22 Nov 2010

Free Shipping Increases Order Value

Are your web shop offering free shipping? Do you have any free shipping campaigns? No? Well, you might want to reconsider. A report from Comscore reveals that most of your competitors have free shipping from time to time. In Q3 2010, 41 per cent of all online retail transactions had free shipping. This is an increase by 6 percentage points from two years earlier. And the customers love it. 55 per cent of the customers indicate that they would be at least somewhat likely to leave their shopping cart without free shipping when they made their purchase.

In another Comscore survey, 84 per cent of consumers answered that free shipping was somewhat or very important to them when making a purchase this holiday season.

If you introduce free shipping, you might think your average shopping cart value will be missing a significant amount: P&P (post and packing). Well, your shopping cart will be missing P&P, however, the cart value will be much higher. In Q3 2010 the average order value for transactions involving free shipping was 41 per cent higher than transactions without free shipping. Still not a fan of free shipping?

Read more on Comscores blog .

18 Nov 2010

Click Rates Are Rising Again

You might have noticed that fewer and fewer users are clicking on your affiliate network’s banner or banner in general. It’s no secret: Many companies have lousy clickthrough rates. In plain English this means that fewer and fewer are clicking on fewer and fewer banner ads.

However, a survey done by MediaMind shows the decline in clickthrough rates might have stopped. The decline began long ago and the largest drop in clickthrough rate coincided with the collapse of the Lehmann Brothers in September 2008 and the global economy went down the drain. Since then the clickthrough rates have been declining at a lower pace. An average clickthrough rate declined from 0.15% in 2006 to 0.09% in 2010.

The really good news is that in 2009 and 2010 this decline seems to have stopped. Both in 2009 and in the first eight months of 2010, the average clickthrough rate has remained around 0.09%.

Get the report Standard Banner - Non-Standard Results from MediaMind.

9 Nov 2010

Social Sign-on Adds Value to Your Site

How many passwords do you have? And how often do you forget them or can’t remember which password to use for which site? Don't worry you aren't the only one. But you can help eliminate this problem for visitors to your site. The solution to this menace is to use Social Sign-on. Social Sign-on is simply to let the visitor sign-on using his social media password ie the user can sign-on using his Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or other social media-password. And it's worth the effort to give the visitor the possibility to sign-on using his Social Sign-on a survey from Gigya and Edge Research shows.

In the survey which was done among both e-commerce sites and online publishers two-thirds think they get more value from registered users than non-registered users. There are especially 4 areas which the registered user create value to the website. These are:
  • Loyalty
  • Word of mouth
  • Targeting content
  • Bottom-line
Loyalty. Registered users are more engaged and more loyal than the visitors which aren't registered. It’s possible to build a relationship with this type of user who in return will visit the site more frequently and generate more page views than an unregistered user.

Word of Mouth. The above mentioned loyalty can create a positive buzz for the company. Three-quarters of the e-commerce sites agree that registered users are more likely to provide more or better user‐generated content and promote the brand.

Targeting content. Majorities also note their ability to target content and promotions to registered users, as well as follow-up with them after completing their purchase.

Bottom‐line. Nine‐in‐ten say that registered users are more likely to purchase their products and services, and improving revenue.

Download the report The Value of Social Sign‐on and the Registered User.

25 Oct 2010

Social Commerce and Product Research Are Gaining Ground

If you’re surfing the Internet for information about a product or service you’re about to buy you're not the only one. Three in five (58%) Americans say they do online research before buying a product or service. This is an increase since 2004 where half (49%) said they researched online before buying a product or a service.

Every day 21 per cent of American adults are researching products and services online, in 2004 only one in ten (9%) did this, The Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals in a study on American’s e-commerce behavior.

Researched a product or service yesterday:

Feb 04          Feb 05           Feb 07         Feb 10

9%             13%           15%         21%
Source: The Pew Internet and American Life System (September 2010)

It is not only information researching which has increased. Also Social Commerce is gaining ground. The online shoppers are also contributing with ratings and reviews and in this way sharing their opinion. This is mostly done on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. One in four (24%) American adults have posted comments about a product or service they've bought.

Not surprisingly the percentage of Americans shopping online have increased from 36 per cent in May 2000 to 52 per cent in 2010. The study shows that the more affluent Americans do more online research than those less affluent. The more affluent with more education are also more active in relation to Social Commerce and post reviews and comments more frequently.

The product and service information research and sharing coincides with increasing use of social networking sites. 46% of Americans reporting the use of Internet sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn which has increased from 5% in February 2005.

See the whole The Pew Internet and American Life Project on Online Product Research.

17 Oct 2010

E-commerce in Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries

If you want to expand your online business or web shop into to Nordic countries or Scandinavia but don't know how the Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Finnish behave on the Internet, well don't worry. Read this blog post and you'll save yourself some time and hopefully earn some money. Eventually.

In 2009 the turnover for distance selling in the Nordic region was €8,583,230,513 (£7,531,804,220) and it is rinsing. In the same period distance selling increased by 17%, a report from Post Norden shows. Last year on an average each person living in the Nordic region bought articles for €692 (£607). If your shop or company isn't situated in the Nordic Countries - don't worry. Because nearly half the citizens who shop online have bought their shirt, cream or radio in another country.

Differences within the Nordic countries
Below you'll find some difference and similarities with in the Nordic countries regarding online shopping. I have only listed the most common and top 3-5 in each group.

The Danes are bargain hunters and the Finns are all for convenience.
Reason to purchase online:
Country S DK  N  SF
It's cheaper 24%    34%  25%  17%
Shop when I want   20%    18%  23%  30%
It's easier 25%    22%  14%  21%
Source: Posten Norden (May 2010)

The Swedes expect to get an invoice and the Danes love their Dankort/Visa card.
The most common payment methods:
Country S DK  N  SF
Invoice 41%    8%  30%  32%
Credit card   24%    66%  33%  13%
Bank transfer 22%    22%  20%  37%
COD   11%      4%  16%  17%
Source: Posten Norden (May 2010) 

Apparel and shoes are the most popular products.
The most common product purchased online:
Country S DK  N  SF
Shoes/clothes 47%    43%  39%  48%
Computers and electronics   39%    46%  40%  33%
Books 28%    23%  24%  19%
CDs and film   24%    25%  20%  29%
Source: Posten Norden (May 2010) 

Search engines rule the world and comparison sites are second.
First step when purchasing:
Country S DK  N  SF
Search engine 65%    81%  69%  70%
Comparison sites 54%    67%  45%  48%
Catalogues 41%    39%  53%  64%
Ratings and reviews   48%   43%  49%  39%
Social Media   18%    15%  24%  35%
Get retail inspiration   19%    26%  13%  14%
Source: Posten Norden (May 2010) 

The Norwegians go bargain hunting abroad, the Swedes are looking for larger selection.
Reason to purchase abroad:
Country S DK  N  SF
It's cheaper than home     47%    61%  65%  46%
Can't find it online in my country   33%    32%  27%  37%
Larger selection 36%    28%  32%  28%
Source: Posten Norden (May 2010)

These were the most interesting figures from the Nordic region. If you are missing some numbers or categories you are welcome to contact me and I will look into the report from Posten Norden and see what I can dig out for you. You can find my e-mail under contact.

See the latest number on Scandinavian and Nordic e-commerce

19 Sep 2010

So Much Is a Facebook Fan Worth

You might have asked yourself or somebody else: “What is a Facebook fan actually worth?” And nobody has been able to answer this question. Until now! The answer is somewhere around €104 (£87). An average Facebook fan of your company is worth about €104 (£87), according to a report from Syncapse. However, if you work intelligently with social media and have done as described in my earlier blogs (eg How to Become a Social Media Champion) and if you have to avoided Social Media pitfalls the value of a Facebook fan can be quite high. But if you haven’t got a clue what’s going on social media wise the value is almost insignificant.

The report is one of the first to try to put an actual amount on the value of a Facebook fan which isn’t easy and can only be an estimate. However, it's interesting to see that the daily work with social media is probably worth the effort - and then some.

An average fan may participate with a brand ten times a year and will make one recommendation. But, an active fan may participate thirty times and make ten recommendations. The impact this has on fan value is quite dramatic. The report mentions that in the case of Coca-Cola, the best case for fan value reaches €243 (£204) which more 225 per cent more than the average value of a Facebook fan.

If a customer is fan of a product or service they are 28 per cent more likely than non-fans to continue using the brand. Fans are 41 per cent more likely than non-fans to recommend a product to their family and friends. This means that a company must try to move its Facebook fans up the value ladder that is trying to move the average fan value to the active end of the range.

Not only in terms of recommendations are Facebook fans more valuable. Fans buys more on average than do non-fans. Fans are on average spending €55 (£46) per year more than people who are not fans of the product. McDonald’s has the largest variability. Fans of McDonald’s are spending €122 (£102) more during a year than non-fans.

Product spending: Fans vs non-fans:
Company Fans Non-fans
Nokia €131 (£110)      €49 (£41)
BlackBerry €101 (£85) €75 (£63)
Motorola €122 (£102) €53 (£44)
Secret €68 (£57) €41 (£35)
Gillette €98 (£82)€49 (£59)
Axe €78 (£65) €47 (£40)
Dove €108 (£91) €44 (£37)
Victoria’s Secret     €175 (£147)€117 (£98)
Adidas €96 (£80)€56 (£47)
Nike €157 (£131)€54 (£64)
Coca-Cola €146 (£122) €93 (£77)
Oreo €54 (£64) €43 (£36)
Skittles €98 (£82)€34 (£40)
Nutella €78 (£65)€41 (£34)
Red Bull €87 (£73)€38 (£32)
Pringles €102 (£85) €47 (£39)
Playstation €144 (£120) €93 (£78)
Xbox €133 (£111) €107 (£89)
Starbucks €180 (£151) €85 (£71)
McDonald’s €237 (£198) €115 (£96)
Source: Syncapse (September 2010)

The conclusion is quite obvious: The companies which are engaging its Facebook fans are receiving a generous ROI. Companies which aren't engaging its fans aren't.

15 Sep 2010

Android Users Clicks on more Ads than iPhone Users

If you have a mobile phone with an Android operating system (OS) you are more likely to click on an advertisement within an app than other smart phone users. A white paper from Nielsen shows that the phone's operating system apparently has a lot to do with our tendency to click on a banner ad in an app.

Clicked on an advertisement within an app:

System Yes No
Android 33%   67%
Microsoft Windows Mobile   29% 71%
Apple iPhone OS 26%74%
Other 24%76%
Palm OS 22% 78%
Blackberry 15% 85%
Source: Nielsen (September 2010)

This means that it might be a better idea to make an ad for phones with Android OS instead of making a banner for an iPhone. Naturally this depends on what you are selling. If you are selling the new iPhone it might be a good idea to target iPhone users. Naturally.

Download Nielsen's white paper: The State of Mobile Apps.

13 Sep 2010

Facebook Beats Google and Kills Yahoo

Social networking has beaten searching as American Internet surfers number no. 1 activity. Facebook has, according to ComScore, replaced Google as the most visited page. Americans spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook in August which is about 9.9 per cent of their Internet surfing minutes for the month, Google (including Youtube, Gmail etc.) is surpassing 39.8 million minutes or 9.6 per cent surfing minutes.

In August, last year American Internet users had spent less than 5 per cent of their surfing time on Facebook and close to the same percentage on Google.  Three years ago, in 2007, Facebook had less than 2 per cent of American web surfers’ total minutes while Google accounted for less than 4 percent and Yahoo for over 12 percent. But things has changed dramatically since then.

Today, the third most popular website is Yahoo which accounts for 37.7 million minutes or 9.1 per cent. Back in July, it was the first timeYahoo overtaken by Facebook.

9 Sep 2010

Women Engage in More Social Activities Online

Women are more social than men. At least when using the internet. A whitepaper from ComScore shows that women engage in more social activities or visits more social networks than men when they go online.

If we compare women’s to men's online usage it's clear that women use far more time on social media.

Share of time spent on social activities:

Category Women       Men
Social Networking                  16.3%11.7%
Instant Messenger 11.3%10.4%
E-mails 7.7%6.8%
Communities 2.2% 1.8%
Blogs 0.9% 0.8%
Source: Media Metrix Worldwide (April 2010)

It's the same all over the world. It doesn't matter which region, women consistently engage in more social activities online than men. Without exception. In U.S.A. nearly 56 per cent of adult women say they go online to stay in touch, compared to 46 per cent of adult men. On a global scale, social activities like social networking, instant messaging and e-mails are the no.1 reason for women to go online.

In Latin America women spend up to 52 per cent of their total time online on social activities. Their most preferred activity is instant messaging (24 per cent) followed by the social networking (18 per cent) and e-mails (10 per cent). However, women in Asia Pacific only spend about 20 per cent of their total time online on these activities.

Adults' share of time spent on social networking, instant messaging and e-mail (% of total minutes):

Region Women       Men
World Wide                  33%27%
Latin America 52%45%
Europe 37%30%
North America 30% 25%
Asia Pacific 20% 17%
Source: Media Metrix Worldwide (March 2010)

Globally, women spend an average of 16.3 per cent of their online time on social networks (April 2010) compared to only 11.7 per cent for the men. The time spent on social networks has been increasing over the past year and shows the growing importance of social networking to women’s online experience.

You might not realize it but it's women above 45 years who are behind the greatest proportion of growth for social networking sites at the moment, in terms of both visits and time spent on the sites. They have similar reach and usage as the women 25-34 and 35-44. It is the users between the age of 15-24 who have the highest reach and the heaviest usage. However, all groups are spending a significant amount of their total online time on social activities.

Globally, Facebook is still the most popular social network but regional social networks have great appeal eg Mixi (Japan,) Vkontakte (Russia), StudiVZ (Germany), CyWorld (South Korea).

This trend has important implications for all e-commerce sites. If you can give your female customer an element of social networking, you will have an advantage. And actually you can: It's called Social Commerce. Read my blog post about Social Commerce and make your site more appealing to women.

Download the whitepaper from ComScore: Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Web.

22 Aug 2010

Companies Are Satisfied with Their Social Media ROI

Nearly half of the companies who work with social media are satisfied with the ROI. This number, however, is most likely even higher because 43 per cent don't even measure the results. Only 10 per cent are not satisfied with the ROI. This is the result of a report based on 457 marketing executives on social media among 457 American companies from King Fish Media.

The investment in social media will increase next year, the report shows. 75 per cent of the companies say they will increase their spending on social media next year. Of these 35 per cent tie their investment to at specific project or a custom media programme, one third characterize their involvement as a incremental increase to the marketing budget, one in five is funded by moving budget from mainstream media advertising or other parts of the marketing budget and 11 per cent don't know.

Two thirds of the companies promote the company as a whole on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. 41 per cent focus on who work in the company, one fourth promote a specific product and 4 per cent have no clue what they are doing.

Here is a list of which social media platforms companies are currently using which give you a chance to see what your competitiors are doing in the social media landscape.

Linkedin 87%
Twitter 84%
Facebook 78%
Blogs 65%
Youtube 47%
News aggregate site (eg Digg, Stumbleupon) 36%
Bookmarking sites (eg del.icio.us) 34%
My Space 9%
Source: KingFishMedia

Most companies work actively with social media and have a strategy but few have put an add on a social media platform. Less than one in three have advertised on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or other. Nearly half are satisfied with the result.

If you are still not out there you can see my blog posts on How to become a Social Media Champion, read that Twenty-two Per Cent of All Time Spent Online Is on Social Media, find out that Social Media Can Increase Profitability and so forth. The list goes on. You get a cup of coffee and digg in.
What are your plans for next year? Are you going to spend more of your marketing budget on social media?

Get the report on King Fish Media.

19 Aug 2010

Women Want to be Online - All the Time

Are you online all the time? Do you turn off your phone during the night? Many women in the ages 18 to 34 don't turn their phone off during the night and more than a one in three women using social media have fallen asleep with their smartphone or PDA in their hand, research from Oxygen Media Insights Group shows. Many young women are in close contact with family, friends and most likely work 24/7.

We know that many people are hyperconnected and like to explore the internet and social media site like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and so on. People are out there waiting to get involved in your site around the clock and to become a fan of your Facebook page and check-in on your location via Foursquare. You might ask yourself what are you offering. If your answer is nothing, you might sit down a get a brainstorm going. Because social media can increase profitability, this cannot be ignored. So invite the customer to participate in your brand and sell more.

Are you always online? Do you turn your phone off during the night?

14 Aug 2010

Women Are the Kings of Online Shopping

This might seem a little sexist but I hope you will forgive me, because it's now a fact: Women do shop more online than men. According to ComScore are 61.2 per cent of all online transactions are made by women despite accounting for less than half of the Internet users in the US.

Women's online shopping carts usually contain less valuable products than men's but women make more purchases online than men. All in all women account for 58.2 per cent of the total spend online.

Internet users
Online buyers
Transactions made
Dollars spent
Female: 49.8% Female: 57.9% Female: 62.2% Female: 58,2%
Male: 50.2% Male: 42.1% Male: 38,9% Male: 41.8%
Source: Comscore

Not surprisingly women dominate the online market for fashion and jewelry, toys, housewares, books and other entertainment but, quite surprisingly, they also dominate video games.

Taking a wider perspective women spend 20 per cent more time on retail sites than men and they dominate most categories. Men only dominate computer hardware and software, consumer electronics, sporting goods and music.

There is also a difference in shopping behaviour. Women are more likely to choose a multichannel retailer whereas men tend to stick with online retailers. On social shopping sites, group buying sites and limited-time sale sites women are most likely to be customers.

These are the facts. But don't stop there use this knowledge. If you have a shopping site you might have more female visitors than you think regardless of the range of products you are offering. Even if you sell video games. No, don't make it all pink, women don't want that. Does your site appeal to women?

Find out more on women online behaviour on www.comscore.com.

3 Aug 2010

Facebook and Twitter Hit a Milestone

On this blog I have advocated the use of Facebook and Twitter. I have helped you on How to become a Social Media Champion, told you how Social Media Can Increase Profitability and have shown you 5 Pittfalls of Social Media and How to Avoid Them. You might have ignored these blogpost but if you weren't convinced before these numbers might.

Late July Facebook announced that the social media phenomenon has 500.000.000 user. Yes, some might have more that one profile but still the number can't be ignored. In other words one in every 14 person in the world is on Facebook. Shortly after Twitter also had interesting news. Message no. was uploaded the same month as Facebook celebrated its milestone. The social media where people only have 140 characters to tweet their message is continuously gaining popularity worldwide. The service was four years to reach 10 billion messages - which happened in March - but then less than five months to double the number.

