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Jun 25, 2009
Case Study

Organize Content with Ajax-enabled Web Pages: 5 Steps to Increase Web Leads

SUMMARY: Does your Web design make it hard for prospects to find all the product information and supporting content you’ve created for them?

See how a software marketer improved his team’s online lead-generation capabilities with Ajax-enabled product pages that brought together brochures, demos, downloads and education content in one location. Carefully-placed registration forms are now capturing leads where once chaos ruled.
CHALLENGE

ERDAS, a geospatial information software company, was part of a larger business that specialized in selling hardware systems. As a result, Mladen Stojic, Senior VP, Product Management and Marketing, and his team struggled with a corporate website architecture had product information spread far and wide.

Prospects and customers would have to navigate through a maze of choices to find all the relevant technical documents, online demos, marketing collateral and news related to the company’s 60 software products. Worse, there was no system in place to capture visitors’ information and generate leads.

"There was a lot of chaos and confusion, requiring visitors to jump around to find pieces of information," says Stojic.

So when the company undertook a corporate re-branding, the marketing team paid special attention to their product information Web pages. They wanted to make navigation fast and easy, and provide several calls-to-action that would capture leads and generate revenue.

CAMPAIGN

The team used Ajax programming to give their product information pages new functionality. The Ajax-enabled Web pages allowed them to combine several categories of product-related information into a single page.

Then, using interactive tabs, visitors could quickly browse through all the different types of information available while staying on the same page.

The pages also featured sidebars offering related content, webinar invitations and other calls-to-action designed to capture leads while customers were browsing in their preferred product category.

Here are five steps they took to create the Ajax-enabled product pages.

Step #1. Inventory existing content and identify missing pieces

During the re-branding process, the marketing team coordinated their efforts with a panel of key personnel, including corporate managers, regional sales team members, and product managers.

One of that panel’s jobs was to inventory all product-related content currently available, including:
o Graphics
o Technical documents
o Case studies
o News
o Demos

Once they’d catalogued existing content pieces, the team identified pieces of content that needed to be created for certain product lines. They spent more than five months identifying, updating and creating new content for each of the company’s products.

Step #2. Combine all product information on tabbed pages

With so much content available for each product, they wanted to organize it in a way that made it easy for prospects to navigate. They also wanted to appeal to different prospect profiles, offering technical information for end-users along with educational content that outlined the business case for financial buyers.

The solution was a tabbed browsing feature that used Ajax functionality to collect all product information into a single page. The page took slightly longer to load, but then allowed users to instantly hide and reveal the specific information they were looking for.

Here are the major tabs they incorporated into each product home page:

- Details

A high-level overview of the product’s main features and benefits, along with a graphics window that let users flip through sample images from the software.

- Product literature

A collection of important documents for end-users, including:
o Product brochures
o Technical documents

- News

A collection of supporting documents and educational content, such as:
o Published articles
o Press releases
o White papers
o Case studies

- Demos

Video files showing how an application works in real-life settings.

- Downloads

30-day evaluation versions of the software for prospects, and extensions and updates for existing customers. (All visitors downloading a trial version or extension package were required to register.)

Step #3. Provide related offers in sidebars

Keeping visitors on one page while they browsed through product literature also gave the team a chance to present consistent calls-to-action.

They used a sidebar in the right column of the page to offer several options for prospects looking to take another step, incuding:

- A "Buy now!" box that contained a telephone number and email address for the sales team.

- Upcoming webinar promotions, featuring the date, title and registration link for a webinar related to the product.

- Links to related product information.

Step #4. Identify important metrics to track

Ajax-enabled pages required Stojic’s team to develop a new focus for Web metrics. For example, page views became a less-important metric because the site did not serve individual pages for each section of product information. Likewise, they couldn’t see exactly where users were spending the most time.

Instead, they focused on three key metrics:
o The popularity of specific products, based on visits to the main product page
o Website registrations for demos, webinars and other content
o Which pieces of content, such as technical specifications or demos, were being downloaded most often

Step #5. Conduct internal user testing before launch

Because the new product pages were developed during a larger re-branding campaign, the team did not have time to conduct live tests with users. Instead, they did internal user tests with product management personnel and key sales people.

Input from these users around the globe led to a few important tweaks of the site. For example, a member of the sales team suggested adding the "Buy now!" contact information in the right column.



RESULTS


The new product pages are getting valuable content in front of prospects -- and generating results.

Since launching last October, the site has generated:

- More than 13,000 new Web leads, compared to a site that collected no leads the year before.

- More than 5,000 webinar attendees to the team’s twice-monthly live webinars or archived presentations.

- Most important, the company’s 2009 Q1 revenues increased 15% compared with Q1 2008, despite the recession.

"Many of our sales guys and partners point to our website as a reason for that," says Stojic. "We’re engaging the customer and getting them on board."

Tracking which pieces of content were most popular also provided valuable insights. The most viewed offerings were:
#1. "What’s new" overviews for new software versions
#2. "Top 10 reasons to use" brochures for software products
#3. Technical product specifications
#4. Case studies

Prior to the re-branding and site redesign, the team’s primary audience was hard-core, technical users. But the fact that two of the top-four content pieces are not technical documents demonstrates that the new product information strategy is reaching decision makers and influencers.

Useful links related to this article

Creative Samples from ERDAS’ product pages
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/cs/ERDAS/index.html


Arketi Group: Provided re-branding strategy
http://www.arketi.com


ERDAS
http://www.erdas.com



See Also:

Comments about this Case Study

Jun 25, 2009 - David Haysom of OfficeMax NZ says:
I didn't spend a lot of time checking but it looks to me that the content in the tabs is not being indexed by Google which is a big downside to this implementation.



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