This is the second of a two part article on developing an internet marketing plan that concentrates on the key elements needed to succeed on the internet.
In Part 1, we discussed the key elements of the internet marketing plan and common mistakes made during development of the plan. We also discussed the single most important aspect of internet marketing: keywords. We included the number one keyword mistake business people and developers alike make when setting the marketing plan in place.
In this section, we further discuss the second most important keyword mistake and then continue our marketing plan by developing the other key aspects needed to succeed on the internet.
We begin with:
The Number 2 Keyword Mistake
By using the above methods, you will avoid the 2nd most common keyword mistake: Choosing keywords you think the customer is searching for. Most businesses and even some developers choose keywords based on what they know about the business. The trouble is they are too close to the business. It is very important to choose keywords based on numbers and that have a proven record or performance and not on guesswork.
You want keywords that are relevant, have good levels of traffic, acceptable levels of competition and are known to be profitable. Follow these rules, and you have a much greater chance of success.
Once you have your keywords selected, you want to use them in your:
1. Title tag
2. Meta description tag
3. Meta keywords tag
4. Heading tags
5. Body content
6. Alt tags on images
7. Links to other content pages
What you will do next is prepare a web page that uses the keyword or related keywords as the subject for the page. However, we still have to a bit of work to do before we actually start designing and building the page. So now let’s move up the list to the Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.
Unique Selling Proposition
The USP answers the following questions: What is your USP? What makes you, your product or service unique? How does it benefit the customer?
Usually this is a difficult item to define but it becomes a bit easier because we now have a set of keywords to work from. The keyword helps us focus on what is important to the customer. Try to define those things that make the product attractive, exciting or necessary in the customers’ mind. Think of all the benefits they can derive by owning or using your product or service.
And that brings up another important point. We are developing a landing page. This is the first page the visitor comes to when they click on your link from the search engine results and it is ultra important.
Don’t try to sell anything on this page! I know that sounds counter intuitive, but it is important to do. Just address the keyword phrase that brought them here. Make the page very relevant to what the customer wants. Try to educate, solve a problem, entertain them or give them whatever they came for. Do it in a personal, helpful way. Relate to them and they will always come back.
It is proper to give them a link from this page to your products page. That is where you sell. You can do that because by clicking on the link, they have pre-qualified themselves as someone interested in buying. That is the number one step in making the sale.
On the landing page, you should also try to capture their name and email address and get them to opt in to your mailing list. You can do this with a free offer of more information, special reports, free software and so on. You need this list so that you can later make attractive offers, cross sell or up sell.
Now things get a bit easier. We move on to Relevant Content.
Many businesses get this one backwards. They write content they think will interest customers, then pick keywords to match. Then they sit back and wonder why no one comes to buy. That is a tough way to try to build a business. It is based on guess work and we don’t like guesswork. This marketing plan takes the guesswork out of the equation.
So, why is this part easier? Because you now have a subject that is relevant to the customer’s need. It is a subject you know, since it is part of your business. And you have a great USP. All you have to do now is talk to your customer as you would your best friend. Just explain whatever it is they came for. No hype, no corporate jargon, just plain talk. Use the keyword phrase a few times in the content, but don’t overdo it. Remember, we are talking to people, not search engines.
Make your content involve your customer, keep it personal, appeal to ego, greed, fear, or whatever it is that brought this visitor to your landing page. Remember, selling is an emotional process. People buy what they perceive as a need, even though it is actually a desire. Make your content compelling, build suspense and most of all make sure it is benefit driven. Show them what they get when they do business with you. And stay away from telling them what features are in your product. If you must show a feature, stress its benefit. Always stress benefits. Your customer only cares about what they want, so show them the benefits of your products and services.
Even though you are not directly selling on the landing page, the same rules apply. Respond to the customer’s needs as stated in their keyword search and give them reason to click through to your products page.
The SEs have gotten very sophisticated and know when the subject of the page is closely related to the search phrase. So keep it simple and clear and make sure it answers the question your customer asked. Then provide a link to your products page or to other relevant content.
And this brings us to
Remember when I said that the SEs don’t see websites, they see documents? Well, those documents, or web pages, are all tied together. All of them! That’s why it is called the web. The documents are tied together by links and the links all contain keywords relevant to the content of the destination page.
What we need is lots of other pages linking to our landing pages. The best way to find them is to do a search for our best keywords. You will be given the top ranking (most relevant) pages. We want to get links from the same sources as those top competitors. This is not too difficult as it turns out. Like keywords, it just takes a bit of time.
At the bottom of each listing is a link to the landing page. Copy this link. Then from any search engine, in the search field type: Link: and then paste in the web page address you want to see. You will get back a list of pages that link to the competitor’s site. You want to get links from those same sites. The theory is that if it works for them, it will work for you.
