Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
In marketing, you hone your pitch to fit into 140-character tweets and 100-character keyword ads. These shoe-box-sized spots for product messaging really challenge the copywriter to get to the point.
The same rigor goes for your 30-second, or elevator, pitch. You cannot ramble, you cannot drift off on a tangent. You must deliver one succinct, memorable sound bite that is so compelling that it buys you more time (right then or later) to make your case in more detail.
The only immediate goal of your pitch is to buy yourself time with that audience to have a longer conversation. Your close must also end with a question that hooks the listener:
Have these planned in advance, too. They should all revolve around this basic idea: “What are your pain points in this area?”
Translate that into whatever it needs to sound like for the particular audiences you wish to attract.
I wrote about this in more detail in a Forbes column last week. If you read it, let me know what you think!
A second key success factor in delivering a sterling 30-second pitch is to practice it until you can deliver it without thinking, and then develop the knack for tailoring it on the spot to your audience. Another way to think about your goal is to internalize your pitch so that it wears on you like a second skin, and rolling it out is a natural as breathing.
Third: Speak in plain English. Drain your pitch of buzzwords and cliches. Expunge it of technical terms. If your value proposition cannot be understood by the common man, keep working at it until all of your friends and everyone in your family nods their head in understanding the first time they hear it.
Let me know if this makes sense. Have you put the work in to hone your pitch to perfection? How did you know you had succeeded?
Content marketing has become the foundation of lead generation, as inbound marketing has proven its worth as a lead-generation tool and is grabbing a bigger share of marketing budgets and personnel time.
Not surprisingly, generating good content consistently has become the biggest burden for inbound marketers. To keep it flowing, the temptation inevitably creeps in to “repurpose” content that someone else created that seems relevant to your mission or value proposition. This saves time and energy! And lots of people do it…
Sharing values the creator, and you, if you share properly.
It is OK to borrow stuff, but do it respectfully. This keeps your nose clean, protects your image, and helps out the person who actually did all the work. I use ezinearticles as a publisher on behalf of a client, and their editors have a handy list of cautions that you should review regularly to keep you on the right side of the law:
I use two definitions of “re-purpose” with clients, because the second requires considerable cautionary attention:
- Take an article that you wrote for a newsletter, and also post it on your blog. Convert that article into an e-book for posting on slideshare.com or other sharing services. Or do the reverse of each of these. Moving your own creative content around to hit multiple mediums is completely OK, and highly encouraged. It maximizes the value of each bit of content you create.
- Take content someone else created, and use it as a foundation to create your own content.
The second approach is allowable, and useful, if:
- You attribute the source of the original content, with a link to it.
- You surround their work with your own take on the original content.
- Explain why you found it useful or insightful.
- Add your own thoughts or examples that support your opinion.
- Disagree with aspects of the original content.
In effect, if you are going to “borrow” content from some other source, it has to be a starting point from which you share your own expertise, in your own words. Never pass off another writer’s work as yours if you want inbound marketing to work for you long-term.
Content marketing is a real boon to smaller businesses who cannot hope to compete on budget with larger competitors. It offers a small businessperson a real chance to present his or her own expertise and personality, and connect with prospects in meaningful ways.
Just don’t steal stuff from other people to save time. Dedicate the energy to do it correctly, create your own online presence and personality, and the benefits (leads!) will flow that justify such a big investment of time.
The magnetic field did not shift, the world did not tilt on its axis, and no meteor crashed into the Yucatan to suffocate us in dust.
This didn’t stop my marketing brethren from making the most of the (mostly tongue-in-cheek) the End Of The World hysteria caused by the apparent end of the Mayan calendar.My favorite so far is the TGIFriday’s logo announcing “Last Friday”. What a simple, yet compelling riff on their normal “celebrate the End Of The Work Week” theme. They offer a “Last Friday” menu that packs in the calories and urges consumers to “go out with a full stomach”!More strategically, travel operators have put together all sorts of themed packages that emphasize spiritual renewal, or simply rest and relaxation.
Typical is the owners of a Russian Cold War Bunker Museum, who have two or three events going on today:
- A real opportunity to hunker down underground with six months of food and supplies, and be the last people on Earth.
- A more realistic opportunity to spend tonight partying like its the End Of The World, and wake up in the same old world with a mighty hangover. (“Have a good rest.” as a Russian might say.) Then gear up for the regular New Year’s celebration ten days later.
Finally, this video put out by a marketing agency with the express idea that it would go viral to promote their creative talents.
To find more fun examples, just do an online search on some combination of “Mayan”, “marketing” and any other descriptors that might intrigue you.
Now that the Mayan Prophecy date has passed, all that creativity has to be redirected. I look forward to what will appeal to creative groups in 2013.
What interesting Mayan-themed marketing “tie-ins” caught your eye? How creatively did the marketer weave in the theme and relate it to their value proposition?
When exploring content marketing with clients, I always stress quality as a starting point: You have to be relevant and interesting to the reader if you want to engage them.
That said, one great article gets you nowhere. Lots of great content (however defined) is what get you attention online. And one of the leading “inbound marketing” vendors has just released a batch of data that gives you an idea about just how big that quantity has to be.
Be interesting over and over again to attract opted-in leads
HubSpot has aggregated the results of the 7,000 businesses that use its analytics software, and present strong evidence about how frequency does make a big difference in getting content marketing (they call it “inbound marketing”) to generate leads. This isn’t surprising, but the actual quantities are. Check these out:
- Websites with less than 50 pages got a lot less traffic than larger sites, especially those over 1,000 pages in size. Such large sites got close to 10x the traffic of a 50-page site.
- The large-site advantage was more pronounced for small companies, perhaps because building such a large site was probably a big percentage of their total marketing budget.
- B2C companies had more to gain from creating large batches of website page than B2B companies.
- Inbound leads rose significantly once 200 pages were amassed, and dramatically once 400 were passed.
- Regular use of landing pages (which count towards total pages, I assume) really start to have a positive impact on lead generation once their inventory reaches and passes 20, with a huge jump for B2B over 40. Worth dedicating time to having a fresh landing page for each online campaign!
- Blogging seems to have steady incremental value, with two or more each week a real goal to achieve to convert visitors to leads. (Larger companies seem to get more bang for their buck out of active blogging, unfortunately.)
- Facebook pages with over 1,000 likes perform significantly better than company pages with under 1,000. That’s a clear goal to shoot for!
Look the material over yourself, but the message is clear. You need to dedicate your organization to creating lots of great content consistently over time if you want to make inbound content marketing work.
The social media services vendor Compendium released some great guidelines this month about how to time and structure your social media content releases through the top three social channels of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. They also break out the differences between B2B and B2C, making the information about 1,000x more useful. And they put all the information into a very nice graphic.
(If you are less visual than textual in how you absorb information, click here.)
Here are a few items I found either confirming of my previously held thoughts, or enlightening me about stuff I had not considered important:
- LinkedIn and Twitter activity clumps at the top and the bottom of the hour during the day. The inference is that a person’s meeting schedule affects when they check into their social accounts. This makes sense, but had not occurred to me as I went about targeting day-parts for my posts.
- Question marks and exclamation marks in posts diminish click-through rates.
- Hashtags improve click-through rates for B2B, but not B2C. I wonder if this is because Twitter/LinkedIn topic searches are more focused for B2Bers, and generate highly relevant results that raise CTRs.
- Sunday is the day when most B2B LinkedIn click-through activity occurs. This makes sense, too. Lots of busy businesspeople catch up with less urgent tasks that day.
- Wednesday is tops for Twitter for B2B posts. This seems random, but Compendium data is built on a big enough sample set that I have to believe it.
- B2C clicking peaks on Monday for LinkedIn and Twitter, with Wednesday hanging in there for Twitter just as it does with B2B activity.
You may find other insights that will help you use timing and grammatical structure to better break through the dense clutter in most people’s social “inboxes.” I encourage you to explore this interesting report!
Let me know if you find it useful. I did.
[In the interest of full disclosure, I have never done business with Compendium, but have had a few very nice chats with their representatives by phone.]
As search engines continue to refine their game, their goal (especially Google’s) is becoming quite clear: Get the SEO manipulators out of the game, and put the focus as close to 100% on relevance and quality of CONTENT as possible.
A recent article in Fast Company about Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm releases captures the dramatic shift in responsibility for search engine optimization (SEO) back to clients from agencies. Why? Because the search engine owners like Google and Bing are obessed with having actual online CONTENT drive search results for people surfing the web rather than just page structure and keyword tactics.
