Published by Jon Samsel on 2010-01-20
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Updated April 21, 2011
The Heardable name speaks to the underlying human desire to want our voices heard. Most of us crave to make a difference in our lives; we want our opinions to have an audience; we want people to interact with us; we desire a better tomorrow because of actions we take today. But this can only happen if we are found, visible, heard.
We think that brands should be heardable too. Because, well, itâs just plain good for business!
In today's competitive marketplace, getting found online, or being heard, is a marketing imperative. A Heardable Score is a simple way for any business to assess the effectiveness of its online brand visibility, identify weaknesses, and map out the necessary next steps for improvement.
How We Measure
Heardable Scores are like FICO scores for brands. Scores range from 1 to 1,000. The higher your score, the better you're doing.
Each score is comprised of six subscores, each focusing on a unique element of a brand's online effectiveness: Portable, Searchable, Sociable, Measurable, Actionable, and Shareable. When you scan a brand on Heardable, our 'reverse search engine" crawls the web and extracts data from numerous API feeds from the likes of Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook -- then feeds them into our platform where our rules engine and scoring algorithm sort through over 400 unique variables to calculate oneâs overall brand health score.
What It Means To Be Actionable
When added together, the six subscores contribute to a brand's total Heardable Score. 1,000 is the scoring limit. Here are the total possible points for each subscore:
1. Portable: 200 points
2. Searchable: 200 points
3. Sociable: 200 points
4. Measurable: 100 points
5. Actionable: 150 points
6. Shareable: 150 points
What It Means To Be Actionable
Actionability makes up 15% of a brand's Heardable Score. Actionable brands have websites that tend to make it easier for their customers and constituents to respond, communicate, and transact with them.
Due to the popularity of search engines that serve up targeted results, web users are more likely to be directed to specific pages within your website rather than ne directed to your home page. This is significant because businesses tend to front load their home page with certain features and functionality that make it easy for users to interact -- or transact. Act example might be having a phone number present. or a link to a Contact Us page. Surprisingly, many interior pages of web sites do not contact many of these helpful, actionable indicators, due to poor design or lack of awareness as to how these on page actionables play an important user experience role.
Top performing brands tend to make it as easy as possible for site visitors to reach out to them. Itâs as it they try ot make ever web page function like itâs the only page of the web site the user will ever see. With this mindset, top brands tend to include at least one email address on every web page, a phone number, a mailing address, a Contact Us link (or the equivelent), and sometimes even a contact form.
Now some people will argue that having a Contact Us link on ever page is enough. But you might be surprised to learn that every time you force your visitors to click to a new page to find what they need, a certain percentage of them leave your web site instead. This is referred to as your bounce rate. High bounce rates are bad for your business. And even if we buy into the argument that a Contact Us page is adaquate, there still needs to be a fair amount of actionable information included on the Contact Us page. Most online businesses have Contact Us pages with only partial information included such as a lead form or a customer service phone number. Many online brands bury their contact information deep within their web site, making it very hard for visitors to figure out how best to interact with them. The consequence of this poor experience is lack of trust in your brand. And untrustworthy web sites tend to have poor visit-to-lead ratios when compared to top performing web sites.
Action amplifiers on web sites are another important factor in determining a brandâs actionability. Trust marks and live chat software are two examples that heardable looks for. Both are designed to instill trust and convert site visitors into sales (or raving fans if your site doesnât sell anything). Ecommerce websites tend to see sales increases when they are able to convince visitors that they safeguard customer information, that their brand has a good reputation, is a real business, and is a firm that provides outstanding customer service.
According to Merchant-Safe.com, 71% of online shoppers look specifically for third party seals of approval when they visit a website. Common concerns online shoppers have:
1) Will the information they enter be safe and kept private?
2) Is the security of the transaction guarenteed?
3) Can I trust the website I am on is in fact a real business?
Trust marks instill user trust by serving as are third party verification services. The more well known the trust mark, the greater the impact you will see on conversion rates, which typically provide a lift of between 1-10%.
Bold Softwareâs Live Chat Benchmark Report shows a direct link between Live Chat and website conversions.
* Chatters who initiate a chat themselves convert at 4 times the rate of a regular website visitor.
* Chatters engaged through a proactive chat invitation convert at 6 times the rate of a regular website visitor.
* Depending on a websiteâs traffic volume, the live chat engagement percentage will be between ~1% and 20%.
* The implementation of proactive chat on top of reactive chat will increase overall chat volume by between 40% to ~100%.
Other action amplifiers can include customer testimonials and user ratings/reviews. At this time, Heardable doesnât yet detect for these two action amplifiers. We may add them to our platform in the future.
Another aspect of being actionable is having content that is focused on the customerâs needs versus taking from a brand-centric point of view. A high customer focus ratio means you speak about your visitors more often than you speak about your brand. Studies have shown that customers respond well to websites whose speaks to their needs in a personal, one-to-one tone. A low customer focus ratio means your website speaks about your company more often than your visitors. This chest-pounding bravado works well in certain advertising instances, but in general, not as well as text content on oneâs website.
Lastly, being actionable means your website follows at least some of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design -- ensuring that your site is legally compliant and easy to use by the visually impared. The rule of thumb when assessing whether your website content and code is ADA compliant is to confirm that both search engine spiders and people with disabilities can access the information they need on your site without encountering major obstacles. For example, if you have images on your web site, visually impaired visitors should be able to tell whatâs in a photograph. Typically, they do this by reviewing the alt tags, which are text descriptions of what the image is about.
Being Actionable is about doing all of these things right.
KPI's For Actionable
Being Actionable means making it as easy as possible for web visitors to trust you, contact you, correspond with you, and do business with you. Do assign your brand credit for being Actionable, the Heardable platform monitors the following:
- Frequency of ALT tags added to the images that appear on your site.
- Ability to adjust font sizes -- enabled or not.
- Tone of your site's content. Does your web copy speak to your visitors with user-focused words such as you, your, you've, you'll, you're and yourself more often than brand-focused words such as we, we've, we're, us, ourselves, my and myself. [Studies have shown that web pages that are tailored to user's needs tend to garner higher trust ratings and generate higher response rates].
- Does every page of your site include: An email address, phone number, contact/submission form, or a link to a contact us page?
- Do we detect use of a trust seal, such as Truste, Better Business Bureau, Verisign, or ScanAlert.
- Do we detect use of live chat software such as Meebo, Olark, or LivePerson.
Tips For Improving Your Actionable Subscore
As a brand marketer, there are several strategic and tactical steps you can take to improve your Actionable Subscore:
- Make sure that all site content is clear, concise, and to the point
- Calls-to-action should stand out on the page
- Email addresses, phone numbers, forms, trust seals and live chat modules should be readily accessible
- Customer focused content can include UGC, expert opinions, user ratings, and testimonials
- Always be personable; your best bet is to have your CEO or other staff contribute to your brand voice
Being Heardable, the Heardable Blog, is curated by Heardable co-founder and digital marketing veteran, Jon Samsel. Jon is based in Los Angeles, and Singapore.