June 13, 2002
Table of Contents
Quote of the Week
- SUBSCRIBER DEALS
Featured Resource - KEYWORD MINER
Staff Article -
USING CONTENT TO ENHANCE SEARCH ENGINE PERFORMANCE
Marketing Tip of the Week
Staff Article 2 -
CREATE AN ADVISORY BOARD TO ENERGIZE YOUR BUSINESS
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Quote of the Week
You have power over your mind - not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength.
- Marcus Aurelius
Subscriber Offers - Removed
Keyword Miner is a FREE Windows software tools for finding the
perfect set of keywords for your web pages. It also helps you measure your
success by comparing your traffic with that of your competitors! There are
no nag screens, no advertisements, no registrations and no payments
required. Get yours here:
(They have several other excellent free and trial products on this page
also, such as Top Dog and Domain Name Analyzer).
USING CONTENT TO ENHANCE SEARCH
by: Cary Christian
We've talked a good bit the
last few weeks about search engine optimization and the power of including
powerful keywords in the content of your website.
No matter what you sell, whether it's software, kitchen appliances, sports
equipment, books, candy or services, content is difficult to write well.
Even writing compelling descriptions of your products is often difficult.
Worse, it may often be copied straight from your distributor's site, thus
guaranteeing you have the same content as anyone else selling your products.
You would all probably agree with me that writing copy for your website that
a) makes it stand out from the crowd, and
b) that is rich in keywords
would help you sell more by attracting more visitors and generating more
interest when they actually get there. I want to give you two ideas on how
to do this.
LOOK AT YOUR PRODUCTS THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMER'S EYES
Why do your customer's buy your product? Is it because your software has
more features than the next guy's? Or is it because your software makes it
easier for them to get their work done faster and get home to the kids at a
decent hour? Which reason would make you want to buy?
You may already be familiar with the concept of selling benefits rather than
features. It's a rather common concept in marketing because it works. But it
is surprising how many people ignore the effect of this concept on the
keywords they choose to emphasize when it comes to search engine
Look at the descriptions of your products or services. First, make sure you
are emphasizing benefits over features. Look at the sites of your
competitors and you'll probably find most of them are concentrating on
features. If you need to rewrite your descriptions to make them benefit
rich, do so. This is not easy, but take the time to do it to the best of
Now look carefully at your new descriptions that emphasize benefits. Look at
what keywords jump out at you now. Compare those to the keywords you THOUGHT
were the best descriptors of this particular web page. Are they different?
In most cases they will be worlds apart.
Perform some searches using these new keywords and see what kind of results
you get. Use Overture's search term suggestion tool to see how many searches
per month these new keywords produce.
Should these new keywords completely replace those you would normally use to
describe your site? Maybe, but probably not. More than likely you will
have found additional keywords that provide you with the following benefits:
1. You will be competing on keywords your competitors are likely
2. You will find that keyword-rich content is easier to write and
that your writing "flows" better when you're concentrating on benefits
rather than features,
3. Your content will be more pleasing to your visitors than the often
cold and boring lists of features that most sites provide, and
4. It will be easier for you to include and repeat your best keywords
when you're writing content based on benefits. (Even the feature-based
keywords will become easier to use).
ADD ARTICLES TO YOUR WEBSITE
Again, no matter what you're selling, you can produce or find articles to
add to your website. The more the better. Why?
Articles related to your products or services will be rich in the keywords
that people search for when they are looking for your products! The search
engines will periodically spider the pages of your site and index these
articles as you add them. They will produce traffic. Sometimes a LOT of
When you visit our site, you will find lots of articles. Sure, they are
there primarily because we are an informational site, but their effect on
search engine results weighed heavily in our deciding to include them and in
our making a commitment to add and modify articles frequently. In fact, we
are way behind in adding articles in my opinion. Look for that to change
very shortly. We get a lot of traffic from the search engines just by having
these articles on our website.
This traffic also highlights what people are really looking for when they
find our site. If it's something we do not provide but could, be sure we
will add that product or service when we see the search engine traffic
building. For example, we have noticed a TON of traffic drawn to a simple
article on a particular tax issue. We will be producing an entire ebook on
that subject soon. And all because we saw the number of people searching for
information on that issue.
We can also use this traffic information to help us develop better
pay-per-click search engine strategies.
So adding articles to your website has the potential of doing three very
important things for you:
1. It will make your site more keyword rich with less effort,
2. It will help you identify keywords people use to find your
products that you might not think of on your own, and
3. It will make it easier to create an effective pay-per-click
campaign if you desire to do so.
It is important to note that you do not have to personally write all the
articles you use on your site. There are many content sites on the web where
you can pick up articles to use that relate to your products. You can even
use news stories and press releases.
It is also a good idea to write some articles on how your products can be
used to realize the benefits you are trying to sell. A sales page often can
do no more than highlight particular benefits of using your products. Use
articles to explore these benefits in detail. Aim to produce an article for
every benefit you're trying to sell.
Going back to our software example, write an article showing how John Doe at
XYZ Company uses your product to save four hours per day in processing time.
If you run a service business, include articles that clearly demonstrate how
your services produce quantifiable improvements in results. Provide case
studies if you have them.
You should have a good number of "independent" articles on your site for
maximum drawing power, but there is nothing wrong with including articles
that specifically deal with your products and services and how you deliver
them. These articles are designed to sell and there is nothing at all wrong
1. Write about benefits, not features, and
2. Add targeted articles to your site.
Keep these two recommendations in mind and filling your site with rich
content will be far easier than you realize.
Copyright (c) 2002
Tip of the Week
This week's tip is more of a warning really.
You've probably all seen those programs where you pay $12 or so, set up your
ad and it gets mailed out to millions of safelist members over the course of
a year. Sounds good on paper. You get lots of exposure and just set your ad
and forget about it unless you want to change it at some point.
As part of our general testing regimen, we decided to try them out. The results so far show that the same ad will
fare much, much better when you join individual safelists than when you join
these "mega" lists. In fact, more than a month into the testing we are still
waiting for our very first hit! During the same time period, we have
averaged 25 hits per day from regular posting to a group of 40 "normal"
safelists as a free member. Beware the hype out there. There's certainly
plenty of it to go around!
ADVISORY BOARD TO ENERGIZE YOUR BUSINESS
by: Cary Christian
Most small businesses have a
board of directors composed of several of the shareholders of the company.
This board usually doesn't meet formally and serves little purpose other
than to rubber stamp corporate resolutions that are required periodically.
Small businesses cannot usually afford to have an outside board of directors
that includes "big name" executives like their larger counterparts do. But
smaller companies can still create a board that will provide valuable input
and new ideas to the business. I'm talking about an advisory board.
An advisory board is not the same as a board of directors. It does not
exercise any authority over the business. Its findings and recommendations
are not binding on the business owner. But it can provide strategic
resources that are simply not available to the business on a day-to-day
THE MAKEUP OF AN ADVISORY BOARD
To create your advisory board you want to find individuals from different
disciplines that complement your own internal industry expertise. For
example, you might have a representative from your largest vendor, a
marketing consultant, your accountant, a systems person, a representative
from your largest customer, and so forth.
You do not want to include anyone in this group that will tend to restrain
the free flow of information, so you'll have to be careful with the
inclusion of certain types of individuals.
For example, you may be uncomfortable including a representative from your
largest customer. You may not want this customer to know so much about your
business. On the other hand, this is your opportunity to get inside your
customer's head and learn more about what they're looking for in a
relationship and what their views of the market are. It will also tend to
make your relationship stronger.
Another example might be your attorney, who will probably be the first to
tell you that he or she should NOT be a member of the group. The
presence of an attorney will tend to change the dynamics of your meetings in
a negative way.
You want to think about every major area of concern in your business, and
particularly those where you think you are weak, and attempt to place
someone on this board that is an expert in that area.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM?
The big question is how you get appropriate people to want to participate on
your board. It's actually easier than you would think.
Your major vendor will probably jump at the chance to provide you with a
representative because you are an important customer. It provides a way for
them to cement their relationship with you. The same is true of marketing
consultants, accountants and other professionals who have an existing
relationship with you, and probably even more true of such professionals who
do not have a relationship with your business BUT WOULD LIKE TO.
Pick out the people you want and approach them with the idea of
participation on your advisory board. You'll probably get the people you
want. If you include people who currently provide services to your company,
make sure they understand that participation on this board is NOT
You should meet at least once per quarter, and possibly once per month. Be
prepared to discuss how your business is doing financially, your goals and
any particular strategic problems you need to have the board address.
Prepare a complete agenda and have handouts available that provide all the
information your board will need to evaluate the issues before them. Run the
meeting professionally and strictly adhere to any time constraints of the
participants. Arrange a nice lunch for the participants at your cost.
These meetings will not substitute for professional consultation that some
of the participants would normally provide to you for a fee. Do not try to
use it for this purpose. You should be concentrating solely on the overall
strategy of your company and how specific issues and decisions you have
tentatively made will affect your ability to execute that strategy.
For example, you may have been considering selling a lower end version of
one of your products to increase sales to people who cannot afford your
existing products. Your board may tell you that you will be cheapening your
image and that such a move will hurt sales overall. Then again, depending on
your industry and how you are viewed in that industry, it may be a
tremendous idea. The discussion among the members of the board will provide
you with outstanding feedback on these types of issues.
A WORD ABOUT HOME BUSINESSES
Even home businesses can form an advisory board. It probably won't be as
sophisticated or formal, but it can still be useful. Find friends and
contacts who have the special skills you need and buy them lunch every month
or so. Spend an hour learning from them ways to make your business more
efficient and profitable.
An advisory board can provide terrific benefits to any small business. Use
it to supplement your knowledge in areas where you are weak and to keep your
fingers on the pulse of your markets. With the right composition, it might
become one of your most important business assets and a source of advantage
over your competitors!
Copyright (c) 2002
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