Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Archive for August 2008

Google AdSense…is it worth the pennies?

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The other day, my wife was reading a magazine article on saving money.  One of the suggestions that they made was starting a blog and adding Google AdSense.  Each time someone clicks on one of the sponsored links, you earn a few pennies.  Once your account reaches $100, Google cuts you a check.

Yippie.

Of all the reasons to start a blog, this has to be one of the worst.

However, there is tremendous appeal to passive income generation.  I’ve always said there’s three models for generating income: earn money on your work (employee), earn money on someone else’s work (employer), or earn money on work already done (residuals).

I’d love to hear some feedback from you.  As a reader of this blog, what would be your reaction if you started to see sponsored links in addition to the other original content that I create in the blog?  Would you view it as a selling out or just part of the new Internet landscape and as ignorable as print ads?

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Written by Jeff York

August 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Get paid!

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Once upon a time, I ran a video production company.  On our website’s profile, I wrote that we would do the work for free if we could, but we have to pay bills.  If you love what you do, you would probably do it for free if you could.

But alas, like me, I’m sure you have bills.

One of my downfalls is that I don’t concentrate on the cash enough.  I blame that on loving what I do.  Just yesterday I was telling my wife that if I hit Powerball today, I would still do what I do.  I love it so much that there are times I forget to ask for the deposit.  Fortunately, I have people around me that keep me in line.

Do as I say, not as I do.

You may have real passion for what you do.  You may be focused on your primary responsibilities to the point that you have blinders on.  But trust me, you ability to continue to do that great work depends entirely on your ability to price your goods and services correctly and to collect accounts receivable.

First, before you can tell your clients/customers what you want to charge, you need to make sure that you are pricing correctly.  It’s OK to be more expensive than your competition if you provide more value.  Then the weight falls on your shoulders to illustrate and prove that you are worth it.  Market research and advertising are the tasks at hand here.

Then go get your customers.  You sign them up.  Get the cash.  You need cash flow to keep afloat while you’re executing.  If you’re like me and you are a service-based industry, then make sure that you have a payment schedule ready and fully understood by all parties.  Often when working on video projects, I ask for 50% up front and 50% on completion.  When working on multimedia projects, sometimes it’s 50% up front, 30% on reaching some milestone in the project, and 20% on completion.  With these examples, you can see that I’m getting at least half up front to get moving.

Thoughts?

Written by Jeff York

August 24, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

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If you’re in business, it’s highly likely you either have some form of competition or you are reading this while sitting on your private beach located on your own private island.  If you’re like the rest of us, you have to keep an eye on the competition in much the same way as they are keeping an eye on you.

So, what are they doing?

From a marketing standpoint, are they doing anything different from you?  Are they doing it better?

There is true value in being the first to market with a new idea or concept.  However, not being first doesn’t preclude you from making an effort.  You might need to just to keep your current pace.  But this is also an opportunity.  Is there a way that you can capitalize on your competition’s efforts that would make your situation better?

For example, they may be starting a new campaign.  Maybe it’s a smart campaign, but they are missing one big component.  You know you can do it better.  Then do it…BETTER!

Is there another twist you can add to the campaign or concept that makes it appear original?  Sometimes the best ideas are variations on someone else’s original thoughts.

But then again, are there really original thoughts any more?

Written by Jeff York

August 18, 2008 at 3:24 am

Save some for the family!

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Can you do it all?  Can you handle every project on your desk all at once?  Can you burn the candle at both ends and still be the perfect spouse and parent?

Are you Superman or Wonder Woman?

I didn’t think so.

But yet, day after day, we grind ourselves into long hard hours.  We miss dinners at home, family events, and in some cases, holidays.  We do it to get ahead.  We do it in the name of helping our families.  However, at the end of that long hard day, our kids go to bed without even seeing us.  Our poor supportive spouses get just a husk of a person coming home with little more than sleep on our mind.  Certainly, not fair.

When it’s all said and done, what have you done for your family?  Did you land that account so you can work harder from now on?

How about this?  Leave it behind.  Make a date with your spouse.  Firm up a family plan and stick to it.

You just might find that you are a better worker when you come back.  One thing’s for sure.  Your desk will still be there.

Written by Jeff York

August 9, 2008 at 11:57 am

The three R’s: Writin’, writin’, and writin’

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In a previous post, I talked about the importance of reading other’s writing.  In business, math is essential.  But this week, I want to talk about the other R we learned about in school.

Writing.

This week, I had a chance to have lunch with a writer.  She’s not a published writer as yet, but her work that I’ve read is exceptional.  The experience served as both a beacon of hope that some young people do have the capacity to generate amazing copy and as a reminder that many of the best marketing concepts come from looking at a situation with a different angle.  Her writing does just that.  For example, when talking about snowboarding, she writes “It’s like suicide without the death.”

If you haven’t stopped just now and considered the deliciousness of that statement before reading this sentence, then you simply don’t appreciate good writing.

But thus far this week, I’ve been asking you to read.  Yet, this blog entry is called writing.  What’s the deal?

I believe that writing forces us to look at things from a different angle.  And different writing styles and goals do that differently.  Technical writing causes technically minded individuals to translate that information into something we can all understand.  Copywriting focuses language into pinpoint accuracy to cause another to act on our suggestions.  Without superior writing ability, your message is weak or gets lost.

When writing copy for your business, do you keep in mind your audience?  Does the tone of the writing match your type of business and the type of customer you’re trying to attract?  What are some of the things you keep in mind when writing copy?

Written by Jeff York

August 3, 2008 at 12:36 pm