Archive for September, 2011

How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps (With Video!)

Friday, September 30th, 2011

You may already use Facebook for personal reasons such as keeping up with your friends or sharing photos, but the idea of running a business page on the world’s largest social network might still seem intimidating. Where do you start? What should your goals be? How much work will it take?

Fret no more! This short video and blog post will offer step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook business page, covering some of the reasons why you should set one up and why its interactive elements make it such a great tool for business promotion.

1. Choose a Classification

Facebook provides six different classifications for creating a page:

  • Local business or place
  • Artist, band, or public figure
  • Company, organization, or institution
  • Entertainment
  • Brand or product
  • Cause of community

It is likely you will fall into one the top three options. This classification will help you rank in more relevant searches and provide relevant information fields on your page.

After selecting one of the six, choose the category you are in, and fill out your business name (or if you selected one of the other options, your brand or company name). The business option also asks for further location information. Keep in mind that your category and name cannot be changed once your page is created. So type wisely; otherwise, you’ll have to delete the entire page and start anew. 

2. Complete Basic Information

Upload a photo that will stand as the main visual representation for your business page. Ideally, this should be your company logo. Facebook will then ask you to invite your friends. Uncheck the option to “share this page on my wall” and “like this page.” You don’t want this popping up in news feeds until you’re done building the foundation of your online image. You will next be prompted to fill in your basic information. Add your website URL and a brief bio in the ‘About’ section. You can choose to focus on your product, business model, strategy, or the like. 

3. Fill the Page

Click “Edit Info,” and add information you deem pertinent for your organization. If you’re a local business, you’ll likely want to add your hours of business. Businesses should also add a description. A description is different from your ‘about’ section in that you can share more in-depth information about your business.  Be sure to add an email address, and spend time adding pictures to the photos tab. 

4. Take Advantage of Features

Take advantage of the various features Facebook business pages have to offer. Clicking on the “Get Started” button under your default image displays multiple steps you can take to make the most of your page. Here are six worth trying:

  • Invite your friends.
  • Tell your fans.
  • Post status updates.
  • Promote this page on your website.
  • Set up your mobile phone. 

5. Play and Track

At this point, you have built and shared a Facebook page that, hopefully, accurately represents your business, brand, or company.  Play around with the page and see if you can discover any original ideas on how to present your business, brand, or company.

To measure how all these efforts are going along the way, make sure you take advantage of Facebook Insights by clicking the “View Insights” tab on the right-hand side of your Facebook page. This will allow you to see how many people have become fans of your page, or in Facebook terms, “Liked” your page. You can change the time frame to compare how many Likes you received on one day versus another. Also check out the insights tool for additional tracking information.

For further information on executing each of these points, watch the video tutorial above.

Have you discovered other ways to optimize your Facebook presence?

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The 4 Secrets of Effective Prospect Nurturing

Friday, September 30th, 2011

nurturingThis is a guest blog post by Mari Anne Vanella, one of the 20 Women to Watch in Lead Management in 2011. Mari was one of our guest presenters on the Marketing Metrics Workshop, “The Follow Up Formula: Secrets for Nurturing Prospects.”

Let’s start off with a simple vocabulary word.

nur·ture /ˈnɜrtʃər/  Show Spelled [nur-cher]  Show IPA verb, -tured, -tur·ing,  noun 
verb (used with object) 

1. to feed and protect: to nurture one’s offspring. 

2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster: to nurture promising musicians. 

3. to bring up; train; educate. 

Lead generation has more and more moved away from a transactional activity, or generating single events for reps, to initiating and maintaining a relationship that leads the buyer to the best choice (i.e., your platform).

The definition for nurturing, highlighted above, is exactly the effect you want your ongoing follow-up and communication to accomplish. Something that is often overlooked, however, is that the relationship with your prospects won’t become reciprocal until they see the value and visualize the benefit. Often buyers educate themselves, interact with users of your product, and compare solutions before they even take your calls. That being said, sending generic content and pestering phone calls to move them along will actually drive them away vs. drawing them closer.  

So, what’s the secret to an effective follow up?

  1. Persistence
  2. Value
  3. Personal, Peer-Level Interaction
  4. Timing 

1. Persistence

Persistence is important when dealing with today’s overloaded executives. Don’t give up after a single follow up. I’ve heard sales reps express discouragement over prospects not returning their calls or emails, but the underlying problem is that executives are just plain busy. It often takes 3-5+ attempts to reach a prospect who showed interest via a webinar, whitepaper, or other inbound activity. Waiting for them to call you back will only let their interest go cold and leave room for someone else to capture the attention you invested in developing. The other aspect to this is that companies are passive to reach out to vendors even when there is a requirement. Just because they aren’t calling you back doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge opportunity within a company. Don’t misinterpret their lack of response always as a lack of interest.

2. Value

Create value with your outreach, but don’t over-inform. Sending content-heavy communication risks losing your prospects. The first time they read something they don’t understand, it will distance them and make them think you aren’t a good fit, and that’s a hard ditch to dig out of when you have no insight into what happened. Reps often wonder why prospects went quiet on them. This is one of the reasons: too much data right out of the gate without knowing what they needed to hear. You want your prospects to say “tell me more,” not “please stop talking.”    

3. Personal, Peer-Level Interaction

Personal and peer level interaction is different than a sales-to-prospect dynamic. Peer level communication is open, free-flowing discussion that lets the prospect talk. It’s not telling them what they’re doing wrong by not working with you. Your nurturing program should be a deliberate effort to break down barriers with your prospects, inform them, and also build a personal relationship with them. The human aspect of this is important because it is the richest form of communication at your disposal. Interacting with your prospects at a higher level will reinforce and advance the opportunity. We talk to hundreds of executives each week, and people take calls and are more than willing to engage—as I have said many times, it isn’t that people don’t want to take a call; they just don’t want to take a bad call. So educate your team and outsource a little bit, but do something to connect live with prospects on their level. 

4. Timing

Finally, timing is extremely critical in your follow up. Plan your outreach in the right window. I have seen organizations push follow ups on good leads months out, long after the prospect has forgotten the original exchange they had and are well along with evaluating (and now preferring) other vendors. If you uncovered an opportunity and you know their buying cycle, stay ahead of it. Don’t wait until the deal is on the table to get involved. Well planned outreach will keep you informed of what is going on. Long gone are the days of sales 1.0, when sales teams followed up on a lead, found out the deal wasn’t happening for 2 quarters out, and then called back in 2 quarters to find out they signed a 1M deal with a competitor 2 months back. The tools are now available to stage the timing, and if the prospect is active before then and you have visibility of that, don’t wait until their score reaches a certain threshold; call them. Don’t lose deals when you have visibility at your fingertips. 

Buyers are open to early engagement, and this is often when the real window of influence is possible and decisions are made. So, with your prospects, take the approaches that align with your buyers’ actual decision patterns.   

Final Thought

Nurturing programs can take on different forms, from simple campaigns to sophisticated ones within automation platforms. The key here is to do something that keeps you involved and progresses the opportunity. Don’t lose the prospect that you invested so much to identify in the first place. A sizable amount of marketing dollars go into activities to generate interested prospects. To let them fall off a cliff once you’ve discovered they aren’t buying in the next 90 days is walking away from a huge percentage of prospects that will in fact make a purchase in the next 12 months.  

It’s important to realize you are already holistically building your pipeline, and small adjustments to how you are following up makes a big difference to extract more revenue out of your initial campaigns. Nurturing has become a cooperative effort of sales and marketing. The 4 points I talked about in this post overlap both. We’re all on the same team with the common goal of staying involved and progressing deals in the most effective manner. Identifying the areas that need change, who will drive it, and achieving consistency across both groups will only result in increased success.

What other prospect nurturing secrets are you keeping in your internet marketing back pocket?

Image credit: Looking&Learning

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How to Measure Your Social Media Lead Generation Efforts

Friday, September 30th, 2011

owl

This is a guest post by Ashley Jane Brookes of HootSuite, the social media dashboard. Follow her on Twitter @ashjbee.

Social media is no longer in its infancy and is no longer an optional task for businesses and brands. Indeed, building and engaging with audiences on established social networks is now a key part of business interaction. So, as social media grows into its awkward teenage years, the next step is for these companies to understand not only how to use it, but also how to derive value from it.

There is no set-in-stone standard for social media measurement, but various guidelines for unique business cases can show how social media benefits an organization by solving problems across departments, from recruiting to promotion.

So much of social media measurement is hinged on social-specific statistics that vary by individual network, i.e.: Likes, RTs, followers, etc. But viewed alone, these measurements don’t show the true value social media provides to the bottom line. Therefore, they need to be aligned with greater metrics. As businesses strive to track how tweets turn into transactions, it’s important to understand how to measure lead generation.

When it comes to measuring social media for ROI, the following example of a sales funnel shows that lead generation sits below brand awareness – defined as the potential for your brand to be seen by audiences – and before customer retention.

social media funnel

As evident by the funnel, the social media lead generation cycle starts with a conversation and moves down a path:

  1. Engagement
  2. Opportunity
  3. Conversion

As a starting point, lead generation can be viewed as an indication of audience participation with your social messaging. By understanding this top level engagement, you’ll be able to improve the return on your investment by adjusting your messaging and campaigns based on audience activities.

1. Analytics 

Using social analytics is particularly important for gathering lead gen metrics. For example, using a shortened URL like Ow.ly in combination with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights will give you in-depth insight into audience interaction with your social marketing initiatives.

2. Engagement

At the top level, measuring participation will show how successful your messaging is at driving your audience down the sales funnel toward being a lead ready to covert. This measurement counts any actions that your audience takes, including:

Retweets, @Replies – These gestures on Twitter show that your content resonated with the audience, and they were inspired to share, ask a question, or associate themselves with your brand.

Likes, Comments, Wall Posts – Likes on Facebook posts are good, and comments on your Facebook page are even better. These actions are then broadcast to their friends, which gives you a chance to reach out, reply, and build an audience.

Click-Throughs – Conversions don’t happen on Twitter or Facebook per se, but clicks from your social channels to your landing pages, ecommerce store, order page, etc. indicate that your content was interesting and relevant to your audience and resulted in them moving further down the sales funnel into the opportunity stage.

3. Opportunity

The next metric is measured as the opportunity for conversion and measured through questions like: How deep did your potential customer dig into your site after click-through? Where did they drop off? Did they opt-in to receive additional information by filling out a form and downloading materials? Or did they start filling in a form but left?

You’ll also want to look at the length of time spent at each stage of their path through your site, and identify drop-off points. Deciphering who spends the most amount of time, visits the most pages on your site, and fills out conversion forms will determine where your strongest opportunities lie.

4. Conversion

Finally, the last stage of lead gen metrics is conversion, which defines how successful your actions are and allows you to tie social media details like tweets and Facebook posts into real dollars.

Depending on your business and campaigns, track questions like: Did they redeem a coupon from Foursquare? Did they sign up to your program when they clicked on a Twitter link? Did they buy the product you posted on your Facebook page? Did they add-on to their purchase? If yes, which demographic do they fit into?

Be sure to compare the average cost of purchases/units made by customers originating from social media channels with customers from other channels. You’ll likely plot out a clear graph of profitability by identifying patterns.

5. Set Goals, Test, and Measure

Remember, each business and brand has unique problems to solve. Rather than measuring your campaigns by traditional metrics, work back from your ultimate goal – whether it be to increase resume submissions or increase purchases – and ask the questions which help you to understand your audience’s origins and motivations. Since you should measure most every action from your social media-centric campaigns, this is a great chance to experiment with your messaging including tone, voice, offers, photos, and time of day. Try different tactics, measure everything, then adjust, and you’ll watch your charts go up and to the right.

