There are a lot of reasons to setting up your business.  In the beginning, it’s all about putting your knowledge and talents into serving others.

Want to Start A Business? You'll have independence, autonomy, freedom & self-reliance

Want All of These? Start Your Own Business.

When I started my first company, Business Research International, Inc. DBA Bizresearch, I was 27 years old.  It was April 4, 1997.  I was idealistic, bright-eyed and well, you know the rest of that saying.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I knew I’d figure it out, and I did.

It took me six months to land my first major check, $10,000, for a market research project.  I had used my recently acquired network from public speaking at a Chamber event to get in the door.  Within the next year, I did my first paid SEO project for a company for $1,000 up-front and $1,000 two weeks later to get a site in to the top of the search engines.  Within five years of being in business, I was exclusively focused on search engine optimization and website analytics.

Some great milestones included:

  • Receiving a check for $50,000 up-front for one year’s SEO work
  • Receiving letters from college students who wanted “a career” with Bizresearch
  • Cresting the first $100k in sales, followed by a year where we hit $500k in sales, topping out at close to $750k
  • Being asked to speak at Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine Strategies (SES) conferences in 2001, again in 2002, and again and again, so that I was speaking at six conferences per year
  • Getting asked & paid to travel overseas to speak at London and Stockholm SES
  • Signing my first office lease … and remember how my stomach turned as I sat outside unsure on one hand, positively sure on another that this was the right thing for my business
  • Trademarking, patenting, meeting with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and fighting for your software patent – being called an “Inventor”
  • Hosting a luncheon of 150 people in the room celebrating the initial launch of Bizwatch, our SEO analytics software
  • Being asked and paid to travel back and forth for C-level client meetings
  • Closing our first really big deal, $22k a month for just SEO services for a well known brand
  • Hiring my first VP
  • Getting approved for our first, second, third and fourth small business financing
  • Having a team of employees present at our conferences
  • Time and again, genuinely enjoying client successes, employee careers blossoming
  • Setting up our first 401(k) plan
  • Influencing how others think, what they do with their lives, and helping people to do really well, in both their business lives as well as personal.
  • Developing a concept, delivering it to the Dean of Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, and seeing it become a reality, and a 754 level course that was filled with 50+ hand-picked college students (Year 1 and Year 2) who later graduate, some of whom went on to become search marketers
  • Separating the software company from Bizresearch, and creating SMI Analytics DBA Bizwatch as its own company
  • Teaming up with some really strong colleagues to product Bizwatch’s latest software solutions – most recently, it’s automated PPC & SEO Audit

Learn the basics of marketing, selling & increasing revenue for your business:

The Four P's of Marketing

The Four P’s of Marketing

When you become a successful business owner, you learn to define your products, determine pricing, learn how to and where to promote.  You learn that some clients will allow you to grow your business, and develop a strong foundation.  You learn all about selling.  You learn to keep your backbone intact.  You learn to fight for your clients, vendors and employees.  You learn to fight for your business, for survival.

I’ve had a lot of mentors and fellow CEO’s take me under their wing:

  • One fellow CEO said to me, “It gets really lonely at the top.”  He was and is right.
  • Another CEO told me, “One day you will fire your client, and then another client that fired you … they’ll be back.”
  • Never have I heard such amazing stories of  sacrifice other than from CEOs who have given it all up for the sake of their business or employees, constantly inventing and re-inventing to keep the welfare of not just themselves but for dozens if not hundreds of their employees

We all have stories of grit, persistence, super smart & yet, some really bad decisions that affected the company’s progress.  Business owners have to sort out the noise as they grow.  For every person who tells you that your product or service needs to do something different, there are hundreds who can tell you that they love it, as is! And, even better, they pay full price for it.

Every Business Owner Has Their War Stories … The Ones They Only Talk About in Trusted Circles.  Perhaps some were due to being a female in a small business, where some may try to take advantage of that situation:

  • an unlimited share of employee issues, that when I retire I will make time to write a book;
  • A handful of male clients who have certainly tried to see if I was an ethical leader or not….
  • Have never paid myself more than six-figures … and more than 20% of sales.

I can proudly say that these 17 years of running a business have not been easy, but I have learned more than I could ever have imagined.  What keeps me going?

Choose Your Way of Thinking.  Successful People are Rarely Negative Thinkers & Doer's.

Choose Your Way of Thinking. Successful People are Rarely Negative Thinkers & Doer’s.

Positive, creative thinkers solve problems.  They are visionaries by nature.  One mentor said there are three types of people:

  1. Creatives or visionaries
  2. Managers
  3. Task-oriented individuals

You can’t be all three.  Understand what category you fit into, and if you are the business owner, entrepreneur who is a creative & visionary, you have to invent & deliver your product in a place at a price that allows you to put managers and task-oriented individuals into place without failure.  Business owners need resolve and tenacity.  They need to plan for and not get to caught up in their own failures, or failures of others.  One of my close advisors once said, “It’s by failing that we learn.  If you fail to learn, well, then you might as well stop being in business, or doing whatever you do.”

