Author Archives: akchelsea

Show customer product reviews on your site

“About 68% of online shoppers read at least four reviews before making a purchase,” according to research by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group.

Like we’ve said before, they don’t care what you have to say, your customers want to know what other customers are saying about you.

Even business to business websites should allow customer reviews of individual products and services. Dave at the B2Blog runs down the list of excuses marketers come up with as to why business to business websites shouldn’t use customer product reviews. Loss of control and fear show up on the list, but there’s no hard reason why any marketer shouldn’t use customer reviews.

If you don’t already, maybe now would be a good time to start finding out what your customers think of your product. Then, share the information with everyone else.

Do you enable customer reviews on your product pages? Why, why not? We would love to hear your opinion.

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Find tweets with Summize

Having trouble getting started on Twitter?

Summize is a great tool that lets you search tweets in realtime. Search for topics you regularly deal with and strike up some conversation.

Also, check out Twistori which uses Summize data to create a really cool, and colorful Twitter visual.

How to handle technical difficulties

After reading an email that someone new is following me on Twitter (very exciting news, since I have about 3 followers so far), I go to the site and get this message on the homepage:

“Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing–we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

Apart from scheduled maintenance, do you think shutting down your whole site when having technical difficulties is the right thing to do?

I think it’s a good decision. It will save both you and your visitors wasted time and frustration.

You could spend hours answering lists of emails from irate customers about how your site isn’t working. Instead, shut it down, put up your message acknowledging the problem, let them know you’re working on it, and maybe throw in a funny message or picture to make them smile.

Be honest with your visitors. Most people will understand and come back later when you’re up and running again.

At least that’s my opinion, anyone out there have other ideas? Please share.

‘Silly’ site traffic – Not very funny

Last Thursday, Seth Godin pointed out a known, but scary truth about Website traffic

“When traffic comes to your site without focused intent, it bounces. Any site, anywhere, anytime. 75% bounce rate within three seconds.”

It’s happened to all of us, you find a great looking article on Digg or click on what seems to be a promising search result, but come to find that the site you land on doesn’t have what you were looking for. So you leave, and do so quickly.

On the business side, a high bounce rate can seriously devalue your Website’s visitor counts.

Seth’s advice – Instead of devising ways to get your bounces to stay, focus on keeping your current visitors engaged.

Here are some of our tips on how to keep visitors on your site and keep them engaged:

Have a clear purpose. You must be able to communicate to your visitor the purpose of your site in a matter of seconds. If a person can’t figure out why they landed on your site, they’re on to the next.

Keep your site simple. Make it easy for visitors to find what they need with organized navigation and keep a close eye on broken links

Use targeted advertising. Create targeted pay-per-click campaigns and take clickthroughs to tailored landing pages.

Provide valuable, timely content. Give visitors access to articles, archives, white papers and past newsletters with archives to old content. Also, create libraries full of audio, video and past webinars for viewers to watch.

Build an interactive community.
Create a forum or host message boards focused on hot topics related to your site. Topics can range from product information to industry tips.

Bring your newsletter back to life in 6 steps

Revamping your newsletter can help you transform stale old leads into fresh new prospects. MarketingSherpa released a case study today with tips on how you can also bring your newsletter and old lists back to life.

The study followed a technology marketer in their quest to increase weak open rates and clickthroughs. What began as a challenge to improve their newsletter, turned into a complete overhaul of everything from design to content. After the process, open rates increased by 52% and clickthroughs were up 1315%.

(I’m not lying on the figures, read the full case study to find out.)

The company used a six step process to achieve the outstanding results. Here’s what they did:

1. Designed a new template.
The company did away with their old, excessively busy layout and adopted a more streamlined two-column design.

2. Improved content. Instead of straight advertising, the company decided to create content that positioned their brand as a thought leader in the industry.

3. Approached old leads with caution. Some of the company’s leads were three years old. Instead of annoying any of them with a barrage of emails in their inbox, the company first tested the newsletter on a rented list that had never heard of the company before.

