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The best time to send marketing emails to maximize sales and engagement

Alarm clock in fire flames. Lack of time
You have a killer email that you want to send out to your list. You want to catch people at the perfect time and have high open rates and engagement rates. you want to sell stuff.

What time do you send it? What day of the week?

4pm Tuesday?

9:45am Wednesday?

8am Saturday?

Unless you are a seasoned email marker you’ll likely guess wrong.

The conventional wisdom among email marketing gurus is mid morning on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  With open rates peaking on Thursday morning. Actually the gurus say 10AM is the magical time. And I have evidence that 930am to 1030am is the optimal target time.

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I learned this when I worked as the Infusionsoft guru on best-selling author Neil Strauss’ team. Neil is an email marketing mastermind and I owe him a lot from my time working with him.

Of course Neil’s audience is primarily ambitious young men in their 20s and 30s. Over the years we have used this wisdom in most of our clients campaigns and it seems to work nicely. But I never personally tested it. A little voice in the back of my head always asked: Does this hold up for every list?

Is age of recipient a factor for open rates?

The easy answer is pretty much yes, with some variables. Age is a factor. Teens and younger 20somethings (read: college students) get out of bed later in the AM so later in their schedule is better than early in the AM to receive an email. They are typically in bed until mid morning. 1pm is a good time catch them. Now this sounds like a stereotype (and not all college kids are in bed til 10AM), but we are talking about aggregated behavior here to get the most out of a volume send.

Retirees have a different schedule. Early day is better. Afternoon not so much.  Why? Sleep cycles of older people have them rise early.

Working people tend to be in front of their computers or smartphones or tablets between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. As you would expect Mondays are a bad day as people are prioritizing urgent work and not browsing their inbox. After noon on Friday and even anytime Friday at all is  generally a bad time to send a marketing email.

What about email sends on weekends?

There’s some evidence that if the target audience is an interest group around niche leisure time that weekend sends are a good idea. However, I have some evidence to the contrary, which I will explain below.

I recently decided to test it and what I discovered was surprising. My test audience was a large 25K list that belongs to a client who I am consulting with. — It is made up of people interested in a niche Caribbean recipe site. It consists largely of  women living in the U.S.,  in their 30s, 40s and 50s. But there is also decent contingent of men (20%) on the list. There are Canadians and British subscribers (totalling 10%) mixed in to the list too.

(BTW, if you need some help with your email marketing strategy I have a couple of consulting slots available each week – drop me a note)

The site they follow (and subscribed on) tracks the biggest traffic volumes on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is actually the site’s biggest traffic day. They are weekend home cooks, essentially. It would suggest that the weekend would be a better time to send an offer, right? Nope.

We tried a Saturday at 10AM send and the open rate and engagement was half of the Thursday AM send. People are not in front of their computers or paying attention to email on their phones on weekends.

How to test send times

Here’s how I tested for optimal send times.

I segmented the list on Infusionsoft (a smart CRM and email campaign system) to test for my client when the best send times would be for this audience just so we could optimize revenue against from list.

We sent the same email to 750 different people every hour on a Thursday from 8AM to 5PM – we also added a 930AM send.

Here’s what we found in the data within 48 hours of the send:

Best times to send for highest open rates noon and 1pm however engagement rates (with the email offer) were better at 1PM and 2PM.

Best time to send for high engagement rates: 930AM and 10AM were better on the first day of the send for open rates and engagement with the offer. On Day 2 (24 hours after the send) the 1PM and 2PM group had slightly better open rates and very good engagement rates.

But the best engagement rate over all came from the 930am group even though the open rate was about 0.75% (three quarters of a percent)  lower.

After 48 hours, the best engagement rate was 50% better from the openers at 930am than at 10am and similarly at 11am. The engagement rates were similar to the 930am group for those that received emails at the 1pm and 2pm sends.

There also a weird anomaly for a high open rates for the 5pm group. Like an end of day email check when work is done, however it had a significantly lower engagement rate. People were opening, but not clicking the call to action.

Actual sales from the campaign transacted as follows:

27% of all sales transactions occurred between 930am and 10am, 27% after work hours between 630pm and 11pm

This suggests that people rarely buy immediately, but they save emails and go back to them when there is something of interest. You need to give them a deadline, however, and threaten to take the good deal away if they don’t act.

