There are so many impressive things you can do with your website these days. Augmented realty. Rich animations. Micro-interactions. Interactive infographics.
But I like to think of it like this …
When the quarterback throws a 90-yard touchdown pass, the camera cuts to the wide receiver doing a celebratory dance, and then to the quarterback pumping his fist. What they’re not showing you is the right guard who picked up the blitz to allow the quarterback the time to heave up that bomb.
Your website, content, and digital marketing is often presented the same way. Advanced, flashy user interfaces are great. But looking in our own analytics, I was reminded there are probably a few unheralded, down-to-Earth, un-buzzworthy basics that should still power your online marketing.
“Basic” has become slang for “limited,” “rudimentary” or any number of other negative connotations. To quote Kara Brown on Jezebel, “Being basic just means that you aren’t that dope.”
And you probably feel that way about the content on your site as well. You are steeped in the latest, most advanced things going on in your industry. You focus on the breaking news. You spend your waking hours thinking about the coolest features of your products, and most advanced capabilities of your services.
“We try to have fun with everything we do, and our audience seems to respond to it pretty well,” Gregg Barclay, Senior Videographer, SparkFun Electronics, told me in an interview at last year’s MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE.
What it takes to produce online video marketing
YouTube, Vimeo and other online video sites have lowered the bar on what it takes to use video to promote your product to consumers. They no longer expect a slick commercial with a massive production staff and budget. The DIY feel can resonate with customers, as well (and for the right product, feel more authentic).
But, as with any business initiative, video still requires a resource investment. For a company with relatively limited revenue ($30 million in sales), SparkFun has nonetheless chosen to make a significant investment in video with seven or 130 employees dedicated to this purpose.
Only two (including Gregg) are involved in the actual shooting and editing of the video. Additionally, there are three full-time creative technologists building products. The team invests a few days in preproduction while the shooting and editing is complete in just a few hours.
This may be a reason SparkFun’s videos have been successful. After all, no matter how slickly a video is produced, it is just a container. You must fill that container with entertaining, helpful content.
“I never wanted our videos to feel like commercials,” Gregg said. “I wanted them to feel like these are projects that we would build whether we were working there or not, and I think that that’s what our audience really responds to because they’re doing the same things that we are.”
The electronics retailer introduces 10-15 products per week, and its team is able to produce two to five videos per week that shows customers how they can use them.
“We always think of fun first. It’s in our name — SparkFun Electronics,” Gregg said. “There might be more conventional uses for these products, but we try to think out of the box a little bit and really get people thinking of other ways to use this kind of stuff.”
As a result, 1.75% of people who view a video on SparkFun Electronics buy a product within that session. This doesn’t include people who watch a video and come back later to purchase, or those who watch a video on YouTube, so the real impact might be even higher.
In the article from today’s MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week newsletter, we share data produced exclusively for MarketingSherpa by Adestra and Econsultancy, which identified the mobile email marketing optimization techniques that most commonly produce excellent email marketing ROI.
If you need data to help justify the budget, resources, and buy-in you need from business leaders or clients for optimized mobile email marketing (or if you’re already optimizing your mobile email marketing but need resources to move to the next level), the chart is an excellent asset.
So now what? Let’s say you get the resources … where do you begin? Or perhaps you’re already several years down the road, but are running out of ideas on what to do next.
To help with your mobile email marketing, we interviewed four experts who gave us invaluable tips for both beginner and advanced mobile email marketers. We’re including all the tips in one blog post to allow you to easily scan because, let’s face it, one marketer’s “beginner tactic” is another marketer’s “advanced idea.”
Let’s get started …
Tip #1. Start simple
No matter your budget or resources, adding tasks to your department’s already overflowing plate is no easy feat. This is especially true when you consider the proliferation of mobile device types, screen sizes, operating systems, email readers, and download speeds.
(You can multiply that complexity several times over if you have an international customer base.)
But the experts we interviewed encouraged marketers to simply get started on the changes you’re capable of making right away, and not trying to swallow all that complexity with one bite.
“Most of those just starting on the mobile optimization journey feel overwhelmed, so they should keep in mind that simplicity is often the best route,” said Monica Savut, Senior Research Manager, Econsultancy. “Focusing on the core components is key, from using a single-column design and hiding content that might not be essential in a mobile view, to including a mobile-friendly pre-header and designing for ‘fingers and thumbs.’”
“For companies just starting to put a mobile strategy together, simplifying is key,” agreed Aaron Pearson, Product Manager, Listrak. “Simplify you template and layout; simplify your content such as copy, buttons, and images. A mobile-optimized template doesn’t necessarily have to be responsive, so don’t worry about spending time developing a hugely complex system to deliver content to your subscribers. Instead, focus on iterating your content strategy and begin to improve the conversation with your audience.”
How can you increase word of mouth for your products and services?
This will generate organic referrals at the highest rate.
But a deeper question is more applicable to marketers — how can you leverage word of mouth in your marketing to increase conversion?
Here are three ideas for your campaigns.
