Category Archives: Search marketing

How Mobile Is Your Website?

Our mobile society always on the goYou’ve been there. You’re searching on your mobile phone for a store that has a particular brand of caulk that works well on concrete. You find a website on Google and you click on the link. What comes up is a very tiny version of the store’s regular website, which is impossible to read, let alone click on the Contact Us page to inquire whether they have the caulk you need in stock. So, what do you do? You expand the page to blow it up to where it is legible and then you find yourself scrolling left, right, up, down only to realize that you’re lost on the page. What’s left is to shrink it back down to locate that darned Contact Us link. And, hopefully you haven’t been doing all this while driving.

This is a plain lousy experience and one that makes you want to find somewhere else to shop.

So, does this happen when prospective customers come to your website on their smartphones? Do they have this same kind of bad experience? Are you losing sales because your website is not mobile ready? Did you realize that Google will now start ranking your website lower than your competitors’ sites if it is not mobile ready?

Let’s look at some research from Media Post:

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/253294/mobile-shopping-makes-a-move-on-online-sales.html#reply?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=comment&utm_campaign=84197

What does this mean today, and what could it mean in six to twelve months?

  • “mobile commerce has surged ahead of desktop in terms of time spent shopping, with mobile accounting for 59% of online shopping time in the first quarter of 2015…”
  • “In the first quarter of this year, mobile’s share of retail spending growth increased 53% year over year, compared with increases of 9% for desktop retail e-commerce…”
  • And according to James Printing of Kansas City (http:jamesprinting.com), 42% of brand research is conducted on phones and tablets

The use of smartphones and tablets for shopping and research is expected to grow dramatically in the next year. Although purchases on smartphones and tablets still lags behind desktops, with the primary reasons being security concerns and the ability to see the products in detail, those issues will be resolved quickly with larger phone screens and enhanced mobile security.

Any website development company worth their stripes is creating new sites that are what’s called “mobile responsive.” This means that your site will render differently on mobile devices than it does on desktops, making the experience much better for visitors coming to see what you are all about.

What’s more, you will not be penalized by the major search engines for having a non-responsive website, and all the hard work you’ve done to maintain that search visibility will still be in place.

I would love to know your thoughts, or if you just have questions, let me know.

Regards,

David

“Everything is On Its Way to Somewhere”

John Travolta says this in the 1996 movie “Phenomenon” when he realizes he has a very short time to live but is not afraid of what the future will bring.

This got me thinking about some of the amazing changes I have seen in my very short time on this planet. I was watching the 1988 movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. At one point, he is working on a computer, putting together a new product launch and marketing plan. He pulls out a 5.25 inch floppy disk and inserts it into the computer, providing the computer with the necessary program to execute the file he is working on. Wow, that seems so long ago, when computers didn’t have a means of permanently storing programs on a hard drive, no point and click, no color displays!

I love predictions about what the future may bring. Maybe that’s why I was always a “Star Trek” fan, because that show was all about predicting what future technology would be like.

We are moving so quickly into the future. Mobile devices, and for that matter, all devices we use daily, will have more capabilities than we can imagine.

Aaron Goldman, writing for “Search Insider” predicts what our world could look like in his article 2022: A Search Odyssey” as he quotes from Peter Morville’s concept of Ambient Findability. Here is an excerpt from that article.

“…as Morville surmises, it won’t be long before RFID allows ‘products, possessions, pets, and people [to be] all rendered into findable objects.’

Consider what happens when objects are not only findable but can communicate with each other…

…As an example, he cites a scenario in which the phone ringing alerts the stereo to lower the volume so that a man can take a call from his sister about their mom’s recent health issues. The man’s Web ‘agent’ (i.e. Siri) then looks up a treatment, identifies a local specialist, cross-references the doctor’s ratings and acceptable insurance plans, and books an appointment.”

Isn’t it fun to imagine that world, where so many interconnections our brains process now, almost without us thinking about it, will be handled for us. This will leave us free to focus energies on that next step, because, everything is on its way to somewhere.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

David

Live by the Data or Die by the Data

 

I know that there are hardly enough hours in the day to take care of your customers and run the business, let alone, study and correlate all the customer-centric information which is now available at your fingertips. But, it’s never been more important than now. As Mr. Dave Frankland, an analyst with Forrester espoused, 2010 and beyond is the “age of the customer.” Customers are in more control than ever, and they are wielding that power by responding to companies that understand them and their needs.

 

Natalie Zmuda, with Ad Age talks about the obsession with “understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers,” as the only real differentiator that many companies have. I would add to that, the intelligence to predict behavior as well.

 

Never in history have business owners had such a vast amount of information available to them about their customers’ behavior, which can be a strong predictor of a “potential” customer’s behavior.

 

Facebook can tell you how many people in your area have expressed interest in what you do based upon specific terms? Google has reams of information available on what people are searching for. There are software companies that have created social media dashboards that provide the ability to see what conversations are taking place about you, whether you “follow” them or not. And just as important, there are your own sales statistics that you keep.

 

It is not only important to track sales, but also to be able to know the source of the sales lead. Those lead sources should be broken down sufficiently to understand what action the interested party initially took to become a lead. What products were purchased from what lead sources? As an example, if you only track that a sale of product A came from the Internet, what you don’t know is what action was taken. Did the lead fill out a “contact me” form or did they pick up the phone and call you? Did they ask a question through Facebook or were they referred by one of their LinkedIn contacts? Did they click on a QR code that you had on a print advertisement or did they come to you from your YouTube video?

 

Being able to tie sales back to a very specific lead source allows you to calculate which kind of lead results in the highest likelihood of a sale. Where should you spend precious sales resources to get the highest return? Where should marketing dollars go to stimulate these high value leads? What kind of message is successful in generating quality leads? Would extending that message to other sources for leads generate the same kind of quality lead there? Would it be better to focus on those products that generate the highest margins?

 

So, your business can prosper by paying attention to the data that’s available or not, it’s up to you. And, if you need some help with this, let us know.

 

All my best in your “data mining”

 

David

 

How to Use Storytelling in Your Marketing Message

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Over the holidays we had relatives stay with us that live in France and as such, we don’t see them very often.  It was a relaxing time which gave ample opportunities to talk and share memorable events in our lives.  As we sipped hot tea (some of us having a nice malted beverage) and munched down fudge and party mix, the remembrances of the past came flowing out one after the other.  I was struck by how Tony related his experiences.  Every time he talked of an experience, he made the event into a story and I found myself being pulled into what had happened.  The mental images that he helped me visualize through his storytelling were so vivid that I felt I had lived the same experience.  I was captivated by the word pictures he painted and on a very emotional level, I could connect to what he felt at the time.  We laughed and enjoyed these stories well into the wee hours of the night.

We humans are a very relational species.  When other humans have an experience that is similar to one we have had, there is a bond created; an emotional connection that brings relevance and social camaraderie.  There is solidarity in our mutual experiences. Even if we do not know the other person, this solidarity enhances trust and brings forth from our subconscious memories, both remembered and forgotten, that are the foundation for the preferences and attitudes we now have.  Those very preferences and attitudes have strong effects on our buying decisions.

This is why it is imperative that you tell a story when communicating with prospective buyers, whether on the Internet, in a print ad, in a press release or even in your corporate mission statement.  You must be able to tap into that emotional connection that will take a buyer from being just interested through consideration to the decision to purchase.  And this is true whether you offer a product or service as well as whether your customers are individual consumers or other businesses.  It’s all about people relating to people.

As you know, most stories have basic building blocks:

  • A story has a plot that can be followed from beginning to end
  • A story has a hero (maybe your company, right?)
  • A story has a villain (not necessarily another person as it could be circumstances or inanimate objects that are villains)
  • A story has a problem that must be solved
  • A story has a transformational moment, when the problem is solved

In her book entitled “The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling,” Annette Simmons says there are six kinds of stories that can be used in building a brand:

  1. Origin – formation and background of the company
  2. Purpose – shows why your company is in existence
  3. Vision – where your company is going
  4. Education – so people can put your product in context
  5. Ethics – what you’re doing right
  6. Connection – with the company

So, what story can you tell about your company or product?  How can you use storytelling to make that all important emotional connection?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Where’s Your Passion?

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In a recent meeting with an entrepreneur where we were talking about online marketing activities and building his business, I asked the question, “What are you passionate about?”

His answer…”Wow, let me think about that, that’s a great question.”

Besides the obvious ones of his wife, his child, his extended family, his friends, his favorite sports team, or his church, my question to this entrepreneur really caused him to pause and think.

The word passion can have so many meanings but let’s take the definitions that really apply here:

  1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate
  2. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything (i.e. a passion for music).

What led to this question was a discussion about whether online marketing had much of an application for his business.  As a group of highly educated professionals performing financial services, most if not all of their clientele come to them as a result of a referral.  Word of mouth was their key marketing strategy and there really wasn’t much of a need for him to put any real effort into improving his online visibility or reputation.  Blogging, social networks, search visibility are all good things, just for other people, not him.

You may be asking, David, what was his answer, what was he passionate about?

After some thought he said that he was passionate about helping people, and helping them to be more financially independent, so they can do what they really love to do, whatever that is, without worrying about money.

My next question was, “Do you like to write?” He said he does and that it has been a goal of his for some time to write a book.  Well, a book is a pretty big undertaking and maybe he could break that down into smaller pieces by writing short snippets, ideas that will help people or….a blog.

I did actually see a light bulb appear over his head.  He got it. A good friend of his had tried to convince him he needed to blog but had not explained it in exactly this way.

Write about what you’re really passionate about, not because it’s a great way to market yourself (even though it is) but just because you love to help people.  He left the meeting with much to think about.

In this world, those people who find their passion, what they really love, will be the ones that tell you that their work never really seems like work; that their success has been because they immerse themselves so completely in what they love and hence become very good at it.

Engaging in this phenomenon called social media requires time, effort and then some more time if you wish it to be successful.  Having a passion for what you are blogging, tweeting, friending, responding to will help you to stick with it.  Because, there are very few overnight wonders in social media.  Mostly there are people who have a passion for what they do and have been engaged long enough to start to see the great positive results that can be achieved.

What are you passionate about?

I’d love to know.

David