However, 80 per cent the sales from the campaign came from the people who received the 930am email.

Your list behavior may vary.  It’s worth doing the legwork to test the list.

The bottom line: Send to your list between 930am and 1030am on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Preferably Thursday. Keep the offer open over the weekend.  Send a casual reminder email, but don’t expect high open rates on the weekend.

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10 simple ideas to generate blog content quickly without much effort

10 simple ideas to generate blog content quickly without much effortContent marketing requires that you publish a lot of great content. And specifically you’ll need to publish content that demonstrates your (or your company’s) expertise on a particular niche topic. The idea is that you draw people who find that content useful and interesting toward your company, teach them that your are an authority on the topic, and through the process develop trust and over time a relationship, which is the foundation for a sale.

But what if you are not much of a writer? Or you find generating content ideas tedious?  Or you have no time to pen the next great post? Or perhaps you don’t have a budget to hire a journalism grad or professional writer to produce content for your brand? No problem. Just use these 10 simple ideas to generate content quickly without much effort.

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1. Top 5 and Top 10 lists

Go find the best resources on a topic on the internet that can be pulled into a list. 10 things you need to know about X, or 5 must have tips on how to Y. Find web sites that  publish the material. Describe their tips in a few sentences. Put a link to each one and list them. Write a brief intro and BOOM!: You’ve got one awesome article ready to publish.

2. FAQs

That’s Frequently Asked Questions. List 10 questions that your customers ask your sales reps. Then answer them. Don’t be self promoting. ie Q: Who is your favorite plumbing company. A: Ours! More like: Q: What’s the best way to unclog a garbage disposal. A: We like this Youtube video for do it yourselfers (LINK) but give us a call and we can talk you through it or send one of our pros out to get it done for you.  

3. Retop a rewrite

This is an old journalism trick that editors teach young reporters at newspapers. Find a piece of news or an article (usually from a competitor in the media business) that is of interest to your customer base. Rewrite it into a summary using your own words. Do not use the quotes – paraphrase these. The finished product must be all new and it’s helpful if the top of the article includes a new development that is not covered in the original piece. BTW – No copying and pasting – that’s plagiarism. ie. Source: “Apple announces the ultra thin new iPhone 9” Rewrite:  “Thin is in – but some say breakable – for the latest smartphone from Apple” 

4. Write definitions

Pull together lingo or or complex terminology from your business or market and define them.  Over time build a glossary of terms that is specific to your industry and publish this on your site.

5. Transcribe an interview

Call a seasoned know-it-all n your shop and record an interview on a topic her or she is expert in.  Or call a industry colleague or supplier. Ask them 10 questions about an area of expertise. Transcribe the answers and clean up the Ummms and Errrs and turn it into an article with a brief introduction. ie.   “Have you ever wondered how to  organize a bedroom closet? We called Susan Littleton, a professional closet organizer, who provided the following tips on how to optimize space in a bedroom walk-in closest.”

6. Record an interview

Too busy to transcribe an interview? Record it on Skype and post the audio or video file on your blog and write a brief description to introduce it. Use Recorder, which is an add-on app from Skype.

7. Photo slideshow

Explain how to do something using a slide show. Grab your phone and take step by step pictures and describe each step as captions. Niche “how to” content is hugely in demand.

8. This week in history

Go back in time five years, 10 years or further and pull up an old article or post or newspaper clipping or even a photo that marks a historic day  that is of interest to your audience. Rehash the piece into a retrospective or post a series of old pictures.

9. Aggregate great tweets

Use Twitter’s search engine to find people who are experts on a topic and aggregate their tweets together. (Use a screen grab software like Snag-It) ie.  Top 5 hurricane preparedness tips from smart people on Twitter!

10. Social media interviews

Speaking of Twitter post a request on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus for help with a question that everyone wants answered – that your audience will love. Aggregate the best answers into a single post. Credit the contributors and link to their social media accounts.

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How to design a lead capture form that converts

If people arrive at your website and you have no way to capture their information, you are doing your business a huge disservice. Site visitors are leads. They are interested in your products and/or services, which is what brought them to you in the first place.

