Archive for October, 2010

Investing in America – Spotlight on WSI Consultant, Andrew Nguyen

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 29 - 2010

Right now, I’d like to call attention to an exceptional young man, Andrew Nguyen, who has already served in the USA Marine Corps and then went on to establish himself as an outstanding business owner through acquiring a WSI Franchise. And this was accomplished all before he turned 30!

It is this very appetite for personal excellence and the entrepreneurial mindset that can be attributed to WSI’s new “Investing in America” Program. It’s the first time ever we’ve launched a program this unique. Its primary objectives are threefold: to help rebuild the US economy, to “pay it forward” with various charitable acts, and to open up our tremendous franchise opportunity to individuals who might not have otherwise had the chance to own their own business.

Notably, our Investing in America Program is only available to an exclusive few: young entrepreneurs and to American military veterans. And perhaps Andrew Nguyen’s personal and professional successes are a preview of the promising results we hope new WSI franchisees will accomplish through the Investing in America Program.

As mentioned, Andrew has an admirable history in the Marine Reserves that started post 9/11.  And in many ways, it’s his military experience that conditioned and prepared him for the demands of owning his own franchise. Importantly, serving in the US Marine Corps gave him a level of confidence that is fundamental when starting a business.

“As a WSI owner, I follow a proven system and model like I did in the Marine Corps. I adapt to change and adversity. Owning and operating a business is full of surprises, but it is all about reacting.”

Andrew Nguyen

A Perfect Recruit for WSI

As a WSI Franchise owner, Andrew works to help businesses grow by leveraging the Internet. He’s become a first rate expert in WSI’s leading edge digital marketing technologies, some which focus on SEO, SEM, Email Marketing and Social Media.

What’s more, Andrew’s first month in business was September 2008, right in the middle of the recession! But despite the naysayers around him, Andrew was motivated enough to forge ahead. Nearly two years later, I’m proud to report that his business isn’t showing signs of slowing down. His first year revenue of $100,000 has skyrocketed to nearly $500,000 in his second year!

Lastly, one of the prime factors that Andrew found so appealing in the WSI Franchise Opportunity were the constant innovations made available to the franchise network. We are fortunate to have a wealth of knowledge and resources, and WSI’s head office is dedicated to providing continuous learning, as well as weekly Power Points and Webinars. Essentially, franchisees like Andrew recognize WSI’s commitment to the profitability of our franchise network.

We’re extremely excited about the Investing in America Program. Through it, we’re able to support the restoration of the economy, as well as focus on social responsibility. Particularly, we’re looking forward to welcoming other military veterans and young entrepreneurs to the world class WSI Franchise Opportunity. Take if from Andrew, who has excelled at both ends of the spectrum.

“As a marine, we always strive for excellence within ourselves and will accept nothing less. We look for ways to sustain a competitive advantage at all times. The continuous education provided by WSI is the perfect example.”

Andrew Nguyen

If you are a young entrepreneur or a military veteran and are interested in receiving more information regarding the Investing in America Program, please visit our site.

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Who links to your site matters… a lot

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 24 - 2010

It’s no secret that Search Engines evaluate who is linking to your website to establish how important your website is within your own industry. WebPages that are linked to more frequently are weighted higher by search engines and are more likely to be visited.

Inbound links or “back links” are considered a vote of confidence for your website. Therefore getting “quality links” is an integral part of ranking higher than your competitors on the search engines.

Quality Links:

  • Come from popular websites in a related industry.
  • Links from higher ranking pages are worth more than miscellaneous links.
  • Links that appear higher up in a page are more valuable than links that appear on the bottom of the page in the footer.
  • Pages that have large numbers of links may be diluted and less authoritative.
  • “Anchor Text” matters. The actual words that link to your webpage are important. For example, linking the phrase “internet marketing orange county” to my website is more effective for me than linking the words “Click Here”.

Where do Quality Links come from?

Sadly there is no silver bullet. A certain amount of links will develop naturally over time, but unless you have a very popular site to begin with, playing the waiting game won’t work. Buying links for a link farm typically doesn’t work well either. Those links are typically low quality and can get you into trouble over the long run due to their dubious source.

The first step (the only step I’m going to cover in this post) is to locate sources of quality links. I want to focus on the low hanging fruit:

  • Websites that already link to you
  • Websites that link to your competitors

In each case it is safe to assume that websites that link to you or your competitors probably link to sites that are relevant to you.  Because those sites are relevant to your market, it is safe to assume that sites that link to THEM are also relevant to you and are probably also good link prospects.

There are a variety of methods for tracking down specific links to your site and to the sites of your competitors. The most efficient method is to use professional software that is designed for that specific task. Two that we user are Wordtracker and Web CEO. Keep in mind that there is a learning curve to use them correctly. There is also the associated expense of purchasing the tools, and the time to follow through with the results. I’ll cover that on an upcoming post.

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What is a Long Tailed Keyword…and why do I want one?

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 19 - 2010

No the keyword “alligator” would not qualify… unless of course you sold alligators. Even then that single word is not what I am referring to.

“alligator shoes” is better, but not quite the long tail I was looking for. How about “alligator shoes for women”? Now we’re heading in the right direction….

Long Tail Keywords are search phrases that combine 3 or more words. They will get fewer clicks, but they are typically less competitive (facilitating higher page positioning) and more targeted, resulting in a higher conversion rate.

Let’s take something that I am a little more familiar with: “website marketing”. If you were to search on that single keyword you wouldn’t be alone. That word does get a lot of hits, but not everyone with the word “website” on their website has anything to do with website marketing. Your search results would turn up websites that promote:

  • Website Design
  • Website Hosting
  • Website portfolios
  • Nothing to do with anything
  • Etc.

“website marketing” is better, but still awful competitive, and not nearly as targeted as it can be.  Although my staff and I work with companies all over the Country, people have a tendency to geotarget their searches. Therefore “website marketing california” would be more appropriate for me. There would be fewer searches, but the quality of those searches would be much better.

website marketing company orange county” is about as long-tailed as you want to get. The number of search results that I am competing with goes down from about 192 million for “website marketing” to fewer than 300 thousand, AND I can be assured that whoever is doing the searching is targeting someone in my area for a reason.

There are 4 things that I want you to take away from this article:

  1. For every word that you add to your keyword phrase, there will be fewer searches conducted.
  2. For every word that you add to your keyword phrase, there will be fewer competitors in the search results.
  3. For every word that you add to your keyword phrase, there is one more opportunity to target your service or location.
  4. No alligators were harmed during the posting of this blog

At the end of the day, I would rather have 5% of the traffic from 300,000 searches than 0% of the traffic from  192 million searches.

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How much is Your Customers Life Worth?

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 14 - 2010

No I’m not talking about a contract hit or an intervention. I’m talking about looking at a more appropriate way to measure your online marketing ROI.

A typically mistake most marketers make is to overlook the amount of revenue a customer brings in over the lifetime relationship. This info is important to track because it indicates how valuable each new customer is, and what it is worth spending to attract them. It also lets you know just how good your customer retention program is and how much you should invest in that.

The simple way to measure the Average lifetime value of a customer is:  Total value of sales / Total number of customers.

Once you have an idea about how profitable each new customer is likely to be, you can make better decisions about allocating your online marketing budget. If the lifetime value of a new client is very high, then you can afford higher acquisition costs to obtain new customers.

One of our clients, Chris, from Oregon Mushrooms grasped this concept immediately. Years ago she told me that she didn’t care if she lost a little bit of money on each new customer because her product was unique, her service was great, and the average customer reordered every few months indefinitely.

In fact, we’ve been running her PPC and SEO programs for years, and over time her cost per acquisition has actually gone down as we fine-tuned her Pay-Per-Click program and our Search Engine Optimization efforts have matured.

I’m thinking the “intervention” should be reserved for the business that doesn’t measure the lifetime value of a new client. Oh-and Chris? She never did lose money on any of her Internet Marketing efforts.

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SEO Programs v. SEO Events

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 10 - 2010

One-time search engine optimizations are rarely effective unless they are for a localized “niche” or non-competitive market that is tightly geo-targeted (like a chiropractor doing business in a single town). Just putting your meta-tags into the code is still considered industry best practice, but in actuality has very little influence on how search engines rank you.

Search engines now take a very holistic approach to how they view the significance of a website and how they will rank it. Directory listings, Social media, Customer reviews are all part of the mix now. If I were to list all of the factors on this post it would turn into an eBook, so I want to focus on a few of the “big chunks” that are foundational:

  1. Content: Search engines look for lots of balanced content. Their theory is the more content about a certain subject, the more of an authority you must be. It is not just sheer quantity of copy (although that is a factor), but the quality of the copy which has more impact. The search engines look at “keyword Density” or the ratio of keyword usage to total volume. The content has to be written very specifically and focus on no more than 1-3 keywords maximum.
  2. Internal Linking Structure: Search Engines want to be able to “spider” the entire website by following the links from one page to another. We use a “silo” structure to leverage all the focus onto the Home page or landing page. Although I have to admit that recently even these pages are starting to rank independently (so they have to be more than SEO pages, they have to be marketing pages as well).
  3. External Linking: The theory is “the more people who link to you, the more of an authority you must be”. Each link is essentially a vote for your website. However not all links are factored in. only quality links really move the needle. Quality links are links from other high ranking websites and directories. Reciprocal links (linking back and forth to each other) do not count nearly as much. They don’t hurt, but they don’t help as much as you think.
  4. Consistency: Search engines reward consistency and penalize blatant attempts to manipulate them. This is a major factor in why one-time optimization events are largely ineffective. If you suddenly flooded your website with content and links that appear to come out of nowhere, the search engines will find that unnatural and flag you.

We typically put together a “content blueprint” that actually defines what is to be done and when. How many pages of content, how many blog postings, how many incoming links will be solicited, how many customer reviews we can cultivate, etc.

If you need instant traffic, turn to Pay-Per-Click (PPC), it’s the fastest surest technique for driving traffic. If you want long-term value, be prepared to engage in a Search Engine Optimization program, not just a SEO event.

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