SES Toronto 2009 – Interview of Bryan Eisenberg

SES Toronto back! The largest search marketing conference in Canada will take place June 8th-10th, with wide coverage of the different spheres of web marketing.  NVI will maintain a booth at SES Toronto 2009, with Guillaume Bouchard and Naoise Osborne offering speaker presentations.

As an appetizer, we present to you an interview with one of the SES Toronto speakers, Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder and CPO (Chief Persuasion Officer) of FutureNow.

1.  Can you give two or three quick tips on landing page optimization specificly for web-savvy technical oriented audiences, such as computer components sales?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your ad message and landing page message are related. In the usability world this is called scent. People abandon their experience when they lose scent. You must be sure to maintain scent from the ad, to the landing page and all the way to the goal you want them to complete.
The second thing you need to do is do everything to establish credibility and build trust. Make sure they understand who you are, how to contact you and any guarantees you may offer.
The third thing you have to do is test. Always be testing. Test your headlines, your images, your offer, your forms, etc.

2.  Who does a better job, generally, of creating effective paths to conversion – small online presences, or large?

I don’t think it is a matter of size but those companies that do well are ones that have dedicated resources (even as little as 10 man hours a month) to engaging their customers in conversation after the click from an ad. Businesses must realize they don’t make money from people clicking on their ads but they do make money when they invest in improving the experience post click and engage people in relevant conversations. We need to think of PPC not as pay per click, but as pay per conversation. These conversations need to evolve and be continuously improved.

3.  With the economy changing there seem to be some general marketing budget allocations shift. How do you see these shifts being distributed? Is more money going online? What is the split like between highly trackable ROI investments like PPC/banners, more opaque mediums like SEO, and downright impossible to track offline advertising?

Money will be spent on accountable and profitable media. Just because it is online does not mean it is profitable or in some cases not even very accountable. Smart marketers will realize that more of the customer purchase cycle is happening online than ever before and is true across almost every business category. Marketers need to test their advertising mix to see which pieces have a real impact and not have a set it and leave it mentality.

4.  How do you see the future of offline advertising pushing online sales, including challenges in tracking conversions?

Around the beginning of 20th century John Wanamaker famously remarked: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”. Here we are a century later and not much has changed. The problem isn’t a technological one, it is a people one. Successful ads are about relevance (it has to matter to the ad viewer), repetition (how often they come across your message) and the impact of the ad (how powerful and persuasive your ad is). Search is dominated by relevance. People are specifically broadcasting what their needs are and our job is to fill their need. Offline media does a better job at getting people to remember you if you repeat your ad often enough and it is powerful enough to get buried in their mind. The human part of memory and when they have a need is the variable that is almost impossible to measure. What we see now and we’ll continue to see is a drive from offline media to websites that then can push people to offline again if the purchase can’t be completed online. Businesses will still have to engage in some faith-based initiatives as my friend Avinash Kaushik refers to them as.

5.  Given the general difficulty in converting social media user sales, how do they fit into your overall strategy? With social media use on the rise, is there at least indirect potential?

Social media is like a big cocktail party. You want people to remember you were there and you were interesting to spend more time getting to know. Just like at a cocktail party your job as a marketer is to try to be the center of attention without being obnoxious and engaging in enough conversations to get to meet the right people, so they know about you at the right time for them.

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