What is Conversion According to the Pros?

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If you follow tech blogs, read Internet marketing reports or tweet regularly, you’ve probably come across the buzzword conversion. Conversion marketing, optimization and calculating conversion rates are growing discussions on the web today. Many of us know the right steps to generate and measure web traffic. The challenge now lies in persuading users to buy something when they visit. Converting visits to business is never easy unless you’re Apple. It can be especially difficult for SMBs and startups who are also working overtime on growing their brand.

As I scanned the Internet for resources on web conversion for a new LinkedIn Group, I realized that so many users aren’t sure what conversion means for marketing. I tweeted my concerns out to many. I asked for help on LinkedIn and Quora. Some expressed their confusion and others thought I was inquiring about web conversations instead. So why is  conversion buzzing around so much lately?  Without fully understanding what web conversion is, the chances of  creating a successful marketing strategy and choosing the right tools to increase conversions are slim.

Instead of speculating and adding more confusion to the pot, I decided to ask the “pros” what conversion means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Eric Tsai

Eric Tsai

@designdamage Malaysia

Web Strategist, Marketing Ninja, Author. Focus on Integrating Social Media, SEO, SEM & Content Marketing for Business ROI & BI. I work @WebMetro

http://designdamage.com

On his blog, Eric Tsai defines conversion as “an action a user takes on your site that has value to your business.” In a recent Twitter interview, he added that “conversion is an opportunity to help someone and to build a relationship with your brand.”

Tsai posted a set of equations to show how conversion rate can be calculated to discover marketing campaigns ROI:

Brian Massey

Brian Massey

@bmassey, Austin, TX

Conversion is the science of turning Web visitors into leads and sales. It also makes the Web more interesting.

http://ConversionScientist.com

 

Brian Massey, Conversion Scientist and author of a column on Conversion Science featured on Search Engine Land, was quick to lend me his expertise on conversion over LinkedIn:

”Advertising takes money out of your pocket. Conversion puts money in your pocket. Social media takes your time. Conversion pays you for that time. Clicks cost. Conversion pays. Where are you spending your time and money?”


Ian Lurie

@portentint, 47.567177,-122.38454

Internet Marketer. Author of http://www.conversationmarketing.com. I tweet marketing & news 5-8 times/day.

http://www.portent.com/

 

Ian Lurie, tweeted me back a short and sweet definition: “Conversion: What happens that lets the marketing team keep their jobs.”

“No one’s done a really good job of tying all the separate components of a successful Internet marketing strategy into a single package. Lots of people have created and thrown around phrases like ‘Web 2.0′ and ‘Social media’. But those phrases only make things more confusing.” So Lurie took initiative and started his website as a guide for good decision making.

 

Aaron Bradley

Aaron Bradley

@aaranged, Vancouver, B.C.

Search marketing consultant specializing in enterprise-level organic SEO. Semantic web stringer, compulsive categorizer. I like to cook!

http://www.seoskeptic.com/

 

Aaron Bradley often blogs about Conversion Rate Optimization on Search Engine Land.  He defines conversion in a few steps:

“What is conversion? What people often overlook in focusing on the noun is the meaning more apparent when in the verb form. When you convert a visitor, you have successfully transitioned them to one state to another.In the context of the web, the nature of this conversion is almost always converting a visitor from a passive state to an active state.  Browser to buyer. Reader to re-tweeter.Just in traditional constructions using convert, such as a religious conversion, or a convert to a cause, web conversion optimization focuses on the desired outcome, rather that the starting point. Success is not measured by what a visitor was doing before, but what you’ve persuaded that that visitor to do.So what is conversion? It is successfully persuading a visitor to take a desired action or sequence of actions that satisfies the fulfillment of a predefined goal.”

So next time you need to create or tweak an online marketing strategy, remember conversion first. What steps can you take to influence your visitors to make the next move? Conversion comes in all forms and sizes. Whether you’re looking to get more people to order your product, share your article or techniques on how to baptize a bear(?), there are many great resources and experts that can help.

Thanks Eric, Brian, Ian and Aaron for all your help!

Nancy E.


Share Your Way to More Web Traffic with Agendize

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Sharing is caring. In the online world, sharing is caring about visits, conversions and your brand. You’re probably already familiar with the “Share” button, but do you really know how it can benefit your website or blog?

