Small Businesses Blogging Best Practices

Blogging is one of the most important things you can do to help your website attract more visitors.  Blogs are important because two key factors for how search engines rank sites are the depth and freshness of content. Blogs allow you to expand the depth of knowledge your site contains, and posting over time ensures that you consistently have fresh (new) content online. We are often asked by clients what the best way to do this is.  This guide is written to help small businesses get the most from blogs on their websites. Here are some of the most common questions new bloggers have, and their answers.

How often should I blog?
The quick answer is, “As often as possible.” The more you blog, the more content search engines will find, and the more likely your site is to appear in the top results for the topics about which you write.  We have found that blogging one or twice a week is usually sufficient for the goals of most small businesses.  It is important to balance your blogging efforts against the other demands for your time.  Be sure to not abandon other initiatives in favor of blogging, and not abandon blogging in favor of other initiatives.  You can set aside time to create many blog posts at once that you then schedule to post over time, so even if you are unable to schedule time to post every week, you can still have your posts appear online on a regular basis.

What topics should I discuss?
This is dependent on your business, but it’s best to discuss things that your customers and prospects will find interesting, more than those topics you find interesting.  If you are a retailer, it’s great to discuss the products you sell.  If you are a manufacturer, discuss the products you make, and if you are a service based business, discuss the services you provide.

Beyond these topics, however, is where the real value in your blog lies to your audience. Write about the use of the products you sell, produce, or support. Write about unique solutions they provide to common problems.  When you write blog posts, try to use the terms that someone would type when looking for your solutions.  This will help with search rankings.  It is far more valuable to discuss the problem that your business solves than it is the solution that you offer.

How long should my blog posts be?
Again, this varies on your business and the type of blog post that it is.  If it is a post describing a common problem that someone has, it should be long enough to make reading it worthwhile, but not so long that a visitor is presented with a “wall of text” when they arrive at the page.  3-4 paragraphs are usually sufficient for this type of post.  If it is one that describes the solution in detail, then it may be a bit longer, since you have more information to convey.  If it is a post that is just providing a quick thought on a subject, you can get away with 1-2 paragraphs.  Write as much as is needed to get across the point you are trying to make, and no more.

What else should I have in my blog?
One thing that works very well is recaps/reviews of other online content.  You can include a few sentences from another online article, provide a link back to the source, and write your thoughts on the topic discussed.  These types of reviews/recaps are very effective, and often work well at inspiring others to provide some feedback.  To be valuable, your comments on the article should be at least as long as the content you include as a quote.

Another effective type of blog content is video- you can use a cell phone or web cam these days to easily create a basic video that helps you provide a more dynamic type of content to your readers. Videos are great as product reviews, unboxing demonstrations of retail products, showing how something is manufactured, demonstrating problems your services solve, etc. Videos should be less than two minutes in length, and any content that appears in the video should also appear in text form in your blog post. This is because search engines can’t index your video, they can only index the text you provide, so make sure you have a text write up to accompany the video that contains all of the important ideas.

Lastly, it is important to have a call to action in your blog. This can be encouraging readers to share the post with others, asking them for feedback, encouraging them to sign up for e-mail updates, asking them to buy your product, etc. It is important that once you have provided your readers with some valuable information that they are then presented with a next step to take.

How do I get people to see my blog posts?
One of the best ways to promote your blog is to use it in conjunction with your other social media efforts. Luckily, there are two tools that are free to use that assist you with distributing your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles.  You can use or to do this.  After an initial setup process, every time you publish a blog post a copy will be sent to your social networks.  This provides visibility to your blog, and an additional way for someone to provide feedback, since most persons are more likely to comment on a Facebook post or reply to a tweet than they are to comment on a blog.

We hope these tips help you with your blogging efforts.  Please let us know if you need any assistance with setting or managing your own blog.  Contact us at with any questions or comments.

Social Media Integration

If a status update is made with no one to read it, did it really happen? 

This is obviously an adaptation of the old “If a tree falls in the woods” parable to modern day, but the sentiment holds true.  Statistics show that the vast majority of status updates and tweets go unread or are ignored.  So that begs the question- if no one is reading it, what’s the point?

While most small businesses have jumped on the social media bandwagon and have established profiles on the major sites (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google Places, etc.), many utilize these accounts in a vacuum that is completely separate from their actual website.  Doing so limits the chances that any interaction that occurs on these sites will be noticed by those that are most important. It also means that any updates, blog posts, and other website additions will go unseen on the networks that make sharing this content incredibly easy.

The solution to these problems is integration- it is vitally important that you tie your social media profiles into your website, or you end up with content that is only available to a small subset of potential viewers.  Integration also makes it easier to share your content across multiple networks with minimal effort, thus decreasing the amount of time you need to spend managing your accounts.

Integration Tips
There are some easy ways to make all of this happen.  I will assume that you have a website with a blog and that you already have social media accounts with Facebook and Twitter.  If you do not have these already and need help setting them up, please let us know– we can help!

Facebook– make sure that all of your blog posts have Facebook “Like” or “Recommend” buttons.  You can review the code needed to add these to your website at: These buttons will allow readers of your blog to share your posts with their existing Facebook friends with one click, and is normally a simple copy-paste to get these buttons added.  Many blogging platforms have plugins that will add this code for you without having to even utilize the Facebook code directly.

Twitter– again, make sure that all of your posts have “Tweet” buttons, which allow a visitor to share your content with their Twitter followers with one click.  You can review the code needed to make this happen at: These buttons will let a user send out a tweet about your blog post quickly and easily.  Many blog platforms have simple plug and play options for sharing that enable this option without using the Twitter code directly.  I also recommend adding a Twitter “badge” to your website, which will let someone view your Twitter feed on your website (so they don’t even need a Twitter account to read it!)  You can find the necessary code to do so at:

Status updates across platforms– you can share the same status update on multiple networks through various means.  One is to tie your profiles together directly, so that any Tweet you make appears on Facebook as well, and vice versa.  A more useful means of doing so, however, is to use a service such as  This site will let you post an update to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Myspace, etc. all at the same time.  This means that when you reply to comments on these networks, you can do so individually, and not have your Twitter response get sent to Facebook users that are only seeing part of the conversation.

Blog syndication– using the RSS feed that your blog has, you can syndicate it to your networks.  You can add an RSS feed on a Linked In profile, and post your content to Facebook, Twitter, etc.  One site that lets you do this is and another that also works is  These sites both make it so that when you post new content to your blog, the first few sentences are posted to your social media profiles with a link to the full content.

I hope these resources make integrating your social media sites into your website easier for you, and we are available to help you make this happen.

When SEO Isn’t Enough

Internet Marketing is essential for all types of businesses and professions today. At this point, many businesses are already engaged in at least a typical Search Engine Optimization plan based around finding external sites to link back to their own site, and having employees or an outsourced provider writing unique content to place online. A few years ago, this would have been sufficient to ensure a high ranking for nearly any search term. With recent advances in search technology, however, it is no longer good enough to rely on traditional Search Engine Optimization techniques. Below are some non-traditional ways of generating search traffic that can have an even bigger impact on your bottom line than link trades and content building.

Use Landing Pages:
Construct simple lead generating pages on your website that allow for detailed reporting on the results of your online efforts. These pages should be designed strictly to capture leads- it can look much different than your normal website, and you may even wish to have it on a separate domain name. Effective lead generating pages often look look less “polished” than full-fledged websites, and should focus on real images of your products, the benefits someone receives from using your services, testimonials from actual customers, and a call to action.

Ensure that local sites from Google and Yahoo are being used:
Google Places and Yahoo Local results are another area for you to generate web traffic. Go to and to claim your business listings. You can add your hours of business, location, and web address. When you have ensured the accuracy of your listing, contact some clients and ask them to post honest reviews and comments on your profiles. You may wish to offer an incentive for them to do so.

Review sites:
Sites such as Yelp allow the Internet community to rate and comment on the work done by specific companies. Search for your company on, and see what existing reviews you have. Communicate with some existing clients to ask them to add their honest feedback. Again, you may wish to offer an incentive to get a significant number of responses.

Create video content:
Changes in search results pages now show videos by default, and if you don’t have any video content, you’re missing an opportunity to rank highly for some potentially valuable search terms. Videos that tend to work well are: before/after, testimonials, product maintenance, buying tips, and installation instructions. Creating one or two videos of each type will give you a good chance of having your site receive visits for your desired keywords.

Explore referral sites:
Sites such as Angie’s List and Service Magic act as lead referral services, and they can be useful for some industries. Research referral sites for your business type and contact the sales departments to obtain a proposal for inclusion in their directories. Once you receive this information, evaluate their services and determine if they offer enough value to be included in your marketing campaign.

Expand your use of social media sites:
Crate profiles and log in to Twitter and Facebook daily and comment on interesting posts that other people put up. Being an active member of the community will raise your value on-line. If all you do is post your own content without interacting with others, they have no reason to engage with you when you do post content. Mark Cuban is a billionaire that runs a few highly successful companies, and he finds time to post to twitter and respond to blog comments every day, and he’s probably busier than just about anyone in the world of business. That’s one reason he’s so well liked- he interacts with anyone when he feels he can add something to a conversation. Interaction is what will help you turn connections on these sites into actual business.

Explore the possibility of using a group buying site:
The popularity of sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and Social Buy is at an all-time high. Contact a few of these sites and find out what type of deal you can offer that makes sense for both you and their network. If you can put together a reasonable offer and still be profitable on the deal, it is a way to reach a huge untapped audience. One note of caution- these sites are so popular these days that it’s possible you could become overwhelmed by responses, so make sure that you can handle the rapid influx of business if you use one of these sites.

Measure your results:
Create some metrics and reports that allow you to track and draw conclusions from your efforts. Use the data and refine your efforts, determining which initiatives should be continued, which should be dropped, and what your next steps should be.

We hope these tips help you to refine your Internet Marketing efforts, and please contact us with any questions about how you can apply these techniques to your business.

This article was provided by SBA Network Technology Specialist Matt Walker. You can reach him at

Managing Your Reputation Online

In a series of studies from the late 1970s through the late 1990s conducted by the research firm TARP, it was found that only 50% of consumers will complain about a problem to a company.  And on average, twice as many people are told about a bad experience than they are about a good experience. TARP’s last basic finding is that customers who complain and are satisfied are up to 8% more loyal than if they had no problem at all. 

These studies provide us some valuable lessons- unhappy customers are likely to never even let you know that they are unhappy, but they WILL tell their colleagues and friends.  Even if you have an excellent customer service department that resolves problems quickly, which actually helps your relationship with customers more than if they had never had a problem, you will often never have the chance to address these issues.

These problems are compounded by the fact that the prevalence of social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, Blogs, etc.) make it very easy for someone to spread the word about your company.  Since they are twice as likely to do so when upset as they are when happy, it is simple for a customer to express their disdain for a company or product to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of contacts.  If you never hear about a problem, how can you possibly hope to resolve it and get a chance to turn that unhappy customer into an evangelist that spreads the word about your great customer service? 

Luckily, there are ways to combat this problem.  Here are three essential tasks that are essential for managing your online reputation.  These will give your company the best chance possible to keep your customer base satisfied by helping you find customers that are expressing problems with your organization of which you are unaware.

1) Set a Google Alert for your company name- Go to: – complete the form, entering your company name or any product names you wish to monitor.  You can set up multiple alerts for different terms you wish to monitor.  When you have done this, once a day you will receive an e-mail letting you know about any new information about your company and products that have been added to their database.  This will allow you to quickly discover both negative and positive comments.

2) Search Twitter at least weekly for these same terms.  This can be done in an automated fashion with a Twitter client such as Tweetdeck, or manually through searches on the Twitter website.  Again, the purpose of this is to find both negative and positive feedback about your organization.

3) If you sell products, either through your own website or through online retailers and partner sites, search product and company reviews for new comments about your company and products.  Whether they are sold through,, or even on your own site, it is imperative that you read the latest reviews.

Now that you have seen the latest feedback your customer base has about your company, respond appropriately.  If persons are making positive comments, thank them publicly by posting replies to their tweets, blog posts, and reviews.  You may also wish to respond with coupons or other special offers as a way to solidify their positive feelings about your company.

If someone has left negative feedback, publicly make it known that you would like to discuss their issue with them, and provide a means for them to do so.  Then make sure that you treat their concerns with a high priority in your customer service department.  You likely only have one chance to get it right with an already upset customer.  Lastly, once you successfully resolve the issue with an upset customer, ask them to publish their satisfaction in the same manner as they did their complaint. 

Following these tips will help you find unresolved customer complaints and deal with them appropriately.

