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Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.
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Search Articles

Search Marketing Articles


From the GrowSmartBiz Conference: Proven Strategies to Convert Web Visitors into Customers

November 17th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

One of my favorite sessions at the GrowSmartBiz Conference on November 5 was a Technology Track panel discussion that offered valuable, no-nonsense ways to convert Web visitors into customers.  Thanks to Jennifer Shaheen, President of the Technology Therapy Group, Melinda Emerson, the Small Biz Lady, and Walt Rivenbank, VP of the Mobility Applications Consulting group at AT&T for such great information!

Their strategies are fairly easy to implement, but they will require some time.  Here’s what to do:

1. Check Google Analytics to find out whether your Web visitors are staying.

If you don’t have an account yet, get sign up for one today (it’s free, natch).  One of the things Google Analytics looks at is your website’s bounce rate.  If people are visiting your website but not staying long and not moving from one page to the next, it’s not good.  It means you are probably not supplying them with the information they are looking for and you are definitely not converting them into leads, let alone customers.   It also means you need to update your website.

2. Have a clear call-to-action (CTA).

Update your website by offering a consultation, white paper, how-to guide—anything that is both educational and valuable.  As Melinda Emerson, the Small Biz Lady, said, “Give away your best stuff.”  But you’re not giving away anything for free!  Before they get that free consultation or white paper, ask them for their name and e-mail address.  Your web designer/programmer can help you set this up.

3. Be sure your CTA is easy to find.

Don’t hide your CTAs!  Add them to every page in the form of a big button that is hard to miss (it need not be a garish eyesore, just prominent).  If you have a shopping cart, make it a really big button that is easy to click on.

4. You have 7 seconds to convince your Web visitors to stay.

Your website is your home base and most visible online presence.  Because you only have 7 seconds to grab the attention of your Web visitors, your home page must be especially well-written.  As you are writing—or re-writing—your website content, also keep in mind that your website is not a book—people do not read it from beginning to end.

5. No handouts.

When you give a presentation or workshop, do not hand out information that elaborates on your topic.  Instead, ask attendees to visit you online at your website, Facebook page, or Twitter account to receive some great information that they will find useful (really sell it!).  You can, however, give them a one-sheet (a one-page brochure) that acts as a CTA.  It should only include some information to pique their interest.  Your goal is to get them onto your website or connected to you via social media so you can continue to engage with them and convert them into customers.

Photo Courtesy Shashi Bellamkonda

GrowSmartBiz Conference: How to Multiply the Effects of SEO With Great Content

November 15th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

One of the Marketing Track sessions I attended at the GrowSmartBiz Conference had a great title-Stories, Content, and the Search Engine Sword Over Your Head-and delivered useful information in spades.  No matter how new or established your business, this session was a great way to learn exactly how to improve your search engine optimization efforts and results.

Ben Cook, the SEO Manager at Network Solutions, moderated the panel of 4 pros, including Tinu Abayomi-Paul, principal of Leveraged Promotion, Dr. Alan Glazier, founder and owner of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, Deborah Ager, principal of ClickWisdom, LLC, and Liana Evans, CEO of LiBeck Integrated Marketing.    (You might be curious as to why there’s an optometrist on the panel.  Dr. Grazier has successfully implemented SEO at Shady Grove Eye and become a prolific blogger in the process.)

Here are their tips on using great content to boost your website’s search engine optimization:

Write for your audience! To produce great content specific to your audience, you need to understand what they search for when online.  Use Market Samurai, a keyword analysis tool, to help you figure what people are searching for.  Then you will be able to write content that addresses their needs.

Use long-tail search terms in your content. Long-tail search terms are the descriptive keywords people enter in the search box when they’re conducting research online.  For instance, “children’s navy blue cotton jacket” rather than “children’s jackets”.  The more pages your website has, the more content you’ll have, and the more chances you’ll have at being found for long-tail terms.

Content type is important. Blogs, videos, and podcasts are great for search engine optimization, thanks to plenty of chances for back linking (aka, links from other sites).  All search engines, including Google and Bing, measure how often content is linked and how many views it gets, so the more varied your content, the better.

Make it easy to share content. Twitter makes sharing content and getting links easy as your content is spread from one person to the next.  On your blog, make sure you add “tweet this” and “like” buttons.  Google rewards websites that have links back to it from both new and established websites.

