Category Archives: Marketing

Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Online advertising is an infinitely growing area of expertise that can seem downright daunting to the average business owner. How much money do you need to spend? What platform will help you reach your target audience? How can you do better than your competitors?Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter...

These are all important questions! While they cannot be simply answered in a sentence or two, we can provide you with a starting point for better understanding the best practices of advertising through Adwords, Facebook and Twitter. Take a look!

Adwords

Adwords is Google’s online advertising program and a smart place to start if you’re just jumping into online advertising. Luckily, Google provides a depth of information to help you understand what they offer and how to get started. First, explore their different campaigns and identify which one is right for meeting your goals. Google will then walk you through setting a budget, formatting your campaign and choosing your keywords and placement.

If you’re ready to get a bit more advanced with your Adwords campaign, here are five strategies and money-making tips worth trying. One of the hottest features, and one you’ve likely experienced personally, is Google’s product-specific remarketing. You can advertise the exact product a customer was viewing on your site, allowing you to hit a hot lead and close the sale.

Facebook

Shifting the gears toward social media advertising, it’s only fitting to begin this conversation with a highlight of Facebook advertising opportunities for small businesses. Facebook is one of the largest and best ways small businesses can reach their target audience, build “likes” and push people to their website through social media. But you can also waste a lot of money, too, if you don’t know the basics.

Much like Google Adwords, Facebook has made it simple and straightforward to learn about their advertising options and get started creating an ad. But, also like Adwords, not all campaigns are created equal. You want to create several different versions of an ad (varying photos and test) and test it out before fully committing to your final version. You can track the clicks and then choose the best performing ad to run with.

Instead of creating traditional ads, you can also pay a little bit to boost a post. For example, if you are announcing a new product or promotion via a post on your business’s Facebook page, you can pay to boost this post and several thousand more users for an investment of only a few dollars. But be sure to share a link or call to action to encourage people to visit your website or make a purchase based upon your post!

Twitter

Last but not least, let’s talk Twitter advertising. Start by logging in and exploring your own advertising dashboard. You can see recent and popular tweets with the opportunity to promote them, similar to Facebook. A new addition to Twitter is their conversational ads which aim to make it easier for users to share and promote your brand with the simple click of a call to action button. For small businesses, this may be a good option for you if you want your customers to easily share your products or links to your content. The addition of hashtags makes this an even more powerful advertising tool.

Most importantly, keep in mind that you can dump a ton of money into Twitter (or any type of online) advertising without achieving meaningful results unless you are strategic with the content in your ads. Carefully think through your promotions and include calls to action. You’re paying for people to see your campaign, now what do you want them to do with the information? Be sure you have an answer to this question before you spend any money on Adwords, Facebook or Twitter!

Do you currently use Adwords, Facebook or Twitter to advertise your business or brand? Share what you’ve learned or ask a question by commenting below!

~Stephanie

Leave a comment

Filed under Adwords, Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

Pay Per Click, Impressions, Display, or Text- Choose the Right Adwords Options for Your Business

Google Adwords is a powerful and robust internet marketing tool, but only if you know how to use it. Countless options and advancements continue to roll out, making it challenging to stay on top of the latest trends and to really know all the options that are available to you.

For businesses, there are four basic types of campaigns you can run through Adwords that will help you reach your target audience. Here’s an essential overview of how each of these options work to help you decide which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck!Pay Per Click...

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click online marketing campaigns (PPC) are pretty much what they sound like. Search engines (like Google) allow you to buy listings that appear in their search results when people search for terms that are relevant or related to what you’re trying to advertise. These listings appear along with the organic, non-paid search results and are denoted with a small “AD” symbol.

PPC campaigns are great because you bid as much as you want to pay and only pay when you receive a click. However, if you’re competing for very popular search terms, another business can easily outbid your budget which will decrease the amount of times your ad appears in search results, thus decreasing the amount of clicks you receive back to your website.

