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.

Content is King

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Take the time to create value with your content. Optimizing your content to provide the maximum value will have many positive long term effects, and is well worth the effort put forth. Keep readers coming back by giving them a reason to. Post quality over quantity.

It still amazes me how often I find a site, that obviously had some money and time spent on the design. They also took the time to SEO the site and chose relevant keywords. And then they did nothing with it… They wasted all the effort by providing no value in the actual content.

A major mistake many bloggers make is thinking that quality is less important than quantity. It gets compounded by the fact that the search engines see quantity as valuable. it might even increase your traffic to post constantly. However it dos you no good if the traffic you gain simply comes once, never to return. Instead make your site important to the viewer by adding real value.

Social Media 101

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In this podcast the Innovocus team explains the basics of using social media for your business. By creating value for your readers and followers you gain prestige in the community. By doing this you actually create a demand for your expertise.

There are a few things you need to understand in regards to social media for business.

1) It is more important to create a loyal following than it is to promote a product or service.

Long term you will gain more from providing real value to your followers by increasing their reliance on you for information in your field. When, you become an expert in the eyes of the community, you can now influence their opinions. At that point you can sell, but if you do it too often you diminish your value.

2) To gain a following you must create value.

How do you create value? By giving your readers, listeners and followers information that they want to know. If you are a celebrity, your fans are interested in every little move you make, so sharing your experience at a drive through is valid. However if your fans or followers find you to be valuable as a resource for SEO information, well then, make sure you give them access to even more. By doing this you increase your prestige in the community, and become yet more of an expert.

Social Media Marketing Sucks

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Tools such as Twitter, Digg, and Facebook are Horrible sales vehicles. In fact using them poorly can do more to hurt your brand than help it. Social Media as a tool for business is much more useful to your PR group than it is to your sales team. At best it is a soft sale tool, that is not to say it cannot be part of a holistic solution that radically increases sales. In fact it can be a part of an overall system that is very effective in driving sales. The trick is knowing how to use them.

Most people immediately try pushing a product or service, and end up with no followers or friends. Some try and tweet advertisements. All of them fail for one simple reason. They are not creating value or giving an interesting reason for anyone to care what they are doing.

That is really all Social Media comes down to, be interesting.

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How Bad Design is Killing Your Sales

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There is a direct relationship between good UI design and increased sales. On the flip side, bad design inevitably hurts sales. Pretty obvious if you think about it, but why?

Quite simply, good user interface design is primarily about giving the user what the expect, where they expect it in a pleasing way. Doing this one thing wrong can destroy your sales on several fronts.

The first and most obvious way is due to angry customers who are not satisfied with the product. They will cause you no end of headache. Even if they don't end up asking for their money back, they will cost you considerable time and money in tech support. And this tech support need will invariably lead to revisions, with their additional development costs.

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The other major front is the loss of customers before they buy. So even if you don't have a piece of software, bad UI design on your website can destroy your sales. Conversion in the web is soley a factor of good or bad design. Taking the time to understand your clients needs and expectations allows you to deliver on these, and thus have a happy customer. A web user becomes a customer only when they find what they are looking for, simple as that. Your goal in creating solid usability for a website is to try not to hide what they are looking for, without creating choice paralysis.

Managing your SEO work and your CPC , SEM and CPM campaigns to always deliver the user to a page that is optimized for what they expect, and making it obvious where they should go to act on what-ever it was that drew them to your site in the first place. If you run an advertisement that allows the user to download a free white-paper when they sign up for a newsletter, then make the sign-up the dominant element on the page.

Anything other than giving them exactly what they want is effectively chasing them away, more than likely never to return.

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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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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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