Those references and quotes would help us raise awareness. It would define and differentiate customer confidence. It would foster our sales funnel. And it would be the key to convert our sales opportunities much faster.
In other industries like hotels or restaurants, there was always a guestbook. People could tell the owners and managers what they liked, why they liked it and what made the location appear different from the competitors. In a B2B world, this was not possible. And there were reasons for it…
Who wanted to ruin the company’s tough won conditions of purchase?
Who would risk annoying their bosses for deeper supplier engagement?
Who said openly how highly rated the quality of a supplier’s communication effort was?
Who started positive questions and conversations by themselves without having a need to?
Who rates, reviews and recommends a B2B solution or a product without a need?
Today, people do that. In the B2B space maybe less than in the B2C world. But they do. And a reference in a B2B business has more value, more credibility and more sales power than when somebody likes a chocolate bar or some pair of sports-shoes – especially when not done on a social network but a corporate community.
But there are challenges coming along with this modern B2B reference development…
Companies and brands need to listen and monitor what their community is saying, and where they mention them. They need to categorize the value of a “Like” versus the impact of a comment on a corporate blog. They need to define ways for measurement criteria. And they have to know when and where to store a comment – whether positive or negative.
Positive comments are a blessing. But what if the comment disappears on Twitter after some weeks? What if the Facebook comment losses attention as of permanent posting in a company’s timeline? What value has the “Like” in general, if people don’t value Facebook as a B2B platform? Anf what if your company has a high Klout score but your clients have no clue what the impct of Klout score has for B2B?
Negative comments are an opportunity. Why not take the chance to answer to someone who was disatisfied with the solution or product? Assuming there are other clients experiencing the same problems, challenges, or undeliverables, B2Bs better respond. Is there a better chance to learn in order to get more references? Being “open” is authentic, is valuable, is generating more conversations.
Companies and brands should be grateful. Today, we have platforms where we can get references: corporate communities, forums, blogs, social network accounts and so on. But we need to make sure, we create Social Media guestbooks which display and keep the reference, the business people that have shared them, those that have retweeted, repinned or “re-used” them. Or why did we create and display case studies on our B2B websites for years?
I am asking myself the question, why are companies giving their hottest assets in the hands of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. And why they are not just changing their mindset. Answers welcome…!
Some years ago I remember saying to my boss: “Content marketing will become the future”. Well, here we are…
Companies create their own media, attracting their customers through content services in different shape or form: text, audio, video or image. Marketing strategies are getting their turns with new social media opportunities by customers contributing to what brands are shaping for them. Paid is “out”, owned is “in”.
By creating their own digital publications inside their websites or with hubs through Facebook pages, Linkedin groups or Twitter accounts, the world of media has turned around as more and more consumers use the possibility to generate and add content to brands. Brand perception, compared to brand awareness in the past, gets some complete new impact that we never had in marketing history.
Some weeks ago, The Content Marketeer created some slideshow on content marketing which gives guidance and shows best practice to marketers from different companies like American Express, IBM or L’Oreal.
Furthermore, the guys from Copypress have now conducted a nice infographic that illustrates the Content Omniverse, as they call it. It offers facts and figures of YouTube, Facebook and other platforms which makes clear the power that these platforms have to leverage brand perception. The most interesting facts on this sheet come in the end – The Copy Content Universe.
- There are 7.38 Billion web pages indexed.
- An average day at WordPress gets 500.000 new posts but only 400.000 new comments.
- By 2013, user-generated content producers will increase from 82,5 to 114,5 Million.
The challenge to increase brand awareness through content marketing efforts will increase. But do the figures in the Content Copy Universe suggest that comments will go down while word-of-mouth will go up? What’s of more value for brand perception then? What does it mean from a user point of view? Will users be able to follow the big content marketing offering, or simply shift their attention focus in fast intervals? Will brand perception still be handle for brand marketers, and how will the value change through user generated content? Many questions. Maybe you have got some answers…
Whether you’re experimenting with online sales or have already run businesses in the past, when you are first creating an ecommerce website you’ll want to keep a few tips in mind. These can help you use today’s technology to find and retain a steady client base.
1. Use Simple Web Design
With such a high degree of competition out there, even for the most obscure products, you’re going to have to put some time and effort into your website to make it stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to have any web design experience to do this if you use an ecommerce software program with templates. These can usually be customized in terms of logo, font, and colour themes. Aside from this assistance, you’ll want to use your imagination and think of a catchy name for your business as well as an easy-to-navigate site.
2. Organize your Product Catalogue Using Categories
A big part of making your online store easily navigable for customers lies in how you organize your products. It’s easier for customers when you arrange your products into logical categories or collections, so that they can find what they’re looking for more easily. Adding a “sale” category can help customers feel that they’ve stumbled onto a bargain, so think about running promotions and sale items as a separate collection altogether. Be sure to include high quality pictures of the products along with descriptions.
3. Make Payment Easy for Customers
Once your customers have located the items that they wish to purchase, some ecommerce business owners feel that they have already sealed the deal. In actuality, this is where it can all go wrong if you make it hard for a customer to pay you. You’ll want a smooth and easy checkout system that offers multiple methods of payment. One example of this would be a Shopify ecommerce website, which provides a shopping cart and integrated payment system. You’ll want to look for a platform of this nature to help encourage the final sale. If you’re selling products internationally, it’s also helpful to include a currency converter. Be sure to provide a telephone number or email address for customer support for added security.
4. Create a Blog
There are numerous ways to market your online store, including using social media and email newsletters, among others. Yet one of the most effective ways to get in touch with a wide net of potential customers is through creating your own blog. This is also a good way to showcase your brand and personality, thus creating a valuable first impression.
5. Use Analytics to Track Customers
Although many online business owners use analytics tools to track what visitors end up purchasing on their website, you can make use of these tracking tools for a host of other purposes. For example, with analytics you can find out how your customers found you, which URL’s are referring customers to your online store, and what search terms they’re using. With this information, you can more tightly hone your marketing efforts to reach a wider audience.
This post is a guest post from Shopify.
Tablets are the rockstars in this game… and probably soon replacing desktop’s popularity. Tablets are changing our communication. Tablets are changing our shopping behavior. And tablets are more engaging than desktops: People spend 54% longer on websites when using tablets.
Skyrocket put together a nice animated infographic that illustrates the rise of tablets. Northern Americans already spend at least one hour per day on their tablet. In Europe, people are spending 9.3 hours using tablets according to the latest IAB Mediascope Europe 2012 research.
Some more facts how people use their tablets…
- 72% shop online
- 54% send emails
- 39% engage in Social Media
- 30% play games
- 25% consume news
The video also assumes that the use of tablets fosters the experimental, emotional and interactive engagement and connection with brands. True?
Well, a recent study by Adobe called “How Tablets Are Catalyzing Brand Website Engagement” confirms that. The study states that tablets’ share of website traffic is increasing at 300% a year. Adobe analyzed 23 billion visits to websites of more than 325 brands across North America, Western Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The research states that consumers consider tablets and PCs to be nearly interchangeable and are less likely to use smartphones to view media websites.
What’s your finding on tablets? How are these devices changing your online lifestyle?
When it comes to web transactions, PayPal is leading the bunch with 60% according to a recent study by New Relic. Still, the study shows that Google offers the fastest payment gateway. The slowest transaction happened to some Australian payment gateway, called Eway.com.au. One of the payments took 92.44 seconds to complete. Datacash and USAepay.com were not far behind with 89 and 56 seconds.
The payment gateway is the web equivalent of a modern cash register. This system double-checks whether it is really the person that pays the transaction and that you are the trusted authority to pay for the purchase to be finished. The study of the web’s most popular payment gateways monitored 38 billion transactions daily for big companies like Nike, Groupon, and Zynga. The study focused on transactions by 21,000 web applications.
