Why do you have a website?

Like the rest of your marketing toolbox, the purpose of your website generally can be traced back to “maximizing profits”. This may seem overly crass, but of course, the details of the execution here are crucial. Depending on the industry, maximizing profit may look a lot different on a case-by-case basis. It’s important to figure out early on in the web design process how your website is intended to support your overall marketing efforts. The important question is:

What do you want people to do, and how easy is it to do that?

Say we’ve got three different clients looking for websites. The first makes custom smartphone accessories and wants to sell them directly to consumers. The second is a fairly well-established tool & die manufacturer looking to secure its position as an industry leader, and accrue new clients. The third is a local restaurant looking to bolster their marketing with a website.

Our smartphone accessory maker wants people to buy their accessories. They’ll need a mobile site that loads lightning-fast, with great pictures of their products in action, and an easy way to buy them. These users are bandwidth-constrained, so we’ll reduce the overhead of the site as much as possible by optimizing images or using other techniques to get a suitable aesthetic while providing a great user experience. Their e-commerce solution will need to be fast, easy to use, and thoroughly integrated with the site. They want people buying their accessories, so we remove every little bit of friction possible from that process.

In the case of the tool & die manufacturer, they’ll be emphasizing business-to-business marketing. We’ll want the site to work well on smartphones & tablets, but that probably won’t be our primary concern. We may need to pay extra attention to compatibility with older browsers, as their clients may not be on the cutting edge. We want to make information about the company readily accessible, and give good reasons for companies in need of manufacturing assistance to consider them first. It’s also important to consider how people in the business search for manufacturing partners, and tailor the web content to that. On top of that, we want to make it easy for their potential clients to become actual clients. We’ll streamline the contact form, and recommend that they name someone specific to be in charge of responding to submissions within hours.

Restaurants want people to visit them, order a lot of food, and tip well. For some reason, many restaurant websites do nothing to help these goals. Much like the smartphone accessory maker, it’s crucial to tailor this site to at least be accessible by smartphones. After all, if a group of friends is out & about and trying to decide on a dinner destination for the evening, we don’t want them going elsewhere because they can’t find the restaurant’s address, hours, or menu on their site. So we make a nice quick site with all that information quickly & readily accessible.

As you can see, the goals of any given website could vary wildly. With this in mind, careful consideration of your goals is essential as you add a website to your marketing efforts.

Top 5 Mistakes Businesses Make With Facebook

By Jenny Bixby

It’s safe to say that the vast majority of businesses have facebook pages. It’s also safe to say that many of these businesses are mismanaging them. The following are the top five mistakes that businesses make with their facebook pages.

  1. Too many posts.
    Nothing will drive fans away from your page faster than too many posts.  Although it varies with the type of industry (think news outlet vs. coffee shop), the general rule of thumb is no more than 5-10 posts per week.
  2. Too few posts.
    Just as important as not posting too often is, is posting too little. Fans will quickly become unengaged and you will lose your ranking, resulting in not showing up in newsfeeds. You’ll lose your ability to get any messaging out there and also any opportunity to have your post shared.
  3. Sounding too “salesy.
    No one wants advertisements constantly thrown in their face. A sale here or there is acceptable and even encouraged, but too many percentages off with exclamation points showing up will quickly get your page unliked (and possibly marked as spam).
  4. Unresponsiveness.

    It is critical that the page is monitored daily. It’s easy to assume that a lack of responsiveness on a facebook page is translated to the business as a whole. Set up the page so that you are sent alerts when something is posted on your page so you can ensure things are taken care of in a timely manner

  5. Boring content.
    It’s good to mix things up, such as a links to a news article related to your industry, YouTube videos, and photos. Keep things light-hearted and include humor. Make sure you have content that fans want to be engaged with and not something that will lead them straight to the unlike button.

    The best way to manage a business page is to design it and update it with the mindset of a consumer. Ask yourself what content you’d like to see and what you’d like to gain from a business page that you have liked. Thinking only like a marketer will get you into trouble in this case; you have to think like a social media participant, as well.

Measuring your PR: what is relevant to you?

Written by Laura Monagle, APR

“I spend alot of time tracking all of our media mentions, but no one ever really looks at this stuff.”

That’s a common feeling among our clients. We all want measurement, but it’s hard to decide what data is relevant. There’s a great deal of activity on a global basis in the PR world regarding standardization of PR and media relations measures. The Institute for Public Relations just came out with interim standards for media analysis and metrics. If you want to see the full report, visit http://www.instituteforpr.org/topics/proposed-interim-standards-for-metrics-in-traditional-media-analysis/ .

I am completely in support of these efforts. However, like all measurement, the most important data points are those that relevant. And the definition of relevant is in the eye of the beholder. So, where do you even start? Here are some initial suggestions:

1. Decide what is relevant and useful to you. Are you in a controversial industry, a crisis or volatile episode in your company’s history? Then positive, negative or neutral tone in coverage is important to you. Are there certain keywords and key messages you want covered that support your other marketing & advertising efforts? Then track and measure those. Are you trying to forge relationships with new journalists or outlets? Then measure how many of those have begun to cover your organization or call you for comment. 

2. Decide what is relevant and useful to the people to whom you report. Let’s be honest. The CEO or CFO might not appreciate the same measures as a PR pro. So finding out what’s valuable to that person is just as important as what you and I want to know. If it’s garnering more mentions than the biggest competitor, track it and report it. If it’s a huge binder full of clips that makes him or her happy, make it happen. Once you have their interest and attention by meeting their expectations, only then can you begin to get a CEO excited about other ways your coverage is meaningful. 

3. The more you can track your efforts directly to bottom line results, the better. This is the hardest one of all, but it’s the PR jackpot. Do orders for a particular product increase during the time your story or release on that product hits the media? Did you receive a call or e-mail from a potential client who specficially mentioned your article in the business news? Do you notice that you have more leads and referrals coming in from people who said they heard about you from a news story? Make sure you’re trying to capture this information as part of the sales process, and you’ll enjoy the truest measure of success. 

Remember that the data you’re collecting should be helping you decide how and where to focus your PR energy. If you have ideas or thoughts on media relations measurement, I’d love to hear them.