Archive for February, 2011

What’s driving traffic to your website?

A recent study by Forrester research shows that traffic generated from social media channels are on the rise, particularly amongst the younger users. Marketingprofs gave a nice overview of the contents of the report, which indicate that natural search and referrals are still the top two traffic generators.  The report finds that 14% of Gen Y (age 18-30) are referred by blog posts while 10% are referred by Twitter, compared to 7% and 5% of all adults respectively.

I took a look at my statistics today to see how I fall compared to the Forrester report. Natural search makes up 71% of my website traffic with referrals (email, blogs etc) referring 8% of my traffic.

This means a few things for me:

  1. I need to maintain my rankings in the search engines as it is currently the way most people are finding our business online.
  2. Our social media strategy is not bringing in much traffic. I have said before that pharma/biotech is more reluctant to use social media so this is likely contributing to the lower statistics for social media traffic compared to the Forrester report.
  3. We can’t lose site of programs such as Email. While it may seem boring and not conversational, it is certainly something that can’t be ignored if it is driving traffic to your site. Upon analyzing my referral traffic closer, 25% of it is coming from our monthly newsletter that we send out.

It is clear that staying relevant in the search engines and increasing my newsletter/blog subscriber base is important. Continuing to add  social media content will become more relevant for my business as the pharma/biotech industry increases its use.

The take home message: don’t get too wrapped up in all the newest things because that’s what everyone else is doing. Make sure you stay focused on the activities that are generating the most business (or potential business) for you. Keep in site the activities that are on the rise so you can ride that wave up as well (such as the social media).

What surprised me about the report is that Radio drives more website traffic than Twitter! I can’t even recall the last time I listened to radio – how about you?

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Does a mobile app make sense for your business?

Mobile apps

According to Forbes, 82% of US business executives and 28% of U.S consumers carry a smartphone. With the launch of tablet readers such as the iPad, more and more people are working with extreme portability. For both B2B and B2C marketers, integrating mobile marketing should be part of their overall strategy and is an ideal platform for brands to interact and collaborate with their customers.

So let’s talk apps.
I have an iPhone and absolutely love it. I am sure I will love my iPad equally as much when I get it (I am a fan of all things apple so I have no doubts). I have a variety of apps installed such as social media apps, banking and payment apps,  efficient utility apps (currency converters, time converters etc), travel apps and my favorite fast food ordering apps. I LOVE apps – I don’t have to bother with going to a users website to navigate all over, particularly when the site isn’t really designed for mobile. As I was using a variety of my apps today it got me thinking about whether or not it makes sense for a business to develop an app, and if so – which app platform (apple, android or blackberry).

When looking at mobile marketing, there are three basic ways to deliver content via a smartphone: normal webpages, websites designed for mobile devices and with native apps that run directly on the phone, which no doubt delivers the best user experience. Every business should develop a mobile friendly website to aid in having a strong mobile presence. Only then, should a business consider if an app would be worth considering.

Before jumping into the world of apps, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Know your customer base and their online behavior. Are they on smartphones? If so, which type (blackberry or apple)? Are they on Facebook, Twitter or email?
  2. Define your goals for the app. Does it give value to the user? Does it make your customer’s life easier or is it a gimicky marketing tool?

I myself prefer an app to a website when using my smartphone. I also am reminded of those businesses which apps I have downloaded on a daily basis. How about you – do you prefer mobile apps or websites? Does your business have an app?

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Are you drowning in the social media sea?

Drowning in the social media sea

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn……and the list goes on and on and on and on.

Last week I talked about whether or not your business should ‘do’ social media and of course the answer is a most likely yes, but what that looks like for each business will be different depending on your product, your target market and where your customers are at. Appending social media profiles to your customer database will help focus your efforts and prioritize since you are likely faced with resources (including your time) that are stretched thin. In case you hadn’t already thought of the  ways in which this will help, a quick list is included:

  • what social channels are your customers on
  • where to focus your efforts
  • identify those customers who may be influencers (hint: how many friends or followers do they have)
  • determine which subjects are most relevant to your customers (look at their feeds and discussions)

But a few I hadn’t really tackled or thought about myself until I read another post from Social Media B2B:

1. Compare your prospects to your customers. Seeing how your prospects compare to your customers behavior and understanding the differences between these two groups will help you adjust your message.

