Articles written in January, 2011

January 31 2011

Is Google About to “One-Up” Online Coupon Sites?


Online coupon sites have undoubtedly become a hot topic for 2011.  Groupon and Living Social have been the most popular sites to date, but are now being challenged by new start-ups and potential monster competitors alike.  On January 27th, it was reported that Google is creating a US-only daily deals service. This announcement (though details have yet to be disclosed–in true “Google fashion”) comes only a short time after Google’s failed acquisition of Groupon a month ago.  Will this turn into a new online rivalry between Groupon and Google or will Google’s new service differentiate itself and create an entirely new market?

“Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers and vouchers program,” the Mountain View, CA-based company said in a statement. “This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways,” reports Direct Marketing News.  So what do this venture and other online daily deal services mean for you? 

For some companies, lack of human resources and infrastructure make it difficult to capitalize on such promotions.  Like Oprah’s “O-factor“, companies are often bombarded with new customers demanding a specific product after it has been introduced by companies like Groupon.  Without sufficient inventory or human capital to fulfill the orders, these promotions can actually backfire and have an adverse financial impact on business.  To understand whether or not to try using an online coupon company, access our January Newsletter article, “Deal of the Day Sites–Is Groupon Right for You?”, by our EVP, Danielle Leitch.  If you would like to tryout a promotion for your business, keep the following in mind:

  • Promote a product that a substantial amount of people may want to purchase.
  • You must have a cap on the amount of products you are willing to give away.  Otherwise, you will end up like Oregon’s Posies Cafe’ (they lost over $8,000 from a Groupon promotion).
  • Brand exposure can be positively or negatively impacted depending on the deal outcome–proceed with caution.  If your company is able to successfully fulfill its promise, your brand can be strengthened.
  • Think about your goal.  Many of your new customers may only end up being one-time buyers.  Is your goal in using a Groupon to gain new long-time loyal customers?  This may not be the best way to accomplish this.
  • Be prepared.  Your website (if it’s an online deal), will have incredibly high traffic–I repeat, put a cap on the number of coupons you sell! If it works, you can be more ambitious the next time.

Online deal sites have proven successful for many companies.  Thinking through the process and proceeding with caution, however, is the best way to create an optimal brand and sales experience for your company.

January 27 2011

Google Dominates Search Market Share But There Are Quality Alternatives


Google is King of the Mountain when it comes to market share for search.  ComScore released their December 2010 search statistics, where Google leads the way with 66.6% of the search market.  By comparison, Yahoo was in second place with 16.0% and MSN was third with 12.0% (essentially giving the Search Alliance a 28% share).   Google’s numbers are overwhelming and undeniable.  If you are running a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign, there is a high probability you are either running ads in Google now, or have used their AdWords platform in the past.  With that dominant market share comes big-time competition, and it can be very difficult for smaller companies to compete with large companies who can spend ten times or more in PPC campaigns.  Optimizing your PPC campaigns, bidding on long-tail keyphrases, and building quality landing pages can help increase your conversion numbers so you can still maintain a presence in Google, without getting buried under an avalanche of competitor ads.

Another option to consider is to allocate budget toward other online media channels.  One channel that has recently made positive strides for targeted advertising is LinkedIn (  LinkedIn recently unveiled a new targeting option that allows advertisers to target their PPC ads based on job title, company, and specific Groups LinkedIn members have associated with their account.  Imagine being able to run a television commercial or radio spot that is only served to people who have a high probability of purchasing your product or service?  This type of granular targeting is an excellent way for smaller companies to expand their online presence and still keep a tightly focused marketing message to their most desired demographic. 

For example, if you are a painting supply company specializing in paint brushes and other accessories for contractors and design professionals, you can run a campaign just serving ads to those professionals on LinkedIn.  That is a very powerful way to brand your business and at the same time closely manage your advertising costs.  While you may not see the huge number of visitors or impressions that you get from Google’s user base, the conversion is more important and you may find these alternative channels to Google, such as LinkedIn, are the perfect fit for your online marketing message.

January 26 2011

Remarketing 101


It wasn’t a coincidence that a JetBlue advertisement appeared on your screen while visiting Spirit Airlines’ website.  In fact, a few hours before, you were most likely searching airline prices on JetBlue’s site.  Those not understanding the process of remarketing may think that JetBlue is purely a marketing genius.  Others know better, that they’re a remarketing genius.  Either way, remarketing is an amazing tool that when used correctly, will increase brand awareness and increase ROI over time.      

Remarketing:  What is it and are you using it effectively for your business?

Remarketing or retargeting is simply the act of displaying a banner image and/or advertisement in front of an audience that has previously visited your website.  The process is simple.  After visiting a website, a “cookie” (a small file that a Web server automatically sends to your computer when you access certain websites) is stored on your hard drive.  The tracking capability allows advertisers to “remarket” and “get another shot” to be in front of their target audience. 

Remarketing has many benefits.  Not only does it strengthen your ability to brand, but it also gives your company the ability to display an offer in front of an audience that has, at some point, showed interest in your business through visiting your site.  Marketers can choose which websites to display your ads on and can even get so granular as to create a banner advertisement that mirrors or correlates to the internal page that was visited.  For instance, if you are a marketer for Canon, perhaps you will remarket with a banner ad displaying digital camera accessories to a website visitor that just looked at the correlating digital camera on the website but did not make the purchase.  Marketers also have the ability to choose the frequency and duration of an advertisement to be displayed.  This is where some debate does originate.  Remember to not annoy your audience.  Individuals browsing the Web always have the option to disable cookies.  If you aggravate your visitors through remarketing too frequently, they may become turned off and never do business with your company again.  Finding a balance here is the key…

On the consumer side, it is important to understand and become educated on remarketing.  Remarketing does not pull any personal information, merely identifies which websites have been visited.  The lack of education has triggered the Federal Trade Commission’s proposal to require Web browsers to have a “do-not-track” option.  If passed, it would limit advertisers’ ability to remarket.  In a recent article from Investor’s Business Daily, our President, Andrew Wetzler, commented on the topic advising, “The FTC could be hoping Web companies take the initiative and offer do-not-track on their own, to avoid the threat of governmental enforcement, says Andrew Wetzler, president of online marketing firm MoreVisibility.  At the end of the day, the FTC is not looking to have to enforce this because it could be very messy,” Wetzler said. “Rather, it wants to get companies to voluntarily add (a do-not-track) to their websites.”

Although remarketing may not have an immediate impact on ROI, it will incrementally over time.  It may take multiple remarketing ads to have resonance.  If you aren’t convinced yet that you should consider remarketing, let’s just stick to some hard facts.  According to in 2009, remarketing was cited as the most under-utilized online marketing technology, despite some advertisers experiencing a 400 percent increase in ad response after implementing remarketing.

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