Still in doubt? You can still get on Facebook and Twitter it's not too late but it's about time. People are waiting to hear from you.

23 Jul 2010

Be Smart Use Behavioural Targeting

Don't you just hate it? You have just bought a car or a suit. But when you return to the shop or dealership to pick it up the salesperson is trying to sell you the exact same car or suit - again. Well, to be honest neighter do I. Because a good salesperson remembers you and doesn't try to sell you the same product all over again.

But why does it happen all the time online. If a person visits your website clicks on a banner and buys eg a bike what do you offer him when he returns one day later to track and track his order? Unfortunately, you will most likely offer him the exact same bike he bought yesterday. Stupid it's it?

Behavioural Targeting is the solution
There is a solution to this problem and it's called Behavioural Targeting (also called Behaviorial Targeting) or segmentation. The idea is that if a visitor has already bought the product you are offering on the banner you show him something else.

An example. If you are a new customer you'll see a banner offering an attractive sign on bonus:

If you already are a customer there is no need to show the sign on bonus. Hence, you'll see something else preferably another offer:

Your website has become intelligent! And the customers love it. You'll sell more and you can target your content. So you can eat the cookie and have it too. Isn't that great? If your CMS system is as good as it is supposed to be, you should be able to do Behaviourial Targeting on your website. You just need a cookie. Ask you developer for this.

The above is just one example, you can do the same with text, buttons, flows etc. Share your knowledge: Where do you want to use Behaviourial Targeting?

8 Jul 2010

The Crisis Is Over: Double-Digit Growth for Online Shopping in Western Europe and in the US

In the last couple of years you might have experienced disappointing or even declining sales in your online shop. But keep the faith the crisis might be over. Forrester Research expects an increase in online sales both in Western Europe and in the US over the next five years - and that by double-digit. Online sales in the largest European Union nations in Western Europe will grow at a 11 per cent annual growth rate over the next five years reaching €114 billion by 2014. In the US online sales will grow at a 10 per cent annual growth rate over the same period to reach close to $249 billion by 2014.

Western European online sales
In Western Europe an increased online tenure, improved access and greater promotion by retailers will increase the number of online shoppers in Europe from 141 million in 2009 to 190 million by 2014. The average spend per online shopper will rise from €483 in 2009 to €601 in 2014. Books, event tickets and clothing are the top three categories put in the virtual shopping basket in Western Europe. Among the three largest EU markets, online sales will grow by 10 per cent over the next five years in the UK; 9 percent in Germany; and 13 percent in France.

Online shopping in Europe will grow but there is a clear division between the countries of Northern and Southern Europe. In UK half of the people shop regularly online, however, only 10 per cent of online Spaniards and 11 per cent of online Italians shop online. However, with annual growth rates approaching 20 per cent in markets like Spain, emerging European e-commerce markets are poised for a great period of growth.

US online sales
In the US, online shopping will account for 8 per cent of total retail sales by 2014. Three categories dominate online sale, that is apparel, footwear and accessories; consumer electronics; and consumer hardware, software and peripherals. Together, these categories represent more than 40 per cent of total online sales in the US. By 2014, 53 per cent of total retail sales in the US will be influenced by e-commerce as consumers use the Internet to research products before purchasing.

All in all get ready. Get your CRM, CMS, analytics and newsletter modul ready. The crisis might be over. 

See more about the forecast on Forrester Research

21 Jun 2010

Twenty-two Per Cent of All Time Spent Online Is on Social Media

Last year it was claimed in a video which I refered to in a blogpost that Social Media had overtaken porn as the no. 1 activity on the net. Now The Nielsen Company supports the claim: Social Media is one of the most popular activities online. Why is that important, you might ask. The answer is: it's important because now is the time to invest in Social Media if you haven't already. In an earlier blog post I gave some examples on how the become a Social Media champion and it might be a good idea to read it and go on to find further inspiration. Because one in every four and half minutes used online is used on Social Media.

110 billion minutes
In other words, 22 per cent of all time spent online is spend on Social Media. Three quarters of the world's online surfers visit a social network or blog like this one when they go online. Compared to last year an average visitor spends 66 per cent more time on Social Media. In April this year (2010) almost 6 hours is spent on Social Media compared to 3 hours, 31 minutes last year (2009). Worldwide over 110 billion minutes are used on social networks and blogs like Facebook, Youtube and Wikipedia - just to mention the most popular. If you are afraid of making mistakes in the world of Social Media. Don't be because I have already made a blogpost about the pitfalls of Social Media to help you.

See all the numbers on The Nielsen Company homepage.

Have your business benefitted from Social Media? 

24 May 2010

Web Surfing Is Stagnating in Denmark

In previous years you might have experienced a growth in traffic on your website. Hence, you are confident that the KPI concerning an increase in traffic is running according to plan. But this might be a mistake. In Denmark years of growth in traffic halted in 2009 - and it is especially the younger age groups which have reached a saturation point, according to a survey by Jon Lund.

The study shows that in Denmark the growth in the total number of pages the Danes are reading online has declined since the first quarter of 2009. In 2009 the Internet activity increased by 27 per cent but in the first quarter of this year the number of pages is declining by 1 percent. The number of visits and hours spent online are also falling.

It is particularly the younger age groups, whose online activity are declining. The older age groups continue to spend more time online, however, the increase is not as rapidly as it was among the younger age groups.

In Denmark people visit around 100,000 different websites each month. Most of them having a very limited taget group. However, the 250 largest websites experienced an increase in the total share of traffic from 51 to 66 per cent from January 2008 to 2010.

You can buy the survey at Mediawatch.

17 May 2010

5 Pitfalls of Social Media and How to Avoid Them

Before you venture aimlessly into then world of Social Media, you'd ask yourself: "Have you thought it through?" Take a look at these 5 pitfalls and learn how to avoid the most common mistakes. If you want to know how to become a Social Media Champion you can read my earlier blogpost.

1. Interact with your vistors
The secret is in the two words: Social Media. Social meaning a kind of relationship or involvement and media meaning communication. So you have to interact with your users, members or visitors. You can't leave your page empty, You have to update it regularly and update it with content the visitors can use. Don't spam them. If you do they will disappear. Before you begin make sure you know: What you want? If you just want to be with hype, you probably will fail. Make a Social Media Strategy.

2. Be honest
You can't fool your visitors. If you commit yourselves to a dialogue you have to go all the way. You can't delete entries on your blog, Facebook page etc. You are in a dialogue and you don't censor in a dialogue. But when people complain or argue on your page - at lease you know. If they complained elsewhere you wouldn't know, hence you wouldn't be able to answer. Use that opportunity. You should also write about things you rather not write about eg write on Facebook if your website is down. Then you show you are honest and people respect that. Just like you respect your friends because they are honest.

3. Let everybody work with Social Media
The use of social media should be a common mindset in the entire organization. Let customer service answer questions adressed to them, the online department answer question about the website, HR department tell about vacancies and so on. Don't let the communications department be the only one to make entries. They don't always know what to answer - and people sense that. Naturally the entries should reflect your brand.

4. Keep doing what you do

Keep updating your website, keep your search marketing on track and distribute your newsletter. Who knows how long Facebook, Twitter etc. are going to be there. Remember a few years back where the corporate blog was the answer to everything. Today, this isn't the case. Use the specific media which can be used to obtain a particular goal or purpose. And be aware that different people prefer different media.

5. Measure the effort
Be sure to set a goal. How many members/fans do you want to have? How many referres from Facebook or Twitter do you want to have? How big a drop in calls to customer service do you want? It isn't easy to measure it but it can be done. So do it.

8 May 2010

A/B Testing Is a Goldmine

You think you know which banner will perform better on your site. But how do you know? You might be an experienced e-commerce marketer or you might listen to your gut feeling but you can never be sure. Do an A/B test (also called a split test) and you know which banner will sell more and improve your conversion. And you can document it. If you can't measure it my opinion will be as valid as your.

An A/B test is a test of two different versions of a headline, caption, picture, banner etc. or even page. You start with your original content and then create alternate versions of that content. The test is over when you have a statistically valid result and the two test versions have been exposed an equally number of times in the same time period. 

Below are two examples of A/B testings I have done with quite surprising result. Hopefully, they will inspire you to do your own A/B testing and get more transactions on your website.

Banner on a product page
These two banners were tested on a product page in Denmark. The only difference between the two banners are the pictures. The first banner having a USB modem used for mobile broadband also called a dongle.

And the other banner having a girl using the USB modem.

The A/B test showed a quite surprising result. There difference in sales between the two banners were 325 per cent. 325 per cent! This means that three times as many people choose to click on one banner and bought than the other.

Banner on the front page
An A/B test with banners on the front page also showed a quite impressive result. In this case we tested two banners during a sign on bonus campaign. The first banner basically being a banner saying bonus with a smaller explanation.

The other banner having the word bonus placed in the corner and having a larger text.

The difference was again quite surprising. The difference being more than 12 per cent between the two banners. Imagine what would happen if you could increase your sales with 12 per cent. I sure you'll get a new coffee mug or a parking space closer to the entrance - or whatever you'd like. Well, ideally you should.

There is a reason why I don't tell which banner performs the better. If I told you which is the better banner you might think you know why. But we don't know why. An A/B test only shows which banner performs better but not why. That's why we have to keep on testing.

Happy testing!

1 May 2010

Dialogue with Your Customers Increases Revenue

Engage in dialogue with your customers and you will sell more. This is the conclusion in the survey: “E-commerce, trust and social networking – the case of Danish online video game stores” made by Jon Lund. In other words if you engage in dialogue on Social Media with your customer or uses social networking elements on your website, you will increase your customers' satisfaction and they will shop more often in your online shop.

Social Media and trust-scores
The survey shows that the more a company uses Social Media, like Facebook, the higher trust-scores it receives on Trustpilot.com. This suggests that Social Media is a valuable asset in the quest for satisfied customers. There seems to be a connection between trust-scores and number of orders in the online shop: the higher trust-scores, the more frequent visit to the online shop. So keep your customers happy and they will shop more.

Social Media also helps customers to express themselves to other customers - and potential customers. And if they are satisfied they will tell other customers about it. Then you have a online success.

If you want to know how to become a Social Media Champion I have written a few basis rules you have to take into consideration in an earlier blog post. It seems to be worth it!

Read an excerpt and get the whole survey.

30 Apr 2010

How to Become a Social Media Champion

If your company isn't involved in social media you are probably missing out. The numbers speak for themselves:
  • Social media is the no. 1 activity on the Internet
  • If Facebook was a country it would be the world's 4th largest country
  • The world second largest search engine is Youtube
  • 1 out of 8 married couples (2008) in America met via social media
The numbers go on and on you can see them all on Youtube. All this social interaction can be used commercially. Yes, you could distribute your ads all over Facebook but the abovementioned information can be used more intelligently. Fans and followers of a brand or company are more likely to buy from or recommend a company which they follow on Facebook and Twitter as I've stated in an earlier blog post.

Five basic rules to become a Social Media Champion
If you want to become a Social Media Champion there are a number of basic rules you should consider. If you take these rules into consideration, you have the potential to become a success on social media and subsequently increase your revenue.
  • Publish relevant and interesting content
  • Update your content regularly
  • Interact with your fans
  • Engage with your fans
  • Integrate applications
A lot of companies have fan pages on Facebook without any content. Why? If there was some relevant content on the page people might return - especially if it is updated regularly. If a user posts a comment on your page, answer him. This way your are in dialogue with your customers and might take some of the pressure of your call centre. Ask your fans to participate in competitions, treasure hunts, foto marathons etc. Anything that engages your fans. The Facebook Page API is rather open which makes it easy to integrate polls, games etc. on the fan page.

As mention in my previous blogpost this could be a valuable experience since more than half the people who are fans of a company or brand are more likely to purchase from the company and 60 to 79 % are more inclined to recommend the company or brand to a friend.

These were five very basic rules but there are without a doubt many others. What other rules do you recommend?

Social Media Can Increase Profitability

You might have wondered if it contributed to your business but now it's a fact: Social Media can increase your revenue. A study made by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) shows that people who follow a company or brand on social media like Twitter and Facebook are more likely to buy or recommend a product or service from the company. Recommendations are important as I have made a blog post about earlier. The survey from CMB is made among 1.500 Americans shows that:
  • 67 % who are fans of a brand or company on Twitter are more likely to purchase a product or service from the company
  • 51 % who are fans of a brand or company on Facebook are more likely to purchase a product or service from the company
  • 79 % of people who are fans of a brand or company on Twitter are more inclined to recommend the company
  • 60 % who are fans of a brand or company on Facebook are more inclined to recommend the company
Twitter does somehow have a better credibility. Probably because it is more to the point and doesn't, unlike Facebook, have ads and games all over the place. But that needs to be investigated further before we can say anything certain about that.

The winners are the Social Media Champions
The numbers tell the whole story:
  • Social Media is the no. 1 acticity on the Internet
  • If Facebook was a country it would be the world's 4th largest country
  • The world second largest search engine is Youtube
And the list goes on. If we are to believe these numbers the future belongs to the companies who are taking Social Media seriously: The Social Media Champions. If you want to become a Social Media Champion, you can find inspiration in my blog post: How to become a Social Media Champion.

See the press release and download the full report on Chadwick Martin Bradley's homepage.

5 Apr 2010

Social Commerce Adds Credibility

Remember back in the old days, before industrialisation in the late 18th century? Probably not, but if a person needed a new pair of shoes he went to the shoemaker – or perhaps back then a clog maker. He met him face-to-face; the producer met the customer. The customer was able to ask questions and get help from the product manufacturer himself.

Industrialisation changed that. Products began to be mass-produced. The producers were out of sight. People still had to go to a shop to find a pair of shoes, but they had no social interaction with the producer. Instead, consumers had to trust the sales person – they had no other choice.

We’re now in the 21st century. An increasing number of consumers are shopping online, buying products without ever meeting a sales person. There is no social interaction, which means no one to ask for help.

Will shoppers trust a website?

Many e-commerce websites use words like “splendid,” “extraordinary,” “beautiful,” “bargain,” and all kinds of appealing marketing words to describe their products and services. But do shoppers trust these descriptions? Probably not. Numerous studies have shown as much: people don’t trust ads, people trust other people. But there are no people on a website.

The solution for an e-commerce site seeking to achieve a higher degree of credibility is social commerce. Social commerce is customer interaction that drives real business results. In TELMORE’s case, social commerce puts user-generated content in the purchase path, bringing value to our customers – and credibility to TELMORE.

Social interaction online

Let me illustrate with an example. A person is browsing the web for a new mobile phone. An Internet search brings him to TELMORE, where he finds the HTC Hero, which costs 1799 DKK ($326US/242 €). But who is TELMORE, and can he trust us? User ratings show that this is a popular, well-received phone. And perhaps more importantly, the reviews show that customers – real people like the shopper in our example – have bought from our website before and had a good experience.

The shopper’s natural initial hesitation is subdued, and he clicks on the phone to see more. On the next page he finds all ratings and reviews made by other vistors.

On this specific phone there are 46 reviews made by other customers – not by TELMORE. These ratings and reviews give TELMORE credibility, because they show that we are not afraid to give the power to our customers. We let them tell the truth about the phone and our brand, and as mentioned above, people trust other people. The words of our customers give the shopper the information he needs to confidently purchase the phone.

At TELMORE we have literally thousands upon thousands of reviews. Although we don’t meet our customers face-to-face as people did years ago, we still communicate with them. We have a blog, a popular Facebook fanpage, a Twitter account, and a customer support staff to answer calls. In addition, we have ratings and reviews, which give us a valuable advantage. Not only are our customers communicating with us online, but they are able to communicate with other customers and shoppers. Instead of talking to the clog maker, our visitors are able to talk to each other.

This is how the visitors interact on our site, and it’s just one example of social commerce. I personally surf the internet for product information, blogs, and naturally ratings and reviews. The doctor does take his own medicine.

How is your business using social commerce? Do ratings and reviews influence you?

(This blog post is posted simultaneously at Bazaarvoice.)

13 Mar 2010

10 Easy Ways to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Website

When making a new page on your website or blog you must write to a person - not a search engine. Unlike many other who think you should write for search engines, I think we should write for living human beings. Because this is the reason we have a website, blog, wiki, etc.: to get in touch with other people. Isn't it? Matt Cutts from Google seems to agree on this. He has previously written on his blog: "...that most of the right choices in SEO come from asking 'What’s the best thing for the user?'"  In other words: What is good for users, is also good for search engines. Well, at least I hope it is.

I have made 10 basic rules to improve your ranking on search engines. If you stick to these rules you'll come a long way:
  1. Give your page a relevant name (the title tag)
  2. Get the name of the page into the URL (www.xxx.co.uk/name-of-the-page)
  3. Chunking and Labeling - Divide your text into appropriate bites and give them headlines
  4. Link to other pages on your site ie related products
  5. Make alt texts on images
  6. Update your content regularly
  7. Make sure that the content is relevant
  8. Make lists
  9. Exchange links with partners (not with dubious people contacting you by e-mail)
  10. Write the words people are looking for into your text (the words they might type into a search engine)

These ten small rules are easy to do and it's free except from your working hours.

If you are not satisfied with these 10 easy steps to search engine optimization, you can in Google's Webmaster Central read Google's own guidelines to SEO. Here you can also find a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide! Read it and get wiser and get more customer on your website from search engines.

If you have other tips how to increase ranking on search engines please add them under comments.

8 Mar 2010

Give Your Customer Something Extra

Let's face it. An online shopper can get his or her shirt, broadband connection or computer programme from a wide group of online shops. So why should he buy it in your online shop? The price is more or less the same if you take p&p and all expences into account. The solution is simple: give the customer something extra.

An example is airline tickets. You can get a plane ticket to a certain destination eg from London to Paris from several airlines and numerous travel sites to more or less the same price. Where does the customer buy his ticket? He buys his ticket from the vendor who can make his travel most pleasant via a digital service. This could be the possibility to check-in online when the customer buys his or her ticket, so he or she doesn't have to que in the airport and waste valuable time. Instead he can go directly to the security. Or the vendor who can arrange parking ie sell parking ticket to the airport parking facilities, so the customer can buy his air ticket and his parking ticket at the same time. These are just two valuable online services.

You might think that your product can't have a digital service added to it. But you are wrong. All product can have a digital service added to it: You just have to figure out which. So start thinking. If you can find a digital service which will improve your product, you will attract customers and improve you business.