Recently by Timothy Lorang

Guy Kawasaki is quoted as saying, "If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing."

It often seems many large, traditional companies have continued to spend heavily on traditional or outbound marketing while smaller, leaner companies have embraced inbound marketing or as it is sometimes called, content marketing.

Many smaller, cash strapped businesses are often hesitant to try inbound marketing because the "big boys" are not doing it.

Well, according to Brandon Gutman in Forbes online blog, MarketShare, that is all changing.

Check out 5 Big Brands Confirm That Content Marketing Is The Key To Your Consumer. Read the article for all the details and links, but I'll summarize it here. (I have blogged a bit about Inbound Marketing and you can learn more about our Inbound Marketing Services here.)

Gutman profiles five national and international brands and shows how they are embracing what he is calling content marketing to engage with their customers, increase brand awareness and provide value to their customers.

The first thing you may notice is that big companies still spend big money, even when they are doing inbound marketing. This does not mean that you need to spend big money and there are many things you can learn and do from these examples.

The other thing that you will notice is that most of these efforts are not directly selling or promoting their brand or product. They are finding content that is interesting or valuable to their customers and providing them access to that content. Here are some of my thoughts and possible alternatives for smaller companies.

1. Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile Live is a social newsroom with up to date links to music, humor, video, technology and a number of other topics of interest to their customers.

This would be a big effort for a small business but posting content from other sources so that your customers and prospects considered you as a resource and clearing house for valuable content can easily be done.

But be careful, I'm not advocating stealing content, but you can link to news and important information or embed videos or infographics with proper link-backs and citations. You will also notice that Virgin makes it very easy to share content on social media with preformatted messages and branding in the tweets, likes and pins.

2. American Express

For American Express Unstaged American Express is creating original video content of some pretty big name musical acts. The videos are of course branded and it exposes fans to the American Express brand. This type of effort will be out of range for even bigger companies but try to image how something similar could work for your company.

The music has nothing to do with American Express but a lot to do with their prospective customers. What kind of entertainment or information do your customers want and you can provide?

A much more modest version of this concept could be the coffee house with an open mic night. Simply recorded videos of some of the better performances could be posted to the coffee house's YouTube channel benefiting both the business and the performer.

3. Marriott

Of all the examples in the article I think Marriott's Renaissance Hotels' Navigators platform and RLife Live program add the most value for their customers. Positioning the Renaissance Hotels as a "lifestyle" brand these online tools help travelers find interesting attractions, food and music near the hotel destination.

For the life of me I cannot figure out why any business involved in travel, hospitality and beverage industries are not doing inbound or content marketing in a big way. There are so many opportunities and topics where they can help their customers. Travelers not only want to find a nice hotel room they want to know where to eat and where to have fun.

There is an interconnected web of benefits for all involved and I think Marriott does a good job.

4. L'Oréal

L'Oréal, like American Express and Virgin Mobile, is not providing content about their product or business, but partnered their Garnier Fructis line with Rolling Stone Magazine to create Women Who Rock, featuring content around new, emerging musicians that their customers would be interested in. Smaller businesses cannot partner with Rolling Stone but they may be able to partner with smaller media organizations or businesses that cater to their customers to the mutual benefit of both partners.

5. Vanguard

Vanguard, an investment management company, has taken the traditional TV commercial format, produced a series of spoofs on classic movie genres and launched their own YouTube Channel called "Vanguard at the Movies". Any business can launch a YouTube Channel and it is a great way to get your content found online. Even without big Hollywood budgets it is possible to make effective videos that will help your business get found.

Inbound Marketing Impressions and Critiques

My one critique of most of these examples is the idea that the only content anyone is interested in is entertainment. That is what the traditional Madison Avenue model of outbound marketing has always been: put on a successful TV show and sell ads around it. For most of these businesses the content they produced had nothing to do with their product.

They made something entertaining for their customers and promoted it so that it is connected to their brand. This can actually be a good lesson for those businesses that say they do not have content that anyone would be interested in. Associate yourself with content that your customers are interested in and promote that content. Still, people need help and information and that is exactly what happens at Take Care Garnier, L'Oréal's more hands on, how to do it content website.

One more thing from the Forbes article; Gutman interviewed Lisa LaCour, VP Marketing from Outbrain and I think her 5 tips bear repeating here:

  1. A content strategy should focus on existing customers as well as prospects. Content marketing is a great tool to create brand affinity but can also be powerful in building a new audience of potential customers.
  2. When it comes to content marketing, brands should think beyond direct response tactics and focus more on the top of the funnel customer engagement and awareness. Content marketing is a great tool for thought leadership, education and customer relations. Define the appropriate analytics so that the ROI can be measured effectively.
  3. An amplification strategy should be a key tactic in a content strategy. Once the content is created, search and social networks can be used to distribute, but you should also make sure to distribute it out to others who may not know it exists. Intent is not created in a search box.
  4. Invest in the appropriate resources to meet your objectives.
  5. Stay honest and true to the brand

What is your reaction to the examples in the Forbes article? Let us know in the comments section below. If you would like to learn more contact us for a free Inbound Marketing Assessment.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Readers of this blog will know that I am a HubSpot Partner and I offer the platform as one of my solutions. This does not mean that all of my customers use HubSpot nor does it mean that I think every online business should use HubSpot. Part of my job is to help my customers analyze their situation and find the solution that will be right for them.

That solution may be HubSpot or it may be Google Ad Words or a WordPress website. There are a number of blogs that have addressed this question and several have gone into a feature by feature comparison. I am not going to go into that much detail here but I'll give you the links to those blogs below.

WordPress and HubSpot are tools and like all tools the valuable tools get the job you need done. If you have a flat tire the nicest wrench set is not going to help you if you do not have a jack and a hand cranked jack will lift your car just as much as an hydraulic jack. When you put up a business website you use the tools available to achieve your online business goals.

A business selling online jewelry will have different business goals and a different tool set than a million dollar consultant.

But your knowledge, skill-set and resources may also influence your decision. A master chef can probably make a great omelet with an old frying pan and an electric plate. The chef can do a lot more with a kitchen set up with the tools and utensils the chef needs. (If I were put in that well stocked kitchen I would probably still burn the omelet so I should be left with the electric plate.)

WordPress Has All You Need

The amazing thing about WordPress is that it is free. You can also get for free, or for a very low price, just about any plug-in or widget for WordPress that will enable you to do anything you want to do online. WordPress is very versatile and with some HTML skills or by purchasing a specialized WordPress theme you can make your site look amazing.

All the tools you need to do any of tasks associated with inbound or online marketing can be added to your WordPress site. You can connect MailChimp to WordPress for email and a newsletter.

There are plugins for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Plugins will help you optimize your webpage for SEO or you can add a paid service such as SEOmoz. And we should not forget that WordPress is one of the web's most popular blogging tools.

Notice that I did not say plugins can be "easily added" and the best tools are not usually free. Certainly there are easy and free plugins and WordPress tools but for the most part if you need to do serious work you need to spend a lot of time or spend some money. For example Google Analytics and Google WebTools are very powerful, free tools that give you deep, analytical information about your website.

Most website owners I've talked to have not even put the tracking code in the website never mind delving into the reports and tables. If they do they concentrate on useless metrics like how long someone was on a page. You can also pay between $99 and $499 a month to have a tool like KISSmetrics help you track and interpret this same information.

HubSpot is a Well-Stocked Kitchen

Even if you are not a chef it sometimes helps to have a small pan and a large skillet in the kitchen. It would be even better if the kitchen utensils were labeled so you knew the best pan to fry an omelet or sauté some vegetables. That is what HubSpot does. It puts the tools you need together and integrates them in a way that it is easier to tell what you should do and what is working.

For example when I look at the report that tells me how many people came to my website it also tells me why they came. Did they come because of my Facebook post or because they were searching for a keyword? Do I sell more products when people are responding to a tweet or an email? To top it all off the report is in color so for my simple mind, I can get a visual snapshot almost immediately and delve into the details when I can.

Do Not Use HubSpot, If ...

If you are just going into the kitchen to boil an egg do not bother with HubSpot. At the end of six months you'll be looking at your bank account with a negative balance and you will be frustrated and angry. If your goal is to make beautiful websites that amaze the eye and stimulate the senses do not bother with HubSpot. Not that you can't make beautiful websites on HubSpot but that is not its main purpose.

If you want the freedom to build anything on your website with any tool you choose then do not bother with HubSpot, you may find it too restricting.

If you just need a static website to act as an electronic calling card, then do not bother with HubSpot, it is overkill.

If you have a small cash flow and no plans to use online marketing to increase business then do not bother with HubSpot because you will go broke.

But, if you are a marketer or online business and you want to be freed from the burden of getting the information you need to make business decisions then consider HubSpot.

And, if you want to know what marketing actions affect your bottom line then consider HubSpot.

If you want tools you need in one place then consider HubSpot.

If you want to concentrate on marketing and not web development then consider HubSpot.

Other Bloggers Weigh in on HubSpot vs. WordPress

A number of other bloggers have gone into much more detail than I have on the features and the pros and cons of HubSpot and WordPress. Here is a brief list:

Marcus Sheridan is The Sales Lion and a small businessman who achieved a lot with HubSpot. He also has an extensive background in WordPress and his two blogs, The Most Important Customer Review of Hubspot You'll Ever Read and The Most In-Depth HubSpot Vs. WordPress Review Ever Written, go into a lot of depth with a feature by feature analysis.

Zach Browne is an internet veteran with lots of experience doing custom websites and CRM deployments. His blog HUBSPOT VS WORDPRESS FOR SEO, IS HUBSPOT WORTH IT? is posted on his WordPress site.

Adarsh Thampy is the Conversion Champ and another non-HubSpot user who goes into a lot of detail in his blog Hubspot Review: Should You Buy This Inbound Marketing Tool? As a follow up he posted WordPress: A FREE Alternative to Hubspot, that lays out exactly what you need to have to match HubSpot's functionality on Wordpress. At the bottom of this blog he has a quiz that will help you decide what platform to use.

From my friend Doug Kirk, CEO of Optimize 3.0 we have #1 Reason Why Hubspot Doesn't Work | Hubspot Fails| Hubspot good? Doug is a HubSpot user but has a great perspective on why it doesn't work for many people.

One caveat on these reviews, HubSpot keeps making upgrades and changes to its system. Many of these reviews were written before the upgrade to HubSpot3 so there have been many changes and upgrades to the HubSpot feature set.

Tell me what your favorite platform is and why you prefer it in the comments section below. But take a look at the video from HubSpot.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

In the January 21, 2013 issue of The New Yorker financial reporter James Surowiecki writes about the sunk-cost effect.

In the article Surowiecki uses the example of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets extended Shanchez's contract and will pay him $8.25 million next year even though he has thrown more career interceptions than touchdowns. The Jets bet big on Sanchez and against all evidence they are hoping that their investment will pay off if they keep at it.

This not only happens in sports it happens in big and small businesses all the time. You have invested, or sunk, a lot of time and money into a project and even though it is not getting results you continue to invest. I often see this with online businesses who have a new website that is not getting the results they need but will not give it up because they have invested so much in it.

The article quotes Hal Arkes, a psychologist at Ohio State University, "Abandoning a project that you've invested a lot in feels like you've wasted everything, and waste is something we're told to avoid".

It's not only about waste it is about reputations. Giving up on a project is like admitting a mistake and accepting failure is something that is very hard to do. In sports you can fire the coaches (something the Jets did do) and in business you can bring in a new manager. Not having been part of the original decision new blood can look objectively at a problem and make changes without admitting having made a mistake.

This is a lot harder to do in a small business or for those of us who are sole proprietors or solopreneurs. Abandoning a failed project also goes against the common business ethos to just stick with it. If quitters never win then when you quit you are a failure. Investing more in a poor quarterback or a failed online marketing strategy is what is called "escalation of commitment" and it just deepens the sink hole.

When to Dump Your Online Business Strategy

There are definite advantages to sticking to a project, marketing plan or a business but you need to know when you are being patient and steadfast or just plain obstinate. Every successful enterprise or winning team has had its dips and disappointments but that does not mean that success is on the other side of every dip or sink hole.

Any small business faced with this dilemma needs to read Seth Godin's The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit. In fact one quotable Godin insight is, "Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations". It is hard to admit a mistake and move on so my advice is to reframe your outlook and think like a scientist.

    • Experiment: Everything you do is an experiment. Some things will work and other things will fail. Accept and keep the successes and dump the failures. As Seth Godin says, "Stick with the Dips that are likely to pan out, and quit the Cul-de-Sacs to focus your resources".
    • It's not personal: If success depended on our good looks and intentions then more successful people would be well intentioned and good looking. If something you tried fails you are not the failure. Unless you keep trying the same failed project.
    • Rely on statistics: Did the project increase web traffic? Did it decrease sales? Rely on the numbers and do not get personally invested in the outcome.
    • Focus on the goal: One of the hardest things to know is what activity is moving you toward the goal and what is keeping you away from the goal. To quote Godin again, "Persistent people are able to visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can't see it".

None of this is easy. If it were we would all be champions, but it is possible to move beyond the sink hole.

In The New Yorker article Surowiecki tells how the Seattle (my home town) Seahawks signed quarterback Matt Flynn to a hefty free-agent contract. Even though the Seahawks had a lot invested in Flynn and he had a guaranteed contract, new draftee Russell Wilson outperformed Flynn and was put in the starting lineup.

A heartbreaking loss in the final seconds of the Atlanta Falcons game doesn't diminish Wilson's role in getting the Seahawks into the playoffs.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

In early 2103, the Director of the CIA became the latest example showing that managing an online profile and a professional reputation is very difficult.

Many people bemoan the fact that your personal life can be so easily exposed and what many consider private conversations can be so public. It is true and in spite of warnings for at least the past 20 years to not put anything in an email that you would not want your Mother to read on the front page of the New York Times many people do just that and are shocked when their private emails end up on the front page of the New York Times.

Not only is it fairly easy to find salacious tidbits and scandalous gossip online, with Facebook and Twitter the news spreads faster, is distorted quicker and travels further than at any time in history.

No wonder many are reluctant to get involved, especially if your reputation is important to your business or career.

Many people I talk to balk when I say that because of their business they have to get involved with social media and need to maintain a good online profile. "No way," they say to me, "did you see the 'Social Network?' Nothing is private anymore."

We need put this into perspective, however.

The last 100 years or so have represented a brief period in history where people could live a private life and a public life.

Billie Holiday used to sing:

If I go to church on Sunday
And I shimmy down on Monday,
It ain't nobody's business if I do.

When we look back at the idyllic village and small town America of the 19th century we often extol the independent small businessman and the local shopkeeper who knew their customers and provided for their needs. We envy the farmer who worked hard then helped his neighbor raise a barn or the friendly cop on the beat who knew everybody's name.

Many people have compared the new online digital village to this romantic, neighborly past.

That may be an over simplification but unlike the mass businesses of the 20th century today's online businesses can better connect to, know and cater to their customers. For more about this read my blogs about Seth Godin's new book, "We Are All Weird," and What Seth Godin's "Weird" Can Teach Us about Social Media Marketing.

The down side of the personal relationship of the villages is that everybody knew what everybody else was doing. If the blacksmith's assistant kissed the farmer's daughter behind the barn you can be pretty sure everybody in town knew about it. The new world of online commerce and community also brings a transparency that many of us are not used to. What should you do about it?

Well, first off, you need to be more realistic about your expectations. If you want to be able to reach a wider market online in a personal way that connects with your customers you need to be prepared for a certain level of transparency.

If you are trying to be an alternative to impersonal mass marketers and opaque large businesses then embrace the opportunity for transparency and connection. If your personal beliefes and actions support your business and connect with your customers then shout it from the roof top and tweet till the cows come home. If your personal believes and actions do not mesh with your customers' then be a bit more discreet.

Being discreet means you need to be more careful online. Now I want to go on record as one who really doesn't care what someone does in their private life. That is their business.

I also believe in free speech. I think anyone can say what they want as long as it does not harm another person. Does that mean that I think anyone can and should say and do anything they want?

Well it depends. If you are trying to earn a living online and your business or career depends upon your reputation, then yes, you need to watch what you say. As one online business person told me, posting political or religious opinions on their Facebook page would be like a shopkeeper putting a sign in their window that said: All Welcome except Democrats and Methodists. Why turn away business when that business has nothing to do with personal beliefs and politics?

If your doing business online or if you represent a company or organization and you are active online you need to be careful, even with very personal matters like our friends in the CIA. Monitor your business, your name and your reputation online and avoid giving others the ammunition they need to make your life difficult.

For some more information take a look at some of my past blogs on how to maintain your professional online profile.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

Recently I was helping some friends get their social media accounts set up for their new coffee shop.

A local business like a coffee shop is not going to get a lot of value from many techniques used by content and inbound marketers.

Their new coffee shop, Café Love in Olympia, Washington, is not going to generate customers with a blog. (Well, they could generate customers with a blog but it would need to be special and that would not be the first thing I would suggest.)

Café Love will benefit from a social media presence and getting found on internet searches.

As I was working with Vanessa and Marty I thought it would be good to have a quick list of the accounts that should be set up.

This list would be great for any business but especially for location based businesses that depend on local traffic and people actually coming into their business.

This could include any type of restaurant, or business in the food and beverage industry; services such as barbers and beauty solons; automobile services, pet services, grooming and supplies; dancing schools and music stores; any type of brick and mortar stores; private businesses; franchise businesses; government offices and services; charity and non-profit services; and medical and health services.

The exact mix of accounts and what works best for you and your customers may vary a bit but this is where I would start.

Remember to experiment, see what works best and to try new things.

1. Facebook

With Facebook practically ubiquitous in North America it would be silly to ignore this. Remember to set up a personal account first then set up a business page. Once that is done you can invite others to help you administer the page. A few things to be sure to do:

  • Pick the correct category for your business
  • Set up your address so you show up on the map location
  • Put in your contact information
  • Learn about setting up Check-in Deals
  • Create and promote events
  • Adds can be targeted to your locations and to your customer profile
  • Update with photos of your space, products and events

2. Twitter

You can set up a Twitter account for your business and use it to promote your business, sales and events and connect with your customers and fans. Twitter may not be for every local business but there are a number of things you can do to make it more effective:

  • Follow and promote other local businesses
  • In Twitter Search use the Advanced Search to find people and business in "places" near you
  • Act like a person people would want to do business with, not an advertising broadcaster
  • Tweet about specials and coupons featured on your other accounts like Facebook and Foursqure
  • Send photos of events, regular customers and products

3. Foursquare

It is easy and free to set up Foursqure for business and Foursqure keeps track of your fans and check-ins for you.

  • Make sure the address is correct so you show up on maps and searches
  • Reward the mayor and frequent customers
  • Set up check-in specials
  • Post new images and photos
  • Connect to your other social media accounts
  • Foursqure Badges are connected to certain activities and businesses and are half the fun. What badges can your customers earn and how you can you make it fun?

4. Myspace

The obituaries for myspace have been written but I wouldn't nail the coffin shut yet because it is reinventing itself as the social media location for bands and entertainers. If your location business features live bands and entertainers then set up a Myspace account and connect and promote the bands, singers, comedians and dancers who will perform at your business.

5. Google+ and Google Locations

I've written that Google Places is now Google+ Local and published an eBook on the importance of Claiming Your Google Places. Google is such a big player now that it is important for any location based business to set up a Google+ Business Page and to claim their Google Places. Not only will this help you get found on Google searches you will show up on searches for Google Maps. This is essential especially when people do searches on their smart phones and that is exactly where you want to show up, when people are out looking for your services or product. A few things you should be sure to do:

  • Put in your contact information
  • List your hours of operation
  • Put a link to your menu or web site
  • Follow statistics about views for your listing
  • Use offers and coupons
  • Share updates about events, specials and more

6. Google Express Ads

In a recent blog I wrote that Google AdWords Express was a great solution for small business marketing. If you have thought about Pay-Per-Click ads but were intimidated by setting up Google AdWords or you do not have a website then this may be a great solution. This is specifically designed for small, location based businesses and is aimed at walk-in customers. It is worth checking out. If you need help we have a free Google Adwords consultation.

7. Yelp

Yelp is the other big location search engine and it is defiantly worth setting up an account and putting in your business' location and information. Yelp is famous for its reviews and this is something you want to be aware of and to follow.

8. Punchcard

I do not often push paid solutions but punchard is one that I have recently looked into that I like. It is a loyalty punch card system optimized for mobile applications. Your customers take a photo of their receipt and can redeem coupons and specials from you along the lines of buy 10 lattes and get the 11th latte free. As the business you get an amazing amount of information from your customers who check in so that you can tailor specials, coupons and promotions directly to the customer. For example set up specials for the customer who loves muffins, only comes in on Friday or never seems to spend more the $5. It is worth a look if rewarding loyal customers is important to you.

Another paid solution that I do not have a lot of experience with but I know others who swear by it is Groupon and similar coupon services.

9. Local Listings

There are a number of other places your business can be listed depending upon your location. Check out the local Chamber of Commerce, local newspapers or your city's official website. There is often a place to list local businesses. Depending on what is going on locally there may be a website devoted to local businesses or certain types of business such as restaurants or nightclubs. Search for businesses similar to yours and see where they are listed. Most of these sites will at least have a free listing and many will have enhanced services for a fee. What is important to you will determine what will be the best option.

10. Keep Track and Reward

Remember to keep track of what is bringing customers in. With Foursqure and Facebook you will be able to see who checks in but ask your customers what they are doing and how they found out about you. Run different specials and coupons on different sites and see what generates business. Remember to reward your customers who connect with you on social media and promote your business. If a customer is telling others about you, that is free advertising so thank them from time to time.

What have I left off the list that you think is good for local advertising and social media promotion? Tell us what you are doing in the comments below. If you are a small or local business we can give you a free social media marketing evaluation. Let us know how we can help.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

There are some common myths that inbound marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising like Google AdWords' paid search are mutually exclusive. You do one or the other and if you are a proponent of one you are against the other.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

They each play a specific role and can even support each other. Many of the concepts and techniques are the same but the reasons to use one strategy over the other may be different and the results may be different.

Let's take a look at some of the differences.

Getting Found on Search Results

Both will get your website found on searches but the way they do it will be different.

    • Inbound: Working with keywords you build content such as blogs and optimize your on-page SEO to help your website turn up on search results. Where you turn up in the results depends upon your content and the competition for the keywords.
    • Google AdWords: Working with keywords you bid to have an ad placed on Google's search results page. This is also competitive and exactly where your ad shows up depends on a number of factors including the competition for the keyword and your budget. With a properly setup campaign your ad will show up on the first page of search results. Remember, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, not for it to show up in a search.

Time vs. Money

There are no silver bullets in marketing and there is a cost no matter what you do.

    • Inbound: Getting on the first page of search results is not an overnight process. It could take months of blogging and promotion before your website ranks in the top 10 results for a particular keyword in a Google search. The good thing is once your page ranks high on Google Search it will stay there a long time. Success tends to last with inbound marketing.
    • Google AdWords: Success is an overnight process. As soon as you start a successful campaign you ads will turn up on searches and you will start to get clicks. As soon as you stop the ads the clicks will stop. There is no long lasting benefit to doing a PPC campaign.

Similarities

This is an area where there are a lot of similarities between Google AdWords PPC campaigns and inbound marketing. For both you need:

    • Keywords: Both PPC and inbound marketing are based on your keyword strategy. These are the words your potential customers will search to find your website. It is important to understand what those words are, how often people search for the words and how competitive the words are. For inbound marketing you build content around the keywords and for PPC you bid on the keywords.
    • Clear Call-to-Action: Whether it is in an ad, in your blog or in a tweet you need to have a call-to-action that induces your potential customer to visit your website.
    • Landing Page: If someone clicks a PPC ad or a link in a search result they need to land on a page that makes sense. If the ad says "Buy Red Tennis Shoes" the landing page better have red tennis shoes you can buy. If the link says "15 Little-Known Internet Marketing Facts You Need to Know" there better be 15 facts there.

Deciding on whether you do an inbound marketing campaign or a PPC AdWords Campaign depends on your website, customers, budget and time. For information on setting up a Google AdWords campaign check out HubSpot's A Simple Guide for Setting Up Your First Google AdWords Campaign or my blog on 10 Google AdWords Mistakes

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

I could not resist commenting on Dilbert on Social Media: Vague Plans , or costly BS Plans. (Comic by Scott Adams: Dilbert)

A great illustration of the two polar reactions to social media experts.

  1. We don't know exactly what you do nor do we understand what you are talking about so, then you must be right.
  2. Social media experts are full of costly bullsh**t.

People who believe 1. will eventually be disappointed because you are not performing magic.

