Archive for 16. February 2010

Learn to Avoid Basic SEO and Internet Marketing Mistakes

Copyright (c) 2010 Paul Marshall

Frankly, the biggest search engine optimization mistake you can make is not doing any SEO at all. It’s amazing how many people believe “if you build it, they will come.” Marketing coaching makes one thing clear. Just putting a site up on the Internet won’t get you the traffic you want or need. By the same token, building a site and then thinking about SEO after the fact is a bad plan too. SEO needs to be at the heart of your Web plans from day one, and it’s a job that’s never “finished.”

Learn What’s Bad For SEO And Don’t Do It

If you take a drawing class, one of the first things you’ll learn is that it’s easier to look at the negative space than at the object itself. That means that as a beginner, you have a better shot at recreating the funky-looking space between the apple and the pear than drawing the fruit the first time you pick up a pencil. And you don’t get so discouraged when your results aren’t perfect. That’s a good concept to carry into online marketing.

Sometimes learning everything that can go wrong is a better place to start than trying to do everything right. Do-it-yourself, affordable SEO is too expensive at any cost if you’re constantly shooting yourself in the foot. Some of the biggest mistakes novices make are really the easiest ones to avoid!

Bad Navigation And No Sitemap

It doesn’t take a marketing coach to know that the entire point of “search engine optimization” on a site is to get that site crawled by the search engines. If you use images — or worse — Flash or javascript to design your navigation, the search engines will ignore you. (Also, any page that doesn’t have an incoming link won’t be crawled.)

Not having a sitemap is just as bad. Many website owners don’t think they need a sitemap because people don’t use them. It’s not about people! Search engines love sitemaps. They literally crawl all over sitemaps. Even if you have to maintain the sitemap manually, have one and link to it on every page of your site.

Poorly Constructed Title Tags And URLs

There’s nothing wrong with building your own website, but pay attention to what your software is doing. Many site building packages and content management systems repeat the same title tag on every single page. Good programs of marketing coaching teach you that the title tag is probably the single most-important SEO element of any page. The title tag must fit the content of the page itself.

But, don’t pay attention to the title tag and ignore the URL. This is especially a problem in content management systems and shopping carts. The URLs are full of numbers and letters. You need to be including your keywords in your URLs so the search engines pick up on them. Don’t waste the invaluable potential in either the title tag or the URL.

Banning A Search Engine By Accident

It’s not unusual for a novice site owner to mess up their robots.txt file. The file exists in your site’s root directory to talk to search engine spiders. You can tell them not to crawl pages or sections or send other individual instructions. Since the file is just plain text and is so easy to create, site owners wade in without really understanding what they’re doing. If you’re not careful, you can ban the search engines from your site altogether. Use Yahoo SiteExplorer or Google SiteMaps to make sure that your site can indeed by crawled.

Vague Anchor Text For Links

Using anchor text like “click here” or “next” is a waste. When you are cultivating incoming links or creating your own links inside your site, use useful, descriptive anchor text. You don’t want to repeat the same phrase over and over again. Get two or three relevant, keyword-rich pieces of anchor text and also use your company name. Empty phrases are just that — empty.

Doing accurate keyword research is fundamental to successful online marketing. It’s a huge topic in its own right, but you basically want to concentrate on phrases that are not overly general or that have too much competition. Good marketing coaches will spend a lot of time on keyword selection and you should too. Put that chore right up at the top of your SEO “to do” list.

In reading all the tips available on marketing coaching, you’ll find that most articles and courses focus on the things website owners should do. It’s also important to look at what you shouldn’t do. A poorly constructed site that fails to make good use of readable navigation, workable behind-the-scenes code, solid naming structures, and relevant anchor text will have a tough time online. Consider the fundamentals of basic SEO from the planning stage of your site to maximize your results and get the traffic you want.


Marketing online since 2004, Paul Marshall can help you market on a realistic budget. He’s a Marketing Coaching expert offering professional marketing services (and d-i-y Coaching). He also offers Affordable SEO services. Get to know Paul, just visit Strategic Web today!

