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Search Engine Strategy Conference 2008

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I just attended the 2008 Search Engine strategy conference in Toronto on June 17-18.  One thing that stuck out in my mind is the changing consumer phenomenon.  Customers want control when it comes to advertising, they want to be presented with advertising when they are actively looking for a product but not when they are not in the market for a product or service.  An example of being presented with ads when searching for a product would be pay per click advertising (the sponsored ads in Google search results).  These ads have proven to be effective for Google and other search engines and effective for searchers (win-win).  Examples of how consumers want control over not seeing ads is the Ipod and a DVR recorder such as Tivo.  I have heard a lot of people say that they do not listen to the radio as much as they are using their Ipod in their car to listen to music.  Again control, listening to what they want to listen to and not what the radio station plays, not to mention the annoying advertising that is sprinkled throughout.  Another example is Tivo, a lot of consumers are using some form of a DVR and watching TV on their time schedule not the networks.  They are choosing not to watch commercials and controlling their media.  Interestng the old consumer had no choice or control and had to deal with advertising.  Now the new consumer has some choices and it will be interesting how far this control is taken with technology.

Posted By: John McDonald (President of Canada’s Web Shop)

 

 

Written by jmcdonald99

June 23, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Landing Page Optimization: Best Practices

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Landing pages are a critical step in the conversion process for any company who does business on the internet. If your landing pages aren’t performing well, here’s a brief list of 5 tips to help improve them.

  1. Define a single, clearly defined goal for your landing pages
  2. Try to place your most important and compelling arguments at or near the top of the page
  3. Construct a headline that addresses the referring ad, web page, or email message link’s offer
  4. Place a very clear call to action near the top of the page above fold (Before a visitor must scroll to see more)
  5. Place trust markers & graphics near the call to action to reinforce trust and encourage the conversion

These are broad best practices for improving your web pages and there are many more that can be tried and tested with your landing pages. If you’d like more information about improving your landing pages, please visit our news section with helpful articles on landing page optimization or find out more about Winnipeg Web Design.

Written by cwsmike

April 29, 2008 at 12:28 am

Posted in E-Commerce

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How Often Should You Send Emails to Your List?

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SpamThis is a question whose answer changes depending on who you ask. The problem is, no one ever asks the people on the lists. How often should you send email to your list? My personal experience indicates that for my company, 3 to 4 weeks in between emails is the sweet spot. It’s just long enough to keep our list from being inundated with email from us but short enough a time period so that our mailing list doesn’t forget who we are.

In this article, the answer, according to Stefan Pollard of the ClickZ Network is “What do you have to say that your recipients will want to hear?” I would further ask “Can it wait until the next scheduled send?”

If that was a rhetorical question then I couldn’t agree more, Stefan.

In the article, Stefan also suggests that an important part of establishing a good relationship with your email subscribers is to be up front about:

1. What the subscriber will receive

2. How often to expect it

He cautions that you should never stray too far from the subject and frequency you indicated when they signed up as recipients can be quick to mark you as spam if you do. Move away from the using checkboxes with “Sign Up For Our Newsletter” and “Please send me periodic information about XYZ Corp Specials”

Honestly, when was the last time you checked boxes that looked like that?

Anyway, I won’t spoil the rest of the article for you. Check it out here.

Until next time…

Written by cwsmike

March 26, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Posted in Email Marketing

Tagged with

Email Frequency Spam Filter

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The Filter You Probably Didn’t Know You Tripped

Spam and Junk Mail Silent Frequency FilterSpam Filters are becoming increasingly sophisticated these days and I thought I might write a post about a “silent” spam filter you may or may not know about. It probably has an official name but for the sake of this post, I’ll call it the “Frequency Filter” and no matter how many times you test your email in a spam checker, this is one filter you won’t know you trip until it’s probably too late.

Near as I can figure, the way it works is that if you send similar copies of a commercial email from the same email address to a recipient within a specified threshold time period (I’m sure it differs from client to client, provider to provider), the email(s) after your first email could get flagged as spam or junk.

This was likely a response to emails from spammers that would use auto-responders to send dozens of automated email messages to recipients in rapid succession each one reminding the recipient of a previous email with a limited time offer. The first one might pass if it looks enough like a legitimate email but subsequent ones get tossed in the Junk Mail Folder no matter how legitimate they appear. That’s bad news for you if you have a sizeable list you’ve worked hard to build.

If you take a moment to think about it, in a list of say 1000 people, to whom you sent 2 emails a week and each time 100 people’s clients or providers on your list flag your email as spam, it would only take 5 weeks before your list is completely useless or “Burned Out”

The take-away here is that no matter how valuable or spectacular you think your offer may be, sending it multiple times to a single address could eventually reduce the effectiveness of your efforts to zero. Keep that in mind the next time you decide “remind” your recipients of an email you sent yesterday. I came across this one by accident because I was sending test copies of an email to a client for approval so no harm was done. You, on the other hand may not be so fortunate so I hope you take my advice and watch how often you send. To stay on the safe side I would recommend at the absolute MOST sending 1 email per month.

