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Social Media, Web/ Design Interns Wanted!

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 by James Trumbly

HMG Creative - Seeking Social Media/ Marketing, Web/ Design Interns

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Create Model Clients With Proactive Education

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 by James Trumbly

“I can’t believe she asked me that.” “I spent three hours going over the details of the proposal with him, and then at the last minute he backed out!” “I thought she wanted us to install a new kitchen sink and now she wants an entire remodel. And she’s upset every time I give her a new price estimate!” Sound familiar? These are just a few of the comments you might hear around the water cooler at any business—you may have said something like them yourself. I know I have. It’s par for the course when you’re dealing with people who don’t really understand what you do, but want to retain a measure of control over the process. The good news is that you can turn these type of customers into model clients by educating them ahead of time.

1. Blog about what you do.

Blogs not only increase your readership and build customer loyalty; they also give you a chance to showcase your industry knowledge. When customers gain a better understanding of what you do and how well you do it, they’re less likely to question you and more likely to accept your suggestions and price quotes. Blogs also enable you to address common concerns and questions in a neutral venue.

2. Cater your website to your target audience.

Provide multiple ways to learn: written copy, videos, checklists, FAQ sheets, etc.. Make good use of your online real estate by not only pitching what you have, but also teaching clients about why it’s important and what it can do for them.

3. Answer questions before they ask.

Don’t wait until the client is panicking before you address his concerns. Give them plenty of opportunities to find answers to their questions across multiple platforms. You can use social media, white papers, email marketing and other media venues to get vital information to clients before problems arise.

4. Let them talk to a real person.

No matter how proactive you are, clients will always have questions they couldn’t find the answers to and they’ll want answers before you ask them to make a decision. Offer a free consultation or conduct an interview before sending a proposal in order to make sure the client feels comfortable taking the next step.

Proactively educating your clients can limit or all together prevent scenarios like the examples I provided above. Using your blog and website to your best advantage can help you address some of the most common questions before they become an issue. Then, by the time you get to the consultation stage, your clients will be ready to move forward.

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How to Grow Your Business With Google Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

A site with no visitors is not profitable at all. If your phone isn’t ringing from internet leads, you need to start doing something different to drive traffic to your online store front. One key strategy that targets potential customers during their decision-making process is Google Ad Words.

For those who have yet to discover this type of campaigning, Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising program by Google. With AdWords, businesses can promote their website’s products and services on Google’s search results in the “sponsored links” sections. As always, quality copy and relevant keyword buys will give you a competitive edge over your competitors. With AdWords, unlike traditional advertising, you can set your budgets and change your campaigns in real-time; there are no commitments or spending requirements of any kind.

The Benefits of Google Pay-Per-Click:

  • Control your budget and overall costs. Set your daily budget and the amount you’re willing to pay for a click, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Advertise where you want. Target your ads to potential customers around the world, or only to those in your town, region or country.
  • No risk. There’s no minimum term or commitment and if you ever need to change the level of spending you can increase or decrease your budgets with peace of mind.
  • Targeting. You choose your industry-specific keywords to target your customers and can know your exact ROI and how to better tailor your campaigns for the future.

Not sure how to start or manage a campaign? Let us do it for you.

We at HMG Creative keep a close eye on all our clients’ PPC campaigns to ensure their business is seen by all the right people; we will set up your account, keywords, regions, daily budgets and performance. Account management of your Google PPC is affordable and just makes “Adsense.”

AdWords Services:

  • Research profitable keywords and compile exhaustive negative keyword lists
  • Build campaigns with proper keyword structure and organization
  • Develop and manage effective Display Network campaigns
  • Optimize account settings based on budget, geo-targeting and account analysis
  • Improve quality scores with click-through-rates, landing page and keywords bid management
  • Eliminate wasted spending and work towards constant ROI improvements
  • Write and manage ad copy and split testing
  • Conversion tracking, reporting and analysis

So what’s it cost?

Due to the competitive, real-time nature of PPC, it’s necessary to monitor, strategize and make changes on an ongoing basis to achieve the best results. For this service, our pricing is month-to-month and varies depending on the complexity of the campaigns as you can view below:

Special Offers:

Commit to a full year and we will waive the Set Up Fee for your PPC campaign and receive your first $100 of ad spend is on us.

Commit to 6 months and we will include your first $100 of ad spend will be free.

PPC Spend up to $500: PPC Spend up to $1000: PPC Spend up to $2500:

Set up: $250

Management Fee: $100 monthly

Keywords/Phrases: Up to 50

Additional Active Keywords: $0.75 each

Phone Meeting: 1/month

Reports: Weekly

Set up: $500

Management Fee: $200 monthly

Keywords/Phrases: Up to 100

Additional Active Keywords: $0.75 each

Phone Meeting: 2/month

Reports: Weekly

Set up: $1200

Management Fee: $400 monthly

Keywords/Phrases: Up to 300

Additional Active Keywords: $0.75 each

Phone Meeting: 2/month

Reports: Weekly

Go ahead, attract new leads and get the phone ringing by picking up yours.

Amy Kauffman
858-255-0027

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Mobile Marketing vs Email Marketing

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 by James Trumbly

Mobile marketing has received a lot of press lately, so much so that some short-sighted marketers have loftily proclaimed email marketing to be dead. But before you send flowers, stop and check the pulse of your email marketing campaign. It may be much more alive than you think.

Is Texting Messaging the New Email?

I’ll admit it. I don’t have a smartphone. I was the last of my friends to get a cell phone of any kind. And at the end of the day, I still prefer sitting down at my computer to texting. I realize I’m not the typical consumer (there are now more people using smart phones than basic cell phones and texting is the most popular use of phones of any kind), but think about it for a minute. If you don’t have a smart phone and you receive a text with a link or URL in it, how likely are you to go find a computer and type that URL in so you can shop? Not very. That means that for the 41% of people who still use basic cell phones, your marketing message was wasted.

Which One Is Better?

Although it’s a natural question, it’s really not the right one to be asking. Don’t think of email and texting as being in competition with one another. Think of them as being partners on the same team, with different jobs.

  • Email Marketing: Your Online Powerhouse

Email marketing lets people click on a link immediately, visit your full website, and take action. There are no usability problems and no worries about whether the subscriber has a phone with web browsing capabilities. People can visit social media pages, interact with your call to action, browse your website, and make a purchase using a coupon much more easily via email. You can see a wide variety of affiliate marketing apps to choose from.

  • Mobile Marketing: Your On-the-Go Solution

Mobile marketing, on the other hand, is perfect for quick, on-the-go messages. People tend to check their phones more when they’re out and about, and texting is the communication medium of choice for those situations. Use white label SMS reseller messaging for appointment reminders, quick alerts, interactive messages, and instant access.

Which Basket Gets Your Eggs?

Dividing your marketing efforts between texting and email marketing is a smart move, but how do you know which basket gets the most eggs? You’ll need to observe your audience, learn how they typically interact with your content, and invest the most resources in the medium that promises the greatest return.

Both texting and email bring benefit to the marketing table: determining which one is best for you is simply a matter of determining objectives, knowing what each tool can do, and using the right one for the job.

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Debunking SEO and its “Experts” – Find a Contender, Not a Pretender

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

We are among the last generation to know the noun, “Yellow Pages.” All search happens on the internet (so I guess the new phrase is, yellowpages.com). And thanks to search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, we know where we rank among competitors in the elusive race to land on the first page of organic results.

91 percent of adult internet users go to the web to find information over local seo services, products and making proper SEO more important than ever. That stat is hopefully not surprising to anyone; the web is and has been the go-to to find anything, with half of all searches performed on a mobile device (as mentioned in a previous post on the top reasons you should have a mobile site).

Site optimization and contextual link building is mandatory in the competitive, cluttered online marketplace; it is no longer optional to have an effective SEO strategy.

If you as the people at web hosting houston, they will tell you that there are some things about SEO that will never change; by integrating fundamental tactics combined with the updated and advanced techniques to optimize your site, you will garner organic traffic, naturally increase your rankings over time, gain credibility and help your target audience find you with ease.

I’m going to assume that SEO is not in your short list of talents. If it is, you’re awesome. If not, it is important to know where your talents stop and others’ begin. But finding an SEO partner can be a scary, unknown territory giving the keys to your site to another company. So where do you start? A Google search? (of course!) Maybe a hashtag inquiry on Twitter? What you get is an overwhelming number of sites and individuals claiming they will get you a number one ranking; it can feel like picking a needle in a haystack.

Be aware that quick-fix, short-sighted techniques that raise clients’ hopes only ultimately penalize their websites. At a time when Google is becoming more proactive about combating underhanded SEO tactics, you must adhere strictly to white-hat strategies that comply with all search engines’ terms of use – the best interest for your site and SEO results.

Now here are a few things to do and avoid on your SEO partner search:

SEO Don’ts:

Don’t – hire a techy caveman who never steps out of his office, or sleeps

Don’t– think SEO is a mysterious Divinci Code that no one can crack. It’s an algorithm, not an urban myth

Don’t – expect an instant number-one ranking (that’s like expecting to appear on Oprah immediately after launching a business)

Don’t – be afraid to ask questions, a true SEO guru who is passionate about their work will be more than happy to teach others about their process and how the algorithms work

SEO Dos:

Do – your own research on keywords and phrases that are important to you and your company

Do – take note of your key competitors, aspects of their site and rankings

Do– Create content – You can optimize blog posts on your own with tags, keywords and phrases, linking and social sharing

Do– Trash any fluff articles filled with key words or any cluttering on your home page with filler copy in a weak attempt to increase your rank, and do NOT hire someone that condones this

Do – your homework; SEO experts like many self-proclaimed “experts” are a dime a dozen; sort through the clutter and learn how they handle their clients, reporting and strategy. Identify the best SEO strategy and true expert that fits with your business model
So that’s the short list that will hopefully direct you to be informed and be introduced to a trustworthy partner, maybe even us.

Check out the following guest posting service reviews to find out the key features each outreach service has to offer.

Some solid advice for those just starting off is; get yourself involved locally with the business that are already doing what you are aiming for. I have a young nephew that got himself a poorly paid internship at YEAH! Local, I am so proud of him for this, he will learn real time knowledge, which is priceless in the development of a professional. Want to know more about SEO or other online tactics like Google Pay-Per-Click, link building, content creation and monthly reporting? Give me a call or shoot me an email, would love to help out where I can.

Cheers,
Amy
amy@hmgcreative.com

 

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Affiliate Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 by James Trumbly

Almost everyone who uses the internet has interacted with affiliate marketing in some way, though you might not have realized it. Affiliate marketing enables merchants to partner with a third party, or affiliate, to promote their products and services. It seems like a match made in heaven: the merchant gets free advertising, and the affiliate makes a commission on each sales. And in many ways, it is a perfect set-up. But before you jump in with both feet, make sure you’re making an informed decision.

The Good: A Beneficial Partnership

Both merchants and affiliates can reap huge benefits from an affiliate marketing program. Amazon, one of the largest affiliate marketers in the world, has more than a million affiliates happily making money from their ads. Let’s take a look at the pros for both parties:

  • Merchant Benefits: Free ad space, broader audience, greater brand exposure, and—did I mention?—free ad space. Merchants benefit from placing their ads on a wide variety of website types, reaching a much broader audience than they otherwise could—all for free (mostly—see below).
  • Affiliate Benefits: Cash, cash, and cash. Affiliates can make money at home, at work, on the golf course, or on the beach. Just by devoting a small square of their website to advertising.

The Bad: A Risky Proposition

Just as both sides can benefit from affiliate marketing, both sides assume some risk as well. Don’t assume that affiliate marketing is all a bed of roses. Grit your teeth and take a look at the cons:

  • Merchant Cons: False advertising and commission costs. An unscrupulous affiliate can use shady methods to promote your advertisement, causing significant damage to your brand’s reputation. Merchants can also take a hit in the commission department, especially if the advertisements require significant investment of time and resources to create and maintain.
  • Affiliate Cons: No cash, low cash, stolen cash. Fraudulent merchants may end the affiliate program without warning and refuse to pay what they promised. They might also hook affiliates into the program by promising high commission rates and paying less than promised. Finally, affiliates face the risk of getting hacked and having their commissions stolen.

The Ugly: Schemers and Scammers

Because affiliate marketing offers potentially high dividends, it has become a target for nefarious internet bandits. Schemes and scams abound, but if you do your homework and know the risk, you can still benefit greatly from entering into an affiliate marketing agreement.

While affiliate marketing does carry risks, the potential for earning money and gaining exposure far outweigh the negatives. The key is to know as much as you can about the company you’re dealing with and talk to people who have dealt with them before in order to avoid the scammers.

Are you currently an affiliate marketer or a merchant who offers an affilate program?  If so, please share your tips and experiences with us below.