How to Start an Online Clothing Store in 12 Steps

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This article is meant to be a very rough outline in the process of starting up an e-commerce based clothing store or boutique. In the high-paced and competitive world of fashion retail setting up your store is just the first step and quite honestly has little bearing on how successful your store will actually be. For example, Bluefly.com has an estimated monthly traffic of 840K, but since going public in 1998 has never made a single year of profit. As of December 31, 2009, Bluefly has an accumulated deficit of $ 147,468,000. Your guess on how they remain in business is as good as mine, but think of it this way. Even if you only make $ 1.00 of profit your first year of business, then you are technically doing better than Bluefly.

Please note, many of these steps can be done concurrently. For example, while you are filing your legal forms, you can work on your web design. This is especially true if you are depending on a third-party to design and set-up your website. They may work on a longer time frame than you initially anticipated. I do highly suggest that you just focus on the business plan initially. For example, if you decide that you are going to design your website with a specific concept while you write your business plan, then you just might find after researching that your concept is not what you're going to move forward with. In this case, you probably spent 40-60 hours on non-productive output.

1. Write a business plan.

To be honest with you, when my girlfriend and I launched our website, we did not have a business plan, but we did write one eventually. The simple fact is that if you are planning for success, then you must write a business plan sooner or later. In business school, you write it sooner than later. The business plan is important because it forces you to do research about the industry, your competitors, and your resources. Additionally, it forces you to think deeply about how you are going to succeed in this highly competitive industry. If you think that you are going to be just like Modcloth, then why would you expect to be successful compared to Modcloth when they are working with millions of dollars of venture capitalist funds for a workforce, marketing, inventory, etc. I do not have an answer for you, but my point is that you have to come up with a plan before investing your life's savings into this new venture. Also, the business plan is important because it also forces you to estimate how much money you will need and where that many is coming from. The reality is that unless you have real background in finance, you will not be able to build a 5-10 year projected Discounted Cash Flow Model and figure out your WACC, but having some kind of rough idea of ​​your cash flow is better than nothing .

You should also include a plan on how you are going to initially set-up your website. For example, using a subscription-based shopping cart will change your budget than if you decide to use an open-source shopping cart. Also, you should also do your initial research on web hosting companies since they can range from $ 10 / month to over $ 300 / month. My only suggestion is that you get the fastest and most reliable that your budget will allow. Please note, that all I'm suggesting is that you plan what you are going to do as far as web design and hosting is concerned, not that you go out and pay for these services right now. The only expense that you may want to consider at this moment is that for registering a domain name. That's because they are relatively inexpensive to register and you do not want to possibly miss out on registering your wanted domain.

You should come up with a budget and plan for marketing, public relations, and search engine optimization. These will most likely be your largest expense heading into the future. Remember, buying inventory is not an expense, it is an asset.

Last, but not least, you also want to plan on order fulfillment. This is just a fancy way of saying how you are going to pack and send your product, as well as what return procedure and policy you will have in place. Will you use USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL? Will you have free shipping, returns, and / or exchanges? These are all things that should be planned for, though will change over time.

2. Apply for a Employer Identification Number with the IRS

Once again, if you are planning for success in the future, then you are going to have to run your business legally. You will need an EIN to open a bank account, apply for a business license, and get a seller's permit. Just search "EIN" in the Google search engine and the IRS website should be the first result. When applying for your EIN, you will need to know the legal structure of your business. For example, if your business is going to be a one man or woman show, then you are going to apply as a sole proprietor. If it turns out that you and your mom are going to run the business, then you may choose partnership or decide to incorporate.

Pick your fictitious business name, "Doing Business As," and file it with your county clerk

One of the more exciting step in setting up your business will always be picking a name. My girlfriend and chose TIL Darling because before we were officially a couple, she would tell me that in Thailand, her home country, that she and I could never go out alone as even friends. I told her, "This is London, Darling." So, I guess our business name should technically be TIL, Darling, to be more grammatically correct. Once you have your fictitious business name, you need to make a pretty good attempt to make sure no one else is using that same name. Otherwise, years down the line when you are making money, you can expect a letter from a lawyer saying how they are going to sue the designer pants off of you.

If your county registrar / clerk has a website with downloadable forms, then search for the DBA filing form, fill it out, and bring it to the county clerk. Otherwise, you will just have to do everything in person. There, you will probably have your first business expense with the filing fee. Your second expense will be the requirement that you advertise your new business name in an approved newspaper or public publication so that if anyone has a problem with your DBA then they can step forward. The county clerk will be able to point you in the right direction for this step.

3. Open a business bank account

Again, planning for future success, you will want to open up a separate bank account for your business. This way, you can track and easily separate business expenses from your personal expenses, write checks or have transactions under your business name, and just generally feel like a real business.

