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Push Marketing Introduces Advanced Marketing Automation

Push Marketing is an authorized service provider of SharpSpring’s automated marketing software. Automated marketing software allows users to automate repetitive tasks such as email, social media, and other website actions. This platform enables businesses to engage with leads at critical points in the buying cycle through the use of its powerful features. Here are just a few of the powerful features offered by Push Marketing and SharpSpring:

Behavioral Based Email Automation:

Traditional email delivery services that are often utilized consist of linear, “blast” type emails that are delivered to a set mailing list. These are usually nontargeted emails generated by companies with generalized content relative to their products and services offered. Behavioral Based Email Automation, on the other hand, creates targeted emails based on a potential consumer’s behaviors and interactions with your website. This targeted marketing allows customized communications in a one-on-one fashion to be sent which, in turn, generates higher lead conversions and more revenue. The system also generates an automatic notification to your salespeople to better foster the relationship with potential leads. By notifying your sales team of these more relevant leads, you are equipping them with the information needed to convert more leads to sales and increase your return on investment. Your marketing efforts are optimized by spending more time and money in the areas where it is needed and less on the areas that aren’t likely to convert.

Engage Leads at Critical Points:

Our automated marketing platform allows you to engage relevant leads at critical points in the buying process through the use of 3 major components: Visual Workflow Builder, Lead Nurturing, and Lead Scoring.

  • Visual Workflow Builder is an interactive component of the platform that uses branching logic to build out your automation tasks in a point and click visual format. By utilizing the visual component of the task planning process, the Visual Workflow Builder allows for more creativity with a hands-on approach. You can create specific touch points by combining tasks and action groups, to customize the path your potential lead takes thereby increasing your likelihood of a conversion.
  • Lead Nurturing facilitates automated drip email campaigns to engage potential leads early on in the sales process. Drip email campaigns are a set of emails that are sent out on a scheduled basis to ensure that newcomers to your email campaign receive all of your marketing emails instead of just new emails that come out after they have joined your mailing list. This allows potential leads to be educated and keeps you at the top of their minds as they navigate through the sales process, and ultimately to their purchase decision. Lead Nurturing also sends a notification to your sales team when potential leads are ready to convert and purchase.
  • Lead Scoring allows your sales team to focus on hot prospects and leads. Leads are scored based on engagement with your website with scores increasing or decreasing depending on page visits, numbers of clicks, forms completed, downloaded content, and demographic data that fits your sales model. You can set a customized decay rate to decrease lead scores. The platform also allows you to automatically nurture leads until they are ready to convert. Lead Scoring enables your marketing team and your sales team to work hand-in-hand to not only provide them with better qualified leads, but also with a higher percentage of lead conversions and sales.

Advanced Lead Analysis to Identify Website Visitors:

Marketing automation tools provide several components that facilitate lead analysis and identify visitors on your website. Our platform offers the tools needed to identify anonymous website visitors, track your known leads, receive a daily VisitorID email, track page visits, referral URLs, and search terms, set important pages, choose important contacts, and set powerful filters.

  • ID Anonymous Website Visitors: Most visitors to websites, as many as 98%, remain anonymous to administrators because they don’t fill out forms while on the website. VisitorID utilizes reverse IP address lookup to identify the users and companies who are viewing your website. It also provides you with their contact information, name, email address and phone number. This not only helps you track visitors to your website, but provides you with critical information on your website visitors that will allow you to convert those potential leads into sales. By utilizing this information you can attract more traffic to your website to provide your sales team with more relevant leads and a higher conversion potential.
  • Track Your Known Leads: Our automation platform can track potential leads and notify your sales team when a current lead returns to your site, whether to continue browsing, to check out your pricing, or even to download content. This allows you to make your website more than just content – it becomes a communication tool for both your staff and your potential customers. It also provides your sales team with the information they need to convert more leads.
  • Daily VisitorID Email: The daily VisitorID email provides you with a daily listing of visitors to your website. With this information, you can quickly filter through potential lead information, lead scores, and other customizable fields without ever having to log in to the platform. This provides you and your sales team with more leads and opportunities.
  • Page Visits, Referral URLs and Search Terms: Our platform tracks the time that visitors spend on the individual pages on your website, recognizes and tracks when visitors view pages that you designate as “important,” tracks demographic information on your visitors, investigates where they come from, and can even identify which search terms led them to your website. This information then allows you to customize your website and social media content to attract more relevant leads to your business.
  • Important Pages: With our marketing automation software, you can set “Important Pages” that, when clicked on by a visitor, boosts their lead score and provides this information to your sales team. It can also be set up to trigger automation and personalize communication to any visitors who click on your important pages.
  • Important Contacts: The platform can also target specific industries in your communications and marketing. VisitorID will customize its analytics to only show you the visitors from those specific industries that you have chosen.
  • Powerful Filters: Powerful filters allow you to filter out any visitors to your website that don’t apply to your business or fit into your marketing model, so you can focus on the visitors that you do want to target and customize your communications to these specific potential leads. The platform will block all ISP from view and any companies that are poor sales prospects.

