So you have a beautiful website. It’s aesthetically appealing; the color scheme is bright and attractive, the images stimulating and the navigation easy to use. It seems to have all the right ingredients, however, is your (beautiful) website getting the right message across to your visitors?
As part of my role as a Client Strategist at MoreVisibility, I work with a variety of clients from large corporations to small businesses, from Ecommerce to Lead Generation. I often look at their sites from a user’s perspective to provide tips to help them achieve better results. There are many sites I see on a daily basis that are quite amazing to look at, but lack the necessary components to get the visitor to the desired end result. Whether that end result is a completed transaction, online form, or request for more information, it is critical that your site speak correctly to your audience. What does that mean exactly? Here are a few examples:
If your site has Ecommerce functionality, more than likely your goal is for your visitors to make a purchase. You will want to ensure that it is almost effortless to find exactly what your customers are looking for and efficiently go through your shopping cart process; the less clicks to get there, the better. If someone is searching for a specific pair of shoes, send them to that page, rather than having to search around. Don’t make it mandatory to create an account; make it an option.
If your site is designed to generate leads, you should be looking to capture as much information from your searchers in an effort you are obtaining valuable leads. Having a clear call to action form on your site is the first step. The form page should be clean and concise with only the necessary information required. The form should be followed with a confirmation or Thank You page to signify that the form was filled out, information is on the way and/or a representative from your company will be in touch (it is helpful to notate the timeframe here. i.e. within 24 hours, etc)
Keep in mind that your website is a representation of you and your company! While it should obviously look beautiful, it is imperative that you get your correct message across simultaneously!
Integration between Television and the Internet is one step closer. The Internet has always been a medium for people to get what they want, when they want it. It is a place where people proactively look for information and/or products. Television, on the other hand, has always been more of a “lean-back experience”. A place for people to relax, watch their favorite show, and often get bombarded with commercials (at least before the fabulous invention of TIVO and DVR). Television has never been recognized as place to proactively gather information, until now.
Samsung seems to have found a bridge between the Internet and Television through a device the company is calling See’N’Search. The new tool allows you to access the internet without using a keyboard or a PC. This new tool automatically pulls content from the Internet to match whatever television show you are watching. According to Mashable, “The new See’N’Search is a set-top box that reads the closed captions on a television show, as well as listens for keywords, to search for related Internet articles to the content you are currently watching. Say you’re watching the news and they do a story about the President; links to information on the President will appear at the bottom of the screen. For programs such as scripted shows, the system will pull up information on the actors as well as whatever they are discussing in the show. Furthermore, while it may be annoying to have information covering the bottom portion of your screen, you can instead choose to have any requested info sent to handheld devices or a computer connected to the local network.”
With any new technology, the question then becomes, will consumers find this tool useful or annoying? I am guilty of multi-tasking, which is why I am torn on how I feel about this product. When I get home from work, I often use the internet to search for a restaurant nearby, while using my DVR to watch my favorite daytime television show, and usually chatting on the phone with family or friends about my day. Multi-tasking is something that I am used to. Would this new tool from Samsung relieve some of my activities at night, or would it become more of an annoyance than a useful tool? While I am trying to relax and watch TV, do I really want to be bombarded with search results at the bottom of my screen? Also, would this type of technology be a fit for every type of television show? For example, I understand how this technology would be useful when watching a news clip or television about the President and/or any topic he or she is talking about, but what if I was watching “Everybody Loves Raymond”? What type of information would be made available to me? I am assuming articles and video clips related to the actors on the show, but truthfully, I don’t really care to learn more about that? I watch “Everybody Loves Raymond” for a good laugh, not to learn everything about the actors in the show.
Either way, the news is pretty exciting! With this being one of the first steps toward integration between the Internet and Television, it seems that the digital media space is joining together to try and make our lives a little bit easier and more connected. I am excited to learn more about this new technology and how it will evolve in the near future.
I recently ran across this article from BusinessWeek that discusses the challenges of advertising on social media sites. Websites, such as MySpace, seemed to come right out of the gate with display advertising, while others treaded more cautiously before heading down this avenue.
Today, it would appear that neither has found the magic recipe of pleasing both their advertisers and users at the same time. According to the BusinessWeek article, advertisers find that “as few as 4 in 10,000 people who see their ads on social networking sites click on them, compared with 20 in 10,000 across the Web.” In addition, users are feeling invaded and frustrated, some going as far enough as to start petitions against the sites!
Although predictions for growth on social media sites will be down from last year, we can still expect a 75% increase in ad spend. Aggravated visitors may choose to cancel their accounts, but the fact still remains that these sites aren’t going anywhere! They continue to make great efforts to update their advertising platforms with future promises of, for example, additional targeting options to reach a more engaged visitor.
My thought is that it can still be a smart way to reach your target demographic, but you have to be sensitive to that fact that they don’t want to feel like their MySpace is a walking advertisement for your product or service. More to come on this revolution, I am sure!