Author Archives: marketinggoddess

Let’s Chat – Three Ways Live Chat Increases Website Conversions

Chat Chatting Communication Social Media Internet Concept

Let’s face it.

In our fast paced world of texting, it is often hard to get potential customers to slow down long enough to look at your products or services on a website. The days of browsing a website to find answer to questions are long past. As millennials take social media and marketing into the next generation of buying cycles to include business engagement, many companies are left behind by antiquated form of communication like contact forms and phone numbers.

The next generation of website conversion will be live chat. Surprised? Consider this…

When you were a child and you needed to spell a word, did you go look it up for yourself or did you ask your parents?

Of course, you asked your parents (who probably told you to go look it up!). *smile*

Nothing has changed – the proof is all around you!

Last year, Google created a panic wave in companies across the web with the launch of “mobile-geddon.” This was Google declaring that the web, as we know it, was dead IF companies did not convert their websites over to mobile-friendly platforms to accommodate the large number of smartphone users.

Many companies conformed to this new idea of millennial marketing with shiny new responsive websites with mobile features, but most businesses missed the boat in conforming their communications networks and processes to fit the idea of a mobile optimized site with user-based features like Live Chat to avoid the need to search for answers to the simplest questions and escalate response to the immediate requests/concerns of visitors.

Here are three ways that live chat transforms your business communications to increase the marketing power of your website:

  1. Throwing a Line to a Drowning Person (Increase Trust) – The marketing rule of less is better applies to your customer base. Most people do not want to search for one answer throughout your website or dig for help in the middle of their own personal crisis with your product. Live Chat easily allows customers to find immediate satisfaction at the moment they need help or answers. Imagine the frustration of your customers waiting 24 hours for an email resolution or simple answer. Now, imagine those same customers receiving quick, on-demand customer service that eases the concern and addresses the issue. When you offer help in real-time, customers are more likely to feel like you are listening their needs and building a customer service experience to their door. This is your opportunity to turn a frown upside down – and Live Chat is your way to do it!
  2. Let Me Love You (Increase Sales) – It is rare today that companies really get to know their customer. When asked about their customer demographics, most can give you stats about age, race, gender, and education without batting an eye. The reality is that there is one big piece of the marketing and sales puzzle missing from all those demographics. The human element. Especially in our world of ApplePay and QuickPass, we expect buyers to be online ready when making purchasing decisions.

The reality is ….

  • A study called “Making Proactive Chat Work” conducted by Forrester Research found the following: “Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”
  • An ATG Global Consumer Trend study found that 90% of customers consider live chat useful in their purchase decision.
  • An emarketer.com survey reported that 63% were more likely to return to a site with live chat.

The answers are clear. Many times, the difference between closing a sale through a website portal is the availability of a support person to answer questions and give qualified information to a customer.

  1. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Decrease Expenses) – Most companies do not consider Live Chat because of the added expense of buying a reliable Live Chat system, hiring customer service people, and training on product lines. In reality, when a customer is able to interact with an “actual person,” they are less likely to make mistakes during purchase or abandon a cart before completing a purchase. In this manner, website conversions increase because people are comfortable with their purchase choices AND handling of return items are likely to decrease. Moreover, the most frustrating experience for a warm lead is to sit waiting on the phone while the automated voice assures them that “their call is important to you.” There is too much competition in the marketplace to depend on old-fashioned phone calls to satisfy client needs and, simply put, your customers should not be waiting on your customer service.

The most important rule for deciding on a good marketing effort is to build in customer service efforts, like Live Chat, that help the customer build trust with the brand, proceed through the buying cycle, and convert to sales. It is clear from studies of human behavior and customer marketing response that Live Chat increases metrics for website conversion success while decreasing the negative impact, like long wait times, of providing effective customer service.

This is the millennial market – full of texting and chatting through social media – and Live Chat is the way you make the most of those consumer behaviors to turn express customer service into sales and website conversions.

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Facebook Faux Pas: 5 Ways to Turn LIKES into DISLIKES

In every Facebook fan page campaign; there are three phases that go together like the 3 Musketeers – the group of sword fighting men, not the candy bar.  Those three phases are planning, design, and execution.  Even in the most carefully planned and designed Facebook fan page, the execution is the place where most people fall flat in gaining and maintaining an audience of customers.  In fact, when executed incorrectly, a Facebook fan page can have your nearest and dearest friends avoiding you in the supermarket!

Most people don’t make these mistakes on purpose (although there are a FEW that I have kindly noted the mistake and then UN-LIKED when they persisted).  These are usually the people who see me out at dinner and tell me that their Facebook fans have dropped over the last month.  I shake my head sadly…knowing the answer is probably one of these five mistakes that will turn LIKE into DISLIKE on Facebook:

Tag Lightly – Never Hit Too Hard.  In every Facebook class, we discuss the ways to tag other people and Facebook pages to draw traffic to your own Facebook page.  Sometimes, without understanding the effect, people over-tag certain Facebook pages or people in an effort to get attention (or just because they don’t understand the result!).  Every time you tag someone or a Facebook fan page, it posts your content on their page.  Even with the best of intentions if done too often or in too many places, it is tag-spam (the equivalent of email spam!).

Example:  During a recent social media party, we allowed all of our Facebook fans to post a link to their Facebook fan page to get the community connected.  We asked in return that the posters go to each other’s Facebook fan pages, LIKE their page (to build fans), and leave a hello from the visitor.  One person took this to heart!  She went to all 87 pages that participated and tagged our Facebook fan page as the referrer.  Her posts showed up 87 times on our Facebook fan page!  We had to delete them as they went  down for pages and pages of 87 link-backs from the tags!

Our next post will discuss Facebook Faux Pas #2:  Tresspass Posting!

Facebook Vanity URL: Claim Your Name

Ready to get rid of your prision number for your Facebook fan page?

Here are the criteria:

  • You have to own the facebook fan page (or be admin of the facebook fan page!)
  • You have to have atleast 25 fans or likes.
  • You can only set your vanity URL once!  SO make sure it is SEO and people friendly!

Now…check out this Facebook Vanity URL:  Claim Your Name video!

Video Voice: Facebook Badges for Websites and Blogs

Many people ask about how to get a facebook badge on their blog or website.

Facebook Badges for Websites and Blogs will walk you through the process of getting the code you need for your website or blog.

If you have any questions about how to maximize your social media efforts, please email us at questions (at) magicmarketingusa (dot) com.

Customer Service Stabbed Marketing in the Office with a Knife

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Do you have a clue what is killing your marketing efforts?  Whether you are a small business or large corporation, it is likely at least one of these customer service issues is planning the death of your marketing dollars!

Recently, I had occasion to travel across several states on business and pleasure.  Traveling provides a unique opportunity to view the world of customer service from the good, the bad, and the ugly.  While noting that the holiday season brings out the worse in both customers and customer service, it was particularly apparent that most companies do not take enough time to think through the rationale of integrating customer service into the marketing department instead, as is traditional in most case, into the sales department.
 
As an even bigger offense, if for some unfathomable reason, customer service is a department unto themselves because the divide between performance and evaluation increases at alarming rates.  Without doubt, more marketing dollars are needlessly wasted each year on ineffective customer service than any other marketing endeavor.  Clearly, the most preventable cases the murder of marketing dollars is easily fixed by addressing these five customer service issues:

Man-Handling:  Many times, service representatives react with overzealous pressure on customers.  Upon asking to be left alone (clearly) to browse for shoes, I was continually followed and addressed by a sales person.  When I requested, pointedly, that the sales lady go away, she did only to be replaced by another salesperson from the same charm school.  As a result, my shopping experience was ruined and I left the store.

Cow-Towing:  For some service reps, good customer service is equated to bowing and scraping before the buyers.  The buyer feels horrible that the company or the service individual is fawning over them like an entourage following the diva of the week around the store.  With a strange mixture of discomfort and annoyance, the customer exits the store as quickly as possible.

