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Online Marketing & Internet Advertising Blog | SearcherMagnet

23
Jul

Business Financing & Your Marketing Budget

An entire industry has cropped up catering to the needs of these clever business individuals who know that the most important factor in a profitable business is ensuring that customers know you exist. These companies offer the kind of cash infusion that a successful entrepreneur can turn into a huge marketing campaign that can jumpstart their business. Let’s look at some of the options:

Short Term Cash: These companies offer solutions that are nearly instant, but provide some of the smallest investment. These can be perfect for the very early stages of a business where money is turning over quickly and the future is still too unstable to justify a larger or longer term investment. Companies that specialize in this market include:

  • Behalf: Free credit line up to $50,000 with improving terms as you repay the loan
  • Kabbage: 24/7 access to up to $100,000 in funding, accessible in just minutes
  • Fundbox: Specifically designed to repair cash flow deficiencies and give your business the time it needs to grow

Medium Term Loans: These offer a much larger investment to start your business from the ground up with a significant infusion of marketing awareness.

  • Dealstruck: $250,000 loans and up to $500,000 in credit lines can pay for a serious media campaign
  • Funding Circle: Business loans of up to $500,000 that can fund in as little as two weeks
  • Lending Club: Funding within a few days, with no collateral required for loans under $100,000

Crowdfunding: The explosion of crowdfunding over the last few years has opened up opportunities that would have seemed impossible ten years ago. This method offers huge advantages, including a very low risk and acting as a strong positive PR move all on its own. However, to truly capitalize, some amount of existing traffic or audience does need to exist. Crowdfunding can level the playing field and allow a very small start up the opportunity to operate with a significant budget

  • GoFundMe
  • Kickstarter

Long Term Loans: These are the sort of loans an entire business model is built around. They will be the largest available investment of cash and will determine the course of a business over years. Nonetheless, the largest return on investment is still to allocate as much as possible from one of these loans into an effective marketing budget.

  • SBA Loans
  • SmartBiz
23
Jul

Is Marketing Automation the Best Use of Your Budget?

In the world of online marketing, everyone is always hunting down the “next big thing”. Business owners, marketers and online advertisers all want to be as far ahead of the curve as possible, innovating and defining the next few months of market strategy. But in that race to be the furthest ahead, it can be easy to sometimes lose sight of the actual goal. At the end of the day, the goal of any marketing budget is one simple bottom line: ROI. If your strategy isn’t producing the highest possible ROI, it isn’t successful and it’s time to work on something else.

The first step in examining ROI is to determine the cost of a given strategy. While marketing automation may sound like it offers convenience, the hefty up front costs can quickly make the entire venture untenable to many businesses. Setup costs can begin in the thousands and only climb upwards from there, and monthly upkeep can be hundreds as well. This presents a position where you have now placed a significant up front investment into the strategy, meaning that if it fails to produce results, you’re unable to recoup any of that cost. Market experts project that as much as $120 billion will be spent on marketing automation in the next decade, ten times what is being spent today. That sort of growth may sound promising, but with a process that is untested in a vertical as volatile as marketing, you have a lot to lose.

One of the largest challenges that can come along with marketing automation is integrating it with all of your existing software. Many businesses these days are run almost entirely on computers and the internet. The number of software solutions your business utilizes may vary, but nearly every company is using something. Any marketing automation solution that you implement must integrate painlessly with the infrastructure you already have in place, and that is rarely the case. Issues can arise when attempting to complement your marketing automation to something as simple as your CRM (customer relationship management). Without access to this data, a marketing automation solution may not even be able to function.

That covers only the simplest of businesses. Many companies which would benefit from a marketing automation overhaul are direct response companies offering a service or product. This usually means that they are utilizing some form of ecommerce software, and this presents yet another failure point where your marketing automation must painlessly integrate. Even if you’re able to find a solution that does so, it may then not get along with your CRM. Your entire website may be built on a platform that you find out is incompatible with the marketing automation software you’ve chosen.

