Understand that if you do business online, the GDPR may apply to you. This new data-protection law applies to any size business - even if you have no direct E.U. operations or staff.
Similar personal data protection legislation is being developed here in the United States.
Responsible data management is about protecting your brand and your business. Every day we see new headlines about a data-breach or personal data sharing due to incompetence or unethical behavior – think Facebook & Cambridge Analytica. Enforceable data-protection laws with significant penalties for violators are necessary and should be embraced by businesses.
So, what is the GDPR? The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new law designed to protect the “personal data” of E.U. citizens – including how the data is collected, stored, processed and destroyed. This E.U. law goes into effect on May 25th, 2018. The definition of ‘personal data’ under the GDPR far exceeds that of the U.S. and encompasses ‘information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person’. This includes data such as name, ID number, location data, online identifier or other factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person. It even includes IP addresses, cookie strings, social media posts, online contacts and mobile device IDs.
Obviously GDPR impacts U.S.-based multi-national companies. If you are a US-based company with no direct operations in the EU it likely applies to your business too.
US-based businesses with no employees or offices within the boundaries of the EU are subject to GDPR. And, under Article 3 of the GDPR, your business can be liable even if no financial transaction occurs. If your U.S. based organization communicates with and/or solicits members online with some of them residing in the E.U., you are likely subject to the GDPR. However, if your organization operates online or uses Google Adwords and an E.U. resident stumbles upon your webpage, it is unlikely that the GDPR applies. Simply put, if your organization actively fosters relationships with E.U. residents, GDPR applies.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
The GDPR imposes significant fines for companies that fail to comply. Non-compliance penalties and fines can be 2-to-4% of a company’s global revenue. The forth-coming U.S. legislation promises to be just as potent.
Protect your organization from becoming a headline. If you market online, it is vital that you initiate risk assessment and initiate an action plan now.
Prepared by Chris Lowers, May 10th 2018
Consumers expect instant gratification online. They want what they want now. If your website fails to load in 3 seconds you're literally driving people to your competitors.
What you need to know is that a slow mobile experience robs you of potential sales. You’ve lost users enthusiasm of the moment when your site fails to load and become usable within 3 seconds. When your mobile site is slow, people will leave and find your competitors. It’s called abandonment. Here’s how it works: someone finds your site then leaves in frustration (or anger) because your site won’t load fast enough. Because they are unable to get what they want through your site, they ‘go back’ on their browser, finding what they want through your competitor.
According to Google, ‘it’s a challenge most businesses struggle with. In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load’.
We humans simply don’t have the attention span we once did. It’s time to stop making excuses for your website and embrace our mobile ecosystem. Did you know that over 40% of shoppers report that they prefer to complete their entire shopping experience on mobile – from research to purchase.
To help marketers improve page load speed, Google has developed two tools that give marketers better ways to illustrate the importance of mobile site speed.
Speed Scorecard – shows how your site ranks against the competition on mobile
Impact Calculator – shows the potential revenue impact of speed on your bottom line
Google announced these two new benchmarking tools at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, February 26th 2018.
We hope you put these fantastic new tools to work improving your users mobile experience soon.
If you’re a business owner and find yourself a little bewildered by all the ‘mobile’ buzzwords out there, you’re not alone. The vocabulary of tech evolves at break-neck speed causing lots of our clients wondering how to filter what’s important to know and what’s not.
First, it’s vital that you understand how important mobile is to the life your business – any business. When people shop for goods or research services, their smartphone or tablet is now their go-to advisor and personal assistant.
Most people now search and research products via their mobile device first. Google reports that people find their smartphone is indispensable.
Major search engines constantly adjust their search results to favor websites that provide the most gratifying mobile-user experiences. What you need to know is that your business must provide a website looks great, loads fast and functions as well on a smartphone or tablet as is does on a desktop in order to rank competitively in search results.
Understanding a few key terms related to ‘mobile’ will help you better grasp our brave new world and achieve mobile success.
A mobile device is a generic term for any type of handheld computer. Smartphones or tablets are the most common examples. PDA’s (Personal digital assistant), e-readers, audio players and hand-held games are other examples.
If you’re talking with your marketing team about mobile search or website design, they are most likely referring to the smartphones or tablets that people use to interact with your brand online.
