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Posts Tagged ‘SEM’

Fueled Friday – Finding Your Online Market Potential

Online marketing is the most effective form of reaching a targeted audience. In this weeks Fueled Friday post, I want to show you how to find out how much online marketing potential exists for your business. This is critical because if you don’t realize what you are missing out on, you might never be motivated to go after it. I will tell you this as well; most of your competitors are not paying attention to this so it will be fairly easy for you to outrank them and get the customers you need. This holds true whether you are a local business or serve clients nationally or internationally.

The most critical factor in any organic or paid search marketing plan is having keywords that heave search volume. If no one is search for terms related to your business, then online marketing may not be the best form of outreach for you. It is rare, but there are definitely cases where it is not in a company’s best interest to invest in an SEO or Paid Search campaign.

So how do you find out what people are searching on? The simplest and most cost effective way is to use Google’s free keyword research tool. This will tell you what people are searching on and how many searches are being done in a given month. If there are lots of people searching, then that means you have a high online marketing potential. If the search volume is low, then you do not have a high of an online marketing potential, but this could also be a good sign if there are fewer competitors because most of the prospects searching would end up at your website. Below is a screen shot from a search I did for local accountants in my area.

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From this you can see what the search potential is for just two terms specific to “accounting in phoenix.” Let’s assume for a minute that you are going to target these two terms here which represents roughly 35,200 monthly searches. Now keep in mind that the percentage of these searchers that come to your website will be relative to where you rank for these terms. You really will need to get ranked on page 1 for to see any reasonable percentage of these searchers. Let’s say you get to position 2 and you generate roughly 8% of this traffic. That would give you roughly 2,800 visitors to your website, of which a smaller percentage will engage. We can conservatively use 3% which would give you about 84 visitors for the month. What percentage of those that contact you looking for your help do you think you can close? If we assume it’s just 20%, that would net you 16 new clients that months. Now let’s assume they are small business clients with an ongoing monthly retainer of $1,000. This would generate about $16,000 in additional monthly revenue for your business.

So now you have the formula to find out your online marketing potential. I encourage you to do your own search and plug in your numbers to see what the specific potential is for your business.

The exact formula is: “total number of searches” x “percentage of those that you can attract via paid, local, and organic search” (use 3-10% if you are on page one and zero if you are not) x “the percentage of people that land on your website then contact you (you can use 3% as an estimate) x the percentage of people that you close (use 20% but do track and find your actual closing ratio).

If your average cost per client is low, then you have to be a bit more cautious to how much you spend to generate leads online. If your average cost per customer is much higher, then you may need fewer clients to see a very strong return on investment.

I know you may be thinking that there is no way you can afford to get to the top of the search engines, but I have to tell you that it certainly is possible. Does it have to be expensive? No. In fact, there are plenty of low cost or no cost strategies that you can use to attract people to your website (mainly blogging and social media which I did not include in the calculations).

I’d love to hear your success stories, so feel free to email me and let me know what you came up with in terms of your market potential. If this is a bit overwhelming, then feel free to contact me and I will provide a free online marketing assessment and this way you will know where you stand in terms of what it would take to get you to the top of the search engines.

Now that you have some work to do for the weekend, enjoy your Friday!

Is Your Staff Sabotaging Your SEO Efforts?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the best ways to connect with hot prospects for your business. If you are reading this, you most likely agree and have some understanding of the process. What many fail to realize is that like any other marketing strategy, SEO is not the end all, but rather a prospect generating strategy. It will allow those looking for your products or services to find you, but here is what is doesn’t do:

    Answer your telephone promptly and professionally.
    Greet your customers with a smile.
    Give outstanding customer service to your customers.
    Take messages for you when you are away.

I think you get the picture. Once you have invested in an effective SEO campaign, make sure that you have the right people to turn that prospect (or suspect) into customer, and then a brand advocate.

Yesterday, I went to a store to buy something… I can’t say what because I am in a weight loss competition and my wife will read my blog. Granted, I did not find this store via the web, but anyone who did might have had this same experience. I walked into the store and there was no one to help me. I could see someone in the back obviously doing something more important that taking money from a paying customer. I understand that people have other things to do than wait for me to walk in, but I said “hello” and was not even acknowledged. I then waited for about a minute and thought to myself “they just don’t deserve the business”, so I went to a local competitor and got what I was craving. The real good news is that when I stepped on the scale it did not have any impact. :-)

The moral of the story; bad customer service will end up costing you more in your online marketing campaign because you will need to generate far more prospects if you aren’t taking care of them. Not only are you missing out on new business, but you are losing potential referral customers from those that get bad service and tell people (as I did).

Why is SEO so Expensive? (and how to make it more affordable)

Many people complain about the high cost of Search Engine Optimization. It is true that in very competitive fields, it can be very costly to compete, but no one can change that – at least not for now. Paid Search (pay per click) often does not offer to get the job done much more affordably than SEO does and the competition factor also plays a huge role there as well. So what is a business owner to do?

First, I would say become a student of web marketing and search engine optimization. I don’t mean to try and be an expert, but I mean try to see what you can actually do on your own. I speak to people nearly every day that are looking to improve their online rankings and get more customers, and for rmany it is overwhelming because they have not taken the time to learn “something” about SEO. It is no different than if a CEO had no knowledge of finance or the production side of his or her business. It is no longer an optional form of marketing, given that people turn to the web more often than not for solutions.

Second, I would say “do something rather than nothing”. When I prepare a proposal for a client, I always try to walk them through it before sending it so they know what to expect. If I get a reaction over the price, I don’t just say “that’s the price… take it or leave it”, I try to find out how what has been proposed differs from their expectations. More than that, I try to help them understand the value of doing something as opposed to nothing which will make the next phase that much lesss costly, and hopefully they will see some results from the introductory level service. When people have “sticker shock” over a proposal, it still often boils down to a lack of education. I apprecaite when a prospect is up front and just says “we’ve never considered this so we had no idea what the costs were”. At least I know I am dealing with someone who is honest and realistic (as opposed to the insecure executive who thinks he or she needs to appear to know everything).

Last year, I wrote a book for the people that I just decribed. I realized that I had the same conversation with people time and time again and it always boiled down to not having any idea about the basics, and sometimes having mis-information (which is worse). I basically told my story of how I learned all that I learned (before they had classes in this stuff), which lead me to build several successful companies and websites. I spell out the A to Z’s so that not only will a conversation with a web marketing specialist not be confusing, but you will be able to implement many of the services yourself, saving thousands of dollars.

I am now at a point of (finally) getting that book in print – which has been a journey. Depending on the terms of the publishing agreement, I may not be able to offer it as an ebook (which I currently do), so I am making an offer to get it into the hands of those that truly need it. I am making the next 500 copies available for just $5 (it is currently priced at $29). For the first 100 to purchase, I am offering a FREE SEO Website Analysis and consultation (valued at $500), and giving everyone the opportunity to get some free exposure in the print book. For more details or to get your copy of my “tell-all” book, visit: http://www.anthonykirlew.com/

Why You Might Not Want to be Number One in Google

I was talking to a prospective client a while ago and she was fixated on being number one in Google for a highly competitive keyword. It’s not that I didn’t have the ability to help her accomplish this as I have obtained countless top 10 positions in Google over the past decade. Her problem was that she didn’t have the finances to have the work done in order to make it happen.

I tried to help her by crafting an affordable proposal that would get her website found on the search engines for lesser competitive (long tail), but equally effective terms. She seemed to still be fixated on her keyword of choice. I posed the question to her about how much business she thought she would get if she were at the #1 spot. Specifically, I asked her if she was prepared to handle the amount of inquiries and customers she would receive if she was #1 for a high level and highly searched term (knowing that she was not based on the size of her company vs. those in the top 10). Her reply was something to the effect of “that would be a great problem to have.” I agree it would be a problem, but I am not sure it would be a great problem for her.

We talked a bit about her plans to grow her business and she really did not have a plan in place, which I am sure would have sent her into panic if the need arose as quickly as it would have.

