Businesses and Nonprofits Map Their Social Media Marketing Strategy

By: Erica Scaife

Dana VanDen Heuvel, founder of MarketingSavant and a nationally recognized digital marketing expert, guided attendees through the process of mapping out their social media marketing strategy on October 20, 2009, at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, PA.  

One of the most beneficial aspects of these workshops, entitled Mapping Out Your Social Media Marketing Strategy, is that they were divided into two half-day sessions – a morning session for business marketers and an afternoon session for nonprofit marketers.  Numerous workshop attendees expressed their appreciation that the eMarketing Learning Center and the Nonprofit Partnership worked together to bring VanDen Heuvel in for two industry-specific sessions.  This was important because businesses and nonprofits have substantially different marketing goals and face unique marketing challenges.  For instance, while businesses and nonprofits may have a common goal of building interest and awareness, businesses may focus more on generating leads and driving sales, whereas nonprofits may focus more on recruiting and mobilizing volunteers, promoting advocacy and building donor relationships.  Since the workshops were divided, attendees were able to focus on the needs of their industry and learn from the challenges and successes their peers have faced throughout their social media marketing efforts. 

Social media is an emerging channel that is still surrounded by some mystery, leaving many marketers hesitant to jump into the social media landscape.  However, with a combined 150 attendees at either the business or nonprofit session, it is apparent that marketers are realizing the bottom line about social media – your customers and constituents are there, whether you are or not, and they’re talking about you!  Don’t you want to join the conversation?

But first things first.  As the presenter, Dana VanDen Heuvel, has put it, “What the ‘tweet’ is social media?”

What the ‘tweet’ is social media?

Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio (  Or as VanDen Heuvel more simply explains, “Social media is people having conversations online.” 

Early on in the workshop, Dana reminded the attendees that social media isn’t just about the tools and technologies you use; it’s really about a change in people’s expectations.  The traditional purchase funnel focuses on the marketer-generated stages of consumer and constituent awareness, consideration and purchase.  In today’s socially savvy world, however, that purchase funnel has evolved into a feedback cycle.  While this feedback cycle still begins with the marketer-generated stages above, it also recognizes consumer-generated stages – use, form opinion and talk.  Social media has transformed this process, and therefore, the way in which businesses and organizations market themselves.

A survey of frequent online social network users revealed that 30% trust the opinions of their peers when making a major purchase decision, while only 10% trust advertising (eMarketer).  These people are finding their peers opinions online, which means you should be hanging out in the same places as your customers and constituents, a point stressed by VanDen Heuvel.  And social media marketing is producing results in companies that are engaged.  According to a study by Altimiter ENGAGEMENTdb, socially engaged companies are, in fact, more financially successful.  You should realize, however, that these companies do not merely have a presence on social media, they are deeply engaged. 

Social Thinking

Throughout the workshop, VanDen Heuvel encouraged attendees to re-think their marketing strategy from a social media standpoint with a number of exercises and activities.  First, what are your company’s or organization’s touchpoints?  Touchpoints, as Dana explained, can be viewed in several ways:

1)      Functional – What does your company or organization do that is going to generate positive conversation?

2)      Customer – What is of value to your customer?

3)      Channel – How can you replicate your constituent’s good experience over multiple social media channels?

Next, how can you tell if your social media marketing is producing results?

In his presentation, Dana referenced a quote from Lord Leverhuime, founder of Unilever:  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted.  The problem is I do not know which half.”

This is not the case in social media, according to VanDen Heuvel.  In social media everything can be tracked; it may take some work, but it can be done.  He went on to explain that there are three measurement points in social media:

 1) Social media listening – tracking and monitoring your customers’ and constituent’s online conversations

2) Web analytics – help you determine the relevance of your social media content

3) Pipeline metrics – help you determine the impact of your social media efforts

VanDen Heuvel warns, however, that not all metrics are meaningful; some are meaningless UNTIL you do something with them.  For example, having 300 Facebook fans is a meaningless metric unless those fans are contributing something to your social media efforts, like posting content or starting conversations.  “Social media,” VanDen Heuvel states, “is not just about bringing in people as fans.  It’s also about building deep connections and relationships with those people.” 

Finally, Dana concluded the first part of his presentation with a breakdown of social media channels.  Social media is broken down into three main channels:

1)      Social content – includes blogs, microblogs, photos, audio and videos

2)      Social platforms – include white-label social networks, wikis and branded social networks

3)      Social interactions – include event calendars, email, status updates, SMS and text messages

Without getting into specific tools, these are the channels by which you actively listen to your customers and constituents.  What does it mean to actively listen?  In the words of Rohit Bhargava, author of Personality Not Included, “[Active listening is] more than just listening or monitoring, it’s actually engaging in a dialogue with your customers.”

