Website Marketing lesson from ‘The Apprentice’

I was watching the latest episode of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” on Sunday night and was intrigued by two multi-gold medalists, Summer Sanders and Michael Johnson, facing off as Project Managers.  FWIW, I was just as intrigued by Donald’s awful comb-over.  The guest judge for the project was Gavin Maloof, owner of the Palms Casino, Sacramento Kings, and countless marketing ventures.  The task at hand was to create an Advertorial for the new Norton-LifeLock bundle package.  It was interesting to watch the two teams take opposite approaches to the task.  As an aside, an Advertorial is:

Advertorial = Advertisement + Editorial

Michael Johnson’s team put together a ton of wordy content in very small font.  Gavin Maloof’s criticism really stood out to me as a marketer.  He shared that the advertorial was too verbose so nobody would read through it.  His two key points were a) you only have 2 or 3 seconds to grab a reader’s attention and b) there was way too much copy for an advertorial.  In summary, Michael Johnson’s team followed the equation:  Advertorial = Advertisement + Editorial

Summer Sander’s team put together an advertorial with full sized images on each page and very little ad copy.  The pictures themselves were compelling and well put together, however Norton-LifeLock representatives and Gavin had a major concern… there was no phone number!  The Print looked great but there was no way for potential customers to contact the company.  In the end, Summer ended up with an off equation: Advertorial = Advertisement + Editorial

(view the advertorials here:

Ultimately, the Norton-LifeLock representatives decided they need to combine the two advertorials to make an effective final print.  What does this have to do with your website succeeding?  Nett Solutions reviews hundreds of websites’ a month to see if they are a good fit for our advertising campaigns.  A majority of our prospective clients fall into two camps.

Camp Michael – Too Much Copy:  Some websites contain so much copy and content it loses the attention of the visitor.  Gavin was right when he said we only have a couple seconds to capture someone’s attention.  If your website is too wordy, people will click the ‘Back’ button and leave before you have a chance to sell them. 

Camp Summer – No Call to Action: We have seen many aesthetically pleasing websites without a call to action.  If you offer a service, your phone number or contact info should be strategically placed on each and every page of your site.  If you sell a product, you should have an easy to navigate shopping platform and eye catching messages such as “Free Shipping if you buy now!” 

Which camp does your website fall into?  If you need a set of fresh eyes to review your website and optimize your advertising, give us a call and we’d love to help.   Just click on the ‘Contact Us’ link above.

–          Michael

Nett Solutions is a SEM agency working with Yahoo! and Google. We are a SoCal based company built of an eclectic cornucopia of: marketers, mothers & fathers, husbands & wives, college grads & MBA’s, surfers, church-goers, athletes, comedians (and those who think they are comedians). Our common bond is that we like to help people succeed.

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The Internet = “trendy and oversold” HYPE?!?

I stumbled across this article written in 1995 about the future of the internet. It is a definite MUST read as it prophesies the “trendy and oversold” hype of the internet concept. Take a minute to read it and have a good laugh.

A lot can change in 15 years, can’t they?

– In 1995 acid washed jeans were in. In 2010, MEN are wearing super low rise, skinny jeans.

– In 1995 a best picture nominee was Babe. 2010 has Avatar in 3D/IMAX special effects.

– In 1995 Juno was a major email service provider. In 2010 Gmail is the new Juno & Juno is now a movie about teen pregnancy.

– In 1995 Saint’s fans wore paper bags over their heads. In 2010 the Saints are no longer the Aints.

– In 1995 Prince’s lyrics, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999,” had relevancy. In 2010 Prince no longer has a name, but rather a symbol.

– In 1995 Jay Leno hosted the Tonight show. In 2010, the host is Conan O’br… um, nevermind.

Working for a couple dot-coms during the 90’s I remember the e-commerce hurdles we had to overcome. Very little online credit card security existed, those who trusted online transactions were sparse, internet access was limited, and e-commerce software lacked sophistication. Online sales were just a blip on the radar.  I even remember looking for a new office suite and making sure our broker noted “T1 connections”, and “internet ready” as key criteria. In 15 short years, the tables have turned.

As marketers, we try our best to track the pulse of the marketplace. Our local paper (I read the online version, Mr. Stoll) has a section tracking local retail businesses. Here are 10 of the 15 most recent headlines:

• MainPlace store closes
• Disneyland store to close
• Struggling O.C. mall up for sale
• Bella Terra finds replacement for Circuit City
• Retailer to close 165 stores
• O.C. movie theater owner files for bankruptcy
• Sam’s Club closes O.C. store
• Crate & Barrel closes O.C. store
• O.C. surf shop closes, women’s discounter opens

A whopping two-thirds of the most recent posts in this periodical section are reporting closures or financial distress of brick and mortar businesses. To say this is the end of traditional retail businesses would be foolish. However, I do believe all businesses need to take advantage of the symbiotic relationship between their building storefront and their e-commerce storefront.

Multi-channel marketing has finally arrived. comScore reported that online Holiday retail sales reached $29.1 billion, an increase of 4% compared to 2008, and it was the traditional brick & mortar retailers who were pushing online deals from Black Friday through Christmas. (Note: this jump occurred while overall retail spending declined during the year). In the winter of 2009, retail stores finally embraced the multi-channel mentality.  A combination of: Foot traffic, search engine ad campaigns, eye-catching online display ads, mailers, coupons & customer support via Facebook, and announcing free shipping on Twitter has helped many businesses keep the doors open.

The benefits are just as powerful for local service businesses as they are for national retailers. Research from Nielsen Online shows that 82% of users search on engines like Yahoo! and Google to find a local business, 50% of internet users turn to the search engines FIRST in order to find a local business, and 40% of the searchers will use geographic keywords (city/state name) in their query. Local services can’t just rely on word of mouth.  Taking advantage of online advertising channels such as search and display will enhance your growth. Our team is always open to strategizing with you.

– Michael

Nett Solutions is a SEM agency working with Yahoo! and Google. We are a SoCal based company built of an eclectic cornucopia of: marketers, mothers & fathers, husbands & wives, college grads & MBA’s, surfers, church-goers, athletes, comedians (and those who think they are comedians). Our common bond is that we like to help people succeed.

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