Fide Marketing & Google Event May 21st


22. October 2019


Everyone Talks About Marketing Your Business Online

Fide Marketing, in partnership with Google, is hosting a free two-hour session on Wednesday May 21st in both Denver, Colorado and Mt. Pleasant (Charleston), South Carolina.

Why Join Us?

  • Learn about Internet Marketing from the experts at Fide Marketing and Google
  • We’ll keep things simple and explain everything in plain English (NO “geek speak”!)
  • You’ll hear from 3 experts from Google

PPC Management Over Time


19. February 2012


Time span and maturity of your campaign will paint a different picture for how well exact/phrase match keywords vs. broad match keywords perform. Exact and phrase matches have shown to convert better in the early stages, and are cheaper because of the high CTR. However they are often too low in volume, and you end up missing out on all the great hidden/invisible long tail keywords that get triggered by the broad match phrase.

When a campaign has had enough time to mature and is managed well, I’ve found that the broad matches end up having equally good, and often times better conversions. I’ve read blog posts where authors conclude that broad match keywords waste money, but I think it’s because they’re going off of a limited data set, spanning 30 to 90 days of trial. This often isn’t enough time to make broad match keywords work.

Let’s break down the Phases of your PPC campaign and what happens as your account matures:

New AdWords PPC Accounts

Phase One: Month 1 to 3
For every new PPC account, I start with the exact and phrase matches in all groups. If the daily budget isn’t being exhausted, I slowly add the broad match version of the best keywords to the Ad groups until the budget is maxed out. The first 3 months of PPC management is the most volatile. During these 3 months, the CPA will fluctuate wildly because of:

  1. the buyer life cycle – CPA is super high in the first 30 days because of lack of buyer action
  2. trying different ad copy
  3. trying different keywords
  4. new and still developing Quality Score. Keywords start with a lower QS, and matures slowly with higher CTR, so the click through costs start out high and decrease over time.

Generating a Base of Historical Data in your PPC Account

Phase Two: Month 3 to 6
Now that your Campaign has collected enough data, we can mine for negative keywords and new keywords. Negative keywords will make your broad & phrase match keywords more effective. This data isn’t available in the early stages. Incrementally adding more phrase/exact matches as presented by Opportunities is also important. Landing page testing also because another majority focus, while managing ad copy, bids, and improving QS is minority. We can’t change too many factors at once! I want to lower your CPA by creating a robust negative keywords list.

Phase Three: Month 6 to 9
At this phase, you’re still doing everything mentioned in the first two phases, and now you have solid metrics to make good decisions. Usually by this point, campaigns are hitting their daily maximum budget because you have a wide campaign and good CTRs. Analyzing metrics to figure out what to pause/reduce/improve by using Google’s various campaign management settings is the major focus. If you’re performing well in SEO, then those metrics also feed into improving your PPC campaigns, and vice versa.

Keeping on Top of PPC Changes

Phase Four: Month 10 to inf.
Overall your PPC management follows a dynamic spiral (See spiral model for IT dev which is sort of related). Each month, there are are not only new problems/objectives, and various techniques that we’ll use to address them, but also Google’s constant evolution of the PPC tool itself gives us sharper ways to make the most out of your Adwords budget.

Local Search

WordPress Posting Tips with SEO in Mind


22. September 2011


Once of the benefits of creating websites on WordPress is that training our clients to manage their own website is simple. No more being “held hostage” by some developer or company when you want to make minor changes to your website. Once the website is built, we believe all our clients should know how to make changes, and be able to do it for free.

However once our clients are trained to easily make their own blog posts, it’s also important for them to be training on effective content writing for the web. Here are some WordPress posting tips I want to share with WordPress newbies and small business owner clients:

