Saturday, April 28, 2012

Epic Website Fail

For this post, let's look at an epic website marketing fail:

Flash website fail.


Open this website, and then come back and read the rest of this blog post. The website took a 63 seconds to load on my machine and my internet is usually pretty fast. On the web, where even patient people have A.D.D., that is about 60 seconds too long. The bounce rates on this website must be really high (close to 100%). In that minute, most people are probably thinking 'I haven't waited this long for a website to load since the days of dial-up internet. This site must be really good'. But, if its on this blog...

It could use some work. The load time is the first issue. Here are some others:

  • After the load screen, you are presented with a bunch of numbers and its difficult to know what to do
  • Then the music starts...
  • The homepage contains a lengthy history lesson
  • About us is a picture of a tradeshow booth with a bunch of servers/technology
  • There is a section about horses and Equestrian (it's an IT security company)
  • Products page is a very difficult to read networking diagram
  • On the contact us section you cannot click on or copy the email address
  • There is a timestamp to show when they updated the site. Some pages date back to 2009


Here are the top 5 tips to ensure your website does not end up on Epic Marketing Fails:

1. Don't make a flash website
Flash sites can look great. I've seen some beautifully designed flash websites. The problem with them is usability. If your site doesn't load in under 5 seconds, you are losing visitors. If you are losing visitors, you are losing customers and money. Not to mention all of the iPhone and iPad visitors that are now gone.

2. Design your site for your visitors, not you
There is a fantastic story behind every business, but people are not coming to your website for that - they could care less. They are coming to your website to figure out how they can solve their problems, and are trying to decide if you are the right person to help them do that. Your homepage should clearly tell them what problems you solve, and point them to other pages that help them make their decision.

3. Keep it updated
People want to know that they are looking at recent information. Having at least one section of your website (a Twitter feed is a good one) that is constantly updated at least gives the sense that you care about your website and the people coming to it. If you are not updating your site on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, remove any timestamps that show when it was last updated.

4. Make it easy for people to get in contact with you
Your website should make it easy for people to engage with you. Don't make them search your contact information that is buried on one page. If possible, have chat functionality where people can reach a live person at any time. If you have a CRM system, use a form so you can track exactly where your leads are coming from. If you can't support chat or a form, at the very least make your email address hyperlinked so it automatically opens someone's email application.
5. Create a lead generation engine
Websites are no longer one way vehicles to get your information across. With CRM systems like Salesforce and marketing automation like Marketo, you can transform your site to start generating leads for your business. Offer your prospects something interesting of value, and in turn get their contact information to start a relationship with them. Giving people information is great, but getting theirs in return is even better. That way you can help them along their buying cycle and accelerate their purchase. Not to mention making your business look good and establishing your company as a thought leader in your field.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Facebook Marketing Fail

Facebook advertising is a great way to build your company's following. It's a cost effective way to get people engaged with your brand and eventually turn them into customers. The other day I saw how not to do this:

Ottawa Senators or Villanova Dental Studio?
This one is a little misleading. I actually thought to myself, I already 'Like' the Senators on Facebook, why am I seeing this again. Upon closer inspection, it is actually for a dentist's office here in Ottawa.

The only way Villenova Dental Studio is related to the Ottawa Senators would be if you got hit in the mouth with a puck at one of their games and needed some new teeth.

This company is trying to build their following, I get it. However the way this ad is structured, people are not liking Villanova Dental, they are liking a completely seperate brand. I understand all of marketing has a certain element of bait and switch, however like everything, there are certain boundaries that need to be observed.

Why not offer up some great dental hygiene tips or offer a deal on a common service that you provide (whitening anyone?). Although dentistry might not be as exciting as the Senators, there are other options to build your following while still attracting the RIGHT people who might actually turn into customers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Social Media Marketing Fail?

Canada's largest communication provider, Rogers, experience some social media backlash a few weeks ago when they promoted the hashtag #rogers1number to highlight their new service. This lead to a boatload of tweets complaining about Rogers. This was undoubtedly not what they originally signed up for. Lots of people are calling this a marketing fail, but here's my take on it:

Was Rogers promoted tweet a marketing fail or a marketing win?
The great thing about social media is that it is a place to get unfiltered and unbiased information from real people. Companies cannot hide behind traditional one-way communication methods, instead anyone with a Twitter or Facebook account can weigh in and provide their two cents.

Twitter is an invaluable tool as companies can listen to their customers, and receive both positive (and sometimes negative) feedback. The reality is whether its posted on Twitter or not, the feedback still exists... it just may not be exposed for the companies and the world to see/hear.

In the case of Rogers, I'm sure they would have rather people praised their new service and talked about all the great new features like how great it would be for them to call other people for free (not that Skype doesn't do that already - but that's besides the point).

Instead, people publicly bashed the company and #rogers1number was the last thing present in the tweets.

BUT does this make the marketing campaign a fail? Depends how you define success.

If you just wanted people to talk about the new service, then I guess you could say it's a marketing fail, but let's look at the bigger picture.

Rogers clearly has a problem with customer service. That is what everyone is complaining about. That is something the company needs to address. Most Rogers customers (myself included) are not happy with their billing methods. If they weren't sure about this before last Thursday, they have no excuse not to be now.

Although most of the talk was NOT about the new service, they gained a tonne of intelligence (that if used properly) can really improve their business and relationship with their customers. If they are serious about developing and maintaining a positive brand, then this was an essential first step of getting there. 

So in conclusion this is what I call a FAIL/WIN. At first it could look negative, and it did not achieve what they originally set out to do, but in the end they have been given amazing customer feedback that has the potential to really help them down the road.