Using Google Mobile Ads and the Provision of Impulse-Based Local Services

The 800-pound search engine gorilla is at it again, shaking things up in the virtual world. This time it’s extending the reach of AdWords -its billion dollar contextual advertising system -to mobile devices.

Google’s new Mobile Ads system delivers two short lines of text and a third line containing a destination URL (and an optional “call” link that dials the advertiser’s business) to mobile phones and wireless PDAs. The text-based ad can be used to target mobile users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany.

From an advertiser’s perspective, Mobile Ads is used in conjunction with Adwords. So, when someone searches Google from a PC the advertiser’s AdWords ad appears, but when searched on a mobile device the Mobile Ad appears. The advertiser should have a mobile-enabled website or landing page (written in XHTML, WML or CHTML), but theoretically Mobile Ads could be used simply to put a local business’ phone number in front of mobile users.

Now hometown advertisers can use Mobile Ads to lure prospective consumers to make local and, most importantly, impulse purchases.

Imagine a shop that advertises a time-based neighborly discount of 50% to local mobile users, who in turn drop what they are doing and head to the advertiser’s shop to make a purchase. Think of the possibilities for neighborhood businesses.

Google Ads is a giant step for location-based services.

Of course, it’s not as good as an advanced location-based service that uses embedded chip technology to send subscribers targeted discounts based on proximity to a shop -but, it’s nonetheless great that Mobile Ads can entice mobile users to pursue locality-based offers.

However, there are some general limitations.

First, even the most brilliant copyrighters/marketers would be hard-pressed to squeeze “motivation” into just two lines of text with 12 characters each. Second, mobile devices may not be conducive to the sort of on-the-spot analysis that most of us do when an offer interests us. We open another browser to search for alternatives, reviews, competitors, coupons, and other things to evaluate the offer -and even bookmark the advertiser’s site for follow up evaluation. Third, e-commerce check-out systems may prevent or frustrate mobile purchases.

In addition, people seem to use mobile phone searches primarily for amusement and to alleviate boredom. So, they would be searching for things like celebrity information, jokes, horoscopes, games, sports, techie info, and ringtones. Indeed, at least one major study of mobile search behavior (by Google, Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University) supports this theory, indicating that many mobile phone searches relate to adult, entertainment and tech info. While there is evidence that wireless PDA users do search frequently for “local services,” I am not sure it’s prudent to assume they are also making purchases or visiting local merchants as a result of a search.

So, where does that leave us overzealous web owners?

If you own a website that offers “sticky” mobile content you could consider selecting the Mobile Ad option the next time you run an AdWords campaign. If you don’t offer mobile content, well, maybe you could use this as an opportunity to get a mobile-compliant website or landing page.

However, you might hold off on using Mobile Ads if you are looking to promote an ecommerce-based service -and especially a non-impulse service!

Of course, if you have an impulse or content offer I would start using Mobile Ads while the cost-per-click for various keywords is still low due to the newness of the program.

Finally, I should note that many wireless carriers have advanced location identification chips buried in their mobile handsets in order to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s E-911 public safety requirements.

It will be very interesting to see if Google finds a way to use that technology to further expand its services to include targeted, location-based advertising.

Working From Home – The Three Keys to Success

There are several trends that are driving forward the popularity of working from home. The main trend is the improvement of communication technology, mainly the Internet. The Internet allows people to access information and communicate with people all over the world in an instant. For employed people, this often means accessing company databases remotely and for the self-employed, this means marketing products, services or an opportunity online.

Another trend that is driving the popularity of working from home is people’s quest for a different lifestyle. People no longer want to work 40 or 50 hours a week for a boss, just to pay the bills. People are generally seeking more control of where and how they work and whom they work with. This brings us on to another trend…

A much improved scale and efficiency of logistics. People now expect to order something online or on the phone and receive their goods within a day or two. This has created new distribution channels for manufacturers and wholesalers and new income opportunities for people who can help those companies find new customers. These new distribution opportunities are usually in the form of Direct Sales / Network Marketing or eCommerce websites. The Work From Home era is truly here.

My Background

I first got involved in working from home on a part-time basis 7 years ago, with a British Direct Sales and Network Marketing company called Kleeneze. Their business model uses commission based, self-employed distributors who distribute their home shopping catalogues to households and then take orders and deliver products. The company takes advantage of the growing home shopping trend, improved goods distribution and people’s quest for a better lifestyle. Kleeneze are basically a goods warehouse that uses a catalogue distribution methodology, combined with a network marketing incentive structure to take their products to market. It’s a strong model.

Over the past several years, I have built up a team of distributors, whose sales contribute to my group turnover, which the company pays me a percentage on every month. This gives me a passive income that allows me to free up time to focus on other activities such as helping a selected team members, developing ideas and exploring new opportunities.

More recently, I have become involved in financial services. I am an appointed representative for a financial services practice and a consumer credit compensation company, both on a part-time basis. This means I am running 3 businesses on a part-time basis, all of which compliment each other quite well. In one role I am helping people earn a substantial extra income. In another role I am helping people with protection, insurance and mortgages. In another role, I am helping people to significantly reduce debt. I try and help people improve their lifestyle and finances in one form or another. The skills I’ve learned along the way include selling, public speaking, coaching, web design and Internet marketing.

Why Work From Home?

People will want to work from home for many different reasons and in many different ways. For example, the schoolteacher working from home marking exam papers is very different from an entrepreneur working from home trying to build a successful enterprise. For the purpose of this article, I will endeavour to give some useful advice for people who are looking to work from home to either earn an extra income, or build a business for the longer term. This will usually be a network marketing or eCommerce business.

The idea of working from home can be very attractive. Being at home for your family. Flexibility of hours. Home comforts and more. These are all real advantages but as with everything in life, there are two sides to the coin. Positive and negative. With children or other family members can come distraction. Flexibility can be hard to discipline, so time can easily be wasted and time wasted can never be gotten back. Home comforts can again distract your focus from important tasks that need to be carried out.

The Three Keys To Success

There are 3 things you need to be successful. Willingness, ability and a good opportunity. The good news is they’re all down to you. Willingness (motivation) is down to you. Ability (acquiring the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for success) is down to you by how much you’re willing to learn. Finding a good opportunity is also down to you – research as many opportunities as you can and don’t just go for something because it’s initially appealing.

Let’s first look at finding a good opportunity. I will use the criteria I use when looking at an opportunity and these criteria should serve you well. Let’s assume you’re looking to join a Network Marketing company for example. Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  • Products / Services: Is there a good market for the products / services that the company provides. Are they priced to sell and priced for profit? Are they of acceptable quality? Are at least some of the products / services consumable, offering future repeat business? Can they easily be bought elsewhere more easily and cheaply? Is there a strong guarantee? Do the products / services satisfy a growing trend or need in the marketplace? Having all these criteria together is not critical, but the more you have, the bigger the advantage
  • Company: Does the company / supplier have a proven, successful track record? Does it have strong corporate and financial backing? Does the company have a positive public image, or if it’s a newer company, positive endorsements or testimonials? Does the company practice integrity?
  • Support: Does the company take support and training seriously? The vast majority of new distributors or representatives will probably need to learn specific skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable them to attain a certain level of success
  • Innovation: Does the company have the right people in place to help drive the development of the company through changing economic and market conditions? Change is the only constant in life and only those people and companies who adapt will survive and prosper in the long term.

My final advice when assessing a company is imagine you are preparing to invest a large loan that is secured against your house into the business. Do your due diligence and invest using your brain, not your emotions. Emotion can come later.

The second key to success is willingness. This means a willingness on your behalf to put the time and effort into learning the knowledge, skills and attitudes required and of course, quite simply getting down and doing the work. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Before you commit time and effort into something, you need desire and belief and they are both closely linked. Desire comes through pain or pleasure. You’re either motivated by something you want to move towards, or motivated by pain to move away from something. Here’s something interesting: for the majority of people, pain is more of a powerful motivator than pleasure, especially in the shorter term. Here’s a few quick tips to develop consistent desire (motivation):

  • Allow yourself to dream about what you really want your life to be like (the pleasure principle). If you find this difficult, remind yourself of your dreams you had as a child, before disappointment and cynicism took over!
  • Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you
  • Feed your mind with information that is conductive to helping you build the life you want. This includes books, audios and even refraining from watching trashy, negative TV!
  • Take yourself forward 5 years and imagine what your life will be like if you don’t follow your dreams (the pain principle). Now 10 years. Now 20. Now imagine yourself as an old man or woman looking back on your life. Are you proud of yourself or full of regret?
  • Set your goals and take immediate and sustained action!