So, take the opportunity that’s been handed to you. Capture their contact information by using a lead magnet and capture form.

What’s that? It’s a little bit of digital marketing lingo. Lets demystify it.

Have you ever been to a web site where they provide an enticing free offer (white paper, ebook, video, free course)  in return for your name and email address?

That’s a lead capture form loaded with a lead magnet.

The form is where you fill out the info and is connected to a mailing list registration process.

The lead magnet is the giveaway. This gets delivered to the person after they sign up.

Typically this marketing mechanism signs the visitor up for an email list. This gives you the opportunity to communicate with the visitor on an ongoing basis. You feed them with valuable information by email that they need or find interesting and develop a relationship with them. This trust gets built over time and you become an expert. When your message lands in their inbox they are motivated to open it and as you develop this process you can expose them to products and services that match their needs.

However this all starts with the lead capture form and lead magnet, like this one (click to see what happens):

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(and by the way, a “contact us” or “inquiry”  form is NOT enough. You need to provide site visitors with value. If you do that, your conversion rates will be much higher.)

How to design a capture form that converts

Our most effective lead capture strategy yet:

At Cyberwalker Digital, we track and evaluate how effective our strategies are for all our clients. We look at open rates for emails, at conversion rates for online forms,  at “likes” for Facebook posts and at clicked links for articles we send out.  You see, marketing these days is less of a guessing game then it used to be. Using digital tools we can track almost anything.

So, when we weren’t satisfied with the conversion rate on an initial capture strategy we had put in place for one of our clients, a major forklift dealer in California, we started to think outside the box. Here’s what we came up with:

We called it Warehouse Genius. It’s a capture box that allows warehouse professionals (their target demographic) to get immediate help for any of challenges they are dealing with.

How to design a lead capture form that converts

 

Why is it so effective?

  1. No one else in their industry provides 48-hour support for common warehouse challenges. So, it’s a valuable free service that attracts their target demographic. We also used search engine optimization tactics so the page can be easily found.
  2. Site visitors build a relationship of trust with the company. They are not getting sold to all the time. They can visit the site and the Warehouse Genius feature and use it as a helpful resource with no strings attached.
  3. The forklift dealer becomes recognized as the experts they are in their industry.
  4. When our clients receives a Warehouse Genius submission the information is highly valuable. It allows them to understand the common challenges that their target market is dealing with. They use this to generate articles on related topics.  And, from time to time the inquiries amount to future business (though, that’s not the only goal).

It was so effective, we thought we’d try it out to learn if it’s a valuable strategy for any industry.  So, here is our version:

If you have a question about marketing and/or digital marketing, click the button below and ask us using our Marketing Genius form.

It’s completely free. No strings attached.  We’ll share what we know and help you solve a potential challenge you could be struggling with:

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How to pick the right keywords for SEO

How to pick the right keywords for SEOPicking the right keywords for search engine optimization is one of the most important steps you can take in SEO. It can lead to volumes of traffic arriving on your web site for free if you do it right. If you do it wrong you’ll end up with a trickle of visitors and a lot of wasted time and effort.

The best way to start your research is to make a list of the keywords – or more accurately “keyword phrases” you think a web search would type into a search engine such as Google or Bing to find your web site. Then search for them on Google and see what web sites and content come up. If sites that you compete with come up then you’re likely on to the right keyword phrases.

Quick Keyword Research Strategy

The next thing to do is to try combinations and variations on the keyword phrase and see what Google suggests in its pop out search menu. These are phrases  a known to be searched on in Google index and likely have good traffic behind them. For example, start typing “dog food” and Google will suggest common searches that use that keyword.

keyword research on google
Use Google to see what keyword phrases are auto selected

 

For the time-pressed SEO, this could be all that you need to determine what keyword phrase could be valuable.

Of course it doesn’t tell you the best keyword phrases or the search volume you’ll likely to get by winning a top spot with this phrase. But this is a quick keyword research strategy that can be done in a few precious minutes.

Google’s Keyword Research Tool

Google has a nice free keyword research tool called  Keyword Planner which is built into Google Adwords. That’s the search engine’s paid keyword ad suite and it is a good place to do your SEO keyword research.

