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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Three Online Customer Loyalty Mistakes to Avoid

Three Online Customer Loyalty Mistakes to Avoid
By Lisa Yorgey Lester, managing editor, Target Marketing
If you fail to serve the customer, you will lose a sale and possibly others that might have followed, which is serious enough. But if you fail to manage your customer relationships intelligently, you will lose
their trust and destroy your business relationship, writes Ken Burke, founder and CEO of e-commerce technology and services provider MarketLive, in his book “Intelligent Selling: The Art and Science of Selling Online.”

Burke recommends you avoid the following common mistakes that have a negative impact on customer loyalty.

1. Channel misalignment: Customers get disappointed and lose respect for your business when online discounts are not honored offline, when return policies in one channel are different from another, or when retail store staff is unaware of products offered on your Web site. Any disjoint between what you do and what you say (or what the customer thought you said) can damage the most crucial part of your loyalty-building toolkit—trust.

2. Poor Web site design: The desire to build brand identity can get out of control and lead to overblown graphics and inefficient navigation. Resist the temptation to elevate form over function. In the unique environment of the Web, quick still is more successful than beautiful. And, of course, quick and beautiful are better still. A good Web designer who understands and can work within the limitations imposed by the Web will save you large amounts of money in the long run , and directly improve your ability to satisfy customers and win their loyalty.

3. Lack of helpful tools: In a search to pare your site down to its fastest and most efficient form, there always is the danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. If you have tools that customers expect to find, that they need, or that they simply like to use, you should keep them, even if they seldom, if ever, lead directly to sales conversions.

Burke can be reached by e-mail at ken@mmlive.com

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Target Tightly with Google Demographics

Want to give your AdWords campaign an even better chance of reaching the right audience? Check out Google Demographics.

Google Demographics allows you to specify sites on which you want your ads to run. The program is only available to US-targeted sites so far, but it certainly is going to take the wind out of AdCenter's sails, since the demographic choices offered by AdWords are greater than those offered by AdCenter.

Although you're not guaranteed that your ad will only run on those sites, this is still a good way of narrowing down the "looky-look" clicks and increasing your ROI.

Google describes AdWords Demographics this way:

A demographic group is an audience that shares a particular trait or characteristic. This trait might be age, gender, income, or some other factor. If your product appeals to young women, for instance, you might want to target sites popular with the female demographic, the 18-24 age demographic, or both.

Please remember that demographic site selection cannot guarantee that your ad will reach only the exact audience you select. Most public websites get a variety of visitors. However, demographic site selection will help you choose sites where you're very likely to find the people you want to reach.

With the price of Adwords skyrocketing in the more popular categories, Google Demographics has the potential to save advertisers a bundle. For example, say you're an online retailer of pre-teen clothing for girls. Demographics allows you to drill down further than "girl's clothing" and select sites that specifically cater to girls, 9-12 years old, from families with a household income of $50,000 or more. Ideally, your ads will run only on the sites you select.

Google Demographics isn't widely known or used yet, and while the demographic information on larger sites is probably well known, on smaller sites, it's less likely to be so. We'll have to watch and see how this one shakes out.

And if you haven't already gotten your copy of The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, you're losing money right now.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Writing for Tech? Inquiring Buyers Want to Know...

What Technology Buyers Really Want to Know

“Just tell me what to buy!” is the exasperated lament of technology customers who are overwhelmed by jargon-dense, information-poor marketing materials. Whether in a direct mail piece, brochure, Web content or e-mail, your copy will have a greater impact if it answers the buyer’s real questions.

(read it all here)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Will Podcasting Steal the Show?

e-Marketer thinks so.

Mike Chapman, eMarketer Editorial Director and author of the new Podcasting: Who's Tuning In? report believes the audience may reach between 20 million and 80 million by 2010.

Consider this: More than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players and more than 6 million of them have downloaded podcasts from the Web so that they could listen to audio files at a time of their choosing.

And that number is growing all the time.

Add to that the new video iPods (and thier ilk), and you have a market that represents a large segment of the online buying public.

