How (And Why) to Grow Your E-mail List
11/08/15 SEO

How (And Why) to Grow Your E-mail List

Your e-mail list is the best way to make money online. Learn why, and how to do it, in this post.

What kind of web marketing do you think has the best ROI? Organic SEO? PPC? Social media? Mobile marketing?

All are effective, but they’re not nearly as efficient as old-school e-mail marketing. In fact, the E-mail Marketing Industry Census of 2014 says 68% of companies rate e-mail marketing as having “good” or “excellent” ROI.

Of all channels surveyed, it got the best ranking. On top of that, e-mail marketing revenue increased by 28% within the past year of the survey.

By the way, organic search came second in effectiveness, with 67% of companies ranking it “good” or “excellent.” Content marketing was a near third, with a 63% score.

Great ROI Isn’t the Only Reason to Market to Your E-mail List!

There’s actually three more good reasons:

  1. Once you have your list built, e-mail marketing is so comparatively cheap. Write the e-mail, schedule, and send. That’s it. It doesn’t require constant upkeep to sell like organic SEO (although you do sell more with frequent updates).
  1. Google can’t tank your e-mail list. With organic SEO, you can do everything right, and Google might still trash your rankings overnight. Not so with your e-mail list. However, if you do lose search rankings and traffic, that reduces your opportunity to earn subscribers.
  1. Customers on your e-mail list buy from you repeatedly. That’s because it takes a lot for someone to part with their e-mail address and trust you’ll give them high-quality information consistently. Your e-mail list is like “marketing gold” – it contains your very best customers.

How do You Grow Your E-mail List?

Growing your list can be tough. Basically, the idea is the same as organic SEO.

You have to write the most useful content in your niche! That’s the best form of advertising for your list.

If people visit your website and see how helpful you are, they’ll naturally think,”Oh. This company’s e-mail newsletter must rock too.”

So if you’re a local HVAC contractor, you might write a guide that tells people how to do a routine checkup that you normally charge for – for free! No HVAC company does that.

1 of 2 things happen:

  1. Some customers would do it themselves, they respect how useful you are, and then they buy from you in the future when they realize they can’t do something on their own
  2. Others realize they don’t have the time or expertise to do what your guide recommends, and they hire you to do it for them now

With that Concept Down, Here’s Specific Techniques for Growing Your List

  1. Have Multiple Sign-Up Options

Your website needs a sign-up option in the right or left sidebar, and at the end of every blog post. You might also consider a pop-up that appears after people read 35-40% of your post because you know they’re interested in you at that point.

  1. Make it Shareable

When you send your newsletter, make sure you have social sharing icons for all social networks. Plus, you should have a “forward to a friend” link inside your e-mail. The web’s all about word-of-mouth.

  1. Offer an Incentive for Signing Up

For example, give customers who sign up a 10% discount. Make it clear they’ll be able to access special discounts available to no one else.

I’d Love To Tell You More about E-mail Newsletters!

…But that’s enough information for time-strapped small business owners like you. Armed with that knowledge, you can start making money from your newsletter today.

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How to Spot Missed Opportunities for PPC Success
28/07/15 SEO

How to Spot Missed Opportunities for PPC Success

It’s easier to find opportunities to improve your PPC campaign than you think. Learn more in this post.

What’s better than throwing up your website and making profit in just a few days, maybe a week or two?

That’s the benefit of PPC.

But, everything comes with a catch, including PPC. Go after highly competitive keywords, and your costs can quickly spiral completely out of control.

So how do you find those low-competition, high-profit margin keywords?

Some ideas:

  1. Listen to How People Actually Talk about Your Company’s Services

Do they search on “HVAC contractor Dallas,” or are they more likely to use terms like “AC repair Dallas,” or do they use other terms like “air conditioning repair Dallas, TX?”

The long-tail terms, the ones with 3, 4, or 5 or more words, have lower competition. It may cost you less per click to acquire new business.

You can find ideas for these terms by checking out competitor social media profiles, reading their customer’s testimonials, or talking to your customers in person. Write down the exact words and phrases they use to describe what your company does. They use the same language to search for your services online.

  1. Spy on Your Competitors

SpyFU is a tool you can use to check out what keywords your competitors use. While many internet marketing tools are free, unfortunately SpyFU comes with a cost. But you can use it for a month or two to gather data and then cancel your subscription.

You can generate all sorts of strategic PPC ideas, like:

  • Finding low-competition areas to test against the competition
  • Entering markets your competition hasn’t even considered yet
  • Identifying inexpensive long-tail variations of high-converting terms

SpyFU gives you data for all three major search engines. And often, you can find great opportunities with Yahoo/Bing. Remember, everyone’s on Google.

  1. Use the “Opportunities” Tab in Adwords

Almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? To find new opportunities, just click “opportunities.”

There’s so much this tab does that you can’t list it all here. For starters, you have to run your campaign and get some data before you can do anything with this tab.

Once you have some data, you can do cool things like these:

  • Learn how much you can expect to increase your profit if you increase your budget
  • Adding extensions like sitelinks (which allow customizable links in your ads to promote special offers) and the call extension (add your phone number to an ad to increase clickthroughs by 6-8%)
  • Get new keywords relevant to your business as searchers use different terms

You still have to be careful with the ideas that come from the “Opportunities” tab. Remember, Google needs to profit, and they’re comfortable letting you overspend a little. When you do something new, always watch your data closely to make sure you benefit from the change.

Spotting Missed PPC Opportunities Isn’t So Hard After All!

That’s nice. Because a lot of internet marketing is tough…like really tough.

But at least this part of PPC is comparatively easy.

Hope it helps!

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5 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Failed to Increase Your Rank
23/06/15 SEO

5 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Failed to Increase Your Rank

Did you just finish an SEO campaign and not even come close to getting the results you wanted? Find out why that might be in this post.

I personally hope this nightmare scenario never happens to you. Imagine spending 12, 18, or even 24 months with a SEO company or consultant…

And you have nothing to show for it!

It happens. I’ve had customers who have come to me in the past because of it.

Your SEO campaign may have failed because:

  1. You Gave Up Too Quickly

Maybe a decade ago, you could have a small budget (few hundred bucks per month) and achieve results quickly. But, Google’s onslaught of updates, like Panda and Penguin, make fast results impossible today.

Not on page 1 in 3, 6, 9, or even 12 months? You might have to give it some more time, and especially so if you’re in a competitive niche like law, finance, or insurance.

And you guessed it…you need a bigger budget to make those results happen.

  1. You Haven’t Differentiated Your Business Enough

A couple decades ago, you were happy to find a personal injury lawyer you liked. Now, Google’s results are loaded with personal injury lawyers.

Don’t like the first one? Move on to the next, or even number 20, 30, or 50 if you’re in a big market like DFW.

You can sort through personal injury lawyers until you find one:

  • Whose personality you like
  • With significant experience working cases exactly like yours
  • Who’s the same gender as you
  • Near your age

…With your same hair color!

Okay, so maybe I exaggerated on the last one. But you get the point.

If your market can be that choosy, you have to put much more time into showing why you’re different, and how that matters to your ideal client.

  1. Your Niche’s Competition is Too Intense

Speaking of a niche like personal injury lawyers, you can bet the competition there is about as tough as it gets. If you have a newer domain name, and haven’t done SEO already in the past, you might be better off with social media or content instead.

Yeah, SEO’s that rough at times.

  1. Your Website Doesn’t Communicate You’re a Thriving Business

These days, on-site factors play just as big of a role in your rank as your off-site factors (like links). So if you have:

  • A high number of visitors who “bounce” (visit your site once and leave)
  • Few social shares in your content
  • Social media profiles with virtually no followers
  • A non-responsive web design

Then you’re going to have a much harder time ranking!

  1. You Picked the Cheap SEO Company or Consultant

Let’s be honest: you’ve heard countless stories of people feeling “ripped off” by the SEO they hired.

It happens, but you have to take responsibility for your part too. You have control over who you talk to and hire.

Yeah, some SEOs cost more – much more – than others. But then again, you get good results and service too!

It’s tough in an industry where you can pay hundreds of dollars per hour, or less than $10 per hour. But you have to take ownership and make a choice based on quality, not price. If the price’s too high for you, don’t do it at all.

Hope that Prevents You from Having Bad Experiences in the Future!

Focus on those 5 reasons…and you’ll put yourself in a good place before you start your next SEO campaign.

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How (And Why) to Measure Your SEO Success Quarterly
08/05/15 SEO

How (And Why) to Measure Your SEO Success Quarterly

What SEO metrics should you check? It could take hours if you want. Learn what to do in this post.

How often do you check your search success? Every day? Weekly? Never?

With organic search, you don’t need to check frequently. In fact, you’ll drive yourself insane if you do!

Quarterly review is often enough. Plus, you need to know a few things to check beyond your rankings.

  1. Rankings Aren’t Your Only Measure of Success

Rank’s important – no doubt. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you check. What if you rank in the top 5 for 10 keywords, but haven’t seen any profit growth?

While you should check it, rank doesn’t mean everything.

  1. Check Your Overall Traffic

Compare your total traffic to the previous quarter and the same quarter last year. You should notice decent growth over last year with an active SEO campaign (20% or so). You should be about the same or slightly better (0-10%) than the previous quarter.

In Google Analytics, click “Acquisition,” “All Traffic”, and then “Channels.” Then, in the upper right, change your date range so it’s like this:

Google Analytics Screenshot

Change “Previous year” to “Previous period” to check quarter-over-quarter growth.

If you see a boost in your rankings, you should see the same in your traffic too.

  1. Peek at Your Referral Traffic

“Referral” traffic comes from other websites. You’ll notice plenty of websites here that you’ve never heard of.

Don’t worry about those. Every website gets its share of junk traffic.

You will want to pay attention to traffic from local business review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Citysearch, and Google Maps.

  1. What’s Your Conversion Rate?

This is the most important goal of course! In Google Analytics, you can actually set up goals to track whatever you want as a conversion.

The best thing to do is to make your contact form’s “thank-you” page the conversion page. That way you know how many contacts you got.

If you don’t already track this, it’s easy to set up. Just go to “Admin” in Google Analytics’ top menu. Then press “Goals,” which is on the right.

You’ll see this (minus those helpful red circles):

Google Analytics Screenshot

You can set up “Goals” to track literally anything. If you’re a services-based business, you may want to set up goals to see how each service page converts.

Then, you can use the data later on to adjust the messaging on your services pages.

  1. What about Phone Calls?

This is the one aspect of SEO success that’s hard to track. How do you know how many people call you from your website, or because of a referral?

The answer’s simple: set up a phone number exclusively for your website. You can also use call tracking software to help with this.

That’s all you need to do to check your SEO success. When you have your system set up, it takes just a few minutes to review quarterly.

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How Much Do You Know About Local SEO? Take This Quiz!
27/03/15 SEO

How Much Do You Know About Local SEO? Take This Quiz!

If you own a local business, you should know at least a little about SEO. Take this quiz to learn the basics.

As a business owner, it’s helpful for you to know a little about local SEO. You can leave implementation to the pros, but having some knowledge reduces your stress and makes the process smoother.

So how much do you know?

Find out by taking this quiz – score yourself 1 point for each correct answer:

  1. What does “NAP” stand for?
  2. What is a citation?
  3. True or false: your citation must EXACTLY match the information on your Google+ Local account, not one letter, number, or space being different, to help your local search rankings?
  4. True or false: you can have a Google+ Local page for every city and suburb you service, even if you don’t have a physical location there?
  5. What’s the number one thing you can do to get and keep high search rankings?
  6. True or false: having a physical location close to your city’s center helps you rank better than businesses farther away from the center?
  7. If you service multiple cities in a locality, how should you communicate that on your website so it benefits your rankings and visitors?
  8. True or false: You should have a “meta keywords” tag on your website?
  9. True or false: SEO is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and eventually the profession will be “dead”?
  10. How should you optimize each page for a keyword?
  11. True or false: You can optimize a page for as many keywords as you want?

Answers:

  1. Name, address, phone number
  2. It’s a mention of your NAP information on another website.
  3. True
  4. False
  5. Consistently write compelling content
  6. True
  7. Create a special item in your main navigation and write compelling content for each city you service.
  8. False – You should not because the “meta keywords” tag does not affect rankings and makes it easy for your competitors to see what you want to rank for!
  9. False – SEO, if anything, is more necessary than ever. However, the tactics you use to rank well have changed dramatically.
  10. It should be in your page’s SEO title, meta description, H1 tag, and 2-4 times in the body content (give yourself a point if you came close).
  11. Kind of a trick question here. You can optimize your web page for as many keywords as make sense when you read the content. Most pages can safely optimize for 1-3 key words. If you write a long page (1000 words +), you can optimize for 5-10. You can optimize for even more if you feel ambitious.

Give yourself a point if you gave any of these answers!

Number of answers you got right:

  • 1-3 – Let’s be positive here: learning is fun!
  • 4-5 – You’ve got a good conversational knowledge of SEO.
  • 6-7 – You’re on your way to being a SEO expert. Brush up on your skills a little and you could find yourself there soon.
  • 8-9 – Not bad. Not bad at all! You could do some of your SEO yourself, like content creation.
  • 10 -11 – If you have the time, maybe you should do your own SEO!

How’d you do?
What a fun way to rehash local SEO – I hope you enjoyed it!

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