Lastly, marketing campaigns are an organic business. They can sometimes end up feeling more like an artform than an exact science. How to execute a specific strategy, when to change tactics, or what exactly needs to be done at any given time are questions that require a professional touch to answer. You may find that the automated solution you choose doesn’t properly set up a nurturing campaign to bring your leads from contact to close. It may not recognize the correct timing for a promotional campaign that could bring in significant business at a reduced cost. When all factors are considered–cost, convenience, and quality–marketing automation has yet to prove that it deserves your marketing budget.

30
Jun

PPC Click Fraud

Pay Per Click fraud represents a serious cost to both publishers and advertising network providers. No only can thousands of advertising dollars be effected but corporate goodwill and public perception can also be damaged due to PPC Click Fraud. Therefore it is essential for any party engaging in PPC advertising methodologies to employ proper techniques and services to detect, reduce and if necessary eliminate PPC Click Fraud. While all click fraud is impossible to control, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the exposure to PPC Click Fraud or at least reduce the consequences of click fraud.

What Is Click Fraud?

Click fraud is the intentional clicking on PPC ads with no actual interest in the product or services being advertised. According to various internet advertising services, the percentage of fraudulent clicks on PPC advertising is in the 17% to 29% range. Admittedly, some of these are consigned to accidental clicks but the majority are purpose driven, either to enhance revenue from the advertisement, reduce competition, revenge actions or for other fraudulent purposes. The result of which is to negatively impact the advertiser and to destroy confidence in the advertising network provider.

Click Fraud Detection

Plainly, reducing click fraud is important to all parties. Advertising network providers, such as Google’s AdWords, employ detective algorithms that attempt to identify fraudulent clicks and thereby reduce their impact. Additionally, Google uses a secondary system to analyze any remaining clicks to see if any fraudulent clicks passed through the first system. However, the onus is not only on the advertising network provider to reduce click fraud, as proper PPC procedures can also have an effect on PPC click fraud and thus publishers and advertisers also have to be involved in the prevention of click fraud.

Overall, this is a relatively simplistic explanation of PPC Click Fraud, but it has covered the basics. What is important for those who engage in and work with PPC advertisements is to employ the services of a PPC Management service. The reasons are also simple. PPC Management takes the overhead of developing and controlling click fraud from the company and uses the correct methodology to prevent or reduce click fraud. Because of the nature of PPC click fraud and the results, it is cost effective and more efficient to utilize a PPC Management concern than to attempt to monitor the PPC situation and detecting regime yourself, or on a company wide basis. The effect of click fraud can be mitigated to the point of making PPC advertising an effective means of increasing consumer awareness and sales. A PPC Management service is the best way to accomplish this, without exposing your company to excessive fraud in the PPC marketplace.

20
Jun

Adwords IP Address Exclusion

Adwords IP address exclusion is a powerful way to control your metrics and avoid accidentally affecting them via internal traffic. However, you can also use to prevent “spam clicking” by your competition. Keeping the IP addresses of your clicks solid will make sure that only the top quality clicks will impact your metrics or reach your sales team to be processed further.

What is Adwords IP Address Exclusion?

Adwords offers a powerful suite of tools that allow you to manage your entire experience. One of the more powerful versions of this tool suite is the ability to block certain Internet protocol or IP addresses from being logged in your analytics data. This can save you from having a lot of click issues that may seem like administrative silliness but that can cost you a lot of money down the line.

Maintaining Your Links

The use of Adwords IP address exclusion will make it far easier for you to maintain your links. Think for a second about how often you probably click on your own links, just to monitor the flow of a sale. If you haven’t checked out your own link process lately, you should definitely do so. Getting a “customer’s eye view” of how your business goes through the sale process can help you relate to their experience, which in turn will help you refine that experience. The easier and more pleasant your sales go, the more of them you’ll likely make. But when you click a link without IP address exclusion, you may accidentally end up paying for a sale that never happens. Considering that this is a fairly easy process, excluding your own IP address is a great step to take.

Avoiding Spam Clicking

Spam clicking is an unfortunate problem that many business owners face. When you offer a PPC reward, some unscrupulous website owners will click on your link in order to raise their own payment level. While you should ideally not be working with groups or individuals like that, sometimes the temptation is great even for the otherwise honest to take a few extra clicks. By using Adwords IP address exclusion to keep your associate websites honest, you remove this potential problem from ever becoming an issue.

Keeping Your Metrics Solid

Your metrics need to be carefully maintained, or you may fall victim to “market to everyone” syndrome. If your marketing efforts are not focused, you may be attracting buyers who ultimately end up being unsatisfied with what you produce. This wastes time at every level of your organization, and it can hurt your bottom line tremendously. By having the ability to exclude IP addresses, your focus can stay on your ideal customers instead of saturating less-viable ones.

This relates to Adwords IP address exclusion because in some cases, a given link becomes a hindrance instead of being an asset. When you exclude certain IP addresses, you enrich the quality of clicks you get the same way you filter out spam emails or screen your phone calls. Ultimately, you can keep your metrics data solid through the calculated use of IP address exclusion.

Managing Your Adwords

Managing your own Adwords account can be a challenge. After all, you’ve already got an entire business to run. In some cases, even keeping up with your own account’s Adwords IP address exclusion can be a burden. You may want to consider outsourcing the management of your Adwords campaigns to an outside company that specializes in just this kind of operation. The investment you make in outsourcing is generally an investment that ends up paying you several times over.

10
Jun

PPC Invalid Clicks

Engaging with consumers by utilizing web based advertising is essential to reaching the widest possible audience for any business. For many businesses this entails using Pay Per Click advertising, as this is an effective and efficient means of reaching consumers and new consumers in specific. PPC advertising, as implemented under Google Adwords, is by far the most productive among the different PPC facilitators. However, one of the pitfalls to using PPC advertising is the “Invalid Click.” Invalid clicks result in a significant loss to advertisers, should they not be detected and accounted for. In this regard, Google Adwords works diligently to anticipate, detect and eliminate invalid clicks so your business can reach the customers that are intended.

Invalid Click Detection

While advertisers are aware of the basics concerning invalid clicks, or clicks that are either accidental, the result of automated software or intentional fraud, the methodology used to detect and prevent them is less understood. It should be clear that no system is fool proof at determining the specific validity of each individual click and therefore, pattern analysis is typically the first line of defense in detecting and eliminating invalid clicks. Google’s Ad Traffic Quality team uses a variety of filters to detect PPC invalid clicks and these are recognized by the systems pattern analysis algorithms to detect and remove PPC invalid clicks to a specific ad. Once invalid clicks are recognized by pattern analysis, a secondary analysis takes place to determine if any potential PPC invalid clicks have passed the system which are then identified and a credit issued to the advertiser.

Why PPC Invalid Click Detection is Important

PPC invalid clicks costs more than just the advertisers, as it effects the publishers as well. Over the past decade, PPC Invalid clicks have been involved in several high profile litigations concerning click fraud. While not all invalid clicks are the result of fraud, it benefits all parties involved in the advertiser/publisher relationship to detect invalid clicks in order to maintain the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of any and all transactions involving Pay Per Click advertisements. Thus providing value and protection for both parties.

There is one other aspect to be considered when engaging with PPC advertising. Businesses can employ and engage with a PPC Management Agency that will facilitate the advertising aspects of Pay Per Click and therefore make sure that any and all value is utilized. By taking the opportunity of working with a PPC management agency, a company can be assured that they are receiving the most relevant traffic and that all measures are taken to ensure the validity of your PPC advertising.

1
Jun

PPC Click Fraud | Competitors Clicking on my Ads

Click fraud is a common problem that many PPC agencies have to deal with. Since invalid clicks are a constant and persistent threat to your marketing budget and ultimate set of goals, you need to engage this problem and defeat it as quickly as possible. Ultimately, you can identify when there are PPC competitors clicking on my ads and attempting to steal from you.

What are Invalid Clicks?

Google has a strict definition of invalid clicks. According to the official definition, an invalid click is any click on an ad that can be considered illegitimate. This can be via the use of software such as automated clicking tools or the use of robots, but can include any sort of zero-value clicking that a website owner or other competitor may use to penalize you or to falsely grow their own profits at your expense. Under normal circumstances, these clicks are automatically filtered out of your PPC report and you are not charged for them.

Can PPC Competitors Clicking On My Ads Be Beneficial?

