WhichTestWon publisher Anne Holland’s held a quiz-show-style presentation at February’s Newport Interactive Marketers event. The event focused on how to use simple tests to improve website sales, signups, and conversion rates.
Holland provided copious examples of how small – often nontechnical – tweaks can result in huge improvements.
Meet Anne Holland
Holland has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, DMNews, Entrepreneur.com and Target Marketing Magazine, among many others. She has been a featured speaker, often keynote, at more than 100 industry events. These include Email Summit, eTail shows, Affiliate Summit, Direct Marketing Association events, Omniture Summits, and Ad-Tech conferences. She has served as a judge for the Testing Awards, Ad-Tech Awards, DMA Awards, Interactive PR Awards, Viral Marketing Awards, the Stevies, and Email Awards.
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Continuation of June 5 interview with Wayne Quackenbush from Newport’s Annex Comics, see part 1 here
NIM: As a marketer of a narrow-niche store, it must be challenging to get new customers. How has Facebook helped?
WQ: People visit the shop, visit my website, or E-bay store just to meet the eccentric person behind the Facebook page.
NIM: Tell us what they’ll find if they make an appearance in your store.
WQ: A mess. Stacks and walls of comics and product, the aforementioned local artwork, masks, clown dolls, and DVDs everywhere.
NIM: What’s the misconception about comics?
WQ: Some Americans have the opinion that comics are for kids or for the unintelligent, or they think the store will provide a rarified atmosphere of hipster elitist geekdom. Comics used to be for everybody and, in many countries of the world, they still are. They are unique artwork by a single creator or small group of creators telling an immersing and synergistic story in a way that is not possible in any other medium.
NIM: You’re a little in love with the industry, and I think that authenticity translates on your Facebook and web pages. Describe graphic love, the comic-book kind.
WQ: Comics allow an imaginative freedom in way that isn’t seen in films or in video games. There is an aesthetic pleasure in the pictures that isn’t present when reading fiction. With comics, the reader has to imagine the sounds, smells, and motion that are implied by the language and vision portrayed.
NIM: Everything has changed so much in the past 10 or 15 years. How have comic books changed?
WQ: That would take an essay. Simply, the 32-page full-color slim pamphlet remains the same but with more sophisticated coloring and better paper. But other forms of presentation of the art form have come into being from graphic novels, which are a thick collection of individual and previously published stories.
NIM: What’s popular with the Kids now? Zombies seem to be a big theme. I don’t get it.
WQ: Zombies are best used as a metaphor in fiction … they can symbolize the horror of “the other,” rampant consumerism, the pervasive anti-intellectualism of American society, the infantile and lizard brain hunger that lives in everyone, the hive mind … And everyone has a lingering fear of being bitten really hard.
NIM: Yes, it makes sense. Hey, do you have any plans for cyber-expansion?
WQ: I’m running four different Facebook accounts: my personal account, the store account, the store small business account, and the Annex Art Society page, so I really haven’t had time. Luckily, I have a Webmaster in charge of the store website.
NIM: I know it’s not polite to talk about religion or politics, but in business, it’s always polite to talk about money! Has social media helped your business financially?
NIM: See? That’s sort of the point that gets lost because social media is so much fun. I know you’re not a fan of hash tags, but #NIMRI is one hashtag you should “follow” on Twitter. You’ll learn so much about even more social media opportunities to promote your brand.
WQ: I found out about NIM from friends. The acronym reminds me a little of Nine Inch Nails. I would attend those meetings.
NIM: Hashtag NIN! That’s funny. Well, NIM can help you learn search optimization, to spread the word effortlessly and worldwide about the Annex, so we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.
NIM: ListenWayne, it was a pleasure talking to you about the Annex. I’m really happy that you have taken the social media bull by the horns, and it’s wonderful to learn you’re also helping kids tap their creativity. #socialmedia
To learn more about Annex Comics, or immerse yourself in zombie-lit, please FB friend Wayne on Facebook or visit his website at annexcomics.com.
Around since the 80s, Annex Comics flourishes in 2012, due in large part to the way in which owner Wayne Quackenbush took the social media bull by the horns to promote the fine (and funny) art of comic books.
Here’s Part I of our two-part interview.
NIM: Wayne Quackenbush, I can’t think of a better name to stick onto a Web domain than Quackenbush, but you’re Annex Comics. How long has the Annex been around?
WQ: I started working at the Annex in 1994, and bought it from the owner in 1998. I had an extensive background in retail, having managed several photo-processing and video stores in NYC.
NIM: What’s photo processing? Just kidding. So you’re a savvy retailer who likes new media. Are you a wave-rider in your business, or does the Annex rely on your fan base/repeat customers for its success?
WQ: We’ve ridden through fads over the years, made a lot of changes and experimented with product as much as possible. I introduced video sales and rentals, for instance. The Annex was the first store in the state to go all DVD, and now we have dinosaur status because we’re the last store in Rhode Island to offer DVD rentals.
NIM: That’s very cool, Wayne. I miss the excitement of going to a place and renting something. Speaking of dinosaurs, a few businesses still have yet to embrace social media as a genius marketing tool. But you have. Tell us how you market Annex these days, and how that’s different from before.
WQ: I used to run occasional ads in the local papers, I put up flyers for events and got interviewed in local magazines and on public access TV. Word-of-mouth was and is most effective.
NIM: And what’s faster at getting words out of mouths than Facebook? Your store has quite the presence there. You have a Facebook page for your store, and a Web page for Annex Art Society.
NIM: Before I started following (stalking?!!) you on Facebook, I thought of your clientele as the hipster/nerd/geek squad. Am I on- or off-base?
WQ: My customer base fits the categories named but there’s more. A general description would be male, college educated, mostly in their 20s and 30s.
NIM: How to you market to the Kids who know everything and think everything’s “whatever”?
WQ: I always try to shock and amaze. The store markets a sense of wonder.
NIM: What’s shocking or amazing at the Annex these days?
WQ: I think people would be surprised at the inroads we’ve achieved in promoting local artists via Facebook through our daily artistic challenges, where artists all over the world participate, and our efforts to encourage creativity, especially in young people.
NIM: How do you reach the young’uns?
WQ: The Annex showcases at least 30 artists a year in our galleries. I work with local high schools in artistic intern programs and I teach a drawing class in the store every Saturday morning.
NIM: Well it must be fun, if people are getting anyone under 80 out of bed Saturday mornings! I think that’s great.
NIM: It takes a lot of effort to man those contests because they are so popular! And social media gives people lots of access to your wall. Why has the response to these contests been so great and how do you keep up with them?
WQ: Personally, the daily Art Challenge is a kind of creative calisthenics, an exercise to keep my brain hopping. I know a few others feel the same way. Plus, humans are social creatures, and it’s extremely gratifying to connect in this way and share images and ideas.
NIM: Isn’t that the beauty of social media? It allows you to actually have fun while you promote your business and grow your numbers. And, it gets people in your door who might otherwise just have walked by, had they not seen the quality of the art that’s being posted on your timeline.
New Media events you may have missed
April 26, 2012 – Pinterest for Business: All You Need to Know
Annie Colella of Discover Newport (the Convention and Visitors Bureau) shared how Pinterest can work for your business. Attendees learned how to get to get started with Pinterest and how to get the most out of the social media site. Highlights from Pinterest for Business are posted on the Newport Interactive Marketers blog.
March 29, 2012 – The film “Connected” at the Jane Pickens Theater
Let’s take a look at our websites and social media from a proven sales perspective.
Does your website put customers off? You think your website describes your company and products or services. You think you’re not “in the way” when they come to your site to learn about you — or via social media Read More
1/26/2012 Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse, shared mobile web best practices for publishers and advertisers. NIM attendees learned the difference between a mobile app and a mobile site and how to build effective web content.
Newport Interactive Marketers @ URI Social Media Social
Newport Interactive Marketers joined the University of Rhode Island for the URI Social Media Social. The NIM speakers provided insights to students and Newport Interactive Marketers about what an intern can do and how social media can boost a business.
Create and Market Your Brand Story
Jamie Palmer, the Senior Practitioner at University Business Consultants LLC, taught NIM attendees how to tactfully articulate the brand. Jamie stressed the importance of telling the story and not selling the story. NIM attendees learned how to engage their audience with messages that would resonate.
Enhance your Brand with Google+ and Twitter
Panelists Matt Medeiros of Slocum Studios and Michelle Quillin of New England Multimedia shared their insights on Google+ just as it launched. A general consensus was Google+ was not appropriate for all brands at that time. But for those who are concerned about SEO, it’s worth considering.
Intertwining Social Media and Customer Service
Chuck Dennis, Vice President and Senior Consultant for Knowledgence Associates, taught NIM how to infuse social media with customer service to boost engagement and ROI. NIM attendees learned how to interact with customers’ concerns and complaints through social media. Tips for detecting and redirecting what could become a PR debacle were also included.
Join NIM at the top of Newport Tweetup
Keeping the social in NIM, attendees gathered high over Newport for free appetizers, drink specials, and nonstop networking.
Drive ROI from Google Analytics
Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts instructor Jay Murphy showed Newport Interactive Marketers how to maximize Google Analytics to drive ROI. NIM attendees learned how to attract people that will actually buy and how to bring in more buyers and prospects.
Find out more about what attendees learned from “Google Analytics with Jay Murphy at Newport Interactive Marketers.” Discover how to get the best results from your online efforts, on Designated Editor’s blog.
SEO Mythology and Tactics from SEO Book Community Manager Eric Covino
NIM was thrilled to have Eric Covino of internationally regarded SEO community SeoBook.com and CreativeSignals.com answer questions on Search Engine Optimization and Google rankings. NIM attendees learned tactics to get search engines to rank their sites number one. Eric gave tips on how marketers can boost their websites in just one week! He also explained how SEO differs for service businesses and local retailers.
Facebook Marketing Best Practices to Boost ROI
Tom Schuyler, Pandemic Labs’ Director of Accounts, shared Facebook best practices and ROI measurement types. NIM attendees gained tools and insights to measure the value of marketing on Facebook. Tom explained how to utilize Facebook analytics to assess weaknesses and opportunities to make brand presence more valuable. Attendees learned the core metrics you can use to determine how much Facebook is doing for your brand/business.
Find out more about what Newport Interactive Marketers learned from “Facebook Marketing: Best Practices to Boost ROI.” Discover how to increase your return on investment using Facebook on Designated Editor’s blog.
Learn and Leverage Video for your Brand Success with Newport Interactive Marketers
NIM hosted Patrick Hughes and Scott Quillin to share their expert opinions on online video posts. NIM attendees learned why videos are so important to the success of their businesses. The experts explained how to use YouTube and how to start your own brand channel.
Mobile for Marketing with Newport Interactive Marketers
Tamara Gruber, the founder of Red Giant Consulting, guided NIM attendees into the mobile marketing world. She explored the difference between mobile apps and mobile sites and how they could optimize their businesses.
Social Media Secrets with Newport Interactive Marketers
Newport Interactive Marketers hosted a panel of social media experts to teach attendees how to optimize social media. Experts shared the best way to connect with customers through social media and discussed the most effective platforms to use.
Search Engine Optimization Insights with Newport Interactive Marketers
Newport Interactive Marketers hosted Doug Wilson SEO specialist at Netsense, a Pawtucket-based market leader in outsourced IT, website, and web marketing solutions. NIM attendees received a how-to seminar on search engine optimization insights. Attendees also learned how to boost their Google rankings.
Social Media Answers With Newport Interactive Marketers
NIM hosted nationally known expert Partick O’Malley. Patrick is the former VP of Operations for Northern Light, Google’s former top competitor, and has spoken across the country and nationally. He is an expert on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google. Attendees gained insights to use social media to effectively boost their businesses.
Newport Interactive Marketers Networking
Stephen Melanson opened the attendees’ eyes to the importance of Verbal Branding. The seminar focused on concise messaging.
Newport Interactive Marketers Networking
Jessan Dunn Otis
Jessan Dunn Otis, a linchpin, recapped Seth Godin’s talk in Boston on June 17, 2010. The seminar also highlighted from the OMMA Conference.
Newport Interactive Marketers
Matthew Mamet of EditMe presented how small businesses and individuals can use a Wiki platform to share information and foster communities. NIM attendees learned how to up their online presence quickly and easily.
Let’s look at our websites and social media from a proven sales perspective. Revenue Coach and author Kristin Zhivago helps helps brands become to customer-centric.
What Your Current Clients Can Teach You
- What you think is important, isn’t what is important to the customer
- Go where the customers are: a lot of CEOs are NOT on Facebook
- If you’re imitating another company then you’re blowing it…customers are coming to you for a reason!
- Best market research/data mining is asking existing customers the RIGHT questions
- Client interviews will reveal the trends, in 6 phone calls; they’ll all basically say the same thing
- Anticipate their questions and help buyers on their journey. You guess= you lose!
- Have to ask current customers the right questions in the right way
- People are doing their homework on you before they even contact you
- If you call your customers yourself, you will still get the data, they’ll just be more polite
- If you’re only asking one question of an existing client, ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes.
- Channels,social media etc.- without customer knowledge is like whistling in the wind
- Treat customers properly and give them what they want
Understanding the Buyer’s Process
- Buying process changing radically. Overall, you are NOT in control of the process
- Buying: First friends, then websites, and then Google
- 80% of buyer’s questions are answered by others, not you!
- Need to know why and how buyer’s bought from you
- What’s going to happen to me after I buy? A key question buyers have that you need to answer.
Common Marketing Flaws
- “Marketing is no longer about what you say, it’s about what you do.”
- Don’t follow fads and don’t obsess with channels!
- Is your data flawed? If you’re relying on salespeople, focus groups, social media, surveys and 3rd parties, the chances are your data is flawed
- Stop selling and start supporting the buyer process
- Relationship marketing is a misnomer. Do you want car dealers showing up to dinner?
- Surveys are a waste of time, people will not say in writing what they are really thinking
- Need to understand where you are in the spectrum to know what to say on your site, newsletter and other content
- Everyone is doing something that gets in the way of sales
- Usually you’re screwing up how you’re presenting the product or something else that’s fixable
- Are you emphasizing what everyone already promises anyway? Everyone expects a boat to float
- The problem with social media, It’s the biggest time-suck!
- Usability matters more than design: We don’t look at billboards on the highway never mind on your screen
- The difference between branding and your brand? Branding is what you say; your brand is what they say about you
- Branding is the promise you make. Your brand is the promises you keep
A special thanks to all the NIM attendees who tweeted during the event! @KristinZhivago, @JoAnnLefebvre, @SusanneDay, @johnpicozzi, @PRnick, @scottindermaur, @vallerieMalkin, @trendyjenny, @NEMultimedia, @sue_DesigEditor, @NewMediaNPT
Don’t miss Newport Interactive Marketers’ next gathering: March 29 public is welcome to the film “Connected” at the Jane Pickens Theater. Tickets are $10, payable to the theater. Preregistration requested.
Let’s look at our websites and social media from a proven sales perspective. Revenue Coach and author Kristin Zhivago helps brands become customer-centric.
Does your website put customers off? You think your website describes your company and products or services. You think you’re not “in the way” when they come to your site to learn about you – or via social media.
About Kristin Zhivago
Kristin is a revenue coach and author who helps CEOs and entrepreneurs grow their companies. She helps companies get to the next level in revenue, by understanding what their customers want to buy from them and how they want to buy it — and then structuring their companies to meet those needs and provide an exceptional customer experience.
Kristin also helps companies make the shift from company-centered to customer-centric. She has interviewed literally thousands of customers for her clients and has become an expert on the customer’s buying process. Kristin blogs at RevenueJournal.com & for more information about her book: RoadmaptoRevenue.com.
Missed this great talk? Learn more about video & visuals and more via the NIM media library!
Become a NIM $upporting member, if you aren’t already, for access to the vast video library of past presentations and watch from your device at your convenience.