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Sitting On Your Hands…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – CEO, ShoppeSimple

Are You Being Forced to Sit On Your Hands?

Ecommerce Marketers should always be in a position to personalize and distribute relevant content to wherever their consumers are.

But, is your online marketing team handcuffed by legacy technology, stagnant web architecture and aging websites?

Do your IT handcuffs hold back your marketers from doing their jobs more effectively and driving the most revenue for your business?

If you might be suffering from the above…read on…this blog post is for you…

Ecommerce Marketers Unite!

ShoppeSimple can help you build your own Surround-Sound™ Social Business platform that enables you to engage with consumers more deeply creating significant opportunities for your business to grow.

Surround-SoundTM Social Business

We make it easy for marketers to create and distribute relevant content to wherever their consumers are. We enable your consumers to personalize the category content they want to receive. The relevancy and targeting of the ShoppeSimple program increases consumer engagement as proven by client-reported increases in average order values, frequency of ordering, higher conversion rates and new customers.

It’s a Game-Changer for Ecommerce Marketers

ShoppeFetch is at the core of what makes ShoppeSimple so different. The ShoppeFetch toolset provides marketers with the technical ability to quickly respond to the unique needs of targeted consumer groups on their own. They no longer need the IT department or Web Team to making things happen. This innovative IT SaaS solution provides new marketing horse power for your ecommerce team and total control over all marketing touch points to drive more sales.

With ShoppeFetch the marketer essentially “vacuums” all of the relevant data off their site (without the involvement of IT) and then based on their unique requirements repurposes this targeted data on branded landing pages created on-the-fly.

Our patent-pending, content creation and publishing engine writes once and distributes content everywhere with just one click. Imagine if your business could solve many of its user-experience, IT and web infrastructure issues quickly (in weeks not months), at such a low cost (monthly subscriptions start at $500) and without any implementation fees. Now it can!

ShoppeFetch also includes a proprietary analytical reporting package that provides relevant, dynamically generated data so you can drive your own analytical bus. Now, you can grow all of your online marketing channels in ways that may have seemed impossible in today’s business climate.

I welcome the opportunity to visit with you soon about driving new incremental revenue for your Holiday season. And, if you call us in the next week you can even be up and running before Thanksgiving! Just call me at 612-349-2740 or click here to email me and get started.

November 9, 2011 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Social Echoes…ideas by Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

Social Echoes…ideas by Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

As Facebook (at 800 Million users) and Twitter (over 100 Million users) continues to grow at their exponential social pace the concern coming from merchants is that their website analytics are showing an increased level of defection from their websites to social and mobile platforms.

This is not a surprise and at ShoppeSimple we have been speaking about this issue for some time now. We have also been promulgating Surround-Sound Social Business™ solutions that drive social engagement and conversations horizontally through all of your marketing channels. Social shouldn’t be verticalized within your organization.

Social Space . . . The Innovator’s End Run

For those of you who have stayed tuned into my message you are in a unique position to capitalize on a first mover advantage essentially “Taking The Mike™” for your brand and own these social spaces before your competitor gets there. This is a case study in the classic disruptive innovation that Clayton Christenson speaks about in his definitive work called The Innovators Dilemma. In his book, he describes many cases where companies have used technology to do an end run around their bigger, more entrenched competitors. These social spaces now make it possible for you to step up and make this happen for your brand.
For others who continue to be skeptical about social media, now is not the time to ignore that your consumers are already buying in these social spaces. We continue to see these social monetization results every day.
Social spaces are here to stay and make no mistake that your consumer is driving their bus around these conversations. The Genie is out of the bottle and is never going back in.
If you are still sitting on the sidelines or just tiptoeing into the social and mobile waters, I only have to take you back a short 15 years. It was the “Blue Ocean” of the World Wide Web where many marketers had similar reservations.

  • Should I build an ecommerce website?
  • I don’t want to or can’t cannibalize my retail channel.
  • My customer is too old and therefore either not online or they’re certainly not buying online.

I am sure you remember. Today, these or other similar excuses are playing out in the social and mobile space today.
Sidebar: Did you know? Amazon disclosed in last year’s financials that it is already doing $1 Billion+ in mobile revenue or 3% of their total revenue
Now, if you’re thinking you are socializing your business by putting a Facebook or Twitter icon on your website, please think again. When you place these icons and then casually walk away from social (thinking you are doing all you can do) you are frankly just building the Facebook and Twitter brands. This is great for Facebook and Twitter but what is your ROI?
To make my point even further, have you been able to monetize these Facebook and Twitter icons and truly bank money through social for your business? If you are like most of the merchants we speak with, the answer is no (more like NO!) and this is not a surprise.
ShoppeSimple’s patent-pending social sharing tools drive more social business from every one of your marketing channels. So ask yourself, are you socializing all of your Social Business channels?

  • Pay Per Click and SEO Channels?
  • Email Channel?
  • Affiliate Channel?
  • Catalog Channel?
  • Website Channel?
  • Retail Channel?
  • Mobile Channel?

