We hosted a live chat on Twitter yesterday to discuss the topic of online marketing in general and the new Yahoo! Marketing Dashboard in particular. It was hosted by @SmallBizLady, aka Melinda Emerson, host of #SmallBizChat, Author of the book, "Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months" http://www.succeedasyourownboss.co.
We compiled the highlights of the chat into the following transcript. The only changes have been omissions and a few corrections of typos to improve clarity. We also made a Twitter list of all the active participants which you can subscribe to here: https://twitter.com/#!/YSmallBusiness/ydashboard-chat.
Chat questions and answers
Good afternoon everyone and thanks so much for joining us for the Yahoo! Marketing Dashboard Tweet Chat!
Q1 What are some techniques to attract new customers?
A1 The tools that I find to be most useful for attracting new customers are blogging and using social media.
A1b When you position your business with an authoritative blog you will attract customers to you.
A1c Your blog should already show that you are qualified to solve your customers business challenge.
A1a No matter how attractive your product/service is, people may not be ready to buy right now.
A1b You must therefore put out educational content to alert prospects to the nature/severity of their issues.
Q2 What tools generate the most customers for you?
A1c As well as content to describe ways to solve those issues - this develops interest in solutions.
A2 I have found the best results in using Twitter and LinkedIn to find customers with Facebook being the third option.
A2b Writing guest blogs on other high profile websites also is a big help.
A1d By offering valuable knowledge before trying to sell, you become a trusted advisor to your market.
Q3 How have you optimized your website for the search engines?
A2a The key to having #marketing efforts pay off is having a SYSTEM to convert prospects > leads > clients.
A2b Everything else you do - #socialmedia,#publicity, #directmail, etc. - simply feeds your system.
A3 I use the WordPress platform for my blog which has built in SEO functionality
30% of US Small Businesses need help identifying the right keywords.
Q3 answer from YSB advisor - the single BEST way to optimize SEO is to provide great content for your clients and customers
A3: It's good to incorporate key search terms that also help describe your services.
Q3 answer. Online Marketing Revolves Around Your Reputation yhoo.it/NGOII1
A3b I use Scribe scribeseo.com to get keyword suggestions for each blog post to increase the searchability of my website
A3 WordPress w/ SEO and #socialmedia plugins help a great deal - but it's the content that draws visitors to you.
A3: It's good to incorporate key search terms that also help describe your services within your website content.
Q4 What are the best sources of leads for a small business?
A3b As important as SEO and content are - make sure your site is also "CRO'd" - Conversion Rate Optimized
A4a In general, best source of leads is referrals from existing clients. They come at least partly pre-sold
A4: State contracting websites have been helpful leads!
RT @LoisMarketing: The best sources of leads for a small business? << Referrals from existing customers/clients
A4b But even referred leads aren't necessarily ready to buy - make sure you have a nurture system in place.
Q5 Do you use analytics to determine where your website traffic is coming from?
A4c And unless you know how to REALLY leverage them, it's a bad idea to buy leads generated by someone else.
A5 Since my blog is my business, I look at the analytics of my blog and#Smalbizchat from Twitter each week.
A5b We use Google Analytics and tweetreports.com to pull the data.
A5 I use WordPress referral data as well as Google Analytics.
A5c I also use @ZimanaAnalytics to produces analytics reports with a summary and suggestions of what we need to adjust.
A5: Have not yet utilized analytics for SEO traffic; I know it's needed but it seems overwhelming.
Q6 How do you use email to engage your audience (newsletters, special offers, etc.)?
A6a Email (and even PRINT) newsletters are VITAL - but to be engaging they have to do MORE than be salesy.
A6 Email is really the only way to monetize social media.
A6b You need to produce content that not only informs but also entertains, and shares personality.
A6b I'm a big social media user, but I can't do business unless I have my customer's contact information.
A5: We use Google Analytics and HubSpot for Analytics.
A6c If you aim for "Pass Along Value" (meaning it makes readers want to share) - you're doing it right.
A6c I have several ways to engage my web visitors to give their contact information: free downloads, blog sign-up, giveaways
A6d FYI, most people aren't interested in *another* newsletter, so entice subscribers w/ free content.
A6e Also, paid newsletter/continuity programs = high perceived value = high readership & purchase frequency.
Q7 How do you entice customers to sign up for your mailing list?
A7: Build quick sign-ups by offering a teaser to the prospective subscriber. Engage them to keep them wanting more.
A7a Most service businesses can offer a free report or content related to what they do.
A7b #Retail businesses are often unsure what to offer to entice subscription. Doesn't have to be coupons.
A7c #Retail biz can ALSO offer variety of reports related to things to do w/ what they sell.
A7d So the grocer can offer recipes, and the hobby shop can offer model painting tips.
A7 Offering a free quote is a great way to get contact information as well.
Q8 Do any of you use online directories or local online business lists?
Small businesses say online directories are the marketing option they use most now and are most likely to use in next 12 months
Q9 What are some ways you get customers to write reviews for your biz online?
How does online data affect your biz's rep? 83% of consumers say online reviews influence their perceptions about companies
A8 Get listed in as many directories as possible - provides citations to search engines' local listings.
According to eMarketer, 8 of 10 Web users said negative info online made them change their mind about purchase decisions
A9 Within 7 days after a purchase send ur customer an email with a link to ur yelp page to ask them for a review. Make it easy!
A9 One favorite review-gettin' strategy: Offer monthly raffle entries for people who write reviews.
A9: Convey to customers to allow your company to remedy any concerns so that any review posted is positive.
A9: I ask them when I send the follow up email or handwritten letter. A happy client is thrilled to give a review/feedback!
A9b: Having an excellent/high/good rating is esp important on eBay and sellers include that request in the product listing.