Articles written in July, 2008

July 30 2008

Online Shopping – It’s not scary!


I recently had dinner with some friends and the conversation turned into a debate about the merits of shopping online. I was mentioning how I had just made a fabulous purchase on Zappos and not only was I extremely pleased with my new shoes; I was upgraded to overnight shipping at no additional cost to me! What could be better than that? Imagine my surprise to hear that not only do these particular friends never shop online, they said they would never consider it, insisting they feel they would not get what they ordered, it would not meet their expectations, it would take a long time to be shipped and unless they can actually see and touch what they are buying, they would not feel comfortable giving a credit card to an online retailer.

My argument was how easy, fast and reliable online shopping really and truly is, as well as the numerous discounts I have received (and continue to receive) almost every time I shop. I was flabbergasted by their stance on the matter and could not help but argue (all be it nicely) my point. All I could think about was how much time and money (not to mention gas) I have saved by shopping online.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of online shopping:

Free Shipping, Free or Easy Returns. Nowadays many online retailers waive shipping costs and make the return process seamless.

Fast Delivery. You can get what you are ordering the next day in many cases.

Special Online Deals. Many sites offer “online only” specials, discounts on future purchases, free gifts, repeat buyer/loyalty savings, last-minute promotions, rebates, etc.

Free Gift Wrap. If you’re buying a gift, many retailers offer free gift wrapping, as well as a card that is shipped with your order.

It’s not scary to shop online, nor should it be. Give it a whirl!

July 29 2008

Social Ad Spending Not Keeping Up With User Hype


A recent study by JupiterResearch reports that half of all advertisers are spending less than 5% of their online budgets on social media ads in 2008, which is a much smaller chunk of the pie compared to Search and Display. Larger marketers have been the most hesitant in getting more involved with advertising on Social Media due to challenges with measuring ROI and brand metrics.

Overall, marketers are still unclear on how to leverage this emerging channel and how to measure results. In addition, marketers have limited performance history to use as a comparison with the channel. Social Media publishers realize there are some issues, and are beginning to offer more tools to marketers to help ease any worries.

Social Media users are flocking to these sites, but that doesn’t equate to interaction with the ads. According to a recent MediaPost article, 54% of users never click on ads, 39% occasionally click on ads, and only 7% often respond to Social Ads.

As social media publishers like FaceBook and MySpace continue to offer more tools to advertisers to help them customize their campaigns, there should be a higher adoption of the channel and increased budgets should soon follow.

July 28 2008

Have You Bought Your Own Cookies?


It’s a simple question but one that could increase your company’s profit when applied to your business.  I came up with this title as I sat in a company meeting the other day. Our EVP was telling a story about the cohesiveness that needs to occur between a website and a search engine marketing campaign. A past client in the cookie business wasn’t getting the kind of ROI on their cookie products that they were seeking. Their search engine marketing campaign was great but their cookie sales weren’t increasing. After some extensive research, my EVP pulled out her credit card and attempted to buy some cookies online. After attempting to buy cookies online for fifteen minutes and still not completing an order, she called the client and asked, “Have You Bought Your Own Cookies?”  The client was a little taken back, but went to their site and attempted to buy cookies. The client called back and said I understand.  The next step for them was optimizing their site’s usability.

 This is the same question that any company should ask themselves from time to time. Switch perspectives and become the consumer, the person checking out the internet. Would you sign up for a newsletter or buy products from yourself if you had never heard of your company? Some company’s aren’t realistic when it comes to this question. Their pages don’t load quickly, their site looks prehistoric, the content is too generic and not targeted to the audience, they have poor site navigation and the list can go on. If any of these issues sound familiar then you should look into optimizing the user friendliness of your site. Not only will it help your organic positions it will help your search engine marketing campaign. Optimization is a good for business.  Think about it, you can have the best ad copy in the world, have the best positions, and good keywords, but if people are appalled or confused by your site when they get there, they aren’t going to stay.  They are going hit the back button and find a competitors ad and get what they’re looking for in no time at all.

Optimization is a must for both good organic traffic and for a good search engine marketing campaign to perform at its’ best. The next time you’re looking to increase online productivity, go ahead and ask yourself the question. “Have I Bought My Own Cookies?” You may be surprised to find that your need to optimize your site’s usability.

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