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You may have heard the term PPC, also known as Pay Per Click, used by digital marketers.  But what is it, and what is its advantages?  We’ve put together a little Basics of PPC that we hope will help answer both of these questions. 

What is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?

PPC advertising is used on search engines, online advertising networks, banner networks, and content websites and blogs.  Many businesses use these ads to persuade people to visit their website.  It consists of advertisers paying for the ad when a visitor clicks on the link to visit a website.  An advertisers only plays for the ad when someone clicks – therefore the ad is based on performance.

Instead of paying a flat fee each month to place ads on keyword search result pages, advertisers can keep advertising costs low by only paying when people click on their ad.  Bid amounts vary based on the keywords they want to use.

The goal is for the advertisement to be in the top spot.  This dramatically increases the chances of having someone click on the advertisement.  When paying for ads in search engines, advertisers should try to bid on keywords that they believe their target customer is going to type in during a online search bar.

PPC advertising is extremely simple and can deliver exceptional results when keywords are chosen wisely.  There is no point in paying for an ad that only gets the business a position 4 screens away from the initial search results page.  For this reason, businesses want to find keywords that are still searched but have little competition.

The main advantages of PPC are:

  • Cost – It’s takes very little to get started with PPC marketing efforts.  In addition, the budget is consumed by the clicks and leads your ad receives each month.
  • Speed – Most PPC campaigns are up and running in just a couple days.
  • Control – PPC partners (such as Evolving Interactive) work with with business control what online users see when they view an ad or click through to a website.
  • Targeted – Advertisers can easily focus on their target audience(s) by using the proper keywords and ad copy.
  • Measurement – PPC is easily measured.  Advertisers see real results quickly.

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Now that you’ve claimed your Google Places business listing, enhance it to stand apart from competitors.  Google Places makes it simple with following opportunities –

1. Images – Images can tell a great story about your business.  Show users your products, team, location, what makes you better than competitors.  You can have a total of up to 10 images to your business listing.

2. Video – Beyond images, really show what makes your enterprise special with video.  Google makes this very simple.  Just enter the URL of you YouTube video (it must be YouTube) into the designated field.  Up to 5 videos are allowed per listing.

3. Coupons – Google Places coupons are a great way to share new specials and discounts with users.  If you have multiple businesses or business locations, you can create a unique coupon for each listing.

4. Mobile Coupons – When users search for businesses from their mobile phones, they’ll see your Google Places coupon their phone. Then they can show you the coupon on the screen of their mobile device, without having to print it out.

5. Place Posts These posts are recent updates you share with users on your listing.  These 160 character posts allow you to share a short update or special with users.

6. Respond to Reviews – As a verified Google Places business owner, you can publicly respond to reviews posted directly on Google in the “Reviews by Google users” section on the Place page.  Engaging with the people who give you feedback can be a good way to get to know your customers and what they think about your business.

7. Add a Menu – Restaurants are able to add a link to their online menu.

8. Paid Advertising Tags – Tags are paid (around $25) yellow advertising markers that allow business owners to promote important aspects of their businesses.  When users scroll over Tags on Google or click on the sponsored link they can view coupons, photos, or other select features.  Tags do not affect search result rankings; they simply add more information to a Google Places listing when it appears in search results.Сайт знаком

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Print yellow pages used to be where ALL business listing information could be found.  Not anymore.  Today the vast majority of consumers (both B2C and B2B) search for business listing information online.  Therefore it’s critically important for enterprises to take control and optimize this information.

Reason #1: Mobile business listing search is outpacing all other practical smartphone application uses.

Consumers looking for businesses are increasingly turning to their smartphones to access local listing sites such as Google Maps, Bing Local, Yelp, Citysearch, Angie’s List, Merchant Circle,, and SuperPages.  A study released earlier this year conducted by comScore, a leading Web behavior research firm, looked at mobile subscribers accessing business directories on a mobile phone.  What they found was the number of mobile subscribers accessing business directories on a mobile phone increased 14% year-over-year to 17.3 million users in March 2010.  This increase outpaced 10% growth in the number of mobile media users who browsed the mobile web, used applications, or downloaded content during the same time period.  Steady double digit increase in usage from the previous year.  And with the dramatic surge in smartphone users in 2010, we anticipate a far more dramatic increase in the future.


Reason #2: Mobile media attracts younger and wealthier users.

The comScore study also found that mobile media attracts a highly desirable consumer segment for advertisers.  Mobile usage of business directories unlocks a younger, wealthier user base to advertisers. According to the report:

  • 58 percent are 34 or younger.
  • Over half have a household income in excess of $75,000.
  • The number of people accessing business directories on a mobile device at least once per week increased more than 16 percent year-over-year to nearly five million in March 2010.

Reason #3:  With so few businesses optimizing their listings, it’s easy to positively stand apart from competitors.

Since the local business listings are effectively the interactive yellow pages of the 21st century, businesses need to stop passively watching and actively engaging with their local business listing.

The first step is to claim your business listing.  Then make sure the listing has all the correct information about your business, products and services.  That is then followed by adding photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, events and other information that will help the local customer decide to do business with you.

Then after this initial update, you’ll need to regularly monitor and manage the listing, just as you do your website and Facebook Page.  Managing your local business listing includes managing customer reviews and engaging with them not only to secure positive reviews from satisfied customers, but to insure positive public relations with any customers that are less than satisfied.Знаком

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The Google/Apple war rages on. With the release of the iPad, and a thickening plot that adds Verizon Wireless, Adobe, and even China to the expanding list of Google foes, it’s impossible to ignore the situation.

But why should we care? As consumers, what implications does this have for us? And as business professionals, what lessons can we take away?

Competition breeds innovation.

Google and Apple – two companies with formerly divergent products – now compete with hardware, software, and even advertising. When two similar brands battle, greater innovation and lower prices ensue, and consumers inevitably emerge victorious.

Google has struggled to profit from anything but search, which is why hardly a week goes by without word of another Google innovation. The Nexus One left the iPhone in its dust with features like a better camera and copy/paste capability. Only time will tell how Apple will retaliate. (Some speculate that Apple may eventually lower prices.)

Brand trust is a must.

Google had been criticized of rushing to get Nexus One on the market, and letting customer service fall by the wayside. While Apple conducted years of research and nailed down all necessary patents before bringing the iPhone to market, Google’s entrance into the mobile market was rushed in comparison.

This raises the question of how much money consumers will invest in Android apps, knowing Google might not continue with the Nexus One. Apple’s iPhone, on the other hand, already has apps that will work on the iPod and iPad. For the time being, Apple has the key advantage of higher consumer trust.

All eyes are on search.

It’s obvious that there’s plenty of money to be made in search, specifically in paid search. Turning search queries into leads has become huge business. Google commands this market, generating money through online advertising. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recently predicted another significant result of the feud: Apple’s foray into the search realm:

We believe the odds of Apple developing a search engine in the next five years are 70%. One hurdle for Apple in developing its own search engine would be generating enough advertiser interest to form a competitive marketplace; however, we believe the rationale for an Apple search product is to protect data rather than generate profit.

Apple may not seem like a big threat in the search world. However, since it controls more than half of the mobile Web market share, Munster suggests Apple can use the data it has captured from having Google maps and search accessible on the iPhone to improve its own products, ultimately surpassing Google in the search arena.

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Last week Gmail user, Andranik Souvalian of Cranston, Rhode Island, filed a lawsuit against Google claiming that “[Google] intentionally exceeded it’s authorization to access and control confidential and private information