Category: Tips, Tools & Resources

How to be successful with Facebook Advertising

| March 6, 2012 | Comments (0)

Why Facebook? It’s quite simple… they have the most traffic! More than Google if you didn’t already know.

n this post I’m not going to write a lot because I’m attaching a lot of the content for you to download. Cheat sheets and everything you need to know to get going. Of course, call me if you have any challenges or want to outsource this. That’s what we do!

P.S. I have a lot more instructional information I am willing to send you, just give me a call or email me if you get through all of what’s attached and are ready for more!


Facebook Advertising Cheat Sheet.pdf Download this file


Getting Started Handouts.pdf Download this file


Module-1 Targeting Handouts.pdf Download this file


Module-2 Ad Creation Handouts.pdf Download this file

Read More

Why Citations Are Important to Your Local Business Listings

| March 5, 2012 | Comments (0)

Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to. It can also be a local chamber of commerce, or a local business association where your business information can be found, even if they are not linking at all to your website . You may also see the term “web references” used on other websites—a synonym for “citations”.

Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms of the major search engines. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.

Citations from well-established and well-indexed portals (like for example) help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business’s contact information and categorization. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green, citations help search engines confirm that businesses “are who we thought they were!”

Citations are particularly important in less-competitive niches (like plumbing or electrical) where many service providers don’t have websites themselves. Without much other information, the search engines rely heavily on whatever information they can find!

Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. It’s hard for someone to fake membership in a chamber of commerce or a city or county business index, or to be written about in a local online newspaper or popular blog. Citations (and links) from these kinds of websites can dramatically improve your Local search engine rankings.

Currently, the ‘More About This Business’ section of your Google Place Page is the most complete list of your citations, though Google probably doesn’t show every single one it knows about.

Read More

Affordable Internet Marketing Strategies to Improve Website Traffic

| March 4, 2012 | Comments (0)

Here are some great strategies for you to research if you are on a quest to find affordable internet marketing strategies to improve your website traffic! Use the links in each of the titles below to read the full content if it interests you!

Improve Website Traffic With 5 Little Known Secrets

To improve website traffic is one of the major challenges on the Internet. Here are 5 ways to help you improve website traffic that are easy to implement.


Improve Your Website Traffic with SEO Services

Tweet Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) is the key tool for the website owners to get more traffic to the website. Optimization of a website is.


Capture Your Audience – Improve Website Traffic | Think Big Blog

Capture Your Audience – Improve Website Traffic. Posted on December 21, 2010 by admin. When you’re flipping through the channels on your television, what causes you to stop on a particular program? What catches your eye?


And here are some great videos with some tips and strategies to improve your site traffic!


Improve Search Engine Rankings – Web Content Development – The first step to increasing search engine traffic is to develop useful, relevant, and helpful web content that you can use as link bait. This SEO “content” can be in the form of a web page, an article, a blog, a video, a tutori…

How to get Free Traffic Without Google: Traffic from Twitter

These are all great tips and strategies. My goal here was to give you a short blast of information and ideas on how you can boost your website traffic. There are plenty of other ideas and tactics I use as well but don’t have the time to go into now.

If you feel like you need some help or would like to consider hiring someone to assist you with your efforts, please feel free to call me at 813-438-2428 or use my contact page for other contact information.

Read More

4 Metrics to Measure Your Best Leads

| March 1, 2012
In my last post, I reviewed 4 ways to segment your leads using your marketing software (like HubSpot) integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Now let's jump into how to measure those different segments to identify the best ones! What does "the best" mean?

4 Metrics to Measure Your Best Leads

1. Conversion Rate to Opportunity

Lead Quality - Conversion to OpportunityOne key metric is the percentage of leads that convert into a qualified sales opportunity as tracked in your CRM. You might find, for example, that your email newsletter leads convert at a lower rate than your other offers and that your free product trial converts at the highest rate.

2. Conversion Rate to Customer

Conversion to sales opportunity isn't the end of the game - you want to see how those leads convert into customers. You might find, also, that an offer that has the best lead to opportunity conversion rate may not have the best opportunity to customer conversion rate. Lead Quality - Conversion to Customer

3. Average Rating

Lead Quality - RatingSometimes you need qualitative feedback in addition to quantitative feedback. Have your sales team rate all the leads coming in to see commonalities in the leads that your team rates as their favorites.  

