The Ever So Dependable Facebook Metrics

fb

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Facebook is still discovering and fixing issues with its metrics algorithm.  When the majority of your revenue is comprised of selling advertising, it’s key that your customers trust the product in which they’re investing.  We all understand that Facebook has worked hard to monetize a difficult product, especially as we move towards a true mobile first world.  As Marketers mull over options for social spend, Facebook will need to reassure the market that their platform is effective in reach, engagement and especially conversion.  And they’ll need to work even harder to regain trust.

 

Optimizing Your Website

Website Optimization

If your Marketing department is not taking advantage of using an optimization testing platform to conduct A/B and multivariate tests, or if you’re using a proprietary system, here are a few reasons to consider utilizing one of the many platforms now available to marketers.

2 Main Reasons for Implementing an Optimization Testing Platform:

  1. Allows you to easily run marketing A/B and multivariate tests so you can optimize your website content thereby increasing conversion rates and engagement at a faster pace.
  2. We’ve all experienced prioritization issues when it comes to competing for technical resources, now there’s a work-around.  If your test is restricted to front-end/graphical user interface changes (such as testing call-to-actions, page layouts, text or imagery), there’s no need to involve IT and wait for development resources until you have a sure winner.

Important Features to Consider:

  • Easy to use drag and drop interface that includes in-page and in-line editing via a WYSIWYG editor.
  • A side-by-side view of what the changes are in a test (current vs proposed view of the page or elements) will become important as you start using the testing platform.  Believe it or not, some major platforms do not have this capability making it cumbersome to understand and see the changes without going through unnecessary steps.
  • Ability to stop a test upon reaching a customizable threshold.  While most platforms will automatically stop a test after a certain date has been realized, not all platforms will allow you to customize a threshold.  For instance, once a test hits 1MM page views, or exceeds a 5% CTR.
  • While permissions should be a standard include, a customizable workflow is a must-have option.  This will allow your organization to route new test changes to different departments and team members (such as to Copy, Graphic Design, and Compliance) as necessary for edits, review and approvals before new tests are published.

When conducting an RFP for a new optimization testing platform, be sure to keep the above points in mind.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Marketing Technology Landscape 2016

Marketing_Technology_Landscape_2016

Chiefmartec.com has updated their annual Marketing Technology Landscape.  The new design makes it easier to find companies.  It’s broken down into the categories of Advertising & Promotion, Content & Experience, Social & Relationships, Commerce & Sales, Data, and Management.  If you plan to implement a new marketing platform, be sure to review the updated landscape for potential vendors to include in your RFP process.

Omni-Channel Campaigns…Connecting the Dots

Intersecting circles

When launching a new service, product or startup, it’s important to do so from an integrated and connected perspective. Marketing campaigns should be planned strategically across all available marketing channels. If a particular channel isn’t utilized it’s important to understand and notate why.

Creating awareness and buzz is best done in concerted partnership across multiple marketing channels, leveraging the audience and strengths available in each channel.  Omni-channel marketing ensures that you’ve covered all the bases.

Once the purpose, theme, budget and schedule are determined, drilling down to analyze each marketing channel is necessary.  Campaigns aren’t one size fits all, so a strategic play on how to utilize digital, traditional and out-of-home, as well how as how key tools such as targeting and segmentation impacts your messaging are important. How you communicate on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, can be decidedly different from Email Marketing, Radio, Banner Ads, Direct Mail, PPC or DRTV so it’s necessary to create customized copy for each channel that ladders up to your overall campaign theme and message.

Measurement is crucial in understanding what roles marketing channels play in the performance of your campaign.  Implementing multi-channel attribution tools can assist in this area.  While you may not see a direct conversion from some channels, knowing which channels are introducers and influencers are just as critical as knowing which ones are closers.

When launching marketing campaigns, do not do so in separation.  Leveraging at least multi if not omni channels will yield better performance.  I have witnessed organizations that launch campaigns in isolation – with different teams being responsible.  The email team is launching a totally different campaign and message than the social team, etc. with no integration or coordination from the top.  Creating an editorial and acquisition marketing calendar will help coordinate the efforts of multiple teams, and ensure everyone is on-message.

