Online Marketing Strategies – EverEffect

Fantasy Analytics (Part 2)

Posted in Analytics by Thomas Heed on October 10, 2007

Employers worry about the impact of Fantasy Football on their bottom lines. One estimate, published in The Baltimore Business Journal, places national productivity losses at $1.1-billion a week due to fantasy football play at work.

The reason is that Fantasy Football is fun, and work is well … work. It doesn’t have to be that way. A slight alteration in the way you view web analytics can change your whole outlook.

The Draft
Keywords and phrases are your players. Your goal is to pick high-performers who can consistently rack up points for you, and then put your starting lineup in the best position to win (using SEO).

Fantasy Football Team Owners might use a Lineup Analyzer; you’ll rely on other tools to assess the demand for your players and the corresponding competition for them.

The Strategy
Most websites and online campaigns lose because they are of poor quality, they do not support company objectives, or they are not aligned with company strategy. The trick is to insure that your site is optimized for receptions (traffic) and completions (conversions).

The Standings
Conduct routine searches to see where your team (company) ranks in the Search Engine Report Pages (SERPs). Winning starts with knowing where you stand. This is the analytic equivalent of reviewing Fantasy Football scouting reports.

An extra point, SERPs also reveal which of your competitors are relying solely on organic search, and which ones are leveraging paid. Use this information to create a balanced attack (ratio of paid vs. organic) and keep costs down. It’s all about creating favorable matchups.

Tracking and Measurement
Fantasy football gurus spend an enormous amount of time tracking and analyzing live scores, trade opportunities, line-ups, injury and progress reports, etc.

If properly set up, you can track scores (sales), gauge player execution (non- or underperforming keywords and phrases) to inform lineup changes, and progress reports (ROI), and all in real-time!

While some employers are launching an all-out blitz on fantasy football activities in the workplace, some HR consultants are suggesting that it brings employees together and even boosts careers. Somehow, I think CEOs – while they may be into Fantasy Football as much as you are – care more about the ROI on your marketing budget than the networking opportunities you might be generating by spending so much of your time on a make-believe game.

Real Life
Just spending a half an hour a day evaluating your online advertising and marketing initiatives can make all the difference between whether you’re operating a cost or a profit center.

In the words of Vince Lombardi, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

Success online requires the use of analytics. It’s a matter of discipline. It’s a matter of will. And hopefully, I’ve proved it can be a matter of fun as well.

Fantasy Analytics (Part 1)

Posted in Analytics by Thomas Heed on October 4, 2007

Back in mid-August, The Indianapolis Business Journal ran a story about Fantasy Football Leagues and employer fears about their impact on productivity. Among the interesting stats:

  • 37 million Americans spend about an hour a week at work managing their make-believe teams
  • Employers lose up to $1.1 billion a week in lower productivity

The article included lots of information and advice on what employers can do to reduce Fantasy Football-related distraction infractions. A personal favorite, a warning about how allowing FF in the workplace could leave companies vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits.

A comment about web and email monitoring by employers caught my eye as well: “Eighty percent of companies already electronically monitor their employees in some way.” So, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belicheck isn’t the only one cheating by stealing signals from the competition! If your boss has a team and it’s doing better than yours every week, find out what spy tool he or she is using to monitor your moves.

I found the furor over fantasy mostly amusing until about ten days ago when I accompanied my partners on a sales call. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a web site overhaul. “What should we do? Where should we start?”

Our prospect’s ice breaker, the first half of the meeting, was talking about – you guessed it – fantasy football. Thirty minutes of line-up analyzers, waiver wire and trade challenges, injury reports, sleepers and snoozers. One person in the conference room admitted that they spent five or six hours a week working on their imaginary team.

I finally asked, “How much time do you spend on web analytics every week?”


Translation: I spend five hours a week analyzing fantasy football results; I don’t spend five minutes a week analyzing the results of my online advertising and marketing programs.

Analytics is not for everyone. I know that. Yet I couldn’t help wondering why someone would spend so much time and money on fantasy football but never dream of spending equal amounts of time and money on their own business. Again, we’re talking about 5-6 hours per week.

Bottom line: fantasy is fun, reality isn’t.

But in reality, if you’re not in the analytics game, you can bet that your competition is, and they’re throwing you for a loss.

In Part 2, learn how to make web analytics as fun as fantasy football. It may not lead you to fame, but it could make you a fortune.

The Lion and The Fox

Posted in Analytics,Measurable Results by Thomas Heed on August 8, 2007

Once upon a time, there lived a hungry Lion who found it tough to acquire new customers (to eat). Possessed of an entrepreneurial spirit, he decided to advertise. He spent tens of thousands of dollars on a direct mail campaign, sending coupons to his neighbors inviting them to take advantage of a Free Lunch.

A few animals responded to the offer (about one percent), and came to visit the Lion in his den. Upon their arrival, the King of Beasts promptly devoured them.

An observant Fox quickly discovered the Lion’s trick, but kept his distance.

“Come on in for a bite,” said Mr. Lion.

“No thank you,” replied Mr. Fox. “I see a few footprints entering your establishment, but I don’t see any coming out.”

The Fox liked the Lion’s idea, but thought it needed to be fleshed out a little. He hired an Interactive Marketing Agency, and the nice people there helped him develop a strategic approach for lead generation and presented him with some killer creative to make it work.

First, the Fox threw a Jungle Block Party, and used the event to warn other animals about the Lion’s ploy. Once he had the trust of his fellow animals, it was easy for Mr. Fox to amass a huge, permission-based list of Subscribers for his email Nutritional Guide.

Next, Mr. Fox segmented his new list and emailed relevant messages to his Subscribers: Rabbits received an offer for free carrots; Squirrels an offer for free acorns; and, the local Bullfrog population an offer for free flies.

The response was overwhelming, nearly four times the weighted animal industry average! Animals — including a number of cranes lured by an offer of free minnows — flocked to Mr. Fox’s den where they received their free goodies, and were then (post-fattening up) eaten by the sly marketing exec.

Mr. Fox soon had more food than he could handle.

Fortunately, Mr. Fox’s advisors had helped him develop a post-send strategy to monetize the results of his campaign, which included the creation of a Diner’s Club for other Foxes. Membership fees alone more than covered the expense of his email initiative.

And the Lion? Mr. Fox’s warning, and the cost of his Direct Mail campaign, soon left Mr. Lion with no cash and no carrion. Word on the savannahs is that Mr. Lion was forced to accept a gig with an American Zoo to make ends meet.

The moral of our story? It takes a solid strategy to outfox your competition.

Sherlock Holmes: The Case for Web Analytics

Posted in Analytics,Measurable Results by Thomas Heed on August 2, 2007

Virtually everyone has a website these days, but to many, how to maintain a healthy site that generates growing returns remains a mystery. Why? Let’s face it – it’s a crime how many businesses still do not employ analytics to measure program performance, influence website enhancements, or drive profitability.

You may have a cool site, but if you’re failing to turn traffic into conversions, you need to do some real detective work.

Want to improve your website’s ROI? Consider hiring an online detective (web analytics expert). Someone who can uncover the clues behind your lack of conversions; someone who understands how to solve your problems by turning enigmatic information into real solutions. Consider hiring someone like … Sherlock Holmes.

Had Holmes been created today, instead of 1881, he would have been a web analytics guy and not a Deductive Detective. I offer the following quotes as proof positive:

Web Analytics is the Ultimate Brain Game

Holmes: “I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for?”

Holmes: “What is the use of powers, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace … “

If Holmes considered crime commonplace, no other field today would offer him the continuous challenge afforded by web analytics. Talk about brain-work! And heck, the constant, daily demands of this discipline would even curb his desire for cocaine as an alternative to boredom!

Web Analytics Play a Critical Role in Strategic Planning

Holmes: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”

Holmes: “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”

Holmes clearly recognized that real insights in the strategic planning process derive from Analytics. Value is created when the right information gets to the right people at the right time so they can make the right decisions to create the right outcomes.

Some Practice Web Analytics Better Than Others

Holmes: “Watson, you see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. “

Holmes: “There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically.”

In other words, lots of people can run reports, but there are too few analysts who know what to make of the metrics. It takes talent, imagination, and creativity to read between the lines and decipher where the actionable insights lie hidden within the stats. Holmes would be singular; that one in fifty.

You Can Analyze Too Many Things

Holmes: “It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise, your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated.”

Web Analytics is difficult: too much data; too many reports; not enough deep knowledge; too few real experts; and, not enough time. True, there are dozens of stats that one can analyze, but Holmes would only consider those metrics of vital, not incidental, importance. The result would be real improvements in ROI for his clients.

Holmes Was a Master Communicator

Holmes: “I have been guilty of several monographs. They are all upon technical subjects. Here, for example, is one ‘Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos’. In it I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates illustrating the difference in the ash.”

A monograph on tobacco would be ill-advised in this day and age, but what if Holmes were to focus on SEO and Pay-Per-Click? Imagine the White Papers he could write or the PowerPoint presentations he could create (all with nifty graphs, charts, and illustrations).

The Big Finish

Being a Web Analyst is like being a detective: it is hard, painstaking work that requires real commitment (recommend daily); those who practice it must be able to look at the same facts as others, but often arrive at different conclusions (insight); and, they must be able to recognize, and focus on, only the most critical, relevant information (what often appears trivial to the uninitiated) in order to provide solutions to problems that often seem impossible to overcome (measurable results; ROI). Sherlock Holmes would have been perfect for the job!