Archive

Posts Tagged ‘content marketing’

Video Ecommerce: Getting up close and personal with products

July 22nd, 2014 1 comment

Creating an engaging experience for online shoppers is key to increasing conversion. Time and time again, we have seen case studies from in-the-trenches marketers who improved a user experience with engaging content, better catered to their customers’ needs, and ultimately, achieved revenue gains.

Videos are a treasure trove of opportunity for ecommerce marketers. Rather than static product images with bland descriptions, videos convey how a product looks, feels and works much better when a customer physically cannot touch a product.

At this year’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, MarketingSherpa hosted the official Media Center at the event. Ecommerce marketers and industry experts shared their insights into what works, and what the future of ecommerce will look like.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, CEO and Founder, Joyus, stopped by the Media Center to share her story along with some tips for effective video marketing.

 

Joyus is an ecommerce site where fashion, beauty and health experts find the latest and best products, which can also be purchased directly from the site. The videos are brief, showing  products in action with highlights from the experts on their unique features. Videos are also time stamped, so users can skip ahead to what they want to know about a product, whether it be sizing or color choices.

Here’s an example of one of Joyus’ product videos:

 

But Joyus doesn’t stop there.

Users can also see what other products were featured in a video, and join the community conversation via a Facebook embedded Q-and-A section.

In a way, Joyus has transcended video marketing and uses videos as content marketing. High-quality, informative videos that are easily sharable engage users incredibly more for Joyus.

All of these efforts have earned impressive results. Joyus reported that its video viewers are buying 4.9 times more than those that do not watch the product videos, according to a news release.

Read more…

Content Marketing: User-generated content tips from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia

July 15th, 2014 3 comments

At the recently held Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, and Allison Banko, Reporter, both of MECLABS, interviewed event speakers and attendees in the MarketingSherpa Media Center.

In this 11-minute video, watch as Daniel spoke with Wikipedia CEO and Founder Jimmy Wales on how to encourage user-generated content – a powerful element within an overall content marketing strategy. Jimmy also discussed why Wikipedia is the only top 50 website in a Wall Street Journal study covering companies that do not engage in any visitor tracking.

 

Empower people to provide the content they want to provide

Jimmy explained that user-generated content is not free labor for marketers, and that he dislikes the term “crowdsourcing” for that reason.

Retailers think, “I want people to do this work – I want them to write reviews for me.”

He explained, “Instead, they should turn it around and say, ‘What do my customers want to accomplish? What is it they are trying to express, and how can I help them express that?’”

Jimmy continued to say this mindset might lead you in new and different ways. Maybe reviewing products is boring for your customers, but what they are really interested in is discussing your products or services in a more general way in which they can add their expertise to a community.

“That’s the first idea I would give – flip it on its head,” Jimmy said. “Don’t think about the work you would like people to do; think about what it is people want to do and how you can empower them to do that.”

  Read more…

2 Tough Questions to Ask About Your Content Marketing Strategy

June 24th, 2014 No comments

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, shared some of the forgotten strategies for generating epic content.

One of those strategies revealed how creating a mission statement for your content can help you define the desired outcome for your content marketing efforts.

So in today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, I wanted to share two questions every marketer should ask about their mission statement to help craft (or refine) the ultimate purpose for content creation.

 

Question #1. Is our purpose clear?

Content-purpose

 

Here are two examples Joe shared of mission statements that are clear and concise in their purpose and intent. They also have one other unique similarity that’s worth mentioning.

Their focus is exclusively on helping customers instead of trying to sell to them, or as Joe explained:

“It’s not about trying to sell more,” Joe said, “It’s about what is the outcome for my persona.”

 

Question #2. Who does our content serve?

content-mission-statement

 

Joe also explained that creating a mission statement help fill in the strategy gaps is essential to give content a much needed targeted focus.

“This is part of the strategy that most of us don’t have,” Joe explained.

Here are three recommendations Joe had for crafting (or refining) your content marketing mission statement:

  • Core target audience – Who is your persona? What are you talking to?
  • What will be delivered? – Is this information useful?
  • The outcomes for the audience – What will your audience get out of consuming your content?

Read more…

Why Savvy Marketers Establish Affiliate Relationships with Bloggers

June 20th, 2014 No comments

Having in-house bloggers on your marketing team can keep your content flowing, but there are limits to the audience they can reach.

One way to solve this challenge, according to Carolyn Kmet, Chief Marketing Officer, All Inclusive Marketing, is strategically recruiting third-party bloggers outside of your team to help deliver the right mix of credibility and content that can reach new audiences.

At this year’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, MarketingSherpa hosted the event’s official Media Center. Our team of reporters interviewed marketers from across a variety of business verticals to learn insights on what works in ecommerce marketing.

As Carolyn explained to Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, third-party bloggers can deliver additional exposure opportunities for your brand.

“Bloggers can position brands beyond traditional reach,” Carolyn explained.

 

According to the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study, less than 40% of all companies surveyed utilize affiliate marketing as a traffic driver to an ecommerce site. Using bloggers as affiliates can help with driving traffic from audiences outside of your reach.

The trick is, as Carolyn explained, is to build relationships with bloggers and offer them content opportunities that make exposing your brand to their audience worthwhile.

To do that, she often recruits third-party bloggers outside of her team as affiliates and helps them access industry thought leaders for interviews that would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain otherwise.

The affiliates create content from those interviews to share with their respective audiences.

“There’s a lot of transparency, Carolyn said. “It gives them fresh content for their audiences.”

Read more…

Content Marketing: Optimizing the newsletter offering for CNET

May 16th, 2014 No comments

As the old saying goes, bigger isn’t always better.

For Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services at CNET, creating a strong portfolio of email newsletters that resonated with and engaged CNET’s audience was her goal. As part of an company that is the No. 1 source for researching technology and consumer electronics and with more than 100 million unique viewers, CNET had a robust newsletter program including:trim-your-list

  • 26 editorial
  • 3 deals-based
  • 1 marketing

When it came time to plan a strategy for 2013, Diana and her team didn’t think they had a problem with their engagement metrics.

However, when they dug deeper, they discovered some newsletters were no longer relevant, some contained duplicate information, and some included sections that didn’t engage their audience.

“Because our business was healthy, I thought everything was good. But we found things like we had content that was no longer relevant to our audience. It wasn’t a cohesive experience,” Diana said.

In this brief excerpt from Diana’s MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Optimization Summit 2013 presentation, see how she began the process of increasing engagement with CNET’s audience through valuable, relevant content.

 

You can also watch her entire on-demand presentation, “Content Optimization: Reduce redundancy, improve relevance and increase engagement,” to learn how Diana and her team increased both open and clickthrough rates for the newsletter email sends and built a stronger alignment between CNET’s member services and editorial teams.

Read more…

Marketing Management: Can you use story in your hiring process?

April 25th, 2014 1 comment

Content marketing comes down to a great story.

It’s the story of your product, sure, but more than that, it’s the story of how your audience can achieve their dreams and overcome their pain points. Your product just plays a supporting role.

Can you use story, and essentially content, for recruiting and HR as well? You can show how your company can play a supporting role in helping the right candidate achieve his or her hopes and dreams.

High-performing marketing requires a high-performing team, so recruiting is essential. By using a story, you’re attracting and hiring people that are already bought into the company’s vision and ready to be part of the team.

I’ve traditionally used that story in the written format, but as we’re now hiring for a Visual Storyteller, also known as Content Presentation Specialist, I tried a more visual format with the help wanted ad, so to speak.

 

How about you? Have you experimented with using story in your hiring process? Do you approach hiring as another content marketing, or even general marketing, campaign? I’d love to hear your tips and techniques as well.

Read more…

Social Media: How to turn customers into brand advocates

April 11th, 2014 1 comment

For many marketers, user-generated content is the upcycling opportunity of a lifetime. It’s free content created by customers turned brand advocates with a margin of credibility money can’t buy.

Sadly, this content often goes to waste in marketing, or worse, unnoticed altogether.

The challenge, however, for savvy marketers like Evin Catlett, Digital Marketing Manager, Amer Sports, often rests in finding strategic ways to repurpose content effectively.

In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, Evin explained how Amer Sports was launching its first U.S. Instagram campaign in support of a new product. According to Evin, the launch would also focus on the overall goal of increasing social media engagement with U.S. consumers.

“We didn’t have a ton of reach,” Evin explained, “And while we did have really strong engagement, it was with a very small community.” 

social-media-engagement

 

Before Evin began, she realized one important element to the campaign was the need to inspire social media interaction with customers.

invitation-to-inspire

 

To help accomplish this, the team brought in key brand athletes to have a fairly robust part in interacting on social media with the product, and invited the social media community to do the same.

suunto-ambitions-instagram

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Adding Reddit to the mix

April 8th, 2014 No comments

Social media is almost certainly a part of your marketing mix by this point. Facebook and Twitter are the two overall leaders, and B2B marketers are probably at least looking into how to leverage LinkedIn. Then, there are a host of additional social media platforms such as StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Pinterest, Vine, Quora and many others.

One platform that probably isn’t on most marketers’ radars is Reddit. Marketing tactics on Reddit are not readily obvious, and the platform’s users are not there to be marketed to and don’t welcome any interaction that feels like marketing.

