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May 18 2010

If You’re Still Interested…


Have you ever gone to a store and forgotten to buy something? Have you ever been at a store pressed for time and told yourself I’ll have to come back later, but you never made time to go back? What if on your way home you see a reminder sign right above a street sign? The sign would say “Don’t forget to visit the store.” It makes you look twice, but you kept driving. About 5 minutes away from your house you stop at a light and notice a sign that says, “Remember, you need to get something from the store.” In your mind you say, “Oh yeah, I did want to go to the store.” Then you drive over to the store and buy what you need. It may sound like a fairy tale, but this does happen online and it’s called remarketing.

According to Google, remarketing “allows you to show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web.” It’s quite a phenomenon, especially if you’re using banner ads. The beauty of remarketing is that you’re only advertising to people who have shown an interest in your site and apparently people must not mind, because many visitors are returning to sites to complete orders or fill out a lead generation form.

Even better is that remarketing can be set very broad or it can be set to an incredibly granular level.   A company can set up a remarketing campaign, so that anyone who visits their site is later targeted by an ad whether they completed a desired action or not. On the other hand, a company could just target people who visited their product “Y” page, went to the shopping cart, but didn’t complete the order. This could also be used for a lead generation website. For example, a company could set up remarketing to target people who went to a lead generation form page, but left before completing the form. There’s multiple ways to set up remarketing campaigns to reach visitors, but it is definitely recommended to use banner ads.

Remarketing is catching on quickly with many companies and those who are jumping on board haven’t been disappointed. Remarketing allows companies to narrow down the playing field; in fact it’s like a sales person pursuing a hot lead. The visitor comes to your site, and they go far enough in the process to show that they aren’t there by accident. Now, your banner ad is appearing to them on certain sites on the web, just like a sales person who calls to follow up on a lead, and in many cases remarketing is closing the deal. It’s definitely worth it to get involved with remarketing. After all, shouldn’t you be asking visitors who left your site if they are interested?

April 28 2010

Don’t Blindly Follow Lemurs


Remember hearing the story about lemurs? Every year around a certain time they jump off a cliff. However, one would think that at least one lemur would look over the cliff and say, “Hmm, I don’t think I’m going to follow the crowd in jumping off the cliff.” It seems like it would be common sense, yet it happens in the world of online marketing time after time. The rule of thumb to remember when marketing online is that following the crowd isn’t always the best option, especially when it comes to keywords and websites.

If it’s been said once, then it’s probably been said a thousand times, “I saw my competitor doing it.” This seems to be the classic answer that companies use to justify their marketing strategy or what they think is a marketing strategy. Let’s look at an example. Say Company A is a leader in providing offshore outsourcing to software companies and they are bidding on the keyword “offshore.” Company B, who wants to gain in market share and be a leading provider of offshore outsourcing to software companies, see’s that Companies A’s ad is coming up for searches on the keyword, “offshore” and  Company B decides they also should be bidding on that keyword.  Company B is assuming that Company A is bidding on the right keyword, but they aren’t. The keyword “offshore” covers a myriad of topics like offshore drilling, offshore banking, offshore racing, and offshore boating to name a few. The keyword “offshore” is too broad for the niche service of offshore outsourcing to software companies. Both Company A and Company B will be losing money on the keyword “offshore.”  Like a popular proverb says, “If the blind lead the blind they’ll both fall in the ditch.”

Another area where companies blindly follow a competitor is in website design and content. Many times a company will see what a competitor is doing on their website and mimic it as closely as possible without plagiarizing. Here’s the deal. Many times the competitor’s website isn’t good. They don’t have good keyword density, the site isn’t user friendly, and the url’s don’t have a good naming convention. In some cases, the competitor is using black hat tactics that could get them banned by the search engines. Yet, another company will look at a competitor’s site and say, “we want to be like them.” 
In some cases, the company that copies ends up losing clients, while the competitor makes adjustments to the site that others are copying.

It’s good to track and watch competitors, but to blindly follow and copy them is not recommended. Many times competitors are bidding on the wrong keywords, wasting money, and are clueless on how to run a successful paid marketing campaign. On top of that, they may think their website is great or they may realize it needs help and they are working with someone to get it changed (while your company is copying their old mistakes). In the world of online marketing it’s better to research and ask questions. Then decide if what your competitor is doing will work for your company. It’s good to be cautious when following a competitor; otherwise you could be following them over a cliff.

March 25 2010

Why Landing Pages?


Landing pages are often underrated by companies who can’t fathom the idea that their website isn’t perfect. However, landing pages are meant to compliment websites, not insult them. In fact, if a company’s website was built with a sound strategy, many of the pages on that website will make great landing pages.

According to Wikipedia, a landing page “is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link.” The issue that arises with many companies is that they direct visitors to the wrong landing page, because they don’t have a specific landing page to correspond with an ad or they feel that a general landing page will do the job. Let’s look at it another way. What if you bought a plane ticket to Hawaii, your bags are packed and you board the plane looking forward to sunshine, beaches and surf waves. When the plane lands, to your dismay you find that you are in Nebraska. They have sunshine, but they’re missing beaches and surf. This is the way many visitors feel when they click on an ad only to find the landing page has nothing to do with the ad that they just clicked. Landing pages have to be specific, but they also have to coincide with the ad that a person clicks on. Don’t tell them Hawaii and send them to Arizona. 

Another important reason to have a landing page is to get a visitor to complete a desired action. Sometimes a company has a landing page that has the correct information, but lacks a call to action. The visitor gets informed, but they can’t sign-up or buy a product. An example would be a visitor seeing an ad that offers 20% off their blender purchase, if they sign-up for e-mail blasts.  The visitor clicks the ad, lands on a product page about the blender, reads the information and decides they like the blender. Unfortunately, as they scan the page, scroll up and down and right to left they can’t seem to find where they sign-up for the e-mail blast to receive 20% off. They check one or two more pages of the website, hoping to find the offer, and then leave in frustration.  How could this have been prevented? If the company was willing to tweak the blender product page, they could have put a noticeable button or link that said click here to sign-up for e-mail blasts and receive 20% off. The other option would be to create a landing page specific to that offer. Either way the visitor needs to be able to complete the desired action requested in the ad without being hindered.

Landing pages are very valuable; however they have to be used correctly to maximize results. A landing page must direct a visitor to information that accurately corresponds with an ad’s offer and it must clearly show the customer how to complete a desired action. If the pages within a company’s website offer the above, then they are set to get started. However, if a company is missing any of the above, it would behoove them to add landing pages or tweak the pages of their website.

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