Our powerful marketing automation platform provides you with all the tools needed to drive more leads, convert more sales, optimize your marketing potential, and track potential customers who would have otherwise remained anonymous. The platform not only saves you time and money, but identifies more qualified leads, increases the conversion of those leads, and increases your resulting revenues.

Request a free demo today to get started.

Email Automation with Personalized Communication

(For an introduction to automation, please see What Is Marketing Automation?)

When marketing automation is applied correctly, the software’s features are extremely beneficial to businesses. And one of these key features is email automation, which allows an agency to appeal to potential customers by sending relevant information that specifically appeals to the lead’s interests.

Study after study shows that this type of highly personalized and tailored communication has a much higher conversion rate than traditional, primarily irrelevant email blasts. It’s no wonder that a custom approach increases conversion rates; after all, the lead finds the information relevant and helpful. In addition, the more personalized communication allows a salesperson to bring the lead down the sales funnel in a natural, organic way.

The Problem with Sending Mass Emails

Email Service Providers (ESP) use the concept of mass emailing to constantly contact prospects with irrelevant information, all just to remain at the top of the prospect’s mind. Basic email service providers like Constant Contact can only send mass emails that treat everyone the same. This type of one-size-fits-all, largely irrelevant email is (correctly) called spam. And today’s prospective buyers find spam to be a turn-off.

In contrast, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14%, and conversions by 10%.
ESPs cannot target a lead’s specific interests because they lack the ability to track a prospect’s “beyond the click” behavior. “Beyond the click” is a marketing automation feature that uses behavior-based tracking to automatically segment leads and then send information that is relevant to each lead. And segmenting is vital to any email marketing strategy.

The Importance of Segmentation: A Case Study

Marketers have noted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. – Campaign Monitor

Segmentation has produced incredible results for many businesses. For example, HiveTracks is a cloud-based tool used to monitor and maintain beehives. They opted for marketing automation in order to segment their customers, nurturing each group with the right content and at the right time.

The email segmentation plan employed SharpSpring’s software on Push Marketing’s marketing automation platform, with impressive results:

  • Created robust profiles for all of its customers for improved target marketing
  • Increased engagement rates from 5% to 40%
  • Generated a tenfold increase in conversions from free trials to paid accounts

Without question, HiveTracks has been able to significantly boost engagement and increase revenue by using automated segmentation. Their full case study can be found here.

Marketing Automation Levels the Playing Field

Once upon a time, only the largest companies had the ability to achieve these types of results. Marketing automation changes the game and levels the playing field for businesses of all sizes. And with cost-effective solutions like Push Marketing and SharpSpring, marketing automation and its many benefits are more attainable than ever before. That’s great news, because marketing automation will help drive more leads, convert those leads to sales, and optimize marketing send. That’s a winning combination for any business.

Don’t forget to check out other posts in this series:

Push Marketing Introduces Advanced Marketing Automation (coming soon!)
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential for B2B Businesses
The Benefits of Marketing Automation for B2C Companies
After the Click: Behavior-Based Email Tracking
Email Automation Through One-To-One Conversation

The Benefits of Marketing Automation for B2C Companies

(For an introduction, please see What Is Marketing Automation?)

