Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to Write Terrific Titles for Your PPC Ads

(This blog post is the second in short series on how to conduct a well-run PPC campaign.)

Once you've chosen your keywords for your Pay-per-Click campaign, it's time to write the ad -- also known as a listing -- that will appear in the search results.

Be careful as you craft this. This is your "headline" and it will be competing with others in the search results. You want to create a listing that will get your target market to click on it.

Your title should be short -- no more than five words. Select a title/headline that shows what the page it leads to is all about while promoting awareness of your brand.

The description -- the two lines below your title -- can be longer, but really should never be longer than 25 word. Let readers know how clicking on your link will answer their search query.

For example, let's say you sell hiking boots and that your business name is Bob's Hiking Boots Company. A search phrase might be "buy hiking boots" (people actually will probably also type in a brand name, ex: "buy Merrell hiking boots," but for now we'll just leave a brand name out).

Your title/headline could be "Great Hiking Boots from BobsHikingBootCo.com" or "BobsHikingBootoCo.com Best Value Boots."

Your description could then read: "Great selection of hiking boots for all ages and abilities. Bob's Hiking Boots Company offers you great quality and terrific prices."

If at all possible, put your keywords in the title and ad:

Title: "Buy Hiking Boots at BobsHikingBootsCo.com"

Description: "Looking to buy hiking boots? Bob's Hiking Boot Company offers you great quality boots at terrific prices."

Write different ads for the same keywords so that you can experiment to see which ads/listings bring you buyers. Focus on those ads that result in paying customers, not just traffic. Study your stats and discard those listings that don't bring you business.

If you need help with your PPC campaign, give GoiMarketing.com a call. We can help you put together one that will bring you new customers while providing you with a terrific return on your investment.

How to Conduct a PPC Campaign

If you've decide to go ahead with a pay-per-click campaign (see last week's posts), here are some tips on how to do so.

1) Establish your budget and how long you're going to run your campaign. You'll also need to decide which PPC service you're going to go with. Will you just be bidding with Google, or will you use Yahoo!, MSN and/or another search engine service? You may want to check where your top competitors are bidding and bid there, too.

2) Build your keywords list using a keyword research tool such as Google's.

3) Be sure to use keyword variations. You may find some great niche keywords that your competitors are not, niche keywords that will bring you a good amount of traffic without sending your budget through the roof and beyond.

4) Track, track and track some more. See where you're getting the most traffic for your buck. Track which keywords are bringing you the most visitors who click and convert. Tweak your campaign as needed.

In fact, it's vitally important that you choose search terms that attract the best sales prospects, which may or may not be the terms that bring you the most traffic.

As you choose your keywords, aim to be as specific and focused as possible. You'll find that the starting bid for a top term is much higher than your budget can afford, but you can receive terrific results -- possibly even better results -- using niche specific keywords.

5) Keep your keywords simple. Let's say you sell hiking boots. When people search for boots, do you think they type "purchase hiking boots"? They do, but they far more often use a simple term such as "buy hiking boots."

6) Again and again -- we really can't stress this enough -- tweak your campaign to focus on those keywords that bring you results. Track your customers from the keywords they used to find your site to when they actually purchase. Those are the customers you want. What search terms are they using? Aim to use those keywords.

A Few Tried and True Internet Marketing Strategies (and One Terrific Offline Marketing Idea)

If you're trying to think of some ways to market your business online, here are some ideas to get your noggin' churning. Some are these you've no doubt have heard of and possibly have tried yourself.

Have you been writing and submitting articles to article directories and ezines (electronic magazines)? Writing informative articles chock-a-block with good information that your target market will find useful is a terrific way to brand yourself as the expert in your field. There literally are hundreds of article directories and ezines on the Internet, almost all of them allowing you the opportunity to post your article at no charge. For extra SEO oomph, write your articles with keywords you know your target audience uses and you'll have a better chance of having your article -- and your article's resource box with a link back to your website -- pop up first in the search engine results.

