OMG! You’re not on Woo Woo yet?

next-big-thng
Just because your competitor is doing something you're not, doesn't mean you should too.

It's tempting to jump on the next marketing fad or social media bandwagon because everyone else is, but the real name of the game is FOCUS.

Focus on one or two ways to generate highly qualified leads for your business and until you've perfected them don't jump on to "the next big thing."

Click the play button below and watch the short Adobe commercial, I think you'll like it - and remember - don't be that guy!

 

What You Need To Know About Dynamic Callouts in Adwords

Did you know that your Google ads may automatically be using Dynamic Callouts without your knowledge?

While previewing one of my own marketing ads inside the Adwords Preview Tool, I noticed text in the second line of my ad that I've never used before (in an ad.) I thought it might be a glitch with the Preview Tool, but I found the same thing doing a live search on two different computers with different ISPs.

I thought this must be a bug in the Adwords system so I emailed a screen shot to my Google rep who didn't know why this was happening either. He asked me to call the 800 number that deals with technical issues. The Google rep at the 800# was as surprised as I was when she saw the screen shot because I don't have dynamic ads or any call extensions running on this particular campaign.

To make a long story short, she had to research the issue and called me back at the end of the day saying that I was automatically opted in to Dynamic Callouts and I would have to fill out an online form to opt out. -- "Are you kidding me?" -- "No sir, Dynamic Callouts are a good thing". -- I politely told her that I was surprised Google automatically opted me into something that affects my ad copy without telling me. Who knows, maybe I got the email and didn't see it, but the point I'm making is that you shouldn't be automatically opted in to Dynamic Callout Extensions.

Anyway, I wanted to share this because if you see your Google Adwords ad with copy you didn't write that is probably what's happening. I can clearly see the benefit of Dynamic Callouts because Google knows more about converting clicks than anyone else. The algorithm pulls text from your landing page to put in your ad and surprisingly pulls features and benefits which is pretty cool.  But you need to be aware of this because you may not want to start the conversation with "Cancel anytime" which is what my ad was saying.

I don't recommend you opt out of Dynamic Callouts without first learning more about it - especially if you're a small business owner who manages your own Adwords account. Google's black box knows a lot more than you think about getting you good clicks, so Dynamic Callouts may be a good thing for you.

If you decide to opt out of Dynamic Callout Extensions, you'll have to jump through a few hoops. Login to your Adwords account and follow the steps on the screen shot below. You will reach a page called: 'Understanding dynamic callouts'. Scroll down to the 'Managing dynamic callouts' section and follow the instructions on the third bullet of that section.

Adwords-Dynamic-Callouts

Watch Out For Those Facebook and PayPal Email Scams!

Today I got an official looking e-mail that appeared to be coming from Facebook. I can smell these scam e-mails a mile away, but many people don't and they click on the links thinking they're going to the official Facebook or PayPal site. What happens instead is they end up on some website on the other side of the globe that infects their computer with malicious software. I recorded this short video so you know what to do if (when) you get an e-mail that looks official but something just doesn't seem right.

What To Do – And Most Importantly What NOT To Do About the Google Places Listing Update

NOTICE: Please watch this short video to the end before attempting to make any changes to your Google Places listing.

Google Places Listing UpdateGoogle is constantly making changes to their algorithm in general, but there is one area where most of the changes have been taking place for a good while now making it difficult to keep up with – and that is Google Places.

Google sent out an e-mail today to local businesses that have a Google Places listing saying that they (Google) will be soon automatically updating their business data. It goes on to say that Google uses many sources to determine the accuracy of their listing data in order to provide the best possible experience for business owners and consumers who use Google and Google Maps to find local information.

Google Places Update Email

I’m used to getting e-mails from Google and I read them all. Most of the time is just information which is important to me, but not necessarily important to my clients. However, today’s e-mail is of critical importance to any local business that depends on Google Places for traffic to their website.

You see, Google Places is one of the best traffic sources for local businesses because it’s FREE, and most importantly because your listing shows up at the top of page one. OK, maybe your listing is not among the 7 pack so it’s not going to show at the top of page one. If you want to learn more about getting your local business listed in Google Places you can grab a copy of the Small Business Guide To Google Places on the sidebar at the top right of this page.

DISCLAIMER:

OK, let’s see what’s going on with this “automatic” listing update - but first let me insert a disclaimer here; What I am going to share with you in this video is my opinion based on my experience in SEO and experience in optimizing Google Places listings for my clients. As you probably know Google is very secretive about the way their algorithm ranks websites. This makes perfect sense otherwise the spammers would be gaming the system and manipulating the results. Therefore I will not be held responsible for any changes you make to your listing that may result in your listing disappearing from Google Places. There is a risk associated with this and you are on your own. Tread cautiously.

