November 16, 2015

alaskaWhere has this year gone? Yowsers it sure seems to have flown by, with the normanend-of-year holidays just around the corner from here. It has been an eventful year, watching my grandson grow up, now just shy of 20 months old and always having a hug for “Papa”. My wife and I did an Alaskan cruise earlier this year, and if you haven’t done one, make sure to advance it very highly on your bucket list, as it was incredible and I would do it again in a heartbeat. On the second-last day of the cruise, we got a message that my wife’s brother had passed away so we re-arranged the post-cruise land portion of the trip to go to Michigan for the funeral. I am going to be gone next week but figured it would be a good time to be away, both from the aspect of being a short work week with Thanksgiving in the latter part of the week, as well as preferring to be “pre-occupied” with something else like a western Caribbean cruise as I remember last year when my dad passed away around this time of the year. But we try to keep moving forward!

Marketing!

marketingHow can you do effective marketing? It’s like deer hunting or fishing — you go where the deer or the fish are at! If you are hunting deer, you are going to have success in the “slim to none” category if you are hunting in downtown Chicago or downtown New York City. If you are fishing for marlins or tuna, you don’t cast into the mud puddle at the end of your driveway. The game is not going to come to you, but you need to go to where the game hangs out. That might seem kind of obvious but it is totally amazing to me the number of people who claim to get this, yet fish in mud puddles.

Forums

forumYou want to get your offer in front of as many people as possible, so you want to go where they hang out. Find some discussion forums on various topics related to networking, dedicated circuits, MPLS, WAN setup, and other associated keyword terms. Search for these keywords in Google with the word “forum” appended and then join those forums.

But a major key is that once you are accepted into the forum, do NOT start your very first day there with a sales pitch. That will get you banned faster than you can say “dialup”. Become a member of the forum. Read through the posts and offer answers and suggestions to show that you are a contributing member of the forum interested in helping others. Don’t write a doctorate dissertation for post responses, but keep your responses short, to the point, educated and informative, even if you need to research the answer first, and even if someone else has already answered it, where you can perhaps offer a slightly different perspective. Become accepted by forum members.

In many forums, you are allowed to add some information to your posts, kind of like a signature line. If allowed, and again, not on day 1, add a BRIEF one-liner with a URL to one of your sites. This can be incredibly effective but it’s not going to happen overnight. Show up consistently in the forum (ie, not only twice a year) and show yourself to be knowledgeable, informative, and helpful to others in the forum. Once your credibility is established, you you will be accepted and people will be much more likely to check out your URL in your post signature.  Also put your URL in your forum profile, and since that is not blatant, that is something you can do on day 1, and it also is another quality and relevant backlink to your site.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

ppcI am not personally a fan of PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing because my wallet still has scars, but it can be a great way to get targeted visitors to your web site (or landing page — see below) quickly if you do it right and are cautious.  In Google, you setup an Adwords account, specify the parameters, pick your keywords, indicate the max you are willing to spend per keyword, and your campaign is actively running, literally within minutes.

The problem with this is that it can get expensive in a heartbeat if you are not careful. The best way to do this is to use the LONG TAIL KEYWORDS that everybody and their well-funded brother are NOT using so that it does not financially force you to give it up.  For example, just targeting “business ethernet” is going to cost you about $5.57 per click, but a long tail keyword that is more specific such as “atlanta fiber ethernet” or “seattle ethernet cost” is going to be far less. True, you won’t get nearly as much traffic but the traffic you do get is going to be much cheaper and much more targeted. Studies have also shown that including the word “cost” or “price” in your keyword is a good indication of someone searching with buying intent which is what you are looking for.

Another option to consider is Facebook paid advertising. This is very similar to Google Adwords but in Facebook you have much more control over  who your ads are shown to. For example, you can specify age groups, demographics, household income level, education, vocation, subscribers to Telecom Today,  and a host of other parameters. Do you see where this can laser-target your marketing? With Google Adwords, you can (and will) get clicks from any 12 year old in Mosquito Junction, Minnesota who clicks your ad, but with the Facebook laser targeting, you have much more control over who your ad is shown to.

