Where You Grow From Here

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Buy Your Own Ads on Google

Monday, August 1st, 2011

It’s easy to buy your own ads on Google and they’ve just made it easier with a product called AdWords Express. For those of you unfamiliar with how AdWords works, in its simplest form, you create a text ad that shows up in Google search results. It’s those sponsored links you see above the regular results or in a column to the right.

This type of advertising is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) because you only pay if someone clicks on your ad. It’s a performance-driven model rather than a branding vehicle (although it does have branding benefits – just having your brand show up on the page in search results has intrinsic worth). The trick is motivating the right people to click. Let’s say you run a text ad that’s for a contest. You will get a lot of clicks (assuming it’s a good contest) and drive a lot of traffic to your site. But will those be qualified prospects or just people who want something free?

Whenever we design a contest, we are well aware that we are using a time-honored traffic-driving tool, but we are judicious about our use of that tool. There are times when it makes sense to drive a ton of people to a site (particularly if you have a general, broadly used product like – oh, let’s say soap) or when you can limit the type of people who see the ad in the first place. And that’s part of the genius of Google: Google has more advanced targeting devices that allow you to determine WHO can see your ad. So if you want to make sure you only get local prospects, for example, you can target your ad so that it only shows up if someone searches certain key phrases AND lives in your city.

Using their targeting tools, you can narrow the list of who sees your ad in the first place, thereby reducing your risk of getting a lot of meaningless clicks.

So it’s important to think about your targeting and your message.  And then – run several campaigns at the same time where you change the targeting or the copy and see which ads and which target sets perform best for you. Pull the least-performing ads out of rotation.

Use some common sense when you write your copy. Words that are proven to increase response in print probably work well online too:

  • Attention
  • Introducing
  • Finally
  • New
  • Free

Let’s say you develop accounting software and are launching a new web-based version of it. Your ad might read: “Finally! Accounting software for the cloud with its feet firmly planted on the earth.” Or: “Introducing ________, web-based accounting software for _______(industry you’re targeting).” Sometimes, simple and straightforward is all you need.

How many of you have tried AdWords on your own? How’s it worked for you? Have any of you tried AdWords Express yet? Feel free to call on us if you ever want us to take a look at a campaign you’ve tried and make suggestions on how you might improve its performance.

King of Pop or Not?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I’ve actually had people ask if I was going to blog about Michael Jackson’s passing which surprised me a bit. I know this blog is random-y and all but I don’t have much to contribute to the conversation, except this: the moniker “King of Pop” was given to him by his public relations people. The media did not dub him that. It did not rise up organically. His press people used to tell the media that if they wanted to use his likeness in a promo (say they were going to feature an interview with him on “20/20″), they could not use it unless they referred to him as the “King of Pop.”

Cross posted at Random Neural Firings.

Facebook Fan Pages

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Did you know that your business can have a fan page on Facebook?  It’s a great place to interact with your customers (or allow them to interact with one another), share exclusive content or deals, and continue developing those all-important relationships.  And lest you think Facebook is just for kids, think again.  70% of Facebook’s users are between 18 and 44.

Some well-known Facebook fan pages include:  Whole Foods, Victoria’s Secret, and Red Bull.  But it’s not just the big brands with a presence; small companies are setting up fan pages, too.  Look for inspiration at Zutano’s Facebook fan page. They do a great job of interacting with their fans, creating Facebook-only contests, and posting fun, behind-the-scenes photos of their staff.  Or check out Positive Parenting Solutions. They have useful tips and special offers.

We’ve been working on our Facebook fan page.  Please take a look and fan us!  We’re going to have a Facebook party on our fan page next Wednesday, July 1st.  Join us from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and win great prizes like Amazon gift cards.

Trying to Sell a Car?

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

This new site aggregates real prices of cars sold so you can see exactly what people are paying for that SUV collecting dust in the driveway.

Mashable: PriceHub Flips Kelley Blue Book on its Head

Gervais + Elmo = Hilarity on ‘Sesame Street’ (Fun on a Friday)

Friday, March 13th, 2009

“You can’t control a Muppet and a fat guy,” Gervais says about halfway through these outtakes of an episode scheduled to run in November. Fun on a Friday. Enjoy!

How to Delete Accounts from Any Website

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

A friend posted this link on Facebook that details how to delete accounts from a bunch of sites. Personally, I’d love to get rid of my Classmates account and all those annoying emails. Anyhow, I thought there were some useful tidbits in here and wanted to share.

How to Delete Accounts from Any Website – Features by PC Magazine

HOW THE STIMULUS PACKAGE AFFECTS YOUR STATE

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Love this little interactive map I just found on Kiplinger’s (two days in a row, I know, I know!). They’ve taken the info available on the stimulus package and put it in a map detailing how much goes to each state and for what projects. For example, here’s what Georgia is expected to get.

HOW THE STIMULUS PACKAGE AFFECTS YOUR STATE

How to Promote Your Business Blog

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Our clients ask us all the time if they should have a business blog. We often answer with a qualified “yes.” Most don’t have time to maintain one, let alone figure out how to grow the traffic. For those of you who are actively blogging, here are some tips on how to grow traffic to your blog.

Cross posted at the SMB Hub (online meeting space for small and medium sized businesses)

The Snuggie’s a Success?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

My husband and I mock this product every time we see the commercial. I joke that the guy looks like a monk and that the sleeves are surely fire hazards. Chris is thinking of getting me one for my birthday. So imagine my surprise when I learned that Snuggies are flying off the shelves. Four million sold and a waiting list for more. Normally, I’d comment on their marketing strategy, or how their success reflects current trends, but today, I have only one word: huh?

Update: one of my Twitter buddies just told me she wears her robe backwards and ta-da! Instant Snuggie. Hilarious!

New Loans For Small Businesses – Forbes.com

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

My favorite printing company, is also a pretty smart company. I’ve worked with them for years because they provide great quality printing at affordable prices. (We’ve tried other online discount printers and have been greatly disappointed with the quality.) Turns out their CEO, Andrew Field, is a strong advocate for SMB’s (small and medium sized businessess). He is concerned with how the credit crunch is affecting us and how we are largely being ignored in the current recovery conversations. He has a simple plan to help. It’s not a bailout. The government actually makes money if we do. Given that we employ 80% of the nation’s workforce, it seems reasonable to me that we ought to at least be in the conversation.

SMB’s don’t have natural organizations. We tend to clump together in verticals related to our industry. There is no giant lobbying group representing us in Washington.

But look, we have the Internet and a whole host of word-of-mouth tools. I’m going to post a link to Andrew Field’s proposal here on my blog. Then I’m going to put the link on my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. Read it. If you think the idea has merit, pass it along to your networks.

New Loans For Small Businesses – Forbes.com

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