Selling your ideas


Always Be Selling – Your Ideas! Talk them up whenever and wherever you can!

As you attempt to move your business forward, creating new social media avenues and improving your website, there are usually going to be several people you will need to convince that the project is worth doing.  That may be the big boss, the people in marketing or whoever controls the money. This is when your online success depends more on politics than on creative vision.

It is almost inevitable that you will meet some resistance.  There is at least one guy at your company who still thinks TV buys and press releases will get the job done.  However, it is time for your company to move forward and to break the shackles of the old rules of marketing.

Arm yourself with information before you try to sell your ideas!

Here are some thoughts on what to do when it is time to start convincing others that your ideas are the right ones.

  • Arm yourself with information. The naysayers will try to find reasons not to change things, so you have to convince them that things need changing.  I have found that most company decisions are made based on the whims of the decision makers, and rarely on any sort of measurements. Web analytics will give you a ton of insight into your company. You will have hard data about what kinds of people are coming to your website, where they are coming from and what they like to see.
  • Present the information in a dynamic way.  Be ready with a PowerPoint, but not a typical PowerPoint presentation. This should include images that convey feeling – Who is the customer? What will your new approach do for them? How will this help the company? Don’t use a bunch of wordy slides, use sparse text and plenty of imagery.  DO NOT READ OFF OF YOUR SLIDES!!!
  • Know your customers. Have some personas created in advance. Show the crowd that you know who you’re company is selling to. I know it sounds crazy, but many people have not thought out their target market beyond “the general public.”
  • Don’t hide your ideas. People often keep their good ideas under wraps.  Make sure you talk about your ideas as often as you can and to many different parties.  Start the movement from the ground up. Again, being prepared with facts and figures will help other buy in to your argument.

These are a few thoughts for today.  There are still a lot more factors to consider – like dealing with the naysayers – but the road to changing your company’s culture starts with you.  Don’t miss your opportunity!

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Create your own infographics


Infographics are a great way to liven up magazines, newsletters and websites. I was reading an article by Johna Revesencio, “4 Online Infographics Generators,” and I think she offers some great resources for creating info graphics.

I tried out two of them and would suggest you give them a whirl. The one pictured on the right was created with Infogram and shows some stats for this blog. Unfortunately, right now Infogram makes it very difficult to export your deign – I had to do a screencapture and re-purpose it in PhotoShop. Also, the choices for teh chart are pretty limited.

Piktochart takes a little more effort to use, but is a much more robust tool for creating charts with a variety of colors, charts and foreground and background items.  As a bonus, you can download the images to use in whatever format you require.  The image on the left is one I made with Piktochart – a little garish, but I wanted to test out all of the options!

Take a look at Revesencio’s article and look at some of her other suggested sites, and start making your own infographics today.

Until next time.

Creating personas – Identifying your customer


Example of a user persona.

Figure 1 – example of a user/customer persona. Click for larger image.
I found this image at http://asinthecity.com/2011/05/13/explaining-personas-used-in-ux-design-%E2%80%93-part-2/

To thine own customer be true! Building a successful website or social media platform begins with understanding who your customer is.

This requires deeper thinking than “Our customer is people ages 18-65.” It requires a detailed understanding of your customers’ demographics and – more importantly – their needs.

One place to start is by looking at the keyword searches in your Google Analytics – these are the words people are putting into search engines that lead them to your site.  This is a good opportunity to reflect – what kind of customers would these search terms apply to?

Also, take a good look, if you can, at who is buying.  Who is coming into the store?  Are there any similarities you are noticing about customers? Are they high-income? How old are they? Is it primarily men or women?

Personas

Think about your biggest target market groups, then set about creating  persona for each of these groups.

In this article, Tina Calabria notes that “Personas enable intranet and website teams to stand in their users’ shoes. They focus the design effort on supporting user goals, rather than being driven by the ideas of team members or senior executives.”

Personas identify the user motivations, expectations and goals responsible for driving online behavior, and bring users to life by giving them names, personalities and often a photo.

This process is spelled out further in this posting, from which I obtained the sample persona which you see in figure 1.

The payoff

Creating personas is a much less expensive and time-consuming way to define your ideal clients. As Beth Hayden notes in this article, 5 Ways Brands Use Pinterest To Authentically Connect.  She notes:

“Oreck (@oreck), maker of vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and other small appliances, focuses on women as their ideal clients. Oreck marketers could potentially create a detailed ideal-client profile called “Suzy Homemaker,” and fill it in with details about where Suzy lives, whether she has kids or pets, and what her hobbies are. The U.S. Army (@usarmy) might have a few different profiles, including the young men and women they are looking to recruit, and members of the general public who are looking to support our troops.

“This exercise may seem silly to you, but don’t underestimate its importance. The more you know about the customers you’re trying to reach on Pinterest, the more successful you’ll be in connecting with them via your marketing efforts.”

What are your thoughts on using personas to get to know your target audience?

Making your social media tracking a snap!


Where do more visitors come to my site from? Facebook or Twitter?
Create a dashboard in Google Analytics for quick and easy reference and simple comparisons of things like social media traffic.

Hi – I wanted to share this helpful article that I just read from Eugene Oprea called “4 Shortcuts for Analyzing Social Media Traffic in Record Time.

Google Analytics can suck up a lot of time. You need to look up all the data, export it, create reports.  However, the information gleaned from Analytics is killer.

Here, Oprea offers you quick links and super simple step-by-step instructions for setting up simple report dashboards in your Analytics that will make it a snap to develop a quick snapshot of what is going on with your web traffic.

In the photo you can see the handy little dashboard that I created using step-by-step instructions that I found in the article and the links contained within.

Pretty good stuff!  Plus, you can print out a nice little graph that even your stupid boss can understand!

I would recommend reading the article and creating a few dashboards and playing around with them when you have a chance.

Until next time.

Proven value of Facebook fans


King Arthur Wonder Bread

Only using Facebook to broadcast marketing messages is like using a jeweled sword to cut Wonder Bread.

Hey gang, I’m back!

I wanted to share a report I just read called “The_Facebook_Factor” by Forrester. I recommend reading this for a little inspiration – hopefully giving you the confidence that you are doing the right thing by pushing your marketing toward smart, targeted social media and away from the old rules of big, loud and broad advertising.

Why should you read this?  As the intro says, “Quantifying the impact of a Facebook fan can be difficult and elusive for marketers. Forrester uses statistical modeling to analyze the effect of being a Facebook fan on brands. The model gives insight into how fans are more likely to interact with brands than non-fans and shows how engaging with the brand on Facebook affects the likelihood of three events: purchase, consideration, and recommendation of a brand.”

The report offers survey questions you can ask your own customers if you wish to calculate your own “Facebook Factor”.

What I find most important, however, is some of the conclusions of the study.

1) Facebook fans are much more likely to purchase, consider, and recommend brands.

2) Facebook “fandom” has the largest impact on purchase. “For example, the odds of a Best
Buy Facebook fan purchasing the brand are 5.3 times higher than a non-fan, while the odds
of a fan recommending and considering the brand for future purchase are 4.7 and 4.0 times
higher, respectively.

3) The value in your Facebook fan base is in their willingness to recommend.

This all points back to the real value of social media.  The first instinct of less enlightened marketers is to use Facebook as a vehicle to shove marketing messages down the throat of fans. This is a waste of a great resource, akin to using a jeweled sword to cut Wonder Bread.

Juggalo

Finally, a place for Juggalos to find each other!

The real value of Facebook is that it builds affinity for your brand.  It allows your fans to interact with your brand, talk about it and share it. Insane Clown Posse fans can come out of the chat room and meet like-minded individuals and fans of Tide detergent can share cleaning tips and get access to money saving offers.

There are some caveats as well.  The report stresses that the value of Facebook fans does not mean you should engage in massive “fan drives”, but should continue to build your audience organically – letting people find you through continued creation of engaging content.  These are the people who really want to be there, your true fans, and they will help spread the word.It also allows your company to target your true brand advocates.

Also, keep in mind what this report can mean for your brand.  As the report notes, “Every brand is different. For example, 71% of online US adults have purchased a Coca-Cola product in the past year, compared with
6% who have bought a BlackBerry. The likelihood of a Facebook fan purchasing from the two brands will vary drastically. But so does the value of the fans for the brand — recommending a BlackBerry has a different value than recommending a can of Coke, and converting a consumer into a lifetime customer has higher value than a one-time buy.”

That’s it for today. Read the report – there’s a lot more in there that I haven’t touched on – and please let me know your thoughts!

Until next time…

Analytics – get to know Bounce Rate!


Box of Bounce

Boost your knowledge of customers with Bounce Rate

I haven’t touched on Google Analytics for a while, but as I have said before, this is the best means to find out how customers really feel about your website – it’s like a free focus group!

One of the most important Analytics stats, in my opinion, is bounce rate.  This tells you how many people leave your site after viewing one page.

Common thinking holds that a 50 percent bounce rate (half of the people leave immediately) for a site is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem.

In this post, “30 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Bounce Rate,” BlogWorld has gathered several influential bloggers opinions and ideas about bounce rate.

One of the featured bloggers discusses how to reduce your site’s bounce rate. These are some common sense, but very helpful thoughts on cutting down the rate at which people are leaving. The one that stand out the most to me is using related content links to keep people in the site – this is especially true for news and shopping sites.

One of the featured bloggers, Rick Allen, sees bounce rate as a stat which can frequently be misread (“The Bounce Rate Myth”).  He notes that the bounce rate does not keep track of how many people click your social media links or sign up for a newsletter while they are on a page. However, in the same article, he also offers links and ideas for making your bounce rate more meaningful.

A third blogger, Avinash Kaushik asks if bounce rate is the “Sexiest Web Metric Ever?” he points out the ways that bounce rate can be used to help determine ROI by looking at the quality of visits you are getting from each traffic source.  Are your Facebook ads bringing low quality visits to your site?  Is it time to revisit your Facebook ad strategy?

This is just the tip of the iceberg, please take a look at all 30 articles if you have a chance, and get to know bounce rate!

Social Media Santa – put these books under the tree


I’d like to recommend two excellent and inspiring books that I read this year. If you haven’t read them, get them for yourself.  If you’ve got them, buy them for your social media team, or – even better – buy them for the higher-ups who need to see the light.

Note: I do not have any deals with the writers or publishers of these books (nor do I know them). These are strictly my recommendations for excellent social media reading.

 

The New Roles of Marketing & PRThe New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

Scott does an excellent job of diagnosing the problems that one can have when dealing with old school marketing think, or those who play by “the old rules”. He offers excellent cheap and often free ways to reshape your marketing for the modern age, learning to talk with people instead of at them.

In addition, his writing style is quite inspiring – this book got me excited enough to get up and start the blog you are reading right now. In addition, he champions an idea which I hold dear: that you don’t need to get your press release to a journalist or get your ad on TV.  In this era, everyone is a journalist and a broadcast center. Create your content, and they will come.

He also prepares you with the arguments and tactics you will need to launch a marketing plan based on “the new rules” of marketing:

  • Where credibility and creating value are king, rather than whop can produce the loudest and dumbest television ad.
  • Where customers choose you because they like your content, rather than being force fed.
  • Where you become a community member rather than a broadcaster.
  • Where you are creating and distributing your news, rather than waiting for journalists to pick it up.

Likable Social MediaLikable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

As good as Scott’s book is, this one is even better.  Every time I read a chapter from this book, I get inspired to start building social media currency.

While Scott’s book focused on many aspects of marketing and PR, Kerpen’s is almost solely focused on social media strategy.

He offers the kind of common sense thinking that is required to conquer the fear that social media brings to many boss types.  Fears like, “What is someone writes something negative on our Facebook page?” or “Why would we give information away online for free?”

Kerpen understands that consumers will no longer go to your website or click a like just because you tell them to.  You need to build trust and affinity, and the way that happens is by creating likable content and making yourself valuable, not saying “Click here to see our new items for sale.”

Kerpen does away with the idea that social media exists to drive people to a point of sale. Instead, it exists to build long term fans and evangelists of your brand. Social media is about finding a spouse, not a one night stand.

In addition, each chapter has a series of exercises that you can do with your team.  I bought this book for my entire social media team, and you’ll want to too.

Do you have any recommended social media books?  If so, please let me know in the comments below!