Blog about Internet marketing strategies - social media, & SEO

User Experience and Marketing: A Delicate Relationship

Traditionally marketing and user experience were two departments that weren’t concerned with one another. Today, however, as the Internet continues to evolve the way business is done marketing and user experience have become more entwined than ever before. Both sides are concerned with adaptability and usability as they will ultimately lead to a broader reach and customer acquisitions.

User Experience and Marketing

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Customer experience is changing these specialties individually as well as how they combine to create more powerful messaging and campaigns. For companies to be successful today they need to help customers and adapt to customer needs as they evolve. Many of today’s evolution are related to the rise of mobile technology and devices, and some major players are already taking notice.

Google, for example, may soon be penalizing websites that don’t take the mobile user experience into account. According to the January 2014 Mobile Technology Fact Sheet 63% of adult cell phone owners using their mobile phones to get online and 34% of mobile phone Internet users only go online by using their phones versus any other type of device. With numbers like these it’s easy to see why Google may be altering their search ranking algorithm to take the mobile experience into account. The Googlebot is able to view websites on a code level as well as the way that a human user would see it, meaning that the bot is able to differentiate between a good mobile user experience and a poor one.

According to past studies from Google 61% of users will not return to a mobile site if they previously had trouble accessing it on their phone. Google is deeply concerned with the user experience and sites that don’t share their commitment could find themselves dropping in Google’s search results.

In addition to ensuring that a website is optimized and responsive, marketers should remember to make the user experience all-inclusive. Not only should content be robust and informative, it should also communicate with them – maybe even literally. Live customer chats allow marketing team members to instantly chat with customers and provide exceptional experiences.

Outside of the mobile realm, at a core level companies need to give their customers dynamic tools and resources that help them make smarter decisions. Solving customer problems engenders loyalty and builds more layers of customer engagement. Marketing and user experience can work together to improve customer interactions across the board and deliver more effective, user-focused experiences. This cohesive approach helps to create a stronger brand and focuses customer interactions on selling and more successfully leads customers through the sales funnel.

User experience combined with marketing strategies can help refine a company’s target market. User experience is a broad concept that works across multiple aspects of a business, not just usability. It has an especially significant impact on customer satisfaction as the principles of user experience can help to simplify and improve the processes in which customers are brought to the brand and how they interact with it over the long-term.

To achieve long-lasting customer satisfaction marketing teams and user experience teams need to understand the business and define their objectives. These objectives should align with both the company’s goals and the end user’s needs. User-centered marketing and experience programs help companies gain new insights into their business.

Marketing and user experience support each other as well as the overall goals of the company. When all departments and team members share the same focus there is a greater chance for success.

About the Author:

Nick Rojas

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

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About Grit

The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things – you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.

Beautiful words by Will Smith. You know Grit now – that hunger to not give up what you want.

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My Idea of Creativity

Here’s my two cents on creativity.

creativity

Good Taste + Lot of Shit Work Experience = Chances of Creativity

Good Taste – Work = Prepare to do shit works (be glad if your own works feel crappy)

Bad Taste + Lot of Shit Work = Shitmaster Forever

Bad Taste – Work = Time to get your taste right first. Follow good stuffs early.

 

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Performance of Top Nepali Sites

The current election, with over 12 million registered voters by far one of the largest participated event in Nepal.

Big event means more interest across all channels, including online websites and social networks.
For a small country with ridiculously large amount of news consumption and political interest (the number of TV, paper, radio and recently online news sites in Nepal easily tops thousands), online news sites are still the most visited websites in Nepal.

Such huge events also draw more visitors (traffic) to news portals, which require more bandwidth to handle the traffic This is similar to road traffic – more vehicles during rush hour requires wider roads and proper navigation to prevent jam. Servers with limited bandwidth can crash if enough care isn’t taken for.

Simplified Bandwidth Calculation Formula:
monthly bandwidth = average webpage size X average webpages viewed per visitor X monthly number of visitors
So for average webpage size of 500Kb, average person viewing 5 webpages, a website that gets 100,000 visitors in a day would need 7,390.98 GB bandwidth per month.

Having said that, the election is a pre-planned event and the number of visitors could/should have been planned for. I went through uptime and downtime for some of the popular news sites in Nepal over past few days and here is what it looks like (doesn’t look impressive).

Data is collected from 10 popular online news portals of Nepal, a blog and the election commission site of Nepal. The websites in alphabetical order are:

 

uptime for top nepali websites

last 24 hour uptime for top Nepali news websites

web server down

Latest times that a top Nepali news site was down. Some sites keep crashing all the time.

 

The election week took its toll on every server as record people from within the country and outside Nepal checked online for breaking news and voting updates. Also, social media sharing meant that news come immediately on large number of walls and timeline and so lot of people are on the same webpage at the same time. As sites went down frequently, some had light version site. Many sites opted for third party tools for faster updates and reduce bandwidth on their servers. Scribblelive seemed to be a favorite tool for most news sites – possibly due to its 30 day trial and ease of use. Some were even embedding Google Docs and different chart tools.

But, on average, Nepali online news sites were down for over 1/4 time over this week. Some sites were up 100% while it was monitored this week but the most popular ones seemed to be down more time. If we fail to plan even for planned event, how could we possibly plan during disasters – where more people could be rushing for updates from their favorite news site? Time to step up!

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Social Media Marketing = Long Term Commitment

Now you cannot build a proper business with short-sighted strategy, can you? For the long term positioning, your business has to work and invest in a brand: social media marketing can be a great component to that.

Gary Vaynerchuk nails it when he says this:

Social media marketing is like going Beyonce on your customers.
You gotta put a F***ing ring on it!

So the next time you decide to use social media for marketing, don’t go half-heart or try around each networks you come across. Have a social media strategy and make a long term commitment to give the best for your users and for your brand.

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Five Tips To Improve Exposure on Facebook’s News Feed

Do you have a Facebook page like many other businesses do? If so, then you should also be concerned about something many people involved in SEO have observed. That is, business pages seem to be generally ignored in Facebook’s news feed. Some leading SEO company professionals are even complaining that Facebook is deliberately ignoring business pages so you’ll be forced to pay for a “priority slot” in their news feed.

As things stand right now, it’s likely that only about seven percent of your target audience actually get to see your posts. But, before you rush to pay for an increase in viewership, you may want to try improving your exposure in Facebook’s news feed by making a few tweaks to your page first.

EdgeRank

What is EdgeRank and why does it matter? You may not realize it, but Facebook has an algorithm that largely dictates how much of the content you have on their site is shown to your target audience and what percentage of that audience will actually see each post.

This is EdgeRank and it is the biggest reason why only about seven percent of your target audience gets to see your posts. Once you reach a decent number of fans on Facebook, therefore, your focus needs to shift from trying to acquire more fans to trying to reach as many of those fans as you can. Here are some tips on how you can possibly double the current percentage of your audience who sees your posts:

Facebook EdgeRank
EdgeRank is the biggest reason why you may not have the kind of visibility you expect on Facebook. Image source

1. Measure Your Current Reach

Each business page is different and may have a different set of data. It would be wise for you to find out exactly how well you’re faring in terms of reaching your target audience on Facebook. You just might find that the biggest reason why you’re not getting the results you expect from this social networking site is the fact that you’re not reaching enough of your fan base.

To determine your reach, you simply need to check your statistics on Facebook Insights. Get the total of your reach within the last month and then divide the result by your total number of fans.

Facebook also reveals the number of people that saw each post. If most of your posts are seen by only a small percentage of your fans, the problem could lie either in your content, or the time at which you post.

To ensure your posts get maximum visibility, it’s important that you schedule your posts at a time when most of your fans are likely to be online. This would depend on your time-zone and the demographics of your fan base. A process of trial and error and monitoring how many people see your posts at different times will help you decide on the best posting schedule.

2. Go Viral

There are several ways for you to make your Facebook page go viral, but perhaps the most effective is by running a contest.

If you have a good fan base already, you could create a buzz around your page by choosing a theme and then asking your fans to upload photos in accordance with the theme. Announce that winners would be chosen based on the number of likes each photo gets.

This results in your page link getting shared several times by your fans in their efforts to win the contest. Perhaps the best thing about such contests is that it doesn’t require expensive prizes. Even something as simple as gift checks and getting the winning photo posted as your page’s cover photo is enough to get people excited.

If your social reach is dismal or less that what you’d like it to be, you have start putting a strategy in place to increase fan engagement. The following are among the three best practices that can help:

a) In all probability the demographic profile a large section of your fans’ friends will be similar to theirs. So, if your reach level has become dismal, using Facebook’s ‘Promote This Post’ feature may help. It will improve your post’s visibility, and it will appear in the feeds of your fans’ friends as well. However, you should only use this option for your best posts, or those associated with a promotion you are running.

b)  Create content that your target market would like and find a way to associate your brand with the same. Look at SproutFoods Facebook page, for example.  They do a great job of engaging young mothers with a good mix of fun graphics, baby food advice, and interactive promotional post.

c) Organize giveaways and contests for your Facebook fans. If you use the Fangate, you can encourage non-fans to like your page as well.  Make sure though that the giveaway or prize is related to your brand or branding message in someway. If you are B2C this may be easy, since you can give away one of your products. But, for B2Bs organizing successful contests maybe more challenging.

A good strategy for B2Bs, therefore, is to offer information products like whitepapers, free seats in a webinar, third party invites to coveted Industry events, etc. This way they can use the prizes to add to their brand value.

3. Use Photos to Your Advantage

When we talk about content, we’re not just talking about pure text articles. Particularly in a social platform like Facebook, pure text is significantly less effective than other types of content such as photos.

If you want to increase your visibility on this platform, therefore, you need to share more photos and focus less on status updates. You may even use photos on your Facebook page to drive more traffic to your company website by providing a link on the caption that accompanies each photo.

Perhaps the best thing about photos where Facebook is concerned is that it has been shown to be the most visible type of content on the site.

Pictures, in fact are a great way to generate likes for your promotional posts as well. As per a Hubspot study pictures on Facebook get 53% more likes than the average post! So, if promotional posts are accompanied by attention grabbing pictures they are likely to receive more traction.

Facebook viral marketing

You can increase your visibility on Facebook by running a contest and going viral. Image source

4. Post Relevant Content Only

A lot of businesses make the mistake of posting random content just to get likes. While it may get them some short-term attention, such posts do nothing for the business’ brand value, and even tend to put off genuine fans.

‘Relevant’ doesn’t mean promotional, but content that’s in someway related to your niche, and that your fans would find useful. For instance, while posting funny e-cards and captions may not drive much engagement to a social media company’s Facebook page, an infographic about ‘funny status updates’ that generated a lot of likes probably would.

5. Engage

Engagement is still the primary goal of social media marketing. Therefore, you should do whatever you can to engage your fans and keep them interested in your brand. One very effective way to engage people is by uploading a photo and then asking an open-ended question in the description. Not only will this invite discussion, but it will also encourage people to share your photo, so don’t forget to add a link to your page in the description.

The ‘Like If’ approach works really well too, especially, if you can create a post, graphic, or video that creates an instant emotional connection, or can make people laugh.

Interactive posts related to key events, dates and news developments also tend to drive engagement. However, as a business you have to pick and choose, which dates, events, and/or developments you want to be associated with.

For instance, if you run a fashion and accessories business, you may want to be associated with Valentine’s Day. You could upload a picture of a stunning new top with a question like, ‘What would you pair this top with on your Valentine’s Day Date?’

While these strategies may not be able to extend your reach to a hundred percent of your fans, but they can certainly improve your results.

In order to make sure that the added exposure gets you maximum leverage, it’s a good idea to add a call to action in your posts, wherever it seems appropriate. It could be on the lines of ‘Like Us For More Updates’ or ‘Visit Our Online Store’.  To track the leads and clicks that you get from these posts, you can tag the URLs , through Google Analytics, or use bit.ly’s URl shortner.

These tips should hopefully help you increase your social influence and build greater fan engagement. Good Luck!

About the Author:

Emma-Julie Fox

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact www.pitstopmedia.com

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LinkedIn in Nepal

LinkedIn is a popular social network with about 200 million users and mainly used as a professional network. LinkedIn can be used by users and companies to create online profile, manage contacts and interact with their connections or groups. LinkedIn has recently also become a good source for business news and views.

As of November 2012, Nepal has over 140,000 users in LinkedIn . (Source: Socialbakers + Google).

One thing often misused in LinkedIn is the use of personal profile for company profile, which is separate. Companies should fill up profile as a company in LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/companies). Sending connection request as a company is not professional – sending as company member could be fine. I am friend with XYZ company doesn’t make much sense to me. You can follow a company you want though.

