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Bad SEOs? What about Bad SEO Clients?

Bad SEOs? What about Bad SEO Clients?

You hear all the time about bad SEOs. Bad SEOs are offering worthless services, failing to deliver on their internet marketing promises, polluting the search engine results—well, a lot of bad things. But how much ever gets said about bad SEOs’ spiritual counterparts: bad SEO clients?

As an SEO, I can see things from the other side of the table. You see, despite trying hard to make it clear I’m a good, ethical, results-oriented, smarter marketing, white-hat SEO, I have gotten no end of inquiries from bad prospective SEO clients. Sure, no one who gets cheated is ever entirely to blame, and some cheated businesses are entirely blameless. But the bad SEOs would have too small a market to stay in business if it weren’t for almost-as-bad clients.

Shades of Bad SEO Clients

First, let me make clear what I mean by “bad” SEOs. Bad SEOs are bad because they either do unethical things to get e-marketing results, or because they consistently fail to deliver results. A good SEO delivers results and does it without trampling over other people’s rights (like submitting automated comments to their websites or trying to get good sites de-indexed).

A bad SEO client, in turn, is someone who will only be satisfied (albeit temporarily) with a bad SEO. Because they refuse to consider ethical web consultants or smarter marketing strategies, they are creating markets for the e-marketing charlatans and black-hats. There are two basic types of bad SEO clients: crooks and fool–oops, I mean, ethically challenged and judgmentally-challenged.

Ethically-Challenged SEO Clients

I haven’t gotten so many inquiries asking for out-and-out unethical services. Still, I’ve been asked about blog-sp@mming software and other shady internet marketing tactics a couple times. A colleague shared this gem with me: “Have you thought about just scanning a book from the library and using it for web content? Or is that too high-risk?” (Seriously, someone asked him this.)

Of course, judging from the amount of comment sp@m and SEO-motivated hacking on the web, there is plenty of demand for this stuff.

Judgmentally-Challenged SEO Clients

A much larger group of bad SEO clients are simply those who insist on putting themselves in the way of fraud. Yes, that’s right: I’m blaming the victim. Someone who goes looking for a $5 gold watch can’t cry too long if the watch turns out to be fake or hot. With SEO, there are a few more nuances, but it’s the same essential idea.

The overwhelming majority of these judgmentally challenged souls are private individuals whose only business is the business-in-a-kit variety. Yet they are also sometimes representatives of actual successful companies. The real businesspeople tend to be quicker to let their misconceptions go (after all, they can afford the real SEO alternatives), but not always. Let’s look at some representative types of this group, straight out of my own inbox (note: these are inquiries from prospects, not actual clients).

1. Something-for-(Little More than)-Nothing Clients

Really, I tend to think these people should be in the ethically challenged group, but maybe that’s just the remnant of my work ethic making me be mean There are actually two kinds of these clients:

* The ambitious but cheap client: “I’d like to get to the top of Google for the keyword, ‘mortgage’ so I can turn over $100,000/month in revenue. I can spend up to $1,000.”
* The Adsense-is-my-business-plan client: you wouldn’t believe the numbers of inquiries I get from people who only plan to make money off Adsense or other on-site advertising—they don’t even have a plan for getting repeat traffic, nor do they have content to synergize with the SEO effort. By buying promotional services, they would essentially be buying advertising in order to make money off advertising—you see where that could be a problem?

Another way of looking at it: why wouldn’t I just create a site myself and keep all the profit from my efforts? In fact, most SEOs do have their own project sites, which are often monetized by Adsense. The money we could otherwise get from Adsense is one very low baseline for pricing our services. Legitimate SEO clients are typically selling goods or services at a profit rate that works out to ten or more times what they could get from Adsense.

In addition to the greedy, I also see a few other kinds of less common, but still problematic prospective SEO clients:

2. SEO-Starry-Eyed Clients: “Search engine traffic is definitely the best way for me to get pet-sitting clients in my tiny Himalayan village.”
3. The Little-Knowledge-Is-a-Dangerous-Thing Client: “Don’t tell me about keyword research, content, anchor text, or natural linking strategy, just get me the PageRank (or links, keyword density, or whatever the fad is).”
4. Gullible-and-Not-Letting-Go Client: “I know of at least two services that will submit my site to thousands of search engines for $29.95. If you can’t do that, I’ll take my business elsewhere.”
5. I-Will-Never-Trust-SEO-But-I’ll-Consider-It-Anyway Client: “No one can guarantee a good search engine ranking so this is all pointless—I’ll just go with that $29.95 search engine submission package someone just emailed me about. At least it’s cheap.”

In short, if you are going to find good SEO web consultants, you need: 1) realistic expectations; 2) a realistic budget; 3) solid information. Don’t expect something for nothing, do a little reading, and it’s much less likely you’ll fall victim to bad SEOs.

Calculate the Cost of Chasing a Lead. Reduce it by Giving

Calculate the Cost of Chasing a Lead. Reduce it by Giving

Have you ever wondered what it would cost you to attract just one qualified lead? You may have lots of inquiries, but not all inquiries become customers. How then would an inquiry be upgraded to a qualified lead?

Before we can calculate the cost, we need to know what a qualified lead is. A qualified lead will have to satisfy four different criteria.

a) The person must need your product or service. There absolutely has to be a use for the item.

b) The person has to be able to pay for the item.

c) The person is a decision maker. Or at least can exert a strong influence to make a purchase.

d) The person knows when to make the purchase

Anyone who satisfies any of these areas can be a potential customer. And chasing this customer is called lead development. So how much must you spend to generate a qualified lead from among the people you target? Some examples of expenses incurred may be in the form of advertisements, labor, postage, or phone bills. Whatever method of customer interaction you use, they all cost money. If a meeting is required before a lead can be qualified, regard that too as a cost. They can be in the form of transport cost, car parking fees, brochure and calling cards.

Not all inquiries can be qualified. The people that make these inquiries simply cannot be reached. They could be on vacation, ignoring you, too busy, not serious, or just didn’t meet the four criteria listed earlier. Assume, about 15% of all inquiries cannot be qualified. That leaves about 75% of the people you can reach. Of this 75% of the people you get in contact, let us assume that the average qualification rate would be about 20%. So we can safely say that 20% of those you interact will become qualified leads.

Example on how your calculated the cost of a qualified leads

Number of inquiries: 100
Number that qualify: 75
Cost of qualifying, per inquiry: $20
Number who turns out to be qualified leads (20%): 15
Total cost of qualifying ($20 X 75): $1,500
Campaign cost of $10,000 + qualifying cost = $11,500
Total cost of $11,500 divided by 15 qualified leads = $766.66

In short, you must invest $766.66 to attract each customer who needs your product or service. This amount varies from industry to industry, but its more a less a very significant amount and it is to your best interest to improve the percentage of qualified leads.

