Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Community Powered Web Marketing Management

Help us get out of our heads! We’ve been coding Marketing for Mavens for over a year now. Each week, new features are added, new bugs are fixed, and the value of the application grows. Marketing for Mavens is raw, it’s rough, and it’s far from finished (is any application ever finished?) but that doesn’t take away from how effective it can be for you now, in its current state.

Marketing for Mavens is an application that I’m very passionate about. I love web marketing which is a good thing since I’ve been doing it for 12 years. This experience has brought about different frustrations along the way which led me to build an application to address them. The problem is that working specifically on my problems doesn’t mean that it addresses the problems that everyone else shares or experiences. That’s why I’m looking for your help. For Marketing for Mavens to become the essential tool for web marketing that I think it can become, I need your help and feedback.

So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to shape the future of an application which will make your web marketing life/job easier, now’s the chance to join our beta, use the application, break it, push it to its limits, and provide feedback, suggestions, rants, smoke signals, and any other communication channels to help us help you. I want Marketing for Mavens to be a product that we are all proud of. The goal, to transform web sites into highly effective web marketing machines. Let’s make it happen.

At this point, you’re either ready to join the beta and our community and get started or you’re asking yourself, what does Marketing for Mavens do for me? The first is self explanatory, the second goes like this:

  • Web Marketing Campaign Management: Track and manage all of your web marketing campaigns in one location. Know who clicked on what campaigns and when. Know which campaigns are most effective and which are under-performing. Create campaign specific calls-to-action that are only displayed to the people responding to that particular campaign.
  • Twitter Campaigns: Post Twitter messages and track responses to see which Tweets get the most click-throughs.
  • Dynamic Promotions: Share web page real estate amongst several promotions (calls-to-action or page content) and match them to individual visitors based on their interaction on your web site. What does all this mean? It means your promotions are matched to the people who are most interested in seeing them, making it more likely people will respond to your offers. Now you can easily create dynamic content regardless of how your site is configured. No extra cost and just a small amount of JavaScript code which we give you.
  • Dashboard: Quickly see how your site is performing on a daily basis and how the day is tracking compared to the previous 7 days.
  • Report: See how your site (page views and conversions) and promotions have performed over the past 6 months.
  • Citizen View: See what brought each individual visitor to your web site, what they looked at, and what they were interested in so you can do a better job of developing content to match their needs and determine where the holes are in your site that may be losing valuable conversions.

We have a lot of new features on the horizon as well. Both the dashboard and report pages will continue to evolve as they become more effective tools for showing what led to traffic spikes, what campaigns performed best and when, which campaigns should be retired, and where money can be better spent to generate conversions and sales leads. Campaigns will have goals associated with them so you can track how well or how badly a campaign is doing, allowing you to make quick changes or divert money to those that are more effective.

If all of this sounds interesting to you, please feel free to join the community and sign up for the beta. We’d love to have you as part of the community. If you have further questions just send me an email and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

Thank you so much for your time!

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I’ve been working on new community site called WebMarketingTribe.com. One thing we’ve noticed over the years is a lack of a single resource for anything and everything related to corporate web marketing. so I’ve decided to take some time to develop a site to cater to this community.

The goal is to create a single resource that Web Marketers can go to not only learn about the latest news but also use as a reference to find the top historical information. In addition to news information, we’re also working on a resource section for tracking and rating all the tools related to our focus. We’re also looking at how we can better integrate RSS feeds, Twitter, and upcoming event information.

Please take some time to check out the site and let us know what you think. If you’d like to help out please let me know. The more the merrier.

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Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on Marketing for Mavens. This has drastically cut into my time on this blog but I wanted to post a quick note to highlight what I’ve been up to.

Back in June, we launched a beta web application called Marketing for Mavens (MfM). MfM allows companies to match their web content, promotions, and offers to the needs of the web site visitors. This is done by setting up section(s) of your web page(s) where you want MfM to control the content. As people visit your site, MfM tracks the pages they go to and tags them based on those pages. These tags help MfM analyze what visitors are looking for and display the most appropriate content/promotion/offer based on this analysis. There are several benefits to this:

  • Multiple promotions and offers can share the same real estate on a web page. You no longer need to build generic promotions that need to cater to all of your visitors or figure out how to balance or rotate several promotions on a crowded home page.
  • You no longer have to track all your promotions and offers. It is done automatically and the most appropriate content is delivered to your visitors in real-time.
  • Improved web site usability. Your visitors have a better chance of finding what they want since MfM is displaying content, promotions, and offers based on their history with your web site.
  • Better results. People are more likely to respond to your promotions and offers if they are inline with their needs.

