Thursday, September 27, 2007

Holiday Online Advertisting – Are You Ready or Is It Too Late?

It is the end of September and there are only approximately 88 days left to shop for Christmas – depending on when you read this of course – but for the sake of my blog I am sticking to 88 days based on the day I have written this.

Halloween is around the corner and following that will be Thanksgiving, then Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday is your site ready for the season? If not you are losing out on prime time! Get yourself in gear and get your advertising campaigns fully functional. Kick start your marketing efforts with a Pay per click advertising campaign. There is no better time than the present to focus on a strategy that targets holiday shoppers then right now. If you wait any longer you are seriously going to miss the season completely.

Google AdWords has made advertising fairly easy for first time online marketers. They give you two options for an account, a Starter Edition or a Standard Edition. If you really want to make the most of your online efforts you really should just go for the standard edition this way you can create it and optimize it effectively. All you really need to do is go to Google AdWords register for an account, create your ads that are relevant to your business and choose your keywords with the Google Keyword Tool and you are off and running.

Here are some stats for you if you are not a believer, according to comScore, online consumer spending grew 26 percent in 2006 to $24.4 billion. More than 80 percent of consumers did at least some shopping online (BizRate and Holiday Mood Study 2006), and 50 percent of shoppers bought more stuff online in 2006 than 2005 (NielsenNetRatings research). I would say those are some telling numbers.

Here are some tips for you:

1. Focus on the Holidays and create campaigns that geared toward those shoppers by creating titles that are specific to holiday shoppers. Choose keywords such as “Christmas Gift Ideas” or “Creative Christmas Gifts”.

2. Create an offer that will be enticing for this time of year with discounts on shipping if possible. I do all of my Christmas shopping online for my daughter, who is 9, so I don’t have to deal with the nightmare at Toys R Us, which is by the way instant headaches for me – and if I can order the same thing online that I can get in the store without paying shipping then I am in!

3. Make sure that your landing pages are also relevant to your keywords. Nothing is worse than offering a promotion for an item and when you click to the website you cannot validate that the offer is real. Please do not make me search around your site to find the offer that was presented in the ad, because if I don’t see it on the first page you bring me to then I will be gone. You can lose a visitor that quickly! Make sure your promotions are visible within the first click.

There is still time to jump on board but don’t wait too long because before you know it Thanksgiving will come and go, and the next thing you know you will have a champagne glass in your hand wishing people you don’t know a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Looking to Get More Traffic Naturally? There is More to SEO...

There is big hype on how to gain more exposure on the search engines. Many small businesses think they just need to “optimize” their website. What exactly does it mean to optimize your website anyway? There are many company’s who will tell you that there are specific things that need to be done to your site to make sure the site is able to be crawled by search engines, and if you are lucky maybe they will talk to you about linking, accessing links to your site from other sites that are relevant, and then it stops there. There is more to optimizing your site than titles, descriptions, and directory links.

As a small business owner what else can you do that won’t break the bank?

1 – User Generated Content – let me explain what this is. Simply stated, it is available content that users are generating on social media sites across the web such as, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and even Yahoo! Answers just to name a few. These sites allow you to create profiles and add valuable content to them which could be highly relevant to your business. It also allows for huge opportunities to increase traffic to your website which at the end of the day that is what you want to see.

2 – Blogs by far are the easiest ways to generate traffic to your site. How you ask? By simply writing and linking which is exactly what the search engines are looking for. The content within blogs gets crawled by search engines and eventually can make its way into the search results chock full of keyword phrases. It is so easy and it can be done for FREE! The only costs that are related to this effort is maybe ten minutes of your time about 2 times a week. If you are not a believer check out and get your blog started today!

3 – Articles and Press Releases – are also an easy way to generate traffic to your site. With this method you can actually increase your backlinks (links leading back to your website) naturally as well as give the search engines lots of content to crawl. Your article or press release is highly relevant to your business because it is typically about your business once again chock full of keyword phrases. For this effort check out companies such as PRWeb, Market Wire, and Ezine Articles.

4 – Last but certainly not least, there are Viral efforts. Have you checked out YouTube lately? If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on viral efforts my suggestion would be make a video and post it. It is easy and effective. You can also submit it to Google Video and don’t forget to optimize your title and description for this video with links leading back to your website. Imagine that! You can do it for such a low cost and actually get a stream of traffic absolutely free.

Remember having your own business is great but don’t forget that in order for your business to succeed you need to be visible and market your site the right way as well as the smart way.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Girl Power Gone Wild

Today I received an interesting email from a friend who wanted me to read an article about a 17 year old entrepreneur. The article referenced at length about how this teenager is truly an Internet Marketing Professional. All I could do was be in awe over what she has created. ValueClick's Director of Media Development has said, "She knows so much about what her site does, more than people three times her age."

This actually struck a chord with me because there are so many website owners who do not know enough about their own sites to make educated decisions about their businesses and here is this 17 year old running the show and became the breadwinner in her household and all because she is targeting young teenage age girls to get free --- YES FREE --- myspace layouts for their myspace pages.

How did she do it? Well through advertising of course, most of her revenue comes from…… can you guess? Google Adsense! Imagine that. While she is starting to work on other ventures to generate more revenue at the end of the day her whole premise has been to service female teenage web users who want “cute graphics” or “hot layouts” for their myspace pages from her website

Ashley is by far the youngest Internet Marketing Professional I have read about and hats off to her for gaining exposure in the search engines that land her first page placement on Google for terms such as “cute layout myspace” or “cute web site backgrounds” certainly keywords that I would not think to search on as an adult. She is by far more in touch with her target market than most people I speak with on a regular basis and this includes those who I work directly with and that my friends, is really sad.

For more about Ashley and her site read the article listed in Fast Company.

I wish Ashley continued success!!