Using it you’ll get a good sense of what a particular keyword is worth per click and what the search volume is for the keyword phrase.

To find it visit Google Adwords (click) then log-in with your Google account (a Gmail log-in will work) or create a new one because you will need this for a Google Analytics account and Google Webmaster.

After logging in to Google Adsense, click the “Tools” menu to the far right, then choose the research option you find most appealing. I like the “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” option.

great free keyword research tool
Google Keyword Planner is a handy free keyword research tool built into Google Adwords

 

Paid Keyword Research Tool: WordTracker

At Cyberwalker Digital we like to use WordTracker, a paid that runs $27 to $69 per month depending on which plan you choose. The base plan works fine unless you plan to do international search engine optimization and need multiple country data.

WordTracker lets you input keywords to find related and suggested keywords that are getting good search volumes. Once you have identified a series of phrases you can use a secondary tool to determine search volumes. It also lays out for you several key indicators as follows:

VOLUME: This is the number of searches estimated for the keyword phrases per month.

COMP: This is competition rating. The higher the number the more competition there is to win a high ranking on this keyword. “Cars” has a volume of 1.2 million searches per month and a COMP value of 45.22. So that would be a tough keyword to win. Of course the pay off would be high. The keyword phrase “iphone 6” has more than 6 million searches but a COMP value of 35.65. This value is handy to compare similar keywords however. Use the volume and  competition values to determine which is a better keyword phrase to chase.

IAAT: This means “In Anchor and Title” and shows how many web sites have the keyword phrase in their page titles and linked in inbound links from another site. It’s an indictor of keyword popularity and shows what you are up against. If the IAAT is a high number you are for some hard work to win ranking on the keyword.

KEI: This is Keyword Effectveness Index and goes up when the keyword popularity increases and goes down when there is lots of competition. You will never see a KEI larger than 100. You want high volume and low competition so a moderately rated KEI is likely to be attractive. Use it to compare keywords too.

 

paid keyword research tool WordTracker
Paid keyword research tool WordTracker

The Ultimate Keyword Research Strategy

So what to do? Design a keyword phrase portfolio that has a blend of low volume keywords that are easy to win and moderately high volume keyword phrases that you have a shot at with some effort.

You might want to add a few “golden” keyword phrases that would would love to win. Tracking these will give you an indicator of how successful you are against top competitors. In a niche these are fun because with time and with great content and persistence you can win them. They are the golden eggs you can attain. If you can win national single word keywords (like “cars”) then you’re doing really well.

Even a regional win like “cars for sale in Tampa” will take some effort. If your business has a local angle then its worth making this kind of keyword phrases of of your golden eggs.

Bottom line though: start with the easy stuff. Cut your chops. Learn what works and get more aggressive as you develop your skills. And be sure to celebrate every win as your organic search volume grows.

How to do on-page SEO yourself

How to do on-page SEO yourself Here’s a quick tutorial that will walk you through how to do on-page SEO yourself. It will tell you where you need to place your seo keyword phrase to optimize your web pages for best results with search engines. If you want the full information and process, order our free 60-page book, called: Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed, at the bottom of this page.

How to do your own on page optimization

 

1. META and TITLE tag:

There are a series of tags in the header of each page – between the tags that contain information that describes the content on the page. The two tags you should focus on are the <TITLE> tag and the META DESCRIPTION tag.

The TITLE tag contains the words that show up at the top of your visitors web browser. They are also an indicator of page content. In other words, this is what people see when they pull up a description of your site. So, it’s a good idea to use language that’s enticing along with placing your keyword phrase here. Your page’s keywords should go in here.

They should also be the first words in the META DESCRIPTION, followed by no more than 160 characters. (Google doesn’t pay attention to anything past 160). You will find the tital tag and meta description tag on the back end of your WordPress site below the text box.

The META DESCRIPTION tag also describes the pages content and is used as a summary preview when the page is index by Google. Here’s what the title and meta tag would look like on the back end of this article.

Title Tag Example: <title>How to do your own seo</title>

META Description Tag Example <meta name="description" content="How to do your own seo? This quick-read article will give you the basics on seo.CLICK HERE." /> *Quick tip:  Put the words “CLICK HERE” at the end of all your meta descriptions. It’s a call to action that emphasizes the web searcher click on the link and go to your site.