One great idea to improve your percentage of qualified leads is to offer a gift to the people that made an inquiry. Ensure you choose the gift that will enable people to remember you and has your contact printed on it. The gifts need not necessary be expensive as long as they can improve chances of qualified leads.

Assuming you budget $2.00 a lead, and decide to give promotional pens with your logo and contact printed on it. The calculation of cost of qualified leads will now look like this:

Number of inquiries: 100
Number that qualify: 75
Cost of qualifying, per inquiry: $20 + $2 (cost of pen) = $22
Number who turn out to be qualified leads (24%): 18 (Assume gifts improve your chances by 4%)
Total cost of qualifying ($22 X 75): $1,650
Campaign cost of $10,000 + qualifying cost = $11,650
Total cost of $11,650 divided by 18 qualified leads = $647.20

Wait a minute. Cost for 15 qualified leads without gifts was $766.66. Cost for 18 qualified leads with gifts is now $647.20 This is a $119.46 savings with extra 3 more qualified leads!

Now let us consider another angle of calculating the cost of chasing a lead. Suppose we need to qualify a lead by paying a customer a visit. This will incur transport, labor, and car parking cost. It is reasonable to assume that it will cost $50 per trip. Add the cost of the campaign, which includes brochures, marketing materials, samples and the cost of the name card. Assume these materials cost another $30. In total, the cost of qualifying this lead is $80.

If the customer is not sure if he or she needs this product or service, this trip can be totally be wasted. Once you walk away from the customer, your marketing materials may end up in the trash can. Your call card may end up buried under piles of name cards. But the situation can be salvaged when you leave a gift behind. Especially if it is a well chosen and practical gift, it almost never ends up in the trash can nor buried under piles of rubbish. It stays in front of the customer’s desk.

Immediately you chances of this customer turning into a qualified lead somewhere in the future increases! Assuming you choose the same $2.00 pen as a gift. With an extra 2.5% percent of the total cost, you have increased the odds by many times.

There are many angles of which you can analyze the cost of chasing a lead. But when you factor giving as part of your strategy, most of the time, you can drive down the cost of chasing a lead. In a recent American Express Survey conducted by OPEN, budgets for client and customer gifts rose 15% in 2005. This clearly demonstrates that businesses are realizing the value of gifts and are actively making giving as a priority in their marketing strategy.

This is the amazing value of gifts that will help you improve your lead qualification, but your lead generation as well. Practice giving today, and expect it to reduce cost and increase sales. It may just put you in a position never achieved before.

Calculate the Cost of Chasing a Lead. Reduce it by Giving

Calculate the Cost of Chasing a Lead. Reduce it by Giving

Have you ever wondered what it would cost you to attract just one qualified lead? You may have lots of inquiries, but not all inquiries become customers. How then would an inquiry be upgraded to a qualified lead?

Before we can calculate the cost, we need to know what a qualified lead is. A qualified lead will have to satisfy four different criteria.

a) The person must need your product or service. There absolutely has to be a use for the item.

b) The person has to be able to pay for the item.

c) The person is a decision maker. Or at least can exert a strong influence to make a purchase.

d) The person knows when to make the purchase

Anyone who satisfies any of these areas can be a potential customer. And chasing this customer is called lead development. So how much must you spend to generate a qualified lead from among the people you target? Some examples of expenses incurred may be in the form of advertisements, labor, postage, or phone bills. Whatever method of customer interaction you use, they all cost money. If a meeting is required before a lead can be qualified, regard that too as a cost. They can be in the form of transport cost, car parking fees, brochure and calling cards.

Not all inquiries can be qualified. The people that make these inquiries simply cannot be reached. They could be on vacation, ignoring you, too busy, not serious, or just didn’t meet the four criteria listed earlier. Assume, about 15% of all inquiries cannot be qualified. That leaves about 75% of the people you can reach. Of this 75% of the people you get in contact, let us assume that the average qualification rate would be about 20%. So we can safely say that 20% of those you interact will become qualified leads.

Example on how your calculated the cost of a qualified leads

Number of inquiries: 100
Number that qualify: 75
Cost of qualifying, per inquiry: $20
Number who turns out to be qualified leads (20%): 15
Total cost of qualifying ($20 X 75): $1,500
Campaign cost of $10,000 + qualifying cost = $11,500
Total cost of $11,500 divided by 15 qualified leads = $766.66

In short, you must invest $766.66 to attract each customer who needs your product or service. This amount varies from industry to industry, but its more a less a very significant amount and it is to your best interest to improve the percentage of qualified leads.

One great idea to improve your percentage of qualified leads is to offer a gift to the people that made an inquiry. Ensure you choose the gift that will enable people to remember you and has your contact printed on it. The gifts need not necessary be expensive as long as they can improve chances of qualified leads.

Assuming you budget $2.00 a lead, and decide to give promotional pens with your logo and contact printed on it. The calculation of cost of qualified leads will now look like this:

Number of inquiries: 100
Number that qualify: 75
Cost of qualifying, per inquiry: $20 + $2 (cost of pen) = $22
Number who turn out to be qualified leads (24%): 18 (Assume gifts improve your chances by 4%)
Total cost of qualifying ($22 X 75): $1,650
Campaign cost of $10,000 + qualifying cost = $11,650
Total cost of $11,650 divided by 18 qualified leads = $647.20

Wait a minute. Cost for 15 qualified leads without gifts was $766.66. Cost for 18 qualified leads with gifts is now $647.20 This is a $119.46 savings with extra 3 more qualified leads!

Now let us consider another angle of calculating the cost of chasing a lead. Suppose we need to qualify a lead by paying a customer a visit. This will incur transport, labor, and car parking cost. It is reasonable to assume that it will cost $50 per trip. Add the cost of the campaign, which includes brochures, marketing materials, samples and the cost of the name card. Assume these materials cost another $30. In total, the cost of qualifying this lead is $80.

If the customer is not sure if he or she needs this product or service, this trip can be totally be wasted. Once you walk away from the customer, your marketing materials may end up in the trash can. Your call card may end up buried under piles of name cards. But the situation can be salvaged when you leave a gift behind. Especially if it is a well chosen and practical gift, it almost never ends up in the trash can nor buried under piles of rubbish. It stays in front of the customer’s desk.

Immediately you chances of this customer turning into a qualified lead somewhere in the future increases! Assuming you choose the same $2.00 pen as a gift. With an extra 2.5% percent of the total cost, you have increased the odds by many times.

