Tag Archives: business

Tips on using Pay-Per-Click marketing to sell sell sell!

Today I went to a very informative course conducted by Emarketeers about pay-per-click marketing, or PPC. I learnt new jargon and ways of creating an effective online marketing campaign. We spent some time on Google Adwords. We also had a look at Facebook and how targeted it’s advertising can be. Don’t give too much away on Facebook – that’s probably how Made.com made me buy a sofabed from them because I liked Homes Under the Hammer. Granted, it’s a lovely sofabed.

Yoko sofa bed, Made.com

Sleek and sexy, right?

Anyway, I came away with some tips for Adwords success. Adwords are  those ads you see above and on the right hand side of ‘organic’ search results when you do a search on Google. They enable you to do targeted online advertising at a cost determined by you on a website used by billions!

  • Optimise your landing pages. Use the keywords you have chosen to bid on as much as possible – on your landing page, on the ad, in the headline, possibly in the display URL.
  • Target your audience by country or region.
  • Target your audience by when they’re likely to be surfing and buying your product! For retailers, this would be in the evenings after work. You can also pay attention to the time of the year.
  • Never use the ‘broad matching’ option alone when you’re starting out. Your ad can end up appearing on random search terms and you would potentially waste a lot of money.
  • Make use of display networks when you have a better idea of what you are doing. What are display networks? They are the ads you see on Google Adsense, in a box usually embedded on blogs or websites. They can be text, pretty graphics or Flash. Google sets ‘Display on display networks’ as a default; don’t let them siphon more money from you – turn this option off to begin with!
  • When you feel ready to use display networks, create a different, dedicated campaign for it so you can track it separately.
  • Use broad-matching, broad-match modifiers and and phrase or exact matching wisely.
  • Using Google Adwords keyword tool, work out which search terms won’t make people buy your product/service/information. This will help you compile a negative keyword list. So your ad won’t be triggered say, if the surfer is actually looking for help on a support issue rather than wanting to buy the actual product.
  • Please get rid of underperforming keywords that don’t generate much business or traffic for you – if you don’t, this will reflect badly on your Quality Score, which in turn makes it possible for Google to charge you more for every click.
  • Of course, calculate your cost per acquisition (CPA – a term I learnt today!) so you can gauge how much you can realistically spend on Adwords. No point spending £50 to get someone to spend £25!

The course covered a lot more ground – if PPC and online marketing is of interest to you, then do look up the Pay-Per-Click marketing course by Emarketeers.

Baby boomers vs bloomers

An acquaintance of mine appeared on TV the other day to debate the fate of ‘our generation’. I think the programme was trying to set up a slagging match between kids young people  and people who are as old as their parents. Did it work? I don’t know. It’s like trying to ask someone who’s  been happily blindfolded what he saw. The blindfold’s off, it ain’t pretty, but how did we get here?

Every cloud has a silver lining. Cliche. In the so-called age of austerity (hmm, austerity with laptops and iPods) , we have to learn to live with less, learn to cope. This is what the world needs; it cannot support unlimited, unbridled consumption. The older generation will eventually die out and we’ll inherit a surplus of stuff (houses, clothes, bad ideas) as there’s more of them –  at least where the population is declining. We cannot expect our generation to enjoy exactly the same privileges  – as it is, we probably have the best childhoods, historically, and the best prospects. People can get the sort of job that are a better match to their individual abilities, rather than being forced to work in t’pit, just ‘cos that’s what people do’. Technology has destroyed jobs and created exciting ones in its place.

It is a fair point though that some have been excessively greedy. I’m not talking about bankers – they get enough flak – I’m talking about university vice-chancellors. How is it justifiable that a student struggles through uni and leaves with thousands of debt, while a vice-chancellor gets paid over £250,000 a year, and urging for tuition-fee rises? I believe more of tuition fee costs must be shouldered by corporate firms, who ultimately benefit by employing such well-educated people. Also, there are plenty of positions it seems, that pay much more than what the prime minister gets paid – is their job much harder? They should be running the country then.

How to make more money from an arty-farty job – jack it

A new podcast from I Will Teach You To Be Rich features a young lady, Cass aka WebWallflower, who used her skills as theatre stage manager to become a freelance niche conference organiser. Apparently she was earning up to US$400 a week in her previous job, and now as a freelancer she’s making three times that and working three times less.

