Some Keyword Research Tips

Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO or inbound marketing campaign, in one way or another.  This is because it is the method by which you identify the target phrases you want to attempt to rank for, regardless of whether you buy PPC ads or are building organic rankings.  However, many companies get their keyword research wrong, and end up wasting large portions of their budgets targeting inefficient or non-commercial words.  Here are some basic tips to keep in mind when you review the keywords you have decided to target: Intent is Important – The commercial intent of a user is incredibly important in deciding how valuable ranking for any given keyword phrase is.  For example, consider two users, one of whom uses Google to search for ‘golf clubs’, and the other searches for ‘best deal golf clubs’.  Do you think one of these phrases may be more commercially valuable to rank for than the other?  The answer is self-evident. Longtails > Single Words – Single words (or two word phrases) are increasingly useless when it comes to actually earning conversions with modern marketing campaigns.  We’ll use another example; compare someone searching ‘couch’ to someone looking for ‘Woodbridge (a …

Google Launches Another Penguin Update

If you follow developments in the world of internet marketing, you may have heard that Google launched another update to their Penguin algorithm earlier this month.  In case you are unaware, Panda and Penguin are the two named Google updates that have wreaked havoc across the world of online marketing in recent years.  Conceptually, they are designed to combat the ever increasing tide of low-quality websites that proliferate just to be used as link banks or the sale of affiliate products. The volume of content that Google and the other search engines have dubbed ‘poor’ has been increasing at an exponential rate, and measures to combat them were necessary, unless everyone wants to see the internet turned into a piece of giant junk mail, but these updates have affected real, legitimate businesses as well.  We’ve got some tips for you to keep in mind regarding your own site that will help prevent you from being penalized in these, or any future updates the search engines might make: Content Remains King – The quality of the content on a website will continue to remain the most important factor that search engines look at, and their algorithms will only get better at …

Three Ways to Improve Your Conversion Rates

If you understand your web statistics and analytics, you realize that your conversion rate is one of the most important metrics you have available to gauge the success of your online marketing campaigns.  However, most people do not understand that with dedicated time and effort, businesses can do several different things to fundamentally improve their conversion rates, which will have a dramatically visible effect on their bottom line.  Here are three ways in which almost any business can improve their conversion rates: Improve Your Content – The simplest and perhaps most effective long-term method to improve your conversion rates rests on you improving and adding to the volume of content on your site.  Adding features that are truly engaging and entertaining will help to draw in sustained traffic over time, and the better the content, the more likely it is that people will be interested enough to convert into a sale, no matter your product. Perform More Market Niche Research – Another great way to improve conversion rates is by performing additional in-depth keyword and market niche research.  For example, you may discover that some of the words you have been targeting have low commercial intent compared to other phrases, …

Apple Passes Coca-Cola as World’s Most Valuable Brand

For the past eight years or so, Coca-Cola has been considered by most to be the world’s most valuable brand, according to Interbrand, a large marketing research firm who releases an annual report on the subject.  It has been tracking statistics since about 2000 and uses these stats along with its own secret proprietary formula to compile the “Best Global Brands” list, in which it evaluates the world’s largest and most popular brands. So how did Apple dethrone Coca-Cola to take the crown? While the formula Interbrand uses is secret, certain elements of it are known.  There are essentially three elements to the rating: operating profit, RBI (Role of Brand Index), and Brand Strength.  It is no secret that Apple has been earning incredible operating profit ever since the time of the introduction of the original iPhone.  RBI is meant to reflect how much of that profit can be directly attributed to the strength of the brand, and is an arbitrary number from 0 to 100 assigned by an expert panel who participates in the process.  Brand strength is the ability of the brand to generate profit into the future along with creating customer loyalty. Most experts, including those at …

Paid Search Advertising – A Tool Any Business Can Use

Today we’re going to discuss how any business can use paid search advertising to help sell their products and services, and why it is a good idea for nearly everyone to make at least a modest investment in the service.  Paid search advertising is capable of being a huge revenue channel for businesses; indeed, some entire business models are constructed on the revenue generated by paid search models, and don’t even utilize physical storefronts or other sales channels at all.  However, most businesses are looking to use paid search in a more modest way, and that is entirely possible.  Here are some of the reasons it is a powerful tool that can be used in nearly any sales environment: Incredibly Flexible – One of the biggest benefits to using paid search advertising is that any program you make is going to be incredible flexible.  Paid search is completely modular and scalable, meaning you can directly set the financial parameters of any campaign.  Want to run a $50 paid search campaign?  You can.  Want to run a $50m one?  You can do that too. Easy to Measure ROI – Another big benefit of paid search advertising is that it is incredibly …

Every Retailer Should Use Affiliate Marketing

We’re going to move on and switch topics away from branding, having spent almost all of last month on it, and go to a quick money-making technique for any business owners who sell products retail.  If you own such a business, no matter what your product is, you should be taking advantage of affiliate marketing. There are a few reasons this makes great sense for basically every retailer: More Mileage Out of Website – Almost every business already has to go to the expensive of setting up and hosting a decent website anyway; why not plug in an affiliate program and turn your static web site into a dynamic channel that actually earns revenue?  The cost to deploy e-commerce is just an add-on considered to the development of the whole site. Affiliate Managers and Companies – Another big advantage is that you can have as much or as little control over the process as you may wish.  In fact, there are even affiliate companies and managers out there that will make the entire process essentially fully automated as far as you are concerned.  They will take care of the sourcing, sales, shipping, everything.  The more steps of the process you …

Using the Power of Your Brand to Open Multiple Sales Channels

We’ve looked a lot at branding theory and examples, but haven’t spoken much about how to directly monetize it, so that is the topic for the final post of this month on branding.  We’re going to look at several different sales channels, and how you can leverage the power of your brand to create sales or improve the volume of existing sales of your product or service. Direct Sales – Building up a name and reputation as a reliable provider means that you have the potential to generate sales from people who come looking directly for you or your website.  Make sure that you have SEO done on your site so that people looking for a provider in your niche are more likely to find you than your competitors. Social Media – Social media is great for increasing sales by enabling you to offer all kinds of interesting promotions and coupons that offer exclusive benefits for those who find them via social media.  This has the side benefit of making your marketing investments into social media extremely easy to quantify in terms of efficacy.  Building a strong brand also helps with word-of-mouth spreading via social media. Targeted Ads – When …

Some More In-Depth Branding Tips

We’ve looked a lot at general branding; do’s, don’t, examples of great work by companies, and some not so great work.  Today we’re going to look at some more in-depth branding tips that go beyond the simple ‘be consistent’ tips that most basic branding advice seems to boil down to.  In no particular order, here are a few: Develop a Good Slogan – A good slogan or tagline can be one of the most memorable things about a business.  Most organizations give some thought to developing one, but they never test it, and once they come up with an idea the original owners like, the issue is considered settled.  Instead, a slogan should be tested and developed so that it resonates well with your target demographic, not your own leadership. Use the Press – Take advantage of the local media in your region.  Issue press releases, keep in contact with local reporters, and even search online for blogs on interest in your niche and specialty.  With the growth of social media, it is easier than ever to build credibility by accumulating references on various press and media related sites, which directly translate into you being perceived as an expert in …

When to Seriously Consider a Full Re-Branding

We’ve been taking an in-depth look at branding this month, but there is one important aspect we haven’t spoken about in quite a while that we should definitely revisit: re-branding.  While people obviously want to avoid this whenever possible, in certain circumstances and situations, it just makes more business sense to proceed with re-branding an organization and moving forward in a different direction than with investing further capital into the current brand.  Here are a few examples: Serious Damage Done to Original Brand – The most common examples of re-branding can be seen by observing businesses that are trying to compensate for a damaged original brand.  Whether this was due to a lawsuit, a PR disaster, or any other reason, if your brand has suffered enough damage, sometimes you just need to toss it and start fresh. Organization Adopts New Strategic Direction – Business plans do change and develop over time.  In fact, smaller, more agile businesses can do so with alarming frequency, given correct market conditions.  If your business or organization adopts an entirely new strategic direction, it can make sense to re-brand yourselves at the same time you begin implementing your new strategy to provide a truly new …

Three Essential Steps to Building a Long-Lasting Brand

We’ve been looking a lot recently at different examples of branding; some large companies, some smaller, some ideas that have worked, and some haven’t.  For today’s article, we’re going to get back to basics and take a look at three essential steps that should be involved in the building of any brand.  No matter what you are trying to sell or what sort of organization you are trying to build, your efforts should always contain these three basic elements and actions if you want your brand to be successful and long lasting: Consistent Application –From day one, attempt to be as consistent as possible in the application of your brand.  Brands develop as people begin to associate the idea of a certain product or service with a company over time, and the public simply won’t make such associations if their interactions with you and your organization do not consistently deliver the same experience to them. Persistence – Successful brands are built and sustained over time; Rome wasn’t built in a day either.  This means that you have to constantly be mindful of your position in the market, and your interactions with customers, both current and potential.  Never lose an opportunity …