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Posts Tagged ‘social marketing’

Cause Marketing: “Likes for Tikes” campaign generates a 39% increase in Facebook Likes for small firm

December 20th, 2012
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Thinking of businesses during the holiday season often conjures up the image of Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge, building his fortune a penny at a time and miserly clutching every one. The uncanny number of movie versions of the tale usually perpetuate this, with an updated Ebenezer being a stingy CEO or mogul – see Bill Murray in Scrooged.

But, for many companies in the marketing industry, the truth is much closer to the old Jimmy Stewart classic, It’s a Wonderful Life – people building a business by working hard while balancing the profits of business and goodwill.

World Synergy is an online marketing firm based out of Cleveland, Ohio, going into its 16th year of business. It provides a real-life example of how companies are integrating giving back with business as usual.

Toys for Tots has been the charity of choice for World Synergy, and Facebook the chosen outlet for the give-back campaign “Likes for Tikes.”

“It is an outreach opportunity for us. … We wanted to get engaged with our current customer base and our employees’ friends and family,” said Glenn Smith, President and CEO, World Synergy.  Read more…

Social Media Metrics: Three touchy-feely numbers to help you benchmark and improve

September 14th, 2012
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It’s no gigantic secret that marketing has taken a turn decidedly toward the more empathetic, conversationally oriented initiatives in the last decade. The days of corporate marketing czars sitting high atop the hill of commerce, and sipping Scotch while devising cleaver ways to manipulate consumers, have come and gone.

If you want to play the game in this new social marketing environment, you’ve got to learn how to engage people in meaningful conversations.

Given a Facebook page, the average marketer figures he or she is more social than a hipster with a smartphone. They’ve checked the social “box,” and now it’s time to return to the magical land of value propositions and conversion rates because, when measured within the context of the traditional marketing paradigm, there isn’t much return on the effort of being “social.”

Of course, we know social media marketing is valuable. For example, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook, 85% of marketers surveyed said social media is increasing in importance as a lead source, while most marketers found tactics like telemarketing, direct mail and trade shows to be decreasing in importance over the last 12 months.

 

Social media metrics

The problem lies in the metrics we use to measure that value. The traditional “how many, how much” metrics of historical Web analytics simple won’t do. And, while the goal of any marketing program is ROI-based metrics that truly show impact on the bottom line, many social media marketers struggle with making the transaction all the way from a top-of-the-funnel activity, like social media marketing, to revenue recognition.

So, don’t overlook the touchy-feely metrics of the social sphere to help you understand where you are and what you can do to improve. Social media isn’t paid media advertising. It isn’t a one-way conversation. Here are three metrics to get you started evaluating if you’re taking advantage of the social nature of social media:

Read more…

Email Marketing: Dollar Thrifty generates 47-times higher ROI, O’Neil doubles CTR

May 3rd, 2012
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Most email marketers still batch and blast their audiences, sending one email to everyone in the database, said Responsys CEO Dan Springer yesterday at Responsys Interact 2012. Springer spoke during the event’s kickoff session in San Francisco, and noted that not every marketer is guilty of batch-and-blast (Full Disclosure: Responsys sponsored my attendance of this event).

“For all of you that are already innovative, if you want to maintain your innovative status, you are going to need to keep pushing,” he said.

Where you should push is toward integration, Springer said, which he called the future of digital marketing. Yesterday’s sessions were loaded with examples of how companies are integrating email marketing with other channels. Here are two that stood out:

  Read more…

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1

February 2nd, 2012
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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a popular blog post on using social media profiles for login on third-party websites rather than the more traditional form field registration. The post featured research from Janrain, a social Web user management platform, and some additional commentary from Larry Drebes, founder and CEO of Janrain.

That topic was very specific and applies to one marketing issue — gathering data from website visitors.

Janrain’s research found that Facebook is the clear favorite for social login at 42%, followed by Google at 29% and Yahoo! at 11%.

 

Click to enlarge

 

In preparation for the innovation panel Wednesday afternoon, February 8th, at next week’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, I also had the chance to speak with Larry about the social channel in more general terms, and to get his take on where it is heading and what marketers should be thinking about over the next six to 12 months.

Tomorrow’s blog post will feature the thoughts of panelist Loren McDonald, Vice President Industry Relations, Silverpop.

Here is the result of my conversation with Larry:

  Read more…

Marketing Career: 7 habits of highly effective marketing job seekers – part 1

December 2nd, 2011
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It’s a tough job market out there. According to Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report, only 40% of companies reported plans to add staff in the fourth quarter, down from 52% at the beginning of the year. And while decreasing numbers may tempt you to apply for every marketing job you do find, that’s certainly not the most effective way to conduct your job search.

You know from your marketing experience that “batch and blast” and “dialing for dollars” doesn’t work, so why spam potential employers? Instead, prioritize your job search by focusing on positions that will get you on the career path you have in mind to effectively get the most out of each resume you send.

This is where Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People comes in. While not a job seeker advice book, Covey’s book does outline seven habits that easily and wholly apply to the job hunting process. Over the course of four blog posts, I will explain each habit and provide useful ways to apply each to your job search.

I have also spoken with Scott Howard, Executive Director of Operations, MECLABS, and a big fan of Covey’s book. Scott oversees all operations across MECLABS Primary and Applied Research groups, including hiring approximately 60 new employees over the next year. He was kind enough to share some additional job seeking tips you can derive from the “7 Habits.”

  Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Analytics are free and plentiful, so use them

November 15th, 2011
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For years, the debate on social media marketing centered on ROI. Marketers asked themselves “How can we measure the impact of social media?” “What’s the ROI on Twitter?” “How do we know if LinkedIn is worthwhile?”

Thankfully, those days are behind us. Data is available from tools both paid and free. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, not every marketer has taken advantage, as you can see in the chart below from Adobe and Econsultancy, which we pulled from The Social Media Data Stacks e-book.

Click to enlarge

Five of the six metrics listed above have a greater number of marketers saying they’re important than the number of marketers tracking them. This is like saying it’s important to eat right and exercise while eating chili cheese fries and canceling your gym membership. It just doesn’t make sense.

But don’t worry — we have you covered. Here is a list of free tools you can use to start measuring each social media metric.

Read more…

The Indefensible Blog Post: Forget Charlie Sheen, here are 5 marketing lessons from marketers

July 5th, 2011
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I’m sure you’ve seen these blog posts before. They’re looking for a hook, so they throw a topical subject in the title to get you to click, and then share the deep marketing wisdom that you would naturally expect to learn from Charlie Sheen, The Bronx Zoo Cobra, and Justin Bieber.

I thought of this topic the other day because we actually did something I just knew we would never do on MarketingSherpa. We published those two proper nouns – Justin and Bieber – right next to each other.

In fairness, it was in an excellent email marketing case study about a very impressive trigger alert program, and Justin Bieber was only used as an example of search keywords this events company was targeting. But you better believe Senior Reporter Adam Sutton endured a relentless week of teasing for including the Biebs in his case study. There were the Photoshopped pictures. There were “Belieber” taunts.

Why? Because, and here is my indefensible blog post (with a hearty tip o’ the hat to Esquire magazine), marketers can’t learn anything from Justin Bieber. Or Lady Gaga. Or that kid who got his 15 minutes of fame for pretending to be in stuck in a weather balloon.

Think about it, what are 3 lessons from Charlie Sheen? 1. Be born to a famous dad. 2. Get a formulaic but highly rated sitcom. 3. Have an extremely weird but very public meltdown (using social media)

Does this really help your marketing campaigns? Get some ideas to generate more leads? Increase sales?

So, here’s the approach we take at MarketingSherpa. Perhaps the best people to learn marketing lessons from are…wait for it…actual marketers. That’s why we survey more than 10,000 marketers every year for our benchmark reports. That’s why we conduct more than 200 interviews every year for our free marketing newsletters. That’s why we invite dozens of marketers to present their case studies to their peers at our summits. And that’s why I’m writing this blog post today.

So, if I had to break down five marketing lessons I’ve learned from marketers, I would say…

1. Successful marketing comes from hard work, not “secrets” and “tricks”

Internet marketing is flat out hard work. The successful marketers I’ve seen go-to-market with a regimented marketing plan.

They understand what KPIs are key to their success – both the intermediate metrics that will help them make course corrections, as well as the key results that are critical to their business leaders.

They find ways to tear down artificial silos in their organization – between Sales and Marketing, between online marketing and offline marketing, between email marketing and social media marketing – to facilitate a cohesive funnel that drives customers to conversion.

They tame unwieldy, disjointed technology platforms to create tools that improve marketing campaigns and create clear, unified reports. They do this even though they don’t have a tech background. They do this even if it means having long conversations with IT about why Ubuntu is better than Windows.

But they don’t have “secrets to Internet marketing success.” And they don’t have “10 supercool tricks to boosting SEO.” They have war stories. And if you can get just a few minutes in their busy day to hear them, you just might learn something.

The battles are won in the trenches.

2. Your customers don’t care about your emails, your PPC ads, or even your TV campaign

They don’t even care about all that fun inbound stuff like your blog posts or YouTube videos. And they certainly don’t care about the latest features of your product, your mission statement, or your corporate structure.

They care about doing their jobs better. They care about having clean water for their kids. And they care about taking their wife out for a 12th anniversary dinner that she’ll never forget.

Never confuse a feature with a benefit. And never confuse a marketing “benefit” with what really matters to your customers.

3. Successful marketers have losses

This is marketing, folks. You don’t have to be one of the “crazy ones,” but you do need to push the limit on what your company thinks is possible.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “There is no effort without error or shortcoming.”

If you don’t have losses – a “negative lift” on a test, a failed product launch – you’re not pushing hard enough. And if you don’t have losses, you’re not really learning anything. You’re just guessing.

The great thing about digital marketing is that it has never been easier to learn about your customers. You’ve got real-time data you can analyze and an endless possibility of tests you can run. Test two headlines you simply can’t decide between, two offers, two entirely different approaches against each other in a real-world, real-time environment and let your customers tell you which one is better. Test new landing pages against your top performers.

Sure, it’s scary, you might lose. But if you do it right, you’ll definitely learn.

4. Strategy is better than skill

This is something that I’ve heard Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, say in almost every meeting I’ve had with him. Drill it into your team as well.

Marketers are all too used to having a goal placed in front of them – double leads, gain market share – and churning and burning and blasting and using every tool they can think of to hit that number. Just…one…more…email send…will do the trick.

Sometimes it helps to step back and look at the big picture. Is it worth scrapping and fighting for a tenth of a point of market share with your fiercest competitors? Are you inundating your lists with offers?

Take the time to step back from the marketing machine and determine what your value proposition truly is. Don’t dictate your value to your customers. Discover what they find valuable about your products and services. Why do they put their job on the line to hire your consultants? Why do they part with their precious cash to buy your products?

As with any job, you can work harder, or you can work smarter.

5. Be the customer advocate

As a marketer, you spend almost every waking moment making a proposition to the customer. That makes every customer your customer. So make sure your company comes through.

Stay in constant contact with customer service, product development, services, manufacturing, and sales to make sure you are truly serving the customer. What are customers complaining about? What are you doing right? How can you make their lives easier, better, smarter, more fun, more fulfilling? Are sales reps over promising? Does everyone understand the value proposition of your brands? Do you all speak with the same voice? Do you walk the walk and live the brand?

Hey, that’s no easy task. But if you’re looking for easy tasks, you’re in the wrong business. See point #1 above.

Your customer is empowered like never before in the history of commerce. Today, you must assume that every customer is a publisher as well. How would you react if you knew the editor of The Wall Street Journal was eating in your restaurant, trying on a suit in your store, or purchasing your software platform? There is no quicker way to sink your brand and your marketing campaign, and the huge amounts of time and money you have invested in them, than by ticking off the editor.

You know what you expect when you’re the customer. Under promise and over deliver.

And to over promise to you, my audience, my customer, I dug up a sixth lesson. But instead of telling you one more thing I’ve learned from you, I asked author and behavioral expert, Beverly Flaxington, what she’s learned from marketers. Beverly has built her career around understanding other people. Here’s what she had to say…

6. Provide your audience the context

In too many cases, a marketer develops information and materials based solely upon the data and information about a particular product or service. The marketing material reads like this: “We do this. This is what we do. This is how we do it.” It’s a great deal of data without a lot of context around why it is important to the targeted audience.

The missing component is the “So what?” What’s so important about how you do what you do? Why should someone care about it? What is it going to do for them and how will it do it? This goes deeper than the idea of selling benefits. It actually asks the marketer to create language that speaks TO an audience about their needs, and helps that audience to easily make a connection as to why what the marketer is proposing is good for them.

As you develop materials or write marketing copy, ask yourself the “So what?” question as you make statements and provide information. Think in terms of “This is good for our audience because…..” The process can be very eye-opening because instead of assuming that someone will get why what you’re saying is so important, you can more likely guarantee they will understand!

Thanks for reading today’s blog post. Stay tuned to the MarketingSherpa blog next week, where we’re going to talk about what marketing lessons you can learn from Michele Bachmann, New Mexico wildfires, and Greek debt.

Related Resources

Evidence-based Marketing: This blog post will not solve your most pressing marketing challenges…yet

Loyalty Marketing: How to get customers to stick around (and keep buying)

The Last Blog Post: How to succeed in an era of Transparent Marketing

The Last Blog Post: Marketers must embrace change


Strategic social media marketing advice from your peers

June 9th, 2011
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To truly gain ROI from social media marketing, you need to take a strategic approach…as you would with any other marketing discipline.

So, at 1 p.m. EDT in today’s MarketingSherpa webinar (sponsored by Facebook) – Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach – I’ll be moderating an hour-long session with Todd Lebo and Zuzia Soldenhoff-Thorpe from MECLABS and Tamara Rosenbaum from Facebook, to arm you with some ideas as you embark on a strategic approach to social marketing.

But before we share our research, we asked your peers what advice they would give fellow marketers to help you transform your efforts from random acts of marketing to a strategic approach. Here are a few of our favorite responses…

Relationships are based on an open and honest conversation

The best advice I can offer is to look at social media as an extension to your Acquisition, Engagement, Retention, and Growth strategies. The majority of companies look at it as a function of PR – what about marketing, sales, and support? Isn’t a happy customer worth more than a random fan?

Don’t forget the most important part of social media: listening. Look at all the companies that pride themselves in having thousands of followers/fans but in turn only “listen” to a couple of hundred… that’s more of a monologue isn’t it? Don’t measure your success by the number of people listening to you.

Relationships are based on an open and honest conversation. Listen, and only then “talk” about things that are relevant to your audience. Do it in a timely way. Measure reactions to your conversations.

Using social media as just another channel to “get your message out” is not the way to build the dialog needed to create and nurture a close relationship with your prospects and customers.

– Roberto Lino, Skype Enterprise Global Head of Ecommerce, Skype



Research, strategize, and then get going

My top 3 tips for success in social media would be…

1. Do some research to find out where your customers are having the conversations before trying to join every single social site. Monitor what’s being said about you and your competition.

2. Go in with a strategy!!!

Who will be in charge of this effort? How many times a week will you tweet? What kinds of content will be useful for your audience?

3. Start small so you make sure you have time to keep it up. What we find is many companies have such limited resources to devote to social media marketing that time is wasted in the wrong groups, content is too weak, and schedules get too busy and the first thing to drop to the bottom of the priority list is the social stuff. Consistency is key when it comes to social media, so it’s important to find a way to keep it up.

I look forward to hearing everyone’s advice and joining the webinar!

Michelle Etherton, Creative Director, Nurture Marketing



A dissenting opinion

My advice to marketers is to not transform your efforts from random acts of marketing to a strategic approach. Social media is all about being random and experimenting. Show up. Participate. Be random.

Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in that you don’t just set it and forget it. Successful social media marketing requires interaction. It requires actively networking, meaning you are responding to others and your status updates are more than predetermined calculated scheduled posts.

By being random, you will find new and unique ways to gain ROI. I think you take all the fun out of social media marketing if you are rigid with strategy.

Lara Nieberding, The Data Digger



Related Resources

Free webinar, Today June, 9th 1-2pm EDT — Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach

Social Media Marketing: You value (and earn ROI on) what you pay for

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Inbound Marketing newsletter – Free Case Studies and How To Articles from MarketingSherpa’s reporters



Social Media Marketing: You value (and earn ROI on) what you pay for

June 7th, 2011
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Free. Look inside any copywriting book or on any marketing blog, and it will tell you that “free” is one of the most powerful words in marketing. However…how often are you, as a marketer, susceptible to that magic word?

For most media we use – from PPC ads to television spots – we recognize that an investment must take place. Yet social media, with its tantalizing lack of an invoice, seems almost too good to be true. Thanks to the power of technology, you no longer have to spend money to make money!

Some say the best things in life are free…

Well, the attitude may not be that severe, but take a look at this quote from the 2011 MarketingSherpa Social Marketing Benchmark Report

“I do not look at social media marketing as something I invest in. I advertise on Facebook and consider that an online advertising expense like Google AdWords. I consider the time I spend creating, maintaining and promoting my Facebook page as “free” because I do the work myself so the costs are all soft, not cash. I know this approach isn’t really accurate and may not help me understand my costs, but it’s how I think of it for now.”

This marketer is not alone. According to the Benchmark Report’s lead author, Sergio Balegno, “On average, 15 percent of organizations think social marketing is free and wish to keep it that way. When we segment this group by primary channel, we find that B2B marketers are, by far, the least likely to believe this misconception. Social marketing is a time-consuming practice requiring significant staff commitment to execute effectively.”

…but you can keep it for the birds and the bees

As Sergio says, all of that social media buzz comes at a price. But, you may say, what is the harm in viewing soft costs as, essentially, no costs? There’s no outlay in cash, so what’s the difference?

The savvy CMO is looking for money (that’s, what he wants). Specifically, ROI. So it takes an attitude shift. From my experience, when people (and especially marketers) don’t pay anything for a product, service, or media, they don’t value it. And if they don’t value it, they don’t invest in it. And if you don’t truly invest in a tactic, you will never nail the ROI.

On the flip side, you don’t understand the true costs either. Even soft costs are costs. For example, you have the opportunity cost. A sole entrepreneur must decide whether to engage in Twitter for an hour or call some customers and see if their needs are being met. A content marketer at a major company must decide whether to invest in writing a blog post or spending some more time testing and optimizing the Web site.

In the above-referenced Social Marketing Benchmark Report, there was an interesting chart about how CMOs perceive Social Marketing ROI…

Almost half of marketers that are taking a strategic approach to social media marketing are realizing a measurable ROI.

Yet, as you look at the bottom of the chart, all too many marketers (especially those who haven’t reached the strategic phase) just look at social marketing as a freebie, not a marketing discipline.

So, in this week’s MarketingSherpa webinar (sponsored by Facebook) – Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach – I’ll be moderating an hour-long session with Todd Lebo and Zuzia Soldenhoff-Thorpe from MECLABS and Tamara Rosenbaum from Facebook, that we hope will give you basic info to help you begin to take a strategic approach to social media marketing or give you ideas to optimize your current approach.

Oh, and did I mention? The webinar is absolutely free.

Related Resources

Free webinar, Thursday June, 9th 1-2pm EST — Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach

Study: Marketers Reporting Social Media ROI of 100, 200, Even 1,000 percent
— via Forbes

In Social Media, Your Return Represents Investment –via Fast Company

Social Media Marketing: Facebook news feed optimization

Social Media Marketing: How to optimize the customer experience to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising

Social Media Marketing: Facebook news feed optimization

May 24th, 2011
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Much of Facebook’s core functionality centers on its news feed. The constantly updating list of status updates, photos, links and videos helps drive interaction between friends on the network — and between your audience and your brand.

But not all posts are given equal priority in a news feed. Facebook uses a calculation called EdgeRank to determine which updates are prioritized and which are buried.

EdgeRank calculates the “value” of an interaction with a post. Posts with a higher number of valuable interactions are more likely to reach the top of a user’s news feed.

Facebook released the “unweighted” version of its EdgeRank formula at last year’s F8 conference:

A few definitions of Facebook’s terms:

  • Object — each item in a news feed is an object. An object can be a written status update, a photo, a video, a link, etc.
  • Edge — every interaction with an object is called an edge. This includes comments, likes and tags. As you can see above, some edges are of greater value and more greatly affect EdgeRank.
  • Affinity score — when a user regularly messages another user, views their profile, comments on their photos, or interacts in other ways, those interactions increase “affinity” toward that user over time. Users are more likely to see posts that have an “edge” from users for whom they have a higher affinity.
  • Time decay — an edge’s value decreases over time.

Focus On Your Audience

Sounds strikingly similar to Google’s PageRank, doesn’t it? You bet. Some marketers are considering which factors drive Facebook’s EdgeRank in hopes of getting more attention to their posts — much like how marketers have worked for years to improve PageRank.

Be careful not to focus too closely on EdgeRank, though. I recently spoke with Justin Kistner, Sr. Manager, Social Media Marketing at Webtrends. Kistner leads product development for Webtrends’ Facebook products. In a recent call, he reiterated that the above calculation is un-weighted and is an “over simplification.”

“For example, we know PageRank for Google could all be boiled down to inbound links. Basically, the more inbound links you have and the better quality links you have, the higher you rank. There is certainly a lot more nuance to the algorithm than just that.”

Not only is the above formula an over simplification, but it is truly secondary to an effective social media marketing strategy. By focusing on the types of content and interactions your audience enjoys, your “objects” will attract more “edges” and will be prioritized in users’ news feeds. Scores and metrics are important to consider — but they should not be the sole driver of your strategy. Your audience, your brand, and your content should be priorities.

Related resources

Social Media Marketing: Online product suggestions generate 10% of revenue

Social Media Marketing: How to optimize the customer experience to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising

Social Media Measurement: Moving forward with the data and tools at hand

Social Media Measurement: Big data is within reach

Social Media Marketing: Tactics ranked by effectiveness, difficultly and usage