Looking to capture a home buyers/sellers audience?

If you are looking to capture people in the market for a home or those thinking of selling their home you may want to consider Metroland’s home buyers audience highlighted by This site get’s over 600,000 unique monthly visitors (at last check) across the network. This gives us a massive audience which we use to reach those in the market for a home through content marketing, audience extension, hot listings and takeovers. To sum it up if this audience appeals to you we can get your message in front of these qualified potential customers. We can target your message to the market of your choice across the Metroland network. Take a look  at the video overlay ad above by Kingston realtors Susan Henry and Janet Grace their ad appears front and center while users are looking at real estate listings in the Kingston market. So if you are a realtor or mortgage broker we have your audience who is in the market for a home. Isn’t it time you start speaking to it?

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The Power of Content Marketing

Earlier this week Hollie Pratt our local editor of and the Kingston Heritage informed me that one of my In Your Neighborhood articles had been the most read on the site so far for the month of August. For those of you who are familiar with the Metroland In Your Neighborhood program you already know that this is our content marketing platform. So of course I first asked which one? It was an article we did for Nova Health Naturopathic Centre titled “The paleo diet:Weight loss becomes a reality”. I then discovered that this article has been read more than 1800 times since it was posted  on August 1st. We produce and host Nova Health content on a monthly basis and this type of marketing works extremely well for this client but this article alone will more than pay for their annual Metroland online marketing strategy. Think about this for a second; 1 article has been read nearly 2000 times and tweeted 14 times. These are engaged potential customers many of which will take the leap to call or email Dr Oxboro to schedule an appointment. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of anything this customer could do achieve a higher ROI than than content. This individual article works out to a $250 investment. Let’s break this down in digital terms for a second. If a pay per click campaign received 1800 clicks that would likely cost in the range of $2700. I would argue that having an engaged audience who just read an article about your services is much more valuable than a click to your website from a Google search. Add in the article is linked to to the Nova Health social media, email contact forms, website, phone number and whatever else they want to share with their readers. The clicks you do get also become that much more valuable and with no additional cost that come with a PPC caampaign. The customer gets to qualify your business and services before they click  thru to your website.

The message I want to send with this blog is not only the importance of having a content marketing strategy as part of your marketing plan but putting the proper thought into that strategy so that it’s effective. I have many clients who leave it all up to us, but we don’t know your business like you do. Nova health is one of those who provides Metroland with the proper detail so that we can produce powerful effective content. When that happens the end result is a successful content strategy with engaged customers which translates to a high ROI.

Here is the link to article

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Does Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising live up to the hype?

By now whether you sell online advertising or you are an advertiser we have all at some point come across pay per click (PPC) advertising most commonly Google pay per click or ad words. Just in case you require a definition I am talking about those ads at the top of Google that no one ever clicks on. Well maybe you do but I definitely don’t.

As recently as last week I was meeting with a client who works with a SEO/website optimization agency and I was told that the agency was recommending that they cancel the online advertising with me and increase their Google AdWords/PPC budget. My response was “so to them it’s only about clicks when people are searching through Google”? I then went to explain that from talking to the agency myself I had learned that the advertisers click through rate with my platform is equal to the PPC program and I didn’t even let him in on my secret now that we have added audience extension/retargeting to their campaign we are now at least doubling the PPC click through rate which I will share the next time we go over stats. I am not trying to say that online marketers should not have this presence or it is not valuable because it is especially since these are high quality clicks. What I am saying is if this is where an online strategy stops you will be left out in the cold.

First off I am going to explain what this client (a local car dealer) is doing with Metroland. They have a content marketing strategy with monthly content, online business profiles on our local news site and, IP targeted video overlay impressions and a lot of them, audience extension/retargeting targeting those in the market for a new or used vehicle. Overall the program is performing very well with about 250,000 impressions being served up over the course of the year (yes that’s 250,000 sets of eyeballs) with a click thru rate between .2 and .7 percent depending on the month and promotion that we are running. The click thru rate is 2-7 times the national average so performing exceptionally well and of course there is the content on a high traffic local news site all searchable through Google which separates them from the competition and increases the brand awareness. I could add in the social media benefit but that is another blog. The early stats are showing hundreds of reads, the articles showing up on page one of Google and yes even more click thru’s to their site. You can’t get a more engaged click than one that comes from an article that was just read on a product or service their company provides. We also have profile views and yet again there have been hundreds of them and YouTube views on the video we produced and yep in the hundreds at this point.

I am not picking on Google I am actually a huge fan but if your online strategy is 100 per cent pay per click advertising you are missing out on online marketing platforms with many benefits such as the ones illustrated above. You are missing out on sales and valuable loyal customers that your competition who does have a strong platform is getting. Online advertising is about more than just clicks (read my previous blog “it’s about more than just the click”). Potential customers go online to find out information so they can become a more educated buyer, go to sites looking for online Flyers/Deals/Coupons, are reading news stories and this is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to have a platform where you become part of this experience and that includes platforms such as content marketing, video marketing, audience extension, retargeting, deal sites, mobile marketing, impressions the list goes on and on and yes Pay Per Click.

If PPC is all you are doing all you have is a deal so in other words you are looking for price shoppers selling based on price. Google‘s biggest strength after all is the content it provides so focus on becoming part of that experience more so than the paid ads. Isn’t it more likely that potential customers are typing in key words looking for more information so that they become a more informed buyer than to see who simply has the best price? I will end on this note as a business owner looking to attract customers who are surfing the web you will obtain loyal customers by getting them engaged in your product or service and the internet is the perfect place to do that. What you need to do is plan a well thought out online marketing strategy.

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Is Cross Border Online Shopping Becoming Canadian Retailers Biggest Threat?

With Black Friday just around the corner and Remembrance Day behind us Canadians are now approximately 2 weeks into their annual 6 week holiday spending spree where we spend more than we earn. Traditionally what this has meant is that retailers ramp up their advertising dollars increasing their digital, print, radio and television media buys in order to ensure they get their share. For the most part these ads are designed to drive foot traffic into retail stores. This is after all part of the Christmas experience which many of us curse and yes some actually enjoy it. This trend is slowly changing with the emergence of online shopping. There is even an online version of “Black Friday” dubbed Cyber Monday which falls the Monday following Black Friday. This is a good thing in the sense that it does drive people away from their computers and mobile devices for at least one day as shoppers know that another mega deal shopping day is right around the corner which they can do from home.

One plus for Canadian retail is that many US online shopping sites do not ship to Canada which traditionally has benefited large retailers who do have a presence in Canada such as Old Navy. Well this has changed. Leading up to the 2014 holiday shopping season I was approached by a Canadian company called which in a nutshell provides shoppers with a US mailbox so you can shop anywhere in the US and they charge you $29 to ship to your door in Canada. What does this mean for Canadian retail? I am first going to provide a few stats to set up my stance. Canadians spend $15.3 billion annually shopping online. An ISPOS Reid survey found 82% of Canadians are making purchases online with an average annual spend of $954 annually per person. So you can understand the impact that companies like myUsAddress could have on the Canadian retail landscape as a significant chunk of this spending will be going south of the border. This isn’t all bad especially if you are a consumer; Big box retailers will have to increase their product line to compete and one would guess prices will go down. But there is a down side. If 82 per cent of Canadians are shopping online what does this mean for smaller local retail?  Many retailers such as those in downtown Kingston have unique product lines that separate themselves from the big box stores. Product lines that in some cases shoppers are going online to find, and often end up on international online shopping sites to place their orders as they do not realize that they could very easily just head downtown. In order to do this they need to know where to go and what is available. Many shop online for convenience but a significant chunk go online to find products they can’t find at home.

How can local retailers combat this inevitable change in consumer shopping habits? The first thing I would do is ensure that you have a suitable website that properly illustrates your product line. If it is in your budget invest in a site that allows customers to make purchases online just as easily as they can with the national retailers. If you shop around you could have a full functioning online shopping site in the five to ten thousand dollar range. This will allow your customers to make purchases just as easily as they can with the online superpowers. An example of a local company who has done a great job of this is The next thing I would do is embark on an online advertising campaign. Think about it these are online shoppers we are dealing with so the only way to really reach them is with an online campaign. While online shoppers are surfing national shopping sites such as Metroland Media’s and WagJag you have every opportunity to reach your local audience with an IP targeted impression campaign targeted to your local market with ads on sites just like these not to mention the 50 other sites you can target. You can purchase 20,000 impressions on the Metroland network for $300. If you feel you need a more targeted approach you can take this to another level and look at an audience extension or a retargeting campaign that reaches customers searching for your specific product line even if they go so sites not owned by Metorland. I would back this campaign up with a content marketing strategy such as our In Your Neighborhood platform to increase product and brand awareness. Of course a daily deal on a site such as WagJag is also an excellent option to bring people in.

If you take anything away from this blog it should be that online shopping is on the rise and isn’t going away any time soon. More Canadians are cross border shopping especially now that they can do it from home on their computer or mobile device. As a Canadian retailer regardless of your size you need to have a plan to combat this because if you do not your sales will start to decline and you run the risk dying a slow death as a business owner. Make sure you have a strong web presence supported by a digital advertising strategy so you can get your share.

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The Modern Day Print Advertising rep

Oh how the life of a print advertising media rep has changed. For the first 20 years of my advertising career life really was pretty simple. I sold one product which for most of that time was flyer distribution inside newspapers. I worked very hard, built up an account list in excess of 1 million dollars annually which is a lot of local flyer distribution. My job consisted of convincing local business owners as well as national agencies, big box stores, grocery chains etc that they should be distributing their flyers in newspapers that I represented and I did that job with much success. This is after all how I initially established myself in the industry. At the time I saw myself as a passionate, hardworking “flyer guy” and if you asked me then I would have told you that what I was doing was very complex and it was to an extent. Most newspapers did have specialists to deal with this part of the business and still do. I decided to move on for a new challenge and start my own company FlyerMail which provided me the opportunity to diversify myself by adding commercial print and graphic design to my areas of specialty. Again this seemed to be a huge challenge at the time but I was about to discover that my life as a print media advertising sales professional was about to drastically change with the sale of FlyerMail to a multimedia giant in Torstar.

After I sold to Torstar I came back thinking that I would continue to drive FlyerMail for the new company which I did. I knew there would be some minor changes such as the format, design, new printer etc but overall I would be pushing one product. Sure there was the co-branding with an online flyer site in but for the most part my life would be the same. What had changed since my last stint in the industry was the business was no longer just about newspapers. In fact newspapers were no more than one of the many core products that I was expected to push. I was expected to push our many digital platforms which included content marketing, daily deal sites, flyer sites, impressions, IP targeting, take overs, audience extension, retargeting and this barely scratches the surface. There were magazines, newspapers, direct mail products and a heck of a lot more. What happened to the days when all we had to worry about was asking “do you want to buy an ad in next week’s paper?”  Well it was clear those days were gone. The message being sent was simple if our industry was going to survive we were going to be hitting the streets with a multimedia approach with a heavy focus on digital. So that’s just what I did. We were now packaging digital with FlyerMail which was a natural for me as we had a Flyer site ( and to be honest adding a measly $120 for the online portion on a $3000 direct mail campaign was easy. But I had so much to learn in a short period of time. I knew I needed to embrace the digital world so I quickly learned all about our content marketing initiatives (In Your Neighborhood) and I sold this is waves. I was shocked at how easy this was and how badly my clients craved this once I hit the street. And for $300 per month which included business profiles, monthly content, video production, online advertising, social media there was a lot of value for the price.  And guess what? About 80 per cent of these customers bought newspaper advertising as part of their annual contract. So we were using our strong digital platform to sell newspaper display advertising. What a far cry from the old days when we sold all print customers a $12 upsell on their ad to put the ad online.

My life as a print advertising rep has definitely evolved as now I call myself a true multimedia rep. It’s about listening to the customer and selling them what they need which for me is more and more becoming a digital platform whether on its own or part of a print buy. For print media reps to not only survive but grow they need to embrace this approach or very shortly they simply won’t exist. The days of “a half or a full page this week?” are gone. Listen to your customer and put them in the advertising product that will best suit their business even if that isn’t a full page in the local newspaper.

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Does Your Business Need A Content Marketing Strategy?

For those of you who are not yet familiar with content marketing you will be very soon. Content marketing is one of the fastest growing trends in advertising. Here is a definition that I took from the Content Marketing Institute “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

For years  businesses of all sizes have banked on traditional call to action advertising campaigns to get business through the door such as newspapers, direct mail, radio, TV the list goes on and on. The demand for traditional advertising continues to change as advertisers look for alternatives to grow their business. There still is a place for traditional media and it can be very effective if done properly but today’s consumer is a more intelligent buyer in that they do more research on that little thing we call the internet before they buy. This shouldn’t be completely foreign to traditional advertisers as many businesses have been using advertorials through print with great effectiveness for many years. Just look at content marketing as an extension to that.

When done well the content appears as a news article about a specific industry topic with a catchy headline. The technical term for this if you want to impress your media rep is native advertising. It should not be obvious in any way that this is an advertisement. The goal is to provide consumers with relevant information so that they can make a more informed buying decision. This should be a consistent marketing strategy such as Metroland’s In Your Neighborhood platform where we produce and post monthly content geared to your business.

Customers attained from content marketing are far more likely to be loyal repeat customers as they are educated on what it is that sets you apart. When combined with a traditional advertising strategy such as direct mail or a print campaign it can be very effective. Relevant content is also a great tool to communicate with your current customers through social media and email marketing to remind them why they do business with you versus the competition. Here is an example how it can work.

This is an opportunity to separate your business from the competition especially those who are still exclusive to traditional advertising. A good example is a direct mail package with a new restaurant inside let’s say a pizza guy with 3 or 4 competitors in the package. Chances are all 4 will have similar specials so if you are the new guy on the block why would they try your product when they already know they love “Tony’s Pizza” Most people are going to stick with what they know unless you are giving away free pizza’s which doesn’t make any sense from a business perspective. But if the “new guy” has a content marketing strategy explaining why using healthy ingredients is important, using better ingredients, the importance of using fresh ingredients, how using the best cheese makes a better quality pizza.….the likelihood of picking up the phone and responding to the ad is that much greater. Personally I would be more likely to try the new guy as there is already a buzz in the community. This also holds true for established businesses who want to find new customers.

Chances are you are still using traditional media to promote your business which may or may not have the impact it once did. Regardless of that success you need a content marketing strategy to separate yourself from the pack and take your business to the next level. Content creates loyalty, attracts a more educated customer, enhances your SEO as search engines reward quality regular content and in the end when combined with your traditional marketing increases your ROI. With solid content your customers will look forward to your advertising and you will earn their business with a soft “not in your face” approach. This is the present and future of multimedia advertising and it should be part of your marketing platform.

Follow me on twitter @geoffjosey

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