Marketing automation offers tools that are highly valuable to B2C companies. For example, the ability to segment leads to a list allows B2C companies to thrive without the need for a large sales team.

B2C companies typically use the same tactics as B2B companies, but with a stronger emphasis on segmentation of leads. B2C companies tend to deal in much smaller revenue transactions, and to forego a sales team in favor of a web shopping cart. In either type of company, the benefits of marketing automation are powerful; however, the emphasis in B2C marketing is on automatic customer segmentation and targeted communication.

Automatic Customer Segmentation Example

Recently, a marketing agency used marketing automation to segment 100,000 customers for an online college apparel retailer. The Tallahassee based B2C company had aimed to capitalize quickly on Florida State’s 2014 BCS Championship victory. Here’s how they succeeded.

First, the marketing agency used marketing automation to track users on the site. They then created dynamic lists that segmented users based on the products viewed by each user. Using these lists, the firm sent specifically targeted emails to visitors who were interested in specific product categories.

Web visitors who browsed baby items without buying received an email that focused on baby items and even included a coupon for select items. Visitors who purchased scarves or cold weather items might be sent an email with information on a matching flannel blanket, while individuals who purchased swimwear might be sent a special offer for a cooler and beach umbrella.

Marketing Automation vs. ESP

This level of customer segmentation is simply not possible for a company or agency using a basic Email Service Provider (ESP) like Constant Contact or MailChimp. In contrast to such outdated services, marketing automation like that offered by Push Marketing is able to track user behavior “beyond the click,” and provides a rules engine that enables automatic segmentation and communication with leads.

In fact, marketing automation makes customer segmentation easily attainable by smaller companies. At only a few hundred dollars per month, technologies that were once only available to high revenue companies like Amazon are now within reach for even the smallest of businesses.

Plus, behavior based segmentation allows for personalized conversations, which will lead to higher revenues and greater customer satisfaction. It’s an investment many B2C have already decided they can’t afford not to make.

Check out other posts in this series:

Push Marketing Introduces Advanced Marketing Automation (coming soon!)
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential for B2B Businesses
After the Click: Behavior-Based Email Tracking
Email Automation with Personalized Communication
Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential to B2B Companies

Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential for B2B Businesses

(For an introduction to marketing automation, please see What Is Marketing Automation?)

Marketing automation offers tools that are highly valuable to B2B companies. That’s not surprising, because its anonymous web visitor tracking and behavioral based email automation features provide B2B companies with the opportunity to convert every lead that visits a company’s website.

In general, B2B companies use sales teams to sell larger ticket items to their markets. Because the cost of hiring, training and maintaining a sales team is so high, each deal made is very valuable. As a result, identification and conversion of every lead becomes essential.

In this context, the marketing automation service offered by Push Marketing and developed by SharpSpring includes several tools that can help B2B marketers identify and convert leads into sales.

Anonymous Web Visitor Tracking

Of the individuals who visit any given website, more than 97% are not yet ready to commit to filling out a form. Marketing automation allows you to identify these anonymous visitors, individuals would otherwise drift away from your website, unnoticed. Naturally, identifying and following up on these leads can generate a significant increase in lead volume. The most comprehensive marketing automation tools can even provide the lead’s phone number, email address and social connections, in order to help a sales team close deals more effectively and consistently.

Once visitors are identified, marketing automation can recognize the leads who are more engaged, allowing a sales team to focus on the leads with the highest probability of closing.

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is one of the tools designed to measure a lead’s level of engagement. A lead score is based on performance of certain tasks by a prospective customer, such as visiting an important page, entering an email address on a form, etc. The prospect is given a certain point value for each task completed. For example, providing a name might be worth 1 point, while visiting an important page might be worth 15 points. Salespeople can be notified by email or even by text when a lead receives a high lead score (a “very hot” lead), visits the site or behaves in a way that suggests readiness to make a purchase.

