I found a very interesting article on Findlaw.com that was posted for lawyers wishing to market their law practices. However, since the article is actually a list of over 100 marketing ideas that were originally posted by the Small Business Administration, I think all business people will find it helpful.

The article can be found at 100+ Marketing Ideas.

Some of the ideas you may find helpful are:

  • Get a marketing intern to take you on as a client; it will give the intern experience and you some free marketing help.
  • Produce separate business cards/sales literature for each of your target market segments (e.g. government and commercial and/or business and consumer).
  • Photocopy interesting articles and send them to clients and prospects with a hand-written FYI note and your business card.
  • Join a list-serve (online group) related to your profession. You can find hundreds of such groups on Google groups or Yahoo groups.
  • Never let a day go past without engaging in at least one marketing activity.
  • Publish a newsletter for your prospects and customers (the article doesn’t specify, but I would recommend an email newsletter which is free to send out).
  • Test a new mailing list. If it produces results, add it to your current direct mail lists or consider replacing a list that's not performing up to expectations.
  • Rather than sending direct mail in plain white envelopes, use colored or oversized envelopes to pique recipients' curiosity.

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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Brian Carroll’s “B2B Lead Generation Blog” is always a source of really good information to anyone who needs customers and sales (do any of you fit this category?). But his recent article, Can a social media like Twitter boost your lead generation results? Is especially enlightening.

I have dabbled on and off with Twitter for about a year now, without actually going all in (to use the famous poker term). But Carroll’s thoughts have me taking a new look at the popular social media site.

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is sort of like a blog that limits your posts (called “Tweets” in the Twitter world) to 140 characters. It is precisely because they are so short and sweet that has spurred Twitter’s popularity. People who would not read blog posts of the length typically found on sites like my own, avidly read tweets from many people on Twitter.

Brian Carroll describes some of the lead generation uses he has discovered for Twitter:

Well, I’ve started to use my Twitter account a lot more, and I’ve found some productive uses for the application:

  • Sent mini survey question and got answers quickly
  • Promoted new blog posts and upcoming webinars
  • Shared articles, resources, and blog posts that I found interesting
  • Learned what topics my network finds interesting faster
  • Discovered some useful blog posts and resources by using tweetscan.com

To these uses, let me also add one of my own. I constantly encourage my clients to start blogging as a way to get the work out about their businesses. But as you can well imagine, most business people or professionals are short on time.

Now, thanks to Brian’s thoughts, I can encourage them to start posting on Twitter.

Anyone, no matter how busy, can write 140 characters.

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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Ask most business people if they would like for their web sites to achieve number one Google rankings on all the important keywords related to their business, and you will get two reactions:

THE FIRST GROUP will jump up and down excitedly and assure you that of course they want to improve their search engine rankings.

THE SECOND GROUP will give you a blank stare and ask what a Google ranking is, what a keyword is and (in some dire cases) say they are just waiting to see if this "Internet Thing" is a passing fad before they get involved.... (sigh)

Ok, so let's just focus on the first group, shall we?

A keyword, as I've said before, is something of a misnomer. The phrase leads one to think it is a single word. Actually it is the equivalent to a "Search Query" someone types on Google, Yahoo, MSN or some other search engine when they want to look something up.

Someday, if the person types in "Texas Web Copywriter," "Texas Search Engine Expert," Texas SEO Expert," "Texas SEO Writer" or "Texas Case Study Writer," hopefully they will find this site or some other article I've written online. In other words, these keywords are terms I have made an effort to link to my name.

Also notice that none of these keywords are single words. They are actually three or four words long. Longer search phrases or keywords are called "Long Tail Keywords" and "Long Tail Keywords" is one of the golden concepts in improving search engine optimization.

Why is that?

Well I'm glad you asked. The longer the phrase, the more specific it is. For the person typing this phrase into Google, it means she knows exactly what she wans to find. She didn't just type "copywriter," she knew she wanted someone located in Texas and she also wanted someone who could write web content.

If your site is selling merchandise, people who type in long, very specific keywords are more likely to buy from you if you offer what they are looking for. In fact thse people probably already have their credit cards out of their pockets before they get online.

on the other hand, the people who are just looking for a copywriter, and not an "SEO expert who writes web content" may or may not want to do business with me.

That is the searcher's side of long tail keywords. Now let's look at the web site owner's side of this.

The sites these people who look for very specific, long tail keywords will find are going to be those that have those exact long tail keywords mentioned in the site several times.

This is what I meant when I titled this article "Improving Search Engine Optimization." There are two ways to improve search engine rankings. The first way is to buy "pay per click" ads from Google or Yahoo. The second way is "organic search optimization." The "organic" part of this term refers to the fact the Google itself finds these sites based upon what it determines the site to be about.

But how does Google determine what a site is about? First it will look at the domain name of the site itself. Had I been smart(er) when I started this blog, I might have titled the domain "Texaswebcopywriter.com," "Texassearchengineexpert.com," Texasseoexpert.com," "Texasseowriter.com" or "Texascasestudywriter.com," or something else along those lines.

The next thing Google does is look at the titles of the the individual articles. Since this article is titled "Organic Search Engine Optimization," it will very likely get indexed as being about, you guessed it, "search engine optimization."

Now if you have been reading this site for a while, you know that this site covers a lot more ground than just SEO topics. Each article about each different topic will tell Google a little more about the theme of this site.

But this one article will also tell Google that search engine optimization is one of the topics it does cover.

To make a complex topic simple, let me sum up with this: the way to get higher rankings from Google is to identify the best keywords to concentrate on. Find out what search queries your ideal customers type into search engines in order to find what it is that you offer.

Then armed with these keywords, use them often (but be careful here because Google will penalize you if your over do this) throughout your site. Notice that I repeatedly used the keyword, "improving search engine optimization" throughout this article. I did so deliberately to illustrate the point.

But as I said before, don't go overboard. Use your keyword about 4 times out of every 100 words (or about a 4% keyword density).

Can you do this? I bet you can.

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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One of the things I want to do this year is to pass along some of the most outstanding marketing ideas I am able to find.  One very important idea is to use blogging as a marketing tool. 

Case in point:  Back in December 2006 I wrote about Grant Griffiths, a Kansas Family Lawyer, who had stopped all of his traditional advertising because his marketing efforts using his blog was bringing in all the business he needed.

I was thinking about Mr. Griffiths because I was explaining to an other professional why blogging was such a great way to market just about any business. So today I  did a number of Google searches to see where his blog is ranked by the world’s most popular search engine. Here are the results:

Grant Griffiths dominates almost every keyword or search term I could think of related to "Kansas Family Law." The only term I looked up that listed his blog on the second page was “Kansas Child Visitation.”

All the other searches I did had him on Google’s first page. The results listed below are all for Google’s non-paid listings. (In other words, the paid ads Google sells may be higher, but Mr. Griffiths’ blog outranks all the others on the "organic," or earned, search results.)

  • Kansas Family Law, #2 on page one
  • Kansas Family Lawyer, #1 on  on page onepage one
  • Kansas Family Attorney, #1 on page one
  • Kansas Divorce Law, #6 on page one
  • Kansas Child Custody Law, #1 on page one
  • Kansas Child Custody Lawyer, #2 on page one
  • Kansas Divorce Lawyer, #2 on page one
  • Kansas Divorce Attorney, #2 on page one
  • Kansas Divorce Mediation, #4 on page one
  • Kansas Divorce Mediator, #6 on page one
  • Kansas Fathers Rights, #1 on page one
  • Kansas Dads rights, #5 on page one

Think about it. Almost anyone who searches for information about Kansas family law or Kansas family lawyers is going to find Mr. Griffiths’ site. And when they get to this site, they will find a wealth of information on the topic.

Do you think he has to convince people that he knows what he is talking about when they have read a site like his? Do you think he gets to be choosy about which clients he wants to work with? (or do you think he has to settle for the lowest paying, most disagreeable clients because he is desperate for business?)  

And my personal favorite, how many clients do you think try to "negotiate" his fee down to rock bottom?

Now also take a look at the length or complexity of his articles. For the most part they are surprisingly short or easy to write.

Some are fairly long, but there is a fair amount of short articles in there as well. Many of his articles simply cite and comment on information he gleans from other sources. Some of his articles are list articles (such as ten ways to cooperatively seek the best interests of your child).

What I am getting at here is that Mr.Griffiths has achieved marketing success with blogging by simply communicating information to his readers on their level. He updates his blog regularly and he uses important keywords that he knows will correspond to the search queries his prospective clients will use when they go into Google.

And he did all this in a relatively short period of time. I wrote my original article in Deccember 2006 and he started his blog sometime in 2005 (I'm not sure exactly when in 2005). That means he started dominating the Google rankings in at least 24 months.

Something else. Griffiths has aparently taken a sabatical because his blog has not been updated since late 2007. Nevertheless, that blog still dominates all those keywords even without additional writing on his part.

How can you or your firm imitate what he is doing? Simply create a blog and update it regularly. Use the keywords the customers you are targeting will also use when they use search engines in both the titles of your articles and repeated in the bodies of the articles themselves.

Within a few months, you should see your site climbing the search engine ranks for the keywords you are focusing on.

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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