4. Start designing and setting up your website

There are actually a few methods of going forward with your website. I will explore a few options starting from the most costly to the least costly. Even though I would have to question whether or not running an online business if for you, but if you have extremely limited experience with web design or are just not internet savvy, then you may need to do everything third-party. If you realize that you're going to need someone to design your website, initially set-up your domain and site, then you will probably need to find some kind of subscription based shopping cart. For example, if you have money to spend, then search "boutiquecommerce" in the Google search engine. This company will do just about everything for you, from web design, domain registration, web hosting, to ongoing support. There are many third-party shopping carts fitting almost any budget. To be honest, I have no experience with any paid or subscription based shopping cart and so I will limit any opinion I have on them.

Another alternative is to buy a website template designed on top of an open-source (free) shopping-cart platform. Search "templatemonster" in the Google search engine. Filter your search to include E-Commerce templates and choose "fashion" as your category, though you can customize any template to your needs in reality.

On a side note, before you purchase your template, you should set-up your server. During your business plan research, you should have figured out what web host fits best for you, but now is the time to actually spend some money because you will not be able to test your template unless you have a server to upload it to. This also means that if you have not done so already, then you will have to finally register your domain name, which is something you should have also figured out in your business plan. Most web hosts will actually register your domain for free, but feel free to use a service, such as godaddy, and you'll need to change the namerservers to point to your web host.

Once you have your template and web host, then you need to upload your template and start customizing it. You can either use a "template tuning" service or if you have enough html, php, and photoshop experience, then you can do it yourself. Unfortunately, this step can be pretty difficult even for somewhat internet savvy users because this is where you will need to learn a little bit about setting up a database, setting up a database user, and how to use an FTP program to upload your site. That's why some may opt to use a third-party shopping cart, but this option is by far the most flexible and cheapest if you have the time and are willing to learn.

You will also need to figure out how you will accept payment on your website. If you want to accept credit cards, which you should, then you will need a payment gateway. The most popular would be PayPal Pro and Authorize.net. You will need to apply for an account.

Of course, there is the ultimate DYI approach, where you can not only design your own website, but also code your own shopping cart. If this is the case, then I highly doubt you need to read this section of my tutorial.

5. Make Business Cards

Yes, I actually made this an individual step because you will need a business card to register for trade shows, as well as deal with suppliers. Since you are also working on your website design, it is also more efficient to work on a business card design. Additionally, you need some lead time because printers will charge you extra to expedite printing and shipping. So, if you plan ahead, you can save quite a bit of money.

6. Apply for a business license in your city

Once again, if your city has website dedicated to business, then you should be able to download an application for a business license. In some cities, you can even apply for a home-based business license. Of course, only fill out a home-based business license if that is your case. Bring or even possibly mail your completed application and filing fee to the appropriate location. The reason I put this step after designing your website is because the business license fee is a yearly fee and so why pay when you are not even close to launching your website.

7. Apply for a Seller's Permit

At this point, you should be fairly proficient at filing out forms. The last application you should have to file is for your seller's permit, sometimes mistakenly called a resale license. The seller's permit will allow you to buy from your wholesalers without paying sales tax, but it also requires you to pay the sales tax on any items sold, within your state, every quarter. Of course, in modern commerce, you are allowed to collect the sales tax from your customers.

8. Figure out how you are going to display your products

Before you actually source your products, I believe it is wise to first figure out how you are going to display your products on your website. Are you going to use a mannequin, model, or just lay it flat. Will you outsource your product photography or do it right in your bedroom, which is how we first started. If you are going to do it yourself, then you still need to make sure it fits your budget and business plan as far as purchasing equipment. If you are going to need equipment, then now is the time to either jump online or go out and start making a real investment in your business.

9. Plan your product mix and find suppliers

While you are figuring out how you will ultimate display your products, you will want to start researching where you will buy your products. If you have not done so, then you will want to start thinking more about your product mix. Of course, it needs to fit perfectly with your business plan, concept, and budget you already established in step 1. Fashion buying is another topic completely and I highly suggest you read up on it if you can.

After you have some kind of buying plan, it's time to find suppliers. If you are lucky, then you will be able to catch the MAGIC Marketplace trade show in Las Vegas. They have vendors for vintage inspired clothing, juniors clothing, indie clothing, etc. It is essentially the largest fashion trade show in the USA and maybe the world. If you can not find suppliers at MAGIC, then I would honestly be surprised. If you can not wait for the bi-annual trade show, then you are most likely going to need to take a trip to the Los Angeles Fashion District. If you are looking for the glamorous world of designer labels, then you will be spending your time at "The Intersection." At this intersection you will find the California Market Center, Cooper Design Space, Gerry Building, and The New Mart. Here you can find brands such as ABS By Allen Schwartz, BCBG, and Betsey Johnson. If you are in this market, then be sure to bring copies of your business license, business card, and seller's license. Also, as an online business, be prepared to be rejected by many showrooms. If you're like me though, then it should only inspire you to be more successful so that when the time comes you can reject them.

If your price point is a lot lower, then you are going to really want to spend time around the San Pedro Mart area. You will probably find that 80-90% of these wholesalers are not right for your target market, but that only means that you should find 10% -20% that is right and will be able to focus on building those relationships into the future.

Of course, you can always turn to the internet, registering with sites like fashiongo and lashowroom. Additionally, you can contact individual brand sales reps and they should send you line sheets and look books. In fact, this is how most business will be later in the future, but I suggest you visit trade shows and marts to get your feet a little wet.

10. Start product photography and adding content to your website

Since you should have planned earlier for product photography, this step should be self explanatory. You want to add the products to your website and get it ready for a more official launch.

11. Start your marketing campaign, Search Engine Optimization campaign, and PR campaign

Again, these campaigns should have already been planned in the first step. This step is pretty much a hundred different subjects on its own and so I will not really dive to deep into it. The most rudimentary start would be to submit your site to search engines, such as Google and Yahoo !, sign up for Google AdWords, and start a Facebook and Twitter account. There is probably a good chance that will have to depend on paid advertising to get decent traffic at the beginning, but I highly suggest you plan and budget appropriately.

It might take one day or a whole month, but you're going to get your first order and at that point you can finally say you really set-up your online clothing store.

12. Keep learning as much as you can

Like I said, setting up an online clothing store is just the first step. In reality, you are going to have to learn as much as you can about fashion buying, merchandising, marketing, search engine optimization, html, php, ajax, javascript, analytics, etc.

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Source by Daniel Hsu

Keyword Research Is the First Step in SEO

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Keyword Research is the Beginning of SEO

Here we are blogging daily, sometimes several times a day, and working hard toward getting our blog posts and articles indexed and ranked by the search engines. When people start blogging, they have a tendency to throw the words onto the page and call it good. I mean, it's blogging, right? Is not blogging like writing a diary for everyone else to read?

Sorry. Not now, and not if you want to earn some money from your efforts. A blog post needs to be optimized for the search engines. Your content needs to be fresh, informative, valuable, and unique. So where do you start?

Keyword Research – The Simple Approach

If you're just getting started in keyword research and tailoring your blog posts to rank and be recognized, there are a few very simple things you can do to get going.

First, we're going to be using a free tool. And yes, it's the Google's Keyword Tool, which is part of their AdWords program. You will get far better results if you open an account with AdWords, but you do not have to. Go on over to the tool and take a look

Type in a keyword or phrase in the top box, fill out the Capture code boxes, and click on search. If you have an account, you will get a lot more results. But just to get started, we'll do it without an account.

What you actually are looking for here is a keyword or keyword phrase in your niche topic that has low to medium competition and decent global and local searches. The keyword tool will tell you which keywords have low and medium (as well as high) competition. So that's pretty easy to figure out.

When it comes to global and local searches, you need to decide how popular the term is and whether you will get any traffic from the search term. You certainly want your global searches to be above 5000 and your local searches to be above 1000 a month. As you gain experience, improve your writing, and are seeing success with this method, then you can push to gain ranking and position with keywords that have higher searches and higher competition scores.

Keyword Research Practice

For today's purposes, let's choose a keyword. Open up the Google Keyword Tool and let's do this keyword research together. Let's say we are going to write an article about "camping." So put "camping" into the search box, fill out that Capture box, click search and you will see a list of keywords related to camping, their competition, and the searches per month.

Funny thing on this one, "Camping" itself is a low competition keyword with high searches monthly. Just for fun, open another tab on your browser, type in camping in the search bar, and you will see there are over 500 million sites with the keyword camping in their content. To me, those odds are not worth even attempting. I would want to see a results response of under 500,000 sites.
Continue With Keyword Research to Drill Down to Usable Keywords

As you see, by not having an actual AdWords account, you are limited to 100 results. With an account, you would have pages of keyword ideas and the ability to weed out the ones that will not work pretty quickly. You can actually filter results by using the advanced options. I would select specifically in the filters options: low & medium competition, Global searches greater than 5000, Local Searches greater than 1000.

So now you have gotten keyword research results for those criteria. This is where I would go through each keyword idea, have an open browser tab to search the keyword phrase and see how many websites contain those words. Can you find any that you want to try to rank for?

Keyword Research Using Exact Match Filter

Okay. I just found the keyword phrase "camping with kids." As a broad search, that came back with over 72 millions results. Now, let's do the keyword research as an exact match. That means you search with the keyword term in quotations "camping with kids." What do we have now for results? 216,000 websites with the exact keyword match.

This would be a keyword phrase worth working with. You have now done a simple keyword research exercise, have found a keyword phrase that could give you some good results in ranking your blog posts, and you are set to start writing an article on this topic. Remember to try to use the keyword phrase as close to 2 percent of your total words as possible.

Hope you've found this simple keyword research post to be useful in your endeavors to rank your blog posts higher in the search engines.

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Source by Cheryl E Keyworth

Top 10 Methods for Advertising Your Home Improvement Business

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People often ask us the same question: "What's the best way to advertise my Home Improvement business and gather leads?" We've compiled a handy list of the 10 most useful tools to advertise your business and see results.

1. Build a Good Online Presence

For what may seem like an obvious necessity for most, some companies still do not value the importance of a good website. While most companies do have an online presence, it may not be attractive or user-experience optimized. A good website should convey the businesses' goals, experience, qualities, and services in an easy to read way. There should be a blatant call to action, and sufficient information for the viewer. If the potential client can glance at your page and get all the important information needed, you are that much closer to reeling them in.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Many people think that SEO is solely related to building links and advertising your website link. A large part of search engine optimization is related to the way your page is set up. Are you taking advantage of meta keywords and titles? Are you using headers properly? Does your site have a large amount of unique content optimized for targeting certain keywords? These are all important things to consider.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is a great way to advertise your services. You can hire a designer to create a small ad for you to embed into your Craigslist post, or simply use HTML to format a nice, easy to read, eye-catching advertisement. Re-post as per Craigslist's guidelines and keep your business's name out there.

4. Adwords

Google provides a great PPC (pay-per-click) advertising system which will target related websites that use Google Adsense to display your ads. You can target your chosen demographic, choose how much you'd like to pay for every click, and modify the appearance of your ad. They offer text ads, image ads, and rich media ads (flash, animation).

5. Social Media

These days social media is becoming the leading the way for advertising and creating a "friendly" relationship with your clients and fans. Create a Fan page on Facebook, establish a Twitter account, or create a blog. these are all great methods to attract your customers.

6. Blog Commenting

Find blogs related to your industry. Search them out, and post meaningful, relevant comments in the comments section. Be sure to add a link to your website, with a keyword that you'd like to target in the search engines. Slow and steady is the key to seeing results; keep at it on a daily / weekly basis and in due time you'll see results.

7. Local Advertising

If your business is based locally, an ad in a local magazine or newspaper is a great option. Some companies provide direct mail advertising, which allows you to localize your advertisement in a demographic of your choice.

8. Content is King

Creating and publishing unique content will provide your website visitors with an interesting read, a potential link-back, and will improve your chances at getting picked up by the search engines. Google is beginning to heavily penalize websites with unoriginal content, and content of poor quality. Do not get cut by the search engines. Keep your content interesting, unique, and greatness will follow.

9. Word of Mouth

Sometimes in these technological days we forget the importance of word of mouth! Do not ever underestimate the power of a good recommendation. Treat your customers with respect and handle their job with excellence and you just might get the good word passed on.

10. Physical Ads

Physical advertisements such as billboards, bus benches, and other sign-age are often expensive, but they are generally high-profile and attention-getting. If you have the marketing funds available, give it a shot and see how it works. Create a marketing campaign and if the results are lower than you expected or needed, try another route.

While there are many methods that businesses use to market themselves, these are the top 10 ways to achieve positive results in this ever-advancing technological age. Try these steps for yourself and watch your business rise to success!

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Source by Kevin Iamburg

The Good And The Bad Of Contextual Advertising

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Contextual advertising is a type of online advertising commonly used for content-based websites. With contextual advertising, targeted ads appear based on the page’s actual content.

First, a contextual advertising system scans the text of a webpage for keyword phrases. Then, the system returns specific, targeted ads based on the content people are viewing.

If a person is looking at a page of art supplies, the ads in those pages would be of art suppliers, painting sellers, online art museums, and such.

Contextual ads appear as:

  • Separate ads that are placed in specific areas of the page
  • Inline or in-text contextual ads

Sponsored links ads

Generally these ads are text ads with links to the related websites. The website owner can choose the location on his website where he would like to place contextual ads. Your ad will come in a box labeled sponsored links. You will need to use the services of pay-per-click search engines to do contextual advertising. This format is popularized by Google AdWords and Adsense.

Inline ads

Inline ads appear in the form of links to the text phrases in the content of the website. When the mouse hovers over that phrase, a short description will come in a box that looks like a tool-tip. If the reader wishes to know more, he can simply click on the link.

Advantages of contextual advertising

  • You get to reach only those people who are already looking for that information or related information
  • You pay only if anybody clicks on your link
  • Such links don’t annoy people
  • If the information you provide is good the user gets delighted

Disadvantages of contextual advertising

  • It distracts people away from the content they want to read
  • If the location of the ad is between the content, then people might get annoyed
  • Such ads have become so common that web users have started ignoring them
  • Your competitors’ ads might get placed along with your ads
  • Serious users who are looking for information generally do not click on ads

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Source by Anuja Aggarwal

SEO Keyword Research Tips For Yoga Studio Businesses

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SEO can be broken down into 2 main categories – on-page and off-page, also called on-site and off-site SEO. This article focuses on on-page SEO for a yoga business such as a yoga studio to improve a yoga business marketing campaign.

What is on-page SEO?

It’s researching and properly placing key search terms in each page of your website. Key search terms are also called keywords.