Lead Nurturing

Similarly, leads who are not ready to make a purchase can be assigned to campaigns that automatically nurture their interest over time. This is done using email communication targeted specifically to the lead’s interests, rather than one-size-fits-all email blasts. Recent studies have shown that such targeted email communication generates a significant increase in qualified leads and sales:

  • Organizations that nurture their leads see a 45% increase in lead generation ROI over those that don’t
  • Poor lead nurturing significantly contributes to 79% of marketing leads never converting to sales
  • Nurtured leads produce 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads
  • Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rates as compared to email blasts
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads
  • Lead nurturing through marketing automation increases qualified leads by 451%

If these results sound like they might be a good fit for your business, or you’d just like to know more, please check out these other posts in Push Marketing’s series on Marketing Automation:

What is Marketing Automation?
Push Marketing Introduces Advanced Marketing Automation (coming soon!)
The Benefits of Marketing Automation for B2C Companies
After the Click: Behavior-Based Email Tracking
Email Automation with Personalized Communication
Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential to B2B Businesses

After the Click: Behavior-Based Email Tracking

By providing complete information on a visitor’s activity after they click through from an email, Push Marketing’s software goes far beyond the capabilities of traditional ESPs like MailChimp and Constant Contact. With email tracking, you can track every page visit, form fill-out, webinar sign-up, and white-paper download from the email campaigns you send.

Why does that matter? Simply put, behavioral-based email tracking and marketing automation helps businesses generate more leads, increase sales and prove ROI.

Email automation takes on new meaning with marketing automation. With “after-the-click” behavior tracking, marketing automation is able to track how a lead is interacting with a website. At the same time, the software can send out automated email that is customized based on how the lead interacted with the website.

In short, Marketing Automation can be used to:

  • Discover a lead’s interests, simply based on webpage clicks
  • Communicate with leads 1-to-1 based on those interests
  • Automatically notify a salesperson when a lead has accomplished something interesting

Marketing Automation vs. Traditional ‘Email Blasts’

Unlike old-fashioned email delivery services like MailChimp or Constant Contact, which generally send out email “blasts” to a large group of recipients in an untargeted approach. Too often, prospective customers view this kind of mass mailing as spam, and that can land your emails in the junk mail folder.

In contrast, when correctly applied, marketing automation all but guarantees that leads receive narrowly targeted, highly relevant, marketing messages at exactly the right moment. Unlike the auto responder tools many businesses and agencies have used in the past, marketing automation is able to specifically target leads who are likely to be receptive to your contact.

The secret is that marketing automation features behavioral-based targeting and communication. Using marketing automation, a B2B company can automatically send very high-level, relevant information to fresh leads, with a high degree of accuracy as to that individual’s actual interests.

Plus, when a lead shows readiness to buy, purchase-oriented materials can be automatically sent. At the same time, the marketing automation service will send a notification to a salesperson, telling them to contact the lead. Leads looking at one product on the website can be sent information about that specific product, without a salesperson having to ask the lead anything.

Not surprisingly, this level of behavioral-based targeting will generate higher conversions and more revenue. That’s why Push Marketing is offering this service, as developed by SharpSpring—it’s an investment that is sure to pay dividends.

The relevance and time savings of behavior-based email automation is difficult to put into words. That’s why we’ve created a fast, fascinating and fun demonstration of how marketing automation actually works for you.

Next, please check out other posts in this series:

Push Marketing Introduces Advanced Marketing Automation (coming soon!)
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential for B2B Businesses
The Benefits of Marketing Automation for B2C Companies
Email Automation with Personalized Communication

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a collection of tools designed to automate a company’s marketing strategy. These tools benefit not only large businesses, but small businesses and marketing agencies as well.

Agencies and businesses without much experience with marketing automation often think it’s only a tool for automating repetitive marketing tasks. These companies only see the value of marketing automation as a time or cost saving solution.

Marketing automation saves time and money by automating repetitive marketing tasks and allows businesses to:

  • Identify more qualified leads
  • Increase the conversion of those leads
  • Increase the resulting revenues

A comprehensive marketing automation service like the one employed by Push Marketing uses a multitude of features to complete those three objectives.

Anonymous web visitor identification, end-to-end analytics (not Google Analytics), dynamic lists, lead scoring, behavior tracking, email automation and dynamic forms are just some of the features that help agencies reach out to viable leads. In fact, here is a recent user survey conducted by Software Advice that lists the marketing automation features that users want the most.

