By Robyn Levin, President
R. Levin Marketing Group
If you are looking for more creative, cost-effective ways to expand your business, the Internet is the No. 1 place to go. After all, where do we all spend our precious time these days? Online. The key to successful marketing is to follow your prospect’s and client’s eyes so you can get your marketing message in front of them – and know where they are online.
In this article, I have highlighted my top five online strategies whereby clients have gotten the best return of investment (ROI) for their marketing investment. Why not incorporate them into your marketing plan this year?
Many clients tell me they want more leads, more referrals and more visibility. You can have it all with the help of the Internet. Do you want better leads? Do you want to convert your Web site visitors to buyers? Do you want to build a qualified e-mail list? This can be accomplished with a number of simple effective proven techniques. Here are some tips to get you started:
I. Develop and grow your in-house e-mail list
Statistics prove people will open e-mails 20 times to 1 if they recognize the source in the “from” line. When you send e-mails to your own list, you’ll get far better results. If you are just starting out or need some help building your e-mail list, I’ve provided some solutions below.
1. Drive qualified traffic to your Web site from direct mail. Direct mail is a traditional technique that can work but it’s more expensive than new media strategies, like e-mail marketing, Webinar marketing, podcasting, blogging, online PR, etc. For those that send direct mail, here are a few tips and pointers to consider. Send an attractive, oversized, glossy postcard to a select mailing list with a very enticing free offer, such as a free CD/MP3 or special report that’s educational and timely. In order for them to receive this offer, they need to go to your Web site, and to a specific landing page to enter some quick data, like their e-mail name. A landing page is a separate page on your Web site, apart from your home page. Create a page title and URL address that ties into your offer, like www.yourname.com/MP3. Free offers attract qualified prospects and will frequently trigger action, like signing up to receive your free online newsletter, attending an event or seminar, or downloading your MP3.
2. Put a sign-up box on the top right corner of your Web site, with a free offer, be it to sign-up to receive monthly tips, Webinars, special offers, investment alerts or so on.
3. Segment your e-mail list by asking a few qualifying questions. Then, you can determine who your best prospects are by the criteria you establish. This makes it easy to send specific e-mails to those that expressed immediate interest in your products and/or services. You can tailor future e-mail correspondence to specialized lists based upon their answers. This is a good way to start:
In order for us to send you relevant information, please take a few seconds to complete these two questions. Note that you are specifying only a few seconds and just two quick questions. Your sample questions may include:
- Would you like a 30-minute consultation?
- Would you like a free confidential retirement analysis customized to your needs?
- Are you interested in making investments in the next 30-60 days?
- Would you like 10 percent to 11 percent secured returns on investments outside of the stock market?
4. People are most receptive right after they subscribed to your online newsletter. This is the perfect time and place to include a surprise freebie, like a 10-minute podcast, white paper, article or special report on the top frequently asked questions about your area of specialty. Think about your own clients and prospects. What do they repeatedly want to know and appreciate learning about? I have found that an interview format works especially well for this, as it’s informal and educational. You can have two people on the telephone and record the interview with a sound engineer or a just use a high-quality microphone, like Logitech.
You could also go to www.freeconferencecall.com and get your own free call-in number, plus they can record the call for you. It’s simple and free. Save the recording as a .wav file, upload it to your Web site and/or make a link and include it in your thank you letter. Add a little graphic to show they can listen to your 10-minute podcast about your particular subject. Put an appropriate image relating to your bonus offer. Pictures always engage people and pique their interest. Include a forward-to-a-friend link on your e-mail marketing thank you letter. This is a great viral marketing technique to get others to market for you and increase your e-mail list.
5. Write articles and offer them to other news sites and companies that welcome your information. In return, ask them to include a link back to your Web site so people can visit and sign up to learn more. If you’re a financial advisor, offer your expertise to attorneys or CPAs so they can share your information with their clients. They’ll look like a hero to their clients by providing important information outside of their typical services, but it still benefits their clients. You get the recognition and your contact information is visible. You can also publish your articles to sites like www.ezinearticles.com by using your industry key words for mass distribution. This will often result in higher Web site rankings for you and your company. When people search under your keyword terms, your name may appear from your article. This will drive qualified people to your Web site. And, when you complete the steps above, you will be building your e-mail database.
E-mail marketing delivers the highest ROI of all media available, according to a recent study by the Direct Marketing Association.
II. Search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your rankings
This is the foundation to your Web site and your search engine rankings. If you want to get found online and come up in the top 10 positions on page one on Google, Yahoo and the other search engines, you need to invest some money here. Ask your colleagues, friends and family what words they would type into a search box to find your company. Then, scour your competitors Web site to see what keywords and phrases they use. You can also use a handy tool at www.wordtracker.com to discover your best keyword phrases for a small fee. Or, hire an expert and let them do this for you. They will also give you (or your Webmaster) code to put on your Web site. We helped a client, who was buried on page 46 on Google under his company name and his search terms, boost their rankings in 2 ½ weeks. This customer is also in a competitive industry, so he’s thrilled to be on page one of Google and Yahoo consistently. That is also known as organic search engine optimization, as opposed to pay-per-click or search engine marketing (SEM.)
III. Consider alternative media like online video
YouTube has become a household name and many smart business owners and professionals have turned to online video for branding and direct response. YouTube.com is the forth most popular Web site on the Internet in the U.S. according to alexa.com, a Web traffic and information company.
There are many other creative ways to get your marketing message out there via online video. Humor is very effective in grabbing the attention of your audience and keeping them engaged – two essential elements in effective marketing. Online video is also very cost-effective. You just need a video camera, access to the Internet and upload your video on a Web site like www.youtube.com. Don’t worry about hiring a professional, as recent studies show people prefer user-generated content.
In summary, it’s a new year so why not try out some new media strategies to improve your marketing. These three online marketing strategies are a quick way to get you started and have some fun growing your business in 2008.