Archive for ‘General Marketing’

November 12th, 2014

Why Bose Should Invest in Fan Conversation, Not Lawyers

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NFL fans suddenly have a lot to say about Bose headphones. Unfortunately for the brand, none of it is going to help them increase sales.

The NFL confirmed last week that Bose would be exercising its right as the league’s “official audio provider” to keep rival headphones out of the picture. From now on, you won’t be seeing your quarterback wear Beats by Dre headphones during any post-game interviews. Instead, the only headphones you’ll see onscreen from a player’s pre-kickoff ritual to 90 minutes after the game, between pre-season training and the Super Bowl, will be Bose.

Not because the players prefer the brand. Because they are contractually forbidden from wearing anything else.

Not surprisingly, Bose’s heavy-handed marketing tactics aren’t sitting well with either of the company’s main target groups: NFL fans and audiophiles.

“Just think of wearing Bose headphones as an NFL player like wearing a McDonald’s visor while [you are) working the drive-through,” wrote one commenter on Endgadget.

“Better sound through marketing,” quipped another on Deadspin.

Ouch.

Bose makes a great product. I have three pairs myself. However as the C.E.O. of a word-of-mouth marketing agency, it pains me to see good brands start bad conversations about themselves. The key to word-of-mouth marketing is getting consumers to share stories about why they love your product or service. There are a few simple steps to making that happen—and not one of them is “use lawyers.”

If you want people, particularly influencers, to share stories about your brand, you need to give them stories that check three boxes. These stories must be interesting, relevant and authentic. Influencers—people who love to tell others about the coolest stuff to buy and do—don’t share stories that they don’t think will be interesting and relevant to their listener. Otherwise they risk boring them and losing their audience (influencers need an audience like football fans need large-screen TVs).

But most important, a shareable brand story must be authentic. “All my friends swear by their Samsung Galaxy.” “My grandmother says that the Bissell Sweeper is the only sure way to get Christmas tree needles out of that rug.” “Every cop I know swears by his Maglight so they must be tough.”

There is nothing authentic about forcing professional athletes to wear your headphones. No audiophile or NFL fan will ever tell his friends to try these headphones because he saw a linebacker switch brands to avoid paying a league fine. Today’s sophisticated consumer knows the difference between an authentic endorsement and a paid-for visual. It’s the former that gains more customers, not the later.

The truly sad part is that Bose has long built its reputation on world-class audio engineering and then having consumers share their experiences with others. Remember those little cards about Bose that the company includes in each case so when someone asks you about your headphones you can share the info with them quickly and get back to what you are doing?

I can’t recall a single celebrity spokesperson who made me want to buy a Bose product but I do know a dozen business travelers and/or musicians who travel more than I do and they all use and talk about Bose so that’s why I bought mine.

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At the heart of Bose’s brand is a very authentic story: “People who really know music will pay more to have the best equipment.” Finding ways to have more conversations with consumers about that story is a better use of resources than taking away players headphones like some kind of elementary school hall monitor.

Better sound through marketing, as the Deadspin commentator put it, that’s the other guy’s game. The biggest knock on Beats by Dre has always been that the sound doesn’t match the hype. Thus Bose is already well positioned to dethrone its competitor—it just has to do what it does best, which is make great headphones, and encourage Bose fans to share with others why they love Bose.

Of course, Beats is currently the 800-pound-gorilla of the headphone world. It owns 61 percent of the over-$100 headphone market, whereas Bose owns just 22 percent, according to market research firm NPD Group. People also used to buy a lot of Reebok Pumps, Chrysler cars and listen to disco. This too shall pass.

Why rely on rule of law when you could rely on referrals from friends, which we all know in the social-media age is far more effective than traditional, top-down marketing? Bose should be using its money to live up to its slogan and encourage others to share what is interesting, relevant and authentic about their product. That is the path to success in today’s market.

Ted Wright is CEO of Fizz, a word-of-mouth marketing firm in Atlanta, Georgia. His book, Fizz: Harness the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth, is now available at fine book sellers nationwide.

 

 

 

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Archive for ‘General Marketing’

November 10th, 2014

7 Secret Ingredients of an Impeccable Sales Email

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Email is the first port of call for most sales and marketing teams in the B2B realm owing to its ease of use, comparatively low technology requirements, and the quick turnaround time that it affords.

Whether it is a cold call or a pitch, a follow-up with a lead or nurturing a potential customer, handling an existing customer or offering service to an existing one, email allows marketers to handle each task with élan.

B2C marketing teams are not too far behind in their use of email in their marketing. As a conversion tool, email marketing has proven itself over the years to be highly effective. What’s more, over 52% of all marketers increased their email marketing budgets in 2014.

A recent Email Marketing Benchmarks Study by eMarketer reports that: “The average order value from customers acquired via email is also 17% higher than those acquired from social media channels.”

Email marketing is easy to measure and analyze, which makes it unparalleled in its ability to help us understand where sales are coming from. And email marketing makes sense for both the B2C world and the B2B world. After all, the final readers in both cases are individuals so the effect of media channels on them ought to be similar.

What follows are 7 secrets you can use in your email marketing to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

  1. Get inside the mind of your prospective customers

An email campaign is only as good as the research that goes into it.

In a B2B scenario, study your client’s business inside out. Understand what their pain points are, what their victories were, what they are currently working on. All of these will help you get a sense of what to offer to the client and be more relevant to their immediate needs.

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A B2C campaign needs to send targeted communications to its users based on the wealth of big data that they have at their disposal. An email campaign promoting women’s running shoes to a male athlete is a waste of time and effort. Worse, it tells the user that you have no clue about their real needs, prompting them to ignore future communications that you send them.

Track users across different interfaces and loop data back into personalized emails.

Whether online or in physical stores, you can track user behavior and profiles to deep levels these days. Click tracking, browsing behavior or actual purchases tell you a lot about each individual user.

Use this information in creating personalized emails for your customers. After all, studies show that relevant, personalized communication results in higher conversions.

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Source: Monetate
  1. Use a real person’s name in the “from” field to increase opens by 33%

It pains me every time I receive email from excitingoffers-noreply@some-site-on-behalf-of-some-other.com. If your subscribers don’t see the name of your site, app, or CEO (best) in the Sender field of your email, why should they waste time in opening it? If at all it chances to beat their spam filters, it probably won’t even register in their minds.

Customers tend to not bother opening emails that they think are from unknown people or brands they have never interacted with. According to a study by Marketing Sherpa:

“A ’from name’ test showed a 33% increase in Open Rates, by using a person’s name and not a brand. But it also resulted in a 150% increase in Unsubscribes.”

Use your CEO’s name if she is a recognizable personality, for the ‘From’ field in your emails. Go with your brand name if that is more recognizable. A trusted, known name is always a better deal than random unknown email ‘From’ names.

While marketing agencies like Distilled (Will Critchlow), QuickSprout (Neil Patel) and WordStream (Larry Kim) put this practice to good use, it’s a great sight to see a major brand like Ralph Lauren building connections in this way.

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Imagine opening your inbox and seeing a direct mail from the CEO you adore, of a brand you love and use!

  1. Make sure your content is scintilating

You might get the subject line spot on and make a customer curious enough to open your email. But if your content is not worthwhile, it will ensure future emails from your brand don’t get opened.

Equip your B2C emails with a strong headline that clearly communicates the gist of the email. The content of the email should have a clear offer, pricing information (if appropriate to the stage of communication) and an unmissable, unambiguous Call to Action.

A B2B email should begin with a strong opening line that makes a connection with the reader instead of wasting the opening line on boring self-introductions that the user couldn’t care less about.

  1. Offer the user something special to entice them to read

82.4 billion B2C and 100.5 billion B2B emails are sent every single day. An average user is inundated with an avalanche of unsolicited and spammy emails on a daily basis.

If you want your communication to stand out, offer the user something special, something that would prompt them to look forward to hearing more from you.

This can be in the form of valuable information like research studies, infographics or whitepapers. It could even be really attractive deals and monetary enticements like discounts, freebies, referral bonus, extra loyalty points, and so on.

  1. Create a sense of urgency with time-bound offers

However great an offer maybe, unless there’s an end-date to it, no customer is pushed to whip out their wallets right away.

This email from TigerDirect has the right combination of a strong headline, an offer that creates a real sense of urgency, and a call to action button that it is loud and clear.

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To make sure your email communication inspires action immediately, create time-bound offers while clearly spelling out when the offer expires. Similar tactics like ‘Limited stock’ offers or special deals for the ‘first 50 customers’ make users want to capitalize on the opportunity while it lasts.

  1. Increase your reach by including social sharing buttons

A truly great sales email inspires users to share it with friends and family who have similar interests. Nudge them to do this by including social sharing buttons alongside each key piece of information. It could be a tweetable quote, a tempting offer shareable on Facebook, or a cute image they can’t resist pinning.

Another great way to ensure visibility to users above and beyond your mailing list is to include a prominent ‘forward to friends’ button on your email.

Typetec encourages users to forward the email to their friends using a prominently placed button in a contrasting color at the top right of the email.

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  1. Increase open rates 50% by using triggered emails

Remarketing company SaleCycle estimates that abandoned shopping carts will cost $3 trillion in online sales in 2014. But there’s a simple and extremely effective way of bringing back customers who ditched your site – triggered emails sent within hours of shopping cart abandonment.

Triggered emails are those you send out based on the behavior or profile data of your site visitors or customers. According to the Epsilon Email Trends and Benchmarks Study 2013, open rates for triggered emails stand at about 50%, while CTRs are around 10% (double that of business-as-usual emails).

In fact, SaleCycle found that such triggered emails for abandoned shopping carts yield revenues ranging from $15.23 (fashion & lifestyle category) to $ 1.48 (food & drink category) per email sent out.

Nordstrom keeps it simple and classy. Their cart abandonment email shows an image of the abandoned item and offers a prominent click through link directing the user to the product page to complete the transaction.

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An effective triggered email for abandoned shopping carts should be extremely personalized with the user’s name, details of the product left behind in the cart, a link and images of the product left behind and a clear call to action encouraging users to retrieve the abandoned cart before it expires. Abandoned cart emails are usually sent out in sets of 2 to 3 emails, with the next set of emails containing a small incentive like a discount or free shipping to entice an immediate purchase.

There’s still room for early adopters in this space. Adopt an integrated email tool like GetResponse’s auto-responder to configure triggers that make sense to your brand, schedule your message cycles, and template out what you want to say in each of them.

Closing Thoughts

Break down your brand’s marketing lifecycle and device-specific email communication strategies using the secrets mentioned above as the foundation for your plans. Once you have the overall direction chalked out and the routes planned, it’s only a matter of following the signs and driving through to your final destination. Here’s to many happy journeys ahead!

Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. His posts are featured on major online marketing blogs such as Moz, Search Engine Journal and Social Media Today. Rohan hangs out round the clock on Twitter @searchrook – hit him up any time for a quick chat.

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Archive for ‘General Marketing’

November 9th, 2014

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Social Media Campaign

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Going social is perhaps the best thing that can happen to your business – you get instant access to millions of visitors so that all you have to do is create and deliver an effective business message. Social media marketing is growing increasingly popular, and rightly so. If done correctly, it can do wonders for your business.

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Measuring the Effectiveness:

But how do you know if your social media strategy is effective? How do you measure it’s success? Well, here are a few pointers to help you out:

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  1. Check Engagement of Fans:

While the number of fans can be a measure of your marketing success, a more accurate measure would be how much your fans are interacting with your page/profile – number of likes, shares, retweets and pokes can be an indication of how effective your campaign is.

The logic is simple. The more your fans engage with your brand, the more interested they’re in your business, and the more likely they will be to buy your products.

  1. Check Traffic To Your Website:

The primary aim of any social medial marketing campaign is to send traffic to your website. So check your statistics (through Google Analytics) to see how much of your traffic is coming from social platforms, and is there any increase since the time you’ve intensified your social campaigns.

At times, it may so happen that you get truckloads of traffic, but your website is not ready to handle it. So get your website ready first. You could opt for cloud hosting as it is flexible enough to handle sudden spikes in traffic.

  1. Check Conversions:

Getting traffic is great, but what if they’re useless to you? The next thing to do is to check if your visitors are taking the desired action. I say desired action because the aim of the marketing campaign may not always be to make a sale. It could also be to make them download an e-book, participate in a contest, or even subscribe to a newsletter. Whatever the aim may be, you’ll need to check that it is being achieved.

If you social media marketing campaign is getting you ample traffic but most of the visitors are bouncing off your website, then it can’t be called a successful campaign.

Choosing the Right Platform:

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There are many things that contribute to the success of any social media marketing campaign, but the most important one is the choice of the platform. Every social media platform has its own features and attracts a certain kind of audience, so if you want to succeed you need to know what suits your business the best.

So how do you make sure that you choose right? Here are a few factors you should consider:

  1. Know Your Audience:

The demographics of your audience plays an important role in choosing the platform. For instance, take a look at the chart below:

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The survey takes into consideration the 5 most popular social platforms to show you the demographics of its users. As you can see, in terms of gender, Pinterest is more popular with women while LinkedIn is more popular with men (I have ignored Facebook numbers here as it’s high for all criteria due to sheer high volume of users). Likewise you can do a study of all the criteria, and then decide which platform fits the demographics of your target customer the best.

  1. Know Your Content:

When you’re on social media, you promote your business through content. So the type of content you create will determine the platform you choose. For instance:

  • Images: If most of your content comprises of images, then image-sharing platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are ideal for you.
  • Videos: If creating awesome videos is your specialty, then you should go for video networks like YouTube, Vimeo and Vine.
  • Posts: If you’re looking at writing engaging posts for your target audience, you should go for Facebook, Twitter or just plain blogging.
  1. Know What You Want:

Do you want to improve SEO? Do you want more people to walk into your store? Do you want to target smaller niches instead of the social giants mentioned above? Do want to make connections with other businesses? Knowing what you want will decide what social platform fits best.

For instance, if you want SEO, then its Google+; if you want walk-ins then you’ll have to join location-based networks like Yelp and FourSquare; if you want smaller niches, then the perfect place to start is Reddit; and lastly, LinkedIn will help you make those vital business connections.

The Top 5 Social Media Platforms:

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Still not too sure? To help you out, here are the top 5 social media platforms and when you should choose them:

  1. Facebook:

Facebook is huge, and this gives you exposure to a much wider audience than any other platform. It is a great platform for sharing interesting posts, pictures and videos that will help the audience connect and engage with your brand better. If that’s what you’re looking for, then go for it.

But there are 2 things that you should keep in mind: First, Facebook is mainly used to connect with friends and family, so it may not (always) be the right place for an out and out promotion campaign. And second, it’s sheer size exposes you to a lot of competition – the newsfeed is perpetually crowded and your message may get lost in all that noise.

  1. Twitter:

Twitter serves to the younger crowd (often referred to as information junkies), and comprises of both men and women. It’s best for those businesses that want to reach out to their audience through announcements, queries and news.

Apart from the character limit (140 characters per tweet), Twitter can be a challenge to those brands that are not equipped to promptly respond to the statements and queries of it’s fans. Twitter is more “in the moment” hang out place so you need to be on your toes.

  1. LinkedIn:

Like I mentioned above, LinkedIn is great for building connections. In addition, you can also establish yourself as an authority in your niche by participating in groups and discussions and giving out expert advice.

Since LinkedIn is not very visual (as compared to the others), it suits best for businesses that offer services rather than products.

  1. YouTube:

If you can create interesting videos that will engage the audience, then you can opt for YouTube. The best part about this channel is that it also has it’s own video-editing software so that you can edit your videos without any hassle.

The biggest drawback here is severe competition. Every day, millions of videos are getting posted on YouTube, out of which at least a few thousands will be similar to what you’re going to publish. So it becomes a difficult job to promote it in a way that it goes viral.

  1. Pinterest:

Pinterest works great for those businesses that can showcase themselves through visuals. So if you have a lot of visuals, or are creative enough to create interesting visuals, you can sign up with Pinterest.

However, one thing to keep in mind here is that the platform mainly caters to women and categories like food and DIY are the most popular.

In Conclusion:

At times, you may come across a situation where you want to use videos as well as images as a part of your content marketing strategy. So you may have to sign up for more than one social platform. That’s no problem at all. In fact, for best results, it is recommended that you promote your business on at least 3-4 social platforms. This ensures that you reach out to a wider audience.

However, do not take on what you can’t handle. Social media marketing is a rigorous process wherein you need to post regular updates and monitor your profiles regularly so that you can respond to comments and queries in a timely manner. So it makes no sense if you sign up for 10 accounts, but fail to keep up with the maintenance of all the 10 profiles. Take on less, and give it your best shot. That way, you’re more likely to succeed.

Have any other inputs you’d like to share? Feel free to comment!

Author Sofia Brooks About the Author: Sofia Brooks is a subject matter expert at IX Web Hosting, and her expertise lies in digital marketing. You can find her at Twitter and Google+

 

 

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Archive for ‘General Marketing’

November 4th, 2014

How to Use Predictive Lead Scoring to Improve Your B2B Sales and Marketing Efforts

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If you’re like most companies, you’re constantly on the hunt for ways to create better alignment between sales and marketing.

When sales are disappointing, marketing blames sales for poor execution on the valuable leads they sourced. Sales, in turn, argues that marketing is spending too much of the budget on activities that generate weak leads. Sales needs more, better qualified leads and it’s marketing’s job to deliver the goods.

How can the two functions not only co-exist, but also work together to meet and exceed company growth and revenue objectives?

In the olden days (4-5 years ago) a marketer may have manually scoured their database, looking for common characteristics (e.g. common job title, industry, etc.) of leads most likely to close. From there, they’d build point-based scoring models based on these basic patterns and behavioral signals—like visiting a pricing page or downloading an eBook—to determine when a lead was ready to be contacted by sales.

A great start, but activity alone proved to be inadequate in predicting whether a prospect was likely to buy.

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Today, predictive lead scoring is helping marketers understand which prospects are most likely to become customers. By looking at a combination of a company’s native data (closed and won opportunities from a CRM) and thousands of data signals across the public web, predictive solutions can identify the digital fingerprint of your ideal customer.

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With these insights, marketers can improve demand gen with better targeting, and expedite the qualification process by automatically grading leads based on how closely they match the target profile. Using this grade, sales can prioritize follow-up with a more complete customer profile for each lead, and an understanding of which leads show the highest propensity to buy.

But how can you know when you’re ready for predictive lead scoring?

To help guide you, we’ve compiled a list of 5 signals that indicate your company’s ready for predictive lead scoring:

  1. You want a more accurate sales pipeline
    With predictive pipeline forecasting, sales can get a scientific reality check on the pipeline instead of the old “we’ve got 4x, so we’re good” method.
  2. You have upwards of 300 inbound leads a month and need help prioritizing
    Predictive lead scoring will show your reps which leads to call on first, and which can be nurtured.
  3. You have hundreds, if not thousands of leads in your database
    Predictive lead scoring can show you which leads should be passed to sales for qualification and which can stay in a nurture stream.
  4. You have large sales goals to meet
    Rather than trying to stuff the funnel with more leads or adding additional headcount to meet the goals, give your sales reps better prioritization of existing leads. They will close more deals faster.
  5. Marketing wants to know where to invest their budget
    With predictive lead scoring marketing will see which campaigns are bringing in the highest quality leads in real time.

If any (or all) of the above are true for your organization, it’s time to consider integrating predictive lead scoring technology. Sales benefits from higher quality leads and improved efficiency, marketing sees better ROI from their investments, and—aligned around what constitutes a quality prospect—the two functions can finally exist in harmony. It’s a win-win-win.

About the Author: Doug Camplejohn is the CEO and Founder of Fliptop, a leader in Predictive Analytics applications for B2B companies. Before Fliptop, Doug founded two companies, Mi5 Networks and Myplay, and also held senior roles at Apple, Epiphany and Vontu.

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Archive for ‘General Marketing’

November 3rd, 2014

How to Calculate the ROI of Your Landing Page with Google Analytics

Landing Page ROI

When I got my start in marketing, measuring the effectiveness of an advertising or marketing campaign was difficult. If you weren’t using direct mail or direct response TV, the ability to calculate the ROI of your campaigns came down to guesswork.

Oh, sure, we all claimed we were tracking the results of our campaigns, but the truth was that if you ran a TV, radio, print or outdoor campaign that didn’t have a direct response component in it, then the only way to see if the campaign worked was to measure the lift in overall sales.

That may sound simple enough, but the minute an ad agency said, “We ran a TV campaign last month and year-over-year (YOY) sales increased 5%,” everybody and their uncle claimed responsibility.

The sales team would jump in and highlight the fact that they ran a sales promotion at the same time. And then the public relations people would jump in and talk about their efforts. It seemed like even the people reporting the weather had a claim on the increase in sales — after all, warm, sunny weather can have a very real impact on just about any business.

Only 1/3rd of Marketers Measure the ROI of Their Campaigns

The good news for most marketers is that digital campaigns can be measured much more easily than ever before. If you track the results of your campaigns and know a few simple formulas, then you can calculate the ROI of your efforts pretty easily. (For more on this topic, read An In-Depth Guide on How to Calculate the ROI of Your Social Media Campaign on the 60 Second Marketer blog.)

Given the simplicity of measuring the ROI of a digital marketing campaign, it’s surprising that more people don’t do it — in fact, according to some studies, only 1/3rd of all marketers measure the ROI of their campaigns.

With that in mind, we thought we’d share the inforgraphic below, brought to us by our friends at Formstack. It provides some key tips and techniques you can use to calculate the ROI of some of your campaigns.

Enjoy the infographic. More importantly, put it to use!

 

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