Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

How these “simple tricks” get your emails read.

Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.

tricks to writing emails

This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
  1. Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
  2. The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
  3. The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
  4. “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
  5. “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
  6. The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
  7. The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …

marketing tricks1. 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).

Getting people to read your text4. The subhead needs to encourage people to start reading your full story – it’s a bit like an appetizer in a restaurant.

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.”

email tricks for readership8. 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.

 

Why is the Sony Xperia phone ad so bad?

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.

10 best tips for email marketing (1 of 3)

Email marketing tips 1-3 of 10 best 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. Email tips for business Email-opt-out2. 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. Make sure your business emails are mobile friendly3. 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; Explaining this marketing trend and my 6 basic principles for marketing success.

“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. Create a world for the consumer using StoryscapeThe 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, Strategic thinkingand 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 Storyscape strategyexample 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 Customer-testimonialso 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.

Marketing trendsRegardless of the latest marketing trend or coined name, it has been my experience for marketing to have been effective for the last 10-15 years –and going forward, it has these 6 basic principles:

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.

 

5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015

social media analytics

 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.” TTransparencyhe 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.  
Personal Social media marketing 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.

The Best YouTube Content for Social Media Blogs

First, lets start with 5 key YouTube demographics:YouTube videos

1. There are over one billion unique YouTube visits each month
2. Each month, over 6 billion hours of video are being watched
3. Every minute of the day, over 100 hours of video are uploaded
4. More than 1 billion views each day are on mobile devices
5. Adults ages 18-34 watch YouTube more than any cable network

How-to YouTube videosContent Strategy: How-to, Tutorial and
Help content videos.

For many products and services, how-to videos are going to be incredibly valuable to your targeted customers, as they may find them just based on searching “how do I do this or that?” A tutorial not only helps your audience learn how to better use your product, but also provides ideas on how to use your product in novel ways. Another approach is to help your site visitors learn how to do things that may not be directly related to your product, but are highly relevant to their interest
s.

YouTube video blogFor example, one of my clients sells an adjustable filet table for boats. Though I have created YouTube videos directly related to their products, I also linked and embedded a video on “Secrets to Fillet a Fish.” It’s related to their product, yet another way for the site visitors searching for “how to filet a fish” ends up on that filet board blog page with the YouTube embedded video: http://tacomarineblog.com/2014/09/04/the-secret-to-filleting-a-fish-clever-taco-marine-adjustable-filet-tables/

Because the link to the video on the other site is of similar content, it is considered a high-value link to search bots and helps SEO rankings . Plus, the fish filet video content is incredibly relevant to the site visitor, but not actually the company’s product. This is a tactic called: think horizontally.

No hook, just a SEO tip: Taking the time to fill out the information about your YouTube video is the work that will get better search results. You spent the time creating the video, now spend that little bit of extra time to properly SEO it: Keywords in the title, description, tags and (if possible) provide a transcript of each video. Every bit of relevant information you can add to your YouTube upload gives you more opportunity for people to find your video and makes it accessible for all types of users and search engine bots.

YouTube Analytics offers the equivalent of Facebook Insights for your videos. You’ll find numbers on engagement, discovery, and demographics: http://www.youtube.com/yt/playbook/yt-analytics.html

One simple idea to make your site more relevant to search engines

website design and SEO follow up

I run into many business owners that spend their hard-earned money to get a website created, and then they think; “it’s all done.” Or is it?

SEO tips of the daySEO Tip of the Day: Make sure you publish new posts or update your content regularly, because search bots crawl through sites on an average of every 18 days, and they are looking for fresh new content. Why? Google wants people to use its search engine as much as you want them to visit your website, so its goal is to return the most useful and current results for any given query.

Most WordPress-based sites are typically set up in a standard, blog-style format with a reverse chronological list of posts on the front page. However, many of you that use WordPress for your website, have mostly static pages. This type of site is not updated as frequently as a typical blog, so if you do have a website, it’s beneficial to have a blog component in your website that you update more often, (note my website here has a blog component as it’s home/front page). If you have the standard static home/front page, then link your front page to your blogging pages, whether by using a menu tab, or by using the Recent Posts widget in the sidebar of your front page. Because most new visitors land on your front page first, providing an obvious link to your most recent posts will help Google see that your site is current and active.