The people who believe 2. will never trust you.

Part of our responsibility is to educate people about online marketing and to give them value for their investment.

Just because some people believe those one of the statements does not mean that social media gurus, inbound marketers, and online experts have to be that way.

Here are a few things to practice:

  1. Be Transparent: There is no secret sauce. Anyone with a Google Search Engine and some time can learn what you know about social media. Tell people what you are doing.
  2. It's a Science: There is a science to all of this. If you don't think so spend some time on Marketingexperiments.com DanZarrell.com, and SEOMoz.org.
  3. It's an Art: This is marketing and you are asking people to do things like click something or like something. People are different and they react to different things differently. Because something worked once in one situation does not necessarily mean it will work in another situation. Be upfront about the variances but don't be vague.
  4. Don't Over Promise: Just like any business it is important for you to understand what you can deliver and what you cannot. Getting more "likes" on Facebook may not get your client more sales. Be realistic and remember: Under promise and over deliver.
  5. Return On Investment: Measure, track and quantify to demonstrate what your client is getting. Be sure everyone knows what the goal is and how you will show you have achieved it. Offer value.
  6. It's a Tool: Social media is one of the tools in your toolbox and it is not the objective.
  7. Look at the Big Picture: Aligning your skills, tools and methods to your client's goals will help both of you be successful. They say the devil is in the details, but don't drown in a sea of minutiae.

I attended a webinar this morning by Seth Godin, and someone asked him about how to convince people who don't understand social media or inbound marketing to try it.

In essence he said not to bother. The people who think it is bull will continue to think it is bull no matter what. Those who think social media is some vague type of voodoo will never have reasonable expectations. Spend time with those who see the value you can offer and will work with you to achieve their goals.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

I have talked about User Generated Content(UGC) videos and touched on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) videos that got a few of my colleagues discussing the pros and cons.

Of course a lot of us would be happy if everyone who needed a video would just hire a professional!

After all, that is how a lot of us make a living and I don't want to discourage anyone from using a professional. However there are times when a DIY video is just what you need. I've touched on what are the best types of video to use online in the past and different occasions call for different types of video.

My friend Jack Brumm of Pixel Wire Media pointed out that if your business strategy involves being "high-end" then producing substandard videos doesn't help your strategy. He then went on to say that he was talking to Steve Garfield, the online video expert from Boston, who talked about his concept of "business casual" videos.

The idea is that a lot of people are becoming accustomed to DIY videos on YouTube and if the information is compelling then just do it and make the video. This makes a lot of sense in a lot of instances.

For example a lot of business is not conducted in formal settings or corporate board rooms. A lot of business is conducted at informal networking events in khaki slacks with an open collar or out in the field in work boots and jeans. There is no reason why some of your videos can't be the same way.

Perhaps you are on the run, on the plant floor or at a conference and a quick video blog on your flip phone is the way to quickly and efficiently get content out. That gives the video a bit of urgency, immediacy and a bit of personal connection that is not found in many online videos. I would say experiment with this and try it.

I would caution against a one-size-fits-all approach to business videos online. There are times when you have to put on the white shirt, red tie and black wing-tipped shoes for that professional look. And by professional I don't mean stuffy business look, I mean a well-crafted, effective message.

Take a look at your marketing strategy. Where do style, content and professionalism count? Where is it appropriate to loosen your tie and be more casual? Who is your audience? What are you trying to accomplish? What will they respond to? Where does this fit into your online and social media strategy? Match your online video to match your business marketing strategy.

When do you think a "business casual" video would work? Is anyone trying it?

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

According to research by Cisco more than half of all consumer internet traffic is video and it will continue to grow. That would suggest that video would be a great way for businesses to engage their customers. The other side of the coin Cisco's research reveled is it would take over 6 million years to watch all the video currently online.

This means there is a lot of competition so just making a video will not help you increase traffic or increase sales.

Part of the reason is the businesses often do not know how to effectively use online video and these mistakes prevent people from finding your video and may even cause you to lose customers.

  1. Making a Viral Video: If anyone suggests to you that success depends on making a viral video throw them out on their ear. That is like telling a teenage garage band that the way to rock superstardom is to record a hit record. Make videos with valuable content that people need. Worry more about providing value and less about making a hit.
  2. Not Optimizing the Video for Search: YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and because Google owns YouTube there are a lot of similarities. Both search engines search the metadata attached to the video looking for keywords and phrases that indicate what the video is about. Using keywords in the title, description, categories and tags will help audience find your video. Check out the ebook: SEO for YouTube Videos.
  3. No Call to Action: Why are you making the video and what do you want people to do after they watch it? Tell them what you want them to do in the video and in the description for the video.
  4. Not linking to website: If you tell people to go to your website or a landing page you need to put in a link. We all know that you cannot put a hot link in a video but you can put it in the description of the video. I suggest putting the link somewhere in the first two lines and remember to include the "http://". While you are at it remember to link to a valuable landing page related to the video that is not usually your home page.
  5. Not attaching a Transcript: YouTube now has the capability of transcribing your video's audio content and attaching it to the video. This transcript can be used by the closed caption option on YouTube and it can be searched by search engines giving your video a better chance of being found by people interested in the content. (See How to add Closed Captioning on YouTube Videos).
  6. Video Blog Misuse: There is nothing wrong with video blogs but I've often seen blogs that are just a series of videos posted with no other information. If you are going to use videos as blog posts, especially if you are going to use video exclusively for blog posts, use the transcript (see No. 5) as the text in the blog. This will help with search engines and give people who prefer to read another option. At the very least give a description of the video so viewers know what it is about.
  7. Making the Video Too long: There is no optimal length for an online video but remember you do not have a captive audience. They can turn off the video at any time. Use the analytics tools in YouTube to see when people stop watching your video and you'll get a good idea how long your next video should be. In most cases you have 10 seconds to convince your viewer to keep watching.
  8. Poor Quality: If the quality of the video makes it difficult to follow, hear or watch it will do more harm than good. This does not mean that every video needs to be a Hollywood production but it does mean the quality should not get in the way of the message.
  9. Using the wrong video in the wrong place: For business and marketing videos there are generally three types of online video but they are often used in the wrong way. Outreach videos are distributed widely and encourage people to visit your website. Landing page or closing videos tell the visitor why they should buy your product or service. Post sales engagement videos such as training videos help your customers after the sale. The exact mix of these videos change from business to business but think about what video fits best with your prospects in your sales process. For more information take a look at my blog: The 3 Stages of Video Marketing.
  10. The video does not represent the organization: Just because a video gets lots of viewers does not mean it is a good video for your organization or company. The video must represent the values of the organization not only in its message but in its production values and style. An investment company should expect to make one type of video and a quirky, avant garde restaurant another type of video.

