27 Ways to View the Web Beyond Your Site

Image: gerlos via Flickr

The web just keeps gaining significance in the world of small business and it’s no longer enough to think about your web site as your web strategy.

Marketing today means building a great deal of your thinking around a total web presence. I suspect you’ve heard this before because this idea is one that is being voiced by just about anyone that’s online today, but I encounter business owner after business owner frustrated with trying wrap their head around this idea in a practical sense.

For today’s post I would like to outline what I think is a very practical and doable approach to building your total online presence. You can build your web presence out fully by taking action in each of the five station of work below. Think of each station as a bucket. You need to start adding to each bucket in a systematic way, but don’t try to fill one bucket before you move to the next – put a little in each bucket and keep returning. This way you’ll build momentum in the short view, while building value in the long view.

The Listening Station

Your online marketing will benefit greatly when you take the time to monitor what’s being said by others. Creating an automated way to do this, something I call a listening station, is a base strategy these days.

  • Create Google Alerts to monitor your brand, products, competitors and industry
  • Use tools like to Social Mention and Postling to get deeper analysis of what’s being said – even on review sites like Yelp!
  • Find and subscribe to industry or related blogs and feed them into Google Reader for quick scanning
  • Create Digg and delicious accounts to quickly scan what’s hot and what’s new
  • Put key journalists in a Google Alerts track so you can participate when they write or blog

Content As Hub

I’m going with the assumption that you have web content that describes your business, tells your story, outlines your products and services and maybe even showcases a few client success stories. That’s good, that’s a start, but now you need to go to work on consistent content creation – the kind that builds trust, draws links, and educates.

  • Add a blog, sorry you must do this, better still, build your entire web site with WordPress
  • Create a lists of related or local bloggers using Google BlogSearch and placeblogger as potential guest blog hosts
  • Submit keyword rich articles to article directory sites
  • Keep a notebook of every question a prospect or customer asks and create blog post answers and FAQ pages
  • Stick a camera in front of your best clients and get them to share how important your business is to them
  • Turn your sales presentation into a slide deck and post it to your site

Pushing Out Assets

  • Create YouTube, Flickr, and Slideshare accounts and post your videos, images, and slides with complete keyword rich descriptions of each
  • Claim and enhance your Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local profiles
  • Build a LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn Company Page complete with lots of links back to your site, blog, and events
  • Create an Official Facebook Page (that’s what they are calling Fan Pages these days)
  • Claim and enhance your company pages on review sites like Yelp and CitySearch and start participating in the review process
  • Build profiles in social networks beyond Facebook and LinkedIn – here are 13 good ones

Participating Socially

  • Use your Facebook Page as a way to create awareness about events and content and as another vehicle to reach prospect with fresh content
  • Ask and answer questions on LinkedIn Answers – it can be an interesting way to showcase your expertise
  • Use a tool like Flowtown to figure out which of your prospects and customers are the most active in social networks and equip them to be ambassadors
  • Learn how to mine Twitter for leads and opportunities – I share some useful ways here

Facilitating Community

  • Create events and groups on MeetUp and bring like minded people together
  • Use project and customer portal tools like Central Desktop to create a place where your customers can access information and collaborate
  • Get your customers involved in creating community through the use of a wiki that allows them to share and generate ideas
  • Create a group blog that features content contributed by your team of strategic partners
  • Set-up Facebook Groups and add your customers and prospects so you can host live group chats and peer to peer discussions
  • Add the peep.ly service to your directory so visitors can see who you have in common social networks

That should get you started, but expand your thinking beyond the action steps above. In fact, share more action steps in the comments here!

Revolutionary Email Based Reminder System

NudgeMailIf you’re like me much of what goes on in your world these days revolves around email. It’s become the center of a great deal of my communication and how I schedule meetings, follow-up with prospects and clients, and assign tasks in the office.

The toughest challenge I face in email management is keeping track of follow-up emails. I get and send a lot of email that involves some sort of follow-up to check in with someone or to schedule a future appointment. I also send queries to people that ask me to follow-up in a month or two.

I recently started using a new service called NudgeMail and I think it’s a game changer for this kind of follow-up productivity.

NudgeMail is an email reminder service, but works in a unique way that makes it a key tool for me. Many reminder services are simply that, you visit a site, set an alarm, and it alerts you. NudgeMail is completely email based and more of a take on the traditional tickler system that many people are familiar with.

You simply send or forward an email to NudgeMail and it creates the reminder complete with full details contained in the original email. You just keep working and never leave your email tool.

Now if I receive or send an email to or from someone and determine that I need to follow-up in a few weeks, I simply send or forward the email to NudgeMail with a date set-up in the subject and I’ll get a reminder email on that date and time with the content of the email included. This may be one of the most important innovations I’ve encountered in a long time. It’s so simple yet indispensable.

Here’s how NudgeMail works at the most basic level:

  1. Create a new email (or forward an existing one)
  2. Set the “to:” to [email protected]
  3. Set the “subject:” to the day, date, or time when you want the NudgeMail to come back to you. For example, “Monday” or “Tomorrow” or “Oct 13” or “2 hours” are all acceptable ways to send a NudgeMail
  4. Enter anything you want in the body of the email, then hit Send!

You can also add a subject for your reminder with a colon after the day, date, or time like this – Tomorrow: Pick up milk. You can find a full list of commands here.

For now the public beta service is free and requires no sign-up or set-up. It works with most email services and is billed to work on most mobile devices as well, although you may not include attachments in your nudge emails.

Premium and branded enterprise paid versions appear to be in the works.

The Selling System Technology Toolkit

In response to yesterday's post Installing a Selling System, a reader asked me what tools I favored for each of the steps in the system I described. There's no question that the act of selling, building trust, and educating prospects…

Read More

Real Time is the Right Time

Marketing podcast with David Meerman Scott (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Real-time marketing and business management is upon us. Companies that get the notion of instantly creating and responding, almost as a business behavior, are taking advantage of opportunities as they happen and engaging customers at the speed they’ve come to expect.

The days of annual planning and execution as a ritualistic process are thing of the past. Companies must plan and implement almost instantly – companies big and small. The good news is that by adopting the right mindset and the right set of monitoring tools, even the smallest of organizations can beat the competition to opportunities happening in real-time.

Real-Time Marketing and PR - David Meerman Scott