Archive for August, 2011

Ten Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore Social Media

Posted in Small Business on August 25, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Plenty of businesses thought social media was a passing fad—something that would dazzle everyone for a brief time and disappear. But as the Facebooks and Twitters show staying power, Christine Whittemore says many skeptics have come to the conclusion that traditional methods of attracting customers are no longer enough.

“They’ve noticed their mothers online, their friends using mobile devices to share YouTube videos, or even a co-worker circulating an insightful blog article about business innovation,” she writes at MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog. “They’re wondering how might this make sense for their businesses. Will it allow them to connect with customers?”

She believes the answer is yes—and suggests 10 ways your company can benefit from social media:

  1. You demonstrate to potential customers that you are human and care about their world.
  2. You bring to life an externally focused mindset.
  3. You to bring to life your otherwise static brochure-like website with a dynamic presence.
  4. You address in a public forum the questions and concerns your customers have about your products and services—which are being asked anyway without your participation.
  5. You participate in the conversations taking place that relate to your business, products, industry—and have the opportunity to shape the agenda.
  6. You manage your reputation.
  7. You build a customer community.
  8. You direct prequalified prospects—with whom you’ve already established a relationship—to your website, so you can engage in business.
  9. You build your digital visibility and online presence.
  10. You remain relevant to customers.

The Po!nt: It’s really simple. If your customers use social media, you need to be there, too.

Source: Get to the Point &
MarketingProfs Daily Fix.

Six Points on the Road Map to Social Integration

Posted in Small Business on August 23, 2011 by wolfwomyn

In April, Altimeter released its latest maturity road map for companies seeking to integrate more social media into their websites.

In short, being new-media-savvy these days isn’t just about having a Facebook and a Twitter page; it’s about understanding how people are expecting to interact with you—and treating them well wherever they engage with your brand.

You don’t have to follow Altimeter’s steps from 0-6, but considering the map may help you see where your site sits in relation to your particular social-integration destination.

The six phases:

No Integration. Nada.

Social linking. You’re at least considering how blogs, etc., link back to sources.

Social Aggregation. You’re not fully engaged in social yet, but you’re starting to pay more attention to the social buzz, track what’s relevant and gather what you’re seeing to showcase at your site.

Social publishing. Now you’re engaged in passive sharing—such as linking to your work from Facebook or Twitter; and active sharing—which is more about sharing relevant material with users (even when it’s not your own).

Social context. By this point, you probably understand how YouTube, Vimeo, Foursquare and other social sites fit into your marketing strategy. You’re using them actively to dispense certain kinds of content, catered to the types of people relevant to your brand who flock to them.

Seamless integration. The holy grail. According to Jeremiah Owyang in his Year of Integration presentation, this means properties once intended exclusively for broadcast—such as your corporate website—now have social features integrated strategically and intuitively, targeted to maximizing the new ways users read and interact with brands. (You’ll find great examples of this—and big no-no’s—in the presentation.)

The Po!nt: Keep your social engine purring. Do more than just market; drive your brand to engage Web travelers fluently and well.

 

Source:
Get to the Point:Social Media

 

Why Customers Might Want to Pick Up Online Orders at Your Store

Posted in Small Business on August 18, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Barnes & Noble pioneered the concept of online orders shipped to brick-and-mortar stores for customer pickup. In Marketing by the Numbers, Leland Harden and Bob Heyman present a case study on another successful “ship-to-store” program: Ace Hardware’s.

“When a customer selects ship-to-store service,” they explain, “orders are fulfilled out of the warehouse for shipping to the local Ace—at no charge.”

According to Ace eCommerce Marketing Supervisor, Mark Lowe, ship-to-store is a wildly popular option: online shoppers choose in-store pickups 73 percent of the time. It’s not hard to see why:

The absence of shipping charges means substantial savings on larger items like grills and table saws, and thus lowers barrier of entry to high-priced purchases.
With once- or twice-weekly shipments from the warehouse, delivery times can rival those of UPS shipments sent straight to a customer’s house.
Stores, meanwhile, appreciate that 33 percent of customers who pick up an online purchase also buy other items during their visits.

But before you spring a similar program on your brick-and-mortar locations, make sure they’re ready: “Retailers have a lot going on in their stores every day, and this is just an additional responsibility that you’re asking them to handle,” says Lowe. “So [make] it as easy as possible for them to receive those orders, give it to the customer during pickup, and then, if necessary, take that return. I think it’s really important that if you allow ship to store, you also allow them to return the product to the store.”

The Point: Customers like ship-to-store options—and a substantial number might just buy something else while they’re taking delivery.

Source:
Get to the Point: Small Business &
Marketing by the Numbers.

Don’t Take the Twitter Joke Too Far

Posted in Business, Small Business on August 16, 2011 by wolfwomyn

On February 3, Kenneth Cole used Twitter to send the following message: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo –KC” (According to @kennethcole’s bio, the initials KC denote personal tweets.) Unfortunately for the designer—famous for his progressive politics—the joke didn’t go over so well.
Cole’s perceived insensitivity to Egypt’s political turmoil lit up Twitter timelines with harsh criticism—and spawned a satirical @kennethcolepr account with tweets like these:

“People of Australia: Water up to your ankles? We’ve got your Kenneth Cole capris right here!”
“Our Tucson store is locked and loaded with Spring looks!”
“People in Moscow are EXPLODING once they hear about our Fall sales”
In response, @kennethcole tweeted: “Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment –KC” A few hours later, when the story had gone far beyond his audience of 9,000+ followers, this message appeared: “I have removed this morning’s tweet. Please visit this link to see my apology. http://on.fb.me/fCSf5Z –KC”

Writing at Mediabistro, Tonya Garcia notes, “Response on the Facebook page (and continued nonstop tweets), however, show it will take more than an apology to reverse this PR catastrophe. As one popular tweet puts it, we’re watching a brand reputation get destroyed in real-time.”

So why did Cole’s joke appear so unseemly when Twitter had been inundated with Egypt-related humor for much of the previous week? It probably had something to do with the fact that his joke was being used to sell his products.

The Point: The twitterverse is filled with irreverent humor—but don’t get so caught in it that you forget you’re tweeting on behalf of your brand.

Source: Get to the Point & MediaBistro.

Quote for the Day

Posted in Quotes on August 9, 2011 by wolfwomyn

One of the things that we need to remember as we go throughout our work day is other people’s ideas.  Especially if we are in a service industry.  We are not here for ourselves, we are here to be in service to others.  Part of this service is to listen to our clients and be willing to implement their ideas, wants and needs.  To often we get caught up in what we think is best and it can be hard to release this and flow with the customer.  I like this quote as a reminder about what I/we are really hear for.  Our Customers.  So here is a quote for today.

Welcome ideas that are not your own.
Be open to what others have to say without getting defensive.
Make it okay for others to share their ideas — even if those ideas conflict with yours.
~John Baldoni

What Your Website’s Error Page Reveals About Your Company

Posted in Websites on August 4, 2011 by wolfwomyn

While browsing a website this week, I clicked a link that seemed interesting. However, the site had changed file structure since the link was created, and the page was no longer valid. So, up popped their “Page Not Found (404 Error)” page.

Now, not only was I disappointed that I couldn’t see what I clicked on, but now I was also a little insulted and put-off.

That’s the error page above. The idiot wearing the short-sleeved, orange, Hawaiian shirt at the Black Tie event is supposed to be me. The site visitor.

“Ever feel like you’re in the wrong place?” states the caption.

Wow! An interesting way to treat a guest to your site. I wasn’t digging around their bathroom’s medicine cabinet and got busted for snooping. I clicked on one of the main links on their site! Why are they making me feel like I did something wrong?

I know this sounds like a bit of a rant … But, the lesson is, the way your company handles your websites error page can say a lot about your company.

Some take time to make the error page fun, trying to make the best of the situation. After all, it’s a bummer for the visitor when something goes wrong, and it means something is broken with the site.

When trying to make a site as sticky as possible and something is broken or confusing, anything less than “Oh my gosh, so sorry … How can we help you find what you were looking for?” is not enough.

How are you supporting your web visitors when they encounter an error?

Call To Action

  • Check out your site’s error page. No, you really should. In fact, why not open another browser window right now and check it out?
  • If you aren’t sure what your error page looks like, enter the URL for your site and then put some junk characters after it. For example: http://www.YourSiteNameHere.com/icuraqtinvu
  • I’ll bet you don’t have a page with that title, and your error page will be revealed to you.
  • What does your Error Page say? Is if generic? Is it fun?
  • Is is branded? Is it brand appropriate?
  • Did you simply leave it up to the person who designed your site to create the page?
  • Does it have search tools or ways to help your visitor get back on track?
  • Check out what others have done on their error pages. See clever and helpful error page collections here and here, and here.
  • By all means, while you may have fun with visitors to lighten up the fact your site is broken, don’t berate them.

 
Source: MarketingProfs Daily Fix