All I could say was “Wow”

Checking my blog stats for today I noticed a dramatic increase in traffic due to a single post I wrote over a month ago titled “Could you win Richard Branson’s $25 Million Dollar Prize?”

Turns out if you Google “Richard Branson 25 Million” (w/o quote marks) my blog post shows up on the second page (#12).

I sat there starring at my screen feeling a sense of both accomplishment and disbelief. All I could say was, “wow.”

It just goes to show that you never know….

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Advertising: No results? No charge.

My first job out of college was selling advertising space in a low-quality lifestyle magazine that has since dissolved (we all had to start somewhere). We were trained to sell on the basis of our ridiculously high distribution and that our CPM (cost per thousand – a standard way to evaluate the true cost of your advertising) was very low compared to our competition. High distribution + Low cost = Value.

The problem I faced when I went into meetings is that people saw right through it. One person actually told me, “There’s no way I would look through this magazine. It’s garbage. I don’t care how much it costs – it’s not worth it.” Even though the metrics were compelling, once you saw the product it was understood that the results simply would not exist.

Many people face this delima when looking at pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – a popular “ad” on a page (maybe you have some on your blog) that once someone clicks – the advertiser is charged and the publisher is paid. One issue with PPC is the heightened potential for scams called click-frauds where clicks are made with the intention of getting a payment rather than purchasing the product.

Google is experimenting with a new type of advertising called “cost-per-action” that takes the PPC model one step further – you’d only pay for an “action” that you define (like a file download, purchase, registration, etc.) For a New York Times article explaining Google’s cost-per-action model, click here.

If the magazine I worked for had implemented this model I could imagine the changes that would need to take place. There would be a push for higher-quality, better research, and fierce follow-up on which campaigns worked. I applaud Google for this initiative because it removes yet another piece of the “sleazy advertising” stigma. Advertising is a viable way to get your message out to millions and soon, it may be more cost-effective than ever.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Move over Google – ChaCha.com may become my new search engine of choice

Chacha.com logoIn a recent article by ClickZ.com Tess Wegert describes www.chacha.com -a new search engine that works with professional searchers (real people) or interactive guides. It’s kind of like if you threw a search engine, chat room and about.com together to help get the info most relevant to your search.

I just had to try this one out for myself. Here’s the conversation I had with my guide:

Status: Connecting …
Status: Looking for a guide …
Ring:
Status: Connected to guide: Deborah(23079)
Deborah(23079): Welcome to ChaCha!
Deborah(23079): Hello Welcome to chacha I will be helping you with your search
You: Hi. I’m trying to find the best price on fruit of the loom boxers for my husband
Deborah(23079): ok one moment while I search for that
Deborah(23079): Thanks for being patient! Rest assured I’m finding the most relevant results for your search. (this was posted after about 1 minute of searching)
You: great! thanks deborah. I think i found what i needed.
Deborah(23079): Is there anything else on this topic I can find for you today?
Deborah(23079): O you are welcome
You: have a great day. 🙂
Deborah(23079): well you have a great day and thank you for using chacha.com
Deborah(23079): bye now please come back to chacha for your next search
Deborah(23079): Please RATE ME. Thanks for using ChaCha.
Status: Session ended.

Deborah pulled up 3 very relevant sites within a matter of 2 minutes. Not to mention – its kind of nice interacting with a human being instead of an algorithm.

I don’t know about you, but when I have to do a complex search in Google, I’m almost always frustrated. Chacha.com was pretty easy and I can really see myself using it on a regular basis.

Looking for cheap pay-per-click or banner ads? Read the article from ClickZ as it outlines why chacha.com may be a good investment.

How long do you think it will be before Yahoo! and Google follow suit? I give it 6 months tops.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com