Online Marketing Strategies – EverEffect


Posted in online marketing by Thomas Heed on November 28, 2007

Every day, with frustration mounting, I read another article by an online video wonk touting the value of buying impressions. Stuff like –

  • Pre-roll Ads aren’t as pricey as you think they are
  • Simultaneous Viewings are the cat’s meow
  • Financial Services Company buys 85-million Impressions online

This is old school thinking so bad it could have come right out of those abandoned, decaying, one-room school houses that you can still stumble upon in rural America (circa 19th Century).

Offline (TV) is push, online should be pull; offline is intrusive advertising, online should be inclusive advertising; offline is about selling an impression; online should be about selling an interaction.

Mainstream folks will tell you that impressions indicate how many times someone saw your advertising. I prefer to modify that statement by saying impressions are how many times someone could have seen your advertising.

How many people in your target audience are in the bathroom, rummaging around in the fridge, or using their clicky-things to fast forward when your message is playing? How many people actually pay attention to your nifty pre- or mid-roll video online?

It’s the tree in the forest thing: if your video runs and nobody watches it, does it really make an impression?

Now, if I have a video on my website, and it’s user-initiated (think opt-in), then I know darn well that that visitor chose to interact further with my brand. Even better, I can measure my video’s effectiveness. Even, even better, if I use email to invite viewership, and I have properly segmented my list, I can glean all manner of accurate, detailed demographic info. Oh, and I can track conversions, or what we call Return on Interaction.

See, traditional TV and Agency pros want to sell you potential eyeballs, not actions.

Bottom line, stop trying to buy an impression, and start trying to make one.

How do you know if someone is interacting with your brand? Stay tuned.

Yellow Pages Suck

Posted in Measurable Results,multivariate testing,online marketing by Jim Brown on November 26, 2007

For years they were considered the ‘lifeline’ for businesses to reach potential customers. 10 to 15 years ago I would have considered that a true statement. (It could be because that was the last time I knew where my phone book was!) Today, it is just simply not inaccurate, and I would challenge anyone who thought otherwise.

Why? Every year the Yellow Pages rate card goes up 3-7%, yet less and less people actually USE them. The decline in use closely mirrors the adoption of broadband internet service. With that, a large portion of young adults and business buyers NEVER consult the Yellow Pages at all – and they are controlling an ever-expanding portion of the dollars spent! Now, if your target market is one of the two population groups that is not adopting broadband internet services (the lower social-economic segment and the over 50 segment) you should be just fine.

Need more specifics?

Ad Placement

Wouldn’t it be nice if every company’s name started with ‘A’ so they could ALL be at the front of the directory? Let’s take a look at a pretty popular Yellow Page category: Heating and Cooling!

After eight full page ads and just as many half page ads that are horribly designed, yet begging for attention, you finally get to the phone number listings themselves. There you will find 70 (seventy – not a typo) companies that start with the letter ‘A.’ A-Fast Heating, A Perfect Climate, A-Plus Heating, AAA Heating, Aaron’s Heating… you get the point. How in the world are you supposed to stand out? I guess you buy a bigger ad.

Multiple Category Listings

Let’s assume you were a general contractor. Right out of the gate we can put you in that category for a nominal fee. What happens if people aren’t looking for a ‘general contractor,’ but rather a painter. You provide painting services yet you will not be seen when that person is looking – unless of course you buy that category too. The next potential customer wants someone to do a little bit of drywall installation – you do that as well, but again you are only listed under general contractor. I guess you’ll be buying another category?

Now, your budget is not very big to begin with, so what happens when you spread that budget over the 14 categories that a potential customer MIGHT look for you under? Your listing is diminished to next to nothing, and you might as well not be in there at all.

Ad Modification and Spending

I recently spent an afternoon with a local business who spends $13,000/month on Yellow Page advertising. After I picked my jaw up off the floor and realized that equated to over $150,000/year I started to chuckle and asked if he would like to keep more of that in his pocket.

He told me two things that really stuck out during the conversation.

  1. His business is dead November 15 – March 15. It is season and no one is in need of his service during those months. Regardless, Yellow Pages will still bill him $52,000 during that time where his phone will not ring one single time. If you knew this about your business – wouldn’t it be nice to turn OFF your advertising during this time?

  2. He recently added a new service to his business and was waiting until the new Yellow Pages came out so he could start advertising! Who said print isn’t dead? It seems like the moment a piece of paper rolls off the printer, it is already out of date. Why in the world does this business have to wait until the next printing of the Yellow Pages to START advertising his new service? What if the new service is a bust? He can’t do any testing of less than a year with this advertising method.

Shouldn’t YOU be in control of when your ads are modified and how much you are spending? Wouldn’t it be nice to do so on a monthly basis – or even a daily basis?

Measurable Results

“50% of our marketing dollars are wasted every year, the problem is we don’t know which half!” Sound familiar? What about – “80% of my business comes from the Yellow Pages.” Heard that one too?

The fact of the matter is – if you are not measuring your marketing, you are wasting money. Unless you have a special 800 number for every category in the yellow pages you will have NO idea of what is working and what it not – and at this point we are ONLY talking about leads. What happens after the call? Did they close? If not – why? When will you follow back up with them? What if 2 weeks go by – do you remember where they came from or do you just chalk it up as ‘another Yellow Page lead?’

Still not convinced?

You are reading this online – if I were wrong, you’d be reading this in your Yellow Pages!

Wondering where I got a copy of the Yellow Pages? After visiting with my grandpa this Thanksgiving I asked to borrow his copy for this blog entry. I know he’ll need it back.

Quality, Not Size, Matters

Posted in Measurable Results by Thomas Heed on November 14, 2007

At my company, EverEffect, we believe that the success of email marketing hinges on execution in two critical areas:

  1. The Quality of your List, the Quality of your Offer, and the Quality of your Call to Action
  2. Getting the Right Message to the Right Audience at the Right Time

Let’s start with your list. In Email Marketing, the quantity of people on your list matters far less than the quality of people on your list.

Case in point – EverEffect has organized a full day conference focused on interactive marketing featuring speakers from eight other companies ( We sent out an invitation to our email list (205); we secured another list and sent the invitation to its subscribers as well (more than 3,900).

We urge our clients not to buy or rent lists themselves, but we did so ourselves for two reasons: 1) we wanted to expand our reach to a targeted audience of online marketing professionals; and, 2) we wanted to use the exercise as an experiment to prove our point. The results are a staggering endorsement for permission-based email.

205 Emails Sent
73.6% Opens
44.6% Click-Through Rate
60.6 CTR/Open Ratio

Brand X
3,939 Emails Sent
37.9% Opens
12.9% Click-Through Rate
34.0 CTR/Open Ratio

Now, the primary goal of this particular send was to have Subscribers view a video invitation to the conference. Here’s where the stats get extremely interesting. One in three EverEffect Subscribers viewed the video compared to 1 in 42 Subscribers for the much larger list!

Take another look at the numbers. The smaller list outperformed the larger one in every key performance metric: nearly 2-1 in Opens; almost 4-1 in CTR; and, 14-1 in Conversions!*

Okay, inquiring minds want to know why. It boils down to this: EverEffect’s subscriber list is permission-based; Brand X’s is pseudo-permission-based. The people on our list know who we are, and – hopefully- anticipate receiving email from us; people on the Brand X list do not have a relationship with us, and have little incentive to open an EverEffect message.

It’s pretty simple, we have less quantity (we work on that every day), and more quality than the “borrowed” list.

Yes, it takes longer, and requires more effort, to build a quality list, but the results are worth it.

You don’t need a Tsunami-sized list to make your splash!

*In fairness, even the rental list outperformed advertising/marketing industry averages for Opens (37.9% vs. 24.6%) and CTR (12.9% vs. 2.8%). Source: