Category Archives: Info-Graphs

Making Businesses Fun

How Gamification can Increase Customer Interest

Gamification, (noun): the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service

Games, especially those with high-quality designs and graphics, have such an absorbing effect on everyone. It can make people stop and engage in a game for as short as five minutes and as long as five hours. This can be an option for businesses to engage in some business marketing with a well-developed game, as social game advertisements are relatively cheaper than regular ads. Everybody loves to have fun and be carefree. This makes people more susceptible to check out the ads while they take a break from real life and all its issues.

If done right, businesses can benefit from games, as they help make people become more familiar with the processes of a certain company. This is the situation with the Marriott Hotel game, which promotes brand exposure and awareness among its players. People who participate and follow the game’s rules basically learn about the processes of hotel operations from kitchen orders to room reservations and other amenities.

According to Daniela Baker, a game’s creation, marketing and launching can cost as much as $100,000 to $300,000. Businesses, then, have to spend $12,500 to $22,500 to maintain the game for at least four months. These expenditures are enough to make entrepreneurs think twice about setting up a game for their businesses. Other than that, there’s the risk that the game will not earn much popularity. That would make an expensive investment even more impractical to get into. This makes it important for businesses to properly weigh the potential returns and losses they might incur to develop a social game.

Another thing to consider is how they would tailor their marketing strategy with a game. Would a funeral parlor, for example, succeed in duplicating their operations in a game? Would a game like that attract a large following or would it result to a major flop? Wouldn’t an embalmer role be too morbid and creepy to play?

Before you think to dip your toes into the gaming business, let’s look at some statistics:

In the infographic, “Battle of the Sexes: How Men and Women Use the Social Web,” women outnumber men by at least 20% in playing online social games like Farmville and Plants vs. Zombies.

In fact, it is said that the older female demographic (40 to 60-year olds) play more often than their male counterparts. Women also play longer, as proven by PopCap Games when they commissioned Information Solutions Group to conduct a study on the gaming population:

This puts another spin in businesses trying out their own games for marketing purposes. As women are more active in playing social games, companies with female-targeted or gender-neutral games fare better. This makes it vital for corporations to make their games ‘social’ and appealing for the female demographic.

So, what makes a social game?

Social games can be found in social networks, which encourage players to compare gameplay and scores with friends or people outside their online social circles. Nick O’Neill defines social games as “…structured activity which has contextual rules through which users can engage with one another. Social games must be multiplayer and have one or more of the following features: turn-based, are based on social platforms for providing users with an identity and are casual.” [sic]

Facebook games like Farmville, Cityville, Mafia Wars and Tetris Battle have the characteristics mentioned above. The framework of those games caters to a wide community of players who need to interact with each other to move on to the next level. They need gifts like energy bars and other materials that only friends could give them. This, I think, is the primary attraction for women to play social games. Women, in nature, are more sociable and group-oriented. This kind of setup, the gift-giving and sharing of resources appeals to them.

This impresses the need for businesses to create games that would be ‘social’ in nature. It should be aesthetically designed and easy enough to play with enough features to keep players engaged and prevent them from getting bored. Develop your game with a knowledgeable social game marketing company to plan your budget well and minimize potential losses.

 

References:

CreativeGuerrillaMarketing.com

Marketing XD Blog

NPR.org

Mashable

Social Times

Oxford Dictionaries

From Computer to Cellphone

How Online Businesses Should Start Subscribing to the Rising Mobile Internet Trend

With increasing numbers of smartphone users and internet data plan subscribers, businesses are starting to see the potential of earning new customers through mobile Internet campaigns. Plans are made whether to optimize their websites for cellphone browsing or develop an app for their business. They consider both and get confused which one to choose.

Here’s an infographic to help you select which option is better for your mobile marketing needs:

Both mobile website optimization and app developed have pros and cons. Customers, especially those transacting with you for the first time, might choose to access your store’s mobile website instead of downloading your app. They also might not want to add more apps on their cellphone as it’s overloaded with apps. Consequently, they might also be more liable to suggest that other people access the website rather than download that app. In my opinion, loyal and repeat customers are more likely to get the app instead of using your mobile website.

So, if you’re just starting your business, work on getting your website optimized for mobile users first. This will be more cost-efficient than investing on app development. Once you’re able to cultivate and maintain a strong customer base, then an app will be absolutely necessary. If planned and designed well, this app will also help your business gain more referrals. Satisfied app users will say to friends, “If you want something for your _______ problem, maybe this business app can help you.”

Mobile apps help businesses achieve customer satisfaction through easy-to-use features accessible even without Internet connection. For example, P.F. Chang’s Restaurant offers these features in an app:

  • P.F. Chang locations
  • Make reservations
  • Browse the menu
  • Place a takeout order
    • Start a new order
    • Select a previous order
    • Join Warrior Rewards and view  other available incentives
    • Discover your Dish of Destiny based on the Chinese zodiac
    • Create your own Words of Wisdom with the fortune cookie generator
    • Share your favorite dishes and fortunes on social networks like Facebook and Twitter
    • Learn about restaurant news, events and promotions
    • Free to download*

If we apply these features to the Time Usage picture above, we will understand how app users are more liable to spend more time using this app more than the website. The mobile app is more interactive and can be used offline. In addition, there are games like the Dish of Destiny and fortune cookie quote generator. More opportunities to connect socially are also available. Patrons of P.F. Chang’s restaurant can immediately post their gastronomic comments and reactions for each dish they had. Example images from P.F. Chang’s mobile app are:

Notice how the graphics are well-done? The sharpness of the images? The fine color and detailed pages of this mobile app certainly makes up for the expense P.F. Chang must have incurred for this. Let’s compare these images to those of the restaurant’s mobile site.As we can see, the mobile website is way simpler in design compared to the mobile app. Simple designs like these enable faster loading speed yet can prevent the user from lingering at your website more. It might be better to spice up the graphics and put some images to the mobile site. These will improve the plain appearance and attract more visitors to your mobile site.

As customers are more likely to visit a mobile website than download the app, it is only natural that the website gets more impressions (i.e. number of times a user accessed a website), visits and unique visitors. All these data does not automatically mean that users are more engaged with mobile websites than app users. According to the infographic snip above, “app users consume 2.4 times more impressions on average.” I believe this came about because only users who are regular customers of a business will actually download its app. They would naturally be the ones to access the app more than a random viewer or one-time customer will.

This is the same case with content. Although the content usage results are equal for both mobile websites and apps, the latter spark more customer engagement. This is due to the amount of habitual transactions that a regular customer makes.

So, in the end, what should a business choose—a mobile site or an app? There really is no right or wrong answer with this question as it is up to the choice of the business owners. They should choose which method works better for their enterprise. However, according to some experts, if a business has the funds, both mobile website and app should be used. This is to maximize on “both platforms and audience.”

To see the full infographic, click here.

 

References:

*List of features taken from: MarketWatch.com

Mashable

When in Doubt, Use Colors

Colors can make a store or website look more lively and attractive. If you have an overly plain website that does not suit your business, then consider reinventing the colors.

Colors are useful in every marketing endeavor. Ever since we were babies and little tots toddling around, we have always been fascinated with the reds, blues, yellows and other hues around us. Life would indeed be boring without color, because it essentially conveys life, from the lightest to the darkest of shades.

The same is true when it comes to website design. Visual appearance is hugely important. If the sense of sight is not stimulated, the viewer will more likely become uninterested and look for some other business to contact. Colors are also vital when it comes to branding. Without them, brand recognition and recall will be hard to come up with. In addition, if the colors you used for your brand don’t mix well, customers will soon forget it or get irritated with it.

According to a Kissmetrics study, color can affect marketing. Customers rank visual appearance as the most important quality to determine whether a product should be bought or not. This is efficiently demonstrated on Pinterest, the social network that immediately became popular due to its visual interface. In fact, many people examine the overall look of a product before buying it. They check for unusual lumps, scratches, fading color and other flaws. If they see one defect, they put it down and look at another piece or bring the product to a sales representative.

Paying attention to how your ecommerce website ranks in overall appearance is important. Make sure the colors complement because mismatched shades can turn off customers. Pleasing colors encourage website visitors to browse more products. The way your products are presented can intrigue them and make them reach for their wallet or credit information. Make sure your products are tastefully displayed. Show them to their best advantage. Take examples from successful ecommerce stores and see how they display their goods:

In the top two pictures, we can see that the clothing retail entrepreneur used actual people to wear the garments instead of mannequins. Employing models to wear your products makes visitors visualize how they would look wearing the clothes. Colors are used to make the garments stand out. At the top-left image, the model is made to stand in front of green foliage. This brought out the pink, orange and violet colors in her dress. A filter is used on the second picture to blur the background and emphasize the model’s clothing. The bright yellow and blue stood out, including her ring, the bag and the hat. This demonstrates the fine use of colors to attract attention.

Even plain accessories can be made extraordinary, especially when they’re shown well. On the lower left image, the black necklace was set against a rough-hewn wooden surface. This photograph evokes simple charm, which makes it especially striking for viewers. The middle photograph with the suitcases used complementary colors and fine arrangement to stand out. This increased the visual appeal of the bags, which would have been diminished if the entrepreneur showed them off piece by piece. Even the bread looks good. It looked more yellow as it lay there on the white background. The loaves look soft and firm enough that viewers want to pluck a slice out of the picture.

Color is important in creating a good impression. Proper use of color makes a brand especially memorable. There has to be consistency as well, to ensure that the customers remember that your logo represents your company. This is demonstrated in Coca-Cola’s use of bright red and white, Yellow Cab’s yellow and black, and Home Depot’s orange and white.

It will be difficult to promote a brand if color is improperly used. People will constantly ask, “What is that brand again?” This makes it important for businesses to immediately use colors that would form their logo. Color psychology must be considered to ensure that the right impression is made on your customers. Here’s how the North American market is affected by the following colors:

Let’s apply these color interpretations to the logos above. Take Starbucks, for example. Green is such a restful color that makes people loosen and lighten up. This color is used to imbue the coffee shop with a relaxing atmosphere and make people stop for a while and unwind. So, when you’re thinking of colors to use for your own brand or logo, think of your goal. What is it that you want customers to think or feel when they go to your store? Do you want them active or relaxed? Realistic or dreamy? A careful choice of colors can help you convey what image you want your customers to see and make them feel the atmosphere you want to assume.

Thinking of what colors to use for the regular price and discount tags on your website and store location? Here’s how to decide:

Red and orange implies urgency, with royal blue and black conveying luxury. Entice impulse buyers to open their wallets. Display them with these colors dominating the background. Navy blue inspires trust, which makes it a popular color for banks. Want shoppers to relax their hold on their cash? Use green backgrounds and accents on the decoration. Clothing stores for women use pale colors and pinks to evoke a dreamy atmosphere that drives women to remember dress-up games when they were children. This puts many women in a shopping mood.

Make sure to use the right colors to evoke the reactions you need from your customers. Proper use of colors will make your store especially attractive for your target market. So before you renovate and decorate, think what colors to use for website design and store layout first.

 

References:

Kissmetrics Blog

Entrepreneur.com

Pictures Taken From:

Pinterest

FDBusiness.com

The Power of Peer Influence

How peer influence is much more effective than relying on well-known influencers for business marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is still the most popular and useful way to successfully market your business. Many entrepreneurs rely on influencers with a huge social clout to post professional or fun tweets and status updates about their merchandise. These people usually have more than a thousand followers or fans, who may or may not follow their suggestions to buy a particular product or service from a certain establishment.

If we really think about it, are influencers really effective in getting our marketing message across? Some would strongly agree, especially the fans, who have followed the progress of their idol since the early days. But what about those who became fans because they want to keep up to date with the influencers’ thoughts? All they do is note down and never take part in the influencer’s activities, endorsements and sponsored events. If they don’t want to join, they’ll just ignore such posts coming from the influencer.

Peer marketing is different from the dependence on influencers to market businesses. In this method, entrepreneurs rely more on their loyal customers to get the good word out. These satisfied customers tell other people about your business and refer those people to call you. This is way more effective than relying on influencers. This is proven with Duncan Watts’ study about “the pass-around power of everyday people.” The research he accumulated demonstrated that “close networks of [everyday] people drive influence on and offline.”

According to Crowdtap’s infograph, 92% of the respondents rely on advice from people they know. People listen more to their families, friends and everybody else they are familiar with, rather than some random person they encounter in the Internet with thousands of followers. Influencers do have some power over their fans’ choices, but what would you really choose — an influencer’s recommendation or a friend’s suggestion?

Wonder or Wander?

How Videos Make or Break it in the Attention Scale

You created videos to show off your business to the online world but your watch count hasn’t pinged a large number. It stagnant, and you don’t know what to do. You’ve done your best to ensure that the videos are of the highest quality, but they’re not sufficiently attracting enough eyeballs. You start to wonder what you did wrong.

A video consultant has looked over your videos and said that your videos are all too long. Each video runs 30 minutes where a speaker discusses various topics. How is it possible, you think, that those well-rendered videos of yours failed to catch interest?

According to the study undertaken by BBC News, the average attention span of a human runs as short as nine seconds. So, when we have to watch a video or read an article, the concentration fades and thoughts meander to other topics or we fall asleep or open another tab in a browser. This makes it important to keep videos as short as two to three minutes to sustain attention.

If we base how customers engage with videos according to the graph above, videos as long as five minutes can still retain 50% interest. With this in mind, we have to ensure that the most important aspect of what we want to share is shown at the first part of the video. Remember that the longer the video runs, the shorter the concentration gets. But, how about movies? Most movies run about 1 1/2 hours and yet cinemas remain full of people staring at the screen. That is because movies hold attention captive through catchy dialogue, fast action or an exciting storyline. Most business videos are visual and verbal explanations. There’s no jumping around or horseplay, unless the video is about humor or action.

How do you catch and maintain interest in your video:

It is essential that you take the attention of your viewers in the first few seconds. Go straight to the point and start on your main points before the first minute ends. Be spontaneous and conversational, too. A speech will make the video have a formal feel. This would disrupt attention immediately, as people always look for something entertaining to watch.

As the attention span is quite low, we can expect that there is lower engagement for videos above one minute. For business videos as long as 60 minutes, an average of only 13 minutes is watched. It is important to make a video short in length, yet meaty in content to make viewers watch as long as 3-5 minutes.

How do you make interesting videos that encourage customer engagement?

  • Keep your video short.
  • Make an interesting yet keyword-optimized title. Catch attention with a funny, shocking or intriguing title, yet insert some keywords to make it easier for search engines to find it.
  • Keep a balance of steady and moving shots. If the camera stays static and focused only one thing, viewers will most click the ‘close’ button.
  • Show your website address on the video to persuade customers to check out your site after watching.
  • Make use of people who have a camera presence. Look for someone who’s photogenic, confident and smart. Viewers are more likely to stay and watch if the speakers are good-looking and certain of themselves.
  • Spice up the comments section. Interesting exchange of feedback would cause intrigue with the readers and might make them watch the video some more. Delete any negative comments. You don’t want this type of comments influence your viewers.
  • Study the mechanics of viral videos in YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. In YouTube, you have to do your best to get your video on the ‘Most Viewed’ section, while popular Facebook videos get shared many times.
  • Tap everyone you know to watch your video and share it on the web. This will help spread the video, eventually making it viral.
  • Use analytics and tracking application to properly measure the popularity of the video and determine it has been effective in capturing attention.

Before you upload your finished video, ask people you know to watch it first. Get their honest opinion. Did they watch it with eyes glued on the screen, looking for more clips to watch? Or did they turn off the video and switch to another after a few seconds? You’ll know your video is effective when almost everyone who’ve seen it liked, or better yet, raved about it. If the feedback isn’t what you expected, you’re better off editing or making a new video altogether.

Happy filming to you!

 

References:

StatisticBrain.com

Techcrunch

Social Media Milestones

“For it [social media] truly to be successful, a concerted effort and commitment to its success is a necessity.”
– Eric Richard, Social Media Expert

Getting into social media is not as easy as A-B-C. You may have free access to tools to create social networking pages, but it takes time, effort and patience to see your campaign through. It is inevitable to make mistakes, especially when you’re planning and preparing your steps for the first time. You might have to scrap different campaigns to get the right formula that works for your business. Many Internet industry experts say that social media is the pathway to successful sales lead generation these days. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow and expand your business from its current status. Begin deliberating on what strategies you must take before your competitors gain a foothold on the market.

There are three phases of social media. The first is Launch, second is Management and the third phase is Optimization.

Launch is all about brainstorming about what you should do to enter the world of social media. Which doorway should you choose—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or other sites? Take the time to learn about each social network you can use for your business — a social media expert or professional to sit down with you for instance. They explain the basics like setting up accounts, differences between social networks and more. You nod and take down notes. Trying it out for yourself, you discover the potential to extend your reach to a large number of customers. Once again, you consult how you should go about making your own campaigns.

After setting up an account or three in different social networks, you try monitoring the returns on investment. You get disappointed with the low results of your hard work. Don’t lose heart yet! Make it a habit to post high-quality content at least three times a week. Connect with everyone you can get to click ‘Like’ or follow your social pages. Ask family members, friends and happy customers to spread the word about your page. Put up signs in your establishment about your newly built social media pages. Once you get people talking about your business online, you can start interacting with your clientele and followers. Always reply to every comment or tweet. An entrepreneur who responds is an entrepreneur well-liked.

When you’ve gathered a middling number of followers and fans, it’s time to examine your strategy again. Is there something you need to change to gain a larger following? Are you generating enough leads that turn into sales? Is there balance between the amount you’ve invested and what you’re earning right now? If you realize there are improvements to do, action must be immediately taken to turn around the situation for the better. Optimize your page to gain the best possible number of maximum returns on your social media investment. Maybe you need to tweak or rehaul your strategy? Seek advice about your campaigns from social network gurus. Once you’ve managed to develop a more efficient approach, progress and profit will soon follow.

Sometimes you have to lose some before you earn more. If trial-and-error is how you do things, you’d learn more about which social media techniques work best for your business.

 

References:

Mashable

StartUpNation.com