Through this process of re-thinking their marketing strategy from a social media standpoint, attendees had the opportunity to share their social media experiences with the rest of the group.  For example, in the business session, Triple Nickel, a local manufacturer, shared that they are known for their fast response times and easy exchanges.  They frequently receive emails about this touchpoint, but they have not yet been able to bring it into the social media landscape.  Deborah Vanhanian, the owner of Glass Growers Gallery, a local art gallery, prides herself that knowledge of art is one of their strongest touchpoints.  This however, is not translating well in person and she is hoping to further her position as an expert through social media.  In the nonprofit session, the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation discussed how they are already leveraging social media and how they could use social media to better and more effectively pass along their message that “cancer touches everyone.” 

This process and the interactive format of these sessions was very helpful in facilitating participants ability to learn from the successes, struggles, ideas and thoughts of their peers regarding social media marketing. 

Mapping Out Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

In the second half of the workshop, Dana took attendees through the process of building their social media marketing plan.  When mapping out your plan, VanDen Heuvel identified eight elements that you need to address:

1)      Objectives

2)      Target audience

3)      Integration

4)      Culture change

5)      Capacity

6)      Tools and tactics

7)      Measurement

8)      Experiment

Start by focusing on just two or three objectives for your social media marketing efforts.  Try to make these objectives “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based) and ask yourself how they can be supported through social media.

A few things to consider when analyzing your target audience include:  What do they know about you?  What do you want them to know about you?  Where are they – what social media tools and channels are they already using?

When considering how to integrate your social media efforts with your overall marketing strategy, think about all the online and offline channels and components you can integrate into your overall marketing strategy.  For instance, the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, mentioned above, was recently featured on 60 Minutes.  They used their Facebook page as one venue to spread the word and generate buzz about their nationally broadcast story.

The last several considerations are important, but not quite as critical as the first three points, said VanDen Heuvel.  Take some time to think about the capacity of your organization and who is going to implement the organization’s social media strategy.  This becomes especially important in small-medium sized organizations where time, resources and personnel may be scarce. 

When deciding on which social media tools and tactics will best reach your target audience and help you accomplish your objectives, VanDen Heuvel stressed that success lies in starting with ONE tool.  Companies that try to start by using a number of social media tools at once are the companies and organizations that often fail in their social media endeavors.    

Finally, experiment with social media!  As mentioned, it is still a new field.  “There are no ‘experts’ in this space,” VanDen Heuvel concluded, “we’re ALL still learning right now.”

The Takeaways

As an attendee at both the business and nonprofit sessions, it was interesting to see the differences in reactions between the two groups.  Overall, both business marketers and nonprofit marketers are eager to learn about this emerging field.  They’re seeing social media constantly and are being told it’s the way to go for marketing their business in today’s socially savvy world.  In addition to their obvious interest in social media marketing, both groups expressed concerns about the topic as well.  In the business session, a new tool, Google Sidewiki, was brought up by an attendee.  This tool, once downloaded, allows you to view comments about any Web site on the actual Web site itself, not some distant page.  This raised a great deal of concern among the attendees in this session because of the lack of control you have over the comments posted using this tool.


Dana VanDen Heuvel shares his thoughts on Google Sidewiki and the social media marketing workshops

The concerns in the nonprofit session focused more on how to effectively utilize social media marketing when working with little time and few resources and personnel.  It can be done, however, and it’s important that it be done – especially for nonprofits because of their specific marketing challenges and needs.  Social media marketing offers a cost-effective strategy which can return substantial results.

Robert Wooler, director of the Nonprofit Partnership, discusses why social media marketing is important to nonprofits

Overall, it was an enlightening and interesting day.  Everyone at the workshops walked away with something of value – whether it was new knowledge, ideas or tools for social media, an inspiring story about one of their peers using social media or a plan for implementing social media in their business or organization.  Remember, social media is new and it’s changing every day.  So explore new ways to use it in your business or organization, experiment with different social media tools and technologies and engage in social media yourself.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts on the workshop or on social media in general by leaving us a comment.


Research makes compelling argument for the importance of educating small business owners about the online channel

Small Business Not Keeping Up With Online Presence

Research from Research Brief column on MediaPost

According to research from Webvisible and Nielsen, reported by Marketing Charts, though 63% of consumers and small business owners turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so, only 44% of small businesses have a website and half spend
less than 10% of their marketing budget online.

My comment: This is not a sustainable business model in today’s digital economy.

The research finds an accelerating trend toward online media for local search. However, the report says the study uncovers a significant disconnect between the way small business owners act as consumers vs. the way they market their businesses online.
The survey found that search engines are the most popular source for finding local information:• 82% use search engines

57% use Yellow Pages directories.
53% use local newspapers
49% use Internet Yellow Pages
49% use TV
38% use direct mail
32% White Pages directories

Of those surveyed, 50% said search engines were the first place they looked when seeking a local business, while 24% chose the Yellow Pages directories.

92% of searchers say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, though 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. This means, says the report, searchers don’t may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence.