Here’s 5 Search Engine Optimization Things You Should Be Doing

Image of Freshen up your websites content1. Freshen Your Content: Search engines typically scan your site every 18 days, so make sure you are adding fresh content which makes your site relevant to search engines. If your site content doesn’t change often, your site needs a blog because search spiders like fresh text. Blog at least once a week with good, fresh content to feed those SEO crawlers. The goal of a search engine is to return the most relevant results to users. What part of your site would benefit most from freshness?

How to link text and pictures to your website2. Linking: Put text links somewhere on your page for the search spiders to follow, and the quickest way to get your site spidered is by getting a link to it through another quality site. One single, good, authoritative link can do a lot more for your site than a dozen poor quality or irrelevant links.

photo of: use special words from search analytics3. Special words: Here’s something you may not have thought of – use the words “best”, “image” or “picture” in your photo ALT descriptions and captions. A lot of searches are for a keyword plus one of those words.

4. Keyword Phrases: Be sure you have your important keyword phrase in your title tag on every page of your site. Use keyword rich captions with your images. If your company is a well known brand use it in the title, if not use other keywords instead.

SEO for phrases and keywords5. Google Webmaster Tools: Features You Should Be Using. Once your site is set up, it’s time to log in and get to know the interface. If you need an introductory tutorial, here’s a good overview.  At its core, Google Webmaster Tools is all about metrics: what’s getting indexed, what’s getting linked, and what’s getting traffic.

I can’t believe she left after only 10 seconds

OMG Fact: The  first 10 sec. of a visit to your website, blog or other social media is critical for a visitor’s decision on whether to stay or leave. Here’s what you need to know …

Why visitors leave quickly: The probability of leaving is very high during the first few seconds because visitors are extremely skeptical, having experienced countless poorly designed web pages in the past. People know pretty quickly when a site is not going to provide what they need – and they leave to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on pages that don’t give them the information they are looking for.

What happens after 10 seconds ? If the Web page survives the first 10-second judgment, visitors will look around a bit. However, they’re still highly likely to leave during the subsequent 20 seconds of their visit. Only after visitors have stayed on a page for about 30 seconds does the drop off rate slow down. Visitors will continue to leave every second, but at a much slower rate than during the first 30 seconds.

What you need to do: If you can convince visitors to stay on your page for half a minute, then there’s a fair chance that they’ll stay much longer — often 2 minutes or more, which is an eternity on the Internet. How do you do that?  To gain several minutes of a visitor’s attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds! Communicate the reward, payoff, or benefit the visitor will receive from spending their valuable time reading your web page. They need to know in 10 seconds or less what are they getting for their time, and if you can provide what they need.

  –> Click here for my short blog about Value-based text.

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The Secret of Mobile Marketing Strategies

5 important items to put on a mobile marketing to-do list…

It’s official: Mobile laptops, iPads, smart phones, tablet computers, have overtaken the desktop as the primary point of contact with consumers. Test it yourself when you are on your Facebook page – social media mobile devicesyour friends who are online are displayed with a green dot, note how many are listed as “mobile.” Everywhere you go people are checking their mobile devices for text messages, emails and accessing websites while they are in a “waiting mode.”  Here’s 5 items for a mobile marketing to-do list:

1. Use a flexible template. Marketing success depends on making sure your website, blogs and emails are using responsive design templates – designs that automatically adapt to the devices on which they are being viewed.

2. Consider the demographics of your customers; if they are younger they are more than likely on a mobile device, if they are older on a desktop computer. You need to better focus your marketing approach and not just send out a single message that applies to all social media channels, but specific messages that are formatted for each channel.

3. Create short content. In mobile marketing, the most important point is to make sure your “content” is king. Use fewer words to communicate the most important value of your product or service because when people are on mobile devices, they have shorter attention spans and time. To best engage customers, make sure your clickable items are seamless and smooth.

4. Repeat your message. It has been said that someone needs to see a product as many as three times before they actually take action and buy. What they’re shown doesn’t necessarily have to be the product itself. Brand awareness, complimentary products or comparable items can also be effective.

On the left the PC shows three columns of content, in the middle the iPad shows two columns, on the right an iPhone shows only one column of content from the original website.
On the left the desktop computer shows three columns of content, in the middle the iPad shows just two columns, on the right an iPhone shows only one column of content.

5. Test your messages. Test for things like spacing, image rendering, and multiple columns on a desktop computer may appear as only one column on mobile devices, with the columns being “stacked” – keep that in mind when determining which information is on the left, right and middle columns, (see above example). Finally, do what most don’t do – test your website, emails, and social media on different mobile devices, because you may be in for a shock at what you see!

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