Whether you are an established entrepreneur or a small-time businessman, Social Media is the place to stage your show. In this age of high digital exposure and huge competition you can’t afford to be sitting on the back-burner. Many businesses have lost no time in building their online presence as they realize the gravity of these platforms in the digitally-smitten, fast-paced world.

 

Earlier, websites and blogs were primary means of spreading the word online about your brand. With the advent of social media sites, your promotions can only be accelerated! More importantly, you can build a strong brand image across the online community by merely adhering to some basic etiquette.

 

If conventional advertising medium builds your brand image, Social Media goes a step ahead and also connects with your audience. There is a lot that businesses can benefit from these platforms including low cost, loads of technical aids and an eager audience waiting to provide their inputs. Research provides evidence of the biggest brands converting small pieces of feedback to hammer out their sales. People on Social Media sites are hungry for information and love to be responsive to it. When they interact with brands their final goal is to get value through rapid conversation, and social media furnishes them with such media through sites like Facebook, Twitter and more.

 

Since online users are more conditioned to receiving information from different online platforms, they can be quite selective of what they watch/listen/read. If you constantly batter them with promotional messages, you are bound to push them on the threshold of disassociating with your brand. Provide users with information or news that they’d want to know. When they get value from you, the audience will warm up to your brand and may want to spread the word about it. The ‘socially’ mature audience seek more interaction that sounds informal or personal. Here, the rules of communication are more open and two-way. So don’t make the mistake of trying to be in control of the conversation with endless advertising and marketing messages. Respond to their messages as you would have in person.

 

Some brands have yielded benefits out of the social interaction. They have stuck to the idea of two-way communication by using user feedback to their advantage. Using Social Media Marketing, these companies have built an active audience and engaged in conversations involving feedback and opinions from users. This reflects positively on the user as it shows genuine involvement and interest from your side. Although it’s not possible to interact with each and every user, be sure to implement their ideas and feedback to improve your business. Often, ideas germinate into constructive outgrowths.

 

Here are a few pointers to help you improve your brand positioning in the online world:

  • Social Media is deep. Keep your audience hooked with information through articles, videos, blogs, and other useful online services.
  • Listening is observation. Get creative and find ways to reach your audience for feedback. Interactive conversations can be one of them. Multiple participants will only help you understand shortcomings and improve upon them.
  • Only delivering marketing messages is not a good practice in Social Media. Since social media is a two-way channel, see that there’s more user involvement. Good and bad, user feedback can be an excellent source for improving your business.

 

Resource:

Know more about the innovative and inventive world of Social Media and the wonders it can do to your business. Download an entire chapter of Sales 3.0 – The New Contact Sport How To Use And Leverage Social Media Marketing For Small Business Sales Success by Doug Dvorak – CEO Digital Marketing Group & Milind Mody – CEO eBrandz.

 

About the Author:

I am actively involved in social media marketing and also write for the same. The book – “Sales 3.0 – The New Contact Sport How To Use And Leverage Social Media Marketing For Small Business Sales Success” has helped me get a detailed insight about the growing need of social media in today’s net-savvy world. This book is a must-read for people who want to win business and build concrete network through social media.

 

Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.

 

For more information visit http://www.salescoach.us or call 847-359-6969

 

Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided.

 

Copyright 2010 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.

 

Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching

 

 

 

What does a dashboard on a car do? It provides information to the driver about fuel, speed, miles traveled, and other relevant information. This data is helpful while driving a vehicle. Anybody that has driven or has traveled in a car knows that car dashboards give information that facilitates in making better driving decisions. For instance, indicating low fuel levels should alert the driver to refuel at the nearest gas station. The driver can also gauge how far away the car is from the intended destination by reading the miles covered or avoid traveling in the night if the battery levels are low.

 

In the world of business, specifically sales, sales dashboards can help to fulfill similar useful functions. The sales dashboard is a control panel that visually displays most information/data, on a single platform, needed to achieve one or more sales objectives. Perhaps the best definition of a dashboard is offered by Stephen Few, author of the book Information Dashboard Design, “A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives which fits entirely on a single computer screen so it can be monitored at a glance.”

 

The sales dashboard helps sales managers and executives to get a view of their sales organizations, all with juxtapositions at a glance. The data is current and relevant, comparative, and concise. Depending on the nature of the dashboard it can be referred to as a “Performance Dashboard”, “Business Dashboard”, “Executive Dashboard”, or “Metrics Dashboard”.

 

Sales managers can configure any of the above dashboards depending on the nature of their sales organization and goals set forth by the strategic sales plan and who is the reader of the dashboard. A dashboard can inform a sales manager about things such as: sales per rep by region, call to close ratio, margin analysis, what is the recent success level of any particular sales representative relative to other sales team members on his team; whether the sales figures in the current quarter are on target to meet sales goals; or are the sales figures in this quarter better than that of the sales figures of the same quarter the previous year. All of this rich and relevant data is only 1 mouse click away,

 

The Ideal Sales Dashboard

A sales dashboard carrying real time data is a unified interface that facilitates efficient and convenient access to the latest data among users in a business environment. Real time data on a sales dashboard cuts away redundancy in information and agonizing waiting periods. Access to information is instantaneous or with negligible latency.

 

A well managed real time sales dashboard minimizes wasted time and overheads by giving access to data and helping in taking decisions. Web analytics master Avinash Kaushik opines that, “dashboards empower a rapid understanding of business performance by tracking the critical business data in an easy to understand manner. Effective dashboards can be a very powerful communication medium and greatly accretive to driving actions.”

 

Some of the salient components of the above statement are:

  • Critical business data
  • Easy to understand
  • Accretive to driving actions

Critical Business Data- The data entered in to a dashboard should be critical to the business. The aim is to bridge the gap between strategic objectives and operational behavior. The data should align with strategy and there should not be any disconnect between what is measured and what is achieved. Since dashboards need to be concise and not lengthy like reports, all the data entered into them should be relevant. It then obviously follows that they should be accurate and not misleading.

 

Easy to Understand- Simplicity is another essential trait of good dashboards. Dashboards should be simple and easy to understand. They should isolate key metrics and incorporate charts wherever required.

 

Accretive to Driving Actions- The purpose of a dashboard is to provide information which could help in taking further actions. Nearly eighty percent of Web Analytics dashboards are extra Excel sheets that are not helpful in taking further actions. Wayne W Eckerson suggest in his new book, “Performance Dashboards”, “Performance Dashboards let busy executives, managers and staff view the performance of key business metrics at a glance and then move through successive layers of actionable information in a carefully guided manner, so that they get the insight they need to solve problems quickly, efficiently and effectively.”

 

At the touch of a button, a dashboard can unearth delinquent and deficient activities.

 

But for the dashboards to be effective, sales mangers should ensure that they keep these things in mind while preparing them:

 

  • Concise- Unlike reports, they don’t tell a story, they tell specifics. They just tell if sales are better or worse, but do not tell why it is so. Dashboards help business decisions by presenting key performance indicators (KPI) and have to be concise.
  • Relevant Data- Data that is remotely relevant should have no place in real time data dashboards. Inclusion of such data would make a dashboard unnecessarily lengthy.
  • Latest- The real time data must be current. Old data may be included for reasons of presenting a comparative picture. Data that is redundant has no use.
  • Clearly Visible- All data presented in the dashboard should be clearly visible and be available on a single platform or page.  Easy Access- Dashboards should be easily accessible by people for whom they are intended.
  • Updated in Real Time- Dashboards carrying real time data should have the feature of getting updated in real time and from remote locations if need be.
  • Graphs and Charts- Maps, charts, graphs, dials, and traffic lights can be included in the dashboard only to make data distinctly visible and not to make it look flashy.

 

It is in the interest of sales managers and organizations to recognize that a sales dashboard is only an enabler and not an answer. Creating and managing a sales dashboard is only a part of the bigger picture and should work towards bringing organizational change. Managed effectively, real-time data dashboards could be potent tools in aligning resources with strategy and realizing business initiatives and goals.

 

About the Author:

Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.

 

For more information visit http://www.salescoach.us or call 847-359-6969

 

Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided.

