Quick DIY marketing wins and ebusiness fixes

How’s your eye for detail?

If it’s in fine fettle you’re lucky.

How come? Because good marketing is about much more than flashy campaigns and mega-budgets. It’s about making sure you maximise the potential of every single tiny, weeny element of your marketing life.

The small stuff is so worth sweating over. Some of these might take a few minutes, others might take an hour, a morning or a day each. But in the great scheme of things, without the basics in place there’s no point spending time and money on posh and pricey marketing. So get your metaphorical magnifying glass out and tackle this little lot before you lay out cash on the glamorous, cutting edge side of marketing.

First, make your site perfect:

  • make sure your content is completely up to date so you’re telling the truth and making the most of your many breathtaking attributes
  • if you’ve gone off-piste into features overdrive, refocus the copy so it concentrates on the consumer benefits
  • edit your site content to get rid of any waffle that’s crept in
  • optimise your pages for SEO – ask an expert or find out how it works yourself
  • make sure your business phone number, mobile and street address are prominent to encourage consumer trust and improve your credibility
  • re-write your meta tags for each page to give your visibility a wee boost
  • add a sitemap or update your existing sitemap if it’s out of date
  • make sure your images are named sensibly and have SEO-friendly alt and title tags
  • check for broken outbound links and mend them
  • include PayPal as a payment method – it’s becoming more and more popular because it’s relatively secure and faster than card payment
  • make sure your site loads as fast as possible. You might need to re-size your images
  • if you don’t have a blog already, add a WordPress blog to your url. It’s free and fast with 5 minute installation if you know what you’re doing. Alternatively most good hosts provide a WP install at the click of a button
  • clean your code using a free tool like html-Tidy
  • make a diary note to keep your site in good order from now on

Second, tick off the basics of inbound links:

  • learn the ins and outs of link text and milk it
  • submit your site to local and niche directories
  • try to build ‘deep’ links to inside pages as well as links to your home page
  • track down suitable industry-specific networking sites to submit to
  • share link-worthy stuff like interviews, research, analysis, breaking news, new product development and more to encourage inbound links… AKA link bait
  • if you’re a graduate, ask your university for a link.  The alumni section is often a good bet and high page rank links from trusted sources like universities are like gold dust
  • ask your favourite customers for links from their websites. If it’s a reciprocal link, make sure you don’t both link to and from the same page – it’s best not to
  • spend 3/4 hour writing a fantastic blog post that’ll attract attention and act as link bait
  • spend an hour writing a press release to win links and get valuable exposure in print
  • spend two hours writing a detailed, thoughtful piece to inspire prospects’ imagination and submit it to a quality article distribution site to attract back links
  • diary more posts, articles and press releases so you get in the habit of creating regular link bait

Third, make a start with social media marketing

  • learn the fundamentals of social media marketing. You can’t become an expert because the medium’s too new for that. But you can get down and dirty with the basics and take it from there
  • whether or not you have the time and energy to interact with every social networking medium on the planet, register your business with the lot. It can’t do any harm and at least you’re prepared to react to developments as their popularity ebbs and flows
  • pick your favourite network or two to experiment with and leave the rest for now
  • do things in an integrated fashion using the same tone of voice, imagery and design for brand consistency and recognition
  • take time and care writing your Twitter profile, Facebook page etc. Because you’re sticking your head above the parapet good and proper, you want to look and smell your best!
  • add Twitter ‘follow’ buttons, Facebook ‘Like’, Google + etc to your site and blog so people can tell the world about you
  • create a SMM plan and stick to it, giving your efforts the best chance of bringing in new businesss

Next, get ready to talk to your customers and prospects direct

  • build a prospect database of names and email addresses. DIY data is always the best because it’s fresh, accurate and hand-picked. Make a note to spend an hour a week researching new prospects and adding to your database
  • or identify a trustworthy, reliable source and buy prospect data
  • create a separate customer database
  • get yourself a decent email marketing tool so you can stay in full control of your communications
  • set up a suite of persuasive autoresponder messages to drive people smoothly along the sales journey
  • make a diary note to keep up the good work

Finally take a look at your website’s analytics

  • if you haven’t done it yet, set up a Google account and familiarise yourself with it
  • check which of your web pages have the highest bounce rate. While bounce rates can be misleading they’re still a useful way to spot broad patterns. If loads of people are consistently leaving your site from a certain page, fix it. If you don’t know what’s going wrong, change the page content in stages until things improve; the only way to establish exactly what was causing offence
  • check your key words and phrases using the Google keyword research tool to make sure your site content focuses on the right things
  • keep an eye on the ‘search keyword’ section, which shows you what people are looking for, and capitalise on popular searches by adding relevant content to your website
  • make a habit of checking your stats. Keep a regular note of traffic, investigate sudden falls and rises and react intelligently to whatever’s caused the problem or made good stuff happen

You’ll notice I’ve ended each section with a diary note. That’s because one of the most important things about marketing is persistence!  Once your site’s in good order with the rudiments of a link building plan set in place and a foot in the social media camp, ready to hit the customer communications button and safely registered within a Google account, you can relax a bit. And, if it takes your fancy, plan your first creative, innovative, big bucks marketing splash!