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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Waste Time With Social Media?

More and more we are being asked what is the ROI of social media and how we can drive sales from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Insert Newest Social Media Site Here?  I truly believe this is driving the wrong behavior as companies build out their social commerce strategies.  It can not be about driving instant in-session sales - it needs to be about how you use social media channels to engage with and enhance the overall customer experience. If you do this right you are taking your brand, content and platform and extending it into customers day to day lives - their social graph.

If you are not doing this first, making it easy for customers to leverage and embed your site you will be fighting a loosing battle, winning in this space is not just about one time conversions but building long term relationships.

Here is a great video that really gives you an idea of where this space is - it is the third version of Social Media Revolution (you can see #2 in the post about great brainstorming videos).  Take this video and show it to anyone who is asking the "What is the ROI?" question...

Hat tip to Victoria Hughes on the video

Friday, June 24, 2011

What is a Win When Building a World Class Website?

We often talk about wins but what really is a win?  To be a successful online business a win just can't be a big one, especially in the agile world we live in.  Celebrate the little things that move your business forward - finding a bug that is hurting the customer experience and fixing it, improving a page on your site or that test, that even though it didn't show positive results, gives a greater understanding of where to go in the future.

A few months back we stole an idea from Bazaarvoice and installed a big gong in the middle of the Site Experience team at Travelocity.  The rules are simple - when you think you have a win go hit it and share with everyone what the win was.  Today when we hear the gong everyone gathers around to share in the success, we no longer are just focusing on the home run but the little things that make a difference, our culture has changed, is more agile and focused on improvements and all because we focused and celebrated all of the wins - big or small.

A Testing Tool for Your Online Tool Chest

We always talk about leveraging the customer more in our day to day development of the user experience and, often, we spend big dollars putting together panels or usability sessions that often leave us with more questions than answers.

Bryan Eisenberg introduced me (thanks!) to a great tool - and I think that everyone - big, small, transactional, lead gen, info based and everything in-between needs to be using this tool.

The big difference with over many of the other tools in the usability space is that it will give you and your team incredible flexibility - we are often using it to test out a new feature or idea so that we can focus on micro conversions or experiences vs site wide interactions.  The other big advantage is that you can use this to understand upper funnel behavior as well as very specific interactions with media (for example Google search) as you are limited only by the story and where you want to start the tester (which can also be a blank screen).

Pricing starts at $39 for a test so you have no excuses tomorrow when you are talking about improving the user experience and don`t know where to start.  There is no better way to get to a level of understanding what their needs are and the roadblocks they are experiencing than actually watching them interact.  So get testing!