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What NOT to do with your company CMS

Did you know that every additional second a visitor spends looking for a specific piece of information on your website or landing pages, and consequently not finding it, is quite likely a measurement of a lost opportunity?

The importance of user-friendly websites, intranets and extranets or whatever other portals or landing pages you use for user interaction is essentially the most vital component you need to perfect. If a visitor wants information from you, you better make sure they get it and implement the most appealing chain of events to get there.

Don’t make your visitors frustrated with complicated information portals, because it will take them no longer than a minute to find someone with a more pleasing and better functioning website than yours.

The function of a content management system is to give users access to relevant data and should be an integral part of your organization’s overall web strategy to make sure your web initiatives are set up properly and answer all end-user needs. Anything from a press release to a password-enabled back-end for suppliers and distributors – all these information hubs are only as good as your CMS.

A CMS has to have the ability to create and manage pages on demand. A good content management system allows you to customize the experience of your end-users with a website look that’s industry-specific and uniquely yours. Your content inventory should also include the following:

-       Have a site map and indexing requirements
-       Form the basis of your content taxonomy
-       Informs you on all content conversions and hits
-       Have a baseline for all key CMS features – everything from news lists and RSS feeds to web forms, event calendars, image galleries, social media, multiple language support, integration to your blog, video capabilities

The trick is understanding that your CMS has to work for non-technical users. In fact, it should be equivalent to the function of a “For Dummies” book. It should also be configured to allow your system administrators to create changes easily in the back-end. For example, if your back-end is missing a space for a subject line like a title page, be assured that your front-end users will get lost. Also make sure your administrator understands how search engines work – meta tags have to be added if you want to raise your ranking (search engine spiders note things like unreliable sitemaps, FYI).

Think of a CMS as an enabling framework for your users and content administrators – it should have well-functioning modules and be scalable for future additions as well.  But the most important thing still remains to be that a CMS must be acceptable to end-users.

Growing Your Business: How to Focus on the Big Picture and Move Forward

So where is your business now and where do you want it to go, or be let’s say in six months, in a year, in 5? As marketers and managers we ultimately want the same thing: to see consistent revenue growth and better ROI for our companies.

And we do our best to make it happen in the best possible way we can. For many business owners this often means using what has always worked but still employing it long after it has stopped working. Sometimes it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. If this sounds familiar to you in any way it’s probably because you also suffer from the use of strategies that are quite frankly, expired. Whether it be advertising in the same magazine or newspaper, or using a call centre as a front-line even when you know that telemarketing is virtually extinct.

The reality is that the B2B and B2C environment is constantly changing. Industries are ever-evolving, customer needs and buying patterns are too, technology, expertise, the economy, the quality of your products and brands, their lifetime and expiration dates … the list goes on.

The one thing that remains certain forever is that we ultimately want the same thing for our business: to see revenue growth and better ROI. So how do we make it happen?

First, we have to acknowledge that staying in front of competition means adapting in new environments and using new technologies to make it happen. After making a commitment to keep updating and staying fresh in 6 months time, a year and in 5, to also come up with a big picture solution of where to be in the future and how to get there. Essentially asking yourself:

“Where is this company now and where will it be in the future?”

Thinking more strategically is no small feat but the quintessential component is that creative strategy, roadmaps and big picture solutions have to be living and breathing in our business if we want to survive in a competitive environment.

By engineering an effective business process and by keeping focus on aiming for efficiency with optimized technology and new trends, particularly in marketing, you can really pave the way to get to a desired result.

Start by making a commitment. Say to yourself:

“In order to see revenue growth and ROI, I will employ efficient tools because it will work to simplify and enhance the marketing process. I don’t want to get stuck in the past when the future is always here and changing, and in order to do that I will keep improving the business process to stay ahead with competition in 6 months, in a year and even in 5”.

The Next Big Trend: A Closer Look at the Social CRM

Engaging in collaborative conversations via Twitter and Facebook has become a lucrative form of pulling in “social” customers – customers who are consuming information using social media, learning more about products and brands and expecting responses to be delivered fast when using social channels.

In “Why Your Company Needs to Embrace Social CRM”, Maria Ogeva addresses the growing trend of the Social CRM – the relationship management tool that is used for engaging, measuring and nurturing relationships with “social” customers. Just think of the CRM you use for analytics and measurement, developing further opportunities and bettering customer support – all these things enable and strengthen your Sales process.

With the Social CRM, you can do the same with your social media campaigns: measure the effectiveness of your engagement with “social” customers and use these measurements to impact your campaigns and social media ROI.

Ogeva further demonstrates a fundamental difference between the two tools: while a CRM enables companies to have a better handle on customers, in social media this relationship is better influenced by the customer who leverages strength by calling the shots: “should I continue engaging, or move on to a competitor?” After all, it doesn’t take too much time to further engage with another product and brand on Twitter.

A Social CRM allows companies to take back some of the power in leading conversations with “social” prospects.

If you already use a CRM, you know you can’t live without it. Do you think a Social CRM will help to further boost your social media campaigns?

Is Your Website A Lead Generation Machine?

The website is more often than not the first point of contact between a prospect and a company, which means that making a good first impression is very important, and might even make the difference between capturing a lead or losing it.

When a website is intuitively organized to respond to prospect and customer needs it increases the chances of moving that prospect down the pipeline, and as a marketer, this is what you want to do – take the opportunity to capture a lead, nurture it, and eventually transfer it to a sales rep. for the win.

It’s very important that you keep in mind one key factor when making this happen: Time. The less time it takes to navigate through all the information and features on your website the better are your chances of capturing a prospect or customers’ attention to pursue a further dialogue. The moment that a prospect or client is sitting at his or her desk with a particular problem on their mind is the moment that they are likely to respond to you, so ensuring that you provide them with the right information as they are looking for it becomes a key strategy to lead generation. This strategy is called Information Architecture, in reference to the way your website is organized and how enabling it is for your users to navigate successfully through it while providing the experience of efficiency and speed when finding information and completing tasks. Essentially:

You don’t want and should try to avoid wasting a users’ time – you’d rather show them you value it!

And the way to do this is by designing a website that combines creative design with the science of usability in order to create an engaging and meaningful experience for your users. When users are navigating through a website with efficiency and speed they notice this and appreciate that you have taken the time to cater to their needs, which results in influencing them to take further action to learn more about what it is that makes your solution so unique.

By extracting insight into a user’s online activities and behaviour, or digital body language: the digital clues and footprints a prospect or client leaves behind on a website, with the right knowledge about your visitors you can increase sales, increase user engagement and increase the customer experience. Providing the right information at the moment a prospect is looking for it is a great strategic tool to capture a lead and send it through to the pipeline. When a website is engaging and compelling, when it meets user needs and facilitates effective and efficient navigation, audiences respond. How well is your audience responding? Is your website a lead generation machine?

Let’s get you Caught up on Facebook Messaging!

Three weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is coming out with a new Messaging service, which is making some social media experts believe it may even trump Gmail.

Lets get you caught up on what’s going on.

With Facebook Messages, all you have to do now is choose the name of the person you want to communicate with, and simply send your message. In turn, your recipient receives your message through which ever medium they prefer. Soon everyone using Facebook will be provided with an @facebook.com email address and all messages will be filtered through the @facebook.com Inbox – regardless of whether the message was sent through email, SMS or chat.

What does this mean?  Basically, all communication will go into a single filter no matter where it came from; one entirely seamless, stored conversation in one place from the very beginning of conversation history – no more subject lines, cc’s or bcc’s.

Where is the inspiration from?

Well, instead of receiving an email about where you’ll be meeting for sushi tonight, sandwiched between a client email and a bank statement, your inbox will now only contain messages from friends; everything else will be separated into the ‘Other’ folder.

What happens to messages from someone who doesn’t use Facebook? If a friend sends you a message and doesn’t use Facebook, their message will go into the ‘Other’ folder, but if you want to move them to the Inbox conversation, all you have to do is redirect the messages and all future conversations will show up in the Inbox along with messages from Facebook user friends.

 

What does this mean for Marketing?

Facebook Messaging means that now there is a further segmentation in audiences and demographics. Now there is a single place where all friend conversations are stored – regardless of the medium the message was originally sent from.

“Marketers will continue to use social media as a way to entice with short messaging, quick offers — it’s almost instantaneous,” said Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy Officer, Eloqua. “Email does take a little more time for the message to be delivered, but overall the actual details of selling will still have to be put in email.”

The implication for marketers is that the evolution in Messages is continuing to improve. While social media allows for short and quick instantaneous offers, Facebook Messages is a further segmentation by demography that could work to the advantage of marketing. Separating groups of audiences like friends into a single, primary communication channel will prove to advance communication for marketers who use social media to entice prospects and customers.