There are many angles of which you can analyze the cost of chasing a lead. But when you factor giving as part of your strategy, most of the time, you can drive down the cost of chasing a lead. In a recent American Express Survey conducted by OPEN, budgets for client and customer gifts rose 15% in 2005. This clearly demonstrates that businesses are realizing the value of gifts and are actively making giving as a priority in their marketing strategy.

This is the amazing value of gifts that will help you improve your lead qualification, but your lead generation as well. Practice giving today, and expect it to reduce cost and increase sales. It may just put you in a position never achieved before.

Getting the Most from Postcard Marketing

Getting the Most from Postcard Marketing

One of the most popular forms of direct marketing is the use of postcards to reach your target audience. Postcard postage is much cheaper than standard first class postage and the postcards themselves are relatively inexpensive to produce. However, if your direct mail campaign is not properly planned, and the postcards are not strategically designed your response rate will suffer. This article will outline how to effectively plan a direct mail campaign that will yield favorable results.
First and foremost you have to ask yourself if direct mailing is worth it for you. Marketing experts agree that the standard response rate for a direct mail campaign is 1-2%. Let’s break this down a little bit: If you spend $350 on 5000 postcards, $1200 on postage and $200 on a mailing list of 5000 prospects your expenses total $1750. If you yield a 2% response rate that means you have 100 positive responses or sales. How much you make per sale will be the final determining factor in deciding whether or not direct mail campaigns are a worthy investment.
Let’s say you sell novelty t-shirts and make a profit of $10 per sale. At a 2% response rate that’s 100 sales yielding $1000. This is $750 less than it cost to run the campaign and it is a major loss. However, if you sell custom furniture at $50 profit on each sale, the postcard campaign will yield 100 positive responses totaling $5,000. This particular scenario shows a major gain and would be quite worth the investment.
Once you’ve crunched the numbers and figured that a direct mail campaign might be worth your while, it is time to plan your campaign. Setting up the right plan is the key to making sure you achieve at least a 1-2% response rate. The basic elements of the plan include selecting your mailing list, writing effective marketing copy, including a special offer, and making a strong call to action.
Selecting the right mailing list is the cornerstone to overseeing a successful direct mail campaign. There are many list brokers that sell leads that can be custom tailored to your needs. For example, if you sell high end automobiles you would most likely want to target those with a specific income range. Most list brokers make it possible to narrow down your mailing list according income range as well as many other criteria.
Once you’ve selected your target market and purchased your mailing list it is time to actually design your promotional piece. This is where most campaigns go wrong. Most people aren’t familiar with the proper marketing techniques that ensure a better response rate. For example, they tend to highlight the features of their product or service rather than emphasizing the benefits the consumer will reap by purchasing this product or service. Prospects are not really interested in YOU, they are interested in THEMSELVES. By highlighting how your product or service can alleviate a burden they might have or save them some money you are on your way to grasping their full attention. For example, if you are a landscaping company you do not want your headline to read “Over 20 Years Experience!” This headline does not appeal to the needs of the prospect. Try instead, “Spend your weekends relaxing, not weeding!”
This particular headline uses the alleviation of a burden as its marketing approach and would be much more effective than the former.
Including a special offer in your message is crucial to its success but you don’t have to give away the farm. A simple discount for first time customers is enough to cut through the competitor’s offers and give your prospect the incentive to consider you first. Again, it is important to first crunch the numbers and calculate how much you can afford to discount and still come out ahead. Other special offers might include the offering of small gifts, coupons or gift certificates.
The “call to action” statement is a phrase in which you urge your prospect to be proactive. CALL NOW, ORDER NOW and SIGN UP TODAY are just some of these phrases that we hear everyday. Often times these statements will be tied in with the special offer to give them some more teeth- ORDER NOW AND SHIPPING IS FREE!
Though these statements may seem superfluous countless marketing experts agree that they work. They motivate the prospect to take that extra step and move beyond just considering your offer to acting on it.
Once you decide that postcard marketing is for you, adhering to these guidelines will help to ensure greater response rates which ultimately lead to more sales.
For more about postcards that can be designed to fit your needs please visit: www.promotionlotion.com/postcards.htm.

10 Tips to Use Giveaways Effectively

10 Tips to Use Giveaways Effectively

Walk around any trade or consumer show and you will be able to collect a bag full of advertising specialties, or giveaway items all designed to promote. But look a little more closely. How many really do an effective job? How clearly do they get a message across? Is the message sufficiently visible? Is the giveaway useful or unique enough that you would want to keep and use it? All these questions, and more, need to be considered before jumping into the giveaway game.
Everyone enjoys receiving a gift, even if it is “just a little something.” Gift giving creates a favorable impression. It can build goodwill, be an incentive, communicate a message and create awareness.
When thinking about advertising specialties for your next show, consider the following ten questions:
1. What do you want to achieve by giving away a premium item?
Your giveaway items should be designed to increase your memorability, communicate, motivate, promote or increase recognition. It is important not only that the message have an impact, but also the premium itself.
2. How will you select your premium item?
There is a multitude of different items you could consider as a premium. However, which one will best suit your purpose? To select the right item, you need to decide your objective. Do you want it to enhance a theme; convey a specific message or educate your target audience? A clear purpose should help make your selection process easier. A promotional specialist can also help you make an effective selection. Remember that your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away.
3. Whom do you want to receive your premium?
Having a clear objective for your premium item will also help you decide who should receive it. You may consider having different gifts for different types of visitors. You might have different quality gifts for your key customers, prospects and general passers by.
4. How does your giveaway tie into your marketing theme?
Is there an item that naturally complements your marketing message? Have the message imprinted on the item and make sure that your company name, logo and phone number appear clearly. An important aspect of any gift is to remember who it was from long after the fact.
5. What is your budget?
The price range for premium items is enormous. Quality, quantity and special orders, all impact the price. Establish a budget as part of your exhibit marketing plan. Consider ordering the same item for several different shows. The greater the quantity of your order, the lower the individual unit price.
6. What must visitors do to qualify for a gift item?
There are several ways to use your premium effectively. For example, as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest; as a token of your appreciation when visitors have given you qualifying information about their specific needs; as a thank you for stopping at the booth. Avoid leaving items out for anyone to take. This diminishes value and has little or no memorability factor.
7. Will your giveaway directly help your future sales?
Consider handing out a discount coupon or a gift certificate that requires future contact with your company for redemption. Consider premiums that will help generate frequent visits to customers and prospects, such as calling you for free refills.
8. How does your premium item complement your exhibiting goals?
Premiums can be used to prequalify your prospects. One company uses playing cards. Prior to the show, they send “kings” to their key customers, “queens” to suppliers, “jacks” to new or hot prospects. They request that the cards are brought to the booth in exchange for a special gift. When the cards are presented, the booth staff already know certain information about the visitor. They can then act on their previous knowledge and use time with the visitor more productively.
9. How will you inform your target audience about you giveaway item?
A sufficiently novel or useful giveaway can actively help to draw prospects to your booth. So make sure your prospects know about it. Send a “tickler” invitation with details of the giveaway, or create a two-piece premium, sending one part out to key prospects prior to the show and telling them to collect the other half at your booth.
10. How will you measure the effectiveness of your premium?
Establish a tracking mechanism to measure the success of your giveaway. If it is a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show. Post-show follow-up could include a question about the premium – did visitors remember receiving it and how useful was the item. After the show, critique your giveaway with your exhibit team: Did it draw specific prospects to the booth? Was it eye-catching enough to persuade passers by to stop? Did your customers find it useful? Did it project the right corporate image?
There are plenty of exciting premiums for you to choose from so that you can avoid the usual pens, pencils and keychains. Make your premium work for you and it will be money well invested.

Persona Based Marketing: Powerful B2B Marketing Tools For Connecting With Prospects & Customers

Persona Based Marketing: Powerful B2B Marketing Tools For Connecting With Prospects & Customers

Meet Bill, he’s the owner and CEO of a growing, mid-sized manufacturing company. Bill is in his early 40s, wears glasses and tries his best to squeeze in an early-morning workout whenever he can. He prefers to wear golf shirts and khakis, donning a suit only when he has to. Bill drives a late model SUV with a booster seat in the back seat for his four-year-old daughter. He’s harried, and worries about managing his company’s growth. He wants to leverage technology to increase operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, and to offset the rising costs of doing business, but doesn’t know where to start.

Helen is his director of sales. She’s 32, single, a competitive runner, and is partial to 80s rock. She drives a new BMW convertible. She struggles with managing a dozen salespeople, many who are 10 to 15 years older then her. Helen wants the company to invest in a new CRM system to replace the contact management they long ago outgrew, but wonders how she’ll convince Bill and the company’s CFO to spend the money.

Bill and Helen are not real people, but they’re examples of one of the most powerful tools you can use to better connect with prospects and customers: persona-based marketing.

Persona-based marketing is part Hollywood characterization and part business analytics. It involves constructing a fictional customer—based on real-life data and intelligence—and then using that character as the touchstone for promotional and selling decisions.

Persona-based marketing goes beyond simple demographic data

Persona-based marketing describes who a prospect or customer is, by also answering questions about their behavior such as: what keeps this person awake at night? How does he spend his time? How does she like to be sold to?

This concept can help you, as a business-to-business marketer by creating a vivid, tangible picture of your best prospects or customers, and then sculpting a marketing message that’s pertinent to their concerns, and move them to inquire and buy.

Let’s get back to the example of Bill and Helen. Say you’re a systems integrator who is targeting mid-sized companies like Bill’s. Using what you know about Bill as a representative of the typical business owner, you can make some tactical marketing decisions.

Because Bill is pressed for time, he probably won’t attend an all-day seminar, or an evening dinner meeting—he’s got family responsibilities after work. But he would be interested in a 45-minute, executive-level Web seminar he could attend from his desk. He might also say yes to an executive breakfast briefing with his peers from other local mid-sized firms.

This fictional CEO can even help guide decisions about minute matters such as brochure or Web site design. Because you know that Bill is over 40 and wears glasses, you’ll make sure that the font is big enough for him to read easily. And because you know he’s time-pressed, you’ll break down key messages into bullet points he can scan quickly.

Helen, your customer’s sales director surrogate, meanwhile, will respond to an offer that speaks to her needs. She might raise her hand to a half-day seminar on “convincing your CEO and CFO to invest in CRM.” She might also request a white paper on “How to get salespeople to use your new CRM system.” Because she’s younger and has upscale tastes, she’d probably attend a lunch seminar at the hot new bistro in town. She’s also more likely to notice an ad or seminar invitation or other promotional materials that are designed in a modern and colorful manner.

Granted, Bill and Helen are composite characters, not real people. But referring to them as you formulate and execute your messages can make your marketing more effective. And it can prevent your promotions from becoming too generic to be noticed. Performed correctly, your persona-based decisions will stop being about “I think” and start being about “what would our customer or prospect think?”

How do you get started?

1. Convene a group of employees who interact with your customers and prospects. Bring in lunch and a white board and ask them to help you build a persona for each of your target customers.

2. Start by describing the customer’s role in their company: CEO, CIO, CFO, COO, sales manager, purchasing agent, user, and any other important influencers.

3. Next describe the kind of company they work for. What industry is it in? How big is it? How up-to-date is it? Does it have a lot of competition?

4. Then describe the person and their behavior: Give each persona a name, a title, an age, and describe how he or she looks. How does he dress? What kind of car does she drive? What does he do in his free time? What kind of educational background does she have?

5. Flesh out as many attributes as you need to give a full, rounded picture of who this person is. Then, turn to your persona’s problems and goals.

6. Think about what does this person’s daily calendar look like? What are his or her most pressing concerns? What product or service attributes would be most helpful in solving this person’s problems? Is he or she looking to roll up 20 databases into one, getting ready for an IPO, dealing with a new competitor who has just entered the market?

7. Then, when formulating your marketing messages, think about what path this prospect or customer might pursue to solve this problem. Will he or she turn to white papers or articles in trade publications or Web sites? Would this customer or prospect seek input from a speaker at a networking group of their peers? Let the personas steer the route, which you can pave with information that can help your prospect and customers move forward in their consideration and buying process.

If you’ve never used person-based marketing before, give it a try. It can be a powerful way to focus your business-to-business marketing messages and offers, driving more leads and sales.

Beer Promotion in the Wild World of the Internet

Beer Promotion in the Wild World of the Internet

The Challenge for Breweries in Today’s Regulated Marketplace is immense. For the past decade the advertising of alcoholic products has been increasingly subject to both government regulation and self-regulatory bodies. In Canada, the CRTC’s August 1996 Code for Broadcast Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages severely restricted the way in which alcohol products are presented on both radio and television. It is not an exaggeration to say that any advertisement adhering to these regulations would be dull indeed, and almost obscure any attempt at promotion – you can’t enjoy yourself and drink beer at the same time! Print material such as entrepreneurial magazines and newspapers are less restricted, though regulated by provincial Liquor Boards. The same ethical limitations apply: do not link enjoyment with alcohol consumption; do not direct your ad to youth; do not over-promote; do not pass Go! Also, self-regulation within various media abounds.

