Apr 18, 2013

Six Reasons Your Website Will Fail

Although the dawn of the Web was nearly two decades ago, many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) still have a limited, ineffective online presence. That wouldn't be much of an issue if the Internet hadn't long ago replaced hardcopy Yellow Pages as the go-to source for business information. vSplash's SMB DigitalScape data, based on an analysis of 1 million SMB websites worldwide last year, provides a clear demonstration of how poorly equipped SMB websites are for the digital age.

Let's go through the most alarming findings and examine the top reasons SMBs are failing online.

1. Not Built Right (for Mobile Devices)
93.3% of SMB websites are not mobile-compatible and will not render successfully on mobile devices, including smartphones.
Click Here!

The gap is widening between consumer adoption of digital platforms and deficiencies in SMBs' digital presence. As Internet-content consumption is fast moving away from desktops to portable devices, ensuring your website is optimized for the smaller screens of tablets and smartphones is critically important.

People will often be looking to access your site on the go, and ensuring your website is mobile compatible will help introduce your business to the rapidly growing mobile market.

2. (Anti-)Social Media
80.5% of SMB websites have no social media links—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, foursquare, etc.

If you're ever questioning your business's lack of fans or followers, you probably haven't connected your social media accounts to your website—potentially your biggest source of traffic to your social presence. Social marketing can be a powerful tool, but not if there's no audience to engage with.

Ideally, when managing a part of your website (e.g. writing a blog post or adding a team member), your website content management software should be intelligent enough to automatically push that out through the social media sphere.

3. E-Fail
74.7% of SMB websites lack an email link on their homepage for consumers to contact the business.

What is so convenient about email is its instant delivery and (often) instant gratification. But not having an email link on your homepage eliminates that convenience. Plus, think about the opportunities you're missing: Questions from customers, or potential partnership opportunities from companies, don't ever reach your inbox.

4. (Lack of) Information, Please
65.7% of SMB websites lack a form-fill option to enable consumers to request information.
SMBs should build default information inquiry forms right into their site, but only one-third of them are taking that necessary and helpful step. Those forms need to be already connected to a CRM, an email system, and an ecommerce system so that the lead is not just being collected but also prepped for the SMB owner to communicate with in an effort to generate business via that lead.

5. E.T. Can't Phone Home
60% of SMB websites have no toll-free or local business phone number listed on the homepage.

Although email tends to be the preferred form of communication (and, as discussed, most SMBs don't even have that information on their homepage), some questions are better answered by phone. Generating phone calls via your homepage makes customers feel comfortable, while not listing a phone number can cause questions of legitimacy to arise.

6. SEO struggles
56.3% of SMB websites have no keyword info for search engine discovery.
If you have a website and no one can find it, does it really exist? A significant amount of your traffic will be the result of consumers' finding it through search engines.
Keyword research and creation, on-site optimization, and off-site link building in industry directories and other relevant sites are all necessary elements for driving traffic to your website. Those tactics will help make your site search engine-friendly and improve your ranking, allowing your business to gain needed exposure.

Addressing those six areas will allow SMBs to deliver traffic to their website, engage with their audience, and acquire monetizable information. Of course, those six items cover only the basics. SMBs will continue to fail online if they don't generate additional business by bolstering their website with an e-commerce platform, reservations system, ad integration, and other key enhancements.

One last stat: In July 2012, a Wells Fargo-Gallup Small Business Index survey found that 56% of SMBs plan to invest in new website or software in 2013. Why? Deep down, SMB owners know that their website isn't working, but they don't know how to fix it. The lack of a comprehensive software solution is forcing SMBs to cobble together their own multivendor system.

Adapting to the increasingly Internet-based economy shouldn't require SMB owners to be Internet and software experts. That is the job of solution providers.

by Ollie Bigler April 12, 2013 

Ref http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/10531/six-reasons-your-website-will-fail#ixzz2Qo5NExgr

Apr 15, 2013

eMail Marketing. Don’t waste your money.