Some other segments that you can explore in LinkedIn:

Jobs
Posting jobs in LinkedIn starts at $195 and is basically useless for most companies in Nepal as of now. I’ve seen some companies here do Linkedin advertising but no direct job posting.

Groups
One of the widely used segment in LinkedIn by Nepali is the Groups. There are some popular groups such as Nepal Development Forum and Nepali Professionals Living in Nepal and Abroad

LinkedIn Group Nepal Development Forum

Answers
LinkedIn Answers has a good collection of business Q&A that may be related to the field of your work. Help others and help yourself.

News
LinkedIn News is a good source for business or other news that you choose to subscribe from. Not much to choose from Nepali news source yet though.

Applications
LinkedIn allows adding useful applications to your profile such as blog, presentations, reading list and polls.

Go on, explore LinkedIn and grow your network. You can also add me to LinkedIn if you want to.

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Creating Cornerstone Content for Successful New Blogs

The internet is vast, unpredictable and at times a lethal place! It does not choose what it envelops; absolutely everything is online and it’s a permanent thing! This is exactly why each one of us must be extremely careful of what we upload on the web. Garbage content will never lead to prodigious ratings at least that much should be obvious. What aren’t so evident are the techniques that will lead to boundless traffic, decent feedback and high rankings! This is especially troublesome for those who are just starting to their blogs. I had you newbies in mind while writing this article, so if you’re looking to start driving some traffic into your site, I’ll be providing you with some pointers that I hope gives your writing careers the push it needs!

cornerstone blog

Getting Started

So you’re starting up a blog wondering just how in the world people will know it even exists, right? Every single blogger has had the same thought, even the most successful ones, because everyone had to start at one point!

Blog writing is quite different from the normal writing regularly done on and off the internet. It’s more of quick and up-to-date material on a certain topic. People will visit you blog in search of this sort of information. In order to get readers to your site, you must have something called a Cornerstone Content.

Cornerstone Content simply put is content that provides remarkable value. It’s the sort that you pour your whole heart into its creation! This is what will define and brand who you are as a blogger. So how does one create such content? Here are 4 pointers that I keep in mind as guidelines when creating content that aims to find its way to the hearts of the readers

  • Know Who You Are Writing For
  • Have a Solid Foundation and Know the Value of your Message
  • Keep it Short
  • Proofread

Know who you are writing for

Blogging may have a more personal touch than regular writing, but this does not mean that you are writing only for yourself. You are writing for your reader who, in his search to gather information on a certain topic, stumbled onto your blog. The goal is to make him stay and participate in your blog, and perhaps even become an adherent supporter of your blog. Answer these questions to help find out who you are writing for: “Why is he visiting my blog?” and “How did he find it, keywords did he use to search for the desired information?” Try to keep your content as relevant as possible while giving it a bit of personality.

Have a solid foundation and know the value of your message

Writing just about anything under the sun will not necessarily provide you with the value that you are seeking. Your credibility is crucial as a blogger; once you lose it, it may be impossible to get back so don’t squander it by writing on stuff you don’t really know much about. Instead, create content based on information and aspects that you have a solid foundation of. In laymen just know what you’re talking about.  Being knowledgeable will add value to you as a blogger and to your site as a brand.

Keep it Short

The fact is, readers are very easily distracted, more so if they are looking to get quick information off your blog. Writing lengthy content might prove to be ineffective in. Keeping you posts short, precise and direct to the point will be best. If you’re not keen on keeping a certain topic short, you may break it down into several posts. If keeping it short is impossible, make sure that you keep your writing in a format that is very readable. Use bullet points, numbered sequences and pictures; this will make it easier to the eyes of the reader.

Proofread

Do not take for granted the power of proofreading your work; it could make or break you! Grammatical errors and misspellings are common in any form of writing. Readers may find this appalling, even disgusting, thus destroying any value your content may have. Make sure to read through your work at least once after finishing it.

There you have it, guys! I hope that these guidelines will help you in your blogging adventures as it has done me! I wish you all the best, blog well and most important of all enjoy doing it!

About the Author:

Tony Evans

+Tony Evans is a freelance web designer, an alumna of Upskilled Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Athena. She has a passion in Aerobics and cooking healthy recipes.

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