iEntry 10th Anniversary Business Networking Tips

Grow bigger ears!

February 9th, 2016

Today, I want to share a highly effective marketing idea with you. It recently helped a client of mine achieve remarkable results. And it can do the same for you. I explain how it works in a moment.

I need to start by asking you a question: How well do you understand the needs and wants of your marketplace?

Many small business owners assume they know what matters most to their clients and prospective clients. However, they don’t. That’s the problem with assumptions. They’re often wrong.

If a business owner then markets their service based on incorrect assumptions, their marketing becomes ineffective. They will focus on the wrong things and overlook what really matters. And that’s a costly mistake, which I want you to avoid.

Continue Reading »

What Your Web Marketer Doesn’t Know (About You) Can Kill You

January 4th, 2016

A good SEO needs to know a heck of a lot more than just web marketing if they want to be able to be able to market your business effectively. While you’ll be hard pressed to find an SEO who is an expert in your particular field, there are some things they need to know about you before they even begin marketing your site.

Pole Position Marketing has a standard web marketing questionnaire we send to all new prospects and/or clients. The questions we ask are designed to help us provide the client with the highest quality of service possible.

The answers to these questions help us:

  • Better understand the business, core values and and (potential) customers.
  • More quickly uncover any issues or possible issues that can hinder the performance of the search optimization campaign.
  • Establish the foundation for which improvements and successes will be measured.

While we’ll never be able to know everything there is to know about a client, the questions below provide a nice launch point for getting things moving in the right direction while providing us insights in which to begin measuring the progress of the campaign.

If your web marketer isn’t asking these questions, they should be. You want to make sure that your web marketer has as much information as possible to run a successful campaign.

Company and Marketing Data Questions

These questions ensure that we move in the right direction with keywords, content and–most important–site messaging. It ensures that we develop the highest quality content that is a match for visitor intent and expectations.

  1. Describe your target audience.
  2. What are your corporate core values, and how do you express them to your customers?
  3. What common objections do people have when they buy from you?
  4. How do you address those objections and convert prospects into satisfied buyers?
  5. What “hot points” help your customers take action?
  6. What information do your customers need in order to make an informed buying decision?
  7. What problems does your product or service solve?
  8. What sales approaches have worked in the past?
  9. What hasn’t worked?
  10. What are your other online and offline marketing efforts?
  11. What tone and feel best resonates with your customers?
  12. Who are your major competitors, and what do you feel are their stronger points over yours?
  13. Of the following metrics, which three are you most interested in improving?
    • Visits
    • Conversions (i.e. sales or leads)
    • Revenue
    • Return on ad spend
    • Cost per conversion
    • Conversion rate
    • Followers
    • Subscribers
    • Engagement rate

Historical Website Data Questions

These questions help us understand their current status and history with the search engines. Our knowledge of each of the issues below helps ensure we are able to provide an optimal, forward-moving optimization campaign.

  1. Does your website utilize content provided by other sources (such as product descriptions or free-use content), or is the content unique to your site alone?
  2. Is your website of original design, or does it use a template available to others, including your competitors?
  3. Do you own or operate any other websites that are targeting a similar or the same audience as the website we are marketing? If so, please list.
  4. Do you own any other domain names that are currently redirecting to the URL we are optimizing or any other location? If so, please list.
  5. Have you worked with any other SEO companies and/or services in the past? If so, please provide company name, time frame of service and services provided.
  6. Do you currently use or have on your site server any stand-alone landing pages designed solely to get top rankings on search engines with little or no user benefit?
  7. Is your site now, or has it ever been banned by Google or any other search engine? If so, please provide specifics.

Sales &Conversion Data Questions

These questions help us establish the benchmarks for sales, traffic and conversion improvements in the months to come. This will help us measure monthly success as the optimization process progresses.

  1. Please provide the (approximate) average numbers for the following as it relates to your monthly website traffic:
    • Page Views
    • Unique Visitors
    • Returning Visitors
    • Total Visitors
    • Hits
    • Other (specify)
  2. Do you have any peak months or seasons? If so, please tell us what they are.
  3. If yes above, please provide your highest and lowest number of visitors over the past twelve months and notate the month of occurrence.
  4. How much do you spend on advertising each year outside of search engine optimization?
    • TV
    • Radio
    • PPC
    • Billboards
    • Magazines
    • Misc. Internet
  5. Of the above, which do you feel provides the best ROI (Return on Investment)?
  6. Are you performing any kind of tracking specific to each of the investments above for true ROI? If so, please explain details and methods of ROI tracking.
  7. How many orders did you average per month over the last 12 months?
  8. What were your highest/lowest number of orders within the past 12 months?
  9. What was your average order amount over the past 12 months?
  10. What was your highest/lowest order amount within the past 12 months?
  11. What was your average monthly revenue over the past 12 months?
  12. What was your highest/lowest monthly revenue over the past 12 months?

Technical Questions

This section ensures that we have the access we need in order to do the job we are hired for. Whether we are making edits and implementing all SEO ourselves or working with someone on their end (or any combination), we need to start with the relevant information so we can hit the ground running.

  1. Your site’s FTP information:
    • Host Name
    • User Name
    • Password
  2. CMS (Content Management System) Access:
    1. Login URL
    2. User Name
    3. Password
  3. Web host control panel login:
    • User Name
    • Password
  4. Web master or whoever is responsible for implementing our recommendations:
    • Name
    • Email address
    • Phone number

Of course, these questions are just the beginning. Good web marketers never stop learning about the client, their customers and how best to create messaging that makes an impact. A lot of that knowledge comes from the ongoing web marketing work, but the client is often the best resource for information that isn’t readily available online.

