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Product

Tuesday, 04 September 2012 00:56

When you can’t show your goods in person, everything hinges on the quality of your photographs.

Published in Product

Advertising

Sunday, 29 July 2012 21:26

The seller is happy when the buyer is happy. So make as many buyers happy as you can. That requires quality and service, but that’s why you’re here -- and it’s not complicated.

The entire process is made up of five broad strokes. Take those strokes and add as many bells, whistles, systems, technologies, apps and economic doodads as you want -- but be sure that all five broad strokes are taken. Do that and you’ll never think that marketing has to be anything that Simple Simon couldn’t handle with his right hand tied behind him.

Listen to find a problem you can solve  

The first broad stroke doesn’t require any of your hands -- only your ears. The first broad stroke is your ability to listen. Be alert for problems. Be alert in social situations and the social media. Be alert in the attention you pay to the mass media. Are people talking about problems they have, problems that need solving? 

Zero in on the problems that don’t yet have solutions. Pick a problem that you can solve. That’s how you respond to opportunity.

Related: How to Make Your Marketing Work Together

Pricing the solution  

The second broad stroke is determining how much it will cost you to solve that problem. Maybe you can solve it with information and with service. If not, how much will it cost you to make it or buy it? Be very careful with this step, as with all the broad strokes, to overlook nothing. Broad strokes tend to magnify errors, so you don’t want to make even the most minor mistake.

Marketing  

When you tally the costs of producing your offering, don’t overlook the costs of marketing it. And don’t overlook the necessity to market it.

If you build a better mousetrap, the world won’t beat a path to your door unless they know about that mousetrap. They learn about it from your marketing, especially if it’s marketing.

If you’ve come up with a truly nifty solution, the marketing for it will catch wind and fan out to others who have long been searching for a solution. It’s nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you market.

It is now well understood why people patronize the businesses that they do. It’s known that they favor products and services that they trust, a human characteristic that has given rise to a phenomenon called “branding.” Branding helps people trust you. One of the jobs of a marketer is to convince customers to trust his or her offering.

Of course, quality is one of the factors that earn trust. And that’s why it’s part of the third broad stroke. Another factor that gains gobs of trust -- and gives the little guy an edge over the big guy -- is the ability to service what he sells. Don’t forget that one of your sacred goals is make your customers happy. Terrific service does just that.

Service what you sell

Terrific service is not necessarily free for you to provide. And yes, it does require effort. In particular, it requires a person who wants to deliver it and doesn’t do it just because he’s supposed to.

Factor in the cost of service right along with the cost of marketing and cost of goods.

Related: 5 Ways to Build a Solid Email Marketing List

Earn profits

The fifth broad stroke is what marketing should be all about. Not sales. Not store traffic. Not turnover. Not responses to an offer. Not hits to a website. Not awards. Not sales records. Not any metric you can name. That fifth broad stroke is profits, what’s left over after you’ve deducted the cost of everything else in your business. No matter how glowing the other numbers in your business may be, it’s the profits that should glow, that keep you in business, that enable you to grow your business, that attract investors, that entice buyers of companies, and that ought to be the prime reason you went into business.

It’s your job to grow healthy profits every year. You owe that to yourself, your employees, your family, and your future. That’s why profits best reflect your success. Profits are elusive. Profits are honest. Profits are hard-earned. But profits are not complicated.

They are the fifth of the five broad strokes of success, and they are crucial to your company’s health. But earning them is not a winding road. Instead it is a straight road, possibly uphill, but always leading to exactly where you envision going. 

Published in Advertising

Search Engine Optimization

Sunday, 29 July 2012 18:21

Getting back to basics
Our goal at Red Comet Studios is to take the mystery out of SEO by offering simple, effective and transparent solutions. We find that businesses are often intimidated with all of the SEO jargon and have a difficult time understanding the return on investment potential. We thought this would be a good place to give you some SEO basics.

What the heck is SEO?
You’ve probably heard the acronym “SEO” uttered in casual conversation and thought to yourself, what has my life come to that this is what I am talking about in casual conversation. Anyway, it’s okay because we are here to help. First, let’s start with a short explanation. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of taking a website and supercharging it so that search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and others can find it. The best part is that you don’t pay the search engines for these results. For example, let’s search for a keyword phrase and see what happens… I’m typing “miami dolphins”…

Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The above is called a “search engine results page (SERP)”. The green marked left side of the page is called by several names (natural, organic or algorithmic) search results. We call them “organic” around these parts. Anyway, the idea is to make your site so attractive for words and phrases that have to do with what you’re selling that the search engine says “hey, this site really looks like it contains the stuff that people are after when they are searching for ‘miami dolphins’. I may only be a computer, but I am going to make a fancy computation and place this sucker right at the top of my results”. And in this example, the search engine places the website miamidolphins.com in positions 1 & 2 and in Wikipedia.com in position 3 in the organic search.

Okay smarty, so what the heck is PPC?
Glad you asked. Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising as it relates to search engines is usually referred to as “Search Engine Marketing (SEM)”. Take a gander at the right side of the above search engine results page marked in red. All of those ticketing companies under the title “Sponsored Links” are actually paid ads. The company that places those ads only pays if someone clicks on them. So if you look but don’t click, then no one gets charged. The amount that the company gets charged depends on how much they have bid for the phrase “miami dolphins”. The higher the bid, the higher the ad moves to the top of the page. Why didn’t we buy stock in Google when we had the chance?

Show me the numbers
Yes, we have always had the ability to track success to some degree.  Coupon codes, dedicated phone numbers or a simple “How did you hear about us” are still viable means of tracking results.  Many fundamentals in marketing remain the same, however we believe that today’s ability to track and analyze client behavior and response to marketing initiatives is a real advertising revolution.

Google Analytics and Adwords are way cool
For us to be able to track how your Search engine optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns are going, we use the free, scalable, and fun to use (at least for us) analytical tools, Google Analytics & Adwords. Google Analytics allows us to track all sorts of important stuff about your website including: visitor interaction, what sites they were referred from and even what geographical area they are surfing from. Google Adwords lets us track the ROI of your Cost Per Click (CPC) campaigns, right down to the shopping cart checkout. Yes, there are some other tools out there, but we find that Google Analytics & Adwords are the most powerful tools available. That’s why we set up a new Google Analytics & Adwords account with every one of our website projects.

I saw a guy with a sign on the side of the road selling SEO services
There are a lot of folks selling SEO services nationally and internationally. Some are qualified…many are not. And since there are no official Google accredited SEO certifications (Red Comet Studios has official Google certifications for Google Analytics & Adwords), it can be difficult for the average company to choose a qualified SEO vendor.

Allow us to give you a heads-up on a few things…run if your SEO vendor:

  • Guarantees a number one ranking in Google

 

That is a promise that they simply cannot make because Google is the one that determines the rankings – not the SEO company. If they start with an untruth, it can only go downhill from there.

 

  • Solicits you from a gmail/hotmail/aol email account

 

You mean to tell me that they don’t have a company domain name on their email? Child, please!

  • Optimizes for words that send you no traffic

 

One trick is to optimize for a word or phrase that will easily rank number 1 because there is no competition for that phrase. Guess what? There is no competition because no one searches for it and thus you never get any traffic to your site from that phrase.

  • Does not have the official Google Analytics and Adwords Certifications

 

These suckers are not so easy to get and they prove that the company you are working with has been trained and tested.

  • They won’t give you access to your analytics & cpc accounts

 

What’s behind the curtain is important. Not being able to check the stats can lead to fabrication of the numbers. Google has a strict code of compliance for Adwords Certified Partners and Agencies. Click this Google icon for more information about the disclosure policy.

 

These answers weren’t fancy enough; I want more…Happy reading

Published in eMarketing

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