Own Your Assets: Avoid Domain Transfer

domain transfer

Avoid needing a domain transfer. Be sure to buy your URL from the start!

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for quite some time. A recent painful experience reminded me that I really needed to get it out there so others can learn.

Over the past year or so PWB has moved to STRONGLY recommending to our clients that they own their URLs. We’ve seen far too many situations where a third-party purchased a URL on behalf of a client. Then the client and the third party part ways, or they go out of business, or something else changes.

Avoiding Domain Transfer

Now the client needs a domain transfer. On the surface, this seems like a simple enough process. And generally, it is. Except when it’s not. We’ve had a few go badly. Generally it’s when moving a URL from a re-seller to a more mainstream registrar. So far we’ve only lost one – a back-up URL that wasn’t key. But we’ve certainly had more than a few hair-pulling moments.

Buying a URL is simple, it puts you in control, and it ensures that you retain control over a key marketing asset. We recommend consolidating all of your URLs with a single registrar to simplify renewals and management. If possible, we like to take it a step further and suggest consolidating your URL registration with your hosting provider. This way everything’s in one convenient place. We like GoDaddy for their simplicity, uptime, and top-notch on-phone customer support – but there are certainly others.

While we’re on the topic, if you’re considering an acquisition, make sure the rights to the URL are included in your terms. While this may seem obvious, it’s an easy detail to overlook in a complex transaction.

We’ve even gone so far as to stop purchasing URLs on our client’s behalf. Own your assets. If you do, the potential risks of losing a URL go down significantly. We hope this helps even one marketer avoid a difficult situation.

 

-Sean-

When Branding Strategy and Product Don’t Align

Branding StrategyBeing interested in both food and marketing, I’ve recently been fascinated by the emerging story that that Mast Brothers Chocolate out of Brooklyn is not truly the bean-to-bar manufacturer they’ve claimed to be.

Helmed by a photogenic pair of bearded brothers, Mast Brothers serves up an inspiring origin story of an apartment-based start-up making it big. The company sheaths its bars – which retail in the $10 range – in gorgeous, high-end paper designed by an in-house creative director. Articles and interviews with the brothers are peppered with words like “authenticity” and “artisanal” and “transparency” – and almost every media mention references the beards and/or the packaging. The Mast empire has expanded to include several factories and storefronts, a best-selling cookbook, and a presence in dozens of high-end retail shops and restaurants.

The problem? There’s speculation that the bean-to-bar concept on which the brothers built their branding strategy; that originally the brothers used re-melted commercial chocolate. The equipment they claimed to have used was called into question. Suspicion over the source further escalated when countries of origin and ingredient lists disappeared from the bars’ packaging – a strange omission for a company that preaches transparency.

Beyond all that, the chocolate that they are making now is considered by experts to be, well, not very good.

What began as a whisper on the fringe of the chocolate/foodie communities has become a full-on mainstream roar. The New York Times even covered the controversy in their Sunday edition. The Masts have gone on the defensive, posting a rebuttal and Q&A on the press page of their website.

While on the outset this may seem similar to the Shinola issue, which Sean previously posted about, in my mind it’s pretty different. In Shinola’s case, while the branding came under attack – is it really “Made in Detroit” if pieces used in the assembly are manufactured abroad? – the product/quality of the product itself never came into question. Additionally, customers rallied around the brand.

 

In the case of Mast, we have a brilliantly branding strategy that doesn’t align with its product, and a customer base that feels deceived and even foolish.

Like Shinola, the Masts continue to defend their brand publicly. It will be interesting to watch how it all shakes out. In the meantime, I think this provides some food for thought (pun intended) to anyone in the process of branding or rebranding a product or service. A strong branding strategy and great marketing can take you pretty far – but it can crumble quickly when it’s not built on the foundation of a strong product.

New Year – New AdWords Campaign

It’s a new year so it is not surprising that businesses may be considering new marketing techniques to capture a desired audience. Today I want to share some thoughts on starting new online ads, specifically creating a new new adwords campaignAdWords campaign.

The biggest challenge is often simple  – where to start? Will my Google AdWords ads focus on overall branding or target something more specific. By taking the time to develop a CLEAR goal, it will be easier to determine what kind of ad needs to be created. To get started, ask some of the following questions:

  • Are my ads intended to grow sales?
  • Will my ads focus on brand awareness?
  • Will my Google AdWords ads generate demand?
  • What action will a website visitor take when clicking on the ad?
  • Are my ads leading to a lead capture form? Should they lead to a purchase? Do I have a white paper to offer? Can my audience sign up for a newsletter?

In starting out, always identify a goal (or several goals) and know how the results will be measured. Now that the hard part is done, simply create a campaign. Yes, it really is that easy! I do not plan to recreate the wheel though, so be sure to check out this excellent step-by-step AdWords starter guide that Google has. It will get new advertisers started. I would like to add a couple quick tips though that I have learned through experience.

Creating a New AdWords campaign

  1. If possible, help customers take an action. Include a call-to-action then follow that by adding conversion tracking. Doing so will show you how effective your campaigns may be.
  2. Brainstorm a list (or lists) of keyword ideas associated with your brand/product. Certainly Google offers a tool to get you started but often they may not be the keywords that are best for a business.
  3. Consider using negative keywords to improve search. This eliminates those who may not actually be potential customers.
  4. Start with very specific targeting. That may be geographic targeting or AdGroups designed to attract a specific audience. Starting small will help create success early.

These are just a few tips, but they are some of the easiest to implement when creating a campaign, and I would argue that they are some of the most important.

I mentioned above, that measuring campaign results is important, ultimately though it is a must – When creating a new advertising campaign, advertisers need to know what works. Without analyzing results advertisers are flying blind! Test new ideas then build on campaign successes and failure, using a tool (Google Analytics) to help determine what is working and what is not.

Start with the basics and build a new AdWords campaign around success. The size of the campaign matters not if well thought out, so start today!

Does getting started with AdWords seem overwhelming or intimidating? Give us a call at 734-995-5000, we can help to get your campaigns set up or by offering ongoing campaign support.