Webvisible found that online search and e-mail newsletters are the only forms of traditional media that are growing among consumers who wish to locate local products or services. Compared with two years ago, respondents report they use search engines and email newsletters more, while they use newspapers, magazines, direct mail and radio less.

Despite the growing use of online media for local searches, only 41% of small businesses report turning to online search engines first, and 31% turn to Yellow pages directories first. In addition, only 44% of small businesses have a website.

When using a search engine to find a business they know exists, only 19% of survey respondents report never or rarely encountering trouble locating that business online and 39% say they routinely have difficulty.

Though less than half of small businesses do have a website, the ones that do are not happy overall with their online marketing.  Among those small businesses that have a website:
• 51% believe both the quality and ability of their site to acquire new customers is only “fair” or
• 30% of business owners feel that they typically do a better job of marketing than a close
• 78% believe they advertise in the same places as their competitors
• Only 7% of small business owners say their primary marketing goal is to get more visitors to
their website
• 61% spend less than three hours a week marketing their website
• 99% of small business owners are directly involved in the marketing
• 65% believe it is very important to know where their customers come from
• Only 9% are satisfied with their online marketing efforts
• 78% of small business owners dedicate 10% or less of their budget to marketing Of those,
30% do no Internet advertising

My Comment: eBizITPA Education and the eMarketing Learning Center are performing research to learn more about small businesses knowledge and interest in eBusiness, eCommerce and eMarketing  strategies Training.  Click to learn more about survey results.  Click to download a copy of the eBusiness, eCommerce and eMarketing eBook

Over the past two years, 43% of small businesses say they have increased use of search engines in their marketing efforts. In contrast, use of traditional small business advertising mediums is on the decline:
• 23% say they use the Yellow pages less
• 42% say they use the local newspaper less

For the purpose of this survey, the term “local business” refers to any retail business in a respondent’s local area, including restaurants, entertainment venues, places of recreation, etc. and services such as plumbers or accountants. The term “Internet Yellow Pages” refers to online Yellow Pages websites such as,,, etc.

Center for Media Research, February 13, 2009
MediaPost Communications, 1140 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Brain Break

Have you ever had a day where pretty much every minute of the day you were learning something new, hearing new terms, discovering new ways of doing things…so that by the end of the day, you actually had to give your brain a break, but you feel so rejuvenated?

That’s what happened to me when I attended the eMarketing Learning Center’s Digital Marketing Mixer at the Ambassador on March 26th. The day was awesome, rejuvenating and most fulfilling. My goal was to find the right eMarketing mix for The Erie Community Foundation, where I am the marketing and public relations director. Due to the struggling economy, my marketing budget has been cut by 25%. Basically, I need to do more with less, and the Digital Marketing Mixer gave me the answers I need.

Our morning began with a series of vendors sharing their skills and expert insight with the audience. I learned new lingo like: pod lounge, pod catcher, podcast blaster, Purl’s, juice and happy fish.

Then, the mixing began. It was like speed dating with vendors. The vendors sat at different tables throughout the room. You could pick and choose which vendors you wanted to meet, pick their brains, share your eMarketing troubles, and ask questions. Good conversations took place. Just like speed dating, we were on a time limit because after 15 minutes, we moved to our next favorite vendor. I thought that was uniquely fun, and I picked up great information and business contacts.

The highlight of the day was the lunch presentation by Dana Van Dan Heuvel of the Marketing Savant Group. He explained the digital intimacy of staying close to your customer, the power of social media and the importance of search engine optimization. I now fully understand how eMarketing offers me measurable and traceable results, which are important for me to share with our board of trustees. Dana explained how I can follow present and potential donors of The Erie Community Foundation from the reach to acquisition to conversion to retention.

In summary, I think eMarketing still comes back to the basics of figuring out who we are and who we are trying to reach to determine our strategy, but eMarketing is cost-effective. I know that 92% of the population uses the web to do research and make purchases. We need to be where are donors are on the web. We have to be relentless to keep pace, but it’s exciting. These are exciting times to be in marketing. The main message from the Digital Marketing Mixer is: we can’t move forward without risk. I hope the eMarketing Learning Center hosts another mixer sometime soon. My brain is all rested up and ready to learn more!

I Got Personal with PURL

Joe Mehl presents on the topic of PURL

Joe Mehl presents on the topic of PURL

Attendees got personal with PURL at the Manufacturers Association on February 19th when Joe Mehl of Dispatch and George Sackandy of Intelmarx spoke about the benefits of combining PURL with traditional direct mail marketing. But let’s not jump into the benefits until we uncover what PURL is and how it even works. 


What is PURL?

PURL, also known as a Personal URL, is a Web page address that has been personalized to a specific recipient using their name.  The idea being that a person is more likely to visit a Web page that is personalized with their name in the URL out of curiosity of what information is there. Once they go to that web address, the information is tailored specifically to them based on data the organization already has on file. For example, women may see more humanistic language and images verses a man who would see more competitive/methodical content.


