Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Merging Media

For a few years now two trends have been shaping up in online marketing. The first is the use of the Internet to promote local businesses that are constrained by geography, in other words it does them no good to get hits from people in another state or even city for that matter. Over the last 4-5 years companies that need promotion and think the Internet can give it to them have struggled with this aspect of a web site investment and promo strategy. This is one area that is showing some promise and will no doubt continue to expand. There are a number of good strategies that can be employed here.

For example, using offline local media to promote your web site. This is the concept of merging media. This has been common for large sites like Amazon, but not as common for the small or medium sized business that needs traffic on its site. I am speaking to an association of mortgage brokers today and will be talking about using local print ads to drive traffic to a lead generation web site and how to make that work for them as local brokers competing on national scale. Once you get local prospects to your site the idea is to convert them into a lead by having them sign up for a white paper or something else they find useful.

This morning's Wall Street Journal is reporting on a rumor that may be close to reality between Hot Jobs and 6 major newspapers to allow for cross promotion and the boosting of presence in local markets.

As I said I have been promoting this strategy for a while now, but this is the first time I have seen a major national Internet player merging attempting to boost marketing at the local level like this. If you want to read the story here. This will definately be a trend to continue to watch as it will have a large impact on both local and national businesses strivng for better marketshare in specific markets.

Michael Temple

Monday, November 20, 2006

DMA Email Marketing Guide

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) recently released its email marketing guide that is jammed full of great info for email marketing. They just announced that it is now available online and I thought some of my readers might like to see it. Here is the link...

DMA Email Marketing Guide

This is a very good area for the DMA to spend resources for a few reasons...

  1. Email marketing is growing
  2. Email marketing and direct marketing go very well together and are really one and the same.
  3. The incredible amount of bad info regarding email marketing that is out there.
I felt the guide was pretty good overall. Please keep in mind as you look it over that the majority of the content was written by consultants and service providers so to some degree the information will be slanted, but probably not any more than any other "free" info is on the Internet.

Happy reading.

Michael Temple

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Landing Pages Receive a Needed Boost

It appears that Google has just changed the ground rules yet again for Internet advertisers, but this time for the better although many advertisers may not think so, or at least the lazy ones. Google has changed their algorithms to start "grading" the quality of the landing page that users land on when they click on an ad. Those landing pages that are done poorly or advertisers that simply send users to their home page will end up paying more for their ads.

While the change won't affect everyone it will raise the cost of the minimum bid for those advertisers that provide a "poor quality experience" for the people that click through from an ad. Unfortunately while some information is provided about what Google considers a "good page" it is a bit vague. However the good news is that I can predict with almost 100% certainty that the rules of good copywriting and advertising will still apply!

The lazy advertisers that don't want to go the extra mile and write a quality landing page for each and every ad they create will end up being charged two ways. The first way of course is through lost conversions. The second way is having Google raise the minimum bid on ads.

Now what I find amazing is the the first cost has been around since the beginning of pay to click advertising and yet I find way too many advertisers that simply want to go the easy route and send everyone to their home page figuring that somehow this says it all. Unfortunately what ends up happening is that people land on the home page and don't see IMMEDIATELY how the ad they clicked on is relevant to where they landed. Rather than stick around and try and hunt it out they simply leave. This is a long way of saying NO CONVERSION and hence NO SALES, which means NO PROFIT!

A conversion is the whole reason behind Internet advertising so I am amazed at the number of advertisers that don't know or care about the landing page. This has obviously cost them in lost sales, but many of them have ignored it. Then a few of them having evolved past the stage being able to simply make fire, like our primitive ancestors, they started creating copies of their home page so they could track how many clicks they received from an ad, but still no landing page! They wanted to know how many clicks they got, but still didn't go the extra mile to create and test the landing page.

Now Google has made this lazy way of advertising more expensive. It is like a new tax increase on poor practices. Creating winning landing pages can be technical from using the scientific methods behind direct response such as A/B splits and solid copywriting principles.

If anyone is contemplating advertising and wants to insure they get the most for their marketing dollar please
contact me to help you with the copywriting, strategy, or consulting on making your campaign better.

If you would like to read the full post where this info came from check out my friends over at
searchenginejournal.com I find their information very good.

Michael Temple

Friday, November 03, 2006

Data you can Bite Into

Here is a great study that was done by CIO Insight magazine about using the Internet as a sales tool. Now we are talking! The study is interesting in that it says most companies are using the web for new customer acquisition and revenue growth over all other things it could be using the web for. It also goes on to state that only half the companies surveyed believe the web is their most profitable sales channel...interesting.

Well the research confirmes it for me, most web sites and Internet marketing strategies suck! If they actually spent the same kind of effort on their web strategies as they do their sales force and other marketing they might just surprise themselves about how much more effective it can be.

If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times. The key points of utilizing the web as a profitable sales channel are *still* the same...

  • Develop interested and qualified traffic to your site. No easy task with the problems with click fraud and the constantly shifting ground of SEO.

  • Have an effective web site. I know this one should be a no brainer by now, but I still find tons of sites infected with Flash, poor navigation, crappy copy, and a host of other problems that will always keep them in the slow lane.
Now there are other elements that make for an effective web strategy such as loyalty programs and such, but these two are the biggies for the goals of most companies that were surveyed. This really isn't rocket science, but these people are still looking at the web the wrong way. Technology still doesn't sell, it helps sell, period. In my ideal world any web development company that ever used the words "new technology' or "cutting edge" in any sentence describing a business acquistion web site would be voted off the island and not allowed back ever again.

It is not that I am anti-new technology or still carve my notes in clay tablets. It is just that when you go to a lot of sites they have cutting edge this or that, Flash blinking all over the place and the copy looks like a 2nd grader wrote it and the navigation is so poor you couldn't find what you were looking for with a police search party.

Develop your sites around proven navigation, which can be augmented by research on your audience and effective copy, with just a sprinkling of the right technology tools to boost (key point) the sales process, not become the substitute for the sales process.

If you are interested in reading the date yourself here is the link...

CIO Insight Survey

Remember a profitable web strategy is possible for 100% of the companies if they learn how to do it effectively and spend the same types of resources developing it as they do their other sales channels.

Michael Temple