Tag Archives: business

Making Google Work for You: Adwords

Google has lots of great tools, when, if used properly can be a real asset to businesses and non-profits with a small advertising budget.  Let’s take some time to focus on Google Adwords.  Adwords are a great way to bring in business because it allows for highly targeted ad placement.  However, it costs time and money so if you’re planning to set up an account for your business its important to make sure you use the program to its fullest extent.

Adwords, in short, is Google’s pay per click advertising service, this means businesses and other advertisers are only charged when their ad is clicked on.  Advertisers bid for key words or phrases that are relevant to their business (a personal trainer might bid on the word “fitness” or the phrase “work out session”), the cost they end up paying for each word or phrase is determined by the bids of other advertisers.  If an advertiser bids high enough, their ad will appear on Google’s search page every time somebody searches for one of the words or phrases they’ve bid on, when somebody clicks on the ad the advertiser is charged. The ads are minimally invasive and show up on the right hand side of the search page.  Even if you’ve never clicked on one before you have undoubtedly noticed them. 

What’s great about Adwords is not only the fact that you can target customers searching for topics relevant to your business, but you can further target the ads based on things like location of the person searching and the time they are searching.  If you want people to see your ad during store hours you can make sure it only appears between 9 and 5.  If you only want people with in a ten mile radius of your business, you can specify that too.  However using Google Adwords in a way that benefits your business requires knowledge of how to use the system.  For small businesses with a limited budget it’s important that you pay close attention to targeting your ad, wording your ads so they are most effective, and bidding on affordable words that will secure relevant placement.

Google offers the best tutorials on how to use their services. By going to the Adwords home page you can find fantastic tutorials including videos on how to use the service. Google also offers seminars for success that include Adwords 101.  If they offer seminars in your area—sign up!  I attended one on Google Analytics and it was a great experience.

In the past I used a website called Searchenginewatch.com.  They have good write- ups on how to use Adwords, however they were written in 2008 and there have been significant changes to the service since then.  They’re still useful, but I’d recommend what Google has to offer over these how-to’s.

Here are some interesting blogs/articles about the topic:

http://www.thesaleslion.com/google-adwords-your-business-best-friend-or-worst-enemy/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Pay-Per-Click-Advertising—Is-It-Right-For-My-Business?&id=758948

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5852066/google_tools_every_small_business_should.html

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Interview with a Real Estate Agent

This is an interview with Real Estate Agent Barry Kramer of Westchester Choice Realty in Scarsdale, NY.  We’d love reader feedback on what questions we should be asking in future interviews so please leave a comment, either with follow up questions for this interview or questions you’d like us to ask future subjects.

CSM: What kind of business do you own?

Answer: Residential Real Estate, homes, condos, co-op sales and rentals.  We are an independent brokerage with about 10 agents.

CSM: Where is your business located?

Answer: Scarsdale, NY in Westchester County

CSM: Where do you do most of your sales?

Answer: Locally, Eastchester, Scarsdale, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Hartsdale and White Plains.  Our most significant market is along the Harlem Train Line.  We specialize on Garth Road, Scarsdale, NY.

CSM: What is your target demographic (age, location, social-economic status)?

Answer: Since we sell a lot of co-op apartments we target first time buyers.  We also target seniors that own homes and may be considering downsizing.

CSM: What is your primary marketing strategy (is it traditional, like print/TV or does is it mainly digital)

Answer: We do a lot of Internet marketing, and less print than we used to.  We have our own website, and are also on most major Real Estate search engines like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com.  We also still do quite a bit of direct mail.

CSM: – if both, how does the approach to each differ?  How do the results differ?

Answer: With our Internet marketing we try to get new buyers, while our direct marketing is to secure listings in the area we specialize in.

CSM: What social media do you use (Facebook, twitter, etc., etc.)

Answer: We use Facebook, and have our own Facebook page.  We also started to use Twitter, but haven’t really used it very much.

CSM: How does marketing through social media impact your business (if it does not impact your business please explain why)?

Answer: Well, it seems like in Real Estate you’ve got to be in nearly everything.  Places like Facebook have begun to eliminate separate places on individual pages to list homes for sale.  They seem like they want mainly personal stuff, and if you’re a business they want you to have a business page. Consumers, and especially young buyers like the interaction through places like Facebook.