How does it work?

According to Joe Mehl from the seminar, these are the steps taken in the PURL process:


  1. Contact receives a direct mail or e-mail message describing an offer enticing them to visit their PURL (ex.
  2. The welcome screen on the web page is directed to the recipient using their name
    An example of what a Login Page would look like

    An example of a Welcome Screen

  3. A contact information page is pre-populated with any data that may already exist and is relevant to the offer
  4. The prospect is asked to complete a short survey probing them for more information
    An example of a survey page

    An example of a survey page

  5. A marketing message or offer is given
  6. A thank you page appears providing other links and downloads to the viewer
  7. Follow up happens immediately whether it is an e-mail or a phone call
  8. Now the sales process on this individual can begin


Okay, now that we have figured out what PURL is and how it works, it is time to look at how PURLs can be beneficial.


Why use a PURL?

According to George Sackandy, CEO and Founder of Intelmarx, the direct mail industry has a response rate of only 2 percent. This means that the non-response rate is 98 percent! We receive thousands of marketing messages each day and only respond to few and far between. So, how do marketers grab the attention of their prospects? They use PURL in combination with mailing pieces to attract customers!


One case study conducted at Albertson College proved that by incorporating PURLs and variable data printing in their recruiting materials, the school could increase their response rate by 18.7 percent. The school was originally sending large packets of information about every program to all prospective students. This was a lot of information to juggle through and not personal in any way to the person opening it. Prospective students were not responding because the packet looked just like all of the others they had received from other colleges. Albertson decided to get personal. They used information that had already existed about prospects in order to send them a direct mail piece including a PURL. When students went to their PURL, the page was catered to the individual based on their interests, activities, and future major of choice. Albertson took a few extra steps to change their recruiting using PURLs and what a difference it made. Now this gives plenty of reason to use PURLs in any marketing campaign! By using PURL you can increase response rates, leads, and overall profit. Why not give it a try for your business?


For more information on Intelmarx click here

For more information on Dispatch click here 



“This Isn’t the Same Old Marketing and PR You’ve Tried Before”

This was the message that best-selling author and e-mail marketing expert David Meerman Scott stressed to those in attendance at the 2008 Erie Ad Day. Scott presented content from his most recent book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly. Scott has also published several e-books which he makes available on his Web site.

Know Your Buyers

The old rules of marketing stated: “Buy your way in with advertising, beg your way in with PR.” Think of it like a person shouting a message through a megaphone to a crowd of people.

The new rule of marketing is to “think like a publisher.” Publish your way in with great content on the Web and let people spread the word for you. In essence, give them the megaphone. This is called “going viral.” If you market in a manner that is in sync with your buyers’ personas, they will find your product/service and spread the word. Essentially, they will pick up your megaphone.

Scott discussed the importance of creating a detailed buyer persona profile. The example he gave was “Internet Ian.” “Internet Ian” has the following qualities:

  • Internet/Web Marketing Manager
  • Lives his life (personal and business) online- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Digg
  • He is 26 years old, has a bachelors degree from Carnegie Mellon and met his last girlfriend on Facebook using the SuperPoke application
  • Likes beta software and edits HTML directly

“Internet Ian” is obviously best reached through the online channel. This further demonstrates why it’s important to know your buyer personas. If you were relying only on advertising through print, television, radio and the like, chances are your message would be missing the “Internet Ians” of the world.

Publish Good Content and Speak Their Language

Post online content your customers will deem valuable. Stop marketing to nameless, faceless prospects and get to know your buyers. According to Scott, “be buyer centric.” A tip to being buyer centric- speak your buyers’ language. Avoid industry jargon and fluff. Consider hiring a journalist to write your content.

Channels to Use

Forget about white papers. As exciting as white papers are, it’s time to switch to publishing e-books. What makes e-books effective is the fact that people can instantly see the value of a product that looks like it is for sale, but can actually be downloaded for free. The key point to remember about e-books is that they should contain material that people want to read. In addition to publishing e-books, participate in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Also, start reading, commenting and writing blogs. These are all effective, yet often overlooked methods of reaching your buyers. But remember, these tools will be useless unless you understand your buyer personas.

World Wide Rave and Word-of-Mouse

Welcome to the rave! A World Wide Rave occurs when millions of people spread your ideas and tell your stories. This is the new form of PR, getting people to talk about what you offer and share their experience with whomever they come in contact with.

Word-of-Mouse is another concept that is coming to the forefront of the online marketing channel. For years, the only way to spread ideas was to buy expensive advertising or beg the media to cover a story about a company’s products/services. Now, with publishing great content online (which is often free to do), people are eager to share information with their family, friends, and colleagues. David Meerman Scott has written an e-book about word-of-mouse to help marketers take advantage of the power of viral marketing.

A great example of the World Wide Rave and word-of-mouse in action is the recent launch of the much-anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter by Universal Orlando Resort. Cindy Gordon, vice president of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando decided to promote the upcoming attraction by spreading the word to seven Harry Potter fans she found on Mugglenet, a Harry Potter fansite. These seven people were invited to participate in a top-secret Webcast held at midnight on May 31, 2007. The Webcast detailed how the team of 20 designers is working to bring together the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park which is set to open in late 2009 or early 2010. After those lucky seven saw the Webcast, they were encouraged to share the news of the theme park with their friends. Just by telling seven people, 350 million people were eventually informed of the park. The World Wide Rave and word-of-mouse were the only tactics used to reach people beyond the original seven and the results, as you can see, were nothing short of magical.

The Take-Away

“On the web, you are what you publish.” If you publish nothing, you are nothing. Ready to get started following the new rules? Additional information regarding viral markeitng and other topics related to the new rules of marketing is available on both David Meerman Scott’s Website and blog.

To find dates, links and registration for other valuable presentations, visit the eMarketing Learning Center or eMarketing Special Interest Group Web sites.

Erie Ad Day 2008 was coordinated by the Advertising Federation of Northwest Pennsylvania and sponsored by eBizITPA, the eMarketing Learning Center, eMarketing Special Interest Group and PAPA Advertising.

How the web is driving the new rules of marketing and PR

Did You Know…

92% of people use the Web to evaluate purchase options, yet less than 30% of businesses allocate dollars for online marketing.


Over 30 % of online visitors go to social media sites.


Gen Y (aged 18 to 28) is the most Internet-savvy group, spending more time online than they do watching television, with 42 percent watching online video at least once per month.


The older Generation X (aged 29 to 42) also use technology extensively for more task driven needs, especially when they intersect with business and family.


*This research is part of Forrester’s 2008 North America Technographics Benchmark survey which gathered data from around 61,000 consumers in the US and Canada.



“The New Rules of Marketing and PR” – How to use news releases, blogs, podcasts, viral marketing and online media to reach your buyers directly

For decades, marketers have relied on buying expensive advertising and begging for media coverage. We interrupted “prospects” with our egotistical “messages” in the hopes of generating interest from buyers (who usually ignored us anyway), but the Internet is a marketing channel that is dramatically changing how we perform. As marketers, we must shift our thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy where we target specific audiences and niches we want to reach.

Writing news releases is no longer just for when we have big news.  Now we write news releases that highlight our ideas and stories and we distribute them online so that our buyers and constituents can get them on the news search engines and vertical content sites.  As Meerman points out, the “Internet has made public relations public again after years of almost exclusive focus on media.”

The online marketing channel requires more than a big idea with great creative and a one-way message. Smart marketers now communicate with buyers through content rich Web sites, blogs, YouTube videos, e-books, and other online media that buyers actually want to consume. To succeed in marketing online, we need to adapt to using these very direct and interactive social media strategies. These mediums help us communicate and engage customers in places where we have no physical presence but where the customer can find out about what we offer and how we can meet their needs. The products and services offered by tuned-in companies resonate with people who willingly buy without being coerced. 

 If you would like to learn some of the new criteria for marketing & PR and how to succeed in a digital world, then come listen and ask questions of David Meerman Scott, a nationally renowned speaker and best-selling author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

 Scott will be the keynote speaker at the Advertising Federation of Northwest Pennsylvania’s Erie Ad Day on Thursday, September 25 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, 55 West Bay Drive, in downtown Erie. The full-day professional development event will focus on the theory, tactics and technologies driving the advertising and marketing communications industry.

Learn how to leverage the potential that Web-based communication offers. A step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the new rules of marketing and PR will be provided, showing how to identify audiences, create compelling messages, get those messages to the most consumers possible, and lead those consumers directly into the buying process. Told with many case studies and real-world examples, this a practical discussion about the new reality of PR and marketing.

 Register online at:

Or register by phone at (814) 451-8677.

Listen to Podcast

Get the lowdown on the New Rules of Marketing and PR in a podcast interview with David right here:


Holly Buchanan Increases Website Conversions: Part II of II

Holly Buchanan

Read Part I of this two post series.

Every individual that visits your website is unique, looking for different pieces of information and reading websites differently. Each visitor will most likely be persuaded by various aspects and determinants. With Holly Buchanan’s personality descriptions of the four most common types of buyers, we can design our websites and copy so that we can persuade each personality type most effectively.

On Thursday, April 17th, Holly Buchanan addressed over 100 attendees at eBizitPA‘s King Conversion: Websites that Sell conference. Holly was an extraordinary speaker with several quick tips and in-depth techniques to vastly improve the conversion of your site. In the last post, I discussed some of the more basic background and theory of website effectiveness, as explained by Holly.

In this post, I’ll continue the discussion, focusing on designing your website to meet the needs of each unique individual that visits your site by addressing the most common four types of visitors: Methodical, Spontaneous, Competitive, and Humanistic.

The Methodical

Methodicals are detail oriented and like to be prepared, so they appreciate the hard facts, data, and information presented in a logical manner. When designing for the methodical, consider including:

  • Details, statistics, and proof of any claims
  • The process used and how it works, including a step by step explanation
  • The product specifications
  • Guarantees

The Spontaneous

The Spontaneous type lives in the moment, making spur of the moment decisions they can be confident in. They are good in crisis situations due to the fact that they can take action quickly. These people who are less likely to fall into a strict routine. When designing for the spontaneous, consider including:

  • A way to help users narrow their choices as quickly as possible and choose exactly what they are looking for
  • How your company will help users enjoy life more
  • How your product or service can be customized
  • How your product can make users’ lives more flexible

The Competitive

Competitives are the CEO types, they seek to understand and control life. They are driven individuals who are always educating themselves. Competitives are highly motivated, goal-oriented, image conscious, and often concerned with their social status. When designing for competitives, consider including:

  • Competitive advantages over similar companies
  • Why your company is better than others
  • Your credentials- why is your business credible?
  • How can you help the users be more productive and look good?

The Humanistic

Humanistics are the family-oriented individuals, with a tendency to put others’ needs before their own and may be uncomfortable accepting gifts or allowing others to do for them. They are usually slow to make a decision, often relying on trust and intuition. When designing for the humanistic, consider including:

  • Company and leadership bios to convince the users to trust you and your organization
  • Reasons why the user can trust you
  • How your organization will help users strengthen their current relationships
  • Testimonials

Design One Page for all Types

Often, it is not realistic to create four different sites for each personality type of your visitors. If your organization’s target audience does not typically consist of one specific personality type, you must include something for all personalities so you don’t lose potential customers. So, how do we do this when these personality profiles differ so much?

Simply, provide a sentence for each type of individual, ensuring that they all flow together. Be sure to address the competitive and spontaneous personalities first, as they tend to be more impatient. If they read the first paragraph and don’t find anything for them, they may click the back button and leave your site forever. Methodicals and humanistics are more patient, so you can speak to them further down the page.

For example, if you’re selling a Caribbean vacation, you may first discuss the variety of activities available at any time, day or not, on the resort (for the spontaneous), and then talk about how this vacation rivals those in more popular vacations because of its prestige (for the competitive). You can then transition into the details of the vacation, discussing the schedule of family activities available to you each day (for the humanistic AND the methodical).

Quick Changes to Increase Conversion

These past two posts are just a portion of the knowledge that Holly had passed on to those in attendance of the King Conversion conference. The following are some quick tips that will take you a few moments to fix and may increase your conversion greatly:

  • Don’t let design get in the way. Make all your hyperlinks the default blue so that your users know what is clickable
  • Use buttons instead of text call to actions when possible
  • Instead of using “Submit” on buttons, specify the action that is to be taken, such as “Download the Report” or “Buy Now”
  • Have a call to action on every page, including the About Us page so that it doesn’t act as a dead end
  • Include images and bios on your About Us page so that the humanistics will allow herself to trust you
  • Maintain consistency from the initial website ad all the way to the form of the call to action

Did You Attend? Share Your Experience

If you attended the King Conversion Conference on April 17th, we invite you to share your experience with the event in the comments section below.

Holly Buchanan Increases Conversion during the King Conversion Conference- Part I of II

Web Sites that Sell Conference

For those of you who were fortunate enough to attend eBizITPA’s King Conversion: Web Sites that Sell conference a few weeks ago, on Thursday, April 17th, you can join me in attesting to the genuinely quality content presented by Holly Buchanan, Senior Persuasion Architect at Future Now Inc, based in New York City.

For those who were unable to attend, you missed out on an extraordinary event with a captivating, experienced speaker presenting effective information to help improve your website’s performance and your overall conversion rate.

Holly BuchananHolly focused on both B2B and B2C companies, providing simple suggestions for improvement of the overall effectiveness of the companies’ websites. In fact, many exhibitors at the event were so impressed with Holly’s presentations, that they were online updating their sites with these simple solutions live, as Holly suggested them.

Although it would not be possible to serve you with all of the same information presented to the conference attendees, we would like to provide you with some of the insight shared at this conference on how to increase your web site effectiveness. This is the first post of a two part series to provide you with this valuable information.

The conference began with the discussion of the current state of the online buying and selling process, as Holly pointed out that only 26% of consumers report satisfaction with a web shopping experience, and 97% of website visitors fall out of the sales funnel, resulting in lost sales.

The First Step: Know Your Visitors

The first aspect to consider when attempting to draw in visitors to your site, is to make it relevant. What questions do the visitors have that they need answered? Did they arrive at your site through search engines? What key terms were used to arrive at your site? All this and more data should be measured and analyzed to find out everything possible about your website visitors, and to improve their overall satisfaction with the functionality and effectiveness of the site.

Don’t Make Me Think!

Once you have found out exactly what your potential customers find relevant, you should apply it to improve the relevancy of your site- place the information individuals are looking for in an easy to find location on your site. If visitors don’t find what they are looking for, potential leads could be gone within one to three clicks.

You can not make your visitors think. If they have to dig through your site for something they’re looking for, they will most likely click the back button and search elsewhere. Every page of the site should take your visitor to another page of the site.

The About Us page is often a dead end. Ensure that it invites visitors to visit other pages of the site, subscribe to a mailing list, or take some step toward the ultimate goal of the visit.

Define an End Goal

You should design your site so that the visitor knows exactly where they should look, exactly where they should click, and what the call to action, or ultimate goal of the company, is. This ultimate goal of the company should be defined, and ranges from an online order, to the act of searching for a local location of the company or store. The goal depends on the nature of the company and its products and/or services.

Also, there should be intermediary goals, or points of conversion between the time when the visitor arrives at the site, and the ultimate goal. These intermediary goals will help guide your customer through your site, and further towards your ultimate goal.


Once the site has addressed and taken steps towards achieving the overall goals, you must persuade the invididual to take the desired action, and make it easy for them to do this. This means that the check out process must be as easy and effective as possible. Any opt-in forms should be short and painless. And errors should be non-existent. Anything that will increase frustration could drive individuals to give up and leave a process only partially completed.

Take a few minutes or even an hour to walk through these and similar processes to make sure they are as smooth and painless as possible for your visitors. This act alone could resolve small issues, increasing your conversion with little effort.

Online copy can also play a very prominent role in persuading your visitors to continue using the site. Copy should be organized into chunky, browsable sections. The majority of website visitors are “browsers;” they scan the web pages before deciding to read them in full. Smaller paragraph sizes will allow your readers to find the keywords they find most relevant more quickly, encouraging them to read on.

Four Types of Buyers

A very valuable, if not the most valuable, part of the presentation was the explanation of the four different personalities of the buyers. These include the Humanistic, Methodical, Competitive, and Spontaneous individuals. There are certain methods that would be most effective in capturing the attention, and potential business, of each of these individuals, all within the same paragraph.

Stay tuned for the second post of this two part series to discover the tactics that will allow you to address each of these personalities’ concerns within one or two paragraphs, as well as some suggestions for improving your web site effectiveness and conversion rates with a few simple changes.

Did You Attend? Share Your Experience

If you attended the King Conversion Conference on April 17th, we invite you to share your experience with the event in the comments section below.

Read Part II of this two part series.

Your Web site as a sales and marketing channel…

Today’s savvy online users expect to go to the Internet and get something accomplished. They expect your Web site to help them fulfill their mission. If your site does not provide the information they need or they have to think too hard they will move on to a competitor’s site that will have what they need.


A Web site is an electronic form of your business marketing channel. Do you know how to build a dialog with a customer through a Web site, how to qualify them as a lead or convert them to a sale?  How about if what you sell is more complex, like a course or a custom made component?  I can confidently do a good job helping people pinpoint their needs and help them make purchase decision when I am on the phone or face to face.  I have plenty of consulting experience doing it that way. It is a mix of asking the right questions, good listening skills and then aligning what you have with their specific needs or goals.


But what are the activities that make a product or service desirable to a visitor through a Web site, where it’s open to the world 24/7.  How do you really begin a sales or persuasive dialog with visitors to your Web site? 


I can share from our experiences with our Web site at eBizITPA. Between our web specialist, marketing manager and program managers we have been experimenting and trying to determine what information do our customers need to make an informed decision and how do we influence them to take action.  For the IT Kickstart program we have documents they are able to access and download to apply for IT Kickstart.  This is the type of self service that gives visitors access any time when it is convenient for them.  But are we providing enough information for them to evaluate the program and answer their questions and concerns? Probably not because we still receive phone calls asking about how the program works.


We also continuously try to improve our messaging about our professional development programs like classes and seminars so that our visitors can understand how they will benefit from participating. Ultimately try to persuade them to register.  But we struggle with questions such as how much information do they need, how do they want to receive the information and can they locate it in an intuitive fashion? Just recently one of our email recipients responded to a promotional conference email saying the message was pretty generic and do we have some more detail on what is going to be covered. 


Holly Buchanan podcastWe recently posted an interview on the conference Web site with the featured speaker Holly Buchanan, a conversion expert in online marketing and persuasion architecture. In the interview Holly gives a sneak peak on her presentation called Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results, listen as she teases us with a few good nuggets you will be able to immediately take away. We learned using multimedia mediums such as, podcasts and videos can help our visitors better comprehend and understand our offerings. However, was there a clear pathway to the information? Well, clearly not for this fella.


The conference will have an afternoon session that will be an interactive web assessment where Holly agreed to review several sites on a first come first serve basis. We submitted the Center’s Web site and the Conference microsite in hopes that Holly will give us feedback on how we can improve our customer’s experience, improve responses to our messages and meet our marketing objectives.


We’re tough and we can take whatever Holly tells us because in the end we know she only wants to help us succeed.  Hope to see you there!


Quick resource:

Future Now has a fun and very telling instrument called the Customer Focus Calculator aptly called the WeWe. Use it to check if your site mostly talks about your customer and their needs or are you talking mostly about your business. Use it and you will see immediately.


Holly Buchanan is a Senior Persuasion Architect at Future Now Inc. Future Now is a digital marketing optimization company based in New York.

Experiencing Podcasting With Advice From “Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting”

There’s so much talk about podcasting now-a-days.  And it’s easy to see why…businesses and industry leaders can use podcasts to reach out to their audiences, in a format that can be listened to whenever & wherever it’s convenient.  And with RSS feeds, the messages you can’t wait to send out to your audience can be downloaded onto their computer automatically.  Now, that’s a way to shout out to your target market.

Even though podcasts have been around for years, there are many of us that are just getting started.  When first asked to create a few podcasts for eBizITPA, I thought, ‘Sure…how hard can it be?  After all, it’s just recorded audio.’  Then I was given a book titled ‘Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting.  “If it’s just recorded audio, how is it possible the book is over two hundred pages?” I thought to myself. 

Well, it turns out a podcast is not just audio…a podcast is on-the-go audio that must attract and engage listeners.  In order to do so, you have to know how to create a great sounding podcast – from creating interesting content to producing crisp, clear sounds. 

The ‘Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting’ book was written by Michael W. Geoghegan & Dan Klass.  Michael is executive producer of Grape Radio, a show about wine that placed in the top ten out of over 4000 available podcast shows in less than 8 weeks time.   Dan produces the weekly ‘Old Wave Radio,’ a retro-80’s music show and The Bitterest Pill, a comedy/talk show, which has been featured on NBC, NPR, and the Christian Science Monitor. 

Their book provides detailed information on every topic of podcasting including pre-planning the recording, figuring out what equipment and software to purchase, finalizing the podcast and making money with it.  Michael and Dan have a writing style that’s simple to understand, lighthearted and at times amusing.      They offer valuable insight into equipment that will more than likely meet your needs and fit your budget.  They cover the types of equipment needed, from microphones and mixers to editing software and hosting solutions… and they’re not about endorsing certain products.  They cover equipment from many different vendors in all price ranges.  In fact, many of the software solutions they recommend are either open-source (free) or low-cost. 

But, first things first…you can’t do anything without preplanning.  So…when beginning our new venture in podcasting, we first determined what exactly we wanted to do in our podcasts.  We knew that we wanted to interview industry leaders that would be presenting at our seminars & conferences and conduct phone interview recordings.  Therefore we’d need equipment to record on-location and phone interviews.

Equipment to record phone calls can range in price anywhere from $25.00 to over $500.00.  The difference lies in how in-depth in the creation process you want to get and how much editing you want to do.  As an old colleague always stated, “It’s better to start off small and add to it later.”  So we’ve decided to start with a low-cost phone patch, a phone to computer recording device that cost around $30.00.  It’s one of the least expensive pieces of telephone recording equipment out there and, for now, it’ll do what we need it to. Plus, it’s better to start somewhere than to put off doing it because you can’t afford the equipment you’d really like.  We plan to record our first phone interview this week so keep an eye out for our first podcast – which so happens, will cover ‘Blogging…Who, What & Why.’

For portable recording, Mike and Dan suggest stand-alone digital recorders.  It may be cumbersome to carry a lap top and microphone around at an event and a stand-alone digital recorder has less chance of system failure during a recording, like a computer does, because they are designed solely for the purpose of recording.  We found the Samson Zoom H4 to have just the right specifications.  The Zoom H4 is portable…only 3 inches wide and about 5 inches tall so it’s easy to carry around at conferences or seminars.  Plus, to cover all bases, it has two XLR microphone inputs as well as two built-in mics at the top. 

As far as audio editing software, we took Michael and Dan’s advice on downloading the open-source software, Audacity.  To date, it seems to do everything we need it to…it has multiple tracks which is necessary if you plan to add music to your podcast, it’s easy to use, it was FREE… and it hasn’t crashed our computer thus far…so for now, we’re happy.

In the next few months, we will be producing podcasts for the eMarketing Learning Center and eBizITPA, so keep an eye out for them.  I plan to include you in our experiences by updating this blog entry in April to tell you about any crossroads or opportunities we’ve encountered with equipment, interviews and editing, as well as the most important factors I’ve learned in my first few months of producing and editing podcasts.

If you’re thinking about getting into podcasting, pick up the book, “Podcast Solutions:  Your Guide to Podcasting” by Michael W. Geoghegan & Dan Klass.  It will make your podcasting experience much sweeter!  If you have any questions, send me a shout!

Are you a podcaster?  Do you have any reference or equipment recommendations?  Let us know… we’re listening!

eMarketing Special Interest Group

November 2022

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