Have you checked out Yahoo! or Google groups yet? There's probably one -- or even several -- niche groups filled with members of your target market. Join one or more groups and be sure to join in the discussion. Hold the blatant sales pitches. Instead, offer helpful and informative comments to the posts of others; the business will come to you in good time.

Connect with your target market via social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Post regularly and keep your posts 80 percent about business and about 20 percent personal. Again, watch the blatant salesmanship and instead offer tweets and posts of value to your readers, friends and followers.

Finally, don't forget old fashioned in-person networking. Explore membership in your local chamber of commerce or even BNI International. Put a new twist on offline networking by finding a networking group online: search Meetup.com to see if there are any groups near you that may be interested in your offerings and join. Meetup groups often have very affordable membership dues -- or are even free! Not as many businesses think of joining a Meetup group (just about everyone thinks of joining the local Chamber), so your competitors. probably won't be at the meetings with you.

SEO for Your Small Business

It's official; online advertising has passed print advertising in overall spending in 2010.

If you're not spending the resources to capture your target market when they go online to look for your product/service, you ARE losing business.

Another fun fact: 60 percent of all businesses are putting more money into online advertising than to off-line, traditional marketing. Are you one of  those businesses?

Your customers today don't wait for you to give them information; they're finding it themselves online, using the Internet to research price, features, benefits and sellers of the products and services you provide.

Are you helping your potential customers in their decision making process, or are you letting your competitors do so?

If you're not, having your website properly optimized for the search engines (search engine optimization, or SEO), can go a long way to your business being found at the top of a search engine's results. Since almost 90 percent of consumers use the Internet to research their purchases, your website needs to rank high on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Yet you must understand that proper optimization takes time -- possibly a good three months until you see meaningful results.

But as a long-term marketing strategy, optimization is exceptionally cost effective and has one of the lowest customer acquisition costs over the long-term compared to other marketing and advertising strategies.

A good SEO company will be able to research and ascertain the proper combination of SEO strategies, and can meld it into a successful integrated marketing plan.

As you work with your SEO company, you'll want to ask them to ensure that links to your site appear in three sections of a search engine result: the maps section (where people look local for providers of products and services), the paid section (usually the results at the very top and right hand side of a page; these are paid advertisements), and the organic section (your business ranks high in organic when your site has been properly optimized for keywords).

Friday, June 18, 2010

How an E-Book Can Help Build Your Business

We're sure you've heard of -- or even purchased -- an e-book. Literally thousands of e-books have been published since the advent of the Internet and their popularity continues to rise.

The most popular e-books are of the "how to" genre: how to start an online business, how to train your dog, how to plant a vegetable garden, how to invest, how to land the man of your dreams, etc.

Most e-books are sold for anywhere from $5 to $75 or so, but most range from $20-$40.

But did you know that writing a short e-book and offering it for free from your website is a terrific way to earn new customers?

"What!?" you may be asking. "Me? Write a book? I'm no author. I'm no expert!"

We beg to differ. Whether you're a real estate agent, an attorney, a hair salon owner, an electrician, a virtual assistant, the owner of a restaurant, or whatever, you have considerable experience in your niche. Write your knowledge in a short (five-10 pages) e-book or report) and you can use it to market your products and services.

People love getting things for free. If they've found your website by doing a keyword search for the types of services and products you offer (you did optimize it, didn't you?), then it's obvious they are interested in what you have to say.

Writing an e-book brands you -- and therefore your company -- as an expert in your field. People trust you; they go to you for answers. They, sooner or later (and it's often much sooner than you think) buy from you.

If you really feel you don't have the talent, or the desire, to put hands to keyboard, our GoiMarketing,com staff can write a short e-book for you. We'll brainstorm topic ideas with you and, of course, give you final editorial say regarding the book's content. We'll ghostwrite the book for you. Your name will appear as author and you will retain all rights; the book will be yours to do with as you wish.

Have ideas? Give us a call today!

What is "Off Site" SEO and Why You Need It

You may have heard the term "off-site SEO" mentioned when it comes to optimizing a website for the search engines and wondered what is.

Simply, off-site SEO is the SEO work you perform away from your site. In order to get a high ranking your site needs to have links from other sites pointing to your site (these are known as backlinks).

This helps you achieve higher rankings, especially if sites that already have a high ranking link to you.

There are many ways to get backlinks, all of them simple, but not quick to do. For example, you can write a keyword-rich article about an aspect of your service or product and (with a link back to your site in your "resource box") and distribute it to several free article distribution directories on the Web. To really make this work, however, you need to post a minimum of two or three times a week (many SEO experts actually recommend five days a week) for at least three months. Regular posting after the months also is important, although you don't need to post an article to a directory as often.

However, as you grow the number of backlinks over time, you even could eventually get your site high search engine results rankings even for terms that aren't on the pages of you site.

You also can post and write in forums that deal with your industry and  you can post comments on industry blogs. Both take time from other activities, however and also will take time until you see results (a few months).

Yet, you can't ignore off-site SEO. Too many sites already are well-optimized on their own; you need to do more.

Marketing Your Site Online: It's Time to Let Go

Small business owners know that they pretty much have to do it all in the beginning: all the bookkeeping. All the selling. All the customer service. All the office cleaning. All the ordering of supplies, etc.

But a problem arises when the owner of a small business continues to "do it all" once the business has grown a bit.

Instead, it's far wiser to outsource or delegate the things you don't do well so that you can concentrate on the things you do well.

This includes your Internet marketing.

Business owners who have studied how to market their business on the Web know that it's not really rocket science: Use keyword research tools to find out the keywords potential customers use to find their company's products/services on the Web. Optimize their site for those keywords. Perform off-site optimization by blogging, Tweeting, posting on Facebook and writing and distributing informative, keyword-rich articles to the free article directories.

It's not hard, of course, but it is difficult. It's difficult for the owner or manager of a small business to find the time to 1) learn how to do SEO successfully and 2) do the actual optimization (the coding for SEO, the writing, the distributing, the commenting on blogs, the Tweeting, etc.)

Seriously, doing all the things that should be done to market your site online can easily become a full-time job. Do you really have that kind of time? Is it the best use of your time? We really doubt it.

Business owners often have a huge sense of control. They started the business and they control it. Giving up some control of an important part of the business such as marketing it online can be tough, but we urge you to hire an SEO company to do your online marketing -- whether that SEO company be GoiMarketing.com or another -- so that your time and your talents can be used where they are needed most.

Common Marketing Problems for Small Businesses (redo)

Below are some common marketing mistakes we've seen some of our clients make (before they came to us, of course.....)

The number mistake? Not delivering what they say the will deliver. All talk and no action makes for a very short-lived company. The best website, the best ads (the kind that get people to take action), will do you no good if you don't keep your promises.

Customer service is imperative. If you say you'll get a project done by Friday, get it done by Friday (Thursday would be better.) If your product breaks down in  month, replace it for free. Do you tout your company as open and easy to talk to, but your phone system leaves clients frustrated because they can't get a hold of a live person? Then you're not only not "open and easy to talk to," you're also a liar.

As for your marketing copy, is it too features oriented? What are its benefits? More importantly, what kind of benefits is your target market looking for? Is it a red car? Or is this red car going to make me look hot and sexy, so men will clamor for me? Or will it make me seem cool and dangerous, so all the ladies will gather round?

Do you know exactly who your target market is? Taking the red car example above, are you selling to middle aged men or to 25-year-old males? Are they single or married? How much money do they make? Where do they live? What are their hobbies. Decide who you want to buy your product/service and then make sure you understand them completely.

When budgets are tough, it's natural to want to cut back on expenses. But marketing helps bring in business and when times are tight what do you need more of? Business, sales. So don't skimp on the marketing. Cut back elsewhere if you need to but don't cut your marketing/advertising budget back entirely.

 

The Pros and Cons of Pay-per-Click (PPC): The Pros

In our last post we talked about the "cons" of using Pay-per-Click advertising. This post will talk about the "pros."

