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7 Pay-Per-Click Advertising Options That Are Not Google or Bing

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), when used correctly, is a very powerful way to drive traffic and conversions.

pay per click advertising options

photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc

The used correctly part includes effective targeting and testing, writing compelling ads, creating compelling offers and managing the bid and budget process in the most cost effective manner.

While the Google and Bing PPC ad networks are the most popular options, smart advertisers also choose to round out their offerings with other options to both capture viewers that aren’t captured by these networks and lower the overall cost per conversion through other channels.

The following seven options should be considered and tested as you build your lead generation platform online.

1) Reddit ads – Reddit is currently the hottest social news sharing site and their ad offering is somewhat unique. You target your ads based on interest and not demographics and ads include user engagement features such as voting and comments. Get your ad right and this network can generate targeted leads.

2) YouTube Video Targeting– Okay I guess this one really is Google, but not exactly AdWords. With the YouTube Video Targeting Tool you can put your ads in specific video channels or even specific videos. You can choose from a variety of formats.

3) StumbleUpon Paid Discovery – StumbleUpon is a unique social sharing site that offers visitors without a click. StumbleUpon users simply stumble to your chosen page. The service delivers lots of low-cost visits, but the trick has always been to convert with a very simple and engaging call to action.

4) Twitter Promoted – Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of Twitter users. They are clearly labeled as Promoted when an advertiser is paying for their placement on Twitter. The Tweets can be targeted to search terms and specific hashtags. Advertisers have been reporting good results in terms of targeted conversions, but also in terms of social metrics such as increased followers and influencer scores.

5) Facebook Advertising – Facebook’s targeting is as effective as any platform and for that reason offers some unique opportunities. If you’ve built a large fan following the sponsored updates option can be a good buy with a compelling call to action.

6) LinkedIn Advertising – LinkedIn advertising isn’t for everyone as it’s predominantly a B2B platform and if used too broadly gets very expensive. The most effective use I’ve seen is narrowly targeting user niches based on keywords or titles in profiles.

7) 7Search – 7Search is a 2nd tier network and does not act as a replacement, but rather a great addition to help advertisers gain traffic from the 10% of traffic that Google and Bing don’t have. Savvy PPC bidders can find some real bargains here for long tail kinds of terms.

Once you’ve created content that converts, compelling calls to action that get people to click and an ROI on bids on the big networks, it makes perfect sense to start exploring other options to lower your cost per acquisition and gain greater exposure.

7 Popular Web Apps That Can Change The Way You Do Business

In yesterday’s post I outlined the road map for building a total web presence even though you’re short on time. Today I want to share an eBook I wrote that reveals how and why I use certain tools to get some of the online work I do, done.

There should be something for everyone in this free eBook – The Productivity Handbook: 7 Popular Web Apps That Can Change The Way You Do BusinessGo get your copy here and don’t be afraid to share with friends!

In this guide I explain how and why I use:

  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • StumbleUpon
  • GMail
  • Pinterest
  • Delicious
  • Instagram

Free Handbook: 7 Apps That Will Change The Way You Do Marketing

The Productivity Handbook by John JantschThere’s always more to do than time to do it these days. That’s why I love discovering new tools and apps that help me get it all done.

I also love to share what I find and so I teamed up with Hubspot to write The Productivity Handbook: 7 Apps That Will Change The Way You Do Marketing.

(Yes, Hubspot asks for some information from you, but trust me, the how to use and why to use info included in this eBook will be worth it to you. If you’ve read anything I write you know I give away practical advice only.)

You’ll learn how these exciting, new tools can help you:

  • Brainstorm ideas for fast content creation using Evernote
  • Easily share large files across multiple devices using Dropbox
  • Generate more traffic to your website using StumbleUpon
  • Tell your story and share photos using Instagram and Pinterest

Download your eBook here

5 Step Approach to Learning the StumbleUpon Targeted Traffic Tango

Maybe the term StumbleUpon is new to you, maybe you find it fascinating, or maybe you realize what an important traffic tool it is, either way, it’s time to dig in and learn a little more.

From StumbleUpon – “StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that finds the best of the web, recommended to each unique user. It allows its users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles”

StumbleUpon for traffic

StumbleUpon is a bit of an oddity in the world of online marketing, used by some to discover new things and by others to generate traffic. I use it for both and find that with a systematic approach it can become an important source of traffic.

Now, traffic for traffic sake isn’t always the best pursuit. Quality traffic, the kind that is interested in what you sell, wants to contribute to your community and subscribe to your newsletter, is the real goal of online traffic generation, and StumbleUpon traffic is generally a mixed bag in that regard, but with very little effort you may find some of that ideal traffic coming by way of a StumbleUpon strategy.

I often liken orchestrating traffic generation to dance steps, so here’s my five step approach to mastering the StumbleUpon Tango.

1)   Install the Toolbar

The first step of course is to create a StumbleUpon account, but to actually use the tool in the manner I suggest you should also install the StumbleUpon browser toolbar to make it easier to find, share and communicate with the community.

2) Connect Around Interests

StumbleUpon will show you content when you stumble based upon the interests you list in your settings. If you want to use this tool to discover Web content to share for business purposes take care when selecting these interests.

There are many ways to network and use StumbleUpon in a social manner and connecting with people who share your interests is a good idea. You may also want to add your contacts or connect via Facebook to see if any of your current contacts and friends are using StumbleUpon.

One of the secrets to getting your own pages shown to StumbleUpon users is to have your pages reviewed and liked by lots of other users. If you can build a following and then encourage your following to like each other’s relevant content you will get more from your efforts. (Warning here – creating groups just to Stumble content is not what I’m suggesting, but connecting with people with like interests can be a powerful way to get Stumbles.)

The first rule of StumbleUpon is to give – share and review other’s people content and you may find the same happening to your content.

You can connect with me on StumbleUpon here

3) Install the Stumble Button

Another obvious integration of your StumbleUpon efforts comes in the form of a button or badge for content on your Web pages and blog posts.

Just as many have installed the Facebook Like, LinkedIn Share and Google+ buttons to their content pages, StumbleUpon has a button that makes one click sharing of your content on StumbleUpon a snap.

4) Use su.pr

StumbleUpon has its own link shortener called su.pr. This tool makes it very easy to submit your content to StumbleUpon at the same time you submit it to Twitter and/or Facebook.

You will also get some nice tracking stats from using the tool.

5) Explore Stumble Paid Discovery

StumbleUpon sells traffic and while the quality tends to suffer, it can be a low cost way to send a surge of traffic to a specific blog post or campaign.

You have the ability to target the traffic by interest as well.

For a little more on the benefits of using StumbleUpon you might enjoy this infographic put out by them.

My Content Amplification System

Today’s post is in answer to a direct request I’ve received a number of times.

Content AmplificationOf course writing good content is only part of the business challenge. You’ve also got to get it read. Some would say, and to a large part this is true, that simply writing something that people want to read is the first step in drawing links and shares, but you’ve also got to put your content out there in places where people do their reading these days.

The following is a sampling of my content amplification routine. I do this with each blog post in an effort to get that particular piece of content the greatest amount of exposure. Is this the perfect, all inclusive list, probably not, but it’s a routine that I can do in about five minutes and still give my content a chance to be seen by lots of potential clients, journalists and strategic partners.

