I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

Refer to older posts…

Blogging services

HCI chat


Control pop up ads

I just visited a blog for the first (and probably last!) time.

As soon as I got to the URL, a pop up opened to promote something I assume they get a commission or payment for. There was a x on the pop up so I was able to close it fairly easily at least.

I hate pop ups at the best of times (and am annoyed that many get past pop up blockers but that’s another story!) so it doesn’t make me like a site when I get a pop up so quickly. But I sigh and move on.

girl yelling through megaphone at boy reading

People learn to block out too much noise and refuse to be distracted.

Frequency of pop ups

On this particular site, I closed the pop up and then clicked on a link to see the most recent blog post.

As soon as the blog post opened, so did another pop up.

As soon as the about us page opened, so did another pop up.

As soon as the registration page (clicked on by mistake!) opened, so did another pop up!

Seeing the same pop up that many times is NOT making me more likely to click on it let alone spend money on whatever is being advertised.

Topics of pop ups (and other ads)

I understand that running a blog has costs and people want to make a bit of money back from their blog if possible. Ads and affiliate links are one way to cover some blogging costs.

But surely it’s more effective if the ads are aimed at the target audience of the blog?

In my example above, the site is about cooking but the pop up was about web hosting.

Obviously, some people are interested in both cooking and running a website. But can you assume most people looking up recipes and cooking tips will be interested in hosting a website?

I think a pop up for cooking books, online shops for herbs and other ingredients, or even online retailers of cooking tools would interest more of the blog’s visitors. And thus earn the blogger more money – or the advertiser more relevant exposure.

The lesson learned?

Ok, I already knew this but the lesson from my example is to control any pop up advertising on your blog or website.

  1. only show the ad a few times – if someone says no after that, they’ll probably always say no
  2. make your ads relevant to your audience. If not immediately apparent why it should interest that audience, make the ad itself provide a link.

So what do you think of website pop ups?

Do you use (and hopefully control) pop ups on your site? If so, what response have you got from them?

Building trust

One of the reasons I give for writing promotional articles and blog posts is build trust in the community and your (potential) clients. By sharing relevant information, people can trust your expertise and learn about your personality and integrity.

In the current global situation, building trust may be even more important.

The Edelman Trust Barometer for Australia is a survey of consumers and how they feel about various institutions. In February this year, they noted a huge 74% decline in trust for business – only 34% of respondents trust a business to do what is right in a specific situation.

What is critical to learn from this survey is the following:

  • 87% of Australians will  not buy from a company they don’t trust
  • 64% of Australians will pay extra to use a company they do trust
  • Australians prefer Australian-owned companies to foreign owned companies as a general rule (obviously that changes in specific situations if the Australian company isn’t trusted)
  • corporate advertising is trusted by only 6% of Australians – and corporate websites by only 13%

Some other interesting notes:

  • people between 25 and 34 years are twice as likely to share experiences of a company than older respondents
  • treating employees well is important – even more important than an environmental commitment – in building trust

As for the survey, it was based on “4,475 upper-income, highly-educated people in 20 countries, including 1,375 in Asia-Pacific countries.”

Make blogs interesting, not advertisments!

Some time ago, I wrote about avoiding a sales pitch as your blog ending. I was recently reminded of this when reading a post on a new blog.

The post was about others not having enough skill to offer professional services, which is a fair point (and one of my pet hates, too!) However, a middle section of the post was “Others wrongly offer a and b. Our business offers x and y”., and expanded on what they offer.

Instead of explaining their point of view so I could learn something, they told me what they can do – I still don’t know why they think their way is better than anyone else’s way. Consequently, I gained no knowledge and they gained no credibility.

Blogging is not just a form of cheap advertising – it is about building a community where people share information, ideas and opinions. The more you give through your blog, the more likely that people will start trusting you and valuing your expertise. That is how blogs bring you customers – not by boring them with lists of your services.

Here’s to interesting blogs to read!

Advertising the past is pointless

I just received an email newsletter – one I’ve been considering unsubscribing from anyway – which amazed me. It had a very long introduction, then some ads and then a list of seminars they are running.

However, the first two seminars listed were in December 2008! And the third was for today!

Ok, today’s one would have some hope of attracting some extra people to the seminar, but what is the point of advertising something I can’t go to no matter how much I would like to? It wasted their time and mine for absolutely no gain – in fact, it has annoyed me so I’m less likely to believe in what they say.

Once an event is finished, there is really no point advertising it – as far as I know, no one has invented a time machine yet! Discuss how good it was, lessons learned or give testimonials afterwards by all means, by advertising it may hurt your business more than help it!

tracking advertising

A few days ago, I was reminded of the importance of tracking advertising through a story a friend told me.

The story: a company spent $60,000 or so on an advertising campaign, but didn’t implement any means of tracking the results of the ad. Meaning they have spent $60,000 and have no idea if it raised their brand awareness or brought in customers and revenue (I’m not sure which was the aim of their campaign.) So when the radio stations come back and ask if the company wants to repeat the ad, who knows if they should say yes or no…

The moral: tracking advertising is important for a number of reasons:

  • makes it easy to decide on a repeat of the campaign
  • helps you better understand your demographic (e.g. they may listen to the radio but not respond to the type of ad you ran)
  • assess the ROI (return on investment) and value of the campaign – $60,000 is nothing if it results in $500,000 of sales, but it is a ridiculous amount of money if it results in $100 profit
  • tracking and comparing different ads allows you to decide the most effective advertising for your business (e.g. radio vs TV vs major newspapers vs local advertising) PLUS you can tweak the actual ad to find the best presentation, too

Even if your budget is nowhere near $60,000, tracking of advertising is a worthwhile exercise.

Don’t assume that free ads aren’t worth tracking, either. Why?

  • the results from a free ad can be a useful comparison with paid advertising
  • free ads can be a great place to test different wording and formats for your ad before you pay for its placement (assuming a very similar audience of course)
  • if the ad is free in monetary terms but costs a lot of time, tracking will help you determine if you are getting enough reward for your time
  • a free ad may be attracting the wrong people – people who don’t become customers and use up your valuable time. If you know many false leads are coming from a certain ad, stop that ad even if it is free!

Have you used tracking with your advertising? Did you find it a useful activity, even if tedious and time consuming?


P.S. You can read more about the basics of tracking your advertising or assessing the results of tracking in my articles.