Rowan Atkinson, star of the “Mr. Bean” movies, said that, “marketing is what gets you noticed.” That may be enough for the film industry, but any executive of a company that sells products knows that marketing needs to translate into sales. In this day of mobile technology, WiFi everywhere, and unlimited data plans, metric tracking is simple. What you do with the information is another matter.

Website traffic tracking

Marketing Analytics Versus Financial Metrics

Marketing data draws on the number of times that a prospect sees a particular marketing message. It focuses on brand recognition and awareness. The use of marketing metrics has been criticized as unrealistic and impractical. A new suggestion coming out of the business world is to blend marketing metrics with those of finance. By doing so, the marketing information can be strategically honed to yield tangible sales and sales opportunities.

What researchers are finding is that the metric orientation, which gives consumer patterns that are specific to the company, are more useful that general managerial characteristics of sales. Make sure that you are collecting data that is useful for your industry and business. Knowing the number of website page views means nothing; your analytical tool needs to help you to understand the value of each page view, which will then translate into sales or service delivery.

Get Sticky

The age of technology has made the consumer more and more active in the supply and demand chain. More importantly, the consumers do not know how active they are. Mobile tech does things that we once thought was the realm of science fiction. Looking at smartphones and tablets, many contain functions that users do not understand or use. While applications on tablets offer a great way to market and track analytics, pulling behavior data from applications that are kitsch can be dangerous. With unlimited data plans, a user can allow an app to run indefinitely without actually engaging with the product.

Instead of looking for stagnant data like page hits, analyze your brand’s stickiness across mediums. Stickiness is the longitudinal strength of a change in the attitude of a consumer towards your company. If your company is sticky, then a small amount of advertising will easily remind a consumer of your brand appeal. The stickiness metric translates well into long term sales.

Get Them Moving

Metric analysis must show causality or a definitive lack thereof. Marketing’s goal is to move people towards a cause. This relationship is best seen in the film industry where marketing has a rapid pre-release/release phase and a protracted digital sales phase. Name recognition for movies is simply not enough. The film industry, relying heavily on social media advertising, uses nodal transaction analysis. Each node is a user or potential consumer and each connecting line is the media message being delivered. In some cases, the lines go in the opposite directions, indicating that a conflicting media message is being sent. This metric analysis allows filmmakers the ability to track the flow of positive response versus negative and change the marketing mix accordingly.

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Using Analytics To Motivate Consumer Interaction Across Devices

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Doing Business That Matters

Ever since 1974 when Carr & Associates International, an organization owned by John Carr, started the first popular case of Cause Marketing, this 122020phenomenon has continued to grow in leaps and bounds all around the world. Cause Marketing is simply explained as any marketing effort made for the purpose of social and charitable causes. It is also referred to as Cause-related marketing and it involves the mutual cooperation between a profitable and non profitable organization to promote various causes and business that matters.

I incorporate both Cause Marketing and Corporate in my company, Affiliate Mission.  The difference is that the former covers a lot besides money donation while the latter is based on specific donations which are tax  deductible. The benefits of this type of marketing to both the company, non-profit organization and the general populace are numerous. Below are convincing reasons that will encourage your company’s participation in Cause Marketing.

Very Positive Public Relations

The impact of a very good perception of your company by the general populace is something money alone cannot buy. This is because both your present & potential consumers and even workers will all be drawn from this general populace. In fact, a study in 2006 by Cone Millennial found out that more than 80 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 & 25 would pick a brand which is associated with a good cause out of different of such with the same function and cost. The same research also revealed that a large percentage of people covered by the survey would also prefer to work with a company with a well known good cause.

Improved Customer Relations

Relationship between people is always stronger and better improved when they tend to have more in common. Cause marketing by your company will give you the opportunity to have more than a seller-buyer relationship with your customers. You will give them more utility, by them having it in back of their mind that a proportion of their spent money is used on a good cause. Your company can even motivate your customers and engage them directly in these causes especially in ones that involve direct human participation. You will be surprised at how the graph of your company’s customer relations and satisfaction will soar in a very short period of time.