This is another one for the email marketer who wants to try-it-once-and-see-if-it works. Don’t waste your money.

Like traditional marketing, you need a budget for an ongoing campaign, not for a once-off ad. eMarketing should be consistent and relevant, a process, not an event. Its success relates to the old sales truism… people buy from people they know. And people buy when they’re ready to buy. Not when you’re ready to sell. Like the billboard on the motorway it’s a focused what’s-in-it-for-me message, often seen at speed. And like the billboard on the motorway it should be there every month. It establishes an ongoing relationship with your target group by creating a consistent, relevant awareness of your brand. It says, when you are ready to buy.. here I am.

eMail Marketing is not a quick fix

We are often approached by the new email marketer who wants to try-it-once-and-see-if-it works. On average a salesman has to connect with a prospect 6-10 times to reach a sale. How can a once-off email then do the job?

In “Long Tale” marketing (not a typo) the point is made that the long tale is the never-ending-story you tell your prospects and your customers. The difficult part is getting a targeted database of people who would be interested in what you have to sell. The overlooked part is where you waste all that effort and cost, because you forget to keep telling your story. Almost all the goodness of emarketing comes not from the big announcement, but from the long tale.

It’s a process, not an event. And if you do it well, your viewers will be happy to hear from you until they have made a buying decision, sometimes 12 – 18 months down the line. If you get it wrong, they will unsubscribe. It’s that simple. 
It’s not a quick fix. And there are no shortcuts to the market.

Midyear marketing budgets… the winners and the losers

Interesting to note that 92% of marketers are increasing their adspend in spite of business still being tough. Makes sense. Without visibility you have no business, no matter how good your product. Here are the winners and the losers in terms of budget allocation.
No 1. eMail subscriber engagement. Quick-fix email blasts are replaced by more measured nurturing approaches – The Brand as Thought Leader. 60% plan to increase emarketing spend. 
No 2. eMail list segmentation. 44% of marketers plan to develop more targeted databases. 32% plan to offer more opt-in services. “What does my customer truly consider valuable? “

No 3. Social media budgets increase by 54%. Surprising that this is not higher, but then again not every product is a perfect fit for social media
No 4. Mobile and search spend up 37%.
… and the losers? The only losers in the budget spend seems to be Direct Mail [down 28%] and Tradeshows and Event spending [down 23%].  *ref 2012 Marketing Trends Survey. strongmail.com. Survey did not include traditional media.

3 reasons why your email marketing is not working.

no1. Your emails are not being read.
BIG FACT: Nothing happens until the email is opened. And with spam filling 90% of your inbox, your subject line needs to stand out with a what’s-in-it-for-me? subject line.

no2. You’re using a poor mailing list.
The better the match between your product/service and your target list, the better the response. Mail to shorter and better lists.

no3. Your emails are too long.
Short emails get higher click-through rates. 3-5 short paragraphs, 35-55 characters per line. Say one thing only. Ask, what does my customer consider valuable? And write your email around that value.

5 points to consider before you re-design your website

1. Is your website really fast? According to a Nielsen (USA) report, it’s the no 1 criteria for
websites. People want to get on, get the info, and get off quickly. So lose the flash and those gorgeous heavy pages that slow you down to a crawl.

2. Less is more. In our opinion, every page of a website should exist to create a sale. No more, no less. Period. Include only the content that encourages a visitor to buy.

3. Does the home page reflect “what’s in it for me?” for your viewer. Ruthlessly discard the PR, the corporate ego. If your product provides a solution to a pain-point, Voila… there’s your home page.

4. Whom are you trying to reach? Core target, lowest hanging fruit. And then, design your website to wear the style of your target market… colours, type, design and language style. NOT the style of your boardroom. It should feel like home for your viewer.

5. Is your offering clear, clear, clear? About benefits and solutions, not features.

The Perfect eMail Structure.