at the bottom of every page on their website to “maximise SEO”. Unfortunately most search engines wised up to this and as result they wrote an algorithm that detects keyword stuffing (as it’s known) and will negatively rank sites that go down this path.


How to Market a Small Business with a Small Budget

Starting a Small Business is an investment of time and money. As a small business owner, you invest large quantities of both and naturally you feel frustrated when the results don’t reflect what you’ve put in.

This post is a “How To”, giving you some ideas on making the most of your financial budget and time invested into your small business.

 

How to Advertise a Small Business

When you run a small business, you will find yourself inundated with advertising proposals. Every proposal that comes in promises you the earth and assures your investment will pay off in valuable sales or sales leads.

It can be hard to differentiate between the advertising requests you get. When it comes to weighing up a proposal, make sure you ask enough questions to assess if it’s right for you. At a minimum make sure you ask:

  1. How many people read the publication / browse the website?
  2. How are these figures compiled, are they externally audited? (i.e. are they real and trustworthy?)
  3. What is the age / gender / location breakdown? or
  4. Who is the age / gender / location target?

Compare the information you receive to your target market profile. Does the advertising fit your business? Does it closely target the consumers your product or service is aimed? Or does it cast a very wide net in which some of your consumers are present?

Estimating how many of your target market will view the advertisement helps you analyse the true value for money. You can work out the cost per view by dividing the cost by the estimated number of target consumers who will view the ad. For example; an investment of $1,000 to target 10,000 consumers costs us 10 cents per view, where as an investment of $100 that reaches 200 consumers costs us 50 cents per view.  Although the advertisement may reach a greater number of people, we are only interested in the cost per target consumer, as the rest is wastage for us.

How to drive PR for a Small Business

When you successfully drive PR for your small business, the benefits can far outweigh the time investment needed. With an increase of review websites, product and news blogs and traditional media branching into online spaces, there is more opportunity than ever before to get your product or service talked about.

Have a go at writing your own press release if you have the time or get it done professionally if you have the money. Send out your press release to every contact you can and don’t forget to hound your local paper – they need to be supporting small business in their area and that includes yours!

How to get the most out of your Website

We all pay attention to the colour scheme, the layout, the pages and the pictures, but often critical data such as the Title Tag and Meta Data which aren’t seen by browsers, but are read by search engines, are neglected.

Maximise the money you invest in your website by knowing how your target consumer searches, then ensure your content, title tag and meta data are all maximising these search strings, so your website screams at search engines “PICK ME! PICK ME!”

We run a Website Effectiveness Audit for $49.95 and this often diagnoses the key reasons why your website isn’t ranking in searches and bringing in the traffic you wanted it to. When your website is search optimised, it runs effectively and delivers you more profit against your initial investment.

How to get the most out of your Social Media

The biggest investment you will put into your Social Media is your time and when you start out that seems like something you have in volumes, but as your business grows, your time budget shrinks.

Limit the amount of time you spend on Social Media each day, as it can easily be a distraction from what your true business is. We recently read this great article on “Why Social Media is a Waste of  Time” and thought the tips for time maximisation here were fantastic.

Budget your Social Media time investment so it is split between:

  • Networking / Attracting New Consumers
  • Following Up on Enquiries
  • Sharing Valuable Content

There are great tools to help you manage content across multiple Social Media outlets at the one time, I personally love Hoot Suite to manage Facebook and my new Twitter  account simultaneously.

How to Ask for Help

Lastly, sometimes we need to admit we can’t do it all, whether it is because we are not qualified or we simply do not have enough time.

Paying an expert for a few hours of advice saves you time and money in the long run, rather than muddling through trying to learn and execute simultaneously. The more technical the problem, the more valuable the help will be.

Reach out to small businesses that can help your small business. There are a multitude of virtual assistant businesses that give you the support systems of working in a big business without the actual staff and spacing costs. Could someone else manage your Inbox? Could your Social Media content be executed on your behalf? Would you finally get that PR Campaign out if it could be printed and stuffed into envelopes for you?

Sometimes the best H word in Marketing is HELP!

Until next week H is for “How To” and for not being afraid to ask for help.

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au


The Decision Making Process of the New Consumer

What did we do before Google, Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, You Tube and everything in between?

The ability to research has become quicker and easier than ever before. As consumers we are presented with not only an increase in information, but also the falling away of geographical barriers to purchase.

The new consumer is influenced less by what they are told and more by what they uncover. This post will look at the decision making process of the new consumer and how to use the internet and social media to connect from awareness to purchase and beyond.

