The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Buying A Franchise

If you think buying into a Scottsdale Arizona franchise is the right move for you, make sure you have considered all the pros as well as the cons. Before you enter into a contract with any Scottsdale Arizona business you should understand your rights, know the return, trust the company and be ready for the risks.

As with any business venture, there is never a guarantee and always a risk. When looking into investing in a Scottsdale Arizona franchise is sure you know that you will not have control of the company, just the ability to operate and own it. All marketing and sales will be handled by the Scottsdale Arizona franchisor and you will not be able to make decisions on price, product or advertisements. This can be an advantage to many business owners who have weak skills in marketing and sales, but a disadvantage to others who want that control.

You will be expected to pay an upfront investment fee that will be non refundable and required to supply the Scottsdale Arizona franchise with the furnishings and equipment needed to run. You will be required to pay a flat rate or a percentage each year to the franchisor and this is something you are responsible for regardless of your earnings. The franchisor will be the one with little to no risk and you will be the one with the risk. The upside is you will be investing in a Scottsdale Arizona business that is already established and proving to earn profits.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Starting A Great Business Online

You may have an amazing idea for a new product that you know has a need, but without the right tools to market your product, the funds to begin your business and the time to generate sales you are going to get nowhere. If you want to start up a Scottsdale Arizona business and just need to know the basics to get started, keep reading and maybe, just maybe you will be in business.

If you have the product or service on hand and can begin your Scottsdale Arizona business immediately, great you have one obstacle out of your way already. You can start your Scottsdale Arizona business online with minimal cost and even less experience. You will have to create a website and with the help of your web hosting site or through various programs even a beginner can create a professional website for their Scottsdale Arizona business.

You need to learn and understand SEO before you begin adding content to your Scottsdale Arizona website, you can learn about it in various places online including the major search engines guidelines. Once you have created your website and have it properly optimized for the search engines it is time to submit it and begin marketing. Use all of the platforms available for your Scottsdale Arizona business website. The majority of places online to market your business are free such as social media networks and others very affordable such as article directories, local directories and video hosting sites.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Making Your Business Presence Work For You Online

Your Scottsdale Arizona business requires a lot of work to get it noticed online, but once you have done the work, wouldn't it be nice if your Scottsdale Arizona business began to work for you? Most business owners assume that by creating a website and working their SEO campaign that they are going to begin earning huge profits soon. The sad truth is that with so much competition out there, chances are without marketing your Scottsdale Arizona business in the right places, using the right techniques you may not earn any profits at all.

The search engines are the first place you should start when creating your Scottsdale Arizona business, after that you need to think about marketing your Scottsdale Arizona business in other areas so that you can relax and start earning the profits you need. Create a profile page for your Scottsdale Arizona business on all of the social media networks and start marketing your business at a new level. The social media networks allow you to research what your customers are saying about your business, network with other like minded businesses and socialize with your customers as well as millions of other potential customers. Begin back linking to other companies that relate to yours, create articles for promotion and stay on top of any new marketing techniques. The internet is constantly changing and you have to stay with the times or your site will become stale quick. There is no time where you will be completely relaxed, but if you market your business right and in the right places it will work for you.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Can Owning A Franchise Be A Bad Idea?

Every good idea can turn into a bad idea if given the right tools and that stands true for a franchise opportunity as well. If you are thinking about buying into a Scottsdale Arizona franchise you have to consider the risks.

The first thing to consider is the fact you will have no control over the business. This means that all marketing, advertising, brand, pricing and standards will be set forth by the Scottsdale Arizona franchisor and must be upheld by you, the franchisee.

Not having control over the marketing of the Scottsdale Arizona business is a benefit for many business owners. Being able to relax and not have to devote time to understanding the ever changing marketing world and having a team of experts on your side can be a great advantage. The disadvantage would be that with the Scottsdale Arizona franchisor raise pricing, changing products or making a marketing mistake.

You may be required to pay into the Scottsdale Arizona franchisors advertising fund and of course you will have a yearly agreed percentage or flat rate to pay. With the expenses that you are required to shell out in addition to your initial investment it may take awhile to start seeing a return on your investment.

Take into consideration that you may be signing into a contract with a Scottsdale Arizona business that binds you and gives you no way out but that will allow the franchisor to terminate your contract over a minimal infraction.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

What Is The Key To Running A Successful Business?

There are many aspects to running a successful Seattle Washington business. Below you will find some of the more important elements to what makes a business successful.

A Solid Need

Your New York or Illinois business should offer a solid need or want to the consumers. Your products or services should be easily marketed to a targeted audience that will most likely find use in your company. It is basically the same concept of trying to sell ice cubes to Eskimos, do they really need them?

A Solid Foundation

Starting with a solid foundation, either online or offline is a key element to your businesses success. If you are running an offline business then location will be a huge part of whether you will survive and online businesses will need a strong marketing campaign and SEO campaign to stay ahead of the competition.

A Solid Staff

If you are planning on running all the operations yourself that is fine but it can be overwhelming. Hiring good people to handle your business operations is a huge part of your businesses success. You can always outsource your work to help keep overhead costs down. This way you can get the help when you need it and not have to pay a staff member when you don't. This gives you time to focus on your business and handle the more important parts to your company.

All of these are simple tips to ensure that your business is successful but you would be surprised how many new business owners jump into an opportunity without handling the basics first.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

The New Technology For Marketing Your Business

Things have changed over the years, our technology has grown and the way we interact with each other has definitely seen a drastic change. With all the new technology involved in our daily lives you have to expect that the way we do business has been affected as well. Businesses have taken notice of the technology that surrounds our lives and they have taken the time to learn how to reach us as consumers on a level that we are now familiar with.

With the creation of the DVR we are so impatient that during commercials we can just fast forward through them, we use satellite radios that offer no commercial interruptions and since we are so involved in our GPS systems and cell phones while driving we rarely notice a billboard or even a retail sign. What we do notice is the internet, our search engine results, our social networks and our newsfeeds that come through on our mobile devices.

Seattle Washington, Illinois and New York businesses have had to incorporate online marketing into their strategy in order to stay alive. We are so involved into our technology and our digital devices that without digital marketing we would most likely never see an advertisement. So, we "like" businesses and become a "fan" of products and use major search engines to tell us where to shop and take referrals from others on our friend's lists when we update our status with a need or desire for a product or service.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Sales and Marketing Techniques for Your Retail Business

Any Seattle Washington retail business has to face competition, so creating a good sales and marketing campaign can be the key to getting ahead off that competition and gaining the trust and loyalty of the consumer. With so many strategies out there for marketing your company you want to find something unique, something that will stand out and get the attention you are looking for.

Displays and Signs

Your signs and your displays are one of the first things people notice when they drive by your New York or Illinois store, so make them stand out. Figure out the message you are trying to display then add that to your storefront so people know exactly what you are saying. Knowing your targeted audience is a major component when deciding how your signs and displays should look, so get to know your consumer and then begin creating what will appeal to them.


Promotional tools have been used for decades to not only lure customers into a retail business but to also get them to keep them fresh in mind. With promotional tools you can create a great relationship with your consumers and gain more potential customers from word of mouth. The concept is simple, by offering a cute magnet that has you information on it; people will keep you fresh in mind. If you are an auto parts store, offering a keychain will keep you at the top of the list with that consumer when parts are needed. Implementing usefulness with your gimmick adds to the marketing approach, such as a flashlight on the keychain or a calendar on the magnet.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

How To Choose a Great real estate Agent

When it comes to selecting a Seattle Washington real estate agent, never settle for good enough, look for the great one. You can interview more than one real estate agent at a time and select the one you feel will best benefit your needs. Whether you are buying or selling it is always recommended to have a great real estate agent by your side.

If you are selling your New York or Illinois home, having a real estate agent will not only make your life easier it could help to bring you more profit for your property. The fact that you pay a commission to the real estate agent selling your property makes many people believe they will stand to earn more profit from the sell if they go it on their own. The truth is you will actually earn more for your property with the help of an experienced agent. The main reason is visibility but the experience and the time is a huge factor as well.

If you are buying a property there is no cost in having a great real estate agent on your side. You can select the one you like the best that has the experience you need. Because a home has a listing agent already does not mean that you have to use that agent, you are free to hire your own. You want someone who is working for you and only you, when they have to have the seller's interest at heart as well as the buyers it can be tough to negotiate a good price.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Finding Good Office Management

Any Seattle Washington business owner knows that one of the keys to success is having the right staff in place to help run the business. Management plays a huge role in a business's success and without a good office manager the business is likely to fail.

How To Find a Good Office Manager

Promoting from within your New York or Illinois Company is one way to get an experienced office manager and to ensure they already understand the business. This method involves much less training and the transition into the position is usually a much smoother one for the manager. The downside to this method is authority control over the other employees. If you have several employees who feel they are qualified for the position they may retaliate against the one who actually receives the promotion. Animosity and conflict in the workplace can be very counterproductive and cost the company not only time in the resolution but money while production slows or even comes to a halt.

Looking online is a great way to find hundreds of qualified candidates for the position. Look for at least 2 years experience and a degree that is related to your industry. You want someone friendly, courteous but stern and authoritative. Finding an office manager that works well within a team and can still lead a team to meet its goals may be difficult but if you put forth the effort it is not impossible and well worth the time.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Creating a Successful Business Online

When it comes to running a successful Seattle Washington business online, there are a few things you need to know. You first have to understand SEO and what it means. There are various forms of SEO techniques available and not all are right for you and your company. Take the time to research the SEO techniques that are available and learn how to incorporate them into your online business campaigns.

The search engines are a great place to start with finding out what the good SEO techniques are and how to use them. Once you have created your website you will be able to begin your online campaigns and work towards creating a successful online business.

Persistence is the key to success in any New York or Illinois business, especially online businesses. With so much competition surrounding you, you are always on the edge of being knocked off by someone who has more motivation. It does not necessarily take a better product, a better service or a better price to get ahead with your online business, it mainly takes persistence, knowledge of the SEO techniques and the time to ensure they are properly incorporated and maintained.

You have to keep going, even when you feel like it is time to give up. Your online marketing campaigns take time and you will not see an instant gratification. If this is something that you are passionate about and you really believe it will take off, then stick with it and continue your campaigns and give it at least 6 to 8 weeks to notice any results.

- Profiles Written By: Phillip (Phil) Thow, Phoenix, Arizona

Avoid Sales and Marketing Mistakes

There are so many techniques and strategies for sales and marketing for your Seattle Washington, Illinois or New York that you have to expect there are wrong combinations everywhere you turn. It can take years of experience to get your sales and marketing campaigns down to a science, or you can hire a firm to help. If you do not have years to learn all the ways you can succeed and understand the ways you will fail and your budget does not have room to hire a firm, take a look at some of the helpful tips below.

Avoid selling on price and sell on value. Discounts should not be a part of your marketing and sales campaign, you want people to be convinced that your products and services are top quality, not low discount. Of course you should offer a good value for your product, but be careful of using words like discount or cheap.

Do not push features, push the benefits those features offer. You want people to know how helpful or useful your product is, not just that it offers bells and whistles.

Always include a call to action in your marketing campaigns. Something like come in today while supplies last can be a simple statement but can get huge results. You have to create a sense of urgency for the customer in order to get them to react.

Always include phone numbers, addresses, website URLS, emails and any other contact information a consumer needs to get in contact with you or your company.

- Written By: Phillip Thow

How Online Shopping Began, How It Changed and How It Affects Today's Businesses

Online businesses have really taken off over the past several years. Within the last decade we have noticed that not only fly by night wholesalers and retailers are online but the majority of brick and mortar stores you already know and love now have online stores as well. It has almost become mandatory for any brick and mortar business to stay in the game to have an online presence of some sort.

Since email became our main form of communication and took over snail mail and telephone communications for businesses, companies have been moving into the future of sales, online marketing and web stores. Companies now all have an official company email, their own home page and their own way of marketing their products or services online, well everyone who is anyone that is! The email technology rush was the first step into online businesses, as more and more companies used their emails to give contact information, they noticed more and more inquiries were being made about their products online and they had to step up their game and join the "in" crowd, "internet" crowd that is.

The search engines became a way of finding anything you want, people could go online to Yahoo and enter a keyword or description of what they needed, whether it be information, services or products and have hundreds of options at their fingertips. Today, Google and other major search engines have stepped up their game and in turn the online businesses have had to as well. Now when you enter a keyword, instead of getting hundreds of options, you get thousands and sometimes millions of opportunities.

Google revolutionized the way businesses were found and created the ranking system where SEO experts and web marketing companies became important to ones online success. Research began to show that people wanted to find what they were looking for and find it fast, so as a result the search engines began to prove that if your company was not listed within the top five links in the search results, chances were you were never going to get any traffic. So, because of this fact, Google and other search engines began rating systems, they use spiders to crawl your website and find information that is relevant to the searches being done. They looked at your page relevance, your need of service or product to the consumer and even your connections throughout the internet with other higher ranking websites. It basically became a popularity game and to win you had to know the rules. The fortunate thing is that Google and the other search engines laid out the rules plainly and they still do, they offer plenty of information to get you started on creating a page that will get noticed.

eCommerce kicked off the revolution of being able to buy anything you wanted online, you could pay with your credit card over a secured server and never have to worry about fraud or other security risks. No longer was the home shopping network the only way to get cool items delivered to your door, the internet began bringing everything from oven mitts to high end electronics to the front doors of consumers. eBay was a huge part of creating the online shopping craze and the use of PayPal made it easy for anyone to become an online seller. They did not have to open shop, create an eCommerce site or have any method of accepting payments outside of PayPal. People could find what they were looking for on eBay and pay using their credit card or balance in their PayPal accounts or even checking accounts to pay for their purchases. The same held true for the seller, they could accept payments with credit cards, checking transfers or through existing PayPal balances without having to do any unnecessary paperwork or pay for services through a financial network.

With Web 2.0 there was now a people to people connection that seemed to bring a more personal touch to the online shopping industry. Websites were able to create blogs, bulletin boards and forums where people could input their own personal experiences, opinions and even get answers to questions they may have. This personalized form of communicating made shopping online a more trustworthy venture and many more began to join the craze.

Local business listings on pages such as and began to introduce an easy way for customers to find the items or services they needed locally. The directory pages allowed the company owner to insert a link to their website so, instead of making a call or running to the store they could browse online to see if they had what they needed and even get pricing before they went to the store. Many places would offer the ability to order your product or even inquire about a service online and then a customer support technician would contact you to set up the service or the product would be shipped to your home for a fee or could be picked up locally to avoid shipping costs.

Social networks began to emerge and online businesses had yet another way of marketing their business for free. With the use of sites like Facebook, businesses were able to send offers, share links and even gain more popularity within their marketing groups. The social networks offer one large area where everyone seems to be connected, so if you had one person "like" your offer or your company social page then all of their friends would see it and may join suit and so on and so on, it was a major fish net for online businesses to troll for more and more potential customers without spending their own efforts, time or money on doing so.

Mobile eCommerce brought along a new ball game as well, with more and more people using their phones for browsing the web, paying their bills and now for shopping it was only natural that online businesses began offering apps that would allow users to easily download and install software needed from their site to purchase their items, track their orders and even inquire to the company.

With all the changes that have occurred since the day of thumbing through the yellow pages and driving up the road to the local store, businesses have seemed to adapt and have been able to keep their standing in the communities in which they thrive, just now they have to work with an online community as well.

- Written By: Phil Thow

What's In A Domain Name

Internet marketing is a great benefit to have when you are marketing your business. When you market your business online, each person that has access to the internet will have access to your website. Your marketing objective, set your website up so your customers and internet surfers will be able to find your website with ease.

There are many different ways and different things you can use within internet market. A very easy and normally your first step to setting your business up online is choosing your domain name. What is a domain name? A domain name is what you use as your website address. Your domain name should be either your company name or what your company is marketing. Keep it simple. Don't use fancy names or fancy spelling unless that is really how your business name is spelled. For example, you own a travel company and you want to start your website. Your business name is "Travel With Us". Your domain name can be setup as, simple and exactly what your company is.

Remember to keep your domain name straightforward. Your business may have a long name. You may not want to use the whole name, but abbreviate it so your consumers will remember it. Sometimes the shorter the name, the easier it is to remember. If you use a domain name that your consumer can't remember or type in wrong, they will more than likely quit using your website. They will instead find a website that they do remember and will continue to use.

Once you have your domain name picked out and you are ready to setup your website, many times you will be able to use your domain in your email address. A couple examples, your email may be with yahoo, your email address could be or if you will setting up your own IP address you can use your name and the company name;

When choosing either option to go with, use what is more beneficial for your business. If you are smaller business, it will probably be easier and more beneficial to use your standard email. If your business is growing, setting up your own IP address doesn't take much. Many times hiring a local company to set your IP address up for you will cost a small fee. That same company will also help you maintain your website and help you make any changes to your website in the future.

- Written By: Phil Thow

The Importance of Business Reputation Management

The internet has opened so many doors for the global community. It is now possible to talk face to face with people who live half way across the world. You can gather information with the click of a button. As the world becomes more technologically savvy it becomes necessary for businesses to keep up with their customers. This means that you should have a website and some form of web-based marketing strategy as well.

Unfortunately you can't control what articles or posts may pop up about your company when it is being searched. Search engines tend to be non-biased and pull up the most visited sites first meaning that these are the sites potential clients will be introduced to up front. Having a business in a positive light when it is being searched.

This can be accomplished in a myriad of ways. Some of the strategies used by these reputation management companies include promoting positive web pages and, in some cases, creating new sites in order to keep the more negative sites low on the list and away from the potential clients eyes. These companies can also keep abreast of any incoming complaints and, if you would like, can inform you of any recurring issues that you may want to look into adjusting.

The business reputation management industry is relatively new having been born in the past three years to meet and utilize the vast internet population. With TiVo and Ipod's running rampant it is fair to assume that a majority of a person's advertising exposure is done online either through pop-ups, site advertisements or through search engine usage. This is where a reputation manager comes in and makes sure that the prevalent information available about your company is positive.

Since this is a new industry there is still some wiggle room in management team and contact the references the supply. Still, when compared with other advertising and public relations costs even $1000 seems like a small price to pay for such a critical and beneficial service.  Phil Thow Scottsdale Arizona

- Written By: Phillip Thow

Online Marketing on a Budget

The first step of affordable online marketing is to create an official website for your company. This site will need to include your company name, a description of the products and services you provide, contact information and any other relevant facts the customer might reasonable be expected to ask. You can create this site yourself or you can hire a web developer to work with you. Once you have an official website that you are happy with you will want to take the following steps in order to save money without sacrificing profits!

  1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing means that you will link your websites to others and you all work together to create a chain engineered to direct web traffic to targeted websites. This means that your link will be shown on your affiliates sites so that their customers can connect to you easily and you will provide the same service for them. You will have to pay certain percentage of the sales profits to your affiliates.

  1. Links

Web traffic is crucial to successful online marketing. The more people that view your site the more likely you are to make sale. You also want to have high traffic because it raises your ranking amongst the internet search engines. This is important because search engines tend to show the highest ranked sites on the first page of results. Having links available on multiple sites is essential to getting that web traffic flowing in your direction.

  1. Newsletters and Email

An inexpensive way to get your company's information out to the public is through the use of promotional emails and newsletters. This takes little time and effort as only one format must be created but can be sent in thousands of directions. Some businesses overlook the growth potential that can be found in email. Be sure to keep your information direct and interesting.

  1. Articles

Quality content in the form of informative articles can play a big role in how your company is perceived by the public. If you are seen as an honest and forthright company you will have a good chance of gaining loyal customers. If you show respect for the potential client you are sure to see some great rewards. Current staff can do this or you can hire content writers to work for a fixed rate per article.

  1. Forums

Joining online forums that are relevant to your product and services is another way to spread the word to the global internet community. Potential customers will see that you care about your business and what you can provide for your customers and it will go a long way toward boosting your company's credibility.

All of these options are simple and quick. Most of them are free but the ones that cost money will not leave you broke. The small amount of money required will be well worth it once you see the wealth of customers there are to be found online.

- Written By: Phillip Thow

Newsletter Emails: Keep it Simple. Keep it Interesting!

Many companies balk at the mention of email newsletters. Some believe that they are ineffective and not ever read. This is far from the truth. A large number of successful businesses (such as Apple) send emails to potential and current customers on a regular basis and they have seen results for their efforts. The trick is to stop thinking of email advertising as mindless channel. Customers respond to respect and quality. No matter how great your product or service is it will not be a successful endeavor for you if you do not treat it with dignity in any forum you use to promote it.

Email newsletters should be informative but brief. Most people check their email in the middle of their workday and don't have the time or energy to read a novel about your company and its goals. Provide your company name and contact information as well as a quick but engaging description of your services or products. One surefire way to generate web traffic for your official site is to include a link in the newsletter giving the reader a fast option to continue researching your business.

A lot of companies that have had success with email newsletters have developed the technique of including some from of free-trial or gift offer in exchange for viewing the site or signing up for the email rotation. These means are non-invasive; lo-pressure tactics that can get the customer seeing your company in a positive light from the get go. There are a myriad of business email tools available online that can provide with all the information you need to create a quick but impressive email to send out. Most of these allow you a certain number of trial emails before you purchase a membership and this will allow you to find the one that suits your customer base best.

The internet and email is most definitely becoming (and will continue to become) an integral part of the business culture of today. Conference calls are conducted via internet as live chats from all corners of the earth and more and more business is being conducted through messaging and email services than ever before. It would be irresponsible to not take advantage of such a pervasive and inexpensive means of advertising especially when you take into account the fact that most people have at least one email account, if not more and that these people can forward your information to others if they are impressed by your email newsletter.

- Written By: Phil Thow

Getting Your Website Ranked

Developing strong online visibility is essential to your website in order to build your page rank status and to help your customers find you. How can you get your website ranked so you will have a higher page rank status in the search engines? Here are some easy tips you need to follow:

  1. Stick to the basics. In order to get your website ranked, you want to keep it clean and simple for your customers and for the search engines. Simple organization of the website will help you with your page rank status. You will also see that when a website is easier to navigate, it gets more attention from customers and allows you to earn a higher page rank status. As you are cleaning up your website, try to get rid of the large files like pictures and flash animations that cause your website to run slowly. Try to change the templates on your website and look for one that is clean as its easier to read for you and your customers along with the search engine crawlers.
  2. Focus on content. If you really want to boost your website page rank status you need to take a look at the content on your website. Do you have relevant and quality content on your website? Do you have the right type of keywords on your website that will give you the attention you need from the search engines? Content is the king online and with the right content, people will come to your website and they will remain on it for long periods of time, giving you an opportunity to have a higher page rank. The content on your website needs to be updated every 3-4 days in order to show the search engines that you are active on your website and that you do deserve a higher page rank.
  3. Backlinks. To get the search engines to see that you have a popular website, you want to have several sites linking into yours. Backlinks provide a great opportunity to generate a buzz online and it doesn't take that long to develop them. Some companies like to create them using article marketing while others use social media, blogging, and forums to develop backlinks for their website. A backlink will direct a person to your website after they have been on another site. This is great for you and for the other site as well as the search engines rank this is a high priority.

- Written By: Phil Thow

Generating New Leads for Your Company Using Online Articles and Link Building

A new phenomenon has occurred in the business world over the last few years and it is often referred to as "web traffic". Web traffic is simply the collective data in regard to how often a site is visited. This might seem trivial but the truth is that sites that are viewed more have better chances of being approached by paying advertisers and referred potential customers. This niche market has become so prevalent that a new industry has been spawned in order to assist in meeting the demands.

The most common way an individual goes about researching and choosing a product or service through utilizing online search engines. Typing key words for the engine to look for will bring up a wide range of articles, web pages and reviews from which a customer can begin to form an opinion on any product or service in the world and the company that provides them. With most people logging on to the internet at least once a day it makes complete sense to consider that the internet might just be a very effective and potentially the most effective way in which to reach out to new clientele.

Using the search engines to your advantage is the first step. Online business reputation management teams can assist you dislodging any negative posts or comments that might be churned up when a search is being conducted. You can also create articles using key words (the words that the search engine will be seeking) to promote your company, product or service and you can add a link to the official site or sales site in order to get the traffic flowing your way. Sometimes individuals with personal blogs are so happy with a product or service they will discuss it on their own and may even be amenable to advertising a link on the blog site.

The truth is that the more your product is out there the more chance it has of being exposed to an incalculable amount of potential customers. Using the internet in this fashion is not only the wave of the future but it is also a time-effective and low cost way to generate new patrons. Your best bet is to consider this new area of business as an extension of your marketing and public relations departments. You will see results and an upswing in sales the more you put yourself out into that global society known as the web.

Welcome to Phillip Thows website! This site is devoted to business consulting, helping businesses improve themselves with help from a consultant (like Phillip Thow.)

Business consulting is, in a nutshell, a way for businesses to get advice from an outside expert. Have you ever read the Dilbert comic strip? If youve ever watched Dogbert or Catbert take on a whole business, give out random advice, and then charge a huge fee, youve seen exactly how business consulting is designed not to work. But this is still how some people seem to see it.

Advisors like Phillip Thow arent trying to take over the way your company is run or charge a ridiculous fee. The whole point of the thing is to minimize the costs your company has, so you can make more money as a business.

One of the advantages of hiring consultants like Phillip Thow is the outside expertise. Because a business consultant is based outside your company, they can give you the view from a step back, telling you just how well your company is holding up compared to others, and how you can change what youre doing to become more effective.

"Never give up. Never, never give up!. We shall go on to the end." Winston Churchill

- Written By: Phil Thow

Why Black Hat SEO Should Never Be Used On Your Website

Black Hat search engine optimization (SEO) is a variety of methods that were once believed to be the insiders boost to get your websites noticed quickly and ranked high almost overnight. The ones that were capable of performing these black hat tactics were able to turn any website into an overnight success within the search engines. There were some methods used in the black hat SEO that were actually legitimate, but once they were taken to a new level of shadiness, it ruined those methods as well. Today, all methods that were included in the black hat SEO are frowned upon in the major search engines results and will get your site removed from the results all together. So, even though the black hat methods do still work, it is not worth the risk when you chance the search engines finding your methods and banning your website from their searches.

Black Hat Techniques That Will Get You Banned

Keyword Stuffing: Good SEO marketers know that keywords are worth their weight in gold, but if they are used to stuff a website with useless content then the search engines will consider it "stuffing". You have to create useful content that utilizes the correct keywords to be considered using good SEO tactics and not black hat SEO.

Hiding Text: A popular tactic for black hat SEO is to write long lists of keywords and keyword phrases in white lettering on a white background, this was done so that users would not see the gibberish but the search engines would pick up the keywords as content.

Doorway Pages: Since search engines rank sites based on their size as well as their value, using pages that were never meant for the visitor to see made it look as if the site was massive and with keyword stuffing on each of those pages, the search engines used to pick them up as valuable. This is no longer the case and this tactic will get your website banned.

Link Farming: Websites that generate a lot of traffic and have many links that direct to the pages are desired by the search engines and will get you top ranking, but black hat SEO was to create link farm groups where a random hyperlink would be pointed to all the sites in that group. This method of link exchange does not reflect what the user wants, is looking for or anything they might find valuable, the links were sent regardless of content.

Contact SEM Media if you have any questions about how to implement good SEO strategies or tactics.

- Written By: Phil Thow

Who Is Using Social Media?

Social media networks are becoming very popular and more and more people are turning to them for not only keeping up with family and friends but also to interact with companies. In 2008 a study performed by the Pew Research Center showed that 29% of adult aged internet users were using social media networks like Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn. That number was increased dramatically over the last several years with it now showing that 65% of all adult internet users are using social media as a way to connect and interact with people as well as companies.

Even though email remains the most popular activity online and search engines coming in a close second, social media networks are gaining momentum and could expect to be taking the lead in popularity if the trend continues. The growth in social media has come a great deal from seniors, the amount of seniors using social media networks have increased by 150%, but in the same breath, these users are less likely to use the social networks regularly. The ones who seem to be using social media networks on a regular basis is the adults aged 30-49. These users are more likely to be on the networks on a daily basis and they are increasing.

With the increase in growth with social media networks it is no wonder that the companies offline or online are beginning to use these networks as a form of advertisement. Social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter offer a wide range of users from all ages, ethnic backgrounds, social statuses, and education and income levels and of course interests. With such a vast resource of potential customers, online advertising through social media can offer not only the ability to reach more people but also the ability to reach a wider group of people than what you originally planned for your targeted audience.

Do not under estimate social media networks, they are compiled of all types of people and can deliver even a small business a wealth of traffic to their sites. What better way for a company to know exactly what their customers want and expect than to interact with them directly, and social media networks can help that happen

- Written By: Phillip Thow.

Three Essential Small Business SEO Trends

SEO is a growing $16 billion industry and is one of the most effective methods for small businesses to interact with potential customers and gain traffic to their sites. SEO campaigns are created to help target audiences and increase sales. The many methods for SEO campaigns can be overwhelming to sort through and with so many changing trends you have to stay on top of the game to ensure you are marketing your site with the most effective SEO tactics.

#1 Integrating Online and Offline Marketing

Online shopping has become increasingly more popular over the last several years. There is no question that online sales are booming, but the more interesting fact is that offline sales are booming due to online searches. Offline businesses have moved their marketing campaigns to the online industry to benefit from the millions of potential customers searching for their products and services. Studies have shown that more than 90% of all customers will turn to the internet first to search for services and products they need before they buy, even if they plan to buy offline. Customer search trends are a huge influence when it comes to retail sales, so small businesses should really pay close attention.

#2 Mobile Device Search

With millions of people relying on their mobile devices the technology has become more and more advanced and is offering more features like online searches, advanced apps and even online shopping. Businesses need to target their businesses through local searches and geographical locations in order to get their ads noticed through mobile devices like GPS and smart phones. These paid search advertisements will generate through the device and help increase traffic to your offline or online businesses. By creating a mobile friendly website and creating apps to help customers browse and buy you will have access to millions of potential customers and will have an advantage over your competition.

#3 Social Media Advertising

Social media networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are a great way to generate business for your business. With networks such as Facebook you can target your audience and use powerful algorithms to increase your user interaction. Starting in 2012, Facebook will give away $10 million in free advertising in $50 increments. For those who believe that Google is the only platform needed for marketing your site online, Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited website, so you might want to reconsider your strategies.

- Written By: Phillip Thow

Why People Book Their Travel Plans Online

When it comes to travel, more and more people are turning to the internet to book their plans. Whether it is to book a hotel, flight, rental car or even purchase event tickets, the online travel industry is doing very well.

With the convenience of being able to book a complete package online, not have to spend hours on the phone with a reservation services and of course being able to eliminate the use of a travel agent, the online travel industry has done a great job with their marketing campaigns.

So many online industries seem to be dominating the internet these days and the travel industry is right on top. You can go online and compare package prices, flight schedules and prices, find the best rental car, the most exciting events to visit while travelling and best of all, you can do it all from one place!

You get confirmations in your e-mail to show you your entire itinerary and can print it off and take it with you when you are ready to go. There is no more need to contact several places to get your vacation or business travel plans arranged, you have a one stop shop online. They have marketed their industry to practically rid the need for any offline travel agencies.

- Written By: Phillip Thow

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known simply as SEO is the practice of using various methods, tactics or strategies to gain better results within the major search engines for your website. You can use a variety of different methods to obtain the results you want and there are new strategies being created every day.

It can be tough trying to keep up with the different SEO methods available, this is why sometimes it is best to hire a professional marketing firm. Many people understand the keyword aspect of the SEO campaign, but get lost when it comes to the other thousands of algorithms the search engines use to rank their websites.

The search engines use several different factors into determine if a website is worthy of one if it's top spots, keywords are a huge part of this but offer one only aspect to the entire marketing plan. Be sure you understand how the search engines incorporate their SEO tactics into their ranking systems before you waste your time and money on campaigns that are useless.

- Written By: Phillip Thow

Why Organic SEO Is Best

The large companies can afford to pay out thousands of dollars on advertising, the little companies cannot. SO, if this is the case then why is it not better to be the large company and pay for all that sponsoring and upfront advertising? Wouldn't it seem natural for the larger companies to just be able to take over? It may seem like the lay of the land, part of the food chain way of thinking, but the reality is, organic or unpaid for SEO tactics and marketing campaigns work better than the paid ones do!

Most people who use the major search engines, and more than 90% or all internet users do, will look for the organic links in the top search results. This means that even if a large company comes up first with their paid advertisement for that particular keyword, most people will pass it up to go to the organic links below it. The reason this usually happens is because people want the best deal when they turn to the internet for services ro products and they believe that the paid links, the large companies are only offering the higher price, so they skip them and look for the smaller businesses believing they will save money and maybe even get better, more personal service.

- Written By: Phillip Thow

Let Your Links Live!

If your Seattle website has something of value to share and you want to add a link back to your site, where you post this link will determine how long it will actually be seen. Study groups have used the half life method of determining how long a link will live depending on where it is posted from your Seattle website. The half life is basically the amount of time a link will be viewed as valuable at the half way point before it becomes dead or just obsolete.

The study used 1,000 of the popular Bit.Ly links from various platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and email. The study then recorded the half life of each of the links to determine where the best place to link to would be for a longer link life.

There was proof that links that tended to be more on the breaking news side of things were given a much less half life time. Since they were peaking so early with the sensitive nature they displayed it was obvious that they would fizzle out much quicker. So if you are thinking about posting just news about your Seattle website or stories that are fresh and time oriented, think about the fact that they will not be valued for long.

If you want to create the longest life links, no matter where you post them have your Seattle website link to funny videos or stories that are inspirational, things that people never quit searching for and will continue to share.

Now, back to the fact that where you share the link being important. No matter why type of link you decide to share from your Seattle website, you have to consider that where you share it will affect its life just as much if not more than what you share.

YouTube is one of the best platforms for sharing links and offers the longest half life. The overall half life of links placed on YouTube is twice as long as those placed on other social media platforms or sent through email. So, when you think about sharing a link from your Seattle website, think YouTube as a first choice.

Facebook offers an advantage over Twitter and emails come in last place for half lifebut YouTube will still rise above them all.

- Written By: Phil Thow

The Importance of The Search Engine

While social media platforms seem to be taking over and the methods in which people find the companies or the information they need are changing, search engines are still playing an important role. More than 90% of all internet users begin their search for a product, service or information through the local search engines. So, this means if you want your Seattle website to get the most attention, you still need the search engines to make it happen.

While many people will use social media networks to find what they are looking for, the search status is actually beginning to decrease. Your Seattle website will gain attention through social Medias, online directories and other platforms for marketing online, so do not count them out as part of your overall campaign. You want to increase your chances of being noticed, so advertise your Seattle website everywhere and in as many ways as you possibly can!

When you start your SEO campaign for your website, just keep in mind that the majority of people are using the major search engines to find what they are looking for and it seems they will continue to do so for quite some time to come. You should however consider mobile browsers as a way of marketing your Seattle website, you will have to create apps for your website that are usable on smart phones or GPS devices and also ensure that your Seattle website has a mobile friendly version for users to easily navigate.

You can increase your chances of being noticed with the search engines by hiring an SEO agency to help. With an experienced team on your side you will have the advantage of knowing what works and what does not. When you go on your own to create a marketing campaign for your Seattle website you can get lost in the mix trying to determine what techniques are best for your website and which ones are just passing trends.

- Written By: Phil Thow

Why Black Hat SEO Tactics Can Be So Harmful To Your Website

Black hat SEO techniques have been around since the beginning of the search engines and over time they have been proven to be extremely harmful to your website. If you want immediate results and want to believe that these black hat SEO methods will increase your Seattle websites reputation, visibility or profits, think again!

Black hat SEO methods were once viewed as a quick way to get results by boosting page rankings or increasing visibility, but today we are finding out that they are creating more harm to the websites that use these tactics. Do not let your Seattle website fall victim to black hat SEO techniques, work on a more positive and proactive approach.

While there are still black hat methods that claim to and even seem to work magic overnight, the search engines are becoming savvier when dealing with these websites that employ those tactics. Because of so many black hat strategists creating shady ways of making the search engines rank websites on false pretenses it has become a common practice for the search engines to now weed these website out of their rankings all together. So, if you want your Seattle website to show up in the search results, stay away from black hat SEO tactics, the search engines will find you!

- Written By: Phil Thow

Common Black Hat SEO Techniques:

Keyword Stuffing: Creating a website that utilizes keywords to drown the search engines is a common practice. Many times the programmers would create a page that had nothing but keywords on it, or have them in the white background with white lettering to not warn visitors of the shady practice. If you want your Seattle website to prosper in the search engine results, stay away from this method or you wil be black balled from the search results.

Link Farming: While the search engines will love that your Seattle website offers several backlinks they only want them if they are quality links. Many black hat specialists would create link farms to generate backlinks for websites. The problem with this was that when a user would click on a link believing they would be going to one site they would be taken somewhere entirely different. This creates frustration for the user who had no interest in your Seattle site and would immediately exit and it also causes frustration for the search engines who are trying to ensure their visitors always get what they are looking for.

- Written By: Phil Thow

Positive Thinking in the Workplace
Business Consulting and Your Business
Dealing With Workplace Confrontation
Listening Skills for the Workplace


Phil Thow, Phillip Thow 
Positive Thinking in the Workplace
Business Consulting and Your Business
Dealing With Workplace Confrontation
Listening Skills for the Workplace