Monthly Archives: June 2010

Still some tickets left for the Power of Social Media event

Our rescheduled event on Thursday, The power of social media still still has a few tickets left if you are quick.

The age of the social-media entrepreneur has arrived. So whether you have a business idea for a new online community or want practical advice on deploying Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to access your target market, this will be an invaluable evening.

Speakers
Sarah Beeny is a Channel 4 television presenter and entrepreneur. As well as being a well established property mogul Sarah also owns social dating website Mysinglefriend.com, has written numerous books, and has recently launched Tepilo.com, her new free-to-use property website.

Will King, founder of shaving brand King of Shaves,, went from a career in sales and marketing to starting his own business. The King of Shaves brand has overtaken Wilkinson Sword and Nivea to become number two to Gillette in the shaving prep market in the UK, and the products are also taking off in the USA where they are now being sold in over 20,000 stores.

Shaa Wasmund launched Smarta.com in 2009: an innovative business platform providing free advice, networking and tools for entrepreneurs and business owners. Bringing business people together for support and inspiration, Smarta has hundreds of entrepreneur videos and bite-size guides on overcoming business challenges.

Moderator: Guy Levine is founder and CEO of Return On Digital, a leading digital marketing agency. With a history of successful dot com start-ups and an impressive global client list, he has digital running through his veins.
Event details

Who should attend? Entrepreneurs and small businesses
Place: British Library Conference Centre
Cost: £10.00 (concessions £7.50)
How to Book: To book, contact our Box Office on tel: 01937 546546 or book your tickets online
Event dates Thu 01 July 2010, 18.15 – 21.00

Green Britain Day and my lunch-time Prêt bag

I’m a bit late in covering Green Britain Day, but like to feel I have been doing my bit over the last few months.

In particular I am somewhat proud of my recycling (re-using to be more accurate) of my daily lunch-time Prêt A Manger bag. I’ve just retired the bag on the left which I have been using since early March. I estimate the saving is approximately 75 bags so far, which isn’t bad going. In doing so I have also gained something of a reputation at my local Prêt as the ‘bag man’. And on occasion my efforts have been rewarded with a free coffee from one of their lovely staff.

Some of the them have said they think Prêt should offer some kind of incentive for regular customers to re-use their bags.

As is so often the way, Britain lags behind the rest of Europe in ‘greenness’, so I have included a link to how the Dutch recycle, and what we can learn from them.

Free broker research reports on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues

Having worked in the City of London for many years, I was somewhat surprised to discover that financial institutions are now giving away their highly valued stockbrokers reports.
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Needless to say they aren’t giving everything out, but through the The London Accord, you can get access to nearly 100 reports on a range of green and ethical related topics.
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Welcome to the London Accord
The London Accord presents a compendium of reports, written by a range of financial services firms, providing insight into issues ranging from renewable energy to the price of carbon.

The financial services industry produces pertinent and valuable research which could, and should, be used by policy makers and NGOs who are shaping society’s response to long-term issues such as climate change and global pandemics. However, much of this research only sees the desks of a select few and all too soon disappears into the filing systems and cupboards of the commercial sector.

The London Accord allows access to this research free of charge – offering policy makers an insight which they may not otherwise access and giving the financial services industry a way of engaging with society on long-term issues. The London Accord is simple, get more recognition and value from research by sharing what you are about to archive.

Fifty thousand visits and counting -

The two and a half years since I became an ‘accidental blogger’ have flown by. And I find it amazing that over fifty thousand visits have now been made to the site, with the weekly number gradually increasing as time has gone by.

Today by chance WordPress (who host my blog) announced they have passed the two hundred million milestone for posts on their service, 200,000,000 Posts… and Counting. I suppose my 368 posts have played their part in this spectacular number.

Here are my top ten visited pages:

Home page – 27,827
The not so simple paper clip3,063
Design classics – the Bic Crystal ballpo1,989
British Standard for a cup of tea – BS 61,328
More interesting facts about paper clips 1,191
About Me
929
You can’t afford not to be green
796
Aga goes Web 2.0
523
Will Chat Roulette change the fabric of
518
Panaramio for the outside and inside vie
493

Site Summary – Visits
Total – 51,389
Average per Day – 151
Average Visit Length – 0:14
This Week – 1,056

Anthony Lau presents our new virtual tour of the Business & IP Centre

I’ve already written about Anthony Lau and his Cyclehoop success story. He kindly agreed to be filmed for our latest video which is something of a virtual tour of the Business & IP Centre.

