The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


3 Marketing Words to Remember

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Online marketing is not a Sisphyean taskFeeling overwhelmed?

When I talk to people about their online marketing, I hear this all the time.

"I don't know where to start."

"Which is the best platform?"

"I don't have time to create content."

I get it. It's not easy. The idea that the internet levels the playing field between big and small companies is a myth because big companies have more resources than small ones. Marketing takes time, and that's often in short supply for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

My advice: stop worrying about doing things perfectly. Lists of "best practices" are interesting but they may not be best practices for you. One of my favourite marketing mantras is "Ready. Fire. Aim." This is how marketing works in my opinion. You ready your content or campaign, release it, then measure how successful it was and adjust accordingly.

READY

Getting ready means knowing who your audience is and preparing appropriate content for them. Content doesn't need to be writing. It can be pictures or videos, quizzes and contests. It doesn't need to be a major effort. Be creative! Content ideas are all around you, every moment of the day.

FIRE

Stop obsessing about your choice of platform to distribute to. Pick a popular platform and run with it to the best of your ability. Do you like Facebook? Fine. Use Facebook - as effectively as you can. Think Twitter's the thing? Great. Use Twitter - as effectively as you can at this particular moment.

Do you use software that can blast your update to twenty-five of the top social media platforms plus add it to your blog? Superb! Just get on with it already.

AIM

Save some time to see how your content fared online. What were the results? Did you get any likes or shares? Retweets or views? If you did, that's great. Figure out why and do it again. Were your results below your hopes? Figure out why and DON'T do it again.

People who are good at marketing didn't get that way overnight. Improvement only comes with effort. Just getting started is an effort, but once you're going, you have momentum. Keep on moving, keep on learning, keep on improving.

I wish you the best. Please share your stories of success!

How's that strategy working out for you?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chess - all about strategyStrategy can be defined as "a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim."

How is your online marketing strategy doing for you? This is a question you should ask yourself regularly. Things change quickly online and what may have been a great idea a year ago may not be so hot now.

Four points to consider:

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not dead. Doing it well can take time, especially if you are trying to achieve top rankings for a competitive term (think "Niagara Falls"). However, if you've determined what the appropriate keywords are for your business to target, it can be well worth the effort.

  2. Email marketing is still effective. For those of you who do not regularly put out an email communication to your clients and prospects, this may be an area you want to reconsider.

  3. Social media is not a replacement for SEO, nor does it particularly help your SEO efforts in and of itself. Social media is about engaging with people. It requires as much time (or more) as SEO but it can also work well when done properly.

  4. Whatever you're doing with SEO, email marketing or social media, remember to track your website's performance. If the site has a high bounce rate or does not convert visitors to inquiries or sales very well, you're ultimately wasting your marketing efforts. If you don't know how to measure your bounce rate or your conversion rate, take the time to learn or seek professional help.

Our business slogan used to be "Making the internet WORK for business". That can be read two ways - to make it more effective or to make it more work. It reflected the reality that to get results there is an investment required. Either you invest your time or your money, but if you do nothing, that's generally what you'll get.

Wake Up!!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The only thing I generally like scrambled during my day are my eggs. And even then, I prefer them over-easy. Here's my tip on not having to scramble to get your online marketing done: wake up earlier.

Really Mark? Yes, really reader :)

Wake up a bit earlier. Say 1/2 hour. I've been tracking how long it takes me to think of an idea, write and edit a post, source an image and do a bit of cross-linking to social media sites that don't automatically pick up my blog. 1/2 hour seems to be about right.

If you're not a "morning person", my suggestion could be a challenge. Here's another: stop watching 1/2 hour of television per day. I'm not talking about the commercials either. You need unbroken time to concentrate on your task. Once you get good at it, you'll likely be able to create a quality post in 15 minutes or less.

Most people can find 1/2 hour of unproductive time during their day. Turn that time into online marketing gold by sharing your expertise and perspectives with your online visitors. Fulfill the promise you made when you created your website and social media accounts. See the benefits instead of the challenges and get cracking!

Doing good for everyone

Mark Kawabe - Friday, October 18, 2013

This might sound a bit hokey to you, but I believe it to be true.

When you do something good for yourself online, you often benefit others as well.

In this online world, most business owners have a sense they should be doing "more" online. They know they should be posting in social media, writing articles, blogging - doing "more". That elusive "more" is supposed to be something that benefits their business in some way. The hope for most is that their efforts will result in more readership, followers, exposure and ultimately, more business.

And yet, they don't do it.

This leads to much disappointment for everyone.

Yes. Everyone.

The reality is that if you put up a blog and ask people to read it, some people will read it. Some will even subscribe for updates. They have an expectation there will be more for them to read. Then they wait, and wait, and eventually they forget they signed up for your newsletter, blog, Facebook page etc. They are disappointed because they had an expectation you would provide them more. After all, you wouldn't have asked people to like your Facebook page if you weren't going to provide them with more value, would you? Of course not.

When you disappoint, you cause harm. You harm your brand. You harm your reputation. You tarnish or destroy the perceptions you've worked so hard to build up among your clients and your prospective clients. You make it less likely people will want to do business with you in the long run. All because you didn't do what you said you would do by choosing to set up a website, a blog, a social media account. Your inactivity in these areas can lead to inactivity in others.

The good news of course is that it's relatively easy to do something positive online. Share a great idea. Praise a client. Do something that will show you are active and engaged. When you demonstrate your engagement and dedication to your online presence, you are showing you care about yourself AND your current and prospective clients.

That's good for everyone : )

Getting Engaged

Mark Kawabe - Friday, September 17, 2010

So I just added my Twitter feed to my Facebook profile and fan page and my website. Big whoopee, right? I mean, what's the point of all this "social media" crap?

That's a great question because it's not like we don't have better things to do with our time as business people. There are a couple of benefits to all this integration.

  1. You look like you know what you're doing. That is, if you keep up with it. Having a blog that's been abandoned for a year isn't helping your cause much. Same with a dormant Twitter feed. Or a Facebook fan page. Congratulations - you've hopped on the bandwagon. Now you have to feed the monster.
  2. Integration saves you time. Feeds are broadcasts of content added to services like Twitter and blogs. That broadcast can be received by other services like Facebook or websites and displayed there. So, you can update one service which will update one or two or more others. Not a bad deal.

  3. Social media can help engage and retain prospects. I'm going to pick on Facebook for a moment because it's the one social media platform most people seem to think is the latest-greatest thing for business. The same reality holds true on Facebook as it does on the rest of the internet: if people aren't interested in you, they won't pay attention to you. It doesn't matter how many times you interrupt them - they're still not interested. Unless you work on building a fan page or group around a shared interest (i.e. your industry, product or service), you're still marketing with a shotgun instead of a rifle.

    If you're choosy, your Facebook "friends" are really friends. For many though, a "friend" is just someone they are mildly acquainted with and not a true friend. I got a "friend" request from someone who had 2,199 people listed as friends on Facebook. I know full well those people aren't friends, and the reality is they're probably not very engaged with that person or his brand.

    The same is true for "fans". If you're ASKING people to be fans, then they're not really going to do you much good, or at least, they won't do you much more good than they would have done for you otherwise. If 20 friends become fans it looks like you're popular but those friends aren't going to refer you more business than they would have without Facebook. When you can attract fans through your own merits and non-solicited word-of-mouth marketing, you know you're dealing with people who really appreciate you and are more likely to become customers.

Okay - enough of the rant. IF you've done a good job of engaging people on Facebook who are truly interested in your business, then there's value in using Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Otherwise, you should face the facts that your efforts are primarily just to wave the flag and let people know you exist. Awareness is good, and over time, the awareness you generate can lead to engagement with prospects. Just remember it will take time and effort get get to that stage where you reach enough people generally to make people with a specific need take more interest in what you're offering.

Your Enemy is You

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is related to my earlier blog post about how search engines don't owe you anything.

A client and I were discussing a local company that has managed to crowd out the first page of Google results for a variety of keywords and phrases. My client asked what could be done to compete with this company in Google. Two ideas came out of that question.

One: The "Problem" Might Not Be a Problem

When I did some checking into the popularity of the keyword phrases in question, it turns out there were very few searches registered in Google. In other words, the competition was dominant for phrases that few people used in their searches. Fighting to get a top ranking for an infrequently-used keyword phrase is probably not worth my client's effort.

Two: Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

I strongly encouraged my client to do something with his website. Small businesses don't have a ton of time to keep sites updated. Those who do can gain an advantage over time in two ways. First, the search engines will have more content to crawl so their sites will be more likely to show up for a variety of searches. Second, the HUMANS who come to their websites will be more likely to do business with them if the company has a helpful website - which requires content. Doing a little bit of SOMETHING consistently is better than consistently doing nothing.

Our worst enemies are ourselves. Doing the right things for ourselves takes effort. Just ask anyone who's tried to start and stick with a diet or exercise program. You can make a big difference with small efforts over time. Starting today, what will you do to make a difference in your business?