Should you consider Reddit in your social media strategy? If so, how should you approach the platform?

To answer these questions, we reached out to two experts in marketing on Reddit: Brent Csutoras, Social Media Strategist, Kairay Media; and Greg Finn, Internet Marketer, Cypress North.

Here is the result of that discussion.

 

MarketingSherpa: It sounds like a key challenge to marketing on Reddit is the platform’s policies toward that activity. Briefly cover what marketers should know and understand about these policies.

Brent Csutoras: It is very important to first understand that Reddit is not a single community, but rather a platform to either join existing communities or to create your own communities. Each community is made by a Redditor who then can add moderators and who makes the rules for which everyone in the community must follow. It is super important before trying to submit any content to Reddit to understand the moderators and the rules for each Subreddit you intend to submit your content to.

For instance, some Subreddits will not allow certain domains to be submitted to their community, some like “TodayILearned” require content to be at least two months old, and some like “/worldnews” do not allow news about the U.S.

As to the challenge of marketing to an audience who is by nature against the concept of marketing, it definitely takes someone with a long-term goal and general interest in Reddit to balance the line between being a valuable member of the community, while at the same time, trying to submit your own content.

Greg Finn: The biggest question to ask when participating in Reddit is: Are you contributing? That’s essentially what you should be asking yourself before beginning any type of “marketing.” One of the lines in Reddit’s User Agreement is:

“Cluttering Reddit with junk or spam reduces the quality of the Reddit experience.”

Make sure that you are going into the site with the mindset of increasing the quality of content shared. Also, while not blatantly obvious in the user agreement, you should not be too promotional with your content. Reddit moderators will swiftly ban users that only submitting their own content or commenting with their own links. Treat it like a forum and build credibility in a specific Subreddit, add to the community, then start marketing.

 

MS: Beyond the key challenge addressed above, what are some of the unique marketing challenges (and potential advantages) faced when marketing on Reddit over other social media platforms and other digital marketing channels such as email and paid search?

BC: I mentioned earlier, how individuals really need to make sure they understand the rules of each Subreddit they are submitting to in order to have any real chance at long-term success.

Another challenge that people might now understand is that Reddit has a lot of anti-spam elements at play on the site. New users to a Subreddit, and in some cases, new domains, can find themselves being auto-filtered or even silent-filtered, where their submissions might show as submitted to them, but are actually hidden from all other users until it becomes approved by a moderator.

Lastly, it is really important to understand Reddit’s voting algorithm, which, to put it simply, values the combination of the first 10 votes the same as the following combination of the next 100 votes, and then 1000 votes, and so on. This means that what happens during the first 10 votes of your submission are super important. Choosing the right Subreddit, knowing what type of content the moderators support, and selecting the best title when submitting are key to making sure your first couple votes are positive.

GF: The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the volatility of the community. There are dozens of unwritten rules that exist and can kill your promotion on arrival if you don’t follow along. If using images, submit with Imgur. Videos? Use YouTube. Follow along with the community, learn the inner workings before giving it a try.

One of the biggest challenges is the sheer competitiveness of Reddit these days. You need quality content, a killer title and a dash of luck to strike it big.

 

MS: What are some actionable tactics or tips for marketers looking to add Reddit to their digital marketing mix?

BC: Start by identifying the Subreddits you really want to participate and submit to, followed by learning what works in the Subreddit, both from the community’s acceptance and support, and from what the moderators are going to approve and support. Make sure to fully understand the rules of the Subreddit prior to submitting any content.

Never submit something that doesn’t fit into a Subreddit. It will almost always get removed, which can result in you having filters applied to your submissions and possible having your account silent banned.

You simply do not win on Reddit with brute force.

Lastly, you have to be a Reddit user first and foremost, to really understand how to be an effective marketer within Reddit.

GF: Far and away, the most valuable tactic is to go niche. Every marketer is looking for the homerun, but you can easily hit .400 while driving the right mix of targeted traffic to your site. Reddit has individual sections called Subreddits that are niche communities around a specific topic. These Subreddits have the most potential as you can get your content in front of a (smaller) group of highly targeted users.

Local business? Look for a local Subreddit near you and scope the scene.

Got a book about parenting? Head to r/parenting.

Manufacture crockpots? Try /r/slowcooking.

There is a Subreddit for everything. Seriously, take a look. Jump into a community that fits your niche and start participating. The numbers won’t be overwhelming, but the quality will.

Read more…

Marketing Management: Are agency creative reviews killing customer response?

March 14th, 2014 No comments

“Practice like you play.”

This truism rang in my ears as I reviewed one of the videos slotted for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014.

I was reviewing the video on a big screen in a conference room during a meeting as we prepared for Summit, and a key quote in the video was washed out and hard to read.

