20 Ways to Market Your Church online – Targeting Keywords

At the request of my Pastor I created a 20 Step program for Marketing our Church on the Internet. To make it as inclusive as possible, I recruited the assistance of Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing LLC. Realizing that the results of our efforts would be beneficial to a number of churches, charities or small companies, I decided to do a 20 part series and place it on the Internet so as many people as possible could benefit!

 

I trust that as you read my posts regarding launching your blog, doing comprehensive keyword research, and SEO-ing your website, that you have come to realize that the Internet really can work for not for profit organizations, and that the Internet is also a pretty good church outreach idea. A church blog is a major part of this, as it as it allows you to be targeting keywords.

The next thing I want to discuss with you is how link building serves well as a church, charity, or small business marketing strategy. After all, church marketing 101 teaches us that a church is, in fact, a small business and therefore the Internet business marketing promotions that work for companies work equally well for churches.

Have you ever noticed that invariably some of the most important things we need to do are also the most time consuming and the most boring? That is exactly the situation with your website and link building! While an excellent way to strengthen your website’s rankings in the search engines, the process of link building back links is often laborious at best.

“Why,” you may be wondering, “is link building relevant to our church, charity or small business?”

Actually, there are two significant reasons that you should plan on making link building a part of your core Internet marketing plan. The first is somewhat obvious – – the more listings you have with backlinks to your website, the more opportunities exist for people to find your website in various locations online, thus bringing you qualified visitors. With a dynamite website, each time someone visits your website you have the chance of having them become a visitor to your church, charity or company.

The second reason deals with the fact that a well-developed and properly implemented link building campaign will increase your page rankings within Google search results. This, of course, is clearly to your advantage, so link building should be an on-going part of your search engine marketing program (to be discussed in a subsequent post), thus allowing your website to be that much more available online.

Your next thought may very well be, “How do we develop a link building battle plan? Well, there are a number of techniques that you can use. First, get your company placed in as many relevant directories as possible – – national, localand niche.” The purpose of this, of course, it to then have your listing in these communities, and get it linked back to your websitedriving traffic in your direction from those sources.

Work diligently to ensure that you get linked in relevant areasTo be listed in places just because they are available may be a waste of time and, in some cases, may even be counter-productive. As in any form of marketing, you need to identify your target market and pursue them with your link building efforts and dollars

Next, establish links on relevant blogs, community sitesand forumsThese are excellent places to establish your church or charity as a leader in your community for providing services that individuals may be looking foras you will have the opportunity to interact and dialogue with those individuals who visit the sites, thus making their arrival at your church that much easier.

With social media being the latest buzz, it shouldn’t surprise you that you should be incorporating links from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter into your link building program as wellIn as much as your Facebook account reaches out to untold thousands, the ability to link back from there to your website should prove to be a major hub in your Internet marketing program as well.

You may have found that there is more to link building than you ever imagined! I trust that you have also discovered what a viable tool this is in your over-all Internet marketing strategy!

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20 Ways to Market Your Church on the Internet – SEO

Search Engine Optimize Your Website      
                        
At the request of my Pastor I created a 20 Step program for Marketing our Church on the Internet. To make it as inclusive as possible, I recruited the assistance of Randall Mains of Pathmaker Marketing LLC. Realizing that the results of our efforts would be beneficial to a number of Churches, I decided to do a 20 part series and place it on the Internet so as many people/churches as possible can be Blessed by it!

To date we have discussed launching a blogging process and doing keyword research. Today, I want to discuss search engine optimization – both what it is and why it is important to you as part of your church marketing program. As we discussed last time, the paradigm shifts in our society mandates that churches utilize small business marketing strategies, and an effective website is an excellent church outreach Idea!

In a nutshell, SEO is used to receive Page One rankings on Google, Bing and Yahoo which facilitates more people to “click through” and find your website and all that you have to offer. As many people think they know a lot about SEO, there are three myths that I would like to dispel at this point in regard to the topic:

MYTH #1: As long as you Google your Church Name and come up “#1” you are in fact, search engine optimized.

