Using Google to Your Advantage: Two Free Ways to Get More Web Traffic

Do you have a Web site? Take advantage of it! Draw people to your site, so they can learn more about your company, and then you have a chance of earning a new customer. There are so many ways to get people to your Web site, in a huge variety of price ranges. A great place to start is by taking advantage of the free ways of drawing Web traffic. Here are two great ways to do that!

  1. Submit Articles.

    What do you know that your potential customers might find useful? Write helpful, useful articles about subjects related to your industry, and those who read them will take notice! For instance, if you are an insurance agent, you could write about real-life ways to keep premium costs down, etc. Once articles are written, submit them to popular online article submission sites like and Put links within the articles that lead back to your Web site (within the site’s editorial guidelines) and you will create a stream of free traffic to your site. It’s typically free to submit your articles, and you also get a spot to put your own custom promotional text.

  2. Answer Questions.

    You probably have a lot of information about your industry -- useful information that people could benefit from. Go out and answer questions about your industry that people are asking on answer sites like and You can browse through the questions that might apply to the product you sell, so that you are only answering relevant questions. Then, you can add a note within your answer, to let the question-asking party know that you are available if they need any more advice or help. Some answer sites also allow you to include a link back to your own Web site, where you can direct them to find more information. This can improve your SEO efforts, which is an added benefit!

Submitting articles and answering questions is a great way to show what you know, position yourself as an expert in your industry, and draw more traffic to your Web site, all for FREE!

What is Content Marketing?

By now, most of us have heard more than enough about using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites for business. But have you heard the newly popular buzzword “Content Marketing”? This new marketing trend might just be your key to bringing in more Web traffic and leads for your organization, and can also enhance your public image.

Content marketing is basically the creation and distribution of useful information on the internet, in order to generate more good traffic to your Web site, and position you and your business as a thought leader. The information can be in the form of articles, white papers, videos, newsletters, webinars, blogs, podcasts, emails, and more.

These days, the majority of people research products on the internet. If they find the helpful information they are looking for in the content you have written or provided, free of charge, the customer can begin to view you as a useful source, rather than someone who just wants to push their product on you.

The idea behind content marketing is that as more and more prospects or customers view you as a useful informational source, good feelings are generated, brand awareness is enhanced, and you soon have a loyal, purchasing customer.

In order to be effective, content marketing cannot include sales-type text that is focused on the features your business offers. Instead, the information you provide should give them something of value, information that cannot be found just anywhere, but rather from you because of your expertise.

Not only do people appreciate your information, but so do Google and other search engines. Google just loves unique and original information, and will reward you for it with better rankings.

Here are some examples of how different companies could start up content marketing. (The best method will vary by business type!)

    • Heating and Air Conditioning Business:

      Create a newsletter where you provide monthly tips on how to maintain your furnace and air conditioner and tips on keeping heating and cooling bills down.

    • Retail Pet Store:

      Create a monthly e-mail marketing campaign, using the e-mails you collect from your customers, and send a monthly email about trends in pet care and ways to ensure the health of a pet.

    • Agricultural Products Distributor:

      Create a blog where you post one or two times a week about new technology available in your industry to farmers. Talk about how the new technology will (or won’t) help your customers. Let customers jump in and provide feedback on your comments.

Building a content marketing program takes time, but the rewards can be great, and you have to start somewhere! You might just be surprised how many people really want and need the information you have to offer.

Creating a Successful Direct Mail Piece… It’s More Than Just a Pretty Face!!

I think sometimes, we marketers make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on how a direct mail piece will look, rather than taking the time to execute a well thought out campaign. It is so easy to get excited about the size, graphics, and the color choices, that we fail to think about whom our target audience is, and what information of value can we give them, or what void or problem can our product solve.

As the marketing manager at Red Wing Software, a great emphasis is given to whom the message is being created for, i.e. existing customers, attendees for a trade show, or perhaps new prospects. Even though our graphic designer and I create the copy and design, input and ideas for the campaign can come from many different sources within our company. The sales team, technical support, development, and admin, all help us to pinpoint the right message.