 

Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.

Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching

 

 

“Do not demand accomplishment of those who have no talent. Do not charge people to do what they cannot do. Select them and give them responsibilities commensurate with their abilities.” – Sun Tzu, Great Chinese Military Thinker

 

We cannot blame our sales managers if this thought is lost on them. Sun Tzu had written these words 2500 years ago in an essay “The Art of War” and moreover it was in China. But it is wonderful to note that how appropriate and useful are these words in today’s business world, especially in sales.

 

Improved legislation from the WTO and other international trading organizations have facilitated smoother trading relationships between economies. With the crumbling of protectionist barriers today’s business world has become truly global. It makes sense to hire the best possible talent to succeed in a competitive business environment that transcends national boundaries.

 

Businesses would admit without much hesitation that often their hiring decisions have proved too costly for them. At times they have hired “sales personalities” and found that they had only posited faith in a popular myth. Wrong hiring decision costs much more than actually estimated by sales managers. Unsuitable and incapable sales staffs do not only impede growth of the organization, they drag it back. It takes two years to rectify the problem of hiring the wrong sales person. If hiring the right sales persons is difficult it is a challenge to retain them on a long term basis.

 

It is possible to hire and retain the best sales talent. The following steps would help a great deal in that direction.

 

  • Attract the Best Talent: Whether hiring locally or globally the challenges posed are similar – how to attract the best talent. Offering the best possible compensation and perks as well as an encouraging work environment will create a premier pool of applicants. The challenge is to separate the suitable from the unsuitable. From posting the advertisements for filling up sales vacancies to the final handing over of the employment letters, organizations should plan everything to hire the best possible talent. They should know where talented sales achievers would look for a change of job. Campus interviews are good if raw talent is the target. Referrals from dependable employment agencies and current employees work well in the case of experienced hands when the referring parties know the exact nature of job expectation of the sales position.
  • Creating the Right Profile: The desired profile of the candidates should be created by observing the current lot of outstanding sales performers that the organization has. Some of their traits, if not all, are what the organization should look forward to have in the candidates. Of course, the candidate should have the potential and willingness to develop the remaining traits that are absent in them. Candidates must have multiple profile characteristics such as: high self- motivation, good sales skills, intelligence, empathy, and integrity. Candidates strong in a single characteristic profile or lacking any characteristic profile should be avoided.
  • Having the Correct Selection Method: The HR department that has the primary responsibility of screening candidates should work in perfect tandem with the sales department, which is often not the case. Psychologists Frank L. Schmidt and John E. Hunter have determined in a study about the effectiveness of different employee selection techniques that work sample tests, which simulate important parts of the job are the most accurate predictor of job success. Structured interviews with a predetermined set of questions and a consistent method of scoring candidates is the second best predictor of job success. The sales and HR department should work together to design the tests and questionnaires.
  • Seal the Deal: Once suitable candidates are identified negotiations should be made to get the signed copy of the employment offer. Delay could result in the desired candidate opting to join elsewhere. Retaining talented and efficient sales staff on a long term basis is a challenge. Sales people have vast contacts and have information about openings in other sales organizations. Dissatisfaction with their current organization would prompt them to explore a new sales opportunity with another company. To avoid this, the following tips will be helpful.
  • Giving the True Picture: While recruiting candidates the HR personnel and the sales manager should give the correct nature of the job and not hide anything that may latter cause disappointment on the part of the new hires. It works against an organization when it tries to drum up the pluses and hides the minuses of working with it. The policy of non-discrimination on the basis of gender, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or ethnicity should actually be in practice.
  • Adequate Appreciation and Compensation: Achievers in sales should be praised for their efforts by way of appreciative compliments and adequate incentives and perks. When the times are tough achievers may consider forgoing monetary compensation. But what no human being can do without is the recognition of his/her achievements. Give generous doses of positive reinforcements to achievers.
  • Ignoring occasional failures and not being overly critical would help a lot in this direction. Having a Long Term Plan: Having a long term career plan for achievers with the prospect of promotion, employee stock option plans, and possible retirement benefits would encourage sales personnel to stick with the organization for a long time.