But as a starting point, I would worry about any SEO that wasn’t asking these–or similar–questions. When a web marketer fails to learn about their clients, that leads to a campaign that is headed in the wrong direction. While it may not kill your business, it will often kill the value of the marketing efforts overall.

How to Know When You’re Simultaneously Winning and Losing at Web Marketing

December 15th, 2015

Question: I’m winning at web marketing. My site does great with search engine rankings and I’m getting a decent amount of traffic, but I can’t seem to get anyone to convert. What gives?

Answer: You’re losing at web marketing.

At first glance, it’s kind of hard to see how someone can be both winning and losing at web marketing at the same time. But when you consider all the various aspects of marketing, the picture becomes more clear. Web marketing has become a very broad spectrum of strategies all geared at helping you succeed in various areas.

For years, businesses have focused on search engine optimization (SEO) as a means to improve their rankings and traffic. But there is more to marketing than traffic from the search engines, to say nothing about traffic from social media and other channels.

All that traffic does you no good if it’s not turning into customers. Therein lies the problem.

You’re winning at getting traffic but losing at getting customers. We call that win-lose scenario. What you want may be a cliche, but that makes it no less valid. Go for the win-win.

The fact of the matter is all web marketing has to be win-win in order to be successful at all. If you win at traffic and lose at conversions, you lose. If you win at conversions but lose at traffic, you still lose. You need both.

If you’re facing a situation such as this, you’re not alone. Its actaully quite a common problem. Focusing on exposure and getting traffic to your site is an important part of web marketing. But failure to generate conversions means that somewhere along the line, the entire website is failing.

This is where usability issues come into play. Where SEO and social media often focus the potential visitor or prospect, usability and conversion optimizatoin focus on the true visitor. More specifically, they are focused on turning each visitor into a customer. Evaluating your website against the Conversion Optimization & Usability section of the Best Damn Web Marketing Cheatsheet will give you a good idea of where your issues are and how to fix them.

The question is, which comes first? I would argue both. It makes no sense to drive traffic to your site while your conversion numbers are low. On the other hand, it’s near impossible to improve your conversion numbers without traffic. You need that traffic to test changes in the user experience. Without that traffic, you can never know if any change is a valuable change or not.

Why you should merge your traditional and digital marketing work

November 24th, 2015

In small companies, this is not an issue that ever comes up–traditional marketing, digital marketing, and possibly cleaning the break room are all merged–that’s Victor’s job. But at big companies, the kind that I work with, folks continue to wrestle with whether the old-style marketing organizations ought to be merged with the new cool digital folks.

Traditional marketing goes by different names in different places–many B2B companies have Marketing Communications (MarCom) and Event Marketing groups, while B2C companies often have Advertising (often through an agency) or Direct Mail teams. But the issue is the same. Do we take the people doing the old-fashioned work and group them with the newfangled social/search/local/mobile mavens?

The companies that I have seen go the merger route seem happier to me than the silo proponents. Here is what they have told me happens after they merge:

  • Skills transfer. Every marketing organization is dealing with the tremendous change in skills required, so merging the groups and actually moving people’s responsibilities around can only help grow the overall skills of the organization.
  • Better analytics. Digital can be measured much more easily than traditional, but when you merge the organizations, you can run tests in digital that inform your budget and creative decisions on traditional.
  • Better focus. If you aren’t dividing the team between traditional and digital, that allows you to organize around more interesting splits, such as geographic or product lines or market segments or something else that makes sense for your business.

None of these benefits accrue to companies that adhere to the status quo of traditional-digital divide. Merge your organization and start making real money.

Necessary Skills For Modern Marketers

October 20th, 2015

Recently I gave a goals, vision, mission presentation internally at our agency and an important part of it centered around the marketing skills needed individually and collectively to reach our goals.

The basic analysis of the published skills of our own team in preparation for my presentation revealed we have a collective 700+ skills listed across nearly 30 marketers. While that is quite a robust array of skills, it is my belief that we can always do better.

The fast pace and changing nature of our industry is not for the faint of heart or for those that subscribe to mediocrity. What seemed advanced in marketing skills a few years ago has become 101 level today. Continue Reading »

The most important part of online video happens before you turn the camera on.

September 22nd, 2015

Regardless if you are new to online business video production or a pro, if you use a professional video production services company or create video content in-house, the most important part of business video production is everything that happens before the actual production.

Companies of all sizes are realizing that video production for their business is an important part of their marketing communication and sales mix because business decision makers would rather watch video than read text. These companies also realize that a well thought out business sales or marketing video can communicate more in a shorter amount of time than text. Continue Reading »

Open the Floodgates: The Case for Investing MORE in Web Marketing

August 25th, 2015

This may come across as a completely self-serving comment, but I have found that most businesses under-invest in web marketing. And I’m not just talking about local companies that struggle to come up with any marketing budget at all. My agency, Pole Position Marketing, has worked with businesses of all sizes, and we have found that even large companies that have money to throw around under-invest just as much as the small guys.

The value of web marketing is in the ROI. It’s not enough to break even. You want to increase your revenue in multiples over what you’re investing–all while maintaining a nice profit! If the ROI isn’t there or comes slower than the business hopes (or often needs) then, the inevitable result is the plug getting pulled. Continue Reading »

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