But that’s what a business owner does best … almost to a fault, they have the ability to put on blinders, to shut out the noise, to shut out those who don’t believe, and focus exclusively on the success stories of their clients, employees, vendors and associates.  They stay up to pay the bills.  They figure out a way.  They never give up, even when they want to or others tell them to.

For every phone call you receive, where someone doesn’t get what you do, there are others lining up saying, I love your product/service and wish I had more of it around.  What do you need – you take credit cards, right? Here’s my number.  And so you get back to business, to what you do, to what you believe in – and you keep inventing new ideas, new products or services and you deliver.

And that’s why I have been in business … 17 years, with a second company well on its way to delivering a quality product that serves hundreds of PPC & SEO marketers.  My goal is thousands … and so because that is my personal goal … and I have bills to pay, I keep charging on, pricing accordingly, and ensuring we grow with a strong foundation and a strong product line.

How is your site doing for its most important keyword phrases in Google & Bing?  Are you ranked in the Top 3 Rankings? Find out right now, by taking our quick <10 Minute PPC & SEO Audit.  It will also audit your last 60 days of historical Adwords data.  Make sure you don’t have any campaigns in the red or orange.


Posted in Business Ownership & Entrepreneurship | Comments Off

What is your preferred form of communication in 2014?  I find many people (clients, colleagues, vendors, even family) prefer email and / or text message.  Some people refuse to pick up the phone at all, no matter how much you need them to.  Demographics may affect your answer.

Here’s a 9-question survey –>
Click here to take survey.  Random (unique person) will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card, if you are following us on Facebook.

Follow us on Facebook.

Need to talk? Waiting on an answer? Pick up the phone.  Don't send an email.

Need to talk? Waiting on an answer? Pick up the phone. Don’t just send an email.

I have listened to a number of  people that they are not getting responses to their e-mails, that e-mails were sent but:

  • I did not hear back from them
  • I did not see your email
  • I get so many emails, I can’t keep them straight
  • My goal is zero inbox email status, but it’s a challenge

Depending on your ISP, how spam is filtered, whether or not you use mailbox folders or organize your inbox, may change the way your emails are being seen, opened and reviewed.

The reality is email is noise.  All day long, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  If you take a break from email, it’s double for each day you fail to read it.  That’s right, fail ….

So, next time you want an answer from someone? Pick up the phone.  Expect that person to call you back within one business day.  Email recaps for documentation purposes, call them to make sure they received them.  Sometimes old-fashioned communication works best.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off
SEO Similar to Planting Bulbs for Spring Flowers

SEO Similar to Planting Bulbs for Spring Flowers

Compare SEO to planting bulbs in the Fall so you can have Spring flowers.  If you’ve ever planted bulbs, this might sound familiar:

  1. Purchase bulbs
    Note: If you want 8-10 flowers, buy 20 bulbs.
  2. Squirrels, moles, rodents & deer will steal/eat bulbs, unless you toss in a little red or cayenne pepper.
  3. Follow planting instructions about depth, spacing & zone hardiness
  4. Wait 4-6 months, monitor growth, results, follow instructions after flowers bloom
  5. Lessons Learned after 1st Year:  If you want a field of flowers, you need to invest in a  lot more bulbs.  You really should have listened to your friends about the cayenne pepper thing.

How does this compare to SEO?

The first time I optimized a website for first page rankings (we did not call it SEO yet, and Google wasn’t even on anyone’s radar) was in May of 1998.  I received $2,000: $1,000 up-front and another $1,000 two weeks later after I got client’s website into Altavista, Lycos, Excite, Hotbot and Northern Light.

Admission? SEO in 1998-2001 was easy as planting basil – 5-10 days before you see sprouts No waiting around for six months like you have to for cayenne pepper-coated bulbs.  I had figured out the perfect algorithm as of November, 1997.  What resulted were years of optimizing websites for major brands, including Pier 1 Imports, Levenger, Collin Street, SpaFinder Magazine, Discovery Channel, TOMS, Burt’s Bees.  I spoke at over 45 SES & SMX conferences worldwide as a paid speaker.  I taught at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business so 30 students could learn how to do search marketing and analytics.  As our agency grew, we charged upwards of $20k a month for SEO strategy, implementation and analytics for long-term contracts.  We grew Bizresearch to nearly $750k in annual sales.  We also learned that SEO was getting 10% of the budget that PPC was getting in 2005-06.  Thus, we grew our service portfolio to including Google Adwords & Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management in 2007.

But SEO is more like planting bulbs in the fall and waiting for Spring flowers.  You have to commit to a long-term seed planting plan, growth monitoring & re-investment strategy, and like planting bulbs, not everyone’s cut out for the job.

Planting Your SEO Strategy Requires Planning, Following Instructions & Re-Investing Based on Learning From This Year's Results

Planting Your SEO Strategy Requires Planning, Following Instructions & Re-Investing Based on Learning From This Year’s Results

Here is an Excerpt to 2014 SEO (Bulb Planting) Guide:

  1. Audit & benchmark your website’s current SEO visibility
  2. Audit your traffic – if Google Analytics is not set up, get the code installed on every page
  3. Audit your goal conversions in Google Analytics to ensure they are working correctly.  Goal 1 should be set to capture contact or ecommerce confirmation pages.
  4. Audit Google Webmaster account – if you don’t have it set up yet, then do it, and get someone to review the data who knows what it all means.
  5. Perform extensive keyword research (utilize Wordtracker, Bizwatch, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, client input, competitor review)
  6. Write updated page title, meta description, keywords, URL, page heading, content, footer links, page links.
  7. Hire content editors &/or marketers
  8. You have to blog, and it has to be good enough so others will share it.  Don’t have time to blog? Watch out, as of 3/2014, you might get in trouble if you hire a guest blogger to do it for you. Make sure you hire the right content marketing agency.
  9. You have to create, manage and maintain Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.
  10. Depending on what you sell, and which demographic you target, you might even need to have an Instagram or Pinterest account to encourage people to share your content.
  11. You might need to have a YouTube video channel and create educational videos.
  12. You might have to invest in offering something for free.
  13. You will have to monitor trend reports and determine why some keywords are not causing a site to show up yet in the search engines, even though you’ve done all the things you were supposed to do.
  14. You have to analyze why something works quickly for some keywords, and in other areas no matter what you do, it fails to work.  You will fail to get top 5 organic rankings for a given keyword phrase.  Some of your bulbs will fail to grow, some will be stolen by pesky squirrels, and some will seemingly disappear.  Or, if you’re lucky, nothing will fail and all will succeed (probably not gonna happen).
  15. You have to hire people to manage SEO, analyze results, and handle coordination with a webmaster’s team is amazing.  There is no less than 3 people on an SEO team.  A business owner or manager, a webmaster or IT person in charge of the website, and the search marketer.  None of these people’s salaries are cheap.  If they are, you’ve got the wrong people on your team.
  16. Everyone want’s the sexiest tools, just like we all want our tulip fields to look like Holland’s fields of ten million tulips, different colors, shapes and sizes.  So, invest in a variety of tools.  Each one will offer something different for your SEO planting program.
With Proper SEO Strategy & Investment, You Just Might Achieve Amazing & Beautiful Results

With Proper SEO Strategy & Investment, You Just Might Achieve Amazing & Beautiful Results

The most experienced & successful SEO managers buy into all of the above, if not more. You wonder why a major brand site has a top 3 organic ranking? Major brands pay for the knowledge, expertise, and long-term strategy of experienced search marketers who have proven experience for all websites, large and small.  They invest in  content development & marketing for their entire website.  They build social media into their SEO strategy.  They invest in pay-per-click.  They build analytics tools into their SEO, PPC & Social media budget so they can monitor what’s working, what’s not.  They even build into their budget an experienced digital marketing analyst who is wired to dive deep into the data, trend what’s working, what’s not, and report back to the SEO manager what needs to change.

Need a better SEO strategy?  Need an experienced SEO consulting approach? Get a Free SEO Audit & then invest in a Long-Term SEO Strategy & Implementation Plan. Monitor improvements & drops every two weeks, and revise strategy accordingly.

BIZFRS STEPONE Order a Flat Rate SEO Package

Posted in SEO Management | Tagged | Comments Off

Need to Increase Engagement Metrics & Conversion Rates for Google Ad Campaigns?

Here are some items to incorporate into your landing page content:

  1. Incorporate your target Google Adwords keyword phrases into your landing page’s title <title>.  Your content management system (CMS) will usually have a field that says “page title”.
    Benefits: Improves Quality Score & relevancy for Google Adwords
  2. Emphasize your selling point / value proposition in page heading & intro content.  Do not assume that the person will navigate to your other pages to learn more about you.  Give them a compelling reason to go to another page.  Describe what you do, related to those keywords in either bullet format, or 2-3 line paragraph.  Less copy is better.
  3. Describe why they should do business with you in 10-15 words or use visuals instead.  This can come in the format of testimonials, imagery, text or video.
  4. Have call to action, in button format, above the fold. There is a lot of research that suggests you use a constrasting color for your button.  Make the button big, then make it bigger!
    Buy Now Button from Cool TextContact Us Button from Cooltext.comThere are some free button generators (like the images above from or find another solution if you Google “button generator”.  I finally shifted to using our professional graphic designer so our call to action buttons would appear uniform across web, email and direct mail.BIZWATCH PC SubscribeNow BUTTON 72dpi
  5. Use Testimonials. Place them where the person is likely to proceed to the next page.
    I saw my return on investment within one week.
    We use Bizwatch’s SMB (small medium business owner) product &
    continue to see significant growth.  We highly endorse and fully recommend.
    Umberto Catignani, President, Orbital Plastics
  6. Create & utilize your YouTube videos and embed them in your landing page.  This How to Set Up an Adwords Campaign video was created for a small business owner in September 2012 and has had over 21,000 views.  It shows people how to create an Adwords campaign.

Updated 2013 Adwords video is below, which has had over 3,000 views.

What is our best converting landing pages?

Check out this landing page – it has a 40% conversion rate.  We started at 18% conversion rate but due to cost per click, we worked on additional changes to increase conversion rates.  After making a variety of changes, we increased our Adwords campaign PPC conversion rate to 40%.




Posted in Landing Page to Increase Conversion Rates | Comments Off

Digital Marketing 101 Series

This is the first in a five-part Digital Marketing 101 series, specifically geared towards SMBs.  Once a week, we’ll cover one of the five Internet marketing methods and discuss benefits & limitations.

Five Ways to Promote Your Small – Medium Sized Business (SMB) Online in 2014

  1. Paid Search Advertising – Pay-Per-Click or PPC
  2. Search engine optimization (SEO) – art of making changes to your website to increase  chances of showing up on the 1st page of Google’s organic listings for specific keyword phrases (red shoes, blue shoes, leather shoes, Nike shoes)
  3. Blog, Video  & Content Marketing- Create content through websites, blogs, articles, & videos, then promote using social media, content sharing & PR
  4. Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus (G+), Instagram
  5. E-mail Marketing

67% of online users turn to Google to find something online, with 18% using Bing and 10% using Yahoo according to comScore’s February 2014 Search Engine Rankings Report.  Once online users find what they’re looking for, they login to Facebook and Twitter and ask their friends and colleagues what they know about that company and/or their products.  They might further check reviews on a website like Yelp. They might search for the educational video on YouTube. Eventually, they convert via the website or by calling the business, or visiting the place of business.

What devices are people using to search online? They use desktop computers & laptops, but significant growth has been noted in the use of smartphones & tablets for online research.  Not all mobile users are ready to use their smartphones to buy, but that trend is changing.  One in five online sales came from a smartphone this past Christmas season.  People are more comfortable using their tablet to purchase online.  In response, advertisers are ramping up on mobile search advertising.  In fact, mobile advertising is up 122%. Source: eMarketer.

Your SMB needs leads & online orders.  It needs new customers.  What’s the fastest method to acquire new leads or business?

Paid search advertising or Pay Per Click is the fastest way to acquire new leads or customers.  Within 8 minutes of creating a new campaign in Google Adwords, your website can show up at the top of the page for your desired keyword phrases.  In fact, by the time you’re done reading this article, you could have created a basic Google Ad campaign and shown up in Google.

How much will it cost you to advertise? How much will it cost your business if you’re NOT showing up in Google?

Let’s say you sell cheesecakes, with nationwide UPS delivery services, only you’re a smaller business than that other retailer establishment in every major city.

  • 11,000 searches -  Cheesecake
  • 8,000 searches – pumpkin cheesecake
  • 700 searches – strawberry cheesecake
  • <100 searches – send cheesecake
  • <100 searches – buy cheesecake
  • <100 searches – cheesecake delivery

If you sell pumpkin & strawberry cheesecakes, deliver via mail order or online delivery, and you get 5% of the online marketshare, you could be delivering 400 pumpkin & 35 strawberry cheesecakes.  If your average order was $50 for a cheesecake mail order delivery, you could be ringing up $21,750 at the register just for showing up for those two keyword phrases.

Even at a 2% conversion rate, you could have $8,700 in online orders for pumpkin & strawberry cheesecakes.

Once you know which keywords convert, you can begin to measure:

  • What does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
    $10 -  $50?
  • What are you willing to spend to acquire them?
  • What’s their first-time online order vs lifetime value?
  • Cost of acquisition (COA) or cost of conversion by keyword

If you’ve watched ABC’s Shark Tank, you’ve heard Mark Cuban ask “What’s your cost of acquiring each new customer?”  Bizwatch can help you assess your advertising, cost of new customer acquisition & how to improve ROI.

