Marketing Ease; Web Marketing Blog

Why is SEO Important?

Written by Lizzie Bean -- September 27th, 2007 in SEO

Can you afford NOT to optimize your website?

There are countless ways to market your business and most â??traditionalâ? methods of advertising are very expensive â?? usually too expensive for the small business owner. All businesses should have a web presence â?? and most do. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is one of the most advantageous methods of marketing your business on the Internet. SEO is similar to an ad in the Yellow Pages â?? you are giving the consumer what they are looking for when they are looking for it. Banner ads can work well, if done right, by purchasing a banner ad on a complementary site â?? your advertisement will be viewed by visitors that may have an interest in you products. But, with SEO, you are giving the potential visitor exactly what they are looking for â?? when they are looking for it.

Recent statistics show that respondents who used traditional Yellow Pages decreased from 75% to 62% - where do you think these people are getting there information now â?? the Internet. Statistics also show that most people that buy online â?? start with a search engine. This is why you need to optimize your web site so you will rank high for the keywords and phrases that are pertinent to your industry. If your website isn’t showing up in the search engines for the products and services that you offer â?? you can bet that your competition is.

 

The Power of Brainstorming

Written by Krista Johnson -- September 26th, 2007 in Copywriting

The Power of BrainstormingWrite what you know. Whether you write copy content, political polls, opinion columns, marketing pitches, or even poetry, try stepping outside of your comfort zone. Attempt different strategies than youâ??ve been accustomed to in the past, go with something new. Just make sure that you are an expert in whatever field you decide to write on. Your writing level will present itself within your piece, causing your readers to understand your goals and objectives in a new light.

Developing great ideas can sometimes be as easy as brainstorming. Research some possible ideas and branch off from there. After you choose a topic, conduct your research and formulate your thoughts. If the topic you choose isnâ??t as successful as you would have hoped it to be, donâ??t worry about it; instead, start over and try harder the next time around to target the right audience with your topic.

Another pointer to help develop your writing style is to experiment with color. Jag Foo states that it can be both fun and productive to vary colors within your piece of copy. A good way to develop trust and credibility is to use a white background, accompanied with black text. This style is attractive to the eye and is easy to read.

Try incorporating a few power colors into your content. Use blue to employ power, use green to secure your guarantee, and use red to excite readers.

Also keep in mind that readerâ??s appreciate white space, bold and multiple headlines, as well as spaced out paragraphs, all of which simplify readability.

After taking each suggestion into consideration, remember that variety in content writing can increase your readership quantity, convey your ideas to a wider audience, and provide a fun and new technique to express your thoughts.

 

Enforce Citing Sources to Reduce Plagiarism

Written by Krista Johnson -- September 21st, 2007 in Copywriting

Enforce Citing Sources to Reduce PlagiarismProfessional writing never involves stealing, of any kind. In processing a piece of writing, always pay attention to the importance of reliable sources, citing those sources, and the effects of plagiarism. When the goal is to provide good content to readers, the outcome would not exist without any one of these three requirements.

As a journalist, the number one rule is to use trustworthy scholarly sources. A scholarly source is known primarily for academic research, often exhibiting the methods of and having the demeanor of a scholar. When deciding if a source is scholarly, keep in mind the authors are experts in the field and/or are individuals who have done the research in the field. Journals that have a scholarly status always cite their sources in either bibliographic or footnote format. Finally, the purpose of a scholarly article is to report the original research and experiments, all in an attempt to provide useful information to fellow scholars.

Equally essential is citing your source. Understand that it is necessary to both know how to cite a source properly and provide a works cited or bibliography at the end of the article. Providing citations gives your writing credibility; it gives the original author credit for supplying the content; and it gives your readers an optional outlet for further knowledge of the topic. Most importantly, citing sources prevents the writer from plagiarizing other authors.

Which brings me to plagiarism. Plagiarism is the worst offense in the academic world of content writing. As stated on Dictionary.com, plagiarism is, “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

Plagiarism can even occur when people aren’t trying to steal content. Typically what happens is the writer rewrites the original content thinking they haven’t plagiarized, but when they don’t give credit to the original writer, it becomes plagiarism. Another consequence arises when, “Some unscrupulous individuals in the blogsphere are only out to scrape your content for their own websites, ripping off your material and claiming it as their own.”(Blog Plagiarism Q & A, Stephen)

I have a quote that helps me remember the importance of following these three simple requirements to ensure credibility as a writer. As quoted by Lao Tzu, “Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.”

 

“Knowledge is Power”

Written by Krista Johnson -- September 19th, 2007 in Copywriting

Sir William Alexander - â??Knowledge is Powerâ?Good copywriting evolves around numerous strategic essentials. Whether selling a product, pitching an event, or voicing a controversial article, certain steps must be taken to produce well written copy.

