Five Free Online Marketing Tools for Your Businesses

Here are five free tools available to small business owners who are looking to market their products or services on the internet. In future posts I will cover each in more depth and examine ways that the small business owner can integrate the tools into their marketing efforts. Keyword Density Tool

This is a great free tool that will let you look at any page on the internet just like the search engines do. It will give you all kinds of useful info to help you tweak your SEO efforts. Here are just a few of the details that the keyword tool will show you:

  • What words it looks like your page is optimized for.
  • How many words are in each element and what those words are.
  • The number of repeats and keyword density for all phrases on the page.
  • Outgoing links
  • Total word count

Learn more here:

Google Analytics

If you do not have any type of analytics on your site, go get signed up for Google analytics right now, here.

Analytics basically means, who has visited my site, and what did they do when they were there? After you have added a small piece of code to your web site, the analytics software will begin to track very specific information about every user that has made their way to your pages.


Google Analytics

The easiest way to get started is to have your web designer set up the analytics functionality so that all you have to do is log in and check your stats. In fact you should make sure that analytics tracking is always part of the package, and included in the price anytime you have a website or landing page designed for the internet. It is very easy for a web designer to install the code so they should not charge extra for the functionality.

Learn more here:


Does your business need a blog? Do you need a website that is cheap to set up and easy to make changes to on your own. Look no further than the free open source blog software that just keeps getting better and better. The list of benefits is long and includes: thousands of free templates, thousands of great plug-ins to extend functionality and an ease of use for non-techie small business owners. While it was originally a blogging platform, it has been turned into a full-fledged CMS (Content Management System) that will allow you to easily add information and make changes without having to call up your expensive webmaster.

Learn more here:

Google External Keyword Tool

Whether for SEO or PPC keyword research is a critical first step in your online marketing efforts.

The best free tool to do keyword research is Google’s keyword tool. Below is an example of a list of possible words that could be used for a salon in the Boulder, CO area. In the first column is the keyword, the second column will tell you how many searches were performed last moths for the term, and the third column gives a monthly average of search volume over the last year. This is also a must use tool for PPC research.


Googles External Keyword Tool

Learn more here:

Google’s Local Business Listings

Is your business is the Yellow Pages of the 20th Century? If you are not signed up for Google’s Local Business Center you could be missing out on an avalanche of potential customers who are looking for what you offer right in your town.

Google’s local business listings are a great FREE way for your business to acquire new clients and your website to get increased traffic. It will take a few minutes to get it all set up but it is definitely worth it. Not only will it list your phone number and a link to your website, you will also show up on a map and you can offer potential clients a coupon, and get positive reviews from existing customers.

Google Local Business Listings

Google Local Business Listings

Keep an eye out for future posts where we will cover how to improve your rankings.

Sign up here:

Google’s Adword Editor

For anyone using adwords PPC to advertise their business I recommend you download and learn to use the free desktop editor offered by Google to edit your campaigns. It is much faster than entering your data online and there is a great utility that allows you to import large amounts of data via a spreadsheet.

Learn more here:

Material for My BSEC 2011 Presentation

I am almost out the door to go speak in lovely Scottsdale, Arizona for the 2011 Buying and Selling eContent Conference.

I have collected a few items to support my presentation and they are collected below. You will find a content creation template that I use to easily turn any blog post into multiple twitter and Facebook posts. Also included is the original article in PDF format as well as my slides from the presentation.

I will be checking in from the road. Probably more than I do when I am in the firebox that is my office.

Content Creation Template [editable docx]

This document will allow you to easily create all of your content for a specific post at one time. Including the main blog post, tweets, and facebook posts. To get the most out of this template simply jot down any important points or interesting insights into the facebook and twitter areas while you write. By creating all of the content at once, not only will your social media posts be more impactful and relevant to your audience, but you will also not have to come back at a later date and try to “come up” with your social media posts out of thin air.

>> Click Here to Download

Full ’12 Ways’ Article [pdf]

The original article that my talk was based on. It expands and goes more in-depth into many of the ideas I presented. Feel free to print, copy and share.

>> Click Here to Download

Slides of the ’12 Ways’ Presentation [pdf]

Full slide deck from my presentation at Buying and Selling eContent on March 28th, 2011.

>> Click Here to Download

If You Have any Questions or Need Help Promoting Your Membership Site Contact Me:
Direct: 208-283-2371

Keywords for Your Online Advertising

It is critically important that you choose a very small handful of keyword phrases to optimize your site to rank well for, in fact for optimum SEO effectiveness it is recommended that you choose 2 to 4 phrases to focus your efforts on. If ranking for multiple phrases is important, creating extra sections or pages on your website that focus on those terms can be a good strategy.

The keywords that you choose to optimize your site for will determine when your page will be found by users. Say for instance you have done a great job of using the techniques taught here and have optimized your site for “best salon in Boulder”, and there are very few other web sites that have optimized for this phrase. When a user searches for the phrase “best salon in Boulder”, it is very likely that your site will rank well in the results. However, if you have not optimized for a phrase such as “best hair color in Boulder” and someone performs a search using that term you are unlikely to rank well.

Obviously choosing the right keywords is a critical decision that can determine the kind of customers that find your website.

Until you have decided which keywords you want your site to be ranked for the optimization process cannot move forward. Because you know your business better than anyone else it is important to really analyze what types of search terms customers in your area will use to find a salon or your site.

You also need to make sure that the search terms you choose are relevant to what you offer and will attract paying clients. For example, you do not want to optimize for ‘best hairstyle pictures’ even though that keyword may have a high search volume and be related to your industry. Hairstyle pictures are not something you offer, and any traffic that you do receive from that term will not be receptive to your services. They are looking for pictures of the latest styles not necessarily some one to cut their hair.

The best free tool to do keyword research is Google’s External keyword tool. Below is an example of a list of possible words that could be used for a salon in the Boulder, CO area. In the first column is the keyword, the third column will tell you how many searches were performed last month for the term, and the 4th column gives a monthly average of search volume over the last year.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising For Your Businesses: 3 Types

I was on the phone with a client this morning and the conversation headed towards some of the intricacies of PPC marketing for an upcoming project. Specifically we talked about the difference between Search Based PPC, Content Network PPC, and Social Network PPC, or what I call Demographic Based PPC.

Now this particular project is based around a predictive financial model that uses human emotion to forecast market movements. While this is definitely not a small local business, I thought it may be helpful to some of the small business owners out there if I shed a little light on the different options that are available for your Pay-Per-Click dollar.

While you might not be familiar with these options yet, there is some great news for you, and your business: there is a very good chance that your competition is not using these tactics.

The Most Important Question to Ask About Your Potential Customers

Before we examine the different types of PPC options that are out there, it is important to take a step back and ask yourself: “where are my potential customers on the buying scale”. In other words, are your customers even aware that they have a problem that your products or services can solve, or are they already familiar with your business? Much as with writing headlines, the answer to that question can help determine what type of PPC adverting you ultimately decide to use.

From Rich Shefren discussing Eugene Schwartz’s “bridge” concept:

“The headline, according to Eugene Swartz, is the bridge between your prospect and your product. So it depends on where your prospect is based on the headline that you‘ll use. So according to Eugene Swartz, if they are aware of the product and that it satisfies the desire, your headline would then start with the product because they are already aware of it. If they are aware of their desire but they are not aware of the product, the headline starts with desire. If they are concerned with the problem and they are not even aware of the desire but they are aware of a problem, the headline starts with the problem and crystallizes it into a specific need.”

gauge1So the first step is to determine where your customers are on that scale. If you sell something common such as insurance or dog food, customers know that they need those services so you will have to do little in the way of convincing them there is a need. If however you sell financial planning, or are a chiropractor, there is a certain amount of educating that will need to be done. Such as pointing out potential problems that your prospects may not be aware of and then offering your services as a solution.

If your potential customers range from a full knowledge of your company and products to barely knowing that they may even have a problem, then a mix of the three different types of PPC advertising is the best way to go.

Where are Your Potential Customers Online?

Another factor when deciding on what type of PPC ads to use is to make sure you go where the potential customers are.

The best metaphor I can come up with to explain the different types of PPC is to think of all PPC ads overall like you would think of print ads. They all generally have a combination of words, pictures and a marketing message that you are trying to get in front of potential customers.

Now think of the three separate types of PPC as different mediums where you can place your ads. In other words, you can put your print ad in a newspaper, a magazine or a bus bench. Where you place your ad depends on what your goals are for the campaign and what type of customer you want to reach.

If own a local restaurant, and are looking to attract tourists, it might be best to place an ad into a local lifestyle magazine that new visitors are likely to pick up.

Simple enough, now let’s say instead that you run a local car dealership. A lifestyle magazine aimed at tourists is definitely not the right fit for your ad, but the newspaper, in the Saturday ‘Auto’ section is about as good as you are going to get.

Well, although the technology has changed the same principle applies to Pay-Per-Click marketing on the internet; you go where your best customers are likely to be…here is how it works.

Search Based PPC

boise_dogProbably the best choice for local businesses, search based PPC is all about returning relevant ads to consumers after they have performed a search on one of the search engines.

If it is likely that potential customers will use the search engines to look for a local business to provide the goods or services that you supply, then this is the only place you need to worry about spending your PPC dollars.

For example, say you sell art supplies. More than likely a user who is looking for art supplies would go to a search engine and type in: ‘art supplies in Seattle’. With Search Based PPC you can quickly, easily, and cost effectively, get to the top of that list.

In other words, if people are likely to look in the phone book for your type of business before they make a buying decision, you definitely need to invest in at least a minimal PPC campaign. We will be covering how to do this in future posts to this blog.

Search based PPC is best for customers that know about the products or services you offer but may not know that your business offer those types of products or services.
I could go on and on about search based PPC, but let’s move on.

Content Network PPC

acneContent Network PPC placement is a little more complicated, and is only a good fit for certain local businesses. Basically these are the ads you see on news and article sites in the margins that will be somewhat related to the articles content.

