Small Businesses And Google AdWords

Small Businesses And Google AdWords

Gone are the days where the only way to advertise your business effectively was through expensive television or radio ads. The internet has opened the floodgates of advertisement, making way for literally hundreds of different advertising outlets. In the past, small businesses didn’t have much hope of creating effective advertising campaigns, but today businesses of all sizes can see success through their online marketing efforts. One of the most effective tools for online marketing is Google AdWords. Google AdWords is different from other traditional forms of advertising, and it has the potential to be much more effective. You’re In Control, So Start Small.

Google AdWords allows you to be completely in control of your advertising budget. You don’t have to spend a ton of money right off the bat to see success. Start small, and grow your budget accordingly. Google AdWords functions through Pay-Per-Click (PPC), also known as Cost-Per-Click (CPC). This means that you only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad. Essentially, you tell Google how much you’re willing to pay for someone to click on your ad, and then you set a daily budget limit. For example, if you have a daily budget of 10 dollars at 50 cents per click, you can yield up to 20 clicks that day.

This method allows you to start small, and fine tune your advertising budget and your audience increases. Most small businesses aim for an ad budget between 3 to 5 percent of their total annual earnings. Soon you’ll be turning those clicks into customers.

Target Your Local Audience

Google AdWords allows you to target a specific area. You can change the radius of your advertisements, so that they will be shown to people within a 10-mile radius, or more. Whatever size radius you decide. In addition to targeting certain locations, you can also target specific time slots. If your target audience is college students, your prime-time slot might be later in the night than if you were targeting full-time working professionals. Take these things into account and plan your advertising windows accordingly. Test what works best for you by paying close attention to engagement rates at certain times or certain locations. Soon you’ll be able to lock in the most effective windows for your advertisements, and expand from there. Once you know the best time and place to put your advertisements, increase your budget as you continue to learn what works most effectively.

The More Success You Have, The More You Should Advertise

Once you start seeing your advertising campaign yielding positive results, you should increase your spending. Calculate the cost of success. Say for example you own a hat shop. If you yield 1000 clicks per month on your advertisements, and you also sell around 100 hats per month, you know that for every 10 people that clicked on your ads, one purchased a hat. Not everyone is selling physical items, and so this analogy may not directly apply to your business. However, the idea is to modify your budget accordingly. If you feel that you’re seeing tangible results from Google Adwords at this point, consider increasing your advertising budget.

Monitor Your Advertising

Once again, you are in complete control of your Google AdWords account. You can make any changes you feel necessary at any time you want, so take advantage of that! Part of monitoring your Google AdWords account means paying attention to your SEO. AdWords allows you to input keywords that you feel your target audience may search for when looking for a product or service that your business offers. Give a lot of thought to this, and ask others around you what they would search when looking for what you offer. Take their thoughts into account when adding keywords to your ads. No two people use Google search in the exact same way, and the words that they use to find your product or service may differ from what you would normally search. Essentially you want to anticipate what your potential customers would search for.

Hopefully these quick tips will help you take your small business to the next level in the world of online marketing!

5 Things I Learned At Networking Groups

5 Things I Learned At Networking Groups

If you’ve ever been a member of a networking group, you know that it usually takes time before you start to get referrals.  Here are some things I learned during my time attending networking groups.

How to feel confident talking about your product

It doesn’t matter if you have had your business for 10 months or for 10 years, having to constantly talk about your products and/or services when introducing yourself to new people is a lot easier in a safe environment. At the networking group I attended, each week we would have to introduce ourselves and our products within 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Finding a way to come up with something new to say about the business, while also making sure to accurately describe what we offered, was challenging but incredibly rewarding when I was out in the real world talking to potential clients. 

How to listen to others

In networking groups specifically, it’s important to actually listen when others are talking and explaining their product. Not only will it help you understand how different people market themselves (and what ways you think are more successful than others), but you might actually end up knowing someone who you could refer to them, and they might return the favor. Regardless of how it can benefit you, you can make strong, memorable connections by actually listening when other people are talking–plus it’s just good manners!

What my business needed

Especially when you are first starting your business, it’s hard to know what you need to be successful. Maybe you think you need certain high-profile clients to get you started, or perhaps you’re unsure where to look for potential clients or what kind of price range you should be aiming for. By connecting with different individuals at networking groups, listening to their stories, and applying the knowledge they give you to your own business, you can help your business be more successful. If you are already aware of what your business needs to be successful, attending networking groups can help you feel confident asking for what you need. 

How important is it to follow-up?

Whether you’re following up about a business prospect, or simply thanking someone for their work, following up is incredibly important. Not only can it help land jobs, but it can also help individuals realize how important or helpful they were to you, securing lasting connections with people. Even if no agreement or action was talked about during your conversation, reaching out can help you stay on people’s mind, and almost everyone is happy to be appreciated.

It’s hard, but stick with it. It’s worth it!

Networking is an interesting thing. There are times when you will get immediate results, but generally speaking it takes time to get referrals, and sometimes the initial referrals don’t always pan out. Don’t give up! Focus on the good that you are accomplishing at every networking event (getting more confident describing your business, learning about how others share their business and what methods you like or don’t like), and you will realize that networking groups can be great for your business!

6 Guidelines For Blog Writing

6 Guidelines For Blog Writing

Ever since the term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997, people from all over the world have taken to the World Wide Web to share their thoughts and discoveries. The famous Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho once commented, “Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, and opinions.”

It is a fundamental part of our nature to share the world as we see it with those around us. From politics, fashion, business, to life advice, almost every individual has something to say, and blogs are perfect places to say things.

The beauty of blogging is that it is a flexible medium of communication that fits and adapts to your unique needs. Your blog can be a minimalistic journal, a complex presentation using multiple forms of media, and everything in between. Whether you’re a business executive sharing your secrets to success, or a makeup-savvy teen, blogging can be for you!

“But where do I start?” or “How do I know what to write?” you may ask. There is no right or wrong way to write a blog; rather, it is about what works for you and what gets your thoughts and ideas out to the public. However, here are 6 general guidelines that, while they may not be for everyone, have worked for successful bloggers in the past.

Make the headline count

The headline is an important statement! Put some thought into it. It needs to be a short but interesting phrase that draws the reader in. The appeal of your headline is the determining factor for people to decide whether or not to read the blog entry.

Have an outline

Create an outline of your main concept or idea, and what sub-points you want to highlight within that idea. This will give you some structure for your writing, but don’t stress about sticking to the outline if it means that the piece will suffer as a result.  

Keep it simple

Make sure that all of your points support your main theme. Keep in mind that just because something is beneficial or informative, doesn’t necessarily mean that it belongs in that particular blog post. Only include items that are relevant to your topic.

Avoid repetition

We all have that one point or that phrase that we like to emphasis over and over again, but if the reader begins to sense repetition in what you’re communicating, they may quickly lose interest and move on. Keep your audience’s attention captive by moving from one point to the next without restating the same points that you’ve already mentioned.

Add visual content

Readers, especially those who are internet-reading orientated, are six times more likely to remember an image than text. By adding a topic-related photo, graphic, or video to your blog post, you are increasing the number of readers who will remember your blog post.

Share, share, share

Last, but certainly not least, give your readers an opportunity to share. Add social share buttons that post your entry to social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Including share buttons insures that, once you’ve written that perfect blog post, your readers can easily share it with the world at a click.

The most important thing to remember when writing for your blog is to be original! Your uniqueness as a person is what sets you apart from every other blogger on the internet. No one can communicate your thoughts and ideas quite like you can, so don’t be afraid to be you.

“To be original is to be yourself” – Marc Newson.

The ABC’s Of SEO

The ABC’s Of SEO

Search engines, like Google and Bing, are familiar tools that are used to make searches on the internet every day. But have you ever wondered how search engines determine which webpages come up first in searches, and how you can have your website show up first? Understanding how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works can help you increase the likelihood of having a higher ranking by search engines.

It may sound like internet wizardry… because it is.

Search Engine Optimization requires a basic knowledge of how search engines work. Google and Bing use tools called “crawlers” or “bots” to search the entire internet for keywords used in searches. These crawlers will look for words in webpages’ content and the title of each webpage in order to try to understand how that content can be better found. For example, if someone searches for “pizza” on Google, Google’s crawlers will look for webpages that have the word “pizza” in their title and in the different pages of that website. If a webpage has the word “pizza” somewhere in the content, but the webpage is about someone’s trip to Canada and the page is titled “Canadian Explorations,” the search engine won’t list that page as one of the first results for that search.

Another thing that search engines look for are links from other websites to your website. If several websites contain links to a certain webpage that contains keywords that are related to that search, search engines will likely list that website higher in search results. Going back to the “pizza” example, say that someone is looking for a restaurant that has really good pizza. If several websites have links for a certain pizzeria, search engines will notice all of the links to that one pizzeria’s website, and they will make that restaurant appear closer to the top of the results listed for that search.

New content is also important for SEO. If a family-owned business has a website for their restaurant, but they never post new content on it (like blog posts or pictures), that business is likely to rank low in searches. Search engines notice when websites are stagnant and when they are active; a more lively and fresh website will lead to a higher ranking in searches. Search Engine Land has a great, easy-to-understand video on search engine optimization, which we encourage you to check out.

Search Engine Optimization is the most effective way of naturally growing your website’s presence online. This methodology is crucial for getting people to visit your website. The better you understand how SEO works, the better your website will perform online.

If this seems like a daunting task, Writer Junkie is here to help! We offer a blog package that incorporates SEO in each post. For more information, send us an email at Info@WriterJunkie.com, or give us a call at (805) 587-7966.

How to Write a Newsletter

How to Write a Newsletter

Newsletter anyone?

The purpose of a Newsletter

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you open your email on a Thursday morning and you see a newsletter email in your inbox. Now, you know the person or organization that sent it, and after you glance at it for a moment, you discard it and move on with your day. For most of us, this is our entire interaction with a newsletter. Most of us only see them as a higher form of spam.  For starters, most small to medium-sized businesses send out newsletters so irregularly that when you see a newsletter from them, you immediately discard it because you don’t associate that business with sending out regular newsletters. Next, and more importantly, the overwhelming majority of newsletters that are distributed by businesses are completely pointless. Typically what happens is that someone either sees another small-business’ newsletter or they think to themselves that it would be a good idea for them to have one for their own business, and they end up populating their newsletter with a bunch of items they carry. Now, there is nothing wrong with having highlighted items in a newsletter, but only having highlighted items is almost an abuse of the newsletter itself.

Format for Newsletters

Now that we have spoken about the need for newsletters, let us now move on to how your newsletters should look. It should be stated that not all newsletters will look the same, and not every newsletter will operate the same way. What we mean is that there are different objectives for newsletters. For example, if you are a mortgage broker, the purpose of your newsletter is most likely going to be trying to sell a property. On the other hand, if you want to promote your business’ website because you make money either by having visitors go to your website or by selling products online, then you will most likely have several links to your website included in your newsletter. So the first thing you should do with your newsletter is establish what exactly it is that you want your newsletter to do. 

Now that we have gotten all of that out of the way, let us move onto what your newsletter should include:

First: Have a portion of your newsletter state who you are as a business or organization. You know what you do for a living, and the people you work with know what you do. But for everyone else that exists outside of that bubble (most likely even close friends of yours), they have only a limited knowledge of what exactly it is you do. So the first thing that your newsletter should do is state who you are (briefly), and the main service and/or product you provide. 

Second: Your newsletter should include between 1-3 articles in the body of the newsletter (or these articles can be in synopsis form). There are some practical reasons for why this is, but essentially, you want to have something that will keep your readers reading. Let’s say for example that you’re a dentist and you send out your newsletter 2-3 times a month, but every time you send out your newsletter you keep the same information. Do you think it will take long before readers get tired of reading the same thing every time? It should be remembered that in order for a newsletter to work, you will have to give it time. I don’t mean ten years, but it almost always takes several releases before you begin to reap the full benefits of doing a newsletter. In order to keep your subscribers engaged, you have to give them something in which they can become engaged. You don’t have to write a book, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t give them some kind of information that will stimulate their minds, even if what you have written is short. The ultimate goal of the article attached in the newsletter is to get people to act. Let’s go back to the dentist analogy. If he were to include in his newsletter a section about the importance of people getting their teeth cleaned, coupled with a coupon for free whitening, what do you think the audience of that newsletter is going to do? Do you suppose that they will be more receptive to getting their teeth cleaned by him? We believe so. 

Third: Your newsletter should include a featured product or service. We know that we previously mentioned that a good newsletter shouldn’t be riddled with them, but we never claimed that your newsletter should be devoid of your services or products. Now, you don’t want to overdo it. You should try to limit yourself to one product or service, and leave it at that. 

Fourth: Your newsletter can and should include a section about recent news with your company or upcoming events. It might be overdoing it if you decide to have both an upcoming events and a recent news section in the same newsletter (this previous statement does not apply to all businesses). Now, there are exceptions to this rule, but unless your business is in the business of gathering people together at events, you should limit the amount of time you dedicate to non-essential information about your business in your newsletter. You do not want to over-pack your newsletter. 

Fifth: This portion of your newsletter is completely up to you to include, but depending upon your industry and if you desire to have a somewhat larger newsletter, you can consider adding what we would refer to as miscellaneous content. What we mean by that statement is that you are invited to add content to your newsletter that you feel your readership would be interested in reading that is not already listed above. We’ll give you an example of what we mean. Let’s say that you manage or write a newsletter for a non-profit organization that primarily helps elderly people. Well, one portion of your newsletter can be entirely dedicated to the people that you have helped. Testimonials can be an element of your newsletter, but it’s not an essential portion. This is largely due to the fact that if you are regularly sending out your newsletter (which is the most important part of having a newsletter), then you are not required to include every time you’ve helped individual people. Another non-essential aspect of your newsletter that you can include (for other businesses it’s pivotal) would be helpful tips or pieces of advice. Again, there is no exact format for this portion of your newsletter. You will most likely to have to figure out what works best for you and your business when it comes to the incorporation of the fifth piece of creating your newsletter. 

In conclusion, newsletters are important because they inform people of what it is that you do in a meaningful way that they can understand. There are other forms of advertising (although newsletters cannot be dogmatically viewed as only pieces of advertisement) that tell people that you exist (like coupon magazines), but no other form of advertising allows you to control what people hear about you in a way that tells them who you are. 

We have good news for our readers who, upon reading this article, realize that they need a newsletter but don’t want to create it themselves. That good news is that we create and distribute newsletters! We can help our clients craft their newsletter, and we can import contacts for newsletter campaigns.

If you are interested in having Writer Junkie maintain a newsletter subscription readership for you, please contact us at (805) 587-7966 or we can be reached by email at info@writerjunkie.com. 

How to Write an Online Review

How to Write an Online Review

Online reviews are more commonplace than people realize. A few of the most common websites that have comments and reviews on them are Yelp, YouTube, and the general reviews and comments on blogs and articles. Have you ever actually thought about the review you’ve written after you’ve written it? Have you also considered the fact that at least one person has seen every review or comment that you have ever posted online?

So how does this pertain to you as an individual? Why does it matter that someone has read your review on Yelp, YouTube, or some random website? Well, it matters because it not only tells people who you are, but more importantly, if you write a bad review (in the sense that you go beyond the allowed standard of disagreement, i.e. using curse words, hate speech, or slander), that comment may come back to haunt you.

Now that we have spoken about the importance of online reviews, let’s go over the steps needed to write a good review.

1. Check your grammar.
Most people do not write for a living, but that does not mean that your writing should look like garbage when you post it. There are some pretty simple steps that you can take to avoid making mistakes in grammar and spelling, and some of those steps include writing short sentences, using small words, getting to the point, and avoiding grandiose statements and sentences.

2. Check your content.
What we mean by checking your content is that you should re-read your review after you write it in order to make sure that the review not only makes sense, but is also worth reading. Regardless of whether you are writing a good or bad review, your review should have something to say to readers. If you don’t have anything useful or informative to say, you shouldn’t write the review. Remember, no matter what you write in your review, at least one person is going to read it, so make sure that it has something worth saying (even if the review is negative).

3. Leave unsavory comments to yourself.
It is commonplace to see curse words and other unrepeatable statements in reviews or comment sections on blogs and articles. Regardless of the points being raised in the article, do not lower your own dignity by adding vile content to the conversation.

In conclusion, when you write an online review it should look nice (well-written), it should sound nice (informed opinion), and it should be devoid of poisonous language. Even if your review is negative, make sure the review is worth reading. If you follow these steps, we’re sure that you’ll be writing informative and well-written reviews in no time!