Have you noticed in the past few years how much shorter the lines are now at the grocery store, traffic light, doctor’s office, and restaurants? Or, do the lines just seem shorter because you are now secretly enjoy waiting so you can browse Facebook, messages, emails or Twitter, with the thought, “What will I get?” When we unlock our smartphones, we subconsciously crave for variable rewards or something to occupy our minds. This yearning for variable rewards makes us refresh social media feeds and email inboxes – repeatedly.
Here’s an effect you may not have been aware of: According to neurological scientists, 10 minutes on social media can raise oxytocin levels by up to 13 percent, (a generosity-trust chemical in our brains). That’s a hormonal spike equal to what some people experience on their wedding day! People of all ages are addicted to the euphoria effect of their smartphones.
People use their smartphones everywhere. In elevators, for instance, I’ve seen people miss getting off their intended floors because of checking Facebook postings. It’s the norm to use smartphones as we wait at banks, gas stations and even Starbucks.
Does social media technology decrease productivity or are we simply filling what was empty non-productive spaces in our lives?
But multitasking reduces our productivity by up to 40 percent. Each time we are interrupted, it takes us several minutes to refocus. Before those refocus minutes are up, we get distracted again. Is it not surprising that these are the least productive times in the history of mankind?
This social media phenomena also provides opportunities for short-burst marketing and re-branding. The most famous re-branding person of our time? Donald Trump. He uses Twitter to “re-brand” his adversaries. It use to be, “Don’t judge people by what they say about themselves, but by what they say about others.” That still may be true for some, but unfortunately social media has made many believers in stories people want to hear or hope to believe. Social media can now quickly cast false and deceptive re-branding of people and companies.
As a marketer, please consider taking the truth-road. Check Snopes, PolitiFact or other “fact checking” websites before passing along juicy tidbits that could falsely re-brand companies, products or people that worked so hard to create value in their brands.
Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.
This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
- Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
- The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
- The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
- “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
- “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
- The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
- The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …
1. When providing a list, use numbers instead of bullets to increase readership. Readers typically finish reading a numbered list to see if something resonates with them – and refer to the number of solutions or tips like I did using the number “7.”
2. Use the words “you” or “your” it’s certain to increase readership.
3. But that’s not all. (Use bold text for subheads or as an introduction to paragraphs like I did in this long-winded blog – it breaks up lengthy text and creates more visual interest).
5. Does the use of questions keep people reading? Yes, because they suggest answers to come, so does a list of specific examples – because when someone suggests something to you, you often say to yourself, “What do you mean?”
6. Did you notice that the paragraphs in this blog vary in length? One is only nine words long. The mind enjoys variety, and the empty spaces allows the eyes to rest.
7. “Use simple words everyone knows. Then everyone will understand.”
8. Should the writing style be the same as casual chat? Typically it’s more formal – but writing is really nothing more than a well-organized speech. And when you write you have time to think things out and arrange them in ways you cannot in the rush of a speech.
Wether you are new to the game or an old dog learning new tricks, keep your message simple and to the point – because people have little time to dig for what they are looking for.
Sony’s ad is slick and well produced, but does it communicate its value to the consumer? No! When I watched the commercial, the main actor looks like a hit-man stalking a ballerina and getting ready to take her out. When the video shows a single ballerina dancing in the darkness be tracked by a phone-type device and the voice over asks, “Can you feel it — the power — all in your hands — trust the power”, I realized it wasn’t just a phone but a targeting device for a drone. Does the Sony Xperia have more advanced and useful technology than the iPhone? How would I know from that commercial?
Sony mentions these two features; curved glass and seamless metal. Ok, so show me – I didn’t see anything curved and was the closeup of a metal rectangle rising up from a brushed steel plate the high tech-desk of the hit man or his phone? And Sony never did tell me why those two features have value to me. The art direction of the ad is so overproduced with effects, that I don’t know what the Sony phone’s camera can or can’t do. It seems it can shoot a ballerina jumping in midair and cowboys riding on horses, but what percentage of their target audience is shooting ballerinas and horses? And what about all the other video effects in the ad, can it do those too? Sony creatives need to take a lesson from Apple and focus on the value to the user of what makes their phone useful and how it can improve their customer’s life experiences. Sony, listen up, you are not selling beer where you can get all creative and sell just your phone’s image, but you need to create an emotional connection with your customers that communicates how your phone can change people’s lives.
1. The first email. First and most important is that the very first email that goes out establishes and communicates the purpose of the email. If it doesn’t communicate value, some recipients might consider it intrusive, unsubscribe or worse – label it as spam. Attention to detail is important. (If you want to develop a consumer email base, provide a sign-up form on your website and social media sites with an incentive such as a discount coupon for signing-up to build your list. 2. Provide an Opt-out option and a Forward button. It’s frustrating for customers to get emails they don’t want and can’t easily unsubscribe to, plus it’s legally required to do so at the bottom of each marketing email. Bonus – provide a “forward” button so that the recipient can forward the email to another person in the company that might be an appropriate person to also get the email, as well as providing a link for them to also subscribe to the emails. 3. Make sure the email is mobile-friendly. Many people these days read their emails on phone and tablets to check in while they are at lunch, after work or waiting somewhere – and are doing so to kill time. It’s an opportunity if the email can easily be read on a mobile device – if it’s interesting to them they will know to read the email on their computer when they get back to the office. If the text is to small they will skip to the next email, if the pictures are not optimized (taking to long to load), they will skip to their next email and may automatically delete it when they get back to the office. Mobile-friendly email many times get read twice – and it doesn’t cost any extra to make it mobile-friendly. Also important, if there is a call-to-action, make sure you link it to text and not a photo that may not have downloaded correctly. If you need help with your email marketing program, click here to drop me an email.
“Storyscape” is a coined term for the latest alternative to traditional advertising and media plans by getting the consumer more involved in the “brand’s world” through various media channels. The consumer wants to feel like a part of a story and think, “wow, that is cool” about the brand. The concept is to build a brand story that builds an emotional association that inspires the consumer’s behavior. That is the key, creating an emotional connection between the consumer and the product. Apple products are a perfect example of that – their customers have an emotional connection, a story to tell about their iPhone or iPad and how it changed their lives, which compels them as devoted customers to share their experience with like-minded people.
That said, there should be one strategy – versus a strategy for social, a strategy for events, a strategy for digital, and a strategy for public relations – there should be just one cohesive plan for all, and it’s directed by the big idea that organizes those activities. I ask my customers, “what’s your purpose?” Today’s customer wants to be able to connect to brands they trust, believe, feel are authentic, fill their needs and are able to take part like they are part of the company’s culture. They want to feel they connect with the company, like a friend, and are proud to say they are loyal supporter and part of the brand’s story.
So how is that type of marketing accomplished? It’s about creating a world or landscape of ideas that could be physical, virtual, emotional, and more than likely it’s all of those things. For example a Storyscape for selling a new house; baking chocolate cookies in a model home’s oven for visitors so it has a nice homey smell, the website touts your model dream house and has free cookies when you visit, offer a recipe for the cookies in a blog and on Pinterest so that a story or idea for engaging the consumer crosses all media platforms. That way the consumer looking for a house creates their world or story about that experience at all marketing touch points – so they not only experience a world they helped create, but they also tell a story about their experience.
The social media world changes so quickly. The traditional media plan keeps different media in separate boxes with target dates – where as we need to be more fluid and to think about how the different media interact and affect each other, as well as being affected by an event that causes a rippling effect throughout the media plan. The key difference with Storyscape, it’s designed to give the consumer control over which marketing connection points they wish to be engaged with and then encouraged them to interact across those channels — all supported by an organized idea and not the marketer choosing, based on analytics and data, which channels might be more efficient to reach them.
It’s a more organic or worldly version of a customer testimonial. In traditional marketing, the marketer writes the customer testimonial so it fits the needs of the marketing plan and gets the customer to signoff on it or tweak it for approval. The hope is that it resonates on one particular level with other consumers. Where as Storyscape opens up the world to all possibilites, so when the consumer’s exposed to the “idea” – they have an experience in the world they helped create that is a life-changing and they are willing to share it with other like-minded people.
The marketing industry is famous for creating new trends. Keep in mind, every couple of years a marketing person coins a phrase for a “new” approach to marketing, sells a bunch of books and it becomes the latest defacto marketing tool to be used. A year later, another marketing approach is the latest thing to do.
1. Understand what the customer wants or needs,
2. provide a logical and emotional dialogue so the consumer has the information they need to help them make a decision,
3. give them plenty of opportunities for that exposure,
4. make sure customers feel connected to the brand’s world and product,
5. provide them with easy access (distribution points) to purchasing the product and,
6. after the sale, make the customer feel special and part of the brand’s family.
Use advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms
My social media marketing predictions for 2015 should be your resolutions …
1. Digging Deeper into Data. Using advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms is key in knowing what to write about as well as knowing your visitor’s likes, shares, engagements, demographics, etc. Making the most of your metrics will help you identify the right prospects and pinpoint the right offers at the right time.
2. Eliminate Advertising-based Content. Over and over again I see companies writing blogs that are just product descriptions and – essentially just a landing-place to copy and paste content from data sheets. Write to your customer’s needs, not just what you are selling. Content Marketing is all about providing content that has value to consumers. It can offer practical information, tell a touching story, or be outrageously hilarious. It should forge emotional connections that nudge people toward the business that rolls out the content. Make your content stand out in 2015 by performing thorough keyword research, present new information, offer something innovative, and distribute it to your customer base effectively.
3. Being Candid and Honest. Zig Ziglar once said, “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” The same principle rings true for current marketing trends. The best brands will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.
4. Social Media Connections. Your target customers have some traits in common, but that doesn’t mean that they all are the same entity. People want to feel they are part of a group, crave connection, and participate with others of like-mind. Consumers buy from friends – companies can be perceived as a friend by sounding more personal in their writing styles. When you are writing, talk to your customers and future clients like each one really matters, because they do.
5. Personalization. One way to send personal messages is via triggered emails. When a customer joins your rewards program or signs up for your newsletter, send a warm welcome. You can even include a special freebie or stellar discount. On your customers’ special dates, such as birthdays – send a friendly greeting. These automated messages can make recipients feel that you care about them.
No one can say for certain what the future holds, but the current direction of marketing shows that the above trends will impact marketing in 2015. Expect marketing to move strongly in a digital direction and focus on transparency, technology, personalization, and quality.