An Unhealthy Sector That Could Make Your Portfolio Sick 

By Rick Pendergraft

As a result of the legal issues big-name companies like Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK) have been dealing with, the pharmaceutical sector is among the worst performing sectors so far in 2008.

Several ETFs provide exposure to this sector, but the two that see most of the trading volume are the Pharmaceutical HOLDRs Trust (PPH) and the Select Healthcare Spyder (XLV). The performance of these two ETFs has been abysmal over the past year, with the PPH down 17.24 percent and the XLV down 11.13 percent. During this same time period, the S&P 500 was down only 6.54 percent. So you can see how the pharmaceutical sector has been lagging behind the rest of the market.

Is it time to start looking at pharma as a value play and buy some shares? I don’t think so. The legal issues are still piling up for these companies, and it could be a while before they are in the clear.

Another thing that will have a huge impact on this sector is the November presidential election. If a Democrat is elected, you can look for a healthcare reform push – which will certainly affect the drug companies. They may lose control over what they can charge for their products.

My advice is to steer clear of the pharmaceutical sector for the remainder of the year. Once the election is settled, you can reevaluate to see if pharmaceutical companies are a bargain then.

[Ed. Note: The more the market swings up and down, the more money you stand to make. Based on this principle, professional trader and market analyst Rick Pendergraft has uncovered a genuine, legal, and easy way of potentially making a serious amount of money with very little work. Continue reading here…]

 


 “As long as one keeps searching, the answers come.”

Joan Baez

7 Ways to Improve Your PPC Campaign

By Alexis Siemon

If you’re a regular ETR reader, you probably know that the quickest way to start getting quality search engine traffic to your website is by launching a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. You also probably know that, executed correctly, a PPC campaign can be a great way to rev up sales for your online business.

Whether you’re experienced in PPC advertising or just getting ready to launch your first campaign, there are several performance-boosting strategies I want to let you in on today. Some of these techniques may seem pretty basic to those of you who are not new to PPC. But, trust me, it’s always good to take a second look at certain areas – no matter how much you already know. And don’t worry, I’m throwing in a couple of real juicy tips you may not have tried yet that are sure to quench your thirst for PPC performance.

Everything I cover below can be put to work whether you have a large or a small budget. So don’t be afraid to start testing.

2 Blockbuster Basics of PPC

* Keyword Selection

Several tools are available to help you choose keywords for your campaigns. These include WordTracker and Keyword Discovery, which you pay to use, and a free tool from Google. To use these tools, you simply enter a keyword or phrase that you’d like to target. The tool spits out a list of related terms and the volume of searches that each keyword has received in a 30-90 day timeframe.

Depending on your goals and your budget, you want to choose a combination of high-volume keywords and lower-volume, but more targeted, long-tail keywords. For instance, if you are in the health food industry, your high-volume keyword may be “health food” and a more targeted long-tail keyword could be “natural health food store.”

Refine and target even further by including negative keywords. If you run a health food store but you don’t deliver, you could add “delivery” as a negative keyword. That way, your PPC ad won’t show up for searches that include that word. By spending a little more time on research and keyword selection, you can vastly improve the number of sales you make, while controlling your budget.

* Refining Your Ad Copy

Now that you’ve spent that extra time targeting the right customers, be sure to capture their attention with compelling ad copy. Study your competitors’ ads. What do they have in common? What can you do to stand out amongst them?

To increase the clicks on your ad, be sure to include your targeted keywords in the copy. A quick and easy way to do this with Google AdWords is to use their Dynamic Keyword Insertion tool. Another option is to write a custom ad for each keyword. Try using quirky or funny language in your ad, experiment with punctuation, and, most important, include a call to action (“Get all the details here!”). The key to success is always to be testing.

Enough with the basics. Now… on to the cool stuff!

5 Little-Known-but-Powerful PPC Tactics

* Location Targeting

Most PPC campaign platforms offer a variety of location targeting options. Google AdWords is the most robust. Depending on what kind of business you’re running and in what part of the world you’re running it, the ability to laser-focus your campaign can make a big difference in its performance. Consider targeting by Country, Region, State, Zip Code, or even a radius around particular streets (which could be particularly useful if you have a local delivery business – a pizzeria, flower shop, or even a courier service).

Several factors may come into play when deciding where to target your PPC ads. Assuming no problem with your country’s business laws, potential language barriers, and your willingness to ship internationally, you may even choose to target worldwide. The important thing is to make sure you can successfully do business in the location(s) you target.

* Seasonal or Holiday Campaigns

If you have a tight budget, turning your PPC campaigns on and off based on seasons or holidays could be a great strategy for maximizing your ROI (return on investment).

Let’s say you run an online sporting goods store. In that case, you may want a campaign for summer sports and another one for winter sports. You’d turn on your ads for bathing suits and water skis in April and turn them off in August, when you’d turn on your snowboard ads.

Or let’s say you run a tiny print shop and sell custom greeting cards online. In that case, you could create targeted campaigns around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas, and turn those campaigns on only for those big holidays. Again, the key is testing. Find out which holiday gets you the most bang for your buck.

* Dayparting

A close cousin to the seasonal campaign, dayparting is a fancy term for showing your ads during certain times of the day. Dayparting can play a pivotal role in making sure your ads appear during peak business hours and make the best use of your budget. Again, this could be particularly useful if you are running a local delivery service.

Dayparting can also be helpful when used in conjunction with analytics data. If, for example, you notice that your target customers tend to search for your keywords between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon, you may want to schedule your ads to run only during that time. A little tweak to your campaign using dayparting may just make a big difference in sales.