4. Shortened subject lines. The company standardized subject lines to 30 words or less – “Business Insights – January.”

5. Stuck to a regular schedule. They committed to send the newsletter during the last week of every month on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

6. Used pre-populated landing pages. When a reader clicked through a link requesting a demo or information, they landed on a page with the newsletter title at the top and four fields below, partially filled in with their email address and first name.

The results:

  • 52.3% increase in open rates
  • 1315% increase in clickthrough rates (from 1.3% to 17.1%)
  • 18.3% of clickthroughs requested a demo or meeting on the landing page
  • 2% increase in overall sales

Read the full case study at MarketingSherpa.com.

Spread your marketing message with product demos

Whether used at trade show booths, on your Website or in customer emails, a well-products product demo can help explain your product and reinforce your marketing message.

A product demo can also get your sales team on the same page with the same marketing pitch and help generate quality leads.

MarketingProfs posted an article today on the best way to create marketing demos for products. The process should start by asking yourself four questions:

1. What is your demo’s objective?

A clear objective will help your team stay focused when deciding on visuals and message.

“If you’re a marketer for a retail Web site and your goal is to encourage more users to purchase products online, build a three-minute demo using actual screen shots of your site with a voiceover that tells users how to buy online as it shows them.”

2. What type of demo should you produce?

Should it be focused on the product, or conceptual? Product demos are very useful for people who want to see a product and understand how it works before they purchase. A conceptual demo can be used when the customer is already familiar with the product. Think about car commercials these days that barely show any features, but you still know what they’re selling.

3. How do you get the greatest return on investment with the demo?

The demo should be easily accessible to all of your customers. Make sure the demo does not take a long time to watch or load on your site. Don’t force people to download an application before being able to view a video, because they won’t take the time to do it.

Make sure the demo is easily portable in order to show it at trade events, to use on sales team laptops while on the road and easily sent via email.

4. Should you produce the demo in-house or outsource the work?

Do you have the resources in-house to create a professional demo in a timely manner? Outsourcing the project to a reputable firm that specializes in demo-development will free up more of your team’s time. If you choose to keep it in-house, be sure to produce a demo that you’re proud of. This is your chance to create a lasting first impression with customers.

Demos should be used anywhere you see fit – linked to in emails, newsletters, on your homepage, even given to your customer service and sales representatives to email customers.

The demo may be the first time a customer has ever come in contact with your company, make sure your marketing message comes out loud and clear.

How to Twitter your way out of jail and other uses

Not only is Twitter a great social media network and an innovative business tool, it can also help get you out of an Egyptian jail cell.

Earlier this month, journalist and UC Berkley student James Karl Buck was covering Egyptian riots in Manhalla, Egypt. Police arrested him and his translator for photographing a demonstration under charges that the two were revolutionary leaders, according to Buck’s story on his website.

Police let Buck keep his cell phone while detained. Buck Twittered one word: “Arrested.”

The single Tweet alerted his followers of his situation and made it to the U.S. embassy by the next day.

From the Q & A section of Buck’s site:

Q: Did Twitter save your life?

A: I have no illusions that the networks supporting me like my university, my embassy and the various networks of influence that have to do with being a white American student weren’t at play. Twitter and SMS both allowed me to contact those networks.

If Twitter can help a man get out of Egyptian imprisonment, I’m sure there’s a way it can help your business.

One author at DoshDosh came up with 17 ways to use Twitter for business. Here are some highlights:

Personal branding. Twitter can help you establish a more casual image, one that people see as connected and approachable.

Direct traffic. Once you have a network of friends set up, Tweet about your sites. Hopefully, your friends will also start to Tweet about it, then their friends, taking on a life of it’s own.

Get feedback. Use Twitter to get an outside perspective and advice for an issue you’re having.

Customer notifications. Send out a message when you have new products in stock or when you start selling an exciting new product.

Event updates. Notify your network when webcast or seminar times and dates change.

Visit DoshDosh for the full list of ideas.