Book Review: "1,001 Ways to Keep Customers"

written by
Friday, August 25, 2006

Book Review: '1,001 Ways to Keep Customers'Are you in search for ideas that can help you to capitalize on your repeat visitors and buyers? If so, you may (or may not) want to take a closer look at "1,001 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back", written by Donna Greiner and Theodore Kinni. They have plenty of ideas to share, some more complicated and costly than others, but they do help with getting the "idea" ball rolling.

Book Review: '1,001 Ways to Keep Customers'
"There's only one idea in this entire Book."

"Fortunately for you, it's a great idea. An idea that will make your small business bigger or your big business more profitable. An idea that's been overlooked by most marketers, and one that doesn't require an awful lot of investment, machinery, or risk. The fact is that most companies are obsessed with getting new customers. They advertise, plead, cajole, bribe, and bend over backwards to get a new customer. And then, once they get them, treat them like dirt. Wish that they'd go away. Disrespect them. Cease to invest. In general, marketers act like idiots when it comes to great customers."

"And this book will open your eyes to the problem and give you not ten, not twenty, but literally one thousand ways to do something about it."

Are you in search for ideas that can help you to capitalize on your repeat visitors and buyers? If so, you may (or may not) want to take a closer look at "1,001 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back", written by Donna Greiner and Theodore Kinni. They have plenty of ideas to share, some more complicated and costly than others, but they do help with getting the "idea" ball rolling... and sometimes that's all a person needs.

Book Review

After reading "1,001 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back", I can honestly say that the book did not meet my expectations. Granted, the book did outline many interesting ideas that many of today's top retailers and businesses have used to capitalize on repeat business, but none seemed to work for me or any of my prominent clients. In fact, much of what was suggested seemed to be geared towards huge companies with deep, deep pockets. That's not me. I bought a $10.00 book... I want $10.00 ideas.

Overall, the book provided great repeat business strategies, just not ones me or my small business clients could budget. However, I did think the book was well-written and very much enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for repeat business strategies and ideas, as long as budget wasn't a factor. In addition, I will enjoy keeping this book on hand for future reference.

Labels:


Google Maps Launches 'Coupon' Feature

written by
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Google Maps Launches 'Coupon' FeatureGoogle Maps will be offering printable coupons for everything from pizza to car washes as they make a move designed to appeal to peoples' appetites for a bargain. Also, Google is also providing an easier way for merchants to understand the impact of their online presence by allowing them to better track online leads that convert offline.

What Google's

Google Maps will be offering printable coupons for everything from pizza to car washes as they make a move designed to appeal to peoples' appetites for a bargain. Also, and in addition to offering a service to Google Map users, Google is also providing an easier way for merchants to understand the impact of their online presence by allowing them to better track online leads that convert offline... which is one of the major purposes of Google's Maps and Local Search divisions.

Under the conditions of this new service, a search for "Day Spas in New York" will display business listings that match those terms alongside a map. If any Day Spas are offering coupons, a link accompanying the listing will take people to a separate web page where the coupon can be printed. The coupon can then be redeemed in person at the business location... which to sum up my point will assist merchants, in addition to the customers, by providing them some basis of how their local search campaigns are doing.

Here are a few snap-shots of this new service:

What Google's What Google's

Beginning as early as this morning, Google Maps users will see coupons from the more than 12,000 advertisers who offer printable online coupons. As of right now, it appears that any and all merchants are eligible to sign up to offer coupons, at no charge, on Google Maps at Google's Local Business Center. Google will also begin offering in coming months the ability for businesses that purchase AdWords search-related keywords to send people who click on the ads to a page containing a coupon hosted by Google Maps.

My Thoughts

In the traditional offline world, coupons drive a lot of business, and they haven't been well-explored online. What Google has done here is provided a very valuable marketing tool for local businesses and it doesn't cost anything beyond the discount given to customers.

For the longest time, online maps from Google and rivals Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL have been racing to offer the most bells and whistles to attract more user-eyeballs that can then be fed advertisements. With that in mind, "Bravo" goes to you Google for being the first major map provider to offer coupons, which will not only appeal to cost-conscious consumers but also offer advertisers a reliable way to gauge the success of an ad campaign.

Labels:


Google Adwords to Provide MySpace with Ads

written by
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Google Adwords to Provide MySpace with AdsGoogle inked a deal with MySpace.com in which it will serve its web search and advertising listings to MySpace's nearly 100 million members. Under the terms of the agreement, Google must guarantee Fox Interactive, minimum payments of $900 million over a 3 year period of time. This is of course if MySpace can meet certain traffic expectations set forth by Google.

Google Adwords to Provide MySpace with Ads

On Monday, Google inked a deal with MySpace.com, outbidding Yahoo! in the process, in which it will serve its web search and advertising listings to MySpace's nearly 100 million members.

Under the terms of the agreement, which will begin in the fourth quarter, Google must guarantee Fox Interactive, MySpace's parent company, minimum payments of $900 million over a 3 year period of time. This is of course if MySpace can meet certain traffic expectations set forth by Google.

MySpace, for those unaware of it, is a social networking website which offers an interactive, user-submitted network of Blogs, profiles, groups, photos, MP3s, videos, and an internal e-mail system. In fact, in July of this year MySpace became the #1 ranked website in the United States (according to research performed by Hitwise... which is probably what led Google to bid in the first place.

Labels:


SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

written by
Thursday, August 10, 2006
SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

I am happy to report that I was fortunate enough to attend the 4-day Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference this past week - a conference dedicated to the search marketing industry. The conference was held in San Jose, and I had an absolute blast taking in the sights, and catching up with a few of my colleagues. All in all, it was a great conference.

The following are a few of my conference notes and key take-a-ways:

Day 1 Notes

The conference kicked off nice and early for me this morning as I needed to register, grab all the freebies that go along with antending, and get myself prepared for the upcoming sessions.

Searcher Behavior Research Update

My first session was the "Searcher Behavior Research Update", with speakers Bill Barnes, Rob Murray, David Williams, and Anne Frisbie. For the most part, this was a good session as the speakers highlighted their latest studies and findings regarding how searchers interact with search engines.

Robert Murray, President of iProspect, shared a couple of interesting statistics that I thought were worth mentioning. According to his research:

"62% of all Search Engine users never look past the 1st page of the SE results."

"90% of all Search Engine users never look past the 3rd page of the SE results."

This just goes to show how important top search engine placement is. Search users are no longer digging though the thousands upon thousands of search engine results to find a website (frankly... I'm not sure that they ever did). It seems that if the majority of searchers don't find what they're looking for by the 3rd page, they'll either enter a new query or try another search engine all together. Therefore, it becomes extremely important that website owners find their way to the top of the search engines, either organically or through paid-placement methods, for their desired keyword phrases.

Robert also mentioned that:

"41% of all Search Engine users will change their query or search engine if they can't find what their looking for after the 1st page of the SE Results."

"88% of all Search Engine users will change their query or search engine if they can't find what their looking for after the 3rd page of the SE results."

Which again, these statistics certainly say a lot about today's search users and their searching behaviors.

Leveraging Social Media

My second session was "Leveraging Social Media" and it focused primarily on how one can use media services like MySpace, YouTube, Friendster, and Flickr to deliver marketing messages without disrupting the diverse audience that exists within each area. Overall this was a pretty decent session and one that provided me with lots to look into and experiment with.

Google Sitemaps / Google Webmaster Central

At lunch I sat in on a Google Sitemaps / Google Webmaster Central session. That's right if you didn't already catch it elsewhere... Google announced that they are dropping the name "Sitemaps" and dubbed the service "Webmaster Central". Personally, I hate the name, but 'what are ya going do'. The lunch / session featured the "Webmaster Central" team as they walked through some of the program's new changes and updates.

