April 24, 2006

Tom Peter's Thoughts on Selling

Tom Peters has written a quick-read e-book, 111 Ridiculoulsly Obvious Thoughts on Selling. It's worth the download.

April 18, 2006

An Update on MSN AdCenter

I began beta-testing MSN AdCenter last week. The interface is easy to use, and a great mix of Google and Yahoo tools. If you're using Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing, you'll have a very easy time figuring out how to use MSN AdCenter.

Unlike Yahoo Search Marketing, MSN AdCenter and Google give you BOTH the impressions and clicks on the same chart. This is so important for determining if there's enough traffic for a search phrase to warrant even keeping it on your advertising list. (Yahoo, are you listening??)

The prices for bids are pretty good on MSN, but then again, there aren't a lot of people advertising through MSN AdCenter yet. Google Adwords bid pricings are getting very high and climbing, and I wonder if there will be a time when small business owners simply can't afford the cost of pay-per-click advertising at all.

I've been advertising for a week with MSN AdCenter and haven't gotten ANY clicks, and very few impressions. I'll have to do some research into how much they're rolling this out in their search engine. It may be that they're still serving the old ads that came through Yahoo Search Marketing and gradually moving over to their own AdCenter ads as time goes by.

What I like about having all three pay-per-click schemes available to me is that I can customize what keyword phrases I want to bid for on each search engine. If I rank well in the organic listings for one search engine, then I don't pay to advertise for that same phrase on that engine. If I rank poorly for a phrase on one engine, and well for the same phrase on a different search engine, I can put my money where it will do the most good.

For example, I have a great ranking for "small business coach" on MSN Search, and an average ranking for "small business coach" on Yahoo. So I'll put my money into Yahoo advertising for that phrase and not invest at all in MSN advertising for the same phrase.

I'll keep you informed of my results after a month of testing...

April 11, 2006

Women Entrepreneurs - Fast Growth!


According to a recently study, women-owned businesses without employees grew TWICE as fast (18%) as all small businesses without employees. You can see the study findings here:

http://www.womensbusinessresearch.org/mediacenter/2-2-2006.htm

Way to go! :)

Also, the SBA has created a website just for women entrepreneurs:

http://www.sba.gov/women/

April 5, 2006

ISPs Aren't Delivering Your Email


According to this post on MarketingVOX, nearly 21 percent of email is not being delivered. This can have huge impacts on your email marketing campaigns and ezine distribution. Even worse, it could mean that direct, individual emails to customers and prospects might not be getting through. Make sure you collect phone numbers so that if you don't hear back from someone, you can call to see if they received your email.

April 4, 2006

I'm Beta Testing MSN AdCenter! Yay!

I'm like a kid in a candy shop!

I've been invited to beta test MSN's AdCenter, the pay-per-click equivilant of Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing.

I'll let you know how the setup goes and how my results compare to the other two services.

April 3, 2006

Does the IRS Discriminate Against the Self Employed?


Tax season is heavy upon us here in the USA, and if you're self-employed and file a Schedule C for your business, you might wonder where are your profits are going. A huge chunk of your cash will go to federal and state taxes.

I've got nothing against paying taxes. I like to think of it this way: the taxes I'm paying today, go to my parent's monthly social security payment and their medicare. It's a fair trade in my book.

However, the federal goverment doesn't treat all self-employed people equally. For instance, did you know that you can deduct your health insurance premiums if you bought the policy through your business, but you can not deduct your health insurance premiums if you pay for them through a spouse's health insurance policy at their job?

And did you know that you pay self-employment tax ON your health insurance premiums? Health insurance premiums are deducted on your 1040, not your schedule C, so are not included in your business expenses when calculating your profit (and therefore your self-employement tax).

It doesn't seem fair to me.

The National Association of Self Employed (NASE) tries to do advocacy work on behalf of the self-employed in the USA. Check out their website to see which issues they're working on these days, and to recommend new issues to them.

House Small Business Committee Chairman Donald Manzullo (R-IL) and Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) have introduced the Self-Employed Health Care Affordability Act of 2003 (H.R. 1873). The Senate companion bill, S. 2433, the Equity for Our Nation's Self-Employed Act of 2004, was introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY).