Marketing Monday: Goop

Editor’s Note: Thank you all for your kind condolences about the death of my dog. I appreciate your compassion, and am happy to report that I am feeling much better this week. Many thanks.
Know an individual or business doing something cool to promote themselves online? Let me know about it and they might be featured as part of Marketing Monday!

Goop's front page. Flash driven and a little vague (bad) but graphic and simple (good).
I’d first of all like to keep this blog a positive one. There are so many people doing so many good things online, to promote their business or otherwise.
Today, I wanted to review Gwyneth Paltrow’s website called Goop. It’s mission is to ‘nurture the inner aspect’ and is supposed to be about things in Gwenyth Paltrow’s life.
Recently, her post about a New Year’s cleanse recieved some media attention at both Nerve and Huffington Post and just this past weekend, the site came up in conversation over lunch with two of my friends in the media.
The only reason this website seems to work is because it belongs to Gwenyth Paltrow. I haven’t found anyone who ‘gets it’.
Goop does not embrace internet terms.
A web magazine written by one person about their life is called a blog.
Goop can call its posts ‘articles’ all it wants but in doing so alienates itself from the blogging community. I could see the use of another term if this website was launched five years ago when blogs weren’t nearly as prevalent . But nowadays, bloggers are used as experts on television news programs and followed by media types on social media for story tips.
Bloggers are far from obscure and distancing yourself from a group of people also trying to create online content seems like a silly thing to do. Let’s not mention the fact that bloggers spend a lot of their time talking about and linking to other websites. Not one of them? That certainly makes it hard to become part of the community.
It’s unclear whether the site is compensated for the products it endorses.
A whole section of Goop is called ‘Get’ and seems to endorse cool products. No where on the site could I find policies about these products. Does Gwyneth Paltrow receive financial or other compensation for putting these products on her site? Does she personally use them? It’s hard to say.
As a reader of the site, I’d like to know. A simple ‘About’ section of ‘FAQ’ would do wonders at answering some small questions about the site and its policies.
Goop doesn’t link to other sites.
Not linking to other sites makes you 1) less connected with other web developers and 2) doesn’t help your search engine ranking. This is why all bloggers have a blogroll or list of links we like: because it’s good for us and good for the people we link to.
Not having many (or perhaps any) links off the site seems like a missed opportunity, not only for increased traffic to Goop but also for Paltrow to use her star power to help out smaller sites. You can’t buy the kind of good buzz that would create.


div>In short, celebrities can get away with things the rest of us can’t.

Most regular people can’t get away with a ‘this is stuff i like’ blog, if only because most of us have a limited audience. There are probably 30 people in my life who would care about everything Nicole Ouellette likes in my case. I am not Oprah, and this is why my blog entries have an undercurrent of money and marketing. It is why most blogs have a topic or subject they are about: more universal appeal.
What is Goop about? Whatever Gwenyth Paltrow feels like needs to be covered that particular week.
As my Twitter friend Marc Pitman puts it, it looks like Goop is “trying to do WAY too much”. I agree.
Some people do like a website that covers a lot of ground though, but for those of us who like to know what to expect, it’d be great if there’d be a preview of what’s coming up. No doubt the staff that maintains this site plans ahead for content and letting readers in on the not-so-distant future offerings I think would lead to increased overall satisfaction with readers.
Also, it would be great if Goop engaged it’s readers in some way. Featuring helpful comments in the weekly newsletter or having reader guest bloggers would no doubt increase Goop’s appeal and further connect it to other cool things going on online.
While Goop has interesting written content and a clean design, the posts have no photos.
The posts on Goop are text heavy; it would be great to have some graphic elements to get the content more skimmable and make the website prettier. Perhaps this is a place where readers could contribute if they knew about the topic ahead of time. Just an idea…
In short, Goop is not the world’s most terrible website but it could further its mission with some thoughtful tweaks and increased reader engagement.
Want some other opinions besides mine?

Marketing Monday: Mardens

Know an individual or business doing something cool to promote themselves online? Let me know about it and they might be featured as part of Marketing Monday.

Part of the Marden's charm is embracing their own campiness. The rest is good marketing of it.

This week’s inspiration actually came to me as I was driving in the middle of a snow/ice storm back home from Christmas festivities.
A radio ad in the middle of the Maine woods had the familiar Marden’s jingle but urged me to join Marden’s on Facebook and Twitter. I especially perked up when they mentioned to visit the Marden’s website to see the weekly flyer before it got into the newspapers.
For those of you less familiar, Marden’s is a Maine institution, known in part for its cheesy catchy jingle “I should have bought it, when I saw it, at Mardens!” and for its great deals on everything. (If you don’t have to feed it, Marden’s sells it.) It’s a salvage store with locations across the state, meaning its inventory is not only location dependent but also constantly changing.
Marden’s would no doubt be a success in Maine regardless of publicity (Mainers are in general a practical people who love a deal) but all it’s promotional efforts have made Mardens the success it is today.
Here’s what Mardens is doing right:

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Marketing Monday: Jack Frost Ski Shop

Know an individual or business doing cool things with marketing/promotion both online and off? Let me know about it; I am always looking for ideas!

I spent this past weekend skiing in New Hampshire. I have a couple of friends who are members of ski clubs in the Mount Washington area and this weekend was the kickoff of the ski season for the Eastern Inter-Club Ski League or EISCL (pronounced “ice-sill”) at Bretton Woods. I attended as a guest, helping my friends at the registration table in exchange for a free lift ticket.

