October 25, 2012

It doesn’t seem like the holidays are right around the corner. I cannot believe that the local Lowe’s store has had Christmas stuff on the shelves for almost two weeks already, there is something basically WRONG with that. But before the busy-ness of the holiday season sets in and engulfs us all, I wanted to take the time to write a newsletter to hopefully help you with your continuing marketing efforts.

It was really nice to attend the fall Channel Partners show in Orlando recently. I usually don’t go to that show because it is significantly smaller than the equivalent spring show in Las Vegas, but since Orlando is only an hour’s drive away for me, I thought I would go and was glad I did. I learned much more than I would have expected from the carrier partners, as well as being able to spend some time with the great folks from Telarus, who also need the occasional opportunity to relax and unwind when the show is over, like maybe in a local Greek restaurant…. no, not gonna name names here….  🙂

And I guess I am famous, kind of, as a quote of mine with my mug shot was shown on the back wall of the Telarus booth in the exhibit hall…

Mine is the lower one, the guy with the hair.  🙂 Sorry Ron, kidding…..

As I said in my last newsletter and I think it bears repeating: the smartest people in the world have said that “if you want new results, then do something new“. This is actually a corollary to the adage from Einstein who said that “insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results“. But the important part of the first statement is the verb “DO“, where another saying goes “Your job is simply to show up and take action. Knowledge without action is the most useless thing on the planet“. In other words, “take action” = “DO“.

In your marketing efforts, you need to stay a step ahead of the curve and the constant algorithm changes that the search engines are throwing at you. That doesn’t mean that is a full time job, you don’t need to be keenly aware of every little nuance that happens but you DO need to know generally what changes are being done, what the newest top ranking factors are, and most importantly, what you can do differently to take advantage of those top ranking factors, and to possibly UN-DO anything that is now causing the search engines to devalue your site or perhaps even deindex it.  If your site is beyond page 4 of the search results at best, you will rarely be found, and if you are deindexed, it is guaranteed that your site will NEVER be found, finding your site would be as fruitless as trying to find an honest politician…

The first thing you need to do when “casting your line to fish for customers” is to cast your line, with the right bait, where the fish are. I know many of you, when you do get a bite, make a huge haul like this representation:

Is that the kind of catch you want? Heck, that wouldn’t even keep the family CAT happy for more than 15 seconds. In terms of commissions, that would barely represent a monthly pack of gum. Is that what you are expending your efforts, when the same level of effort could be devoted to fishing where the marlins and swordfish hang out, knowing that you are using the right bait? Fishing where the fish are with the right equipment and the right bait — doesn’t it just make logical sense that this would get you much closer to your goals?

Continuing with the fishing analogy, I fully realize that in that big ocean, there is no way you can avoid catching the occasional carp, ratfish, or old bald tire. It goes with the territory and you need to accept that. But you need to fish IN THE RIGHT PLACE WITH THE RIGHT BAIT to have a snowball’s chance of seeing success.

One of the things I’d like you to think about is the following saying, which many of you have heard me say before:

Don’t step over the dollars to get to the dimes.

 In other words, if you are going to invest the marketing and promotion effort, don’t take the shortcuts and shortchange yourself. Doing it the right way will pay for itself, and hey, isn’t that why you are investing your personal time in doing this in the first place? As my father-in-law is noted for saying:

Don’t embark on vast projects with a half-vast approach.

 Ok, think about it, repeat it out loud if you need to.  Moving on….

Where To Do Marketing & Promotion

In previous newsletters, I’ve given you a ton of information on mostly FREE methods for promotion and marketing. You may want to review those if you don’t remember or if you are thinking this would be a good time to finally get serious about your marketing.

The big fish rarely hang out in the online classified ads. Rarely. You need to market where the big fish will see it and make sure you are marketing a product or service that these particular fish would be interested in knowing about. To give you a really BAD example to illustrate the point, if you were marketing fur coats, would you blast advertising to an Animal Rights Group? Ouch, I hope not. The same analogy applies here. You are marketing and promoting telecom services to businesses. You are NOT marketing services to Joe Schmoe who runs a home business offering turnip greens and needs something faster than dialup or satellite. Cast your fishing line where the fish are, and the fish you want don’t hang out in the online classifieds where your ad for telecom services is sandwiched between used couches and trailer hitches.

I’m not going to tell you WHERE to advertise because there is no sense in having a pile of people all getting new accounts at the same places. Rather, do your research and find out, and then TAKE ACTION. There are a TON of places online where the big fish hang out.  You don’t want your advertising “billboard” to be on a used-twice-annually dirt road, you want it along the 12 line super highway where it will be seen by the people that are much more likely to want what you have to offer.

Link Diversity

One of the things that the search engines are placing more emphasis on these days is link diversity. They want to see links from a lot of different places.  If you have a gazillion web site all hosted at HostGator, having all those sites link to your telecom site is going to do more harm than good. Google is not stupid and can easily determine that all these links, even with the sheer volume of them, all come from the same IP address. Get links from LOTS of different places, and preferably from related or at least somewhat related sites.

The search engines are placing increasing emphasis on “social signals”. Do you have a Facebook “like” button on your site, or a Pinterest button, or a LinkedIn button, or a Google-Plus button?  If not, do so asap, and then sign into your own account on those services and LIKE your own page. Nothing wrong with that. (You do like your own page, right?)

Where else can you put links, satisfying both the “link diversity” advantage as well as the “social signals” advantage? How about creating a FREE site at some of the top Web 2.0 properties? Tumbler is a PR6 site, Squidoo is a PR7 site, Scribd is a PR8 site, HubPages is a PR6 site, Digg is a PR8 site, and you can get accounts at all FIVE of these for free and point those huge levels of solid gold link juice back to YOUR site. There are many more but those are just off the top of my head.  Just ONE link from one of these high pagerank sites will trump 200 links from PR0 sites, and these are all on different IP addresses, providing the LINK DIVERSITY you want. Did I mention they are FREE? Is there a good reason to NOT jump on this, say as soon as yesterday?

 Is there a “gotcha” to having all these FREE accounts at high PR sites to give yourself quality link juice?  Yes, and that is that you need to keep the content current. This means writing quality content on a regular basis, say weekly or every couple of weeks.  The only thing that the search engines like better than basic content is UNIQUE and well-written new content that is FRESH.

In other words, don’t simply search ezinearticles for your topic keyword and paste the content into your site Digg/Hubpages/etc site. Besides being illegal, again Google is not stupid and can spot duplicate content at 100 paces. But what you CAN do which is perfectly legal and acceptable is the following simple process:

1. Find content that you think is good, appropriate, and on-topic.

2. Copy it onto a blank Word document.

3. Open a second blank Word document and display them side by side.

4. Now REWRITE that article in your own words, taking care not to copy verbatim. Sure, you are probably saying the same thing, but you are saying it in your own words, which makes it unique and you get huge brownie points from the search engines for fresh, well written, grammatically correct, no misspellings, content. That type of content is one of the holy grails of the Internet.

I read of a similar approach recently which I’ve found to work almost as well although it takes a bit more effort.  Find the same kind of on-topic thing in a Youtube video, then take “cliff notes” as you watch the video, even if you need to rewind a few times. Then write your UNIQUE and FRESH content based on those cliff notes.

If you don’t want to do that, you can have an article written for you that you could put on your sites, the best pricing for decent writing I’ve found is at Fiverr where you can get a 400+ word article written for $5. The problem is that you may need to check with the writer first to make sure they are really technically qualified to write a good and accurate article on your telecom topic of choice. Fiverr is an excellent resource if you are just plain out of time and need to get it done.

Anchor Text Diversity and “Natural”

The search engines today, especially Google, is into anchor text diversity as well. They are more into “natural” than your local organic health food store. Having several hundred links from different sites around the world appear overnight and then not have any more for a month or two is clearly not natural, and yes there is software that will generate hundreds and even thousands of links for you overnight, which used to work well, but now Google sees that and the “unnatural” flag is likely to be thrown on that play.

The other thing that plays into “natural” is anchor text diversity. Say you create 50-100 links to your site overnight, not really a big deal since 50-100 is not excessive, but what if each and every one of those links has the same anchor text, say “T1 line”? Again, UNNATURAL. (See previous newsletters for a description of what anchor text is if you don’t remember).

You are significantly further ahead to vary your anchor text, varying for example between “T1 line”, “T1 circuit”, “cost of T1 line”, “T1 line quote” and various similar variations. In the eyes of the search engines, this appears much more NATURAL, since so many various sites and various people would not use exactly the same anchor text when linking to the same page.

Your Own Blog As Part Of Your Arsenal

There is no ONE method of marketing and promotion that is going to get you where you want to be. Rather, it is a matter of intelligently using multiple methods simultaneously, with each method accomplishing a small piece of the whole pie. Every successful online marketer has MULTIPLE methods that they regularly deploy in order to enjoy success.

One of the things you may want to consider to give you additional link juice is to create your own blog, or if you want to, even your own “blog farm”. Your blogs would talk about telecom topics, perhaps have one blog talking about T1, another talking about Ethernet, another talking about MPLS, yet another discussing Cloud Services, etc.

Yes, these blogs being brand new would have PR0 but again, that minor setback is overcome by a couple of factors: (1) you are going to provide regular NEW UNIQUE FRESH content, and (2) you now have TOTAL control over those blogs, which includes provides links and/or banners to your main Telarus site(s).

As discussed in previous newsletters, if you go this route in addition to the other methods, I strongly recommend WordPress as your blog platform. It is MUCH easier to use, there are a ton of useful and free plugins to enhance its core functionality, there are gigabytes of free video tutorials online showing how to use it, and one of the strongest features is that every time you make a new post on your WordPress blog, it will automatically ping as many RSS aggregators as you have defined so that your new post will be crawled asap.  Do a Google search of “ping list” and you will find a ton of suggestions of ping lists that you can define in your blog for this purpose. (In your WordPress blog from the Dashboard, go to Settings –> Writing –> Update Services and paste the ping list in the box there).

Be sure to use the “good SEO practices” for your posts and your blog to gain the most link juice possible; ie, targeted keyword in the title, targeted keyword somewhere in the domain name, targeted keyword in the H1 and H2 tags, targeted keyword has a density of between 2-3% (not more, not less) in the content, at least 500 word posts, use images with appropriate ALT text reflecting your targeted keyword but be sure to use “creative commons” images that you have rights to use, etc.

Keywords To Use

Previous newsletters have talked about how to find keywords to use, and an issue about online marketing and promotion would be incomplete without mentioning that critical aspect again. I use a variety of keyword tools (again, discussed in previous newsletters) but one that is always part of the mix is the GKT or Google Keyword Tool.

When you use this FREE tool, be sure you are logged into your Google account first, because it will give you MORE results and more ACCURATE results if you are. Check the EXACT match type for the most accurate info possible, then sort the results by Global Searches by clicking on the title of that column.

Here’s the part that’s tougher to get your head around: do not automatically go after the terms that have tens of thousands of searches per month, which is the natural temptation. Everybody and their kid sister is targeting those keywords. Instead, scroll down the list and find related keywords that have fewer searches per month but they also have FAR less competition from other people also targeting those keywords.

The reason for this approach is that with intense competition for the highly sought after keywords, you are going to drive yourself to drink trying to rank for those keywords. But by going after the “less desirable” keywords, you have a MUCH better chance of ranking highly for them if you do everything above correctly.

Put another way, would you rather be in the Google search results page 7 for a very competitive keywords (meaning essentially you’ll never be found), or very potentially on page 1 for a keyword term that has much fewer searches but you’ll get attention from people looking for that term?

Let’s look at a non-telecom example to illustrate this point. If you were trying to compete for the EXACT term “dog collars”, there are 40,500 global search per month with 4.7 million competing pages.  But if you are searching for the EXACT term “red leather dog collars”, while there are only 140 global searches per month, you are now only competing with about 170k competing pages. You could dig deeper with some tools like Market Samurai to find title competition, URL competition and a dozen more factors, but the key being that I’d be collecting Social Security before I ever ranked for the first term, whereas I (and you) could be on Google page 1 within a week or two for the second term.  As far as how that translates into clicks to your site, well, you can do the math… zero vs _____…

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 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.

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.

God bless,

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