Are You on Facebook? Do You “Like” People and Pages? Should You Care if Someone Wants You to “Like” Them?

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As of May 2013, there were 1.11 BILLION Facebook users. This is about one in seven humans on this planet. Now, think about the fact that this seven billion Earth population includes:

  • Senior citizens who have chosen not to adopt this technology

  • Children who are too young for Facebook pages

  • People in prisons, hospitals or other institutions around the world

  • People without the literacy skills to participate

  • People without the electricity or digital infrastructure to participate

  • And people who just don’t care.

You’ll see that among the remaining population, Facebook presence is going to be pretty pervasive. Chances are pretty good that you are among them or that you have at least roamed the site with someone else’s help. Chances are also pretty good that the majority of your customers or clients are on Facebook.

Maybe you have seen that someone posted a notice that said, “Go to my (business/musician/fan) page and LIKE ME!”

Why do they do this? What difference does it make? Is this some kind of popularity contest or ego boost for them?

They are seeking an advantage with the search engines. One Search Engine Optimization expert noted that if your social media presence grows in strength, the strength of your related websites will also grow. This means that having a fan page on Facebook is a good idea to strengthen your primary website.

The Major Social Media Sites

Of course, Facebook is not the only social medium by a very long shot. It’s number one, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace and Google+.

Twitter: text message exchange service with more than 300 million messages posted each day.

LinkedIn: social networking for professionals.

Pinterest: pinboard-style photo sharing site.

MySpace: social networking site with an emphasis on music; preceded Facebook.

Google+: social networking site that is married into Google search results.

If you really want to own your social media presence, you’d occupy space in each of these worlds.

You might have to pick and choose, depending on your business. A hairdresser could have an excellent presence on all these pages, as could a custom body shop. Imagine the images of classic cars and great paint jobs a custom body shop could post to Pinterest! A hairdresser or nail technician could post images on Pinterest of their own projects or inspiration for customers.

A restaurant might post pictures to social media of events that were held at the restaurant. A gourmet restaurant or deli might post images of great dishes, even if they didn’t come from that business and post recipes to Facebook. Potential customers will get accustomed to being inspired by this restaurant which will create a favorable relationship. Even a landscaper could post seasonal advice to Twitter and Facebook, and images of beautiful gardens to a Pinterest page.

If you commit to a social media campaign, you will accumulate the most value if you are consistent. If it’s possible, make it part of your life to stop by your social media pages and leave comments, advice or news. This will get people accustomed to seeing your posts and if they are interesting and useful, they will click on links to your site when you include these. Thus the traffic to your website can grow, to be followed by customer interest and sales.

Facebook will help you get started. Just click on the icon in the upper right corner, the one that looks like a little gear. Then scroll down and click on Advertising. This will give you step by step instructions on building a new page.

Of course, you can buy services from Facebook, but you can get started on your own page without any cost, and make it popular by posting interesting and useful information.

If you need help or just want to talk about this in more detail, send me an email or give me a call any time.

Carlos Bernot

877-775-2530

carlos@visualedgedesign.com

How Emails Can Profit Almost Any Business

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I would be willing to bet you that anyone who is active on the internet gets plenty of email traffic from businesses they have frequented. Now, I’m not talking here about offensive spam. You know which ones I mean – the kind that you wish you have a “Delete and Destroy” button for, not just “Delete.” No, you really don’t need to buy counterfeit Viagra from a foreign country, thanks anyway.

I’m talking about emails from websites you have purchased from, or local businesses you visit regularly. If the businesses you frequent are on the ball, they collect email addresses, especially from the more dedicated customers, and send them useful or informative messages that generate more business.

At a health food store I frequent, there is almost always a clipboard at the checkout lane that invites me to add myself to the email list. It’s interesting to me to note that there are always names on this list. People add themselves to this list every day and since this has been going on for years, this store must have tens of thousands of people on their email distribution list by now.

Take a Tip from the Power Company

So what can you do to increase the viability of your company, once you have these email addresses? Power companies in various cities have had the habit of adding a little electric company newsletter to their bills for many years. You’ve probably seen these, maybe read them or at least glanced at them. For me, it always created the impression that there were real people somewhere in the power company, not just wires coming to my house. Don’t know if that was their intent but it was what I noticed.

There are many effects you can create on your customers and potential customers by sending them regular emails.

You can, for example:

  1. Remind them that you are still alive. This is sort of rock bottom, but it is far better than their wondering if you’re still over there on the corner of State and Main, still in business.

  2. Explain your products or services better. A car repair company can explain what happens when tires get worn. An insurance company can help people understand who should have term life insurance. A hair salon can explain how hair problems can be solved with a new line of products.

  3. Give people a reason to buy now. Send out coupons or special prices for certain products that month.

  4. Remind people of special needs they might have for your services at that time of year. A boutique could stock a supply of prom dresses before these events start and send out photos of the dresses in emails, even offering to schedule an appointment for shopping or a fitting. An auto repair shop could recommend a winter roadworthiness check. A heating and air conditioning company could send reminders of pre-summer checks for AC or pre-winter checks for heaters.

  5. Tell people about special events, open houses, experts coming to your business to give presentations, workshops.

  6. Find out what your customers want or how their needs might be changing just by asking them outright.

Emails can do a lot of work for you. By sitting down once every few months and brainstorming out a bunch of ideas, you can send a weekly or bi-weekly email without having to stress over it each month. With regular communication like this, you can markedly enhance your relationship with current or future customers.

And if you have a fairly large list, let’s say a few thousand at least, then sending from your own email account might not be such a great idea because of issues with your service provider. If that’s the case, get with us and we can help set you up with a method.

Where is your customer at?

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Writing for the Right Reader: Where is he/she at in using your product or service?

When you are adding content to your website, you (or whoever is writing for you) should be able to describe the person who is likely to be looking for your product or service. The content you add should talk directly to that type of person (or those types of people, if there is more than one description) for the best effect.

If you have a lawn service, for example, it may be that most of the people who contact you to start service are female, and the household tends to have a certain level of income so they can afford to hire a lawn service. There may be certain neighborhoods that have a heavier proportion of lawns that are serviced by outside companies.

If you have a bike shop, you may have multiple categories of customers. You may have a great selection of mountain bikes, road bikes and children’s bikes. You may have staff specially trained to focus on each type of sale. You will need to understand the buyers in each category and appeal to each of them with custom content addressing the needs of each group.

Are they Users? Buyers? Researchers?

You also need to understand where they are at in the buying cycle. For a higher priced purchase especially, most people browse repeatedly before they buy. By building in a robust feature that lets people browse and research without commitment, you can appeal to this pre-customer.

For a buyer, a feature that lets a person build a custom bike just to their liking helps people create that dream in their minds. That service may just cause them to walk in your front door when they are ready to buy. I like the way that car companies let you build your dream vehicle online. (I just visited the Ford Motor Company website and compiled my dream pickup truck. My only complaint was that the site did not update the image as I added features. Now I just need the $32,000 to make my dream come true.)

If they are already owners, they may need help maintaining their purchases. You can appeal to these customers by putting repair manuals online, by providing an ideal maintenance schedule they can download, by offering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for repair of their bikes, a price list for routine maintenance and other features. You could also ask people to sign up for a seasonal alert service – you capture email addresses and send out reminders to get a tune-up in the spring or tips on storing a bicycle over the winter. You can also offer notifications about local bicycle races, and even new shipments of popular bikes.

A bicycle owner who has a high-performance road bike may want to hear about races but a mom buying a child’s first bike may want to hear about safety classes.

Also Contributes to Search Engine Optimization

Here is the REAL point of working out where your customers are at in the buying cycle. If you do create customized content for the different types of people who will be looking for your products or services, it’s pretty automatic that you are going to also be creating quality content in the eyes of search engines. And this is the Age of Quality Content. Every search engine out there is refining their operations to offer the most relevant content possible to keep people from switching over to another search engine.

