Category Archives: Trendy Science

Top 4 digital marketing picks for 2Q14

I am fully immersed in second quarter analytics, and that means it is time to evaluate our strategies of 2014 to ensure we are getting results and maximizing those marketing dollars before the halfway point at the quarter’s end.

What am I seeing results on this year?

  1. Facebook ad campaigns for strategic targets that happen in “real time” are generating clicks, buzz, likes, and populating like crazy. Users say they dislike seeing adds and the “likes” of friends, but they are actively engaging and clicking on sponsored feed items and their friends’ interests. Ignore the general public complaints, and set your bids for your Facebook ads for maximum exposure. Transfer your visual digital ad dollars (think: banners) into sponsored ads.
  2.  Ride short waves!  The more an ad or post (short hand) immediately relates to pop culture, the more exposure it receives.
  3. Successful partnerships for small business are easily the most efficient way to access large databases of potential clients without sacrificing ad dollars on hit or miss campaigns. Find complementary products and services, and create an alliance. Schedule email blasts and product highlights to coincide with each other. Remember to include as much collaborative, quality  CONTENT DATA as possible. Then linkback, linkback, linkback! Find another partner and repeat.
  4. Collect client data, as much as possible, while they surf your website. It’s not a bad idea to boost your ecommerce check out procedures with some “off the wall” questions for enhanced R&D. Website polling is dying, so make sure if you go the way of a poll, to create incentives for participation and required log ins.

These four picks are working for us. Reach out to me if you need help making them work for you! 

3 reasons for your blog’s list post

If you are considering crafting your very own year end recap list, you are in good company. Whether it’s a process of closure or the simplest way to recap, blog posts that “list” it all are extremely popular with both writers and readers.

1.) The result is measurable. It’s highly specific. Writers can target a topic in a manner that creates a definitive shared goal for readers. How many different thingamajigs made life simpler in 2013?  I can list 7. You only know 5; learn about the other 2!

2.) A quick study. Readers like specific and they really like succinct. Lists are easy to digest, especially when formatted with bold, numbered headings. The average time spent on a website’s landing page is decreasing, and on content pages it varies based on the loading time of the site and the format of the content. Blocks of text tend to generate rapid bounces. List content has a slightly higher result for average time spent on the page.

3.) They keep clicking. My analytic results for companies I represent prove that hits to list posts average slightly higher than content posts in a non-listed format. Nielsen reports both Yahoo and CNN news sites in the top 2 for visits, and after running assessments on both sites, I find that Yahoo news (#1) consistently employs a headline offering a list within the first ten headlines displayed on the primary news page.

As a side note, I personally don’t enjoy reading content in list format. I started looking into lists based on their incredible popularity in search results. I have since developed new ways for my clients to list without formally listing, such as seasonal selections and pictographic media walls. NPR did something similar to this recently for its 2013 book review – the Book Concierge . They cited “list fatigue” as the reason for the new approach. Most companies will agree there is no such thing as “click fatigue” and lists = clicks, so they have not tired of lists yet.

My suggestion: test your audience. Two posts. Same time and the same day of the week. Go mid-month. One post should be full content and one post should be listed with a clear headline identifying it as a list. See if your analytics prove lists the right choice for a selection of your posts. It’s possible your specific audience suffers from list fatigue, too.

Buy more and Level Up!

Today, I was considering the “buy to win” strategy of McDonalds and the soft drink giants, and the impact of giving something away to entice buyers to buy a product. It hits me: what if instead of giving away money and tangible products, we give away points to the next level?

And then?  This is where this idea becomes adaptable to almost all products and services. Your first instinct might be to give away a discount after reaching a certain level. Same as prizes (that cost money) and money? To you, yes. This defeats the purpose!

Approach this like those Zynga social media games. Badges for Facebook? Yes.  Special titles your customers can earn to show off their loyalty? Yes.

Approach this like a way to enhance exclusive access to your brand. First pick or the first look at a new product? Yes. Exclusive access to discounts (without promising discounts) through an exclusive newsletter for exclusive brand supporters? Yes. 

Stop right there – it’s not possible to overuse the term exclusive.

Approach this idea as a fun way to keep buyers interested in buying your product. Gizmo bucks earned at each level can be traded in for Gizmo swag. If only one customer is attracted to this trick, and buys more, wouldn’t it be worth the fun had by all in your marketing department in creating an innovative approach to buying?

feature_romance

The Social Media Bad Romance

The recipe for writing the social media bad romance was simple. Take a relatively cheap medium, mix with an entrepreneurial spirit, and top with a dash of frenetic marketing. Stir until well blended.

I was reading a forum battle between social media gurus regarding the saturation, reduncy, and general misdirection of so many social media websites and widgets. Too many social media websites? Extremely targeted and niche sites. Global Davids to the Facebook Goliath. Apps that manage apps managing your social media participation. In the beginning … there was none. Like all trends, it has grown exponentially.

To social or not to social? First, claim your business name on all possible sites even if you don’t plan on using them. You will thank me for this one day.

Generally, find and implement campaigns on social media sites that reach your target audience. Yes, you will need to define it first, and that can be difficult since your social media target isn’t always your general target or hit list targets.

Consider your demographics, but also consider who is participating in response to your posts and information. It’s possible to reach your target through an extremely generic site, simply by crafting your profile or your information to attract your target. If another target is responding, it’s either the wrong outlet or your information is not well considered.

What to market? You can market yourself, a product, your business, your brand, or a little of everything. The most successful social media campaigns are specific. It’s difficult to express a complicated idea on Twitter. Or convey it through photographs on a photo sharing site, like Flickr. Social media campaigns should be simplistic in design, as in choosing one facet or benefit of your product or service, and using visual engagement to sell it.

Cheap Tricks: Before and after photographs, client testimonials, iconic imagery, *trend following

*An example of this trick: Pink hats are in style. Every celebrity is wearing a pink hat. Your product is a luxury cosmetic product, let’s say a tanning lotion. Share your bottle wearing a pink hat. Next week, giant purses are everywhere. Share your bottle wearing a giant purse.

Trend Example 2: Trending topics include pop culture news. A campaign can be crafted to sell your company in connection to pop culture icons. Video production sales? Celebrity A is in a feud with Celebrity B. Wish we had it on video. The perfect trending exploit tweet.

If  trend following is not for you and you need something less avant-garde, remember that simply expanding your network through your participation is more than good enough. Go to your customers’ pages and profiles, and post something. Thank them. Compliment them. Invite them. Don’t wait for them to come to you!

feature_guerrilla

Guerrilla Customer Service

I buy magazines for the ads. My take on art: the artist’s personal propaganda campaign. Aesthetics is too important in communications, and the reason behind its importance is the sheer impact of marketing any message. I see marketing everywhere.

As for tactics, practices, and cleverness, guerrilla marketing and customer service are recently married. When you call for tech support, and the representative asks if you need any assistance with your X, but you currently only have a Y. You’re freaking out. Did they put X on my bill? How much is X? Should I have X? Next week, you call and add X to your list of services. He wasn’t upselling. He was suggesting you needed assistance with something you didn’t have, and you are curious as to why you don’t have it. He usually has a great response – sound scripted? indeed – regarding the add on cost or the value of the “missing” product.

It’s guerrilla because it plays on your existing knowledge of customer service screw ups. Billing incidents and errors. All sorts of horrific daily interactions. It’s unfortunate that we accept these types of errors as consumers so openly that the customer service industry is willing to sacrifice strength and confidence for a quick sell.

Another simple example: Caller ID in the customer service industry is beautiful. Mrs. Smith, how can I assist you today? Instant relationship. They know you.

Some fun ways to twist customer service:

How did you hear about us?

Most customers know that if they can mention a publication or ad they may receive a discount or bonus offer. Offer a word of mouth deal instead. We want to give you a percentage discount just for listening to your friends and family.

Change the scripted hold jibber jabber

It says the same things everytime: all of our representatives blah blah blah. What if instead of putting marketing messages in this space, you actually pre-assist the customer. We’re currently on the line with other broken gizmos. Please ensure your gizmo has been revampified by following these steps…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Insights: Part 1

Reading Facebook Insights isn’t difficult, but applying the Insights to your marketing strategy can be technical. I’m  writing a white paper on optimizing Facebook analysis, and I’ll release it by December 2011. Until then, in doing my research (because I don’t want to repeat what is already out there) I stumbled across this article from Intel’s social media strategist —-> http://mashable.com/2010/09/03/facebook-insights-guide/

I especially agree with some of the tips throughout on keeping data records in addition to the Insights. This is important if you wish to evaluate your particular strategies, because Facebook doesn’t really track your social media marketing campaigns - when you initiate and the results from those booms.

Some things in the article are generic. For example, I’m never a fan of demographic data. Conventional? Yes. Limiting? Yes.

It helps to know your audience, but we’re in a marketing landscape that provides for “special interest” targeting. Focus is important. Do you want to reach male generation X’ers because male generation X’ers are your target, or do you want to reach everyone who likes watching action films because there is a strange connection between the genre and your product. Reach ALL the genders & generations! This is a trite example, but the point is clear.

However, ignore nothing. Look at the demographic data still … you never know.

I’m also looking for more information on Insights. If you know a great article or existing white paper, send it over to me!

The Sky is Falling!

I’m excited to announce the meteor shower + social web promotions have a common bond. Am I stretching the situation to get a moment to discuss Saturday’s sky extravaganza? You bet!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge science geek, and I eagerly await The Orionids show each year. Now that I’ve relocated to the clean skies of the country, I have an amazing front row seat to everything the universe has to offer. There are fantastic opportunities here for astrophotography. There are several adapters on the market that transform your average telescope into a space camera!  I’m hoping that my fellow neighbors in the countryside take advantage of an artform that my previous neighbors in New York had to travel long distances to perform. But I digress.

The meteor shower happened to spark the interest of more than a few geeks like me – it made the Google search trend chart. People were actively searching for information on the meteor shower. Working this event into your social media marketing scheme - and any current event that sparks active interest – is a unique way to boost your visibility & your timeliness, even obscure current events like the meteor shower. In fact, off topic current events add a level of interest to your business.

So next time the sky falls, market your business to all the science geeks out there!

Just another music monday?

It’s Throwback Thursday! Well, I mean #throwbackthursday. I guess it should be no surprise since it was a trending topic last Thursday, too.

And on Monday, it will be #musicmonday again.

Take advantage of the Twitter realm and incorporate your brand into these day-of-the-week tweet events. Or build team spirit and make it an office party. If you haven’t already, you should encourage active social media web employees to move your company brand through Twitter via hashtags and @mentions.