CSM: Please discuss the primary impact as well… is it sharing information, actual sales, building a fan base, etc.

Answer: Yes, all of the above.  Consumers want information and not just selling.  If you can provide information on your social media and other web tools you’ll be ahead of others.  Everyone wants to be liked.  I’m always weary about liking other Realtors.  They’ll just take that into a listing presentation and say look, even Barry Kramer likes me.  Building a base of clients is great, but you’ve got to stay in touch!

CSM: How is social media changing the sense of community around your business?

Answer: Yes it is.  Every Realtor has a Blog and communicates on Facebook etc.  You’ve got to be careful though not to exclude older buyers that might prefer an old fashioned phone call.  It’s a mix.  Real Estate has always been a people business, and media like Facebook is just one more way to communicate with buyers and sellers.

CSM: How would your marketing strategy be different if you didn’t have social media as a tool?

Answer: We never got rid of the other stuff. We’ve cut back on print media, and have not eliminated entirely. We still do direct mail. We’ve included social media into our strategy, but it’s not the only thing we do.

CSM: Is there any instance in today’s world where you would NOT recommend social media as part of a business strategy?

Answer: When we try to reach older buyers it’s not a really good strategy.  Also, homes need to be seen, felt and explored.  Sure we can do a virtual tour, but you just can’t smell fresh baked cookies in a beautiful kitchen on Facebook, at least not yet anyway.

CSM: What advice do you have to offer other people entering your industry as they contemplate where to put their efforts online?

Answer: Be online, but there’s more to real estate than social media, having a good website, and blogging.  Eventually you’ll have to meet a buyer or seller and through ups and downs negotiate a deal.  Social media may be a start, and may even be the way you keep in touch after the deal is over.  Studies have shown that buyers and sellers work with people they like.  Even if you’re the best social media expert if they don’t like you they won’t do business with you.  Embrace social media, but don’t forget the basics.

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Webinars: a great resource for small businesses and non-profits

Have you ever worked for a non-profit or a small business? If you have you know the work-load always outweighs the resources available. For several years I worked in the communications department of a non-profit.  While working there the communications department began making the switch to digital it was up to me to become educated on best practices.  How did I go about doing this?

Working for a non-profit or small business costs are always top of mind. I found that Webinars is one of the best resources out there.  Not only are many of webinars free, but they also allowed me to communicate with non-profits across the United States.  This was helpful since we were all in different places but we were all trying to figure out how to best raise funds through Facebook, tweet effectively, improve our newsletters, and create Webpages that encouraged supporters to take action.

Below are a list of sites that host webinars that are useful to any business, non-profits, and anyone looking to get involved or learn more about social media.  I personally prefer the interactive ones, because they have a better flow to them and you can communicate while it’s taking place. However, even the webinars that don’t allow for real time participation will ask everyone who is registered to submit questions prior to starting so that the speaker(s) can address the needs of whoever is attending the webinar.

For PR, Cision offers great webinars (and leaves them posted on the site if you’ve missed them).

Mediabistro is a favorite as well.  You do have to pay to watch most of them, but a few are free.  A lot of it is also geared towards journalists and copywriters but they have some great ones, like “Controlling Your Online Presence”.  They also get great speakers.

Hubspot is another good one.  Again great webinars on marketing for your business.  And again, some are free and some are not.

 

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Social Media Strategy for the Cinnamon Snail

Last week I spoke with Adam Sobel about how he uses social media for his small business.  Initially, I found the Cinnamon Snail through an article in my local paper, but since then I started following him on Facebook. It was cold day when we spoke, but he had a long-lineup of loyal customers who wanted to have some great vegan food served up right out of a food truck. How’d they find him? Through his Facebook and twitter updates.

There was a lot of ooohing and ahhing as some people ate right there on the spot. I waited to get home and have the *Special* lemongrass 5 spice seitan, with arugula, red curried cashews, wasabi mayonnaise, and Szechuan chili sauce on a grilled baguette. My husband couldn’t believe what we were eating wasn’t meat. Kudos to Adam! Delicious. Delicious. Delicious!

