Is Your Website Working For You?

Top Ten Website Must-Haves:

  1. Prominent contact information – make it easy for people to get in touch with you.  
  2. Call-to-Action – encourage your users to take action. This is also a way to measure your sites success. 
  3. Easy Navigation – viewers that can’t find what they are looking for get frustrated and leave your site.  Make it simple for customers to get where they need to go in as few clicks as possible.
  4. Use Related Keywords – using keywords on your site will help with search engines to find you and build your relevancy for optimization.
  5. Relevant Tags – help tell search engines and users what they can find on your site
  6. Alternative Text for Images – have your images work for you.  
  7. Functioning Links – Non functioning links can be frustrating.  Make sure all your links work and lead to quality, safe content.
  8. Built Search Engine Friendly – Ensure your site is built so search engines are able to crawl through.
  9. Mobile Friendly – Being able to easily view a website on mobile devices is coming increasingly important.  Mobile viewers tend to seek information a little different than those on desktops, so ensure your site is mobile friendly and mobile optimized. 
  10. Ownership – do you own your site and the content that resides on it?

Websites are a valuable tool for any business.  A well-built website can result in more business and put you on top.

Does Your Website Help You?

Does Your Website Help You?

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Alternative Search Options

With recent concerns over being watched, there are a few alternative search engines to use, with some claiming to keep your information private, here are a few:

  1. DuckDuckGo – prides itself on more relevant, anonymous search. Picture 8
  2. Startpage.com and ixquick.com – does not record your IP address or track your searches. Picture 9
  3. Blekko.com – spam-free search engine.  Picture 10

Those are just a few.  There are quite a bit out there and with recent events, we will see how these or others change the way we search.

Small Biz Using Digital Marketing More, Crediting It With Customer Acquisition Successes

Source: June 19, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

ConstantContact-Small-Biz-Use-Marketing-Tools-June2013

The biggest change in how small businesses go about their work this year as opposed to 5 years ago is through their use – or increased use – of online marketing tools,according to results from a survey sponsored by Constant Contact. Indeed, compared to 5 years ago, the adoption of various online marketing tools has soared: 98% of survey respondents now use email marketing (up from 64% saying they used them 5 years ago), while 87% use social media marketing (up from just 10% 5 years ago). And while finding new customers remains the chief concern for small businesses today, among those who are finding this task easier, a leading 53% say that’s due to more affordable online marketing tools.

It’s not all rosy for small businesses, though. 59% of respondents said that it’s harder to run a business today than it was 5 years ago, with the leading reasons being the economy affecting their business (55%), it being harder to keep pace with technology (49%), and more direct competitors (40%).

Local business owners may have a leg-up on the competition, though: 51% feel that being locally owned and operated is a major reason why their customers support their business today.

Despite their challenges – which include a belief that customers expect more from them today – small businesses are keeping an optimistic outlook. In 5 years, 55% see their business as thriving, with more customers and/or more employees. Another 26% see their business as holding steady, with only 8% taking the pessimistic view of the business potentially being closed.

About the Data: The Constant Contact-sponsored survey was administered in May of 2013 to 917 small business participants in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council – a research panel of US small businesses recruited from the Constant Contact customer base. The survey was fielded to those panel members who have been in a decision-making role in a small business for at least five years, and they were asked their opinions on how operating a small business today differs than five years ago. Results include responses from respondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.

How Effective Do Consumers Find Social Cues in Advertising?

Source: May 22, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

BurstMedia-Effectiveness-Ads-Prompting-Social-Interactions-With-Brands-May2013

Some consumers are noticing brands’ attempts to promote their social presences in advertising, with some media channels more likely to elicit a response than others, according to[pdf] results from a Burst Media survey of more than 2,500 US online adults. Respondents reported being most likely to notice brand-related social accounts in online banner ads (27.2%), but a relatively high number also notice them in TV (24.1%) and print (21.1%) ads. Among those who recall brands promoting their social assets in digital ads, about 6 in 10 say the efforts are very (29.4%) or somewhat (31.6%) effective in prompting social interaction with those brands. A similar percentage (58.7%) feel the same way about social cues in TV ads.