Stop burning your money like dead leaves! (Part 2)

Last week we began a discussion of techniques used in effective Internet Marketing campaigns.  To read that article, please click here:

To recap, the 5 most important activities you can undertake are:

  1. Keyword Selection/website copy
  2. Inbound links
  3. Landing Pages
  4. Blogging
  5. E-mail marketing

We wrote previously about keyword selection/website copy and inbound links, and now we’re moving on to landing pages and blogging.

Landing Pages
Landing pages are a technique used to help funnel inbound traffic to the website to pages that are targeted towards specific keywords.  The pages are designed to be the first thing a visitor sees when they come to the website, and include not just the keyword text at a high density, but also a call to action and a means of responding immediately through a feedback form.  This is important so that when visitors come to the site, it is easy for them to express interest and become a qualified lead.

A blog is often the best way to add new content to a website.  It provides an easy to use interface, a simple method for uploading photos, and if properly integrated into the website, helps keep search engines coming back to the site to index content on a frequent basis.  Sites with blogs outperform sites that lack blogs in most measures of search performance, and help visitors know that the content they see on your site is up to date.  Thus, it is important for your site to include a blog that you use to keep the site up to date.

To read in more depth about these techniques, simply send us an e-mail to request our FREE whitepaper on Internet Marketing Techniques, or e-mail us with your questions at

Stop burning your money like dead leaves!

While the country is currently faced with heat waves from coast to coast, in a few short weeks leaves will be changing colors, evenings will bring a pleasant cool, crisp breeze, and fall will be in full effect. In some parts of the country, people will be raking leaves into piles that they burn. Those leaves are a lot like the dollars business owners have spent on their websites- in a seemingly endless cycle, small businesses spend money on web design, copy, hosting, and with no return, they are burning their money just like those leaves.

Some persons, however, will take those falling leaves and turn them into mulch. They can use them to provide nutrients to the soil, and be able to have a great garden come spring. That’s exactly what a small business can do with the dollars they spend on the Internet- rather than just throw away their money on costs that bring no return, they can use that Internet budget to actually bring in new business in the future.

How do you go from burning your dollars to investing them in future sales? An effective Internet Marketing Plan is essential to getting the most from your efforts online.

To set up an effective Internet marketing plan, you need to take into account the following major areas:

  1. Keyword Selection/website copy
  2. Inbound links
  3. Landing Pages
  4. Blogging
  5. E-mail marketing

Keyword selection/website copy
It is critical that you understand the terms used by persons searching for your solution to their problem. To do this, you need to do some research through tools made available by search engines such as Google. This will help you identify the best keywords to target with your online efforts. What makes a good keyword? A large number of searches with low competition is ideal. A search professional can help you with this process, and should be able to identify the best chances you have at achieving success online.

Once you have identified these keywords, you need to use them on your website. Rewrite the copy on your pages to include your targeted keywords. This will make it so that your website is more relevant for those terms.

Inbound Links
One of the major factors Google and other search engines use to determine the importance of a website is the number of other websites that have links pointing to it. A search professional can help you find other sites that will link to your website. This may involve linking back to those websites, as well as finding directories for companies in your industry that will link to you.
Next week we’ll send information on landing pages and blogging, and the following week will be a message on effective e-mail marketing. For more details on any of these topics, reply to this message to say that you want to stop burning your money like dead leaves and we’ll send you our whitepapers on Internet Marketing Plans and E-mail Marketing. Have a great weekend!

Mark Deo

To Twitter, or not to Twitter: That is the Question!

From time to time I like to share tips and articles from other business experts, and this week I’m sending an article written by my friend Corey Perlman. Corey is an Internet Marketing expert, and author of the book eBoot Camp: Proven Internet Marketing Techniques to Grow Your Business. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of his book, and if you do so now he’s offering over $2500 in bonuses for FREE. Find out more at:

-Mark Deo

If you haven’t heard the buzz going around about the micro-blogging site, you soon will. It’s by far the hottest social networking application in the ever-evolving world of Internet marketing. But, should you join the cyber-party?

Before I answer that question, let’s define what Twitter is. Twitter is a Web site where you can follow what people are saying and they can follow what you are saying. The unique thing about Twitter is that they only allow you to write your “tweet” (or written message) in 140 characters or less. Yep, in the ‘more is less’ world of Internet communication, they have the audacity to make us be short and to the point with everything we write. The nerve!

