Archive for April, 2008

Finding your niche(s)  is key to successful online advertising.
People generally go about selecting their niche in one of 4 ways – or in some combination :

1) Choose a subject they are interested in – or better yet, passionate about
2) Choose a niche based on their work/career
3) Do keyword and search engine research to find high demand, low competition subjects 4) Check to see niches with good affiliate programs

All 4 are valid.  3 and 4 are good for internet marketers who may want to try a number of niches and see which ones are most profitable. The process involves building niche websites and monetizing them.

Generally I advise people to select a niche using some combination of 1 and 2. If you have a strong interest in a subject you are far more likely to delve deeper into it, you’ll find more interesting things to talk about, and you’ll keep at it longer.

And if your niche is  somehow related to the work you do, you have a headstart in building an “authority brand.” Having an authority brand is like the engine that will propel you along  roadmap to Internet success. It enables you to earn credibility and trust and a loyal following.

Passion is like the sparkplug. If you have passion for a subject, all your content building and marketing runs smoother and better. Sometimes when you delve into a subject, the passion may find you.  And when it finds you, you know it.

Here are the words of a woman, 37 at the time, who during a cooking course,  realized that a passion for the subject had been ignited in her. It was a spark that carried her to fame, fortune and total immersion in the subject for over 50 years:

“I had always been content to live a butterfly life of fun, with hardly a care in the world. But at the Cordon Bleu, and in the markets and restaurants of Paris, I suddenly discovered that cooking was a rich and layered and endlessley fascinating subject. The best way to describe it is to say that I fell in love with French food…

I had never taken anything so seriosuly in my life – husband and cat excepted….What fun! What a revelation! How magnificent to find my life’s calling, at last!”

                           – Julia Child, My Life in France

If you’re interested in becoming an authority brand in a niche, and enjoying the profits that follow, check out my programs at www.yourmarketingroadmap.com/coaching.php

If you want to try try to entering a number of niches and build niche sites and then monetize them…there is a new ebook which is among the best I’ve seen on the subject. It’s by a young guy who I first came across a few years ago with his book on monetizing blogs. It was packed with extremely useful and very unique techniques.

His book on making money with niche sites has even better techniques.  It includes something like 50 step-by-step videos. To see his book, go here…. http://tinyurl.com/4lfxqe

 

Blogging is good, right? Something you should do. Well that at least is the accepted wisdom these days. Ken Evoy begs to differ. And Evoy is someone worth listening to. He is the mastermind behind the popular SiteBuildIt service, and one of the best thinkers on online marketing for small businesses.

According to Evoy, “(Blogging) is a financial mistake for most small businesses. Few make much money at blogging because it is usually the wrong way to grow an online business.”

Keep in mind that Evoy has a dog in this hunt. His product is a tool for building theme content sites, and so competes against blogging software.

Here is his argument in a nutshell:

Blogging sucks up your time
By its chronological posting structure, blogging requires frequent updating. Even short posts take time. But if you don’t keep making new posts, your blog dies.

Blogging is perfect for some businesses – essentially news oriented sites. That’s why political and sports blog do so well. They are well-suited to what blogs do best. But, Evoy says, because of the need to constantly update a blog “this is the wrong direction for most e-businesses.”

“Professional bloggers, and professional promoters of blogging, usually fail to mention the “dated-content treadmill” that they so desperately run upon every day. What happens when you stop blogging? You watch your traffic melt away. Why? Because Search Engines know that blog posts are like newspapers… good only for wrapping fish after a few days.”

Evoy notes that the physical layout of a blog isn’t conducive for most e-businesses.
A blog’s very layout focuses on the latest post. It’s not suited to display evergreen material about a theme. Blogs do not have the horizontal nature of a content site, where material can be arranged logically instead of chronologically.

Evoy says this post after post quality of a blog doesn’t add up for readers.
“Blogs merely keep adding new posts, one after another, without editing out the old and without pulling related posts together into cohesive and fresh articles. As a result, visitors ignore the old material and have trouble using a blog for anything more than the latest news or the “thought of the day.”

Evoy supports this with evidence from Google.
“Blogs usually have high Bounce Rates no matter what since
normal visitor behavior is to read the newest post and then leave.”
– Google Analytics 101

The time and stress required to maintain a blog leads to a high rate of abandonment.
The Information Highway is littered with abandoned blogs. Feeling the time and stress of having to continually update a blog, people just give up. As Chris Anderson, executive editor of WIRED magazine and one of the most prominent bloggers, said (in Blogging Heroes), “A Blog Is This Beast – A Monkey On Your Back. It Wants To Be Fed Every Day, But We All Have Jobs And It’s Hard To Do.”

Having said all that, there remains the question: To blog or not to blog?”
The benefits of a blog for online business are too big to ignore. A well-done blog post can send out a virtual scent that attracts search engines like a biscuit to a hungry dog. And because blogs have, or should have, a distinct personality, they are valuable brand builders.

