Upselling and beyond, a balancing act

Was thinking about sending some food stuff (online seller name, intentionally left out) to my sister whom I have not seen in a long time and do my impulsive ‘family good’.

I did a ‘food stuff’ search for a deal and promptly landed via an affiliate link, on to a ‘major food site’.

Still intent on proceeding and encouraged by a $39 deal, I, in mechanical fashion moved through to ‘Add to cart’ to complete the transaction. To my not so shocking surprise I was presented with an upsell for $39 + $ 19.99. Still enthusiastic with a Czech pilsner comfortably urging me on, with finger flickering hesitation, I waved myself through – ‘Why not, I feel the love”. I clicked on “Add”. Yes, I felt good.

It was at that moment that things began to unravel – an ‘Upsell and Beyond” deal popped up for an additional $79 ‘food stuff’ combo”. I was perplexed and confused. I almost had it in my grasp. Almost.

Could we refrain, and not get carried away with the ‘Upsell and Beyond’ selling strategy?. The Pilsner only works for so long. I had it and I lost it. I hate it when that happens.

I know I have not been a customer before with this ‘major food seller’, so predictive analytics, even with cookies would not have kicked in, perpetuating this unfortunate eventuality.

All in a Sunday afternoon, where I wanted to do a little bit of good. Alas, it is unfortunately no more. I ‘xed’ out of the browser tab. The moment had elapsed and my attention had shifted.

Social amplication, curated style

An entirely new job description is emerging in the social/content space – ‘ Social Curator’. This new job is emerging out of a natural evolutionary process of sharing and collecting. Think Pintrest as one of the destinations.

A social curator would ‘curate’ external content, although not necessarily one’s own (spoon content from other sites, blogs, etc ). Think of these newly created posts or pages as a destination which would begin and perhaps end with a short intro and/or ending from the curator, mixed in with links to valuable external content.

This customer centric content could potentially be ideal for brand engagement and retention. Although with clever UX, acquisition could be folded into the mix. Socially curated content goals should be very clear from the beginning. The recipe and servings may be different for B2B and B2C.

For SEO diehards, the very principle of sending links to external sites would initially appear like assisted suicide, however the social amplification effects which would likely occur via social sharing may win the SEO contingent.

There are several important considerations before proceeding down this path. Some of these could be:

a. Content destination/s
b. Content logistics and calendaring
c. FTE support
d. Compliance considerations
e. Clear and well defined goals for the business
f. Measurement of ROI or ROO
g. Web analytics

Have fun curating.

How to Multiply your Facebook brand page Likes

One of the measurable KPI’s for Facebook marketing is the number of ‘Likes’. More ‘Likes‘ translates to a deeper digital marketing penetration.

If you wish to expand your network and/or get a massive bang for your digital campaign/promotion, the reveal tab concept is definitely something you would want in your digital marketing arsenal. This concept is a must component for an integrated digital marketing strategy. The reveal tab reveals itself when the ‘Like’ button is clicked and the page changes to uncover a reward/promotion (think of a lotto scratch off ticket). The reward has to be genuine and made visible only after the ‘Like’ button is clicked.

The wins:

1. The user feels special and privileged and would likely continue to be engaged with your brand
2. The user becomes an insider (think of the early Frequent Flyer Card concept)
3. Increase in the conversion rate for campaigns
4. Massive increase in the number of ‘Likes’ to impress your boss

Give it a try. The FBML code is below. Just replace the Image Links and Source. Hint: I used Photobucket to store my images.

Social Media, Email and Community Integration

Research has shown, integrating Social Media with Email is increasing email consumption. The use of Ratings and Reviews embeds within email marketing messages take advantage of the natural sharing behavior every human being possesses. This strategy has resulted in higher open rates, click through rates and conversion rates. It has also led to higher social shares.

argeting the promotion influencer datasets extracted from Community Forums and Facebook are hidden jewels who naturally ‘viralize’ the promotion/campaign with an innate natural sharing behavior all of us have. Marketers could best exploit this behavior by inserting a Share this/Share with a friend button on the top of the email and not in the bottom of the email where it remains buried and remains forgotten. The value of influencer datasets company CRM’s already possess is perhaps the least utilized list. These datasets if not already in place, need deserved attention.

Conversely, Facebook pages, Tweets, Community blogs and forums should have a conveniently placed email subscription link encouraging users to sign up. This integrated marketing effort has shown massive dividends by playing the cards marketers already possess.

These multichannel marketing efforts enhance campaigns and leads to a deeper and widening penetration by leveraging existing influencer datasets from existing channels.

Microformats fast becoming a must for Digital Marketing

Digital Marketers have begun to leverage the use of microformats. The microformats standard over RDF is becoming the preferred way for integrated digital marketers to work with their IT departments to unlock the secrets of microformats and harness its benefits.

