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11/22/2008 Give people more ways of engaging

We’re all hearing how online, along with all other advertising, is going down, down, down with the economy. Without a doubt we’re heading for tough times. But it’s no time to head for the exits. General Motors chief Rick Wagoner told lawmakers last week that they’re shifting big dollars from traditional to online to gain efficiencies.

But most of our clients don’t have the budgets that even a wounded GM does. One of the things we can do for digital strategy and online marketing is to look at new ways we can help our client interact with prospects. Now is a good time to come up with alternative views of what we’re asking people to do online and help clients take advantage of the economic downturn.

“Take advantage?” you ask. Well, yes. With less disposable income, I’m predicting that people will spend more and more time online. Online is a pretty big bang for your buck. When you cut back, you’re probably not going to cut down on your Web use. Maybe you’ll work with your neighbors to share a high-speed connection and wireless network. Or maybe you’ll just hang out more at places with free WiFi. Changes, yes. Cutting back, no. We’ll see more online video, more news reading, and more interacting.

That will spell opportunity for online marketers who can take advantage of it. When people visit your clients’ sites, are you changing the way you talk with them?

Take a look at your clients’ online conversion points. Most companies focus on a few, like purchase, or signing up for e-newsletters. I work with one client who has a very low e-commerce conversion rate online. When we’ve dug into this, we’ve found that the when it comes to purchasing, people have too many individual questions. They need to talk to someone.

So we’re enhancing the focus to drive more people into Click-to-Call or even Live Chat. And yes, we are adding better answers to questions, but now we’ve expanded and shifted our conversion opportunities.

It’s a great time to show more online value in the face of bad news by increasing interactivity and giving choice and control to our customers.

Or, as Michael Jager told Microsoft, it’s time for “Less Hulk, more Bruce Lee.”


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