Marketing automation services are being adopted at an exponential pace, and as it becomes more and more affordable, smaller companies are also getting on board and harnessing its power.

Marketing Automation vs. Traditional ‘Email Blasts’

Marketing automation is very different from the auto-responder tools many businesses and agencies have used in the past. Such antiquated tools were hit-and-miss, and often resulted in driving off potential customers with irrelevant “junk mail.”

However, when used properly, marketing automation all but guarantees that leads receive narrowly targeted and highly relevant marketing messages, and at exactly the right moment.

This targeted messaging is totally unlike traditional email delivery services like MailChimp or Constant Contact. Such basic email delivery services are typically only able to send non-targeted email “blasts” to a large group of recipients in a linear fashion. Too often, this untargeted approach is viewed (correctly) by the recipients as spam.

In contrast, marketing automation such as that developed by SharpSpring and employed by Push Marketing features behavioral-based targeting and communication. Using marketing automation, a B2B company can automatically send a fresh prospect (one who is just starting the education process) very high-level information that is relevant to the lead’s interest.

On the other hand, if a lead is ready to buy, the lead can be sent purchase-oriented materials. Simultaneously, the marketing automation service will send a notification to a salesperson who can contact the lead directly. Leads looking at a single product on the website can be sent information about that specific product, without a salesperson having to ask any questions.

This high level of behavioral-based targeting will almost certainly generate higher conversions and more revenue, and that’s a good investment for any business, big or small.

For more information, check out other posts in this series:

Push Marketing Introduces Advanced Marketing Automation (coming soon!)
Marketing Automation: Why It’s Essential for B2B Businesses
The Benefits of Marketing Automation for B2C Companies
After the Click: Behavior-Based Email Tracking
Email Automation with Personalized Communication

Monopolizing the Channel with Strategic Internet Marketing

Powered by the Internet, the global economy has brought significantly accelerated market conditions where the competitive climate is no longer simply one company competing against another, but a company and its affiliates and supply chain competing against the other company and their affiliates and supply chain. This brings about significant challenges during already challenging times; but, the key is to have the discipline and the right people on your team to execute a growth strategy regardless of the times as articulated by Jim Collins below.

Internet marketing strategies today must then be robust and agile if they are intent on finding ways to leverage these extended enterprises in order to build long-term sustainable competitive advantages.  These new forms of a consortia brought into corporate alignment, in large part via the Internet, are now able to leverage the unique strengths of each company to (a) expand markets and market entry points, (b) effect price by driving higher business volumes and operating efficiencies, and (c) improve customer satisfaction with added-value information. Commerce is at a crossroads, and in order for your company to succeed in this environment your team will have to effectively excel in the four key areas of technology, Internet marketing, service, and branding to fully benefit from these new channel opportunities.

Technology Leadership

Obviously, the future where Internet technology plays the pivotal role in increasing the relationship with the customers by providing more conveniences and informational services is here. However, it should be noted that this reality should serve to ensure that the customer feels connected to the company rather than disconnected by the technology. This article is not written to educate you on the technical infrastructures that make up web portals or supply chain connectivity, but to remind that a customer-driven philosophy and environment is the way to go.

Marketing Leadership

One of the problems today is that in the rush to produce volumes of subpar content over the web, companies find ‘no pay a heavy cost for’ having their increased capabilities brought on by the supply chain easily outpaced by customer perceptions. Without value realization, you will not maximize the return on your hard earned capabilities unless these two components are matched. The outside perception of your business should match the inside reality and this is only achieved when advanced content is created at a level parallel to your products and services. After spending your resources developing the inside reality, not having the outside perception match will result in frustration due to minimal sales. To be a marketing leader, you and your channel partners must be committed to turning all touch points into moments of relationship building opportunities.

Service Leadership

An obsessive focus on all information surrounding the customer at all contact points is the most effective way to establish service leadership. As we know, when a customer walks, they talk. Studies show that when a customer has a negative experience, they will tell 20 friends about it and only 7 when they have a positive one. Now with social networking rapidly becoming a dominant “qualifier”: Now, if a customer is happy with your service, their message spreads to more than 1,000. So, (reputation is huge).

