4 Ways to Get Better ROI through Inbound Marketing

ROI With Inbound Marketing

According to HubSpot’s ‘State of Inbound 2014’ report, more than twice as many marketers (45%) cited inbound marketing as their primary source of lead generation versus outbound (22%). But the question is, how do you make inbound marketing work for your business?

Here Are 4 Things You Can Do For Better ROI  

Creating a Buyer Persona

Buyer persona

A buyer persona can be created with the help of demographic information, challenges, goals and objectives of your target customers. Your target audience can be your existing customers and prospective customers. This can be done by interviews, surveys and research. Here are some practical ways of creating your buyer persona:

  • Uncover trends, by looking into your database, about how your leads find you and how they consume your content.
  • When creating forms for your website, use fields that record important information. For example, if your personas vary based on geography, make sure to ask each lead about their geographic location in the form.
  • Speak to your sales team and consider what they have to say about the leads they are speaking to the most. Are there are observations they have made about the leads?
  • Get feedback from your current and prospective customers. Analyze what they have to say about your products and services.
  • There is no definitive number of people you should interview. But once you can accurately predict what your interviewee is going to say, we’d say it’s time to stop.

How to use your information to create a persona

  • Fill in your personas demographic information.
  • Share what you have learned about your personas motivations. Tie it all together to show how your company can help them.
  • Prepare your sales team for conversations with the personas. Create a list of concerns your customers had and prepare the team to answer these questions if they come up.

Choose The Right Platform

Social Media

Whatever social platform you choose; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ your social presence and engagement is responsible for creating a good brand. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself, to find the right platform for your business.

  • Who are the present users?

For example, Pinterest is dominated by the female demographic. Of its estimated 10.4 million users, 80 percent are female. Nearly 30% are between the ages of 25 and 34, with the average user spending nearly 98 minutes a day perusing the site. Ask yourself if this audience is a relevant target for your business. Do not try to fit your business model to suit a social platform.

  • What type of content do they like to share?

Are your products and services popular with the trending topics on a particular site? Do they have similar interests? Facebook and Twitter are on top when it comes to sharing content. But for business audiences, LinkedIn or any such industry specific social sites might be a better choice. It provides wonderful networking opportunities with others in your industry.

Understanding the difference in social sites will help you choose the right one for your business.

  • How much time do you require to participate in a social site?

You need to make sure you do not have too much on your plate. You will get better ROI if you choose a few key networks and put the required effort to utilize its full power. Leading social sites have made sharing fairly easy. But the key is to have quality content ready to be shared on these sites.

Designing a Successful Campaign

successful online campaign

Marketing campaigns aren’t just for product launches. You need to treat every single marketing activity as a marketing campaign. Here is how you go about doing that:

  • Start by identifying your audience. The demographics, values, challenges, objectives etc.
  • Set attainable goals. You should know where you want to reach before you start. For example, generate 5000 leads who are interested in search engine marketing by December 2015.
  • Zero-in on the keywords you want to rank for as a result of the campaign. Use them across your headlines and your content. Do not stuff your content with keywords. Be consistent in keywords you use to optimize for search.
  • Create landing space and offers. Create offers to attract prospective customers and landing pages to convert those visitors. Make sure you include the keywords that you decided to rank for.
  • Get the word out. Send an email. Write related blogs. Share content on social media.

Marketing Automation

marketing automation

Once you have leads, it becomes very important to nurture these leads. Marketing automation helps in doing so. Here is how:

  • Set specific targets. Targeting a group of buyers with relevant messages increases the likelihood of purchase. Do not limit yourself to their job titles and demographics. Hone in on how they responded the previous campaigns or what they do when they visit your site. Jupiter Research compared untargeted campaigns with targeted campaigns finding that conversion rates can be up to 400% higher for the latter.
  • Nurture leads till they are ready to make a purchase. This is the biggest advantage of marketing automation. When people first visit your site they are not ready to make a purchase. But eventually, they will be. Marketing automation lets you set up a series of communication designed for different stages of the marketing funnel.
  • Get personal with your customers. Having access to a high level of data about your customers and prospects, it will be easier to personalize communications and services to your customers.

