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Social Media: Mellow Mushroom’s tips for engaging Facebook followers

March 6th, 2015
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Two things come to mind for me when I think of the word social:

  1. Social media
  2. Pizza

Social media for brands is all about developing a thriving online community of fans and followers that engage with your content and (hopefully) become brand ambassadors. To do this, your content must have that “engage-ability” factor: what will make your content or social presence something that your audience will want to share and interact with?

Pizza is also something that we socially consume. Arguably, sometimes we don’t share it, but overall, when you have friends over or you don’t feel like cooking for your family, pizza is always a solid option. Social gatherings call for pizza.

In a way, you could say that pizza and social media go hand in hand — they definitely do for Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers.

I recently had a chance to chat with Steven Sams, Digital Content Manager, Dusty Griffin, Senior Graphic Designer and Robert Pierce, Social Media Manager, all of Mellow Mushroom, for a MarketingSherpa case study about their work with the brand’s email marketing efforts.

We had so much to talk about that I even asked the team for a second interview to discuss the brand’s social media efforts. Why? Mellow Mushroom has truly found a way to speak its audience’s language and cater to that via social media.

Even if you’re not a pizza restaurant, there are still great lessons to be learned from Mellow Mushroom’s efforts. Read on for those, as well as the team’s top tips for interacting with an audience on Facebook.

 

Facebook for Mellow Mushroom

Steven explained that for Mellow Mushroom, Facebook is the main social media channel. With more than 172,000 followers on the platform, average posts will reach up to 2,000 people — sometimes up to 46,000.

Mellow Mushroom has several elements of its Facebook strategy that the team lives by:

 

Frequency and timing

First, frequency is key. At the corporate level, the team aims to post twice a day. This was upped from once a day because of recent Facebook algorithm changes causing lower performance in posts.

“We’re trying out some different things with our frequency because not many people are seeing them in their News Feed based on the algorithm. We thought we should post a little bit more,” Steven explained.

Next, the time of day the team is posting is also important. If they are posting something food-related right before lunch or dinner time, they will entice followers to stop by Mellow Mushroom for their next meal.

mellow 1

 

However, a busy time on Facebook is later in the evening, between 8 and 10 p.m., and the brand will post more quirky content. This content isn’t aimed at driving people to a restaurant to eat, but rather, to simply engage and entertain their base.

mellow 2

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Lead Generation: How an insurance company reduced acquisition costs in purchased leads

February 16th, 2015
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Generating leads organically can ease the qualifying process, throwing “bad” leads out that are simply not worth pursuing. Growing a list organically also allows marketers to know more about a prospect right from the get-go, passing more qualified leads on to Sales.

However, when you start supplementing organic leads with purchased leads from a third party, how can you be sure you are getting the most bang for your buck?

According to the Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing report, lead quality is the No. 2 most pressing business challenge for marketers today.

Plymouth Rock, one of the largest insurance groups offering car and homeowner’s insurance in New Jersey, faced the challenge of ensuring lead quality.

“There are a lot of expenses associated with purchasing hundreds of thousands of leads annually, so we are constantly working to maximize acquisition economics,” explained George Hurley, Director of Marketing Analytics, Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey.

The team at Plymouth Rock needed a way to ensure that the purchased leads were going to be viable with the ultimate goal of lowering acquisition expenses. Lead Generation

Identify “risky” or “bad” leads

With so many leads being purchased by Plymouth Rock, the team determined it would be cost effective to bring on a tool that would help identify bad leads instead of doing it manually.

George and the Plymouth Rock marketing team categorize bad leads, or leads that do not sell, in terms of how that lead was generated.

For example, if that purchased lead was generated in less than five seconds, that would be a lead Plymouth Rock would not want to pursue.

With form fields containing multiple questions and often multiple webpages, George explained that oftentimes, it is impossible for a person to fill one out in less than five seconds.

Concurrently, the fraud detection product can also tell the team if thousands of leads were generated from the same IP address located in a foreign country. If that’s the case, it’s highly unlikely they would be looking into insurance in New Jersey.

 

Change the way leads are purchased

With the knowledge of how a purchased lead was generated, the Plymouth Rock marketing team now prefers to buy leads from aggregators and generators that are also using the tool to identify bad leads.

Using the tool for lead audit and fraud prevention is now a best practice for the marketing team, which has lowered expenses at Plymouth Rock.

“We hope that others in the industry will follow this practice, driving down expenses,” George explained.

The marketing team couples the data now known on how that lead was generated with another tool that provides insights into a particular lead’s authenticity. An example is a lead for “Mickey Mouse” at “123 Main Street” with a phone number of “867-5309,” which is clearly false information.

“There are very different purposes in the two technologies, but both work to eliminate leads that we believe to be bad leads,” he said.

 

Communicate successes across the organization

By better understanding how purchased leads were generated, the marketing team has been able to improve the relationships with the sales team because they are providing better-quality leads.

Results are communicated via monthly meetings with stakeholders, including multiple leadership departments, and the marketing analytics group pulls daily reports to demonstrate how leads are performing on any given day.

“We’re very heavily focused on the acquisition costs, so that’s a conversation piece we’re always having, but with the help of the advanced analytics team … we are also looking into lifetime value metrics,” George said.

Since using the lead audit and fraud detection tool, Plymouth Rock saw a 68.8% decrease in cost per acquisition and identified 528% more fraud.

The team also noted that almost zero percent of medium- and high-risk leads converted, confirming the success of carefully analyzing how purchased leads were generated.

 

You can follow Erin Hogg, Reporter, MECLABS Institute, on Twitter at @HoggErin.

 

Source: LeadiD

 

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Ecommerce: Blurring the lines between online and offline experiences

January 27th, 2015
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What does the No. 2 song of 2013 and ecommerce have in common?

Blurred lines.

“The retail customer has an experience, and they expect that experience to be consistent, no matter where they engage with that company,” said Ryan West, CEO, West Music. “Our responsibility as omnichannel retailers is to blur the lines and make sure it’s going to be impactful, no matter where they engage with us.”

Ryan met with MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko in the Media Center at IRCE to discuss the importance of providing relevant customer experiences, no matter where that customer is. This includes both online and offline channels.

 

Geolocation in-store and online

Ryan dove into his experiences in geolocation in West Music’s marketing strategy, sharing how marketers can leverage emerging technologies and platforms to take geolocation to the next level.

This is key to marketers with regional brick-and-mortar stores, such  as West Music. Ryan explained retailers can now leverage Bluetooth low energy protocols and in-store mapping platforms, which allow customers to see on a foot-basis where they are in a store to find products with ease.

This blurs the lines of ecommerce and in-store by using proximity sensing.

Ryan also explains in the video how his company utilizes simple site merchandising and IP address locators to provide a more relevant experience for customers online.

This includes providing relevant promotions for regional customers, such as a grand piano liquidation sale or an offer that would apply for national customers, such as a simple discount or rebate.

This is key for marketers serving local and national markets, as some sales and offers may only be applicable to a regional store location.

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Big Data: No longer a big buzzword

December 16th, 2014
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This week in the MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway, we’re giving out five free copies of The Big Data-Driven Business: How to use big data to win customers, beat competitors and boost profits.

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we interviewed one of the co-authors, Russell Glass, for his insights on leveraging big data and what’s on the horizon for this much-discussed topic.

Russell currently serves as Head of B2B Marketing Products at LinkedIn and previously served as Founder, President and CEO of Bizo, acquired by LinkedIn this year for $175 million.

Sean Callahan, Senior Manager of Content Marketing, LinkedIn, and former Marketing Director of Bizo, served as co-author of The Big Data-Driven Business.

Read on to discover how big data has brought Marketing and Sales closer than ever and what marketers can do to use big data effectively and ethically.

 

What really is big data?

“One of the reasons we wrote the book is that we saw a big discrepancy between those who understand big data and those who were either skeptical of it or didn’t know what to think about it,” Russell said.

For a marketer just getting started in understanding and leveraging big data, Russell explained that it’s all about knowing your customers much better than you know them today through technology.

 

Why is big data so valuable?

For CMOs and marketers driving success for their company and achieving huge gains by using big data, they are putting a culture in place that is asking deep and insightful questions about their customers.

“They are understanding what makes a customer tick, what their customer is looking for and how can marketers create more relevant experiences for that customer,” Russell said.

Then, these marketers using big data are putting the systems in place to answer those questions as well as using all of those increases in processing power, storage and technology to create a better experience for their customers.

“These CMOs, because they are so close to the customer, they become the person in the organization that’s most likely able to move shareholder value,” he explained.

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Content Marketing: Lord of the airline safety videos

November 4th, 2014
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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.

Delta VideoHowever, 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.

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Email Personalization: Craft forms with purpose

September 23rd, 2014
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At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Eventful, an online retailer of concert and event tickets, presented how it personalized and segmented its email campaigns to achieve a 66% increase in purchases.

To deliver a personalized email experience to its 21 million subscribers, Eventful’s Paul Ramirez and Ryan Blomberg created a recommendation engine that provided alerts about performers and events their subscribers wanted to hear about, focusing especially when a performer of interest was coming to their town.

You can watch their full presentation to see how the team designed and implemented this revolutionary technology, but for this blog post, we wanted to showcase how to provide a more one-on-one experience when you don’t have a team of engineers to design an entirely new technology for your company, such as Eventful had for its recommendation engine.

In this video, Pamela Jesseau, Senior Director, Marketing, MECLABS, and the Eventful team discuss how to craft forms in your email sign-up process and profile setup that will let your customers tell you more about themselves.

Ultimately, the goal is to use this information to craft a personalized and segmented email experience for your subscribers, minus the fancy (and oftentimes expensive) technology.

 

You’ll see two great examples of effectively using forms to gather insightful knowledge about your customers as well as how to fit your registration form into the customer journey.

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Ecommerce: Going beyond omnichannel for creative customer experiences

September 9th, 2014
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Omnichannel is a word that many marketers have become familiar with in the past year or so. It’s the evolution of multichannel marketing and, some argue, an overused buzzword.

Lisa Butler, Head of Enterprise Solutions Enablement, eBay, agrees with that statement. In the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE, she sat down with Allison Banko, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, to discuss omnichannel and what it should really mean to marketers.

“So we went from multichannel, to omnichannel, to all channels — what it really means is just allowing customers to shop however they want,” Lisa said.

In its essence, the prefix omni- means “all.” For Lisa, this means “allowing customers to shop anywhere they want, receive their purchases whenever they want and giving them the best customer service.”

In her interview, Lisa explained the key to providing this engaging experience: developing creative new ways for customers to engage with a brand.

 

Lisa provided some examples of companies that are doing this well, such as Boxpark

Boxpark is a company in the UK that sets up pop-up stores for clothing brands in a unique way — the stores are a network of shipping containers. 

BOXPARK

 

For retailers, this is a creative solution for giving the customer the best (and coolest) experience, according to Lisa.

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6 Tips for Creating an Effective Survey

September 2nd, 2014
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As marketers, we see lots of benchmark data and statistics that we base our business decisions on.

At MarketingSherpa, we recently conducted a nine-month study on the state of ecommerce.

You’ll see the results of our research conducted with 4,346 marketers across 95 in-depth charts.

Obviously, this data didn’t come out of thin air. There was a survey that our MECLABS research team carefully constructed to gather those insights.

Crafting effective surveys is potentially the most important part of collecting useful data, whether you’re fielding research for a report or simply gaining customer feedback.

Diana Sindicich, Senior Manager, Data Sciences, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa), played an integral part in the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study and provided some tips on how to produce the most effective survey for your needs.

 

Survey Tip #1. Evaluate your situation

There’s a good time, and a not-so-good time, for everything. This rule of life applies to surveys as well.

In surveys, situations may exist for you that make it a good idea to field a survey, Diana explained.

This could include scenarios of when you want to understand your customers’ motivations or characteristics. Maybe you’re looking to expand your product lines and want to know what your customers would like to see offered.

On the other hand, there are times when a survey may not be the best idea for what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you have a very personalized service with a small group of customers. Surveys can be perceived as impersonal — conversely, an interview would make the customer feel special and valued.

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Social Media Marketing: Setting expectations both internally and externally [Video]

August 26th, 2014
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“#FAIL” is the last thing you want to hear from your audience on your social media channels.

From disgruntled users or customers to people calling out your company or brand’s blunder, handling the outcome of a social media fail correctly is critical for recovery.

But beyond just addressing a crisis online, is there an effective way to prevent these cringe-worthy mishaps from even happening?

epicurious-boston-tweet

 

In the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE, Andrew Jones, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group, explained how using a simple two-part strategy can help prevent social media fails before they occur.

 

Strategy #1. Manage expectations internally

Before you embark on social media, Andrew explained there should be a plan going into the journey to set guidelines for those who will be posting.

“At first, I think a lot of brands got involved and saw it as kind of a cute toy, and said, ‘Oh, let’s give it to the intern,” or, ‘Let’s give it to someone who doesn’t necessarily know a lot about the company,”‘ Andrew explained. “That can cause problems if the engagement that ends up representing the company in a very public space ends up causing social media fails or misrepresenting the company.”

Andrew recommended that the team managing a company’s social media account has rules and scenarios on how to interact with the audience online, especially when there’s a problem.

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Email Marketing: Unique send times for micro-personalization [Video]

August 15th, 2014
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According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, email was the top channel for driving significant traffic to an ecommerce site. For companies in the $10 million $100 million range, it drives nearly 80% of the traffic.

However, if you are not sending your marketing emails at the most optimal time for your audience, you’re leaving revenue on the table.

This is not a new challenge. But timing the right message to the right person at the right time remains a critical aspect to effective email marketing.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Dave Sierk, Consumer and Small Business Strategist, Dell, took the stage to share several case studies showing how Dell leveraged a GIF-centric campaign to achieve a 109% revenue lift.

You can see Dave’s full presentation from Summit for that story, but in this MarketingSherpa Blog post, see how Dell created unique send profiles for each of its customers to personalize email marketing efforts on a micro-level.

 

While composing a creative and engaging email is a great start to driving traffic and, hopefully, conversions, sending it at a time that does not match customers’ email viewing habits could mean your efforts are wasted when that email never gets opened.

dell-send-times

 

Watch this brief excerpt from Dave’s session to see how the team personalized email send times to adjust to customer’s consumption habits and drove an 8.2% increase in unique click rate.

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