Marketing Monday

Marketing Monday: Landing Pages 101

landingpages101A new project I’m working on requires me making some landing pages, which is making people in my life wonder, what is that?

A landing page is a page you send people to, usually an internal page of your website with more targeted information.

Let’s say you ran an ad about gardening tools. You could send people to your hardware store’s home page and hope they find it or you can send them to a specific URL like
www.yourdomainname.com/gardening.

I usually notice these when I hear a radio ad, like Macy’s ad this holiday season is telling me to go to www.macys.com/believe.

Macy's Landing Page. So animated, it almost made me forget I don't like Flash as a general rule.

Macy’s Landing Page. So animated, it almost made me forget I don’t like Flash as a general rule.

You’ll notice upon typing it, the URL at the top changes (I know it’s in tiny writing, it says social.macys.com and then a ton of stuff after). You can make any URL with your domain redirect. For example, I can make www.breakingeveninc.com/myhotdog redirect to my favorite Gidget video. Creating this is 5 minutes of nerdiness in the Cpanel of your website. Then you can give your landing page a link that people can remember.



Anyway, the URL changes from macys.com/believe (what people remember) to something longish (information  your web statistics programs needs to track it). Whoever at the Macy’s company looks at their web statistics can not only see who used that URL (www.macys.com/believe) and lots more information about each like where they are visiting the website from geographically, how long they stayed on the site, etc. Companies can use this data to make decisions (Ex: Hey, the ad we ran nationwide did not do so well in New Hampshire markets. Maybe let’s not waste the money next year running it.)

So you can see why companies have landing pages, especially this Macy’s one since it is so different than the rest of the website. Not only is it getting people where they want to go on the website but this is being measured for effectiveness.

A more subtle use of the landing page is Audible’s sponsorship of This American Life. When I am listening to the podcast, at the end, I am encouraged to go to audible.com/american and download my free audio book. Here’s the landing page for that:

This American Life logo says "Come on in, you're in the right place!"

This American Life logo says “Come on in, you’re in the right place!”

OK, so the URL changed (again) for statistical tracking purposes from www.audible.com/american to something long and I am given a much more subtle welcome here than at Macy’s.

Actually, it looks a lot like the rest of Audible’s site, except you’ll notice the ‘This American Life’ logo, which let’s me know I’m in the right place.

Don’t underestimate the power of making people feel like they are in the right place. If you used memorable verbage or a logo in an ad, make sure it’s on the landing page. People like consistency; it makes them trust your brand.

Landing pages can either scream “Look at me!” or be pretty subtle. While you want traffic to your site in general, you want to drive people to internal pages (not just the home page) of your website so they can find relevant information quickly… and you want to see if what you’re offering is inticing to the general public.

There are more nerdy aspects of landing pages, like keyword research and A/B testing (The website equivalent to your eye doctor saying “Is this better, or this one?”) which is why anyone would hire someone like me to make these but you get the idea. And if you have a domain name, web stats software, Cpanel access, and an a dream, you too can try out a landing page for yourself!

Marketing Monday: Standing Out Among The Email Sales

Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, I’m already starting to get email sale fatigue. Bad sign huh?

All these sales are a blur, or are they? Photo by Flickr user Chris22090.

All these sales are a blur, or are they? Photo by Flickr user Chris22090.

How can you make your holiday promotions stand out among the masses? I’ve been trying to figure out which emails I open and why. Here’s what I found:

Offer free shipping. Walmart is offering free shipping this holiday season and successful online retailers like Zappos have been doing this for years.



Be a part of what’s going on locally, in terms of events and search. If 73% of all online activity is related to local search, try to optimize for your products or services locally. You can even add a coupon go your Google Places listing for free (the listing is also free). So why wouldn’t you?

Try out a group buying site, or offer group buying on your site. Websites like Groupon (coming to Portland Maine soon!) are a way to get your business in front of a lot of local eyeballs. The idea isn’t limited to local businesses; if you sell things online, you could offer a deal like this.