Something to think about. Note this does NOT guarantee sales (conversions) since that it ultimately your responsibility via your web site and/or landing pages but it does get your offer in front of the people who are looking for those things, it does so quickly, and can be worth the investment.

Landing Pages

landingpageOne of the things that many successful marketers use is a landing page.  This is not your main web site where customers would get quotes and enter their information, but rather is an “intermediate” site that provides additional information (BRIEFLY) that links to your real web site, and essentially does a PRE-SELL on your customer, where if the visitor is really interested in what you have to offer, helps to “prime the pump”, so to speak.

Do some searches in Google on virtually any product and you will see what I mean. The function of a landing page is to pre-sell the customer so that they are primed when they go to visit your real site. For example, perhaps the visitor is visiting your landing page by clicking on one of your links where the anchor text for the link was “business ethernet”. The landing page would talk about business ethernet, obviously, but would also include some BRIEF statements about related offerings that you can also provide, such as Ethernet MPLS, WAN optimization, hosted PBX on that Ethernet, cloud services, etc.  If your customer was interested in business Ethernet, chances are high that the customer is also interested in those other things, where the “one stop shopping” aspect will be appealing.

In fact, many online marketers have MULTIPLE landing pages, one for each specific product. To illustrate but not telecom-related so that everybody doesn’t copy it verbatim, say you’re selling pet food so you have a landing page for tropical fish food, another landing page for cat food, another landing page for llama food, etc.  That way, the landing page is specific to the link that the user clicked to get there, but the cat food landing page would also mention that you can also provide food for their dog, their llama, etc. Use your imagination.

Links Of Course!

backlinksAs mentioned consistently in my newsletters, relevant links are by far the best way to advance your rankings. Getting relevant links from high ranking sites is the best way to give your web sites greater visibility for searches.  But note the keyword “relevant”, which is important but not nearly as important as “high ranking” and authoritative sites. In other words, getting a 100 links from various pet food marketing sites will not give you as much link juice as a single link from an authority site.

One of the ways many people are doing that today is with PBN’s, or Private Blog Networks. You can create your very own PBN relatively easily, its not rocket science, and the beauty of it is that since you own the network, you have total control over it and what it links to.

There are many sites online that sell expired and expiring domains that already have authority and link juice, where the owner has not renewed the domain for various reasons. One that I use a lot is domcop.com.  Initially, I look for domains that have not been abused, already have both citation flow and trust flow (Google and Moz), have a number of links coming in from various different IP addresses, and do not have backlinks with “questionable” anchor text or obvious spam.

The tool I use to determine that is majesticseo.com, although there are several others also. When I find a potential domain to buy for my own PBN, I look at with with majesticseo, where the summary page of the results are shown below:

majestic

Basically, I would pass on this one.  My own criteria is that the Trust Flow and Citation Flow need to both be at least a value of 10.  And if there is a wide spread between TF and CF, that is also a bad sign.  Also note the “Referring Domains” column, where this only has 16 backlinks pointing to it.  That’s not many, I personally want to see at least 25 referring domains.

Note the tabs across the top — I would also click on the “Anchor Text” tab to get an idea of the anchor text pointing to this domain to make sure that none of them are spammy, gambling, pharmaceutical or porn.  I also look at the “Backlinks” tab to see where the backlinks are coming from to see if it makes sense for its intended purpose.

I would not purchase this expired domain, even though Google says is a Page Rank 3.  By the way, Google’s page rank metric is becoming almost meaningless and is rarely updated, so you need to look at the metrics shown here to get a real idea of the value of the domain.

Summary

Pilot In CommandI 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 In Flight 2 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 at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. 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.

flyingThe 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 very best wishes to you for a happy holiday, and a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!