She really brought to light the magic of niche; she specialises in organising conferences and events just for start-ups and web 2.0 companies. Why clients hire her: she’ll take care of all the gruntwork involved in organising a conference (a/v etc), booking a venue and negotiating a bargain (apparently hotels always quote 40% over the price they’re willing to settle for), finding speakers, sponsorship… and on the day, her clients can be free to network and make business rather than take care of logistics.

She also selects her clients quite carefully – and focuses on taking on jobs that will get her more business e.g the right target market, and a good fit for her expertise and network. For example, she can organise an event for doctors or lawyers but would rather not as she wouldn’t bring as much value to the table, and vice-versa – she is not au fait with that particular market so would less likely get new clients.

She also takes investing in her business as a given – for her having a website and getting a faster computer are essentials. If you’re not psychologically prepared to pay to invest in your business, you’re not ready. It forces her to get things done/get more business since the overhead’s running!

She invested time as well, to figure out if this is the way forward. She was moonlighting whilst working 50-100 hours a week for the theatre, when it dawned on her that she was making as much money as a conference organiser in half the time!

Her main skill that she took from being a stage manager is being able to juggle plenty of proverbial balls in the air, liase with people in a friendly way, and keep the show running. Over time she’d developed a formidable database of contacts that she can call on to sell conference tickets to, or ask to speak at these conferences. She develops her business mainly through word of mouth and through the conferences she has organised – and I guess now, from interviews she’s done with the likes of Ramit. She never fails to make sure that she is noticed in conferences – despite being an introvert – and keeps her online presence alive via Twitter and Facebook.

The more she specialises, the more valuable she becomes, and hence the more likely clients are willing to pay top dollar!

Her sales pitch with a prospective client is not really a pitch – it’s a chance for her to suss out the clients’ needs. Through  information such as what they’re hoping to achieve through their conference and the sort of content/market they’re after, she’s able to work out how much they’re willing or should be spending. She also assuages their fears and make sure they know that they’ll be free to create new business and network while she handles the event’s logistics. If they’re actually not quite ready to host a conference, or are unclear about what they want to achieve, she tells it like it is and points them elsewhere! She doesn’t just hard sell. This shows her to be genuine and a source of expert advice, and in fact she’s thinking of providing a service where clients who aren’t quite ready to pay for full-blown event management to sit with her for a couple of hours to work out what they can do to organise their own forthcoming event.

As for getting paid, she either charges a flat fee and requests 50% upfront, or if she believes the conference is going to sell, and she thinks she can benefit from future business, she’ll charge a lower flat free but will take a percentage of profits after the conference.

She also advises that, to get the most out of a conference, it’s best to have it two or three times – with each time it gets cheaper to produce and will make more money, as it gets more established and punters know what they’re in for (plus the whole word of mouth effect from each successful event!).

Very useful ‘day in the life’ story to inspire us to see how we can take our existing skills and put it to use in a different capacity.  It is also another example of how starting small works, and that it’s better to be a big clever fish in a small niche pond. Listen to the full audio interview on I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Side-businesses – just go for it!

It’s great to listen to an interview on I Will Teach You To be Rich,  by an entrepreneur with a full-time job (at Twitter!). Elizabeth gets to indulge and earn an income from her hobby, which is letterpressing.

The main point I’ve learned is that when starting out,  there is no point fussing over creating a website, or even a business card. They are just barriers to entry. You are better off using free, cheap and existing tools to help you get off the ground – for instance, using cloud computing tools like Zoho to manage customers and having a seller profile on etsy.com or eBay. She’s been going for 4 years and only just launching her website!

It’s better to get practice on selling your product rather than creating a multi-page business plan right from the start. Her way of progressing is to meet the needs of the next challenge she encounters, rather than dreaming up of every eventual possibility, finding it all too much, and giving up a full-time job. This is a good method for side-businesses as it reduces the tendency to stall and procrastinate.

Thanks for the tips, Elizabeth from Paperwheel!

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

… says a guy called Ramit. Well, I think he is rich since he co-founded PBWiki.

On a rare occasion does junk mail incite interest – Midnight Express is like takeaway home delivery… for alcohol and cigarettes. What a bloody great idea. I’ve not seen that before. Maybe I’ve been living a sheltered life !