It’s critical that your yoga studio website use the very keywords that your prospective students will use to search for the yoga services they want. If your website is found by people who aren’t interested in your site, then you don’t have the optimal search terms.

Keyword research is a refining process. It’s never perfect; it’s a constant work in progress. You measure success by results. Results are the number of visitors to your website and the percentage of visitors who contact your yoga studio.

What are good keywords for a yoga business?

A good starting point for keyword research for a yoga studio is thinking of the required keywords in 2 categories:

  • Your location: your town, the nearest large city, surrounding towns, your county, your state, and any other commonly referred to geographic names in your area.
  • The yoga styles you teach: yin yoga, hatha yoga, kundalini, Bikram, etc.
  • General benefits: yoga, meditation, wellness, health, fitness, yogi, yoga teacher training, etc.

Keep in mind that the term “keyword” refers to a single work and phrases.

Where to research the best keywords?

Google AdWords is a free keyword research resource. I use it all the time. It’s simple, fast, and free. Be sure under “match type” at the top of the right column (in a search results page) to select the “exact” option for more precise results. The results will show you how many searches are performed for many related keywords and keyword phrases.

You want to try a variety of searches; some with your geographic terms, and some without. Don’t be discouraged if phrases with geographic terms have very few monthly searches (i.e. 50); if it shows a number that’s great. Remember that specific geographic search phrases (i.e. “Bellingham Yin Yoga”) with your yoga style will likely rank very well. That means those 50 searches in the future will list your site.

Where to place keywords in your site?

Your keywords, including phrases, must be placed the meta titles, headings, and used in the written content of a web page. Every page in your website is an optimization opportunity. Do not solely optimize your home page. For any yoga studio, you should be able to create a list of 50 to 100 keywords / phrases.

Here’s the thing, each web page in your site should have no more than 2 to 3 keywords. 1 if your keyword phrase is 5 or more words. This means you must methodically plan out on which pages you will place which keyword phrases.

Now you can see why a blog is so valuable; you can create as many new posts as you want and each post can be optimized for a new keyword phrase. Take for example a 15 page website with a blog that has 50 posts. This site has a total of 65 web pages. If each page (a post is a page) has 2 keyword phrases, that site is optimized for 130 keyword phrases. Without the blog, the site could only be optimized for 30 keyword phrases.

That is an overview of on-page, aka on-site SEO for a yoga business. Remember, on-page SEO is only part of the SEO equation; off-page SEO is equally, if not more important than on-page SEO for building tons of quality traffic to your site and blog.

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Source by Daniel Rushmore

2 Traffic Methods For Clickbank Products You Promote

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Are you currently promoting products on Clickbank, but your sales are low? Maybe your problem is a case of low traffic. Not having a lot of website traffic coming through to your site isn’t a good thing. It can cause you to wake up everyday and continually see $0 earned each and everyday. You need to fix this problem if this is your situation.

In this lesson, I want to share with you some traffic strategies that you can use to get more promotion to the Clickbank product you’re promoting, and how you can start finally getting sales on a consistent basis – all while not losing your shirt during the process. Here’s the first traffic strategy:

1) Pay per click advertising

To make this strategy work well for you, you will need to sell a high priced item on Clickbank. If you’re promoting an ebook on Clickbank for $19, you don’t want to use pay per click (PPC) to drive traffic to your site. There will be no room for a lot of profits – even if your conversion rate was 2%.

Instead, promote a high “gravity” product that sells for $200 or more. That way if you’re using PPC and you get a sale for 50% commission… you can earn $100 for that sale made. Depending on your cost per click, I’m confident that you can a nice $2,000 – $3,000 a month using this tactic.

But don’t rely solely on PPC alone. There are other traffic strategies that you will want to use to get promotion to the Clickbank product you’re promoting. Just don’t blow the bank on pay per click, and you will be good to go. Here’s another traffic strategy that you will want to use:

2) Blogging

This is a really popular tactic that people use to make money with Clickbank. And the kind of blogs that people create are different – but in the end, they all aim to accomplish the same goal – to make commissions. Blog style is different, but the good news is that you won’t have to hire a developer to create nice blog for you.

Some people create personal relationship style blogs. Some people set up blogs that are basically “product review” blogs. And some people set up blogs that solely deliver excellent content, and encourages people subscribe or buy the product that they’re promoting. You have to find out what kind of blog style work for you.

I’m not going to lie… I’m a bit of a “lazy” marketer. My style of blog is the “excellent content” blog – that a lot of people like to leave comments on. It is what it is… I mean it serves its purpose, but this is just one of the traffic strategies that I implement to compliment my site and the products that I sell.

PPC and blogging are incredibly simple and easy to use, and I hope that you will use them both to make money with Clickbank. Both concepts are simple, and if you’re going to use PPC, stick with Google AdWords and Bing Ads. If you’re going to do blogging, make sure you get a WordPress blog. These are all reliable services.

Good luck with getting traffic to your site today to sell your Clickbank affiliate product.

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Source by Randall A Magwood

The First Background Image Advertising Company Relaunched As an Advertising Platform

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Adcamo, the company based in Scottsdale, Arizona re-launched yesterday as a background image advertising platform. Previously, the company was an ad network itself using the same technology which now it leverages to publishers and other ad networks. By doing that, Adcamo can concentrate on improving their technology and also function as a gatekeeper (Google is also a gatekeeper in advertising, which made them rich).

Background advertising was never touched before (except MySpace to some extent) and Adcamo patented this technology (patent-pending, actually) and it empowers others to use it. That means publishers who wants to sell their background as an advertising space now can use Adcamo’s technology to manage this. The company also released an API which can be used by the ad networks and agencies to integrate into their own systems or software.

Their platform not only offers features which can be found in a standard ad platform (create campaigns, track click, impressions, view details – similar to Google AdWords or OpenX platforms), but also offers a unique feature: TBC (Time Before Click). This metric measures the time from when the page loaded until the user clicked on an ad, which indicates how effective an ad is: the sooner a user clicks on an advertisement, the more effective that advertisement is.

They offer three background ad formats:

tiled background (the image is spread to fill in the entire background and it moves as you scroll up and down (frankly, I don’t like this format because it can ruin the design of a webpage and make it look amateurish…look at MySpace pages, and you kinda get the idea).

pillar (the image stays on top of the background and when you scroll down the background image disappears towards the top – I believe this is the best background ad format so far. It’s not that intrusive and certainly not ruining a webpage design too much; it actually blends with the design tendencies in the last period of time).

projection (in this case the background image is in fixed position so when you scroll, the content scrolls too, but not the background image – this is a compromise between the two options above).

These three formats are also clickable (yes, you can see the background ad but you can also click on it).

These background ad formats will make publishers and ad networks/agencies carefully choose the banners they use for their campaigns. The publishers will want banners that won’t spoil the design of their website/page and will also give them a good payoff. The ad networks/agencies will probably work with the advertisers to make banners that won’t interfere too much with a website design. The banners are sometimes tied to the background image, so whatever is shown in the banners will also show up in the background image. But sometimes they are not, so the background image and the banners could be separate yet complement each other.

Now, the only thing left to prove is if the background advertising will take off. I’m pretty sure many users are very annoyed by the pop-up ads, pop-under ads, layer ads, and interstitial ads, so I think it has a good chance.

Will they be annoyed by the background ads too? (and, by the way, there’s no way for now to block the background ads like there are ways to block pop-up and pup-under ads).

If the users will embrace this kind of advertising (like they embraced the text ads) then Adcamo could be quite successful as a business.

What do you think as a user (publisher or advertiser)? Do you see Adcamo winning this potential market? (I am pretty sure the competition will start popping up, maybe using other variations of this theme).

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Source by Mircea Goia

10 Outrageous Tips For Marketing a Mental Health Or Psychotherapy Private Practice

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No introduction, you want the tips:

TIP #1: Put All Clients on Your E-mail List

Keep an e-mail list of your clients, both current and former. Get permission to send them a dead-simple newsletter from your private practice–one page! NOT TWO! And, heavens to murgatroid–not four.

Encourage clients or patients to print, forward, and distribute your newsletter to friends and family. Make this simple newsletter nothing more than mental health tips, seasonal stories, common sense right thinking, and articles so good that readers hesitate not to fold it up into their pocket.

If you e-mail your clients, send the newsletter to yourself and “blind copy” clients. Only your e-mail address will show to avoid violation of patient confidentiality. Don’t make a mistake in doing this procedural step.

A safer and better way is to print and mail a copy of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to your clients. Studies have shown that postal mail in an envelope is read 15 times more often than e-mail! Consider doing both.

TIP #2: Send Your Simple Dimple, Yet Powerfully Punchy Newsletter to the top 50 (and 50 only) Recreation, Mental Health, and Community Centers.

Send it to half-way houses, adult protective services, and other social service agencies. Only 50. Forget massive coverage. 50 will cost is $.44 x 50 in postage plus envelopes. The key is do this each month–no breaks. You are building powerful top-of-mind visibility and newsletter is going viral. Viral marketing is the passing along of sale information from human to the next. Recreation and community centers frequently post health and wellness information on their lobby bulletin boards, and may be happy to post your newsletter.

TIP #3: Ditto A Few Other Places

Grocery stores — try them too. Many small businesses with customer waiting areas like Jiffy Lubes, etc also post on visible bulletin boards. These include oil change and car repair centers, hardware stores, coffee shops, and more. Keep copies of your newsletter with you in your car for sudden insights and posting ideas. (Don’t forget to keep a mini-stapler in your glove compartment — one of those little red jobbers.)

TIP #4: Promote Presentation Topics That People Want And Will Eat Up

At the bottom of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter, give visibility to the topics that you are willing to speak on for FREE. Get a boost by mentioning your expertise in specific terms and offering presentations with yourself as the speaker, especially on seasonal or hot topics.