All merchants should be, yet too many companies still neglect some basic Social Business strategies that could maximize frequency of ordering, improve conversion rates for the traffic they already have, increase average orders and add new customers.
Drive Social Horizontally

Surround-Sound Social Business solutions are all about driving social horizontally throughout your organization. It’s about generating conversations and engaging with your consumers wherever they are. It’s about distributing content that consumers want because it’s highly relevant to them and they determine when and where they want to receive it. Giving the consumer control over the content they receive is a paradigm shift. But when they’re in control, they more willingly share content with their friends and family extending your marketing reach (viral).
Surround-Sound Social Business solutions socialize all of your marketing channels and always bring your social and mobile traffic back to your website where the sale is made.
Around The Next Corner
I would love to say that Social Business is easy to build but if it were, everyone would be doing it successfully and making a ton of money. Again, you only have to go back 15 years when most of you were not into serious e-commerce yet. Just think how far your e-commerce business has come today. Now look into your crystal ball and just imagine where your Social Business will be in 3 years.
What are your social projections?
Yes, answering this question will require some intense thinking on an organizational level but if you start tomorrow (actually yesterday) you can begin to make a daily deposit right away from your Social Business into your bank account. ShoppeSimple is here to help you do just that.
Even with the Holiday season only a month away we can still help you bank Social and Mobile dollars yet this year. Your program can be launched without the need of any of your IT resources in less than 10 days. Yes that quick!
To start the conversation simply give me a ring at 612-349-2740 or email me at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com

October 25, 2011 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Is Your Business About to Hit a Speed Bump?… ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO – ShoppeSimple

Is Your Business About to Hit a Speed Bump?

In just the last two weeks we’ve spoken with over 30 different e-tailers including 5 of the “Internet Retailer Top 50″ about their challenges in developing their Social Business. Our Surround-Sound marketing approach to building Social Business is resonating with these merchants so well I thought I would share what the triggers were that made these companies engage with us, want to learn more about it and sign on.

We Listen, We Apply, We Deliver

The question posed repeatedly by many of these merchants was, “How are we succeeding in driving Social Business?” The simple answer is that we are not a cookie-cutter SaaS application. And, we are not all things to all businesses. We listen to your specific needs as a unique business. We apply our extensive online/social knowledge and expertise to your specific situation. And, we deliver your unique Social Business solution with our flexible Surround-Sound marketing toolset.

When you hire ShoppeSimple, you hire a team of experts along with our technology. This tailored approach is the essence of how we help your business succeed. We leverage our unique go-to-market expertise, apply our Surround-Sound Social Business™ solutions to any of your off/online marketing channels and help you maximize your results.

Now, I am sure you are also reading these financial headlines… I am sure your customer is too.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Stocks ended a dismal quarter with heavy losses Friday as investors remain worried about the debt crisis in Europe and the outlook for global economic growth.

Friday 9/30/2011, The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU ) fell 240 points, or 2.1%, to close at 10,913. The S&P 500 (SPX) slid 30 points, or 2.5%, to 1,131. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell 65 points, or 2.6%, to 2,415.

The losses capped the biggest quarterly drop for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq since the fourth quarter of 2008. The S&P 500 lost 14% and the Nasdaq fell 13% over the last three months.

So, how are you preparing for the Holidays? More importantly, how are your customers preparing for the Holidays? Will they regain their spending confidence in time for this critical shopping season?

I posed these questions because, not surprisingly, economic weakness was a common concern that was raised in these discussions. Establishing real alternative revenue streams to fill any projected gap in revenue became a huge discussion topic as these merchants planned for the upcoming Holiday season.

New alternative revenue streams revealed

  • Merchants saw how they can optimize or reduce their ad spend in many of their current marketing channels using Surround-Sound marketing methods
  • Merchants learned how they can socialize marketing channels by building on-the-fly landing pages that give consumers the ability to pre-select relevant content that improves overall performance
  • Merchants saw how they can deploy powerful social sharing tools to capture new social databases for their businesses that create viral sharing potential extending their social marketing reach
  • Merchants learned how Surround-Sound Marketing eliminates the need for any of their own IT resources to implement and maintain. Nor is it necessary to place any code on a website (a critical website lockdown hurdle for marketers in the Holiday season).

From one merchant we heard . . .

“It is so great that I don’t need to ask my IT department to accomplish this. Even putting two lines of simple JavaScript code on the home page is impossible for us to accomplish. I have been waiting for over a year for some of my requests.”

Does this also resonate with you?

Optimize, Socialize and Monetize All Channels

From our seat, social business is not just about conversing with consumers on Facebook and Twitter. It’s also not just about putting a Facebook or Twitter share icon on your website and in your emails.

To build your Social Business with Surround-Sound Marketing you must optimize, socialize and monetize all existing on/off-line channels. This includes Catalog, Retail, PPC/SEO, Email, Shopping Cart and Checkout, Affiliate, Facebook, Twitter, Digital Coupons/Bar Codes/QR codes, MyHome Website Pages and mobile. All channels must to be socialized to effectively maximize the power of your Social Business.

When done correctly, your Social Business should effectively lower Cost Per Order per socialized channel AND create incremental revenue from each channel socialized. Surround-Sound Social Marketing is unique for every merchant but the positive incremental effects are the same regardless of the industry.

A Few Tips for Doing it Right

  • Enable consumers to more easily choose what content they want to see from you and where they want to see it. Surround Sound Marketing is about giving consumers relevant content wherever they are and enabling them to share it more broadly with their personal contacts. Think laser accuracy. Think consumer experience. Think viral.

The age of wetting consumers with a fire hose of unwanted offers is over. It’s time to bury that marketing execution. It’s prehistoric and its days are numbered.

  • Your Social Business needs the ability to distribute any form of content and social conversations with one simple click to any social or mobile destination. This is where most companies struggle as it’s not an IT issue. It’s a Surround-Sound Marketing issue that requires nimble technology.
  • Demand analytics that display results in real time and help you see that your Social Business is providing true incremental gains for your business. Done right, Surround-Sound Marketing will add value to your consumer’s experience so they add value to your bank account.

