How to Make Consumers Love YOUR Website

Make It Fun to Keep Them Loyal

What makes people love your website? The answer might be as simple as childs' play. Research shows that people have more positive feelings toward a website when their online experience is engaging and enjoyable... and enjoyment is an important determinant of why consumers shop.

When they become immersed in your website, customers view being on it as fun rather than work. Since their experience feels like play, they return more, which makes them more loyal to your website, your company and the products / services you sell.

What creates this immersion? Research suggests you gain loyalty when:

  • Your Site Challenges Your Visitors

    Customers don't want to be bored. When the skill required to navigate your site exceeds customers' search [engine] skills, they see the experience as an enjoyable escape rather than a task.

  • Customers Believe They Possess the Skills to Find What They Want on Your Website

    If visitors can't follow your website's navigation, they will lose interest in their search and maybe even, in your company and your products.

  • Customers Feel They Have Control Over Their Search

    If your website's navigation is too complicated to master, visitors will not return to your website.
In summary, a website has to be designed with the end-user in mind. It's got to be a fun challenge and never ever a task.

Visitors who become immersed in your website will be more loyal to your website and will ultimately, become customers. Maintain that loyalty, and you've got repeat business for life, brand enthusiasts and a bottom line you can smile about!

:)

Source: "Play, Flow, and the Online Search Experience" by Charla Mathwick and Edward Rigdon. Journal of Consumer Research, 2004.

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Strategies For Your Website!

Although the concept of search engine optimization can be somewhat complex, there are a number of basic search engine optimization techniques you can use to improve your organic search results. Keep the following in mind when trying to achieve top rankings for your website.

  1. Meta Tags

    Meta tags are simple lines of code at the top of your web page programming that tell search engines about your page. Include the title tag, keyword stag, description tag, and robots tag on each page.


  2. Create and update your sitemap.

    Developing a site map is a simple way of giving search engines the information they need to crawl your entire website. There are plenty of free software packages on the web that can help you generate a sitemap. Once you create a sitemap, submit it to Google and Yahoo.


  3. Ensure that all navigation is in HTML.

    All too often, navigational items are in the form of java script. Even though navigation technically still works in this format, it's not optimized. Create your navigation in HTML to enhance internal links throughout your website.


  4. Check that all images include ALT text.

    Your image's alt text is spidered by search engines. If you're not including your keywords in alt text, you're missing out on a huge opportunity for improved search engine result placements. Label all of your images properly.


  5. Use Flash content sparingly.

    Content generated through java script or flash is a big no-no. Some webmasters like to use flash because of the presentation. If you must, use it sparingly, but only after your site has been properly optimized with basic search engine optimization in mind.


  6. Make sure that your website code is clean.

    Keep in mind when optimizing a web page crawlers are basically only looking at your source code. When programming your web pages, having W3C compliant code can make all the difference. Run your code through a W3C validator before promoting.


  7. Place keywords in your page content.

    Search engines scan your website and web pages for keywords. Shoot for a keyword density of between two and eight percent. Google likes your page to be at the lower end of this scale and Yahoo at the upper end.


  8. Submit your website to search engine directories.

    It's always a good idea to let large search engine directories know that you're out there. Submit your website URL to directories like Google, Yahoo, and DMOZ.


  9. Build links to your website.

    Consider building a link exchange program or create one-way links to your site using articles or forum posts. All major search engines value the importance of your website based on how many others websites are linking to it.


  10. Learn the basics.

    Learning to optimize your website for search engines takes time and patience. Start by applying basic search engine optimization principles. If you're new to website optimization, or even a well seasoned veteran, begin by prioritizing which pages are most important to you and go from there. Soon you'll find yourself moving up the rankings.
Michael Fleischner is a Marketing Expert and Search Engine Optimization Specialist. He has more than 12 years of marketing experience and had appeared on The TODAY Show, Bloomberg Radio, and other major media. Visit MarketingScoop.com for further details and more marketing articles.

How to Market a Business Through Grassroots Marketing

Introduction

Grassroots marketing can be key to getting your new business off the ground. When you are just starting out, you may not have the funds for a major advertising blitz, but you need to let people know about your business. Get out there and do the legwork yourself to get your business name recognized. Networking through grassroots marketing is vital to starting a new business.

Steps

  1. Distribute business cards, brochures and flyers everywhere. Local businesses, schools and churches are good places to begin. Hand out business cards at every opportunity. Create a distinct company logo and use it on your stationery and handouts.


  2. Tell everyone you know about your business. Tell every friend, family member and acquaintance about your new venture. Ask your closest friends and family to do the same. Word of mouth can go a long way.


  3. Give out free samples or trial offers. The best way for people to know about your business is for them to try it out. Develop a short-term trial offer or small sample to draw the interest off new customers.


  4. Participate in local events. Attend every Chamber of Commerce event, church activity, charity function or local community event possible. Network with people and market your business in person. Getting to know people in your community is a great way to spread the news about your business.


  5. Get on television or the radio. You may not have the money to advertise, but that doesn't mean you can't get on air. Pitch yourself and your company as an up and coming local business to broadcasting stations in your area. Try to get a reporter to interview you on air, even if only for a few minutes. Do anything (within reason) to get the name of your business out there.
Overall Tips & Warnings
  • Visit online forums and chat rooms related to your business and put a link to your business Web site in your signature.

  • Do not make unnecessary expenditures when your business is new. Save money for unexpected or emergency costs.
Overall Things You'll Need
  • Business cards and flyers

  • Energy and enthusiasm

How to Promote & Advertise Your Business Online

Introduction

Learn how to easily promote your business online correctly yourself. The pros are paid to do it, so do it yourself!

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet Access
  • Willingness to Succeed in Business
Steps

  1. Google AdWords

    AdWords helps you target local online customers by setting the key words or phrases that pertain to your business and what you offer. The pay-per-click ads appear only when people search a particular city, state or region. There's no minimum spending requirement, so your daily budget is up to you. Google advertises itself a lot and so should you!

    Expect to spend at least $100 per month for a decent return.


  2. Yahoo! Local Listings

    Local Listings will promote your business to customers looking for information in Yahoo! Local. This is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google. Many options including free blogs are good places to start.

    A basic listing is FREE.


  3. Craigslist

    This is my favorite for any kind of business. From Real Estate to Exercise Equipment, you can find it here locally. Craigslist gets an estimated 10 million unique visitors per day. With an online classified ad format organized by region or city, Craigslist connects buyers and sellers in more than 300 communities.

    Most postings are FREE.


  4. YellowPages.com

    YellowPages.com is a largest online local directory site featuring city guides and advertising solutions. They have low price bundle packages that do not include a pay-per-click. Good way to attract local at a low cost! ROI is great as well...

    A basic listing is FREE.


  5. CitySearch

    CitySearch offers online advertising tools to easily open your account, manage your daily results and receive ad placement on MSN, Yahoo!, Google and Ask.com. This is similar to the idea of pay-per-click advertising. CitySearch offers two easy paid plans.

    CitySearch does not offer FREE listings and although you won't take over the world with a CitySearch listing but it will pay for itself (and then some) over time for most businesses in almost any region.


  6. Ask.com's AskCity

    This is becoming more popular as the company get new network partners. On one screen, consumers can map a route, make dinner reservations, purchase movie tickets and email plans to others.

    Pricing for advertising on Ask.com varies.


  7. AOL's CityGuide

    AOL has a name and legacy that is strong! AOL's CityGuide specializes in providing local entertainment information to AOL service members. Advertising with AOL allows marketers to target consumers specifically by lifestyle and market.

    I am not exactly sure where AOL gets their listings from but I'd bet the content is coming from another giant, Google (a local business listing in Google is FREE).


  8. MerchantCircle.com

    Fairly new but this FREE site offers a local business listing service that allows you to better manage your online reputation and become more visible in search engine results.

    A basic listing is FREE.


  9. Dotster

    Everyone's on the web so you MUST have a website. Dotster is a web domain registration and hosting company offering a local web advertising package called Local Site Promotion. They do all the work for you!

    You set your monthly budget and Dotster will make your ad visible on all the major search engines.


  10. Local.com

    Local.com is gaining ground for local searches in comparison to those large search engines. Advertising on Local.com will give you access to their 10 million-plus monthly customers.

    Choose from a free basic listing or pay-per-click options.


  11. Froogle Local

    Here's Google again... Google's shopping search engine allows users to search for specific products by location. It's a great way for users to find retail stores regardless of whether you use e-commerce.

    Submit your products for free. Inclusion in Google's Product Search is completely free (i.e., there are no charges for uploading your items or charges for the traffic you receive).


  12. ReachLocal

    This is an alternative to spending all your time, energy, and money on promoting your website and contact information. This site provides a central location for businesses to set-up, maintain and track local search advertising campaigns.

    Pricing varies.


  13. RegisterLocal

    Having your website you must also promote it. RegisterLocal is a paid service that allows you to create a master profile they submit to search engines and directories on your behalf.

    Pricing is approximately $200 per year.


  14. TrueLocal

    Unless you don't want local customers, this is a place you can not skip advertising. This local search engine features full-text searching and offers advertising opportunities for businesses.

    Currently indexing more than 13 million local businesses, TrueLocal starts at just $1 per month.


  15. Web.com's MyEzClicks

    One stop shop if I can call it so... MyEzClicks lists your business on more than 30 major search engines, including Google, Yahoo! and MSN for a monthly fee.

    There's a monthly fee to access this service (tools range from $53.95 to $170.95) and although some swear by it, I stand by manually submitting to individual engines (whenever possible) and just once every six months, if and only if, you haven't been indexed.
Overall Tips & Warnings
  • List your business as many free places as possible

  • Choose your paid advertising carefully

  • Promote your business in different mediums: print, online, TV if possible

  • Ask for email addresses so you can send your special promotions

  • Ask for referrals!

  • There is no guarantee in business

  • This is merely a tool to help develop your marketing plan

  • Always review all contracts and terms / condition on each site

A HUGE Market Most of Your Competition is Ignoring

Here in Miami, it's hard to imagine a business that knowingly ignores a group as large as us doing well but outside of South Florida, this is happening every single day.

Ignore these statistics at your own peril!!!!

As of this writing, there are roughly 35,300,000 Hispanics (or Latinos for as my "hermanos y hermanas" up North like to be called) in the US. That's over THIRTY-FIVE MILLION consumers begging to be spoken / marketed to.

Some may argue [we're] not "consuming" therefore [we're] not important. Well, according to Standard & Poor's DRI, US Hispanics spend $672 billion every year.

Yes, that's 672 billion (with a 'B') dollars. Simmons National Consumer Survey also noted that we are 2.6 times more likely to purchase an auto than non-Hispanics.

Besides being one of the fastest growing (in nearly every imaginable way) group in the US, we also read newspapers, magazines, surf the web and interact with new media more confidently than almost any other group.

Whether in English or Spanish, web or print, your growth strategy must include Hispanic audiences.

These are new times and with our economy reacting the way it is, there's no time like now to start expanding your reach into areas everyone else is ignoring. Stop thinking and start doing. Andale!