Benefits of paid search advertising:

  • Quick way to show up in Google for your company name, brand name, products & related keyword phrases
  • Ability to track & trend keyword phrase to conversion using Google’s Analytics, Adwords & Bizwatch software
  • Ability to know which keywords get more searches, clicks, leads/orders
  • Ability to know which keywords cost more than they convert to revenue
  • Ability to easily test different ads, landing pages & keyword strategies
  • Ability to out-rank your competitor
  • Ability to lead your industry for related keyword phrases
  • Ability to target locations
  • Ability to promote on specific devices

Limitations of paid search advertising:

  • If you set up paid search advertising campaigns incorrectly, you could spend money very quickly with little return  (Watch our YouTube video on How to Set Up Adwords)
  • If you don’t have conversion tracking in place, you could fail to track which keywords convert.
  • If you leave your ad campaigns on auto-pilot, bad things can happen.  Get a free PPC & SEO Audit from Bizwatch, and make sure your PPC campaigns don’t go into the red.
  • Paid search advertising needs optimization 1-2 days a week, and a monthly trend report.

BIZ PPC&SEO BADGE hi-res 154x154 300dpi

Bizwatch helps small-medium sized businesses (SMBs) to determine what are the best keywords to drive new business to their website from Google & Bing.  Companies can get their free PPC & SEO Audit at

Posted in Online Marketing 101 | Comments Off

by Laura Thieme

Ever wish you could see Google Analytics engagement metrics inside Google Adwords without having to go back and forth between Analytics? Now, you can.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in to Google Adwords and choose the account you wish to enable
  2. Go to Account Settings, which is currently displayed as a gear box in the top right hand corner, as of 3/2014.Adwords-Gear-Box
  3. Choose Account Settings in the drop down menu
  4. Select Linked Accounts on the left hand menuGoogle-Adwords-Google-Analytics
  5. Choose Google Analytics
  6. You’ll see a box that shows your account labelled ViewsGoogleAdwords-Analytics-view
  7. Expand the link for your account all the way, until you have the option of “Add”
  8. Click on the blue button – Save
  9. You’ll notice a dialog box that tells you to view the data by Customizing Columns, which I’ll explain next.

Set up is complete.  Now we have to view the data.  Go back to the Campaigns view.

  1. Click on the button that says “Columns” – choose “Customize Columns”Google-Adwords-Customize-Cols
  2. Choose Google Analytics
  3. Select Add all columns and re-sort as desired (on the right hand side  inside Adwords, not shown below)google-adwords-metrics
  4. Save
  5. Then see all Adwords conversion & Analytics engagement metrics / KPIs as noted below.


Obviously, there is a need for trend analysis of all KPIs, but this is great for looking at campaigns that may not have great online attributed conversion rates, but you can see strong engagement metrics.

I like to see the following Google Analytics engagement metrics:

  • Bounce rate <=40%
  • Pages / Visit >=4
  • Time spent (they put seconds, sorry about the obvious calculation requirement) > = 4 minutes
  • % of new visits > = 75% (helpful for those doing non-branded campaigns, looking to increase new customer acquisitions)
Need SEO Reports & Keyword Discovery? Starting at just $99/month

Need SEO Reports & Keyword Discovery? Starting at just $99/month

Posted in Google Analytics | Comments Off

by Laura Thieme

What does your SEO Trend Report Graph look like over a 6-12 month period?  Is the SEO ranking improving or getting worse in the search engines for your most important keyword phrase(s)?

Starting position in August 2013: 16 (2nd page).
Position as of Feb/4/2014: 7 (1st page).
Goal: Top 3 organic ranking
Please note: Downward graph trend is improvement in Google organic ranking

What Does Your SEO Report Look Like?

What Does Your SEO Trend Report Look Like?

Bizwatch has worked with a small business since June of 2013 to monitor its PPC spend, and its SEO visibility.  They had hired an SEO company that engaged in link building, which included some suspicious links.

After monitoring and seeing little improvement, we were asked by the small business to clean up their Google organic / SEO record.  We double checked and made minor modifications to their on-page SEO.  They have all the best practices on their website, page titles with appropriate keyword phrases, meta description, page heading, and relevant content.  They have a popular blog that is updated frequently by user-submitted content, but the one thing that they lacked was a Google + presence.

In October, we disavowed a few suspicious links, and saw very little improvement despite following best practices via Matt Cutts recommendations.  But all of a sudden, in December we began to see SEO ranking improvement.  Here’s what was done in December:

1) two Google + posts

2) minor on-page adjustment

Then, the small biz noticed their Google organic ranking started to drop again.  See January ranking declines in both graphs.  The first graph is for the plural version of the keyword.  Second is for the singular version.

So, we did two more Google + posts in the past week for the related site and referenced one of their products, linked to the site, etc.

