Give Visitors A Nudge, Not a Pounding


November 15th, 2013 by

When visitors come to your website, they are in control. They choose which pages to view and what actions to take. And while you try your best to make them aware of your calls-to-action and important content, they don’t always make it to those forms or pages. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to somehow interact with your visitors and influence the path they take through your site?

Some webmasters try to do this by directing attention in not so subtle ways, like plastering a chat window or survey invitation right in the middle of the screen. The box pops up and refuses to budge until the visitor either accepts the invitation or closes the box. Personally, I find that annoying and have become very adept at either closing those boxes in under 2 seconds or leaving the site altogether…not the intended reaction I’m sure.

Forced Surveys

Instead of pounding visitors over the head and forcing them to do things, a better strategy is to find a way to give them a little “nudge” in the right direction. Enter Qualaroo, a software platform that aims to help you target calls-to-action and also gain insights into visitor intent.

So, how does it work? You have a lot of display options with Qualaroo, which you can adjust depending on your strategy. Regardless of the settings you choose, the nudge will appear very subtly in the lower part of the screen, keeping it out of the way, but still noticeable.

Qualaroo

With Qualaroo’s options, you can:

  • Show your nudge box on the right or left of the screen
  • Show it right away when the page loads
  • Wait 20 seconds (if the visitor stays on a page for that long they may need direction)
  • Show it only to returning visitors or visitors who have visited at least 3 pages
  • Show it only to visitors who have arrived on the site from a search engine

There are 12 different targeting options, and you can also show the nudge only one time per visit.

In the example shown above, Hague Quality Water introduces a nudge that directs visitors who have questions to get in touch with a local dealer. When the “Find Your Local Dealer” button is clicked, the visitor is taken to a dealer finder page where a zip code can be entered to locate the nearest dealer.

Hague Qualaroo Nudge

About 5% of visitors who see the nudge interact with it by clicking on the blue find a dealer button. In the last 2 months over 550 visitors have done a dealer lookup as a result of the nudge.

There are a lot of nudge strategies for both existing customers and prospective customers. You can also incorporate live chat in with the nudge. Additional examples appear below:

More Qualaroo Tests

Over the last 3 months that we’ve been experimenting with Qualaroo on client sites, we’ve had over 4,000 site visitors interact with the nudge, which has allowed us to direct them to important actions and pages on those sites. We have found it to be a very effective tool for customer engagement.

We would be happy to discuss its application for your site, too… just give us a call at 513-258-2862!

Happy Halloween!


October 31st, 2013 by

Leaves are falling, temparatures are dropping, the fog is rolling in and the haunting is beginning. Halloween is among us, are you prepared to survive among the undead? Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, I love the decorations, the costumes and all the haunted houses! Below I have included some fun tips and tricks for Halloween!

Our Suggested Haunted House: USS Nightmare

Enjoy a night out while you visit the USS Nightmare. Be frightened as you walk through a bone-chilling 30 minute tour of the historic boat.


Extreme Pumpkins is a site sure to inspire some great pumpkin carving ideas.


Enjoy this video that has recently gone viral, well worth the watch!

Happy Halloween from all of us at Upright Communications!

Associated Press Stylebook – A to Z Unexpected Rules


October 23rd, 2013 by

The Associated Press Stylebook is the book to reference for many writing professionals. The first AP Stylebook only had 60 pages and was bound with staples. Today, the book has grown to over 450 pages of writing ‘rules’ to follow and can be found in paperback or electronic version.  The stylebook covers the basic rules of grammar, punctuation, usage and journalistic style. It also encompasses changes in the common language, offers guidance on media law, explains the AP rules and helps others to navigate the rapid changing world of social media.

As SEO professionals, bloggers and those in the media industry, we do our best to keep up-to-date with the new changes. We keep a copy of the AP Style book handy in our offices and often reference the book. Since the AP Style book is updated every year, we understand that it is very easy to miss an update.

While many professional rely on the AP Style book to get down to the nitty gritty of their writing and to make certain they are following all of the important rules, I thought I would bring to light an A to Z list of a few unexpected rules. Most of the words listed are for those in the SEO industry, with a couple of random words added, just for fun!

A-     air bag – two words, not one. Do not need to capitalize the A and the B in normal writing, air bag.

B-      Books on Tape – B and T are capitalized because the phrase is a trademark for a brand of audiobooks. A generic term can be used instead, audiotape or audiocassette.