These ads are good to target users who know they have a problem and are using the internet to research solutions.
For example, if you are a dermatologist you may want to run an ad that targets acne sufferers in your area who are browsing medical articles that discuss acne treatments. The best way to do this is to buy placement (via Google Adwords or Yahoo!) on medical sites that have these types of articles.

Using the power of keywords, and geo-targeting, you can make sure that your ad for ‘Local Acne Treatment’ is only shown to local customers who are looking at articles about treating acne. While Content Network PPC advertising is only for certain local businesses, it is easy to see the power in being able to target these very specific types of customers.

Now let’s take a look at an option that very few local businesses are taking advantage of.

Demographic Based PPC

facebook_adsDemographic Based PPC ads are most common on the social networking sites such as facebook and Linkedin. They allow the advertiser to only show their ads to certain demographic profiles.

For example, you can restrict your ad to only show to single females, over the age of 40, living in Sacramento, CA. Or you could target Spanish speaking males, under the age of 30, living in Arizona.

Now, if you are the type of business that has a very specific customer profile, such as a financial planner or weeding photographer (you can even target engaged users as well), these types of ads can really boost your advertising. But again, Demographic Based PPC is not for every small business.

Look for future articles that will walk you through this process step-by-step on the Facebook network.


Sometimes I wonder what the advertising greats from 80 years ago would think of our ability to instantly pinpoint almost any type of customer… I have a feeling they would love it!

So before you determine which PPC outlet is right for your business you should ask yourself a few things about your “ideal” potential customers:

  1. Where is my ideal customer on the buying scale?
  2. How is my ideal customer likely to look for the type of product or service I offer?
  3. Is there a demographic profile that represents my ideal customers?

Take some time to answer these questions and research the different types of PPC advertising that are available to your business. For my client that I spoke with this morning, we decided to go with Content Network PPC because our ideal customer is very likely to be researching investment options, but very unlikely to use the search engines to look for an advisory service based on the psychology of markets.

If you are not sure what type is right for your business, drop me a note in the comments below and I will be glad to make a recommendation. Also keep checking back as I will be writing many more in-depth articles regarding each type of PPC advertising.

Get More Subscribers by Using YouTube to Market Your Membership Site

Promote Your Membership and Subscription Site with YouTube
Marketing your membership and subscription site using YouTube is a great way to reach potential members due to its browser friendly layout and impressive traffic numbers.

In many ways YouTube has grown into a very content centric(versus personality) social network with many of the same “freinding” and “sharing” features found on the other big SN’s.

The big difference is that people go to YouTube to search for relevant information regarding their topic of choice. So getting your relevant content in front of them and directing them back to your membership site is a great way to increase revenue.

Read More

21 Ways to Promote Your Subscription Based Membership Site

Promoting your membership and subscription site is all about going to where your target market is.  Fortunately it is easier than ever to laser focus your marketing on the right areas to get a flood of new subscribers.

Some items on this list are obvious, hopefully others will open your eyes to new ways to promote your site. I will be expanding on each one of these over the next few months so stay tuned –  subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me onTwitter/Facbook to stay up to date.

Here they are –  21 ways you can bring new subscriber into your site:

  1. Use twitter – Read my article on twitter for a complete subscription site promotion blueprint.
  2. Use YouTube – ‘Marketing Your Membership Site on YouTube’ article coming in the next few days.
  3. Use Facebook
  4. Use Myspace
  5. Use Linkedin
  6. Search based PPC ads
  7. Content network PPC ads
Read More

12 Ways to Use Twitter to Promote Your Membership & Subscription Site

Let me just start by saying this – if you are not promoting, marketing, and sharing your membership & subscription based site using twitter today, right now, this second – you are leaving big money on the table.

So how can you use, what on the surface seems like a really bloated conversation about nothing to bring in a flood of new subscribers? Plus, as an added bonus keep your existing subscribers uber-engaged?

Here are 12 ways you can start using twitter today to increase membership retention and boost your sign-ups.

Read More

100+ Membership Site Name Ideas

Need help naming your new membership or subscription site idea? Below is a list of over 100 of the best membership site name ideas.

Just take your topic, industry or niche and add one of these “membership modifiers” to the end and fire up your favorite registrar to see if it is available.

Obviously some of these are widly inapproproate for some niches and perfect for others, but hopefully this list will get the gears turning if you are still looking for that perfect membership site name or domain.


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7 Ways to Make Shutting off Your Subscription as Painful as Possible

What are you doing today to make shutting off your subscription as painful as possible?

Hang on…before you think I am some subscription site sadist hear me out.

There is no doubt that a member who stays with you over the long term is highly valuable, we can all agree on that. So what can we do to make the thought of leaving unbearable and have the customer in fact be happy to see your charge every month on their credit card statement?

I will say it again, unfortunately people often act to avoid pain, it’s not mean to say so, it’s just a fact in marketing. So every month your customer faces a choice: “Does the pain of the charge outweigh the pain of losing this content?”

Below are 7 ways you can turn the screw and increase the pain of leaving you…and increase your membership sites renewal rates.

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