Anthony goes from locking his bike onto one of his award-winning Cyclehoops, to crossing our rather intimidating piazza and then on to register for a free reader’s pass for The British Library. He then explores the Centre itself and talks about the range of information and services we offer.

I was asked to be an extra during the filming, but only my elbow seems to have made it into the final cut.

I would be interested to know how useful you think the video is.

Intellectual Property: A Success Story To Be Extended?

http://www.zyen.info/joomla/realtime/templates/123wd-j15-13/images/realtime_logo.jpg

I’ve just been reminded of one of my  more scary speaking engagements of recent times. It was back in January 2009 at the invitation of Professor Michael Mainelli, Emeritus Gresham Professor of Commerce at Gresham College.

It was at the Real Time Club. Founded in 1967, the Real Time Club is believed to be the world’s oldest IT dining Club. The Club is dedicated to participative events that provide “rapid responses to the challenges of the information society”.

My fellow speakers were:
Professor Ian Angel
, who is Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics and also Chairman of Creative Commons (England and Wales).
David Bunting, who is CEO of Trevor Baylis Brands plc (a company which he setup with Trevor Baylis), which provides route-to-market services for inventors and entrepreneurs. David is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and a Fellow of the CMA,
Richard Overden, who is an Associate Director of Oxford University’s Bodlian Library and Keeper of Special Collections. Prior to that he worked at Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, and at the University of Edinburgh.
Tony Pluckrose, who is a Partner at Boult Wade Tennant and also a Chartered and European Patent Attorney.

Here is a brief report from the evening:

Some 40 members and guests of the Real Time Club attended the first dinner of 2009 to debate the subject of: “Intellectual Property: A Success Story to be Extended? Just Desserts or Global Gridlock?” The Chairman, Mark Holford welcomed the guests and then handed over to the evening’s host, Professor Michael Mainelli, who is also the club’s Vice President.

The format of the evening was a brief (three minute) statement by each of the panel of speakers, followed by a lively and challenging debate, to which everyone present made a contribution.

The introductory sessions posed a series of challenges. These included:

* “Is Intellectual Property protection being mis-sold?” Inventors often do not understand patent protection – they have a great idea, talk about it in the pub, and don’t realize that by doing so they have already exposed it to the public. Their problem is the extent to which they dare tell people what they are doing. They think that a patent will give them protection, even if the idea has been put into the public domain, and defending a patent is very expensive. What they should do is think like an entrepreneur, by keeping quiet, building a product, and once it is built patent it and sell it to a large corporation.

* The second challenge was the unreasonableness of traditional copyright law: “Is it right that I should be charged $500 in Las Vegas to use 30 seconds of Ella Fitzgerald in a presentation?”

* The third challenge was the fairness of current practice – monopoly rights that are given by governments in the form of patents should be properly categorized and reasonably charged; if they are not, it will stifle inventiveness.

* We then moved into the realm of science fiction and considered the Star Trek replicator, which is fast becoming science fact, since replication costs are negligible. Why shouldn’t we generate an idea, create value, and then make it freely available? Don’t we have a moral imperative to do this? After all, multiple people possess an idea – it is rather arbitrary that the first person who patents the idea owns it. Replication is now also now a major part of the librarian’s job; because of digitization, librarians have progressed from being curators of knowledge within a specific location to providers of digital representation on a global scale. And relationships with companies like Google introduce commercial, as well as engineering, considerations.

* The final contribution to the introductory session was the differences between USA and European IP law. In the past the USA has granted patents relatively freely (as in the case of State Street Bank), whereas Europe has been tougher (as in the case of Symbian). The USA has now resiled, and the high tide has passed and is now receding, But although patents are harder to get, they are still being granted when they shouldn’t be. The issues are cost and complexity, including the expense of challenging patent rights.

How to Write and Publish Your Book in 5 Easy Steps

On Friday I attended one of our partners workshops called Get Published Now – How to Write and Publish Your Book in 5 Easy Steps.

The presenter was author and trainer Mindy Gibbins-Klein who also goes under the name The Book Midwife, which is a great marketing angle. And like all good entrepreneurs, Mindy has registered the trade mark at the UKIPO (number 2399080)

She started the session by asking the group what book they were planning on writing. This led to the conclusion that as we all have unique experiences, and unique insights on those experiences, we all have something to write about that could be of interest to others.

For those who have decided to write a book, Mindy’s aim is to help them write and publish the best book they can, whilst also finding the biggest market for it.

It was a great workshop, full of practical and inspirational elements. It was encouraging to hear that so many authors procrastinate over their books (particularly their first). In Mindy’s case it had taken her ten years from first starting to getting into print, and this is not unusual. She reviewed the common reasons for failing to finish a book. The most popular is the author’s inability to finish the final chapter or even last few pages. This is often due to a fear of ridicule or rejection from friends and colleagues (and potential publishers) of the finished work.

It is somewhat ironic that so many books take so long to finish, as apparently the whole thing could be finishes in as little as 100 days. In fact Mindy has published her own book (with Bert Verdonck) called ‘Your Book in 100 Days’.

Mindy brought along some great examples of books with a clear title and simple but attractive covers to illustrate how important this aspect of your book can be on sales. It reminded me of Brad Burton’s book, given to me at the last Business Start-Up show in November. It’s called ‘Get off your Arse’, and tells his story of starting up in business, as well as being designed to inspire others to get off their bottoms, and follow their own dream.

It turns out that Mindy helped Brad get this book published in ninety days, after several previous false starts. I should point out that although I read the book with the intention of reviewing it here, the language and style of writing he used rather put me off. Perhaps working at the library has turned me into a literary snob. I suggest you make up your own mind and let me know what you think.

Here are my notes from the excellent workshop:

Reasons to Write and Publish a Book

These divide into emotional drivers or outcomes (such as money or status) or a combination of the two. It is helpful to know what yours are before you start.

There are 5 Easy Steps which must be completed thoroughly, and in strict order

1. Planning
2. Writing
3. Editing
4. Publishing
5. Promotion

100 hours should be enough time to go through these stages. Although most people take 200 hours, and spread them through several years.

An average book is around 50,000 words which equals around 150 pages. Researching a subject can add time to the process.

Sales of 20,000 copies is a realistic target for success. Very few authors sell more.

Three main publishing options

Traditional Cooperative Self-Publishing (you do it all yourself)

Time 12-18 months              3 months                     2 to 3 months

Financial no author inv.        £1,000 to £5,000         £1,000 to £5,000

Control publisher                      author                          author

Rights they keep                    you keep                     you keep

Likelihood of 1%                 100%                           100%
being published

Traditional model

£10 book – publisher takes £6, from remaining £4, author gets around 20p·
You will be very lucky to find a publisher

Self-Publishing

£10 book – printing £2.50, shop takes £6.00 leaving £1.50 for author
Are you prepared for all the leg-work involved in finding editors, printers and promoters?

Cooperative Publishing

£10 book – pay 80p royalty for publishing and distribution – author buys £4.50 each for their own use.

· Hybrid ‘best of both worlds’, full turnkey solution
· Keep control and rights
· Low cost of entry
· Timescales similar to self-publishing

Planning

It is very difficult to do on your own. Get input from someone you trust.
A lot of people start with their stories which is a mistake.
According to Mindy there is no such thing as writers block – It’s Official: Writer’s Block is a Myth.

Writing tips

· Be yourself – don’t edit yourself as you go along – save that to later when you have finished your first draft (ideally).

Editing is essential

But make sure you save this activity to the end, when you have finished your first draft.

People do judge a book by its cover

Make sure your cover is exiting and relevant

Promoting your book

Too many authors think their work is done once the book is written.
Mindy suggests two to four hours a week of promotional activities after it is published.

How to Write and Publish Your Book in 5 Easy StepsOn Friday I attended one of our partners workshops called Get Published Now – How to Write and Publish Your Book in 5 Easy Steps.The presenter was author and trainer Mindy Gibbins-Klein who also goes under the name The Book Midwife, which is a great marketing angle. And like all good entrepreneurs, Mindy has registered the trade mark at the UKIPO (number 2399080)

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=2399080).

www.bookmidwife.comShe started the session by asking the group what book they were planning on writing. This led to the conclusion that as we all have unique experiences, and unique insights on those experiences, we all have something to write about that could be of interest to others.

For those who have decided to write a book, Mindy’s aim is to help them write and publish the best book they can, whilst also finding the best market for it.

It was a great workshop, full of practical and inspirational elements. It was encouraging to hear that so many authors procrastinate over their books (particularly their first). In Mindy’s case it had taken her ten years from first starting to getting into print, and this is not unusual. She reviewed the common reasons for failing to finish a book. The most common is the author’s inability to finish the final chapter or even last few pages. This is often due to a fear of ridicule or rejection from friends and colleagues (and potential publishers) of the finished work.

It is somewhat ironic that so many books take so long to finish, as Mindy has published her own book (with Bert Verdonck) called ‘Your Book in 100 Days’.

Mindy brought along some great examples of books with a clear title and simple but attractive covers, to illustrate how important this aspect of your book can be on sales. It reminded me of a book by Brad Burton, I was given at the last Business Start-Up show in November. It is called ‘Get off your Arse’, ??? and tells his story of starting up in business and is designed to inspire others to follow their own dream.

It turns out that Mindy helped Brad get this book published in ninety days, after several previous false starts. I should point out that although I read the book with the intention of reviewing it, unfortunately the language and style of writing he used put me off. I suggest you make up your own mind (extract ???) and let me know what you think.

Here are my notes from the excellent workshop:

Reasons to Write and Publish a Book
These divide into emotional drivers or outcomes (such as money or status) or a combination of the two. It is helpful to know what yours are before you start.

There are 5 Easy Steps which must be completed thoroughly, and in strict order
1.    Planning
2.    Writing
3.    Editing
4.    Publishing
5.    Promotion

100 hours should be enough time to go through these stages. Although most people take 200 hours, and spread them through several years.
An average book is around 50,000 words which equals around 150 pages. Researching a subject can add time to the process.

Sales of 20,000 copies is a realistic target for success. Very few authors sell more.

Three main publishing options

Traditional        Cooperative        Self-Publishing
(you do it all yourself)

Time            12-18 months        3 months        2 to 3 months

Financial        no author inv.        £1,000 to £5,000    £1,000 to £5,000

Control        publisher        author            author

Rights            they keep        you keep        you keep

Likelihood of        1%            100%            100%
being published

Cooperative Publishing:

Traditional model
£10 book – publisher takes £6, from remaining £4, author gets around 20p
•    You will be very lucky to find a publisher

Self-Publishing
£10 book – printing £2.50, shop takes £6.00 leaving £1.50 for author
•    Are you prepared for all the leg-work involved in finding editors, printers and promoters?

Cooperative Publishing
£10 book – pay 80p royalty for publishing and distribution – author buys £4.50 each for their own use.
•    Hybrid ‘best of both worlds’, full turnkey solution
•    Keep control and rights
•    Low cost of entry
•    Timescales similar to self-publishing

Planning
Very difficult to do on your own. Get input from someone you trust.
A lot of people start with their stories which is a mistake.
According to Mindy there is no such thing as writers block (see Mindy’s article via Google ???)

Writing tips
•    Be yourself – don’t edit yourself as you go along – save that to later when you have finished your first draft (ideally).

Editing is essential
But make sure you save this activity to the end, when you have finished your first draft.

People do judge a book by its cover
Make sure your cover is exiting and relevant

Promoting your book
Too many authors think their work is done once the book is written.
Mindy suggests two to four hours a week of promotional activities after it is published.

The World Cup In An Hour for 59 pence

I love it when one of our clients does something really smart. In this case – taking advantage of all the excitement currently around the FIFA World Cup.

