It’s what we all want, and (although unlikely) if it’s not what we want, then our company’s balance sheets could certainly benefit from it – marketing for free.
Author, award-winning entrepreneur and founder of the enormously successful travel website, byokids.com.au, Leah Squire has drawn from her own experiences building a multi-million dollar business and brand to provide readers with advice, strategies and resources to promote their businesses for as little outlay as possible.
In her debut book, Marketing With No Money, Squire covers a wide gamut of techniques and explores everything from traditional strategies, such as ‘how to get PR’, to contemporary mass media marketing vehicles like ‘Social Media marketing’ and how to make the most of your online presence through SEO (search engine optimisation).
A lot can be gleaned from listening to other people’s success stories (and failures). Especially when following their advice doesn’t dent your hip pocket (but hopefully fills it).
This is an extract from Marketing With No Money, which can be purchased online at www.marketingwithnomoney.com and most bookstores nationally.
Marketing with no money
By Leah Squire
Are you ready …
So you’re in business whether its large or small, business is a tough game. There are tens of thousands of businesses in Australia, so why is it that some thrive while others fail dismally? Some owners become millionaires others go bankrupt?
What is it you do? Do you have a retail or online shop, perhaps you’re a landscaper, business coach, sell cars, may be you manufacture goods, sell clothes, plants, plumbing supplies, windows or doors? Do you own a café, bar or restaurant?
Why are some businesses more successful than others? Even though they sell the same products, have great staff, price match and pride themselves on their customer service? Well, most business owners make the mistake of thinking they are in the business of sales, service or production but reality is whether you like it or not you’re in the business of marketing.
That’s right, marketing. You are in the business of marketing the product or service you sell. You may have the best product or service in the world but if you can’t get people through the door, onto your website, talking about your products, using your service, reading your newsletter or buying from you then you might as well shut up shop.
Unfortunately in business once the wages and overheads are paid there is often little or nothing left in the marketing piggy bank. This book is about having the right attitude, knowing yourself, your customers, your products, services and implementing simple marketing strategies to get your business “out there” not only surviving but thriving.
The strategies in this book will take some time and effort on your part but won’t break the bank. If you’re not willing to put in the time or make the changes to get your business the attention it deserves, then you may as well put this book down and go play golf, tennis or take the boat out for a spot of fishing because you’ve obviously already made your millions.
If that’s not you, and I doubt that it is, then I challenge you to read on and reap the rewards.
SEO… get your website search-engine-friendly
If your business has a website then obviously more traffic means more customers which equals more sales. It’s basic maths, really.
So how do you get more traffic? How do you get found in cyberspace when there are literally millions of websites out there? Good SEO or search engine optimization is the secret. If you want to be found for free you need to optimize your site.
Every time someone searches Google for your keywords you need your site to appear organically (for free, not paid) as the most suitable website on the net. It doesn’t cost you a cent and you get targeted traffic directed by the search engines straight to your website.
When it comes to the web Google is king. At last count around 60 percent of the world’s internet searches were being conducted on Google. So making your site Google friendly is your priority.
Now SEO is quite a complicated business and you can pay 10’s of thousands of dollars for companies to do this for you. Obviously that’s not an option for many.
When you load your website pages onto the internet each individual page will be crawled by search engine robots. These robots count the amount of times words appear on your pages they look at your keywords, title tags, page description and Meta tags. Computer gurus around the world debate continually on which ones are the more important. They generally agree that the frequency of keywords in your text and your title tags are the go.
So how do you decide what keywords to put in your text? Ask yourself if “If I was searching for the product or service I sell what would I type into a search field to find it?”
Compile a list of words and also phrases. Google offer a free keyword search tool, do a search on Google for “Google keyword tool” once you find it enter your keywords and the tool will suggest a list of other keywords and indicate which ones receive the most search engine queries each month.
When you decide which words to use in your website text you can do a Google search on them and see who currently comes up on page 1 of Google. Your aim is beat these guys.
Under their listing you will see their URL then the word “cached” if you click on this you will be able to see by the highlighted words what the robots picked up when they searched the page. If you’d like to see the keywords they used simply go to your browser and hit view then source. A notepad document will appear telling you exactly what description, title and keywords they used. Some websites will have this blocked but not many.
If they have a page rank of 4 or above it may be difficult to knock them off top spot. You can find out their page rank with a google toolbar. Download it free at Google simply search “Google toolbar”
If all the sites that come up on Google for the chosen keywords ranked high and are big popular sites you might be best to go down your list of keywords and try another that gives you a better chance of making the first page of Google.
Choose about 6 main keywords and phrases that you will now incorporate into your web page. Firstly include your keyword in the page title then around 3 times in the first paragraph of text if you can. Use several of the keywords and keyword phrases. Try to make your body of text at least 250 – 300 words and include your keywords again towards the end. If you use the keywords too much Google will consider it spamming and not rank you at all so be careful no more than 5% of your total word count.
I also include my keywords in my meta tags and page description but general opinion across the industry is that the search engines don’t consider them very important anymore but I say it doesn’t hurt to add them as you never know when they might change their mind.
If you insert and image onto a page also add your keyword into the “alt text” in a sentence.
I can’t stress enough the importance of good search engine optimisation, this has just been a brief overview do yourself a favour grab some books and perfect the art. Once you have traffic flowing to your website you’ll also have money flowing to your pockets.
Leah Squire is the founder of www.byokids.com.au … an internet based travel business that was started just over 2 years ago with $1000 and a zero dollar marketing budget.
Leah’s business talents have earned her a stack of awards including ‘Best new business in Australia 2007’, and Anthill’s ‘Best micro business award 2008’.
The book is available online at www.marketingwithnomoney.com and most bookstores nationally.