So it’s Labor Day weekend, and like the true passionate Nerd that I am, I’m sitting on my couch and working on one of my new websites, a complete XHTML and CSS tutorial & reference site (URL and preview coming soon).  It’s 81 degrees and sunny outside, there are hotties by my pool, and I’m sitting in the shade, coding away.  Such is the life of a dedicated web genius.  Note: Eric’s online too and he and I are chatting back and forth.  //feels like less of a weirdo.

Anyway, I’m setting up the Google AdSense campaign on my new website and click each of my ads once to make sure that everything is working well.  One of the ads that I click is for E-Trade, a fairly large company and I’m pretty sure that they have a pretty large online marketing budget, what do you think?

So what happens when you click on an ad online?  You’re usually directed to what’s known as a “Landing Page”.  This is a specially built page that Online Marketers use to seal the deal.  It usually has great graphics, some quick, inspiring content, and a great call to action to inspire the ad clicker to do something…like sign up.  This is kind of an important factor of a good landing page.  Converting that click (which costs your company money) to a sale (which makes your company money).  Otherwise, you’re just wasting your advertising dollars.

So to the lucky bastard’s (who get a piece of E-Trade’s generous marketing account every month) benefit, there is a landing page.  Decent looking enough.  So what’s the problem?

The first call to action I see is a “Get Started Now” button in the pages banner.  GREAT!  Let’s click it….nothing!  I can’t click the call to action to sign up.  E-Trade just spent $1.47 or some other ridiculous number for me to click on their ad.  And I can’t sign up so that they can make their money back.

The problem, while trying not to sound too geeky…the button is part of a larger image.  It has a link Absolute Positioned on top of the button.  This means that you position a box shaped link (to the signup page) at a certain coordinate based off of the container that’s holding it.  The link is positioned wrong, about 20 pixels below the button!

How did this happen?  Chances are that the people who get E-Trade’s marketing dollars every month are great at advertising.  They can probably put together some great press releases and design some great magazine ads.  But they don’t know enough about Web Development and Search Engine Marketing to build a landing page correctly.  They have some Designer who graduated from CCS or his local community college building their landing pages, who does phenomenal things with Dreamweaver and Photoshop and can make you tingle with his usage of color.  But can’t program an effective landing page to save his life.  His page probably works in Safari or Internet Explorer.  But they didn’t have the knowledge or experience to test their landing page in other browsers.  I’m sure their page works great on their Mac, in Safari.

Great work “expert’!  You’re wasting E-Trade’s money and eventually, your company will lose that account.

The long and short of this story?  Use a real expert that knows what they’re doing.  Hey E-Trade!  We’d be happy to talk to you and show you how to do it right. We’d even be happy to show you a better ROI on your campaign.

If you don’t like wasting your money with “experts”, contact us and we’d be happy to show the right way to do things.

One response to “Picking the Right SEM and Development Team

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Posted on September 13, 2008 at 7:19 am

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