Passive-Aggressive:  Interestingly enough, in the past few weeks, I have encountered this behavior in several professional settings. When asking for a call number in the library, the Librarian literally snatched the paper from my hand to go get the book from me with a curt, “that is my job!”  As I stood in shock staring at her back, it seemed an odd sense of customer service that resounded of policy filtration.  In another case, I was seriously asked, “What do you want?”  Looking around a large, brand name bookstore, I humorously ordered, “a double cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate shake.”  In both instances, marketing dollars are wasted as customer service is isolated from the rest of the company structure.  NOTE TO CUSTOMER SERVICE WORLD:  The customer does not care if YOU are having a bad day, so that excuse does not fly for me.

Know-Nothing:  In contrast, customer service employees that know nothing about the product or services offered by a company are the worst waste of marketing money.  When customers fill the store seeking details about services or directions to products, a customer service representative should at least have general knowledge.  If the product or service base is so large that no one could have a strong working knowledge, the product specialist should be assigned to aid the customer.  I watched as a bookstore employee advised a beginning PhotoShop7 (yes, I know….groan from the audience….PhotoShop7!) to buy the PhotoShopCS3 Bible because it was about the same thing.  Needless to say, I stepped in to advise her to look online for a copy for a Dummies or 24-Hour book appropriate to her version of Photoshop.  “What’s the difference?” she asked me politely.  “About $75, years of needed Photoshop experience, and the frustration of trying to follow a book that does not represent your software,” I replied with encouragement.

Techno-Interruptus:  Shopping for a new cell phone urged me to add one more criminal act of marketing murder to the sphere of customer service.  Although I do admit that technology is a wonderful thing for business, it might well be the worst thing ever created for customer service.  Encountering service reps texting or talking about a party on their cell gives the worst impression of a company and completely sends me toward the door.  If that customer service rep adds a deep resounding huff of “you are bother me” to the mix, then I might ban the store from coast to coast from my shopping experience.

In most cases, customer service initiatives can enrich the return on investment for every marketing dollar spent by a company.  Marketing expenditures can lead to increased sales and heightened positive brand awareness with the help of informed customer service force as part of the marketing team.

SEO: Seeking Exposures and Opportunities for Websites

Perhaps the most misunderstood value of social media is in its SEO functions.  While there are tons of social media tools and sharing services on the web, the real tie-in between social media and SEO (search engine optimization) escapes many social media converts.  As important as it is to interact with social media in ways that interest your niche market audience, it is vital to consider SEO issues at every step to get the most from your investment of time and money.

The goal of SEO is bringing valid traffic to your website or blog through search engine listings.  If that gives you a “well…DUH” moment, realize that there are validating factors in that goal.  For example, traffic needs to be niche enough to convert into viable leads or sales.  So, let’s examine the topic of SEO just for a moment.  There are a few primary tools of SEO including:

  • SEO:  Anyone who follows my blog and articles knows that strong organic SEO is the basis of any effort.  By optimizing a website with good copy and valid keyword density in all the important places of a website, solid white hat search engine optimization is like a sturdy foundation to build a house.  Organic SEO, although not a fast process, will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Internet marketing:  This category is often thought of as the most confusing form of SEO because it is paid advertising AND includes Google AdWords.  It is a rarity, in all honesty, that Google makes anything easy.  AdWords is not an exception.  With the opportunity to expend large sums of money in a short amount of time without any viable return on investment, AdWords is not for the faint of heart without sound leadership.  As I’ve said elsewhere, one of my favorite guides for navigating the rough waters of Google AdWords is AdWords University.  With a clear methodology and concise terminology, it is easy to follow and create successful AdWords campaigns. 
  • Linking:   Linking is the easiest SEO concept to increase website placement.   In short, every website and blog listed in Google has a page ranking that ranges anywhere from 1 to 10.  Most websites and blogs are listed very low in PageRank.  After all, think about it…there are millions of website and blogs listed in Google.  With several factors from the age of the site to content to SEO, the majority of the sites are not ranked well.  By linking with highly ranked sites with common interests (this is vital!), websites and blogs can increase viable traffic through exposure and pull up search engine ranking through each spider crawl.
  • Social Media:  Whether tweeting on Twitter or friending on Facebook, social media is the must participate place for businesses seeking credible traffic and branding recognition.  Many would say that social media does not help SEO.  In truth, social media can provide tons of inbound, niche market traffic to a website or blog.  Strong traffic leads to higher page ranking and more exposure.  Remember our goal for SEO of gaining traffic and increasing conversions?  This is the way! 
  • Analytics: Analytics is the least understood and possibly the most important tool in the online marketing toolbox. Here’s why. Let’s say you are completely focused on SEO, social media, you have a high-ROI AdWords campaign churning AND you are putting out lots of content on the web pointing to your product or service (for some of you niche bloggers out there, let’s say it’s your pure experienced opinion on your topic). How can you understand your traffic and predict what will create more traffic, how to focus that traffic more on people you want in your ideal captive audience, and generally create a more profitable website and business from what you do online? Google Analytics is a very low-cost, yet scalable solution that allows most businesses to get their feet wet and grow intelligently with the guidance of sound Analytics Concepts.

