Express Makes Entire Catalog Shoppable On Facebook

With the crazy weather in Central New York, we girls have gotta wear long pants about 10 months out of the year. Booooo. This brings me great annoyance because I have freakishly long, skinny legs and can’t find pants to fit me. I’m sure by saying that it seems like I’m trying to highlight a positive physical attribute in a phony endearing self-deprecating kind of way – but I’m not. I’ve got an odd bod.

ANYWAY, I turned 30 in March but I abandoned the idea of shopping at Express long ago. Their brand is just a bit too sexy for me to identify with (again, odd bod). But I recently discovered that the pants at Express run long and some of them actually fit me. Plus, they’re called things like The Editor, The Journalist, The Columnist, and The Illustrator. I can identify with that.

So, in short, a few weeks ago I became an Express fan.

Then, Yesterday, I became a fan of Express on Facebook – but for an entirely different reason. An article posted  on Mashable informed me that Express began selling its entire catalog on Facebook. They’re one of the first major U.S. fashion retailers to do so.

Of course, I immediately had to check this out and see how it works. And it is awesome. There’s loads of potential in this initiative to build brand advocates. Some of the things they allow users to do (without even having to ‘Like’ the page):

  • Actually make purchases.
  • ‘Like’ articles of clothing.
  • Make wishlists.
  • Recommend items to friends.
  • Post purchases to wall.
  • Post comments on items.

And the list goes on.

Express’s shopping tab is definitely a great use of social media and I’ll be interested to follow how it works out for them. I expect to see Express’s competitors following soon in their footsteps and to see more Facebook clothing shopping options popping up soon.

The only question is, will anyone other than a few teenagers and sorority girls actually make use of all the social media features Express is offering? Given the fact that Express’s demographic is composed of trend and style enthusiasts, I think the sharing options will work out great for them. But would it work for other clothing brands?

Part of the appeal of Facebook is that users get to cultivate an online image and feel like they can control what others think of them. So I’m wondering: will shoppers be too vain to allow themselves to look vain? What percentage of shoppers would feel comfortable saying to all of their ‘friends,’ “I just bought these 3 tops” or “I wish I had this dress.” It’s kind like broadcasting to the world, “I care about what you think about me” and some might just find that to be embarrassing.

I got to thinking about this because my husband has this quirky, adorable habit of pointing out any new item of clothing I might be wearing if we’re hanging out with people. And I hate it. To me there’s something very private about buying clothes but again, maybe that’s just me. How would you feel if your significant other suddenly asked a group of people, “Do you like my wife’s new pants? They’re called The Editor?”

Why CNY Businesses Should Spend Money on Search Engine Optimization.

Today, most Central New York business owners know they need a website and have at least heard of search engine optimization. Many are even concerned about SEO and spend a good amount of time wondering how they can get to the top of the search engine rankings.They think, “if only I could be #1…” And then they call an agency, like the one I work for.

We analyze their website, write up a plan and meet with the business owner. Sometimes, our recommendations are simple. Sometimes, we have to tell them that the flash website they spent a pretty penny on should be scrapped and rebuilt. All too often, they are reluctant to spend the money.

I feel bad when a potential client walks away from a proposal that includes search engine optimization. (And it’s not because we’re missing out on business — we are very busy!) By the time a client says ‘no,’ we’ve had a number of conversations with them, heard about their goals and vision, and we really want them to succeed. And, most important, we know we can help them do it.

But, as I said before, we’re busy and we move on. And then in a few months, I’ll notice that the same client who said no to spending money optimizing their website is all over the yellow pages, radio and newspaper. And I just shake my head.

Often these clients don’t even come up on the first page when their own name is Googled, so when a potential customer hears their ad and turns to the internet to find out more (as a great percentage of customers will), they won’t find the information they need to choose that business.

And what about the huge majority of potential customers who START their search for products and services ONLINE?

*sigh*

The plot thickens. I run into that same potential client. I find a tactful way to mention I saw their ads, and ask why they chose to allocate their budget in such a way. The following seem to be the top 2 reasons business owners make this mistake:

  • THEY ALREADY SPENT MONEY ON THE WEB AND IT DIDN’T WORK.

They spent thousands on a website and when it was launched, they were hopeful that customers would flock to their beautiful site and business would boom. And then…nothing happened. And their dreams were crushed. Now they are worried about putting more money into the web when they’ve received no returns on their initial web investment.This is very sad, because many websites are made by designers and programmers, not marketers. So they lack the strategy to generate ROI. This is nothing against web designers. Their job is to produce a tool that will help businesses to favorably represent their brand. Unfortunately, for the business, if they don’t take the next step to market their website, they’ve wasted their money.

  • IT’S NOT TANGIBLE; THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE GETTING.

And at least when they get business from a physical ad, they know where their business is coming from. This answer blows my mind, because almost everything we do on-line is super trackable and it is so easy to monitor ROI.

Why Invest In SEO?

The Internet Book put it well: Not optimizing is “like opening a retail store on a dead end street, which means you’ll get no drive-by traffic.” With the majority of consumers looking for goods and services online, your position on the information superhighway is important!

How important is Search Engine Optimization?

According to Optify, the top 3 results in google get a WHOPPING 58% of clicks! The results of their recent study show that the #1 result gets an average of 36.4% of clicks. Those in second place 12.5% and those in third 9.5%.

An earlier Chikita study found THE SAME RESULTS. They found that the #1 spot on Google gets 34.35% of traffic.


Furthermore, Optify finds that being further back than page two has no real business value for you at all.

What is your search engine ranking? Type your location and industry into Google. Are you #3 or higher? If not, give us a call at 315.264.8514. We love to talk with Central New York business about how they can help their websites to work harder.

Facebook Deals is Here! (Well, not actually here in Central New York.)

But, as of today, it is launched in San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta and San Diego. And social media marketers are calling it “the Groupon killer.”

How does it work?

Users who opt into Deals are geo-served deals via e-mail and news feed. Each deal has its own FB landing page, and users can “Like” it, or buy it immediately with a credit card or – here’s the kicker – FACEBOOK CREDITS.

Mashable said it best yesterday when they wrote that Facebook is “paving a smooth path between a virtual currency and real-world goods and services.”

CRAZY!

Merry Christmas from the Furlongs!

During the last 3 years at MPW Marketing, I’ve worked extensively with photographer Nancy L. Ford. She is absolutely awesome. Not only does she have a great eye as both a studio photographer and photojournalist, but she also has some killer photoshop skills.

Nancy’s a busy woman, so when she offered to shoot and shop our Christmas card for us, I was hesitant because I didn’t want to take up her time. Now I’m so glad she did it, because we have this awesome memento of Amelia’s first Christmas and were complimented on how adorable she is no less than 300 times this holiday season.

Thanks, Nancy!!

 


My Favorite Social Media Blogs

It’s no shocker that there are thousands and thousands of social media blogs out there. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:

TopRank Online Marketing. The writers of this blog have been around the block and their ideas are always backed by solid research and interesting case studies.

Web Ink Now. Love his writing style…and he always seems to be ahead of the pack.

Jeff Bullas. This writer loves lists. And so do I. And therefore I love his blog.

CK’s B2B Blog. Killer use of multimedia. This blog is one to follow if you’re looking for B2B info.

Robin Dickinson. Another blogger recently wrote that this blog “is in itself a social media case study.” This guy really knows how to run high-powered conversion-focused online marketing campaigns.

Karen Swim. For some reason, I always leave this blog in a good mood. And always with new ideas or a better understanding of something important. Those qualities, to me, equal a darn good blog.

What’s so great about Twitter?

This is a bulleted list that I ranted off the top of my head in an e-mail. Sorry if it is confusing! Someday I’ll revisit and make a proper article of this. 🙂

I love Twitter because:

  • The more I use twitter the more personalized it becomes because Twitter will dish up people it thinks I will like based on who I’m following and what information I seek. Plus, I weed out what I don’t want.
  • All the information I want (want being the key word) comes right to me in one stream. There could be something from a comedian I’m following, a couple of articles from a news source I like, a bunch of different articles on children’s lit that might be useful for my blog, the special at Nola’s, parenting and seo articles, etc all on one page. And it’s not watered by a bunch of stuff i don’t want because i can delete anyone who is posting things that don’t interest me..
  • I get connected with people who are actively interested in very specific things I am interested in, and we have discussions on it. For example, I have another blog about children’s poetry and lit. I’m connected with a bunch of people on twitter who are also interested in this and are constantly blogging about it so I am constantly getting fed current information. Plus, people use hash tags to mark specific conversation topics, so i can type in or click #kidlit or #poetryshare or something and will find all the comments anyone on twitter has made about the topic recently, whether i follow them or not.
  • Many of the people on twitter want to be followed by a lot of people, so that gives them the motivation to provide quality content. The better the content you put up, the more people will share it with their followers and the more followers you’ll get.
  • You can gauge how you’re doing and how useful the information is to the people you’re targeting based on how many people share it. Experimenting like this allows you to learn what kinds of messages and information your people like. Plus, trying to get more followers based on the quality of my info challenges me to constantly be creating quality posts.
  • Being connected with a group of people who know about things you are interested in gives you access to answers. If you have a question, you can put it out to your followers. and then they might come back with an answer. For example you might say: “has anyone had any success in getting FB followers by building custom facebook tabs for clients?” They will type back:  “@mpwdubbs: yes, i have. got tons of followers for a pizza place and a toy store recently.” you will see this because there is a tab that allows you to see mentions of your name. or they might direct message you for your e-mail address so you can
  • It’s nice that you are only allowed 140 characters. it would be too overwhelming with more.
  • It’s less personal than FB, but can be more personal if you want it to be. the focus is more on information sharing than anything else.
  • it is a great way to drive people to things you want to drive them to. i got a lot of hits on my blog from twitter because a majority of my followers are already interested in the things i write about on my blog. you can create a brand and build its credibility to a very targeted demographic on twitter by being consistent and providing good information that they want.

MPW Wins Award of Excellence for National Print Ad.

The ad agency I work for, MPW Marketing, located here in Central New York, has won loads of awards for our Totaline ad campaign. Here’s a press release I wrote about a recent award:

MPW Marketing, a Clinton-based advertising agency, recently won an advertising excellence award for a print ad they created for Totaline, a division of Carrier Corporation.

MPW received the award based on the results of a study that found the ad to be highly remembered by readers of the national publication in which it was featured. The study reports that 77% of readers recalled the ad.

This is not the first award MPW has won for their zany Totaline ad campaign. Over the last two years, MPW received 19 Readex Awards for their memorable ads. “We’ve created over 50 print ads for Totaline but continually challenge ourselves to come up with increasingly imaginative and visually-compelling ads,” said Sara Furlong, MPW account creative.

However, MPW owner Matt Wilson points out that the company’s pride in the award runs deeper than creativity. “The really great thing about this award is it is based on statistically-sound research that measures the effectiveness of the ad. It is true we always try to come up with creative and surprising ideas, but our number one goal at MPW Marketing is to give our clients a product that works because it speaks to their target audience.”

Totaline marketing manager Jim Flynn agrees. “With the amount of money we spend advertising in these national publications, it is great to know our ads are being remembered by the right people,” he said.

In addition to creativity and good strategy, MPW Marketing attributes their success in the Totaline print ad campaign to Nancy L. Ford, the Utica-based photographer who shoots the Totaline ads. “We come to Nancy with some pretty crazy ideas and she’s never failed us in bringing them to life,” Furlong explained.

The award-winning Totaline print ads created by MPW can be viewed at totaline.com/contractor/news.cfm.