The reality is that the major search engines treat your church name as a  “gimme.” As a result, this means that in the realm of search engine optimization, this gives you virtually zero clout! In fact, if you don’t get page one ranking when you type in your church name you have a real problem!

MYTH #2: Search engine optimization can be achieved quickly!!!

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!! It is a long, slow, and sometimes tedious task that leads you to the finish line in this race! There are, as you will learn, several steps involved, each time consuming in their own right. BUT the results are well worth the effort! As you schedule your SEO Program, you will want to allot at least six months to accomplish the task!

MYTH #3: You can accomplish SEO for Free!

The confusion in this realm is the fact that visitors come to your site for free, but the competitive nature of SEO mandates that you either hire professionals to achieve the rankings you desire, or that you plan on investing huge amounts of time and energy to accomplish SEO to your satisfaction!

The myths aside, SEO can be a tremendous boon to the success of your church. If you, through your SEO efforts, you can attain a #1 ranking on a Google search you will get a lot of click through traffic! This may lead to visitors  who will, of course, greatly “enhance the chance” of your church growing!

Understanding that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of words related to a church, your goal is to make sure that yours shows up for as many of these words as possible when a potential parishioner is searching them, and that is where your keyword research that we discussed in Part II comes into play!

While the Internet is evolving daily, SEARCH ENGINES is one of the two items that tends to remain constant. Being well positioned allows people to discover exactly what it is that your church has to offer. To better understand this concept, consider the Internet a Super Highway with millions of people zooming along it every day. Your SEO program serves as a  billboard, advising them of what awaits if they will take the “proper exit” and wind up at your place! Unless they can find you, however, they will always be “potential parishioners ” and never “your parishioners!” If you aren’t showing up in searches, you don’t have a Billboard!  The first step is to conduct a keyword research project, which will allow you to find the right terms in order to have a website that is optimized!

As you can see, targeting keywords can lead to more visitors, which strengthens your church outreach. I know this may all seem overwhelming, and would suggest that if you have any questions that you e-mail Randall Mains at randall@pathmakermarketing.net, as he is more of an expert in this realm than even I am. 

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20 Ways to Maket Your Church Online – Keyword Research

At the request of my Pastor I created a 20 Step program for Marketing our Church on the Internet. To make it as inclusive as possible, I recruited the assistance of Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing LLC. Realizing that the results of our efforts would be beneficial to a number of churches, I decided to do a 20 part series and place it on the internet so as many people/churches as possible can be blessed by it!

 In the first installment I mentioned that it would be wise to launch a blogging process. In that, I alluded to the fact that you need to Target Keywords that are winnable, and explained how to do so. The next thing I think you need to concentrate on is doing keyword research.

Knowing that comprehensive keyword research is the foundation of an effective search engine marketing program will allow you to understand that, basically, you need to “chase down” the people who need the services and programs that your church offers and lead them to your website. The whole idea is to ensure that your church comes up when people type in their search terms.

You may think that there aren’t all that many words and/or terms, but actually quite the opposite is true. The typical comprehensive keyword search will yield a minimum of 1500 or more keyword variations! Through a variety of filters, you can narrow the number down that you will want to concentrate on regarding your website and your blog posts. The key, of course, is to find “winnable” words, and then prioritize them for your benefit.

While I certainly can’t list 1500 words/terms here, I will give you an quick example of what I mean, using the top 20 terms found when using Chicago churches as our local example:

churches
bible study
catholic churches
orthodox church
youth ministry
church chicago
church in chicago
willow creek church
willowcreek church
chicago maps
churches chicago
churches in chicago
bill hybels
catholic churches in chicago
catholic churches chicago
baptist churches in chicago
catholic church in chicago
churches chicago il
churches in chicago il
church chicago il

Once you have your list composed, you will want to chose the terms that best describe your ministry, whether it be to teens, seniors, street people or other. These are the terms you want to concentrate on as your church Staff compose their blog posts, and as you “tweak” the copy and contents of your website!

