SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Bob on linked-in


BGAmedia selected as:
ChooseWhat helps small businesses

Archives

Get blog updates via email

E-junkie Shopping Cart and Digital Delivery

Posts Tagged ‘Money’

Comments Off on Guerrilla Economizing

Guerrilla Economizing

from an email tip by Jay Levinson

When guerrillas think of economizing, they don’t necessarily think of trying to save money. What they do think of is getting the absolute most from any money they’ve invested in marketing. They realize there are two kinds of marketing — expensive and inexpensive — and they know that expensive marketing is the kind that doesn’t cover the investment they’ve made in it, while inexpensive marketing pays rich rewards for their investment. Guerrillas have the insight to know that economizing has nothing to do with cost; it has everything to do with results.

To be sure, guerrillas adopt a philosophy of frugality and thrift. They know well the difference between investing in something disposable such as paper and accounting services — and investing in something that’s truly an investment, such as a telephone system or customer-tracking software — items they’d use on a daily basis.

There’s a big difference in these two expenses, so you won’t be surprised to learn that guerrillas rarely waste their time and effort on relatively low cost disposable purchases, but are willing to expend the time and energy to enjoy a large savings on a an expense that’s really an investment in disguise.

A key to economizing is to think not in terms of purchasing, but in terms of acquiring. That means you open your mind to trading, sharing, renting, modifying an existing item or borrowing it. It means possibly learning a few skills so that you can do rather than hire. Desktop publishing software enables you to save a ton of money usually paid to pros.

Guerrillas are also keenly aware of when it makes sense to hire a pro, knowing that amateur-looking marketing is an invitation to disaster. They might hire a highly-paid professional designer to give their marketing items a powerful visual format, then use their own staff members or themselves to continue generating marketing materials that follow this same format. They learn from any consultant they hire.

By understanding that economizing does not mean saving money, but investing it wisely, guerrillas test their investments on a small scale before plunging headlong into any kind of marketing. They have no fear of failure, providing the failures are small ones and knowing that even one success in ten tries means discovering a path to wealth and profitability. They know in their hearts that money is not the key to happiness or success, but that enough of it enables them to have a key made. Real frugality is more about priorities and results than just saving money.

Jay Levinson
The Father of Guerrilla Marketing
Author, “Guerrilla Marketing” series of books

Note from us: Jay knows the value of his email newsletter is enhanced by the viral effect it can have by recipients.  This “repost” is an example of how his reach is extended when readers like us republish (with links and attribution).  We recommend his books, his website, and membership in the Guerrilla Marketing Association.

Comments Off on Five Things to Keep In Mind When Starting a Business

Five Things to Keep In Mind When Starting a Business

by James Kim (to BGAmedia)

Thinking about starting up your own small business but don’t know exactly how to proceed? Don’t worry: it’s a daunting task for anyone. Just keep these things in mind and the sailing will be a lot smoother:

1. Be specific in your planning

The most important thing to do is to be sure that you know exactly what you want to do. Without having really developed your ideas, it will be hard to take any steps forward since you won’t be able to accurately make goals that you’ll want to aim for. You can’t just tell an investor, “Well, this is kinda what I’m going for but I haven’t quite figured it out” if you really want to get them on board.

If this is easier said than done for you, you can try looking at universities in your area to see if they have any incubator attached to them. An example of this is the Texas Venture Labs at UT Austin, which helps entrepreneurs perfect their ideas and develop a pitch that you can use later. You can now tell that theoretical investor exactly what you’re planning on doing and be confident in what you’re saying because you know that you have everything worked out.

2. Be realistic

Obviously, you don’t want to act like you’re going to have a Fortune 500 company in only a single year because that just doesn’t make sense. However, what this is really important for is when you’re obtaining funding. You don’t want to get a massive loan that you don’t need, especially because it might tempt you to spend money that you either don’t have or you would have been better off saving for later. Be realistic in what you’re doing and what you will need and you’ll end up way better off in the end.

3. Tailor to your needs

Again, this is an issue that primarily deals with funding. If you’re not looking for a lot of money, it makes sense to try to borrow from family and friends before going to that big bank that is not going to give you as good of a deal. Make sure to do your research before choosing a place to go. You can end up getting money from the government (specifically the US Small Business Association at sba.gov), one of the many business accelerators or even that big bank if you need to. Making sure that you’re looking in the right place based off of how much money you need will ensure that you get the best deal in the end.

4. Don’t be afraid to get help

Starting a business from the ground up is no small task; there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you think you need some help. Those business accelerators just mentioned will, aside from getting you funding, enter into a partnership with you. In exchange for a stake in the business, they’ll help you along the way in order to make sure that they’re investment pays off. You’ll get a type of partner/mentor that can help you run the business so that you have people who know exactly what they’re doing and not all of the burden is on your shoulders.

There are also a plethora of other business solutions that can help run you through the entire process of starting up your business. If you have the bit of money to spare and are unsure of exactly what you’re doing, they can be amazing lifesavers and will make sure that you get started off without a hitch.

5. Develop good habits

When the money starts coming in, what are you going to do? Get a contractor to help keep up with the volume of business? Get some office space? The answer to all of these is no, not unless it’s absolutely necessary. You don’t have to start spending money just because it’s starting to roll in. Just like how you wanted to be careful with your loan money before, you want to be careful now. You don’t want to buy things that you really don’t need and you want to make sure that you have money to fall back on in case anything goes wrong. It’s the “want or need” conversation that you likely have with yourself often in real life and it’s no different in the business world.

So what should you do? Deposit it in the bank. Aside from getting interest and keeping your money safe, this makes the bank notice you. If you find yourself in need of a loan at some point down the line, your bank is much more likely to give you money if you’ve been regularly depositing your earnings because you’ve shown them that you’re responsible, profitable and an all-around good investment for their money.

Hopefully all of these quick tips have helped you on your way to fulfilling your dreams and starting your own small business. The underlying message of all of this is that you should be: prudent with money, humble, willing to ask for help and responsible. Follow all of these and you’ll be well on your way to a successful business!

James Kim is a writer for Choosewhat.com. ChooseWhat is a company that provides product reviews and test data for business services and products.  Their goal is to help small companies make informed buying decisions on business solutions that help their business.

Comments Off on Placing Your Ads on YouTube with Google AdWords: Part 2

Placing Your Ads on YouTube with Google AdWords: Part 2

by Chris Crompton, ROI Revolution Blog

video-targeting.png

In Part 1 of this series, I showed how to launch YouTube promoted videos through Google AdWords.  When you promote one of your videos, you are paying YouTube to funnel more traffic to the video… but the traffic still stays on YouTube.  (Of course, you can include a call-to-action link in your video that goes to your website, but that is more a feature of the video than a specific advertising strategy.)

You probably want to do more than just get people to watch one of your videos in an environment controlled by YouTube.  You want to get people to come to your website where they can take a desired action and you can make money.

There are multiple ways you can get your ads to show on YouTube searches, inside and alongside other people’s videos.  With the right targeting, this can be a very profitable way to take advantage of YouTube’s enormous amount of traffic.

Read more…

Comments Off on Trust Your Tests, Not Google Recommendations

Trust Your Tests, Not Google Recommendations

Originally published in ROI Revolution Blog

Occasionally, Google will show alerts in our AdWords accounts introducing new products or tools, or notifying us of maxed out budgets or disapproved ads. These are usually very helpful to us. We have noticed the following message in our clients’ Google AdWords accounts suggesting that the Ad Serving setting be changed from “Rotate Ad Serving” to “Optimize Ad Serving” in order to ‘increase traffic by showing your best ad most often’.

Click to View The Image Larger
At ROI Revolution, we recommend always setting our campaigns’ ads to “Rotate” as part of what we call “AdWords 101” or the most basic and well-known practices for an AdWords account. There are two main reasons why we do this:

More Clicks Does Not Equal More Conversions

Google optimizes your ad serving based on Click-Through-Rate. This works out great for Google, because showing the ad that gets the most clicks more often means more Google revenue. However, optimizing ads based on Click-Through-Rate is not always the best practice for advertisers, because conversion rate is never factored in to the equation. While increasing clicks is a wonderful way to get more visits to your site, conversion rate is equally as important, if not more important, to most advertisers. With the exception of brand awareness, there is not much of a payoff in getting someone to click on your ad and then leave your site without buying anything or submitting any of their information.

Test, Test, Test

It is best practice to run at least two ads in a paid search ad group. If you’re not continually testing ad text, headlines, landing pages, basically everything, then you’re missing out on new opportunities that could bring in more money for you. If those ads are not rotated evenly, there is no way to tell which one generates the most profitable traffic for your business. Rotating ads evenly will ensure that the data you’re seeing in your reports is a fair representation of how they actually perform when given an equal chance.

The moral of this story is DON’T choose this setting if you want to maximize your results through testing and conversions. Leaving your ads set to “Optimize” is a common mistake, but one that you can and should avoid. In order to make the best decision for your AdWords account, it is essential to outline goals, prioritize them, and optimize your ads based on those goals.

Comments Off on Never Break the Chain

Never Break the Chain

chain“With so many professionals paying so much attention and money to SEO efforts,” says Jeff Blum of MBA Depot, “I am shocked by a huge mistake I see made repeatedly—site redesigns that break old links.”

You’ve earned links by producing good content, and each one comes with plenty of dividends. “It drives visitors, enhances your site’s reputation and contributes to enhanced search engine results,” he notes.

“Broken links destroy all those benefits. If a web page is valuable enough for someone to link to, then it is valuable enough to maintain.”

Doing so takes little effort, even when migrating to a new technology platform. According to Blum, any competent webmaster can handle the task—all you need is a small script for 301 redirects that alert search engine spiders to a permanent move.

And during the transition, Blum recommends, pay close attention to 404 pages.

“This might be overkill,” he notes, “but could be useful in the days following a redesign. By monitoring 404 pages, you won’t have to rely on visitors to point out your broken links.”

The Point: When you redesign your site, remember the importance of maintaining established connections with other sites. “[Ensure] that once a page is created and publicly available it remains that way,” says Blum.

Source: MBA Depot. Click here for the full post.

Want to be sure this is handled on your site, but not sure how?  We include monitoring of those 404 errors with our hosting stats package and will routinely create internal “redirects” to make sure your old links return a valid page.  This is not just good Search Engine Ranking practice, it’s good marketing to be sure your visitor gets what they came for. –BG

Social Media is B.S.* for Many Local Businesses

*B.S = Bad Strategy

In the past month, I’ve attended three webinars, read 14 articles, and attended an early morning in-person seminar all on the subject of Social Media as a business tool.

After all this, in all my experience, I’m afraid that the Social Media Emperor has no clothes!  That’s because I’ve seen no reason to believe that it will actually be worth the effort that it takes to do this stuff properly.

You would expect me to be an evangelist of this work. I’ve not only worked in this field since 1992, I’ve built several social networks (with my team).  But no, I’m not an evangelist, I’m a skeptic.   Having seen the bubble of Internet vapor burst in early 2001, I feel strongly this may be happening again, only this time, the losers could be struggling small businesses who invest their time and energy unwisely.

What a small business needs from its efforts, be they online or off, is ROI. If you have 12 hours in a day to run your business, you probably do not have time to setup Facebook fan pages, write blog articles, tweet on Twitter, and still sell. manufacture, ship, and keep the books as most small businesses do.  So before you tell me to go Yelp, or contribute to the public works Wiki, or check my comments and trackbacks, you’d better be prepared to tell me what it will be worth to me in additional sales and more importantly: profit!

Putting My Money Where My Blog Is

Frankly, I’d love to be shown a true ROI analysis which demonstrates in a meaningful way what benefits blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, or Yelping have brought to you or a client that you work for.  I am seriously interested enough in this information, that I am willing to put an open offer out here for a cash and services package worth at least $500.  If you can show me a real analysis of ROI (time + expenses) for using these tools versus how it has directly impacted your revenue, I’ll give you:

  • A year of “green” web hosting (worth about $150)
  • Web site Search Engine Optimization (worth about $250)
  • $100 in cash

This offer is good through the end of 2009, open to anyone with serious intent to help me learn something about these tools. I remain the sole arbiter of whether you’ve succeeded, but it will be worth it to me to be shown the light, if there is any.

In the meantime, while the jury’s out, I’m helping my clients to cover these many Social Media bases with the least possible amount of time and effort expended. I do it with a process that allows them to simply send a text email to a specific address and then this system will:

  1. Post the message to your web site’s blog
  2. Post it to all of your social media presences (facebook, linked-in, GOTML, etc)
  3. Post the subject line as a tweet on Twitter (linking back to your site)
  4. Send a beautifully formatted graphic html email to your prospect list
  5. Offer you response data to measure interest in the message
  6. Give you a foot rub and a pat on the head (just kidding)

If you are interested in having me wrangle the media for you as noted above, or if you want to submit an ROI analysis, please email me: bg@bgamedia.com.  And I promise to publicly recant my skepticism when I’m properly educated.