Monthly Archives: October 2011

10 steps to quality Facebook “likes”

Unlike Field of Dreams, Facebook does not work by the motto “if you build it, they will come”. You need to put time and effort into growing your “likers” and turning them into leads, prospects and clients.

There are a lot of business on Facebook – some successful, some not. And the successful ones know that quality rules over quantity every time.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you will start to see more leads coming through your Facebook page.

1/ Get a vanity Facebook URL: Ever wondered how some pages on Facebook have a URL that looks something like this “www.facebook.com/businessname”? It’s actually pretty easy. Go to https://www.facebook.com/username/ and you will see an option to give each of the pages you administer its own vanity URL (you used to have to have 25 likers for this to happen, but Facebook recently relaxed this rule). Choose a Vanity URL as close to your business name as possible. There are two good reasons to do this. One – it will be searchable on Google and other search engines, and two – it means you can “tag” your page (this will be explained later).

2/Have a welcome page: You may have seen some Facebook pages have a landing page that points to a special offer, or tells you a little bit about them. Business with customised “Welcome” pages give the impression that they do mean business. Direct Sites Online can help you design and upload a Facebook welcome page.

3/ Look for quality likes: There are approximately 6 gajillion pages on Facebook that offer “marches” or “silent tagging”. Basically this means that people run around “liking” other business pages in the hope that the business will like them back. It is not targeted, nor is it smart. Remember, if people don’t really care for your “thing” they can hide you from their newsfeed. So, you might have 1000 fans, but how many are actually taking notice of your thing? Instead try to network with like-minded pages, and let them know you are there. Likes will grow organically – it’s better to have 30 genuine likers than 1000s who don’t care.

4/Tag your page: When you “like” a relevant page’s wall, remember to post on their wall who you are and where you come from, and if you type your page name with an “@” symbol first, it will become a clickable link. But try to be a bit more original than “Hi from your newest liker blah blah blah”. Try something like “Hi from @yourbusinessname. This is a fantastic service/product you are offering, I particularly like your widget photos. Look forward to virtual networking you”. Hopefully they will drop by your page and like you back. And when you have built a relationship with these pages, make sure you occasionally post special deals, or great articles, on their walls too.

4/ Like your likers: If someone “likes” your page, do them the courtesy of “liking” their back. And post on their wall “Thanks for stopping by @yourbusinessname. Great to hear from a like-minded individual”. If you’re lucky, their other fans will see your post and drop by your page.

5/Post a status update: Seems obvious, doesn’t it, but you’d be surprised how many businesses on Facebook forget they also have a personal page with a number of friends. Every now and then (maybe monthly or so), post a status update along the lines of “Been busy with @yourbuinessname lately. Drop by and check out what I’ve been up to.”

6/ Promote via your website: Direct Sites Online can add a widget that allows people to “like” you Facebook page, without even leaving your website. Another widget allows page visitors to “like” a particular blog post or page, and this “like” will turn up in their newsfeed.

7/ Put your Facebook URL on your marketing material: This includes your shop window, business cards, flyers, email signatures – whatever platforms you use to promote your business.

8/ Don’t spam: The easiest way to get people to hide you from their newsfeed is if you constantly post irrelevant updates.  Promote your specials and share relevant content, such as blog posts from your website, links to articles about your thing, and questions that challenge your likers. This sets you up as a subject matter expert, and when one of your likers wants your thing, they will remember you as someone who was helpful and interesting. And if you are selling a product make sure you upload top quality pictures – and don’t share the album till there are all uploaded, there’s nothing worse than someone clogging a newsfeed with one picture after another. And you will get “unliked”.

9/ Don’t sweat the unlikes: Some people will go. Big deal, they probably weren’t a prospective customer anyway.

10/ Track and evaluate: Facebook has a great “insights” tool (you will see it on the right of your page) which will give you all sorts of statistics about what works and what doesn’t. Use it to develop further content.

Direct Sites Online can give you personalised advice on growing your Facebook likes and offers a social media strategy service. Contact us now on info@directsitesonline.com.au

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (promotions)

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but as I write this post, there are 62 days, six hours, 20 mins and 40-39-38-37 seconds till Christmas.

So, it must be time to think about what, if any, Christmas promotions you might want to do via your website or social media.

Firstly, you need to decide what exactly it is you want to do. E-cards? A message on your home page? A Christmas-themed Facebook promotion or giveaway? Christmas-themed Adwords campaign? Link to an online Santa and reindeers game? You need to make this decision within the next week or two.

You next consideration is your budget. Most of those ideas above are either cheap or free, but a giveaway will obviously cost you in goods or services, and an online advertising campaign could run into the hundreds, if not thousands, dependency on frequency, clicks and so on. The budget needs to be determined in conjunction with the above “what” decision.

If you want an e-mail campaign with E-cards, it’s also time to make sure your mailing lists are up-to-date and your mailing software can handle the task. Do this before the end of October and you’ll stay on track

This is when you should contact Direct Sites Online (info@directsitesonline.com) – no later than the first week November – and let us know what you want to do and your budget and we’ll ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

Next you need to get together all the odds and ends from your suppliers and consultants – designers, content writers – and send us all the materials by the third week of  November.

We’ll spend the next couple of week working on your campaign – including all the leg work to make sure your promotion runs on time and on budget and that any email campaign meets your country’s laws.

By the first week of December, we will send you prototypes and give you the chance to tweak them. Nothing will go to your valued customers before you are 100 per cent happy with it.

If you follow this schedule, your campaign will be ready to land in e-mails, or to be submitted to search engine advertising, by the middle of December.

Let Direct Sites Online take the hassle out of your Christmas online promotion campaign. Contact us now on info@directsitesonline.com

 

 

Using E-newsletters to create leads and improve SEO

When used wisely, e-newsletters can be a great marketing tool for small businesses. They are relatively inexpensive (many are free with certain conditions), can be integrated into your website and allow you to target your audience directly.

They also help with your Search Engine Optimisation and can be great for tracking what works and what doesn’t.

But there are some rules that need to be followed and some tricks of the trade that will help your e-mail campaign

1/ Don’t spam: This is by far the most important thing to remember. You need to gain the trust of your audience or they will not read your material and you will become the boy who cried wolf when you do have something to say. Also, make sure you have a document privacy policy, which states you will not share email addresses, and include an explicit opt-in and unsubscribe service (and when someone unsubscribes, make sure their email is deleted immediately).

2/ No hard sell: Again, people are turned off by this. Instead, include useful advice and information, which will set you up as a subject matter expert and give your readers a reason to click or your website link, or make a phone call when they do need what you are selling. Even better, if you make a name for yourself as an authoritative source, chances are other websites will link to your newsletter – improving your search engine rankings.

3/ Make it pretty: Yes, content is the most important thing in an e-newsletter, but it also pays to have a great-looking newsletter which is user-friendly and shows you are serious about what you do. Include photos, hyperlinks, dot points and more.

4/ Segment your audience: Most e-newsletters allow you to do “lists” of subscribers, which is a great way to send targeted information. So, for example, if you are a retailer, you can segment your list into suppliers and customers, ensuring that the right ears hear the right message. Even better, you can offer a product-specific newsletter to subscribers who have shown a keen interest in the item.

5/ Keep their attention: Use the measuring tools on offer to measure open rates, purchase transactions and content popularity. That way, you will know what your readers want from you. Also, why not invite email questions that you can then use as a starting point for the next edition – and give props to the person who asked the question. You can even set up surveys and report on the results.

6/ Optimise content: Finally, make sure the content of your newsletter uses the keywords that you (or your internet marketer) should have already identified for your website. Make sure the subject and heading are particularly keyword-rich and add a copy of the newsletter to your website for a double whammy.

Direct Sites Online can help you set up your newsletter, optimise it for search engines and develop your content. We also offer our award winning DSO Mail Manager online software, a powerful communication tool that allows you to send attractive and personalised email surveys, newsletters, brochures, announcements and invitations to your customers.

So if you want to drive more traffic to your website, contact us now on info@directsiteslonline.com

 

Using Twitter to market your business

It’s easy to see why Twitter can be dismissed as just fluff. After all, how can you possibly promote your thing in just 140 words.

But scratch below the surface and you will see that Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool when used strategically and effectively.

First things first – you need to set up the account. Go to Twitter and from there it’s pretty straight forward. You will need to have a clear idea of what you want your twitter name (the bit that goes after the @ sign) to be, although the important thing is what you write as your “description” – that’s how potential followers will find you

Now that you have a Twitter account, here’s 5  tips to get it working for your business.

  1. Network: Twitter has this great search function where you can put in any keywords and see what people are saying about a topic of your choice. If what they are saying appeals to you, then hit “follow” and use the opportunity to reply to their tweets or to retweet. Or you can even see whether people are asking a question relevant to your business. And you can answer too – setting yourself up as a subject matter expert. This also allows you to share your expertise to build credibility.
  2. Don’t be selfish: While it seems like Twitter is a great platform on which to promote your business, followers might be turned off if your tweets are a constant stream of “me, me, me”. I once read that great formula to use when thinking about tweets is this: 70% sharing others’ content and replying to tweets; 20% promotion; 10% experimentation.
  3. Think strategically: The best business tweets are ones that have been well thought out as part of a broader marketing plan, rather than just a scattergun approach. Think about what you might tweet, when and why. Use a tool such as SocialOomph to schedule your tweets.
  4. Look for leads: Follow as many people in your industry as you can and use Twitter to gather information on what competitors, customers and others are saying. And take part in the conversation – think about what you can learn AND what you can offer.
  5. Promote your thing: OK, OK, I know above I said to limit the promotion to about 20% – but you need to make that 20% count. Use it to announce special deals, events, products, services and to drive people to your website. You can maybe even ask the audience what they expect from your product/service and create real two-way communication.

Direct Sites Online can help you develop a Twitter strategy, and can link your Twitter account to your website. Email us now on info@directsitesonline.com

 

5 reasons to add videos to your website

It seems just about everybody is jumping on the video bandwagon these days, and there are some very good arguments about why you should join them.

1/ Improving your search engine rankings: If you post a video on your website, and optimised it for search engines, you will be a step ahead Google-wise that your competitors with just words and pictures. On top of this, if the video is hosted on a third party site such as YouTube, you get two bites of the SEO cherry. Talk to Direct Sites Online about how videos can be optimised.

2/ Give personality to the driest of topics: A video on your website can make you stand out from the crowd. By introducing you and your product or service, it can show potential clients the personal side of your business.

3/ It’s more entertaining that reading words on a page: A video can help you explain even the most complicated material in an approachable way. If you’re lucky – and your script has some pizzazz, your video might even go viral. There’s no better marketing than that.

4/ Make your material stand out: Video can grab potential customers’ attention and make information more believable and easier to understand.

5/ It can be a teaser to get people on your mailing list: The video that you upload on your website can be a summary of a longer and more informative DVD that you can mail (or email) out – which means you can collect details of potential clients. Make sure you have information that the client wants, that way it’s a win-win.

Direct Sites Online can help your business with concepts, scripts, and SD or HD record videos for you. We can also video render and edit ready for using and then upload video to your website and/or make a DVD disk. Contact us today on info@directsitesonline.com

 

Social Media: Google +1 button

A couple of posts ago the Direct Sites Online blog talked about how Google + can help your business now, even though the business application is not yet available.

We briefly discussed the + 1 button, but thought we should go into it further so you can develop a +1 strategy for your business.

Firstly, you need to add the Plus 1 button to your site. If you use WordPress, go to the dashboard, navigate to the Plugins, hit the “add new” button and search for “Google +”. You’ll find a plugin simply titled “Google +1 button” – install, activate and add to prominent places on your site.

This doesn’t need a lot of technical expertise, but if your time is precious, or if you really have no techie knowledge, Direct Sites Online can assist. Likewise, if your website is not powered by WordPress, give us a call and we can help you get the +1 button on the site.

2. Get the word out: Make sure all your friends, associates, clients, strangers you meet in the street know that your site has the +1 button and ask them to “+1” your site. They’ll have to have a Google account to do this. This does a couple of things. Firstly, the more +1s your site gets, it’s likely that its search engine ranking will improve (yet to be tested, but this is definitely assumed in the geek world). But, just as importantly, it gets your site seen by people on Google + who are interested in your product/service. This is all to do with Google +’s “circles” and how you manage your target audiences.

3. Start a conversation: Make sure you also +1 any cool stuff you might see that relates to your field. That way, people in your circles will start to see you as helpful, insightful and an expert. And that reputation will spread.

4. Review, analyse, improve: Make sure you are checking your analytics tool regularly to check what is working and not on Google +, so you have an idea where you can improve and what keywords are returning results.

For more information on the +1 button, Google has some great information including a video tutorial. Check it out here

Remember Direct Sites Online can help with any queries on Google +. Contact us on info@directsitesonline.com