Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category
in Branding, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
Over the past few months Pinterest has been introducing tools to help your business capitalize on the rapidly growing social media site. Pinterest kicked off “Pinterest for Business” by allowing businesses to verify their website. This step shows pinners you’re a credible source. Once verified, if you haven’t already, you’ll be prompted to switch to the new look. When you make the switch you’ll notice larger images, rearranged navigation and new ways to discover pins. With this new look also comes Pinterest Web Analytics. With this basic set of analytics you can see what people are pinning from your website.
But perhaps the largest of all the changes is the introduction of Rich Pins. These pins dynamically pull website information like price and availability and display the information right on the pin. This allows brands to drive more revenue right from Pinterest. See ModCloth’s example below. Pinners can see immediately that the shoes are in stock and currently listed for $64.99.
Currently Pinterest is offering three types of Rich Pins for businesses: movies, recipes and products. Movie pins will pull in user reviews and ratings. Recipe pins will include things like ingredients and serving info. Product pins will have item availability and price. These pins are also mobile-ready, making it easy for customers to purchase on the go. To enable Rich Pins you’ll need to install a bit of code on your site. The code is retroactive after you include the meta information on your website. Check out Pinterest’s developers page for details. What do you think of the changes Pinterest is making for businesses? Can you see this social media platform helping to grow your business?
Posted in Branding, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Branding, Web Marketing
Never judge a book by its cover… unless that book is a website, and the cover is the home page.
Remember the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial from the 1980s: How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?
Now, ask this question about your website: How many clicks does it take to know what your website is all about? If the visitor starts at your home page, the answer better be zero clicks. It’s safe to assume that your home page is your most popular landing page. Sure, there are other landing pages that are tied to specific marketing campaigns. And there are best practices for those landing pages, as well. But when you look at the Landing Pages report in Google Analytics, I’d bet that your home page is your most popular landing page.
Having established that your home page is the most important page of your website for new (and returning) visitors, there are some questions visitors have that you must answer without them having to click any further:
Who are you?
The answer to this question has everything to do with your brand and purpose, not necessarily your company profile. Do you sell accessories for mobile devices? Better make sure visitors don’t think that you sell the actual iPhones and Androids. By clearly establishing your brand and purpose, you also allow the visitor to begin discovering whether or not they are in your target audience. (Note: I say, “begin discovering,” because you can always refine the audience profile on later pages with criteria such as price point.)
Are you good at what you do?
It’s important for you to introduce your value propositions on the home page. What unique values are a part of your company’s offering that makes it worth doing business with you? You don’t have to lay out all of the value prop details on the home page, which has limited real estate. Subsequent pages along the funnel are great real estate for expanding on and reinforcing your value propositions.
Where do I go from here?
Now that visitors know who you are and why you’re good, they want to know what to do next. This is all about your main conversion goal. If you have a range of products/services, use your home page to segment your audience so that you can have targeted, specific offerings on the following page. Having your visitors self-select their segment removes guesswork and allows you to see the difference in traffic and funnel stats for each segment.
The Irony of the About Us page
The About Us page should supplement the home page message of who you are, not replace it. By answering the above questions on the home page and reinforcing them throughout the funnel, you reduce the need for someone to visit the About Us page. Remember that the About Us page is typically not along a website’s conversion path.
Take the Work out of the Visitor’s Hands
Put yourself in the visitor’s position. They do not want to have to work to find answers to the above questions. Once it begins to feel like work, you run the risk of losing brand appeal and having visitors exit. Do the work of having a succinct, well-stated home page. The easier it is for a visitor to know important facts about your business, the quicker they can make a purchase decision.
Tags: ecommerce, google analytics, Managing Web Content
Posted in Branding, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Branding, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
There are so many ways to promote your company’s corporate event, seminar, or workshop using social media, and the great thing about them is that the ad spend is almost non-existent. You just need to find the time! I have broken down the below steps into 3 main time-frame: 1) before, 2) during, and 3) after for you to use as a rough guide to help you navigate.
Before the Event:
1) Create an event on your company Facebook page. Make sure you do this from your company page and not your personal profile! Have the event be open to the public and make sure to post to the company wall as well. Encourage fellow employees and yourself to share on your own personal pages as well to extend the visibility of your brand and the event.
2) Add social share buttons to the event information and registration pages so that attendees can spread the work about this event and the fact that they are proud/excited to attend. The best place to post these buttons are above the fold on the right of the page (this is best practice).
3) Begin a countdown on Facebook and Twitter to build up the anticipation to the event. You could also hijack your Twitter background image and Facebook cover photo to either be entirely about the event or include a call out to the event for all to see.
4) Offer sneak peaks. This can include conversation pieces about the set up of the events, guest hosts/speakers, gift bags in hotels, pictures from past years, etc.
5) Make sure to create posts tagging other people/companies that will be in attendance. This will provide you more reach on their pages as well as using their ‘star power’ in conjunction with your brand.
During the Event:
6) Encourage attendants throughout the sessions to engage, check-in, and share pictures, posts, and tags about the event. Include this call out within programs, with the content of informational email blasts, allow the hosts/speakers to make mention, etc.
7) Keep the content flowing! Keep people interested about the event and create a buzz for non-participants so they will want to attend future sessions. Asking questions is a good way to create levels of engagement here. Not all content throughout the sessions needs to be post. Include pictures of attendants. Inform them of their pictures and encourage them to tag themselves if you are not able to do so via access.
After the Event:
8) Provide a recap of the event. Just because it’s over, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to talk about it anymore. Recaps can be summaries of the events, photos recovered post-event, and even thank you posts to speakers, hosts, and attendants. This is also a great way to begin hinting at the events to come. Feel free to ask questions to attendants to get feedback. This will be much appreciated by them and you will be likely to have positive remarks if you are the one requesting.
9) Make sure to organize all viral information for users and yourself to find later. For example, if your social media guru is posting lots of pictures via their smartphones directly to the company wall, make sure someone goes back to create specific albums to transfer the photos over from the generic ‘mobile uploads’ folders.
If you have any other questions, or need someone on our end to help you strategy your marketing strategy for your next event let us know.
Posted in Branding, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing | 2 Comments »
in Beacon Events, Beacon News, Beacon Team, Branding, Email Marketing, Google Analytics, Pay-Per-Click, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
We are excited to attend the upcoming IRCE Conference in Chicago. The 8th annual Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibitions is expected to bring in more than 7,500 e-retailing executives who are going to learn the latest practices and tools for connecting with the 21st Century consumer. There will be over 175 speakers and 100 separate sessions all talking about such topics as boosting conversions and profitability, e-marketing, social media, mobile commerce, web merchandising, improving back-end operations, and much more.
Beacon will be exhibiting in booth #313 at the conference and offering free 20 minute one-on-one consults with Brad Henry, Beacon’s Director of Digital Strategy. If you are experiencing declining or stalling results, are seeing your search engine rankings slip, want more conversions from your website, feel your PPC is getting to expensive to justify or not sure what to do with social media, we’d like to help answer your questions using our proven SMAART approach for digital marketing.
Please register here to reserve your spot today! Once we receive your request, we’ll be in touch with your confirmed time and location for your consultation. We will also include instructions on how you can prepare so you can get the most out of your meeting.
Brad Henry is a 10-year veteran of web marketing and drives Beacon Technologies’ unique SMAART Approach in providing ROI-based digital marketing strategies and consultation to corporations across the country. He directs a large team of marketing specialists to grow businesses via custom developed strategic plans and by leveraging Beacon’s other in-house IT strengths (development, hosting). Brad holds a B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing) from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. He also speaks at conferences and is one of the most active contributors on the Google Analytics Partner Forum over the last 6 years.
Brad’s primary objective is to help you get more from your website and web marketing initiatives by giving you actionable takeaways. To make best use of this time, he will initially focus on your main areas of concern before providing insights and feedback relative to Analytics, SEO, PPC, Social Media and/or email – as time permits.
Tags: google analytics, Web Marketing
Posted in Beacon Events, Beacon News, Beacon Team, Branding, Email Marketing, Google Analytics, Pay-Per-Click, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Beacon Team, Branding, Creative Design, Managing Web Content, Web Marketing
So my first week at Beacon Technologies is coming to a close, and I have not been scared off yet! Everyone is very nice and welcoming at this company. I look forward to working with the Beacon team for the next 9 weeks. So far I have been mostly planning for the implementation of Beacon NetCafe and I have been stuck in my cubicle getting prepared for that, but next week will be the week where the fun starts for me. I will start working with others to get the Beacon NetCafe up and running for the company. I am excited and a little nervous. I have never done anything like this before, but I am more than willing to learn the ropes. I did get to sit in a meeting about web design and development my first week.
A client is getting about 70 visitors a day but absolutely no sales at all. What is the problem? Could it be the product? Could it be the website design? Could it be both? The Beacon team brainstormed to come up with ideas to improve sales. Ultimately, the product and the target customers were lacking but one immediate change that the company could utilize was changing the website. There were various problems with the website. The returns and shipping policy was at the top of the page. Is the company trying to say they expect returns of their products? This should not have been on the top of the page. The Terms and Conditions were also at the top of the page when it would have sufficed to be at the bottom. What a waste of space! The products weren’t even on the page. It was confusing what the website was even selling. The team recommended having a 5 product rotating link in the top middle of the page. The product links would also link straight to the cart to increase the chances of actually making a sale. Branding was also an issue for the company. The company was trying to take a serious life event and make it cheerful and upbeat but the website did not display this effectively. The website could also have funny links or products to at least liven the atmosphere and make a sale. A color change is a must for the website. The top image could also be changed to make the website for appealing to the visitors.
Either way, I learn A LOT on web design and branding of a website. It is the little things about web design and branding that can make a HUGE difference. A company can have the greatest product in the world but not sell one if the website is in bad shape. I am confident that if these changes are made to the website then the chances of making a sale will increase significantly. It seems like common sense when people bring up these things but could easily be looked over by anyone. There were some things at the meeting I didn’t even think about. I was very impressed at the meeting. There are extremely intelligent people working for Beacon Technologies, and I want to learn everything I can from these people during my 10 weeks here!
Tags: beacon team, beacon technologies, Web Development, Web Marketing
Posted in Beacon Team, Branding, Creative Design, Managing Web Content, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Branding, Social Media Marketing
It doesn’t matter what products you sell on your website because regardless of their age, gender, or demographics your customer group is already highly engaging within social media networks and sharing site. The latest stats show that males and females have an almost equal share of activity. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of social media networks to increase your website conversions. Listed below are some basic recommendations to help you optimize your profiles.
- Survey- Implement a survey to determine where you customers are congregating. By sending a formal survey or launching a pop-up survey on your website you will be able to gather a wealth of demographic information. UserReports or SurveyMonkey are two great companies to check out. They are inexpensive and provide great analytics.
- Promote Exclusive Offers- By offering an exclusive item to social media followers or fans, such as a weekly coupon or 2 day delivery you leave these users feeling special which will increase conversion and customer loyalty.
- Proper Content Mix – Don’t only push promotions and products throughout your social mediums. Expand you content to contain industry information or general information about your products and why they are important. The primary goal of your eCommerce site may be to sell products, but your social media marketing strategy should encompass a wider range of tactics that simply promoting offerings. With too much product pushing and not enough engagement, you’re unlikely to experience optimal success.
- Sell products with the Social Mediums – By creating a simple shopping feed, you can actually sell products within Facebook through a Shopping tab listed within your category sections. This will help to increase conversions and create awareness of this easy option to purchase. If you are not ready to take that leap, you can always highlight new products or best-sellers and provide a link to the order page on your website. It may not be quite as simple as purchasing directly from facebook, but it can be just as effective.
- Learn from Your Competitors- Competitive intelligence can be very useful. We should be spending some time conducting competitive audits for your top 3 competitors on the social web and learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Look at the social sites they are currently active on, the type of content they are pushing out, the number of followers they have, and the types of specifics offers, programs, or events they offer.
- Leverage Your Current Customers – If you haven’t already, send an email out to your current customers telling them the benefit (specific SM promotions and offers) of joining your social networks. Also make sure to include links to your accounts in the footer of all email blasts you send.
Tags: branding, conversions, optimize social media, social media, Social Media Marketing
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in Branding, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
So I heard through the grapevine that Starbucks offers a loyalty program. If it weren’t for the grapevine, I would have no idea the program exists. There are no in store advertisements, no ‘would you like to join our loyalty program’ question at checkout, no mention of it on my receipt – nothing. This may just be my local Starbucks, but anywho – the main point of my post is their totally lame ‘Welcome’ message.
I went through their fairly straight forward sign up process and within minutes I received the following email.
C’mon Starbucks?! What a missed opportunity. Welcome message campaigns are huge. If you read any of the dozens maybe hundreds of blog posts out there on email welcome series, you would know that when done properly – they are significant revenue generators.
Lets see how Starbucks’ welcome message performed based on a 4 criteria from a great Bronto blog post, “Optimize Your Sign-Up Part 3: Landing Page & Welcome Message Musts.”
1) Thank the person for signing up. FAIL – They were nice enough to welcome me, but no thank you.
2) Reiterate expectations. Remind them what you’ll be sending them, how often and maybe even lead to email examples or recent sends. If you are including a coupon or special prize in your welcome message, let them know they can find it in their first email from you. FAIL – No clear expectations, no call to action, no branding, no graphics…If it weren’t for the from name and address, I would question if this email was from Starbucks.
3) Offer whitelisting instructions. (i.e. “Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book to make sure you receive our exclusive subscriber-only offers.”) FAIL – no opportunity or reminder to add Starbucks to my safe sender list.
4) Engage new sign-ups by introducing and linking to social media pages, product lines, blog, etc. At a minimum, encourage them to “Start shopping.” FAIL – This is the biggest fail. I was actually pretty pumped about my new ‘membership’ in the Starbucks’ loyalty program, because at my Starbucks – its not very well publicized, so I felt like I was in the know (I know I’m not) and I would be happy to publicize it on my FB. But, nope – there is no quick easy way for me to learn more and spread the good word about this program. There isn’t even a link back to their site.
In closing, I was quite disappointed with my ‘initiation’ into Starbucks’ Loyalty club. Beacon regularly helps clients of all shapes and sizes devise unified marketing campaigns, including email. Admittedly, none of our clients are quite the size of Starbucks but obviously – size doesn’t directly correlate to sophistication.
Tags: branding, Social Media Marketing, starbucks, Web Marketing
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in Branding, Pay-Per-Click, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
I want to use this first entry to give you a quick introduction of myself. I want you to feel like you’ve known me for a while when you read my postings. I also want to develop what I like to call a “web relationship” with you. What I mean by “web relationship” is that I want you to enjoy reading what I have to say and hopefully continue to come back! I also hope not only will you just read what I’m posting but share it with others too and especially comment and give me your thoughts!
Career Past: Before coming on board at Beacon, I worked for a Top 100 Internet Retailer as a web marketing specialist. While there I was responsible for social media, email content, banner ads, certain IT responsibilities related to the Oracle software we were using (i.e. SQL, Product Data, Server Management), Sales for Categories/Affiliate Stores, Managed a few Paid Advertising Accounts (i.e. Working with the client to get banners onto the homepage, posting hot deals, getting them into emails, etc.), and the list could go on but I will just sum it up by saying Marketing on the web portal of this company. Now I know you’re wondering what made me leave this big company. Well let’s just leave it at personal reasons and a determination to find a company that would foster growth and continual learning.
Career Present: Obviously, I am now a Web Marketing Analyst for Beacon and thoroughly look forward to all the great things I will learn and accomplish here. I’ve been here for a week now and solely focused on becoming well acclimated to GA as well as starting to get to know the clients I will be managing. While I had basic knowledge of GA and what you could learn from it, I had no idea how much information could be gained and the depth of it. There is an overabundance of information that can be gained if you just spend the time to look into the different reports. Not to mention, I love that you can set up “goals” and have them tracked to see if people are accomplishing what you want them to on your site. Coming in I had basic knowledge of SEO but now I’m seeing it’s a world within itself and can be a little overwhelming. I feel like this is an area I need to spend a little time on so I can have a better grasp of it. I know a lot goes into getting websites ranked higher but I had no idea there were so many ways to do it. With all that said, I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career and hoping it’s a long standing one with Beacon!
Personal Background: While I don’t want to give away too much information here I do want to share with you who Ashley is. I was born and raised in from Oldsmar, FL but moved to Greensboro, NC at the start of high school. I graduated from UNCG with a Business Degree and concentration in Marketing. I’ve spent most of my working years in the furniture industry but after graduating switched career paths and began doing Web Marketing. Apart from working, I am the mother to a wonderful 9 year old boy whom I spend most of my time with. We live in the country on a horse farm and spend a lot of time just doing farm chores. I have 3 of my own personal horses, I board a friend’s horse, and I also train horses when time allows. Along with horseback riding, I also love traveling, riding 4 wheelers, wakeboarding, spending time with family, and hanging out with friends.
So there is a little bit of information on myself. I’m very excited about beginning a career here at Beacon and look forward to everything it has in store for me! TTYS
Lots of <3,
Tags: Ashley Agee, beacon technologies, Web Marketing
Posted in Branding, Pay-Per-Click, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Branding, Google Analytics, Pay-Per-Click, Web Marketing
Week 9 was good. I spent this week really diving into marketing Beacon. The bulk of what I did this week involved making sure things were up to date or set up correctly. I ensured that the local listings for Beacon were correct in directories like Google Places, Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local. Once I was done with that, I worked on setting on some goal funnels in GA to track conversions for Beacon’s contact form. I set up the funnel to track if the contact form was filled out from a specific page. The other updating I did was related to the special offer page for the current promotion Beacon will be running. This didn’t involve creating anything on the page, but rather making sure links worked correctly on the page and that links from other pages pointed to the correct special offer page.
Along with that work, I spent a large amount of time working on a PPC campaign for the special offer. This was really fun. I got to manipulate the keywords for ad groups within the campaign to try to ensure that the ads were associated with the right keywords to improve the quality score of the keywords. The better the quality score, the more likely the ad will appear in related searches. There were close to 20 ad groups that I focused on for this campaign. After looking over the previous statistics, I tweaked the copy of the ads for each ad group to hopefully be more effective. I also wrote one or two new ads for each ad group. If you don’t know already, the ads have a limited number of characters for each line. There are four lines in each ad. The headline, line 1, line 2, and the display URL. The headline and the limits you to 25 characters and the other three lines limit you to 35 characters each. Here is an example to help visualize what I had to work with.
This equals 25 characters
This is the length of 35 characters
Here is a new set of 35 characters.
It seems like it would be easy to get your point across in that amount of space since you have 70 characters for the “meat” of the “sandwich”, but considering my second line was a predetermined mentioning of the special offer, I really only had 35 characters to deliver the message. I was able to make the headline whatever I wanted to help get the message out there. Also, the display URL can more or less be whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be a valid URL. It is meant to help convince people to click on the ad. The ad is pointing to a real URL of your choosing in the background.
In addition to writing and editing ads, I was given the freedom to determine the best geographical area to target with the ads, I was able to give input on the daily budget of the campaign, and I got to learn about and set up some A/B testing within the campaign. A/B testing is where you run two almost identical ads or websites or etc. and see which outperforms the other. Once you get enough data you stop the less effective one and move on to testing the winner versus another small change. Hopefully I’ll be able to see some results before the end of my internship. If not I’ll have to check back in to find out how it’s going.
Tags: A/B testing, adwords, google analytics, localization, PPC
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in Branding, Web Marketing
Well this week was not as great personally due to the fact that I was down for the count with a sinus infection. I was able to do some work but I missed about a third of the week. The work I did do was fun though. I got to be more creative this week and help design some graphics and a HTML newsletter layout for a client. I spent some time creating a rough mockup of what I thought it should look like. I got to play around in Photoshop some while creating the graphics. I don’t have a lot of exposure to using Photoshop so this was fun for me. I knew some of the things I could do but not how to do them. I spent some time learning some basic techniques and put together some logos and images that I liked. I then incorporated those into an HTML newsletter that I was designed for the same client. I did this in Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is a much more familiar tool for me. I took a course in undergrad on using Dreamweaver so I knew what I was doing and how to manipulate elements within the example I was using for reference. After I finished my mockup, I sent it along to a coworker who is much better with graphics than I am and together we got it completed and sent to the client for approval. Along with the newsletter, the client also asked us to design an email to be sent out to invite people to an event being held later this year. I took more of a backseat role on this one. I basically provided my ideas and opinions and let my coworker handle the graphics and layout. She did a much better job than I could have done.
That was about all did this week outside for the normal meetings and small tasks. I had planned to get more done, but being sick really hinders productivity. Thankfully I am almost back to 100% now and I am able to really get things done. I have three weeks left with Beacon. It’s been great so far. Now I just need to keep learning and working so I can finish up strong.
Tags: creativity, dreamweaver, graphic design, photoshop
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