No matter how much your current community is underperforming, the idea of migrating to a new vendor feels daunting, right? We know it does. That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to give you the details about just how easy and fast it is to migrate your community to a Lithium platform.
In fact, there are key benefits to doing so:
Lithium communities outperform the competition by generating high traffic and high-value content
Monthly automatic updates take less than 5 minutes and cost you nothing
A superior set of design tools and APIs to ensure you have freedom to create a unique digital customer experience that showcases your brand
We work with you every step of the way to ensure that your community management, design process, and technical needs are all met simultaneously so that we can get you migrated within our typical 14 weeks.
Worried you’ll lose SEO during the process? We’ve got you covered. Need your new community to be an exact design copy of your existing one? Done. Want to integrate your community with your CRM instance before a public launch? We can do that too.
Download the free guide to find out how easy it is to switch to Lithium.
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It comes as no surprise that customer expectations just keep pushing forward. Now is the time to reevaluate your community to assess where changes may need to be made to keep up with those expectations and to take your community experience to the next level.
Here are three key areas you need to incorporate in order to stay competitive and keep your community members engaged and coming back:
1) Responsive design. Our smartphones and tablets are where we turn first to go online, check out a brand, shop and find answers to our questions. With increasing mobile device usage, customers expect to interact with brands across all of their devices and have a consistent experience. Moving to a responsive design helps you create that consistent experience, amplifies search engine optimization (SEO), simplifies analytics, creates more engaged visitors, lowers the total cost of ownership for community and increases community vibrancy as people find it easier to participate. If you’re dragging your heels on moving to responsive design or trying to convince your boss that it’s time, the business case is there for why now is the time to make the leap. Check out Google’s responsive designed community.
2) Rich media experience. Visual content is hot and here to stay. In their everyday lives, your community members are not only using words to express their feelings and share their passion for their favorite brands, but are increasingly using images. So the more you can incorporate rich media into your community, the better. It will increase engagement and traffic, improve SEO, create a more visually engaging experience for community members, and increase trust by allowing users to showcase brand/products. Check out how giffgaff incorporated media into their community.
3) Value Analytics. While it’s important to increase engagement in your community, it’s just as important to measure the impact of your community experience not only on your business, but also on your customers. By adding analytics in the form of a customer survey, you can collect data on why customers visited the community, whether they found what they are looking for, what actions they would have taken if they hadn’t found it, how satisfied they are and how likely they are to recommend the community. Collecting and tracking this data provides a baseline to determine how the changes you make to your community impact the customer experience and call deflection. Check out how MicroStrategy used value analytics to measure customer satisfaction.
The more engaging experience your community members have in your community, the more likely you are to experience community’s full value for your brand. Be sure you are staying on top of what is emerging as expectations for your community and take full advantage of how community can empower your business.
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Traffic is the lifeblood of websites. It’s what fuels conversions, sales and brand awareness. It’s what eventually fuels marketing’s ultimate goal – engagement-to-conversion. But how do marketers effectively continue to drive traffic? Is it via search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC)?
Both take a significant portion of the marketing budget. According to Forrester, over the next five years paid search and organic optimization will top $45 billion by 2019. But, at the same time, PPC and SEO are known as a dilemma on the minds of many marketers who look to balance their budgets in order to crack the code of engagement-to-conversion.
What is often overlooked is the power community plays in driving that traffic. In fact, community can be your key to putting the turbo in your SEO strategy.
The Value of SEO + User Generated Content
The user generated content (UGC) in your community is pure gold for SEO. The UGC in your community is long-tail content that continually “self-updates” and is highly relevant for what your customer (or potential customer) is looking for because it’s written by real people for real people. The UGC in your community also uses natural language and real terms that people would type in a search engine. Not marketing jargon. Community is the online destination where customers and prospects talk about your products/services and where they can find real answers quickly, which, in turn, benefits your SEO efforts.
The Lure of PPC
In the pressure to reach customers or present a better offer before competitors and to meet acquisition targets, taking time can seem too risky. PPC offers a quick cure for those brands who want to jump to the head of the line and reach customers where they are immediately. This can be great for short-term campaigns. However, marketers should be aware that a recent Lithium survey found that one third of Americans said they don’t trust advertising to give them information about a product or service they are interested in buying.