When you follow someone, each of their tweets shows up on your personal Web page. And when you tweet, each of your messages shows up on their Twitter page. One of the distinct differences between Twitter and other social communities such as Facebook or Linkedin is the more liberal screening process people seem to have on Twitter when deciding who to connect with. It’s not uncommon to follow complete strangers based on knowing very little about them. You can blink and have hundreds of people following you or vice versa. For an even clearer definition of Twitter, go to and watch the video in the top right-hand corner of the page.

So, on to the question of if you should add Twitter as part of your Internet marketing repertoire. My answer is Yes and No. 🙂 Let me explain. My answer is no if you’re simply looking for a tool to sell more of your products or services. In my opinion, it’s just not being used that way and people frown upon heavy promoting and selling. However, if you are looking to create more online relationships, expand your brand, or stay on the bleeding edge of information in your industry, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you jump on Twitter right away.

A colleague of mine, Perry Belcher, had a great analogy of how to view Twitter. It’s like hosting a huge party. You wouldn’t invite someone to your party and immediately try and sell them the second you opened the door. Instead, you’d greet them, invite them in, have a conversation and potentially engage in business if the opportunity presents itself. This is exactly how Twitter works as well.
Twitter can be a great opportunity for you to engage people with similar interests in an incredibly fast and effective way. So here are the steps to create your Twitter account:

  1. Go to and register for an account. It’s free!
  2. Take some time and fill out your profile. The more thought out your profile is, the more likely people will follow you.
  3. Write your first tweet. Let everyone know you are new to the site and find a fun way to introduce yourself.
  4. Look for some of your friends on Twitter. You have a friend in me! Just go to and and click “follow” and you will then be following me. You’ll be able to see all the people that I follow and can follow them as well if you choose.

For the next few weeks, tweet at least once a day. It takes all of about 2-3 minutes, so don’t worry about finding the time. You can also write your tweets via your cell phone. See for instructions on how to do that.

A couple of final notes about Twitter:

  • Try not to just tweet about what you are doing. Although that is the theme of, most people like to offer some value in some of their tweets. For example, did you see a really good article (maybe like the one you’re reading 🙂 and want to share it with your followers? Simply highlight the article link and add it as a tweet.
  • You don’t have to be too picky on who you follow. It’s easy to un-follow someone if they are tweeting too much or for any other reason.
  • On occasion, it is ok to promote your products or services. Just remember the party analogy – don’t overdue it and annoy people. Communicate on a personal level with people and build trust. There will be plenty of opportunity down the road to conduct business if the opportunity presents itself naturally.
  • Write a tweet at least twice a week. That should take all of about 5 minutes total!

Ok my friends, enough with the analysis paralysis, get out there and start TWEETING!

See you in Twitterville!


This article was provided by SBA Network partner Corey Perlman, find out more at:

Why Google AdWords Is So Important: And How it Can Give Your Business a Huge Competitive Advantage

This is all about getting in front of people who are looking for what you sell right this moment and getting them to respond. It’s about understanding your audience, refining your sales message, perfecting your sales process and determining your Return On Investment, faster than ever before in the history of marketing – and doing all of this for a very modest sum of money.
When you use the simple process I’m about to show you, you’ll achieve the dream of “Marketing on Autopilot” faster than ever before!
Let’s Put This in Historical Perspective

Direct marketing has been around since the late 1800s when mail order marketing began. Back then you would run an ad in a magazine with an order form, and the reader would have to cut out the ad, write a check, enclose it in a letter and mail it. Four to eight weeks later, if the vendor was honest, you’d get your stuff in the mail.

Advertisers quickly discovered that they could “key” the order forms with a code, according to which magazine, which advertising copy and offers were used, etc., and get enormously different responses. Within a few decades this became a rigorous science, and some of the very best books on direct marketing were written almost 100 years ago. The guys who did this lived and died by their ads!
The biggest obstacle to direct marketing is that it’s always taken lots of time and patience to test things and get it right. If you advertise in magazines, you’ll rarely get feedback in less than two months.
Pay Per Click has changed all that. Now you can test ideas in minutes and hours, not days, weeks or months! And you can do it for tens or hundreds of dollars, not thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This takes 90% of the risk out of starting a new business or launching a new product!

And the messages that work in your Pay-Per-Click marketing campaigns will usually also work in other media. So PPC is the first place to test your marketing.
As long ago as 1996, forward-thinking people viewed the Internet as the ultimate marketing machine. Of course by 1998, it was so “obvious” that the Internet was a killer marketing medium that millions of investors blindly dumped their money into DOT COM companies and created a huge bubble – and the recession that followed.


Why did this happen? Why was the DOT COM era such a bomb?

It’s basically because thousands of companies were spending $200 to get a $60 customer – and they were too dumb to know it!

Understand this: Advertising is an investment, just like stocks, bonds or real estate. It has to pay for itself, without smoke and mirrors. Direct marketing is the art and science of making advertising pay.

And Google AdWords is the fastest way to become a direct marketing master that the world has ever seen.

So Here’s What’s Going to Happen:
A Simple 5-Step Plan that Sidesteps All That Waste!

Here’s an incredibly simple way to get a website up and running successfully:

1. Put up a web page that tells your visitors what you can do for them – and asks them to respond. The response might be in the form of a purchase, an opt-in to receive a newsletter, information in the mail, a report, guide or paper – but most importantly, get the person to tell you who they are.
2. Generate a list of keywords that your customers would type into a search engine.
3. Write a Google AdWords advertisement, and start buying traffic. Here they come!
4. Monitor your results.
5. Tweak the details and improve your performance – and watch your profits grow.

Why Pay-Per-Click is So Important

Pay Per Click advertising is not a fad or flash in the pan. It’s here to stay – permanently. As a matter of fact, in my professional opinion, history will show it to be the most important development in advertising during this decade.

Why? Because it combines two enormously powerful concepts: 1) You only advertise to people who are looking for what you have right now, and you only pay when they respond and click through to your site; and 2) Pricing is determined by an ongoing, real-time auction based on true market values.

Google vs. Overture

There are two major players in Pay-Per-Click: Google and Overture. I believe Google is far superior for my customers. Why?

Google caters much more to technical audiences, B2B buyers and savvy Internet users. They disable ads that have low click-through rates, and reward high-click-through rates with better pricing. Google is instantaneous – you get instant results and can make instant changes, while Overture has a 3-6 day waiting period while their staff reviews what you submit. And Google lets you market to specific countries if you need to.

Google’s instantaneous capabilities make it the ultimate, highest-speed direct marketing tool ever devised in the history of mankind. I’m not exaggerating. Google is head and shoulders above everyone else in the search engine world.

Learning the Google System

In April 2002, a few weeks after its inception, I began buying Internet traffic on Google AdWords both for myself and for several of my corporate consulting clients. Many people found my website and became my customer or client through this powerful tool.

So I’ve been using AdWords intensively – some might say obsessively – for three years now. AdWords was a very exciting new ingredient to add to the mix.
A Word of Caution:

In using AdWords there’s initially a tough learning curve for the uninitiated. Most people find their Google AdWords experience very frustrating at first, getting keywords and campaigns disabled because they can’t get the requisite 0.5% click-thru rate, or else they overpay for popular keywords that have high bid prices.

Those who don’t truly understand direct-response marketing will have a particularly hard time, considering this is the ultimate direct-response machine.

Why Google Succeeded – and Why it Matters to You

Google was a relative late-comer in the search engine game. When I started marketing on search engines in 1998, Google was brand new, a tiny little player in a world of established giants. Yahoo, Altavista, Lycos, Hotbot, Inktomi, Excite, AOL Search, Northern Light, AllTheWeb and dozens of others were duking it out.

On most of those search engines, it was hard to find what you were looking for. And while most of them were cluttered with ads and links all over the place, Google had just a clean white screen with a search box. And Google’s results were always easy to read.

Eventually Google became my home page. “Who needs ten search engines – if you have one good one?”

You probably felt the same way.

And THAT became the key to Google’s success.

Google’s guiding philosophy is RELEVANCE. Give the people what they’re looking for – as fast and as easy as possible.

Relevance in Advertising

So when Google decided to sell advertising, they had to make sure it didn’t compromise the quality or usefulness of their search engine. Done properly, advertising would actually enhance it.

So when they came up with Google AdWords, they decided to provide up to 8 or 10 spaces for advertisements (“sponsored links”) on the top and right side of the page.

Except for the top two, the listings going down the left are FREE listings, positioned according to Google’s complex, secret and ever-changing ranking formula. The ads on the right are AdWords ads. The advertiser pays every time you click, and only when you click.

And the lowest position, usually a few pages back, is available for 5 cents a click.

Google’s Partner Sites

Google Syndicates their results to other search engines – normally only the top 2-4 results are included. AOL buys the top 3 AdWords positions from Google. Earthlink and Ask Jeeves show the top 4 positions.

This means that being in the top 3 or 4 gives you exposure to a larger audience – perhaps twice as many searches as Google alone, in some cases. It also tends to drive the bid prices up even more, for those special top spots.

What It All Means for You

So when you write an ad and place it in AdWords, you have access to an audience as large as 100 million people – instantly. You get instant feedback. You can test fast, succeed fast, and profit fast from the quality Google experience.

This article was written by our friend and partner, Perry Marshall. He has been a guest on our radio show multiple times, and is the preeminent expert on Google AdWords and Pay Per Click advertising on the web. Perry Marshall helps businesses beat the learning curve and profit from Google AdWords. You can get the skinny on Google AdWords with Perry’s FREE 5-day course via e-mail: Visit

Have a great week!
I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email

Mark Deo
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Web Site Presence

So…you’ve just created your first website and Boy, It’s Real Pretty! It has your name and phone number, some blinking logos, flashing banners, loaded with lots and lots of information..yeah, really pretty!!

Hey, everyone knows the internet is where you’ve got to be. You’re going to make money and there are millions of surfers every day on line..and after all, with a site as nice as yours, you’ll be raking in the dough real soon.You wait. A week goes by. You check your site once more – 14 hits on the counter – all yours (you check in twice every day to admire what a great site you have and see if anyone has stopped by). OK, OK, it takes time for your site to be listed in the search engines… and when that happens…whooh, look out traffic! After all, your site’s real pretty and it’s packed with information and features, features, features!Two weeks go by. Then three. No difference. Your saddened, discouraged. This Internet stuff is a crock you tell yourself.Welcome to the real world! What you have done up till now is akin to putting up a billboard in the middle of the forest. Given time, a hunter will stumble by, take a look, and continue the hunt – hardly a way to make money!I’ve spent time looking at quite a number of sites. Most are woefully lacking in both traffic and ways to market their products or business to surfers who do happen to stumble by. If you want to make money with your website, this has to change. A mentor of mine says that one of the definitions of insanity is to keep doing what you’ve always done and expect to get different results. Yet that’s
what many, many website owners do every day.A successful web presence requires:creative design concept
relevant, useful content for your target audience
gives a reason for people to return often and consistently
exceptional domain packages
proper website design
secure website service
enabled for E-Commerce
automated credit card processing and check verification
a hosting service that allows you to EASILY and QUICKLY make changes yourself
fast and easy navigation
banner ad exchange programs
search engine placement and improved rankingI hope this helps you to learn some new ways to create a strong web presence.

The E-mail Trap

E-mail is a great tool but sometimes we can fall in to several traps that make e-mail our enemy rather than our friend. I thought I’d use this business update to look at a format for business related emails or what many call, “e-mail etiquette.”


  • Spelling and grammar communicates “who” you are
  • Use your spell checker. That’s what it’s for. Don’t rely entirely on the spell checker though. If you’re using the wrong spelling for a particular use of a word, i.e. two vs. to vs. too, the spell checker won’t pick it up. Don’t try to guess the spelling of a word. Look it up. A great tool is the Merriam-Webster Online. Also, keep a dictionary handy! Sometimes it is faster than using the online version.
  • Good grammar is important. I believe in using a conversational tone when writing. It sounds friendlier. Contractions are often okay. Slang is not. Under no circumstances should you use offensive language.
  • Choose the right words. Take your time putting together a well-written message. Once you hit the send button, you won’t have another chance.
  • Be careful with abbreviations. Today there are all sorts of abbreviations — U instead of you, 2 instead of to or too, plz instead of please, and thanx instead of thanks. These may be fine for personal messages; in a business, communication should be more formal. Of course, frequently used abbreviations such as Mr. and Mrs., FYI (for your information), inc., and etc. are fine.
  • Be specific – don’t leave any opportunity for crossed wires or misunderstandings
  • Read and re-read your email several times from the perspective of the recipient
  • If you don’t change anything when you are composing an email, then you are going too fast.
  • Make sure to ask answer all of the questions that have been posed by the client
  • Salutation – Some are very sensitive to being addressed by their first names or worse yet NO NAME! When in doubt, use Mr., Mrs., or Dr. (if appropriate). When you are replying to an email and the sender of the original message has used his or her first name only, then you could safely assume it’s okay to use that person’s first name as well.
  • Avoid writing your message using all uppercase letters. It might be faster to type but it looks like you’re shouting. Don’t use all small letters either. Some people say it will make it seem like you’re mumbling.

