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Archive: Feb 2015

  1. Five Rookie Website Mistakes You Can Fix Today

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    by Andy Crestodina

    The planning. The design. The writing. The programming and testing. Building a website can take hundreds of hours of work over months of time. And then, finally, it’s live.

    The result of all that effort depends on a lot of little things. And some of those little things can often hurt the result—big time.

    Some common mistakes have big consequences, but they’re also fixable. And some of those fixes are easy. This article is about five mistakes that can cause big problems but have easy fixes.

    Note: The screenshots in this article are from sites that make big mistakes, but to protect their identities we’ve obscured their logos.

    Mistake 1: Homepage Headline Hints

    It’s not obvious enough. Your homepage hints at it, but it doesn’t explicitly tell visitors what you actually do. This is a devastating mistake that combines several design and content flaws.

    • Your homepage headline is clever but unclear.
    • Your featured image (or slideshow) doesn’t show your product or service.
    • Your navigation labels are generic: Home, About, Services, Contact.
    • Your homepage text is all branding and benefits but doesn’t actually say what you do.

    Not all your visitors know you, so a homepage that doesn’t immediately communicate what you do is a big problem.

    The Fix: Stand back from the screen and squint your eyes. What part of the homepage stands out the most? Now pretend you don’t know this company. Is it obvious what the company does?

    Make sure the headline names the main product or service. Make it your value proposition. Make the main visual meaningful. Make the navigation labels descriptive, following navigation best-practices.

    Mistake 2: The Buried Testimonials Page

    People love you and they’ve put it in writing, but rather than put that social proof onto your product or service pages, you’ve tucked them all away on a separate page.

    Take one look at your Analytics, and you’ll see that only a minority of your visitors are visiting that page. Although those quotes strengthen your message, you’ve weakened them by separating them from the rest of the site—far away from the marketing claims they’re supposed to support.

    The Fix: Get rid of your testimonials page. Instead, put your testimonials (and any other social proof you can find) throughout the site:

    • Make the testimonial match the page it’s on, especially if it includes a relevant key phrase.
    • Put a few of your best endorsements on the homepage.

    Mistake 3: Social Icon Leakage

    It’s a nice clean site with a modern design, simple navigation… and big, colorful candy-like social media icons at the top right.

    Those buttons pull your visitors’ attention away from the content. Worse yet, they pull your visitors off your website and onto other sites that are full of distractions.

    Do you really want your visitors to click that icon? If they do, will they ever come back? Isn’t a visitor Facebook or Pinterest farther away from your brand? Less likely to become a lead or customer?

    Those social media icons are leaks in your lead generation funnel. It’s good when visitors come from social networks, but bad when visitors leave and go to those social networks.

    The Fix: Remove any social media icons that stand out. They shouldn’t be colorful or at the top of the page. Put them in the footer, and, if possible, don’t show the colorful version of the icons until the visitor mouses over them.

    Mistake 4: Selfish Sharing Buttons

    You wrote it hoping people will share it. You want people to click those share buttons to make you more visible… but you’re using share buttons that mention another brand.

    The little share buttons on blog posts are usually created by plug-ins, and unless they are customized they’re often set the mention the company that built the plug-in rather than your brand. Notice the “via…” on the tweet created by this button:

    The Fix: To make sure that your share buttons are promoting your brand and not the company that developed the plugin, either choose a plugin that doesn’t steal the credit or add a little code that takes back the credit.

    Example: The ShareThis widget adds “via @sharethis” to every tweet created by its share buttons. So add a tiny bit of code to the button: st_via=”YourOwnAccount” which puts “via @YourOwnAccount” at the end of each tweet instead.

    If you need help, just send these instructions to your developer and they’ll take care of it for you.

    Mistake 5: YouTube Suggest-a-Lot

    You produced a video, uploaded it to YouTube, then put it on your site. Great job. But once a viewer finishes watching, YouTube suggests a few others… that are not relevant to your brand.

    It’s possible that people are on your site right now, watching irrelevant videos. They watched the video about oil and gas exploration, and now they’re watching puppies. Worse yet, they may be on your site—but watching videos that promote your competitors.

    The Fix: When you embed a video from YouTube, turn off those suggested videos by following these steps:

    1. On the video page on YouTube, click “Share.”
    2. Click “Embed.”
    3. Uncheck the “Show suggested videos when the video finished” box.
    4. Copy and paste the <iframe> embed code into your webpage.

    Better yet, don’t use YouTube at all. Use a paid video hosting service. There are a lot of benefits to spending a bit of money on a pro service:

    • You can customize the video player to match the colors of your brand.
    • You’ll avoid the “YouTube” logo in the bottom right corner, which would send your visitors away forever.
    • You can easily add a call-to-action. Tools, such as those at Wistia, let you add an email signup form right on top the video; this feature is integrated with email marketing tools so the visitor is automatically added to your list.

  2. How Gender, Age, and Left-Handedness Affect E-Commerce Behavior [Infographic]

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    by Ayaz Nanji

    Women click around more on e-commerce sites, left-handed shoppers are slower to navigate, and older consumers tend to view fewer pages, according to a recent report from Content Square.