Excellent customer service begins its focus at the beginning of the buying process and continues for life. This attention always views business processes from the customers’ eyes and treats each customer as a valuable and familiar client with whom a long-term relationship has been built.

Regardless of what contact point the customer interacts with your company, they are dealt with the way they wish to be dealt with—as a valuable and familiar client with whom a long-term relationship has been built. As with any other relationship in life, this only happens with personal (highly customized), frequent, and quality communications.

Brand Leadership

Lou Gerstner, Past Chairman and CEO of IBM stated that, “Branding-it is a very important issue and will dominate business thinking I suspect for a decade or more”. If you and your company aspire to move from a brand management and image position to brand leadership and equity status, a number of changes must take place. First, the brand elasticity will have to be analyzed for its ability to hold up to the broader marketplace and challenge of building and sustaining an Internet presence. Secondly, when it comes to lead management, sales and marketing must be aligned behind the brand to achieve synchronized communications. In this manner, your company should strive to show, rather than talk about the brand.

In a recent survey, 42 percent of business executives said that collaborative relationships and market differentiation strategies were one of the biggest business challenges they face. Additionally, industry analysts claim that between 30 and 60 percent of information is inaccurate by the time it reaches the retail level. Certainly, it takes leadership to address these issues and to create synergy with branding partners all contributing to a customer-focused supply chain. This strategic high ground happens when message consistency is achieved across all channels.

Monopolizing your channel may sound overly optimistic and certainly aggressive, but it may also end up being the only way to win as the Internet regularly proves that Ziph’s Law (winner-take-all world) is in effect . These issues are relevant for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer business models. From operations to marketing, synchronizing your organizational universe is challenging, but also inherent in those challenges is incredible opportunity. Establishing a simple, yet thorough Internet marketing and communications strategy will provide the platform to reach your business plan objectives.

Please share your thoughts or challenges.

Achieve High Search Rankings with Off-Page Search Engine Optimization

Althought the great majority of consumers today prefer to find companies, products, and services online prior to making a purchase, most businesses have been slow to adopt best internet practices such as search engine optimization. As a foundation for achieving high rankings, let’s start at the beginning; there are two types of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), “On-Page” and “Off-Page”. On-page optimization refers to having each page of your website constructed with all of the on-page SEO elements required to achieve perfectly optimized pages along with alignment with carefully selected, popular search terms for your industry, product or service. This process involves implementing the on-page architecture across each page based on keyword research, stakeholder input, competitive analysis, and search engine statistics. In addition, to maintain best practices for On-Page SEO, constant testing and refinement is recommended.

While on-page optimization is the type of optimization that most people are familiar with, it is not necessarily the most effective component of SEO. What holds the most correlating significance to high rankings is “off-page” optimization.

Off-Page SEO Confirms the Pareto Principle…..Again!

Pareto’s 80/20 Rule means in essence that 20 percent of something is responsible for 80 percent of the result or activity; and so it is that off-page optimization is responsible for the majority of your advances with search engine rankings. This important aspect of the off-page optimization process involves creating authority for your website. Google quickly realized that everyone has the ability to create “on-page” optimization for their site as this is a fairly straightforward process. One of the algorithms that Google uses to rank websites is by how many back links are coming into your site.

The number of back links ‘or votes of confidence’ is an indication of the popularity or importance of your website. Links are the currency of the Internet and each link into your site acts as a “vote” that tells the search engines that your site is a quality site.

Before we dive in too deep, you need to realize that it’s not only the quantity of back links that matter; but more importantly, it’s the quality of the back links. Google realizes that getting a large number of back links is another fairly easy thing to do as you can hire companies that will provide 1000’s of links for a few hundred dollars. All companies interested in having sustainable success doesn’t want to do this as it is considered a black hat tactic that Google will penalize you ‘as it did to JC Penney’  if it appears that you’re growing your links too fast, or in an un-natural manner. Additionally, most of the links provided by these types of companies have zero link value.

