Day twenty-three was full of a little bit of action on a lot of different levels. From digging through my stats to doing another round of keyword research to finally getting my Yahoo! ads online I stayed busy on the search marketing front. At the same time, I uploaded another new shirt, brainstormed PR moves and stood amazed that public relations was working even without me!
(If you're just catching up with this series of articles, be sure to swing into the ongoing discussion thread at the Small Business Ideas forum. You'll be able to link to each day's article and participate in the discussion going along with it.)
ClickTracks Stats Continue to Deliver
By day twenty-three I'd been able to spend a bit more time digging around in ClickTracks to see what type of data I could find. I'd used the tagging feature to segment my stats by not only which of the three sites (blog, store, or thelactivist.com) a user had entered through, but also to segment users that placed a product in their cart and that actually made a purchase. Thus, I was able to tell how much time each type of user spent on the site.
For example, the average time spent on site:
All Visitors: 61 seconds
Blog Traffic: 52 seconds
Shop Traffic: 62 seconds
TheLactivist.com: 68 seconds
Item in Cart: 418 seconds
Made a Purchase: 1136 seconds
That information was interesting not only because it showed that visitors to the actual TheLactivist.com site were spending the most time, but also that visitors that entered via my blog were spending the least amount of time on the sites. That surprised me as my blog was my primary source of content and had the most information on it. After all, it only takes so much time to click through and view a bunch of shirts. That either meant that my blog was doing a great job of feeding people in to the store, or that my blog content didn't do a very good job of holding people's attention.
That made me realize that I needed to go take a look at my exit rates to see if time spent on the site was the best indicator of the quality of those entry points. So, I went and looked at the blog traffic, which spent the least amount of time on the site and at TheLactivist.com traffic, which spent the most amount of time on the site. As it turns out, of all the traffic that entered via TheLactivist.com, 56.9% of it exited without having viewed more than one page. On the other hand, only 17.6% of visitors that entered via the Lactivist Blog exited after a single page. That made me rethink my assumption about the quality of traffic coming in from my blog. Apparently, my visitors were just speed readers and found their way to the information they wanted more quickly.
It was also interesting to note that as much as I enjoyed ClickTracks, I was still stopping by eXTReMe Tracker to see the "last twenty referrers" stat. I was finding that this was the quickest way to spot a new incoming link, especially one from a message board. I could sort through all of my referrers on ClickTracks and even see a new jump by using the What's Changed report, but there was something about the one-click access of getting it on eXTReMe tracking that made me glad I'd kept it in place.
All of this digging reminded me of how fun it can be to dig through the stats for a site in order to learn more about what's working and what isn't. I've never been an analytics expert though, so I headed to my bookshelf and pulled out "Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer's Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business" by Eric Peterson. Eric had sent me a copy a few months back to review but I'd been so buried that I hadn't had a chance to read it yet. Now seemed like the perfect opportunity so I cracked it open and read the first chapter. It looks to be an interesting read. Instead of simply telling you why you should be tracking your traffic, it goes into great detail about HOW to track your traffic and what to do with the information. At less than $40, that makes this a great investment for small business owners looking to learn more about web analytics.
Problems with Yahoo! Search Marketing
Day twenty-three also saw my Yahoo! Search Marketing campaign FINALLY going live. While I'd setup the campaign just a week into the project, YSM had sent me an email saying that I needed to call in with my account number and credit card data in order to activate the account. I'd never had to do this for any other account that I'd setup with them, so I wrote the email off as a phishing attempt and ignored it.
A few days later however, I noticed that my campaigns were not yet running on Yahoo!. That's when a second email came in telling me that I needed to call to activate the campaign. The problem was that it asked for my Yahoo! account number and for credit card data, neither of which I had in an easily accessible spot. I decided that I'd call in on another day when I had time to look things up and promptly forgot about it until a week or so later when I had my first voice mail message from a Yahoo! Search Marketing account rep that wanted to help me get things up and running.
Once again, I was simply too busy to call back, so I put it off until I had more free time. I started to wonder if I'd ever get my campaign online when I received a second call from the Yahoo! Search Marketing team one afternoon while working. I finally managed to get them the information so that my campaigns could get up and running the next day.
The problem was, when I went to look for my accounts the next day, I couldn't find any of my ads. I logged in to the admin panel to review the terms that I was bidding on and I saw that the Yahoo! Search Marketing editor had taken it upon themselves to change all of my phrases that contained "breastfeeding" to "breast feeding." Since I (and everyone else on God's green earth) was searching for "breastfeeding" related phrases, my ads weren't appearing. I called up Yahoo! and spoke with an editor who apologized and promised to fix the problem immediately.
Either way, I was going through an awful lot of trouble to get a pay-per-click account up and running when my existing pay-per-click account at AdWords still wasn't sending me much in the way of buyers so I decided not to worry about it and moved on.
Uploading New Content
I've found inspiration in some of the strangest places for Lactivist shirts but the inspiration today came from a fairly logical place; a breastfeeding mother's blog. I'd made it a habit to start surfing around parenting and mothering blogs to keep tabs on what breastfeeding mothers are talking about and what issues would make good fodder for the Lactivist Blog. On day twenty-three I stumbled across a blog that talked about a fear of breastfeeding in public and the appearance that she was playing "peek-a-boob." I laughed out loud at that phrase and realized that it would make a good shirt.
Thus, the "I'm not playing peek-a-boob I'm just trying to feed my child" shirt was born.
I also stumbled across an interesting study that showed that a hormone that is released while nursing called oxytocin has been scientifically proven to make people less fearful. Sounded like great blog content to me, so I put together a new post for the Lactivist Blog.
Public Relations Moves With or Without Me
By this point, Amy Hooker and I were working on fleshing out our media list so that once she was done with the second version of my press release, we could start spreading the word and looking for some press for the shirts. The surprise was that when viral marketing takes hold, public relations sometimes happens without any extra effort at all.
On day twenty three I received an interesting bits of news. Apparently, The New York Times had run an article about CafePress and mentioned The Lactivist Store. The article was about the use of CafePress as a way to create personalized products and the author picked up a link to The Lactivist because it is listed as a top ten store on the CafePress Wire.
The variety of products offered is sprawling, and aside from serving as a way for the consumer to make things, CafePress is often used is as a virtual gift shop for other Web sites. One top CafePress "shop" is connected to "This Old House," the television show. But most are not so well known. Another top shop is the Lactivist, a pro-breastfeeding Web site.
This was good news. If The New York Times was picking up the store before we even did a public relations push, then there was a chance that we might really be able to see some progress once we put some serious effort toward it.
Coming up on day twenty-four, public relations continues to take on a mind of its own, but I find that having a plan of your own can make a big difference as well. I also realize that with all the loving that the Lactivist project is getting, it's time to start spreading it around...
Jump to Day twenty-four.
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December 20, 2005
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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