Like keywords, link building can be a difficult and often time consuming task. If you don’t have the resources to do it yourself, it is money well spent to have a reputable service do it for you. Notice I said reputable. There are any number of supposed SEO companies that will guarantee you 10,000 links in a week. They can, but those links will be virtually useless for getting quality, targeted traffic. They may also get you banned from the search engines. So be careful when you choose to have someone else help with your link building.
There are also those that will tell you that building links is not really necessary. Don’t believe that either. They say you can do Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to build traffic, which is true, as far as it goes. There is a major difference between link building and PPC. PPC has its value, but mostly as support for other (organic) methods. PPC is like a hungry alligator. You must feed it constantly for it to grow. Therefore, it is a constant drain on revenue. And the bigger the alligator grows, the bigger its appetite and the more you have to feed it.
Links on the other hand cost you up front in the form of time and labor, but they are effective for years. When you stop building links, those you already have will continue to draw traffic. When you stop PPC, traffic dies immediately and your business is dead in the water.
If you have been careful to follow the keyword advice above and chosen well, you can use PPC to build traffic while you continue building links. But links are vital to your long term marketing strategy, so don’t ignore them.
Another important consideration with links is that not all links are equal. This is why it is important to get links with high Page Rank. PR is the importance assigned to each page. A page with a PR of 5 is 10 times more important than a PR 4 page. And a PR 4 is 10 times as effective as a PR 3 and so on. Most links are from PR 0 pages. Thus, a PR 5 link carries about 100,000 times the weight of a PR 0. The more links you get from high PR sites, the higher you will move in the searches. Remember, your goal is to be number 1 on page 1 of the search engines so you can get 42% of all the clicks.
You can also generate links in a number of other ways. Some of the tried and true ones include writing articles, like this one, contacting businesses in businesses related to your own, vendors, blogging, and social media. There are many sources of good quality links.
Linking also takes time to be effective. It takes a while for them to propagate through the system, sometimes months. You just have to be patient.
From here on out, it is a no brainer. You have selected quality keywords that meet the four criteria of relevance, traffic, competition and profitability as outlined above. You have a solid USP. You have developed quality content heavy with benefits that help your customer, and you have developed high quality links that will push you up in the searches. This will all result in:
Targeted traffic is the result of all the hard work you have put into your internet marketing plan. Now you begin to see how every part of that plan depends on the step before it, and they all depend on how you chose your keywords. Without good keywords, nothing else will work.
When you have done all the hard work, the traffic will qualify itself. Sometimes this process results in less traffic than you had before, but at the same time results in higher revenue because the traffic is more targeted. Now we move on to the next step:
Call to Action
This actually goes along with the content, but it is here because if you don’t compel your visitors to take action, nine times out of ten, they won’t. The action you want them to take is not always to buy. You might want them to click through to your products page, or another, related information page, or maybe download a report. Whatever it is you want them to do, ask them to do it. Don’t make them think and if possible don’t let them leave until they have taken action. At the very least, get them to leave their contact information.
Once you have done all this, you end up with the
Now the real fun begins. You have made it to the top of the ladder. You are on the first page of the search engines, keywords are working for you and money is coming in. Now you have the opportunity to do the cheapest and most effective selling you will ever get. If you have captured the email addresses from a good deal of your visitors, you can now make special offers for up sells, cross sells and additional add-ons to your original sales.
Now we come to something that is not on the list above, but is also critical to your success:
Although I have put this one last, it is actually an integral part of the internet marketing plan. Metrics refers to the ability to quantify our successes. We have the ability to see and understand things in a way we never could before the internet came along.
When we run a television ad, hand out a brochure or put an ad in a magazine, we have no way to measure how many people actually saw or read it. Nor do we have any really effective way to tell how many people responded to it. Sure, we can ask them, but that is a notoriously inaccurate way to find out.
With the internet, we can tell exactly how many people were shown our ad, how many saw our page or our link and we know exactly how many people clicked on that link. We can tell which links were used and which were not. We can tell which content has the most appeal and which content led to sales and even how long they spent viewing our wonderful videos.
The first thing you want to do before you start a new web project is to measure where you are now. This sets a baseline by which you can measure all other progress. This is especially important if you are going to hire a marketing firm or consultant to help with your marketing.
After your new pages have been launched, it is a constant process of improvement. You must measure, make changes, test and measure again. Nothing will help you improve performance like measurement.
In this article, you have seen the major elements of developing a solid internet marketing plan. You have seen the importance of selecting the correct keywords and how everything depends on them. We have also looked at the Unique Selling Proposition, Content, Links and link building, Traffic, Call to Action and Sales.
This has by no means been a comprehensive how-to manual (there are whole books on the subject), but it highlights the importance of the major components and what you can expect when developing your own marketing plan.
We have also seen that for the small to medium sized business (SMB), it may be faster and cheaper to hire professionals to provide certain pieces of the plan rather than try to do them in house. This is especially true for the keyword research process.
I hope that this article has been of value to you, and I thank you for taking the time to read it. I am much honored that you would do so. If you have comments or suggestions, I would also like to hear them.