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Some key theme for Marketers to think about: Mobile, Global and Local (Mo-Glo-Lo). Lots of data here.
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Once a week or so , we will try and share 'what's in the news' about Marketing Automation, Digital Marketing and Engagement Marketing... Maybe even Big Data too. How Marketers Can Seize the Mobile Moment CIO A new report by Forrester says marketers and advertisers cannot afford to shun mobile. People are consuming mobile content more than ever. However, only two percent of online shoppers want to see offers from brands on their mobile devices. One of the mistakes marketers make is delivering content that markets products. The smartphone is very personal, and mobile users don't want to turn their device into a billboard for advertisers. Marketers who don't heed this advice are doomed to get abysmal conversion rates. How to Create a Data-Driven Marketing Team Computer World To succeed as a data ready enterprise, companies are faced with the imperative of building a data-driven marketing team that can put massive amounts of data to work. Interestingly, the biggest obstacle to creating a data-driven culture is a lack of leadership. Most people are afraid of data and are afraid of being involved in situations where they don’t know the numbers and don’t understand how the data represents their business. 80 Percent of Marketers Will Increase Digital Budgets in the Year Ahead Direct Marketing News According to the Direct Marketing Association’s “2015 Statistical Fact Book,” four out of five marketers will increase their spend on digital this year and 45 percent will focus on social media marketing as their biggest area of opportunity. Email marketing came in second as it was seen as continuing to deliver exceptional ROI because people continued to respond positively to the commercial messages that reached their inboxes. Most importantly, 77 percent of respondents said they'd likely buy more if their mail was personalized, and 69 percent said they were willing to share more personal information in return for that relevancy.
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Note: This content was provided by our Partner,  Elixiter, Inc. What are Media Queries? Media queries act as a trigger for a conditional portion of CSS (cascading style sheet). They have three main components: the media type, the text expression (condition), and the styles to display if the condition is met. Let’s break down the media query into its parts: Media Type The media type has four main options: all, print, screen, and speech. For email, you will be using the “screen” option to target specific devices. Condition Think of the condition as your “if” statement. For example, “if screen size is less than 480px, then display these styles.” Your condition can be based on multiple features such as: width, height, aspect-ratio, device-width, and color. For targeting devices, you will most often use width (max or min), device-width (max or min), and device-pixel-ratio (aspect ratio). Styles The styles that you place within your media query function the same as any styles outside your media query. However, these styles will only be applied if the condition of your media query is met. Why Use Media queries? With Marketo’s lack of support for regular conditional CSS statements, many of us are required to build fixed width emails, rather than a mobile-first approach. Media queries allow us to target mobile devices, so even though we are building for desktop, our emails still render nicely on mobile devices. The most common issue with mobile emails is horizontal scrolling; the email renders too widely to fit on our devices screen all at once. This can easily be remedied with the use of media queries by making the container of our email fit to 100% of the width of our screen. Now that our email fits nicely across the width of our screen, our text appears very small and difficult to read. Thankfully, with media queries we can target and increase the font sizes used throughout the email. A more advanced use of media queries allows us stack content, and even make some content appear or disappear depending on the device. For example, loading an animation on devices that will render it, while ignoring that animation for all other devices allows for the best degradation. Proceed with Caution As with most features in email and websites, media queries are not supported everywhere. The majority of mobile device’s default email clients will support media queries, while a number of webmail apps for the different operating systems lack support for the feature. It is important to know where your clients are opening your emails to know whether or not media queries are the best fit for your email design.
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FYI: This article originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review​ When business leaders talk about going digital, many are uncertain about what that means beyond buying the latest IT system. Companies do need assets like computers, servers, networks, and software, but those purchases are just the start. Digital leaders stand out from their competitors in two ways: how they put digital to work, especially in engaging with clients and suppliers, and how intensively their employees use digital tools in every aspect of their daily activities. Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) looked at the state of digitization in sectors across the U.S. economy and found a large and growing gap between sectors, and between companies within those sectors. The most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. But what are the key attributes of a digital leader? And how can companies benchmark themselves against competitors? We looked at 27 indicators that fall into three broad categories: digital assets, digital usage, and digital workers. Our research shows that the latter two categories make the crucial difference. Digital assets across the entire economy doubled over the past 15 years, as firms invested not just in IT but in digitizing their physical assets. Digital usage in the form of transactions, customer and supplier interactions, and internal business processes, grew almost fivefold — and over the entire period, the leading sectors maintained an enormous lead in usage over everyone else. But the biggest differentiator of all comes from having a digitally empowered workforce. Over the past two decades, the leading sectors’ performance on various digital labor metrics — such as the share of tasks involving digital tools and the number of new digital occupations — rose eightfold, while the rest of the economy barely ran in place. It is becoming clear that some parts of the economy are playing in an entirely different league. Our research included a new Industry Digitization Index, the first major attempt to measure digital progress and adoption in each sector. The results show uneven progress: The technology sector comes out on top — no surprise there. Right behind it are media, finance, and professional services, all of which have far more sophisticated digital capabilities than the rest of the economy. On top of these macro-level differences, we see that even lagging sectors may have standout firms that are pushing the frontier forward for everyone else. Let us look at each of our three broad index categories in turn. First, digital assets. To benchmark them, the index measures how much companies invest in hardware, software, data, and IT services (whether through outright purchases or contracting with third parties to fill in gaps). We also look at the extent to which companies are digitizing their physical assets — that is, whether they have smart buildings, connected vehicle fleets, and big data or IoT systems that get maximum performance out of equipment, systems, and supply chains. To some extent, digital assets are a story that has been playing out since the 1960s. Retail and financial firms were among the first movers, while today we see mining and manufacturing firms adopting digital technology in a purposeful way, with mobile-enabled tools and IoT-powered devices. One example is Caterpillar’s new S60 smartphone, which comes with built-in thermal imaging capability and is useful for builders, electricians, and utility workers. The focus has also shifted from making long-term capital investments to flexible usage-based operating systems, which explains the rapid growth in cloud-service offerings launched by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Our second category, digital usage, measures the extent to which companies engage digitally with customers and suppliers. Companies in the leading sectors make more extensive use of digital payments, digital marketing, and design-led product development. They are more likely to use software to manage their back-office operations and customer relationships. They take advantage of e-commerce platforms — and may even operate their own. Their underlying business processes make use of social technologies to interact with customers and partners. Burberry, for example, has set the bar among retailers by seamlessly integrating social media and immersive experiences into its physical stores. These usage-related innovations are likely to have profound implications on business models and economics across the value chain in the coming years. What really sets the leaders apart, however, is the third category: the degree to which they put digital tools in the hands of their employees to ramp up productivity. To get an accurate picture, we evaluated more than 12,000 detailed task descriptions to identify those associated with digital technologies. We also estimated the share of workers in each sector in technology-related occupations that did not exist 25 years ago and looked at digital spending and assets on a per-worker basis. The gaps are huge: companies in leading sectors have workforces that are 13 times more digitally engaged than the rest of the economy. In lagging sectors, the digital engagement of the workforce can be erratic; some organizations have made progress in certain areas but have not yet addressed foundational tasks their workers perform. Many health care organizations, for instance, use incredibly sophisticated technology in diagnostics and treatment but substantial parts of their workforce use only rudimentary or no technology. Fewer than 20% of payments to health care providers and their suppliers are done digitally, for example. The striking gaps in digital labor at the sector level, revealed by the Industry Digital Index, are playing out every day at the company level as well. Technology still hasn’t penetrated much of the everyday work performed by many Americans, which means that most businesses are missing opportunities for greater efficiency and better customer experience. Many still need to break out of their old habit of housing “digital talent” in a separate department. Companies increasingly need each employee to bring greater digital skills to bear on every activity. That’s the only way to unleash innovation and capture efficiencies at an institutional level. In some cases, new hires may be necessary, but investing in ongoing employee capability building and cultural change could pay real dividends. For executives, the first step is to identify digital priorities, keeping in mind the overall business transformation needed to maintain a competitive advantage. This requires a renewed external focus to understand more deeply how peers in the industry are digitizing, how customer expectations are changing, and which companies from within or outside the industry can best meet those expectations. Once the gaps are identified, management teams can design strategies to deliver near-term financial impact while starting the process of renewing the digital core. Such a renewal is only possible when leaders take a holistic approach to their companies’ digital assets, usage, and labor. Prashant Gandhi is the global chief operating officer of McKinsey Digital. Somesh Khanna is a director at McKinsey and leads McKinsey Digital in financial services. Sree Ramaswamy is a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute.
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Making the decision to ramp up content production and promotion is the first (and in some ways, easiest) step. There’s a LOT to do once that decision is made, and it’s important that you don’t run out of the steam midway through the effort. A good content program is a train that keeps on going, a car that needs constant refueling, the truck that keeps on trucking—okay, enough, you get the point. For content to be a successful element of your marketing, you have to come up with a plan from the get-go for how you’re going to keep this thing running. This is where most companies falter. Everyone gets really excited at first, no one really owns the who/what/when/where/how/why aspect, and suddenly you’re down to producing sporadic content when someone finally remembers you haven’t done anything in a while. Don’t let this be you. I know you can be better than that. And here, I’m going to help you with a few tips to keep you on the right track (apparently I’m full of endless transportation metaphors). 1.  Establish who is / will be involved Don’t get caught in the infinite “it’s not my job” loop. Identify which team members will handle things like writing and designing the content, posting it or distributing it, and creating the follow-up funnel sequences. Make the expectations clear upfront so everyone knows who’s responsible for what. This step also helps you determine what you can handle in-house and where you might need outside help. 2.  Determine who / how outside writers and resources will be managed Make sure you create a plan for this. Someone should be responsible for securing vendors, working with them, reviewing their work and generally managing the relationships as a whole. Try to keep this streamlined—it can be difficult for contractors to have to deal with several people within your organization, rather than just one point of contact. 3.  Make a plan Know when, where and how content will be distributed or pushed. Be sure to create thoughtful follow-up communications where it makes sense, one that keeps content consumers in your nurture loop. 4.  Create clear processes and workflows This is so important. Like, I can’t stress how important this is. You need a simple way of managing all of your content projects and all the elements involved in each one. Luckily, there are so many sophisticated solutions out there for managing content workflow, and you’ll definitely want to use one of them. At LeadMD, we really like using Kapost , which lets us manage task assignments, deadlines and even ideas for everyone involved in content projects. 5.  Create a content-driven culture The people around you have great ideas for content—they just might not be thinking about it that way. Creating a content culture kind of changes your business a bit. Suddenly, interesting little tidbits become fun ideas for an infographic. A random comment could inspire a great blog post. Consistent questions from customers might make a good white paper. You never know when inspiration might strike, and you should not only encourage people to contribute ideas, but give them an outlet to do so. I mentioned Kapost before. One of the cool things in Kapost is that there’s an actual idea hub where people can contribute ideas, and the content manager can review and approve the ones that work. The road ahead might be bumpy, but with clear directions for how to get on your way, you can help ensure your new content program will never hit a dead end. (Just when you thought I was out of metaphors!)
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This document was provided by our LaunchPoint Partner, Sprinklr. We can't forget that there are good opportunities with paid Social ads.  This contains s tats on the growing paid industry, tips for running a successful paid social campaign, and advice from paid experts at Vodafone, Castrol, and more.
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This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. Read what these experts have to say about Customer Experience: Barry Dalton: Bigger isn't always better in the Customer Business Frank Eliason: The Role of Social Media Customer Service is Changing Andrew Grill: Customer Experience Management in the Age of Social Robert Rose: The Newly Empowered Customer Demands a New Marketing Approach Tim Walters: The Main Problem With CXM is Understanding that CXM is a Problem.
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This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. http://launchpoint.marketo.com/sprinklr/1746-sprinklr/ Landscape overview of social media content today, current challenges facing brands, tips for making your social media content stand out. Plus, articles from content marketing influencers like Joe Pulizzi (Content Marketing Institute), Jason Miller (LinkedIn), and Michael Brenner (NewsCred).
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Note: This guide was provided by our partner, Cake. Topic: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. It is important for every marketer. Understanding mobile analytics is still a challenge for most companies. This white paper aims to outline the new and emerging challenges facing those hoping to monetize the incredible potential of mobile tracking techniques.
