Internet Marketing

Activate Your Silent Salesperson with Digital Retargeting

by Kelly Kubrick on October 31, 2016

Ever been tempted into a wine-tasting class because the offer of wine overrides your resistance? And then gleefully bought a case of the wine?  Me too. That’s what this post is about – offering your prospects content that is so irresistible, you’re able to entice them forward into your conversion funnel – willingly.

First published through the Canadian Home Builder’s Association (CHBA)

Now that we’re well past the era of questioning the value of including a website in the marketing toolkit, today’s business concern is ensuring the digital content produced contributes to the larger sales funnel.

Once a business has put its contact and product information online, the challenge becomes justification for continued investment in driving awareness and usage of the website. To date, low-hanging fruit included launching additional digital channels such as a blog, an email list and social media.

What happens when sources to stagnate?

Digitally, it used to be good enough to make sure you’d sorta-kinda made your website search engine friendly and populated your company’s social media account(s) profile pages with updates. But, if asked, your marketing team will likely admit that your website reach has stalled or that Facebook’s “people-reached” update performance indicator is declining. Now what?

As lead generation sources dry up, where will sales come from?

It’s no longer enough to merely hope that digital reach will continue to grow as it has in the past. What if you could efficiently reach new people likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to customers you’ve had success with previously?

More importantly, what if you could reach that audience in a way that both personalizes your interactions, while automating them, so there’s efficiency of effort? The concept is called a ‘lookalike’ audience and is available through a combination of advertising networks – like Facebook – and your existing website.

Activating your silent salesperson

The consumer packaged goods industry talks about a product’s packaging as a brand’s “silent salesman”. When a consumer buys a product and places it on a household shelf, the packaging dutifully reminds buyers its presence.

There’s a similar concept in digital, called re-targeting, also referred to as re-marketing. Digital publishers provide their advertisers with a small piece of computer code, often called a “pixel” – similar to a cookie – that won’t affect your visitors’ experience or your website performance, that is unique to that advertiser. By publishing your pixel on your website, you activate your silent salesperson.

Put your digital content to work

Next – instead of merely launching a sales-oriented advertising campaign, you use that pixel to begin building a new prospect list through irresistible content. Using Facebook as an example, here’s a big picture visual of how re-targeting works:

Activate your silence salesperson - digital re-targeting cycle

With that cycle in mind, it’s time to get granular. An effort like this has a lot of moving parts, but done right, your marketing team gets access to a rich source of digital leads.

Ten Steps of Digital Re-targeting

Using Facebook as an example, here’s what your marketing team will need to do:

  1. Create a Facebook Ads account for your organization and generate your Facebook pixel from within it. Publish that pixel to all pages of your website.

2. Define a specific buyer persona, with unique interests, such as ‘eco-friendly living’, or ‘vintage motorcycles’ that your company wants to pursue. Research and quantify those interest groups on Facebook – called audiences – and then narrow that audience further by geographic – all of Canada? Or only one province / territory? and demographic ( age and gender) targeting.

3. Create a unique piece of irresistibly good content, written purely for that persona’s concerns, and publish it on your website. Provide enormous amounts of added-value information – imagine content that answers every question unique to that buyer persona, without the pressure of any kind of a sales pitch. Establish your subject authority while assuring the reader of your goodwill.

4. In parallel, create a digital advertisement that promotes the educational nature of your irresistible content, and run it on Facebook – but only show it to the unique interest groups identified in step 2.

5. As your advertisement is shown on Facebook, interested individuals will engage and click through to read your irresistible content, causing your Facebook pixel to activate.

6. You will have made your content even more irresistible by offering an additional piece of even higher-added value information – perhaps by providing a critical check list, a list of unique resources, a countdown calendar, or how-to instructions – unavailable anywhere else.

7. However, that additional content will only be accessible in exchange for the visitor’s forward movement into the sales funnel – for example, perhaps in exchange for an email address. Since most first-time visitors will shy away from giving you that information on the spot, because of the pixel, you let them go without worry.

8. After an appropriate interval, your marketing team runs a second advertisement on Facebook, only shown to (or ‘re-targeting’) to those who visited your irresistible content but didn’t convert to a lead. That second ad will offer a gentle reminder of the fabulous extra content they have missed out on, enticing them back to your content, this time with a higher likelihood to convert to access your higher value content.

9. As you identify the right audiences and use the right creative to entice them towards consideration, the automated – yet more personalized than a mass-media buy – process repeats until a lead converts. This allows you to engage with the lead on an ongoing basis through your existing qualification process.

10. As you identify the audiences most likely to convert, Facebook then is able to give you access to ‘lookalike’ audiences – other people with profiles and behaviour that match those you’ve successfully converted – that you can now offer your irresistible content to. And the cycle repeats…

To access a lookalike audience on Facebook, organizations will need to have a Facebook Ad Account, which provides tools to create your pixel, advertising campaigns, and Audiences, including lookalikes. In Facebook, lookalike audiences can be modelled from ‘source’ audiences including specific on Facebook, people who’ve liked your Facebook page or your own customer lists.

To create these lookalike audiences, Facebook looks at the common qualities of the people in your source audience and then finds people who “look like” your source audience on Facebook for a country. Organizations can choose the size of the Lookalike Audience during the creation process.

This combination of using technology to target the interests of buyer personas you can uniquely help, without even knowing who they are – while using automation to re-target them later – can be a powerful tool to help drive your lead generation efforts.

Although tactically, this ‘silent salesperson aka pixel’ approach may feel very far from how you’ve sourced leads in the past, my hope is that you will consider adding re-targeting as an arrow to your marketing quiver. Any questions? Ask away in the Comments section below.

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Kelly KubrickActivate Your Silent Salesperson with Digital Retargeting

Homebuilders and Renovators: Stop Overcomplicating Social Media

by Kelly Kubrick on February 28, 2014
First published in the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) membership email newsletter, February 2014

Ever tried to do business with an unlisted phone number?

In 2007, I met with a group of Canadian Home Builders Association members to talk about making the most of the Internet. I suggested trying to do business without a website was like trying to do business using an unlisted phone number. Seven years later, the analogy holds true for social media as well.

Think of social media as a channel

Stripped down, social media is simply a channel. Like all the other technologies you’ve adapted to over time – phone, email, web page, blog posts, texts – social media is simply another way to communicate with prospects, customers, suppliers and employees. It’s another way to answer questions people have on their path to conversion:

  • What homes do you have available where?
  • How much does a bathroom renovation cost?
  • How do I get to your sales centre?
  • What floor plans are available?
  • Can I change them?
  • Can you give me some design ideas?
  • Is the upfront cost vs. energy efficiency trade off worth it?

Name the home-owning topic and someone is looking for information about it through social media. And yes; as with commercial search engines, you can quantify demand through social networks.

Why do we support different channels?

It’s simple. From a demographic perspective, different prospect and customer segments prefer different channels. We all know that some people are phone people, others are email people, and others are in-person people. Now, some are social people. For now, put aside which kind of person you are and think about what your prospects are. By demographic, how would they prefer to get information?

Different social media networks support different types of people

Similar to preferences by channel, people have preferences by content type. Some are text people, some are picture people, and some are video people. Think about social networks the same way:

stop-overcomplicating-social-media

Please note that although there are many other social media networks, the first four listed above dominate from a market share perspective (Facebook in particular). Although research indicates Google Plus has low adoption right now, it may have a significant influence on search engine visibility later.

I included LinkedIn as I firmly believe that creating your LinkedIn profile is critical for each of you to test the waters of social media for yourselves: if you’re unwilling to put your own professional history online today, how will you lead the way for your company’s larger presence in social media tomorrow?