“Share” helps spread your content through the web, helping readers share, save, bookmark and email posts and pages using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, MySpace and many more social bookmarking and sharing sites. We’re also working on adding Google+ to the list!

Using a share button is an easy, proactive and free way to expose your new products, posts, press releases event details, infographics and more. You don’t need to be a programmer to create, install or manage a Share buttons. Simply copy and paste the code to your website and blog in minutes.

From a SEO point of view, sharing content that contains backlinks to your website will drive more traffic and increase your link popularity. With the latest changes to Google’s algorithms, social signals seem to be carrying more and more weight. The more your content is shared, the better you’ll rank in the search results.

Do your share of sharing. Share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Nancy E.


If McLuhan was alive today, would he tweet and text his friends?

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Earlier this month, @BrianSolis blogged about “The Number One Least Asked Question in Social Media…Why?” He discussed why asking “Why” is important in all aspects of business, including social media. As we embrace a social media culture, Solis proves that Marshall McLuhan’s world aphorism “the medium is the message” (and palindrome: “the message is the medium”) is still valid today:

In an era where information is democratized and influence is equalized, the message is now also the medium. There are prevailing cultures unique to each social network. What you create for Twitter is different than what you might say in Facebook and certainly not at all how you would say it in Google+.

The real importance in understanding McLuhan’s quote is to remind us of the potential dangers of new “mediums” (technology)…like instant messaging.

@BrianZimm1 says that “digital conversations via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn can be very dangerous to the future of communication.” Research proves that a message is correctly interpreted approximately 20% more over phone than email. Without verbal communication, many opportunities of connecting with customers, leads and colleagues are lost.

McLuhan said, “Control over change would seem to consist in moving not with it but ahead of it. Anticipation gives the power to deflect and control force.”

Therefore, if we discover that a new medium brings along negative effects in the way we do business, it’s our duty to intervene during the technology’s development and set it on the right track. Maintaining the right balance between digital and face-to-face conversations is key for maintaining healthy business and personal relationships. Every instant messaging tool such as email, text message and Twitter, must be complemented with a human touch engagement tool like Click- to-Call. By adding the right ‘combos’ of communication tools to your websites, blogs and marketing campaigns, you can keep up with new technology, without neglecting the importance of verbal communication via phone calls, video chats and live meetings.

Nancy E.


Fabulous New Features to Book an Appointment

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A message from Christophe Berge, Chief Architect & Co-Founder of Agendize.com

Dear Agendize Friends,

Summer is already here and even though many of you have vacation on your mind, the Agendize team is always hard at work improving our services. We’re proud to announce several new features added to Book an Appointment, our online scheduling service.

Here’s a list of your wishes come true:

  • In the Book an Appointment widget, instead of having customers choose a service and then a staff member, they can now just choose a service and have our platform select the staff member for them. The staff member will automatically be selected by our system following certain rules: staff who have already served your client, those who are the most available or simply by random selection.
  • Buffer Time. You can now set time aside between two appointments. Buffer time can be used for a delay or a break between appointments. This way, there’s no reason to stress if your appointments are running late and you need a bite to eat, or if you need to allow for travel time between each appointment.
  • Your customers can now change the date of their appointment or cancel it on their own. The confirmation emails sent to customers by our service now contain a personalized link they can follow to access (and modify) the details of their appointment at any time.

We are working on more new features for Book an Appointment which will be announced on the blog in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Christophe


How Not to Get Dumped by Your Angry Customers

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Building a business is like building a relationship. We all slip up at some point and make mistakes. It’s how we deal with our shortcomings that really matters…and learning from them.

As a dissatisfied customer, I learned three important lessons in customer service today:

  1. Don’t annoy your leads/clients
  2. If you do irritate them, respond to their frustration in a timely manner
  3. Not matter the situation, be polite and professional

Receiving  customer complaints via web forms and email is proving to be less and less effective. The main reason: response time. Our follow up expectations have skyrocketed in this digital age of real-time data.

How long is too long? Many users would agree that a response within 24 hours is necessary. Others are less patient.

So you or one of your employees made a boo boo. As a business owner, what are the right steps to take when responding to your customers’ complaints online?

Help your customer one to one:

  • Use Click-to-Call and Live Chat on your site so people can get in touch with you immediately (and free). Don’t anger your customer more by forcing them to wait on hold and pay for it.
  • Set up Twitter/Facebook pages and monitor them regularly. It’s important to know what people are saying about your company–good and bad.
  • If a customer complains, respond honestly, transparently, professionally and address their concern. Don’t try to hide and ignore bad reviews/Tweets. It can backlash into a bigger issue.

Always try to move the conversation to a more private setting. Offer to help your customer over email, chat or phone. New ways to complain in real-time are developed every day. Don’t risk getting a bad reputation and put your customers first.

Nancy E.


1 Easy Tool to Save the Date and Increase Attendance at Your Summer Event

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With social media booming from all corners, adding Google+ to the family this week, we’re realizing it’s easier to host events online in order to increase and organize attendance. From a business point of view, online brand visibility (via webinars, Live Chat, Livestream etc.) is essential for companies wanting to reach more people and gain trust.

Summer months are ideal for hosting online and offline events since guests have more time, energy and enthusiasm to network and participate. So if you plan on hosting a webinar, gala, BBQ or wedding that will be promoted on your website, blog, or mass email make sure to use the appropriate tools and methods of communication to spread the word.

Adding a Save to Calendar button to your event guarantees you won’t waste your time or money on guests who arrive too “fashionably late” or never show up at all. Also, the automatic email and text messaging notifications function is proven to increase attendance by 40% and more. It takes one simple click from your invitees to save your date to their personal calendars, making your event info accessible offline and on the go.

Other features include:

  • Compatible with Google Calendar, Outlook, Lotus Notes, Entourage and iCal
  • Customizable user interface and API available
  • Easy-to-install by copy and pasting code to website, blog or email template
  • Google Analytics integration helps track all of your guest’s actions and your company’s networking/conversion goals

Nancy E.


5 Terms to Remember When Measuring Your Campaign ROI

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It took some time for many of us to believe that social media has a true ROI. Now that we accept this fact, we’re left searching for the right tools and methods to test it. Integrating social media to your business marketing strategies has many benefits such as increasing public relations and enabling customer service. But at the end of the day, B2B campaigns are mainly measured on generated revenue and leads.

In his blog post on social media metrics on Radian6@DavidBThomas settled the “confusion” surrounding the words: listening, monitoring, measurement, analytics and ROI. It’s important to remember that these buzzwords can also be used to discover the value of marketing campaigns beyond social media. Keep them in mind when measuring your conversion tool campaign ROI too.

Here’s a brief version:

  • Listening: is the process of learning what people are saying about you and where.
  • Monitoring: adds the 24/7 component to listening and attempts to make sure you capture all relevant mentions.
  • Measurement:  is the first step toward integrating the results of your social media activities into your larger business processes.
  • Analytics: Understanding the analytics of your social media activities is no different than understanding the value of your PR or marketing activities; you have to do the hard work to tie your activities to conversions, whatever that means for your business.
  • ROI: in social media is thorny, in part because some people expect it should be easy to track because it’s online. You can, but only if you do the work of building the connections.
  • Conversion tools like Click- to- Call and Book an Appointment can be great for ROI since they welcome more visitors to call and schedule real meetings with your business.

    Nancy E.


Send to Phone: Shifting Content in a Smart Way

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Earlier this year, @FredWilson from AVC.com blogged about “content shifting”, a term that’s attracting a lot of attention in the tech world. The demand is clear: users want access to any type of content, on multiple devices 24/7. With the creation of smartphones, tablets and more, technology and content are growing side by side to meet the needs of a now more social, connected consumer who is constantly on-the-go. Tools like Instapaper, ReadItLater and Apple’s upcoming Reading List function in iOS5 are all about saving reading material for later. Our conversion tools follow suit,developing alongside the latest trends of content shifting…proving that sending content for later is equally effective:

Send to Phone is a great example of how you can shift content and increase conversions by encouraging your visitors send, save and share your content to their cell phone. With over 300 million mobile subscribers in the U.S alone, it’s a necessary tool.

Establishing this offline connection is required for an audience that has less free time to browse your site. Making your content more flexible is proven to better expose your company and brand, while building a more meaningful and loyal client-base.

“People want to be able to content shift everywhere and onto every device…and I am certain that we will see this get easier and easier in the coming years,” says Wilson. Agreed. The future of content shifting is looking exciting and we can’t wait to adapt for the next steps!

Nancy E.