PPC campaigns are a good starting point for businesses just beginning to explore internet advertising. Google allows you to start, pause and stop campaigns at any time, change your keywords and adjust the run-time and your audience as often as you wish.

Impressions (CPM)

Through Google Adwords, you can run a Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) campaign in which you pay for the number of times your ad is shown; however, there is no guarantee that users will click on or engage with your ad.

CPM works through a bidding process similar to PPC. You tell Google how much you’re willing to pay per thousand impressions. This type of campaign is best suited for businesses who are focused on brand awareness, not so much a direct call to action.

Display

The Google Display Network includes all types of ads (text, image, interactive and video) and places these ads on websites that are relevant to what you’re trying to sell. The main benefit is that you’re reaching an audience that is going to be most interested in your service or product.

Display ads go beyond search engines and allow your message to be placed on countless websites where you can reach your target audience even if they’re not specifically searching for your type of business. This type of advertising is ideal for new and non-standard businesses that users may not know to search for. Display ads help you find and get in front of potential customers without them having to first find you.

Text

Lastly, a text ad is the standard type of AdWords ad. Typically, this includes a link to your website and a 2-line description of your product or service. The title of your ad is also clickable to further drive traffic. These ads can appear on Google search results pages and across the Google Network, often with a label that denotes this text as an advertisement.

Text ads must be brief and attention-grabbing. As the name implies, you only have text to draw in your audience and entice them to click on your link. This type of Adwords advertising is best for businesses who have a clear and direct call to action and are not as concerned with building brand recognition.

Try Google Adwords to promote your brand or business. You can go it alone with Google’s help or hire a company to manage your Adwords campaigns for you.

~Stephanie

Leave a comment

Filed under Adwords, PPC, Search Engine Marketing

Your Jaw will Drop When You Read these Headlines

Oh my goodness. It worked.jaw drop

You actually clicked to this article based on my cliché headline and a blurry pic of a hospital mannequin.

Let’s figure out why.

I just saw a version of the headline earlier today on a sponsored article and wondered, what is it about the secret, the awful, and the surprising that makes us click to read?

According to Psychology Today,

Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. These experts say that our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.

Fast Company suggest several psychological theories that are responsible for getting us to act. Persuaders often tap into ultimate terms.

Certain words carry more power than others. This theory breaks persuasive words into three categories:

God terms: those words that carry blessings or demand obedience/sacrifice. e.g, progress, value
Devil terms: those terms that are despised and evoke disgust. e.g., fascist, pedophile
Charismatic terms: those terms that are intangible, less observable than either God or Devil terms. e.g., freedom, contribution

Headlines that Produce Clicks

The following “you should know better” lines might be helpful the next time you create content for ads or articles. Tell us your favorites.

“TV Host Reveals Real Hair”

Just change up this click-getter for anything.  We want the truth. Here’s another example- SEO Guru Reveals Real Algorithms.

“Epic Prank Pulled on So and So”

You could create an entire video series based on spoofs and pranks. People like anything funny- or not. Are you selling facial cream for a company? Try something like “Her Wrinkle Cream is Not a Prank.”

“12 Things Only People with Lots of Kids Understand”

This headline makes your customer feel smart because he or she is in on the advice. It also appeals to those who want to know more about something they lack. Switch out parents and kids for dog lovers and dogs. Dress up the phrase for writers and work or accountants and clients, etc.

“10 Pumpkin Spice Latte Hacks Every Coffee Lover Must Try”

Again, we want to know your secrets. What lies over there in the greener pastures of hidden hacks? Anything “hacks” shows off your trendy.

“The Weirdest Thing I Saw At My Conference”

The weirdest anything appeals to one’s inner weird. Could there be people weirder than you? Worst yet, maybe the stuff you do is consider weird?  Use the word to harness your targeted demographic with something the audience does or a trait it has.

