The Best of Moller Marketing in 2009

Happy New Years Eve Moller Marketing readers!

I’m sitting in snowy northern Wisconsin right now preparing for a fun-filled day of sledding with the kids, swimming in the in-door pool, eating more than I need to, and watching college football. It doesn’t get too much better than this (unless you’re in Arizona my friend might say).

As is the “end-of-the-blogging-year” tradition, I wanted to share a few of the articles I’ve written I feel have been the most helpful blog posts in 2009.

What articles have you found about blogging, social media, and online marketing that you’d like to share in the comment section below?

5 Easy Tips to Market Online for Free

How much are you paying to get traffic to your website?

Is buying an advertising list for your website still in style?

What free (or really cheap) advertising techniques have you tried in the last few weeks to make more money online?

In the world of online marketing, I feel “marketing” is the most important part of an online business. If you’re not asking yourself the golden sales question of “What have I done today to make a sale?” you probably won’t be in business very long online.

Unlike a brick-and-mortar company where you get customers walking in off the street, nearly everyone who finds your website has to be directed there in some way, whether from your search engine ranking, pay-per-click advertising, a banner ad, or word of mouth marketing.

Here’s a list of a few oft-neglected ways to promote your online business in a Free Sort of Way!

1. Free Online Classifieds

There are a ton of online classified ads where you can advertise your business, products and services for free.

Craigslist is one of the biggest and most widespread.

2. Newspapers Need News!

Have you ever even considered this option?

Moller Marketing Challenge: Call your local newspaper and ask if they would like to do a business or human interest piece on your online business.

If you are running some kind of charitable event or interesting promotion, they will be more likely to find you newsworthy.

3. Got Swag?

Your business may operate online, but you can advertise in the real world.

Consider putting a sign in your car window or handing out t-shirts advertising your website address. Granted, this may not be completely FREE, but I use strategy like this quite a bit when dance directors buy lots of shoes for clogging from me 🙂

A free t-shirt to thank them for their business can go a LONG way in building a business relationship.

4. Business Cross Promotions

Find a non-competing complimentary business and ask if they would like to trade links or create a joint venture.

For instance, if you are running an online dropshipper website, exchange links with manufactures who are looking to grow their sales force via dropshipping.  If you are operating a kitchenware business, find someone who sells home decor or wall murals.

5.The Power of Word of Mouth Coupons

Starbucks once ran a campaign where they offered a free iced cappuccino to employees and their family members.

They had to shut the offer down when the emailed coupons spread like wildfire all over the country.

Try sending a coupon or special offer to friends and family, use your Facebook group or Fan page to do a special promotion; and ask these contacts to pass the word along to everyone they know.  You’ll be amazed how wide your network can spread, and how much traffic this could bring to your business if the offer is desirable or interesting enough.

How do you plan to use these Free & Easy marketing techniques to grow your online business in 2010?

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How Is Google Real Time Search Going to Influence Natural SEO?

If you haven’t heard yet, Google has launched “real-time” search.

What does this mean for natural search engine optimization?

Will the SEO consultants who know how to do on-site and off-site SEO be “penalized” by this new functionality?

Or will SEO’s adapt, use social media more effectively (they should be doing this anyway), and give their sites even BETTER placement for multiple phrases in their industry.

According to one article I recently read at a wholesale dropshippers website,

Real time results are heavily weighted toward fresh content.  This means that your ranking on the SERPs could be much more volatile – you could be number 1 one minute, and number 6 a few minutes later.  How can you boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by taking advantage of real time searching?”

Here’s what Google has to say about the change:

Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just seconds before. When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page.

What do SEO Consultants think?

Mashable had this to say about the Google Launch:

For some time, it’s been clear to us that search has been moving to real-time, but until now, Google was seemingly falling behind Twitter, and even perhaps Bing (who inked its own search deals with Twitter and Facebook earlier this year).

Now, with one sweeping stroke, Google has grabbed the lead in the real-time search space, and it appears that Facebook and Twitter have both conceded that they aren’t going to outbuild Google when it comes to search. These are significant strategic decisions for all of those involved that will dictate much of where these companies head in the years to come.

Webpronews said this:

If you have ever had a hard time finding a direct relationship between social media and search engine marketing, it doesn’t get any more direct than this.

Dave Snyder is optimistic:

From an SEO perspective, however, the move excited me. It opens up a whole new world for savvy SEOs looking to compete in the always profitable business of trending search terms.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the real time search data pouring through was that Google is getting a massive amount of real time link data without the issue of a crawl. I am convinced they will be utilizing this data to help shape SERPs for terms that are trending or based on timeliness.

What I Think

  • SEO and SMO Become Duel Threats: if you haven’t been using Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks, you better “jump on the bandwagon” or you’re going to get passed up by the little guys. I laugh at the “big companies” that aren’t willing to invest the time or money (or both) to protect their name, brand and potential new business because they think “…there’s no real ROI with social media marketing…” Well big boys, small to medium sized businesses now have the potential to take your business little by little.
  • Google Always Does Things Better: Dave Synder mentioned the fact that the new real-time search will definitely encourage some to Spam, Spam, Spam. He states, “Seriously, any new feature that Google rolls out is a playground for SPAM…” I agree. He adds, “Some people might ask the importance of coming up for a mere moment in that position, but the sheer amount of traffic generated for a trending term can make even a 30 second window profitable.”PC World noted “…unlike Bing, not every search term you enter into Google will trigger the real-time feature. Google’s approach makes sense, to a certain extent, since there may not be much real-time relevance to a search for a particular celebrity or historical figures on most days. But then again, sometimes people post interesting information such as quotes from the likes of Mark Twain or Winston Churchill, quirky facts about history, and other information that may be interesting to discover. Unlike Google, you are guaranteed to find more real-time results on wider range of topics on Bing; whether those search results have any value is left for you to decide.”

I feel strongly that Google won’t be TOUCHED when it comes to search, both natural SEO and real-time. Bing is working hard but I don’t think they will prevail. Time will tell how search users adapt (or if they adapt at all) to real time search.

What are your thoughts on real-time search?

The Professional Blogger’s Blogging Checklist

Have you ever wondered what you needed to do to become a professional blogger?

First off, let me give you some questions to ponder:

  • Which blogs are you currently reading on a consistent basis?
  • How are these blogs helping you prepare to be a professional blogger?
  • Have you started creating an outline of what you might want to blog about?
  • Are you currently making consistent comments on the blogs you’re reading?

Yes, these questions might catch you a bit off guard, but if you plan to be a professional blogger, they are “recommendations” that I suggest you find answers to sooner than later.

I recently read a great blog post titled “ProBlogging – 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started“.

Here are some of the highlights:

10 Things To Know as a New Blogger

blogging-checklist1. Good design (and hosting) is crucial: I added the hosting part but I feel both are important. When I started MollerMarketing in 2006, I was using Blogger.com as my platform. This means my blog was http://mollermarketing.blogspot.com. I remember SPECIFICALLY what my mentor told me at that time – “…if you ever want me to comment on your blog or get any links to credible sites, get a hosted blog with your own domain name.”

So, I took his advice and got hosting and a domain name. What I DIDN’T do for about 2 years was get a nicely designed theme. I used a free version for quite some time and thought all was well.  However, as soon as I finally bucked up and took the advice to get a nicer looking theme, I saw a few things happen:

1. My subscribers increased

2. Comments increased

3. I was able to interview bigger names in my industry (and feel confident about it)

What you can get from all this? Get a hosted account and purchase a nice theme.

2. Narrow Your Niche: this was one of my favorite parts of the blog post. So much so, that I commented about it.  I said “…I always emphasize the importance of focus when starting an online business. As you focus in on a niche, you’ll realize that what seemed like a very specific topic actually is a lot bigger once you research it out.”

3. Comments Really Do Matter: Since reading this great blog post, I’ve been implementing this concept too. Here’s what the article says about commenting on other blogs:

I didn’t take this seriously at first. I thought that my content was special enough to get noticed on its own. Boy was I wrong! It wasn’t until a few months ago that I crafted a comment policy that has helped my traffic explode. I do it by subscribing by email to a dozen or so blogs in my niche so that I’m notified as soon as there is a new post. I try to comment right away and do my best to add something meaningful to the conversation. More importantly, I come back and reply to other comments in the discussion. Do this often enough and on enough blogs and you will start to get noticed. You can’t give commenting lip service either; it is something that needs to be done every day.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to MollerMarketing.com via email 🙂 and other blogs that you feel will help you build credibility in your industry.

4. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Your Knowledge: one of my biggest pet-peeves is when I’m working with a client that says that either a) they don’t know anything or b) they don’t have any hobbies. BULL CRAP! I mean, come on people.

…most people don’t know what you know and would to pay you to teach them.

Have you ever thought how much your knowledge about something could potentially make you?

5. When You Have a Blog, You are the Authority: Don’t be afraid to be an expert!

6. Consistency Counts: this was another point I commented on.

Consistency in blogging is also so crucial. There are only a handful of blogs I follow (Problogger obviously being one of them). The main reason I follow these blogs is because they are consistent and focused on specific topics.