If you want some more information about email marketing for your business, have a look at our Email Marketing page here. Information on How Email Laws Affect Business.

Happy Emailing!

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Written by cwsmike

March 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm

How Accessible Are You? Why a Toll-Free Number is a Good Idea

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Toll Free Phone Numbers Online SalesMike Sachoff from WebProNews posted an interesting article last Thursday about people who shop for cruises online.  The article states that despite the convenience of online ticket purchasing, total online sales for cruises totalled only 944 Million.  This number represents a fractional 7 percent of the total cruise revenue from ticket sales as a result of buyers wanting to speak to a “Real Person” about the cruise they’re considering.

The CEO of Priceline says that questions like “What restaurants are available on the cruise ship?” and “Will I have to wear a tie to a dinner?” are common.  Even with customer reviews and very detailed cruise descriptions available, in the end, people still want to be reassured that they’re going on a good cruise by a living, breathing, human being. 

From the looks of it, the more moving parts to a product and the higher the selling price, the more likely a potential customer is to pick up the phone and call to gain reassurance.  Would you agree? 

This is one of the reasons why we stress having a 1-800 toll-free number to all of our clients.

Tracking

1-800 Numbers can be tracked.  This makes them instrumental in tracking how many people call in as a result of your online efforts.  Not everyone is as inclined to fill out a request for information or send an email to await a reply.  In “online time”, waiting for a reply via email can feel like an eternity. 

Reassurance

In researching larger purchases, I myself have removed candidates from a short-list because they didn’t have any easy way to contact them should the need arise.  Having that 1-800 number available gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. 

Support

Often, getting a client on the phone and talking with them requires less time that composing several emails that go back and forth between you and your client.  What could have been dealt with in a single 5 minute phone call cost you over an hour composing and replying to emails.

1-800 Numbers have been around for a long time and for good reason:  They Work.  We use one for our website and one for our Yellow Pages ad so we know where our calls are originating from.  For the most part, all of our clients with toll-free numbers have had positive experiences with them. 

 Do you use a toll-free number for your business?  I’d be interested in sharing your experiences or tips here on my blog. 

Written by cwsmike

February 19, 2008 at 4:33 pm

It’s Official: Yahoo Nixes Microsoft/Yahoo Deal

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The landmark 44.6 Billion Dollar bid (one of the highest bids ever for any single online property) by Microsoft for the ailing web property Yahoo was quashed yesterday by their executives, financial/legal advisors, and Board of Directors officially stating that the deal was “Not in the best interest of Yahoo and our stockholders”.

The bid by Microsoft would have merged the two companies into a single entity creating a viable competitor against the Search Giant, Google. 

Yahoo’s official statment continued on to say, “After careful evaluation, the Board believes Microsoft’s proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo, including our global brand, large worldwide audience, significant recent investments in advertising platforms and future growth prospects, free cash flow and earnings potential, as well as our substantial unconsolidated investments,”

Interesting…

I had a conversation with my operations manager yesterday when he mentioned that Yahoo had turned down the offer and he said that Yahoo will now be doubly accountable to increase value for its shareholders.  I couldn’t agree more.  Yahoo is an outstanding company which has stood the dot.com test of time but its future is questionable given the size of its competition: HUGE. 

That being said, if Microsoft were to re-bid later down the road, he doubts that the bid would be anywhere near 44.6 Billion dollars.  Since Yahoo turned down the opportunity to potentially satisify shareholders, the pressure’s even greater now than it was just a few months earlier.

I really do hope Yahoo pulls out of the dive.  As much as I am a fan of Google, I don’t think that having one search engine to serve everyone’s needs is in the best interest of web users.  Competition keeps companies on their toes.   

Sources

Kaye, Katie “Microsoft Stuns Industry with $44.6 Billion Bid for Yahoo” ClickZ .com 1/2/08
Accessed: 12/2/08
http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3628304

Kay, Katie “Yahoo Confirms Rejection of Microsoft Bid” ClickZ.com 11/02/08
Accessed: 12/2/08
http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3628394

Written by cwsmike

February 12, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Industry News

The End of Week Marketing Recap

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This week has brought some interesting news to my desk.  Namely the Microsoft/Yahoo deal that’s on the table and its implications to the search industry but there were other interesting articles as well that I came across:

  1. Super Bowl Advertiser Recaps – A lighthearted play-by-play Chris Boggs (SearchEngineWatch) of Superbowl advertiser’s ads and who made the grade as far as fully leveraging the potential traffic from this highly-watched sporting event.
  2. Search Traffic is Down - ClickZ.com’s search engine report shows that search queries were down by a marginal percentage in December compared to the previous month.
  3. Using Controversy to Gain Readership in Articles – Christopher Knight of EzineArticles.com presents 9 points to consider before grinding the controversy axe in your articles to gain readership. 

All well-written pieces with some very relevant information if you’re in the Internet Marketing field.  Check them out and I’ll see you next week!  Have a great weekend everyone. 

Written by cwsmike

February 8, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Posted in Industry News

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