Automatic Listing UpdateHere’s a screen shot of the e-mail and this is what you want to pay close attention to because if you don’t it could hurt your listing. When I say hurt your listing, I am assuming your business is already ranking among the seven pack as you see in this screen shot. If your listing is not ranking among the 7 pack in Google Places then you can be a bit more cavalier about what I’m going to suggest.

The Google 7 PackIn the e-mail Google tells you what your listing will contain after it’s been updated. Obviously if this information is wrong you need to update it. However, if the information is correct, but you want to edit the format because maybe you prefer to have your phone number showing with dashes instead of how Google is showing it – assuming it’s correct DO NOT touch it. As long as the information is accurate, don’t mess with it -especially if your business is already listed in the seven pack.

The other thing you need to know, which is also stated in the e-mail is that if you already have an Adwords account or Adwords Express account, you DO NOT have to make any changes to your listing. This is very important because as you see in the e-mail, this is stated after the fact and I’m afraid some business owners might start making changes before reading the entire e-mail. By the way, if you’ve hired someone to take care of your online marketing you shouldn’t have to worry about any of this. If they’re doing their job your local listings should be in good shape.

If you have a Google Adwords account you don't have to do anything.OK, you would think this is pretty much it, but there’s something else that caught my attention and raised some concern. At the very bottom there’s a link with a link and it says; “For more information about updates to claimed listings, please visit: (and it shows the link) http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1318197”

When you click on the link you’re taken to a page that shows the edits Google may make to your listing. Take a look at the last bullet point -it says your listing could be labeled “Permanently Closed”… Whoa… I don’t know what the chances are that that can happen. I’m pretty sure if you have an Adwords account it would very unlikely your listing will get this terrible label. But just to be on the safe side, it can’t hurt to check it once a week for the next few weeks just to be on the safe side. If you do happen to find your listing labeled as “Closed Permanently” you can click the “Not true” link and resolve the issue.

Make sure your listing doesn't get labeled Permanently Closed.

There’s one more thing I want to make you aware of in case this applies to you because if it does you’ll want to watch my next video. --

Remember the Google Boost ads?

If you are using Adwords Express there something very important you need to know.

The Google Boost ads were discontinued, but they’re back now as Adwords Express. If you’re using Adwords Express, there’s something very important you need to know about untargeted traffic that’s costing you money.

I’ll share it with you on my next video so do this now so you don’t miss it… Enter your name and e-mail address on the sidebar at the right so I can notify you as soon as the video is ready.

If you found this information useful please share it with your business friends or anyone you know who has a local business. They'll thank you for it and so will I.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

A Powerful Lesson on Marketing from Steve Jobs

About Steve Jobs

This is my second blog post about Steve Jobs in just one week - and that's not counting the content sharing on Twitter. Some of my friends are starting to think I'm obsessed with Steve Jobs, but it's not every day a marketing genius we admire dies.

There will be a lot said of Steve Jobs for many many years to come. I guarantee you his philosophy on branding and marketing will be taught in many business schools. For those of us who have admired Jobs for decades this is no surprise.  Best selling authors like Carmine Gallo have already written about Steve Jobs and I think this is just the beginning.

Below is a video I want to share with you of Steve Jobs when he returns to Apple 10 years after he was fired (from his own company.) Here is Jobs talking to Apple employees in 1997. Apple was at the verge of bankruptcy. Steve Jobs was brought back to save the company - and he did. Yes, I know he didn't do it alone, but he was the founding leader who steered the sinking ship back to profitability to make Apple one of the most profitable companies in the world.

I encourage you to watch the video more than once. As a matter of fact, if you struggle with marketing you'll want to watch it two or three times. Why? Because most people think marketing is about cute ads or catchy phrases or play on words. This couldn't be furthest from the truth.

Marketing is about having something good to say, saying it well, and saying it often. But before you have something good to say, you have to have something good or "different" in the first place. So marketing is about innovation first - and that's what Steve Jobs was a genius at.

A Word of Caution: Please don't make the mistake of thinking the marketing message in this video is not for you because your business is different. I don't care if you're a chiropractor, plumber, attorney, acupuncturist, dentist, plastic surgeon, pizza baker or candle stick maker, innovation comes in many ways - and it's actually easier than you think. For small business innovation doesn't necessarily mean creating something new. Many times is just changing what you're already doing to make it better or "different."

If you enjoyed this video you'll love this other one by Simon Sinek --> Understanding The "WHY". Please feel free to leave your comments below.

I Feel Like I’ve Lost a Close Friend in Steve Jobs

I have been deeply touched by the death of Steve Jobs. I know it sounds melodramatic but I can't help it. Since I heard the news last night I've been mourning his death as if he had been a close friend. I've been asking myself why is it his death has hit me so hard. There have been other celebrities or public figures that sadden me when they die - especially if their passing was premature. I remember being upset when Lady Di was killed in that senseless car accident, but I don't remember mourning her death to this degree.

Maybe it was his determination that inspired me. A determination to follow your dreams no matter what anybody says because if you love what you do you will persevere and the dots will connect.

R.I.P. Steve Jobs.

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“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

-- Steve Jobs

Anchor Text – The Continuous Evolution in Off-Page SEO

I try to share SEO information with my readers that is not too technical. While the information on this video is not considered technical in SEO circles, I recognize you might not know what Anchor Text is. So let me give you an example to show you that anchor text is nothing more than a link.

That's right - a typical blue link just like this one you are reading. The blue clickable text on a link is called the Anchor Text. So if you have a website about women's shoes, you'll want the anchor text on links that point back to your site from other websites on the internet to look like this --> women's shoes - instead of the name of your company. That's it! I told you it would be easy to understand.

On this video from SEOmoz, Cyrus Shepard shares some great insight on how they see Google putting more weight on Partial Match anchor text as opposed to the traditional Exact Match.

If search engine optimization is important to you here's some great information you don't want to miss.

Wistia 

Lessons From The World’s Most Inspiring Communicator.

Steve Jobs - An inspirational business leader, legend, and marketing genius.

This week Steve Jobs resigned from Apple as CEO. This is sad news for the tech world and for Steve Jobs fans all over. I've been one of them ever since 1987 when I purchased my first Macintosh.

I ran across today a Carmine Gallo article in Forbes. Carmine is a popular speaker who's written several books. He wrote a best seller titled: "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs." Gallo is a communications coach for the big fortune 1000 companies which are brand names we're all familiar with.

Sit back for a few minutes and watch this video where Gallo shares golden nuggets of marketing knowledge you can take to the bank. I have seen lesser presentations worth a lot of money. It'll be well worth your time.  Enjoy!

What is a QR Code

Scan this QR code to follow me on Twitter

You've probably already seen the black and white bar code looking squares like the one on the right. They are called QR Codes (short for Quick Response code) and you're going to see a whole lot more of them.

Surprisingly, the technology is not new. The QR code was developed by a subsidiary of Toyota back in 1994 in Japan and it's been in use in certain parts of Europe and Asia.

QR codes have many applications in manufacturing, but it's the mobile marketing side of QR codes we are most interested in.

It is reported that 303 million Americans have some sort of mobile device, with more than 63 million owning a smartphone.

Did you know that more than 26% of US households no longer have a land line as we know it and are mobile only?

If you're a small business owner trying to get more traction from the internet in your local area, you should be using QR codes. The great thing is you don't have to spend a lot of money to implement QR codes in your marketing.

Before I tell you how easy it is to get started using a qr code generator, first let me show you an actual QR code example from an ad in my local paper.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Above is a picture of a full page ad for FIU (Florida International University) appearing in the Miami Herald. On the lower left corner of the ad, they placed a QR code.

When you scan the code (take a picture of it) with the qr code reader on your smart phone, it takes to a YouTube video of the woman in the ad talking about the curriculum and subject matter (see video below.)

I gotta tell ya, when I first scanned that QR code I was impressed. All of the sudden the woman in the full page ad came to life. Talk about taking a two dimensional ad to a whole new level.

This is a FANTASTIC way to increase conversions from print ads -  or any one of your many marketing pieces for that matter. QR codes can direct the user to any URL, whether it be a website, video, or just plain old contact information. You can point a QR code to a Google map or Facebook page. And you can put QR codes on business cards, brochures, T-shirts, newspaper ads, magazine ads, restaurant table tent cards, bus advertising, billboards, coupons, on videos, etc., etc. The possibilities are endless.

How To Get Started.

The great thing about QR Codes is they're easy to get started with. If you have a smart phone download these two QR code reader apps: i-nigma and NeoReader. I personally like NeoReader best, but i-nigma is good too. There are a lot of QR readers out there. Some are better than others. I have an iPhone and these are the two I've found to work best on my iPhone. You can also go to the app store on your iPhone and do a search to download them there. They are both FREE.

