Do You Want Prospective Students to Find Your Website? Google Tells You How

24 03 2013

Despite Bing’s aggressive marketing campaign, most people still use Google as their main search engine.  Google has put out a number of videos, in non-technical language, to help us help Google promote their websites.  They are narrated by Google engineer Matt Cutts, who seems to act as the face of Google when issues around their algorithm come up. Here are two examples.

The first one is on keyword density, or how many words that users would use to find your site should you make sure to include on your page.

The second is also on keywords, but on how much text versus images need to be on your website so that Google can figure out what you are about. Cutts describes it as a balancing act — pictures are more attractive and can entice viewers to stay on your website longer, but you still need some text.

Another tool mentioned by Cutts is Google Web Fonts, which seems to give you the ability to add more ornate fonts to your website without having them in a JPG.  This can GREATLY expand your site’s font options, aside from the standard Ariel, Helvetica, Times, etc., families — if it works (some of the comments under the video indicate that it’s may not work so well on some browsers on PCs).

For more videos, visit Google Webmasters Video channel on YouTube (remember, YouTube is owned by Google).

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In The News – Joanne Factor of Strategic Living

20 03 2013

Within the last few weeks, NWMAF member and Certified Self-Defense Instructor Joanne Factor was in the local Seattle media. Two were TV news segments (although in the second late-night segment we were not identified), and two were local radio broadcasts.  You can see (or listen to) the recordings at Strategic Living’s press page.

As self-defense instructors, I hope you all have similar press pages on your website. You do, right?

Two tips for the press page: make sure you have the media available from your own website (on your host server), as sometimes smaller media outlets over time drop older reports.  Also, if the story is still on the news media’s website, include that link — this aids credibility, and the source likes the linkback.

And one other important step.  Check your website’s analytics for the day of and the day after your media exposure.  (You do have analytics, right?  Google Analytics is fine, and free.)  That way you can assess if this media exposure had any effect.  For example, I did not notice ANY increase in visits to my site from either the TV news segments or from the AM radio interview.  But I did notice a bump after the FM radio interview, as well as several emails and phone calls asking about self-defense presentations and classes.  This information will help me decide if I wish to participate in a Health and Wellness Fair put on by one of these media companies (for which I would have to pay, at minimum, $300 for a bare-bones table with no promotion).





Money for Nothing

5 04 2011

Today’s post is from Patrick Williams of You Rock! Communications. Modified only slightly to speak to the self-defense teacher. This tip is useful not only when a potential student contacts you about your program, but equally important, when teaching an interactive class to better engage your students.

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One of the biggest hit songs of the 80’s was “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits. Chances are good you’ve heard it a few times.

What most people don’t know is that band leader and lyricist Mark Knopfler didn’t have to work very hard to write the song.

Knopfler overheard a conversation in an electronics store where two employees were discussing what they saw on the showroom televisions, all of which were tuned to MTV.  He quickly jotted down the banter, then repeated it virtually word-for-word in the song. The song become a big hit because anyone who isn’t a rock star could relate to the message.

Unknowingly, Knopfler tapped into one of the strongest selling techniques in the word, and you can use it to make selling easier than ever.

The technique is simply this: speak your customer’s language!

If you talk too far above a potential student, you’ll lose them. The same thing happens if you talk beneath them. Listen to what words they use to express their safety concerns, and use those.  Try to match the verbal style of your students and clients as closely as you can, and they will be more comfortable and open with you. Repeat some of the same phrases they use and you will help them trust you to guide them in making the right choice of class or program.

If you offer classes to companies, do a little research on their industry and make sure you use some of the same terminology they typically encounter every day. This suggests to prospects that you are knowledgeable about their unique business and might have valuable insights to share.

The truth is there is no such thing as ‘money for nothing’; but, when you mirror and match your customer’s language, you’ll start closing more business than you would without it.

© 2011 YOU ROCK!®

—–

Patrick Williams, Hit-Maker
Helping people and businesses be #1 in their market!
http://www.YouRockCommunications.com ·  253-318-7503

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/PatrickLWilliams
Twitter – http://twitter.com/yourocktm





Sharing Your Blog Content via Social Networks

22 03 2011

Blogging is a key way to get your message out to potential students. But not every student is inclined to seek out blogs, or even subscribe by email (some even feel that email is (GASP!) dinosaur technology). To more widely distribute your message, make sure your blog can also distribute via social media.

WordPress.com (host of SafetyNet) gives you the option to have each blog post, as it comes out, appear in both Facebook and Twitter, giving your posts a broader potential audience.

