Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Making Your Customers Comfortable

A big part of what makes the online arena attractive to marketers is the ability to engage customers and potential customers in a variety of ways. The most important “engagement” aspect, however, is a user’s experience with the site. If a site is cumbersome and not user-friendly, people aren’t going to spend a lot of time trying to navigate through what is fast becoming a bad experience for them.

Add to that the aspect of being asked to register, and most users will alter their behavior as a result.  A recent study by Janrain in conjunction with Blue Research noted that:

  • 75% of consumers take issue with being asked to register on a website and will change their behavior as a result
  • 76% of consumers admit to giving false information or leaving forms incomplete when creating a new account
  • 54% will either leave the site or not return
  • 17% go to a different site

The research indicates that “…consumers are frustrated with the traditional online registration process and will favor brands that make it easy for them to be recognized.…”

One method that surfaced as a solution to being recognized was being able to sign in using an existing social media log-in such as from Facebook, Google, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers said that this would be an “attractive solution to the problem.” Of this 66%:

  • 42% feel that companies who offer this are more up to date, innovative and leave a more positive impression.
  • 55% say they are more likely to return to a site that automatically recognizes them
  • 48% say they are more likely to make a purchase

Making your site user-friendly goes a long way in your effort to keep customers engaged. Listen to what your customers tell you about your site. They spend the most time there. Make their time on your site beneficial for both them and you. Like most things in life, people use things that they are familiar with and make them the most comfortable. Sometimes that’s a website, and most times that’s your customer.

— Dave Capano, EVP, Director of Connection Planning

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The five stages of social media grief. Or how I learned to stop worrying about the bomb.

In the last couple years, we in advertising and marketing have had to deal with a lot of what could be called destructive change. Part of this has been from the economy, and also a good deal has come from social media.

And as 2010 closes, it’s great to see how far we’ve made it as an industry with integrating social media into our practices. For those of us already there, it’s taken more than a few steps:

The first stage is denial. This denial usually isn’t that social media exists but that it has any relevance at all. People in stage one often say, “I don’t care what anyone had for breakfast.”

The second stage is anger. Most marketing managers feel that they already have enough on their plate; it’s only natural that a new, unwanted burden should, well, piss them off. You’ll hear people in stage two muttering about Facebook or putting expletives in front of the word Twitter.

The third stage is bargaining.  Bargaining often revolves around stakeholders trying to get someone else to handle the burden of responsibility. Hiring an intern often occurs in this stage.

The fourth stage is depression. This is when the responsibility is accepted and the burden of learning is taken on. Mood swings are a regular occurrence in this stage.  One minute, the griever is excited by the possibilities and the next overwhelmed by the sheer size of the space.

The fifth stage is acceptance. Once the learning curve starts to bend down, the depression starts to subside. You can easily recognize when someone is in this stage because this is when they start talking intelligently about integrating Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into marketing plans. Because they can start to see the real benefits of this new form of engagement. This is when the grief ends and magic can finally begin to happen.

If you’re still working your way through these stages, don’t fret, you’ll get there. It’s part of the new marketing landscape, and the sooner we’re able to fully accept it the sooner we’ll reap its rewards.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Copywriter

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Three steps to a successful direct mail campaign when using variable data

I’m not the Unabomber!

My heritage has granted me the opportunity to be the recipient of endless spelling variations of my last name.  Some have been comical, some have been insulting, and some have been downright mind-boggling.  I do receive a lot of mail with simply

“Tim K.” This can be considered somewhat cowardly, but I’m at least a little less irritated.

I recently received a direct mail piece from a well-known Atlanta printer. I’ve done business with them over the years, so I wasn’t some blind prospect for them. They know who I am and where I work.  It was a nice design, and they used variable data throughout.  But there were some serious issues with the execution.

They totally massacred my name, along with using a former version of our company name. The printer was touting its ability to go the extra mile for its clients.  Do you think I believed them when they couldn’t take the time to check their information?  How much confidence would anyone have in a company that didn’t check its list?

This was totally avoidable.  A little front-end research could have planted the seeds of building on a client-vendor relationship. Instead, the potential business relationship is gone. Lost prospects mean lost dollars.

Here is my advice to anyone using direct mail with variable data:

1) Check your list!  If you are compiling your own list, hire someone to take the time to call and verify all the vital information.  It is pretty basic stuff, really. Name (see spelling), title, company name, address, etc.  You are investing a lot of money to promote your company in the hopes of gaining business. Take the time to earn the right to our business.

2) Check your list often!  If you work in the business, you know that your contacts can move around a lot.  Use some of the professional/social websites like LinkedIn or Facebook to keep up with your prospects.  Update your list and when you’re done – update your list again.

3) Proofread – I have received endless direct mail pieces that are currently in a landfill due to typos. The minute I see one, I toss it to the trash can. Don’t waste my time.

I’m done with my manifesto – off to my one-room shed in the woods.

— Tim Kedzierski, Production Manager


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