I realized I had made a mistake by previously reviewing the videos on my own monitor or the crystal clear monitors our A/V team uses.

However, the audience was not going to see the video on an LCD monitor 12 inches from their face. They were going to see it from a giant projector in a cavernous room at the Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas.

 

How do you review agency creative?

This also got me thinking – how many marketers review agency creative the way prospects will receive it?

I’ll give you an example from my own time working at an agency.

When we presented print ads, we blew each ad up as big as possible and mounted it on a black board to really make it pop.

Then, we presented the ad with no distractions in a conference room.

The people reviewing them were marketers for the company, obsessed and excited about every tiny detail of their product.

 

How do potential customers perceive your marketing and advertising?

Of course, potential customers never received the ad this way. The print ad was just one of many in a Wall Street Journal filled with competing ads, screaming headlines and political coverage.

On top of that, the reader was going through the paper on a busy train, or with kids fighting in the background.

No one, except the marketers we presented to, ever saw the oversized ad in a distraction-free environment.

 

How do you grab the attention of someone who doesn’t care?

I’m not picking on agencies here. This also holds true if someone inside your company, like my first example, created the work.

Creatives, marketers, account executives – we want to present our work in the best possible light. So it makes sense that we blow it up and show it on super sharp monitors.

But if you really want your marketing to stick out, break through the clutter and be different from the crowd, here are a few questions you can ask the next time you are presented with creative to review.

1. Did you buy the newspaper or magazine you’re designing ads for? How will the paper quality (glossy vs. newsprint vs. poor-quality newsprint) affect the ad? How does the ad look, at its real size, placed in the publication?

2. I prefer not to see these banner ads in isolation; can I see them on a few of the websites they will be placed on?

3. How will the customer view this website? It may not be on an Internet connection as fast as ours, on a computer as powerful as ours, and it certainly won’t be on a computer as powerful as the ones developers and designers use. How does the website render and load on an older computer with a smaller, lower-resolution screen and with a slow connection?

4. Same goes for any mobile emails or mobile sites: Do customers have the greatest and newest smartphones and tablets? If not, how will sites render and how quickly will they load on slower devices? On 3G?

5. What compatibility issues will exist? How will this website look if they don’t have Flash? How will this email look if images are blocked?

6. If the audience is older, can they read type that small in a brochure, postcard or on a website?

7. Will our TV commercial or online video be able to convey any information if it is muted? Should we leverage more text to make sure it does?

8. This PowerPoint looks good on my screen, but how will it look to an audience of a thousand people? (Hint: Make the text bigger than you think you should, you can see my own error below.)

 

What you see when you review

 

What your audience sees

 

I’d love to hear you share your tips as well. How do you review marketing creative? What do you do to put yourself in the customer’s shoes?

Do you engage in copy testing, campaign pre-testing or other advertising research, or do you approve marketing campaigns based on your own opinion? If so, how do you decide?

  Read more…

Web Optimization: How AARP Services boosted renewals by increasing usability

March 11th, 2014 No comments

Eyeglasses launched across the table. A focus group member was irritated, experiencing difficulty reading the AARP Services website.

“‘I can’t see this content because you’ve got a grey background!” the member complained. “There is no place for me to increase the font size!”

This was just one of the observations that helped drive the optimization of the AARP Services website, making it more user-friendly for its senior demographic. At Optimization Summit 2013, two members of the company’s team shared AARP Services’ secrets to success.

In this excerpt of the presentation “How AARP Services increased referrals and membership renewals,” we learned how focus groups helped fuel the first test’s goal – make the site easy to read and share.

 

Preeti Sood, Digital Channel Manager, AARP Services, admitted that she was initially opposed to using a focus group. However, by observing frustrations of customers, AARP Services was able to use data from a focus group to convince management to perform additional testing around readability and social media sharing.

This short clip showcases how changing the background color, font size and placement of the “email” button resulted in a 12% decrease in page bounce rate and 7% increase in social sharing – all beginning with information collected from a focus group.

Gaurva Bhatia, VP of Digital Strategy, AARP, also said he was skeptical about focus groups, especially given the subject matter at hand. He thought that website visitors could easily just change font size through their browsers. Why waste time and effort on this? After witnessing the frustrations from the focus group, it became clear that this was an area that needed priority when it came to testing.

This left Guarva with a valuable lesson.

“Listen to the members,” he explained. “Test what they’re telling you versus assuming about them and doing what you think is right.”

Watch the full free session from Optimization Summit 2013 to discover:

  • How AARP Services adopted a “teach and learn” culture
  • The benefits that can come from focus groups
  • Items to keep in mind with the “newspaper generation”
  • And much more

  Read more…