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

My last session of the day was a jam-packed, standing-room-only "SEM Via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging" session. This session featured the all-star line-up of Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel, Andy Hagans, Todd Malicoat, and Chris Pirillo. Together they discussed the many services and strategies that can be used to tap into links and search-driven traffic, such as Wikipedia, Digg, Flickr, and Technorati. "Kudos" goes out to these guys for putting on a very entertaining, and yet informative, session.

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

Day 2 Notes

Auditing Paid Listings & Click Fraud Issues

My day kicked off with the "Auditing Paid Listings & Click Fraud Issues" session, which happens to be one that I typically try and attend each time. The session covers how to spot abnormalities and follow-up with search engines if you should suspect a competitor or someone else is creating invalid clicks on your accounts. Personally speaking, this session is a great way to keep up with the latest on click-fraud class-action lawsuits, as well as what the engines are doing to combat malicious click activity.

Lori Weiman, Director of KeywordMax, shared a very interesting statistic today. According to her and the research that she and her team have done:

"8% - 28% of PPC Clicks are Invalid"

Now to be fair to Lori and the statistic she provided (and because I spoke with her personally about it after the session) the 28% mentioned is 1 or 2 extreme cases that she's come acrossed and it certainly does not represent the large majority of her clients. Another thing to keep in mind is that an "invalid" click doesn't necessarily mean click-fraud.

Also, during this same session, Shuman Ghosemajumder, Business Product Manager of Google, announced that a report had just been published (we're literally talking hours before the session) which claims to find fault in how 3 major 3rd party click-auditing companies, and potentially all auditing programs using JavaScript solutions, count their clicks. The report is titled "How Fictitious Clicks Occur in Third-Party Click Fraud Audit Reports" and actually featured Tom Cuthbert's company Click Forensics. The interesting thing here is that Tom just happened to be a panelist on this very session.

Now I have not yet read this report, but I do encourage you all to take a look as Google's findings. You can check it out here.

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

New Yahoo! Search Marketing Platform Demo

I happened to catch a special lunch session with the Yahoo! Search Marketing team where they showed off a live demo of their new, soon to launch, PPC Ad Platform. The new platform seems to be tons better than their current platform, and from what I've seen today it appears that Yahoo! is definitely moving in all the right directions. Here are a couple of major updates highlighted in today's presentation:

  • A New User Dash-Board.
  • A Time-Zone Setting.
  • An Extremely Better Geo-Targeting Feature.
  • A/B Testing Options.
  • Budgeting on Both an Account Level and Campaign Level.
  • Alerts and Customizable Alerts.
  • A New Ranking Algorithm Based on an Ad's Performance.
  • Plus tons more TBA.

This new platform is available now to a select few, but will hopefully be up and running completely by 4th Quarter of this year or by 1st Quarter of next year. The YSM mentioned that the delay is due to the fact that they'd like some time to beef up their customer service staff and ensure that they're indeed ready to assist advertisers when the time comes. Not a bad idea if you ask me.

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

Expo Hall

The exhibit hall opened up today as I found myself spending a great deal of time in the hall. There are tons of booths to cover and tons of people to look-up, and only 2 days to do it in... which validates my time on the exhibit hall floor. Here are a couple of pics that I was able to take:

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

Google Dance

The Google Dance kicked-off in similar fashion to other years... boarding a bus at the convention center which takes attendees to and from Google. Upon arriving at Googleplex, we were greeted by members of the Google staff and were shortly after introduced to a bunch of great freebies, including food, beverages, and entertainment. As always this was a super great time!

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

Day 3 Notes

Interview with Eric Schmidt

I was very fortunate to catch the morning interview Danny Sullivan did with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. I particularly enjoyed the interview, and enjoyed seeing Eric Schmidt in person. However, I will say that the questions Danny asked seemed to be more pre-scripted than what I've been used to, which unfortunately didn't provide for a very exciting conversation.

Day 4 Notes

Yahoo! Store Developer Meeting

On the last day I joined team All Web Promotion and several other very prominent developers in a visit to Yahoo's Corporate Headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. We did this last year and it has sort of become tradition. On campus, I was able to sit and chat with the Yahoo! Store team, and comment on current and future products. Personally, I loved this visit and found the experience to be educational and enjoyable.

SES Conference Recap: San Jose, 2006

If interested, I've published more 2006 SES San Jose Conference Photos on Flickr.

Labels:


The Click Measurement Working Group

written by
Friday, August 04, 2006

The Click Measurement Working GroupThe major Web search companies have announced their plans to work together with two industry groups, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the nonprofit Media Rating Council, to quantify click fraud. The group's mission is to establish guidelines for what constitutes valid clicks and invalid clicks on ads to help the industry measure how prevalent click-fraud is.

The Click Measurement Working Group

After numerous class action lawsuits and criticism from advertisers, the major Web search companies, such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Ask.com, LookSmart and others, have announced on Wednesday their plans to work together with two industry groups, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the nonprofit Media Rating Council, to quantify click fraud. Together, they will be known as the Click Measurement Working Group.

The group's mission is to establish guidelines for what constitutes valid clicks and invalid clicks on ads. Guidelines can help the industry measure how prevalent click-fraud really is. Third-parties who sell click-fraud-combating services to advertisers claim that click-fraud rates are as high as 30 percent. Google and Yahoo, however, counter that click-fraud rates are minimal.

This announcement comes a week after Google kicked it up a notch and began offering invalid click stats to their Adwords advertisers. For those of you not familiar with click-fraud it occurs when online ads are intentionally clicked on, either by websites who get paid for hosting the ads or by companies trying to deplete the ad budgets of rivals. This is typically done so that fraudulent clickers can buy the search keywords themselves and steal the business.

My Thoughts

Since day 1, I've questioned whether or not search engines should be the ones to police click-fraud issues simply because of all the incentive and profit that goes with it. Let's face it, search engines make money on click-fraud... and I mean good money. Would you expect a company to take serious action against their primary source for revenue? I'd think not.

To me, it's always been the "fox guarding the hen house" scenario. Even though Google, Yahoo!, and others are some of the most respected and trusted companies of today, one would still have to wonder whether or not they're as honest as they should be when it comes to click-fraud.

With that said, I firmly believe that forming the "Click Measurement Working Group" is a step in the right direction for Pay Per Click advertising. The newly formed group will ensure that marketers of all sizes are provided the highest possible level of transparency when dealing with invalid PPC clicks.

Labels:


Google AdWords to Provide Radio Ads via XM Radio

written by
Thursday, August 03, 2006

Google AdWords to Provide Radio Ads via XM RadioWith the dMarc platform already in its possession, Google has made what otherwise would be complicated radio advertising procedures, such as sales, scheduling and tracking, automated and simplified. This deal is the latest of what seems like a series of moves to expand the AdWords program beyond a strictly online medium.

Google AdWords to Provide Radio Ads via XM Radio

Do you remember back in January when Google purchased the radio ad company "dMarc Broadcasting"? Well, this past Wednesday, Google inked a deal with XM Satellite Radio... a deal that will eventually allow the search giant's AdWords advertisers to promote their products and services through XM spots.

With the dMarc platform in its possession, Google has made what otherwise would be complicated radio advertising procedures, such as sales, scheduling and tracking, automated and simplified. Currently, the platform is available only to dMarc advertisers, and not AdWords clients, but Google estimates that dMarc will be integrated into the AdWords software by the fourth quarter of this year.

This deal is the latest of what seems like a series of moves to expand the AdWords program beyond a strictly online medium... and such a partnership with XM radio is definitely a major step in that direction.

Just take a moment and think about what Google is doing. With the use of their dMarc Broadcasting system and this partnership with XM radio, Google has opened the doors for its advertisers to more than 7 million radio subscribers throughout the U.S. alone. That, combined with the already powerful distribution of their current Adwords program, offers several different marketing avenues for small, medium, and large companies to explore.

Labels:


Microsoft adCenter Update Planned for Saturday

written by
Thursday, August 03, 2006

Microsoft adCenter Update Planned for SaturdayMicrosoft is planning a pretty big adCenter update for this Weekend. This update will offer a few new features that are geared towards improving their advertiser's overall online experience. During this time, all campaigns and ads will continue to run, however, advertisers will not be able to access or make changes to their adCenter accounts.

