BUILDING A CLIENT/CUSTOMER BASE:
PURCHASED EMAILS LISTS:
Many businesses rely almost exclusively upon emailing their customers/clients and potential clients. If you have the start-up financial capital, it is a good idea to invest in a well-targeted potential client/customer list. Ask your web developer to help you find a company that specializes in your niche market in order to purchase said customer list.
By purchasing an email list of potential customers, you can target people who are interested in the types of things you are selling or offering. For example: There are email lists for people who make over a certain amount of money. This would be a good target for people who would need or be interested in investing or investment opportunities. There are lists of people who subscribe to Money Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, etc. and this too would be a good risk to send investment opportunities to people who are interested in reading these magazines. I’m sure you are getting the picture.
SIGNUP LISTS – CREATING YOUR OWN SIGNUP LIST:
If you have a business that changes very little from week to week, you may want to have offer one “give-away” on your website that will ask your visitors to sign up with their name and email to receive this “give-away”. By offering them something that would really be helpful to them, it will give them the incentive to give you their actual contact information.
A good idea for your first “giveaway” would be to answer the top 5 questions that your most common website visitor would have. You will be saving the visitor hours of research and giving them an organized How-To Booklet on getting a handle on the basic information they will need to know, or saving them hours of tedious research.
Another idea would be to explain legal, technical, and/or medical information in “everyday language” that a teenager would be able to understand. This will establish you as an “expert” and someone that regular can relate to. You will be establishing a relationship with your reader as well as building trust with them.
This is an easy way to establish trust with your potential clients and customers and you will also be explaining the simple basic to them, that you will only have to explain to them when they meet with you anyway!
Ask your web designer to help you with formatting your booklet into a downloadable document that can be set to your visitors as an “auto-responder” so that this process of interacting with your clients will be on auto-pilot. Any web designer worth their salt will be able to help you with this.
Giveaways can be used in Emails, as well as any of the other social platform ideas below. The most giveaways you have, the more potential for building a customer base you will have.
Newsletters can be great for some types of businesses and a nightmare for others. Why is that, you ask? Because you will need to produce the newsletter. Most people think having a newsletter would be a great and easy idea, but they never take the following into account:
- You have to have “new information” for every newsletter. If you business doesn’t change much, that might be hard to do.
- You need to keep up with trends and changes in your industry and then take the time to capture and pass on all of that information. If you are doing it anyway, a newsletter would be great for you. If you are too busy to keep up on a regular basis with the “general industry”, then a newsletter will be a nightmare for you.
- If you have desktop publishing experience or know-how, a newsletter will be a breeze for you. If you do not have desktop publishing experience, or typing is not a quick and easy thing to do, then you will dread doing a newsletter.
- All newsletters require some type of graphics, whether they are logos or pictures or graphics from articles and information that comes to you from other sources. If you have graphic-making skills, this will be easy-peasy. However, if you have no idea of creating graphics, this would be a stumbling block that makes the entire newsletter undoable.
I think you get the idea. If you know how to type (or have staff members that can type), keep track of industry trends (or have staff that does), and have desktop publishing experience or knowhow (or have staff that does), you can take on the responsibilities of producing a newsletter.
If you have a membership website, you will need something to offer the members. Establish what it is that your members will “get” from your club or organization, and then either offer a free membership, a trial membership, or a paid membership. Whatever you choice, you will need to know your structure before building your website.
USING THE SEARCH ENGINES TO GET WEBSITE TRAFFIC:
HOW TO GET ON GOOGLE’S GOOD SIDE:
Google is the biggest search engine out there. Microsoft Bing is growing, but they only control about 10 to 15 percent of the search traffic. Everyone else controls even less. So Google is the boss regarding search. It’s important to know what Google likes and what Google frowns on. I have outlined the basics below to give you an idea of what to do and what not to do. Nothing gets to Google more than SEO professionals who try to game their system. Google always seeks revenge and there is no one out there to stop them. So do yourself a favor and find out what Google wants and stick to playing by the rules. Google’s goal is for people to get the best “results” for their search terms, not to be fooled by cheaters who are keyword stuffing and any of the other tricks they use to simply get traffic numbers.