A ShoppeSimple Offer to Help

Working with ShoppeSimple Surround-Sound Marketing gives your Social Business the marketing agility you have been searching for. Just imagine if you could free up your IT marketing queue AND still give your marketing department the horsepower it needs to drive their own marketing initiatives.

To overcome your speed bump we invite you to protect your Holiday business by testing ShoppeSimple. We absolutely guarantee your satisfaction or you don’t pay us a dime, so what do you have to lose?

To have the ShoppeSimple Team personally help your business for the holiday simply give me a ring at 612-349-2740 or email me personally by clicking here.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

October 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

8 More Facebook Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO – ShoppeSimple

Surround-Sound Social Business is the next major online marketing opportunity enabling you to grow your business in time for the holiday even if you already locked down your site.

“Social Time” is Ticking …Tick…Tock…

You can’t wait any longer to move your business into social! Here’s why…

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The recession alarm bells were ringing across the globe Thursday 9/22/2011, spooking investors and economists alike. With the Federal Reserve warning Wednesday 9/21/2011 that the U.S. economy is facing “significant downside risks,” and stocks and commodity prices falling around the world, it is clear there are ample reasons for worry.” Next up a 390+ point loss on the Dow.

So as your consumer’s 401K’s value continues to melt away for the foreseeable future (similar to what we saw in the consumer sector in 2008) what is your Plan B for your business when consumers get jittery and spend cautiously for the Holidays?

We all know what the 2008 business climate felt like for business. We all went through it. In fact for many of us we are still feeling the effects of it. Again, history repeats itself so what did your business do in 2008? Did you cut marketing and or advertising spending?  Last week, we learned through my blog post that in tough economic times GE does the exact opposite. They invest in marketing and advertising. And last week IBM advertised it was investing in Social Business. Do you believe these companies have it wrong? Or do they know something we don’t?

With the fact that Facebook has 750 Million users and each user spends an average of 7 hours a month on Facebook it is clear that consumers are spending less time on your site. Add in the additional 100 Million Twitter users and their Tweeting patterns and then ask yourself how can my business think about deferring social plans any longer?

What is ironic to me is you don’t have to look very far to see the answers to these questions. You just have to look at your first social program (EMAIL) and your ECOMMERCE CHANNEL and the success you have had in both. Ask yourself, if you could turn back the clock, would you have pulled these triggers sooner? It is clear (like email and ecommerce websites), the social superhighway will monetize itself for every business and it will happen quickly over the next 1-3 years. This is exactly what happened with email, with ecommerce websites and PPC.  And it will happen here too.  In fact, with ShoppeSimple Surround-Sound Social Business our clients are monetizing social and mobile TODAY.

Plus, did you know Amazon in its recent investor call reported it’s already raking in over a Billion $’s in sales annually through mobile (3% of their entire business)? So how can you not be using social and mobile as the “new” revenue channel to protect your business for Holiday 2011?!?!

The challenge is not when… but how?

Last week, I gave you ideas on how I would build a Facebook Channel.  This week, I will conclude the post with eight more ideas that you can use in your Social Business right away.  My hope is that these call outs will assist your strategy, development and execution of your Social Business. It is also my hope that helping you build a Social Business Channel will offset economic weaknesses and give your business a new incremental revenue stream in time for the Holidays.

At ShoppeSimple we are standing by ready to assist your business. And we can get you going in less than 2 weeks without touching any of your IT resources or needing to add any lines of code to your website.  

Enjoy these ideas and, like anything social, please share your comments with me at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com or leave a comment on my blog post.

 “Key” Social Business things to do…

1.    Deploy a Surround-Sound Social Business Strategy: This is all about socializing all of your current digital assets (for off/online channels) to create relevant conversations on your social pages; online places where your consumers are hanging out and already in conversation with their friends.

For example, have you socialized your . . . ?

  • Website (you have over 90% defection)
  • Emails (less than 10% clickthroughs)
  • Abandoned Shopping Carts (over 70% abandonment)
  • PPC/SEO (integrated social sharing tools and social landing pages that deliver better social results)
  • Affiliate Marketing (Affiliates can sell for you on social like they have been doing in your traditional Affiliate program for years. Ask me about our ShoppeFans program on Facebook)

The point is that it’s just not about social channels but leveraging all of your digital assets and going horizontal across your organization with social connections to your consumers.  The key to Surround-Sound Social Business is “Word of Mouth” which drives consumer activity back to your website to close a sale.

2.    Why are you putting your Social Icons in the Footer? Ask your boss if you can put your email capture at the bottom of your homepage on your site and see what she/he  says? The answer should be obvious.  Are you #$XY& crazy!!. Email (and email capture) is your online marketing golden goose.  For the last 15 years email capture best practices has shown that it should be done in the header of both your website and email. Since 1995, I have been capturing emails and asking consumers to “like” my website by giving me their email address at every online channel touch point. Every single one!

Using ShoppeSimple Social Business solutions we help you not only put your email capture back in the header but with Surround-Sound Social Business we nest all of the Social Icons in the header of your branded landing page that we build for you. This landing page matches your branding and maximizes the opportunity to monetize Social and Mobile across all of your ecommerce channels with socially enabled landing pages. We do not need your IT department to accomplish any of this. We  do it all for you without IT involvement.

3.    Stop Wasting Time Capturing The Wrong Likes: Stop employing desperate strategies like Sweeps, contests with flashy prizes in order to generate hoards of fans. They often attract fans that don’t really care about your business and don’t become good customers anyway. Frankly, you can be more imaginative than that. These are in-effective, worn-out customer acquisition strategies that don’t fit in the new Social Business space.