4. Rejection Rate

Lead Quality - Rejection RateNot every lead is going to be a great fit. Are you generating leads that immediately get thrown out or "rejected"? Measure this rejection rate and see where it crops up the most - maybe you find that leads generated through Paid Search (PPC) have a higher rejection rate than organic sources like Organic Search and Social Media. Rejected leads take up the time of your sales team to actually review but decide not to call. Bonus Tip: Work each of these metrics into a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA) to set expectations with your sales team and measure your progress over time. Identifying your best leads according to these metrics and setting an SLA will help you figure out where to invest your marketing resources and improve your smarketing productivity. How do you measure your leads? Please share your strategies or successes in identifying and prioritizing your leads.

Try HubSpot Free for 30 Days

See how HubSpot can help you better generate and track your traffic, leads and customers. Get a 30-Day Free Trial of HubSpot Marketing Software.

Read More

What is a 301 Redirect and Why Should You Care?

| February 26, 2012
In the simplest of "technical definitions", a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to the other. For example, if your previous website was and you wanted to change it to, you'd implement a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. Now whoever typed in your old URL (or clicked on a leftover link to your old URL), would automatically appear at your new URL. A 301 redirect also is often described as a "change of address form" you might get at a post office. If someone doesn't know you moved, you want to make sure all your mail is forwarded to your new place. So what does this mean to marketers and business owners? Here are two tips for your 301 redirects that will help you get found by your best leads and customers. 1. Set up a 301 redirect between the http:// and http://www versions of your domain. Here's something surprising ... Did you know and are considered two different websites? It's true! Even though in passing we may consider both versions the "same URL", they're actually different and could hypothetically lead to different content. Marketing Tip: Make sure you have a 301 redirect between the http:// and the http://www versions of your website. If you don't,  all the inbound links that point to won't pass authority over to and vice versa. Eep! 301 Redirect HubSpot How else can we look at this? Imagine has 10 websites linking to it and has 10 inbound links as well. The internet will view your business as having two URLs both with only 10 links. That's a lost opportunity to rank just a little bit better in the search engines! By creating a 301 redirect, now the internet will see a single URL attributed to your business with 20 strong links. For HubSpot customers, do this by going to the "Domain Names" option in Settings and walking through the DNS setup. Another option is to talk to your hosting provider or web master. Much better! 2. Don't move to a new domain without setting up a 301 redirect first! Thinking about rebranding? Revitalizing your image? Getting a website facelift? Perhaps, you're also considering changing your website domain. Sounds reasonable, but make sure you do it the RIGHT way! Otherwise, you're shooting yourself in the foot. But perhaps you're thinking, "But wait ...  I don't WANT that URL anymore. Why would I want to use a permanent 301 redirect to connect it to my new URL?" Why? Because without it, you will be throwing the web authority your previous domain collected right out the window. Any inbound links your old domain earned will lead to nowheresland--and worse, they won't be passing SEO credit to YOU any longer. Don't you want to keep them? Links are gold! ToysRUs made this mistake when it bought earlier this year as an attempt to rank even better for the keyword "toys". (The company was already ranking pretty well). Ironically, ToysRUs forgot to do a 301 redirect between the old domain and new, causing it to lose it's SEO authority and rank even worse. Bummer. Link Grader HubSpot Marketing Tip: Don't start from scratch when creating a new domain. Set up a 301 redirect from your old URL to your new one so the inbound links to your old domain will send the same authority to your new domain. Simple and sweet! Do you use 301 redirects? What other benefits can you think of?

Small Business Inbound Marketing Resource Center

Small Business Inbound Marketing Resource Center

If you are a small business owner or small business employee, inbound marketing can help you manage expenses, increase your marketing reach and make sure your customers can find your products and services.

Access this free resource center now to take advantage of small business resources for Blogging, Lead Generation, SEO, Social Media Marketing and Website Redesign.
Connect with HubSpot: HubSpot on Twitter HubSpot on Facebook HubSpot on LinkedIn HubSpot on Google Buzz  

Read More

3 Reasons Landing Pages Should be Free

| February 26, 2012
OK.  Maybe free is a stretch.  In fact, if you've got a modern marketing system landing pages should have a marginal cost of zero.  Why?  Because your site shouldn't be a pretty brochure - it should be a lead generation machine. The only way that is possible is if you have a variety of compelling and targeted calls-to-action on your site and collect leads via landing pages.  Here at HubSpot we actually have more than 500 - we are a bit prolific, but many customers have upwards of 30 offers and landing pages! Too many companies today still rely on third party web developers or IT departments to build custom landing pages every time marketing needs to launch a new campaign.  That can mean anything from $500 per landing page to an internal charge back and a two week wait to get to the top of IT's priority list.  Why be held hostage when you need to drive leads NOW? The three reasons you need a system to publish landing pages at a marginal cost of zero:

1) Marketing today is agile.

You need to be able to respond to a market shift or news event on a dime.  What if a new regulation was passed in your industry and your executives had a strong vision of what this means for your customers?  Can you afford to wait two weeks to launch your campaign?  No.  You need to be able to build a campaign on the fly - email is fast, people register 2-3 days out nowadays and you can create the content fast.  Be the first to the punch with ready offers that you control!

2) Marketing today must be targeted.

Too many small businesses have only 'contact us' offers on their website.  Most buyers aren't going to contact you unless they've alreayd 'sold themselves'.  What about those who are interested, but need help to uncover potential solutions - you really want to be there early to help shape the buying process for those leads.  The only way to do that is by having targeted landing pages for different offers, be it an ebook, webinar or free sample.  Each type of buyer at each stage of the buying cycle is looking for something different and in most cases is is NOT to contact you.  Dont' let a long delay or, worse, a $500 price tag per landing page hold you up from generating leads online.

3) Marketing assets, especially landing pages, should be constantly tested & measured.

How do you know if one campaign or landing page is working better than another?  You have to build them and compare them - also known as A/B testing.  If it costs you an arm and a leg or is a big hassle, that's probably going to diminish the amount of testing you will do.  Even small companies can and should be testing their CTAs and landing pages because every bit of conversion optimization means more leads and potential customers to grow your business.  The shot below shows how two of HubSpot's similar, but different, landing pages perform indicating a higher conversion rate for our Kit.  More Kits please! Compare 2 Free Trial Landing Pages Those three reasons all add up to helping you grow your business.  The good news is that there are a lot of tools available to SMBs today to make the creation of landing pages easy and, after a small initial investment, virtually free! Whether you choose to use HubSpot's inbound marketing software for its many features, including unlimited easy-to-build landing pages, a dedicated landing page tool like Performable's or even learn to code them yourself, the marginal cost to you should be close to zero.  Once you have made the investment to build one landing page, you are in a position to build them quickly and easily going forward.

Read More

Online Privacy and Anonymity

| February 8, 2012 | Comments (0)

Let’s face it, if you spend just about any time online these days, you’re at risk of your privacy being invaded and your identity and personal information may be unsecured. You need to be pro-active and arm yourself with a few good tools. I’m alarmed at how few people have basic anti-virus, anti-spyware and proper cookie settings so their online traffic isn’t watched (yes literally) by tracking cookies or spyware.

More importantly to me is the fact that just about anybody with some know how can track your online browsing history and get information from that. Sure there are some devious reasons that someone might want to block their online browsing history but for me, I don’t want anyone knowing what sites I go to or worse, getting personal information off of my web traffic. It’s just the principle of the idea that my business is only my business and no one else’s.

If you share this concern, there are solutions. I’ve included a great video to intro the idea to you. I highly suggest you check out and download the “TOR Browser Bundle” – for Windows or Mac depending on what type of computer you use.

TOR essentially sets up a tunnel of your internet traffic and relays the request all over the world (literally) so that someone trying to watch your traffic wouldn’t know that request for a certain site came from your computer. I’ve tested it and it works – fantastically. The first time I setup a connection to the TOR network and opened the TOR browser (which is basically a customized version of Firefox), Yahoo thought I was located in Germany based on the IP address that was requesting the Yahoo page from my browser.

If you want anonymity online and you want to keep any and all prying eyes off your online traffic, TOR is the best way to go right now.

Read More

Likes & Personal Comments On Facebook To Be Shared With The World – Online Privacy Issues

| February 6, 2012 | Comments (1)

by Dietrich

Facebook Ads – New Insiders Secret For Big Companies and Marketers …

Your “likes” on Facebook, comments on Facebook and other areas that you would normally consider private, are up for grabs again. Anyone that has been on Facebook for any period of time should be used to FB’s ever evolving changes in privacy and terms of service policies. The real problem is many people do not know of these changes before it’s too late.

The new Facebook privacy setting is called “Instant Personalization” and it is being rolled out right now!

It’s obvious that Facebook has made these changes to bolster their ad revenue and capitalize on additional methods to make more money. These new changes are a dream for big companies and marketers alike. Now being a marketer myself, I think this is great, but many of you may not share my enthusiasm.

Think about this…

Facebook Pages that you “like”, comments that you make and even your picture can be used in company ads and promotion without your knowledge! So before anyone gets all up in arms I’m going to show you how you can shut the door on this privacy loophole.

CLICK HERE to go to the full post by my friend Dietrich where he shares how to shut the door on this loophole…

Read More

The QR Revolution

| February 1, 2012 | Comments (0)

It’s coming… well, it’s already here but the revolution is growing and if you’re business doesn’t get on board you’ll be left in the dust.

By all indications, major brands are jumping on the QR Code bandwagon. Earlier this year it was Calvin Klein, now FOX Network has announced that viewers can gain instant access to content for FOX shows via FOX CODES (custom QR codes for Fox). Just last week I saw Gap use QR code in stores for user generated apparel recommendations. Both Best Buy and AT&T have released mobile apps with QR code readers too. Soon you’ll see QR Codes at Best Buy locations…  QR codes stand for Quick Response as in Mobile phone users can get a Quick Response on your business if you give them your QR Code. Get on the bus folks… if you need help doing this, well, this is what we do at Think Big Enterprises… just call us!

Now, for some tips on some of the best QR Readers for Smartphones. I personally like RedLaser because it’s free and I can also use it to scan UPC Codes on just about any product in a store and instantly have info and pricing comparisons on that product. Just a FREE TIP!


Read More

The 5 New Commandments From the Google Bible for Improving Your SEO After Panda

| December 27, 2011 | Comments (2)

By Lane Houk
July 6, 2011

Specific keyword searches by a consumer is a very warm lead for a business, any business that has a relation to those keywords more specifically because that consumer/searcher has raised their hand and indicated a very specific interest for an identified need, desire or purchase. This is really why businesses spend so much time working on SEO strategies to improve their organic search rankings and work hard to get to page one of any SERP (search engine result page). More eyeballs on well-designed website means more leads and should then result in more sales conversions!

In April, Google announced their global release of a pretty hefty change in their algorithm, more recently coined the “Panda” or “Farmers” Update. This global release dated back to their announcement in February that their stated goal is to help users find more high quality sites in search.

Here’s a short excerpt from that February announcement:

“Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

In essence, Google’s goal with Panda is to reward sites that do the best job of implementing best practices according to Google’s Quality Guidelines.

So here’s a quick open book quiz… What is Google is looking for?

  1. Fresh, quality, original content – yes, CONTENT is still KING and quality is QUEEN!
  2. Relevance, (ie. value for your reader) and
  3. Popularity (trends)

With this latest algorithmic change, Google is really identifying black hat techniques like Bots and Link Farms and giving those sites a huge slap by majorly devaluing their ranking which basically results in a major drop in site traffic! Google is an expert at recognizing “footprints” which is what link farms put out and Google is devaluing any site that is getting traffic from link farms or bots. They are also devaluing sites which copy content from other sites. Sites which use automated feed syndication techniques are going to need to be VERY careful with the content they automatically bring in; they’re going to have to be very careful to balance their content with original content and ensure that there is more original vs. copied or syndicated content.

So, what is Google looking for now? Based on my research, here the 5 NEW COMMANDMENTS TO BE FOUND IN THE HOLY GOOGLE... and by the way, I estimate that less than 7% of all professionals/businesses are using these new best practices mainly because they are still scrambling to figure out all these new changes and once they do, they are going to have to rework their strategies and, likely, their infrastructure. Many, many sites previously ranked high in SERP’s have seen a serious downgrade and thus a pretty big drop in free search traffic.

Commandment #1 – Make sure your site is built on an SEO Friendly website platform

Search engine crawlers like certain platforms that make it easy to “crawl” the site. WordPress is arguably Google’s top preferred medium or site platform (ie. SEO friendly). Template-based sites that make up a pretty large portion of small business and professional websites should be replaced with a more robust and SEO friendly platform like WordPress. Many people think that a WordPress site is only for bloggers but this a myth-conception. In fact, WordPress sites can function as a typical corporate website while also allowing for the business to incorporate a blog if they so choose all the while having the main site on a robust, SEO friendly platform which even the most basic user can use to add content and pages.

Template-based sites also often contain lots of pre-written content that, ultimately, is not original which will put the site at risk of being devalued, if that hasn’t already happened. For example, many Realtor, Chiropractor, Attorney, Doctor and Dentist sites are template-based and are sold to these professionals from companies who sell them on a very cheap solution because these template-based solutions are largely pre-configured thereby minimizing customization and human capital to actually build a custom site on an SEO friendly platform. In essence, cut corners at your own risk.

At the end of the day, if your company site is not getting traffic because the site’s value has been downgraded by the likes of Google, then that site is largely ineffective. After all, the goal of any website should be to ensure that the site is providing the business or professional a measurable ROI instead of just functioning as simple “brochure-ware” as I call it.

WordPress is a very powerful platform that can be configured to handle almost anything a site owner can dream of. We are WordPress experts… give us a call and we can discuss some simple, affordable internet marketing strategies using WordPress as the platform.

