Sunday, April 27, 2008


Build real personal relationships with your clients ….. so they'll reveal to you what they really want.

Write "honest" advertising copy like ….. Volvo... they're boxy, but they're safe.

The tagline is successful …. because it spoke to what people really wanted -- far beyond what car companies learn from customers in rank-the-features surveys. In this case , customers didn't just want cars that got them from point A to point B. They bought a Volvo for the peace of mind.

That's why we have to build real personal relationships with our clients--so they'll reveal to us what they really want, what could really drive their decision.

Then, and only then, do we get opportunities to offer generous solutions to their problems that convince them to purchase our core products and services.

You have to approach them as people as well as professionals. Show them you're human by letting your guard down. Share your passions and learn about theirs. See yourself as a combination of consultant, life coach, therapist, and friend. Ask insightful questions, actively listening for what really motivates or frustrates them personally. Then, when you have a deep understanding of what they really want, try to bundle a solution that, first and foremost, solves one of their problems and, ideally, includes your product or service.

This method might require you to find outside partners to deliver--yet another reason to develop larger networks of friends. In fact, the first couple things you "sell" to someone may have nothing at all to do with your own product.

Strengthen relationships with clients by aiding their personal career pursuits, entirely separate from what they're procuring from you.

Examples :

One of your clients ultimately wants to be in politics, so … try to get him invited or involved with a political forum or activities.

When another client confided with you his desire to be an actor, so … took him to dinner with an actor or find him someone who may share the same desire.

A third client was struggling with earning the respect of his CEO, so … coached him personally on how to behave in the CEO's staff meetings to build the credibility he needed to become a key player in the executive team.

You, too, can make your business boom if you find and deliver what clients really want before selling your core product.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Does your advertising work as hard as you do?

For most entrepreneurs on fixed marketing budgets, advertising has to pull its weight. Even some of the country's largest advertisers who once ran ads for the sake of branding alone now focus their efforts on advertising that produces a measurable ROI.

As we teeter on the brink of a recession, advertising must be a workhorse not a show pony. And its first duty is to support sales.

Successful marketing campaigns have several essential elements in common.

To turn prospects into customers, your ads must do four vital things:

Stimulate a response
Every ad must direct a customer to do something, such as visit your website or contact you by phone. But it's not enough simply to tell your prospects what to do, you must give them excellent reasons to do it. A great print ad, for example, begins with a benefit-laden headline, supports the benefit in the opening sentence, and explains it with features --specifying how the advertiser will deliver. Along the way, it differentiates the advertiser from other companies offering similar products or services. And it culminates in a strong call-to-action that tells potential customers how to take advantage of the benefit or offer.

Open minds
Scientists have discovered that our brains "alert" to new information. We virtually prick up our ears when something new is presented to us. That explains why, as consumers, we're always looking for the latest and greatest versions of goods and services. What's the latest wrinkle presented by your ad campaign? Good ads provide prospects with small "a-ha" moments, when they realize there's something different -- a unique product bundle, another layer of beneficial services, or a revolutionary new concept -- that you offer and no one else does. Whether triggered by your company's point of differentiation or simply a special offer, this a-ha moment should open minds to the unique benefits of buying from you.

Engage the right people
In this era of enormous advertising clutter and the bombardment with marketing messages in every environment, your ads must have immediate appeal to your targeted prospects. In fact, a prospect who's exposed to your advertising should instantly think, "This is what I need." Like a heat-seeking missile, your ad should single out your best prospects, and "speak" to them in their vernacular--including any buzzwords. And visually, whether in print or on TV, it helps if your prospects can also see themselves represented in your ads. Look beyond their age, gender, economic status and other basic demographic information, and put yourself in their shoes to think as they do. Then create an ad campaign to which your prospects can easily relate. Place it in the right context as well, by advertising in the media your prospects look to for information on what you market.

Ring true
Consumers can spot a phony a mile away. What's more, they're often likely to disbelieve advertising claims, even when they're true. That's why it's essential to make all your marketing claims credible, and substantiate them where necessary. Avoid too much hyperbole in your advertising, as it often fails to ring true. And create a campaign that integrates a combination of media to direct interested prospects to a deeper story. Magazine advertising, for example, is one of the best tools for piquing interest and sending prospects to websites where they can find more in-depth information, from industry affiliations, company background and testimonials to copies of press coverage. Create ads with integrity that are supported by in-depth information, and you'll successfully propel your prospects toward a sale.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Ever since Google established that Web sites containing a number of links from other quality sites are also likely to contain the most relevant content in their subject matter, the term "link popularity" was born. Today, link building strategies should be part of your search engine marketing campaign.

How Many Links Do You Need ?

Google will find a site as soon as it finds one or two links to the main Web page.
However, the number of reciprocal links needed to get high rankings depends on the number of links shown for your higher-ranking competitors by Google Page Rank. If your competitors display only 20 links to their sites, you can ensure a higher PR score by creating 25 links to yours. But if your competitors have hundreds of links, then you have to beat that number for top rankings.

Be aware that it's not just the number of links that's important, it's the quality of the sites linking to you (popular, respected sites) and the relevance of their content to your audience that counts.

Strategies for Building Link Popularity

Start With Directory Listings
Ensure that your site is listed in ODP (free) and also include Yahoo! Express ($299 yearly). Directory listings boost link popularity because human editors screen for relevancy. Seek listings in industry-specific directories. Search Engine Guide has a Search Engines Directory providing a searchable database of over 3,000 specialty search engines where you can find search engines dedicated to almost any topic.

Request Reciprocal Links
When looking for possible link candidates, start by searching your strategic keywords at major search portals. You'll see a lot of competitors, but look for non-competing, complementary sites. Screen these sites, selecting those likely to be receptive to your link request. Give them a compelling reason to link to your site. Show them where a link might be advantageous. A good strategy is to link to them first, which might help get a link back. Target respected and popular sites of relevance to your target audience.
Also, identify a well-established site with good content that targets the same audience you want to reach. Perform a link analysis from that site, noting the incoming links and soliciting the best non-competing sites.

Promote Linkability Within Your Site
Provide quality resources and appropriate outgoing links, including links to search engines, news hubs, weather reports, industry resources, industry professional groups, etc. Outgoing links are important for two reasons: they provide incentive for other quality sites to link to yours, and they can improve your PR score if internal linkage is done properly.

Publish Articles
Employees with industry expertise can write business articles for your target audience, submitting the articles to appropriate online publications. Include your Web site URL in the bio and request that the article appear with bio and company link. This can generate many links and can also help promote future business.

Create Testimonials
Develop a testimonial page of products and services you recommend. If you admire a marketing or publishing site, contact the publisher explaining why you value the content. You may get a request for permission to display your comments on their Web site. Grant permission provided they agree to link to your site. It can help to post the testimonial on your site, referring them to it.

Supplement Your Campaign With Reciprocal Link Software
Programs like Arelis and Zeus can help locate additional reciprocal links. These robots will search the Web, looking for reciprocal linking partners, ranking potential sites by relevance. You can review the sites, decide which companies to solicit, request a link through a built-in email client with custom templates for requesting a link exchange, track the status of your requests, and check the viability of existing links.
Caution: Avoid link-building programs that query or visit search engines for finding potential link partners because this overloads the search engine servers, and your site can be penalized.

Post to Discussion Forums
This is an easy way to get a link from industry discussion forum sites if you have the time and expertise to participate. Include your URL in your sig file.

Link Multiple Sites
If you have a number of sites with unique content, be sure to link them to your main site. Content must be related, of course.

Awards and Contests
You can create an awards program for related sites, placing winner logo links on an awards page they can link back to. Or you can run a links contest, awarding prizes for linking to your site.

Affiliate Programs
Affiliates can be a source of links, depending on your site goals, budget and time availability. But the affiliate program must be administered from your site to improve link popularity because outsourcing requires linking to a third-party site. Affiliate software should generate static HTML pages for affiliate's links to enable indexing.

Strategies to Avoid

Some strategies hyped in the past should be avoided because they're now worthless or can get you penalized in search engines.

Link Farms
A link farm is a network of sites linking to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity. Search engines consider this spamming.

Reciprocal Link Exchange Services
Networks consisting of hundreds of webmasters with sites on numerous topics are linked to one another. The service requires linking to all sites in network, making content unrelated. Search engines consider this spamming.

FFA Listings
Free for All listings appear and disappear rather quickly. Few people search through the listings except for spammers collecting email addresses. These sites are not indexed by search engines.

Running a link campaign can take a little time, but is well worth the effort as these links establish relevancy, a top priority for search engines and consumers alike.