Aug 27, 2015

Top 5 reasons to keep Twitter in the B2B mix

twitterI don’t know about you but social media for B2B feels a lot more like a pain in the arse than a marketing tool at times. To establish the right goals (which do NOT, by the way only include your follower numbers or engagement percentages) I always need to remember why I like Twitter in the first place. That kind of resets my social media mojo when I’m buried in some ungodly Buzzsumo list looking for good content.

Here are top 5 reasons I like Twitter for B2B right here, right now.

1. Twitter is great for earned media. Journalists seem to feel safer in Twitter, likely due to the 140 character limit. I find them in Twitter and I quickly tweet them that I might have good stuff coming their way from time to time. Twitter is also the ultimate platform for helping media spread their own reach as well. Help them before they help you.

2. Twitter grows website search traffic and provides great branding at the same time. Keep an eye on your Twitter referrals in Google Analytics and be conscious about sending them to specific landing pages and posts. I think of Twitter as my online billboard. A lot of people see it in “drive by mode” as they scroll through a feed. That’s okay, they don’t always have to click through.  Twitter is great for conversions but it’s great for providing additional brand impressions also.

3. Twitter boosts your LinkedIn performance. (more…)

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Aug 21, 2015

Hiring a Social Media Manager: 3 Must-Have Traits

social media managerIf you are still letting an intern run your social media accounts, you are doing it wrong. There was a time when Facebook and Twitter seemed like low-stakes methods to self-promote and interact with customers. So some businesses were quick to hand off tasks that nobody else wanted to do to the young, low-salaried employee who just started six months ago. Although that thinking never made sense, it is downright destructive in 2015.

You need someone smart, measured and in tune with the company’s operations to lead the most-forward-facing parts of your brand. Because that’s what social media is today. Before you hire your next social media manager, make sure he or she has the following three characteristics:

Savvy

A few years ago, when social media was still young, all you had to do to become a social media expert was say you were one. If you had a few thousand followers on Twitter and wrote “Twitter guru” in your bio, then by gosh that’s what you were. Who could argue? Nobody really had any idea what the platform was really for or how to use it for business purposes anyway.

The days of faking it ’til you make it are now over, however. The industry has evolved enough that there are many who really do shine above the rest. It is critical that you find a fully-formed professional who knows the lay of the land, not just a hollow windbag. Anyone can pretend to understand social media and all its potential pitfalls and opportunities. But few really do.

LifeLock, for example, is one company that has found someone who can manage social media very well. The company isn’t afraid to interact with customers and does a good job of humanizing its brand by taking the time to listen to user concerns. By using its Facebook page to inform the community about industry-wide issues — not just PR spin about its own services — the firm’s social media manager is exhibiting a savvy understanding of why potential customers want to engage with a brand on social media.

Discretion

The NBA has long been forward thinking when it comes to social media. Many of its teams are on the vanguard of finding new ways to interact with customers — in their case, fans — and have adopted a playful demeanor on Twitter that works. While a game is going on, for example, the two teams may wage a friendly back-and-forth competition using funny animated GIFs or quirky jokes. (more…)

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Aug 20, 2015

7 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

You don’t need lots of money to create an effective marketing campaign. There are many ways you can do marketing without breaking your bank. Here are several cost-effective methods of marketing for your small business.

1. Use smart advertising

Big businesses create their advertisements so that their names can be more recognized, and to create more future sales. And as a small business, you may not afford that. So, design your advertisements to produce more sales. Include an offer in the ad, and also create a way for the customer to respond to your ad.

2. Create a cheaper version

Some people are not willing to pay your asking price. While others simply want to pay a low price; they don’t care about getting the best quality. So, you need to cater for them so that you don’t lose sales. Thus, create a stripped-down or a smaller version of your product or service and offer it at a cheaper price.

3. Offer a premium version

Not all the people want a cheap price. Many of them are willing to buy a premium product or service. You can boost the sale size and revenue by giving a comprehensive product or service, or by combining several goods or services to create a premium package at a higher price.

4. Use unusual marketing protocols

You need to engage unconventional marketing strategies that are overlooked by your competitors. You may be surprised to bump into very profitable methods of generating sales and beat your competitors. For example, you can print a perfect small ad on a postcard and mail it to your target market. This alone can drive high traffic volume to your site, or generate huge sales leads at a small cost.

5. Trim your ads

Reduce the size of your ads so that you can produce more ads at the same price. You may find that these sorts of ads produce a better response than longer ones.

6. Create joint promotions with other companies

Get non-competing businesses that serve customers in your market. You can offer to give publicity to their products or services in exchange for them to publicize your products and services to their clients. This kind of cross-promotion can be done at a low cost, but it will produce a large number of sales.

7. Use your customers

As you have been doing business with your clients, you have built trust with them, and they know you. It is easier to get more referrals from them than anyone who has never bought your products. You can take advantage of this relationship. Create special deals for your customers. Offer them new products or services before you advertise them to the general market. Turn your customers into publicity agents for your business. Offer them an incentive to tell their friends and associates how valuable your products and services are.

You don’t need millions of dollars to create an effective marketing strategy. Turn your customers into marketing agents, and offer premium versions of your products to generate more sales. These ideas have been used by great entrepreneurs such as David Kiger, and you should use them too.

 

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Aug 20, 2015

Accelerating Results with Integrated Marketing – Watch the Webinar

On August 19th I presented a webinar for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) on accelerating campaign results through Integrated Marketing Communications. In the presentation, I gave a brief yet thorough understanding of IMC and laid out an overview of the most effective multi-channel strategies. I also talked about clever ways to link tactics so that all channels are supporting and boosting each other, including word of mouth and social media. Finally, I gave concrete examples of strategies that work.

If you’d like to view the webinar, which is about 45 minutes with 15 minutes Q&A, you can check the whole thing out on YouTube, or embedded below. If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me!

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Aug 18, 2015

Creating a linked tactic toolkit

linked tactic toolkitI’m doing a webinar for WOMMA tomorrow (check it out here if you’re interested – it’s free!) and it got me thinking about linked tactics. This is probably the easiest way to inject a bit of IMC into your current projects. Creating an IMC toolkit basically means you’re going to consciously “collect” the combinations that work for you. In order to build your toolkit, you need to really think about the tactics you’re linking, how and why they work and how to make them even more powerful.

  1. First, carefully examine your current marketing processes. Identify everywhere you are already linking tactics, from social media to landing pages, hashtags, QR codes, etc.
  2. After that list has been created, try to brainstorm a third tactic that would boost the performance of the first two and predict the results. Just guess if you have to – testing and measurement has to start somewhere. The third tactic is often timing, or it can be another marketing channel.
  3. Now identify those tactics operating on their own and do the same exercise. Add another tactic, experiment with the timing, or even simply add a hashtag. Then measure what happens. This is the beginning of your IMC linked tactic toolkit.

(more…)

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Aug 13, 2015

Content to Convert: Interact With Your Prospects

One of the fastest-growing and most prevalent ways to attract and convert leads is through interactive marketing. Since BuzzFeed’s successful introduction of interactive quizzes, the model has been seen across industries as a way to connect with potential clients.

And there are statistics to back this new investment. A study by Demand Metric found that interactive content creates conversions 70 percent of the time, while passive content only does so 30 percent of the time. There are many types of interactive content that span across budgets, and it’s important to be engaging with your prospects. Here are a few options for getting started:

Utilize Free Resources

content to convert Visual content in general receives more attention; in fact, 40 percent of people respond better to visuals than plain text. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make custom images. With sites like Canva, it is simple to create infographics, quizzes, Facebook ads, and more.

There are plenty of other options as well, like video. Eight out of the top 10 most shared Facebook posts feature a video. Polls are another option that allow an easy way for visitors to engage. There are free options, such as Wedgies, to get started. You can track your analytics, interactions, and more through their online interface. Experiment with different types of content to see what works best for your business.

Step Up with Premium Interactivity

Clickable infographics, quizzes and calculators are great for getting prospects involved in your brand. When they are able to physically interact with the content and see results, it encourages a relationship. Take this quiz about Netflix as an example. Dish Insider appeals to an entertainment-focused crowd, where Netflix is a popular topic. The quiz is funny and engaging, drawing people to interact with the website.

This quiz was created with SnapApp, a subscription service starting at $1,500 per month for ten pieces of content. This can be a large chunk of the marketing budget for small teams, but with case studies that show $1.3 million in net new sales pipeline in just 120 days, it is hard to deny that it is an effective system.

Hire a Firm for Visual Storytelling

If the budget is available, there is no more effective method of interactive marketing than having expert designers create your content. There’s a lot to keep in mind when creating a visual story: content, interactivity, design, text and brand cohesiveness, so it’s important to use a professional. Here are some examples of the most effective visual stories currently online.

While individual infographics and polls can boost responsiveness, there is a clear difference between having interactive aspects of a website, and a website being completely interactive. Visual stories draw prospects in during every step of their journey, and encourage site involvement. Being able to effectively create a visual story is not an average skill for any marketing team. While the pricing can range in the thousands of dollars, when you really want to make an impact, it is best to reach out to design experts who can guarantee your story delivers its goal.

Visuals have become increasingly more important in digital marketing. From infographics and simple quizzes to entirely interactive websites, there are ways to connect with visitors across all budgets that have proven to increase engagement.

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Aug 10, 2015

IMC Campaign of the Month – Amazon Prime Day.

During the month of July it was nearly impossible not to hear talk of Amazon Prime Day, either through the press or the numerous emails the company sent to its customers. Now that Amazon Prime Day has come and gone marketers and consumers are left assessing their views on the manufactured retail holiday. It is easy to focus on the negative. Consumers berated the brand on social media and much of the post-Prime Day press suggested that the event was a dismal failure.

But was it?

Amazon announced Prime Day on July 6th just nine days ahead of the sale, to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. Prime Day was a one-day shopping event on July 15, 2015, with Amazon promising “more deals than Black Friday.” The real goal of Prime Day  was to acquire new Prime customers. (Industry experts estimate Amazon has somewhere between 30 and 40 million Prime customers.)

We all know Amazon to be a ubiquitous mailer, having sent out 1 billion emails in the 9 days following announcement of the sale, with an average read rate of 23%. Of those emails 78 million promoted the Prime Day sale by using subject lines that referenced the sale. Many of those emails were intended to build excitement about the event. Subject lines included, “Prime Day is coming soon!” which prompted 41% of the recipients to read the email.

A major goal of Prime Day was to encourage members to be more engaged with their accounts. Free shipping might be the most well-known benefit of Prime but members also get instant streaming video, unlimited ad free access to music, unlimited storage of photos, early access to deals and free books on Kindle.

In an effort to encourage customers to benefit from the full value of the Prime Membership a big part of Prime Day was about getting customers to utilize its streaming music service. More than half the emails sent to promote Prime Day encouraged customers to play any Prime Music song for the chance to win $25,000 in Amazon Gift Cards. While Amazon’s music and video services aren’t on the same scale as competitors Netflix and Apple the real strategy might be in the devices that Amazon sells to work in conjunction with its services.

According to the media Prime Day was panned in social media with many shoppers frustrated that the most coveted items either weren’t on sale or sold out too quickly. Many best-selling items were not included in the sale, making consumers skeptical of the company’s claim that Prime Day deals rivaled Black Friday deals. The social media numbers tracked tell a slightly different story. On July 15th there were over 500K mentions of Amazon, a 78% increase from the day before. Of those mentions, over 60% were positive. Despite complaints, customers focused more on shopping. Amazon said that by 1 p.m. the speed with which customers were ordering had surpassed 2014 Black Friday.

If nothing else, Prime Day communication increased brand awareness and attention making Amazon top of mind for online shoppers. (more…)

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Aug 6, 2015

3 marketing lessons from Amazon Prime Day

#PrimeDay1Even though the social media world may have panned Amazon’s first Prime Day on July 15,  leadership made at least three good marketing decisions when creating and planning this first big event.

1. It didn’t forget loyal customers while chasing new ones. Sometimes retailers and publishers get so excited about campaigns for net-new business that they wind up penalizing loyalty. Magazine publishers, for example, are notorious for making “new subscriber only” offers at much lower rates than those given to existing subscribers who renew. In this case, existing Prime members got access to special deals and shipping rates.

2.  Amazon chose a date with organizational meaning. Prime Day was staged in honor of Amazon’s 20th anniversary. So rather than creating an event that was only about moving merchandise – think “Christmas in July” – Amazon could weave in stories from its history, invoke some nostalgia and even have some fun during the buildup to Prime Day through avenues such as Throwback Thursdays.

3. It avoided cannibalizing events that already generate massive revenue. Although Amazon compared Prime Day’s results to those from Black Friday, Amazon wasn’t trying to compete with Black Friday. Recognizing that Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day will generate purchases anyway, leadership separated Prime Day from those other big retail times on the calendar.#PrimeDay1#PrimeDay1

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Aug 3, 2015

Going Viral: The 5 Best Guerrilla Marketing Pranks

Advertising seems to have less and less of an effect on consumers every day. More people are skipping commercials while watching television programs, thanks to recording services like DVR and streaming services like Netflix. And online ads are easily ignored by Internet surfers. So companies today are looking for new ways to reach people.

Many are taking to the streets with guerrilla marketing campaigns that are designed to shock and awe those who experience their stunts live. And, if all goes well, videos of these stunts can go viral online through social media. Here are five of the best guerrilla marketing pranks:

1. Carrie Gets Coffee

Few people actually believe in telekinesis, the ability to move objects with your mind. But what if you actually watch it unfold in front of you? Well, as this promotional prank for the remake of the movie “Carrie” shows, most people will become believers — or at least terrified — if someone with telekinetic powers shows off her skills before their very eyes.

The setup for this prank was genius. They rigged the cafe with remote controls, pulleys and springs so it all looked horrifyingly real when a patron flips out and lifts a man off the ground and makes books fly off the shelf.

2. MorphCostumes Has a Mannequin Army

(more…)

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Jul 30, 2015

IMC Campaign of the Month: Apple Watch

Apple faced an uphill battle marketing with the Apple Watch. Wearable consumer tech is still a relatively new phenomenon, at least where typical apple-watch-vogue-ad_6114-970x647-csmartphone functions are concerned. Other leaders like LG actually released their own smart watches before Apple even started promoting theirs. Marketers puzzled over the initially slow and pace of the Apple Watch marketing campaign, but Apple may just have been living by the maxim “slow and steady wins the race.”

The tremendous patience and control with which Apple introduced its Apple Watch to the world is a big reason Apple Watch is our IMC Campaign of the Month.

While LG, Samsung and other competitors hit the ground running with typical multi-channel campaigns to reach the widest possible (yet still viable) audience, Apple held off, teasing the world first with a 12 page ad in Vogue magazine. One very specific audience: fashionistas.

Marketers started buzzing about why Apple was marketing the Apple Watch specifically to women. The fact that the highest end Apple Watch costs $17,000 might have something to do with the choice of outlet – people reading 12 page Apple ads alongside stories about Manolo Blahnik or Valentino probably don’t blush at high ticket items.

But not all readers of Vogue are able to afford the things they read about in the magazine – many read about them and dream big, yet unattainable dreams. With the Apple Watch’s least expensive version costing just $350, suddenly a sexy, highly fashionable, highly valued item becomes much more affordable for the average consumer. A series of cover photographs of popular models wearing the Smart Watch cemented its image as functional fashion. When a trend is sparked with fashionistas, it becomes visible just about everywhere – from the arms of celebrities to the arms of fashion bloggers. Before you know it, everybody wants one. (more…)

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