Creating the right “tone”

  • E-mail lacks the formatting of print and the body language of in-person communication; the words themselves carry more feeling. Moreover, e-mail messages are read quickly, so an inappropriate tone can distract your reader and obstruct your message.
  • It’s easy for e-mail writers to let their tone slip from professional to edgy or sarcastic. E-mail emboldens writers to express thoughts they would never say to a reader’s face. And e-mail is written quickly then sent.
  • Remember the letters: F.A.R – Come across as Friendly, Approachable and Respectful
  • You don’t want to sound curt or demanding.
  • What three words have only 14 letters yet carry a great deal of meaning? Please and Thank You – these are 2 of the most important words we can use in our emails
  • Sometimes just rearranging the paragraphs will help.
  • If you’re writing to someone you’ve communicated with before, you might want to begin by saying “I hope you are well.”
  • Emoticons are little faces made up by arranging parentheses, colons, and semi-colons. Use good judgment here. If you write to someone frequently and you have a less formal relationship, then emoticons are okay. If, however, you’re writing to a prospect or a client that you don’t know very well, stick to words only.
  • Angry e-mails – Abe Lincoln
  • Try to appeal to the clients personality and language orientation


  • Don’t waste words.
  • When possible, be brief. Get to your point as quickly as you can. However, don’t leave out necessary details. If providing a lot of background information will help the recipient answer your query, by all means, include it. You may even want to apologize for being so wordy at the beginning of the message.
  • Use client folders and sub folders.
  • Careful with “Reply To:” You may be including a thread of previous emails that are inappropriate to the recipient
  • Use the “Blind Copy” feature when sending to a group. Remember Outlook will only support a specified number of blind copies
  • Use links to reference material and to your web site
  • Attachments should be added for more information rather than placing data in the dialog box.
  • Timing is critical when sending emails
  • Always place an appropriate, meaningful message in the Subject Line
  • Don’t get trapped into answering emails instantly unless needed.

E-mail as a Tool of Persuasion

  • Always pose a question at the end of the email.
  • Leverage their curiosity and interest
  • Write a compelling and truthful subject line – As with all e-mail, the first hurdle is to write a subject line that says “must open.” Great subject lines telegraph the content of the message and promise a product, service, or outcome of real value.
  • Smash through preoccupation – Your readers are busy – they don’t have time to figure out what you’re offering. They’re impatient, too. They don’t want a tease, a clever anecdote leading up to the main point. Be direct and succinct. Start with a clear statement of what you’re offering.
  • Many e-mail sales messages open with a lengthy reminder to the reader that he’s opted in to the mailing and detailed instructions on how to opt out. This statement is an important courtesy, but at the beginning of the message it squanders prime real estate, the first screen. You must give the reader the “opt in” information, but put it at the end of your message.
  • Deliver one message – If you are trying to get the attention of a prospect, don’t inundate them with EVERYTHING you have to offer. Less is more! Focus on one topic and end with a question.
  • E-mail readers have short attention spans — long enough to digest one message, no more. The best strategy for delivering multiple e-mail sales messages is to write a separate message for each thing you’re trying to sell.
  • Provide Value – In return for opening and reading your communication, give readers something of value: useful information or a special offer, and perhaps something free or discounted.
  • Show Readers How They Will Benefit – It’s not enough just to tell readers about what you offer
  • Include A Call To Action – Your compelling subject line and customer-oriented lead have done the trick: you’ve gotten the reader to open your message. You’ve offered insider information and showed readers how your product or service will benefit them. Now go the distance and tell your readers exactly what you want them to do.

I hope these tips help you to improve the effectiveness of your emails. Email can be a powerful marketing and management tool. Take the time to avoid the traps and it will be well worth the effort.