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Paid Search: 3 things you should know while running a PPC campaign

December 19th, 2014
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“You cannot sit down and wait for shoppers to get to your site,” said Victor Yacaman, Ecommerce Director, Leonisa. Leonisa is the No. 1 provider of underwear in Latin America, with 52% of sales generated from paid search.

With the ability to track and measure visitors, it’s no wonder PPC has continued to be widely used by retail marketers, “[which] means you can spend more dollars on the things that are working and less dollars on the things that aren’t working” said Timothy Seward, Founder and CEO, ROI Revolution.

Timothy referenced a recent study by Shop.org via Forrester, saying that, on average, “46% of [marketers’] online retail marketing budgets is spent on paid search.”

PPC ads offer a way of quickly determining ROI. “What you can measure, you can improve,” offered Seward, making the platform an easy way to optimize messaging and placement.

The analytics behind the campaign isn’t the only tool that PPC provides. In a world of big data, ad targeting can be remarkably precise.

“You can get every niche into very specific forms,” Yacaman stated, which is an interesting concept for underwear, if I do say so myself. The Leonisa team has a specific campaign for each type of product — whether it’s hosiery, shapewear or whitey tighties.

With such a variety of products and such a wide consumer base, Leonisa needed a targeted way to find its customers.

“Paid search was a solution for us because, through paid search, you can do bidding really heavily on those words where you have a really high conversion rate,” explained Yacaman.

When asked how marketers can improve their own PPC campaigns, the pair offered these three pieces of advice:

 

1. Identify your target customer and behavior patterns

By having “niche” ads for each product and each target audience, you’re helping the consumer find a solution that will serve them best. Having specialized campaigns contextualizes your ad in the mind of the customer and invites them to continue the conversation with you further in the buying funnel.

 

2. Determine the devices your customers use to access your site

“57% of customers in the U.S. are transacting with your website based on multiple devices,” said Seward. Customers don’t just browse on the family desktop in the living room anymore. They’re searching on their phone, reading reviews on their work computer and purchasing on their iPad later that night. Consumers have a volatile shopping experience, and your PPC ads need to accommodate their journey.

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Social Media and Email Integration Predictions for 2014: Were they right?

December 5th, 2014
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At Email Summit 2014, marketers were asked: what do you think the relationship between social media and email will be in 2014?

Now that Email Summit 2015 is right around the corner, let’s take a look back a few of those predictions:

 

One-way message turned two-way conversation

Dave Sierk

“For the first time, I’m becoming an optimist about what the capabilities are going to be,” said Dave Sierk, Email Strategy and Analytics, Dell.

As a self-described pessimist, email, it seemed, allowed for one-way communication only.

However, with the rise of social media, Dave explained, “We’re getting pretty pumped about how we can make social a two-way street,” and turn social media followers into email subscribers.

 

 

Slow social adoption as brands transition into the realm

Shirley Salmeron

 

“Email isn’t going away – it’s not dead … but we haven’t gotten to the point where we have the adoption rates in social media on both the user side and marketing or company side,” explained Shirley Salmeron, Northeast Sales Director, Teradata.

She described the experiences as “siloed,” and although they might flow together in the future, as of 2014, “[marketers] haven’t bridged the gap.”

 

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Event Marketing: How much should I expect to pay for a keynote?

November 21st, 2014
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When I was asked to find costs for keynotes as a younger, fresher and greener event content coordinator, I thought it would be as easy as asking Google, “How much does it cost to have [name] speak at an event?”

After all, Google holds the answer for almost everything – it can even answer questions like: Do I have Ebola? How do you know if a guy likes you? What should I eat for dinner?

Unfortunately, it turned out to not be as simple as Googling it. Many factors determined behind the scenes go into how much you’ll spend on a keynote. This is why many speaker bureaus say “contact us for fee” in order to share that number.

Whenever I searched for an estimated keynote cost for a specific speaker, or even a generic title, the search results brought up speaker agencies, which is not what I wanted.

Although Google has been faithful to me in the past, there are some questions I ask that I’m still forced to answer and research on my own.

Here are the questions I typed into the search bar – in a million different ways – which I eventually had to learn.

 

Why is there such secrecy around speaker fees?

Depending on location, duration of the keynote and audience size, a speaker will adjust his or her fees.