Watch how this entrepreneur merges culinary inventiveness with sound marketing practices. He is the one to watch because he’s only been in business since February this year and converted another new customer—Me!

If you didn’t see my earlier post check it out now.

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Facebook 101

Most likely if you’re reading this blog you are on Facebook. Facebook has truly changed the way we keep in touch with one another mostly, to see whats happening in someone’s life. It has made the world a smaller place. The same applies for business. For any business it’s important to keep your fans up to date with what’s happening. This applies more so to certain business than others. For example, an auto body shop doesn’t need to update it’s customers with what is going on, but a TV network does it to keep their viewers informed. This applies to small business and non profits as well.  Facebook helps you reach out to your consumers/fans and hopefully create new business opportunities. Facebook is also a positive way to engage fans and get them to interact with your brand. Status updates are a great way to ask fans questions and get them thinking about how they feel about what you do. Keeping your existing fan base up to date with information they want to know is key. e.g – a sale, specials, tips, and even relevant articles.  Also, add the “like” button to website! Become friends with other businesses and most likely they will friend you back.

One thing that is a bit confusing is if you want to create a page or link it to a profile. I would recommend a page, however there are certain times that a profile will work best.  Here is a great article that explains it all.
http://searchengineland.com/facebook-101-a-simple-guide-to-understanding-when-how-to-use-basic-features-57888

Facebook 101 Business Guide – here is a great step by step on how to create a Facebook page: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-101-business-guide/

Facebook Pages – This page is direct from Facebook Help Center.  It’s a great link for any questions you have. http://www.facebook.com/#!/help/?page=175

There are tons of great Facebook apps for doing business, one that is invaluable is Static FBML.  The application allows you to create tabs on your profile that are specific to your business using html, cms, and javascript coding.  For those who can’t code, its easy to find what you need by doing a simple google search.  Static FBML also allows businesses to change their Facebook landing page.  So rather than having the Wall be the first thing people see, you can have have a page that displays your merchandise and encourages people to purchase.

Here’s a link to some helpful code:
http://www.mybusinesspresence.com/basic-html-code-for-your-static-fbml-pages-on-facebook/

Here are some how-to links:
http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=4949752878&b
http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/tutorial-facebook-pages-with-static-fbml-application/

Lastly, what do you post? Here are a few articles about what you should and should not post: http://www.123etiquette.com/business-etiquette/facebook-business-etiquette-101/ and http://gigaom.com/collaboration/32-ways-to-use-facebook-for-business/

How does your Business use Facebook? We’d love to know…

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Interview with a Fashion Designer

This is an interview with an LA based clothing designer who is a friend of Ellie’s.  We’d love reader feedback on what questions we should be asking in future interviews so please leave a comment, either with follow up questions for this interview or questions you’d like us to ask future subjects.

CSM: What kind of business do you own?

Answer: A women’s contemporary, eco-friendly clothing line sold in small boutiques, and a secondary line sold in a contemporary mass-market retailer.

CSM: Where is your business located?  Where do you do most of your sales?

A: Los Angeles. My showroom is based out of Los Angeles, but I sell primarily to boutiques on the East coast.

CSM: What is your target demographic?

A: 25-40. City-dweller. College and above. Either in a creative field or views themselves as creative.

CSM: What is your primary marketing strategy?

A: Digital: but primarily through blogs and press writing about us, through finding out about us or our press releases.  We are of the strategy that we don’t pay for press, we are interesting enough to warrant press on our own.

CSM: What social media do you use (facebook, twitter, etsy, etc.)?

A: Our own website.

Our blog (one per line).
Facebook pages (one per line).
Online shops.

CSM: How does marketing through social media impact your business?

A: The main goal at this point is to build awareness to support the stores that carry our line, and to eventually drive sales to our online sales. My blog gets only about 400 readers a day, and I keep writing for personal interest as well as so that when I post something about my line: at least 400 people see it that day.

But…I don’t really know how much it does. My product is specific, fitted and sized it’s a lot harder for me to convert to a web sale. A friend has a t-shirt line and she sells tons anytime she posts a sale on twitter or fb: but it’s simply sized and boys buy it too.

CSM: How is social media changing the sense of community around your business?

A: That’s a good question: it amazes me that people I’ve never heard of “like” my line on facebook, so in some ways I’m more connected to people that are a part of my company’s community. But how many of those “likes” are as important as someone who bought a dress of mine three years ago, then again last year, then found my secondary line, bought two pieces, and then gave another piece as a gift and talks up my line whenever possible, and hates facebook?

CSM:  How would your marketing strategy be different if you didn’t have social media as a tool?

A: I view social media more as a display case for what our brand is doing than an outreach tool.  So, I wouldn’t be able to tell as many people what we are up to or I would need another outlet.  I think that the internet and social media is invaluable to young and independent designers, that having been said, it’s also a bit of a time suck. 🙂

CSM: Is there any instance in todays world where you would NOT recommend social media as part of a business strategy?

A: OMG.

The other day I heard on the radio a chapstick ad where they extolled you to “learn more about us on facebook” and my aunt’s company (a science/tech/but only to the industry company) had her do a facebook page and the other day Tide told me that like 40 of my friends were fans of Tide. First of all, unless you have a full marketing plan to roll out with your FB or twitter or whatever, or if you are a big mainstream company it’s pretty pointless. Secondly, anyone who “likes” a big mainstream brand unless it’s Obama, is a nerd and not a social innovator and their FB status aren’t even coming up on my home page and I don’t really care what they think anyway. Thirdly, if your company doesn’t interact with individual consumers: I would skip the social networking unless you are in tech.

CSM: What advice do you have to offer other people entering your industry as they contemplate where to put their efforts online?

A: One has to figure out what type of social media is best in relation to their line and in relation to them as the spokesperson for their line, if they are one.

Blogging makes sense for me because it fills in the holes of the inspiration and interest in my line—if you think my line/blog is cool—maybe you think my blog/line is cool. Facebook is to connect on a more direct level for people. I don’t do twitter because I don’t want my Self to be too closely aligned to my brand, my Self is worth more than my line. We can all smell the cheese when someone tweets or FB for their job or whatever—horrible. I also don’t value the idea of twitter: I think it’s a waste of time unless there is a crime on my street or an attack in Mumbai.

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Twitter 101

With 2010 coming to a close and 2011 knocking on the door, social media is all the buzz.  It has emerged as a viable advertising medium and something that can be applied to almost any business.  The best part is that it’s free. With Twitter and Facebook emerging as the clear winners there are lots of other social media outlets as well that could help you. Unless you use these tools everyday this social world may seem scary.  Some questions that might come to mind, are how do I use these social tools to increase my business?  What helps me get customers to come back again and again to my page or following my business?  There are most likely several other questions that come to mind as well.  Hopefully, this will help you get started on social media and understanding it.  Lets start with Twitter.

Twitter:

101 – Introduction
http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/104-welcome-to-twitter-support/articles/215585-twitter-101-how-should-i-get-started-using-twitter
I like this site, it explains Twitter and how it works in ways you will understand.  It also is a great starting point if you have a question about Twitter.  If you are a newbie, this is the first place you want to go.

101 – Business
http://support.twitter.com/articles/218635-business-101-getting-started-on-twitter
http://support.twitter.com/groups/35-business
Plain and simple, businesses are one of the key reason Twitter is an effective tool. The link above gives the 101 on how as a business you can use Twitter.

FAQ
http://support.twitter.com/entries/13920-frequently-asked-questions
Who doesn’t have questions?  This page will help you find answers.

Follow these blogs:
http://blog.twitter.com/
http://twitter.com/search?q=%23TwitterTip

Engage your consumer – JetBlue does this really well.
http://twitter.com/jetblue

Example:
When your promoting your business, remember to give your “fans” a reason to subscribe or follow you.  Do fun promotions on twitter.  A great example of this is JetBlue

http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/5579-jetblue-gives-away-1-000-tickets-on-twitter-3

Tip: Remember that EVERYONE can see your twitter, your followers get updates when they log in on the dashboard.

Tip # 2:  Twitter also shows up on google when you search however, only when it’s a highly tweetted item.  Try typing JetBlue twitter into google and you will see a Real Time Results section in your google search.

How does your Business use Twitter? We’d love to know…

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