Do Your Thank You Pages Say Enough?

Website conversions are a big deal and we sometimes don’t think about the actions that can take place afterwards. Thank you pages are a big missed opportunity that require very little effort with potentially big payoffs. Simply sending users to a blank “Thank you, your form was submitted” page isn’t useful. That space can be used for many different things. Here are 5 things you shouldn’t forget about your thank you page:

thank-you-page

1) Conversion Code – Whether it’s a thank you page for a form submission, download, sign-up or purchase, it’s important to add the appropriate conversion code. Especially if you’re running a paid search campaign or using third party analytics. Don’t forget to add your conversion code! This is the first MUST-DO on a thank you page.

2) Video – Instead of just a plain, boring “Thank You”, why not add a thank you video? Videos are an easy and personal way to reach out to your customers. In a few seconds, a video can be used to thank visitors and assure them that they will hear back from you soon (if they submitted a form). A video can be used to tell users what to expect after their conversion. If you need help or ideas, view more our our videos here: http://vimeo.com/emarketed

3) Related Products – For e-commerce sites, a thank you page is prime real estate for additional products. You can also give users a sneak preview of related products they can expect to see in the future. This is helpful for online clothing retailers or a site where customers would make consistent purchases. Use seasonal and buyer trends to introduce new products, even after they’ve already made a purchase.

4) Sharing is Caring – Coupons and sharing incentives are key. People love sharing good deals with their friends, especially if they get compensated for it. A thank you page can be used to remind customers that if they invite a friend who signs up, they’ll get X amount off on their next purchase. Similarly, you can incentivize customers to spend, let’s say $100, and get $15 back to send to a friend. These are deals that will keep them coming back, even after the conversion is made.

5) Social Profiles and Reviews – A thank you screen can also take users to all your social profiles and review sites. Although most sites discourage explicitly asking for reviews, you can subtlety urge them to visit all your social and review sites.

Don’t take thank you pages for granted again. There is much you can do to keep users on the site for longer, interested in your business and happy overall!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Do’s & Don’ts of Adding Client Reviews to Your Website

Potential clients will likely to look up reviews and testimonials for your company before choosing to do business with you. It’s getting easier for customers to find what they’re looking for as local review sites often dominate the first page in a search for your business name. Reviews are important for local businesses, such as restaurant and bars. Think about it, would you want to dine at a place that has terrible reviews for food and/or service? Reviews do us all a service and highlight the good as well as the bad.

Regardless of your industry, adding customer reviews to your website will help boost your business’ credibility and trust. But there are a few things to remember:

add customer reviews to your site

Don’t: Add generic reviews or endorsements. Although something short and simple like “They did a good job!” or “Great customer service” sounds good, it’s not the right type of reviews you want to add to your website. This type of user-generated content doesn’t add any value to your site or benefit for readers. It’s basically fodder to fluff your ego up because you don’t have any testimonials with substance to showcase.
Do: Add the client review along with your own summary or background on the situation/transaction. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all industries but for service-oriented businesses, it’s important to tell the story of a certain client you’ve been working with, how they were before they came to you and what your company did to fix the problem and present a clear solution. Think of this in terms of case results, white papers or case studies.

Don’t: Copy and paste reviews from other sources and put them on your site. This presents a duplicate content issue, even if it is for your own business but on a third party site.
Google especially doesn’t like it when you copy your own Google Reviews to highlight on your site. They often deal with it by deleting the review from your Google listing.
Do: Showcase good reviews in an SEO and user friendly way. If there really is a review that is worthwhile that you would like to highlight on your site, you can present it in an image (to avoid duplicate content issues) and link to the original source. This way, potential customers can view the review as well as go to the third party source where it’s located. You can gain credibility going this route because it shows that you’re not just pulling reviews out of thin air but that the testimonials are actually legitimate.
Another option to showcasing Google Reviews, while avoiding duplicate content issues that could lead to the actual reviews to be deleted, is to share them in email newsletters.

Don’t: Gather reviews on your website and off-site all at once. While this seems like the most logical and easiest way to gather reviews, it can seem unnatural. If you’re adding a lot of content to your site, it’s better to spread it out over a certain amount of time. When you ask customers for reviews on third party sites, a sudden surge could cause the reviews to be filtered because the pattern seems unnatural.
Do: Spread out your testimonial requests and posts. Instead, you might want to highlight a few good reviews on your website per quarter or season. When you have some good user reviews to present, it’s more useful to present it in a meaningful way that makes sense. For example, it would make sense for an e-commerce store to highlight reviews for fall or winter items when they are in season.

Don’t: Post fake reviews or testimonials for other businesses. Not only does this pose a moral issue, but legally, you can get in a ton of trouble. Recently 19 businesses in New York were busted by the Attorney General. You can check out the entire list here and warning, it does contact some sketchy SEO and internet marketing companies!
Do: Think about testimonial quality over quantity. If your business is small or new, it wouldn’t make sense to fake reviews for the sake of having more, seemingly good reviews.  Trust me, you’re not fooling anyone! Good reviews and customer relationships grow over time and it’s something that you will have to be patient with. Taking the short cut of faking or buying reviews isn’t worth it in the long run.

For a business, good reviews can be a goldmine while bad reviews can certainly lead to a downfall. The best thing about adding real reviews to your website is that you can highlight the positive and build up your reputation from there.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How to Ask Customers for Reviews

Just the thought that customers can leave public reviews for your business can be downright nerve-racking. But in today’s online marketing world, reviews are becoming a more important part of your business’ web presence. Just take a look at our previous post to see how search engines are putting more weight on customer reviews.

Here are a few ways you can ask for more customer reviews:

1) Ask your customers: Do it the old-fashioned way and ask for a review. Check out this example of how you can guide customers to leave a review. All it takes is a small card with easy-to-follow instructions.

A follow-up email will also suffice and you’ll probably see this a lot with e-commerce stores and online retailers who ask for your review of a product a few days after you’ve received the item.

2) Don’t ask your customers: Contradictory to our last piece of advice, it might be a good idea to not directly ask customers for advice. Read it here on Yelp’s official blog.

Instead, you might want to use language that seems less desperate and aggressive than, “PLEASE LEAVE US A GOOD REVIEW, NOW!!!”. Ask Yelp suggests, you can instead ask customers to “visit”, “find”, or “check out” your business on the review site.

This depends on which review site you’re using, as most discourage explicitly asking for good reviews. But reviews are a good way to showcase user-generated content on your website.

3) Make it easy for customers to find your listings on review sites: It’s a good idea to have one location on your website where customers can find all the official listings to your business.

This can help businesses that have multiple listings, unofficial/unclaimed listings and listings with incorrect information. The last thing you want to have is a good review on the wrong listing.

4) Give customers a template to fill out:: While online review sites might have strict policies for filtering reviews, you can still use good ones to your advantage by putting them on your website.

You can send customers some questions to fill out such as: what did you think of our service? how did you find out business? what are some things we can improve on? and would you recommend us to family and friends? This information can be used internally to improve your service and customer relations.

Customers and clients may also send thank you cards or notes and you can always use them on your website, with permission of course! Showcasing hand-written notes is a creative and easy way to showcase your business’ personal side.

The thought of customer reviews can be scary. But you’re hurting your business if you’re putting off the process and making it more difficult for customers to leave a review. Make sure to comment and let us know what you think or continue this conversation on Facebook!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Mid-May Marketing Recap & SEO News

SEO
Matt Cutt says, “Pretty much every SEO should watch this video…(unless you prefer surprises)”. Watch it now!

Social
Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief executive Mike Jeffries speaks candidly: “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Talk about a social media fail and PR flop!

Local
1.1 million local businesses have claimed their profiles on Yelp. The company said that this is an astounding 58% increase from the first quarter of 2012. Read more here.

Mobile Search
Straight from Inside AdWords, shoppers who use mobile more are more likely to spend more in store.

Have any other stories that caught your eye so far this month? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Quotes to Make You Think About Your Online Reputation

A recent article by VentureBeat found that Amazon is in the business of deleting negative reviews… but only for their own shipping service. Although this might seem like a convenient way to deal with bad reviews, there are more consequences to think about. Check out these 10 quotes on the importance of maintaining a good reputation:

1. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
Warren Buffett

2. A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.
Baltasar Gracian

3. Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
George Washington

4. Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.
Elizabeth Arden

5. Ones reputation is like a shadow, it is gigantic when it precedes you, and a pigmy in proportion when it follows.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

6. Build your reputation by helping other people build theirs.
Anthony J. D’Angelo

7. Unfortunately, your reputation often rests not on your ability to do what you say, but rather on your ability to do what people expect.
Bryant H. McGill

8. A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment.
Ernest Bramah

9. There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast.
Brian Koslow

10. Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Abraham Lincoln

Make sure to also read our related posts:
What We Can Learn About Taking Criticism & Reputation Management
Why You Should Never Immediately Delete a Negative Comment
Managing Your Online Reputation

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Building Authority and Trust with Testimonials

testimonialsWhat’s the big deal with testimonials? As a small business, it’s important to recognize that potential customers place a lot of weight on reviews and that they are becoming increasingly influential. Testimonials can make or break your business’ credibility. In fact, a study from earlier this year shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Many small business owners fear customer reviews, especially sites like Yelp or Citysearch where customers can “bomb” their listing with bad reviews. There are aspects of reviews you can’t completely control, but it’s important that you monitor your online reputation and respond in a timely and sincere manner. Reviews are important to customers because it helps them determine if the business is reputable and trustworthy. Here are 4 easy steps you can take to buildup and showcase positive testimonials:

Make it Easy for Customers to Review and Leave Feedback
This is where an easy to access Testimonials page on your site can help. You are in complete control of this content and you can also add success stories, effective case results and other content to supplement positive customer experiences. It can also be as easy as leaving a Leave Feedback button or dedicated space on your site.
Some businesses even post links to all their listings to make it easier for customers to find. For example, have a page with links to your Google + Business/Bing/Yahoo local page, Yelp, Super Pages, Kudzu listings and more. That way, customers don’t have to go digging around to leave reviews and leave them in the appropriate place.

Asking for Reviews
If your business is lacking online reviews, it doesn’t hurt to ask recent clients for an honest review. The key here is to ask them for a testimonial and not to push the fact that you are expecting a “good” review from them. Make your customers feel important and let them know that you will take their questions and concerns into consideration. You can make it convenient by showing customers links to your Google Places page, Yelp page, and other reputable review sites.

Send a Form for Testimonials
After a project is completed, you can also e-mail clients a generic form to fill out. This eliminates the hassle of asking them to sign up for review sites in order to leave a review for your business. These reviews can be placed throughout your site and expanded on through Case Results, press releases and even blog posts.

Implement Microformats to Highlight Positive Reviews

Have you been noticing 5 star reviews (not related to review sites) like this showing up? This snippet makes a big impact if you’re on the first page for competitive keywords and will help bring in more clicks. Learn more about how you can easily implement that on your own site here.

Add Video Testimonials
Adding videos of actual customer testimonials is an easy way to add a personable touch to your website. It’s one thing to talk about yourself and the effectiveness of your business, but testimonials from a real-life client brings that trust to a whole ‘nother level. Learn more about video marketing for your business here.

For some businesses, gathering and monitoring reviews may seem like an afterthought that takes up too much time. Remember, it is the little things such as this that will help build credibility and trust which will help bring in more conversions and that’s what matters.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What We Can Learn About Taking Criticism & Reputation Management

Sometimes, the blogosphere feels like a small place that is relaxed and almost too casual. As a regular reader/blogger you might feel the need to respond immediately to criticism. But as a owner or manager, you have to think about how your words will reflect upon your brand or company that you represent. There is no exact science in how you should respond to “negative” comments you come across and there might not even be a need to respond sometimes.

What brings me to this point is some comments in this article about ranking decreases on Search Engine Journal. (Interesting and valuable read, I might add.) A self-proclaimed SEO at JCPenney made some comments and you can read them for yourself – was this really necessary over 1 year after the “event” had taken place. I know this wasn’t an official statement but it seemed off-putting to me. For those of you who are fuzzy about JCPenney’s run in with Google’s penalization, this may refresh your memory.

Anyways, here are some takeaways from that are inspired by this dialogue and others like it:

1) Don’t appear so defensive – This is something that we all see so often. Many people feel the need to come out with fists flying and like they are so offended that they have to put up a defensive barrier. Even though a timely response is seen as a good thing, it doesn’t help to post an emotionally charged response without thinking things through. This might be ok for flame wars or YouTube comments but not if you’re representing or associated with a company. What’s even worse… immediately deleting a negative comment.

2) Don’t change the subject and bringing up other irrelevant topics – Another thing that is common is to try to shift the focus and somehow turn the blame on the comment/commenter. When this occurs, with especially a valid point, it makes your company seem less credible and trustworthy. This reminds me of a client who got a negative comment and responded by shifting the blame on a name mix-up! As in… “It wasn’t us! It was someone who went by a similar name who happens to be in the same area…” Regardless of the situation, it’s important to present a calm response and take the conversation off a public forum. Reputation management should not consist of the blame game or being so eager to teach a lesson to people who don’t agree with you.

3) Don’t not provide a solution – One thing I don’t get is when responses don’t provide a solution. While you could go back and forth on criticism made, it doesn’t help to bring up the past and not show what you are doing to improve the situation. This is what effective reputation management is all about, going forward and focusing on the good that the company can provide.

4) Be positive and useful – Sometimes, things just come across more cold and unfriendly in text. This isn’t to say that you should be overly enthusiastic but you should be mindful of how your responses are read and if it’s easy for an angry or sarcastic tone can be applied to what you wrote. If someone has an opposing view, you can respond with your side of the story and facts to back it up. It’s not as simple as just telling them that they are wrong or that they don’t know the whole story without presenting any credible proof – especially if you’re focused on maintaining a company’s integrity and image after a mishap.

This post isn’t about ragging on jcp, as it’s just small example of many situations. It’s a difficult position to be in to respond to negative comments and we can all learn from these and be prepared. If you have any other thoughts on responding to negative comments and such, it would be great to hear it.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Web Hosting Solutions for Small Businesses

Website hosting is an important but often overlooked step when preparing a new site. Whereas some may think to find the “cheapest” option available, it helps in the long run to choose a company that can accommodate your business needs. Cheap is cheap and you get what you pay for in web hosting. That doesn’t mean that you have to pay a monthly fortune… but instead, be more aware of the options you have and the ones you should look for:

Reliable servers – Does the company have a good track record? Search the company name + reviews to find out what other customers have to say. When your site is hosted on an unreliable server, your site may go down. Your site could even be hacked and injected with virus – not a fun thing to deal with or explain to clients!

Watch out for hidden fees – While some companies offer a low upfront fee, they may try to tack on additional costs when you need something else. For example, fees for email, website backup, and fees to transfer a domain – which is something that should commonly be included in the price you initially pay.

Customer service that’s readily available – Nothing’s worse than seeing that your website is down and having no one to help you out. Let’s say you sell jewelery online and your site is down during peak-Valentine’s Day buying hours. During this precious time lost, you will be losing potential customers and there’s nothing that you can do to make it up, except prepare for precautions in the first place. In a more serious scenario, imagine that the company operates on limited hours and is not open during the weekends. Who will be there to help you when you need assistance? Can your business really afford to wait?

Flexible options – All small businesses are not alike and understandably so, you should have a variety of different hosting options. Make sure that you don’t get locked into something that you don’t understand clearly and that there is room for upgrades or downgrades, if necessary.

Here are some helpful resources to check out before you choose a web host. And if you need the opinion of a website marketing firm, we’re always here to help!

10 Worst Web Hosting Providers as rated by About.com readers
Website Hosting Buying Guide by CNET
Web Hosting Reviews – 7052 Web Hosting User Reviews

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Seasons Greetings!

merry christmas
The Emarketed team wishes you a very Merry Christmas! Celebrate, relax and have a good time with your family and loved ones!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.