New website for Slow Food DC

Today, after a very fruitful collaboration with a talented team of volunteers, I launched the newly redesigned website for Slow Food DC, which is the Washington, DC metropolitan area chapter of Slow Food. It’s mission is very worthwhile, “Supporting Good, Clean, and Fair Food”, and I was delighted to assist them.

Slow Food DC

I got involved with this project after an old friend of mine, Alexandra Greeley, suggested my services to the chair woman of Slow Food DC, Kati Gimes. Before you know it, I was consulting with a group of young dedicated volunteers, many of whom have done wonderful work in website redesign or social media management for other DC-based non-profits, themselves.

During our meetings, we discussed the content strategy, the target audiences, the information architecture, and the technological platform. A young Photoshop aficionado took upon herself to design the banner incorporating the new Slow Food DC logo.

The site uses the new WordPress theme twentyone which is extremely powerful. It utilizes plug-ins for Google Analytics, Twitter and RSS feeds. It truly is a marvelous content management system which will burden of needing a webmaster any time a new content update is needed.

Congratulations, Slow Food DC! Cheers!

A photographic narrative of the life of Baha’u’llah

Baha'u'llahThe Baha’i World Center has launched a new website dedicated to the life of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith. I am grateful for having had the honor of playing a tiny role in this project — mainly by assisting the very capable web team of the Baha’i International Community with the website’s search engine optimization — and humbled by the beautiful work the whole team has put together.

Photo of Baha’u’llah

What is unique about this site is that it presents in a very artistic yet search engine friendly way a rich photographic journey through the life of the most current messenger of God, and offers to the viewers a wealth of images of artifacts and writings of Baha’u’llah.

Great job to Brian Kurzius and the whole team, and my deep gratitude for having been allowed to play a small part in this exciting project.

Building a comprehensive social media strategy

Last week I attended a wonderfully informative meeting of the Web Managers Roundtable organized by Julie Perlmutter and hosted by the World Bank. The two presenters were:

  • Pierre Guillaume Wielezynski, Communications Officer at the External Affairs office of the World Bank
  • John H. Bell, Managing Director and Executive Creative Director at the 360° Digital Influence division of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Here are several of the ideas on developing a social media strategy, adopted from the Ogilvy presentation by John Bell (who also blogs about the World Bank’s take on social media):

Ideas for using online visibility and search

  • Search Visibility – Increase the probability that people who research your company or related issues find what you want them to find, including helping your target audience to make the connection between risk factors/symptoms and your company’s public health campaign.
  • Multimedia Visibility – Use existing visual or audio assets to promote word of mouth, mobilize allies and improve search engine results
  • Content Syndication – Distribute your content via trusted web sites to improve search engine results

Ideas on information sharing

  • Internal Blog – Share information between offices for to allow for a quick response when a crisis arises. Share information and materials among and between stakeholders.
  • Wiki – Engage a coalition or a community to work toward a common goal.

Ideas for building an Engagement Toolbox

  • How to monitor cgm
  • How to create an influencer audit
  • How to do an online visibility audit
  • How to create an engagement plan
  • How to create commenting guidelines
  • How to create corporate blogging guidelines
  • How to reach out to bloggers
  • How to manage a crisis
  • How to launch a blog
  • How to use del.icio.us
  • How to publish & publicize multimedia

Best Day To Send Emails

Online marketing expert eROI, Inc., today announced the results of their Q3 2005 study on email deliverability and efficiencies. The eROI, Q3’05 study not only highlights the best day to send email, but also includes data about list size and management that can help marketers determine campaign effectiveness. Key findings of the Study show that read and click rates are the lowest during the middle of the week and the highest rates occur on Sunday and Friday, 30.8% / 7.2% and 27.0% / 5.3%, respectively.

“We are seeing this change in behavior because as we close in on the holidays, consumers are beginning to think more of how they are going to spend their money this holiday season,” said Ryan Buchanan, eROI President. “While we anticipate these stats to even out more as we come closer to December and through the new-year, this behavior shows marketers are getting an early start to secure consumer awareness.”

“This quarter, eROI takes a different look at day of the week stats. When looking at aggregate stats we see less dramatic changes in read and click statistics and they are not always applicable to large and small senders, added Jeff Mills, eROI Email Analyst and former Gartner researcher. We decided to take a look at day of the week statistics by list size which can be beneficial in determining campaign value.”

eROI eMail Study — List Size and Management Key Findings In terms of list size, findings indicate that for large distribution Monday through Wednesday are still the best days — posting a 32% increase in reads and just over twice as many clicks compared to the remaining days of the week. Small distribution start to see dramatic fluctuations in behavior and week day mailings become the prominent days emails are sent compared to smaller senders. This reaffirms eROI’s earlier research — that sending volume is inversely related to how reads and clicks are going to react with the one exception — Saturday.

Further, eROI found many expected themes with increasing list size — reads and clicks decline and bounce rate increases. The reasons for this are simply that of list management — larger lists require more maintenance and make individual accuracy more difficult and smaller lists are easily managed by marketing managers and business owners. Additional data includes:

— Micro-Mailers, those less than 5,000 recipients tend to perform
similarly – read rates in excess of 35% and click rates between 5 and 9
percent (with the weekend capturing the 8% to 9% and Tuesday through
Thursday at 5% to 6%) compared to averages across all senders of 27% and
4.4%. These Micro Mailers tend to be more intimate businesses and lower
volume/higher value based business models. Those which do not have large
prospect lists, but spends more time on creative, marketing plan, and
dollar per prospect.

— Small senders, those between 5,000 and 24,999 senders start to see
more dramatic fluctuations in behavior and week day mailings become more
prominent times email are sent compared to smaller senders. Average read
rates and click rates for this segment are 27.8% and 4.7%, respectively.
Again, Friday posts the best results at 31.2% read rate and 5.3% click
rate.

— Mid-size senders 25,000-99,999 notice wide swings in read and click
behavior with Monday and Friday being the most productive days for those
mailers both registering the highest percentage of reads on those two days
and clicks following suit (24.4%/3.85 and 26.4%/7.6%, respectively). On
Friday, reads register a 60 percent increase over the average (17.4% and
3.2%) for the week for those list sizes and clicks post a staggering 169
percent premium over the average for list sizes between 25,000 and 49,999
recipients.

— Large senders Monday through Wednesday are still king with the highest
percentage of reads and clicks taking place on those days. Monday through
Wednesday post a 32 percent increase in reads and just over twice as many
clicks compared to the remaining days of the week. The one anomaly is that
list sizes of over 200,000 recipients see a large spike in read rates on
Saturdays, this is due to the fact that most of these lists are B2C and
target consumers when they are likely to make shopping decisions. List
averages for reads and clicks for large-volume senders are 9.8% and 1.1%.
This large drop is caused by a lack of reliable and on-going maintenance
among large lists.

New Year, New Goals

After a couple of weeks away on paternity leave, I am resuming the WebSage blog. In 2004, you will see posted here a lot of information on current e-commerce trends, search engine marketing, web optimization, and overall ways of improving websites for the benefit of small businesses and non-profit organizations!