internet marketing

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Help! My website is a dud!

by Kelly Kubrick on January 10, 2008

Is your business part of the residential construction industry in Ontario? Will you be attending “Ontario Forum 2008”, presented by the Ontario Home Builder’s Association (OHBA)?

If so, please join Kelly Kubrick of Online Authority for a two-hour seminar about how to diagnose if your website is a dud:

“Ever wondered why your website traffic is so low? Have you wanted to ask for an evaluation, but were afraid of what people might say? Most websites share common mistakes that are easily fixed. Come to this session to find out what you might be doing right…or wrong.”

Event details:

Ontario Forum 2008
Weston Prince Hotel
900 York Mills Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3H2
“Help! My website is a dud!”
January 17th, 2008 – 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM

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Kelly KubrickHelp! My website is a dud!

Thank you WBN

by Kelly Kubrick on December 5, 2007

Many thanks to the Women’s Business Network (WBN) of Ottawa for the invitation to speak at their November 2007 luncheon. It was a pleasure to meet so many WBN members, learn about their companies and to have the opportunity to discuss today’s Internet marketing trends.

Thank you WBN members, for your interest in Kelly Kubrick’s and Online Authority’s particular passion – demystifying the Internet and teaching business owners how best to take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

Further, my thanks to Sue Smarkala of Adlerian Counselling and Consulting Group Inc for the great summary of the presentation.

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Kelly KubrickThank you WBN

Internet Marketing Today

by Kelly Kubrick on November 2, 2007

On November 20th, 2007, Kelly Kubrick will be speaking to the Women’s Business Network (WBN) of Ottawa. The WBN is  “an organization of like-minded women, interested in making relationships to create more business…and has celebrated over 20 years of involvement in the business community.”

She’ll be discussing “Internet Marketing Today” and in particular,

  • How this IS your mother’s Internet (Or the geeks have left the building);
  • Proof that the web is different than print;
  • What you & the Internet can learn from the Yellow Pages;
  • Why sharing your sandbox with robots is a good thing;
  • The truth behind the emperor and his clothes
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Kelly KubrickInternet Marketing Today

Internet Marketing Tips 10 – 20

by Kelly Kubrick on August 31, 2007

By Kelly Cook – first distributed by The Empowerment Network from Women Moving Forward, February 2004

Previous: Internet Marketing Tips 1 to 10

10. To make sure your website is visible in search engines results, you must ‘optimize’ the copy and code of your website for two different yet simultaneous audiences. The first audience is humans reading your web pages, and the second is search engine and directory robots who ‘index’ your web pages in order to include them in the search results. Each audience has different requirements, yet both types of copy must complement the other.

  • When writing the site copy for your human audience, ask some trusted friends or colleagues to critique your copy using the perspective of a website visitor typical of your target market. Is the copy user-centric versus organization-centric? Does it answer all the questions the user might have? As quickly as possible?

11. As stated in Tip #10, to make sure your website is visible in search engines results, you must ‘optimize’ the copy and code of your website for two different yet simultaneous audiences. The second audience are the search engine and directory robots who ‘index’ your web pages in order to include them in the search results. You must make your website is “search engine friendly” by providing the robots with certain pieces of information including a “TITLE” tag, a “Description” meta tag and a “Keyword” meta tag. The TITLE tag is critical – it is what search engines display when they list your page in the results for a keyword search.

  • When writing your Title tag (one per unique web page in your site) be specific about the content of the page but limit it to no more than 60 characters including commas and spaces. Do not use “Company Name” as the only copy in your TITLE tag as this tends to clutter search results. An example of an Title for a ecommerce vendor is:

<title>Shopping Cart Software by MonsterCommerce – Ecommerce Solutions</title>

12. Search engines use the Description META tag as the summary for your site when listed in search results. It is what tells a real person whether or not your site is relevant to their search. Without this tag, a search engine may describe your site for you by displaying the first hundred or so characters from the top of your page, which may not make sense to the reader.

  • The Description tag should not exceed 250 characters in length including spaces and commas, with the most important content placed at the beginning. An example of a Description META tag for a Veterinary Association is:

<META name=”description” content=”About animal health, safety; pet loss, buying a pet. Information on veterinarians.”>

13. Unlike the TITLE and Description tags, the Keyword META tag is intended solely for search engine robots, providing them with a list of keywords and phrases reflective of the subject and intended audience of your site.

  • The Keyword tag should not exceed 250 characters in length including spaces and commas (or approximately 15 words), with the most important content placed at the beginning. An example of a Keyword META tag for a furniture store is:

<meta NAME=”keywords” CONTENT=”furniture, furniture stores, furniture store, discount, bedroom, baby, kids, living room furniture, outdoor furniture”

14. Now that you’ve finished your planning phase, the second phase in launching a website is design. The secret to limiting the number of hours you need to spend on design fees is to do the following:

  • Hire a website designer and provide him or her with your site map and site copy. Ask for three different mock-ups of your web site homepage to help you decide what you like / dislike about each design. As the mock-ups do not need to be functional web pages, the designer can limit the number of hours needed to provide you with a final version that combines the ‘best of’ elements of the three original mock-ups.

15. The third phase in launching a website is “production”. This is when the HTML code is written, or when your web pages are actually ‘built’. To complete this step:

  • Hire a website producer and provide him / her with the site map and the site copy from Tip #6, the homepage design from Tip #7 and for a price to build the site based on that planning material. Once you agree on the price, the producer will begin building and then ask you to test the site. Once you approve the site, it can go live!

16. The fourth step in launching a website is all about you – marketing! Your job is to build awareness of the site:

  • Print your URL on all marketing material (business cards, invoices, envelopes, trucks, hats, etc). List all the places you currently print your phone number and add the URL – ideally in a larger font than the phone number itself.

17. As discussed in Tip #16, build awareness of your web site via search engine listings. Due to the fact that Google provides search results for its own search engine as well as several other search engines (e.g. AOL Search, Netscape Search) it hold 75% – 80% market share*. Thus, if your website is to going to be found by users, you’ve got to make sure it’s listed prominently in Google under your company name and under your product or service category – for example both “Home Hardware” and “hardware store”.

  • Submit your website to Google

*Source: ”7 Secrets to High Google Rankings”, Stephen Spencer, Netconcepts, February 2004

18. One of the ways that Google improves your ranking is based on “importance”, which is defined by the number, size and relevance of content of websites which link to your website.

  • To encourage sites to link to you, create a links page where you can offer a reciprocal link to them.

19. Once the site is launched, take the time to assess the effectiveness of your website by reviewing your “usage statistics” or “traffic” reports on a monthly basis. These reports are available through your hosting provider at no extra cost. Among other things, the reports can tell you how many visitors you’ve had over what time period, where they’re coming from and other critical marketing information.

  • Contact your hosting provider and ask them how to access your website traffic reports. Review them on a monthly basis and make decisions about how to improve the site based on that information.

20. The most important statistic to review in your website traffic reports is the “visitor” or “session” metric – not “hits”! Hits simply count the number of elements on any given web page (such as the number of graphics), not the number of visitors to the page. So – if you have five graphics on a page, you’ll get five hits for each visitor. Hits are a very inflated number and don’t reflect the actual usage levels of your site.

  • Review your traffic reports and focus on visitor or session trends (not absolute numbers). Relative to your target market size, are your website visitor numbers increasing, decreasing or staying flat, over what time period?
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Kelly KubrickInternet Marketing Tips 10 – 20

Twenty Internet Marketing Tips

by Kelly Kubrick on August 31, 2007

By Kelly Cook – first distributed by The Empowerment Network from Women Moving Forward, February 2004

1. Not having a website today is like trying to do business with an unlisted phone number – a bad idea all around. Your customers are online and looking for you! Without a website you make your competitors lives easier and you may begin to lose credibility with clients, employees, the media and possibly your suppliers or vendors.

  • Establish an opinion about the importance of the Internet in your marketing strategy. Have you ever criticized a company business for not having a website? What did you think of them when you couldn’t find them online? Has your company ever been criticized for not having a website?