  • If you pick your keywords well (that is, find good niche keywords with good traffic... but not too good, or else you'll be competing with everyone else) PPC will really help you get traffic very quickly. And, if you've created a landing page and website that converts your visitors into buyers, PPC truly can help you get new clients/buyers fast!
  • Unlike organic search results, where you research and research -- and research some more -- very tight and very-niche keywords used by your target audience, you don't need to worry too much about getting the keywords exactly right. If you pick a keyword and no one uses it, you don't have to pay for it (because no one clicked on your ad because it never appeared in on a search results page because no one uses that search term).

    You don't need to worry about attracting search engine spiders. So long as you have the budget, bid properly on decent keywords and you pay for/run you ads, you'll get traffic.
  • In fact, unlike optimizing your page for organic search, there's no need to worry about HTML tags, backlinks, how long you've been online, etc. Instead, your PPC campaign will bring you all the traffic your PPC budget can provide.
  • In addition, there's no need to write and distribute articles, Tweet, post to a blog, comment on others' blogs and in forums (all good SEO and social media marketing activities) unless you want to. Your PPC campaign can bring you a wealth of new business on its own.

 

If you'd like to learn more about how PPC done correctly can bring you more customers and result in more sales, contact GoiMarketing.com. We can help you craft a PPC campaign that fits your budget and gets you results.

The Pros and Cons of Pay-per-Click (PPC): The Cons

The Pros and Cons of Pay-per-Click (PPC): The Cons

Pay-per-Click (more commonly known as PPC) is one of the most remarkable advertising programs ever created. No other advertising vehicle allows advertisers to pay for the ad only when someone responds -- clicks -- on the ad.

PPC usually appears in search engine results as those short (2-3 line) text ads that generally appear at the top of the search results and on the right side of the page. Advertisers place "bids" on the keywords they believe their target market will use when the market searches for the kinds of services or products the advertiser offers. The higher your bid, the higher your ad will appear on the search engine results. And you only pay when someone clicks on the ad.

Sounds great, right? Well, it can be, if you have a large budget and have someone to help you prepare and execute your PPC campaign.

Below are some things we believe are the "cons" of PPC (we'll write about the "pros" in our next post):

1) When someone clicks on your ad, you pay for it (your bid price) even if that person never buys anything from you. You could end up paying hundreds of dollars and see very little in the way of sales or new customers.

2) When you set up your PPC campaign, you'll decide on a ceiling as to how much you're willing to pay each day. If your ad ends up getting clicked on several times early in a day, and you reach your bid/budget limit for that day by, for example, 10 a.m., your ad won't appear for the rest of the day. You'll miss out on potentially tons of interested prospects.

3) Your maximum cost-per-click depends on how many other advertisers are vying for the keywords you choose. If you have a keyword that everyone uses, you'll end up paying a lot of money "per click": some keywords can go for $10 or more a pop.

4) If you don't have a few hundred dollars to use -- and a budget in the thousands is best -- you may want to skip over PPC. Some experts believe you need to be able to spend $200-$500 just to get some action. You'll need to tweak and re-tweak the  keywords you bid on again and again to come up with the best results for your goals.

If you need help with a PPC campaign, contact GoiMarketing.com. We can help you pick out the best keywords for your budget and help you earn a terrific ROI with your PPC campaign.

The maximum cost-per-click could vary depending on how many competitors for the keywords. If your keyword is highly targeted, with no one discover it yet, it means cheap clicks. Otherwise, the price could go over $2 per click.

You need a decent amount of budget to start, thousands of dollars if possible. Most PPC advertisers will lose at least two hundred dollars before could make steady conversion. Such trial and error is normal for both PPC and SEO campaigns.



Should you use PPC traffic, or perhaps you might want to focus on search engine optimization (SEO). These are the pros and cons of PPC advertising:

The advantages:

You don't need to worry about search volume. When brainstorming for keywords, the longer, the better it would be. It doesn't matter whether there's people search for particular terms of not since you don't need to put much effort to get ranked. If nobody search for the keywords, you pay nothing for it.

You can setup, get traffic and track for conversion very quick. No need to wait months or weeks to see result. If the result is positive, you can optimize the website and keywords for more conversion. If the result is bad, you might need to delete the keywords all together.

No hassle to complicated algorithm like inbound links or page rank. Unlike search engine optimization, PPC advertising is really simple to understand. All you need to understand is how to improve an algorithm known as quality score. Unlikes SEO process where domain age, inbound links, HTML tags and more are taken into calculation.

It is sustainable since you don't need mercy from search engines. As long a you pay, your website will receive the traffic for sure.

Cheap traffic and almost free if you could achieve high click-through rate and quality score.

The cons:

Invalid clicks or click fraud could drain out your money overnight. Of course Google tries to overcome this problem, but it doesn't mean click fraud doesn't happen, especially when you turn on the content network.

The maximum cost-per-click could vary depending on how many competitors for the keywords. If your keyword is highly targeted, with no one discover it yet, it means cheap clicks. Otherwise, the price could go over $2 per click.

You need a decent amount of budget to start, thousands of dollars if possible. Most PPC advertisers will lose at least two hundred dollars before could make steady conversion. Such trial and error is normal for both PPC and SEO campaigns.

 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Downside of Social Media Marketing

You may be surprised at the subject of this post. After all, our last post touted the great benefits social media can bring you.

But you need to be very careful what you do with your social media tools (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), because whatever  you post lives on the Web forever (even if you delete it.)

Tired after a hard day and so you vent -- you think in a "nice" and "funny" way -- about a problem client. What if the client reads it? Do you really think she'll think it's "funny," or will she feel insulted?

In addition, don't forget that social media is two-way communication. If a client is unhappy with you he or she may say so on his or her Twitter account or Facebook page.

Think of social media as a way to enlarge your community. Social media on its face doesn't create business or even "buzz" about your products or services. Instead it magnifies the reputation you already have.

So if you provide poor service, your clients may blog about it, tweet about it and/or write about it on Facebook.

If someone complains about you, address it immediately. The wisest way to do so is to listen to her beef, acknowledge it and then promise to do better.

And then do better. There's always room for improvement and your customers will tell you -- either point blank or in less obvious ways -- how you can make their experience a positive one.

So, use social media marketing tools, but be sure to use them wisely. If in doubt, don't post. If angry, don't post. If called on the carpet, respond. Ask for feedback. Use it to improve.

 

 

How Social Media Marketing Can Grow Your Real Estate Business

If you're in the real estate business and you're not using social media to sell and acquire listings, you're missing out on an incredible way to gain new clients and make sales.

Here are some tips for those who work in real estate on how to get the most out of social media marketing:

Join Facebook. If you already have a personal Facebook page you should switch a bit to a more professional (instead of personal) tone in your postings, yet don't be afraid of reaching out to old friends, former colleagues, people in other industries -- you never know when a new Facebook "friend" might become a new client.

You also should consider joining Facebook groups pertinent to your geographic area as well as those about real estate. Naturally, you should post new listings on your account, as well.

This goes for LinkedIn and Twitter, as well. Create accounts at both free sites (LinkedIn is similar to Facebook but is definitely aimed at individuals' professional endeavors). Ask former and current clients who are LinkedIn members to write you what the site calls  "recommendations."

As for Twitter, when you create an account, be sure to provide a link in your "tweets" to your listings. Mention when a home is sold, when you're holding an open house, etc.

In fact, you might think about creating a Twitter account for each of your listings. That's right -- let your homes tweet! Every Twitter account lets the holder link to a website; your listings' Twitter accounts should link to their webpage. Let the house tweet about its amenities, about the neighborhood, about happenings and activities nearby.

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all provide users with free accounts. Using these social media tools costs you nothing but your time.

If, however, you feel that your time could be better spent elsewhere, hire GoiMarketing.com to set up accounts for you at these sites. We also can post at your accounts for you, as well. Our company specializes in serving the real estate community, so we know your needs and goals exceptionally well.

We look forward to helping you grow you business with social media marketing.