Hello Tendenci Community, happy month of October, especially for those up in the Northeastern side of the United States, where the leaves are just beginning to change.
Don’t miss out on our quarterly newsletter, subscribe today and stay in the know. This month we have some pretty cool stuff to share, from learning how to Run Campaigns with your Tendenci website to our SEO services and our $500 OFF Coupon!
Tendenci – The Open Source AMS Gains Ground in Global Market Share
It is great to see an independent third party rank Association Management Software from a global perspective. As a part of the Tendenci AMS Community, we will let the summary from HTF on market growth and Tendenci’s Global Share speak for itself:
The scope of the report extends from market scenarios to comparative pricing between major players, cost and profit of the specified market regions. The numerical data is backed up by statistical tools such as SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five Analysis, PESTLE analysis and so on.
Company Profiles: Cvent Event Management, TOPS Professional, in1touch, Raklet, Book-It Membership Software, Tendenci, Personify360, Aptify, Dashboard & MASS Global Association Management SoftwareMarket by Types: , On-Premise & Cloud-Based Global Association Management SoftwareMarket by Applications: Small Business, Medium-sized Business & Large Business
Rapid Growth Factors in the Global AMS Software Market
In addition, the market is growing at a fast pace and the report shows us that there are a couple of key factors behind that. The most important factor that’s helping the market grow faster than usual is the tough competition.
THANK YOU to all of the developers out there who are contributing, translating, updating and maintaining a very complex piece of software. AMS software that is inclusive of other languages and cultures, and a team that believes in security and privacy.
OUR MISSION IS TO CONNECT AND ORGANIZE THE WORLD’S PEOPLE. DO GOOD.
Tip: Step Back and Analyze Your Navigation Every 6-12 Months
Your navigation is one of the most important ways that visitors get around on your website – and you want to make sure it is working for both you and your visitors.
At the beginning of our projects, we spend time developing a website navigation based on site goals and the needs of our target audience. Because of that, sometimes our clients feel like the website navigation is set in stone – but it’s not! It’s a good idea to take a step back and analyze your navigation every 6 – 12 months as your priorities change and you get more data about how visitors interact with your site.
Below, Schipulite Jennie Lane outlines steps for reviewing data from Google Analytics to make decisions about restructuring your navigation, including some real world before and after examples of a recent navigation restructure we went through.
5 Tips for Restructuring Your Website Navigation
Use Analytics to determine which content is most important to visitors
Make sure the most important items are top level nav items
Order items so the most important items read left to right
Use a Utility Navigation for Logistics that don’t need to be in the main nav
Use Descriptive Words in Titles
3 Reports in Google Analytics to Review when Revisiting Your Navigation
Top Content – To see what content is most popular with users
Visitor Flow – To see how Visitors are navigating through your site
In Page Analytics – To see which Links get the most clicks from your homepage
Your website should be flexible to change as your marketing priorities evolve. Remember – Making even small changes to the navigation can make a big difference for your visitors!
Analytics are showing that not only has Pinterest exploded in growth over the last year, but also that users of this site tend to purchase things they share on it more than any other social network… which means revenue for marketers who can take advantage of this tool!
According to Comscore, Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, and on more items than any of the other top 5 social media sites.
81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from Pinterest.
The most popular categories of sharing are Food & Drink, DIY, and Home Decor (source)
Most Popular Categories Shared on Pinterest
80% of Pinterest users are Women
50% of Pinterest users have children
28.1 percent of Pinterest users have an annual household income of $100,000. (source: Ultralinx)
Monitoring Pinterest Brand Activity Online
So you got it: Pinterest rocks and you’ve started using it as part of your social media strategy. You’ve created branded boards, added Pinterest Sharing widgets to your website, and are reading everything you can about best practices for Pinterest marketing (I recommend this great post from HubSpot: “The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Pinterest for Marketing“). Now what?
With all of the new Social Media Tools out there, it is getting more and more difficult to keep track of all of things people are saying about your brand online.
We recently discovered the tool PinAlerts – an easy to use tool that sends you updates when content from your domain is pinned on Pinterest!
Getting Started with Pinterest Brand Monitoring in 3 Easy Steps
Step 1 – Create an Account
The form is really simple – just a name and email and you can get started.
