The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is the moment you become
aware of a product or service and start researching it online.
Let’s say you see a commercial for a cool new barbeque
grill. While you continue watching the episode of Law & Order you’ve seen
five times, you Google the grill on your iPad. You check out the grill’s
website and read reviews on another site. Later that day, while you’re waiting
in line at the grocery store, you pull out your phone and compare grill prices.
The next day at work you watch the grill in action on YouTube and then ask your
Facebook friends if anyone’s used one. If everything checks out, you head over
to Grills’ Galore or Amazon.com to buy it.
That’s how we shop these days. And not just for grills and
cars and big screen TVs. It’s how we shop for food, movies, healthcare,
insurance, education – everything from antiques to international travel.
The Zero Moment of Truth has changed marketing forever.
Think of it this way: It takes a village to raise a brand. Integrated marketing brings together stakeholders from multiple departments to strategically connect all of a brand’s consumer touch points – advertising, promotions, mobile, point-of-sale, even PR. It’s a big undertaking but one well worth the effort, boosting ROI while shortening sales cycles. But before you start connecting the dots, make sure everyone is on the same page. Carol gives you the whole story.
Is your website easy come, easy go? You may have optimized
your site to get great organic search engine results – and lots of visitors –
but if people don’t like what they see when they get there, they’ll bail. The bounce
rate indicates how often that happens by giving you the percentage of visitors
who view only a single page of your site before leaving. Deflate your bounce
rate by making sure you have valuable, relevant content that encourages
visitors to stick around – and keeps them coming back for more.
AdWords is Google’s paid search advertising program. Through
AdWords, you identify keywords that describe what you’re selling, then
write short text ads that include those keywords. When people search using
those keywords, your ads show up in the paid ad section on the search engine
results page. With AdWords, you bid on keywords to determine the placement of
your ad (versus your competitors’ ads) and how much you’ll have to pay when
people click on it.
Think of local search like you would the yellow pages – only
without those annoying tissue-thin pages. While you want to make sure you
include geographic information so that your site shows up in organic searches,
you also need to pay attention to local search engines like Google Places. Local
search engines automatically create listings, but it’s up to you to “own” your
business and add as much detail as possible. Things like photos, hours of
operation, even videos will all help you show up higher in the directory
Instagram is a
photo-sharing application that was recently purchased by Facebook for a
whopping $1 billion. With Instagram, you use an app to take a photo with your
mobile phone, apply a filter to that photo, then upload it and share it on
various social media sites. Instagram photos have a retro, quirky vibe, but the
real advantage is the ease with which you can share photos across social
platforms. And while it’s fun for individuals to use, some of the world’s biggest
brands are using Instagram as a marketing tool to engage customers and create a
sense of community through visual storytelling.
RSS, which stands for “really simple syndication” or “rich
site summary,” is a tool that delivers frequently updated web content, like
blogs or e-newsletters, to subscribers. You just choose an RSS reader, like
Google Reader and Feedly, and then choose
what content you want delivered to you. It’s a great way to stay current with
your favorite sites, but it’s also an ideal tool for Internet marketers to keep
people engaged. But just having an RSS feed on your site isn’t enough – the
content it delivers needs to be valuable and relevant (see content marketing).
If crowdsourcing has a rallying cry, it’s probably “power to
the people!” Crowdsourcing is all about taking a task that would generally be
assigned to one person or group (usually employees) and farming it out to the
public at large. Like Ben & Jerry’s “Do the World a Flavor” project, in
which the company’s newest ice cream flavor was determined by an online contest
(the winner has yet to be announced). And Foldit,
which asks people to “solve puzzles for science” in an effort to help cure
diseases. But crowdsourcing is not without its critics: Some worry that it
results in substandard work, while others question the ethics of soliciting
free or low-paying work.
If you boiled the web down to one simple imperative, it
would be, “Help people find what they’re looking for.” That’s certainly what
search engines are intended to do. But once you land on a website, the same
rule applies. And that’s where Information Architecture comes in. It’s the art and
science of organizing a website’s information in ways that make sense to most
people, always keeping in mind a site’s goals and its users’ needs. Good information architecture can mean better
site engagement, improved search engine optimization and higher conversion