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5 Rookie Mistakes You to Need to Avoid With Google AdWords

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Google AdWords can be a hugely powerful tool to help you sell products online. Given the right amount of attention (and budget) the platform can generate as much as $2 in revenue for every $1 in spend. But, like everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching clients – and my own social marketing consultants – use AdWords is that it’s easy to waste a lot of money very quickly. That’s because the service is complex and inundated with features designed to help advertisers (that’s you and me) but which unfortunately oftentimes make it too complicated for the average person (again…you and me) to use.

If you’re a business owner and you want to succeed with AdWords it’s probably in your best interest to not only set an advertising budget but to also hire someone certified to help you. Or at the very least go for training and be prepared to spend a lot of time – and money – getting up to speed, followed by more time – and money – staying current. Otherwise, you’re probably making these five rookie mistakes.

Rookie Mistake #1: You’re not selling products online.

When you advertise with Google you can have simple search ads that show up on the side of a page or you can create more visual display ads that appear as banners not only during searches but on more than two million websites and apps. You can even create video commercials that appear during YouTube videos. But unless you’re BMW, Microsoft or McDonalds and you’re interested in creating a global brand for your product or company, you’ll need to make sure your ads are doing one thing and one thing only: selling products. My most successful clients using AdWords are selling stuff online. That’s because a good ad will enable a user to click through to a good landing page (see below) and within just a few minutes hand over a credit card number. Don’t use AdWords if you’re trying to get people to call you, or sign up for a newsletter, or do anything other than buy your product right there and then. Read More…

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Do Millennials Really Have It “Harder” Than Previous Generations?

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

An easy thing to do is to make fun of millennials, right? Oh they’re so lazy! They’re spoiled! They don’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work! They have it so much easier than we did when we were their age!

So is this true? Do millennials actually have it harder than previous generations? One millennial thinks so. In a recent interview on NPR, Michael Hobbes – a writer, editor and producer – makes a very reasonable case why.

Hobbes cites the spiraling costs of healthcare, housing and education that impacts his generation. He draws attention to stagnating wages, the rise of lower-quality contracting work that has replaced jobs with more benefits, the expensive real estate and cost of living required to live in the highest growth cities like San Francisco, Seattle and New York and the right-leaning attitude towards more personal responsibility that has shifted so significantly over the past two decades. Read More…

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Advertising on Facebook in 2018

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

When people ask me where to spend their advertising dollars this year I’m usually telling them Facebook.

Sure, there are plenty of other marketing platforms to choose from and lots of other ways to generate sales for your products or services.  Of course, Facebook isn’t for everyone.  But c’mon – the social media giant has billions of users from around the world playing on it every day and more than 70 million small businesses owners like me have our own pages. Even if you sell just to other businesses and you don’t think those businesses are active on Facebook, I can still guarantee that many of the employees at that business – people who make buying decisions – are.

This is why 2018 will be a big year for businesses advertising on Facebook. The company is making a tremendous push to attract more advertising dollars – particularly from small and medium companies. Advertising on Facebook is relatively inexpensive compared to other platforms and more tools are planned this year to make the process easier and more targeted.  So if you’re thinking of giving it a shot, then here are five mistakes to avoid. Read More…

Study: The Best Employees Could Be Those with Kids

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

The common perception is that when people have kids they become less dedicated to their jobs and more dedicated to their families. I get that – don’t you? I admit that, given the choice to hire a single person or someone who’s buried under the demands of a busy family life I would be tempted to lean towards the person who would devote the most time as possible to my company. I wouldn’t want my clients to have to compete with Junior’s swim lessons, right?

Well, as usual, it turns out I’m wrong.

According to a recent Best Workplaces for Parents study by Fortune Magazine, which surveyed 400,000 employees at hundreds of organizations, it seems that parents of children happen to also be great employees with better long term prospects for a company – in many cases even better than those who don’t have kids. Read More…

Can You Guess The Worst Industry for Sexual Harassment?

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a big story currently and all the headlines are about the celebrities, politicians and well-known men who have – allegedly – used their positions of power to take advantage of women.  What’s not making the news is all the similar stories that are also happening in small and larger businesses throughout the country.

The website Buzzfeed published data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about this problem and what they found is startling: between 1995 and 2016 more than 170,000 claims of harassment were filed with the EEOC. It’s likely that these claims only represent a fraction of actual incidents that occurred because many are either resolved internally or otherwise go unreported. But the numbers are educational. Read More…

Is Crime Killing Portland’s Small Businesses?

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

When I think of Portland I think of overcast skies, cool music, Fred Armisen, food trucks and the beautiful and historic Sentinel Hotel.  I don’t think about crime. But come to think of it, the last time I was there I did notice an unusually high number of homeless people in the downtown area, and wondered how the city is dealing with the problem.  Unfortunately, as Fox News reports, it’s not so good, particularly for the city’s small businesses.

Last week, about twenty small business owners in the city met with a representative of the mayor’s office to complain about incidents that are hindering their ability to do business.  A merchant said she had her life threatened by a person who was previously arrested “dozens of times” and other store owners complained about panhandling, aggressive behavior and break-ins, according to this report on local television station KOIN. Read More…

3 Reasons Why You Should Support the FCC’s New ‘Net Neutrality’ Proposal

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Everyone’s up in arms because the Federal Communications Commission this week released its final proposal to reverse the Obama Administration’s “net neutrality” rules. The proposal is scheduled for a December 14th vote.

“Net neutrality” means that the entire internet should be able to be equally accessed and used by anyone – individuals or businesses for essentially the same price. The Obama-era ruling classified the internet as a “public utility” which supports this model. The new rules, called “Restoring Internet Freedom,” would reverse the 2015 ruling and put the internet back into private hands.

Opponents of these rules argue that by doing so big companies like Comcast and Verizon will take advantage of the public, charge more money, give preference to larger companies over start-ups and otherwise be in full control of the information super-highway. I guess all of this could happen – assuming we’re watching an updated version of The Matrix or a future episode of Mr. Robot. But the reality is the opposite. The Restoring Internet Freedom rules are good for businesses – big and small – and for three significant reasons. Read More…