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By Karri Hill
On 29, May 2012 | In Blogging | By Karri Hill
When yellow and blue don’t make green.
I’ve been working with the owner of an e-commerce website, exploring ways to drive traffic to his website without pay-per-click or banner advertising. We’ve talked about organic SEO, social media and blogging. He has been using keywords on his site, he’s got a Facebook Fan page for his business, and he has a blog.
There’s one big problem, however: his blog is not integrated into his website.
What does that mean?
The platform/service he’s using to power his e-commerce website doesn’t currently give him the ability to blog as a part of his core website. His blog is in WordPress, but it is a stand-alone entity. The diagram below will help to illustrate (please forgive the stick drawings!):
It’s great that he has a blog, but other than a link from the website to his blog and vice versa, there’s no connection. He’s figured out how to get blog posts to automatically post to his Facebook fan page, but users who click through to read the entire post are only going to his blog. Because it stands on it’s own, viewers aren’t seeing any of the products he offers. Unless they click the link to his website, they don’t even know what he sells, so he’s not realizing many, if any sales due to his blogging efforts.
Another problem is that his e-commerce site isn’t benefiting from the relevant keyword content contained in his blog. People who might well be customers, using search terms, may get to his blog, but again, it takes extra effort to get to his website, because the search queries are not leading to the internet presence that pays his bills!
The final large problem is that he’s not taking advantage of turning the prospects on his e-commerce into loyal fans. One of the best ways to use a blog or news section on your website is to provide regular articles of interest and information that will keep people coming back for more.
While it’s true that the equipment he sells is available on other websites, he is an expert in his field. He can answer questions, give advice, help people choose exactly what they need without over-spending. He has a huge potential to earn customers that value his expertise and would buy from him because they know they’re getting the best advice, and because he is a regular blogger, they’ll keep coming back. Every time they come back is another opportunity to sell products.
What can he do to overcome this challenge?
Whether you’re operating on a shoestring marketing budget or not, stretching your marketing dollars and getting the most ROI for your business is always important. Here are 7 easy ways you can improve your marketing in 2012 without spending anything more than time.
1. Update or Start a Blog
If you already have a content-managed website, schedule an appointment with yourself to update it regularly by adding to your blog or news section. Be realistic. If you haven’t added anything in 6 months, you’re probably not going to become a daily or weekly blogger overnight. Shoot for once or twice a month. Dry on ideas? Bullet point a few ideas in a document you keep on your desktop, and add to it as you come across ideas; this will help prevent “blank page blues.”
If you don’t have a blog, there are many free blogging platforms that you can use and link to from your website. Take the time to tweak a layout enough so that users find it somewhat consistent with your website.
2. Get on LinkedIn
LinkedIn brings a lot of bang for the buck by allowing you to put up a profile and a company page. Free. LinkedIn also has a nifty WordPress App that will show your latest blog posts if you use WordPress as your blogging or website platform. Install and configure the app on LinkedIn, and then simply use “linkedin” as one of your tags when you post.
** Update, December 2012 : LinkedIn has recently eliminated the WordPress app. A bad move, in my opinion, but there’s nothing that says you can’t still get some mileage from your blog posts on LinkedIn. Simply post a link and a few lines about what your new post is about to LinkedIn, and consider adding a second website link to your LinkedIn profile that goes directly to your blog or news section.
3. Put Up a Fan Page on Facebook
Depending on the type of business you do, Facebook can be a great way to engage and attract new clients. Avoid the hard-sell and provide interesting, engaging and valuable posts.If you can figure out how to post a graphic or photo, you’ll get noticed in feeds more easily. Even if you don’t believe Facebook is the best fit for your business (and it’s not for many), then consider the fact that it’s free and provides an inbound link to your company website.
4. Google+ For Better SEO
Yes, it’s another social media platform. Yes, it’s a little more time spent. While there are no guarantees that you will get better page ranking by being on Google+, I personally noted a huge jump in my ranking in Google searches within a few months of putting up a personal profile that I optimized for my business. Now that Google+ is open for business pages as well, it makes sense to have one.
5. Double Up For Referrals
How many people do you hand your business card to in the course of a year? Double that number by never handing out less than two cards. An extra card is a referral waiting to happen, and you don’t have to come off as pushy to encourage it. Simply hand over two cards and say, “Here’s an extra card in case you or someone else may need it.” Seed planted. Okay, this one isn’t totally free, but depending on how many business cards you order at a time, you’re creating opportunities for referrals for about 5 cents apiece. Keep in mind that the person who receives your card from someone else doesn’t know anything about you or your business, so make use of the back of your card to describe your business with some effective bullet points.
6. Do Someone a Favor
The world is full of people who only think about themselves and their business. Want to stand out in the crowd? Find a way to connect someone to a colleague, make a referral, write a recommendation or do something free, whether it’s for a charity or a customer. Expect nothing in return. Don’t you like to do business with nice people? So does everyone else.
7. Speak Up
If you want to create buzz about your expertise, look for opportunities to speak: business networking groups, conferences, etc. This isn’t a free commercial for your company; it’s about bringing value by sharing some of your expertise. Give some great insight or advice, and you get to be recognized as an expert, thought leader or resource. Hint: a nice PowerPoint to keep your topic organized and on track is really helpful and easy to create.
There you go! There are a lot of things you can do that don’t cost much or anything, and if you do them effectively and consistently, I promise you will see results!