Marketing Manual

Marketing on a BudgetLike all things, Hana Like has evolved over time.  Before Hana Like, I  helped small businesses use their computers.  That was back in the days when a desktop computer took up the desktop and a computer network had cables running all over the office.

Hana Like evolved as the potential of the internet evolved.  Bill realized the internet gave his clients the ability to reach out to clients locally and globally.  But, there is a problem.  Most small business people know the internet as a place to get information.  Most webmasters can create beautiful web pages but know nothing about your business.  Copywriters have no idea how to write for the internet.  Everything is disjointed.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is no longer about optimizing metadata.  SEO is not a one-shot fix.  It is an ongoing, continuous strategy to educate those who visit your site.  An internet store, an eStore, is the same as any brick and mortar store.  When people visit, you greet them warmly, find out what they need and then show them what they are looking for.  If you are a smart marketer you will get their contact information, track their activities and contact them with information about things you know they are interested in.

It is more difficult on the web because your visitors cannot see the twinkle in your eye or the smile on you face.  A visitor has to know, trust and like you before they will do business with you.  You build that trust by providing your web visitors information they want. And, you have 5 seconds to grab their attention.

Your email list is your most important asset.  It is how you stay in touch with your prospects.  It is how you build a trusting relationship with them.  A website that tries to sell without building a relationship is like the used car salesperson who starts selling you a car without finding out you want a pickup.

Bill is an advocate for resilient living. Hana Like, pronounced “Hana Leekay”, translates from the Hawaiian language as Working Together.  True resilience, personally and financially, depends on a group of friends working together for common goals, ready to help in an emergency.

So, this manual is about building relationships, finding your niche and making a difference.  For instance, I have a client who sells compostable doggie bags.  You know, those are the Styrofoam containers you get at the lunch wagon or use to take food home from the restaurant.  His compostable containers are made from natural plant fiber and contain no styrene.  Styrene is a strong carcinogenic.

You can imagine what a tough sell it was to replace Styrofoam containers.  He started making progress when he started educating people about the dangers of Styrofoam.  Now he has a cadre of volunteers insisting on buying only from lunch wagons and restaurants that provide their food in safe containers.

PREFACE

I’m going to speak mostly in the first person because internet marketing is all about communication.  Your problem is to establish a relationship with your visitor and you do that by talking directly to your visitors.  You donʻt make friends when you are standing off to the side talking at your visitors.

Iʻm writing this manual because Iʻve found that most webmasters donʻt understand how to optimize your website for the search engines.  You need to understand the latest developments in internet marketing so you will be able to make sure you are getting full value from your website.  The internet is a constantly changing target.

Search engine algorithms change rapidly. They must evolve to block the black hats that try to manipulate them.  One thing you can be sure of, search engines always want to give their clients the information they are searching for.   When your website contains that information, it will be ranked high by the search engines.  Content is and always will be king.

You don’t need a fancy website.  You need a site that will give people what they are looking for and that they can relate to.

Once you understanding SEO is a long term and continuous effort, you will keep your website current and filled with content that helps your visitors and turns them into friends.  This manual will give you the basics you need to know to build trust and change your visitors into life long customers.

A common mistake to avoid.

Most entrepreneurs focus on “getting their website up.”  They do not have a plan to keep their site fresh and meaningful.  No matter how good your website is, if you ignore it so will everyone else.

If you have a pile of cash you can buy a super bowl add.  If you donʻt, you have to think in terms of progressive wins.  You must track the results of every change you make on your website and every change you make in your ad copy.  You need to know which channel provides you the best return.  Test and track, test and track and do it again and again.  When you have a winner stick with it, but never make a change without knowing it will give you better results.

Note: This tutorial is for small to mid-sized firms with limited online marketing budgets or those who just want to start driving organic traffic to their sites.

What is organic traffic? Have patience.  We will discuss its importance soon.

Modern Marketing

There are marketing techniques that have worked for years and are still effective.  However, time is money and we want to maximize our result.  The attraction of the internet is that you can reach a lot of people very quickly.  That is why your double opt-in email list is your most important marketing asset.

The quickest and most reliable way to get good leads is to ask your clients for referrals.  You do it when you clean a house and you do it by asking people who get your email message to share the message with their friends.

Never overlook the power of a simple greeting card.  Remembering your clientʻs birthday or their anniversary can do wonders for referrals.  Just make sure it is a sincere message and not a business pitch.

Even hiring someone to stand on a busy street and hand out coupons works.  Just make sure that what you do is the best use of your time and money.  Track everything you do.  Know what the lifetime value of your customer is and what you spent to get that customer in the door.  If you break even on the first meal in your restaurant and you customer returns for breakfast every morning you have made a good deal.

This manual is not about old-fashioned advertising.  It is about the best ways to advertise now.  Just remember to test everything you do and use what works best in terms of time and money. What makes the internet attractive to advertisers is you can see your return on your investment almost instantaneously.

You have to recognize most people with discretionary money have a computer or a smartphone. Over half of internet sales are made with a mobile device.  Even if people make their final purchase in your store, they will have researched the product they buy from you on the internet. If you do not have a website you are a fisherman without a hook.

What is search engine optimization and why does it matter?

A search engine is a combination library of congress and the yellow pages.  Googleʻs stated goal is to index all knowledge in the world.  If you search your name, you will be amazed at what the internet knows about you.  The Government tracks our phone calls and probably even our credit card purchases.  It is certain that Amazon and other big stores track our purchases and what we search for. Sophisticated algorithms predict our interests and suggest what to buy. That is how they send you a text message about a store special they want to sell you. Every ething Iʻve done at a Neighborhood Board meeting and every comment Iʻve made on Facebook is public knowledge.  So are the location and value of my home and my annual income.  If it is a public record, it is indexed.  Consider everything you put on the internet to be a post card.  It is there for everyone to read.  The drunken party you attended and the picture you posted could get you fired.

For entrepreneurs trying to publicize their business, privacy is not that much of an issue provided you only post what you want people to know and you track what people are saying about you.

Why does every business need SEO?

People with computers generally have discretionary income.  That means they can buy what they want.  They are the people you want to attract.  In the last decade, search engine use has more than doubled.  People are using the internet to researching products and are looking for local businesses that carry those products.

When a potential client has completed their internet research, they are ready to buy. If they do not find you on the internet, they will never come in your door.  You lost a sale, and you never knew it.  Many website owners search for the name of their store and of course they find it on Googleʻs first page.  The trouble is your potential customer doesnʻt know the name of your store.  They are searching for a wheelbarrow in Honolulu.  If your website is not optimized for what people search for, your website will be like a supermarket in the desert.  No one will find you.

Search engine results

Two types of information show up in search engine results.

  1. organic results. That is the free traffic that comes to your site from search engines
  2. paid advertisements you get when you buy pay-for-click search engine advertising.

Paid ads are shown at the top and at the right side of a search.  Organic ads are what most people look at.  Far more people click on organic information than click on ads.  SEO can put you on page 1 of searches.  That is important because 80% of searchers never go beyond page 1.  Another 10% never go beyond page 2.  If you rank on page 3, you are in the desert.

Getting on Page 1

Search engines find and rank pages with a tool called a robot or spider(bots).  These spiders crawl the web indexing websites.  How those sites are indexed is key to getting high search engine rankings.

Say Iʻm selling an aquaponics garden on the Island of Oahu.  People will be searching for “aquaponics gardens”. “hydroponics”, “Oahu”, “Hawaii”, “gardening Hawaii” and a lot more.  I need to know what the most common search phrases are and weave those words naturally into every post, article and comment I make online.  I need to have the most common half dozen key work phrases recorded in the meta-data of my website and in the text in the first couple of paragraphs on each page of my site.   It is not enough to optimize your home page.  You need to optimize every page on your website and every post on your blog.

SEO is complex and ever changing, but one thing you can depend on is content.  When your site provides useful content, it will get high search engine rankings.

There are things you can do to help the search engines correctly index your site and give it a good ranking.

Make your Website search engine friendly.

The title of your page or your post should include a keyword.  The first paragraph of text on a page or a post should include that same keyword.  Donʻt overuse keywords. Make them flow naturally.  It is better to leave out a key word than to try to force it into a weird sounding sentence.  Donʻt use too many keywords.  The bots will think you are spamming and will grade you site down. Use your keyword phrase in the title of you post and in the first and last paragraph or your article.

Keyword research is vital.  Use keywords in everything you do online.  If you are going to do this yourself, study Googleʻs SEO writing guidelines.

Google provides tools for evaluating search phrases.  However, I use a tool called Jaaxy that gives me better results in seconds rather than the hours I have to spend trying to use the free tools at Google.

Please understand that Jaaxy is an affiliate program and when you use Jaaxy I get a commission. I only recommend products I use and know provide value.  I also look for products that pay me a commission when I recommend them.  When I can recommend quality products and get paid for doing so, I have the best of all products. 

If you want to diversify your income or even develop a business that can provide you an unlimited residual income, I recommend you join me and do what I do. I want to help you create your financial independence.

Use back links

Back links are links from another website to yours.  When people like your site and share it with others they are setting up a back link.  There are two types of backlinks.

