It is disconcerting to me to realize that it’s almost Christmas and it has been many months since I have published a newsletter to you, but it seems like things are happening at warp speed this year, and several things “out of the ordinary” have kinda cropped up. It has been an interesting year as we approach the end of 2011, starting back in January when I played piano/organ for my nephew’s wedding in Columbus Ohio, to the other extreme of my mom passing away a few months ago. Wow, one end of the spectrum to the other! And yes, I did send a Christmas card to each and every one of our active customers again this year!
So a newsletter post on a Sunday afternoon two weeks before Christmas?? Let me ask — have you tried to get near a mall on a Sunday afternoon this close to Christmas? Nuff said…..
But I wanted to take time before the end of the year to let you know that I appreciate you and the leads that you send. Those, combined with my own marketing efforts, is going to make me one of the top three Telarus closers for the year, assuming nobody else comes up with a monster deal in the next couple of weeks. Am I bummed about not being “number 1”? No, not at all. Because I know that I have done the best I could do, and one can never feel bad about giving something their best shot. There is nothing I would have done differently if I had been number 1 or number 100. Rather, my goal is to help you to become as good of marketers as you can possibly be, and help you to understand some of the things that you should consider doing to increase your marketing efforts for our mutual benefit. In the words of Paul Whitmore: “Success if not determined by by one or two players, but by the whole team”, and we are a team.
Looking Ahead To 2012
I am excited to think about what 2012 will bring, as 2011 and previous years seem to have laid the groundwork for future years. I have qualified for the Telarus Presidents Club again and will be e enjoying several days with my wife, Telarus brass, and other Presidents Club members at a resort in Cancun at the end of February. Then in March I will be attending the annual Channel Partners Conference which is a great place to rub shoulders and talk with industry leaders and top management from the carriers, reinforcing those relationships and learning about new products and offerings that we can provide to our customers. Then in June there is the Telarus Agent Summit at the Telarus HQ which promises to be fun-filled as well as information-packed. By the way, in case you didn’t see it, the new Telarus HQ building, which they just moved into recently, is pictured below:
I would encourage you to take a good long look at your marketing efforts that you are currently using, and really evaluate if you are getting the results you want, or if something needs to be changed or added. One of the things to keep in mind is WHO are you marketing to, which should always be the forefront of your mind when you are considering a new marketing venture for your web sites. It is amazing to me the number of residential leads that I continue to get, and I even know that some of you have a statement at your site saying “not for residential use” but that doesn’t stop a lot of people, thinking that that statement for whatever reason does not apply to THEIR residential environment. Go figure.
But again, be aware of WHO your target audience is when you are starting a marketing campaign, and WHO the most likely reader of your marketing campaign would be. As an example, if you were marketing fur coats, can you guess what your success rate would be if your target marketing efforts were all within forums or newsgroups where the members were animal rights advocates? Would you market alligator shoes to the “Save The Reptiles Foundation”? Would you market a great turtle soup recipe to the “Sea Turtle Preservation Society”? (A real organization, by the way). Do you market to a group of people interested in a fishing dingy where your offering is super-tankers? In the same sense, marketing T1 circuits or any of the circuits that Telarus offers to the residential user is throwing your marketing efforts and money into the wind, where your return on that investment in time or money will never be realized, and quite frankly, has been wasted.
Elements Of Your Blog Posts
When you post something relevant to your site on a blog, whether it is YOUR blog or one of the social network (ie, “Web 2.0”) sites, there are certain elements you really want to have in your post to maximize the amount of “SEO Love” that is given to this site by the search engines and spiders. Since many of the free social network sites do not allow you this level of control over your post, which varies from site to site, this is probably most relevant to the blogs that you have and own yourself, which have links back to your main site:
1. The article text is relevant to the keyword you have selected for this article post and has at least 450-500 words, where the keyword density of your keyword phrase is between 2-3%. There are several freeware packages out there that can help you determine your keyword density. The article must be original, not copied from someone else’s blog or web site.
2. Make sure that you use your keyword phrase once in the first paragraph and within the first 10 words of that paragraph, and again in the last sentence of the post or article. Then of course, as needed in the middle paragraphs to achieve the desired keyword density. Believe me, this is important.
3. Start your post with an H1 tag that contains the keyword, and as the article flows, also include at least one H2 tag and one H3 tag which also contain your keyword phrase. These are HTML heading tags and tells the spiders that the content of these tags is of primary importance. This is not rocket science — in HTML code, say your heading is “Why T1 Lines Are Great”, then your heading tag format would be “<h1>Why T1 Lines Are Great</h1>. In other words, the opening tag (ie, “<H1>”), the text that comprises this heading, and the closing tag (ie, “</H1>”. Ditto for H2 and H3 tags.
4. Include a picture in your post, and more than one if you create a longer post. Just text is boring, and pictures will add credibility to this post. But even more important, since the search engine spiders are not real good about reading a graphic file, it is up to you to HELP them, and you do this via the use of the ALT TEXT qualifier in the HTML source code. The ALT TEXT will contain your keyword phrase, which helps the spiders understand what your graphic is showing. So if your keyword phrase was “bonded T1 lines”, the HTML code for your graphic would be like:
<img src=”bonded-t1-lines-image.jpg” width=”680″ height=”472″ alt=”bonded T1 lines image”>
Notice in the example HTML code above, the filename of the graphic ALSO contains the keyword phrase, as does the ALT text, where both of these extra steps which will probably not consumer an additional MINUTE of your time will help with the ranking and search engine spider evaluation of your site.
5. With your keyword phrase in the content, use HTML tags to BOLD it once, ITALICIZE it once, and UNDERLINE it once. Once only so it does not look like you are trying to spam the content, but the additional emphasis allows the search engine spiders to know that you are putting additional emphasis on this keyword phrase.
6. Somewhere on your SITE (ie, blog or social media site but NOT at your main site you want to direct traffic to, like your Telarus site), have a link on your site to an authority site with your keyword. Contrary to popular belief, this does not bleed off a ton of your link juice but instead gives more authority to YOUR site because you are willing to provide a link to another site which is known as an authority site. Think like the search engines think — you are trying to provide a “better user experience“. (Or at least give the illusion thereof….) What I suggest here is a link to a site like Wiki which is an authority site but really does not COMPETE with your site by offering the user alternatives places to buy. I would also suggest setting it up like the following code, where I have bolded the important part and then will tell you why:
<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org.wiki/T1_line” target=”_blank”>bonded T1 Line</a>
Notice the bolded-underlined part of that link, where your keyword phrase “bonded T1 line” is what is known as the ANCHOR TEXT for this link. What the ‘target=”_blank’ qualifier means in this anchor text link is that when the user clicks the link, the new page referenced by this link should open IN A NEW WINDOW. In other words, it will leave the window for YOUR page still open. Cool, eh?
If you are doing these things in Blogger.com or with a WordPress blog, the posting section where you enter a new post contains all of these things so that you do not need to get your hands dirty with that nasty HTML stuff, but again, it’s really not rocket science if you review the examples here. Whether or not you can do that or how easily it can be done at a social media or Web 2.0 site depends on the site, but at least now you know what to aim for, if they allow it at their site.
I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.
There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.
The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.
I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.
My very best wishes to you and your family for a (ok, here comes the politically incorrect part) very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and blessed new year. I look forward to 2012 being a banner year for both of us!
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.