Single Throw's Internet Marketing Post

Single Throw is an Internet Marketing firm that helps businesses with sales lead generation by making sure your message is in the right place at the right time - when a customer is searching and has need - when they are most likely to make a buying decision. We call this "From Search to Success." In this blog, Single Throw's experts will share their insights on the state of business and marketing, both online and offline, as well explore new areas of Internet Marketing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

DIY SEO comments from Google's Matt Cutts

People often ask us, "Why can't we do Search Engine Optimization ourselves?" Truth of the matter is you certainly can, just as you can attempt to give your car a tune up or highlight your own hair. (Author's note: I have attempted neither on my own for fear of frightening results.) The Internet has provided us with an almost unlimited supply of information on how to do just about anything. Then there are kits and tools that help just about any do-it-yourselfer do just about anything. My suggestion: some things are best left to the pros. Buying a hammer and some nails does not mean you can successfully build a house.

Google software engineer Matt Cutts shares his thoughts on SEO tools. Click here to give it a read.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cyber Monday - Tell me why you don't like Mondays?

A few tips for online stores and how you can resurrect your sales numbers before the holiday shopping season is over!

As an online store, this should be your day to shine. Yet sales might be slower than you hoped, that last direct mail campaign isn't drawing the responses you expected and your placement in search engines could be better. So what can you do to save the rest of the much anticipated holiday season? Here are few quick ideas...

Direct mail used to be the de facto option however you are relying on delivery in time for the big month of shopping rush, as well as standing out amongst the massive mail clutter. So try more direct alternative: email. Tap your current customer list. They are already comfortable with your company and more likely to shop than someone new. Email an offer to them: a promotion such as free shipping or 10% off their sale. Limit the time frame to instill a bit of urgency. "This offer ends on Wednesday, so act NOW! Click here to start shopping!"

How about customer referrals? Offer current customer an incentive to refer a friend. Word of mouth advertising is one of the best lead generators out there. A happy customer is likely to spread the word, so give them incentive to do so.

So how do you reach new customers the way direct mail might? Get 'em when they are looking and have need: in the search engines! While it may be too late for an organic campaign, a PPC campaign can be started right away producing immediate results. A caution though: you are paying for each and every click, so spend wisely. Choose highly targeted and relevant phrases, not generic phrases like "gifts" - be specific to what you sell, such as "holiday gift baskets." Ensure that each of these PPC ads land on that specific page and not simply on the home page.

Do you have some unique items to offer? Get them mentioned on one of the many shopping recommendation sites out there. A link from a site that is highly trafficked can make a world of difference. Consider checking out the popular comparison shopping sites such as Froogle, and Shopzilla, or contacting one of the many great shopping blogs such as Mighty Goods or Shopping Blog and get them to plug your great products.

Have a prosperous Cyber holiday season!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Seth Godin and the pickle bar

Yesterday we had the distinct opportunity to host a Move Ahead 1 marketing seminar that featured Seth Godin as the special guest speaker, along with our own Larry Bailin as the keynote, at the Holiday Inn in Edison, New Jersey. If you are not one of the lucky 300 plus people to attend, let me say that you missed an extraordinary morning of networking, exhibits from businesses in the tri-state area, and of course, our speakers.

The Holiday Inn is a pleasant hotel with a fine staff. They treated us well through all of the events that we held there this year. While most people know the brand name, or maybe have passed by the hotel on the way to Raritan Center, many more in the area recall, "Oh, is that the one that Harold's is in?" Yes, Harold's New York Deli; famous in the central New Jersey area and well beyond for it's ginormous sandwiches that no one person can eat alone - they actually provide extra bread - exceptional rye or pumpernickel - to create new sandwiches out of the single one you ordered. What's also notable about Harold's: it is the only restaurant I know that has a pickle bar. Not a salad bar - a pickle bar.

Godin noted this in his talk yesterday, and even provided a picture. Harold's has found a way to stand out from the large amount of competition in this heavily populated and trafficked area of central New Jersey. They serve incredibly sized sandwiches, as well as enormous éclairs, napoleons and other pastries. Instead of a salad bar, they have pickles and other salad-like features. Certainly, you can go somewhere else and have great pickles and a terrific corned beef or pastrami sandwich, but you won't necessarily spend a week telling people about it or consider it a place to go when you're in the area and entertaining guests. It's all good food...Harold's makes it better by making it different.

Here's what I wish Harold's would do different: put some photos of their creations on their website! Granted, they have an excellent word of mouth campaign going. But when I'm looking online, show me what makes you extraordinary. Show me why your small corned beef sandwich is worth $13.50.

Many struggle to define their unique value or selling competition. Here is a situation where there is one, yet it's only visible when you walk through the doors.

Show value in a way your competitor cannot - everywhere and anywhere. Make it known that you can serve customers in a way they cannot. Don't hide your unique value proposition, flaunt it!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sunday Morning Quarterback - Google, Jagger, The SEO Beast of Burden

Weekly shared insights and opinions from Caryl Felicetta, Single Throw COO

The SEO Beast of Burden
The Google "Jagger" update goes live...

This weekend, without the widespread media buzz - outside of the SEO and Internet marketing community that is - Google let its new update loose on a few of their data centers.

Now is when people on the "inside" of SEO marketing sigh with relief as they see that staying on the "legal" side of things paid off and they see no real loss of results. Meanwhile those on the other side of the fence are sweating. They now have to live with the burden of once again knowing that shady tactics may cost them business - both their own, and that of their clients.

Google promises that this update will help to improve listings and add more spam filtering. We'll see. So far we're seeing a lot of redundant listings, but overall nothing earth-shattering.

Once the update opens up to other data centers, we'll be able to see more of the effects. Until that time, it's a lot of supposition and after years of Google updates, we've learned letting the initial chaos blow over is the best bet.

Have a great week...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Follow up on Blogging your way into the market

In an earlier post we talked about experimenting with the power of blogging and it's reach. While the Single Throw Internet Marketing Insights blog is relatively new to the marketing world, we have found that the blog itself has already found it's way onto the search engine databases such as Google. That's great news, especially having achieved this in a short amount of time. But it's nothing new...blogs have made an impact on the search engines since their launch.

What is interesting is how working with related content and a blog with far more reach, such as Godin's blog, (one of his many blogs actually) we did find an impressive increase in traffic and to our core target, the Godin event details page on the Move Ahead 1 website, as well as an increase in conversions.

Our goal was to spread the word to the perfect target, Godin fans. What other way than to ask Godin himself for a mention. That mention linked to the Move Ahead 1 page. In combination with the mentions and links in this blog, we were able to put a targeted message in front of the right viewers.

Part two comes with watching the propagation through search engines so we can reach these same viewers at their time of need: when they are searching for an Internet marketing seminar or Godin live event. With this, we test the powers of an organic program and the potential of increased speed in reaching this space using linking and blogs. So keep an eye out for the results.

Coming this weekend: The Google update! Stay tuned for information and comments. There's a ton of news out there already, but the new "Jagger" roll out won't happen this weekend, according to Matt Cutts. Til then...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Measurement a key to success

BtoB's final NetMarketing Breakfast of 2005 was held in NYC today featuring an exceptional panel of Internet marketing managers and directors from IBM, Microsoft and Nextel. While the three diverse companies stood in agreement on a key component of an Internet marketing strategy - metrics - they didn't necessarily agree on the amount or type of metrics that is required.

"Metrics" come in many different flavors and can range from basic traffic statistics through to the best metric of all: sales. Mike Moran, distinguished engineer and manager of site architecture at IBM Corp., put it best when he said, “Listen to your customers. They’re voting with their mice.”

The Internet provides us with one of the best marketing metrics machines around. As Mr. Moran had alluded, customers are typing and clicking their way from searches to your site at several different levels through the buying cycle. The ability to track that data and analyze it is the key to refining your strategy to improve success rates. The days of "waiting and seeing" if a print ad worked have been reduced down to campaigns that can be deployed in sheer minutes.

At the same time, all of the power of measurability Internet marketing affords us, a company needs to focus on the metrics that best illustrate and define their processes and sales cycles and use those metrics to their benefit. It's best to avoid "information overload" and over-analysis and focus on those key indicators that can help you to refine process.

Some key indicators for Internet marketing success or flaws include:
  1. Sales - The only question I would have is "how can we sell even more?"
  2. Information requests - a customer requesting help on the site may indicate a flaw in your information flow. Don't dismiss it; have someone take a quick look.
  3. Traffic statistics - not necessarily how many people visit, but what are they doing when they get there? Are they bailing on the home page? Are they abandoning their shopping carts?
  4. PPC performance - Getting clicks but no sales? Do the landing pages match the keyword requests? Are the calls to action clear? Is there a benefit statement?
What metrics do you find most helpful to your Internet marketing efforts? Let us know.