Invalid clicking has several reasons for being bad for your business. Firstly, you do not receive the benefits of having a potential customer clicking through on your link. There is no potential sale here, so your link is wasted. Secondly, every time software or workers click on your ad, they are taking bandwidth away from you that should be used by your actual customers. Finally, having PPC competitors clicking on my ads will hurt you because you could end up paying your standard commission for absolutely no value added.

In time, your commission paid out will increase due to the number of clicks, which will further hinder your ability to service legitimate customers via your PPC campaign. For this reason, sometimes even website owners who host your ads will use invalid clicking to advance their own goals at your expense. Since their business model may depend on a certain number of click-throughs of your ad, having your ad be clicked numerous times without adding value to your business may seem to benefit them.

When your competitor or other dishonest entity clicks on your ads with the intention of disrupting your business, this can be disastrous. Fortunately, Google has put together a solid strategy for dealing with and overcoming this illegitimate clicking strategy. In most cases, you will not be penalized for your competitors’ dishonest attempts to harm your business. Your quality score will not be impacted by the dishonesty of others.

Can I Fight Back Against PPC Competitors Clicking On My Ads?

There is no direct method you can use against a nefarious attempt to illegitimately click on your ads without adding value to you. However, Google strongly discourages this practice. Firstly, most invalid clicks are caught almost instantly, such as robotic attempts to click on your ad multiple times. Even double clicking is almost always countered by not adding the clicks in question to your account summary. However, there are occasions when a set of clicks will get through.

In cases where a dishonest party uses illegitimate clicks and temporarily gets away with this, Google generally catches them. In these cases, you will be issued an invalid activity adjustment. While it is unlikely you will catch an invalid clicking attempt that Google’s software and team of professionals misses, if you do you may report this. In such a situation, Google will investigate the matter and may find in your favor. Get in contact with the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center and you can report anything that seems to be dishonest immediately.

30
May

How Can a Google AdWords Consultant Boost Your Online Business?

Since Google changed online advertising forever when it introduced Google AdWords in 2000, this form of advertising has become increasingly important to many businesses. The flexibility and power of AdWords make them an ideal solution for targeting potential customers, especially in local markets.

Increasingly Complex Process

However, as AdWords has grown into an increasingly popular option, they also require an increasing level of expertise and insights to use them effectively and affordably. In fact, many small business owners and online websites find the use of an experienced Google AdWords consultant is a very good investment.

When you find the right consultant to help maximize your use of AdWords, they will help you take a long-term perspective of your overall marketing strategy. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the data and metrics you have available from Google, and the consultant will also help you sort this out.

Building the Right Relationship

There are actually three aspects to finding and using a Google AdWords consultant to help with your online marketing efforts. These include:

  • Understanding why you need this expertise
  • Searching for the consultant who understands your market niche
  • Establishing the right working relationship

When you start your process, you will want to ensure you have a My Client Center account that your Google AdWords consultant helps you manage. A MCC manager account helps you to control all aspects of your AdWords efforts, including:

  • Create multiple accounts for different campaigns and projects
  • Monitor the budget and effectiveness of each account
  • Easily change your activities with each account

When you use a Google AdWords consultant, your MCC manager allows you to work with the consultant (and other third-parties) in an efficient manner, while maintaining full control.

Crunching the Numbers

Another way a qualified Google AdWords consultant will help you maximize your investment is by linking your chosen words with Google analytics. While this process is fairly straightforward, it takes an experienced marketer to understand the data you will collect. The reality is that these two tools are designed to work together, and you lose a lot of the value of your AdWords program without the efficient use of the data you will receive with the analytics. In fact, the one of the key functions of the consultant is to help you continually refine and tweak your marketing program based on this hard data from the actual market response to it.

Accessing the Full Power of Google

Another significant advantage of working with a professional Google AdWords consultant is the investment Google itself makes in these professionals. Google Partners is a program that provides a great deal of training and invests a lot of resources into digital agencies and individuals who work with such tools as AdWords.

Google regularly conducts training and provides a wealth of online materials to these groups, seeking to make them more effective and useful to their clients. There are also a number of sophisticated and powerful tools that the average business owner and advertiser would not even be aware of, much less utilize.

One such program is the Quality Score, an essential method for evaluating the effectiveness and value of your marketing program. While this is more a diagnostic tool than a key performance indicator, it helps target your AdWords purchases and uses.

An additional aspect of online marketing your consultant will help you take advantage of is ad position and ad rank. These often make a world of difference to your overall ad success.

Since you are spending real dollars on each AdWords investment, making every investment count, from your bid to the actual selections, with an AdWords consultant, is an essential step.

10
May

How to Find a Google AdWords Consultant That’s Right for Your Business

A solid Google Adwords consultant can save you a lot of time and help you to make a great deal of money, but you already knew that. What you may not have known is that there are a lot of flakes and impersonators out there who will take your money, waste your time and leave you roughly where you already are today. Just because people call themselves an Adwords consultant doesn’t mean they can and will really help your business.

They Set Up Your Accounts Properly

Any quality Adwords consultant will not attempt to take over your accounts. Instead they will set up your account so that you own it and they merely tend to it on a regular basis. You need to have full and unfettered access, both to make sure they are actively managing the account and to be certain that your best interests are served. Always be wary of any group that attempts to cover up what they are doing, as this is how a bad Adwords consultant will cheat you. Trust comes from being open all of the time.

They’re Selective About Their Clients

There is a psychological principle known as adverse selection, and it deals with the notion that the most ardent pursuers are generally doing so because of desperation instead of because they have something great to offer. When you come across an Adwords consultant that is not chasing you but working to get to know you better, you can tell that they are not desperate. When they want to make sure you are also a good fit for them, this means that their quality level is high enough to be choosy. You never want to deal with a desperate consultant.

They Routinely Make Adjustments to Help You Better — Or Bow Out

A top quality Adwords consultant will monitor your ad rank and make regular adjustments to it. When they visit your pages on a daily basis — as they should — they will ask themselves how they can add more value to your company. If they ever answer that they can’t, this is a good time for both you and the consultant to ask if it’s time to part ways amicably. After all, if you aren’t getting value out of them there’s no reason to continue to hire them.

They Ask Your Amount of Involvement From the Beginning

How involved do you want to be in the running of your Adwords campaign? For some companies, this is just extra work to do, and letting your consultant totally run your campaign and occasionally run a proposal by you is the best course of action. In other cases, you may want to be an active part of the campaign and run it collaboratively with your consultant. There is no right or wrong way to do this, so you need to know what you really want in your business. If your potential consultant doesn’t ask about this, it’s not a good idea to hire them.

They Want to Be Connected to Your Webmaster

Just like linking Google Analytics and Adwords, you need to link your campaigns to your web properties. All of your social media and particularly your website need to be onboard. Links need to be verified and double-checked, keywords need to be consistent for the niches you are attempting to reach, and your message needs to be both consistent and coherent in order to be effective. Your consultant should be in regular communication with your webmaster to keep all of these factors working for you.

Using the right Adwords consultant requires sticking to the best practices checklist.

1
May

The Best in AdWords Consulting and Tools For a Successful Campaign

When you start adwords consulting it can be an incredibly exciting process, but you have to moderate your excitement or risk taking on a less than awesome opportunity. If you keep your client’s needs in mind, take on jobs in a reasonable manner and stay on the up and up, you will have a very high likelihood of many successful and highly profitable campaigns.

Give Your Clients Access

There is an account type called an MCC or My Client Account, and it is important to always give your clients access to this type of account. As great as your contract may be at keeping everyone’s roles well defined and as great of a relationship as your adwords consulting business may have with every client, it’s important to always let them in on everything. If your adwords consulting involves “hiding” information from your clients, or even the perception of doing so, this can really hurt your relationship with them down the road. As well, some day they may decide to go on to greener pastures and not use your adwords consulting services any longer — and this can get awkward if you’re running their account.

Show Your Work

Back in school, did your teachers ever tell you that showing your work lets them see how your thought process handles a problem? This is even more important now, as entire businesses can be made or broken based on marketing data. In this case, linking adwords to Google Analytics is powerful because you can show your rate of conversions, what each one means to the bottom line, and how you’re actually making these conversions happen. When you want to demonstrate that your adwords consulting business is doing well for your clients, there are few better ways to do this than through showing your work.