You just have to look at the new f8 interface just launching on Facebook this week where Mr. Zuckerberg is reducing the importance of Likes and increasing the importance of branded published content. So with f8 launching and changing the way Facebook consumer’s home pages look and feel, where does your business stand with its marketing messaging into Facebook? How do you quickly become a publisher of relevant content to integrate with Facebook?

For years, it has been my vision to help merchants  distribute content and conversations. And this is exactly what ShoppeSimple does but we also up the value-add by enabling consumers to self-select the content they want to see and determine when and where they want to see it anywhere online. This is our patent-pending technology. So we applaud Facebook for moving to a content distribution model.  ShoppeSimple is totally aligned with Facebook’s content distribution mentality.

Instead of thinking now about aggregating Likes, focus on creating an interactive Facebook presence that includes delivery of valuable content, engagement and conversation. Then your Likes will actually care about you and come to you naturally and holistically. They will also buy from you!

4.  Distribute the Right Content: Going down memory lane…just like you did    when you began to capture emails on your website in the mid-90’s, you asked your consumer to “Like” you by  having them give you their email address. Your consumer traded their email address for unique, compelling and exclusive content.

Not surprisingly, our research shows that when you distribute unique, relevant content on Facebook you won’t have to worry about aggregating the number of Fans because at the end of the day it’s not the quantity of Fans you have but the quality that counts.  How they respond and convert into dollars is what will matter most going forward.

5.  It’s Not About You, Baby: Stop posting content that is overly promotional and talks too much about how super-awesome your products/services are. Stop Auto-Posting too. This is not a benefit to your consumer and does not generally come across as genuine. Determine what benefits your consumers are interested in and deliver them on Facebook. Find out what your fans care to hear about from you, and what  makes them want to have conversations with you on Facebook.

We emphatically support that content should drive the consumer back to your website for the completion of a transaction. Privacy, security and credit card protections are already in place here and the shopping experience is totally under the control of the merchant as well.

Last week, a merchant described his vision around Facebook this way . . .  “Don’t think for a moment that in the future there won’t be a Facebook “TAX” on traffic, orders and just about anything they can attach revenue to.”  We agree. We have always moved traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Mobile back to your website to capture a transaction for this very reason.

Similarly, be careful about the frequency at which you’re posting content to the Facebook Wall. There’s no definitive guideline about how much is too much on Facebook, but a general guideline is just a few, high quality posts a day makes sense. We are recommending no more than 3-5 posts a day on average. That said, feel free to comment and react to others’ posts on your Wall freely. Again, focus on quality content that generates new conversations and the monetary results will come.

6.    Social Response Management: Efficient Social Response Management is key to anything done in social. Just like the call activity you have in your call center . . . would your Telco Ops Manager purposely leave people on hold or not pick up the order or service call?  Make sure your Ops people see this channel as much more than an orphan and are willing to support your social connections.

But you may be thinking…how do we put Social Response Management fixed expenses ahead of unknown social order activity? How do we get started when I can’t build a new call center to support my business or add seats to the existing call center in time for the Holidays?  Again, think of this opportunity in the same way as you do your call center during peak periods and cover your consumer’s Facebook posts, Chats, Tweets and any in bound calls from social through a Social Response Management overflow facility. Your brand and social channels need to be  supported and protected in this emerging marketing channel. The ShoppeSimple program fully integrates this capability for you as part of our program.

7. Take a Horizontal Approach to Social: After first establishing a social strategy for content, conversation and engagement, make sure all of the  organizational energy extends this approach horizontally across your organization. Do not establish your social program as its own revenue center (vertical).  Social needs to be integrated horizontally across all channels.  Don’t get caught up once again in the turf battles or silos between tradition online and emerging social. End them now!

Continue to drive social throughout your business by first allowing your staff to manage posting and conversations with your consumer. Doing so is a good thing as it leads to brand credibility. Once you’ve locked down your social strategy, let your social teams engage with your consumer. Let them be your consumer advocates. Let them be your social service agents. In some circles, I hear some claim that centralized control makes sense in social. But, I don’t think so. To me it sets up a huge conflict with what social is all about…. engagement and conversation…so open up and “get real” with your consumer.

8. Track your Social Business progress: Make sure you have social tracking in place that can  track and measure how your social program is working including  what kind of money it’s driving to your business.  Analytics and measurement is key ingredient to any successful online channel and it is no different in Social Business. Make sure you make time every day to check in so you can monitor the level of engagement and conversations going on in your Social Business program. You will develop a more timely view of the sentiment for your brand in the marketplace.  ShoppeSimple provides all your analytics, tracking and measurement in a convenient Analytics and Measurement Dashboard.

Finally the last word… from the Wall Street Journal…  “For a World Where Facebook Is the New Internet”

“Facebook itself, sees content as a way to bring people to the site and keep them there, interacting with each other, buying stuff and getting served ads. At its conference for developers this week 9/19/2011, called F8, Facebook is expected to unveil a new media-sharing platform built for that purpose.” If you think 750 Million people don’t have clout, stay tuned. Your business depends on it.

My hope is you take these ideas and use them for your Social Business.  ShoppeSimple would love to help you by delivering a complete turn-key Social Business program for you in less than 10 days. And we can do it completely without touching your website.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Just give me a call at 612-349-2740 or email me at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com to get into a discussion.

September 27, 2011 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

IBM Launches Social Business..Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO ShoppeSimple

IBM Launches Social Business

Now with over 750 million members globally, there’s no doubt that Facebook should be a part of your Social Business marketing strategy. At this point, it’s almost insane to think that your own B2B prospects and B2C customers aren’t on Facebook, which is why many businesses are finally realizing they need to create an engaging and valuable Facebook presence for their Fans. In fact the Facebook icon is becoming ubiquitous.

