28 June 2010

1 A Marketing Lesson from the Mexican Street Vendors

Recently I was speaking to a colleague about her trip down to Mexico. Eventually our conversation came around to the plethora of street vendors that you inevitably run into in any tourist district when something she said hit me as profound and honestly smart marketing at the simplest level: “Everywhere I walked people would yell ‘Hey there, you honeymooners!’ and even once ‘Hey, you, the Broncos fans!’”

Lesson: Know your audience. Pay attention and look for clues. 
These street vendors weren’t relying on simply standing around waiting for someone to come to them. They were seeking their potential customers out, but more importantly they were paying attention to clues about their potential customers.

It’s marketing 101, however all too often I see businesses forget this step. They get wrapped up in getting out their message and forget that if you want to get someone’s attention and appeal to them, first you have to know something about them!

In my colleague’s case their clues were fairly simple to ascertain. Her and her companion are in their mid-twenties, holding hands, grinning at each other constantly and sporting shiny new rings.  Honeymooners wasn’t really a stretch of a guess in their case. As for the broncos fans bit, her husband had just purchased a Broncos poncho and was still holding it in his hand. But the vendors didn’t stop looking for clues there. One was smart enough to take in their dress, recent purchases and what the vendor had seen them looking at in one of the other kiosks to draw their attention to specific wares that he had for sale. By paying attention and applying what he learned (saw) he made the sale.  

Putting Theory to Work:
Here are a two quick online marketing and social media tips for putting this theory to work.
Pay attention to your Google Analytics. What pages on your website are your visitors hitting more often and spending the most time on? This can help you pinpoint what you have to offer that potential clients are the most interested in and also what areas of your business you may need additional efforts to effectively promote.

Pay attention to your fans & followers interests. Most people’s social media accounts are brimming with information that will clue you in about them. For example, take your Twitter followers: What are they tweeting on? Who are they following? Same goes for Facebook, only here your fans give you their information on a platter. Browse their information page.

A Social media Success Story: 
Recently I discussed this strategy with a plastic surgeon client of mine. After taking some time to view his fans’ profiles we found an interesting trend, over half of his fans were also fans of Grey’s Anatomy. Since offering discounts on his services wasn’t really feasible or significant enough to drive interest, we took to using a Grey’s Anatomy DVD giveaways of the latest season to encourage fans to recommend his page to friends and engage in conversations on his fan page. The results? He saw an almost 60 percent increase in on page activity and almost tripled his fan base. The best part is he continued to experience significant page activity after the giveaway by engaging fans in topics that were in the show, giving his opinion, asking for their's and sprinkling in a little self promoting information along the way.  

24 June 2010

0 LinkedIn Becomes More Interactive

With 70 million users, LinkedIn has been lacking in its interactive sharing capacities, at least for a social networking site it has. While it has always been fairly easy for you to let your connections know what you are working on, it hasn’t been very easy to truly share information. The good news? LinkedIn has realized that and is rolling out several features to not only make sharing easier, but to increase the ease and usability.

LinkedIn has taken a few pages right out of the Facebook and Twitter’s books with some of the new interactive features for everything from its Group Forums to the look of profiles.  LinkedIn will be rolling out the updated features live throughout this week.

Conversation Editing Capabilities – Have you ever been typing a response in a group discussion and after posting it you notice you’ve made a typo? This can be extremely embarrassing, but it won’t be as big of an issue anymore. You will now be able to preview, edit and delete your conversations.

Group Activity Tracking – Now you have the ability to view all of your activity history for all of your specific groups.  
The “Like” and “Pass” buttons – It’s back! In the Groups area you will be able to “like” a discussion. Not only that, you can “Pass” on a discussion. Facebook, why haven’t you given us this button yet?

Follow – The new follow button makes it simple for you to follow discussions and people. Like what a certain person had to say? Click “Follow” below their picture to keep up to date on their contributions across groups that you share.  

Top Influencers – If you are interested in learning who the industry leaders are for specific groups, you won’t have to wonder anymore. The new Top Influencer’s feature shows you which professionals are the most active in that Group.

Privacy of Updates - LinkedIn has rolled out another feature to help you target your communications. You can now specify who can see your updates. You can let everyone, only your connections, or only specific people or groups see specify updates.

Re-Sharing - This is similar to the retweet feature on Twitter. Now you can conveniently share content someone else posted.

Tiny Urls - In the land of 140 characters the shortened url is king.  LinkedIn is now making shortened urls available to accommodate the 140 quota.  

Profile Picture – Social networking is all about the sense of community, so why should a professional networking site be any different? If you’re anything like me you’re a visual person. Names don’t stick, but faces do. LinkedIn has made it easy for all the visual people by adding the professionals picture to their LinkedIn activity creating more of a community and shedding the hundreds of faceless name links.

Jobs Tab – If you’re not in the market for a new job then the endless stream of job posts that appear in the discussion areas of your Groups can easily become very annoying. LinkedIn has created a jobs specific tab within its Group area to separate it from the actual discussion. The best part?  LinkedIn also included a handy Jobs tab on the discussion tool bar to flag any ill placed postings.

These changes all bring LinkedIn into a new level of social community to further foster interaction and conversation. Way to go LinkedIn.

What is your favorite new LinkedIn feature?

22 June 2010

0 Ok Go's End Love Viral Spread

Ok Go is no new comer to using the power of social media to promote its music. The pop band creates original and slightly quirky videos in time to the tunes of their songs. Remember the treadmill dance scene from the Here It Goes Again video (believe me it’s not as easy as they make it look) that won them a YouTube Video Award for Most Creative Video in 2006, not to mention a Grammy. Now the band that showed us how to get over 1 million views in less then a week is at it again – only this time their stepping out with Facebook.

Ok Go has launched a contest through Facebook to promote their newest video for End Love. In the My ‘Friends’ Are Cooler Than Your ‘Friends” End Love Contest fans are encouraged to share the band’s new video to their little heart’s desire. The fan that uploads the video to their profile and receives the most comments on the video receives a custom engraved iPad for Ok Go, completely stocked with the band’s music and videos.Publish Post

The band that originally gained immense popularity with its viral videos gets extra props for delving into its existing fan base and using virtual word-of-mouth to increase its audience and promote the newest song.  They have built an identity centered on viral promotion and their fan base is predominantly the social media savvy.  Not only is this newest endeavor good viral marketing, but it is also an excellent branding choice.

17 June 2010

0 A New Website Face Lift

Hollywood celebrities aren’t the only ones who should consider a face lift to stay competitive. Your business or organization should too! We live in an age where technology rules. Your public - be it investor, customer, potential employee, blogger, media, or competitor –can find a wealth of information on your organization in minutes thanks to the internet and our good buddies at Google. More often than not your own website will be one of those information stops on the internet highway. Do you really want the virtual face of your business to be circa 2002?

This is an exact conversation that I had with a legal client recently. While my work day is spent online, I realize not everyone’s is, least of all my client’s. And really 2002 wasn’t that long ago, so you may wonder, how could their website be that out of date? But if we take a trip in the way back machine you’ll learn that in 2002 the average screen size was 800x600, today the average monitor displays 1280x1084 or greater! The average screen displayed 65,536 different colors, today’s monitors display over 16 million. Those are huge differences!

Now consider that the majority of websites were designed in tables and any form of dynamic flash element was still relatively new. Not to mention the world had yet to even hear of MySpace, Facebook, YouTube or even the Motorola Razr. Considering this how can one of the top birth injury legal firms in the U.S. realistically expect to stand out and catch a web user’s attention with a website from 2002? They can’t.
While the niche website was bringing in a significant number of new visitors a month, between 900-1,300, it wasn’t keeping them. By early 2010 the website was averaging a bounce rate of roughly 70% with users visiting an average of 1.67 pages and staying on the site for approximately 58 seconds. Incoming web leads were almost nonexistent. It was apparent that something about the site wasn’t appealing to them. It was easy to figure out what was most likely the cause – the design. The website was designed sometime in 2002 and gave the initial impression of an amateur parenting advice site run by an internet newbie in 2002, not a leading New York City law firm in 2010.

The Before Design

Last month we rolled out the new website. The client was adamant about avoiding flash. They didn’t want it to look too “lawyery”, but sharp, clean and professional. I’m very happy with the results of the new design, as is my client, but most importantly so do users. Over the last three weeks we seen a significant increase in the time users are spending on the website and how many are pages they are visiting. (I’ll post again when I have more concrete stats.)

The New Design

Notes on a Few Features to Check Out
1. The header image  - This image consistently changes as you click to other pages of the website. If you return to the site another time (or hit refresh) the image you see may not be what you saw the first time.
2. The internal page images - By far one of my favorite elements of the website. The designer incorporated Web 2.0 technology to bring the images out to the user, if they want to take a closer look, in a very professional presentation. (Pictured below, but for the full effect you have to see the live thing here)  

Take a closer look at the after design for Trief & Olk’s Erb’s Palsy Info site.