If you think Social Media Marketing is easy, Take a Look at this

If you think Social Media Marketing is easy, take a look at this

When you do your daily rounds of social media-hopping, you may stumble upon several businesses and brands enjoying a successful following on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Curious (and a bit jealous), you might think it’s an effortless feat to accomplish, since there are so many of them scattered around the web.

The truth is: setting up a team for social media marketing is not that straightforward as you think.

A Dose of Quintessential Online Marketing Statistics to Further Fuel Today’s Social Media Hype

In this year’s Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey, they asked a total of 2,714 marketers how the manage their social media marketing teams, and these are the interesting things they found out, just to show how it indeed takes a lot of work:

Workforce

  • Of all the companies surveyed, 27% have their dedicated social media team, while 65% delegate social media tasks on top of the regular job obligations. Only 3% of them outsource to social media experts.
  • 25% of companies have interns help with social media.
  • 42% of companies have only one person who works on social media, while 40% have two or three personnel.
  • Companies not planning to hire more people to manage social media next year: 78%

Marketer qualifications

  • 25% of the companies say the most sought-after quality in social media marketers is experience, while 18% say writing skills.
  • 45% say it should be both academic degree and experience.
  • 47% of them prefer 1-3 years of experience and 44% for 3-5 years
  • Preferred degree: Communications – 77%, Public Relations – 76%, Marketing – 65%, Journalism – 42%, Advertising – 28%

Execution and evaluation

  • 58% of the companies post content at least once a day, while 22% post 2-3 times a week
  • 86% of companies measure social media in terms of likes and followers.
  • 76% measure it by web traffic, while 58% use “brand reputation”
  • 41% measure it by customer satisfaction, and 40% measure it by the number of new leads

Goals and setbacks

  • Only 5% of companies are highly satisfied with their social media campaigns.
  • Increasing brand awareness is the leading goal of companies at 87%
  • 62% aim to increase traffic while 61% aim to enhance reputation
  • Only 45% and 40% consider generating leads and increasing sales as major goals, respectively
  • 65% say that lack of time is the biggest problem they have, while lack of manpower comes in second at 63%
  • Other problems include lack of budget (41%), not prioritizing (39%), and even the thought that the task is too overwhelming (23%).

When are the Best (and Worst) Times to Send an Email?

 

When are the best (and worst) times to send an email

Everybody loves social media, and more people are getting into blogging. But despite all this, email still remains as the go-to strategy in any marketing campaign. It never fails to deliver a goal, whether it’s leads, active interactions, warm business relationships, and even for new professional acquaintances. It simply is the most basic communication line in the corporate world.

But while its effectiveness isn’t diminishing, the attention that it used to enjoy is now facing tough competition; prospects now have more things to attend to compared to 5 years ago, and that lessens the odds of emails being read at an optimum time.

GetResponse, an email marketing software firm (www.getresponse.com), analyzed more than 21 million emails in the first quarter of 2012. These are some of their findings:

  • 23.63 percent of all emails are opened within the first hour; that number drops off precipitously as the hours tick by;
  • Most emails are sent from 6 a.m. to noon; the least amount occurs from midnight to 6 a.m.
  • The hours that see the most click-throughs are 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • The hours that see the most opens are 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

According to the study, the best time to send emails is when “customers are reviewing their inboxes”. This usually happens more during mornings and early afternoons. However, because of the apparent change in lifestyle of today’s generation, some factors may affect the open rates of emails.

In theory, an email sent between 3-4 p.m. (according to the study statistics) has a 23.63% chance of being opened in the first hour after it was delivered. But in reality, at 5:00 p.m. people are actually on their way home, or stuck in traffic. Between the hours of 6-8 p.m., they would be doing house chores and eating dinner, and the next time they would probably have time to check their emails again would be after 8 p.m. The problem is, 4 hours after delivery, the open rate chances have already dropped to less than 5%, in theory.

Still, according to the study, most emails appear in inboxes in the morning; hence, those emails sent in the afternoon have more chances being noticed, opened and clicked. For maximum open and click-rates, schedule emails to land in inboxes no later than 1 hour before top open times, and that’s 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. The key is to not let your message lose impact by waiting too long in the inbox.

8 Bogus Social Media tips to ditch (for good riddance)

 

8 Bogus Social Media tips to ditch (for good riddance)

Everyone claims to be a social media “expert” – if there is such a thing. They like to dish out advice based on unproven theories, limited experiences, and sometimes pure hunches. Not only that these advices get you nowhere, they also make you look like a fool in everyone’s eyes.

