Al Kernek

MyWikiBiz, Author Your Legacy — Wednesday March 29, 2023
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Al-Kernek_867.jpg Al Kernek

Al Kernek has thirty years of hands-on marketing experience in both Fortune 500 firms and entrepreneurial start-up companies. He has an extensive background in marketing, Internet marketing and the use of e-mail newsletters to promote products and services.

His credentials also include a master's degree in business management, numerous courses in high-tech marketing, plus many industry and company awards for outstanding achievement.

A licensed real estate broker, Al has also published a book for real estate agents interested in email newsletters. Another book, "Put Your Business Online," is directed towards small businesses and entrpreneurs as well.

Among his many interests is a passion for bike riding along the California coastline, good mystery and horror novels, and charitable works. Al is a Toastmaster who resides with his wife and an assortment of critters in San Diego, California.

Internet Marketing – It Pays to Get a Sanity Check!

Many small businesses are not getting the results they expected from their Website and online marketing activities. They put up a Website and promote it as best they can. Yet, they seem to hit a wall. Their site never appears within the first three pages of search engine returns for their keywords. In effect, they are invisible on the Internet. Or despite a healthy flow of traffic to their site, sales never seem to increase.

Under these circumstances, online marketing can be a frustrating experience. Every small business person has at one time or another has said to himself, "I wish I could get someone knowledgeable to look at my site and tell me what to do." And following that intuitive thought is exactly what they should do.

There are several ways to get an outside opinion of your Website marketing activities. The first and most obvious is to examine your site statistics. Most Web hosting vendors provide Website analytics today. If not – and even if they do – it is worthwhile to install the free Google Analytics ( ), as it provides a wealth of useful information and can be integrated to track your pay-per-click advertising as well.

Another way to learn more about how your small business Website is perceived by visitors is to simply ask your friends, family and some customers to go through your site and give you comments and suggestions. This informal approach often yields valuable insights into the flow and appeal of your business Website. Sometimes, we get too far down into the trees to see the forest.

Alternatively, you can place a survey on your Website asking for customer feedback on their experience while surfing your site. Just go to Google and enter "free online survey poll" in the search box, and you will find a ton of free and low-cost services that offer a means to easily add this function to your Website. Best results will be achieved by placing the survey or poll on the Home page and offering some incentive for its completion. Structure it so that it is easy and fast to complete, yet ensures that you will receive useful information. Use ratings ("on a scale of 1 to 5…") or Yes/No click-button answers to solicit most responses. Some open-ended questions are encouraged too ("What suggestions can you offer to improve this Website?"). Finally, it is nice if there is supporting software to automatically tabulate the answers and provide graphical statistics for ease of interpretation. Typically, online surveys and polls are easy to set up, usually just requiring the copying and paste of an automatically generated script into your HTML code.

If you are willing to pay for it, a more comprehensive approach is to employ a knowledgeable consultant to appraise your small business Website. Among other things, an Internet marketing consultant will evaluate your site from the perspective of its search engine optimization, load times, unique selling propositions, attention factors ("stickiness"), ease of navigation, ability to quickly locate what a visitor is seeking, content and layout, incentives, whether it guides visitors to take the actions your wish, ease of purchase (for e-commerce sites) and your current online promotion activities. When finished, consultants usually issue a report with recommendations for improvements. This service typically costs several hundred or even thousands of dollars.

Whatever approach you select – and you can do all of them – any action on your part is better than ignoring a stagnating situation and letting your online marketing languish. Most small business people are pleasantly surprised when they see that minor changes to their Website and online marketing activities result in a noticeable increase to the bottom line.


Turn Your Small Business Website into a Marketing Machine!

It is surprising to see how many Websites are just informational in nature or seem to exist solely for company status. Some companies still view their Website as nothing more than an online brochure. If your company is one of these, you are foregoing an extraordinary marketing opportunity.

Big corporations especially are prone to positioning themselves on the Internet with Websites that are more about “flag waving” than generating new business. Unfortunately, many small and medium-sized companies have mimicked this approach as well.

Your Website is your company’s window to a worldwide market. It is more than just a vehicle to distribute information or automate administrative tasks. Correctly exploited, a company Website can become its primary marketing tool, generating new business around the clock.

Here is a simple checklist of activities you should be conducting on your company Website:

  • Marketing your products or services online, offering incentives and e-commerce for transacting sales.
  • Building an opt-in email list by offering a free newsletter subscription, free trials, whitepapers, ebook or other meaningful incentives. Email marketing costs only fraction of traditional marketing methods and opens a direct marketing channel to qualified buyers.
  • Adding downloadable marketing materials that prospects can print out.
  • Posting press releases, testimonials, awards, management team overviews and other materials that enhance company credibility in the eyes of your target markets.
  • Recruiting dealers and affiliates to broaden your marketing channels.
  • Establishing strategic partnerships with complementary (but not competitive) vendors that drive more qualified traffic to your site
  • Optimizing your site for search engines so that it bubbles up on the first page or so when someone enters germane keywords. This is much cheaper than pay-per-click advertising and has more credibility within the online community.
  • Investing in online press releases that include a link back to your site. These marketing vehicles receive widespread distribution and live forever.
  • Creating a business blog with links back to your site. Be sure to submit it to the growing number of blog directories.
  • Writing articles (like this one) that gain widespread distribution through free online submission sites. Of course, include a link back to your site. You can even set up your own RSS feed that is submitted to hundreds of directories, driving interested readers to your site.

When all is said and done, your Website is a marketing machine. Visitors must be able to quickly find what they are seeking and should be guided to the results or actions you wish them to take. If you embrace this perspective and diligently apply the marketing techniques outlined above, your company will be blessed with increasing sales and steady growth.


Internet Marketing Requires Lots of Patience!

When you first make a decision to start an Internet business or to put your existing business online, it helps if you have a realistic appreciation of just how long it takes to break-even on your efforts. Usually, it takes several months!

Putting up a business Website is just the beginning. The real challenge is to achieve visibility in the crowded Internet marketplace. The days are long gone when you could expect to sit back and wait for potential customers to find you. Now, you must be prepared to invest heavily in time and effort to attract traffic to your site.

Depending upon the type of traffic you are trying to attract, your efforts will be focused on:

  • Submitting your Website to the major search engines and relevant directories.
  • Continually optimizing your Website for the major search engines so that your site at least appears in the first three pages of returns when someone performs an Internet search using your keywords.
  • Setting up link exchanges with complementary sites.
  • Online advertising through pay-per-click (PPC) vendors (such as Google and Yahoo), article submissions, ezine classified ads, blogs and RSS feeds.
  • Promoting your Website through an email newsletter.
  • Setting up and/or participating in affiliate programs.
  • Offline advertising in local newspapers, flyers, industry periodicals and relevant association publications.

These activities are not difficult to accomplish, but expect a learning curve if this is your first experience at Internet marketing. And equally important, it takes time and effort away from your business operations to focus on these activities.

But focus your must. Otherwise, your new Website will lie there, invisible to your target audience. So, if you can't devote the time – or don't have the expertise to – accomplish these necessary tasks, then hire someone else to do it. Your investment will pay off many times over.

Nonetheless, a tree doesn't grow overnight. Even with continual attention, it normally takes six months to a year before your search engine rankings alow you to achieve visibility in your targeted markets. You can expedite traffic to your site through PPC advertising and other means, but the bottom line is that it can be a long haul. The most important thing is to have a solid marketing plan…and lots of patience.


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Name: Al Kernek

City: San Diego
State: California
Country: US

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