Keep Studying

Joining Google Partners is another good tool in your toolbox that is designed specifically to make you a better marketer. When your adwords consulting business uses GPartners, you can use industry research and all kinds of training to become a lot better at what you do. With this being your profession, you should know everything you possibly can about how to market as well as possible. You can even take exams that can certify you in adwords, which is a great way to give your clients greater confidence in the work you do.

Keep Your Quality Solid

There is a lot to think about concerning your quality score and how it affects how well you give your clients what they need. Basically, through aligning a large number of variables that show how greatly your clients are doing their job, you can increase the quality score and make your clients more money. This grows your status, is more likely to garner you more clients and can be used as powerful leverage when you go to renegotiate your compensation. While it’s never a good idea to obsess over your quality score, this is something you can’t afford to ignore.

Work to Get the Best Ad Position

Your ad position is important because of the way that people look at ads. If you are not part of the first impression a person gets when their search results load up, you can easily find yourself being left behind and not having the level of responses you need to get. This can harm your clients, which in turn harms you. By keeping your quality score up and offering competitive bids, you go a long way toward having your ad position be high.

Adwords consulting is not always easy, but it’s an enjoyable challenge.

30
Apr

Get More Customers with Sacramento SEO

The business world is getting mobile and the modern consumer is scouring the Internet to find reviews, opinions and feedback on products and services offered by local, transnational and international businesses. So, if you cater to the local population of Sacramento, there is no way you can ignore being found on the Internet.

Why is Online Presence Important?

Even if you do business locally in Sacramento, it is important to have an Internet presence. This will make it easy for your target customers to locate you. Remember, a large number of people are using tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices to search for products and services while on the go. So, if you are not present on the World Wide Web, you will lose out to your competition.

But Online Presence is Not Enough

Just having a business-related website will not do the trick. Your site will not attract prospective customers unless you opt for Sacramento SEO.

Digital marketing has made it possible for local Sacramento businesses to compete with large businesses and an important aspect of digital marketing is ensuring local search engines find your site.

How Can Sacramento SEO Help Your Business

Gone are those days when stuffing your website with keywords ensured top search engine ranking. Today, the emphasis is more on quality and compelling content that offers value to readers and visitors. However, SEO is much more than just ensuring the right content on your business website and blog.

Sacramento SEO focuses on on-page and off-page search engine optimization. In on-page optimization, the focus is on making sure the right keywords are present in your webpages, blogs and YouTube videos. It also involves following the rules of keyword optimization by including them in the right places on your site and ensuring the different pages of your site are linked to one another.

On-page optimization also focuses on the design of the site and graphics, and ensuring it is user- and search engine-friendly.

On the other hand, off-page optimization focuses on everything else. This includes linking to other authority websites in your line of business, running PPC (paid to click) campaigns, having a social media presence that is linked to your blog or site and publishing press releases.

So, a good Sacramento SEO will use both these strategies to ensure more targeted visitors come to your website. When this happens, your sales will increase.

Choosing-the-Right-SEO-Partner

If you want to increase your customer base with SEO, it is imperative you choose the right digital marketing partner. There are dime to a dozen SEO specialists that claim to have the expertise and knowledge to optimize your website. So, don’t get taken in by these lofty claims. Instead look for a digital marketing partner who has the following attributes:

  • Is a certified Google Partner
  • Has thorough understanding of running Adwords campaigns
  • Knows how to use Google Analytics to analyze Quality Score and all other aspects of online campaigns and recommend changes and improvements
  • Knows the importance of Ad Position and Ad Rank and the tricks to improve both
  • Has expertise in finding relevant keywords, including long tail keywords to improve your site’s rankings
  • Creates a My Client Center manager account for Adwords campaigns, so that you retain the account ownership even if you part ways

There is no doubt the right Sacramento SEO can drive you to the top of search engine rankings and results. This will bring laser targeted visitors which are interested in what you have to offer. As a result, you will get more customers, driving up your sales and revenues!