I later found out that the whole event was underwritten by Jack Frost Ski Shop, located in Glen New Hampshire.

By being visible at big ski events, like 13 Hours of EICSL at Bretton Woods, Jack Frost is reaching its target audience in a place where they enjoy being.

Sadly, this was not obvious to me at the event but the good news is I learned a lot about the Jack Frost Ski Shop anyway. Here are some things we can all learn from them, and what I think could be improved upon:

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Marketing Monday: Stingy Scoundrel Book

Every Monday I profile a person or business doing something cool to promote themselves online. Think there is someone I should consider? Contact me and let me know!

Breaking Even began as a personal finance blog back in 2007. Since then, it’s become about business and other things on occasion but a money theme, even if barely noticeable at times, runs throughout. (It’s no coincidence, for example, that TCT crafts mostly cost under $10 to make.) When asked what my blog is about, I say “Money. Well, kind of.”

That said, I still follow a lot of personal finance and money bloggers and when Phil Villarreal sent me an email a few months ago about reviewing his how-to-save-money book and I accepted, because I like books, especially when they are free and go with the theme of my blog.

I noticed a few weeks after our communication that reviews of his book were all over the blogosphere. Then, his book became a New York Times bestseller.

How’d he do it?

Phil may look like he's lurking behind his book but his book promotion techniques have been the opposite of creepy and passive.

He sent his book to anyone who’d review it. 
I noticed a few of my favorite bloggers had read the book so I asked Phil how many people he had review it.

“I contacted about 130 bloggers and journalists (about reviewing the book) and got positive responses from 100. I’ve probably gotten about 60 reviews so far and am working on getting yeses or nos from those who got books but haven’t yet reviewed them.”

Also, he’s always looking for more people willing to review it, so contact me if you want to read this book and review it on your blog.

He followed up about reviews.
I am a classic example of why people need to follow up. I am often happy to do something for someone else but I am also a little forgetful. Phil emailed me a few times to see if I was still planning on reviewing the book.

According to him, “Follow-ups are key because almost all my reviews came after I asked whether they’d gotten the books and intended to write anything. I bet I wouldn’t have gotten half of my reviews had I not followed up.”

He was specific about what he wanted.
After I sent him the link to the review, he asked me to crosspost it on I would have personally never thought of that but I’m happy to do it. One more example of why it never hurts to ask for what you want!

He created a Facebook page for additional buzz.
I hadn’t noticed there was a ‘consumer products’ category for FB business pages. Makes sense!

On his Facebook page, Phil links to the coverage the book has gotten in addition to letting people know what’s going on with the book. And since bloggers like links to their sites (good for SEO) and people love spending loads of time on Facebook (good for making people feel popular), it’s a win-win.

He didn’t just link to good reviews.
People buying things, online or otherwise, appreciate transparency. Mighty Bargain Hunter had a negative review about the book on his blog and, like all the other reviews, the Facebook page linked to it.

Phil had no reason to ignore opinions differing from his own because…

He believes in his product.
Phil, like many successful people, has really internalized his belief in what he’s doing.

“What keeps me going is that all but 3 people have written very positively about the book, which makes me believe it’s worth putting all the effort into promoting it. I’m going to continue searching for more coverage until the publisher tells me the book is no longer in stores.” Yay tenacity!

He has a publicist.
Now I was wondering how a guy who works for The Arizona Daily Star,, and OK Magazine had the time to promote his book (let alone write it initially). The answer: he has a publicist that he works with.

At some point, it may be worth paying someone to coordinate your efforts on a book launch, event planning, etc…especially if you have a full time day job.

So if you have a book, it’s certainly worth promoting it online. ‘Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel’ proves that even with a small publisher, you can have a successful with hard work, smart planning, and good relationships with bloggers.

Oh, and here’s a link if you want to buy the book!

Marketing Monday: Garfunkel and Oates

Every Monday, I talk about individuals or companies promoting themselves in a neat way online. Feel free to contact me to nominate yourself or a friend; I’m always looking for new ideas.

It’s almost a sure thing to say that video is the next big internet thing.

Alright, that came out wrong. I am certainly not saying that people aren’t using video effectively now but I think that in the next few years, just like now most everyone has a website, in a few years most everyone will have video on their website. And as cameras get more affordable and videos get more search engine friendly, there will be more of a reason then ever to finally get in front of a camera.

Having recently begun to appreciate Youtube more myself, I have begun checking out cool videos. Among my favorite ‘series’ is Garfunkel and Oates.


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Nicole’s Quest To Find A Seamstress Or Why Everyone Should Have A Website

The dress that launched a bunch of phone calls. I love Ebay.It all started when I ordered this fabulous silk designer dress on eBay. Normally completely out of my price range, I got it for $40. I figured if it didn’t fit, I could have it altered.

The dress was even more beautiful in person but since I am not a size 8 Anne Klein dress form, it needed alterations to fit. Normally I attempt this sort of thing myself but the potential for disaster on silk made me decide that maybe I should call in an expert. And so my search began.

A Google search yielded some places in Bangor (an hour away) and a dry cleaner in Ellsworth (30 minutes away). I know that the dry cleaner subcontracts this kind of work out (I had something repaired there before) and it would take a few weeks turnaround to get it back. Was there no one in my entire county who could do this?

I checked the Yellow Pages. Nothing. I even tried to convince a friend to help me do it for money. She wasn’t confident enough to attempt silk but did give me the number of a local sewing store. I called them (since their owner once told me she barely checks her email) and was given a phone number to Acadia Sewing.

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