There are plenty of stories of companies that have grown too fast to their detriment. There are multitude of reasons, but they all revolve around not having the resources to serve the needs of a massive influx of customers all at once. This all has to do with business planning, which is the first point of failure for most small business owners. You’ve heard the saying I am sure; “people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan“.

So my question is not “do you want to be #1 on Google” but rather “are you prepared for what it may look like?”

6 Non SEO Reasons Why Small Business Websites Fail

Is your companies website failing? Perhaps you’ve spent some money on it and it has just never produced for you. Maybe you have one of those companies where the corporate website was the owners kids school project and she is afraid to hurt the kids feelings (I am not kidding here, this was a real life scenario and no one in the company could bring the subject up).

In the course of my day I look at lots of websites; often people even pay me to look at their website and tell them what is wrong with it. Here are some of the more common challenges that I have run into. I urge you to take a look at your website and see if it suffers from any of these challenges then take action and change it.

1. Takes Too Long To Load. Whether its flash or graphics that were never compressed or optimized for the web, most people showing up to your website want results, and they want them pretty quickly. It’s funny when you think back to the days of dial up and now we think our hi-speed connections are too slow. You don’t want to fall prey to this simple to correct issue.

My Advice: When testing your website, make sure you clear your cache, so you can know how long it actually takes between the time a user shows up and is able to read what’s on your site. Also, have others outside of your company test the site and give you their sincere feedback.


2. The Site is Composed Exclusively with Graphics or Flash.
Assuming you care something about search engines finding your website, you need to know that search engines care more about written content than anything else. It is next to impossible for a search engine to visit your website and know what it’s about if it is all graphics or flash without a little help behind the scenes anyway. Exceptions would be sites that serve arts, music, and graphics related communities.

My Advice: If you feel the need to show someone a flash presentation, give him or her the option to click and view it on another page.

3. It is a Hodgepodge of What Everyone Wants to See on the Company Website. This is one of the most frustrating things that I have personally had to deal with in a corporate setting. Everyone has an opinion about how the website should look and few – if any – of them understand website usability (what the user wants and needs to see based on human psychology). It’s turning customers away, but they won’t tell you that and it will take someone taking a bold stand and a humble owner to give up their personal desires in exchange for winning over new customers, and it’s well worth it.

My Advice: Hire a professional design firm with usability expertise to build your website, or if you already have a website, hire a usability consultant to help you restructure it. How do you know if your web designer is a usability expert? Just ask them “what role does website usability play in their design process?” If the phone goes silent or you get a glazed over look, move on. Of course, if you need a usability expert, you contact my firm, AKA Internet Marketing, as we have helped many companies improve their website conversion rates, leading to increased online revenue.


4. Advertising?
Yes, people often use advertising on their company website thinking that it is a good strategy for making money from the website. If you have a business with a website, the only thing you should be doing to make money is optimizing your website so that you earn your visitors business. It really doesn’t make sense to send customers to your competitors. If your website isn’t profitable, you need to take a hard look and ask why. Chances are it is a combination of not enough visitors, the wrong type of visitors, or somehow not instilling confidence in the mind of your prospect.

My Advice: If you have any kind of advertising on your website, get rid of it. Take a look at your web stats and if you aren’t getting at least 100 unique visitors per day then you need to look at implementing a solid web marketing strategy. If you are getting lots of visitors, but not converting customers, then you need to hire a usability consultant to find out why.

5. Not Capturing Visitors Information. I don’t mean deceptively, I mean you should be asked them for their name and email address so you can market to them, ask for their feedback, and be an informational resource for them. The most common way of doing this is to free ebook or newsletter in exchange for their name and email address so you can add them to your prospect database.

My Advice: Implement an email capture system on your website. My recommendation is Aweber as I have used them for years and recommended them to several clients who have also been very pleased.

6. Not Reaching Out to Your Customers. Closely related to #5 is reaching out to your prospects and customers consistently which should induce sales from prospects and repeat sales and referral from past customers.

My Advice: Once you have implemented your email marketing software, make a consistent effort to reach out to customers and prospects at least once per month.

SEO (search engine optimization) is clearly an important component of having a successful website, but as you can see there are many Non SEO issues that affect how successful your website is.

I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at akirlew(at)akaim.com.


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