It is important to think about how a video will be viewed by your potential customers, how it represents your business and what you want them to do after they have viewed the video. Your goal should not only be to get viewers but to get the right viewers, people who need your services or product. Videos are not only about broadcasting a message but in providing value. Make something valuable and do not forget to have a call to action.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Using QR Codes for the Local Franchise Business

Two years ago, there was lot of buzz about Taco Bell's QR Code promotion with MTV. This is often pointed out as a great example of a fast food or franchise business using QR Codes but my impression is that most franchise owners are local business people and the Taco Bell-MTV promotion is a better example of two national brands teaming up on a national campaign.

I thought that their use of QR Codes was inspired and this campaign will do a lot to help make the general public familiar with QR Codes but it doesn't do much to show franchise owners what they can do on the local level. If at this point you are not familiar with QR Codes please read some of my blogs on QR Codes.

Even though many franchise owners may own more than one franchise location in reality they are local business people who depend upon local customers and repeat customers for their business. There may be many marketing mistakes franchise owners make because they do not think of themselves as local business owners. QR Codes is a tool to help correct that. In fact almost anything a local business can do with a QR Code a franchise business can do

In spite of examples of large companies such as Taco Bell using QR Codes they really are custom made for small businesses. The biggest advantage is that they are very inexpensive to generate. There are a number of free and low cost QR Code Generators for marketing as well as platforms where you can build a QR Code campaign and a mobile website such as Linkblots.com. Of course there are plenty of agencies, such as Image Media Partners, that offer low cost solutions for QR Code campaigns.

3 Basic Uses for QR Codes

1. Bridge to the online world: Since a QR Code can be printed on anything that can be printed on it is the perfect tool to bring your customer from the physical world to the online world. If your business already has any type of online presence, a website that you control, a Facebook page or even a Google Places or Yelp listing you can use a QR Code to connect to it. This may be something as simple as scanning the code to "Like" your Facebook page or connecting to a more robust mobile micro-website.

2. Promotions: Unlike printed coupons QR Codes, if used properly, don't expire because the code brings the user to a mobile website that can be updated with new information. For example if Monday's coupon is a free coke and Tuesday's coupon is an early bird special you can update the coupon and continue to use the same QR Code. La Croissanterie, a French fast-food outlet, is using QR Codes as part of their loyalty program. A Mexican restaurant chain owner in Michigan used QR Codes to promote his third outlet opening in Ann Arbor. He included the QR Codes in ads on posters and newspapers around the University of Michigan and got about four thousand scans.

3. Information: QR Codes would be too limiting if the only thing they did was make it easier to "Like" your Facebook page or pass as a fancy high-tech coupon. Even though in a recent study by MGH Modern Marketing 87% of the respondents who were interested in QR Codes said they would scan a code to get a coupon, 63% said they would scan the code to get more information, 53% said they would sign up to a mailing list to receive more information and 60% said they would scan the code to make a purchase. People are looking for information as well as deals. One cool thing Taco Bell is doing with their QR Codes is linking to a Taco Bell mobile site that not only has specials but a store locator, menus and nutritional and allergy information. What information would be helpful to your customers? Do you have a mailing list? Use the QR Code to sign them up.

Basic QR Code Guidelines

There are only a few rules, or rather, best practices you should pay attention to.

  1. Specific Destination: Any time you have a link it should be to a specific page for a specific action. Don't send people to Facebook send them to your Facebook page. Don't send people to your home page send them to a specific landing page optimized for a mobile phone.
  2. Optimize for Mobile: 99% of all users will scan your QR Code with a mobile phone (OK I made up that number but who carries their desktop to a restaurant?) Your destination page needs to be set up for mobile phones. Facebook already is but if you send them someplace else make sure they can read your page on a smart phone.
  3. Keep the URL Short: The longer the URL the more complex the code will become. Keep things simple and use a URL shortener. If you make a unique code on a site like bit.ly.com you can keep track of the traffic. An added plus for bit.ly is that when you ad .qr to the end of any bit.ly URL it will generate a QR Code.

More QR Code Ideas

If you have not already come up with a list of uses for QR Codes here are a few suggests.

Where to send people who scan your QR Code:

· Mobile website

· Google Places or Yelp listing

· Menu

· Store Locator

· Facebook

· Coupon

· Sign up mail list

· Helpful information:

o Nutritional info

o Tax Tips

o Corporate site

o vacation destinations

· Slide show of home, cars, pizzas, shoes or whatever you are selling

· Video of your business or product

· Micro-payments

· E-commerce site

· Your phone number

· Contact information

· Information about product

· Charity you support

Where to print QR Codes:

· Business card

· Poster

· Front door (link to Foursqure)

· Google Places

· Menu

· Billboard

· Real Estate signs

· Newspaper or Magazine Ad

· T-shirt

· Little League Uniform

· Coupons

· On food

· Product packaging and labels

· Laptop stickers

· Table Tents

· Tattoos

· Catalogs

· Flyers

· Pizza boxes

Just about any place where you connect to your customers and would like to bring them into the online world is a good place to put a QR Code and any place on line that you can offer value to your customer is a great place to link a QR Code. The most effective way to scan a QR Code is with a smartphone. Many detractors will point out that currently only 35% of North Americans have a smartphone but market penetration will surpass 50% by the end of the year and it is expected to grow. My advice is to get a bit ahead of the curve and be ready. QR codes can easily fit into most marketing plans and it will pay dividends. A quick side note to local printing franchise owners, if your customers are not already asking you to print QR Codes they soon will be as the owners of Sir Speedy found out.

For more information about QR Codes and how to use them you can download this QR Code Check List and Fact Sheet or visit the QR Code Resourcepage on our website. I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences or questions concerning QR Codes in the comments section.

Timothy Lorang is the founder and Executive Partner for Image Media Partners, an online and social media marketing and consulting agency based in Seattle, Washington. Partner Views Blog covers many of the aspects of online, social media and QR Code marketing. Image Media Partners offers low cost solutions for those needing assistance for their QR Code Campaigns and a free QR Code Check List and Fact Sheet download.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

With the number of people owning smartphones growing and the market pretty much split between Apple and Android, your website needs to look good on any smartphone.

There are five very important things you need to do to make your website accessible to mobile smartphones.

1. Mobile Web Page: Make sure your website is organized to display on a mobile web page. Your site should have Mobile CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) which is HTML code in your header section of your website. It should look similar to this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://domain.tld/mobile.css" type="text/css" media="handheld" />

(Since this is not a technical "How-To" blog so if you are not familiar with CSS and HTML don't put this code in your header and expect everything to be ok! Instead, check source code of your website, by right clicking on the page and choose "view page source".)

Check with your webmaster if

<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://domain.tld/mobile.css" type="text/css" media="handheld" />

is not shown in the source code.

If you use a platform such as HubSpot (affiliate notification) then this is taken care of as a default function. Many WordPress themes now come with Mobile CSS and if yours does not there are plenty of plug-ins available. And, if you like to get under the hood and do your own coding check out Mobile CSS by Sea Breeze Computers and the The 5-Minute CSS Mobile Makeover by Perishable Press.

2. Meta Viewport Tag: This is a simple code that tells the mobile device how to orient your mobile web page. This is what makes it possible to turn your smart phone at any angle and see the page and it usually looks like this:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1,user-scalable=no" />

Again, this code should be in your Header HTML but check this function on your smart phone and make sure that it works.


3. Apple Icons: With nearly 45% of new smartphone buyers choosing iPhones this is a necessary step. This is an icon that allows iPhone and iPad users to add a quick link to your site on their device.

If you don't have an Apple Icon it is a pretty straightforward procedure.

First, design a 57x57 pixel icon for your web page or business.

Make it in the .png format.

Second, upload it to your website's file manager then add the following link to your Header HTML:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/filename.png" />

Be sure that "/filename.png" is the file name of your new Apple Icon. That is all there is to do.


4. E-Mail Optimized for Mobile Smart Phones: Along with the rise of mobile and smart phone use is the practice of reading e-mails on a mobile device. If you send e-mails as part of your business' marketing efforts or if you send e-mail newsletters, make sure that that they can be read on smart phones.

The easiest thing to do is to just send text e-mails. If you just need to have a bit of color or some images in your e-mails be sure they are optimized for mobile.

The Email.grader.com is a great tool that will show you how your e-mail looks on different devices.

Most e-mail programs like MailChimp and Constant Contact now give you the tools and options to optimize your e-mail for mobile devices.


5. QR Code Marketing: This really has nothing to do with how your website looks on a mobile phone but if you have gone through the work of optimizing your website for mobile phones you might as well encourage people to connect with your site buy using QR Codes.

If you are interested Image Media Partners provides a free and a professional QRCode Generator and Mobile Web Marketing Platform. You may also find the QR Code Checklist handy.


(Remember; if you are not familiar with HTML do not try to change the code without any help. It is best to work with an experienced web designer. The HubSpot platform is already optimized for mobile devices and as a Certified HubSpot partner we highly recommend this platform for any website whose inbound marketing goals are greater web traffic, higher conversions and mobile optimization. Let us know if you would be interested in a free inbound marketing and website analysis.)

The Massive Open Online Courses can teach you some important things about your own training videos for your franchisees.

While, I've seen many outstanding videos offered on the MOOCs there are still a distressingly high percentage of them that do not even meet the minimum standards of Public Access TV.

Your franchise training videos likely have one or more of the same problems.

If your franchise training videos has one or more of the following production quality issues, you will have a low viewer completion rates.

  1. Bad Sound Quality: Sound is the Achilles' heel of most educational videos. Most people will put up with poor video but if you cannot hear or understand what is being said there is no use in watching any further. These problems are usually caused by poor microphone placement, low recording levels, background noise and talent who do not speak well on camera.

  2. Poor Lighting: Even bad cameras look good when there is plenty of light yet many videos look as if they were videotaped in a closet. If a student is going to stare at your video for 15 to 60 minutes at least make the images visible.

  3. Poor Graphics: Just like unintelligible sound, unreadable graphics are useless. If the viewer cannot read or follow the graphic why include it? This is more than a PowerPoint slide with small text, this includes flow charts that are so dense and detailed they cannot be followed or photographs of such poor quality it is hard to tell what they are.

  4. All Text Presentations: If the only thing the presenter is doing is reading the text off of one PowerPoint slide after another why not just send the student the PowerPoint slides?

  5. Talking Heads: Or even worse, talking shadows on a distant stage. Videotaping lectures is probably the quickest and easiest way to record educational content but it does not have to be the most boring way to present educational content. (I've written several blogs on videotaping lectures, including how I think the TED Lectures get it right.)

  6. Long Videos: One of the best features of online videos is that the presenter is not required to lecture for 50 minutes as they are often required to in a scheduled class. They can make the video segment as long, or as short as it needs to be. Yet many online classes are 50 or 60 minutes because that is the length of a traditional classroom lecture. If students fall asleep in a classroom during a long lecture they will fall asleep faster during a long video lecture.

  7. Not Using the Medium: Why, in this new world of television production where an inexpensive HD video camera can fit in the palm of your hand, do so many of the online video classes take place behind a lectern? Are cameras not allowed in the lab or out in the field? Is it impossible to interview an expert or illustrate a concept with animation? Television is personal and mobile. Take advantage of its strengths.

There are ways to improve production quality and the quality of your programs that will improve the effectiveness of your overall online course.

Are you involved in producing video for training?

What are your biggest production quality challenges?

What obstacles do you face in producing your videos? Let me know in the discussion section below.

If you are involved in producing educational or training video and would like some feedback on your production quality then contact us for a video consultation.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

As someone who advises others on ways to increase their web traffic, including but not exclusively SEO, I use Alexa. Anyone interested in measuring web traffic should use it.

One thing that Alexa is great for is weeding out the hucksters. Most of us get email from so called SEO experts who promise to increase your SEO ranking. Take a quick look at their Alexa score and see if they can walk the walk.

Remember that the goal of SEO is to increase traffic NOT necessarily get ranked high on one or two keywords. For example getting ranked #1 for your company name on Google Search does not help your web traffic.

It is easy to get ranked high for one keyword but bit harder to increase relevant web traffic.

Alexa is an excellent tool for comparing website traffic in a general way in that it gives your website a ranking compared to all other websites. It is not great for measuring the website traffic for any one particular site.

For example I know what my site's Alexa score is and from Google Analytics and HubSpot I know what my site's traffic is.

Then, I can look at the Alexa rankings and tell if other sites are getting more or less traffic & if they are getting a lot more or a lot less.

You can register your site with Alexa for free and this will increase your chances of getting a more accurate ranking.

Paying for certification will give even more accurate results and give you tools to measure your site's activity.

For quickly measuring another website I use the SEO for Chrome extension for my browser and SEO Book has a great toolbar for Firefox.

This is a great article about Alexa and everyone publishing on the web should know about their Alexa score, because everyone else knows your score.

Why don't you?

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

"My customers are not online, they don't do LinkedIn."

Generally this comes from a business owner who doesn't like social media or they talked to one of their customers who does not have a LinkedIn account.

For all I know they may be right.

I haven't researched their customer's profiles but after a few questions it is clear they have not researched their customers' profile either.

Even though some of your potential customers are not online many of them are. Most of these active, online prospects are not going to be reached with outbound marketing techniques like direct mail or an ad in the yellow pages.

Where can a business owner or marketer get information on what their potential customers are doing online?

First, you will need to define your customer profile or persona so you will know what your potential customer is like.

A good place to start is this blog from HubSpot: How to Build Better Buyer Personas to Drive Killer Content.

The next step is to start finding out a bit more about who your potential customers based upon the demographic data you have been collecting when they visit your website.

How to Use Forrester's Social Technographics Tool

In Forrester's ground breaking book Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, they classified consumers into seven overlapping levels of social technology participation. (See slide 3 for the classification.)

This tool shows you how different groups identified by age, gender and nationality fit into each of these classifications.

For example, with this tool we can see that 18 to 24 year old women in the U.S. are more likely than men in the same age group to be creators while men are more likely to be critics.

Both genders in this age group are more active online than those in the 35 to 44 age bracket.

Go ahead and try it, using the demographics you have been collecting on visitors to your website.

Link: Forrester Social Technographic Profile Tool

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

For many franchises, especially location based businesses, a Google AdWords or paid search campaign can be a valuable part of their online marketing plan. A pay-per-click campaign can quickly produce new leads.

I have talked to a lot of business owners who have told me that paid search was a waste of time. But they are wrong.

They did Google AdWords once and nothing happened. When I probe a bit deeper it turns out that they used a free Google AdWords voucher worth $100 and posted one ad for a week.

But, the same people who will pay $2,000 a month for a billboard and have no idea if it is generating business!

This happens because many business owners do not understand how Internet Marketing works and how to use Google AdWords as part of their marketing plan.

Many of the common mistakes marketers make with inbound marketing they also make with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and wonder why they are not more successful. Here are ten very common mistakes.

1. Using the wrong keywords: Many people think if they choose a keyword that gets lots of traffic then the high volume of searches will result in clicks to their ad. Searchers are generally very focused so even if they see your ad if they are not looking for it they will not click. For example, the keyword "cheap purses" gets 2 to 3 times more traffic than the keyword "Gucci purses" but someone looking for a cheap purse will not click on a Gucci ad.

2. Too Many Keywords: In Google Adwords you can associate your ad with as many keywords as you like. There are for example, over 700 keywords that can be associated with the word "purse." However, not each of those words would be relevant for someone searching for a cheap leather purse. Restrict your keywords to about 10 or 15 per each ad. This will also help you see how well that ad is doing with that set of keywords.

3. Too few Ads: When you set up a Google Adwords campaign you set up your budget for a group of ads so the cost remains the same if you have one ad or ten ads. The advantage of 10 ads is that you can quickly see what is working and what is not working so you can drop unproductive ads and promote the productive ads.

4. Keywords not in ad title: When someone searches on a keyword those keywords are bold on the results page, including keywords in the ads. So if you are bidding on the keyword "leather purses" make sure your ad title reads: Sale on Leather Purses.

5. Not Targeting Ads: Again, if you are selling leather purses you will do better picking keywords such as: leather purse, leather purses, woman's leather purse, leather handbag, as opposed to: women's purse, tote bag, laptop bag, unique purses and bags.

6. Bad User Experience: What happens when someone clicks on your ad? Do they go to a landing page with the information they are looking for? Can they buy the product or find the information they are looking for? If not they will leave, you will have paid for the click but lost a customer.

7. Not paying attention to Quality Score: The quality score is a grade between 1 and 10 that Google assigns to each keyword associated with your ad. If the ad does not get very many clicks or if the clicks do not result in a conversion or sale then Google will give it a low score. If it has a low score your ad will not show up on future searches or it will get a low position. Pay attention and optimize your keywords and ads to get a higher score.

8. Ad on wrong platform or time: Advertisers on Google have a lot of options on where and when their ads show up. For example, a downtown restaurant that is busy on Friday and Saturday nights can target ads to show on computers within a 50 mile radius of the restaurant on Friday and Saturday afternoons when people are planning their evening. In the evening when folks are out on the town the ads can be targeted to mobile phones within 5 miles or even within one ZIP code. The mobile ads can even promote late night happy hours or specials that are time sensitive.

9. Not investing the time: One of the great advantages of Google Adwords is the opportunity to get almost instant results and see what is working and what is not working. Too often a company will set up a pay-per-click ad campaign, make the mistakes listed in points 1 through 8 and conclude that paid search is a complete waste of time. If the ads are not working figure out why and fix the problem.

10.Not checking results: Worse than coming to the wrong conclusion about your Google Adword campaign is not coming to any conclusion at all because you are not following the results. It is possible to follow the results and make corrections almost immediately to maximize your results, but not if you are not paying attention.

Using Google Adwords is not an automatic process and profitable results do not come just by the fact that you have an ad. Too many companies have tried paid search and when they failed they blamed Google and not what they were doing or not doing.

Marketers need to pay attention just as much with paid search as they do with inbound marketing. Paid search and Google Adwords does not take the place of good search engine optimization and should be used in conjunction with a good inbound marketing strategy.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

Search for Articles

Follow Us

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Timothy Lorang.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Authors

Archives

Follow Us