That brings me to my next point – – once you complete your keyword research and acquire your final winnable keyword list the real task has just begun! It will take months – probably six or more – to get you to a point that when an individual types in a term/phrase on your list that your church will come up. Remember I said that this list is the “foundation” of an effective search engine marketing program? While the list is the foundation, the “structure” you will build on it will be all the blog posts that you and your staff write! It is those Church Blogs that will help you acquire page rankings from Google, Yahoo and Bing, and that is what will drive people to your website and eventually your church, making the internet an effective church outreach tool for you!

While it may rankle us to have to admit it, “Church Marketing 101” is one of those paradigm shifts that we just need to learn to live with, and Targeting Keywords is one of those internet marketing ideas that will, in fact, allow this to be a viable church outreach idea.

In closing, I would suggest that you read Part III, as we will deal with SEO – search engine optimization – and how to ensure that your website will, in fact, get Google, Yahoo and Bing page rankings!

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Floyder – I just got Blackballed by WordPress!

The look on his face assured me that Jim was more than just surprised, he was mortified! Everyone in the place was giving us their undivided attention – – many of their faces reflecting sympathy; most reflecting curiosity, and at least one was reflecting empathy! Jim, a good friend who runs an independent Sporting Goods store, had become somewhat of a protégé of mine regarding internet marketing ideas. Affiliated with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing, I have had an opportunity to acquire a fair amount of knowledge regarding small business marketing strategies and internet business marketing promotion online and have shared this with Jim on several occasions. Every once in a while Jim runs into a snafu, and, of course, immediately searches me out for an explanation or assistance in the matter.

“Well, Jim, tell me what happened,” I opened.

Settling onto the stool next to mine, and indicating to the counterman that he needed a cold soda right away, he paused for a minute as he organized his thoughts. Typically we would move to a booth, but interest was running so high on this one I decided we should stay put and let as many people as possible, or wanted to at least, gather around and listen to our discussion.   Taking a long pull on his beverage, Jim began his report.

“Well, remember how you convinced me to let Annie help the rest of the employees establish blogs and add a post or two a week?”

Nodding affirmatively, I reflected back on that conversation. Annie is Jim’s teenage daughter, and when she recommended the blogging program I advised him that blogging is, in fact, an effective internet marketing tool. I explained that Pathmaker actually has clients who use us as a blogging aervice, developing their blogs and ghostwriting their various posts. It took a while to convince him that businesses should actually allow their employees an opportunity to blog “on the clock,” as long as it is “business related,” but he was enjoying a fair amount of success as he had made several large sales based on the fact that his employees have a tremendous amount of expertise in what they sell and share that expertise in their posts.

“Well, we have been doing that, and then this morning I got a notice form WordPress that they had shut down my site!”

“Did they tell you why?” an interested party to the left of me asked.

“All they said was that I was in violation of Terms of Service. Floyder, can they do that?

Jim had, like so many others, found out about WordPress’ dark side the hard way. Unfortunately, they typically don’t tell you what, exactly, the violation is/was, nor do they give you an opportunity to rectify the problem.

“Well, Jim, obviously they can do it because they did,” I advised him as gently as I could.

“Do you have any idea why they would shut me down,” he asked, the confusion in his eyes making him almost pathetic looking.

“Well, actually there are a number of reasons that they might take action against someone. For example they can shut you down over RSS fed content, or content they don’t approve of. And, …

“Wait,” Jim said, interrupting me. “What is ‘RSS content’?”

“RSS – Really Simple Syndication. It is usually a situation where blog content is fed to Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social networking.”

Jim pondered that for a minute, and then reminded me I was about to add something else.

“If you read their information on the internet,” I began again, speaking slowly so everyone gathered around us could follow, “there is a paragraph that says ‘we kill spam dead.’ It discusses the fact that it will keep spammers from leaving comments on your blog, and that it will shut down ‘spam blogs’ that might try to sneak onto WordPress.com. Perhaps they considered yours a “spam blog.”