Direct Marketing Sales Training

Mary Kay, Avon, Direct Marketing Sales TrainingDirect Marketing is a term that draws fear into those who are beginning their sales career. Everyone has heard of a disaster story. This MLM didn’t work or that Avon sales representative who just gave up.

And when they give up, when the sales fail to materialize haven’t you noticed that it always the companies fault. They didn’t do this, or they didn’t do that.

MLM’s, Mary Kay, Avon, Tupperware, Amway, you name it there are many, many Direct Marketing Firms that are solid companies that are worth joining.

However, my contention is that it is probably the companies fault. When I said it is probably the companies fault here’s my point:

You can’t and I mean can’t take a person off the street and expect them to just start selling. Occasionally you will run into “just the right” person that through their own sheer will can get it done but most ordinary people joining Avon, Mary Kay or any Direct Marketing firm need some sales training help.

Probably the best method to get that type of direct marketing sales training is through e-Learning. I’m not opposed, in fact I would rather have these new, green salespeople in one of my 2-day sales seminars but I understand the expense and time that those types of classes demand.

e-Learning is a method where the new Mary Kay representative or Avon associate can learn the basics of selling to the public.

These new, green salespeople tend to fail when they run out of “friends and family” and have to start selling to the general public.

e-Learning will teach them the basics AND will teach them that it is okay for someone not to want or need your product. However, e-Learning sales training will definitely teach the new direct marketing salesperson that if you stay on task and keep to the sales process you will succeed.

The best part of e-Learning is that it is inexpensive and can be done in short 1 hour time frames!

Good luck to all direct marketing salespeople including the newest Mary Kay or Avon representatives. Keep e-Learning sales training in mind – it can definitely help you succeed.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

The Art of Working A Room — Networking Skills for Small Business

Copyright (c) 2010 K. MacKillop

Mastering the art of effective networking marks the difference between merely successful entrepreneurs and captains of industry – the better you are at networking, the more power you wield. Networking serves many purposes, from building your customer base to providing and receiving needed resources from contacts in the business community, and anyone planning on growing a startup should devote time to sharpening their networking skills.

For many experienced entrepreneurs, networking events are the most productive way to spend their limited business-social time. For others, entering a room full of people seems overwhelming, especially if they don’t know anyone else there. There are a few simple rules to follow to be successful working the room, and anyone with a little willingness can learn to be a master of networking.

Begin With the End In Mind

Before you attend any networking events, plan your objectives. Whether you have a specific business problem you need to address, or you are looking to add three solid business contacts to your network, or you need two new client leads, going in with a plan will make the time you spend networking far more effective. Attending without set objectives is far more likely to result in a lot of time spent with very little payoff.

As you become more involved in your business community, you will likely find that there are enough networking events to completely fill your calendar. There is no need to attend every event. Some organizations will meet your particular needs better than others. Try out different venues, and evaluate the outcome based on a simple rule – you should obtain at least three new contacts, leads, or pieces of useful information for every hour you spend networking. If you find yourself attending a weekly event with the same people and you are not garnering any new information or leads, consider reducing your attendance to once per month and trying different events to improve your results.

In addition to setting specific objectives, prepare topics to discuss, knowledge to offer, and questions to ask to keep the conversation going. If there is a specific referral or information that you need, make a note so you don’t forget. Take your planner with you to hold business cards and take notes as needed.

Working the Room

Every networking event you attend will fall into one of three categories: you know everyone there, you know a few people, or you don’t know a soul. Each circumstance requires a different approach. If you know everyone, be sure to make contact with them all. Limit your conversations to a few minutes each. If possible, make introductions between professionals you know who have something in common or complementary skills or businesses.

If you know only a few people in the room, start by catching up with each of them. Ask them who else they know and to introduce you around. Be sure you do the same by introducing the people you know to each other. Be prepared with business cards to exchange and make a habit of giving two to each new contact – one to keep and one to pass on as a referral. When you receive cards from new contacts, take a moment to note any interesting personal or business information about them to add to your contact database. If someone you meet does not have a business card, write down their information in your planner…whatever you do, never let a potentially good contact go to waste.

