Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Let This Happen To You

Elana is a representative of Peak Advertising, a nationally recognized performance marketing agency.  You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What's Next In Internet Marketing?

This week I thought we'd take a look at some important factors for success in the blossoming internet economy.

 e Payments: Make them easy and easy to access. If it's difficult for a customer to pay you, they won't.  Make your checkout clearly available, safe, and secure.

Good Creatives.  The days of throwing together a cheap creative in Flash are over.  With an increase in internet marketing comes an increase in competition, and if you want to stand out, a having high artistic standards for your creative is highly important.  Many companies still see paying an artist as a sort of luxury, when in fact it is an essential component to any successful marketing campaign.

Engaging Your Customers.  If you want people to keep coming back to your site, you have to give them a reason to.  By engaging customers in some kind of dialogue, you make them feel like a part of a greater whole and give them a sense of community.  They return to your site because they want to, not because they are continually being coerced to.

Simple Intuitive Sites.  The last thing a new client has patience for is navigating an overly complex site.  A simple streamlining of your site to make it clear, intuitive, and user friendly, can make a big difference in whether or not a customer stays there long enough to make a purchase.

Don't Be Sneaky.  If someone wants to unsubscribe from your site, let them unsubscribe.  When a customer adds items to a shopping cart, let them see their total clearly, with no hidden fees at the end.  Trying to trick the customer may make you a quick buck today, but it will hurt you in the long run.  Honesty and good business practice will be the key to longevity in the internet economy.

Does anyone have an internet success story they'd like to share?

Citations: Revenue Performance, 5 Key Insights Into The Future of Digital Marketing, Chris Trayhorne

Elana is a representative of Peak Advertising, a nationally recognized performance marketing agency.  You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It Can Be Confusing Out There

Elana is a representative of Peak Advertising, a nationally recognized performance marketing agency.  You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brand Awareness: Family Branding vs. Individual Branding

Don't talk to strangers.  As children this proverb is taught to us as a means to keep us safe and out of harm's way.  As we grow into adults, we begin to understand that in many cases talking to people we don't know is ok and more often than not beneficial, but still lurking deep in our subconscious there is still that little voice that whispers, "don't trust this person, they're a stranger."  This little voice makes an appearance when we're thinking of making a purchase as well.  When confronted with a new product that we've never seen before, we will often times subconsciously pass it by because to us it takes on the role of a "stranger".  This is why brand awareness is a key component to any successful marketing strategy.  To people, familiarity is trust and taking the time to have people become familiar with your product gives you credibility.  But how do you go about doing this if you are a corporate business, with multiple products to promote?  Let's take a minute to explore the different options.

   Brand awareness can be split into two categories, family branding, and individual branding.  Family branding is where several different products are marketed together, under one larger umbrella brand.  Examples of family branding include Ford Motor Company, Apple Computers, and Bath and Body Works.  Individual branding is where each product is promoted as its own separate entity, such as Absolute Vodka, Eggo Waffles, and Oreo Cookies.  When choosing a marketing strategy that is right for your company it is best to make an informed decision by exploring the different upsides and drawbacks to each strategy.

   First let's look at family branding.  If you have high standards and always take quality into account, family branding can be a wonderful way to market your products.  Family branding is a group effort, where each product has the important job of supporting and helping the other products.  Rather than having to exert unnecessary effort on several different advertising campaigns, family branding allows the use of harmony, where each product's job is to compliment the others. In family branding, each product gives the others strength, and when one product succeeds, they all benefit. In family branding, one single advertisement or campaign unites the group.  This being the case, the drawbacks of family marketing only occur if one product's standards drop or are not maintained, as this reflects negatively on the group as a whole.

   Individual branding works best when your company has several unrelated products they want to promote.  If you are selling shirts, beer, and magazines, you will probably want each product to have its own unique image, as these items have very little to do with one another.  In individual branding, each product has its own unique position, and in marketing is allowed to go off in whatever direction it chooses.  Drawbacks to individual branding include: split markets, split efforts, and the possibility of imbalance within your company.

   Promoting brand awareness can be done in several different ways.  Here are just a few:





   Your goal is for people to feel comfortable with your product.  You want to remove all anxiety and fears of "stranger danger", and replace it with the confidence that your product seeks a helpful and positive role in their life.  Whether you choose an individual or family marketing strategy, you want them to understand that your product is out there, waiting to benefit them.  If you can earn this understanding, even in a tiny corner of the consumer's mind, as a company you have won a great victory.

You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com.

Friday, March 9, 2012

High Artistic Standards in PPC Advertising Can Give You the Edge

Let's face it, the United States has not been the most art forward place to be in recent history.   One look at design standards now compared to design standards 50 years ago shows the value that corporate America currently places on art.

  Indulge me in an experiment.  Google advertisements from the 1950's and 1960's and see what comes up.  As you can see, these ads often have intelligent and playful use of color, a painting or some kind of graphic art, fun composition, and a myriad of different fonts and typefaces.  Now Google ads from present day.  The colors are often garish (or at the opposite end, almost monochromatic), there is little or no art present, and the fonts are bland and lifeless.

  Notice a difference?  Do you also notice how the older advertisements don't just give you information, but make you WANT to look at them and find out more?  Now,  I'm not saying that every creative or advertisement has to be a show-stopping work of art,  I'm merely trying to demonstrate how maintaining high artistic standards for your creatives can give your company the edge it needs in the highly competitive internet market.

