Data-Driven Customer Experience as a Competitive Advantage


ETMS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Companies are always looking for competitive advantages — what can make them stand out against their competitors.  Using data and analytics to drive customer experience improvements can be a long-haul competitive advantage — increasing conversions and repeat business. While some data analysis can be complex, there are a number of metrics that a business can look at to see basics like where website traffic is coming from and where people get stuck during the conversion/sales process.  Econsultancy has a great roundup of why data-driven customer experience is important and what to look for:

Great customer experience is one of the hardest things for your competitors to copy.

A strategy of continuous improvement can offer clear differentiation from competitors.

However, it’s only when we measure what customers are actually seeing and doing when they are interacting with our digital channels, that we can understand where they might have issues or unmet needs.

Rather than theorise about potential problems or rely on closely monitoring small samples of test users, we need to let the data lead us to areas of concern. — Data-driven customer experience is tough to copy by Geoff Galat

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The Untapped Opportunities for B2B eCommerce

W.W. Grainger branch 2915 Boardwalk Ann Arbor ...

W.W. Grainger branch 2915 Boardwalk Ann Arbor Michigan 48104-6765 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The viability of consumer eCommerce is a no-brainer.  What’s often forgotten is B2B (business to business) eCommerce, but sites like are starting to fill the gaps left by others. While B2B purchases tend to be much larger than consumer purchases, and the sales cycle is longer, customers still want the convenience of going to a website to make the final sale, purchase supplemental parts/pieces, or be involved in the purchase cycle. eCommerce sites don’t have to disrupt the B2B purchase cycle which is based on relationships and trust — they can be used to automate processes and increase customer satisfaction. W.W. Grainger, which is a supplier of industrial parts and equipment, is an excellent example of B2B eCommerce.

For more on the opportunities of B2B eCommerce, Practical eCommerce has this article:

Many B-to-B companies have long believed that ecommerce would create channel conflicts between sales personnel, suppliers, and other channels. But in reality, B-to-B sales channels are already disrupted by ecommerce. Manufacturers are selling directly to consumers. Manufacturers and distributors are selling products on, and other portals to other businesses. Wholesalers are consolidating rapidly because they are caught in the channel chaos. B-to-B Ecommerce: Big Opportunity, with Obstacles by Dale Traxler

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The Day We Fight Back – Why You Should Care What Data the NSA Collects

Against the US Constitution which protects against warrant-less search, the NSA is collecting records on billions of Americans — even those who have done nothing wrong and have no reason to suspect.  Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is sponsoring an Internet protest where thousands of sites will have a black banner asking visitors to call their congresspeople in protest.  Why should you care?  Watch this video…

Supercharge your Content for Higher Quality Links

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

It’s no secret that content is vital to digital marketing efforts.  Without quality content that your audience finds valuable, you’re just advertising (which is widely ignored).  Quality content helps build awareness and reputation which create relationships that generate sales. Content is also vital for building search engine traffic — by creating content that people want to link to and share.  Search Engine Watch has a good article on what to do to supercharge your content to get these high quality links:

Make your content something that we want to link to, something that’s easily shared on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you want it to be shared. Make your site easily searchable and make sure everything works and looks good, too, and check it on mobile devices. It’s quite simple.

With the nonstop information being published online, people have to pick and choose what they read, share, and link to, so don’t think that on-page factors don’t come into play where links are concerned. They can make or break your link building in many cases. 7 Ways to Attract Higher Quality Links With Better On-Page Content by Julie Joyce

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Tips for Local SEO

Neighborhood retail, Berlin

Neighborhood retail, Berlin (Photo credit: La Citta Vita)

Local search engine optimization (SEO) could be the end-all, be-all for your business if you rely entirely on a local retail establishment, if you only do business in a certain area, or if you are the type of business people are likely to look for via their phone. Being found locally is much different than being found in general in search engines and eConsultancy has some great information on local seo ranking factors and what you should do to make your site rank as high as possible…

The growth and ubiquity of the smartphone means that local SEO is more important than ever, and some of the techniques for improving rankings are very simple, and free. Local SEO best practice: dos and don’ts by Graham Charlton

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Tips for Improving Contact Form Conversion [Infographic]


Geometry (Photo credit: _Hadock_)

The entire purpose of a business website is to get a potential customer to either buy from you, or at least ask questions that propel them down the sales funnel.  One of the main ways for customers to contact a business is through a contact form, which are also key conversion methods on landing pages.  Designing a contact form that is easy to fill out and still gets the information you need can be tricky.  This infographic from Marketing Ninja explores some key ways to improve your contact forms to increase conversions…

Infographic: Contact Forms for the Marketing Ninja (Minja) by Lisa Margetis


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Top Internet Marketing Strategy Links for the Week of January 13, 2014

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of January 6th, 2014… [Read more...]

Be Careful How You Email Market to Customers


Jail (Photo credit: D Services)

Do you send marketing emails to your customers?  Have they specifically opted in to receive those types of communications from your company?  If you have just dumped your customer list into a email marketing system, you may be putting yourself in legal risk.  If you are in the US and only marketing to US customers, make sure you follow the CAN-SPAM act guidelines. And if your customers are in the UK or Europe since they have just made stricter rules about marketing to customers through email who have not specifically opted in to receive them….

Businesses must obtain “extremely clear and specific” consent from individuals in order to conduct direct marketing via email or through any other form of electronic marketing i.e. text or via the telephone. Businesses cannot simply rely upon implied consent unless this is adequate. Emailing Marketing and Consent by IRENE BODLE

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Improperly Using Images Online Can Be Costly

Image representing Creative Commons as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

If you find an image online that you like, it’s ok to use it on your website or in your advertising campaigns, right? Not unless you either have permission to use the image, or have purchased rights to use it — unless it has been clearly labeled as ok to use (either by being a creative commons image or otherwise).  Using someone else’s images online without proper permission can be costly — a free image can end up costing thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines.  Your website is responsible for any images that are on it — so even if a designer or employee puts up an image improperly, you will be held responsible.  And the tricky part is that only the original owner of the image can give you permission, so if you find a site of free images, be wary that they’re actually free.  Andy Sowards has some more good information about using images online…

If you think that you can use whatever photo or image you want from the Web, you’re wrong. The The Berne Convention declares new and original work created after April of 1989 has automatic copyright protection regardless of if its author. Don’t dive in just yet If you landed a big client and need plenty of captivating photos for your project. Using Stock Photos? Know the Laws by Andy Sowards

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7 Benefits of Using Lead Generation Software

Business-Man-Lead-GenerationTake a moment to think about how your business markets its services or products. In the same way that driving sales is hugely important, the manner in which you market your business also has a direct impact on your own success.
It might be the case that you know who your audience are, but you have difficulty in actually gaining their attention, and converting them into paying customers. This is where lead generation software can be invaluable. Besides the multiple benefits that the tool offers, it becomes even more efficient when it’s incorporated as part of your company’s marketing strategy. [Read more...]