4 Ways a Press Release Can Help Your Green Business

Press Releaes [tweetmeme]Do you publish press releases for your green business online? A press release is an article that tells something newsworthy about your business. Before the advent of the Internet, press releases were typically mailed (yes, the old-fashioned way – via USMail!) or faxed to a news organization such as a newspaper, radio or TV station. Today, press releases are usually e-mailed to the news media, or submitted to an online press release company, such as PR Newswire.

Brand Awareness

Press releases are a useful way to build brand awareness for your company’s eco friendly product or service. Typical subjects for a press release are:

  • New product announcements
  • New management
  • Promotional events
  • Awards
  • Charity donations/assistance

Search Engine Ranking

Submitting your news to an online press release site can also help enhance the search engine ranking for your company’s website. If you include a link to your company’s website in the press release, this “backlink” will be recognized by search engines as a measure of authority. Google will reward websites with a higher ranking when you have high quality backlinks such as these pointing to your website. Plus, if you include keywords in your press release, your prospects will have an easier time finding it online as well.

Gain Publicity

A press release is also an inexpensive way to gain publicity for your green business, if you get someone within your organization to write the release and submit it to online sites and media contacts. Even if you have to pay a freelance writer to do it for you, the publicity you gain can more than make up for the cost.

Gain Credibility

Submitting press releases on a regular basis, such as once a month, will also help your eco friendly business gain credibility with your target audience. It’s a good idea to publish your press releases on your website so visitors can learn more about your company. As a result, prospects will be more inclined to trust your company when they need the products or service you sell.

If you need help writing a press release for your company, contact Gloria Rand for a free estimate.

How to Create a Vanity URL for Your Facebook Page

[tweetmeme]When you create a Facebook page for your green business, the URL or website address that gets created typically looks like this: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Your-Green-Business-Name/113458849022470. Not exactly the easiest address to remember, let alone display on your business card! The solution? Create a Vanity URL!

Facebook Vanity URL Establishes Your Brand

A custom URL enables you to brand your Facebook page. Choose a name that either matches your company name or is closely aligned with your industry. The username can only contain alphanumeric characters (a-z, 0-9) or periods and must contain at least one letter.

When you’ve come up with a name go to www.facebook.com/username.
Choose the page, enter the desired username, and then click on “Check Availability.”
Facebook username selection
If the username is available, you’ll see this page appear:

Facebook username rules

Notice that you can’t change the name or transfer its ownership once you select it. So think carefully before hitting “confirm.”

Facebook Removes 25 Fans Requirement

Until recently, page administrators had to wait until they had 25 fans before they could acquire a vanity URL in Facebook. But now, you can do it after you create the page. However, blog writer & entrepreneur Dwayne Kilbourne recently uncovered a hitch to this plan. It seems you only have the opportunity to do this once per profile. If you manage more than one page, and you’ve already used the privilege, you’ll have to get another administrator to change the name.

If you need help creating a Facebook page for your green business, contact Gloria Rand today.

3 Tips on Finding the Right Keywords for Your Green Website

By Gloria Rand

Have you come up with an eco-friendly product that you want to sell online? It’s pretty easy to set up your own website today. And if you have a small budget, there are several website hosting services that offer inexpensive customizable templates, such as 1and1.com or Wix.com, so you can be up and running in a matter of minutes.

After you put your website online, the challenging part begins. Your site needs to have the right keywords that people use to search for your green product or service so your customers can find you online. So how do you figure out which keywords are best? You have to do some research.

Think Like Your Target Audience

Start by thinking like your customer. Go to Google and type in different search phrases to see what comes up. If your search turns up a list of your competitors, you’re on the right track! But if your search turns up results that are totally unrelated to your eco friendly business, it’s time to ask your customers for help. Find out what search terms they use to find your company. In this instance, you can be sure that “the customer is always right.”

The next step you can take is to compare your website with your competition. Are there similarities in the content? Which keywords appear the most? What are the most obvious phrases? What are the most “opportunistic” ones?

Use Keyword Search Tools

If you still need help, it’s time to use a keyword search tool. There are several free resources you can use such as Google’s Adwords or Wordtracker.com. If you’re more “old school” – dig out that old stand-by – the thesaurus – for more ideas.

The idea is to cover all your bases by coming up with a broad list of the most searched keywords. This doesn’t mean just one or two word phrases either. If you limit yourself to including just the most common, popular words you will have almost no chance of getting your website to rank on page one of Google. That’s because you’ll be competing with millions of other websites for those words.

A better tactic is to include a few less popular phrases — ones that include three, four or five words. This “long-tail strategy” will help you stand out from your competition, and give you a much better chance of reaching your target audience for your eco friendly product.

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route, Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation. I’ll be happy to discuss which search engine optimization strategies will best help your green business.

Roll it Rite: A Case Study in Social Media Marketing

[tweetmeme]By Gloria Rand

Roll it Rite eco friendly toilet paper and paper towel saverI’ve written in the past about how Twitter can be an effective marketing tool for your eco-friendly business. But if you need some proof, take a lesson from Roll it Rite.