The study finds PayPal the winner as it is the biggest payment processor on the web these days. Well, let’s say according to this study sample. In this test period, PayPal processed over 66,000 payments – over three times as many as their closest competitor which was Authorize.net with usaebay.com and stripe.com following. Google Checkout only came in at position five with over 3400 payments.
Although Google does not win in numbers, they win in speed. Google Checkout’s average payment processing time came in at fantastic .26 seconds. Just imagine that this system finds in less than a third of a second, data to “collect and transfer your payment information – name, address, card number, purchase details, etc. – to the financial institution,” says John Essex, Marketing Director at New Relic. And we have to bear in mind that there is also some other stuff to be verified like your data via Mastercard or VISA to evaluate your credit risk, and play it back to the website’s e-commerce platform, and so on.
In this speed category PayPal’s performance was kind of “middle brilliant” as it performed with an average of under one and a half seconds. An Australian payment gateway, Eway.com.au, showed the poorest performance with one payment taking an incredible 92.44 seconds to complete. The average performance at these payment services ranged somewhere between 3-4 seconds.
In the e-commerce business, speed is business-critical for all web transactions. In these web transaction performance topics time is money. The online shopping experience needs to work as quickly, smoothly and trouble-free for the web consumer. We all know how cancel the transaction when we have to wait to long for the transaction to be completed. The lag in transaction time is the killer of the digital shopping experience. Probably, as we do not see a person handling the transaction, having problems with the cash register or cash machine.
Would you agree with the findings in their infographic?
Now, I have used this Nielsen graphic in seminars and conferences for two years and always wondered when the next study is going to be published.
Finally today, I came across the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report. And again, the results are similar to what they where back in 2009. People still don’t trust advertising. Well, let’s say… at least not as much as they trust recommendations from people they know like friends, family and peers. However, it is still somehow scary to bear in mind that people trust consumer opinions expressed online… very often without verifying who say what in which scenario and which stage of life.
According to the Nielsen findings, which surveyed over 28,000 Internet people in 56 countries, 92% of the respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. This equals an increase of 18% compared to 2007. Consumer opinions posted online come in at the second place of most trusted source. Of the consumers surveyed globally, 70% indicated they trust messages from online platforms. This makes up an increase by 15% in the last four years.
Publishing houses and platforms still get a lot of trust from their users. Editorial content (58%) finished in the thread place, just before branded websites (58%), and opt-in emails (50%). The traditional platforms for advertising like print, television, and radio are significantly lower from a trust point of view. The drop in value since 2009 goes down by 24%.
The results show the importance of content marketing carrying the truth about your company, brand or products. Openness, authenticity and transparency are still rated very high amongst your customers. They want to “know what they get”. They want to engage with you but also being told the truth if there is something bad or uncertain to say about brands and their development. And above all they want you to respond to their input. They want you to give them some attention, some feedback, some credit for the time they spend. Then you will earn their trust, and then they will share your voice.
The challenge for all B2B companies is to find the balance between inbound and outbound marketing today. And the main question is how to generate leads with Social Media. A new study conducted by Aberdeen Group sponsored by Silverpop and Eloqua, offers some insights in how Best-in-Class B2B companies generate leads through Social Media platforms.
The findings of the study “B2B Social Meeting Marketing: Are We There Yet” show that on average 17% of the Best-in-Class B2B companies generate their leads via Social Media channels. Compared to their peers, this is almost 230% more marketing-generated leads through Social Media than other companies (5%). 84% of the responding B2B companies were using social marketing in some form.
The study differentiates between Best-in-Class (top 20% of aggregate performers) versus the industry average (middle 50%) and laggard (bottom 30%) organizations by using the following metrics…
1. The average annual company revenue growth of 20%, compared with 8% for Industry Average and -3% for Laggard firms.
2. An increase of 10% year-over-year improvement of marketing leads in average resulting in closed business – versus 3% for the Industry Average and -1% for Laggard firms.
3. A lead pipeline of 44% in sales-forecast generated by marketing – versus 10% for Industry Average and 5% for Laggard firms.
4. A 73% annual customer retention rate – versus 27% for Industry Average and 7% for Laggard firms.
The Best-in-Class companies show an outstanding adoption of various social technologies…
- 51% use website social sharing tools, versus 36% of Industry-Average firms.
- 49% use keyword-based Social Media monitoring, versus 39% of Industry-Average firms.
- 21% use social sign-in, versus 8% of Industry-Average firms.
Best-in-Class companies have experienced the opportunity of utilizing Social Media for the sales funnel, and know how to generate leads through social engagement.
- 80% of Best-in-Class companies are more actively engaged in Social Media marketing – versus 73% of Industry-Average firms and 60% of Laggards
- 47% of Best-in-Class companies see expanding lead generation as their primary strategy with Social Media marketing, and 13% cite generating leads as their secondary strategy.
- 23% of Best-in-Class companies said developing clear business processes for social marketing as their top strategy, and 8% cite process development as a secondary strategy.
All-in-all, the study shows the challenge of creating the right Social Media strategy for business when you want to succeed with lead generation via Social Media. But it is not only strong engagement the company needs. It is also the clever combination of using Social Media alongside the right communication techniques like email and SEO, and how Best-in-Class companies succeed here. They are 27% times more likely to integrate email with Social Media than Industry-Average firms, and 33% more likely than Laggards to do so. And they are also 24% times more likely than Industry-Average firms to integrate SEO with social media (even 69% more likely than Laggards).
What is your experience in lead generation through Social Media? How did your company perform, and what else could you add? Looking forward to learning from you…
In a recent study the research companies comScore, Accenture and dunnhumbyUSA found some significant relevance between in-store sales and a company’s web presence. The study was based on a panel of CPG customers and one million U.S. Internet users who have given comScore explicit permission to have their online activities continuously measured and matched to their in-store brand buying behavior provided by dunnhumbyUSA.
The report comes to the conclusion that consumers who visit a website prior to their shopping experience in a company store spend 34% more with that company and 57% more on products or services based on their specific industry sector. It also states that visitors of brand websites are frequent buyers of the brand in retail stores. It shows that 42% more of these clients finish their transactions than non-visitors. Furthermore, website visitors are also heavier buyers in a brand’s product category. They are spending 53% more in their category dollars than non-visitors.
“Since website visitors have higher affinity to the brand and the overall product category, there is an opportunity for brand marketers to drive loyalty through personalizing the website experience, catering to the preferences of their best customers.”John LaRocca, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, dunnhumbyUSA
And again another study highlights the importance of content marketing as the new emerging trend in marketing. Shoppers were more aggressive in their approach to understand and evaluate their purchases prior to their visit in shops as a result of the massive information access through the web. According to the research, content marketing plays a significant role here. So, campaigns on the web not only add value to web shopping but also -and for some companies and brands more importantly- will help to drive and boost in-store habits and sales – apart from positioning a brand’s capability.
“Marketers who create compelling (brand) website experiences for consumers are extremely effective in driving incremental and profitable in-store sales. Analysis shows that consumers visiting the best of the 10 CPG brand websites evaluated in the research study, spent over 200% more on the brand than non-visitors.” Jerry Lohse, Senior Director, Accenture Interactive
Based on the fact that Brafton reported some weeks ago that the average consumer visits more than 10 web pages before a purchase decision, this study marks an important point in the relevance between online and offline shopping. This might be catalyzed by the new opportunities that smartphones, tablets or Augmented Reality (see real-life community shopping) offer, and shows the straight relationship between the two shopping experiences which more and more merge to one close shopping cycle.
More companies are realizing that offering web shoppers the same information and service as in-stores will lead to more purchase at both ends of the shopping cycle: online and at offline locations. The challenge for companies is to differentiate the shopping experience by using SoLoMo (social – local – mobile). Here the question for the future will remain whether in-store shopping needs to become more of a lifestyle experience or adventure to attract more consumers to join in-store activity (see IKEA Sleepover), or wether people will want to have real people around them and thus make it a social reality world, rather than a social web world…
Year on year, Edelman’s Trust Barometer checks the credibility and trustworthiness of politics, companies, CEOs and media from a quite generalistic point of view.