 

Use these steps for your inbound marketing and it will improve your brand value, customer satisfaction, and retention. All in all, it will hike up your ROI through inbound marketing. Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Addressing the Need for an Exclusive Mobile Website Experience

The mobile first approach

It’s nearly 2015 and through 2014 we’ve already crossed over into the era where mobile devices accessing the web have out-numbered PCs and laptops. As a digital company we’ve been using and advocating the need for mobile responsive websites for some time now and have worked on numerous web redesign projects ensuring the user experience is in tune with the way people browse in the present day. The way we saw it even two years ago, there is no excuse for not updating your web user experience or website to ensure it offers a good experience to users with laptops, PCs, tablets, iPads, smartphones and multiple screen sizes. Since the website is often the foundation of building a digital presence, responsive websites were the need of the hour. But that was then. This is now.

Now, the smartphone has captured an even bigger share of devices accessing the web and the user dynamics of mobile device usage (smartphones in particular) is very unique even compared to tablets, phablets, PCs and laptops. A mobile web user usually has the device held in one hand, uses a single thumb to swipe the screen, navigate, quickly scan content and hit a button or link. The behavior and usage is unique on a smaller mobile device like a smartphone and what you’re looking for while surfing with your phone is quick, accessible, compact content that fits on your small screen and puts what you need at your finger tips so you can act on it quickly. While responsive websites are important and do a great job addressing the design aspects of adjusting web content to multiple screen sizes, most responsive websites are still content heavy and designed first for the bigger screens and then adjusted to mobile (smaller screens) which means you still tend to do a lot of scrolling, read through more text, have multiple navigation links and go through what you would expect to see on a bigger screen. This brings us to the need to have an exclusive website or user experience designed first for the small mobile screen much the way great mobile apps are designed to optimize user experience on smaller devices.

After a lot of observation and discussion on the need to take a different approach to those browsing on mobile smartphones versus tablets and larger screens, we used Qliktag our mobile engagement software platform to design and host an exclusive mobile only version of http://Buzzfactory.net which would only display for those accessing through a phone based device and not tablets, iPads, PCs or laptops.

  

 

We approached this bottom up starting with the ultimate purpose of the mobile site which was to introduce a few our core solutions and generate instant inquiries with a form fill or call. Starting with the solutions pages, they were linked to a home page or basic root page which addresses who we are as a company. The content was stripped down to be as minimalist as possible keeping the messaging clear and concise while not getting into the drilled down details that our full website for other devices has. The structure of the mobile pages excluded a lot of sections such as about, team, clients, careers and most other sections since it was determined the mobile user is looking up only quick core details before making contact.

The results?

If the first few days are anything to go by, we have seen an instant marked increase in leads generated through the exclusive mobile site. The ease of making a quick decision to ask for a detailed proposal or inquire about one of our services has become considerably simpler with a few swipes of the thumb and a few inputs / calls to action. With the user experience more intuitive for a mobile user, the cycle from creating a first impression, to offering quick access content to finally placing a call to action has been shortened and the results have been exciting.

Our take on this.

Is responsive web design important? – Yes extremely

Is having a different version designed exclusively for mobile with exclusive content for mobile also worth considering – Absolutely yes!

 

Qliktag Software Inc Acquires Buzzfactory – It Started With A Dream

Buzzfactory Social Media & Digital Marketing Agency

Today has been a mix of excitement, nerves, fulfillment, anticipation, hope, reflection and whole lot of different emotions as we announce Buzzfactory Interactive Pvt. Ltd. better known as Buzzfactory.net has been acquired by Newport Beach headquartered Qliktag Software Inc. in a strategic decision to combine the innovation, technology product strength and vast business experience of the Qliktag business with the creative abilities, digital marketing domain expertise and content development capabilities of Buzzfactory and grow a stronger combined business.

As an entrepreneur, an acquisition for whatever reason you choose to consider it is the holy grail of your startup journey and although this was unexpected at this early a stage, I have an overwhelming sense of fulfillment today an equal sense of excitement and readiness to continue the journey and move ahead in this new direction since I still believe this is just the start and there is a long, long way to go.

It all started with a dream and a broad vision to go ahead and build a company that would be:

A. The kind of company I would like to work with if I were an employee

B. That is really passionate about the work we do and the journey we’re on

C. That grows beyond being about one person or a few people where we have ultimately built something of value (knowing well it’s not about an exit or an end but building something that can go on)

In that sense, this has been a milestone day to say the least. It’s been a 5 year ride for me at this point with a series of ups and downs along the way although looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. The real turning point was perhaps towards the end of 2012 which coincided with the seed funding offer from Qliktag Software as well as some really committed and driven individuals joining the team and the spell from that point has been even more exciting.  The relationship with Qliktag, the guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs as well as the natural synergy between the goals of Qliktag and Buzzfactory is what brought the discussions towards uniting the businesses and capabilities without changing the identities or core focus area of either.

Letting go of something that has been such a close dream for such a long time isn’t easy. However when you believe this is what is best for the future and the road ahead could be even more fun, it isn’t very hard either. We look forward to a new start and a lot more to come ahead!

Click Here to Download & Read the Official Press Release

There Is Really Only One Golden Rule To Getting Social Media Right

Getting Social Media Right

I know by making this statement I’m inviting trouble and expect some kind of debate on the topic from peers in the social media marketing industry. However, the longer I spend in this domain and the more campaigns I’ve witnessed, the surer I become that there is one simple golden rule above all else that is absolutely critical to any initiative by any business on social media…

Be social. 

That’s it! As “duh” as this bit of advice seems, to me, this is the one simple rule businesses in particular either fail to follow or simply refuse to follow being blinded by the belief that everything has to be strategic, planned to the core, analysed to a microscopic level and be followed through with pages and pages of reporting metrics. This is the one simple rule I have seen time and again flouted by businesses who invest in every tool possible, spare no cost in “trying to crack” social media marketing, are willing to spend hours on meetings and discussions but still expect to “market” on social media rather than see the medium for what it is.

Now having worked professionally in social media marketing for several years, I do see a value in having metrics. Likewise, I do see a value in having a crystal clear plan, strategy. analyzing everything that is done, and work on improving the approach. I know well that posting at a certain time on a certain platform is likely to have a better reach versus posting at some other time of the day. I also know using certain words in my content is strategically important and makes more sense than using other words that don’t serve my end business goals. However, I also know all these things carry less weight to the process than the most fundamental requirement in getting social media right which is the “actual will to be social” and all the strategy meetings, data you pull, metrics you read through, reports you generate and creative ideas you generate are not going to compensate for the simple fact that social media is not just a marketing medium, it is a place for social interaction, exchange, and two way communication and in any social environment, being social trumps everything else.

Just a few days ago on June 20th, I attended a social media day event organized at a fun trendy bar which serves some really good pan Asian fare. I met a number of really interesting folks there over some yummy appetizers and beer who either walked up and introduced themselves or simply joined into an existing conversation. We shared some stories, traded business cards, personal experiences, some laughs and got to know about what each other did within a social environment. I can think of at least 4-5 people there who I met who I may end up doing some business with in future although I didn’t actively seek them out or try and hard sell my company.

Now imagine if I had profiled the people who attended that event and said since my target buyers are only women over the age of 35, I’m going to ignore everyone else who tries to start a conversation with me. I’m going to craft a very marketing pitch, design a 6 foot banner and hold it up at the event offering people a 20% discount if they come up to me and sign a contract right there at the venue for my company’s services. I expect that 10% of the crowd will be women over thirty, I will make three announcements for my offer at 7:00pm, 8:30pm and 9:00pm because they would have had a few drinks by then. I will make sure I don’t use any millennial terms since my audience is older and I don’t want to appeal to the younger crowd and they are of no use to me. I will close exactly 2 customers on that visit which would give me a 200% ROI because the event and snacks cost me just a third of what I will get back once I am done shouting my announcements while everyone is trying to have a good time.

No one likes the guy who turns up at your child’s birthday party and tries to sell everyone Tupperware like that that was the sole reason they were there for. Then why do so many businesses still insist on following the same approach with social media marketing?

By all means, do a through analysis, put together long term strategies, use complex metrics and reporting tools, invest time, effort and resources in developing a strong social media presence but in all the enthusiasm of trying to get it right, don’t ignore the most fundamental thing social media demands of anyone who is on it…. be social. If you can do just that and do it consistently without the pressure of all the other things a business needs to worry about, it will pay off. It may not tell you in dollars and cents exactly how much it paid of, but at the very least, it will pay off. Without a strong will to actually be social online, you’ll find yourself trying constantly to put a square peg in a round hole.

 

Digital Transformation & What it Means For the Enterprise

Digital Transformation Enterprise

Digital Transformation – A word that’s floating around considerably around conference tables, office corridors and the water cooler in recent times. It’s a term you hear more within the enterprise as opposed to smaller and medium sized organizations and while many are talking about it with utmost urgency, not everyone is clear how it translates into actionable  “on the ground activity” where the real transformation actually happens.