[Wordpress = WP, Facebook = FB, and Twitter = Twitter]

Facebook has several ways of distributing your info. First, every user needs their own personal profile page. People who connect with you on this page are your “friends.” FB insists that you use your real info in setting up such a page, and woe may befall those that try to get around this. From this you can create other business/organization/club pages, which instead of having “friends” has “likes” (they used to have “fans” but changed that nomenclature about a year ago). Whatever you post on your FB personal or business pages will get distributed to your friends or likers.

Some people use their personal profile page for their marketing. Others use their personal page for family and real friends, preferring to keep business and marketing on a business page.  If you are working with several concerns (such as your martial arts school, self defense school, and SafetyNet), separation is important.

[There is another type of page called a Group, which also has members. A major difference is that stuff posted to the Group wall does NOT become distributed, and you have to visit the Group page to find out what’s happening. Groups are most often for select coterie, and related to a specific interest.]

One negative about the connection between WP and FB from the WP end is that it will link to your personal FB, not a Facebook business page. If your personal page is your business page, that’s great. If you have a separate business page  not so great. If I wanted to link this blog post to FB, it would get directed to Joanne Factor’s personal FB, not the SafetyNet FB page. Not what I’m looking for!

Facebook, on the other hand, supports Social RSS (http://apps.facebook.com/social-rss/tabsettings.php?ref=bookmarks&count=0), an application that will feed your blog posts onto a business page. Much better solution!

Twitter is structured differently.  You can set up as many Twitter accounts as your brain can handle, and set WP to feed to a specific account!  You do not need to have a “personal” account at all. Wonderful way to automate feeds. From WP it is easy to feed into Twitter. When you write your post and are almost ready to hit the Publish button, select “Publicize” from that panel and specify “Twitter.” You will fill in your Twitter account name and password, and you’re done!

So far I’ve mentioned how, on the publishing end, you can distribute your material more widely.  Now you also want your readers to be able to redistribute (also known as “share” or “retweet”) to their own friends.  To add “share” buttons to the bottom of each post you can go into the Settings for your WP blog, select “Sharing,” and choose the services you’d like to be available for your readers.   That allows the reader to further distribute that post to their own network of friends and fans.

Details in this post are specific to using WordPress.com for your blog. There are other blogging platforms:  Blogger (owned by Google), Typepad, Posterous, and some website hosting companies also include a blogging feature. Though exactly how you set up feeds for each may vary, it is worthwhile to get those feeds going and your content out to a broader audience.





Tech Tip: The “QR” Barcode

16 03 2011

We all know that potential students are increasingly finding our services online. While not (yet) the majority of searches, mobile devices are one of the fastest growing segments of the online search stream.

Still, self-defense is not the most common search term, and our market often needs to see (several times) that we exist before they will go searching.  To that end, old-fashioned paper marketing is ideal.  And here is a quick way to get those who come across your paper marketing (be it in a catalog, a poster, a postcard, ad in a local paper, etc.) to come to you online via their smartphone.

QR codes are barcodes that look like square puzzles. But when your smartphone’s barcode app scans it, you can be taken to a website, email, phone, . . . any other information that you can put online.

This website will generate QR codes for you, at no charge:  http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-generator/

Scroll down to the “Generate” header.  By default you will be shown the form to enter a URL.  (Other tabs give you the options of Message, Phone, SMS, or Email.)  Type or paste in the URL you want a code for, and submit.  It will give you back a picture file and HTML code to put on your website, if you wish.

If you have a smartphone handy, check out this code: QR Code(Hint: it will take you to the NWMAF website.)

For two examples of how I’ve used this, here are a poster and an ad for a roller derby program.

Self_Defense_at_Studio_9

Rat City Roller Girl Program Ad

Three things to keep in mind:  QR codes can be resized fairly small, but not too small or they can’t be read.  Consider how well your means of replication will be on code clarity (you may need to make it a bit larger if it will be seen as a photocopy of a photocopy). Finally, the code needs to be black on white, so don’t make the white background “clear” to better blend in, or it can’t be read.





Newsflash: Erin Weed on HubSpot TV Today!

26 03 2010

Today (March 26) Erin Weed will be a guest on a live webcast for HubSpot TV, talking about the business/marketing side of women’s safety & self-defense. She’ll be sharing some marketing techniques being used at Girls Fight Back that blend a positive message of safety with the latest technology.

Today – Fri. 3/26/10
4pm EST
Click here to watch:  http://hubspot.tv

If you’re on Twitter, use #hubspotTV as a hashtag

If you miss it, you can watch the recording later by visiting the website.  You can also get it on iTunes or as a RSS feed.