Posts Tagged ‘Web Development’

The 7 Secrets of Social Media Conversion [INFOGRAPHIC]

via Oli Gardner

7 Ways to apply conversion centered design strategy to the social media conversion funnel [INFOGRAPHIC].

(Click infographic for full size view)

Social media should be good for business, but there are two lingering problems. Firstly, the stubborn gaggle of non-adopters that doth protest too much – “it should be for personal use, not business”. Secondly, most people that are using social media for inbound marketing are doing a poor job of converting the traffic once it arrives.

If you’re using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. to drive traffic to your business – but the results are less than inspiring – you’re probably making fundamental mistakes during the conversion phase of the social media conversion funnel (see the infographic attached to this post).

The 7 Secrets

While they’re not as sexy as Victoria’s, or even close to being in the same league as “Aladdin’s Cave” – these 7 secrets (shhh) will help you leverage social media in smarter ways to improve your conversions.

SECRET #1 – Use a landing page please

Let’s start with a simple vocal warmup exercise. Repeat this phrase out loud until your coworkers tell you to be shut up:

  • “Don’t drive traffic to your homepage. Use a landing page.”
  • “Don’t drive traffic to your homepage. Use a landing page.”
  • “Don’t drive traffic to your homepage. Use a landing page.”

Your homepage is a terrible destination choice for social campaign traffic because your message gets diluted upon arrival. Landing pages on the other hand are purposely designed to be one dimensional so your 140 character tweet (for example) can be expanded upon without distraction from other messages.

From a practical perspective, if you tried to update your homepage to reflect every promotion and lead generation campaign you do, it would quickly turn into an ugly mess and would be impossible to measure or test. Not to mention the grief you’d get trying to convince a boardroom full of stakeholders for approval.

Compare these two (slightly convoluted) scenarios

Scenario A

A friend tells you about a great new flavor of toothpaste (bear with me), and drops you off at the supermarket. If you manage to find the toothpaste aisle, you’ll be so overwhelmed by the choice that the odds of you getting the right kind are akin to pinning the tail on the donkey. And that’s if the magazine rack and the booze section don’t distract you first.

Scenario B

A friend tells you about a great new flavor of toothpaste and takes you to a room dedicated to only that type of toothpaste. There are posters on the wall explaining the benefits and there is a big shiny cash register with a large “buy the toothpaste you are looking for here” sign above it.

Which scenario do you want your customers to experience? (The correct answer is B).

SECRET #2 – Social message match

The primary message on your landing page should be the same (or reflective of) what you said in your social media channel. Like positive reinforcement for dogs, seeing a familiar message adds to the feeling that you made a “good” click. Conversely, not having a matched message can make your visitors feel lost – at which point they head for the comfort of the back button.

Stick to the tone of your seed message. Chances are that if someone clicked on your link then they connected with your style. If you are using a quirky short form on Twitter, repeat this on the landing page. If you’re driving corporate business traffic from LinkedIn then maintain a more formal style. Consistency is the key here.

For extra reinforcement, use an icon or design element that reflects the upstream social source. There are a million free social media icons that you can use for this purpose. It can work a little like a socially co-branded experience between the source and your brand; where you can clearly tell where you came from and where you are going.

[TIP] Use a landing page for each traffic source

Using a different landing page for each social media traffic source lets you personalize the experience and improves the social message match. It also makes it much easier to track the performance of your pages and determine which traffic source converts the best.

[Example] – Contextual social message match

The WP Greet Box WordPress plugin is used to provide a contextually relevant icon and message to visitors form social media sites. It detects where you came form and suggests that you follow/like etc.

SECRET #3 – Social proof via social media widgets

Most people are a bit like sheep. They have no idea where they are going and no idea if it’s a good idea. Our herd mentality makes us want constant validation that our choices are sound. We do this by seeking reviews of products and services and we observe the reactions of others as they experience the goods before us.

Imagine walking down a street; on one side is a person staring straight up, on the other side is a large group of 30 people all looking up at the sky. We are programmed to react more strongly to the inferred wisdom of the crowd and will gravitate towards checking out what the group is doing first.

This is a form of social proof, which can be used in the digital realm as an aide to conversion manipulation or optimization. There are a few techniques you can use to replicate it on your landing page:

  • Show your popularity: use a social media widget to show how many Twitter followers, article retweet’s and Facebook likes/fans you have.

  • Show your success: testimonials show people that you have made someone else happy. Make sure they are authentic and provide a photo if possible. Ideally show the support of an influencer in the common space you share with your customers. You can also use social media widgets to show a timeline of “reactions” from various channels (such as an @yourname feed from Twitter).

An example of Twitter social proof – showing the number (and faces) of people that entered a contest from a landing page. (Source

Cats are like sheep too

Whiskas cat food used this concept to great effect in their 80s/90s ad campaigns declaring: 8 out of 10 cats prefer it. People believed it then, they’ll believe it now, especially if you show the proof.

SECRET #4 – Make it easy to share with social media widgets

Having your content shared might not be your primary conversion goal, but it can be an important source of bonus traffic – or it can be the difference between mild and epic success. The multiplicative effects of viral exposure are often the tipping point in a social media campaign.

Motivation comes in numerous forms from self expression (the online equivalent of placing your favourite books or CDs in view for your houseguests) to status (the “I saw it first” effect). Some people are gagging to find quality content to share as it reflects well on their perceived connectedness. If you have a great product, service or offer, enhance this motivational desire by making it really simple to share. Test different sharing mechanisms to see which your audience responds to the most.

No barrier to entry

One of the simplest sharing methods for Facebook users is the new Like button widget. Many Facebook’ers are in a permanently logged-in state – which lets them interact in a single click without leaving your page.

Familiarity breeds interaction

Be consistent with your traffic source, e.g. if they arrived via Twitter – have a Retweet button as it offers the lowest barrier to your “sharing” conversion goal.

[Example] – follow and share to enter a contest

This example uses Twitter widgets to ask people to follow and share in order to gain entry to a contest. (Source

SECRET #5 – The world’s shortest lead gen form

Conversion is a balancing act between enticement and resistance (barriers to entry).

If you are collecting leads (personal data such as name, email, phone number, company, website etc.) then your lead gen form is a barrier to entry and the size of the barrier is directly correlated to the size of the form (number of fields).

When collecting personal data, you need to offer something back to the customer in exchange, such as a whitepaper, webinar registration, eBook and so on. The more relevant and interesting your giveaway is, the larger you can make the hurdle.

This balance can be tough to achieve, when people in your company are asking you to add extra fields to the form to get the data they so badly need.

A solution to this is to remove every field from your form except the email address.

In the past this would mean you would have empty meaningless data and the subsequent email campaigns targeting these new leads would be impersonal (no first name). With the use of post-conversion social discovery tools like Flowtown you can get the best of both worlds, by lowering the barrier to entry all the way down, while still receiving the data you need.

Secret #7 below sheds more light on this. But for now the important lesson is that you can greatly increase your conversion rate on lead gen campaigns by leveraging the power of a short form – without sacrificing the quality of your data.

SECRET #6 – Use a safety net CTA

Sadly, not everyone that comes to your landing page is ready to convert. They may be window shopping, browsing or just curious about what you have to say. By offering a secondary call to action (CTA) you can sometimes persuade the visitor to maintain a connection with you.

The simplest ways to do this are to provide a method to:

  • Follow you on Twitter
  • Like your Facebook page or group
  • Join a LinkedIn group
  • Bookmark you on Delicious

Even if 1 in 100 decide to do this, it adds up to future conversion potential because they have entered your sphere of brand influence.

Note: You don’t want this to take away from your primary CTA, so place it in the footer or near the bottom of the page.

SECRET #7 – Post-conversion social discovery

Post-conversion strategy is a completely overlooked part of the sales funnel. You got your conversion and you got your lead so everything’s good right? Wrong.

There are 2 main ways to optimize your post-conversion opportunities:

  • Good: Place additional CTA’s on your confirmation or thankyou page (after they complete your lead gen form). This can help to reduce clutter on your landing page. And you can also suggest a page on your website as their next step – knowing that they have a qualified level of interest.
  • Better: Turn the email into a complete social profile using a service like Flowtown. This gives your leads an identity and sets you up for more targeted follow-up marketing. Your first contact with the prospect is critical, and the more you know about them the better. By connecting based on real profile data you look like someone who’s made the effort to do some research before making contact. This is a massive conversion advantage.

As I mentioned in secret #5, social discovery lets you shorten your lead gen forms to improve your conversion rate. And while it’s true that a social profile may not answer every question you have about your new prospects, what it does is provide you with a level of personal data that can start a more effective conversation.

In Summary

For your next social media campaign or promotion, try a few of the 7 secrets to improve the conversion phase of your social media funnel. As a starting point, make sure you begin with #1, #2, #5 and #7 on your next lead gen landing page.

A word of caution: using all 7 secrets at once may cause undesirable side-effects such as content bloating and sweaty widgets. If you don’t need a form, don’t use one (obvious), and if you want to utilize social sharing widgets, pick one (relevant to your audience) not twenty.

