July 8, 2010

Happy Mid-Year Greetings!

I hope your summer has been going well so far and you enjoyed the recent holiday weekend. Summer is a great time to kick back, revitalize the engines and brain cells, and take stock of where you are currently at and where you want to get to. I find that this also includes taking time “on vacation”, where for some it may be all about vacation, but for me, I find that as I lay poolside in the sun trying very hard to be “on vacation”, my mind is always thinking about things, typically business things and how they can be better or improved. But the nice thing about this scenario is that your mind can really focus on things without the normal distractions that cause your head to be filled with a half gazillion random “thought threads” that never get completed or completely thought through.

Then again I may be wired differently from most folks, so feel free to take that with a grain of salt….

Telarus has added several more vendors and carriers to our family which gives us (meaning YOU also) even more opportunities to market telecom services and make money as a result. Telarus now includes RealLynx who provides very competitive pricing on VOIP and Hosted PBX solutions. I have sold some of this already and I can attest that they are very responsive and a real joy to work with. We also have Netwolves and Telx who do colocation services across the country at very competitive rates.

To further attest to the fact that Telarus is doing things right is the fact that a couple of our carriers have recently given us a raise in terms of the commissions they were paying us. The carriers had asked for “proof” that Telarus could deliver what we said we could deliver, and we provided that proof in spades, so they have bellied up to the bar.

There are also a lot of mergers and acquisitions going on. Qwest was recently acquired by CenturyLink, Covad is acquiring Megapath (or vice versa), and the end result is also acquiring SpeakEasy. Nuvox, who last year acquired FDN (Florida Digital Networks) has been acquired by Windstream.

Is this a concern for you? It shouldn’t be, and in fact is a definite benefit to you. These mergers and acquisitions mean that the strongest carriers have become even stronger and also have a larger footprint in which we, as one of their top-producing agencies, can continue to send them a ton of business.

Marketing

I truly wish I could get inside your head or watch over your shoulder as you do the marketing and promotion of your Telarus sites, whether that/those site(s) are basic, GeoQuote Lite, GeoQuote Premium, or some other variety of web site. The reason I say this is because when a new lead comes in, I can look to see who the lead agent for that lead is, and with uncanny accuracy, can determine if that lead is going to be trash or a real opportunity for both of us. If you have been reading my newsletters for awhile and following the advice I have given, as well as participating (live or via after-the-fact recordings) of the marketing training calls that Patrick does such an outstanding job with, it is still hard for me to understand how various people “doing the same thing” can achieve such drastically different results. The only thing I can figure is that you are not all doing the same thing, so I wanted to provide some help with that.

There is a battle in the world of search engine ranking and positioning, but much of that battle boils down to determining what is king and what is queen. Some say CONTENT is king and LINKS are queen, others swear that the reverse is true. But irrespective of which of those you choose to believe, you need to know that CONTENT and LINKS are critically important to where your site and pages rank in the search engines and you need to treat both with ultimate respect. Let’s talk a little about both of them:

Content

“On-Page SEO”: The content on your web site is critical. The search engines don’t know you personally so the only way they have to determine who you are and the “seriousness” of your site is based on the content of your site. Is it unique? (Point). Does it provide useful information? (Point). Do you make good use of the keywords that you want to rank for without “stuffing”, keeping keyword density to 2%-3%? (Point). Is the information valuable to the reader (think like a search engine: what is the “user experience”), and long enough (at least 250-300 words) to have actually said something? (Point).

“Off-Page SEO”: This also gets into links but I’ll address that separately. For things you have that point back to your site (think blogs, think social media, think article directories, think authority sites), does the content there follow all the “point” values mentioned above? If so, give yourself another point.

You can get an account at ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com, buzzle.com and dozens more for free, and then you can write an article that talks about your keyword. This must be a unique article, not duplicating something else, just say it in your own words. In fact, ezinearticles.com only requires a minimum article length of 250 words, and you could probably write that without breaking a sweat.

Links

Links are at least as important if not more so than content, but in my humble opinion, you cannot ignore either one of these aspects. When you submit an article to the article directories or a blog or social media sites, again keep the rules about CONTENT in mind, but within that article, provide a link with anchor text back to your main site. That is a super valuable type of link for many reasons; i.e.:

  • It is a ONE-WAY link. You did not have to link back to that site (reciprocal linking) to share some of your “link juice” with them.
  • Many of those sites mentioned above are known as AUTHORITY sites, and a one-way link from an authority site is super powerful.
  • That link comes from a different IP address and a different host. The search engines watch for this — having a gazillion links that all originate from the same IP address is more NEGATIVE link juice than positive.

What Is The Cost and Is It Worth It?

As far as cost, the only cost involved is known as sweat equity. You are putting time and effort into marketing and promoting your site(s) but there is no need to reach for your wallet. There are of course tools you can purchase to make much of this faster and easier but that is not a requirement to make this happen.

As far as is it worth it, check out the screen shots below, captured just this morning, from one of my Premium sites, business-ethernet.com for the search term “business ethernet”, and then you tell me. Keep in mind that the very top results in the shaded area are “sponsored listings”, meaning those companies PAID MONEY to be listed there, whereas I did not pay a cent to the search engines:

google serps

 

 

yahoo serps

 

 

bing serps

 

That’s not bad, wouldn’t you say? In Google, I have BOTH positions #1 and #2 since I finally figured out how to get the envied “double listing”. I am #1 for that term in Yahoo, and I don’t know what Bing’s problem is but #2 is still not a bad place to be. The point however that I am trying to make is that this CAN be done; it is not some theory being spouted by an alleged expert about what SHOULD happen, but it is the results of me, a non-expert and non-guru, just providing enough consistent sweat equity to achieve the results that I was aiming for.

The other point is that you can do this too if you are willing to invest the effort. (Note I did not say money…)

There are of course a ton of other things that can be done, and I try to follow the “SEO landscape” as much as possible, but if you can do CONTENT and LINKS right, the other stuff simply becomes icing on the cake.

Summary

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.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238