   The way PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising works is a business or corporation is only responsible for paying an affiliate (person advertising for them) when a customer clicks on a banner or advertisement to find out more information about the product or service being advertised.  Similar, but not the same is PPA advertising, where a company only pays an affiliate if a member is acquired or a sale is made.  In either case, getting someone to "walk through the door" is a large part of the battle.  It's the only way both the company and the affiliate can benefit.

   Put yourself in the customer's shoes.  If two ads were to appear at the top of their screen, one ad that was fun and appealing to look at, and one ad that was bland and generic, which do you think would be more successful in grabbing their attention?  Even though the ads from the first group were designed for print media (where advertisers assumed that they would have more than a fraction of a second of the viewer's time), they still manage to grab and hold our attention more successfully than the ads from the second group do.  
   When artistic standards are high, your company not only benefits in the short term, but in the long term as well.  A successful artisticly-based ad campaign gives your company an opportunity to develop iconic status, and earn a positive space in a customer's mind for not only a second or a minute, but for years and years.  Think about it.  If Coca-Cola had never commissioned Norman Rockwell to paint those Santa Claus advertisements, would we still think about them every Christmas?  Would we fondly remember Campbell's Soup if it weren't for the apple cheeked children of Grace Drayton (or the non-commissioned satirical work of Andy Warhol)?  Iconic status is in no way guaranteed by employing high artistic standards, but having such standards is the only way to make it possible.

   If you research further, you will see that history is full of wonderful examples of successful arts-based ad campaigns.  These campaigns benefit you, the customer, and could play a part  in raising corporate Americas artistic standards on a large scale.  In short, in a world of digital beer, why not offer champagne?   You're much more likely to get people to come to your party that way.

You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com.

Friday, March 2, 2012

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): How it works, and how to get it to work for you

Say your business is about to launch a new performance marketing campaign.  Your focus is content marketing, and you have every confidence that you have the design and the content to make for wonderful results.  Yet what is good does writing or graphics do if there's no audience to see it?  The internet can sometimes seem like a vast expanse or void, swallowing content with little or no return.  SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is a great way to increase your chances of getting noticed on the web.  What it is in plain English, is a way to give your site has the best possible chance of coming up on a search engine and being seen by potential viewers.  Lets take a look at what Search Engine Optimization is and how it works.
   There are two different sides to search engine optimization, onsite factors and offsite factors. Onsite factors are the factors you have control over personally on your site.  Keywords, site content, and links to other sites are all good examples of onsite factors.  Offsite factors basically include factors that effect your site from the outside.  Social media, other people's sites, reviews, and directories are all good examples of offsite factors.  As both onsite and offsite factors are essential to SEO lets take a minute to explore each one more in depth.

   The way Google functions is by crawling the web (actually they have a "robot" to do that, Googlebot), and compiling an index of words from all of the information it sifts through.  When someone searches for something, say cartoons from the 1940's for example, one of the ways Google comes up with results is by sifting through this huge index of words.  This is why keywords are important.  Without the proper keywords, someone searching for content related to your site could miss it entirely.  Another onsite factor you can take advantage of are links to other peoples sites.  This onsite factor has a bit more humanity.  If you link to other people's sites, people will in turn link to yours.  This is a sure fire way to grow your presence on the web and promote good content.. 

   Google does not judge a blog by the color of its page, but by the content of its character.  It figures, the more sites that link to yours, the more important and relevant your site must be.  Offsite factors are what gives your blog pagerank, or importance on the internet.  If there are 15 websites about Persian Cats, but only one with multiple reviews and links hosted by other sites, Google will send the one with "credentials" to the top of the list.  This good practice of promoting reputable sites is one of the things that has made Google a successful search engine.


1. Give thought to the words you choose.  As mentioned earlier, if relevant words aren't there search engines won't be able to find them.  Try to see inside of the mind of someone searching for your site.  What would they type?

2.  Make sure everything is in working order. Check for broken links and incorrect html.  These things can lower your site's pagerank.

3.  Consider hiring an a reputable Search Engine Optimizer.  If you are too busy to take on the task of search engine optimization yourself (or just want a fresh perspective), hiring an outside optimizer can be a helpful way to improve your website's visibility.  If you are considering this, Google recommends doing so when you first launch your site or when you are considering redesigning it.  Outside SEOs can be a valuable ally in getting noticed, however beware of sites that use the following practices: the use of "doorway pages" or pages loaded with false keywords, the use of "shadow domains" or deceptive redirects, SEO's that operate with multiple aliases, sites that use viruses, malware, spyware, or scumware.  Google frowns on these practices and they could lead to lowering your sites pagerank.

4.  Submit your site to Google.  There's no way Googlebot can miss you then!

5. Be a good neighbor.  Posting links to relevant blogs, leaving comments on other people's sites, or  posting relevant and complimentary subject matter are all good ways to get linkbacks and up your sites pagerank and visibility.

   Anytime you understand how something works, you increase your chances of making it work for you, and the internet is no exception. With good Search Engine Optimization on your side you vastly increase your chances of getting out there and getting noticed on the web.  Does the internet seem a little smaller all of a sudden?

Elana can be reached with questions or feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com