3 Cash-Free Ways to Market Your Local Business Online

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Welcome back! Today’s SEO copywriting tip is in response to a question from the SEO Copywriting Facebook grouphow do you market a (local) business online when you don’t have any money?

This can be tricky, because ideally if you’re launching a new business, you usually have a marketing budget, however small. At the same time, Heather has worked with local companies that invested all they had just to get their business up and running – only to find themselves scrambling to figure out how to get the word out.

Tune in as Heather shares three ideas for marketing online when you have no cash, and under the conditions that it’s possible to do so:

It’s possible…but under certain conditions:

It is possible to market your business online with no budget, but only for the short term, and under certain conditions.

  • The owner has time to educate him/herself in online marketing.
  • The owner makes marketing his/her business a priority and can dedicate a couple of hours (or more) a day to getting the word out.
  • Know that this is a stop-gap measure. In most cases, businesses will benefit from having an actual site.

Marketing Idea #1 – Twitter

  • Twitter can be a great way to “meet” new local people.
  • It’s important to know how and what to tweet. Too much self promotion will turn prospective clients off.
  • Be a good community member. Don’t forget to RT (retweet), thank people for their RT’s, etc.

Marketing Idea #2 – Facebook

  • Facebook can provide your company a “home” until your site is launched.
  • Spend time building a good Facebook page that encourages community and sparks conversation.
  • Check on your Facebook page throughout the day and comment/add new wall posts.

Marketing Idea #3 – Local Publications

It’s easy to forget that not all marketing has to be done online (and that print often has an online component).

  • Does your local newspaper have a monthly “new business” interview or column? Pitch your business and ask to be interviewed. Don’t forget local business journals, too.
  • Make note of local influential bloggers in your community. How can you connect with them?
  • Whenever possible, try to meet people in person.

 

3 Ways to Save Money on SEO Copywriting

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Greetings! In today’s Q&A video post, Heather addresses the question: how can I save money on SEO copywriting services? You may have noticed that professional SEO copywriting isn’t cheap. You do get what you pay for. So the challenge is if you want to build out really good content for your site, you’re looking at either:  A) learning how to do it yourself, which is an investment in time, or B) outsourcing your SEO copywriting to a professional, which will cost you money.

Sorry, but there’s no way around this one. If you want great SEO copywriting that gets results, you’ll have to pay for it one way or another. But there are ways you can save money on SEO copywriting services, right now!

Heather explains, focusing on saving money on your SEO content generation:

1) Repurpose Existing Content

There are very powerful ways you can leverage existing content: for instance, maybe someone on your staff has written a book, or possibly a “meaty” white paper: you can take these raw materials and repurpose some of the content into FAQ pages, blog posts, and tweets.

This is an especially smart strategy if your company has been around for awhile and you’ve archived content handy to revise and repurpose.

2) Get Trained in SEO Copywriting Best Practices

This applies to larger companies that have been outsourcing their SEO copywriting for all this time, as well as to those smaller to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s) that have talented writers on staff.

  • For larger companies: It can pay off in a big way to have everyone involved with content and content marketing trained in SEO copywriting best practices, be it marketing, branding, or even I.T. personnel: it’s important that they understand why SEO copywriters write the way they do, and how SEO copywriting fits into the whole web development process.
  • For SMB’s: It can be extremely cost-efficient to train those talented writers on your staff in SEO copywriting best practices, rather than relying on an outsourced SEO copywriter to create content.

3) Consider Guest Blog Posts from Loyal Customers or Readers

It can prove to be a costly investment of time and effort trying to figure out fresh, quality content for your blog. Having one of your loyal readers or customers write about their perception of your products or services via a guest blog post can help to pull in other readers/customers.

  • This will not only save you money, but will also serve to fill out some of those content “holes” in your editorial calendar, and serve your readers by highlighting fresh perspectives from others.

The main thing to consider is that whatever you do, think Quality. Make sure the content on your website, blog, or social media site is something you’re proud of, and want to share with others.

5 Reasons Why Social Media Is Good for SEO

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Do you like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Well I’ve got a reason to love all of these social media platforms. We use these outlets to learn new information, disseminate interesting information we find, engage with new people and share ideas. But what most don’t realize is that social media is in fact great for SEO and can help boost your search engine rankings. Here’s how:

1)   The same way you use keywords to optimize your blog posts can be used to optimize your posts in social media. Leveraging keywords improves search traffic when you use keywords that rank highly for your topic.  Use a keyword research tool such as Google Adwords to figure out which search terms rank higher, and infuse those terms into your posts.

2)   Social media encourages the sharing of multimedia, and multimedia is shown to increase time on page. PRWeb did a study which concluded that including multimedia in news releases increases time on page by an average of about 30 seconds. Imagine what that could do for your blog and social media posts. That’s the difference between someone reading your post and clicking the “X” and someone reading your post and getting hooked—you want the latter.

3)   Social media influence increases link sharing, which ultimately results in better search ranking. Every link into your portal improves your chances of ranking well in Google and other search engines, according to informIT. I like to call it link-love, and give plenty of it when tweeting throughout the day. Tweeting information from a variety of sources is important because those sources might notice this and tweet you back: creating lots of link love.

4)   Google’s crawling, indexing and rankings are directly influenced by Tweeted links and Facebook shares. The easier it is to link to your content via sharing buttons, the more likely someone will use them to share your content, according to SEOmoz.

5)   SEO is based on relevance and authority. You build relevance and authority by creating and sharing original content (such as blogs) and building communities on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. The more relevant and authoritative you are on your topic, the better search engines will view you.

Are you convinced yet? Try your hand at increasing your SEO using social media and share with us what you find! Keep one thing in mind: all SEO takes time and patience.

For more information on social media and SEO, I recommend visiting the TopRank Online Marketing Blog, Mashable or SEOmoz.

Stacey Acevero is the social media community manager at Vocus and PRWeb. Part of the PR team and an early adopter of social media, she blogs frequently about public relations, social media, marketing and search engine optimization at BloggingPRWeb.

3 Tips for DIY Small Business SEO Content Writing

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I’ve said it before – small businesses can write killer SEO content. When the owner’s passion for their business is translated to the page (or, in this case, to the site,) the end result is entertaining, persuasive and powerful.  I’ve profiled two small businesses, Portland Adventure Bootcamp and Studio Blue Pilates who have both gone the DIY route and seen some spectacular results.

However, many site owners – even folks who are fairly SEO savvy – make some common copywriting 101 mistakes. Here are three most common ones:

  • Embrace your size – don’t hide it! Why is it that we’re all size queens when we’re talking about our company? Even if we’re a company of one, we say “we” when we talk to prospects (As in, “We’d be happy to discuss your marketing strategy,) count pets as “team members” and make ourselves sound as big as the big boys. People, small (business) is beautiful. Really. Small businesses provide many advantages that big firms just can’t offer: Flexibility, customization, customer service – sometimes even pricing. Making your company sound bigger than it is can actually lose sales – if people get a whiff that you’re not being completely honest with them, they’ll scoot to your competitor.
  • Let your passion shine through. There’s something about the writing process that makes people feel that they’re back in high school English class. The purpose of your site is to connect with your customers, and you can’t do that if you start your home page with, “Welcome to our website. You’re visitor number [insert counter here.]” To break through your block, sit down and think of what you’d tell a prospect during a phone conversation. Now, write that down. See the difference? One version is formula and personality-free, while the other version lets your passion shine through.
  • Tell people how you can help. It’s easy to think, “Well, I’m a Pilates studio, so the benefits are pretty self-explanatory.” Yes they are – to you. Your prospects aren’t as familiar with your product or service. They don’t have the history. They aren’t thinking, “Pilates will help me sleep better and have more energy throughout the day.” In fact, your prospects are often thinking negative information like, “Last time I tried an exercise program, I didn’t lose an ounce. Can these guys help me, or is it more of the same B.S.?” Showcasing your benefits isn’t “bragging” or “talking about yourself.” It’s merely helping your prospects understand how your product or service meets their needs.

Why aren’t I mentioning keyphrase placement?  Of course DIY small business owners should go through the necessary keyphrase research and SEO content writing steps  – that’s just smart marketing. At the same time, focusing on these three foundational copywriting steps in addition to your keyphrase placement will help convert curious prospects into committed clients. It’s really that easy.

Have a SEO copywriting tip for small businesses? Tell us about it!

Yes, Small Businesses Can Kick SEO Butt!

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Bob Bly, copywriting guru, asks if small businesses can really compete in SEO. He says:

A bigger company can afford to dedicate one or more employees full-time to each of these major tasks. For instance, I know a company with a full-time staff person who does nothing but seek incoming links, one of the steps in SEO.

And my answer is, “Hell yes, small businesses can compete!” Read more