“This Trick Could Save You Hundreds”

Because most people want to save money and aren’t doing so, show how your product or service will help Christmas to come early this year.

“New Craze Wipes Out Slow Computers”

What is this new craze that everyone else knows about, but I don’t? New crazes are manufactured everyday because phrases like this one bring the clicks.

“Everyone is Voting for” or “The Numbers Prove”

You’ve heard these lines from candidates and they work for products and services, too because basically few people check their facts. If you say it’s true, it must be. Tell the population this enough and it’ll become fact.  Of course, there are a few advertising rules you need to be mindful of and organizations like Truth in Advertising that will expose pathetic claims. The FTC says,

Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based. For some specialized products or services, additional rules may apply.

Eh, such a spoiler, but the industry needs rules. Get familiar with them.

What makes you click and why?

1 Comment

Filed under Advertorial Writing, Audience, Capturing Audience, Email Campaigns, Introductions, Marketing, PPC, Queries & Articles, Search Engine Marketing, Speech Openers, Words Which Sell

Word Choices Matter in Campaigns

The candidate firmly grabbed the edges of the podium to present himself as a man who knows who he is and where he’s going. He stood tall, squinted at the camera, and clenched his jaw. Someone whispered, “I think he’s going to be president.”

Why?

“Because he looks like a president. He’s organized and seems to know what to do.”

It’s understandable. Like Homer Simpson, the candidate is funny. He makes headlines with raw rants and doesn’t apologize, which is something most of us can’t do without being fired.

Consider the case of Karen Fitzgibbons, an elementary school teacher who ranted on her Facebook page about the conflict between police and teenagers at a pool party. She offered an apology after her rant, but it was too late. She lost her job. It’s true. Many don’t want to be held to politically correct speak, but what is the impact of careless, personally insulting words?

Nick Kyrgios, a tennis player, made an off the cuff comment about another player’s girlfriend during a tennis match and was fined $10,000 in addition to being booed at subsequent matches.

In the case of the presidential candidate, the more journalists utter his name, the bigger his brand becomes. Case in point, we don’t have to mention his name, but you know who we’re referring to, right? If he wins the presidency, his companies win. If he loses the presidency, his companies win. It’s a smart strategy. Run for president to broaden your power and audience– earn high ratings by being outlandish. If the goal is “to eventually become bigger than Amway, now an $8.4 billion company and the giant in the field” and his product appeals to “those who own companies, which tend to do well in bad economic times, when people are broke, desperate, and angry at the system,” (NY Mag) jumping into politics pumps life into corporate holdings.

Can we excuse so many cringe-worthy slip-ups because of who the candidate is? He often limits the scope of his insults to one person or a smaller segment of certain groups. Then, he embraces and praises the remaining segment by promising to win their support. He dismisses legitimate concerns with creative spins. He ignores calls for apologies and avoids ownership for his offenses.

Advertising Age suggests that the candidate’s,

“eschewal of politically correct cant and plainspoken ways account for much of his mass appeal among a frustrated electorate, those same qualities may ultimately derail his bid for the nomination. And while it’s impossible to predict how long he can keep this up, it probably should go without saying that antagonizing the nation’s No. 1 cable news outlet isn’t a recipe for longevity.”

What else? It becomes difficult for parents to instruct their kids to stand up to bullies, when they’re justifying the actions of an adult version.

If bully speak wins, everyone loses. The door to strife or war swings wide open.

After Words Fail 
No one is perfect. How do you fix poor word choices after they occur? The public might embrace you– even with all your flaws, after an authentic apology. If you’ve made a career of embracing people, the public is probably more likely to forgive misspeak. Kelly Osbourne, who made a comment about Hispanics cleaning toilets, addressed her word choice faux pas with an immediate apology on Facebook. Then, the story disappeared.

Flood social media with new stories. Business 2 Community suggests putting “your writers in motion.”

While your legal team looks things over, gather together your writers for some old-fashioned SEO work. Use the keywords, phrases, product names and employee names in blog posts, social media posts and press releases. Make sure that you have the opportunity to really dominate Google’s results for those terms.

Everyone makes mistakes. Acknowledge yours and work on minimizing them as you move forward. And don’t think that just because you’re a candidate, you’re above it all. Your words and actions matter, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience, Branding, Business Strategy, Persuasive Essay, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Speeches

Self-Publishing Continues to Challenge Traditional Publishers

Digital Self-Publishing Trends Upward

While retailers were talking– once again, about the importance of mobile, video, personalization, and other digital trends at IRCE 2015, My Web Writers attended Write-to-Publish to learn more about the 2015 publishing market for writers.

The notable trend in publishing is the migration of authors from hoping to be signed bywtp panel traditional publishers to taking the reins with self-publishing or a middle ground solution. The number of e-book and self-publishing companies in attendance at Write-to-Publish this year was easily double what it was a few years ago.

With the average book only selling 500 copies, most traditional publishers at this conference mentioned they’d like to see newer writers cut their teeth (or break their pencils) on self-publishing. But, passing over potential is a profit gamble for publishing companies.

What Experienced Authors Have to Say about Self-Publishing
James Altucher says that for writers,

“the key is the Era of Validation is over. Nobody needs to pick you. You pick yourself.” Altucher suggests that “your book is the new business card.” He also divulges that “When I self-publish, I make about a 70 percent royalty instead of a 15 percent royalty with a traditional publisher. I also own 100 percent of the foreign rights instead of 50 percent. I hired someone to sell the foreign rights and they get 20 percent (and no upfront fee).”

Harry Bingham, an author for more than 15 years, now embraces this latest era in the publishing industry.

“And then too, if I was going to be published e-only by Random House, I would receive just 25% of net ebook receipts. That’s about 17% of the ebook’s cover price as opposed to more like 70% by simply publishing direct with Amazon. I couldn’t understand why I’d want to do that. I mean, yes, I’d have listened if they’d come to me saying, ‘Harry, I know giving up 75% of those net receipts sounds like a lot, but we’re going to add a whole ton of value to the publication process. We’re going to do a whole heap of things that you can’t do on your own. And here’s a stack of in-house data which shows that we can boost your sales way past the point you could achieve.’…

They didn’t actually make any argument at all. When I said no to 25% royalties, that was it. No further conversation… And this, I think, will be the theme of this fourth era that’s now just possibly emerging. It’s a world where authors with plenty of Big 5 sales experience choose to say, ‘You know what, I’m not playing this game any more.’ Where authors make a positive choice to walk away from the terms offered by good, regular publishers.”

For new authors, this fourth era is great news. You can self-publish or take the improved odds of succeeding with traditional publishers now that veteran authors like Altucher and Bingham are walking away to self-publish. Learn from the process and consider your options with each new book.

Market Your Business with a Book

For businesses, self-publishing provides both a marketing channel and an unexpected income stream. Most digital marketing firms took advantage of publishing downloadable e-books years ago, but there are still some brick and mortar companies leaving stories unwritten. Today, it’s easier than ever to hire ghostwriters to create content about your company’s CEO, creative product uses, successes, or early days in the industry, and then turn those stories into e-books or self-published coffee table books for your lobby or employees’ bookstore. Paul Jarvis suggests

“self-publishing through Amazon makes sense for authors who are willing to give up the customer details and accept lower royalties for a potentially higher sales volume. I’ve seen a massive spike in sales by selling this way.”

In his Indie Author Manifesto, Mark Coker reminds authors that, “A few years ago, it was practically unheard of for an indie author to hit the New York Times bestseller list. Now it happens nearly every week.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Authoring Books, Business Strategy, Conferences, Marketing, Self-Publishing

You Can’t Judge a Buyer By His or Her Cover

Yesterday, I received this letter from Phil Eisaman, Digital Marketing Manager for the Great American Spice Company.  I could completely relate to his experience because I too sold cars for a brief summer right out of college. I asked Phil if I could share his story with you and he agreed.  Thanks for taking a moment to write it, Mr. Eisaman.  It’s no wonder American Spice continues to increase revenues year-over-year!  We can’t judge a buyer by his or her cover– all should be treated with respect. ~Jean

 

car-160343_1280

Hi,
I read your story about the leather jacket and loved it. The salesman was a good salesman because he had to be to survive. Treating everyone who walks in the store as a potential customer is huge. Having said that I have a story to share.

I was working at Fort Wayne Acura selling used cars back in 1997. Being new at it my boss always taught me to never make assumptions about customers– just treat them well. Using this method I quickly out paced all the other salesmen, selling more cars than some of the most seasoned salesmen.

One afternoon my boss gets a call from another lot manager saying there is a walker headed your way (a walker is someone that walks from dealership to dealership). This young man started at the auto mall and made his way all the way down to my lot. My coworkers said, “Go get him I am sure he is a big spender” with sarcasm in their tone.

I greeted the man on the lot with a smile and a handshake. He says “I have been to 10 lots and you are the first to talk to me.”

“How can I help you today, Tony?”

“I am looking for a car,” he said.

“Well how much are you looking to spend?”

“About  $2800.00,” he replied.

Pointing to an early 90’s beat up Grand Am I said, “That one may work.”

“I will take it,” he said as he handed me $3000.00 in cash. I went to my Manager and said,

“This guy out here wants to buy that Grand Am.”

My manager says, “Phil we can not get that financed. It is too old.” Handing him the cash his eyes lit up and he said, “Phil we have $100.00 into that car. You are making a fat commission!”

The next day at the sales meeting I received great praise from management as the others were scolded.  In car sales you are only paid commission and if you don’t sell anything you take a loan against your future commissions. I didn’t want to owe money for not selling. I made 3-5 thousand a month selling used cars because I treated everyone like a potential customer and treated them with respect. I only sold cars for a few months because it is still a shady business in my book.

And remember “With desperation comes innovation.”  -Phil Eisaman

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience, Business Strategy, Capturing Audience, Customer Profile, Local, Reputation Management, Sales, Time Management

Are You a Social Snob? Rethink Your #Twitter Practices

Middle School Social BehaviorCFC78D87-5532-4290-BC86-D396199081FE
If given a choice to return to one’s middle school years, it’s doubtful many would say, “Sure, sign me up. I’d live in middle school forever!”

Do you remember those days? Kids who sat at the cool kid table during lunch felt obligated to demonstrate certain behaviors to remain at the table. Those who were not at the table observed what it took to sit there with that group. While some kids imitated and embraced the game, others avoided these kids all together.

If you’re not embracing your social media followers, you’re still in middle school sitting at what you think is the cool table (or trying to get there)—and you’re losing thousands of followers, views, and potential advocates because of this hold over attitude from childhood.

Reasons People Use Twitter
Let’s consider why people sign up for social media accounts.

1. I want to make money.
2. I want current information and opinions.
3. I want to be entertained.
4. I want interaction with others.
5. I want to influence.

There is a common thread through each of these motivations. That’s right. “I.” People on your Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube or Twitter accounts participate for self-gratification—even if that’s on behalf of a mission or charity. In your real life (the one you physically attend), ignoring the person who wants “two minutes of your time” or not responding to the secretary who says, “Good morning,” might be expected behaviors of you because of your perceived status in your world—however large or small that fish bowl may be.

But, in the big bowl of social media, anyone can be a celebrity and anyone can be a flop. The real gems of social media achieve the above five goals for themselves and others (and have more fun) with the following best Twitter practices:

Follow Back Real People.
Look at who’s following you. Go over to the other person’s page. Preview his or her bio and last ten tweets to decide if he or she is legit. Then, follow back. Remove the person if he or she annoys you, spams you, or plays the unfollow game.

