How to compete online in 2020

competing onlineCompeting online works best with a mix of online and offline marketing techniques.

A few of my favorites for 2020 are:

Organic Back Links – Organic backlinks to relevant sites with lots of value add content – in good neighborhoods work best. Links to warez, torrent and spam sites are considered BAD neighborhoods – and could possibly drag your site lower in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

There are ways to remove bad links if you determine that they’re adversely affecting your ranking. Disavowing backlinks could have unintended consequences if performed incorrectly though. See this article from Google Support for further information.

Organic backlinks are very different from paid backlinks, first because they’re an accepted strategy from Google, whereas paid backlinks could result in your website being penalized by Google. When a site organically links to content on your site, it’s adding to the know, like and trust factors that are necessary to build successful businesses. It’s essentially saying that your site is worthy of visiting (big PLUS in Google’s eyes).

live chatLive Chat – If you have available manpower, live chat is great way to communicate with your prospects and clients. LiveZilla is a free and highly recommended live chat application. The feature I love is the ability to see what pages visitors have browsed, and how long they stay on each page.

Of course, you’re going to get trolls from time to time who will attempt to waste your time, and even a few obnoxious individuals, but that’s to be expected when communicating with the general public. Always be professional, and you’ll be surprised how often you’ll be able to turn the conversation in your favor.

Prospects today are looking for information before they commit to purchasing anything, and that’s for everything from automobiles, stoves and computers to web hosting. This is largely because everyone and their brother (and sister) has carries a computer in their pocket or purse (a smart phone) and they’ve become increasingly aware of how to use it to navigate to the best deals in town.

When someone initiates live chat with your company, they’re already a warm lead. They’ve showed interest in your products or services, so it’s on you and your team to show them why taking the next step is in their best interest, and that’s pulling out their wallet and entrusting you to deliver whatever you’re selling.

Ask them straight up if you can follow up if they’re just shopping around. Get their email and their permission to contact them. Once you’ve done that, mark your calendar and do just that – follow up. Visitors aren’t always ready to purchase on the spot, so being in their targets when that time comes for them to pull the trigger is vitally important.

Forum Signatures – Participating in industry forums and discussion groups positions your firm as an expert in the field. Your signature at the end of each thread or post can link to your website or a specific promotion. Be sure to comply with forum rules.

While this won’t directly affect your SERPS because forum links are generally no-follow, it will increase traffic to your site. Increased traffic translates into more opportunities for conversions.

Newsletters – Newsletters are a fantastic way to share solutions, highlighting your business’s strength in its niche. Links from newsletters can be monitored to determine what hits home with your readers. It’s important to not only provide value-add content in your newsletters, but some sort of call to action as well.

Relevant Content – Beyond a doubt, the MOST IMPORTANT element for any website is relevant content, meaning your content must address each click through (opportunity) with a compelling and convertible solution. Value-add relevant content increases time on site, reduces bounce rate and aids in branding your business as an expert in the field. It’s the single most essential element in establishing know, like and trust factors that ultimately lead to conversions.

Tweaking Your Site Using Analytics/Statistical Programs – Measuring what works, and what doesn’t work provides a foundation by which you can re-structure your site for success. Discard what doesn’t work, and repeat-repeat-repeat what does. Don’t become complacent though, as that’s been the downfall of many businesses. You might be turning excellent profits, but who is to say they couldn’t be even better? Watch for trends in the marketplace.

Social Media Networking – I think it goes without saying that having a presence, at least today, on Facebook or Twitter is a necessity. Your competition is already there capturing some of your traffic. Given the low cost of entry for getting the word out about your company to millions of prospects, why wouldn’t you take advantage of these marketing avenues? What kills me is when I see companies with links to Facebook or Twitter on their website, and when you click through for more information about their business, those pages haven’t been touched in years. Why link your intrigued visitors out to anywhere that’s going to kill their interest? When you’re trying to sell the sizzle, that’s a sure fire way to douse the flames.

Contests – Giving something away always attracts visitors, even if it’s as simple as a special coupon code on a specific service. Always set a deadline though, and vary the promotion. Variety sparks renewed interest.

Webinars – Webinars are seminars held or presented on the Internet. I try to attend at least one each week. Here again, it’s vitally important to be fresh, and to provide value-add information each and every time. Prospects can be very fickle. If your approach becomes stale, their interest will wane quickly.

Business Cards, Personalized Scratch & Mouse Pads, Ink Pens – And the list goes on forever. Promotional material customized with your website information brands your business for success.

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Steve

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