Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why Focusing on SEO is Not Enough

We have been talking about Web site conversion on our last couple of BLOG entries. I just want to emphasis again, that if you’re just focusing on SEO and getting traffic to your site you’re missing the boat. Traffic is great. Don’t get me wrong on that, but what is your traffic doing on your site is a question you should be asking.

Many may think that more traffic to your site means more sales. Yes, that is true. There is a direct correlation to site traffic and results, but what would it mean to you if you got more results first from the traffic you have now?

Look at our July 27th entry and you’ll see how we explained that if you could increase your site conversion ratio by 1% you could increase profits by 160%! Before you spend a dime more on SEO or Adwords first take a look at the performance of your site.

What should you look at? That’s a good question. We have clients that many times want to review their site statistics on their own. We encourage everyone to be actively involved with their own site, but many times we find that most people have no idea what they are looking at when it comes to site statistics. Who can blame them when many stat programs can produce hundreds of reports?

Let’s first consider some simple things. First, what are you trying to accomplish? That’s different for everyone and the type of site you have. We take a look at for now, a lead generation site.

Most lead generation sites have some type of Contact Us form. We’ll start with that page. Find out how many unique visitors you have on your site in one month. Eventually, you should know how your reporting tool counts unique visitors but we’re going to keep it simple right now. Keep in mind that we are going to consider trends over all. Don’t get too hung-up. Trends can tell you a lot of information and it’s a good place to start for beginners.

Next, look at how many unique visitors came to your Contact Us form page in the same month. That number is your first conversion number. Let’s say you get 1,500 visitors to your site in one month. Of the 1,500 unique visitors 120 come to your Contact Us form page.

To get your conversion rate take 120 divided by 1500 and you will get 0.08. So your conversion ratio for the page is 8%. That sounds pretty good. But let’s look a little closer at that number and what is going on.

Next, let’s see how many people completed the form. Depending on your statistical package the only way you may know this number is to look at your responses in your database or email – however your form is programmed. We’ll say that you have 30 responses.

What is conversion ratio now?

From visitors on the page to completed form your conversion ratio is 25% (30/120= .25). That looks great, doesn’t it?

What is your conversion ratio from site visitors to complete form? That is only 2% (30/1500= 0.02).

The questions you should be asking include:

How many people started to complete the form but didn’t finish it?
If they started the form and abandoned it, where in the form did they stop?
Why didn’t more people complete the form?
How do I get more people to complete the form?
How do I get more people to the form page?
Are the people filling out the form quality leads?
Where are the people that complete the form coming from? How did they find out about the site? How often did they come to the site prior to completing the form? What else did they look at?

Those are all good questions and I’m sure you can think of more questions. Let’s consider the first question. How many people started to complete the form but didn’t finish it?

I’m always surprised when people don’t think to ask this question. In fact, I have clients tell me, at first, that if site visitors are interested in the product they’ll complete the form. They’re thinking that the only reason someone didn’t complete the form is because they don’t have an immediate need.

Well that may be part of it. Then I ask them this question: How many sites have you been on where you are highly interested in the product or service and for some reason didn’t complete the form or stopped in the middle of it. Everyone I’ve talked has abandoned a Contact Us form for one reason or another even when they were highly interested in the product or service.

You may not have the tools or program that can tell you where in the form a site visitor stopped. Depending on what you’re selling and how important a lead is to you, getting that information may be extremely valuable to you. Most sites do not have the capability of giving you that information but there are other ways to find out the pit falls of your form.

If you don’t have tools that can tell you where on the form someone stopped you might want to try a usability study on the form. You may think your form is simple enough to complete and anyone that can read can complete the form, so why take time and money to test it? You’ll be surprised at how little changes on your form can make a big impact on results. Read our February 14th entry on We Value Your Privacy. You can see how changing a few words increased conversion on a form by over 250%

Next we’ll talk about how to improve this conversion ratio and what a lead means to you in dollars.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Website Conversion - What is it costing you?

In converting Website visitors to leads/sales, etc. let’s first look at what an increase in conversion could mean to your bottom line.

This information is on our Website under Website Conversion, but we feel it is so important to understand we are going to address it here.

Below is the site production numbers for Sample Site A & B :

Average monthly unique site visitors: 1,500
Average monthly marketing cost for site: $500.00
Average monthly number of customers: 30
Average total purchase per customer: $50.00
Average gross profit margin 50%

Monthly revenue is calculated by:

# of customers x dollar amount of average total purchase per customer
= Monthly revenue in dollars

Gross Profit is calculated by:
(Monthly revenue minus gross margin) minus marketing expenses
= monthly gross profit (profit before fixed overhead)

Sample Site A has a 2% conversion ratio which yields
$250.00 gross profit

30 x $50.00 = $1,500.00 monthly revenue
( $1,500 - 50% profit margin)-500 = $250.00 gross profit

Sample Site B has a 3% conversion ratio which yields
$650.00 a month of gross profit:
1500 site visitors x 3% conversion ratio = 45 customers
45 x $50.00 (average purchase)= $2,250.00 monthly revenue

Profit ($2,250 - 50% profit margin) - $500 = ($1125) - $500 = $650.00 gross profit

That is a 160% increase in profit by increasing your conversion by only 1%

You can plug your own numbers if you know what they are. For many people the first place they need to start is finding out what their traffic is on their site.

Next we’ll talk about looking at some of your site statistics and what they mean in relationship to your conversion and marketing.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What is Website Conversion and Should You Care?

For years now experts in Internet marketing have been talking about Website conversion, but the message does not seem to be getting through many marketers. Any marketing manager or director I’ve talked to is very familiar with offline marketing conversion. They seem to fully understand conversion when it comes to their print, radio, TV advertising but they somehow miss the connection when it comes to the Internet.

Website conversion means measuring, monitoring and converting site visitors into leads, customers or clients. You want to convert people on your site from just visiting to take the desired action. For example, if you have 5000 visitors to your site in one month and 5 visitors complete your inquiry form you have a conversion of .1%. Divide your number of results, in this case completing a form, by the number of unique visitors.

Why should you care about this? Why not just get more traffic? Maybe the other 4995 people in the above scenario just weren’t interested.

Well, perhaps the other 4995 unique visitors somehow came on your site and found it wasn’t what they wanted and left. Perhaps the visitors are interested in your product or service but didn’t want to complete your form, couldn’t find the form or got lost, frustrated, or confused on your site.

Do you really want to spend more money to get more people to your site until you first find out if your conversion ratio is at its optimal level? If people are leaving your site because they are confused, or lost wouldn't you want to correct those issues? What if site visitors start to complete your form or buy your product and then stopped? Wouldn’t it be better if you first corrected that before you spent more money to have more people fall through the holes? Would you want to at least find out if you have that problem?

Tomorrow we’ll address what your current conversion rate is costing you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mobile Marketing Survey

If you've subscribed to our newsletter, you will receive a link to our newest survey on Mobile Marketing. There are only a few questions so it won't take long to complete.

The best thing about the survey is that your name will be entered into a drawing to win a free mobile webcam.

If you haven't signed-up for our newsletter you can click below to take the survey and enter the drawing for the mobile Webcam.

Click here to take our mobile marketing survey.

The survey will be closed on August 5th. Winners of the mobile marketing survey drawing will be notified by email and announced in our August newsletter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

ePlus Marketing Hires New Marketing & Sales Assistant

We're proud to announce that ePlus Marketing has hired Ari Fefferman as an Internet Marketing and Sales Assistant.

Ari is joing the staff to help us with our search engine optimization and marketing projects as well as assist with some of our sales projects.

Read our press release on our newest member to ePlus Marketing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Search Engine Decoder

Early this year in our newsletter we posted a link to a site that is called the Search Engine Decoder. It's a great tool that allows you to see how all the various search engines are related.

Several people have asked us to post the URL of the decoder again so here it is:

We often use this site to illustrate to our clients various aspects of the relationships of the search engines. For example, this tool will without a doubt show you how important registering with dmoz is to your site.

Once you're on the site just click on the dmoz button and you'll hsee how many search engines pull information from dmoz.

Have fun with the site.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Free Whitepaper on Culturally Customized Websites

We've added a free whitepaper download to our site about culturally customizing a Website.

If you're marketing to an international audience and have only translated your Website you may have found that your conversation rates could improve. Customizing the site to fit your target audience's culture will improve the site's proformance.

Highlights of the paper:
•Consumers take action and make decisions based on culture
•Web sites that are congruent to a target audience’s culture are more successful
•The five cultural values that that contribute to a site’s customization

Download the paper Culturally Customized Websites by by Dr. Pereira

Monday, May 28, 2007

Avoid the Most Costly Internet Marketing Blunder

Of all the aspects of Internet Marketing what is one of the least expensive items to buy, but could be one of the most expensive to replace? It may have cost you less than $10.00 to get, but just think what your domain name means to your company. It’s on everything from your business cards to your invoices. It’s on promotional items, trucks, letterhead, and on all your emails. Now think of all the money, and time you spent promoting your URL and getting it ranked in search engines. Imagine the cost if you had to start all over because you lost your domain name.

If you think it can’t happen to you think again. Years seem to fly by and you may have registered your domain name for a two or three year period, so you don’t worry about when it expires. You may also have a false sense of security because you feel that the company you bought the domain name from will inform you. You’re right, the company will inform you, but it is not fool proof.

Keep in mind, depending on which company you used, if their main business is registering domains they probably don’t care if your domain expires. Many of these companies have backorder options. Backorder options gives someone the ability to backorder your domain so the very second your domain expires it is registered with the person that backordered it. It may not seem legal, but it is.

In addition, the company that backordered your name can be kept anonymous – even if they end up with your name. Your name can be sold to someone else that may never use it and you may never be able to find out who has it. Just think about it. An unethical competitor can backorder your domain name and if you are not careful they can own it and sit on it just to keep you from having it. Or they can try to turn around and sell it to you for thousands of dollars and it’s all legal. Not ethical, but legal.

When you registered your domain name you most likely included your contact information, but has that changed? Is the email address still valid and do you check it often? If you’re like me, you probably receive hundreds of emails a day and many go straight into your spam folder and get lost. You should not expect the company that you registered your domain name with to call you. They won’t.

Each year you should check the status of your domain name. Have some sort of system to remind you such as a tickler file or an email alert. When you check on your domain name you may want to check to see if there are other domain extensions available such as .net or .mobi. You may not want to use these names right now, but they are inexpensive, so it’s worth buying them.

Be sure to register your domain name with a reliable company. Also, make it easy on yourself and consider registering it with your hosting company. Our hosting company’s main business is hosting. Registering domain names is a value added service. It may cost a few dollars more to register the domain name with them, but the convenience of having all the information at one location is extremely valuable. We are able to go into our hosting account information and on the dash board see when the domain names expire.

Your domain name is a valuable asset to your company. The age of a domain name also plays into rankings for search engines. Just image if you lost your domain name and everything you will have to do to change it or the cost of trying to get it back. Consider the cost of reprogramming your site, reprinting everything that has your domain name and not to mention any online ads you have running. Losing your domain name will cost you thousands of dollars and could be the most costly Internet marketing blunder you make.

Friday, May 25, 2007

ePlus Marketing Hires New Office Manager

We are excited to annouce that Kay Bloss will be joining our team as office manager. Kay has over 25 years experience and brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to our office.

For sometime we have been in need of an experienced office manager who can help run the day to day operations of our busy office. Kay hit the ground running and has been a tremendous value to us and our clients.

Read more about Kay in our press release: Internet Marketing firm Hires Office Manager.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Search Engine Optimization Tool

We love gadgets and tools, especially when the involve marketing and Internet marketing.

Here's a tool we found that can be used to compare different websites to each other on ranked pages while comparing them to yours.

You'll be able to see what competitors are doing that you might not be doing. It's pretty easy to use. First go on Google and perform a Google search using one of your keywords. Take note of the top three or more site that out performed yours. Enter these sites and yours into the tool and you'll be to see what they are doing compared to yours.

Pretty cool, isn't it.
Just click on this link. The tool is on a site made by InterMakers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Access Denied Systems Invents Computer System to Protect Against Internal Data Theft

One of our clients, Access Denied Systems (ADS) invented a new product that will help protect companies, universities, hospitals, governments, banks, and other organizations from internal data theft. We are proud to say that we created a new site for their product.

This is a fascinating product. While working on this project we have learned a lot about internal data threats and how internal threats have surpassed external threats in number and in dollars lost. However, most companies are not focusing on this issue. Several companies over the last few years have been completely shut down due to their lack of security when it comes to internal data threats.

Since our business deals with data and the development of websites, we often see how many companies completely overlook securing their data or even more disturbing, their client’s data. While reviewing one project for a potential client we were given a disk with all of their client’s names, address, and credit card numbers. That lack of security can be the end of career or company.

This issue is something every manager and business owner should be aware of and take steps to secure their data. Access Denied Systems has a unique product that addresses this issue.

Read the press release on this story on our site and visit their Web site

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Partnership Alliance with AAA Translation

AAA Translation, Inc., a full-service translation and global business consulting company formed a partnership alliance with ePlus Marketing, LLC, an integrated Internet marketing company. The partnership will provide companies with one source for foreign language translation, Website globalization and International Internet marketing.

“This alliance benefits everyone,” stated Patricia Hughes of ePlus Marketing, the founder of the firm. Hughes explained that their services includes international Internet marketing and Web globalization. To increase their effectiveness, they need a top level firm that can provide translations for their customers. Hughes has 20 years of marketing experience and has been involved with Internet marketing for over ten years.

“We needed a partner that we can not only rely on to provide our clients with translations for marketing and Web based projects, but a company that we can seamlessly work with,” stated Hughes.

Susanne Evens, president of AAA Translation, agrees that the partnership makes perfect sense. Her firm provides a full range of professional services in over 100 languages to businesses of all sizes. Born and raised in Germany, Evens speaks five languages and has over 20 years of international communications experience.

“Many of our clients are in need of marketing services once we translate their materials. Other times we can see that they need to talk to ePlus Marketing first because their site is not internationalized or ready for translations,” stated Evens.

ePlus Marketing assists companies that wish to expand or enter into global Internet marketing. The firm has a successful track record with increasing site visits from targeted foreign countries to over 300%, as well as seeing a 250% increase of the sites’ conversion ratio (ratio of site visitors to site visitors who complete the desired action). ePlus Marketing develops Web projects that can be easily customized to the target audience’s culture and marketed to the target audience’s country.

While both companies may work with other similar firms for a variety of reasons, the partnership means that they will give each other “first pass” on project collaboration where necessary. The partnership also means that since the firm works closely together they have integrated their production process, which provides better communication and enhanced service for their clients.

“Since we have integrated our procedures, our clients can be confident that their projects will be produced with less hassle, more efficiently and with fewer errors than other companies that do not have partnership. Ultimately, that translates into cost savings for the consumer,” stated Hughes.

“AAA Translation has helped us with our international projects and continues to provide our clients with excellent translation. Susanne provides effective consultation on aspects of globalization, in addition to resources,” acknowledged Hughes.

Together the companies can help any size business develop and market Websites, email and other marketing materials to foreign countries. Through a network of established relationships, they can also make recommendations on other aspects of International trade such as shipping, International law and finance.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Email Signatures

Create standard email signatures for ALL your employees. Anyone that uses the Internet in your company should have a company standard email signature.

What’s an email signature? Did you ever notice that at the end of some emails you will see not only the email creator’s name, but their phone number, fax, number, company name, logo, Web site address, etc. It’s amazing how easy this is to do and how many companies simply over look it. Or they let everyone do their own thing.

Having the company’s contact and Web site information makes it easy for the recipient to contact you or visit your site. Making it a standard email signature improves your overall branding strategy. Check your email software. If you are using Microsoft Outlook and want to add a signature click on Tools, then Options, then Mail Format and then Signatures.

Again, make sure that everyone in your company follows the same format. Also, add a signature for reply mail which can be different than new mail. Very often the reply mail signature does not always have the same information. I strongly recommend that you at least add your phone number. It makes it very convenient for someone to call you when your phone is easy to find.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We Value Your Privacy

We value your privacy. This simple four word sentence can have a tremendous effect on your email or form conversion ratios. Be sure to have the sentence, or at least the word “privacy” linked to your privacy statement.

Use this sentence next to any email form on your site or on your contact page. Clearly and simply stating your privacy policy assures the site visitor that you will not sell, give or trade their email or personal information to a third party.
While a privacy page is standard practice for most professional site builders, lawyers usually have their hand in writing a company’s privacy policy. That results in having the privacy policy looking like a long legal document.

Using the simple sentence with a link to the privacy policy gives the site visitor assurance that you care about their privacy without having a long explanation.

For one of our client’s Web sites we added “We value your privacy” just above their email form. The sentence was linked to their privacy policy. The link was hardly used, but having that simple statement was all that was needed. The added statement increased their form’s conversion ratio by over 250%

Saturday, February 03, 2007

404 Error Page - Another Opportunity to Improve Your Site

Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact. One of the most overlooked aspects of a Web site is the 404 error page. Creating a unique 404 page is another opportunity to improve your site's performance and provide your site visitors easy access to other pages. Creating a 404 error page should be standard practice when redesigning a site.

What is a 404 error page? It’s the page you see when someone clicks on a broken link or a page that has been renamed. When that happens the site visitor will see a standard page that simply tells you the page is no longer available. It has no thrills, no other links, no branding and above all, very little helpful information.

The page usually starts off with these words:

The page cannot be found.
The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Your unique 404 error page should look like a regular page of your site. It should include your site’s header, footer and navigation bar so that the site visitor can easily click on another area of your site. The content of this unique 404 error page should contain text explaining that the page selected is no longer available along with contact information so the site visitor has the option of emailing or calling your company.

An example of our 404 error page can be found at:

You might want to check with your hosting company first to see if they allow you to create custom error pages. Just creating the page and uploading with your other page files is usually is not enough. You most likely will have to change how the error pages are handled through your hosting company. Most hosting companies have a hosting administration tool or control panel that you can use to change or upload your custom error page.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ePlus Marketing Launches New Website

The launch of our new blog coincides with the launch of our new Website. While developing our site we tested it with some of our associates and clients. One comment that came back from a majority of the “Beta version testers” was the thought that we are giving away too much information. Actually, we thought that was a good thing.

Our blog and Website is designed to share information and provide resources. The old adage “givers gain” is part of our corporate philosophy. We believe when helping others or “pay it forward” you also help yourself. It always comes back to you.

“Won’t that help the competition?” asked several site testers.

While we intend to give away information, most of it can be found in one form or another on the Web. Other information we share is through our experience.

Our true competitive edge is not just in our knowledge, but our processes, procedures, strategy, creativity, customer service, and experience. It’s the complete combination that makes our projects successful.

While the launch of our site and blog has long been in the works, the paradox of most marketing companies is that their own work suffers while they’re busy working on their client’s projects. We are excited and pleased with our new site and blog, there is plenty more in the works, so be sure to visit often.

Subscribe to our blog and visit our Web site frequently for new updates, white papers and resource information. If you are new to blogging and are not sure what it’s all about, read an article by Debbie Weil who is one of the leading experts in blogging, corporate blogs and blogs for CEOs.