  1. Use “external” instead of “internal” keywords for Titles & URLs. Write titles to include keywords others will use (and lead with these words) Don’t use brand or product words that are unique to your business. For example, compare this title: Is it ok if I lay them off? vs. Considering Employee Lay Off?. Here’s another one, compare: “New Updates for Our Clients” versus “SEO News for Small Business Owners”
  2. Eliminate “empty” words where possible, especially from titles. Empty words not only make your content harder to read, but make it harder for your content to rank. Words like have, from, and then, become, update, etc. say nothing about your content.
  3. Use headings and subheadings. Google looks for H1, H2 tags for relevance. The title of your post should use the H1 tag. Then use the native “Format” drop down to create subheadings (Heading 2, Heading 3) with good keywords to break apart and summarize paragraphs of text. This is also good for readability
  4. NEVER create duplicate pages or posts with the same content. Pages with the exact same wording/content are harmful to your SEO and site authority. If these pages exist, have them deleted and redirect the old URL to its duplicate.
  5. Avoid using custom styles, font sizing, custom colors. Aside from bold, underline and highlight, any other font styling should be done purely through a well designed theme and use of the H1, H2, H3 and paragraph style tags. Using custom font styling and sizing adds unsophisticated code to your content and and makes your website styling harder to change in the future.
  6. NEVER copy and paste directly from Microsoft Word into WordPress. We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable drafting posts directly in WordPress. (We do encourage it. Forgo Word altogether.) So when you want to copy content from Word, use the Paste from Word button to strip out funky code.
  7. Use the native bullets or number styling instead of manual numbering or dashes. Don’t manually number things. Use the ordered list styling buttons in your WordPress Editor for those sections.
  8. Bold main keywords relevant to your website. Bolding is minor way of telling search engines what the focus of your content is about.
  9. Make keywords the anchor text for links to another resource, and not just the words “click here”.
  10. Add ALT tags to your images. Alternative text is another opportunity to add relevant keywords to your content.
  11. Fill in SEO meta details for each post. If you’re using an SEO plugin like All-In-One SEO Pack, then you also want to fill in the Title and description area of this section. This is usually found at the bottom underneath your post content.
  12. Remember to add your post to the right category. Use the categories to keep your content organized into themes.
Local Search

Create Citations to Build Links for Local Businesses


31. August 2011


Citations are references of your local business on other websites. Citation links can be created on local directories, review and Internet yellow page portals, and other niche sites. Citations don’t always have a link to your website. They may just mention the associated name, phone number, or business address. And often these citations can be just as strong as traditional links.

Local Link Building Strategy

Citations are an important part of SEO for your local businesses. And over years, with the patents, changes to search results, and local pages design Google have made, specific local marketing efforts are more important. Citations contribute to a good link building strategy for your company, especially if you have a clear cut branded image. Even a mention of your brand name helps you rise in SERP rankings because the citations lend to your credibility and authority.

Some local internet marketing experts have debated over whether citations provide an accurate reflection of web marketing trends. Google’s recent removal of citation sources from the Local Places page design has many speculating if this indicates that citations are no longer important. We see evidence to the contrary. The change in the design does not automatically mean there was a change in the search algorithm.

Citations Give Your Customers More Opportunity to Review Your Business

Reviews and user generated content are also an important part of a good local marketing strategy. And the citations you build on review sites open your business up to more reviews. And reviews are a form of user generated content. Recent changes to Google SERPs hints that user generated sentiment are an influential signal in their search algorithm and effects rankings for local businesses.

As of this moment, Google cannot depend solely on its own data as an accurate source; they must rely on others and this includes reviews of your business. Google relies on an aggregation of external directories and listings for reviews. While Google may be trying to cut out the other local sources eventually, this may not be the inevitable result with the advent of mobile apps. So until then, build citations and build them everywhere with accurate data and full profiles.

Local Factors Trumps Freshness

For awhile Google focused a lot on “freshness” as a relevancy indicator for their search results. But 1 in 5 searches on desktops have local intent, so in order to remain relevant to its users Google has been focusing on localization for some time now. And let’s not forget that local advertising avenues are worth billions of dollars, so it’s not surprising that Google is trying to dominate this market too. There’s so much opportunity as print advertising starts to convert to online. If anything, Google’s aggressive push for relevancy in local could easily double their current revenue. (Yea, no kidding!)

Social Media

What To Do When My Business Gets a Bad Review?


24. June 2011


Businesses can and do get bad reviews. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent that occasional negative review despite your best service, care, and effort. If you’ve been on top of things, and have many positive reviews, then that negative one won’t hurt as much. As part of our services, we encourage and educate our business owner clients to be open to reviews, by creating citations for their business in various popular review directories if they aren’t already listed. (more…)

Web Services

Scaling a Business with SaaS Tools


25. May 2011


Web Services Give Small Companies a Competitive Edge

The 21st century has ushered in new paradigms and concepts for how we work and collaborate. I firmly believe that a small business with a solid stack of useful SaaS tools, and well defined processes can scale more quickly, and also run circles around an old school business. These cloud based web apps make us more efficient, and give us so much visibility into how we work. I think they are a key ingredient in scaling one’s business from a 1-person shop to a viable entity.

A Path for Implementing SaaS Tools to Run Your Business

While I went through some analysis paralysis to decide which tools to adopt, I stuck to my guns on my criteria for how I pick my web services.  For Flow Simple’s growth and research, I roughly divided my path to implementing SaaS tools into four phases.

  • Phase 1: Money Tracking
  • Phase 2:  Project Management
  • Phase 3: Efficiency/Automation Project Decisions
  • Phase 4: Integrating Money + Time + Efficiency

Tracking Money with Web Services is a Easy: Phase 1

I’ve implemented Freshbooks for our invoicing, and we’re collecting some great data on revenue. Freshbooks has some good reports on profit & loss, aging, collection, revenue patterns and fun stuff. This data can be ported to a more robust accounting/cashflow/payroll tool eventually if need be. Freshbooks API integrates with several account tools.  So far I’ve given Outright and inDinero a spin and they both suck. Perhaps they just aren’t suited for my type of business. Either way I’m not gleaning anything insightful from their data and interface.  Xero and Billflow are next. Xero seems most promising.

Expensify, our receipt and expense tracking app is heaven sent. And it just gets better with every new release. Of course it integrates seamlessly with Freshbooks. Those two tools together make it possible for me to do our quarterly estimates in a very short amount of time. And until I’ve exploded past the $1M a year mark in revenue, I don’t feel the need to outsource this task. It is simply amazing how efficient these two tools are and how powerful I feel.

Project Management Services Don’t Meet Expectations for Criteria: Phase 2

I’ve trialed 6 or 7 different project management and time tracking apps in the last 6 months. This doesn’t include the two dozen PM apps that I’m aware of and spent an hour chewing over their tour & features. None of them meet my criteria. There’s such a gaping hole here, that I’ve even considered building my own. I’ve had dreams about what this interface looks like visually. But this is too large of an undertaking and is clearly not my core business. I’ve had a lengthy discussion with the VP of Mavenlink about their service. Mavenlink seems to be headed in the right direction but doesn’t have enough functionality for me to adopt it. Autotask had the function I want, but their solution goes against my very strict philosophy on web apps, and does not have an API that would play nicely with my stack of tools. It is clearly Frankenstein software, and would make working suck.

I’m now thinking about breaking down the whole project management functionalities into even smaller components. I will need to find specialized tools that meet those super-niche areas. Those components include time tracking, project collaboration, and group task management. I’ve adopted Beebole as my time tracking web app. It’s super new, but even in its early stages it shows a lot of promise. I am worried about the lack of already coded integration pieces, and more so the scalability of this tool in being able to handle more than 10 to 30 ongoing budgets/projects at once. The UI does not lend itself to this. Next, I’ll be checking out Wunderlist and Todoist and Wedoist for my big task management dashboard. And I still use Mavenlink for project collaborations.

A Visual Dashboard of Internal Metrics Collected From Our Web Tools: Phase 3

When I can clearly and accurately translate time into cost, we should be able to see what tasks need to be done more efficiently. Ideally a lot of what I’d like to accomplish I’m hoping there are already tools/services out there that can be taken advantage of. I’m assuming by this Phase of my “Let’s Run my Business on Web Apps” I’ve already defined a data set (e.g. the cost of service translated from time), and I can extract it easily. I want to take this data and import it into a flexible database and be able to display a dashboard of stats beautifully and visually in tables, charts with a nice UI. This will help me synthesize.

When I can visually see potential costs savings, I will also know exactly what I’m willing to invest into programming a tool to automate tasks, spend time to come up with better processes, or consider other solutions. To enable me to make the right decision here, I imagine there’s a point when I reach X number of clients where it should trigger an engineering project. Questions like this: When do go from manual labor to software automation? should be easily answerable given my new dashboard of internal stats at this phase. I think it is similar to this pattern of “Is it better to buy or rent?”

I think I’ve found some tools that could work to build this dashboard. Or I feel like they’re somewhat getting at it. From my limited knowledge, it’s like I can see the potential, but I just don’t know how to go about using them. Check out:

  3. And look, it pulls from Mixpanel.

Now, you might be thinking, why would I want to shell out around $500 to $2K per month to use their services when we can build and own our own? Put simply, I don’t want to build a software company, I want to take advantage of the cloud and web apps to build my own local internet marketing company. I want to stay focused on providing the best internet marketing services, and build what we need on top of what already exists. And more importantly if we pick the right tools/services/companies, it’s their mission to evolve, update, upgrade, and generally do a kick ass job and fill that need. I firmly believe that building this in-house won’t be as sustainable as a company whose sole focus is building the best time tracking app, the best dashboard or etc. Our value is in the service & delivery of internet marketing for local business owners. Period.

Scaling Past Your Bottle Necks with the Cloud: Phase 4

Achieving all of the above will then allow for scaling our business more quickly. I don’t know what my bottle necks will be at this stage if the above 3 Phases have been implemented and have had time to mature in the company. I want to be able to push the growth speed factor. I want to be able to say yes, I can handle 50 new clients right now, TODAY without hesitation.

I have a feeling that this is possible and it can be done. I can’t find any books on scaling service businesses. I can’t find resources where companies talk about the scaling issue and how they solved it. But like I said in my intro, the right combination of good process and good web tools is part of the answer!


Calculating Your Marketing ROI


11. February 2011


One of things I do with my clients is help them understand how much they can afford to spend on marketing per client, and per lead. As a small business owner, having these key metrics will make you more confident in your decisions to spend money on marketing, and help you accurately assess the effectiveness of your marketing activities. (more…)

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Web Services

SaaS Apps vs. Traditional Software


26. January 2011


When it comes to traditionally bought or licensed software versus software as a service (SaaS), many businesses are reevaluating the way they handle their software needs, and are leaning towards SaaS apps. SaaS apps are often highly niched, and simple web applications that are purchased at a low cost. In comparison, the total cost of ownership of traditional software must account for the initial purchase price of the license, then also for updates, IT support, training, and development. Software that includes more applications bring more value to the software itself, but still require IT and upgrades. It’s now increasingly apparent that the price of software is a small portion of the total cost of ownership. (more…)

Local Search

What are Long Tail Keywords


20. December 2010


Long tail keywords are multi-phrase search queries. An example of a long tail keyword would be ‘Where to buy Half Priced Nike Shoes,’ where Nike shoes is an example of a short tail keyword. Long tail keywords are beneficial because they represent the visitors desire for specific service, product, or information. (more…)

Web Services

What is the Cloud?


14. December 2010


Definition of Cloud Computing

Most users won’t ever really need to know the definition of the Cloud but the concept in itself is fairly interesting. At a minimal level Cloud computing combines three different types of technologies, which is why the definition for the Cloud can be so confusing. A brief overview of these three technologies is as follows: (more…)

Web Services

No More Need for Data Recovery


04. December 2010


This afternoon, I received an email from Michelle Villalobos, one of the keynote speakers from the Empowered Women Summit:

Pashmina, I’ve spent the last week and a half recovering from the Summit – not just mentally and physically, but also electronically. See, on Monday after the Summit, all hell broke loose – my hard drive failed and I lost everything…


Social Media

Is Facebook a Fad?


24. November 2010


Why is Facebook relevant to my business?

Social media isn’t a fad anymore. It’s a FUNDAMENTAL shift in how we communicate. Start looking at social media as a way to draw in traffic, traffic, and more traffic. Why would you give up a free opportunity to remind people about your business or service? Facebook gets more traffic than any other social media network or tool, period. If you need more convincing, watch the first minute of this 4 minute video on Socialnomics. (more…)


Recipe for Internet Marketing


11. November 2010


Today I made a declaration.

I want to be known for my internet marketing expertise. By more than just my small circle. And one way to make this happen is to start blogging and interacting within my community of marketing peers with more conscious effort. I don’t know how long this will take. Perhaps it will be years, until I am known, and this is tangible. I’ve been doing Internet marketing for years. I’ve spent countless hours evaluating web apps. I have been an advocate for the value and abundance of opportunities on the Internet, and when you talk to me in person, my passion is palpable. I have a lot of knowledge I’d like to share.

I’m sharing my internet marketing tactics.

There’s no secret with any of these internet marketing strategies or techniques. They are just recipes. If you followed the recipe yourself, you could get the job done. You could have the recipe for the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, but it doesn’t mean you’ll actually make the best cookies. It’s like when Alton Brown, a chef shares his recipes and gets on TV and shows you how he makes it. Does he worry about someone else copying him? No. Because he knows that the recipe isn’t enough. Or how about if I were to give you the exact same set of knives that Alton Brown uses to cook up some of those recipes? Does that make you cook like him? No. The same is true for Internet marketing. I love the research, discovery, and the challenge of this crazy growth we’re seeing in all things internet marketing. And both the recipes and tools change often.

It’s okay if what I say doesn’t work forever.

These internet marketing ideas may be considered crude (one day). Search evolves relentlessly, so it’s quite possible (and likely) that the posts on this blog will become outdated. Frankly, this has made me uncomfortable sharing. I’ve been afraid to share what I learn when I know it isn’t definitive. Absolute. Complete. I go into paralysis analysis all the time. The web is still young, and in some sense, immature. So I’m okay if someone 10 years from now is amused at some of the stuff we do today. And at the same time I’m confident that my underlying marketing philosophy is evergreen.

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