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There are a ton of Internet marketing tactics and strategies and more developing all the time, but they’re not all effective. The ones that are can take a while to produce benefits. PPC is the big exception.

Pay per click advertising is to the Internet what display advertising was to newspapers. You can pay for the right ad in the right paper and get it in front of the right audience. When you do, it’s pure gold.

News ads drove gobs and gobs of traffic to brick and mortar businesses because at its peak everyone in a community read the paper. The ad was seen by a large cross-section of community members. It was a numbers game, and the businesses who worked the numbers got paid handsomely. So too is PPC.

With pay per click advertising, you can write your ad, optimize it for your landing page, and activate it and get sales the same day. That’s not as likely with search engine optimization and social media.

Why is it likely with PPC?

Because 20% of search engine results pages traffic clicks on the PPC ads. If 1 million people search for a particular item that you have and you are advertising it through PPC, that 200,000 clicks. Divide that by the 5 top positions and there’s a potential 40,000 clicks for you.

Let’s say you only get 10,000 click-throughs. If 5% of them convert, that’s 500 new sales.

Your PPC ads go live the very day you create them. That means people will see them within minutes. If your landing page is optimized well and has a strong call to action, you’ll sales. You could see them today.

Pinterest is the new kid on the block and already it has surpassed Twitter in traffic numbers. But don’t get excited just yet.

We’re only talking about one month. Was that a fluke or is Pinterest still trending upward? Will that trend continue over time?

And if it does, will traffic from Pinterest convert?

It’s best to understand that Twitter and Pinterest are two different social networks and therefore have two different sets of demographics. That might make it unfair to compare the two.

For instance, Twitter is mostly women and mostly younger people. Twitter, on the other hand, is mostly male, but only slightly. Twitter is also heavily used among the African-American and Hispanic demographics. It’s also a mostly younger crowd.

Any time you use a social media site you should take some time to study their users. Who else is using that site? If your targeted audience doesn’t use the site, then it doesn’t matter how much traffic you can potentially get from the site.

If your target market is mostly women, then Pinterest is a good bet for you. That’s not to say that you can’t use Pinterest if your target market is mostly men. But you have to understand how to reach the men who are using Pinterest, so familiarity with the platform and its limitations is also necessary.

Most marketers can effectively use Pinterest and Twitter side by side, but don’t try to use them the same way. They are different social media services and your audience will require a tailored approach.

Now that blog marketing is more than a decade old it is apropos to ask if it is still effective. To answer that question, let’s look at what the benefits to blogging have been for the past ten years.

  • Fresh content published on your website
  • Solid inbound or internal links with great anchor text
  • More web pages with the potential to rank for your key search terms
  • The more you publish the more your site gets crawled
  • Branding
  • Reputation management
  • Traffic increases to your website
  • Relationship building with your audience
  • Social media interaction
  • Expertise positioning
  • The ability to share your knowledge and experience while presenting yourself as an authority within your niche

These are just some of the benefits that blog marketing has offered businesses over the past decade. But does blogging still provide these benefits or has it run its course? The answer is a resounding “Yes! Blogging still provides the same benefits.”

Of course, there is a lot more competition today than there has been. There are more blogs and more bloggers vying for attention – in your niche and in every niche under the sun. This makes it more difficult to achieve the same results that you could achieve ten, or even five, years ago. But it can be done. The key is to have a strategy and to be diligent in pursuing it.

Blog marketing is still as effective as it ever was. Focus on delivering great content that is optimized well for the search engines and that is pushed out through social media. Position yourself as an expert and you’ll be perceived as one.

If you don’t have a ghostwriter on your team, then you should probably consider one. A ghostwriter – especially if you don’t have the writing skills yourself – can take your business to all new heights. The tasks that one good ghostwriter can handle are legion. Here’s a short list just off the top of my head:

  • Write your daily blog posts. This is important. Having a daily blog is a vital part of any online business.
  • Manage your social media campaigns. You’ve got to promote those blog posts somehow. Your ghostwriter will be instrumental in pushing them out to the popular social media sites.
  • Write your SEO content. Make sure your ghostwriter is well-versed in SEO tactics. A good copywriter with a working knowledge of SEO is worth his weight in gold.
  • Produce your weekly newsletter. You should have an electronic newsletter to help you build relationships with your clientele. A good ghostwriter can help you with that too.
  • Write your PPC ads. A writer should be able to write ads with a strong call to action. If you run PPC campaigns, you need a good ghostwriter.
  • Article marketing. This includes writing and submitting articles to directories as well as writing guest blog posts on occasion.
  • Link building. Since your ghostwriter knows SEO and can write articles, have him manage your link building campaigns.

There really is no limit to what a good ghostwriter can do for your business. If you are serious about marketing your company online, a ghostwriter can be a lot of help.