Want More?

Scan this QR code with your smart phone and it will take you to a great QR code website where you can generate your own QR Codes for FREE.

Once you download and install either one of the two apps, scan the QR code on the right and it will take you to a great QR Code resource so you can create your own - and much more for FREE.

Want more great local and mobile marketing tips and ideas? Follow me on Twitter.

 

Feel free to leave me a comment below if you found this post useful.

Going Beyond Average… Understanding the “WHY.”

In the video below you'll see Simon Sinek sharing his view on what makes greatness in business as well as in society. You’ll see what I mean when you watch this video, so sit back because you’re about to see one of the best - if not THE best - video of this entire year. I promise!

Simon Sinek - Author of "Start With Why."

TED is a great resource. Their slogan is “Ideas Worth Spreading.” TED is a non profit entity that gets together two times a year to bring out the top thinkers in economics, business, environmental concerns and social issues.

The speakers are part of an elite group of the top minds we have today. Their talks are about 20 minutes long - give or take. In the videos the invited speakers share with the audience their priceless insight, which TED shares with the general public for free. TED is funded by corporate sponsors.

What About The Other 95%?

This is so simple you might say; "duh!... No kidding?" But I'm gonna bet my last #10 envelope you're not doing it. If you are, then good for you. You're way ahead of the pack.

But if you're not, you'll want to pay attention because this has everything to do with converting more website visitors into paying customer, clients or patients.

When a website visitor calls your office or business the first time, and doesn't schedule an appointment because she wants to think about it and call you back later - do you capture her contact information anyway?

If you're not, you ought to think about this...

The percentage of prospects who are ready to buy your product or service only represents 3% or 5% of prospective buyers. What we call the low hanging fruit.

The other 95% are not quite ready yet. That grand majority will be ready at some point in the future. It could be in 6 days or six months.

Will she remember you then, or will she go back to Google and start searching for your product or service again?

Here's the take away...

If you take them off the market and bring them into your space - regardless if they come in now or a month later - they won't have to search again. This is how you get the most out of your local internet marketing efforts.

If you capture their contact information and stay in contact with them, you dramatically increase your chances of converting more website visitors into paying customers.

Is this easy?

Well, it's definitely not hard.

All it takes is telling your staff or phone person to start doing this tomorrow. That's it!

On my next post I'll show you a simple way to get them to part with their e-mail address without any hesitation so you can start an e-mail  marketing campaign. This way when they’re ready to by your product or service they already know you and trust you.

“The 7 Biggest Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make When Choosing a Local SEO Company.”

If you are looking to increase your website traffic and avoid the pitfalls many small business owners experience by unscrupulous SEO scam artists, I have good news for you. I’m going to share with you solid SEO expert advice so you can protect yourself from becoming another victim to scammers posing as a legitimate local search marketing company.

  1. The first thing you have to watch out for is the unsolicited e-mails (spam) you get from so called search engine optimizers claiming they entered a certain keyword term related to your business in Google and your site showed up number 85 in the search results. It goes on to say, they don’t understand why you are ranking so low when you could be on the first page of Google for this term. What they do is choose a keyword you are not necessarily targeting and say your site cannot be found when searching this term. Duh! No kidding… You’re not trying to rank for that term in the first place.

    The typical business owner has no clue if this is a valid claim or not and can fall for this. A legitimate SEO company will never spam you. You can find a good SEO company the same way you found this website. Here’s the lesson: An unsolicited e-mail is the first sign of an SEO scam artist at work.
  2. Before choosing an SEO company, you’ll want to confirm that the websites they claim they optimize are really their actual client's websites. It’s easy for an SEO scam artist to pick a website that’s ranking on the first page of Google and say they optimized it. This is easy to verify. Just pick up the phone and call the webmaster or business owner and simply ask them if they know the SEO in question. While you’re at it, ask them if they are happy with the results. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Do your due diligence. It’s a small price to pay that can save you a lot of grief down the road.
  3. This is one of my favorites— after they take your money, a week later they call you and tell you you’re number 1 on the first page of Google. They tell you to enter your domain name in the search bar and bingo, you show up number one on the first page. This is worthless of course because people searching for the products or services you provide are not going to enter your domain or business name unless they’ve already done business with you and know you.

