Snowblogging. Yes, people do it. Remotely, via whatever they can connect with, from a ski-lift or a bar by the slope. It’s common, even (well, not everyone’s doing it! – but some people are).
Using services like Jott to blog opens up new dimensions. When you call your Jott phone number, the service translates your spoken words into written text. You can even set your own blog as an “addressee”. C’mon, you gotta try that.
Who has blogged in the oddest places using the weirdest kit?
When it comes to researching keywords, Wordtracker still nails it. We believe this, thousands of others do too.
But, you know, most people still don’t understand keywords as well as they should, particularly when it comes to creating a new niche site.
Below is a short, but very sweet, video about exactly how you plan and develop a niche market product using Wordtracker.
Disclaimer: Obviously this video was created by Wordtracker and accordingly is about their product, but it really is a gem for people quite new to this area….enjoy….
Last time, here, we covered Part 1 of this blog on building a quality mailing list.
Let’s take it a little further….
There are a thousand and one ways to structure your email – some will work, some won’t, like many things in business as in life. But the following works and is heavily adopted by successful ‘list marketers’:
- A short ad on a product/service that you are recommending.
- The article – this is key and is the content for your Ezine/bulletin.
- Resource box – this can provide associated, contextual information and utilities.
- A list of helpful links.
- Subscriber information.
Building a relationship with your Ezine readers
To follow-on from the piece on business marketing, above, it’s undeniable that having a strong relationship with your readers will take you a long way down the road to achieving your goals.
How do you do this? It’s typically a good idea to ‘get personal’, but not too personal. For example, let’s say you have a list of golfers because you sell golf products. Or a list of bloggers because you’re an expert on blogging. For the golfers, tell them about experiences on the golf course, funny, stupid, or educational – stuff they can relate to as they are golfers and have probably done things very similar. The bloggers will typically want to develop their skills blogging; or to try new things and cover new subjects that interest them. The blogging community is great at “self-help” – people are keen to share their knowledge and to learn from you, too.
Try to relate to them as best you can. People want to know that there are others out there just like them. When they find out that you are just another person out in the world with the same experiences they are having, it becomes a lot easier for them to trust you.
If you sell products or services, it’s all about getting each subscriber into your life. This should be a huge focus of your list and your marketing efforts across the board.
If you really want to have an incredibly responsive list, then do these three things, in this order:
1) Build a relationship with them.
2) Educate them with quality content.
3) Promote good quality products and/or services that you believe in.
Doing this is a win-win for everybody.
Quality content is king
One of the big reasons to get on the Internet is to research information in some way or another. Who wants to go looking for something and read worthless, unhelpful material?
If you waste a visitors’ time, annoy them, or confuse them with bad content, they are certainly not going to buy from you. You just lost a potential customer. It is pointless. Furthermore, the search engines are not going to like you much either. Especially if your information is the same thing that everybody else is using.
Your information has to be good to make it big online. It has always been this way, and it always will be, so start producing good information now! Don’t be tempted down another route, whatever the motivations (be them time-saving, or otherwise).
Look at your content from a visitor’s perspective. If you were looking for information on that specific topic, would you be happy with the content that you are presenting?
Get used to stepping inside your visitor’s/customer’s shoes and looking at your business through their eyes.
It is a surefire way to improve your web sites (blogs and others) and business overall.
What is an Ezine?
An Ezine (let’s just call it that, here; there are lots of names!) is a newsletter that is delivered via email that your customers can subscribe or “opt-in” to.
The feedback we’ve had over the years, and experience ourselves, is that Ezine marketing works consistently well. One element of good business is maximizing your return for effort employed. After all, entrepreneurship is essentially about using and deploying resources for return. For the amount of time you put in to run an online list (relatively little), the return is well worth it.
But, remember: online users will unsubscribe from many lists lately because of lack of quality. You need to be creating quality. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and don’t cut corners. Why would you stay subscribed if you just get bombarded with offer after offer and get no benefit?
If you aren’t producing quality content, then subscribers to your list, no matter what topic you are covering, are going to start unsubscribing in droves. It is now more important than ever to start building a real relationship with your subscriber list and nurturing it by offering serious value.
