All posts from 2007

Build A Profitable Web Presence

by Kelly Kubrick on August 31, 2007

First appeared in HomeBuilder Magazine, July 2007; published with permission.

Trying to market without a website? Bad idea. In August 2006, Statistics Canada reported that Internet access rates in Canadian metropolitan areas ranged from a low of 68% in Montreal to a high of 77% in Ottawa-Gatineau and Calgary. Given those numbers, one hopes that few home builders have yet to be convinced on the value of Internet marketing today.

Yet, Statistics Canada also reports only 29% of construction industry enterprises (including residential home builders) have a web site. The good news? We outperform Agriculture at 11%; but the bad news is that industries, such as Information & Culture are at 82% . Ironic, considering how much information the average Canadian home builder could offer to convince potential buyers of their value versus the competition – your  unique geographic benefits, intelligent floor plans, and established reputation?

If your company lacks a credible Internet presence, you may as well try and market with an unlisted phone number. Consider the fact that back in 2003; BBM Analytics reported that 91% of Canadians Internet users search for product and service information – like yours – versus other activities. As a home builder, consider that the Internet is now a standard tool for communicating with prospects and customers – not necessarily for direct sales, but to validate your company’s existence before picking up the phone or dropping by your sales centre. Knowing that, does your Internet presence reassure potential buyers by answering questions such as:

  • Does this home builder have customers like me?
  • Have other customers like me done business with them?
  • Do they offer the kinds of things I value?

If not, assess whether your Internet presence could. In the process, it will begin to do more for your company and the needs of your target market.

When considering an investment in Internet marketing, start with a clear definition of your Internet strategy. Do you plan to drive awareness of the website to new markets? Or  to increase usage of the site within your existing markets? Answer the question relative to your business strategy this year.

Now you can now define the purpose of the investment and ensure it lines up against your business strategy. For example – is the purpose of your website to generate leads for your sales team? Or reduce costs through self-service customer service? Or something else?

Next, establish your Internet marketing budget. Sound obvious? You’d be surprised – most companies know their web site operation costs but far fewer know what they’ve allocated to promote the web site. If you are one of those, start with your annual marketing budget and decide what percent you are willing to test on Internet marketing. Five percent? Fifteen percent? That gives you a baseline of available dollars to rank against other planned marketing expenses for the year. Where does the Internet fit compared to media spending, sales office expenses, and signage or printing brochures?

If there is room, you’re now in good shape. You know why you’re going to invest in the Internet and  how much you’re willing to spend to do so. However, before writing any checks, how will you measure success? What goal will you set for the web site? Let’s say your company decides that the Internet investment strategy is to build awareness in new markets, and that the website’s purpose is as a lead generation tool. A possible goal might be a 15% increase in leads generated this year over last. Now, you’ve got something concrete you can hold the investment accountable to. Last step – what indicators will you monitor over the next year to ensure the goal is achievable?

Start with your web site traffic or web analytics reports – your IT staff or Internet Service Provider (ISP) will tell you how to access them. If you have none, kick up a fuss. How will you monitor what you can’t measure? Now, take a look at the numbers. Are your visitor numbers growing, flat or falling? Does it appear as though there are enough gross numbers to convert into the number of leads you are anticipating? If not, what can you do to improve the situation?

Before you know it, you’ve got an action plan to make sure your Internet investment will provide you with a measurable return on investment. Can you say the same thing about your other marketing expenses? If not, take a harder look at how the Internet might fit into your overall marketing efforts.

-Canadian Internet Usage Survey, August 2006, Statistics Canada,
-Business and government use of information and communications technologies, Statistics Canada
CyberTrends, ComQuest Research, Winter 2003

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Kelly KubrickBuild A Profitable Web Presence

Web analytics defined

by Kelly Kubrick on June 15, 2007

While reading Avinash Kaushik‘s new book “Web Analytics – An Hour A Day“, I was pleased to note that Avinash references the Web Analytics Association‘s proposed definition for our industry, which I think others might find of value as well:

“Web analytics is the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives.”

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Kelly KubrickWeb analytics defined

Measure for Measure – an Internet Performance Measurement Comedy of [T]errors

by Kelly Kubrick on January 7, 2007

Today’s public sector organizations are operating in environments of increasing scrutiny. Many are looking practical ways to show results, not only to funding sources but to the Canadian public as a whole.

In particular, organizations need evidence that their Internet marketing and communications activities are aligned with larger policy and program objectives.

What’s the best way to develop a practical framework to measure website goals? How best to report consistently on progress and success to management?

To learn more, attend MARCOM 2007 in Ottawa, when Kelly Kubrick of Online Authority and Darlene Moore of Drive Traffic Inc will discuss how you can:

  1. Develop Internet Performance Measurement frameworks
  2. Articulate Internet-specific outcomes and indicators
  3. Show the results of your Internet investments

We’ll see you there!



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Kelly KubrickMeasure for Measure – an Internet Performance Measurement Comedy of [T]errors

Magazine Customer Service Case Study

by Kelly Kubrick on January 7, 2007

TIME Magazine Customer Service


Time Inc, parent of TIME Magazine and its related publications, wanted to reduce the cost of processing customer service paper mail. Could the Internet help?

Kelly Kubrick (formerly Cook) analyzed phone and mail customer service transaction volumes to identify which transactions were in highest demand. Cook then used the analysis to plan and launch thirteen websites in less than six months.

The results? In year one, the largest Time Inc magazine customer service web sites generated $1.7 million in cost savings and $1.1 million in incremental subscription revenue.

Visit the sites:

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Kelly KubrickMagazine Customer Service Case Study

Magazine Subscriber Acquisition Program

by Kelly Kubrick on January 5, 2007

PEOPLE Weekly’s corporate parent, needed to find new magazine subscribers online. Kelly Cook developed and launched the Time Inc affiliate marketing network, leveraging third party web sites to generate new magazine subscribers. Cook selected a vendor to provide the infrastructure to automatically track and report on customer leads. Within months, over 50,000 third-party web sites had applied to sell on behalf of Time Inc magazines and generated $200,000 in revenue. Click the images below to see enlarged screen shots of the PEOPLE Weekly and Teen People programs.

PEOPLE Weekly Magazine Affiliate Program

PEOPLE Weekly Magazine Affiliate Program

Teen PEOPLE Magazine Affiliate Program

Teen PEOPLE Magazine Affiliate Program








The advertising sales team at PEOPLE Weekly wanted to increase their interaction with potential advertisers. Could they do this cost-effectively online? Yes. Cook assisted PEOPLE’s planning and launch of “PEOPLE Pops!” an online sweepstakes and media kit.







In honour of its 25th Anniversary, PEOPLE Weekly offered its readers the opportunity to purchase more than 200 autographed celebrity photos. Those funds were then donated to the celebrities’ choice of charity. Could the Internet be used to sell even more photos? Yes – via an online auction. Cook approached Ebay and together with PEOPLE’s marketers, launched several auctions promoted on Ebay and People.com, and through the PEOPLE Daily email newsletter.

Screen shot of the Jennifer Love Hewitt PEOPLE's 25th auction

Screen shot of the Jennifer Love Hewitt PEOPLE’s 25th auction

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Kelly KubrickMagazine Subscriber Acquisition Program

Increase Revenue: Develop Community and Offer Premium Content

by Kelly Kubrick on January 4, 2007

Developing Dr Weil’s Online Community

Dr Weil.com wondered if consumers might purchase access to an online community of people interested in healthy living. Indeed they were – Kelly Cook developed the plan for the ‘8-Weekers” membership – a web site to support participants in Dr Andrew Weil’s “8 Weeks to a Healthy America” eating program. Within 48 hours of launch, the 1500 available memberships sold out.

Two web sites were created to accompany Dr. Andrew Weil’s best-selling book “8 Weeks to Optimum Health”. The first, a ‘free’ site, offered projects, diet and exercise items, supplements and mental-spiritual reminders for Week 1. In successive weeks, new pages were added to the site allowing users to guide their own efforts to follow the 8 Week plan.

A second ‘paid’ site allowed a users to follow Dr Weil’s program limited membership, closed-community, but nation-wide group (including the Ask Dr Weil staff and Dr Andrew Weil himself) of people seeking a healthier life. Together, these “8 Weekers” offered ideas, solutions and encouragement for overcoming the challenges of the program.

Print Magazine Subscription Acquisition Program: Try Online Premium Content

Consumer marketers at both Entertainment Weekly and Money magazines wondered if the Internet could be used to offer additional benefits to existing print subscribers. Cook assisted them in the launch of Entertainment Weekly’s Special Edition and also Money.com Plus – both offering premium content websites free to current print subscribers but requiring payment from non-subscribers.

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Kelly KubrickIncrease Revenue: Develop Community and Offer Premium Content

Should Magazines Worry Online Will Cannibalize Print?

by Kelly Kubrick on January 4, 2007

Will people pay $500.00 for a content they can buy for $5.00 on the news stand?

After the annual release of the Fortune 500 magazine issue, Fortune Magazine noted that tens of thousands of digital versions of the issue had also been downloaded from Fortune.com. Did this mean that Internet users might be willing to purchase a digital version? Yes. Kelly Cook developed and launched The Fortune Datastore, offering digital versions of Fortune’s company lists:




By year three, the Datastore generated $1 million in incremental revenue for Fortune. Customers raved about the utility of the digital version, finding it an invaluable tool for market and sales prospecting analysis. Later, the model was replicated for Fortune’s sister magazine Asiaweek.

Will online magazine archives cannibalize my renewal rates?

Fortune Magazine was concerned that online magazine archives might cannibalize renewal rates of certain print subscriber demographics. Was an online solution available? Yes. Through a partnership with an online search technology firm, Kelly Cook developed and launched the Fortune Archives. These generated incremental revenue to the magazine through online advertising and online sales of articles to consumers:

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Kelly KubrickShould Magazines Worry Online Will Cannibalize Print?