Celebrities and celebrity social medians, search your name to find out what people are saying about you. Just by following them, you’ll build bridges with both fans and critics. Following others doesn’t mean you’re endorsing them. People know that if you follow a lot fans, you don’t know them all personally.

Respond to Mentions.
For some social media users, the online sense of community begins to parallel real life. Maybe you’ve met some of your followers at conventions or know them through business. Now, you have a face with a name. If you know the person and don’t care to associate with him or her, ignoring or blocking that person’s Twitter or G+ mentions is okay. However, remember that social media is its own world. You may do more harm to your goals than good by being a social media jerk. If you rarely see the person in real life, how much of a threat does it really pose to be polite? Are you sure you aren’t the problem?

If you don’t know the follower and don’t respond to his or her mention, you taint your brand. Absorb that statement.  Giving the cold shoulder makes companies, executives, and celebrities look bad. When fans take the time to participate in live tweeting sessions for their favorite TV shows, movies, conferences, or books and receive no response, it’s a turn off. Respond appropriately after someone takes time to comment on your blog post, tweet, meme, or picture. Better yet, maintain the relationship by revisiting the person’s page a few weeks down the road and commenting on one of their tweets. You’re doing a terrible job promoting if you ignore the people you’re trying to sell. Communicating demonstrates that you’re human and worth admiring. If you have people who perform social media tasks for you, make sure they know your parameters and Twitter’s best practices. Newbie Twitter user Kevan Lee puts it this way,

“When someone retweets you, mentions you in a tweet, or favorites one of your tweets, they are seeking a connection with you. From a certain perspective, this is a truly humbling event. Someone has valued you and your profile enough that they want to connect. It’s kind of an honor.”

Start Conversations.
Challenge yourself to interact by starting a conversation. You might make a friend or long term fan and learn something new. If you’re the social median for a business, find customers by searching for your products’ or services’ keywords. Then, start conversations about how fans are using the products or services. If a blogger writes about your brand, reach out to that person and thank them (or at least connect with them via social media.)

Do not play junior high cool kid as a celebrity or executive. Be a leader. If you’re asked a legitimate question or someone offers a compliment or interesting observation about your brand, unless you have legal reasons not to do so, take a moment and respond! You’re human and your fans want to see it. If you are not human, can’t afford a really good ghost tweeter, or hate being social, stay off the medium.

Unfollow Automated Accounts.
Unfortunately, after a social media account grows to a certain size, fake accounts will follow you for a period of time in hopes that your followers will follow the fake accounts, too. This helps fake accounts to build followership so the owners of those accounts can tweet out articles with links for SEO and promotional reasons and have armies to boost numbers. This industry is big business. Don’t waste your time on the game. Generously add real followers, but ignore the profiles asking you to buy followers. You can usually spot them by their numbers. Anyone who has say, 150K followers, but is following 5K, is probably a short term follower of your account. Within a couple weeks, they’ll drop you and then repeat the cycle later if you drop them.

Use Lists.
When you add fans, your stream fills up with content. It’s now time to create lists. Create categories based on the type of content you really want to read. You don’t have to follow someone to have him or her on a list. Create lists for your hobbies, passions, charities, news, industry associates, or hard core fans. Now you have the option to read everything in your stream or to visit certain lists.

Twitter for Celebrities
You have the potential to be a better celebrity or executive in the social media world than you are in the real one. Start minding details and tweeking habits to better connect with your fan base.

If you don’t consider yourself a VIP, remember that social media is a level playing field. Anyone can become a social media VIP, just by fulfilling the needs mentioned above, while being a courteous communicator. Don’t live in middle school forever. The world is so much bigger.  ~Jean

1 Comment

Filed under Branding, Google Plus, Instagram, Social Media, Twitter