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HOW TO: Plan An Effective Social Media Strategy

Becki Chester, CEO, Digicrab – a former journalist, Becki wrote for four national magazines before joining a leading digital marketing agency. She has extensive experience in managing SEO, PPC and social media campaigns.

social-media-strategy

Digital Marketing Services are an essential part of the expansion of all businesses in the current climate. However, of all digital marketing services, social media seems to be the most widely used, due in part to the huge amount of traffic that social networking sites receive, and the ease to which a social media can be used to promote a brand. But in order to maximise the effectiveness of such a strategy, you have to take a structured and conscious approach, otherwise your project will be lost in the tidal wave of other media on these platforms.

So here are my five general steps for a comprehensive social media strategy.

Step 1: Understand your customer

This is your first port-of-call. Who are the customers you want to interact with on social media? What do they like? Brainstorm around five ‘hot topics’ which your customers might be interested in, and remember to keep them in mind whilst constructing content: because with content marketing you promote your brand by sharing similar interests with your customer.  These topics should come from an understanding of the psychographics, the influencing factors and the behaviour of the types of people you’re after. The more specific you are about this ‘marketing persona’, the easier it will be to construct content for them.

Step 2: Set a Goal

First of all: what’s the point? What are you hoping to achieve with this? Try and base your goal on the number of leads generated over a period of time, or a certain number of ‘shares’. Achievable and measurable goals are a must. Also, make sure you only have one area for your objective. Most digital marketing services plan to achieve one of the following aims:

  • Attracting new customers; This is probably the most common use of social media. Because of the sheer number of people on social networking platforms, one objective could be using your page to direct traffic to your company website.
  • Building your brand; Give your customers a reason to talk about your brand. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most sought after type of marketing, and is often difficult to achieve. If you have a product that could work well in a social media context, use that advantage and get your customers to begin having a conversation about your brand.
  • Engaging with your customers; By creating a dialogue with your customers, you have the potential to create loyalty. A repeat customer is the foundation of almost all successful companies, so if you want to make your brand one that is interactive, and bring people in that way, then social media is a useful tool.
  • Supporting sales; Similar to the above, supporting sales is about creating content that feeds into your products. If people have queries about your products, you can answer them on social media, by supplementing your products with other information.

Step 3: Put It into Practice

To put your ideas into practice, create an editorial calendar that works alongside your promotional calendar; planning content and thereby keywords based on promotional offers. By doing this, you make the next aspect much easier.

By creating content keywords, and a calendar, all you need is to assign an individual (or team, depending on the size of your digital marketing services) to keep the sites up-to-date. Now you’re up-and-running!

Step 4: Evaluate

This is a hugely important step. Once you’ve started, make sure you are well-versed in the huge variety of social media. Select your success metrics well, and keep an eye on them, as the instantaneous nature of social media marketing feedback is one of the major advantages of the format.

There are plenty of online monitoring tools, such as Klout or Edge Rank, that you can use. Google Alerts is also useful in this regard, as it can help keep you aware of your brand keywords, and what people are saying about your brand.

Step 5: Repeat!

With any marketing strategy, it is important to keep it up-to-date, and that you react to your market and how well previous strategies have gone. So, once you’ve evaluated the metrics that are available, go through the cycle again. Make sure you keep building on what you learn, reacting to fresh assessments by laying out new plans with new objectives.

Will M-Commerce Continue its Gigantic Increase in 2014?

Brianna Wills works at Perception System as a content writer. She is interested in all things eCommerce and related stuff. In her spare time, she also likes to communicate with her readers. If you have a tip or news story to share, please contact her through her Twitter account: @briannawillsss.

mcommerce2014

As per the technology research firm, Gartner, mobile commerce will see a 44% increase in sales worldwide reaching $235 billion this year. By 2017, this increase will continue by reaching a $721 billion market with 450 million mobile commerce users. In this article, you can find more information about mobile commerce and its latest trends, so go through it.

Mobile commerce is a contributing a large chunk of the e-commerce industry as more and more businesses are looking to optimize their websites for mobile devices. Today more than 70% of people are surfing the internet from their mobile phones.

In the year 2010, mobile commerce was only 3% of e-commerce, but this percentage is increasing constantly. At the end of the last year’s holiday season, the number had increased to 11%, so we can imagine the accomplishment of mobile commerce.

As we all know, websites are inexpensive and easy to build, so at this stage of the game, every business should have a website to give their customers an ultimate shopping experience. If your website is optimized for mobile devices, it is like icing on the cake for your customers.

Recently, TransFirst and ControlScan released a new report known as Small Merchants and Mobile Payments: 2013 Survey on Technology Awareness and Adoption. According to this report, only 31% of multichannel businesses have mobile-optimized websites. This is a bit hard to believe but it’s true.

On the web, approximately 49% of ecommerce merchants know that their websites are not optimized for mobile devices and 17% of merchants don’t know or unsure about their websites’ status. These percentages really shocked me. Businesses need to realize that more and more customers are shopping on their phones.

When asked why these merchants had not optimized their websites for mobile devices, 43% said it was because their customers never asked for this service. Providing more information, currently 54% of adults in the US own smart-phones and approximately 25% own tablets, so we can imagine how many people are using the Internet from their mobile devices and tablets. By 2014, we can expect mobile commerce will reach the maximum market share of the e-commerce industry.

By 2014, m-commerce is growing at faster pace because the combination of smartphone adoption and a growing confidence in using mobile devices for purchasing things online. Day-by-day, more and more consumers are getting confident and using mobile phones to research products and purchase them.

Today, mobile commerce is boosing eCommerce revenues due to the availability of smart-phones and tablets, which are new and modern shopping mediums. Today’s generation is fond of using gadgets for different purposes, so it is really vital for businesses to optimize their websites for mobile devices.

If you do not have optimize your site for mobile devices, you run the risk of getting left behind and missing out on various opportunities of growing your business on the worldwide level.

Magento Releases 1.8 Community Edition With Performance, Security & Tax Calculation Improvements

magento-community-1.8

I’ve been following Magento since the early alphas. Today, Magento released Community Edition 1.8 with improvements to security, tax calculations and overall functionality.

Below is a breakdown of the key improvements in this release.

Enhanced Tax Calculations

Magento Community Edition 1.8 improves tax calculation accuracy for VAT merchants and eliminates potential rounding errors that can be confusing to buyers. Knowledge Base updates also provide more guidance on tax configurations and Canadian tax requirements, enabling you to more fully benefit from the native Magento tax engine.

Functional Improvements

We made approximately 350 functional improvements that boost product quality in key areas, including the web store, shopping cart, admin order creation, import and export functionality, web API components, and payment methods.

Performance Improvements

Magento Community Edition 1.8 enables a better shopping experience through faster page-loading in the checkout process and optimized cache adapters for single server systems, which minimize the number of cached pages that must be refreshed when product updates are made. The performance of the 1.8 administrator panel is also improved for those of you with large product or order databases.

Security Enhancements

Through a number of enhancements, we also strengthened the security of Magento Community Edition. A full list of enhancements is available in our release notes.

Updates to the Alpha Release

A few new updates were made to the alpha version of Magento Community Edition 1.8. We removed the requirement to have globally unique category and product URL keys, giving you greater flexibility in your URL structures. We also incorporated the recent USPS API patch, DHL code updates, and the latest Redis backend cache code, now called Cm_Cache_Backend_Redis. We have also included Cm_RedisSession, a Redis session storage module.

Read More Download Magento 1.8

HOW TO: Track Conversions For Up To 90 Days In Google AdWords

Google just released the ability to track conversions for up to 90 days in AdWords. Previously conversion were only tracked for a set 30 day window. Now you can select from 7 to 90 days, depending on what fits well with your tracking goals.

Here’s how…

Go to AdWords –> Tools & Analysis –> Conversions. In the table listing your conversions you will see a new column called ‘Conversion Window.’ Click on the conversion window and you can edit it inline.

AW CL 9-23

You will need to have conversion tracking set up for this to work.

Google Is Blocking Organic Search Terms In Google Analytics, What Should I Do?

Image Credit: NotProvidedCount.com

As reported by many industry followers. Google will now be serving search results for most users on SSL secure secure pages. As a merchant measuring SEO traffic from Google Analytics, this is bad news. This means that you will no longer be able to see what search terms are driving traffic to your site for users who came from Google.

Not Provided… What Now?

Here are some websites, tools and articles I came across that can help you get the most of whatever data Google does provide for Analytics users.

#1 – Not Provided Count Tracker

Keep track of the Not Provided Count by checking NotProvidedCount.com. They provide you with aggregate numbers from 60+ sites that they are tracking. Visit →

notprovided_analytics2

#2 – Not Provided Kit For Google Analytics

The “Not Provided” Kit is a set of simple add-ons for Google Analytics to help you understand what’s happening now that data is absent. It won’t fix the problem, but it may bring other insight around ‘not provided’ visits. Import →

The Kit Includes:

  1. Your Current Percentage: A single-chart dashboard showing your current ‘not provided’ percentage (ie. how much open data remains).
  2. Full Dashboard: A full dashboard of trends for ‘not provided’, including graphs, metrics, and breakdowns by browser, device, etc.
  3. Detailed Report: A more detailed custom report showing full landing page info for not provided traffic.
  4. ‘Not Provided’ Segment: An advanced segment allowing you to see any Google Analytics reports for just ‘not provided’ traffic.
  5. ‘Keyword Known’ Segment: An advanced segment showing any report only where Google organic keyword data was known.
  6. A ‘Not Google’ Segment: This ‘Non-Google’ organic search segment shows you data only where you do have perfect keyword data from other search engines that you can act on.

Google Analytics

#3 – Watch This: Moz Whiteboard

In this special Whiteboard Tuesday, Rand covers what marketers can do to make up for this drastic change, finding data from other sources to stay on top of their SEO efforts. Watch Video →

moz-whiteboard-tuesday

Google Analytics Will Stop Supporting IE8 This Year

Google Announced on the Analytics blog that they will stop supporting Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 by the end of this year. If you’re stuck on IE8, now would be a good time to start thinking about upgrading.

To focus on supporting modern browsers, we are deprecating official compatibility of Google Analytics with Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) at the end of 2013. We decided to do this to both accelerate the pace at which we can innovate new product features, and to facilitate adoption of newer web technologies in the design of the Google Analytics product. Our ultimate goal is to provide a superior user experience for every GA user. As a note, we’ll of course continue to measure traffic from IE8 browsers to your website.

We will continue to support the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 9 or higher, Safari and other modern browsers.

It is our hope that giving you more than 3 months to prepare for this change will minimize disruption to Google Analytics usage for you and your business. We will send further reminders prior to the deprecation at the end of the year, but we strongly advise you begin preparing and implementing plans for this change at your earliest convenience.

Do you use IE8? If yes, why?

HOW TO: Import Offline Conversions Into AdWords

Recently, Google AdWords introduced the ability to import offline sales data. If you get a lot of phone sales, you’ll want to do this. Google says:

Sometimes, a click on an AdWords ad does not lead directly to an online sale, but instead starts a customer down a path that ultimately leads to a sale in the offline world, such as at your office or over the phone. By importing offline conversions, you can measure what happens in the offline world after a click on one of your ads.

I think we all agree. Let’s do this. Here’s how:

Step #1 – Enable Auto Tagging

Go to Google AdWords → My Account → Preferences and turn on Auto Tagging. This will allow Google to add a suffix parameter with the GCLID to each URL. auto-tagging

Step #2 – Capture The GCLID

Whenever someone clicks on your ad and comes to your website, you will need to grab the GCLID from the URL parameter and store it in the session or cookie. Sample JavaScript code to store the GCLID in a cookie called ‘gclid’:

gclid

Step #3 – Store GCLID With Lead Data

When they submit a contact form, you will want to store the GCLID in your database alongside the rest of the customers information.

Here’s an example form with a hidden field for collecting the GCLID. You should insert the highlighted <input> tag in between your <form> tags.:

<form action="" name="myForm"> 		
         Name: <input type="text" name="name"> 		
         <input type="hidden" id="gclid" name="gclid" value=""> 	 	
         <input type="submit" value="Submit Form" name="btnSubmit"> 	
   </form>

Here’s example JavaScript code you can use to retrieve the GCLID value from the cookie and update the value of the hidden form element.

<script> 
  function readCookie(name) { 
  var n = name + "="; 
  var cookie = document.cookie.split(';'); 
  for(var i=0;i < cookie.length;i++) {      
      var c = cookie[i];      
      while (c.charAt(0)==' '){c = c.substring(1,c.length);}      
      if (c.indexOf(n) == 0){return 
  c.substring(n.length,c.length);} 
  } 
  return null; 
  } 

  window.onload = function() {      
      document.getElementById('gclid').value = 
  readCookie('gclid'); 
  } 
  </script>

Step #4 – Offline Conversions

Go to Google AdWords → Tools and Analysis → Conversions and click ‘+Conversion’ and add a new conversion. When adding the new conversion, select ‘Import’ as the source.

Conversion Tracking

Step #5 – Import Conversions

Now that you set up a Conversion in AdWords, you’ll want to go back to Tools and Analysis → Conversions. Now click on ‘Upload’ and you will get the upload page.

Conversion Tracking

Before uploading, make sure you format the data according to the template files provided by Google. Here is a sample of how the data should look:

csvtemplate

Header Notes: Make sure to edit the time zone in the header. I entered -5000 for New York in my sample. Column Notes:

  • Action – should always say the word ‘add’
  • Google Click Id – should have the GCLID associated with that conversion
  • Conversion Name – should match the exact value from step #3
  • Conversion Value – dollar amount, no commas or currency symbols
  • Conversion Time – date and time of the transaction

You should be all set.

Let us know how it works for you in the comments.