Less trickery, more content
Ostensibly, creating great content has been the goal of marketers all along, but up to today specialists who studied the way Google, Bing, Yahoo and others produced results could experiment with key words and phrases, and structure pages around a “keyword strategy” to drive their client’s web pages up the rankings to the “Holy Grail of Page One”.
Google in particular doesn’t like being gamed, however, and continually makes it harder to achieve Page One without actually creating fresh, relevant, useful content to engage the site/page visitor.
I post occasional articles for clients on a content publisher called ezinearticles.com, and I remember the reduction in page views for articles posted when Panda went live last year. All such online content publishers had to explain what was going on, and make the case that fewer page views did not mean fewer quality leads. (The hope was that Google’s upgrade actually reduced less interested click-throughs more than quality ones.)
The bottom line: The content you create is more critical than ever.
- You need a content strategy that keep you focused on those core product or service messages that best promote your value proposition.
- You need to create a steady stream of this content to stay fresh and relevant to search engines.
- It has to have immediate informational value for the reader even if they do not click through the content to your site.
- You must weave social media into your distribution strategy for this excellent content so that it arrives in front of the people you want to engage regularly.
There are fewer easy fixes in SEO anymore. It is the hard work of creating and distributing great content that will consistently drive your online sites and pages to the first page of search engine results.
- You still need a keyword/phrase strategy, because you need to track and analyze the search terms online searchers are using to find what they seek.
- Your content still needs to reflect those themes.
- However, search engines are a lot better at grading your page not just on the keyphrases you include in the copy, but the value of the information the entire page contains, and how the visitor interacts with that page (length of visit, clickthroughs from the page, etc.)
Fast Company Article Link:
Alliances in marketing carry risks. When you work collaboratively, you cede control, and have to trust that your partner will deliver. I received this very day (via e-mail), and excellent example of how a good collaboration can look, from a company with whom I have done business, Play-Well TEKnologies.
Play-Well is a for-profit venture with a social mission of engaging more kids to focus on science, using LEGO® products as both an enticement and their teaching tools. (Full disclosure: My two boys have both participated in more than one Play-Well camp and very much enjoyed it, so this parent is inclined to respond to their messaging!) Their target market is therefore parents of elementary school and middle school kids who have the money to invest in extra-curricular camps, and a desire to give them “productive developmental experiences.”
Swoop Bags is new to me, and a quick check of their site tells me they are new and much smaller than Play-Well, and after the same market (albeit catering to a slightly younger family.) They (actually “she”) have created a solution for controlling mounds of scattered lego pieces.
Play-Well TEKnologies therefore has the chance to offer a companion product that their parent/child customers could really use, and Swoop Bags gets access to a far wider pool of targeted prospects than it could working on its own.
I define this as a nice win for both. And their sweepstakes call-to-action engagement program is fun, easy to interact with (if you remember your log-ins…) and give you the chance to earn more sweeps entries than “the other guy,” a nice competitive twist to keep some of us (probably not me) coming back multiple times to earn more chances.
A well-thought-out program. Well done!
I am a “stick to the basics” marketer when working with small businesses. Chasing too many opportunities to communicate with a diverse set of target markets (which contradicts the whole idea of a “target market”) dissipates impact and drains away frequency. Without frequency, of course, there is no impact!
In order not to drain your marketing of impact, never add more than one new element to your marketing mix at a time! Focus your scarce resources on making that one new marketing avenue work well before diverting energy to a different opportunity. Too many small business people lose focus and chase new ideas like a butterfly flitting from place to place. You will note that it takes the butterfly a long time to get from point A to point B. Using a butterfly approach to marketing bogs you down the same way.
You have my permission to ignore “great new marketing tools” until YOU are ready to fully take advantage of the benefits they offer, having fully investigated their offering, and what it truly takes to make that new tool work effectively. NEVER commit money, time and energy to a new tool based solely on the advice of the person selling it to you!!! (This seemingly obvious mantra is ignored by more small businesses than anyone can count…)
For more on my marketing mantras, please read my most recent Forbes article. Let me know what you think in the comments section (here or on the Forbes site.)
As I saw on Mashable today, it’s Twitter’s birthday. Six years ago on March 21, the first fledgling tweet flapped out into the world (or at least to a fellow employee of Jack Dorsey’s at Odeo.) From that small step, Twitter exploded, a “side project” that has taken on a branded and cultural life of its own, with 500 million accounts (called “users,” which overstates their activity in most cases.) The power and influence of Twitter are clear, but the revenue model continues to struggle, and the system is clogged with crap. As an example, I have stopped trolling my Twitter feed because it is so full of junk, and use the site only as a research function to find interesting items on particular topics when the need arises. And my tweets are automated, feeding from other sources like Facebook and this blog.
My advice to Twitter as it enters First Grade this Fall? Start charging a fee.
Think about it. How many of those 500 million people might pay for staying active? If you charged $10/year, that’s a possible revenue pot of $5 billion. Let’s say 10% of users decided to pay for some form of upgraded service. That’s $500 million worth of revenue to grab.
Alternatively, you could charge per tweet using a micro-payments scheme. Set the price at a cent per tweet, with billing only starting when the balance due hits $10. That would mean most people don’t need to pay. The bill goes through the user’s mobile phone provider or to a credit card. (A great chance to mash-up with PayPal, don’t you think?)
Folks don’t have to provide payment information right off, but if the maximum free tweet limit is hit, payment must be provided to continue.
Twitter could also charge by follower volume:
- Free up to 500
- $10 for 501-1,000
- $20 for 1,001+
Installing payment requirements on volume users would also take one step towards uncluttering the service. There are people I follow who tweet daily, even hourly. These people are giving away advice to set themselves up as experts and stay top-of-mind. It is too much, however, and merely drives me to stop following them. My friend’s tweets are lost in the stream of junk, and I have to search on their monikers to find their posts.
Keep the service focused on users, not companies.
Surprisingly for a marketing man, I am not in favor of the company-based revenue model Twitter is trying to build. It admits that Twitter is promotional rather than informational and social. The original intent of the service was to connect people with their circles (Google is making a big push here, right?). Adding a small, easily paid charge to keep the service free of ads and promotion might help Twitter to retain its cache as a cultural phenomenon for years to come.
Everyone doesn’t need to tweet, and asking those who truly use the service to support it with subscriptions may be the most viable way to keep the project going. The New York Times is proving that relying on your biggest fans to stump up the cash for a higher level of service can work. Twitter should try it, too.
The old politician Tip O’Neill famously opined that “all politics is local.” That is, the day-to-day issues of each voter drive his or her choice of candidate or political party.
Even in the age of internet shopping, “local” is still King with consumers, too. And here is the evidence: Big companies still try to interact with their customers and prospects locally to maximize the chance they will choose their brand. As noted in this article:
“Localization of messages, images, creative executions, offers, deals, and interactions is still critical to marketing effectiveness and customer relationship building across many business categories.”
Here are some highlights:
- 49% of marketers believe localized marketing is essential to business growth and profitability, particularly as it relates to demand generation and sell-through of products and services
- 30% of marketers have embraced local marketing automation platforms, resources and tools, compared to 62% who either don’t have them or only now evaluating these options
- 23% of marketing respondents allocate over 50% of their marketing and merchandising budgets to local programs; another 41% spend between 20 and 50% of the budgets on local marketing
- Cable and broadcast television, local magazines, and radio reportedly deliver the lowest return on spend, compared to top performers like local events, direct mail or FSIs, local partner or channel web sites, social networks and electronic messaging.
In other words, local small business people, the BIG Boys are horning into your turf. Are you fighting to retain your share of local consumer spending? How are you reminding the people in your target market that you are there, and have all the same stuff the Big Boys of Marketing do? Look at that last bullet point. It is a nice summary of all the places you can profitably position your own business against the big budgets of national brands. There is your level playing field!
- Monthly e-mails that have valuable offers for your regular customers?
- Prospecting in local coupon mailers (still effective) and online coupon marketing services (usually profitable if structured correctly)?
- Active on all local shopping and review sites (and tracking which ones actually bring leads)?
- Investigating local mobile marketing, and adding those mobile numbers (opted-in!!!) to your database? Especially those of you who cater to younger generations?
- How is your library of video clips coming along? Do you have a YouTube channel for your business yet?
- If you are getting uncomfortable reading this, you need to take action!
- Remember, you don’t have to do everything in the marketing toolbox. You just need to find those four or five tools that best work for you, and put the time and money in to make them work hard for you.
The year 2012 is upon us. It is going to be a year of reawakening consumers and reviving buying behavior (a trend started this year already). We are not getting back to the glory years of the mid-2000s, but better times are on the horizon, and you need to have plans laid in to get your fair share of all business done locally.