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The Simple Truth About Online Marketing And Your Consulting Biz

Aug 17, 2007
Keywords, optimization, black hat, pay per click, affiliate links, search engine rank, hits, meta tags, analytics...aaaaahhhhh! What does it all mean? And what does it mean for your new business?

If you're like me, you may be embarking on a new chapter in your professional life, building a career as a consultant. You've probably left your previous position with enough knowledge and real-world experience to fill several books. Now you're ready to leverage that information into a new career. You've heard of people just like you building consulting businesses and it sounds great -- work from home, drop the suit and high heels, and finally enjoy the freedom that comes with being your own boss.

And being your own boss means wearing a lot of hats. Juggling the books, writing your business plan, managing your website...and last but certainly not least, getting your name out there. Marketing your services is the critical piece to building a successful consulting business. You've got enough business smarts to understand this -- no marketing lectures needed!

And you know you need a website. So you've hired a web designer, or taught yourself how to build a decent site, and now it's time to open the doors. Just launch it and they will find it, right? Hmmm, that's what I thought at first. And boy was I wrong. You've got to do a little work to get your site noticed among the millions and millions of sites out there. For example, do a Google search on "management consultant" and you'll find there are 134,000,000 sites to choose from. Yep, that's 134 million of us out there, my friend. And most online experts agree that the typical search engine user only clicks on the first page, or maybe two, of these search engine results. That leaves 133,999,980 management consultants out in the cold. Brrrrr.

So how do you get your site out of the cold and into the sunshine? If you've done any research on improving your search engine results position (or SERPs, as they are called), you've probably heard terms like the ones in the beginning of this article. It can be a bit daunting; some of these require an awful lot of technical expertise, or a big advertising budget, to even get started. And really, does it work? And how do you sort the good ideas from the bad?

Well, as you've done throughout your career, you go to the source for answers. Let's look at what the search engine experts say about all this.

According to the gurus at Google, you can improve your site's ranking by getting other sites to link to your page. It's that simple! Don't believe me? Visit Google's Webmaster Help Center and click on "My site's ranking in Google." It's there in black and white -- increase the number of good sites that link to yours, and you'll raise your visibility on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

Okay, that seems clear enough. Now how do you get other sites to link to yours? This is where the magic happens, and it's based on four simple ideas:
1. The Internet is built on content.
2. There are thousands of content publishers and hundreds of thousands of site owners constantly looking for fresh content for their newsletters, blogs, emails, websites and e-books.
3. These content publishers and sites have the potential to reach millions of readers, in very specific target markets.
4. You can connect with these readers by writing an article about your business expertise or experience and distributing it to all of these places.

No meta tags or SEO tricks, no worrying about web crawlers and spider bots, no pop-ups or hidden text...just write an interesting article, and submit it to the content-hungry publishers out there. They publish your article -- complete with your business information and a link back to you site -- and it starts to appear all over the Web. Those links mean better SERPs, and better SERPS means more traffic.

So how do you get your article out there to start driving traffic?

You can submit articles individually to content sites and forums. It doesn't cost anything to submit, other than your time. Lots of time. The easier option? Submit your article to an automated distribution service and let them send your article to their thousands of contacts. It's quick, easy and virtually goof-proof.

There are several of these article services out there, including:

--SubmitYourArticle.com. You can submit 4 articles each month for $37; they send articles out to about 10,000 people around the Web.

--ThePhantomWriters.com. They charge $35 per article, and offer a volume discount of 10 articles for $200. Their distribution list goes to about 20,000 webmasters and publishers.

--ArticleMarketer.com. Submit an unlimited number of articles here, for one low price. A quarterly membership is $79.99; or buy a lifetime membership for $499.99, and they send to more than 66,000 content publishers. You can even sign up for a free account, and send to more than 8,000 publishers.

Want to really build your exposure online? Just write! Write about your experiences, your expertise, your passion...share those real-world business stories with millions of readers around the world! No technical expertise required, no pricey SEO experts, no pay-per-click budget, and it works.

How do you know it works? You're reading this article! Now that's proof you can take to the bank!
About the Author
Nancy Amada is a freelance writer and marketing consultant working with small businesses. She is a frequent contributor to Article Marketer , a highly popular article distribution service. http://www.articlemarketer.com
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