Create a gift list, with photos. Like everyone, I’m stuck on a few people. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent browsing the ‘Treasury’ section of Etsy this weekend looking for nice gifts for a few people on my list. If you put a nice list with photos on your website for ‘pseudo in-laws who have everything you can think of getting them’ and ‘cool girlfriends who you don’t want to accidentally impose your decorating or fashion taste on’, I will buy something from you.

What’s your favorite way a company has stood apart from the bazillion sales happening in the next week?

Marketing Monday: Acadia National Park Application by Chimani

I had a case of ‘Holy crap it’s a small world!’ this past weekend that finally made me write this blog post.

Chimani Logo- Doesn't it look techy and outdoorsy at the same time?

Chimani Logo- Doesn't it look techy and outdoorsy at the same time?

I was volunteering at Take Pride in Acadia Day, which is this yearly event at Acadia National Park that organizes volunteers to do outdoor projects like raking leaves and cleaning out culverts to get the park ready for winter. In exchange for manual labor, participants get a t-shirt and a lunch of chili and cornbread (which is so good, I heard about it before I even moved to Bar Harbor). In other words, this event could have been a whole Marketing Monday post because it was so well organized and publicized.

But this is about a random coincidence.



To organize the masses of people, everyone is put in a work group with a number. My friend Sarah and I were in group 13, as was a very familiar looking couple. (Keep in mind there are at least 50 people in each of the 21 groups.)

The woman I recognized as someone I went to college with and her husband also looked familiar.

“Wait a minute, do you blog?” he asked.

“Wait a minute, did you design the Acadia National Park application?” I asked.

Phone screenshots, lifted off Kerry's website. Way better than I could have done!

Phone screenshots, lifted off Kerry's website. Way better than I could have done!

So Kerry is this super nice guy who gave me a preview of the Chimani Acadia National Park application when it came out. A review of it has been on my to-do list for months. Seeing him reminded me to finally do it. (Full disclosure: He was so nice that he didn’t nag me at all…Those of you who read this blog regularly know me a little better!)

Mobile web is getting bigger with a 230% increase this year alone. And anyone who has ever been in Downeast Maine knows that ATT (iPhone) coverage here is spotty to say the least. So what does Kerry do? Designs an app that requires no cell service. Brilliant! Because the last thing you want to do is carry heavy guidebooks up Cadillac Mountain.

I’ve fired up the application a few times and see that the GPS capabilities and maps alone will keep me from getting lost (again). I have yet to do the voice over audio tour of the Park Loop Road. Information is up to date, including bus and tide schedules (handy for those venturing to Bar Island as every year a tourist parks there and comes back to a flooded car).

For $5, this application costs less than a guide book. You can buy it on iTunes or get it on the Android market.

And to those of you going to other national parks, Chimani has applications for several other national parks and historic areas already created and some in progress.

But my favorite part is Kerry Gallivan, the developer, was actually in Acadia National Park taking part in service event this past weekend. It’s clear that Kerry’s passion is the real deal and I as a user of the application appreciate that.

So Kerry, I’m sorry this review is so late. Your application for Acadia National Park is fantastic!

Marketing Monday: SAMMY Awards

Every Monday it’s a website, company, or non-profit doing cool things online. Contact me if you have an idea of someone or some company I should profile.

One of my clients let me know about these social media awards called the SAMMY Awards, presented by DIGIDAY and given for social media, marketing and advertising campaigns. Mostly given to large companies, these awards can still give ideas even to smaller businesses. This year’s winners included:

U by Kotex’s social media campaign/website: http://www.ubykotex.com/

Mad Men Yourself’s avatar creation program: http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/madmenyourself/

American Express’ Open web forum: http://www.openforum.com/



Notice these brands aren’t necessarily selling something directly but are instead offering good online content, providing something interesting people want to share, and subtly making the website visitor aware of the product. It’s a soft sell, folks. We could all learn something about that, myself included!

To see a full list of the winners, check out: http://www.sammyawards.com/

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