Archive for August, 2011

Socialize Email Marketing Campaigns – Part 2

When you’re looking to engage your customers in your social network, go one step further. Posting your social icons where your customers will consistently see them is a great best practice, but if you want to get a bigger following in a shorter period of time, try other tactics too.

Involve them in a trade of sorts. Ask them to like you on Facebook and in return give them something back such as a discount on your products, early social fan sales, free shipping, etc. Below are some email marketing examples that spotlight great ways to do this:

Socialize Email
Facebook Friends PreviewLike Us on Facebook Example Image

Another great way to get a larger following on your social networks is to involve your customers in the community – exchanging ideas, following along on some longer event, creating fans of the week, etc. The ideas are endless and will get your customers involved in your community in a fun way and hopefully keep them coming back for more. Following are a couple of industry examples:Facebook Fan of the WeekSocialize your Email example Facebook Charitable Campaign Example

Get Out of the Import/Export Business

Many of the businesses we work with here at Timberline Interactive (and CommerceV3) use email service providers (ESP) like Bronto to send out their email marketing campaigns. The last thing any time-strapped creative director or marketing manager needs is to spend time exporting subscribers from their store, and uploading them to an ESP… And rightly so: their time is better spent creating better emails, more refined target segments, and everything else that makes their email marketing channel a success.

So we cut out the middleman, and leveraged Bronto’s sophisticated API to be able to directly import new subscribers from anywhere on your CommerceV3 site: checkout, catalog request pages, “my account” member signup forms, and (of course) your standard email newsletter signup. Any information collected on the pages can be brought over to the subscriber’s record in Bronto, allowing you to take advantage of Bronto’s segmentation capabilities by geotargeting, signup source and whatever other relevant segments you might conjure up (now that you’re not spending all of your time exporting/importing csv files).

Ready to streamline your website’s integration with your ESP? If you’re on the CommerceV3 platform and working with Bronto or another ESP, contact us here at Timberline Interactive, and we’ll discuss what what your integration options are.

5 Tips for Getting the Most out of Google Places

Before I get into the tips, I should probably first give a little primer on Google Places and why you might care about it.   Google Places is a database of local business information that is used by Google in a large number of ways.   If you have a brick and mortar store or a public place for business information and you’re interested in being found when people search for you from their computer or phone, you should pay attention.   The Google Places database is a very important asset for Google and the date in it is being leveraged more and more in search results.   This trend will surely continue as the mobile web becomes a bigger slice of the internet pie.

If you are a web only company with no public place of business, you can ignore this post  🙂


5 Tips for Getting the Most out of Google Places

1.)   Create a listing

Google Places listings are free and creating one is generally not difficult.  Google does a good job at the main Google Places page helping business owners getting started.

Beyond simply helping you to create a listing (claim your listing if it already exists), Google gives specific tips on how to create a good listing.

2) Tweak your listing

Google maps listings (where Google Places live) are similar to Google search in that there is an algorithm for determining which listing to show.   How does it work?   Good question.   As you can imagine, it’s just like the standard Google Search Ranking algorithm:  It is not perfectly clear, there are many opinions and it’s complicated.   However, like the rest of SEO, there are “best practices”  that should be followed regardless of how much you are willing to invest in optimization.   Important factors are the completeness of your listing and the words in the content you provide.  Add keywords to your company description and business categories that would be used by prospective searchers.

For in depth look at Google Places optimization you can also refer to this excellent post at  If you want some help, contact us.

3.)   Encourage your happy customers to leave reviews!

Google reviews have become more important recently and I suspect that reviews will continue to grow in importance – perhaps integrating with Google Plus at some point in the future.

How do you encourage customers to leave reviews?  Make it a habit to ask.   I am a big believer in investing in customer feedback in the eCommerce environment.   I think it’s important for companies to get good at getting feedback back from customers.   Are you asking for that feedback?   Are you responding to good feedback with a follow up request for the customer to tell others (via a review on your site or throught their social network)?

4.)   Buy advertising

This might not be for everyone, but if local search is important to you you might want to pursue promoting your listing either with Adwords Location Extensions or with Google Adwords Express campaign.   With geotargeting and device targeting,  you could land very local searchers searching from mobile devices on your Google Places page rather than your website.

5.)   Create an Offer

Google Places has an option to create Places Offers for your listing.   Offers allow you to provide show special coupons in your listing.   Places visitors can access these, i.e from their mobile phone.

Places Mobile Check InThere is also a new offer format called Mobile Check-In Offers.   Here’s how Google describes in on the Places Help site “When users for businesses using Google for mobile devices, they’ll be able to access your Google Places Offer on their phone. “

For more info check out the Mobile Check In Offers page.

Thanks for the emails and please keep them coming.     Let me know what traction you’re getting from Google Places and feel free to ask any questions you have.



Note on KPIs:  If you know Timberline, you know that we are Google Analytics wonks.   However, the tracking of Google Places traffic in Analytics did not make the 5 tips above.   The reason?  It’s just a little too complicated to “do it right” (in quotes because the definition of “right” will vary from company to company).   However, if you are interested in the details, give us a call.   Also, here is a very helpful post by Rebecca Lehmann that outlines the options.