Currently, MfM is in beta and will continue to be in beta through the end of the year. During the beta, registration and use of the MfM application is free. You can try out the service for as long as you want, on as many sites and pages as you want.

We also continue to add new features every few weeks which is where a lot of my time is going. In September we added:

  • Better Sales Lead Targeting: You can target content and promotions to select visitors. MfM allows you to customize web promotions that will only be seen by an individual visitor. You select how many times you want this promotion to be shown and it will be displayed the next time this person visits your web site.
  • Referrer Tracking: You can now see where your visitors are coming from and the search terms they used to find you. This gives you even more valuable insight into targeting your visitors, ensuring that you target them with the right promotions at the right time.
  • Link Tracking: You can now track which promotions are the most effective and eliminate under performing ones. A/B Testing of your promotions and offers can now be done as well.

If you’re interested in more information please check out the Marketing for Mavens web site. You can also sign-up for the free beta.

As things calm down on the MfM front, I hope to get back to blogging more frequently here.

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One of the problems with web marketing is that thousands of dollars are spent to bring in new visitors but only a small percentage of this is used to retain and nurture these visitors once they come to your sites.

One reason is the difficulty in building and targeting pinpoint messages, promotions, and campaigns to web visitors. Companies tend to focus all of their effort on getting the company message out to the public. The problem is “the public” is a very broad group so the content is watered down for consumption by the masses. This is not what most of your visitors are interested in.

Another reason is how difficult it can be to manage, maintain, and update content for individual web visitors. The people in the company who would best manage this content don’t have the tools and resources to access the web site and track how well campaigns and promotions are doing. Instead, they must fill out a web request form to get added to the queue. On the other hand, the web team is busy creating new pages for a product launches, managing Google Adwords campaigns, or analyzing web site statistics. They have tools that assist them in managing all of these tasks but they don’t have a tool for efficiently managing campaigns that are targeted to individuals.

A third reason is how easy it is to setup a Google Adwords campaign, show how many click-throughs your site is receiving, and stop there. You can get your ads out to the masses in just a few minutes. Then, every few weeks, you justify this spending because you can see the results in real time using the web interface or through nicely printed reports. This is great but it’s only half the battle. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take all of this great traffic you are getting from Google Adwords or search and continue to assist your visitors in finding what they want once they’re on your site?

This is why I built Marketing for Mavens. It’s a unique web application which puts the power of marketing to web visitors into the hands of those who are most capable of maintaining these campaigns. The web team can choose to keep control over the content management of the campaigns or give access to people in marketing programs or other groups within the company to handle this themselves. In addition, Marketing for Mavens tracks and tags each individual based on the pages they visit so now your company can ensure that your campaigns are matched up with right person at the right time. With Marketing for Mavens you know who your top visitors are and you can customize your messaging to them leading to quicker sales and improved visitor satisfaction.

If you are curious as to how this works please feel free to check out the demo. Marketing for Mavens is scheduled to launch a beta release in June so please sign up if you are interested in taking part.

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Recently, I talked about a new web app I’ve been building for the past month and half, Marketing for Mavens. I wanted to provide you with a quick update (more details are available on the Marketing for Mavens blog). I’ve never been able to get my ideas translated into code so quickly and I have the Ruby on Rails framework to thank for that along with Rails community.

Anyway, I’ve been making some significant progress and I hope to have the beta available in May. For those unfamiliar with Marketing for Mavens, it’s a web application which combines content management with web analytics to give you the power to distribute custom web content to your visitors based on how they use your web site. It isn’t meant to be a full-blown content management system or web analytics package. It is purely for storing and distributing custom content. Statistics and trends are recorded for each visitor (called citizens) so you know who your top prospects are. In return, your citizens receive content which helps them better find the information they need. The goal, reduce the amount of “be everything to all people” content and increase the communication with your visitors. If you’re interested in learning more please check out the blog.

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One of the toughest challenges for any corporate web site is getting people to come back. I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue lately and here are some of my thoughts.

People come back because:

1. They trust you, your opinion, your expertise, and commitment to your products/services. On the web, this is accomplished through the content on your site, the tone in which it is written, and the overall presentation (the look) of your site. If you fail at any one of these, chances are, you’ll have to do the other ones incredibly well or the person will not return. Your site must look credible, provide excellent information on your products and services, and talk to your visitors in the same tone you would talk to your friends (no run-on paragraphs filled with buzz words).

2. You consistently provide new information, thoughts, opinions, and answers to questions on a topic of interest to them. This can be done through blogs, wikis, or general content updates. Help the person do their job better or make their life easier and you’ll have an evangelist for life. Focus on how your web site can help them rather than how it can help you.

3. They have more questions about your company/product/service. Make it simple for repeat visitors to find information such FAQ’s, pricing, forums, support, etc. The first visit is generally to see if you can help them solve a problem. The follow-up visits are to convince themselves you’re the right fit for solving the problem.

4. They heard news/info on your company and they want to read your company’s opinion and information on this news. Don’t let the outside world do all the talking. Join the conversation. If you’ve just acquired a company, explain why you’ve done so. If news or rumors are swirling about one of your products, give open and honest information. It builds trust (see point #1) and it ensures people will come to you to hear the truth.

5. They want to participate in your community. Build forums, discussions, wikis, and other open participation communication tools into your site. Turn your best customers, your enthusiasts, into evangelists and people will consistently come back to learn from them.

There are going to be many other reasons as well. The bottom line is to think about your site from your audience point of view. Think about the questions they’ll be asking and how you can best answer them. Also, interview people and conduct usability testing. Unless you get out of your company’s “echo chamber” you won’t be able to come up with all of these answers on your own.

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I’ve been working on a graphic that helps me to visualize how traffic flows to a web site. I’ve used the software industry as the basis for this but it could easily be translated to any industry. I’m posting this in hopes of getting some feedback as I’m sure I’m missing some things and would love to hear people’s opinions.

Web Traffic Overview

I’ve found that looking at this diagram has helped me think about how each audience would get to a web site and the types of questions they’d be asking. I’m also working on a series of diagrams that breaks each audience segment into a work flow outlining the questions they’d be asking what information they’d be looking for. I’ll post these at a later time once they’re completed.

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Hopefully my employer doesn’t end up seeing this but it’s time for a job change. Commuting through traffic over 3 hours a day is just too much. This is about 15 hours a week that could be better spent with my family and friends. If you know someone who is looking to hire a web guru (marketing/design/development), preferably northwest of Boston (the Lowell/Burlington/Waltham area) please let me know. My portfolio is available here. I’m looking for the following in no particular order:

  • A company that is still small but looking to grow
  • A company where everyone pulls together for the common good…no “that’s not my job” type culture
  • No more than 30 minutes from my home…ability to work from home once and awhile a plus
  • A company that wants to be great…yes, a lot of companies say this but it’s a rare place where the people in the company actually believe it
  • A company that blogs, uses wikis, or embraces Enterprise 2.0 or at least realizes it needs to use these technologies and wants to start using them now
  • A company where its people are its second greatest asset right behind its customer base which it respects and talks with openly

I know I’m asking for a lot and there’s probably only a handful of companies in the world that fit into this criteria, let alone within 30 minutes of my house, but I’m going to go big and then take it from there. So what would you get from me in return?

  • Someone whose willing to do just about anything to see the company succeed
  • Someone with a broad range of knowledge in web technologies and corporate communication
  • Someone who enjoys change and is always looking for the next “big (or small) thing” that can be leveraged to give a company a competitive edge
  • Someone with 8 years of experience doing all things web who wants the chance to change the world
  • Someone whose tired of all the marketing spam and mass-advertising waste and just wants to “get real” and have real conversations with people about a company’s service or products using the web

Thanks to everyone whose taken the time to read this far. I appreciate your help! Please feel free to comment or email me any related information.

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