Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Forward to a friEND


If you're in direct marketing or simply deal with a fair share of email marketing campaigns, you would have no doubt included a 'forward to a friend' option in your emails. You would have then certainly looked at the campaign statistics surrounding your 'forward to a friend' option and somehow convinced yourself that it is still worth keeping...yes?

I must say that sadly, up until only a few campaigns ago, I nostalgically cradled the idea that people would still want to click on 'forward to a friend' instead of simply using the forward option of their email client. I was also part of the minority who would occasionally click on this option out of mere pity for the campaign creators still using it and continue to annoyingly type out my name, full email address, my friend's name, their email address (often having to double check it). All this in the hope that when I included a 'forward to a friend' option, the same courtesy would be reciprocated and recipients would click on it. But no more!

That one friend
Who is that one friend? That one whom we must share this email with anyway? I have Twitter followers, a number of Linkedin connections, friends on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+, all of whom I want to share this content with and you're telling me to 'forward to a friend'? Really?

The evolution of sharing
The way we digest information has evolved significantly, hasn't the act of sharing emails evolved also? If what I've been emailed is a great read, then I won't hesitate in sharing it. I expect those who I'm connected with, to do the same giving me the opportunity to like, share, favourite, retweet, reblog and/or repin it.

Email marketing lives!
It's frustrating to read an article that claims email marketing is dead, and social media is now 'how we do things'. Social media is important in how we as marketers do things, but email is far from dead! Though SPAM is still prominent, and companies still send an email before thinking; we are getting better and becoming more conscious of user experience outside of our own website(s).

Products like Yammer (Microsoft) will certainly help alleviate the pressure of internal company servers; with that being said, server technology is getting smarter and cloudier... So yes, Yammer will reduce the CCing that goes on within a company. Facebook and Twitter et al will continue to reduce the emails between friends and colleagues. Emails though, will not yet conceit defeat nor will their importance be diluted, in fact an email will remain the gateway to accessing most social networks.

Have you ever tried joining a social network without a valid email address..? Exactly.

THE MORAL
REMOVE THE FORWARD TO A FRIEND OPTION AND REPLACE IT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING OPTIONS. IF THE EMAIL CONTENT IS A GOOD FIND AND WORTH SHARING, PEOPLE WILL NOT HESITATE TO DO SO. RESPECT EMAIL ADDRESSES. DON'T SPAM!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Digital Detox - My digital diet


Spending a summer in Europe you can expect a few things, a good tan, sore feet from all the walking and shopping and to return home being a little heavier no thanks to the fabulous food. One thing I didn't expect, how much I would enjoy my digital diet.

Why?
Having data roaming switched off on my phone, meant it performed a little better than our phones did in the 90s. No internet access (unless at the hotel), no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. Most apps provided little if any help, and if you think this isn't hard, I urge you to try it, even for a week!

Though I thought my digital experience was being hindered, it wasn't until a week into it, somewhere in the south of Spain when I let go. I unequivocally accepted that there was no good reason I actually needed the internet. Not only was my digital experience not being hindered, but it was being enhanced!

Late every evening we'd return to the hotel - if wifi was available - I would get my digest of social media, footy scores, news and current events from back home; I would even occasionally sneak a peek at the TV guide at home, to see if anything was worth recording. Basically, I would spend 10-15 mins enjoying the internet at its best. It felt great knowing that our time together would be short and sweet and on some days, non-existent.

There were no scenarios where someone in the group could ruin a perfectly good argument/discussion by saying 'You're wrong (I think), Google it!', which I hate; no one rudely on Facebook while you were talking to them; no one 'checking-in' to the restaurant; it was simple and we all loved it.

The Diet
So after returning home I thought, how great was that! How could I use this experience to curb my enthusiasm for the digital world and use it more as a privilege as opposed to a human right.

So, from the day I returned, here are a few things I changed and have never looked back:
  • if in a conversation/meeting, never reach for your device unless it is relevant to do so, or without excusing yourself
  • do not respond to an email while driving, you never get a chance to proof read it and a good response is better than a quick response in most scenarios (plus it's dangerous!)
  • limit your use of the internet to designated periods of time, preferably when you are not with friends and/or family (obviously at/for work is different)
  • don't trade time with loved ones for Facebook et al
  • don't use your device as a morning alarm, buy a $5 alarm clock instead
  • purposely 'forget' your phone/device at home every now and again, it's liberating once you actually let go
  • switch your phone OFF at night, it'll do it and you good
  • if you use your device in the toilet, be sure to wipe it with a little sanitiser once you're done (16% of mobile phone users have traces of fecal matter on them*)
  • don't judge someone based on the phone, tablet or laptop they have
  • mute your phone or have it set to vibrate when at work
  • finally, under no circumstances are you to attempt to prove someone wrong by 'Googeling it'!
I honestly do hope you try this diet (to some degree) and you start using the digital realm as it was meant to be used, to enhance life, not run it!

THE MORAL:
MOBILE DEVICES AND INTERNET ARE A PRIVILEGE NOT A RIGHT. IF YOU DON'T HAVE SERVICE FOR A LITTLE WHILE, YOU'LL LIVE!



* Phone etiquette study conducted by the Online College http://www.onlinecollege.org/



Thursday, 19 July 2012

So, if MOBILE was hosting a party, would you be invited?



To qualify for this party all you have to do is this:

At you company, simply think mobile first! By doing this, you won't only get an invite; mobile will be your best friend! So come along - there's room for all.

Not only is our mobile experience getting better and more engaging; our lives are getting better and more engaging.

Mobile makes us international

Being a global citizen doesn't only mean our business' gets more exposure, but our personal lives do to! Last night I skyped a family member in Europe who was celebrating her birthday just before I headed out to dinner. Returning back home I jumped on Facebook and saw a few pics from the birthday lunch with all the family. I have never been so close to family overseas, especially considering , we only see each other every few years.

It's no different in business really, though there is still a slight preference for services to be delivered locally, when dealing with products, it's fair game wherever you are. Mobile makes us seamless in business to a degree, and more international, so take advantage already!

Of the 7 billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion have a mobile device and only 4.2 billion have a toothbrush...yuk but true (according to The Age newspaper).


Mobile, a print marketer's dream

Despite what people think, it's a print marketer's dream at the moment where the bridge between print and digital is getting very close and our mobile devices are the key. In the last 12 months I've worked on integrating QR codes, interactive print media in the shape of 3D product modelling not to mention augmented reality, all focused around the delivering a more tailored experience for people on a mobile device. To think that traditional and print media is dead is just plain stupid. We as humans simply expect as much from print as we do from online these days. So, with a little work from you the marketer, there is no reason we can't make this happen. Get working and think mobile!

"Flipping through a magazine is a beautiful experience, a website still doesn't quite do that, we should at least attempt to though, mobile is helping our attempts." - John Battelle @ Internet Week NYC.

Know your market

Native advertising for mobile devices can be annoying because you feel as if you have to do advertising for Apple's iOS, Android, etc. mobile display ads, websites, etc. so it's imperative to know your market and play to the majority (or minority if that's your thing) - but please for heavens sake, do mobile (refer to mobile market share below for your country).

Try building a web app instead

If you find there is an even share of the market between Android and Apple’s iOS, then trying building web apps instead, that way you can test the waters before you investing too much in them.

If Google's doing it, so should you

At New York's internet week, both Blake Whitman (Vimeo) & Jane Hu (YouTube) boasted how over 20% of their market interacted via a mobile device, David Karp (Co-founder of Tumblr) said mobile dominated their site, Google whose mentality is now all about mobile first, not to mention eBay, Twitter et al. all publicly claim that mobile is what's propelling their companies forward.

Quick tips for mobile marketing

1. Free mobile platforms: All major players in the social media space (YouTube, Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, etc) have some of the most user friendly mobile sites available; use their mobile platform to your advantage and use their sites as your landing page. Expedient; efficient, efficient.
2. Web based apps first: Always opt for web based apps as opposed to device based apps, they are a great way to reduce costs and ensure that’ll work regardless of device type.
3. Mobile landing now, mobile site later: So, you already use QR codes; they will be scanned by mobile devices, obvious right? Well just make sure you at least have a mobile landing page for it. At the very least have a page that loads quickly and is mobile friendly. This way you don't have to spend big on a mobile site, simply develop a mobile landing page using JQuery mobile.
4. Plan now for a mobile/responsive site: It won't be long before mobile is the number one way we access the net, I already find it frustrating when websites haven't catered for my browsing experience. I wonder how long before we're penalised for not having a mobile site?

THE MORAL: 

THINK MOBILE FIRST. MOVE ON MOBILE NOW BECAUSE M-COMMERCE IS THE FUTURE.



Still not convinced? Watch this and welcome on board...



Mobile market share; are you marketing
to the right OS & device, in the right country?

The mobile market share around the world, click to enlarge.
View original mobile market share post by Gregory Lyons.

Shopping Habbits Changing...
As published on Econsultancy.com

More mobile INFOGRAPHICS

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Social Media Day



Thrilled to celebrate Mashable's third annual Social Media Day 2012! Mashable launched the event in 2010 as a way to recognise the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. The great thing is...you're invited!

Join fellow social media enthusiasts by hosting or attending a Social Media Day Meetup in your local area.

There are 492 cities celebrating Social Media Day 2012, stretching across 1,636 Mashable communities.

> Click to find your local meet up.

I'll be attending the Melbourne meetup in Richmond @ Inspire9, 1/41 Stewart St, Richmond 3121 and very much looking forward to it as a possible debrief after last month's Internet Week New York.

View more on the Richmond, Melbourne meetup and RSVP here.

THE MORAL:
SOMETIMES, CONNECTING WITH A NETWORK IS BEST DONE IN PERSON.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Twitter & Facebook on shaky ground...




At approximately 9pm AEST last night, Melbourne, Australia experienced an earthquake that was recorded at 5.4 on the Richter scale. As people turned on the TV, went to news sites, trolled Google and even attempted to call family members for confirmation, their shaky suspicions remained just that.

In comes Facebook & Twitter to the rescue; providing a stable source of information, one didn’t have to check what the trending topics were, it was obvious, Melbourne had just experienced one of its largest earthquakes in History and we found out (virtually immediately) as a result of social media. Though the cause is unknown, some reports went as far to say it was the stress on the earth as a result of hydraulic fracturing a.k.a. mining; though it’s likely it was just one of those things...

The cause at this stage was irrelevant; Melbourne and even other parts of the world had some fun with the possible causes. Here are some Twitter & Facebook reactions I found amusing:





For more tweets on this topic click here.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Facebook will change the face of mobile marketing




After having spent a few weeks in New York City and having spoken to some of the greatest minds in social media, search, tech start-ups, management and generally digital marketing (not to mention Mayor Bloomberg); what amazed me most was peoples inability to give credit where credit was due as far as Facebook was concerned (with the exception of David Karp, Founder of Tumblr).

Maybe it's just easier to pick on the elephant in the room, just like Nike was picked on in the 90s for using child labour, when Reebok, Adidas and Puma were all doing the exact same thing...or maybe it’s just ‘in/cool’ to bag Facebook; either way, I don’t agree.

So, Facebook went public on May 18 and it wasn't nearly highlighted enough about the point that this was a 'little old' tech start-up that just got valued at $100 billion; kudos to Facebook I say.

Facebook have a perceived ‘problem’ where they aren’t sure how – for the time being – they’re going to monetize mobile. This is possibly a great problem for them to have…for the industry anyway. Facebook have some great minds working there and it’s only a matter of time before they figure it out (if they want to) and when they do, be sure that they will change the face of mobile marketing/advertising forever…until the next best thing.


THE MORAL:
FACEBOOK KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE DOING; IN THE CASE THAY DON'T THEY'LL HIRE SOMEONE WHO DOES...INVESTORS & FANS, HAVE FAITH. 



Some stats on social media platforms that have gone public:
 Source: Yahoo Finance via KPCB, Bloomberg, FactSet, data as of 5/29/12

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Internet week – NEW YORK CITY

#IWNY - [MAY14-21]

So, I've been lucky enough to have been asked (umm, obviously accepted) to go to New York City for 2012 Internet Week..! Internet week I'm told, (and according to my research) is everything digital marketing and more on steroids!

Very very excited to be in the mix and more importantly it'sactually quite more exciting to be working for a company that's not only hungryto learn what new tools, techniques and best practices are floating around theworld, but are willing to allow me to go on a quest to find out!

Seriously looking forward to bringing back some big gems; not only for my employer, but for you! I mean, how often do you get to go to the city that is the epicentre of well...everything; with the objective to look beyond the holiday goggles and sponge it all up.

Event I’m MOST looking forward to:
The 7th Annual Conversational Marketing Summit
Working for a product based B2B, still reliant on print, this might be what the doctor ordered, though with an additional price tag of over $1K, it better deliver!

Event I’m LEAST looking forward to:
SEO for Bloggers
It starts at 6AM…that’s all.

Stay tuned people!


Friday, 13 April 2012

Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups: Which should you use?


This is one of the easier questions to answer, but as with most things, there is no hard and fast rule, it really is a case by case scenario thing.

Facebook Pages
After people tried (and failed) to initially connect with their favourite brands, bands & people, Facebook created Pages i.e. Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple & Lady Gaga all have a ‘Facebook Page’ associated to them; not a ‘Facebook Group’. If you’re an administrator of a Page, then, when you make posts, they are done on behalf of the brand i.e. Coca-Cola posted – "Let's catch up over a coke."


Example of a Page post (Coca-Cola)

Pages, the go for Corporates
Pages are indexed by external search engines i.e. Google, as per a public Facebook profile while Groups on the other hand, are not. Access to a Page, can only be restricted by certain demographics such as age, location, etc.

Create a Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pages/create.php


Groups work a little different, let start with an example here; I recently created a Facebook Group for high-school alumni 'Class of ____' . If I, or any of the administrators make a post, unlike the Facebook Page, the post comes from the administrator's personal profile, directly connecting the Group to the person.

Example of a Group post


Groups, the go for Personal groups/clubs
Groups are considered to be an extension of your personal actions on Facebook. Groups also offer more control with the levels of participation. Administrators of a Group can restrict access, so that new members must be approved, even make it an invite only so it’s more of a private club. Due to certain size limitations, only Groups <5K members can send mass emails to all members, which can be a very handy contact point.
Basically, you can (to a degree) anonymously manage a Page but not a Group. Pages allow you to act as a corporate entity, where as a Group does not.

Create a Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/create.php

 

THE MORAL:
IF YOU ARE A CORPORATE LIKELY YOU NEED A FACEBOOK PAGE.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PRIVATE SILOED CLUB, LIKELY YOU NEED A FACEBOOK GROUP.



Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Keywords


When creating a keywords list, try think outside the square and don’t just put keyword combinations together.

A key meeting of words
If you’re in the digital space and are in the process of building a list of keywords, try (if you can) set a meeting or at least brainstorm with other folks in the communications team, products & services team as well as customer service team. Don’t block out any input and encourage the creative keywords and phrases to flow by listing merely the basics; as you may find creativity, is the first to suffer when the building of keywords becomes ‘processed’.

Keep an eye on the competition
Even if you are the best in your field, chances are that the competition have copied keywords off you and either improved on or developed phrases, which work a treat. So keeping an eye on the competition (both direct & indirect) is always a great idea.

Be sure to look for and gather keywords from:  page titles (incl. H1, H2, etc), descriptions, keyword tags, and of course the actual content.

Tools to use
Excel: It may sound simple, but excel should house all your keywords as well as any possible titles, city and suburbs, service or product categories and don’t forget adjectives; adjectives work great as seed.

The above will create the main list and can be expanded later. One hint is use the formulas to add keywords together; another of my favourites is “Shift + F7” which brings up the thesaurus, enough said.

Google Keyword tool (Free to use): This is probably the most utilised and should continue to be as long as you’re not only using this…Everything is easily available via Google’s help centre for this, one hint I will say is, ensure when searching keywords you opt for the ‘Exact Match’ option.

SEMrush (Free version available): Though the free version is ok if you want to have a play around first, though I’d recommend having work fork out the $70/mth so you can sign up and get the most benefit from it, very interesting info on your competition available.

SEMrush website: http://www.semrush.com/

Textalyser & Xenu Link Sleuth (Both free): I love these 2, simply on the fact that once you see their website, you know they mean business…They’re amazingly simple and really don’t need to be anything more than that. The latter, once downloaded can be used not only on your site, but any site, i.e. your competition.  Textalyser has no download required and is great for the analysis of word groups, keyword density, to analyse the prominence of words or expressions; not to mention, the ability analyse the links on pages.

Again, this goes beyond simply your site and generously extends its services to other sites. 

Textalyser & Xenu Link Sleuth sites: Textalyser website | Xenu LinkSleuth website

Being niche, in a not so niche market
The highest volume searches usually represent the least qualified clients. For example, a client searching for ‘lawyer’ is likely to be less advanced in their research process than a client searching for ‘asbestos lawyer melbourne’. Experience with PPC campaign management has shown that the lower volume keywords perform at a higher level as the client is more advanced in their research and closer to a purchase.

The lower volume search terms are traditionally referred to as the ‘long tail’ of the search market, as illustrated in the diagram below.



The recommended approach towards PPC to achieve the goal of increasing presence within the search engines is as follows:

  1. Develop a comprehensive database of long tail keywords that are less price competitive, than the high volume keywords. In the case where you already have campaigns going, you can chop and change the existing long tailed keywords.
  2. Continue to expand the keyword database over time i.e. as new tools/areas are introduced to the website, relevant keyword groups can be added to the database.
  3. Monitor and optimise PPC campaign performance to maximise ROI from the channel.
  4. Cross channel campaign analysis to compare PPC performance against other marketing channels.
Some Overview Stats
Up to 75% of traffic generated via search engines is directed towards organic listings.
Superior organic rankings provide a sustainable competitive advantage as they can be difficult for competitors to supersede.

Unlike PPC, SEO operates independently of competitive market forces. Whereas PPC can be prone to bidding wars, a consistent and sustainable investment in SEO can be relied upon to improve and retain rankings.

THE MORAL:
Traffic driven via organic rankings is free. As a result, SEO is the most cost effective online marketing tactic available, once established. Let’s face it, consumers often perceive brands at the top of search engine result pages to be industry leaders, so, who is doing your SEO?

Monday, 6 February 2012

SEO & Social Media Optimisation

SEO/SEM 
Often people are confused by search engine optimisation and search engine marketing, so let me put it simply…good SEO incorporates SEM amongst other factors and good SEM incorporates SEO, in fact, if good SEM doesn’t incorporate SEO, then I would drop the ‘good’ and replace it with ‘not so good’ and if you’re not taking advantage of SEM when doing SEO, to at least fill in the gaps of your SEO, then your SEM still needs work and you’re probably spending too much on your SEM. Oh, and let’s not forget that if your SEM doesn’t incorporate SEO then you’re not maximising your impressions, ranking, CTR, cost and you’re certainly not appearing in that yellow highlighted “money can’t buy” area of the SERPs, which means both your SEO and SEM need to be reviewed. Simple right..??

Fact: SEO/SEM is not simple to most people, if you don’t have a digital expert looking at this, then you’re likely to be doing it wrong.

Factors to consider

Search engines have become a lot more sophisticated these days and not as easy to have them favouring you by simply covering off the old the run of the mill SEO checklist. Google has over 300 independent factors in determining their page ranking; any of which can change at any time, without warning or consideration.

The driving force behind the decision to change the way search engines rank is simple, human behaviour, which Google and other search engines are trying to mimic.

  • Is your website trustworthy?
  • Is the content produced by an expert and is it original?
  • Does your website have replication?
  • Do you have spelling or style errors?
  • How likely is it that someone will want to share, bookmark or recommend your article or page?
  • Would you expect to see this article in print?
The above are just some examples of what search engine bots are now programmed to look for as well as the old run of the mill stuff, which is simply good digital practice these days.


Social Media Optimisation


Do you listen to your friends?