    The report was based on data from a study of 4,000 French consumers. The researchers analyzed participants’ browsing history on 20 e-commerce sites, looking for demographic differences in key behaviors, including the number of clicks, display time, active time, inactive time, interaction rate, scroll rate, viewed pages, and average hesitation before click.

    Below, key findings from the study.

    Women vs. Men

    Women are more active than men on e-commerce websites, the analysis found:

    • Women click 30% more on websites than men.
    • Women view 12% more pages.
    • Women hesitate 10% less before clicking on a page element.
    • Women purchase 7% faster than men.

    Left-Handed vs. Right-Handed

    Left-handed consumers’ browsing behavior is slower on average than that of right-handed consumers:

    • Left-handed users take 20% more time to click.
    • Right-handed users click 8% more.
    • Left handed users are 29% less likely to click on the tabs displayed on the right of a horizontal navigation bar.

    Younger vs. Older

    Younger (18-34 years old) and older (45-64 years old) consumers generally behave similarly on e-commerce sites, though there are some differences:

    • Older consumers view 4% fewer pages.
    • Older consumers’ hesitation time is 30% longer.

    For more findings from the report, check out the infographic:

  3. The No. 1 Social Media Mistake You’re Making (and Four Ways to Fix It)

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    by Mike Volpe

    Sophisticated marketers measure everything from website traffic and pageviews to form submissions and email click-through rates. But when measuring social media, most rely on fluffy metrics, such as “new followers” and “increased brand awareness.”

    Only 1 in 3 marketers can measure the ROI of their social media efforts, according to Social Media Examiner. In other words, most businesses have no idea whether their social strategy is even working.

    That wouldn’t have been surprising not too many years ago, when the world was still trying to make sense of Twitter and Facebook; as long as companies were present on social sites back then, marketing was doing its job. Today, though, these channels should be second nature for marketers, and not measuring their impact on the company’s bottom line is a big mistake.

    Marketers are expected to double their social spend within the next five years, according to the CMO Survey, so being able to prove the value of social media to your business is more important than ever. The C-suite doesn’t want to hear that a good chunk of Marketing’s budget last quarter was invested in social buzz; it wants to know how that buzz fueled real results—not to mention how you’re using those results to influence and shape your marketing strategy.

    Luckily, marketers today have tools, data, and insights at their fingertips to tie social efforts to hard metrics.

    It’s time for businesses everywhere to start thinking of social media as revenue-building, not just brand-building. Here are four ways to tackle your social efforts with a results-driven approach.

    1. Set tangible goals

    Measuring your social media efforts starts long before you even tweet, post, or publish anything. From the get-go, you should have clearly defined goals for what you want to accomplish with social. The trick is that those goals have to be tangible.

    Most marketers make the mistake of saying they plan to “boost engagement” or “increase awareness”; such vague objectives make it tough to evaluate progress or analyze the final outcome. And if you want to effectively evaluate social, you need numbers.

    To come up with those numbers, you need to figure out what matters most for your business and will have the most positive impact on it.

    After that analysis, you might, for example, decide to boost engagement via Twitter 20%, increase the number of leads generated from Facebook three-fold, or reach 15,000 LinkedIn followers by the end of the year.

    No matter how aggressive or modest the target, it has to be attainable.

    2. Put your results in context

    Remember getting an allowance from your parents when you were a kid? That $5 a week felt like winning the jackpot… until you found out one of your friends was getting $10 a week. Similarly, your social media results shouldn’t be evaluated in isolation; you need benchmarks against which to measure your metrics.

    For example, let’s say you received 40 Twitter clicks this month, and that’s a record for your business… so it’s safe to say your Twitter strategy is in good shape, right? Wrong. You need data beyond your own to know what “good shape” actually looks like for businesses like yours.

    Industry benchmark reports can help put your results into perspective, but to really know how you’re social media efforts stack up you should be comparing your results to companies with similar-size followings. Choose a handful of companies to investigate on your own or look for social media tools that can whip up benchmark data that fits your social media reach. That way, you can discover whether 40 Twitter clicks is high, low, or standard.

    To be able to set goals that will actually have an impact on their business, marketers need context around how they’re performing on social.

    3. Measure down to the dollar

    Not long ago, some 41% of companies had no idea how social media was affecting their business financially, according to an eConsultancy survey from 2011.

    Your Facebook efforts, for example, might be having a direct impact on your company’s bottom line; you just need to prove it. Tracking leads from their very first interaction all the way through the buying process is crucial. If your Facebook page brings in 30 new leads one month, you should be savvy to how many of those become customers down the line.

    Customers who initially found your business through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can and do bring in revenue, not just retweets or shares. Attaching a dollar value to social used to be wishful thinking, but now marketers can link their efforts directly to revenue.

    More marketers need to apply closed-loop marketing across social channels to tackle ROI. If you haven’t yet, identify the solution or tools that make sense for your business and can seamlessly tie your social efforts to conversions and sales.

    4. Let results be your guide

    Your social strategy should never be set in stone; it should be fluid and improved upon continually. But to be able to improve, you have to have insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

    Marketers who aren’t measuring social media results can’t confidently say which channels need more attention or why one platform performs better than another.

    If you’ve been pouring the same resources into both Google+ and LinkedIn for months, for example, and you are finding that one has much lower audience engagement than the other, don’t keep doing the same thing you’ve always done. Instead, dive in to the analytics and reassess the investment your team is putting into each platform. Don’t just track your metrics, analyze them so that your resources are always fueling growth. Your ROI will thank you.

  4. Four Steps to Getting Started With Social Selling

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    by Atri Chatterjee

    Picture, for just a moment, that you’ve been unexpectedly asked along to a party thrown by a friend of a friend. You hardly know anyone there, but you’re happy to mingle with the other guests to pass the time, especially since you consider yourself sociable enough to handle the challenge.

    As the event wears on, though, you find yourself having to force conversations where none might arise otherwise—you’re interrupting, you’re interjecting, you’re stepping on toes in a way that few (yourself included) appreciate.

    In fact, you can’t help but wonder whether this quickly worsening debacle could have been avoided if you’d been the slightest bit prepared—if you’d had some forewarning of the people there and of their personality types.

    Wouldn’t it all be easier if you knew whom to approach in advance and what to say?

    In some ways, that pain is what social selling helps to alleviate—allowing for a greater degree of service and personalization, and opening up more productive lines of communication.

    Most businesses now look to social media as a tool mainly for brand awareness. To do so, though, is to ignore the real power of social media—its impact as a driver of leads and revenue.

    Businesses today need a plan for social selling if they’re looking to build lasting relationships with buyers online. Here’s how to get started.

    1. Make an effort to listen twice as much as you speak

    It should go without saying (but it bears repeating) that buyers don’t much care for brands or salespeople that speak over them. With this in mind, try as much as possible to reach out to customers personally if they ask questions, make complaints, or raise issues.

    In addition, tag them in your posts, keep an eye out for the hashtags they use, and be vigilant about the topics and solutions that trend. When you do, and when the time comes to approach buyers directly, you’ll know how to speak their language.

    Also keep in mind that all members in your social networks won’t be in the same buying cycle, so vary the content you share (a whitepaper here, a webinar there) to maximize the number of customers you reach.

    2. Make personas a priority

    As a general rule, it’s well worth your time to tailor your communications to buyers to ensure the right pieces of content make it to the right people.

    It’s important, then, that you study up your followers. Look up individual users who reach out to your company or put your competitors on blast, and come to them armed with information about their companies, pain points, and status as buyers.

    Also consider your own persona as a salesperson and user of social media. What are your interests and specialties? Where do you see your skills best utilized? Prospects won’t trust someone who’s only looking to sell, sell, sell, so build out your “curbside appeal” as SAP’s Gerry Moran would say; share educational materials with a top- to mid-funnel focus (articles, studies, webinars, whitepapers, etc.) where and when possible.

    3. Put relationships before product

    When contributing to your brand’s presence on social media, you’re equal parts educator and brand ambassador. Don’t just hawk your wares; really work to show why they could be useful and how your prospects could benefit.

    Also be smart about whom you follow and whom you reach on social media. Follow key influencers (those with large and loyal followings and an active presence), place them on lists you keep, share and favorite their content, and be willing to pass along pieces of third-party content you believe they’d find valuable.

    4. Harness your own social network for your buyers’ benefit

    Finally, it’s imperative that you not discount your own connections on social too soon. Try to put a program in place for warm referrals, to encourage one-to-one connections among past, present, and future customers.

    Also make an effort to call on customers to resolve potential support issues; for example, if you identify a prospect in the education sector who could benefit from your product, look for customers of your own who are in education and who might suggest your solution and get you in front of buyers in that sector.

  5. Four Factors That Affect the Viewability of Digital Display Ads

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    by Ayaz Nanji

    More than half of digital display ad impressions are not actually seen by consumers, according to a recent report from Google.

    The study, based on an analysis of July and October 2014 data from Google-owned advertising platforms such as DoubleClick, found that 56% of all display impressions are not viewable.

    A display ad was considered viewable by the researchers when 50% of its pixels were in view on the screen for a minimum of one second. The viewability rate reflects the percentage of ads determined viewable out of the total number of ads measured.

    Though the average viewability rate was just 44%, viewability for individual campaigns varied widely based on various circumstances, the analysis found. In particular, four factors were found to strongly influence ad viewability rates.

    1. Publisher

    Viewability is not evenly distributed across all publisher domains, the analysis found. In other words, a small number of publishers are serving most of the non-viewable impressions.

    2. Page Position

    The most viewable display ad position is right above the fold, not at the top of the page, the analysis found.


    There is a significant drop-off in ad viewability below the fold of a page on a browser. However, not all above-the-fold impressions are viewable, and many below-the-fold impressions are viewable.

    3. Ad Format and Size

    The most viewable display ad sizes are vertical units since they tend to stay on screen longer as users move around a page.

    4. Publisher Industry

    Viewability varies significantly across content areas, with publishers in the reference, community, and gaming verticals having the highest rates.