Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The New World of Content

Google is increasingly taking on the role of cleaning up the Internet's SEO excesses and penalizing sites that are stuffed with keywords, duplicated content, and manipulated hyperlinks. Websites now receive greater reward in search rankings with content that reflects quality, originality, and relevance. This effort is an attempt to move the emphasis back to traditional marketing. By communicating a message that stands apart from the crowd, the company develops a competitive advantage when consumers see value in the product or service.

For far too long, competing on the web involved hiring expensive and ethically-challenged SEO consultants who applied their wizardry of keyword stuffing and excessive back-linking to game the search engine algorithms. Fortunately, Google is changing the rules of search. The company has repeatedly stated that their focus is on the user experience of the searcher and not with the seller of business services.

Yet, what are the ways that companies can be found through the expansion of content?
  1. Blogging - Linking a blog to the website with valuable thought-provoking posts
  2. Website Wording - Consistently updating and managing website wording with original, fresh content
  3. Email Campaigns - Develop consistent, email campaigns with relevant ideas
  4. Thought Leadership - Position the business as a leader with new industry ideas
  5. Information Downloads - Prepare valuable content for downloads to share with user
By putting this steps into action, you can improve your search engine ranking the traditional way.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Taking Charge of the Economy

Despite the negative talk and and lack of action in Washington about the economy, the economic marketplace is really our own. We are living in a technological revolution where the individual consumer has tremendous influence in the new marketplace. Emerging companies with exciting ways of doing business are springing up everyday. 

For example, PayPal can be especially cumbersome when selling services online. Their support process and call center mentality can make the IRS seem like a rosy picnic. On top of that frustration, 3% of each and every transaction goes straight to the fee bucket. Have you ever tried to work with PayPal on a payment dispute? Customer service goes out the window and their policies rule the day.

Along comes Venmo.com, where there are no fees and a convenient,  intuitive, web interface. You send a simple invoice, the client completes the transaction, and the funds arrive in your bank account the next day (instead of 3-4 days for PayPal). There is a new online bank called Simple, which for the right type of customer, is turning the banking world upside down with minimal fees and a service level, which is surprisingly refreshing.

As the current administration attempts to roll out one business regulation after another, they are missing an important point. It is human nature to confront a roadblock by traveling around it or occasionally right through it. When entrepreneurs see consumers resisting regulations, they will come up with an idea to fill the void. An increasing number of consumers are realizing they have more control than imagined through their consumer buying behavior. So instead of waiting for Washington to improve the economy, contribute to economic growth by making the most of the online choices in the digital world.

If you need assistance with developing a business plan, visit www.marketplace1.net.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Get Serious About The Economy

What in the world is going on in our country? The recent campaign has degenerated into a discussion of legitimate crimes and who is paying or not paying enough taxes. Meanwhile, unemployment continues to hover above 8% and real unemployment is estimated at 15%. Millions more are underemployed just to keep cash rolling in, yet are nowhere close to paying their bills.

Debt, both as a figure and a percentage of GDP continues to soar. The net worth of Americans has dropped by 40% over the past three years. Instead of throwing around nonsense distractions, lets have a serious discussion about where our economy is headed. How do we make entrepreneurship a stronger option for employment? How can we encourage responsible home ownership? How can we get our economy growing again so our citizens can have a prosperous future? Regardless of your political viewpoint, lets focus on the topics that matter instead of these diversions.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Up With The Good - Down With The Bad

Real GDPU.S. real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

Employment and Unemployment
The U.S. unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000). Employment rose in manufacturing and retail and declined in construction and transportation.

With the good going up and the bad going down, now is an ideal time to start a business or expand your existing one. Marketplace can assist your effort to develop a first-rate business plan.

Then, your finished plan can be presented to mulitiple private investors for potential financing.

For more information, call David Laverty at 303.237.8838 or
visit www.marketplace1.net.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hourly Billing - There is Another Way

Attorneys have had a distinct impact on the business world in many ways. One of the most influential is the spread of hourly billing to other industries. Most of us have needed the services of a good attorney at some point during our lives. There are certainly many outstanding attorneys who provide valuable services for complex legal situations.

Yet, the industry practice of myopic hourly billing is a flawed model. If I have a legal dilemma, I can contact an attorney who responds by stating that the charges will be $200 per hour plus expenses. This quote gives me no parameters at all regarding an upside limit to solve my legal issue. Then, I get a maddening bill which covers the following:

* Research - 400.00
* Client Consultation - 200.00
* Answered Phone Call - 15.00
* Copies (6) - .60
* Stamp (1) - .44
Total Due - 616.04

In other industries, the copies and stamps are a business expense and applied to company overhead. Responding to a phone call is simply a part of providing excellent customer service. In providing professional services, there is often a risk of a project, which seems small, escalating into a much larger project. Generating a profit becomes difficult when the time spent far exceeds the original quote.

What if this situation could be handled in another way for a win/win solution? The service provider could tell the client, "Based on the information you provided, my estimate is $500 to $800." If the scope changes, I will contact you with a revised estimate. Now you can effectively budget for this project. As a professional, it is my responsibility for ensuring this project is completed within budget.

With a defined range, the client can perform a brief analysis. Is solving this legal situation worth $800 to me? Has this solution created $800 of value? The problem with hourly billing is two-fold:

1) There are no parameters at all as to the overall cost.
2) Different professionals work at different speeds based upon ability, experience, and motivation. One attorney can effectively complete a project in three hours when others use six to nine.

In any transaction, clients are ultimately paying for value not time. Simply trading time for payment provides a limited view of business development. Yet, making an effort to ensure the services provided equal or significantly exceed the cost is the best way to provide valuable service worthy of referrals or repeat business. Think about it - are there alternatives to hourly billing? I think you know the answer.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Importance of Website Content

When many companies decide to develop or expand their website, they focus on the site's visual presentation. The look and presentation of a site is important. Yet, the visual appearance alone will not generate revenue. When someone shows up for a job interview, a nice suit will not guarantee the new position. In both situations, a poor appearance can lose the opportunity. To secure new business revenue or a job, there must be solid content.

The importance of content is key to the homepage's effectiveness. This first impression needs to capture the viewer's attention in less than 5 seconds. A viewer needs a reason to explore the site or they will find a site worthy of their valuable time. Above the scroll bar, the viewer should see content that is benefits-oriented and results-driven. What does that mean? The initial content needs to show how life will be better as a result of using the product or service. Web shoppers are looking to solve a problem whether how to get the spots off their carpet or generate more business revenue.

Once attention is captured, then supporting material can be provided. Background on the company, full descriptions of products or services, and biographies. Yet, keep this stuff off the homepage. Focus first on generating attention, and then justify that attention with supporting material. If you keep this approach in mind, you will find that your web hits and phone calls will increase. So, spend plenty of time developing your content. Place the wording on equal footing with appearance. When a good appearance is combined with solid ideas, a winning combination exists.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Make a Move for Economic Growth

Did you know that the economy grew at 7.4% in the 3rd Quarter of 2009? This growth rate is the fastest since 1984. You would never know it by listening to all the economic malaise these days.

The Dow Jones stock market index is up over 3,000 points since its low of 6,440 in March. Since January, home resales are up over 10% and new home sales are up
over 20%.

We don't need to wait for Washington DC to spend more money on a stimulus to start taking risks again. Risk is what defines entrepreneurship - not excessive risk, yet reasonable risk.

The main reason that our economy contracted was the excessive and bizarre risk-taking in the housing market. Unfortunately, far too many business people have over-reacted by moving to the other extreme on the risk scale.

Thus, the economic fundamentals are now sound. So, let's starting taking normal risks again and get our whole economy moving forward.