The easiest way to establish and negotiate a keynote’s cost is by contacting them directly, which has been made moderately easy with the rise of social media and the ability to get (almost) anyone’s email address with a quick search.

However, not all speakers are so easy to track down.

You might decide to use a speaker agency. These resources can be incredibly frustrating to use as an event planner because once you contact the bureau for a speaker fee, you become a sales lead. You can now expect the agent to inevitably harass you about booking one of their speakers and to generously “keep you in mind” for future events.

With so many other things that I juggle throughout the day, like establishing the rest of the Summit agenda and working with other speakers, fielding calls is the last thing I have time for.

However, speaker bureaus can be helpful if you’re working with a blank slate or have a notoriously private speaker. They specialize in finding and contacting a highly sought-after keynotes who you can’t get a hold of on your own (at a price, of course).

 

Is there any way that I can estimate a budget for a keynote? How much does it cost to have a [insert career vertical] keynote at my event?

Although costs vary from speaker to speaker, I’ve noticed some trends while doing research for keynote speakers on our events – basic guidelines to help estimate spend.

keynote-speaker-ranges

 

Speakers determine their own fees. One speaker might think that their content is worth $10,000 and is more than happy to work with you, whereas someone more qualified might think that they’re worth $250,000 and there’s no flexibility in their mind.

Apart from that human element, this chart has three explanations:

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Newsletter Engagement: 3 tactics Calendars.com used to improve its monthly sends

November 11th, 2014
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When Marcia Oakes, Senior Online Marketing Manager at Calendars.com, was challenged with the task of defining the company’s email campaign, she dove at the chance of evolving the campaign from promotions to engagement.

Marcia and her team hoped to develop a newsletter that people wanted to read and a way to “engage with subscribers without asking them to open up their wallets.”

The result was a newsletter with refreshing and relevant content that resonated with the customer.

 

Find your voice

The team at Calendars.com used a calendar format as a template for the newsletter send. Not only was this visually different than other emails in the inbox, but it was very fitting for the brand.

They also used a previously shelved trademark phrase, “Flip Day,” to describe the newsletter send. (Flip Day, if you’re wondering, is the ceremonial and satisfying day that you flip your calendar from one month to another.)

By using this resource they already had, it empowered the team to communicate with their audience in a purposeful way, without promoting products.

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3 Instagram Lessons You Can Learn from Taylor Swift

October 31st, 2014
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Taylor Swift uses Instagram just like I do. She takes photos of her cats, maybe takes a short clip of them jumping into boxes or snaps a photo of something that she baked that evening.

But, unlike me, Taylor has 12 million followers.

Aside from sharing her fascination with cats and baked goods, she also leverages Instagram to tease music she’s working on through behind-the-scenes glimpses into the recording studio or photos of lyrics that are yet to be released.

The brilliance of marrying these two techniques is two-fold. Not only is she using Instagram to market her albums, but also the personal and fun posts on her Instagram account give fans a glimpse into her world. By inviting fans into her home, it makes them feel like they’re actually friends with Taylor.

Cats

 

She makes her fans feel like they’re not too different than her (despite millions billions of dollars).

This strategy is part of Taylor’s value proposition. She tries to make her fans feel like friends. To supplement this strategy, she hosts and personally appears at secret fan parties around the world for “all-star” supporters, making Swifties feel special just for being her fans (I’m still waiting for my invite, Tay).

This is in stark contrast to the “arms-length” celebrities who keep themselves locked up in giant, fancy mansions in the Hollywood Hills with 12-foot ivy-covered fences and 24-hour security, quietly posting the occasional PR-induced Tweet.

Fan-Party

 

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Event Marketing: 4 questions to ask before submitting a speaking application

October 24th, 2014
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Speaking at events offers a great opportunity for marketers to build their own personal brand and reputation in the industry as well as improve their career. It also provides a way for solutions providers to gain credibility through customer success stories.

However, getting on stage is easier said than done.

If you’ve ever applied to speak at an event, you probably know that it can take a while to hear back from application evaluators, if you hear anything at all.Summit Speaker

Having applied to speak at several events in the past, I can relate — but I also have the inside scoop on what happens on the agenda-building side.

Over the past couple of weeks, the MECLABS content team, myself included, has been hard at work sifting through hundreds of speaking applications for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 in Las Vegas.

I’ve spent over 30 hours reading through applications, analyzing blog posts, watching videos and reaching out to applicants.