How are you measuring the effectiveness of your social media lead generation efforts?

intro-to-twitter-ebook

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3 Types of Content to Boost the Quality of Your Blog

Friday, September 30th, 2011

i can has boost?After you’ve been working on your business blog for a while, there are a number of great things that you can do to give it a boost. When you were first getting started with blogging, your primary concern was probably just getting content shipped on a regular basis so you could generate your initial momentum and begin to build an audience and readership. But after a few months of regular publishing and generating growth, it can be beneficial to give your readers some variety by creating and publishing different types of content in various formats to help your blog grow and keep the content exciting. There are many possible ways to do this, and today we’ll cover three of them: integrating video content, incorporating interviews, and incorporating weekly posts covering lighter topics.

1. Integrate Video Content

You can switch up the feel of your blog and help people stay engaged for longer periods of time by using different forms of content like video. Your first video post could be something as simple as introducing yourself and the kind of topics you’ll be covering. This way, you can quickly gauge your audience’s reactions to video content and become familiar with the mechanisms for creating and posting video on the web. Don’t shoot for anything too fancy right out of the gate. Just record something simple.

Once you’ve recorded your first video, establish a basic YouTube channel that is tied to your business, upload your first video, and embed it into a blog post. Include a short summary of the video for those readers who may prefer text over video. Don’t worry if your video isn’t of the utmost quality. Start simple and lean, learn from the experience, and build up your video marketing efforts from there to achieve maximum effectiveness.

2. Conduct Interviews

Once you’ve gotten the hang of creating video content for your blog, consider conducting an interview with someone, either on video if you’re both comfortable with that or just in text format. Consider other thought leaders, industry experts, or even your customers as interesting interview candidates. One of the tricks for conducting a great interview with someone is to avoid scripting all of your questions beforehand and sending your interviewee a comprehensive list of questions in advance. While scripted interviews are faster to produce, they aren’t as interesting to read or watch, and they limit the discussions you can have. Instead, schedule a time to talk to the person you’re interviewing, and run it as a conversation.

To conduct a great interview, bring 3-4 interesting questions, and then ask 2-3 follow-ups to each one instead of just running through the drill. Done this way, you will end up with a real conversation about each topic, which is always much more interesting and insightful than shallow question and answer session. With video interview (perhaps over your webcam using Skype?), you can also incorporate visual aids and allow the viewer to get a better look into the personality of your interviewee.

3. Lighten Up

Now that you’re mixing in new types of content and material, try switching up your regular blog content with a weekly lighter post about something in your industry. Find a funny news story or another topic each week, and use that for the basis of your blog post. While they may be less focused on thought leadership, these posts can be interesting reading and may be shared more often than more serious posts, leading to new readers and visitors to your blog from social media. StudentAdvisor’s blog does an excellent job of running fun posts about college life, unusual activities at college, and more on Fridays, and uses that to help attract new viewers from Facebook. Another great example of this can be found on the security blog, Schneier on Security, which dedicates its Friday post to news, pictures, and facts about squid. 

What other tactics do you use to keep your blog content interesting and varied?

Image Credit: insertnamehere.99999

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Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors September 2011

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Post image for Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors September 2011

I’d like to say thanks to the people who sponsored the blog this month, without them there wouldn’t be regular posts here.

Text Link Ads – New customers can get $100 in free text links.

BOTW.org – Get a premier listing in the internet’s oldest directory.

Ezilon.com Regional Directory – Check to see if your website is listed!

Directory Journal – Get permanent deep links in a search engine friendly directory

Link Building – Backlink Build offers 45 PR5+ Backlinks for $295.

Interested in seeing your message here? There are banner and RSS advertising options available find out more information. Be sure to check out our new Sponsored post option.

Blam Ads – Content locking can help you make more money with your website

LinkWheel SEO – Get Web 2.0 Backlinks

Here’s a list of some other programs and products I reccomend

Thesis Theme for WordPress – Hands down the best theme on the market right now, read my Thesis Theme for WordPress Review.

RevSEO High PR BackLinks- Private High PageRank Homepage Link Network

Link Building- Backlink Build offers customized link building services

Scribe SEO – Improve your blog posts with this easy to use built in tool, read my Scribe SEO Review.

KnowEm – Protect your brand, product or company name with a continually growing list of social media sites, read an Interview with Michael Streko.