Microsoft adCenter Update Planned for Saturday

Microsoft is planning a pretty big adCenter update for this Weekend. This update will offer a few new features that are geared towards improving their advertiser's overall online experience. The new features will include:

  • Compatibility with the Firefox 1.5 browser.
  • All data (daily, weekly, and monthly) will be updated on a more frequent basis to help advertisers to view results and optimize campaigns more efficiently.
  • An option to set and view your campaign and order summaries based on a specific time frame, as opposed to only showing summaries in the life-to-date format.
  • A user-interface change, specifically to the "reporting" tab, that is said to make it easier to use.

This upgrade is expected to take place this Saturday (August 5th) and between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm Pacific Time. During this time, all campaigns and ads will continue to run, however, advertisers will not be able to access or make changes to their adCenter accounts. Therefore make sure you make all necessary account changes before-hand, because your're going to be very limited on time for Saturday.

Labels:


Book Review: "The Big Moo"

written by
Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Book Review: 'The Big Moo'Godin recruited stories from The Group of 33 - a gathering of bestselling authors and business superstars like Jay Gouliard, Lisa Gansky, Mark Cuban, Guy Kawasaki, and Seth Godin himself. Together they outline some of the best secrets for creating a sustainable and remarkable company. "The Big Moo" focuses on their stories.

Book Review: 'The Big Moo'
"In the old days, showing up was 95 percent of success. If you offered a good product at a good price in a reliable way, you'd do fine. Being local was a good thing. Having a long track record helped. Decent quality and personal service mattered as well."

"No longer. Good enough isn't good enough, because now everything is good enough. Our expectations of quality are unrealistic - and are being met every single day. We don't just want to be satisfied, we want to be blown away."

If you're a regular reader of this Blog, than chances are you've already read my review of Godin's "Purple Cow". I absolutely recommend that book. However, while "The Big Moo", also written by Seth Godin, is not an official sequel as it could be read with or without first reading "Purple Cow", I believe they compliment each other very well and to the point where I'm now calling it the unofficial volume II.

As Godin had first outlined in Purple Cow, companies need to stop being a brown cow, roaming in a field with hundreds of other brown cows, and dare to be purple... or in other words dare to be different, innovative, and remarkable. However, after a while, being 'purple' won't be enough to stand out. Companies will then need to develop a 'big moo', an extreme purple cow, an innovation that completely changes the game.

Godin cleverly explains that a 'Purple Cow' is what you need to be successful, but a 'big moo' is taking success one step further. In order to grow at the pace your market demands, you and your colleagues must find the 'big moo', the insight that is so astounding that people can't help but remark on it.

An example would be FedEx. Shipping was just shipping... until there was FedEx. FedEx is the now purple cow of shipping. FedEx's 'big moo' is when they changed the world by popularizing overnight shipping.

To explore the idea of the 'Big Moo', Godin recruited stories from The Group of 33... a gathering of bestselling authors and business superstars like Jay Gouliard, Lisa Gansky, Mark Cuban, Guy Kawasaki, and Seth Godin himself. Together they outline some of the best secrets for creating a sustainable and remarkable company. "The Big Moo" focuses on their stories... stories about memorable customer service, amazing dedication, daring design standards, and legendary leadership.

Book Review

"The Big Moo" is a unique look into the minds of 33 of the boldest,brightest, and most pioneering people in business. It's an idea book... a call to action type book. This book is about the why, the what, and the how to make a remarkable idea more remarkable. It highlights many of today's 'Big Moo' ideas, and shares in-depth ideas and concepts of how a company can create one.

To be completely honest, I didn't get a lot out of this book, like I had with "Purple Cow", however I did very much enjoy reading about many of today's 'Big Moos' and how they changed the companies who created them. Furthermore, I'd recommend this to those that have already read Godin's "Purple Cow" and are interested in taking those concepts a little bit farther.

Labels: