Impartial, independent third party advice and feedback on your internet marketing activities can make all the difference. Here is a checklist for choosing an internet marketing consultant:
* Begin by deciding what you want the consultant to help you with, i.e. creating an internet marketing plan, increasing traffic, a website review, web copywriting review, an SEO audit and feedback, improving social media engagement, improving conversion rates, generating more enquiries / sales (or all of these).
* Look for someone with a wide range of experience in different industries
* Does their website give you confidence? Is it well designed, does it look professional and is it easy to navigate?
* Do they display testimonials within their website?
* Does the consultant also teach? Where have they taught internet marketing?
* Does the consultant understand web copywriting?
* Can they demonstrate a thorough understanding of SEO?
* Do they have professional marketing qualifications, for example a marketing degree?
* Has the consultant built any websites? How successful are these sites?
* How many clients has the consultant worked for?
* How quickly do they respond to your enquiry?
Choose three or four consultants and talk to them on the phone. Ask them to give you some initial feedback on your website. Request a written quotation for their services by email.
Here is some typical feedback:
“I revamped the site taking into your comments and the bookings have gone crazy. We’ve just had our best ever week! Thanks so much, your magic has worked!” ~ Neil Ross
Nigel Temple is an internet marketing consultant, author, speaker and trainer. He shows business owners, professionals and teams how to get better results from 21st century marketing – including online brand awareness, improved search engine rankings, social media effectiveness, website traffic and sales enquiries / sales.
Nigel has taught internet marketing since 2000. He served as a Faculty Member and Course Director at CIM (the Chartered Institute of Marketing) for 12 years. He led over 500 Business Link workshops, focusing on website effectiveness, SEO and social media. Today, he delivers internet marketing events for The Marketing Compass which provides impartial marketing advice for business owners. He has worked in dozens of countries around the world including the USA, Dubai and Japan.
When it comes to LinkedIn connection requests, what should you include in the message, particularly when you are connecting with someone that you don’t know personally?
Here are some tips and ideas for you.
* It is fine to visit their profile once or twice, prior to making the connection request.
* Always include a personal message and start this with their name; triple check that you have the correct spelling for their name.
* I start my messages with ‘Hi’, however, you may feel that ‘Dear’ is more appropriate.
* Make the message about them, not you. Mention something that you noticed about them and / or their organisation, within the connection request message.
* If possible, refer to someone you both know (if they are a mutual LinkedIn connection, so much the better).
* Mention a Linkedin Group that you both belong to. (This is a good reason to join Groups, by the way).
* Mention something that you saw in their website or in the media.
* Before you press send, check the spelling carefully.
Here is an example of Message or In-Mail to a new contact:
I have been reading your articles within LinkedIn about (ISSUE) and I noticed that we both know (CONTACT NAME). I have visited your website www.theirwebsite.com and I read (BLOG OR WEB PAGE) with interest. It would be great to connect with you.
Kind regards, (YOUR NAME)
How would you feel if you received a message like this? You would probably think to yourself that at least they have taken the time and trouble to write a personalised message.
The recipient of the connection request will probably look at your LinkedIn profile. Therefore, it is important to keep the information up-to-date. Use the available word count. For the Summary section this is 200-250 characters or about 25-42 words.
Beware of sending connections requests via your smartphone. They can whizz off without giving you the chance of including a personal message.
For some time, I have been asking myself: should an image be included in a blog? I realise that this is not the greatest question facing humanity, but it certainly has been bugging me. I am a visual person and I like to see colourful images. However, when I create a blog I have noticed how time consuming it is to find an appropriate image that I like, download it, check the file size and if necessary shrink it, add some text and a logo and then upload it and check it within the blog entry. Phew!
Not that I mind the work involved. However, I want to ensure that I am using my time to the best effect. So I revisited two of my favourite bloggers: Seth Godin and Neil Patel and Voila! Neither of them use images in their (text based) blogs. By the way, in Neil’s case you have to click around a bit to find a text blog, in that he does a lot of video blogging. (He is famous for the Marketing School podcast).
Now let’s think about the blog entries themselves. When you visit someone’s blog, is it the big image at the top of the entry that you are interested in – or the words that they have written? I have been using ‘Set featured image’ within WordPress for some time, after I discovered that by doing this, the image appears properly within social media. The problem is that by doing this, the image dominates the screen when you visit the blog page.
In addition, an image can slow down the page loading speed (which is a Google Ranking factor, by the way). Have inadvertently uploaded some massive images to my blog, I started using Tinypng to shrink PNG and JPEG images.
I am an inveterate Mind Mapper and I use these ‘thought organisation diagrams’ in my marketing training and public speaking sessions. A Mind Mind or a process schematic would help my readers to understand the text – so that would be a good reason to include them. When I do, I must remember to add an alt tag. (So much to do, such little time).
PS As I am sure you know, blog, blog entry, and post mean the same thing.
Yesterday, I posted the following copywriting tip within LinkedIn:
“A contact has updated their website with new wording. I noticed that there are some typos. I have found that if I point out grammatical and punctuation challenges, the changes are made and little learning takes place. So I gave this feedback: “There are a few typos on the homepage. I suggest that you read the webcopy out loud and slowly. When I lead copywriting workshops, the delegates are amazed by what they pick up, when they do this.”
I was quite surprised by the amount of feedback that it received. At the time of writing this comprised: 7 Likes, 4 Comments and 572 Views (scroll down to see a screenshot). Nothing to write home about, you may say, but not bad for a short social media update.
As you can see, the update comprised a tip. It was concise. As people began to comment, I responded to their comments.
This morning, I have had 2 new connection requests within LinkedIn and several new notifications. So I have posted another tip, this time on MailChimp training.
LinkedIn is a big subject and they have a habit of moving things around, don’t they?
Within social media, an example of ‘broadcasting’ would be sharing your blog entries. Some companies do little else. A few of them are very good at doing this, particularly if the blogs are relevant to their target market and are well written, helpful and useful.
Sadly, this is not always the case. You may be aware of some enterprises / brands that churn out huge volumes of blog material, much of which is of little value.
An alternative strategy is engagement. For example, you can ask a member of Twitter a question by sending a Tweet which includes their Twitter handle. They will see that they have been mentioned via ‘Notifications’.
Another example would be the use of instant messaging with LinkedIn or Facebook. As I am writing this post, my smartphone has been pinging, as new instant messages arrive via LinkedIn.
In addition, you can of course Like, Comment or Share other people’s content. I am selective when I do this and I only Like content which is interesting, thought provoking etc.
When I comment on someone’s social media content I am always positive. I am not saying that you should do what I do, and I have noticed that other people can be controversial or negative in their comments. I have always wondered if this works for them, if they have something to market / sell?
An effective strategy is to combine broadcasting with engagement. Yes, I realise that this is time consuming but it beats cold calling, doesn’t it?
As always, I welcome comment and feedback on my posts.
Margi Ross http://consciousfeminine.org has created a body of work with regards to the next stage in the development of the Feminine, the ‘Conscious Feminine’. Margi is a published author and she gives talks on the Conscious Feminine and the issues surrounding it.
Margi is a member of The Marketing Compass and she asked me: “What are the 3 most important things to consider when writing a blog?”
Of course there are many things to think about, however, here is my reply:
Hi Margi, Thank you for asking this question. There are two approaches to blogging:
A) As an SEO technique. This would start with the blog headline which would comprise a long tail SEO phrase. I have looked through your blog headlines and I don’t think that you are using this approach. I suggest that some of your blog headlines are ‘Google friendly’ i.e a search for “What is feminism?” generates an astonishing 152 million page results. If you haven’t already done so, you could write a blog with the headline: What is feminism? …and include that phrase a few times within the blog.
Therefore the first important thing is to: “Think headlines.”
B) The second approach is ‘just to write’ as, for example, Seth Godin does here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com …notice that Seth does not write his headlines with Google in mind. Seth blogs every day and writes interesting, thought provoking blog entries.
The second important thing is to “be interesting”. Clearly, this is a big subject in its own right. For example, you can take a position on something; share some research; provide a new perspective; or talk about your experiences.
The third important thing is to increase your blog frequency. The more you write and the more frequently you post, the more awareness, shares, likes and interactions will be generated.
Writing all of those ‘marketing words’ can be a challenge, can’t it? Business owners and marketers are already working flat out. How are they going to find the time to get the writing done?
Make writing a habit
Here is an idea for you. Aim to write 100 words, every day. 100 words isn’t very much is it? You may find that once you start, that you can exceed this target. If you write every day about your business and your products or services, your brain will be working away in the background about the subject matter, even when you are not aware that it is doing so.
250 words is sufficient for a blog. So if you were able to write 100 words, 20 days per month that amounts to 2000 words, or eight blogs per month. Alternatively, you could think in terms of four 500 word blogs (i.e. one per week).
My first book was 19,000 words long. If I had used the 100 words per day approach, it would have taken me under 10 months to write. As you can imagine, upping the word count target to say 250 words per day turbocharges everything.
You will find it helpful if you are reporting to someone about your writing output. If you work within an organisation, this could be your manager or a colleague. If you work for yourself, could a family member help you out? As the saying goes:
What gets measured, gets done*
In conclusion, setting a target for yourself really works. It used to be said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit and the other day I heard that it takes 60 days. Even if it takes as long as this, with regards to writing, it will be well worth it.
*There is some debate about who coined this phrase, some say that it was the management guru Peter Drucker, whilst others quote Lord Kelvin.
In order to build your LinkedIn network, follow these steps.
More connections lead to more conversations, which in turn leads to more business. Think in terms of contacts, clients, influencers, prospective clients and highly networked people. LinkedIn will then work better for you. You can accept up to 30,000 connections; however you only (initially) have 3000 contact requests (you may be able to increase this).
When you make an interesting new contact, check to see if they belong to LinkedIn. If they do, put in a connection request.
The search function only allows you to search for people within your network, the networks of each of your contacts and their contact’s networks. If you have not joined by accepting an invitation to connect with someone who is already on LinkedIn, you will need to build your personal network from scratch, by connecting via email.
* You can do this by clicking the Connect (or Send InMail) button on their profile page.
* Search results – Click Connect to the right of the person’s information.
* Via My Network / People you may know
If you have accepted an invitation to link with someone who has an established network within LinkedIn, you will instantly have access to their network. The quickest way to build your network is to connect with people who are already on LinkedIn. You can do this by emailing some of your contacts, providing them with your LinkedIn URL and asking them to connect with you.
Be an ‘open networker’
Connect with your existing contacts. In addition, you should be open to connecting with new people. This will give you access to a much wider network. Building an extensive network on LinkedIn provides you with access to a huge database of contacts. The more contacts you have, the further your reach and influence.
Showing up within LinkedIn search results
Another benefit of having many 1st degree connections is that when someone is looking for a product or service that you offer, their search results will show 1st level connections first, then 2nd level connections etc.
Increase the number of shared connections that you have between yourself and a contact you are trying to influence. Prospective clients are impressed when they notice that you know many of the same people that they do. The maximum number of connections which appear within a Profile is 500 (make it a key objective to reach this level).
Extracted from: Using LinkedIn for free to find more customers by Nigel Temple