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Activate Your Website Analytics

You sell a product. You have audiences to target. You want to know if you’re effectively reaching them and to validate that online marketing will accomplish your goals. You need a tool to help.

The good news is you probably already have the means, you’re just not activating it to its fullest potential. That magic tool is Google Analytics.

While this little snippet of code can offer almost too much information for the first-time viewer, the ah-ha’s you will uncover are endless.

How Google Analytics can help your marketing efforts

  • Shows the demographics of individuals who are coming to your website. Are these individuals you want to target? If not, time to start planning on how you want to attract them.
  • Identifies what pages are most important to your visitors. You can tell a lot about the types of info you should be promoting based on where users navigate the most. Are you splashing around vague information about your charter program, but noticing that people just want to know the nitty-gritty about pricing, locations and times? Give them what they want.
  • Determines how they got to your website. On a basic level Google will tell you if someone found you through search, came direct to your website or through a social link. You can also track whether someone came to your website from an email link, ad campaign or through a specific social post. (Note, this only works if you think to use referral links in your digital campaigns. But you always do, right?)
  • Pinpoints the search terms that individuals use to find you. This can be used to review your search-engine-optimization efforts, your pay-per-click search campaigns as well as your content marketing efforts.

Hello, accountability

Outside of giving you a glimpse into how users are getting to your site and what they’re doing, analytics let you track those efforts.

  • Set up goals and track conversions such as contact forms submissions, contest entries, or download requests. How much is a lead worth to you? Add that dollar value into your Google Analytics and see what your website is delivering.
  • Enable event tracking and track clicks on specific buttons or links, such as a play button on a video or a radio button for more information. This is especially helpful if you have multiple actions on one page, because you can identify the true interest of your users.

In the digital world your online work is never done. Analytics help you determine what you could be doing better. Setting goals and tracking metrics give you get a better idea of how to optimize your campaign – and your website.

This column ran in the December 1st issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

NBAA delivers wow factor

A number of people at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) said the same thing to me: “This is a really important show for us.” Given how vital it is, I paid extra attention to the way the 1,100+ exhibitors presented themselves at the recent show. Here are a few of my faves and some takeaways.


The best booths immediately differentiate their brands visually. The vast majority of exhibitors use blue hues, so Dubai-based Jetex Flight Support steals the show with its bold, branded school-bus yellow booth. Excellent, large-scale design makes this exhibit a head turner.


Activity drives engagement. Clay Lacy Aviation scored with Stacy Weltzner, a Sunni Brown artist, covering a wall highlighting Clay Lacy’s amazing aviation career. You couldn’t look away. And people would return to the booth to see how the mural infographic was progressing.


Embraer drew me in with a wave of a virtual-reality headset. Like many others, I eagerly slipped it on and set to work designing an aircraft interior with my virtual wand.


Lufthansa Technik puts its completion and overhaul services on exquisite display. A scaled 3-D model (updated from the 2015 design concept), virtual presentation, and cabin-surface material samples showcase the Mercedes-Benz-style VIP aircraft cabin. It’s modern luxury at its most intelligent.


HondaJet continues to wow with its smart booth design. Honda’s years of car-show expertise pay off in everything from mood-setting lighting and monumental scale to interactive touch screens and bold pops of color.


No Plane No Gain ramped up its messaging with illustration-based floor signs throughout the convention center. Yes, we like those real-people, photography-based testimonials, but these aviation fun facts displayed graphically mix things up in a good way.


Honeywell keeps its booth simple and standout with its distinctive red wordmark, black type and lots and lots of white.

With the calendar so populated with shows these days, exhibitors have several opportunities to perfect their presentation. I’ll be watching.

This column ran in the November 17th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

The art of Video Art Direction

I’m not going to prattle on about the importance of video. You know its value. That it increases engagement, time on site and social sharing. That it boosts retention dramatically. That its use of music and visual storytelling connects emotionally like nothing else.

But not all videos are created equal. As you think about producing your next one, here are some videoshoot lessons I’ve learned over my 30 years as a creative director.

Create a Plan

Don’t wing it. Plan your shoot down to the minute. The location. The action. The talent. The props. Where you need to be and when. Include the names and cellphone numbers of your team so you have everything in one document. Specify clothing and wardrobe changes so you don’t see the same person in the same outfit multiple times. Think things through.

If your shoot’s outdoors, check the weather frequently and have a Plan B if you want sun and the skies say rain. Know when the sun rises and sets. You’ve heard of golden light or magic light. Well, you heard right. It’s that spectacular, fleeting light only seen right after sunrise or just before sunset. The light becomes softer and redder. Shadows lighten. Colors brighten. The ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Bring a talent release form and have everyone onscreen sign it. Even company employees. There’s nothing worse than having a great video and having someone come back a year later and ask you to remove it from your website, tradeshow booth, or whatever – and you have nothing in writing saying you have permission to use it.

Communicate Your Wishes

Brief your team at the beginning. Let them know how you like to work and ask them how they like to work. Develop a mutual understanding of the goals, available resources, timeframe and role of each team member. Be clear in expectations so there are no dropped balls or unnecessary scrambling during the shoot.

Use the approved shot list, script and inspiration boards, but keep your eyes open for unexpected but great shots. Capture all you can. You may not get a second go at it. Cross off the shots you’ve got in the bag so you can turn your focus to those that remain. You don’t want to get back to the office and discover you overlooked a key visual. That’s a conversation you want to avoid with your boss (or client).

Sometimes I frame up things with my camera so I can quickly show the video production crew what I have in mind for the next shot, working one shot ahead. This keeps things moving and helps me be as clear as possible in my direction.

Maximize Your Assets

I walk a full 360-degrees around each location. Scoping out possibilities. Hunting for visuals that surprise you. Selecting the best vantage points. If you’re not working with models, but are shooting real people, I look for people who are not necessarily beautiful, but who have life. Sparkle. Personality.

Cue the talent and clearly demonstrate what you want them to do. If they aren’t doing it, offer an alternative suggestion. Especially if the talent is an employee, a “real person” if you will, you may hesitate to remove him or her from the scene or to speak up. One strategy with a person who is simply irredeemable on camera is to shoot even though you know you’ll never use that footage. Say thanks and quickly move on so you can get the shot with someone else.

Bring a makeup kit. Powder that shiny forehead. Spray that glaring bald spot. You don’t want anything distracting the viewer from the story you’re telling. And if you can fix something easily with a $5 can of hairspray, why waste big bucks in editing time later?

Sometimes the shot is happening, but the crew is not shooting. As the art director it’s your job to point it out to them. Diplomatically of course. But remember, they need your eyes. They’ve got lots on their plate and your job includes ensuring they get the best footage possible so when it’s time to edit, they have great stuff to pull from.

Video Direction in Aviation

Plan your photoshoot

Aviation Photography and Photoshoot

Sonia Greteman on Photography Shoot

Check Your Work

Review footage early in the shoot. Make sure you like the pace, camera moves, angles, lighting and more. If you don’t, change things up. Then review again. Take time for a sit-down lunch. You need that break. But you can still be on the job. Use this time to recharge, but also to check and discuss your footage again. If you see something didn’t work, reshoot. Keep shooting until you have it right. When you think you’ve got the shot, check it off and move on.

Now, lest you think a videoshoot’s a grim, nail-biting affair, it shouldn’t be. Yes, things can get tense, but if they do, it’s your role to lighten the mood. Keep things light and fun. Happy people having a good time translates on camera. The same goes for your crew. Keep hydrated and fueled. You don’t want thirsty, hungry, worn-out crew. Believe me. I speak from experience.

When you have lost your light, call the shoot and head home. Don’t kill yourself. You’ve done your best. And the resulting work will show it. Trust me.

This column ran in the November 3rd issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.