Archive for October, 2012

The statistics are overwhelming. Consumers will either reject or embrace your brand based on what they see when accessing your website on a mobile device.

Here are just a few of the stats from the Google survey:

  • 20% of visitors to a mobile friendly website (small & local businesses) led to an immediate call to action (click-to-call).
  • 36% said they felt like they wasted their time by visiting a non-mobile friendly site.
  • 52% said a bad experience on their mobile device made them less likely to engage with a brand.
  • 61% said they would abandon a website if they didn’t see what they were looking for right away.
  • About 50% said that they felt the company just didn’t care about their business if their mobile site works poorly.
  • Conversely two-thirds said they were more likely to buy or interact with a company that was mobile friendly.

Consider the frustration when looking at a full sized website that is effectively the size of a postage stamp. The text is too small to read without “pinching” it larger and scrolling in both dimensions to read it. The buttons are too small to target with your fat fingers.

Take a look at the differences between the standard and mobile versions of these sites. Look at the mobile simulation, and then click through to the standard site and you will be able to envision the difference in user experience.

Also consider that the behavioral patterns of mobile users are different than those of their desktop counterparts. People don’t read on the Internet…they scan. People on mobile devices read even less, so the mobile version should be lean and mean, giving consumers only what they are looking for.

Finally, Google concludes that non-mobile friendly websites actually damage the consumer’s perception of the company. The good news is that for most brands, a mobile friendly version of their website is not that difficult or expensive to deploy.

Kreative Webworks is a full-service Digital Marketing firm in Orange County CA since 1999.

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Google Wages War on Black and White Animals!

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 13 - 2012

Can you name their next victim?

Is it just me or am I the only one who made the connection between Google’s war on monochromatic animals and old time Western movies?  You know the ones where you can tell the good guys from the bad guys by the color of the hat they wear.

It wasn’t immediately apparent when Google’s historic Panda algorithm was released in early 2011, but when Penguin made its debut earlier this year, I thought a blind man could see it with a cane.

In simpler times Hollywood made it easy for us to tell good from evil. Darth Vader…dressed in black from head to toe. Jedi Knights? White robes of course.

Is it any wonder search engine optimizers typically fall into two separate camps…those who pay attention to what search engines are actually looking for and actually manage their clients websites accordingly, and those who take shortcuts and look to exploit temporary vulnerabilities for short term gains.

In other words; white hat vs. black hat…good versus evil…black and white animals like Panda’ and Penguin’s.

OK, so that begs the question; what is the next black and white creature for Google to bastardize?  Here is my short list:

  • Zebra
  • Orca
  • Skunk (my personal favorite)

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments below (no fair Googling )

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3 Reasons Why Mobile Devices are the Virtual Highway to Buying Decisions

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 10 - 2012

From time to time I like to showcase other digital marketing experts in the WSI network, and today I’m featuring my guest blogger, Mark Colestock, a friend and associate of mine from St. Paul, MN.

By Mark Colestock

Recently a prospect asked me a great question about his customer base in the next 10 years.  “Will young people bring new habits to their buying decisions, or will they change to adopt habits similar to their parent’s decision making?”  His concern is real – his current customers come to him as referrals, but future younger decision makers have new habits for researching and validating businesses.  So how must he change his business marketing to capture future business?  Here are 3 reasons the future buying decision path may be different.

1) Young People would rather be On-line than On-the-Road

Some of us who are a little older have lived through many changes in computers, internet, smart phones and tablets.  We have learned to utilize new resources and make decisions differently, where we no longer grab an encyclopedia, but pull out tablets or cell phones to search for information.  Today’s young people, whose second nature is searching out answers on smart phones, will adopt new technologies even quicker than their parents.

More young people are concerned about their phones 4G performance than their car’s V-8 performance, this according to an article in Bloomberg. Another article in the Times of India where it says “Smartphones now rival automobiles as the default symbol of adulthood…”

Social networking online is providing faster and better referrals between people.  Today’s youth have caught these facts faster than their parents.  The virtual independence certainly has car manufacturers worried.  But this impact will go far beyond the car industry.  All businesses need to take note of these changes in demographics.

2) Mobile device market penetration has grown

Mobile device acceptance has grown quickly.  We often see cults of mobile device users waiting for the next device to be released, as recently seen with such entries as the Samsung Galaxy S3, or the Apple IPhone 5 or maybe they are waiting for the release of the WP8 Nokia Lumia.  A Bloomberg Business Week article shows Google Android OS with 52% of U.S. smartphone market, Apple’s iOS with 32% and Windows Phone with 4%.  However, no matter which OS or mobile device is selected the trend is showing greater market penetration for mobile devices.  The differentiators between these manufacturing rivalries seem to come down to having the right applications and or the best internet search capabilities.  The devices that stay in the winner’s circle the longest are those which convince users that their overall internet experience is the best.  However the bottom line is the number of mobile devices is dramatically increasing.

Today users often buy both tablets and smart phones.  By 2013, the number of mobile device users will pass the number of desktop users according to an article in Search Engine Journal.  The demographics of market penetration provide a trend that requires our attention.  Mobile searches will dominate the search marketplace in the near future as this trend continues.

