If You’re Selling Something, then SELL It

May 15, 2009

call2actionToo many companies are making money online for you not to be one of them.  And forgetting everything but the simple art of selling, there are a few simple things that you have to be doing to convert potential customers into paying customers.

When I get to your website, I usually got there on purpose.  Either I clicked on an ad of yours that looked appealing, or I searched for what you sell in Google, or someone told me that I would like what you’ve got so I cam there directly.  You are already winning the battle.  But there are ways that you can blow it, so don’t assume that just because I am there, the battle is over.

Strike. Hit me with some solid information right away.  Don’t make me look for it, because the attention span of someone searching the internet is short, and getting shorter everyday.  Catch my eye with headlines, have clear website navigation, allow me to search for exactly what I need.

Educate. Give me value in descriptions.  Too many companies put the same boring descriptions of the products that they are selling.  If your competitors description is the same as your description, you are not making my decision process any easier.  If you need to hire an expert copywriter for your site, do it.  Any thing to get a unique, value-driven message across that will entice me to buy.

Leap. Take a risk.  If you are afraid to take risks in business you will lose.  At this point, you have my attention, I have gotten to the product that I am interested in, and all it will take is one small thing to sway me one way or another.  So do something different.  Show me customer ratings, comments, descriptions.  Show me the prices of your competitors compared to your own.  Offer me a special deal as a first time buyer.  Make it easy and make it different, and you will have an easier time convincing me.

Lead. On every single page, put a call to action.  And make it stand out so I know exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing.  After all, your goal all along is to make a sale, so lead me down the sales line throughout every step of the process.  If I get lost, then your sale is lost.

Strike, Educate, Leap, and Lead.  Take a look at the pages on your website.  If you have a page that looks like it was made from a carbon copy of one of your competitors, you are losing.  If you have a page with no call to action, you are losing.  If you are not taking risks and being unique, you are losing.  This is a new era of selling online, and you need to keep up or lead to win.

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13 Ways to Make Google AdWords Work for Your Business

March 6, 2009

google-adwords-logoGoogle AdWords works.  You don’t have to take my word on that, how do you think Google makes so much $$$?  If it didn’t work, we would know by now.

The problem is, most companies that use it don’t know how to take advantage of it.  Too many companies make stupid mistakes that will cost them valuable money and front page positioning.  In this economy, low cost online advertising with Google can be the best way to drive new business.  I am searching for something that you’re offering, I want to click to your website, help me out.

Below are 13 things you need to be paying attention to in order to maximize your AdWords returns.

