Archive for Digital Marketing

Crundwell Digital Marketing celebrates one year

Growing up, I hated roller coasters. I don’t think I rode anything other than the Jr. Gemini at Cedar Point until I was in junior high. My classmates forced me on the Magnum XL 2000.  Well, I was hooked.

In many ways, that’s how this last year has been. Once crazy roller coaster ride.
cdm_logoIt was one year ago today, January 14, 2013, when I registered my company’s domain name CrundwellDigital.com. I guess in the digital world, a domain name registration is as close to a birthday as you can get. With that purchase followed by a logo and business cards, Crundwell Digital Marketing was born.

A year later, we’ve provided to clients small business web design in Indianapolis, Ohio and New York. We now have over 30 sites in our portfolio with more to come.

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Too much half ass web design and digital marketing

Half-Ass Web Design Donkey - nah, Donkey is better than that.In the six months or so that I’ve been working to get Crundwell Digital Marketing up and running I’ve learned one hard fact. There are a lot of web companies who are not very good at what they do.

Let me tell you a story…

It was 1993 or 1994, and it was a snow day at St. Peter’s where I was in high school. While everyone was enjoying a day out of school I usually went down to help shovel the walks. (I lived a block from the school.) After freezing outside salting sidewalks and shoveling snow, I was warming up in the school office when our school principal, Fr. Kennedy asked me to get him a cup of coffee from the cafeteria.

Being the good kid, I wandered downstairs to get him some coffee. I filled the mug and walked back to the office. First thing Fr. Kennedy asked, “Where’s the sugar.”

I replied, “You didn’t ask for sugar.”

His answer, “Never do things half-ass…now go get me some sugar.”

Well, that conversation has stuck with me for years. Whenever I think about taking a shortcut, that story comes to mind.

Over the past few months, I’ve been really surprised at how many companies half ass web design. They aren’t optimized or even carry basic analytics. Yes, there are server logs, but those only go so far.

Here are a few prime examples I’ve encountered in the last couple of months. (I’ve done my best to mask the client to protect the guilty.)

  • A specialty online store that makes no mention in the title, meta description or body copy that they’re an online store.
  • An organization who built a website to tout the benefits of joining their organization. But when you search for the basic questions of “Why should I join…” or “Benefits of joining….” turn up nothing that points to the organization’s website — They spent five figures on development.
  • A potential client was surprised to learn that one of his two websites were being tracked with Google Analytics but had never seen a traffic report.
  • The same client said he received a $600 credit from Google for advertising click fraud, but he’s never seen an AdWords tracking report.
  • Social media posts promoting a brand’s website with no click thru to that website.

For many business people at any level — digital is still a mystery for them. Digital people use a ton of acronyms: SEO, SEM, SMM, HTML, PHP, CSS, PPC, PPA, PSM, TOS and XML, . Those are just the basics if you really want to throw them for a loop use things like XHTML, JSON, TLD, TLS, and CAN-SPAM.

I’ve been in meetings where myself one of my digital team members would rattle off an acronym and my boss would just assume he’d know what we were talking about. My staff developer and executive producer took great joy in geek speaking in front of the boss. Afterward, I’d get pulled aside and be asked to explain what the hell they were just talking about.

On the surface, there’s a percentage of small website developers who are not doing much if anything to educate their clients about the website they built and maintained for them. The problem is, if they did…they’d be out of a job because the client would have moved on to someone who knew what the hell they were doing.

If you’re a small business and are looking to improve your website or overall digital footprint — take the time to educate yourself. We know the big boys like HubSpot don’t half-ass their product. They also provide a lot of great information that can help you ask the right questions to any company to which you’re looking to do business. Don’t let yourself get stuck with a company who gives you half ass web design.

Maybe that should be our motto… Crundwell Digital Marketing — we don’t half-ass it. Simple and to the point. For some reason, I don’t think Fr. Kennedy would necessarily approve that for public consumption.

…oh and for the record, I like my coffee black.

Inbound Marketing – broadcasters are missing the train

Way, way back in the day when I first got my start in digital media I was at WTOL in Toledo.  One of the sections I helped in developing was the “Ask the Expert” sales vertical.

Inbound Marketing before it was cool…

The goal of Ask the Expert was to provide a convergence package between TV and the web. Clients received a TV commercial that directed people to the station website where potential customers could learn more about their business and ask questions.

The solution was great, the client received great television exposure and was able to generate leads through the station’s website.  For 2001, that was an awesome partnership and revenue channel.  The sad thing is in 2013 the program has evolved little, even with the latest craze in inbound marketing, and Google craving high-value relevant content to boost SEO.  A few stations appear to have figured it out.  Many have not.

Before I call out a few examples below … let me get the disclosures out of the way…  (I worked for WTOL-TV from 2001-2004 a Raycom Media Station.  I worked at KRIS-TV from 2004-2007 a Cordillera Communications station and finally worked at WISH-TV from 2007-2012 a LIN Media Station.    All of these stations are currently or were part of the World Now CMS.)

Let’s take a look at some examples:

WBAY-TVwbay This is a textbook example of how the program hasn’t evolved.

The station provides a landing page with 180px wide image that links to a simple landing page or directly to the client’s site
or worse.

Back in the day, I was guilty of doing of all of this. Back then the focus was just getting that link on the high-value site, which TV stations provided.

Great for 2007, but not 2013.

 

Let’s drill down to a specific client:  Todd Wiese Homeselling Team.

The client link is framed into the WBAY site.  There’s absolutely no SEO juice from this link since search engine bots tend to ignore framed content from an external URL.   All of the videos WBAY produces for this client provide no SEO juice.   In fact, a site specific search for WBAY.com and Todd Wiese only return two links.

I wouldn’t speculate what their current Ask The Expert rates are but I’m going to bet it’s several thousand a month.

Bottom Line:  This is a great TV package only.  I think it would be safe to assume Mr. Wiese gets his leads from his TV appearances, not the digital counterpart.

WOOD-TVWOOD-TV Across Lake Michigan is a site managed by a great digital pioneer Dave DeJonge.  He’s been the digital manager at WOOD-TV since my days at WTOL.  His site has been a market leader for over a decade.

He’s been able to keep his Expert vertical alive by keeping the client pages alive with updated relevant content.

There are no direct links — all clients have their own landing page which then links off to individual clients or the client’s website.

WOOD also takes it one step further.  They’ve integrated their Expert program into their daily lifestyle show EightWest.

Again, let us drill down to a specific client: Thomsons Auto Repair

No iframes here. As mentioned above, there are no direct links to the landing page for that client.  But the page isn’t just static.  Each TV segment is posted as their own story and has actual content with that story with a link back to the client’s website.  A site search for WOODTV.com and Thomsons Auto Repair returns 108 individual results.

One bonus, that isn’t being taken full advantage of is all the videos from WOOD-TV and eightWest are syndicated to YouTube.  The descriptions for these segments could be optimized for the client’s SEO.

Another great advantage for eightWest is they get out of the studio for their segments. They’re compelling videos that people actually might want to watch!  So many of these segments are two talking heads on the noon news with a couple of full screens.  Easy TV to produce but boring as hell.

How can broadcasters succeed at Inbound Marketing:

I think broadcasters – especially in television can grab digital inbound marketing dollars if they just implemented a strategy that required someone to take ownership and help make the product succeed.

  1. Create an inbound (vertical) marketing manager and team.  A station isn’t going to be able to pull this off on their own.  It really needs to be a corporate team or a service provided by the content team by the site CMS vendor to get a return on investment.Your newsroom content writers are too busy doing the news and account executives are too busy getting the sales in the door.  Even lifestyle show producers are not concerned with SEO and writing for the web.
  2. The inbound marketing team should include at the minimum a content writer and project manager.  These people are experts in SEO and Inbound Marketing. I’d want that project manager touring the local markets helping AE’s close new business by showcasing what inbound digital marketing and television could do for their business.
  3. The inbound marketing team would need to create content and help manage the customer’s content channel on their company websites.  Yes, I’m talking about the company blog.  Journalists still have this negative connotation towards the word blog.  I personally like the idea of a content channel instead of blogs.
  4. The project manager works with the clients to come up with new articles (blogs) at least twice a month, for the client’s website.  Then that material then becomes the topic for their next television appearance.  After the TV segment airs, the station website posts an article under their expert section pointing back to the client’s blog.
  5. Once the segment airs, the inbound team should optimize that video for the client including links to the original blog — then be syndicating that content to YouTube.

That’s just the basics, but the next logical step includes sending it to the client’s social media channels.

As long as traditional media continues to butter their bread with banner ads and mobile display — they will continue to lose digital revenue to the pure play SEO companies who generating meaningful digital leads for their clients.

Google Ad fail

This happens all too often — it’s driving me mad and makes me laugh at the same time. Behavioral targeting has gone awry.  Google, by now you should know me.  This ad for ChristianMingle.com popped up today while reading a story on The Onion of all places.

Of course, this ad could have been targeted to the entire domain or a general news site target. Maybe the folks at ChristianMingle.com didn’t want to spend the extra money for a more targeted campaign.  Although if they were smart, they wouldn’t be spending their ad dollars trying to get a married man with two kids to check out their Christian dating site…and really, if I were in the dating market, I would hit up CatholicMatch.com first.

Still, I’ll probably see a lot more of their ads now, because I just for giggles +1’d the ad.   On second thought, maybe the target was for pretty blond girls with long hair and wearing white dresses.  Nope, I prefer redheads and short hair.  Oh well.

Am I really looking for a Christian Single?

Am I really looking for a Christian Single?

Do you allow your email subscribers to change addresses?

As part of my New Year’s resolutions and taking advantage of the free time I have now to better organize my digital life.  One key part is moving all my email marketing subscriptions to a dedicated email account. I still want marketing messages, but I want to keep my primary inbox as clean as possible.

I was surprised how many e-marketing providers only offer a place to unsubscribe, but no way to update your email preferences – easily.

I’ll pick on MLB.com.  I purchase the MLB Audio Package every season to listen to the Cleveland Indians games. From this subscription, I get MLB.com store offers. In order to change my email address, I had to go through the following steps:

  1. Click the unsubscribe link in the initial email
  2. On the unsubscribe page, click the link to manage your account settings.
  3. Try to log in.
  4. Forgot Password Request
  5. Wait 10 minutes for the new password email.
  6. Log into MLB.com and sign in with a new password.
  7. Login screen gets stuck spinning in Firefox.
  8. Open a new window, try again and discover I was now logged in.
  9. Click to the account settings page.
  10. Change Email Address
  11. Change Password.

That was a lot of work for a simple email address change. Making a simple email address change should not be made that difficult. The average customer won’t go through that effort.  In hindsight, it would have been easier just to unsubscribe and not worry about the offers from MLB.com. I’ve yet to purchase anything from their site anyway.

Ideas for Action: Try changing an email address from your e-marketing products. Can the process be made easier?  Have you tracked or followed up on bounced email addresses?

Bottom Line: Are you losing current customers because they’ve changed their email address and never updated their subscription settings?  What are you doing differently to get them back?