Jim sat there, slowly shaking his head back and forth. Heaving a couple of huge sighs, he looked at me and asked the inevitable question,

“Now what do I do?”

“I would suggest that you go onto another Host Server, one where you pay like GoDaddy or MyDomain. The cost is minimal, and you won’t have to worry about this happening again. What you do,” I went on, “is simply install WordPress on your own server, and then you can’t get your content removed by WordPress any longer.”

“What if you haven’t already been shut down, any way you can avoid it from happening to you?” the same voice from my left asked.

“Sure,” I assured him, “transfer your account to a pay server before they get the chance to shut you down. You can migrate your material from one to the other, so it won’t be too much of a hassle at all.

 Jim was now shaking his head – first up and down, then side to side, then up and down and then side to side and so on. I watched for a moment, wondering just how long he was going to keep it up. Finally, realizing that he was, apparently, “locked in” I broke the silence and stopped his head bobbing routine!

“What’s wrong, Jim?”

“Floyder,” he said with somewhat of a sheepish grin, “what I can’t figure out is how they would even know that we had fried Spam for dinner the other night.”

Jim is, without a doubt, precious!

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Finding Strategic Terms for Keyword Marketing

That’s more than Words than is a Small Dictionary!

Jim was dumbfounded to the point of being speechless. He just sat there looking at me, trying to determine if I was telling him the truth or not. We were sharing a cola and some small talk, when he asked if I knew anything about keyword marketing. He knew I did, but used the question to get us on the topic. Jim often sought my advice because of my relationship with Randall Mains of PATHMAKER MARKETING. One of the services that Pathmaker offers as part of their small business marketing strategies is Keyword Marketing. He offers it as an online marketing tool, and helps clients accomplish that which they seek by using Pathmaker as their search engine optimization agency. SEO is, of course, a sound search engine marketing idea, and one that Jim, apparently, was hoping to incorporate in the marketing plan for his independent Sporting Goods Store.

Anyway, we had jawed about it for a while when he asked me how many keywords might be associated with his business, and nearly dropped his teeth when I told him it could be upwards of a 10,000 or more. That’s where we were now – – him trying to fathom what I had just told him.

“Floyder,” he finally began slowly, “you can’t possibly be serious, “ he was finally able to manage.

“Actually, Jim, I am. If you do this the right way you have to be totally comprehensive.    Let me share a specific example with you, and then we will apply the principle to your business. PATHMAKER recently had a client in Canada that runs a large car dealership. The process started with over 50,000 keywords. From there we narrowed it down to 1500 – – and then to 300 terms which we used for targeting keywords. This allowed them to shoot to the top of the list when people did an internet search.”

“You mean,” Jim began, again slowly!, “that I should have more than just my name and the store’s name as keywords.”

And therein lies the problem, I thought. So many people are unaware of the fact that search engine optimization is a science, and not just a crap shoot.

“You really think you could come up with that many words?” Jim asked, the gleam that was starting to form in his eye making the question almost a challenge.

“Jim,” how many types of fishing lures do you either have, or have access to – – this is to include every color of every type and any other variations on the theme.”

“Good Lord, Floyder, there’s thousands and thousands of them – – you know that!”

It began right at his hairline, and slowly worked its way down his entire countenance – – realization was starting to settle in on Jim! I knew I had better intervene before he became so over-whelmed by this concept that he suffered from apoplexy!

“It’s okay, Jim, you don’t have to actually include all of those in your list. What I would suggest is that you feature a few of the better ones for each type of fish – – trout, bass, and so on. And that brings up another point,” I added, hoping this new concept wouldn’t create a brain overload. “You may want to revamp your Keyword List for each Sporting Season as it occurs. I would do this,” I quickly added, keeping him as calm as I could, “by starting with the next upcoming season and then concentrating on each season as it comes along. That way, you won’t incur the cost for the total program all at one time.”

“How do I now what words to consider,” Jim asked, handling all of this better than I thought.

“Well, you hire Pathmaker and we do the research and legwork. You will have constant input, of course, but we would take care of the list building.”

