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Your 2008 Web Marketing Plan

Dec 21, 2007
Below you'll find twelve ideas to drive qualified leads to your Web site over the next year. Even if you don't follow this exact order, it might make sense to start with January and February's tasks because they lay the foundation for the rest of the year.

January: Set Up Google Analytics. The reason why this is first on your month-by-month plan is because you should have a benchmark to compare to your year-end results. The reason I suggest Google Analytics over any other traffic report program is the price--free--and the quality, comprehension, and usability of the program.

February: Do a Keyword Analysis. If you use the language of your prospects they'll find you at the search engines. You can uncover the words they use through an in-depth keyword analysis.

We used to recommend keyword analyses to businesses in competitive industries. Now every industry is competitive on the Web, and chances are your competition has already had a keyword analysis done.

Use a tool like Keyword Discovery or WordTracker to help you discover what your prospects are Googling, or have a professional do an in-depth analysis.

March: Review Your Web Site. Take what you learned from your keyword analysis and rewrite the copy on your Web site. Focus on page titles, headers, and your body copy. It's also a good idea to read through your site and excise any out-of-date copy.

April: Gather Information. There are so many amazing resources out there for keeping up with what's going on in your industry...or--better yet--your customers' industries. One of the best ways to manage all of this incoming information is through RSS: Real Simple Syndication.

Blogs, podcasts, search engines and many Web sites can generate newsfeeds that you can subscribe to and manage in one place. Set up a free account at Bloglines or a personalized Google page and start subscribing. Then watch targeted news and information flow your way.

May: Get Social with Social Media. Social media Web sites are places where your customers and prospects congregate. You should be there. Don't look at this as a place to push your products and services, but rather to listen and learn. B2C companies should check out MySpace, while any business can benefit from a presence on Facebook or LinkedIn.

June: Focus on Your Blog. With your keyword analysis under your belt and a fresh delivery of news and information on your chosen areas of expertise, posting regularly to your blog should be a snap.

I can't think of anything that can jumpstart your organic search engine visibility and establish your expertise and credibility quicker than a focused, content-rich blog.

Beginners: If you don't have a blog and aren't ready to take the leap, consider finding the influential bloggers in your niche, then read and comment intelligently on their blog. It will be a good first step into the blogosphere.

Experts: Set a goal of doubling the number of subscribers to both your RSS and email feeds. Put your feed signup "above the fold," if it's not there already.

July: Get Ready for Your Close Up. Most Web marketers agree: video is the killer app. Videos engage people in ways that words often fail to do. Search engines such as Google and Ask are returning video with traditional Web pages.

If you already have videos on your site consider setting up a free account at YouTube, starting your own channel, and uploading your videos there. A single video might bring you thousands of visitors.

August: Spread the Word with Article Marketing. Article marketing is an underutilized method of reaching thousands of prospects that would have never heard of you otherwise.

By sending out short, targeted articles through an article distribution service such as iSnare or The Phantom Writers, you can drive links and traffic back to your Web site or blog.

Use your completed keyword research to help you write compelling, click-worthy articles that can't be ignored.

September: Dust Off Your Email Newsletter. Email may be getting a bad rap these days due to low delivery rates, but it's still a cost-effective way of reaching a wide swath of Internet users. Remember: no one's ever coming back to your Web site. Ever. Not even your Mom. So get over it.

Instead, provide a compelling reason for them to subscribe to your email newsletter so that you can stay in contact with them and retain front-of-mind real estate for when they're ready to make a buying decision.

October: Publish Your eBook. Remember when I told you to set up Google Analytics? Well, now it's time to review your stats and find out which keyword phrases are driving the most traffic to your site.

Maybe it's "deep fry a turkey." Or "spanking alternatives." Or "buying carbon emission credits."

Whatever's driving traffic to your site is an opportunity for an eBook topic. It's an itch that needs scratching. Now, start writing.

November: Give an Ear (or a Voice) to Podcasts. You don't have to host your own podcast to realize and leverage the power of podcasting.

You can find podcasts in your niche or industry by browsing the podcast directory in the Apple iTunes store. (Don't worry: they're almost invariably free, and no, you don't need an iPod to listen to a podcast, just a computer.)

Listening may give you the impetus to start your own or to at least contact some podcasters in your industry and see if they want to interview you.

December: Put on a Webinar. The cost of putting on Webinars has come down in recent years. Yugma.com offers free and inexpensive methods to create your own Webinars, then you can record them and sell them as digital downloads.

Whatever you method for delivery, Webinars allow you to communicate with many people at once anywhere in the world.

In Conclusion: 2008 is going to be your best year ever...if you start planning now. Don't try and do everything at once, but budget time every month to accomplish your goals for that month.
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