It’s not easy to run a business. You deal with employee issues, cash flow, taxes, competition and so on. To add insult to injury, the economy is not the best ever. Analysts say things may get better, but experience shows that they sometimes get a lot worse before they get better.
So, instead of blaming it on the world, here are a few things that we can all do in order to leverage the Web and grow our business.
The image below is a result of research done by one of the best ever marketing agencies that focus on blue-chip international companies. (If you’re an owner of a company that can spend tons of money on online marketing, Meclabs is the place to go). For the rest of us, it’s time to separate the sheep from the goats in Online Marketing and find a company that will provide measurable dollar results.
Rule of thumb: if you’re being sold an idea of purchasing 1000 backlinks for $50, or 10.000 Facebook Likes for $100, walk away. Links and Likes aren’t a currency accepted by any bank anywhere in the world.
So, let’s get started with the image that summarizes the survey of 995 Business to Business service providers (read: folks that know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing).
As the image reveals, the least effective online activity is:
- PR (also known as Article Submission Services),
- meta-data optimization ( eg adding meta-description to pages),
- Social Media Integration (basically placing Share/Tweet/Like buttons on your site)
- XML Sitemap submitting (map of your website to help Google discover all pages on the site)
So, where should you put your marketing dollars?
1. Keyword Research
Thanks to some major breakthroughs in the way search engines work, single-word searches are a thing of the past. Two-word searches too. This is why some argue that researching for keywords is a waste of time. To a point, this is true. However, 3-6 word searches are the norm and you do want to know what search phrases are popular and competitive.
While keyword research on “Dentist” or “dental services” may be a waste of time, doing research on long-tail phrases like “nice dentist in Chicago” or “kids dentist in Chicago” can help you learn how your potential clients think and search online. The competition for nice dentist Chicago is over 13 million websites, while kids dentist Chicago gets only 1.5 million. So why pick a fight with13 million competitors when you can take the route of lesser resistance and go against 1.5 million?
So if your yearly marketing budget is $10.000, make sure you spend about $1000 on keyword research. Otherwise, you may pick a fight you can’t win.
2. On-Site Content Optimization
Publishing content is just half the story. There are elements on the website that need some tweaking too (keyword stuffing is not one of them) so that your website is user-friendly and makes the best out of every article on the site. Some of the on-page optimization steps to think about:
- meta-elements on images and media (image description, title, ALT)
- using subtitles and bullet lists to improve readability (not to stuff keywords in H-tags)
- Keep things simple when possible (if you can say it in a sentence, don’t use up a paragraph on it)
From that $10.000 budget, make sure you invest about $2000 for optimization of existing content. If you’re just starting up, throw another thousand at keyword research and go for longer-tail keywords too (4-6 word phrases).
3. Content Marketing: Excellent Bang For The Marketing Buck
“Fool’s gold” marketers will never ever recommend going after Content Marketing. Why? Cause it’s hard work and a lot of it. It actually requires great writing skills, people skills, psychology and of course solid knowledge in the subject area. You don’t want artists to sit down and write texts on mechanical engineering.
What is Content Marketing?
You’ll hear folks saying that is just a fancy name for Copywriting. It is… and it isn’t so.
Content marketing IS copywriting for the web, but that’s where the similarity ends. Content Marketing is a very complex process of creating new content (texts) for your website where the content marketer recreates Your brand and Your voice on the web. When a visitor comes to your website, a solid text welcomes the visitors and helps them in answering several key questions:
- Understand what kind of business is behind the site
- What services/products you offer
- Is there something she’d benefit from
- Why she should do business with you and not with your competitor
This is why Content Marketing is so effective. It basically turns your website into an excellent sales agent that’s available 24/7, ready to take in new visitors and help them understand that Your company is the best option for their needs.
Why Content Marketing Gets You The Best Bang For The Buck?
It’s all in the numbers. For technology-based businesses (computers, cell phones, IT stuff) articles have a relatively short lifetime of about 2 years, after that it’s outdated and nobody finds it useful. For non-IT businesses where changes aren’t so fast-paced, your content can have a shelf life of up to 5 years.
In counseling/training/dental/legal areas it can go even up to 10 years!
Let’s do the Expenses breakdown from a real-life case (automotive industry):
- Cost of a single article: $150
- Estimated Article Lifetime: 4 years
- Daily visitors on an article: 5
- Conversion rate: 0.1% (multi-stage funnel), and 1% (single stage)
- Profit per client: $20
Here’s how the math works out for a multi-stage conversion funnel:
- 73.000 visitors (multiply 4 years with 365 days, with 5 daily visitors)
- 73 clients (0.1% of 73.000, or one client every 3 weeks)
- $1460 profit (73 clients, each bringing $20 profit)
If it’s a single-stage conversion funnel (average 1% Conversion Rate):
- 73.000 monthly visitors
- 730 clients (1 client every other day)
- $14.600 (730 clients, each brings $20 profit)
Not a bad way to spend $150! Now if this car repair shop publishes one article every week, pretty soon they can get a client every day. There is literally NOTHING else you could do with a $150 that will bring back ten times as much over a period of 4 years.
If you need more info, feel free to contact us.