Pew Internet and American Life Project data report here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Web Users Surfing Just...Because

On any given day, almost one in three Web users, 30 percent, go online for no particular reason, for fun, or to pass the time. That's according to a recent study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Pew surveyed 3,000 adults last December, and their results indicate that...broadband users and young adults were more likely to turn to the Web without particular reasons than were dial-up users or senior citizens.

Not surprisingly, 37 percent of respondents between the ages 18 and 29 went online on an average day for no particular reason, compared to 31 percent of those between 30 and 49, 25 percent of people 50 to 64 years old, and 20 percent of people 65 and older.

How does this affect Internet marketing? Consider the desires of your target demographic: if you're aiming for a younger market, you should be looking at ways to make your web site (and their visit) more interactive. Video, audio, interactive games are all a good bet if you want to engage these users and entice them to spend time on your site.

Dial-up users, on the other hand, are mostly using the Internet to seek out specific information, and will not want to wait for large video or flash files to load. Give them solid content, and they will likely stick around for a while.

And don't expect things to stay the same. As more and more Internet users embrace broadband you can expect to see a corresponding increase in surfing behavior. Which means that web sites will have to work even harder to hold a user's interest.

The upside of this is that this Darwinian environment should create better content in the long run.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How To Win at Google AdWords

If you're using Google AdWords to drive your traffic (and if you're not, you should be at least thinking about it!), and you've got lots of competition, you probably already know how easy it is to burn through your budget.

On the other hand, Google AdWords, done right, can supercharge your business like very little else on the Web. In fact, the majority of online advertising budgets are spent on Pay-Per-Click (PPC). And Google searchers have a higher rate of conversion than any other search engine out there.

To get the most from your Google AdWords budget... I emphatically recommend The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords by my colleague, Perry Marshall.

For beginners, Perry provides an straightforward primer on how to buy PPC without getting burned. And for those with some PPC experience, Perry shows you tips and tricks for getting maximum targeted traffic with minimum spend.

This is not your typical dumbed-down fluff. Every chapter gives you real examples that you can modify, apply and use immediately - to see an almost instant increase in your targeted traffic.

Best of all, you don't have to spend hours learning technical jargon or special coding. The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords is written in plain English; it's easy to understand, and easy to apply.

Google AdWords is not something you can afford to screw up. How savvy you are at playing the AdWords game makes a huge difference in the price you pay for every click.

Get The Guide. Learn to work the system correctly, and you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Google AdWords - Prettier in Pictures?

Google, the search giant and would-be multi-media advertising enabler, has opened up the bidding on its much-talked-about print venture. AdWords advertisers can now bid for 1 page, 1/2 page and 1/4 page ads in nearly 30 different lifestyle and technology magazines.

The test's purpose, the company says on its site, is to assess AdWords advertisers' demand for space in print publications. Google began a limited test of the service with select advertisers in August.

Advertisers who wish to participate must...
submit bids by February 20, and may have their ads included in issues appearing over the summer and fall of 2006.

Titles involved include Hachette Filipacchi books like "Car and Driver" and "Ellegirl;" Future Publishing titles like "Pregnancy" and "Women's Health and Fitness;" and Martha Stewart Omnimedia's "Martha Stewart Kids" and "Martha Stewart Living." For each publication, Google provides data on circulation, ratio of males to females, percentage of college educated readers, average age of reader, and average household income.

"We've been conducting a series of early phase tests to determine how we could bring
additional value to print advertising. We are continuing to experiment in this area and are now testing the application of an auction model to print media," the company said in a statement.

Similar to Google's AdWords auction process, the company will automatically "discount" bids, so that the winning bidder pays not his maximum bid, but only enough to outbid the next-highest bidder. The company isn't detailing creative specifications, but will send the information to the winning bidders.

Google's experimentation with print has been watched closely over the past several months, as the company seeks to exploit its technology and large advertiser base over a variety of media.

The company has also made big moves in radio, buying dMarc Broadcasting earlier this year.