For the first time in quite a while Jim’s face looked almost placid. Then, as I watched quietly, that gleam started to creep back in his eye.

“Let’s try,” he exclaimed excitedly.

“Try what?” I asked warily.

“Listing 10,000 words. Come on, Floyder, we can do it!!”

I knew I was in for a long night – – either making the list or talking Jim out of trying!

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Floyder, Even People YOUR Age Are Using Social Media

 Jim’s comment raised a few eyebrows, and even got a few guffaws from the crowd. Good friends, Jim and I have an easy relationship, with each respecting the other. 

That’s why I was surprised that he had alluded to the double decade difference in our age with his opening comment. Sporting a wry grin, I ordered us each a cola and then we made our way to a booth.

“What,” I asked, with a smile on my face and in my voice, “is that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, not that!,” he responded immediately, realizing the connotation that could have been made. “What I mean is, maybe I can use Social Media as part of my Internet Business Marketing Promotion after all. Remember, we were discussing the fact that Facebook and Twitter might not be appropriate as the majority of the people using it really aren’t part of my Target Market? Well, apparently that isn’t as true as we had first thought.”

Jim and I have, in the recent past, had a quite a few discussions regarding Internet Marketing Ideas. He is trying to make his way into the 21st Century as best he can, and, as a result, has high hopes and aspirations of using the Internet effectively to promote his independent sporting goods store. For the most part he is doing pretty well, though occasionally he gets his facts a little askew. This time, however, it appeared he knew what he was talking about.”

“How,” he asked, almost philosophically, “does Twitter and Facebook compare to Blogging as a Marketing Tool?”

“Well,” I began, taking a sip of my beverage, “let’s look at the immediate differences. Your Blog can be several paragraphs long, where a Twitter is limited to 140 characters or so. I would think that Search Engine Optimization is probably a possibility with Twitter and your blog, but probably not for Facebook.”

“Randall would know for sure on that, wouldn’t he?” Jim asked.

He was referring to Randall Mains of Pathmaker Marketing, which offers both Search Engine Optimization Services and a Premier Blogging Service as well LEARN MORE > >. Randall and I have worked on several projects together, and Jim more or less uses me as a conduit to glean needed information from him. 

“Yes,” I assured him, “I’m sure he would.”

“You know, since I have to be concerned about Targeting Keywords, I can pretty much write anything I want to on my chosen terms, right? Floyder,” he went on, not waiting for a reply, “How, exactly would you use them if you were me?”

“Well, you might Tweet that you are offering a special sale for the beginning of a season, and drive people to a dedicated landing page that features the offer. Or, on your Facebook page you might promote the fact that you have a Sweepstakes running with significant prizes from a particular vendor.  In your blog, you might write a Case Study about a customer who’s had some success using your business expertise.”

Jim took a draw on his drink, and sat there looking very contemplative. I checked my watch and realized I needed to leave for an appointment. I had made my way almost to the counter when I was interrupted.

“Hey, Floyder,” Jim declared, “thanks for the soda and the advice. You know,” he went on, his voice taking on a tone of impish frivolity, “you’re still pretty sharp for someone your age.”

Not bothering to turn around, I just waved a good-bye and grinned as I walked out, feigning disgust as best I could!

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Floyder – – I don’t even know what a bloghead is!

 Jim looked pretty pathetic, to say the very least. Somewhat loud, though never obnoxious!, Jim is truly a sensitive soul and that is why the comment that had been leveled at him had been so devastating. It seems that last Sunday, in front of a whole group of people, his pastor slapped him on the back and exclaimed, “Well, Jim, why don’t you head up the committee for Internet presence. After all, you’re the biggest Bloghead in the congregation.”

“Floyder, will you call Pastor and ask him why he would say something like that about me?”

His puppy-dog brown eyes made it impossible to say “no,” so I gave Pastor a call. I surmised, and verified, that all Pastor meant was that Jim used Blogging as an Internet Marketing Tool for his business more than anyone else. The fact that “Bloghead” sounds suspiciously like “Blockhead” had made Jim feel like he was being ridiculed, which, of course, was not the case. Finishing up with the call, I explained it to Jim.

A visual sigh of relief crept across Jim’s face, making it as placid as a crystal clear lake. As I watched, however, the metamorphosis continued, and the placidity was replaced with a look of total confusion. I waited, as I knew another question/ request would be forthcoming.

            “Floyder, is there such a thing as a Church Blog?” indicating by the question that he was accepting Pastor’s offer to head the committee.

“Certainly, Jim,” I assured him.

“Well, what does a church Blog about?”

“Oh,” I explained easily, “there are several ways a church can use a Blog as an outreach tool. They might want to simply employ Christian Blogging to post content that is relevant to members of their congregation. Or they might want to develop their blog into an outreach tool, so that in that case it actually becomes a Ministry Blog.”

“How would that work?”

“Well, it could actually take several forms. For example, they might use the Blog as a discussion forum to facilitate small groups discussions on the pastor’s weekend sermons.

“They might also use the blog to feature and highlight the special ministries a church offers their community, such as children’s activities, helping the homeless or their outreach to military families.”

“Or they could use the blog as a vehicle for outreach, discussing subjects that matter the public at large, with a biblical point of view.

Jim cogitated on what I had said for a while, and then asked,

“Floyder, should I seek Pathmaker’s help?

Jim was referring to Pathmaker Marketing, which promotes a Premier Blogging Service for churches (LEARN MORE >>). Jim and I have discussed numerous aspects of Internet Marketing, and, on several occasions, he retained Randall to help him with suggestions.

“Well, it wouldn’t hurt.”

Jim smiled and went to a world of his own where he was contemplating his course of action. Me, I was just glad he no longer looked pathetic!

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Floyder – – It Don’t Get No Better Than Free!

We had been having a pretty decent conversation, Jim and I, when I told him that the free blog posting system he was using might not be the most beneficial for his Internet Marketing Program. 

Jim, who owns an independent Sporting Goods store, is constantly rushing headlong into the 21st Century, somewhat helter skelter where Internet Technology is concerned. Because of my affiliation with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing he typically runs his somewhat skewed views by me in an attempt to either verify or clarify his situation. Occasionally, however, he challenges my professional view with his stubbornly supported opinion. That was the case today.

“What do you mean?” he asked, disgust and incredulity mixed freely and dripping form his voice.

“Well, you have to understand – – if you’re just blogging for fun it doesn’t matter what blog services you’re using. But if you are using blogging as a serious Internet Marketing play, then you need to be a little more careful about which system you use.”

“Why?” he asked, his voice indicating that he was a little more curious and a lot less critical this time.

“What you want, to the point of needing, is a system that will help you with strategic keyword research. Your goal is to have your blog contain as many winnable keywords and phrases as possible. When you do, you have an excellent chance of positioning your blog to achieve page rankings in Google searches. You need a Premier Blogging Service that that helps you Keyword Marketing.”

“A ha!” Jim exclaimed excitedly, “I already have a number one ranking!”

It was obvious that Jim thought he had me. I was pretty sure I knew what he was talking about, so I opened up my laptop and Googled the name of Jim’s store for Phoenix. Sure enough, he popped up right at the top of the list. I gave him a glance that allowed him to give me the “I told you so wink” that we often use on each other. Returning to the search box, I typed in “Fishing Flies” and hit search – this time his name didn’t show up at all, not on any of the first five pages. I did the same thing with Shotguns, Fishing Rafts, Softball & Baseball Gear and even Basketball Shoes. Nothing. Every time.

He just sat there stunned for a minute, then, in his “please help me” voice, he asked,

“Floyder, what can I do?

“Well, Jim, if you are serious about using blogging for marketing purposes, I would suggest that you get in touch with Randall at Pathmaker and have him set you up with Compendium.”

“Compendium?”

“Right. It is the blog posting system that Pathmaker Marketing promotes. It’s a Premier Bogging Service, recommends to all of their clients, and it is, without a doubt, the best system on the market.”