Traditional Decision Making Process

Marketing theory has traditionally painted the consumer decision making process to move through 5 stages, with strategies to maximise the opportunity to attract and maintain the consumer through each stage. The process has looked something like this:

  1. Need recognition. When the consumer feels they have an unsatisfied need, this creates a motive to act.
  2. Identification of alternatives. Consumer research begins; this might include different categories to fulfil their needs as well as different brands or providers.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives. The consumer compares their options; they might seek out offers, opinions of friends, relatives and respected bodies.
  4. Purchase decision. With the decision made on what to buy, the consumer will now make a series of small decisions including where, when and how, until the actual purchase is made.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour. The consumer will either be satisfied or dissatisfied with their purchase.

Think back to the late 90’s when the humble DVD player launched. Your decision making process went something like this:

  1. Need Recognition: Saw an ad on TV or in the newspaper about DVD players and how the quality of DVD is far superior to that of Video. Thought about never having to rewind a video again, this motivated you to learn more.
  2. Identification of Alternatives: Looked at catalogues and at Harvey Norman and found out there were two brands you could choose from.
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives: Talked to friends who had bought a DVD player about what brand they got and what they thought, talked to a few salesman about the different brands, read an article in Choice magazine.
  4. Purchase Decision: After deciding to buy a Panasonic DVD Player, you reviewed the newspaper and catalogues and decided to go to Harvey Norman on Sunday and buy their advertised deal.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour: You watched your first DVD that you hired and felt satisfied that you just eject it and return it.

The Online Effect

Fast forward to the year 2010 and you hear some buzz about a new personal computer called an iPad. Let’s review the decision making process:

  1. Need Recognition: You saw Steve Jobs on the news talking about the iPad, your friend also sent you an email with a You Tube clip of a leaked iPad, your friends are debating on Facebook which store they will camp at for an iPad,
    iPad is trending #1 on Twitter. The hype is getting to you and you can’t imagine not being able to have your photos, music and apps for business everywhere you go.
  2. Identification and Evaluation of Alternatives: You go on the Apple website and read about the different sizes available and that you can also choose to have Wi-Fi compatibility. You don’t even consider any other brand as you are an Apple devotee. You check out blogs in the US of those who got an iPad on pre release, read reviews on how much space you might need, you sign up to Optus and Telstra to find out what their data plans are. You sign up to Apple to be notified when they are releasing the iPad.
  3. Purchase Decision: You order your iPad online and it gets delivered to you on the day it launches. You get the 32GB with Wi-Fi.
  4. Post-purchase behaviour: You sit on the couch and update your status on Facebook to say how in love you are with your iPad, you Tweet that you can’t work out how to get your wireless printer working and post on an Apple Forum how your iPad has completed your world.

With the increase of information, we see the identification and evaluation of alternatives merging into one step; they are done concurrently as the consumer gathers information from multiple sources.

How to win the New Consumer Over

I love this illustration from Orbital Alliance: I look at it to draw ideas for marketing to the new consumer. I see this as the new consumer decision process; the online stratosphere has increased the information available to consumers. The inputs are greater than ever before and (literally) at their fingertips.

My tips for maximising your connection with the new consumer

  1. Increase Awareness
    1. Optimise to be seen in search results
    2. Use social media to create a brand name
    3. Use pay-per-click advertising to get in front of your consumer
    4. Advertise in popular newsletters of complementary businesses
  2. Maximise your Consideration
    1. Make your homepage work harder (you only have seconds to convince them to stay)
    2. Use a blog so your consumer can get to know you better
    3. Make your offers clear and easy to understand
    4. Use press releases to ensure there is hype about your product on multiple platforms
  3. Convert to Sales
    1. Offer service that your competitors don’t (or can’t)
    2. Reward regular purchases
    3. Add value (don’t just try to cut the price)
  4. Compel to share
    1. Asks for reviews and recommendations
    2. Use Social Media to thank major customers

The new consumer is just like you, they have changed a lot in the last 10-20 years. Don’t lose sight of how differently you make your decisions as a consumer and make sure you are adapting your business approach.

How has your business evolved to maximise the new consumer? Our Website Effectiveness Audit gives a third-party review of your website and helps you ensure you are maximising awareness and consideration to help you
convert sales. Click this link for more information – Package Info

Until next week, D is for Decision Making and also for … the coolest Alphabet Book that I just bought for my son’s birthday

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing Solutions


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