Solution: Optimizing the integration between your e-mail marketing and Web analytics platforms enables you to more efficiently target and trigger e-mail campaigns based on Web site clickstream data.
The best approach is simply to start small. Lay the groundwork necessary to implement a single e-mail marketing tactic. Launch your campaign, prove the ROI and then move on to the next. By integrating as you go, the task becomes much more manageable.
Some tactics you can try that combine e-mail marketing with Web analytics data include:
For shopping cart or Web-form abandonment, send customers an e-mail encouraging them to complete their transaction; consider offering an incentive to get them to do so.
Send customers a message based on what pages, categories, products or services they browse on your site.
Renew relationships with customers who have returned to your site after an extended absence by sending an e-mail message based on their last purchase or most recent page views.
If you're ready to get started, check with your e-mail service provider to see whether it already has a working relationship in place with your Web analytics vendor to make your integration tasks easier. And start small, one tactic at a time. Do this, and you could take your e-mail marketing to new levels of success.
Elaine O'Gorman is VP-strategy at Silverpop (www.silverpop.com), a provider of e-mail marketing solutions.
Problem: Creating and managing a corpo-rate blog.
Solution: Adding a corporate blog to your Web site can create a powerful channel of communication between you and your customers. Corporate blogs can also provide an instantaneous feedback loop on your organization, products, ideas and the market. Before you start a corporate blog, consider these questions:
1) Who from your organization will be the voice of the blog? In many organizations, it's a C- level executive or company spokesperson. This person should be able to eloquently comment on your market, identify trends and add value to your customers. However, unless you have a dedicated employee tasked with managing the blog, this process can be time-consuming and laborious.
Having a behind-the-scenes process for updating content and managing feedback can ease this workload. To achieve this, define a group of people who will help develop topics. Include a PR and investor relations person as final editors so content is aligned with your corporate strategies and complies with any SEC regulations.
2) How will you use feedback? Some company blogs don't solicit any feedback from the community, thereby missing the opportunity to secure valuable information about the public's perception of the topic or their organization. Instead, implement a moderated approach in which the editor can approve comments. Be transparent about this to the reader. Clearly state that not all comments will be posted.
3) How will you update the content? Companies developing blogs must take a hard look at how they are updating content to their sites. Does the existing process enable posts and comments to be updated quickly and easily? If you are using a Web content management solution, postings can usually be easily added as new content within the existing solution. You may also be able to set up a work flow in which postings can be easily viewed and/or approved, based on the value of the content. This can also help to ensure that comments are read, as the feedback you receive can be as important as the message you send out.
Elizabeth Torrie Zwaryczuk is director of communications for RedDot Solutions (www.reddot.com), a provider of Web content management software.
Problem: Minimizing a Web site redesign's negative impact on organic search traffic.
Solution: Some of the biggest improvements in organic search traffic and revenue come following a redesign of a site. It's one of the best times to make those difficult changes to your URL structure, source code and internal linking—all of which will benefit your site long term. Ideally, URLs should be concise and contain relevant keywords. Source code should allow spiders quick access to your content and internal links should be keyword-rich and text-based.
If you are changing your URL, you will also need to update any important links from other Web sites to your site. A good way to identify these is to type your URL into the search field at Google; you'll then be given the option to find Web pages that link to you. You can also check the list of referring Web sites in your analytics package; contact these sites and ask them to update their link. This request works best when it is accompanied by some sort of reward for changing the link. The incentive does not have to be monetary, as access to special content or a new tool often works just as well.
In addition, during this time many companies re-evaluate their content and messaging. In general, a page of your site should target no more than two keywords. Tools such as Wordtracker and the Yahoo! Keyword Selector Tool offer query information that will help you identify good keywords.
After your site has launched, you should see fluctuation in your rankings as traffic and your new pages are indexed and the linking value is transferred over. However, following these tactics will allow you to get the maximum benefit from organic search during your site update.
Brian Kaminski is managing director of the San Francisco office of iProspect, a search engine marketing provider (www.iprospect.com).