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Not All Google Referrals Are Search Related

Although the new Marketing Pilgrim Job Board is only a few hours old - awww, look at him, he has his father’s eyes – I’m already digging into the referral stats.

One thing I’ve noticed – and had noticed before with this site – is that not all Google referrals equate to search engine traffic.

I use both web logs and Google analytics to keep track of my traffic, but GA is the one I use for drilling-down into data. When looking at referral traffic for Google, I often see “google” sending me a lot of good traffic numbers. Over the past few months, I’ve also noticed an increase in the number of visits from “google.com”.

Why Marketing Agencies Shouldn’t Publish Their Fees

Karri Flatla has given me a good topic for a future article in the business coaching series. She argues that B2B firms should publish their prices on their web site

What is worse is that business owners will rationalize their choice to not list prices until they are blue in the face, claiming they want their visitors to shop value, not price. This is apparently in hopes that the unsuspecting visitor will call them up to find out the price. It’s very egocentric when you think about it. Moreover, by not listing prices, you frustrate your users and, in effect draw more attention to the “How much does it cost?” question. I doubt that is the intended effect.

Increasing Your Marketing Agency’s Revenues by Saying "No" to Clients

[The following is part of the continuing series of advice for marketing agencies. Andy Beal offers various business coaching services]

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve read the title of this article and you think Andy Beal must have lost his mind. How in the world can you increase the size of your marketing firm by actually saying “no” to a client? Isn’t that counter-productive, you’re asking? Surely you need to find ways to say “yes” to your clients, so you can get their business and grow your agency. Well, spare me ten minutes of your time, and I’ll show you why saying “no” to a client is often good for business.

Not All “Yeses” are Created Equal

In the past seven years of growing search marketing firms, I’ve said “yes” to clients more often than I can remember. When you’re growing a business — especially if cash-flow is tight — agreeing to the requests, or demands, of a client appears to be the only way you’ll ever get to the “big bucks”. While early in my career, I made the mistake of saying yes too many times, over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that saying “no” is more lucrative.

Saying “No” to Prospective Clients

How excited do you get when you’re negotiating that final contract with a prospective client and you’re accountant is willing you on to get the business in the door and on the books? Just like animals can smell fear, prospective clients can smell your desperation to get their business.

Unless you’ve done a phenomenal job of building the value of your agency’s services, its expertise, and benefits to the prospective client, the chances are high that you’ll be asked for a discount or some additional services for free before the client signs. Argh! You’re so close, you’ve made the investment in trying to win this account — your time on the phone, the pretty proposal, the face-to-face meetings — and if you’ll just reduce the price of the campaign from $5,000 a month to $3,500 a month, the client will sign today. What to do?

Well, here’s what most agencies do. They cave in. They say “yes” to the discount, or say “yes” to the extra workload, at the same fee. What they didn’t do, and what will surely come back to haunt them, is they didn’t say “no”.

Now, I’m not advocating being rude or arrogant at this stage. There’s the right way and the wrong way to say no, but you shouldn’t necessarily say yes either. You see, by simply agreeing to the clients demands, you’ve handicapped your business in two ways:

  • You’ve reduced the perceived value of your service. By dropping your fee from $5,000 to $3,500 a month, you’ve planted the seed in the client’s mind that your original price was inflated — perhaps they’ll think you were trying to gouge them.
  • You’ve established to the client that everything else is negotiable. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve reduced the price of a campaign and then found that client to be the most demanding and the most difficult to work with. Everything becomes negotiable from that point on — deliverable schedules, reports, results — the client now knows you’re likely inflating everything from pricing to timelines and will be on the lookout for opportunities to get more from you.

Hopefully, the above is resonating with you thus far. But, you’re probably asking, “How do I say no without losing the deal?” Let’s take a look.

Online Marketing with Offline Conversions

The growth and adoption of web analytics applications over the last few years has made detailed conversion tracking a mission critical part of operating a successful e-commerce website. E-commerce merchants routinely track all aspects of each and every individual conversion. Tracking return on ad spend by channel is now just as crucial as understanding profit margins. Improving a website’s ability to turn visitors into customers without accurate conversion data is almost flying blind. So what about the large numbers of organizations who don’t have this luxury since either all or the majority of their conversions occur offline?

LifeHack’s 6 Tips to Improve Your Blog

Lifehack’s Chris Brogan shares six very useful tips for first-time bloggers – and a refresher for the rest of us – looking to improve their blog.

I won’t repeat all six here, but the first tip is usually the one I see most new bloggers guilty of failing to implement…

Display Contact Info Prominently- Put the author’s name right up there easy to read, and add a photo, an email written out to avoid spiders ( chris at lifehack dot org instead of actually clickable), and even a phone number, if you want people to reach you. Add your IM username, and other contact info. If it’s a multi-author blog, display an “About the Authors” link prominently.

Here’s a couple I would add to the list.

Search Marketers Share Flickr Photos

I often get emailed by new bloggers, asking me to add their blog to my blogroll or link to a specific article. I typically avoid linking, just because I am asked, instead I tell the blogger that I’ll keep an eye on their blog and link to anything I find interesting.

Ok, with that preamble out of the way, here’s where I am going. If you want to get your blog on the radar of other bloggers, create something unique and interesting. I’ve never heard from Andrew Girdwood, but he was smart enough to put together a list of search marketers sharing their photos via Flickr. Not only is this interesting, and going in my bookmarks, but by including the names of popular bloggers, he’ll likely get a lot of links from it.

2007 Predictions

Mashable has “tagged” me to share my predictions for 2007. Here’s some brief thoughts…

  1. Digg will get acquired or die (maybe even both). I think Digg is very close to jumping the shark and is close to its maximum level of exposure. It will either realize this and sell or wait too long and decline.
  2. Yahoo’s new search interface and algo will be key in the revival of the company’s fortunes. Once they switch to a platform that includes a performance metric, they’ll see better average CPCs.
  3. Social media marketing (SMM) will find its place. There will be some marketing agencies who actually figure out how to show an ROI from SMM.
  4. We’ll see at least one company, offering search marketing services, go public in 2007 and more acquired than in 2006.