Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thinking about redesigning your website?

Website redesign is always done with a certain objective and the investment done in projects should be justified by the returns. Every department of an organization has an opinion on how the website should look and feel and try to influence the web master for the same. I would recommend that there should be am interdepartmental meeting to freeze the scope of website project and technical details before the project is awarded to some vendor. The web master should be candid in explaining the effect of different features on user experience,business value and site performance.

Some of the common mistakes during redesigning projects are:

Site map: The site map should be structured in such a fashion that distribution of content on pages are even. Don't get carried away if you have more content for certain pages.
Content: Be truthful and don't boast about your capabilities. The client visit your website before awarding an order to you. They would be having false expectations and that may result in dissatisfaction and payment delay etc.
Flash - For an example of how Flash can ruin the user experience before it ever begins. It should not be used to make website more interactive and not to showcase your creativity.
Too Many Images - Adding too many images to your design can take away from the content and make it difficult for the user to find the compelling offers that you worked hard to create. When you do use an image, be sure to add an image Alt Tag, which helps Google associate a keyword with your image.

Yahoo recommends following techniques to optimize the images for a website:

1.CSS Sprites are the preferred method for reducing the number of image requests. Combine your background images into a single image and use the CSS background-image and background-position properties to display the desired image segment.
2.Image maps combine multiple images into a single image. The overall size is about the same, but reducing the number of HTTP requests speeds up the page. Image maps only work if the images are contiguous in the page, such as a navigation bar. Defining the coordinates of image maps can be tedious and error prone. Using image maps for navigation is not accessible too, so it's not recommended.

Load Time - Slow loading pages are less likely to be crawled or visited frequently by users and search engines alike.
Lack of Compelling Offers - While it's important to follow SEO best practices, it's also important to think about the true goal of your site - generating leads . Determine the offers you want to include on the home page of the new site.
Complicated Navigation - Complicated navigation makes it difficult for Google and your visitors to find information.
Dynamic URLs - Dynamic URLs are less SEO friendly than static because they do not include targeted keywords but instead include characters such as: ? = &. While Google can crawl dynamic URLs, static URLs give you control over the keywords that appear in the URL structure. Static URLs can also lead to increased click-throughs from search results because users can read the URL and know what the page is about before clicking.

  1. Six mistakes at time of website redesigning :
  2. Best practices for speeding up your

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marketing Sherpa Social Media Hall of Frame!

Initially Online Marketing was limited to Banner Advertising and Email Marketing and so was the area of operation of knowledge leaders in domain but the things are changing with trends in digital media. I have been following Marketing Sherpa  since last three years and consider it as a reliable source of information about trends and news in online marketing.Recently they came up with Social Media Hall of frame.

B2C Inductees

1. Paramount Pictures' "Paranormal Activity" Nationwide Opening Campaign

This horror movie benefited from almost paranormal levels of online buzz when its marketing team released the film for limited midnight screenings in 13 college markets. But the campaign's call-to-action caused more than 1 million consumers to demand that the film open in their cities as well -- paving the way for a nationwide release.

See how this multichannel campaign used everything from websites to widgets to promote the film "Paranormal Activity." The results were so good, they were scary!

See Paramount's "Paranormal Activity" campaign

2. Chick-fil-A Free Chicken Mailer

A free meal is hard to turn down -- two free meals are even more difficult. See how this quick serve restaurant location added a dash of social media to a direct mail coupon for two free sandwiches and achieved a delicious viral response.

See Chick-fil-A's campaign

3. Jimmy Choo's Shoe Hunt in London

This luxury shoe retailer looked for the cutting edge in social media promotion and walked right over it. Wanting to combine offline and online promotion, the team ran a treasure hunt in London to promote its new line of shoes. Hints about the prizes' locations were sent via social networks. Contestants ran all over town, and the buzz ran all over the web.

See Jimmy Choo's campaign

4. New York Public Library’s 'Don’t Close the Book on Libraries' Campaign

Faced with a drastic budget cut from the city, the New York Public Library studied up on how to call attention to its dwindling resources. The team recruited an improvisational group to shoot a viral video in the library, which they heavily promoted via email and social media channels. The buzz spilled into online and traditional media, and donations exceeded the team’s goals -- twice over.

See the NYPL's campaign

5. ZAGG’s Free iPad Giveaways

Sometimes the right product, at the right time, with the right promotion can benefit from buzz from a completely different product. Take ZAGG’s iPad giveaways, for example. By giving away one of the hottest products in the country (Apple’s iPad) the team saw tremendous success in growing its email list and sales of gadget accessories. This simple effort had a massive ROI.

See ZAGG's campaign

B2B Inductees

1. Application Security, Inc.’s "The UNProtected" web film and comic book series

B2B marketers are sometimes so caught up in generating leads that they forget "leads" are really people -- and people like to be entertained. See how this database security vendor created a fun, entertaining way to educate prospects about the importance of database security, using an online film series, a graphic novella and a user-generated video contest they promoted across a host of social media channels.

In the end, 45% of visitors to the film microsite became qualified leads when touched with subsequent nurturing.

See Application Security, Inc.'s campaign

2. Qwest Communications 'Johnny Lee Ross & the MotherBoard 2010 World Tour' Campaign

Social media lets you inject a little more personality into your brand, but the team at Qwest Communications took this tactic further by creating an entirely new character for a trade show campaign -- Johnny Lee Ross, leader of the fictional heavy metal band MotherBoard.

See how they gave Johnny his own social media accounts to build buzz before the important event, and combined his rock and roll story with real business issues to attract 37% more of their targeted prospects to their booth in 2010.

See Qwest's campaign

3. Initiate's 2010 HIMSS Trade Show Campaign

Even if you don't want to go as far as creating a fictional character for a trade show campaign, social media channels are an essential component of any event marketing strategy. The team from Initiate took advantage of LinkedIn groups and Twitter hashtags provided by the trade show organizer, and incorporated these channels with their own email campaigns, blog and YouTube channel to stand out in the field of exhibitors.

The result was a 48.5% increase in meetings with qualified prospects during the show and a lift in new sales opportunities and advancement of existing opportunities.

See Initiate's campaign

Thursday, July 1, 2010

5 Step Strategy for Generating Traffic Using Web Content

Web 2.0 is all about content .According to leading internet marketing company Hubspot,” Every company is in publishing business” .We create content so that our prospects can reach us in search of that. The search may be initiated through search engine or social networking channels. In coming days, people will use twitter search to find out more information about celebrities and professionals and Google has acknowledged it, by incorporating “real time search” in its search results.
“How to use the content to drive a prospect to your landing page?” is a million dollar question now. Most of the people use social media for comparing the products and information and all this falls under first two stage of AIDA model only.
Image Source :Online Marketing Trends(

The content on landing page should be so engaging that client feel like coming again and again. It will help the advertiser in improving their ROI on traffic acquisition. If a prospect comes through referral of a friend there is a chance that he move to next level in AIDA model easily.
 I propose five step models for efficient utilization of content to generate traffic for website. But gain the aim of business is not to generate traffic only .There should be sufficient “call to action” on website so that it can generate some leads for sales team.

 Fig1:Five Step Strategy 

Since the leads generated through this exercise are inbound in nature there is more probability of getting them converted.