If you are doing your own writing, keep this in mind. If you have someone else write for you, make sure this is foremost in his/her mind. Search engines will like it – your customers and potential customers will like it – this means more business in the door by way of your website. 

Building Authority for Better Search Engine Optimization

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The game of having a successful website has a lot to do with search engine optimization. And as just about everyone in the world knows, the most popular search engine is Google. It’s a little scary, how much influence this company has, but I can’t really argue with their intent. They keep modifying their functionality with the goal of providing the user with useful, reliable information.

The concept of “authority” has long existed in the Google universe. Google attempts to find measurable criteria for determining if a website possesses authority and if it does, it places that website up higher in the search results.

For years, companies tried to artificially build up their authority. And for the last few years, Google has found ways to penalize companies who used these artificial means.

For example, the number of links to a website tends to show its authority. There are plenty of links to CNN, to YouTube and to Facebook. For several years, there were websites that simply sold links from that website to yours. Of they would trade a link on their site for one on yours. This worked for a while but then stopped working.

Why Purchased Links Don’t Work

I know one company who used this method and every other sneaky trick in the book to obtain scads of links to their website. It worked – for a while. I tried to tell them that this was simply not sound marketing but they didn’t want to hear it. When Google overhauled its system for recognizing authority and stopped counting these non-authoritative links when preparing search engine results, this company got hit very hard. I don’t know how many millions of dollars they lost. They had been relying heavily on a couple of strong websites and they practically had to start over.

This brings us back to quality content once again. If you add useful, accurate information to your site, you’re going to build authority. It might be a bit slow, but you’re going in the right direction.

Now, you should be creating posts on Facebook and adding tweets to Twitter about the information you post. This will get people going to your site and reading. And if your information is useful, you will start building links the right way. People will share the information on Facebook or Twitter. Or a few people might mention your site in their blog posts. It’s all going in the right direction.

The age of a website is also a factor. There’s really no solution for that one except to add more valid content and let it age – like a fine wine!

No Duplication

I can remember the days when it used to work to copy large amounts of data from – oh, say a government site – and pad out your website with it. You used to see this a lot – long pages that quoted government publications. It totally doesn’t work now. In fact, duplicative content of any kind is useless and will actually work against a website.

Maybe you’ve never quoted long passages from public domain information. But if you run articles in more than one place on your websites, or on more than one website you own, you need to stop. All your content needs to be unique. Really, truly unique.

Any business is going to be talking about the same materials, products and uses in many of their articles and that is not the problem. Just assume it needs to be unique and useful.

It might work to think of Google as Santa Claus. “He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.” Google keeps building the ability to operate in more intelligent ways so trying to outsmart them is not useful. Just keep adding quality, timely, useful, accurate information in as much volume as you can. Promote your services and drive people to the site. Let Google take over from there.

It’s not quite that simple, but it’s still good advice.

And if you want the full story, you can always call me at 727-446-0834…

Carlos Bernot

Answering Questions, Building Relationships

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Answering Questions, Building Relationships

So you’ve got an online presence. You’ve got a website, a Facebook page, a blog you are adding content to on a regular basis. You’re on LinkedIn. You even posted a couple of videos to YouTube. This is a good start but do they end up making you money?

If the content you have been posting is random, based on whatever struck you when you said to yourself, “Wow, I better add some social media content,” then it might not be doing a lot of good for you.

But if you think through the process of building a relationship with your customers or potential customers, you may reap more profits from your online investment.

Answer their Questions

Do you have a product that people need but don’t know they need? Suppose you had a pest control business that used non-toxic chemicals to get rid of ants, termites, roaches and the like. You’re in a minority and a lot of people may not know enough to look for you. You need to get a lot of information out on to the web to start building an understanding of what you offer and why.

