Problems Posting Images on Craigslist? Here is a workaround…

I have several clients posting ads in the Therapeutic Services area of Craigslist, but now their image ads are being blocked.  Why?.  Craigslist is trying to deflect critisism of their Erotic Services, etc categories by imposing fees and other restrictions.  As a result,  all that traffic has moved to Therapeutic Services.  Expecting this, CL is blocking all images in this category.   So now you don’t have to look at scantilly clad women promising you the massage of your life for a donation of 300 flowers. However, legit massage therapist, like my clients, are not only being overwhelmed by hookers, they can’t professional ads with images.  There is a workaround.

I’ve created an html table in which you can insert code from Photobucket or other image hosting services.  The code set up the image as a background image, so you might have to resize the image to keep it from repeating itself.

<table width=”847″ border=”0″ align=”center” cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″><tr><td height=”11″ align=”center” valign=”top”><font color=”#cfcfcf” size=”-3″ face=”Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>INSERT KEYWORDS HERE</font></td></tr><tr><td width=”847″ height=”630″ align=”center” valign=”bottom” background=”INSERT FIRST IMAGE HERE”></td></tr><tr><td width=”847″ height=”345″ align=”center” valign=”top” background=”INSERT SECOND IMAGE HERE”></td></tr></table>

The image code from Photobucket should look something like:

Craigslist’s new policies are evolving almost daily.  They might find a fix for my workaround, but it will kill virtually all html based ads with backgrounds.  Hopefully they will get a backbone and go back to the old categories with some livable restrictions.  Craigslist is an important source of income for many licensed massage therapists.


Tracking (and Increasing) Emailer Response with Google Analytics

A lot of email marketing is tracked using email SaaS, such as Constant Contact.  It is great for testing open and click through rates using different subject lines, content and graphics.  However, it is easy to drive people to your website with provactive emailers.  What are your visitors doing on your site is all that matters.   To start tracking email to your site and within your site, sign up for Google Analytics, if you already haven’t.  It is a free and powerful tool that was made available only a few years ago.

Tracking email response with Analytics is easiest if your ad is in HTML format.  If you don’t, you will be able to track traffic only from one source and it won’t be tagged to follow it all the way through your site.  One way to track traffic without setting up an HTML emailer with link tracking is to create a landing page specific for the email campaign.   We did this for a client who had to rush out an email to announce a recent purchase that had to be moved in 10 days.   Analytics was able to show us the quality of the traffic while we were testing multiple subject lines.  Just using this method, we saw a 40% increase in leads from his previous email blasts.  In other words, 40% increase in business, just from doing some simple testing with Analytics.

Using link tracking, you can test for all the links in your email, and see which elements are driving traffic to your site.  Then you can follow the traffic to determine the quality from each link.  Suppose your email has several offers or products to pitch.  With Analytics and link-tagging, you can see which elements lead to a quality visit, lead or even a sale.  Use that data to determine the best emails or elements within an email and test variations of those.  Using this method, your campaigns will get better over time.

Are people clicking on a particular photo, offer or headline?  Now you know.

Are people clicking on a particular photo, offer or headline? Now you know.

If you want to tackle link-tagging, Justin Cutroni from Epik One, has a great link-tagging tutorial.  The learning curve for Google Analytics is a bit steep, but worth it for all online marketing – including email marketing.   I have encountered so many people who do not even do basic subject line testing and just wing it.  There are too many tools available that will help you wring a lot more business from your existing email lists.  In these challenging times, you should not waste any opportunities.

If you are interested to see how Analytics can rev up your email campaigns and pump up your profits, contact us.

Are You Getting The Most Out Of Adwords?

Ask your Adwords person if they are Adwords Qualified.  Click Logo for Verification.

Ask your Adwords person if they are Adwords Qualified. Click Logo for Verification.

Every Adwords account that I take over for my clients is virtually useless.  The typical campaign consists of one or two ad groups, one ad in each group and very high bids.  The most keywords I have ever found was about 100.  Many clients made the mistake of using Google’s automated campaign optimizer.  The only thing it optimizes is more $ for Google.  A professional Adwords consultant / firm can often use the same budget – double or triple the clicks, get quality clicks, generate a huge increase in business – and still take their cut for building and managing the campaign.

If you are not using Analytics in conjunction with Adwords, then you are wasting your time and money.  Unless you determine the quality of your clicks, you can’t improve your campaign’s perfromance and lower the costs.  Setting up goals and looking at other metrics will help determine a keyword by keyword performance.  Used with the Adwords Editor, you can quickly change bidding strategies on top and poor performers.

Adwords is where any legit SEO campaign should start.  It can generate lots of keywords data, quickly.  Since SEO is based on keywords, Adwords is a very powerful tool.

Pimp Your Craigslist Ads

It is easy, especially if you know a bit of HTML. Use Vflyer or FlyerCafe, then play with the code til you get it right.

Local SEO Blogging

Let's get granular about Local SEO

Google Maps, Craigslist, Geo Targeted SEO even Twibes are some local SEO tricks for locally targeted businesses. With less competition, localized SEO is easy and quite effective.

Hello Interwebs

Like I need another reason to stay up late. Since nobody is really tackling local SEO in a methodical way, I’m adding the contents of my skull to the mix. Over the next several weeks you will watch us from start to finish on many localized SEO projects.