What are Microformats?

Microformats (μF) convey metadata to search engines in a format which can be crawled, parsed, indexed and semantically stored. This web based approach to semantic markup utilizing HTML/XHTML tags makes it very easy for search engines to categorize and cross reference the data, providing users a richer search experience.

Which formats are being used currently by ecommerce organizations?

The most widely used tag is the hReview tag. These are being used by vendors like Bazaar Voice and Power Reviews. UGC (User Generated Content) which is in the center of the content rave is being augmented by the hReview tag to present the’reviews data’ to search engines. Submissions of product feeds to data is then cross referenced by Google who then applies Rich Snippets to the Product link in the SERPs

How should I implement the hReviews tag?

The reviews data (aggregate as well as individual reviews data) is being widely used in an I-Frame, although my preferred method would be to integrate an API from the UGC vendor to populate the reviews data on the product page itself, which would in turn provide the target page the entire SERP juice. Of course, a canonical tag would be in order as well to avoid a duplicate content penalty.

What I am really excited about is the hMedia tag and the hProduct tag. These tags are not yet individually accepted by Google but their inclusion may be near.

How should I prepare to market Videos in the digital space?

The hMedia tag would benefit video indexing and referencing in the broad based search results. Since Google had opened up its UI in its search engine results page by opening up the left navigation to include Videos, Blogs etc, marketers have an opportunity to begin testing the hMedia tag in a sandbox environment. They should begin to plan how this metadata would programmatically populate their Media Asset Management platform for Videos. You Tube is not the only game in town. The Broadcasting community should be especially prepared to implement this integration as soon as the acceptance of the hMedia tag is announced.

The individual hProduct tag inclusion presents digital marketers yet another opportunity to harvest organic search results as part of their marketing mix. As with the hMedia tag seamless implementation of this tag in the front end HTML would be an early key to success. Bringing stakeholders from IT, Digital Marketing and Taxonomy early in the planning process would be advantageous.

What should organizations learn from microformats?

Organizations who are first to implement microformats would emerge as short term leaders in their respective industries with a near term opportunity to lead. These infrastructure improvements would easily offset some of the Paid and display spend; search engines of course would want you to believe otherwise.

What is the future of microformats?

Microformats are in an early stage of semantic communication through this markup. The search engines love the concept of cross referencing this data to provide users with a richer search experience with semantic links in the form of video, social media, blogs etc. The evidence is in the new Google UI for SERPs and a few days ago with Google News. Mashups of hProduct, hMedia, hReviews and various other combinations would likely follow.

Integrated digital marketing campaign

A clever integrated digital campaign and one of the most creative and slickest global campaigns built around the World Cup hysteria is underway.

Budwesier, with a dedicated You Tube channel combined with a part reality show built around 32 contestants representing the 32 teams in the World Cup; their musings airing on the You Tube channel as well as their own Facebook and Twitter entries in their native language, giving the campaign a global dimension. As their teams lose, the contestants depart the ‘Bud house’ with the winner presenting the Man of the Match trophy on July 11, 2010.

A great use of Social Media (Bud United Facebook page, You Tube channel and Twitter), Search Engine advertising, TV Commercials and display advertising. The creatives and the campaign is attributed to Omnicom’s DDB and Tribal DDB. Searches for Budweiser have increased by a third, since the inception of this campaign.

The one integrated marketing disconnect I noticed was not mentioning the ‘Bud United’ hype on the Budweiser TV commercials during the games.

What does the Caffeine Update mean for Marketers?

The Caffeine update was brought upon by the inability of real time search in Google. Twitter and Facebook were extensively used in Iran during a political crisis last year; a number of news sites were banned. Search engine results could not keep pace with real time developments.

As a result, Google now leases an API feed from Twitter as well as a Member Profile feed from Facebook to update its index, to provide real time search results. Sites and new content is now being crawled at a faster rate. To accomplish the rapid processing of information Google also upgraded their data center infrastructure.

What does the Caffeine Update mean for Marketers?

1. New pages and new content finds itself in the Google search results faster

2. Duplicate content is being penalized by not appearing in the Google index

a. Unique copy will have an increased opportunity resulting in a link in Google SERPS

b. If contractual agreements allow, copy received from vendors could be massaged

c. Canonical tagging is increasingly crucial for site content

d. Absolute links for content will help in seeding the content when picked up by other sites

3. Site speed is now part of the Google algorithm. (Google wants a good user experience for users)

a. Site speed will assist in an elevated ranking for sites

4. Social Media can be leveraged by digital marketers in real time

a) Twitter and Facebook’s real time search results appearance in Google can now be integrated in marketing campaigns (other than brand marketing)