Any person that uses a mobile device is a mobile user. You’ll hear this term used most often when talking about search analytics, user experience (UX) and app or website design.
Responsive Website Design
Responsive design simply means that your website is designed to look great and function properly on any type of computing device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. The website design automatically ‘responds’ to different screen sizes to provide a smooth user experience on any device.
Your smartphone screen is 1/10th the size of a desktop screen. Responsive design is how website designers make a single website look great and function across thousands of different devices and multiple operating software platforms.
Why this is important: without responsive design, your website won’t work properly across mobile devices and it will be harder to find your website online because your (SEO) search results will suffer.
We hope this helps you navigate our ever-evolving online world.
Determining your SEO success means more than just tracking Google page rankings.
Marketers and their customers have one thing in common: their eyes are on the first page of Google search results.
With various estimates putting the click-through rate of a number one Google ranking around 20.5%, it’s no wonder that more than half of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
But they might be surprised to learn that making it to the number one spot isn’t enough to ensure valuable clicks -- or any clicks at all, for that matter. And focusing solely on improving page rankings ignores the pages that don’t rank in the first place. For ecommerce sites in particular, which spend up to a quarter of their budgets on SEO, technical SEO issues often prevent pages from appearing in search results and therefore, from earning ROI.
Does that mean that keyword rankings are not important? Absolutely not! It means that focusing only on keyword rankings is a terrible mistake. So in addition to measuring SEO success based on page rankings, here are some other metrics that companies might not be tracking, but should be.
Drivers: Revenue and Traffic
Everyone knows revenue is important. What they might not know, however, is that they can track the revenue that corresponds to their SEO efforts. By connecting Google Search Console with Google Analytics, companies can access data about the revenue listed for the organic search channel, up to the page level. Tracking this data is a great place to start, as it gives companies a better idea of how much revenue their SEO efforts are actually generating.
In addition to traffic and revenue, companies can use Google Search Console inside Google Analytics to track behavioral metrics like number of pages visited, bounce rate and time onsite. Coupled with the data provided about conversion rates, these metrics can help companies understand which pages are performing the best and why, and use that insight to optimize existing content -- or create new content.
Comparing this data over time is a great way to measure the evolution of a company’s SEO success. Rather than simply monitoring Google page rankings, measuring changes in a company’s page revenue and traffic can provide more meaningful insights that rankings don’t capture. Sometimes pages are ranked high, but receive very few clicks. Other times, pages receive many clicks, but have low conversion rates. Fundamental drivers such as revenue and traffic, therefore, are stronger metrics to study.
Obstacles: Indexing Errors
Still, these driver metrics don’t paint the full picture. It’s equally important to know where an SEO strategy isn’t working. And there is no better place to start than by looking at crawl errors. These errors are often what prevent companies’ pages from being indexed by Google in the first place -- meaning that unless they are fixed, the pages will generate zero organic traffic, and zero revenue from organic search too. For this reason, we always recommend starting with a foundational SEO approach that focuses on correctly indexing existing content before pouring resources into new content.
Companies can find pages with indexing and crawl errors by using the Google Search Console. Typically, the number of crawl errors is far different between the web version and mobile version of a company’s web pages. Considering that for some industries up to nearly three-quarters of searches come from a mobile device, companies should pay particular attention to their mobile crawl errors and take steps to fix them immediately.
Once the necessary changes are made, companies should also view the total number of pages crawled per day and the Index Status from Google Search Console to ensure that all of their pages will eventually be searchable.
Levers: Optimized Pages and Visitors Per Page
Driver metrics help companies measure progress against goals, and obstacles provide them with specific actions to take. However, they still need to keep an eye on metrics that affect them directly.
In order to properly gauge whether the implemented changes have had a positive effect, companies can monitor two primary “levers” that would point to inevitable traffic and revenue increases: the number of optimized pages (landing pages that rank and drive traffic), and the average number of visitors per page. When these two metrics are multiplied together, companies can see the total SEO traffic to their sites.
To find the number of optimized pages, under organic search traffic, switch from keywords to pages and count the number listed at the bottom paginator. Companies with sites under 50k pages should aim for about 50% to 75% of the total site pages to be receiving traffic; however, this level can (and should) increase with additional SEO improvements, as they are ultimately those which drive the most revenue and return on a company’s SEO investments. How can a company get more pages optimized? An example would be by getting more pages effectively indexed.
To determine whether or not a company is meeting its goals, the second key metric to monitor is the average number of visitors per page, which can be calculated by dividing the total traffic figure by the number of optimized pages. Rather than the blindsided approach of relying only on page rankings to determine SEO success, this approach can help companies more accurately gauge their SEO improvements. After all, high-ranking pages don’t always lead to valuable results.
While these two final metrics are by far the most important, they still work in tandem with the driver and obstacle metrics. By tracking each of these metrics together, companies can ultimately save time and money by leveraging their existing content. And by not shelling out for more mediocre keyword content, they can clean up the internet too.
By Hamlet Batista, 2/17/18
Two years after Facebook dropped its branded content restrictions and rolled out a branded content tagging system, the number of organic posts that marketers pay publishers and creators to publish to their own Pages to promote the marketers’ brands has swelled. The number of publishers and creators posting branded content to Facebook each month grew fourfold last year, according to the company. Now, Facebook will bar publishers and creators from using its branded content tagging tool to promote content that they were not involved in creating.
But “branded content” can be a slippery term. In theory, it refers to an article or video that a brand paid a publisher or creator to produce or star in and to distribute to their audience. However, in practice, it can simply be an article or video that a brand paid a publisher or creator to distribute to their audience; it may not even be content but instead a link to a product page on a brand’s e-commerce site, making something that was already closely related to an ad now all too identical to one.
To bar publishers, creators and brands from abusing the loose definition of branded content, Facebook will more clearly define what qualifies as such on its social network, as well as on Instagram.
Facebook is updating its branded content policy to prohibit publishers and creators from being paid to post content that they were not involved in creating, the company announced on Thursday. Specifically, Facebook will add the following parameter to its policy: “Don’t accept anything of value to post content that you did not create or were not involved in the creation of, or that does not feature you.”
When the change takes effect in March, Facebook will curtail the reach of branded content on Facebook and Instagram that violates the policy and, if publishers or creators continue to violate it, may eventually limit or eliminate their access to Facebook’s monetization tools, such as the labeling tool used to tag a piece of branded content and enable a brand to track its performance and run it as an ad.
To identify when a piece of branded content violates its updated policy, Facebook will rely on a system it has developed that uses various signals to recognize a business relationship between two Pages, according to a Facebook spokesperson. That system is designed to be able to distinguish between when, as an example, a creator posts a link to an article from an unaffiliated publisher that features a brand but not the creator (which would violate Facebook’s policy) versus a link to an article from an unaffiliated publisher that features both the brand and the creator (which would not violate Facebook’s policy, provided the creator is quoted in the article, as opposed to simply mentioned). Pages that are found violating Facebook’s policy will be notified and able to appeal the decision.
AUTHOR: TIM PETERSON
Check out the original article published January 25th 2018 on MarketingLand.com
You know that you need to protect your brand and your marketing materials, you’re just not sure how.
Understanding proper copyright or trademark use protects your brand and your business.
Which to Use: Copyright or Trademark?
Your brand and all the marketing materials that build your brand are intellectual property.
Copyright and trademark provide legal protection of different types of intellectual property.
Why Should I Use a Trademark or Copyright?
Simply put, to protect your intellectual property. Use of copyright and trademark symbols may discourage others from either inadvertent or intentional use of your property potentially saving you frustration, time and money.
If you have a registered trademark, use of the mark aids your case when pursuing your rights because courts have traditionally ruled that if a trademark owner properly uses the registration symbol, others may not claim ignorance of the trademark therefore protecting your rights.
How Should a Copyright Be Used?
The copyright symbol may be placed on any original piece of work and that work does not have to be registered in order to use the copyright symbol.
Best practice is to include the year of first publication and the name of the copyright holder beside the copyright symbol and place prominently in either the front or back of the publication however, there are no specific legal requirements regarding this.
For websites and other digital property that is continually updated, it is best practice to include the year of most recent publication and name of copyright holder beside the copyright symbol and place prominently in the footer of the home page or contact page.
How Should a Trademark Symbol be Used?
Ensure that the proper mark is prominently displayed once on your website, advertisement, brochure, press release, article or other published materials.
Best practice is to use the proper symbol once with either the first instance of the mark appearing or, the most prominent mark placement.
Do not make the mistake of jamming a trademark symbol every time a mark is used. Overuse makes for poor design and visual clutter that undermines your marketing efforts.
Interestingly, symbol placement is not stipulated by law however, the proper symbol is traditionally placed in the upper right-hand or lower right-hand corner of a mark.
Three are commonly used and recognized in the United States. Which one should be used depends on your situation. If you are trying to safeguard something that is not registered through the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, you should use either the TM or SM symbol: TM for trademarks that represent goods, SM for service marks that represent services. TM is typically recommended for marks covering products and services.
The circle R (®) is a federal registration symbol used for goods and/or services registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. State registrations do not qualify.
We hope this helps you make smarter decisions about your marketing. Note that this article is not legal advice and provided only to arm you with a general understanding of copyright and trademark use.
Prepared by Chris Lowers, January 17th, 2018
It’s no secret that personal referrals are the lifeblood of service businesses. Whether you are an accountant or plumber, chiropractor or mechanic, most of your business is built by word of mouth.
So, what are the 5 psychological drivers that strong brands employ to generate more referrals?
Businesses that stand apart from the competition have invested the time to identify specific customer pain points and then promote their remedy. By specializing in narrowly-focused service areas these businesses are more referable:
People love to share something they feel they have just discovered. Give them that reason by promoting specialty services.
We are all social by nature – even the curmudgeons. We share, compare, discuss, complain and complement each other. We ask for trusted friends’ opinions before we buy. In other words, consumers place trust in social circles to shape and reinforce buying habits.
If what you do isn’t so loveable, find something about your company that is. Promote personal achievements. You might publicly acknowledge client growth or project success. Perhaps celebrate a staff-member finishing a marathon. Whatever you chose, make it personal and stand out.
Offering products or services which are available in a limited quantity create buzz that fuels referrals. It plays right into the psychology of persuasion. Scarcity is one of the key persuasive ingredients which compels shoppers to act, as people will desire something more if it is seen as less available.
If your brand doesn’t produce limited edition goods or services, you can still tap into the influence of scarcity. Simply develop a referral reward program which must be redeemed in a short timeframe, thus driving the need for urgency. Be sure to reward both the person referring, and the person referred.
Be Tech Savvy
Early adopters love to be ahead of the curve and strive to be among the first to experience the “latest” service or product, particularly when new technology.
Offering new, tech savvy, goods or services, you’ll tap into the power of ego. How? Why? Because the only thing early adopters are love more than something new is sharing that they were first to try it.
It sounds obvious; friends want to share fun experiences with each other. Mundane activities tend to be ignored.
Not surprisingly, people are much more likely to share a product or service that is seen as entertaining. Indeed, research shows that experiences such as travel, entertainment and leisure are some of the most likely categories to be referred.
That doesn’t mean that referral isn’t successful in other categories. The key is to make the messaging surrounding the offer fun or entertaining.
Even if your brand doesn’t exhibit one of these 5 elements, the key to referral marketing success is to tap into the underlying psychology that drives consumers to become your advocate and take action. Develop referral strategies built on engagement, fun, uniqueness, savvy or exclusivity.
Most of all, create buzz that’s worth talking about.
Trouble for social marketers comes in packages of all shapes and sizes. And the holidays seem to escalate social media risk intensity. Whether it’s a poorly timed post, a typographical error or a content oversight, smart marketers are prepared for crisis. They understand that having a strategic social media plan can help prevent crisis from happening and reduce the impact when crisis does occur.
Here are 5 Tips to prevent the pain of social media crisis and ease the burden when something is amiss.
When flooded with negative social media activity it is critical that your team has an action plan to follow and that each member knows their responsibilities. Having an agile team ready to instantly react is the most effective step you can take to minimize brand damage.
Next, identify the primary decision-maker in the event of a crises and create a list of stakeholders who should be kept in the communication loop. So, think ahead about the kinds of things that could go wrong and create a situation analysis. Did a member of your staff post something inappropriate or off-color? Is there an issue with your services or product? Are you involved in a legal battle? Typically employees, shareholders, and customers will be on your list. Also include the best way to contact stakeholders quickly.
Create a template press release or statement. This saves time allowing faster response. It’s vital to respond quickly, but don’t be hasty. Ensure that you have all the facts and that your response addresses as many of these facts when you send out your press release.
Develop a clear set of response protocols for your staff. No matter how big or small your business, anyone associated with your brand needs to be aware of what they should and should not say during a crisis. Advise employees not to discuss a crisis without consent from your crisis team. Communications must be aligned. A rogue employee discussing your brand crisis can cause exponential problems.
Find Your Brand Advocates
Word of mouth is ever-powerful. Brand advocates come across as authentic, passionate and lacking an ulterior motive for supporting your brand.
Brand advocates may reduce the impact or even prevent social media nightmares because of how they often defend your brand as negative activity is emerging. Turning customers into brand advocates can be daunting, but it is an achievable goal that can really help you should a social media disaster occur.
Create an Internal Social Media Guidebook
Whether you have one person running social media or fifty, ensure everyone is aware of how they should be communicating on your business social media pages, as well as on their own personal social network channels.
While it is important for employees to bring personality to your social media it is critically important that they stay on message. We recommend employing a social media guideline checklist that addresses:
Have Security Measures in Place
PC security is one of the most obvious but often the most forgotten elements to include in your crisis communications plan. Update your computer, use separate passwords for each account, and create strong passwords.
If you have lots of people running social media, use a social media management program. This means users won’t need the password to the profile itself, but a login for the social media platform. The advantages of this: 1) the fewer people with the password, the less risk of the account being compromised 2) posts can be attributed to specific employees.
Social media doesn’t have to be a source of stress if you’re well prepared for anything that can come your way. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way.
Inspired by Hannah Williams blog, ‘5 Tips to Prevent a Social Media Nightmare’
Most professionals are aware of the vital role SEO, ratings and reviews plays in business success particularly for professional service businesses.
Once again in the discovery phase with a new client, I'm saddened to uncover how this client was taken advantage of by a web-services provider.
This client asked all the right questions and appeared to receive good answers. So she did what we all do, she trusted that the person she was doing business with was professional. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. They took her money and then provided minimal service highlighted by outdated, uninformed SEO techniques that tanked her search results.
The client was smart. She was watching her metrics. When she called to find out why her search results had dropped unexpectedly, the web-service provider was rude, telling her that she was ignorant and didn't understand the internet. She's savvy. She knew better and reached out for help. We’re so happy she did – we love helping clients have great experiences and better results.
If you'd like to learn a little more about SEO, Ratings and Reviews, our friends at Feefo have put together a new whitepaper that you might find valuable.
Learn how to:
• Obtain organic stars
• Improve click-through rate (CTR) and enhance conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
• Build a solid brand reputation and increase website trust and authority
• Maximise user-generated content (UGC) and implement social signals
I hope you find this a valuable resource.
With mobile consumer package goods ad campaigns getting double the dollars of desktop display, it's never been more important to see how your return-on-ad-spend measures up.
Download Digital Advertising's True Impact on In-Store Sales, a benchmarks report from 4INFO a media targeting and measurement company. This report compares the measured sales effect of 250 mobile ad campaigns by 138 different consumer package good brands. Learn which types of ad content are most effective. Understand the importance of incorporating video. If you’re uncertain how you should engage your audience with confidence, reach out to us, Grey Partners. We’d love to help you generate consistently significant return on your ad spend.
When thinking about your website traffic, it's obvious that more pageviews is a good thing, right?
Well, it depends. Pageviews that intuitively guide your users to the exact place they want to go fast is not just good – it’s great. Unfortunately, poorly designed websites that deliver high page views by sending users to an irrelevant page, or turning them away with slow and long load times is not just bad – it can drain your revenue streams.
Recent case studies from the website intelligence company Ezoic reveal that poorly designed websites are often perceived as successful due to what they refer to as ‘Fake UX’. Fake UX results in artificially inflated page views because users can find what they are specifically looking for. Users click pages but leave as unsatisfied as your dwindling revenue stream. Companies are slow to react because the marketing team is relying on misleading metrics.
In one example, a digital publisher wanted to measure user experience and relate it to advertising revenue. Internal page bounces (aka navigation bounces), engagement time, engaged page views per visit and revenue per session were selected as the KPI’s. The publishers employed traditional website analytics and multi-variate analytics. The results revealed a 28% drop in internal page bounces. Further analysis also revealed that when a user bounced to an irrelevant page, had been turned away by long load times or annoying ads, revenue per visit dropped accordingly.
Successful website design and metrics demand consistent testing, evaluation and adjustment. It’s all about great user experiences that intuitively guide users to what they’re looking for fast.
If you’re uncertain about how to give your online customers an overwhelmingly wonderful experience that consistently drives revenue, contact Grey Partners today.
by Adam Lella, Senior Marketing Insights Analyst, comScore
If you could only have one app on your smartphone, what would it be? It’s a fun thought experiment to consider. What’s that one essential service on your smartphone you just couldn’t go without?
Would you feel out of the loop if you didn’t have Facebook to see what your friends and family are up to? Would you dread having to price compare across different retailers without your trusted Amazon app? Would you feel lost without access to your Gmail? Would you literally get lost without Google Maps?
comScore recently surveyed 1,033 smartphone users with this exact question, only we let them choose up to three apps they couldn’t go without. We released some of these findings in The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, and the results were fascinating. While the highest engagement apps include social media and entertainment platforms such as Facebook, Pandora, YouTube and Spotify, we found the apps that people list as their ‘most essential’ tend be more functional and utilitarian, in that they provide services that serve more practical use cases. Although Facebook was listed as the most essential app, the next four that were ranked among users’ Top 3 were Gmail, Amazon, Google Maps and Google Search.
These four apps provide important services on a regular – often daily – basis for most users, but they aren’t designed for high engagement. In fact, the less time you spend on them, the better they are at doing their job. Interestingly, Facebook and YouTube are both among the most essential and highest engagement, which is really a sweet spot in the mind of the user and is why these are arguably the two most powerful apps out there currently.
Another interesting finding from the report is that the apps listed as the most essential have a strong correlation with being positioned on users’ smartphone home screens. It intuitively makes sense, as these are apps that are used on a consistent and frequent basis, so users often want easy access to them. From our survey, we know that 80% of smartphone users move apps to their home screen, and 61% of these home screen curators list how often they use the app as the top factor influencing their decision to do so. “How often,” or frequency of usage, is an important distinction from “most used,” or highest engagement. People are saving their most valuable smartphone ‘real estate’ for apps that provide functional services to them that they use often, but not necessarily for the apps that they spend the most time with.
For more insights on users’ ‘most essential’ apps, home screens and other mobile app behaviors, download The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report today.
by Chris Lowers
Smart marketers know that paid advertising in social platforms is really just paying for the ability to interrupt user experiences. Is that how you want to be perceived?
Here are 4 tips to help you earn the right to engage and grow your brand:
1. KEEP WRITTEN CONTENT SHORT, DATA-DRIVEN & CONVERSATIONAL
Less is more. The majority of users access via mobile. Provide a quick, fun & casual experience.
2. DEPLOY VISUAL ELEMENTS – LEVERAGE THE POWER OF EMOTION
Studies show that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than non-visual content.
Use relevant images to drive engagement instantly and, in visceral way.
3. BE MORE EFFECTIVE WITH VIDEO
It’s no secret that video content has been surging with no slow down in sight.
Both B2B and B2C marketers rank it in the top three most effective social media tactics.
4. EXPAND REACH WITH OFFSITE COLLABORATION
Going beyond your own channels drives exponential results. Expand your reach.
Build your offsite content to further establish your brand as an industry leader.
Effective social marketers use these tips as driving principles behind every strategy and tactic they employ. I hope that you will too. If you’d like help unlocking your brands full potential, Grey Partners is here to help.
An email marketing strategy always needs approval from the boss to ensure it is in line with the company's overall strategy, delivers on key objectives, and fits the marketing budget. While these are the obvious factors you have to address, there are some other key things that your boss will want to know about the email marketing campaign you have planned, so be ready to talk about the following five critical things:
1. The Audience is Correct
Nearly a third of all contacts on your email contact list or database will change every year in terms of their interest and contact information, so your boss will want to know how you ensured that the current email list is accurate. After all, resources are limited and should not be wasted on sending emails to the wrong person or email address. At the same time, your boss will also want to see that the list is growing with the best targets for what you offer.
To ensure your boss that your email marketing list is accurate and growing, you need to create frictionless signup opportunities through all channels so it's easy to join the list of prospects. This means keeping the signup form basic with just the minimal information you need to contact them with an email marketing campaign. You can also consider incentivizing them with a discount or something else that will convince them to sign up.
Consider using automated contact update software that integrates with your contact list so that if there is a change of information or if someone unsubscribes then this information is automatically updated.
2. The Format is Engaging
Your boss will want to know how the email marketing format you selected will truly engage your audience, so be prepared to offer the rationale. This may involve explaining why you have chosen a certain email format for the email campaign, including the need to create an authentic, trustworthy message for recipients in light of fake email marketing campaigns some retailers have experienced. The format needs to be easy to read on all devices as well as intuitive so it knows what device the recipient is using to read the email. You will also want the email marketing to reflect a consistent look, feel, and message to the rest of your marketing communications.
Other formatting aspects are important to note in case your boss is not sure why you are using these, including white space, text size, balance in color selection, and a CTA button for your call to action. You will also need to consider optimizing the email for those who might be viewing it with images turned off. While the use of images is typically one of the most engaging factors in an email, not everyone prefers to view them. If that's the case, your email marketing content is what will need to engage these audience members.
3. The Content is Optimized and Segmented
While you are not optimizing the content for a search engine, your boss needs to know how you are creating the content in a way that works specifically for inbox delivery and the expectations of your segmented audience. To help your boss understand how you will achieve optimization and segmentation, you will need to provide specific examples that show how various forms of content and types of mediums you are sharing with your email audience looks. For example, your content will be different for an email campaign that shares new video content than it would with a white paper. The former may require an embedded clip while the latter might benefit from static visuals or charts.
Just like optimizing content for search engines, illustrate to your boss how you have addressed the details of an email that can also impact upon conversion rates, including the subject line, headlines in the content, preheader text, and the call to action (CTA) content. For example, an iPhone will only show 32 characters of a subject line so make sure those characters count. You'll also want to point out how you have personalized and segmented the email list and accompany email content for those groups to illustrate that you realize the value of doing this over just sending out the same content to everyone.
Explain to your boss how you have personalized and segmented the email list and accompany email content for those groups to illustrate that you realize the value of doing this over just sending out the same content to everyone. This segmentation can be done by age, location, purchase behavior, or place in the customer lifecycle. Just ensure that you have reasons as to why you have segmented the list this way and how the relevant content has been optimized for the needs and interests of that particular segment. Be sure to mention how you have optimized the timing and frequency of the email campaigns according to the segmentation that you developed.
4. The Campaign is Linked to the Rest of the Marketing Strategy
Your boss will always want to know how what you are doing within the email marketing campaign relates to the bigger picture of the overall marketing strategy. Your cross-marketing efforts are vital to your company's leadership because they have to ensure that all the marketing tactics are working together to create a greater return on the investment that's being made.
You'll want to work with other members of your marketing team to see what they are doing, when they are doing it, and through what channel to see if you can coordinate efforts. You don't want to send out an email marketing campaign when every other channel has the same information being broadcast. It's better to spread out the messaging across channels at a designated time to create a flow rather than a flood.
5. The Program is Using Specific Metrics to Prove the Return
Be prepared to give your boss specific metrics that illustrate how the email marketing program has delivered on its goals and provided good return on investment. The best metrics to focus on for email marketing campaigns include clickthrough rate to see how many recipients clicked on a link within that email; the conversion rate that shows how many recipients clicked on a link and completed a specific action like buying a product or filling in a form; and the bounce rate to see how many emails did not make it to the intended inbox.
Other email marketing metrics that are good to share with your boss include email list growth, email sharing/forwarding rate, and the overall return on investment. All of these email marketing metrics deliver a picture of the effectiveness of the campaign and the ability to engage with recipients in a way that delivers on how many marketing dollars were spent to achieve those results.
Deliver the Goods
This information delivered to the boss can help you continue to get approval to generate more email marketing campaigns because you have proven your worth in developing and executing marketing tactics that engage and convert.
If you’d like help developing and implementing a consistently effective email marketing strategy, contact Grey Partners today. www.GreyPartners.com
Content marketing success depends on a well thought-out strategy focused on user value.
Your peers have been telling you for years that you need to invest in content marketing. They tell you it’s the highest returning investment you can make and that your internet presence depends on your company’s ability to leverage high-ranking publishing platforms and specific SEO techniques.
Are you ready to listen? If so, you need a plan.
First, let’s discuss the true value of content marketing
As a business owner or marketer, you probably like numbers. So let’s look at the value of content marketing from a quantifiable standpoint. According to the content marketing institute:
Interesting content is one of the primary reasons social media users follow brands on popular networking sites.
If you want to tap into the power of content marketing, you can’t afford to take a shotgun approach. You need to spend time carefully crafting a strategy and developing rich, insightful campaigns that leverage existing resources and target new customers. While there are many ideas about how to create the best content marketing strategy, let’s take a look at a simple and streamlined six-step process.
Step 1: Drive Brand Activism by Developing Rich Reader Personas
Most companies with ineffective content marketing strategies mess up this critical step. If you want to experience success on the backend, you must spend time diligently crafting reader personas.
It’s easy to solely focus on what type of readers will see your content and want to buy. It’s more important to focus on reaching readers that will see your content and share it.
The critical element is to identify the influencers. These are the 5-10 percent of social users who are responsible for 60-80 percent of all influence. Content marketing is all about sharing and you need readers who aren’t just consumers, but are also brand activists.
Step 2: Gather the Right Tools and Resources
You can’t forget about the tools. You’ll need sophisticated content creation tools. These are the tools that help you produce high quality content that reaches your readers and piques the interest of influencers.
Some of the top content creation tools allow you to see what people are talking about, what pain points they have, and which questions remain unanswered.
You’ll have to do your research and determine which types of resources you need. There are literally thousands of different content marketing apps, software, and services on the market. Be selective in the resources you choose and ask around to find out which solutions are the best. The last thing you want to do is get stuck with an expensive tool that doesn’t meet your specific needs.
Step 3: Create a Brand Story
You need a brand story that identifies with your audience. The number one mistake people make when developing brand stories is that they confuse storytelling with selling; these are two distinct things.
Storytelling is a method for building strong relationships with customers. You’re trying to identify with your readers and cultivate trust. You’re not trying to cram some loud sales pitch down their throats. Eventually, once your brand story is developed enough and has had time to soak in with your readers, you’ll be able to incorporate specific calls-to-action. Keep these in mind when crafting a brand story, but don’t build the story around these calls.
Your brand story must be clear and conversational. There shouldn’t be confusing marketing talk – just real, honest content that clearly conveys who your company is and what it stands for.
Step 4: Identify Publishing and Sharing Channels
Your first channel will be an on-site company blog. While this likely won’t represent your largest readership, you can’t leave it out of the mix. People expect to see a blog on a company website and you need to populate it with quality content.
In addition to your blog, you should start building relationships with other industry blogs, websites, and publications. Leverage existing contacts and reach out to new ones. Attempt to gain as many guest blogging opportunities as you can and use these privileges to reach new readers.
Third, you’ll want to hone in on social media and select a manageable number of platforms that resonate with your audience. Avoid using more social media outlets than you can honestly manage two-ways conversations within. You’ll be able to identify the right social networking sites by looking at your reader personas.
Step 5: Hire Professional Writers and Editors
Unless you happen to have some excellent marketing writers on your team, you’re going to need to hire writers and editors to handle the bulk of your content. This can come in the form of full-time employees or freelancers. Ideally, you should hire ghostwriters, as they’ll allow you to publish the content under your brand’s name.
While it can be easy to skimp on editing, don’t do it. You’re almost done and there’s no sense in ruining your brand’s image by ignoring editing. It’s always good to have a couple sets of eyes review content before clicking the publish button – it’ll save you a lot of risk and embarrassment. Both editors and writers can be found at fairly cost-effective prices, but remember – you get what you pay for.
Step 6: Analyze the Right Metrics
Finally, it all comes down to analytics and metrics. After launching your content marketing strategy, you can’t just sit back and watch. You need to study the numbers and gather results. Using the right tools, you can uncover useful insights about who’s reading your content, who’s sharing it, whether it’s resonating with the right consumers, and how effective each of your publishing partners are. With this information, you can make tweaks to your strategy and optimize your efforts for long-term success.
Putting it All Together
Using this simple six-step process, you can build, launch, and reap the rewards of your first content marketing strategy. Take it slow, tackle each issue as it comes up, and don’t be afraid to invest time, money, and resources. Content marketing isn’t going anywhere, and you’ll be glad you jumped onboard.
Feeling like you need a expert help to fully develop your content strategy? We're here to help.