On your next campaign, utilize omni-channel marketing to engage consumers on their turf and to see a lift in performance.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Building Your Social Media Strategy

Social media buttons on on the modern keyboard

As an organization focused on either B2C or B2B, it’s important to determine what your Social Media strategy should be.

While we all know it’s important for businesses to be on social media, it’s equally vital to first understand what you’re trying to solve for.  Do you have a need to respond to customer issues and complaints, promote new product or service offerings, conduct polls and surveys to obtain data, build a community, etc?

Once it’s determined what you’re trying to solve for.  It becomes easier to build the strategy and tactics to execute on each objective.

While social media marketing might mean something different to you, here are some of the tasks and goals that may be beneficial.

  • Determine which social media sites/apps are best suited for your business.
  • While paid social can help spread the news of your brand and/or promotion, count on organic as your long-term approach.
  • Define your communications calendar and determine your communications cadence.
  • Post consistently.
  • Listen across all social media and communications platforms to understand impacts to your brand and business.
  • Respond rapidly, but diplomatically to any negative content and posts. Remember the spotlight is on you.
  • Sometimes intervention is needed.  Ensure you have a mechanism for determining when a post/comment deserves a more ‘intimate’ response away from all the public eyes on social media.
  • Engage consumers when they post positive feedback about your product or service.  This allows you to build a relationship with them.
  • Review your performance and optimize your creative, messaging, campaigns, etc.
  • Use targeting to ensure your message meets the appropriate audience.
  • Evaluate the numerous social technology tools that are available so that you can adequately build your social infrastructure.

Building a social media strategy takes a lot of reflection and knowledge.  Managing the day-to-day communications and engagement takes a lot of proactive work.  Ensure that you understand your organization’s limitations and strengths when it comes to planning and executing on social.  During the initial stages, it may be wise to enlist the expertise of a social media agency to steer you in the right direction.

Social media marketing can work for any organization if the right strategy is in place.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Role of the Business Card in the Digital Age

image

I’ve often wondered about the seldom used box of business cards that sit in one of my desk drawers, as well as the stack that occupies a small place atop my desk.  While they contain useful information, they’re often left behind.

I’ve forgotten to carry them when attending important vendor meetings, or when interviewing a potential new hire.  I realize at those moments that I’ve just made a business faux pas. Although one that’s glanced over by almost everyone as I’m also seldom alone in forgetting to carry them.

Once upon a time, business cards were critical in making first impressions, establishing methods of communication, and demonstrating that you are a professional.

Today, they have been somewhat displaced by smartphones that allow us to enter our contact information directly, and sites such as LinkedIn.

In today’s world, I do believe that business cards can continue to be an effective marketing tool for entrepreneurs and executives as it’s a piece of yourself and your brand that can be left behind as a reminder.  This is amplified when time is of the essence, phone batteries are low, or you want to be sure your email address doesn’t get misspelled.

For me, this serves as a reminder to keep them at the ready.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Invest/Maintain/Kill

Yahoo!

Invest/Maintain/Kill:  These are words to live by for any organization.

Today, we’re starting to learn about the impact of Yahoo’s Invest/Maintain/Kill List.  While it may initially sound threatening, cold or insensitive, it is a strategy that all organizations should utilize.  And use often.

As an organization, it’s important to constantly evaluate, measure and plan for the future as it relates to your core competencies, technological advantages, people, strategic partnerships, and any other competitive advantages.  Having a strong indication of which of these items should be further invested into, maintained as the status quo, or subtly decommissioned or killed is key.  It helps to keep your organization nimble and focused on its most critical objectives and goals, while keeping aboard the talent and people who will best contribute to reaching those objectives.

I applaud Yahoo! for taking these necessary and crucial steps.

Learn more about the changes at Yahoo! on re/code.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Twitter Departures

Twitter

Major changes in leadership at Twitter indicates that the company has major challenges with its business model.  Trying to stay relevant to its target demographic and competitive with other Social Media platforms is a huge undertaking. Let’s just hope for Twitter’s sake that its users don’t depart as quickly as its top brass.

Read more at re/code.

 

No More IE

MS Edge

It feels like only yesterday that we were hard-coding web dev fixes for older Internet Explorer browsers.  You know for the users that simply wouldn’t upgrade from IE 7, 8 or 9.  For some Marketers it was just a tad bit too much traffic to shut off altogether so we continued to Band-Aid fixes.  Well at least now we finally have support from Microsoft.  As of today, Microsoft will only support IE 10 and Edge for its consumer-base.  It’s about time.

Hmm, I wonder if Edge will topple Chrome from the throne.

Learn more about the transition at Microsoft


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Is Display Advertising Dead?

Dunkin-Autism 300x250

I’ve often heard Marketers mention that they’re unable to optimize their display campaigns to perform as well as their Paid Search campaigns.  This has led some of those Marketers to believe that their banner ads are ineffective.  While this could be true, they may be jumping to conclusions without having all of the pertinent data.

When it comes to effective demand and lead generation, it’s not necessarily a good idea to think of it simply as last-click, first-click or distributed.  There are other important factors such as view-throughs.  View-throughs are important because they assist in actual conversions by providing intangibles such as brand recognition.  Without the view-throughs and awareness of the promotion and brand, the conversion may not happen.  However, many organizations are not equipped to realize this potential.  It can be solved for by implementing multi-channel and multi-touch data attribution tools which track all campaigns (digital and traditional) and utilizes formulas and proprietary algorithms to accurately weigh the value of views, clicks and ultimately the conversion itself across all marketing channels and devices.

InboxDollars

We should also consider how consumers feel about banner ads.  They are often identified as being synonymous with malware – and not to mention annoying.  And more often than not are totally irrelevant to the consumer.  To make display impactful, it should be carefully targeted to the appropriate audience and not cast as a blanket online.

On your next digital campaign, try combining a content article with a relevant banner ad to see an incremental lift in clickthroughs.  Be sure to ad contextual text ads in the mix as well.

So as far as display advertising being dead, no it isn’t.  It should simply be looked at through a different lens, as it’s further up the marketing funnel than PPC.  Create your display advertising strategy to achieve upper to mid-level funnel brand recognition.  Couple on the use of bidding and targeting tools to create bottom of the funnel lead generation conversions.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Optimization Testing vs Diminishing Returns

Optimization Testing vs Diminishing Returns

The benefits of continuous improvement and optimization of web and mobile presences are a given.  Optimization testing provides Marketers with concrete evidence that the changes implemented are either valid or yielding a negative conversion rate.  Marketers are under extreme pressure to increase RPS (revenue per sale) and CR (conversion rate), while also decreasing cart abandonment and CPS (cost per sale).  Thus optimization testing is leaned on very heavily.

It should go without saying that too much of anything (well almost anything…) does not lend good results.  While many organizations strike a good balance between creative trailblazing and sticking with the tested, tried and true, others seem to use testing as a crutch.  They simply over-test.  From running test after test on button colors, below the fold copy, to even the hair color of people in images used on landing pages.  It becomes clear that Marketers in these situations do not have a clear understanding of larger impacts that will move the needle.  Instead they’ll opt for a .4% CR win.

What’s important to understand is that each element of your website or mobile app should be optimized, but there’s a point where it’s good enough and incremental changes simply won’t give you big boosts to CR or RPS – this is unfortunately, the Law of Diminishing Returns.

I encourage Marketers to optimize and realize the results of good testing, but do not allow testing to paralyze your creative strategy.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Knowing Your Audience

When it comes to marketing, knowing your target audience is key.  Sophisticated organizations understand that there is no one size fits all when it comes to advertising.  Therefore these organizations utilize targeting, segmentation, look-alike models, and personalization to ensure that the content of their marketing campaigns speaks directly to the intended audience.

Historically, the financial and investment services industry has been very buttoned-up and conservative when it comes to marketing.  However, that’s changing with the likes of companies such as Wealthfront who are shaking up the financial status quo.  Wealthfront understands the relationship between its message and its audience.  The following commercial runs on cable TV channels frequented by Generation Y viewers, that you simply wouldn’t expect from a financial services organizations – yet, this is the very thing that is setting Wealthfront apart from the competition.  It really gets interesting at 0:43.

However, let’s not be fooled.  Wealthfront chooses it content and messaging carefully when advertising on more conservative cable television channels such as FOX News.  See what runs there.

Notice the lack of lifestyle images, people, humor and butt-grabbing.  Instead the visuals are of graphs and value propositions.

Knowing your customer base and target audience is instrumental in creating the right types of marketing campaigns.  How you message to your target demographics should remain consistent through the entire customer journey – from lead generation to retention marketing.  Your customers aren’t cookie cutter, and your marketing campaigns shouldn’t be either.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Why Do I Need a Personal Brand?

Branding Green
As a politician, athlete, celebrity, executive or entrepreneur it may be obvious that developing a personal brand is essential. What may not seem as apparent is that everyone should give thought as to what their personal brand is. Branding is all about perception. If you place a negative perception about yourself, product or service into the universe, then people will perceive that as reality. Likewise if you carefully craft a positive and measured persona about who you are and what you stand for, people will take that as face value.

Creating and cultivating your personal brand is all about strategy and it can be extremely difficult and tedious. The upside however is very rewarding because it allows you to control the message about who you are. If you do not take control, others will. A great deal of introspection is required to really focus on your past behaviors and decisions, beliefs, accomplishments, short-comings and goals to build a full view of what your brand should be. For many, it’s wanting to be seen as a rising star, potential CEO or a no-bull politician ready to shake up the status quo; or simply as boxer Floyd Mayweather has said, ‘The Best Ever’. However, if your past actions do not align with your stated objective, a great deal of cultivation will be needed to close the gap. This is especially true if you have a negative online persona. Slander and negative content is easily found about many people online and it can be explosive to a person’s personal goals. Handling and defending it quickly and proactively is a must.

So now what? If you’re interested in learning how to best build your personal brand there are a few options available. There’s always the Do-It-Yourself method. If you have a marketing background, this may be a good option. If this is not the case, working with public relations firms that specialize in personal branding and reputation management can be a great solution. If you reside in the EU, it’s as easy as submitting a ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ request to Google.  This essentially erases negative and misleading content about you from search results.

And don’t let all the hard work of building your brand fall by the wayside. After you’ve polished your online brand, be sure to proactively manage your online reputation. Being proactive and responding quickly to negative interpretations about your brand is key to being effective in accomplishing your goals.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Damage Control – What to Do When a Social Media Problem Occurs

After the Storm of Social Media Damage

You’ve probably heard of Applebee’s blunder on social media. A pastor wrote on a receipt that he shouldn’t have to give an Applebee’s waitress 18 percent when he only gives God 10 percent. An image ended up going viral that led to Applebee’s social media representative writing a defensive comment in reply to it. Applebee’s followers fired back with 10,000 negative comments. The company was then accused of deleting those comments and blocking users, which can be viewed unfavorably by social media users.

This situation is frightening, but it’s preventable. People online will express their opinions, but it’s how you react to them that matters. It’s never a good idea to reply defensively to negative comments. Handle situations like this one professionally by always staying positive and providing the best customer service.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

What can I do about negative online publicity?

urban01It’s frustrating.

Sometimes warranted, but still painful.

A great learning opportunity.

If it’s untrue, it’s slander – and thus legal options are available.

Cleaning up negative publicity can feel as fleeting as trying to obtain an 850 credit score after a bankruptcy and foreclosure.

  1. Step one is realizing negative content has been posted about you.
    • May be very obvious, comments posted on your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, video rant, website dedicated to you, etc.
    • Conduct your own search. See what’s being said about you.
    • Utilize an online reputation management firm to analyze mentions of you
  2. Determine the source. Is it from a reputable news outlet, relative or friend, employee or person with clout? Is it from a stranger with no connection to you? Determining the source is critical in determining what to do next.
  3. There’s a saying that all publicity is good publicity. Hmm, I’m not sure this always hold true, especially if you’re ill equipped to put the right spin on it.
  4. What can you do about it?
    • Act swiftly by putting together a plan of action. Get ahead of the storm.
    • Contact the source (try to negotiate removal or redaction of the comments, etc.). Now this can be a sticky situation, and may require an impartial party or representative to act on your behalf.  It will require diplomacy as a heated exchange with the source can aggravate the problem.
    • If no contact, or if contact is reluctant about removing the content, don’t fret (too much) as you still have options.
    • Slander and libel as a legal option?
    • Hire an online reputation management firm
    • Monitor. Like cleaning up poor credit, safeguarding and clearing your name/brand online is an intense undertaking that requires patience and tenacity. For those of us who are much too busy to keep up with what people are saying about us, trust in a company that specializes in online reputation management. There are also numerous apps that monitor mentions of specific names and organizations across the internet, and aggregate that information on your behalf.

Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Marketing Across Multiple Social Media Platforms

Girl on Couch with TabletSocial media is one of the most affordable and effective methods of marketing available today. Zappos, Ford Motor Company, and Burger King are just some of the many companies that use it. What’s great about social media is that you don’t have to be the owner of a huge company to use it. No matter the type or size of the business you own, you can use social media to market it. Before you jump in though, it’s important to understand how to use social networks effectively.

Challenges of Social Media Marketing

Business owners often complain that posting on multiple social media networks is too time consuming and it doesn’t have a high return on investment. While many people experience this, it’s usually because they are not doing it in the right way. If you know how to save time and make social media marketing effective, it will keep you from dealing with the same challenges.

How to Save Time

You don’t have to be strapped to a computer to post an update on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. You can schedule posts to go out at certain times of the day on all the social networks you are using to market your business. This way you can go about your day without having to worry about providing your audience the information they look for from you.

Facebook allows you to schedule your posts on their platform. For Twitter and Google+, you will have to use a social media marketing tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite. These programs will publish posts for you at times it believes your audience is most likely to use the social networks you specify, or you can select the timing for the posts yourself. For sites such as YouTube and Instagram, you will need to post them immediately, but the good news is you don’t have to post multiple times a day on those sites to be effective.

Making Social Media Worth It

Social media marketing builds your business’ brand. When you present your business name and logo repeatedly with posts, people start to remember them. As you post valuable information to your followers, people will start to appreciate you. They will share your posts and recommend them to others. Those people follow you and the cycle starts all over again. Many people will notice who is posting such great content and click on the link to the poster’s website. This is how a business increases its visibility online.

This all doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build a following across multiple platforms because you have to test out different posts to find out what your audience likes the best. Some people love to watch videos, while others just like images or text-based posts. You also need to learn what time of the day your audience is online. A post may receive more attention in the afternoon when people are taking a break at work, or later in the evening after they’ve had dinner. The only way to figure it all out is to test it, which takes time, but it’s worth it when you find the times and the types of posts that receive the most attention.

Making Digital Marketing Less Overwhelming

Many companies such as Amazon, Red Bull, Visa, and McDonald’s have used social media to successfully market their products and services, but they have a team behind them handling it all. This team posts for them, handles comments, and works on increasing online visibility. Small business owners can do the same thing by hiring just one social media manager. This person can be in charge of your business’ reputation management by following what people are saying about your business, responding in a positive way, and giving social media users the information they want to read and share with others.

Social media marketing is what small businesses are using right now because it’s low cost and effective. Get started today simply by setting up an account on a social media network such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, or Facebook Pages. Before you know it, you’ll be increasing your brand awareness and bringing in new customers. That’s the glory of social media marketing.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.