Archive for the ‘kind’ tag
In the world of email marketing, several questions are repeatedly asked by those who strive to improve their email campaigns. Collectively they can be lumped together as pertaining to the elusive pursuit of best practices. And if you are prone to jumping to conclusions, you probably think the two words to which I refer in the title are “best practices,” but you’d be wrong. Before I reveal the two most important words in email marketing, let’s look at some of the commonly asked questions concerning best practices:
- What day of the week is the best for launching campaigns?
- What time of day is best for launching campaigns?
- What kind of tests should are the most important to conduct?
- When should a subscriber be labeled “inactive”?
- Is it ok to continue to mail to inactive subscribers?
- How should email campaigns be optimized for mobile devices?
- How important are welcome campaigns?
- What type of content should be dynamically generated?
True believers in best practices are likely to believe that there is a single, definitive answer to each of the questions posed above, and the many more questions not appearing here. According to BusinessDictionary.com, a best practice is, “A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.”
However there is a big of problem with this right out of the gate. If there really were definitive answers to every question involving email, and everyone practiced them, then no one would gain strategic advantage over his or her competition. To gain that advantage one would need to develop better than best practices. These, in turn, would become the new best practices. The result? All commercial email would hit consumer’s mailboxes on the same day and time. Every marketer would test the same thing at the same time. All subscribers would be labeled inactive at the same point in time. You get the idea.
Does this mean there are no immutable truths about email marketing? Of course not:
- New subscribers to your email are more likely to be engaged with you than older subscribers (use that to your advantage)
- Opens and clicks do not represent an accurate measurement of consumer engagement with an email (you’ve probably heard me say this before)
- Upselling and cross-selling via transactional emails it a great way to increase your ROI (lucky strike extra, it is also likely to irk your IT team)
I could go on, but that’s not the point of this article. So it’s time I got to the point. In my opinion, the two most important words in email marketing are “it depends.” It depends?! I know, that’s kind of a let down from the buildup to this point. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t the most important words.
Remember what I said about best practices earlier? If everybody followed best practices, no one would gain a competitive advantage. It all boils down to the fact that there if there is no definitive answer as to which is the best day to launch a campaign, then the best way to start answering that question is to respond “it depends,” because — at that moment — you are now beginning to solve a particular marketer’s unique marketing challenges. For that rather simple sounding question there are many data points to consider:
- It depends upon your product or service category
- It depends on what you are offering at that point in time
- It depends on who you are targeting
- It depends upon the complexity of the desired transaction
- It depends upon the duration of the offer
There are other possible “it depends;” this is just a partial list. And while it might seem very attractive to let the people like me who write about this stuff answer the question for you in a column, it will be much better in the long run for you to do the hard work of thinking through the “it depends,” and then testing some assumptions.
Let’s look at another question, “when should a subscriber be labeled inactive?” There are people like me who would tell you “only if that email address is no longer valid,” but we’re viewed as representing the extreme. For the rest of you, however, once again there are many data points to consider:
- It depends how long they’ve been in the database
- It depends on your ability to attribute offline activity to email campaigns
- It depends on the frequency of purchase of your product or service
- It depends upon your current reputation with the ISPs
I’ve noted in the past that clients of mine saw revenue around campaigns drop when they excluded those they deemed inactive from a mailing. So you want to do more than just follow best practices when addressing this question — you want to get it right!
It’s important to recognize that answering “it depends” to an important email marketing question is an absolute cop-out if you don’t then proceed to determine what the answer does depend upon. It’s one thing for a panelist at a conference to respond “it depends” and leave it at that. It’s an entirely different story if the strategists on your team or at your marketing partner leave it at that. It’s their job to provide you with the guidance and testing plan to arrive at the optimum solution for your particular needs.
The problem has always been that because email marketing is so inexpensive, it is really easy to get away with programs that don’t meet their full potential. With CPMs as low as they are, “good” results are seen as “good enough.” If CPMs were higher, there’d be greater pressure to maximize results. Of course it takes a lot of hard work to optimize your program across the board — and then to successfully integrate that program into your social and mobile channels. To paraphrase from something I read years ago, “Email marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s a lot harder!” But the hard work will always pay you dividends.
Chris Marriot is a data-driven digital marketing consultant.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
“A happy couple” image via Shutterstock.
I need to lighten things up a bit with all this Oracle brouhaha.
Oracle acquired Xsigo recently. I wrote about the acquisition and how Oracle will lose as IT gets virtualized. Oracle’s Bob Evans came back with his own special brand of attack. Yesterday I responded with my post: Open? Yeah, Sure. Sorry Oracle, You’re Still Full Of It.
Last night, Michael Krigsman said in the comments to my post something I take to heart. Here’s what he said:
These kind of backs and forths are a bit silly, but of course there are multiple perspectives here. Still, I like the human drama because that’s what makes enterprise software interesting and accessible to a broader audience. For many people, this stuff is highly arcane, so the human dimension is beneficial even if the substance is a bit… well, like catcalling.
Despite the differences in position, I urge the parties to remain friendly and not resort to personal attacks and innuendo of any kind.
Right on, Mike!
But oh my word, we need some more of this excitement in the enterprise world. And so for that, I thank Bob for busting things out a bit. He said I made baseless claims about the Oracle cloud. I called him the king’s blogger. But Oracle is not the only one doing things that I question. Yes, they’re the worst of the crowd but not the only ones who do things that have me thinking WTF?
The big enterprise guys need more accountability. It is my job to call things out. So, with that in mind, here we go – The Friday WTF Awards:
- SAP – can you please make HANA something the makers of the world can use? You’re a contender to be one of the enterprise giants that leap frogs over the rest. Let’s see some something beautiful that any maker can create with all that data.
- OpenStack — let’s be real. You’re an industry coalition. You have lots of developers and they make lots of contributions. They need a bigger voice. Transparency is an issue. We need more light into the workings of the organization.
- Stop the madness, IBM. Your PureSystems technology is not a platform as a service. Focus on the real issues your tech solves. Cloudwashing doesn’t look good.
- Citrix — where is Cloudstack? Hello? Anyone home?
- Amazon Web Services — when will you start talking with the community about your APIs? You could release them under Creative Commons. That would allow for standardization. You blessed Eucalyptus because it is only enterprise focussed but not CloudStack. How come? Is it because they also support service providers who could be AWS competitors?
- VMware — lots of rhetoric about the Amazon cloud. No more FUD, please.
- EMC — building out a data center with your big storage machines is not cloud. Call it hybrid, label it private – all that is fine. But in the end — you’re selling your customers new storage systems. They’re not elastic. They’re not multi-tenant. It’s just shiny new hardware for the data center.
- Microsoft and the curious case of Office 365. Why not open more APIs?
- CA — their FUD about the cloud is deafening.
- Infosys – Charges of visa abuse? What’s up with that?
- In the spirit of Spinal Tap, this list goes to 11. Cloud Analysts: we need more analysis, not marketing. Let’s see it.
Have a good weekend, folks.
(Image courtesy of WTF with Marc Maron)
Amazon has just dropped the price for a Kindle to $269 in a fire-sale “deal of the day.’ Some folks, including us, are taking this as a sign that a new Kindle is on the way.
The usual list price for the Kindle DX, Amazon’s big ol’ 9.7-inch e-ink reader, is $379. Unfortunately, in a world replete with seven-inch e-readers and 10-inch tablets, the Kindle DX was a bit too large to fit in with its own kind and a bit too bare-bones in its feature set and applications to fit in with devices of the same size.
We have also been hearing rumors that Amazon is getting ready to roll out a 10-inch Kindle Fire. Fire is the company’s entry into the world of high-powered, full-featured Android tablets, and it’s been selling like crazy since its launch. With other 10-inch competitors on the market from companies like Samsung, Asus, Sony, and (of course) Apple, it makes total sense for Amazon to kick the Fire’s screen size up a notch.
In fact, the wee, seven-inch model has already played a big role in taking a bite out of Apple’s share of the tablet market. Overall, Android tablets gained 10 percent market share from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011 and now represent 39 percent of the overall tablet market; and Fire, which was first announced just last September already represents 35.7 percent of total Android tablet application sessions.
As revealed in one of Amazon’s recent quarterly earnings calls, the Fire tablet is still Amazon’s best-selling, most gifted, and most wished for product, as it’s been since the day it launched.
Filed under: mobile
"The challenge for VCs is that it is easy to spend a lot of time going nowhere on advised deals. Good…"
The challenge for VCs is that it is easy to spend a lot of time going nowhere on advised deals. Good advisors know that the way to reach the highest price is to keep investors guessing about whether they are going to win the deal. As a result there is usually at least one VC who invests a lot of resources and then loses. And when you lose a deal as a VC you are left with very little, and often precisely nothing, to show for your efforts.
I am much more excited, however, to see an email from someone I respect who is helping a company because he is on the board or board of advisors. I generally feel that my chances of success are much higher from this kind of introduction because it will be less widely shopped, and, ceteris paribus, it will get more attention than an advised deal.
” – Nic Brisbourne, Advisors: they don’t help VCs, but they can help start-ups via The Kernel This is one of the reasons that I recommend to my startup clients that they create a real advisory board, people that will play an active, although very part-time role working with the company, and that the introductions from those advisory board members are worth a lot. I don’t approach VCs with seven deals a month, so if I were to contact Nic Brisbourne with something, he’d likely take a meeting. (Nic’s a friend, by the way.)
– Nic Brisbourne, Advisors: they don’t help VCs, but they can help start-ups via The Kernel
This is one of the reasons that I recommend to my startup clients that they create a real advisory board, people that will play an active, although very part-time role working with the company, and that the introductions from those advisory board members are worth a lot.
I don’t approach VCs with seven deals a month, so if I were to contact Nic Brisbourne with something, he’d likely take a meeting. (Nic’s a friend, by the way.)
Jeff Rohrs discusses the lunch session he will be moderating Thursday, September 6th, 2012 That includes 42 minutes of “Shotgun Sessions”. Plus he talks about a couple of ideas he will be presenting in his “10 Email Secrets that Will Help Drive Your Content Strategy” session.
About Jeff Rohrs:
A recovering attorney, bacon-lover & Cleveland sports victim, Jeff heads-up the Marketing Research & Education Group at ExactTarget. In this capacity, Jeff co-authors the SUBSCRIBERS, FANS & FOLLOWERS research series—and ongoing examination of how today’s online consumers interact with brands through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Jeff also spearheads ExactTarget’s Connections User Conference programming and SUBSCRIBERS RULE! philosophy. Over his career, Jeff has presented at a wide variety of industry events including ad:tech, Argyle’s CMO Leadership Forum, The CMO Club Summit, the eec’s Email Evolution Conference, MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit, MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit, SES, SMX, and WOM Supergenius. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jkrohrs.
About Content Marketing World:
Content Marketing World is the largest gathering of content marketing professionals in the world. Content Marketing World is the one event where you can learn and network with the best and the brightest in the content marketing industry. You will leave with all the materials you need to take a content strategy back to your team – and – implement a content marketing plan that will grow your business and engage your audience. Content Marketing World 2012 takes place on September 4 – 6, 2012 at the Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio.
Arnie: Hello I’m Arnie Kuenn, President of Vertical Measures, a search, social, and content marketing agency in Phoenix, Arizona. Today I’d like to introduce you to Jeff Rohrs. He’s the VP of marketing at ExactTarget. Hey, Jeff, how are you doing?
Jeff: I’m doing well Arnie, yourself?
Arnie: Great, great. So, I just learned that you’re in Cleveland. It’s a little bit toasty though, huh?
Jeff: It’s is. We’re about 90 degrees today and have not had a lot of rain like much of the country.
Arnie: Yeah, that’s a real shame.
Arnie: All righty. Well, we’re here to talk a little bit about Content Marketing World, and you’re going to be moderating the luncheon I think on Thursday, September 6th, which is what, 42 minutes of shotgun sessions or something like that? I was wonder if maybe you could just explain what it’s all about?
Jeff: Sure. So, we did this last year at the inaugural Content Marketing World. Basically over lunch, Joe Pulizzi and his team line up about five to seven speakers and I serve as kind of an MC. The idea with the shotgun sessions is to get some really great thought leaders in content marketing.
Both authors and folks, who are in-house perhaps at a particular company, to just distill their thoughts down into a short format, in really digestible bits that folks can enjoy over lunch. We give extra points for those folks who can be entertaining or cause folks to laugh. So it’s fast, it’s furious, and it makes for great lunch time conversation.
Arnie: Yeah, it does. I remember I was there last year and I just thought, how are they going to pull this off? It was great. It was amazing that people kept to their time frames.
Jeff: Yeah. I love that format. That’s a fun format especially when you have a multi-day conference. So, you’ve got multiple types of formats. You’ve got panels. You’ve got keynote speakers. It’s just a great one to kind of throw in the mix, especially over lunch, when people do need some filler while they’re eating. Then they want to foster conversation with some of their peers. This really just stirs the pot right in the middle of that.
Arnie: Yep. I don’t know if you know yet, do you know who any of your seven guinea pigs might be?
Jeff: I don’t as of yet. I suspect I’ll be finding out in the next few weeks as Joel distills that out to me. But we usually kind of assemble that group virtually. Just kind of bring them up to speed on the format, and then challenge them to really bring their best in that short period of time.
Arnie: No planning allowed.
Arnie: All righty. Then you’re also doing, I’m going to read the session here, “10 Email Secrets That Will Help Drive Your Content Strategy“. The title I think pretty much describes what the session is all about, but I’m wondering if you might be willing to share one or two secrets with our viewers?
Jeff: Yeah. I won’t spoil too much, in part because I like to reflect on what’s happening kind of in the moment, the month or so before an event. Because often you’ll see some things in kind of current marketing that will point to some additional secrets or additional things we may want to share.
But I think one of the – I don’t know if you want to call it a secret, I will for purposes of our interview if you’ll give me that latitude – but one of the secrets is that an email subscriber and that whole mentality of being a subscriber, is very akin to being print subscriber.
Even in this day and age of decreasing print subscriptions, even in this day and age of social and mobile, the expectation when somebody is actually signing up to receive email from you is that of a print subscriber. So, if you think about what you do when you sign up for a magazine or something, right?
You’re signing up and you’re giving somebody your address. You’re giving them something of value, right? Your credit card or whatever the cost of the magazine is. It creates an expectation that you’re going to receive unique content delivered to your doorstep.
When you look at email, even in this day and age of very filled inboxes of fragmented communications across text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, email, apps, in-app communications, the expectation of consumers around email is still very in-line with those print subscriptions.
We can take advantage of that as marketers. That is to say that we want to make sure that we’re establishing a cadence. What is the expectation of our subscriber and are we meeting it that we set?
If we’re going to change it, how can we communicate that to them so the expectation is changed or morphed? Secondly, are you giving them any unique content? I think in the rush over the last couple of years to get social we’ve given a lot incentives for people to become fans on Facebook without any depth of meaning about what that really means or what the return of investment is for us.
With an email subscriber, however, they give you an email address, right. A uniquely addressable, I can reach you Arnie. Right? That is a different thing. When they sign up for email, they’re expecting that they’re going to kind of get the best of the best.
I think a lot of brands kind of forgot that. They forgot that this is a different crew. This is a different sort of hand-raising, where they do want it delivered to their doorstep and they want it delivered in a fashion that is perhaps different than social media, different than mobile.
I think we’ll all begin to understand this better in the next couple years as, number one, consumers become more set in the ways they use all of these fragmented channels and also as they become more set in their ways as to how they use the devices. I think we’re just at a really unique moment in marketing where you have the devices explode.
We’ve gone desktop to laptop, to smartphone, to tablet, at the same time that you’ve had the channels explode. Where you’ve gone from email, to instant messaging, to text messaging, to social messaging and Facebook, where it’s one to many, to social messaging and Facebook where it’s one to a few, to something like Google Plus, to something like Twitter.
That’s a lot to process. As people are processing that and they’re experimenting, they’re coming back to email.
So another secret is that people are actually reverting back to a comfortable format that doesn’t change on them all the time. They understand the email inbox. So, if you can really align with their expectations and understand that they expect some exclusivity, you’re going to get a better ROI out of those audiences.
I think you see some brands who are beginning to understand that. They’re also understanding that you don’t have to just be singular in your communications through that one channel. You can begin to leverage email, to improve the engagement metrics on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest. That these things can work in collaboration with each other. It’s not a rock, paper, scissors where one is going to destroy the other.
Jeff: So, that’s kind of a little taste of what we’ll dig into. I want to try and be very practical, but also dig in and share perhaps some case studies with folks that might resonate.
Arnie: Well that’s excellent. I thought I’d seen a slide that your associate Joel Book has and a couple of his presentations that shows the explosion of the communications channels. Just the slide is exhausting.
Jeff: Well, that’s actually our number one most requested slide. Joel and I put that together a few years ago. It’s a very simple slide that shows you the eight or so tactics that marketers had in pre-1990.
Jeff: Then you look at today in 2012 and there are well over 40 to 60. The reason it’s requested is that a lot of CMO’s, not just directors or managers of marketing, want to print that out and give it to their CEO, and say, “See this is the challenge we’ve got. Yes, we can do more with less, but when you’ve got more channels and more devices, somebody’s got to be manning the ship.”
This is why I think it’s very important for all marketers to recognize this period of time is very different because everything is shaking out. It’s very hard to make long-term proclamations when consumer behavior and usage is unsettled. It’s unsettled, principally because they just haven’t had enough time with these devices. Look at the tablet, right. I mean when the tablet came out, I remember a lot of folks carrying them around with them all the time.
I’ve now noticed a lot of those people don’t have the tablet with them, they have the smartphone. They realized, for their behavior the smartphone was the better device. But then when they’re in a meeting and they need to take notes, or when they’re at home and it’s prime time, the tablet’s becoming a prime time device. That’s something you can only learn with experience, and personal experience, making decisions for yourself.
Jeff: So, that’s going to shape everything that content marketers do. In my world, it’s going to shape the way that we think about the means of delivery and communication of that content through these different channels.
Arnie: Yeah. That’s great. Well, that’s all the time we really have. I encourage everybody to go and hear the other eight secrets that Jeff’s going to have in his presentation. If you didn’t go to Content Marketing World last year, I really encourage you to go this year. I don’t know about you Jeff, but I think it’s one of the best events that I’ve attended, and I go to a lot of events every year.
Jeff: Yeah, I love it. Whether you’re official title is content marketing or something else in marketing, it has a lot of great stuff that’s relevant to you.
Arnie: Yep. It’s super. Well thank you for your time, I appreciate it.
Arnie: I will see you in Columbus in a couple of months.
Jeff: All right, will do.
Arnie: Thanks, Jeff.
You know those people everyone wants to be around? The ones that light up the room with their smiles? The ones that make every person they talk to feel like the most important person in the world?
I love those people.
And I bet you do too, because they just make you feel … awesome. That (along with Inc.’s article “10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People”) inspired me to think about how we as marketers can make sure our marketing embodies some of that charisma that we admire in those around us.
Think about it. Does your marketing make people feel awesome? Does it light up a room? Does it make people want to be around your company more? If not, we’ve thought of seven tip to help you transform your marketing into something people just can’t get enough of!
How to Inject a Little Charisma Into Your Marketing
1) Draw people in with engaging content.
Do you want to be that people-magnet that others just naturally want to start conversations with? Your company can become that if you center your marketing around creating engaging content. Here’s how to get started:
- Write interesting blog posts to drive visitors to your website and establish your company as thought leaders in your industry. Those view counts on your blog articles will increase as people realize how great your content is — but only if your content is consistently great. So remember, when you’re writing, craft content with readers in mind, not search engines. Crawlers are smart enough nowadays to understand what your website is about if you simply include keywords when it’s pertinent in your content, instead of jamming them into every other sentence.
- Have you created any visuals lately? Whether it’s on Pinterest, Instagram, or just a hilarious meme circulating around Facebook, people love them some visual content. In fact, did you know that according to Dan Zarrella’s data, on Facebook, photos are the best type of content you can post to generate likes, comments, and shares? Or that according to SEOmoz, blog posts with videos attract 3X more inbound links? Or that marketers who publish infographics grow traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t, according to AnsonAlex? Should I keep going? Use visual content. People love it. Case closed.
- Speaking of data, using data points and statistics is another great way to get people drooling over your content. The internet is cluttered with gurus and ninjas — also known as people masquerading as experts on a particular subject matter. That means there’s a lot of subpar content to sift through, so using data to back up your points gives you far more credibility. Plus, they’re small, digestible nuggets of information that people can easily share to increase their own industry clout.
2) Make your marketing something people want to interact with.
Charismatic people aren’t usually seen begging for friends. They don’t need to, because those relationships just happen naturally. If your marketing is working, you don’t need to focus on interrupting people’s lives and begging for their attention. Your network will shout your awesomeness from the rooftops, and more and more people will find you organically. So, how do you get people to take action with your content, sharing it socially and becoming truly engaged with it? Well aside from just creating remarkable content to begin with (the stuff has a way of speaking for itself, you know) there are a few things you can do:
- First, make sure your content is relevant to those receiving it. If the content is something they’re interested in, people are more likely to click through or share it on social media. So if your content is reaching your audience via email, ensure you’ve segmented your lists so the only recipients are those that would truly enjoy that content.
- Gamification is another creative way to get people to interact with your content and expand its reach. If you’re not familiar with it, gamification is just a fancy word for giving people an incentive to engage with your brand. Essentially, you’re making a game out of your marketing! For example, on a recent webinar we made a game out of tweeting our event hashtag, awarding free tickets to our upcoming (and epic) inbound marketing event INBOUND 2012 for those who tweeted our hashtag the most.
- Believe it or not, people like to be told what to do. And since you want people to, well, do something, you can make everyone happy by putting calls-to-action everywhere! Wrote a fantastic blog post, for example? There sure as sugar better be a CTA at the end of it where readers can convert on a related topic. Now visitors are interacting with your content, and you’re generating leads.
3) Listen and respond.
Charismatic people don’t talk your ear off and dominate the conversation. They know the importance of listening, and are genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. So it’s a little perplexing that according to Factbrowser, on average, people respond to only 30% of fans’ feedback on social media. Charismatic marketers strive to be better than that statistic! You should care about those who care enough about your brand to engage with you on social media. Make an effort to respond to comments, both positive and negative, on social media. Here are some steps to getting started in social media conversations:
- Set up a social media monitoring system. Checking in every few minutes on every social network on which your company has a presence is exhausting — how would you ever get anything else done? Use a tool like HubSpot’s Social Media Monitoring Tool to help stay on top of mentions of important keywords you’d like to be alerted for. For example, you might track mentions of your company name, products you sell, the names of key executives at your company, and your competitors to stay abreast of important conversations happening on social media.
- Don’t be afraid to respond to both positive and negative comments. Thank people for their suggestions, and if a Negative Nancy is interacting with your brand, kill them with kindness. Ask them if you can help in any way, and then actually, you know, help them.
- React promptly and publicly to people’s questions or concerns on social media, but take the details offline, especially if any private information needs to be exchanged. You can offer to chat with them over email or phone if that’s an easier way to clear up the issue.
4) Be genuine and humble throughout all of your marketing.