Optimize video and podcasts. Because search engines cannot read videos or podcasts, add a transcript.

The importance of the URL. You can create custom URL shorteners for branding purposes (I had no idea!).  Awe.sm is the first company I found in search results that does this.  Also be sure that your blog’s URLs contain the title of the blog post rather than numbers.

Photo Courtesy Shashi Bellamkonda

How to Use Delicious for B2B Marketing

October 25th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Next in my monthly series on unsung social media platforms is Delicious.  If you missed my first two posts in the series, check out what I had to say about using Digg and Reddit for B2B marketing.

Delicious is a social bookmarking site that serves up “The Tastiest Bookmarks on the Web.”  (Until their recent acquisition by Yahoo, they were called Del.icio.us.) Their goal is to help you find cool stuff online and save it in one place that can be accessed from any computer.  You can share your bookmarks with others, see what other people are bookmarking, and search for the most popular bookmarks across a range of topics and interests.  To categorize all of your bookmarks, you use tags rather than folders.  So if you like to bookmark funny videos, you can tag videos with both words and they’ll be findable under both terms.

Even before I did research on using Delicious for marketing purposes, it became obvious to me that you can build quite a reputation on Delicious for interesting and useful information.  If your website, articles and blog posts get bookmarked on Delicious often enough, they’ll make it to the front page of Delicious, deliver a lot of traffic to your website, and brand you and/or your company as a source of great information.

With that said, your popularity on Delicious is dependent on the quality of your online content rather than your popularity among other Delicious users (no voting here!).

After you create a free account, here’s how to get going:

1. Create a network. A network allows you to collect your favorite users’ bookmarks in one spot—and vice versa.  You can organize your network in to “bundles” to separate friends from colleagues, etc.

2. Subscribe to tags. Make a list of your favorite tags.  As bookmarks are added with those tags, they’ll be delivered to your subscriptions page.  It’s a great way to find new users to add to your network.  (You can also create subscription “bundles” to keep things organized.)

And here’s how to get use Delicious for marketing purposes:

Post information that makes users’ lives easier. I found a great blog post about Delicious on Traffikd’s blog.  To get a lot of bookmarks, they suggest posting resource lists, guides and tutorials, online tools and useful services.  Avoid humor, gossip, videos, news and opinions.

Spread the word. Add a Delicious badge to your website and blog. Invite friends, colleagues, and people in your professional circle to join your network, and ask people to bookmark your website, blog, articles, etc.

Integrate your Delicious strategy with your SEO strategy. Make sure the pages, articles and blogs posts you want to be bookmarked (and become popular) on Delicious use the keywords or phrases that you are currently found for on search engines.

Tweetchat Recap on Blogging Effectively to Market Your Small Business

July 7th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Shashi Bellamkonda wrote this great recap on the Tweetchat held on June 24th where the topic was about blogging effectively to market your small business. It is over at Small Business Trends but here are a few highlights:

  • When thinking about blogging, companies should think about goals first. What info you want to share and who will blog?
    • Content creation  -getting in habit of looking at daily business from blogging perspective (@eyeinfo)
  • Reasons to blog: Thought leadership, education, seo, branding, customer service and event promo
    • The blog is the hub or center of your business community, usually. Another key reason to maintain a blog w/social links (@CreativeSage)
  • Should SEO be a top consideration when starting a Blog?
    • SEO is a great goal but for a business blog, I feel that producing content that is useful to the reader is most important (@bethschillaci)
    • SEO should be a constant consideration for your blog, but content is always King. SEO is a tool.

Go to the full article to check out the whole recap.

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Women in Business: Video Marketing Can Really Deliver Results

July 2nd, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Way back in January, I published a blog post on video marketing based on a conversation I had with Jessica Piscitelli, videographer extraordinaire and owner of www.capture-video.com. She’s a film school grad and worked in the movie industry in NYC until she realized that the exhausting, chaotic movie business was not for her. Jessica now produces videos for promotion, training, and SEO and lives a slightly more sane life. She and I have become friends, and she even roped me into joining the board of a local non-profit.

Because social media and video marketing are very important for SEO, I thought another blog post that focused more on her business would be useful and interesting. 

Jessica PiscitelliWhy did you decide to go into business for yourself? How long have you been in business?

When I started working in corporate video [for another company], I was basically their do-it-all solution. In other words, I ran the camera, edited the video, and made the, ahem – dating myself – master VHS tapes. I frankly just thought that since I was doing everything, I should be my own boss. I didn’t realize there was a lot more involved. That was 1999. I have since learned a lot about managing and growing a business that I wish I had known then!

Why do your clients decide to use video marketing as part of their marketing mix?

Because it is useful. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A moving picture is priceless. What does your product do? How do your services work? Who is being helped by your non-profit? All of these kinds of questions can be answered very clearly and concisely with a video.

Tracking ROI from marketing in general and social media specifically can be a challenge. There is no perfect answer for tracking ROI, but clients have come to me with specific goals in mind that were trackable. I had a client who wanted to get a certain number of clicks on a video we posted to YouTube. That was easy to monitor because YouTube tracks video “plays.” I had another client who wanted a certain number of people to click through to their website after watching or finding their videos. With Google Analytics or similar tools, it is possible to see where a viewer landing on your page came from and how many of them got there from various video posts.

Care to share the results of some of your most successful videos?

Wetlands Studies and Solutions:

The problem WSS was having involved explaining to a neighborhood association what their area would look like after stream restoration. Restoration is a long and ugly process, and people in areas where it is being done are often unhappy about it. Over a period of months, we captured the changing landscape – before, during, and after, as well as a full growing season later – and put together a video demonstrating exactly what you could expect from the stream restoration in your area over time. Of course, the improvements really are worth the process.

Georgetown University:

GU wanted to educate students on campus about the recycling program and facilities available on campus. They decided to put together a video using students to explain the benefits of recycling. Though not technically a viral video, as it was disbursed internally, the video was made like a student production – and it had the same kind of peer-to-peer energy.

GreatVenisonCooking.com:

 A new website was launching to help hunters prepare their meat. The problem with venison is that the quality of the meat is determined during the process of field dressing. There is not much out there to teach people how to field dress a deer, and so a video showing those steps was not only a great educational tool, but also a great draw for the website.

“I do think having the video adds credibility to our site; more than words, it positions us as experts on our subject matter. Having a short video is a great way to share some expertise and connect with the target audience…people automatically trust you more if they’ve seen your face and heard you speak. It’s a great and easy tool to use.” – Susan Rose, GreatVenisonCooking.com

How Much SEO Can I Do By Myself?

June 9th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

After months of procrastinating, I really need to get my website tricked out with some SEO.  Because it’s such a technical process and can be rather expensive, I started wondering how much I could do myself. I have zero knowledge of or experience in HTML and web programming, and a budget of…well, let’s say not enough to pay an SEO expert what their service is worth. 

Robot with Magnifying Glass

liferoiblog/Flickr

Based on my research, which consisted of my limited knowledge, a Google search, and finally asking SEO guru Ken Fischer of Click for Help, there is quite a bit you can do on your own.  Needless to say, it’s not going to be nearly as effective as adding all those tags and metadata and technical gee gaws to your website, but it will certainly help. 

Here’s what you need, in no specific order:

Keywords.  Research keywords for your industry simply by plugging words and terms related to what you do into any search engine.  You probably already know what some key terms are, but get really creative.  Ask friends and family for their thoughts—you might get even more ideas. 

Once you have a list of keywords, add them to your website’s content wherever possible.  To make your content both readable and effective, you’ll want to craft your messaging and positioning statements around the keywords rather than just randomly inserting keywords into your content. 

Strong, original, well-written website content.  If your content is poorly written, no one’s going to click through your website, let alone contact you.  Remember that the reason you want your site to be optimized for search engines is not just so people can find you, but so those people become customers.  Without good content, that goal is a lost cause. 

If you’re not a good writer, find someone who is.  If you think you’re a good writer, find a good editor.  Make sure your content uses plain English rather than jargon and is thoughtful and original.  Most importantly, make sure your content speaks to your audience’s needs.  Explain to them how you are going to solve their problems and how you are going to do it better than the other guy. 

Links from other websites.  Link from websites to yours (aka, a backlink) are gold in the SEO world.  Think about it: why would someone provide a link to a website if it didn’t contain useful or interesting information?  Links drive traffic to your website and make web pages more likely to appear at the top of a search engine’s results page, which, in turn, pushes more traffic to your website.  It’s a nice little cycle once it gets going.

Publish articles to the LinkedIn groups you belong to and to an online article distribution service like EzineArticles or GoArticles.  As long as what you are writing is relevant and interesting, it will be shared over and over again.  You can also distribute press releases, sprinkled with backlinks to your website, to an online news release service like PR Web.  It will get picked up by news services, and because PR Web is recognized as an authority, backlinks from their website can drive a lot of traffic to your website.

Social media.  When you post to your favorite social media platforms, be sure you are offering advice, tips, and success stories with relevant links back to your website.  Avoid outright sales pitches at all costs.  Of course, if you’re running a special promotion, a sale, or launching a new product or service, you’re going to advertise that.  But people are more likely to pass along good advice than an announcement regarding a new product launch.  If your company sounds interesting, people will visit your website.      

Blog.  As with social media, blog posts that offer useful, relevant information and contain links back to content on your website will spur web traffic.  Publish a great blog, and people will pass it along, post it to Facebook, tweet it, and refer to it and ultimately drive traffic to your website.

How to Leverage Facebook for Inbound Marketing Success

April 15th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

As we continue our monthly theme of Inbound Marketing we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Facebook. If you are on the web and do anything social networking related, you have probably heard of Facebook.

It started out as a social network for college students and then opened up to corporations and then to the general public. Over time they opened up their back-end and launched the F8 developers platform and the gold rush of games and all kinds of applications launched.

This was the catalyst for millions of people who never considered getting on a social network before. I will be that you probably have a Facebook profile and you might have even let your mom be your friend (if you are on Facebook you will get the joke). You can probably guess that the impact of Facebook is staggering but I will bet you don’t know the real size and reach of this social network that seems to be a place some people live and play (even while at work). Here are some basic stats from their site:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 60 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans

Yeah, that is pretty impressive isn’t it? This is why this is the new tool for marketers to leverage and create an outpost for their inbound marketing activities. While I could write a book on Facebook (and many people have) there are a few things that you should be familiar with as you explore Facebook and incorporate it into your inbound marketing strategy.

Facebook Groups

The concept of groups have been around for a long time and they are a basic way to gather people together. Groups have an advantage in that any group member can send out “bulk invites” to their friends which means that this is better for growth via viral marketing. You can message your members via a private message and you can host a discussion and use the wall like you can do with a fan page (more on fan pages in a minute). However, you can’t get statistics, use social ads (more on that in minute too) or create related events or invitations.

Bottom Line Use: Groups are generally better for hosting active discussions and getting attention quickly.

Fan Pages

Fan Pages are the most popular feature on Facebook because of a primary function that it has over any other function on Facebook – fan pages are visible to everyone, even unregistered vistors and are indexed by Google. Yes, that is sweet and fantastic for reputation management. Facebook pages also let you use vanity URLs – CAVEAT: These vanity URLs can only be set once and you can’t change it once you set it. The allow for inclusion of Facebook applications, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about Facebook apps. You can message all members via updates, get statistics, create events and promote the page with social ads.

So you have probably deduced that this is your home page on Facebook and people are creating pages for companies, products, celebrities and just about any brand or wanna-be brand that is looking to build a community around it.

Bottom Line Use: You can see that fan pages are fantastic for building long-term relationships with fans, readers, customers and anyone else that you want to connect with.

Ads

While advertising has been in social networks forever, it is how many social networks business models operate. However, with the growth of the F8 developer platform and the incredible growth of its use base it is really a self-contained ecosystem. This means that people can run ads within Facebook to advertise their pages (and any other web page) within Facebook.

The advantage of these “Social Ads” is that from your profile they know everything you let them know (age, gender, religion, interests, relationship status, location) which makes advertising super-accurate and with ongoing attention, better results than almost every other type of advertising.

Bringing it “Back to the Hub”

As you work through your inbound marketing strategy think about how this content outpost can help your business. This can bring people to your site and be the place they discover you and your brand. What I want to emphasize is that one tool is not better than the other and your organization could use all three of these or just one but at the very least I would recommend that you sign up for one and begin experimenting. But take note, you need to have dedicated resources to participate and update the site.

Are You Utilizing Facebook?

Are any of you readers out there using Facebook Groups, Fan Pages or Social Ads in your current social media strategy? We would love to hear your perspective and experiences to share with our readers.

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I am Inbound Marketing and So Can You – Book Review of "Inbound Marketing"

April 13th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Last fall, the co-founders of Hubspot and InboundMarketing.com put out a book which is the core of what their company does, measure inbound marketing efforts and success. For many, the term was a bit nebulous and hard to define. Ken Yeung over at Solutions Are Power has a great overview of Inbound Marketing and explains Inbound Marketing as essentially “marketing focused on getting found by customers.

Basically this means that whether it’s through tools like search engine optimization, social media, etc. as opposed to anything outbound where you are paying to get people’s attention. David Meerman Scott says that it’s akin to “earning your way in” and I think that inbound marketing is a pretty good thing to work on.

David did the forward for this book and it is a solid read with all the fundamentals you need to understand and execute an inbound marketing program.

Inbound Marketing Mantra – Get Found, Convert, Analyze and Improve

There are four sections in this book – Basics, Getting Found by Prospects, Converting Customers and Make Better Decisions. The basics are well, the basics. Tells you what this whole inbound marketing thing is, asks you a hard question if your web site is a marketing hub and not a megaphone.

Getting Found by Prospects discusses content, search and social media tools. Converting customers is about how you use those tools I just mentioned and turn those visitors to your marketing hub to real leads and then to customers. They continue with the process by analyzing campaigns and other metrics from the various tools to understand success. They also define the various people that need to be a part of this team and contribute to the overall success of the inbound marketing program.

Overall, a Solid Application Book with great case studies

It is a quick read (I finished it in about 3 hours) but it provides what you really need to know along with the tools and HOW TO USE THEM. Almost all business books can be separate into two groups – theory or application. This is about 5% theory explaining the concepts and 95% application with the tools and how this fits into the inbound marketing campaign.

If you are a marketing practitioner or in a small business where marketing is one of the hats you wear, you need this book.

You can find out more about the writers at Hubspot.com and InboundMarketing.com and the book is over at Amazon.

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Using Inbound Marketing to set up your own Small Businesses "Watering Hole"

April 7th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Have you ever heard of the term “Inbound Marketing”? I bet you know what “Outbound Marketing” is if I mentioned a few terms – trade shows, seminar series, email blasts to purchased lists, internal cold calling, outsourced telemarketing, and advertising.  These methods are called “outbound marketing” because a marketer or small business owner pushes their message out far and wide hoping that it resonates with that needle in the haystack. While this works in some cases, for many small businesses they don’t have the budget to experiment or invest in the size that these programs require to get a measure of success.

Inbound Marketing Defined

The concept “inbound marketing” is where you use tools like your website or blog to construct a “hub” for your business and hopefully, your industry to attract people naturally through search engines. Ways people do this is by utilizing social media tools like blogs, Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages as a start. This dramatically increases the chances you will be found by those looking for the help you provide. Companies “get found” in this way because potential customers are already learning about and shopping in your industry, therefore they are using .

Setup Your Own Small Business “Watering Hole”

A great analogy from Hubspot is the “Watering Hole Analogy“:

“The best analogy I can come up with is that traditional marketers looking to garner interest from new potential customers are like lions hunting in the jungle for elephants.  The elephants used to be in the jungle in the ’80s and ’90s when they learned their trade, but they don’t seem to be there anymore.  They have all migrated to the watering holes on the savannah (the internet).  So, rather than continuing to hunt in the jungle, I recommend setting up shop at the watering hole or turning your website into its own watering hole.”

Upcoming Inbound Marketing Series

This month the them is “Inbound Marketing for Small Business” and we will be connecting the dots and showing you the tools and best practices to set up your own “watering hole”. Stay tuned.

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Great FREE SEO Tools for Your Small Business

February 26th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

As we come to the end of this month, what better way to wrap up this month’s theme of “Getting Your Business Found” than giving away free stuff. Well, free advice and content at least. A few months ago I came across this article of great SEO tools that are free written by Mark Thompson over at Web Analytics World. You can use them for link research, SEO, social media and analytics.

Here is the article list:

1. SEO Toolbar

This is by far the best SEO tool out there. No matter what client or industry I am researching, I always start with the data provided by the SEO Toolbar. It will give you a snapshot of a site, by providing high level information search engines analyze when ranking websites. Even though the toolbar will give you lots of different data points, there are only certain things I look at. I look at the follow data to get a basic overview of the site.

  • Domain Age
  • Inbound Links
  • PageRank
  • Pages Indexed
  • SEO X-ray (nofollow links, H tags, meta data)

2. Xenu

There was a great post written by Ann Smarty that talks about the different things you can do with the Xenu tool.

Basically this tool will allow you to scan and analyze a site to help find potential problems.

  • Broken Links
  • Depth of the Site (crawling issues)
  • Potential Duplicate Content Issues
  • Orphan Pages
  • 404 Error Pages

3. Website Grader

This web-based tool, allows you to enter a url and it will analyze the site, then it creates a user-friendly SEO report. This can be an easy report to generate for a potential client. However, sometimes it can be overwhelming for people because of all of the information it returns.

  • Overall SEO Score (out of 100)
  • Basic On-Page SEO (Meta data, Alt tags, H tags)
  • Basic Off-Site SEO (Domain Age, Pages Indexed, Inbound Links)
  • Blog Analysis
  • Social Media Analysis

4. SEO for Firefox

SEO for Firefox is a plugin that will pull in data about the site within the Google search results. I will use this to see how fierce the competition is and to help determine how much effort and time it will take to optimize a potential clients site. The nice thing about SEO for Firefox is the flexibility to only add data into the results that you want to see. These are the data points I pull in:

  • PageRank
  • Inbound Links
  • Domain Age
  • Google and Yahoo Rankings

5. Rank Checker

Rank Checker is a stand alone firefox plugin (also on the SEO Toolbar) that allows you to check the rankings of a site for specific keywords/phrases. One nice feature about Rank Checker is you can check not only US search engines, but foreign versions of Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Data I pull from this tool include:

  • Baseline Rankings
  • Ranking Improvements
  • What URL is Ranking

6. AuditMyPC: Sitemap Generator

There are a lot of sitemap generator tools out there, however I feel that this is the best…plus its free.

  • Generate a XML Sitemap
  • Generate a HTML Sitemap
  • Analyze Website Pages & Structure

7. Reverse IP Lookup

This tool allows you to see what other domains are on the same server. It is not often, but sometimes if a site that has been penalized by Google is hosted on the same server as your site, it can penalize ALL that are on the shared hosting server. This is another reason why being on your own dedicated server can help your SEO.

8. Yahoo! Site Explorer

There are a number of link analysis tools like Link DiagnosisBackLink Watch, andLink Assistant, however Yahoo! Site Explorer I feel still does the best job of not only finding backlinks, but ordering them in place of importance. Here are the main things I will look at when analyzing SiteExplorer links.

9. SocialMention

To see what is being said about a potential or current client, I will use a variety of real-time search engines. I usually will start at SocialMention because it will scour the web including Blogs, Q&A, Forums, Mircoblogs, Social Bookmarks, Events, Video, and News sites for mentionings of your brand or keyword you enter. I can get a better understanding of:

  • Brand Perception
  • Brand Reach
  • Industry Position
  • Influencers in the Industry
  • Types of Communication/Discussions

10. Google Analytics

Of course if you have access to a clients Google Analytics you can find out a wealth of knowledge that you wouldn’t be able to gather with free tools anyone can use. When I first look at a sites analyics I will look at certain data including:

  • Daily Traffic
  • Traffic Sources
  • Keywords
  • Geo-Location
  • User Engagement
  • Conversions

With all of these free tools you can learn a lot about a potential/current client and your competitors. You are able to cover a wide spectrum of information including on-page/off-page factors, social media, reputation management, and user engagement. Feel free to try one or all of these tools the next time you perform some research on a site.

Want to Learn More about Search Marketing?

Here at Network Solutions we have put together some great tools and services for search marketing, local search visibility and pay-per-click advertising. Check them out and if you need some help getting your site optimized, reach out via phone, e-mail or twitter.