Monthly Archives: January 2012

How to use your website to get the phone to ring

It’s all well and good to have a pretty – and a well-written and popular – website, but what if you have all this, but potential customers are still not ringing or emailing?

If this is the case, it may mean that the traffic to your website is not targeted, so the visitors were never going to buy your product or service anyway. Maybe they came expecting something else? Or maybe they were just looking for information, rather than looking to purchase.

The solution to this is pretty simple – it’s about doing effective online marketing in order to give searchers what they are looking for, when they are looking for it, and then having a strong call to action to encourage them to contact you.

Some of this will cost you a little bit of money, some will take time. But let’s face it, marketing will either cost you money or time and if you do it well, the payoffs will be worth it.

The first thing to do is to set up engine advertising campaign using something like Google Adwords, using the keywords that you have already identified. Adwords can be a bit hit and miss if you are unsure what you are doing, so it pays to have a company such as Direct Sites Online  set up your campaign for you.

Once you’ve set up your campaign, it is vital that you track it via Google Analytics – which is pretty straightforward even for the layperson. Again, Direct Sites Online assist you in  setting up Analytics on your website.

This way, you know what messages are working, and what aren’t.

A great idea to track whether your Adwords campaign is working is to set up a special 1300 number, or email address, that is ONLY promoted and linked via your search engine advertising. Set up a landing page for the campaign and again, track the leads which became sales – then you can tweak the landing page to see if those numbers can improve with different calls to action.

Along with the above search engine advertising campaigns, you need to make it easy for your customers to contact you.

This means setting up a toll-free number, and easy-to-remember email address and an easy-to-find “contact us” form.

Then you need to make all of these prominent on your website, and you must link to them with a call-to-action for every service or product.

And there’s no such thing as too many appearances of this information on your material. You can put your number and email at the top of every page, at the bottom of every page as well as throughout the copy.

It’s like leading a horse to water, and then ensuring it takes a drink.

Next, you can use your content to qualify leads – in other words, quickly sorting the wheat from the chaff. Having lots of phone call and emails is no good if they don’t turn into sales.

This is where the information you display on you site comes to the fore. Visitors should know within the first paragraph or two of a landing page if this is something they will eventually purchase. Thus, not wasting your staff’s valuable time with phone calls and emails that won’t improve the bottom line.

The last thing you want is to encourage leads that are unserviceable, so it’s important that you identify your target audience and that the copy is tailored for them.

And if you offer more than one product or service, it may even pay to create different landing pages, with different content, depending on the Adwords campaign (or campaigns) that is running at the time.

Finally, when setting up your Adwords campaign, take advantage of the option to choose negative keywords – that is keywords that you don’t want your business to be found using.

For example, if you run a wedding planning business that caters to the higher end of the market, you don’t want to be found when people search for “budget wedding planners” or “cheap wedding planners” or “no-frills wedding planners.

If you want to turn visitors into sales, contact Direct Sites online now at ino@directsitesonline.com or phone 02 9557 7623.


[N1]Hyperlink back to DSO marketing page

 

Optimising your Google Places listing

As mentioned in a previous blog post, a large percentage of your customers will come from a 10km radius of your business, and they need to know you exist.

This is where Google Places comes in – and, while much of the ranking algorithm is an inexact science, completing these five key things will help.

Comprehensive listing: When you register on Google places, there are a number of fields to fill out – and some may not seem that necessary. But they are very necessary because they allow the user to get the most information they can. So you must not only fill out the required fields, but also the optional ones. And make sure you check and double check the accuracy, including opening hours, website URL, email address and so on. Even upload photos and videos where possible. Think of it like doing the extra credit tasks on your school assignments – you know, the ones that made a difference between getting and A or a C. When it comes to Google Places, you want an A.

Keywords: Just like with any search engine optimisation strategy, the keywords you use on your Google Places listing are crucial. Use them in your description – but try not to stuff too many in – and in the catagories. But remember, you are not only writing for Google, but also for real life people, so make sure the copy also flows.

Service Area: This is simply telling the users what geographical area you service. So if you’re a tradesman in a big city, and you don’t want to travel to the other side of town, you can say you service a 30 kilometre radius of X. Conversely, if you want to be found by people within that radius, then having a service area is much better than just having one physical address.

Reviews: These are one of the best ways to get a high ranking with Google search so try to persuade customers to write a review (but make sure they are happy customers!). Some ideas which might encourage reviews are to put a shout out on your Facebook page; send a Tweet;  ask for them in your regular e-newsletter, or even ask for one on your website, flier or receipts. And make sure you include a link to your Google Places listing.

These are just a few ideas that we have seen work. Do you have more? Please, leave a comment as we would love to share with our readers.

Direct Sites Online can make your Google Places listing work for your business. If you’re simply too busy to create your listing, then let us know. Contact us now on info@directsitesonline.com or 02 9557 7623

 

 

10 tips to generate high quality traffic

Everyone wants traffic to their website, but that traffic is pretty useless if it’s not targeted and doesn’t turn into sales. In other words, 100 engaged visitors are better than 1000 random visitors.

So how do you get high-value traffic to your site? These 10 tips will help.

1. Quality content: If you have a well-regarded website, with a lot of valuable insights and information included, people will want to come back. Not only that, but they will want to link your site within their own content. Voila – high quality, justified backlinks.

2. Article marketing: This is a great way to direct traffic to your site. Put simply, you write short articles about your product/service and submit them to article directories. The value in this is that you can add links to your site in the articles. The benefits to that are two-fold. Firstly, when the articles are well-written and informative, readers will want to click through to your site to learn more and secondly, Google can see the links so this can improve your search engine optimisation.

3. Press releases: Like article marketing, press releases can be written and uploaded to online distribution services. The main difference is the content in press releases must be “newsworthy” so you need a “newsy” angle – new product, great competition prizes, relaunched website, expert comment on a current event etc. Again, you can include links to your site and the best thing is that you may get several bites of the cherry, as a meaty news release may send people to your site for years to come.

4. Forums: Join relevant online forums and participate. Become an authority in your field, make sure your website URL is in your signature, and people will want to go to your site and buy your product/service. But remember, don’t spam forums with too much
obvious self-promotion – moderators hate that.

5. Social bookmarking : Sites such as StumbleUpon or http://digg.com/ allow users to share content from their favourite websites. And let’s face it, your favourite website should be your own (and if it’s not, well, that’s a whole other story). So, share some high quality content from your website and hope that others will also share with their friends, and so one. It may not be as targeted as some of the other hints here, but if you get a high ranking on one of these sites, your traffic will soar.

6. Search Engine Optimisation: Yes, yes, I know, this is kind of pointing out the obvious, but the key to good SEO is choosing relevant keywords. Instead of optimising for “widgets”, optimise for “cheap widgets” or “buying quality widgets” The difference here is that people searching on the first keyword may just be seeking information about widgets, while those searching on the other keywords
are looking to buy widgets.

7. Online advertising: There are a lot of websites out there that take some form of advertising – banner ads, listings, text links and so on. Many of them are very reasonably priced, and if you choose wisely, these ads can drive quality traffic to your site. If, for example, you are a photographer – advertise on wedding planner sites; If you’re a plumber, advertising on home renovation sites. Some ads are pay per click; some are pay per impression; some are just a set price for a certain period. Sites that accept advertising should have a “media kit” which will tell you the traffic they get, and from where – so ask for these and do your research.

8. Q&A websites: These are sites such as ask.com, where users can ask and answer any question. They’re another opportunity to be regarded as an expert in your field. And many of them let you put you URL in your signature, so again, people who like your
answer can click through to your site. All it costs is your time.

9.   Blogs: Comment on blogs relevant to your industry – especially those with high traffic. Again, many allow you to link back to your own website – either through a URL or a hyperlink on your name.

10. Blog Commenting: If you go to high traffic blogs in your niche and make some genuine comments, you can get some traffic. When you go to leave a comment on a blog, in most cases you are allowed to include a link back to your website. Be smart though – anyone who has a blog gets a lot of spam comments which they can filter. If you leave a smart, well thought out comment, it won’t end in the blogger trash folder.

Direct Sites Online can help you get quality traffic to your site, Contact us now on info@directsitesonline.com or 02 9557 7623

 

 

Website design: 10 mistakes you should avoid

There are approximately 16 kabillion websites out there – varying from really, really good, to atrociously bad. So what makes the good
ones stand out?

Well, for a start, they are better designed and have interesting and informative content, thus being clever enough to avoid these 10 common
mistakes.