Read that again. Season, or HOT TOPICS.

Do this: Go to “Google AdWords”. Find the “Key Word Tool”. Google “Google AdWords Key Word Tool”. Now, type in “Problem with” and see what comes up. Or, to the same thing with Twitter. You will find what the world is worried about. You will discover the most common searches that begin with these few words. (Writing this article for you, I just did this exercise. Problem with – brought up “men” “women” “money” “teenager” “food” etc. Now do it again, and expand. You will discover what people want hear from you. Put together five presentations that last 25 minutes each. You will promote these 25 minute presentations (not 30, but 25 minutes) at the bottom of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter.

TIP #5: Keep Copies in Your Waiting Room.

Keep copies of simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter in your waiting room. Clients will pick it up, stuff them in a purses and pockets, give them to friends, and pass them around at work. This will put your newsletter in motion with leverage. This is called viral marketing.

TIP #6: Distribute Copies to Your Doctor, Dentist, and Other Medical Practices That You Patronize.

Ask if you can place your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter in the waiting rooms of your doctor. (A few copies on a coffee table, for example.) Put one copy in a clear plastic, top-loading sheet protector. This shouts “DESK COPY” even without those words written on it. When clients and patients see this copy, they almost never walk off with it, thereby leaving it for scores of other people to see in the course of a month. These medical professionals who you patronize owe you. Don’t ask the nurse or the front desk secretary for permission. Ask the doctor or medical professional in the middle of the anatomical procedure you’re paying for. No, I am not kidding.

TIP #7: Cooperate and Make Money While Increasing Referrals

Offer the bottom section of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to allied professionals as advertising space that includes one line of text. These should be professionals with whom you do not compete. These professionals would love to pay you for the exposure. Trade with them so you get exposure to all of their clients and patients. You have just formed your own “linked-in” group. One or two lines of text will do the trick. Have enough space for five to six advertising lines, and widen your distribution. Everyone wins, especially you. We suggest holistic health professionals, therapeutic massage professionals, chiropractors, even vitamin stores! Your local Walgreens may buy advertising space. It will improve the “stature” of your newsletter and you can make money to cover your newsletter’s cost.

TIP #8: Send Hard Copies to Media Outlets Locally.

Your local community has media outlets-radio, television, and newspapers. The reporters of these outlets scramble in desperation to find any warm-bodied mental health professional that they can interview when a crisis occurs or a national news event affects the psyche of the nation. The crisis at Fort Hood is a good example. It is happening as I write this article.

Other topics include stress, downsizing and survivor syndrome, or depression and the current 2009 economy crisis are good examples. They need experts. That’s you. Send your newsletter to a reporter or “news desk” contact every month. When a pertinent news event hits, phone your contacts I-M-M-E-D-I-A-T-E-L-Y! Say, “I am expert on ____. I am available for an interview if you need it.” You may be on TV or the radio within hours. I’ve done this–believe me, it works. (You will be happy you read this article for this tip alone.) If you do a good job, and it is an a.m. radio station, ask if you can have your own hour once a month to answer mental health questions from the audience.

Keep phone numbers of media outlets in your cell phone or taped to the dashboard of your car because that is where you will be when you hear a news story you will want to crash. Call this “crashing a news story”. You’ve heard of crashing a party?

TIP #9: Send Copies to Your Competitors.

Am I nuts? No. Every mental health professional in private practice refers clients or patients to other therapists. Whom do they choose? Most of the time the choice is made based on familiarity, as much as expertise. Reputation as well. And where does a reputation come from? One place – familiarity. Don’t kid yourself. You know this is true. The name you hear the most is the best guy. Everybody thinks like this to some degree. So, exploit reality. Your name and face must come to mind. These professionals will enjoy the newsletter and you will achieve “top-of-mind” visibility. It will take six months to achieve this effect. Then, Katie bar the door.

TIP #10: Send simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to EAPs.

EAPs are great referral sources, but it can be hard to get an appointment with them to discuss your services. And you need more than one touch to get noticed. Let your newsletter do the talking for you. Contact the Employee Assistance Professionals Association at 703-387-1000 and discover where the local chapter in your area meets. Collect business cards and send your newsletter to these folks. If you join EAPA, you will find their addresses online. After a few issues to these folks, it will be easier to obtain a face-to-face appointment. Recipients will feel like they already know you. They will think you are a celebrity. That’s because of repetition and seeing your name and your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter.

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Source by Daniel Feerst

Why Keyword Research Tools, SEO and Advanced Keyword Research Are So Important

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The internet has grown over the past few years and therefore has provided a large advertising and marketing platform for many marketing and advertising agents due to its ever-increasing number of users. To make the most of your marketing efforts, keyword research tools, SEO and advanced keyword research strategies have become increasingly important.

