Tag Archives: internet marketing

Eyetracking study reveals enlightening online tactics

Enlightening eytracking study

Enlightening eytracking study

Want to know whether your homepage layout is effective? Or if readers prefer short paragraphs over long ones? And if your ads are in the best place to be noticed by your audience?

Take a few minutes out of your day and read over the latest findings from Eyetrack III (via ProBlogger and the Direct Creative Blog). Their research could give your team a better idea of where to start and what to fix when it comes to your Web site design.

You can check out the full article for a complete overview of their findings, but here are some of the main points:

Headlines first, then pictures. When people first land on a page, they tend to look at dominant headlines before looking at pictures. Headlines located in the upper left of the page got the most attention.

The first few words in a headline are most important. A headline will grab less than a second of a visitor’s attention and it appears that the first few words need to be the most eye-catching. People scan the first couple words before deciding to read on.

Use large type for scanning, small type for closer reading. Smaller type is harder to read, so visitors have to focus when they want to find out more. As always, large type should be used for headlines to allow for easy scanning.

Short paragraphs have a better chance of being read than longer ones. Long paragraphs, especially on the Web, look difficult to read. Short paragraphs are more appealing.

Ads in the top and left portions of a homepage get the most attention. Our eyes tend to look at the upper left of a page when we first arrive on it.

Bigger ads are better. Bigger ads have a better chance of being seen. When ads are also placed next to popular content they’ll generally get more attention.

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Challenge #1: Proving the ROI of social media

As marketers, we’re under constant pressure to prove that our tactics are working. In order to show that what we’re doing is effective, we need numbers – cold, hard, measurable numbers to back up a high return on investment.

Unfortunately, when it comes to social media, finding those measurable numbers can be  quite challenging.

Marketers cited the “inability to measure ROI” as one of the largest barriers to adopting social media tactics by their company, according to MarketingSherpa research.

“This barrier is more of a perception than a reality because social media often requires qualitative measurement rather than the quantitative metrics that online marketers have become accustomed to,” say the Sherpas.

In order to measure ROI, you need two numbers: an investment cost and income returned. The easier you can find these two factors, the easier it is to measure your tactic and show that what you’re doing is working (or not).

MarketingSherpa’s most recent Chart of the Week reveals the social media tactics marketers find to be the most accurately measurable.

Proving the ROI of social media

Proving the ROI of social media

The top three most measurable tactics include advertising on blogs or social networks, online news release distribution and user reviews or ratings.

Instead of throwing out the bottom tactics – forums or discussion groups, blogging on a company blog, creating profiles on social networks – the Sherpas suggest factoring in more qualitative values into your perceived ROI.

“Those who don’t include qualitative factors in the planning of their social media programs may find themselves employing much less effective tactics, simply for the sake of perceived measurability, resulting in a loss of confidence in performance.”

More B2Bs taking business online

Surpassing all other business-to-business media categories, online revenue had the most impressive growth in 2008, according to a recent report by The Jordan, Edmiston Group.

In 2008, the online category increased 15.1%, a shift mainly credited to the shift in ad dollars from magazines to online channels. Magazines have been declining in revenue over the past few years, showing an 8.4% annual decline in 2008.

“Advertising dollars continued shifting from print vehicles to online outlets, as magazine net ad revenue declined,” said Richard Mead, Managing Director at Jordan, Edmiston.

Where are most B2Bs putting their money? In online display and search advertising.

Online display and search advertising account for more than 50% of total online revenue and gained more than 12% year-over-year in 2008.

They’re talking about you, like it or not

I ran across some great advice today at the B2B Marketing Blog that needed to be passed along. In today’s post, Brian Courtney delivers some wise words:

“People will be talking about your brand with or without you. You may as well take part in the conversation.”

And he warns that there’s a new type of ROI out there – the Risk Of Ignoring.

Even if you thing you’re doing it wrong, just being a part of social media is the right way to go.

Read the full B2B Marketing Blog post.

Taking direct marketing back to the future

While many marketers continue their search for the next-best, latest-and-greatest media tactic to get the word out about their product or service, others are holding their ground and staying true to traditional methods.

Direct marketing is making a comeback and now considered the “new black” in the marketing world, despite the opportunity new marketing methods like social media may bring to the table.

In a recent column at BtoB Magazine, Scott Hornstein, president of marketing, Hornstein Associates, and CMO, Wired Assets Data Corp., shares his expert insight as to why you should be putting what’s left of your budget into direct marketing.

“These are the times that try marketers’ souls. On the other hand, this is not the time to hide or be timid. It is the time to be effective, and to redeploy the majority of what’s left of your marketing budget into direct marketing for one very good reason: The strategy is, at its core, measurable and ROI-driven.”

He says there are six critical factors that will lead to direct marketing success:

  1. Integrating direct marketing into your overall media mix. Your customers don’t all hang out in the same place, so reinforce your message across a variety of media tools.
  2. Integrating a healthy dose of customer care. “Our carefully crafted brands can be blown up in three minutes of poor customer care.”
  3. Invest in database quality. The success of your marketing is only as good as your list.
  4. Account for everything, but report only key metrics. Pay attention to what matters most.
  5. Measure performance and set aggressive standards. “Each direct marketing effort should achieve at least a 10% response rate.”
  6. Measure the expense to revenue ratio. If it’s over 25% you’re spending too much, go back and fix your process.

What do you think? Should we take another look at the tried-and-true marketing methods like direct marketing because they are so measurable and ROI-driven? Are economic tough times forcing your organization to trend this way?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

B2B buying behaviors, more irrational than we thought

If you’ve ever been searching for research on business-to-business buying behaviors, it can seem like you’re stuck in a maze full of an overwhelming amount of information on consumers around each turn.

To ease our frustration, Marketo and Enquiro Research teamed up to perform some research of their own to discover exactly how businesses make complex purchases.

Yesterday, Jon Miller shared some initial findings from their research at the Marketo blog. Here are a few highlights:

Despite popular belief, business buying is not rational. B2B buyers are self-taught and use a trial-and-error process in their decision making, helping to simplify complex decisions. Instead of dealing with just one irrational decision maker, marketers must deal with an entire group of irrational decision makers, making the buying process that much more complex.

Emotions play a big role. After a purchase, a B2B buyer may not experience the full benefit of their purchase directly or may not be recognized for making the decision and making a poor decision can put that buyer’s job security at risk. Fear drives most B2B buying decisions. “B2B buying is all about minimizing fear by minimizing risk.”

So, it turns out that what we once thought was a strictly linear buying funnel is actually a buying process that may not be logical or rational at times.

Check out the full post for even more great information, including Enquiro’s advice for managing B2B buyer’s perceived risk.

More B2B buyers using Web 2.0 to decide

B2B marketers who dismiss social trends in buying as a strictly consumer trend are wrong, very wrong according to the latest research.

Forrester Research recently surveyed business buyers to discover more about their social activity, with special interest in how business buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.

The survey of more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries, resulted in findings that may surprise some business to business marketers.

Key findings include:

  • 69% are “Spectators”—they read blogs, watch user-generated videos and participate in other social media for business purposes.
  • 37% are “Critics”—they contribute comments or react to content they see in social formats. This is the next most common behavior after reading and watching.
  • 29% are “Collectors”—they use social technology to collect information and stay on top of trends.
  • 29% join social networks (“Joiners”).
  • Only 5% are nonparticipants (“Inactives”).

Though they do take peers’ opinions in to account to make decisions, buyers who use social technology don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions.

“If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, now is the time to start. Because many blogs, communities and other social outreach from firms that sell to business are less than mature, it is a perfect way to stand out.”

For B2B marketers interested in integrating social technologies into their marketing mix, Forrester researchers suggest:

  • First, understand your audience. How does your audience like to communicate and where do they go to share ideas?
  • Integrate social applications into other marketing. Don’t keep your social media separate, but a part of your overall marketing goal.
  • Learn from others. How are your peers using social media? Find articles, webinars and networking events to learn how others are finding success in social media.