After I hit publish I:

  • Tweet the headline and link with some context to draw the most interest using StumbleUpon link shortener su.pr – this syndicates the content to StumbleUpon and Twitter and starts the traffic exposure in both places.
  • Publish the post to my Facebook Page
  • Publish the post to my Google+ Stream – public, circles and extended circles
  • Publish the post to my LinkedIn profile – also share with several large groups
  • Bookmark the post in appropriate tags to Delicious
  • If a post has drawn a large number of retweets I may post to Twitter a second time during the day – I generally make this decision and schedule the Tweet for a specific time using TweetDeck’s scheduling function

A couple things worth noting:

  • I don’t use a service or tool to cross post this to all avenues as I think they all have their own personality and following and I take a minute to point out something different about the post in each network.
  • I participate in many other ways, unrelated to my own content promotion in each of these networks
  • I check back several times a day, depending on my schedule to participate in any conversations happening around the content, including comments on the original blog post
  • I have +1, LinkedIn, and Facebook buttons above every blog post
  • I have links to share the content with popular bookmarking sites on the blog posts (sociable plugin) and in the RSS feed (Feedburner feed flare option)
  • I often highlight a particularly well read blog post or two from the week in my weekly email newsletter

So, what would you add to this list?

7 Ways to Acquire the Right Kinds of Links to Your Site

linksI’ve said it here many times – winning high rankings in search engines is not that hard for local businesses. There are some categories of business that are very competitive and certainly require the investment of a high caliber SEO firm, but do it yourself type can do well if they focus on two activities.

Creating content and acquiring the right kinds of links back to your site.

I specifically say the right kinds of links because there are still some folks out there promoting the easy way out, suggesting you buy hundreds of links, but there is no easy way out and this can even lead to getting your hand slapped or worse by the search engines.

Below are seven of the best ways to acquire those all important links.

Write a blog

Without question creating a blog and consistently writing keyword rich content is the number one SEO activity for the small business. (For any size business) This is no longer something to debate, blog content will improve your chances to compete in the search engines many times over and draw links from other blogs and sites that syndicate content.

Guest post on blogs

A variation to writing on your blog is to seek out other blogs and offer to write content that is useful and relevant to their audience. Make certain that you get to place a link back to your site in the body of the post and look for blogs that are well read. You might also look for other local blogs using a tool like Placeblogger.

Submit posts and article to directories

Article directories such as still present a great opportunity for acquiring links. By submitting articles to sites likeEzinearticles.com, Articlesbase.com, Suite101.com, Buzzle.com you can begin to acquire more links and traffic to your site. You might also look into services like HubShout that provide turn-key writing and submission of content.

Write social press releases

Consistently writing news releases for even seemingly minor announcements is a great way to build up some extra traffic and links, particularly if you use the social features of tools like PRWeb or Pitch Engine. As a bonus print your press releases off and send them via mail to your clients and network, you’ll be surprised how much bounce you get from this little contact tactic.

Leave lots of relevant comments

Leaving relevant comments on other blogs does a number of things for you. In some cases, not many though, you may actually benefit from a link to your site, but the real value is that you may get the attention of other readers and the owners of these blogs in ways that could prompt them to point to some of your content via a blog post. I hope it goes without saying this won’t work if your comments are basically spam. Use a service like BackType to track when comments related to your topic get hot.

Create profiles

There are hundreds of places you can create social profiles on the web and most allow you to place numerous links back to your site. You probably won’t get a ton of juice from the search engines for these because many are what are called “no follow” links, but some are not and many will build extra pages and links for the big picture. You should be claiming this real estate and filling it with content and brand assets as a rule. You can even use a service like Knowem that will create hundreds of profiles on lesser known networks.

Use social bookmarking

Social bookmark sites such as delicious, digg, reddit and StumbleUpon offer great ways to create valuable links and search engine juice. By bookmarking and tagging your blog posts for relevant keyword topics your content may be found by the millions of folks looking for topic related to your tags. This can often lead to tweets and posts pointing out your content.

By creating a systematic approach that allows you to focus on a couple of these items each and every week you can start to build hundreds of links to your web pages and virtually lock out the competition for your key terms.

Image credit: Ramberg Media Images

Profiting From Other People’s Content

newsDon’t be alarmed by that title – I’m not talking about stealing content for gain, I’m talking about adding the filtering and aggregating of content to your content consumption, creation and sharing routine.

Pretty much everyone has bought into the idea that they need to produce lots of valuable content in order to build the trust and search engine eyes of today’s online prospect. One way to supplement your content strategy while still providing lots of value, is to get good at finding and filtering other people’s content that your prospects and customers will find useful as well. (Done right, the “other people” will thank you for giving a wider audience to their content)

It should go without saying that giving credit to the original source and full attribution to the author when appropriate is a must.

There are a number of ways to think about this idea

Make yourself a better resource

Creating a habit of filtering content related to your industry, products, competitors and customers will make you better at what you do, allow you to keep up with trends and give you data to help you build deeper relationships with customers.

Share content to draw attention

Pointing out useful resources and good finds is a great way to build your social media and blog followings. Consistently sharing relevant links and sharing them on Twitter is a strategy that many find helps them be seen as follow worthy. Creating a once a week blog post roundup of good stuff is a great way to add content and keep readers engaged.

Filter personalized content

A more advanced strategy is to use your filter skills to create your own industry research briefs. If you specialize in several market niches you can create laser specific new pages and email newsletter roundups that feature the best of what you find each week. You can even use RSS technology to deliver dynamically changing web content password protected for your best clients.

Some of my favorite tools for finding other people’s content

AllTop – This site collects what it believes is the all the top blog content on a large number of topics and displays the last posts from each of these sources. This should be a daily stop for most. You can also build your own custom page here and use this as your RSS reader.

Delicious – This is my favorite bookmarking site. As I surf the web I mark sites here with tags that I define. It’s a place to categorize content, find new content and create custom RSS feeds of the content you find. If you are trying to create pages for customers you simply define a tag for the customer and then set-up an RSS feed that streams your hand picked content.

StumbleUpon – A service that helps you stumble upon content related to topics of interest that you define. Browser toolbar makes it very easy for you to go looking. I’ve used this technique on numerous occasions to find unique content to share on Twitter.

Business Exchange – Business Week’s community platform allows users to submit content related to specific topics.

Kurrently – Once of the first search engines that allows you to find what’s being said on Facebook

Twitter Advanced Search – Using the Twitter advanced search function you can set up a search like this: “small business” OR entrepreneur OR “start up” filter:links to bring you tweets for a specific topic that contain links. This is a great way to keep up with what’s being shared on a specific topic and since the search produces an RSS feed you can send it to your Google Reader or even publish it to an HTML page.

Google Reader – Subscribe to relevant industry blogs and have a library to read any time you have some down time. You can also set up a custom TwitterFeed to tweet your shared Google Reader items adding a hand selected way to share more content as you read.

Google Alerts – Create custom searches for things like brands, people and products and have any mentions delivered to your inbox or reader.

Google Insights for Search – With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties

Instapaper- A simple tool for saving web pages to read later but in a nice custom newspaper kind of format. Phone, Kindle and iPad apps available.

Feedburner – This is Google’s tool that allows you to enhance your RSS feeds. For purpose of this post I point to the Feed feature that makes it very easy for your to take and RSS feed and publish to a web page. Here’s an example where I’ve take hand selected delicious feed mention of my book, The Referral Engine, and streamed them on a web page. Bonus: Notice the RSS feed of Twitter mentions doing the same thing.

How to Make Your Tweets More Useful

supr

One of the major push backs I get surrounding twitter use for business involves the idea of ROI. It’s a genuine concern and something that can feel very hard to measure for most businesses. It’s rare when someone can effectively attract followers and blatantly sell something to that at the same time. In most social media settings it just doesn’t work that way. The objective is to simply create enough engagement that people want to find out more on their own. While that’s a great long term objective, it can be a little hard to track.

One of the approaches I preach is to think about you tweeting activities, and subsequent payoffs, in an expanded way. Sure, you want to get more business, but I find that getting better ideas, testing messages and doing all manner of research with my tweets provides tangible ROI for my business as well. A large percentage of my tweets are positioned to intentionally test ideas and trends for use in other ways. I’m still providing engaging information, but in a strategic way – that’s how you need to think about your activity in any social media setting to get immediate and long term ROI.

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