- #1: 3D Printing — Take a look if you have a moment at Shapeways Example Video. It will be fascinating to see how this grows.
- #5: Auto Apps — Not sure if this is a good thing but it is here to stay and will certainly grow. Perhaps you’ve seen the commercial with the Dad in Europe and his teenage daughter wants to borrow his car. So as he is talking with her, from his hotel in Europe, on his smartphone (really smartphone and smart apps) he checks the car’s gas gauge and tire pressure and then starts the engine and unlocks the doors…all from across the Atlantic. Amazing.
- #17: CAPTCHA ‘Advertising‘ — I am sure you have all been asked to enter several distorted letters into a box on a website which will then allow you to advance within the site. CAPTCHA annoys me!! Well, advertisers are starting to use this as an opportunity to have visitors participate in the advertisement. Companies are starting to use their slogans and taglines for their CAPTCHA. I have not yet seen this but I certainly will soon.
- #35: F-Commerce — Facebook eCommerce is coming to your Facebook soon!! Apparently several very large retailers can already sell products directly on Facebook but that trend will certainly increase…just too many users on that site to miss on that opportunity. This could impact many companies within the Supply Chain as well as Marketers. It will be fascinating to see how big this grows!
- #40: Group-Manipulated Pricing — Many group buying sites are popping up including Groupon and Living Social. The innovation will continue to grow and change but it seems poised to be a successful strategy.
Posts by patrick:
in Beacon News, Cascade Server, Web Development, Web Marketing
What: 2011 eduWeb Conference is coming soon, August 1 – 3
Where: San Antonio at The Westin Riverwalk
Why: MEET…SHARE…EXPLORE…and LEARN in collaboration with your Higher Education peers
This is an excellent annual conference that helps the higher education community meet, share, explore, and learn from one another. The Conference is specifically targeted to higher education professionals involved in Online Strategy, Marketing and Technology. Attendees will be from a wide range of functions including Marketing, PR, Alumni, Admissions/Enrollment, Student Affairs, IT, and Athletics.
Beacon Technologies is very pleased to be attending this year’s conference. We will be exhibiting in the main exhibitor hall, Navarro Foyer, Table #5.
In addition, Beacon’s CMS partner, Hannon Hill /Cascade Server, will also be attending and exhibiting at Table #14.
We hope to see many of our clients at this year’s Conference.
Please contact me with any questions!
Tags: cascade, Eduweb, Managing Web Content
Posted in Beacon News, Cascade Server, Web Development, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Branding, Other, Social Media Marketing, Tech Gadgets
It is April 14, 2011 and the weather is beautiful here in Greensboro, North Carolina! 72° and sunny.
I have a lot of admiration and respect for the ad agency JWT. They are thought leaders, amazingly creative and wonderfully successful. I really enjoy their annual forecast of trends which you can visit at JWT INTELLIGENCE. JWT Intelligence has a great tagline, “converting cultural shifts into opportunities“. JWT has published “100 Things to Watch in 2011″. Take a moment and enjoy the slideshow as it will certainly get your brain churning as you consider ways to create your own opportunities based on you own skills and areas of interest.
Technology is a major theme (as it often is) in this year’s forecast.
Of the 100 future trends, I have several highlighted below that interest me:
These are just a few examples that gave me pause.
Check it out at JWT INTELLIGENCE and be inspired!
Enjoy the day.
Tags: ecommerce, facebook, social media, technology
Posted in Branding, Other, Social Media Marketing, Tech Gadgets | 1 Comment »
in Beacon News, Cascade Server, Creative Design, Managing Web Content, Web Development
Are you considering a Site Redesign in 2011 or 2012? If so, please join us March 8, 2011 from 2 to 3 pm EST.
Redesign projects can be a very challenging and an extremely vital project to the success of your organization.
Beacon has the expertise to support your project from start to finish. We can help you with the consulting & analysis, requirements gathering & documentation, project management, steering committee engagement, site structure & layout, graphical design, development, content migration, testing, implementation, hosting, support, maintenance, marketing, analytics and upgrades.
We have been managing these types of Cascade Server Redesign projects for the past 6 years.
Beacon knows how to get the job done on-schedule and on-budget.
So please join us for a 30 minute presentation followed up with 30 minutes of Q&A.
To register, please visit: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/794321048
Hannon Hill press release: http://www.hannonhill.com/news/blog/2011/Webinar-Hosted-By-Beacon-Technologies.html
Please contact me with any questions regarding the webinar.
Patrick Flanagan, 336-232-5668
Tags: cascade, Managing Web Content, webinar
Posted in Beacon News, Cascade Server, Creative Design, Managing Web Content, Web Development | No Comments »
in eCommerce / ASPDNSF, Web Marketing
Mashable released the 2010 Holiday Season Online Spending Numbers and the results are excellent! Interesting statistitic…Free Shipping was used in over 50% of all online transactions.