Social media excels at the new way to sell: content marketing

Added bonus: every year, more data emerges that social media, in conjunction with your website, can allow you to provide critical information at a much lower cost per conversion than traditional media. Why? Scale. Social media excels at assisting home builders and renovators to shift from traditional sales methods towards ‘content marketing’.

What is content marketing? What your best sales folks have always done: provide educational content at the right point in your prospects’ moment of information need. Only today, social media lets you do it at scale. Find the right combination of content type for the right social media channel for your prospects and customers, and the data will prove an exponential impact on your reach.

Biggest Challenge: Feeding the Machine

Regardless of which social network(s) you choose to participate in, be aware that each one demands ongoing care and feeding. You’ll need to allocate resources to creating content, curating content, responding, replying and measuring the impact of your efforts. Ask yourselves:

–    Which types of content could we shine at producing?
–    How could we adjust resources to produce that content on an ongoing basis?
–    Is it possible, from the start, to produce our content for multi-channel distribution?

For now, don’t let your internal discussions to get tangled up in the “which social media network” question. Instead, talk about whether your prospects and customers might need you via a different channel than you offer today. And always, always, remember the generation coming up behind you. Don’t let them dismiss your expertise at answering their questions as they cross the threshold into becoming home owners themselves.

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Kelly KubrickHomebuilders and Renovators: Stop Overcomplicating Social Media

How to track digital campaigns using Google Analytics utm codes

by Kelly Kubrick on November 27, 2013

“Tagging” Credit When Credit Is Due: Understanding Digital Campaign Tracking

Imagine a website…It’s a good website. It deserves visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

Those responsible for it agree, and the marketing / communications plans initiate:

  • Press / news releases are issued
  • Advertising is purchased
  • Keywords are bid on
  • Emails go out
  • Social media gets conversational

Good news! Website visitors start showing up…

 

 

 

 

 

Lots more visitors…

Image credit: Penguins sculpture, by Nao Matsumoto

Image credit: Penguins sculpture, by Nao Matsumoto

And right in the middle of all the celebrations, you get the dreaded question. Someone asks you which marketing or communication effort did the trick.

They start pummelling you with questions – which effort brought the visitors? Which didn’t? How did the efforts compare? Which should we do more of? Less of? Should we double down on any of them? Or discontinue any of them?

And once they hit you with all the ‘quantity’ questions, they then want to know the ‘quality’ questions: which effort(s) brought the right visitors for the campaign objective?

And you slowly back out of the room…

I am pleased to tell you there is good news – you can answer all those questions, and with flair and panache. The bad news is that it does take some advance planning.

Campaign tracking is about taking – or ‘tagging’ – credit

Web analytics tools attribute visitors to 1 of 2 ‘default’ traffic sources: the “Direct” (aka No Referral) or the “Referral” source:

“Typical” split measured as by web analytics tools - Direct vs Referral

“Typical” split measured as by web analytics tools

 

 

 

 

 

Direct is traffic a measure of brand awareness

Direct traffic website visitors are those who arrive by bookmark or memorized domain or URL. Think of this source of visitor traffic as a measure of brand awareness; visitors must have had previous exposure to your brand or URL,  to recall or type it into a browser window and / or bookmark it.

Referral traffic is closer to publicity

By contrast, the Referral traffic source ‘refers’ (get it?) to visitors arriving via a third party website. However, to make Referral more useful, we immediately segment those third parties into more specific organic (or unpaid) sources. Examples include:

  1. Search: traffic from commercial search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing or About
  2. Social Media: traffic from social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram
  3. Publishers such as online newspapers, magazines or bloggers
  4. Institutions such as universities, hospitals or government websites

Think of these referral sources as a kind of publicity (for good or bad). And, as wonderful as all that referral traffic generally is, it can be challenging to secure, and it can be unpredictable. When it does show up, it is fabulous. And when it dries up, it can be scary.

To combat the unpredictable nature of referral traffic, we have another category of traffic source, known as “Campaigns”.

Campaigns are sources of traffic that you have defined in advance of your effort / spend

The definitions are unique to your organization’s marketing / communications / advertising efforts. When those definitions are aligned with your digital campaign tracking efforts, you’re able to isolate those visitors and report on them separately. You can answer questions such as”

  • Do particular campaigns bring more new leads vs. other sources?
  • Are those visitors of a higher quality? Do they read more content? Do they exhibit higher engagement?
  • Do they convert at a higher rate?

Campaigns are sources of traffic unique to your organization’s efforts to drive traffic

Campaigns might include:

  • Emails sent to your newsletter subscribers, prospects or customers that drive traffic back to your site
  • Display advertising (banners, buttons or other ad units) you purchased or traded for
  • Keywords you bid for via networks such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads
  • CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per thousand) or CPA (cost per action) media buys from publishers
  • Social media updates posted to your organization’s profiles / feeds
  • Press or news releases distributed to your networks
  • Affiliate / partner websites where you negotiated placement; and even
  • “Offline” efforts such as print or radio ads (where you included a unique, or vanity URL)

As they typically require additional effort or cost, campaigns are those sources of traffic you’d like to measure return on, compared to the default direct and referral traffic sources. To do that, we need to isolate campaign visitors from Direct or Referral traffic sources.

But how do we isolate campaign visitors?

By tagging those sources of visitors:

 

 

 

 

 

Like marine biologists who tags wildlife to identify an animal later, or farmers who tag livestock to identify animals in a larger herd, digital analysts ‘tag’. We tag sources of visitor traffic to identify different segments in a larger herd of visitors to a website.

It’s just that we do our tagging via campaign tracking tags, otherwise known as “utms” codes in Google Analytics. FYI, ‘utm’ stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Urchin was the predecessor technology to Google Analytics, and the legacy term has stuck.

Examples of tags

Picture of a penguin tag

Penguin tag

Animals are tracked via physical tags that are attached to them. And digital campaigns are tagged via ‘extensions’ to the URLs we send visitors to.

Every digital analytics tool has a unique set of extensions available to track campaigns.

As a result, the specifics of campaign tracking implementation differ depending on whether your organization uses Google Analytics, Webtrends, Adobe Analytics or another tool.

Below, I’ve provide campaign tracking tags for Google Analytics vs Webtrends:

Google Analytics campaign tags

utm_source=source1
utm_medium=medium1
utm_campaign=campaign1

Webtrends marketing campaign or paid search tags

WT.mc_id
WT.srch=1

Web analytics tools recognize their own campaign tracking tags

When visitors arrive at your website via URLs that contain your campaign tracking tags, your digital analytics tool will recognize them as belonging to particular segments of traffic, and will attribute their arrival to the correct segment for you. Here’s how the magic happens:

When you create content that drives visitors to your website, you typically provide a link: http://www.mysite.ca

In digital analytics, we consider that an “untagged” link. And, regardless of which analytics tool you use, visitors who arrive via untagged links are attributed to the “Direct” source of traffic.

If you want to attribute visitors to a different source of traffic, you need to tag the link accordingly. To tag links, you ‘extend’ the link with extra information. And – the best part is that the extra information does not interfere with the way the web page is displayed to visitors.

Here’s an example of a tagged link:

https://www.onlineauthority.com/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=signature&utm_campaign=2013

What makes the link above special?

image of a question mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously. It’s the question mark.

The question mark signals that the link is what’s knows a ‘parameter’, and in the case of particular parameters, they are contain messages recognized by particular technologies, and ignored by others. So web servers ignore campaign parameters. Internet browsers ignore campaign parameters. And thus, there’s no impact on the user’s experience of your content.

Parameters have a particular structure: a question mark followed by an ‘equation’ separated by an equal sign:

?parameter-name=parameter-value-decided-by-you

So, if the parameter name were “source”, then you might decide the parameter value is a publisher or your house email list.

Or if the parameter name were medium, then you might decide en the parameter value is a banner or a particular email edition or issue.

