The ATAK Interactive Blog

 

A couple months back, my colleagues and I went to a restaurant called Hurry Curry of Tokyo for one of our Lunch Club adventures. Up on the wall was a large monitor with an interactive flow of social media content related to the restaurant. The stream of Instagram posts of the restaurant’s food, positive Yelp reviews, and conversations on Twitter, all from restaurant patrons, immediately grabbed our eye.

Wondering how it all functioned, we took out our phones and got to work. One person did a quick tweet at Hurry Curry. The next person posted a photo to Instagram of our appetizer. Almost immediately, these social media posts were up on the interactive board.

This was a game-changer. 

We asked our server to bring over the manager. After assuring him he had done nothing wrong, he obliged.

“What is that?” I asked.

“The board? It’s called Enplug.” the manager replied.

I didn’t even wait to get back to the office. I had to Google “Enplug” immediately. How much did this cost? How did it work? What type of creative was needed? How much monitoring is involved?

And most importantly…how can I get this on the walls of every brick and mortar client I work with?

For years I’ve told clients, “just because someone loves your company, does not mean they’re necessarily going to follow you day-to-day on their social media channels. You have to give them a reason.”

If you read enough “How to Get Your Business More Social Media Followers” articles, you’ll see the same material: inspire your customers, offer them deals and discounts, give them a forum to provide feedback, etc.

And to be fair, these sentiments all ring true. People love coupons, they love being inspired by a brand, and they love having their voices heard. But where Enplug can really push these notions further is through a live, interactive experience with an immediacy that engages a customer immediately.

Enplug is a creative call to action for any customer inside your store to become involved with the brand. Tweet us and you’ll see it pop up now. Upload a photo of your meal, and everybody else in the restaurant will know who you are on Instagram.

This hyper-connectivity between patrons and businesses has never been closer, and Enplug is the solution for this. The software is incredibly customizable so businesses can choose to showcase an array of content: Instagram posts, tweets, Facebook posts, Yelp reviews, Pinterest boards, original ads, etc. The timing of each piece of content can be changed depending on how long the business wants them on the screen. It’s easy to monitor and manage every step of the way. Oh, and plans start at just $100/month to use the software, so it’s incredibly cost-efficient.

What’s going to be interesting to see with Enplug is how the software will integrate to less sturdy business operations than those with a physical space. Many businesses would love this type of technology at trade shows and industry events in which they have monitors in their booth. Of course, they would want a week-long plan as opposed to something monthly.  Mobile businesses such as food trucks could utilize the technology if it could integrate on a device that was easier to transport, such as an iPad. We’re just scratching the surface of what a technology like this can do.

But where we sit in 2014, it’s time for brick and mortar to invest in Enplug if the goal is to increase social media engagement. It’s the perfect solution to get patrons that are enjoying your brand to get involved with you on social media in real time.

If you want to learn more about Enplug and all of its capabilities, please contact Austin LaRoche at austin@atakinteractive.com.

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As eCommerce and website marketing specialists, we at ATAK Interactive choose to educate our clients and colleagues as best we can, when we can. Recently we started a series on Google Analytics to introduce users to this incredibly useful, and free, tool. So far, our topics “Overview”, “How to Setup,” “Goals and Funnels”, and “User Acquisitions” cover everything you need to understand to start using Google Analytics for your website analysis. With this article we are finalizing our Google Analytics series a summary about the most recent update, “Universal Analytics,” which is out of beta into primetime. This article will provide you everything you should know about the new update.

 

Overview

Universal Analytics is the re-imagining of classic Google Analytics for today’s multiscreen, multi device world and all the measurement challenges that come with it. The Universal Analytics Upgrade is a process one can use to upgrade all classic Google Analytics properties into Universal Analytics properties without losing any data or changing your account settings. The update will have all the robust set of features you are used to with the classic Google Analytics, but Universal Analytics is the new operating system for Google Analytics so all product updates and new features will only be available on this platform. Classic properties that get its tracking codes from the old version won’t get any new updates, which is why it is crucial to start understanding and using Universal Analytics right away. As a plus, one can upload and transfer all data from Google Analytics to Universal Analytics without losing any data or account settings, so it’s 100% supported in that way. After one is done with the whole upgrading process, the user will now get improved data processing, new collection methods, and more analysis tools. All Google Analytics properties will soon be required to use Universal Analytics. Any properties that don’t follow the upgrade process will be auto-transferred to Universal Analytics in the future.

 

Connect Multiple Devices and Sessions (User ID)

User ID is a brand new feature of Universal Analytics that enables the association of one or more sessions (and activity within those sessions) with a unique and persistent ID that one sends to Google Analytics. With the User ID, one can get a more accurate user count, analyze the signed in user experience, and get access to the new Cross device reports. All activity is attributed to one user in this report.  As an example, one could send the unique IDs generated by your own authentication system to Google Analytics as values for the User ID. Any engagement, like link clicks and page or screen navigation, that happen while a unique ID is assigned can be sent and connected in Google Analytics via the User ID.

 

New Data Collection Methods

Universal Analytics introduces three brand new data collection methods, which will help users to tailor their collections. They created data collection methods for websites, Android or IOS, and other digital devices like game consoles or etc. For websites use analytics.js, for IOS-Android use the Mobile SDKs V2, and use Measurement Protocol for other devices.

 

Configuration Options

Another new feature that comes with Universal Analytics is that from now on one doesn’t have to adjust tracking code to make modifications. From the admin panel users can control all these options below:

  • Organic search sources
  • Session and campaign timeout handling
  • Referral exclusions
  • Search term exclusions

 

Improved eCommerce Analysis

If you have an eCommerce website, you will love Universal Analytics. Google now provides Enhanced eCommerce Reports that help analyze your user’s shopping and purchasing behaviors. In addition, one can measure the success of internal and external marketing efforts in correlation with a certain products and economic performance.

 

In conclusion, Google Analytics updated their system with Universal Analytics, which is out of beta testing and ready to use. As eCommerce and online marketing specialists, we at ATAK Interactive wanted to inform you about this update and let you know what are the new features that come with the Universal Analytics. We recommend one gets up to speed as soon as possible to take advantages before their competitors settle in. If you need any further help please give us a call at 310-526-7493 or e-mail info@atakinteractive.com

 

References:

https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/upgrade/

http://analytics.blogspot.com/2014/04/universal-analytics-out-of-beta-into.html

 

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In recent news, Magento announced their latest version, Community Edition (CE) 1.9. Every time a new version of Magento is released ATAK Interactive always gets the question, “what are the changes?” The other common follow up is, “Do I need this?” The answer to finding out code and database structure changes can be complicated and hard to decipher. As eCommerce specialists, our job is to be aware and explain our position so our customers can make the educated decision to jump or not.

 

In this article, we will mostly dig into Magento’s new version, 1.9. We will list some of the new features that may impact your decision to upgrade, and we will offer our opinion on when is the right time to upgrade your current Magento 1.8 build, or older version, to Magento 1.9.

 

Magento Overview
Today, ATAK Interactive still believes that Magento is the best and most flexible eCommerce platform available. Our stance on why Magento is the best platform can read by clicking here.

 

Briefly, Magento is an open source eCommerce platform that offers its users the most flexibility managing all elements of their online store. The feature set is hard to beat, out of the box, and the Magento administration area operates with minimal to zero coding knowledge required. Further, and unlike many “hosted” ecommerce solutions, Magento allows for total customizability when it comes to design, performance, and functionality enhancements (or reconfiguration) for developers building online stores and need total control to manipulate how features perform. Magento is also a developer friendly company, offering developers a community where problems can be discussed and modules can be shared/purchased to save time, rather than having to code elements from scratch. Magento is owned and backed up by eBay, which means the company, for now, has solid backing and Magento is clearly the result of years of ecommerce experience and developer collaboration. What most of our customers care about is this; The Magento ecommerce platform has most robust and best features, out of the box, out there, and we can manipulate it any way we need to so we accomplish your specific goals.

 

Magento 1.9, The Latest Release; What’s New?
Fortunately, we can say that the release did not include lots of changes. There are minor bug fixes for catalog updates, but not much at all when it comes to the database structure, and most website owners would not see enough of a difference to warrant an upgrade.

 

Responsive Design
Responsive design is becoming one of the biggest trends in the website environment. Responsive design makes the website scale automatically according to the size they are viewed on, regardless from the user’s browser device. It’s a single site that works perfectly on every device such as large monitors, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With four out of every five smartphone users using smartphones to shop it’s more important than ever before to have a mobile friendly website. To get more information on responsive design please read this article on responsive design. With a responsive site, merchants will be better able to participate in the fast growing mobile commerce space, and will have a site that is more easily adapted to new opportunities and less expensive to maintain. A responsive site also offers potential SEO benefits from using Google’s preferred approach to mobile-optimizing sites.

 

Smartphone Shoppers Now Represent 4 out of 5 Smartphone Users*”

 

Magento 1.9 now has a responsive default theme to be more convenient and provide a better experience to its mobile users. Magento is now mobile and tablet friendly if you use the default theme. A new responsive design reference theme makes it easier for developers to create responsive sites, and new payment options help merchants improve conversion rates and sales. ATAK thinks we can get a tablet and smart phone friendly responsive Magento site in about 2/3 the time as before, speeding time to market and freeing up resources for other projects.

 

PHP Update and Zend Framework Updates
Magento 1.9’s PHP update is quite a big deal for all the developers, now they are supported by PHP 5.4. PHP 5.4 has some new features so it’s good that Magento is compatible with it from now on. Further, the Zend Framework the system is built on has been upgrades to version 1.12.3. Merchants will benefit from greater security and ongoing support updates.

 

 

Improved Payment and Checkout Process
One of the new features that comes with Magento 1.9 is the ability to disable the order review page. Before you place the order, even if you change the quantity, it’s no longer needed to update an order. Now we can can skip some unnecessary steps like “Order Review and Update Order”. It has also integrated a Bill Me Later service, which statistically increases sales by 18%. There is also a smoother PayPal Express checkout. Again, we can now can skip pages that are not needed, but on top of that, PayPal Express also tries alternative payment options when a customer’s credit card is rejected.

 

Magento’s New Bill Me Later Service Can Increase Sales by 18%

 

To decrease the online buyers (shoppers) confusion when they are purchasing a product, Magento 1.9 uses consistent cross-border pricing. It’s a clearer and more transparent payment process for customers from all over the world. Merchants can show a single price regardless of the country and international taxes.

 

Improved Security and Other Fixes
With Magento 1.9, you will have improved security which is crucial for every eCommerce website. There are more than 50 updates, just to name a few: closing potential cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities, improved file system security, removal of unsafe .swf files from the Magento distribution, and improved security action URLs such as billing agreements.

 

So Is It Necessary to Upgrade Magento 1.9?
It is ATAK Interactive’s opinion that if your site does everything you want it to do right now, and your customers are not complaining about bugs or asking for new features, then you should wait for the next version, or two. ATAK can accomplish many of the same front end fixes accomplished in 1.9 (such as responsive design) without having to move you from your old version. ATAK can address some of the changes, if needed, in your old store rather than having to start over (most of the time).

 

The most important deciding factor is how much customization your current Magento site has and when it is beneficial to consider having to redo those customizations on a new platform. If an ecommerce site has many custom features and many modules installed, you are basically looking at starting all of that over from scratch when you move to a new version. One can keep the design, but essentially the new version needs to be installed and the customizations need to be recoded to work as you need them to work. Module compatibility will also need to be addressed. The module you purchased for version 1.8 or earlier will most likely not work for the newest version. The updated modules will need to be purchased and then reinstalled to the new system.

 

We only recommend doing the upgrade when a complete redesign is called for. There are too few gains for the expense, but if there is a clear reason then the option is of course there. Below you can see a clearer list of enhancements to help you make your decision.

 

Here is a clear list of the Magento 1.9 security enhancements:

  • Addressed a potential cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability while creating configurable product variants.
  • Addressed a potential security issue that could result in displaying information about a different order to a customer.
  • Users can no longer change the currency if the payment method PayPal Website Payments Standard is used.
  • Removed a .swf file from the Magento distribution because of security issues.
  • Improved file system security.
  • Enhanced the security of action URLs, such as billing agreements.
  • Addressed a potential session fixation vulnerability during checkout.
  • Improved the security of the Magento randomness function.

 

Web Store and Shopping Cart Fixes

  • A customer can update quantities of items in their mini shopping cart from their My Account page.
  • The Minimum Advertised Price pop-up works properly in the web store. When the customer clicks Click for price, the price displays as expected.
  • The “customer since” date is correct.
  • Switching stores when viewing a product with store-scoped URL keys works as expected.
  • Setting System > Configuration > CATALOG > Inventory, option Display Out of Stock Products to Yes no longer causes all products to appear as out of stock.
  • Entering accented characters in the zip code field during checkout results in a validation error instead of an exception message.
  • Gift card codes are sent only after an item is purchased.
  • A customer who attempts to log in as another customer with incorrect credentials is denied.
  • Resolved issues with applying a 100% discount to an order.
  • Customers are no longer redirected to the home page when they have permission to view a category.
  • Discount amount displays correctly for products with custom options.
  • Issues with placing PayPal Payments Advanced or PayPal Payflow Link orders using Internet Explorer 9 have been resolved.

 

Promotional Price Rule Fixes

The following relate to administering and using cart price rules and catalog price rules

  • Shopping cart price rules apply properly to grouped products.
  • Two catalog price rules applied to the same product work properly.
  • The setting Stop Further Rules Processing is honored.
  • A user with read-only privileges in the Admin Panel cannot save changes to a price rule.
  • Applying a shopping cart price rule does not display an exception.
  • Coupon codes apply only to products eligible for the price rule.

 

Administrative Ordering, Invoicing, and Credit Memo Fixes

  • An administrative user with access to only one website from which a product was deleted no longer sees a stack trace when attempting to create an RMA for that product. In other words, after a customer placed an order for a product on Website1, an administrator with privileges to all websites removes the product. Later, when an administrator with access to only Website1 attempts to create an RMA for the deleted product, that administrator no longer sees an error message; instead, they see an expected Access Denied message.
  • Resolved an issue with incorrectly calculating the amount of an invoice when some items were discounted by a shopping cart price rule.
  • Credit memo amount is calculated correctly when processing a partial invoice with a discount.
  • Making comments in a credit memo no longer returns items to stock. (Prerequisite: an administrator set System > Configuration > CATALOG > Inventory > Product Stock Options, option Automatic

 

Import Fixes

  • A product with a custom attribute set imports successfully.

 

Payment Method Fixes

  • If guest checkout is disabled, a customer must log in to check out with PayPal Express.
  • Eliminated errors in the logs when an administrator clicks System > Configuration > SALES > Payment Methods.
  • You can now use New Zealand dollars as the base currency with the eWAY Direct payment bridge.
  • Store credit is applied correctly when using Website Payments Pro Hosted Solution.
  • If the merchant country is Germany (DE), disabled guest checkout for the express checkout method and PayPal Website Payments Standard.

Other

  • Categories on the web store now display with spaces between category names for cached and non-cached pages.
  • A customer can now initiate a return from the web store.
  • An administrative user can subscribe to low stock RSS feeds without errors.
  • Category URLs work as expected, regardless of the setting of Create Custom Redirect for old URL for the category’s URL key.
  • Setting allow_url_fopen = Off in php.ini has no effect on the CMS WYSIWYG editor.
  • No fatal error displays when a role-restricted user previews a newsletter in the Admin Panel.
  • Google Sitemap files now include the .html suffix for category and product URLs.
  • Customers can use advanced search on your web store if Magento EE is configured to use the default MySQL Fulltext search engine and the server uses MySQL 5.6.
  • A role-restricted user can preview a newsletter in the Admin Panel to which the user has privileges.
  • After synchronizing media files with the database, media/customer/.htaccess is present with the correct data. (Prerequisite: an administrator set System > Configuration > ADVANCED > System > Storage Configuration for Media set to Database).
  • cron now restarts indexers if they previously failed to run.
  • You can save changes to a category that has more than 1,000 products.
  • Deactivating one of several banners no longer causes exceptions in system.log.
  • Resolved issues with the WSDL cache.
  • Improved the efficiency of product searches.
  • Resolved issues with the DHL International shipping method.
  • Resolved 404 (Not Found) errors in layered navigation.
  • Resolved a SQL error when attempting to assign a bundled product to another website.
  • Rules-based product relations perform as expected after being saved.
  • Resolved an issue with sending duplicate Content-Type headers when using mod_fastcgi with the Apache web server.

 

References:

http://www.magentocommerce.com/knowledge-base/entry/ce19-later-release-notes

*http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2012/9/Retailers-Carving-Out-Space-in-the-M-Commerce-Market

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You’ve done a lot of hard work. You created your business logo. You created your social media accounts.  You populated them with all of your business’ information. Now it’s time to show off your brand!  We’ve created this helpful infographic to make sure your business stands out by detailing what the correct image sizes are for headers, profile pictures, and other design elements on each social media platform.  *Please note that these dimensions change all the time and may need to be updated at a future date.

Feel free to contact our Communications Specialist, Nicole at nicole@atakinteractive.com for more details and to talk about how we can optimize your social presence.

 

2014 Social Media Image Sizes.png

Sources:

http://postcron.com/en/blog/social-media-image-dimensions-sizes/

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-image-sizes-guide/

http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/social-media-image-size/

www.piktochart.com

 

 

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As eCommerce and website marketing specialists, we at ATAK Interactive created a short series of articles to help beginners with Google Analytics. Our first three articles covered an “Overview”, “How to Setup”, and “Goals and Funnels” to cover everything you need to understand and start using Google Analytics for your website. In this article, we will dig more into Google Analytics by explaining the “User Acquisitions” report which is a fundamental requirement to plan your marketing activity and increase relevant traffic to your website.

 


Overview of Acquisitions

Google Analytics has ABC reports, which stands for acquisitions, behavior, and conversions. ABC reports were introduced in 2013 and they are great to summarize the data about how your visitors come to your website. It breaks down to number of visits, behaviors, and conversion rates. These help you see an overview about how your website is doing and which channels are more effective for your website. Channels, also called filters, are used through organic, direct, social, referrals, paid search, e-mail, etc. You can always add or remove channels depending on what you want to see (these examples are just the default channels provided by Google Analytics).

 

Channel Types

Organic Search shows the number of visitors your site received from the organic search results of Google (crucial to see SEO result). Direct means the visitors to your website got there by direct search or browsing.

 

Social is the part where you can see how your social media platforms are doing; the visitors who came from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter (crucial for social media marketing).

 

Referrals shows the visitors by referrals from other websites or links (sources).

 

Paid search is where you see how many people clicked to the link on your newsletter and transferred to the website through your paid advertising channels.

 

At the end of the day, these reports are very useful for you to see where the majority of your traffic comes from and also to see how effective your social media marketing strategy, SEO campaigns, and online marketing strategies are.