Links From PR9 Sites – – Get In Top 3 Google ASAP

TigerTech – Great Web Hosting service at a great price, read my Tiger Tech Review.

photo credit: Photospin,

tla starter kit

Related posts:

  1. Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors July 2011 I’d like to say thanks to the people who sponsored…
  2. Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors August 2011 I’d like to say thanks to the people who sponsored…
  3. Thanks to this Months Sponsors – September 2009 I’d like to say thanks to the people who sponsored…
  4. Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors May 2011 I’d like to say thanks to the people who sponsored…
  5. Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors Feb 2011 I’d like to say thanks to the people who sponsored…

Advertisers:

  1. Text Link Ads – New customers can get $100 in free text links.
  2. BOTW.org – Get a premier listing in the internet’s oldest directory.
  3. Ezilon.com Regional Directory – Check to see if your website is listed!
  4. Need an SEO Audit for your website, look at my SEO Consulting Services
  5. Link Building- Backlink Build offers customized link building services
  6. Directory Journal – Get permanent deep links in a search engine friendly directory
  7. LinkWheel SEO – Get Web 2.0 Backlinks
  8. RevSEO High PR BackLinks- Private High PageRank Homepage Link Network
  9. The #1 ranking SEO software toolkit: get your free download
  10. TigerTech – Great Web Hosting service at a great price.

This post originally came from Michael Gray who is an SEO Consultant. Be sure not to miss the Thesis WordPress Theme review.

Thanks to This Month’s Sponsors September 2011


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Search Optimisation Q & A – A4U Expo London

Friday, September 30th, 2011


As I mentioned in my earlier post, I will be holding a SEO Q & A session at the A4UExpo London conference in a couple of weeks. I will be there for an hour to answer as many questions as I can, to provide some good advice to help solve any issues that you may [...]

Search Optimisation Q & A – A4U Expo London is a post from: Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.


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3 Simple Design Tips to Make Charts That Don’t Suck

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Raise your hand if you love data.

Now raise your hand if data presented like this makes you want to stick a fork in your eye:

morewhitespace resized 600

 

It’s colorful. It’s brimming with data. But HOLY HORSESHOE is it confusing!

Having data is awesome. Using it to persuade others is powerful. Presenting it in a way that inspires eye-forking is criminal.

Here are three simple design tips to help you make sexier, simpler charts that are sure to elicit applause and approval, not violence.

TIP #1: Make friends with white space.

Tempting as it is to fill your chart with every possible data point, detail, and label, there’s an extremely good reason to fight this urge: The human brain uses contrast to distinguish objects from one another. White space is one of the easiest, most elegant design tools that creates this contrast and increases the likelihood that your audience will grasp the point you’re trying to make.

Compare this version of a basic bar chart with the one below it.

 

CHART #1:

basic bar chart

 

CHART #2:

describe the image

 

By removing the grid lines and tick marks along both axes, as well as the value labels along the vertical axis, and deleting superfluous content from the bottom left corner, we’ve made it much easier to glance at this chart and see that more blogging results in a lot more leads.

Which is a perfect segue into the next tip…

TIP #2: Don’t just share data. MAKE MEANING!

It’s common practice for charts to be labeled with a sentence that simply describes what data is being presented. In the example above, the title clearly states that what we’re looking at: The Impact of Blog Size on Monthly Leads.

Fine, right?

Wrong. To maximize the impact of your charts and graphs, don’t just state the obvious, explain why it matters. What’s the core point you’re trying to make? Is it that 52 or more blog articles per month yields an average of 23 leads?

So? What action do you want your audience to take as a result of seeing this data?

Blog more?

So tell them that! Better yet, use a touch of color to draw their eye to the specific data element(s) that drive your point home.

 

better chart

Now isn’t that better?

Last but certainly not least, design tip #3…

TIP #3: Serve bite-size pieces.

Nobody likes biting off more than they can chew.  Well, except for maybe this guy.

 

dont bite off more than you can chew

 

Most of us, however, prefer tasty bite size morsels that we can savor and enjoy without unhinging our jaws.