7. Have a Plan: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! It’s about that simple. What are you going to do when you get hundreds of comments a day? What’s your strategy when a company wants to partner with you or buy your business? You don’t have to have a perfect plan but something is better than nothing.

8. Start Networking Early! If’s never too early to get your name out there. Even when you’re BRAND NEW, start telling people about your business, let them know what you’re doing and why. You have to break the ice.

If you really want to get your name out there, do some guest posting for other blogs that are already established.

You can’t necessarily go for the BIG BLOGS to guest post on as a new blogger, but shoot for some that you know get comments, have readers, and share your target audience. Again, you have to start somewhere.

9. Be Everywhere: Social networks, forums, other peoples blogs, comments, video, audio, pictures, live events – these are just a few places you can “BE” online (and offline) to connect with your audience.

10. Hustle: I’ve been listening to an audio book called “Lead the Field” by Earl Nightengale. One of the best things I’ve been reminded of is the Law of Cause and Effect: when I DO something, then and only then should I EXPECT something in return.

The hardest thing for me to deal with when working with clients is the fact that some think the internet breaks the laws of Cause and Effect. In other words, “I can just sit back, turn on a ‘cookie cutter’ type site, and VIOLA, I have millions to roll in…”

WAKE UP to reality people!

There is NO SUCH THING AS A TURN-KEY GET RICH QUICK opportunity out there.

They ALL take work, planning, and persistence if you plan to succeed.

Whewww…I’m getting heated up just typing this content 🙂

Having said all this, I’ve created a Blogging Checklist that was based on some tips from Darren Rowse. Put it to work and let me know what you think.

Moller Marketing’s Blogging Checklist

New Blogging To Do List Date Completed
Publish your first 10 Blog Posts
Link a new blog post to an older post on your site
Get your 1st comment from someone you don’t know
Get your 1st link from another blog
Build traffic to more than 20 visitors per day
Set up a Feedburner Email Subscription Account
Hit 20 RSS Subscribers
Get your blog indexed in Google
Set up a Google Adsense Account for your blog
Earn at least $1 per week on your blog via Adsense & other affiliates
Guest post on someone else’s blog
Have someone, not you or your family, share your blog in a social network (Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, etc.)

Tutorial: How to Create a Gmail Account

I know for most of the Moller Marketing readers this is way too basic.

But this is a question I get from time to time as I help clients start an online business.

First let’s talk about…

gmail-logoWhy Gmail?

  1. Less Spam (or the spam is filtered in to a spam box)
  2. Mobile Access: I don’t use this yet but probably will in the near future.
  3. Lots of Space: unlike my Outlook account where I have to “Archive” things all the time, Gmail has SO MUCH free storage.
  4. Access to everything else Google Offers: when you set up a Gmail account, you’re also setting up a Google Account, which will give you access to Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and other cool things from Google.
  5. It’s always getting better: Gmail seems to always be doing something new. Check out their Gmail blog for all the things they have in the works.

Now the step by steps!

How to Set up a Gmail Account

Step 1:

  • Go to Gmail.com and click on Create an Account

gmail-tutorial-1

Step 2:

  • Fill out the appropriate information

gmail-tutorial-2

  • You may enter in an email address that is already taken, Gmail will give you other options.

gmail-tutorial-2a

  • Make sure to pick a password you’ll remember and that is “Strong” according to Google (using numbers and other characters can help)

gmail-tutorial-2b

  • Use a security question you’ll remember (I’ve set up an account and then forgot HOW I typed in the answer…IDIOT Me!)
  • When you’re finished, click  the “I accept. Create my account.” button.

Step 3:

  • Congratulations – it was THAT EASY!

gmail-tutorial-3

  • You can now go straight to your account.

Step 4:

  • Start testing it out!

Other Cool Gmail Features

  • Importing contacts from other email: You can import your contacts and mail from Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, and many other web mail or POP accounts. If you want, we’ll even keep importing your mail for the next 30 days.
  • Google Chat & Video Chat: You don’t have to use another program — chat is built right into Gmail. Learn more about Google chat. You can even talk face to face with voice and video chat. All you need is a webcam and a small download that takes seconds to install.
  • Archiving: You shouldn’t ever have to throw things away. Archiving moves messages out of your inbox and into “All Mail,” so they don’t clutter your inbox but remain searchable in case you ever need them again. Learn more about Gmail Archiving.
  • Labels: Labels do the work of folders with an extra bonus: a conversation can have several labels, so you’re not forced to choose one particular folder. Learn more about Gmail Labels.

Why do you use Gmail?