To begin, ask yourself what the dominant objective of the headline is. Also follow through asking yourself what is the main goal of your fonts, sizes, graphics and all other sections of the content.

The answer might be surprising, but it is as simplistic as getting your first sentence read. Each previously mentioned element of content goes into obtaining this scheme. When successful, the momentum of the first attention grabbing sentence will push the reader onto the second sentence. If this process of readers anticipating the next content filled sentence continues, a chain reaction is created.

It is always important to give your readers something to look forward to. Make sure you provide reliable information when providing content. Also be sure to answers any questions that might arise from your readers.

An absolute must for readership is the headline. The first word of the headline should be a powerful verb that requests action. As written by Brian Clark of Copyblogger, the headline should also take fifty percent of the time to write, while the content takes the other fifty percent.

Another important trait to keep in mind is the length of the headline. Typically the headline has eight words or less, but if and when itâ??s longer, the only guideline is whether the full thought is conveyed through the fewest needed words.

The next step to take is knowing how to structure and compose your content. You must keep the content straightforward. Strive for your copy to use simple words to illustrate your point, be concise, written clearly, as well as communicative.

When this method of organization is provided, you ensure readers youâ??re focusing on their understanding and are benefiting from the piece.

Also, donâ??t be afraid to occasionally bend the rules of grammar. If you are struggling with the conformity of content writing, have some fun with your structure keeping in mind it has to help the piece. Play around with paragraph lengths, fragmented sentences, starting and ending with conjunctions and prepositions, even try using bullets and lists.

The last thing to consider when copywriting it the length of content. The usual length for blogs is short and to the point, about 250 words or so. Although, there are exceptions to this norm. Three main points to consider as stated in The Copywriterâ??s Handbook written by Bob Bly are:

1. The Product: the more features and benefits a product has, the longer the copy.

2. The Audience: Certain people want as much information as they can get before making a purchase. This is especially true of people on the Internet, and especially true with information products.

3. The Purpose: Whatâ??s the goal? Generating a lead for a service business requires less detail, but an ad that aims to make a sale must overcome every objection the potential buyer may have.

In summarizing your piece, remember the previously listed steps it takes when copywriting. The headline, language, grammar, organization, attention grabbers, and length are all imperative to a good piece

 

Give away an iPod Nano

Written by Tim Harris -- September 18th, 2007 in Marketing

iPod NanoAnyone that has ever run a booth at a trade show will tell you it’s a great idea to have a “Give Away” in order to drive traffic to you. Early on, we gave away free web services such as free hosting, free site designs, and even free SEO. All of which were fine, and seemed like a good idea at the time, but we eventually realized it’s much better to give away a physical item… something your prospects can touch and ogle over.

Don’t waste your time or money giving away just any-old-thing. I’ve seen all sorts of silly things given away; clock radio’s, drivers/putters, even a fancy plunger (it was a plumbing convention). Nothing creates excitement like a fancy plunger! Right?

About two years ago, we decided to try an iPod as our give-away, and it made an immediate impact on our success. Again, the goal of participating in a trade show is to drive foot traffic into your direction in order to sell your product. We don’t sell iPods, but giving one away certainly did the trick for getting people into our booth, and getting them talking to us about our products. Apple has already created the buzz, it’s possibly the easiest way to cash in on some of that buzz.

 

What Makes A Good Blog?

Written by Krista Johnson -- September 18th, 2007 in Copywriting, Marketing

When I ask myself this question, I often rattle off a few different answers. The first aspect to making a good blog is grabbing the reader’s attention with great headlines and repetitive keywords.

Some pointers that I find helpful in attaining reader concentration are starting with a quote, referencing a relevant statistic, illustrating word pictures in reader’s minds, and telling a story. All of these aspects are imperative when achieving readership, but also keep in mind that at the same time you must not overload your readers’ minds.

A second component that makes a blog good is to write what you know. By saying this, I mean to provide your readers with real opinions written from the heart, as well as real information written from reliable resources.

A third facet is to use an active voice to get your content across from the beginning. Don’t be afraid to explain things, rather get into depth on discussing your opinions and any controversial topics within your blog.

A final element to consider when creating a blog is the saying “practice makes perfect”. The more you write and the more you practice voicing yourself through text, the better your writing style will evolve into. It is not until you can be self analytical of your work that you will become a successful blogger.

And so I ask you, the readers, what do you think makes a good blog?

 

7 Google Adwords Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions

Written by Tim Harris -- September 15th, 2007 in SEM

Google AdWordsA couple of years ago, I started managing clients Google Adwords accounts. It started out with just a couple of clients, but has steadily grown and I’m now managing well over a million dollars worth of PPC advertising dollars annually. Many of the clients I now have, had worked with other SEM companies in the past. I’ve been fortunate in the fact that I haven’t had a single one of those clients leave me. Why? Because I was able to use a common sense approach to help these clients greatly improve their ROI. Below are the most common issues I see that cause companies to literally throw away millions in Google Adwords advertising.

1. Not using relevant or compelling landing pages. On average, a prospect is only going to give a landing page 2 to 3 seconds to decide if it’s indeed what they thought it was. Often times, Adwords advertisers focus too much on writing attention getting ads that get good click through rates, with little consideration on the actual landing page. This is a sure fire way to cause a high bounce rate. If your bounce rate is over 40%, that likely means your landing page is not relevant enough to your ad, and definitely means you’re throwing money out the window.

2. Poor web site design. You can hire the best SEM company in the world (call us if you’re looking to), but if you don’t have a well designed web site, you’re wasting money. Period. Now, defining what makes a well designed web site certainly can be tricky, and probably why it’s such a common problem. In my opinion, a well designed web site is one that converts site visitors into clients at a high rate when compared to industry averages.

3. Unorganized campaign management. We have taken over a number of client Adwords accounts, and it’s shocking to see how disorganized they usually are. And not just “in house” accounts either, some of these messy accounts were created by “SEM professionals.” Having well organized campaigns and Ad Groups enables you to 1) more easily associate specific key terms with ads and landing pages, 2) minimize the chance of keyword overlap, and 3) more easily analyze and manage the account - all three of which helps net a better ROI for advertisers.

4. Advertising at the wrong times. Many of our clients have regular business hours, and offer services or products only during those hours. While it can make sense to run advertising outside of those business hours, it usually is not a good idea- even if you are converting prospects into leads. Why? Because you’re likely going to have higher conversion rates during your business hours. For example, lets say Company X has a $30,000 monthly budget. During normal business hours, Company X averages a conversion rate of 15%, and during non business hours a conversion rate of just 5%. Does it make sense in this common scenario to run ads during non business hours? Of course not! Yet companies are doing it, and doing it a lot.

5. Lack of testing. PPC Advertising is not an exact science. What works well for one company may not work well for the next. To take it a step further, what works well one month, may not work well the next. Internet marketing is an ever changing medium, and it requires ongoing trial and error in order to prosper. The mistake many companies make is being satisfied with results. No matter how well your campaign is doing, it can always do better. Always.

6. Poor key word selection. Choosing the right set of key terms to market your company isn’t only important, it’s absolutely critical. Obvious, right? You’d think. However, most companies advertising in Google (and the other search engines) have either a bloated list of key terms, or an anemic set. Neither of which are ideal, and ultimately lowers ROI. There isn’t an exact number of key terms that companies should shoot for, as it varies greatly from industry to industry. Other factors that play a role in the “right” number of key terms include budget, time of year, changes in the economy, etc.

7. Weak Ad Copy. Weak ad copy can hurt you in more ways than simply poor click through rates. It’s true that lower click through rates mean less visitors, which equates into less clients. However, that’s of minor concern compared to the fact it also means Google will lower your quality score. Quality score is a major factor in determining the price you pay per click. In other words, you are penalized for poorly written ads and will have to pay more than your competition for the same spot.

 

Marketing With Ease

Written by Amy -- September 15th, 2007 in Marketing

Does marketing have to be difficult? Would you like the simple answer? Absolutely not! I count my bad days by how many glasses of chardonnay were had. Luckily, it’s not often and so I am not an alcoholic. If I got to the point where I was regularly drinking, this business wouldn’t be worth it, but I digress…  So to put it simply, I love this company and business.   It’s a fascinating and enjoyable industry.

It’s also amazing to watch the excitement of marketing that works!   Here’s the main question… How is your marketing company working for you?  If you are not having a stellar marketing experience what happens to the project you are marketing?  Well, you’re paying, but you’re not getting the kind of bang for your buck you should. So now you’re asking yourself this question, “Well, I’m doing what other companies are doing in my field so why am I not getting a good return on my investment?”

Let me take the initiative and answer that one for you, because it’s simple. You don’t have the right company. You need a company to assess your needs correctly, and then go to work for you and deliver the goods in a great way.  A mediocre company yields mediocre results. Having a spirit of a competitor (which is what it takes to be successful in business) means that you are willing to figure out what your competition is doing, and then you do it ten times better.

Not only that, but you are striving to continuously find new ways to be ahead of the curve, on top of the heap, and placing yourself at the head of the pack. Are you ready for that adventure? Then we are your company.

-Amy ï¾  ï¾