During those long hours, I began to develop four fundamental questions to ask myself when sorting applications into the “yes” or “no” stack, and I want to share those four questions with you:

 

1. Did you take time and effort to explain your story completely?

It’s disheartening to see people throw away an opportunity to win over the evaluators. Applications where you’re given the chance to tell someone about your story should take more than a sentence or single word, or, big oops, left blank entirely.

This is your chance to tell your story. Give the application reviewer a story and let them imagine how it would be presented on stage.

If you’re the hero of the story, explain the challenges that you overcame.

Be a storyteller in your application. J.K. Rowling could have summed up all the Harry Potter novels by simply writing, “Harry Potter went to school and learned how to overcome challenges.” Instead, she expanded this story into seven complete novels, detailing the events that unfolded and inviting you into the life, experiences and thoughts of Harry, not just offering the world a simplified plot.

The art of storytelling — even in a speaking application — is important and will set you apart from the hundreds of other applicants.

The effort that you put into your application is a preview of the effort that you’ll put into the content you present.

If we ask for a video and your reply is, “I have one, but I can’t find it,” we’re not going to go look for it. If you write, “Will provide video upon request” under the section where we requested a video, your application will likely be disregarded altogether.

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Email Data Hygiene: When you know it’s time to break up

October 10th, 2014
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I still get emails to the email address I created in middle school. This was back when having cutsie screen names was awesome, DSL was the latest and selecting your Top 8 on MySpace was the most stressful part of the week.

Although I haven’t sent or opened an email in that account for probably 10 years, the emails still come through.

It had been a while since I had actually gone to that inbox, though I needed to reset my password before I was even able to scroll through the pages upon pages of unread mail. Not one of them was a personal email. As I kept going through pages years back, I noticed that they’re all marketing emails – often from the same few companies.

I have not engaged after nearly a decade of sends. I have not read a single subject line. I have not opened any emails. I have not clicked any calls-to-action. Yet these companies keep sending.

How is marketing to that email address helping the marketers’ campaigns (other than contributing to list bloat)?

 

The importance of list hygiene

At Email Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, Laura Mihai, Email Marketing Specialist, 3M Canada, spoke on the integration of list cleansing as a regular element of its email marketing campaigns.

Laura opened her session by reflecting on a time when deliverability rates started to affect campaigns.

“We really wanted to focus on eliminating those who don’t engage with our communications,” explained Laura. The team at 3M Canada had the idea of running a campaign with the incentive of a contest to stay on the list and update contact information.

Using this campaign, the team trimmed their list by an impressive 64%. Now, they can be in touch with people who want to engage with them.

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3 Tips to Improve Your Marketing from Doctor Who

August 22nd, 2014
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(Editor’s note: Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, also contributed her knowledge – and love of “Doctor Who” – to this blog post.)

There are a lot of nerds in our office, and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, this is probably not news to you. Recently, we’ve realized something nerds everywhere have known for a long time – we are not alone.

In our case studies, blogs and events, we’ve seen how other marketers utilize pop culture to help convey complex ideas – for instance, emergency alert systems provider One Call Now used “Star Trek” characters to represent its customer personas.

Since we have seen the success others have had, we wanted to try this idea out for ourselves using an office favorite: BBC’s science fiction cult classic “Doctor Who,” which is having its latest series premiere on August 23.

doctor-who

For those who are unfamiliar, the titular Doctor is a Time Lord (a time-traveling alien species very similar to humans) who faces various foes in attempts to save civilizations and right wrongs using intellect over force while exploring all of time and space.

Intellect over force is a driving principle behind our work here – marketing through testing and optimization over gut feelings and intuition.

Read on for three tips we’ve taken to heart from “Doctor Who” about how to make the customer your companion in your marketing efforts.

 

Tip #1. Test every (seemingly) insignificant thing

Doctor: Stone dust.

Kate: Is it important?

Doctor: In 1,200 years, I’ve never stepped in anything that wasn’t. … Now, I want this stone dust analyzed. And I want a report in triplicate, with lots of graphs and diagrams and complicated sums on my desk, tomorrow morning, ASAP, pronto …

Doctor Who,” The Day of the Doctor, 2013

Every single thing, down to the dust he has stepped on, is something the Doctor considers important. He’s been testing, scanning and analyzing all of his surroundings for 1,200 years.

