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Incentives for Online Behavior

These are the Internet Marketing Cliff Notes from the Social Media Today Webinar “Incentives for Online Behavior”, sponsored by Adobe Social. The webinar was conducted by Paul Dunay with participation form Lauren Friedman, Mark Kithcart and Rob Fuggetta whose bios are depicted below.

The webinar will be available for replay here:

Why Should I Talk to You?

Discussing why people want to engage in your community.

1)      Create an exclusive community – give them information they can’t get anywhere else

2)      Know your audience – What do they want? Observe your audience’s behavior in social channels to find out why they would want to engage in your community. Ask your audience what they would like to engage with you or your brand about.

3)      Be careful with trying to incentivize with money or giveaways. Can lead to building a group of followers who want nothing more than free stuff and are not interested in engagement or collaboration.

Most Do It Wrong

Discussing what not to do when trying to incentivize for behavior or engagement in a community.

1)      Offering incentives can be the wrong way – again building followers who are not interested in engagement.

2)      Being too welcoming – let the community grow – let them participate on their own. Many community members are merely lurkers and if you instantly thanking them for joining or engaging them, they might be turned away.

  1. Lurkers are often best converted to participants, not by the moderator, but by others in the community
  2. Let the community grow on its own, don’t be too helpful or smart.

3)      Allowing disruptors to continue. The most relevant use of the master moderator role is knowing when to stop someone from ruining the experience of the community for others.

How to Do It Right

Discussing the right way to incentivize participation behavior in a community

1)      Badging – providing badges recognizing authority, reputation, security, etc.

  1. Example: SEOMoz community forum – badges recognizing participation and authority. At a certain level of participation, community members can receive discounts on their SEOMoz membership.
  2. Example: Warrior Forum – provides Warrior levels to incentivize participation – You provide value, we are going to give you a bump in status
  3. Example: EBay Badging recognizes sellers and buyers for reputation of trust

2)      Promote Within – let major participators become low-level moderators

3)      Encourage Engagement through Tools

  1. Give people low-level participation opportunities, make it easy for them to participate in a simple way.

i.      “thanks” buttons, Yes/No questions with button type response mechanism

  1. People will often graduate to higher levels of participation once they have engaged at a low-level.
  2. WeJIT – a simple but powerful online collaboration tool that can live on blogs, in social media, on websites, etc.

4)      Convey Gratitude through backchannels

  1. Thank your users on social media or via email

Miscellaneous Notes

What is a Brand Advocate? – Definition from Zuberance: Highly satisfied customer or other person who recommends brand or product without pay or incentives

Top 10 Ways to Reward Advocates

1)      Sneak Peeks

2)      Special Events

3)      Exclusive Communities

4)      Special Content

5)      Seeking their Opinions

6)      Access to VIPs

7)      Contribute to Causes

8)      Honor your Advocates

9)      Show them you Care

10)   Say Thank You


  • The 1/9/90 rule: 1% very active, 9% somewhat active and 90% lurkers in an online community
  • Expect 10% of your brand’s Facebook following to be listening at anytime
  • You can download Ch 1 of @robfuggetta’s book “Brand Advocates” at
  • #1 motivation for Brand Advocates: great experience w/ product/service & they want to help their friends. NOT bc of incentives
  • Content is still king. If you aren’t sure what your audience wants… ASK them. They will tell you.
  • SoMe is a 2 way communication channel, your communities aren’t for just posting Ads but are a forum for engagement. Engage & inform
  • Think about what your business’ most valuable goal is, and incentivize your community to help with that goal.
  • Use Engaging Copy and Photos to incentivise sharing
  • “Organic incentives can be much more effective and long-lasting than monetary rewards for your community.”
  • Community roles (organic) – advocates, moderators, content creators.

ECommerce Webinar: Checkout Process Optimization – 11 Steps to Increasing Revenue

Cliff notes from the E-Commerce Webinar entitled Checkout Process Optimization – 11 Steps to Increasing Revenue. View the entire E-Commerce Webinar free. Presenters: E-Commerce Webinar

Presented by Groove Commerce, a Baltimore based full service interactive agency specializing in the Magento Platform. They are also a HubSpot partner, providing award winning services that include web design, development, and online marketing services.

Including Shane Lundy from BuySafe. Buysafe enables online retailers to offer a guaranteed shopping experience that increases conversion and customer satisfaction.

Average checkout consists of 5.08 steps
24% of top 100 e-tailers require account registration – 50% of top 100 e-tailers still ask for the same information twice

Step #1: Ensure pages load quickly

  • Converted shoppers received pages 2x faster than non-converted shoppers in an e-commerce case study
  • Use – to find out how well your site pages are performing
  • Turn on compression
  • Remove unneeded code & files
  • CDN hosting
  • Use Google JQuery Scripts
  • Full-page caching
  • Track Server errors and performance (New Relic – web application performance management tool that shows end to end performance – how fast pages are being delivered, utilization, health of servers, sql errors, PHP errors, etc.)

Step #2: Offer Guest Checkout without Registration

  • 8 of the top 10 US eTailers offer it
  • 25.6% of online consumers will abandon if forced to register (econsultancy)
  • Average cart abandonment is 65%
  • Optimizing checkout is one of the best places where you can improve the top line revenue of your site

Step #3: Keep Forms short

  • Don’t ask if you don’t need information
  • Don’t ask for answers you already have
  • Pre-populate fields if you can
  • Maintain Form Data if errors happen
  • Especially important for mCommerce – simplifying forms and UI will significantly help when people are trying to checkout with mobile devices

Step #4: Provide clear progress indicators

  • Examples include: 25% done, Step 1 of 3, Billing ->Shipping->Payment->Summary
  • People like to see that there is progress in what they are doing
  • What makes people feel more comfortable to purchase from smaller, regional and niche retailers? They may have more variety and depth than big box retailers, but don’t always set the right expectations with the shoppers.
  • One Step vs. Multi-step: A/B tested the accordion checkout vs. one-step checkout module and accordion clearly beat the one-step. Depends on the buying personas – how they shop and how they browse.

Step #5 – provide shipping costs early and often.

  • Show the final price before checkout
  • Confirm availability
  • Remove customer concerns and set expectations. The A-players go above and beyond to set expectations on when something was shipped, when its available, what is the price for shipping, etc.
  • Reassurances if anything goes wrong.

Step #6 – provide clear calls to action

  • Differentiate checkout/continue shopping button colors
  • Make next step button with arrow indicators >>
  • Customers should be clear on how to proceed to the next step in the checkout – The Blur test – step back in the room, blur the screen and I should be able to see the three most important buttons on the site – product page add to cart, cart page proceed to checkout, and checkout page “submit your order” are the three most important buttons on your site.
  • Enable back-tracking without losing form data
  • Test color and font options, different verbage, typefaces, to find what fits with your buying personas

Step #7 – Minimize other navigation

  • Remove anything not needed…keep them focused without any distractions
  • Use jQuery popups for assurances
  • Most e-commerce sites convert between 2% and 4% so eliminate anything not needed in the checkout process. Most people rarely go to the privacy policy, so why distract the purchase process?

Step #8 – Provide a guaranteed shopping experience

  • Provide reassurances of personal security information
  • Merchant is reliable and underwritten by 3rd party.
  • Customer is getting the best price.
  • Many different types of buyers – some are very savvy and others are very concerned with shopping online. Concerns of these types of buyers:
  1. Security of their personal information
  2. Reliability of merchant – product will be delivered on time
  3. If something goes wrong, you will honor all terms of sale
  4. Assuring the consumer is getting the best price from you
  • An industry-wide problem – the structure of the Internet creates a disconnected purchase experience and shopper concerns
  1. 73% of consumers say that shopping online is riskier than shopping offline – Visa/Cybersource
  2. 98% of consumers will bounce from the site and make the purchase elsewhere if they have concerns
  3. Signal to the consumer that you are a reliable merchant: McAfee Secure, Norton Secured, TRUSTe, Verisign Secured, BBB Accredited, Google Trusted Store, BizRate, BuySafe
  4. BuySafe provides guaranteed shopping experience:
    • $10,000 blanket identity theft protection
    • $1,000 purchase guarantee
    • Same store low price guarantee – if you buy today and the item goes on sale, BuySafe will reimburse you for difference in price.
    • Standard conversion lift is between 6% and 10%

Step #9 – provide help options

  • Make phone easy to find
  • Extend customer service for peak holiday times
  • Don’t make users leave cart to use live chat
  • Proactive chat with your best customers
  • Cart-based rules for chat (Velaro – live chat tool with cart-based rules – if x $ are in a cart, you can proactively reach out to help close that deal)

Step #10 – Multiple Payment Options

  • Different payment methods help appeal to as many potential customers as possible
  • Leads to increased sales & revenue
  • Gift cards, Amazon Payment Gateway, Paypal, Google Checkout, etc. – make as many available as possible
  • Take friction out of the buying process to increase shopping cart conversion rates

Step #11 – Provide a Final Summary

  • Provide a full summary before final submission so customers can ensure they entered everything properly
  • After checkout, the order confirmation should include order summary with order number, contact information, shipping details, social and sharing icons

Bonus Step – Consistently review your data

  • Review funnel tracking data within your analytics – Fooman analytics extension for Magento helps you setup additional Google Analytics funnel tracking
  • Refine & test top exit areas – figure out what the money pages are – what generate the most money and what lose the most money
  • 2 types of testing & analytics: Single Page: Buttons, colors, banners, font, text, verbage
  • Site-wide: Site wide test to turn on and off trust building icons, payment option icons, shipping offers, etc.

About 25 minutes of Q&A, plus polls should be watched in this ECommerce Webinar