Online Marketing Tips for the Entrepreneur

Online Marketing Tips for the Entrepreneur

Over the years I have compiled a wide and varied list of marketing tips. Online marketing is a challenging and ever changing business that can often feel overwhelming for the lone entrepreneur. For this reason alone I usually recommend that you outsource much of this work. Being a serial entrepreneur myself, I know that even with this advice most of you won't listen 😉 With that knowledge I will now divulge some of the most important online marketing tips you need to know and implement if you want to have any chance at success via the internet.

Here are a few of my favorite Marketing Tips

Online Marketing Tip 1) Social media is your "friend". Never forget that Social Media is about person-to-person activity. You are not speaking as “the company”, but as a person. In any conversation it is important to pay attention in Social Media it is equally important to be a good listener. All companies say they listen to their customers, most actually don't. Let people know that you are listening by engaging them in conversation and responding.  Be patient. It takes a long time to develop strong relationships transforming your company, one person at a time. Be opportunistic. Start small with the people who are most passionate about your business by building relationships with existing customers. Be flexible. You never know what’s going to happen so you have to constantly adjust. Be collaborative. Most importantly, be humble. Remember that you are not as powerful as the community at large. If you ever forget this, they will let you know. This sounds more like PR than a marketing tip, and in a sense it is, but online these two things are closely related.

Online Marketing Tip 2) SEO is not just one and done, it is a long term commitment. Search Engine Journal has a great article with 55 SEO tips, read this article now. Here are a few of the easy to remember SEO tips. Be bold. Use the <b> </b> tags around some of your keywords on each page. Do NOT use them everywhere the keyword appears. Once or twice is plenty. Multiple domains. If you have several topics that could each support their own website, it might be worth having multiple domains. Why? First, search engines usually list only one page per domain for any given search, and you might warrant two. Second, directories usually accept only home pages, so you can get more directory listings this way. Titles for links. Links can get titles, too. Not only does this help visually impaired surfers know where you are sending them, but some search engines figure this into their relevancy for a page. Deep linking. Make sure you have links coming in to as many pages as possible. What does it tell a search engine when other web sites are linking to different pages on your site? That you obviously have lots of worthwhile content. What does it tell a search engine that all your links are coming in to the home page? That you have a shallow site of little value, or that your links were generated by automation rather than by the value of your site. One of the greatest marketing tips I ever received was to SEO every page as if it was your only one.

Online Marketing Tip 3) Article Marketing is free PR with the potential to create thousands of inbound links to your website. Article exchanges. You've heard of link exchanges, useless as they generally are. Article exchanges are like link exchanges, only much more useful. You publish someone else's article on your site with a link back to their site. They publish your article on their site, with a link back to your site. You both have content. You both get high quality links. As simple as this sounds it is one of the more powerful online marketing tips you will find, but it can also be very time consuming to create all of the content for the articles. Article marketing as a concept is quite simple; You write articles. Your articles include a link to your website or to an affiliate page. You submit articles to free online article directories. Other site owners publish YOUR article on their site. People read your articles online and click the link to visit your website.

Online Marketing Tip 4) Give away value with no strings attached. Giving something of value away for free is a great way to attract website visitors. Thanks to the web, distributing freebies is in itself, free. You don't have to spend a dime to pass out freebies left and right. By creating value and giving it away freely you give your audience a reason to share you with their friends and colleagues. Go "viral" with your freebies. Viral strategies allow you to multiply your marketing efforts without actually doing more work. Take that example above. You offer a great freebie like an ebook or tutorial. Now, let others give it away for free at their site too, as an incentive, bonus or just for the heck of it. Why not? It adds value to their offering and it creates more visitors to your site as your freebie spreads. This site is a venue for Innovocus to give away tremendous value with articles and podcasts like this one with all these great Online Marketing tips.

Online Marketing Tip 5) Offer an affiliate program. If the product or service you are promoting is your own, adding an affiliate program to your site is a great "pay for performance only" method of increasing website traffic and in turn sales. It's no wonder that thousands of websites now offer to "share the profits" with their customers. Having a generous affiliate program is one of the fastest ways to increase your online sales with very little or no upfront costs. It is like getting a whole slew of sales people and endorsements without spending a dime. This one marketing tip alone can be the basis for your entire online sales strategy.

I could probably write an entire book full of nothing but online marketing tips. It is a wide and varied topic, much like any other media. In my experience spending you energy on any one area is energy well spent, and will pay off in the end but there is a base from which you must start. No tricks or marketing tips will guarantee success, and some rely on others to work. For example using affiliate marketing or article marketing will matter not in the least if you do not take the time to SEO your landing pages and site thoroughly first. Take the time to research and plan your online marketing endeavours.

Other Online Marketing Tips and Resources

Marketing Tip - Knowing Your Ideal Client
Unique Positioning – Standing out From the Competition – Marketing Tips

25 Must Read Social Media Marketing Tips

Weekly Online Marketing Tips

"Website or Blog: 10 Fast and Easy Tips & Tricks That Massively Increase Sales and Profits..."

Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves

Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online

Hopefully you find these online marketing tips useful, and please, if you have your own tips or advice to share, leave a comment.

Life Lessons – Example of a Success Plan

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Life Lessons - Develop a Success Plan

One of the more important life lessons I have discovered as an entrepreneur is to develop a success plan. Rich Harshaw from MyMEssentials.com gives a great example of a Success Plan in his post World's Greatest Car Salesman. The steps he identifies, unique to the market and opportunity, are easily adapted to most traditional sales channels. This post by Rich is one of the better examples of a good business, sales or marketing plan for success that I have come across.

His approach to the car sales experience disaster, that he identifies because of the poor service he received while looking for a new car, is brilliant. The Life Lesson is extraordinarily valuable. In fact it is what we should all strive for when we find that troublesome experience or opportunity in front of us.

He clearly identifies the missing pieces in the sales funnel of his competition and identifies a way to create a strength in his brand from those opportunities.

Recommended books and training about the sales plan and sales cycle:

Platinum Advanced Entrepreneurship Training Library (14 DVDs + 4 Audio CDs and Manuals)

Get Clients Now!(TM): A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches

The Ultimate Marketing Plan

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Viral Marketing Formula for Success

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Viral Marketing Formula

The requirements for a successful viral campaign are simple to understand, but often difficult to meet. It starts with giving away a FREE and compelling offer, that acts as a draw.

You will want this free offer to give away great value, so that the people who come to take up your generous offer are receiving real value, and thus have an interest in sharing it with others.

It needs to be easily shareable. A video pushed through You Tube or a free podcast, or white-paper are good examples easily transferable free, and hopefully high value give-aways. But value can also be humor or a prize.

Ideally your free offer directly relates to the product or service you are really wanting the person who receives your free offer to purchase. For example a company that sells and installs windows would be wise to give away a video, and white-paper on how replacing your old windows will save you money, and how to get a tax rebate for doing so, this isn't a perfect example but hopefully you get the general concept.

More Viral Marketing Resources

There is much more information in the podcast, so if you have not already you should listen to it. I highly recommend you also take a listen to our other viral marketing related podcasts:

Becoming Viral

Viral Marketing 101

Here are a few books on the subject that I recommend:

Naked Viral Marketing

The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition

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Read, Listen or Die!

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Road to success - road sign showing the way to...

I'm back, home after spending the last week out of town and away from "the studio". During that week I had a chance to catch up on my reading and listening list. While going through all of the vast array of articles, podcasts and books it struck me that I have not shared with you my Read, Listen or Die list. It's not quite as serious as that, but in terms of the success of your business these blogs, podcasts and books should be considered mandatory.

As a favor to us, we'd ask that you please fill out this listener survey. You will help promote our podcast, and help us to improve.

Blogs:

  1. Master of 500 Hats - Dave is a  flat out stud. He has been involved in just about all of the noteworthy Silicon Valley Start-ups. He is a geek, angel investor and generally a really smart guy. He does not update the blog very often, but when he does the insights he provides are, well valuable.
  2. Danny Asling- A fairly new blog, but has already made two top 100 lists, Danny focuses on Social Media.
  3. An Extension of the Net- This is a community blog for developers, but I have found it extraordinarily valuable in keeping tabs on emerging trends. They consider themselves an online design magazine focused on all things Web Design.
  4. Entreprenuer.com's Blog - A wide range of contributors and a diverse array of topics all relevant to entrepreneurs, this site is one of my daily stops. They cover pretty much everything.
  5. Ben Horowitz's Blog - Ben Horowitz is the co-founder of the VC firm, Andreesen Horowitz and co founder of LoudCloud. He has some great insights from both the entrepreneur and the investor point of view. I read his posts as often as he provides them.
  6. Joel on Software - Explaining development

43 Folders - Merlin Mann's website devoted to setting your priorities and arranging your time and life to fit. He has several great video podcasts and always makes great poignant points.

Podcasts:

  1. Business Innovators - Adrian Bye interviews CEO's from top Internet businesses. These podcasts offer great insight into the minds of some of the hottest companies.
  2. Success U - How could I not mention my podcasts, I really do try to make it a valuable tool for the entrepreneur, and I honestly, regularly send customers to listen to old podcasts...
  3. Marketing Over Coffee - Recorded in a local coffee shop, John Wall and Christopher Penn cover both classic and new media marketing in this weekly podcast. They have done some great interviews with people like Seth Godin and James Connor.
  4. The Passionate Entrepreneur- Kenneth Brown hosts this podcast where he covers everything from best practices for sales to becoming more productive, efficient and profitable.
  5. The Small Business Brain- Every week David Wolf interviews a small business leaders to bring you their insights and unique perspectives.

Books:

  1. 4 Hour Work Week - I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Every successful entrepreneur I know has read this book, and we all talk about it quite often. Many great tips on leveraging outside vendors to increase your small teams productivity and profit, cheap.
  2. Crush It! - Why Now is the time to cash in on your passion. Gary Vaynerchuk shows how anyone can build a career around the things they are passionate about.
  3. Rework - How to break the rules and make a fortune, this book made me uncomfortable, and challenged my assumptions. This turned out to be a good thing. Short, and direct, you NEED to read this book.
  4. Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity. This book is a kind-of whole life organizing self help book, without the annoying preachy nature of most in the genre. Great book for helping you organize your life.
  5. Social Media Marketing: An Hour A Day- This book is a fantastic introduction into the use of Social Media to market your product or service. This should be considered a must read for anyone planning on using online media.
  6. The E-Myth Revisited - Anyone who is looking to start a new business should read this book. Voted #1 by the Inc 500 CEO's. You should read this first.
  7. Change Your Brain Change Your Life - Question your assumptions and challenge your comfort zones.
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Driving Online Sales

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Part one in a two part series on generating sales by using several simple and effective tactics. In this podcast Ben and Christian debate how pricing will effect your online sales and how several other factors such as affiliate marketers can radically increase your sales.

Creating exclusivity for your product is a major driver for sales. By creating the sense of urgency you help a prospect come to a decision rather than delaying. Your goal is not to force them into action but to give them an incentive to do so. Exclusivity can be created in several ways, higher price point, limited availability, limited duration, limited quantity.

Here are a few other resources:

Tips for Maximizing Sales

8 Ways to Attract Affiliates

15 Reasons Your Affiliate Campaign is not Working

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Building an Online Community

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In this podcast Andrew Bennett of BenSpark.com and NotAFamousBlogger.com joins Ben and Christian to discuss online self marketing and how to successfully build an online community.

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Becoming Viral Podcast

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Last week we talked about Viral Marketing from a stratospheric level, this time we go a little more in depth and give a great example of a company building a program that will definitely create a viral effect.

What it all boils down to is understanding the value you offer your customers, and packaging that in such a way as to motivate them to tell others about you.

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Viral Marketing Podcast

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Street sign which says Business

In this podcast I talk about viral marketing, what it means, and how you can use it to sell your products or services. Social Media Marketing and Viral Marketing are very closely related and both are parts of the same whole. Using them is a bit of an art, and it is a simple one to learn if you just understand that all marketing is, is telling people why your product helps them, or adds value to their life. In fact it is the same thing you should of first determined when developing your product.  In one sentence "Why would anyone care?"

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The Online Marketing Mess

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Team leaders business concept with people on c...

With the rise of online media over the last decade their has been the death of many traditional media sources. This has put the traditional marketer in a state of confusion, with hundreds of tools and ever changing rules it is a tangled web.

Ben and Christian discuss the opportunity this represents to the well informed and savvy new media marketer.

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