 

Efforts towards hiring the best talent and retaining them should be robust. Financially, it makes a lot of sense and saves precious time as well as energy.

 

Having good recruitment and employee retaining practices would yield tangible results if they are implemented with the spirit with which they are created. The willingness to implement the practices must come from the top management.

 

About the Author:

Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.

 

 For more information visit http://www.salescoach.us or call 847-359-6969

 

Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided.

 

Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.

 

Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching

 

Chicago, IL 847-359-6969, doug@dougdvorak.com

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of editing and organizing the content on a webpage or across a web site to increase its potential relevance to specific keywords on specific search engines and importantly ensuring that external links to the site are correctly titled and in abundance.

 

This is done with the aim of achieving a higher organic search listing and thus increasing the volume of traffic from search engines.

 

SEO is one of the key web marketing activities and can target different kinds of searches, including image search, local search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

 

SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Optimizing a web site primarily involves editing its content and HTML coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Sometimes a site’s structure (the relationships between its content) must be altered too. Because of this it is, from a client’s perspective, always better to incorporate Search Engine Optimization when a web site is being developed than to try and retroactively apply it.

 

Another class of techniques, known as black hat SEO or spamdexing, use methods such as link farms and keyword stuffing that degrade both the relevance of search results and the user-experience of search engines. Search engines look for sites that employ these techniques in order to remove them from their indices.

 

The term ‘Search engine friendly’ refers to a web site that has been search optimized

 

Getting Indexed on Search Engines

The leading search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. Some search engines, notably Yahoo!, operate a paid submission service that guarantee crawling for either a set fee or cost per click. Such programs usually guarantee inclusion in the database, but do not guarantee specific ranking within the search results. Yahoo’s paid inclusion program has drawn criticism from advertisers and competitors. Two major directories, the Yahoo Directory and the Open Directory Project both require manual submission and human editorial review. Google offers Google Webmaster Tools, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that aren’t discoverable by automatically following links.

 

Search engine crawlers may look at a number of different factors when crawling a site. Not every page is indexed by the search engines. Distance of pages from the root directory of a site may also be a factor in whether or not pages get crawled.

 

Eye tracking studies have shown that searchers scan a search results page from top to bottom and left to right (for left to right languages), looking for a relevant result. Placement at or near the top of the rankings therefore increases the number of searchers who will visit a site. However, more search engine referrals does not guarantee more sales. SEO is not necessarily an appropriate strategy for every web site, and other Internet marketing strategies can be much more effective, depending on the site operator’s goals. A successful Internet marketing campaign may drive organic traffic to web pages, but it also may involve the use of paid advertising on search engines and other pages, building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, addressing technical issues that may keep search engines from crawling and indexing those sites, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure their successes, and improving a site’s conversion rate.

 

Search Engine Optimization as a Marketing Strategy

SEO may generate a return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors. It is considered wise business practice for web site operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic. A top-ranked SEO blog Seomoz.org has reported, “Search marketers, in a twist of irony, receive a very small share of their traffic from search engines.” Instead, their main sources of traffic are links from other web sites.

 

What It Means to be Google, Yahoo and Bing Fit

This simply means that your web site should be in the best shape so that it becomes easily searchable on the three most popular search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your web site attains search engine fitness when it is in optimal shape for processing by the search engines. Such optimization increases your site’s chance to rank at the tops of search results, which increases web traffic, which improves business results.

 

The first step toward that is to derive a set of keywords that these search engines love and which will promote your website. As getting the membership of a gym doesn’t automatically build muscles, simply getting keywords related to your web site will not build your web site’s fitness for these search engines.

 

The content of your web site should be written and/or rewritten with appropriate mixing of these keywords. The incorporated keywords should be as per the norms of search engine rules and policies. Too many keywords could risk the banning of your web site by the search engines, while too few would not deliver the desired results and defeat the entire purpose of adding keywords. Just as the right amount of time spent on exercise would result in superb muscles, enriching the content with the right amount of keywords will result in a search engine-ready web site.

 

Don’t be Afraid of Spiders

Search engine ‘spiders’ are computers and they use a complex algorithm that our SEO experts understand. Apart from adding keywords to the content, there are hundreds of other factors related to search engine optimization. As a novice if you dabble in this you may overdo things and then risk getting your web site banned (Black-Hatted) from the search engine(s) altogether (not a good outcome). Proper netiquette means walking the line between Black Hat and White Hat SEO practices. Black Hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies and techniques that focus solely on search engines and not a human audience: this is basically gaming the system and is not appropriate for companies with a long-term business model. On the other hand, White Hat SEO refers to the usage of SEO strategies, techniques and tactics which focus on a human audience as opposed simply to search engines, and completely follow search engine rules and policies. In short, Optimization is thus best left to an SEO professional: there’s no point in getting to the top if you don’t stay there. We can help you do both.

 

A certified fitness coach knows exactly how to target muscle groups to help with growth, appearance and performance. Left to your own devices, you may over-do or work out very little to get any visible benefit. Or worse still, you may injure yourself by not exercising in the proper way. Exercising according to the plan of a certified gym coach will slowly and yet definitely yield results. Similarly, efficient SEO professionals are capable of improving the ranking of your web site through a systematic approach. They would know what keywords to use and how many times in the content. They will suggest creating blogs for your web site and making them popular in social media networks. Other SEO strategies include techniques such as social bookmarking, adding images and creating links that will push up the ranking of your web site. Combining a host of factors, a dependable SEO professional will optimize your web site just as a certified fitness coach combines exercise, nutrition, and rest to shape your body.

 

 

By Doug Dvorak | CEO & President – SEO Solutions Massive improvements and latest additions to search engine optimization techniques have transformed the concept of SEO and have taken it to a new level. Selecting a dependable SEO vendor can be a tricky issue when there are so many SEO vendors present offering their services. With so much change taking place in this area of Internet marketing, you will be better served if you ask a set of crucial questions of your potential SEO Partners to help in finalizing a SEO vendor.

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After the temporary glitch (dot com bust) there is no looking back for the Internet. The speed by which it has transformed business since then is amazing and continues at mach speed.

 

Businesses of any size cannot afford to ignore the power of the Internet to boost their sales, specifically, the power of Search Engine Optimization – SEO. Other than fulfilling the role as a source of knowledge, a way of communication, and a platform for socialization, the Internet has emerged as an important market place. From applying for a mortgage on-line to buying shirts – almost everything can be done on the Internet now. Nearly 50 million adults now bank online. There is a lot of business being conducted on the Internet, otherwise what could explain the 150 million users registered with PayPal, an online financial transaction organization. The flea market has gone to the Internet in the form of eBay.

 

The advertising trend is veering away from TV and the print media. The focus is now on the Internet. In 2011 the spending on Internet advertisements will amount to $61.98 billion, eclipsing print and TV advertising. This is a clear indication how businesses view the Internet as a medium to influence buyer’s decisions and sales.

 

Expediency of Search Engine Optimization

 

Today, many businesses have their web sites hosted on the Internet. But that doesn’t automatically result in more people visiting their site or producing more sales and profits. There are millions of web sites on the Internet and a web site remaining unnoticed is not a difficult task. The trick is to be more visible on the Internet, especially on the major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing (GYM).

 

Research shows that when somebody is looking for information about a product or service with the help of a search engine on the Internet, the decision to buy a particular brand is made within the first two pages of search results. Businesses should therefore strive to appear in the first two pages to get a chance to be picked.

 

This means web sites of businesses need to be get picked by the search engine spiders and ranked high up in the web search results. And the technique to improve search engine visibility has come to be known as search engine optimization (SEO). Professionals well versed with this technique are regarded as SEO experts. Their endeavor is to make web sites stand out against competition in the search results of old search engines like, Google, Yahoo, Bing, (GYM) as well as the “new kids on the block”: Hakia, Enetez, and True Knowledge.

 

SEO for Small and Big Business

 

Businesses that have typically smaller marketing budgets compared with the big corporations need SEO desperately. Their channels of marketing are limited and manpower at their disposal is less. The potential customers of these businesses surf the Internet. By using the Internet and search engine optimization techniques and technologies businesses can capture a sizable part of their market. Having a web site therefore is an easy option for them as a web site can be created and hosted for a few hundred dollars. Sending free e-news letters, informing clients about your products and services, speaking about your business goals, and facilitating of placing orders on-line, and receiving payment online, business owners find a well optimized web site to be a solid tool for their business.

 

As mentioned earlier, creating and hosting a business web site is only a part of a successful Internet marketing program and strategy. It becomes meaningful only when potential customers start hitting the business web site in growing numbers. Search engine optimization takes care of this problem by making the web site more prominent. Again search engine optimization isn’t overly expensive. Small businesses will find that employing SEO techniques is affordable and effective. Moreover, the money spent on SEO yields returns equal to or greater than the initial SEO investment, so there should not be a second thought about the SEO venture. The only thing required to be taken care of is the choice of a proven search engine optimization expert. The Internet is a great leveler and the size of a business doesn’t matter here. With the help of SEO as an effective marketing tool, a small business can not only stand out in its own class but can take on the big giants as well.

 

Big corporation and businesses targeting global audiences find the Internet as the cheapest way to reach customers. They employ sophisticated search engine optimization methods using the latest Web 2.0 and social media optimization technologies.

 

Customers all over the world looking for better products and services. It is unfair to hide when your customers are looking for you.

The Internet is no longer the same that it was five years ago. Terms such as: Folksnomy, social media, Wikis were unheard then. From a tool of communication and simple data sharing it has been transformed in to an essential tool for many crucial activities in life. It’s a growing hub of activities that uses the latest technologies and influences all walks of life, especially business and commerce. The increasing utility of latest technologies provided on the Internet has given rise to the term Web 2.0. Using the web as the platform, Web 2.0 capitalizes on the strengths of the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 signifies the usage of the latest tools such as: audio, video, blogs, social networking, folksonomy, wikis, syndication etc. on the Internet to promote business. Web 2.0 encapsulates the idea of higher interconnectivity and social interactions.

 

Web 2.0 and Google Rankings

Many of the Web 2.0 features are favorable for better Google rankings. Google loves blogs. Wikis and blogs are primed for search engine visibility. Blogs and wikis have out performed and replaced comments, third party reviews, and forums. Why has this happened? Because blogs and wikis are textually rich, heavily interlinked, and rooted in semantic mark up. Moreover, they are frequently updated. All these are amenable for better Google rankings.

 

Not all Web 2.0 features work well for better Google rankings. AJAX for instance, baffles search engine spiders. Google uses AJAX in its gmail program where you can open or close threads of email conversations without reloading the page. But AJAX is rarely Google search friendly. However, XML and RSS are search engine friendly. Leveraging XML, RSS, mirror sites, and syndication services keeps the search-referred traffic flowing.

 

The evolution of pod- and videocasting has been possible because of RSS feed (Rich Site Summary). Google search picks up RSS feeds better. When you have audio or video files available for download it’s the RSS feed with audio or video enclosures that makes a podcast visible to search engine spiders.

 

Social Media Optimization and Google Ranking:

Web sites do not just provide information. They elicit opinions, encourage addition of value, and prod information sharing through linking. People have become more interactive on the Internet and they do not just download they upload too. This is where social media comes in to the picture. Internet users frequently visit social networking web sites and create their profiles, checkout others’ profiles, and post comments. Posting of pictures, audios, and videos have become the general practice. The idea is not to have a web site, but to take your web site to other web sites and encourage more visitors to the web site through high quality content and interesting pictures.

 

Social media optimization (SMO) is essentially a concept of marketing that is very similar to word-of-mouth marketing or viral marketing. SMO is a set of methods applied to optimize a web site or blog in the social media such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, and other platforms and sites of social web communities. Unlike the direct method of marketing this technique targets social groups on the Internet. A profile or weblog may be created in any one or more of the web communities in the social media. The profile or weblog will have to be linked to other blogs and web sites. Alternatively a blog may be created on your own web site and that blog may be linked to other web sites and blogs.

 

Adding RSS feeds, “Digg This” button, Flickr photos, and You Tube videos are some of the essential social optimization techniques that leads to improved Google rankings. Submitting to blog search engine Technorati is as an important social media optimization method as is social book marking. Social media optimization frequently uses Web 2.0 techniques.

 

Adding RSS feeds, “Digg This” button, Flickr photos, and You Tube videos are some of the essential social optimization techniques that leads to improved Google rankings. Submitting to blog search engine Technorati is as an important social media optimization method as is social book marking. Social media optimization frequently uses Web 2.0 techniques.

 

Link exchange is a common feature of social media where users visit each other’s blogs and leave their comments and links back to their blogs. If you follow some of these web 2.0 and social media optimization techniques you will generate more unique traffic to your web site and gain greater Google rankings quicker.

Prospects are important in sales – without them it’s like a salesman without a job. Thoughtful prospecting translates in to actual sales. The ratio of actual sales to prospects goes up when leads are worked …

 

Fifteen years ago a sales person required business cards, a pair of shiny shoes, a firm handshake, and the stamina to walk and search for prospects in office buildings, industrial parks and residential blocks. Five years ago sales people needed to learn how to use the pc and send sales letters via email. Now the same things are still required except the need to sweat for prospects. Search engines have made prospecting a lot easier.

 

Along with a winning attitude prospecting requires the use of the latest technology, namely the Internet and its search engines – GYM – Google, Yahoo and Bing. Prospecting on the search engines is the most convenient way of locating potential buyers. Instead of traveling great distances and moving from building to building in search of prospects a smart sales person locates prospects at the press of a few key buttons.

 

The Internet is a humongous library with a sea of information and knowledge about consumer behavior, tastes, and preferences. A salesperson can get an accurate picture of the trends in the market from the Internet. Survey reports and study findings are periodically published on the Internet from time-to-time. These reports give the exact picture of market trends. A sales person can then design his sales approach and zero on prospects based on the knowledge gathered from the Internet.

 

Search Engines for Geographical Location of Prospects

 

Search engines have a liking for yellow pages and directories. They rank them high up in the search rankings. Prospecting becomes easy when a sales professional accesses a yellow page through the search engine that is not available in print version.

 

Search engines are the tools that will facilitate prospect search on the basis of geographical locations. Googling “jewelry shops in New York” will pop up the names and locations of all the jewelry shops in New York. A jewelry sales person will get access to the contact information of thousands of jewelry shops that may turn out to be qualified prospects. Even if there are printed versions of the yellow pages available, search engines can beat them in terms of narrowing down searches to specific geographical regions which the yellow pages cannot. If it’s the up market clients one is thinking of prospecting for jewelry, the Fifth Avenue & 57th Street jewelry shops and malls could be tracked on the search engines. Contact information of not only jewelry shops, but malls and shopping centers that may turn out as qualified prospects in this area can also be searched on the same page.

 

Prospects on Social Media

 

Similarly it is easy to find target prospects on the basis of their interests, hobbies, age group and other demography. Search engines can do here what no yellow page book can do. Young prospects can be targeted in social networking web sites such as: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr etc. A lawyer specializing in adoption related cases can get a lot of prospects in forums and web sites that deal with adoption. Travelers keep touch with others and their family members on a web site www.wayn.com (where are you now). Pet lovers share their love for pets in various portals.

 

Establishing a good rapport with influential members of these social networking groups can lead to the generation of a large number of prospects and sales similar to viral marketing. Every social networking group has a few connoisseurs. Their opinions are held in high esteem and their online actions are duplicated without much question. If they buy or give a positive review of a product the majority of the network members prefers the product.

 

Emails and Prospecting

 

Search engines can give access to a host of email directories where the members submit their email IDs willingly to receive sales offers. specials and product campaigns from sellers. Their willful membership is the guarantee of the fact that the sales letters will not be treated as spam. All of these letters may not be read and replied. But the mere assurance that these letters will not be categorized as spam is encouraging enough. Chances are that a good number of emails will be responded to and will eventually lead to qualified prospects or sales.

 

Technology can shape and influence business decisively. Search engines have been able to do so demonstrably in the fields of sales and sales prospecting in particular.