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Saturday, April 8, 2006

Let's try a little collective marketing.

Several of us had a great time planning and carrying out some inexpensive do-it-yourself UU marketing last spring after a San Francisco newspaper columnist launched the "Unitarian Jihad." Noting that thousands of people almost immediately used their blogs and LiveJournals to declare themselves members of that notoriously reasonable and mild-mannered insurgency, we mused, Why not pitch a little Google ad into the maelstrom that could help would-be Unitarian Jihadists find out more about real Unitarian Universalism? So we did.

How would you like to be part of a next round of experimental outreach?

We launched that Unitarian Jihad ad on the fly, adjusted the visible URL in the ad to www.uuism.net so that it didn't look like a UUA-sponsored ad, which it of course was not, and pointed it toward a page on the UU Wiki that several co-conspirators edited to point people in useful directions. We hoped that maybe in some unmeasurable way it might make a difference in somebody's life while also aiding and abetting a silly Web fad. Chutney managed the campaign and reported in August that the ad ran 40,000 times and generated almost 1,500 clicks at about $0.05 each before we spent our budget.

To measure our success, we only really had the clickthrough rates on the ad and the wiki's own pageview counter to go by. We didn't know how many people visited the UUA "Find a Congregation" page; we didn't know how many people learned what Unitarian Universalism stands for.

Since then, I've wanted to find some new approaches — and now I think you and I have enough tools in place to monitor a campaign much more closely. Like some other people I know, after waiting several months I finally received my Google Analytics invitation code last week and have installed Google's site traffic service throughout this site to learn more about how my site's visitors behave. Most importantly, because Google Analytics is designed especially to help webmasters track and refine their marketing and is integrated with Google's AdWords program (which we used for the Unitarian Jihad ad), I have launched a modest ad campaign of my own.

But what on earth could I be advertising? You. Since one of the things I have set out to do is promote Unitarian Universalist blogs — especially through my annotated guide to UU blogs — the ad I'm running markets UU blogs: It takes people directly to the guide. Hopefully, visitors will then click through to another UU blog or explore the rest of my site. I'll be able to track what they do. And if this sounds like an experiment you'd like to support, you can throw a few bucks into my new PayPal tip jar:

A few things to keep in mind: This is micromarketing. I don't expect a flood of traffic, nor should you, and I don't anticipate spending more than a few dollars each week. (Unless you help raise the stakes.) I'm not targeting the ad to Google search results for, say, "UU blogs" because I already come up first in those results. I'm trying to learn how to catch people's interest in related topics. And at the moment I'm hoping to tap the perennial flurry of Web interest in Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic, which keeps churning out "100% Unitarian Universalist" for young people. Search for "unitarian universalist," and you're likely to see the ad. (Please don't click it, though. Let's save my money for people who aren't already reading this site.)

Finally, a further bit of disclosure: I'm running this experiment in part to learn how to apply micromarketing principles to my work for uuworld.org and for the UUA. Your contributions to this project help support my personal site, but I will apply what I learn over in my day job, too. I am inviting contributions to support Philocrites; if you'd like to contribute only to the costs of the ad campaign, please indicate this when you make your donation.

Thanks!

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 8 April 2006 at 11:28 AM

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4 comments:

Christine Robinson:

April 8, 2006 01:10 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'd love to send you some money but my husband (an ebay vendor) is on a vendetta against paypal. Can I send it c/o the UU World?

Kevin M:

April 8, 2006 05:23 PM | Permalink for this comment

Can we model it on the UCC campaign? Coz if there's one thing this blog needs, it's an ejector button. You could press it any time a commenter gets really obnoxioHEYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeee....! (thud)

Philocrites:

April 9, 2006 08:17 AM | Permalink for this comment

Thanks for your support, Christine! In my valiant but futile attempt to preserve the real (though subtle) distinctions between my mild-mannered reporter-by-day persona and my classical pseudonym-by-night persona, I'd rather not have you not send a check to work. I'll email you other options. Thanks!

Kevin, great idea: There's nothing like taking an aerial perspective on blogging!



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