Tag Archives: Website

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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‘Like’ is the new word-of-mouth- don’t be caught without it.

“Like” is the new word of mouth. Don’t let Facebook catch you without it.

Have you “liked” anything yet today? Sure, you probably liked your breakfast, or liked the song playing on the radio during your morning commute, but the “like” I’m referring to is more than just a feeling — way more. For the general public, it’s a platform for sharing content. But for businesses big and small, it’s a social media trend you cannot afford to overlook. Curious? Read on.

I’m talking about Facebook’s Like button — a feature that millions of Facebook users interact with on a daily basis and that many companies have begun to see as a valuable tool in engaging with their audience. I’m taking the liberty of assuming the majority of readers are familiar with the feature, but click here if you need a quick refresher.

So why am I advocating the Like button become a minimum standard on your company website? Because I’m in advertising, and the idea of being able to create awareness of a brand or product with a simple thumbs-up icon is absolute genius to me. By offering the Like button on a particular page of the website, you’re offering the reader a chance to tell their Facebook network that they’re interested in content your company has posted and it was worth sharing. And in the same way someone may read a book because a friend verbally recommends it, a user is more likely to engage with your site and your content if a trusted source, the friend, has already experienced it and Liked it. The impact word of mouth can have is no stranger to brand advertising, so you can imagine the possibilities when this same concept is amplified by the millions.

Brands and companies worldwide are reveling in the ability to so easily distribute their content, track the exposure it receives, and learn what truly interests their audiences. This information allows for a deeper connection and more meaningful engagement with your target audience.  Facebook reports some of their publishers see that “people on their sites are more engaged and stay longer when their real identity and real friends are driving the experience through social plugins.” NHL.com is used as an example, with Facebook visitors “reading 92% more articles, spending 85% more time on-site, viewing 86% more videos, and generating 36% more visits than visitors to other sites.”

Here’s another example: I read this article just this morning, and during its mere 4-hour existence thus far, it’s already gained over 1,600 Likes. And in the time it’s taken you to read this sentence, I’ve gone ahead and Liked it myself. It’s that simple.

If the concept alone doesn’t do it for you, maybe these statistics will help:

As I said earlier, this isn’t something your brand, your products, or your business want to overlook. If you haven’t already, integrate the Like button feature on your website. If you’ve already embraced the trend, give yourself a thumbs up. “Like” is the new word of mouth — don’t be caught without it.

Oh, and do me a favor before parting: if you enjoyed engaging with the content of my post and feel it’s worth sharing, throw it a Like, would ya?

— Beth Madigan, Account Executive

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A ‘Missed’ Opportunity?

I came across an article on the Media Post Web site entitled “Yet Without Information, We Are Nothing” about a study done at the University of Maryland where 200 students were asked to abstain from all forms of media for a 24 hour period.

The students were then asked to share their experience on private class Web sites. All in all, the 200 students wrote more than 110,000 words or, as the article states, “…about the same number of words as a 400-page novel.” (However, if you break it down, the average student only wrote about 550, words or roughly half the number of words in the entire article.)

Susan Moeller, a journalism professor at the university and the director of the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (What is the public’s agenda anyway? Did I miss something?), noted that “We were surprised by how many students admitted that they were ‘incredibly addicted’ to media… but we noticed that what they wrote at length about was how they hated losing their personal connections. Going without media meant, in their world, going without their friends and family.”

The article then goes on to say that “The absence of information, the feeling of not being connected to the world, was among the things that caused the most anxiety in students as they sought to learn about the role of media in their lives by completing an assignment that asked them to spend a day without using media.

“They cared about what was going on among their friends and families; they cared about what was going on in their community; they even cared about what was going on in the world at large. But most of all they cared about being cut off from that instantaneous flow of information that comes from all sides and does not seemed (sic) tied to any single device or application or news outlet.” (Italics added.)

I’m not sure I would have used the term “cared.” Caring implies a deep concern for or an empathy with a person or a cause. I think the term that should have been used was “missed.” They missed what was going on in their community. They missed what was going on in the world at large. They missed the interaction with their friends and family, if only because they felt it would somehow reassure them that they were connected to others.

This connection to others is a basic human need.  One that social media plays an important role in fulfilling. For those of you old enough, think “party line” on steroids.  The emerging technologies are redefining a number of things. Social media has helped extend the definition of the “family” unit since now outsiders can often see what family members are discussing and feel as if they’re part of the family “conversation.”  That can be both good and bad. But, again, it’s a connection.

I think the study was well intentioned, but I’m not really surprised by the results, which I feel were predictable. If you had asked me the result of a study of the reactions of college students to abstaining from any contact with media for a 24-hour period, I probably would have come up with a lot of the same conclusions.

I think a more relevant and better item for the “Public Agenda” would be a study of a cross section of the entire population sharing their stories about abstaining from all media forms for a 24-hour period. I’d expect the results from that would give us all a better insight into how to reach those of various ages.

— Dave Capano, Director of Media Services

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