* Placement Targeting

Once called Site Targeting, Placement Targeting is specific to Google AdWords. Creating a Placement Targeted campaign will allow you to run ads on Google’s Content Network, but on a smaller scale. Placement Targeting allows you to choose which websites – or even which sections of a site – you want your ads to show on.

Placement Targeting is particularly useful if you are launching a new product that people aren’t yet searching for, or if you are in an industry that doesn’t receive a lot of search traffic. Perhaps you know what kinds of sites your audience visits. If those sites are in Google’s Content Network, you will be able to target them, without having to waste impressions on other underperforming sites in the network.

Placement Targeting is also a great strategy for testing out advertising on a site that has a rate card beyond your current budget.

* Multi-Channel Marketing

Finally, to really make your PPC campaigns sizzle, make them part of your larger synchronized marketing effort. Wendy Montes de Oca wrote about the importance of multi-channel marketing earlier this year, and her advice is as important now as ever.

By synchronizing the message you push in your PPC ads with the message in your PR, online media buys, and print advertising, you increase your company’s presence and solidify name recognition, branding, and trust. This increases the chance that searchers will recognize your products and company name and, therefore, see your PPC ad as coming from a viable company to do business with.

Whether you are just thinking about starting your first PPC campaign or have been managing one for a while, the above tips can really amp up clicks and sales while maximizing your allotted budget.

Just remember… to determine which PPC strategy is best for your online business, keep testing.

[Ed. Note: Alexis’s top-notch search engine marketing tips aren’t much use to you if you don’t have an Internet business. But you’re in luck! You can build your own Internet business from the ground up in 5 days. Learn how here.]

 


Boost Your Body’s Response to Exercise

By Shane Ellison

It’s frustrating to watch obese people suffer in the gym and receive absolutely no benefit for their efforts. Eventually, they give up. But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, if they learn how to use one miracle substance properly, they could go to the gym less and have a lot more to show for it – including mega fat loss and lean, sexy muscle.

That miracle substance is sunshine! Proper sun exposure plays a crucial role in ensuring that your body responds to exercise. It helps by increasing insulin sensitivity. The primary mechanism involved is the production of a neuropeptide known as MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone) and vitamin D. Combined, these “youthanizing” biochemicals help lower levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin. And sunshine is the only thing that can force our bodies to produce them in the right quantity and ratio.

Insulin inhibits the release of the fat-burning compounds known as catecholamines. Lower insulin levels during exercise also guarantee a boost in the age-defying hormones HGH, testosterone, and IGF-1. Which means that, without sunshine, you could be wasting valuable time in the gym. Working out with high insulin levels would be like trying to fight cancer while being exposed to Agent Orange.

Proper sun exposure simply means that you expose 80 percent of your body to direct sunlight for 20 to 40 minutes every other day. Make this happen and you’ll enjoy rewarding workouts met with fat loss and muscle gain.

[Ed. Note: You may have been under the mistaken impression that sun exposure is bad for you. Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison debunks this and other health myths – and gives real answers to real health problems – in his Foundational Health Education package. Learn the details here.]  


Feedback Friday: Real Advice for Working Moms

If you have a full-time job AND you care for a spouse and children, where do you find time for yourself? Michael Masterson’s answer to this question got a big response. Check out what your fellow ETR readers had to say on the subject…

 

“I have always enjoyed reading Michael’s articles, but today more than ever! A reader, Anna Power of Sydney, Australia, asked how she could fit working on her dreams into her already packed schedule. When Michael told her to enlist the help of her husband and children (and gave her specific ways to do that), I wanted to stand up on my chair and shout ‘Hallelujah!’ He was so on the money!

“I am developing a website for women to help empower them in all areas of life. This article will definitely be used by me in the future (with all of the proper acknowledgments, of course). I know that many more women will want to sign up for ETR because of it.

“Thank you so much for telling it like it really is, and for some of the best advice you’ve ever given!”

Jennifer Herrera
Downey, CA

 

“My wife and I raised nine children. (Some of my friends say she raised 10 – counting me.) My wife was never employed outside the home from the time our oldest was born until the youngest left after college. It was difficult on an engineer’s very modest salary. We went without many things, but it was worth it.

“Our oldest (daughter) is married to a good attorney, our second daughter is in charge of a dozen people in a large computer company. (I wish she was home with her young daughters.) Our youngest daughter is having her first child any day (grandchild #13) and is a year short of her doctorate. Our youngest son is 26 years old, speaks four languages, and is graduating next week with honors, with a major in business and international finance.

“My perspective?

“When it takes two paychecks to support the family, either the family needs to trim their lifestyle or the husband needs to improve his earning capacity. (For those religiously inclined, it is useful to consider that God told Adam to make the living. He didn’t tell Eve to go get a job.)

“And getting kids ready for school? They should pull their weight and get themselves ready. Parents do too much for their kids. Too many electronic games. Too many outside activities. Spend that time at home and spend less money. The kids will have better memories of time together with family than of being entertained. Which will they remember when they have children? ‘Dancing With the Stars’ on TV? Or Mom reading them a story and Dad helping with a Cub Scout pinewood derby racer?

“Then, by pushing things off your plate that aren’t totally necessary, you can make time to build a family business and involve the kids in the enterprise. With the direction this country’s headed in, that’s the best ‘retirement’ insurance you can get.

“When you leave this life, you leave the houses, cars, money, and entertainment behind. All you take is what you’ve become as a person. The relationships you’ve built with others – most importantly, family. And the impact you’ve had in your community and the world.”

Clarke Echols
Loveland, CO

 

“I couldn’t have said it better to little Anna from Australia.

“I really enjoy ETR.”

R. Messinger