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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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I wanted to extend an offer I made on my Marketing for Mavens blog to a larger audience. The other day I was inspired by the idea that there are probably thousands of people out there with web development, web design, and web marketing questions but have no idea where to go to have them answered. Yes, there are forums out there for this sort of thing but sometimes you just want to have a conversation with someone. Over the years, I have learned a lot from the different communities out there and it time for me to give back.

I have decided that I’m going to donate an hour of each day to helping people with their web related questions. I setup a form that people can use to fill out a quick description of their question and how they would like to be contacted. I can’t make any promises that I’ll be able to answer every question but at the very least I can probably point you in the right direction. If you have a question, then please feel free to submit it to me. Thank you!

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OK, so today is the fourth day that I’ve immersed myself in all things RoR and I have to say that it is starting to get much easier. It was tough in the beginning since so many of the best tutorials are based on pre-Rails 2.0 but as I’ve mentioned in my last two posts, I’ve found some very helpful resources. There were definitely a couple times where I was ready to throw everything out and go back to PHP, which I am much more familiar with, but RoR kept showing flashes of brilliance in how quickly a web app can come together when you know what you’re doing.

So now, I’m over the initial pain of learning a new programming language and framework. I’m by no means an expert. I’d still consider myself a beginner but now I’ve found more than enough resources to keep me going when I’m stuck.

Visit my del.icio.us link for all of the best resources that I’ve found to help you get started. Try not to get too frustrated in the beginning and you will soon receive the benefits of this well thoughtout framework. Trust me, it will be worth it in the end.

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A couple of other notes.

I’ve found it much easier to develop in rails using Aptana Studio Community Edition. Instead of having several windows open all over the place, Aptana condenses it into one area and it really improves the development environment.

I’ve also continued to update my del.icio.us tag with more resources including this tutorial by Fabio Akita which has proved to be quite helpful.

I’m still struggling with wrapping my head around adding plugins and some more of the complex coding but with the help of some of these tutorials I’m definitely making some progress.

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I’ve been taking some time recently to learn Rails 2.0. Unfortunately, I’ve found it rather difficult getting started due to differences between 1.x and 2.0. It seems that most of the tutorials are based on the older versions. When moving to 2.0, it is very important that you find tutorials geared toward this specific version or you will run into problems right away. By far, the best resource to getting started has been Dan Benjamin’s guide to getting all of the applications up and running on OS X 10.4 and Ralph Edge’s tutorial for beginners. Ralph has also been very helpful in answering some questions that I’ve had. He’s very quick to reply in his blog.

I’ve also been trying to compile the best resources I come across on del.icio.us. For people who are interested, you can check them out at http://del.icio.us/cwills/rubyonrails.

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…and to continue to beat on this same topic. Here’s some more data from crazyegg that relates to people clicking on the company logo on the home page. See here for more details.

Total clicks: 22 (less than 1% of total clicks analyzed)

  • 18 of these clicks were made in less than 20 seconds
  • 11 made in under 5 seconds
  • 8 made in under 3 seconds
  • 5 made in under 2 seconds
  • Only 4 of the clicks came after looking at the page for more than 20 seconds

These results are the opposite of what I would have expected. I would have thought that the people clicking on the corporate logo would have been people that were lost but over 33% clicked the link in less than 3 seconds. I know we’re all in pursuit of instant satisfaction but I would think it would take people longer than that to get frustrated and click on the logo. These statistics leave me even more perplexed then ever as to why people are drawn toward clicking there.

As for the total clicks, it’s a low number when you consider it in comparison to the roughly 400 clicks being analyzed but it
out numbers several content areas on the home page and some primary navigation elements as well. There has to be more here. Perhaps I need to run a second test and see if I receive similar results.

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Here’s a random thought as I study a heat map of our corporate home page. When people click on the company logo in the top left corner of the page, where do they expect to go? Where should this take them? Isn’t it universally understood that the corporate logo in the top left is the “home” link? I don’t have an answer just yet but some experimenting is in order.

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