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Posts Tagged ‘marketing strategy’

Rapid-Fire Results: Get quick ideas for improving your customer-first marketing

July 27th, 2017
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The focus at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 was inspirational stories of customer-first marketing, and so we mostly shared in person, live versions of the in-depth case studies we report on from your peers.

However, previous attendees have told us that they also want quick ideas for improving their customer-first marketing.

So in this quick-hitting session, my Summit co-host, Pamela Jesseau, and I shared ideas for improving your marketing from industry experts, your marketing peers and MarketingSherpa Award entrants who had outstanding ideas.

Sit back and watch the entire 30-minute video to get several different ideas. Or, if you’d like to jump ahead to a specific topic in a specific section, our copy editor Linda Johnson, put together these timestamp links for you.

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Content Marketing: Encouraging sales and upsells at the point of purchase

August 5th, 2014
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Many marketers think of content marketing as a top-of-the-funnel activity. This could include a video to build brand awareness, or an e-book to grow the email list.

But what about using content to encourage sales and upsells at the point of purchase?

On a recent trip to Maine, I came across a great example of point-of-purchase content marketing, although I’m not sure the content’s author would have labeled it as such.

 

How to eat a lobster

how-to-eat-lobster

 

This is a great example of where point-of-purchase content marketing can help: when you have a product that novice customers might not know how to use.

For a tourist who has never eaten a lobster, a placemat like this could be the tipping point between:

  • Buying the less expensive (and easier to eat) lobster roll or lobster meat salad or something more familiar like a steak

or

  • Buying the premium-priced product with the higher margin – lobster

No one wants to order a lobster (or any product) and look like a fool because they don’t know how to eat it. They are less likely to order because they don’t see the value in it.

That’s why this placemat is true content marketing, by my definition. This isn’t an overt sales piece; it was executed in a way that teaches someone how to do something.

Even for myself, as I have eaten a lobster before and was going to order one anyway, it helped me enjoy it more as a refresher for exactly how to eat the lobster since it had been a few years since I’ve eaten one.

 

Opportunities for point-of-purchase content marketing

The great opportunity for point-of-purchase content marketing is this:

When a customer needs to be taught about the product to make a
decision that is better for them.

This likely falls into two major buckets: product education and product differentiation.

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

July 15th, 2014
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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.”

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Why Savvy Marketers Establish Affiliate Relationships with Bloggers

June 20th, 2014
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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.”

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Multichannel Marketing: 3 tips to help take your e-commerce global

June 6th, 2014
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Achieving e-commerce growth in a global marketplace is tough for any organization.

This is especially true when you consider the increasing complexity of global e-commerce coupled with the challenges of reaching new regional customer bases that are different than your existing customers.

These were some of the challenges facing Tom Davis, Global Head of E-commerce, Puma. In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, he revealed how Puma used an omnichannel marketing approach to successfully position the company’s e-commerce initiative worldwide.

“I think the biggest thing for us is to identify where we fit in the marketplace,” Tom explained.

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we’ll take a look at three tips you can use to help take your e-commerce efforts global.

 

Tip #1. Love your customer data

successful-brands-data

 

According to Tom, diving into your data to discover how your business will operate (and potentially grow) in new regional markets is paramount.

“I think it’s imperative for brands, especially retail brands that may have a wholesale part of their business, to really embrace the data,” Tom said. 

 

Tip #2. Focus on delivering a mobile-first experience to stay ahead of the pack

mobile-growth-global

 

One interesting point Tom mentioned was how different regional markets are in different stages of smartphone tech adoption, which will, in turn, impact both online user experiences as the mobile migration continues and the organization’s market penetration strategy in different regions.

In sum, there are a lot of smartphone tech adoption opportunities yet to occur in markets outside of the U.S.

Tom also explained that the gray bars are last year’s mobile penetration (percent of unique mobile visitors) for Puma’s Web properties versus the blue bars, which were just for Q1 of 2014.

“You can see that in almost every market, our mobile penetration is growing,” Tom said.

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Email Marketing: Necessity is the mother of invention

May 13th, 2014
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Because it was our first year running the Media Center at MarketingSherpa Email Summit, we didn’t know what to expect. The plan was to plant a fancy set on the exhibition floor, let me play Erin Andrews and invite marketing guests to join me for some impromptu interviews.

The beauty of doing things freestyle is that unexpectedness – you don’t know what’s going to happen. Let’s not forget the real Erin Andrews’ infamous interview with Richard Sherman.

While none of our guests claimed they were the best marketer in the game, there were some surprises. Silverpop’s Loren McDonald did his “Gmail tabs” dance, Dan Ariely discussed dating and things got deep when Eventful’s Vice President of Operations Paul Ramirez quoted ancient Greek philosopher Plato.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Translated from Plato’s The Republic, it means that when you must do something, you’ll discover a way to do it. It’s not as scholarly when you say it like that, though. This fit Eventful’s situation perfectly.

 

Eventful, our E-commerce Best in Show winner for this year’s MarketingSherpa Email Awards, had historically flourished in the realm of revenue, page views and user acquisition, but one day, everything went south.

“When Google released Panda and our traffic attributable to search tanked, that was like the necessity and we started talking about necessity being the mother of invention,” Paul said. “It was an external force that caused us to do something.”

The Google algorithm update had punished the Eventful site because it viewed the e-commerce company as a content aggregator. While Eventful once enjoyed a super successful search strategy, it was now as if the website was completely offline.

Paul was joined by Ryan Blomberg, Director of Engineering, also of Eventful, and discussed this on-stage during their Email Summit session, “How an e-commerce site transformed its email program to increase purchases by 66%.”

Watch Eventful’s full session from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014. View a brief preview below:

 

While page views overall were plummeting, the portion of Eventful emails contributing to page views was actually growing. Google’s Panda update wasn’t affecting email performance and Eventful’s email program was still highly engaging with solid metrics, with open rates from 20% to 60%.

Eventful had success running “Performer Alert” emails, notifying customers when their favorite artist was coming to town. But the Eventful team thought they could be pushing more Performer Alerts – not for the one artist they’ve already told Eventful they like, but with additional artists they’re fond of.

“Nobody has just one artist in their iPod,” Paul said. “Everybody has hundreds of artists in their iPod. So how do we get that data so that we can speak to our users with more personalization, with more relevance and with greater frequency to increase page views?”

Cue the invention.

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Email Marketing: The evolution of value in messaging

May 9th, 2014
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Brian Clark, Founder and CEO, Copyblogger Media, has been in email marketing for 16 years.

“Which is a million years in Internet time,” he said.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, Brian sat down with Allison Banko, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, in the Media Center to share some of his email marketing background.

“As much as email remains the primary sales channel, how we do it is evolving and getting a little bit more sophisticated,” Brian explained.

Watch this brief video from the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 Media Center to learn more about the evolution of email marketing, particularly in mobile marketing, and how to provide value in messaging.

 

You can also check out Brian’s full session from Email Summit 2014 to learn how Copyblogger used content and a free paywall to grow its email list by 400%. Watch a brief excerpt of his presentation below:

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Email Templates: Don’t let routine cramp your style

April 29th, 2014
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Take a good, hard look at the things you do.

Perhaps you pour yourself a bowl of Raisin Bran every morning. Maybe you trot your dog along a certain path at the end of each day or peruse the same half-dozen websites during your lunch hour.

Now ask yourself why you do these things. Often, the answer is simply because you’ve always done them.

Such was the case for one of our MarketingSherpa Email Summit speakers.

Jessica Andreasen, Digital Marketing Manager, ZAGG, didn’t touch on her breakfast habits nor site surfing routines, but rather ZAGG’s habit of employing the same email template: a headline, supporting copy, multiple images, bullet points, one or two banner ads and multiple CTAs.

“We were using the same templates over and over,” Jessica told me in the Email Summit Media Center. “Our results were declining and we knew we had to do something different.”

 

For a customer appreciation campaign, the ZAGG team wanted to focus on a conversational tone, thanking the company’s loyal customers. However, when putting this together, the current template was restricting that message. Despite the fact the template was used again and again, Jessica implemented a change.

“I threw the template out and started with a clean slate and just decided what I wanted it to do,” she said. “What did I want this email to do and say?”

In her presentation, “Email Templates: How the No. 1 maker of mobile accessories tweaked promo emails to produce a 152% increase in revenue per email,” Jessica shared insights on how changing a template can significantly affect your results.

You can learn about what changes ZAGG made to its templates by watching Jessica’s full session from Email Summit. View a brief excerpt below:

 

When we chatted in the Media Center after her session, Jessica said she hoped the audience gained this key takeaway: step back and don’t let the template get in the way of what you want to say.

“You don’t have to stay with that same thing that you’ve always done,” she said.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even become inspired to swap your cereal for scrambled eggs today.

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Email Marketing: 4 steps to optimize a mobile experience for better conversion

April 15th, 2014
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Mobile is big, but just how big is it?

Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus, posed that question during her Industry Perspective session, “Email Design: How to optimize for all environments in a mobile world,” at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014.

mobile-demographics-chart

 

Almost half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus research. That’s definitely big – especially since it was just three years ago that Litmus found only 10% of emails were opened on mobile.

So what can we do to capitalize on this drastic shift?

Justine said we need to re-examine the subscriber experience from the mobile user’s perspective. While she covered the whole path, we’ll hit on four of the steps subscribers experience.

 mobile-conversion-path

 

Step #1. Don’t ignore pre-header text

Many inboxes are formatted so that users can see not only the subject line, but also a line of additional text in the email. This text is pulled from the first bit of text at the top of your email. However, you can hide this text and still have it show in the pre-header area if you wish.

The default text for most templates is not very valuable messaging. She showed these examples of dos and don’ts to the Summit audience:

mobile-preheader-examples

 

“My challenge to you is, is this a positive brand experience? Is this really what you want people to associate with your ‘From’ name and subject line? Go back and re-evaluate your pre-header text – it’s showing up in mobile inboxes everywhere,” Justine advised.

She suggested making your pre-header “tie into the subject line, bringing [readers] in and encouraging the click.”

The pre-header is another opportunity to infuse value into your email – don’t let it go to waste. iPhones cut your subject lines off at about 35 characters.

 

Step #2. Embrace scrolling in an opened email

mobile-email-comparison

 

This is the same email but it looks completely different. Why?

“It’s because not every smartphone or mobile device is going to support HTML and CSS or even display the email in similar way,” Justine said.

Plus, Android devices vary in what they do and don’t support, so they can be challenging to work with. Some scale the email, some cut off the right side of an email and some support responsive design. Justine said iPhones are a little friendlier, scaling to a 320-pixel width.

But with scaling comes other issues to keep in mind: text and images resize as well.

Justine hit on another key aspect of the user’s experience after opening an email on your email: scrolling.

“Scrolling is a really natural behavior on any mobile device,” she said. “Clicking, or tapping, represents a decision. It’s a point of friction that people are going to either have to embrace or move past.”

mobile-site-clicksIn an email like the one to the right, you don’t know where you’ll be tapping. Where will your finger land with so many small choices? You need to make the user experience more friendly in emails. You don’t need to compact as many options as possible “above the fold.” There is no fold on your iPhone.

“Embrace the scroll; people are inherently going to scroll on mobile devices,” Justine said.

 

Step #3. Recognize a finger is the new mouse

On mobile devices, people are not clicking. Instead, they’re tapping, rendering your “Click Here” call-to-action illogical. There is no mouse to click on a smartphone – only a finger, or stylus, to tap.

“’Click Here’ is a really crappy call-to-action anyway. You need to add a lot value, make sure the buttons are topical, and tell people what they’re going to get when they click or tap on your emails,” Justine said.

The “tap” experience is more than the text of your buttons and calls-to-action. It’s also about the area or location you want to physically tap.

Justine said, “You no longer have a one by one [pixel] target area. It’s more like a 40 by 40 target area.”

A finger requires more tapping space than a mouse needs clicking space. Make sure they can actually tap on that valuable CTA you crafted.

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Social Media Marketing: Adding Reddit to the mix

April 8th, 2014
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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.

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