Infringing on Someone’s Domain?
I spoke with Dan Pepper of the Pepper Law Group not too long ago, about copyright and trademark. There is a lot of copyright discussion these days; piracy and lawsuits, but our conversation drifted to a discussion of domain names, and when is the use of someone else's trademark in a domain name considered infringement? So many domain names can contain terms trademarked by another party, but does that mean the URL owner is actually infringing on the trademark owner? Dan told me there are legitimate and non-legitimate scenarios, and you need to know that some are perfectly permissible. I’ve seen some other articles on this subject on the ‘net, and we will likely see more as people and businesses move to protect their hard-earned branding and marketing efforts.
Dan said that for the use of a particular domain to constitute cyber squatting, the owner of the trademark must generally prove they hold legitimate trademark rights in that name, that the infringement of the domain names involved allegedly present as “identical or confusingly similar” to the trademarked name, that there is no legitimate right of the allegedly infringing URL owner to use the name, and the one that’s hard to prove - that the URL in question was registered and used in bad faith.
He further explained that there are subtle differences between cases where commercial enterprise trademarks are concerned in relation to other types of trademarks. Commercial enterprises very often have names very similar to each other and, consequently, multiple parties may all retain genuine claims to the domain and, in fact, there are usually as many different uses of the name as there are parties claiming it. It’s a complicated scenario, and he compared it to the use of a celebrity name or trademark, where it is much more obviously a unique personal celebrity brand, and almost always more difficult for the domain URL owner to prove that they have a legitimate right to use the celebrity's trademark – if it happens to really be their own name, that can become a factor.
Dan said commercial enterprises have the ability to access a number of defenses that are not available to those defending a celebrity domain name trademark action. He proposed that commercial defendants could argue they operate a business with a different nature and purpose from that of the trademark holder. This can be effectively bolstered where the business is not in competition with that of the trademark holder. If the services of the domains in question complement the trademark holder’s business, this can actually help their cause in retaining use of the domain.
He further cautioned that if you do choose to use a domain name that is in conflict with any of the millions of commercial names in existence online, you always run the risk of losing it. As we expend marketing budgets and sweat equity marketing our websites and building online brands – the prospect of being forced to relinquish your domain after establishment of your online presence will likely destroy your enterprise. Finding a new momentum or your past efforts will likely be impossible. It appears the message here is - don’t take shortcuts and choose your domain name carefully...
He offers the following trademark rules as a guide, and said that every attorney will advise you to seriously consider these:
- Names that identify the source of products or services in the marketplace are trademarks.
- Trademarks that are clever, memorable or suggestive are protected under federal and state law.
- Trademarks that are descriptive and have achieved distinction through sales and advertising can be protected under federal and state law.
- One trademark legally conflicts with another when the use of both trademarks is likely to confuse customers about the products or services, or their source.
- In the case of a legal conflict with a later user, the first commercial user of a trademark owns it.
- If a legal conflict is found to exist, the later user will likely have to cease using the mark - and may even have to pay the first trademark owner damages.
Dan continued, telling me if you can answer ‘no’ to all of these questions, you can feel reasonably confident that you can use a URL without fearing the creation of a legal conflict. If you answer yes to any of them, you will always be facing a possible future legal challenge. If you are unsure, run your concerns by a trademark attorney for an expert opinion. You can anticipate that the attorney will be more conservative than is actually necessary [surprise!], but you can still benefit from having an experienced review of your choices, and have a better understanding of what your choices and future expectations may be.
Daniel A. Pepper, Esq. is the managing member of the New Jersey-based law firm Pepper Law Group, LLC, and has been practicing law since 1994. His practice areas include First Amendment rights, obscenity law, Internet Law, software and technology licensing, electronic commerce, and intellectual property protection. Mr. Pepper regularly advises his clients on cross-border technology transfers, affiliate, distribution, and marketing, technology deployment, e-commerce and Internet strategies, including compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and data security and privacy management. The Pepper Law Group website can be found at: www.informationlaw.com, and the firm can be reached at 908.698.0330.
NetCash was developed to protect user personal identity and financial information when making online transactions and so to reduce the threat of credit and debit card fraud for consumers and eliminate fear of making a purchase or join. NetCash enables Merchants to provide confidential credit card joins, local payment methods in every country in the world, and cash transactions in the US, Brazil and Russia. Just write JoeD to Add Anonymous and Cash Conversions to your program today.
51% of women and 40% of men desire personal anonymity online - fear divulging personal data because of credit card fraud and identity theft, and are reluctant to have it known they’ve joined an ‘adult’ or ‘cheating’ site. How many additional users can you attract if (1) the user knows no one can discover they are paying for your content, (2) their financial information and identity information are protected, (3) they can easily explain away “NetCash” purchases online, and (4) they could pay cash for an additional layer of protection?
Stats Source: http://www.entersekt.com/russian-roulette.php
Social Ad Network Marketing Working?
The reviews are in - and they're still mixed! Are you getting results from your Google, Facebook and Twitter advertising? Is it worth the investment, or is social ad network marketing a bust?
A lot of marketers believe that when you build up an official presence in one area and find success, that you should also find success in advertising within that same market. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. While many marketers have seen the proof of that theory in-action with Google search engine listings and Google AdWords advertising, not nearly as many have seen joint success between Facebook fan pages and Facebook Ads or Twitter accounts and Twitter advertising.
I really like the information I get from eMarketer.com. Among many other points, I saw that because of the huge success to marketers who have used Google AdWords over the years, many have had high hopes they will see similar results with Google+. Sadly, the experts believe that because of the social networking similarities between Google+ and Facebook, Google+ advertising will ultimately have all of the same drawbacks and benefits experienced with Facebook advertising. The problem, it seems, is not just in the type of people who use social networking, but the behaviors of those individuals.
In a study published by the people behind EyeTrackShop, [can you believe they are an online eye-tracking solutions firm?], well, they tracked the eye movements of participants in Sweden on a typical Facebook newsfeed layout with advertising placed in the right-hand column of the page. They also tracked the eye movements of the same participants on a mock-up of a Google+ newsfeed layout with advertisements similar to those seen on Facebook in the right-hand column. Google+ does not currently feature ads, but EyeTrackShop added them in the mock-up so they could simulate and track user behavior.
The users viewed both pages in much the same fashion, keeping their focus primarily on the center of the page and then moving to the left first, and then the right where the ads were located. According to revenue estimates from eMarketer.com, Facebook will receive as much as $4 billion in ad revenue worldwide, so if Google copies this same format it could yield similar results. However, with the right-hand column being viewed last, Google+ might want to consider placing ads in the left-hand column instead. plus.google.com
Real Results: Tracking Social Network Ad Engagement
Tracking the eye movements of typical social network users is one thing, but tracking the engagement of those users within the social ad network is another. How many of those users are clicking on the advertisements or interacting with the advertising brands in some fashion? Share your real-world experience and results…
QR Codes: What are they?
Well, I wanted to know about QR codes and how we can utilize them in marketing, so I went to expert Steven Levine, President of Mission Mobile, and had a chat.
Personally, I just joined the revolution of smartphone users in 2011, so I’m a little behind in all things mobile, but working toward catching up and spreading the word.
Steven told me that QR (Quick Response) codes are the small barcode squares making their way into an increasing number of print ads, billboards, business cards, and other media. Users scan a QR code with their mobile device and are automatically redirected to a website (preferably, a mobile site), a video, a social media page, and so on. He told me QR codes were invented by Denso Wave of Japan and were originally used in the automobile industry. Once the advertising industry realized the codes could be used as marketing tools, their popularity took off. Currently, QR codes are free of any license fees and Denso Wave has chosen not to exercise their patent rights to the product.
According to a study by comScore, 14 million mobile users scanned a QR code or barcode in June 2011. Some 58% of these users scanned a QR code or barcode from their home, while 39% scanned from retail stores. Interesting also, 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34.
As the statistics show, QR codes are perfect for advertising materials and packaging as they provide users with a more interactive experience. Users often feel that they will gain access to more exclusive information if they follow the code.
Ha, I haven’t done this yet, but to scan a QR code, you need to download a QR code reader for your smartphone. These readers are available free of charge from any app store.
Steven went on to say there are other types of codes used in the market today, the most popular being QR codes and Microsoft tags. However, QR codes seem to be the more popular option, especially true in the United States, where QR codes have gained a lot of traction with companies like Hustler, TitanMen and Digital Playground that have started incorporating them into their packaging and advertising.
He did caution us on the small print: Although some websites will create QR codes for free, there are multiple benefits to choosing a paid provider for the service. First, he said, you never know what kind of quality you are getting with a free service. A QR code from a free service provider may not scan as easily as one from a paid provider.
The second issue he cited deals with the management of multiple codes. If you are running a number of campaigns at once, you may find it difficult to manage and track them without a platform that organizes everything. It can also be difficult for you to share information with employees and coworkers in different locations. Some providers also give you the ability to change the URL. IMPORTANT. This comes in handy because it allows you to print codes, put them in your ads and marketing materials, and then specify the URL you want the code to lead to. This minimizes the problem of the code leading to a wrong URL, as has happened to a number of companies. You really need to exercise care in choosing the professional company you partner with to exploit all the marketing opportunities available through QR code advertising, and many existing solutions do not truly leverage the interactivity of mobile messaging as a way for product brands to interact with their target market. Mission Mobile's messaging software enables companies to create a more unique mobile experience which includes interactive replies that maximize consumer interaction with your brand.
Finally, Steven continued, by choosing a paid provider for your QR code, you receive reporting and analytics tools that will allow you to track your campaigns and see how effective your QR code advertising really is. These tools can also help you to determine if you are getting a better response in one advertising medium over another.
Here is Steven’s list of real-world applications of QR codes:
- Print ads: Use QR codes in print ads to direct the reader to your website (or preferably, your mobile site).
- Magazines: Use QR codes to let readers access exclusive info on the website or mobile site.
- Social media: QR codes make it easy for users to connect with your social media pages.
- Downloading: QR codes make it quick and easy for users to download your apps.
- Exclusive material: Direct readers to exclusive videos using QR codes.
- Existing advertising: Use QR codes to help leverage your existing advertising and make it interactive.
- Videos: Use QR codes to connect customers to video tutorials.
- Tradeshows: Add an interactive element to your booth and tradeshow materials with QR codes.
- Business cards: Use QR codes on your business cards to display your contact information.
QR codes can:
- Deliver an interactive marketing experience to your mobile audience.
- Measure the effectiveness of various media.
- Improve integration of offline and online campaign components.
- Keep you at the forefront of the technology advertising curve.
Steven’s Mission Mobile QR Code Marketing Tips
What is the goal of your QR code?
- To provide product information.
- To provide easy access to a mobile app.
- To generate leads.
- To create a call-to-action response.
- To retain customers.
- To drive traffic.
How will you add value for the user?
- Save them time.
- Reduce costs.
- Enhance the user experience.
- Deliver mobile-friendly content.
What kind of user assistance will you offer?
- How-to steps.
- Links for downloading a reader app.
- Provide an SMS text messaging alternative for users without the scanner.
How will you ensure that your QR code works?
- Test to ensure codes are scannable.
- Examine code size and placement across different readers and handsets.
Again, Steven Levine is President of http://www.MissionMobile.net, and I want to thank him for providing us some basic information on the QR code phenomenon. Mission Mobile is a mobile marketing company that specializes in text messaging, QR codes and mobile Web development and he'd like to hear all your questions and ideas. He can be reached at Steve at missionmobile dot net.
Talk to me about some mobile billing options I’ve recently come across as well – utilizing interactive marketing techniques to generate more revenue from your own mobile traffic.
Mobile Generation Gap
What type of mobile device are you most comfortable using, and what does that say about you and your generation? A recent study was conducted by Affinity Research, which revealed a generational gap that divides users based upon their preferences for mobile devices. Despite the differences, eMarketer said that an estimated 91 million consumers in the US are accessing the Internet via mobile device on at least a monthly basis. This figure is up greatly from the end of 2010 figure of 77.8 million US-based mobile Internet users.
The study revealed some interesting statistics, including data that showed different mobile device preferences by different generational groups. Older consumers gravitated toward tablets and ereaders as their favorite Internet-connected mobile devices while the younger users tend to prefer using smartphones.
According to Affinity, Generation X users are 16% more likely than any other consumer age group to own a tablet. However, another study conducted by GfK MRI showed that the addition of ereaders into the tablet category revealed that the usage rate by Gen Xers could be much higher. For example, the GfK MRI report showed that Gen X users were 25% more likely than other US adults to own either an ereader or tablet mobile device.
What drives the preference of the tablet-based mobile device in Gen X users? Studies suggest that income might be a big influence compared to older senior users as well as younger users who might not be able to afford the tablet devices. Further study of the data revealed that wealthy Gen Xers were more likely to own the newer and more powerful gadgets across the board, with 63% of Gen Xers who had annual household incomes of $100,000 or more much more likely to own a tablet PC than other lower-income Gen Xers. Also, more males in Gen X were likely to own tablets than females.
However, both the GfK MRI and Affinity studies showed a strong preference among Baby Boomers to own ereader type devices. The GfK MRI study even showed that Baby Boomers were more likely to own a Kindle than Millennials and Gen Xers. The Affinity Research report showed that on average, Boomers were 19% more likely to have an ereader than other consumers. Experts believe that the growth in ereader ownership within the Baby Boomer generation might be due to the basic and straight-forward nature of ereader devices. Within the Baby Boomer generation, ereader use is slightly more prevalent with female consumers than males.
Both studies showed that Millennials were less likely than either the Boomers or the Gen Xers to own a tablet PC or ereader. However, this younger generation surpasses both groups with its adoption of smartphone devices. Labeled by marketers as the "Gadget Generation" or "Digital Natives," Millennials are 28% more likely than other consumer groups to own a smartphone. In fact, 46.5 million Millennials already own one and use it regularly to access the Internet and another 24 million Millennials plan to purchase one within the next 6 months. According to a study published by the folks at Pew Internet & American Life Project, the younger end of the Gen X spectrum and Millennials own more smartphones than users over the age of 35.
Boomers are generally held to have been born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X from there through about 1981, then followed Generation Y or the Millennials until about 2000 and Generation Z mostly held to be born in the new century and also known as the Internet Generation or Generation Text. They all overlap, but analyzing the importance of all of the new mobile device data available, the experts at eMarketer had expected that US-based advertisers alone would spend over $1.6 billion on mobile digital advertising through 2012, but expenditures are proving much higher, up as much as 80%, and the new prediction is for the US mobile ad spend to be more than $2.6 billion with about half going to Google! Mobile marketers can make sure that they spend their ad dollars wisely on these three demographics if they take into account the usage preferences and demographics published in these studies. Now get busy adjusting your mobile plan!
So Google Hates You?
We've all heard another webmaster say something like, "Google hates me - I just know it." And for the most part, I think we've all felt that way at one time or another. It could just be that you have an active imagination, I mean, why would Google hate you? Then again, if you have a very poorly designed and managed website, it just might be true! Keep in mind though, Google doesn't hate you - it just hates your website.
If you want to get a higher rank on Google there are a number of different things you can do. However, if you don't do the most basic of things, such as better design, structure, navigation and management of your website, there's no point in working hard to jockey for position - it's never going to happen. This article features a list of basic things you can fix today that will help Google to stop hating you, learn to like you and maybe even one day love you.
#1 - Clean-Up Your Website
Do you have a messy website? Is it filled with a bunch of banner ads, pop-ups and other garbage that would turn-off the average surfer? Google "sees" your site much in the way that a surfer sees it, so chances are if you've got all that going on, you've turned Google off too. Clean up all those banner ads and try a more straight-forward approach. Make it easier for your site visitors to view your content, find what they are looking for and perhaps even make a purchase. If your users are happy - and you can measure that in conversions and recurring visits - Google will be happy too.
#2 - Target Relevant Keywords
If you don't tell Google that you are relevant for a certain keyword of key phrase, how is it supposed to know? You need to target your primary keywords by placing them in prominent spots on your page. The title bar and the header is a great place to start, but you can also use heading tags <h1>, <h2> and <h3> to attract attention. You can't just expect Google to figure out that you have a specific type of content based upon a small, text-based tagline at the bottom of an inner Web page. Make sure to use your relevant keywords wisely and strategically as well - don't just throw them out there and hope that they'll do some good.
#3 - Duplicate Content
We all have a pet peeve, and this is Google's. Google hates it when you post duplicate content to your website that has been already posted on other websites or blogs. There are tools you can use to check for duplicate content, such as the one available at Copyscape.com. Google loves unique and original content that can't be found anywhere else. The more original the content on your Web page, the higher your page will rank in the Google index. If you must re-use an article make sure to re-write it yourself or hire a professional re-writer to get the job done effectively.
#4 - Start Clean
While you can make a big difference just by cleaning up your messy site, it is always better to start off doing things the right way. If you launch an SEO-friendly website from day one, it's much better than trying to clean up a bad site and get back in Google's good graces. Make sure your site is user-friendly - easy to read, easy to navigate, filled with relevant content and regularly updated. Accessibility is a big issue for disabled users or for users that access your pages via mobile devices that might not be able to view all types of content.
#5 - Too Much Flash
That brings us to our last point. If you have elements in your website that can't be viewed by a majority of your users, or that shuts out a specific demographic completely, you might want to re-think your design. Flash looks great, but it has almost no SEO value. If you don't have any text-based content that the engines can read, they won't be able to index your content, view your keywords or rank your site accordingly. Keep your site simple, easy to read, quick to load and clean.
Now once again, get busy!
E-mail Marketing Strategy Rewards
A recent study posted by the folks at Marketing Sherpa revealed that 70% of visitors to your website will end up making a purchase. Some of them will buy it from you, some will buy it from your competitors, but most of them won't do it right away. What this shows is the importance of building a relationship with your site's visitors so you will be at the forefront of their minds when they are ready to finally make a purchase.
This method is known as "lead nurturing" in marketing circles, and is the process of developing a relationship through the use of e-mail marketing mailers that are targeted, relevant and valuable to your customers in some way. The goal of the e-mails is to elicit some type of action from your recipients as a means of engaging with your business voluntarily. Another study conducted by the folks at Forrester Research showed that companies can increase 50% more sales-ready leads and save 33% per lead just by taking advantage of lead nurturing techniques.
Here are some tips to help you increase your e-mail marketing results:
Build Your List
Before you can successfully market to your list of prospects - you need a list of prospects! You should build your e-mail marketing list by offering lead forms on your website and encouraging opt-in e-mail address submissions. The best way to do this is by giving your visitors a reason to opt-in on your list, such as a free e-book download, a request for additional information or some other type of free content. Make sure you specify what you will be giving away. You don't want to create a negative relationship with these prospective customers before you even get started!
Sending Your Mailers
The most important thing to remember when creating and sending mailers is to keep them relevant. Sort your leads by the topic(s) they were interested in at the time of opt-in. If they downloaded an e-book with tips for a specific type of product or service, make sure to send them mailers on related topics. You can also include links to additional products, services or resources that are similar to what they initially marked an interest in learning more about. Be as personal as possible and include your name and return e-mail address in the "from" line of the e-mail, personalizing the message so visitors are reminded why they visited your website in the first place.
Something for Everyone
Make sure to include a little something special in your e-mail that will appeal to your recipients. Offer a solution to a problem or fill a need with a product or service. Avoid sending spam-filled mailers that just tout the benefits of your business. Another good tip is to make sure your e-mail can be read by all. Don't just create an image ad and send it. Some mailing services and most mobile-based e-mail clients won't allow images to be shown on-screen. Some users also opt not to receive HTML-based messages for added security. Brush up on all regulations and laws regarding spam and make sure you are complying with them 100%.
Make sure the call-to-action in your mailer is crystal clear. Whether you want them to click a link to read a blog article on your website, or you want them to download your latest e-book - make it obvious. Then route your visitors to a landing page where they can fill in a form, sign-up for additional information or download the Web-based content you are offering. It's about building a relationship, encouraging clicks and other actions, and establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource that delivers what it promises.
Is It Working?
Some developers just measure success based upon the number of sales they get at the end of the week. If you have several different marketing programs in the works - and most businesses do - this type of analytics just won't tell you what you need to know. Measure specific data such as your CTR or click-through-rate, counting how many people clicked on your call-to-action link in your mailers. This will help you make adjustments as necessary to improve your CTR. Other data you should look at includes your "open rate" or how many people opened and viewed the e-mail, particularly if there are images or HTML to load; conversion ratios - based not just on sales but on overall clicks and actions; and your unsubscribe rate - it's important to know how many people are opting out of your mailer, when and why.
In the end, the most important thing you can do to improve your business and build a solid reputation within your industry is to develop a relationship with your leads. E-mail communication is not the only way this can be accomplished - there are many ways to communicate with your leads - and customers.
Take advantage of every available opportunity via social media, comments, feedback forms and more in order to be pro-active instead of reactive!
How to Ruin a Cold Call Opportunity
Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is to look at the mistakes others have made and see how you shouldn't do it. Let’s focus on five of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when trying to take advantage of a cold call opportunity via social media networking sites, targeted mailers or even other traditional methods used in marketing.We've all done these - just remember not to act in haste and remember what an opportunity each call represents. Since they are targeted calls [and they better be ;-D ], make each one carry the weight of a personal meeting.
Mistake #1 - Assume
We all know what happens when we assume. Sadly, many business owners do it all the time and wonder why they aren't getting more positive results from their marketing efforts. You should never assume that people will be interested in what you have to say - or sell. Even if it appears that you have much in common with one another, or that you are in similar business circles and industries, you should never assume that they will return the interest or have the time to make a connection.
SOLUTION: When this happens - and it will - don't let it get you down. When you make your cold call contacts use good manners, offer solid and valuable information and be persistent.
Mistake #2 - No Real Connection
Some marketers work on the 7-11 theory. If you build a store on every street corner, sooner or later they are going to come in and buy something. However, in the world of cold calling, it is important to contact individuals that you share a connection or interest with in some way. Some marketers will just go down a list of names and e-mail addresses or leach onto their friends' social media contact list, spamming their business or website with no real method to their madness.
SOLUTION: Make sure the connection makes sense and is relevant to what you are proposing; either via past relationships, mutual colleagues, niche market or B2B service and need.
Mistake #3 - Be Rude
We all have busy days that get quickly eaten up with e-mails, phone calls and other interruptions. No matter what method you use to approach your prospective contacts, you will be taking time out of their daily schedule. Some marketers are rude, pushy, take too long to spit out what they are trying to propose and/or don't even follow the rules of good business conduct. Think about how you would like to be approached, how quickly you just wish someone would cut to the chase and what you would want to get out of the situation.
SOLUTION: Be considerate, courteous, use good manners, be specific and succinct and make sure to thank your contacts for their time. Good business etiquette goes a long way.
Mistake #4 - Wasting Time
Have you ever sat down to dinner with your family and had it interrupted by a cold call from a telemarketer who wanted to sell you something you couldn't use? How responsive were you to the phone call? How did you react and treat the caller as a result? Why would you expect to be treated any differently by a contact or customer if you bring them an offer that is not worth their while, something they would never be interested in discussing in a million years?
SOLUTION: Contact people that you know will benefit from the proposal, offer, product or service you are selling. Using business-based services like LinkedIn can help you fine-tune the needs and interests of your contact list.
Mistake #5 - Be Cold and Impersonal
A cold call doesn't have to be cold. Some marketers think they will win new customers or clients through the use of canned, spammy wording instead of targeted, personal messages. Spammy messages are a dime a dozen. Our inboxes are full of them every morning and you only need to take a moment to look at Twitter or Facebook to see pages and pages of poorly worded posts and tweets that quickly become missed opportunities. Think about it from your own point of view: would you respond to a canned message from someone you don't even know?
SOLUTION: Make sure you add a personal tone to each and every contact you make. Target your message as much as possible to each individual in a unique way to increase response.
Remember that everyone you call should be interested in what you are recommending, and if the timing is not right for them to purchase, how you handle the contact can always make or kill the possibility of referral business moving forward.
Always introduce yourself. I learned that in the fourth grade where we did mock etiquette calls. How many times a day does someone call you and ask for a manager or you by name and not identify themselves? This really puts me off.
Always acknowledge that you understand you are interrupting their work flow, and if now is not a good time to speak ask to set up a scheduled call.
Do your research in advance – be familiar with their website, business model, and problems you could help them solve before you ever dial their number.
Reduce your offer to bullet points, but not to the point that it sounds scripted or read from note cards! Make it conversational.
Above all, LISTEN. Don’t be so focused on your elevator pitch that you miss cues from the prospect because you are not listening to them. Now get on the phone!
Mobile Apps - Engagement and Loyalty
Back at the end of October we talked about developing successful mobile applications. Now let’s talk about what happens after you’ve offered that app to all your brand loyalists and new brand converts!
Customer retention is more important than ever these days. While there are millions of users out there who might become customers, today's marketer knows that the smart investment is in keeping customers happy, engaged and recurring. How engaged are your users? How loyal are they to your brand? Have you gone out of your way to offer services that are desirable to your users? …Services and upgrade options that will keep them coming back for more?
This is a vitally important area of any marketing campaign or development project. Think about how you want your customers to use your mobile site and app. Do you want them to access it daily to get updates on news, information or to view fresh content? Will you encourage ease of use that will help to connect them with other aspects of your site and product offerings? Here are some stats that you need to know in order to improve customer engagement and loyalty:
- VISITOR FREQUENCY - You need to know the ratio of visits to actual users over a period of time. Check this weekly, monthly and quarterly. This metric will help you to know how frequently your mobile site or apps are being used and it is essential to understanding your overall user loyalty.
- DEPTH - How deep do your visitors go into your site? Do they just look at one page and then move on? Tracking the number of screens viewed by the average user and then comparing it to the total number of visits will help you to easily see the engagement level of your customers.
