Lose a customer? Ask why.

When I was in the ad agency business, the popular wisdom was, “The day you win a new client, you start to lose it.” The point was, no client stays with your agency forever. They may be with you for six months or twenty years, but sooner or later they’ll go to another agency. Sometimes for a reason that you understand, sometimes for a reason that never even occurred to you.

If, despite all your efforts, you lose a piece of business, it’s important that you know why. Maybe your salesperson has been doing a bad job. Maybe the quality of your service has deteriorated. Don’t just walk away from the situation. Ask the customer to be perfectly frank with you, and tell you why you lost the business. It’s information you need so you can fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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Online advertising: Don’t bet it all on one player

There’s no question that the Internet can be a key element in your marketing plans. If you don’t have a website yet, you’re still in the stone age, and falling further behind every year. There are many advertising opportunities for you, too. Google is by far the biggest player in this game, and sells you ads that will help drive all-important traffic to your site.

You should be warned, however, not to make Google’s Adwords program so important in your marketing that your business will take a serious hit if Google suddenly refuses your advertising.

It happens all the time. If Google decides, without ever consulting you, that your advertising campaign is somehow in conflict with its complex tangle of policies, then you’re OUT. Not just for now, but for FOREVER. They’ll never accept your ads again, to the end of time. There’s no appeal.

Tough, huh?

And if you think you’re smart enough to play the game without crossing Google’s policy line, you could be right, but you could be quite wrong. Many advertisers with the best of intentions have found their businesses “slapped” by Google.

Google is a powerful ad medium, and, used correctly, it can help you make sales. But be careful. Don’t bet the farm on one player.

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Google advertising? A dozen keywords is far too few

Advertising on Google’s PPC (pay per click) Adwords network means you choose a group of keywords, the words and phrases that will cause your ad to be displayed in response to searches by your prospects. If you sell bridal gowns, you choose “bridal gowns” and “wedding dresses” as your keywords, and when a Google user searches for those keywords, she’ll see your ad — and probably the ads of many others who sell bridal gowns.

You should know that two keywords is not nearly enough. A dozen isn’t enough. Fifty might be nearly enough. A hundred is enough.  The big time advertisers might use a thousand, or more.

You’d be surprised at the words your prospects use in their searches. How about “gown for my daughter’s wedding,” or “wedding dresses at discount?” It’s true that most prospects search for the more obvious keywords, but there are plenty of prospective customers out there who search for the less obvious keywords. And by including the less-used keywords in your list, you may have a better chance to compete for some customers. Why? Fewer of your competitors use those keywords, so your ad doesn’t have to fight against theirs for attention. And if it happens that a keyword doesn’t attract prospects, no big deal. You’re paying per click. No clicks, no cost to you.

OK, where can you find fifty keywords that make sense? Or a hundred? Google has a keyword tool you can use, and for free. It will suggest up to 800 possible keywords for you, and tell you how many times each has actually been searched.

If you invest advertising dollars in PPC, pay careful attention to keyword choices. It’s terribly important. A haphazard keyword selection can waste much — if not all — of your ad budget.

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