It’s no surprise that people turn to the web to research products before they visit a store or make a purchase online. Search engines such as Google are the primary destination for initial research. However, online communities’ i.e. social media are sources of referrals from a trusted human network.

The research

The extent of that influence was revealed in a report by Market Tools, finding that 47% of consumers who research within social networks are influenced by the feedback (According to http://www.marketingcharts.com/, an authority in the reporting of online activity). More importantly, 26% of respondents indicated they had changed their mind based on feedback they received within a social network.

What is it?

Social media optimisation is therefore the process of basically optimising your social media communication initiatives, which engage with likers/followers/potential customers to attract an audience for which to expose your targeted communication.

This is far from a new concept and but just think of it like adjusting ad placements based on stats such as your impressions, click-through rates (CTR), conversions and of course cost per conversion. In a sentient, eliminate what isn’t working for you, and do more of what is.

Optimise your social by being S.M.A.R.T
Any campaign across any channel should exercise Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T) goals. It is perfectly ok for social media campaigns to have goals similar to those of online ads, such as driving traffic to a website or getting a potential customer to fill out a form. If engagement with social media IS the goal, you'll just have to optimise for higher engagement, be it Facebook comments, re-tweets, etc. See below for screenshots of how to optimise you social media pages (screenshots courtesy of 'Business 2 Community).

Just be sure to track data and remember what I say, if you can’t track it, don’t do it!

THE MORAL
WHEN YOU RID YOURSELF OF ALL THE SUGAR COATING there are ONLY two ways to market: dumber, slower & expensive or smarter, faster & cheaper.

What we really need is a mindset shift that will make us relevant to today’s consumers, a mindset shift from ‘telling & selling’ to building relationships.” JIM STENGEL FORMER GLOBAL MARKETING OFFICER, PROCTER & GAMBLE

Facebook

twitter
YOUTUBE

GOOGLE+

- Above sreenshots courtesy of 'Business 2 Community

Monday, 9 January 2012

Build your brand online

Digital marketers and online specialists around the world (including yours truly) will talk about having an online presence, but you and me both know that you need to have more than just a presence.

What you do with your online presence is reflective of your brand and the way you earn customer loyalty, regardless of whether you’re a B2C or B2B organisation.

How loyal your customer is, is actually based on something quite simple, how your brand is perceived online and exactly what you’re offering. Remember, a competitor is merely 1 Google search away.

Don’t just have a presence
If your online presence is simply having a website and social media in place in a somewhat static form, the good news is that you do have a presence, the bad though…your presence sounds like it needs an injection of life. If you’re not making any updates, then you may just be getting as much out of your ‘presence’ as the guy who doesn’t have one at all.

What should I post about?
Try not to focus too much on your own company and I don’t mean to go bagging your competitor, but take one step back and start discussions/posts, that are more industry related. Don’t be afraid to post silly videos and discuss popular topics that can loosely be linked back to you i.e. a popular blooper video that shows someone falling over could be posted/shared by companies in industries such as work safety, insurance, legal, etc.
The number one rule is if you post only once a week, ensure you schedule the posts to be evenly spread through the week, use Hootsuite to help you.

Make an offer
Most companies aren’t too enthusiastic about giving away free stuff, special offers or discounts, but this really is a great way of attracting attention. So, if you have a sale of some sort, spend an hour planning how you’re going to roll out posts and messaging about that sale, it may just work.
A B2B engineering company I’ve worked with had a huge range of dead stock that they were looking to move, so, it was simply a matter of building a very simple landing page, which had a form on it, adding internal incentives for sales staff, then putting together 9 or 10 posts that were scripted slightly differently and organising the broadcast of the posts at different times. You can also incorporate an email campaign, maybe even put it on the home page of your website. This company not only did it, but it worked so well that this ‘one month only’ offer became an offer that was done several times a year.

THE MORAL:
Track everything you do online, having the statistics to say what works and what doesn’t, really is the key to success, as far as digital marketing/communications goes.
"It no longer makes economic sense to send an advertising message to the many in hopes of persuading the few." - M. LAWRENCE LIGHT, FORMER CMO, McDONALDS