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Author: Ellen Gomes According to Statista, there are approximately 1.2 million apps in the Apple App store and 1.3 million apps in the Android App store. So it’s no longer news that there is an app for everything, but it might make you wonder, “Do I need an app?” A question that’s often followed by the conundrum of what app to build, followed quickly by how to build an app and then “what’s my role in building an app?” Don’t let those questions or puzzlement be a deal-breaker or a barrier for you as a mobilemarketer. In this blog, I’ll walk you through evaluating how you can (and if you should) use an app to support your business and how to get the project moving along. Why Build a Mobile App? There are a ton of reasons, but let’s start at the top: mobile apps can support your business goal, whether it’s to extend your product, drive engagement, or support commerce. They provide an opportunity to drive deep engagement with your customers on the device that they use most (who else feels lost without their phone? I know it’s not just me…). Introducing a mobile app into your marketing plan is a critical and strategic move. It’s vital that you integrate its creation into your marketing strategy and that you’re involved in some of the technical aspects of the mobile app creation and implementation. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that the app includes multiple engagement touch-points that create a personal and relevant experience for your customers. Set Your Stakeholder Team So how do you get started? App marketing starts with creating a strategy that addresses and supports your mobile and organizational goals. The first step is evaluating whether a mobile app is right for your business, but to do that, you need to assemble a cross-functional team of stakeholders to determine whether an app will deliver the right type of value. First, you need to assemble your app team. This is often a large committee of involved stakeholders for key decisions, but you may also want to split into sub-groups focused on individual tasks. For example, maybe your engineering and user interface teams act as a sub-committee to project manage the development of your app, while marketing and sales works together to create an effective launch plan for your app. As you think about whom to include in your committee, here is a list of stakeholder groups you should consider: Executive Leadership (CMO, CEO): Supports the initiative with vision and buy-in. Marketing: Supports the initiative with go-to-market planning, app marketing strategy, and customer insights. Sales: If you have a sales team, make sure they support the initiative with customer knowledge and requests. User Interface and User Experience Experts: Support the initiative by providing app flow guidance and design expertise. Product: Supports the initiative by sharing data-based customer insights and market data. They may project manage the app build. Engineering: Supports the initiative by either building the app or helping source good developers to build your app. They may project manage the app build. Determine Your App Goals After you’ve defined your team, the next step is to reach a consensus and define your app’s goals. Defining the goals is important because it will shape how you make key decisions. To start, you and your team need to understand why you want someone to use your app. What is the purpose? The majority of apps boil down to trying to achieve one of these three goals: Acquisition: Your app provides useful functionality in exchange for the user providing contact information. These types of apps are typically promoted in the app store and via paid channels to drive downloads and subsequent sign-up. Engagement: The activities and associated actions in your app drive the user to engage with the app and your brand. These types of apps build relationships and loyalty. Conversion: The activities and actions in these apps may have components of engagement, but ultimately, they drive conversion. Get Started! Once you have determined the primary goal of your app, you and your stakeholder committee have important questions to evaluate and decide. These questions will shape how you go about the production, development, and promotion of your app. These key questions include: What type of app best fits your organization? How should you price your app? Will you design your app in-house or through an app design firm? What is your app development timeline? How will you take your app to market? How will you handle continued feedback and development of your app? I hope this gives you a good start in how to get started in evaluating if a mobile app is right for your business. Interested in learning more about creating your mobile app roadmap? Check out “A Mobile App Primer” for more info on how to get started. Have you created a mobile app? I’d love to hear about your process and how it was similar or different in the comments below.
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By Sean O’Neill Many industries felt the impact of our recent financial crisis, including automotive. Traditionally an integral part of our economy and culture, car sales in once strong markets are in decline due to lack of consumer confidence and changes in the way people buy. Today, more and more people conduct research online instead of visiting car dealerships. These changes in the way people buy have affected the marketing landscape across the board, not just in automotive. With industries such as media, retail, finance, and education, the internet has changed the way people buy and has also led to increased levels of competition. As a result of this surge of information available online, the average buyer now spends more time independently researching purchases instead of visiting more traditional shop-fronts like dealerships. Today, as consumer spend is returning, consumer marketers of luxury goods must do more to attract and engage buyers and maintain loyalty with their brand. For example, one report from management consulting firm McKinsey showed that for an average automobile purchase there are now as little as 1.6 visits to car dealerships compared to the average of five visits from buyers 10 years ago. This is reflective of the challenge for marketing luxury consumer products across the board, where customers are now on multiple channels such as social, web, mobile, and email. In this environment, the physical store has become less important for information gathering. Consumer marketers now need to be wherever their customers are, not just in-store. They need to tie up all those data points and go beyond simply collecting information about potential customers to really keeping these potential customers engaged with the brand over time. To adapt to this changing market, here are three actions marketers can take to maximize the potential for growth: 1. Get Timely Data Like all marketers, those involved in leasing cars, selling insurance, and taking out contracts over several years find a lot of potential for generating new business from targeted and timely messaging. As a consumer marketer, you can align your sales and marketing process in such a way that cross-channel visits are tracked, messaging is automated, and persona-based and timely alerts are sent to sales for follow-up. The best way to do this is by using a marketing automation platform. For example, a challenge like creating an automated process to reach out to lease holders can be solved with marketing automation technology. In this case solving that challenge means that opportunities to help customers find a new car when their lease was coming to an end don’t fall through the cracks. Instead, a marketing automation platform can automatically generate a lead for each lease approaching maturity and send an alert to the account manager involved. So by using the right technologies to analyze interest and interaction and by triggering the right flow of content to engage the buyer, you can significantly increase customer retention. 2. Engage in Linked Multi-Channel Marketing Across almost all industries we see that customers use multiple devices to research and connect with products and services. This is particularly relevant when it comes to consumer-geared businesses; however, aligning a consistent message across all devices—led by insight and tracking all of that data—continues to be a big challenge. In many large organizations, there is often a hodgepodge of different tools, all operating in their own communication silos. By using a full marketing automation suite and not simply a standalone email marketing system, you will create a consolidated approach where it’s possible to connect with potential customers across all of their channels and build a profile based off of all of their interactions. Having this profile in one place helps you communicate with your audience more effectively and personally, making it more likely that they will take action and purchase. Let’s use the example of an automotive dealer. Say it wants to run a campaign targeting those who have purchased cars within a certain timeframe, interested in upgrading their vehicle. The first thing is to send some information on why it would be beneficial to change and what kind of deals they could get. If the dealer relies solely on email, then the messaging might not be consistent when the buyer visits the dealer’s website or social media pages. And if the buyer accesses the content via mobile it should be optimized for mobile. So, the best thing for the dealership to do in this case is to provide consistent and engaging messaging to the user across all of these channels, taking into account the actions they have taken previously. Without linking up all of these channels into one system, the communications will not be personalized and consistent with buyer behavior. If the buyer has received an email and then clicked on the website and then shared a picture of a car with their social network, then they should receive messaging personalized for their stage of the buyer journey. This can only be accomplished by mapping the entire journey. Here’s how this journey can be illustrated: 3. Perform Enhanced Analytics Increasingly, emerging markets are where businesses are now experiencing growth, which means they must improve segmentation by splitting their database into the most meaningful audience for each campaign and deliver more location-specific information. Behavioral data, such as understanding click-through rates, keywords, time spent per page, and repeat visits, is a vital part of creating targeted messaging. With traditional markets slowing, it is more important than ever to find ways to entice potential buyers and upsell to your existing client base. You can do this by tracking both demographic and firmographic data and understanding the value of your content not just at a first touch but at a multi-touch level. First touch attribution is great at giving an indication on campaign performance and how many potential customers have been brought in due to that campaign, but this can give misleading data in today’s world, where buyers don’t engage straight away with the business. Instead, these prospects often touch multiple channels before they engage. So only multi-touch attribution can show marketers the true value of their content on influencing deals over time. Tying It All Together There are several ways to get timely data, implement a multi-channel strategy, and monitor buyer behavior, but by providing one system of record for all of your customer engagement, marketing automation software provides marketers with an easy, centralized way to gain insight into your customer journey. By showing you which content is working for you and what can be enhanced, this will help you decide the best strategies to optimize revenue and accelerate growth for your business. How are you engaging with your customer in a coordinated, cross-channel way? Where are you struggling? Please share in the comments below.
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Quick Event Checklist: Quick Event Checklist – Marketo.com Checklist for Webinars: Managing Successful Webinars: A Marketer’s Must-Have Checklist – Marketo.com Checklist for Setting up Webinars: Managing Successful Webinars - Marketo Checklist Social Media Calendar Template: Your Sample Social Editorial Calendar Worksheets for Lead Generation: Worksheets Marketing Measurement Checklist: The Marketing Measurement Checklist [Infographic] – Marketo.com Email SetUp Checklist: Secret Email Checklist Improve B2B Email Deliverability with Marketing Automation Marketo Email Marketing: Thinking Outside the Inbox Mobile Email Marketing Nine Signs That It's Time to Switch Automation Systems Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Blogging 2015 Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: LinkedIn Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Google+ Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Pinterest and Instagram 2015 Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Twitter 2015 Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Facebook Inbound Marketing Cheat Sheet The Marketing Measurement Cheat Sheet Online Community Cheat Sheet SlideShare Cheat Sheet Podcasting Cheat Sheet Content Marketing Cheat Sheet Lead Nurturing Cheat Sheet Email Deliverability Cheat Sheet Marketing Automation Cheat Sheet Lead Scoring Cheat Sheet B2B Email Marketing Cheat Sheet Landing Page Optimization Cheat Sheet The Changing B2B Buyer Salesforce.com for Marketers Cheat Sheet Sales 2.0 Cheat Sheet Social Sales - Truth about Sales 2.0 How to Attract, Hire, and Grow a Rockstar Marketing Team Marketing Automation and the Marketing Battles What to Test in Your Emails The Cost of Delaying Marketing Automation When "Boring" Means "Amazing": How Testing Makes Go-Live Day a Snooze 17 Email Rules You Absolutely Have To Break 5 Ways That a Solid Marketing Automation Solution Can Help Small Teams Succeed 30 Things to A/B Test for Lead Generation 5 Lead Generation Metrics Every Marketer Should Track Mapping Lead Generation to Your Sales Funnel Here's How to Make Your Website as Personalized as Your Email How to Create a Marketing Persona for Your Business Cheat Sheet: How to Design a Marketing Automation Discovery Guide SEO and PPC Keywords What To Seek In A Lead Nurturing Solution 4 Pieces of Social Media Real Estate You Shouldn't Ignore SEO Cheat Sheet: Best Practices for On-Page Optimization A Marketer's Guide to Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Email Deliverability and Design: Email Deliverability Design and Creative Checklist – Marketo.com
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Posted on behalf of our LaunchPoint partner Insightpool.
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Posted on behalf of our LaunchPoint partner Insightpool .
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Author: Elaine Ip Halloween has come and gone, but the fright isn’t over just yet. With its passing grows a sense of panic among consumer marketers everywhere. We are now in the busiest selling season of the year, with advertisements hitting consumers left to right. From those eagerly anticipated holiday sales to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consumers are receiving floods of communication every day. What will make your message stand out from the masses? Determining how to nurture your customers is a good start, but for your message to really catch their eye, you need to have compelling content. Follow these 4 guidelines to create content that resonates with your customers : 1. Trust is a Must Without any personal affiliations with your customer, your words (in this case, your content) are what they hold you to. And nothing speaks louder than words than your actions. Make sure that your marketing strategy and activities deliver on what you promise. If you offer them a coupon, fulfill it. If your customer asks to be unsubscribed from your mailing list, remove them. If you don’t, not only will it hurt your credibility, but you’ll start to see less engagement and, ultimately, less conversions. 2. Identify Your John and Jane Doe Understand who your target audience is so you can tailor your content to be relevant, interesting, and timed specifically for them. In this new digital age, customers share their information with you and in turn expect you to use it wisely. Use the data you’ve collected to properly segment and target your audience in order to build trust and relevance. Given the upcoming holidays and my affinity for buying beauty products, Sephora has nailed this down–targeting their audience *raises hand* with the right content. On the flip side, I’ve been receiving emails lately with the subject line: Senior Apartment Listings in Your Area. Since it’s outside my demographic, you can probably imagine how annoying these have been. Impersonal and poorly timed messages make your customers question whether you even know who they are or understand them. Relevant customer nurturing is all about timing and the ability to demonstrate that you understand your customer. 3. Be in the Right Place Consumers shift across channels throughout the day. Fine-tune your customer nurturing strategy for multi-channel engagement. Remember to be mindful of the content you put out on each channel to ensure that your customer experience is optimized and personal. Customers expect their experience to be a seamless, continuous conversation across channels and it’s your job to ensure this happens. In the example below, you can see the shoe retailer Sole Society advertises their Cammila loafer to a select audience on Instagram. Then later on Facebook, their ad targeting offers me the same shoe in a different pattern. Instead, I clicked on a Business Insider article and Sole Society was there once more via another advertisement to continue the conversation with me–finally convincing me to click through to shop. One of my favorite (and most dangerous) pastimes is online shopping. There’s nothing better than having access to a plethora of inventory at just the click of a mouse. Once in a while, even if I’ve already decided to buy an item, something comes up that distracts me and I won’t follow through and check out. With multi-channel marketing, I’ll receive an email a few days later reminding me about my abandoned item. “Still thinking this over? You have some great stuff in your Shopping Bag.” Thank you Nordstrom, I think so too! Time to check out! 4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Justify your marketing spend. Your customer nurturing program needs to be measurable so that you can consistently track your progress and look for ways to improve it. Define the right set of metrics, review and adjust your nurture tracks along the way, and finally report your success. Since email is a large part of most customer nurturing programs, here are the 7 most common email metrics that you may want to track: Sent – emails that actually moved through your engagement marketing platform Delivered – emails that were sent and not rejected by a receiving server Bounced – messages that were permanently rejected (hard bounce) and messages that were temporarily rejected (soft bounce) Opened – recipients who opened (viewed) the email Clicked – subscribers who clicked on a link, button, or image within your message Unsubscribed – contacts who clicked the “unsubscribe” link in an email and then followed through to successfully opt out Marked as Spam – subscribers who reported your email as spam Take a step back and test your content on yourself. If you had received this from another company, how would you respond? Does it tell a continuous story? Would you open it and click through? Or would you unsubscribe or mark it as spam? Let’s not be biased here. By checking your content for these measures, you can ensure that your nurture campaigns aren’t going to waste. With customer nurturing, you can build effective relationships with consumers throughout their buying journey. Embrace these best practices and watch your customers move along the purchase cycle! For a comprehensive description of customer nurturing best practices, check out our Definitive Guide to Customer Nurturing. Have you seen an example of excellent customer nurturing in action? Or do you have tips to add? Please share them in the comments section below.
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Stephanie Meyer is the woman behind GE Healthcare's successful marketing automation initiative. Here's how her team modernized and consolidated the company’s marketing tools. By modernizing and consolidating more than 100 marketing systems across the globe, Stephanie Meyer, head of marketing operations at GE Healthcare, and her team enabled the company to touch a total of $2 billion in potential revenue and yielded $600 million in new revenue last year. This initiative was part of a big renovation in marketing processes, role clarity, and organization improvements at GE Healthcare. Previously, the company had over 100 marketing tools across its seven regions: USCAN (U.S. and Canada), EU, China, Asia-Pacific, India, EAGM (the Eastern and Africa growth markets) and LATAM (Latin America). Such variety led to many challenges, including fragmentation and confusing hand-offs. "How the job was getting done required many processes, with each requiring different efforts. This led to redundancies, dropped balls, and inefficiency," Meyer says. According to Meyer, the modernization of marketing tools consists of three pillars: People: What talent does GE Healthcare need? How should the company train employees? Platforms: What global tools will support efficiency for GE Healthcare's marketing teams? Process: How can teams be effective at all points in the communication process? In mid-2013, Meyer and her team started integrating GE Healthcare's marketing tools around the globe, consolidating more than 100 systems into just three: Zinc Ahead, Salesforce, and Marketo. Previously, it took a few months for GE Healthcare to get approval on content. Now the company uses the medical compliance software, Zinc Ahead, to review and approve content, curtailing the process by 70 percent. GE Healthcare also uses marketing automation software from Salesforce and Marketo for consumer communication and consumer engagement. These platforms have helped GE Healthcare save time and resources, according to Meyer. Meyer and her team completed the integration in approximately 18 months. "I didn't sleep or have any social life. Project managing something of this size is the biggest challenge, next to getting people to accept the changes. You need very detail oriented leaders to run the cutover, and it's critical that they work to help gain acceptance for the change and [prove] the benefits," Meyer explains. She admits that her team made a few mistakes in the integration process. During the global roll-out of Marketo, her team focused too much on regional deployment instead of products. While GE Healthcare's region marketers are aligned to specific regions and oversee the commercialization of all products relating to their consumers, product marketers are responsible for the development of product-specific content that spans across all regions. When Meyer's team rolled out Marketo, they considered commercialization to be of primary importance, so put lots of effort into training and improving the skills of region marketers. "In hindsight, we should have paralleled this training with the product marketers, because great content in this new ecosystem is of equal importance," Meyer notes. While she is very focused on advanced digital marketing tools, Meyers believes that people are more important than platforms. In her words, "Marketing is not B2B or BC2 anymore, it's B2Human." Marketers have to think about how to promote their products and services in a more human way and have control over their marketing platforms. For instance, when a brand has an email marketing tool, it can send a promotional email to a consumer a few times a day, but there's a fine line between connecting with consumers via email and spamming them. "An organization should have a control mechanism in the process and say, 'We should not contact this consumer for more than X times in a week.' Don't be tempted by the platform's shininess - good governance will be a big win for you," Meyer says. Looking forward, good content is Meyer's next big push at GE Healthcare. In 2016, her team plans to train the company's marketers to think more holistically around consumers' buying cycles and ensure that GE Healthcare's content is based on insights. "It's really about looking at consumers' behavior and engaging in different ways. My marketers now have fabulous tools, but they don't have experience as content strategists. So for 2016, I need to work on making sure our marketers understand the difference between creating content and selling something," Meyer says. Marketing in the healthcare industry is more difficult than other industries, because some of the common marketing practices that have proven to be effective are strictly prohibited. Since marketing for healthcare products and services falls under a series of laws and regulations from a variety of enforcement agencies, GE Healthcare's digital channel strategy will remain less focused on social media. Instead, it will take advantage of email and other content distribution channels. By integrating and consolidating marketing automation systems, GE Healthcare is able to minimize its content cycle and has gained a great ROI. Given that GE Healthcare is an $18 billion revenue business, Meyer's team may still have a long way to go, but they are definitely headed in the right direction. The takeaways from GE Healthcare's marketing automation initiative are: Less is more. Don't put too many marketing tools in the arsenal. Effective marketing automation takes time and effort to implement and maintain for revenue growth. People are more important than platforms. While marketing automation provides efficiency, marketers should be careful about irrelevant automated messages. Remember that while advanced marketing tools provide helpful short-term solutions, quality original content is a long-term solution and should be the main goal. A good marketing strategy requires collaboration. If one doesn't have the right process for communicating with teammates, their marketing efforts will fall apart. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Yuyu Chen is a reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013. Article originally appeared in ClickZ.
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By: Crystal Vaughan Posted: December 15, 2015 | Modern Marketing If building a customer community for an organization were like planning a wedding and inviting guests, customer communities often are the second cousin who’s invited only when slots open up on the attendee list. But take it from me (I’m in the middle of planning my own wedding), they really should be a guest of honor. The Importance of Building a Customer Community Many companies see communities as a ‘nice-to-have’ and not as critical to the organization as sales and marketing, but the reality is that a customer community is a critical direct line to your customers and has the power to build your brand with your most powerful advocates. 2016 is the age of the customer, as the market moves at a speed not yet seen before, driven by customers’ high expectations for personalization of their journey. Businesses will need to realign and reorient their strategy specifically around the customer or risk losing out on developing and fostering a valuable channel as customers form communities of their own. During the last few months, I’ve researched and planned for the 2016 execution of an online community for Invoca. At the same time, I’ve also been planning a wedding and actively applying the lessons I’ve learned along the way to help lay a successful foundation upon which I’ll build Invoca’s community. Below, I share my advice on the three most important things I’ve learned from wedding planning that’s helped me assemble an online community proposal : 1. Get Executive Buy-In Early On While the tradition of asking the bride’s father’s permission before proposing is somewhat outdated and not as frequently used anymore, asking permission and getting buy-in is still a vital part of a community-building process. Getting internal buy-in and support is a rule of thumb within organizations as they build large initiatives. But, like a nervous fiancé about to ask permission, I bet you’re wondering: what’s the best way to set yourself up for success when you ask? Start by doing your research. Then create a project plan and define methods to measure your results—think about what success looks like for this initiative and ask yourself the hard questions you’ll likely get. Then present your plan to an executive sponsor. Their buy-in as you build an online community will help support your goals and guide you with your project plan, ensuring you stay in alignment with the overall business objectives. It will also assist with defining exactly what is being built and the importance of the initiative to the rest of the organization. 2. Customer Experience Matters Just like you have to understand your wedding guests and gauge their interest in the different elements of your wedding (did someone say photobooth?), you’ve got to gauge the level of interest your current customers would have in an online community. This may not be the main channel they are interested in actively participating on–perhaps they interact more with your brand on your blog or want instant support via chat or a Twitter account. But can you incorporate these elements into your community so they can get everything in one place? Getting consensus on what your customers want before throwing money into developing an online community should be part of your research. You want to establish a channel that supports development of the customer and helps them get value out of their current investment, while also ensuring you see a return from your investment. Establishing this type of customer experience broadcasts that you are listening to what they want and creates a strong foundation for your first interactions with them. So set up a primary channel to communicate with them and nail it. 3. You Need a Team to Bring It to Life When you’re planning a wedding, you’re either one of two brides: a bride that thinks in siloes or a bride that thinks all-encompassing. Those that think in siloes are the equivalent of marketers who have “tool bloat”, needing a decorator for wedding decor, florist for floral arrangements, and caterer for wedding menu. However, in my experience, I’ve found if you bind everything together, it’s a great way to indirectly support the main initiative. For instance, find a venue that incorporates catering, décor, lighting, floral, all in one complete package, and you’ll have an entire team working toward one main goal instead of trying to coordinate between all of them. The same goes for building an online community. Many think online communities are strictly for customer marketing, upsells and advocacy, and as such, marketing-owned. But it is much more than that–they allow for instant, unlimited communication and unparalleled networking, giving customers a chance to build stronger relationships with each other and the business. If your community is going to be a success, it needs to be rebranded internally, adopted widely and owned company-wide. Sales, marketing, customer success, product development and even finance need to work together in order for the business to have a successful community. By putting together a cross-functional team of champions, each person will be able to promote and indirectly support the online community. Aligning the goals of the community with the goals of all your organizational stakeholders is vital. When companies align the community goal across all departments, employees know to make decisions that put the customer first and are more likely to contribute to the world-class customer experience you are trying to build. Ready, Set, Plan The online customer community is often a neglected opportunity. Businesses that incorporate the launch of customer communities in their plans and immediately hire customer community managers know community is a strong driver of business value and revenue. When community is seen as an actual product of the business, organizations will invest in it because they understand that building engaged communities will keep their customers happy, which results in lower churn. Businesses that don’t incorporate communities into their plan will need to play catch up quickly in order to remain competitive in a customer dominated world. In 2016, my prediction will be that organizations will begin to reinvent themselves to focus on the value of loyal relationships and critical real-time customer engagement over resolutions and transactions. I want to invite you to join me as I traverse through the world of the online customer community (sorry, unfortunately, my wedding guest list is already at full capacity!) If you haven’t already, consider building one out yourself. It’s a great time to be a community manager! And if you’re already on top of it, leave me some feedback below on how you have built out your own community, what tips and tricks you can offer, or any other comments you may have!
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By: Sarah Quinn Posted: December 17, 2015 | Content Marketing Do you spend a lot of time crafting the perfect piece of content, only to find that it barely generates any shares, let alone drive leads? As a fellow content marketer at a B2B company, this is hands down one of the most challenging things about my job. We know that content marketing can generate more leads, but according to Content Marketing Institute, only 30% of marketers consider themselves to be effective. What’s the missing link? It’s time to go back to the basics. The problem may be in your promotion strategy or your lack thereof. Unless you have an audience that seeks out your content en masse, promoting your content is the only way that your audience is going to see it. But aside from simply posting it across your social media channels, what else can you do? Let’s take a look at 10 tactics that are essential to expanding the reach of your content : 1. Get an outsider’s buy-in Before you publish your content, you may want to think about ways that you can make it even more shareable. One of the best ways to do this is to find influencers, bloggers, and other sources within your industry and ask them for a quick interview surrounding the subject of your content. That way, you can sprinkle quotes from them throughout your content and its promotion, which will not only give it more validation, but will likely lead to your influencer sharing that piece of content with their own followers. How to find sources to interview: You’ve probably heard of great platforms such as BuzzSumo or BuzzStream, where you can search for influencers within your industry, but have you ever thought about using HARO? Help A Reporter Out (HARO) has more than 475,000 sources and 35,000 journalists that you can use to ask questions surrounding your content. You’ll be able to collect various quotes from relevant sources to give your content more value, thus making it more impactful and shareable. 2. Use the Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS) formula on social media Have you heard of the PAS formula? It stands for Problem-Agitate-Solve and it’s the copywriter’s secret weapon. PAS is a common technique that’s used when creating content, but it can also work to encourage more clicks back to your content when you post on social networks. To see this in action, imagine you’re writing a blog post. You would begin the post by identifying the reader’s problem, you would then agitate that problem, and then finish the article by providing the solution. How to use PAS on social: Let’s say your video teaches a person how to cook healthy pancakes. Using the PAS technique, your social snippet could be: “Love food but not the weight gain? It’s a daily struggle for everyone! Learn how to make yummy, guilt-free pancakes with this video.” And that’s the PAS technique working in less than 140 characters (for all you Twitter enthusiasts). Take a look at a post from Innocent Drinks—a healthy beverage company—for the perfect example. They’ve started their tweet by identifying the problem: that we don’t consume the Government recommended 5 fruits and vegetables per day. They go on to address the fact that people find it difficult to eat that much fruit and vegetables, and then they offer a solution to that problem at the end of the tweet by linking to their drinks. 3. Create social banners Do you change your social banners to promote your content? While it’s a tried and true tactic, not that many businesses will change the covers on their social pages to promote content. But it makes an impact because it’s the first thing that your audience will look at when they visit your page. Create an engaging image and include the address within the image so that your audience knows where to find the content. How to create a social banner: Take advantage of free resources to design the banners yourself like: Canva, GIM, Inkscape, and Pixlr. Social banners work best if you’re promoting big pieces of content like an ebook that’s designed to drive leads. In the example below, Wyzowl created a social banner for their Facebook page to promote their ebook. 4. Post in content communities A community that is dedicated to the type of content you’ve created is perfect place for promotion. You should be able to find various communities within your industry where you can post your content where it will offer value and not appear too “salesy”. If you are just getting started, check these places out: Visual.ly for infographics, YouTube/Vimeo for videos, Publi.shfor ebooks, and Medium for blogs. 5. Pin it to your Twitter feed Did you know that you can pin a tweet so that it appears at the top of your page? Similar to your social banners, this simple trick will help draw attention to people that visit your Twitter page because it’ll be the first tweet they see. You can remove it or change it whenever you like, and it’s perfect for promoting any type of content, including blogs, videos, infographics, or ebooks. How to pin a tweet: Find the tweet that you want to Pin, right click on the ‘more options’ icon (the three little dots under a tweet) and select to ‘Pin to your profile page’ and it will then appear at the top of your page. Take Moz for example. They’re promoting an upcoming event so they created a banner for it and pinned it to the top of their feed—highlighting its importance and driving registrations. 6. Mix up your snippets When it comes to promoting your content you shouldn’t just publish it just once on social media and hope for the best. To effectively promote your content, you need to put effort into testing out what works best for each of your different channels. By creating a variety of intriguing snippets, you’ll encourage a larger click-through to your content by delivering copy that appeals to a larger audience. How to mix up your snippets: Include a popular quote or saying Include an interesting statistic Include an engaging image Test out hashtags to increase the reach of your content 7. Include sources when sharing If you’ve cited sources in your content, then they are definitely worth mentioning when you post on social networks. The idea is that by crediting them on social media, you will encourage these sources to check out the content and share it with their followers. As you research for your content, keep track of bloggers and influencers within your industry. How to get sources to share your content: Including influencers that are active on social media, and crediting them on social can translate into a more widely shared piece of content. Take this tweet below as the perfect example. It doesn’t give too much away about the content, but simply tags a few sources within the tweet. 8. Reach out to people who have shared similar content This one isn’t exclusive to influencers, but rather peers who may help share your content for you. If you find people that have shared content around a similar topic as yours, the chances are they wouldn’t mind sharing yours as well since most people are actively looking for content to share. One of the best ways to cultivate these relationships is by reciprocally sharing and commenting. Another way is to understand their audience and make sure that your content offers value to them. You can be direct, and send them a message sharing your content with them and ask them if they would mind sharing. Or, you can follow them and slowly build a reciprocal relationship by sharing and engaging with their content and getting to know their audience before you ask for them to share—this often works best. How to find people that have shared similar content: Visit a website like BuzzSumo—a social media influencer insights platform— and type in the keywords surrounding the content that you’ve created. You’ll then find a list of articles that will be relevant to that content. Next, post the links of those articles into your search bar on Twitter and you’ll find a stream of people who have shared that very content. 9. Link from your best performing content As a metrics-driven marketer, you understand what your most successful content is. This underused tactic leverages your best performing content and its significant traffic, to promote new and related content. After you identify your best performing content, place a link from that content to the new piece that you want to promote. If you have a content recommendation engine, you may be able to automate this process. How to effectively link from your best performing content: One way to implement this is to use relevant keywords or phrases from your best performing posts, and create new content that is relevant to those keywords so that you can link to it. By doing this, the link will feel natural and relevant to your audience, rather than promotional and out of place. 10. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in your best performing content Chances are that your best performing content is effective at engaging your audience. Take advantage of their interest and include a CTA for them to act on. Let’s say the content that you want to promote is an educational, downloadable piece designed to generate leads. With this tip, once again you use the power of your best performing content to help drive traffic and attention to the new content you want to promote by including a call-to-action. How to include a CTA in your best performing content: The first step is to set up a landing page for the content that you want to promote so that when you include a CTA in your best performing content it points to the new asset. According to Brian Dean from Backlinko, this technique really works and he suggests using the CTA closer to the top of the content to help encourage more clicks. You can also design stand-out banners for the side bar and at the bottom of the post to really draw attention to your new content. Content marketing can be a tough gig—from content ideation to creation and promotion—but with the right tactics across various platforms, you’re far more likely to increase the chance of prospects seeing it, sharing it, and becoming your latest lead. Do you have any more tricks to promote your content? Let me know in the comments below.
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By: Kylie Ora Lobell Posted: February 1, 2016 | Content Marketing Great content should be at the core of your marketing initiatives, but to produce this content, you need to hire talented creators. If you own a small to medium-sized business, you may not have the budget to take on a staff of full-time writers, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, or developers. This is where freelance employees come into play. With freelancers, you can save money on operational costs since you don’t need to provide benefits or workspace. Plus, you can pick and choose whom you want on your content creation team from a pool of freelancers around the world. By not depending on local workers, you’re able to put together a diverse team from a variety of backgrounds and niches. However, if you’re going to be integrating a number of different freelancers into your company, you need the right tools to manage them efficiently. These are five types of tools that you can utilize to ensure that your content marketing campaigns stay organized and drive results : 1. Finding freelancers Doing a Google search or finding referrals for freelancers is a time-consuming process. Instead, you can look at job boards where top talent congregates. One example is the Upwork platform, which gives you the opportunity to find freelancers for every type of content creation. There are more than 10 million independent workers from over 180 countries on the site. Once hired, you can message back and forth with your freelancers, create milestones they have to meet, and pay them through the site. Another site for finding workers is MediaBistro, where you can either post jobs or browse through the talent on the site. All freelancers list their resumes, samples, and experience, which means you can vet them before making contact. To find freelance bloggers specifically, try ProBlogger, where you can list your jobs and gain access to bloggers who are actively looking to be hired. 2.Blogging Without a solid content management system in place, you’ll have a difficult time overseeing all your freelancers and their work. Going back and forth through emails and Google docs won’t cut it. Instead, you need to find a blogging platform that works for you and your team. WordPress is a classic choice for content creation. Aside from being free, it includes a variety of plugins that optimize your blog for SEO and promotional purposes. All your freelance writers have to do is log into your website’s WordPress account, copy and paste in their work, and fill in all the correct SEO information through the Yoast SEO plugin. Then, the post will show up in your queue. Once it’s submitted, you and your editors can go in, edit the piece, and hit publish. This way, your writers don’t need to email you their work, which ends up making more work for you because you have to manually load it in. Also, it’s much easier to organize all the work your freelancers have completed. An alternative to WordPress is Google’s Blogger, which is also a free and simple to use platform. It contains gadgets as opposed to WordPress’ widgets, and includes Google integrations like AdSense and Analytics, allowing you to easily monetize your company blog and monitor traffic. 3. Invoicing and tracking hours Working with so many freelancers can become complicated, and it’s important for you to evaluate how much money is being spent vs. how much is being generated through your efforts. Without a centralized platform, you’re going to be lost. One option is Due.com, which can assist you with the logistical side of overseeing your freelancers and their pay. This platform has time tracking and invoice tools that allow you to view how many hours your freelancers are working and what invoices you need to take care of. It also generates detailed reports so you know where you are in terms of your finances. Another platform for managing freelancers financially is Zenefits, which gives you peace of mind that your independent contractors are being paid on time. You can input how much time freelancers spent working and make sure they’re receiving their benefits (if you provide any for them). If you’re running a small operation, Zenefits eliminates the need for hiring HR talent. 4. Managing projects If you have multiple freelancers working on one project and there are many different elements to keep track of, you need a project management system. BaseCamp is a popular choice for project management. Through this tool, you and your team can upload files and store your collective to-do lists. It shows who worked on which project and when. Whenever a project is updated, those that are involved are sent emails so they can go in and complete their assigned tasks. You might also want to try Smartsheet, which is customizable project management software used by companies like Hilton, Groupon, and Netflix. It’s a great option if your business is utilizing spreadsheets in order to complete projects. Another option is Zoho Projects (pictured below), which comes with a timeline that’s similar to a social media feed. You can quickly scroll through it and see where you’re at with tasks. You can also integrate it with Dropbox and use it on your Android or iPhone. 5. Tracking blog posts and progress If a project management system is too complicated for what you want to do, you can work on a free or low cost tool that is strictly used to oversee your blog. Trello is a simple tool if you’re just getting started with freelancers. It’s also perfect for small teams. All you do is create boards for your freelancers and then make individual cards to ensure that each project is progressing. This platform lets you drag and drop files and include pictures and links, so it’s easy to use even for those who aren’t technologically savvy. You might also want to look into BamBam!, a platform that includes milestones and newsfeeds for your projects and is free for 10 users or less. If you’re a startup but you want project management that’s suitable for the corporate world, BamBam! may be the right choice for you. Of course, there are more robust content platforms that integrate with your marketing automation platform and offer two or more of these capabilities with one piece of software. These platforms often are an investment worth making because they will scale and grow with your business. Freelancers can greatly enhance your content creation campaigns. Once you have the best tools in your back pocket to manage them, you’ll be on your way to coming up with successful ideas that produce a huge ROI for your company. What other tools do you use to manage your freelance team of content creators? Let me know in the comments section below.
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By: Brit Tammeorg Posted: March 18, 2016 | Mobile Marketing Businesses large or small can benefit immensely from mobile marketing. SMS marketing, otherwise known as text message marketing, is one of the most personal ways to communicate with your buyers. After all, what other marketing tool do you know of that allows retailers and business owners to have virtually immediate contact with their customers? More than 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes, according to a study by MobileSquared. And while email inboxes can get clogged with spam and unwanted promotions, customers are very careful about opting in to text message updates, which means that your message will reach the right person who is actually interested in your offerings. But simply investing in an SMS marketing program isn’t all it takes to reap the rewards. SMS marketing, like any other campaign, requires time, attention, and the occasional tweaking for your business, budget, and customers. Whether you’re already running an SMS campaign or you’re looking to start one, here are four tips to get the most out of SMS marketing for your business: 1. Comply with the Laws Text message marketing is a privilege for businesses, not a right. Each country adheres to a specific set of laws, so if your business’ SMS campaign has a global reach, make sure you understand the laws in each country. In the U.S., aside from the basic law that you must have the consent (opt-in) of your recipients to send them promotional texts, there are a few other laws that you should be aware of: Opting in can’t be a condition of purchasing. In other words, you can’t force anyone to consent to receiving SMS messages from you by barring them from buying unless they agree to opt-in. You need to include a “Help” function if you anticipate that your recipients may need additional information about your message. That way, they can ask technical questions about texting and get useful answers. You need to include an opt-out or “STOP” function that’s clear and easy for your recipients to do, and that works. Don’t tell them they can opt out by sending “STOP” to 9876 and then keep sending them messages after they’ve followed your instructions to opt-out. Don’t end up like Jiffy Lube with a $47M lawsuit settlement for sending unsolicited texts to customers or Papa John’s whopping $250M suit for the same reason. Not to mention Life Time Fitness’ recent settlement $15M for sending unsolicited marketing text messages. Bottom line: Make sure you’re compliant. Companies of all sizes get sued for the misuse of SMS marketing all the time. 2. Build Your Subscriber List So how do you encourage your prospects and customers to opt-in to receiving your SMS messages and comply with the law? There are several ways to build your SMS subscriber list by making the opt-in function more visible throughout your marketing channels. Take a look at some of the channels below to determine where you can add SMS opt-in information: Facebook: Add a “Mobile Number” field to any Facebook page sign-up and an “Opt-in” button for them to sign on to your SMS campaign. Make sure you validate the number before you add this person to your campaign. If they entered the wrong number, you could potentially be sending text messages to someone who didn’t authorize them. Website: Include SMS opt-in instructions on your website. Email: Make SMS opt-in visible on your newsletter. Direct Mail: All snail mail should have instructions for SMS opt-in printed on it. Mobile: Send an opt-in text, such as “Text YES to receive discounts and promotions from XYZ company.” Additionally, all of your customer-facing employees should be trained to ask for a customer’s permission for opt-in. This means that they need to be able to explain the benefits and details of your SMS campaign (coupons, discounts, appointment reminders, events, etc.). 3. Write Great Messages Text messages take a different form than emails and other channels of communication, so be mindful of how your message will be viewed. Your subscriber will see your message on a screen smaller than a computer, so keep your messages short and straightforward. But cutting down on the quantity of content doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality as well. Remember, your main objective is to give your subscribers information that they can understand quickly and easily. You can try to be clever or humorous as long as your customers are get it. The key is to follow the voice of your brand and be personal. Address your subscribers by their name and understand their behaviors (interactions with your brand, purchase history, downloads, etc.) and what stage they are in their unique customer journey. Then, use this information to send relevant text messages that hit the target. For example, if you’re a massage clinic sending a message to a new customer, text him with “Hi Kevin, thanks for coming in today. Enjoy %15 off your next sports massage with discount code: 15OFF” to keep him coming back. However you choose to shape your messaging, be sure to avoid these SMS sins: Don’t spam. Don’t send several texts a day to your subscribers. Depending on your business, an SMS campaign of 4-12 total messages per month should be sufficient. Don’t send off-target offers. Offer your subscribers something of value. If you constantly send them texts about products or services that aren’t relevant to them, you may lose them as an SMS subscriber or even as a customer. Don’t wake them up. Ideal texting time is between 9am and 8pm. Anything sent before or after that treads the line of being intrusive. 4. Measure Your Results Like your other marketing channels, you’ll need to understand how to measure your SMS marketing results to track the success of each campaign and learn how to optimize them. Track the following metrics and repeat periodically to continue to enhance your campaign: Calculate your churn rate. Take the number of your people who unsubscribed from your SMS campaign and divide it by the total number of customers who initially opted in. This will reveal how quickly your subscribers are leaving your campaign. Determine your redemption rate. Take the number of your subscribers who responded to call-of-action and divide it by number of total subscribers in your program. This indicates how successful your campaign was at generating responses. Calculate the cost. Take the cost of each SMS message and divide it by the redemption rate (calculated above). Based on how much you invested, did it perform well? SMS is quick and effective way to reach your audience wherever they are. By following the tips above, you can get your SMS marketing campaign off on the right foot. Understand the laws, build your subscriber list, craft great messages, and measure and analyze your results. Have you already started on your SMS marketing journey? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments section below! For more on SMS and mobile marketing, check out The Definitive Guide to Mobile Marketing.
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