GOOGLE STRATEGIES – SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION:
WHAT GOOGLE LIKES:
- Active websites (New pages, new blog posts or new products added all the time)
- Authority websites – websites that are linked to by many, many other websites. If other websites are “back-linking” to you, this suggests to Google that you are an “authority” in the field.
- Active blogs (Active blogs have dated content and google pulls up “recent” information before “old” information)
- YouTube Videos (Because Google owns YouTube, it tends to pull up YouTube videos during a search)
- Mobile-optimized websites (Since 45% to 50% of all search traffic is now done on mobile phones, Google now frowns on websites that are no optimized for mobile phones.) Your website must be “responsive” and be view-able on Desktop, Table and Mobile.
- Websites that use meta tags, alt tags, description tags, photos with descriptive names.
- Websites that use descriptive page titles, relevant photo names, descriptive alt tags, etc.
- Legitimate keywords used throughout the website.
WHAT GOOGLE DOESN’T LIKE:
- Websites that just sit there, no activity. They tend to just fall to the bottom of the barrel.
- Really small websites, without any backlinks. (You throw up a cheap website, never update it, and just let it sit there)
- Websites that don’t “speak to the search engines”. This means that your seo and meta tags don’t reveal, through artificial intelligence, what the website is about. For example, a search engine doesn’t know what a picture named DSCN002245.jpg is, especially if it has no “alt tag”. But the search engines can read a photo that is named “residential-landscaping-florida-1.jpg and has an alt-tag of “residential landscaping using palms in florida” and it can then refer to these tags when someone is searching for “florida landscaping” or “palm trees in florida”. You get the picture.
- Keyword stuffing – using keywords only to try to fool the search engines into thinking your website has more information than it really does. If you search “black hat” seo, you will get an idea of what types of strategies people have used to try to game Google’s system.
To sum up, you need an active website, that is continually growing and changing in order to keep “relevant” in the eyes of google. You need to optimize your website with many of the seo strategies listed above. Continually think of new items and new information to add to your website. Even one a week can make a huge difference.
OTHER PLATFORMS FOR MARKETING AND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION STRATEGIES:
EBAY AS A MARKETING TOOL:
Another way to get a small amount of traffic every day is to offer something for free or for a few dollars on Ebay. You will get a name and email for every purchase. You can add your customers to your email lists and can continue to touch base with these customers/clients on a monthly basis.
The easiest product to sell on Ebay is a “How-to” Booklet concerning what you do. Again, if you save potential clients and customers how-to booklets giving away organized information that your clientele will need or organize basic information that every client/customer will want to know. By offering the downloadable booklet for only a few dollars, you are paying less for each client than you would on Google Adwords.
You will need a web designer/developer who can help you produce your downloadable product according to Ebay specifications, set up a paypal account and coordinate it with your Ebay auctions and/or Ebay Store and allow the paypal account to deposit funds into a bank account. Most web designers can do this, but the time to make sure is before you hook up with someone. Every business can profit from added “almost free” marketing exposure.
CRAIGSLIST AS A MARKETING TOOL:
Be sure to list your services on Craigslist. You will not get a ton of traffic, but you may get “one of your best clients” from them. Or you may get one a month. Every client/customer counts. I have gotten several clients and repeat business from clients on Craigslist. It only takes a few minutes to list on Craigslist.
Ask your web designer to design a few graphic and textual ads for Craigslist. You want to project a branded image and leave clues that you have a website and local business. An experienced web designer with marketing experience will be able to help you with this.
EMAGAZINES & ARTICLE WEBSITES:
Many websites, especially those with large media budgets, are always looking for “new” and “fresh” content for their websites. By posting on these magazine article websites, you invite other websites to “back-link” to your website, increasing our “authority” standing in the Google Search Engines.
Be sure to check out Part 3 of this series to find out how to use Social Media as a marketing strategy!