Apr 25, 2009

Can't paypal and google just get along?

Like anyone I want to be able to track my conversions based on goals I set out. My goal is for people to reach a "thank you for ordering page" right after they submit payment. Simple no? If they reach this page my google analytics "goals" should count that as a conversion.

Google is so off from the sales registered in my paypal account that it's not even funny! I mean huge off. So far, if I believed google, I had 1300 viewers follow through my "funnel" to the purchase page. Google then tells me only 3 people ended the cycle on the thank you page.

Paypal of course tells the real story - the truth is in the bank - as they say. So why isn't paypal bringing people to my thank you page after submiting their order like I asked them to (actually they offered in the button customizations).

  • Why is google obviously counting people who "checkout" as "exits" (from my site to paypal BEFORE the sale).
  • Why is it that I can only customize the header image and background color in paypal buttons?
  • Why can't I put my google tracking code on the paypal payment page...(hmmmmm)?

I could just pull a Bobby McFerrin "...naaa na na na nananaaa dont worry...nannanaaaaaa...be happy" but I really would like to take advantage of googles other tools like "website optimization" where I can create test pages. Find out what converts best - how best to present my Ring Guards to my customers - lots of neat stuff.

If you know I'd love to know.


Apr 23, 2009

Make sure your full message gets across

Awhile back I decided to add a "how to video" to my Ring Guard site to help customers with our product. It was a short video and I decided to use youtube and embed it on my site. There were many reasons why I went with youtube at the time.

  • Youtube offered an easy way to upload my edited video
  • It generated the code to embed the video on my site automatically
  • It tracked the number of viewers so I could easily see if my customers were watching it
  • It also submitted my video to a popular social media tool
  • It was FREE

Youtube also generates insight reports (I've mentioned them before). Wonderful reports full of information that anyone marketing their product wants to know. My favorite insight is "Hot Spots".

This report (to quote youtube) shows you

  • The ups-and-downs of viewership at each moment in your video, compared to videos of similar length.
  • The higher the graph, the hotter your video: fewer viewers are leaving your video and they may also be rewinding to watch that point in the video again.
  • Audience attention score is an overall measure of your video's ability to retain its audience's attention, compared to videos of a similar length.
Your video plays side by side as the graph shows you at which point you're losing viewership. It offers you a chance to edit your video to keep the graph in the "Hot Spot".

Make sure your full message gets across and help people make the decision to purchase.

P.S There is even insights into how much of a "viral" effect your video produces. Don't you love it?


Apr 20, 2009

What Social Networking means for my business...

I've been reading up on tweets lately. Searching for small businesses such as myself - selling a product online - trying to learn something new (and I do all the time) from others.

But...I've been struggling to figure out what social networking means to me, and how I can use all the tools available to increase my business. After all, that's why I was interested in social networking in the first place.

I wasn't looking for a job, or to build an MLM empire, or to convince people I knew all about SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization) like most tweets I found about business were.

I wasn't this new wave of "entrepreneur" that popped up during the recession either, or the "twitter expert" so many claim to be. Could my business really benefit from this platform?

I have been slowly learning that the answer is YES. Here are just some of the things that I have discovered.

  • Social networking is about offering "networks" information they would find interesting or helpful.

You don't have to sell anything to people, just share experiences and resources. If they want what you sell - they will check it out. They would never have known about your product it if they weren't initially interested in what you had to say and visited your site (or blog). Otherwise they would have found you in the search engines. I have a few blogs that I do for my personal interests - parks and dogs. The information I share is totally unrelated to my product - yet I see in my google analytics traffic coming to my main site through those blogs. Ahhhhh!! I get it. So I have to think the work or time I put into it is like the $ I pay per click. A soft or passive sell. I figured I better make blogs about things I was passionate about - otherwise I'd never do it.

  • Social networking is about sharing and contributing.

It's really about the EASE in which you can share ideas, articles, or even products you like. If it was not for reading tweets I would never have found twitter.com/addthis which offers an excellent tool. The tool can be put on any site to allow your audience (or visitor) to easily share it with others they know. So now I can offer people the ability to add my Ring Guard website to their Social Network and guess what..they have! On the "AddThis" website you can track what sites they are sharing with (and what pages).

  • Social Networking is about learning and growing.

I've "stumbled" upon many resources I never knew exisited (and I have been making a very decent living online for over 10 yrs). I found out how to use certain aspects of google more effectively (google goal setting and google base to name 2). I have seen what others are doing to promote themselves. I have had people answer my questions (not many mind you but at least some do). I try to "pay it forward" as much as I can.

Now of course there are idiots out there social networking who THINK they know it all or will not acknowledge your contribution to a thread of interest. AND I have run into a "data mining" link fake out from a tweet ...so you have to weed out the bad and follow those who you value.

After all....it really is about the QUALITY of follows not the QUANTITY.

I look forward to learning more from those I follow - and share their links with others. That is afterall what networking is about.


Apr 19, 2009

How come I'm just learning about google base...

I was reading "tweets" and came across someone mentioning "google base" (yet another google beta). Google Base? Should I use it? What is it?

What is it?

"Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content, which they'll make searchable on Google (if your content isn't online yet, they'll put it there). Users may find their results for searches on Google Product Search and even Google web search."

  • Upload a feed or use it's handy "one item" publisher form.
  • Add up to 13 images to your item.
  • The more information you provide, and the more you use attribute details to organize that information, the better your products' chances of being visible when a user is searching for them.

Should I be using it?

Of Course! Why not? It's free and it comes with a reporting and stats page. I added it to my Google account and published and item pronto! It can also be used for sites that are content based. Check it out if your like me and just finding out about it - you may find it useful! GOOGLE BASE BETA


Apr 17, 2009

google makes a game out of improving image search

I was looking through my google "webmaster tools" and saw google was looking for help in better indexing their image searches.

The Image Labeler Beta makes a game out of what I'm sure would be a tedious task. Two online "players" are randomly paired and for 2 minutes are shown the same images. The basic idea of the game is to "name the image" the same as your random partner. You earn points - what for? I'm not sure but you earn them! The site lists the top matches of the day as well as the top all time players.

I have noticed that google image search has been sending me traffic lately. You can add google "webmaster tools" to your account (it is free), verify your site and make sure your images are included in the game (and improve your image indexing).

Apr 11, 2009

Have you noticed google ppc going down?

I try to stay on top of my Google AdWords campaigns, ClickThroughRate (CTR) of my ad variations and of course the amount I spend on bidding. I'm always surprised by the amount of $ I spend a month - the kind of surprise you feel when dropping over that first hump of a roller coaster.

I went today to check on the results of one of my .20 cent keywords. Usually the CTR on this keyword is a good %. I checked the keyword-analysis tool and saw something that kind of pissed me off - but also made me happy (roller coaster happy).

What made me happy?
  1. I saw that the cost to be on the first page of results dropped from .20 to .05
  2. I could lower my top bid and save some $

What pissed me off?
  1. I was being charge on average .13 cpc. hmmmmmm - correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't google say that your "bid" is the MOST you'd pay? So if I was offering .20 but the top bid was .05 I should be charged .06 for the top spot?
  2. You have to know where to look to find the bid to be on the first page. Even then you don't see the top bid amount. hmmmmmmmm

This is why I miss "back in the good ol'days" when .01 cent bids were the norm (I've been online too long?), when you could see not only WHAT the top bid was - but also WHO was bidding it. When you could ACTUALLY track your ROI.

Now I'm left wondering if the drop in bids is due to
  • todays horrid economy or
  • the shift we see to social media as a viable alternative to search engine marketing.


Apr 7, 2009

5 Customer Service Tips

Small home based companies are worrying about their businesses during this recession and are looking for ways to ensure their company remains successful.

Providing Excellent Customer Service -
even when the customer is unhappy with your service or product - can be the easiest, least expensive way of ensuring customers positive experience.

Here are 5 Tips for turning unsatisfied customers into free advertisement for your excellent customer service.
  • Set a Positive Tone. Make it clear to your buyer that you value their business and will work with them to resolve any issues. They’ll usually appreciate your attention to their matter, and be more willing to work out the issue with you.
  • Start a Dialogue. Don't assume your buyer is behaving unreasonably. Problems are often a simple miscommunication. A customer may not have read your website note that “all orders are sent on Mondays” and could be expecting it sooner.
  • Focus on the solution. Talk about the solutions you can offer to resolve any issues – not the tone of the customer’s initial contact. It may be satisfying to "give a piece of your mind" to the buyer if you think they've acted unfairly - but it almost always makes the situation worse and the customer may refuse to work with you to resolve it. Instead, offer different solutions so the customer feels in control. I usually offer at least 3 solutions
  • offer to refund the item
  • offer a similar item as a replacement
  • offer a special price to upgrade.
  • Don’t forget the big picture. Even when a customer is unsatisfied with your product they will appreciate the service and let others know that your company stands behind its product and values its customers.
  • Remember customer service. Keeping all your customers (the good and the bad) satisfied is good business. Word of mouth is your best advertisement!

Apr 2, 2009

Looking for Your Feedback

Hello! Hello!

Thanks for answering my call for feedback :)

I have just completed the design for our new site at ring-size-adjuster.com. If you're not familiar with our previous Ring Guard site please take a look here.

This new site will not replace our old one, rather compliment it :)

  • Our first site has been live for over 10 years now - and any SEO specialist worth a grain will tell you the longer a domain has been around - the better the engines like it.

  • We have been very fortunate to have high rankings in all our best converting keywords organically (natural search results). We have had over 20,000 customers, many who are repeat business, who are familiar with our "Old Face" so we wont be giving it any "face lift" soon.

Our new sites purpose

  • Test different revenue streams.
  • Measure what markets convert best.
  • Capitalize on our paid advertisement campaigns.
  • Provide new customers with an up-to-date experience when shopping at our site.
  • Give us a better format to update and add new pages.
  • Learn more about the conversion rates between natural search results and PPC campaigns.

What feedback am I looking for?

  1. Is the site easy to navigate?
  2. Is there plenty of information provided to help you make a purchase decision?
  3. Are the images helpful?
  4. What is the site missing?
  5. What Improvements would you recommend?
  6. Do you think a new design will increase sales?

Thanks for any help!

and yes I decided to use OpenSource

E-How Articles

How to Videos & Articles: eHow.com