Enjoy the article below.
Patrick Flanagan, Business Development Manager, 336-944-4187
The 2010 U.S. online holiday shopping season fared remarkably well. Black Friday online retail sales soared and Cyber Monday made history when consumer spending exceeded $1 billion for the first time in a single day. When all was said and done, the November to December holiday season brought in $32.6 billion in retail e-commerce spending.
The enormous figure represents an all-time high for the season and marks a 12% increase in spending over the previous year, according to comScore.
Online shoppers put their credit cards (and PayPal accounts) to work for the entire season, but more so on Cyber Monday, which was the heaviest online spending day of the year with $1.028 billion in total spending. It was the only day to break the $1 billion threshold, but seven other days surpassed $900 million in spending.
Monday, December 13 — also known as Green Monday — was the second biggest online spending day of the year pulling in $954 billion. Monday, December 6 and Friday, December 17 (Free Shipping Day) followed closely behind with $943 billion and $942 billion in online spending respectively.
comScore credits holiday promotions, discounted merchandise and free shipping offers with helping propel the 2010 season to become the biggest yet. In fact, free shipping “was used in more than half of all e-commerce transactions this season, up significantly from last year,” according to comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
Article Found at http://mashable.com/2011/01/05/online-holiday-shopping-season/
Tags: ecommerce, holiday spending, mashable, Web Marketing
Posted in eCommerce / ASPDNSF, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Creative Design, Web Development
I have been spending a good bit of time the past couple of months consulting Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on several web initiatives. We just completed a web design project for them and we are now starting a project that will require the integration of many 3rd party applications. One of the features we are reviewing is a Timeline solution that will be part of their ‘Virtual Exhibits’. We are very early in the evaluation process and starting with a review of Dipity Software, www.dipity.com. After 15 minutes it seems that Dipity is a very promising solution. It is extremely easy to use and allows for very quick creation of interactive functionality. If I was able to complete this example below in literally 15 minutes then it must be quite easy to use. It remains to be seen if it will meet all of our client’s required functionality but good start. Check out this software if you want to consider a new way to present information on your website. The example below is defaulting to ‘Timeline’ view but select ‘Flipbook’ (top left navigation) to see an alternate presentation.
Check this out:
Tags: Dipity Software, Web Development
Posted in Creative Design, Web Development | No Comments »
in Creative Design, Web Development
I have to share this with you. If you are reading the Beacon Blog you are likely a customer of ours, an employee, a friend, family member, or perhaps a future customer. Regardless, you likely have some interest or association with web technology.
I want you to visit a website today. This is the first ‘website’ (if you can call it a website) that I have seen in the past 10 years that simply blows me away from a creative perspective. I have spent the past 10 years consulting and supporting Marketing Directors and I have never seen such a creative idea. At first I was confused and skeptical. But after 15 seconds or so I started to understand it and I am impressed. The site is wildly creative. It won the 2010 Webby Award for Professional Services category. It is highly creative and fun and fascinating and it certainly created a buzz for this Agency. Our industry is constantly evolving and it is great to see new and creative ideas.
Now you may be confused and think that I messed up this link but trust me, the link is working correctly. Go visit the site today, BooneOakley at: www.booneoakley.com
Beacon has an exceptionally creative team of designers and we are constantly meeting and exceeding the demands and expectations of our clients! Call us and lets strategize about your future website.
For more information about Beacon Technologies and our web services, please contact me at 336-232-5668.
Patrick Flanagan, Business Development Manager
Tags: design, web design, Web Development
Posted in Creative Design, Web Development | No Comments »
in Google Analytics, Web Marketing
Now is the time for many Marketing Directors to develop their Marketing budgets for 2011. Recent budgets, including 2010, have most likely been cut or perhaps flat over the past couple of years. B2B Marketers have been hit harder than B2C Marketers but regardless many of you are ready for more investments in 2011.
You will have many options to consider for your marketing investments including PR, sponsorships, trade shows, TV, print ads, direct mail, and certainly Web Marketing.
Web Marketing encompasses many areas of support including Organic, PPC including Content Networks, Social Media, as well as the very important Conversion Optimization. As we often discuss here on our Beacon Blog, Web Marketing is an excellent channel to consider increasing investments because of the ability to carefully and fully measure the return on the investment and effort. Beacon’s reporting incorporates all related cost (labor, PPC, etc) in order to fully understand the return so our clients can make the very best decisions.
I often read Forrester Research’s blogs and I recently found this very helpful tool called the HERO Project Effort-Value Evaluation, http://www.forrester.com/empowered/tools.html. It is a very simple tool that will ask you a series of 10 questions. The tool evaluates your answers and summarizes the ‘effort’ vs ‘value’ of your particular Marketing projects.
If you are interested in learning more about Beacon Technologies please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, (336) 232-5668
Tags: beacon technologies, patrick flanagan, Web Marketing
Posted in Google Analytics, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Cascade Server, Creative Design
Have you ever visited this site? The Best Designs
I have been going to this site for years and I am constantly impressed by the creative ideas that are being developed into websites across the globe.
I am artistically and graphically challenged for sure. One of my brothers is an exceptional artist and designer but I missed out on those genes. Since I am limited artistically I use The Best Designs site to discuss and share ideas with clients/prospects. It is an excellent site to get a sense of the taste and expectations for a client/prospect.
We have an excellent graphic design team here at Beacon. Our lead designers are exceptionally creative, talented and work very hard to stay up on all the latest trends!!
One recent site that we completed last month that is getting a great response is Framingham State University. The client loves it. I have received several calls and emails from friends and clients that think this site is excellent.
We also recently launched a redesign for our long time client, Texas A&M Foundation. Check out their site!!
Thanks for reading this blog entry!!!
Take care for now,
336-232-5668 direct, 336-944-4187 mobile
Tags: beacon technologies, design, Graphical Design, web design, Website Design
Posted in Cascade Server, Creative Design | No Comments »
in Google Analytics, Google Web Optimizer, Web Marketing
For the past 10+ years I have been consulting and advising businesses with their Web Strategy investments. From Corporate Websites to University/College Re-Designs to eCommerce systems to Web-based Integrated Applications…all projects demand a careful discussion regarding the investment and the possible return on the investment.
Very often with our clients, Web Marketing Services is a vital piece of the puzzle towards driving the necessary ROI for the Web Strategy. For many years, the majority of focus in Web Marketing was driving qualified traffic (new prospects) to our client’s sites using Optimization, Paid Ads and more recently with additional attention on Social Media Strategies. I could spend the next hour writing about the detailed tasks on how we help our clients receive qualified traffic but that is not the purpose of this blog entry.
The purpose of this entry is to drive more attention to the art of Conversion Optimization.
Wiki defines Conversion Optimization as the “science and art of creating an experience for a website visitor with the goal of converting the visitor into a customer“.
While ‘converting visitors to customers’ is certainly an obvious goal, Beacon will take you much deeper and determine multiple ‘Conversions’ within your website and your processes so we can carefully track, measure, analyze and act to improve the success of your website investment.
I view Conversion Optimization at a more granular level than “converting the visitors to a customer”. It all starts with a very thorough and possibly complex implementation of Google Analytics. Without a very sound setup of analytics, you will NOT be able to successfully invest in Conversion Optimization. The process starts with consulting sessions with the client to understand the business so we can recommend and implement a custom Google Analytics setup for segmentations, funnels, and goals. Afterwards, we begin to accumulate data in order to make informed decisions for modifying the site/funnels/processes in order to increase Conversions. Certainly the process is more involved and is unique to each client but I hope this gives you a sense of how we view Conversion Optimization.
More and more of my interaction with clients/prospects is focusing on Conversion Optimization. Beacon has an exceptional team of Marketing experts and we truly understand the value of Conversions Optimization!!
I enjoyed reading this article below and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Please comment on this blog if you have any thoughts and suggestions.
ARTICLE TO READ
by Scott Brinker
Thomas Edison said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. As we begin a new decade in search, we face a parallel truism: great search marketing is 1% about getting the click and 99% about what you do next.
Starting here in 2010, conversion optimization is the new SEO.
To be sure, SEO is still important and still evolving. There are still plenty of companies that need to adopt its best practices. SEO isn’t dead. But among the giants of SEO, there is a growing restlessness for the next mountain to conquer.
That mountain rises beyond the SERP and beyond the click.
SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin recently declared that conversion optimization is the most underused and highest ROI activity in the marketing department. Predicting that 2010 is the Year of Conversion Rate Optimization, he wrote, “Online businesses can generate so much revenue from this… 2010 is the year, simply because it’s an inflection point for companies to assess their spend and where they derive value.”
SEO and conversion optimization are a lot alike
Conversion optimization and SEO both thrive at the tumultuous intersection of marketing, IT and customer operations. SEO professionals are experts at navigating this technical and political tempest. They are part engineer, part creative and part strategist—all bundled together in the role of a front-line change agent.
Those same talents, honed over the past decade, are exactly what’s needed deeper in the funnel.
Conversion optimization, like SEO, isn’t a one-shot project. It’s an integral part of the new marketing. The most valuable players will do more than optimize a landing page or run a good A/B test themselves. They will help organizations absorb conversion optimization into their culture and operational rhythm.
Good SEO practitioners know that short-cuts aren’t the answer. Sure, almost anyone can “optimize” a single page’s conversion rate by eliminating all choices and brow-beating visitors with misleading promises. You can myopically increase conversions that way—but at a terrible cost to brand, reputation and customer goodwill. Such black hat conversion optimization, like black hat SEO, isn’t worth the price for legitimate businesses.
(That is one of the reasons I prefer the phrase post-click marketing—it suggests a broader regard for user experiences and long-term relationships.)
Like SEO, conversion optimization is data-driven. Web analytics remain your greatest ally, but you must roll up your sleeves and dig deeper into user behavior. Segmentation analysis becomes even more crucial. How do different segments interact with you, and how can you optimize their particular experiences? Carry that through to revenue (or at least quality-scored leads).
Ultimately, in both SEO and conversion optimization, content is king. Don’t let technicalities overshadow what really matters: compelling value propositions and meaningful brand experiences. In SEO, this wins you links; in conversion optimization, it wins you customers.
But SEO and conversion optimization are different too
SEO often prides itself on minimizing the need for PPC search advertising. While that’s a noble achievement in traffic generation, conversion optimization actually flourishes with paid search, for reasons we’ll examine below. So the first step is to clear away any paid media prejudices.
Combined with PPC, conversion optimization enables highly controlled experimentation. Turn on traffic for a specific keyword, with a particular ad, to a matching landing page, and run well-defined tests with a minimum of confounding variables—and do it in a matter of hours. Iterate quickly. If a problem arises, or you strike gold, react instantly. Test, test, test.
Of course, SEO traffic can be optimized too. But take full advantage of the control PPC offers you.
In SEO, the atomic unit of experimentation is the blog post. In conversion optimization, it’s a matched PPC ad and landing page. While most organizations can now blog nimbly, producing coordinated landing pages may still be a slog. It doesn’t have to be: optimize the process, not just the pages.
Conversion optimization extends beyond a single page. SEO usually avoids breaking up content into multiple steps. However, you may find that multi-step landing pages convert better, because they engage respondents in a mutually productive dialogue and facilitate segmentation (they’re also called “conversion paths” for a reason).
While SEO encourages open publication of everything—that great new report you produced makes excellent link bait—conversion optimization often benefits from dangling valuable content as an incentive to convert. A landing page offering your report, in exchange for a name and email address, can still be link bait, but there’s clearly some trade-off.
Furthermore, some conversion-oriented landing pages shouldn’t be indexed by search engines at all. If you’re experimenting with special offers, or running campaigns with short expirations, you want the prerogative to change them or turn them off without leaving residual expectations out in the wild. For limited promotions, the meta robot tags you probably want are “follow, noindex.”
Dream building instead of link building
The driving goal of SEO is link building. At the risk of sounding schmaltzy, the driving goal of conversion optimization is dream building.
You want to get in the mind of individual prospects, starting from their very first search query to learn something new, solve a problem, or satisfy a desire—a need that you can fulfill. That is the stirring of a dream in their consciousness. Everything you do from that point forward—every touchpoint, every landing page, every follow-up email—should help make that dream real.
Success in conversion optimization is when a prospect rejoices, “Wow, this is exactly what I was looking for!” A dream come true.
It’s harder than link building. But it’s a worthy mountain to climb.
Tags: beacon technologies, conversion optimization, google analytics, patrick flanagan
Posted in Google Analytics, Google Web Optimizer, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »
in Beacon Team, Web Marketing
…SPEED. Super Fast Speed!!!
I want to change your life today. Read this article and take my advice and enjoy your future days browsing the wonderful world wide web…fast.
* If you already use Google’s Chrome browser then please stop reading and go back to work…with your speedy browser.
** If you are a Web Marketing guru then please stop reading because you already know everything about everything.
I am constantly online reviewing websites. I spend several hours a day analyzing sites and reading the latest & greatest on web marketing, hosting trends, design ideas, etc.
Until this past June, I used Firefox primarily. I transitioned from IE to Firefox roughly 3 years ago because of all the Firefox toolbar features. Firefox is still an important tool for me when I want to study a website’s SEO attributes but for the general public simply browsing the web…Firefox is overkill.
If you simply browse the web, give Google Chrome a demo.
You will quickly get used to the startup time and page loading speed. I don’t know all the technical reasons for the speed and efficiency of Chrome but I know this….IT IS CONSIDERABLY FASTER than other commonly used browsers.
* Reply to this blog post if you try Chrome and like the results!!
Enjoy your new life,
For Information Purposes:
Browser usage statistics show that Chrome is experience steady growth and now is owns ~17% of the market.
Browser Statistics Month by Month
Tags: beacon technologies, google analytics, patrick flanagan
Posted in Beacon Team, Web Marketing | No Comments »