Tag Archives: Internet Marketing

27 Things Companies Should NOT do with Social Media

Brett’s Blog is now at MarketingInProgress.com. Read this list of social media tips at the new site now.

I’ve just stumbled upon EverythingCU.com, and have come across this excellent list of 27 Credit Union Social Media Don’ts. Don’t worry – every point can be applied beyond Credit Unions. Read it, apply it, and critique yourself. Whatever your first two reactions are after reading it, promise you’ll do something about it. Otherwise, it’s just another fancy list.

My favorites –

Don’t think that social media is just another marketing channel to starting shouting on.

Don’t blog just because everyone else is doing it. And if you do, don’t let it languish for long periods of time.

Don’t think that social media and traditional marketing are an either/or situation. The best campaigns utilize both types where appropriate.

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Google Content Network Ads Pay Off for Murad (Case Study)

Read this post at MarketingInProgress.com (Brett’s new blog).

Get the full details of the Murad case study of the Google Content Network at MarketingInProgress.com, the best marketing blog for entrepreneurs.

Often the red-headed stepchild of pay-per-click advertising, AdWord placement in Google’s content network is often frowned upon and shied away from. Not so for skincare distributor Murad. This article from Internet Retailer details how Murad was able to increase sales by 15% via ads on Google’s content network.

The campaign’s success had lead Murad to restructure its approach to paid search, according to Katherine LaFranchise, senior director of online marketing for Murad. “”We used to think that content advertising was only useful for increasing search conversions, but we found you can achieve direct return on investment from content campaigns,” she says.

It’s interesting that only one site from the network is mentioned as being the prime generator of traffic.

What’s the smallest niche you can think of for your company? What website(s) do those people visit? Is there any way you can get involved?

Top 10 Retail Websites by Conversion (Dec. 2007)

Visiting MarketingCharts.com to find data on one specific area can be as deadly as opening a bag of Ruffles with the intention of just eating one chip: before you know it, it’s an hour later and the whole bag is empty.

In my most recent visit to the buffet, I came across their chart for the Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate. Conversion is what it’s all about, which makes this list extra special. Here is the list of companies, with my admittedly first glance reaction to why and how they made the list.

  1. The Popcorn Factory: They’ve done a great job of making popcorn a popular gift (especially if it’s sugary or cheesy), and it’s become a favorite corporate gift (just think of how many tubs of popcorn you see around the office come Christmas-time). Plus, just based on their current site, they have clear and urgent calls to action.
  2. L.L. Bean: The crowning jewel of catalog marketing, it’s apparently translated well into online sales. No doubt that a majority of the shopping is still done via printed catalog, and orders are then placed online, which might explain for the high conversion.
  3. Abebooks: I must admit that abebooks.com has been virgin territory for me until this chart prompted me to check it out. It seems to be a great site for buying and selling books, with its M.O. being that you get access to what 13,500 booksellers are peddling – Abebooks just handles the order. It appears that the cash cow for them is textbook selling, as their traffic and obviously conversion rise and fall with the beginning and ends of semesters.
  4. Hollister Co.: This is what you might call the Abercrombie of the web. Surfer clothes and hip jeans abound on this college-targeted site.
  5. Amazon.com: Hey, it’s Amazon. What more do you have to say?
  6. Land’s End: I like this site’s design. Clean and clear, people know what they’re going to Land’s End for. Again, another direct/catalog-driven business model.
  7. Coldwater Creek: Clothing for women, which is code for I really have no authority to even attempt a description. Except they, too, appear to be catalog driven.
  8. QVC: The darling of the home shopping world, QVC sells anything, but they appear to thrive in fashion, beauty and clothing. Their business model drives sales via 6-minute infomercials all day long, driving people to the phones and to the web. Through some of my own experiences with them, their minimum goal is for each segment to drive $50k in sales. Now that starts adding up.
  9. Cabela’s: The world’s foremost outfitter is also one of the foremost drivers in website conversions. Originally driven by one store in Colorado (or was it Nebraska . . . ) and catalogs, they’ve expanded their retail outlets and are going head to head with Bass Pro Shops. Their traffic charts show a huge spike in December, translating into it becoming a new no-brainer gift haven for Dad come Christmas, as well as the online favorite over Bass Pro.
  10. Gymboree: I’m not sure exactly how they drive traffic, but my guess is via gift registry for new babies. The web has definitely made “shower-shopping” a much more pleasant event.

A few overall observations:

  • Looking at the types of companies in the top 10, I don’t think there’s any question that communication tools outside of the web such as catalogs and TV shows are making web sales easier. Which makes sense, considering that these people are visiting your site with the purpose to purchase, not to shop. The catalog has already convinced them of what they need, so now they prefer the simplicity of the web to seal the deal.
  • Knowing that visitors are coming to the site with a clear purpose in mind (e.g., “I want that dang fishing pole”), the up-sell/cross-sell potential on these site must be huge . . . if it can be made seamless.
  • Traffic varies on these sites, from the Popcorn Factory logging in just over 50k visitors in December, to Amazon racking up more than 60 million. At a 17.6% conversion rate, that means Amazon got a minimum of 10.5 million orders in December alone!

A New Website is No Field of Dreams

Shoeless Shoe Jackson - “If You Build It, He Will Come.”Shoeless Joe Jackson and Terrance Mann might’ve known a thing or two about getting people to a new ballpark in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. But they don’t know jack about driving traffic to a new or redesigned website. If you build it, they still probably won’t come. So what do you do?

Here are some great resources from around the web on how to get your new site off the ground fast.

  1. Promoting Your New (or Redesigned) Website: These are some pretty good grassroots ideas on getting the word out. Most of these are something anyone can do in a relatively short amount of time.
  2. Promoting Your Website (Headscape): I found this interesting just in the fact that the writer suggests using some more traditional ways of communicating to get the word out.
  3. How to Launch Your Website to Internet Stardom: Just some quick ideas on link building and link exchange. Nothing new, but definitely worth a reminder.
  4. Don’t Launch That New Website Yet: If you’re launching a new design on the same domain, be sure you read through this article first. There’s a lot you’ve invested in that old design that can help you get a leg up with the new design, so leverage it.
  5. How to Launch a New Website and Quickly Attract Traffic: Here’s a simple list of tactics to get traffic flowing quick: press releases, blogs, articles, directories and pay-per-click.
  6. Free SEO Tools: Here’s a link to some useful Search Engine Optimization Tools.

Got any other ideas on launching a site?

Lazy Email Marketing

This isn’t a case of bad customer service, but rather, just lazy marketing.

About 3 weeks ago, I purchased this Thomas Kinkade “Glory to the Newborn King” tabletop item for my wife via Collectibles Today. We received it last Friday, December 14, and everything’s great. She loves it, I’m a good husband, and we have a cool Christmas decoration.

Like most e-tailers, Collectibles Today started sending me emails after my order (which I gave them permission to do). No problems with that, until I received their promo email on Saturday, December 15. The call to action?

This Christmas, wouldn’t it be special for you and your family to experience the miracle of the Nativity in a whole new way? Now you can, with the FIRST-EVER Thomas Kinkade “Glory To The Newborn King” Nativity Tabletop Christmas Tree!

They’re asking me to purchase something that I’ve already purchased and just received from them the day before. I’m already “experiencing the miracle of the Nativity in a whole new way.”

The good thing is that Collectibles Today is staying in touch with me. The bad thing is I’m obviously just one of many emails they have, and they’re going to sell me what they want to sell me, not what I want to buy. This was the item of the day. It’s clear they haven’t paid attention to my order history, or at the very least, there’s a disconnect between marketing and order placement.

Here’s the point: take a few simple measures to be just a little bit more specific with your customer communication. Especially when it comes to email marketing. Clean up your database, focus your message and don’t give your customers a reason to think you’re being lazy.

And by all means, don’t waste your time convincing them to buy something they’ve already bought.

2 Ways to React to Something New

The SmoothSpan Blog has a pretty interesting post here that seems to capture the two typical reactions to the web and all that entails in today’s business:

Reaction #1 = Scrutinize and critique according to your way of doing business.

Reaction #2 = Analyze it and explore it and wonder how it will affect the way we all do business.

I think the days of execs not accepting the web are far behind us, but as this post explains, they rarely understand what it is they’re accepting when they do. Yes, it’s very important to hold to your core principles and areas of expertise in the midst of change and growth, but it’s also important to make sure that the customers you’re looking for can easily look for you.

How Can I Make Money Blogging?

You guessed it: I’m selling out.

OK, maybe that’s a little over the top. But I am planning on moving over to WordPress.org in the next month or two so I can start monetizing my efforts here (you can’t do it on WordPress.com). After all, one of the reasons I started this blog was to understand everything blogging offers for business, and most businesses are interested in making money.

I just read this excellent post by Scott, and I’ve picked up a thing or two at ProBlogger. But I want your tips and ideas. What suggestions and advice can you leave here in the comments on how to best make money with a blog? Anything you can think of for this blog specifically? Maybe you can even write your own post on your blog in response and just trackback to this post.

Let me hear from you.