Monthly Archives: August 2014

Ecommerce Landing Pages

By Jenifer W.

Landing pages are often the first point of interaction between ecommerce brands and potential customers. The main purpose is to deliver a distinct message, giving visitors enough information to engage with your brand and ultimately make a purchase.

What elements are essential in creating an effective ecommerce landing page? The most important action is planning. Be straightforward in defining the purpose of the page and how it will be used. Have a clear goal in mind. Not doing so will result in a diluted message and reflect poorly on your brand. For consistent branding, the design of your landing page should mirror the look and feel of your full website. Your landing page must be visually appealing, but not too busy and cluttered. Include images, videos, infographics, etc. Use a captivating main headline that immediately tells the visitor what the page is about and that it’s relevant to what they are searching for. Don’t try to trick people into clicking on your site- or up your SEO -with an unrelated headline. Create credible content that sets your brand apart from others in your industry and convinces visitors to stick with you and explore the rest of your website. If you don’t make a great first impression, you won’t build a loyal audience of buyers and brand advocates.

Make sure your content is easy on the eyes, especially for those with short attention spans! Break it up into segments, each with their own interesting headline and use bullet points and numbered lists. Personally, nothing turns me off more than a solid page of copy. Incorporate at least one strong call-to-action button above the fold like “Buy Now,” or “Add to Cart.” Include it in additional places on the page to boost conversions. For maximum impact, make it in a contrasting color to the rest of the page. Nothing looks more unprofessional than grammar and spelling errors. Proofread. Have your friends and colleagues proofread. Proofread again.
Include social channels so that the customers know they can reach you directly with any questions. If you are collecting personal information, use a short form for the most important details. Establish trust by including a privacy and security statement.

Always be testing to improve conversion rates on your landing page. Test different elements including color schemes, headlines and the text in your CTA. Refresh your content regularly to inspire repeat visits. Try out coupons, special sales, spotlights on certain products, trivia or anything you believe your customers will be interested in. An average of 75% of mobile users use their mobile device for shopping, so your landing page MUST have responsive design and be optimized for a seamless mobile experience.

Landing pages are a great way to easily refresh your website, spotlight new products and announce specials. What do you think makes a great, impactful landing page? Have you been enticed to purchase something you weren’t looking for because of the way a landing page made you feel?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read please be social and share.

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Trending for a Cause: Ice Bucket Challenge

By: Gina Mason

Over the last month or so, you probably have seen some unusual videos of people pouring ice cold water over their heads on Facebook and Twitter (and it’s not because it has been a hot summer). This trend seems to be gaining traction with everyone from regular Joes to celebrities and athletes like Martha Stewart and Matt Ryan. Although what may seem like an unusual undertaking, this “Ice Bucket Challenge” is actually creating an incredible amount of awareness for a tremendous cause, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

According to the ALS Association, “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.” About 5,600 people in the US are diagnosed with the disease each year (about two per 100,000 people).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” it has been a viral sensation of people pouring ice water over their heads and calling out their friends by telling them they have 24 hours to complete the challenge or they have to donate $100 dollars to ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge started in July with former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates who was diagnosed was ALS in 2012. Pete, who is now wheelchair bound, decided to challenge his friends and family to douse themselves with ice water in hopes of creating awareness of the disease. However, his friendly challenge has become much bigger than expected.

This challenge has spread like wildfire on social media and most importantly, according the ALS Association’s national president, Barbara Newhouse, “donations to the national office [have] surged.” She noted that in the last ten days they have “received $160,000 in donations from $14,480 [they received] during the same period a year ago. That’s not counting donations to chapter offices around the country.”
Also, this week a mass Ice Bucket Challenge took place in Boston’s Copley Square where 200 people cooled off for the cause. According to Boston.com, in order to keep up the momentum, the city of Boston challenged New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to take their own Ice Bucket Challenges, so time will tell how many more will get involved.
Want to do your own #IceBucketChallenge? Here are some tips from Mashable.com to create your own:
1. Fill up a nice big bucket of ice water. The colder, the better.
2. Grab a friend to record you on a phone or camera. (Your video should mention
Strike Out ALS for Pete Frates, Quinn For The Win or Ice Bucket Challenge.)
3. Pour the bucket of ice water on your head. Pro tip: Have some towels handy.
4. Post the video on social media. Then, call out three friends who you challenge to
do it next.

Many participants have also been using the hashtags #icebucketchallenge, #StrikeOutALS and #QuinnForTheWin in their posts.” The Ice Bucket Challenge is one of those instances where you can appreciate the power of social media. Something as simple as pouring ice water over your head has turned into a viral sensation and has brought a tremendous amount of attention to such a deserving cause. It is truly wonderful to see so many people getting involved and I hope this challenge gains international attention.

I think I am ready to take my Ice Bucket Challenge, are you?
For more information about Pete Frates and ALS, check out the links below:
http://petefrates.com/about_pete.html
http://www.als.org/

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like

Brand Loyalty or Bribery?

By: Gina Mason

One thing I have learned is that people will do just about anything to get free stuff. Whether it is diving over a crowd of people to get a foul ball, waiting in line for hours for the free giveaways on Black Friday or getting a KFC tattoo to get a lifetime supply of free fried chicken, people love getting something for free.
So if someone told you that all you had to do to get something free or discounted in exchange for a positive social media post, would you do it?
Apparently, a large group of people would and the trend is continuing to grow in the hospitality industry. According to a USA Today article, both the Marriott and Kimpton hotel chains have recently created a new initiative to entice their guests to post “positive” Facebook, Twitter and Instagram messages about their experiences. Both programs were created to encourage guests to interact more with the hotel chain’s brand and most importantly, to create brand loyalty (and of course, get some free publicity).
Through the Marriott Rewards programs and the Kimpton Karma initiative, hotel guests can earn a number of discounts or freebies by simply interacting with the brand (positively) online. “Marriott Rewards members can earn up to 2,000 points a month and have four transactions a day. They earn 25 points for following participating hotels’ Twitter and Instagram accounts or for re-tweeting content from the Marriott Rewards Twitter account with the hashtag #MRPoints.” While Kimpton’s reward program is not as progressive, it still offers, “four tiers of members and guests can move up in tiers based on their engagement. Perks can include a welcome amenity, in-room spa credit and access to Kimpton’s CEO.”
Hotel representatives from both Kimpton and Marriott share the same train of thought that these programs are, “a cool opportunity for them [guests] to take advantage of and participate by doing what they’re [guests] already doing,” said VP of Marriott Rewards, Rich Toohey. This is so incredibly true and this concept is not only effective word-of-mouth marketing, but also extremely cost effective for the hotels. Also, due to bargain websites like Hotels.com and Expedia.com, brand loyalty is non-existent especially with millennials. I think most of us have been guilty of worrying more about the overall cost of a hotel rather that the experience or loyalty to a certain brand which is why this is a very strategic move for these hotel chains.
It is no question that social media can be an extremely powerful tool and that it gives guests/customers a way to feel connected to the brand. However, if these programs catch on, do you think it is going to affect the way people honestly rate their experience? Do you think they will post false claims so they can get free rooms? Overall, do you get a sense that this PR tactic is brilliant or bribery? You be the judge.
As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Appily ever…Divorced?

By: Gina Mason

There seems to be an app for just about everything these days and it is astounding how apps keep popping up everywhere for all things big and small. Banking? There’s an app for that. Taxis on demand? There is an app for that. Need to repel mosquitos? There is an app for that. Need a divorce? Yes, I said it, divorce. There soon will be an app for that too.

Some of you may be a little confused on how exactly you can get a divorce through an app, I know I was when I saw the headline! When I stumbled upon this app called Wevorce my first reaction was, “What is this world coming to?” My second reaction was, “Wow! Sadly, there will probably be a lot of people who will use this app!” because unfortunately, the numbers on marriage and divorce don’t lie.

According to this infographic, 50% of all marriages in the US end in divorce. Also, there is one divorce every 13 seconds, 6,646 divorces per day and 46,523 divorces per week. So with the number of divorces on the rise in America and our newly developed need for instantaneous results, Venturebeat came up with the latest creation of Wevorce.

As many of you know, divorces can not only be expensive, but also incredibly taxing on the parties involved. Wevorce “helps couples divorce amicably with the help of our web-based technology and a community of trained attorneys, counselors and other experts.”

The website goes on to explain that, “Unlike the traditional two-attorney system, with Wevorce both spouses are guided by a single attorney-mediator known as a Wevorce Architect. When needed, you will be joined by co-parenting and financial experts to help untangle even your biggest challenges. These experts work together seamlessly, with the help of technology, to provide the support you need at every step.” Not to mention, this all can be done on your computer, smartphone or tablet. How convenient!

Although the official app has not been released yet, users will have to pay a flat fee (which is agreed upon up front) for their divorce based on their needs (i.e. parent planning, financial mapping, mediation, etc.) Also, this app seems like it is going to be much more cost effective, as it eliminates attorney fees and you will be able to walk away from the divorce with all of the legal paperwork they need.

Obviously, there is a huge market for apps like this and if it is as cost-effective and stress-free as it claims, it could be very successful. I am really interested to see how things go for this app once it is released and to see how it is perceived by the public. Will this app be taken seriously and will people actually use it for divorce?

What is your reaction to this app? Do you think it will be a hit or a bust? If you were to get a divorce (let’s hope not) would you consider using this app?

One other point that I would like to bring up is privacy. Do you feel secure posting this very imitate and private information about your marriage, finances and children online?

Either way, I think this app is incredibly interesting because our society has shifted to doing everything via some type of technology. I think this app will be a great test to see how our society is going to evolve in the coming years.

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.