“What makes it so good?”

“Well, there are a multitude of reasons actually. A few of the more important ones, where you’re concerned at least, include the fact that it automatically optimizes your blog post content, systematically organizes your post content by keyword, allows for unlimited users and dynamic calls to action. Not to mention the comprehensive keyword research you also receive to help you identify your winnable terms so you can begin targeting keywords.”

“So all I have to do is sign up with Compendium and I’ll win keywords and page rankings?” Jim asked hopefully, realizing that probably wasn’t the case.

“No, not quite. Google tends to prefer to give rankings based on depth of content, so you need to spend lots of time posting blogs for the next few months.”

“How do I know what to blog on?”

“Compendium will help you find your winnable keywords, and that’s what you need to concentrate on.”

Jim was satisfied, I could tell, and I knew he would soon be giving Randall a call. Even though Compendium isn’t free, it gets results for its bloggers.

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Keyword Searches

That’s more Words than in a Small Dictionary!

Jim was dumbfounded to the point of being speechless. He just sat there looking at me, trying to determine if I was telling him the truth or not. We were sharing a cola and some small talk, when he asked if I knew anything about Keyword Searches. He knew I did, but used the question to get us on the topic. Jim often sought my advice because of my relationship with Randall Mains, owner/director of PATHMAKER MARKETING. One of the services that PATHMAKER offers as part of their Small Business Marketing Strategies is Keyword Marketing. He offers it as an Online Marketing Tool, and helps clients accomplish that which they seek by using Pathmaker as their Search Engine Optimization Agency. SEO is, of course, a sound Internet Marketing Idea, and one that Jim, apparently, was hoping to incorporate in the Marketing Plan for his independent Sporting Goods Store.

Anyway, we had jawed about it for a while when he asked me how many keywords might be associated with his business, and nearly dropped his teeth when I told him it could be upwards of a 100,000 or more. That’s where we were now – – him trying to fathom what I had just told him.

“Floyder,” he finally began slowly, “you can’t possibly be serious, “ he was finally able to manage.

“Actually, Jim, I am. If you do this the right way you have to be totally comprehensive.    Let me share a specific example with you, and then we will apply the principle to your business. PATHMAKER recently had a client in Canada that runs a large car dealership. The process started with over 50,000 keywords. From there we narrowed it down to 1500 – – and then to 300 words. This allowed them to shoot to the top of the list when people did an Internet search.”

“You mean,” Jim began, again slowly, “that I should have more than just my name and the store’s name as keywords.”

And therein lies the problem, I thought. So many people are unaware of the fact that Search Engine Optimization is a science, and not just a crap shoot.

“You really think you could come up with that many words?” Jim asked, the gleam that was starting to form in his eye making the question almost a challenge.

“Jim,” how many types of fishing lures do you either have, or have access to – – this is to include every color of every type and any other variations on the theme.”

“Good Lord, Floyder, there’s thousands and thousands of them – – you know that!”

It began right at his hairline, and slowly worked its way down his entire countenance – – realization was starting to settle in on Jim! I knew I had better intervene before he became so over-whelmed by this concept that he suffered from apoplexy!

“It’s okay, Jim, you don’t have to actually include all of those in your list. What I would suggest is that you feature a few of the better ones for each type of fish – – trout, bass, and so on. And that brings up another point,” I added, hoping this new concept wouldn’t create a brain overload. “You may want to revamp your Keyword List for each Sporting Season as it occurs. I would do this,” I quickly added, keeping him as calm as I could, “by starting with the next upcoming season and then concentrating on each season as it comes along. That way, you won’t incur the cost for the total program all at one time.”

“How do I know what words to consider,” Jim asked, handling all of this better than I thought.

“Well, you hire Pathmaker and we do the research and legwork. You will have constant input, of course, but we would take care of the list building.”

For the first time in quite a while Jim’s face looked almost placid. Then, as I watched quietly, that gleam started to creep back in his eye.

