• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • Be Omni-Present. This simply means going where people are talking and engaging, and joining the conversation in a informal friendly way – the important thing as one member of the group said, is not where they are talking but that they ARE talking.

     

     

    As part of my 30 Day Challenge of Blogging once a day, I am part of a group on facebook – contributing to help others in blogging and also helping myself along the way. It’s kind of an AA group for bloggers.

    Yesterday evening one question cropped up in the group about comments on blogs vs comments on social media and how to deal with that. Solution included dropping Facebook Comments into the blog to encourage that, but that didn’t solve the problem nor collect all of the comments and threads from Facebook, Google or indeed Twitter.

    My solution was to “let it be” and follow the mantra of Pat Flynn of Be Everywhere – or as I put it…

    Be Omni-Present

    In the context of the comments, this simply means going where people are talking and engaging, and joining the conversation in a informal friendly way – the important thing as one member of the group said, is not where they are talking but that they ARE talking.

    To be honest Pat’s Be Everywhere isn’t the same as my Omni-Present state of mind.

    For Pat it’s about being part of all social networks he can, guest blogging, being part of forums, and using other media (such as his podcast) to both grow and maintain his audience.

    For me being Omni-Present is about regularly blogging, communicating always with your audience (not just announcing a new blog post), being a member of industry groups (not digital marketing) and answering questions.

    Also to Be Omni-Present is to be the person that one someone has a question about digital marketing or SEO, that member of the audience can turn to for help and know it’s there for them.

    The one rule both I and Pat have, and you should too – whichever your choose to be – is be consistent, either be somewhere and reliable or don’t be there. Being part of a facebook group as an expert is time consuming, it won’t be 5 minutes of your day, it could be hours a week. You either want a community or you don’t, and if you do you need to work at it and be where your audience are talking (not just on your blog).

    Photo Credit: Online Business/shutterstock

    You want your start-up to be successful, right? Then it is absolutely crucial to understand your customers and their motivations for buying your products or services.

    You want your start-up to be successful, right?

    Then it is absolutely crucial to understand your customers and their motivations for buying your products or services.

    The more you know about your customers, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions across a host of critical business fronts, including pricing, brand image, promotions, distribution and product development.

    In many cases, entrepreneurs are inspired to develop products after experiencing a need in their own lives. In other words, the company founder IS a customer.

    But even if you see yourself as an ideal customer, it still makes sense to undertake the disciplined process of developing formal buyer personas.

    What are buyer personas?

    Buyer personas (also called a customer persona or marketing persona) are profiles of ideal customers based on input from a range of sources. It’s a tool that gets everyone in the company on the same page and helps your marketing programs stay on track.

    Further, as you expand your business, your buyer personas will serve as valuable learning for new recruits to ensure they fully understand your customer’s goals and motivations.

    It’s important to note that an ideal customer in this sense means a fictional customer with an ideal set of characteristics. You should avoid basing your buyer personas on individual customers as it can lead to profiles that are poorly drawn.

    The development process involves analyzing hard customer data and making educated guesses when data is unavailable. In the case of start-ups with only a small number of customers, there may not be much real data to work with, so you’ll need to rely more heavily on educated guesswork.

    If you already have a substantial number of customers, you can collect data by talking to the frontline people who interact with them. It’s also a good idea to speak to customers directly to get additional feedback right from the source.

    And be sure to interview people who weren’t so happy with your product or service to get a complete perspective.

    7 Steps to Creating Buyer Personas

    Let’s assume your start-up sells glow-in-the-dark bicycles. The following 7 steps detail the key things you need to create your buyer personas.

    1: Give your buyer personas a name and a headshot
    As your personas take shape, it’s a good idea to give them a name and a headshot. Some may think it’s corny, but the name and picture bring the persona to life, especially for others on your team not involved in the process. Use alliteration when naming your personas . . . it makes them more memorable.

    Example: Carl the commuter

    2: The Bare Essentials
    Begin by establishing a broad-brushed picture of your customers. Are they male or female? Married or single? Young or old? High net worth or middle class? Urban, suburban or rural? University or high school grad?

    Example: Carl is male, single, aged 25 to 35, has an undergraduate degree and lives in Vancouver. He has a household income of $85,000 and commutes 15 kilometres to work every workday, year round, by bicycle. On weekends, he spends time with his girlfriend and races road bikes competitively.

    3: Goals
    What are Carl’s goals when shopping for your product? Is he most interested in finding a bike with the lowest price? Does he need to purchase a bike quickly? Are there specific features important to Carl for his commuting bike?

    Example: Carl wants a safe and utilitarian bike for commuting: one with fenders and a chain guard to protect him when it’s raining, a rack for panniers so it’s easy to carry a change of clothes, a bell, a light and so on. Price is also important. Carl only invests a lot of money in his racing bikes.

    4: Common Objections
    What are the most common objections your personas might make about your product or service? Is your product truly unique? Can they find a similar solution for a better price?

    Example: In the case of the glow-in-the-dark bike, be prepared to address why your product is better than simply adding a light or reflective tape to your bike.

    5: Favourite Websites
    If you want to sell or promote your product online, you need to understand where your personas spend their time online.

    Example: Carl gets cycling news and reviews from a number of sites, including: bicycling.com, bikemag.com and roadbikeaction.com.

    6: Social Media Expertise
    Where do your personas hang out on social media? Are they using Facebook, Pinterest or some other platform?

    Example: Carl is on Facebook but also dedicates time to Instagram to share pictures of his friends and cycling team.

    7: Real Quotes
    Include a few quotes from actual customers to help ensure your buyer personas reflect real life. The quotes should feel natural coming from your personas. Get the quotes during interviews conducted either with real customers or people who represent your target market.

    Example: “Public transit isn’t really an option for my commute since it’s not convenient. I prefer to cycle to work since it gives me a bit of exercise every day and is less stressful than driving. Plus, parking is expensive in downtown Vancouver, so a bike is really a better option for me right now. Cycling is better for the environment than driving.”

    Buyer personas combine both science and art

    Creating buyer personas is part art and part science; it definitely takes time to master this aspect of the marketing mix.

    Despite being fabrications, buyer personas are effective tools that help start-ups be more targeted, specific and concrete in their messaging. Marketing strategies and tactics developed without the benefit of buyer personas are likely to be generic.

    And less likely to encourage purchase.

    Photo Credit: Buyer Persona/shutterstock

    Here is a comparative study of five shopping websites, to highlight the key factors that make them stand out in the e-commerce race. Read to find out how they make their online store generate better conversions.

    Before deciding to read this topic, ask yourself first – What are the things you wished were there in your last visit to a shopping site?

    Should there have been more scope for interaction? Should there have been a price comparison facility? Did the web design communicate what it promised to sell ? Would you purchase more if they offer seasonal discounts / free delivery next time?

    Being 'user friendly', is the focal point of all e commerce sites. A design that is user focused, generates more conversions. So, if you were given the opportunity to make some improvements to the last visited shopping website, what would you have added or changed?

    This post will bring to you a set of five best shopping site names, which try to maintain the key marketing principles, together with a beautiful web design.

    Five E-commerce Websites that Deliver The Best User Experience

    • Apple – For Color And Typography

    Selection of color and typography is an important part of a website. If you have an online store selling luxury products, but have a website, which looks like some e-store that sells warehouse products, then that means you are not reaching out to your target audience. Besides, if your typography is beautiful but people find it hard to decipher what is written, that too does not help your business much, does it?

    Apple is one such website, which has got its font and color selection absolutely right.

    apple

    apple store

    mac

    Simplicity is what dominates the entire website. There is a well maintained balance between the font and the color. White color builds up a form spaciousness that is comfortable to the eyes, while the Sans font (i.e. lightweight Myriad), speaks a lot about the products that Apple store sells.

    Apple offers a website that can work as an inspiration for people who plan to build up or redesign their e-commerce site.

    When your customer lands on your home page, he/she must immediately get an idea of what kind of items you are offering. Whether you are a medical store or a retail shop for vintage goods, your clients must understand this.

    Is your shopping site's color and font converting better ROI?

    • J. Peterman – For Intriguing Copywriting Style

    Since we have just now spoken about selection of the right font and color, I thought it right to jump into the copywriting style straightaway. Your site content must be interesting and catchy. I often find it boring to shop in a site, which follows a run-off-the-mill product description pattern. Just imagine you are the sales person and there is a client standing right in front of you. You have to be both spontaneous and interesting. People don't mind spending some extra time if you have something interesting for them to listen.

    It is the same with your shopping site. “What's interesting about you?”, is what your viewers would ask. The copy that J. Peterman brings is somewhat different from the other shopping sites.

    peterman


    pic

    havana club

    The copy is short and is written in sync with the dressing style, to build up the appropriate mood within the reader's mind. From introductory to product description, J. Peterman produces interesting copy for every page.

    • Amazon – For Simple and Clear Navigation / For Guide To Search And Shop On-line

    A good shopping website must have a proper navigation guide. When someone lands on the home page of a website, he/she would want to know where to head first. Therefore, it is necessary for a website to provide both search and shop options. Look at the screen shot of Amazon:

    amazon

    Though I have highlighted the search and shop option, this #1 shopping site has more to talk about than just that. The product page they have, is clean and well organized-all in one page. Not only that, they also offer you details like when is the last date to get a discount offer, and what is the deal that a buyer can get for a particular product. When you search for a product, you can also find the other related products available.

    amazon1


    amazon2

    The two screen shots take you to the product page for video games. There are some good user experience guides to look into for any e-commerce web developer. You can check into the recent deals to grab and the related deadlines after which,the offer expires. There is also a side panel, which will take you to other search results that link to the 'video games' section. In addition, Amazon also mentions which product is available for what kind. For example, if you look at the second screen shot above, you would find that the first game product 'Tales from Deep Space' is available for fire tablet only.

    • Next Day Coffee – For Their Persuading Landing Page

    Every shopping site must state clearly, the advantages a buyer would get if they purchase from their site. This is called the 'persuading factor' and must be added to a landing page. Customers come across this particular page, while searching for something that your site also offers. For instance, just a few weeks back, I was searching online for flavoring syrup and came across the landing page of Next Day Coffee:

    nextdaycoffee

    This indirectly acts as a persuading factor to influence a viewer's decision making plan - they are going to get an advantage of free delivery, if they make a specific amount purchase.

    An advantageous factor can be anything like discounts, free delivery, gift vouchers, special wrapping offers and more.

    • Mood By Me – For A Clear Call To Action

    A website should have a clear call to action. This helps the visitor not to get confused when they land on your home page. Also, a call to action should directly state as to why a visitor has visited the website in the first place. This leads to quick conversion and prevents the customer from getting distracted by some other prospect on your site. Just look at the screen shot for this particular e-shop.

    Mood By Me is one such website, which has its Call-To-Action clear and direct. The top left side 'customize everything', accompanied with two tiny arrows tell you that their customized specialty can be availed by both men and women. The right hand side CTA tells us about the range of collection they offer and that you can order to customize your choice by simply clicking on the gray 'customize' button. Notice the use of neon green color for the CTA on the right side. Anyone who fails to notice the top left call-to-action, will not fail to notice this neon green one with the small gray colored button for sure.

    The above five examples were brought to you after thorough study and comparison. However, there are other sites that you can also visit and find out what marketing and design techniques they have to offer. You can find other interesting marketing techniques and learn from there. I would have ended my post with a crucial concluding suggestion, but given the upcoming e-commerce scenario, it seems there are two more vital suggestions to give.

    • No matter what web design strategy you use, going mobile is the hour. 2015 would be a tough competition for those who do not yet have a responsive web design for their e-store. You could even face the impact of loosing in the race.