Admittedly, these are not all of the factors or considerations connected with good SEO practices; however, these are undisputably the touchstones for creating a formidable search engine optimized website or blog.  While most of these techniques are used by professional SEO experts, like Mark Brimm at 123interface.com, a clear understanding of both the methodology and the meaning of measurement will certainly make hiring a qualified expert or embarking on the task yourself much easier a pill to swallow.

AdWords University: Order Out of AdWords Chaos

For many business owners, the very words “internet marketing” invokes enough fears to keep them from initiating any type of online advertising.  What scares most people away from driving traffic to their website using Google AdWords is twofold. 

First, it seems really difficult to understand the process of creating good AdWords campaigns.  With steps and moving parts that require decisions about keywords, many business owners find it confusing to navigate the mine field of Google AdWords without the assistance of a seasoned SEM veteran. 

The second issue is the very real concern about losing money with a poorly planned AdWords campaign.  Needing guidance in understanding the best choices and measurements for a Google AdWords campaign, most people dip a toe into the deep waters of AdWords only to find the price tag is too high for poor conversion.

In reality, these are very valid considerations for internet marketing tools like Google AdWords.  That is why AdWords University is one AdWords guide that is stellar in its sheer ease of understanding and topic depth.  In plain English that makes the reader feel empowered with comprehension instead of burdened with technical talk, AdWords University brings Google AdWords to the masses with explanations defining the concepts of internet marketing, exploring methodologies for finding the best keywords, and  creating a successful AdWords campaign.

Even further, AdWords University takes the additional steps of covering advanced techniques to manage AdWords campaigns to optimize the effectiveness of combined discussions on generating multiple AdWords campaigns for A/B testing purposes.

The value of AdWords University lies in the clear presentation of proven methods in creating an AdWords campaigns that manifest revenue producing traffic.

5 (FREE) Time Saving Social Media Tools

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“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”—Chinese Proverb

So many times, people embark on social media marketing with the idealist understanding that it is as easy as tweeting a thought in 140 characters or posting a few words to followers every few days.  In reality, social media marketing involves more hand holding than direct marketing.  Why, then, are literally millions of businesses joining the social media movement every year?  Because, quite literally, companies can reach out to potential clients with less cost (provided they understand the time vs. money formula of social marketing) and gain market share through brand exposure.

Besides the afore mentioned misunderstanding about the true investment in time for a successful social media campaign without remembering that time is money, people often feel overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of managing multiple social media streams scattered all over the webosphere!

As a social media marketer, these are a few there tools I use to make m y life much easier! 

•Seemic (http://seesmic.com):  This is one of my favorites.  If you have a Facebook and Twitter account, the split screen view of Seemic makes it easy to follow what is happening in each account.  With the ability to add any pages you manage on Facebook and directly post / report information in one screen, my favorite thing about Seemic is that I can post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time!  Of course, that means that you have to limit the Facebook post to 140 characters, but what a time savings it is to have one place to call home for your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  If, like me, you have several accounts for each (Magic Marketing USA and Networking in High Heels), then the ability to import all of those accounts into one places brings order into chaos.

•TweetDeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com):  If you are truly wrapped up in the tentacles of social media, then TweetDeck is the application for you!  With the same multiple accounts split screen view, TweetDeck brings the management of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and mySpace within easy grasp.  The main difference between Seemic and Tweetdeck is user preference.  If you are limited in your interactions to Facebook and Twitter, the Seemic is amazing at delivering both of those to your virtual doorstep.  If you want to include outside accounts like LinkedIn and mySpace, then Tweetdeck gives you all of that in one simple place.

•Social Oomph (http://www.socialoomph.com):  All I can say is OMG!  When I first tried Social Oomph (which was TweetLater to those of the old school of last year!), I thought I had died and gone to Twitter management heaven!  Although this application is only for Twitter, Social Oomph gives you the advantage of customizing a message to send to everyone who follows you, lets you decide how to accept followers, and…ready for this?  Social Oomph lets you schedule tweets!  While I definitely DO NOT suggest that anyone spam their Twitter list, there are many times when I want to share what I am doing with others without stopping several times during the day to put it in 140 characters.  When I am traveling, this is the perfect way to let people know where I will be or send out reminder tweets about upcoming events.  Remember, NOTHING replaces actual interaction with the people in your social media sphere.

•SMS (your cellphone!):  It is safe to say that almost every social media application these days has a way for you to update your profile or status via your cell phone or smart phone.  While it can definitely make life easier when you can just text in 140 characters or do a quick update to your FBP (Facebook profile), it is addicting too because it connects you every single minute that you carry your phone.  Mostly, this has been responsible for the incidents of texting updates during church or in the bathroom.  If you are going to take this route, then please be conscious of the people around you before your spouse reaches over and drops your phone in your water glass at dinner (I swear…I saw this happen!).  And, realize that NOT EVERYTHING needs to be shared.

•Automatic Updates:  There are positives and negatives to completing the circle of social media.  If you enable automatic updates in your social media accounts, then you should be aware that mean EVERYTHING you tweet, blog, and post hits every possible avenue immediately.  In creating 360 degree coverage of all of your materials, promotions, and ads, this is the quickest way to make sure all bases are covered.  BUT…and this is a biggie…be sure that you really want everything to feed directly into your accounts especially if some accounts are for business use and some are for personal use.

Quick point in fact:  Before I go on, I want to make sure that it is clear to every breathing person on the web that Facebook has business accounts and, if you are using Facebook for business, this is the type of account you should be using!  There are many reasons, but transparency and market segmentation are two of the biggest reasons.  My next article, Facebook for Business: Fan or Friends, will explain this in depth, but using a personal level Facebook account for business not only violates Facebook TOC, but it also isolates you from the privacy protection and promotion of your business.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program, automatic updates can be set up for bring blog posts into your LinkedIn account, share LinkedIn updates on Twitter, and add a tweet your Facebook entries and blogs.  The one exception is, in a business account, Facebook does not update to Twitter.  As of now, Facebook only updates Twitter if you have a personal account.  Solution?  See above for one of the great FREE applications that allow you handle all of these tasks in one place!

Although there are tons of other applications and time saving tips for social media management, any these will get you started.  As they are all free, I suggest that you try each one on for size to see what works best for you.  The most important part is to save time and produce quality information to connect with followers, friends, and fans.   Even though most of these applications might sound difficult, they are each easy to install with a wizard that walks you through it.  Since it is easy and FREE, what else could be better?

With the time you gain, check out our new group, Networking in High Heels, at www.networkinginhighheels.com.

Four Worst Email Marketing Errors

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At least once a week, someone writes to ask me why their email list is dwindling in readership and subscription rates are dropping.  Almost without exception, the answer can be narrowed down into one of four mistakes.  Although it seems to be in fashion to let the instant connection of social media bleed over into email marketing efforts, this mentality poses the problem of overexposure and violation of spamming laws. 

In both instances, avoiding these email marketing blunders can help reach customers and avoid losing potential sales:

1.  Customer Centric Information:  The most common unfounded belief is that customers are waiting to receive an email about what YOU are doing.  So many times, business owners focus their newsletters and emails around promotions and marketing of events.  In truth, giving readers information to help them solve a problem or answer a question makes you an expert in the mind of your customer.

2.  Permission is Precious:  The worst offense any business owner can make when using their email list is forgetting that email is not the same as social media, even if that is how you gained permission to use someone email for contact.   If you want to keep your email marketing list strong, then ask yourself these important questions before you hit the send button—

  • Does it serve a purpose for my customer or is it just marketing for my business?
  • If I had to call my customer on the phone instead of send an email, would this message be adequate reason?
  • Would I be annoyed, as a customer or business owner, to receive the same email in my inbox? 
  • Would I stop to read it and start to anticipate the next email?

If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding NO, then take a few minutes to consider how to correct the problem before sending the email.  By remembering that every person on your email list can remove their name by simply clicking a button or report you to your email provider for spamming, the goal of providing quality email marketing messages mixed with strong informational content will keep your readers both interested and involved.

3.  Time is of the Essence:  Many business owners’ loose subscribers merely due to the amount of email they send to their list.  Sending email two or more times a week can lead to overexposure and be a huge reason that email recipient lists drop in numbers.  Instead of sending several emails a week, it is better to schedule your emails on the same day of the week and set a time for delivery.  For example, print out a calendar and mark all important marketing events.  Then, back up several weeks and plan to send email blasts on consecutive Tuesdays very early in the morning.   By sending on the same day every week or month, you teach your customers to anticipate your email connection instead of resent it.

Note:  Studies show that email promotions sent out early Tuesday morning achieve better results because Tuesday is a breather day in the work / activity schedule for most people and early morning puts your emails at the top of the inbox.

4.  Your Partner, Your Problem:  Partnerships have become very common place between small businesses.  Although cross promotion can be very valuable in reaching out to new potential clients, it is vital that the “special offers” be more valuable to an email list than to the business owner.   By sharing partners with your email list, you endorse the services or goods of your partner to people who trust you.  If you send them an offer that is not specific to their needs or solves a problem they encounter, then they will click the unsubscribe button.

Although many business owners slip into the mentality that the loss of subscribers is acceptable because they are not interested enough to purchase, this is a waste of marketing dollars and can cost the restriction, or possible loss, of an email marketing database.

Plus, without argument, eliminating these four errors from your email marketing will help you achieve your real goal in engaging in email marketing:  increased customer loyalty and higher sales conversions.

Facebook 101: How to Find Friends

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The main reason most people join Facebook is to find long lost friends and connect with family.  In many ways, Facebook is the online meeting and tracking place for friends and family.  For best results with finding friends and family with Facebook, joining specific network will allow you to see the people others who identify themselves as part of that network.

Find your friends, co-workers, and family members on Facebook by:

  1. Log into your Facebook account and go to the Settings tab in the blue bar at the top right.  Go to the Account
  2. Settings in the drop down menu.
  3. On the right side of the screen, there is a text box to type the social media network you want to access. 

Specific social media networks can include:

  • Schools  / Universities (such as Clemson University or XYZ high school)
  • Work / Companies (such as IBM or Twitter)
  • Cities (such as Baton Rouge Louisiana)
  • Associations / Organizations (such as Marine Corps or Direct Marketing Association)
  • Keywords / Interests (such as “women in business” or marketing)
  • Professions (such as marketing managers or coaching)

Fill out the rest of the required information .  When you press the “Join Network” button, you will receive an email requiring you to verify your email address.

NOTE:  You will have to provide an email address to access the network and confirm your identity.

To gain additional opportunities to connect with friends, family, and co-workers, use the search box at the top right of the screen to type in keywords from the social media networking list above.  This will give you a list of group pages and fan pages to connect with people of similar interests.

Now that you know how to find your friends and family on Facebook, get out there and start connecting!