A story I hear far too often from prospects is that they just fired their previous web developer. You might think I like hearing this because it means our competitors are falling down which is good for us. I actually hate hearing this story. For one, I feel bad for the person standing in front of me who just spent good money and now feels it was a partial or total loss. For another, when web developers leave unhappy customers in their wake, it makes our whole industry look bad. If we’re not careful, the general public perception of web developers will eventually rival that of used car salespeople.
If you want your email newsletter to be opened and read, follow these simple tips…
- Frequency of Emails. Current trends show that emailing between 1 and 3 times per month is the optimal number. Less than that, and you may lose opportunities. If you email more frequently, you run the risk of annoying your customers and having high unsubscribe rates. Having said this, different businesses will have different optimal emailing frequencies. To discover your optimal frequency, track metrics like click-through rates, bounce rates and unsubscribe and spam complaint rates. Of course you should also look at the results of your campaign in terms of conversion rates for website forms and sales (if you sell online).
- Email Subject. The subject of your email can make or break your open rates. A good subject can get as much as 80% of your readers to open it whereas a poor subject can lead to a less than 1% open rate. How do you construct a good subject? Don’t try to sell. Subject lines like “Shop Early and Save 10%” or “Holiday Sales Event” are among the worst performing. On the other hand, subject lines that simply describe the contents of the email, like “<Company> Sales & Marketing Newsletter April 2011”, do the best. This may be counterintuitive, but it’s backed by statistics from some of the largest emailing companies. Read the research on the 20 best and worst performing subject lines. (more…)
As part of our series on basic search engine optimization (SEO), let’s talk about how to measure your SEO efforts. A key metric is how you rank for each keyword you are targeting. Are you on the first page of search results? Are you in the top 3? Are you moving up in the results over time or are you moving down?
The most basic way to track your ranking is to do a search in Google and then count where you rank. If you are on the first page, you are at least in the top 10. If you are half way down the third page, your ranking is 35. Most people agree that if you aren’t at least on the first page then your ranking is meaningless, however, it still can be useful to see whether your rank is getting better or worse over time.
The problem with this basic way of tracking your ranking is that Google can mislead you terribly due to a new feature called “Personalized Search”. If you find that with little or no SEO effort, you are suddenly ranking #1 for a particular keyword, you may have been fooled by personalized search. Here’s how to figure out what’s going on…
There are a number of tools you can use to analyze your web site’s traffic but they fall into two primary categories – Web based tools and Server based tools. What’s the difference and how can they affect your sites stats? Read on…
Unfortunately, some SEO consultants are scammers or even worse, flat out liars. Search engine ranking can be so important to a business that some consultants have gone to great lengths, including doing things that are unethical, to get good rankings. A good example of this is using a competitor’s brand name as a target keyword in your site. Others advertise their services by making claims they simply can not back up. As a result, you need to be a savvy consumer when it comes to purchasing SEO services. What is the biggest lie in SEO?
The next step in the Basic SEO Plan is to optimize the rest of the pages in your site. Utilizing your target keywords, you want to sprinkle them liberally around your site so that every page in your site contributes SEO value. These are very basic suggestions that virtually all SEO consultants will tell you to do.
There are endless details and nuances to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but here is a basic plan that is easy to follow and WILL produce good results. With SEO, no single trick will guarantee results over time because the landscape is always changing – more pages are constantly being added to Google’s index and Google is regularly tweaking the algorithm they use to rank those pages. Therefore if someone guarantees to get you to #1 in Google, you should be very suspicious. Instead, you should think of SEO like any marketing effort – the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it and you need to do it consistently and over time, not just once. Here’s the outline of the plan…
SEO is the art and science of getting your site ranked higher on search engines such as Google. I say “art and science” because while there is a lot of technical know-how to doing good SEO (science), there is also a lot that is unknown and a little creativity (art) is often required. SEO experts know a lot about how and why Google ranks sites the way they do, but no one except Google knows all the rules they use to rank one site higher than another.
Volumes have been written on the topic of SEO. This is by no means meant to be a technical SEO guide. Rather, I want to give an overview of SEO for marketers and business owners who need a better grasp of the basics.