What I’ve Been Working On, What I’ve Been Doing and Learning

Besides my very first post, I haven’t blogged much about work. So here goes.

I have a passion for online marketing. I kind of fell into it back when I worked at The Foundation Center. They needed someone to manage a lot of the nuts and bolts of the online marketing program, which was ramping up in parallel with a new e-commerce enabled website. Prior to that I worked on coordinating the direct mail program, which I liked, but I saw the new opportunity and jumped on it. I’m glad I did! The online marketing program was built, with my help, from scratch. I mean scratch. Imagine that… I became addicted to the immediate results you can see when marketing online. Although we didn’t have the best analytics and tracking (or any at all), it was obvious where sales were coming from following an e-mail or newsletter ad.

I plan on writing more about my online marketing travels in future posts. I just wanted a quick intro to frame this post because most of my time since, has been on retention marketing (upselling, e-mail marketing, merchandising, etc). And of course analytics.

I got 8 years into my career and realized I by and large was working on half of the internet marketing puzzle. I needed acquisition experience!

That’s what made my current position so appealing. I was able to leverage my experience in retention and apply it solely on acquisition. I’m now responsible for SEO, SEM, and other initiatives like partnerships, social media, content creation, etc. It’s a challenge, but I love it.

On the social media front, I’ve launched a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page. And even some other pages like YouTube and LinkedIn. There is still a lot of work to be done to maximize those!

As I go, I hone my craft so to speak. The biggest area, analytics. I’m currently reading Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik. While reading, there were some ah-ha moments, but far more reassuring moments. I like to have my suspicions, thoughts, and theories backed by “experts.” The biggest takeaway so far is to focus on the analytics that matter most and what’s most actionable. Looking at too much data can be more of a distraction. It’s helped me so far. And it’s helped my company too.

We recently launched some new features on the site, and careful attention needed to be put on the effects. Careful planning was done before (to make sure we knew what we had to measure) and after (to make sure what we were seeing is valid). It’s always nerve wracking to launch big new projects, but it’s reassuring to know you have all the bases covered to measure and take action if something isn’t giving you the desired results.

One area that I’m focusing a lot of attention on is funnel metrics. In e-commerce, there are a lot of steps customers go through before they ultimately order. If you can improve each step, even a little, the results follow. A lot can be improved with improving usability. Sometimes there are technical and resource limitations, or other priorities, that stand in the way. I’ve been given the green light to test some alternate pages hosted separately from our main site. This gives me the control to make changes quickly and easily. The goal is to target the first part of the funnel with laser like precision. Meaning a customer is looking for something, show it to them right away instead of requiring them to navigate through an entire site.

So far the traffic those sites have received are converting pretty well. They are highly targeted, so it’s no surprise. Whether or not the orders are incremental remains to be seen. Either way, the learning is valuable.

Wow, that was a really long winded answer to what I’ve been working on. I promise to post shorter posts on specific content areas soon. I finally feel I’ve touched on all areas on online marketing, so I can hopefully share some of my experience in each area. Hmmm, maybe I’ll map out an outline later today…