Jul 28, 2014

Budget Strategies for Your Content Marketing Launch

content marketingSeventy-one percent of marketers will increase their spending on content marketing this year, according to recent Curata report. The report, which surveyed 500 industry professionals, found that best-in-class marketing campaigns rely on a predominance of 65 percent original content, supplemented by curated and syndicated material. The payoff is tangible, with 62 percent of companies reporting that content marketing improves both their quantity and quality of leads.

But creating content costs money, a reality reflected in Gartner’s finding that small businesses will spend 10 percent more on digital marketing this year. If you’re just starting to promote your business via content marketing, your budget is probably limited—making it imperative you develop a cost-efficient strategy for funding your initial promotional push.

Scale Your Budget to Your Revenue

A 2012 survey by Staples found that the average small business operates on a $2,000 per year marketing budget. According to the Small Business Administration, however, the smart strategy is to scale your marketing to your revenue projections, which might make this too small. (more…)

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Jul 25, 2014

Mad Men or Mad Math? The Decline and Rebirth of Online Advertising

Mad Men

Credit AMC TV

By Satish Polisetti

As more sites like Facebook, Twitter and Buzzfeed blend ads directly into a user’s content stream, the future of online advertising is quickly shifting. It’s a brave new world defined by content, not dimensions; mad math, not mad men. Science and data, not merely creative endeavors.

Where are we today? Currently, online ads are defined primarily by size and dimensions — with IAB ad unit guidelines describing leaderboards (728 x 90 pixels), skyscrapers (160 x 600), and full banners (468 x 60), to name a few.

These very basic but widely accepted standards are based on the artistic perspectives of a previous generation – from the minds of creative geniuses you might see on Mad Men. These have more to do with traditional ad buys, and print ad dimensions, ones that have not really changed much in the past few decades since the swinging 60′s of Don Draper. When we jumped into internet advertising, the look and feel of advertising changed, but standards failed to get with the times.

And then there were banners: (more…)

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Jul 18, 2014

Growth Hacking Strategies That Work

Have you always wondered how the “big guys” succeeded? WebPower Up breaks it down nicely in this infographic, with nuggets of growth hacking wisdom you can take away and apply to your own strategy.

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Jul 17, 2014

Traditional Marketing Platforms That Are Still Relevant Today

TelevisionI recently came across a really good article by Rohan Ayyar, contributor author to Entrepreneur, about “old school” marketing channels that still serve a purpose in our increasingly digital world. It underscores the true value of integrated marketing. Even when digital marketing seems poised to completely overtake traditional marketing methods within the next few years, some tried-and-true platforms, like PR, are as relevant as ever. In fact, by mixing up your marketing strategy to include both traditional and digital channels, you can create complementary relationships between channels that boost the signal of your message and your brand. It’s not all about old vs. new, it’s about finding a way to make the old and the new work together.

Rohan writes:

In the last few years, digital marketing has given traditional marketing platforms a run for its money.

Marketing budgets once heavily skewed toward traditional media are moving online. Ecommerce is booming, brands are opening up stores on Facebook, social commerce is rising, mobile commerce is getting hotter. The digital juggernaut seems ready to flatten out the old guard and take over marketing as a whole.

According to a study by ThinkVine, 25% of senior level marketers report that digital has already overtaken traditional media in their marketing budgets. About 55% of them believe that this transition will take place in a matter of two to five years.

Click here for the rest of the article.

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Jul 16, 2014

6 Ways to Find Charity Work You are Passionate About

By Theresa Roemer – Business philanthropy expert

Find a Charity You're Passionate AboutCharity work is a labor of love and can provide you some of the most rewarding experiences of your life. While the decision to actually dedicate your time to a charity might be a seamless one, the hard question is where and what charity do you devote your time and efforts towards? There are many charities in the world that support good and reputable causes. You just need to discover, which one is the right one for you.

Business Philanthropy expert, Theresa Roemer offers the following tips on how to find the best charity for you:

1. Ask Yourself the Hard Questions – Reflect on what tugs at your heart strings. Is it your children or your animals? Were you or was there ever a person near and dear to you diagnosed with an illness? Write down a few moments, experiences, and events that have impacted you both positively and negatively. This way you can see where you stand.

2. Do Your Homework - Based on your passions, go out and research charities that relate to your interests. Find out if the charities you are interested in are large or small in scope; are they national or international? what makes them unique and what are their goals and mission, where does the money that they earn go? Your research will allow you to figure out if you actually want to get involved with that organization. (more…)

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Find a Charity You're Passionate About
Jul 12, 2014

Move Your Audience with Moving Visuals: Vine, Instagram and GIFs

visualsThe power of visual media becomes more and more prevalent every day. Brands are leveraging social media outlets such as Vine and Instagram to strengthen and expand their presence. Vine has about 13 million users while Instagram has 130 million users. By the year 2017, it is estimated that two thirds of all web traffic will be video. And beyond Instagram and Vine, GIFs are also becoming popular among brands.

Looping Your Way to Brand Recognition

Since its inception in early 2013, Vine has become a stalwart in brand outreach. There are a number of ways that brands have incorporated Vine videos into their social media strategy.

Much like YouTube, Vine has created Internet stardom for those creative enough to entertain in a short six-second loop. These Viners already have a large following and brands have used the creative knack of these influencers to reach out to their audience or influence new ones. Whether it is through stop motion magic or short funny skits, these “Vine stars” knows how to build an audience.

Ian Padgham has mastered the art of the six-second loop through his stellar stop motion and animation skills. Portland-based shoe company, Keen enlisted the skills of Ian to show off their new shoe, UNEEK. The clip shows Ian floating through San Francisco in the new kicks perhaps implying that the shoes are so comfy you feel as if you are floating through air.

Brittany Furlan is a Viner who has used her comedic prowess to gain more than 6.5 million followers and back in November, Trident used her to promote their Trident Layers gum. The Vine showing her getting “crept up” on by strawberry and citrus flavors saw 64K likes and 27K revines.

Instagramming Your Way to the Top

Vine’s loop feature is great for some but sometimes you need more than six seconds to capture your audience. Aside from the ability to post images, Instagram also allows brands to create longer videos to convey a message.

You could’ve predicted that a brand like GoPro would use the Instagram video capabilities to the max. And they have. GoPro’s initial demographic was the action sports scene but they are showing that you can use their camera to capture more than just sports moments. Just in time for the World Cup, they are running a video series capturing “the heart of Brasileiro culture and futebol” and showing us firsthand “what it truly means to live, love and play as a Brazilian.”

Don’t Forget to Use GIFs

Brands have used Twitter for almost 10 years! Feels like it was yesterday. Some brands like LifeLock have mastered the art of the tweet by blending tips, tricks and customer service advice. But, Twitter recently launched GIF capabilities that some brands are already leveraging.

If you haven’t already, you should check out the Twitter page for the 2014 Stanley Cup champs, Los Angeles Kings. It doesn’t matter if you are a hockey fan or not, their tweets are some of the best in not just sports but across all brands.

This kick save though… GIF: http://t.co/wVK5escitb http://t.co/lYjQdViqRq

— LA Kings (@LAKings) March 30, 2014

The Kings have been using GIFs to keep their fans up-to-date with in-game highlights as soon as they happen.

And for those of you still unsure of how to say the abbreviation for Graphics Interface Format, it’s officially pronounced “jif” like the peanut butter as proclaimed by the creator himself at the 2013 Webby Awards.

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Jun 3, 2014

Understanding Your Online Audience Means Marketing with Visual Content

visual contentPeople have so many options about where to spend their time on the Internet, it’s critical to develop a highly visual presence with photos and videos on your site to make your creative content stand apart from competitors.

Engaging visitors is challenging if you’re not Web-savvy, but it’s essential to your company’s growth. Businesses with bland or poorly designed Web content that fails to present any photos or videos risk losing a viewer’s attention immediately. Their exit is just an easy click away.

Community conversations drive the growth of your brand and individual users have the ability to evangelize your products. But they first must believe in the design around those products and feel comfortable in the forum where that conversation is being shared.

Building social connectivity

Even if you’re not a Facebook aficionado or Twitter all-star, it’s time to embrace the power of social media for Web-marketing purposes. Danielle Cormier of Constant Contact says optimizing social content with keywords on social networks like Facebook and Twitter helps cycle your content through the Web.

Also use social networking sites to clearly present photos and videos so it’s easy for anyone to learn about your company’s key messages in something like a video description or photo cutline. Visual learners best digest content this way.

Your site needs to balance product or service descriptions with the visual media that highlights the impact of what your business provides to the public. It will help them experience all that your business stands for. Those visuals need to be alluring, since the Internet is overrun with what marketing coaches at Sendible Insights describe as “many people skimming through content to extract what they’re looking for.”

Of course, coming up with visual content is difficult without a full-time digital media team or the budget to hire photographers. Stock image sites like Shutterstock can solve that problem, with affordable, customizable visual stock footage available to augment just about any story on your site. When those short-attention-span viewers are captivated by something visual, they share it with the world and drive more attention to your company.

Video information drives sales

YouTube is very easy to use, and linking to videos from your site is also simple. First of all, it’s free. But rather than attempting to be the next viral sensation, you ought to focus on content that tells viewers a meaningful, colorful story about your business.

SearchEngineWatch.com offers tips to gauge video viewership analytics and how to “uncover patterns and optimize” video content based on user habits. Improving your company’s cross-channel marketing is easy through video. Viewers start on a video, watch the content, read the description and then are sent to a landing page on your main site.

The Social Media Examiner reminds use that great marketers are great storytellers. The explosive growth of YouTube and popular social sites like Pinterest and Instagram provide a benefit for savvy marketers who hope to connect with a range of audiences online.

Be savvy. Be bold. The tools available on the Web today enable smart marketers to tell stories more creatively and visually than ever before.

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May 19, 2014

Email Communication Don’ts

Please do not forget your manners, even when communicating through email.

With the amount of emails that come into inboxes these days it is important to follow simple email etiquette. Just as if you were talking to someone face-to-face, or via phone, emailing should include polite communication. A good rule, which dates all the way back to your pre-school days, treat others as you would have them treat, or in this case write you.

The “Don’ts” of Email Etiquette

  1. Do not attach unnecessary files. By sending large attachments you can annoy customers and even bring down their email systems. Whenever possible try to compress attachments and only send attachments when they are productive. You may want to use cloud storage services like Hightail (formerly known as YouSendIt), DropBox, ShareFile, Rapidshare, etc.
  2. Do not overuse the “high priority” option or type the word URGENT in the subject. We all know the story of the boy who cried “wolf.” If you overuse the “high priority” option, it will lose its function when you really need it.
  3. Do not write in CAPITAL LETTERS. IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT APPEARS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. This can be highly annoying and might trigger an unwanted response.
  4. Do not overuse “Reply to All”. Only use “Reply to All” if you really need your message to be seen by each person who received the original message.
  5. Do not use email to discuss confidential information. Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don’t want your email to be displayed on a bulletin board don’t send it.
  6. Avoid long sentences. Try to keep your sentences to a maximum of 15 to 20 words. Email is meant to be a quick medium and requires a different kind of writing than letters. If a person receives an email that looks like a dissertation, chances are he/she will not even attempt to read it/
  7. Don’t reply to an email message when angry.  You may regret it later. Once the message has been sent, you will not be able to recover it.
  8. Don’t overuse punctuation such as exclamation marks (“!”), as these are meant to be for emphasis. In particular, avoid more than one exclamation mark (“!!”), especially if your email is quite formal. And remember that many mail filters scan messages and consider text with lots of !!!! and $$$ and *** as SPAM.
  9. Don’t use an over-elaborate signature in your email message. Never ever use scanned images for a signature, as these tend to be very large files.
  10. Don’t use abbreviations and emoticons. In business emails, try not to use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations, and in business emails these are generally not appropriate. The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley :-). If you are not sure whether your recipient knows what it means, it is better not to use it.
  11. Don’t use BCC (Blind Copy). It is considered impolite and involves a big risk. For example, a person who was BCC’d may reply to all, exposing the original sender’s attempt to hide one recipient.
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Apr 23, 2014

The modern marketer

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Apr 14, 2014

Native advertising

Every time I start to write a blog post, it seems like Copyblogger gets there first.

Which is ok by me it’s less work and I’m pretty lazy. They posted a great piece on native advertising (fancy new word for advertorials) today. Here’s a quick excerpt and a link for your convenience!

12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work)

Despite all the hype, native advertising remains a fuzzy concept for most marketers.

According to our 2014 status report:

  • 49 percent of respondents don’t know what native advertising is
  • 24 percent are hardly familiar with it
  • Another 24 percent are somewhat familiar
  • Only 3 percent are very knowledgeable

So, given the lack of awareness (and people mistaking it for other things, like sponsorship), we thought it would be a good idea to walk you through about a dozen examples of native advertising — and why they work.

Let’s get going. Click here for the rest of the article. 

 

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