If you don’t know anyone at a networking event, start by looking for people standing by themselves. No one likes to be on the outside looking in, and generally these other folks will also be uncomfortable because they don’t know anyone. Once you have chatted for a few minutes, take your new contact with you to meet another loner, and another, until you have a group that everyone else in the room wants to join. Showing that kind of leadership will make you the go-to contact in your business community and will increase the odds of growing your business through referrals.

If the event you are attending has a “special guest” invited, most attendees will be clamoring for their attention. If the press is present, you should be talking to them. Meeting the state Senator is exciting, but knowing the local business reporter will get you more exposure and, thus, more business. Pay attention to what people are talking about and be just as interested in what you can do for them as in what they can do for you. Set an objective to be the best networking contact in your industry or area, and work every room with that intention in mind.

What to do (and not to do) at networking events

Some basic do’s and don’ts of networking events:

  • Do dress one step up from how you expect everyone else to be dressed.
  • Don’t make critical judgments of others based on how they are dressed.
  • Do carry more than enough business cards, at least one pen, and your planner or notepad.
  • Don’t answer calls, texts, or emails while talking with others. If you must use your smartphone, excuse yourself and step outside.
  • Do listen to what other people need and take note – if you can help them, it will improve your reputation as a great contact.
  • Don’t talk too much about personal things, especially if they are negative. Even if you are on the brink of divorce, your kid was suspended from school, and your dog bit the neighbor, nobody in the networking environment needs to know about it. Same goes for medical issues.
  • Do review your notes from the last event and follow up as appropriate.
  • Do not bring up negative issues in front of uninvolved contacts.
  • Do make a point to chat with the bartender and servers – you’d be surprised who they know and who they might end up to be.
  • Don’t drink alcohol. Avoid eating unless absolutely starving. Food in your teeth and garlic breath is not the image you are striving for. If you must eat, take a break and be sure to check yourself in the restroom before getting back to networking. Don’t try to talk to others while they are eating. Seriously, grab an energy bar on the way – why waste limited networking time on a snack?

Effective networking skills are a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, and the ability to work a room is one of the toughest to master. Use common sense and make a point of evaluating your performance after each networking event. The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be to become the go-to contact in your area and industry.

About the Author——————————————————————————————————————-

K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur with a J.D. from Duke University, is founder of LaunchX and authors a blog focused on starting a business. It is a complete business startup kit containing everything you need to turn your idea into a successful business. Visit for a free Business Readiness Assessment and get on the road to starting a business today.

39 Free/Low-Cost Tools for Marketing Your Small Business Online

 Copyright (c) 2010 Stone Reuning
SEO Advantage

Thousands of free online marketing tools clamor for attention, with new ones popping up every week it seems. You know you should be doing more to reach out to your customers, but just researching which tools to use can be a vast time investment, even if they don’t require a big financial outlay.

Here find compiled a list of the most popular (or most useful) low-cost or free small business marketing tools. You might be using some of them already, but you’re sure to find a couple that will round out your small business marketing toolkit nicely. And if you’re just starting out marketing a new business online, this list may help point you in the right direction.


The Open Directory

A staple of the SEO crowd, this directory can be tricky to get into but well worth it for the link juice it passes along to your site.

Yahoo! Directory

It’s not free – this directory will set you back a couple hundred bucks a year – but it’s well worth it for inclusion.

Best of the Web Directory

This directory has been around a while and can pass along some good PageRank to your site.

Niche directories

Find the directories in your industry that pass along good link building opportunities. Some examples to get you started: for ad agencies, web developers, printers and other graphics professionals; for small businesses and businesses that serve them; for the accounting industry; for alpaca breeders, and so on.

Press Release Distribution Services


The most bang for your buck from an actual wire service, Marketwire’s prices are lower than PR Newswire and Businesswire. This newer service is built for powerful online exposure, and you’ll enjoy the full online distribution with any geographical AP wire distribution. (Sometimes you can get statewide wire distribution for nearly the same cost as only your local metropolitan area.) It’s great for building inbound links – just choose the SEO Enhanced option.


A good-performing free press release distribution outlet, PRLog press releases rank really well and for a really long time if they are written with SEO copywriting best practices. Press releases include three links, though they are URL based (starting with http) rather than text anchor. PRLog also lets you create your own newsroom where all your press releases reside, as well as an “about us” page and product showcase area.


A relatively new PR-for-social-media site that promises to let you create and share press releases easily and for free and syndicate content to Google News. Lets you include HTML in your press release, so you can use keyword text anchor links. The site is marketing itself quite aggressively and will likely build a big presence quickly. The only catch is your release will disappear off the site after 30 days if you aren’t a paid member ($50/month for your own press room).

Email Marketing


AWeber makes it easy to start building your email marketing list, if you haven’t already. For less than $20/month, you can build unlimited newsletter lists, send unlimited email blasts, and email unlimited autorespond messages to up to 500 subscribers/list. (Then it’s $29/month up to 2500 subscribers.) Also offers a recurring 30% commission – a pretty good affiliate program for a service you’ll appreciate enough to recommend to others. (Disclosure note: the link above is our affiliate link. We’ve been using the service for 3 years now, after trying out Constant Contact and researching about 20 other providers! Most either do autoresponders or email blasts/newsletters – not both.)

Content Sharing Websites


Create a lens around your business area. A good one with lots of information will even rank in the search engines and can bring traffic to your web site.


Share your expert content like white papers and articles. You can make them available for free or sell them. You can submit documents in PowerPoint, Word, PDF and many other file formats.


Post your presentations and documents online for others to view and share. This is a great way to get exponential exposure for your sales or marketing materials – or share documents privately. See some tips for getting more visibility with SlideShare.


Does your product or service translate well visually? Use this popular photo sharing site to get more eyeballs.

A video-sharing alternative to YouTube, lets you embed links in your descriptions and create a TV station showing all your videos in one spot.

Social Networks


Create a page for your business. Feed your blog in. Start a group. Get fans. Advertise to targeted users if your products appeal to the Facebook crowd (which is basically everyone nowadays). See using the new Facebook business page layout to learn more. Stop by our page and become a fan, too!


Take a second look at this medium for social networking. According to MarketingProfs, more than half of users are 35 or older. Explore using MySpace for your business.


Like a virtual Rolodex. Build your professional profile, link up with other professionals, join groups or even start a group. Participating in Q&A’s related to your profession is a great way to build credibility and visibility.


Build your own social network around your business. You may even get your network into the search engine results pages. Learn more about using Ning for business.

Read “Utilize Social Media to Gain Additional Exposure for Your Site” for more information about social networks and how they can drive targeted traffic to your site.

Social Bookmarking


Getting your content on the home page of Digg is one way to bump up your web site’s traffic by thousands within minutes. This can result in valuable links to your site. Start with this beginner’s guide to Digg.


Build friends and send them your articles to rate. More thumbs up will get your article shown to more people outside your network and can result in thousands of visitors every day. Tips for using StumbleUpon.


Even if your content gets buried on Digg, it can flourish on Reddit – which can be a catalyst for jumping to the home page of other social bookmarking sites. Learn more about the types of topics that do well on Reddit.


Your own blog –

Write great content relevant to your business area that people will find useful. Use it to link to deep pages on your site to help them get indexed in the search engines. Build your thought leadership and let your customers get to know your business better. Try WordPress for an easy-to-use platform that’s also search engine friendly.

Others’ blogs –

Read and comment on other blogs in your industry. Use your comment signature to link back to your blog or web site. Build relationships online and spread the link love from your own blog to others’.


Micro-blogging. Update your status daily or a couple times a week. Use keywords in your posts and profile to help gain followers on Twitter quickly. Link to your unique content in your updates and take advantage of the multitude of new applications created to help you manage your Twitter experience.

Affiliate Marketing

Post Affiliate Pro

Traditionally links generated through affiliate marketing have not been helpful for search engine optimization – until Post Affiliate Pro, that is. This easy-to-use affiliate program lets you set up a referral program in minutes and keeps your links simple and search engine friendly.


Claim your blog at Technorati to make sure it’s indexed in the blog search engines and have your updates broadcast across the network.

Your Own Web Properties

Create A Knowledge Center

Build a content area on your site where you can add articles regularly. This can be as formal as white papers or case studies, but it can also work with less formal articles, as long as they further your company’s thought leadership position and credibility. They will also boost your search engine rankings if you contribute regularly and ensure your site architecture is optimized. See how we’re doing this with SEO Advantage’s new knowledge center.


People are going to look up user reviews whether on your site or elsewhere – might as well take advantage of the user-generated content for additional search engine visibility. You’ll also rank higher in trust with your efforts at transparency.


Voting/polling/surveys. A tool of engagement that lets you gauge interest, measure customer satisfaction or just provide some fun. (People love to give their opinions.)

Awards and Contests

Enter them and host them. Winning an industry award can add to your credibility, and giving them out can get you lots of press coverage and links. Get creative.

Search Engine Optimization

Make sure your site architecture is optimized for maximum exposure in the search engines. Create link-building campaigns. Add to your content regularly. Enlist the services of a search engine optimization company to guide your efforts or handle implementation completely.



Designate the keywords you’d like to keep track of, and Google will send you alerts of news and pages indexed on those topics “as it happens” with Google News Alerts. You can also enter multiple terms at Google Trends to compare the general level of buzz around those terms.


An “online magazine rack”, this site aggregates content and organizes it. Select your topics and have the latest content delivered to you, or just browse the site when you’re in research mode. Also, be sure to submit your site so it shows among the related content.


Find keywords with a more comprehensive tool than free pay-per-click research tools, which may skew results. A free trial will give you an idea of how it works.

Yahoo! Pipes

See who’s talking about your company or brand by pulling together RSS feeds from different sources around the Web using the beta Yahoo! Pipes. This handy video shows you how.


You need to measure all your online marketing efforts. If you’re looking for a free analytics package, try Google Analytics or Yahoo! IndexTools. (Which is better?) However, you’ll probably want some help implementing and interpreting your analytics package to get the most from it – ask your SEO company if they offer this.


About the Author:

Stone Reuning is president of SEO Advantage, a search engine optimization company that helps businesses harness the revenue generation potential of their websites. Referenced in books such as “Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale” and the BusinessWeek bestseller “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”, offers information to help small businesses compete online.

The Boiling Frog Syndrome

Copyright (c) 2009-2010 Scott Bywater
Copywriting That SELLS

Have you heard the anecdote of the boiling frog?

If a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out right away. However if it is placed in cold water and then slowly heated over a period of time, it will not perceive the danger and will slowly boil to death.

And I think this is an important metaphor which we can all learn from in our business lives…

For instance, you may have set out in your business to charge a certain fee for service or achieve a certain objective.

And then you meet a client who laughed at your lofty ideals… so you dropped them a little.

And then you found it hard to get customers, so you drop your goals a little more.

And then the economy gets tough, so you drop your expectations a little more.

And then it goes around and around in a spiral and you feel as though you are going around in circles.

Essentially, you have ended up as a boiling frog… your business dying right before your very eyes… but because it has all happened so gradually… you don’t even realize it until you’re a dead frog.

I’ve seen this happen to many business owners over the years.

Not knowing what to do… we just sit there and accept things… and because it is gradual… we accept far more pain and frustration than we would have accepted at first.

You may be in the position above. Or you may have an extremely successful business, but whatever the case I believe everyone, including me, suffers from the boiling frog syndrome at some stage in their business lives.

To find out if you are suffering from the ‘boiling frog’ dis-ease, reflect back on your business ideals when you started and ask yourself…

1. Would I have chosen the same clients as I have now when I first began.

2. Would I been happy earning the money I am now when I first got started in business?

3. Is what I have now what I set out to create?

4. Did I set out to work the number of hours I now work for the income I now receive?

If you answered no to any of the questions above, then it’s time to JUMP out of the boiling water and claim the business you deserve.

Start charging what you’re worth. Start getting the clients you deserve. Start working more effectively and earning more money with less time. And start earning what you deserve.

Of course, you need to take action in order to create these sort of breakthroughs.

Scott Bywater is an income boosting, results focused direct response copywriter and the author of Cashflow Advertising and More Customers Made Easy. His popular ebook “7 ways to get more customers” has been downloaded by over 8,247 business owners over the past five years. You can get your hands on it by heading on over to