Idea #1. Help, not hype
“My experience with Summit has just been seamless. I got the opportunity to submit some different proud moments for marketing and my team’s successes. And then having the opportunity to be selected and the opportunity to be with such a prestigious organization was very flattering. Then I was very, very prepared every step of the way. I had a dedicated team that was sending me updates, giving me clear deadlines, supporting me along the way — just made it incredibly professional and certainly best in class.”
That quote is from Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service, Door to Door Organics, from a video promoting the MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 Call for Speakers.
Now, we didn’t need to have Cambria in the video. I could have told you how amazing it is to be a speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. How you’ll have your name up in lights. You will be fawned over by an adoring crowd of marketers. And, most importantly, you may even get the distinct honor and privilege of working directly with me for several months — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you will never forget — as I help you shape your story before we discuss it on stage.
Let’s say you’re an intrepid marketer at a company. You’ve read about the power of inbound marketing, have started your company’s blog, and … now what? How do you get these subject matter experts (SMEs) to blog? And what should they blog about?
Or perhaps you have an established content marketing blog — you’ve been going for years. But your SMEs are running out of ideas for blog topics. What should you do?
Keep reading (and then send your SMEs this blog post).
“Your brand is not what you say it is, but what your customers say it is.”
Or so goes the old advertising maxim.
If we were to update that to modern times, we might add, “And you can discover what they’re saying about your brand on social media.”
When Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing, Door to Door Organics, sat down for an interview at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 with Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, she shared that old advertising maxim along with her team’s journey on social media — from a customer service channel to a unified, proactive, brand-building strategy.
Here are four key lessons from Cambria’s interview …
There are two ways for a business to be successful in the short term.
Option 1 is to do anything you can to generate revenue. Sometimes it’s something small like sending that one extra promotional email — it will get unsubscribes, sure, but at least it will push your numbers up this quarter. Or it might be something huge like holding a monopoly position in the marketplace. It could even be slowly making the product just a little bit worse to boost margins.
And, frankly, most companies are a combination of the two. But every day, with every decision you make as a marketer, you decide where on the spectrum your company lies. Will you push your company closer to the customer or farther away?
Of course, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Let’s take a look at why customer-first marketing is so important, and why it’s so hard.
Unlike many hotel brands that strive for a consistent look and feel, part of the value proposition of The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), a hospitality consortium with 425 hotels worldwide, is that each hotel is unique. From the fabled King David Hotel in Jerusalem to The Ritz Hotel in London (featured in the film “Notting Hill”), customers have a plethora of experiences to choose from.
With such a diverse offering, online advertising, content and customer journey challenges that face every brand loom especially large for LHW.
I sat down with Debbie Johnsen, Director of Interactive Marketing, The Leading Hotels of the World (and Adjunct Instructor at New York University teaching Integrated Marketing, Ecommerce Marketing and Web Analytics), to get some tips that might help you improve your marketing campaigns.
“It’s key to understand your target audience. And for us, being a luxury brand, we’re looking for people [with] higher income, higher propensity to travel, people who travel more frequently [and] are looking for unique experiences,” Debbie said.
We discussed paid search, travel-specific Meta Search Networks, A/B testing, attribution modeling, the customer journey, content and customer reviews in this conversation.
The challenges of today scream at you. How can I increase sales? Get more people to subscribe to my opt-in list? Ensure my emails end up in the inbox? What is the next technology to keep up with?
Sometimes it’s helpful to take a look back to see the future more clearly. Getting a sense of where we have been as email marketers helps us to better understand where we’re going. To quote Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
To help you do that, and find inspiration and ideas for your current email campaigns, let’s take a look back through the archives of the MarketingSherpa Email Awards.
Idea #1: Email is not a one-way communication medium (from 2006)
When email marketers talk about engagement, we’re typically talking about metrics, analytics, data — numbers like clickthrough or read rate.
But don’t overlook human interaction as well. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center did more than ask people to click in its Wildlife Watch newsletter. For example, the 1,800-acre natural wildlife conservation center asked readers to name a new baby giraffe.
In today’s blog post, we share part two from the interview. You’ll learn about the reward schedule for customers, conducting research that informs effective writing and optimizing the habits in your day-to-day life, along with a question that was really nagging me — can you leverage the science of habit and still be an ethical, customer-first marketer?
MarketingSherpa: So, in the book, and what you’re talking about, you talk about the ways that brands or marketers influence customers to create habits essentially like, hey, marketing to have milk with cookies, or what have you, or Febreze. Have you seen any examples of customer habits actually influencing the brand? So working vice-a-versa or a smart brand out there that’s doing some research and really sees what natural customer habits are and taps into them as opposed to creating them?
Charles: Oh yeah! Absolutely, all the time. I mean, one of my favorite examples of this is video games. Right? When a video game designer designs a new game, the first thing that they decide upon is what the reward schedule is. What that reward schedule is, is really looking at when people play games, when do they expect to get some type of thing that makes the playing continue to feel kind of fun, when you get a reward that you can anticipate, when you get a reward that you don’t anticipate.