Three Social Networks That Could Disrupt The Establishment 


social networks that could disrupt the establishment

Every so often, rumors spread around the internet of the latest big thing. The next big app, the next big website, the next big social network. Most of the time, the hype is exactly that - hype. However, there are certain forces at play in today’s mobile-first world that have forged a gap in between the social media landscape. The result is the introduction of a number of new social networks that intend to exploit these frailties. 

So what are they? And how might the lift off of these new additions create opportunities for your business? 

Yik Yak 
The first of the bunch is Yik Yak, the social network that lets you see anonymous updates from people within 10 miles of your current GPS location. This is particularly relevant for sporting events and could break into the restaurant and retail space in a similar fashion to Yelp or FourSquare.

People only care about what’s relevant to them and the people in their immediate vicinity are just that. You can use the app to discuss the game or concert you’re at, let people know about road closures and local issues, get information on local events and it won’t be long before searching for reviews of local businesses and restaurants is featuring on there, too.

If you have a physical store, this could be a great opportunity to engage with those around you. Those that are in town right now. The mixture of immediacy and locality make this app one to watch for businesses in the future and could take location-based services to the next level.

Ello 
As an exclusive, invitation only network that doesn’t include any advertising, Ello is directly competing with Facebook and Twitter and it stands a good chance of luring users. With 45,000 people signing up per hour, Ello is attracting those who are put off or tired of the intrusive, ad-ridden networks of present.

Users are increasingly put-off by privacy breaches and ads. Facebook pushes its luck daily with advertising and new features that often annoy users, who are slowly leaving and looking for alternatives.

Ello presents an opportunity for brands to get back to basics and focus on what’s important. Making a connection and engaging with people. If your brand genuinely cares and has something to offer that’s more than selling your products, this might be the place for you, if you can get an invite.

Snapchat
From its beginnings as a messaging app that was primarily abused and taken out of context by users sending sexual messages to each other, Snapchat has now morphed into a video sharing network rooted in the here and now. Your videos only last 24 hours so it’s much more about immediacy than longevity and is rivalling YouTube in the mobile space.

The younger generation are all over Snapchat like flies around trash cans. They’re leaving Facebook in their droves and Snapchat is where they’re at.

For those brands that rely on telling stories and engaging or entertaining potential customers, you could find joy on Snapchat, especially if you’re targeting the under 25s.

Built to Last?
Out of all of the above networks, if we had to pick one that is likely to go the distance, it would be Snapchat. It’s fairly established, has a large user-base and has adapted to mobile video exceptionally. However, there’s gains to be made from being first to market on Yik Yak and Ello, especially given the relative complacency of the larger networks.

The bigger networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are beginning to show signs of hair line cracks with certain groups of users. If your brand targets those who are relative early adopters or younger, your social media strategy is likely going to need a revision and one of these three networks would be a good place to start with the change.

 

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Posted by Tuesday, October 21, 2014 6:25:00 PM Categories: B2B online marketing SMB social media web trends website

How Online Chats Can Increase Your Sales 


customer support

Have you got a strategy for helping your customers when they get stuck on your website? For e-commerce, e-tailers and service providers that offer complex products, services and a variety of pricing options, users can struggle to find the right product for them. Through introducing online chat, you can help these customers in real time and increase your sales as a result. 

Even the best websites on the planet don’t convert all users because people have differing wants and needs and each user is at a different stage on the path to purchase. And we know that not all websites convert fantastically, so that’s why we have general enquiry phone lines, contact forms and customer service email addresses. 

The thing about the above methods of contact is that they drive people away from the site, they can be expensive for the company to handle and they don’t always result in sales.

Phone Calls
Phone calls are typically costly for the company, as having to staff, furnish and equip a call center will inevitably eat into your profits. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if every call that came through led to a sale, but that’s not what happens in reality, especially on general inquiry lines. 

Emails
Emails break the user journey, disrupt momentum and cost a lot to handle. Go and visit Apple or Amazon right now and try to find a customer service email address. You’ll be just as likely to discover a cure for cancer or a reincarnated dodo. 

At first glance, emails appear to be a perfectly acceptable method of handling contact. At least with emails, you can respond to them at your own convenience. However, responding to emails is more costly than taking phone calls and the potential back and forth exchange as your staff attempt to capture everything they need in order to resolve the customer’s query can rack up the cost into the hundreds of dollars. Plus, by the time the potential customer receives a response to their query, they’re no longer on your website, they’re no longer in the mind state to purchase and they might even have already made the purchase from a competitor. 

Contact Forms
Contact forms are no different to emails. In fact, if you don’t have a CRM, there’s a pretty good chance that your contact forms generate emails! This doesn’t work for your company because it’s costly and it doesn’t work for or your customer because it takes too long to process. 

Introducing Online Chat
Online chat can tackle the pitfalls of all three of the above communication channels and increase sales while the customer is on your website Through introducing online chat, you can increase your customer service and sales through:

  • Explaining product features, terminology, pricing, delivery, returns policies and all other queries in real time
  • Recommending the perfect product according to specific customer needs
  • Directing customers to pages they can’t find or products they weren’t aware of

And, it’s good for the business because:

  • It’s more efficient - chat operatives can chat to 3-4 customers at a time
  • It’s cheaper – no need for heavily staffed call centers or staff spending hours exchanging emails
  • It’s quicker – if you can answer the customer’s query as and when they crop up, you can increase the chances of making a sale through keeping the user on your website and helping them along their journey while they have the intent to buy 

Online Chat Providers
There are a variety of online chat providers including:

  • LivePerson 
  • Comm100
  • BoldChat
  • Kayako Fusion
  • LiveHelpNow
  • Website Alive
  • Velaro

If you’re having any trouble implementing your online chat solution or if you want this feature built into your new website, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.

 

 

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Posted by Monday, October 20, 2014 10:58:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C ecommerce inbound marketing online marketing sales SMB web trends

How a Cross-Device User Experience Can Increase Sales 


cross-device user experience

Your customers expect your website to function perfectly, no matter what device they’re using. They aren’t all developers or digital marketers and they don’t care about the technical issues you have, they just want to do what they came to your website to do and get on with their lives.

In order to best serve your customers and increase your sales, you should design device-specific websites that embrace and utilize your customer’s device-specific mind state and usage habits. This can sometimes be achieved through responsive design, but in order to truly reap the rewards of a seamless cross-device user experience, you should consider designing a unique site for each device.

So what kind of mood are your customers in when they use desktop, mobile and tablets and how can you optimize your website for each device accordingly?

Desktop Design

81% of Americans own a PC and use them for accessing social media more than on any other device. Therefore, integrating social into your desktop site is crucial in building your relationship with potential customers. Try the following:

  • Embed your Twitter feed. This will bring people closer to your brand by showcasing your activity and increasing engagement.
  • Include your Facebook page like counter. People tend to go with the flow, so showing your Facebook page with many likes and lots of engagement makes users feel comfortable on your site and can increase trust.
  • Include social share buttons on products, articles and pages. Show that you’re truly immersed in the social space and allow users to share the product they’re looking at on their social networks. This helps your social media presence and ultimately drives traffic back to your site.
  • Include Follow, Like, Plus One icons in your header or footer. Make it as easy as possible for your user to interact and follow you on your social channels from your website. 

If you make your desktop website the central hub of social activity, linking both to and from social channels, you’ll be able to better serve the PC user and stimulate the engagement and trust required to convert them.

Move with Mobile  

For the first time, mobile internet usage has surpassed PC usage in America, so mobile is certainly where it’s at. With 76% of smartphone owners using their device to check a store’s location and 66% having used their device to check product prices, mobile optimization is unavoidable for etailers and retailers. Mobile browsers want action. They’re looking for results and expect things to happen quickly. For clicks and mortar businesses and etailers, try the following: 

Mobile users demand more, and quickly. By making your mobile site simple to use and taking advantage of urgency, you’ll give yourself the best chance of making conversions and attracting return users. 

Tactile Tablets 

66% of Americans use their tablets to generally surf the web whilst watching TV, with 65% and 55% of people using them for research and review-reading respectively. With more people making a purchase of a physical product or service on tablets than on mobile and with tablets being more popular on a weekend, there’s some unique opportunities to increase sales through including the following on your tablet site: 

  • Make it rich. People have time on tablets, so give them an engaging experience. Use videos, tutorials, images (and plenty of them), advanced product descriptions, reviews and blogs. All of which will increase the time spent on site and take your user closer to converting.
  • Easy checkout. Lots of people convert on tablets, so make sure your checkout is seamless, straightforward and convenient. 
  • Tablet only offers. Try exclusive weekend deals for tablet shoppers who are more active over the weekend.

On your tablet site, it’s all about engagement. Keeping user on your site through providing plenty of information and entertainment will ultimately lead to higher time spent on site, increased trust and sales.

The Future
Having three separate websites inevitably means more work. Many businesses wouldn’t recommend it, as most companies are searching for ways to join up these experiences, rather than fragmenting them. However, there’s no foolproof way of optimizing for device-specific needs until you offer separate, device-specific sites built with these needs at the core. 

Over the coming years, having a separate mobile, tablet and desktop website will be like having a separate ordering, returns and complaints phone number, and you can get well ahead of the game by starting now. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can serve your customer’s device-specific needs.

 

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Posted by Monday, October 20, 2014 6:27:00 PM Categories: B2C ecommerce online marketing responsive design retail marketing SMB web design web trends

What Is Internet Marketing? The Most Significant Insight You’ll Ever Learn 

In this video, the godfather of web design, Jeffrey Zeldman, talks about how he first got into the field back when websites looked like this:


internet marketing

It’s well worth taking the time to watch it, whether you’re a web designer, digital marketer, small business owner, even a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Everyone that has any involvement in internet marketing whatsoever will learn something significant that could change the way you view the world wide web forever.

Around 12 minutes into the video, Zeldman makes a comment that exposes a truly organic outlook on what the internet is and what websites are. It’s a fundamental principle that web designers, developers and digital marketers across the globe should have tattooed across their foreheads, stitched into the inside of their jackets and etched onto their fridges. Go watch it and see if you notice it. I’ll wait here.

Did you find it? Just in case, I’ll tell you what I’m getting at: 

When referring to websites and web designers back in 1995 and comparing their philosophy to his, Zeldman said:

“Nobody was thinking of the web as an exciting presentation medium.”

That insight is so striking, it’s worth reiterating. Zeldman saw (and hopefully still sees) the internet as an exciting presentation medium. How many businesses out there today see their website as an exciting way to present?

As the internet becomes more accessible through the likes of DIY website builders2 and user-friendly platforms like Wordpress, Tumblr and Blogger, are we foregoing creativity for the sake of pulling more people online?

It would certainly appear so, given the amount of similar websites out there. More or less every website seems to follow the same template: logo in the top-left corner, menu across the top, side bar to the right or left (or both) and content in the middle or left aligned. 

There was a fantastic talk on this (among other things), given by Matthew Butterick, called ‘Bomb in the Garden’. You can read the transcript here (and you should). Butterick highlights an absolute abundance of websites; big companies like magazines and newspapers and TV channels, that all have, not just terrible websites, but extremely similar websites! Here’s just a few examples of some of them: 


internet_marketing_sample

internet_marketing_sample2

[Images borrowed from Unitscale]

It’s not just the ‘classic’ style that’s similar, even the more contemporary ‘flat design’ leaves us with with the same issue:

internet_marketing
[Image source]  

Believe it or not, the two above examples are two entirely independent websites created by two entirely independent companies. 

So what’s happening? Are we neglecting exciting presentation in favor of convenience? Are we foregoing creativity for the sake of playing it safe or giving people what we think they want?

At Fast Track, we’ll build anything you design, so break out of the shackles, refrain from designing for your client or browsers and focus on nothing else but your users. Get in touch with us today and let’s talk about how we can break the mold.

 

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Posted by Monday, October 13, 2014 3:58:00 PM Categories: B2B content development inbound marketing online marketing SMB web trends

How to Increase Your eCommerce Sales With Social Logins 

Hands up all those who love filling out long registration forms, verifying email addresses, entering credit card information and creating yet another password, just so that you can order something online? 

Anyone? 

No? 

I didn’t think so. And guess what, neither do your customers! So why put them through it? 

There are many barriers that exist in the ecommerce sphere that cause people to abandon their shopping carts and head for the exit cross in their browsers. Among the big hitters: forcing customers to register to your site before checking out.

One way to tackle this is to introduce a Guest checkout facility, which we wrote about previously. Another way to sidestep this hurdle and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates is to offer the facility for your users to log in via their social network of choice. 

Introducing Social Logins
You’ve probably seen this before when you’re shopping online where, instead of having to actually register to a site, you can sign in using Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and the like.

ecommerce with social logins
So how can something as simple as allowing users to log into your site through the use of their social media credentials lead to an actual increase in sales?

Convenience 
54% of those who currently log in through social logins online do so to avoid registration forms and 58% (which must include some of the same people otherwise these stats don’t make any sense!) do so to prevent having to create yet another username and password. With 50% of consumers being unable to complete a transaction at some point due to forgetting their password, why should we put people through this torture when they would, quite clearly, rather not? 

Through using social logins, users can log in using a username and password that they know and are familiar with, making it easier, safer and far more convenient. 

Trust
Chances are, users trust their social networks more than they trust you. They use their social networking site/s of choice daily and are more familiar with those brands than some of their family members. They’ll be more comfortable signing into websites with their social logins so take advantage of this trust in order to increase the trust levels with your brand. 

Account verification

Having to verify a registration via email breaks the user journey. Even just waiting for the email to come through can be enough to put users off, get distracted and abandon. By using social logins, we can remove the email verification step because the email has already been verified by the social network. This means we can streamline the user journey, remove obstacles and reduce the opportunities to abandon. 

Personalization
Through using social logins, you can access potential customer’s social information such as interests, activities and friends, and use this to improve and personalize the shopping experience

If you can personalize your offering, you’ll increase your sales. It’s as simple as that. Personalized services mean relevant services and relevance is all your users care about. 

Integration
When you design and build your website with Fast Track, we can integrate social login into your website or ecommerce store and help you increase your sales and conversions. Get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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Posted by Monday, October 13, 2014 4:14:00 AM Categories: B2C ecommerce online marketing SMB social media web trends
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