Google uses a matrix to gauge the quality of your links. The matrix is based on how popular your site is in its vertical market, how many visitors your site has, the quantity of quality industry links that you have, and the authority of those linking sites. There are a number of legitimate to get quality back links; some of them are fairly easy such as obtaining links in industry or shopping directories. You can find these sites by conducting a simple Google search for “your industry” and “directory”. With this method, you can find a large number of free and a nominal-fee directory sites.

Another good way to find links is pursue to links that are utilized by your competitors. You can find all of your competitor’s links at Yahoo! Site Explorer. This is a free and valuable competitive analysis tool where you can not only find all of your competitors links, you can also view which are their most popular pages.

As I mentioned previously, there are a number of ways to get links, but the best way is to create high quality content based on original thought. If you create quality material or advanced content, it many times gets published by another site gaining the most valuable links you need to raise your search ranking. It’s all about creating consistent content that is helpful to your primary audience or even better – a broader audience.

That’s right, your article can be more successful if you write about something that is not only important to your vertical market, but it is also important to the general population. You could write about a hot trend or product that you’re using and telling everyone how to use it better or more efficiently, i.e. the 10 best Iphone apps, How to Get Relevant Twitter Followers, How Your Business Can Profit from Facebook, etc. With this type of content, you have the chance for your article to be picked up not only by your trade publications, but your article could be distributed in a large amount of consumer or other trade publications. This type of reach could equate to a larger quantity of quality back links for you site.

While writing, it’s important to realize that you are appealing to three main audiences; the actual reader of your article, the search engines, and the feed sources. Feed sources have become extremely valuable avenues; RSS readers are widely used by readers and are one of your important “audiences”. Some publishers even publish articles strictly based on the keywords they specify for their newsfeed. If you have the keyword in your title or body copy, your article could be picked up by these publications and back links will be established.

Another important point to remember when writing your articles is to remember to place anchor tags in the body copy of your article (preferably that are part of your on-page keyword strategy) to link back to your site.

Link building, along with all Off-Page SEO techniques, require an ongoing process and no single blog or article will put you over the top. With consistent article and blog submissions that are highly targeted and optimized, you will be on your way!

Is Your Website Internet Marketing Ready?

When you’ve put so much effort into developing a great product or service and you settle on a determined commitment to embrace best practices for Internet Marketing, you don’t want to find yourself many months down the road disappointed with poor sales. Although the Internet has revolutionized communications for most industries, one truth has never changed which is that many people have lived without many companies until now…offline or online.

All too often, companies get a nice looking website up and running and take a lot of pride in how clever the design, imagery, SEO or writing is. In fairness and similar to birthing your own children, loving your own ideas is typical for anyone who has been involved contributing to a creation. However, while frequent employee and stakeholder inputs are indeed vital, it can also produce a false sense of security. If businesses could succeed by simply designing a product or website and waiting for it to sell itself, then MANY more companies would be successful.

Having a website that is market-ready involves a lot of effort. Faced with tight marketing communications budgets, the need to execute multiple projects in parallel, and the specialized skills best practice Internet Marketing demands, many companies are looking for a cost-effective way to outsource. The key here is to develop the site to be a business development engine that not only pays for itself, but drives revenue performance.

As you venture out to develop or evolve your website and perhaps more critical to success, your web presence or digital footprint, the first thing to remember is that it is important to construct it from a marketing centered approach. Typically, web site developers get paid to just “build” your web site. Unfortunately, they do not know or view things from a marketing perspective. Simply, marketing is the ability to articulate a sales argument. So before you get concerned over branding, look and feel, function, or search engine optimization, you need to get focused on the web development project from the perspectives of (a) will this compel the highest potential of the right people to visit and hear the right message, and (b) will the site help the company make money?Footprint

Yes, sales and making money. Although it is regularly forgotten, marketing professionals have a rule “don’t fall in love with your own creations”. Why? What matters is that it works and produces business results. This leads me to a bigger subject, one that is surely frustrating to every business person, the sluggish economy and company after company getting their lunch taken by competition both foreign and domestic. So, let’s take a moment to regroup by reminding ourselves that we are in business and that-

Business strategy is not revenue, advertising is not revenue, PR is not revenue, strategic alliance is not revenue—only Revenue is revenue.

