Friday, April 17, 2009

Tips for using video to gain customers

It's reasonably well accepted that having a video on your site can be good for buyer confidence, good for sales and if hosted correctly, good for SEO too.

But there's some things you must do to ensure that you get maximum benefit.

Let's start with the video its self:

Don't make it too long
Boredom thresholds are low. Our exposure to modern day 'bite sized' TV programming and short, snappy adverts that are mini stories in their own right means we are intolerant of anything that labours a point. A front page video snippet shouldn't be more than a minute or so long. If longer is required, create a short 'taster' for the front page and a link to the full version further into the site.

Make it have a purpose
Just like the headlines and content of your site, your video should be focused on drawing in your visitor by providing useful and interesting content. If it's to gain your visitors confidence then tell them how you've successfully helped others for example.

Make it interesting, amazing or funny
A difficult one this as it won't always come off. But if you can do it you have the chance of it going viral - a link to your video forwarded on to loads of other people with the obvious business benefits that it would bring.

Where you host you video is important too:

Hosting on your servers
Not always the best option. However, if you have long videos or you want better quality it might be the right way to go.

Hosting on Video Sites
External hosting avoids the possibility of racking up bandwidth charges if its popular. The biggest bonus is that your video might be seen by more people and gain you extra business. There's a load to choose from with YouTube the most popular and well known. Google videos no longer accepts new uploads presumably because of their YouTube purchase.

How you setup the video on the hosting is really important as the whole point of the exercise is to attract visitors to your site:

Choosing a user name
Just like themeing for your website, the user name you choose ought to be keyword based to help with SEO

Setting up the description
You always have the option to write a short description which will show up next to your video (or at least the first few lines) Kick this off with your web address. Start it with http:// and it will automatically be a clickable hyperlink, so if they like what they see, you are only a click away.

Also include, in the description, your keywords and phrases that match your target. Include them in the tags too. That will help push your video up the listings when someone does an appropriate search.

Start a Channel
This is a customisable area to showcase your videos with its own description and profile that can include all your SEO friendly keywords. The channel also shows your favorite videos and those people who are following you. So just like any other Social Media exercise you should find ways to increase your following.

If you need help with getting effective video onto your website contact me at Alloy CRM.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Customer Dis-Service

My car went in for its MOT today so Gill and I had an hour to kill down near the harbours mouth and Gorleston sea front.

The weather was beautiful and we strolled up to the hotel overlooking the beach and sat down at an outside table to relax for a while with a cappuccino.

It was still a little chilly in the wind and I kept my coat on. With my hand on the end of the metal chair arm I became aware that the green hammerite paint felt a little 'soft' in places. Looking closer at the table and the other chairs it was obvious that they had been painted recently in time for the start of the summer season.

Concerned by the soft paint I looked at the underside of my sleeve to discover a small splodge of matching green paint on the material. Thankfully my coat is old anyway, but it's still one I wear often by choice.

Concerned that someone after me may ruin a good, and maybe expensive, piece of clothing I sought out the staff inside the hotel to alert them to the problem.

I was taken aback by the complete lack of interest and was simply told that the outside furniture had been painted yesterday and none of the managers were in. No apology. No concern. I was thrown really and walked out.

With a clear head I went back a short while later and voiced my feelings. The answer was 'No managers are here, what can we do?'

I pointed out that finding the offending chair, plus any others still not fully set, would avoid anyone else doing the same and potentially placing a hefty claim on the hotel.

Still no action so I left my card and said I would be writing to the owners. At last some response! An apology! But still no action.

What ever happened to care and responsibility? Not for the first time this month I have pondered that question.

Customer Relationship Management and Customer Service done well enhance a business. Done badly they can ruin it.

Will I tell everyone this story, probably. Will it increase sales and their business, very unlikely.

Alloy CRM for Customer Relationship Solutions and online marketing

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

5 Top Tips for Pay Per Click Campaigns

Here's 5 top tips for making Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns work effectively and generate a return on investment.

1. Don't send the the click to your website home page.
Make sure the web page you send your 'clickers' to is absolutely relevant to the search term and the advert wording. Nothing is more frustrating (and likely to cause them to 'bounce' back to the search listings) than being sent to your home page and then having to hunt around for the specific information they were expecting to find.
Create specific 'landing pages' for each of you ads.

2. Don't Have all the keywords as 'Broad' terms.
Keywords can be set as follows:

"driving lesson" - Exact phrase match. Set inside quotes the phrase can appear along side other words. For example someone searching for:
bus driving lesson or driving lesson in london
the ad would show.

[driving lesson] - Exact Term match. set inside square brackets the ad will ONLY show when that phrase, as listed, is typed on its own with no accompanying words. Not even the plural driving lessons

driving lesson - Broad Match. Without anything around it will show your ad for a host of variations:
driving to school for a lesson or teachers who are driving you mad in a lesson

As you can see the Broad Match option can be too far wide and be shown for totally unrelated queries attracting 'tyre kickers' to click rather than real prospects.

3. Don't ignore negative keywords.
Adding in negative keywords, by prefixing with the minus sign, for example -bus , would exclude your "driving lesson" phrase when used in conjunction with bus as in bus driving lessons or bus driving lessons london

4. Research your keywords thoroughly.
Look for unusual, maybe off the wall, ways that your customers might describe your service or product. Seek out phrases that might begin with 'How do I...' or 'What is....'

5. Monitor and manage your account EVERY DAY.
It is far to easy for your cost to spiral if you are not watching what's happening. Click costs on competitive terms can really sky rocket. But if you're careful and diligent you can maximise profit against the cost of clicks.

If you need help to set up ar manage a PPC campaign contact me at Alloy CRM