21
Feb

Be Sure to Include Calls to Action in Web Site Content to Attempt to Engage with Visitors

This is the second of two posts to this blog on the topic of goals and events for Google Analytics.

ISVs looking to online media for marketing communications opportunities need engagement with web site visitors. Opportunities to engage are created by including “call to action” content on web pages. Test their effectiveness with events and goals in Google Analytics.

Registration forms, comment boxes, downloads are all examples of “call to action” content. The task is getting web site visitors to “take an action”, usually by filling in the form, or comment box. An event or goal should be set up in Google Analytics for each “call to action.” Actions taken by web site visitors are called conversions in Google Analytics.

Few conversions indicate problems with the surrounding web page content. But make sure, first, that the call to action has been carefully positioned to provide the web site visitor with an easy opportunity to engage. Move the call to action as close to the top of the web page as possible, and then retest before revising web page content. Keep in mind that web site visitors will only scroll down an unfamiliar web page for attractive content.

If the surrounding web page content looks like the problem, change it. Keep this process going until a satisfactory level of engagement with web site visitors has been reached. Lack of engagement with web site visitors is a very common problem and shouldn’t be tolerated. The best way to fix it is to continue to revise site content until web site visitors start engaging.

This same strategy can work for pay per click advertising campaigns. Dedicated landing pages should be built for each click ad. The content on the page should:

  • quickly inform the web site visitor about the specific product or service presented in the click ad
  • and present a call to action, or an opportunity to place an order

It is surprising how few click ads are supported with dedicated landing pages. Including the front page of a business web site as a landing page for a specific click ad seldom produces satisfactory results, but is a very common practice. Save a lot of wasted money by building landing pages for click ads before starting a campaign.

In the next post to this blog we will talk about keywords.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

3
Oct

Adding Data from Online Web Site Visitor Activity is an Essential Requirement for Successful Enterprise IT Software Development in 2012

In the first two posts to this series we have posited two mandatory requirement of launching an enterprise IT software product, and recovering from a failure with a promising new product opportunity. These two mandatory requirements include:

  1. Insulating core revenue from the product launch
  2. and implementing teleprospecting — with a conversation recording component — as a key method of collecting data about direct engagement with market prospects

In this post we will discuss utilizing analysis of online interaction with web site visitors (irrespective of whether or not visits are made to web 1.0 or web 2.0, social media, web sites) and experimentation with online brand messaging to add additional, but, nevertheless, essential additional data to the set of information that can be provided to stakeholders from the business (whether a sole entrepeneur, or members of a product launch team) to ensure that a correct set of decisions are made about a product launch.

In fact, for many enterprise IT ISVs, the sole method of engaging with prospects is all online. We have, in past posts to this blog, mentioned companies like Alinean, Inc. and Marketo, which we think have good stories to tell to entrepeneurs. It is now en vogue to contemplate product launches sans sales, altogether. We need to go on record as fundamentally disagreeing with this notion; however, the important point is that these positions have gained credibility (as outrageous as they may be) as the direct result of a very rich set of information that can be mined from online visitor engagement.

The primary vehicles for collecting this information, in our opinion, amount to using analysis tools like Google Analytics (we like this one as it is free to anyone with a web site), and Google Webmasters, in conjunction with online experimentation on brand message (via a modest application of paid online promotion, in the form or Google Adwords) to collect vital metrics about market perception of brand message.

In our experience, the results of implementing this two fold strategy of collecting and analyzing data about online visitor experience provides an entirely rich set of information that should be inescapable for entrepeneurs. In other words, the information collected from these efforts is critically important and must play a big role in formulating decisions about product success, failure, and any/all resulting actions.

In the next post to this series we will look at using all of the data collected about products that fail to conceptualize and bring to market follow on efforts that promise substantial success and, therefore, excellent return on investment.

If you are planning a product launch, then we think you will agree that a method of collecting data about online engagement with market participants (sales prospects, influencers, competitors, etc) is a capability that must be in place to ensure the best results from your campaign. If you lack the expertise to manage and maintain a successful effort in this area, then you should consult with a third party.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. is interested in opportunities in this area. Our monthly service plans start at $5000.00 with a 6 month minimum client commitment term. Please contact us to learn further. You can call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion about our services plan. You may also email Ira at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

7
Sep

Use Online Advertising Opportunities to Fill in Where Marketing Communications Budgets are Otherwise Limited

It makes sense for an early stage enterprise IT ISV to produce a realistic (meaning that the investment represented by the budget is truly available to be allocated, as planned) marketing budget. This budget needs to include the financing required to pay for the promotion that will need to take place to deliver an adequate volume of leads to produce the sales, which will, in turn, successfully deliver the revenue expected from the sales function.

But what if the planned budget amounts to a cash commitment beyond the reach of the business? In fact, from our experience, this situation is the norm, more often than not. We think that a combined effort that includes:

  • Online Advertising through a program like Google Adwords
  • Web page optimization for high search engine results placements (SERPs) for useful key words
  • Social Media Presence through News Annotation and Community Building
  • Integrated Direct Marketing including eMail Blast and follow up teleprospecting calls to recipients within 72 hours of receipt of communications
  • and, finally, lead management with Salesforce and/or MS Dynamics

can be very effective and, is much more cost-effective (if not outright less expensive) than a traditional marketing communications budget process that would avail of online services like Marketo or Hub Spot.

We have recently spent considerable time examining developments that Google has made with their Adwords product. In fact, IMB Enterprises, Inc. has joined the Engage for Agencies Program offered by Google. We plan on achieving certification for Adwords and, subsequently, Google Analytics in the near future. The point is that we now have a better of understanding of how Adwords campaigns can be used, effectively, for complex enterprise IT software products, through a combination of a MARCOM campaign to build brand awareness and a specific, targeted campaign to build sales opportunities. The beauty of this type of a strategy is that, once active, lots and lots of data will be forthcoming that can be used for two important purposes:

  • to refine key words
  • and to establish a ratio between click ad dollars spent and useful leads

Of course, an Adwords program complete with Analytics tracking will deliver much more useful data, but for our purposes in this post, the above two points are the most value results of a carefully coordinated campaign. Any size budget (even one that amounts to less than $10.00 per day) can be exercised to test the usefulness of the program. It will certainly make sense to add dollars as realistic objectives are achieved. The big plus is that there will be no need for a large cash outlay at the start.

If you have been following our recent posts on the importance of marketing communications, and product promotion for enterprise IT software, and you have a limited budget, you ought to consider the plan we have just described. Our retained services (3 mos minimum) start at $1250.00 per month. Please contact IMB Enterprises, Inc to learn further.. You can call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion about our services plan, which start at $1250.00 per month (3 mos minimum). You may also email Ira at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

22
Aug

Web Site Key Word Optimization Contributes Substantially to Narrowing the Visits to Engagement Gap

Successfully optimizing key words contributes substantially to narrowing the visits to engagement that usually arises as enterprise IT ISVs begin to promote their businesses online. Simply put, this gap amounts to a wide disparity between the number of visits to a web site and the number of opportunities to engage with visitors on business development topics.

It is important to reiterate that we are presently speaking about the experiences of enterprise IT ISVs, rather than businesses selling tangibles; for example, wedding dresses. IMB Enterprises, Inc. spent nearly 3 years from 2004 to 2007 working closely with a successful online retailer of wedding dresses on his online marketing and sales requirements. For example, we produced an automated system to publish product pages on his web site, which were all static pages and, in theory, inherently better optimized for search engine indexing. We also worked very carefully on competitive analysis and key word optimization requirements for this client who, admittedly, needed to sell items in a very competitive market. Unequivocally, we can say that engagement with prospects occurred with a substantially higher frequency for this client than is the case for enterprise IT ISVs, who are selling intangibles, with whom we have been working for the last 2 years.

Regardless of the differences between our experiences with these two types of clients on the topic of the engagement gap, we can say that the method of narrowing the gap amounts to the same careful analysis and refinement of key words. In order to analyze key word performance, relevant data must be compiled. Usually, relevant data amounts to historical search engine results placement (SERP) information for the three search engines that we care about — Google, Bing & Yahoo.

Tracking this information on a regular basis is very time consuming — especially where web sites to be analyzed include web sites maintained by competitors. Therefore, we look to commonly available software tools to automate this task. We are keen on Advanced Web Ranking from Caphyon, SRL. Most of these tools are in the low to moderate price range. As is the case with most on premise software, the learning curve required to manage this type of software can be steep; therefore, we think it makes sense to engage with a specialist who should be expert with a preferred tool and, thereby, eliminates the learning curve phase, all together.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. welcomes opportunities to collaborate with enterprise IT ISVs who understand the online marketing imperative in 2012. You can contact us online or telephone us at +1 631-673-2929. The first 15 mins of any consultation is always on us.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

12
Mar

Dark Ages Marketing

Many companies selling complex products and services do not see a role for online marketing within the overall product marketing plan beyond the presentation of a simple website in the form of an online brochure. Dismissing Al Gore’s “information superhighway” as a useful medium for marketing communications by relegating online marketing communications to “brochureware” is a major and costly oversight. Let’s keep in mind that as of March, 2011, the online web has been around for at least 17 years and is clearly the most used medium of expression in the world. One would think that online marketing would be a “must have” for any business, regardless of type. Why the dark ages for complex products and services?

An answer, in part, can be found in the erroneous notion that promoting online drives the “commoditization” of products. Jeff Thull, in his otherwise insightful book, “Mastering the Complex Sale”, curiously makes this argument and, thereby, reveals a troublesome achilles heel. Of course, many commodities are sold online, much as they are sold in any other type of marketplace. But to argue that “[t]he emergence of new technology is driving commoditization.” (Thull, “Mastering the Complex Sale”, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010 p.13) is to suggest that an entire new medium for marketing communication maybe a path not to travel. I fear that Jeff has not accurately captured the geography of new media. From my perspective, new media present a perfect venue for the type of marketing that complex products and services require.

I am not alone. As far back as the mid ’80s, the ad firm Poppe Tyson popularized the notion of the web as the perfect venue for products and services that require a “considered purchase.” They observed (as did Don Peppers and Martha Rogers who developed the concept of online marketing as “1:1” marketing) that the web is uniquely capable of providing a robust medium for individualized and personalized marketing presentations; in fact, internet technology delivered a whole set of personalization tools which, when used precisely and adeptly can help ensure that customer decisioning about complex products and services leads to a purchase.

The advent of “social” media has only heightened the ability of electronic media to provide a “personal” experience for marketing communications. After all, what could be more personal than Facebook? An adept marketer sees an unprecedented potential for highly segmented prospect/customer presentations in Facebook, Twitter and Blogs and deftly steers clear of commoditizing his or her products and services.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved