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Making the most of advertising opportunities

Stuart has started a forum discussion this afternoon concerning advertising - "Want to find out other member's experiences (good and bad) about this huge area of business. Apart from recommends... yes I know about them....... what is a good, tried and tested means of grabbing new customers? For the past 2 days, I am using google adwords, so far, I have more traffic to my website but after 8 visitors no contact. Have good experience with a local magazine Friday-ad." I have a considerable amount of experience(s) with regard to advertising and I thought I would share with you my thoughts on how I feel publicity and promotion for your business should be approached. Quite perversely, if you write to a blog or add occasional posts to your website, think about covering topics or examples which might include you mentioning your competition. The internet is a most powerful observer of contextual content and will be wandering by your site on a regular basis and picking up on the topics that you write about. By mentioning local competition in your posts will alert the search engines and lasso as much information and share it out with relevant search queries. It was once considered taboo to talk about competition when pushing your own business but if you are good at what you do and confident in delivering on your promise, you will not be unsettled by going head to head, should the need arise, with a competitor. However, chances are, if you site is presented well and the photographs and text tell your potential client that you are the right company for the job, they will not even consider your competitor as an option. Try also to steer clear of any forums, networks or business promotional sites that refuse to allow you to link back to your own site. You want the site, such as the Landscape Juice Network, to be a great lever in delivering your company message so it is fair to expect total freedom (apart from obvious abuse or illegal activity) when linking out of the network site. I had a particular issue once with the Pitchcare site who would not allow a simple link at the foot of my post back to my own blog. This is despite me being active with advice and participation in subjects I felt I had something to give. I wrote a post some time ago which highlighted how easy it is to overlook an opportunity to advertise that has the potential to be extremely lucrative. I had one such experience and it is explained in the post on Landscape Juice - Pitchcare, reasonable or draconian policy? about how I nearly turned down over £250,000 worth of work because I was reluctant to listen. I suppose the moral of the story is - never view free or cheap advertising as less effective than something you pay a great deal of money for.
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Phil

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