Belief will come through being associated with the right company. By company I mean a physical company and of course people. If you did your due diligence before joining a company, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If this belief starts fade, then you need to ask why, because a lack of belief in what you’re doing or what you’re involved in will destroy your chances of success as fast as anything else. Here’s where having a good coach or mentor will help massively. Try and find a mentor or coach that you feel comfortable with and one who’s qualified to help i.e. one who’s done it or doing it.

Finally, I recommend you become a student of personal development, if you’re not already. Simply put, if you want to become successful, study success. If you want to become wealthy, study wealth. There’s a great range of personal development material on the Internet that you can explore.

The third and final key to success is ability. This simply means the ability to turn work into positive results. In other words, having the right knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s). What might the KSA’s be?

  • Product / service knowledge
  • Selling and negotiating skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Marketing knowledge
  • A knowledge of human psychology
  • Specific technical knowledge / skills
  • A focused attitude
  • An attitude of courage – willingness to expand one’s comfort zone to do things they haven’t done before

How do you develop ability? If you’re involved with a company that takes support and training seriously, they will have a training programme that you can join. It should be structured and allow people to work through it at their own pace, with various competence standards along the way so you can measure your progress over time. A good training and development programme should:

  • Be clear and in easy to understand language
  • Be organised and structured
  • Have clear learning outcomes so the student can measure their progress against set competence benchmarks
  • Allow feedback between the student and teacher. The ”student’ is usually the distributor or representative and the ‘teacher’ would be the coach or mentor that has proven success by using the information that is being taught
  • Have a certain degree of flexibility so people of varying experience and timescales can work through it at their own pace
  • Use various media such is written text, audio, visual and ‘hands on’ practical activities
  • Include group learning and fun!

One quality that is often overlooked by companies and trainers is character. Although having the right skills and knowledge is really important, just as important is a person’s character. This includes qualities such as trustworthiness, empathy, good humour and discipline. Character is developed through the interaction of life’s experiences and one’s own fixed mental attitudes. A great way of helping people grow is through group activities, and not necessarily business orientated. The key is to create and fun and conductive environment for people.

What I have outlined in this article is a general blueprint for your success in running a business from home, without the specific details for your particular company. I hope you have found this article useful and I wish you all the best in your current and future ventures.

Ecommerce and the Informational Internet

Everyday there are those who will ask me questions like, “What’s on TV tonight?” or “Do you know what the capital of Connecticut is?” or “How do you really pronounce Lancaster, Pennsylvania?”

What amazes me is there was a time when I would have referred to print publications to answer these questions. It would either be a television directory, atlas, encyclopedia or dictionary.

Today I spend a few seconds online in my favorite search engine and produce the answers I need from a variety of sources. I get to choose which sources I place the most trust in.

If your child is having difficulty with their homework and they ask you to help you can generally find supplemental materials online to help them – and yourself.

If you have questions about tax laws you can find information on the web.

If you simply want to know what’s playing on television at any given time there are a few alternatives to finding exactly what will be on your system. Those alternatives will be found online.

This is reality in the 21st century. Some may call it information overload, but for those who need to know they are most often turning to the Internet for answers.

As a business owner, how are you tapping into that ‘need to know’ mentality of your customers? What are you doing online that will assist them in understanding your product better?

There’s nothing worse than for a mildly motivated consumer to visit an ecommerce site and find something that seems interesting, but then leaves them in the dark about what the product can do.

They are thinking, “Man, I really liked that Whatzit, but I’m not sure if it’s a can opener or a weed whacker used by mice.”

The World Wide Web has become the dominant source for information. In the 21st century people are convinced that being able to access news when they want the information is imperative. Consumers have come to expect the immediacy of information and product availability.

One of the things I love is when I get an email from someone asking if I remember a certain product. I love this because in many cases I can conduct a few minutes of research and find that the product is still being manufactured and where it can be purchased. I feel like a purveyor of product reunions.

The web brings the trivial and the necessary together in one hi-speed connection.

You can set your business site apart by paying attention to the details of detail. Do you just sell a product or can you help your customers understand the product? Do you simply provide a service or do your customers know what to expect from your service?

The Internet is the equivalent of information in the new millennium. When people want to know and they want to know now they look online.

Your business website has to provide more than products to sell. It must also provide information needed to evaluate and imagine what life with your product will be like. When you fail to provide the details you also limit the ability of consumers to appreciate the value your product can offer.