Perils and Promises of Technology in Online Communications


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Keynote presentation at NIRSA Marketing Institute. Reviews new options available for college and university marketing communications, the promise of new connections and higher impact and the perils of losing message control.

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Perils and Promises of Technology in Online Communications

  1. 1. NIRSA National Marketing Institute Hilton Head, South Carolina November 20, 2008 Communicating Effectively Online: Promises & Perils of Technology © Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. 2008
  2. 2. 8 top tips about the Internet… <ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul>
  3. 3. 7 topics to review today… <ul><li>Website Design </li></ul><ul><li>Search Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Writing Right for the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Web Analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Video </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, Message Boards, Social Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Staying Up-To-Date </li></ul>
  4. 4. 1. Website Design The Most Important Elements
  5. 5. Toward a simpler web design… <ul><li>Wikipedia is a “Top 10” website in popularity </li></ul><ul><li>Basic web design </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to quickly find content </li></ul>
  6. 6. 10 very visible program choices…
  7. 7. An almost perfect page design… <ul><li>Easy to scan content </li></ul><ul><li>Links from center of the content section </li></ul><ul><li>Restrained use of image that doesn’t fight primary content </li></ul><ul><li>Video element </li></ul><ul><li>Action steps in right hand column </li></ul>
  8. 8. Simple online forms… <ul><li>The shorter the form, the more people will complete it </li></ul><ul><li>Resist demographic surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Phone number if part of marketing plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone number will qualify interest intensity </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Special landing pages for campaigns… <ul><li>Never drop someone on your front page </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat and reinforce the message that brought people to the landing page </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the inquiry form simple </li></ul>
  10. 10. 2. Search Optimization Make Your Web Pages Easier to Find… “ Organic Search” more important than paid search… Simple steps have high impact
  11. 11. 1 giant among 4 players… Google has 60% or more of the search market
  12. 12. Imagine how organic search works… <ul><li>Millions of ants leave the nest each day in search of HTML content… </li></ul><ul><li>They travel over HTML links, one link after another… </li></ul><ul><li>At your website, an ant crawls over your links, tasting your content… each page is visited </li></ul><ul><li>At end of day, the ants return to the nest with the tastiest content found… creating a database </li></ul><ul><li>Key question : is your website tastier than your competitors? </li></ul>
  13. 13. 4 elements most important to the ant… <ul><li>Danny Sullivan on “eternal” SEO success points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good title tags on your pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good body copy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No barriers on your website to block the search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No broken links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No links that don’t go to an expected content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Content important to your audience is important to the ant </li></ul>
  14. 14. Important “organic” search elements… <ul><li>HTML page title </li></ul><ul><li>HTML text visible on the page </li></ul><ul><li>Inbound links… quality and quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Anchor text links within your website </li></ul><ul><li>Age of domain name, but .edu less impacted </li></ul><ul><li>Various other factors… hundreds or thousands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Update frequency, popularity, keywords in meta tags, image ALT tags, URLs </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Identify web pages important to SEO… <ul><li>For the conversion activity you want, where should people start at your website? </li></ul><ul><li>Never assume it’s the home page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most often it is not </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Think of “entry” pages or “landing” pages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content will vary with the conversion goal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always an obvious connection to the starting point </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your most important pages define where to start creating strong search marketing pages </li></ul>
  16. 16. Check the results of a Google search… <ul><li>The search for NIRSA results in 9 entry points to the website </li></ul><ul><li>Track use of these pages and optimize the most popular first </li></ul>
  17. 17. Free tool to check on keywords…
  18. 18. Recreational sports vs. Intramural sports 119 daily searches vs. 9
  19. 19. Two results for “recreational sports”… Michigan State University… University of Michigan
  20. 20. The top writing points… “Recreative Services” = no search results <ul><li>Use at least one key word in every page title </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat that key word in the primary heading on your web page </li></ul><ul><li>Put subheads in bold </li></ul><ul><li>Use keywords early in the first sentence on the page </li></ul><ul><li>Use keywords again about 3 times for every 100 words </li></ul>
  21. 21. Don’t “stuff” keywords… The page title and description, primary headline, one subhead, twice in the text… More and the page might not seem well written
  22. 22. 3. Writing Right for the Web Content people can scan in 2 or 3 seconds… “ Carewords” to engage people when they scan
