When it comes to content marketing, robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t going to get you fired. It might even get you promoted.
If robbery and cannibalism harsh metaphors for you, consider it recycling. Saving your marketing team’s environment one piece of content at a time.
When your social media team creates a cool and valuable infographic, don’t just let it die after it moves down the Facebook wall. Shock some electricity into it, call it reborn, and send it out in an email send. Build a blog post around it. Heck, build a white paper around it and drive downloads.
A great example of this tactic is what SAP was able to do in building a full complement of industry-specific white papers, infographics, blogs, surveys, presentations and email promotions for its 19 industries.
While the customer-focused team at SAP wanted the content to be specific to each industry, within that industry, they wasted nothing and converted information to appeal to people’s different preferences for digesting information.
Hack #2. Remember that you’re talking to a person, not an entity
When developing campaigns, remember that while you technically cater to businesses, you’re actually talking to one, or maybe just a handful of people.
In other contexts, they’re B2C consumers, and are beginning to expect that type of human-to-human communication from you as well.
Take Nextiva, a cloud-based communications company, that deals with companies that range from “your local mom and pop shop to fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees,” according to Max Anderson, Video Producer, Nextiva.
The company dedicated itself to stellar customer service as a way to set it apart from competitors, which they found difficult to do over the phone. So Nextiva decided to break the barriers of traditional B2B customer service and began recording personalized videos.
“In today’s digital age, it has become increasingly hard to provide a level of face-to-face interaction, and we have found that our video responses have helped bridge that gap,” Max said.
How can you attract more traffic to your ecommerce store? How can you improve conversion on the traffic you’re currently getting? At IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition) 2014, we sat down with 39 marketers and ecommerce experts to bring you actionable ideas to improve your results.
To help you prepare for IRCE 2015, today on the MarketingSherpa blog I’m taking a look back at a few of the key lessons I learned from the interviews at last year’s event.
Lesson #1: User-generated content is not free labor for marketers
User-generated content. Community-sourced content. It’s been called many things, but brands have found success by encouraging customers to create their own content and share it with their peers.
No site has been better at this than Wikipedia, which refers to the practice as collaborative writing by volunteers. “The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” gets the sixth most traffic in the world, according to Alexa.
I asked Jimmy Wales, CEO and Founder, Wikipedia, what advice he would give to marketers looking to engage their audience to create content.
Jimmy likened the typical approach of crowdsourcing to, “It’s sort of like if you opened up a bowling alley and you said, ‘Gee, we’ve got all this bowling to be done. How are we going to trick people into bowling for us.’ Instead you say, ‘Well, wait. What do people want? They want leisure time activity, beer and a hot dog. They want it to be family friendly. They’d like to have a league so they can compete with other teams and so on.’ So you think, ‘What’s the infrastructure we can build here? We’ll offer a bowling league, we’ll make sure there’s hot dogs and beer.’ And people will come, because you’re thinking about what they need first.”
“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,” Jimmy advised.
New products make it incredibly difficult to write effective copy. Most of the time the customer coming to the page has no idea what the product is or how it works, but more importantly, they also have no idea why it matters for them.
To really help your customers understand why a product or service is relevant to them, your copy has to build a “problem.” Take this video for YNAB product that helps you budget in a new way:
I don’t know if you caught it or not, but they spend a full 43 seconds of their 1:52 second video building to the problem. Out of all the problems built in copywriting, video or otherwise, this one is one of the best.
So what do they do to build their problem?
1. They have a clear objective.
You can’t begin to build a problem without a map to the overall objective. The objective of this video is to introduce the product and get people poking around on the website.
Without an objective, you might just be building a problem that you’ll never be able to help your customers out of.
The hardest part of getting any endeavor off the ground is to secure funding. Traditionally, in order to gain enough funding for a project, entrepreneurs had to go to banks or find funding through willing investors.
Today, entrepreneurs can achieve funding through a variety of ways including friends and family, angel investors or venture capitalists, but none of them are as interesting as the crowdfunding phenomenon that has surged into legitimacy in the past decade.
Crowdfunding might be an activity for startup companies raising funds, but marketers can learn a lot from the crowdfunding process, from the importance of the pitch to creating effective video marketing content – in this case, the startups are marketing themselves to potential investors.
How does crowdfunding work?
In crowdfunding, the entrepreneur solicits donations from the public either in person at events like Jacksonville’s One Spark Festival, or by using a variety of online websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Crowdfunding is unique because it allows the entrepreneur to pitch their product while simultaneously perform a focus group dedicated to their product with very little risk. The more people who invest in a campaign, the higher the interest there will be in the final product.
There has been a lot written about crowdfunding campaigns. You can find, in my opinion, one of the best blogs written by Tim Ferriss of The Four-Hour Work Week fame on how to raise $100,000 in 10 days.
My focus in this blog will be to explain how to craft the most important part of a crowdfunding campaign: the pitch.
Pitching a crowdfunding project
The pitch is generally a 3-5 minute video explaining to your potential investors who you are, what you are trying to accomplish, how much money it would take to reach your goal, why you need that specific amount, and what’s in it for them.
Depending on your budget, your video could be professionally made or shot with a simple camera phone. What matters most is your content:
“The strength of your video pitch often determines how likely you are to meet your crowdfunding goal.”
The pitch can be broken down into three sections: The hook, the core and the bribe.
Step #1. The hook
According to the Bank to the Future’s useful video on crafting a pitch, the first 8-16 seconds of your video should be used to capture your potential investor’s interest.
In those seconds, it’s important to introduce them to the purpose of your video and to tell them visually or verbally what they are going to get out of watching it. If you have a prototype, show it in action. If you don’t, state your value proposition.
To craft your value proposition, ask yourself the following question; “If I am your ideal investor, why should I help you reach your crowdfunding goal?”
Since when did airline safety videos become so darn viral?
What used to be a dry and boring legal formality has now become a way to engage audiences outside of the plane cabin.
As a huge fan of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movie franchises, my inner nerd did backflips when I watched Air New Zealand’s newest airline safety video:
For those not so familiar with the world of J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson, New Zealand was the filming location for all three “Lord of the Rings” films as well as the more recent “Hobbit” movies.
Featuring actors and characters from the movies, as well as flight attendants dressed as elves and an appearance from director Peter Jackson, Air New Zealand really outdid themselves. (However, I would have liked to see a little more Gollum in the video.)
This isn’t the first time the airline has capitalized on the “Hobbit” hype for its in-flight safety videos. In 2012, they used the theme in coordination with the first “Hobbit” film in the series.
However, Air New Zealand is not alone in taking safety videos to the next level.
Delta has produced some pretty entertaining safety videos as well, notably this 80s-inspired throwback featuring big hair, crazy clothes and of course some iconic characters from the time.
Storytelling in the strangest places
These safety videos, while still used for the in-flight safety precautions, were undoubtedly created to become viral online.
What was once an untapped resource has become a way to kill two birds with one stone: comply with FAA regulations and entertain viewers.
But even more than that, these videos are great content marketing. For Air New Zealand, the company is gaining more brand awareness from these videos because, let’s face it, most people will probably never make the 24-hour trek to the island.
However, by embracing its ties to the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and getting creative, it’s found a way to reach audiences who may have never heard of the airline company before.
For larger airlines like Delta, I would argue that having more entertaining safety videos is a way to spice up what used to be mundane travel for 165 million travelers each year.
As a popular network, these videos add more personality to the brand.
For me personally, I saw one of Delta’s comedic videos on a trip I took, and that video was the first thing I told my family about when I landed was that video. Even on the flight, people were chuckling and talking about the video, even if they had seen a similar one on a previous trip.
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.
Often, the best ideas for our content come from the MarketingSherpa audience, such as this note I received from Steve, “There was a very good graphic in a recent post from Rand Fishkin. I think it would be interesting for you to add some ‘quantitative metrics’ to this.”
Let’s take a look at that graphic …
I reached out to Rand, who is the CEO of Moz, to get a little background on the chart, which looked almost like a yin and yang of modern marketing to me.
“The items in red aren’t necessarily all terrible things you shouldn’t do,” Rand said.
“Interruption marketing can be well done, but as the graphic notes, there’s no flywheel effect generating momentum, and these channels/tactics, on average, lead to higher costs of customer acquisition. In some markets and for some companies, that may be a fine tradeoff, but it should always be a conscious one,” he explained.
Today on the MarketingSherpa blog, we’re providing a mixture of quantitative metrics, case studies, how-to articles and other resources to help you improve your own inbound marketing efforts by learning more about how your peers are effectively using these tactics …
SEO & PPC
Local search has had the biggest positive impact on marketing objectives, with 54% of marketers indicating so, according to the MarketingSherpa SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey.
Q: How much do you expect your organization’s mobile marketing budget to change from 2012 to 2013?
Click to enlarge
A combined 71% of respondents said they would see budget increases, with over half of those reporting increases seeing more than 10%.
While this is great news for many marketing teams, it’s also a tough challenge: Mobile is still a new channel with several unknowns. So today’s MarketingSherpa blog post will share our discoveries in the hopes that our findings can aid your strategy planning efforts for the upcoming year.
I sat down with Benjamin Filip, Research Manager, Data Sciences, MECLABS, and a lead data analyst for the report, for a look at what we can learn from the data to help you get the best use of your (hopefully bigger) mobile budget.
“It really depends on what an organization’s goals are,” Benjamin said. “Some factors to consider in planning how to spend a bigger budget are usage, effectiveness and difficulty.”
According to the data below, from the 2012 Mobile Marketing Benchmark Report, when comparing the factors of usage, effectiveness and difficulty, we can find some good opportunities. For example, our respondents reported “Includes video content” as a highly effective tactic that is not very difficult to implement, yet it is not highly utilized.
I realized that he had a lot of knowledge to share about repurposing, but it wouldn’t fit into the case study. Ta-da – a new blog post is born, filled with seven tips to help you with your own content repurposing.
Being a reporter has its ups and downs. Thankfully, some articles are a pleasure to write. I was thrilled to publish our latest inbound marketing article featuring the YouTube video strategy of Orabrush, a brand of breath-freshening tongue cleaners.
Orabrush’s strategy has pulled-in over 35 million video views and powers the majority of the company’s marketing. Below, I’ve pointed out three key areas that I like about this strategy.
CMO as Chief Marketing Publisher
A central tenet of inbound marketing is that marketers need to think of themselves as publishers. Rather than buying ads in a media outlet, your brand builds the media outlet. You own the newsletters, blogs, apps, webinars — or whichever platform you select.
Jeffrey Harmon is CMO at Orabrush. His team is committed to consistently delivering the videos its audience enjoys and expects. This makes for a demanding publishing schedule, but that’s the life of a Chief Marketing Publisher. Deadlines must be met and quality must be maintained.
Another tenet of inbound marketing is that your content is not advertising — it’s rich information that interests your audience. Your brand and products can be included, but they are secondary. The content must give the audience what it wants while helping to achieve your marketing goals.
Orabrush does this by creating several types of video, as described in the article. The majority of videos are intended to engage and entertain — which is what Orabrush’s audience wants. Other videos are intended to encourage conversions while also entertaining.
This isn’t just for the LOLs
Orabrush’s videos are funny and they’ve built an audience. But at the end of the day, the company needs to sell tongue brushes. Harmon’s team is not trying to build an audience to sell advertising.
That is why Orabrush’s marketers have included calls-to-action throughout its videos and YouTube page. Viewers are encouraged to:
o Watch another video
o Share the video on Facebook or Twitter
o Connect with Orabrush on other social networks
o Visit Orabrush’s website
o Request a free brush
o Locate a nearby Orabrush store
o And more
You can see a great example of their calls-to-action at the end of this short video:
This approach applies directly to inbound marketing. The content is the main attraction. It is the reason Orabrush’s YouTube page exists. But while viewers enjoy videos, they’re encouraged to interact with the brand, visit the site, and try out an Orabrush.
Experimentation and research drive the ship
Orabrush has an elaborate YouTube page. The channel is part video-viewer, part landing page, part social channel. The design is the result of several years of research and testing by Harmon and his team.
Orabrush is not afraid to test new ideas, which is how it developed this strategy. Its YouTube page was not a modified best practice. The marketers built it piece by piece through rigorous testing.
Even Orabrush’s first forays into video were experiments. As mentioned in the article, Harmon first tested adding another publisher’s video to one of Orabrush’s landing pages. That video boosted conversion rates by 200%, and it served as the first step in the long journey to build Orabrush’s video strategy as it stands today.
Without its culture of experimentation and testing, Orabrush would not likely have such a powerful presence on YouTube. You can find out a lot more about testing and optimization at the upcoming MarketingSherpa Optimization Summit in June.
I could go on and on about why I love Orabrush’s video strategy (including that it came from a scrappy startup and that its marketers also engage in social marketing) — but I won’t.
The last point I will make is that Harmon’s team built this channel with a small team and a limited budget. There is truly no reason why any company could not do something similar.