2. URL tag:

Make sure your keywords are in your URL or web page name. Keywords in a URL are a great indicator of the page’s content so Google will use this as a key indictor on ranking the page. On the back of your WordPress site you can edit your url by clicking on the edit button beside the permalink under the page or post title. See image below for placement. As you’ll see, the title of the post and URL have the same keyword phrase.

seo1

 

3. <H1> and <H2> tags:

Your seo keywords should appear at least in one set of the headline tags on your page using the <h1></h1> tags. Be sure to use <h2></h2> or <h3></h3> subheads through the article too and sprinkle related keywords in these. If you don’t know much about web code putting a phrase in h2 tags is easy.

And so you are clear what h2 tags do, if you look at the bold headlines in this article, for example where it says “how to do SEO yourself” above, that’s an h2 headline.  You can size headlines easily and here’s how:

When you are in WordPress writing an article, flip over to text mode by clicking the “Text” tab at the corner of your text box (beside where it says” Visual” – top right of the screen). Then, locate the phrase you want to bold.  Put the h2 tag code around it.  That looks like this: <h2>How to do your own SEO</h2>

4. Image ALT tag:

Using one image for each page or post is essential for seo best results. Search engines look at the “ALT” tag description of the image.  Your keyword phrase should be placed in the alternative tag box. This is what the back end of the image looks like on this post.

howtodoyourownseo

 

 

 

5. Body text:
Your keywords should appear three to four times through out the body text on a page. Feel free to use synonyms. Use this Keyword Density tool to ensure the density of your keywords is done.  If you put too many keyword phrases in your text, the Google algorithm will penalize you.  This practice is called keyword stuffing.  A lot of seo’ers tried to trick the system, but Google’s been adapted to deal with this.

As you can see, it’s fairly easy to learn seo yourself. If you have any questions give us a call or order the book, which includes up to 30 minutes of free coaching.

If you’d like to learn more about SEO, order our 60-page ebook: Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed. Its free! To get your copy of the book now, click here:

 

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Lead capture forms for materials handling websites

A lead capture strategy is a way for your business to capture the contact information of site visitors by using enticing offers that require them to sign up. This involves expertly positioning capture boxes on multiple pages of your web site. Each capture box should have information fields that connect to a contact database.

Here is one CWD created for RaymondHandling.com:

warehouse genius

 

 

Lead capture forms for materials handling websites

How to implement an effective lead capture strategy:

An effective lead capture strategy has the following:

  1. A information capture box, with: a) A call to action and b) A giveaway that entices the target market to opt-in

2. Multiple opportunities for site visitors to sign up

3. Constant evaluation and tweaks on what works and what doesn’t.

How to design a strong capture box:

A capture box is a button on a website that includes fields where a site visitor fills in their information to receive an offer. To build a strong web capture box, it helps to understand what marketing industry experts agree is most effective. Here is what you need to know designing a capture box:

1. The fewer fields of information your box has, the more people will want to fill it out. Use the “first name” field and “email” field only, unless your giveaway is a direct mail piece, or you require other information like zip code or last name. The more information a contact is asked to submit, the more you risk pushing them away. Make it as easy as possible for them to sign up. You can always ask for more information later.

2. A strong capture box has a call to action. This is a phrase that stands out and makes a request of a site visitor to take a specific action.

i.e. Sign up for our exclusive email list and get “ROI secrets from the experts” sent to your inbox each week

3. The more concise and succinct the language is on your capture box, the better it will perform.

4. Ask yourself the following: Why would a contact want to sign up for this offer? Why would a contact not want this offer? It will help you think like them and develop something that will attract the right people.

 Give site visitors multiple opportunities to sign up:

Put a capture box on every page of your web site. The more opportunities you make available, the more you increase the chances of site visitors using it.

Diversify your capture boxes. Change up the call to action. Change the image you use. Change the giveaways. If you do this, you’ll learn what is effective. The quicker you learn what hooks the target market, the quicker you can watch leads pour in. Measure everything.

Evaluate your capture strategy ongoingly

It’s really important to track the conversion rates on your capture boxes. This allows you to understand if they work. If they don’t work, site visitors will not sign up. So, if you see this happening, you want to change your strategy immediately. If you review your capture strategy often, you’ll discover what doesn’t work and it will help you get closer to what does work.

Want to learn more about how to turn your materials handling website into a lead generation machine. Order a free 60-page book called: Digital Marketing Secrets for companies in Materials Handling. CLICK the button below to get yours now:

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10 tips for creating content that makes money

creating content that makes moneyMost people can write. Those that do often blog on the web. But how many make money from content they produce? Not many.
Why not? Because they produce content that is plain or ordinary and can be found in a thousand other places on the web.

So how do you create a content strategy that is profitable? Drive thousands of people to it and wrap ads around it – either your own or someone else’s.

First though you’ll need to produce the content. Follow these 10 rules and you’ll be well in your way.

1) Find your expertise. Everyone is an expert in something. Whether it is raising kids, growing a vegetable garden, fixing things or running a small business. Or maybe you love dogs and are great at raising them. The first secret of good content is identifying your niche and defining it.

2) Find a Profitable Content Niche. Once you know your niche do some research and find out two things a) Is anyone else writing about it b) Are those that read that content buying things. AKA is there a market to sell to for an audience that consumes the content niche. How do you do that? Find three to five web sites that cover what your niche is and look them up on Alexa.com to see how their traffic ranks. A little competition will validate the opportunity. A lot of competition means there’s money to be made but it will be harder to get on top. So now what? Look at #3.

3) Choose a content sub-specialty. If you niche is saturated with content on the web, choose a sub-specialty. There are thousands of travel web sites on the web. But how many deal with luxury resorts for couples in the Caribbean? Or bed and breakfasts in Arizona? Become a specialist. People are look for specific content not general content. Give it to them and it will pay off.

4) Your opinion is not worth much. You will never make (much) money with your opinion. Opinions are a dime a dozen and unless you are a nationally recognized editorial writer or columnist, peddling your opinions will not make you much money. Opinions content is great as a value add in a post, but chose to educate and invite th ereader to make up their own mind and then offer your opinion as a primer.

5) Be fresh and original. Write great content that maybe deals with a topic others do but do it in a way no one else has. Writing a blog on accounting may be a hit if you help solve peoples accounting problems with your articles. But being a funny accountant and teaching what might otherwise be dry in an entertaining way will have you stand out. If you are not funny, then write from personal experience. Bear your soul. Few people are vulnerable when they write. if you can’t make them laugh given them an emotional experience that can take away and use for themselves. Don’t like any of that? Write great step by step how to content. How to content does EXTREMELY well on the web. If you teach with your content you’ll always make money.

6) Your headlines stink. It’s probably true. Learn to write great headlines to draw people in. Check out Huffington Post to see how headlines can pull a reader into an an otherwise workaday post. If you wrote a post on how to train your dog. The headline should not be: “How to train your dog” instead write “How to keep your dog out of the garbage” Or “How to train your dog to protect your kids (and scare their bullies)”. Help the reader visualize what they are about to learn by creating a vivid image or result with your headline. A headline is a promise of what’s to come in the article. Would you rather read an article that has the headline that says “How I taught my child to be polite” or “How I taught my son to stop picking his nose in public”?

7) Educate with your content. It takes the average person 2-4 minutes to read a blog post. Ask yourself what they are going to take away from the post that we will find valuable and that is worth their time. If you can’t answer that easily, rethink your topic, angle or approach.

8) Be a resource. If your content don’t produce a definitive answer to what the reader is seeking then provide an overview of the topic and then link to specific resources that you can send them to via links. If they always find what they are looking for in your content then they will come back.

9) Explore and innovate. Write content that takes chances. Write out of the box. Write against popular opinion. Be controversial. Do things no one else is doing. If you are going to stand out with your content you’ll have to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Commit and produce lots of content then see #10.