But Evoy’s comments about the time a blog requires are correct, and a busy small business person should think it through before investing the time to start one. If you do decide to go for it, I recommend two blog strategies to help you cope

One, is a content strategy. You must map out where and how you can quickly find, use and repurpose content on an ongoing basis. To try to just come up with new content on an ad hoc basis will become a burden and won’t work in the long run.

The second is an outsourcing strategy. At its best, a blog should be a reflection of your own voice. But if you are not up to constant updating, but still want the benefits of a blog, find someone you can pay per post who understands what you are trying to say; someone who knows how to go out in the blogosphere and make your present felt.

To read Evoy’s take on blogging vs theme content sites, go here.
To comment on this article, click below

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Leon Altman is a Internet marketing consultant, copywriter and entrepreneur with 25 years of experience. For his free marketing ecourse, go to www.YourMarketingRoadmap.com . For his copywriting services, go to www.altmancopypro.com.

Absolut Vodka briefly ran an ad in Mexico that may seriously damage the company.

A map in the ad depicts Mexico owning California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and other U.S. territory, with the slogan, “In an Absolut World,” and panders to the “separatist” movement among Mexicans, according to the National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC).

The ad has sparked a number of boycotts of Absolut in the U.S. Rival vokda Skyy capitalized on the uproar and sent out a press release proudly supporting the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and criticizing Absolut for their offensive advertising in Mexico.”

I believe the Ad will seriouly damage Absolut sales in the U.S. for quite awhile.

Why run such an ad?

Sometimes, ad agencies propose running edgy ads to cut through the clutter.
Sometimes they propose running edgy ads to show how creative they are and impress colleagues at awards shows.

When it works everyone is happy. When it doesn’t – run for cover!

It’s ironic that one of the most effective ways today to market products and services online is through offline marketing. This can be especially effective when used in an offline to online to offline strategy.

What I mean by that is that your mailer or ad includes your url and your telephone number. The url gives the reader the opportunity to learn more about your product or service before you talk to them. Some may call you. For those who do not, you can follow up with a phone call. People are much more receptive to these kinds of follow up calls rather than cold calls.

It was right on his desk
In a recent campaign I did, I followed up with one prospect and asked him if he had seen my mailer. He answered, “I did, in fact, it’s right here on my desk.” He had also visited my website. Needless to say this made for a pretty easy conversion, and turned out to be a great client.

Postcards reach an audience where email might be filtered out or just overlooked. If the postcard is good, it attracts attention. Make sure to have your url and telephone number on the card. But there is an even easier way to use offline marketing. The humble flyer.

Flyer Power
Instead of printing thousands of postcards, and realizing afterwards that something was wrong, or another headline or photo would’ve worked better, flyers enable you to test creative in whatever small numbers you want.

Now, instead of printing all 500 or 1,000 postcards, you could test a small sample of your list. Let’s say you want to test 100. You could send one headline to 50 people (group A) and the other headline to the other 50 (group B). Or, use one image for group A and another image for goup B.

You would then need to set up a different landing page for each group. So the flyer for Group A is directed to url A, and group B is directed to url B. Then you can track which creative work draws the most people. As in the postcards, make sure your telephone number is also on the flyers.

Cheap but highly effective
And since most desktop printers are fine for flyers, the cost for a test campaign would be minimal. You could send out 100 flyers for under $50. For that amount you could get an idea of what creative works best for your postcard rollout.

But flyers can be so effective that sometimes you won’t have to do a rollout. Not too long ago I did a very small test campaign, sending flyers to just 25 prospects.

About 15 % called me, and proved to be highly motivated propects. I followed up and reached about another 50%. A fair number of those had seen the mailing and had gone to the website. In 4 months time, the campaign yielded an additional $70,000+ in fees, for just one service.

When you’re marketing a service, generally a phone call is what closes the deal. By leading off with a good mailer leading prospects to a well-done landing page, your follow up calls become so much easier and much more effective.

Are you doing offline to online to offline marketing?
If it suits your business you may want to give it a try. Start off by creating some flyers. Take the ones that stand out and print them out. Do bunch and see which one merits taking to the next step. If you want assistance in creating an offline to online to offline marketing check out my coaching programs.

For guidance in offline-to-online-to-offline marketing, click here

A little while back I was doing a video about Life Settlements for a client. I was talking to an advisor who was going to be on the video, and asked him what he thought about life settlements. He said it was one of the biggest win/win propositions – for clients and advisors- that he’d seen in a long time.

After all, instead of letting their policies lapse or surrendering it to the insurance company for a fraction of  the value, seniors can get up to 4 or even 5 times the cash surrender value with a life settlement.

What advisors need to realize in marketing life settlements is that few people are searching online for “life settlements.” And “life insurance” is very broad. Advisors need  to do some lateral thinking. Think of all the issues or problems seniors or boomers might be thinking about for which life settlements provides a great solution.

Here’s where SEO has its limitations. There really are only so many keywords you can optimize a landing page for. Pay per click, in particular, Google’s  content network enables you to cast a much wider net. With smart content targeting, you can catch people as they are browsing websites that might relate to life settlements. A good pay per click ad in the right place on those sites will bring in a far more propects than SEO.

For more on marketing life settlements, check out Local Online Domination.

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