3) Mobile device users are making action decisions or conversions

The same Search Engine Journal article mentions a quoted statistic that “70% of Mobile searches result in action within one hour.” It also quoted a Nielsen report saying “73% of mobile users say they regularly look up and call business phone numbers.”  Where business owners do not have a mobile friendly website, they might be missing calls from these potentially high conversion rates.

As numbers of mobile device users grow, with younger users driving the demand we will see more market buying decisions.  Mobile devices are creating a virtual highway to buying decisions.  Can your business be seen on that highway?

Mark Colestock is a Digital Marketing Consultant for WSI DigNet Corporation, a digital marketing agency in St. Paul, MN.

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Online Reputation Management – Play Offense and Win

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 3 - 2012

Think that being proactive with your online reputation isn’t important because you’re in a small market? Think again. My friend and colleague Malinda Davis with WSI puts it in perspective and offers a few words of wisdom that you can actually do yourself.

You are a small business owner in Mill Creek, WA – most of your customers live or work within a small radius of your business in Snohomish County. Why would it matter what people see on the Internet about your business? And it doesn’t impact sales, right? Not quite…

Digital Word of Mouth

No longer is your business reputation based solely on what customers tell their friends and family about the high-quality products you sell, the friendly atmosphere of your office and your excellent customer service. With the digitization of the marketplace, consumers can easily praise or punish businesses they visit – the impact is immediate, widespread and often long-lasting. We call this Digital Word of Mouth!

Online review sites and social media have essentially provided a megaphone for consumers to broadcast their feedback about their experience at a business. It is one-to-many sharing, reaching well beyond just friends and family. According to Facebook, the average Facebook user has 130 friends. Unfortunately, many consumers often fail to remember the positive experiences and choose to share their negative experiences with the world. Imagine the potential impact (on your reputation and bottom line) of a negative online comment from a customer on Facebook? What if they also posted a negative review at Yelp?

Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is important for businesses of all sizes and industries to consider. Businesses need to be aware of their web footprint (or lack thereof). A dentist with a confusing or outdated website may cause potential clients to think twice about scheduling a consultation. A restaurant with the best food will be impacted financially if their online reputation is poor.

What can you do?

  • Be Present – Make your business discoverable on the Internet. At a minimum, this includes having a simple and clean website, claiming your social media profiles and verifying your local business listings (Google Places, online directories, etc.). Once you have a web presence and in order to stay ahead of your competition, sharing video content and optimizing your website and social accounts is essential to being present and visible online.
  • Play Offense – Be proactive. Provide avenues for customers to provide feedback and to share it online. Be proud of your success and ask for referrals! The alternative to playing offense is playing defense – and in this game, it is worth the effort and investment to be proactive. If you don’t, someone else will (i.e. your competition and/or an upset customer).
  • Listen – Monitor what is being said about you and your company online. This is an opportunity to learn how to better serve your customers and improve your business. When you listen and make changes based on the feedback, your relationships and trust with clients only increases.
  • Engage – Add fresh content to your website and social media accounts – this demonstrates your expertise and adds a personal touch to your business. Ask questions. Blog to educate your customers, share success stories and praise your employees for their hard work. If something negative is said about your business online, respond appropriately (acknowledge, apologize and take action to regain their trust). Choosing silence only magnifies the customer megaphone.

What About Negative Comments?

If you have created a solid web presence and still receive a handful of negative comments, don’t worry. Unfortunately, human nature is to share negative experiences. If you have addressed these comments, not only will the positive comments and your solid web presence overshadow the negative, it shows your commitment and pride to serve your customers.

And remember…. Your customers (present and future) are online, either on a computer at home or at work, or on their mobile smart phone. When consumers are unsure, or deciding which business to buy from, they use the information they find online to help them decide. Do you present a professional image? Are you credible? Should they trust you? What do other people say about their experience with your business?

Your customers are using social media. They are reading online reviews and will form an opinion about your business and your products. The perception they form is then strongly tied to whether or not they decide to purchase from you. With the Internet, consumers have access to an immense amount of information and purchasers have a digital megaphone to influence what their friends or families buy, as well as what strangers buy.

It isn’t a surprise or a secret – people use the Internet to find information about local businesses. What will they find when they search for you? Remember, be present, play offense, listen and engage. It is up to you to make sure they find the right kind of information.

Melinda Davies is a Digital Marketing Consultant with WSI based in the Seattle, WA area, and works with local businesses to develop their digital marketing strategy, including local search, online lead generation, email marketing, brand credibility, mobile marketing, social media, reputation management and web analytics. WSI has been providing innovative Internet marketing solutions for clients around the world since the mid-1990s. WSI has a global reach, with a network of digital marketing consultants dedicated to region-specific solutions in over 80 countries. Check out Melinda’s website at www.wsimarketingplus.com

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The 3 Best ways to do Social Media Marketing WRONG

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On October - 1 - 2012
  • Spreading yourself to thin
  • Relying on others
  • Taking the easy way out.

Those are not how a successful Social Media campaign works. First, just having fans and followers is no guarantee of success. “Hope” is not a strategy, and content without context is a waste of everyone’s time.

Check out this short article by Brad Smith where he elaborates on these 3 social media sins and tell you what the remedies are:  http://bit.ly/P70UVH

Kreative Webworks is a full service Digital Marketing Agency in Orange County CA, since 1999

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