Online Marketing

IP Tracking — The Brave New World Of Digital Marketing.

Today, almost every digital device we use has an IP address. What is an IP address? It stands for Internet Protocol Address and it’s what computers and other digital devices use to introduce themselves to each other. Think of it as a door knock that leads to an invitation to come in and enter. Computers, cell phones, cars, even your EZ-Pass tag has an IP address.

The good news for marketers is that once your IP address has connected with another address (i.e. you visit Amazon’s website) you have given permission to speak with one another, which means the party you’re visiting (i.e. Amazon) can then connect with you at a later time and send you information as well. This return information is usually in the form of a “cookie,” which contains encrypted data that remains on your computer or phone until you or some IT person deliberately removes it.

For business, this is a marketing boon, allowing companies to keep track of potential customers interested in their wares and services – all of which is be done automatically via IP tracking.

What information can you get from an IP address?

There are actually two kinds of IP addresses – static and dynamic. Static simply means you are using the same address over and over (i.e. your home computer or your personal smart phone). Dynamic means you are sharing an IP address with a number of customers within your Internet Service Providers (ISP) area. Sometimes public uses computers in a library or in an internet café will share a dynamic address.

Whether static or dynamic, the minute you visit a website the IP address you’re originating from can be captured. The website will keep a record of the time, date and data it collects from your address. A “cookie” will be sent to your computer for future reference.

Limited information is freely available the moment a connection is made. For example, because IP addresses come in batches representing certain global regions, a fair amount of geographical information is immediately known. Cross reference this information with other demographic information available and you can develop a composite profile of the visitor and the particular region they’re living in.

It can get personal… to a point.

If your company utilizes IP tracking software, you can gather quite a lot of pertinent information. The moment someone visits a website, IP tracking software identifies the IP address of the visitor and reports what pages they visited on your site, how long they stayed and whether they filled in any contact or registration forms. The “cookie” sent to their computer, phone or device will begin to track their preferences. The IP tracking software will start to compile data captured from the same IP address as he or she visits other websites, noting preferences such as shopping habits, reading preference and other interests.

Some IP Lead tracking software can collect information from both organic, as well as paid search platforms, such as Google AdWords, providing more customer data, which can assist your company in finding richer, more promising prospects.

All this information provides a detailed dossier of a prospect’s demographic, preferences, purchasing history and even psychographic information. The IP tracking software can also determine email addresses and phone numbers associated with the IP address as well.

Once captured, the information can be used to target online advertising on websites the prospect visits and/or send emails with sales information to prospects who are already predisposed to a particular company’s products or services.

IP tracking and the law.

Each country around the globe has its own privacy laws, which govern the use of personal information gathered over the internet. In the UK for example, there is a Data Protection Act, which regulates what is and is not a breach of privacy. In many countries in Europe, IP addresses can be considered personal data, so care should be taken by anyone doing international business and gathering prospect information over the internet overseas.

In the United States, on the other hand, there is no singular law that regulates the internet, but there are both state laws and federal regulations, which limit the kind of information you can gather on individuals.

On a federal level, the U.S. tends to regulate by sector (i.e. banking, finance, healthcare etc.) It goes without saying that personal health records cannot be gathered on individuals by nature of the HIPAA laws and financial privacy is protected by law in the U.S.

For general marketing purposes, however, the U.S. tends to be fairly liberal, with the exception of California, which has a strong consumer identity protection regulation (please consult States.pdf for specifics.)

As long as consumers visit legitimate websites, the information they pass along via IP Address is pretty much fair game, provided the data is not used to disparage the visiting prospects, or is used to sell illegal or illicit materials to them.

What a marketer cannot and should not do is try to reverse engineer the process by creating phishing schemes to capture personal information. This is the behavior of scammers and illegal businesses. IP tracking, on the other hand, is perfectly legal and very effective marketing and sales tool.

More and more business is conducted on the web.

The Wall Street Journal report in mid 2016 that 51% of purchases are now made online, the tide has obvious turned and consumers have embraced online buying. Just as significant, 90% of business-to-business transactions begin with a web search, making it easier than ever to identify potential prospects.

