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2015 Content 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 


E-Commerce Express Mastering Search Social, Local, Mobile Design & Development Hot Trends 


Design & 

Feature E-Commerce Search Stat Watch Deadlines 













Digital Power 


Influence & 

Design & 

Get Rich 

Web Software 

The Local 
Web is 

& Edgy 


Web Business 

Social Tricks 
& Media 

Analytics for 


Trends in 

for Online 

Live Chat for 
Web Sellers 


Gateways in 




Social Media 


Email for 

Create an 
SEO Plan 




Search Trends 

SEO Software 

The State of 

App Store 


Local Web 

Web Design 
[Of SEO 

Today's SEO 


The Best 
Designs of '14 




Design Tech 


in Focus 

API Inspiration 

SEO for 


What is 



Digital Ad 



Essential Web 



Mobile Apps 
for Web 

Essential 'Net 

Social Media 

Email Service 

SEO Tools 





CRM Related 

& Productivity 




Big Data 

Social Focus 











Enterprise Ad 
Ready Small Biz 
Content rer 
Marketing vow 
: Programs 
Gamification Marketing 
Tactics Automation 
Big Brand Email Mobile Apps 
Campaigns for Small Biz 
BI Solutions in Email 
Focus Scheduling 
Enterprise On-Demand 
Content Lead 
Management Generation 
Security Usability 
Considerations Evaluation 
Mind Mappin 
, Bonne Surveys 
Maximize CRM Vertical 
Value Software 
Demand Outsourcing 
Generation Guide 

Accounting & 



Net Customer 







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_i __ | 

Every click made by Web users and digital workers alike demands software 

systems that are powerful, reliable, intuitive to use and capable of evolving 

alongside the enterprise. While there is an immense amount of innovation, 

there is an equal amount of consolidation and collaboration occurring, and 
| it's changing how business |s conducted on the Web today. 



Super Pack for jQuery Junkies 
Check out a few of the coolest and most intrigu- 

ing new jQuery plugins for designers and develop- 
ers to consider for their next digital project. 

The Heart of CRO 

When trying to increase conversion rates on a 
website, stop thinking about logical decisions, 
specific features or appeals to rational thinking. 

Maximize Customer 

Loyalty Programs 

Learn how loyalty has expanded from a 
“spend-and-get" mentality to one centered on 
nurturing relationships between purchases. 

The SMB Advantage 
on the Local SERPs 
When it comes to ranking for local searches, 

small brands don't need to look at large enter- 
orises for best practices. 

Integrating Email and Social 

Customize interaction for each channel to cap- 
ture new email subscribers and strengthen exist- 
ing customer relationships. 

Explore Website Magazine's 


Stat Watch: 
The Upside of Downtime 

Enterprise Ready: 
Stop Killing Customer Feedback 

Small Business Lab: 
Tips to Compete with Amazon 

Quiz Time: 
The Local Web Effect 

Top 50: 
The Most Popular Content Management Systems 

E-Commerce Express: 
Meeting the Real Connected Customer 

Mastering Search: 
Comparing SEO Software 

Design & Development: 
Digital Ad Creative Checklist 

Web Commentary: 
IMAGINE Your Software Community 

Gilel IlrAle 

Check out Website 
Magazine's email news- 

letters covering search, = 

e-commerce, social, [a] 

ole lal-]alemaalelcomle 
Visa MexeYANV(=] os-yerole) oF 

How old 1s your 

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Find Website 
Magazine at these 
Internet industry 

Internet Retailer 
June 2-4 
Chicago, IL 

eTail London 
June 22-24 

Future Stores 
June 23-25 
Seattle, WA 

DevCon5 — HTML 
July 21-22 
San Jose, CA 


Digital Software Stars 

As consumers’ expectations of their digital experiences rapidly 
evolve, so too must the enterprises looking to earn their business 
both online and in-store. 

Brands cannot cater to the modern consumer and business buyer alone 
though, so they turn to software companies for the solutions they need 
to analyze and optimize the entire lifecycle of the customer experience — 
from consuming information to actually purchasing products or services 
(and every virtual moment in between). 

They are also spending a great deal of resources to reach this type 
of digital stardom. The e-commerce vertical alone is a multi-billion dol- 
lar industry, yet most calculations and projections for this space don’t 
include the related software (e.g. site search, personalization, product 
recommendations, etc.) that is fueling e-retail’s growth beyond “pure” 
e-commerce software, like order management. 

In this month’ feature article of Website Magazine, readers will not 
only find supplementary software that can take their companies to new 
heights, but also be exposed to a great deal of industry disruption, 
mainly in the form of the innovation and collaboration happening in 
the digital world today. 

Software is the focus of the feature article in this edition of 
Website Magazine, but there are many other articles that will provide 
Net professionals with the tools and practices they need to improve 
their digital presence. 

As always, we invite you to join us on the Web, where our editors 
and knowledgeable industry contributors pro- ERR ATING 

vide daily coverage on the topics that matter to 
your Net success. 
Best Web Wishes, 


Your Ticket to the After Party 

Website Magazine is celebrating our 10-year anniversary by offering the 
chance for our loyal readers to win a $500 prize. While reading the June 
2015 issue, look for the phrase “spark action” (hint: its in orange and 
bold in the second half of the magazine), then go to our digital edition 
by scanning the QR code on the left or visiting 
and click the phrase. Participants will be directed to a special landing 
page where they can enter to win the $500 prize. 


The Magazine for Website Success 
Reaching the largest audience of 
Web professionals of any Internet 

industry publication 

999 E. Touhy Ave. Des Plaines, IL 60018 
Toll Free: 1.800.817.1518 
International: 1.773.628.2779 
Fax? 1.773.272.0920 

David Ruiz 

Peter Prestipino 

Amberly Dressler 

Allison Howen 

Derek Schou 

Kevin Dunne 
Ron Mouw 
Geoff Smith 
Tim Ash 
EJ McGowan 

Shannon Rickson 

Kelly Springer 

Brian Wallace 

Sandra Woods 

Abdul Umer 

Website Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 6, June 2015, (ISSN# 
1942-0633) is published 12 times a year, January through Decem- 
ber by Website Services, Inc., 999 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines, 
IL 60018. Periodicals Postage Paid at Des Plaines, IL and at ad- 
ditional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes 
to Website Magazine, 999 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60018. 

Canada Post: Please send undeliverable items to: 2835 Kew 

Drive, Windsor ON, N8T 3B7 

Copyright 2014 by Website Magazine. All rights reserved. Materi- 
als may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written 

permission. For reprints of any article, contact the editor. 

*The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those 

of Website Magazine. 


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While (dot)com remains the most popular 
domain, there have been a variety of new 
domains that have recently entered the 
marketplace, including (dot)club and (dot) 
xyz, among others. However, the latest 
addition to the market is (dot}tech. The new 
gILD Is aimed explicitly at tech companies 
and will enable those in the industry to ac- 
quire a domain name that is hyper-relevant 
to their name or product instead of having 
to search for a “next best” name like many 
have to with the (dot)com domain. 

Microsoft & Yahoo 
Shake On it 

Originally agreed upon In 2009 by their predecessors, Microsoft 
and Yanoo’s current CEQs, Satya Nadella and Marissa Mayer, 
respectively, renewed a searcn partnersnio aimed To improve 

each company's search experience, create value for advertis- 
ers and establish ongoing stability for partners. Changes will be 
made, nowever, TO two core areas. For starters, Yanoo will Nave 

more flexibility fo enhance the searcn experience on any plat 
form. Additionally, the two companies hope fo beter service 
advertisers, as Microsoft will become the exclusive salesforce for 
ads delivered by tts Bing Ads platform and Yahoo will be the ex- 
Clusive salesforce for its Gemini acs platform. 

The Best 
Subject Line Is... @ 

A new Return Path study is shedding light on what drives 
email performance, revealing that benefit-based subject 

Gets Touchy 

Popular online payment platform Pay- 
Pal has extended its One Touch payment 
service to the Web. Launched last fall for 
native iOS and Android apps, One Touch 
enables consumers to pay without using 
their user IDs and passwords on the Web 
after their first login, similar to how users 
leverage the service on mobile devices. 
Once users enter their information the 
first time they will be able to pay using 
One Touch on sites that support PayPal. 
Conveniently for merchants, those that 
already leverage PayPal on their websites 
will not have to do anything to integrate 
the new payment method. 

lines featuring superlatives like “fastest” are high perform- 
ers when it comes to getting consumers’ attention, resulting 
in a5.3 percent greater read rate than comparable messages 
with different subject lines. Perhaps the most surprising 
finding, however, is that two classes of value-based sub- 

ject lines resulted in unexpectedly low performance: those 
promoting prices and discounts. Also, the data shows that 

subject line length does not have a big impact on read rates. 

Scan to visit our Resource Center at 

Mobile Payments & Fraud: 
2015 Report 

Web talent 






IN 2015 


Resource Center 


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The Ultimate Mobile Marketing 
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With more sales starting to begin on 
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Good, Bad & 
Uoly of Facebook s 
News Feed Update 

Facebook recently introduced new updates to its News Feed algorithm 

See what has the ‘Net community all abuzz with 
Website Magazine's #WebTechWatch series, 
a weekly roundup available online, which pro- 
files both emerging and established technolo- 
gies and some of the most useful solutions for 
today's Web workers. If you have a digital prod- 
uct or service you think deserves a mention, 
tweet G@WebsiteMagazine with the hashtag 

that marketers may or may not like. The first update aims to improve the 
experience of people who do not have a lot of content in their News 
Feed by allowing multiole posts in a row from the same source fo ap- 
pear in a user's feed (good news for brands those users have liked). The 
second update gives priority to friends’ posts in the News Feeds (not so 

good news for marketers). The last update, decreases the visibility of Pee eee 

friends’ actions in the News Feeds, including stories friends have liked Knowledge sharing for colleagues 

or commented on (which has long been counted on by companies as a 

way to increase organic reach). Tictail 

E-commerce stores operated trom a 

mobile phone (iOS) 


Google has recently replaced the Search Queries report in its 
Webmasters Tools with a new “Search Analytics” report. The 
new report enables users to compare desktop and mobile trat- 
tic, segment data in a variety of different ways as well as com- 
pare metrics in different countries. Google has said that there 
are some differences between the two reports, but the data 
from the new Search Analytics report is more accurate. 

A/B testing for lead-capture forms 

Publish data online and create interactive 

Automated website localization (machine 
and human translation) 

Dynamic content personalization 

for WordPress 


> Google+ gets a content discovery update: 

Clouc-based video management for 
designers and developers 

> Mobile email is driving conversions: 


> Google pulls the plug on PageSpeed: 
Onboard and verity mobile users with SMS 

> Amazon caters to business buyers: 

warciil en 

The Upside of 

A staggering 89 percent of people report wasting 
time at work according to a 2014 sur- 

vey, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. 

Time wasted at work, referred to as ‘down time, 
is defined as time spent on non-work-related tasks, 
such as browsing websites like Google, Facebook 
or Amazon. Although employers expect their em- 
BIOVESS KO Se folrormelllcnve Iker CleCcid we Clo 
out, downtime may actually have a positive impact 
on production. 

irae Sele (ec fiN@podlah, COs sie) reseen- 
dents say they waste time because they think short 
breaks can boost their productivity. This is similar to 
the theory behind the “Pomodoro Technique, a time 
management method based on the idea that short 
breaks can Improve mental agility. Workers leveraging 
the Pomodoro Technique use timers to break tasks 
down into intervals that are typically 25 minutes in 
length and separated by short, 5-minute breaks. The 
approach helos employees not only break up larger 
projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, but 
also rewards hard work with brief periods of down- 
time. Learn more about managing your time more 
efficiently with Website Magazines list of top time 
management tools at 

In addition to addressing the Issue of time wasted 
at work,’'s survey also shed light on the 

Thirty-seven percent 

of marketers spend 11 
cording to the data, workers are most productive on Or more hours on social 

most and least productive times of the week. Ac- 

Tuesday mornings and least productive on Friday media each week. 
and Monday afternoons, indicating that employers 
may want to set deadlines for the middle of the week ee ee 

to benefit from employees’ increased focus. fi 




Check Your Ego 

Fiow to Avoid 

By Kevin Dunne, Director of Product Strategy at QASymphony 

Developers are responsible for many phases in a prod- 
uct’s development — from concept to implementation — 
but when it's marketing’s turn to do its magic, developers 
can start to poison the well. 

As marketing and customer service channels begin to 
receive and even encourage customer reviews, devel- 
opers can cut off this invaluable source of informa- 
tion by using the phrase, “It works as designed.” A 
response like that coming from a development team 
just might guarantee that there will never be an hon- 
est response from the customer again, which is much 
more important than defending a product’s design or 
intended use. 

Valuing customers’ opinion and channeling 
their voice while in the development process can be 
daunting. With an open mind and willingness to de- 
velop a better product, however, the customer can 
be the key to overall project success. Right, wrong 
or indifferent, fresh opinions (especially unsolicited 
ones) are important opportunities to step back and 
re-evaluate the assumptions that went into design- 
ing a product. 

Customer Feedback 


Many organizations today want to focus on 
customer value but do little to deliver on this goal 
in practice. They continue to develop products that 
focus on achieving technical feats and adding a “wow 
factor” without focusing on the day-to-day needs of 
the customers who will actually use the product. 
When architecture does not align with customer 
needs and expectations, value is not delivered and 
the product will fail to reach its full potential. 

3 Steps to Drive Agility 

To succeed in a fast-paced world with increasing cus- 
tomer expectations, development teams need agility. 
Agility means adapting product to customer, and that 
agility can only come from visibility into what the 
customer really wants. Gaining that understanding is 
a challenge, as an incredibly small portion of custom- 
ers ever leave feedback. It is important to make the 
most of every customer interaction and encourage 
customers to provide feedback again in the future. 
The following three strategies will help drive greater 
value from every contact, for both the customer's ben- 
efit and for a brand’s bottom line. 

Step 1: 

Keep the best customers close, 

and their opinions closer 

The customers who are considered power users of the 
product are the ones that it is most valuable to foster 
close relationships with. It is important to make sure 
they are comfortable in sharing what they really think 
about the latest products, and that they are aware 
as early as possible of new ideas or features — like 
through email or social, for example. The best way to 
raise their comfort level is to communicate clearly that 
their opinions are taken into account and that nega- 
tive opinions will not change the overall relationship. 

Step 2: 

Understand how customers 

are really using the product 

There’s a difference between real product usage and 
intended product usage. Rather than dictate how the 
workflow feels and customer usage should proceed 
with the product, it’s necessary to understand that a 
majority of customers may be using the technology in 
ways that might have never been thought about. Al- 
ways be willing to challenge assumptions and gather 
customer intelligence to influence future product devel- 
opment — not to merely validate it. Active monitoring 
tools — think customer relationship management sys- 
tems, analytics software, etc. — can track overall event 
frequency and traffic in the application or website (and 
even predict churn), and it can be done without intro- 
ducing opinions. This can be a more effective method 
than customer interviews and focus groups, which can 
introduce bias based on the types of questions asked. 

Step 3: 

Align with the customer, and stop 
defending your product at their expense 
One of the business world’s most common clichés 
is also one of the clearest paths to customer satisfac- 
tion—the customer is always right—at least in the 
sense that their opinion of the product, not the prod- 
uct itself, is what matters most. It’s important to re- 
align the organizational motivation to focus on this, 
instead of defending the fact that the product “works 
as designed.” 

“Works as designed” curtails honest feedback. 
When the customer does not see the value and per- 
formance of the product, however, there are three 
ways to handle the issue. 

> Make sure to consider their feedback honestly. If the 
customer is suggesting a new and valuable feature, 
then provide feedback to the customer that their sug- 
gestion is valid. Acknowledge the fact that their idea 
might become part of a future enhancement. 

p If the customer misunderstands the proper applica- 
tion and use of the product, then polite education 
might be necessary. Through constructive communi- 
cation, make sure to demonstrate to the customer how 
they can more effectively use the product. Through 
this education, it will be easier to accept their feed- 
back as valid and addressing their concern in a way 
that resolves the situation. 

p If the feedback is valid, but requires changes that are 
not feasible, then acknowledge that the request would 
add value, but will require a tradeoff in another area. 
Explain how the architecture would need to be changed 
to make the request a reality. If possible, learn if the 
customer is willing to accept this tradeoff, as it might 
provide more insight into what they really value in 
terms of system performance. 

If the development team starts to treat customer feed- 
back as a tool for refinement that adds greater value 
for the customer, it will move from tolerant users of 
the product to passionate advocates that deliver mar- 
keting results that money cannot buy. This type of 
shift in organizational mindset to focus on the cus- 
tomer is not easy, but it can dramatically increase the 
success rate of every product that is delivered. fl 

Kevin Dunne is the director of product strategy at QA- 
Symphony, supporting the direction of their exploratory 
testing tool, qlest eXplorer. Previous to joining QASym- 
phony, Kevin was a tester with Deloitte Consulting. 


Check out the best platforms and pro- 
cesses for obtaining customer feedback at 

el GUsiness LAB 

Experts Speak: 



By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor 

Meanwhile at eBay 

eBay's VP of Search Tech- 
nology, Dan Fain, dishes 
on how his company’s al- 
gorithm gives sellers equal 
Opportunities in reaching 
targeted buyers at 

With nearly $23 billion in sales in the 
first quarter of 2015 alone, some may 
think it’s laughable to believe a smaller 
outfit could directly compete against 
Amazon...but they'd be wrong. 

What is required to win sales against the fiftth-most popu- 
lar website in the world (source: varies, of 
course, but asking for advice from Internet professionals 
who are doing just that is a good place to start. 

Website Magazine has enlisted the help of Internet 
retail professionals and e-commerce solution providers 
to see which online best practices they suggest are most 
effective when going head-to-head with Amazon. 

Exploit Amazon's Weaknesses 

“Amazon’s massive size allows it to benefit from econ- 
omies of scale, but such a wide scope can also be a 
weakness. With so many products for sale, it’s impos- 
sible for Amazon to offer specialized, expert guidance. 
We focus on capitalizing on our niche by being experts 
in small leather goods. This is how we carve our com- 
petitive edge and take business away from Amazon to 
our e-commerce site.” 

~William Bauer, Managing Director of Royce Leather 

Join ‘Em 

“Dont compete against Amazon, 
work with them! Include them 
in your business marketing and 
growth strategy to expand your 
reach and target new customers 
that wouldn't have found your 
website otherwise or only do busi- 
ness in the Amazon ecosystem.” 
~Linda Parry, CEO of Product Launchers 

Ask for Reviews 
“Small retailers, specifically location-based retailers, can 
compete with Amazon by having strong reviews on Yelp, 
Google, Facebook and other directories. When presented 
with a choice of choosing a big brand versus a local re- 
tailer, consumers statistically choose local on review sites. 
Why? Online reviews are trusted almost as much as per- 
sonal recommendations.” 
~Catherine Schutten, Senior Manager of Content and 
Brand Strategy at LocalVox Media Inc. 

Create a Community 

“One of our techniques to com- 
pete with Amazon is to provide 
additional information on prod- 
ucts and build a community for 
our target audience. We make our 
customers feel like they are part 
of a community by encouraging 
them to share their cute photos 
(of their kids in our formal wear) after they made a pur- 
chase from our website.” 

~Lisa Chu, Owner of Black N Bianco 

Keep Repricing 
“Amazon has pricing algorithms in place to constantly 
change their prices against competing merchants. The 
way we have been able to beat them, is to deploy smarter 
repricing software to get the coveted Buy Box.” 

~Miki Segal, CMO of JMAC Supply 

Use Them to 
Increase Conversion 
“We make wearable video cameras 
(think GoPro but smaller and actu- 
ally wearable), and we use Amazon 
for customer validation that we are 
a major and legitimate company. 
| It expands our distribution as an- 
other outlet for sales, and comple- 
ments our direct sales on our website and with other 
major online retailers.” 

~Drew Martin CEO and Founder of MeCam 

Be More Socially Responsible 
“As a consumer, I try to purchase items on Amazon as a 
last resort because of Amazon’s low levels of social respon- 
sibility as a company. Ifa company were to advertise their 
socially responsible choices, ’d choose to buy the 
product through them rather than Amazon.” 

~Bre Lembitz, Online Shopper 

Wait, there’s more. Get more tips on how to compete against 
Amazon at fi 

“The Local 
Web Effect 

Local businesses have never been more powerful. 

As someone responsible for the digital presence of a local 
business this might be difficult to believe, especially considering 
the ease at which retail giants like Amazon are offering count- 
less products, quick delivery and relevant, personalized experi- 
ences. Still, local businesses are more accessible and try as they 
may, Web-only companies cannot fully mimic face-to-face 
interactions online. 

What's more, with the overwhelming number of Internet 
users accessing the Web from their mobile devices, large, 
global companies are having to think in a more local manner, 
adding microsites for their multiple locations, creating location- 
specific social profiles and finding other ways to get an edge 
in local search engine result pages (more on that in the Local 
Matters column of this issue). 

Finally, the majority of consumers (63 percent) turn to the 
Internet first for information about local companies (Kenshoo's 
“Guide to Local Search’), giving local businesses a platform on 
which to acquire and retain customers. Need more proof about 
the power of the local Web? Check out this month's Quiz Time, 
which addresses many of the opportunities that the local Web 
affords as detailed in Kenshoo’s report. fl 

‘> QW 
1. What percentage of local searches is made without an 

actual business in mind? 

a. 50 pereciin 
b. lO sereemn 
C. 5) peleemr 

d. 90 percent 

2. Eighty-eight percent of mobile search queries lead to a 
purchase within _ day(s). 

a. 1 day 
b. 5 days 
c. / days 
d. 14 days 

5. What is the most important information for a consumer 
researching a local service online? 

a. distance from me 
b. photos 

c. ratings and reviews 
d. convenient hours 

4, What is the most common problem with local 
business listings? 

a. address incorrect/missing 

b. name incorrect/missing 

c. website URL missing 

d. phone number incorrect/missing 

5. Where can local businesses collect reviews? 

a. Facebook 

b. LinkedIn 

Ca vel 

d. All of the above 

EAll so 


Content management systems and the various technology solutions 
available that afford brands — and individuals — an opportunity to cre- 
ate and manage a digital presence are an absolute essential purchase 
for information publishers and services providers on the ‘Net today. In 
fact, they can't really build a website without one (well, they can, but 
they probably would not want to). 

The software systems available for managing a Web presence in 2015 are 
truly sophisticated marvels of technology and digital engineering. Satisfying 
nearly every need of digital business (or at least a majority of them), solutions for 
Web content management can vary wildly in the range of features they provide 
— and what’ more, they come in numerous varieties; they are built in different 
languages (PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, even Ruby on Rails), are offered in commercial 
and open-source forms, are designed specifically for small businesses or for large 
enterprises, are pleasantly inexpensive at times and, often, shockingly expensive 
at others. Content management software is the foundation of millions of enter- 
prises today, making an exploration of the landscape imperative. 

There are so many choices, however, that selecting the “right” vendor for an 
enterprise and its broader digital initiatives is a harrowing process on all those in- 
volved (access a list of essential selection criteria on the Web at 

In this month’ edition of Top 50 from Website Magazine, readers will find 
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Definition Of 
A Connected ’ 

By Ron Mouw, VP of Business Development at Configure One 

Staying top of mind with customers Is 
more difficult than ever for e-commerce 

There is simply too much noise, and too little atten- 
tion span. Consider the following: 

Today's typical e-commerce customer is a 
smartphone junkie. A recent study by Flurry re- 
veals the average American spends 162 minutes 
per day on his or her mobile phone. Most of that 
time is spent on mobile apps, along with Face- 
book, Twitter and other social media websites. 

Content marketing is the new rage; 70 per- 
cent of businesses are creating more content 
than they ever have before. Much of that con- 
tent is blog posts, articles and new website pages. 
All of this content is hitting consumer eyeballs 
like a fanned deck of cards. 

Social media activity is through the roof, refer- 
ring substantial amounts of traffic to websites. 
Facebook dominates (for now), but Pinterest, Twit- 
ter, Reddit and LinkedIn are too big to ignore. 

It’s not just social media competing for 
consumers’ attention. During the hours con- 
sumers are not glued to their mobile phone, 
laptop or desktop monitor, they are peppered 
with marketing and advertising messages from 
television, newspapers, magazines, direct mail 

and billboards. 

Given that consumers are in a constant state of dis- 
traction, how do e-commerce firms keep customers 
engaged—and how can they tell if they are succeed- 
ing in establishing a genuine connection? Perhaps 
the most important thing to remember is that con- 
nected customers are measured by engagement, not 
by being names on lists. 

E-commerce firms fail when they measure con- 
nectivity (brand awareness, reach, engagement, etc.) 
based on metrics such as email subscribers, blog 
subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers, 
as well as the specific interactions that take place 
on those networks. Consumers “raise their hands” 
multiple times a day, following this brand and that 
one, liking posts throughout the day — without nec- 
essarily giving much thought to any of these actions. 
A company could have 10,000 Facebook fans but 
still have little genuine customer connectivity. 

In order for e-commerce firms to truly con- 
nect with customers, marketing must be engaging, 
broad-based and integrated. 

Don’t just talk to customers, Today's con- experience across the board. 

get them talking to you. For in- 

stance, social media promotions summers pinball ables firms to be ready and 
from one place 
firm’s product produces far more to another when 

that involve customers sending 
in photos of themselves using a 

engagement than a firm just talk- 

ing about its product. A company engaging with in an omnichannel experi- 
an e-commerce 

should use its blog and social 
media sites to ask for feedback on 
its products, service and brand. 
Raise issues for discussion. En- 
courage online product reviews, 
both on a website and elsewhere. 

* For more ideas of how to encourage user-generated 
content, visit 


Marketing through multiple channels is critical, 
given the distraction level discussed earlier. E-com- 
merce firms must consistently present their brands 
across the Web, creating engagement opportunities 
on their websites, as well as within social media, of- 
fline materials, etc. And in all cases, their online mar- 
keting pages must be optimized for mobile users. 

*# See what mobile users really want in a mobile website 


Today’s consumers pinball from one place to an- 
other when engaging with an e-commerce business. 
For instance, a man receives an email blast and sees 
a product he thinks his wife might like. He visits 
the website and sends her the link to the product 
in the form of a Facebook post. She then goes to 
the brand’s Facebook page to learn about the com- 
pany. A week later she sees a remarketing display 
ad when visiting a news website in the same niche, 
reminding her about the company, which reminds 
her about the product, which reminds her to order 
it, which she now does. This is an example of om- 

nichannel marketing, where 

an e-commerce firm creates 

a consistent, seamless brand 

Omnichannel marketing en- 

willing to engage customers 
anytime, anywhere. 

# Learn what consumers expect 

ence at 

business. From this we can see that 

connected customers engage 

, 5 brands at multiple times in 

their digital journey and in 

multiple ways, emphasizing 

the importance of tracking consumers’ movement 

to understand the true definition and value of con- 
nected consumers. fl 

Ron Mouw is the V.P. of Business Development at Chicago- 
based product configurator software company Configure One. 

Are You Ready for Mobile Payments? 

With connected consumers comes the demand for alternative 
payment types. Learn how to ease the process of accepting 
mobile payments at 

EO execu 

Comparing 10 


By Derek Schou, 

Associate Editor 

A primary focus for any digital brand se- 
rious about its online presence, pursuing 
high placement on search engine results 
pages (SERPs) is one of the most important 
initiatives any website can undertake. 

In fact, to illustrate the importance of achieving high 
rankings on competitive terms and phrases, Chitika 
(an online ad network) found that the first page of 
SERPs on Google receives 91.5 percent of all clicks. 
Not being on the first page means it is unlikely a web- 

site will be found at all — and in today’s competitive 
search landscape, that just won't do. 

To help brands in this quest many software solu- 
tions are available that help companies improve their 
search rankings. Improving upon a site’s search engine 
optimization (SEO) efforts, of course, is a difficult and 
continuous process. There are simply no quick fixes 
to propel brands to the first page of the SERPs. The 
solutions featured in this month’s Mastering Search 
column in Website Magazine, however, offer opportu- 
nities to identify potential issues and improve SERP 
presence and exposure with far less effort than would 
be required if done manually. 

From improper header tags to broken links and 
poor keyword selection, sites are often hampered by 
a number of problems not immediately obvious. By 
leveraging the right software, however, Web work- 
ers can discover what problems are limiting their 
sites’ rankings (and ultimately their performance) 
on search engines. 

There are many well-known SEO solutions in 
the marketplace (like Moz and Screaming Frog), 
but there are a number of other incredibly power- 
ful systems that can also offer brands an opportunity 
to dominate the SERPs — 10 of which are featured 
below and serve as excellent opportunities to help 
websites understand their strengths and weaknesses 
and achieve ‘Net success. fl 




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IS MAY 10 

By Allison Howen, Associate Editor 

Consumers are bombarded with display 
advertisements at every virtual corner of 
their online experience. 

The result is a phenomenon called “banner blindness,” 
when consumers, either consciously or subconsciously, 
ignore the majority of display ads they encounter. To 
beat banner blindness and stand out from other ads on 
the Web, brands must be strategic in the construction 
and development of their campaigns. 

To make sure your ads have the best chance of 
engaging consumers (and eliciting clicks), use Website 
Magazine’s digital ad checklist as a guide for the creation 
of your next campaign: 

1. Identify goals 

Before design brainstorming sessions take place, advertis- 
ers must know the goal (or goals) of their new campaign, 
as this has a direct impact on the campaign’s develop- 
ment. For instance, Sizmek Product Marketing Manager 
Brett Sanderson notes that brands looking to boost en- 
gagement metrics may want to leverage interactive, rich- 
media ads, while brands looking to convert consumers 
may be better suited for a traditional retargeting ad. He 
also suggests the following: 

+ Decide on campaign goals well in advance to inform 
creative strategy. 

+ Use key performance indicators to drive the campaign’s 
creative layout, hierarchy and priorities. 

+ Since users are much more likely to engage with an inter- 

esting interactive ad right on the 
page, versus clicking off to a sep- 
arate landing page experience, 
focus only on a click-through that 
is appropriate for retargeting 
and other performance-based 
campaigns where there is a true 
incentive for the user to click. 

Digital Ad 
Greative Gheckiist 

2. Keep it simple 
Once campaign goals are identified, marketers must 
keep simplicity top of mind, because cluttered de- 
signs tend to underperform, hampering a brand’s 
ability to convey the primary message of its cam- 
paign. In addition to clean design, marketers should 
keep headline copy concise and benefit-oriented to 
drive engagement and conversions. 

Take jewelry retailer Pandora as an example (image 
A). The company uses minimal copy and a date to grab 
consumers’ attention and create a sense of urgency. 
The copy is highlighted by the abundance of white 
space, which also helps showcase the delicate necklace 
featured in the ad. 

3. Give value to GTAs 

The most important design element of any advertise- 
ment is the call-to-action (CTA), as this signifies the 
action brands want consumers to take. According to 
Sanderson, CTAs should be large, clear and provide 
some type of benefit to consumers. 

“If possible, try offering something of value to your 
audience, such as ‘Get coupon now’ or ‘Download the 
report,” said Sanderson. “Continuously experiment 
and try new and fun things. There are far too many 
generic ‘Click here’ and ‘Learn more’ CTAs out there — 
but something unique to the execution attracts more 
attention. In fashion, for example, ‘See more styles’ or 
‘Get the look’ could invoke a stronger emotional re- 
sponse from the user.” 

In Pandora’s ad, the retailer uses “Discover Now” 
on its CTA. This verbiage is a refreshing change from 
the common “Click Here” and also provides value be- 
cause the ad was targeted to people who had not yet 
purchased a Mother's Day gift, and still needed to find, 
or “discover,” the perfect present before the holiday. 

It is also important to note that brands can use 
animation to attract attention to CTAs. Sanderson 
warns, however, not to let animation obscure the 

CTA. Additionally, exclamation points should only 
be used in CTAs when appropriate. For instance, 
“Learn More!” doesn’t make much sense, but “Get 
our limited-time app for free!” could boost the ad’s 
performance because the punctuation is relevant to 
the copy’s sense of urgency. 

4. Validate authority with logos 

It is necessary to maintain simplicity in ad creative, but 
it is also important to include logos. Not only do logos 
validate a brand’s authority, but they also generate brand 
awareness. That said, the placement of logos is signifi- 
cant, with a recent Rocket Fuel study revealing digital 
ads with logos in the lower-left hand corner averaged 
81 percent higher conversion rates than online ads with 
logos in other locations (see image B). 

J. Maintain cohesiveness 
Establishing campaign cohesiveness cannot be over- 
looked. This includes choosing the right color combina- 
tions to increase an ad’s appeal, as well as adhering to a 
color scheme that improves brand recognition. 

“Its important to make sure that your print, 
broadcast and online campaign designs align when- 

.ource Minnesota presents 


ever the product messaging 
is the same,” said Sanderson. 
“For example, a person may 
see your TV commercial first 
and recognize the brand and 
message. They could then 
come across a print ad and see the same font, color 
and layout, which would create a connection to the 
commercial they saw previously. Finally, the user 
could head to the Web and see an ad with familiar 
imagery and messaging, and even though they only 
gave it a passing glimpse the first two times, by the 
third time of seeing this concept, they may have de- 
veloped enough interest to click the ad to engage 
and convert. Without this consistency, your audi- 
ence likely won’t make that synergistic connection 
across a multi-channel campaign.” 

The Optimization Cycle 

While this checklist is a useful guide for better ad cre- 
ative, it is important that brands continuously run tests 
and analyze their campaign data. After all, what mo- 
tivates one group of potential buyers to click isn’t the 
same for another. fl 



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The Stars of 


By Pete Prestipino, Editor-In-Chief 

There is nothing accomplished on the 
‘Net today that does not, in some way, 
require software. 

Every click made by Web users and digital workers alike 
demands software systems that are powerful, reliable, intui- 
tive to use and capable of evolving alongside the enterprise. 
Something very interesting is happening in the software 
industry today, however, and as a Web professional you 
have likely experienced it firsthand. Traditional content 
management systems (those that have simply allowed ‘Net 
professionals to edit and publish blogs) have turned into 
solutions for “Web experience management” while shop- 
ping carts have become “omnichannel, consumer-focused 
retail engagement platforms.” 

While there is an immense amount of innovation, of 
course, there is an equal (if not greater) amount of consolida- 
tion among (and collaboration occurring between) software 
service companies. The result of this trend is changing the 
way enterprises conduct business on the Web today and will 
conduct themselves in the future. To make the most of the 
digital universe though, it is as important as ever to focus on 
the true software stars, those solutions that cater to the entire 
lifecycle of the customer experience — from consuming infor- 
mation to purchasing products or services (and every virtual 
moment before and after). Companies today are realizing they 
need to focus on making the most of their audience relation- 
ships (extracting every possible iota of value) — and in some 
cases are spending a great deal of resources to get there. 

Software Spending 

If you want some insights into how the Web (and business 
in general) will evolve in the future, you need only look into 
how brands are selling. Todays ‘Net merchants are personal- 
izing experiences, engaging with their audiences in multiple 

ways (e.g. social ads and retargeted emails), and on various 
devices (mobile, tablets, desktops and even wearables) — tac- 
tics and technologies that were not even conceived of in the 
not-so-distant past. 

According to Forrester Research, annual spending on e- 
commerce software by U.S. firms alone doubled from 2010 
to 2014 and will nearly double again by 2019. In fact, by 
2019, larger U.S. firms will spend well over $2 billion on e- 
commerce platform software, up from $1.2 billion in 2014. 
Those firms typically spend five times more on related im- 
plementation and maintenance services, and that spending 
will nearly double from $5.1 billion in 2014 to $9.8 billion 
in 2019, according to the report, “U.S. Commerce Platform 
Technology and Services Forecast.” 

This shift to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, in 
which vendors host e-commerce software that clients’ ac- 
cess via the Web, is occurring rapidly. While 42 percent 
of U.S. companies studied in the Forrester report indicate 
they license software (and maintain those solutions on 
premise), that will inevitably increase as more companies 
outsource the burden of support, scalability and upgrades. 
SaaS accounted for 44 percent of e-commerce software 
spending in 2013, but that number will rise to more than 
66 percent by 2019 (Forrester). It’s the nature of digital 
business today, but there’s way more to the story. 

Where the Forrester report comes up short is that it only 
addresses spending on “pure” e-commerce software — specifi- 
cally commerce management (the solutions used to provide 
and manage online stores) and order management (the sys- 
tems that manage various order processing scenarios through 
to the point of fulfillment). What's missing is all the related 
soltware to help brands manage their Internet presence: site 
search, personalization, product recommendations, mobile 
commerce, etc. As you might imagine, a great deal is spent 
on these on-demand software solutions too. The point is that 

The Comprehensive Web Content Platform 

In this month's edition of Website Magazine, readers have access to a Top 50 list of the Web's most 
popular content management systems. While many will be familiar with the companies on the list, 
there are a few notable absent digital players, which are upsetting the status quo of this important 
software segment by offering up integrations that amount to powerful ecosystems for small business 
operations. Arguably the best example of this today is Wix. With 64 million current users (1.6 mil- 

lion paid users, with 138,000 signing up in the past quarter), the Wix platform is poised to be a rather 
disruptive force in the digital space. Find out how Wix moved beyond its Flash roots and evolved into 
way more than just a website building platform at 

soltware spending in the e-commerce space is likely far more 
significant than even the best-guess estimates. 

The marketing software industry, for example, is expected 
to grow to over $32.4 billion by 2018 according to a report 
released by the International Data Corporation (IDC). Content 
production and management in particular will increase from 
$3.8 billion to $4.7 billion over the four-year period. The re- 
port, “Worldwide Marketing Software Forecast 2014 - 2018: 
$20 Billion and Growing Fast,” sheds light on the changes in 
the digital marketing realm and reveals what the future of ‘Net 
business will look like for brands big and small - greater con- 
solidation and collaboration among the software industry. 

Thanks to faster development cycles, and (as you 
will soon see) expanding partner ecosystems, software 
vendors can focus on delivering products that do more 
for their customers. This is none more evident and un- 
doubted than in the realm of Internet marketing. 

The Future of Digital is Consolidated 

IDC forecasts enterprises will spend $20.2 billion for mar- 
keting software worldwide in 2014, growing to $32.4 bil- 
lion by 2018, making this one of the fastest-growing areas 
of enterprise software. 

IDCs Strategic Framework for Marketing Technology 
organizes 76 categories of marketing software into a single 
view, dividing content, data and analytics, interaction, and 
management and administration; and there are several in- 
teresting takeaways from this report, which could prove 
useful for brands when developing a road map to guide 
their technology investment. 

For example, the report suggests consolidating appli- 
cations into a single platform to improve efficiency and 
effectiveness, working to integrate marketing technology 
with existing enterprise infrastructure to gain deeper in- 
sights into customers, partners and market opportunities, 
and establishing inter-disciplinary teams and processes to 
combat the silos specific solutions create. In essence, they 
should seek out those processes and solutions from the 

base includes such brands as Armani, Timex and Trek. What 
does a mid-market ERP offering like NetSuite need with a so- 
lution like Bronto? Companies, NetSuite included, are quickly 
realizing that for them to thrive (attracting and retaining cus- 
tomers) in the future will require that they provide a broad, 
combined offering of services for those selling in-person and 
on the Web. Since the selling process begins long before an 
actual transaction occurs, communication with prospects is of 
paramount importance. The acquisition of digital marketing 
services like Bronto enables brands such as NetSuite to con- 
solidate their offerings, and go to market with functionality that 
will more fully cater to the needs of users as they grow. 

“Just as customers demand seamless cross-channel shop- 
ping experiences, they increasingly expect companies to com- 
municate consistently through all of their digital experiences 
— on site, at stores, in email or through social or mobile,” 
said NetSuite’s CEO Zach Nelson. “By combining the two 
companies offerings and technology, we can help merchants 
deliver relevant and consistent digital commerce experiences 
throughout the customer journey.” 

It’s this sort of consolidation that is quickly reshaping the 
digital landscape —a trend that likely won't change moving for- 
ward. If these solutions don’t merge with other supplementary 
services (or acquire them) they will be forced to at least col- 
laborate — becoming stewards of their brands in the process. 

x Noteworthy Acquisitions 
Numerous acquisitions have been made recently that illustrate 
the software industry is consolidating. Discover some of the 
most important at 

The New E-Commerce Experience is Collaborative 
If one is going to sell on the Web today, an e-commerce sys- 
tem that provides more than just a shopping cart is required. 
Today’s Internet retailers need a platform they can count on 
to grow right alongside their digital enterprise. 

While there are hundreds of software solutions available for 

| m4 outset that can support an enterprise’s growth over the Internet retailers, some of the leading e-commerce experiences 
ty, . long term. The good news for many is that much of this provided today are from retailers leveraging Magento. Now 
-\ \ consolidation is already occurring. under the virtual umbrella of eBay Enterprise, Magento pow- 

| Y Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution NetSuite, for — ers millions of websites for brands both large and small (check 

\ P| example, recently announced the acquisition of Bronto Soft- out a few noteworthy brands using eBay Enterprise and Magento at 
\ ware, a cloud-based marketing management solution that sup- ). At its recent Imagine Commerce con- 

ports email, mobile and social campaigns and whose customer 

ference in April 2015, eBay Enterprise rolled out the latest 
release of the platform, offering a range of new features and 
capabilities driven by its partner ecosystem, an important in- 
fluence in Magento’s growth which should secure it’s future 

‘ O O 
—~ \ 
— Get Social with Softwa [eC among retailers on the Web. 

v4 “The Magento ecosystem continually evolves to deliver 

Discover several established and emerging software innovative solutions that are mobile, scalable, flexible and 

solutions to accelerate your social media success at cost-effective — exactly what retailers are asking for,” said Mark Lavelle, senior vice president, commerce technolo- 
gies, eBay Enterprise. 


Resource Center 


- Website Magazine's Resource Center presents white papers and webinars from 
scan to visit our Resource Center at our sponsors that provide information, specifics and metrics to helo you make decisions for website success. 

d Tactics for Creating SEO-Friendly Content 

Wednesday, June 3, 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT 



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The newly updated system offers automated product cat- 
egory sorting capabilities (which makes merchandising faster 
and highlights top-performing products), integrates with 
Google Tag Manager (for new marketing campaigns, more 
accurate data collection and access to advanced reporting and 
analytics), and improves implementation quality and time to 
market by speeding up the testing process. There is even a 
new mobile software development kit, which will enable re- 
tailers to create custom iOS applications to grow their sales, 
and build brand affinity and loyalty. 

While these are important additions to the software’s 
core, what really makes Magento (and in turn eBay Enter- 
prise) so appealing to retailers is the relationships it has built 
with other technology vendors. For example, the Magento 
platform now integrates with Braintree to offer retailers en- 
hanced online payment capabilities. The new Braintree exten- 
sion will help retailers increase sales, reduce risk and deliver 
a better customer experience by managing customer issues 
like exchanges and errors over the phone without ever hav- 
ing to request the customer's credit card information a sec- 
ond time. Merchants can also accept payments globally and 
rely on state-of-the-art managed fraud protection via Kount, 
which is offered through the extension. Platform additions of 
this nature would have previously been too challenging for 
Internet retailers to implement; a good reason to consider the 
health of partner ecosystem in the software selection process. 
® Take alook at how the New Relic Software analytics platform 

offers merchants visibility into the health and application 

of their Magento hosting environment, and discover new 
ways to improve your e-commerce site’s performance at 

eBay Enterprise and Magento have grown (and rapidly) 
thanks in great part to their commitment to expand their 
ecosystem through collaborating with best-of-breed solutions 
like New Relic and Braintree. This trend will undoubtedly 
continue in the future and make Magento (and in turn eBay) 
a service that will not be easy to ignore for retailers. 

Everything Else Under the Digital Sun 

Web content management, e-commerce systems, market- 
ing automation — these software solutions are the foundation 
of digital success for every enterprise. There are many other 
powertul platforms that satisfy specific needs within the mod- 
ern enterprise however, and while not as essential as those 
aforementioned, there is most definitely a place for them in 
the virtual realm and under the digital sun. 

Social Acceleration 

Whether social media is or is not producing a return on a 
company’s investment of resources, it is difficult, if not impos- 
sible, to ignore the channel. Fortunately, software solutions 
abound to help today’s brands — both large and small — make 

Engagement for the Win 

Check out three gamification software systems help- 
ing brands of all sizes deepen engagement and drive 
conversions on the ‘Net at 

a greater impact for their digital business. 

SocialRank, a Web-based software application that lets 
users “identify, organize and manage” their followers on 
Twitter, recently added Instagram to the social media web- 
sites that it can track. What this means is that Instagram users 
can discover details about their followers, such as who their 
most popular and engaged followers are — and anyone who 
has spent any time at all building a social following knows 
precisely how important that can be. There’s a lot more to 
social software than just tracking users on specific platforms, 
including listening in as well as managing communication 
(inbound and outbound) that is required in the channel. 

To drive top-line business growth and key metrics associ- 
ated with engagement, today’s brands must invest in software 
solutions that provide them with an opportunity to interact 
with existing and prospective audiences. 

Gamified SaaS 

While some brands may struggle with getting users to engage 
with their services and solutions, the savviest enterprisers are 
turning to gamification in droves to enrich the user experi- 
ence and increase brand loyalty. 

Get Satisfaction’s new gamification module, for example, 
recognizes and rewards community members for actions (e.g. 
answering a question, sharing a best practice, suggesting an 
idea, or writing a product or service review). Companies will 
also be able to track members’ contributions, award badges to 
active individuals and even showcase contributors. 

“Gamification is remarkably effective at motivating indi- 
viduals to take action in an online community,” said Rahul 
Sachdev, CEO of Get Satisfaction. “It galvanizes everyone to 
contribute more and offers a built-in multiplier effect for valu- 
able community engagement.” 

Brands including Blackbaud, Hootsuite, Extreme Net- 
works, SPS Commerce and Telstra are already seeing measur- 
able increases in community contributions by their members, 
community managers and employees according to Get Satis- 
faction. There are many other examples of gamification being 
integrated into popular software to deepen engagement as well. 

For example,, a privately owned search 
engine and “link intelligence” system, recently incorporated 
gamification into its online business offering to help its visi- 
tors and users better understand and leverage its services. 
By turning its system into a game, users essentially compete 
against each other in a Massively Multiplayer Game (MMPG). 

The technology, code named Majestic Awards, rewards users 
the more they use the website. Visitors increase their level and 
win online trophies for using or engaging with the Majestic 
product and the brand in different ways. 

Dixon Jones, marketing director of Majestic, said “Hav- 
ing one of the richest indexes of the Web on the planet is 
of little use until marketers understand its value. By turning 
the learning component of Majestic into a game, we expect 
some (if not all) users to quickly improve their use of our 
data. This creates a win-win for everyone. It also makes it 
fun for marketers to try Majestic.” 

Mobile Experience 
There might be more searches being conducted on mobile 

lationships with customers online 
and on mobile,” said Royston Tay, 
Zendesk’s vice president and gen- 
eral manager of chat. “Customers 
today expect the kind of immedi- 
ate and effortless support that chat 
delivers. As those demands grow 
for organizations, they require 
more advanced tools for manag- 
ing their teams and growth in chat 
volume, so they can deliver excep- 
tional customer service at scale.” 
The real-time monitoring so- 
lution enables organizations to 

2015 Master 
List of CRMs 

The more a brand knows about tts 
existing and prospective custom- 
ers the better it will be at delivering 
products, messages and optimal 
experiences. See which CRM soft- 
ware Is top of mind with today’s ‘Net 
professionals at 

devices than ever before (as well as an increase in mobile traf- 
fic to digital properties), but that does not mean that there has 
been an increase in actual purchases on non-desktop devices. 
Some uniquely powerful software applications are looking to 
change that, helping e-commerce brands not only differenti- 
ate their services, but also provide truly compelling experi- 
ences for users in the mobile realm. 

