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Archive for November, 2011

Should I Include the Price?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

A question that pops up is whether a price should be advertised right off the bat or on a second level that people have to navigate to.  The answer to this depends on space limitations, price appeal, and communication vehicle. But as a guiding rule pricing should be included unless it’s a complex product, service, or offer where pricing is not easily outlined.

For something simple like a banner ad or a social media update a price likely shouldn’t be included unless it’s a selling point.  The reason for this is purely functional, there’s not enough room to focus on anything but incentives to click.  However the landing page should display pricing clearly if possible so that users aren’t frustrated in finding it.

For website pages or detailed communications the answer is yes, unless it’s a complex product or service where pricing models would be unreasonably complex.  It’s frustrating for users to see a straightforward offer or product and not see pricing.  Furthermore it becomes a headache for the site owner because they will be flooded with, “how much does x cost,” questions.

Basically the answer is to include a price as soon as it’s feasible.  If you are offering something simple and have a defined price it’s best to include it early.  Your audience is going to want to see pricing so it’s better to be direct rather than make additional steps that can appear like it’s trying to be concealed.

Online and Email Marketing: There’s No Magic Bullet

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I’m often asked, “What should I change in my approach?”, or “What best practice should I adopt to improve performance?” I always struggle to answer these questions for 3 reasons.

The first is that it’s usually asked before I have a chance to understand the online and email marketing campaigns. The second reason is because the answer is always different for different people/companies. The third is that there is often an assumption that one thing will revolutionize the online and/or email marketing which usually is not the case.

The first 2 reasons are just circumstances of reality. But the third is a pitfall that leads to frustrations when expectations are unreasonably high. Sure, there are some common mistakes that can be easily corrected, but generally great online and email marketing campaigns evolve from a series of small improvements. It’s rarely a quick change that causes a major improvement.

Even when we read/hear/experience stories of drastic improvement, it’s rare that these major benefits are retained immediately. Rather there is a drop off that stabilizes as the change is integrated into ongoing efforts.

Email and online marketing is a marathon, not s sprint. Don’t look for a magic bullet that will dramatically improve performance but rather focus on continually making small improvements. If your effort is consistent over time you’ll see that your online and email marketing campaigns have become best-in-class without even noticing the change.

Multimedia Strategy: Video – Host or Post

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Video is becoming more and more prevalent on websites.  And why not? If done well it can be a powerful marketing tool.  But what is the best way to get your video content online?  There are two options host or post.

Posting to an external site has advantages:

  • Easy to upload video
  • No bandwidth costs
  • Lots of traffic
  • Easy to share (embed, email links, rss feeds, etc)
  • Serves as a pseudo social media platform

But there are also some disadvantages:

  • Videos are watched on their site, not yours.
  • No link benefit if people embed/share your video
  • Limited analytics to understand user engagement, video bounce rate, etc
  • Tend to be lower quality
  • Ads appear on your content
  • Limited length/duration
  • No custom branding

So taking pros and the cons I tend to use a hybrid strategy.  For shorter length video where highest quality is not a concern put them on a video sharing site (like youtube).  Everything that’s on youtube can be embedded into your site.  This provides the benefit  of uploading video using their pre-set tools and the extra exposure online.  When embedded on your own site you also gain better tracking and can brand the page to ideally suit your online marketing campaigns.

If high quality, duration, or limited compression is a concern, always host the video on your own site.  This is necessary because the video sharing sites won’t support it and  time consuming work-arounds are necessary which make it an inefficient strategy.

Using this method is a way to get some of the benefits of hosting and posting while minimizing the limitations.