Sometimes, small business owners new to online marketing think that they can call up their website hosting company and ask them to fix some technical issue. It’s inevitable. It’s bound to happen. And, yes, sometimes server issues can cause SEO problems. You DO need to get those fixed.

I recommend calling your Web host in those cases. Don’t use the 24-hour chat or support ticket method unless they tell you to.

The reason you want to call your Web host for technical support if your server is configured incorrectly for a script you want to run, or another issue that is affecting your SEO, is because you can often learn something about how their servers work in the process. And you can start a dialogue about how your Web host can support you better.

It’s possible that your neighbors on a particular server are affecting your sites, or vice-versa. Speaking to your Web host and asking the right questions can lead to you being moved to another server where that won’t be an issue.

I’ve actually had Web hosts offer to upgrade their PHP for my sites or move me to a server that was running the latest version of PHP.

Your Web host wants your business. They will accommodate most reasonable requests from you so don’t be afraid to ask. But one area where you probably don’t want to get in too deep with your Web host is the area of search engine optimization. They need to know enough about SEO to help you with technical issues, but unless your issue is a server-side issue you’re best talking to a professional SEO about your on-site and off-site non-server-side SEO problems.

Do you know the definition of content? I can tell you this much – it isn’t fluff.

Fluff is that soft white stuff that some kids like to spread on their bread like butter. It’s creamy, has no substance, and isn’t particularly nutritional. It has little, if any, health benefits. The upside is it isn’t harmful to your health either.

Content, however, is just the opposite.

  • It’s meaty
  • It’s substantive
  • It’s vitally important to the intellectual or mental health of the person reading it
  • It improves the reader’s life in some way

Many online content writers have a tendency to write to the keyword. They’ll find a word they want to rank highly for in the search engines and focus their content on that keyword ending up with nothing but a big bucket of fluff.

Now, I’d like to say that there is nothing wrong with keywords. We use them all the time. But if your content is so full of your keyword that it ceases to provide intellectual stimulation or anything substantive to the reader, then you might want to scale back on the keywords and add a little meat. Make your content communicate something extraordinary.

Content can take many forms. It can be online website content, dynamic blog or widgetized content, social media content. It can be viral, video, make use of vivid imagery, contextual, or a combination of these. The important thing is that your content be valuable to someone.

If your content doesn’t provide value, then it’s fluff. Take out the fluff and add some value. That’s how you build online content.

We’ve said all along that small businesses – in particular, local small businesses – should make their best use of search and social. If you can incorporate a strong search engine optimization campaign and a social media campaign, then you should do it.

As you manage your two campaigns, there are three pieces of information that you should ensure you incorporate into both campaigns:

  • Your business phone number
  • Your business address
  • Hours of operation

Why Your Phone Number Is Important To Search

According to the latest social search study, the information most often sought by local searchers is a business phone number. The second most sought after information is a business address. And the third most searched for information are hours of operation.

In fact, these three little bits of information far outweigh everything else people search for online. So you should be sure to include them on your website in a prominent location. If possible, get them into the search engines.

But don’t just stop there. More and more, people are using social networks to search for local businesses. And 91% of the people who do are using Facebook to do it. What’s that tell you?

It tells me that you should have a Facebook page and your phone number, business address, and hours of operation should be displayed prominently on it.

Why People Do Business With You

Here’s the kicker. 72% of survey respondents said they are more likely to do business with someone if a friend or colleague recommends them. If you are a business-to-consumer operation, then Facebook is your friend. Build a brand page, share it with your friends and fans (and customers) and watch them share it with theirs. A recommendation online goes a long way.

Make it easy for people to find you and they will find you. Whether in the search engines or the social networks, being found is the first step to getting business.

Facebook and Bing have been partners for some time. Recently, Facebook has started to get a little bit more aggressive at promoting search to its users.

The Bing ad appears to Facebook users when they log out of their Facebook accounts. Evidently, that happens often enough that Facebook thought it might be prudent to capture those users with an ad promoting their preferred search engine – Bing. Of course, it’s still too early to tell if the promotion has resulted in Bing picking up any market share. But it could happen.

What’s even more important is, How will this affect businesses who use Facebook? Or businesses who SEO their websites for Bing?

That brings up another point. ARE you SEOing your website for Bing? Of course, you should be.

Bing has nowhere near the search market share that Google has, but it’s still a sizable enough of a market share that you shouldn’t ignore it. People do still search the Internet with Bing and it seems that more and more people are doing so. Many websites show Bing as in the top five among referrers to their website. And that’s signficant.

If Bing is listed in your referrer log as a site that sends traffic to your website, then you should do as much as you can to encourage that traffic. SEO your website for Bing search. That means new pages and old pages.

You can improve your website’s Bing SEO for old pages by checking your rankings and tweaking your pages with some type of multivariate testing. You should employ solid SEO practices for your new pages to see how you make your Bing SEO shine.

Bottom line, don’t ignore Bing – or Facebook – for traffic.

One topic that doesn’t get discussed a lot among Internet marketers is time management. Whether the marketer is a search engine optimizer, a social media marketing professional, a PPC expert, a video marketer, a hybrid of these, or something else entirely, Internet marketing professionals tend to talk about the concepts of their specialty, but not time management.

Today I’m going to discuss some time management principles that you can implement as you go about managing your marketing activities online.

The first principle I’d like to discuss is the principle of like activities. These are activities that you perform daily that can be fit into a tidy little group.

For instance, your social media management activities. If you have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, and a LinkedIn account and you have a tendency to check in with each service every day, make a point to check in on each service at the same time every day. Also, limit yourself to no more than 15 or 20 minutes for each service. This way, you can easily manage your activities and you don’t get caught in the “I’m here all day” syndrome.

Use the same principle for each of your other marketing activities. Pick a time of the day that you write your articles and do it the same time each day. The same goes for blogging.

Of course, we all know that things pop up during the day that take us away from our scheduled activities. You can easily get overrun with events. What should you do if a phone call takes you away from your planned activities and gets you sidetracked? How do you get back on track?

The important thing is to remain diligent. That two hour “must take” phone call took you away from several important activities. You still need to get those things done. Take time out to perform those activities you missed on account of the “wrench” in your schedule, but truncate the time you spend on them. Instead of 20 minutes, only spend 10 minutes in each social media site. Instead of spending one hour blogging as you normally would, take thirty minutes to kick out a quick blog post and get on with other business.

With these time management tips you should be able to manage your Internet marketing activities much more effectively.

Perhaps the most important search engine optimization practice that any webmaster can employ is the use of keywords. These are the basic building blocks of SEO. That doesn’t mean that crap copy with keywords stuffed in them will help your pages rank better or get you more customers. Good content must shine like a diamond. But these keyword practices are all guaranteed to make your diamond-studded content increase in value day by day.

  1. Page Headlines – This is different than your page title. It’s the content header at the top of your page that is visible to humans and to search engines. Place your keyword phrase in that page headline. For instance, this blog post is headed “7 Keyword Optimization Strategies That Work All The Time.”
  2. Long Tail Keywords – Long tail keywords are keywords that are narrower than your main keyword. For instance, if you sell hunting knives, it isn’t enough to use “knives” as your keyword. Narrow it down with long tail phrases like “Trail Master hunting knives” and “Laredo Bowie hunting knives.”
  3. Keyword Variants – Not everyone uses the same phrase when they conduct a search. Some people will use “car lot” and others will use “automobile dealer.”
  4. Synonyms – What words can you think of that are synonymous with your keywords? Use those in your content as well.
  5. Keyword Stemming – Stemming is a practice that involves adding letters and syllables to key phrases. For instance, stems for the root word “run” would include “running,” “runner,” “runners,” etc.
  6. Permalinks – Every web page has its own address. This is typically called a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL. It consists of your main website address followed by a forward slash (/) and the unique folder name for the page. It might look like this: websitename.com/individualpagename. You should your primary keyword phrase in that individual page name.
  7. Semantic Language – Search engines today don’t need keywords to know what a page is about. If you mention “Ford,” “Chevrolet,” and “GMC” in your content, then they know your content is about cars.

These are not the only keyword optimization strategies that work, but they are important ones. Write great content and optimize it for search.

Late last year Facebook introduced Timelines for personal Facebook accounts. Now, they’re introducing Timelines for brand pages.

This is going to be a good deal for businesses. That’s small businesses as well as large brands. For one thing, the Timeline format is more attractive than the traditional wall. And secondly, you and your page visitors can see a history of your brand at a glance. That’s cool!

Practically, you have a lot of control over your Timeline. You can pick your header image, which means you can make your Facebook brand Timeline an attractive marketing tool. You can also add key dates to your Timeline to show key events in your business’s history. You can also choose the content that is featured at the top of your Timeline – social apps and whatnot. And finally, you can feature any social media campaigns you happen to be running.

So, the question is, how will Facebook Timelines for brands work for brands. And the answer is, pretty much like they always have. Except now they’ll be more attractive.

With your own Facebook brand Timeline, you can position your company and all of your products brands to an ever-growing Facebook audience. If you engage your audience meaningfully through your Facebook Timeline, then you can parlay that into more traffic for your website and more sales conversions. You can take orders right from your Facebook Timeline.

If you’re ready to embark on a real Facebook marketing campaign, then you should consider a Facebook Timeline for brands. If you already have a brand page, you can convert it to a Timeline now or wait until it happens automatically on March 30.