The findings for this year were published in the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey which came out yesterday in its 12th year. The survey offers insights from over 30,000 people in 25 countries with the main focus on “Informed Publics”. By “Informed Publics” Edelman sees college-educated people between 25-64 years of age that are among the best earners in their countries and describe themselves as heavy consumers of media information.
Obviously interesting for me were two things… How are people trusting CEO’s after CEO’s criticized their marketers some month ago in a study by the Fournaise Marketing Group. And also, how are consumers worldwide gaining trust in social media as a source of business information.
Let’s start with the CEOs first.
When Edelman asked respondents how credible information coming from a CEO would be, 38% replied they would trust the information. Although this sounds not bad, it is a 50% dump from last year and the biggest drop since Edelman started doing the survey 12 years ago. And although government leaders were less trusted than CEOs, in more or less all the countries responding, 49% would want to see an increase of government regulation of business.
And how about consumers’ trust in Social Media?
Well, let’s put it that way… Social Media is on the rise but still lags behind corporate websites and traditional media. So, you marketers should better not rely solely on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.
The 2012 survey tells us that 14% of respondents see Social Media as a trusted source of company information — an increase of 6% to one year ago. But it’s still getting the lowest trust score of the four options shown below. This comes close to the trust in company websites (16%). Traditional media still is top of “news pops” (32%).
So which business is trusted most? Technology companies are most trusted with 79% saying they believed tech companies do the right thing. Indian, Chinese and the United States tech companies earn most trust, UK, France and Germany rank lower. Trust in financial services companies and banks soars, and those companies are the least trusted businesses. 47% said they trusted banks to do what is right. 45% saying they trusted financial services companies.
Who do you trust? Would you agree with these Edelman findings?
Isn’t it hard to get people on websites in general? And even more to keep them there reading as much of your business information as possible? How much time do your customers spend on your site? If you are not satisfied with the results you achieve with your visitors, here is some information that might boost your website staying time.
A recent research by the SaaS technology company Gigya helps companies and brands to become more social in order to engage more with their customers. And if they are doing their job properly, their aim is always to get people from social platforms to their website for a better conversion.
The Gigya research states that companies and brands, and obviously their websites, can increase the stickiness of their desired target groups with their website just by encouraging the coming back effect of visitors through social logins.
The Gigya’s results illustrate that site owners who implement Facebook Connect, Twitter sign in or Yahoo Login will be the winners. Users spend 50% more time on websites when they’re logging in through social networks. Just imagine if users spend four more minutes after a social login – whether it be on the Web, the mobile web, or apps. All of these options were tracked by the Gigya study.
The value of Facebook Connect in terms of giving an option to easily log-in on different other platforms and sites makes people carrying around their social graphs wherever and wherever they are online. And with all these connections our closest fellows, fans and friends find our restaurant reviews, cinema recommendations and places where I am immediately. With a target group of approximately 800 million users Facebook states a case for social sign-in opportunities.
The findings also show that it is the most popular source of social logins with 61%. It gets followed by Yahoo with 15% and Google 12%. It surprises me that Twitter is only at 10% and LinkedIn just gets 2% although we have over 120 million LinkedIn user. And users who logged in with a social network double the view of pages on a website.
Another interesting aspect is that with social plugins, users generally spend the most amount of time on the site, and page impression increase does obviously follow. Companies and brands should think about integrating value-add areas with log-in or comment or Newsfeed functionalities as the later come in first when it comes to spending more time with the site. So, add a comment section.
Some months ago, we already mentioned the importance of social sign-in processes with a study by Janrain and Blue Research. In that study, 42% agreed that companies offering a social sign-in option “are more up-to-date, innovative and leave a positive impression compared to those which do not offer this capability” on their sites. Well, it seems I should start thinking about integrating social sign-in here… From a comment technology point of view, which option would you recommend? Livefyre, Disqus,or the WordPress standard…? Open to suggestions…