Friday, May 13, 2022

From Gardening to Digital Marketing: How Cultivating these Gardens Breeds Success

When you think of digital marketing, I'm sure gardening doesn't pop into your head. But, maybe it should. I have been an avid marketer for 30 years, about the same as being a gardener. I've wondered why I love these two things so much and I think I've hit on something. It came to me when I was interviewing for a job. If you're a marketer, learn why cultivating these two gardens breeds success in both your professional and personal life.

Your Marketing Garden

When cultivating your marketing, there are many variables to consider, and depending on what you use, it can make or break a company. Here are four crucial things to think about:

  1. What story do you want to tell? Who, what, where, when, and why (the 5 elements of journalism) also make a big difference in marketing. Who are you marketing to, what are you marketing, where (geography), when (holidays, special events, daily, etc.), and why are you marketing this service, product, etc. Granted, you want your company to succeed and make money, but think about WHY. 

  2. Layout & Design - Just like a garden, you have to know the layout of the space and how you want to design it; the same goes for digital marketing. Are you laying out a website, social media account, email campaign, book, blog, etc? And next, how will you design it? What images and content will you put in it? Will there be weekly blogs and service pages with full descriptions and links? How about your front page, landing pages, contact us, or bios pages? This is a vital key to getting your company out there and marked as an authoritative source.

  3. What keywords are you using? You might ask what this has to do with gardening but think about it. With gardening, the "keyword" is the actual plants you put into the garden, just like keywords are used for marketing. You can put in a ton of keywords to see how well they rank on search engines, or, you can pick specific ones that match your gardening space, layout, and design (products, services, company theme, etc.) Using keywords in the proper place allows visitors to see your marketing garden first and foremost. When it's colorful, spaced just right, and looks inviting, people will want to regularly visit your garden.

  4. Fourth and the most important of all is your ROI and that comes down to cultivating all three above, so your garden breeds success and increases your bottom line. In gardening, cultivating the plants means fertilizing, weeding, watering, and trimming when needed. You need to do the same with your company to potential clients or customers. 
    • Appeal to their interest
    • Nurture them
    • Solve their dilemma
    • Keep them coming back


Seeds of Marketing Gardening Sucess

Once the garden has been planned, created, implemented, cultivated, and nurtured, the reward is a beautiful space that can grow and include many diverse plants of different colors, shapes, textures, and interests - the same as digital marketing. When a plan has been brainstormed, created, carried out, and tracked, you can see the rewards of success. You can see what went wrong and what went right, and learn and grow from the experience. Better, you can change out when needed and create more space to add more exotic and beautiful plants (or products/services) and weed out the competition for long-term marketing success.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Start 2021 with a Gift of Office Pro from TestOut! (Sample email)

For email campaigns to be successful, it’s crucial that subscribers click on the link(s) imbedded in your email, but how do you get them interested enough to click through?


Below is an email sample that has the five elements of good journalism (even though you’re not a journalist), and that is the who, what, where, when, and why. Humans are curious animals, but they just want the information and then they can come to their own conclusions. (media, what a concept, right?) And hey, if it works for journalism, why can’t it work for email campaigns or social media, blogs, articles, website pages, etc?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Email Marketing Campaign for Office Pro and Grant: Sample One


Subject Line: Gift your students a 6 MONTH K12 Grant for Office Pro from TestOut!


Preview: (Name), give your students the best in certification software today with TestOut’s Office Pro grant.


Main: Ring in the new year with TestOut’s K12 Grant for IT and MS Office Pro courseware and see what the buzz is all about.


We are thrilled to offer this grant for the spring 2021 semester that starts January 1 and goes through July 30, 2021. With so many opportunities at your student’s fingertips, they will have a clear direction in which to follow for certification regarding Office Pro, which includes:


  • Word 

  • Excel 

  • PowerPoint 

  • Access

  • And Outlook


You can count on TestOut’s software with all-in-one training and skills testing in real scenarios. As a leading IT education software company, we include complete certification training software, enabling you to provide everything you need to ensure your student’s success.


