Archive for the 'online marketing' Category

Your Online Marketing Sucks

March 12, 2008

Once in a while, I see some less than awesome online marketing, and I’m just concerned that someone is getting paid to produce this crap.

So your client comes to you and says, I need a blog.  Always willing to please, you setup another random blog on Google’s Blogspot and tell them to write a 10,000 word intro post.  You don’t bother to think about integrated a blog into your website as a content management tool to make sure the website remains relevant and you’re not directing traffic away from your cause.  Brilliant.

wasted text

Since you’re on a roll and your client can’t stop typing, you put a rambling note about your blog in your email newsletter.  That extra bit of wasted text really doesn’t do much to sell the blog, but it sure fills that prime, above the fold, email marketing real estate with something.  It’s definitely something.

Further on down the email newsletter, the client wants to plug every service they have available, because everyone is still reading on their 6th scroll of the page. 

So we plug a job board.  Most of the jobs are a little stale, but who cares, it’s content, and content is king on the internets.  Of course, as you work diligently for your client, you check, double check, and re-check the links in the email newsletter so you get the maximum impact.

check the url

Oops, you didn’t check that last link.  Unless that band is called Talent Engine, you’ve got the wrong website. 

Of course, it really just points out that not only did you not check the links on this client’s email, but you didn’t setup your server for www to work on that subdomain.  Is that three stikes yet?



Google Price Fixing with Ad Quality

October 24, 2007

When you own 50% of any market, especially one that supplies mostly small and medium businesses, you’ve got a great opportunity to take pricing.

Take pricing?  Yep, just raise the minimum CPC on those PPC ads, and you can add millions to the bottom line.  How?  Something Google is calling Ad Quality, and because they are taking pricing, they need a new tool to show people their ads now have poor Ad Quality.

But Google does no evil, they save puppies, and don’t flaunt their private jets or exclusive Federal runways. 

Great, here’s a real life example that can only be explained by Google taking pricing:

* Created a new ad in Adwords for a very specific keyword and landing page
(both requirements for good Ad Quality)

* The keyword ran for a total of zero impressions
(Google must already know the keyword with existing data or it’s an Ad Quality issue)

* Traffic Estimate tool says that Google doesn’t have enough data on the keyword
(Ok, so it has to be an Ad Quality issue since it didn’t have any impressions)

* The brand new Ad Quality (price fixing) tool shows that the Ad Quality is ok
(Now I don’t get it, it’s neither data or Ad Quality, seems like you want me to spend more money without giving an actual reason other than you run the ad network)

The best part about this whole pricing scam is that Google, because they’re not evil, gives you the chance to buy your way out of the problem.  It says, just increase your bid, then your ad quality won’t matter as much.  I finally found a need for Yahoo.

Viral Marketing – Washington

May 19, 2007

The question is where to start with viral marketing.

1. Rather obvious, but don’t copy an existing idea or reuse an old one.
Viral Marketing is about doing something wacky or odd, even if you think it’s really stupid.  That’s why your ad agency won’t ever show you the best ideas.

2. Expect your viral marketing project to be a total failure.
Not unlike the rest of your marketing efforts, your first stab at viral marketing will be a complete flop.  Let it be, don’t resort to traditional push marketing efforts by running ads, sending spam emails, or doing press releases, you’ll only destroy the viral marketing mojo.  Better yet, use a small team and don’t tell anyone in the company.

3. Get in the mindset.
Viral Marketing is not a groupthink, check the box, powerpoint pitch, approval matrix type decision.  It’s likely going to be a single person idea, with a lot of add on ideas supporting the main theme, and may indeed come from the mailroom or CEO’s daughter.  The most important part is to get in the right mindset – understand the brand, understand the trends, understand the outcome, but no one should be pitching ideas on the first day.  Take a week to think about it, then post a short summary on the bathroom wall with no name.

Here are some starters for corporate viral marketing:

The 5 Fears of RSS

February 23, 2007

1. Someone else will use my content. 
Good point, but you’re also telling me that you can control the content put on another website.  If you’re producing content with the goal of search engine optimization, there should be a significant number of links back to your site already.  So you’re really just seeding backlinks for the search engines to gobble up.  Even better, these RSS feed -stealer-monetizers are really good, so they’re less likely to be caught by the magic algorithm.

2. Nobody will click-thru to my website.
Ideally, you shouldn’t really care about how someone reads your content, the point is that they’re reading it.  Now if I never plug Ralston Ventures in this post, and never tell you that I’m a jack-of-all-trades online marketing and internet product management consultant, then yes it would be a shame to have to click-thru and read that tidbit.  If you think your content is that good (it’s not), run a teaser feed that requires the customer to click-thru to read the whole diatribe. 

3. RSS is too technical, email works for my customers.
Then I should assume you have a 0% bounce rate and a 100% open and click-thru rate on your email campaigns?  There’s nothing more technical about RSS than anything else, and there are a hundred companies out there trying to make it easier.  The point about email statistics is that RSS feeds are unfiltered, direct to the customer, unlike email which can be blocked as spam, filtered as junk, or lost among 4 email accounts.  With RSS, the customer gets it all and has the power to unsubscribe at any time (and know it worked). 

4. I can’t make money on a RSS feed.
You actually can, Feedburner will slip them right into the end of your feed.  Of course, when was the last time you clicked on a banner ad?  Focus on the content, the customer relationship, and the message; ignore the pennies.

5. RSS feeds require content which requires creativity which requires work which requires time.
Content is king, so make the time to produce more content, or hire an online marketing expert.