Saturday, 28 July 2007

Keeping it Tidy and Clean

Two years ago I came up with this crazy idea.  Sitting in the bath someone had been in before me and left the soap [sorry the gooooo] at the sink.  

'I'm not using that!' I said. 'In fact I couldn't use that I don't know if its 5 manky soaps made up into a mushy ball or something more sinister.

Then it struck me - [the idea not the soap monster goo].  I invented the 'SOAP TIDY' system.  Great I thought, keep all your soap products in one place.

I set about creating a mock-up of this concept and Wollla! It's done.  I even got a Design Patent for it as well from the UK Patent Office - well chuffed.  Who cares if its not commercially viable - I personally don't know.  Maybe one day someone will pick-up on it and drive it into your unsuspecting homes - All offers welcome.  'Bin it!!' yeah I hear you.

No matter, I decided to turn it into a site optimisation and ranking project - please visit

Within two months it had ranked 6th on MSN for soap dispensers.  I have had people wanting to stock it for their merchandising sites - IT DOES NOT EXIST!!!! but thanks anyway.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Let loose the Dogs of War, eh well Puppies at least.

LVM [Large Volume Mail] Campaign – As before the marketing department are once again tasked with turning Water into Wine with another data list of tripe. I’m sorry to say I have now done this exercise on a few occasions now and I’m still not confident that the Golden Rule, the physical laws of data management have been discovered to be wrong, that equation being ‘GIGO’ – Garbage In Garbage Out. Handing us over 5 million emails of the UNDEAD is about as effective as it gets, when a data provider tells you that his lists are cleansed and regularly checked. Its like the opening of a new coffee jar – when you break the seal you get that lovely aroma – Ah! This is good data, we’re onto a winner with this, sure of it, how quickly does that smell disappear.

Okay, we have the e-mail addresses in a .csv file and uploaded them to our email provider. Well at least 2 hours later we had uploaded them. Quick note here, it was the first time we had taken it upon ourselves to distribute our email campaign with our own systems. This way we could validate the quality of the data that had been provided to us by the data warehouse and just see how badly our asses were BLACKLISTED.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing – yes? I personally had taken it upon my shoulders to be the recipient of the replies from this campaign. My Outlook rules where set up to segment off all possible replies that we may receive from half an million email addresses – Yeah right. I had spent some time setting up folders for ‘Out of Office’, ‘Automated Response’, ‘Vacation’, ‘Unsubscribe’, ‘SPAM’, ‘BULK, ‘GET A LIFE’ and so on. I felt that putting in the effort here we would have control of the project and IN taking this batch approach we will find gold in them thar hills’.

Tuesday [believed to be one of the 3 best days to email for mass mailings] 10:00 am [also about the best time]. One of our online marketing executives, sitting in wet anticipation, had his jittery finger poised over the send button. ‘Wait for it...’, 9:58 am, Sweat beads starting to appear, ‘Wait for it...’, 9:59am . Okay bite bottom lip. ‘LAUNCH TORPEDO!!’. Suddenly there was a gush and a flush and they were off.

For the next ten minutes, we looked at the ceiling in still quietness, nothing seemed to be happening...

...see next entry, if its there we survived.

A Good Day to go Fishing

Here I'm following kind of where I left of on the last blog, in particular the Free Prize draw angle I was talking about. This week's dilemma for the marketing team was to discover how we could really trap prospect data for the sales department.

We knew like most sites that our most popular entry and exit page where the same so how could we make sure the visitors left a viable imprint from their stay. What was important for us to see was the type of traffic coming to the site from the PPC advertising we're running, was it the right type of prospects we were getting. As it was a prize draw were we not in danger of turning users into suers ‘See how I switched letters there, funny eh!’. [Anyway]

With already knowing that our website was attracting the wrong type of users, there was no point in trapping some 85% of the traffic with our incentive-based draw . We pushed key messaging all the way - 'BUSINESS USERS ONLY!! GODAMMIT GET THE HINT YOU FREAKS", we said, well not exactly like that but you get our drift.

As mentioned instead of relying too much on organic traffic we decided to promote the prize draw directly on Google sponsored links and since the 15th of the month we achieved 270 clicks on the ad campaign. Coupled with organic traffic, feeds etc. we achieved 431 Conversions of which 133 completed the registration process, which gave us an overall conversion rate of 3.78%. We also managed to reduce bounce rate from 93% to 88.71% and conversion rates went from 2% to a whopping 5.89% [peaking on Thursday to 7.28%] which was nice to see.

When we finally trawled the net we could see about 45% Business registrations and the rest where end-users which was to be expected - There Latin name is chancer-their-armis.

Overall as an exercise dangling free prize draws in sponsored advertisements [contextual ads] seemed to be a positive step in the right direction. As well as focusing on the web-form and select questions that we knew would flag the right opportunity, then the sales monsters would be happy and funny enough so would the MD. In terms of real goal value it equated to £77k worth of revenue with an advertising cost [including the draw item] of £400.00. On Friday one of these little fishes took a bigger bite and bought a £4k server, at £600 profit - so excellent a good days fishing.

If you would like more information on this particular approach we took then e-mail me -

Victory has a 1000 fathers... The MD wants to see site conversion rates go from 0.17% to 5% in a month – How?

From the May 1st -13th [This year] I’ve seen the website user registrations increases – no scrap that we’ve seen them SPIKE!!. Wow!!

What did we do? Simply put we offered a prize draw to receive a free laptop – Great I think!!! We’ve got a 76% first time visitor rate and a 24% repeat. Conversions for Registrations are up – wonderful. Well not really, its the WrongTrousers Gromit !!!. I’m sitting here with 11,000 unique visitors [paid and organic] a day on my site and 95% are wrong.

Cast ye aside evil spirits you shall not receive entry to our prize draw.

However doing the maths we’ve still ended with business registrations so, we’ve calculated that over a month with a spend of between 300 - 500 pound should provide upwards of 400-500 business opted-in records.  

Important Note here,  average CTR on your standard prospect database is around 1.5 - 2%. 
With a new list based on registrants you are looking at 10-11% CTR from E-mail Open.  

So where were we....

MD “Great we’ve found a honey trap, now my little Marketing Director I want you to make these guys phone us – FORGET CLICKS I WANT FINGERS ON DIALS!!!”

“Change of mindset here me thinks!”

On Tuesday the little marketing department issued 26,000 e-mails to a prospect list and 18,000 again on Thursday to another set. Tuesday afternoon call from the Sales Department “ Hey Marketing Guys that e-mail you did this morning well 9 companies called us, 4 ordered hardware, £1800.00 Turnover and £500 profit – Great! Especially as this is the same list we’ve been at war with for the last year with very little success – keep it coming”

Wow! The marketing team stripped naked and drank lemonade for a whole hour!! Fantastic. ‘I know what’ shouts someone ‘Let’s do the same E-Mail on Thursday guys, we had a 2% CTR, 600 + Click-through, I think we’ve found the silver bullet, the holy grail, the e-mail to end all e-mails....” Thursday afternoon – call from Sales. “Hey you marketing tosers, what’s happened to our calls, our leads, you god dam scumbags. Us sales guys wouldn’t **** on you if you were on fire. – phone goes dead.

“It was his idea....” whispered one of the marketing executives.

Ah! Drawing board beckons
This story will be updated everyday, why because in online marketing everyday is different. Watch out for our evolving discussions on E-Mail Timing, Content Quality, Data Quality and External Influences that effect the success of email campaigns.