Using Twitter to Start a Conversation

Roll it Rite makes a product that helps cut down on wasted paper towels and toilet paper. A couple of weeks ago, the company started following my GreenSEOCopy Twitter account. Since I had never heard of “Roll it Rite” before, I checked out their Twitter profile, visited their website and watched this video about their product:

Looks pretty clever, don’t you think? I thought so, and told them so on Twitter. Check out how they responded to my tweet below:

I tweeted back that I would be happy to review their product. At that point, we moved the conversation off Twitter to email. A few days later, I received their paper towel and toilet paper samples in the mail. The product is essentially a piece of foam that attaches to the paper towel or toilet paper dispenser. The paper towel roll or toilet paper roll slides over the foam. The foam takes up the space between the dispenser and the cardboard insert of the paper. As a result, the paper doesn’t fly off the dispenser. The roll moves slowly, cutting down on waste.

I did manage to tear the product the first time I used it. But I’m not blaming Roll it Rite for that! When I pulled the covering off the adhesive, the foam started to tear, but then I realized that I was pulling the wrong end. I forgot the first rule of product installation – read the directions first! 🙂 Needless to say, I was more careful when I used the toilet paper version.

Roll it Rite says it has earned the designation of being a green product that is 100% made in the USA. So I was a little surprised when I opened the paper box to find the foam insert encased in a plastic bag. Upon inspection of the bag, I didn’t see the usual “recycle” symbol that is normally found on recyclable plastic products. But when I emailed the company to ask about it, I was pleased to find out that the bag is, in fact, recyclable.

Twitter Fans Promote the Product for You

Do you see the power of Twitter? Roll it Rite found a blogger (me!) on Twitter to try their green product out and write about it. As a satisfied user, I’m happy to promote Roll it Rite to my friends and followers. That’s social media marketing at its best.

About Gloria:
Gloria Rand is an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Copywriter & Marketing Consultant who works with entrepreneurs and small business owners to implement SEO strategies and social media marketing for online visibility, profits and success. Leveraging her background as a writer and producer for the award-winning PBS news program, “Nightly Business Report,” with her own experience as a small business owner, Gloria helps professionals turn great ideas into cash cows. Link up with Gloria at www.gloriarand.com or www.fb.com/gloriarandcopywriter.

10 Tips for Growing a Facebook Fan Base

By Gloria Rand
[tweetmeme]Have you started a Facebook page to promote your eco friendly product, green business or non-profit organization? Smart move! With 750 million users, Facebook provides a terrific opportunity for you to connect with your target audience and promote environmental change so we can achieve a sustainable future.

The key to using Facebook as a marketing tool for your business or non-profit starts with building a base of fans who will promote your content to their friends. Loyal fans can help you reach more people that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to connect with on your own.

How to Grow Your Facebook Fan Base

1. Use Email Contacts
Facebook allows admins of new or smaller Pages to invite their customers and web contacts to connect with their pages. Visit the “Tell your Fans” section on the Resources tab of your Page Manager to upload a contact file with email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo!, Constant Contact, etc.

2. Use Contests & Promotions

There’s no doubt about it – contests generate buzz for your page! You don’t need written permission from Facebook to hold a contest, or meet their minimum advertising threshold. However, you must use a Facebook application to administer the contest. One of the more popular tools to use is Wildfire, which has different pricing models to fit every budget.

3. Post Photos
Use photos of your green products, employees (with permission), company special events etc. Photos get shared on Facebook the most, and will help spread the word about your green business page.

4. Post videos
Videos are also great tools to have on your Facebook page. You can use them to demonstrate your eco friendly product, explain your service – maybe even include a testimonial!

5. Ask questions
Don’t assume you know what people want to see on your page. Ask for opinions. Run a poll. Post the question directly in your status bar, or use the Facebook question app to create a multiple choice question.

6. Promote Events
Conducting a webinar or lunch and learn? Holding a special sale? Talk about it on your page. If it’s a good deal, people will comment, and then others will find out about you.

7. Breaking News
One benefit of the environmental movement is that there’s always something new to talk about! Share the latest developments about sustainability, climate change, solar energy, etc. If you’re selling a new cutting edge eco friendly product, talk about research that led to its creation as well as any updates or improvements that have been made to it.

8. Posts from Your Blog

Share articles from your blog on your Facebook page. The NetworkedBlogs app is useful for displaying all of your articles for your fans to read. But if you use this app, I recommend that you don’t let it post directly to your wall, even though this can be a big time saver. Mari Smith, a noted Facebook expert, says that Facebook gives less weight to third party apps. So any content that is posted thru an app like NetworkedBlogs or Hootsuite will get less weight in the news feed than if you posted the content manually.

9. Use Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights help you see who is a fan of your page and what type of posts generate the most engagement. You can use the feedback to make adjustments to your content.

10. Create custom landing tabs

Finally, a customized landing tab allows you to “greet” Facebook visitors at the “door” of your page and explain WHY they should become a fan of your page. It also presents an opportunity to extend your marketing offline by collecting your followers’ email addresses. There are several apps available if you want to do this yourself. I’ve used the Static HTML app on several of my clients’ pages. I like this one because you can create more than one custom tab for your page. Most of the other apps will only let you create one tab per page.

If you’ve used another strategy to successfully grow your Facebook fan base, please comment below!

11 Common SEO Mistakes

[tweetmeme]Do you lie awake nights wondering why your website isn’t generating more sales of your awesome green product? It can’t be your widget or whatchamacallit! You know it’s the next best thing to sliced bread. And you’re sure it’s not the website either. It’s got great graphics, great copy and a call to action. So, why aren’t more people buying?

It may be that your target audience can’t find your green business site online. And that could be because your web designer made a few of these common SEO mistakes:

#1 – Optimizing for common, popular words

It may be tempting to optimize your website for the most common, popular words. But the problem with this strategy is that you’ll be competing with millions of other websites for these same words. For instance, if you search the phrase “green products” on Google, you’ll turn up 104,000,000 results! A better strategy will be to focus on long-tail keyphrases, such as “green cleaning products for your business,” so that you won’t be competing with as many sites and you’ll have a better chance of ranking on page one of Google.

#2 – Every title tag has the same keyword phrase: your company name

You’re doing your green business a disservice if the title tags on your website don’t include keywords people use to find your product or service. Even if your company name includes a keyword that reflects what your business is, the title tag gives you the opportunity to customize each page with additional, relevant keywords.

Your website visitors don’t have to land on your home page the first time they visit either. A product description page with keywords in the title tag and the page content could rank higher than your home page, for instance. If your customer clicks the link to that page from Google, you’ve just saved him a step, and moved him closer to buying your green product.

#3 – URL of your website has no keywords

This “mistake” isn’t as bad as some of the others. But if you can put keywords into your URL, it will enhance your optimization efforts.

#4 – Your website’s heading is an image – no text

Search engine spiders can’t “read” images. But there are a couple of ways you can get around this. The first way is to add a keyword to the name of the image file. Let’s say you sell laundry detergent, and the file name of your product is called image_1.jpg. You can help the search engine spiders “see” the image by changing the file name to laundry_detergent.jpg.

The second way to get your image read is to add an “alt tag” with keywords. Seventh Generation, the green cleaning product company, follows this strategy. Here is the HTML code for a picture of the company’s liquid laundry detergent:

<img src="http://www.seventhgeneration.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/prod_cat_landing/product-imgs/laundry-liquid2_50oz_citrus.jpg” alt=”Laundry Detergent Liquid” title=”” class=”imagecache imagecache-prod_cat_landing imagecache-default imagecache-prod_cat_landing_default” width=”140″ height=”154″ />

As you can see above, the file name includes the keywords “laundry, liquid, citrus” and the “alt tag” has the keyword phrase “laundry detergent liquid.”

#5 – Your design/SEO firm “did” SEO and you are #1 on Google

This is probably the most common SEO myth. If you are ranking #1 on Google, congratulations! Just don’t get comfortable. Unless you’re paying for Pay-per-click ads, it’s highly unlikely that you will remain number one for long. Every day, new websites come onto the Internet, gunning for your #1 ranking. SEO is an ongoing process. Search engines want to see new content added to your site on a regular basis. That’s one reason why companies now add blogs to their websites.

#6 – Your SEO firm promised you’d be in thousands of search engines

If an SEO firm promises to submit your green business website to thousands of search engines, run, don’t walk away! There is no reason to waste your money on this process. As long as your website can be found on Google, you’re already way ahead of the game.

#7 – You did SEO after your website was built

This one just puzzles me. Many companies concentrate on getting a website built and then start thinking about SEO. That’s like going on a trip before packing. Do you keyword research first, then write the content. It’s a lot harder to fit those keywords into the content after it’s already been written.

#8 – Your website was built entirely in flash

When you have a flash website, it’s like having an invisible shield between your site and the search engines. Why? Search engines can’t read flash since it’s essentially one big picture. (See Common SEO Mistake #4) This doesn’t mean you can’t use any flash on your site. Flash is useful for adding animation, video and interactivity. Just make sure you have text on your website too, and include headers with keywords in them as well.

#9 – Poor use of internal anchor text

A surprising number of web sites still use “click here” or “more” as the anchor text on many links. If your green business website does this, you’ve lost a golden opportunity to help search engines understand what the page being linked to is all about.

#10 – No internal links

On the other hand, I see many websites that don’t use anchor text at all. These sites rely on the page tabs to move website visitors from one web page to another. But that’s not a good strategy. Search engines will reward your site when you have internal links. And remember point #9 above. The copy in the link should include a keyword leading the visitor from the page they’re viewing to a different page.

#11 – Light content pages

Finally, don’t rely on images alone to do the work on your website. Copy is important – especially if you’re trying to sell that wonderful green product! A good rule of thumb is to have about 200-300 words on a web page. If you’re trying to optimize for a certain keyword phrase, work that into your content two or three times. The trick is writing the copy in a way that will not only attract the search engines, but entice your web visitor to take action. That’s where a good SEO copywriter comes in handy. If you’d like to know whether your site is optimized as well as it can be, contact me today for a free website analysis.