You may think that you know the answer to every question anyone could ask about your customers. But when you begin testing, you could discover that you’ve totally overlooked a simple concept that was right under your nose (or boots).

For example, at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 in San Francisco, Jon Ciampi, Vice President Marketing, Corporate Development, Business Development and Strategic Accounts, CRC Health, presented a case study where his team tested what they considered to be best practices.

They took their control page of concise copy with an above the fold call-to-action, and created a treatment full of copy with a below the fold call-to-action.

What Jon and his team discovered was an “aha moment,” realizing that not only had the treatment outperformed the control by 220%, but they hadn’t understood their customers’ motivations at all.

While they had been promoting luxury and statistics, it took one test to realize that customers weren’t asking, “What is your doctor-to-patient ratio?” but rather, “Can I trust you with my loved one?”

“We test in the eternal hope that we can possibly understand the motivations of our customers and adjust our practices accordingly,” Jon summed up in his presentation.

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Lead Generation: Streamlining the process for quality over quantity

June 30th, 2014
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

For her first week on the job, Debbie Pryer, Program Manager, Siemens Healthcare, arrived ready to accept an intimidating challenge: Bring Marketing and Sales together for one common cause — generating quality leads.

According to Debbie, the process in place had been corrupted and broken by a system of incentives to drive lead volume with little check and balance in place for assessing lead quality before the handoff to Sales. The end result was a sales team overwhelmed with unqualified leads, 65% of which were tossed out.

“I had a roadmap of what was wrong,” Debbie said. “I had to figure out how to make it right.”

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Debbie’s presentation “Lead Generation: How to empower your program like Siemens Healthcare” took the audience on a deep dive into some of the challenges Siemens Healthcare faced in its lead gen process.

One of Debbie’s key goals was to re-establish a long-broken trust between Sales and Marketing.

Suggestions were made about what could solve this dilemma. Although many brought up automation, Debbie knew that by bringing in more technology as a solution, she would simply be “automating the problem.”

Challenge your process

Debbie explained that returning to the first love of the company — the patients and the hospitals that serve them — was an ideal starting point for building a lead process that put prospect needs first.

Her solution was to “slide the leads into what they were already doing” in the sales funnel, rather than pushing unqualified leads into the funnel.

With this strategy, Marketing delivered higher-quality leads to Sales, and the two teams started to (slowly) restore trust.

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2015 Call for Speakers [Have interesting insights to share like Debbie did? Apply to be an Email Summit speaker.]

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Ecommerce: 2 tips to help small businesses navigate multichannel marketing

June 27th, 2014
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This year at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, Nicole Snow, Founder, Darn Good Yarn, sat down with Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, in the MarketingSherpa Media Center to discuss the challenges of navigating a multichannel digital landscape while retaining a small business identity.

Darn Good Yarn’s value proposition is based on stimulating growth in poverty-stricken areas of Nepal and India by recycling silk yarn into products Nicole imports and sells in the United States.

Nicole does not have a background of making yarn. In fact, when she began, knitting was only a hobby.

“[Starting my business was] a lot of learning and I tried to do things on the cheap; I was self-funded,” she said. “It was a real benefit because I respected every single marketing dollar. Every single test I did had to be really the right choice for me as a business.”

 

These careful business decisions penetrate the whole of Nicole’s business, from hiring employees to protecting her suppliers.

“People around the world work for me,” Nicole said. “I’m pretty proud of that business model because it really is indicative of a newer economy.”

Nicole has been very protective over the growth of her company, both in the U.S. and abroad.

She insisted part of becoming a successful small business includes “controlling growth and not allowing it to just blow up.”

“Then, you start getting abuses of supply chains and of humans that way and that’s important to us, to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she explained.

Here were two important takeaways Nicole offered to help small businesses navigate a multichannel digital world:

  • Purposefully enter channels – Find a few channels that work best for your small business because you can’t be everywhere.
  • Find advocates – Look for supporters who want you to succeed and build relationships with them.

 

Remember your roots

Let your passion bleed through every decision that you make for your business.

As companies grow, adaptations to an organization’s process and strategy are inevitable. We surveyed 4,436 marketers on how management styles and approaches should shift as ecommerce companies grow. You can see that data on page 15 of the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study.

Want to see more interviews with IRCE speakers, industry experts and in-the-trenches marketers from the MarketingSherpa Media Center? All 32 exclusive interviews from IRCE are available for viewing.

 

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