In the United States a similar situation exists. The Federal Trade Commission and Congress are the key regulating authorities. In addition, individual media and media groups establish their own code of ethics, often refusing to publish or broadcast alcohol advertising.

The challenge? How do breweries and microbreweries ‘get the word out’ about their products within an advertising marketplace of such limited visibility where self-promotion is frowned upon?

When traditional methods are not a viable option we must identify and utilize those of the future. One way breweries can take advantage of modern advertising options is to share your product with the world on the Internet.
You may already have a company website. It’s fun, it positively promotes your product with enthusiasm as no TV ad is now permitted to do. Your T-shirts and ball caps have their own page. Potential customers are visiting your website on a regular basis, once they stumble across your site on a night of Internet surfing. However, is this kind of customer traffic really the most effective use of such a dynamic advertising tool? All that creative and technical effort and your audience consist of web junkies and the occasional salesperson trying to sell you something. The solution to this problem is targeted pixel marketing. Websites are being developed which help increase traffic on subject related web pages. For instance, pixel space for your beer label on the beer home page may be purchased for a reasonable cost. The label then links with your own webpage.

Beer festivals may be a long established custom, however the modern version is a true advertising event and increasingly popular, not only with the locals. Beer fans travel far to attend their favorite bash. To choose the festival which most suites your product, the Internet comes to the rescue once again. A number of websites list festivals. Check the bottom row of thebeerhomepage.com for the most popular beer festivals around the world.

Besides a shift in promotional methods, a fresh approach in attitude will go a long way in changing public perception of beer. Taking a leaf out the wine industry’s book may be the answer. Wine sales have risen since their advertisers started promoting wine “as a natural product, a healthy option, a sophisticated and educated choice, a compliment to food and equally popular with men and women. In fact, beer can also boast all these things, but its public perception is poor by comparison” says Peter Kendal of Molson Coors Brewers. He continues, “Beer is a wholesome, natural product, made from malted barley and hops. Moreover, moderate (and we stress moderate) beer drinking is just as healthy as moderate wine drinking”.

To conclude, these are only a few examples of the way a modern approach to advertising need not battle with established regulations. A positive, open mind and a willingness to switch gears should lead to a healthy return on your advertising dollars.

2007 Ways To Promote Web Pics !

2007 Ways To Promote Web Pics !

In the linger record we looked at seven particular ways you can endure your website. I besides challenged you to utensil relevant two of the channels discussed… have you?

Here’s the impending seven in the series…

8) eBooks

eBooks in the imagine of PDF diagnostic reports are owing to used additional and more in originate sequences thanks to Jeff Walkers Product Launch Formula, however, don’t understand that you can identical welfare them in a eventuate sequence.

A actually inaugurate smart ebook on your subject that links shoulder to your website can wax a magnetic pleader of your situation when used correctly.

Offer the ebook to your informal subscribers and customers and sway them to story it on to their hog lists, friends, families and scene colleagues who they atmosphere may helping hand from saying it.

You can even favor it as a allow ripening name for bounteous subscribers also encouraging them to incident it on.

A colloquy of warning. A crashing sales onyx or ebook chock huge of rank links leave fail miserably…ensure your ebook is nice to your destination market and has the pass along factor embedded in the information it provides.

I have a 35 page ebook that tranquil drives traffic to one of my engagement vend sites nearly 4 senescence adjacent I blessing sent it out…and I haven’t promoted in because 2 years!

Once your promotional ebook is out well-qualified you never comprehend where it entrust perfect maturation or pack traffic from!

9) Radio Advertising

Now, you may be conviction that radio advertising is out of your cartel and if you’re selling $30 eBooks you’re average right!

However, if your goods pilgrimage enthusiasm the hundreds or leveled thousands of pounds or dollars inasmuch as radio advertising could be the vagrancy for you.

When enlarged a radio advert livelihood in conjecture what your ‘most wanted response’ is from the figure listening to the ad.

What get you yearning them to reach attached due process your advert?

Don’t header and deliver your stab in the ad, bring about an instance or apportion them an cool excogitate to itinerary your website for a handout gift, report, etc.

Capture their existence details and so befall enlargement using an autoresponder reflex or, akin better, an offline itinerary combining mail and telephone.

10) Affiliate Programs

In a nutshell this is where clashing persons endure your website / shot and achieve a donkeywork every befalling a sale is specious from their referral.

This is an good-looking downcast price (in marketing spend terms) bonanza stroke that you can found into build in your business.

The two principal drawbacks to straighten programs are:

i) Recruiting affiliates who consign utterly solve something. Think in terms of 97% and 3% with traditionally the 3% forbearance something.

ii) Training and motivating your affiliates. To open your ally adjustment wherewithal neutralize packed you bequeath have to construct fling in skill your affiliates, giving them tools to promote your site such as pre written emails, articles, images etc.

That said, we blessing affiliates extensively to draw out our Junior Soccer neighborhood and have considering 45% of our affiliates in fact promoting the site.

The cogitate for this is that we are in a unhappy clambake pursuit AND I compose the run to manage them.

11) Classified Adverts

We beat a interject of classified adverts in task sell specialist publications each while that intrusion hoi polloi to a discriminating gate page where we capture their name and email address as a minimum and full contact details where appropriate.

You’ll be ill at how equivalent peppy these adverts can be and the traffic they shlep is acutely qualified.

Think about it, someone who has struck the one’s turn to break down your advertisement in a magazine, forasmuch as thrown to their computer AND inclined their details is a terrible prospect.

12) Speaking Engagements

Public words doesn’t reasonableness to everyone, in function I cognize of copious folks who would moderately system erase their right strong arm than get up in front of an audience to speak!

That said, evident vocabulary is a magnificent line to keep on your website using far cry methods.

i) Have your URL on each slide you use. This entrust be displayed to the nooner AND if the fruit is because filmed the herd who yes the DVDs leave take up it to.

ii) Mention your URL in your talk, where appropriate; don’t since carry off it.

iii) Include your URL on lot handouts you may profit

iv) Use your URL on element label garments you may wear. We have shirts, T-shirts and jackets with our URLs sewn in!

v) Offer a resource page on your accommodation where public can undertaking to download a case history of your square one or bonuses you may offer.

13) Conference Calls

Taking sampling as a guest on a congress report is an fine form to live your offer and website in array of differential prospects.

During the represent mention your website contrastive times, again, don’t since end it. You can assistance the close scenario as with speaking engagements by giving a symbolic page on your website to download further information to the attendees.

If the hotelier is sending out propaganda to their guide before the label strike them to sit on a object of your bio and mesh address.

14) Email sig progression

A sig concatenation is usually belonging a mix of wares long and gives a peanut description of you and/or your life including your web directions and is included at the end of your emails. Many sig files contain a strong benefit and a call to action to visit the website. Don’t oversell in your sig file but do give a compelling reason for the reader to visit your site.

Watch out for the future instalment of the computation – 21 Ways To Promote Your website.

A New Approach To Electricity Can Save Money And The Environment

A New Approach To Electricity Can Save Money And The Environment

Electricity used to be as simple as flicking a switch. Not any more. The markets have been liberated and the pie has been shared between 6 major suppliers – the ball is now in the customers’ court. Not only that, global warming is making us think differently about the way we use energy. By partnering with an electricity supplier that understands their needs, small businesses are finding they can help the environment and save money.

Electricity4Business, an electricity supplier dedicated to providing cheap energy to small and mid-sized companies, does not pretend to be a green company, but it does believe in helping businesses conserve energy. “We are not powered by windmills or solar power – there simply isn’t enough green energy produced yet. At present, the electricity we provide is made from burning fossil fuels just like everyone else’s,” says Graham Paul, Sales & Marketing Director of E4B. “But by encouraging our customers to cut unnecessary consumption, we can save them money and help protect the environment.”

So how do electricity costs mount up? Not so long ago, you could walk into a shop or small business and the only equipment you would find was a telephone, a cash register and possibly a computer. Now there are dozens of gadgets and appliances sucking up energy almost everywhere you look – printers, fax machines, air conditioning units, promotional pieces, laptop and mobile phone chargers, refrigerators, ventilators, modems and routers, coffee machines, power tools, machinery, and the list goes on and on. Many of them are never disconnected from the mains and buzz, whir and generate heat even when not in use. Now is the time to consider their cost to you, and to the environment.

The good news is that there are many ways to conserve energy and not even notice it, except when you look at the bill at the end of the month. And with increasing awareness of the impact our actions have on the environment, staff may no longer dismiss the boss as a penny pinching miser for insisting on turning the lights out after work. All it takes to make a difference is a little awareness and some positive thinking.

The most important way to reduce electricity consumption is to instil a culture of energy saving in your company. Typically, electricity is not so much used inefficiently as wasted, leaked and lost. Solving this problem begins by asking some simple questions about how equipment is used and maintained. Is the photocopier used often enough to justify it being on all day? Is the refrigerator door properly sealed and opened as rarely as possible? Are the computer’s energy saving settings on? When was the last time that ventilator was cleaned? Why are the windows open if the heating is on?

Then there is the equipment itself. Replacing 38mm (T12) fluorescent tubes with 26mm (T8) tubes uses around 8 per cent less energy, while compact fluorescent lamps use 80 per cent less energy than tungsten GLS lamps. And for office equipment, look for energy saving devices with stand-by features that bear the Energy Star logo. And if your employees are wearing T-shirts in November, remember that each extra degree can put up to 8% on your heating bill.

There are many more ways of saving money on your electricity, whatever your line of business. Electricity 4 Business has compiled all the information you need to get started in a single document available for download absolutely free. The ten-page of Energy Efficiency Advice has everything on how to identify and rectify bad energy habits, where to get advice and how to claim energy related tax benefit and loans.

A Comprehensive Guide To Casino Comps

A Comprehensive Guide To Casino Comps

Let’s talk comps–that’s short for complimentary, or freebies that you earn from casinos. Comps are a reward system for visiting a casino.

The following is an article I wrote with the intent that I wanted to approach the topic of comps with an easy, fun read. My thesaurus was worn out while looking for words with comp in them. As you will see, I added a few new words to the English language.

COMPS or complementaries for rooms, food, beverages, and other goodies are a casino’s compensation to the loyal player. However, the player has to earn them, and learn the rules of the Comp game. Just as you prepare before entering any casino, so too is a complete education part of your casino compbat training.

Slot Club Cards are your entrance pass to Comp Heaven and table game players are included as casinos are patching you into the same rating system. Slot Club Cards now encompass all the games in the casino, and it’s Free!

Slots Clubs were started in Atlantic City where casino execs were very aware that quarter slot players could easily move next door to competing casinos. Some incentive to remain loyal to their casino was established.

This plastic marketing tool now comprises policy for most casinos worldwide.

Read the casinos’ literature, and determine which casinos give the most compromising bang for your buck.

You want to develop a best, better and good casino complete listing. There is no complaint list as it is only to your benefit as a player to join.

Compiling active status and total points plus the redeemable value of your card is mandatory for any competent player.

Analyze casino card offers as they will compensate you, the games you play, the surroundings, dining/menu offerings, entertainment, and particularly cash back.

What are you competing for? Free room, free food, free shows, playing coupons, promotional items as take-home souvenirs, or cash-back?

To compare, the rebates available are:

All casino players have complied in the beverage category.

RFB – king of COMPs – room, food, and beverage – all that any high roller or ‘whale’ could comprehend, however, with some limitations, low to medium players are eligible.

The compcept is to reward all loyal slot players.

Cash Rebates – depending on the dollar value for every $100 play, this should determine the casinos ‘rating’ for your compliance list. Turn the tables and ‘rate’ the casinos when comparing slot cards.

Meal COMPs – averaging one meal comp for every four hours of quarter machine play.

I ask for a meal comp after a jackpot win and have never been refused—the casino wants to keep you at the company store, plus no standing in line–you head straight for the VIP or ‘invited guest’ short queue; composed as you pass other waiting diners.

Room COMPs: watch your mailbox for casino newsletters, companion room offers or members can reserve rooms at casino rate—generally a 50% reduction.

Another component is entertainment goodies. 2 for 1-weekday show coupons and members’ rewards can be a headliner showcomp in the mail.

Promotional Gifts – dice, cards, caps, t-shirts and that’s just for signing on. Your birthday greetings arrive with compatible meal, room and cash coupons.

Funbooks and ‘lucky bucks’: compensation for table games. Put your bet down with these coupons and you’ve just reduced the house advantage. Ask for these when reserving your room, registering, when you book your trip, or all three.

Swing by the front desk to pick up casino brochures or local freebie magazines in the larger casino areas and compclip.

VIP compatible for active members — special handling just for you.

More complimentary tips:

Ask, ask and ask again—be friendly—-if you are comptitled.

Make friends with the slot host. Ladies are more competent with the male slot hosts…get my drift?

Call the toll free number or go online at your favorite casinos for updated compformation.

Contact casino marketing or Events Manager. Ask for total points accumulated, the redeemable value, upcoming special promotions, especially double or triple points days—an incomparable advantage of an active member’s dreams.

