Are Search Engines Worth ALL Your Time?

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Chances are this is not the first time you’ve read an article
mentioning search engines. You know, the ones that talk
about meta tags and keywords and all that jazz to get you
higher rankings? Well, is all the search engine buzz really
worth ALL your marketing time? I can answer that for you in
one word. No. Now don’t get me wrong, search engines are
important, but they should not your sole focus to gain traffic.
Initially, when you’re just starting out on your venture, sure,
but do not spend hours and hours every day trying to tweak
your meta tags to and obtain a higher ranking. Instead, do it
once and let it go. Whether you know it or not there are
other great marketing techniques out there that work even
better than search engines, and might I add, in a lot less
time than it takes to tweak your meta tags constantly.

If you’re like me, maybe you’re on a shoestring budget right
now (especially with the Holidays almost upon us). So with
any money you spend on marketing you want to make sure
you get a good ROI (Return On Investment). Here are some
“other” great ways to market your business without breaking
the bank. Over the next twelve weeks we’re going to look at
each one in detail.

1. Write For Publicity — This one I call the “king” in
marketing. This one alone can yield huge results in a short
period of time. A great tactic to use to get a jump in traffic
and sales.

2. E-zine Advertising — Another good one, though it may
take a few times to get the wording just right to be really
effective.

3. Banner Advertising — Trends show this tactic is losing its
effectiveness. However, there are ways to keep banners
steadily rolling traffic in to your site.

4. Press Releases — This technique has been around since
two days before dirt was new, but this old marketing tactic is
still a winner in getting your new product, service or
company in the media spotlight.

5. Affiliate Programs — Something you should definitely
consider, good way to get link popularity (good for search
engines) and increase your sales.

6. Direct E-mail — Not exactly the cheapest way to promote
your business, but it is much more effective as you’re
targeting your sales letters to a certain group of people who
have opt-in (asked) to receive them.

7. Newsgroups/Message Boards — Another tactic that
seems to be losing momentum, back in ’96 and ’97
advertising your business using a signature line under your
name on newsgroups was really effective. Now many
people no longer mess with them because, unfortunately,
many of them are spammed over and over again. You
actually have to really search to find a “true” message from
someone. Still somewhat effective if you do it correctly.

8. Opt-in Newsletter — You need to be using this technique.
It’s a great way to get repeat sales from previous customers.
Keeping in touch with your previous site visitors and
customers leads to good credibility and customer loyalty.
Newsletters are good for promoting third party products or
services you personally endorse and you can gain revenue
from offering advertising.

9. Partnerships/Strategic Alliances — Success in numbers.
Get your brand known by partnering with companies that
offer products/services that compliment yours, but not in
direct competition.

10. E-books — A new, hot marketing technique on the
horizon that is showing an increasing effectiveness. Peoples
time on the Internet is precious. This technique allows your
visitors to download information on to their computer for later
viewing and makes a valuable free incentive.

11. Pay-For-Rank Search Engines — Unlike your typical
search engines, with pay-for-rank search engines like
GoTo.com, you actually have much better control where
you’re ranked…for a price of course. While these type of
engines don’t yield huge results they can bring in some extra
traffic each day. For each keyword phase you pay a set
amount per click.

12. Announcement Services — Here’s one you might not be
familiar with. There are some sites out there that send out e-
mail newsletters to subscribers that list new companies, new
services being offered, etc. Does your company offer
something new and unique? Is your website new? This is a
great way to get some exposure. Even though the results
aren’t for the long-term, in the short term your traffic will be
on the increase.

Many of the techniques above you’ve probably heard of.
When you combine all those tactics in your marketing
campaign you will see a dramatic rise in both traffic and
sales. If you just focus all of your attention on search
engines you are severely limiting the expansion of your
website’s traffic. You can only get so much traffic from the
search engines. Going back to what was mentioned at the
beginning of this article, the initial traffic from search engines
is a start. From that point on it’s important to build off that
traffic foundation you created.

While there are great ways to promote your website, there
are also marketing methods you should avoid. They either
do not work and/or cause more harm then good. Here are
two techniques to steer clear of:

1. Bulk E-mail — Where does it end up? Why the trash bin
of course. This is the technique that causes more problems
than good. I personally would not mess with it. One report
to your web host about it and down your site will go. Same
goes if a report goes to your Internet provider. Why take
chances like this? Plus it puts a bad taste in peoples
mouths, and your credibility crumbles. While an ad quoting
on million e-mail addresses for $100 might sound tempting,
shrug it off and look to direct, opt-in e-mail marketing
instead. Though it is more expensive, it’s well worth the
investment and the results are much better without the
“flame” e-mails you’ll get from using bulk e-mail.

2. Free-For-All/Classified Links — Here’s one that’s a
guaranteed flop. For some time people thought if you went
around to the hundreds of FFA and classified ad sites and
added your site it would help your link popularity and in turn
make your search engine rankings better. While this does
sound good, it just doesn’t work. The search engines have
figured this out already and usually end up not indexing
those link pages. Also, going around to each of these pages
is VERY time consuming. Even if you go through one of
those FFA submission services that blasts your ad to over
900+ FFA pages, it’s not worth it. Your time and money are
best spent elsewhere on the promotion tactics listed above.

Take the opportunity this coming week to work on your
marketing plan. Add the techniques listed above. Marketing
your site isn’t the easiest thing to do. Take it from me, I’m
constantly coming up with and developing new ideas and
content for MerchantSeek. That in itself takes a good chunk
of time. But while developing your site is important,
marketing your business is key to having a successful
business. Don’t rely heavily on just one marketing
technique. Expand your horizons and spend time each and
every day on at least one tactic to drive potential customers
to your site. Some tactics work better than others, but by
having a combination working together the only way for your
traffic counter to go is up. Always remember, persistence
yields results.

Want to know more about the marketing techniques I briefly
described above? Starting with next week’s issue I will be
focusing on one of the 12 good marketing tactics, and will
continue until I’ve explained each in detail. It’s going to be a
great 12 weeks. Hope you’re looking forward to it. I look
forward to presenting these topics to you in more detail.

—————————————–
Jim Conley II is the CEO/Founder of MerchantSeek. MerchantSeek allows merchants from around the world to search FREE for a Merchant Account Provider that best fits their businesses needs and budget. Visit us at http://www.merchantseek.com/

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