- BOUNCE - This statistic can be hard to look at, but it is important just the same. Having a ratio of the single view visits to the total number of visits is important because it shows you how many users are launching the app and then closing it right away again versus how many are launching it and then actually using it.
- DURATION - You need to know how much time your users are spending on your mobile site or using your mobile app. Again, this will show the level of engagement your visitors have with your properties.
What is a Conversion?
Another metric that you need to stay on top of is your conversion ratio. You need to establish the actions you want your customers to take when they use your app and then measure how many of them have "converted" and have done what you desired them to do. A conversion can be any action that you want it to be, such as the purchase of a product, a membership, a registration for a promotional campaign or even the viewing of a gallery or video promotion. Measuring the level of engagement in this area is extremely important if you truly want to measure the success of your mobile marketing campaign. This is true of any mobile property - websites, apps or other SMS promotional campaigns.
To measure the success rate of your mobile project, you need to identify all the different ways your app helps you to achieve your goals. By mapping out the measurement to individual customers who have completed the activities required for conversion, you will be able to see the true value of your project. Think about the various characteristics of your target audience and how you can reach them through your mobile site, app or SMS promotion. If you keep your focus on your target market, you will be able to easily identify the critical elements of success. Also think about the activities you want to make available for your users, how they will generate revenue, save you money or help to brand your business in some way, shape or form.
Retaining Users and Encouraging Usage
If you own a smartphone then you understand how it’s possible for people to download dozens of apps that they ultimately never use! Retaining your customers and encouraging them to use your apps is one of the most important aspects of a successful mobile property marketing campaign. You want to offer features that will be useful and relevant to your users. The best place to start is to think about how your customers will use your app. If your app is highly useful, they will use it more often and will keep coming back on a daily or weekly basis. Here are some things to think about that will help you to encourage use and retain users:
- BE STICKY - We all know about developing a sticky website and it's no different when it comes to mobile property development. You need to find unique ways to keep your app at the forefront of your users' minds and you need to stay on top of it and keep it fresh. You can't stay sticky forever - there's always a newer, bigger and better app being introduced. Take steps to make sure you remind your users that your app exists, keep them informed about the features available for use through the app and stay ahead of your competitors by launching the newer, bigger and better app yourself!
- FEEDBACK - You need to know what your customers think and feedback is an essential part of gaining insight into the true user-experience. Make sure to offer opportunities for your customers to give you feedback, either a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down metric or an option to send you a paragraph or two in their own words. You can do this via your online app store showcase or via your main or mobile websites.
- DISTRIBUTION - Don't just hope that your customers will find you via the online app store. Make sure to distribute your app freely to as many markets and in as many opportunities as possible. Market your app via traditional websites, mobile websites, offline print marketing - anything you think will get new customers to download and use your app.
You’ve learned over the years how to successfully market your websites, now apply everything you’ve learned about site marketing to your app marketing efforts!
SEO Can Hurt Your Business
Search engine optimization can be a double-edged sword. If people can't find your website in the search engines, you might as well just give up and go home. However, if you spend more time developing the SEO of your website and neglect the elements and functions that make a good website great, you might as well just throw in the towel again, because you aren't going to win any sales there either…
Businesses spend a lot of time and money investing in website development and SEO. Finding the proper - and professional - balance between these two essential aspects of online e-commerce is the key to your success. You need to make certain that your website is properly optimized for visibility in the search engines, but you also need to make sure that your website makes a solid first impression and can sell.
Designing a Good Website
Think about your own experiences when you have visited various business sites. What elements are important and what elements are essential? We have all visited websites that neglected to add a "Contact Us" link on the home page. We have all visited websites where the navigation just isn't clear or doesn't make sense. And I think we have all been to a website that just didn't have enough information available to help us decide whether or not to make a purchase. You want your customers to be turned on - not turned off…
Oddly enough, website owners have spent tons of money investing in the development of a website only to find out later that it doesn't sell. Before you can do anything you need to make sure that your site is effective. Set goals for your website. Decide whether you want to inform, entertain, educate, sell or generate leads, and then build a site that will help you achieve those goals. Add opportunities for visitors to complete actions, such as registering to receive an e-mail newsletter, downloading some type of content, clicking to give feedback or adding an item to a wish list. All of these activities are indicators of the buyer's interest.
Designing for SEO
A website that is poorly designed, or designed using out-dated methods and code compliance can alienate the search engines. So even if you think you've dotted all your Is and crossed all your Ts, you might be missing something strategically important. Make sure your website does not contain any elements that would undermine all of your sales and SEO efforts. Some elements are so offensive to the engines that they could wreck your rankings and render your site invisible.
Flash is one of those things that can negatively impact the visibility, usability and SEO of your website. As we’ve discussed in other posts, Flash is on its way out - going the way of the dinosaur. Most tablet PCs don't even support it. Frames is another out-dated type of Web design that should have been "gone" a long time ago, but some developers insist on continuing to use it. It is annoying for the user and the search engines just don't like it.
Dynamically generated content once sounded like a good idea, but the data is basically hidden from the search engines. What's the point of having all that great content there if you aren't getting credit for it? On the other side of the spectrum, a website that is 99% images and 1% poorly written text won't win you any awards or top rankings either. The engines can't read the text if it is included in a graphical image. Make sure you use actual text mixed in with your images to give a balanced and clear depiction of your business and what it has to offer.
Finally, another big mistake is to have hundreds of outbound links posted throughout your site. While you may be trying to offer more information or support to your site's visitors, Google will most likely see all these links and think you are running a link farm. Link farms - in case you didn't know - don't rank well with Google ;-)
Before You Start...
Don't even invest a penny - or a minute of your time - on SEO until you have a website that is user-friendly, current and has the ability to achieve your business goals. Once you have all of that taken care of you can begin to implement your SEO development. Even if your SEO works like magic and you start getting hundreds or thousands of new visitors to your site each day, it won't mean a thing if your site is ineffective and you can't sell a thing.
Design smart and you'll see positive results from your efforts!
Beyond Paid Search
Traffic is King! When you’re preparing to launch a pay-per-click or PPC advertising campaign, most of you may typically go straight to Google or some other search engine to get started. But let’s think again; there is another very viable option available for PPC marketing I want you to consider that has proven to be very effective in the last few years.
According to a study this year conducted by SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) and Econsultancy.com, many of today's top paid search marketers are turning to PPC options at social media networking sites as a complement to their more traditional placements at the top search engine ad networks. In fact, as many as 52% of those surveyed claim to have successfully boosted their PPC results over the last year through the use of social media PPC advertising in conjunction with a search engine PPC advertising campaign.
As more opportunities come available to marketers throughout 2012, and more and more social media networks offer PPC advertising options to their advertisers, the study also reveals that 47% of all North American companies surveyed were currently running PPC campaigns on Facebook, and 27% were running PPC campaigns on LinkedIn. As many as 18% of these companies were also running PPC campaigns at YouTube and another 15% claimed to be advertising at Twitter. In adult this is mimicked by the continued expansion of Exoclick, Ero-Advertising, and AdXpansion to name a few and a host of mobile PPC traffic generators as well. Investigate all the newly developing social options within adult as well. There has been a real consolidation in board traffic, the original adult social option, but alternatives are springing up and gaining traffic; Xbiz.net among them.
Of course these figures are still relatively modest when compared to the sheer volume of companies that utilize PPC advertising campaigns at the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! 95% of all companies surveyed stated they were using Google AdWords and 70% stated that they were using Bing and Yahoo! for their PPC advertising campaigns. I know Yahoo! is friendly to Adult search business, but an issue some of my friends had after driving and successfully converting traffic was that their confirmation mails with usernames and passwords were blocked by their filters causing some real customer service issues! I will investigate to see if that has been resolved. Over half of those Google users also claimed to have used Google's other marketing tools and products, with 74% using the search network, 66% using the keyword-targeted content network and 50% using the site-targeted content network to increase traffic and visibility. These figures for ad dollars spent at the major search engine-based ad networks are consistent with spending seen in 2009 and 2010, as uncovered in the SEMPO and EConsultancy.com report.
However, there are still a lot of companies that spend their PPC ad dollars on smaller search engines such as Business.com and AOL - so there is a trend here that proves that bigger isn't always better. Today's marketers need to make these "roads less traveled" a priority in 2012 in order to make the most of their advertising campaigns. The SEMPO study showed a large increase in the use of social media channel PPC advertising without a decrease in spending on ads in the major search engines or the Google network. The future of PPC looks good ;-D
Key to your success in 2012 will be your ability to cross-utilize the social PPC and traditional PPC networks with complementary campaigns that raise visibility for your brand and drive traffic to your sites. We’ll talk about what to do with that traffic throughout the year. Now get busy!