Tendo Dev Blog

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The inside scoop on the Tendo View redesign

In January 2008, we redesigned Tendo’s monthly email newsletter, The Tendo View.

If we developed a new email approach for a client, we’d certainly follow-up with some analysis on whether or not the redesign was successful and adjust our strategy accordingly. So, we’re doing the same for our internal effort and want to share the results with you.

(Some call this “eating your own dog food” but we think it’s just fair play. If we’re going to hold our clients accountable, we should do the same for ourselves.)

What Did We Do?

The Tendo View is an email newsletter that we send to approximately 1,000 recipients each month. Our audience includes past, present, and potential clients as well as freelancers and marketing professionals that are part of Tendo’s extended network.

Given our business, we have many marketers and Web-savvy folks on our list—the type of people who receive a LOT of email newsletters.

In 2007, our newsletter metrics were very respectable. We averaged a unique open rate of 20.71% and an average click-through rate of 12.21%.

We believed that the content we delivered was good. It provided value to our users and we had a nice mix of different content types, from feature pieces to site reviews to our popular “jargon watch” to blog entries.

But we wondered if the look and feel of the newsletter was inhibiting our ability to generate even more opens and better click-through rates. So we decided to make some tweaks to the design—not a wholesale redesign, just tweaking some elements—to see if we could improve our metrics.

Here’s what we found… Continue reading

June 6, 2008 Posted by | Email Marketing, John Kovacevich, Metrics/Web Analytics, Tendo View | , , | Leave a comment

Who’s on LinkedIn vs. Facebook?

Everybody is buzzing about social media and what it can do for your company. With anything that’s “new” on the Web, there is always a lot of hype and hyperbole. So I was curious…how many people in the Tendo universe are actually using the big-name social networks?

I decided to conduct my own little experiment. I pulled all the email addresses from the Tendo contact database (approximately 1,320 addresses).

Then I fed those email addresses into the contact finder on LinkedIn and the friend finder on Facebook. (I would have done the same on my MySpace account, but MySpace doesn’t allow you to scan an uploaded list, and my own informal traffic monitoring shows that MySpace is on the decline.)

Both have a feature where they compare your address book to the addresses of active members and let you know if a member is in their network. (Don’t worry if you’re on the Tendo mailing list but don’t want your information circulated in either the LinkedIn or Facebook networks. Your information was not saved in either location; it was simply a one-time scan of the list.)

Here’s what I found: 50 percent of our contacts were members on LinkedIn and 18 percent were on Facebook.

Obviously, the Tendo list is not a “representative sample” of the whole world; given our business, we have many marketers and Web-savvy folks on our list. And LinkedIn is especially popular here in the Bay Area as a professional networking tool; the majority of our addresses are from the Bay Area.

But it’s interesting to me that nearly 20 percent of our list is on Facebooka more purely “social” network and one that was not even open to non-college students a year ago.

Again, this is just a snapshot in time and we probably can’t make any grand conclusion based on these two numbers, but it’s fair to say that the number of people using social networks is on the rise. The basic functionality of these sites is going to become more and more standard in a variety of applicationsperhaps even for your company’s network. So you may want to get yourself registered and start poking around. —John Kovacevich, VP, marketing services

April 28, 2008 Posted by | John Kovacevich, Metrics/Web Analytics, Social Media, Web Content | , , , , | 1 Comment

How much is your content worth?

There’s a terrific piece in the March issue of EContent Magazine by Ron Miller called “How Much is Your Content Worth? – Measuring Website Content ROI”

(I’d love to include a link to the article…but it doesn’t exist on their website. For a publication that has such good content on this topic, it’s ironic that their own web experience can be a little frustrating.)

The piece talks about how many companies still generate web content with little concern for how effective it is. There’s a great quote from Phil Kemelor, VP of strategic consulting at Semphonic:

“I think companies are still only just getting the message that web analytics are the key to controlling costs in web development and analyzing and marketing your content. It seems companies have been comfortable spending money on developing content and they don’t know if it’s being read or not and if it’s really contributing to their bottom line.”

I found myself nodding in agreement, having had versions of this same conversation with most of our clients over the years. On the web, if you’re not clear about what you want them to do and how you’re going to measure success, don’t do it.

But I disagree with one quote in the piece (not from Miller or Kemelor): “I don’t think content matters. You have to distill it down to the business objective. What they are trying to do: save time, make money and so on.”

The point is valid—web content must be in service of some larger business objective and you need to be crystal clear what that is. But to say that “content doesn’t matter” is silly. The right content moves your target closer to that business objective; the wrong content is an obstacle.

Content isn’t just a bump on the road to your business objective—it’s the critical element that motivates the desired action you want from your customers. In that sense, the right content is worth a lot. John Kovacevich, VP, marketing services

February 28, 2008 Posted by | blog, Content Strategy, John Kovacevich, Metrics/Web Analytics, Web Content | 2 Comments

Me, too!

I’ve just met with yet another prospect who said to me, “We need to make our website more Web 2.0. We want a wiki, RSS feeds, podcasts, and a blog.” And while I’m always happy to get new business, when I asked the client about his company’s strategy behind developing these tactics, his answer was, “Our competition has them, so we need to have them as well.”

In other words, “Me, too!”

In fact, a recent scan of our inquiries box shows a decided uptick in the amount of requests we’re getting for “Web 2.0” work. Call it keeping up with the Joneses or call it competitive advantage—from my perspective, “Me, too” is driven by fear. Fear that Web 2.0 will provide business rivals with a magic formula that will grant them a permanent advantage.

And so, we have a bit of a conundrum: Everyone wants Web 2.0 tactics, but few are willing to put the time and effort into creating a strategy and roadmap for how to successfully deploy them. I think this lack of strategy stems, in part, from the immaturity of the Internet as a marketing medium. People are still unsure about how to best leverage the Internet, so when a hot new technology or technique surfaces, we grasp it without determining its real value.

Recently, I was talking about this with a friend of mine who runs the Midwest office of a national PR firm. She related a story that typifies the challenge of Web 2.0: Her team put together a Web promotion, which included a blog, for a well-known household brand. After just one week, the blog got a tremendous response—the traffic numbers tripled the agency’s projections and the team came running into my friend’s office, crowing about their success.

Which quickly diminished under my friend’s questions: What data did the team have about these visitors—age, income, geographic location? How many of the visitors had actually bought the product? Her lesson to the team: Response does not equal success.

The larger lesson for all of us is that “Me, too!” isn’t always the answer. Don’t just jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon—use Web 2.0 technologies and tools just as you would use any others: as your goals, audience, and strategy dictate. ―Chris Zender, VP, creative services

May 3, 2007 Posted by | Chris Zender, Content Strategy, Metrics/Web Analytics, Web Content | Leave a comment