Posts by jeremy.pyne

A Moving Target: Are Mobile Devices Costing You Business?

May 22nd, 2009 Posted by Web Design 0 thoughts

There are multiple parties involved in the B2B purchase decision. While several parties have the ability to influence the purchase decision (e.g., purchasing personnel), those with the ability to make the decision are typically very busy, often spending significant time on the road, in airports, in meetings. They may not be tethered to their laptop, but most are inseparable from an iPhone or BlackBerry.

While these decision-makers may not initiate purchase research, they often receive purchase recommendations of others via email, and these emails contain links to sellers’ sites. What could be easier than clearing some emails or doing a couple quick searches with Google Mobile while waiting for the next plane? In the next 10 minutes, an executive could form her initial perceptions of your firm based on what she sees on her iPhone. Are you happy with what she’ll find? Do you even know what she’ll find?

Years ago, we were finishing the build of a new, optimized site for a client. The client wanted the site’s primary navigation to be in Flash. So we incorporated other ways for search engines to get to the site’s content from the home page. We also had plenty of html-based intra-site linking within the copy of the site’s pages. One night, I wanted to check the team’s progress on the site. I grabbed my BlackBerry. I quickly found that the only way a mobile user could actually get into the site from the home page was through html links for things like the site map and privacy policy. While I could get to all the content, it wasn’t a pleasant experience, to say the least. The next day, we began to make changes to speak to the mobile user.

Last spring, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a study on the use of mobile devices. As of December 2007, 19% of respondents had used their mobile device to access the internet; 7% said they did so regularly, on a typical day. Certainly, these numbers have gone up dramatically since then, and they’ll continue to do so.

If you don’t know what mobile users will experience when they visit your site, you should take the next five minutes to find out. How does your site display? Are there features of your site that don’t even load? Is your site’s primary content easily accessible to mobile users? Are mobile visitors drawn to take desired actions with the same persuasion and ease as desktop users? How long does it take for your site to load? How are images displayed? How easily can mobile users navigate? Is your site engaging to mobile users? Based on what you find, you should either make some changes to your site or create a separate experience for mobile users.

You can also use your analytics to see what mobile users are doing. Most analytics programs allow you to see what platforms visitors are using. You can see what percentage of your visitors are using Safari, Firefox, IE; a Mac or PC; and even XP or Vista. But you can also see how many visitors are using Safari on an iPhone, and you can segment these visitors to determine if their behavior is different from more traditional visitors. How do the bounce rates compare? How long do they stay? How deep are the visits? What are the conversion rates? Wide variance from traditional visitors may indicate the need for changes.

When you look at your analytics, you may be tempted to discount this population because they have far less average page views than traditional visitors. Just remember, your site (not the visitor) may be the primary reason for this. You also may be tempted to discount the importance of this population because mobile users are a small percentage of total site visitors. Keep in mind this population is going to do nothing but grow.

How does your site look on an iPhone?

Eight Tips For Successful B2B Blogs

June 12th, 2008 Posted by B2B Ad Agencies 0 thoughts

Virtually all marketers have realized that blogs can be a powerful part of an overall search marketing campaign. This is especially true in the B2C marketplace, but what about for B2B focused companies? What do successful B2B blogs have in common? In looking at hundreds of B2B blogs, eight common characteristics were apparent to me. Here are some tips for creating B2B blogs that drive loyalty (and links).

  1. Post regularly…and only when you have something meaningful to offer. Often B2B companies are concerned with being able to regularly publish good content. The standard advice is blog regularly, and you can decide what that schedule will be. However, unless you set and keep a schedule, your fears about lack of content will be self-fulfilling. Yet, don’t simply throw something together to meet the deadline. B2B blog readers are looking for insight, information, things to help them with their career, and how to do things better. Make sure each post has something of value.
  2. Incorporate images and other media. Presently, the vast majority of B2B blogs are text-only blogs. Make the blog more visually interesting by adding photos, illustrations, graphs, and video. It will make the blog more enjoyable to read and increase the likelihood that readers will return to the blog and link to it.
  3. Incorporate humor. Humor can create great affinity. Everyone likes to laugh or smile, to find something clever or smart. Regularly write something funny, post a cartoon on a relevant issue, or point to something humorous elsewhere. People don’t expect to find that in a B2B blog. If they find humor when they visit, they’ll associate a smile with your blog, keep coming back, and promote the blog via conversations and links.
  4. Be authentic. Speak conversationally. Express your personality. Let readers sense the person behind the words. When we like an author, it’s seldom about the words the author uses; it’s about the style of the author. Have a style and let it show through. That’s where a personal connection will be made.
  5. Be original. As I mentioned in a previous article, B2B blogging is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership, to establish corporate and personal credibility. Thought leaders aren’t parrots. They don’t point to other people’s work and essentially repeat what they see. Express a unique viewpoint. Interpret for others what you see. Challenge others to think differently. Bring something fresh to the table, something readers won’t easily find elsewhere.
  6. Don’t blatantly promote your stuff. It’s the quickest way to lose blog readers. Yes, you have something to sell, but B2B blog readers don’t want to hear your sales pitch in the blog. It’s okay to talk about your products and services, but do so in a way that’s helpful to the reader and not so sales oriented.
  7. Create a code of conduct. Tell blog visitors and your blog writers what you expect…and publish it. That way you can set some boundaries regarding appropriate behavior for writers and others joining the conversation. Your code of conduct can address many areas, including: disclosing any conflicts of interest, properly citing and linking to sources, commitment to correct any inaccuracies immediately, whether all comments will be posted, under what circumstances comments will not be posted, and anything else you want to include. Posting a code of conduct will tell visitors a lot about you and your company.
  8. Stay focused. The business world isn’t looking for more generalists rambling about everything they see. Be an expert in a particular area. It’s far easier to establish credibility in a narrow field than a broad one. Sure, your following may be a bit smaller, but it will be far more loyal.

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