Tag Archive for: Google

Maximize the impact of your website

Are you planning a new website or maybe a renovation of your existing one?

Awesome. The best metaphor I’ve come up with is to treat your website like a home.

The first question to ask, is it a fixer-upper or do you need something new? If your current site is a WordPress site then it’s more than likely you can call in the digital equivalent to Mike Holmes to get it updated rather than calling the demolition experts and start from scratch.

But if you are going for the complete new site then you really need to think about the process as if you are building a custom home. Specifically you need to think  about:

  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Plumbing

Your site is the home for your business

If you own a car or a home, you may have tooled around with some very basic maintenance tasks – like changing an oil filter or replacing that little chain connecting the toilet handle to the stopper thing at the bottom the tank.

If you’re patient, enjoy what you’re doing, and have the time to learn to do it right – you can figure out a lot of the basic tasks.

But there is a reason those who work in trades are paid well. They have a deeper understanding of how things work and why they need to be done in certain ways.

Beneath the hood of your car, and behind the walls of your house there are hundreds of connections that have to work if the wheels are going to turn and and the water is going to flow.

Mechanics and plumbers understand these connections.

So how does this relate to your website?

Well if you have a great looking site, it doesn’t mean anything if the functionality to help you convert isn’t there. And if your site isn’t properly connected to social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc. then your content won’t be flowing efficiently out into the world. In essence if you don’t take into account the architecture, design and plumbing – your site won’t be optimized for success.

So here are the questions everyone needs to ask when looking for a marketing agency to revamp a website:

How is the site going to be built?

Can it “grow” with your business? If you are on a custom design – you won’t have the ability to add in new plugins or extend the functionality as easy as your competitor using WordPress. Are you going to become a victim of “vendor lock”? Is the only person who understands the architecture and coding the person who build it or can you find someone else quickly if they get flakey or get hit by a bus? I can’t say it enough – just use Worpress.

Is it designed for conversion?

A great looking website is fantastic. But don’t mistake looking nice with working well. Make sure that when your site is built, it’s with your customer in mind. Every element is for them  – not you. Give the customers what they need and they will come back. Make sure that you have calls to action EVERYWHERE. Remember , anything that doesn’t push somebody to engage more fully is an obstacle to your success. Eliminate those obstacles in the design.

Are your pipes properly connected?

One of the great things about marketing automation is how well we can integrate content with social media. Creating content that only lives on your website is a wasted opportunity.  It’s never been easier to automatically share your content with LinkedIn, Twitter and FB. I’ve written about automatically recycling your old posts and evergreen webinars. These are the pipes that channel your genius to potential clients on a consistent basis.

Your website is the the “home” of your business. Take care of it. Don’t fall behind in maintenance and be ready to have those dream renos ready to go when you need to expand.

 

 

Automate your social media marketing

One of the biggest time wasters for small business is social media marketing. Not that social media marketing is a time waster. But constantly feeding the beast can consume an awful lot of your time without ever showing much benefit.

Many small businesses attend seminars or read articles on the power of social media. You have to be on Linkedin. You have to be on Twitter. You have to be on Facebook. You have to make videos. You have to have a blog.

Yes, you do have to have most of these things to market yourself effectively online.

But what happens is that folks walk out of individual seminars or click away from a marketing article and create accounts for each social media site. They then start a blog and post a few articles.

Awesome.

Two weeks later, they discover that they are spending all their time writing content and posting it separately to all these accounts.

And nothing is happening.

The missing element is that you need to get all these different worlds working together. And the best way to do that is to automate a lot of the process, so the only real effort is creating your compelling content.

So how do you automate the process? Well creative use of RSS feeds is one way.

A few weeks back I wrote about the “Not-so-secret Google tool you should use” in regards to Feedburner.

Well each of the social media big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) can use your feeds to automatically update your status.

How much time would that save you?

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

For the purpose of this article, I’ll assume you already have an Facebook Business page – similar to this one from one Linkedin sales trainer, Kurt Shaver.

What we used to connect Kurt’s blog, Twitter and YouTube accounts to auto-update his Facebook page was an app called RSS Graffiti.

So now Kurt only has to concern himself with creating videos, writing new blog posts and keeping up with his tweeting – things he would be doing anyway.

And what happens is anyone who has “Liked” his page, will then see these updates on their Facebook newsfeed the next time they log in.

We also set Feedburner to auto update Twitter, which also auto updates his  Linkedin status.

RSS Updates and LinkedIn

To update your personal LinkedIn profile with your latest blog posting you can install one of these two apps Wordress or Blog Link. Both do the same job. They take the RSS feed from your posts and connect them to your LinkedIn profile.

From your Linkedin company page you can also add your Feedburner feed to display and distribute your blog posts to folks who are following you.

So, if there is a lesson to be learned for everyone when it comes to setting up your social media, it’s that using the free tools all around you will save you time and move your business into the social media arena, without causing you to burn through hours of your day updating everything manually.

Fancy vs Functional Sites for Business

A web designer and web marketer are two different jobs.

One job involves creating a unique branded experience that makes the client look great online. While the other is responsible for taking that wonderful looking site and making it work as a marketing tool.

I’ve seen some amazing looking sites that do absolutely nothing for the client.

That’s because the sizzle of a sexy site has an instant appeal to folks who don’t know any better.

An analogy I often make is that if you put a lawnmower engine in a Ferarri, it may look good, but it just won’t cut it – literally and metaphorically.

Let me be clear – a great web designer is an amazing resource, and everyone should be lucky enough to have access to at least one.

But problems arise when a business, assumes that a web designer is also a great marketing resource.

If you are looking to save money on your site by hiring a designer – without a marketing person to assist with the functionality – find out:

  • What they know about search engine optimization
  • Will they do keyword research to help you create quality content Google will love?
  • Do they take care of proper page title tags and descriptions?
  • Will they set up your Google Analytics?
  • Will they create a proper site map and make sure you have an webmasters account with Google and Bing?
  • Are they including privacy statements and copyrights?
  • Are they blocking your content with a flash/splash pages?
  • Will they create a mobile version that works with iOS, Blackberry and Android devices?
  • Will they help you connect your RSS feeds to automatically update your various social media accounts?

All of these are important factors in building a successful online brand. Don’t get suckered into fancy, when functional is what you really need to market yourself more effectively and drive sales.

The (not-so) secret Google tool you should use

Of course there are no real secret Google tools. And if there are, I’m not running with the crowd who knows about them.

But over the last few weeks I’ve talked to  a number of site owners – speakers, recruiters, SEO folks – and I’ve been really surprised by how few of them know anything about Feedburner.

Now Google’s wall-splattered with spaghetti approach to product launches makes it too easy for some of the great tools they have to fly under the radar.

Feedburner is one of them. If you are a site owner with a blog or podcast, stop reading this post right now and sign up for Feedburner.

What it does is take your raw feed – generally looking like this – and turn it into this.

Pretty slick.

But it does more than this. It will also create forms so folks can subscribe to receive your new blog posts via email, provide a metric showing how many folks are subscribed – along with their emails. Go ahead and subscribe to my feed using the form on this page.

It will also generate simple code for you to display your blog posts on virtually any page on any site you run.

It will also notify different services when your blog is updated – helping your SEO. And of course it will also automatically update your Twitter account.

With a couple of Facebook tweaks you can even connect your Feedburner feed to automatically send your new posts to your Facebook Fan Page.

So what are you waiting for. It’s a free service.

Using online videos as search engine marketing promos

Videos. Videos. Videos. If the internet was a town, videos would be the talk of it.

I’ll confess, I don’t spend a lot of time on YouTube – except for when I need to get a quick walk through on some gadget I can’t figure out *cough* *cough* BlackBerry Playbook.

But I am always telling my clients that they need more videos.

Of course the question I get back is “why?”

The simple reason – and the reason for most of the things I recommend – is search engine success.

Increasingly if you type a search phrase into Google, you’ll get videos on the results page.

If you’re a professional speaker, actor, pilates instructor etc., it’s a great way to get yourself onto the first page.

Of course just making a video won’t automatically bring you to the top of the results page. You also need to optimize the title, description and tags to fight your way to the top.

Do do this, Google gives you a neat little keyword tool.

Use this to find keywords that have low competition and high search rates.

Let’s say you’re a professional speaker.

That’s a very specific phrase with some very high competition. But Google gives you suggestions around that term, along with how often they are searched and how competitive they are. By doing a simple search by competiviness, you’ll quickly find some words and phrases for your video titles, descriptions and tags.

 

From that list I pulled:

  • an inspirational speech
  • motivational speeches
  • national speakers
  • find a speaker
  • motivational leaders

Title: An inspirational Speech for America

Description: https://www.shortcircuitmedia.com Aidan Crawford is one of the most sought after national speakers. His speeches are both motivational and inspirational . If you are looking to find a speaker, Aidan Crawford is one of the most sought after leaders in the business.

Tags: motivational speeches, inspirational speech, nationals speakers, find a speaker, motivational leaders

You can use this same formula for any business video.


Bonus tip: While you’re logged into your YouTube account, go to Settings>>Sharing and connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts. This will then send out your YouTube videos automatically to these social media outlets as they are posted.

Extra bonus tip: Connect your Youtube feed to Linkedin.

To create an RSS feed from your YouTube channel, it’s pretty straight forward.  just take the following URL:

http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/yourchannelname/uploads

and replace the ”yourchannelname” with your YouTube channel name.

Very simple stuff. Good luck!

Extreme Makeover: Web Marketing Edition

Just about everybody understands that having a completely integrated web and social media strategy is important. But for some reason there’s a perception among small business that it costs an arm and a leg to get everything up and running.

It’s true that just a few years back, a website could cost upwards of $10,000. But today you should be able to get something far superior for a lot less.

Great free web tools from WordPress, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter make it easier and more economical than ever to update your web presence.

Just recently I rebranded and relaunched Kurt Shaver’s site The Sales Foundry. Kurt is a professional speaker, I met at the National Speakers Association’s annual convention this past summer in Anaheim.

At the time he had a site that folks generally describe as brochure-ware. Very little interactivity, and no social media integration.

If I were a smarter man, I’d have a screen grab of the “before” to really bring home the improvements in the “after.”

But alas, all I can do is provide a list of some of the new features to demonstrate how you can improve your own online marketing.

First of all, the new site is built using WordPress. It’s a great little content management system that is very easy to customize and is practically designed to feed content to search engines.

The first thing you’ll see on the home page is a set of rotating banners that promote all of Kurt’s services. You’ll also note how prominent the signup is for his monthly newsletter along with the icons for each one of Kurt’s social media pages.

Above each piece of content on every page we have icons to help people share individual pages across various social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Google.

As I’ve stated before – LinkedIn is the most important social media site for business.

And on Kurt’s blog, we’ve replaced the default WordPress comments with Facebook comments to reduce spam and provide another opportunity for people to bring the conversation into the social sphere.

Staying with the blog for a second, we’ve connected the pipes so that whenever Kurt creates a new blog entry, that content is fed out Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn automatically. We used Feedburner for this.

But if someone is interested they can sign up to receive blog postings via email or install a native Android or Blackberry app.

Social media a a great way to let folks share content. But it’s important to have something worth sharing. Here you will see a quiz that allows folks to do a self assessment for the LinkedIn effectiveness.

Again this is a simple WordPress plugin. But it works great.

Other items a lot of folks seem to miss when building a site, that we’ve included:

  • Proper XML sitemap
  • Privacy statement
  • Feedburner RSS feed
  • Copyright
  • Physical address
  • Videos

If you’re in the market for a new site, make sure your coder/marketing person reads this article. You can also fill in this form and l’ll take a look at your site for free and give you some tips over the phone or via Skype. And of course, you can contact me and we can talk about building a site that includes all these features – in just over a month and for much less than you think.

Are you using Facebook ads to promote your business?

Are you going broke using pay per click ads through Google?

From experience, I can tell you that it’s very easy to burn through $500 to a $1000 and not see any real return on your investment.

The main issue for me has always been the inability to narrow the audience enough to reach exactly who I’m looking for.

Over the last couple of years I’ve become a great advocate for Facebook Ads.

I’ve used them for clients and I’ve used them for myself.

