@AskJamieTurner http://60secondmarketer.com/blog Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:53:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Six Steps You Should Take to Stay Current with the Digital Landscape http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/18/digital-marketing/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/18/digital-marketing/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:53:51 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12151 Technology has enabled so many more options for small business marketing.  It can be exciting, but at the same time, overwhelming, for entrepreneurs to focus on their business and in it.  With smaller budgets and staffs, small business owners don’t have a lot of flexibility to experiment with unproven digital marketing strategies, and there is...

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Technology has enabled so many more options for small business marketing.  It can be exciting, but at the same time, overwhelming, for entrepreneurs to focus on their business and in it.  With smaller budgets and staffs, small business owners don’t have a lot of flexibility to experiment with unproven digital marketing strategies, and there is very little room for mistakes.

However in today’s landscape, local consumers research small businesses online just as they do everything else, elevating the need for small business owners to embrace digital marketing to reach customers anytime, anywhere.

Regardless of whether a small business is working towards rapid growth, slow growth or no growth at all, the consumer is constantly changing the way they absorb information, and businesses need to be where consumers are.

GOGF Pitch Deck

According to Borrell Associates Digital Marketing Services Outlook from September of this year, spending on digital marketing services – a $500 billion market – grew 11% year over year, with 2 out of every 5 dollars spent by small business owners.  It’s clear that entrepreneurs recognize the importance of embracing digital channels but how to do so may be less apparent.

As businesses prepare for 2015, I suggest following six steps to keep up with the evolving digital landscape:

1. Create a mobile-friendly website:  Almost everyone today owns a smartphone.  Yet you would you would be surprised by the number of businesses that have not optimized their web sites for mobile devices.  Mobile responsive sites load faster, are easier to read and give users a better experience.  Businesses that don’t take advantage of this are missing an opportunity to connect with customers.

2. Manage your online presence/listing: Consistency is important. Think of your online presence as your business card.  Your digital, mobile and print presence should always be current and cohesive across a variety of search destinations, such as Google, Facebook, and YP. Many businesses have incorrect or missing information online, which makes it difficult for consumers to find them. Did you know that missing or inaccurate information costs businesses $10 billion every year? (Source: The State of Location Industry Paper)

3. Evaluate the competition: Analyze what your competitors are doing.  How they market themselves through their ads, website and social media will give insight on what they consider important and how you differentiate yourself.  As the saying goes, half the battle is showing up, and you need to understand the competitive landscape in order to attract new customers and retain existing ones. While you’re at, be sure to consider unlikely competitors.  For example, do you sell wide range of products, like electronics, home appliances and furniture?  If you take too narrow a view, you could lose business to a competitor you didn’t know you had.

4. Consider consumer retail trends: Evaluate the technologies that are driving consumers to your business and stay ahead of the curve by anticipating how consumer behavior may change.  For example, the majority of all consumer purchases are either influenced by online research or actually occur online, according to Forrester.  Think carefully about your buyers’ current path to purchase and focus on those channels that they are actively using.

5. Provide options for potential customers: The majority of purchases are planned; most people will not act immediately upon seeing an ad.  Reach people when they are considering their next shopping trip by providing options such as call a store, find a location, or the ability to interact with an offer or coupon.  It all comes down to using a softer sales method by presenting several options that don’t make the consumer feel pressured.

6. Understand the source of leads/new business: Lead tracking programs can show where customers are finding your business, and by leveraging that data, businesses can identify not only the quantity of leads but also the quality. For small businesses, mobile offers an incredible opportunity to understand a consumer beyond their physical location and actually analyze how they behave.  It is becoming common today for consumers to look up a business on a smartphone and then either call directly from the same device, map a store location or visit a physical storefront – all leads that can be tracked.

Businesses today have a myriad of options across screens, devices and channels to reach consumers.  Ultimately, success is defined by the ability to make a connection with the right consumer at the right time.  Advertising is after all an investment, and if you want to grow your business, it’s an investment that will pay strong dividends when done properly.

About the Author: Jeff Federman works at YP (formerly YellowPages.com). He is Senior Vice President/General Manager in YP’s digital region, responsible for online and mobile advertising solutions for small businesses.

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How to Launch a Successful SMS Campaign http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/16/sms-marketing-infographic/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/16/sms-marketing-infographic/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:43:23 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12147 Did you know that some studies show the average email is responded to in 48 hours, but the average text message is responded to within 2 minutes? That should give you a sense of the ongoing impact SMS has on our lives. If you’re interested in learning more about how to set-up, launch and run...

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Did you know that some studies show the average email is responded to in 48 hours, but the average text message is responded to within 2 minutes?

That should give you a sense of the ongoing impact SMS has on our lives.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to set-up, launch and run a successful SMS campaign, check out the infographic below brought to us by our friends at SlickText.com. It’ll provide you all the tools, tips and techniques you need to launch your next SMS campaign.

 

SMS-Marketing-Campaign-Components

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How to Use Visual Storytelling to Drive More Traffic to Your Website http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/14/visual-content-marketing-secrets-2/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/14/visual-content-marketing-secrets-2/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 15:03:05 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12135 Are you trying to find ways to drive more traffic to your website? Research indicates that consumers receive about 3,000 digital marketing messages in any given day. That’s a bit overwhelming, so the objective for your business is to figure out how to stand out from the other 2,999 marketing messages your prospect may be...

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Are you trying to find ways to drive more traffic to your website?

Research indicates that consumers receive about 3,000 digital marketing messages in any given day. That’s a bit overwhelming, so the objective for your business is to figure out how to stand out from the other 2,999 marketing messages your prospect may be receiving.

The good news is that consumers want to be informed, so all is not lost. What’s more, they want to engage with your brand in highly-visual ways, which provides you an opportunity to differentiate your brand from your competitors’ brands.

Perhaps this quote says it best: “Next to hunger and thirst, our most basic need is for storytelling.” – Khalil Gibran

Visual storytelling communicates a story – persuasively and emotionally – using visual media. It can utilize a mix of imagery, infographics, video, motion graphics, photography or audio. And these storytelling tools have become easier and faster to share across channels.

This is important for marketers. According to a study by 3M, “90% of the information sent to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.”

A survey from RIO Research found that respondents were 40% more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures. And a study from Simply Measured showed “just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content – photos and videos – saw a 65% increase in engagement.”

This means visual storytelling spurs engagement, gets noticed and drives results.

Visual concepts are emotional and logical. They’re informative and compelling. They have a purpose and make a statement. It’s not just one big campaign, rather an ongoing conversation with your audience.

Image of Visual Storytelling

The best visual storytelling:

  • Tells a story about something your audience didn’t know before, or helps them see something differently
  • Makes their life better in whatever way you define it
  • Is fun and engaging
  • Enables your audience to experience your brand

But truly great storytelling doesn’t happen by chance.

How can you start using visual storytelling in your marketing efforts? Here’s a 3-step plan to getting started:

1. Decide what impact you want to have and how you can provide value.

Your story needs to be relevant both to your organization’s business objectives and the audience. What perspective are you lending that’s fresh and thought provoking? Why should your audience care about your brand or the story you’re presenting?

Start by understanding the challenges and outlining the campaign goals to identify the opportunities for success. Utilize market research to analyze the competitive landscape and brand position. And of course, brainstorm in a collaborative environment.

2. Recruit the right people for the task.

Pulling together the right team is a major component to success. Plan to use writers and visual artists with a track record of crafting a unique voice for a story, and understand how visual media and content work together.

But beyond picking talented people, it’s important to recruit those that have the right approach: story first, tactics second. Whether it’s an army of agencies or an integrated team, they should start understanding the message and use that to drive how they’re told. Be cautious of having a “team” of specialized agencies that are siloed within their own capabilities and goals. If it is truly a good story, consumers won’t be able to tell if its PR or digital, advertising or social media.

3. Rethink your tried and true avenues.

Because social media is perceived to be easy and inexpensive, brands may use this as a safe playground to test ideas. However, going straight to social dilutes a first-time effort. Instead, seek ways to establish visual storytelling techniques within channels your brand controls for greater impact such as a corporate website or blog. It’s better to test and refine your messages within these spaces, before taking it into social for the promotion phase. This gives you a good foundation.

Once you have your story in place on channels your brand controls, validate its truth over time in social media – and back it with what your sales team is talking about in conversation. For example, if a customer interacts with you on Vine, they may look to your website for more information. Give them another touch point to validate your story.

During a recent project we worked with Graham Packaging to retell their story (see example at the bottom of this post). Traditionally viewed as a manufacturing partner, Graham wanted to be perceived as an innovative packaging solutions provider. JPL told the story of how Graham partners with clients visually and in a way that integrated all parts of their offering. No longer perceived as a commodity, the work made an impact quickly and clearly differentiated Graham from its competitors.

Lastly, visual storytelling is crafted over time. And everything is better with a plan. If you follow the steps outlined in this post, you’ll be well on your way towards creating a relevant and traffic-worthy piece of visual communication.

About the Author: Mary Pedersen is the Creative Director at JPL, one of Pennsylvania’s largest full-service, integrated, marketing agencies. JPL provides strategic thinking and creative execution across a full range of services that include brand, digital, marketing, advertising, video production and internal communications.

JPL used visual storytelling to bring Graham Packaging’s “Live Design” Process to life on their website. Pictured, Graham demonstrates how it visually started the conversation, knitting together the process and concepts to convey differentiation. The strategy focused on visual concepts, including custom photography and concise messaging to tell their brand story.

JPL Visual Storytelling Graphic.jpg

 

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What do All Viral Campaigns Have in Common? The Answer May Surprise You. http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/10/viral-marketing/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/10/viral-marketing/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 01:14:36 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12127 Viral marketing is a myth. Though not in the way that I imagine you think I mean. A lot of research and statistical analysis goes into creating viral ad campaigns, so I would argue that virality is not a falsely held idea. Recent campaigns that have gone viral would prove otherwise as well. On the...

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Viral marketing is a myth. Though not in the way that I imagine you think I mean.

A lot of research and statistical analysis goes into creating viral ad campaigns, so I would argue that virality is not a falsely held idea. Recent campaigns that have gone viral would prove otherwise as well.

On the other hand, what I do believe is a falsely held idea is that virality can be predicted, or that there is a “formula” for virality. There are a number of recent campaigns have gone viral without all of the planning and research that goes into other campaigns.

A recent example of this includes the ‘Strangers Kissing’ video that gained 7 million views soon after it was released (it’s now up to 94 million views). However, the intention of this video was not for it to go viral. In fact, clothing company Wren’s founder Melissa Coker explained that the intention was not to make a viral video:

“We make these fashion films every season,” Coker said. “I strive to make them an interesting film that exists on its own rather than something that feels like a commercial, and it seems to be touching people…”

Rather, viral marketing is a myth in the traditional sense of the word: it is a story explaining a social phenomenon. To be truly successful in viral marketing the content must provide a narrative that elicits emotions, answers questions or deals with the social zeitgeist.

The science of emotions has postulated that there are a handful of basic emotions that humans are capable of.

The range of emotion in fact come from the combinations of the these emotions. Robert Plutchik created a wheel of emotions that shows us how these emotions combine together to create multiple layers of emotion.

Plutchik-wheel.svg

I think that rather than talking about ‘viral’ marketing, we should be discussing emotion marketing, and that campaigns should aim to appeal to certain emotions. There are some that we know are more likely to go viral than others, but what we do know is that any strongly elicited emotion will work.

Happiness

Happiness is actually the first emotional action a human makes. Not only that, but it is a shared emotion – we respond to our mother’s smile with a smile of our own. Indeed, happiness makes us want to share, which then enhances the chances of virality. The implication of this is that happiness makes us want to share.

A good example of this is the positive emotions felt during St Patrick’s Day. This is generally a very merry occasion and it is celebrated by 250 million people worldwide. To leverage this positive emotion, Guinness partnered with Guinness World Records on a viral marketing campaign to make 17 March 2012 the friendliest day of the year. They reached 7 million consumers and gained 141,000 new Facebook fans.

Anger and Disgust

Anger makes us stubborn and disgust is meant to be one of the most primal emotions in humans. Disgust is an instinct meant to prevent us from ingesting things that are harmful to us. That reaction evolved into actions that keep us doing things that were against the wishes of our kin group (which could prove dangerous in prehistoric times).

These emotions are therefore also “shareable” – it’s the reason that anytime you smell that your milk has gone off or the biscuits you bought are unpalatable you try to get other people to smell or eat them too.

An example of this was in 2013 when Ovo and Ecotricity rushed to exploit public hostility towards energy price hikes charged by four of the big six energy companies

Fear and Surprise

Fear and surprise enhance connections between people, which is why they are exclamatory emotions. What that means is that the emotion is often expressed externally in order to warn people around you. In prehistoric times, this would have helped the kinship group avoid danger. It also makes us desire something to hold on to if the worst were to happen.

In a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers found that people were more likely to feel affiliation with a brand present during a scary film, implying that fear can enhance brand loyalty. Just as a person would feel attachment to a person, they can feel attachment to a brand during periods of fear and surprise – which is linked to the amygdala, one of the oldest structures in human brain, in evolutionary terms.

This prank in café scared the heck out of customers, but was actually a promotion for the 2013 remake of the film Carrie. The video itself achieved 54 million views, but surely the people who were actually there will never forget it.

In the end, all viral campaigns have one thing in common — they elicit a strong emotional response from the people who see them. Without an emotional component, there’s nothing for people to hang on to, which means there’s nothing for them to share with friends or family.

What are your favorite viral campaigns? Share them with our readers in the comments section below.

About the Author: JonJon Yeung is a digital marketer and is a fanatic about digital marketing, exploring certain subjects in depth and preaching the importance of quality content. He regularly updates himself with the current search trends.
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The 5 Most Powerful Words You Can Use in Your Next Call-to-Action http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/08/powerful-words-in-marketing/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/08/powerful-words-in-marketing/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 22:35:39 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12118 “The World can move, or not, by changing some words.” – Toby Ziegler, White House Director of Communications, The West Wing. Toby Ziegler is a creation of Aaron Sorkin; a writer who has spent his whole career crafting screenplays, like The West Wing, The Newsroom, and movies, like The American President and The Social Network....

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“The World can move, or not, by changing some words.”

– Toby Ziegler, White House Director of Communications, The West Wing.

Toby Ziegler is a creation of Aaron Sorkin; a writer who has spent his whole career crafting screenplays, like The West Wing, The Newsroom, and movies, like The American President and The Social Network.

In his work, every word matters. Every word conveys an important meaning. Change a word or two and the audience will laugh or cry, agree or disagree, shout at the screen or give a standing ovation.

One common thread throughout his work is an appreciation for the craft of writing and a deep respect for the words used, depending on the character and what Sorkin hopes to achieve.

Brands, agencies and e-commerce companies alike need to have the same respect for individual words as award winning screenwriters. A conversion can happen, or not, by changing some words. But unlike Sorkin, copywriters have the chance to test and constantly change the script depending on the impact our words have on a digital audience.

We also have the ability to stop the action with a few words, driving our audiences towards a specific destination: the end of the conversion journey. This means taking time to understand the value of certain words and using them the right way in the content we produce, which is what this article is about.

The Five Most Powerful Words For Calls to Action

There are countless studies online about which words are the most powerful, including dozens on the psychology of language and how that relates to increasing conversions. This is to be expected, given that marketers never stop learning and trying to find new ways to engage with their audience.

One specific group of five words appears again and again, despite some doubt as to the existence of a definitive study which supports their power:

1. Because

Robert Cialdini in his book Influence did tests using language. All of which consistently found that when a “because” was followed by a good reason, people generally respond positively. He demonstrated that:

“ A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”

2. New

With new comes the irresistible pull of the novelty factor. Especially when it comes to products, we need new features to keep us excited, to make us feel alive. This all happens in the same part of our brains responsible for gambling, drug and alcohol addictions, even the reason we have affairs.

We respond the same way to new products, improved features, even new branding and packaging. Using ‘new’ in copy, providing you aren’t just trying to sell old wine in a new skin, will have a noticeable impact on conversions, every time.

3. You

A 2007 study by Carmody and Lewis found that using a customers name in copy causes a  “unique brain functioning activation” response.

Unfortunately when it comes to general web copy or other digital content, you can’t speak to everyone in your audience on a personal level. Which is where the word you comes in; it is as close as you can get online, and gets a similar response, on a psychological level.

4. Free

Everyone loves the word free. The idea of getting something for nothing, providing what you are getting has actual value. A customer getting something they don’t want for free is unlikely to have the kind of positive impact you would be hoping for, so pick your “free” deals carefully.

In Dan Ariely’s insightful book, Predictably Irrational, he tests this theory on a Hershey’s Kiss and a Lindt truffle.

In the first test the truffle was given a value of 15 cents. The Kiss was 1 cent. Based on pre-existing brand and taste perception amongst his taste audience, 73 percent picked the truffle.

img1_15 cent choc

He repeated the test, except this time the Kiss was free. The truffle cost 1 cent less, down to 14 cents. That one tiny change had a massive difference. The Kiss won, with 69% of the audience choosing that, and only 31% still picking the truffle.img2_free choc

5. Instantly

Humans are terrible at waiting. Delayed gratification might be one of the greatest skills when it comes to being successful, as countless studies have shown, but when it comes to making a purchase, we don’t want it tomorrow, we need it, now!

If we can get something, especially something new or at a discount, or even free, then we want it immediately. Several MRI studies have shown the impact of words like “instantly,” “now,” “immediate” or “fast” have on the human brain.

You will have seen these five words used over and over again, because they work, consistently.

How to integrate them into Calls-to-Action and Web Copy

These five words are load bearing. Like the framework and supporting walls in a physical structure they can carry a lot of weight because of the psychological trust placed on them. However, they themselves must be supported the right way, within the framework of the copy and design.

The use of any one of these words, or any number of other high value words which convert, must make sense within the copy itself.

How you use them also depends on the context. Is it within a headline or call to action? Social or SEO? Within headlines, and for SEO purposes, the word needs to be placed early on or right at the start: “Free Wi-Fi for every Rewards Customer this Holiday Season.”

Depending on your SEO aims it might be useful to sprinkle the word throughout (providing it looks like natural web copy), and in the meta, like seasoning. The same is true when aiming for conversions within email marketing, as repetition is key for re-enforcement of the message. Cement and build trust with your audience using these keywords, which are all supported by numerous studies, and reinforce with repetition and clear calls to action.

What words work well with your audience? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

About the Author: Benjamin Kerry is Head of Marketing for Jigoshop. More than 370,000 stores worldwide empower their e-commerce with Jigoshop, a powerful plugin available for WordPress users around the globe.

 

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6 Surprising Facts About the Millennial Consumer http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/03/6-surprising-facts-millennial-consumer/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/03/6-surprising-facts-millennial-consumer/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 22:29:05 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12111 We all think we intuitively “get” the Millennial consumer – hip, digitally savvy 20-somethings who would rather text than talk and who run their lives from their ever-present Smartphones. But a great deal of misinformation exists about Millennials, even as they continue to grow in consumer power and influence. Has their reliance on technology impacted...

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We all think we intuitively “get” the Millennial consumer – hip, digitally savvy 20-somethings who would rather text than talk and who run their lives from their ever-present Smartphones.

But a great deal of misinformation exists about Millennials, even as they continue to grow in consumer power and influence. Has their reliance on technology impacted how they communicate? What influences their purchasing decisions? How do their relationships with friends and family inform other areas of their lives?

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This year, Influence Central set out to get a deeper understanding of Millennials and surveyed more than 1,100 Millennial women born between 1979 and 1993 for their views on everything from technology platforms to purchase habits to privacy in a digital world.

Their responses revealed a complex profile of a rising generation eager to make their own mark in the world around them. Consider these surprising facts about this influential generation:

  1. They Chart Their Own Consumer Journey: Millennials stand out from their Gen X and Boomer predecessors when it comes to their path to purchase. Instead of the linear course of earlier generations, Millennials follow a circuitous approach – filled with fact-gathering, inspiration, browsing, peer education, and more – that all intertwines with one another. Not surprisingly, 58% of Millennials consider themselves very engaged in consumerism.
  1. They Seek Out New Experiences: Millennials – who believe themselves to be intrepid explorers – constantly look for new products, experiences, and adventures that they can spontaneously share. They love to uncover cool new products or trend spot to find their next big adventure. In fact, 53% consider themselves independent thinkers, as well as say they are the first of their peers to try new things.
  1. They Don’t Look for Leadership Opportunities: Despite their quest for adventure, Millennials don’t do it to establish expertise or followers – instead they prefer to stay on more of an equal footing with friends and family as they share information online. Unlike previous generations who sought out leadership opportunities, just 5% of Millennials use social media to be considered an expert, and more than 40% say they don’t measure their personal success against others on social media (28% say they do).
  1. They Proactively Gather Opinions: While Millennials remain independent thinkers, they place considerable value on the opinions of their friends and family members. Before making a purchase, they’ll seek insight from those in the know and query friends, peers, and family members for their thoughts and opinions. In fact, 93% of Millennials have made a purchase after hearing about it from a family member or friend, and 87% trust products after conducting their own research, which typically involves significant crowdsourcing from friends.
  1. They Don’t Share Everything on Social Media: Even though they’ve grown up as the first generation surrounded by social media and technology, Millennials do identify boundaries in what they’ll share publicly. Fifty percent think twice about posting a status update or tweet, and more than 40% say they never check-in on social media. In addition, only 28% of Millennials will post more updates now than they did previously. This online sharing/privacy dichotomy represents an example of the contradictions that exist within this demographic – as well as some of the misinformation that’s out in the marketplace about Millennials.
  1. They Still Value In-Person Connections: This online vs. in-person connection represents another example of how this generation doesn’t fall neatly into buckets. While Millennials may navigate their lives in an online world, they still seek out in-person recommendations, and this feedback does influence their purchasing decisions. For example, nearly 70% seek in-person, word-of-mouth recommendations for food and beverage spends, and more than 65% of Millennials look for personal recommendations when considering vacation options.

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Overall, reaching Millennial consumers can represent a challenge for brands because they differ so significantly from the generations that came before them, and the approaches that worked for Boomers and Gen Xers simply don’t resonate with this cohort. But by gaining a better understanding of how Millennials communicate, make purchasing decisions, and interact with friends and family, brands can go a long way in successfully connecting with them.

To listen to a recent Influence Central Webinar on Millennials, click on this audio link and this SlideShare link.

About the Author: Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, is a social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling author. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. You can reach her at stacy@influence-central.com.

 

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How to Generate Leads with Social Media http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/02/generate-leads-social-media/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/02/generate-leads-social-media/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 23:01:28 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12103 Are you interested in using social media to generate leads for your business? It’s not as easy as it may seem at first. Oh, sure, social media is terrific for increasing engagement with your customers and might even do a good job building awareness for your brand. But if you need to generate leads for...

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Are you interested in using social media to generate leads for your business?

It’s not as easy as it may seem at first. Oh, sure, social media is terrific for increasing engagement with your customers and might even do a good job building awareness for your brand. But if you need to generate leads for your business, I’d suggest exploring paid search or online display before using social media.

All that said, you might find the infographic below of interest. It was created by the good folks at QuickSprout and contains some really interesting facts about generating leads with social media.

Check it out. And be sure to add a comment or two if you’ve been successful at using social media to generate leads for your business. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

howtogenerateleadswithsocialmedia

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Five Rules of Grammar You Can Ignore (Despite What Your English Teacher Told You) http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/01/review-of-everybody-writes-by-ann-handley/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/12/01/review-of-everybody-writes-by-ann-handley/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 01:54:42 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12096 One of the nice things about my job is that I receive a lot of free books from well-known marketing authors like Erik Qualman, Dave Kerpen and Lon Safko. Usually, these are shipped to me direct from the publisher in the hopes that I’ll read them and write a review on the 60 Second Marketer....

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One of the nice things about my job is that I receive a lot of free books from well-known marketing authors like Erik Qualman, Dave Kerpen and Lon Safko. Usually, these are shipped to me direct from the publisher in the hopes that I’ll read them and write a review on the 60 Second Marketer. As nice as it is to get the free books, I just don’t have the bandwidth to read each one, let alone write a review.

But a few weeks ago, I received a review copy of Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, who is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. My intent was to sit down, skim a few pages and then put it up on the shelf with all the other review copies I’ve received in the last year.

So, I grabbed a fresh cup of coffee and started reading a few pages. Then I read a few more pages. And a few more pages.

Before long, I realized that Ann’s book is a must read for any businessperson interested in improving their writing. And that means you.

Her book is packed with useful information and helpful tips that even seasoned writers need to re-visit. Better still, Ann’s book is written in a light, engaging style that makes reading it pure joy.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a short excerpt from her book that you might find helpful. It’s about five grammar rules that your third grade teacher said never to break, but that Ann Handley says are okay to ignore.

Break Some Grammar Rules. (At Least These Five.)

High school composition classes tend to lump a lot of rules into writing – many of them telling writers what not to do. But you’re not writing to please your teachers anymore. Many of those prohibitions refer to the so-called mistakes that occur naturally in speech. I encourage you to safely and fearlessly break those rules and to make those mistakes in writing – but only when doing so lends greater clarity and readability.

  1. Never start a sentence with and, but, or because. And why not put and, but, or because at the beginning of a sentence? Because Ms. Dolan didn’t like it? That’s the way I heard it, anyway. But now that I’m a grown-up I realize that she was wrong. Why? Because all three can add energy and momentum to a piece. They can keep the action moving from sentence to sentence.
  2. Avoid sentence fragments. It’s perfectly fine to sparingly add sentence fragments for emphasis. At least, sometimes. (Like that.) (And that too.) (And this.)
  3. Never split infinitives. There’s supposedly a rule that says you can’t let anything come between to and its verb. Mignon Fogarty (who runs GrammarGirl.com) says this is an imaginary rule. She writes, “Instead of ‘to boldly go where no one has gone before,’ the Star Trek writers could just [as] easily have written, ‘to go boldly where no one has gone before.” But they didn’t. You, too, can split if you wish. But be careful not to change the meaning or create too much ambiguity, as GrammarGirl notes:

Sometimes when you try to avoid splitting an infinitive you can change the meaning of a sentence. Consider this example:

Steve decided to quickly remove Amy’s cats.

The split infinitive is “to quickly remove,” but if you move the adverb quickly before the infinitive, you could imply that Steve made the decision quickly:

Steve decided quickly to remove Amy’s cats.

  1. Don’t end a sentence with a preposition. It has been said that after an editor changed his sentence so it wouldn’t end with a preposition, Winston Churchill quipped, “This is the kind of impertinence up with which I shall not put.” Awkward. “This is the kind of impertinence I will not put up with,” is perfectly fine. One big unless: “You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition when the sentence would mean the same thing if you left off the preposition,” GrammarGirl notes. “That means ‘Where are you at’ is wrong because ‘Where are you?’ means the same thing.
  1. Never write a paragraph that’s a mere one sentence long. In school, I was taught to write paragraphs with no fewer than three sentences and no more than seven. Modern marketing has pretty much choked this one dead, because white space helps online readability tremendously.

But it bears emphasizing: one sentence, set apart, is a great way to make an important point crystal clear.

I’m not kidding.

Everybody Writes, by Ann Handley, is available at fine bookstores everywhere.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. Copyright (c) 2014 by Ann Handley. All rights reserved. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.

Jamie Turner is CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with well-known brands around the globe.

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The Best Business Advice I Ever Got http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/11/26/best-business-advice-i-ever-got/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/11/26/best-business-advice-i-ever-got/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:57:10 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12083 I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for tips and techniques to grow my business. In order to stay up-to-date on new tips and techniques, I read a lot of books from authors like Steven Covey and Tony Robbins (yes, Tony Robbins, who gets pegged as a motivational guy, but who is actually...

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Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 5.58.40 PMI don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for tips and techniques to grow my business.

In order to stay up-to-date on new tips and techniques, I read a lot of books from authors like Steven Covey and Tony Robbins (yes, Tony Robbins, who gets pegged as a motivational guy, but who is actually a super-brilliant businessman).

I also read a lot of blogs (Michael Hyatt, Razor Social, Business Insider, etc.) and newspapers (the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are my favorites, although I don’t always have a subscription).

Long story short — I have a steady flow of ideas coming my way about how to improve my business and how to improve my personal performance. Many of these ideas are delivered by people who have had massive amounts of success, so I listen to them closely.

But the best piece of business advice I ever got was from my brother, who is not a Wall Street icon or a famous blogger, he’s a very humble guy who goes to church every day and works as a piano technician.

From those humble roots came this game changing business advice, which is deceptive in its simplicity, yet revolutionary in its scope.

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Let me explain.

As you know, software works by taking a line of code, executing that line and then moving on to the next line of code.

The best software has millions of lines of code that continuously build upon one another. The result is that the software runs amazing things like space ships, Google, your smartphone, nuclear power plants and other important stuff.

But if the first line of code is wrong in any of that software, then the whole thing goes kaput.

In other words, no matter how well-written and smart lines 2 through infinity are, if the first line of code is wrong, the it doesn’t matter what the rest of the code says to do — it just doesn’t add up.

Many people in business (myself included) need to examine their first line of code. After all, if your business decisions are made with an errant first line of code, then no matter how good the rest of your business decisions are, they won’t do squat for your business.

Let’s take a look at some flawed first lines of code:

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I’m sure there will be a few people who disagree with my point-of-view that these are flawed first lines of code. After all, don’t all successful businesses put their customers first? (The answer is no.) And don’t businesses always succeed when they have happy employees? (Again, the answer is no.) And shouldn’t you always enter in to agreements that are win/win? (No — There are times where I’ve intentionally been the loser in an agreement in the short run, in order to ultimately have a win/win arrangement in the long run.)

That’s not to say that those lines of code shouldn’t be in your mix, it’s just to say that it shouldn’t be your first line of code.

So, what’s your first line of code?

The answer is going to vary depending on your industry, the company you work for  and the job you’ve been assigned to do. But my first line of code — as the CEO of a marketing communications firm — is this.

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This line of code is so important that I have it written on the white board in my office as a reminder. After all, I’m just like you in that I get distracted, side tracked and unfocused at times.

In fact, I probably suffer from that more than you do, which is why I have my first line of code written on a white board 3 feet from the tip of my nose.

Why is this line of code so important for me? Because if I don’t have a relentless focus on revenue generation for my company, then I don’t have customers or employees to worry about tomorrow.

Remember, there are other lines of code that follow this one — millions, in fact. But the first line of code (for me, anyway) has to start with revenue generation. After all, without revenues, your company doesn’t grow, and if your company isn’t growing, it’s dying.

All this begs the question — what’s your first line of code? What, given your role, is the first thing you should be thinking about as you execute your job?

Let me know in the comments below — it’ll be great to read them!

 

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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How to Differentiate Your Brand by Accepting Mobile Payments http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/11/25/mobile-payment-solutions/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2014/11/25/mobile-payment-solutions/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 02:36:32 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12073 A study conducted by BIA Kelsey revealed that 40 percent of small businesses relied on mobile payments to facilitate customer transactions in 2013, and that an additional 16 percent planned to incorporate it into their operations this year. Though accepting payments without investing in pricey point of sale equipment is a clear benefit to business...

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A study conducted by BIA Kelsey revealed that 40 percent of small businesses relied on mobile payments to facilitate customer transactions in 2013, and that an additional 16 percent planned to incorporate it into their operations this year.

Though accepting payments without investing in pricey point of sale equipment is a clear benefit to business owners, mobile payments can also serve as a tangible marketing message that differentiates your business and appeals to customers.

Here’s a look at how accepting mobile payments can be transformed into a marketing message your customers can embrace.

Mobile payments allow customers to pay with what’s in their wallet. Though much has been made of the so-called “interchange fees” merchants bear when accepting customer credit cards as a form of payment, part of serving customers is giving them the payment options they want to use, despite the potential costs of business it may include.

In fact, according to this infographic by Community Merchants USA, nearly 60 percent of small businesses are regularly asked if they accept credit cards by customers, and nearly 70 percent of customers ages 18 to 34 will only shop with merchants that take credit cards.

What’s the bottom line on all that? When you accept mobile payments, you communicate that customer convenience is a top priority.

Mobile payments showcase a seamless customer experience. Though Apple’s retail stores were among the first to demonstrate that a checkout experience didn’t have to include a fixed point-of-sale register (or a line), the idea hasn’t caught on to the benefit of consumers in mainstream retail. (In fact, some retail experts hypothesize that major retailers keep checkout lines long to increase the likelihood of impulse buys.)

But as researchers at Duke University have found, customers truly dislike checkout lines, particularly when they perceive them as slow moving, based on the amount of people waiting.

As a result, mobile payments are a competitive advantage for small business owners. By equipping every member of a small business’s staff with a mobile device that is ready to accept payments, consumers can complete their sale from anywhere in the store, as soon as they decide to purchase.

Image with data about mobile payments

Mobile payments take your business to the customer. When point-of-sale equipment is affixed at the counter, both business and customer are limited in the potential for a customer-oriented experience that delivers superior convenience and leads to an ongoing relationship.

By contrast, when a business accepts mobile payments, it becomes equipped to meet customers where they are, for a complete brand integration into customers’ daily lives, whether it includes a presence at local events, festivals, fundraisers, or expanding the reach of a physical storefront with strategically located pop-up shops.

Because mobile payments allow a business to process customer transactions at such locations by whatever payment method they choose, the experience ultimately results in one that is a benefit to the customer.

Mobile payments eliminate the need to track receipts. Major retailers have begun to tighten their return policies, reportedly in an effort to crack down on the multibillion-dollar problem of fraudulent returns.

Despite that, the policies are driven by a legitimate business reason — requiring a hard-copy receipt in order to return or exchange merchandise puts the burden on the honest customer.

When a business accepts mobile payments, customers choose to receive their transaction receipt by email or text message. Should they need to return an item, that same receipt is easily retrieved on the customer’s mobile device. In addition, the business can quickly retrieve the same mobile sales record, to process the return or exchange.

Thanks to the flexibility mobile payments allow, the entire experience can take place sans the wait in a customer service line.

Mobile payments allow you to leverage a tool customers trust. Javelin Strategy & Research recently reported mobile sales now exceed $60 billion, and that consumer purchases made on a mobile device have reached an all-time high. By accepting mobile payments, businesses can communicate a customer-centric service attitude and establish a sense of “sameness” and familiarity. In addition, it shows that you understand the tools your customers use, and have made it a business priority to deliver their preferred checkout experience when they interact with your brand.

Studies conducted by Consumer Reports and the Baymard Institute have shown that consumers are less likely to abandon online shopping carts and more willing to purchase from websites that feature familiar privacy and site security logos. By “piggybacking” on the trust consumers have already demonstrated by using their mobile devices for commerce, your mobile payment acceptance may facilitate a similar level of perceived trust.

About the Author: Kristen Gramigna, the Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, is constantly teaching business executives about the ease of mobile payments and also serves on its Board of Directors. She has more than 15 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing.

 

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