  1. One-way links or inbound links.  These are links that people voluntarily make to your site.
  2. Reciprocal links are links where there is a mutual agreement to place a link on each other site.  It is the kind of link where someone says, “put my link on your site and Iʻll put your link on my site.”  Be careful when using this approach. Make sure the link is relevant to your subject.

Which would you trust most?  Exactly, bots donʻt like reciprocal links either.  They subtract points from your ranking for reciprocal links to low traffic sites.  They add points for a backlink from an authority site.

Getting back links

Use social media.  It is one of the most important ways to get backlinks.  Search engines use social media as a voting tool.  The more people who share your post, the more credits the bots give your post.

Be sure to share your posts and new pages on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, pInterest, Infogram, and if your post has video, YouTube.  On any video, make sure to fill out the metadata.  Search engines cannot index a video.  The bots depend on the metadata you fill out when uploading a video to index your video.  The same is true of any photo or graphic.

How Google increases your influence in searches.

Google returns results based on your social connections.  When someone shares your Google plus post, Google considers you an authority.  The more shares you get the greater your authority.  Google also considers itself to be a trusted source and outside shares to be less trustworthy.  Therefore your Google Plus shares have more weight than a share from Facebook or a Tweet.  Google also owns YouTube so donʻt ignore video in you social mix.

How does Google plus benefit your business?  Say you are a chiropractor.  Say you have 500 people in your circles. When someone searches for a chiropractor, if you are part of their circle you will pop up in their search.  Instead of competing with every chiropractor online, you are only competing with the few chiropractors that may be in your circles.

Social media can be time-consuming, but it is very important in the long run. There is no better way to keep your brand before customers and prospective customers.  Just be sure to stay focused.  Work the three most valuable media and limit your activity to a half hour twice a day.

By now you are starting to realize how time-consuming effective internet marketing can be.  You need the skills to find keywords and to write effective copy.  The skills you need to write a college report are not the same skills you need to write copy that turns a visitor into a customer.  Your web copy has to grab a web surfer’s attention in less than 5 seconds and has to hold them on your site till they take action.  It is a skill you can learn and you should learn because you need to know the basics of copywriting to know if you are getting what you are paying for.  Then you need to test each new copy against what you are already using.  Testing is another skill you need to learn.

Every website needs a blog.

Your blog is where you interact with you visitors.  It is where you educate them.  It is where you find out what is bothering them and how you can help.

A blog is designed to let you easily post comments on a regular basis.  A good blog post is 300 words.  Anything over 750 words should be broken down into two posts.  You need to blog regularly.  3 or 4 times a week is good.  Once a week should be your minimum.

Your blog is the best place to educate your visitors concerning new developments in your niche.  This is where your prospective customers learn about your company’s values and how you can help them.  This is where you turn customers into friends.

Write your meta tags

Some SEO experts think meta tags no longer matter.  True, meta tags are not as important as they once were, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them.

Four meta-tags to focus on:

  1. Your title:  Donʻt use your company name in your title.  Start with a high traffic keyword that describes your company.
  2. Description Tag:  This is the information the search engine reports under the title. It is your elevator speech and should be less than 150 words.
  3. Keyword tags:  This is the list of words and phrases that describe your page.  They should be in the header of every page and they must be relevant to the content of the specific page.
  4. Rich text snippets: These are the newest components of SEO and are destined to become an SEO must.  To learn more click here

What Hana Like can do for you.

Search Engine Optimization is complex and ever changing.  You need to have someone in charge of your website who understands both your business and SEO.

At Hana Like, we want to understand your business as well as you do.  We do more than just build your website.  We become your marketing consultant.  We must understand your business goals because your website has to reflect the personality of your company.

Hana Like will help you track the progress as your business grows. We have to do that to keep your website fresh and relevant.  We will track your advertising and help you make adjustments based on statistical results.

Hana Like will enable you to use the best modern technology to promote your business. Our mission is to train your people to do as much SEO as possible.  After all, no one knows your business better than you.  You must be knowledgeable enough to be sure your marketing message reflects your business goals.  We can write your web optimized copy, but we have to work together to make sure your copy represents the essence of your business.

If you want to start your own business we can help.

Many people turn a hobby into a business.  Most of these businesses never grow beyond providing some side money to the owner. However, there are many stories of businesses being started in a bedroom and growing into major companies.

I believe the internet provides us a unique opportunity.  The internet allows us to share our message with the world. We can work from anywhere we have an internet connection. We can generate an unlimited, re-occurring, passive income. We can control when we work and have complete control of our time. We don’t need to stock inventory or pay employees. We can start our business for the cost of a computer and a mobile phone.   There is no other business model I know of that can offer all these advantages.

Join me.  Together we can accomplish our dreams. The first step is to create our financial independence.