    Ranking for your domain name or business name is easy. It’s ranking for your targeted keywords that really counts. If you're familiar with SEO you might think this is obvious, but people are mislead like this everyday. It’s not their fault. SEO is not their business so they trust they are being well served. Just keep this in mind—You will automatically rank high for your business name and/or domain name. It’s the relevant keywords associated with your product or service that you need to rank high for.
  4. Another worthless service is offering to submit your website to a gazillion search engines for $29 per month or whatever the price is. This offer has been around for so long that people still believe you have to submit your website to the search engines. Save your money because this approach is old school. Just focus on getting good relevant inbound links.
  5. Be careful with the one time flat price for SEO services. Search engine promotion is an ongoing process in order to rank high and keep your position. Everybody wants to be number 1 in the SERP (search engine results page) and the battle is never ending. You have to be leery of the SEO consultant who wants to charge you a one time price for your websites' SEO. The only time you should consider a flat price for SEO services is if you are in a market or niche with just a handful of competitors. Some businesses serving a local area might qualify for this approach. But it depends on the industry and the level of competition in that market. For the most part you should look at SEO as a monthly business expense.
  6. If the SEO company you are evaluating offers you a guarantee for a top position on the first page of Google, run as fast as you can. Reputable search engine optimization companies will never guarantee a top position. Don’t get me wrong. As an SEO consultant I have a pretty good idea if I can get top rankings for my clients, but only after I’ve done the competitive analysis and market research. And even then when I’m pretty confident of the results I still don't guarantee a top ranking. Neither will any reputable SEO. The reason is simple. You cannot guarantee something you don’t control and there is no SEO entity that controls Google.

    Whenever you see an SEO optimization firm making this claim, scroll down and read the fine print. You will find that the top position they’re talking about is a Google Adwords ad. This is a joke because anybody can guarantee ranking on the first page of Google with a pay per click ad. Most business owners are too busy running their business to understand the difference between SEO and PPC and can easily fall for this trick.
  7. Traffic + Conversion – This is where the rubber meets the road and what separates effective search engine marketing from common SEO. Traffic alone without conversion is worthless. Believe it or not, driving traffic to a website is not the hard part. Converting visitors to customers once they land on your website is a whole different story. Make sure the SEO firm you choose understands SEO copywriting that incorporates direct marketing principles to improve your conversion ratio.

    The formula is simple: TRAFFIC + CONVERSION = PROFIT. Of all the SEO help you will encounter, you’ll find just a handful that are really qualified to deliver strategic marketing results. With the right strategic SEM services, you can expect to get a return on your advertising investment and take your business to the next level.

About Frank Prieto - Frank is an SEO expert and marketing strategist helping small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their business using search engine optimization and pay per click advertising.

You can get additional information straight from the horses mouth in Google's search engine optimization guidelines.

Local SEO

Citation & Local Directory Submission

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You can think of search engine optimization as divided into two categories: Global search and Local search. Global search is associated with businesses that sell products or services to a global audience, as opposed to local businesses whose customer base is within a “local” geographical location. A hair dresser, attorney, pizza shop, chiropractor, restaurant or dog…

Pay Per Click Advertising

Google Adwords & Bing Ads

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In today's online world, internet marketing has become the new king of media. The Yellow Pages have gone the way of the milk man and elevator operator, because technology has changed the way we buy goods and services today. Search engines like Google and Bing are the Yellow Pages of today, and you can say Facebook is the new 'word of mouth' advertising.

Search Engine Optimization

Organic Rankings on Targeted Keywords

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Not too long ago you needed to have an ad in the yellow pages so potential clients, customers or patients could find your business. Today the yellow pages are almost obsolete due to the popularity of search engines and the internet. I say "almost", because occasionally I get calls from business owners who are still advertising in the yellow pages but are frustrated because they’re not getting a…

Social Media Marketing

Facebook Advertising

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Social Media Marketing has matured today into a powerful advertising medium that allows you to reach your target audience with incredible accuracy at a very reasonable cost. I'm referring in particular to the demographic data accessible in Facebook that gives you the capability to hone in on consumers who are more likely to buy from you. In the earlier days of Facebook, many…

Web Design

Website & Blog Development

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There is much to say about web design because design is an important factor in online marketing, but the biggest mistake most business owners make regarding web design is putting the carriage before the horse. I can't tell you the number of times prospective clients call me for search engine marketing right "after" their web designer finishes building their website. The problem with this approach is that…

E-mail Marketing

Client Retention & Referral Campaigns

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I remember in 2010 when Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sanders announced that email was dead. I thought that was funny because you still need an email address to login to Facebook. While there is no doubt that social media has changed how we communicate, email is far from dead - especially business email and Email Marketing. The most significant benefit of Email Marketing is the ability to...