  23. 23. Easy to scan for MBA content…
  24. 24. Web readers scan for “care” words… Use headlines that capture attention and engage the visitor… Write from the viewpoint of your audience… What are the “Carewords” that get attention?
  25. 25. Carewords for Executive MBA prospects UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School <ul><li>Words people cared about… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advance your career </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balancing work, home, and school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Career advancement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best school possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prestigious, well-recognized degree </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Words that didn’t rank high… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessible faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience of faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate sponsorship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shaping leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Class diversity (industry or experience) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format of program </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Make them obvious for visitors…
  27. 27. Direct marketing style helps people scan… <ul><li>Short sentences… 5 to 10 words </li></ul><ul><li>Short paragraphs… 50 words or less </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One sentence paragraph is OK </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sub-heads… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Active words, not labels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flow from the primary page heading </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bullet points </li></ul>
  28. 28. Direct marketing style helps people connect… <ul><li>Newspaper copy words… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ walk”… not “ambulate” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ confuse”… not “discombobulate” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ beat around the bush”… not “prevaricate” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Emotional language </li></ul><ul><li>Real stories about real people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best told by the people themselves </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visible prompts to take an action </li></ul>
  29. 29. Repeat the call to action…
  30. 30. Write about the real experience… <ul><li>“ Rolls-Royce has an obsession with quality appreciated by discerning customers” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rolls-Royce campaign before David Ogilvy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rolls-Royce campaign after David Ogilvy </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. 4. Web Analytics Important Marketing Information from How External People Use Your Website
  32. 32. What does a marketer need to know? Google Analytics has 80+ programmed reports about website data… More data than you need to know
  33. 33. Do you need to know 47 screen resolutions?
  34. 34. Let’s make a list from this page… <ul><li>Where did visitors come from? </li></ul><ul><li>How many were new? </li></ul><ul><li>Average time on page? </li></ul><ul><li>Bounce rate? </li></ul><ul><li>Where did they go? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Track navigation possibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn what’s popular and what’s not </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Check point to start…set goals <ul><li>Your web goals might include… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Watching a video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading a blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Registering for a sport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paying for a membership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscribing to a newsletter </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. KPI: Percent of new vs. returning visitors <ul><li>Are your marketing efforts bringing new visitors to your website? </li></ul><ul><li>Where did the new visitors live? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regions (states)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Countries? </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. KPI: Average time on your site… <ul><li>Average time on site is 1.38 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Is this good or bad? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depends on why they visited </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These visit were to see Link of the Week page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bounce rate: 72.9% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Looked at one page and left </li></ul></ul></ul>
  38. 38. KPI: Popularity of individual web pages… <ul><li>What pages are visited most often? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How long to people stay on them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they exit from these pages or move to other pages? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify pages you’d like people to visit that are being ignored </li></ul>
  39. 39. Getting started with Google Analytics…
  40. 40. 5. Video Capturing the Power of YouTube
  41. 41. Videos to tell your story…
  42. 42. Especially on YouTube…
  43. 43. And further into the social network arena…
  44. 44. 6. Blogs, Message Boards, Social Networking Don’t Forget Old Online Friends
  45. 45. Blogs to introduce people & sports…
  46. 46. Sports message boards…
  47. 47. If your goal is this…
  48. 48. When will you have this?
  49. 49. 7. Staying Up-To-Date
  50. 50. ClickZ
  51. 51. MarketingProfs
  52. 52. Thank You! Bob Johnson, Ph.D. President and Senior Consultant Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 226 Chauncey Court Marshall, MI 49068 248.766.6425 [email_address] Customer Carewords Research for Online Marketing Success: