Marketing with a focus on digital

My path to purchase for this website

As a marketer, the day I typed "squarespace.com" in my browser was a little surreal. 

The Need

I had previously owned aarongrote.com. After a career change I didn't need the site which I'd deployed on it anymore, so I think I just set the domain to redirect to my LinkedIn profile or something. Then I just ignored it. Life got busy and I ignored the "expiring domain" emails, and then it was gone. Less than ideal, but not that big a deal.

The Groundwork

Fast forward a year or two. I'd discovered the wonder of podcasts, and had a great stable of regulars. All but one were sponsored by Squarespace. So several times a week, people I'd come to trust were telling me how much I needed the "Google insurance" a website provides, and how great Squarespace was. One would even go on little rants talking about his early days as a blogger trying to figure out WordPress, and the pain of themes and updates and plugin compatibility. Man did I relate to that. 

So, after a frequency of about a hundred and fifty (no joke), I'd come to accept that my lapsed domain was somewhat less than "less than ideal," that I would eventually get a website again, and that when I did it would be through Squarespace. But of course life kept happening and I kept putting it off. After all, people obey the same principles as objects do when it comes to Newton's first law: An object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an equal or greater force than that holding it at rest. 

The Conversion

So there I was, sitting at my desk at work. In my inbox was an email from my boss who, after asking for my take on something and getting a long and ranty reply, told me I should have a blog. Then, a Skype window pops up. One of my co-workers asks me if I've seen the new "Get your domain before it's gone" ads with John Malkovich

I hadn't. But you can imagine that message hit me pretty hard. I needed Google insurance. I needed a blog.

I needed aarongrote.com before that guy in Arizona with a construction business or that hot rod builder in Illinois realized it was available again!

So five minutes later I was the relieved owner of a domain and that night I wrote my first post.

The Takeaways

First: I'm impressed by the effectiveness of ads on podcasts. They're somewhere between influencer marketing and live radio reads, but I think more effective than either. A broad campaign gets the frequency of radio with the personal connection of influencers. While I can count on one finger the number of times I've even intentionally clicked on a display ad, I've made multiple purchases as a result of podcast recommendations. It's worth a chuckle to note that the hardest part of my checkout process was deciding which podcast's offer code to use. 

Note: If any Squarespace marketers read this, I used the Art of Charm code. He was the "Google insurance" one. But the Art of Manliness was the one with the convincing rant against WordPress.

Second: Even though it's always necessary, sometimes driving awareness and preference aren't enough. Sometimes people just need a kick in the pants. And in a way, getting that right is harder even than earning a person's preference. You have to know exactly what that emotional trigger is, and pull it just hard enough to overcome that force holding her back without being insensitive or insulting and pushing her away. 

Third is every digital marketer's analytics nightmare: Dark Social. Two online word of mouth touch points drove me to my conversion, including one that was basically a list of keywords Squarespace would have been monitoring for. But, like 82% of all online sharing, neither was visible to the fine marketers at Squarespace.

So, if their marketing team is siloed and territorial, what that marketing department is left with for purchases like mine would be something like this:

Influencer team: He used a podcast offer code! This one is ours!
TV team: He converted to a name-based domain purchase within hours of the release of the Malkovich videos, which is consistent with the XX% increase in conversions we saw more broadly.
Influencer team: But awareness! Top of mind preference! Offer codes!

And if there's one takeaway from all of this, that's it. 100% measurable attribution is not only a myth, it's dangerous and potentially debilitating for a marketing department.