This blog has been short listed in the Discover CRM, CRM Writers' Awards under the best independent blogger section. If you enjoy what I write, please vote for me (thank you)
This blog has been short listed in the Discover CRM, CRM Writers' Awards under the best independent blogger section. If you enjoy what I write, please vote for me (thank you)
Influencing the Influencers - probably the most important phrase in digital marketing.
Whether you are a small business trying to influence the one or two key influencers in a niche business (journalists, bloggers, advisers) or whether you are a global brand trying to reach a huge audience through celebrities or a new category of celebrities - YouTubers, then this should be a key part of your digital strategy.
Search Engine Watch have written an excellent article on How Influencer Marketing benefits your SEO strategy. This article outlines how influencer marketing will help to develop links to your web site, which drives SEO as well as how it builds visibility, engagement and keeps content updated and fresh. I would 100% agree with their views on this. The chart below is from that article and outlines the power of story telling as part of your content strategy.
Story telling is crucial. People will remember and empathise so much more if you can tell a compelling story in your content. How can you humanise the message. Google Fibre wanted to emphasise the speed of their cabling. Nick's First Pitch is the dramatic story of how Google revolutionized Nick Le Grand's life through technology.
Once you have your message, now you need to focus on finding influencers. I use a free tool called Followerwonk to help me to find influencers. Try putting your Twitter account into the tool to see who is the most influential follower you have. What I love about the tool is that you can put any Twitter account into it (even if it is not your account) to see who their influential followers are. You have to pay if the account your analysing is large. Remember, that is you are influencing a younger, more digitally savvy audience, then the key influencers will be YouTubers, Bloggers and Gamers. They may well not be traditional media celebrities.
Finally, think about how to approach the influencers. What is in it for them? They are getting more media savvy and more commercially minded all the time. Do you need to pay them? Can you help them to reach a wider audience? Can you provide them with credibility or unique content? Remember, they are trying hard to develop unique content that their audience wants to engage with too.
And let your desire for control of the message go a little too. Influencers will write their content in their style. The more editorial control you want, the less desirable your news is for them to share. The more corporate the feel, the less engaging and trustworthy it will be to the audience too.
If you have any great stories of influencer marketing, I'd love to hear them...
Reputation risk is a common barrier for brands who are considering building their social media plan. These are the questions that clients often ask me:
- Will engaging in social media encourage people to say negative things about me?
- How will I respond to negative comments?
- How long do I have to respond?
- What happens if I ignore them?
In this post, I'll summarize the advice I typically give to clients who are worried about their online reputation. Whilst I was planning this post, I also had a look around for external references and would recommend reading the excellent www.reputationmanagement.com if you want further advice. Useful articles include:
So, here are my top tips for dealing with comments in social media:
1) Make sure that you have a social media policy. Have a clear policy on use of social media by your staff and make sure that it is in your employment contracts. Typically, organisations state whether employees can use personal devices at work and whether they can look at social media sites when they are working, but, your policy needs to go further than that. Clearly state what they can and cannot say about their work in their personal social accounts. Your confidentiality clauses will cover you against them giving away company secrets and they are also governed by laws on libel and slander. Make sure you make it clear if you have any other restrictions.
2) Allow your staff to use social media at work! It is hard to police anyway, but don't stop them using social media. You should encourage them. Only by regular use will they get used to the conventions and nuances of social media use. The best way to learn is to expose yourself to what others are doing. Encourage your team to follow industry experts, journalists, competitors and customers on social media (particularly Twitter) as there is no better way of them staying up to date with what is happening in your industry.
3) Build a social media response policy for your social media teams. Who is allowed to respond to what type of comment or post? When do they escalate up to more senior management? How quickly are they expected to respond? What happens when they see a tweet late at night and feel like they should respond? The answers to these questions make up my next tips!
4) Have a defined list of approved social media responders. They should be trained and briefed on your policies. The day to day management can be done by a social media executive in your comms team or a customer services manager, but make sure they know who they refer issues up to if they are more serious. You also need an approved list of social media creators / authors too, for your pro-active posts.
5) To help your social media team decide when to escalate an issue to more senior management, have a process for identifying different levels of incident. Here is an example of a 5 step incident level categorization. Your social media team can deal with levels 1 & 2, but they may need to refer incidents from level 3 up to a more senior member of the team.
6) If you do receive a negative comment, then here are some simple steps to help you to decide how to respond:
7) Invest in a social media sentiment tracking tool - there are some free tools like www.socialmention.com and some better premium services like Sysomos and Radian6. Reputation Management have their tools too. If you have the budget for the premium tools, you will get more accurate sentiment analysis, but beware, they are certainly not perfect at the sentiment analysis, so you'll need some manual checking too.
I hope this has been helpful. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts too. Or if you'd like me to talk to your business about developing your policy or training your staff, then i'd be delighted to help.
I have just got back from 2 weeks working with a cosmetics client in Brazil and Mexico. I was struck by how much of their world is the same as ours in Europe. Their digital media channels are Facebook, Instagram, Google etc and they have similar challenges and opportunities.
Whenever I travel for work outside of Europe (be it LatAm, Africa or Asia), I am struck by this notion and how similar we all are. I am rarely surprised by a new advertising or marketing approach. But, this caught my eye in Mexico last week...
I call it a Human Banner ad! These guys had an ad stretched between two poles. Every time the traffic stopped at the lights they would run across the road and stretch out their ad in front of the traffic waiting for the lights to turn. It struck me as a particular;y dangerous and ultimately fruitless task. The only people that could read the ads were the slightly confused and annoyed cars at the front of the queue. Every other driver's view was obscured by the car in front. Maybe not the most effective advertising format I have seen, but it shows initiative and bravery if nothing else....
I have just read a really useful and interesting blog post from Jeff Bullas. It is called "8 Must Know trends for SEO in 2016". On Twitter he is @jeffbullas.
He makes some logical conclusions, such as:
In addition, he makes some points that made me think differently, particularly when he talks about the Google Knowledge Graph (where more content appears in the SERP when you look for a brand name)
Again, here is the link (Jeff Bullas 2017 SEO tips)
I have just read a well written blog post entitled "How to make complete strangers fall in love with your blog" from Jeff Bullas where he provides some great tips for writing blogs.
The article is actually written by a guest writer - Jawad Khan
He talks about the importance of making a strong first impression, offering free downloads and social proof. But the graphic that struck me as most interesting was this chart about the importance of visual content:
So, in the spirit of the post. I have included Jawad's graphic above.
I am currently laid up, injured with a dislocated pelvis. So, I thought I would share this piece of syndicated content from Receptional
Six Solutions for Customer Retention and Engagement
For a significant majority of marketers, the art of finding, targeting and obtaining new customers is a top priority. However, with customer acquisition costs on the rise, it is essential that businesses move towards regaining the loyalty of lost customers, in fact - a study conducted by Bain & Company, the global business consulting firm, demonstrated that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. Furthermore, 70% of existing businesses believe it’s cheaper to retain a customer than trying to attract new ones.
Although commonly viewed as a difficult process, attaining customer retention might be easier than anticipated. Previous customers have experience with your businesses - already opening up and increasing the opportunity for regaining interest with the appropriate marketing strategies. But, if these customers have taken their business elsewhere, it can be difficult to win them back.
Here are six ways in which you can use your existing data to attract past customers and earn their interest.
Implementing content marketing is a fantastic way to increase your ranking in the SERPs (search engine results page), and integrating this with your target keywords will take things a step further in terms of driving traffic back to your website. Use keyword research tools to produce search data on relevant phrases that you should be including in your content whilst suggesting topics that are related to your business. You can include keywords in the URL, title, subheadings, the page description and in the first sentence/first paragraph of your content.
Remember - there is no definitive answer on how many times you should include a keyword in your content, but instead of worrying about a number or an ideal rate of keyword density, focus on uniqueness, relevance and value to your audience. The most successful content marketing strategies focus on producing content for audience needs at various points in the sales cycle. So, once you have your keyword data, you can start generating content mapped against the sales cycle. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, a great way to connect with your customers is asking them to like your social media pages and engaging with them through regular updates. In terms of engaging with a prospect who is yet to buy from you, sending out a free guide is a great way of earning their trust so they might go on to make a purchase.
Track Social Media
Currently, Facebook has approximately 1.23 billion monthly active users and 757 million daily users, while Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. Understanding social media’s popularity is one thing, but knowing the appropriate time to share your updates, so that it lands visibly in your followers’ newsfeed, is more advantageous.
Limit your posts to peak times - when your followers are likely to see them to ensure you’re providing optimal coverage. Timing your tweets correctly can mean the difference between a customer actually seeing it or missing it in their feed entirely. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are great for mapping out an optimised social media update schedule.
Many marketers overlook and under-estimate emails as a marketing tool due to the dominance of social media yet emails can actually be used to improve customer service. Sending regular newsletters with personalised content (see New Look example above) will help keep your customers informed and allow you to stay at the front of their thoughts.
Promotional incentives (e.g. discounts) are especially good for tempting customers; money off offers are higher in popularity in comparison to a percentage discount because it is perceived as higher value. Friendly reminders such as cart-abandonment emails are ideal for when a customer has failed to complete a transaction.
Additionally, emails provide the opportunity to garner more data on your customer base - much more than simply their purchase history. Track email responses to profile your customers more accurately in order to incorporate higher personalisation into future emails to increase the likelihood of purchase. For example, including a name or providing special discounts/codes for individual birthdays works best for immediate purchases because it speaks to desire and impulse.
In 2015, 55% of emails were read via a smartphone - a statistic that encouraged 44% of email recipients to make at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. The high email open rate for smartphones means you need to track your phone conversions alongside your desktop conversions. Call tracking offers email tagging, allowing you to link the sale directly to the source and campaign that produced it.
Record your phone calls
According to Customer Experience Insight: “70% of customers leave a company because of poor service, which is usually attributed to a salesperson”. If a customer has been lost, a cause needs to be identified. Call tracking provides recordings of your phone calls meaning you can monitor the success of your customer service to prevent any negative experiences from deterring customers in the future. With call tracking you can identify:
This essential data might uncover why a customer opted to leave enabling you to utilise the information and attempt reconnection.
Social Media Advertising
Thanks to the advancement in social media, Facebook and Twitter’s custom audiences means you can target email lists, previous site visitors and phone numbers, resulting in great flexibility for online customer targeting.
Social media advertising makes monitoring impressions and engagements possible meaning that you can measure the success of your promoted updates. This data can then be adapted to the demographic you are targeting. These ad features are established on cached customer data and not cookies allowing you to target previous customers across various devices.
In relation to the success of social media advertising, Google launched Customer Match which lets you show ads to customers based on their data. This is a powerful marketing tool; marketers can specifically target existing customers with related content. Currently Match is only available on YouTube, Search and Gmail - it is not available for third-party sites on the Google Display Network.
Advertising on specific pages is commonplace for marketers, but being able to stay engaged with your target audience, as they browse the web, is a step further. Remarketing is the positioning of ads on relevant pages for the benefit of visitors who failed to make a purchase during their original visit. It uses a specific tracking code that places cookies in the visitor’s browser; those with the cookies will then receive ads.
Remarketing is beneficial in regaining the attention of customers who haven’t completed a purchase. Customers who have shown an interest in your website are more likely to convert into a sale compared to those who haven’t visiting your website, meaning remarketing ads can drastically improve your ROI. Also, you can combine remarketing ads with other targeting methods (demographics, keyword campaigns and interest categories) to achieve higher conversions.
Last night, I did a one hour webinar for CIM's Practical insights series. I talked about why content marketing is so important and gave some tips on developing engaging content marketing programmes.
I thought it would be useful, to summarise some of the key points here. So, here are my top tips for content marketing:
1) Content marketing can be curated or created. You don't have to produce all of the content yourselves - it is OK to share content from industry experts, influencers or your customers.
2) Focus on pull, not push. Most consumers will research before they buy and are typically 70% of the way through their buying journey before they speak to a possible vendor. So, make sure your content can be found in Google and social media.
3) Focus on earned, rather than paid media. Your campaign may need some paid media to boost awareness initially, but consider how and why your readers would share your content with their peers.
4) The best creative ideas tell stories. How do you humanise your proposition by telling engaging stories to bring your message to life. In B2B that could be case studies, in B2C it could be about the customer experience
5) You need to set objectives and measure customer engagement as well as revenue and sales. I use the 4 step model of Acquire, Participate, Engage and Share to measure engagement. Focus on acquiring their attention, then getting them to respond to your owned media (participate), where you get their permission to continue to engage through social media, mobile apps, blogs, events or email. Finally, consider how you will get engaged consumers to share your content with their peers, which should start the acquisition cycle again
6) How will you influence the influencers. Your content will reach a much wider audience if you can get celebrities, industry experts, bloggers or consumers sharing your content. What is in it for them? Why do people share? Normally, they do it to make themselves look good (smart, funny, caring, expert etc)
7) Treat different customers differently. Segment your customers using their behaviours and develop engaging propositions based on customer insights for each group. Behaviours are typically much more predictive and definitive than demographics (or business demographics)
8) Develop a content calendar, leaving space for evergreen, topical and event related content. Evergreen content will be searched for today and into the longer term. Topical content gets you noticed and gets your content shared. Event related content allows you to promote your launches, events and at key times of the year such as Christmas, Father's Day, Back to School or the key industry conference.
9) Make sure you use social listening tools to search and then reply to customer comments about your content. There are free tools like www.socialmention.com and more expensive tools like Sysomos and Radian6, that provide a more comprehensive service.
10) Treat different comments differently. Do you have a process for dealing with comments from simple positive comments to a lone complainer to a social media crisis? Make sure you are not making up your process when you are in a crisis!
I hope you found these tips useful. I'd be interested in your tips too, if you'd like to share them. Or if you are interested in learning more about Content marketing or need some consulting services, you can talk to me directly or book a course through CIM.
Quite a while ago, I wrote a blog post about a low cost web building tool called Moonfruit, which a client had used to set up his web site. One of my readers (Robert Mening) has just emailed me to ask if I'd be interested in linking to an article that he has written, reviewing ten low cost web site building apps.
I have read his article and I believe it is a well researched, concise and helpful article, so i have linked to it on my Twitter account (@njbaggott). If you want to review it in detail, then click on this link Robert Mening's review of web site tools.
For your info, Robert recommends WIX. He says it was the simplest to use, it had lots of useful templates to follow and it was live instantly. I'd check out the article if I were you and you need to build a simple low cost web site.
If ever you needed proof about the differing age profiles of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat users here it is:
The data is from USA, but the picture is clear. The 18-24's are definitely moving from Facebook to Snapchat and the 25-34's are more heavily using Instagram. Of course, Facebook has over 1.5 billion users, so the age profile reflects the total online population and is therefore more spread between the ages, whilst Snapchat is newer and has fewer users who are almost exclusively under 34.