In addition to thinking from a marketing-centric position, getting and ‘keeping’ your website market-ready includes multiple layers of development that need to be done in a desired execution sequence. This may include and is not limited to the phased layering in of architectures for branding, information, SEO, lead generation and capture, sales funnel/conversion, service oriented, interactive community, online store/e-commerce, CRM integration, and overarching analytics required for ongoing improvements.

In reality, there is a gap between goals and actual results. In the end, true results vary depending on the quality of execution. In their book ‘Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done’: L. Bossidy & Ram Charan capture the essence of this gap and explain:

“The fact is that with execution, there is a significant gap between what the company’s leaders want to achieve and the ability of their people to carry it out.  The real challenge is being able to implement plans and that what most people miss today is that intellectual challenge also includes the rigorous and tenacious work of proving ideas”.

Stay with me as over the course of the next several weeks, we drill down and examine the role of each of of these architectural layers and discuss how to execute a winning website strategy.

Understanding Webspam or Make Friends With Pandas And Penguins

Black Hat SeoThe days of manipulating search engine page rankings with garbage websites are gone.  Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms focus on penalizing and downgrading Webspam websites that have unnaturally high page rankings based on poor and repetitive content and other questionable SEO practices. Panda and Penguin algorithm updates are happening more and more often and some days both can be updated a couple of times per day.  To succeed in driving traffic to your website, you need to keep your website out of the Webspam category while providing relevant and timely content.

Defining Webspam

Webspam is a practice that for many years allowed websites to manipulate search engines to drive traffic to their site.  These sites are designed specifically to spam Google and other search engines in order to raise page rankings, albeit, artificially.  These practices include cloaking, keyword stuffing, and other tactics known as “black hat SEO”.  What businesses fail to understand is that these practices, in the long run, do more harm than good.  When a potential customer finds you through this practice, it is extraordinarily difficult to convert them from a visitor to a buyer and develop an ongoing relationship.  Today, the algorithms are designed to weed through the websites that are employing “black hat SEO” practices and downgrade their page rankings for the purpose of raising the quality of information in search engine page rankings.

 

Google’s Panda

Panda algorithms search for websites that have poor quality, duplicative, and repetitive content.  Websites, including content farms, and others that specialize in creating tens of thousands of pages of worthless content are now considered Webspam by most search engine algorithms.  For nearly two years since the first Panda run in February 2011, website owners have had to refocus their SEO strategies and revamp websites without utilizing manipulative black hat tactics in order to rank high in search engine findings.

Google’s Penguin

Google PenguinPenguin algorithms are different.  While Panda focuses on the content of websites, Penguin focuses on links and link profiles.  Link building has always been a focus for website owners seeking to raise their page rankings, however, just as there are individuals that seek out black hat SEO tactics, there are those that manipulate back links to raise page rankings. Penguin targets these low-quality link profiles and lowers the page rankings based on real and high-quality links.

How To Keep Ahead Of Panda And Penguin

First, abandon your old practices that included any of the above mentioned black hat tactics.  These simply do not work any longer, and in fact, cause your website to be deemed as Webspam.  Today, you need a comprehensive SEO strategy that includes high-quality content for Panda, and high-quality links for Penguin.  Think “keyword optimization” not “keyword stuffing”.  Think “high-quality relevant links” not “link to everything.”  Raising your page rankings with Google and other search engines does require time, effort, and patience.  Remember, you are building an online persona, reputation, and looking for new customers that choose you.  When you engage potential customers and provide them with timely and relevant information, your linking efforts will be rewarded.  Organic linking that comes from individuals that like what you have to say or offer so much, that they want everyone they do business with to know it as well.

Stay away from manipulative SEO tactics and instead focus your efforts and resources on creating high quality content for visitors to your website. Blogs, white papers, product reviews, industry news and analysis, and press releases are a great way to build high-quality content.  Encourage visitors and customers to comment and share the information you provide and build a relationship with the community.  This leads to the invaluable organic links that will raise your page ranking.  The next time you do a search and you find the results are relevant to you, hug a panda and a penguin and be thankful that they are doing their job and helping you find relevant, high-quality websites.