Saturday, October 23, 2010

Internet Marketing is Impossible without Stats!

Okay, so you’ve got your website! Congratulations. Now what? Before you jump out and set up facebook, twitter, and blogger and accounts, check your stats packages. You might need to call your webmaster to find out what they installed and how to access it, but trust me, it’s going to make the eventual difference between an effective website that draws in new customers, and a website you use to show your friends that you have a website.

Maybe I went overboard on one client’s site. From the moment we show up anywhere in the top 300 listings on google, to the time they leave our page, I know where they went, how long they spent there, where the left to, what they clicked, and even the likelihood that they are reading certain things. For a site that sells nothing and only serves to drive customers to a brick and mortar location, it may seem overkill, but this work allowed me to develop an SEO strategy that took six months for them to outpace every competitor, take top ranking on over  thirty local search results and oddly enough landing on the top of international search results in some things we never even tried. All of this without spending a dime on Pay Per Click programs.

Once a week, I compile a report of search rankings, inbound links, time spent on site and most popular pages. At a glance, I can determine what has worked, what isn’t working, and sometimes even identify emerging trends that I had never anticipated. Being able to take a weekly look at trends allows our methods to stay dynamic and to identify approaches that need more attention.

Sometimes poor stats are worse than no stats. Let me give an example.

Our blog gets more hits each day than our website, but only drives 1% of its traffic through to our homepage. Since we are a local business, this makes sense, people reading from around the world are going to find local vendors after using our blog entries to find out about a topic. With a poor statistical plan, you might kill the blog as ineffectual, since it drives almost no traffic to your site. However, with a good plan, you will notice that every topic you blog about sees a corresponding rise in search engine traffic from that query a week or two later.

You see, sometimes the most important readers of a blog are the search engines. Because the content of your blog and links back to your homepage are effectively reaching two audiences; your blog readers and search engine users. This is easy to see with good stat tracking, but nearly impossible to intuit without. If all you get is a list of referring links, and you see the blog sitting on the bottom, it’s easy to think the blog is useless, but by looking at everything going on around it, you will see that it is one of your most effective marketing tools.

If you lack stats, analytics or webmaster tools, contact us at Urban Merit! We offer a free 30 minute consultation for new clients in the Ukiah area, let us show you how to stand out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Market your Jewelery. . . Or whatever.

As soon as I started announcing the re-launch of Urban Merit, I started getting messages and e-mails. The first was from an awesome artist I know, who has started doing jewelry since I left the city.

"So I have been doing a jewelry and accessory line for over a year now and I want to start really marketing. I have only been doing face to face sales so far. Want a client? What can you do for me? How much $ for how long?"

Knowing she was still doing low-volume "face-to-face" sales, and probably had a shoestring budget, I told her I would work for free, but only as a series of blog entries, so I could demonstrate a simple marketing plan for an emerging artist. I began by asking her five quick questions to find out more about her business.

1: Do you have a website? (no)
2: Do you etsy? (no)
3: Do you have a dedicated facebook page for your works? (no)
4: If you were to try to sell me, a friend 170 miles away, some jewelery, how would you do it, right now? (That is the question!)
5: What is your company called? (Mechanical Carnival)

She explained that she had business cards and packaging, but that all sales so far have been face to face.

And thus, we begin.

First off, MC, get thee on consignment! It is surprisingly easy to hit a few boutiques with creative packaging and a business card to get your stuff on the shelves. Once you have it on the shelves you have a destination for marketing. "Available at Hipster Outfitters, The Mermaid Store and Walmart!" rather than, "Find MC at the bar, she'll have great earrings!" Next time you get business cards made, think about designing them to double as both a card and a label. This will increase brand recognition, encourage repeat customers and possibly save money.

Secondly, get on consignment at a few websites. Sites such as and are boons to the independent artist as they allow sales of you items with very little overhead. Paying additional fees allow you to be highlighted on front pages and in magazines, but for the start-up, these are often superfluous expenses, rather the start-up artist should focus on selling to their own network, utilizing existing networks such a facebook, myspace or blogs. Facebook's thumbnails for links make this very useful!

Next, become a social networker, be it on facebook, myspace, blogspot or whichever the network you find yourself haunting! Either set up a page or a dedicated profile (I recommend the later, for reasons I'll explore in a later blog) to hype your materials, and spend at least twenty to thirty minutes a day adding strangers! Hold contests giving away pieces to identify your best promoters, and build your network. You first goal should be 1000 friends, or likes. It may take a while, but it is easy to do with perseverance.Remember, STRANGERS! Adding you interested friends should take an hour or two, building a network a fresh eyes is your ground work.

The next step, which I will discuss tomorrow, is extending that consignment market to other cities using direct mail campaigns. (At which point, you'll have sold enough to warrant hiring me for a media kit, MC!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Urban Merit has soft launched.

Our branding materials arrived today, and we have removed the bot stoppers from our website. The website will go live sometime this weekend.

At 2200 on October 15th, Urban Merit was introduced to the internet. The date and time is important, because I expect that we'll start hitting the top of search results VERY quickly.

Urban Merit is a Ukiah marketing firm and design house focusing on building Mendocino county's economy by supporting local business and entrepreneurs. You can find out more about us here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome to Urban Merit's Marketing Blog

Here you can expect to find valuable insight into various facets of both online and real world marketing particularly as they relate to Ukiah and Mendocino County small businesses. Urban Merit is a full service marketing and design firm with a solid cast of talent and over a decade of practical marketing experience.