  1. Unique Landing Page. Please stop sending me to your homepage.  If you are advertising a specific product and I click on your ad, I want to see that product.  It’s what drew me in, it’s what I need, give it to me.  And please, make it look good; images, colors, easy to read text, etc.
  2. Price in the ad. One thing you will notice when searching for products, some ads display a price, and others don’t.  Why wouldn’t you display a price?  It makes the whole ad stand out, and lets the user know what they are getting.  You aren’t hiding anything by not including a price, because when I get to the product and I don’t like your price, you just wasted money on an extra click.
  3. Keywords in the ad. If you haven’t noticed, Google puts the keywords of a search in bold every time they appear in the search results.  Well, they do the same thing with the ads.  When you put the popular keywords that you are targeting in the ad, they stand out over those competitors who do not.  Be smart.
  4. Use reporting tools. When you set up Google Analytics and connect it to AdWords, there are some great reporting tools that you can use.  I recommend setting up these reports to email you daily about ad positioning, click through rate, and conversions at the very least.  This will allow you to see how you are doing in a matter of seconds.
  5. Change your bids. The entire AdWords system works on bids for each keyword.  That is how Google selects which ads to show, when, and in what position.  If your ads are not showing up high enough, increase the bid, if you are spending too much and your positioning is always good, maybe drop them a bit.  Remember, this is going to be constantly changing based on what your competitors do.
  6. Monitor the competition. One thing that a lot of companies forget to do is monitor Google AdWords after you start using it.  Like I said, things will change, so keep an eye on them.  Run searches, check your positions, see what your competitors are using for their ads.  You don’t want your ads to look stale or obsolete in a crowd of new ones.
  7. Test ad variations. Neither you or I know what the best ads look like.  No one does.  So do yourself a favor and run a couple of different versions at the same time.  Google will do the hard work for you and show the best performing ones more often.  Or you can run them all the same amount of times for a month or so, then decide what works best and get rid of the losers.
  8. Be relevant. I can’t tell you how often I see these sponsored ads that have nothing to do with my search.  Do these companies just go after the most common keywords.  Warning: You will waste money if you use this strategy.  Go for the keywords you are best suited for, the unique ones that will let you reach YOUR customer base.  And then make the ad copy relevant to those keywords.
  9. Be the first. Be the first to advertise on a particular phrase.  Be the first to offer your product in a different way.  Are you the first company in your niche? Tell us that. It’s all about standing out, you have to be different, which reminds me…
  10. Be different. Sometimes I think that some companies look at what their competitors say in their ads, and then copy them.  You can’t fake your way to success on AdWords.  Define yourself, differentiate yourself, and tell us why we should click on your ads over the competition. Use words that stand out, prices, brands, etc.
  11. Headlines. Just like in traditional media, headlines of your ad on Google AdWords stand out.  They are the first thing we read, and therefore go a long way in determining whether or not I click.  Show me something there, the name of the product, the name of the company, or even use it to show the price.  If I like your headline, I am going to read your ad first.
  12. Make a decision on the content network. Google utilizes their vast network of advertisers to deliver your ads all over the internet, this is called their content network.  With an account from AdWords, you can easily choose to advertise across this network, or to limit yourself to just Google searches.  For some the content network might work, for others it won’t.  There is no harm in trying out both for a time and determining what works.  You hurt yourself by limiting yourself.
  13. Discounts convert. If you advertise specific products on Google, why not offer a discount specific to that ad.  Discounts convert people.  If I click on your ad and see that I am getting 10% off what I would have gotten if I came directly to you site, I am that much more likely to buy.  I feel like a smart shopper who just got a great deal.  I have seen it utilized many times, and each time it gets my attention.

There they are, 13 steps to a more successful advertising strategy.  Did I leave anything out?  Tell me what you think and offer suggestions of your own below.

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Innovations in Shopping Make Your Life Easier

November 6, 2008

Are you ready to change the way you shop? The answer is yes for more people every year. And this year, we are guaranteed to see a higher percentage of people doing their holiday shopping online than ever before. Why?

Well, there are many reasons. It obviously helps most people avoid the stress of the shopping experience. It is easy, less time consuming, and can be more fun.

Innovations by companies that have taken shopping online are making it easier still to find what you are looking for at the right price. And in this economy, we will all be looking to save a little money during the holiday season. Here are a few things that are going on that more people should be aware of:

  1. Social Shopping: Thisnext.com, Kaboodle.com, and Wists.com are a few of the websites that have defined this new category. Social shopping combines wish lists and popular trends with the ideals of social networking. Users have individual profiles and can communicate with one another. The site tracks what its users desire, feature the most popular products, and offer specials for gift giving. They have been growing in popularity recently and are sure to pick up steam heading into the coming months.
  2. Gift Finders: Websites like FindGift have made it easier than ever to get ideas for gifts. Simply go to the website, and follow the steps. They will ask you who the gift is for, what the occasion is, and then they will show you literally hundreds of great suggestions. These gifts are not offered directly through the site, but through third party sites that would otherwise be near impossible to find. I have personally used this website in the past and would definitely use it again.
  3. Deal Finders: Dealcatcher.com and Shopzilla are two sites that I have used to find the best deals on the web. There are many sites out there like these that will scour the internet for the best prices on certain items. Dealcatcher.com is one of those sites that you can come to every day and find new specials, as they highlight deals and let the users decided which are the best. If you have a general idea of what you are looking for, use one of these sites to get it at the best price.
  4. The Classics: eBay and Amazon have been long standing shopping sites. They both continue to build their services and make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for. eBay allows you to search through their auctions, as well as individual “stores” that people set up so there is no limit to what you can find there. Amazon has added many features that let you customize the products you see on a regular basis. They will show you deals that they think you are interested in, and their user reviews make it easy to compare products you like.

No matter how you do your shopping now, the new tools that are available online will certainly have an impact. This holiday season, change the way you shop, you may be very happy you did.