Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category

Google Analytics White Paper

08 Sep 2006 has a nice clarifying white paper about Google Analytics online, for free. It’s well worth reading if you’re into stats and numbers. The paper is titled ‘Google Analytics – A Practical Guide to Implementation’, it counts 27 pages and has the following content points after the introduction:

  • Pros and Cons
  • Tips for Google Analytics Installations
  • Reports
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix A – Google Analytics Install Guide for Lead Generation Web Sites
  • Appendix B – Google Analytics Install Guide for E-Commerce Web Sites
  • Appendix C – Google Analytics Help Center Links

The track-ability of Internet Marketing is one of its greatest assets. The first tracking tools for online marketing campaigns were focused around banner ads. Today they range from email marketing tools to ROI (return on investment) tools.

Download it here (.pdf, 226 Kb)

Also check out their SEO white paper library, in case there’s something else you want to know more about.

Thanks, Tom


Channels To Target An Audience

24 Aug 2006

I’ve made a list of all channels and tools I know of today, which marketeers can use to target their audience. Of course you can’t use all channels at once, nor can you use them all at the same time to reach your target group, but with a well-selected few, you’re bound to make some results and start some buzz, or gather the info and feedack you were looking for. It’s an incomplete list, I’m well aware of that, but it’s permanently under construction. If you want to contribute, or if you think I missed a significant channel, please drop it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list. The purpose of this post is to have an overview of possible means to communicate to ‘people’ in general, for whenever you need an answer to the questions: ‘what tools can I offer?’ and ‘how can I reach out?’ (Since the list is rather long, it’s behind the jump). Currently, at it’s starting point, there are 100 items on the list.

Read the rest of this entry »


29 Idea Killers

27 Jul 2006

I had a very long and exhausting day yesterday, 12 hours of creative productivity. I did 2 entire campaigns so I was kind of really tired when I got home. The campaign ideas are pretty good, according to my colleagues. I figured out quite a solid strategy and concept. I’ll blog about them as soon as they’re out in the open. (Might take a little while though, because the design still needs to be done etc.) – In the beginning of a creative process, ‘the brainstorm phase’, there’s always some real ‘idea killers’. Things people say that block what you’re doing. Here are remarks you don’t want to hear/say when you’re thinking about ‘things’, because they interrupt the free flow of ideas and associations:

  1. Yes, but…
  2. There’s no time for that
  3. No
  4. Can’t do it
  5. Too expensive
  6. It’s not logical
  7. Need more research
  8. Let’s be realistic
  9. That’s nothing for our customers
  10. No budget
  11. Don’t make mistakes
  12. The board isn’t going to like it
  13. I’m not creative enough
  14. It’s not my responsibility
  15. Too difficult to control it
  16. The change is too big
  17. The ‘old generation’ will not comprehend
  18. The market isn’t ready for that yet
  19. Think ‘real’
  20. We’ll think about that
  21. Maybe later
  22. Been done before
  23. That’s future-talk
  24. Might work somewhere else, but not here
  25. Since when are you the expert?
  26. We’re too small to do that
  27. That’s not our style
  28. Are you sure?
  29. Why?

Later on in the process, some of the remarks mentioned above might become keypoints (been done before, budget, …) to take note of. But in the first phase, when you have to think of ideas, you have to make sure nothing stops you from going down a certain road. You never know where it might end. If you don’t try to think in a certain direction because of one of the remarks above, you’re already limiting your creativity and that’s not what you want. Or is it?



25 Jul 2006

Our creative director needed a clip from YouTube to embed it in a PowerPoint slideshow presentation for a client. He didn’t have a clue where to begin. I did, and I thought I’d explain it here for those who didn’t know how to do it fast and for free. Here’s how it works: all you need is a the solid .flv file and a tool to help you transform.


To get the .flv file of any movie from YouTube, GoogleVideo, iFilm, PutFile, Break or about two dozen of other sites, go to the site of KeepVid. Copy the link of the page with the video you want on it and paste it in the field on top of the page at KeepVid. Then select your source and click ‘download’. The field you’ve just pasted the URL in will become empty again.

A little bit below that, a ‘loading’ text appears and will change to >>download link<< when it finishes loading. Right-click the link and select 'save as'. If it's your first time downloading an .flv clip, change the name of the clip to whatever you want to name it and add .flv directly behind it. Set the file format to 'all files' in the drop-down menu. Click 'save'. The file starts to download to the location you've selected.

Now you've got the .flv file. If that's enough, you can download the FLV Player and enjoy the movies offline. (I’m using the one from Martijn de Visser, you can choose any other player, it depends on how you want to experience your viewing)


However, in the case of our creative director, the file needed to be embedded in a presentation, and he wanted a .wmv file because he knew how to work with that. Ok, no biggie. Here’s how to convert it:

Download CinemaForge and install it. (it’s free) – Open it through “start menu > all programs > cinemaforge” and select the source file and destination filetype. Enter a name for the file and click “Encode”. If you want to play around some in the options, do so. Standard options worked fine for me.


And there you have it. Easy as that. Have fun taking back the web !


Vitamin Resource

23 Apr 2006

Gillian and Ryan Carson are doing a great job building a new and extended magazine filled with goodies, tips and tricks for webminded people. The ‘interviews‘ section is really an interesting part to look at, you can learn a lot from the experiences of others when it comes to having great ideas or solving design related problems. A lot of interesting folks are helping this project grow, and if they keep it up this way, it’s going to be big.


Tune in today, you won’t regret it.

The web has undoubtedly entered a new and exciting phase. Designers, developers and entrepreneurs are energized, refueled and producing some mind-blowing projects. The buzz is most definitely back! Vitamin is a brand new online magazine dedicated to that new web industry.

Vitamin will inspire you, teach you, advise you and sometimes test you with its in-depth features, audio interviews, training sessions and reviews.

It’s updated every week, and it’s free! So whether you just want to get dirty with the code or plan to topple Google with your next cunning web app idea, Vitamin is your new best friend.

Think Vitamin | via SwissMiss


Why Women Shop Online

18 Apr 2006

Marketing To Women Online has a descriptive article up about why women shop online. Do women shop the same way online as they shop offline? Do they have the same needs, questions, buying process? Is what’s most important to them offline also what’s most important to them online? There is a reason why she is on the Internet and not in a store. Understanding what that reason is is absolutely key for making your site successful. If you ever need to target women or tune your site, MTWO describes the key topics with the help of examples. Very useful.

  • To save time
  • To get a better selection
  • To research a product
  • To get a better value
  • Anonymity
  • Logistics – i.e. there isn’t a branch of the store near her, she’s buying a gift and it’s easier to buy and send online than buy offline and have to wrap it and go to the post office

Read the article


Advertising Slogans

21 Feb 2006

I’m currently working on an overview of the catchphrases (slogans, taglines) of all the banks in Belgium. While I was doing research on this subject, I came across a site that has collected tons and tons of slogans of the past years. Very handy resource if you want to see what’s already been done. Also very handy if you’re looking for inspiration. (The archive covers a lot of different brands and sectors, it’s not tied to the financial industry) is the tagline database service, used by agencies worldwide.
You can check the latest slogans (with video link or link to ad attached)
or you can check their hall of fame. I also found some handy tips on this site to think about when you’re creating a slogan.

How should a slogan be?

1. Be memorable
2. Recall the brand name
3. Include a key benefit
4. Differentiate the brand
5. Impart positive feelings for the brand
6. Reflect the brand’s personality
7. Be strategic
8. Be campaignable
9. Be competitive
10. Be original
11. Be simple
12. Be neat
13. Be believable
14. Help in ordering the brand

In the Translation Dictionary, you can find a lot of tips about the stylistic features of advertising slogans.

A slogan is a form of verbal logo. In a print ad, it usually appears just beneath or beside the brand name or logo. A slogan sums up what one stand for, one’s specialty, the benefit, and one’s marketing position, and one’s commitment.
It is especially useful to reinforce one’s identity. A slogan can prove to be more powerful than a logo. People can remember and recite your slogan while they are unlikely to doodle your logo. It is more important for your slogan to clearly state what you are about than to be clever, but if you can accomplish both, all the better.
Slogans have two basic purposes: to provide continuity to a series of ads in a campaign and to reduce an advertising message strategy to a brief, repeatable, and memorable positioning.

Read more about the stylistic features of the advertising slogan.


Super RSS Tools

30 Jan 2006

Today I had to dig a little deeper into the world of RSS. I’m preparing a environment for a potential customer and I needed tools to convert dynamic HTML pages (search queries) into RSS feeds so I could add them into Microsoft’s feed collector. I haven’t found the perfect tool yet, but here are some nifty things you just got to try out:

RSS2PDF (Beta): Free Online RSS, Atom or OPML to PDF Generator, just insert a URL or address and select the options you want, then enter a title for the .pdf file. The tool works although the title I entered was replaced by a standard ‘doc’ which I had to alter after I selected the download location. No biggie. Here’s an example of the pdf of my feed (12kb, 3 pages) – I didn’t select ‘images’, but you can do it if you want to.

On that same site, there’s a link to an RSS2PDF for Flickr, to easily create PDF archives based on any Flickr newsfeed. (The photos must be made PUBLIC.) Enter information for a particular user on Flickr (such as yourself) and/or Tags separated by commas for photos relating to a specific subject. Too cool !

The tools have been made available in handy bookmarklets, which you just have to drag to your favorites for quick access later on.

You can also add the RSS2PDF Module to your Google Personalized Homepage for instant access:

Visit Google Personalized, Click on the link on the top left marked ‘Add Content’, then enter the following URL into the ‘Search by topic or feed URL’ textbox:

Next topic : Google2RSS

There’s two sites that I’ve found where people are using the API to produce an RSS feed that is based on a simple search query:

Ben Hammersley’s tool allows you to subscribe to a search request, so you can see things coming in and out of the Google top ten. Easy to use too, simply add your search request to the end of this URL:

for example

and subscribe to that URL in your favorite newsreader.

The other tool is GooRSS where the RSS is generated by instantRSS, and you find an RSS link on the bottom of the returned page when you’ve done a search query.


Then there is also GMailRSS, where you can use GMail as an RSS reader. That’s something I like a lot. You’ll have to have some programming knowledge though.

  • Since GMail stores all state on the server, it doesn’t matter where you login from to get your RSS fix! You can read a couple of feeds at work, a couple at home from a different machine etc. and everything is synchronized. This was the killer feature I was missing in all RSS readers.
  • GMail’s infinite archiving capability effectively creates a personal news archive for everyone.
  • GMail’s search helps you search easily through RSS feeds.
  • Individual messages can be marked as read and unread, so its easy to track what you are reading.

To get this to work you need to convert RSS feeds into some form Gmail can understand. Karu’s rss2mail convertor, GMail labels, and filters are coming to the rescue. Read the basic strategy for implementation here.

Last but not least is the Feed2Podcast tool, an engine that instantly turns your blog’s RSS feed into a Podcast. There’s nothing more to add. Listen to a sample here. This tool kind of is the same as Talkr, something I reported on in july last year. To be honest, this Feed2Podcast voice sounds better, especially when you have to listen to long texts. Compare : here’s the old voice edition of that blogpost about Talkr. I’ll check out the ‘Talking Blogs later this week to do a decent comparison.


We have improved the back end of our text to speech engine. We hope you love the improvements this upgrade has made. We are getting very close to the AT&T Natural Voices quality level. We would also like to announce that in the comming weeks we will have a choice of voices for our bloggers to choose from. We are adding a female voice to our already popular male voice.

Okay, that about wraps it up for today. Have fun testing this out !