Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Internet Marketing – Recipe For Failure

internet recipeSome ideas have no chance of succeeding, or should I say profiting since that is measurable. Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Profit is a measurable result. Some people will say they are successful because they quit their job and started baking cookies at home and sell them on Sunday at church.

Let’s call the cookie lady Betty. Betty has no ambition, at least not anymore. Her husband makes a hefty income, she finally quit her crappy job and she likes to bake cookies. Betty is done, take her out of the oven, that’s everything she wanted.

Friends and Family – Betty’s brother-in-law, Eddie, comes along and woofs down a dozen of her sugar cookies. High on the sugar, he tells her she could sell these cookies on the Internet and make a fortune. Betty asks Eddie if he really thinks she can sell them on the net. Eddie says his “Worm Farming in a Box” pyramid site is really taking off (Lie) so he is sure she can do it too. Now the rest of the friends and family join in cheering Betty on, telling her how much money she could make on the Internet (It’s Magic). So now Betty is pumped, all she has to do is almost nothing and she can get rich on the Internet. “Almost nothing” is a little more ambition than she has, but maybe she can muster up the strength.

Web Designer – Betty finds out her cousin Cindy’s kid just graduated high school and he has the most popular website on the planet, and he built it from scratch. Right away they hit it off because Betty builds cookies from scratch (box). Plus this kid knows more about the internet than Al Gore. So for $200 bucks, Betty is hooked up with a website to sell cookies. Her cousin’s kid used all the latest technology, including those cascading tables, so it is going to be a surefire success.

Social Media Expert – Someone tells Betty that the Pastor’s sister is a big deal on Twitter and Facebook. She gets the story about how she can have tens of thousands of followers in a month and followers are better than pixie dust. So she pays the Twit $60 for a 2 hour lesson on “how to use Twitter” and away she goes. Next week, for $75 she can find out how to share her high school and wedding photos with thousands of strangers on Facebook.

Pay-Per-Click – It’s been 4 months and no sales. Betty is discouraged, but brother-in-law Eddie is back to the rescue. His worm sales had “slowed” last month after he got banned from Twitter, so he set up a Google AdWords account and he has never looked back. Betty whips out the credit card, and she and Eddie set up an AdWords account. Eddie hooks her up with all the best keywords: “cookies”, “sugar cookies”, “baked goods”, “recipes”, “housewife”… They start the budget at $200 per day as Eddie quotes from memory the PPC website he read, “You get every PPC dime you spend back in sales.”

Reality Check – The $6000 credit card bill comes in. Lucky for Betty, the ads have stopped on their own because of the expiration date on the card. Betty’s husband gets involved because he now has an investment in a sugar cookie website. He calls and talks to some Internet Marketing companies. Company #1 tells him they are sure they can turn this disaster around for $3000 per month with their awesome directory submission and secret link building service. Company #2 tells him he has nothing they can work with. He will need a business plan and a niche because he isn’t going to sell Betty’s sugar cookies unless he can make them unique. He argues that the congregation loves them. Company #2 continues “unless you have time lapse photos of the cookies transforming into images of Mary or Jesus then we can’t help you. Even if they are miracle cookies you would be better off on eBay than hiring us.” He swears at them, slams down the phone and hires company #1.

The End – Three months later Betty calls Internet Company #2 and says they are all out of money, in serious debt, and they really need help. She then asks if she can pay for their services after they turn her cookie business around…

—David Blizzard

What Is Inbound Marketing

SalesmanWhat is inbound marketing? Is it hype? On Monday, I got a phone call from a merchant service company and the girl went straight into a pitch about “when is the last time you had your rates compared…” I told her I didn’t know what she was rambling about, but if she didn’t have a service contract I couldn’t help her, click. Yesterday, a two man team of door-to-door salesmen came in to our office. They wanted to inspect our fire extinguisher. Stop laughing, it’s a job. Right after demanding to speak to “the boss” and just before they could finish the opening sales pitch, they were being told that we weren’t interested in their service and to have a nice day. It might sound a little rude, but the truth is that cold-calling is rude. You expect the client to be available when “you” decide to show up or call. Both uninvited calls were made while I was in my office with a client. How many times has your credit card company or DirecTV called while you are eating supper? If you still use cold calling as your primary or only sales force then you are a dinosaur; your model is becoming extinct.

AlligatorInbound Marketing to the rescue. If you make your company available 24/7 via Internet or phone service, then you are available when the customer is looking for your product or service. When you make your services available through your website and you optimize your website so your target client or customer can find you, then you are 1/2 way to the goal. You never hear the words “no, I’m not interested”. The customer is already interested in your service or product. It’s like dangling a chicken in front of an alligator (yes, that works, but don’t use your hand). Actually, I like that analogy because the customer is ready to snap the service right out of your hand rather than bite your head off.

So is inbound marketing just hype? No! Inbound marketing is not hype. It’s necessary. You need to make sure your business can be found for the products and services you offer. You should try to interact with large numbers of people on the web and build name recognition so when they need your service, they know who to call. Customers are out there and they want you, can they find you?

—David Blizzard

Facebook Pages in SERPs

It’s happening! Small companies that can’t afford high dollar SEO work are starting to see their Facebook Business Pages appear in the search engine results. They can get results for keywords faster and cheaper on Facebook than they can’t get with their own company website by leveraging Facebook’s authority. Will we start seeing more abuse with long keyword stuffed page names? Probably, just like page sculpting with the nofollow tag we will once again see how creative the populace is when it comes to taking advantage of something. Is there a new policy for business pages on the horizon? Should there be? Eventually it all works out just like hidden text, keyword meta abuse, and 60 character 10 hyphen domain names but how long will it last or how far will it go is yet to be seen.

Don’t get left behind, get your business on facebook but beware, your content will be indexed and it should convey a feeling of professionalism. Every marketing avenue that leads to your company is another door to your store, be careful what you put on display in the window.

Check out Hubspots free eBook: How To Use Facebook for Business

—David Blizzard

Social Networking is Marketing

Can social media be used to market your company? Yes, print media and telemarketing are giving up a lot of ground to Internet marketing and social networking could be another nail in the coffin. Social media can be used for marketing, branding, and customer relations but is it really free? Not at all, anything that takes your time or an employee’s time is not free. You need to determine the cost and estimate the value in order to budget for this avenue of marketing.

The Twitter buzz: Here are some good starter tips right from the horse’s mouth, Twitter 101 a Special Guide. You can use Twitter to mingle and rub elbows, virtually. You can find out when people are talking about your company or products and services. You can respond to questions about your service and make new connections. You can provide a link to your Twitter account on your company website and blog and give customers a look at your personal side. In moderation you can use Twitter for SEO by linking to new product releases or blog posts but it should be a low percentage of your overall tweets. Twitter is not a great SEO tool, it’s Internet marketing.

Step back now and look at your business without the rose colored glasses. Are you really so big and popular that you need to watch for tweets about your company? Is monitoring Twitter going to improve your customer service? For small companies the answer is probably no so don’t buy in too deep. Stick with the things that will benefit you.
Do you really have something to offer, something to say, or something you can give away? If the answer is yes then start tweeting and building your social network. Spend a few hours per week building a network and offering something of value. Value may be found in humorous replies, interesting sub culture news, industry news, personal experience with a product, free samples, free work, or just be that person that lets others know someone is listening. You aren’t selling your services directly, you are marketing your company.
Remember, if your customers can’t get a reply to an email or a call back because you are too busy Tweeting then you have missed the point of Twitter.

We know Facebook is the cat’s meow for personal socializing but how is it for business? It’s not anywhere near as hot as Twitter for business but the water is warm. Facebook has a different set of rules for business accounts or pages. Should you set up a company page on Facebook? If you have the staff to use Twitter to its potential then you probably have the resources to maintain a company Facebook page so the answer is yes. If you are a small company and you are going to set up a facebook page and then neglect it as if setting it up was all you needed to do then no, you shouldn’t. If you have time to make new product or service announcements then it can be useful. Did you know you can run an ad campaign on Facebook?

Some other sites to consider are and . Like Facebook, they will require some setting up and then maintenance but only occasional work is required. With both sites you need to build your connections and with MerchantCircle you can try adding coupons and get your customers to write reviews. That reminds me, Google Maps offers the ability to offer coupons and reviews too.

Blogging is probably the number one social media that can improve your visibility, build brand, keep customers informed, and it can be leveraged for search engine optimization. If you have a blog you should make it a unique host name like blog.[yourdomain].com or a unique domain name. I believe there is some value in your blog being a separate site rather than [yourdomain].com/blog. Don’t use free blog services for a company blog. You should treat your blog just like you do your company website and build something of value on a domain name that you own. Unlike Twitter where you will make connections almost immediately a blog requires marketing and SEO work the same as your company website. A blog has all of the marketing and social value of Twitter and Facebook and then some but it does require more work.

Should you use some of your advertising budget to advance your social networking? Social networking is marketing so you could justify this. You might want to take some of your print media budget and try hiring a copywriter to advance your blog until you have more time yourself or the staff to do it for you.

Email marketing, is it social networking? Yes, a newsletter is a very good example of social networking. Let people know what is new with your company, include customer success stories, contests or drawings, tutorials, you can even share videos. As long as it’s not all about a sale or laced with ads or buy now buttons then you are networking. If you are giving and not trying to sell then it’s networking. Like I said, networking is marketing.

That’s it, the basics. Smaller companies should not get caught up in the hype and neglect normal business operations. Do what you can now, grow your company and then you can increase the time you spend on social media when you have the time or staff to accomplish your goals.

—David Blizzard

Interest-Based Advertising

Peeping Tom

Internet privacy watchdogs have recently raised their hackles in response to what Google calls “interest-based advertising.” Basically it allows advertisers to target your interests, choosing what ads to show you based on your browsing and search history. If you are a sports nut that loves to search statistics, team schedules, and watch sports related You Tube videos, then you would be tagged with a cookie that represented your interest in sports. This cookie could then be used to allow advertisers in the AdSense network to target you specifically for the Sports Memorabilia  store they started online. In Google’s document entitled, “How does Google Determine user interest categories?” they state that they will not show ads based on sensitive information or interest categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or sensitive financial categories. They also state that users are in complete control of their participation in the program and their interest categories through the Ads Preference Manager. AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft already have similar programs as Google used to disavow the practice. Google has informed its AdSense content partners regarding the new program and asked them have their privacy policies updated by April 8th, 2009.