Showing posts from July, 2013

Which Resources Drive the Most Traffic to Your E-Commerce Website?

With all the resources available to draw traffic to an ecommerce website, it is hard to determine where to put the most effort. The obvious answer is to choose the resources that result in the most website traffic and that have high conversion rates, but, which resources are those?

Monetate did some research and provided data about where ecommerce traffic comes from and how it is converted. The data was gathered during the first quarter of 2013. The full report can be downloaded here.

When it comes to direct ecommerce traffic, the report states that:

•31.43% landed on an ecommerce website from a search engine
•2.82% from an email and
•1.55% from social media.

When this information is compared to the first quarter of 2012, note that traffic from email has decreased from 3.72% in 2012 and so has social media traffic, which was 2.36% in 2012.

This does not mean that social media is irrelevant for ecommerce. While social media may not bring a lot of traffic to a website, it still drives purchase…

Vegan food truck rolling out sliders

A vegan food truck is hitting the streets to serve up vegan sliders, shakes and fries. Shimmy Shack’s official launch will be Aug. 3 at the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market.
While other food trucks in the area offer vegetarian options, this truck offers a 100-percent vegan menu. Also, everything on the menu is gluten-free or has a gluten-free option.
Shimmy Shack’s menu includes three cooked sliders – black bean and rice burger with guacamole, a falafel burger with garlic sauce and a classic American cheese (lentil) burger – as well as a raw vegan Rueben, a delicious walnut burger on onion bread with thousand island dressing and sauerkraut. The truck also will serve up regular and sweet potato fries with special sauces and three types of vegan shakes – chocolate, strawberry and the Shimmy Original.
The eye-catching truck and the menu aren’t the only “green” things about Shimmy Shack. The truck also can be run on biodiesel fuel created from the used fryer oil. For mor…

Holiday Ecommerce Content Marketing Tips

Think Mobile First Holiday 2013
Don't be fooled. Even if your mobile numbers aren't in double digits yet your e-commerce website is being influenced by mobile devices. Email is easy to curate on mobile devices.

If your e-commerce website is like most then email marketing is among your most profitable (if not THE most profitable) channel. Friends who run a $100M e-com site report they are processing 25% top line sales via mobile (pads are the majority of their mobile sales), so $25M is being spent on their website via mobile.

In one of my most recent "Scoops" I asked if we weren't all "app builders now". This post shared 40 video tutorials on how to build apps. Today's post is about how to think "Mobile First" for success during Holiday 2013 by creating "Like Me" tribes supported with great mobile content marketing.

Mobile Is Here
Holiday 2013 is time to think like an app builder. How can your e-commerce team develop engaging, fun, vir…

Minimum wage hasn't had a raise in 4 years

As of July 24, the federal minimum wage has not seen an increase in four years, since it was set at $7.25 an hour in 2009. The last time Michigan raised its minimum wage of $7.40 an hour was in 2008, which is higher than the federal minimum.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage supported the last increase in the federal minimum wage and is pushing for another.
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over three years and then provide for annual adjustments for inflation. If the minimum wage had kept pace with the cost of living since reaching its highest value in 1968, it would be an inflation-adjusted $10.74 today.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage will be launching a sign-on statement July 24 for business people supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. For more informatio…

How to Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment and Increase Conversion Rates

One of the biggest elements of an ecommerce website is the checkout page. This is where conversions are finalized. So, what are some things that can be done to avoid shopping cart abandonment and to increase conversions?
An infographic created by Fifth Gear highlights some reasons why online shoppers bail on their purchases. The infographic can be viewed here. To highlight a few points: 44 % thought shipping costs were too high.27 % wanted to shop around.14 % did not want to create an account with the merchant.11 % thought the checkout process was too complex.7 % said their preferred method of payment was not available.
Taking these points into consideration, there are three key elements that you should consider when it comes to your checkout page and shopping cart abandonment.
First, always offer the option of guest checkout. Consumers view creating an account as an obstacle, which may lead them to bail on their purchase. Guest checkout also makes the process of making a purchase easier …

Oakland County offers training and tips for small business

WATERFORD TWP. — The Oakland County Business Center offers workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.
Legal & Financial Basics for Small Business is 9 a.m. to noon July 30. This workshop is free, registration is required.
Marketing Your Business is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. The cost is $40 per person.
This course presents practical applications of marketing concepts designed to help small businesses grow.
Team SBA Financing Roundtable is 9:30 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Aug. 8. It is a free loan orientation conducted by a business banker, a business consultant from the SBAs network of Small Business Development Centers, and an SBA representative.
CEED Microloan Orientation is 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14. The workshop is free.
Starting a Business workshop is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.…

Your Ecommerce Sites Are Ready For Christmas When...