 “Let’s try,” he exclaimed excitedly.

 “Try what?” I asked warily.

 “Listing 100,000 words. Come on, Floyder, we can do it!”

 I knew I was in for a long night – – either making the list or talking Jim out of trying!

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Scratch the Biggest Itch

It isn’t Caused by Poison Ivy!!

“Floyder,” Jim began with a look in his eye that told me while his body was present his mind was somewhere else. “I can’t decide, so I would like your opinion – – wood or plastic?”

It was obvious that Jim and I were about to have another one of our discussions where only he knows what we are talking about in the beginning. After a few well chosen and asked questions I can usually figure out what it is he is talking about, but sometimes he gets a little frustrated before I can get there! And, I have discovered, it isn’t just me – – pretty much everyone has this challenge with Jim! Anyway, I figured before I gave my opinion I probably should figure out what he was talking about.

“Wood or plastic what?” I asked.

“Why, back scratchers of course,” he replied, intimating by the tone of his voice that I should have known exactly what he was talking about.

“Do you mean which one do I like best?” I asked, still trying to figure out where this was going.

“Well, I guess. I mean, like you and Randall said at the seminar at the Rotary Club meeting, we should always try to scratch our clients biggest itch, so I thought I would send them a back scratcher since I can’t possibly be there to actually do the scratching myself.”

Obviously only Jim’s body was present at the seminar, too! What he was alluding to was the fact that Randall Mains, owner/operator of Pathmaker Marketing, had done a presentation on Internet Marketing Ideas and effective Online Marketing Tools. In his presentation he had mentioned that the most Effective Internet Marketing takes place when the business owner concentrates on his clients by “scratching their biggest itch,” Jim, who owns an independent sporting goods store, is always on the outlook for Small Business Marketing Strategies, but, as in this instance, he frequently gets his wires crossed in regard to what he is learning. Having more than a little success with the Internet Business Marketing Programs Randall and I have helped him with, he is always willing to follow our advice to the letter – – even when he has no idea what we were actually talking about.

“Jim, that was Randall’s way of saying you need to find your client’s biggest need and then fill it for them.”

He just looked at me like a kid who has discovered that a cow can’t really jump over the moon. As he shook his head back and forth a bit, I noticed that his eyes were back in focus, and that we probably were going to be getting somewhere now.

“So, you really don’t scratch their back or anything”

“No,” I assured him.

“Ohhhhhhh,” he replied contemplatively. “Well, how do I know what their biggest need is?

“Probably the best way to find out is to simply ask them,” I advised him truthfully.

“You mean I have to call up everyone on my list?” he asked, incredulity heavy in his voice.

“No. Since you have a pretty good size e-mail list, you can either use “Survey Monkey,” or put together a short questionnaire yourself.”

“Can Pathmaker help me with this, or do I have to do it all myself?” he asked, the panged look on his face non-verbally pleading that we help him.

“Sure, we can help.”

“Great! So all I have to do is run the questionnaire and I’ll know what kind of things to offer forever!” he exclaimed triumphantly.

“Well, that’s not quite true,” I informed him. Continuing before he could ask, I explained my comment. “Look, Jim, your business has several specific seasons that you deal with – – hunting, fishing, softball and so forth. And, in fishing that breaks down to summer and winter, as the needs for ice fishing are different. You should, I think, send out an e-mail at least every two months and see what people are looking for to make their sporting endeavors more enjoyable and productive.”

“Ahhhhhh,” Jim said, his nod indicating he understood what I was talking about. “Boy, the people whose business isn’t seasonal sure have it a lot easier, since they only have to survey their clients the one time,” he commented.

“That’s not quite right either,” I informed him. “With the number of paradigm shifts that are taking place in our society today, everyone needs to keep a finger on the pulse beat of their clients’ needs.”

 Jim again nodded in agreement, and prepared to change the topic. He did, however, have one more question.

“Floyder, what’s your biggest itch?”

I realized that Jim was right about one thing – – he would need Pathmaker’s help with his questionnaire!!

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