The people who grasp this concept are going to be the ones making a lot of money with email marketing in the future. And they’ll be the ones who enjoy what they do, too. So far, people have gotten away with low or “no” content, but that is changing. Time are changing (at last).
You need to make your Ezine a worthwhile read for people to want to read it. If you do that, success is likely to follow.
If you have your own product already, then start an Ezine in that market to help promote your product and future products.
If you do not have a market to publish in yet, don’t worry, you don’t need a product to start an Ezine. However, what you do with that Ezine, and what its goals are, must be fully scoped: do you intend to use it to build and drive readership and sell advertising? If so, plan it. See our post on building your website for advice on scoping and mind-mapping.
It’s a question for debate and planning what your scheduling plan looks like, but from experience in this area we’d suggest you send out an Ezine with a 3-5 page article of good information about once or twice per month at the least with once per week being the most. This may or may not compliment a more regular update (perhaps a mailing list run through FeedBurner or a blog update). Obviously, Twitter’s an amazing tool in this area, too.
That is all you need to send. When heavily involved in building a list and marketing to it, the ‘formula’ can be to send out one week with a 3-5 page article, and the next week was a solo advertisement for something you want to promote. Then, the week after, you may decide to send another 3-5 page article on something your subscribers wanted to know about, developing their interest and adding real value.
You can alternate successfully between content and advertising, should you wish. Like in most businesses, customers will not balk at advertising as long as the associated content is informative. Remember your brand and don’t damage it.
If you’re going to get into this area of marketing, focus on a content driven Ezine that can help build your business and be a reliable source of benefit for you.
There are various different types of formats that you can use when publishing your Ezine. Focusing on three:
• Put the entire Ezine in an email. This can work well, particularly when people nowadays often read email on mobile devices (Blackberry, etc).
You can put the introduction, marketing/advertising content and article content all in one well-crafted email and send it out to your subscribers.
This is probably the ‘easiest’ way to approach this for newcomers.
We’d advise always sending your email as text and not an HTML page as those can still cause problems with some email readers. But you can give subscribers a choice, obviously.
• Another popular option is to put your article in a PDF downloadable file and then send an email to your list telling them where they can download the file.
This has the added benefit of people being able to save it to their computer and view it later (more views means more people will click on the links in your Ezine which means more traffic for you).
This also has an added benefit of a viral effect. You can put at the bottom (or top if you really want to stress it) of your Ezine that they can pass the PDF file to their friends or make it downloadable on their web site or blog.
This can help introduce your Ezine to people who are not yet subscribed to it. And of course, if your content is good and they like your Ezine, they can subscribe.
A PDF file format is certainly a decent option if you like the ideas above, and you can create PDF file for free with something like PrimoPDF.
• You can use an HTML page where you put your Ezine issue on your website as a regular HTML page, then email your subscribers and give them the link to the latest issue.
This has the same benefit as the PDF file where people can refer their friends, or link to it from their own web site or blog which can generate more subscribers for you.
Plus, it has an additional benefit of being able to use HTML in your Ezine if you wanted to do more interactive content like pictures, flash animations or even video.
If you can add these to your free Ezine to explain your articles/ideas, it will enhance the experience for readers and should attract subscribers. People are drawn to entertaining videos (just look at YouTube’s phenomenal success) so adding these to your free Ezine could certainly help its success.
See Part 2, which will follow soon, about structure, building a relationship with your users and quality of content. Bye for now.
What are Keywords?
Once you’ve decided to start your own online business (pretty much whatever it is, from a blog to an ecommerce site), you’ll first want to get a firm grasp on how your visitors/potential customers use the Internet. In particular, you’ll need to learn what exactly they use the Internet for.
It would certainly be great for your site if every person who logged on was doing so because they had their credit cards in hand, and were looking to buy precisely the kinds of products and services you offer. But, of course, we live in the real world. Rather, most people use the Internet to get information. That search for information often takes the form of trying to answer questions that these individuals have been unable to find answers for elsewhere. That quest may or may not lead them to your product or service. So how do people tend to go about finding answers to their questions? As you might guess, these days most Internet users tend to rely upon search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Whilst very few users won’t have used at least one of these three search engines, there are also hundreds of other search engines available. However, those other search engines generate far less traffic than the big three (Google alone garners well over 60% of the Internet search traffic), so we’ll focus our attention on the big ones. As you probably know, a person uses a search engine like Google by typing a word or phrase into the search box.
This specific word or phrase is the key to your success, because the word or phrase indicates exactly what that person is looking for. Let’s say, for example, that the individual is interested in losing weight. If they type the phrase ‘weight loss’ into Google, the search results page will provide two things, “paid” and “organic” search results. Go ahead and Google ‘weight loss.’
Notice the yellow box at the top of the page, and the narrow column that runs down the right side of the page. These are paid search results which companies have paid Google to have their text (and links to their company websites) displayed whenever someone searches on the term ‘weight loss’. Not surprisingly, you can see that these companies appear to be selling weight loss and diet products and services.
The majority of the page displays the so-called “organic” search results. This means that the Google search engine determined these web pages to be most naturally (or “organically’”) related to the phrase ‘weight loss’. The phrase ‘weight loss’ is what we refer to as a “keyword term”.
You can see the importance of the keyword term by the fact that the phrase ‘weight loss’ is highlighted throughout both the organic search results and the paid search results. In order to maximize your business opportunities, you’ll need to research and identify the terms and phrases that potential customers will use when they look for the kinds of products and services you’re selling.
After identifying those keywords, you could certainly launch a paid advertising campaign, with Google AdWords or one of the other paid ad services. This would be an easy way of driving lots of relevant traffic to your website, right? Unfortunately, because of the level of competition for the attention of prospective customers, it’s very easy for beginner advertisers (and even some advertisers with more experience) to end up spending a lot of money but have very little to show for it.
New websites may well choose to do paid advertising until they are more firmly established, and instead focus on getting the best organic search results placement for their website. This can take longer but it’s safer to start with and, ultimately, organic search gives you the bedrock to build upon – most people who really understand the Internet will tell you that building solid, quality content over time is the way to the top of the search engine rankings. You can do this by using keyword research skills and optimizing your website accordingly.
To do this, you really need to “get” the search engines. Remember, we’re talking business, here: you don’t need to be a rocket scientist (mostly), but you do need to understand it and get it right. Don’t go in blind. In our opinion, the ‘king’ of keyword tools is here. They have a wide range of tools and a high proportion of professionals in the business of keywords rely on this tool every day.
What’s a targeted visitor?
You begin an online business in order to make money, right? Well, some reading this may be more interested in a hobby, or another purpose blogging, perhaps. But if it’s business you’re interested in, it’s probably apparent you’ll have a greater chance of making more money from individuals who are interested in the kinds of products and services you sell. Let’s use the example that you run a website that promotes a product which helps people lose weight.
So, the types of people you want to find and visit your website are those who are interested in becoming thinner. Conversely, if a visitor to your website isn’t particularly interested in losing weight (but is instead searching the Internet because they’re interested in video games or gardening), then it is unlikely that they’re going to convert into a paying customer. Or, perhaps, they’re looking for reasons why people lose weight (e.g., illness, etc).
Subtle differences make a big difference. This is the concept of a “targeted visitor”: a person who is already “in” your website’s topic before they find your website and see the products and services you offer. It’s not hard to see why the most successful web business are those who get traffic comprised of individuals who are already interested in the products or services offered by that business.
It’s essential to your success that you build you individual website pages to contain and focus on the individual keywords that relate to your products and services. In addition, it’s likely that your appearances on a given search results page won’t be limited just to pages on your own website. The search engine is likely to find and list many external resources, too. These will include marketing-type materials that you may publish through other websites. Go ahead and type a generic search term or phrase into your favorite search engine. Chances are that near the top of the natural search results there will be links to external aggregations sites like YouTube and EzineArticles. This is something that you want to emulate as well.
So, in order to make sure you’re driving the greatest number of targeted visitors to your website as possible, you first need to create a site in which each web page is focused on the particular keyword terms and phrases that you’ll identify. Second, you’ll support this by creating promotional materials (again, using the relevant keyword terms and phrases), and making sure these are properly distributed on the Internet. Finally, once your website is live, make sure to submit your web address directly to the major search engines. Each search engine has a page that permits you to do this:
The search engines would eventually find your pages, of course, but using these quick submission forms helps the process move forward more quickly. Next time we’ll be digging into the detail of Keyword Reasearch.