About Me

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Len focuses on helping small and new businesses succeed through developing appropriate marketing and sales strategies. Len enjoys mentoring, relishes in getting both arms and feet wet in addressing technology, marketing and sales issues. He understands the drivers impacting business results for today and tomorrow including time-to-market, time-to-revenue, marketing, sales channels and social media.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adding Web Video to Your Marketing Efforts Pays Off

Putting a video on your website can be a powerful tool to engage customers and prospects. A recent Eyeblaster Research study shed insight on website visitor behaviour with and without video. Videos make customers stick longer.

Dwell rates with video on a website are significantly higher. Video increases the likelihood that a site visitor will hang around longer by as much as 20 to 50%. See the table below:

So looking a video as a strategy in populating your web content makes a lot of sense. Short videos are far more effective than long ones. A summary of the study's findings include:

  • Video growth has outpaced Rich Media growth by 60% in the last three and a half years.
  • Video increases Dwell Rate by 20% and doubles Dwell Time.
  • The ROI on video ads is double that of non-video Rich Media ads.
  • Video outperforms in the news, sports, music and finance sections and lags in social networks and games environments.
  • Rollover user-initiated video performs best, followed by auto-initiated video
  • Click user-initiated performs worst
  • Weekdays from 9am to 5pm is the users’ preferred time to watch
  • An increase of video length by five seconds reduces video fully played rates by 2.8%, on average.
In the study Eyeblaster forecasts video web advertising to grow from $1.1 billion in 2009 to more than $4 billion by 2013.

A recent survey done by Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic found that only 21% of the people watching DVR
playback and 30% of people watching TV airtime pay attention to commercials, compared to 46% of people watching in-stream video ads online.

So what conclusions can you draw from these research results?

1. Videos on your website work.
2. The shorter they are the more likely they will be watched from beginning to end.
3. People will pay attention to a video ad on a website far more than one on television.
4. Videos on social media sites are less effective than on your company website.
5. Videos are far more effective than static ads or display banners on websites.
6. Autoplay beats click to watch.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I have just joined Google Wave

If you haven't heard about Wave then hold on because I'll be writing about it in the coming months as I use it.

I have often stated that we use computer applications in silos because that's the way they were designed, as stand alone applications. When these applications are grouped into office suites we gain some benefit of interoperability. But for the most part the applications remain entities unto themselves.

Wave is the antithesis of this silo approach. A Wave is a continuous conversation in which you can continuously interact using multimedia, email, chat, video and voice seamlessly. Instead of working the way the computer dictates, with Wave we can begin to see an approaching model that is more like regular interaction whether in an office or among friends.

So watch for my Wave prognostications and observations in the coming weeks.

Creating a Plan for Implementing Social Media in your Marketing Strategy

From time to time I have the opportunity to read other bloggers columns and share them with you here. The following excerpts come from Taylor Ellwood, a social media coach and writer who resides in Portland, Oregon. Her recent posting on BizNik is entitled, The Five Elements of Basic Social Media Strategy.

Taylor's 5 elements include:

1. Define Your audience. She points out that audience is more than just existing clients. It includes prospects and partners. Your target audience may be a subset of your total audience because not all of your clients, prospects and partners may embrace social media. Consider age and other demographics in determining your social media audience.

2. Define your business model. Is your business model B2B or B2C? For example, B2C is a determining factor when considering Facebook whereas B2B may be LinkedIn, Biznik, Partnerpedia or similar social networking site.

3. Pick out your key words and phrases that define what you do. Match your key words and phrases with those that make your clients and prospects pay attention to you. These are the words and phrases clients use to describe what you do for them. This is a magnet to attract other members of a social network with similar needs, members that you have never met.

4. Define your goals for using social media, but keep them realistic. Taylor advocates that you need to go into the social media space with very specific goals. I'm a great believer that any action plan should have distinct and measurable goals and a social media strategy is no different.

In her article on this point Taylor states "It's important to define realistic goals for using social media. A realistic goal is publishing an article to be more visible to your social network. An unrealistic goal is expecting that the article will automatically help you convert readers into clients. It's unrealistic because it's not something you have much control over, and you will get frustrated if it doesn't happen. Recognize the technology for what it is and what it can do and plan accordingly with your goals."

5. Assess how much time and effort you will need to spend learning how to use social media sites, as well as what social media sites you need to be on. Also be mindful of using blogs, e-newsletters, internet radio, video, and other forms of social media and factor those into your assessment.

The last point stated above are Taylor's words not mine. It is very important that you recognize the time commitment you need to make in a social media strategy. Unlike investing dollars in advertising on web pages, or in a magazine, the cost of social media marketing is more a measure of the time you need to spend to create a successful, measurable outcome.

Finally, my additional two cents....it is important to continually test to see what works and what doesn't in social media. This is a brave new world for business to venture into. But as I have stated previously it is hard to ignore the number of people that are on social media sites. The Facebook nation is the fourth largest community in the world, almost equal in population to the United States. LinkedIn is better than one-and-a-half the size of Canada in population. To ignore these numbers in your business strategy is to miss a golden opportunity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Friending a Brand on Facebook

In my previous article I talked about how your business can use Facebook. In the November 18 ezine, "eMarketer - Digital Intelligence" comes the following interesting statistics from a study done by Razorfish, the global digital marketing firm.

The company's “2009 FEED” survey studied US users who had high-speed Internet access and had spent at least $150 online in the previous six months. These consumers demonstrated strong brand connections. Almost 25% participated in brand-hosted contests. About the same percentage followed brands on Twitter. And more than 40% had "friended" a brand on Facebook or MySpace.

Why "friend" a brand? Because in do
ing it these consumers were being offered special discounts and deals that made the effort worthwhile. Most as well reported enjoying the brand website, and deriving entertainment value from their online experience.

Digital consumers who visit your website today are not looking for information alone. They want much more - a memorable experience. In your web marketing strategy it is important to keep that in mind.

Use polls, create multimedia, invite them to participate in questionnaires, hold contests, create discussion forums, and encourage comments. It's about engagement, entertainment, connecting emotionally.

It is a proven fact that most of us make our purchasing decisions because of the emotions we derive from the buying experience. Think of just how important colour was in your car buying decision. Yes, the fuel economy was important, but more often than not you were ultimately sold on appearance and how it made you feel.

Engage your digital customers and prospects to heighten their emotional connection with your brand. It works. To get more statistical results from this study you should visit Razorfish.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Can Facebook and Other Public Social Networks do for Your Business

I have a Facebook page. I have a Facebook corporate page. You may ask why? One reason is Facebook pages come up in Google search results. That means one more search hit for me when someone is seeking a company that provides marketing and business development consulting services like mine.

The other reason I am both personally and corporately on Facebook is the size of the community. Today Facebook has over 300,000,000 members. If it were a country it would be the fourth largest in population, just behind the United States. That's a lot of potential customers.

Here are the top five reasons for you and your business to be on Facebook.

1. Facebook Company Pages

If you are already on Facebook then you have created a personal profile. Did you know that you can create a public company profile with the similar functionality and design? Unlike your personal page there is no limit to the number of fans you can have on your publicly viewable company page so take advantage of this feature to create a fan base and stay in touch with them.

2. Facebook Events

Facebook offers the ability to announce events. Events are a great way to create visibility for your brand and business. A Facebook event can be a cause. A Facebook event can be a webinar or online workshop, a physical meetup, even a discussion activity. Events are great ways to attract and retain customers.

3. Facebook Groups

With Facebook you can join groups. Groups can be thematically or geographically organized. Participating in a group is a great way to find new customers and tell your story even if just in passing. Remember your 20-second elevator pitch. You may get many opportunities to tell it when you join groups.

4.Facebook Share

Share provides the ability for you to hyperlink your Facebook page to your website so visitors can share your web content with their Facebook friends. Share requires a little bit of HTML know how but is easy to install. It's just another tool for spreading the word.

5. Facebook Connect

Through Connect you can use your Facebook account to populate other social networking sites without ever having to fill in the information for these sites. It's almost like having a portable phone number that you can take with you if you leave your cell provider. Now your Facebook profile can go anywhere. Considering the fact that I am a participant on many social networking sites, the connect feature in Facebook means I can publish once and automatically populate numerous sites.

Finally I would like to talk briefly about Facebook Ads.

You may have tried Google Ads as a marketing investment, purchasing sponsored sites to gain search engine positioning on the top or right-hand side of Google search results. Or you may have enrolled with Google AdSense to earn click through revenue from visitors to your company web site.

Facebook Ads resemble both of these types of ads. They are primarily text with the opportunity to include an icon or small image. Unlike Google Ads, however, Facebook ads can include a friend's endorsement in which an action and picture appear.

Is Facebook a good place to advertise. It really depends on your target demographic. Genreally speaking Facebook ads are not very effective. Generation Y and Z Facebook users do not click through. Whereas older Facebook users, people my age, or more inclined to click on ads. But the average click-through rate for Facebook Ads is very low, in fact less than 1/100th of 1 percent. So unless you are targeting the 50s plus Facebook audience I do not recommend purchasing Facebook ads.


So what can you conclude from this article?

1. Facebook is a big community, the largest online community in the world. Where there is a big community there is a big opportunity.

2. Facebook has lots of tools that can create greater visibility for your business, whether large or small.

3. Facebook can be a great way to connect to other social networking communities without having to input all of your company information over and over again.

4. Facebook is a poor place to buy advertising space unless you are selling to a specific demographic within the community. But Facebook is a great place to create events and activities and attract fans and new customers.

5. Facebook is free. That's hard not to like.