3 Hacks Old School Marketers Can Use to Cash in on the Internet

September 20, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

This is a guest post by Raza Imam, a Chicago-based marketing consultant who also owns an offshore software development company.

old-school-marketerDoctors, consultants, lawyers, and web designers all live and die by their reputations. Marketing any kind of professional service is based on relationships that are traditionally built by word of mouth and networking. In fact, every professional service provider I know spends a lot of time “pressing the flesh” and asking for referrals to build their business. Since most of these professionals have expert status in their respective industries, they work hard to promote themselves as “thought leaders” with by-lined articles, tip sheets, and corporate logos. So why not modify each of these strategies to cash in on search engine traffic online?

As a reminder, millions of searches happen online every day on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The way to get your website to rank high on these engines is to have other websites link back to your website. Each link from another website is considered a “vote” for your website. The search engines strive to determine website reputation and relevance to actual search queries and they use links as a key indicator of reputation and relevance. So if you want to capitalize on search engine traffic for specific keywords, you need to get good at attracting links.

Here’s how to optimize each of the above-mentioned strategies (by-lined articles, tip sheets, and corporate logos) to attract links and boost your website’s search rankings.

Hack #1 – Supercharge Your By-Lined Articles

magsPopular bloggers, social media gurus, and web 2.0 experts will tell you that the best way to get traffic is to write for another site that already has lots of traffic. Consultants in the offline world do the same thing by writing by-lined articles in trade journals and niche publications. Publishers need informative content for their readers and authors need the publicity – so long as the articles are informative and not overly promotional, you’re almost guaranteed placement. Since these industry-specific publications also have “authoritative” websites, it’s crucial to write for them as well. Receiving just a few links to your website from these authority sites could skyrocket your website’s ranking for targeted terms.

The key to optimizing your articles for the web is to understand the keywords your target market is using to search on the Internet. For example, let’s say you’re a supply chain consultant that focuses on “supply chain integration” and you already write a bi-monthly article in a few popular trade publications. Most editors also publish content online so by peppering your article with a few keyword-rich links back to your website, you’ll not only get traffic to your site, but you’ll dramatically improve your search engine rankings.

Be sure to perform keyword research using the many free tools available online to see what your target market is searching for. So if you offer “supply chain integration” services, but your target customer searches for “supply chain collaboration”, you need to tactfully add links with the right keywords in your article and by-line.

Also consider ultra niche publications like “Seafood Business” and “Industrial Health and Safety News”. If you sell products or services to these industries, you’ll see how a little bit of keyword optimization can help you dominate the search engines for these niche industries. I have used this strategy myself to rank #1 on Google for a very competitive industry-specific keyword.

Hack #2 – Turn Tip Sheets and White Papers Into “Link bait”

linkbaitTraditional marketers speak of the benefits of tip sheets as a way to get media attention, especially in industry specific trade magazines. For example, auditors may write something like “Top 10 Tips to Ensure Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance” or law firms may release studies like “Financial Implications of Not Having a Will”. These tip sheets are either copied verbatim, or are referenced in magazines and journals all the time. Link bait is a term describing compelling content that attracts natural links from other sites and is the internet’s version of the tip sheet.

Creating a really informative link bait article is an excellent way to generate tons of traffic to your site. You can either create a killer resource and host it on your own website or you can create an ebook or white paper and distribute it throughout the internet. The buzz you generate will attract links to your website, which will give your site a boost in the search engines. A great example of this kind of link bait is Gyutae’s The Winning Way.

What resources, ebooks, or industry guides can you create attract website traffic? One thing to remember is that the headline is the most important aspect of your ebook. Try using words like “hack”, “ultimate”, “underground”, “secret”, or “mind-blowing” to build a little curiosity with your link bait.

Hack #3 – Logos = Web Widgets

widgetsMany web design firms leave a logo at the bottom of their clients’ sites saying something like “Powered by Adaptive Solutions” or “Created by Programmers R Us”. Similarly, SEO’s and internet marketing professionals have been using clever little widgets to spread publicity about their companies as well as increase their search engine rankings. Consider BunkBeds.net. They created a silly quiz that gives you a score and a badge that you can embed on your own website. This quiz spread like wildfire and catapulted their humble site to the #1 position in Google because people took the quiz, embedded the score on their site, and told their friends about it.

Professional service firms can utilize the same basic strategy to generate lots of links and traffic to their sites. For example, a friend of mine works for a company that sells software to museum and zoo gift shops (talk about a niche market). The company has over 5,000 customers and all of them have its logo on their sites. This is great, but the problem is the logo doesn’t contain any keywords. If they simply added “museum POS experts” or “museum software experts” they would literally own these terms in the search engines. Luckily, since they already have relationships with these museums, they can easily send them an updated logo and request that they replace the old one. They could even diversify and send 2,500 logos with one keyword phrase and the other 2,500 logos with another keyword phrase.

The point is that besides the snazzy tricks and fancy sounding buzzwords, internet marketing is rooted in the basic principles of marketing. Professional service marketers just need to modify their tried and true tactics for the web to really knock it out of the park.

Raza Imam is a Chicago-based marketing consultant and owns an offshore software development company. You can visit his software outsourcing blog at www.SoftwareSweatshop.com.

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One Response to “3 Hacks Old School Marketers Can Use to Cash in on the Internet”

Chris Peterson on December 24th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for great marketing tips. I agreed your all step. All technique helps to generate revenue.

According to me white paper is among of them best process to generate lead.

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