2. Target new customers. Of course, once you understand the above, you can then target new prospects who behave socially similar to your customer base.

What do you think? Would this be helpful in reaching your target? I have begun appending social profiles to my customer database and to no surprise, in the biotech industry, LinkedIn seems to be the place where I need to concentrate my efforts. Nope – not ditching Twitter and Facebook, but certainly realize that driving conversations via social media for my customer base is probably best done by LinkedIn….at least today.

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How to damage your brand in 140 characters or less

By now I am sure many have heard of the Kenneth Cole tweet promoting their spring line using the situation in Egypt for increased awareness. Unfortunately, Kenneth Cole has removed the tweet, however much damage has already been done.

Kenneth Cole Egypt Tweet

Kenneth Cole Egypt Tweet

It has been the center of outrage today, both on twitter and facebook, not to mention just about a zillion blogs and media mentions. Now the company has a PR nightmare on their hands. A fake twitter account has been started in the companies name and is tweeting numerous distasteful tweets, such as the one below:

Fake Twitter Account - Kenneth Cole

Social media gone wrong at its finest. Kenneth Cole has to manage a serious situation with its brand, which they don’t even have full control over at this time. We’ll all be watching over the next few days or so to see how this pans out. How Kenneth Cole reacts will decide how well they recover. After all, we can all remember the social media catastrophe that Dominoe’s dealt with last year and their disgusting pizza making Youtube posting employees. Handled correctly, and dominoes was able to recover and turn their brand around.

Let’s see how Kenneth Cole does….unfortunately they used a very sensitive and political issue. More damaging than a few guys stuffing cheese up their nose. Take this to heart…make sure there is a very clear policy for social media in your company. Review it, implement it, and monitor it always. It only takes 2 seconds and 140 characters or less to have a social media nightmare on your hands. Manage your brand carefully!

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Should you do social media?

I’m not talking on a personal level here – but specifically for businesses. For many companies, this is a question they are still asking and depending largely on the person you ask, the answer may be different. Sadly, many companies have not found the value in social media –  likely because they are confused on a viable strategy, how to measure the effectiveness – or just plain have a bias that social media is something that their kids do sitting at home all night. I like Beth LaPierre’s, Chief Listening Officer of Kodak, answer to this question: “Should you do social media? That’s like someone asking if they should buy a lightbulb after electricity was invented.”

Ok, so if you are going ‘to do’ social media? Does this mean all you have to do is stick a ‘Like us on facebook’ or ‘Follow up on Twitter’ on your website and in your email signatures and toss out a post or two on those platforms? Well you could – but that won’t be very effective. I know, that’s how I started doing social media for the B2B company I work for.

So what are some of the things that you can do to upon starting on the social media journey for your company?

  1. For starters, you need to make your Web experience more social. Many company websites are still static, one-way communication vehicles. An easy way to make that change is by starting a blog (if you haven’t already) and allowing visitors to discuss with you by adding comments to your blog. This is an excellent way to begin the two way dialogue with your audience, monitor their responses and opinions and then tailor future messages based on those comments.
  2. If you sell products, allowing ratings and reviews is another way to make your web experience more social and interactive.
  3. Polls and voting enable users to interact and engage with your brand and also allows them to get involved anonymously. You and your visitors can get real time results to an issue that likely matters to both.
  4. Bookmarking – make it easy for your web visitors to bookmark and share the content on your site.
  5. Establish facebook and twitter profiles for your business and listen. The content posted here should not be a complete replicate of what is on your website, but maybe a small piece of interesting information that can lead them back to your blog or website for more.

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