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Abbie's Column : Internet Marketing


Improve Your Online Small Business Profits
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Here's Your Marketing Checklist . . .

By Abbie Drew
Jul 5, 2006

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The 4th of July, Independence Day Holiday, is a great one. Itís impossible not to enjoy the picnics, friends, family and fireworks.

But I have to admit, after the long weekend of revelry, itís nice to get back to my computer and relax. Yes, let the truth be told, I like running an online business. While some may think sitting at their computer a dull task, I enjoy the surfing, the writing, the research, the answering of questions and working to improve our web sites and our marketing.

The satisfaction of getting better results is exciting!

Do you also enjoy seeing more traffic to your site, receiving more sign-ups for your list, selling more of your wares and increasing your bottom line?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Then focus on your marketing and you will improve your results. Good marketing has a huge impact on your bottom line.

What improvements can you make to your marketing?

In my last article I began outlining a plan, 5 Steps to Jump Start Your Marketing, to bring your business to the next level.

Today Iíll continue through the checklist Iím using to evaluate our own businesses and find areas for improvement.

3) Email Review

Email is an integral part of marketing online. Good email deployment can make a significant difference in your profits. Make sure you are doing the following.

a) Building your own in-house email list of prospects and customers.

b) Including email capture on every page of your site.

c) Treating new sign-ups differently than pre-existing subscribers.

Study after study shows that a new sign-up is more receptive to your offers in the first 30 days. That same sign-up is then somewhat more receptive in the next 30 days and after 60 days is the same as a 2 or 3 year old subscriber.

You should have in place an autoresponder that emails a series of letters to new sign-ups in the first 30 days.

(If you donít have an autoresponder, check out our great free autoresponders. )

d) Maintaining ongoing email communication with your list of customers and prospects.

Email is a relationship building tool. If you do not email your list, you fail to develop rapport with your subscribers. Be sure you regularly, once a month at least, email out a personal note, a special offer, an interesting news item, etc. in order to keep in touch.

e) Using a SIG Tag on all your outgoing emails.

A SIG Tag (Signature) is a brief note with an attention grabbing headline, a brief offer and then a link to your site or email.

If you answer email as often as I do, a SIG is a great way to spread the word about your latest offer, best deal, your list sign-up, etc..

In addition, to the above 5 absolutes for email, hereís another email tactic you may want to try.

Place a promotion in your transactional email. A transactional email is one that contains a receipt from an order or a shipping confirmation.

Studies suggest transactional emails are significantly better received than commercial messages. Postfuture showed transactional messages pulling open rates greater than 70 percent, with CTRs surpassing 50 percent.

The key to using transactional emails is to make sure that the subject and the first/most prominent part of the email stay transactional. This ensures you stay compliant with CAN-Spam. After the transactional message, why not insert a special offer. You may find that it works to increase your sales!

(Editor Note: Iím planning on inserting a note into the transactional email receipts we send monthly to our SendFree autoresponder customers. Iíll keep you posted on how it works out.)


4) Search Engine Optimization

Search Engines can be a tremendous source of free traffic for you site. You do not have to be a Search Engine optimization expert to generate results, you simply need to follow a few simple steps. Use these basic tactics and 80% of the possible rewards can be yours for just 20% of the effort.

Hereís a quick 5 step plan.

a) Select keyword phrases

Come up with phrases that have the best potential to drive well-targeted traffic to your site. You can use 2 free online tools to find popular search phrases.

Overture -
http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Google - https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

b) Work the keyword phrases into the copy on your page.

* A page should only focus on 2 to 5 phrases.
* Do not be overly repetitive with the phrases.
* Use the phrases towards the top of the page.
* Use the same word order. For example if your phrase is Ė ďpermission email marketingĒ do not use ďemail marketing with permissionĒ

c) Have Meta Tags in place for your pages.

Meta tags are not a magic bullet for good search placement but they do help. The most important tag to have in place is a keyword-rich title tag. And with all your Meta Tags be sure to place your keywords as close to the beginning of the tag as possible.

For an article that is much more in depth on Meta Tags see Ė
http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/article.php/2167931


d) Avoid using too many graphics or flash presentations.

The search engine robots can only read text, so pages with more text stand a better chance of good ranking. Where you do have graphic images, be sure to use ďaltĒ tags to label your images. Make your ďaltĒ tags contain one relevant key word rich phrase Ė donít make them have a listing of key word phrases.

e) Get Links

Incoming links from lots of sites help search engines find you and these links improve your search engine ranking.

The best place to acquire inbound links is to list your site in free directories. Start by getting listed at DMOZ.org. You can then find more directories using a Directories of Directories such as Ė
http://www.directoryarchives.com/
http://www.allwebdirectories.com/
http://www.hyperseek.net/

You also should encourage reciprocal linking. When you exchange links with related sites you not only improve your link popularity, which helps your ranking at Google, you also will find it brings in traffic directly.

--
Before you throw up your hands with information overload, Iíll give you a chance to catch up and work on the 2 marketing steps reviewed today. Iím going through these same steps myself and while a bit daunting, I know the results of improving our marketing will be well worth the effort!

Be sure to stay tuned for the final step 5 in the next issue of DEMC. Youíll find out how to implement the top 4 most effective promotional methods for massive traffic and results!

###
Abbie Drew
DEMC Editor



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