KAON Interactive, for example, recently announced 
the availability of the latest version of its Application De- 
livery Network (ADN) platform with new features for its 
real-time interactive 3-D product experiences, which will 
result in faster and more intuitive interactions on mobile. 
The latest release uses a new algorithm for rendering 3-D 
product models that accelerates frame rates up to three 
times faster across every device. Users will will be able 
to engage in real-time with photo-realistic 3-D products, 
have the ability to view integrated marketing messages 
and explore product options, functions and features - 
improving understanding of the value of products. 

User Communication 

Consumers are demanding more intimate and personalized 
experiences with brands and as a result, live chat solutions are 
becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

Zendesk has unveiled a new live chat solution designed 
specifically for large teams. The solution, dubbed Zopim Pre- 
mium, is built for organizations with larger teams that manage 
live chat and a growing volume of real-time customer conversa- 
tions. Moreover, the solution provides new workforce manage- 
ment tools so team leaders can better track the performance 
and productivity of chat agents and multiple departments. 

“Live chat is critical for building personal and engaging re- 

Real-time communication 

The Age of cha has changed the way 

brands interact with consumers. Discover five solu- 
tions that help guide users to conversion and estab- 
lish loyalty at 

monitor chat volume, visitor ex- 

perience and agent performance. 

Other features include new integration and customization 
options, 24/7 live chat support and the ability to restrict agent 
logins by location for enhanced security. 

Today's CRM 

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are a 
necessity today for those enterprises that take the interactions 
they have with consumers seriously. The leaders in the space 
are certainly undertaking some serious innovation as well. 

Marketing automation provider Act-On Software, for 
example, recently unveiled new product capabilities dubbed 
Act-On Anywhere and CRM Connector. The new features 
extend the use of Act-On Marketing Automation for both 
sales and marketing teams, as they enrich CRM data with 
marketing intelligence and prospect behavior to better per- 
sonalize sales outreach. 

CRM Connector, for instance, enables salespeople to see 
marketing touchpoints and lead scores so they can know why 
a lead has been qualified and assigned to them. In addition, 
users can prioritize the top prospects and spend more time 
selling, as well as access real-time behavior intelligence about 
a prospect's interests and activities. 

The other new feature, Act-On Anywhere, enables 
salespeople to access detailed marketing engagement data 
about any company or contact while using any browser- 
based CRM system. Plus, users can interact with prospects 
on LinkedIn by viewing any prior interaction they may 
have already had with the prospect’s business. They can 
also optimize interactions on Gmail by using Act-On’s pre- 
built email templates with the mail app, as well as track 
email opens and clicks of any email sent. 

The Expanding Software Universe 
It is a great time to be a Web professional. There are amaz- 
ing software solutions available to help enterprises do more 
(and with less). As software vendors continue to consoli- 
date and collaborate, digital businesses and their consumers 
stand to benefit the most. fl 

EA SScKey 

Super Pack for 
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jQuery is used by: 
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Thene light blobOffset ; @ 
autoStick true 

After a decade of digital existence, 
JQuery has become an essential part of 
JavaScript coding in Web development. 

While the feature void that jQuery originally helped to 
fill is now present in most browsers, many developers 
don’t think they need to learn (or be aware of) the popu- 
lar Javascript library. Learning Javascript is arguably the 
most important language to master today, but jQuery 
offers developers and designers (and the websites they 
produce) some additional support to help resolve some 
messy virtual issues. 

Check out a few of the coolest and most intrigu- 
ing new jQuery plugins making their way on the ‘Net 
today. Website Magazine has created a link pack of 
these plugins available at where 
users can access demonstrations and download the 
files from Github. 

CircularLoader.js: Create circular progress bars (progress 
indicators) that can include percentage values. The plu- 
gin is fully customizable (background colors, progress 
bars, font size, circle radius) and works with all browsers 
compatible with HTML5. 

jsSocials: A simple, straightforward jQuery plugin for so- 
cial sharing. Flexible and extensible, developers can con- 
figure visual appearance or choose one of many themes 
provided. It’s even possible to add social networks that 
aren't supported out of the box. 

jQuery Grid: A plugin that adds advanced interaction 
controls to any HTML table. 
The plugin supports pagina- 

sin tion, javascript and server- 
side data sources, jQuery UI 
and Bootstrap. 
Slick Custom Scrollbar: Lets de- 
Bt aN ere velopers replace the default 

browser scrollbar on long 
content with a custom one in- 
stead, styled using pure CSS. 

Easily modify the look of the scrollbar using all the 
power afforded to you by CSS, whether it’s giving it a 
background image, rounded comers, CSS3 shadows, 
changing its thickness or other custom elements. 

Radio Checkbox Switcher (reSwitcher): Transform input 
checkboxes and radios into switch buttons with attrac- 
tive, elegant interfaces. 

Bootstrap News Box: A jQuery and Bootstrap 3 based 
plugin for creating a clean responsive news ticker/slider 
that allows users to vertically scroll HTML content with 
autoplay and up/down navigation support. 

elevator.js: A “back to top” button that behaves like a 
real elevator, by adding music to quietly soothe the 
awkwardness that can ensue as users scroll to the top 
of the screen. 

wheelnav.js: An animated javascript navigation menu 
component based on Raphael.js, which can be a pie 
menu (radial menu, circular menu), tab navigation and 
more. The library comes with predefined CSS classes 
for easy styling and supports HITML5 data attributes 
for proper markup. 

Overlapping Letters: This jQuery plugin provides a 
unique text effect (see image) by automatically adding 
span tags to letters through the use of Javascript. 

(Overlapping Letters) 

jOChat: A jQuery plugin to add instant messaging to a 
website, which is similar to the functionality provided 
on Facebook/Gmail chat. 

Space.|s: A flexible, HTML-driven JavaScript library for 
narrative 3-D scrolling. The library is HIML-driven, so 
developers and designers won't need any JavaScript to 
use it on their sites. 

Embed.js: Convert text emojis into image-based emoti- 
cons; the plugin also supports an automatic media em- 
bedding system for multimedia URLs. 

Chartinator: Transforms data from HTML tables, Google 
Sheets and JS arrays into charts using Google Charts. 

Uglipop.js: A lightweight and customizable javascript 
modal/lightbox plugin that can be styled using a 
basic CSS class. fil 

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The Heart of 
Conversion Rate 

By Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners 

The highest achievements of humankind 
- walking on the moon, inventing writ- 
ten language, harnessing the power of 
the atom. Or are they? 

The failure of reason 

What if I told you that all of these are happy accidents 
and a byproduct of the real reason that human brains 
evolved? Humans are in fact the most social of mam- 
mals. The complexity of the modern brain is there to 
manage social interactions. Robin Dunbar came up 
with his famous “Rule of 150” when describing the 
upper limit on the number of close personal bonds 
that humans can manage. Imagine if someone holds 
in his or her head their relationship to 150 others, and 
their changing relationships to one another. If he or 
she can do it successfully, that person is able to create 
alliances, gather support for personal and business ini- 
tiatives, and have a greater chance of achieving his or 
her goals (and indeed surviving in the wild). 

Rational thought is over-rated. Yet because of the 
bias created by Enlightenment philosophers (and 
their predecessors back to Plato), humans have come 
to value logic, consistency and reason as the highest 
qualities of the human mind and character. After all, 
no one wants to be described as irrational, random, 
unpredictable or just plain crazy. Yet at their core, that 
is exactly what humans are. 

What's really going on in the human head? 

The brain is a layered construct in which the newest 
parts (literally and figuratively) rest upon older struc- 
tures. The hemispheres of the modern cerebral cortex 
envelop the emotional mid-brain (the limbic system 
that humans share with all mammals), which in turn 
relies on the more primitive brain stem (which people 
also share with crocodiles and birds). The old parts 
have not gone away, and are in constant communica- 
tion with each other. In fact, it would be accurate to 
say that the modern reasoning brain is often kept in 

the dark, and only gets activated occasionally when the 
more primitive gatekeepers allow it to get involved. 

Think of the brain as a chemical bath where neu- 
rotransmitters flood the system for short amounts 
of time in order to promote a person’s survival. To a 
much greater degree than other animals people learn 
from environmental experiences, rather than relying 
on inflexible automatic responses that may not suit 
the situations that humans face. People’s brains are 
shaped (sometimes accidentally) by their experience. 
Good outcomes are reinforced, and bad outcomes are 
avoided. These aversions or affinities are the twin poles 
that propel people, or repel them. 

Although everyone’s individual experiences are dif- 
ferent, the underlying symphony of chemicals in their 
heads work in the same way. “What fires together, 
wires together” — repeated exposures to the same as- 
sociations build strong and durable connections in 
the brain, especially when people are younger. Once 
formed, these habitual patterns are very difficult to 
break or overcome. 

Negative inputs immediately get one’s attention — 
the function of cortisol is to help them avoid things that 
have hurt them in the past, or lessen their chances of 
survival. This “stress chemical” originates in the deepest 
part of the brain and allows humans (a.k.a. a brand’s 
potential buyers) to quickly and efficiently detect 
threats in their environment. It does not feel good, so 
they do whatever is necessary to get rid of the perceived 
cause of the feeling. Avoiding pain is often a much 
more powerful motivator than seeking of rewards or 

> Brainy Tip: Influence people by focusing on negative 
consequences, and the full cost of not acting on your 
offer. By rubbing salt into the wound you increase the 
value and attractiveness of your offer as a way to make 
the pain go away. 

The positive brain chemicals are a bit more complicated 
and need to be examined in more detail. The one thing 
they have in common is there short-term nature. They 
circulate for only minutes at a time and then fade away, 
leaving people looking for the next jolt of goodness. 

Restless seeking 

The main propulsion for all positive brain chemi- 
cals is dopamine. Until recently it was misunder- 
stood by most people as being a feel-good chemical 

in its own right. In fact, dopamine gives people its 
payoff during anticipation of a goal or reward. It 
motivates them to proactively work harder in order 
to get something pleasurable. Whether in video 
games or human relationships, it is the chase that 
is fun in and of itself, and people are often disap- 
pointed when they actually attain their goals and 
the dopamine delivery stops (perhaps a form of 
buyer’s remorse). 

