October 29, 2013
No matter what your business, a fierce competitor is always just a few clicks away. A key step in thwarting that abandonment is by building your influence, but the recipe isn’t simple. It takes the right design, copy, product and tone. That’s why we picked Webs of Influence by Nathalie Nahai as our latest Book Club book. It reinforced a lot of what we knew and expanded our understanding of ways to develop a brand’s influence online.
Here are some key takeaways:
Design for your Customer
Influence is not universal. What influences one type of person may not influence another, so the demographics of your customer plays a crucial role in the design, content, and architecture decisions for a brand’s website. Much research has been done on how different types of people – even entire countries – react to the many design elements of a website.
For instance, Nahai cited studies that ranked countries on an individualist to collectivist spectrum. The United States is a highly individualist country. So it favors websites that reward individual actions, incite personal opinions and highlight individuality in the message, tone and design. But if your website is intended for the Chinese – a highly collectivist culture – an emphasis on group actions and universal rules will increase effectiveness.
Test, Optimize, and Repeat
Data should be at the heart of your decisions. If your website isn’t converting well, there are many different ways to analyze why users are dropping off.
Eye- and click-tracking software gives amazing insights into the effectiveness of a website’s design. Once employed, these testing methods can help you tweak your site to direct the user’s focus to the call to action. You may find that different colors or simple adjustments to design elements improve conversion. But you won’t know if you don’t test, optimize, and repeat.
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July 1, 2013
Two weeks ago, I attended the Conversion Conference in Chicago, a two-day event filled with speakers and workshops centered around website conversion rate optimization (CRO). Reassuringly, a significant number of the techniques utilized at envisionit media today were complemented with a few new fresh concepts. As it is always critical to stay current in this ever evolving digital landscape, I thought it would be valuable to share 5 tried and true methods for improving conversion rate.
1) Understand Your Customers
Before design begins, you need to truly understand your customer. What do they need, desire and fear? How do they shop? What are they looking for in a solution? This research should guide the development of your user experience and, once the site is live, be used diligently as you hone your CRO.
Persona development is an efficient method for nailing down your target demographic. After launch, live observations where people try to accomplish specific tasks on your site while talking through their experience and decisions can assist as you optimize user experience.
2) Design With Purpose
With every page, you should ask, “What do I want the visitor to do here?” Keep the design focused on the desired outcome. Too often,pages are cluttered or use design elements that are “cool” but fail to guide the user down the desired path.
For better performance, it is key to eliminate clutter and anxiety while increasing clarity and relevance.
3) Analytics + Theory = Hypotheses
Analytics tell us what is happening on a website but they don’t explain why users behave a certain way. The data is agnostic. To make hypotheses based on it, you need design, usability, and conversion theory. For example, your analytics software will tell you that your homepage has a high bounce rate, but you’ll need to dig deeper to discover that your value proposition isn’t clearly stated or perhaps your product is overpriced.
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March 11, 2013
Until recently, scrolling through a website was a routine action that was so natural that it required little thought. For even the least savvy computer user, thinking about scrolling was as unnecessary as thinking about breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. Scroll up, scroll down.
Enter Apple’s Lion operating system in 2011 and suddenly scrolling is reversed. You’re a fish out of water, flopping around your desktop like you’d never used a mouse before, because Apple decided to mirror it’s desktop scroll to it’s touchscreen scroll.
And now ambitious designers and developers are rocking the boat even harder. Websites don’t always move straight down when you scroll anymore. Sometimes the scrolling moves the site in large chunks. Sometimes scrolling gets you out of the bed and into the shower. Sometimes scrolling moves sites horizontally instead of vertically. Sometimes it does both.
It seems that a two-sided revolution has crept up on us, starting with Apple integrating it’s mobile-style scrolling onto it’s desktops, and more recently with designers and developers disregarding conventional scrolling to create standout experiences. With both hardware and software changes, scrolling is no longer second nature, it’s now something that requires thought, preferences, and intention.
It’s always great to see a new frontier open up for digital design. If one-page sites seemed like the cat’s pajamas, imagine the possibilities a one-page site that scrolls off horizontally, vertically and upside down! The purpose of many websites is to tell a story, whether that’s the story of a business or of a product, of an individual or a landmark event, and stories often run through paths that are not straight and narrow. With your scroll path reflecting your content’s dips and turns, the web will be a richer place. On top of that, it allows users to engage more in the site, which in turn creates more engagement in the content of the site. And most importantly it creates that intangible quality that attracts someone on an emotional level. It’s the little unpredictable delight that brings them back for more.
February 6, 2013
Technology has its ups and downs, but for the most part, it gets better. Web browsing, which was once only restricted to our desktops, now has the ability to be done on our tablets and smartphones. However, with this breakthrough came complications. Among mobile devices alone, there are numerous variations of size and resolutions. How could a single website accommodate for all of that? Or more importantly, imagine how much time/money is spent on designing and developing for that large of an audience?
I’m sure a lot of us have come across a website on our phone that is simply not “mobile-friendly.” Responsive design eliminates this problem. Simply put, all it takes is a single design to be compatible with multiple devices. Layouts are “fluid” so that when you adjust the size of the window, the layout and design will correspond with your desktop, phone, tablet, game console, etc.
Another essential fact to realize is that we are using mobile devices just as much or even more than we are browsing on our desktops. If you encounter a website on your phone and it is uncomfortable to view, are you likely to visit that site again? Responsive design is a smart method to consider, not only because it’s designing for the future, but because we can cater to all users.
Visit mediaqueri.es for more examples of responsive design!
January 21, 2013
A few weeks ago I sent an email to the agency asking for thoughts on what made digital marketing in 2012. I wasn’t surprised to get some really thoughtful answers back.
I suppose digital marketing today is all about your perspective, right? Ask our developers, and they may say 2012 was the year of mobile-responsive design. Our paid media gals immediately brought up remarketing. As the social media person on the team, my first thoughts were Pinterest, social analytics and content marketing.
Our Senior Analyst, Vlad, brought up something that touches every part of our agency, though: mobile. Regardless of what business you’re in or what type of marketing campaign you’re running, its official: you can no longer ignore the power of mobile. Mobile devices have changed the way people interact, do business and make purchasing decisions.
Think about your life for a minute…
What do you do while sitting on a train? Waiting in a long line? During TV commercials? I play on my smartphone.
What did you get for Christmas this year? I got an iPad. And I’m apparently part of the 33%+ of Americans that own a tablet or e-reader device.
Where did you find that new recipe? Where do you look up an address as you get into a cab? If I had to venture a guess, almost all of these answers would involve a smart phone, tablet or some type of app.
Vlad reminded me that in 2012, Google Analytics rolled out tablet reports as a compliment to their existing mobile reports. ”One of our clients saw a 10% increase in mobile website traffic in 2012. Of that mobile traffic, about half of it came from tablets,” he said. Most companies aren’t thinking about screen resolution or device type, but they should be. “If your mobile site doesn’t load correctly – or load fast enough – people are likely to bounce and not come back,” said Vlad.
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December 17, 2012
Digital marketing is one of the most quickly evolving industries in history. Keeping up with what’s new is a big job and one that the Envisionit Media team takes very seriously. Therefore, we wanted to kick off the week by sharing a few digital highlights that may influence your marketing, social media and digital activity this week.
We’d love to hear what YOU think is newsworthy. Please share your favorite digital news with us in the comments section below!
Nielsen & Twitter Establish “Social TV” Rating
There has been a lot of talk about “Social TV” lately, but most of us have been waiting for something that will help justify the movement. Today Nielsen and Twitter anounced a partnership in which they will work together to measure TV show engagement via the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating.” The new rating system will be an standard industry metric allowing developers and advertisers to create valuable ”second screen” and advertising experiences. The insight gained will also influence content produced by TV networks.
5 Ways You can Help Sandy Hook Shooting Victims
While social media arguably made things more confusing for the press during the terrible events of Friday December 14th (reporting the wrong name of the shooter and driving traffic to the WRONG guy’s Facebook & Twitter pages, for example) it also brought a lot of good. Check out the fundraising campaigns that were started by people who used the power of social media to accelerate donations.
Our favorite example of usuing social media in a time of crisis is WallofLove.org: a site that hopes to show that there is more good than bad in the world. Join the movement by sending your square image of love to email@example.com.
9 Awesome Facebook Fan Page Ideas
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September 14, 2012
I’m going to do some discipline-crossing here to talk about one simple concept: asking for what you want. In digital marketing, as in all situations, this doesn’t mean demanding anything, nor does it mean you’re guaranteed to get what you wanted.
And in digital marketing, specifically, it doesn’t mean using offensively overt calls-to-action, ie…
What it does mean is that your brand’s audience isn’t filled with mind readers and your network isn’t sitting around thinking about ways they can promote your brand. But if you ask them for help, you certainly increase the odds of getting it.
What can you ask for?
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- Links to your website. No matter what happens with Google’s algorithm updates, relevant, quality links are good for your site. So don’t be afraid to ask people for them. This is a whole post in itself, but if you’ve identified a quality site that’s relevant to your business, brainstorm clever ways to ask nicely for a link!
- Reviews. Whether it’s a review on Yelp or Google, a testimonial on your site, or a full-blown review on a popular blog, reviews are golden. Ask for them! Include messaging at smart touchpoints expressing your appreciation for your customers’ business and how much a review would mean to them; connect with relevant bloggers, build a rapport, and ask them for a review.
- Website Actions. Asking site visitors to do what you want them to doesn’t have to mean virtually blurting, “Click here!!” Depending on who your brand is, you can find more elegant or clever ways to lead your users/fans/customers down a desired path. Be sure you’re doing that wherever possible; make your webpages and social properties work harder for you.
July 26, 2012
We’re looking for a hard-working, fun-loving marketer to jump on the bandwagon of a quickly growing independent digital agency. We’ve built a culture centered on the idea that the best people will always produce the best results. We meet with clients on “the porch”, instead of a boardroom. We brainstorm in “the den” and we take calculated risks at “the card table.” We are obsessive about collaborating, and when the dust settles, everyone walks away energized, and proud of what they’ve done today.
We love what we do, and expect you do too. If you’re the right candidate, you will be a passionate marketer who thoroughly understands the digital landscape. You must be a creative problem-solver and detail fanatic. All other knuckleheads need not even try.
The SEO Manager will be responsible for the overall concept development, planning, execution, and measurement of client organic search engagements. The position will oversee all aspects of SEO, including: research, strategy, onsite and offsite implementation, campaign management, analysis, and reporting.
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July 5, 2012
It’s a holiday week so I thought I’d keep us focused today with a little simplicity. Please enjoy my short, sweet guide to digital marketing:
- Know your goal
- Be realistic about your goal
- Stay true to your goal
For a little more guidance, let’s consider an example scenario.
Situation: I have a “young” company/product. I need to educate the public about it and get as much exposure as possible to begin to build my following and ultimately grow my customer base and sales.
Know your goal Brand awareness.
Be realistic You won’t make much of a splash with a pebble, and you won’t gain much exposure by telling one person about your business. Gaining the desired exposure will take time and budget. Open yourself up to a mix of digital marketing tactics speaking to a wide (but, of course, targeted) audience—think paid display advertising, PR pushes, new content on your website for search engine users, etc. Leverage your existing following through email and social media, consider contests, referral incentives, etc.
Stay true This isn’t easy when it comes to your own business, but when the sales don’t necessarily come flooding in, remind yourself of the goal. Right now you’re proving your offering and credibility in order to build a future loyal fan base. You can’t measure your success against sales or cost per acquisition; that wasn’t what this was about. Be fair to yourself and take the time early on to establish a reasonable measurement for success, and then stick to it. If it’s web traffic and on-site engagement metrics, allow time to achieve those goals. Soon enough, you’ll have gained your desired attention AND have the valuable data and insights to be able to start optimizing your marketing tactics. Then you efficiently turn those engaged web visitors into the ultimate customers–buying ones.
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June 27, 2012
The following is a blog post originally published by EIM Senior Copywriter Mike Phillips, on his own blog. We loved his email marketing tips and now share them with you, our Envisoinit community.
“How do I increase my email open rates and click rates?” That’s a common question of marketers and business owners. As a professional copywriter and marketer, I have some ideas I can share that might help.
I’m also the owner and writer of Windy City Weekly, a weekly email newsletter with Chicago news, restaurant recommendations, things to do for the week, and a few other weekly highlights. To date, my open rate hovers around 42%, and my click rate is about 58%—far above the media/publishing industry standards of about 19% and 22%, according to Constant Contact.
How do I do it?
Outside of standard advice (write compelling headlines and content, and provide value), here are five ways I’m getting big open and click rates with email:
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- Write clearly, and concisely. It’s a privilege to be invited to the user’s inbox. Everyone is busy and distracted online, so it’s important to be direct and clear, and to not waste the user’s time. Get the message across that you need to, while removing everything that’s not absolutely necessary. Over time, your subscribers will be conditioned to know that they can open, read, and click within your email without a big time commitment.
- Remove distractions. It’s a fairly simple formula. The less distractions, the more likely a recipient will click on what you want them to click. Images are a good way to draw attention to a particular link but too many of them, and the recipient will lose focus. Gaudy banners? Forget about it. Varying fonts and type sizes are distracting, too. Keep your content as clean, simple, and consistent as you can so that users can quickly hone in on what you want them to click.