Telling your story online is about condensing your story for people with short attention span – the attention bankrupt as someone said to me this morning.
People don’t read online – they scan. So the view is that you should use short sentences, bullet point and don’t use flowery language. People often get seduced by the theatricality of the technology and forget that a web page is just a step in a sales process. It needs to end up with a call to action and a result. That could be a direct sale as in our http://www.plants4presents.co.uk business, it could be a download of a white paper or a free planning tool as we do with http://www.howtodobusiness.com or it could be a direct phone call or email.
In any event, you need to make the site easy to navigate and easy for people to give you the result you want.
But that’s after they get there. On line marketing is mainly about being found. There are various ways to engineer this. It could be achieved by links from other people’s sites, by buying traffic using pay per click or by people just knowing you so well they type in your company name. Or you can be found by a search for you or your product using Google or Yahoo.
They can’t see pictures. They are in the business of delivering accurately searched information. This means they scan a page to see what it’s about to decide whether it should be served up as an answer to a search – something that someone types into that little box on the Google front page.
So to find the best match it can it looks at the copy on your page to see how closely it matches what was asked for. It tends to work by analysing phrases known as keywords and you can use these to leverage your on line performance.
To be systematic about this you need to be clear about what your story is and then you need to break them down into keywords. These are the phrases that Google uses when it’s searching. Once you’ve got these, then you can test them.
The cheapest form of market research known to man is Google ad-words. Because you can use it to ask the audience what it wants. Put simply, Google lets you bet on a phrase – let’s say business plan or marketing plan. You can say that if someone uses this phrase I want you to show my advert and if the ad is clicked on I will pay you up to 20p or whatever you think the lead is worth.
So you brainstorm the phrases you want. There’s a tool in Google that lets you generate more of the same – so you can test several hundred phrases at the same time. Then you create an ad. It’s quite tight. You have 25 characters for a headline and 2 x 35 characters for the body. So doing this will improve your copy writing skills.
You set your budget at something modest – £3 a day will cost you £100 in month, £5 a day will cost you £500 over 3 months – and let the campaign run. By testing the words against the ads you can home in quite quickly on the best keywords for you. The full details of how to do this are in our PunchaboveYourWeight workbook.
Having got these you can put them in various key places. Links on other people’s sites. In your autosignature on blogging spaces like Ecademy. And in any other on-line spaces you control. Like blogs, you-tube channels, Squidoo lenses etc.
Let’s be clear about what we’re doing here. This is like branding. What phrase do you want to own in the customer’s mind. Except that here its about what phrase do you want to own in Google’s mind. For example I want small business marketing course – to be associated with http://www.1manbrand.co.,uk. For a long time it was at number 1. You associate it by making sure that Google finds it.
Anchor text is important. If I create a link like this small business marketing course then small business marketing course sits over http://www.1manbrand.co.uk. Small business marketing course is called the anchor text for this link. Remember this – it’s important.
So what you need to do is to get this link with the right anchor text all over the internet. That will coach Google to send anyone who types in small business marketing course straight to you. In an ideal world I would like to have that link on the front page of the BBC – referring sites don’t get any better. However my powers of threat or persuasion are not enough for me to convince the BBC webmaster to make it so.
So what can we do? Well Punch above Your Weight is all about how to create various parallel presences all over the internet where YOU are the web-master and can control the linkages – over and above anyone that you can persuade.
It also tells you to use these best keywords to tag blogs, photos, videos and all kinds of other things to boost your online presence.
And lastly it tells you where to put them on the site. Which tags – H1, H2, page title, page description etc are the most important and how to make use of them.
It’s clear to me that most web designers don’t understand this judging from some very simple tests you can carry out on the site.
Search Engine Optimisation is an iterative process. The first cycle will make most of the difference and you can do it yourself. The more specialised and technical your product, the better it will probably work. If it needs constantly refining as you would if you were head to head with a big player in a massive consumer orientated niche then you will probably need an SEO expert. Most of us are not in that position.
A bit of intelligent analysis and judicious action will probably make a big difference.
We know – we found all this out by doing it. You can do it too. More details at http://www.punchaboveyourweight.com.
From our e-book 20 Business Stories