Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Article marketing is one of the most effective, easy and free business promotion techniques around. You can create a lot of traffic to your website as well as traffic to your cash register by writing and distributing free articles, both online and offline. Then, that traffic will result in more sales, of course.
Article marketing is nothing new. Business owners wrote columns and articles for their local papers long before we had the World Wide Web at our fingertips. And, they enjoyed the benefit of added business because of it. The local plant nursery owner who wrote weekly tips on growing the best tomatoes or roses was regarded as the expert and therefore, sold more roses and tomato plants as well as any other plants or related products he had available.
So, how can you use article marketing for your business?
Just write a small article—about 400 to 800 words. At the end of the article, you will include a "bio" or "resource" box with your name, business name, website address, and any other contact info you wish to include. If you have a retail store, by all means, put your store address there. If you sell via telephone, add your phone number. A good bio box is key to article marketing success, so make yours as good as the word allotment allows!
Then, post the article on your own website first. Then, add it to an article directory. One I have used in the past is GOArticles.com, but there are many article directories out there. Try a few and see which one you like best and which one brings you the most traffic. You can even add the same article to different directories.
What else can you do with your articles?
Once you have written an article, it becomes a powerful part of your marketing arsenal. You own the copyright and can use it over and over again. For some added bang from any article:
• Turn it into a press release and post online to PR sources, like PR Leap. PR Leap offers both free and paid online submissions. Do this! It is easy and if you use the free option, it costs nothing. Search engines are starting to pick up press releases and rank them pretty high in their search results, too. Also, send to your local papers and other media, too.
• Print it on good paper and distribute to your customers and contacts. A one-page easy-to-read informative piece is a great give-away.
• As a leave behind on sales calls, or in your sales kit, or to add to direct-mail packets.
What can you write about?
Start by making a list of things people ask you about, a list of the “selling points” of your product or service, and then pick one and write.
Example one: Suppose you own a bed and breakfast inn in a quaint little village near a river in the Smokey Mountains. You have thousands of article possibilities.. For instance, your world famous apricot nut muffin recipe, Ten Fun Facts about “Quaint Little Village”, Eight Ways to have fun on the River, Ten Great Smokey Mountain Honeymoon Ideas, and so on.
Example two: Suppose you sell promotional imprinted t-shirts. List your target markets and write a how-to article for each of them. For instance, How to design your family reunion t-shirt, Successfully Sell t-shirts at your company picnic, How to choose the right fabric for your uniform t-shirts, Golf-Outing T-shirts Do’s and Don’ts, Top Ten t-shirt colors and their meanings, How to put your Own Artwork on your company t-shirts, and Raising Money with Team Autograph t-shirts.
Example three: Suppose you make and sell candles. Your article titles could include: Best Candle Scents for Allergy Sufferers, Relieving Stress, Meditation, (pick any illness/disease/condition/hobby), or Three Candles to Increase your Productivity, Kitchen Candle Scents to Curb your Appetite, Top Five Candles for the Romantic Bedroom, Removing Candle Residue from Votive Holders, Removing Spilled Wax from Carpet, Why you Should Trim your Candle Wicks Today, and Favorite Bath time Candles for Moms.
If you need help coming up with article titles for your particular business, visit the SOHO forum. Tell us about your business and we’ll brainstorm ideas for you. If you would like my personal assistance, I will provide one hour of personal article brainstorming with you for half my normal hourly fee. Just contact me at the Smart Marketing Works Contact Page or the SOHO Editor Contact Page. On either page, be sure to include your email address for my response!
Your Success Action Plan: Set a goal to write and publish at least one article for your business this month.