Given the current attitudes in the U.S. for capturing information and leads over the web, the case for utilizing IP tracking software or service is a smart marketing decision for any legitimate business from Macys to your local pizza parlor. As long as the system is not abused or used to cause harassment of any kind to individuals, the idea of IP tracking seems both prudent and reasonably ethical.

Aviation Marketing Consulting Blog Named to Feedspot Top 50 Aviation Blogs

The Aviation Marketing Consulting’s Blog has been chosen as one of the Top 50 Aviation Blogs by Feedspot.

Blogs are ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

Feedspot lets you read all your favorite blogs in one place. Check out the complete list here:

Unresponsive Websites Prevent Marketers From Reaching Vy.

Google Wants Responsive Web Design

Google is forcing all digital advertisers to become multimedia conscious

Aviation companies are subject to lots of external forces — weather, traffic, regulations, fuel price increases, pilot shortages, labor disputes etc. Now, they have another issue to deal with – Google. The problem is Google has the power to hurt your aviation business by stifling your online visibility to your target audience. Less visibility means less awareness and less awareness – well, you get the idea.

What’s Google doing that is a concern for aviation companies?

Google announced that they were giving all their advertising clients until April 21st of this year to make their websites and other digital marketing platforms “responsive.”

What are responsive websites? They’re websites designed to look great no matter what device you view them on, from older CRT monitors to the new widescreen LEDs, including iPads, iPhones and Android tablets and smart phones. Websites and other marketing messages based on unresponsive designs only look good on larger desktop screens and when they are viewed on cell-phone-sized screens they either look terrible or they shrink so much they become illegible.

What happens if you’re “unresponsive” to Google’s new regulations?

Google will begin to penalize their clients whose websites are unresponsive by downgrading their SEO rankings on mobile devices. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is a process used to improve how high a website appears in the search results found in Google (as well as Bing and Yahoo). That means a search term that used to put your website at the top of Google’s search rankings may now sink you to a lower altitude on the rankings if your website has an “unresponsive” design.

Remember, Google is first and foremost a search engine.  It is designed to search the web for requested search topics and bring a list of appropriate websites back to you. In the process, advertisers related to your search topic will appear at the top and right hand column of your search results. They appear in a pecking order relative to how much they bid for top position AND by the appropriateness of the content they provide (including if the website is responsive or not).

Naturally, it’s up to the advertiser to make sure his or her messaging is clear and intriguing, but if Google penalizes you for not having the proper responsive programming, your company is going to get a lower position even if you bid higher than a competitor.

That’s because now only the responsive websites will go to the top of the list when a search is done on a mobile device. Furthermore, better designed websites will get preference over poorer designed ones, too, because the better designs will be easier to read, easier to navigate and will create more clicks and dollars for Google.

Not Just For Google AdWords Customers

Google’s responsive website mandate is not limited to those who use Google AdWords. Non-responsive websites will also be affected in Google’s organic (non-paid) results on mobile devices. And while Google has stated that this latest change will limited to mobile devices, don’t be surprised if lacking a responsive website doesn’t negatively impact your SEO ranking on desktop computers in the near future.

Why aviation companies should be concerned:

In case you haven’t noticed, the web is in a constant state of flux and change. What was all the rage yesterday is old news today. The introduction of smart phones back in 2007 caused a paradigm shift in digital marketing.  Seven years into this change the effects are beginning to become seismic.  Here are some of the facts you should know:

  • The number of smart phone users will surpass 2 billion by the end of 2015 and by 2018 half the world’s cell phones will be “smart;” this year alone mobile traffic is up 3.5%
  • Smart phone users are impatient: 74% of them will only wait 5 seconds for a website to load
  • 72% of data users use smart phones when traveling; 64% when dining; 63% in online stores
  • 57% of users do not recommend non-mobile-friendly websites to other users.

All of this is bad news if your website is unresponsive.  The good news is that there are pre-programmed design templates as well as plenty of designers who can update your website and make it responsive to the navigational features and format requirements of mobile devices.

Your Problem is really Google’s Problem. Their solution? You fix it!

For those who wonder how Google makes its money, the answer is simple: advertising. In the world of digital advertising, dollars are generated by the number of clicks an ad message generates. Basically when you advertise on Google and a member of your target audience clicks on the ad’s interactive button, it takes you to an online store where you can purchase the product or service advertised.

The problem for Google is the amount of money advertisers have been willing to pay per click has been declining for the past several years. Part of the reason for the decline in pricing is because of mobile ads.

As more consumers turn to mobile devices for their information, Google clients who don’t adhere to mobile formats do not come across clearly or attractively. Worse yet, because they find the advertising and product information inferior they turn to methods other than Google to find information and buy online.

Google is partially responsible for this situation because in their eagerness to maintain clients, they originally told clients not to worry about creating separate campaigns for mobile. Google users continued to use the same online stores they always had. These stores, however, were not very easy to use on mobile devices. This resulted in fewer transactions and ultimately less revenue for Google.

Google’s current solution to the problem is to make their all clients change their websites to responsive designs. That puts the onus and the cost on the advertisers, not Google.

Why should you have to play it Google’s way?

Regardless of whether there are other ways to buy online, Google still commands the lion share of online searches and is the search portal where most consumers begin information mining. If you’re an advertiser you still want Google to find you that key prospect.

Furthermore, from a logic point of view, why would you not want your website to be the best it can be? Without being ready for mobile, companies risk not reaching their best potential audience.

With mobile trending upward and desktop downward, it is simply a matter of math.

Why Aviation Companies should accommodate Google’s demands now.

Many aviation companies are service companies such as charter airlines, airframe and engine rebuilders, and flight schools. These kinds of businesses rely on customers who are looking for information on the web. The power of Google taps interested customers every second of every day.

Because aviation is a niche business, search engine advertising serves it very well.

Keeping in step with the mobile trends should be a no brainer for aviation much the same way glass cockpits and GPS systems make flying easier and more reliable.

Get some professional help before it is too late.

Regardless of whether Google is making you modernize your digital marketing or not, it’s simply the smart thing to do. There’s lots of help out there to help you make the transition, including professional marketing communications companies like Advertising Marketing Consulting to make the transition to mobile-friendly advertising easier.

Marketing is like flying, the more you stay current, better off you are. 


Dazzling Websites that Don’t Sell!

Sports Car

Looking good isn’t good enough just like this car won’t work for a family. Make sure your website looks good, but functions even better.

I just got a call from an aviation parts distributor unhappy with their website.

They spent quite a bit of money redesigning the site, but had not noticed an appreciable increase in traffic or inquiries. Even worse, when the company president went to show a customer the website on his iPad, the only thing that came up was a blank rectangle.

“On the laptop, the website certainly looked great!” commented the president. I agreed the site was well-done – nice graphics, animation, and photography, but unfortunately, it was created in Flash, which as you may know, is not supported by Apple’s iPhone or iPad. (More about Flash later.)

This particular company’s website was a delight to look at. The whole focus was to make a dazzling impression at first glance, but just like a Lamborghini may look great in your garage, it’s not the ideal car for stop-and-go commuting.

Function Over Beauty:  Websites Need to do More than Just Look Good

Your website should be built only after a comprehensive audit and analysis has been done. There should be clear objectives of what you want your website to accomplish and how it should do it.

Some basic considerations are:

  • Attracting visitors. This may include search engine optimization, advertising, social media, email marketing, etc.
  • Deliver a compelling sales message. How are you different or better than your competitors and why they should buy from you?
  • Answer frequently asked questions. Information that provides clear answers to likely questions about your products or services.
  • Establish credibility. Information, sources, media, and testimonials that establish your credentials, authority and reliability of your business, products, or services.
  • Ability to collect information. A means to collect basic contact information from potential customers – a free newsletter, report, or some other incentive to provide contact information.

Additional features for your website:

  • E-commerce capability. Provide an easy and intuitive way for customers to purchase products or services.
  • Customer service. Provide ways for existing customers, for instructions, answers to questions, a forum, support, etc.
  • Reasons for customers to keep coming back. Provide additional information of interest to your customers, a blog with comments, a referral or incentive program, or another means of staying connected after the sale.

Once you have the basics done, you can work on the design. Trade the dazzling and stunning for a website that works.

