Business is a Beach

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment
Categories: advertising, Uncategorized

Advertise your small business using Google Adwords

November 2, 2009 Leave a comment

We were contacted over the weekend by the owner of NOW Pressroom Products for some assistance with an online advertising campaign. They informed us that they had set up an online ad campaign using Google Adwords (Good). However, Google wasn’t approving their ad campaign for publishing (Bad).

We traced the problem to URL forwarding (Google Adwords does not allow URL forwarding for safety reasons) and created a work around that will allows NOW Pressroom Products to continue their ad campaign. After we obtained approval from Google for the advertisement, we suggested some keywords to show the advertisement around.

The great thing about Google Adwords is that it is small business friendly. Adwords is a pay-per-click advertising campaign. You only pay Google when a potential customer clicks on your advertisement, thus being directed to your website. Adwords gives the business owner complete control over ever aspect of  the ad campaign. You can specify what kind of keywords you want your advertisement to show on and how much you want to pay per click. Due to the nature of internet advertising, you can get your business name in front of thousands of potential customers, while only paying for the ones who visit your site.

The ad below has been displayed over 2,000 times in the short couple hours that the ad campaign has been active.

Screen shot adwords 2

NOW Pressroom Products hasn’t had to pay for any of these views since they have not resulted in any visits to their website. We’ve teamed up with NOW Pressroom Products to set the prices they pay per click (ranging from $.05 to $.50) per click depending on the keywords that triggered the click. Google provides all the relevant search data so you can see which keywords get your advertisement displayed, and the average click-through.

Below is a shot after the ad campaign has been active for only a couple hours. Google gives you the ability to see which keywords creates ad-impressions (pages where your ad is displaced) in order to analyze what your customers are looking for and tailor future campaigns.

Screen shot adwordsKeep in mind all keywords are specified by you. We will be revising future versions of the campaign as we’ve already noticed that many people using the search term “Heidelberg” are probably looking for Heidelberg Germany, and not Heidelberg press parts.

Check back for future updates on this ad campaign and how we’re using it to drive traffic to our customers site.

-MM

Is your electronic data protected?

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

data-loss_gone-forever

We recently ran a job in Orange County to set up an automated backup system for our client’s computer systems. Prior to our arrival, their backup process consisted of backup copies of computer data onto USB thumb drives. These thumb drives would then be stored in a secure off site location. This process only took about 30 minutes each week for the owner to complete.

Although this system worked fine for their needs, I found some limitations with this system.

  • The amount of data that could be backed up was limited by the storage on the USB drive, therefore only selected data c ould be backed up each week (instead of the whole computer system).
  • The owner had to manually keep track of each USB thumb drive, occasionally misplacing them, and making sure the correct drive was used with the correct system.
  • The whole process takes 30 minutes each week.

    Before I continue on, I must note that the business owner’s rationale for using portable USB drives vs. external hard disks was a matter of risk. USB drives being portable, are easy to store off site in a location separate from the business. If the business experiences a catastrophic fire or theft, all data at the businesses location can be lost. Storing data offsite mitigates this risk and gives the organization a chance to recover after a catastrophic event.

    A big issue with their backup process was that it takes 30 minutes out of the owner’s time, every week. For example, if his/her time is worth $90 an hour, that would be roughly additional labor costs of $45 per week x 52 weeks = actual backup costs of $2,340 per year!

    To make a long story short, Pacific Consulting Associates implemented an automated online backup system that ensures daily encrypted backups on a central third party server. The yearly cost of running this is $100/year from the third party vendor, and it took us less than 3 hours to set up.

    The math is pretty simple –

    $100/year + 3 hours of Pacific Consulting Associate’s time is < $2,340 per year

    Additional benefits to the client is having a live, knowledgeable human being to speak to and the peace of mind knowing that their company data is backed up daily on a secure, encrypted server.

    The Office Zombie Plague

    October 19, 2009 Leave a comment

    Office Zombie EmployeeOffice Zombies are a growing plague of the modern US workforce. They attack your organization in silence one at a time. They are sly, sneaky and never draw attention to themselves; however once they infiltrate your environment they bring you down slowly from the inside. They have credentials and degrees from various prestigious and/or expensive universities, and will work for you day after day without incident. They carry ambiguous titles such as “contracts manager” or “administrator”: enough to give them a decent paycheck and yet no one knows exactly what they do.

    So what exactly are office zombies? Office zombies are dedicated and decent performers on the outside, and soul-crushed self-loathing individuals on the inside.  They will only work hard enough to keep their job where they get paid just enough not to quit.  They will complete the work and appear loyal to your organization’s mission, however they will never believe in your company. They don’t even believe in their own job. And how can they? They are dead inside. There is no chance one can actually motivate an office zombie as he isn’t actually listening to anything you say. Promises of raises, the corner office, or a line management title are only futile attempts to wake the dead.  Only other office zombies can spot office zombies and any attempts to heard them together for re-training or team building will only result in more crushed souls.

    Office zombies often come from impressive organizations with top grades, awards, and other accolades. They ace interview after interview, and offer management such hope to make the organization the next Google, Apple, or Toyota. They share tales of how they excelled using “kaizen” principles, and eliminated “muda”, increasing profit by 6,000% in one quarter.

    The danger they pose to organizations is two-fold. First, they fulfill positions in a company that could otherwise go to live humans. Secondly, they require the organization to hire more employees as current staffing levels can’t seem to accomplish all the work, therefore increasing their own ranks.

    The infection is spreading through the ways business is conducted in the 21st century. Workplace bureaucracy, company policy, and the fear of “looking bad” or “ruining ones career” are all contributors to this plague. Employees, who once were energized with creativity, ideas, and potential, are relegated to following process, rules, and standards. The patterns they follow categorize them with monkey’s performing a task to receive a banana. One by one they start to die from the burden of monotonous soul-crushing tasks.

    Below are some pictures of well known office zombies

    stanley-hudson from 'The Office'

    Stanley Hudson from 'The Office'

    Peter Gibbons from 'Office Space'

    Peter Gibbons from 'Office Space'

    Preventing office zombies goes far beyond team building activities or, yearly office parties. It requires a total culture change within an organization. Just like fighting a real zombie outbreak cannot be done with hand cuffs and pepper spray, fighting the onslaught of office zombies must be done at a high level with real tools, time, and effort going to the cause.

    To prevent your employees from turning into zombies, act quickly to transform your workplace into an environment which promotes human-like activities such as creativity, innovation, and risk taking.

    • Employees must be encouraged to invent ways to accomplish their work quicker, easier, and with less red tape.  Doing so will benefit the organization as a whole, and increase employee satisfaction as they take ownership of their accomplishments.
    • It must be known that there is nothing wrong with trying something new and failing. Can you imagine where we’d be if Thomas Edison was reprimanded for failing on his hundreds of light bulb designs?
    • Mediocrity should not be tolerated. Rules set in place to protect someone’s feelings, comfort, or job should not exist. Example: If an employee listens to music at a certain volume level, and a coworker finds it offensive, they should be able to resolve their own differences (or both risk being fired). The U.S. workforce has no place for employees acting like children.
    • Do not micromanage. The ideas of managers should be those of a coach, guiding each employee in tune with his or her strengths, to assist the employee in achieving organizational and personal goals.
    • An unconventional method of prevention is the use of comedy, or humorous activities to make your work environment fun and exciting. Laughter and smiling is a human trait, not one of zombies. Southwest Airlines , one of the most profitable airlines in the United States makes money by providing a transportation service: However it is their “philosophy of fun” that sets them apart from the other airlines. See the below example

    For more information send us an email outlining your potential zombie problems. We can work with you to identify sources of office zombie infections and assist in returning your organization to one where humans are in charge.

    -Michael McVerry

    Pacific Consulting Associates

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