Commandment #2 – Content must be original and lengthier than in times past

Part of the Panda update in algorithm is to look for content length and looking for originality and similarity. An established SEO technique has been article writing wizards or services; often times these articles are lacking in originality and/or length. Ideally, the length of any new article or site post needs to be 400 words or more. Don’t go overboard, because the value to your reader should still be the driving force and we all know that an overly long article or post can cause readers to lose interest however Google crawlers will like content between 400-500 words.

Originality is obvious but some of the black-hat techniques of the past which resulted in un-original content is going to likely result in a Google “slap” and you don’t want that to happen to your site so, BE ORIGINAL. Originality takes more time but you will be rewarded highly if you produce quality, original content for your readers!!! Don’t be afraid of length. If you’re still reading this, you’ve already read over 1000 words. The devil is in the quality and relevance details.

Commandment #3 – Interlinking

Pages that link to another page within your site are an excellent way to show search engines that your website has related content (a website should be a collection of related web pages). It can also increase the value of web pages not yet considered important to search engines. If your website’s pages are well-linked in a coherent manner, the website in general can appear earlier in search results. Tip: Use Anchor Text (specific keywords) linking to another page on your site. In other words, avoid the “CLICK HERE” method of linking and instead use keyword-rich links to another page in your site using the actual keyword(s) or anchor text.

Affordable Internet Marketing SEO Tactic: Do this on the page or pages that are already ranking high by Google if at all possible. This tactic may very well be the one thing that gets your page from spot 5 or 6 on page one to the top spot.

Commandment #4 – Multimedia is important

Not just text-based content… Video is much harder for a bot/technology to automate and autopost and Google knows this which is why they place positive emphasis on video and other multimedia content in a site. YouTube videos, Audio, video content on other sites like or are great places to upload video and then embed or link to that multimedia in your post or page.

Yes, you can still automate or syndicate the posting of video in a site and that is actually a really great affordable internet marketing tactic because the more you can automate, the less cost you have to continuously bring that content in to your site. WP-Robot is a great affordable internet marketing automation solution to consider.

Commandment #5 – Use Social Media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to excerpt your content and link back to your page/post

Here’s a little tidbit of news in case you missed it… was recently purchased by Google… and you should pay attention to this and connect the dots with what is being focused on in this article.

Why is this important and what does it have to do with being the #5 Commandment in the new Google Bible for SEO? Simple: PostRank is the Google Analytics of Social Media.

Why is social media important to SEO with the new Panda update? Because Social Media is majorly relevant, real time, trending and largely original content! Didn’t we just cover that?

If you don’t think that Social Media is important to Google then what do you think Google’s purpose behind the Google+ Project is all about? The Google+ Project is taking direct aim at social networking.

  • Google+1 is highly similar to the Facebook “like” button
  • Google+ includes “Circles” – “Hangouts” – and “Sparks” to list a few of the known elements of what’s coming down the pike…

I think it is safe to say that the folks at Google truly understand the relevance and exploding popularity of social networking and the fact that millions and millions of people are using social media everyday to connect, interact and engage. If you need a statistic to verify this, as of the date of this writing, 750 Million People are registered on Facebook. 750 Million! Thus, it logically follows that social media popularity in any given moment along with some simple backlinking in your social activity should serve a site very well as this new algorithm continues to look for trends, relevance and fresh, original content.

The great thing is that it’s quite easy and time-efficient to use social media to engage and keep fresh content streaming to the online communities, especially the one’s you are hopefully engaging for your own business!

Here are some quick ideas…

  • Build a quick Fan page on Facebook
  • Hit your Twitter account with fresh tweets
  • Use your YouTube channel with new, fresh videos (use free software like UtipU or Camtasia
  • Update LinkedIn with new content/announcements
  • Don’t forget to backlink on all social accounts “back” to your main site

So, there you have it, Lane Houk’s 5 New Commandments that have been added to the Holy Bible of Google SEO! I hope this article gets you on your way to addressing any current weaknesses based on these latest updates and gives you some new ideas, strategies and tactics you can employ to make sure your site gets a solid “thumbs up” from Google and its crawlers going forward, not to mention the other search platforms like Yahoo + Bing and the many others!

If you would like to discuss how my company, Think Big Enterprises, can help you and your business, please call me directly at (813) 438-2428 or feel free to email me at info [at]

And to close, if you’re still reading this, you read a 1933 word article. Congrats! You must be serious about learning!

Copyright 2011 – Lane A. Houk – – All Rights Reserved









Read More

Merchant Services