So instead of something like this:

 

too much data

 

…consider chunking up the data into smaller pieces that are more easily digestible (and more effective at conveying your core message)…

 

bite size

 

…like so:

twitter

 

Better, right?

To summarize:

MORE WHITE SPACE!


more white space

 

 MAKE MEANING!


make meaning

 

SMALL TASTY BITES!


bite size data


And voila! No more sucky charts.

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Google Updates: GWT Site Health and GA Realtime and Premium

Friday, September 30th, 2011


I woke up this morning to find quite a few posts from the Google blogs – in particular the Google Analytics blog, which had 2! Here’s a bit more about the changes: Google Analytics Realtime Basically it sits where your dashboard is and it gives you real time stats on your Google Analytics – quite [...]

Google Updates: GWT Site Health and GA Realtime and Premium is a post from: Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.


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5 Cheat Sheet Basics for International SEO

Friday, September 30th, 2011

International SEO 5 TipsThe growing Global Economy has significantly increased the number of companies seeking search marketing strategies to connect with target audiences all over the world. Many clients we work with at TopRank Online Marketing are either already global organizations or aspiring to deliver products and services in different countries. As a result, we routinely field questions as clients begin their journey into International Search.

Many companies don’t know where to start with International SEO, so here are 5 basic and tactical SEO considerations for companies looking at expanding into International Search:

1. Domain Name
3 common domain setups include Country-specific, Subdomain and Subfolder.

Whenever possible, a country-specific domain name is preferred. i.e. companyname.co.uk

Pros
The country-specific domain is a strong signal to the search engine and may provide better visibility for country-specific searches.

In addition, this domain typically provides better usability for the searcher as it’s the familiar and more common domain structure.

Cons
For some countries, registering a country-specific domain requires a physical address. If you are launching international ventures without a country-specific address this type of url may prove difficult or impossible to attain.

In addition, with a new domain, time and resources for marketing a new website (think content, links etc) will be required.

Subdomain (i.e.uk.companyname.com)

Pros
If a country-specific url is not an option, a subdomain is likely the next best solution.

The pros for this type of url structure include:

  • Easy to implement
  • Can be hosted separately, in native country
  • Can create a different sitemap for each country folder
  • Ability to set geotargeting in Google webmaster tools

Cons
The downside to this approach is the URL will still require country-specific promotion/links and will not have the added credibility of the country-specific domain.

Subfolder (i.e. www.companyname.com/uk)

Pros
The pros of a subfolder are that it’s easy to implement and you still have the ability to set geo-targeting in Google Webmaster tools.

Cons
As with the subdomain, this type of URL structure provides no country-specific SEO value. In addition, a subfolder set up can potentially create duplicate content issues if the content is similar across multiple countries/subfolders.

Also, a subfolder is typically an indication of content subordinate to the top-level domain, which isn’t in line with creating a unique website for a different market.

2. Where the site is hosted
Where the site is hosted is an important factor and one of the hundreds of items the search engines take into account when returning search results. Whenever possible, the site should be hosted in the target country. This is especially important if your site uses a generic Top Level Domain (TLD) like .com .net .org. In that situation, a search engine like Google will use the location of the hosting server to determine location for the site.

If you use a country specific TLD, then that will be the primary signal for your site’s location and hosting in the specified country is not as important.

3. Addresses Published on the Site
In fleshing out the on-page company information, be mindful to lead with the contact information for the target country, even if the company headquarters might be elsewhere. This is good user experience as much as it’s good for search engines. The content of the website should be explicitly clear for the geographic target audience and that means displaying location information. Think of it as good keyword optimization. If you want your UK based company to rank well in google.co.uk for geographically specific phrases, then those phrases should appear in the site’s content, internal and external links.

4. Localize and Optimize Content
As with any other search engine optimization endeavor, content and the optimization of that content is key. Best practices will hold true and include:

  • Creation of unique content for the site that is not only translated, but optimized after translation
  • Content presented in the native language of the country - Optimized English that is then translated to another language does NOT result in content properly optimized for that language
  • Optimization of content for popular keywords, according to country-specific keyword results

Whenever possible, have native speakers review (if not, write) content for the site. International SEO isn’t simply a matter of publishing a site translated into a different language. There are a host of localization issues to be addressed. There are intricacies and interpretations with any language and the content on your existing site may not translate well.

5. Inbound Links
In creating a marketing plan for the site, be sure to include content creation that will be useful to the target audience, easily shared and ultimately be something people want to link to.

Building authority for the site will be critical and plans should include the acquisition of links from country-specific and native-language sites.

Creating a website which will produce results in country-specific search takes the same planning and coordination that’s likely being invested to achieve results from Google (US) search.  Keeping the target audience in mind and delivering a site customized for the visitor is the first step to International visibility. And don’t forget, Google isn’t King everywhere – so be sure to research how/where visitors search online in each specific country.

 


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5 Best Practices of Facebook eCommerce Stores

Friday, September 30th, 2011

facebook iconPart of the reason that Facebook has outpaced MySpace as the largest, most important social networking site in the world is that Facebook has opened its doors to external programmers. Games like Mafia Wars and Farmville have been a tremendous success and F-Commerce sites (Facebook commerce sites) are now catching up to the games and apps.

Here are five examples of how they are doing so:

1.  Be Interactive

Example: Starbucks
describe the image
Starbucks has a highly established market share and name recognition but they are also renowned for their open management style and the speed with which they implement new ideas.

At first glance, it would seem impossible to sell coffee online but Starbucks did not ignore the prospect of a Facebook store. Instead, they developed eGift cards, which allow users to designate an amount and event (birthday, holiday, etc.) and easily send the notice to a Facebook friend. It’s easy and quick to give and it is virtually guaranteed (pun intended) to bring customers. 

2. Offer Incentives

Example: Best Buy
Best Buy Facebook
The first thing you see on the Best Buy Facebook store page is a large banner for Weekly Specials. These offers are exclusive to Facebook friends and, therefore, serve as great incentives for users to add the page as a friend and follow the weekly ads closely.

With so many electronics stores available online, it is crucial for Best Buy to keep their customers engaged regularly. If they lose one sale to another site, they run the risk of that customer becoming a regular patron of the opposing site.

3. Understand Trends

Example: Old Spice
Oldspice Facebook
Old Spice sells body-cleansing products primarily but that didn’t stop them from pouncing on the opportunity to engage their Facebook audience with t-shirts. Old Spice understood that they had struck gold with commercials that have become viral and they were flexible enough to produce t-shirts with popular quotes like, “I’m on a horse,” which appeals to the exact demographic that follows them on Facebook.

When the commercials are no longer trending, the company will surely remove the shirts and begin to look for the best way to optimize their next opportunity.

4. Optimize Your Layout

Example: Liverpool Football Club
Liverpool FC Facebook
If you’re not a soccer fan, you’ll have to take my word that Liverpool is not the most famous soccer team in England. For example, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have larger fan bases but Liverpool’s Facebook store outpaces theirs, in part because of the layout.

The store is set up very cleanly, with three distinct categories that allow the user to maneuver directly to the product they are looking to purchase. The layout is effectively eliminates “noise” and gives the user direct access to the product, which decreases bounce rates and increases conversion rates.

5.  Become Lady Gaga. Or Keep Things Enticing.

Example: Lady Gaga
Facebook Lady Gaga
When you visit Lady Gaga’s store page, you’ll notice that she doesn’t upload products as often as you’d expect. She only has 12 products displayed, compared with Justin Bieber who has over 20 products displayed but still sells less than Gaga. This is partly because she builds anticipation by releasing new products sporadically.

This strategy may be different for you because you are not Lady Gaga. But you can do something like use your fan page to build the hype around a new product then, once anticipation is built, release the product and direct users to your store page at the optimal time.

Of course, you are not Starbucks and you don’t have Lady Gaga’s wardrobe but the lessons still hold true. Build on these examples and you will find yourself moving up in the F-Commerce world.

Transform your eCommerce Marketing Strategy with Social Media

Transform your eCommerce Marketing Strategy with Social Media

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