5 Ways to Use Google Wave for Business

by Sharlyn Lauby

google wave logoSharlyn Lauby is the president of Internal Talent Management (ITM) which specializes in employee training and human resources consulting. She authors a blog at

Remember Google Wave? Clearly, Google Buzz has recently overshadowed Google’s other hotly anticipated social communication platform, but before you ditch your Wave account, give it a second try. There are many useful business applications for Wave, especially in situations that call for collaboration with a group or managing a project. Wave can easily allow users to dispense with the formalities (and expenses) of meetings, phone calls, travel, etc. and instead make it easy to collaborate across time and space.

Here are five examples of common workplace activities that Google Wave can support.

1. Conferences and Professional Development

Google Wave Conference

This one probably seems obvious. Departments can set up Google Waves to discuss what’s happening at a particular event. A company with limited funds could send one person to a conference and use Google Wave as a reporting mechanism. Or if several people attend, they can divide/conquer the event and post their ideas and comments in one place.

For example Chris Hoyt, author of the blog The Recruiter Guy, set up a Wave for the human resources and recruiting community during last year’s Social Recruiting Summit. Both attendees and those of us who were interested but couldn’t make it in person were able to join the Wave. It was an opportunity to gain exposure to the content and learn more about the event so people could budget to attend the following year.

One thing I could see emerging from conference Waves are “back channel” discussions. Conference organizers in particular will want to pay particular attention to this and not necessarily view it as a bad thing. If managed properly, it could bring some opportunities for improvement to light during the event.

2. Decision Making and Problem Solving

Using Google Wave to discuss a company challenge could be very beneficial — especially when all of the players aren’t located in the same place. That’s exactly why Troy Peterson, CEO of Nibi Software, used Wave to get the company’s development plan finalized.  He brought everyone together in a Wave and let the conversation flow. “The real-time document functionality allowed us to have ‘arguments’ and solve problems together that might otherwise have resulted in ‘back and forth’ threads that went on forever.”

Peterson did mention that adoption was an initial challenge. “Although several of my contacts immediately had Wave accounts, they weren’t necessarily the people I was collaborating with on projects.  It required some arm wrestling to get people on board.” But the results were worth it. “In the end, we have a succinct document that we have all agreed on and that we can compare short-term objectives against.”

3. Project Management

The same decision making philosophy applies when you have a project and need to collaborate not only with internal stakeholders, but an external supplier. Google Wave provides an opportunity for collaboration. Hopefully, consultants and/or contractors are able to tap into that dialogue by sharing their Wave account info with client companies.

Rachel Levy, Founder/CEO of the startup website WebinarListings, is using Google Wave with her developer. “We have the list of open items in the Wave, so we can discuss each one. I add an open item, and he can ask me a question about it, or mark it as done.” The main advantage to using this application was being able to track conversations.

This could also be a valuable way to manage the dreaded “scope creep.” You can lay out the entire project in a single Wave once the parameters are agreed upon. Then, you can work through each facet with each side tracking progress and those pesky project deviations. And everything gets documented along the way. New project requirements can even be moved to a new Wave for later consideration.

4. Brainstorming and Idea Cultivation

Google Wave Brainstorming

Brendan Gill, with the firm Staircase3, said he and his partners use Google Wave as a medium to organize and facilitate conversations and feedback. “We are a team of entrepreneurs who like to have an idea and make it happen quickly. We use Google Wave to brainstorm our ideas for new business projects.  It’s a great tool for collecting a series of conversations, and we use a different Wave for each different idea.”

Gill explained they would have traditionally used group e-mails for this purpose, but found Wave has numerous advantages, including serving as a centralized repository, and the ability to use add-on features for enhanced productivity. This was especially useful since their management team is located around the globe. “The Ribbit conferencing feature is great for staging an ad hoc conference call. Furthermore, the simple voting widget is a useful way to end each of our Waves where we can stage a vote for a given idea — whether or not we want to put the idea in motion, or just cut it loose.”

5. Virtual Meetings and Reduced Travel

Let’s face it. Bringing groups of people together can be expensive. Depending on the project, Google Wave could help foster dialogue without a lot of travel, phone calls, etc. Gill mentioned using Wave to make edits and adjustments on business proposals without having people travel to a central location. “Using Wave definitely reduces the need for thousand-dollar transatlantic flights and many tons of carbon emissions. Obviously without Wave, we would still use e-mails and teleconferencing, but using a better communications platform has definitely cut a number of flights out of our schedule,” he said.

Gill added that, “Collaboration can be done in real-time, if required, which is useful if you’re trying to rush out a project that has to happen quickly or not at all. Or for longer-term projects, you can take your time to think about an idea and come back to the plan at any time you like.”


If you’re looking for a way to streamline communications on your next project, Peterson suggests that you “Sign up and use the tool. It may not revolutionize your company’s communications, but it is useful and worth the effort involved in figuring out how it works for your organization.”

Remember the success of a Wave is contingent upon the active participation of the individuals involved. Waves need engagement, attention and clarity. You can’t just ask a question and walk away for a couple days. According to Levy, “The bigger the Wave gets, the slower it gets.” Managing activity and open items becomes essential for productivity.

How are you using Google Wave to improve your work life? Share your stories in the comments.

Google Enhances Local Search With “Nearby” Filter

Google has just turned on a nifty location feature in search. Now, you can refine search results with a “Nearby” button, which will filter your results that cater to your location. So if you do a Google search for Italian restaurants, you can click the “Show Options” button to access a “nearby” filter to see results for Italian restaurants in the city/area you live in. You’ll also be given local business results as well.

Google says that it will shows you Nearby results according to your IP address or your preferred location, if you customized your location in search settings.

Upcoming System Upgrade for Greater Scalability & Reliability

from Google Analytics Blog by Trevor Claiborne
​Within the next two weeks, Google Analytics will be performing a system upgrade. This upgrade is to further increase the scalability and reliability of Google Analytics to meet the demand of an increasing number of enterprises using Google Analytics. Rest assured your website traffic data will be unaffected and there will be no interruption to data collection or processing. All reports will be available and accessible to users. However, for some limited hours, users will not be able to perform administrative account actions such as opening new accounts, creating or modifying profiles, setting up filters and goals, managing user access, etc. The specific system upgrade times will be posted in the Google Analytics administrative interface. If you anticipate a need to make account changes during the next two weeks we encourage you to make them as soon as possible to ensure smooth operations during the system upgrade.

We are proud to see the continued growth in Google Analytics and are committed to delivering the unparalled reliability and scalability that users have come to expect from products running on Google’s globally renowned infrastructure.

P.S. Google Website Optimizer will also be undergoing a system upgrade. All running experiments will continue to run and collect data. However users will be unable to create or modify experiments. Read more on the Website Optimizer blog.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Google Analytics Team

Google Apps highlights – 2/19/2010

2/19/2010 04:45:00 PM

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights” and subscribe to the series. – Ed.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been busy adding new functionality to make communicating and sharing with Google Apps easier than ever, whether you use Google Apps for work, for school or at home.

Web clipboard for Google Docs
As more and more people are getting work done in the cloud with Google Docs, a common stumbling block has been copying and pasting formatted content between documents, spreadsheets and presentations. On Wednesday we made this a whole lot easier with a web clipboard for Google Docs. Just highlight what you want to copy, select from the web clipboard menu, move to your other Google Docs window and choose what you want to paste from the web clipboard menu. Your pasted content will retain its original formatting so you don’t have to spend time reformatting.

New saving buttons in Google Docs
One of the most frustrating things about using traditional software is losing your work if something unexpected happens before you remember to save. Google Docs helps solve this problem by frequently saving your latest changes automatically. Still, we’ve heard from people that they want that extra reassurance that autosave is happening, and to be able to manually save their work more easily. New saving buttons in Google Docs do just that. The buttons let you know when your document is fully saved, in the process of being autosaved or has unsaved changes that haven’t been picked up by autosave yet. Now, if there are unsaved changes the “Save now” button is clickable.

Google Buzz
Last week we launched Google Buzz, a new way to start conversations about things you find interesting, like photos, videos, webpages or whatever might be on your mind. Buzz lets you share right from Gmail, or from your mobile phone. You can connect other sites you use like Twitter, Picasa, and Google Reader, and you can post buzz privately or publicly. Since we released Google Buzz, we quickly made a number of improvements based on input from users, and we’re committed to keep improving it. Individuals can use Google Buzz now, and we plan to make it available to businesses and universities using Google Apps within a few months.

Google Apps Script for Google Sites
Google Apps Script lets you create programmatic interactions between a whole variety of Google services including contacts, calendars, email, finance data, spreadsheets and more. Businesses often use scripts to automate repetitive processes. Last week, we added Google Sites to the list of products that you can control with scripts. Now, instead of manually updating the content in a site, you can use Google Apps Script to automatically populate pages in your site with calendar data, contact information and data from the other services that work with Google Apps Script. Scripts can even add attachments and be used to update the sharing preferences for your site.

Who’s gone Google?
With 3,500 employees, Lincoln Property Company is one of the largest property management firms in the United States. Recently, Lincoln Property made the decision to switch to Google Apps from their complex and costly Novell Groupwise email infrastructure. Not only will they save an estimated $200,000 per year, they’ll finally be able to equip every single employee with email, instant messaging and calendars — not just the 950 desk-based workers who previously had email access.

The Google Apps train keeps rolling in the education space as well. Seven million students around the world are now using Google Apps at school! DePauw University, Yale University, Davenport University and the College of William and Mary are just a handful of the most recent schools to switch to Google Apps.




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