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Business Answers is a place where HP in the UK can engage with owner-managers in small and medium-sized companies. It embraces this blog, a vibrant LinkedIn group, Twitter and YouTube videos. We hope you find this useful and that you will share your thoughts with us by leaving comments and sharing articles you like with your colleagues.

10 ways to hook more customers

479iA4F1C4E4414B4CF0David Brim, the CEO of Brand Advance and presumably an avid angler, has recently written a post for Copyblogger describing 10 ways to hook a customer. Brim began his post by noting that hooking a customer, just like hooking a fish, requires strategy and know-how if you are going to be successful.

He then proceeded to list the following top 10 ways to land the “catch of the day”:


  1. Know what you’re after: Whether fishing for fish or customers, use the best bait possible for the particular type of fish or customer you are seeking.
  2. Know where to fish for your customers: Whether fishing for fish or customers, determining the right fishing location can make the difference between having a catch and not having a catch.
  3. Be aware of your competition: While experienced anglers and businessmen or businesswomen may guard their secrets, newcomers can still watch them to learn the tricks of the trade.
  4. Use good bait: Whether fishing for fish or customers, you want to make sure that your bait is the most appealing bait in the water. Otherwise, your fish or customer will go for the bait on someone else’s hook. 
  5. Setting the hook: If a fish or customer bites, that does not mean you can actually reel it in.
  6. Forget catch and release: If you land a big fish or customer, be sure to keep it as it may be hard to find another. Besides, someone else such as a competitor might reel in what you just threw back in the water.
  7. Test the waters: Whether fishing for fish or customers, results should be measured over time to figure out what the right variables are and the smartest way to catch certain fish or customers.
  8. Don’t get discouraged: Whether fishing for fish or customers, remember that there will be some days where the fish or the customers just aren’t biting.
  9. Partner up to get a bigger catch: Whether fishing for fish or customers, you will cover more territory with a partner and maybe even bring home a bigger catch than usual.
  10. Enjoy the trip: Whether fishing for fish or customers, remember to enjoy yourself – no matter what happens.


Brim ended his post by saying that entrepreneurship is just like fishing and he wrote that “even when it’s not going as well as we’d like, it’s still a privilege to be able to spend our days doing it.” 

Tags: Marketing| Sales
Labels: marketing

Ten tips for advertising online with Microsoft adCenter

Microsoft adCenter is a great way to advertise your business and its products online. Check out our article How to advertise and sell online for more tips.


  1. Match your ad to your business. Make sure that your ad is in keeping with your business and include the top benefits your customers are looking for. Direct your ad to unique landing URLs, so that searchers can easily find your offer.
  2. Choosing keyword and phrases. Select words and phrases that describe your product, service, brand and location – including plurals, abbreviations, and common misspellings.
  3. Keep reviewing and updating your keyword list. If your business or product evolves then your keywords need to change….but…
  4. Make sure your ad is up to date. As you change your keywords, remember to ensure that your ad stays relevant and still attracts your target customer. Consider using dynamic text in your ad to make the ad more relevant to the searcher's query.
  5. Monitor and prioritise your keywords. Set your traffic reports to run frequently and prioritise the keywords that bring you the most visitors and are most relevant to your business.
  6. Test multiple ads. Microsoft adCenter allows you to create up to 20 ads per order and automatically display the best performing ads more frequently. 
  7. Word limits. Make sure titles are between six and 25 characters, descriptions are between six and 70, and the display URL is no more than 35 characters.
  8. Use adCenter’s suggested bids – but remember that they are estimates. When you start your bidding, use adCenter’s suggested bids as a guide. Review and adjust your results accordingly after one week.
  9. Bid on individual keywords rather than entering one bid for your whole list. Focus your budget on specific phrases and keywords.
  10. Use incremental bidding to help target your core customers. Incremental bids add an additional amount beyond your original keyword bid to target customers by location, time and date, age or gender. AdCenter’s reports can determine the demographic profile of your visitors; you can then set your bid accordingly.

What your competitors are doing online

Intel has just published a fascinating post with hard data about UK business’s use of social media – tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube etc.

The research shows that more than 50% of enterprises surveyed in the UK are using social media in the workplace and 95% believe social media offers business an opportunity to improve communication with both internal and external audiences. A total of 43% confirmed business drivers for using social media are its direct and personal route of contact with customers and partners.

For advice and help with your own social media campaigns, visit HP Business Answers advice site: Web 2.0 for business.

Ten Twitter tips to promote your business

410i585E7768D2CBD1B7Twitter is a popular online service that lets you share information and updates with other readers. Check out our Beginner’s guide to Twitter for more information. You can also follow our HP Business Answers Twitter feed: @HPBizAnswers. Here are some tips that will help you get started and get the most out of it to promote your business.


  1. Create a user name that people will associate with your business. If your business name is unique and memorable then use it.
  2. Your page. You want your Twitter page to stand out, but you also need it to represent your business.
  3. Follow other users who share your interests. Replying to questions or comments and re-tweeting interesting posts will help you connect with people who could become prospects for your business.
  4. Research your competitors. Using a Twitter application that supports lists can help track down competitors and innovators in your field.
  5. Identify your audience. The beauty of Twitter is that you can potentially reach anyone in the world but business users often forget to narrow their scope. Targeting niche audiences with Promoted Tweets could be a powerful way to use Twitter for business.
  6. Make the most of your tweets. Each tweet is an opportunity to connect with your followers. Ask questions, provide answers, promote your blog and/or Web site and retweet interesting posts.
  7. Utilise Twitter tools and mobile applications. Mobile applications let you post and read tweets from your mobile phone and tools such as TweetLater schedules tweets in advance.
  8. Use Twitter to generate feedback. Even a small business can use Twitter to get immediate feedback and offer assistance. You just need to devote time to monitoring Twitter on a regular basis.
  9. Track your re-tweets. Another measure of Twitter's effectiveness is not the number of followers you have, but the degree to which your information is re-tweeted and shared across Twitter.
  10. Don’t make it all about business. Too much self-promotion can be off-putting and impersonal. Twitter is more than just a promotional tool; it is a fantastic way to connect and build relationships with people and businesses in your field.

What parenthood can teach you about online marketing

328iF1CEC2F4E8BD29C5Tamar Weinberg, a social media enthusiast and the author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, became a mother last year and has just written a great personalized post on her blog about what parenthood can teach you about social media marketing. According to Tamar, there are six similarities worth noting and these similarities really help to put some context into what social media marketing is all about:

  1. You Need to Do it All the Time: Both parenthood and social media marketing are not “set it and forget it” type of initiatives. Instead, these activities must be performed all of the time.
  2. You Don’t Get a Vacation: In the same manner that you cannot take a vacation away from your parenthood responsibilities, the Internet is also on 24 hours a day and never sleeps. Hence, neither should your online initiatives.
  3. It’s Going to Be Difficult at First: Social media marketing, like parenthood, is going to be hard at first. However and once you establish yourself, it gets easier over time.
  4. The Relationship Grows Stronger Each Day: Just as a parent’s relationship with their child grows stronger over time, it will take time to build up an online “connection” with a customer or prospective client and turn that connection into an actual relationship that grows stronger over time.
  5. You Need to Nurture It: Taking care of a child is hard work and the responsibility of its parents. Likewise, many companies fear an uncontrolled message with social media marketing and while social media marketers themselves will note that a company may not be able to change what’s being said, they can nurture people’s perceptions about a company or product.
  6. Sometimes There Will Be Bumps: Just like taking care of a child will come with its share of bumps, a social media marketing initiative might sound great in the planning stages - until someone ruins it for you or the audience completely ignores it. In other words, there will be ups and downs.

Tamar ended her post by noting that Natalie Bourre, the founder of Marketing 4 Health Inc. and another Social Media Consultant, has posted a toddler version of her post with more great parallels to consider.

Labels: marketing
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About the Author(s)
  • Matthew Stibbe is CEO at Articulate Marketing and TurbineHQ. He is an HP fanboy.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation