Marketing isn’t just for the professionals, it’s a philosophy that needs to be applied everywhere. A new book, Marketing Secrets by Peter Spalton, gives you a quick low-down on the essentials of marketing without having to take a full-length course in the subject. Edited excerpts:
Ten years ago, people found out about companies and products from newspapers, magazines, exhibitions and word of mouth. The Internet has changed that. Nowadays, it’s the first place they go.
Marketing Secrets: By Peter Spalton, HarperCollins India, 128 pages, Rs 150.
People will search for your type of product every hour of the day. And they will check up on your company through your website seven days a week. Even if they don’t know the address of your website, they should be able to find you through the popular search engines.
Most people won’t look beyond the first ten results, and you should appear in the top five, if you can. You must get specialist advice from an SEO expert (Search Engine Optimization), as well as doing some of the basic things yourself.
•The right design. It’s all very well having a great looking website, but what matters most is how it functions. Check that your sight has been designed with SEO in mind. You must have things such as headlines meta-tags and image tags. Go to www. websitegrader.com to see the marketing effectiveness of your site. It’s free.
•The right keywords. Research the words people use the most when looking for your type of product. You may be able to do this yourself. Alternatively use a site such as www.wordtracker.com, which provides a free, although limited service.
•The right links. Talk to your suppliers and other people you work with to exchange links to each other’s websites. Google, in particular, likes lots of links into your site from other people’s.
•The right content. All the search engines rank sites according to how much content they have and how often it changes. One of the easiest ways to add content is to embed a blog into your site using free software from www.wordpress.com
•The right places. Add your business to the main web directories. Many offer free entries, and you should at least be in DMOZ (www.dmoz.org) and the Yahoo directory (http://dir.yahoo.com). Both are free and have good links with Google.
The Internet has almost totally replaced trade directories and Yellow Pages as the primary place where people look for products and services. If they can’t find you in the top ten search results, then you almost don’t exist. So you must spend time, effort and a bit of money to make sure you are there.
BUILD BLOGS AND PODCASTS
The big downside with a newsletter is that it is outbound, so search engines don’t see it. But, putting the contents of the newsletter onto your website and emailing a link to each subscriber has two advantages. Firstly, the subscriber receives an email, which reminds them about you. Secondly, search engines see the new content, which improves your ranking.
Online visiblity: Blogs are a great tool.
A blog or a podcast is the easiest way to do this. A blog is a series of web pages linked through a database, so you can search them to find one that covers a particular topic. Readers can also leave comments, which will give you an insight into what interests them.
•Create a blog. It’s very easy to create a blog with services such as www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com. Both are free.
•Link it in. You can also put a link from your website to your blog and vice versa. If you decide to exploit the modern social networking phenomenon, you can place a link to your blog in your messages in Twitter and Facebook.
•Keep it going. It’s even easier to post a new entry. The best way is to create a draft using a normal word processing software, then copy and paste it into a new post.
•Blog for business. In the business realm, blogs usually contain ‘content-rich’ material. Things like feature articles, how-to tutorials and case studies.
•Create a podcast. A podcast is either pure audio, a slide presentation or a short piece of video. You can either place it on your own website or you can use a public media server such as YouTube (www.youtube.com), Podcast Alley (www.podcastalley.com) or Apple’s iTunes (www.apple.com/podcasting).
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