Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting Customers from Inbound Marketing Campaign [Inbound Marketing]

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For companies, inbound marketing is as good as the revenue it can bring in. We want to create great contents for our audience, but we also want to convert our audience to customers.

Visitors, Leads, and Customers

People are different. Some are ready to buy now. Others could be ready to buy in, say, 6 months. In marketing, we usually convert audience into leads—potential sales contacts, and later convert leads to customers, i.e., getting them to buy. Inbound marketing is about letting people come to you, not shoving contents down their throat. Focus on engagement, rather than sales. Make a list of customers who are ready to buy, and send this list to your salespeople. Give those who are not ready to buy something to do and/or engage with, until they are ready. Classify people based on what they do, and take actions differently. For example, treat those who download your whitepapers differently from those who registered for your webinar. You may give away inspirational quotes, statistics, etc.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Social Media and How to Make Use of It [Inbound Marketing]

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Social media services allow you to create user profiles, connect with other, and share stories. In social media, people are more interested in building relationship than consuming content. So, listen, participate, tell stories, and treat others like how you want to be treated. Do not use automated software, that makes your conversation look robotics.

User Profiles

User profile consists of your name, your user name, your picture, your website, etc. Make your profile authentic and interesting, and people will connect to you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Inbound Marketing: Fun Facts about Search Engine

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Search engine, such as Google, looks for websites matching with keywords people are looking for. Google ranks the matched sites based on:
Relevance, i.e., similarity of your websites to input keywords
Authority, i.e., the impact of your website over the internet

Relevance

A search engine looks for keywords in various parts of a website. This includes, but not limited to, title, anchor texts, contents, and so on. Knowing this, you need to figure out which keywords your target people would look for, and place those keywords in various parts of your page. But choosing keywords could be tricky because of two following factors
Volume, which refers to the number of people search on that keywords.
Difficulty, which refers to the difficulty in getting your page rank well.
Choosing keywords with high volume increases your audience. However, since everyone tends to choose popular keywords, it is difficulty to beat everyone.
Here is a winning strategy for picking keywords. Start with relevance. Think of what your potential customers would type in, not how you would describe yourself. Next, determine volume and difficulty. Pick the best ones. If you are new, you might want to pick low-competition keywords. If you are growing, you might want to pick high-volume keywords. Use analytics to see which keywords your audience were looking for in order to get to your blog.

Authority

Google determines the impact of your website based on inbound links. Here are a few factors:

  • Total number of inbound links
  • The number of sites that have an inbound link to your site
  • The number of inbound links in one site (less is more)
  • The authority of the site hosting the inbound links
  • Anchor text of the link 
  • Do-Follow attribute: If the link is set to ‘no-follow’, Google will give no value to the link. Today, most sites set all links in the comment section to be no-follow. 

The most straightforward way to have an inbound link is to email other website’s owner, requesting for putting links in his or her site. Gather information from the site. Make your content highly relevant. Personalize email for each site. Tell the site owner why your link would be beneficial to them. Send an example blog (not your home page) which is specifically useful to the owner or the audience of the site.

Optimizing Your Page

In order to get good relevance, you need to match your page with keywords:

Page Title

This is the most influential in the view of Google. Optimize all pages (not just your home page) in your site. Here are a few tips to write page title:

  • Put keywords on your page title
  • Important words first
  • Make catchy title so that people want to click on
  • Put your company’s name last. People who are looking for your company will going to search for your company anyway. By not putting your company name, you allow other important keywords be there.

Meta Description

Google does not use description of your webpage in their search algorithm. So, you don’t need to put keywords here. But, if your page appears on the search result, your description would usually appear next to the result. Interesting page description would entice audience to click through. Here are a few tips to write page description:

  • Keep it short: 1-2 sentences; no longer than 140 characters; Google truncates long description anyway.
  • Have unique description for every page
  • Contain keywords: Google displays keywords in search result using boldface. If your description contains keywords, it would look more interesting to people.

Domain Name and URL

Google uses URL as one of the search criteria. Keywords in your URL (e.g., …/video) increases the chance of getting found. In addition, when others write an article about your site, they might not create anchor texts but just put your entire URL there.

Headings

Headings divide your article into sections. They make your contents easier to consume. Use headings to help your audience skim through your articles. Google also crawls your headings. So, it makes senses to have keywords in your headings. Here are a few tips to make great headings:

  • Include important keywords into your headings.
  • Make headings short so that the keywords stand out.
  • Tag your heading to let Google know that this is your heading: Use a single H1 header on each page, and use multiple H2 and H3 headings.

Images

An ‘alt’ attribute lets you specify texts which explain the image. Google understands this image, by the ‘alt’ attribute. In addition, people whose browser cannot read the image can still understand your content in text form. So, put an ‘alt’ attribute for all your images.

Paid v.s. Organic Google Search Results

These are two kinds of search results. Organic results are the actual search results. Paid results, on the other hand, are essentially advertisement. For example, with Pay Per Click (PPC)), Google shows your page on the advertisement section and you can pay Google based on how many times people clicks on your link. PPC isn’t just advertisement. It also helps determine which keywords the clickers were looking for. You can then use those keywords to optimize your blog. PPC is good for beginners. But, it’s hard to budget as its cost depends on volume and competition. Organic results, on the other hand, depends on your contents. You don’t have to pay Google, and people are more likely to click the links. In a long run, you should focus on organic results, rather than paid results.

Blackhat SEO

     Google software has limitation. Blackhat SEO exploits these limitations and tries to trick Google. If you do this, you are risking having your website banned by Google.

  • Link farms: Create a farms of links to your webpage in order to trick Google to think that your webpage is of high quality.
  • Automated content generation or duplication: Write a software to copy content from other website and post on your website automatically.
  • Keyword stuffing: Put a lot of irrelevant keywords in your website. 
  • Cloaking: Create another version of contents (apart from ones understandable by human) designed specifically for Google crawler.
  • Hidden text: Use white font color and white background to conceal the text from user, while letting the search engine see the text.
  • Gateway: Send users to other websites as soon as they click your links. 
    Source:  Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs 
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    Book or Audiobooks?

              Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].
              There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.

        About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

    However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

    This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

    I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.


    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Inbound Marketing: Blogsphere

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    Blog is a virtual place in the Internet where people publish short articles. It works like magazines where articles get outdated pretty soon. People who read blogs expect this. So you need to create new content quite frequently.

    Email Subscription and RSS

    Writing blog, obviously you would expect people to visit you blog frequently. But, if you think about it, it’s your content, not the place where you hold the content, that you should care about. Don’t be worried if people do not come back to your site, Your blog should be a tool that lets people consume your content easily, not a leach that pulls people back. At the minimum, you should have two following tools, which let your audience as soon as you have a new post:

    • Email subscription: This is a feature which emails your blog update to the subscribed audience.
    • RSS (Really Simple Syndication): This is a technology which pushes ‘new’ contents to people who subscribe to the ‘feed’. Your audience will use a tool called RSS reader (e.g., Google Reader) to consume your content without coming back to your site.