Friday, February 27, 2009

Marketing, Cosmetic Surgery, and Turning 40!

Let's talk about something a wee bit scary today.... turning 40. I could cry just thinking about it. I do not FEEL 40. I still like hip clothes and shoes... except I feel like someone's embarasing Mom if I even think about wearing arm warmers.

I always see those ads on line about The Alternative to Botox - Mom Discovered It - Wrinkles Be Gone! I have to be honest, I've clicked on these ads a FEW times. I don't know. Fresh out of college I worked at a Department Store Make Up Counter. There I stood for 8 hours a day pushing miracle creams... and using them too. Maybe it was because I was young and these miracle creams are for the over 40 set (WAHHHH), but I got me some kind of mutant acne. It's no wonder I didn't make a career out of the Make Up Counter. My face looked putrid! It took 2 years of tetracycline and Retin A to get rid of it.

I'm taking the plunge the day before my birthday. I'm going to RPS Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ( for some Botox, Restalyne - whatever they can do to make it OK fr me to wear arm warmers and motor cycle boots with skirts.

I feel pretty confident about the decision. Dr. Graff practiced in Manhattan. I'll bet she has beautified some stars of the stage and screen! My hopes are high. I have to be honest - we created her web site and I optimize the search engine marketing. I'm on the web site every day. She sold me! She looks so sweet. Maybe she'll tell me I look as if I'm just 29, go home you hipster! Get a Tattoo! Wear arm warmers!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Stood Up and GOT It!

Dang it - I never got that sweater. To be honest, I just didn't feel like going shopping the day of the sale. HMMM, I'll bet they still have some mark downs. I shouldn't give up so easily.

I promised in my last post to praise the implicit, vital importance of traditional marketing/advertising. I feel guilty leaving web site promotion in the dust for a while... which, I suppose, is the point.

Every business needs to have a great looking, user-engaging web site; I mean EVERY business, because more and more, every person is looking to their browser rather than their phone book for goods and services (that sounds so corny, but it's true). The phone book was never that great when you think about it. Unless a company is really huge and has a ½ page ad full of information about product lines and services offered, it was like a really bulky Information Dartboard. If I was looking up "high-end clothing" it's a crap shoot. What category do I look in? Then I either have to call 12 stores to ask if they carry what I am looking for, or drive to all of them. Time is money! No, time is better than money because you can never buy an extra allotment of time.

I digress. Traditional advertising, as in direct mail, outdoor, and magazine spreads not only drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar - they drive quantifiable traffic to your web site. Some examples:

1) Applebee's. I don't normally eat there, I don't normally watch television, but if I see an Applebee's billboard or catch a commercial on teevee... I'm THERE! I have no idea why. It looks like allot more fun than pork chops and peas at home. Kudos to their agency.

2) Direct Mail. As previously mentioned, I sort through my mail and separate the wheat from the chaff. The wheat is bills (no sense throwing them out!), catalogs (I'll look through almost any catalog) and simple post cards advertising from stores that have me on their mailing lists. My favorite pottery artist, Davis Salks, he has the post card down to an art, no pun intended. If I get a notice that he has created a limited edition line, I am on his web site in 5 minutes to order. If I get a list of shows he'll be attending, I hang it on the fridge and head to the shows. I BUY allot of his pieces.

3) Magazine Ads. As with the catalogs, there not too many magazines I won't page through. There are some super small companies out there offering things I WANT - but I'd never hear about them if not for them graciously placing an ad in a magazine so I can tear out the page (unless I'm in a doctor's office; other people do it - I can't), go to my computer and get some nifty yoga pants, home decor, gifts (you have to strike while the Mother In Law rooster-gift iron is hot!), you name it. I'm not condoning reckless spending in these crazy days; I'm saying as an advertising professional that people do have money to spend on things that you sell if they know how to find you - even if you don't have a brick-and-mortar. Better still if you have no physical location, a magazine ad will drive MORE and BETTER traffic to your web site. For example, gosh I go on! my friend visited from Oregon last summer. She had on the funkiest tribal print dress. I had to have it! She looked in the boutique where she bought it but they didn't have my size -so I asked her to look at the label. I looked up the designer on line and bought the dress. If the designer was a savvy marketer, she would have kept my email address in order to inform me of new lines. By now I forget her name. I guess I could look at the label - but really, you have to be in the customer's face.

