If you are running a new start-up it’s important to make business connections. But networking can leave you exhausted. When I first started working as a marketing consultant I went to many B2B events and morning breakfasts. My time was spent talking to only a handful of people and conversation was never kept on topic. Network like this and you’re left with poor leads. The turning point came when I was lucky enough to have some face to face time with a former apprentice contestant. She advised me to change tactics. She told me to go to networking events with one goal, to collect as many business cards as I could. Then in the comfort of my own home I personally emailed all the contacts I had from the business cards. I was then able to determine which would be the most worthwhile pursuing.
I have not attended any networking events for many years. But if you are just starting out here are some tips to help you make the most of your networking opportunities.
Your main goal should always be to collect information about other people. That usually means collecting business cards. But networking isn’t a one- way street, so be prepared to add value in your conversations with others. Of course you’ll have your personal introduction off-pat, but look for opportunities to be helpful. Don’t be too stiff when you introduce yourself.
Any event has at least three key people: the organiser/host, the speaker and the person doing the registrations. The person handling registration is often over-looked, but chatting to them is a good opportunity to find out more about the organisation, and having signed people in, can point individuals out to you.
Introductions are important. Some people will advise to have a self-commercial in mind, but this isn’t the time to sell. Rather, get your pitch across succinctly, but focus on making conversation. Ask the people you meet about what they are up to and what their background is. Don’t feel you can never go off topic. But digress in a measured way. Above all else, listen well.
People who are new to business often focus on giving out as many business cards as possible. The truth is the cards you give out aren’t as important as the cards you collect. One tip I picked up early on was to make notes on the backs of cards as you receive them. That way you are less likely to run into problems putting a face to a name. If you promise to send someone anything of value, do it.
When you leave the event make sure you say goodbye to the key players. Thank the speaker if there is one and the host and the person on registration. To maximise the investment you have made in terms of your time, make sure you follow up your contacts with an email. Just as I did, you’ll quickly suss out the most promising.
But before I finish I just want to mention one more opportunity.
Networking on Social Media
Social media gives people the opportunity to network. It’s less time consuming than conventional networking, but needs a lighter touch. Create opportunities to meet some of your network face to face when the opportunity arises. If you seek opportunities where you can add value or build rapport you won’t go far wrong.
One of the struggles of being self-employed – particularly if you work from home – is to manage your time effectively. Once the structure of a 9 to 5 routine is gone it can be the devil’s own job to be as productive as you feel you should be.
Who’s not heard of someone working 5 am until 11pm? Some of us thrive under pressure. But surely most of us want to work effectively, leaving more time for family and friends? So here are my best time management tips for the self-employed. In a sense I am saying take back what’s yours: Your time.
Create a Routine
Creating a routine that works for you is one of the secrets behind self-employed people who seem to get a lot done! Structure your day to suit your circumstances and to take account of when you’re most productive. A 9 to 5 routine may not suit you. If you do all your best thinking in the small hours (and some do), then factor that in to your routine.
Creating a routine is even more successful when you learn to prioritise. It’s not just a question of putting the most important tasks at the top of your list but also scheduling them for the time of day when you’re at your most productive. For example, if you’re a morning person, that would be the best time to get those big jobs done or the things you find difficult.
Use Tools and Resources If Helpful
Tools exist to make life easier and there are certainly services you can use to help make the best use of your time. Large chunks of your time may be devoted to bookkeeping or appointment making or fielding calls. To make bookkeeping easier, think of buying in specialist accounting software or outsourcing the task.
When it comes to making appointments or handling inbound calls think about using a virtual PA service. Delegating or outsourcing can be very liberating! But don’t be a slave to systems and software if it’s not you. The same goes for Internet Marketing, you can’t always do everything yourself! outsourcing your website marketing is a wise move.
Create a Sense of Achievement
We’ve all had days when we feel as if we’ve not achieved anything or at least not accomplished what we set out to. Here’s what I do to avoid this. I write list of 5 important daily things to do. These can include non-work related tasks such as paying a household bill. If you always complete your daily 5 important things, this will give you some sense of achievement. It’s the best way I know of avoiding feelings of under- accomplishment and keeps you focused.
You may already know what keywords are but do you know how to choose the best keywords for your site and your SEO campaign? The dilemma for webmasters is that keywords with the highest search volume usually have much lower conversions or conversions of lower quality.
One useful way to think about keywords is to break them down into different categories. The most general keywords are usually called ‘umbrella’ keywords and the most specific are called ‘long tail’. Long tail keywords have the least search volume because they are longer phrases. But because they are more specific they convert well. In between these two you have branded keywords. They have a middling search volume but don’t convert as well as long tail keywords.
Each type of keyword can be further subdivided into commercial and informational.
|Gas Cookers||Commercial Umbrella|
|Gas Cooker Problems||Informational Umbrella|
|Smeg Gas Cookers||Commercial Branded|
|Smeg Gas Cooker Comparisons||Informational Branded|
|6 Ring Smeg Gas Cooker||Commercial Long Tail|
|Should I buy a Smeg Gas Cooker?||Informational Long Tail|
The thinking behind the classification is that people searching on the internet use different words depending on how close they are to a buying decision. The more specific the search the closer the searcher is to making a decision. But at all levels of search from broad to narrow people may be seeking further information or details of a product category through to details of a specific model.
If your site only has generic umbrella terms it is likely that you will struggle to get found. Likewise if your site only has long tail keywords it may not provide the more general information that your buyers require. It makes sense then to structure a website using words from all categories. This will please your visitors and the search engines. The hierarchy of keywords you use should be reflected in the structure of your website.
Many inexperienced web site owners assume they know what keywords are the best for their site. Whether you use tools or not, speaking to customers and researching competitors will help you to determine whether you’re on the right lines. For many small businesses commercially available tools don’t yield productive results.
If you need help deciding the right keywords, my one off Internet marketing consultancy is just what you need.
If you regularly keep watch over your Google rankings or subscribe to various internet marketing newsletters, you will be aware of the panic that has left many website owners stressed out and confused.
You can’t fool Google, sooner or later they will weed out the spam and penalize you.
Why have websites dropped in rank?
The simple answer is Google algorithms. Without getting technical, Google regularly crawls sites and decides what keywords sites should rank on search engines for. Google uses various deciding factors when determining which keywords to award you high ranking with and periodically those ranking factors change. Why? Because website owners and SEO companies find ways of pushing sites up the rankings rather than allowing a natural climb.
Google is dedicated to providing searchers with quality results and therefore has a big task of weeding out spam sites and only showing the quality ones. Google does this by releasing new algorithms and that’s why websites see a sudden drop in rankings.
How to avoid ranking drops
The first thing you need to do is get rid of any impatience that makes you want to be at the top of Google now! If you want to get to the top of Google quickly then you must use pay per click, getting high search engine rankings naturally takes time, SEO takes time!
Google has hinted that it will look more at sites that provide regular updated content. If you haven’t got a blog on your website get one now. Write quality posts that are unique and informative.
Don’t overdo the links
Saying a site does not need links is just daft. Your backlinks are a big deciding factor when it comes to getting your site ranked but quality over quantity is essential!
Mix up your keywords
Keyword research is essential for a successfull internet marketing campaign. It is crucial that your site targets keywords with high search volumes. Aswell as short competitive keywords, you should also target broad keywords which can still bring good traffic. People use Google search to ask it a question so don’t dismiss the potential of long tail keywords.
Check duplicate content
You may not be aware that other sites or directories are using your content, this can impact your ranking. Use tools like copyscape to check for duplicate content. If you find some, send the website owner a polite email to ask them to remove it.
If you are doing SEO yourself then take a step back and review your search engine optimisation techniques.
If you think you are doing something that might get you penalised in the future, it is best not to do it.
If you are using the services of an SEO consultant then give them a call or drop them an email to ask what kind of techniques they are using. A good SEO specialist will be only too happy to have a quick chat about their work.
With the new launch of Google +1, this page is subject to change. The new social tool launched by Google is still in it’s testing period.
What is Google +1?
The reports are, Google have been trying to compete with Facebook and Twitter for sometime now, the new google +1 button feature is a big step in helping the mighty G achieving that goal.
You may have noticed the buttons appearing on some websites, particularly next to bog posts (just like this one you’re reading ). By clicking on one of these buttons you are basically sending out a signal to other google users stating that you like what you read! Those familiar with facebook and digg will notice the similarity in ‘like’ feature.
Who can see the +1 buttons?
Only Google logged in users can see the buttons appear next to websites on the search results.
Will it be a popular feature?
Early indications imply that its going to be but previously released apps and social media extensions launched by Google have been brought in and at the same time vanished without any recognition so everyone is watching this space to see how it develops.
Should I implement the button on my site?
I would recommend you do add it to your site, i cant do any harm. Its far too early to predict how Google are going to roll this out but its enough so far to get webmasters adding it to their sites.
How to get the Google +1 button on your site
If you have a website, your ultimate goal is to get targeted traffic, the traffic that converts into real customers. One of the ways you can gain targeted traffic is by being on the top of Google when a searcher types in certain keywords that are associated with your website. It’s not that difficult to get to the top of google but you have to be there for the right keywords! Ive known many people to be aiming for keywords that won’t convert into sales for them. You have to target keywords that people actually search for!
There are many companies protesting to be able to get you on the top of Google from as little as £30, only to leave clients disheartened when they don’t see the traffic to their site. The services such companies offer are not transparent about the realistic results.
Let me clear up the 3 ways you can get on the first page of Google.
- SEO (search engine optimisation) – This is the organic main listings on Google
- Google ads – Sponsored results of Google, they are displayed at the top and right side
- Google Places – You can do this yourself through Google business centre
A wise website owner will do all three!
Google ads is a short term solution, downfall is you have to pay every time someone clicks on your advert. Upside is that you get on the first page of Google instantly. If you would like to know how much you would pay per click, please give me some examples of keywords you want to be on the top of Google for, and I will tell you what your competitors are paying.
SEO is by far the sensible solution if you want long term success, but it does take time, Google will penalise you if it’s done too quickly. This is a sensible marketing method that requires consistency and patience!
What if you have a small budget and cannot do all 3?
Not a problem, contact me to let me know the kind of budget you are working with and I will tell you which one you are best starting with to get the maximum return. I will always be blatantly upfront with you.
My promise to you
Nobody can guarantee to get you to the top of Google unless they are using pay per click so don’t be fooled. Google will never give ANY person or company special treatment.
What I do guarantee is a dedicated, clean and risk free service that works.
I am very flexible and I am fully skilled in all online marketing methods. From when you first contact me I will always be very upfront about the results you will see. Your success will always depend on your marketing budget; you get out what you put in. My promise to you is that your budget however small or great…is in safe hands and will be used correctly.
Drop me a message for an informal chat and i will be straight with you about your goals
How to market your site in 2013 - http://carrieannsudlow.co.uk/2013/01/marketing-your-website-in-2013//
See my blog on why it’s not always sensible to rely on being the top of google http://carrieannsudlow.co.uk/2012/10/internet-marketing-and-top-of-google/
What are Niche Websites?
Niche websites are sites that have a theme and are clearly focused on one subject, product or market area. If you are building a site to make money from, then a niche website is the perfect place to start.
Most websites are themed and can be broader than others. As an example, a gift website is very broad, but a gift website primarily selling gifts under £5 is niche.
Benefits of Niche sites
Niche sites benefit both the consumer and the site owner. If you’re a site owner, a niche website can help you reduce the amount of competitors you have, you can also gain greater success in the search engines by narrowing down your target search terms (keywords).
Consumers often know what they want and have to trawl through sites to find specifically what they need. By clearly being a niche site you can focus on capturing these consumers that are looking for your website.
Often site owners create a site that has a much wider audience than they can handle, this results in scattered marketing that struggles to convert for them. It is always best to start small and work your way up. Let’s look at an example of the niche ‘House Swap’ a person may be looking for a House swap in Cheshire, yet stumble on a site that is new and claims to cover the whole of the UK. If the site owner has not taken the time to first regionalise the site, they will lose visitors fast. Visitors to a site instantly need to be reassured that the site owner knows their stuff.
How to find a niche
When looking for a niche, research is vital. Make sure keyword research is one of your top priorities. Once you have decided on a niche don’t proceed unless you are sure of the following 3 things:
- Is it winnable?
- Is There enough demand to make it profitable?
- Can You monetise the site?
Building your niche website
Check out your competitors sites, many themed sites have a particular colour and feel, if for example your niche site is about driving lessons, you should look at other sites on the same subject and see what you could do better! WordPress is a very good platform to start with, it enables sites to be built professionally and modified as your niche and success grows
Internet Marketing can seem like a mixture of hocus pocus and confusion. To others it’s a headache you keep throwing money at. I talk so much about the ‘need’ for webmasters to understand the basics of internet marketing for many reasons. But in a nutshell:if you don’t understand it, how will you know what you are paying for?
Many internet marketing companies promise you amazing rankings and masses of traffic. But unless you understand what these promises entail you are throwing your money away. Possibly even damaging your website.
Many clients that contact me are really disheartened. They’ve wasted silly amounts of money with marketing companies that don’t deliver.
I am happy to offer honest advice without the ‘pushy sales’. If you’ve contacted me or worked with me, you will know the only time I contact you is when you ask me to. I am not a sales person.
“All the advice I offer is from me personally.
I take time to analyse your website, your competitors and your circumstances.”
To help you get started I have put together report packages. These will help you to get all the information you need to either start your own internet marketing or to get a better understanding of how it all works before you outsource it.
Contact me to see how i can help you.
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'The advice and analysis Carrie gave me on my website was simply the best I have received from anywhere. it was exactly the straight forward, clear and direct advice I needed. Carrie will tell you exactly what is needed to market your website and how to do it. the most importantly she has a friendly and flexible approach to meet any budget and showed genuine enthusiasm in my website.' Adelekan Faboya