C-      campaign manager – do not treat as a formal title, always lowercase. (See Titles in the AP Style book to learn more.)

D-     domain names- The address used to locate a particular website or reach an email system. (See AP Style book to learn more.)

E-      Emoticon – A typographical cartoon or symbol generally used to indicate mood or appearance, as =D and often looked at sideways. Also known as smileys. Capitalize the E in normal writing.

F-      fleet – Use figures and capitalize fleet when forming a proper name: the 6th Fleet. Lowercase fleet whenever it stands alone.

G-     gigabyte- A unit of storage capacity in a computer system, loosely equal to 1 billion bytes. Abbreviate GB. In normal writing, do not capitalize the G.

H-     hyperlink – A link from one part of a Web page to another page, as an auto shop page to tire brands page.

I-        Internet – A decentralized, worldwide network of computers that can communicate with each other. In later references, the Net is acceptable. (See the AP Style book to learn more.)

J-       Java- A trademark of Oracle Corp. for a computer programming language that can be run on some computer systems and inside Web browsers.

K-      kilobyte-A unite of measure for digital data storage. Use Kb  in abbreviations.

L-       LAN – Acronym for local area network, which links computers within a geographically limited area.

M-   mailman- Letter carrier is preferable because many women hold this job.

N-     nonprofit – it is not hyphenated, lowercase .

O-     OK, OK’d, OK’ing, Oks – Do not use okay.

P-      percent- One word, lowercase, written out.

Q-     Q-tips- A trademark brand of cotton swabs.

R-      RSS- An abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication.

S-      “The Star-Spangled Banner” – But use lowercase for the national anthem.

T-      toward- not towards.

U-     URL- Abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, an Internet address.

V-     virus, worm- A computer virus is any malicious, invasive program designed to infect and disrupt computers. A worm is a type of virus that spreads on networks such as the Internet, copying itself from one computer to another without human intervention.

W-   Web- short for World Wide Web.

X-      Xmas- Do not use this as an abbreviation for Christmas.

Y-      YouTube – A video-serving network owned by Google Inc.

Z-      zigzag- just like that!

The Most Epic and Honest Commercial


October 18th, 2013 by

Creative marketing sometimes means finding a unique perspective and presenting a pitch in way that hasn’t been done before.  It isn’t easy to think “out of the box” – especially when it comes to your own business.

Creative marketing requires some inspiration every now and then, and so in that spirit we bring you the most “epic and honest” commercial ever made. But before we get to the commercial, there are a few things to note.

This commercial for Cullman Liquidation was made and first posted in 2009. Cullman Liquidation is a real business located in Cullman, Alabama. The low budget production was created by Rhett and Link, proprietors of the website, ILoveLocalCommercials.com. Sponsored by MicroBilt Corporation, I Love Local Commercials is all about helping local small businesses to gain visibility and become more profitable.

Although Cullman’s epic commercial will be four years old this October 21, it is still getting comments and hits, and has reached an impressive 4,013,120 views to date.

For more on the making of the Cullman ad, check out Rhett & Link’s video back story. For more on what you can do with creative marketing and social media, give us a call.

Social Media Week Chicago 2013


October 10th, 2013 by

Social Media Week Chicago 2013

I had the privilege of attending Social Media Week Chicago 2013 two weeks ago and was overwhelmed by the forward thinking, informed leaders in the social media and digital marketing community with whom I made connections. #SMW is a mostly free conference held over 5 days on 4 different continents and features professionals and industry leaders simultaneously sharing knowledge with one another.

It was humbling to be in rooms and take part in a few of the 181 seminars with leaders from some of the largest communications firms in the world and find that Upright Communications is right on track. Here are my highlights from the events:

 

Content Marketing that Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy.

1.       Build consumer trust through useful content.

To build your audience’s trust and create a meaningful relationship, write your content with the reader in mind, not metrics. In this, quality over quantity really speaks volumes of your brand.

2.       Create consumer action.

Great content can be its own well-oiled machine if it has the consumers’ needs in mind. If content speaks to your audience they will answer with a click, a comment, or a recommendation, and it will move them to take action.

3.       Satisfy a brands business needs.

Social media needs to have a strategy carefully planned around your business goals and needs. From raising brand awareness to increasing sales, your goals should be clearly set in order to take steps to obtain the results you desire.

“Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of search engines.”

 – Matt Cutts, Google Webspam Team

Bottom line: SEO can’t be the end all be all of a marketing plan, but rather a carefully implemented part of the overall strategy and driving force. Integrating social media, great content, and sharing it will add credibility to your brand in the eyes of a consumer. So create your brand through digital marketing, tell your story and drive your goals.

 

Social Media is Bullsh*t: The Real Value of Social Media 

SEOpic3

In the middle of downtown Chicago’s old Library, B.J Mendelson, author of Social Media Is Bullshit challenged the crowd to see social media as what it is, should be, could be and how it is actually used. He also gave a little lesson in logic, honesty and colorful language.

Did you know? A  Facebook status lives for about 11 minutes, and a tweet lives an even shorter lifespan before dying in the newsfeeds and waves of other posts.

SO? Take it offline. Research everything on your consumer, know what they like, and what they don’t so you are able to create content based upon what they do like. Have a conversation with them by reaching out via tweet and not just responding to an inquiry or the negative review.

ABGD: Always Be Gathering Data. Then use that data! The more you know the more you can relate and understand your audience needs.

AARR: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral. These are the basics of word-of-mouth or viral marketing. Engage with a customer, activate their knowledge of your business, retain with customer service and gain a new customer with a referral. The marketing circle of life!

Bottom Line: 93% of word of mouth marketing is offline according to Jonah Berger and his bestseller, Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Social media provides us real life opportunities to connect with people we have never met and share information about our business and beliefs and we should take advantage of it. It should not be used as another way to vaguely connect but a chance at an introduction to become personally acquainted.

 

Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand

Paul M. Rand gave a stirring sermon regarding how social media has changed the dynamic of the way businesses are being run today. Recommendations are seen as the new key measure of determining if products, services and businesses are successful. Social media now allows for every aspect of a company to be openly discussed, critiqued, or praised, and the companies that understand how to manage this to their favor will come out on top.

The Science of Social Proof: 91% of consumers make a recommendation after a positive experience and 49% of people say they recommend a business to help guide someone else, according to Paul M. Rand. Paul continued by citing an example of visiting a common business like a grocery store while seeing a client out of town. The client went on to recommend a particular grocery store, raving and recommending this specific store for 30 minutes. It was the experience that kept this consumer coming back to visit and with the right mentality; businesses can emulate this to their advantage.

Bottom Line: Create an experience. We all have a preference based upon experience for almost everything. Make it your business to make your business someone’s preference and hopefully their next recommendation.

Google Releases the “Hummingbird”


October 7th, 2013 by

Late last month, on their 15th anniversary, Google announced a major change to its search algorithm, dubbed Hummingbird, which had actually been active for over a month.  Unlike the recent Panda and Penguin updates that affected a relatively small number of search results, Hummingbird may impact up to 90% of searches!  So, what is Google trying to accomplish, and what do we SEO types plan to do about it?

Google Hummingbird

With Hummingbird, it looks like Google is yet again trying to get into our heads.  Where previous algorithms matched page content with keywords searched to index pages, Hummingbird tries to anticipate the intent of the search before presenting results.  So, presumably, this means that if you were to type “electric motors” into the search box, instead of a listing of companies, directories and distributors of electric motors, you might also get results for model planes or remote control cars.

Yet another intent of the update is to improve search results on mobile devices.  Many of us have gotten into the habit of posing questions to our phones when performing searches.  As Google states in its blog:

“ You can pull up your phone and say to Google: “Tell me about Impressionist artists.” You’ll see who the artists are, and you can dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works.”

If you couple this new search philosophy with Google’s already established “personalized search” function, you can see how Google is moving towards highly interpretive and individually relevant search results across all platforms.  This is not new to many of us in the SEO community, but it does confirm that we must look at things differently moving forward.

Where once pure ranking results were the primary driver for online success, it has become increasingly important over the last few years to look at on-page website results and conversions rather than single term ranking positions.  This is even more important now.

As your SEO partners, we will be continually developing our approach to the nuances involved with the Hummingbird update.  The basic tenets of SEO, which include a search-engine friendly site structure, well-written relevant content and a solid link neighborhood, still apply.  Initial keyword research may change in that we will need to identify the most likely search phrases that your prospects will use across all devices and try to apply algorithmic “meaning” behind all those phrases.  As always though, a focus on visitor experience will usually result in favorable placement on the search engines.

We will continue to keep you apprised as we learn more about the impact of the Hummingbird update, and as always, keep you informed of significant SEO industry developments.

The Importance of Site Usability


September 30th, 2013 by

Site usability is a very important facet of web development, perhaps one of the most important. No matter how well your website ranks in the search engines, if using your website is confusing, your visitors will not use your website. There are a number of things to consider when discussing site usability, such as browser compatibility, layout, and design. But how do you know if your website is unusable or not? There are various tests that have been developed over the last few years to help us understand how a visitor interacts with your website. From this data you can create modifications on your site to increase conversions, decrease bounce rate and much more!

What software exists?

There are various software packages that you can utilize to improve your visitors online experience. There are some that specialize in a specific type of test, and others that offer a wide range of utilities. We at Upright Communications utilize Visual Website Optimizer. VWO offers a wide range of tools including A/B testing, multivariate testing, and heat map software.

Other software includes Optimizely, Crazy Egg, and ClickTale. Which software you choose depends on your use case. Many are similar in their offers and features; a major factor might be the price-point of the services or quality of customer service.

I have my software, now what?

Before we can start improving the usability of your site we first need to understand what might be bad. Outside of following standard development rules for layout and using a good set of typography styles, we can use VWO’s heat map software to get a better idea of what your visitors are clicking on when they visit a particular page on your site.

Website Heatmap

Once you have an idea of what your visitors are doing with your site, you can then identify ways to attract traffic to certain areas or features. In a VWO case study,“158% increase in trial sign-ups”, a surprising discovery was made using A/B Testing. By simply adding a single call-to-action button they increased trial memberships by 158% without decreasing the number of paid membership signups.

Are you interested in learning more about site usability testing for your website? The team at Upright can help – give us a call.

Fishing with the right bait makes all the difference… A post on Link Bait.


September 24th, 2013 by

Fishing for Links

For a lot of businesses, marketing in the local waters of lakes and streams comes easily over time. You know what bait to use, in the right season, to really drive the fish, i.e., the customers, into your boat. The nice thing about the local lakes and streams is there is always someone on the shores willing to share some secrets, or you can do what I do, stand back a little and watch the baits they are using. You can easily learn who likes the flashy baits (Billboards, TV) for a big strike, and who likes to live easy and let a simple tasty bait just sit there and get found over time (referrals) to reel in a big catfish. Soon enough it becomes your lake, you know it well, and know what works. Then you decide one day, it’s time to go online to expand your business and find some new types of fish. Holy carp, (pardon the pun) you find yourself in the middle of an ocean. Except in this ocean, the waters and weather are almost invisible to an untrained eye, and your old tackle box might need a major make over… Yikes! What you’ll soon learn is that you need get some new bait… Link Bait.

Link Bait? What does that even mean?

It’s essentially great content marketing and turning your site into a fun, smart, interesting, whatever-you-want resource on a topic. If you do it right you can earn links that can boost your search rankings and help customers find recommendations on an array of sites. Most people think, “If you build it they will link” but, sadly, that is not reality. Link bait is more than just putting something pretty in the water and waiting. For example a buzz bait works because you work it. It just doesn’t sit there and link bait is no different; it takes a lot of work and planning. Before I give you some great bait ideas, I want you to remember, it’s important to not get discouraged or get upset when you hit a snag. In all my years at fishing, if I lost bait on a snag, even if it was the one Pop gave me when I became a man, I put a new lure on and cast it out again.

You cannot catch fish without something in the water. That’s a fact!

Now the good part, BAITS! Below is a list of a few good baits you should consider adding to your tackle box that, at the very least, will drive some more traffic to your site. Remember not all lures are good for every condition but, most of these can work in variety of waters.

  • Have a Blog: This is your rod and reel out on the high seas. Unless you want to go Hawaiian style. Get a blog started. This is how you can easily and logically talk about an array of topics without diluting the core of your business online.
  • Ego Bait: Basically pick some big fish you want to compliment or attract in hopes for a link. One idea I am fond of is writing a review of a product or service you use within your business frequently. Then let the provider know you posted the review on your blog. If you’re a type of contractor that has worked with a big company, write a review about your experience. The important thing is to get creative and give some love not just a link.
  • Research: Maybe you already some have the information on your industry in your internal reports. Think about what you know about your industry and put a little elbow grease into it to proving it with a study or survey. You might find your competitors linking to you when you post the results on your site. You can even research something from the beginning by using great tools like Survey Monkey.
  • Contest and competitions: This can work for an array of retail businesses. Maybe you can have a photo contest about the wildest things that can be done with your product. A video competition asking your customers to explain why they chose you. Don’t forget to have a worthwhile award and not these awards. This makes for good bait in getting social media involved.
  • Infographics: This works with research but is not limited to finding out something new. Check this out this great political infographic. Sometimes information that is well known can be understood by creating something that simplifies it to be digestible; it’s surprising what you can learn and teach. Think creatively on this one and keep it relevant to your business!

Well, that’s a good start to get the old noodle working but, there are more ideas out there.

The best idea resource ever is your brain!

Need help picking out your bait and making a plan? Get with the team at Upright! (I know… I am shameless). Everyone you work with wants your business to grow! Happy people make a happy world and remember…You cannot catch fish without something in the water. That’s a fact!

Feel free to contact me for further discussion about fishing or marketing, I am always ready for both Jacob@walkupright.com.

Speed It Up!


September 13th, 2013 by

Back in 2010, Google announced that it would be incorporating site speed as one of over 200 signals that are used in determining search rankings.  Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. Speeding up websites is crucial, not just for owners but for users alike.  In fact, hundreds of studies have been performed, proving that visitors spend less time on a site that performs slowly.

Being that the dial-up days are gone, most modern internet users expect a site to load in a split second, especially for e-commerce websites.  Research shows that most website users expect a site to load in about three seconds or less.

Most recently, in 2013, monetary consequences are taking the forefront instead of just rankings.  What has everyone talking is that a one-second delay load time would cost Amazon an estimated $1.6 billion annually (according to moneysupermarket.com). And even more amazing than that, 74% of users will leave a website if it doesn’t load in less than 5 seconds (luckily the top retailer sites respond in an average of 4.83 seconds).

We understand that financial gain and improved rankings are of great importance, so please find below tools and tricks to help your business do its best!

Tools

PageSpeed Service- from Google

YSlow- from Yahoo

WebPageTest

Ways to Speed It Up

Secure hosting- A poor hosting environment will guarantee slow load times and lost conversions.  Be sure to choose a hosting company that is flexible enough to handle large increases in traffic.

Optimize mobile sites-On a mobile commerce site, speed is even more crucial. The mobile site and mobile search should only include content and functionality that is absolutely necessary.

Install sufficient hardware- Monitor how your business is making use of machines, such as servers, switches, and load balancers, as well as bandwidth. Ensure you have plenty of spare capacity.

Format images correctly- Check for good page weight, especially for images – make sure images are formatted appropriately. Provide height and width tags for images so the browser can display the page while loading the images.

There are plenty other ways to improve your site’s load time on an e-commerce site.  For more technical solutions, be sure to contact us…we could go on and on!

Mobile Marketing: Don’t Get Left Behind


September 4th, 2013 by

Think about this… according to Google, 57% of users use their mobile devices to search the internet each and every day.  And what do most people search for online (besides of course the latest video that has everyone shocked)- they search for products and services! They’re searching for companies- just like YOU!

Have you ever wondered if your company should participate in mobile marketing?  Maybe you’ve even asked yourself, “What is mobile marketing”.  Basically, mobile marketing is getting your marketing and company information in front of mobile phone users.  Just for fun, we’re going to give you some pretty convincing statistics as to why you SHOULD consider mobile marketing… because let’s face it, you don’t want to get left behind…

  • 23 days a year spent on your phone (a recent study by mobileinsurance.com said that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone)
  • Number of Android phones sold per day when stacked equals the height of 327 Empire State buildings
  • Out of the 6.8 billion people on this planet, 4 billion have a mobile phone (that’s more than the people that have toothbrushes)
  • 25% of Americans use only mobile devices to access the internet

Mobile Marketing

Need I say more?

To get your message in front of these mobile users, there are a number of different options, like SMS Marketing (sending text messages), creating your own mobile app and using QR codes.  But before you consider those options, there are a few basics to help you get started:

  1. Get a mobile friendly website – get help creating a site that can be easily viewed on a mobile smartphone.
  2. Claim and optimize your local listings on Google+, Bing Local and Yahoo Local – mobile is closely connected to local resources.  Creating business centers on these major sites will impact your ability to be found for searches done on a mobile phone.
  3. Submit your company to local directories like Superpages.com, etc. which also influence your mobile search positioning.
  4. Consider mobile advertising, especially in Google Adwords

Of course, there are MILLIONS of things you can do better your local presence online, but this should get you started!

Resources:

  • Gomobilebook.com
  • Mobilemarketer.com
  • Mobileinsurance.com
  • Searchengineland.com
  • Slideshare.net