Or, if the parameter name were campaign, then you might decide the parameter value is a campaign name like thanksgiving or rrsp-season-2013.

Examples of untagged links:

onlineauthority.com/digital-analytics-courses/

onlineauthority.com/digital-analytics-courses/learn-google-analytics

Examples of those same links, tagged:

onlineauthority.com/digital-analytics-courses/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=adwords&utm_campaign=2013

onlineauthority.com/digital-analytics-courses/learn-google-analytics/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=adwords&utm_campaign=2013

Notice how there are actually three parameters in there, all strung together by ampersands?

Examples of those same links, tagged in colour:

In the first URL, I’ve shown the parameter name in blue:

onlineauthority.com/digital-analytics-courses/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=segment-a&utm_campaign=2013

And, in the second URL, I’ve shown the parameter value in red:

onlineauthority.com/digital-analytics-courses/learn-google-analytics/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=segment-a&utm_campaign=2013

Once you’ve tagged your URLs with campaign parameters, or utms, and distributed them via email, social media, or as the destination URLS for your display ads, those visitors will appear in your campaign reports.

Where do the tagged visitors appear in my reports?

Look for them in your Traffic Sources, or Acquisition reports:

Screenshot to show where campaign-tagged visitors show up in your Google Analytics or Webtrends reports.

Campaign-tagged visitors are found in campaign reports in Google Analytics, Webtrends or other digital analytics tools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each parameter represents one report. Thus, the values of your campaign parameter utms will will appear in your Google Analytics campaigns report:

 

 

 

 

And, your Source and Medium parameter values or utms will will appear as secondary dimensions in your Google Analytics campaigns report, and as a stand alone Source/Medium report.

 

 

How do I tag my emails with Google Analytics utms?

Example of an HTML email with links circledIn the code of an HTML email, an organization can include links to their website. And those links can be extended, inside the HTML, with campaign tracking tags or utms.

So, again – instead instead of attaching a tag to an animal…we tag the link inside the HTML code in the email that brings visitors to the website. The tagged links inside this email might look like:

cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/trades/apply-who.asp/?utm_source=bulletin&utm_medium=email_03&utm_campaign=aut2013

cic.gc.ca/francais/immigrer/metiers/demand-qui.asp/?utm_source=bulletin&utm_medium=email_03&utm_campaign=aut2013

 

How do I tag my social media with Google Analytics utms?

Social media screenshot with shortened linkIn a social media update, organization can include links to their website. And those links can be extended prior to being shortened, with campaign tracking tags or utms.

How do I tag my display advertising banners with Google Analytics utms?

 

 

 

 

When providing creative to your agency or to the publisher you’ve purchased advertising with, you also provide them with the URL you want them to link to. The button and banners above might have the following tags:

digitalstrategyconference.com/ottawa/2013/?utm_source=publisher-a&utm_medium=250×250-ros&utm_campaign=dscott13-eb

digitalstrategyconference.com/vancouver/2013/?utm_source=publisher-b&utm_medium=728×90-biz&utm_campaign=dsvan13-reg

In the examples above, the value of the source parameter is the name of publisher where the button ran (publisher-a vs b), the value of the medium parameter represents the size of the ad unit (250×250 vs 720×90) and its placement (run of site vs business section) and the campaign name represents the offer: the city and pricing codes.

How do I create my utms?

You can certainly create utms and tag URLs manually, using something like Google’s URL builder:

 

 

 

 

But, it’s far more efficient to do it via a spreadsheet, which will help you create and organize Source, Medium and Campaign naming conventions. That way, over time, you’ll maintain consistency, adding more value to your reporting and analysis efforts. In addition, you can use very simple formulas in Excel to automatically build the URLs and thus eliminate potential tagging errors.

Below is an screenshot of an example spreadsheet I created for my clients:

 

 

 

 

And with that – congratulate yourself! You’re now ready to ‘tag credit’ for your brilliant campaigns!

And of course, you’ll be annotating your Google Analytics reports throughout to provide context to the changes in traffic, right?

If this intrigues you enough to begin developing your organization’s digital campaign tracking strategy, contact me to request my campaign tagging spreadsheet template.

When you and your team are ready to roll up sleeves and dive in, we would be happy to provide a proposal to provide your team with training or consulting to implement digital campaign tracking for yourselves.

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Kelly KubrickHow to track digital campaigns using Google Analytics utm codes

Looming Deadline for SMX Session Pitches

by Kelly Kubrick on December 14, 2009

Toronto’s April 2010 Search Marketing Expo (SMX Toronto) session pitch deadline is December 15th, 2009. For anyone new to this conference, SMX Toronto runs alongside eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit.

If you or an organization you work with would like to talk about a search (search engine optimization, marketing, analytics and onsite search) project you’ve completed of late, the conference organizers would love to hear from you:

Read about planned session tracks and submit your pitch

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Kelly KubrickLooming Deadline for SMX Session Pitches

Web Usability for Business Results

by Kelly Kubrick on November 25, 2009

Our next OCRI Zone5ive Marketing Forum has been announced – join us on Thursday December 10, 2009 at our new location, the Travelodge Hotel Ottawa and Conference Centre in the Greenery Room. Our speaker is Dominira Saul, Director of User Experience Design, Akendi.

Session Overview: If you’re responsible for a website, whether you work with outside agencies or do everything internally, you need to understand: what drives good usability; how to recognize poor usability; and how to work with your external and internal partners to get what you need.

It’s common knowledge that the easier a website is to use the happier users will be. This can translate into increased sales, greater brand awareness, and decreased support costs among other benefits. In today’s web-driven world, usability is more important than ever.

In his talk, Dominira Saul will outline what we should all know about web usability; the right questions to ask; and what steps you should take to ensure a better user and brand experience.

Register Online

Thursday  November 10th, 2009
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – registration and lunch
12:30 p.pm to 1:30 p.m. – presentation

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Kelly KubrickWeb Usability for Business Results

Prepare to Defend Your (site) workshop goes on the road

by Kelly Kubrick on November 1, 2009

CASLIS, Canada’s Association for Special Libraries and Information Services is sending Online Authority’s “Prepare to Defend Your (site)!: Website Performance Measurement” workshop on a cross-Canada roadshow.

Join Kelly Kubrick this fall in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa or Montreal for an entertaining workshop on Internet Performance Measurement. Learn how to:

  • Prove you are using your website to offer better service to clients;
  • Ensure your website remains accountable; and
  • Secure resources to improve the website going forward.

It’s an Internet call to arms!

This three hour workshop will be offered by the following CASLIS chapters:

  • Winnipeg, Manitoba – November 3rd, 2009 – 2:00 pm
  • Edmonton, Alberta – November 4th, 2009 – 12:30 pm
  • Calgary, Alberta – November 5th, 2009 – 9:30 am
  • Ottawa, Ontario – November 12th, 2009 – 1:00 pm
  • Montreal, Quebec – November 24th, 2009 – 1:oo pm

Register for your preferred city at each chapter’s website, or contact Online Authority for assistance.

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Kelly KubrickPrepare to Defend Your (site) workshop goes on the road

Customer Engagement through Social Media

by Kelly Kubrick on September 25, 2009

On behalf of the OCRI Zone5ive Marketing Forum programming committee, I’m pleased to share details about our ‘season opener’ which will be held on October 8th, 2009.

Our speaker is Natasha D’Souza, Founder of Virtual EyeSee, who will be presenting Customer Engagement through Social Media:

If you are like many organizations, you have likely begun to add some elements of social media to your marketing tactics. But how do you leverage these new channels to truly engage customers in meaningful conversations, and to gather and respond to market feedback?

In this Zone5ive session, you will learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Blogs to listen to and engage your audience, and to build your own online community using open source tools and hosted services.

Some of the takeaways will be:

– skills to help you learn to listen to your customers
– approaches for successful customer engagement
– crowd sourcing your product development; and much more.

Natasha D’Souza from Virtual EyeSee will take you on a social media adventure and inspire you to engage with your customers. Whether you are on a shoestring, moderate or large budget there is solution for everyone.

Date: Thursday October 8, 2009
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Ben Franklin Place, Council Chamber – Main Floor, 101 Centrepointe Dr.

Register online or by contacting Tanya Calvo, Conference Administrator at 613-828-6274 ext. 224 or tcalvo@ocri.ca.

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Kelly KubrickCustomer Engagement through Social Media

The MHC Online®: Get the Electronic Edge!

by Kelly Kubrick on September 8, 2009

The Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute (CMHI) and Online Authority are pleased to announce the newest Manufactured Housing Consultant (MHC)® workshop.

The MHC® Online: Get the Electronic Edge! will be offered in Ottawa, Canada on Saturday, September 19th, 2009 in conjunction with CMHI’s Semi-Annual Meeting.

This new workshop was created for salespeople seeking perspective on the value of the web as a lead generation tool. In particular, this course is directed at Registered Manufactured Housing Consultants (MHC)® and manufactured housing and factory-built sales people, marketing staff and business owners.

Interested in attending? Visit CMHI for meeting and workshop agendas as well information about how to register.

If you have any other question, feel free to contact CMHI or Online Authority for more details.

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Kelly KubrickThe MHC Online®: Get the Electronic Edge!

50 Ideas on Using Twitter and LinkedIn for Business

by Kelly Kubrick on June 8, 2009

Looks like it’s going to be a great OCRI Zone5ive Marketing Forum session this week! Andrew Milne of bv02 Inc. will be moderating the following panel:

Kelly Rusk, Manager of Marketing and Communities, MediaMiser Ltd (Go Kelly!)
Scott Lake, Founder, ThinkSM and SWIX
Luc Levesque, Founder, TravelPod.com

Entitled “50 Ideas on Using Twitter and LinkedIn for Business” the pitch is:

“Listen to and engage this panel of social media experts to determine how, when and if you should be adding some of the world’s most influential social media networks to your marketing and communication mix. Benefit from their experience and research and discover how both local and international brands are succeeding, or failing, with the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter. Covering topics such as How to Build a Social Media Plan, Social Media ROI and Social Media Tools you’ll leave the session armed with a checklist of things to do and investigate.”

Date & Time: Thursday June 11, 2009 – 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Ben Franklin Place, Council Chamber – Main Floor, 101 Centrepointe Dr.

Register here

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Kelly Kubrick50 Ideas on Using Twitter and LinkedIn for Business

Trends in Web Marketing: Tried, Tested and New

by Kelly Kubrick on May 21, 2009

By Kelly Kubrick – first published in Building Excellence Magazine, Spring 2009

In September 2008, at CMHI / MHAAC’s semi-annual meeting at Oak Island, Halifax, Kelly Kubrick presented attendees with an overview of recent trends in web marketing. Kelly reviewed a variety of tactics, and categorized them as “old news” (offering declining value), those whose value hasn’t changed and those which are considered “hot” (you might get burned using them).

Old News

“Old news” tactics are those which have been around some years now, may be showing their age and which are generally receiving fewer marketing dollars than in the past. To begin, marketers appear to be shifting “offline” advertising (print advertising, outbound telemarketing and rented mailing lists) dollars towards online (search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, etc.) dollars, because the online offers a far more measurable spend.

However, within the world of online marketing, there is movement away from designing complicated home pages, measuring gross traffic (vs. net leads), static micro sites and live chat as a customer service channel. Again, the driver appears to be accountability – ensuring that the dollars spend deliver the most value. Finally, offering a web site and email newsletters is certainly old news – any company that hasn’t invested in at least the former might as well be trying to market itself using an unlisted phone number.

What hasn’t changed?

By contrast, other tactics have proven their value within the online marketing toolkit. Home builders should ensure they provide customer testimonials, pricing information and multiple product search criteria on their websites. As an example of the latter, Kelly suggested visiting Vacation Homes to see all the different ways visitors might choose to search for a property they might be interested in.

In addition, Kelly recommended testing of the length of any “Request for information” forms you offer on your website – until you objectively test which elements do or do not depress response, you shouldn’t make assumptions about which fields should stay or go.

Finally, Kelly advocated strongly that home builders should allow prospects to communicate with you based on their channel of choice – thus if they first contact you by phone, you likely will need to continue communicating them via that channel. Alternatively, if you can convince your clientele to initiate contact with you via less expensive channels, you should reap financial benefits later. Wondering how? Here’s a quick question – in your marketing materials, which gets the larger font? Is it your telephone number or your website? What does that tell you?

What’s hot now

These tactics are experimental and too new to have established themselves as keepers in the web marketing toolbox. However, for those willing, there are several emerging online tactics you might consider trying in 2009.

Targeted Messaging

To the right is an image used on the homepage of Wilshire Homes to help the visitor grasp how this builder can solve living arrangement concerns. This is an excellent example of sidestepping home building jargon by offering the consumers’ perspective first.

motherinlaw

Source: Screenshot from http://www.wilshire-homes.com homepage, September 2008

Geo-targeted pay-per-click (PPC)

Below is a screenshot from a Google AdWords PPC account. Pay per click refers to the process of purchasing positioning on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or MSN. In particular, the screenshot shows how targeted this media buy can ensure that advertisement is only shown to search engine users connected to a computer within 35 kilometres of Oak Island, Halifax. In other words, using this technology, home builders can ensure that their advertising dollars are not wasted on those people who are outside the targeted geographic range. Revolutionary, don’t you think?

google-adwords

Source: Screenshot from Google AdWords, September 2008

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing refers to a concept where by a marketer can identify several elements on a web page that they are not sure about, and test response against each. To illustrate – below, there are two versions of the same home page from Zip.ca , a Canadian DVD-by mail rental service. In the first image, the home page is designed around the release of Dark Knight with no mention of pricing. In the second image, the home page is designed around an image of a happy family, with pricing and a “quick start” free trial form to fill in.

Which appeals to you? Why?

zip1

zip2

Source: Screenshots from http://www.zip.ca homepage, September 2008

Here’s the trick – both of those home pages exist simultaneously. In other words, during this multivariate test, this website presents alternate versions of the same page, and records response so that the marketers can figure out which approach drives the most response. No heart-stopping redesign project here, but rather an objective analysis of what works, or doesn’t, on your home page. Imagine the number of things you might consider testing on your own site…

Interactive Microsite

Also from Wilshire Homes is an interactive micro-site found at BuiltAroundYou. When the site launches, you’ll be greeted by Sheila, who will proceed to ask you about your housing interests. However, instead filling out a survey, Sheila asks you a series of questions, verbally. As you respond, by clicking or filling in fields, a personalized housing report is created, which you can elect to receive by email, print out or send it to Wilshire to request follow up. Or do nothing with at all. Try it, and imagine how it might appeal to younger generations unwilling to visit a sales centre…

builtaroundyou

Source: Screenshot from http://www.builtaroundyou.com, September 2008

So where does this leave you? Essentially, the message is that there’s no shortage of tactics in web marketing available to you, but rather that you should have an opinion about which ones might be appropriate for your own company’s strategy.

A final thought – it’s five years from now, and Internet advertising now outpaces traditional channels. How will you acquire customers? Furthermore, young Canadians know Internet better than you. How will you retain their business?

Best of luck in 2009!

Kelly Kubrick is the former Director of E-Commerce at Time Warner in New York and President of Internet marketing consulting firm Online Authority.

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Kelly KubrickTrends in Web Marketing: Tried, Tested and New