In one instance I used them to help sell my own house – by targeting folks who lived within 50 miles of Toronto, between the ages of 25 and 35, who were married and “liked” Toronto.

Yes, I was able to get THAT specific. Better still, I was paying $.40 per 1000 views. So over the course of 5 days, I was able to drive 100 clicks through to my virtual tour page for less than $20.

So how can you use Facebook ads for your business?

There are few ways to do this. The first is to advertise your products and services to a specific region and demographic or you can use it to build your brand or target a specific company.

If you are a speaker, ask yourself who it is that you need to reach? The audience? Sure. But does the audience do the bookings or sign the cheques? Nope. You need to reach corporate planners, event planners, and anyone else who is likely to pick up the phone or send you an email.

So lets try a little experiment by creating an ad:

This ad is targeting folks in Canada, United States and the United Kingdom, who are older than 27, and like: event planner, corporate events, event planning or conference organizer

This ad is targeting 22860 people and it costs $.41 per thousand views.

So for $10 a day, this ad may be viewed well over 24000 times!

Building your brand and targeting specific companies

Facebook ads are also great if you want to work for a specific client or you want to reach people at a specific company.

As an example I randomly chose Research in Motion as a company someone might want to target. Using the same geographic regions of Canada, US and UK, I was given 4500 folks who work for RIM and are currently using Facebook. The cost for that ad? $.20 per 1000 views.

This can work for any company. You can also use Facebook ads to target current clients with new promotions!

So go ahead and experiment a bit. Facebook ads are an inexpensive way to get acquainted with online advertising.

Quick Tweets from the CAPS Conference

This past weekend I was at the annual CAPS Conference (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers). This year it was in Toronto – which would be awesome if I didn’t live in Toronto.

I love travelling to NSA and CAPS events. And when I have to go home at the end of the day, I know I’m missing a huge part of the experience.

As an exhibitor, it was a great opportunity to put faces to names and meet some really interesting characters.

But there was also a lot of time, when I was left at my booth for hours at a time.

My options were to see how many levels of Angry Birds I could conquer or engage with folks as they participated in sessions.

I chose the latter. And I did so with a series of tweets that I sent out over two days. Some of these I’ve talked about before. But some of them are new.

So without any further delay, here are some useful tips, doled out 164 characters at a time:

  • Turn your book into an ebook for iPad & kindle. Check out Smashwords.com #caps11
  • Try using feedburner.com to push out your blog to the world. #caps11
  • Get your book distributed internationally as POD. Look into lightningsource.com #caps11
  • Grow your Facebook fan page by exporting your contacts from LinkedIn. #caps11
  • Don’t be afraid to outsource your web development. Look into scriptlance.com #caps11
  • Connect your YouTube account to automatically update your Facebook fan page. #caps11
  • My mom doesn’t care how good of a speaker you are so I’m not going to Like your site. The most important share button for business is LinkedIn. #caps11
  • Google+ might be a pain in the ass, but it actually counts for SEO. Just build the business page and complain like the rest of us #caps11
  • If you’re using a personal Facebook page for business, you’re missing a lot of opportunities to connect with clients. Move them to a business page. #caps11
  • How does your site measure up? Get a quick and dirty snapshot @ websitegrader.com #caps11
  • Sign up for a Google Webmasters account and submit your site map. #caps11
  • Chop up all those videos you’ve got in a box beside your desk and create a YouTube channel.

Who has the best professional speaker website?

Do you have a great site?

How would you know if you did?

The problem is that most folks either think than have a terrible site or they believe theirs is the best thing to hit the web since that dancing baby 15 years ago.

The point is that most folks don’t know what makes a great website.

The flashiest site in the world may look awesome. But if it’s not scoring well on Google for relevant keywords then it really doesn’t qualify as a great site.

And a site can attract a lot of traffic, but if it’s not converting visitors to clients because it’s ugly or hard to navigate then it’s not great.

At the end of November I’ll be attending the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Conference in Toronto.

As part of the run up to the big event, I’m trying to compile a list of the greatest speaker websites on the planet to showcase what every professional speaker should aspire to have.

So my challenge to every speaker reading this is to send me a list the best examples of speaker sites you’ve come across.