According to Wikipedia:

Digital transformation refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.[1] Digital transformation may be thought as the third stage of embracing digital technologies: digital competence → digital literacy → digital transformation. The latter stage means that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain, rather than simply enhance and support the traditional methods.

It’s a constantly evolving term since Digital Transformation a decade ago till about a few years ago meant computerizing records, going paperless, automation. However, in the more recent context, digital transformation for the enterprise is addressing challenges and opportunities of the newer digital revolution where people are highly connected through the web, communications, commerce, interaction and businesses are rapidly moving online and society itself is increasingly internet dependent. Addressing areas like:

Digital Transformation Enterprise 2– How can our enterprise build a larger online footprint?
– How can we leverage social media to engage a wider customer base or build our brand online?
– How can we offer customer service, gather customer feedback, measure customer sentiments and communicate with them online?
– How can we re-design our website to serve as an interactive resource for customers rather than just display some company information.
– How can we develop web assets?
– How can we drive more inbound sales and revenue for the enterprise through the web?
– How can we leverage mobile technology and interact with the millions of smartphone users globally?

What we’ve observed is while most enterprises have figured out:

“Selecting and developing the the right technology is key to digital transformation”

That’s only half true. Because:

The combination of Technology + Humans are key to getting digital transformation right. 

Digital transformation today encompasses multiple dimensions like online advertising, user centric web design, content marketing strategy, social media strategy, mobile engagement, digital publishing, video and more. While enterprises find technology solutions to address how they plan to maneuver through the increasingly web driven digital era, they also need to address the human or “people” aspect of the transformation:

-Who are the right people to lead our enterprise into this digital era?

– Who are the right people to drive the activity required to build a larger web footprint and execute these strategies?

– Who will deliver our brand values, customer service, customer engagement on the web?

– Who will drive our mobile aspirations so that we can tap into the massive smartphone using consumer market?

Every time a major upheaval or transformation occurs in our world, it’s driven by a change in technology but is followed by a demand for highly skilled people to lead that transformation.  Computers lead the demand for a generation of software programmers and software experts to bring us into the computer age. Similarly, the social media and digital web revolution is paving the way for “digital” people to lead us into the next era for the web enabled enterprise. Social media experts, PPC experts, search experts, mobile experts, design experts, data analytics experts, content creators, influences, brand advocates, bloggers, viral video creators….“the digital people” as I call them.

Essentially, digital transformation for enterprises is the ongoing process of how to adapt to the changing needs on the enterprise caused by a transformation in the outside world. Right now, that change is the rapidly evolving social & increasingly mobile web. Equipping the enterprise with the right technologies and right people to spearhead this transformation is the need of the hour!

The E-commerce Digital Marketing Checklist For Entrepreneurs

e-commerce digital marketing

E-commerce Digital Marketing – It’s All About The Sales!

Starting out to create a e-commerce digital marketing presence can be hard if you are not well versed with the variety of options that are available. To make an informed choice, it helps to be aware of all the options out there which can help you increase your sales.

Different businesses have different goals when it comes to what they want out of their digital marketing activity. For most e-commerce businesses it is visitors, conversions and sales. With a little bit of patience and effort, you will not only be able to generate sales, but also build a brand experience that people can identify with. We have put together a small checklist that should cover some of the important areas that need your attention when it comes to building your digital presence and pulling in sales.

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms can be used to communicate your brand personality to your prospective customers. It also helps build “reach”, word of mouth and acts as a nurturing channel to constantly remind customers you are around. If used wisely, it will help you to create a niche of loyal customers who value your brand because it speaks to them. However, it is a bit unrealistic to expect direct sales from these efforts or look at it purely as a marketing platform that generates instant conversions. Look at it as a long term investment and not as an advertising channel!

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a must for all online businesses. Google keeps reinventing itself, and so do SEO techniques. However, SEO is something which is required invariably if a website or your products have to show up in search. Be sure to get each product page optimized. Get your site structure and landing pages in place. Also do submit your site map using webmaster tools. All these activities are well worth investing in at an earlier stage itself. After all what is the point of having great products if your customers don’t know where you are selling? Again a cautious word of advice: don’t expect SEO to generate instant sales on it’s own right from day one. It takes time to build search traffic that is of high quality and while this is what will eventually determine a lot of revenues, it’s a long term on going process.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click advertising or PPCs is something every online business has to use to ensure it gets right to get sales keep trickling in. Always keep aside a budget fo PPC, Google Ads that are search based, display ads, Facebook ads and paid advertising in general. Though these will lead to instant sales, be sure to factor in your cost of customer acquisition. Many ecommerce businesses fail to really factor their customer acquisition costs, percentage of advertising spend required and eventually fail to drive sales simply because advertising cots were kept out of the equation while determining pricing. Keep optimizing your ads to ensure that you are able to optimize on your investment and ensure higher returns on advertising spend.

 Affiliate Sales

New online businesses should keep an open mind about using affiliate networks. Networking, tie ups and reselling through other market places, stores and websites is usually the bread and butter for most new online businesses. You will have to part with a percentage of your sales when using an affiliate network or partnering with other channels of sales. However, these will help you in the long run as it will increase your visibility and online presence to customers who would otherwise not have heard of you. Listing on coupon and deals sites can also help customers, stumble upon your website, looking to cash in on a good deal!

Buzz / PR & Coverage

What others are saying about you is perhaps even more important than what you’re saying about your self. Getting PR and coverage from third party blogs, sites, reviewers and publications can go a long way not just in terms of creating more visitors and traffic to the site but also building a reputation and confidence among users online. With so many ecommerce sites going up each day, standing out and being talked about is an essential area of your overall digital strategy.

User Experience & Website Technology

Another often ignored area is user experience and choice of the e-commerce website/platform. Since your website is going to be a major factor in influencing the final choice of the customer, be sure that is free of all bugs and problems. Ensure that the UI is flawless as a bad user experience will result in users landing on the site but not converting into sales despite there being no issues with the product, price and other factors. A/B testing can help you increase the number of conversions. Payment features should be simple, secure and work perfectly so the process of an user landing on the site, browsing products and checking out is seamless.

 

An e-commerce venture (especially a new one) is often easier to setup and start than it is to succeed at since it takes a tremendous amount of daily effort on a number of fronts before sales start to happen at a respectable rate. Unlike a physical store which has foot traffic and people passing by, an online store isn’t going to have visitors magically appear unless you make it happen. However, with a focus on some of these core areas of e-commerce digital marketing, consistent activity on these fronts and building your ecommerce brand one step at a time, you could be on your way to being the next big name in online shopping!

Buzzfactory Unveils Qliktag Mobile Marketing Campaigns Contests & Promotions Platform In India

Press Release

Qliktag will be to “on-location” mobile marketing campaigns and promotions what Wildfire Apps & ShortStack have been to Facebook contests & promotions

11th November 2013, Pune, India – Social media and digital marketing agency Buzzfactory today unveiled the private beta version of Qliktag an innovative new mobile marketing campaigns, promotions & contests technology platform which focuses on “in-store” or “on-location” mobile user engagement which could have a significant impact on how brands interact with consumers in the highly mobile device driven Indian consumer markets. Qliktag a mobile engagement platform which was launched in private beta in the US just a few months ago by Mobile marketing campaigns contests and promotions software platform“When you walk into a store or a restaurant you don’t want to have to spend time download yet another app. With Qliktag, we’re offering a platform that lets you (as a brand or business) create your very own interactive mobile experience, contest or promotion for your customers without having to make them download an app” says Dilip Daswani, CEO, Zeebric LLC and inventor of the Qliktag solution. “Moreover, it’s a terrific way for brands to start bridging their offline presence with their digital online presence through smartphones which millions of Indian consumers carry with them as they shop and use everywhere they go. Facebook contests and promotions has grown into huge marketing channel. Mobile contests and promotions delivered through technology like Qliktag has the potential to do the same with mobile users in the physical world” he adds.

“We have been using the Qliktag platform ourselves to create some really fun and exciting mobile contests and campaigns” says Neil Sequeira, Founder & Managing Director at Buzzfactory Interactive. “It’s astonishing how quickly you can create a mobile campaign based on a creative strategy using Qliktag and we believe it has applications that span just about any business or brand that has either  physical products or a location whether it’s restaurants, showrooms, cinemas, stores, malls, airports or anywhere else people use their smartphones” he chimes. “We’re very excited to be working with Qliktag and it’s India roll out which will happen in due course since we believe mobile marketing in a market like India is one that can’t be ignored byany  means. Buzzfactory is also looking to develop services around Qliktag where we’ll assist develop and execute mobile campaigns as an agency and stay closely involved in the designing of on-location collateral and everything that is needed to execute these campaigns and promotions successfully” Neil comments on the plans for Qliktag and Buzzfactory.

As work on the platform continues at this stage, Qliktag will be offered to businesses / brands or agencies on a monthly subscription model at an introductory monthly subscription fee for now through Buzzfactory on request. With a subscription a customer will be able to create up to 5 contests, campaigns or instances of mobile landing pages each month. A self-service full beta version of the platform is slated to be launched soon.

 

About Zeebric LLC / Qliktag

Zeebric LLC is an innovator of software working on technologies that bridge consumers & brands through mobile & technology. Headquartered in Newport Beach, Orange County, California, Zeebric’s Qliktag platform is a game changing platform for brands & consumers to interact more closely with one-another fostering stronger relationships with customers, increasing loyalty & increasing revenues.

About Buzzfactory Interactive

Buzzfactory is a 360 degree social media & digital marketing founded in Pune India in 2009 with global clientele and offices in Pune, India as well as Orange County, USA.  As a pioneering digital agency Buzzfactory’s delivers consulting & execution to help clients develop a stronger digital presence based on their long term web objectives.

Contact

Neil Sequeira

Phone: +91 879-33-22-77-3

Email: neil [at] buzzfactory.net

BlackSparrow – A Case Of If You Cant Make It Fake It?

The Rise & Fall Of The Fake Digital Agencies

 

Today the team at Buzzfactory is in a state of:

– Shock

-Disbelief

– Pity

– Disgust

Why? Because it was brought to a notice that an agency by the name BlackSparrow.co.in had not just plagiarized our entire website, they have attempted to steal our identity.

An identity we have spent nearly 5 years creating and poured several thousand man hours into building through sheer hard work and dedication. We have seen the growth of social media and digital agencies in India and around the world as a good thing. Its the birth of a digital revolution and there will be a growing demand to have the right skills and talents to spearhead this digital revolution but it sure as hell isn’t going to come from “Fake” agencies such as BlackSparrow.co.in who use identity theft as a means to create a credible website and ride on the coat tails of a company like Buzzfactory to deceive some gullible clients they are dealing with a professional digital agency.

What are we talking about?

BS Home Page - TopjpgHere is a screenshot of the BlackSparrow.in home page so far it looks like they just borrowed the theme and design but it gets worse….

BS Home Page - Second Half

 

Oh no they’ve copied all the content from our home page and all our solutions…except they’ve removed our mascot.

Buzzfactory Home Page

 

Ohh look they’ve also copied our about content on who we are as an agency….flattery???

BS Home Page - Third Section

 

Ahhhh that’s not all… they have copied every service offering down to the last detail and …ummm well everything else.

BS Services Menu

 

 

Alas…there’s a lot more!

But the question is would you hire an agency that:

1. Lifts content (Agencies are hired on their ability to create awesome compelling content and here is one that doesn’t do content for their own website)

2. Doesn’t realize how Google functions (Most agencies that work in the Digital space know Google penalizes duplication of content from existing sites. If you have a page published which has sentences lifted from another site, bye bye page rank)

3. Has no issues with identity theft, plagiarism and no remorse for lifting another established companies identity and passing it as their own?

 

It’s sad but it’s people like those behind a farce like BlackSparrow.co.in that dupe clients and people in general creating distrust in the market which isn’t deserved because there are plenty of really talented, knowledgeable and creative interactive agencies in this country. Is this a case of – if you cant make it fake it?

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

When is the right time for start-ups to start social media marketing activity?

Right time to start social media marketing

A dilemma that many start-ups face today is the question “When do we start social media marketing outreach? Do we start before the launch of the product or after we are completely ready with our products and service offerings? To answer the question let us consider the analogy of a brick and mortar store. Every entrepreneur knows that in business it is all about location, location and location! Now, if you were to open a store in a mall’s forefront, you might get a modest footfall right on day one. On the other hand, it would be difficult to draw huge customers footfall on day one to a shop located in a corner or for that matter in a small alley on the street.

Similarly, in the virtual world Google can be considered a mall where everyone is trying to get onto the front page results of Google. With hundreds of thousands of websites getting launched each day it isn’t easy and only gets harder. The purpose of social media activities like blogging, developing a community on Facebook, engaging on other social networks is to develop word of mouth reach and visibility: not direct sales or leads as if often presumed. It’s a very organic process which takes a considerable amount of time to drive more awareness, more people talking about you or spreading the word about who you are or what you offer. It’s a brand building exercise, not a sales drive.

That said, for your brick and mortar store would you wait till it has completely opened doors or would you start telling your friends and relatives before that? If you don’t spread the word beforehand and build some excitement for the day you open, who will come to that grand opening and the days that follow? A similar concept applies to start-ups and social media campaigns for outreach. Ideally, you want to get the word out and start building some excitement before you launch so there is some traction as soon as you do go live. At the same time, you may want to hold off on activities like advertising, pay per click campaigns or going all out since you don’t want to spend on these activities until you are actually live. These are sales oriented activities, not brand building or visibility development.

An ideal time to start with social media outreach activities and building initial buzz would be a few (2-3) months in advance to the planned launch of your website/product. Too early and you may end up creating customers with nothing to sell. Too late and you could have a store open with no one that knows about it and a long road ahead to start building that awareness which is slow process in its initial days. Depending on the nature of your start-up, we would say start your outreach and community building activity just ahead of your launch so that you have had enough time to build a little rhythm with those activities so when you do launch, you’re not starting from scratch but looking to move your marketing activities to the next gear.

Getting Traffic But No Conversions – The Achilles Heel Of Online Success

responsive web design example

“We’re doing social media, we’re spending on PPC campaigns, Google Adwords, content marketing, SEO and everything possible! And yet, we haven’t generated any leads, sales, conversions or anything to justify the time and effort spent!! Sure, we’re increasing traffic for the website but nothing is coming through!”

How many can relate to this scenario? Right, we’ve seen this trend time and again where an organization has pulled out all the stops to implement a full on social media, content marketing and digital marketing campaign to either generate leads or step up online sales through the website and despite a clear increase in website visitors, little or none of it translates to success. This is effectively a case of bringing in a whole lot of fish with the right bait, but they won’t bite. More often than not, we’ve seen the issue lies in the website which simply doesn’t do the job once visitors have landed on it. So if you’re planning an online outreach and marketing effort, the right place to begin is by studying the user experience & visitor flow of your website.

Older websites designed to provide information but not designed to engage a visitor have particularly archaic layouts which results in loss of opportunities. There are several reasons a perfectly qualified visitor could bounce (leave the site in a matter of seconds) and fail to convert some of the common ones being:

responsive website design re design

  • -The site loading time was too slow & visitors now don’t have the patience to wait for components to load
  • -The visitor didn’t get the message of what this site is about in the first 10 seconds spent glancing the site or what the value proposition is instantly and decided to move on
  • -The site was not responsive or mobile friendly. Remember from 2013, the number of people that access the internet via mobile devices has exceeded the number of people that browse using laptops and PCs.
  • -Poor navigation and finding what the user is looking for could be an issue
  • -Call to actions like “call us”, ”buy now”, “sign up”, “fill in the form” etc. may not be prominent enough or placed at every point the visitor could make these decisions.
  • -The messaging & content may not be designed to grip the visitor and channel them through an evaluation process that finally pushes them to confirm interest or buy

Whatever, the issues, it’s essential to know them and have a website designed or re-designed which is strategically developed keeping in mind how the average user behaves once landing on the site before beginning any online marketing activity. To begin with ask yourself:

  • -What is the ultimate objective of the website? -> Is our current website geared to driving visitors towards that objective?
  • -What is going on inside a visitors mind when he lands on our website? -> How does he/she interpret what is there, navigate and interact with the website?
  • -Is our website messaging simple and clear enough to drill home the point or does it complicate things and beat around the bush?

A website could be feature loaded technically brilliant and yet practically rubbish from the user experience perspective. It could be visually stunning and yet communicate zilch about why the visitor should pick you over anyone else. It could have super design and well done content but fail simply because technically and structurally there are major flaws which prevent it from succeeding. Online success begins and ends with the website so if you launch your marketing with a flawed platform to begin with, it won’t work no matter how good your efforts are. It’s like being set up to fail.

So before you launch an online outreach campaign or if you find your efforts are creating an increase in visitors but not translating into success, take a step back and have a look at the website. Is it delivering on all fronts? Can it be re designed to create a better user experience? A website that is designed right will deliver with minimal traffic. One that is not can be the Achilles heel of your efforts to succeed online.