2. To help you establish an opinion about the importance of the Internet, here are two reasons why your company should market itself on the Internet: 1) Statistics Canada research discovered that only 24% of small businesses in Canada have a website (compared to 74% of large businesses) and 2) 72% (17 million) of Canadian adults are online and 91% of them are online looking for product information.*

  • Decide if you want to be one of the 76% of small businesses without a website. If so, don’t you think you might be missing a significant opportunity to promote yourself to those segments of your target market that are online? You must establish a point of view and then act!

*Source: “Multi-Country Report”, comScore Media Metrix Canada, March 2003, “Canadian Netizens”, NFO CFgroup, January 2003

3. An Internet marketing strategy is most effective when it is integrated with your overall marketing strategy. In order to do that, your overall marketing strategy must be able to answer some critical questions:

  • What is the total size (in units / dollars) of your target market (e.g. Ottawa vs. Ontario vs. Canada vs. North America vs. the world?)? What are its segments (e.g. Women? Men? Professionals? Students? Etc.). How are you positioned against competitors (are you better? faster? less expensive?).

4. A critical part of your marketing strategy involves setting an annual marketing budget. Many companies set their annual marketing budget based on a percentage of revenues (e.g. 5%).

  • Identify all of your marketing expenses (business cards, direct mail, sponsorships, etc.) and note how much you are currently spending on each item (in dollars and as a percentage of the total budget). Are you within the limits of your budget? Or do you have some room to experiment with alternate forms of marketing?

5. To integrate the Internet into your marketing strategy, think about the Internet is as a relative (not absolute) marketing expense – it’s not a technology problem! Of your total marketing budget (established in Tip #4)…

  • Decide how much you’d be willing to test on the Internet: 1% of the total budget? 5% of the total budget? The result will tell you how much money you have available to launch, promote and maintain a website.

6. Expect to spend 50% of your website launch costs on technology related expenses (domain registry, monthly hosting fees and hiring someone to ‘build’ your web pages). Expect to spend 20% of your costs on design, another 20% on planning and 10% on marketing.

  • Take the Internet budget you established in Tip #5 and list each individual Internet expense you anticipate. This will tell you how much you can afford to spend in Year 1 of the website (including launch and maintenance costs). Are you over, under or even with your forecasted Internet budget?

7. When launching a website, there are four distinct phases: 1) planning, 2) design, 3) production and 4) marketing. The best way to stay on budget and on schedule is to approach the phases in that exact order. Begin with planning:

  • Review your competition online, establish a three-year budget, draw a site map and write all the copy for your site. If you complete these steps before you think about design, you’ll save yourself time and money during the later phases.

8. The first and most critical step in writing website copy is to understand how your audience perceives your product, service or organization. Force yourself to think of terms they might use (versus those you would like to be perceived as). For example, you might like to think you sell “pre-owned vehicles”, but few users search on that term. Instead, they search for “used cars”. Adjust your site copy accordingly based on search term research.

  • Identify the terms or phrases your target audience inputs into search engines when looking for your company website, product or service category by using tools such as the Search Term Suggestion Tool at or at

9. The simplest approach is to writing your website copy on a page-by-page basis. Best practices for websites state that a minimum of five pages are needed to answer most users’ questions: Home page, Clients / Customers, Products / Services, Contact Us, About Us. Assume a minimum of 250 words of body copy are needed for each web page in your site.

  • Write the copy in the order that is most important to the user – not your organization. To maintain this perspective write the Clients / Customers page first, leaving “About Us” until the very end.

Next: Internet Marketing Tips 10 – 20

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Kelly KubrickTwenty Internet Marketing Tips

OHBA Collingwood Conference

by Kelly Kubrick on August 31, 2007

On September 27th, 2007, Kelly Kubrick will be presenting “Tips for Website Effectiveness” at the Ontario Home Builder’s Association (OHBA) Collingwood Conference 2007. The OHBA is the voice of the residential construction industry in Ontario and their 4000 members produce over 80% of the housing stock in Ontario. They represent every aspect of the residential construction industry. We’re looking forward to the event!

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Kelly KubrickOHBA Collingwood Conference

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 &amp; 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