Our agency (Infuz) does a lot of work within the context of social media. And being a curious lot, we recently created a site that allows users to ‘listen’ to conversations of voters via Twitter. An interesting experiment to say the least.
Archive for the ‘conversions’ Category
The 5 C’s of Engagement
Fundamentally, engagement is a state of deeply occupied attention. This may or may not include active elements of involvement and participation. For example, I might find a video highly engaging, although watching is pretty much a passive experience. Playing games, creating digital art, and messaging friends are good examples of active engagement.
I categorize digital engagements/experiences by 5 Cs
Captivation is often a passive form of engagement: watching videos, listening to music, or viewing images. It’s important to understand there is a strong qualitative factor that separates apathetic media consumption from captivation. This is one reason I feel ‘time spent’ is an inadequate measure of true engagement. Ten minutes of exposure to second-rate content doesn’t carry twice the weight of a compelling experience lasting five minutes. I also consider single-player games, demonstrations, and e-learning applications interactive platforms for captivation.
Conversation is a highly interactive form of engagement and a fundamental characteristic of social media. Posting, commenting, and messaging are means for users to engage others in opinions and ideas. From a brand marketer’s perspective, conversations are a powerful force that can drive product awareness, consideration and affinity. Like captivation, conversations that are entertaining, emotional, or otherwise provide value are more engaging than conversations that don’t.
Collaboration through wikis, multi-player games, and work applications are other examples of engagement. Brands have only scratched the surface in building collaborative experiences that let consumers not only interact with each other, but with a brand in creating something interesting.
Creation is a form of engagement that encompasses two separate activities: making and sharing. Digital toys, drawing and music applications are just a few examples of platforms that allow users to make their own creations. Product customization and visualization features also fall into this category. Media sharing platforms that allow users to post and share images, video, and digital documents overlap the creation and conversation experience.
Commerce might be the most powerful form of engagement. The seemingly prosaic process of shopping and purchasing is often one of the most memorable interactions we ever have with a brand. Likewise, the experiential factors of seeking product information, quotes, and customer service have a critical impact on conversion and affinity.
Next time: Are all engagements created equal?
Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Online wrote an excellent article for ClickZ summarizing the issues that should be top of mind for CMOs. You’ll notice a few common threads that run through a number of these.
- It all starts with listening to your consumers
- Conversation (including CGC and social media) is more important than ever
- Authenticity matters
The age of steamrolling brand ideas into a consumer’s head with glossy print ads and :30 second spots has come to an end. Brands have to stop pretending to be what they’re not. It’s time to get real.
Rarely do I recommend books after reading only the first half, but Landing Page Optimization is an exception. Tim Ash of SiteTuners takes the reader on a thought-proking journey that addresses the key issues surrounding the design and testing of “landing pages”. The take-away from this book sounds quite obvious: let your users determine the best design. Unfortunately most of us (self-described “experts”) fall into the trap of believing we know the right answer, only to be humbled by our users.
This book also confirms my belief that online marketers and their agencies would be well served by having some knowledge or experience in user-centered design and usability testing. Agency folk are familiar with focus groups and panels, but few have ever witnessed first hand a consumer trying to use one of their designs.
Sunday I had a couple hours to kill before a dinner event so I decided to take a crack at the SEOmoz landing page challenge. As you can see their current page leaves a lot of room for improvement:
Although SEOmoz is imposing very few restrictions on”contestants”, I imposed several on myself:
- invest no more than two hours on this project
- use the SEOmoz page template (header and standard layout)
- only use images provided by SEOmoz
- lift the majority of copy from their current site
- Use the SEOmoz color palette
My design strategy:
- Eliminate clutter through improved visual organization and reduced word count
- Position the fee schedule and call to action on the sweet-spot of the page
- Summarize the most compelling features and benefits above the fold on a 1152×864 display
If this was a paying gig I would have certainly spent a good amount of time studying the SEOmoz premium services and identified key insights + behavioral triggers that motivate prospective consumers.
My design does a fair job of communicating features and subscription options, but I fell short of identifying a compelling benefit and communicating it in a powerful way. Due to limited time I went with a pretty generic benefit: “learn the secrets to achieving top rankings” – but what does that really mean? Top rankings mean more traffic, and more traffic translates into more revenue. And what if an SEO is more motivated by peer recognition or improving their professional prowess? I didn’t explore any of this.
Although I focused on improving the layout, I made a few marketing decisions along the way:
- my gut told me SEO tools is the meat and potatoes of a premium subscription, so I gave it the greatest emphasis
- I positioned the guides as FREE gifts. By doing so, I elevated the perceived value of the SEO tools and emphasized the service aspect of the membership
- I also called out the Q&A feature more prominently. This seemed to me to be a very enticing feature of a subscription – the difference between generic best practices and personalized advice.
One last thing: Because I only allocated two hours to this project I didn’t have time to re-design anything below the fold or create a finished HTML page. As a result, I might be disqualified from the competition.