  1. All flair, no substance: Sometimes web designers – and clients – can get all carried away with the whizz-bang design elements, such as flash animation, and forget about the goal of the website – to turn hits into paying customers! Remember, there are still people out there with slow processors and even slower internet connections. Too much animation will drive these potential leads away. Finally, interactive flash elements, if used incorrectly, can damage your search engine optimisation strategy.
  2. Love it and leave it: Some people get all excited about their website being “finished”, but online presence is never finished. Think of it as a living thing – when you ignore it, it withers and dies. You need to have an ongoing budget line to ensure you can “tweak” it regularly. And not just for content – but for ongoing functionality and navigation improvements.
  3. Too busy: Some websites are just so full of conflicting elements that you don’t know where to look. There’s a picture here, some text there, a video over in the corner and so on. When it comes to website design, remember the old adage –  KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) adage. A clear, clean font, complementary colour scheme and plenty of white space.
  4. No blog: Every man and his dog had a blog these days, and there’s a reason for this – it has huge traffic-generating potential. For a start, Google loves blogs because, by their very nature, there’s regular new content. But also, if you give great advice and assistance to people in your industry, they will keep coming back.
  5. Not mobile-friendly: More and more people are using their smart phones to browse the internet. Therefore, if people can’t read your site with a mobile phone, you’ve immediately lost many potential customers.
  6. No call to action: Unless the aim of your website is to be merely an online brochure, you need to convert viewers into customers. So if its purpose is to have them contact your bricks and mortar shopfront, then you need prominent contact details; if it is to drive online sales, then you must have user-friendly shopping cart add on.
  7. Selling yourself short: A lot of people think that if you accept advertising on your website, you have “sold out”. So what if you have? A person has to make a living, you know. But you will never be able to accept advertising if you haven’t left room for it, so you need to build that into your design – in fact, it’s best to develop an advertising strategy before you even begin the design.
  8. Messy or inconsistent branding: Your website does not stand alone from the rest of your branding. So, again, make sure your branding strategy is in place before starting the web design.
  9. No way to capture visitors’ emails: The best websites (in terms of conversion) have developed a database of contacts through offering an e-newsletter, e-book or special deal for subscribers. This database is invaluable, as it means you have the attention of people interested in your business. If you don’t have this,
    you are missing out on possible ongoing clients.
  10. No social media integration: If you’re in business and don’t have a social media presence these days, you may not be in business long! But there’s no point having this presence if your website doesn’t point to it (and vice-versa, your social media accounts don’t drive people to your website). You can even get a plug in that allows people to “like” you Facebook page from your website.

If you need assistance with a new website, or a redesign and relaunch of your current online presence, Direct Sites Online would love to help.
Contact us at info@directsitesonline.com, or call Peter on 0407 702 096.

Playing with the big boys – without getting burned

As a small business, you probably think you can’t compete with the big boys. But why not? Most big companies started pretty small themselves.

Sure they are backed by heaps of resources (read – cash), and can spend big on mass-media campaigns, but with some savvy internet marketing, small businesses can hold their own.

Here are ten simple ways to survive in the business shark tank.

  1. Keep content current: Write a blog, update special deals, do whatever is necessary to keep your website fresh. BUT, this may all be in vain if you don’t research your keywords well. Google has a great keyword tool, and remember to focus on long-tail keyword phrases. In other words, not just one word keywords, but rather specific phrases that users type into Google. For instance, instead of “widgets”, a user might key in “Doohickey widgets to fix a leaky roof”
  2. Invest in pay-per-click advertising: When you find long tail keywords that work, using them in a PPC campaign, such as Google adwords. Yes, it will cost you money, but is a very wise investment. If your PPC campaign is strategic, you will see a massive increase in traffic to your site, and it will be targeted traffic that wants to buy your product or service.
  3. Understand what works (and what doesn’t): Keep track of your marketing investment, and get rid of the techniques that are not bringing in paying customers. One huge advantage small business have over their larger competitors is they can move quickly. There’s no need to get Board approval if the only director is you!
  4. Get social: We bang on about this a bit here at DSO, but it really is essential to use social media wisely. At least have a Facebook business page, a Twitter account and a Linked-on profile. Also, now is probably a good time to get on board the Google + train. But manage your time on these wisely – a few minutes a day should be all it takes.
  5. Learn something new every day: Keep abreast of what the leaders in your field are doing. Buy books related to your niche (and actually read them!), do some web research, read business blogs, listen to news radio, read the newspaper. Learn whatever you can about business and about your industry, then learn some more.
  6. Don’t try to do everything: The temptation for small (and micro) businesses is to save money. So you build your own website, do your own copywriting, design, recruitment, finances and more. But honestly, this is usually false economy. If you’re not a writer, it may take you hours to write a flyer – hours that could be spent on income-earning work – whereas an experienced copywriter could do it in less than half the time, and it would likely be a lot more effective.
  7. Develop an outstanding e-newsletter: Make sure you have an opt-in subscription on your landing page, and that it is something that people want to sign up for. Offer a free e-book, or a bonus product in return for email addresses. And make sure your email list is kept up-to date.
  8. Invest in technology: There are all sorts of tools out there than can make the job easier. A lot of big businesses are already using them, and not necessarily well. So take the time to learn about the various automation options, and use them properly. This will free up your time to concentrate on the things that can’t be automated.
  9. Offer great customer service: This is the biggest thing small businesses have over their bigger competitors – personal service. This is why some customers prefer small companies, even though their product or service may be a little more expensive. They want handmade kids’ clothes, not chain-store clothes; they want to speak to a real person on the phone, not an automated voice; and they want to know they matter.
  10. Offer a good product or service. Well, duh. But there is no point offering unique handmade clothes if they fall apart the first time they are washed; or a copywriting service that does not translate to sales for the customer. And be honest – don’t tell a customer that you can turn around the logo design in a week, and then take a month; and don’t say you can write web content if all you’ve ever done are press releases.

So, with 2012 In full swing, now is the time to get ahead of your competitors and grow your business. Direct Sites Online is here to assist and advise at any time. Simply call us on 02 9557 7623 or email Peter on: peter@directsitesonline.com