See Paula Williams’ post about websites that don’t sell

Steve Jobs vs Adobe’s Flash

Steve Jobs took a big gamble by when he chose to not support Adobe’s Flash technology.

“Flash is a spaghetti-ball piece of technology that has lousy performance and really bad security problems,” Jobs said, according to biographer Walter Isaacson.

R.I.R. and Flash

Steve Jobs was right.

Under Jobs, the iPhone became the industry’s leading smartphone and the iPad emerged to virtually dominate the tablet market. While more phones run Google’s Android software (many of them promoting their Flash compatibility), no products captured the public’s imagination and attention, quite like the iPhone.

So when Jobs blasted Adobe’s Flash technology, people listened. He called it “buggy,” a battery hog, and a product created by lazy developers.

“Allowing Flash to be ported across platforms means things get dumbed down to the lowest common denominator,” Jobs said, according to Isaacson. “We spend lots of effort to make our platform better and the developer doesn’t get any benefit if Adobe only works with functions that every platform has.”

Although Jobs did not live to see it, he was vindicated in his assessment as Adobe announced in November following his death, that Adobe will abandoned its Flash initiative for mobile devices.

Apple put its support behind HTML5 as the preferred web platform to provide multimedia experience on smartphones and tablets, insisting it provides the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. Apple’s support is a big reason why HTML5 now universally supported on most major mobile devices.

Steve Jobs was confident in his decision then, and vindicated in his decision not to support the ubiquitous Adobe Flash. Now the rest of us mere technological mortals know full well, Jobs was right. And as always, his goal was function and design, and not forfeit one for the other.

Getting Your Aviation Business Ready for Primetime: Step 3

A key ingredient in growing your aviatin business is developing a strategic marketing plan.

A key ingredient in growing your aviation business is developing a strategic marketing plan.

Step 3, Do you have a plan, Stan?

Developing a strategic marketing plan for your aviation business is one of the most important steps a company takes to reach business goals and attain long-term growth and success, yet it is many times ignored.

An effective marketing plan supports a company’s overall business goals and objectives, with detailed marketing strategies and tactics answering the essential questions of Who? Why? What? Where? When? How? and How Much?

Who? Who is the “situation analysis” of your specific marketplace, including company background, products and/or services and the company’s mission. This also identifies key prospects by distinct market segments (Who are they? How many? Where are they located? What are their needs and values? What are their buying motives? etc.) Who also addresses marketplace issues such as: Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your company? What trends, issues and opportunities exist in the marketplace, and what strategic options are available in which to benefit from them.

Why? Why focuses on your company’s specific goals and objectives, and what role marketing will play in achieving them. The best goals are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, with a Timeline for achieving them.)

What? What is the “game plan” through which marketing objectives are achieved. This determines the best marketing strategies to be used. The key aspect here is company positioning: the key benefit or promise your firm delivers; how your company is currently perceived by customers, and how it should be perceived; and how your company differentiates itself from competitors. It also forms the basis of the creative sales message that will be the foundation of your marketing.

When? When is the marketing timeline: the chronology and deadlines for meeting each task, by what date, and by whom.

How? How is the actual implementation or action plan. It specifies which marketing tools, tactics and media to use, along with timing and weight. This is where most creative work is done: advertising created, news releases distributed, brochures developed, trade shows attended, digital media created, etc.

How Much? How much refers to the budget that is necessary to fully implement your market program, and how to best allocate funds for each tactic.

10 Benefits of a strategic marketing plan:

1. Encourages a thorough review of all factors that impact success for your business, and brings to light

2. opportunities and pitfalls often overlooked by “winging it.”

3. Provides a powerful direction and long-range view to minimize impulsive and costly decisions.

4. Stimulates optimum use of marketing budget and re­sources.

5. Provides an accurate market-driven foundation on which to build operating plans.

6. Builds consensus and support with internal staff and departments.

7. Fosters coordination and consolidation of efforts; maximizes efficiency and effectiveness.

8. Empowers team members to take action appropriate and consistent with overall company goals.

9. Facilitates an objective evaluation of past actions and results; fosters increased utilization of strengths, avoids repetition of mistakes, and indicates where improvement is necessary.

10. Clearly delineates goals, facilitates measurement, course corrections when necessary, and recognition of superior performance.