IBM staked a claim in the e-commerce market coining the term e-Business in 1997, which continues to drive 14 years+ of global e-Business success. Last week in a press release IBM is stepping up and again taking ownership of the term Social Business. Hmmm…that certainly legitimizes social.

At ShoppeSimple we applaud IBM for finally formalizing their position on Social Business and frankly it couldn’t come at a better time as you head into the Holidays looking to not only grow your overall business but to navigate the social waters.

So what will the next quarter of your business look like with your Social Business? Is it mapped?

There isn’t a week that goes buy that I don’t have C-Level discussions from both clients and prospects asking me how do we protect our business from all of the “bad” economic news bearing down at us? How do we pull out Plan B’s and C’s and put them in place NOW.Plans that do not require us to make major investments, ones that can be accomplished quickly and do not force our business to take a margin hit should economic conditions go further south and fast.

(For answers to these concerns let’s go offline and I will share with you how ShoppeSimple can assist in providing social and mobile revenue lift to your business in less than 30 days without investment, without margin hit and you’ll get positive results in 30 days. We will put our skin in the game to prove it.)

On the flip side of this discussion, I speak with large Internet and Multi-Channel retailers who want to take the conservative and risk adverse path and prefer to defer jumping into Social Business. For these colleagues I only have to point to online history to debate them. To provide several counter points that support my position which indicates deferring in the social space is a path for them to become a second rate player to be disrupted by a competitor. All of this has been documented before. Here’s how and why… please let’s not have it happen to your business.

How long did your business wait to jump in the online space? How long did you take to start to capture email addresses and then to use them for marketing your business? By the way, now looking back…

  • how large is your current email database?
  • how much revenue do you get from your email channel today? Would you give it up?
  • finally what percent is your email channel to your overall ecommerce business?

How long did it take for your business to move from stores and or catalogs to creating and marketing a full-blown e-commerce website? Yes those of us old enough remember brochure-ware sites (before ecommerce) scary to be dating myself.

  • What percent of your overall business is now done in your e-commerce channel?
  • Would you shut down your ecommerce efforts?

So I sense you now see a parallel here to thinking about growing and monetizing your social channels. Wanting to grow your social channels and doing it today and not somewhere out in futureware?

And to those who have asked me to help or those who have a social block, I call this getting over the Social Divide. Its time for your company to decide where it needs to be with Social and to do it right now. “Social Time” is ticking …tick…toc…

In a book called Resonate by Nancy Duare, Nancy writes about how General Electric (GE) never saw economic downturns as a time for retrenchment. In fact for GE it is just the opposite. “We increase our focus on marketing and advertising”. As a case study she shares how GE, during the downturn of 2008, relied on research conducted by Harvard Business School’s Ranjay Gulati. He observed that companies that relentlessly focus on the customer and invest more in their customer experience can expect to stay ahead of their competition for up to five years after recovery. So one see the power of where GE is today after significantly increasing consumer/customer focused investment spending in 2008.

Like GE’s aggressive marketing spend in 2008 and now by IBM putting its stake in the ground around Social Business during the worst economic crisis of our lifetime what lessons can your business takeaway from GE and now IBM’s position in the Social Business space? What message are they sending to all of us?

From my seat there should be plenty of takeaways. You only have to go back a short 14 years to see how IBM’s first e-Business position has had an amazing impact on the global ecommerce economy. Now with the world shrinking (750 Million Facebook accounts) and the world speeding faster and faster… today more than ever your business must (yes must) jump on the social and mobile superhighways (Facebook, Twitter and Mobile).

With all of these facts at your disposal how can you think about deferring your social moves or waiting just not moving at all. How can you be skeptical that the Facebook platform will not monetize itself over the next several years. To repeat: What revenue are you making with your email database? Now if you jumped into Social Business just think what your Social Business could look like in just 1-5 years when history repeats itself again.

I just can’t image why you wouldn’t want your business to stake its claim on this social superhighway?

You just can’t be left on the Facebook onramp when you hear today, according to Nielsen, that the average Facebook user spends over 7 hours per month on Facebook. So starting with this post and next weeks, I will share some of my thoughts on ways for your business to approach the Facebook Superhighway. Over the next two weeks, I will share 10 Facebook strategies I would do if I would be in your shoes. And my hope is that these call outs will assist your business with Facebook strategy, development and execution. Enjoy and just like in anything social… please share your comments with me  by clicking here.

First and the key to developing

Here are the 10 things I would do if I were in your shoes…

1.  Treat Your Facebook Page as a Business Channel: Start acting like your Facebook page is a unique and separate marketing channel. Dump the company silos and culture that are prehistoric and obviously prohibit Facebook and your other social channels from growing and integrating with each other. You treat your PPC, email, Affiliate, as unique marketing channels and obviously know that they leverage each other and Facebook should be no different. Your Facebook presence needs to instill throughout your company that Facebook is a viable channel for generating traffic, turning Facebook traffic into leads and then monetizing traffic and lead flow into a valuable revenue stream for your business. If you haven’t been able to accomplish this then let ShoppeSimple help you!

Yes undeniably, your consumer is on Facebook an average of 7+ hours a month and if you are not engaging them or conversing with them right now… trust me your competitor will seize the opportunity to do so. In fact, they already are.

2. Embrace Facebook Conversations: Stop being scared of fans posting on your Wall. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Think about it this way. When I worked in Customer Service, I loved an unhappy customer who called in to complain. It gave me every opportunity to fix the issue. Someone who doesn’t complain can’t be turned around. Can’t be resold on the brand and in turn tell others about their positive experience. Handling customer service through social is an exponential opportunity to grow your business and one that your business must succeed with. So Social Business activity should be thought of just like that customer service analogy. I refer to all of this as Surround-Sound marketing. Embracing, engaging with and conversing your consumers no matter where they are is the definition of social and what drives word of mouth, the potential for viral opportunities. At ShoppeSimple we call this Response Management.

However, you must STOP putting your advertising on your consumers Wall. They didn’t ask for it! It is a huge red Stop Sign to blunting consumer conversations. They didn’t permission you to deliver it. And they are already starting to hate it. We have found through our research, when you remove your advertising Wall posts your Likes dramatically increase holistically and organically. They also convert to buyers. Isn’t kind of obvious. What does your personal Facebook Wall look like today? Does your Wall look like you email inbox? YUK!

A good point from HubSpot…in your Facebook settings, make sure comments are enabled so your fans can post to your Wall about things they want to talk to you about and tag your company in their posts, too. Making your Page more engaging and will also encourage brand evangelism that can show new visitors and potential fans of your Page that people love your brand! On the other side of the rainbow, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism or negative feedback. Don’t delete these types of posts. Instead, respond in a way that shows you respect their opinion and appreciate their feedback.

3. Delivering Your Content on Your Consumer’s Facebook Rail: Why notenable your consumers to see your content/offers, conversations and engagements on their own terms and on their consumer pages with just one click. That means by using ShoppeSimple your content/offers resides on the left rail of your consumer’s Facebook page (not their Wall).  

Often we are asked what is unique about ShoppeSimple and the answer is how we enable consumers to dynamically curate offers (self-select offers) and ride them into any and all of the social and mobile rails with just one simple click for both merchants and consumers. We just don’t build social on one platform. Our tools build Social Business for your business on all of the current social and mobile web-enabled platforms with simply one click and there in lies our Intellectual Property and our secret sauce.  

For the first time consumers do not face a fire hose of product offers that they do not want or have not asked for but instead can self-select themselves into content or product offers and have them delivered to their Facebook consumer pages (not the Wall) or any social and mobile enabled platform they want. This means your content/offers get the attention of your consumer daily, which leads to incremental higher average order, new customers, higher conversion, and more frequency of ordering without channel shift. So you don’t pay twice for the same order. We build content and engagement for your business daily.

4. Don’t Start and Stop: Similarly, if you are going to get all excited about social and then do nothing in the channel after starting we would suggest that you are not ready to build a social channel and propose you do not begin. Nothing could be worse than having your consumers believe you are social and then they experience not having conversations with you. Conversations on Facebook and on any social platform need to be engaging and continuing. Otherwise, your fans will have no reason to keep coming back to your Facebook Channel, and your Social Business Channel will suffer. So will your Brand.

I know that many of you have been reading my blog posts on a weekly or monthly basis. But what is also interesting is to watch your behaviors. To understand why you have not kicked the ShoppeSimple program into gear or at least formulated a trial program with us in time for the Holiday to test for yourself the benefits of the ShoppeSimple program. With ShoppeSimple there are no implementation costs, you will be ready to go in less than 10 days with little or no IT involvement from your side and we work off a revenue share program for your first trial. Plus we guarantee your satisfaction. I sense this value proposition is why we are growing so quickly.

What do you have to lose?  We are also not recommending replacing what you are doing in social but we have found a successful way for our clients to increase their Surround-Sound marketing tactics and as a result monetize social in harmony with their consumer engagement.

To get started with a ShoppeSimple Social Business test all you have to do is email me by clicking here or call me at 612-349-2740.

September 20, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

Surround-Sound Marketing…Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO – ShoppeSimple

Surround-Sound Marketing

In a White Paper, former FDA Commissioner Dr. David A. Kessler shared how the Food Industry has developed, marketed and promoted products to the American people. One of the stories he describes is how Roger Smith who was the Vice President for Research and Development at Nabisco developed the most iconic cookie brands: Oreos and Chips Ahoy!

Kessler describes the key insight that Smith reached while working at Nabisco – was that “no single aspect of food – neither one ingredient nor one sensory property – gets us to like something. The key drivers are multisensory.”  

Over my online marketing career and my focus around social and mobile, I’ve been promulgating “Surround-Sound” marketing. Surround-Sound marketing is a holistic state where the collective marketing from all online channels support an alignment with consumers and engages them wherever they are on the web or on mobile. This also includes a unified focus on all of your online channels to help monetize social channels by leveraging years of core e-commerce marketing efforts.

Surround-Sound marketing requires that all your channels work as one, especially now at a time when the current economic conditions leave your business little room for margin give-back and/or profit loss. 

Facts that back up the need for Surround-Sound Marketing…

  • A Radica study indicates that nearly 2.4 billion users worldwide have social networking accounts in 2010, with an anticipated growth to 3.9 billion by the end of 2015.
  • In 2010 more than 107 trillion emails were sent, according to The New York Times.
  • Estimates from a recent Morgan Stanley Trend Report indicate that 50% of all ecommerce transactions will be done on a Smartphone by the year 2014.
  • And Gartner says, “For the customer, social marketing and marketing applications that help customers through the decision-making steps of the buying process will be fully accomplished through a mobile device.”

But unfortunately in the last few years’ customer engagement has morphed into a communication form where merchants have disrespected their universe of consumers.

Here’s how and why…have you ever asked your consumer how they would like to have a conversation with your business? Or, what merchandise offers or content they would like to see from your business?

If you would ask, what would their answers be?

Have you asked and have they told you where they would like to see your offers in their online environs including social and mobile? Do you have the pulse on their answers?

Or have you fallen back to what has always been comfortable? To play it safe and do what you have always done. To only focus your marketing that directs consumers back to your website or spray them with a fire hose of product offers that you have decided are the ones your consumers want from you.

With all your different communication channels like email, PPC, Affiliate, retail, online advertising, direct mail and other online tactics driving one to many communications conversations with you consumer, how likely are you to have one unifying voice? How likely have you included your consumer’s wants and wishes into your communication?

It has never been more important than today to take a holistic view of your marketing and dismantle the marketing silos that have been established within your organization.

Like Dolby® Digital Sound in a movie, the experience of the crystal clear sound captivates its audience and drives the user experience. The very same thing should happen with your online campaigns.

When you apply Surround-Sound marketing approaches to align communication across all your channels and speak with one brand voice, you will almost immediately become more effective at reaching and engaging the consumer. These communications are not only effective in engaging the consumer. They will lead to channel monetization too.

So following Surround-Sound marketing methodologies…

  • Remove the clutter of cross-purpose channel marketing
  • Rise above dumping more email volume and frequency at your consumers by enabling your consumers to self-select themselves into content/offers that are of interest to them and allow these content/offers to be delivered where and when they want them (social and through mobile)
  • Rise above the fact that on average you have over 90% defection from your website visits (Yes 9/10+ visitors defect from your home page) by providing a more customized consumer home page experience driven by your consumer
  • Rise above the fact that on average your business is losing 70%+ shopping cart abandons according to MarketingSherpa and stop believing that your consumer enjoys being followed once they leave your site
  • Rise above the lost opportunity cost created by poorly designed PPC/Adword programs and poorly designed landing pages without any social monetization strategies

Consumers need the ability to decide and to tell you what messages they want to see and where they want to see them in any and all of your channels. Today’s consumer demands more control over what communications they receive and where they want to see them.

As Tina Stewart VP of Marketing at Lyris says… “It’s all about developing a message and making sure it is not seen as just noise. With Adblockers Instant blocks, such as spam filters, intelligent inboxes, unlikes, etc., you need to give your audience an easier and faster way to stay engaged with you or you just simply risk disengagement.”

But how do you successfully engage customers in a dialogue so they pay attention to your offers or content? It starts by knocking down and eliminating your program silos and by realizing that you must move to developing only one voice for your BRAND. You must unify your campaigns across all channels with a consistent look, feel, and one voice.

At ShoppeSimple our Surround-Sound marketing system is designed to enable you to RISE ABOVE and move your business to an alignment with your consumers. We enable your consumer to self-select what merchandise offers/content they want to see and where they want these offers to be delivered (any social or mobile platform) with one simple click. We provide an integrated Surround-Sound marketing system for your business, which unifies all of your online marketing into one voice.  The results speak for themselves.

Real Results…

One client, generating $8 Million in sales (annualized) or around 10% of their online sales, has renewed with us twice. Another client just renewed after seeing great matchback results with a rebuy rate lift of 38% and an Average Order Value lift of 32%. Still another recent renewal increased their frequency from 1 order per year to 2X+ on their active customer group.

With ShoppeSimple you can achieve results like this too, by RISING ABOVE these common online challenges and engaging your consumers on their terms using Surround Sound marketing methodologies.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Just send me an email at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com  to start our conversation!

September 13, 2011 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Unlocking Social Keywords…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

In an article last week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (home base of Target, Best Buy and ShoppeSimple) – Target executives said “they no longer see their stores, website and mobile platforms as separate entities. A SALE IS A SALE.”

In another Star Tribune article in the same week, Jodi Davis, a Best Buy executive said “It’s an interesting time at Best Buy right now. We’re finding more ways to communicate with customers. We want them to interact with us no matter where they are (store, website, social and mobile) and no matter what device they use.”

Here are two of the biggest multi-channel retailers in the US getting channel agnostic and confirming what I have been saying for months…A SALE IS A SALE.

Hearing the daily tough economic news, shouldn’t your business just be happy to make a bank deposit regardless of channel? Isn’t internal fighting over traditional vs. new social channels getting credit for the order something that needs to be kicked overboard when you are facing economic times like these?

As I was preparing for a recent WebEx presentation around Changing Innovation, I got to wonder about social monetization of online channels. I chose to speak about Google Adwords. Yes, Adwords and not my normal social world. It was a great departure for me.

During the WebEx we discussed Google’s Adwords and how Google has changed the online marketing landscape with its Adwords innovation. I personally started using Adwords when I was building and running the HarrietCarters.com website in the early 2000’s. In fact, Google launched AdWords in October 2000 with 350 clients and Harriet was one of the first companies to use it for our marketing. Yes, you would expect me to be an early adopter of technical innovation and what I loved then and still do about Adwords is the fact that Google provided an innovation for marketers to move away from impression-based banner buys to a more targeted and a relevant consumer’s choice ad model. This was a vast departure from the DoubleClick (where I also worked in the late 90’s)  banner-serving model which was based on an enhanced cookie CPM model.

As you may know Adwords is run by consumers searching for Keyword using Google’s search engine. Adwords is a “bid and ask” pricing model where the highest bid ads are placed at the top and side on the Google’s search page. They are featured in the yellow boxes. Spending is only charged to the advertiser when a consumer clicks on a headline ad link and then the price per click fee negotiated is charged. Adwords is not a revenue share program because it is up to the merchant, on its own dime, to convert the sale.  Adwords is basically a traffic driver to the merchant site.

Unlocking your Social Keyword Strategy

Over the summer of 2011, ShoppeSimple has been analyzing the PPC arena and also working with merchants and partnerships to identify how to improve PPC results. We have also been suggesting to merchants ways to grow their social channels through the use of new Social PPC/Adwords marketing. Now that we have released our SSN4.0 software, we have been analyzing Social PPC marketing that is driven by testing socializing and monetizing keywords, which emanate from conversations that you are having with your consumers on your Facebook Wall and on Twitter and/or through your search query streams along with other pathways.

You should be also be doing this in your PPC program. Start looking for new social keywords in your search query reports. Additionally, have you considered using PPC as a way to capture more Likes and Twitter followers using special exclusive social channel offers/coupons/free shipping or gifts and then using a unique and socialized landing page for this PPC effort? But as I said before, stay away from using Sweepstakes to drive Like growth.

From one of our partners:

“By including the social search phrase into a unique landing page a conversion rate increase of up to 20 percent is possible. Shoppers will see this, which immediately confirms they are in the right place by emphasizing the phrase they used in their searches.”  Tony Tellijohn – Ackmann & Dickenson

You may be thinking, well Jeff we can do all of that so what is special about ShoppeSimple’s Social Keyword approach? Well that is our secret sauce…. Ahh…you believe you are doing this….well you will see what I mean…simply read on…

Are your Keywords Locked…Here’s why and how?

What I just shared is an ideal PPC program scenario. The reality unfortunately is both interesting and sometimes really ugly. What do I mean? Well as a business using PPC, you pay a ton of up front marketing dollars (based on consumer clicks) to Google Adwords and then from my seat, I question why you would allow your user relevancy and consumer conversation to get so bruised because many of you are frankly blowing it on the PPC backend.

Here is what I found in three Keyword cases. And believe me, I didn’t go out of my way to find these examples. I won’t name names but the examples are all from the top paid PPC link for the Keyword on Google. You can easily replicate these experiences for yourselves.

The first search case: I typed Ammo into Google Search. I clicked on the paid link and got to a website landing page which had ammo choices but why am I also being forced to look at 25 product choices 5 of them not being ammo at all (knifes/guns and shooting accessories). From my perspective, the time to show me related search items is deeper in the selling process, not on the PPC landing page. How relevant is this page for me with 20% of the products not being close to what I want?

Search case number two: I typed in Petite Suits. After selecting from among the top PPC links, I found myself on one of the most well known multi-channel merchant sites in the US. Their landing page showed 100 items on the first page (yes 100) and 7 more pages of fashion. All of this made the buying choices overwhelming by any standard. By the way, most of these items were Petites but not Suits. Is this what consumers expected when they typed in Petite Suits?

Search case number three: And with this last case I thought heck I want to search on something very specific, something that I am about to buy. So I did a Google search on “Adidas sneakers originals Samba”. In fact, this is a pair of sneakers I am prepared to buy from one of the Internet Top 50 Internet Retailers. I have these shoes already in my shopping cart on their site but instead I thought I would try testing the shopping process using Adwords. However this time from the flip side of the user experience.

Unfortunately…The result was a total failure for this retailer and the consumer (ME). So what did my search show? For the search “Adidas sneakers originals Samba” a results page from the very same merchant (from whom I have the item in my cart) left me with 12 products on their website landing page.  Worse yet…ONLY ONE of these products was Adidas and none of them being Samba the shoe I want to buy. Is there something I’m missing?

Additionally, where is the obvious social conversation in any of these three examples? None of the results pages had any social conversational tools on them. Does social have to be just about Facebook, Twitter and Mobile to be considered social? From my seat, heck no!

At the core of multi-channel marketing is consumer engagement and this is channel agnostic.  Just like we heard from Target and Best Buy this week  A SALES IS A SALE!

If you are like most of the merchants we speak with, PPC is probably in the top 3 performing channels for your ecommerce business and if your PPC experience looks anything like the above just imagine how much money you are wasting in this channel. And on the flip side, imagine how ShoppeSimple can help you drive down acquisition cost, increase your conversions and deliver new customers.

All you have to do to experience this in your business and in time for the Holidays is test us. If you don’t get results you don’t pay so you have no downside risk!

Now taking this Social Keywords discussion further, where is the social monetization on any of these merchant keyword results pages? Look for them? Absolutely nowhere. My research findings also suggest that virtually none of these Top Internet 100 merchants (and maybe you) in their PPC programs are including social sharing like Facebook, Twitter and mobile sharing icons on the PPC results pages. What a miss.

At ShoppeSimple we make it easier for you to create and monetize your PPC/Adwords program and do it without any implementation costs. We also guarantee that our program will dramatically increase your conversion rate and drive down your order acquisition costs.

Real Proof…

One of our customers, generating $8 Million in sales (annualized) or around 10% of their online sales, has renewed with us twice. Another customer just renewed after seeing great matchback results with a rebuy rate lift of 38% and an Average Order Value lift of 32%. Still another recent renewal increased their frequency from 1 order per year to 2X+ on their active customer group.

With ShoppeSimple you can achieve results like this too by making your Adwords program relevant to your consumers as you remember A SALES IS A SALE. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Just send me an email at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com to start our conversation!

Best,

Jeffery

Jeffery Giesener
CEO/Founder
ShoppeSimple Network

PS. Please feel free to forward this to a friend or colleague.

September 8, 2011 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

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We work with Companies to deliver Job Candidates through Social and Mobile Career Centers. ShoppeSimple's social plug-in works with any ATS and distributes your job postings automatically to Facebook (not the Wall), Twitter, Google+, microsite landing pages and mobile/tablet platforms without your IT or your program management involvement.

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