Making Websites & Email Marketing Work for Small Business

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How website design and email marketing can be made more effective for small businesses and why they require different (but related) approaches.
An introduction to the use of personas for small businesses to use for website design and marketing campaigns.

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Making Websites & Email Marketing Work for Small Business

  1. 1. Eric SalernoRedEmberMarketing.comesalerno@RedEmberMarketing.com<br />Making Websites & Email Marketing Work for Small Business<br />
  2. 2. On the Agenda:<br />1) Defining Goals & Customer Personas<br />2) Layout & Design Considerations<br />3) Creating & Monitoring Calls to Action<br />4) Relationship Maintenance<br /> marketing<br />Each section will include observations about how website and email marketing present different marketing challenges and how to approach them.<br /> email<br /> website<br />vs.<br /> marketing<br />
  3. 3. About This Presentation<br />This presentation is:<br />A 20-25 minute review of how website design and email marketing can be made more effective for small businesses and why they require different (but related) approaches.<br />An introduction to the use of personas for small businesses to use for website design and marketing campaigns.<br />A representation of only one person’s perspective in a sea of talented marketing professionals.<br />This presentation is not:<br />A technical guide for designing websites or HTML emails.<br />An evaluation or critique of HTML aesthetics/designs.<br />A definitive guide to developing websites or online marketing communication plans. <br />A discussion about Search Engine Optimization (although it’s mentioned)<br />The last marketing presentation you’ll ever need to view.<br />
  4. 4. Defining Goals & Customer PersonasDecide what YOU want first, then identify the customers that make it happen*.<br />* You should have evidence that these potential customers already actually exist!<br />1st – What are your goals?<br />When your website is working great, what specific results do you want?[Sales calls, products purchased, contact forms filled out, videos watched, information shared via social media, surveys completed, permissions granted… the list goes on.]<br />2nd– Are there different goals for different visitors?<br />Perhaps you have a complex sales cycle. Do early prospects in early stages have different goals than those in late stages? Perhaps you have different types of products, customer segments or both. These questions help define the personas you’re targeting.<br />3rd – Ok, Ok…. But what the heck is a persona?<br />“Personas are fictitious characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the users in order to help to guide decisions…&quot;<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personas#User_personas<br />
  5. 5. Goals, Personas & SegmentationHow do goals and personas impact website and email marketing?<br />Website Perspective<br />Email Perspective<br />Goals: Engage and convert.<br />How personas are used: Make it easy for visitors to self-select their segment and deliver the content that is most relevant to them.<br />Visitors make their own selections and must figure navigation out on their own. (so make it easy!)<br />Whether you use a product oriented structure or persona oriented, personas can still be used to influence decisions.<br />Are your products or services already aimed at a specific set of personas? How that might impact your design/layout?<br />Engage visitors with relevant content targeted at more than one persona!<br />Goals: Entice and click (and/or share).<br />How personas are used: Identify segments within your email list and create targeted content that resonates with specific groups.<br />You, the sender, has control over the targeted content, but a limited time to convey your message. Get to the point!<br />It’s up to you to collect enough data to adequately segment your lists and take advantage of the opportunity.<br />Whether it’s a special offer, a newsletter, or a transactional email, they are usually more closely related to an ad or series of ads. <br />Don’t just notify your subscribers, motivate them with uniquely relevant messages!<br />
  6. 6. Layout & Design ConsiderationsComparing website & email design<br />Website Perspective<br />Email Perspective<br />Web browsers have come a long way in supporting different approaches to programming (HTML, CSS, Javascript, Flash, etc.)<br />The market is dominated by 2 major players, but a few others remain very important.<br />Email clients, unfortunately, do not adhere to a clearly defined set of standards. There are also more than 20 popular clients that share a significant amount of market share.<br />Email platforms can vary by industry, product, or household.<br />[August 2009]<br />[June 2009]<br />Source: www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp<br />Source: www.EmberMail.com platform statistics<br />
  7. 7. Layout & Design Considerations Comparing website, landing page and email design<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Website<br />Limit the number of layers in your navigation menu system. Keep it simple and easy to use.<br />Are your pages over-utilizing folder structures? Consider a top-level navigation structure.<br />Are there multiple ways visitors can get to the most important content?<br />Try different forms of media: Video, papers, podcasts, webcasts, tutorials, demonstrations<br />Mobile internet usage is growing like crazy. Create a mobile-friendly version of your website’s content.<br />Navigation: As easy as possible, make it logical.<br />Create an engaging experience that drives visitors to your goals.<br />Design: plethora of approaches are effective, but content control is highly important.<br />
  8. 8. Layout & Design Considerations Comparing website, landing page and email design<br />Landing Pages<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Navigation: Limit distractions (nav. links)<br />Build confidence and trust quickly to convert more visitors.<br />Design: Keep cutting edge technology to a minimum to avoid alienating visitors and make testing easier.<br />Test! With enough volume / time, you can analyze visitor data to determine effectiveness.<br />Shake things up – compare landing page performance with a multi-page microsite.<br />Experiment with number of fields in forms to find your audience’s limit (usually ~ 5-7).<br />Try dynamic landing pages that serve unique content based on a visitor’s profile.<br />Check out Google’s Website Optimizer (it’s free)<br />