4) Magazine Ads II. It isn't only specific trinkets that grab a reader's attention. Services, such as restaurants, cosmetic surgeons, hair salons, hospitals, physician practices and oh - antique stores.... benefit from a well-designed magazine ad. It builds "brand awareness" - in other words, lets people know you exist. They might not come on over this afternoon, but a really great ad, published on a 3-12 month schedule will keep your business in their minds. The magazine doesn't need to be Vogue or People; it can be a regional Style publication - which I LOVE. A further benefit: of course you will include your web address in the ad - therefore, you get more web traffic, more attention - who can forget you?

I know I'm long winded, but I'm a passionate advertising professional and a passionate shopper. I cannot emphasize enough, especially in this crazy economy, the absolute importance of marketing.

Visit our web site to see how simple it is to get your message to the masses. I just might buy something from you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Then I Crawled

As I was saying last week with regard to keywords in an AdWords campaign: "Our client's customers were not looking for them in the same way we thought they would". I'd like to elaborate on that a bit.
Our client's customers DO find them (their web sites) but not always in a particularly predictable or strategic manner. For instance, this morning I ran a Search Query Performance report for a Cosmetic Surgery campaign. Everything looked great until I came to the line where our beloved client is ranking #1 for, "boob job prices". I assure you, that is NOT one of my thoughtfully chosen keywords!
The Cosmetic Surgery campaign was the first campaign that I created on my own and I (THINK) I was lucky. It was a brand new web site that our agency designed. The site development, was, as always, a collaborative effort between the client and the creative team.
I was a pup - so I spent way too much time generating page after page of keywords with the Keyword Tool. The more the merrier! To be fair to myself, I was doing my Google homework as I went; both Google and the blogosphere learned me that your keywords HAVE GOT TO BE relevant to the site content. I studied the copy on that site until I had it memorized.
It took some time, and I am NOT patient, but gradually our keywords gained better and better quality scores. In addition, the actual ad positioning on the search results improved. Success!
It is paramount, ne plus ultra - there is NOTHING more important to driving quality traffic to your site than having a graphically engaging, user friendly, professionally designed and programmed web site.
I love (obviously) Google "sponsored links" or pay-per click advertising for driving traffic and creating raving fans; but if the ad takes the user to a bland site with no way for your business to interact with the customer in a meaningful way, it is pert near useless. I think of the sites I click on while shopping on line. I dutifully type in my very specific search query, but 9 times out of 10, both the organic and paid results don't take me to a page where the THING I desire is located. If I want it enough I'll poke around the site and put up with all the re-directs trying to find it... but most of the time I give up, check Ebay and then really give up. Par example - Helmut Lang Cashmere Turtleneck comes to mind. I searched high and low online for this darling of a sweater. I still don't know if I can live without it. I guess Ima gawna have to because every site that points to said Heart's Desire, leads to something else entirely!
Then I get to thinking, WHO is managing these pay-per-click campaigns? Do they know that every time I get desperate and click on the ad again, they are spending marketing dollars? Probably these sites carried my sweater at one time - in that case, when the sweater was no longer available, the webmaster should have uploaded a new site map - so as not to disappoint me, and other potential customers. A case could be made, that once on the no-sweater site, I may purchase something different. I didn't. Not on a single site out of nearly 20.
Search engine marketing is essential to any business; either local search or national or even global. In this weird, scary economy, search marketing allows an advertiser to reach the customers who want to buy from them - at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing vehicles, such as print and radio.
Traditional advertising platforms still have a vital place in brand awareness and product/service sales. But if your customer is looking for something very specific, such as the coveted Helmut Lang Cashmere turtleneck, they will probably look online for that retailer. I certainly didn't consider checking the newspaper. Which reminds me - a local boutique is having a sale this weekend... I got a piece of direct mail! They are looking at a potential sale - a bag full.
Next time I am going to tout the vital importance of traditional advertising/marketing vehicles. Wish me luck with the sweater!