Google AdWords Alternatives – How You Can Buy Ads Directly From Website in Your Niche Market

One of the things that you can do to get more visitors to your site is to actually buy ads on sites that are in your market and relevant to what you are trying to sell. In this article I want to show you how you can use Google AdWords to make this happen so you can easily figure out which sites are going to make you the most amount of money possible.

Step #1 – Get your keywords on the Google AdWords Content Network first…

What this will allow you to do is start to figure out which sites in your niche market are going to work for you if you go and buy ads directly on their pages verses just using Google AdWords.

This is a great first step and you have to make sure you are focused on doing it & don’t skip over it or you will end up missing out on getting some great data in your niche.

Step #2 – Once you figure out which sites in the Content Network are making you money, start approaching those site owners…

You want to start contacting the owners of the sites and ask them if you can directly buy advertising from them.

You will find that a lot of them will be open to this option and you will be able to get a lot of ads on sites in your niche market.

It takes a bit of time but you have to realize that this is a very powerful strategy if you do it the right way.

You can literally get thousands of visitors to your site a day from your Content Network ads & then get all the visitors coming to your site from the banners that you have up on their sites as well that are directly pointing back to your site.

Marketing Tactics Begin With the End

Successful marketing tactics begin with the end in mind. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you expect to know how to get there? That makes it essential to understand exactly what the customer wants and anticipate their needs long before they begin a search for a product or service.

But how do you really know how to visualize the future?

What can you do to turn your small business into a huge business with high profits, high conversions, and high profits?

Start by knowing your customer.

This is the #1 marketing tactic that every marketer must know, believe, and understand. It’s not enough to have a general knowledge of the market and the customer. It’s vital to know the audience and relate directly to their needs. It’s about anticipating their next move and then their next move after that.

And it’s about appealing to their emotional needs.

Understanding the customer begins with a clear picture of who they are and what key characteristics they share. It is those key characteristics or idiosyncrasies that make them the best prospects for your product or service. That’s why they are so important to your future success – because they have a need for what you have to offer.

Once you are able to clearly identify the customer and what they want, it’s essential to craft and create a message that speaks directly to them. A general message about a product and the features it offers is never enough.

Customers want to know “what’s in it for me”.

They are seeking value and looking for benefits or products. Your message must clearly articulate the benefits and advantages of what you have to offer. The message must appeal directly to the customer’s needs and appeal to him in a very unique way.

What are most customers looking for in terms of benefits?

People are always looking to save both time and money. If they can find a product that saves time, fills a need, and is appropriately priced, they will buy it.

They’ll even pay more for a product if they truly believe it offers significant or multiple benefits over other similar products. They’re not as interested in features as they are benefits so focus the message towards their emotional buying needs. And don’t be afraid to highlight multiple benefits of a product to really engage the customer.

In today’s fast-paced world and advanced technology, people are always looking for the best and the fastest. They are also looking for ease of purchase. Marketing tactics must respond to this need and your message must be emotionally appealing and soundly convincing.

Back it up!

But just as importantly, be sure you can back up your claims of benefits and value to the customer. It’s not just a customer you want to attract. It’s a ‘repeat customer’ that can help your business soar too. Provide the customer with quality products and follow-up to make sure they are satisfied. Learn from your customers and use that valuable knowledge to anticipate the next need that will surface from customers.

Proactively create a marketing plan that integrates multiple marketing tactics to help ensure optimal success. Deploying effective tactics will quickly result in higher conversions and more sales. And with more sales, you’ll have a thriving business that grows exponentially as word spreads virally about your products and service.

Don’t under-estimate the value of utilizing proven, successful marketing tactics when it comes to marketing your products. Know where you want to go before you start the journey. Start with the end in mind.

Envision success and visualize the sale. Take advantage of tried and proven tactics to create a successful business and a secure future.

Create Prospect-Friendly Online Marketing Forms – Stop Losing Leads!

How many times have you clicked on a link to download content that interests you only to be faced with a form approaching the length of your IRS tax return? What most folks do next, according to my informal personal survey, is to hit the browser’s back button. Your prospects are eager to read your content and they’re even open to learning more about your products. They may or may not be interested in purchasing anything today but you’ll never know because your ominous form asking for everything except your mother’s social security number scared them away. That’s one less lead and one less sale. Technology companies, especially software vendors, are frequently the biggest culprits of “form over-kill.”

An example of online forms gone bad

Let’s look at a hypothetical company with a standard approach to online forms in their marketing. Software Company, Inc. has a reasonably professional web site where they host whitepapers, demos, webinars and free trials of their software. Software Company Inc.’s web guy (we’ll call him Bob to protect the innocent) insists that forms are tricky to build and insists that the marketing manager (we’ll call her Laura to protect anyone called Mary) must create just one form for each call to action. The marketing manager is feeling pressure from the sales team to provide highly qualified leads. The marketing manager is no dummy and knows that the more prospect information she can gather, the happier they will be, right? (Stay tuned for the nuanced correct answer to that question).

So, what does Laura’s form look like?: First Name, Last Name, Title, Company, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, State, Zip, Email, Phone. But that’s not all. The more information on the lead, the happier sales will be, right? So, she adds a survey, which she figures will also impress the Executive team when she sorts the data to create a snapshot of prospects and existing customers me who raise their hands. These are the survey questions that Sue believes would provide valuable company data for sales: What industry? How many employees? Annual Revenues? etc. etc. ad nauseam. The cherry on the cake is that Bob makes all the fields forced – meaning the prospect or customer MUST answer all the questions before hitting submit to get to that piece of content, demo or trial software.

In the age of 140 character attention span, what percentage of prospects who reach Software Company Inc.’s form are likely to complete it versus hit the back browser? The scientific answer = not many.

Of course, that was a slightly exaggerated and worst-case scenario for how- not- to manage your online forms. You are undoubtedly more cognizant than Sue that the use of forms and how to construct them for different calls-to-action plays a vital role in your interaction with prospects as well as effective lead generation.

The reality is that there are different approaches to online forms depending on the call-to-action or content and how each of them is marketed. The golden rule is to consider who you are trying to reach, how you are reaching them and then customize your forms to meet your goals.

If I were consulting for Software Company Inc., I’d sit down with Laura and Bob and ask them to diligently assess the goals of their online calls-to-action. Who specifically are you trying to attract and what are your expectations for lead volume? Based on their feedback I would offer specific recommendations on how to customize their approach to online forms for a better user experience and more qualified leads.

The key elements you need to consider when you’re creating online forms

Value of the content/call-to-action

High value: High value content is typically proprietary and involves a monetary investment, such as development or conducting research. It provides significant benefits, or higher perceived value to your target audience. An example is a whitepaper that is extremely timely in providing critical information to help your prospect or customer improve their business or do their job. For instance, a whitepaper on new Federal, state or local government legislation that is directly allied with your software solution. In my personal corporate experience in a variety of software and services categories, there is always an opportunity to create such high-value whitepapers, whether it is a horizontal or vertical industry message.

Low value: Product specific whitepapers, product demos, webinars and podcasts are typically lower value content most of the time. Although you may have invested money and resources to create them and they are invaluable tools to help you create interest and generate leads, they are not of intrinsic high value to your prospects.

High or low value: Trialware and promotional offers or discount can be either high or low value depending on what you are offering.

Expected Lead Volume

Develop forecasts on what you expect in lead volume from each call-to-action, even if it’s a generic whitepaper. Forecast by month and don’t be afraid to share your expectations with your sales team. If you’re offering a webinar on a regular monthly basis you will be able to predict responses over time and adjust lead goals if you make changes in how you market the webinar, e.g. if you do an email campaign drop in addition to just promoting the webinar on your web site. Here’s the nuanced answer to the question about sales wanting as much information as possible on a lead: they do but not if you can show them how many prospects are frightened away by a litany of questions on a marketing form.

Desired quality of lead

Not all leads are created equal. It is OK to balance your marketing between calls-to-action that will create a few very high quality leads and others that will provide a lot of responses but a lower proportion of highly qualified leads. You certainly want to weed out as many tire-kickers as possible but you also have to factor in your sales cycle and the lifetime value of a converted lead.

When to use a long form, short form or no form at all

Long forms have more fields for contact and profile gathering, more forced fields and may include a survey.

Short forms require the minimal fields necessary to meet your objectives for a specific call-to-action.

No form requires no definition.

I have spent several years accumulating wisdom on the usage of online forms and seen new trends emerge. In my real-world experience managing corporate web sites and being deeply involved in all response mechanisms including tailored online forms, here are some general rules of thumb when it comes to the use of long forms, short forms or no forms at all.

Long form: Use a long form for high value content. If you’re offering this content to both new prospects and customers through separate marketing activities or mediums use a pared down long form for your customers. Customers will be offended if you’re asking for contact information that you should already have. In either case, be judicious on forced fields. Consider requiring only name, company name and email from prospects. Some people will fill out some or even all of the optional fields. The plus side is that you get an indicator of a high level of interest when more voluntary fields are filled out. You can then flag these as “A” leads for your sales team.

Short form: This is ideal for the bulk of your low value content downloads, demos and webinars. It is also the best form to use for most online calls-to-action in email or direct marketing campaigns. First Name, Last Name, Title, Company Name and Email is a reasonable threshold for most prospects. Be careful about asking for a Phone Number and never force that field on a short form. Leave it optional. People will back out of even a short form if they believe that you’re going to harass them with calls. When promoting content on your Facebook business page I recommend the skinniest of forms (email only – for subsequent marketing but don’t forget opt-out regulations) or no form at all.

Note: If you’re promoting a download in an email campaign you can pre-populate a hidden field in the form with a unique marketing tracking code (sometimes referred to as media code or promo code).

No form: I am a big believer in allowing a content download for low value content without asking any questions at all. You may not get a tangible lead for sales to follow up on immediately but you will be able to track effectiveness by monitoring download volume. Try using no form at all for a content download from your web site where you previously used a form. Check the before and after download counts. A landing page tied to a specific email marketing campaign is an ideal opportunity to do an A/B test on using no form versus a short form, especially since you can track activity if you are using a unique URL. At first it takes some faith to not use any form for a call-to-action. Remember that, in addition to download stats, you will have sales feedback on the origin of a lead that will be part of your measurements.

Tracking the effectiveness of your online forms

Whether you use a long form or a short form, check your open rates and compare with form completes. This will give you an indication if you need to shorten your long form or reduce the number and type of forced fields. Conversely, test adding more fields to your short form if you have a very high completion rate and have an interest in gathering some additional data – but only if it is truly meaningful data that expands your marketing opportunities.

Testing, tracking and analyzing the results you are getting from your online forms is critical to ensuring you are keeping the right balance of interest in your content along with leads for actionable follow up. Match the results against your objectives and adjust the forms when you can clearly see trends in response rates and quality of the leads.

If prospects are backing away from your online forms, you’re needlessly losing leads. Engaging with your customers and prospects extends to every communication and interaction. That includes your marketing forms. Taking the time to create the most appropriate and least invasive forms demonstrates that you value your prospects’ interest in your products and services more than just grabbing their contact information. A pleasant online experience builds credibility, trust and ultimately generates more leads and more customers.

Marketing With a Blended Marketing Strategy For Maximum Visibility

Marketing in general is a vast and complex beast which requires knowledge and effort to truly master and leverage it to its full potential to grow your brand, let alone your business. Any good internet marketing strategy can effectively help you build your business online. However, as many internet entrepreneurs look to expand their online presence and grow their businesses further, I find that many of them fail to create a complete marketing and business development strategy, focusing the majority of their efforts online. Sadly, this is a HUGE mistake on their part.

Over the course of my career as an entrepreneur, business owner and web designer, I’ve conducted business with many individuals and businesses all wanting to increase their reach, develop a stronger brand awareness and build a strong internet presence. Yet through all their questions, two common fears continually rang through during my discussions with many of them. They either feared the idea of taking on a major internet campaign or they felt that internet marketing would replace their tried and true traditional marketing methods. Both these fears have their roots in the fact that the vast majority of them simply lacked the proper knowledge necessary to see that both an internet marketing and traditional marketing strategy should compliment each other providing reciprocal support of their various strengths. I like to refer to this more complete picture of a marketing strategy as “blended marketing”.

Why Do I Need to Do Marketing

If you plan to generate any kind of income online you need to gain an understanding that your blog or website is simply and extension of your true business. You must develop your business model first before you can properly identify how to apply your blog/website as a useful tool in your overall marketing and business development strategy. Any successful business has a marketing strategy to grow their business. You can’t simply set up a blog or website and expect the business to come rushing in. You must have a strategy in place to help bring in the interested buyers you desire.

Gain a Little Perspective

As a successful internet entrepreneur and internet marketing expert myself, I’ve been using a blended marketing strategy for well over a decade to maximize my reach, increase my exposure and better market to my target audience to grow my online business. I’d like to share with you how a blended marketing strategy can benefit you and provide you with some techniques I use when constructing your blended marketing plan.

To help you gain a better perspective on the concept of blended marketing I suggest you have a quick read of Rena Bernstein’s post over at Social Media Today entitled “Integrating Social Media with Traditional Advertising to Gain Higher Returns”. It is a great read and provides valuable insight into the benefits as well as examples on how effective it can be if done correctly.

What is Blended Marketing

Blended marketing is essentially a mix of both internet marketing and traditional offline marketing methods to create a more complete, overall marketing and business development strategy. Many businesses fail to integrate both internet marketing and traditional marketing strategies together. By taking advantage of the strengths of both an internet marketing and traditional marketing strategy, you will better position yourself and/or your business for greater success.

The idea of a blended marketing strategy is to create a complete marketing strategy which takes advantage of the various strengths of both an internet marketing strategy and a traditional marketing strategy where you work to increase your search engine rankings and internet exposure, while at the same time increasing your reach and exposure offline as well.

Different aspects of a blended marketing strategy can be for example, utilizing an email marketing campaign in conjunction with a direct mail campaign to provide a specific promotion to a select group of recipients. Some email marketing systems provide a service where they will also send a direct mail piece to your email list provided you have addresses for each recipient in your list. This is just a high level example of how a blended marketing strategy can work to ensure broader reach from multiple fronts.

Benefits of a Blended Marketing

The benefits of a blended marketing strategy are vast allowing you truly grow your business at a much more rapid pace than if you didn’t have one. A blended marketing strategy allows you to:

Gain Greater Exposure
Market to the Same Audience Through Multiple Online and Offline Marketing Efforts
Track the Effectiveness of Various Campaign Efforts
Identify the Strengths of both Online and Offline Marketing Strategies
Create Multiple Promotions for Various Marketing Strategies
Generate Multiple Sources to Feed Your Sales Funnel
Create Brand Awareness Online and Offline
Market Products/Services Both Online and Offline
Present Yourself as a Strong, Stable Business
Increase Sales
These are just a few of the many benefits in which a blended marketing strategy can provide.

Creating a Blended Marketing Strategy

Creating a blended marketing strategy isn’t all that difficult if you know your target audience and have identified how to reach them. From that point, you can craft a marketing strategy that will allow you to reach your target audience through multiple fronts to ensure your message is heard.

The first step is to conduct market research (yes you have to do this and you cannot skip this step). When conducting market research you need to identify:

Who Your Target Audience Is
Where They Hang Out
How to Reach Them
What are Their Needs
How You Can Fill Their Need
Will They Buy
Identifying a market for whatever you are offering is essential to the success of any business whether online or off.

The second step is to begin crafting your blended marketing strategy to incorporate the various resources available to reach your market. This is where the fun begins! Be creative with this and make sure you explore all possible options to get your message out to market. For example, you may want to include the various resources to syndicate your content not just for online purposes but also for offline purposes, such as industry magazines and journals. If you are creating an email marketing campaign, how will you mirror this effort offline through direct mail pieces? If you are going to utilize the Third Tribe concept for your online marketing, what real-world business networking and industry convention events are you going to attend to create brand awareness? Consider how you are going to integrate social media into your blended marketing and how can you drive people to follow you from your offline efforts?

The best way to create a blended marketing strategy is to mirror your online marketing efforts with potential real-world offline efforts that my accomplish the same if not similar task as your online efforts. Simply ask yourself: “Self, what offline marketing effort would be similar to this online marketing effort” then make a list of all related marketing strategies and decide which to integrate into your complete blended marketing strategy. Dedicate a lot of quality time to this process, because the more time you spend on market research and development to create your blended marketing strategy, the more effective your blended marketing strategy will be.