PPC is no doubt a big investment because marketers see it as one of the only search tactics to create unique content. However, now with Community UGC and the organic traffic it produces, PPC should not be seen as the only option.
The power of Community
In a sample of Lithium’s retail customers, we compared community traffic from SEO with website traffic from SEO. The results are telling: the average percent of community traffic from SEO was 62%, while the average percent of website traffic from SEO was 37%. This means that the community SEO sourced traffic was 68% better than that of the websites.
This is why a study by webmarketing 1|2|3 says both B2B and B2C customers believe that SEO is twice as effective as PPC or Social Media Marketing (SMM) for lead generation. Don’t get us wrong, PPC has its place and will always be a part of the marketing mix. But what we have seen is that organic SEO can be extended and amplified by having a thriving online community with UGC. So marketers can reach a greater amount of customers at a lower average acquisition cost via organic SEO from websites and communities and then use PPC to scale.
SEO is also less costly than PPC in the long run and it makes sense to maximize its full value by using community as a fertile source of content.
It requires time, but the investment is worth it. Communities can indeed put the turbo in SEO.
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Are you considering moving your online community to a responsive design? Google reports that more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers now, and Mary Meeker indicates in her Mobile Internet Trends report that people spend more time per day on their mobile device than they do on desktop/laptops or any other device. Our smartphones and tablets are where we turn first to go online, check out a brand, shop and find answers to our questions. With increasing mobile device usage, we therefore expect to interact with brands across all of our electronic devices and have a consistent experience. How often have you typed in a URL on your smartphone or tablet only to have the desktop version of the site come up with that teeny tiny font and content that is nearly impossible to navigate? Did you stay? No, we didn’t either.
Which brings us to your online community. This is a place where you want people highly engaged, you want them contributing, you want them to have an exceptional customer experience that they will get across every touchpoint with your brand. If they try to access your community on a mobile device and your desktop version comes up, or the mobile version feels static or cumbersome to interact with, guess what? You are going to lose people. We don’t want that to happen either.
Google is a great example of a brand acting fast as they were one of the first to adapt the new Lithium Responsive feature. Loree Draude, Head of Communities and Social Engagement, Global Customer Experience at Google said, “The goal of our new Google Advertiser community is to help customers better understand and utilize our growing list of new product features. To do this, we have created a fantastic new user experience in our Lithium Community – revamping the overall look and feel (particularly for mobile) using Lithium’s responsive design, and bringing in valuable content from various sources that is easily discoverable.”
If you’re still not convinced of the advantages, here are five reasons to go responsive:
Consistent brand and user experience across all devices. This is, by far, the number one reason, because customers simply expect consistency and they are more device-agnostic than ever – meaning they no longer differentiate what they can do by device, but expect to be able to do the same tasks on all devices. Mobile has become a way of life and is therefore table-stakes.
Better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and simplified analytics. Google favors responsive design and penalizes content that is replicated across versions. A responsive design makes your content easier to find and enhances the SEO power that Lithium already incorporates in our design. It’s also easier to track analytics on responsive, as you no longer have to track various sites separately enabling simpler monitoring and analysis.
More engaged visitors. With people more likely to interact with your community on mobile, a responsive design makes engaging easier, it also allows people to interact with you wherever they are, meaning they can be in-store and search for info on your community and get the answer they need. Wherever they are in the moment, they can engage in your community.
Lower total cost of ownership, as you no longer have to design, develop and maintain multiple community sites for different devices. In the long term, responsive will save you money, time and resources not only in technology investment, but in the maintenance and upkeep of different sites as it reduces redundancy.
Increased vibrancy as visitors find it easier to participate. Let’s face it, if it’s easy to access, view and participate in, people will not hesitate to participate in your community via their mobile devices. The easier it is to participate, the more engagement you receive and therefore the more vibrant your community is. Higher NPS scores will result.
Lithium offers a Responsive design of our community platform which will enable you to provide a seamless customer experience across all devices with a flexible layout that automatically adjusts to the optimized viewing and navigational experience best suited for the device.
If you are an existing Lithium customer interested in learning more about Responsive, contact your Customer Success Manager.
Lithium CX Files: Claudius Henrichs (Skype)
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