Monthly Archives: February 2009

Check Out Your Competition’s Web Analytics

Compete Sorry about another quick post this week, but I came across a service that has me very excited.    It is called Compete.

Compete is a website that allows you to not only track your company’s web analytics but also check your competition’s web activity.  It does so by gathering information based on IP traffic.  

Compete’s subscription service is pretty robust and can run anywhere from $200 – $500 a month , but even using its free tool you can still get a lot of information like:

  • monthly visitors
  • monthly unique visitors
  • average page views
  • average time per visit

This is not a perfect science but it is pretty close.  I compared the web analytics of some of my clients with the data received by Compete and it was off by about 5% – 10%.  So while it is not the end-all in web analytics, it is a great tool to help you monitor trends.

For example, if your competition launches a new ad campaign you can track any upticks in its unique visitors to measure the impact.  More important you can see what type of comparative impact it has on your site.

Compete also provides you frame of reference.  You may think having 5 web page views per visit is a good number, now you can see if it really is and map out your plan accordingly.

Understanding your competition and having an industry frame of reference are key tools to being a better marketer and now helps you market smarter.


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Creative Ideas For Smaller Budgets

While marketing topics are seemingly endless, I wanted to hear what topics were top of mind for small business owners so I posted a link on Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out (HARO).  I have received numerous responses and a common theme – especially in today’s economic climate – is how do I market my business without a marketing budget?

Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube etc can certainly help.  Email marketing is also a great tool. Word-of-Mouth is incredibly powerful.  And we’ll discuss those in more detail in future posts.

In the mean time to market yourself in a way that doesn’t require much money you have to be creative and take advantage of your resources.

When I worked with a poker chip company the best point of difference was the chips themselves.  They were actual clay chips not the composite ones.  You could tell the difference the minute felt the chip in your hands.  The client didn’t have a huge marketing budget, but they did have an endless supply of chips.  

The solution:  We printed a unique URL (so we could track the success of this program) on stickers which we then adhered to the back of the poker chips.  We then would leave single chips in bars, casinos,poker tournaments, retail stores where other chips were sold – pretty much anywhere our target audience frequented.  

The result:  We generated almost $900,000 in revenue from a program that cost less than $100.

Another idea is finding someone like Jason Sadler who offers “the top part” of his wardrobe to promote your business.  Sadler of I Wear Your Shirt sells himself to advertisers and his rate increases a dollar a day.  If you want him to wear your shirt on January 1, it will cost you $1.  January 2, it will cost $2, etc.  He then posts photos on Flickr, provides status updates on Facebook and Twitter and even posts videos and podcasts on YouTube.  All you do is choose your day and send him a shirt.

Contests are another great ways to generate awareness.

A few years ago, an Atlanta furniture store hosted the ugliest couch contest where the winner received a new couch.  The new couch cost them nothing, but the PR it garnered was incredible.

Threadless builds awareness by having monthly t-shirt design contests and then turning the winning design into t-shirts they sell on the site.

Another idea is advertise where there aren’t currently ads.  

Remember when you got your first Starbucks with that cardboard “collar” around it and how it quickly became an ad venue?    Who would have thought that individuals would wrap their cars to become rolling billboards?    And ads in a bar’s restroom?   When people first looked to these as ad tactics, they were very inexpensive and people noticed.

We will certainly visit this topic throughout the year, but the key to working with small or non-existent budgets is being creative.  Anyone can market with large budgets, but being able to make small budgets work demonstrates the ability to market smarter.

If you have other ideas please post them here so that everyone can learn from your experience.

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The Google Alerts for Twitter

tblogonewJust before Thanksgiving I wrote about Google Alerts and its ability to allow you track your company and your competitors in blogs and on the web.

I recently learned about Tweet Beep  which allows you to see who’s talking (or tweeting) about you on Twitter.  

For those of you who are not aware of Twitter  – it is a social marketing tool that allows you to communicate with your network through short statements.  It also lets you follow your network to learn what they are up to.

TweetBeep is another way to see who is talking about you online  allowing to listen to your audience and through this knowledge, market smarter.


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A Horse Threw Talking Flowers For Doritos?


By Robert Deutsch, USA Today

Photo By Robert Deutsch, USA Today

The headline of this post doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but neither did a lot of the ads in Sunday’s Super Bowl.  


I am a huge fan of great creative, but to me the best creative work is meaningful as well.  At $3 million for 30 seconds being clever is important, but more important than that is to be remembered.  

Three days from now will you remember any of these television spots?

But the reality of the Super Bowl spots are actually not the running of the spots themselves but the marketing value surrounding the game.

Super Bowl spots are more than about the :30 during the game.  In the case of Doritos the hype started in July when they launched a consumer contest to develop the Doritos ad.  

For other companies the media coverage online, on television and in publications like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today around the spots started in mid-December and continues well after the game itself.

Why is this relevant to small and medium sized businesses?  Because just like the larger companies, you need to make sure your marketing dollars work as hard for you as possible.

When you launch a new marketing effort (more than just a brochure) think about the following to maximize your marketing investment:

1)  Share it with your customers first so they feel like they are on the “inside”

2) Send out a press release to the media regarding the new campaign.  This should include industry pubs, local news, etc.

3) Post all new work on your web site.  

4) Post new work online at sites like YouTube (if television)

5) Have all your employees update their status on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc to let their networks know of the new work

6) Send an email to your prospects sharing the new work and the message behind it

For your marketing to work your message needs to be relevant, unique and motivating.  

Once that is done,to make the most of your marketing dollars look for ways to merchandise it as well.  Doing so will help you market smarter.

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