And the last week of November, I’ll count down the top five and explain why they are great.

What I promise not to do is publish a list of worst sites or otherwise single anyone out for public ridicule – so don’t be afraid to nominate yourself.

You can send your nominations to me via email aidan@shortcircuitmedia.com or post them in the comments section below.

Also, please retweet and share this with other speakers who might be interested in participating.

Linkedin Marketing for Small Business

Every site – including this one – has multiple share buttons that allow visitors to share content with friends and colleagues.

With over 700 million users, Facebook gets a lot of attention.

But what do you share on Facebook? I know for me, I’m likely to share newspaper articles, pictures and videos from YouTube that amuse or entertain me.

What I’m not likely to share is a link to help you market your business website.

Don’t get offended. My friends and family just don’t care about professional speakers, consultants, or widget factories. So why would I pass your site along to them?

Now I might be inclined to share your site on Twitter, if there is something interesting, that my followers might also find worth looking at.

So that leaves Google+ and Linkedin. Now I don’t use Google+ very much at all. But I can see how it could become very valuable if it ever hits critical mass. Especially since it actually does effect your ranking on the big engine.

Linkedin marketing is a much more practical way to promote your business in the social media world.

Simply by placing a Linkedin button on each page of your site, you are inviting visitors to share your site with professional associates and groups.

If you are a small business having your blog post or product end up on a group, or shared to a number of professional contacts by a visitor, has the potential to be a very profitable endorsement.

You can even set up your social media machine to automatically post your content to Linkedin by tying your RSS feed to your professional profile and Twitter account.

So what are you waiting for? Here is the link to add the Linkedin Share Button to your site.

https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/share-button

If you need help implementing this, you can always send me a note.

Tag Archive for: Google

Real Estate Marketing for Agents & Brokers

real estate website marketingThe condo market in Toronto is highly competitive with realtors and agents tripping over themselves to get clients.

Your clients are young professionals who live their lives on the internet. So that’s where you need to be if you want to grow your business.

A static website that doesn’t display properly on mobile devices, isn’t properly integrated into social media and lacks the basic functionality to engage and grow your list is a complete waste of your time.

The goal for the best condo or real estate websites is to increase targeted traffic, engage existing clients, and propagate content across social networks by making it easy for visitors to share your site within their social networks. The result is a professional sales funnel that drives more business via the internet.

Real Estate Marketing Strategy

At Short Circuit Media we create and execute marketing plans for small business that leverage the latest internet technology with social media integration to increase engagement – while developing an ongoing Search Engine Optimization plan to get your business ranking organically on Google.

Site Functionality

  • Attractive slider function to display new listings
  • Out-of-the-box Search Engine Friendly
  • Connected to your Google Analytics, Webmasters and Local listings.
  • Property Listings page tied to update social media via RSS
  • Responsive template that works with mobile devices
  • Email Alerts for visitors to get notifications whenever a new property is listed
  • Search functions
  • Social Media Share Buttons
  • Videos Page (If YouTube Channel exists)
  • Newsletter Signup (if required)
  • Twitter Feed
  • Deep integration with Linkedin profiles

Search Engine Optimization

  • Keyword research
  • New site copy developed
  • Sitemaps, Privacy statements, RSS feeds
  • Setup Google Webmasters Accounts
  • Search Engine submissions
  • Installation of Google Analytics

Social Media

It’s not enough to post content to your site. You must make it easy for clients to share across their social networks – specifically LinkedIn and Facebook.

As part of the social media optimization process, we’ll make sure that every page on your site has social sharing buttons for Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook.

  • Branded Linkedin Company page
  • Branded Facebook Fan Page
  • Branded Twitter account
  • Branded YouTube Channel
  • Connected RSS feeds from property listings to automatically update social media.

Complete Internet Marketing Strategy and Implementation Summary

This program is a turnkey solution that will completely rebrand and streamline your online presence, while also giving you the scalability of a WordPress site. The advantage to this is that you will have a site that is completely integrated into social media and optimized for search engines.

What are you waiting for?

Small Business Marketing Solutions

Short Circuit media helps small businesses make more money, by growing their social media footprint and streamlining online marketing efforts to create an effective sales funnel that reaches ideal clients. That’s it.

That is the pitch.

We don’t just tell you what needs to be done. We do it.

A poorly built web site is worse than having no site at all.

As a small business, it’s more important than ever to market yourself effectively online using social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

Short Circuit Media understands what it takes to build a great website using the latest social media marketing techniques, and we’re experts at consulting through to implementation for small and medium sized businesses.

What makes a great website?

A great website is intuitively designed, easy to update yourself, and functionally optimized for social media marketing using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, beyond social media marketing, your site also needs to be found on Google for the services you offer and not for your company’s name – people that know about your company will find your company.

Simple improvement like keyword research to find what people are looking for, and a sitemap to let Google know about, and index, your site properly will make a huge difference.

Case Study #1 – www.fitnessbythelake.com

What is it?

Fitness by the Lake is a Port Credit based company focused on outdoor and at home personal training.

What we did

Built a site on WordPress with optimized keywords that were geo-targeted specifically to reach clients in Port Credit, Clarkson Village and Lorne Park.

Results

Within one week of launching the site, www.fitnessbythelake.com was in the top 5 Google results for “Personal Trainer in Port Credit”, “Personal Trainer Lorne Park” and “Personal trainer Clarkson Village.”

How much does it cost to build a website that properly integrates social media marketing?

Remember, the site is only a part of your overall internet marketing strategy.

You get:

  • Brand new website built using WordPress, for easy updates you can do yourself
  • Optimized website for search engines (Privacy policy, sitemap submission, copyrights)
  • Blog or news page (auto updating Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter)
  • Facebook Fan Page
  • LinkedIn Company page
  • Twitter account
  • Keyword research to help you write content that attracts traffic from search engines
  • Setup and installation of Google Analytics, Google Webmasters account

The internet is global. Is your business?

The internet is changing the way the world does business.

As a marketing consultant, headquartered in North America, I see sites from all over the world.

And I’m always surprised to see how poorly a lot of businesses manage their online presence.

If you want more business from the US and EU, keep reading.

It doesn’t take much to transform your site into a lead generator. All you have to do is make sure it looks professional, and can match up against your competitors in North America or Europe.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in oil or sales. You can make your site into a lead generating tool.

Here’s how:

  • Create a Facebook Fan page, LinkedIn business page and Twitter account
  • Use an RSS feed to update all these social media sites (products, services, blogs)
  • Create compelling online tools that are good reasons for visitors to stick around
  • Add some forms to capture email addresses.
  • Use all the Google tools (Analytics, Feedburner, Webmasters) to make your site more search engine friendly
  • Add social media share buttons so visitors can easily share your content with friends and colleagues

Take a look at thesalesfoundry.com as an example of how it’s done right.

Before you go any further, submit your site using the form on the right column, and I’ll have a look at it for free.

When I’m finished, we can set up a Skype chat to go over the results. If you want me to implement the changes, great. If you have someone on your team to do them, that’s okay too.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Aidan Crawford
President
Short Circuit Media

Small business marketing strategy and execution

When you finally decide to offload your marketing duties to an outside agency the first thing you need to consider is compatibility.

There are a million different companies swimming in the same pool offering virtually identical services.  So the key is not look for the best – most are pretty good – but rather the agency that works best for you.

A bit of history

2005 was a particularly hot summer, so there were many opportunities to brainstorm ideas while enjoying Toronto’s patio season.

At the time Aidan Crawford was working as the Manager of Internet/Intranet for BMO Mutual Funds. After spending the previous three years as the Web Marketing Specialist for Group Investments at Canada Life, his career path looked to be forever linked to financial services if he didn’t make a change. And soon.

Among the many ideas that bubbled up during those long sunny afternoons, was a concept to build national bank websites for people to research specific products without having to go to individual banking sites.

For the next two years, Short Circuit Media developed banking and investment sites using the latest internet marketing technologies.

Since 2010 Short Circuit Media has built a solid reputation as the go-to marketing firm for consultants, professional speakers and trainers, delivering one-off projects like websites, copywriting, business consulting and coaching all the way up to full service retainer marketing programs.

If you are a consultant, professional speaker or sales trainer find out what we can do to make your business grow.