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New blog design in progress. Excuse the scaffolding. This is just a short about section where you can describe yourself and your site. You'll want to keep it fairly long because there are some layout issues that arise if the area is below a certain width.

Happy Christmas from Spoiltchild

From a snow covered Co. Meath, we would like to wish all our clients and friends a very Happy Christmas. Thanks for your continued support over the past year, we really appreciate it.

Our office will be closed from December 23rd and will reopen on January 4th. As always we are available via email if you need any help or assistance info@spoiltchild.com

In the meantime, keep safe and warm and all the best for 2011!

Alan, Mary, Tracy and the Spoiltchild team.

| | 21/12/10 04:50 PM

Riverdance Online Launched

As the year draws to a close we are really delighted to announce the launch of the Riverdance online project. We worked with an amazing web team and the outcome as you can see is pretty stunning.

Spoiltchild were hired to revamp Riverdance’s online presence with a complete overhaul of their website, Facebook, Twitter and email marketing, to harness the phenomenal amount of traffic Riverdance.com achieves on a daily basis.

Our approach to the project focused on the User, the Brand and the Service by working through the customer journey (how a user moves through the site) and building a fantastic user experience.

The redesign had much to accomplish:
1. Finding tours and tickets easily
2. Allowing users as much interaction as possible
3. Displaying a vast amount of content in a user friendly way
4. Promotion and sales and
5. Social media and email marketing integration

Reviews of the new site have been pouring in and users love the new structure, layout and design. Watch out for a more detailed case study in the New Year. What do you think?

Riverdance Home

Riverdance Facebook

Riverdance Twitter

Mary

| | 21/12/10 03:16 PM

Landing Page Optimization: Sell more by spending less. Part 2

Here is part two of my landing page optimisation post. If you missed it, part one is here. I am happy to receive your comments and suggestions and thanks for your feedback so far.

To recap: A landing page is the webpage you direct traffic to from a specific email, ad or piece of marketing. Its goal is to convert that traffic into sales or sign ups.

Be Personal

When designing your landing pages the golden rule is to be personal. People like to buy from people, not computers, or websites. It’s inbuilt in all of us to relate better to other people. The more you personalise your message and offer, the more you increase the connection with your visitor. Why, because it increases their comfort and trust when buying from you. A great example is to add your phone number to your site, as Brandon Eley points out. Once a visitor realises there is a person on the other end of the phone to help, IF needed, conversions increase. The knowledge that someone is there to help is enough to reasure the user.

Likewise, if there is any way you can make your message more personal and targeted for your page visitor the better. At the most basic, you need to know where in the world they are coming from and what site or advert they are visiting from. Are they an existing customer? Do you know their name? Can you tweak your message to include these details?

Link the landing page to the advert

eircom_adwords

Here is an example of an ad for Eircom Broadband on Google. Note the wording and information contained. Yet when you click through to the landing page, pictured underneath, where is the mention of the “Value Business Bundles”?

eircom_landingpage

Repeat the Promise

You need to repeat the wording of the original ad and give a clear call to action. Repeat the wording and the graphics. It should be obvious to the visitor that they have come to the right page, with the offer they were expecting. The key point here is, you made a promise in the initial advert so you must fulfill that promise on the landing page.

Scantastic

Make sure your pages are scanable. Here is the text from the first third of an Amazon product page for Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow.

Purple cow amazon Landing Page

This amount of information should be overwhelming but Amazon didn’t become the leading online retailer by confusing and overwhelming shoppers. Here is the designed Amazon landing page for Purple Cow. What a difference.

amazon_purple_cow_design

You can see now how design and formatting of the content makes information much clearer and easier to find. This example highlights one of the misunderstandings of landing page optimisation. Your pages do not have to be short to be effective. It doesn’t even have to be that simple. Your landing page needs to be long enough, detailed enough and clear enough to make the sale. It can be 1 page or 5 pages. No one size fits all, so you will have to test what works for you.

An interesting side note regarding the addition of review on Amazon. You have probably heard how reviews increase sales. But recent data from Amazon has shown that products with both positive and negative reviews sell better then ones with positive reviews alone.

The reason attributed to this is twofold. First, we are a suspicious bunch and we don’t trust something that everyone gushes about. The second reason is that negative reviews are not necessarily bad. A bad review from a large corporate CEO might tell a small business CEO that this is the book to buy.

highrise wording1

Wording

Simple word changes can have a huge impact. 37 Signals wrote about some of the wording variations they tried on their Highrise CRM sign up page. Here are three types used with the percentage increase in conversions for each one.

Their original wording had the worst conversion rate “30-day Free Trial on All Accounts.” Variation no. 2 – “Sign-up takes less then 60 seconds. Pick a plan to get started!” gave a 30% better conversion rate. When you are attracting the level of traffic that 37Signal products do, 30% means a significant jump in revenue.

How to increase conversion with four amazing words.

highrise_signup_button

Jason Fried said that they tested various phrases on the Highrise homepage for the call-to-action button. They had originally used various permutations of “Free Trial” and “Sign-up for Free Trial”. Then they tested the phrase “See Plans and Pricing” this resulted in a 200% increase in sign-ups. That’s right. 200%.

Fried believes it’s because people are afraid if they click a link that says “Free Trial” then they’ll automatically sign up for something and be trapped. However, “See Plans and Pricing” encouraged them to explore, without the fear of commitment.

Euocottage Case Study

original_homeowner_signup

This landing page from Eurocottage highlights a common failing for websites where they ask for too much information upfront. Ask for the least amount of information and at each step and clearly explain why you need this information in the first place. Explain to the user what the benefits are by imparting this information.

Eurocottage_homeowner_signup

We redesigned this new landing page for Holiday Cottage search site Eurocottage.com. We simplified the process and gave users the information they needed to trust the sign up process. The new page is clearer and easier to use. It’s friendly and welcoming and is much more inviting to users. We are testing the new landing page at the moment. It will be interesting to see the performance rates for the new page. We will keep you posted.

Tools for testing

There are a few must have tools if you decide to try and measure and optimise your landing pages. Website Optimiser is a specific tool from Google for doing A/B and multivariate testing. If you use only one tool for testing this is it. Use Google analytics of course for basic numbers and tracking goal funnels.
5 Second test is an interesting site for checking what parts of your page people actually notice.

Be a pirate!

Pirate lpo

Be a pirate for your user! Sites like Amazon spend millions of Euro in usability and conversion tracking every year. Look at what the successful sites in your market are doing and copy them. No need to reinvent the wheel but try and make your own improvements. Landing page optimisation is not rocket science it is just a series of small simple tests. Devote an hour a week to it and track your progress.

Why bother?

You can spend 6 months building a level of traffic converting at 1% and to double that turnover, you can spend another 6 months.
Or you can simply test and tweak the landing page to convert up to 2% or 3% in a fraction of the time.

Recommended Reading

Seth Godin The Big Red Fez
Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug
Landing Page Optimization – Tim Ash
eConsultancy
Marketing Experiments
Google Website Optimizer
Which Test Won

Image above from Scurvy Pirates

| | 08/07/10 03:02 PM

We are at Web2Expo this week. Say Hi.

Myself and Mary Carty are in San Francisco this week at the Web2Expo conference. If you are around give us a shout. We love talking to new people and feel free to pick our brains about email marketing.
You can find us on twitter alanorourke and marycarty

Alan

| | 04/05/10 10:44 PM

No place for dogs

We all know the importance of a good welcome. A great example we came accross this week, is our local bistro. Lots of families walk their dogs along the strand each day but it is pretty difficult to have dinner with doggie in toe.

The bistro owner has created a beautiful outdoor area where dogs can accompany their owners. Bowls are provided for water and food and doggie do do is taken care of with the placement of special bins located far away from the tables. Other diners along the strand actively discourage dogs (and their owners). What other café’s view as a problem; this bistro has turned into a selling point. Smart, effective and makes perfect business sense.

Are you making it easy for your customers to come back to you?

Image leelefever

| | 19/03/10 05:05 PM

Save $180,000 on your next tradeshow by renting a Yacht!

Paul Hayes

The Trinity Enterprise Network invited Marketing Consultant Paul Hayes from Beachhut PR to give a talk on building an international brand. And they very nicely agreed to let me come along.

Paul was previously Marketing and Communications Director at Havok and currently works with JoltOnline among others.

Paul had some brilliant advice and war stories from his time in Havok on how they, as a start up from Trinity, had go out and sell to the leading companies in games and film. Image it seams is vital but not that difficult… or expensive.

I got a lot of great points to take away from the day and here they are in no particular order.

PR

  • Start your PR locally. Use it as your training ground to hone and practice your message before you move international.
  • With everything showing up on Google do not underestimate local press. A Wired journalist rang up Paul after a story in the Tipperary Star popped up in his alerts.
    • Develop relationships with three key Journalists and publications.

    • THE trade publication of the industry.
    • A national publication
    • One international publication.
    • Wired Magazine

    • Wired is THE publication for a technology company and it took Havok a year from initial contact to getting covered in the magazine.
    • The easiest way to get international PR is to get on a plane and go have a drink with a Journalist and start a relationship.
    • Journalists do not write for their readers first. they write for other Journalists and their editor. Remember this when pitching a story.
    • It’s easier to get coverage if you ‘promise’ to take out advertising in the future. Most trade magazines are run at a loss to maintain an audience for other business activities, events for example. So do not stress too much if you are unable to take out advertising for a long while.
    • Third paragraph PR is better for credibility. The public are very media savvy. They recognise a PR piece about a company for what it is.

      However if your opinion is mentioned in an overall industry piece it lends more credibility to you being an industry expert.

    • You are the best person to tell your story. Do not use a PR firm to be the middle man. It annoys Journalists.

    Business

    • The first sale was for $1 to get past the ‘First Customer’ credibility problem.It was a marketing deal in return for using the customer in PR, Marketing and Case studies.
    • There is value in everything you produce. Watch out for opportunities. Havok had an artwork tool to help users of their main product. 3dStudio Max wanted this for their application and it generated $18 million for Havok over 3 years.
    • Paul believes Tradeshow stands are a waste of money. Think smarter or of a ‘Meta Stand’.Instead of a stand Havok would organise wacky transport (with a bar) carrying VIPs from a tradeshow to the afters party and again at the end of the night back to their hotels. A fraction of the cost, and more memorable.Microsoft Trade Show Stand
    • One horror story in the early days of Havok involved spending half a million on a stand, intending to make a splash. They ended up wedged between Microsoft and Sony who each spent about $10 million to launch their next gen consoles. It almost broke them.
    • At a tradeshow in Calais they rented a $20k Yacht and moored it outside the event instead of spending the $200k cost of a stand inside. They also got to save costs by sleeping 8 people and eating on it as well.
    • For a tradeshow all you need is you and a laptop walking around. Just as effective.
    • In most cases you are not selling your features. What you are selling is reduced risk.Customers assume that your product works. They want to know you will be around in 3 years and will not make them look bad to their piers and boss.
    • And last was a question from the audience asking if the Trinity name helped them abroad when making contacts and selling. He said at the time no but after the very successful companies that have emerged over the years including Havok and Jolt Online it can open doors now.

    Alan

    | | 01/02/10 02:33 PM

How not to die (as a startup) BizCamp Belgium Takeaways

For my second takeaway form BizCampBe here is the presentation from cofounder of myameise.com, Paul Geurts. Paul gave an inspiring talk about his strategies for staying alive as a start up. Lots of light bulbs went off for me listening to his talk. Paul is certainly not afraid to take chances and to prioritize the big stuff. His approach is a must read for every start up CEO. Go check out Paul’s company and see the promotional video they made on a shoestring budget; impressive.

How not to die (as a start-up)

1. Know when to pay and when to hassle
2. Don’t be afraid to spend money
3. Make decisions. Don’t think I should have had …
4. Act
5. Be creative with Banks, Governments
6. Lie, just a little
7. Do what you do best
8. The press is your best friend
9. Never lie to the media
10. Never lie to users
11. Mobilize your friends
12. Invest in Pizza and Beer
13. Be good
14. Understand the Art of War
15. Never attack the walled city

Let me know what strategies you use to keep moving forward as a startup. Would you agree with Paul’s list?

Mary

Image Hadassah28 (Martha’s Vine 90% done) (CC)

| | 08/12/09 09:52 PM

Usability Resources for More Sales.

I have been doing more research into usability lately for a talk / workshop I have been giving. In the process I have assembled a collection of links that you will definitely find useful if you are running a website.

Books


The Big Red Fez by Seth Godin.
How To Make Any Web Site Better.
A really easy short book ideal for anyone starting out. Its presentation is simple, a big screen shot of a website on one page and a few lines of text on the opposite page about what works and what doesn’t.





Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug
This is the must read book for anyone serious about web usability.
Check out the video below for a better idea of the man and the topic.



Landing Page Optimization – Tim Ash
The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Website Conversions by Tim Ash.




Websites


The $300,000,000 Button
eConsultancy Tips
Marketing Experiments
Google Website Optimizer
I Am A Landing Page Designer
A Collection of Form Designs

Podcasts


Landing Page Optimization
A weekly radio show from Tim Ash (book above) on Webmaster Radio. Tips from the most prominent experts in the industry on how to improve your landing pages and conversion on your site.
iTunes link here.

Video

Steve Krug on the least you can do about usability

Usability testing is important, but you’ve got other things to do. In this video, Steve talks about informal usability testing and how the minimum of work can give you extraordinary results.

Joel Spolsky

Joel talks about how to become number one. You have clean code, usable software and decent marketing. But how do you get to the next level? Joel talks about three things you must do to go from average to awesome.

Any resources or links you can suggest? Let me know in the comments.

| | 28/11/09 02:46 PM

Golden Spider Award for Cul Green

Well done to all the winners at the Eircom Golden Spiders last night. Thanks to Irene from Rehab Bingo for bringing me along as her guest. It was fantastic to see so many of our friends and clients nominated for awards. Congratulations to Cul Green who scoped the award for Best Community & Charity Website. We were delighted to work on the Power Play game earlier this year and it was great to see it showcased last night.

The positive thing I took away was the quality and diversity of projects undertaken in Ireland over the last year, the passion and commitment to driving standards even higher and companies utilizing the internet to promote and grow their business internationally. Onward and upward then for 2010 who knows what the industry will achieve by this time next year.

See the full list of winners here. Well done to one and all.

Mary

| | 20/11/09 02:27 PM

Golden Spider Awards Tonight

As tonight is Eircom Golden Spider Awards night we want to wish all the finalists the very best of luck. We are delighted to see so many of our clients making the shortlist this year. In all 9 clients have been shortlisted for 8 awards and well deserved they are too. We are honoured to work with such amazing people this year.
Drop by and say hello to us tonight. Looking forward to it!

Mary

| | 19/11/09 11:50 AM

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