You might want to start a series of blogs on toxins in the home – ALL KINDS of toxins in the home, not just pest control toxins. Become a go-to guy for answers about having a non-toxic home.

You might alternate these with information about how allergies might be able to be improved if an environment has fewer chemicals in it. Throw in some testimonials.

Do you have an air conditioner business? Do you offer seasonal maintenance that will save people money? Offer a whole series of money-saving tips, with some that relate to your services and others relating to the expenses of owning a home.

Video Content, Too

The pest control business can offer a series of videos on identifying pests, how to make your garbage pest-proof and much more. There’s so much that you know that your potential customers don’t know. Just make very simple videos that explain one or two simple points in each one.

The air conditioning business could make videos explaining the mysteries going on inside your air conditioner. I, for one, would like to see this series of videos.

Then you can write a blog about the video and even send an email out to your customers and prospects for whom you have an email address. Direct them to the video. And of course post the information to Facebook. So you get at least four separate communications from each subject you come up with.

And ask for feedback! Comments! Be honest and say you are new at this and you want to give them information that is valuable! Did you succeed? Ask them to tell you what they like about the video, don’t like about it or other topics they want to see addressed.

This begins to build a relationship with those who see your social media content.

And LISTEN

Pay attention to the feedback and comments you get. When you get one that feels significant because you know it is a common opinion or misconception, respond to it. If someone has a complaint, handle it and then go inform other people of how a complaint came up and you were able to address it (keeping the complainant anonymous, of course unless they really insist on going public).

As you continue to inform your potential customers and respond to their needs and questions, you build a closer relationship. It’s that relationship that you are really looking for. This is the factor that will inject power into your social media marketing activities. It will take a while to build up to this point. The right time to start is right now.

Carlos Bernot

Creating Content that Strengthens Your Website

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There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to adding content to your website. Let’s pretend we are looking at the websites of Company A and Company B. Both companies want to improve their rankings in Google search results (and other search engines as well).

Company A floods their website with keyword-rich content. (If this is a new concept for you, this means that the content includes plenty of the terms their customers are likely to use when they search online for their type of product or service.) They lavish the site with fresh content, posting new articles every day. The articles consist of long essays that praise the company’s products and services.

Company B posts less content. Yes, it is keyword rich. But before they ever put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking), they carefully examined the kind of information their customers truly needed. They asked themselves:

  • What questions do our customers ask?

  • What points do we need to explain over and over that we could talk about on our website?

  • What things do most people not understand about our industry?

  • How can we help people learn to make the right decisions when it comes to buying this type of product/service?

  • What information can we provide that would enable people to get greater enjoyment from having our products or using our services?

  • What value can we add to the experience of buying this product or service from us?

So Who Do You Think Created a Stronger Website?

Well, plenty of people found Company A’s website. After all, it showed up right at the top of the search engine results. But once they got there, the content all seemed kind of bland. Visitors were not SOLD on the company or its products.

Company B’s website was not quite a strong in the results, maybe, but once people got to the site, they were educated, informed, entertained by all the relevant content. Their questions were answered and they felt SERVED by the owners of Company B. Company B also made it very easy to ask for more information or to ask specific questions and they made sure that any inquiries were turned around within 48 hours at the most but an automatic answer would go out as soon as the inquiry was received.

Company B made a person feel included and welcomed, and gave those prospective customers the distinct impression that their needs were understood.

By not plotting every word of content against the viewpoints, questions and needs of their prospective customers, Company A pretty much eliminated any rapport they might have been able to build among those customers.

Approaching Your Own New Content

Look at the favorite websites you go to again and again. Have a hobby or special interest? Special need? Something challenging you are dealing with in life? You probably frequent those sites that help you solve problems or get questions answered quickly and effortlessly.

When you plan expansion or additions to your business website, make sure you have the questions, needs and interests of your customers foremost in mind, whether you are going to create that content yourself or farm it out to a writer. 

Great Trends in Internet Marketing

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I have to say, I am really happy with the way Google is guiding the whole internet search functionality. In their last couple of major updates, Google is focusing on offering truly useful content to real people who are seeking purposeful information on their chosen topics. As I have mentioned before, it used to be that you could just throw up junk that was rich with keywords, buy or swap a whole lot of links to your pages and you would rise to the top of the results offered by any of the major search engines. Google has taken the lead in developing ways of offering the content people want, not dishing up a bunch of advertisements with no real value.

Analysts in this industry now agree that to keep on top of these recent changes, a website has to have content that is real and valuable. It should be recognized by the community as having value and there should be plenty of interaction between the community and the content/writers.

How to Do it

What points would make your content satisfy these requirements?

  • Depending on your industry, your content may need to be deeply and accurately researched.

  • It should be timely. By which I mean, there should be fresh content added to your site on a regular basis and when it can deal with the issues of the day, this is even better.

  • It helps a lot if your content is supported with social media postings. So your content should be posted to places like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and YouTube.

  • The more commenting, the better, so you’d better seek to make this content intriguing, captivating, compelling, even controversial. Innovate, discover and communicate what you learn.

  • If readers re-post your content, this is a good sign. So offer helpful information your readers would want to give others. Intelligent advice, viewpoints they might find useful, how-to tips that would come in handy. This applies to written content but also think of videos! Lots of videos out there offering how-to advice.

  • Subscribers to your content also help, so you should have ways your readers can sign up for emails, notifications from your blogs, etc.

Good News and Bad News

Does that sound complicated? Like a lot of work? I guess you could say that’s the bad news.

The good news: If you don’t have the time, or have someone on staff who knows what to do, then you can outsource all this work to a company like ours, or someone else that you work with already. This is our specialty though, and is something we work on every day of the week.

Keeping your online presence fresh should be part of the marketing plan for any business that wants to expand – even one that wants to hold onto its present customer base. More than 60% of the buying public is looking online for reviews, product specifications, locations, how-to instructions, etc., and you need to be there.

If you’re not sure how much return on your investment you can achieve by improving the way your website interacts with the online world, you should call me for an analysis. I can look at your site and give you some ideas, as well as case studies from other clients to show what can be done. There’s no reason you should expect an investment without a return.

Keeping your site fresh, interesting and popular should be as important as keeping a restaurant premises clean and the food delicious, or providing properly done home improvement work. It’s now an essential element – and cost – of doing business.

Carlos Bernot

The Simplicity of Good Web Design

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Web design is a constantly evolving subject which means that websites need to be constantly evolving along with new design principles. These new principles may include new technical capabilities that have been developed or they may just be new styles of designing websites that people quickly become accustomed to. Either way, if you don’t take advantage of new technology or new styles, your website is going to start looking stale and old-fashioned.

Naturally, the fundamental rules for creating good, effective websites may stay in effect for a long time. But the way they are applied may change year by year. When you have your website created, don’t then ignore it and assume it will continue to compete with your competitors’ sites. In addition to adding valuable content to your site on a weekly basis, instruct the company that maintains it to inspect it for timeliness.

Here are some specific suggestions. You can use these when you visit your website to evaluate its effectiveness in comparison to others.

1. Visit the websites of your primary competitors. Pretend you are a customer. See if you are led into a desire for the product/service being sold. Then visit your own. Does your website do at least as good a job of creating desire for the product/service?
2. Look at how bright and attractive your competitors’ sites look. Do the illustrations look contemporary? Are the photos obviously from some online photo store or do they look exclusive to that website? Then look at your own.
3. Check navigational elements on your site. Are the buttons on your website easy to find? Clearly marked? Do they seem to be where they should be – in other words, as soon as you (pretending to be a potential customer of your products) start feeling like your website is selling something you might be interested in, is there a button that enables you to ask for more product information or contact a salesperson?
4. Step back a little and look at the colors and the lettering. Do they give the right impression that matches the kind of product/service you offer? A lawyer’s office should obviously have a more dignified, understated website than one selling children’s clothes.

Another Test to Make of Your Website

One of the primary actions a website should accomplish is to keep a person interested while the product/service information is relayed. There should be no clutter that gets in the way. No confusing navigation that causes a person to get frustrated and leave. If you really want to test your existing website, try this little exercise.

Find a friend who is not also a customer. Sit down with him (or her) and open up your webpage. Ask him to pretend he is in the market for your product and have him navigate through your website, finding out about your product and even approaching the ordering process, if your product can be ordered online. Or alternately, asking for product information if that can be done. NOTE WHERE HE HANGS UP IN THIS PROCESS. Actually write any of these points down. Where does he get confused or frustrated? You’ll need to go over this list with your web maintenance company.

If your website does not pass all these tests that either you or a friend put your site through, it is probably time for an update. Even when the update is done, your review should be an annual event.

The other way to approach this is to establish a schedule with your web maintenance company. Tell them you want to review your site with a designer once a year to ensure it is keeping up with changing standards. This practice will help you maintain a clean look and optimum functionality.

Morgan Fagerman

How Can Inviting Your Customers to Participate Improve Your Profitability?

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Traditional businesses may have a hard time figuring out how to use social media to their advantage. After all, their history is what is called “brick and mortar.” In other words, there is a real store or office to walk into. Business is done face to face with customers, workers, parts, services delivered on the spot and so on.

Social media is fine for a person running for political office or someone who takes orders via a website but not for me,” might say an auto repair shop, print shop, hairstylist, small beach hotel owner, camera shop or other brick and mortar businessperson. Not so fast! It might be just what you need.

How would it work? Think about what expertise you offer. Your customers benefit from it every time they come in to your shop. A car repair shop owner knows what causes that funny klunk from the rear end and a hairstylist knows how to get hair to unfrizz in humid weather. If you can get your customers to participate in a blog or online forum, you can engage them in online conversations and share your expertise with them. The more people you can get engaged, the more people hear how expert you are in your specialty.

A Blog for your Business

It will probably take a little thought for you to realize how many different things you could be writing about. (Then again, if you’re the kind of person who hates to write, then you might do best hiring someone else to write your blog for you.) Let’s just take a casual look at an auto shop owner’s blog. Most people know very little about the correct way to maintain both the mechanical side and the appearance of their vehicles. You know hundreds of things they don’t know. If you can separate out these concepts and write one blog per concept, you are set for years. For example:

How often should you check coolant? What do you refill it with when low?

Is there any way to tell if a battery needs replacing before it fails?

Can you keep your vehicle’s finish shiny for twenty years? How?

Tire health – how to judge it.

Why cracked windshields need replacing NOW!

The best conditioner for leather seats.

What to do if your sunroof leaks.

The challenge is to get your customers interested. Ask for their email addresses with every transaction and send them an invitation. Put a notice up in your friends’ businesses inviting their customers to an informative automotive site. When people start learning things they value from you, some of them will naturally want to bring their vehicles to you for service.

Blog are very easy to set up via online services like www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com. They are free unless you want to buy a special theme (appearance) for your blog.

How Online Forums Differ from Blogs

Online forums are considerably more sophisticated than blogs. You will need special software and you will need to buy hosting service for your forum. That would be similar to paying to have someone host your website.

A forum is more of a community activity. Anyone can start a conversation or ask a question. Anyone else who is part of that community can answer or reply.

Here is a forum from Digital Photography Review. http://www.dpreview.com/forums

You can see that there are more than THREE MILLION conversations (referred to as threads) on this forum. People discuss all the different brands of digital cameras, photography tips and techniques, the challenges of getting a good print, equipment bags – just about everything. If you are heavily invested in your industry, this might be the right way to go. Just expect to have more to learn and more cost involved.

A better way to go for most businesspeople is to get involved in forums that relate to their chief activities, whether income-producing or not. A dog breeder would be smart to follow every relevant show dog forum he/she can find. Like this one: http://www.showdog.com/forum/.

Here again there are MILLIONS of conversations and replies.

A quick search on Google shows dozens, maybe hundreds of forums in any specialty you can think of! Take your expertise to the best of these forums, the ones that relate the most closely to your strengths. Just show good judgment when you start conversations or respond to people’s questions. Don’t just show off or promote whatever it is you sell. Just be intelligent and offer relevant, helpful information. If someone wants business information from you, take it off the forum and help them privately. That way, no one will bust you for doing business on the forum.

Outreach in any form is almost always good for business and these social media give you a way to reach out digitally. It’s a little more indirect than handing someone a brochure but, on the other hand, you can reach thousands or tens of thousands of people you might never otherwise reach.

Grant Boshoff

Do You Have a Long Tail?

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No, that doesn’t mean you’re a mouse. Long Tail is a term that relates to the way people search on the internet and the content you should have on your website to attract those searches.

Let’s look the meaning of Long Tail in the context of one particular business. We’ll pick a tutoring business as an example. Further, let’s pick a tutoring business that specializes in helping young children catch up grade levels. Their prime targets are children aged 6-14 who are not keeping up with other kids. Let’s call it Star Tutoring.

Star Tutoring has a niche market. A niche market means that a business focuses its efforts on a very specific and well-defined customer. (According to Merriam-Webster, a niche is “a place, employment, status or activity for which a person is best fitted.” As in “she finally found her niche as a pastry chef.”)

The whole business of tutoring is very broad. The business of tutoring would include in-home tutors, tutoring for adults, summertime tutoring and tutoring for at-risk teens. There’s specialty tutoring for math or science. And there are companies that specialize in preparations for major tests like SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and LSAT (Law School Admission Test). Whew!

You can see that each one of these different types of tutoring each has its own niche market. Now the job becomes matching web content to that niche market so one’s website attracts the right kind of customer.

Building a Website that Matches Your Strengths

The wrong way for Star Tutoring’s web content to read would be like this:

Star Tutoring staff care about your success. Every time you visit Star Tutoring, you will feel more like you can succeed. We have so many tutors that it is easy for you to schedule tutoring with us.” No appeal to the specific niche they are trying to reach.

Star Tutoring should match the language on their website very specifically to the needs of their desired customers. Like this:

When parents are concerned that their children are falling behind in school, they can be confident that failing students can become students that excel. Your child can catch up grade levels and improve his grades at Star Tutoring.”

Now that you understand this, we’ll look at how a niche market relates to the Long Tail.

How the Long Tail Works

The Long Tail of web searches refers to a visual representation of internet searches. Despite what you may think, the majority of searches are specific, not broad. If you create a graph of all the words used in searches, with the most commonly used words bunching up on the left and the very specific, descriptive phrases trailing away to the right, the graph shows a big bulge (called a “Fat Head”) on the left and a LONG, SKINNY TAIL formation to the right.

The Fat Head of tutoring searches would include:

Tutoring

Tutors

Tutoring Classes

Tutoring Lessons

The Long Tail of tutoring searches would mean that people were searching by terms like this:

Tutoring for Failing Students

Catch Up Tutoring

Tutoring to Improve Grades

Every search phrase above includes the word “tutor” so of course the graph shows a high level of searches that include the word “tutor” (the Fat Head of search terms). The number of people looking for “Catch Up Tutoring” is much smaller but they are your prime public.

A parent who finds Star Tutoring with the second set of search terms is not looking for advanced science, SAT or adult tutoring. She is looking for exactly what Star Tutoring offers!

You can use the Long Tail to your advantage by making sure the language on your website matches your strengths, the products you offer that are the most profitable and your niche market. This focus on your ideal buyers makes the most of your investment in your website and any online advertising you might do.

Carlos Bernot