Be a brand that people love and want to be a part of. You want people to be excited about your marketing — don’t be a jerk! People like to be around positive people, so all of your messaging should have a positive angle to it — from your email copy, to your social media updates, to the way you treat your customers. To give you a little inspiration, here are three brands that are doing a phenomenal job creating and maintaining a brand people want to be a part of:
- Chipotle is a unique brand that’s up front about their desire to provide “Food with Integrity.” They make it very clear that their brand values animals, the environment, and farmers. Kind of hard to argue with that premise. Check out how Chipotle separates themselves from other fast food chains, right on the homepage of their website.
- Jet Blue realizes that in general, people aren’t happy with their flying experiences. They differentiate themselves by really caring about their customers. Kind of crazy “caring” is a differentiator, eh? Their slogan is “You above all,” and the genuine interest they place in their customers draws people towards their brand. They also come across as less corporate than their competitors, and more in tune with the average flyer.
- Dove inspires both girls and women to live up to their full potential, no matter what their body shape. People want to buy products that are inclusive of all people. Dove’s message is that to be beautiful and have positive self esteem, you don’t need to be a size zero. Or you can be. Whatever. This positive, uplifting message is a great embodiment of charismatic marketing!
5) Make others feel loved.
Thank people for their ideas. Give some link love to those who deserve it. Don’t be an internet thief, and give credit where credit is due for ideas, data, and content. Charismatic people realize that everything isn’t about them, and their success is dependent on many other people. The same principles extend to charismatic marketers — we should all be inspired by others, share ideas, and thank one another for contributions. Oh, and most importantly, give some serious customer love! Here’s how:
- Create Success Stories: Featuring your top customers in testimonials or case studies is a way to not only shine the spotlight on someone else for a while, but to thank your customers for being such a key part of your company’s community. And while making your current customers feel loved, you’ll probably gain some new ones in the process.
- Spread the Love on Social Media: Recognize customer success and happiness by responding to positive comments about your brand in social media. So get retweeting, commenting, and sharing other people’s content socially.
- Offer Guest Blogging Opportunities: Guest blogging is a way to say you value your customers’ opinions, get some extra content for your blog (who doesn’t need that?), and give those guest bloggers exposure to a new audience and valuable links back to their site.
- Say Thank You: It’s so simple, yet most of us don’t do it enough. Actively seek out opportunities to thank your customers, whether it’s after a purchase (you can use marketing automation tools to make personalized thank-you emails a scalable part of your marketing) or just every so often in your blog and social media comments, saying thank you goes a long way.
6) Present your marketing in a way that’s consistent with your brand.
Charismatic people are aware of how they come across to others. They put thought into presenting themselves well, speak clearly, and stand up tall. Apply those principles to your marketing, too!
First, be sure you’re speaking clearly and in a consistent voice. If you need some inspiration, check out these companies that nail their copywriting. This clarity of voice will help keep your marketing consistent to your brand and the message you are trying to portray. You may even want to establish a corporate written style guide so that you can maintain consistency in your copy as your company grows. And if you haven’t already done so, create some buyer personas — it will help remind everyone who they’re creating content for!
Maintain this clarity not only in your written content, but also in your visual content. From logo, to font, to brand colors, visual content evokes certain feelings in people. And when people see your content, you want them to be drawn in and immediately recognize that it belongs to your brand.
Finally, do your best to double check all of the content you push out before publishing. Yes, spelling mistakes slip through once in a while, but making your content easy to consume (and frankly, just looking like you cared enough to try) will be much appreciated by your audience.
7) Be honest about mistakes and take the initiative to fix them.
No one is perfect. The most charismatic person you know isn’t perfect, and neither is your favorite brand. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because they will happen; being paralyzed by that fear will just make you an ineffective marketer. Here at HubSpot we’ve definitely made our share of mistakes! But when mistakes happen, acknowledge them and apologize. If necessary, transfer the conversation from a public arena like social media, to a personalized message or a phone call. And be prompt to fix your mistakes instead of trying to cover them up. In the process, you’ll only gain more clout and respect from your leads and customers, and really make your marketing something people love.
What else can marketers do to inject a little charisma in their marketing?
Image credit: oxcnpxo
After the slick mosaics of Metro, we were a bit surprised to see the new packaging for Windows 8.
These designs, which may or may not be final, were leaked to The Verge and don’t seem to have much in common with other designs we’ve seen from Microsoft lately.
They’re a little bit Pucci, a little bit Lisa Frank, and a little bit Windows 7. Again from The Verge, here’s the full leaked image:
And here’s a reference image of (left to right) a Pucci print dress, a Lisa Frank notebook, and a Windows 7 tote bag:
For further reference, here’s the kind of design we’ve come to expect from newer Microsoft products:
The Metro design language was first conceived as part of Microsoft’s plan to revamp its mobile offering. While the codename is being phased out, the aesthetic is being ramped up and rolled out to tons of other Microsoft products, including its web-based email product and desktop operating system.
In fact, the Metro design style is so slick, people have been porting it over to — get ready to gasp and clutch your pearls — that holy grail of design snobbery, the iPhone! Oh, horror!
Windows 8 is scheduled to launch officially October 26, 2012. Approximately three people who do not understand how software and the Internet work will be purchasing boxes of Windows 8 from retail stores*.
*Figures are derived from a highly honed and extremely scientific institutional practice we like to call “sarcasm.”
Filed under: VentureBeat
Posted by mybinding1
This week for Whiteboard Friday we are taking a look at how to get a video to rank on YouTube. Each month YouTube receives over 800 million unique visitors who watch more than 3 billion hours of video, traffic we can't afford to ignore. So how do you get videos to rank for competitive terms on YouTube? By paying close attention to these 12 important ranking factors.
Do you agree with these? Disagree? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
Hi, my name is Jeff McRitchie from MyBinding.com, and today we're going to be talking about how to get your videos to rank better on YouTube and specifically YouTube ranking factors. We're going to cover 12 specific YouTube ranking factors, kind of in 2 different categories.
The first category would be the content that you create. These are things that are really in your control. Not everything about ranking on YouTube is in your control, and yet you have the ability to affect it all by the content that you create. So that's really the place to start is by creating awesome content and then uploading that content in a way that is going to put your best foot forward on YouTube.
So let's talk about the first six ranking factors that fall under the category of content. The first is title. You want a title that is going to be awesome. You want a great click through rate. You want people to want to watch your video. So when they're doing a search on YouTube for a specific topic, you want to pop up, and you want someone to say, "That's exactly what I'm looking for." So not only do you need to do the keyword research ahead of time to understand what someone needs, but you also need to deliver on that concept, so that they know that that is what I want, and then when they watch the video, it's not something totally different.
So, when you are setting out to create a video for YouTube, the title is probably the most important thing. You want a title that's going to draw people in, but then you also want to make sure that you deliver on that title. If you are going to say that you have the best video on SEO ever, you better make it the best video on SEO ever. Otherwise, people are going to say, "That's lame." They're not going to click through. They're not going to respond. They're not going to do anything. So title is your first and most powerful tool. You're going to want to do the keyword research and make sure you have a call to action in your title.
Second is description. You want to write a real description for your videos. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a video, and it's like a link to your website is the only description in there. Or, "This is a great video on . . ." and it has like one keyword in it. Write a description. Talk about what your video is all about, what makes it unique. Put some keywords in there, but write it from a real perspective. Make sure you put a link in there to whatever you want, fully qualified URL, and it will light up so that people can click on it. But the real purpose of the description is to make sure that you describe it.
Content is king, and this is a place for you to make sure that you have content. For us, I make sure that my writers write the descriptions. They take time. We write 300 to 400 to 500 words in a lot of cases. Maybe we'll do 200 or 300 words, and then we'll add the transcription below. But you want to make sure that you have something unique that's really about the video. Take the time to write it. It's really worth it.
The third ranking factor on the content side is your tags. You want at least 10 tags. You want them to be keywords, you want to do your keyword research, and you want to make sure that they're relevant for the video. Something that's weird about YouTube that's a little different than Google is that you can have a video that's all about something, and if you don't use that keyword in there, it doesn't really do the semantic matching for you. So, you could have a video that's all about something, but if you don't spell it the right way or if you don't use the plural version versus the singular version, then YouTube won't even rank it. So you need to make sure, at least until Google gets better at it, that you put those tags in there that have both plural and singular. Do your keyword research. Again, make sure that you understand, what are people looking for that are going to need to watch this video.
The fourth YouTube ranking factor on the content side is transcription. This is something that most people don't know about. I'm going to tell you about it today. That is that YouTube has a feature where it's going to try to transcribe your video for you, and it is horrible at transcribing your video. If you've ever tried to read the transcription that it does by machine, it is awful. However, something else that they don't tell you is that they use those transcriptions to rank your video for keywords.
So, if you were to slip something, and there's actually been some tests done on this, where someone transcribes a video and throws in a word that isn't mentioned anywhere in the description, anywhere in the title, and then you type that in a search in YouTube and up comes that video. They are indexing the transcriptions. So take the time to go ahead and transcribe your video word for word. Upload the text file. It will match up the words. It will then make your video closed caption, which will increase your click through rate, and it will also allow you to rank better for that video. Just a quick tip on that. Definitely worth doing. If you're going to take all the time to make the video, take a few extra minutes and transcribe it and make it happen.
Number five, I put this under the content side of it, and that is your channel authority. You control your content, which means you control your authority. Google is looking for channels that have authority, and it's going to use that as a basis for your ranking. It's going to be easier for someone who consistently creates awesome video to rank for terms versus somebody who just throws up a random video. Now, it's a little bit controversial just in that YouTube also has the power to let any person with a cell phone rank really well for a video if they have enough engagement, which is what we're going to talk about in a minute. But all else equal, if you have a good channel that you have great content on and good engagement on your other videos, that's going to flow over into your current video and getting it ranked. So, you want to make sure that you look at all of your videos as a whole and your channel, not just your single video when you're trying to rank.
The sixth is delivery. I put this over in content, because really, ultimately, if you make a crappy video, Google and YouTube will figure it out, and you're not going to rank well. If you think about it, their best interest is providing people with videos that are awesome, that provide the user with exactly what they're looking for, that users say, "That's what I'm looking for," that they interact with. And if you can't do that, if you deliver content in a way that's really poor, the users aren't going to like it. They're not going to watch your video. They're not going to stick around. They're not going to comment. They're not going to engage, which is the next thing that we're going to talk about. If they don't do that, you're not going to rank. So, you need to make sure, when you set out to do a video, that you make an awesome video and not a crappy video. That's really the key. If your users are telling you that your videos are crap, then you need to look and say, "Okay, what am I doing wrong, and how can I change that?"
That's the content side, the stuff that you control directly. By making awesome content, you can then create awesome engagement, which is really the second part of ranking on YouTube and probably the most important. All else being equal, if you do all of these things and there's no competition, you're going to do great. But if there are other people with other videos that want to rank, and let's face it, almost any industry has other videos that want to rank for the keywords that you want to rank for, you're going to need to do more than just throw up a video with a great title tag and a description and some tags and transcription. It's kind of like creating a website but not telling anyone that it's there. So, now suddenly you have to take it to the next level. You need to get some engagement. That's the next six ranking factors that really come into YouTube. I'm just going to go quickly through them so that you can understand some of the different things that YouTube is looking for.
There's kind of a chicken and the egg thing that happens with YouTube. So in order to rank better, you need views. In order to get views, you need to rank better. So there's the sense in which you need to get the word out and allow people to see your video. Use your social media sharing, use your website, use your blog. Whatever network that you have, get people to go watch your video. Once they've watched it, then Google is going to say, wow that's an awesome topic, and they're going to want to rank you better. But it's not just about views.
They're looking at the quality of those views. That's why I put attention as the second part of number one. They're looking to see, how well are people receiving that? I don't know if you've ever logged in and looked at a specific video in the engagement report that you can get on YouTube. It's really cool. Basically, what you can see is how long people watched, where they fell off. So maybe you have a trailer on the end of your video. You're going to watch this nice graph, and everybody's following, following, following. Bam, they're gone. They got to the advertisement. They say,
"Okay, I'm done with this video." You can also see that maybe that happens. You delivered your point, someone got bored.
If your audience is getting bored, YouTube is using that to determine how good your video really is. So, if people are watching it all the way through, if they're totally engaged, then YouTube is going to rank you better than somebody who has a video where they watch the first 10 seconds and they're out. So that's something to keep in mind. You're going to want to look at those reports and make sure that you have the attention that you need. And if you're not, do something to fix it. Make sure that your next video is awesome all the way through, or recreate that video with a new version that's going to garner the attention that you really, really want and need.
The second part is inbound links. I know everybody in the SEO world is talking about inbound linking right now and everything. But essentially, YouTube is using inbound links to videos as a ranking factor. Surprise, surprise. It's Google. Inbound links are king. So, think about ways that you can build links to your YouTube channel and to your YouTube video specifically. So they're looking for both channel links, and they're looking for links to that specific video.
Now, awesome video content gets natural links. People say, "Hey, I saw this great video over here. Go ahead and take a look at it." It's going to build links naturally, but there are ways that you can help that process along by sharing it on your social media, by making sure that your users know that it's there so that they can go and watch it, especially your most engaged audience, which are going to be the people that you're dealing with. For us, that's our customers.
You're also going to want to make sure that you share it on your blog. Those count. You're going to want to make sure that you share it anywhere else where you can that gets people to know about your video so they can link back to it. And if they're really interested, they will link. So, you don't need to go and sit there and try to rack your brain on how to build links to your YouTube videos, and yet you need to always be thinking about how to build links to your YouTube videos. On the other hand, you should always be building links to your YouTube channel, and that should be natural.
All of your profile links, like when you do an email, you're going to have your YouTube channel in the bottom. When you do a press release, you should have your YouTube on there. On your website, you should link to your YouTube channel. It's just natural that you're going to want to promote your YouTube channel, because your YouTube channel is important to you, and you want people to see the stuff that's there. So, that's something that kind of gets overlooked in the YouTube ranking factors, but inbound links are really important.
The third is social shares. You have the ability on YouTube to easily and quickly share stuff on social media sites – Twitter, Facebook. It's simple to quickly share on your own, and it's simple for your users to share as well. Make sure you share it on your own, and hopefully you're going to have people reshare that. Google is tracking that. They're looking for it. They're looking for social signals for these videos. As more people share it, it's going to raise you up in the rankings. Again, it's just one factor in the basket of factors in terms of engagement.
Fourth is embeds. That's going to be people who want to embed the video on their site. Also included is you embedding it on your site or blog. So, if you think about creating your video, you don't want to just leave it on YouTube. You want to then go and take that and embed it somewhere. Also, you have the ability to turn on or off the embed feature. Now, you have to kind of weigh that out in terms of, maybe you don't want people to embed it. But the more people that embed it, the better it's going to rank. So, you kind of have to say, is there a specific reason why I don't want it embedded on other people's sites? If there is, then you can turn it off. But I suggest turning it on, and letting bloggers, letting people embed that right onto their own sites. You're going to see that your rankings will raise as people embed those videos onto their sites.
The fifth under the engagement section is comments and video responses. So this is really key, and Google is really good at figuring out which comments are spammy and which comments are real. So don't try to game the system. Try to produce content that's going to be awesome so that people want to comment on it. So, people who come and say, ask a question, respond back. If someone comes and says, "This is an awesome video," make sure you reach out to them. Google is looking for videos that build social following and that people interact with, because it shows that the video is being watched, that there's quality, and that it's really a worthwhile video to rank. So you're going to want to build up those comments.
On the other hand, they're also looking for video responses, which is a lot harder to get. So, how do you get somebody to make a video in response to your video? That's a pretty tall tale, but it also is a huge ranking factor. Because if someone's willing to do that, then, often, that says to Google, wow, this video really made sense to them or was really important to them. So one of the things that you can do is you can make your video a video response to other videos that might be out there. Now that's not quite as powerful as somebody making a video for you as a video response. You can also add your video as a video response to your other videos that you have on your channel. Again, not as powerful as somebody making a video for you as a video response.
Now, if you have a friend or you know somebody else who does video and you want to trade video responses, that would be awesome. Ask them to make you a video. Ask them to respond to it. Get in front of their webcam on their laptop and record a quick video response that says, here's what I really liked about this video, or this is how I feel. Upload it to their own YouTube channel, share it, and respond to the video and put it as a video response. That's going to be a huge factor for you in terms of ranking. It's just one of those things. It's kind of a big favor to ask. Video is not that easy to create for a lot of people. So it's one of those things that you've got to kind of weigh it out and say, "Okay, how big of a favor can I ask of my friends?" if I want them to create a video response for me.
Then, the last under the engagement side of things is likes and favorites. So there's a like button, just like Facebook. You can sit there, and you can thumbs up or thumbs down. You want, obviously, lots more thumbs up than you want thumbs down. You want people to say, "Hey, I love this video." But a thumbs down isn't the kiss of death for your video, because at least people are engaging with it, and they say, "Okay, I didn't like it." That might tell you, if you get too many thumbs down, that maybe you need to create a better video. But ultimately, you're looking for people to engage with the likes/dislikes side of things. And you also want them to favorite your video, which means that you really had an impact on them, that they really wanted to share it with their people. The more you share it and the more they share it, the better your video is going to rank.
When it comes down to all of this, content and engagement, there's actually an internal page rank system inside of Google and inside of YouTube that causes the rankings to fluctuate. That's why link building and inbound links work. That's why you have all of these different factors at play. When someone shares your video and it's on their channel, they're passing page rank to your video. When somebody accepts that as a video response on their video, they're passing page rank and authority to your channel and to your video. So you're going to want to make sure that you're engaging with the YouTube community, that you have your videos out there, that other people are engaging, because it's going to show up in their feed. Their feed is going to pass internal page rank to you.
Again, internal page rank, what I say that is that they're shuffling it, but they're trying to determine how well does your channel and your video really fit into the YouTube community? Ultimately, if you create awesome content and get great engagement, then you're not going to have any problems at all ranking for the keywords that you really need to rank.