10) Measure and amplify. Once you have engaged an audience with something you have written look for opportunities  to write spin offs. In 2001 I wrote a column called “How to reformat your hard drive and reinstall Windows”. It did 10 times the traffic that my other work produced. So I wrote a series of content on how to wipe  your hard drive clean and reinstall Windows XP, Windows Me Windows Vista and so on.  Eventually the collection of articles number in the dozens.  The content earned me $7,000 in its first year. And eventually the site did $70,000 per year. How did I know that the first post did well? I was watching the stats on my website – every day! Today I do this using Google Analytics. be sure to install it on your web site or blog.

10 SEO tips that will instantly attract more traffic to your blog or web site

Grow web trafficPeople often ask us how to increase traffic to their web site. There are three core strategies that you can go to work on: Social Media, Buy Traffic and  Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  I’m only going to focus on one in this post and that’s SEO.

Here’s a 15-minute tutorial that contains 10 valuable SEO tips and tricks.

1. META TAGS

There are a series of tags in the header of each page – between the tags that contain information that describes the content on the page. Script references, CSS info and other page management info goes in here too. The two tags you should focus on are the <TITLE> tag and the META DESCRIPTION tag. The TITLE tag contains the words that show up at the top of your visitors web browser. They are also an indicator on the page’s content and search engine will take their content seriously. Your page’s keywords should go in here. The META DESCRIPTION tag also describes the pages content and is used as a summary preview when the page is index by Google. Here’s the META DESCRIPTION tag used by the warehouse products client at Cyberwalker Digital.

Title Tag Example:

<title>Products for the Warehouse in Los Angeles | Southern California</title>

META Description Tag Example

<meta name="description" content="Wanna buy quality stuff for the warehouse? Items like hand pallet trucks and hand carts at great prices in the Los Angeles / Southern California area? Click here." />

2. URL aka your Web Address

When you name your page make sure your keywords are in your URL. Keywords in a URL are a great indicator of the page’s content so Google will use this as a key indictor on ranking the page. Use the key words in your <h1></h1> tags in the URL if possible.

3. <H1> and <H2> TAGS

You keywords should appear at least in one set of the headline tags on your page using the <h1></h1> tags. Be sure to use <h2></h2> subheads through the article too and sprinkle related keywords in these.

4. IMAGE ALT TAGS

Images are crucial to your SEO efforts. Not because search engines can see them. Instead they look at the “ALT” tag description of the image. Be sure this is added to any images your place on a page. The key words you are optimizing for should appear in this tag.

<img src="seo-book-cover.jpg" alt="A guide to SEO tips and tricks" />

4. BODY TEXT

Your keywords should appear three to four times through out the body text on a page. Feel free to use synomyms as well as the search engines are smart enough these days to make note of these. Use this Keyword Density tool to ensure the density of your keywords is done properly. Note that too many repeated keywords can have your page penalized by Google.

5. The dangers of Javascript, Flash and other next text data

Search engines are great and reading text and cannot watch movies, view pictures or view Flash animation or other non text data. They are also not every good are interpreting programming code (such as some Javascript that generates dropdown menus). So it is important to build you pages in a way that contains lots of descriptive text and straight HTML links. See how you page is viewed by Search engine crawlers using this tool. If not much relevant text shows up then rethink your page’s code and simply to basic HTML. For example use CSS generated menus instead of Javascript created menus.

6. SiteMap

A sitemap is a web page that includes links to all the pages on your site that you want indexed. If you use Javascript menus then this is a good way to educate a Search Engine on what links to look at. Your sitemap can be generated by a tool in your content management system. I use the auto generated sitemap in the plug-in SEO All in One Pro. Be sure to submit this to Google via Google Webmaster Tools. You should also link the site map in the footer of your homepage.

7. Google & Bing Webmaster Tools

Be sure to register your site with Google Webmaster Tools  and Bing Webmaster Tools. This gives you the ability to submit sitemaps to Google and Bing and monitor the health of your site and track traffic data. When paired with Google Analytics this is a powerful free resource that all webmasters should use to help them develop their site and traffic.

8. The Importance of  ‘In’ Links

I’ll write an article separately on this topic, because links from other sites into your site are critical. And as or more important as optimize your pages with keywords. Links in tell Google an other search engines that your site matters and that it has something important to say. Think of it this way – if one person recommends a movie you might go. If 100 recommend it you will likely see it. This is how Google evaluates the importance of your site. Find out how many links in there are on your site use either WhoLinks2Me.com or Alexa.com.

9. Monitoring Your SEO Progress

One of the best tools to monitor your progress and help you see improvements in your SEO efforts is Moz.com. See a picture of my Moz campaigns for my client Halton Container. The tool has a monthly fee attached but it will generate that money back with the traffic it will bring to your site.

10. Use Natural Language

It would be easy to optimize a page for search engines if you followed all the rules. The problem is your webpage would be unreadable for humans. So the Art of SEO is to follow the rules and still make the content readable and enjoyable – after all that’s the point in the first place.

How to grow your email list: 10 clever tips

If you are going to engage in email marketing you need to drive people to signup for your email lists. But how do you do that? Here’s 10 ways on how to grow you email list.

1) Offer something of value to subscribers: A downloadable, a video, an ebook, rare and special content no available anywhere else, an unreleased chapter, song or bonus

2) Create scarcity: Whatever you give away on your list, ensure it is not available anywhere else. Be sure that the ticket to the gold is available only by signing up for the list

3) Put a registration form on your home page – you did do that right? Right?

4) Place a registration form in the sidebar on every page on your site

5) Offer your freebie from Item #1 (above) on your Twitter account and Facebook page.

6) Look at your Google Analytics and determine  what are you most popular pages then install a squeeze page that asks people who visit the well trafficked page to sign up for your email list before they get to the hot content

7)  Offer your freebie to conference attendees or at events where you speak. tell them to go to your web site to get it and then advertise it as part of your email sign up process.

8) Connect to your giveaway on Pinterest.com. It’s the hot new social media platform.

9) If you use Vimeo Pro -link to the offer at the end of the video (Vimeo has a tool for this)

10)  Offer massive value in the content in your list and ask happy subscribers to refer friends.

The magic strategy most rookie email marketers don’t know

Email marketing ice cream |There is one strategy that you can use in your email marketing practices that will super charge your results.

Just one simple thing.

Most people believe it can’t be so simple. And when you read the answer below it may seem counter intuitive. And you might even resist putting it into practice because you might believe it can’t possibly be true.

So what could possibly be so effective and so simple?

Here it is…

Give your best stuff away.

Really Kay? Are you nuts???

Yes, give your best stuff away. It’s what we at Cyberwalker Digital refer to it as “ice cream”. People like ice cream.

Whatever you offer that has value to your subscribers. The core of your expertise. Give. It. Away. FOR FREE.

So why on earth would you do that?

There are a few critical reasons.

1) People get A LOT of emails, so you have to give them a reason to open your emails

Think about your inbox. Which emails do you open? The ones that give you value. That fulfil a need. Make you laugh. Give you a deal. Provide you with info you need. You don’t open the hard sell emails. You don’t open ads. You don’t open dry boring material.

2) I said your best stuff, not all your stuff. 

Anything you are selling or providing to a subscriber is a package deal usually. A series of information. So when i say give away your best stuff. Give access to the most exciting 3-4 minuet video you have made. Demonstrate how amazing your stuff is. Talk about what’s in it then give it away, then debrief it. Then tell them about the more stuff. Give away the icing and get them to dream about the cake.

3) After your freebie, not everyone will buy, but many will and they will be hungry 

The best stuff positions you as an expert. It makes people think you and your expertise are awesome. It should make them feel like they have been give gold. And some of them will be willing to pay for more.  (The one that don’t are not ready or willing, but they may be in future) And let’s face it the freebie really is part of a bigger bundle. And your ability to demystify that big ball of expertise is what you are selling in the end. You are building credibility

4) Giving away excellence builds your brand

Even if someone consumes your best stuff and does not buy what you later offer, its ok because they consume and get value from the freebie and are left wanting something more but may not engage in the offer that comes later for a variety of reasons. They don’t need it now. They can’t afford it now. They don’t see the whole grand offering as necessary but they are curious. Giving away great stuff builds a perception you are good and leaves them wanting more of that. They might even refer you to someone that will also consume the best giveaway who will buy.

So how do I know what “my best stuff” is?

The stuff you have that you think people should pay a lot of money for. But note I didn’t say give it all away. Give some of it away.

When people find gold, they go looking for more. That’s when you sell them a pick axe.