Guess what? The ranking improved again.  It’s already bumped to #10, after two G+ posts.

Is this an anomaly? Unrelated? Industry colleagues say that this and other SEO ranking improvements could be correlated to the G+ post(s).  In 2014, SEO efforts will include, whether you like it or not, Google + and other off-page ranking factors.

Is Google Plus Helping This SEO Ranking Trend?

Is Google Plus Helping This SEO Ranking Trend?

As a result of this small R&D project, any Bizwatch customer who is monitoring their SEO ranking trends, would you do a 30-day Google + ( challenge?  Post one topic 2-3 lines, link to your website, and reference your core keyword phrase in your post.  Post at least 3x/week.  See if your ranking for those target keyword phrases improves.  We’d love to share results, anonymously, like you see in these charts with your permission.

Example G+ Post #1: Company A manufactures its [target keyword phrase] in the USA.  We’ve been in business since 1976.  We’re located in American Town, and hours are 8-5 EST, Monday – Friday.

Example #2:  February Promotion: Get free keyword research for your website so you can target the best keyword phrases for your products & services when you subscribe to our SEO reports in February, 2014.  Reg: $99/mo  Promotion: $49/mo with Coupon Code: 2QDK6CXP48.
(Example 2 Target Keyword Phrases: Keyword Research, SEO Keyword Research, SEO Reports)

If you are not yet a Bizwatch SEO Performance Report customer, sign up for SEO Reports, get free keyword research and get $50/off per month by using the coupon code as indicated when you check out online (no contract required).  Call our new number at the top of this page with any questions.


Posted in Keyword Research, SEO Monthly Reports | Tagged , | Comments Off

by Laura Thieme

Slawsa wants $150k for 15%, a combination between cabbage and salsa.  Over 4,200 stores have her products, Year 1 $212k, Year 2 $500k.  They are in Kroger’s and other stores.  She has an old family recipe, and a partner that she bought out.  She calls on the stores herself.  Cost is $1.25, sells for $2.25.  She is paying a royalty of .66 (?) to her partner out of her money, not the company’s money (Impressive).  She is not paying herself for a salary.  Two sharks are out despite their compliments on the condiments.  Come on, Lori!  Even she is out – most of these sharks are out because they are not interested in getting into the slawsa business.  How could they turn that woman down?  Some companies and their products may not be as sexy as others, but that woman is a winner!

MagicMoments wants $500k for 15% equity.  Difference with their cell phone to image product, you can put your image on a product and sell it on their marketplace.  They have secured an exclusive arrangement with CafePress, who can put this through their legal process to ensure.  They became CafePress’s exclusive mobile app.  Pre-revenue – straight royalty deal with CafePress.  But why not any revenue yet?  CafePress, Zazzle and Shutterfly.  They’ve done a family & friends raise, 33% equity.  This means that the value of this company is $3M.  The sharks are out.  The biggest problem for them is lack of sales, and some concern about the selling of other people’s images on a mug.

Here’s the problem with MagicMoments, they’re so busy building the product, doing the partnership deals, and raising money, they’re not selling.  They need to be selling.  I’ve been through fundraising – and understand that problem.

Surprise Ride raising $110k for 10%.  These two girls, who are Lebanon war refugees, have grown into smart business women & entrepreneurs.  They sell a monthly subscription for moms and their children to a kids surprise box, which is a hands-on play for kids product.  They put a lot of thought and preparation into the Sharks Surprise Boxes.  Robert received a Car Racing Surprise Box, Lori gets to make chocolate from scratch, Kevin has a solar charging photo kit, Daymond will be designing a Barcelona styled mosaic, and Mark received a basketball theme ride & some popcorn.  All of these were well done surprise boxes with great packaging.  The girls have M&A background on Wall Street, a Harvard MBA, and marketing background for these two young women.

Recommendation for Surprise Ride:
Show 12 months of products as examples.  We get it – it’s a surprise, But, you only show 4 products on your website.  My kid would love this, but I think parents want to know more of your product offerings, especially because we aren’t able to choose what comes, and have no idea of the upcoming theme.  There are too many unknowns and we’re locking in potentially on a recurring monthly purchase.

I think people would be more likely to buy in if they could see 6-12 months of products, and actually have age range box subscriptions.  It wasn’t until I went to your Facebook page, that I realized it was 6-11.  I missed that.  Your Facebook presence is awesome.  Integrate what people are saying on Facebook on every single page on your website, because the engagement is incredible.  You could feature This Month’s Surprise? Email to see what this month’s surprise was, and order it by 1/31, and get $5 off February’s order.  It’s not clear that you have to order February’s surprise by 1/31.  So execution could be better, but the product looks awesome!

Let’s do the numbers (as NPR’s Marketplace would say):
$24.99 for 6-month subscription.
Sales 800 boxes, 225 active members.
What is customer acquisition cost? $5.30.  Value for 12-month is $130 customer.  50% margin goes to buying merchandise.  Fulfillment center in Florida.  How much investment.  Raised $100k Irwin Jacobs convertible note.  Subscription based business.  Projection for next year is about $500k.  3500 subscribers.  She’s driving traffic to the website.  Partnered with a great agency for $40k for 12 months.  O’Leary was actually tempted but said no because they are still proof of concept.  Offer from Robert of $110k for 25%. The girls made the mistake that many entrepreneurs make in the Tank … Lori is talking about how hard it is to be a woman in business but she’s out. (Mark called that right).  The girls took too long to decide, debated with the other sharks, and and as a result, Robert rescinded his offer.

I missed the beginning of the show, but saw something about Doorbot asking for $700k, who walked away from the Mr. Wonderful’s offer.

Bizwatch helps small business retailers & mid-market companies to improve their online business through SEO & Google Adwords (PPC) Audits, bi-weekly and monthly PPC & SEO reporting, and cost of customer acquisition analysis.

Promoting your products & services online starts with knowing the right keywords.  Mid-market retailers & businesses know this and focus on improving conversion rates and lowering cost per conversion (or new customer acquisition).

Get your coupon code, a free SEO visibility report, then subscribe to our SEO reports & get us to do your keyword research.  Your website marketing & sales will appreciate this small investment.  Special offer right now of $49/month, otherwise $99/month.


Posted in Shark Tank Keyword Discovery | Tagged | Comments Off

Tonight’s pre-Christmas Shark Tank show was filled with Christmas related products and elves.

First up was Lite Netics with sales of $118k(?) and net income of $38k(?), patent granted, but the sharks were unimpressed with the lack of competitive pricing.  Competitors charge $20 for 50 feet of LED lights vs $70 for magnetic lights.  It would be okay to be 20-25% above, but that much of a difference caused three of the sharks to disengage.  Surprisingly, LiteNetics received two offers, Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) fought with Daymond over licensing offers.  I missed some of the details of the show here, but regardless, Lite Netics walked away from the deal.  When Kevin & Daymond want in on a deal, fight over the specifics, seems to me you should take something here unless Lite Netics wanted relatively free publicity nothing more.

Morri Chowaiki wants $50k for a 15% stake for his interfaith Christmas & Hanukkah product, a Hanukkah Tree Topper.  He’s sold 12,000 online through affiliate websites, as well as In Flight Magazine.  70% wholesale, 90% retail margin.  Gross sales $150k in the last three years.  1.5 million target households.  They are in Bed, Bath & Beyond.  70% online, 20% In Flight magazine, 10% in the brick & mortar stores.  Daymond wants 35% in exchange for $50k.  Licensing play from Daymond to have product expansion.  Why do these guys sit there and pontificate, especially with Daymond? Morri took the deal with Daymond.  I’ve checked out the website and they now sell the Hanukkah Tree Topper from this website.

Ruckpack Combat Nutrition was on Season 4.  They are about to sell their products in over 9,000 Walgreens stores featuring their combat nutrition energy product.  They’re doing really well.

Rachel & Melissa of Cashmere Hair Girls are asking for $45k for 15% stake.   There are hair auctioners.  Cost per extension is $105 retailed for $399.  Full set of Cashmere Hair.  20 suppliers.  They have been in business for six months, with sales for $38k.  They did not get a deal but these two ladies are on to something based on search volume.  There is a LOT of search volume for

  • “hair extensions”
  • “human hair extensions”
  • “clip-on extensions”
  • “clip on human hair extensions”
  • “remy hair extensions” and related keywords.

With a little bit of search, ecommerce & digital marketing, these Cashmere Hair ladies could do very well.

TipsyElves recreates the Christmas sweaters.  $862k in sales.  Nearly half came from  Sells them for $65.  Founder has background in SEO.  $100k for a $2 per unit royalty and then $1 in perpetuity.  Robert offered $100k for 10% equity.  The guys took Robert’s deal.  And notably, one of the founders has a background in SEO.  He’s ranked #2 for “ugly christmas sweaters”.  As of today, before Shark Tank’s episode, there were not a lot of people searching for

  • Christmas sweaters
  • ugly Christmas sweaters

but there are now.  Daymond brought up a really good point.  One of the problems with ugly Christmas sweaters is “returns”.  People don’t want them.  Ironically, (@TipsyElves) just made ugly Christmas sweaters hip again likely amongst college kids.  My guess is based on the Twitter noise, Christmas sweaters just became hip again, and I’m watching poeple talk about buying them right now on Twitter.  Good for Tipsy Elves.

In summary, while TipsyElves has a product line that may be a real hit this Christmas season, the Cashmere Hair Extension product could have year-round demand.  Both would make good investments in my opinion.



Posted in Shark Tank Keyword Discovery | Tagged , | Comments Off

by Laura Thieme, CEO of Bizwatch


On the day Twitter launched its IPO to amazing success, while I’ll likely regret I didn’t throw in $1,000 to get an amazing ROI, what I did instead, sadly, was throw away $400 in Twitter ads.  Let me share what I learned from this initial Twitter ad research project.

For those of you who don’t know my background, I’ve been advertising and doing SEO since 1997.  I’ve spoken at over 45 conferences around the world on search marketing, advertising & analytics.  Everything I have done, I’ve taught myself.  All success comes from digging into the details, and it never works the first time.   Despite that wisdom gained over the years, as eternal early adopters, I felt I had to try the Twitter advertising first on our company before creating campaigns for other clients.  Sadly, I was very disappointed with my first four Twitter ad campaigns.  I’d say the only company that did really well with my ad campaign, was Twitter.

Here is Twitter’s ad measurement interface.  We spent $280 for 315 engagements, which on the surface doesn’t sound so bad – but wait till I tell you what they consider an engagement.  Twitter suggested I pay $1.85 per engagement.  Seems kind of high for a new advertising medium, but to test it,  I was willing to advertise at the recommended per click/engagement price.


First Twitter Ad Campaign Spend = $280


Our First Twitter Ad Campaign Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

I was watching my Google Analytics Real-Time data.  Here’s what I LOVED about Twitter ads.  Before I could even figure out where I was showing up and begin testing, I watched the live visitors dashboard light up.

But then, it did something I did not like.  It flat-lined.  Even worse, I ran through my first $50 in less than a few minutes.  I noticed Twitter showed I had received 155 clicks under their engagements.  But Google Analytics showed me less than 10% of that in my live visitor view.  Why were these numbers so different?

Twitter counts a click on an image, an engagement.  I went back to my Twitter ads, which included an image.  But Twitter doesn’t show that image, it shows…. And so, people click on to see the image.  Twitter that may have been smart, but it was just plain evil.  We were charged for that engagement. That ticked me off, in fact I’d use another word if I felt that was appropriate on a corporate blog.

I’d like Twitter to change that.  Do not charge for clicking on the hashtag or image, Twitter.  Unless, you are targeting a different audience, like large advertisers.   Who wants to pay for a click to an image or hashtag? Hashtags are in part how you target, so why would you charge for clicking on that?

Large brand advertisers, such as Victoria’s Secret who might have the budget to show off their Angels collection.  But would they be willing to pay $1.85 per click/engagement to a photo of their Angels collection? They’d lose their hats (or bras) over that one.

Or am I wrong? Tell me if you think I am.  I want to hear from others who have been early adopters and run a Twitter ad campaign.  Benefits and limitations.  Share with me what you liked & didn’t like about running your first Twitter campaign.

As of right now, I’ve told my clients do NOT advertise on Twitter.  I have on the other hand, said advertise on Facebook.  Of course, all of our clients advertise on Google, many advertise on Bing, but this Twitter thing – I’m holding until I see a change in the way they charge per engagement.

Here’s what we use as measures of success:

  • Visibility (okay, well, we were visible)
  • Traffic (we were not successful for the dollars spent)
  • Automated Audit Signups – call to action (we were not successful)
  • Sales (we were not successful)

Here’s how Twitter gauges your success:

  • Engagement – click, follow, reply, retweet

Here’s how Twitter charges:

  • Cost Per Engagement
  • >$1/Engagement

If Engagements are clicks on hashtags, photos – that could get very expensive as noted above, and deliver horrible ROI.  If anything advertisers who have deeper pockets, will learn and never do the above again, OR they’ll refuse to advertise on Twitter and share bad experience, which delivers poor ROI to today’s IPO’d Twitter new investors.

If I learn something else about that, I’ll update this blog post.  Remember this, Twitter charges per engagement.  An engagement is defined as any click on anything within your Tweet, which includes but is not limited to hashtags and photos.

Source Twitter: The total includes billed engagements as well as additional engagements you aren’t billed for across Retweets, replies, follows, card engagements and other clicks.

Personally, that doesn’t mean a lot to me, but try this:

Source Twitter
The total number of times a user has interacted with a Promoted Tweet. This includes all clicks anywhere on the tweet, including any hashtags, links, avatar, username, or tweet expansion; retweets; replies; follows; or favorites.

Should you use keywords or interests & followers, I’m still learning the basics.  I’ll post some more in the next few days.




Posted in Twitter Advertising | Tagged , | Comments Off