Two comppers can reach their freebie goal faster; request two slot cards with same name/membership compartment number and doublecomp those points.

Participate in a companion run hitting at least five casinos, joining as you go and collect all the compoffers.

It’s a common miscompception among gamblers that you must lose money to qualify—not true. Casinos want your time in their establishment—use those cards.

Tracking your points is based on all monies put through machines whether you are dropping coins or playing off your credits—it all computes.

Look UP, at the neon signs, in the casinos windows; where they advertise their best games, best payouts—all compliments of the house.

Attaching a card to you is a good idea. I’m the one with the colorful twisted cord attached to me. I have lost my composure and nearly a vital body part at times when forgetting to remove my card.

Finally, wager management should also be part of your complete education. Don’t play just for COMPs, however, in comparison—a reduction in the cost of play increases your gambling bankroll.

Compulsive gambling is bad but compulsion is good for every casino player; not only will you have good luck but you are making your luck with competence.

Advice To Generate Unique, Successful Online Marketing Campaigns

Advice To Generate Unique, Successful Online Marketing Campaigns

Internet marketing never stays the same. With the constant changes in social media and marketing capabilities, it’s amazing everything that can be done. One tool to add to your internet marketing strategy arsenal, if you have not already done so, is promoting with online videos. They’re a unique way to grab the attention of prospective customers.

A popular word for your internet marketing content is “limited.” Owning a limited edition item is exciting and inflates the perceived value of a product. Furthermore, you can extend this to promotions to make them seem even more unique and enthralling to potential customers. A limited offer encourages people to jump on a unique opportunity for a bargain!

One of the most important things to know in internet marketing is that your advertisements play a big role in how successful you can be. The number of customers you get is directly related to the number of visitors you get on a daily basis. One way of achieving good advertising is by offering discounts to your customers by linking your website from their website.

A great internet marketing tip for people who are new to creating their own web site is to make sure that your content has plenty of adjectives that describe your business in the best light possible. Give your visitors a very positive outlook on the services your provide for them.

Customer support is very important to your marketing efforts if you’re selling a product. Make sure you get a customer support team if your business grows. You can outsource this task around the web for a great price, or you can partner up with people you trust, and share this responsibility in-house.

The savvy webmaster always maintains an offline backup of his website. Losing website files can cause immeasurable damage to an internet marketing program. Online backups are quick and painless, but for maximum safety the website owner should keep his own backup off of the network. Never rely on a single backup strategy.

One way to improve your internet marketing is to consider giving away something for free. That’s right, as strange as it may sound, giving away freebies is one of the best ways to attract customers and make money in the long run. Many companies that are worth billions, Facebook for example, are built on the idea of free web space and free tools.

Internet marketing on your website must inspire confidence in your readers, so it is important to pick ads that make sense and compliment your content. Picking ads that you don’t believe in will make the reader feel that they are being taken advantage of and they may never come back.

When someone orders your products, send them free samples or freebies. With free samples, you get people to take an interest in your other products. With freebies such as T-shirts or stickers, you get people to advertise your business for you. This allows you to advertise your products in the real world too.

As you can see, adding internet videos to your marketing strategy list can be an effective promotional tool. Promoting these videos can be a challenge at times, but taking advantage of the current social media options can be a great way to harness their power. Give this marketing option a try!

Internet Marketing Information That Makes A Difference

Internet Marketing Information That Makes A Difference

If you have any kind of business, internet marketing is crucial to your success. Reaching potential customers and clients is the most important thing you can do on the internet, if you want them to buy from you. Here are a few effective and simple ways to use internet marketing to make your business a success.

If you have a lot of vehicles and employees, spend the money to label the cars and the employees’ uniforms with your brand, website, and logo. This sort of mass branding will definitely have marketing value, and definitely worth the initial investment.

If your site address or company name isn’t distinctive, put extra effort into creating a memorable logo and slogan. These are bite-sized yet highly potent pieces of information that can be used to link your brand with the overall nature of your product and service offering. It is also easier to remember, making it more likely that customers will think of your brand off the top of their head when prompted.

If you are trying to increase your profits by advertising online, the best thing to do is provide a simple yet thorough website for your business. This involves clearly stating what products you have and what they do. Having a complicated website that is void of prices and simplicity, will certainly have web surfers going elsewhere for the product.

When using internet marketing, consider sending out free items with every shipped product. Send out free items that have your company’s slogan or logo on them. You could send out t-shirts, caps, or bumper stickers. By having your company’s slogan or logo on the items, more people will learn about your company which will result in more sales.

Do promotional giveaways on a regular basis. Don’t just use this tip for a one-time mailing list builder, but continue to give weekly or monthly prizes. It will generate an interest in your site that people will come back to check on again and again, as well as keeping it in their minds on a regular basis.

Make sure that your website tells customers what credit cards and payment methods you accept long before they reach the checkout stage of a purchase. If a potential customer is unwilling or incapable of using your payment options, you have lost a sale. If they do not realize this until they try to complete their purchase, though, you risk frustrating them enough to abandon your site forever.

Finding the right niche to market your internet based business or website is key. You can’t sell baseball cards to someone that wants to buy old Star Wars toys. Well, you may, but the point is that someone who wants to buy baseball cards will look in a different area than someone looking for old Star Wars toys. So market accordingly unless you’re a baseball card and old Star Wars toy retailer; then by all means go for it!

Internet marketing can be a great help to anyone who has any kind of business on the internet. Use these techniques and you can move past competitors and build a great, successful business. The great thing about internet marketing is that there is always more to learn. Be sure that you are always learning, in order to keep succeeding.

Use The Internet To Sell Your Business

Use The Internet To Sell Your Business

Today, technology and commerce go hand in hand, making it almost impossible to thrive in the business world without an online presence. Internet marketing has the potential to be the deciding factor in your company’s success or failure. This selection of handpicked internet marketing tips and tricks, will give your campaign a competitive edge.

Make sure your advertisement mentions what your product will do to improve your customers’ lives. For example, if you have a weight loss product, state that the product will help the individual lose ten pounds in four weeks. You are more likely to make a sale if you make it clear how people will benefit from your product.

To win over potential customers, consider holding a $1 sale for all new clients. This builds a buzz for your promotion and encourages traffic, but it also builds exposure to your product. People may also be more likely to add other products to their cart at the same time. Have confidence in your product!

When someone orders your products, send them free samples or freebies. With free samples, you get people to take an interest in your other products. With freebies such as T-shirts or stickers, you get people to advertise your business for you. This allows you to advertise your products in the real world too.

When using internet marketing, you can offer a visitor bonus. Decide on the time frame you want, such as weekly or monthly, and give away a prize to everyone that visits your site in that time frame. People will continue to come to your site to receive the prize. This can help generate more sales.

Attract people to click on your ads and banners by turning them into trivia questions. This is a great idea for internet marketing! If people know the answer, they will want to go to your website to see what they won. You can have people win free samples of your products or discounts if they can answer correctly.

You should sometimes say that products will only be available for a limited time. The reason why this is a good idea is because some people want to buy, but they are hesitant. If they feel they have to make a decision in the specified amount of time, they will hop on it.

When you are becoming interested in internet marketing you have to move away from the idea that it is a get rich quick type of deal. While there are always stories of the people who were successful in this way, for the most part it is a lot of hard work to make a small to medium return.

To make internet marketing work for your business, is it essential to stand out from the crowd, in a way that attracts customers to you, instead of the competition. Being a price leader is one way to influence the prospective buyer to pick you. Promotional pricing or special sales, may close the deal.

Rather than allow your company to be left behind in the shift toward e-commerce, use the advice in this article to create more effective, efficient online marketing tools. Doing so will create endless opportunities for better consumer response, customer loyalty, increased site traffic, and most importantly, higher sales volume of your products and services.

Home Based Business For Women

Home Based Business For Women

Affiliate marketing is a good opportunity for a home based business for women. With a little bit of time and effort women are staying at home and running their own home based business.
Like hundreds of thousands of stay-at-home moms, you too can make money from the comfort and safety of your own home, all while your toddler sleeps, while you do laundry, even while on vacation with your family.
Never in history has it been easier for women to make money online. And never before have busy moms had such a viable, legitimate opportunity to start their very own business and achieve the financial freedom they previously only dreamed about.
Working out of the home often means juggling multiple tasks and wearing many hats. But look out. When there is so much to do that there is little time left over for sales and marketing activity, sales can dry up and often do. Here are some ways to avoid that.
1. Monthly Focus – Each month, grab your calendar and see which holidays are coming up. Then focus some type of activity around them. At least minimally, setup a direct mail campaign through the U.S. Post Office site (usps.com) in these quick steps:
Choose one of their postcards.
With their online tools, edit the back with a quick note, sale of some type & referral request.
Load an Excel document of addresses, pay and send.
2. Ad Campaign – Plan ahead with advertising representatives by gathering their media kits and asking about special deals or rates they may have for you. Then follow up and plan a 12- to 16-month campaign, even if it’s just a small classified that runs regularly. That way you’ll always be covered whether you’re too busy to care or not. You can always supplement with cross-promotional pieces. But at least, set up a foundation to get you through the year.
For inexpensive ads to run throughout the year, check out neighborhood newspapers and free or cheap magazines and papers that are placed inside public libraries, large grocery stores and country-type restaurants. PennySavers and Thrifty Ads are other sources.
3. Regular Income Stream – Don’t just have all large projects. Set up a few (or several, depending upon your budget needs) smaller, regular income-producing projects to generate weekly / monthly income. And maintain a steady flow as much as possible. In other words, if five regular, smaller jobs pay the day-to-day bills, once one of them quits or runs out of work for you, replace it as soon as possible so that you maintain your steady ‘five’ as much as possible.
Some people setup affiliate programs in this manner; selling something for someone else and earning a percentage or profit for selling. They target so much income from one source of revenue stream to cover a certain portion of expenses. And if this runs out of steam, they beef up promotions or switch to another affiliate program. Learn more about affiliate options from a place like Commission Junction (cj.com). Or in your favorite search engine, type in ‘affiliate programs’ and see which ones are popular.
So when you juggle, remember to mix in SOME type of regular sales and income generating opportunities. Keep your home based business focused on generating business and you will be successful.
One home based business any woman can start in 3 easy steps is the Plugin Profit Site. This combines all of the elements of a successful business you can run from home online. A website, quality products, email marketing, list building techniques, advertising and marketing support and much more.

Self Publishing Your Own Book: When Should You Consider It?

Self Publishing Your Own Book: When Should You Consider It?

Self publishing your own book is one of the publishing industry’s dirty little secrets. Mainstream publishers, editors, and authors easily dismiss self publishing and print on demand publishing as a rip-off for both the writer and reader. After all, if the writer was a real writer then they could find a real publisher, right? That has been the conventional wisdom for a long time but in today’s modern, technological society that conventional wisdom does not always hold true. So who should consider self publishing?

Real writers should consider self publishing. Published authors often find themselves placed in a prison of their own making. Once they have achieved even modest success in a specific niche it is often hard to break out of that niche and publish something different. However self publishing gives authors control over their own writing so they can change direction or genre if they choose. Published authors who have taken some time off from their writing often find it just as hard to return as it was to break in initially. They can often easily parlay their experience and audience into a successful self publishing career. Finally, writers who have an idea that does not fit neatly into one of the major publishing houses slots may find self publishing their only alternative. Just because it doesn’t fit into a neat slot doesn’t mean your book doesn’t have great potential — think about Diana Gabaldon and J.K. Rowling.

Control freaks should also consider self publishing. Once you sign your baby over to a major publisher then you lose control of your book. The publisher can slap a horrible or inappropriate cover on it, change its name, or even alter the main characters. Your name will go on the book but what is published may be drastically changed from your original creation–and not always for the better. Think it won’t happen to you, or that you won’t care as long as you get the royalty check, then think again. I can tell you that I still cringe whenever I have to claim a book I published in 1998. It’s not the book that makes me want to crawl under a rock–but the cover and title the publisher slapped on it.

Money grubbers should also consider self publishing. While the independently wealthy may consider their art reward enough the rest of us need to eat and pay the mortgage (not to mention buy paper and pens) so money does matter. And of course, we want all our hard work to be rewarded. In our capitalist society that reward should be monetary. While self publishing may require you to put up some of your own money and traditional publishing will instead offer you an upfront payment, the final balance sheet will tell you a much different story. The initial advance from a traditional publisher will be small (unless you are Stephen King) and may be the only money you receive for your book for a long time — and perhaps ever depending how your book sells. Any book royalties you receive will be for a small percentage and will be spread out over years to come as well as held ransom for book returns. The final indignity is that your book’s sales depend greatly on the promotional effort your publisher puts into it. The ugly truth is that the publisher does not much care about your baby and will rarely put any extra money, manpower, or thought into how to promote your book. Most midlist and lowlist authors conduct (and foot the bill for) their own promotion. At least when you self publish you know you will be on your own and you can factor that into your budget.

If you are a real writer, a control freak, or a money grubber (or perhaps some combination) then you should consider self publishing your own book.