The booming of the internet has led to the rise of search engines as way of searching through its vast content. If search engines were not available we would have to have a list of websites we want to visit and enter them directly in the address bar before using them. The search engines work by collecting information about websites by looking at the words in the websites and using the frequency of appearance of this words in order to display website rankings when a certain word is searched. Apart from using the frequency of appearance, modern search engines have more advanced algorithms which they use to rank websites. The words that search engines look for in the websites are popularly defined as keywords.

With search engines using the keywords to rank websites, website owners and internet marketers turned to using these keywords as a way of increasing their rank in search engines. This involves using words which you think the users will use when searching information related to your website. Therefore people marketing the website should understand what kind of people they wish to serve and how they use specific words when searching the content they want. This calls for advanced keyword research so that the users are directed to your website when they use certain keywords to search for content. There are several software based keyword research tools for SEO marketing to help you save time.

The programs work by collecting the keywords normally used for searching content on the web. The keywords are then ranked according to their relevance and the topic which they are significant in. The keyword research SEO tool greatly reduces the task carried out by website marketers and advertisers since they are automated. A few free examples of these software tools include Google AdWords, Google Suggest and Google Trends. Paid tools include the likes of Jaaxy, Market Samurai and Micro Niche Finder.

By doing research using tools above you save the time used in writing articles as you will easily know the search words are being used by your clients. Also by using these tools you can make your website more popular as you will understand the most popular trending topics and words used in searching, enabling you to increase the rank of your web page when the search engine displays the pages under a specific keyword. However when using keywords you should choose your keywords carefully since some are crowded by companies offering similar services or products. Therefore it’s important for companies to choose names which are unique so as to avoid taking a lot of time to climb in the search engine ranks.

After choosing and doing your keyword research appropriately you should consider where to use the keyword in your website content. This is known as offline SEO or search engine optimization. On the web page you should place the keywords at the Title Tags, Meta description tags, headings, alt texts, anchor text and navigational links since these are the places the search engine look when ranking websites.

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Source by Nadia V. G.

Effective Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

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PPC advertising is an internet marketing method which generates instant traffic to your website. However, unlike Search Engine Optimization, pay per click advertising requires investment without being able to guarantee a return. Visitors may click on your site but this does not mean an automatic sale, order or lead. PPC campaigns require focus, attention and need to be regularly monitored to stay effective.

PPC started in the year 1998 by Goto.com, a 25 employee startup company (later Overture, now part of Yahoo).However, Pay Per Click Advertising was only introduced in 2002, until then, advertisements were charged at cost per thousand (CPM) but Yahoo Advertisements have always been PPC, since its introduction in 1998. Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft Ad Center are the largest operators in PPC advertising.

PPC advertising on search engines allows you choose keywords you would like your site to appear when a search is done. You decide how much you are want to pay each time a person clicks on the search results that is ad copy. The more you are willing to pay per click, the higher your site will appear in the results for the keywords you choose.

According to a recent US study, web searchers will not click on a search engine’s results beyond page number three and 66% of users in the study clicked on sites listed on page number one only. Based on this research it is worth doing PPC besides other popular internet marketing methods like SEO, Article Marketing, Social Bookmaking and Affiliate Marketing.

Why Pay Per Click (PPC)?

  • Instant Results – No need to wait for your product or service to reach the user review. Immediate Traffic to your website.
  • Economical – It is economical as compared with other traditional advertising techniques.
  • Ideal for Testing Market – Pay Per Click is Ideal for short term advertisement campaigns. We can test the user reaction on particular products or services with immediate results.
  • Return On Investment – It can provide immediate return on Investment especially if your website is processing business or sales online.
  • Extremely Flexible – Its easy to adjust, add, delete or edit your keywords and copy, target geographic locations and set timings of appearing of your ad copy.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Keywords – For those keywords which you do not want your adcopy to get appear & hence clicked can be avoided by using negative keywords.
  • Total Control – In PPC Campaigns, the steering wheel is totally in your hands i.e you decide the daily budget, keywords, adcopy ( tile, description, URL) .

Some Basic Tips for Pay Per Click Campaigns:

  • Make a sensible budget for your PPC advertising campaign. Spend per click must be less than profit per click. Cost Per Acquisition/Lead/Sale must be kept in mind. Once the campaign has been launched, the number of leads or sales generated can be reviewed to ensure the campaign is going on the right track.
  • Make separate Ad Groups & ad copies for particular set of keywords.
  • Bid & Position for keywords & ad copies must be monitored on regular basis.
  • Choose specific keywords relevant with your website. Broad and non-specific terms must be avoided.

Besides the Benefits…Some Drawbacks of PPC

Junk Traffic sent to your website via some less known Search Engines and Click Fraud are the major drawbacks in Pay Per Click Advertising. It does not offer you discount if your site gets more traffic i.e Cost Per Click will remain the same. Advertising Budget must be agreed and bid price per keyword must be confirmed so bid wars are avoided and you don’t go over budget.

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Source by Jyoti Mali