Combining the percentage who recall social cues in ads with the percentage who find them effective yields a relative assessment of the effectiveness of different advertising media in prompting social interaction with brands. In descending order of effectiveness, the media are ranked as follows:

  • Digital ads – with 16.6% of respondents overall noticing cues in these ads and finding them effective in prompting social interaction with brands (27.2% noticing * 60.9% finding them very or somewhat effective);
  • TV ads – with 14.1% of respondents noticing the social cues and finding them effective (24.1% * 58.7%);
  • Print ads – with 11.1% noticing the cues and finding them effective (21.2% * 52.4%);
  • Radio ads – with 4.7% noticing cues and believing them to be effective (11.4% * 41.5%); and
  • Outdoor ads – with 3.7% recalling cues and finding them effective (9.5% * 39.4%).

Overall, 54.2% of female respondents and 48.6% of male respondents have performed some sort of brand-related social sharing activity as a result of seeing something on or in an ad. The study notes that such activity could include “liking a brand’s Facebook page, using a brand’s Twitter hashtag and/or posting a brand-related picture to Instagram.” Some demographic segments are more active than others in response to social cues in ads. They are: women aged 35-44 (65.3%); respondents aged 18-34 (56.9%); and men aged 18-24 (59.8%).

Other Findings:

  • Respondents aged 18-34 are especially more likely to see online ads (67.6%) than TV ads (60.6%) as effective in driving social interactions (among those who recall seeing brands’ social cues in those ads).
  • Women aged 18-34 are the most likely to see online ads as effective in this regard (73.9%), with fewer finding TV ads to be effective (59.1%).

About the Data: Burst Media conducted its survey in March 2013.

Search Dominates as E-Commerce Traffic Driver, But Social’s Probably Undervalued

Source: May 23, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

Monetate-Ecommerce-Traffic-Share-by-Source-Q12012-Q12013-May2013

Compared to email (2.82%) and social media (1.55%), search (31.43%) is easily the primary driver of direct e-commerce traffic,according to [download page] the latest quarterly report from Monetate covering Q1 activity. That’s the way it has been for some time now, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, at least when considering that the share of e-commerce traffic coming from both social and email decreased in Q1 compared to a year earlier. But the researchers make a valid point that is bolstered by other recent studies: these findings are based on a last-touch attribution model, which typically undervalues social’s role significantly.

That point was made recently by Aggregate Knowledge, but it isn’t the first to make it. Adobe put forward the same argument earlier this month, and last year. Google gives the argument some steam withsome hard data: according to a review of US Google Analytics accounts with e-commerce tracking enabled, Google found that after display clicks, social media is the channel most often used in the earlier part of the online path to purchase (as an “assist”), rather than as a “last interaction.” The next channel most heavily used in the earlier part of the purchase journey? Email. Meanwhile, direct and organic search show up as the channels most active as last interactions.

Given those findings, it’s more understandable that search beats out email and social in a last-click model, although it is worth noting that the gap between the channels is resounding. Even so, taking those figures into account makes it easier to marry the low e-commerce traffic figures from social with other survey-based accounts showing that social is a strong influencer of retail behavior.

Other Findings:

  • The add-to-cart rate was higher for traffic referred by email (10.51%) than search (6.81%) and social (3.24%).
  • Average page views was equal for email and search traffic (9.02 each), both about double social’s average (4.6).
  • Email traffic sported the highest conversion rate (3.19%), followed by search (1.95%) and social (0.71%).
  • Search traffic had the highest average order value ($96.32), followed by email ($83.72) and social ($72.31).
  • Among social referrers, Pinterest ($80.54) boasted the highest average order value, followed by Facebook ($71.26) and Twitter ($70.17).
  • Pinterest’s share of social traffic grew from 17.5% in Q1 2012 to 25% in Q1 2013, while Facebook’s share retreated from 62.5% to 55.2%.
  • Looking at conversion rates by referrer, AOL Search (4.48%) came out easily on top, besting Bing (3.03%), Yahoo (2.8%), and Google (1.71%), among others. Traffic from Facebook converted at a much higher rate than traffic from Pinterest (1.08% vs. 0.36%).

About the Data: The EQ analyzes a random sample of over 500 million online shopping experiences using “same store” data across each calendar quarter.

Averages throughout the EQ are calculated across the entire sample. Key performance indicators, such as average order value and conversion rate, will vary by industry/market type. These averages are published only to support the analysis in each release of the EQ, and are not intended to be benchmarks for any ecommerce business.

Ad Agencies See Effectiveness in Online Video

Source: eMarketer, MAY 22, 2013

Ad execs think online video ads are equally or more effective than television ads at reaching audiences

The online video advertising ecosystem has gained both prominence and complexity, but that might be because buyers have found that the ads really work. A March 2013 survey of US advertising agency executives conducted by online video ad platform BrightRoll found that the vast majority of respondents (75%) said online video ads were equally or more effective than traditional TV. Nine out of 10 also thought online video ads had equal or greater impact than display ads.

Ad execs may be responding to US consumers’ seemingly endless demand for online video. Video monetization firm FreeWheel reported that in Q4 2012, total video views among US internet users climbed 23% year over year.

The popularity of digital video viewing is helping drive the expansion of the online video ad market. eMarketer estimates that video ad spending in the US will grow 41.4% this year, to reach $4.1 billion. BrightRoll found that the greatest percentage of advertising professionals—one-quarter—expected online video ads to see the highest growth rate of any ad category, with mobile video a close second.

The growing complexity of the online video ad market means that advertisers now have a variety of ways to measure return on investment. But which method is best? This year, 36% of ad executives indicated that their clients placed the highest value on gross rating points (GRP) or target rating points (TRP) to measure the size of their audience. Still, another 30% said clients valued the percent of impressions that reached their target audience, while 24% named the percent of unique viewers in target.

Ad buyers are faced with an increasingly complicated equation when it comes to online video ads, and they need to consider which sites to purchase ads on, what format the ads will take and how to measure their effectiveness.

Want Social to Boost Sales? Be Prepared to Spend the Necessary Time

Source: May 22, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

SocialMediaExaminer-Social-Media-Benefits-May2013

The top benefits of social media marketing are increased exposure (89%) and increased traffic (75%), finds Social Media Examiner in its annual “Social Media Marketing Industry Report” [download page], which surveyed more than 3,000 marketers on their social media activities. A majority also report benefits such as developing loyal fans (65%), lead generation (61%), and improved search rankings (58%), but only 43% say their efforts have boosted sales. Nevertheless, study results indicate that for those willing to take the time, sales will follow.

That is, while only a minority report sales improvement on account of social media marketing, that turns to a majority among those who have been using social media for at least 3 years (47% of the survey sample) as well as among those who spend 11 or more hours a week on social media marketing (representing 36% of the sample). Among those few spending 40 or more hours a week on social, 62% say they’ve earned new business. The researchers foundsimilar results last year, although more respondents are seeing each benefit this year.

Of course, the results need to be treated with a little caution, because many marketers still feel unable to measure the ROI of their social media activities. In fact, only 26% of respondents agreed (23%) or strongly agreed (3%) that they are able to measure the return of their social media marketing efforts. That’s a surprisingly low figure, particularly if 43% feel they can confidently attribute improved sales to social.

Another interesting result pertains to the effectiveness of Facebook marketing. The survey finds that 86% of marketers overall find social media to be important to their businesses. Meanwhile, Facebook is the most popular platform, used by 92% of respondents, with 49% rating it their most important social platform. Given Facebook’s almost ubiquitous use, and favorable attitudes towards social media as a whole, one would expect that marketers are positive about Facebook’s effectiveness. But, just 37% either agreed (32%) or strongly agreed (5%) with the statement: “My Facebook marketing is effective.”

That suggests that while respondents feel that social media is an important part of their marketing mix, Facebook marketing may be seen more as a necessary component of their social activities rather than the most effective component.

Other Findings:

  • B2C marketers were 52% more likely than B2B marketers to agree that their Facebook marketing is effective (44% vs. 29%). Large companies (with 1,000 or more employees) were similarly more likely than self-employed respondents to find their efforts rewarding (46% vs. 29%).
  • While 54% of respondents overall said social helps them build new partnerships, that figure rose to more than 60% among those with 3 years or more of experience.
  • At least 60% of marketers spending 6 hour or more a week on social media said they saw improvements in their search engine rankings.

About the Data: The data is based on responses from 3,025 participants. 56% primarily target consumers and 44% businesses. 72% of respondents are aged 30-59, and females represented 62% of the survey sample. 57% are based in the US, with the UK (9%) the next-most heavily represented country.