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Friday, 22 November 2013 09:17

3 ways to sabotage your website

3 ways to sabotage your website

I’ve had many clients who are on their third or fourth website overhaul. They’ve spent a ton of money on design and redesign, development and redevelopment. They’ve reinvented their brand voices, hired new online marketers, run PPC campaigns, started tweeting…

And it’s still not working.

All of these things are important aspects of a successful online presence. But they will amount to nothing if you are blowing huge holes below the waterline of your online ship.


Here’s how to do that…


Spend lots of time and money on everything – except your content

Over the last 16 years I’ve been involved in dozens of large website projects. Time and again I’ve seen companies spend hundreds of thousands on design and development, and then baulk at spending the same kind of money on the content.

I’ll leave it to you to imagine how many meetings I’ve attended six months later where they try to work out why the website isn’t working for them. Why it isn’t generating the required return on investment.

Published in Online
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 10:26

Schedule your digital marketing for maximum impact

Digital marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. And whether you’re using email marketing, content marketing, social media (or any other form of digital marketing) it’s still relatively new and there’s a lot to absorb. So advice on how to schedule activity for maximum impact could be useful.


Best times to BlogThis infographic by highlights peak times for posting online, and I thought it might offer some useful insights. But then I started to ask a few questions: Are peak times the same in South Africa as in the USA? What are the demographics of the sample? Are my target market’s habits likely to conform?


There is no quick answer. These “best times” can’t be definitive. As Dan points out himself, they may be based on vast numbers of research results, but they are just generalisations. You need to test your audience to see what works best for them.


Take, for example, the 11 pm peak shown here. People use their mobile devices to go online at home, on the couch and in bed; that we know. We also know that many people check their email last thing at night. So I’m very happy to accept that there could be a spike at around 11pm. That’s bedtime for a lot of people.


But if your market is older, younger or in training for a big sports event, posting that late could mean you miss your mark, that they’ve been in bed for hours.


I’ve never suffered from insomnia and I’m not a student, so I can’t imagine being up and online at 2am, but that’s just me. Your target market won’t necessarily share my habits. But if they do, posting your article at 2am won’t help your visibility. On the other hand, if you’re targeting 22-year olds in the entertainment industry, this might be your prime time.


The peak of interest between 8 and 9am, on the other hand, seemed to make perfect sense.   I know the productivity experts tell you not to check your email first thing – they’ll tell you this let’s other people’s priorities drive yours. That’s all very well and good, but it’s my job to worry about your priorities - I’m in the service industry! So I usually check my emails first thing. Then I catch up on an online newspaper and social media.


You, on the other hand, may take one look at your early morning inbox and simply hit the delete button repeatedly, missing any alerts to new articles.


Two weeks ago I posted an article first thing in the morning, and the response wasn’t good at all. In fact, it was the worst response I’ve had in ages. Not a single comment. (Of course, it might just have been the article! If you missed it, please and let me know if it wasn’t up to standard. I thought it was packed full of valuable information, but maybe I got it wrong. Or maybe the timing just wasn’t right.)


The moral of the story is that you need to test what works for your specific target market. Your target isn’t an amorphous blend of statistics and you need to discover how best to reach them.


This isn’t a new insight; it’s marketing 101. So it would be naïve to expect a quick and easy answer when it comes to online marketing. There may be some general guidelines, but your target market will respond to you in way that defies broad generalisation. Make sure you know what they’re looking for, and when they might be looking for it.


Just by the way, today I found more research that cites afternoons as the best times to post. They argue that traffic starts to increase around 9 am but it’s better to wait until 11am to post. They also suggest that traffic fades from 4pm and you shouldn’t post at night between 8pm and 8am. In other words, it completely conflicts with the original research. I wonder who the sample was for this research.


This doesn’t mean that either research is flawed; it just underscores the fact that there is no definitive answer. Take an informed view of who your target market is, when they might be most likely to engage online, then test and measure your results and adjust your programme accordingly. Customise your activity for your particular market.


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Published in Online
Call Centre
Technology – follow your needs, not the crowd's

There is no safety in numbers when it comes to contact centres - history shows us that the crowd can make mistakes that are as bad, or worse, than those made by individuals. The technology you choose for your contact centre is critical, and the costs of heading down the wrong road can be enormous and protracted. It's not just money wasted when you get it wrong - the planning and implementation can set your organisation back years.

The future also needs to be seriously considered when technologies are being assessed. Today you might need simple functionality, but tomorrow could require a lot more, or even less. Given the pace of change in the market it's often impossible to figure out what your future requirements might be. Structural flexibility is the watchword, if your vendor can't start over or change course in quick time, your technology could damage your brand.

Contact centres aren't just for the big guys

Cloud based services have cracked the contact centre open for smaller organisations, who in the past simply didn't have the budget to compete with larger rivals. The barrier to entry has lowered significantly, so if your instinct is that you can't go there just yet, you might be surprised at what's possible via the cloud. 

It's your best practice that matters

Benchmarking against global best practices always sounds very good, but the reality of the exercise is a little more nuanced than the catch phrase suggests. Every business views best practice through a different lens and how you define a best practice depends on your type of business. When you are working towards setting your best practice benchmark, make sure you're comparing apples with apples - it's your context that really counts.  

Outsource - ignore track record at your peril

Outsourcing all elements of a contact centre, including the crucial customer service interactions, can be a cost and resource saver. But if you make this choice, remember that the track record of your provider must be very strong. It must also be relevant to your specific industry. If you're satisfied that your provider's credentials are top notch and appropriate to your industry, the other critical factor is negotiating an air-tight service level agreement. If you choose to outsource the full contact centre there is no margin for error on service levels. 

Skill defines the quality of the blend

The division between inbound and outbound contact centres has all but disappeared. Most modern brands need to operate a blended centre, with inbound and outbound functions operating as part of a greater communications whole.

Strong management of a blended centre involves two key elements. 1) Predicting interaction volumes accurately 2) Ensuring staff are adequately trained to deliver in critical areas. Weakness in either area can see the blend between outbound and inbound hurt the business, rather than help it. Which makes a focus on skills levels across the centre vitally important. Skills development has to be viewed as part of the company culture, rather than an intervention. 

Look to the future

Powerful new tools are emerging in the contact centre space, and contact centre strategy development should take place with these in mind:

Speech analytics – Some 10, 000 voice recordings are taken per day in a contact centre, but much of the potential value in these conversations isn't realised, because the content itself is not analysed. New speech analytic systems investigate the recordings for key words, and then offer significant analysis to decision makers. Equally, some new systems are tracking tone of voice in real time and escalating calls to supervisors when there's too much heat coming down the line. Either way, speech analytics tools are quickly changing the status quo.

Mobile – With the youth and high income professionals now carrying sophisticated smartphones as a matter of course, brands are developing applications that deliver a new self service paradigm. No more mind numbing IVR menus and holding in contact centre queues. Mobile Apps mean efficient and personalised service, at the customer's convenience.

Content management – Back in the day a document was scanned and simply filed, but today's companies require seamless anytime, anywhere, anybody access to workflow details that incorporate staff, customers and suppliers. New object orientated contact solutions allow attributes to be assigned to an item that determine how it is stored, who has access to it and what future action must be taken.

Published in CRM & Direct Marketing
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