An easier task would be to debunk those tips that really don’t have any bearing on one’s social media marketing efforts. Easier, because the burden of proof is on the shoulders of these wanna-be experts, and the absence thereof means they have to be dumped in the trash bin.

So if you have these notions in your social media belief system, perhaps it’s time to take out the garbage:

Bad tip #1: You need to be omnipresentIf your audience isn’t there, what’s the point? Imagine how much energy you can save if you choose which social networking sites you need to be on, instead of being active in all of them. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a given. If you want to expand, study the ROI.

Bad tip #2: It’s okay to automate all your posts – For blog articles, it’s fine. But for updates, comments, and conversations? It’s a no-no to let a robot determine the timing of your posts. Genuine interactions require a living person to initiate or respond.

Bad tip #3: You don’t need email – Email is like Elvis. It remains, to this day, the single most successful act in music history. And despite the mania caused by the arrival of The Beatles (social media), Elvis (email) never flinched. That is why for most people, Elvis (email) is still the best.

Bad tip #4: B2B prospects are not on Facebook – If this were true, vendors would not have reported that Facebook, and any other social networking sites for that matter, were the source of majority of their online-acquired leads in the last 3 years. Business prospects like to socialize online, too.

Bad tip #5: You should ignore negative comments – The operative word is “ignore”, which makes all the difference. You can defend your brand’s name in the most good-natured way possible, but to ignore comments altogether is a different story. Don’t let people think you don’t care enough about what people say.

Bad tip #6:Don’t bother measuring social media marketing – Contrary to popular belief, it can be measured. But because of its being dynamic, there’s no industry standard for measuring ROI. That means – you guessed it – you can measure it in your own rational terms.

Bad tip #7: You should post X number of updates today – What is the basis of assigning a fixed frequency of posts? Response rates? Visibility? If you have a logical basis for the number, then use it. Otherwise, don’t pressure yourself.

Bad tip #8: Social media needs no strategy – Just because social media is unpredictable doesn’t mean a strategy is not practical. There are other aspects of social media marketing that don’t live by spontaneity.

Search Traffic Declining? You’re Not Alone (and What to Do About It)

 

If your website traffic from organic search has fallen over the past year, take some small solace in knowing you’re not alone—in fact, you’re in good (if not happy) company.

According to research from BuzzFeed, “Search traffic to publishers has taken a dive in the last eight months, with traffic from Google dropping more than 30%…While Google makes up the bulk of search traffic to publishers, traffic from all search engines has dropped by 20% in the same period.” Organic search visits have fallen significantly to A-list publishers like Time, Sports Illustrated, Us Weekly and Rolling Stone.

It’s not quite clear why this is happening. BuzzFeed mentions changes in behavior, greater use of social networks for content discovery, and a 52% increase in traffic from “‘Dark social,’ that netherland of direct traffic” (i.e., unknown sources), and concludes “We can draw a lot of assumptions but few conclusions from the drop in search traffic.”

The Tutorspree blog offers another possible answer: Google is intentionally de-emphasizing organic results (free clicks) in favor of search advertising results (for which it gets paid). While there’s no before and after (which would have been very helpful) and results will vary, obviously, based on the nature of the search, this example shows how organic results can comprise only a quarter or less of total screen real estate on a commercial search, with paid results accounting 60% of the visible display,  and other results like maps or images taking up the remaining screen area.

And it’s not only Google. Both Google and Bing are now displaying fewer than ten organic search results on certain queries: eight, seven, even as few as four in some cases. That means organic results which used to appear in the middle or lower half of page one in search results are now banished to page two, significantly reducing the likelihood of attracting the click.

Finally, algorithmic changes implemented by Google (and subsequently mimicked by other search engines) over the past 18 months have impacted traffic to b2c and b2b websites. Much has been written about how Panda and Penguin may negatively impact rankings of commercial websites in search results.

Given that b2b websites attract, on average, more than 40% of all traffic from organic search (and close to 90% of that from Google), the results above are clearly of great concern. But what does it mean?

Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What’s happening today,  however,  is that many b2b vendors, news publishers and other commercial website owners are doing the same things in the same way and actually getting different (worse) results—because the environment has changed.

So in order to maintain and grow website traffic, online marketing practices have to change as well. Companies need to take a broader view of their overall online visibility and embrace a web presence optimization (WPO) approach.

Why the WPO Model  is Important

With potentially less future traffic available from search, given changes in both technology and user behavior, the WPO model is valuable because:

    • WPO is about total online visibility—not just search. Yes, SEO (which increases website visibility) is a key component of WPO, but it’s only one component. WPO is about creating valuable, highly relevant content and then leveraging across multiple channels. So if your prospective buyers are relying less on search but more on social media, or established industry news sources, or on expert “influencers,” or even on advertising, WPO is about making sure your brand is visible in all of those places.

 

    • WPO is about helping, not manipulating. Google wants (or at least claims to want) to provide searchers with the most relevant results for their queries. Searchers want to find the most relevant results. The WPO model is about creating the most relevant results for buyers looking for what you are offering, but also about being linked from, quoted in, recommended by, or sponsoring other relevant results.

 

  • WPO is Google-proof. Because it’s designed to help and not manipulate, the concepts of WPO should (theoretically at least) never run counter to Google algorithm changes. And if your prospective buyers are using Google less, WPO maximizes your brand’s visibility in whatever channels, media or sources they are using in its place.

WPO-model-with-campaigns-1024x646

How to Get Your Traffic Back

Here are a few concrete steps for using WPO principles to adapt to and counteract declining search traffic.

    • Figure out where your prospective buys are looking, and be there. Use social media and news monitoring tools to identify the online venues where your prospective buyers are hanging out, discussing your company, your industry, and your competitors.For many b2b companies, LinkedIn Groups are a rich environment for discovering and participating in these conversations. If your buyers are highly technical however,  they may be more likely to hang at sites like Stack Overflow, CodeGuru or Spiceworks.

 

    • Experiment. Go beyond the “big three” social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) and check out avenues for sharing like exploreB2B, Quora, Scoop.It, and for blogs specifically, Triberr.

 

 

    • Use news releases for exposure, not backlinks. Until fairly recently, common SEO guidance was to “Create backlinks from (press releases) to…supporting pages on your website. Make sure the anchor text of the hyperlink is the keyword phrase you are optimizing for.” But Google now frowns on anchor text links in news releases.That doesn’t mean that news releases now have no value in driving site traffic, but it does change the strategy.First, make sure your news releases are truly newswortthy, and worth sharing. Second, optimize news releases themselves for search. Third, use news releases as part of an overall strategy to build and develop relationships with journalists, which over time can lead to citations and even backlinks which actually are valuable for driving direct and search visits to your website.

 

    • Use directories based on their relevance and value, but as with news releases—not just for backlinks. In early 2013, Google devalued general directory links for search rankings. That is, the old SEO strategy of improving search ranking simply by building or buying lots of links from broad-topic web directories is no longer effective. That does not mean,  however, that all directories are worthless.

 

    • It’s still worthwhile to seek out backlinks from quality, human-edited, industry-specific online directories, such as vendor directories published by trade publications and industry associations. The two key questions to ask are 1) would your prospective buyers actually be likely to find my site and visit it from this directory? And 2), do you feel good about your company being listed in this directory (or does it feel a bit sleazy to be listed alongside online casinos, web pharmacies, miracle weight loss, make-big-money-now schemes and the like)?

 

    • Use guest blog posts for exposure (and if you get a backlink–that’s a bonus). Guest-posting is still a viable SEO practice,  for the moment at least. But it is commonly abused through poor approaches. Best practice is to develop a relationship with the blogger before asking for the guest post opportunity; asking for the opportunity with a personal note; understanding their audience and proposing a topic that is suitable; and not requesting (or worse, requiring) any specific quid pro quo.

 

  • Finally, don’t over-rely on paid advertising but do make it part of your online marketing mix. Experiment with AdWords, social network advertising, Bizo, and other ad networks. Many offer pay-per-click or even pay-per-conversion options, so costs and results are controllable. While paid advertising has no effect on SEO, it does increase your brand’s online exposure and drives traffic to specific landing pages and offers.

In the end, no one knows whether the broad drop in search traffic is a temporary aberration or a long-term trend. But utilizing WPO tactics to broaden your brand’s online exposure and potential sources of web traffic is a winning strategy either way.

This article originally appeared on Webbiquity.

The 10 Must-Haves of a Competent Business Blog

 

The 10 Must-Haves of a Competent Business Blog

Much has been said about how a blog must have credible content, responsive design, easy navigation, appropriate colors, and social media links. These are the basic stuff, and they’re no longer a secret to a regular business blogger.

But there are still several other aspects of a blog that have become crucial to its success, and most of these are elements that are found right smack in the middle of the landing page, yet overlooked. Why marketers are oblivious to these things is quite a mystery, but the truth remains that they’re as important as the “basic stuff”, too.

Here are the 10 imperatives if you want your blog to be at par with the best:

  1. Your own domain name. A lot of business blogs flourish on Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr, but if you really want to make a name for yourself, you’ve got to spend a little and have your own site put up.  It’s the first logical step to professional integrity.
  2. A meaningful “About Us” page. When prospects visit your blog, it’s like they’re interviewing a job applicant. And your résumé is the “About Us” page. Enough said.
  3. A fully-functional mailing list. Being “fully-functioning” doesn’t mean you have to send them every darned update every single day. It means subscribers are free to choose what information they’d receive, how, and when.
  4. Professional photos. What do awkward and poorly-shot photos and profile pictures tell your visitors? Incompetence, lack of taste, and mediocrity. Epic fail.
  5. A killer brand logo. While you’re at it, might as well check your blog logo (if you have one, that is). Make sure it’s not easily forgettable, and must be fine-tuned to your blog “personality”. And please, have a professional artist do it.
  6. A clean sidebar. Most blogs seem to have been infected with a disease of purposely cramming their sidebars with millions of menus and links, as if doing that makes their blogs look “busy”. Umm, no.  It’s confusing, messy, and to be honest, unprofessional. Drop the archives and only display recent and/or popular posts.
  7. Mobile version 2.0. It’s more than the usual mobile version where all you can see are the texts and the main logo. If you’re going to maintain a mobile site, think of how it will look on tablets and humongous smartphones. It has to be as functional as the desktop counterpart, or else what’s the point?
  8. Relevant writers. Evaluate your blog posts and see if it’s high time to replace your Shakespearean writers with contemporary bloggers, the ones who know what the words “troll” and “meme” mean nowadays.
  9. Pages that load faster. On a more technical aspect of things, you should also beef up your page loading speeds. With technology raising the standards of all things digital, you don’t wanna be left behind.
  10. Something that’s unique to your blog. It could be the structure, how menus move, how the buttons react, or how pages transition to another. Anything that you could stick to permanently and gives your blog its identity.

What is and isn’t “native advertising”? And 5 more questions to ask about it.

Michael Groszek takes a closer look at “native advertising” as the buzz that surrounds it just seems to get louder. He asks, and answers, 5 questions that every decent marketer should ask about this “new tactic”, breaking down “native advertising” to demystified, digestible chunks.

B2B Content Marketing: 5 questions every marketer should ask themselves when using native advertising

As marketers, we’ve all heard the buzz about native advertising.

We’ve heard how it’s going to revolutionize advertising and begin to phase out traditional display ads. But despite all of the hype, it seems like everyone still has varying ideas of what native advertising actually is.

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, I wanted to share my view on native advertising from a business intelligence perspective and the role I believe it has in the future of Internet marketing.

Question #1. How can we use native advertising?

What do you think of when you hear the term “native advertising?” An advertorial? Valuable content with a paid placement? Promoted tweets? Search engine marketing ads? Promoted stories and posts on social media networks?

Over the last year or so, I’ve heard countless different arguments about the true meaning of native advertising.

So, I asked myself, “Why does everyone seem to have such differing views?”

Why isn’t defining native advertising as black and white as some of the other marketing concepts we deal with on a daily basis?

Well, if you ask me, it’s because that’s essentially what a native advertisement is.

There is no current standard for native advertising, nor will there ever be one, and that’s the point.

A native advertisement is supposed to adapt to the content surrounding it in order to engage a potential customer by using their previously indicated interests. If there were set standards for native advertisements, that would essentially eliminate the advantage native ads are claimed to offer.

Which brings me to another point …

With all of the tools available today, we have the distinct advantage of knowing far more about our potential customers than marketers in generations past.

All of this knowledge allows us to create highly relevant content to attract the attention of those potential leads based on their decision to interact in a specific environment.

So, if there was a set formula, wouldn’t it essentially eliminate the ability we have to provide a user with highly relevant content that, if presented correctly, will engage them when they may have otherwise been disinterested?

Consequently, I would suggest marketers take a moment to stop focusing on a rigid definition of what native advertising is and isn’t to embrace what it can do for your marketing efforts given the adaptability native ads offer.

Question #2. Is native advertising really a new tactic?

Not really.

One thing that has me confused is why everyone seems to think that native advertising is such a new and revolutionary concept.

When I first started to hear the buzz around native advertising, I immediately thought back to my high school cross country days.

I remembered reading an article in Runner’s World about precautions you can take to avoid injuries. As I flipped through the pages, there was an ad placed for Asics shoes that outlined what causes many common running injuries and how its shoes were scientifically designed to help prevent these problems.

I knew it was an advertisement, but it was also highly relevant to the content I was reading. I chose to divert my attention to the ad instead of the content around it.

So, I would argue that Asics’ idea of designing an ad that was relevant to the content surrounding it was essentially a “primitive” utility of native advertising.

Although my example is not a direct B2B example, it’s not a far reach to find native ad adoption in white papers or sponsored posts on Facebook that are also dispelling other myths about B2B social media use.

Question #3. Do our ads offer value and relevance?

Delivering valuable content that is relevant to your prospects is the key to a successful native ad campaign.

Generating quality content can be a difficult task, but it’s certainly not impossible if done correctly.

Producing valuable content that not only relates to the interest of the user, but is also relevant to your business should be the goal of every native advertising campaign you undertake.

So, what does a successful B2B native ad campaign look like exactly?

Well, according to Buzzfeed, it looks a lot like the consumerization of B2B marketing.

GE Aviation created a “flight mode” campaign designed to promote its presence at the 2013 Paris Air Show. When users visited BuzzFeed.com, the flight mode campaign transformed the Buzzfeed homepage into a grid of articles readers could “fly” over with a little plane icon.

Whenever users stopped on content they were interested in, they could hit the space bar and read the article in the normal view.

While a lot of the buzz was centered on the seemingly odd pairing of an ad campaign for an aviation giant’s presence at an air show running on an online publication, the campaign has been considered as a success so far, which brings us back to my point …

Offering quality content that is relevant is central to successfully using native ads as a B2B marketing tactic.

Question #4. What are the risks?

I see a future in native advertising, but from a business intelligence perspective, “Careful you must be when sensing the future.”

Yes, that was a quote from “Star Wars,” but Yoda’s advice actually holds a lot of truth when it comes to native advertising.

While I will not dispute there is a future in native advertising for B2B marketers, I wanted to offer caution to use the tactic of native ads responsibly and here’s why.

Imagine a scenario where your ideal prospect is researching a new product, let’s say software that lets small businesses share voice mails across cloud storage.

Eventually your prospect comes across an article outlining all the benefits of using Brand X’s voice mail clouding over Brand Y’s service.

If the information appears to be from a reputable source, the article may ultimately influence a prospect’s purchase.

But, what happens to Brand X’s credibility the moment the prospect realizes that “article” was actually a carefully constructed advertisement produced by Brand X attempting to appear as impartial, informative content?

Well, I don’t know about you, but for me, the brand is taking a big credibility gamble.

Although this is a completely hypothetical situation, problems could very well arise if companies try to disguise native ads as unbiased content.

Which brings me to my final question …

Question #5. Are we trying too hard?

I know … it goes against everything you have ever been taught.

But when it comes to native advertising, trying too hard to disguise your ads can be the difference between a successful campaign, and losing a prospect for good. My suggestion here is to avoid trying to “disguise” an advertisement as unbiased or pragmatic content.

If the content is native, you won’t have to disguise anything as it engages prospects without jeopardizing your organization’s credibility. I know I’d rather see a brand recognizing and embracing the potential of an advertisement than attempting to trick me by masking it behind the illusion of an unbiased expert.

So, to sum it all up, while I do think native advertising has proven its potential as a content marketing tactic and is now being adopted more frequently into B2B marketing, I want to reinforce that a native advertisement is just that – an ad.

Positioning it otherwise may very well damage the credibility of your business and drive away prospects.

But, if you embrace the ability you have to provide prospects with relevant and valuable content, there is potential for innovative new ways to turn native advertising campaigns into ROI.

This article first appeared on B2BLeadBlog.com.

4 Email Marketing Gems – Born Out of Writing 1,000 Emails

20130825-header-image-4-email-marketing-gems
Justin Bridegan of MarketingSherpa shares 4 things he learned from writing a lot of email copy:

Having written close to 1,000 emails for MarketingSherpa promoting our marketing products over the past few years, I’ve learned a couple of things I thought I would share with you, many of them from my own mistakes.

At Summits, when people recognize my name from their inbox, they ask, “What have you found that works?” What a loaded question, right?

I’ve felt much like Edison, but with a marketing spin on it. I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways on how to not write an email.

Much like you, my writing over time has evolved to include some semi-universal best practices which many of us are familiar with, but sometimes get lost in the marketing translation from company logic to customer logic. So, here is a quick refresher.

Tip #1. Write your copy with the understanding that your audience is likely not reading, but skimming

It’s been said most people are either “filers,” who create a specific file folder for each email, or “pilers,” who let the inbox pile up with no hope in sight. Either way, your message is up against an already overflowing inbox. Standing out – and quickly – is the only hope you have.

I’m not saying all email messages have to be short, but they should be readable in a skim format. Your audience should be able to understand the main message in five to 10 seconds. Subject lines should be point first or last, not middle. Intro paragraphs should also be short and lead into the body copy, usually three sentences or less. Overall, you should test your email subject lengths to know what your audience prefers to read.

Tip #2. Stop selling to your audience and offer real value

Nobody enjoys being bombarded with product offerings and specials. Don’t get me wrong, we all like a good deal, just not all of the time and not every day. Your emails should be an ongoing conversation and always offer real value. Ask yourself, “Does this pass the ‘so what’ test?” If not, then scrap what you have and start over.

Use benefit-focused language such as “Get” or “Receive” without making them think about all of the things they have to do. You need to build some trust with your audience and make sure you provide an email address so they can respond with feedback.

Tip #3. Clarity is the key

Have you ever read an email and not understood what they were trying to say? I know I have. From internal acronyms nobody outside the office understands to copy containing three or four calls-to-action, too much clutter is a conversion killer.

Focus on one key benefit, map it to their pain point and solve it. Your email tone should convey a helpful and friendly voice. Never use words that don’t convey value, like “Submit,” or “Click.” When possible, provide more clarity and quantify your message. For example, use “Get instant online access to all 32 marketing search journals” instead of “Download now.”

Tip #4. Don’t take my word for it – test

What works for one company doesn’t always work for another. The only true way to know what works in your messaging is to test. For the MarketingSherpa audience, those who have purchased from us in the past tend to like short, right to the point emails, while new sign-ups tend to like more visual and lengthy copy. It is about tailoring your messages.

We’ve gleaned these insights from A/B testing. Before you implement any of my tips, I suggest you test them with your unique audience and product to see if they also work for you.


This article
originally appeared on MarketingSherpa.com.

Why An Email Blast Campaign Will Help You Get More Singapore Sales Leads

 

Why An Email Blast Campaign Will Help You Get More Singapore Sales Leads

Even though email can be considered “ancient” in internet terms, it still remains one of the most effective means to find business sales leads online. You would be missing out on a lot of potential customers if you haven’t been utilizing this lead generation tool enough. So why is email marketing so enduring and successful, compared to other online marketing tools that have risen and fallen out of favor with marketers?

  1. Email is rudimentary. Every single person who uses the internet has an email address, and it is most likely the online communication tool used daily and comfortably by your Singapore business leads. Even technologically-challenged business owners make it a point to know how to send and receive an email.
  2. Email is more about business. More so than any other social media platform available today. If you want to be taken seriously by your prospects, sending them an official email is the way to go.
  3. Emails marketing is not constrained by the boundaries of branding. No matter what email service provider you have, sending an email to your prospects is basically the same process.
  4. Email carries with it the expectation of a product or service offer. This means that your sales leads know that you’re selling them something with your mail, and if they open it, then it means they’re interested in making a purchase!

Businesses that need more Singapore sales leads should start to seriously focus on their email marketing, and if your marketing team are already preoccupied with a different lead generation campaign, then you might want to consider outsourcing to a BPO company to oversee your email blast campaigns for you. Having this marketing tool in conjunction with other marketing plans such as telemarketing or social media marketing will surely provide your Singapore business with a steady source of quality business to business leads.

Is it time for your Marketing strategy to “check-in” on Foursquare?

Is it time for your Marketing strategy to “check-in” on Foursquare

Here’s a great story: On October 22, 2010, when astronaut Douglas Wheelock arrived at the International Space Station 230 miles outside of Earth, he made history. No, he didn’t take pictures of aliens, nor did he stop an asteroid from hitting our planet. So what did he do?

He checked-in to Foursquare.

From outer space.

Yep. After that he was given the first and only “NASA Explorer” badge by the app, and from then on NASA became more active in Foursquare-dom. The implication is simple: Foursquare is getting more universal. You know, like the universe. Universal. Get it?

That story alone should leave you at least convinced to entertain the idea that Foursquare should be part of your marketing strategy. Its biggest growth was in the last 2 years, wherein it quickly jumped to more than 30 million active users. With over 3.5 billion check-ins since its inception in 2009, it’s slowly becoming the ultimate geo-social tool. Are you ready to inform the Mayor that you’re coming to town?

Here are the reasons why marketers need to befriend Foursquare:

  • Social word of mouth. Imagine if Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga all checked-in at your business site and makes sure everyone in cyberspace knows about it. That’s 122 million people immediately getting that information, and that’s only on Twitter. There’s still Facebook, Instagram, and so on – ah, you get the point. That’s the power of social media.
  • You’re probably there already. Before you even think of getting on board, you might want to check if you’re already on everyone’s maps. In Foursquare, locations are created by people themselves, so your “physical” existence is a perfect jump board to start your campaign.
  • Trends. Just like Twitter, Foursquare also manages trends, and this becomes a convenience for people who actually use “trending” lists to decide which places and brands they want to patronize. Marketers prey on that information.
  • Instant demographic. As a by-product, marketers are conveniently provided with useful data at their disposal: frequency, day and time of check-ins, first time visitors, top visitors, feedback, and competition. This could help in identifying, predicting and controlling behavior patterns.
  • Everything “follows”. Not only that you have data at hand, you also who the actual supporters of your company or brand are. You can “follow” your visitors and “follow-up” with promos and updates. This can also facilitate in getting feedback and participation from them, which is a great source of constructive input.
  • Contests and loyalty rewards. Now that you know the people who have been keeping your company alive, why not spice things up with contests and perks? Give them more reasons to patronize your brand, and they’ll willingly heighten the buzz for you.

Not The AdWords That You Used To Know

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In the Smart Insights article, Google AdWords changes in 2013 – reviewing the opportunities and potential problems, Tara West outlines the changes with Google AdWords that you need to be aware of and how you can make the most of the opportunities that go with them.

These changes are:

  • Device Targeting and Bid Adjustments
  • Flexible Bid Strategies
  • New and Enhanced ad Extensions
  • Low Search Demand keywords are not eligible
  • Competitive data
  • AdWords Display Advertising changes

Device Targeting and Bid Adjustments

The most controversial change from Enhanced Campaigns has delivered is the shake up with device targeting. In previous times, best practice has always been to target mobiles and tablets in separate campaigns (away from desktop campaigns) because they perform differently. This also allowed the advertiser control over the split in spend between tablet, mobile and desktop.

The AdWords interface has now changed so dramatically that you can no longer target tablets separately because Google believe they perform in the same way as desktop devices (in my experience they don’t, but who am I to argue with the big G).

All devices are now targeted within one campaign, and bid adjustments are used to increase or decrease bids for mobiles. There is no way to increase or decrease bids for tablets, which is a real shame.

You can choose not to target mobile devices by making your mobile bid adjustment -100%.

Bid adjustments aren’t all bad news – there are some other handy bid adjustment features for location and times of day.

Bid adjustment feature by location and time of day

If you have a local business with physical locations, you can increase your bids for users who are within a certain radius or location close to your business. For example if you were an Estate Agent with offices in Winchester, Southampton and Basingstoke, you could set your campaign to target the whole of Hampshire but increase bids by 5% for users in Winchester, Basingstoke and Southampton because you believe they are more likely to convert.

The functionality for bid adjustments based on times of day has always been available in AdWords but now it’s more prominent in the settings section of the interface.

Explore your campaign performance by times of day using the Dimensions tab, and then increase or decrease bids as required.

For example if you are a cafe, you may want to increase your bids from 12pm to 2pm because this is when people are most likely to search for your business and actually visit your venue. Likewise, if you are an e-commerce site, you might see in the Dimensions tab data that your site performs well throughout the day but most conversions happen after 5pm. You could then increase your bids between 5pm and 9pm because you know clicks during this time are most likely to convert and you want increased visibility higher up the page.

All bid adjustment functionalities can be found within the settings tab and then green sub-tabs within it.

It’s important to remember that all bid adjustments stack on top of each other. For example if your standard bid was £1 and then you bid up 10% for people who are in Winchester, and then also bid up 10% for users between 12pm and 3pm, your new bid would be £1.21.

Flexible Bid Strategies

This is a completely new feature in AdWords where you can choose a bidding strategy and Google will automatically optimise your bids based on achieving this strategy.
It sounds too good to be true, and that’s because it might be.

Nothing can beat a bidding strategy managed by a human (or even a human using a 3rd party tool), but sometimes you just don’t have the time or the knowledge to constantly tweak bids.

This is when Automatic Bidding Strategies might help you:

Tell Google to optimise your bids to achieve a set Cost per Acquisition, Cost per Click, maximum number of clicks, or simply for a certain position in the paid search results.
AdWords does this by using all the time, location and device data in your account and changing your bids accordingly.

The bid strategy for Cost per Acquisition is helpful if you are targeting mobiles on Enhanced Campaigns and used to use Conversion Optimiser, as Conversion Optimiser does not function alongside mobile targeting with Enhanced Campaigns.

Read the rest of Tara’s article here.

After 5 Years, Email and Search still Beat Social Media, and You Better Believe It

After 5 years, Email and Search still beat Social Media, and you better believe it

Here’s a piece of information that social media worshipers may not like: boosting emails and improving SEO can lead to better customers compared to “likes” and “tweets”.

It’s been a relatively known fact – it’s just that people subjected it to speculation and dismissed by theories. But when credible numbers enter a conversation, all doubts might as well be put to rest once and for all.

Custora recently released a report coming off a study among US companies across 14 various industries. Their data is based on a total of 72 million clients who interacted with 86 companies from 2009 to 2013.

A central tool that they used in the study was a standard measure called Customer Lifetime Value or CLV, which pertains to the “dollar value” of a company’s relationship with a customer. This metric focuses more on long-term projections of cash flows and benefits instead of quarterly benefits. It also sets a limit on how much a company should spend to acquire a customer based on a projected CLV.

Here are some of the notable findings of their study:

  • After determining which of the clients involved are ranked as having a “high lifetime value”, it was found out that 54% of those customers were acquired through organic search, which makes it the most profitable channel amongst all strategies.
  • When they sought to rank each strategy based on the percentage of customers acquired (without considering the lifetime value), the victor still remains to be organic search, accounting for 16% of all customers, followed by pay-per-click at 9.8% and email at 6.8%.

Facebook and Twitter? Only 0.17% and 0.01%, respectively.

  • Twitter came out as the least beneficial channel, even in CLV, where it scored a dreadful 23% below average. Facebook had at least 1% above average, but it’s not something to be proud of, either.
  • Although organic search generated the largest numbers, the “most improved” award goes to email marketing, with a growth rate that has quadrupled since 2009. The trending strategy involves building online communities which require email addresses, and then painstakingly converting each of those members to customers via email.
  • Two other channels that were found to have rapid increase in success are affiliate referrals and banner advertisements. Both have scored better or at least equal to that of Facebook and Twitter.

 

Resources:

http://blog.custora.com/2013/06/e-commerce-customer-acquisition-snapshot/http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11170/email-and-search-deliver-more-customers-than-social-media

Email is Madonna, Facebook is Lady Gaga: 16 Ways That’s True

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Email is Madonna, Facebook is Lady Gaga: 16 Ways That’s True

According to Jay Baer, president of Convince and Convert, you don’t have to like just either. At last year’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit, he showed how email and Facebook can be fully maximized in reaching your market by integrating them.

Click here for an excerpt of his talk from the summit as seen in MarketingSherpa.

00:10 “If somebody is subscribing to your email newsletter on your website, on your thank you page, why not ask them to also like you on Facebook?” Jay asked, citing many brands he has audited have not tried this approach.

2:26 Jay explained why marketers who are doing advanced segmentation should turn to connecting Facebook accounts to websites to collect information from customers. Instead of having customers fill out a lengthy form with their information, allowing them to connect their Facebook accounts makes it easier on them to give up their information and faster for marketers to collect this essential data.

You may watch Jay’s full free presentation from Email Summit 2013 here:
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/video/jay-baer-email-summit-2013

And the slides to his presentation can be downloaded from here:
http://www.meclabs.com/training/misc/emailsummit/slides2013/Email_Summit_2013_2_20_4.30_KA_More_Alike_Than_Different.pdf

Have fun harmonizing your marketing efforts with Madonna and Lady Gaga!