Thank you and that's Whiteboard Friday.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
Before the constant distractions of Facebook, email, desktop alerts, and vibrating smartphones, many of us enjoyed this thing called “downtime,” or time when we really didn’t do anything at all. These days that kind of thinking may sound unproductive, but we’ve mentioned several times how important taking breaks is to staying energized, creative, and productive when you need to be. So when’s the last time you had downtime—that is, time where you did nothing at all but be in your own head? More »
While I find technology and innovation in technology to be intellectually fascinating and fun to read about, in my personal life, I am what product managers disdainfully refer to as “The Last Adopter.” I’ve spent the last 9 years living in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco as an outlier so extreme, I still yearn for the return of The Pony Express because I love hand-written letters almost as much as I love ponies.
I am not a journalist, a professional writer, or even a blogger. So: if you’re looking for breaking news you can impress your boss with, let me save you some time. Set this aside, read every other article on this site, and return to this when you’ve just finished your fifth coffee, find yourself staring into space, and absentmindedly wonder what the Kardashians are up to today. This is not hard-hitting journalism folks.
A couple of weeks ago, I was a guest at the Sun Valley Resort during the annual Allen & Company Media / Tech boondoggle. 99% of the guests – ranging from moguls, to dogs of moguls, to reporters spying on moguls and dogs of moguls – were there for the conference. I was there for the weather, the pool and the outdoor skating rink.
My morning vacation routine does not usually include standing in line behind Harvey Weinstein and Tom Freston at Starbucks while Rupert Murdoch whizzes by the window on a golf cart. It was morbidly fascinating. And I quickly figured out that chatting with amazingly brilliant tech and media icons is actually very easy, provided you’re someone like me that has no idea what most of these “icons” actually look like.
I started up conversations with pretty much anyone I ran into, as if they were just Joe Bob from down the street. And I find that as a naïve-looking blonde, famous men tend to naturally assume I’m kind of a dope in that “Aw, how cute! She doesn’t realize I’m Master of the Universe” kind of way and will usually grant me the pleasure of a conversation.
Wednesday night I snuck into the hotel-bar-turned-MOGULS ONLY lounge to 1) have a drink and 2) share light bar colloqui with some famous dudes. To virtually guarantee success, I brought something I knew would be a conversation starter. No, not my boobs. I carried an enormous bright blue hardcover book that I planned to open and actually read.
Nothing communicates “I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE!” more brazenly than marching into a crowd that potentially contains every great tech innovator in Silicon Valley, disinterestedly looking around, making a face like you just smelled dog poo, heaving an audible sigh and finally, plopping down to animatedly read an old-fashioned book.
And what do you know? Not 20 minutes passed by before a lovely gentleman – who it later turns out was sitting with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – leaned over to ask what I was reading. We had a nice chat about my book (“The New Republic,” by Lionel Shriver) and he recommended I try “The Age of Miracles”. I tell him that the next time I visit the town bookstore, I’ll be sure to look for it. Immediately this kind man (who I’m sure is also terribly important) gets a twinkle in his eye before shouting to his table mates “Jeff! Guys! You have to meet this girl!”
Jeff Bezos is drawn to my enormous hardcover book like an area 51 fanatic to an alien. “So, is that really a book? Because you know, the color of the book matches your scarf.”
There is laughter all around as I reply sheepishly that yes, it is a book and no, I did not plan on wearing a matching scarf.
He replies, “So you know, I bet you could read that book on a Kindle”.
I say something absurd about how I’m not a big tech person and how I didn’t know that I could find a kindle that matched my scarf.
“Well, maybe not, but you could get a cover for it. And Kindles are really easy to use. Maybe you just need a tutorial? Do you have a Kindle”
“You know, I think I might?” I said, “I feel like someone gave me a Kindle as a gift last year, but it’s probably just sitting in the box somewhere. I don’t know that I even opened it.”
At this point, all fellows at the table are trying to stifle raucous laughter. The original gentleman I was speaking with says, “Ask her where she got the book Jeff!”
So naturally, he asks and I tell him all about the great little bookstore in town, and how the people there are so nice and helpful, and if he wants a book, he really should go.
“What about Amazon?” he said, without any disclosure, “If you ordered the book on Amazon, it could be here tomorrow.”
I thought about this for a second, then said “that’s true, but…at the bookstore in town, they have a cafe connected to it so you can buy your book and get a coffee at the same time. Now if I order a book on Amazon, it doesn’t come with a cup of coffee, does it?”
Not only is everyone now guffawing at Jeff Bezos failing to sell The EMPIRE HE INVENTED, they are also looking at me like “this girl is either dumber than a box of rocks or lives under a rock, because is this really happening?”
Jeff however, remains undeterred, perhaps hoping that flattery will land him a new customer. “You know, there’s a commercial out there that reminds me of you.”
“It’s this woman, and she’s reading a book. I don’t know if it matches her scarf – but she’s beautiful and charming and charismatic.”
I chime in hopefully, “a kind hearted Midwesterner on vacation?”
“Yes! But the thing is…she’s reading this big hard cover book and it makes her TERRIBLY unhip”
“Sounds about right.”
As the crowd laughs again at my cluelessness, I bid them farewell to head back to my room. Walking down the dimly lit resort pathways, I realized the following:
1. The bar quesadillas looked really good.
2. Jeff Bezos called me charming, charismatic and “terribly unhip”
3. Not one of the men at that table (Jeff Bezos included) was kind or gentlemanly enough to pipe in and say “Hey honey – before you totally embarrass yourself further, the guy you’re talking to founded Amazon and that’s why we’re laughing at you!”
4. Not one of the men at that table (Jeff Bezos included) knew I had a secret of my own…to be revealed next weekend in Part II.
Editor’s Note: As she confirms above, Susanna Burke has absolutely nothing to do with technology — Other than the fact that she may (or even may not) have met Jeff Bezos at a bar.
Image via Stuart McClymont