|2Cooleys Web Advertising||Questions ?
We offer two advertising programs:
1. Annual Web Site Exposure Program - explained below
2. Banners And Classified Ads - for those who want a competitive edge
Annual Exposure Program
To Be On 2Cooleys
Basic Points To Keep In Mind
It's Not About Site Maintenance
Web Site Exposure - It's What You Need For A Good Season
How Many Site Visitors Do You Need Each Year?
The Power Of Multiple Domains
Traffic Reports - How We Can Make These Claims
Expanded 12 Reasons Details
Reason 1 - Acquisition Cost Per Prospect
The smart way to evaluate the cost of an advertising offer is not the usual question of "how much does it cost?". Instead ask, "What is the cost to acquire one prospect with this program?" That is how the Big Time Pros look at it.
Say a web program costs $250 a year. That's $350 less than 2Cooleys. Which is really the best deal? It depends on how many clicks each program gets you. Sites with less traffic tend to generate fewer clicks. No matter which site you are considering - 2Cooleys or anyone else's - ask them what the average annual click rate is for what they are offering you.
The average 2Cooleys customer gets between 2,000 to 3,000 clicks per year. (Some get considerably more.) We'll say it's an average of 2,500 clicks. If you take the 2Cooleys co-op discount then 2,500 divided by $600 = 0.24 which is 24 cents per click.
Thus for the $250 site we'll say there is a total of 500 clicks. Then 500 divided by $250 = 0.50 which is 50 cents per click. While "cheaper" may be more attractive, you have to decide between cost and getting enough people into your web site to make a difference. Of course if you can afford it, we recommend buying into as many sites as you can.
After 19 years of running traffic reports for 2Cooleys customers who also buy links with our competitors, I can prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that for every click our competitors generate for our customers, 2Cooleys generates 5 clicks - a 5-to-1 ratio. Those who run their own traffic reports see this truth. But I still recommend not putting all your eggs into one basket. Buy links in as many different sites as you can. Don't rely on just 2Cooleys!
Reason 2 - Direct Entries - The Highest Quality Readership There Is
Not only do you get the lowest cost per click, you also get the highest volume of highly qualified prospects with 2Cooleys. How?
People who have vacationed here more than a time or two have our domain names memorized or marked as a favorite. They use our sites over and over, year after year. While it is true that many repeat guests "stay loyal" to one operation, there are even more who do not. These folks know they want to visit this area, but they are looking for different lodging, or a different guide, or something new to do. And these are the people who make up 60 percent of our annual readership.
Ever see a TV commercial or print ad with a web site address and then you enter that web site address in your web browser? That is a "direct entry". A direct entry by-passes all search engines and all other web sites. Further, when people do this it is because they want to visit that particular web site. It is not an accident they are in the site.
For 19 years running 2Cooleys has dominated the search engines. Yet despite all of those top search engine ranks, only 25 percent of our total monthly traffic comes from search. Fully 60 percent comes from direct entries, and the last 15 percent comes from links in some 15,000 other sites.
In a normal year 2Cooleys traffic is about 550,000 unique visitors per year. That's some 330,000 people who just type in our domain names to get to our web sites and resort/fishing guide directories, bypassing all search engines, and bypass all other web sites.
How Do So Many People Know Our Domain Names?
It's via the power of branding. Think of it in terms of those multi-generational families who come here. Our sites have been up since April of 1995. If a child was born that year that child is now turning 19 years old. If a child was ten years old in 1995, they are now turning 27 years old. If these children grew up in families who vacation here on a regular basis, and if those families used the Internet to plan their vacations during those years, these children grew up with our domain names. That is one of many examples of how our sites are branded.
Want Repeat Business?
The important point here is that only those people who vacation here on a regular basis have our domain names memorized. If they did not keep visiting the area they would not keep using our domains. So if you want to reach those people who keep coming here year after year, you need to be on 2Cooleys for sure.
Reason 3 - Backlinks, Another Source Bypassing Search Engines & Other Sites
"Backlinks" are links in other web sites leading to 2Cooleys sites. By using a good traffic report anyone can see who, and how many other sites link to their site. (The link:(domain) command in Google is not very accurate. Google admits this in their Tools For Web Masters site.) When someone clicks from one web site to another, that click is called a "referral" in traffic reporting language.
The traffic reporting software used by 2Cooleys has a default limit of 15,000 different referring sites. Every month for the last 12 years, for every single 2Cooleys domain, the traffic report has hit that 15,000 referring site limit. That means there are OVER 15,000 other web sites having links back to 2Cooleys sites. ( And yes, we do filter out referrals from sites like Traffic Faker.)
How Did We Get All Those Links?
Since backlinks are a major requirement for showing up well in search engines, all webmasters work hard to get backlinks. How did we get ours? Luck. Just pure luck. Other than the backlinks we pay for within our own customer base, we did not ask for a single one of those links. People found our sites useful and therefore linked to them. Many of the links are regional and specialized search engines. Many are people's personal web sites.
Our traffic report lists all referring sites in order of the most to least referrals sent for the reporting period. Of the 15,000-plus referring sites only about three send more than 1,000 clicks in a month. Only about another seven send between 100 to 999 referrals. The vast majority send less than five referrals a month. But what is one or two times 14,000? The web sites referring very few visits in a month actually send, in total, far more visits than the top performing sites!
Unique Visitors vs. Visits
One point to keep in mind about backlinks and counting what they send in referrals is the difference between a "unique visitor" and a "visit". Search engine and backlink clicks are counted in terms of visits, not unique visitors. A unique visitor is one person, one set of eyeballs looking at a computer screen. A visit is what that unique visitor is doing - he is "visiting" the web site. Since many people visit a web site more than once in a month the entire Online Advertising Industry has elected to count total visits instead of just total unique visits. Thus the reason traffic reporting software is set up the way it is. It's been this way for 20 years. Thus we know that at least 15,000 people click links into 2Cooleys sites every month, on every domain, for at least one visit. Since some sites account for many visits, the real number is beyond 15,000. We just have no idea how many.
Reason 4 - 2Cooleys Dominates The Search Engines
For 19 years running 2Cooleys has held the Number One search engine positions under our chosen keywords. We also show up very well under a long list of "long tail" keyword phrases. Further, we are well branded in the search engines, that is, people see the name 2Cooleys many times under that long list of search terms. You can prove this for yourself. Just enter any number of keyword phrases in Google, Yahoo! or Bing. See how many times you see our domains and the name 2Cooleys.
How Our Top Ranks Help You
New business tends to come from search engines. The old business uses the direct entry method described above. The sad truth is a Mom & Pop web site having only 10,000 to 15,000 visits a year is not going to make it into the Top 5 search engine ranks under the primary keyword phrases. It's also hard to even make it into the Top 10 ranks.That is why you need to be listed in 2Cooleys.
How We Do It
Much has changed since 1995 when we first started submitting our sites to search engines. These days it is a bad idea to "submit" as it is all automatic now. For years one had to be very proficient at things like "keyword stuffing", meta tags, page titles, and some 50 other complex programming tricks of the trade. None of that matters now.
The fact is, we have not done a thing in over five years to keep our top positions. In this day and age site rank is based almost entirely on how popular a site is. Popularity is measured by how many others link to the site, how many click to it in the search returns, etc. Our top ranks are the final proof that our sites are extremely popular. It is the American Consumer who now keeps us in the top. They vote with their mouse.
No doubt about it, we did get there by hard work on the right keywords. But we have not touched them for a long time.
True, Google does use a few other parameters for a top rank. Sites have to load fast, which means your site has to be hosted on a super-fast server. All 2Cooleys sites are served on a powerful dedicated private cloud server that costs $190 a month. You can't get this kind of power for $15 a month! Google likes old sites. The longer a site has been in continuous use, the better Google likes it. Ours have been running non-stop for 19 years. Yes, these things go help, but it still is mostly all about popularity.
Reason 5 - The Most Daily Email Inquiry Leads
In many places in all 2Cooleys sites is a link to a form people fill out asking for area information. 2Cooleys was the first to offer this back in 1995. It was two years before any other area web site offered something similar. For 19 years running 2Cooleys has, and continues to produce the most email inquiry leads. If you work these leads right they help you get some good bookings that you would get no other way.
Very few people bother to use the Inquiry Form. Less than one-half of one percent of our total monthly site visitors bother using it. Most prefer to click into all the individual web sites. But those who do bother to use the form are serious about coming to the area. We have several customers tell us that the email leads alone make the 2Cooleys annual fee well worth the cost. This is especially true if these new guests turn into repeat guests!
A Word Of Caution About Email Leads
Email leads have to be answered properly or they will not even be opened, let alone be read. You MUST follow the basics of good spelling, answering questions properly, and using good grammar. The email lead response is NOT where to do the "selling". DO NOT make the mistake of sending a long message with a lot of photos. DO NOT make the mistake of sending your entire web site. None of that works well.
Instead your email response's only goal should be getting people into your web site. Let your web site do the selling! How do we know? Because we polled 1,000 people who used our email inquiry about the experiences they had with our email leads and related responses. They told us all about what they liked - and did not like. Don't try to re-invent the wheel here. Give people what they want and you'll get good results.
Reason 6 - No Other Area Tourism Web Site Has More Readership
In a normal year 2Cooleys has somewhere around 550,000 unique visitors (people) who visit our sites. That is twice as many as all eight other area tourism web sites combined! For every one reader all other eight sites generate, 2Cooleys generates 2 to 4 more visits.
Reason 7 - Powerful Backlinks To Help Your Search Positions
You don't need to show up in the top five, just the top ten of the search engines. Yet there is a lot of competition just for the top ten. Why? Just being in that first search engine results page makes a difference for getting new business. Even moving from position eleven on the second page to position ten on the first page helps.
Like I said, there is a lot of competition for those top ten spots. If you really want to show up there you'll need, in addition to other things, some very good backlinks. When you sign up with 2Cooleys you get the three strongest backlinks this area has to offer. Just having a bunch of links helps, but what really helps is having links in sites that are of the same theme as yours (Ozark tourism), but which also have a much higher readership than your site. Google puts a lot of "link weight" on this!
Reason 8 - Proven Recession Proof
A well-built boat can get a hole in it, take on a lot of water, and still float it's passengers safely home. In 2007 2Cooleys sites had a total of 572,253 unique visitors (real people). Then, in 2011, that number dropped to 371,403 - a loss of 200,850 readers. Yet even with that drop, 2Cooleys still out-performed all eight area competitors combined by a 2-to-1 margin in terms of unique visits.
Reason 9 - 19 Years Experience
For 19 years 2Cooleys has used a metrics-based (as opposed to a search-based) web promotional model. The metrics-based model, while time-consuming and slow to work, has performed extremely well. It has taken a lot of fine tuning, testing, and adjustments. It's still going on today, a perpetual work in progress. The most fruitful effort has been running hundreds of traffic reports to see what is, and what is not working.
In addition to promoting and growing our own web sites, we also work with some 80 area tourism business in promoting their web sites. Year in and year out we see what does, and what does not work. While there is always another step, always something new to learn, we have a lot of experience with what does, and what does not work. This is why we do things the way we do. While some may not understand or agree with some of our policies, time has proven what works best.
Reason 10 - 2Cooleys Out-Performs The Big National Sites
Several huge web sites sell links to our customers every year. These big web sites cover the entire USA, or even much of the world. They have millions of visitors every year. One would think that this much volume would really amount to a great number of clicks. The problem is similar to what happens in a big city phone book. How do people find you in the middle of a 4-inch thick directory unless they know exactly what to look for?
While these sites are useful to a degree, they do not produce large numbers of clicks. We see this in customer traffic reports all the time. This gets back to the fact that "local" is what works best. 2Cooleys generates far more clicks for our customers than these giant sites do.
Buy Into Other Area Sites Too
What we recommend instead of the large national sites is to spend your money with our competitors (after buying into 2Cooleys of course!) Buy into your chamber sites, OMR, etc. If you are on Norfork buy into the Norfork Lake Chamber. If you are on Bull Shoals take a serious look at the Missouri Bull Shoals Lake Association. Regardless of where you are, one of the best sites to get into is Arkansas.com, and that is free. It tends to out-perform many of the others.
All of these local sites will do you more good than the big national sites. These sites also generate email leads, and you don't get those from the big nationals. Further, having links in these local sites will do you more good for search engine ranks than the links in the big nationals because of the similar content theme. If you get three different links with 2Cooleys, and links in Arkansas.com, and a chamber site, that will help with your search ranks.
After running hundreds of traffic reports for our customers over the last 19 years I can say with extreme confidence that the more you advertise, the more traffic you get. Our most successful customers advertise with not just us, but with other local sites as well. It is important to note that many of the chambers and OMR have promotions in radio, TV, and print that 2Cooleys does not have. These promotions reach different audiences and we recommend participating for that reason.
If you are on a limited budget and can't afford to buy into more than one or two sites, use Compete to see who has the most readership and go with them.
Reason 11 - Additional Advertising Discounts
2Cooleys customers get "right of first refusal" on all available banner advertising spots, and they also get a discount on additional ads. 2Cooleys banner ads do work in almost all cases. We have had some real duds. But most work very well. Our classified ads also work, some as well as, if not better than, banner ads. These ads are a great way to get out in front of your competition because they are available on a very limited basis.
Reason 12 - Limited Advertising On 2Cooleys Sites
2Cooleys limits the total number of advertisers on our sites in any given year. We keep a strict ratio of the number of monthly site visits to the number of advertisers those site visitors see. This is because the more advertisers there are on the site, the more diluted the response. We would rather have 80-something very happy customers than 100-something not so happy customers. Keeping current customers is far easier, and less expensive, than having to find new customers every year!
Conversions - Are The Ads Working?
Conversions are the catch 22 of web marketing. Just getting large numbers of people into your web site means nothing if a good number of those site visitors don't convert into bookings. On the other hand, you can't get a good number of bookings without large numbers of people coming into the site. On more than one occasion we have seen customers with very good readership levels not hearing their phone ring. What the heck!
This kind of problem is a hard thing to pin down. It takes a careful process of elimination. The challenge is staying out of the guessing game and getting into the facts - knowing what the problem really is, not what you think it is.
This is why a traffic report is a must! You can eliminate much of the guess work just by understanding how to read a traffic report. The last thing you want to do is cut a tree that is bearing fruit but has gone dormant and looks dead.
For example, you can tell if your ads are working or not with a quick look at a traffic report. If people are clicking your links and banners, those ads are working. Always remember that all the ads are supposed to do is put people in your site - that's it! Banner ads won't make your phone ring. That is your web site's job.
If the ads are not generating enough clicks, then change the ads. This is a common practice on the web because ads can be easily changed. If the ads are generating enough clicks then keep the ads. Don't fix what works!
Normally it is not just one or two things causing poor conversion, but a "perfect storm" of things coming together. The only way out of this mess is usually with outside help. In some of the cases we have been involved in it's the web design. In other cases it was just a general lack of demand in the market, and things turned around later.
The answer is that no matter what, you have to keep trying. Never give up. Keep advertising, keep answering email leads. Just about the time it looks like things will just fall apart, it turns around.