> Brainy Tip: Mark and celebrate each micro-conversion 
and provide a clear “information scent” for people to 
follow on the way to the ultimate goal. 

The search for status 

All mammals seek safety in numbers and maintain a 
clear hierarchy within their group. For simpler ani- 
mals this pecking order is set once and is relatively 
stable. For people, social status changes almost con- 
stantly, and is often transient and highly situational. 
Serotonin levels reflect one’s current level of status. 
If someone is in a dominant position, his or her lev- 
els will rise, while those of subordinates around him 
or her will actually fall at the same time to reflect 
the reality of the power balance. Humans all seek 
affirmation and validation, and signs that they are 
valued, but knowing their place serves as a reality 
check to make sure they do not expose themselves 
to needless risks. 

> Pushing through the tough times: Endorphin 

> Protecting our close ones: Oxytocin 

Time to Motivate 

So for Internet professionals, this means the next 
time they try to increase the conversion rates of 
their websites, they should stop thinking about logi- 
cal decisions, specific features or appeals to rational 
thinking. They should focus instead on matters of 
the heart and social connectedness that underlies 
and strongly motivates all human actions as the 
most social apes of all. fl 

Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book “landing Page 
Optimization,” and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist 
and cognitive scientist by education, Tim has developed an 
expertise in usercentered design, persuasion and understanding 
online behavior and landing page testing. 

Psychology of 
Impulse Buying 

See the motivations be- 
hind these purchases at 

Social Media 


By encouraging Users 
to add their birthdays, 
Pepsi gets valuable 
data and the op- 
portunity to “surprise 
and delight its loyalty 
program members. 

(4) PULSE 


pfeil) ae \eeelt) ii 



Ways to 
Maximize Customer 
Loyalty Programs 

By Geoff Smith, SVP of Crowd Twist 

Loyalty today is about more than just 
discounts and free samples. It's the as- 
pect of a strategy that allows compa- 
nies to connect with customers, start 
conversations, and reward them for 
their engagement and dedication. 

In today’s multichannel world, it’s crucial that busi- 
nesses focus on their customers and enhance indi- 
vidual experiences with targeted, meaningful offers. 
After all, loyalty has expanded from a “spend-and- 
get” mentality to one centered on nurturing relation- 
ships between purchases. 

Here are six loyalty marketing examples that il- 
lustrate how companies can spark action with en- 
gagement-based loyalty strategies. 


urveys Dete 

History 04/30/2015 






Add Your Birthday +100 PXP 

Sign up for PXP Emails +500 PXP 

User Registration +250 PXP 

1. Obtain valuable consumer data through profile updates 
Consumers today expect businesses to know them 
and cater to their needs; accomplishing this goal is all 
about capturing and using customer data effectively. 
To achieve more lasting connections, companies 
should make every effort to learn as much as possible 
about their customers. For example, one tactic brands 
are finding successful is incentivizing loyalty program 
members to update their profiles to make sure they 
have the most relevant and up-to-date information. 
Case in point: Participants in the Pepsi Experience 
Points (PXP) loyalty program earn additional points 
for adding their gender, birth date, mailing address 
and phone number. After capturing the information, 
Pepsi puts the data to good use by sending customers a 
small gift or offer on their birthdays, or surprises them 
with a coupon offer in the mail. By offering the proper 
motivation, Pepsi is gaining additional insight into 
their customers, which allows the company to make 
marketing messages more relevant. 

2. Leverage the popularity of social media for referrals 

Social media is more popular than ever, so incorporat- 
ing it into any multi-channel loyalty strategy to engage 
consumers is a must. Not only can the channel help 
companies acquire new customers, but it also gives fans 
a vehicle to promote a brand through positive word-ol- 
mouth directly to their networks. For example, StriVec- 


Referrals can become 
conversions, so StriVectin 
rewards its loyal members, 
who encourage their friends 
to join, handsomely. 

100 POIN 



tin, a cosmetics brand, rewards members 
with loyalty points when they refer a friend ONLINE 
(through social networks) to join their Inner 
Circle loyalty program. Additionally, the 


§ Bonus Points per 37 

The helpful place. 

Dicom mga -— Brookstone 

18 Bonus Points per $7 

4/1-4/30 4/1-d/30 

10 Bonus Points per $7 

company offers four times the amount of 
loyalty points to members when their friends make a pur- 
chase from the brand. This kind of incentive plan shows 

how much companies truly value customer referrals. 

3. Offer unique, cutting-edge experiences and rewards 

It's important that fans feel truly valued for their en- 
gagement. With the saturation of loyalty programs 
in today’s marketing landscape, this means that they 
must be unique, as doling out the same rewards sim- 
ply won’t cut it. Today, customers not only expect 
brands to know them, but they also demand extra 
special rewards and recognition for their loyalty. 
Take Royal Caribbean as an example. The brand un- 
derstands the importance of making guests feel ap- 
preciated by hosting VIP events. As part of its Crown 
and Anchor Society loyalty program, Royal Caribbean 
invites members to special parties and events to recog- 
nize repeat customers. By inviting customers to these 
special events, Royal Caribbean is generating excite- 
ment around its brand, and enhancing its image to 
further promote customer loyalty. 

4. Tap into the growing influence of reviews 

Consumers today live in a world where they base prod- 
uct and brand decisions on experiences of their peers. 
In this digital environment, shoppers can access infor- 
mation about brands almost instantaneously. And what 
better way for consumers to learn about new products 
than from a peer review? Lancéme, for example, lets 
members of its Elite Rewards program earn points for 
posting product reviews. By giving shoppers a vehicle 
to offer feedback, the company is creating a dialogue 
with customers, learning what they like about their 
products and services while also encouraging others to 
buy from, and stick with, the brand. 

5. Drive digital engagement with online sweepstakes 

To engage digitally focused consumers today, com- 
panies should also offer fun ways for people to in- 
teract as much as possible. For example, social and 
digital sweepstakes—a highly effective engagement 
tactic—help brands connect with consumers outside 
of the store walls. Fresh Step, among others, allows 
loyalty program members to use earned points to 
gain sweepstakes entries. Participants can increase 
their chances of earning a desired reward by using 
additional loyalty points. Online sweepstakes also 
give consumers multiple reasons to keep coming 
back, especially if brands are running a daily entry 
campaign. This strategy allows companies to help 
members use loyalty points quickly, reducing the 
programs cost and any potential liability. 

6. Don't forget the tried-and-true partner strategy 

Despite the recent changes to the industry, tra- 
ditional loyalty programs still work. Only today, 
they are much more effective when companies tie 
in multichannel loyalty and engagement initiatives. 
Still, spend-and-get programs that offer customers a 
chance to earn rewards with partner brands remain 
appealing. Sony is one brand that lets customers 
increase their point-earning capability for shopping 
with partner retailers through its Points Plus pro- 
gram. For example, members earn points per dollar 
spent with their favorite participating retailers across 
a range of categories, including apparel and acces- 
sories, beauty, games and electronics, music and 
sporting goods. For brands, the strategy of aligning 
with non-competitive brands strengthens partner- 
ships, which often leads to increased visibility and 

sell through. fl 

Sony strengthens 
partnerships by 
allowing its loyalty 
program members 
to earn points with 
participating retailers. 


See how and why the 
image-heavy social 
network should be used 
in your brand's loyalty 
strategy at 

| iatters 

The SMB Advantage on the 


By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor 

Big brands seem to have it all, from big 
budgets to big-time name recognition. 

When it comes to how a company ranks in the local 
search engine result pages (SERPs), however, bigger 
doesn’t necessarily mean better. 

Thanks to the overwhelming rise of mobile usage 
by today’s consumers — data from Global Web Index 
indicates 80 percent of Internet users own smartphones 
— small businesses have a distinct opportunity to use 
location to their advantage. After all, it was only last year 
that Google revealed that 56 percent of mobile searches 
have local intent and even more recently reported that 
half of its searches were on mobile devices too. 

One only has to look to the increasing efforts of 
multi-location companies to understand why it’s good 
to be a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) today. 

All is not lost for enterprises, of course. Surefire 
Social Founder and CEO, Chris Marentis, provides in- 
sights on what they need to do to rank locally, indicat- 
ing that today’s winning brands are ones that harness 
the power of their various locations and the people at 
those locations, so they are contributing at a local level 
to their overall brand strategy. 

Enterprises are doing this in a variety of ways. 
Hard Rock, for example, empowers managers at its 
many locations to run local social media accounts 
(e.g. Hard Rock Hotel San Diego), which (1) provides 
the opportunity to engage with the locals in a rel- 
evant manner and (2) provides fresh content that 
can be indexed. The latter is important be- 
cause Google is once again working with 
Twitter to index tweets, in real-time. 

Similarly, Hard Rock has dedicated 

websites for their different locations 

(e.g. and includes 
landing pages for their various locations hosted on its 

main site (e.g. to prove 
proximity to searchers with local intent. While Hard 
Rock has roughly 200 locations, this strategy proves 
much more difficult for a company like Walmart with 
its 5,000 stores. 

These are just a couple of ways national brands are 
attempting to mimic their more agile local competition, 
but SMBs don’t have to work as hard. 

For starters, it’s much more difficult for large national 
brands or franchises to push down the local info consum- 
ers need at the moment they are searching for it, such as 
holiday hours, business photos, in-store events, etc. Ken- 
shoo Product Manager for SMB Agencies, Tiffany Miller, 
says smaller businesses have a unique advantage in this 
area and, at a minimum, should claim their businesses on 
Google My Business, as well as spend time maintaining 
their info on the Google products dashboard. On Google 
My Business, local companies can optimize their local list- 
ings to include business descriptions, contact info, and 
even photos and videos. For a crash course on Google My 
Business go to gmybiz 

The information that businesses directly provide 
Google is of great importance as not only do consum- 
ers expect to find what they are looking for without a 
lot of clicks (especially on mobile devices says Miller), 
but missing or inaccurate information could also lead 
to missed conversions. Fernando Angulo, head of in- 
ternational partnerships at SEMrush, reminds business 
owners that having a brand’s NAP data (name, address 
and phone) accurate across the Web is a must. 

Contact information is never more important than 
when a consumer is searching for a product or service 
from his or her mobile device. SMB owners who feel 
they are behind the curve when it comes to mobile- 
readiness, however, should know that even large brands 
missed Google’s April 21 “deadline” — the day which it 
said its algorithm update would take effect, which gave 
“mobile-friendliness” a greater impact on how Google 
delivers search results to mobile users. 

American Apparel, with nearly 1.5 million 
monthly unique visitors ( saw the 
April deadline come and go without becoming 
Google compliant. To maximize the advantages that 
the local SERPs provide them, smaller companies 
need to get mobile quick, a process often thought of 
as less labor intensive for SMBs (due to their smaller 
sites) if they know where to start (like Website Maga- 
Zine s mobile channel at.siskeey Artie ese 

The digital deck may seem stacked against them, 
but when it comes to local search, SMBs really can get a 
fair hand. For more information on what it takes to achieve 
local success check out Website Magazine’s ongoing coverage 
~- _ 


Sign up for one (or all) of our weekly newsletters, 
Choose from e-commerce, search, social, design and dev, 
and our industry trends news. It's as easy as entering 
your email address! 

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Most marketers already have their own 
standard “best practices” for email mar- 
keting campaigns. 

Given the recent advancements in social media, such 
as Twitter's new Web-traffic conversion tools and 
Instagram’s clickable ads, these channels are rapidly 
becoming an essential aspect of any holistic marketing 
campaign. To ensure a truly successful strategy, brands 
must integrate social and email marketing efforts as the 
overall effect is far more than the sum of its parts. 

Some marketers are (slowly) starting to integrate 
social media as an email advantage. However, too 
many are not yet incorporating social and email at all, 
and are missing out on two significant opportunities: a 
broader/bigger audience and more data. 

Social media channels expose brands to an audience 
that goes far beyond an email subscriber base. There 
could be thousands of Facebook fans or people who 
have mentioned a brand on Twitter who are not in its 
email contact list, just waiting to be converted. Addition- 
ally, added customer touchpoints for an enterprise open 

a Holistic Marketing: 

i y y 

PoOOKS es 
4 % 


By EJ McGowan, General Manager of Campaigner 

the door to vast amounts of data, and more data means 
more personalization and overall more success. 

There are a handful of proven, yet some un- 
known tactics when it comes to integrating social 
and email marketing: 

1. Measure, Measure and Measure Some More 
Social media interaction provides massive amounts 
of data and insight on how users are responding to 
a brand’s messages, but it’s only valuable if the enter- 
prise measures and analyzes the data in the most ef- 
fective way. Since each medium offers unique types 
of metrics, it’s critical to track data independently. For 
example, compile Twitter “re-tweets” separately from 
Facebook “likes” and blog post “shares.” Analyze each 
metric for its impact over time and across campaigns. 
Does a Facebook “like” always suggest greater conver- 
sion potential than a Twitter “re-tweet”? This will let 
marketers compare and contrast which medium reso- 
nates best with their target audience. 

Additionally, since any single social metric won't 
provide an accurate representation of marketing ROI, 

é & Allin all, social channels should be carefully inte- 
grated parts of any marketing program — not just 
a way to make email content do double duty. : | 

enterprises need to create a consolidated view of all 
metrics. Integrate an analytics solution with an email 
marketing platform that tracks both email and social 
to produce a holistic view of a company’s results. This 
approach will allow marketers, site owners and the like 
to understand where their leads are coming from and 
what's driving them through the path-to-purchase. 

2. Make Multi-Channel Users Your New BFFs 

Customers who engage across multiple channels are 
incredibly valuable. These are people who are inter- 
acting via both email and social, truly demonstrating 
their commitment to a brand. Spend time identifying 
these multi-channel users and get to know them. Study 
their data to identify key trends or common habits. For 
example, do they all tend to share promotions over 
Facebook? Or are they frequent “re-tweeters”? Once 
a marketing team is able to clearly identify these users 
and know them backward and forward, they'll be able 
to more effectively customize email and social cam- 
paigns that meet their interests. When marketers pri- 
oritize and invest in building a relationship with these 
high-value customers they will be sure to reap the high- 
est reward. 

3. Know Your Channel, and Customize Like Crazy 
One of the advantages of social media is that it allows 
companies to connect with users in a different environ- 
ment from email (social tends to be more casual, for 
example), so they should be sure to customize their 
interactions accordingly. One of the worst things they 
can do as a marketer is to directly repurpose content 
from an email campaign for social channels with no 
changes made — especially a call-to-action (CTA). For 
instance, an email CTA may be to click through to the 
website or make a purchase, but that doesn’t always 
make sense for Twitter or Facebook. 

On Twitter, for example, people are looking for 
funny, witty, surprising or controversial content to en- 
gage with or re-tweet. Managers should invite them to 
follow their updates or use a specific hashtag to join a 
conversation. Facebook on the other hand, is a great 
place to develop a message with complementary con- 
tent and engagement opportunities like images, videos 
or surveys. Encourage users to “like” a page and share 
branded content with their network. Companies should 

make sure they are taking advantage of social channels 
to expand their marketing message, not just syndicate it. 

4. Keep Calm and Grow Your List 

Internet professionals shouldn’t forget that social media 
offers access to an audience that most likely isn’t sub- 
scribed to their email lists. Take advantage of it. Some 
marketers will pay hundreds of dollars for lists to in- 
crease audience visibility. With social media, there is an 
endless supply of potential new users, and at virtually 
no cost to acquire. With the right encouragement in 
the appropriate channels, marketers can easily prompt 
users to opt-in and quickly grow their user base. Web 
workers should consider adding a Twitter CTA to sign 
up for their individual brand’s e-newsletter through a 
traceable link, like or This way, they'll not 
only gain new subscribers, but will also be able to mea- 
sure and compare which social site sent them. 

J. Don't Forget — Content is Still King 

No one should underestimate the importance of mix- 
ing up their content and commerce messages. View- 
ers will burn out on a one-note marketing ad but will 
respond favorably when offered interesting or useful 
content as a way to change things up. Marketers should 
use social channels to share companion content or in- 
formation that accompanies an email campaign. If a 
marketer is promoting a summer sale of 20 percent off, 
he or she should consider sharing fun facts about sum- 
mer spending and encourage the sale as a way to save. 

Inclusive Success 

All in all, social channels should be carefully integrated 
parts of any marketing program — not just a way to 
make email content do double duty. By customizing 
interaction for each channel and taking a holistic view 
of engagement across social platforms, brand market- 
ers can capture new email subscribers and strengthen 
existing customer relationships in ways that weren’t 
previously possible. With these best practices in hand, 
brands can be confident that they are making the most 
of their email and social marketing programs. 

EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner, has more 
than 25 years’ experience in the software industry with expertise 
in building highly available, scalable SaaS based solutions. 

and Email 

Dan Roy, CEO and 
Co-Founder of Mes- 
sageGears, explores the 
evolution of email at 






By Peter Prestipino, Editor-In-Chief 

Craig Hayman of Ebay Enterprise highlights 
one of the reasons Magento is dominating. 



Growing a Web business today, or any 
business with a digital presence for that 
matter, requires software. 

The solutions most frequently used (and regularly 
recommended by ‘Net professionals), however, are 
those providing more than just a way to complete 
a task. The true software stars in the digital galaxy 
are those that provide a community around their 
products and are able to act as a catalyst to business 
growth for both startup and established enterprises. 

* Follow 

Too often Web workers are drawn toward cer- 
tain solutions because of the cost or support, and 
fail to consider their long-term strategy. What will 
happen when they open multiple stores or begin an 
international expansion? What will happen when 
new design and development trends emerge or new 
marketing practices are required? More often than 
not, businesses outgrow their platforms or experi- 
ence digital growing pains that could have been 
avoided with a little more forethought and sound 
strategy, a little more due diligence in the research 
phase and a whole lot more continuity planning. 

Today’s most successful ‘Net enterprises (or of- 
fline enterprises with a need or demand for a strong 
digital presence) are those that understand how the 
Web can work to further their mission and long- 
term objectives. A brochure-style website with loca- 
tion and phone is simply no longer enough; now 
businesses need a way to store information about 
their audience of prospects and customers (like 
a customer relationship management system), a 
means to communicate seamlessly and across chan- 
nels with existing and prospective buyers wherever 
they are on the Web (or in-store), and have the 
systems and processes in place to understand the 
activity generated - from visits and conversions to 
impressions and engagements. 

One of the best examples of this today is that of 
Magento, and at the recent Imagine conference held 
by eBay Enterprise (see image), this focus on building 
community and fostering a collaborative ecosystem 
was clearly on display. From the front-end to the 
back-end, the marketing arm to the technical team, 
eBay Enterprise partners showcased how they fit into 
the community and the benefits that their participa- 
tion provided Internet retailers leveraging that in- 
credibly powerful system (and community). 

The most sophisticated software companies are 
those that act as more than just makers and devel- 
opers, but are those that serve as stewards of their 
communities, acting upon the open nature of the 
Web to create products and experiences that help 
their customers grow. It’s no longer enough to build 
once and move on. If the aim is to dominate a mar- 
ket segment, software makers must collaborate and 
participate in the success of their ecosystem, as well 
as that of their broader community. Having a vested 
interest in the success of users, clients and partners 
is the fast track to doing so. fl 



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