Sunday, December 27, 2009

Web Site Optimization...To Be or Not to Be?

Imagine that you are at a Florida Gators football game (www). The event at halftime will be that a spectator (web site) will have the opportunity to win Superbowl tickets (land on the first page of Google search) The only requirements are that the spectator have on tennis shoes, an orange or blue t-shirt and confess to being a football fan (keywords). WOW, you meet all the requirements to win the tickets (you have a web site and its been optimized). What would be your chances of winning the tickets in this crowd of 35,000 Gator fans? Multiply those odds by 25.000. Those would be the real odds that web site optimization will get you the exposure you need.

SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizer." The truth is that it takes a lot of time, money and strategy to be visible on the internet. For a reliable company to perform SEO, you can count on $1400.00 to start and a regular maintenance fee of at least $400.00 to update your web site every month. SEO includes links into relevant web sites, the writing of blogs, building client data bases with opt in forms for email campaigning, creation of meta data for each page, linking to sites that promote your products as well as the competition. If you have the time you can do all this yourself, but, who has that kind of time? With all this, what is your guarantee? Nothing! Nobody can guarantee placement in search engines.

I wouldn’t present a problem like this without a solution.

If you are looking for more business, do not count on a web site alone to get this done for you. I tell my clients that a web site offers much more “real estate” for information than any other means of advertising and a web presence is absolutely necessary for today’s web savvy prospects. A web site offers the best way to communicate with your audience and detail the products and services being offered. With a web site, you are ready to communicate with your prospects, now you need to let them know where you are. Web Site Optimization will not do this. What will?

• Direct Mail Campaigns
• Google Adwords
• Opt in Eblasting
• Personalized Direct Mail
• PURL Micro Sites
• Cable TV
• Radio
• Magazine Advertising
• Local Market Advertising

All the above forms of advertising drive traffic to your web site. Spend your money on high rate of return advertising instead of a shot in the dark. No amount of SEO will compare to the results of a successful advertising campaign.

Rant against the agency machine.

I've been meaning to get this off my chest for a long time.

Ad Agencies have all but destroyed the profitability of the commercial printer!

There has always been the need for professional agencies to brand and develop marketing strategies. We wouldn't be aware of many opportunities available to the consumer without agency involvement. However, the profitability of the agency to coordinate all aspects of a customers campaign requirements is directly related to how much they can save on vendor pricing, no matter how much the contract with the client is to handle these outside services.

Speaking only from the view of a commercial printer, agencies have taken advantage of the printers need to have steady work to offset the immense overhead involved with running a print facility. With printers beating each other up to get the work, and agencies negotiating the cheapest price to the vendor with the best capabilities, printing markups are rarely over 10%. Agencies mark these great prices up 200 to 300%. This would not be so bad if agencies could give printers the required files to get the job done correctly. Ad agencies are notorious for providing final print files to a printer that need to be "fixed" before the job can be printed correctly. As commercial printers, we have bent over backwards to help agencies "learn" how to use the programs so easily purchased by their designers. With very little equipment overhead, agencies can constantly upgrade to the latest and greatest software without ever learning how to operate the version in hand, hoping the newest upgrades will do more of the work for them. Unfortunately this requires the commercial printer to keep up with these updates as well. If we don't, the agency just goes on to printer who will. Very little loyalty, no matter how much help was given in the past. On top of all this, you have an art director who seems to be paid on how difficult he can make the color management and printability of the project. If a commercial printing company can not handle the temperment and oftentimes ridiculous requirements set by these art directors, the work disapears.

I have seen first hand the operation of agencies in the automotive industry in Detroit. Large agencies with huge buildings and luxury offices. Egos larger than all that and payment strategies that require printers to be their bankers.

Trade service companies, that used to manage preprint only, have all but disapeared when agencies figured out that they could "do the work themselves" with the software available. Right. Nevermind that the talent that produces these type of files don't come out of college kids earning an appenticeship with the agency for little or no salary.

In twentyfive plus years in the printing industry I can't think of one instance when proper files were delivered from an agency that did not require additional work to make them correct, unless being forwarded from a trade service provider.

What's the point of all this? Only that when looking for someone to do your branding, stop there. Once the creative is done and the marketing strategy figured out, outscource printing and fulfilment services with your commercial printer directly. We can do as much for you as we would do for an agency. We often have designers on staff and can manage your print materials without agency involvement.

The printer will actually make more money on each job, pay as much attention to details working directly with the client and the client will pay less for the work with out the agency markup.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

PURLs

The use of variable data printing, variable data email messaging and variable data internet communication makes personalization of the Internet possible.  Your company can connect with new prospects or existing customers by sending personalized messages that will drive contacts to a specific goal online.

Personalization may be the deciding factor on receiving a new client or satisfying an existing clients need to be personally contacted and reminded of your services and offerings.

What is a PURL and how can these benefit my business?

PURL is the acronym for Personal Uniform Recource Locator.  This is what it may look like:

www.FirstnameLastname.yourcompanyname.com

Inserting a persons name in front or behind your company name.com will drive people to a micro site that will personally greet them by name.  There are many events that need to "line up" to make the PURL a live web page that works.  

The most deciding factor on a campaign being a success is not the message, it's the list.  Lists are available with a selection of many demographics that will tailor the audience to your message.  If you have existing data on your previous clients you will have the greatest success targeting them for a new offer or advise.  The data manager at the vendor will configure your data base to accept the PURL assignment, determine which "fields" variable data will come from to load into the web page and do all the back round programming that makes a PURL so valuable. We'll get to that in a minute.   

There are responsibilities for you as well as the vendor that will be hosting and customizing the PURL campaign. Once you have your PURLs from the data manager, you need to hire a designer to produce a direct marketing piece, hire a web designer to design and implement a variable data PURL email message, contract a web designer to create Landing, Submittal and Thank you pages for the micro site and submit all this to the PURL vendor.  Of course you could visit www.graphicinvestments.com and have all the work done seamlessly and avoid all the fuss.  Cheap plug:)

Once the personalization is created and the campaign started, the PURL begins to work for you. The real value of the PURL campaign is the ability to track your direct mail advertising and get real time notifications for events happening on the PURL site. The benefits detailed below should be included and insisted on when choosing a vendor for your PURL campaign.

  • Domain name with each campaign
  • Email campaign set up (if required)
  • Receive real time email notifications on every visit to the PURL Page with detailed information on who visited and how they arrived. (eblast or direct mail)
  • Receive real time email notifications detailing an event you would like to be notified about. (This could include contract siging, requests for more information, profile updates, clicks onto PDFs and clicks directing them to outside web sites)
  • Capture updated profile information in a “Change Log” file that will be used to update data base information accurately, without placing a single call.
  • Access tracking information online through you own password protected administration page. 
  • Download a complete history of event tracking as Excell files for sorting, evaluating and taking advantage of warm leads.
With all the above your campaign has the ingredients for success.  To see a live demo of how a PURL page loads and includes variable data please visit:
You won't be disapointed!





Saturday, June 27, 2009

One to One

One to One or 1:1 marketing is employed by companies that want to reach out to prospects and existing clients by using their name in advertisements.  This effective strategy is becoming the "Go to" type strategy for advertising agencies to satisfy client demands for more effective campaigns.  By personalizing a message with a persons name, advertisers take advantage of the prospects inclination to respond to their name when written.  Naturally people feel more comfortable and relaxed when doing business with someone they know.  

An advertiser can position themselves as a company that is aware of the prospects needs and can target specific market information regarding the prospects location, age, marital status and other demographics that are available through mailing list suppliers.  

Compared to advertising that is sent to the masses with a common message and exactly the same information, personalizing a direct mail campaign has been proven to increase a typical 2-3% response to 25-30% response.

Personalized marketing is more costly to produce than static advertising, however, with increased response rates, costs can be shifted from quantity advertising to quality advertising.
Bottom line?  Personalizing your direct mail campaigns will result with you realizing a higher return on investment.  

Please return for my next blog which will explain how to...
"Personalize the Internet"