Click here for more information and to apply for the grant.


Don’t hesitate to take advantage of this unprecedented offer, and give your students the best in certification software, today! 


— Our TestOut Family


Email Marketing Campaign for Office Pro and Grant: Sample Two


Subject Line: Take 2021 in Stride with TestOut’s Office Pro Grant that includes 6 Months of Certification Software at no cost!


Preview: (Name), boost your student’s success when you apply for a 6-Month Office Pro grant from TestOut! 


Main: With 2020 nearly behind us, it’s time to slide into 2021 with our generous Office Pro grant. Starting January 1 until July 30, we offer 6 MONTHS access to our MS Office courseware at no cost to you.


Now is a great time to get your students excited about their future with TestOut’s certification software program, Office Pro. This course includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Outlook, and is a completed training program that allows your students to get ahead.


We include everything you need:


  • Video instruction 

  • Demonstrations 

  • Lab simulations 

  • Text lessons 

  • Comprehensive practice exams


As a leading IT educational software company, TestOut provides proven methods that help keep your students focused and engaged, to ensure their continued success in education.


To learn more about the grant and where you can apply, click here. We know once you peruse our site and see why many schools have adopted these training programs, you will jump on board too.


Here’s to your student’s success and future!


— Our TestOut Family

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Strategy to Maximize an Employer’s 401K Match

(Article ghostwritten for Inquisitr, 2013)

Since many employers started offering 401k plans back in the early 80’s, millions of employees have taken advantage of this gold nugget and maximized their retirement plans. However, due to the state of the economy and other retirement-based issues, experts have now discovered ways to further maximize this additional retirement safety net so your 401k plans go the way you always dreamed.

 

Some great strategies for 401k plans are discussed on US News money blog, with an article specifically addressing retirement strategies that will further protect you; these include some strategies about 401k you may not know about but could really help with retirement plans in the future.

 

In an associated report from this Inquisitr article, Retirement Crisis Looms for the Unprepared, it further drives home the point that workers aren’t saving nearly enough on 401k plans, and since cuts to social security and the ever-decreasing pension funds are occurring at alarming rates, these strategies will be even more critical to your 401k.

 

One such 401k strategy that is gaining popularity and importance is not accepting the default savings rate. New employees usually net only 3 percent for their 401k plans, so if you put in 3 percent, the company will match your investment. For many people, that may not be enough to secure the same lifestyle into retirement. A good strategy for 401k is every year you get a raise, take 1 percent and sock it away into your retirement plan. By doing so, you should have 20 percent of your pay devoted to retirement, and if the company continues to match your 401k, this could result in a future lucrative nest egg.

 

Implementing this strategy can also help with maximizing your tax break. Usually, 401K plans allow you to divert paying income tax on retirement savings since investors can contribute up to $17,000, as of 2012. After age 50, it jumps up to $22,000. For couples, it can reach as high as $57,500 and saving in a 401K plan can claim the saver’s tax credit, which can net savings of $1,000 for single people and $2,000 for couples.

 

Also, you may be tempted to cash out your 401k funds if you quit a job, but doing so before the age of 59 and 6 months amounts to a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty and income tax on the withdrawn amount. Withdrawing early can also cause you to lose out on compound interest, crucial for securing that 401k nest egg.


Utilizing this important strategy will ensure you get the maximum employer’s 401k match. Just remember to ask your HR rep about your 401k questions.




3 Ways Blogging Can Help Improve Your Brand’s Online Visibility

If you have a company, you know the importance, or should know the importance, of getting your content in front of an audience — and that means blogging to help improve your brand’s online visibility. However, writing just any old blog isn’t going to cut it; it needs to contain relevant and engaging information. Continue reading to learn about the 3 ways blogging can help.


  1. Blogging identifies you as an authority figure. When someone is searching for an answer to their question or would like a step-by-step instruction manual on how to replace siding, your blog should be the first one that pops up, or at least be in the first page of search results. It should have relevant keywords that Google or DuckDuckGo can crawl and pick up and rank. Including a catchy meta description captures people’s attention and they will likely click on the link to see what you have to offer. This is when a blog can establish credibility and answer someone’s question or solve their dilemma. Don’t underestimate what a good blog post can do for your brand.


  1. Guest blogging is a great way to improve your visibility online because it affords an opportunity for you to branch out and reach a wider audience. Setting yourself apart from the competition means getting your company’s brand out there. When you guest-blog, it establishes your company as a thought leader, thus increasing traffic when readers can link back to your site. If done every once in a while, it can boost your traffic and conversions.


  1. Blogging is the perfect way to engage social media, which then increases your online presence. When you post a blog to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al, followers can click on the link that takes them directly to the blog post. This can improve online brand visibility as well. The more followers, the more likely your content gets exposure. Using an infographic highlights the blog and is an excellent visual, as well as memes, videos, or reviews. The key is more visibility in key places that subscribe to your brand. 


This is just the tip of the iceberg with blogging. If you don’t yet use blogging for your brand, this is an excellent time to get started. Content specialists know what it takes to increase a brand’s online visibility, and they do it with YOUR vision, goals, and mission in mind. Contact a marketing content specialist to learn more.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

PPC for E-commerce, Target Revenue and Profit, Not Conversions (Ghostwrote for Inquistr)

When you pay Google $10k for traffic or clicks to your website, you expect something in return right? In fact, for that kind of money, you expect an increase of revenue or else why invest the money.


Over 95% of the market measures their success with the average cost per conversion (the so-called CPA model). The problem is, most online retailers carry hundreds of products and a conversion does not carry the same value across the board.


So what kind of return do you expect?


The CPA model is terribly incomplete. In the end you want an increase in revenue and profit right? How can you quantify the value of a ‘conversion’ if you have hundreds of products at different prices? Remember, keywords are NOT products! You need to know the value of each keyword based on the collective revenue it generates, whether the shopper buys one product or multiple products. PPC for eCommerce means Bidding for Revenue AND Profit.


What if you knew that for every dollar you spend on AdWords you could earn five dollars back? If you knew that the NEXT click = 2X PROFIT, would you bid MORE? Of course you would.



It’s All About The Outcome


The outcome you want from your advertising changes everything. Why? Because when the desired outcome changes, everything you do to influence that outcome changes too.


There are 3 buckets of activities that influence your performance from Google AdWords:   


(1) Increase PRESENCE

  • Keyword coverage - you miss 100% of the clicks when your ad doesn’t show up for prospect keywords
  • Are you participating in all the relevant keyword auctions that match the products you have to sell? This defines your market size.
  • What profitable PPC keywords are you missing? Your best keywords might not be what you think and you need to find these gold nuggets. 


(2) Effectively COMPETE  


When you’re bidding for a target keyword, the more certain you are about the outcome, the more aggressive or passive you can be; this is why knowing the outcome is so important.


  • Increase Your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) - whichever ad fills the consumers need the best wins. Period.
  • Bid Higher - when it comes to bidding, the more popular the targeted keywords, the more competitive they’ll be. If a keyword is more profitable, then you can commit more of your budget to getting the top spot. Your competitors are most likely ‘digging for gold’ elsewhere and will be spending their budgets ineffectively.
  • Effectively Use Ad Extensions - this is a feature that displays extra information on a business such as address, phone number, extra webpage links, or coupons. Changes ou make here could entice ap prospect to click.
  • Improve Your Quality Score - the higher your quality score, the higher your ad ranks without needing to pay more. It is also Google’s way of saying your ad meets your potential customer’s needs.
  • Effective Ad copy - You’re allotted 25 characters for the ad title and 70 for the description, this is precious real estate and makes all the difference.



(3) Continually OPTIMIZE


The ability to optimize comes from the very large data flow that comes from the keywords that drive your presence, the ads that create the clicks and the financial outcome that results. The amount of data available is your friend because it helps you reduce risk and create leverage behind your budget, but because of the sheer volume of data it can only effectively be managed by software.


  • Bid for Revenue - Using adwords’ value tracking capabilities, you can attach a monetary value to each product and track your ROI accordingly. You’d be surprised how many online retailers don’t use this invaluable function
  • Bid for Profit - using your product data feed, only Finch can tell you how much profit each keyword generates. 
  • Bid by match type - for each keyword there is a match type associated with it, which basically determines how broad or narrow a user's search query will match to the keyword in your AdWords
  • Bid on the sales funnel - you know your own sales funnel better than anyone else and should structure your adwords campaign accordingly 


Remarketing

  • Implement profiles - set up the right profile, which excludes visits from your internal IP, so you can see how much actual traffic your site is generating from outside of your business or organization. 
  • Bid progressively - this is where lead-scoring comes into play and affects how aggressive you can be with remarketing. If a visitor came to your site and left immediately, then they still need a lot of warming up. But lets say a prospect left at the checkout page, then you can be more aggressive with remarketing ads. 



For example, when Kitchenware Direct, Australia’s premier cookware and kitchenware online store, partnered with Finch they saw their revenue climb by 9% using PLAs (Product Listing Ads) that Google released February 2013 in Australia. They also decreased their adspend by 64%. 




About Finch

After working together for almost 10 years to build up one of the first SaaS eCommerce platforms that captured over $1B in online sales for their clients, Finch founders Eric and Bjorn grew increasingly frustrated by not being able to find partners that could deliver predictable, consistent, and profitable paid search advertising solutions for their clients. Paid search represents the largest online advertising channel for most businesses today.


It seemed the bigger the upfront promise, the bigger the upfront fees that partners would charge – only there were no repercussions when the partner failed to meet their promise. In an industry filled with aggressive upfront promises, upfront fees, monthly minimum payments, and two-year contracts, they found that the average client relationship lasted about 8 months. Clearly the wrong balance existed in the vendor-client relationships with the client taking all the risk and the vendor locking in their own revenues regardless of performance. This is where Finch found its start.


Finchbot is Finch’s revolutionary system that automatically analyzes and monitors keywords. Finchbot is Intelligent Automation that continually learns and improves the performance of your campaigns 24/7/365, never taking a day off. The combination of PPC model, systems, data analysis and algorithms is proven to work as shown by over their over 300 customers. They focus on bidding smarter not more because Finchbot can intelligently analyze keywords and make decisions based on their effectiveness, relevance, and importance.


Get Started


To get started with Finch, take advantage of a complimentary audit where you can observe your campaign’s past cost and conversion history, as well as see where improvements need to be made. This auditing process should take no more than five minutes and will provide valuable data to ensure your campaign is performing to maximize your profit. 


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Out with the Old, In with the New!

This year has been a roller coaster of a ride. Starting in March, we dismantled our old upper deck and cleared out stuff underneath for a bottom deck. It took us 6 months, but in August of this year, we finished and now have a new beautiful upper and lower deck! It took many hours, but it’s finished and man, do we love it.






Look at the difference from 9 months ago!!


Anyway, now that fall has hit, and even some winter conditions, it’s time to huddle indoors and be a hermit. Well, can’t really do that, because I just got a new job after working conditions at my old job were not good. I left my old job three days ago, got a phone interview the next day and an in-person interview the day after. Two hours after, I got the offer!! That was the fastest time from going from one job to another and it’s a bit of a whirlwind, but an exciting one.

I went from being a copywriter to a content director, and the building is 5 minutes from home on the freeway.

When one door closes, another one opens - and quickly in my case. I felt it was a vindication from what happened in my last job and from being attacked by two dogs last month.

Now, I say, bring on the holidays!! OH, and next project is new kitchen cabinets, counters, and bathroom tile!! And, next spring, new landscaping with square foot gardening, revamped flower gardens, and maybe even a deck slide for the grandkids!

We got our work cut out for us!

Soon, I will post about ‘The One Thing,’ a great book about finding that one daily thing to focus on, particularly when it comes to work.

Enjoy the extra hour of sleep, (for those who come off D.S.T. ) come tonight!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Sample of B2B Article and How It’s a Win-Win for You Both

You’ve known about business-to-business marketing - businesses that market to other businesses, either in the form of a product, service, or informative content - but did you know, with the help of link-building, digital content marketing can help you both out. It’s different than business to consumer writing, where you are marketing to a consumer or individual, instead of a corporation, so of course the rules will be a bit different.

When you target other businesses, you want your content to reflect how you can help them increase their sales and productivity, therefore their bottom line. In an example I will list below, you will see how writing for the B2B market isn’t necessarily hard, it just means learning what the company needs and ensuring you have it, whether that’s a product, service, or just plain good information. Once that’s established, you can link to other publishers that then link-build back to your business, either by a direct quote or other articles that are relevant, increasing your traffic, as well. Better yet, the more links you build, the more you rank on search engines. 
According to Neil Patel, entrepreneur and influencer, it’s vital to have links from diverse sites, to ensure a higher ranking. 



Example: (Article ghostwritten for The Inquisitr, 2014)


401(k) Strategy To Maximize Your Employers Match


https://www.inquisitr.com/1119872/401k-strategy-to-maximize-employers-match/

Since many employers started offering 401k plans back in the early 80’s, millions of employees have taken advantage of this gold nugget and maximized their retirement plans. However, due to the state of the economy and other retirement-based issues, experts have now discovered ways to further maximize this additional retirement safety net so your 401k plans go the way you always dreamed.

Some great strategies for 401k plans are discussed on US News money blog, with an article specifically addressing retirement strategies that will further protect you; these include some strategies about 401k you may not know about but could really help with retirement plans in the future.

In an associated report from this Inquisitr article, Retirement Crisis Looms for the Unprepared, it further drives home the point that workers aren’t saving nearly enough on 401k plans, and since cuts to social security and the ever-decreasing pension funds are occurring at alarming rates, these strategies will be even more critical to your 401k.

One such 401k strategy that is gaining popularity and importance is not accepting the default savings rate. New employees usually net only 3 percent for their 401k plans, so if you put in 3 percent, the company will match your investment. For many people, that may not be enough to secure the same lifestyle into retirement. A good strategy for 401k is every year you get a raise, take 1 percent and sock it away into your retirement plan. By doing so, you should have 20 percent of your pay devoted to retirement, and if the company continues to match your 401k, this could result in a future lucrative nest egg.

Implementing this strategy can also help with maximizing your tax break. Usually, 401K plans allow you to divert paying income tax on retirement savings since investors can contribute up to $17,000, as of 2012. After age 50, it jumps up to $22,000. For couples, it can reach as high as $57,500 and saving in a 401K plan can claim the saver’s tax credit, which can net savings of $1,000 for single people and $2,000 for couples.

Also, you may be tempted to cash out your 401k funds if you quit a job, but doing so before the age of 59 and 6 months amounts to a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty and income tax on the withdrawn amount. Withdrawing early can also cause you to lose out on compound interest, crucial for securing that 401k nest egg.

Utilizing this important strategy will ensure you get the maximum employer’s 401k match. Just remember to ask your HR rep about your 401k questions.

When you can build links back to your company, through several avenues, it can substantially increase your traffic, leading to new customers or clients.

From Gardening to Digital Marketing: How Cultivating these Gardens Breeds Success

When you think of digital marketing, I'm sure gardening doesn't pop into your head. But, maybe it should. I have been an avid market...