Annabel and Rupert Colley have created an ePublishing business initially aimed at the various forms of Apple iDevices (iPod Touch, iPhone and now iPad).

They have started with a set of  four history ‘In and hour’ titles, but have just come out with The World Cup In An Hour to coincide with the World Cup.

Opportunity Knocks, as good old Hughie Green used to say.

Welcome to Collca

Founded specifically as an ePublisher, Collca currently publishes book-derived and other educational and reference mobile apps initially for the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. More platforms will be added as required.

We currently have 4 titles from the History In An Hour series available as iPhone apps in the Apple iTunes store:
•     The Cold War In An Hour by Rupert Colley     The Cold War In An Hour
•     Nazi Germany In An Hour by Rupert Colley     Nazi Germany In An Hour
•     The World Cup In An Hour by Rupert Colley     The World Cup In An Hour
•     World War II In An Hour by Rupert Colley     World War II In An Hour

We are planning a lot of future titles both in the History In An Hour series and for other series.

As an integral part of creating The Cold War In An Hour, we developed Condor – a software and data framework that streamlines the whole design and production process. Using Condor we can develop iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch apps quickly and economically.

Mastering Google AdWords and Pay per Click

Lucidica_logoYet another excellent workshop today by Lucidica founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Thomas Jeffs. This time exploring the world of Google AdWords and Pay-Per-Click Advertising. I have known a bit about these for a while now, in particular their importance to website promotion. But, couldn’t face the effort of getting stuck in on my own. Now I feel I have a really good understanding. Here are my notes from the workshop:

Introduction to Pay per Click

Google and every other search engine makes their money through advertising.

You can spend time working your way up the ‘natural’ search results, or short-cut your way to the to the top by paying via AdWords.

Tom warned that we should not ignore Yahoo and Bing, but also be aware that Google dominates search with over 80% of the market.

The first and most important job is to choose keywords you want associated with your site and decide on your budget. Once your daily budget has gone (pay per click), your advert disappears. Known as pay per action model.

Almost the entire source of Google’s advertising income is pay per click.

Costs are calculated dynamically based on a bidding auction system. You set your maximum bid. You can tell how popular search terms are by how many appear under sponsored section after a Google search.

It’s like bidding on a wardrobe in an auction – the maximum you may be willing to pay could be £1,000, but if no one bids above £600, you’ll get the wardrobe for £605. The difference here is that you have to tell the auctioneer upfront.

Pay per Click Statistics

A combination of marketing and statistics skills required, so you may need to get help with one or the other.

There are eight key metrics:

  1. Impressions – simply how many times your advert appears (not how many times the adword term was searched for).
  2. Clicks – how many times someone clicked on your link (compare to impressions above).
  3. Click Through Rate (CTR) – clicks divided by impressions
  4. Average Position – Position your advert appears when it is clicked on. Includes pages one and two.
  5. Maximum Cost per Click – directly impacts your position on results page and the number of clicks you get. Google help you find out how much you could expect to pay.
  6. Average Cost per Click – depends on what you competitors are bidding.
  7. Cost per Thousand (CPM) – the cost you are paying on your advert per 1,000 impressions (not clicks).
  8. Advert Quality – Marked out of 10. A woolly metric that Google measures on:
  • Advert relevance – your keywords, and to the landing page on your site
  • Historical performance  – of the ad and your account overall
  • Other relevant factors – basically anything Google wants

Getting more complicated

Google try to make things easier for you, but this can have negative consequences

Matching

  • Phrase matching – examples
  • Broad matching – examples
  • Broad matching is the default setting within an AdWords campaign
  • Can go badly wrong – Mulesource example – AdWords account records from Mulesource, the San Francisco-based open source outfit that has spent close to $90,000 on the ad system since November 2006, show the unpredictability of broad matches. When the company bids on a word like “mule,” Google may broad match on “muele,” “mula,” “mula spain,” “mulapelada,” “riding mules for sale,” “trainer mules,” and “yamaha mules.” And the list goes on. Google’s riches rely on ads, algorithms, and worldwide confusion

Content Network

  • Where your ads are displayed on other websites:
  • GoogleMail
  • National Newspapers
  • Your competitors
  • Anyone operating Adscence

Google will try to match the content of the ad (or keywords) with the content of the page.

CTR and CPC is usually much lower than standard Google

The default setting for the content network is on.

Can go badly wrong – example of Air France crash and Virgin ad

Matching and Content Network

  • Sometimes they work – i.e. get a higher return on investment
  • Sometimes the don’t – they cause a lower Ad Quality so lower return on investment

Ad Quality

  • Score given by Google out of 10 – high good, low bad
  • Check monthly at the least

Calculation:

  • The historical Click Through Rate of the keyword and the matched ad on Google
  • Your account history, measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
  • The historical CTR for he Display URLs in the ad group
  • The quality of your landing page (target URL)
  • The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group
  • The relevance of the keywords and the matched ad to the search query
  • Your account’s performance in the geographical region where the ad will be shown
  • Other relevance factors

What your Ad Quality impacts:

  • The lower the Ad Quality, the higher your Cost per Click will be
    • Ad Rank = Max. CPC x Quality Score
    • Actual CPC = (Ad Rank to beat divided by Quality Score) + $0.01
  • So if you have a low Ad Quality you can be paying up to 10 times your nearest competitor and still appear below them on a search result.
  • Affects your Ad position
  • Your Cost per Click
  • And in some cases… whether your ad appears at all
  • Low Ad Quality needs to be addressed or the ad removed before it damages the rest of your accounts

Measuring your return on investment

Define your goals

  • Should be the first thing you do with PPC
  • Good Goals
    • Visitor completing a sale
    • Visitor requesting further information
    • Visitor reaching the ‘contact us’ page
  • Bad Goals
    • I want to increase profit by more than spend
  • Ugly Goals
    • I want to increase traffic to my website

Measuring

  • record your traffic – if you haven’t got a good website statistics package keep your spend low until you do
  • Google Analytics is very good for trends and integration with AdWords
  • You can define pages as goals and then display AdWords campaigns within you Analytics account.
  • It will show you not just ‘conversions’, but also how your campaign performs against the rest of the site traffic.
  • Stats packages can track your customers entire route through your website
  • Especially whether they bought or left
  • Define your goals as completions:
    • Order confirmation pages – not ‘buy buttons’
    • Thanks for your request, not ‘contact us’ forms
  • Track all conversions, you will need to set up different ones for AdWords traffic:
    • Phone numbers
    • Email addresses
    • Contact forms
  • You need to measure the exact results for your £100 spend on AdWords
  • Website visitors mean nothing if they don’t buy anything, or fill in a form.
  • Look very closely at:
    • Conversions
    • Bounce rate (single visit and off)
    • Average time on site
    • Average number of pages visited
    • Whether they are a new visitor (don’t pay for someone who’ll buy from you anyway)

Experiment with changes to AdWords and website, do one at a time so you can measure the difference.

Improving your return on investment

  • Pick your keywords and or phrases
    • Very important
    • Need to think out of the box – not how would I search for my site or service, but how would my customers
  • You can control the matching by:
    • Keyword = broad matching – e.g. pet is extended to animal
    • “keyword” = match exact phrase
    • [keyword] = match exact term only
    • –keyword = don’t match this term
  • Remember that ‘mistakes’ affect your Ad Quality that can increase your CPC across all campaigns.

Design your advert

  • Minor tweaks can effect your click through rate
  • Changes to title, description or both
  • 25 characters for title
  • 70 characters for description

Decide when to run your advert

  • think about what time is best to run ad
  • business hours, weekends, morning, afternoon
  • stagger throughout the day to spread your budget

Decide where it runs

  • choose geographic location of ad
  • country targeting works accurately
  • regional is less accurate
  • choose to run on content network – or not
  • suggest running two campaigns – one on the content network and one off – compare the results
  • websites share with Google
    • age details of users
    • sex details
    • income details
    • geographic location
  • so you can choose to target specific demographics
  • you can run exclusions such as ‘conflict and tragedy’
  • target specific websites such as:
    • Facebook
    • Live.com
    • Yahoo
    • Googlemail
  • Specify ‘below the fold’ or not, so the ad only appears when the viewer doesn’t have to scroll to view it.
  • Specify ‘frequency to particular viewers’, so they only see it x number of times.

Decide where it goes – the landing page

  • specify which page the advert clicks through to – not always your home page
  • create pages to match ad campaigns
  • create several landing pages to test the effect on:
    • bounce rate
    • Ad Quality
    • Conversion rate

Top 5 things to change:

  1. Content network on or off – need to experiment with both
  2. Different keywords
  3. Different adverts
  4. Different landing pages
  5. Different time of day

Be wary of statistics – need at least 100 clicks to see if something works or not

Assumptions

  • Start off you campaigns with what you think, but never assume
  • e.g. B2B only search during business hours
  • Operating outside the norm can yield great results, and cost you much less.

6 tips to better Ad Quality
N.B Ad Quality is the golden goose of PPC, master it and the rest of PPC is easy. It is though a dark art with many variables.

  1. Maximise ad relevance – try to match ‘search phrase’
  2. Maximise landing page relevance
  3. Know your search phrase – e.g. victim support London vs it support London – Importance of matching your AdWords or phrases to your audience – e.g. Librarians will be likely to be using Boolean search terms, others are unlikely to do so.
  4. Split test and delete the poor performers
  5. Have good ‘on page’ SEO – especially relevant to ad copy
  6. Undertake good practice – check web standards – Google likes sites that do this
  • You can’t always understand why results are poor
  • But you can stop running ads that don’t work
  • Ignoring bad performance will lead to a vicious cycle where your ad quality goes down and your CPC goes up
  • Mastering PPC is just simply about watching the numbers and understanding what they mean:
    • Increasing the budget on the good – 8’s and above
    • Decreasing the budget on the bad – between 5 and 8
    • Stopping the budget on the ugly – below 5

Tips on outsourcing AdWords to others:

  • Start small and see what they can achieve initially
  • Check for conflicts of interest with rival clients
  • Check to make sure they don’t use ‘spamming’ techniques which could damage your reputation with Google.

All the news that is fit to read… and much more

Yesterday I was fortunate to have a tour of The British Library Newspaper collection housed in Colindale in North London.

On the journey out to the further reaches of the Northern Line, I was trying to remember the last time I had visited. I think it must have been in the late 1980’s, when I was a fresh-faced Library School student. My main memory from that far off time was of a room full of middle-aged women steadfastly ironing newspapers. This was to ensure they were suitably flat prior to being microfilmed. I was amused to see that a few irons have survived through to present day as part of the digital scanning process.

It was a fascinating tour of the collection which consists of an almost complete set of British and Irish newspapers since 1840. In total the collection consists of 660,000 bound volumes and 370,000 reels of microfilm containing tens of millions of newspapers with 52,000 titles on 45 km of shelves.

Opening beautifully leather-bound sets of national and local papers dating back to the 1800’s gave a tangible sense of history. As is often the case it is the ephemeral aspects which now have as much interest as the lead stories of the day. For instance the content and style of the advertising is very revealing of the culture of the era.

In the secure room where the more valuable items in the collection are held, I was shown the The Mafeking Mail: Special Siege Slip published from 1 November 1899 to 15 June 1900. Due to paper shortages this was printed on whatever could be found at the time, including brown wrapping paper.

In the same room were some of the UK published comics which are now quite valuable. But, they also have to be protected from the kinds of obsessive collector who are prepared to risk prison in order to fill gaps in their collection.

The Sunday supplements section was something of a trip down memory lane for me. Years ago I used to produce a daily press cuttings service, taken from the daily quality newspapers (plus the Daily Mail and Express). One of the perks of the job was to have my pick of the Sunday supplements. After much research I settled on The Sunday Times and You magazines, both of whom had excellent in-depth articles written by some pretty heavyweight contributors.

The lease on the Colindale buildings is due to end in 2012, so the collection will be moving to St Pancras. But, will be mainly in microfilm and digital formats, with the hard copy being preserved in a new purpose-built low oxygen store in Boston Spa. The move will mean our customers will have access to another key information source in one place, instead of being told they need to schlep up to Colindale.

Newspapers and Comics held in The British Library