 

 

Under the behavior column, one can see the behaviors of your visitors. This part breaks down all site visitors into the channels they come from. Further, this piece illustrates the bounce rates, page visits, and average visit durations. So again, one can analyze which types of visitors are more engaged on your website.

 

The conversion column allows one to choose any conversion type and see the related results. It can be a goal conversion, a goal completion and/or a goal value. The great part of the conversion column is that one can see the data here for all goals, specific goals, or e-commerce data. This view can be as detailed and specific as needed. ATAK Interactive finds it very effective to check total conversions according to your specific channels because then you can spot the lowest and highest levels of conversions that come from that specific channel. After one has seen these results they can decide to stop using the channels that are not working and/or are not bringing a return.

 

Channels Report

This report is the detailed version of the overview that we mentioned above. The only difference is one can dig deeper into different graphs, charts or tables. A website manager will still work on the ABC report but will have more flexibility. One can find the summary of traffic and performance before analyzing the traffic sources individually. Users can save these reports and can easily click the shortcut button to see saved reports.

 

All Traffic Report

This report is simply the general view of your total traffic under every channel you have. We recommend creating a pie chart for  all your traffic to be able to see the percentage of traffic by channels.

 

 

You can also apply this pie chart to your conversions as well. This will help you to analyze how many of your conversion goals are effective under each channel. The main goal is for you to catch the underperforming slices, which shows less effective conversion goals from that channel. If this is constantly underperforming then stop that channel or modify your effort.

 

Google Analytics provides a great tool to check each website’s success. Further, it has the ability to see how our online, social, and website marketing campaigns are doing to show where changes or improvements need to be made. Google analytics is great software to use in the way of making your online presence more successful. As website marketing specialists we at ATAK Interactive we will keep sharing and educating you about Google Analytics in further articles but if you still have any further questions or if you need a free consultation please contact us by clicking http://www.atakinteractive.com/contact.php or give us a call: 1-855-472-1892

 

References:

http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/Google-Analytics-Using-the-New-Acquisition-Tab/

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2325346/How-to-Make-the-Most-of-Google-Analytics-Acquisition-Reports

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3196960?hl=en

 

 

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safe SEO.png

After a recent ring of Russian hackers successfully captured over one billion online log-ins and passwords from users around the world, Google has decided to give a SEO boost to websites that use secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocols.  On Wednesday, August 6, Google Webmaster Trend Analysts, Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, announced that Google would now include secure website encryption in its search algorithm.

 

This change is a major benefit to online users.  Their information will now become more secure as companies change their websites to ensure all user’s information is secure.  However, this could prove as an expense for website owners as they change their URLs to include the HTTPS protocols.  By having a HTTPS URL a website is guaranteeing it uses Secure Socket Layers (SSL.)  SSL are security protocols that encrypt any user’s information from potential hackers between the website and the search browser.

 

Google’s team has assured that this change will only affect a small number of websites explaining, “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1 percent of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

 

Our CEO, Josh Goodman is currently studying to effects this will have on our clients.  We, along with the rest of the SEO community, are unsure of what this will mean long term but are interested to see what the effects will be.

 

“It will be interesting to see just how much of a game-changer this is. Google has made a change, but it remains to be seen just how much weight Google will actually assign to this. Right now, SSL and HTTPS are not heavily weighted according to Google, but they are encouraging more websites to secure their information and may increase the weight distribution over time. As a company that is constantly building and developing websites, we are studying the effects of this change very closely and how it will affect our clients. We are very interested to see how this will impact a website that does credit card transactions (i.e. – Ecommerce) versus one that is information/service based.”

 

If you have any questions about what this means for your website please call us at 310.526.7493.

 

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-google-encrypted-websites-search-results-20140807-story.html?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Ftechnology+%28L.A.+Times+-+Technology+News%29

 

http://www.cnet.com/news/google-to-factor-website-security-into-search-results/

http://searchengineland.com/seo-industry-tweets-reactions-googles-ssl-ranking-boost-199510

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By: Austin LaRoche

EVP, CMO

 

“90% of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

 

I recently had a client come to me with a problem. Days prior, I had suggested to him that we do a post across his social media channels highlighting work he did with one of his clients, tagging them and showing them how much he appreciated their business. He loved the idea at the time, but after discussing the situation with some older colleagues in his industry, he was reconsidering.

 

“If I showcase my partners, I’m worried that competitors may poach my clients.”

 

He had a valid point. All businesses, regardless of the line of work, have competitors. His company does promotional marketing, and in many cases, customers are all about one thing: the lowest price.

 

“Well, what is your value proposition?” I asked him.

 

He didn’t hesitate. “First and foremost, customer service. I hand-deliver my orders when they are local, I pay extreme attention to detail with every client.”

 

“Can I get a t-shirt with ATAK’s logo on it somewhere cheaper?” I replied.

 

“Sure, but you’re not going to get the –”

 

I interrupted him. “Exactly. You’re not the cheapest guy on the market. But you genuinely care about about your customers and would do anything to make an order right. They feel it. You have to trust that feeling.”

 

“Okay,” said Brian Kim, CEO of Hoopla Promo.

 

I love working with business owners like Brian. If you work at a digital agency and want to know what a great client looks like, check out Brian Kim of Hoopla Promo. Pitch him your business. Give it your best shot. Promise him the moon and discount him until you’ve obliterated your entire margin.

 

I offer this challenge because I don’t fear losing Brian’s business. I understand he could get the work cheaper. He knows he can get the work cheaper. But smart businesses realize that to move ahead with vendors, partners and clients, you must construct a strong relationship built on professional collaboration and a genuine care about one another’s success.

 

To put it more bluntly: listen and give a damn. That’s the key to B2B success, because it’s the key to all relationships.

 

I’m very proud of the success we’ve had at ATAK this year. I equate every ounce of it to going deeper with our clients on a personal level. When they have big events, we show up. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a Saturday or requires a 5am wake-up call. We’re there for them.

 

We were there for Dina Kimmel at Walk Now For Autism Speaks when We Rock the Spectrum sponsored the largest autism awareness event in the state of California. We were there for the Grand Opening of their new location in Woodland Hills with Jess Lofland and will continue to show up at grand openings across the country for WRTS. We make sure to go see Jen and Jason at Pin-Up Golf each month at their biggest fundraising tournaments. When the talented young artist, Charles Gitnick opened his first gallery at Townley Gallery, we fought through 405 traffic and got down to Laguna for it. Heck, we even crashed a wedding recently to see DJ Andrew from Get in the Groove Entertainment in Spanish Hills.

 

We will keep showing up, because we’ve invested ourselves in Dina’s, Jennifer’s, Andrew’s, Charles’s, and Brian’s respective businesses (among many others). We care about what they do, their employees, their families, and their success.

 

But here’s the thing, and if you’re an up-and-coming agency or just beginning in a B2B field, take out your notepad and write this down….

 

The care that we give to our clients is constantly dictated by our actions and not just our words.

 

This business philosophy is not something you can fake. It’s not a secret, in fact, you can learn these very lessons by watching the first hour of Jerry Maguire.  It’s just a simple cocktail of dedication, hard work, expertise in your respective field, and showing up. Cheers!

 

We feel very fortunate that we get to work with really amazing clients. When you work with people that run a business you believe in on both a professional and human level, it leads to a much more meaningful collaboration.

 

Pin-Up Golf raises money for over 200 charities a year. We Rock the Spectrum has helped thousands of special needs families by providing a place where all kids can come together and play in sensory safe environment. Hoopla Promo is giving every customer the chance to tell them which non-profit they want to donate a portion of their order towards. Charles Gitnick is an incredibly talented 12 year old expressing an anti-violence message across the country with his art. And Get in the Groove provides the soundtrack for the greatest day in people’s lives week after week. These businesses are fantastic, which makes caring, loving, and showing up for them second nature.

 

So fellow B2B-ers, forget the prices for a bit. Learn more about your clients and take time to listen and connect with them. And if that doesn’t work, you can always try to click the links in this blog post and undercut what we’re doing. Just know, these people might have a different understanding of value than you do.

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When building a website, one of the most crucial items is the header.  The header is at the very top of the screen and is seen on every page.  By having a well-designed and thought-out header, your website will become easier for users to navigate through, see the various pages you have published, and interact with you online.

 

While every design is different, these are the essential elements most headers should display:

Your Logo

The header must include your logo so users consistently see your brand. Typically the logo is in the left hand corner or centered at the top.  It’s especially helpful to users when the logo image links back to your homepage.  This way if a user gets lost in your site they can always find their way back to the beginning.

 

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A Site Search Bar

By including a site search bar your user will be able to access information from a specific page that may be buried within a blog post or another section of your site.  Try to keep your search bar away from any other sign up box that way users don’t get confused. Site search bars are typically found on the lower left or right hand side of the header and are particularly recommended for ecommerce websites.

 

Phone Numbers + Important Contact Information

Always have your phone number visible for your customers and your operating time in case a user has a question about your business or how to use your site.  This reassures users that you are in fact a real business and willing to communicate with them.

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ATAK TIP: Don’t forget your customer service phone number if you have one!

Navigation Tabs

Having clear and well spaced navigation tabs make your site visually pleasing and much more efficient for users to find what they’re looking for from any page.

Deals, Specials, Benefits

For your ecommerce website, a well placed deal can be hard to pass up.  Free Shipping for orders over $100, Buy 1 Medium and Get a Large ½ Off! These types of offers are great ways to up sell users and appear on every page. When a user trusts you they are more likely to buy from you. Try to clearly explain to shoppers the shipping and return policies in the header for less cart abandonment.

Social Media Icons

Are you trying to get more Facebook likes?  Add a like button in the header.  Maybe you have an amazing Instagram feed and want people to know all about it.  Add the Instagram icon.

 

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ATAK TIP: If you’re going to list your social media accounts then you should list them all.  If a user sees your Facebook and Twitter icon and they don’t see your Youtube icon they will assume you only have a Facebook and Twitter account.  

Shopping Cart

Keep your customers aware of their cart items in real time by showing the shopping cart feature on every page.  Allow your customers to easily adjust their items by clicking on the icon without going to another page.

 

Login/Registration Links

Allow users to easily get to their accounts when needed. Users who are ordering from a website are often coming back to check the status of their order. Make the user experience easy for them by showing them, at the very top, where they can most quickly get in to see their order and user information.

The H1 Tag

The H1 Tag is the Most Search Friendly Value Statement. Google favors something called an H1 tag and it is the first piece of text picked up when crawling your page. The H1 Tag is a phrase or sentence on your page positioned at top so google can find it. If you think of a Web page as a sort of outline, then the H1, H2, are the section heading tags serve to divide the page into sections. Your most important headline is your first, H1, headline because this indicates the topic for the entire web page and is where most people look first when they’re trying to figure out what the page is about. Google uses this with a heavy weight because this is the first thing the crawler sees, thus there is importance in making this search engine friendly. We also want to squeeze this before a piece of text like welcome or navigation links that can be different. We squeeze this into the header, usually by adding a tagline above the logo in a bar that is sometimes shaded differently.

Source:

http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/69583-Understanding-Ecommerce-Design-Part-3-Headers-and-Footers

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Google Analytics is one of the best software services for businesses and individuals to measure their goals and conversion rates as they relate to website visits, don’t forget it’s free! As we wrote in our previous articles “Google Analytics: Overview” and “How to Setup an Account”, we’ve learned that Google Analytics is a necessity if you are managing or marketing a website. So far, we explained Google Analytics basics and how to create your account. Now, in this 3rd Google Analytics article, we will write about how to set up specific goals and funnels to track down your visitors in a  more detailed manner.

Every website has its own specific goals and therefore what is explained below will apply to most but will certainly need some adjusting to be correct for your unique business. We also know that where you start  may not be where you end. It’s important to understand in analytics and website development that the market will always be changing.

 

Explaining Goals and Funnels

Let’s start by explaining two significant terms: goals and funnels. “Goals” are the way to track your visitors by setting up specific tasks. For example, if you want to only track visitors that land to your contact page you can set up a goal to see just this information. This type of goal allows one to see how many visitors came to a page and left without clicking contact page, and how many people actually clicked to see the contact page. You can also count the number of times a user went to a page and time that they spent on a page. In this case, one would simply set a specific goal and Google Analytics would track the data.

 

A “Funnel” is a tool one can set, after goals are set, for conversion optimization through the steps you want your users to go through to reach these goals. Funnels are not mandatory but are extremely beneficial to see how your visitor goes through points (pathways) on the way the goal/destination you set. For example, if you set up a goal for who lands on your contact page, with a funnel you will only track who follows this exact path you set. You can also determine where in the pathway those users drop off to find a possible problem. Just like a physical funnel, there is only one start point and one end point.  If a user enters a funnel from a page that is not step or page 1, they will not be counted in the sales funnel. A funnel conversion rate which is touted as one of the most valuable pieces of analytics. By examining each step of the funnel and analyzing the number of visitors from one step to another you can optimize the largest drop offs and adjust your site to complete your goals.

 

Set Up Your Goals

Consider what you want to track; time spent on page, sales, newsletter sign up, or page views before launching a goal because once your goal is finalized you can not delete it, you can only edit it. You can turn goals off and on but they will stay there forever which can sometimes be annoying.

To set up a goal, log into your account and choose the profile you want to track if you have more than one. After that, in the right column you will see “ACTIONS.” Under that click “EDIT” and you’ll see “GOALS”. There are 4 sets that each can hold 5 goals allowing you to separate tracking data into categories like check out, home page or articles.

 

Goal Types

Once you setup your goal you will see the form below. Goal types are the different kinds of styles to track your goal. Let’s briefly explain each of them:

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URL Destination – Most commonly you’ll be using the URL Destination option in Google Analytics, which basically means which page you are tracking users to land on. After you click URL Destination, another form will show up. It will ask you about “Match Type,” which are the options for you to select how Google Analytics will record a successful goal measurement.

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Time On Site – Besides checking the pages your visitors’ land (1st option), now you can choose tracking times to track the exact time that your visitors spent on a specific page. Also, you can set up a greater than or less than condition to check the bounce rates. For example, track all the visitors who stayed less than 10 seconds looking at your home page. That’s what we call a bounce rate, and a lower number is better.

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Page/Visit – This option is all about how many pages a single visitor visited in your website when they landed on your home page. You should set up a greater than or less than option. For example, let’s say 3 pages, which means if a visitor visits more than 3 pages you’ll complete your goal.

 

Event – This option is only available on the latest version of Google Analytics. The “Event” option is to track only a specific action like who clicked your download button or newsletter sign up button. You can also configure one or more event conditions at one time.

 

Funnels

Using funnels for your goals is the “next level” on Google Analytics, because funnels are a bit complicated. Funnels, however, when used correctly are also very beneficial for you to track specific pathways.

 

First of all, custom funnels only work with the “URL Destination” option explained in our goals section above. There’s no specific pathway to follow on page time, page/visit, or event. Let’s say the goal is to reach the checkout page. If you put a scenario to that goal by using funnels, your visitors should follow those exact steps to complete the goal. For example, a user gets to a custom landing page and you want them to go from here to a product details page, to adding to cart to checkout, and finally placing the order. If a user goes go through this page order then your goal will be completed. With this funnel one can see, specifically, who reached the checkout goal by walking through our designed pathway (funnel). The google analytics view will not only show you this bottom line number but will also show where users are most often falling out of the funnel so your web developers and designers can make changes to try to resolve the fallout.

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In conclusion, it might be pretty complicated to understand and apply goals and funnels to track down your visitors. Our recommendation is to start slowly. Add simple goals to understand how Google Analytics works.

 

As eCommerce and website marketing specialists, we at ATAK Interactive want our customers to grow and do better. One way we can help is to educate you about tools we respect and use, and Google Analytics software is one of those tools. Google Analytics is free and crucial for the website owners to install and monitor. We are always here to help you to make your website more effective but it’s always good to know how to track your own website. To read more about website design and online marketing please visit our website, www.atakinteractive.com

 

References

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/conversion-funnel-survival-guide/

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/google-analytics-goals-funnels-tips/

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2976313?hl=en

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Recently, we’ve had a lot of clients asking “what is the whole hashtag business all about?” With so many different hashtags and uses for them, we feel it would be beneficial to explain what hashtags are, how to use them and when they best apply.

 

Hashtags start with the pound symbol: # followed by your series of letter or words you would like to use.

 

The first hashtag was created by Chris Messina, @MrMessina, in 2007 in this tweet:

“how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

 

The founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, initially thought that Messina’s hashtag idea would be short lived because it was ‘too technical’ for the average user. However, as we can see today Messina’s concept is still very much used in everyday life. Hashtags are used at events, in groups, and creates a circle of people with common interests or topics.

 

For example, say that you going to the Dodgers Opening Day game with your friend and you want to tell everyone that you’re going. Lucky for you, the Dodgers have a hashtag created by their marketing team just for this purpose: #OpeningDayLA . By using this hashtag when you post about the event you are connecting your tweet with the thousands of other fans who have also used this hashtag in their tweet. By entering this hashtag into the search bar of Twitter or in the Explore section on Instagram, you can see who else is talking about Opening Day and connect with other fans.

 

 

You’ve seen plenty of posts that have ten, even twenty hashtags attached making the hashtags even longer than the initial caption. While these users are correctly using hashtags, they are not using best practices with hashtags. We feel it’s best to use 1-3 hashtags for each tweet or post and some tweets don’t require any hashtags at all. While using several hashtags can be effective in gaining new followers, it isn’t the best approach for gaining engaging and loyal followers.

 

If you are asking yourself “should I use this hashtag for my business?” then consider these two variables before publishing.

 

1. Does this hashtag take ownership of my brand? For instance, if your brand has the slogan “Just Do It” attached to it, then using the hashtag #JustDoIt supports your marketing campaign and your brand message. But this should only be done with a brand name or one slogan. Keep it focused.

 

2. Will anyone in my target demo search for this hashtag and see value upon finding my content? Sure, people search hashtags like #cool and #fun all the time. However, this is not a very focused use of a hashtag. Let’s say you owned a clothing store on the popular Venice Beach street Abbot Kinney, you would want to tag #AbbotKinney in your posts so people looking to learn more about the shopping in that area could see your content.

 

One last tip: it’s especially important to keep hashtags short, specific, spell checked, and civil. These rules are important for all account but especially business accounts. For more information on hashtag etiquette check out this great article from the Ad Council.

 

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Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake could use a lesson on how to use hashtags too:

 

If you are still confused about hashtags and would like more information contact Nicole at nicole@atakinteractive.com or 310. 526.7493 Ext. 8 to come in for a discussion on how to best use hashtags for your business or personal account.

 

Sources:

http://readwrite.com/2011/02/04/the_first_hashtag_ever_tweeted_on_twitter_-_they_s

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