Google’s always tinkering around in AdWords and making changes. Recently there have been a few significant ones that I want to make sure are on the radar of all of you who care about AdWords.

Google Reviews Are Now Even a Bigger Deal For Local Businesses

It used to be your AdWords account and Google Maps reviews had nothing to do with one another. The only exception was if you were using Google AdWords Express (which you should NOT be doing), Google would show a business’ ratings next to their ads.

Now, however, if you are running a real (ie. non-Express) AdWords campaign and are using the Location extensions, your ad can show your star ratings and link to your reviews on Google. Here’s a screenshot of what this looks like…

local adwords review ad

(I don’t know for sure but from what I’ve seen it looks like you need to have at least 5 reviews on Google in order for this to appear.)

There are 2 big reasons why this is important…

1. Those star ratings REALLY make your ads stand out from the competition. So if you don’t have Location extensions turned on… you should. Also, if you don’t have 5 Google reviews for your business, you should work hard to get them. The more reviews and the more positive reviews you have next to your ad, the better.

2. If you have a number of negative reviews, this can work against you. You don’t want to be paying for AdWords ads if your 2.7 star rating is running next to them! You’d basically be advertising “Hey, we suck!”

That’ll hurt your results. In fact, if you don’t have a lot of good reviews on AdWords, you’re probably better off not using Location extensions at all.

Because reviews are now a much bigger deal in AdWords, we’ll be bringing you more on this in the weeks/months ahead. Keep your eye out for this because, for local businesses, this is a big deal and we want to help you improve your ratings on Google.

Structured Snippet extensions

AdWords ads continue to take up more and more space on the search results page at the expense of the organic listings. And one of the main ways Google does this is by giving AdWords advertisers ad extensions to display with their ads.

For those who don’t know, ad extensions are additional bits of information that Google can display next to your core ad (which consists of the headline, 2 lines of text and URL field).

The newest ad extensions are called structured snippets and they are a way for you to display a list of items under your ads.

What items you display in this list is a bit limited to the categories of structured snippets Google has made available to advertisers. These include Brands, Destinations (for travel businesses), Neighborhood, Insurance (for medical practices) and more.

We’ve seen great success in the early days when using structured snippets in clients’ campaigns. They seem to have a very nice impact on the Clickthrough Rates of our clients’ ads.

For local businesses, the Service catalog snippet seems to be the most practical and you can use it to list a number of different services you offer. However, depending on the clients, we’ve also had success with Brands and Insurance snippets.

Structured snippets help your ads take up more space on the page and provide even more information about your business so there’s really no reason you should not add them to your AdWords campaigns immediately.

Customer Match

Personally I think this development is the coolest one, however, it is the least applicable to local businesses.

Customer Match lets you upload a list of your customer’s email addresses to Google. Google will then match those addresses to people who are logged into Google and allow you to target your customers with Search, YouTube and/or Gmail ads.

Facebook has had a similar offering for a while and it’s nice to see Google offering this too. It can be a very effective way of getting your message out to customers or those who have opted into your list (and it has to be a list of customers/opt-ins, using a list you bought is against the rules).

I can see an application to a local business that offers some sort of regular or seasonal service to their customers like an HVAC company. In a situation like that you can have ads that show up on Gmail or YouTube that remind customers to get a fall/spring tune up.

There are other scenarios like that for some types of local businesses but this feature isn’t as helpful for a local business as it may be for an Ecommerce or info marketing business.

This feature is rolling out to AdWords advertisers over the next few weeks so, if it is applicable to your business, keep an eye out for them. The star ratings and structured snippet extensions are already available so take advantage of them ASAP.


10,000 push-ups.

Sounds like A LOT of freakin’ push-ups, doesn’t it?!

Sounded like a lot to me too when I first heard about an acquaintance, Brian, who shared his experience of doing a 10,000 Push-up Challenge… knocking out 10,000 push-ups within a year.

When Brian started his Challenge he hadn’t done a push-up in years, was horribly out of shape and had serious shoulder issues. After consulting with a physical therapist on technique so he wouldn’t damage his shoulders even more, he set out on his goal of completing 10,000 push-ups.

The Challenge turned out to be a HUGE success for Brian. A few months in his shoulders were perfectly healed and he went on to knock out all 10,000 in about 10 months.

But that’s not the end of his story…

With his newfound upper body strength and pain-free shoulders, he has now taken up a new hobby – rock climbing – which he’d never been able to pull off before the Challenge and he is more active now than he’s been in years.

After hearing his story, something about the 10K Push-up Challenge intrigued me and I thought I’d do it too.

I mentioned this idea to my 12 year old and, to my surprise and delight, she thought it was a great idea and wanted to do it with me.

So on February 8, 2015 we set up a spreadsheet in Google Docs to track our progress and started our Challenge.

And on September 23, 2015 – a little over 7 months later – we reached our goal of 10,000 push-ups!

Here are some of the lessons learned along the way that are just as applicable to business as they are to our Challenge…

1. Break big goals down into smaller parts

When I mention doing 10,000 push-ups to people the response was almost universal. Their eyes would go wide, they’d give out a little chuckle and say something along the lines of “That’s a lot of push-ups. Good luck to you on that one!”

And, yes, 10,000 does sound like a lot of push-ups… until you break it down into smaller units.

To knock out 10,000 push-ups in a year, you need to average about 30 a day. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

You can even break things down further and think of it as doing 3 sets of 10 push-ups each day. Surely you can fit 10 push-ups in just after you get out of bed in the morning, in between responding to emails, after putting the kids to bed?

When you break it down like that 30 a day starts to sound pretty easy. And, at least for us, it was pretty easy in practice too so a few months into the Challenge we decided to shoot for 50 a day. We continued at that pace for the duration which is why we finished 138 days before our 1 year deadline!

2. All motivation is not created equal

Say you’re in a jungle and a tiger is chasing you. What are going to do? Yeah… run like hell! Your motivation here is survival and getting away from the tiger.

Now what happens as you (hopefully) put more distance between you and the tiger? Well, the further away you are, the less motivated you are to keep running.

This scenario is an example of push motivation where your motivation comes from running AWAY from something. Trouble is, once that something is removed (or lessened), your motivation wanes.

Now let’s say you’re wandering around the desert and have no water. You’re parched and desperately need a drink. Off in the distance you see luxury hotel with water fountains, waterfalls, and a giant water cooler at the entrance just waiting for you!

What are you going to do here? Yeah… run like hell again!

But here’s the difference. In this case, the closer you get to your ultimate goal, the faster you run.

This is an example of pull motivation where you’re working TOWARDS something.

Our Push-up Challenge was based on pull motivation. The closer we got to our goal, the more excited we were and the more push-ups we wanted to do.

Pull motivation is generally more effective than push motivation because it’s much better to be working toward your goal than running away from something (fear, avoiding pain, etc.).

What’s motivating you?

3. Having specific, measurable goals and a deadline

This shouldn’t be a new concept to anyone yet we so often fall into the trap of setting soft, mushy goals.

A big part of the reason we succeeded with our Challenge was because we had a specific number of push-ups we were working toward and a specific deadline to do them by. (Now the deadline was one we ended up obliterating so may have not been ambitious enough, but it was a deadline nonetheless.)

I’d tried to start exercise programs in the past but never stuck with them. Part of the reason this one was a success is because nothing focuses your attention quite like having a deadline to accomplish your specific, measurable goals by.

4. Get an accountability partner

I could not have a better accountability partner than my daughter. During the entire Challenge we were constantly celebrating our progress, encouraging one another and cheering each other on.

There were days I didn’t want to do any push-ups or thought about giving up completely. But as soon as I thought about her, quitting wasn’t an option.

Especially if you’re a solopreneur, things can be mighty lonely. If you don’t have someone who understands what you’re going through, can serve as a mentor/sounding board and hold you accountable… find one. It’s much harder to accomplish what you want to achieve when you’re doing it in isolation.

Having an accountability partner (or mastermind group) to keep you on task and motivated to keep moving toward your goals makes a HUGE difference.

5. Habits are hard to break

This is true of bad habits and good ones.

We’ve been doing push-ups pretty much on a daily basis for over 7 months. It now feels weird NOT to do push-ups at this point so, even though we met our challenge, we’re still doing our push-ups every day.

6. It sets the stage for you to accomplish bigger and better things

10,000 push-ups sounded like a really intimidating number when we first started. Now it doesn’t seem like that big a deal.

In fact, we’re talking about doing another Challenge where we knock out 10,000 push-ups in half the time. And/or we may add in some other exercises like squats, sit ups, etc. to the mix.

When you accomplish something that was originally quite intimidating, it alters your perception of what you’re capable of.

The big, hairy, audacious goals you set for yourself today can seem like child’s play 6 months or a year from now. If you want to grow and accomplish bigger and better things in business and your personal life, setting and accomplishing bigger and better goals is how you get there. You might be surprised at what you can achieve.

7. The ultimate payoff might not be what you expect.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what I thought the payoff from the 10K Push-up Challenge would be. Partly it just sounded cool. Partly I thought it would get me exercising regularly.

And, if I’m honest, I guess I did have thoughts of an Adonis-like physique by the end of it. (While my arm muscles have gotten a bit bigger, for a skinny guy like me the effect is kind of like tying a knot in a fishing line!)

But in the end, the biggest thrill of it all for me was going through it with my daughter. Seeing the pride, joy and excitement on her face was the best payoff I could ask for.


Are You Trapped In This Imaginary Cage?

September 2, 2015

Mohini was a regal white tiger who was the first of her species to come to the United States. This being pre-Siegfried and Roy times, her striking snowy white coat with black and dark brown stripes was unlike anything people in the U.S. had ever seen. And she was feisty beast too. While being presented […]

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Lesson From My ONE Day of Medical School

August 5, 2015

It may sound odd for someone (such as yours truly) who tries very hard to avoid blood, vomit, shots, etc. to find themselves in medical school. But that’s exactly where I found myself about 20 years ago… for ONE day. Knowing my general squeamishness with most things medical, I knew enough to not actually APPLY to […]

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Even Many Successful Business Owners Don’t Understand These 2 Key Concepts

July 2, 2015

A few weeks ago I was eavesdropping on a conversation between 2 successful business owners (both of whom I know) at an Open House for a friend’s new office. One has built up a huge business that serves clients locally in over 40 markets around the U.S. We’ll call her Jill. The other has built […]

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The Sobering Reminder In This Simple Navy SEAL Mantra

June 4, 2015

How many tools do you use each day in an attempt to make yourself more productive, efficient, and effective in running your business and your life? From my Samsung Galaxy to Gmail and Google AdWords to TeamworkPM and Toodledo – there are no shortage of tools I use every single day. Without them I couldn’t […]

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A Tale of 2 AdWords Accounts

May 6, 2015

Had an unusual opportunity recently to compare two very similar AdWords campaigns. It provided interesting insight into the inner workings of AdWords and how campaigns, that are so alike, can behave VERY differently. Here’s what happened… One of our clients (we’ll call them “ABC Co”) has an AdWords campaign we’ve been managing for the past […]

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A Lifestyle Business vs. One You Can Sell

April 2, 2015

This story came out the other day when a friend was interviewing me for his podcast and thought it would be helpful to many of you… Since I started my business almost 8 years ago, it’s always been about me. No, it’s not branded with my name but, if I were to get hit by […]

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This Is Why Your Marketing Should Stink

March 5, 2015

Raw sewage, stale vomit and skunk spray. That’s just a few of the ways people describe the smell of the durian… a large, yellowish-green, thorny husk covered fruit that’s popular in southeast Asia. Its imposing look and strong odor have earned it the title “King of the Fruits”. Yet despite its horrific smell (which is […]

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Catastrophic Failure or Groundbreaking Success? You Decide

February 5, 2015

I’ve got a new favorite phrase… “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly”. What does it mean and why do I like it so much? Well, here’s a story about an entrepreneur, exploding rockets and success/failure that explains it all and may very well turn “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly” into one of your favorite phrases too… There are those who […]

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