Saturday, January 26, 2008

Close Sales with Testimonials and Reference Letters

Never underestimate the value of a customer testimonial or reference letter. Whether you sell a product or service on the Internet or by direct sales force (or both), these are gold!

Prospective customers feel more comfortable making a "buy" decision if your business has glowing endorsements from existing customers. In their eyes, this reduces the risk of selecting your company as their vendor. So, always ask for a reference letter or testimonial upon completing projects or transactions.

If your business has performed as agreed, there will be no problem getting this endorsement. You can actually ensure this by writing it yourself and then emailing the "draft" to the customer to get their blessing, asking them "if they want to make any changes."

Place one-to-two paragraph testimonials in conspicuous places on your Website. If you have a direct sales force, make sure customer reference letters are printed on the customer's letterhead and signed. Often, a prospect will even forego calling references if your sales people give them high-caliber endorsement letters at an appropriate stage in the sales cycle. These are great closing tools!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What You Need to Know About Google PPC Advertising

Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great way for small businesses and start-ups to acquire sales. After all, Google owns 70 percent of the search engine market, and your prospective customers are likely to us it to hunt for a product or service just like yours. While PPC advertising can help your company, there are also major pitfalls to avoid.

Let's start with the major advantages:

  • You can gain instant Internet visibility while your Website bubbles up in organic search engine rankings.
  • Your ads appear right at the moment someone is searching for your product or service!
  • You are only charged when someone actually clicks on your ad…otherwise, it’s free!

But to take advantage of PPC advertising, you have to really understand how it works. In short, Google PPC advertising is not for novices. Trust me, if you just follow Google directions and recommendations, you can blow through a lot of money really fast with minimal results.

The major mistakes small businesses and start-ups make when using PPC advertising are:

  • Not setting objectives, a strategy or computing break-even economics.
  • Failure to perform keyword research; bidding primarily on popular (costly) keywords.
  • Not using negative keywords to optimize your budget.
  • Poorly written or misleading ads which result in ineffective clicks.
  • Failure to incorporate keywords in your ads
  • Clicking on an ad takes the user to your Website Home page where they get lost and quickly move on. Either take the clicker to a specific page in your site or (preferred) a landing page related to the ad content.
  • No lead capture or purchase mechanism.
  • Failure to actively manage campaigns.
  • Unable to measure return on investment.

And you can't master Google PPC advertising without devoting considerable time and, yes, money in the process. The industry is full of horror stories about first-timers who tried it and were shocked at the bill they received on their credit cards. Hiring a knowledgeable, experienced person to launch and manage your PPC campaigns is worth every penny. In the long run, you'll save money while profitably grow your sales.

If you wish to proceed on your own despite this advice, for God's sake set a minimal budget so you can play with the PPC variables and learn the Google ropes without breaking your bank. If you want affordable professional assistance, give us ( or a knowledgeable consultant a call. You won't regret it.