For instance, when we created our new Fund Accounting Software, many months of research went into whom the right target audience would be, and what solutions would our software have that would be of value to municipalities and nonprofits. When it came to municipalities, we determined our software would be a great fit for small to mid-sized cities and towns. The goal of our first campaign was twofold, introduce our fund accounting software, and introduce our company itself. Thus our tagline “Big City Bang for Small Town Bucks” was born. We used this as our campaign slogan, it spoke to what our software was a good fit for, and our logo helped brand our company. You can click here to see an example of our first direct mail piece. To this day, this tagline is used on all of our direct mail pieces for fund accounting, as seen here in our 2011 campaign.

An important aspect for all successful direct mail campaigns is to have a good mailing list. Many companies buy lists for their prospecting or they create lists in-house using prospects or leads that have come in. When we prospect to a new market, we become members of the targeted groups associations, for instance, if we are prospecting small to mid-size municipalities in a certain state, we might join their League of Cities, and advertise in their publication, mail to their membership base, attend their trade show, etc. By taking the time to understand who our audience is, and what message of value we have for them, helps us to have a more successful direct mail campaign.

Three Unconventional Ways to Keep In Touch with Your Customers

I can still remember when the only way of reaching out to someone was by phone or mail, or in person. I know that many of you can too, even though the children in our lives are baffled when we tell them we had to actually just figure out plans ahead of time, talk in person, and sometimes, just wing it because we didn’t have a cell phone to call anybody. Of course, now there are cell phones, texting, e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook, and so many more ways of reaching people! Here are some unconventional (and also not too painful) ways to take advantage of today’s technology to stay in touch with your customers.

  1. E-mail a useful document

    You can find an unbelievable amount of information on the internet for free, including case studies, white papers, marketing tips, research information, instructional videos and much more! The next time you find something that could be useful to one of your customers, send them that document via e-mail. It only takes a few minutes to send, and your customer will appreciate the fact that you thought of them!

  2. Invite them to connect.

    Some of you are probably thinking, “This is not an unconventional way of communicating—it’s the norm.” But for some people, connecting via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is uncharted territory. A great place for a business to start connecting with customers on the internet is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a network of business professionals and is a place where you can learn all about your customers (if they are members), meet new contacts, join industry groups, answer business related questions, and much more. It’s completely free, too. Visit to learn more. In fact, I’d love to be your first connection! Click here to see my profile and invite me to be your connection.

  3. Invite them to a trade show.

    You are likely in an industry similar to your customer, so why not invite them to come along to the next trade show? If you are an exhibitor, some trade shows will pass out free passes for you to hand out to your customers. Take advantage of this, and provide your customers added value by letting them get in the doors for free. By the way, click here to view the Red Wing Software trade show calendar. If you are a customer interested in attending, we may be able to help. Send an email to with a subject line of TRADE SHOW to learn more. Please include your customer name.

Is Direct Mail Becoming … Extinct?

In this day of supersized technology, marketers and business owners might be starting to second guess their direct mail marketing. It is easy to see why direct mail is under the microscope, with e-mail campaigns, blogs, and Web sites with links to and from all areas of the Web, direct mail just looks so … yesterday.

Or is it? The goal of marketing has always been to reach prospects and customers alike, with campaigns that resonate with them and their needs, as well as to enforce the message or brand the marketer is trying to convey. A well thought out marketing campaign, may or may not include various forms of media, i.e. radio, TV, billboard ads, mass transit advertising, direct mail, and now E-mail campaigns, blogging and Web marketing. The point is good marketers have always layered their plans with multiple forms of marketing, with the goal of reaching many different prospects and customers, over a wide cross-section of demographics. Isolating marketing plans to just E-mail or Web marketing campaigns may not reach all of the intended audiences. Remember, there are still many prospects and customers who have not yet embraced all that technology has brought forth, and direct mail is still an excellent tool to reach out to this group.

I guess when all is said and done, I will continue to create a marketing plan that incorporates all that technology affords me, but direct mail will still hold a spot in that plan!!