    • The other thing to suggest is – complete your final e-commerce site design with a proper A/B split test. No website can achieve a good user experience, without relying on a split test. This would help you to know which element on your site is making conversions and which one is repelling your visitors' eyes.

    10,908. That’s the number of eyeballs I’ve reached with the eight presentations I’ve uploaded to SlideShare. Can you imagine the fantastic reach you could earn for your content if you were using SlideShare with dedicated time and energy – backed by a specific, focused content strategy?

    10,908. That’s the number of eyeballs I’ve reached with the eight presentations I’ve uploaded to SlideShare.

    Not too shabby for a niche vertical and a couple of hours time, right? It really didn’t take me any time at all, because I uploaded presentations that I created for speaking gigs, webinars or other events. A few of them needed minor tweaks or changes to give context, but it was fairly minimal.

    HALF of that reach was from a single presentation. If I did a better job of creating content, it could be even better!

    One person business – not enough ours in the day – you know how that goes. I think I do pretty good with the resources I have, for an indie. A business with more support could do far, FAR better.

    Can you imagine the fantastic reach you could earn for your content if you were using SlideShare with dedicated time and energy – backed by a specific, focused content strategy? AMAZING things would happen, thanks to SlideShare’s large, built-in audience! It’s just waiting for you to tap into it.

    Here are a few examples of insanely successful decks. The first has 55,000 views and growing – a few of these have far less reach, but are still are highly successful because of their tight targeting within a specific industry or audience.

    Take a look…

    (54,963 views, as of 11/19/14)
     
     

    (2,576 views in two days, as of 11/19/14)
     
     
    (18,344 views in two weeks, as of 11/19/14)

    Pretty impressive, right?

    If you have a B2B client with PowerPoint resources just sitting around gathering dust, it’s definitely worth investing time to evaluate them.

    Since SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn, you can improve the reach of your uploads even further by connecting your SlideShare account to LinkedIn. It only connects to profiles, not pages, but it can be a great way to showcase employee expertise and grow credibility of your executive team.

    It’s a very intuitive, user-friendly website, so I’m not including details on how to upload something – but let me know if you have trouble. It also now has Haiku Deck design software on the SlideShare website, instead of separately only for iPad users, so it has a fantastic resource to CREATE a slide deck, if you don’t have any. It also isn’t just limited to slide decks; you can upload videos, infographics, images, and documents.

    easy content marketing / shutterstock

    Welcome to another Social Media Today webinar, part of the Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of How to Prepare Employee Advocates for Social Selling Success.

     

    This week I moderated another Social Media Today webinar as part of their Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of How to Prepare Employee Advocates for Social Selling Success. This webinar was sponsored by Everyone Social and featured Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley), Chief Evangelist and Founder of Social Selling, Kurt Shaver (@kurtshaver), Founder of the Sales Foundry and Chris Hecklinger (@cdhecklinger), Director of Client Success at Everyone Social. We discussed how to prepare your sales team to be brand advocates and use social selling techniques to break in to new accounts.

     

    Here are 3 key take-aways:

    1. Social Sales teams out perform non-social sales teams – Jill Rowley showed some great stats around social sales team – 64% of social sales teams had “total team attainment of quota” and 55% had higher renewal rates. (source: Aberdeen Group)
    2. Social Selling is not a “once and done” event - Kurt discussed how to get the sales team prepared to do social selling. He states “its at least a 60-120 day plan for them to learn a new habit” and “not the classic one hour breakout session at the national sales team meeting.”
    3. Follow the 411 Rule of Content – Social sharing should have a mix of content coming from various sources: 4 pieces of content coming from news and other relevant sources, 1 piece of content coming from your company and finally one piece of more personal content (cat photo etc).

    To get a copy of the slides or listen to the replay please click here. You can also scan the highlights of this webinar on Twitter by reading the following Storify:

    Our next webinar is on From Data to Direction: How to Convert Social Media Data Into Actionable Insights; be sure to sign up for it or view the schedule of other upcoming webinars.