Imagine for a second that you’re the proprietor of a well-established local produce store. You’ve noticed your revenues dropping as your loyal customers are trying out the new big brand grocery store that just opened up in town. How do you compete? Wouldn’t it be nice to send an offer directly to your customers at the very moment they decide to try out the competitor’s store? Absolutely! This is not such a far-flung possibility with a tactic gaining popularity in digital marketing known as geo-fencing.
What is geo-fencing?
Wikipedia describes geo-fencing as “a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area.” To put it very simply, imagine drawing an enclosed shape on a map and being able to fire different events based on the type of action an individual takes while within that shape. With geo-fencing, in the case described above, we could draw a perimeter around the new grocery store and its parking lot and fire an event to send a very enticing loyalty offer for your own store, right at the moment when a customer enters that perimeter with his/her mobile device.
Geo-fence events can be triggered when an individual performs a trigger event within a specified radius of a given coordinate or within a coordinate-defined polygonal shape.
There are three main actions taken by an individual that will trigger a geo-fence system event:
- Enter – Triggers an event when an individual enters a geo-fence.
- Exit – Triggers an event when an individual leaves a geo-fence.
- Dwell – Triggers an event when an individual spends a variable amount of time within a geo-fence.
One lesser-known tactic is to use a time-release event after an individual has exited a geo-fence. For example, when a customer leaves your store, a system event is triggered to time the customer’s absence from the store. After a variable amount of time, let’s say 30 days (for the purposes of this example only), the system can fire an event to serve a “we miss you” offer.
Thanks to our connection to our mobile devices, this sort of advertising is very much a real-world possibility. Geo-fencing has many practical applications useful far beyond simply advertising, but isn’t it exciting to know we can reach our customers in those micro-moments when they need us most?
Geo-fencing is just one of many tools we employ in our digital marketing strategies at CurveFront. Stay tuned for more blogs clarifying digital marketing tools, channels, terminology, strategies, and more! Remember to share this article on your social media feeds, so your friends can learn about the flexibility digital marketing can offer. Thanks for reading!
Google AdWords hosted a quick live stream event today discussing the new battleground for brands. The event was hosted by Google AdWords employee Matt Lawson. Lawson brought many great points to our attention so we thought we’d do you all a solid by providing you with the five key takeaways from the live stream.
1. People desire more immediacy in addressing their needs than ever
People increasingly rely on their mobile devices and relevant search results to address momentary needs. Matt Lawson from Google AdWords used the example of a woman who broke her milk frother while making a cappuccino who turned to her mobile device, searched for a new milk frother, and made a purchase in the moment for the first relevant result she found. This behaviour of solving our needs with such immediacy has become what Google describes as the new battleground for brands.
2. People are maximizing their life experiences through “Micro-Moments”
People want to know how to live their lives to the fullest and having fingertip access to any answer you desire is helping people achieve this. Marketers need to be aware of these everyday needs and seek to offer creative ways to fulfill these every day “Micro-Moments”.
3. Mobile conversion rates grew 29%
Through data collected from websites across the web using Google Analytics, Google has found that mobile conversion rates grew a staggering 29% in this year. This brings back the example of the milk frother and how people want their needs fulfilled immediately. Our portal to having our needs fulfilled with such immediacy is our mobile devices and I suspect we’ll continue to see mobile conversion rates grow at incredible rates.
4. Google continues to set the bar as a resource to solve peoples’ needs
Google has many technologies that are designed to serve people’s micro-moment needs. From rich snippets to click-to-call ads, Google continues to push the threshold of what search can offer. By embracing these tools sooner than later you can be sure your brand will be well on its way to serving people’s growing immediate needs and shortening the conversion path for your sales. With these great tools everybody wins!
5. Marketers need to evaluate how they are serving people’s immediate needs
Matt Lawson offered a great list of action items that markets can incorporate into their strategies today:
1. Identify micro-moments that matter to your business
2. Deliver on people’s needs in the moment
3. Measure all moments that matter
As marketers, we want to measure everything but it’s important to find the creative metrics which tell the true story of user behaviour. Build personas for your customers, determine their needs and thoughts, and get creative with how you solve those needs and thoughts. This knowledge will certainly help us at CurveFront as we’re developing our next digital marketing campaigns and we hope that this information provides value to all who read it.
Have you ever stopped to consider what a world without web developers would be like? Think of the course of your day: you probably wake up, check if you have any emails, maybe check your social media notifications and browse through your social media feeds awhile. Perhaps you have a few more moments to spare before you dreadfully start your day so you head over to your favorite news reading website and flip through the headlines. If your in Northern Ontario like we are you undoubtedly check the weather before heading out the door so you can determine whether you need to let your car warm up for the usual 5 minutes or 20 if it’s particularly cold outside.
You merrily continue through your day tending to the things that matter in your world when you realize that you have a question that needs answering so you’ll pull out your phone and head over to Google and pose your question in a conversational manner from which Google will return all sorts of insightful and relevant results. By the time you get home you need to decide what’s for dinner and god knows there’s enough recipes on Pinterest to keep you browsing until you fall asleep hungry. But let’s assume you don’t fall into the Pinterest vortex, let’s assume you want to hit up a local restaurant so you head over to Yelp and find something that sounds interesting to you then you head over to that restaurant’s website to browse their menu, check their prices, and find their hours. Maybe you go so far as to make a reservation right there on their website. You hop in your car and tap the address for directions, you arrive on time, your reservation is waiting, you check in, snap a few pictures of your food, write a review and receive the bill. ‘Now accepting PayPal’ it might read. So you hold your phone over their RFID device and sign away your money.
You head home, log into your banking and make sure your accounts are still in check, maybe even pay a few bills while you’re at it. Then you sit down for a quiet movie on Netflix. You grab a snack and log your calories on your favorite fitness app and decide that you best do a quick workout before you get too close to bedtime. So you YouTube some videos to guide you through your workout and keep you motivated. Hopefully you’ll hit the shower after your workout and if you’re like us you probably throw on your favorite music streaming app to listen to while you’re in the shower and getting ready for bed. Then you’ll lay down in bed maybe watch something else or read a book through your favorite reading app.
Can you imagine a world where none of this would be possible? That’s a world without web developers. We’re proud to be members of this group who have so profoundly changed the way we live and given us all the many amenities that we take so much for granted in our digital age. Next time you see a web developer give him or her a high-five and show your thanks!
P.s. Web developers didn’t do any of this alone: there were the people with the ideas, the people with the money, and other supporting parties. So, instead, maybe just high-five everybody you see because I want to live in a world with more high-fives.
Building a strong web presence isn’t something we should put off. In our last publication, we discussed the keys to digital marketing success in 2015 and, supported by some interesting statistics, we explained why those items were so important. With your web presence becoming a deciding factor in customers’ purchase decisions, your web presence should be a major focal point of your marketing for 2015. In order to better understand your existing web presence and to help you evaluate options for improvement, it’s important that you become aware of how to build a strong web presence and the terminology used in the process.
Every website consists of a bunch of files. These files describe the layout, look and feel, functionality, and more of your website. These files have to be accessible to users on the Internet, so the files must be hosted on a server somewhere that enables this function. Hosting the files that drive your website is a key component of your web presence, and it’s an important point of discussion, since not all hosting is created equal. When evaluating hosting options, keep in mind the skill of those in charge of your hosting, whether there is an uptime guarantee or not, how/when security fixes get applied and who is responsible, the customer support quality and, of course, the cost of the service.
Another key part of your web presence is your domain name. The domain name describes the address which users will use to access the files stored on your hosting server. It is your “www.whatever.com.” It’s also an important factor in your search engine optimization, which we’ll discuss later. There are associated costs with domain names, since you are reserving the rights to that domain name for your own use. The business through which you will register your domain name is known as a “domain registrar.” Domain registrars all offer pretty much the same service, so it’s really just a matter of finding the best price.
Content Management System (CMS)
All of our clients have inquired about the ability to update content on their website at their own discretion, on the fly, without additional help or costs. The software behind a website that powers this sort of functionality is known as a Content Management System. There are many options when it comes to choosing a CMS, but a quick Google search on the topic will give you the stats you need to know to decide which CMS deserves your trust.
Web Design vs. Web Development
Web design and web development are often used interchangeably in conversation. However, in reality, they refer to two different processes within the grander process of building a website. Web design refers to the process of visually designing the look and feel of a website, while web development is taking that design and building it. Not all design is equal, so don’t be fooled by whatever title is on a business card. Browsing and comparing portfolios is your best bet for finding a great web designer.
Mobile-site vs. Mobile App vs. Responsive Design
When Internet-enabled mobile devices first came into existence, websites had to have entirely separate pages to support mobile browsing. This eventually changed as smartphones and mobile apps grew in popularity. However, a business still had to have a completely separate codebase developed to create the mobile app, which was cost prohibitive for many. More recently, we’ve hit the age of “responsive” design, where the website being viewed responds to the device it is being viewed on and readjusts itself for an optimum viewing experience. This really broke the cost barrier and opened the doors for many small businesses to have a mobile optimized website (which affects search engine ranking on mobile searches) without astronomical costs.
The Ontario government has published their plans for a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. This includes all public, private, and not-for-profit companies and their websites. The website accessibility guidelines set out by the government are detailed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Within these guidelines, there are three different levels of accessibility ranked ‘A’ through ‘AAA,’ with ‘AAA’ being the highest degree of accessibility. Included in the WCAG 2.0 are guidelines for ensuring proper content structure, sufficient contrast, captions for multimedia objects, keyboard-enabled browsing, sufficient time to complete website tasks, optimization for screen readers, avoidance of blinking lights, sufficient form validation and feedback, and more.
Our mantra while building web presences for our clients is “remove barriers, build trust.” This refers to the relationship between our clients and their customers. We believe very strongly in the importance of removing barriers to avoid alienating any potential customers. Although responsive design is trendy at the moment, we encourage our clients (and all other businesses) to seriously consider early adoption of the WCAG 2.0 as a gesture of inclusion and acceptance for their customers who have accessibility requirements.
As business owners, you’ve probably all heard the word “conversion.” In terms of website design, when we speak of a conversion strategy, we are speaking about how we’re going to get a user to do what we want them to do on your website. This can be anything from getting a user to sign-up for your mailing list to making a purchase decision on the spot. There are some key strategies for improving conversion. Working with a web developer who knows these strategies and knows how/when to use them will be a significant advantage for your business, as it greatly increases the return on investment (ROI) for all of your other marketing efforts.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets out coding standards to enable a universal understanding of written code between web developers and web browsers. Ensuring that the code written to produce your website meets these standards greatly increases the likelihood that all browsers will be able to view your website as it was intended to be viewed. Code validation can also affect your website ranking by search engines and thus is another component of your search engine optimization strategy.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Many people think about where their page will rank in search results as the only significant piece of search engine optimization. However, equally important is how your page will display in search engine results. With Google’s new Structured Data Markup (SDM), we can control how results will appear for a specific result type within Google. Some of these result types include articles, reviews, events, products, businesses, and restaurants. Having a website optimized using Google’s SDM will create eye-grabbing search results, which will maximize the number of users who land on your page from Google searches.
As for your website rank, as we’ve seen, just about everything involved in good website design and development affects your search result rank. There are some other important aspects of ranking in search engine results, including the quality and freshness of your content, the optimization of your content to be returned for specific searches, the amount of links linking back to your content (backlinks), etc. Since the release of their Penguin search algorithm, one very important key to ranking with Google is to avoid black-hat SEO techniques and simply focus on the quality of both your website and your content. As marketers say all the time, “content is king.”
As a web marketing agency, we never build a website without giving our clients a way to track usage/performance stats. What good is any marketing effort without a way to measure its effectiveness and adjust it as needed to maximize your results? It would be about as useful as fishing without a line in the water. The industry standard tool for measuring website analytics/metrics is Google Analytics. Through Google Analytics, webmasters (those who are in charge of administrating a website) can see how many people landed on their page, which page, from which source, from which geographic region, using what search terms, and more. This information provides imperative insight to ensure we optimize our site to the people who want to find it.
We hope you have found this article informative, and we would be happy to answer any further questions you might have via phone or e-mail. It’s very important to us that our business community become empowered with the knowledge required to make informed purchasing decisions when it comes to their web presence.
With 2014 in the books, many business owners have their eyes set on the New Year. Many will resolve to make business changes that will lead to their “best year yet.” Sadly, a resolution is only as good the longevity of the commitment made toward its achievement. Regardless of how hard you may work toward that resolution, it may be a waste of effort unless that resolution involves one very important key to growing your business.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s begin with some simple statistics: 78% of potential customers will research your product or service online before making a decision whether to do business with you (85% if you’re in business-to-business sales). That’s a staggering amount of your business potential controlled completely by one gate. In today’s business environment, it is absolutely essential to have a strong web presence that maximizes its own potential through a strong web marketing strategy. This document will describe the three most important keys to maximizing your business success through a powerful web presence.
1 | A Functional and Beautiful Website is Key!
The keystone to your online marketing mix is your website. Some might question the effectiveness of a website when it’s quite simple to create a Facebook page, Twitter page, or Google business page. When used strategically, these are all important components of a strong web presence, but ultimately they benefit Facebook, Twitter, or Google. They all lack the freedom and flexibility necessary to create a true representation of your business’ brand that will build trust with your customers.
Paramount to a good website is its visual design. Studies indicate that 94% of website users either trust or mistrust a company based solely on the visual appearance of their website1 and a further 67% of users stated that they are unlikely to engage in a transaction with a company whose website has not been optimized for mobile devices2.
Web page load time and the number of clicks required by users to find the information they desire are key factors in website conversion rates, both of which will effectively drive away users if care has not been taken to mitigate potential issues.
So what do we gather from this? We live in a world where mobile web browsing is equally as important as desktop optimized browsing and where visual design, page speed, and information organization are pivotal to your business’ success.
2 | Drive Traffic
Let’s assume for a second that you have a fantastic website with powerful conversion strategy, beautiful design, mobile browsing optimization, page speed, and search engine indexing. How do you maximize your return on investment (ROI) for your website by utilizing it as a pivotal piece of your business’ overall marketing mix? Put simply: you maximize the number of qualified leads who land on your website.
Your existing marketing efforts are a great start! With your new website, you’ve gotten a lot closer to maximizing the ROI on your existing campaigns. It won’t take long before your marketing metrics reflect the impact of your new website, and you will feel confident that your advertising dollars are paying off. Hopefully this confidence will help you pursue advertising more boldly and lead you to explore new channels. There are many online advertising channels that offer powerful demographic targeting to ensure your message is put in front of the right people to further maximize your advertising dollars.
An important channel that is too often disregarded as “too much work” or “too difficult” is to use social media to drive traffic. Your customers want to trust you and your business. What better way to build trust than to engage those potential customers with valuable content, discounts, and conversation. There is certainly a commitment required to maximize your social media effectiveness. Knowing and utilizing social media marketing strategies, developing and syndicating useful content, and continually refining those strategies by utilizing metrics is a great start.
3 | Use Metrics
We’ve mentioned metrics a number of times now and that is an indication of their importance. As many business people know, data is a superpower when wielded correctly. Measuring our successes/failures with key performance indicators (KPIs) and utilizing our data to empower our future efforts is how we succeed. Effective online marketing can be achieved only through tracking and monitoring key data points and continually improving where possible. Gathering useful data, determining the most important key data points, and deciding how to act upon that data are the factors that will enable your business to achieve online marketing success.
That might sound like a lot of work that you simply don’t have time for. Thankfully, that’s where a good digital marketing agency comes in – an agency that has a strong grasp on marketing concepts, keeps current with the trends, and possesses the technical know-how, creativity, and skills to achieve marketing success for your business. They bring a relentless commitment to your success and achieve it with caring and friendly practices that make you feel as if they are a natural and integral part of your team. They work with you to create a roadmap that is budget-wise and evolves to ensure your marketing efforts pay for themselves. They enable you to access your customers.
1 Corritore, Cynthia L.; Marble, Robert P.; Wiedenbeck, Susan; Kracher, Beverly; and Chandran, Ashwin, “Measuring Online Trust of Websites: Credibility, Perceived Ease of Use, and Risk” (2005). AMCIS 2005 Proceedings. Paper 370.
2 “What You Need to Know About Mobile Internet Users and Their Shopping Behavior.” ConversionXL. N.p., 30 May 2012. Web. 05 Jan. 2015.