#WhyImVotingUkip FAIL

Have you seen the UK Independence Party disaster on Twitter? They created a hashtag to promote UKIP but it didn’t work out… check out some of these tweets, hilarious!

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m worried that Muslims will force me to practice Shakira Law, and my breasts are small and humble

#WhyImVotingUkip cause I’m sick of foreigners coming over here, improving our exam results and being our doctors. What selfish ******s.

#WhyImVotingUkip because Michael Jackson made better music when he was white

#WhyImVotingUkip I’m sick of my Israeli mother nagging me to clean my room. Enough is enough, she’s got to go

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m worried black people will start breeding with gay people and we’ll create a master race of amazing dancers

#WhyImVotingUKIP Because Im sick of immigrants coming over here and seasoning our bland food.

#WhyImVotingUkip Less Asians means lower grade boundaries

#WhyImVotingUkip Because Mr Sheen left smears on my windows and it says on the bottle that he’s polish.

#WhyImVotingUkip Because a brown baby smiled at me and I didn’t know what to do.

#WhyImVotingUkip cos i’m sick of them coming over here, contributing taxes, doing jobs we don’t want, having skills we don’t have

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m sick of foreign food in the supermarket. Why can’t they just stock English food like pasta, curry & rice?

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I thought it was a party who promoted napping in the afternoon

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m hoping they’ll repatriate my dad to India via Dubai & I need a new digital camera

#WhyImVotingUkip because, having invaded three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, Britain shouldn’t tolerate the presence of any foreigns.

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m sick of them coming over here contributing to the economy and enriching our culture.

#WhyImVotingUkip David Cameron didn’t wish me happy birthday

#WhyImVotingUkip because British jobs should be for British people. Just like African diamonds should be for colonialist European families.

#WhyImVotingUkip maternity leave is just pandering to women,in bongo bongo land they have a baby in the morning and then work in the fields

Not had enough? See more here 


Realistic Affiliate Marketing Expectations

Affiliate marketing is a hugely competitive arena. Even if you find your niche, it will only be a matter of time before a super affiliate or merchant challenges your space.

You need to be realistic in your vision of what you can leverage; if you’re working alone alongside your 9-5 role, it is very unlikely you’ll be joining the elite any time soon unless you hit a goldmine or perhaps suffer from insomnia with more hours in your day than most people.

Super affiliates become a network of specialists in their own rights, leveraging highly skilled talent to help further their profits.

I’ve seen a number of affiliates struggle from setting unrealistic expectations. Take my example. I aimed to become profitable after 6-9 months and achieve my first monthly income target within 12 months, using a structured approach to building my online presence. I’m well on track and with continual traffic and revenue growth at a steady pace, giving as much back as we put in.

Knowing what to set and how to set targets comes with knowledge of the industry which many affiliates may not have, but start small and over achieve. It will help massively with your motivation and give you further confidence to build on from each success.

What is worse than striving for success without seeing any payback? We have more ambitious targets next year, followed by global domination! Ok, maybe not just yet, but by starting small, your failures are also less magnified, from selecting the right host for your website to creating and marketing it the right way.

Finally, having consulted on a number of affiliate ventures, through the brilliant affiliates4u forum, I know how daunting and tough it can seem, but with a wide network of support available through forums and down to earth super affiliates there really is no reason to give up!

What challenges have you faced and how have you kept your motivation levels up?

Use your customers to define your web strategy

So often I hear of web strategies taking a top-down approach from the business, trying to translate (a quite successful) traditional “offline” (that is, not online) strategy and developing this online.

“our customers do such and such, so the website needs to do such and such”

Consumers use websites in different ways. Individuals use the same website in different ways. They use different websites in different ways. Customers use call centre, bricks and mortar, online in different ways. If you walk past a shop and see some nice jeans in the window, what do you do first? Take a closer look? Check the design and picture yourself wearing them? Check the price tag?

What next? Walk into the shop? Walk away? Ok so you like them and you walk in. You see the sign post for ‘Men’ and find the ‘jeans’ section. You see the jeans that were on display and take a closer look. You like them, you find the correct size, you try them on, you buy them. Now imagine how you would do this online; you display an ad banner targetting men, 20-35, with images of jeans. The user clicks. They land on your website. But there aren’t any jeans on the homepage. So the user clicks the ‘Men’ link. They find the jeans section. They view the image of the jeans. They like them (that zoom-in and pan feature worked!). They select a size. The purchase them. Sound ideal? Well that was a highly idealistic journey comparison and research will find that it is just not that easy.

So my comparison with the shop window was an ad-banner. The ad-banner is competing with other ads just as a shop-window competes with other shops. Once they come closer, perhaps the shop-window is comparable with your website homepage? That’s where the comparison ends. Once you walk into the shop, in a matter of seconds you can pan around and get a good feel for the ambience of the shop, the type of people the shop attracts, the lighting used, the music played and of course, the types of garments on sale. All in the space of a few seconds. If the music is hard-core rock, what’s your interpretation of the shop? What if the music is classical? There are so many different touch-points in a bricks and mortar environment that cannot be reproduced online. Ok so your website has ambient music. I don’t browse with my sound on. Do you? Does your customer? So when they land on your website, do they know what kind people are attracted to your website/brand? Can the sense the quality? Do they feel they belong as they might by walking into a shop? Can they quickly scan the homepage like they might a shop and get a feel for what you have?

Using your customers

I’m an advocate of consumer feedback. It sounds so simple yet so many continue without it. Converse with your customer. Ask them why they’re here. What is their impression of your website? Do they understand your brand/website? Don’t second guess your customers! Your analytics package (you have one right?) will tell you what, but not why.

Part of setting a strategy is understanding why people come to your website. Understand why they are on your website and compare this with what they actually do. Spot the opportunities.

There are many ways to model this; find out why they’re here. Here are a few tools to get you going: http://4q.iperceptions.com/ and http://www.edigitalresearch.com/ – and get a good consultant to interpret the data.

Match this against your KPIs to determine how closely you really are serving your customers and to identify opportunities. Collect feedback. Read it, action it.

The bottom line is your website has a purpose

Your commercial website has a purpose. Your business has a goal. Your job is to meet business demand, online. Your business thinks they know what you need to do with your website, you’re a ‘techie’, you know this online stuff so you need to make it happen. What you need to do is to actually push this back to the business. Find out why people visit your website and action this insight. So you sell furniture. Your business wants to sell more online and reduce the call centre burden. Your boss wants you to make it happen. You create a website, with a shopping cart and product info, the perfect shopping portal! Your marketing team are doing great, 5k UVs/day in 3 months. Money is rolling in. Your share of business is 10% and things are looking good! A year on and you’re still at 10%. 18 months and nothing has changed. Revenue is up, as is the whole business but your share has remained constant. So what’s wrong? Your website is good, your marketing is good. But people are not buying online. Find out why! If you’re attracting a fairly constant stream of traffic to the website (and assuming they’re not ‘bouncing’) then they’re interested in your product, to some extent. Survey them!

Ok so survey’s are not 100% perfect due to their self-selecting nature but it will give you a good insight into what is really happening on your website. Perhaps most people visit your website because of that fancy new tool you developed to allow your visitors to plan their new living room? Perhaps they visit to view the products before calling to place their order? Perhaps there just is not enough information on your website to allow them to qualify their needs? What if 20% of those that visited intended to buy but only 2% of them convert on any given day? Potential? Is the data correct?

Your website strategy

Your website strategy will be made up of wide-ranging tactics, insights, plans and deliverables but if there is one thing for sure, involve your customers. Find out what purpose your website has for them. Don’t assume they’re going to fall into line and act as your business wants them to act. Getting your business demands and customer needs to meet 50:50 is a big task but with a little insight, you can make it happen

Website Conversion – Influences from beyond

Are you spending resource, time and effort on improving conversion? Well done, you’re on the right path. However are you in full control of your online marketing? You are? Great.

If not, you’re probably in the majority. You’re working hard to ensure a percentage of all visitors leave their mark on your website every day. Whether it be leaving their details to request some print material or purchasing whatever you’re selling.

So you’ve done a grand job and conversion is up. At least it should be. But your traffic has also jumped. It’s jumped so high that your conversion has dropped! What now?

Look at your actual volumes. Conversion is a great measure of how well you’re utilising your traffic. However don’t forget to keep an eye on your metrics! What use is an increase in conversion if your traffic drops and your revenue remains constant..


Online Customer Expectations

Do website users really know what they want?

Well actually this depends on quite a few factors. However what we do know is that there is a pressing demand from the general web browser (that is, a person not a program) to get things done quickly and to get it done right. So does quick=speedy page loading? No. Speed means access to information. Get the customer through your shop door and to the shelf or rail with the product they want ASAP! This is of course obvious but how many websites do you know that do this?

Lack of Information Vs Information Overload

Getting the balance just right is the most difficult task but offers the most reward. The e-commerce site I’m currently managing has quite a sizable number of pages (4 digits). So is this enough? Well relatively speaking the customer speaks the loudest. Analysis has shown that whilst we have as much as 10 to 15 times the information contained in our brochures, customer are still not satisfied. Afterall, it is the customer that knows what they want, not us! Or do we? Analysing traffic through your website can seem like walking through a maze.

The Little Big Brother Approach

Whilst web analytics can tell you the what and when, how do you work out the why? You can either ask them directly, in focus groups and lab tests – let’s be honest, how many participants can we really capture in full-flight – or you can install some clever software that will actually allow you to play-back customer journeys through your website! Clever? Well not as clever as being able to set ‘triggers’ to record certain journeys. Saves a fair amount of time working out why exactly your attrition levels are so high. You thought the page was so simple that it must be the users that are doing something wrong. Well set a trigger to alert you when someone hits this page and play back the sessions. You might just be surprised.

Customer Expectations

Customers are more and more expecting to spend less time searching and more time consuming information online. Go ask Google. That’s why it is key to reduce any ‘low-hanging fruit’ issues with your site as possible and concentrate on a strategy to streamline your customer journey for the mid-term. Information is key, but make it relevant, easy to find and don’t make your customers think too much!

Depesh Mandalia