30 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Internet Marketing
(in the Next 45 Days)
Check Your Domain Registration Information
Do you own your own domain? Or maybe your webmaster/designer does because they registered it for you, but forgot to transfer it to your business name. Are the contacts correct? Are the email addresses? What about the mailing address? These are all required as part of your domain registration licensing agreement. What is the domain’s next renewal/expiration date? Put a reminder in your online calendar. Who is your domain registrar and do you have the appropriate login/password information ready to use immediately if needed?
Get an Objective Opinion about Your Website
There is an old saying: “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When it comes to many business websites, I’ve seen this to be the case. You like your website and people tell you it is great. Maybe they even told you they “love it.” But if a professional internet marketing expert was to look at it they might not feel the same way. If the “gap” between what you like and what works is too wide, it can lead to poor results, hurt sales, and even damage the reputation of your company. Are there weaknesses in your current website that are hurting your business? Get a professional opinion about your website, top to bottom, including review of your online marketing objectives, the overall design, marketing copy, search engine optimization, and, of course, integration with social media. Don’t look at a website review as an expense, look at it as an investment.
Where is Your Phone Number?
Where is your phone number on your website? Do people have to look for it? Can it be found in the top right on ALL of your pages? Is it in the page footer? Is it very visible no matter what page I am currently on? Some people, people who are potential customers and ready to buy, still like using the phone and will call you. Others use the internet like a phone book, they’ll go to your website address (which they remember) to get your phone number. Make sure your phone number is prominently placed throughout your website.
Leverage the Power of Your Email Signature
An email signature is a small amount of text that can be added automatically to most email messages. Think of it as a footer that is added to all of your outbound email messages. You might also think of it as a small billboard of sorts. An email signature is a great place for your phone number, website address, links to your Facebook page, LinkedIn page, or even a special offer. Take advantage of this powerful yet often overlooked marketing tool.
Create a Frequently Asked Questions Page (FAQ)
A frequently asked questions page is exactly what it says it is, a page with frequently or commonly asked questions you get about your business, your products, or your services before a purchase is made. It may have as few as 8 questions or it may have as many as 20. A frequently asked questions page is one of the most powerful pages you can have on your website. Think of it as a pre-sales or pre-qualifying page. People love a FAQ page, and using one will help you get better-qualified leads and close more sales.
Improve your Marketing Message (UVP, WIIFM, Social Proof)
Too many people casually throw together the words on their website’s pages and then wonder why visitors don’t do what they want them to do – buy something or start the buying process by making an inquiry. There are many factors that impact conversion, but one that has an immediate and negative impact is a poorly written marketing message. Does your home page clearly communicate a unique value proposition? Does it provide a “what’s in it for me” message that clearly says what you are going to do for ME if I choose to become one of your customers? Does it have recent reviews, testimonials, recommendations, and ratings from sites like Google and Citysearch? This type of “social proof” can be even more powerful than offering discount pricing and special offers.
Improve Your Call to Action
Have you ever followed a road to its end and then didn’t know what to do next? There are no signs, there are no arrows, and there are no suggestions on what to do next. At a minimum it is unwelcoming, and maybe even frustrating, right? A call to action tells someone what to do next. Multiple optimized calls to action strategically placed throughout your website will turn more of your visitors into inquiries and ultimately sales. Making someone look for your contact option, or scroll all the way to the top of the page to find it in your main menu, is poor website design.
Create a Targeted Keyword/Keyword Phrase List
In order for your website to rank well on Google, you’ll need to identify the keywords and keyword phrases you want to rank for. These are the words you want your website to show up for in a top ten position on a search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches. Too many people leave out this critical step – research! Make a list of 25 keywords and keyword phrases you would like to rank for (top 10 ranking, of course). Prioritize them in order of importance. Now you have a list of words and phrases to carefully craft into your page content. Use these same words in your page title tags and description tags, often referred to as meta-tags.
Use PINGDOM.COM to Monitor Your Hosting Performance
Website performance, as measured by page loading times and server unavailable or downtime, is now a part of the Google ranking algorithm. Slow-loading pages, or websites that are unavailable when Google shows up to crawl them, are likely to be penalized going forward. Monitor your hosting downtime with a free account at PINGDOM.COM (http://www.pingdom.com). You can monitor your page load times with Google Analytics by drilling down on: CONTENT | SITE SPEED | OVERVIEW.
Check Your Keywords/Keywords Phrase List Against the Google Keyword Tool
Now that you have identified your targeted keywords and keyword phrases, check them against Google’s Keyword Tool. This free tool from Google will help you identify words you may have left out, and as a result, fine-tune your list. Visit https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool.
Check Your Search Engine Rankings
Now that you have a clear and concise list of the important keywords and keyword phrases, use that list and see who shows up on the rankings. Is your website on page one, page two, or further back in the pile? Being on page two of the search engine results is like being a needle in the haystack.
Look at Your Competitors Websites
Make a list of 5 of your competitors. Now go find their websites. Bookmark them, because you should be doing this exercise three or four times a year. Get out a notepad and write down what you like about each, what they offer that might be different from you, and what they offer that you offer but promote differently. Look at their keywords and keyword phrases. Look for opportunities to see how they promote their business, products, and services online. Now, how can you improve how YOU are doing it on your website?
Look at Your Competitors Blogs
Is your competitor blogging? If they are and you aren’t, you are at a fairly significant competitive disadvantage. Blogging increases your online visibility, is an effective way to drive traffic to your website, and lets people learn more about your business in a less formal manner than on your website. What are your competitors blogging about? What keywords or keyword phrases are they using in their posts? What services and products are they promoting on their blog? How are they promoting their services and products on their blog? Keeping an eye on how your competitors are blogging is a powerful way to stimulate thinking about your own blogging strategy and stay competitive.
Look at Your Competitors Facebook Page
Finally, I want you to take 15 to 20 minutes and look at how your competitors are using Facebook (along with YouTube, Twitter, Google+, and other social media marketing tools). Look for their strengths and weaknesses. Are they posting consistently? Is their information informative, or even engaging? Are they using photos as well as text content? Do they link back to their website, and what keywords/phrases do they use in their posts?
Review Your Social Proof
Anything anyone ever said that was nice about your business, thank you notes that customers have sent, reviews people have posted about your business online at sites like Google Local Places, Yelp, or Citysearch, even things people have said about your business on Facebook – all are “social proof.” They should be used on your website, your blog, in your email newsletters, and across your social media platforms.
Promote Your Professional Associations
Professional associations that you belong to are a powerful way to promote your expertise and experience. Few people want to do business with an amateur or inexperienced company. Promoting your professional associations effectively helps you turn more of the people who find you online into inquiries and sales
Get Inbound Links from Your Professional Association Memberships
Inbound links, links that point to your website from other websites, are a heavily weighted variable that Google uses in its ranking algorithm. Websites with few or no links to them are rarely found top ranked at Google. Inbound links act similarly to a “vote of confidence” for your website. Professional associations that you belong to almost always have online member directories. Make sure your company is properly listed in your association directory, and that there is also a direct link to your website that works properly.
Get Rid of Flash
If your website is designed entirely using Flash, you must have missed the memo! 350+ million Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch can’t see Flash. In most cases, moving images and what you think are fancy cool presentations using Flash really aren’t helping your conversion (i.e., turning visitors into inquiries).
Google Analytics is a powerful tool from Google that makes it easy to analyze your website traffic, where it is coming from, what visitors are doing at your website, and dozens of other data points. There is absolutely no legitimate reason NOT to be using Google Analytics to track and monitor your website traffic. You can also use it for your blog. In addition to the great information they give you, I’ve always maintained that the more Google knows about your website, the better. You’ve got nothing to hide. If you want better rankings with Google, get some “Google Love,” and start using Google Analytics.
Get Google Analytics Reports via EMAIL
Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can easily run automatic reports and have them sent to your email inbox. This is a great way to stay on top of your statistics without having to log in to Google Analytics all the time. When you get these reports, give them a quick glance. If anything looks odd or wrong, then you can log in to Google Analytics to take a closer look.
Check These Stats at Google Analytics Regularly
As previously mentioned, there are dozens of data points tracked and measured by Google Analytics. At a minimum you should look at these at least every other week:
Total Visitor Sessions
Page Views per Visit
% of Repeat Traffic
Traffic Sources: Search Engines
Traffic Sources: Referring Sites
Content | All Pages
Audience | Mobile
Set Up Auto-Reporting with Google Analytics
When looking at a report in Google Analytics, for example the Dashboard (summary) report, traffic sources, or any other drill-down option, look for the email option at the top of the report in the navigation bar. It’s small and just under the report title. Click it and configure that report to be generated automatically and sent to your email address at a frequency of your choice. You also have the option to have it sent in different easy-to-use formats such as PDF, Excel, comma separated values, or text separated values. I have my Dashboard report sent to me weekly as a PDF file. I take a quick look and if everything looks good, delete it. If something looks odd, I login to Google Analytics for more analysis.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is another free tool that gives you valuable information about your website, links pointing to your website, how many times your website showed up when people searched certain keywords, and how many clicks those impressions created. There are dozens of other features and tools Google provides as part of this free Internet marketing toolbox. For more information visit: http://www.google.com/webmasters/
Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Spiders
OK, you’ve done everything up to this point to optimize your visitor experience. You have engaging page copy with a solid UVP and WIIFM. Your call to action is impossible to miss! You’ve updated your marketing copy to include your targeted SEO keywords/phrases. Now it’s time to make sure Google can see and reward all your hard work. It’s time to get what I call “Google Love.” Google uses a program called a “spider, “also known as a crawler, to “crawl” through your website and read all your pages and all of the words on those pages. Yes, ALL of the words. It also reads your page title tags and description tags, often referred to as meta-tags. It looks at all of your links to sub-pages and it also looks at all of your images. To make sure Google sees all of these things you’ll want to create a Google Sitemap. It lists all of the pages and images on your website. It is the first thing Google looks for when it visits your website. Use Google Webmaster Tools to “register” your sitemap and confirm its location with Google.
Offer a Takeaway and Draw Attention to It
A “takeaway” is something that someone who visits your website can take away as a result of their visit. Most people use the internet as a starting place when they are looking for information before a buying decision. Giving a visitor who is not ready to buy something to download and “take away” is a powerful way to turn “researchers” into customers at a later date. Use an engaging title that piques someone’s interest so they will want your takeaway. Maybe something like: “10 Things You Should Know Before Buying XYZ.”
Optimize your Google Places for Business Listing
Make no mistake, Google is in the local advertising business BIG time, especially when it comes to mobile search. Ignoring this will result in many missed opportunities for new customers and lost sales to a competitor. Claim your Google Places for Business listing and/or update it at http://www.google.com/placesforbusiness.
Email Marketing- Just Do It!
Email marketing is arguably the most powerful tool in your internet marketing toolbox. Sure, it’s great when someone visits your website and instantly decides to do business with you or buy your products or services online. But in reality, that only happens in very few cases (probably less than 20% of your visitors). One way to address this is by using email marketing. Email marketing allows you to reach out to an audience of subscribers that have expressed interest in doing business with you, but weren’t quite ready. Maybe they want to learn more about your business, maybe they want to see if you have what it takes to earn their business. If you aren’t using email marketing, start a newsletter as soon as possible. If you don’t have time, outsource it. The investment should pay for itself over and over. If you are already using email marketing, check your open rates and review your click-through rates. If these numbers are low (below 10%) it may be time to consult with an email marketing expert to optimize the effectiveness of your email marketing.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Personal and Business Pages
Did you know that LinkedIn pages are indexed and can show up ranked just like other pages at Google, Yahoo, and Bing? You might not like LinkedIn, or even use it regularly, but millions of people use it EVERY day and it is an important part of your overall internet marketing strategy.
Follow Up on All Inquiries VERY QUICKLY
How would you like to increase your sales 10% to 20% in the next 30 days? It’s actually pretty simple. Have your inquiries sent directly to your smartphone where you can follow up on them very quickly, within 30 minutes, if at all possible. If you want more sales from your website, follow up on your online inquiries VERY QUICKLY. Keep in mind, most people are probably making multiple inquiries when doing online research. There is a very low probability that they are ONLY making one inquiry and it’s with your company. Sometimes, if not in most cases, the first person to get back to someone who made an online inquiry is the one who has the best chance at making the sale. The worst-case scenario is that it leaves a very positive impression about how you do business . How can you go wrong? Give it a try for 30 days and I think you’ll be very happy with the results!
- Check Your Domain Registration Information
- Get an Objective Opinion about Your Website
- Where is Your Phone Number?
- Leverage the Power of Your Email Signature
- Create a Frequently Asked Questions Page
- Improve your Marketing Message (UVP, WIIFM, Social Proof)
- Improve Your Call to Action
- Create a Targeted Keyword/Keyword Phrase List
- Use PINGDOM.COM to Monitor Your Hosting Performance
- Check Your Keywords/Keywords Phrase List Against the Google Keyword Tool
- Check Your Search Engine Rankings
- Look at Your Competitor’s Website(s)
- Look at Your Competitor’s Blogs
- Look at Your Competitor’s Facebook Page
- Review Your Social Proof
- Promote Your Professional Associations
- Get Inbound Links from Your Professional Association Memberships
- Get Rid of Flash
- Google Analytics
- Configure Regular Google Analytics Reports Sent via EMAIL
- Check These Stats at Google Analytics Regularly
- Set Up Auto-Reporting with Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Spiders
- Offer a Takeaway and Draw Attention to It
- Optimize your Google Places for Business Listing
- Email Marketing
- Optimize Your LinkedIn Personal and Business Pages
- Follow Up On Inquiries QUICKLY