Friday Funday – Piwik, Influence and the Marketing Power of Free!

Happy Friday Everyone!  Wanted to send out a quick blog post before we headed out for the weekend.  We’ve made some service additions to our clients that we wanted to let everyone know about; we look at influence and what it means for small business, and lastly we take a look at using free services for generating business (and one example).

Now Offering Piwik

As part of our core services, website analytics offer a great way to learn about your customers and their interactions with your website.  Often times business owners are unaware that such services exist nor do they understand how useful these services are in developing a website from an online brochure into a legitimate leads and sales engine.  When you see how visitors are using your site you can develop different pages for the same feature on your site and test for effectiveness.

Google Analytics has long been the standard service Dark Horse Communications has used when helping business develop business intelligence from their websites.  The service did have its limitations though, and it was through our work with Interclub Academy of Dance that left us on the search for a better service.  One limitation with Google analytics is the reporting of visitors and the interactions with your sites.  You can not see how individual visitors are interacting with your site; rather you are given totals for the day.  This is fine for large businesses but small businesses need better data.

Enter Piwik.  Piwik is an open source website analytics program that offers users the chance to see detailed visitor logs.  For our client, we wanted to see how many people clicked on a certain link on a page.  Google Analytics offers this reporting, but Piwik allows users to get an even better level of detail.  Piwik reporting not only gives us details on how many times the link was clicked, but the individual session on each visitor who clicked the link.  Being able to differentiate between the two is great news for small businesses as it allows you to get a better understanding of your efforts, determining ROI and developing new avenues for testing in the future.

With our installation of this service, we now offer this along with standard installation of Google Analytics for all websites.  We can schedule customized weekly reports to clients that focus on different aspects of your website.

Online Influence

Here at the shop I am constantly thinking about the power of online influencers and taste makers, and a new article from Mashable is an interesting read.  You can read it for some interesting figures, but the article furthers the discussion about who you should be targeting with your online efforts (especially your marketing and social media efforts).

What small businesses owners should understand is that there are people who carry greater weight online with their opinions.  These taste makers or opinion influencers are found naturally in the wild (real world, not the jungle) and a lot of the same characteristics and habits are observed with their online counterparts.  By targeting people who are online taste makers in your market or field you can help jump start the process of getting your brand out in the public sphere.

An example would be a small business targeting an active and influential Twitter user and getting them to recommend, try out, check in, or what not with your brand and hope the halo effect can lead to some new customers.  The article would suggest that the number of influencers and the habits of the less influential are important to not discount though.

A viral story goes viral not because an influential person passed it along to all of their followers.  It goes viral because those pass it along to their smaller followers, and they pass it along, and so on and so on.  This means that your campaign, special, etc., needs to not only aim high when starting (get the info to your key users and influencers) but also be remarkable enough to justify further sharing.  A simple retweet of a press release will not get your campaign too far.

Free!

After reading this book about using free things to help drive business, I have been working with clients to incorporate some of the practices.  We’ve seen some great things with it so far, so we at Dark Horse are going to up the ante and do it ourselves.

We are offering free websites for businesses that are interested.  Now there are some stipulations,  but we are trying out this offer in an effort to not only grow our business but learn more about offering free products for business growth.  You can read about the offer here.  We are interested in seeing the response to this offer and how people handle it.

There are plenty of instances of businesses that are successful and based around offering a free service (RyanAir anyone?) and by getting your business in the door with customers, you are giving yourself a chance to prove your worth and continue a relationship.

Back to Pandora!

That’s all we have this week.  Enjoy the weekend, stay cool and think about something your business could for free :)

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