  9. 9. Layout & Design Considerations Comparing website, landing page and email design<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Email<br />More testing! Try different:1) Subject Lines 2) Content 3) From Addresses<br />Create useful fields in your list and encourage customers/subscribers to update their information/preferences.<br />Feel free to experiment, but work towards a consistent set of design standards.<br />Use email activity to segment and target active or non-active customers uniquely.<br />Video is easy on websites, but in email it’s a challenge. Try animated .gif’s, or images that contain familiar “play” buttons to convey that video is available and entice a click. [animated gif’s not supported in Outlook 2007]<br />Navigation: Encourage opens & clicks on content.<br />Relevance is king! Target your message/design to different profiles.<br />Design: Know the limitations of each email client and design your emails accordingly. [example: Email design favors tables!]<br />
  10. 10. Creating & Monitoring Calls to ActionGetting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Website Perspective<br />Is your phone number one of the top-most items displayed on your site? Should it be?<br />Are your calls to action/goals highlighted with eye-catching styles? Are the styles consistent?<br />If your website isn’t already designed to do so, is there room to add an easily updated special offer area?<br />* Personas: Calls to action may also differ based on the persona, since they may have different motivators. Match your calls to action with personas’ motivators.<br />Make sure your goals are supported by strong calls to action that are displayed prominently, above the fold (bottom of window).<br />Goals may vary depending on the complexity of your sales cycle:*(engage today, interact next week, purchase in two months)<br />Put at least one call-to-action on each page of your website.(reading the text on the page is not a call to action!)<br />
  11. 11. Creating & Monitoring Calls to ActionGetting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Email Perspective<br />* Do your emails use alt tags for images to identify their purpose & encourage viewers to turn images on? Do you include a link to an online version?<br />† Are you making it easy for readers to forward to a friend or share with their social media network?<br />Structure for 2 popular SWYN Links:Twitter:”http://twitter.com/home?status=Check out this great offer from ABCWidgets http://tinyurl.com/9k2yxw”<br />Facebook: “http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http://Email_URL&t=Check out this great offer from ABCWidgets”<br />Are you putting relevant (and the right number of) calls to action in your emails?<br />Ask your customers what kind of content would be most valuable to them and deliver!<br />Consider the use of animated gif’s to highlight the calls to action within a more engaging email.<br />Your calls to action will vary based on the purpose of each email.<br />Limit the number of calls to action and make sure they are clear, visible near the top and addressed with text & images*.<br />Frequency matters:Too much = annoying Too little = forgotten Test different delivery days<br />Once opened, the goal of your email is to encourage clicks and/or sharing†.<br />
  12. 12. Creating & Monitoring Calls to ActionGetting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Email Perspective<br />What do your subscribers want?<br />Your calls to action will vary based on the purpose of each email.<br />Limit the number of calls to action and make sure they are clear, visible near the top and addressed with text & images*.<br />Frequency matters:Too much = annoyingToo little = forgottenTest different days for delivery<br />Once opened, the goal of your email is to encourage clicks and/or sharing†.<br />
  13. 13. Creating & Monitoring Calls to Action Getting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Website Perspective<br />Google analytics is free and extremely popular. <br />Define the potential paths/funnels you are encouraging visitors to follow and track how well each is working.<br />Most analytics tools work via javascript, which isn’t perfect (about 5% of internet users have it turned off) but it is very accurate.<br />Monitoring the activity of website visitors is incredibly valuable and not that hard. There are many tools to help & some are even free. <br />Create or modify your website so you can easily identify conversions by tracking visits to thank you pages, time on a specific page, etc.<br />
  14. 14. Creating & Monitoring Calls to Action Getting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Email Perspective<br />* Email campaign performance reporting is still subject to rendering of images, so data is not perfect.<br />33% of email subscribers choose to visit a site directly rather than clicking on links within an email. <br />Check if your email marketing tool can integrate with your website analytics so you can attribute traffic coming from email.<br />Improving campaign performance requires testing, as mentioned earlier, try different:1) Subject Lines 2) Content 3) From Addresses<br />Monitoring activity with email is equally important, but you’re pretty much limited to the functionality of your email marketing tool*.<br />One of the most common questions is to compare HTML and plain text email effectiveness.The answer: Test your own list.[keep in mind that it may be more difficult to monitor plain text emails]<br />
  15. 15. Creating & Monitoring Calls to Action Getting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Email Perspective<br />Monitoring activity with email is equally important, but you’re pretty much limited to the functionality of your email marketing tool*.<br />One of the most common questions is to compare HTML and plain text email effectiveness.The answer: Test your own list.[keep in mind that it may be more difficult to monitor plain text emails]<br />
  16. 16. Creating & Monitoring Calls to Action Getting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Email Perspective<br />Monitoring activity with email is equally important, but you’re pretty much limited to the functionality of your email marketing tool*.<br />One of the most common questions is to compare HTML and plain text email effectiveness.The answer: Test your own list.[keep in mind that it may be more difficult to monitor plain text emails]<br />
  17. 17. Relationship MaintenanceThe key to maximizing marketing ROI<br />Website Perspective<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Frequent updates to your website content is a form of relationship maintenance - not only does it give visitors a reason to return to your site, but allows you to create a wider variety of relevant information.<br />There are a variety of tools that can help: <br />Blogs:Some are easier (Blogger) than others for non-techies to get going, and others have taken off (WordPress) with open source developers adding many bells and whistles. Another alternative is TypePad.<br />Cameras and software:Inexpensive webcams and screen-capture software make it easier than ever to produce your own multimedia content.<br />Consider adding an area on your site that encourages a dialog: blog, community, Twitter feed, Facebook updates, etc.<br />Understand the difference between WordPress.com / WordPress.org<br />Tip: You can remove the “.blogspot” and “.wordpress” elements of your blog URL by adding CNAME records to your DNS settings.<br />
  18. 18. Relationship MaintenanceThe key to maximizing marketing ROI<br />Website Perspective<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Frequent updates to your website content is a form of relationship maintenance - not only does it give visitors a reason to return to your site, but allows you to create a wider variety of relevant information.<br />There are a variety of tools that can help: <br />Web Content Management Systems (CMS):Allow non-technical employees to update content without HTML knowledge, but requires more investment upfront.<br />Social Media:Facebook and MySpace pages are a lot like blogs – you update content, and build a list of fans or friends. The platforms help you control communications to people that in turn, can more easily spread your information to their network. [Keep in mind that along with your sought-after compliments may come harsh criticism!]<br />Twitter is a little different is more like a continuous conversation that continues whether you’re participating or not. Monitoring the “stream” can help you identify people that are most likely to become customers or have a network that contains potential customers.<br />When deciding what content to frequently update, try adding commentary on recent events in your company, upcoming events, or even external topics that relate to your offerings.<br />Use Google Alerts and Social Media monitors (check out Trendrr, IceRocket, Scout Labs & TweetDeck) to identify and track relevant information that you can use to create content for your site or start a direct dialog with someone.<br />
  19. 19. Relationship MaintenanceThe key to maximizing marketing ROI<br />Email Perspective<br />Tips & Considerations<br />At its best, email marketing delivers personalized and relevant information to passionate subscribers that respond with increased purchases and recommendations.<br />At its worst, it can turn off or offend once-loyal customers who realize that their choice of retailer or vendor just doesn’t understand or respect them and results in lost sales and negative buzz.<br />The three most important factors for email marketing success:<br />1) Trust 2) Relevancy and 3) Value<br />Rate each of your email communications in these three categories regularly, and it may change how you approach your communication style – for the better.<br />Segmentation ideas:<br />Active vs. Inactive subscribers<br />Customer Loyalty (special rewards)<br />Recent purchase history<br />Geographic location<br />List Growth Ideas:<br />Track referrals & forwards and reward top performers. Provide an incentive to share.<br />Offer exclusive content and deals to your subscribers.<br />Promote your list at the register, on signage, in your email signature, on receipts, etc.<br />Promote someone else’s company in exchange for their mutual promotion of yours.<br />
  20. 20. Inspiration from Seth Godin:<br />Refer to: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/09/things-to-ask-before-you-redo-your-website.html<br />Things to ask before you redo your website (re-organized by topic)<br />Goals<br />What is the goal of the site? In other words, when it&apos;s working great, what specific outcomes will occur?<br />Are we trying to close sales? Do we want people to call us?<br />Are we telling a story? Are we hoping that people will watch or learn?<br />Are we earning permission to follow up?<br />How many times a month would we like people to come by? For how long?<br />Do we need people to spread the word using various social media tools?<br />Are we building a tribe of people who will use the site to connect with each other?<br />People / Personas<br />Who are we trying to please? Is impressing a certain kind of person important? Which kind?<br />Who are we trying to reach? Is it everyone? Our customers? A certain kind of prospect?<br />What are the sites that this group has demonstrated they enjoy interacting with?<br />Do people find the site via word of mouth? Are they looking to answer a specific question?<br />Content Characteristics<br />Is there ongoing news and updates that need to be presented to people?<br />Is the site part of a larger suite of places online where people can find out about us, or is this our one sign post?<br />Is that information high in bandwidth or just little bits of data? <br />Does showing up in the search engines matter? If so, for what terms? At what cost? Will we be willing to compromise any of the things above in order to achieve this goal?<br />Team Characteristics / Budget<br />Who needs to update this site? How often?<br />How many people on your team have to be involved? At what level?<br />How often can we afford to overhaul this site?<br />How much money do we have to spend? How much time? <br />And finally, Does the organization understand that &apos;everything&apos; is not an option?<br />This presentation is focused on these areas.<br />
  21. 21. Chart for what subscribers want<br />
  22. 22. Contact Info:<br />Eric SalernoRedEmberMarketing.comesalerno@RedEmberMarketing.com<br />

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