Step 2 – Add Domains
Add as many domains as you like, separated by a comma, that you want to monitor Pinterest posts for. You have options to receive emails once an hour, one a day, once a week, or as it happens (similar to Google Alerts).
Click “Create a Pin Alert”
Step 3 – Receive Emails!
PinAlerts will send you emails at your specified frequency. The emails contain the image that was pinned, the name of the person who pinned, and a link. The nice thing about this is that on Pinterest people use their real names – so you can figure out who your influencers are fairly easily (instead of having to decipher usernames).
Note: I did notice that the first email came through with some older things that it discovered for the first time when I signed up.
Sample Email Alert:
Manage Your Alerts
Log back in to edit, add, or remove alerts you have set up. The interface is really easy to use – so you can add and edit your alerts as much as you like!
What other tools and resources are you using to aid in your Pinterest efforts? Share them in the comments below!
The beginning of the year is a great time to take a step back and evaluate our habits, both off line and online. With 2012 in the rear view mirror, we’re looking forward to 2013 by putting together some resources to audit your online efforts in 2013. Think of it as New Year’s Resolutions for your website!
In this first post we’ll start at home base – your home page. Your homepage is the doorway where most people will enter your website, and from there they’ll decide if they want to go any further. Below are 7 recommendations for improving your homepage in 2013:
Your 2013 Homepage Audit | Resolutions for your Website Part 1
Note: Try your best to be objective as you go through this list. Websites are living things that need to evolve to stay current and interesting, so it’s natural that things will need to change over time to keep your site providing value. Every new year is an opportunity to make your website work even harder for you!
1. Do a Squint Test
Pull up your homepage and give yourself 2 seconds to determine “What does this organization do?“
It should be clear what your organization does, and ideally also what differentiates you from other organizations. Whether you are a large company and can provide the benefit of a network of partners, or you are a small company and provide the agility and personal service of a small team – think about how you stand out in the crowd and make sure it is clear on your site. For nonprofits, you may stand out because your cause effects a wide group of people, or that it is a niche issue that needs more support for education.
Don’t feel like your homepage is quite communicating those elements? Some things to think about changing in 2013:
Revisit The Headline – (see #2 below)
Update the images – A site can feel fresh and new just by updating the main large banner image. Test different images in this spot.
Add a video – Some organizations have a complicated or highly visual product or industry this is hard to sum up in short copy. Video is a powerful way to communicate a complex message on your homepage.
Feed in dynamic content from other places – Feed in content from your blog, photo albums, articles feed, etc. – so visitors always see something new that showcases your expertise in your field.
2. Re-Evaluate your Headline
Your headline is one of the most important elements on your page.It should give your audience an idea of who you are and intrigue them to spend more time on your site. It takes humans about 3 seconds to decide if they are interested in something, and you want to make the most of that time.
There are three types of headlines:
Benefit headlines – Showcase the benefit of your product/service/cause
News headlines – Communicate the latest and greatest from your organization
Curiosity headlines – Pique their curiosity into learning more
Getting Started – Brainstorm! When we are writing headlines, we’ll often brainstorm 100 or more before we start narrowing down. Write down anything that pops into your head, even if it seems silly. Ask for input from different departments for ideas to get a wide range of perspectives. And when in doubt – Test, test, test!
Schipul has a free Keyword Density Analyzer Report SEO tool that analyzes which keywords and key phrases are used the most on any one page. Enter your homepage URL and check the results to see which phrases you use the most within your homepage content. These top phrases are what you are communicating to the search engines that your site is about.
Focus on the two word and three word phrases. One word terms are so generic that they’re not only hard to rank for, but are probably more generic than what your target audience would search for (the average Gooogle search is 3-5 words). When looking at this report, really hone in on those 2 and 3 word keyterms.
Look at your two and three word keyphrases and you should see:
Your brand name (this may be in the one word column)
Your geography (if you serve a target geographic area)
Your top product/service (or industry if that is a better descriptor of what you do)
If any of those items are missing, update your page to incorporate those terms in more places across your site. Think about the Title Tag, Meta Description, within the Tagline, in alt tags, headers, or of course the content of the page.
4. Update your Title Tag
Your title tag is just a few characters, but is one of the top things the search engines look at when attempting to determine what your page is about. Make sure your title tag follows the following:
It is accurate – a lot can change in a year, and maybe you are marketing yourself using slightly different terminology than you did last year, or have prioritized your service lines differently. Your title tag should reflect these changes as well.
It includes your brand name, geography, and top product or service – Like your top keyword list, your title tag should display who you are, where you are, and what you do.
Keep it short – ideally 70 characters – Google only displays the first 70 characters of your title tag in search results, and you’re not guaranteed that they will index any more than that (many SEOs believe this limit is actually getting smaller in 2012). Bing may index more, but only shows 60 in search results. Keep your title tag short and the most important key terms toward the front.
It does not include the word “Home” – Don’t waste space in your Title Tag with words that aren’t helpful to either a search engine or a visitor of your site. We know it’s the homepage… leave it out of the title tag.
Tip: Put your brand name at the end. You should rank well for your brand name without really trying because you are the best answer for that term (and it is probably written all over your site). You are going to have to work a little harder for your other keyword terms – put those first so the Search Engines give them some extra weight.
5. Re-Evaluate your Navigation & Footer
Because your navigation and footer display on every page of your website, these places are prime real estate for cross linking between your pages. Here are some things to think about when evaluating your website Navigation & Footer:
What does your target audience really need? Make sure to include content that meets their needs first.
Think of other places to cross link new content – Sometimes we’ll add new content and get excited and put it in the navigation just to make sure people see it, even if it really doesn’t belong there. Think of other places you can cross link to this content, like in sidebars or within the content of other heavily trafficked pages. Or maybe it deserves its own homepage rotator.
Consider a “Mega Nav” or “Monster Footer” for better usability – These design elements give you much more space than a traditional Navigation or Footer single row of links. If your site is complex, consider giving your Header and Footer even more real estate to fit more content to help visitors get through the site.
Monster Footer examples
6. Is your site Mobile & Tablet friendly?
The importance of the mobile web is growing. As of 2012, 7.96% of all US web traffic is mobile traffic (Source). A study released just a few days ago found that sites with mobile optimized and rendered content are getting more mobile organic traffic from Google. Is your site mobile ready?
Test your site on various devices – iPhone, Android, and iPad are the most popular (more mobile stats by device). Look at your site’s Google Analytics to find which devices your specific audience views your site on the most.
Can Visitors Contact you from your Mobile Site? – Does your contact form work from a mobile phone? Is your phone number in text so it is clickable from a mobile device? Pay special attention to these elements.
The Rise of Responsive Design – 2013 is already being called “The Year of the Responsive Design.” A responsive design is a layout that adjusts to the size of your browser automatically. There is only one stylesheet that adjusts instead of flipping to a separate template or different URL completely. This means that the search engines only have to crawl one site, and you don’t have to remember to update content in multiple places. It also gives you the flexibility of multiple screensizes on the same device (i.e. Horizontal iPad vs Vertical iPad).
Provide mobile content – Mobile trends that are growing include Location Based Tools, Organization Tools, & Social Integration. Think of how your organization can provide content in those areas on your mobile site.
Example Responsive Design
7. Re-visit the Web Marketing Fundamentals
Ed Schipul wrote the Web Marketing Fundamentals back in 2003, and they still apply to all of the websites we create here at Schipul. It is always good to refresh yourself on these fundamentals and ask yourself questions like:
Are there other ways you can establish credibility on your site? Think about adding partner organization logos or testimonials
Is it easy to contact you? Is your phone number clear and contact form easy to find?
Measure your Results!
It is important to also look at the results of the changes you’ve made to your homepage this year. Remember that it can take Google time to recrawl your pages, so keep an eye on these metrics over time to determine if your efforts are making a difference on your site:
Homepage Bounce Rate – The Bounce Rate is the percent of people who landed on the page and then left without clicking anywhere else (bounced). We like to see Bounce Rates for a site in general less than 50% (this means that over half of the people who came to the site found something interesting to click on next). If you are providing more enticing content on your homepage, your Bounce Rate should go down throughout the year as more of your visitors have a reason to explore your site.
Traffic from Search Engines – We like to see traffic from Search Engines above 50 or 60% of your total traffic. As you optimize your homepage, you should see more traffic to this page from Search Engines.
Engagement of Mobile Visits – In Google Analytics (and probably in most of analytics tools as well), you can filter to just visits from mobile devices. Keep an eye on these stats throughout the year – how long do these visitors spend on your site? Which pages do they visit most? Is this changing over time as you make improvements to your mobile site?
Businesses are relying more and more on Facebook Fan Pages as a way to connect with their target audience and reach the right client demographics. But having a large, engaged fan base is something that doesn’t just happen overnight. To make the most of your Fan Page you must think strategically and use the right tools to help drive traffic to your site.
Erica Bogdan is Web designer and developer at Schipul and Facebook page admin for AIGA Houston. She will show you how over the past few months she’s increased her page’s number of fans and gotten them to interact on her page. This Webinar will cover the following:
How to use Facebook admin tools effectively
How to increase your fan numbers organically
What strategies to use to ensure your content is being seen by the most amount of people.
“there’s nothing like good old-fashioned networking”
Passion is important. So is attitude. When it comes to promoting brand awareness, a passion for the product and a positive attitude make all the difference. People will perceive your true attitude to the detriment or benefit of your brand so it’s important to find someone who actually cares and is personally and deeply invested in your product.
Katie Laird shared about becoming a brand ambassador for Nintendo. It was an “organic connection” she says. She bumped into one of the Nintendo higher-ups and a causal conversation became a job opportunity. It was not who she knew, it was her passion: who she is.
“there are things about you that you can share!”
All three panelists stressed the need to be transparent. When you communicate with a brand ambassador it is imperative to be up front about needs and expectations. In other words, honesty is the best policy. Potential disasters could occur due to simple miscommunication.
Even if it isn’t a simple mis-communication it’s best to be realistic (transparent) and up front during any business transaction and it saves all parties involved a lot of heartache.
This happened to Kashi recently after it was released that they were using genetically engineered soy in their cereals. Fans of the Kashi brand confused the labels “organic” (which is an FDA regulated label for foods), with “natural” (the label Kashi used and is *technically* correct). You can read the full story about Kashi’s brand mis-communication in this story by USA Today.
Influence vs. Popularity
know the difference –> increasing conversion to sales (influence) vs. increasing product brand/reputation (popularity).
It’s important to note the subtle difference between the two. Popularity does bring influence, but not necessarily to a target audience ready to buy. When selecting your digital influencers, you want to focus on your ultimate goal for the campaign. Ask yourself: are you looking to increase lead conversions with this campaign, or are you seeking to expand your brand’s recognition?
Influence: A writer who runs a successful blog that has an engaged audience of readers might not be nationally or critically acclaimed but their strong influence over loyal followers can be a marketing gold mine.
Popularity: A pro athlete that is nationally (or even internationally) recognized will reach a large audience, but not necessarily have a direct impact on sales.
Keeping Your Brand Ambassador
make me feel special
Gerome, Katie, and Meredith all expressed gratitude for the brands they represent. Katie remarked that during her ambassadorship she got to tour a national Nintendo facility, all expenses paid. During his multiple endorsement deals as an athlete, Gerome remembers all the “swag” and free shopping trips from brands like Nike, Reebok, or Adidas. Meredith endorses BCBG and gets 75% off of clothes and gets to dress in style.
1-Minute Video Wrap-Up of the Lunch!
If you missed the luncheon, here’s a quick inside look at all the fun from HIMA’s June lunch
Here are three ways you can go identify the right digital influencer for your Brand:
Go find those people who exert influence over your target market. Use social media reputation monitoring tools to find out who’s already talking about you. Inc Magazine has a great article on reputation monitoring tools and their use.
Start with the people who are already following you online and engaging with you already. Check your social media accounts to see who is talking about you, following you, and mentioning you. This will give you a better idea how to engage with your audience
Remember, ‘There’s nothing like good old-fashioned networkingâ€. You never know when you’ll meet your next big fan!
Please! Leave your comments. Tell us how you found your brand ambassador or how you became a successful one.
If you’re in marketing and wondering if you should be utilizing Google+ for Business – my answer is a resounding Yes!
I’ll admit that I was skeptical when Google+ first released Brand Pages and hesitated to commit to using Google+ as part of our web marketing strategy. There are so many different social media networks and so little time. I wasn’t eager to add another social network to my list. I was wrong to hesitate and thought I’d explain what I’ve learned and how Google+ helps your website convert leads into sales.
How Google Search Works (in a Nutshell)
Google is continuously improving their search engine software to provide more personalized and socially relevant search results for users. There are different opinions out there regarding just how much control we should give to Google in determining how personalized our search results should be, and I’m not going to go into that debate issue here.
Instead, I want to share Google’s brilliant business strategy that has made Data the currency of the internet.
The majority of Google’s products are 100% free and target individual consumers. We, the consumers, use these geeky web tools and instead of paying for them with money, we pay for them by giving Google certain permissions to collect and share information about us.
The majority of Google’s profit comes from ad revenues for pay-per-click, Adwords, and other online advertisements presented to consumers as we surf the web. Google is so profitable because it uses the data from consumers to personalize the ads each person views. This makes the ads more relevant and less annoying to the consumer and also makes the ad more effective and likely to result in a sale for the ad buyer’s business.
Talk about an awesome example of a win-win situation!
Google wins = they earn a profit
Consumers win = free tools they want and less boring internet ads
Businesses win = affordable online advertising with measurable results
The Proof is in the Numbers
Google works, and the proof is in the number of people who are using it. Here are some usage stats:
Google has created a service that delivers personal, individual results to each of its more than 1 billion users, profitably.
How Google+ for Business Works
Anyone who creates a free Google account also automatically gets a Google+ plus account now. As I mentioned above, there are currently over 100 million Google+ users and that number is still growing. You’ll need to have your own Google+ personal profile set-up before you can create one for your business.
Google has some really great resources and training videos to help you set-up your organization’s Google+ Brand Page on the Google Plus for Business website. Schipul is partnering with Google’s Houston team to host 2 terrific and Free events: an upcoming webinar on May 29th and a hands-on workshop June 19th for those of you interested in getting help with Google+.
Google+ Brand Pages for businesses have some restrictions and you can’t just go start following all your clients or add them to circles immediately. Since Google’s business model demands protecting the privacy of its users and making sure we all enjoy using Google’s products, businesses can only follow users who first come and add your Brand Page to one of their circles.
Why You Want A Google+ Brand Page
Google+ Brand pages have started to show up in search results in a very noticeable way. For example, if I’m following a certain Brand on Google+ and do a search in Google, their Google+ page shows up on the right hand side at the top of the search results. Some Brands are starting to show up there even if I’m not currently following them or when I search anonymously.
Google hasn’t exactly explained why some Google+ Brand pages are showing up on search results when you aren’t following them, but Mashable has a theory that it could be related to Google’s Direct Connect program. The Direct Connect Program links your Google+ Brand Page and your website. I highly recommend you get a Google+ badge for your website and register with the program.
Google+ Secret Recipe for Higher Lead Conversions
If the premium placement of your Google+ Brand page on search results isn’t motivation enough to add Google+ to your marketing strategy, combine it with the Social aspect that Google’s integrated with their search engine and I believe you’ll see why I’ve changed my tune.
As marketers, we understand the value of relationships when it comes to generating leads that convert to sales. Referrals from existing clients close more often, faster, and at a reduced cost than cold leads. People are far more likely to work with the business a friend or family member recommends than go with a company they’ve never heard of.
One recent study shared on econsultancy.com’s website showed that 88% of consumers look at reviews from other customers before making a purchase decision. 52% of those surveyed said their purchasing decisions were influenced by their friends’ recommendations. The study also showed that just by having reviews or testimonials on your website increased your lead conversion rate by over 60% in most cases.
We already know that when your prospects come to your website and read positive reviews of your work, they have a higher chance of converting to become a client. Since Google+ results now show up on Google search results, Google+ gives prospects your positive reviews and recommendations from the search results page. Prospects can compare the results with other competing sites before clicking through to a website. If the research is accurate, then that means there is a good chance that more people will visit the websites of companies with more positive reviews from Google+.
As an added bonus, the Google search results from Google+ also show the searcher who in their network has +1‘d your business, implying they recommend you.
Google+ Brand Pages are the new digital version of the “Ask for a Referral” postcard used by traditional direct marketers. Asking for referrals has always been a very effective marketing strategy, in my experience.
The presenters each shared stories and tips from their past experiences working on website design projects with clients to an audience of Houston developers, designers, and design students. I gained new insight about how a design project can either go smoothly and stay within budget or go horribly wrong and become very costly solely on the basis of the types of conversations the agency or designer has with their clients throughout the project.
Designing a Website is Complicated
The process of building and designing a website is often more technical and time intensive than most people realize. There is also the added challenge that our clients want a website for marketing their products and services to generate new leads. This adds complex elements to the project to ensure proper branding, communication of the company and what you do, has calls to action and specific content for search engine marketing, plus custom development like a shopping cart for e-commerce, event registration, site login and permissions capabilities, etc.
Designing a complex website requires excellent 2-way communications between the client and the project managers and account executives. As in every industry, this presents a challenge sometimes. Lawyers struggle to explain complicated legal contracts with their clients, real estate agents have to explain the title and loan processes to clients, and doctors find ways to discuss very private, medical issues with their patients.
The Keys to Successful Communication
As each of the presenters shared their tips for improving communication, Education was at the core of each success story.
Tom King on Designing Content Strategy
Tom King explained the complications of explaining to clients the importance of creating a content marketing strategy before the website design project kicks-off and integrating the strategy with the overall project. Many clients want their website to be found in search engines and by new leads, and don’t realize how much time and research is involved in identifying the right keywords and creating the content that will go on the website before it launches and after it launches in an ongoing effort to boost search engine rankings.
To educate clients and prospects, Tom shares videos and resources from Google’s Zero Moment of Truth education series and shows clients these 2 videos that share the Coca Cola Content 2020 strategy:
Tom explained that he shows prospects these videos before the sales meeting because “if they watch these and don’t get it, then we won’t work well together.”
Bo Bothe on Designing Brand Identity
Bo Bothe’s presentation walked the audience through communicating with Marathon Oil’s executives as BrandExtract managed the project to redesign Marathon Oil’s entire brand identity. According to Bo, education about every step of the project down to teaching Marathon Oil the finer aspects of just what a logo is, was critical to the success of the project.
You can see the results of the rebranding in this video:
Aaron Long on Designing Software
Aaron Long’s presentation stresses the importance of educating clients on the differences between software and preferences in order to keep projects within budget and time lines. Aaron communicates to clients that the purpose of software is to lower costs, and content management systems are software that are already built and will lower the cost of the website project if clients use it. Preferences, on the other hand, raise costs and when a client wants to customize software for their project, they need to be aware that custom software development is the most expensive thing in a project.
One tip Aaron shared during his presentation is that it is up to the designers and developers to ask clients more specific questions about what they envision the end result of the website to be. Don’t just accept it when a client says they want a shopping cart feature with their website, dig deeper and find out what products the clients will sell with the shopping cart, what special functions will this cart need to do for selling products, shipping, collecting customer data, etc. Aaron suggests showing clients working sites with examples of what is standard so clients can better understand what they are buying when they are buying the software.
Here’s Aaron’s presentation slides to view his other tips for educating clients on the more technical side of a website design project:
Joe Robbins brought his experience in creating professional photographs and images for advertising in print and on the web to the seminar to share the importance of having quality photographs on your website. He discussed the conversation designers should have with clients and recommended educating clients on the costs associated with photographs along with the pros and cons for hiring a professional photographer compared to stock photos and photographs already owned by the client.
Joe explained that “a well designed website is very important, but if your choice of photography is poor, all that hard work could come to nothing. A visually arresting site can be the difference between a sale/inquiry and the customer leaving your site prematurely.”
Website Design is NOT About the Design
Although you might find this ironic, not one of the speakers for a website designer seminar spoke about graphic design for websites or talking to clients about design for the website projects. They all stressed the importance of creating a website that marketed and sold your company online to obtain new customers.
Tom King’s remark was that content brought new visitors to your website via search engines and not the design or appearance of the site.
Bo Bothe insightfully said “You can’t just make things pretty anymore, you have to make things that work.”
“Funny makes money, not necessarily pretty” was the comment from Aaron Long regarding creating websites that drive revenue.
And Joe Robbins demonstrated how to incorporate quality photography into your website for a more visually appealing site that reflected your brand in the same way companies use glossy print advertisements offline.
The presenters recommend that we steer our focus away from the flash-based, graphic-heavy websites that make it difficult to add and edit content on and also are poorly ranked by search engines. Instead, focus on a strategy that integrates your marketing efforts with your website design.
This seminar explained the importance of talking with and educating clients and hopefully the videos and presentations I’ve included from the seminar will give you a better understanding of the process involved with building a complex website. I encourage you to attend the next Houston Website Designers Seminar coming up in July if you are interested in learning more. The seminars are always free to attend.
If you want to learn more about Schipul’s website design process to build complex websites that generate leads and revenue for companies, contact us and check out our training calendar for upcoming web marketing events and webinars we’re hosting!
The Houston AMA hosted a seminar on mobile marketing for NPO’s and SIG’s. It was very informational with a forward looking perspective. In summation, the landscape of marketing is changing as mobile devices become more predominant in the market. Following is a summary of the critical information at the seminar in case you missed out.
More people will connect to the Internet through wireless devices than through cable-based connections this year, and for the foreseeable future. Smartphones are outselling PC’s and tablets. (Yes that includes you iPad!) In accordance, marketing and advertising must adjust their content for this unwavering trend. The first step is to know the characteristics of this new target market.
Who Are We Dealing With?
The answer is the mobile audience. This mobile audience can be grouped by a few key factors:
ALWAYS ON (connected 24/7)
ENGAGED (very active with content)
IMPATIENT (want it now)
YOUNG (ages 18-44)
Tailoring the Message: Keys to Success
As the mobile market progresses, the winners will be those who adjust their content for this fast-paced, impatient crowd. The critical factors are as follows:
One of the first factors is loading speed. The experienced advertiser will tell you that you have less than 30 seconds to grab the reader’s attention. If 5 of those 30 seconds are spent loading the page, then you’re off to a bad start. Yes, mobile performance is much more tedious than desktop performance. Here are some websites to visit if you’re having trouble with your loading speed: YSlow, and Mobilewebbestpractices.
The content also needs to be engaging. If the webpage does not incite some course of action or immediate entertainment then again, your 30 seconds are up! This is a small part of Schipul’s SEM strategy that is proven to be very effective; get them involved quick. A quick scan of your website does not bring members, and therefore does not produce sales. Interaction is the key.
Simplicity: Navigation and Presentation
The most crucial factor is simplicity. Apple is a good example of this. If the content or navigation of your site is difficult or requires too much time, you will lose your audience. The content and presentation need to be universal and simple. Most people use the Internet for finding data. Know what they are looking for, and make it easy to find and use. Here are some simple dont’s:
Write content into images (prevents copying and pasting)
Have too much distraction (including flash based images and adds)
Use a bunch of social widgets (again, distracting and cluttered)
Where this is Heading
If you want your company to stay current and your advertising to produce results, its time to mobilize your site. Many companies have already produced landing pages especially for mobile devices. This means that when I view a website on my iPhone, I won’t have to stretch out the page and hunt in order to find things. Many companies have produced apps for the Apple and Android platforms that are much more appealing and involve no screen expanding. They fit the phone and are seem even more simple and universal for users.
The Future: Responsive Website Design
The problem is that these apps are costly and must be made for multiple platforms in order to reach the full mobile audience. The future is responsive website design. With this flexible design style, the content adjusts for the device, and eliminates the need to produce content on multiple platforms. Here are a few websites to try: (make sure to minimize them and then resize the window to various sizes and shapes)
If you tried re-sizing the window, you noticed that the content continues to adjust to the size. The flexibility of this structure will eventually lead to responsive design replacing individual platform apps.
How to Deal with It: Strategy
The next step as a marketer or advertiser is to form a customized strategy for your business. Here are some general concepts that will help this process in terms of the mobile audience:
Create “Look @” not “Listen to” media
Faster is better
Simplicity is the key
Clearly call them to action, and keep them engaged
Hope this helps to give a general glimpse into the future, and where we need to be looking.