Why Christmas Happens Now
Christmas for e-commerce merchants is happening right now. Christmas happens now because Google is setting their index. There is usually one BIG October Google surprise (to insure PPC payments go UP), but content that is winning now will probably keep on winning right through the holidays (and Vice Versa).

Christmas is happening now because Internet marketing teams are looking hard at their numbers to figure out what is HOT and what is NOT. HOT products get special attention (and more inventory). NOT HOT products are moved to the "wait and see" or "not going to happen" areas (a lost limbo of a place).

If that sounds like e-commerce is one big GUESS you aren't far off. What is or has been HOT so far is no guarantee of hotness in October - December. There are always 4Q surprises too. 4Q Surprises are products that weren't hot but got an Oprah mention or some other huge boost and suddenly became hot. E-commerce merchants can ONLY play in…

Livestrong No More

No Livestrong After Lance
In an excellent piece of reporting on CBS Sunday Morning it became clear what every cancer patient already knows - Livestrong needs to go away. As a cancer survivor Livestrong's continued existence is a lie, a lie to a community that shouldn't be lied to - the 14,000,000 people living with cancer in America, millions around the world an our friends and family.

There seem to be two kinds of cancer charities. One is primarily concerned with self perpetuation the other wants to help cure cancer. Cancer patients know all about self perpetuation. We have to fight with everything we have to survive.

The time when cancer patients need an organization whose main mission is marketing itself in an endless loop of meaningless self promotion is over. We need serious people willing to sacrifice and help cure cancer. The day we cure cancer is CLOSE. 

To scam cancer patients would seem the lowest betrayal. That Livestrong was really a means to deflect negative PR from L…

Upcoming events geared to help businesses succeed

July 23 -Take business to next level
NOVI — Farmington Hills-based MI Biz Forward, LLC will host a workshop session with a panel of experts to provide entrepreneurs with education and assistance to support and take their business to the next level. The seminar will be held at On The Border Mexican Restaurant, 21091 Haggerty Road in Novi at 6 p.m. Tuesday July 23. The cost for this session is $30 and includes a meal, Q & A session, and two open networking opportunities. “With the Michigan Biz Forward Workshop series, our presenting panel of experts will offer practical advice and assistance to support the entrepreneur’s needs to take their business to the next level, whether it is a start up or a five-year operation,” said Andrea Lee, Ph.D., C.C., one of the founders of MI Biz Forward and founder of Authentic Integrity Coaching.
To register, call 248-880-8336 or visit

July 25 - Speed networking
ROYAL OAK — CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Detroit i…

Future of Web Design Triptych

Future of Web Design Triptych

Without meaning to I created 3 Haiku Decks about the future of web design:

Future of Web Design 1: No More Boxes or Boundaries (embedded below)

Future of Web Design 2: Mobile Ubiquitous Web Changes Everything (embedded below)

Future of Web Design 3: Semantic Mobile Web Mean Brands are Context, Social is Confirmation and the only time that matters is an evolving NOW.

Here is the snippet I just wrote on GPlus explaining Future of Web Design 3:

*Future of Web Design 3: Semantic Web Is A Game*

Didn't want to unpack today. I also had an interesting conversation with +Nikol Murphy on Thursday. So a day of productive procrastination is happening (lol). 

 Nikol reminded me of an important truth. Google doesn't index websites they index web PAGES. Subtle but important distinction to understand Web 3.0. Web 3.0 will be more WEB and less "website". Design will be a CSF (Critical Success Factor), but very different than what we think of as "web design&…

Book: Make Difficult People Disappear

I laughed at the title of this book, "Make Difficult People Disappear," by Monica Wofford. I thought it might have a literal solution, but that was not the case. It is a story told from a manager's perspective and how she came to realize that she was part of the reason she encountered so many difficult people. Sometimes it's all about perspective and being able to understand where the other person is "coming from" and what their needs are. Not all employees are motivated by the same things and they don't approach their jobs in the same way.
The book is a sales spiel for the CORE Multidimensional Awareness Profile and the CORE Snapshot, registered trademarks of NaviCore International. The author, Monica Wofford is a facilitator and coach for the program.
The book is based on group coaching sessions at a fictional company. It discusses the CORE principal and how people are dominant in one of four personality categories: Commander, Organizer, Relater or Ente…

Are Your Social Media Strategies Helping You Drive Sales?

Social media is one of many digital marketing tools available to businesses. Further, many know that listing their business on these social sites and posting to them regularly is important; but, are you measuring your success rates to know if your efforts are worth it? A survey conducted by Vision Critical provided some statistics on how customers use Pintrest, Facebook and Twitter and how likely these customers were to make purchases either online or in-store. Some of the key points are highlighted below. For the full report, follow this link. The survey included almost 6,000 respondents.
When you look at usage of these three social networks, you will find that 15 percent of the population uses Pintrest, 73 percent uses Facebook and 24 percent users Twitter. Of those people, 29 percent of Pintrest users made a purchase after sharing or liking an item, 38 percent of Facebook users did that same and then last were 22 percent of Twitter users. Taking those statistics into consideration, …

B2C vs. B2B Marketing Myths

Time Appears To Be The Only Difference
For more than ten years I was an e-commerce guy. I built my first website, (now RIP), in 1999. Found Objects, the specialty gift company I co-founded with Janet McKean, sold specialty gifts to museum stores around the world AND to consumers online. was one of the first B2C and B2B websites. I left ecom to work for Raleigh's leading software and web development agency Atlantic BT almost two years ago. After several years in B2B marketing I can only identify one difference in online marketing - TIME.

The TIME Difference between B2B and B2C marketers may be a difference without a distinction.

The sales cycle for most B2B websites stretches from weeks to years. Since many B2B websites are selling products or services with large price tags a longer "get to know you" phase is expected. If we were visionary about TIME even this B2B vs. B2C  difference disappears.

B2C merchants make offers via email marketing…

Creative Breakthroughs to host job fair

Troy-based Creative Breakthroughs, Inc., an industry leader in network security and IT advisory services with a nationwide reach, has experienced significant growth in recent months and is looking to hire 50 new employees in 2013, which will nearly double the size of the company. To help address several immediate needs, CBI is hosting a two-day open interview career fair at their headquarters in Troy for a variety of positions, including sales, administration, project management, IT consulting and engineering. Interviews will take place in 30-minute increments from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 18 at the company, 2075 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 700 in Troy. To register, visit .

5 New Content Marketing KPIs

Tips From How Content Gets Shared
My friend and fellow Internet marketer Phil Buckley (@1918) paid me a nice compliment this morning:

I'm always impressed by the different ways +Martin W. Smith slices and dices his data to find the actionable nuggets.
Thought it would be interesting to share how I created the Content Marketing Social Mentions Study Phil was complimenting. As we wind our way through the journey of the post on we will discover some new ways of thinking about content marketing. This post is a step-by-step HOW To Create five new critical content marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Topsy not GA
Google Analytics under counts social by up tot 30%. I like for social analytics. Here is Topsy's graph of ScentTrail's social mentions for the last 30 days:

Content Marketing KPI #1: Daily Mentions
Your content must spring legs and walk around the social world. This chart proves that is happening for ScentTrial. I don't create or …

Join Us For a Webinar in July

Our monthly webinars are next week. If you are interested in learning more about ecommerce, payment processing or online bill pay for Dynamics GP, be sure to sign up and attend! Register for webinars by following the links provided below.

Integrated ECommerce for Microsoft Dynamics GP
Tuesday, July 15
1:00 - 1:30 p.m. EST

Having an ecommerce website built on Microsoft Dynamics GP allows you to reach the global market and provides customers with the ability to shop any time, anywhere. Our solution features advanced search capabilities to help consumers find what they are looking for with ease. It also offers real time pricing and inventory information, a shipping calculator, one-page guest checkout and more. Attend this webinar to view a live demo of our solution in action.

Secure Credit Card Processing in Microsoft Dynamics GP
Wednesday, July 16
1:00 - 1:30 p.m. EST

No web store is complete without the ability to processing payments. Azox Credit Card Extension is a PA-DSS Certified solution t…

Saving The News & Observer

The local newspaper is in trouble. Heck the New York Times is in trouble. Fewer people read the paper and newspaper websites are not good. I love our local paper, the Raleigh News and Observer. I look at the N&O piece about Poetryslam, the Scrabble-like magnetic word game I created a lifetime ago, daily since it hangs framed in my office. 

The News&Observer is in trouble because the web isn't the same as print. As obvious and clear as that statement is the TRUTH of it hasn't sunk in. The News&Observer is a content marketing mess. They haven't met and wouldn't know a keyword if it bit them on the butt. To say the N&O is a hot SEO mess is to be generous. Social? Not so much.

The N&O's problems stem from beating a dead horse - the editorial-centric newspaper model:

The Editorial-centric Newspaper Model assumed local news exclusivity and the old model drank from the profitable trough of classified ads and the local share of national ad buys (Sunday Fre…