Additional Marketing Opportunities

This type of marketing also creates a very effective channel to market your business, products and services. Most times companies pick a cause which is related to the products or services they render. For example a packaged water manufacturing company can partner with the government agency responsible for water resources to help in constructing water plants in areas suffering from water scarcity. By this you can easily increase your brand awareness and visibility. You could use the organization’s name, logo and other insignia in your campaigns while the organization could use your own in their events, press releases, websites and lots more.

More Profit

More returns to your company will come as a result of the improved public perception, better customer relations and the use of the additional marketing opportunities. Cause marketing might cost you a lot but it will sure gain you lots more. The American Express can testify to this, they recorded 17 % and 28 % increase both in new users and card users respectively as a result of their Cause marketing.

With all the points raised above, there is never a better time to engage your company in Cause marketing for business that matters. Tomorrow might be too late, the benefits are right there waiting for you to come and get them.

 

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Doing Business That Matters

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Two Mistakes that Will Derail Content Marketing

Don't derail content marketing“Having good content on your website is an important factor in gaining credibility, trust and ultimately sales from the people who visit your site.” This statement provides the lead for a story on The Guardian’s Small Business Network and sums up what every business should be looking to achieve with their content marketing strategy. The problem is, too many small businesses get all jazzed up over content marketing without really knowing what it is or what it can accomplish for them. They read about it on the Internet, there is no lack of “content” that covers content marketing; they see the statistics and they see the potential it has but then they go ahead and take a wrong turn somewhere and their strategy falls apart. So let’s take a look at some of the most common ways small-medium sized businesses sabotage their own content marketing efforts.

The wrong people creating content for marketing

There was a time when content creation followed the “more is better” mantra. If you could crank out blog posts and guest posts everyday you were doing a good job. This provided a steady stream of income for content mills to crank out 300 word posts provided by writers who were making as little as 5 to 15 dollars per piece of content. These writers might know next to nothing about your business or products but they were providing your business with content that was supposed to strengthen your brand and educate your customers.

Instead of looking to create content on the cheap, businesses need to look to create content that works. Some businesses find themselves dedicating people who are current employees towards content creation. They are familiar with the products and they know the business. This works rather well in many cases, but not everyone who knows your business can write well. To avoid poorly written content businesses can work with a reputable service to have content written and created. They will charge a great deal more than five dollars for a blog post, but they will get it right. Make sure that they either have an expert in your field writing for them or they are willing to spend time with someone on your staff to learn what they need to know about your brand and products.

No call to action

The other reason the wheels often fall off a content marketing campaign is that when the visitor is done consuming content they aren’t directed anywhere. In one study it was found that 72 percent of small business websites don’t have any calls to action on their interior pages. That is unacceptable but it is understandable.

Businesses are often warned that content used in content marketing should not be advertorial in nature. It should inform the reader, thus building the reader’s confidence in the brand so that they will become a customer.

A call to action doesn’t have to be an advertisement, it can be a subtle nudge to register for additional information or connect with a business through a social network. Calls to action can even point to products in the catalog without lessening the quality of the content like Water Damage Defense does. They simply mention some of their products that contain the feature their content is talking about providing the reader with an easy way to make a purchase without losing trust.

Content marketing works because it helps decision makers and customers make better decisions about what they are buying, but it only works for your business if you take the time and dedicate the resources necessary to be successful.

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Two Mistakes that Will Derail Content Marketing

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Don’t Overlook Images in Content Marketing

eyes-overlookMention content marketing nowadays and you can safely assume that people are thinking of articles and blog posts. That is because these are the tactics most often used by businesses as a part of their content marketing strategy.

According to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks report these are the five most commonly used tactics:

  • Social media, other than blogs – used by 87 percent of all respondents
  • Articles on the company website – used by 81 percent of all respondents
  • eNewsletters – used by 80 percent of all respondents
  • Blogs – used by 76 percent of all respondents
  • In-person events – used by 76 percent of all respondents

Unfortunately, with the exception of infographics, images and pictures did not make the list. Could it be that most people don’t think images work as content marketing? It’s quite possible, but when you consider the fact that videos, infographics and games all made the list it is hard to make a case for images to be left out in the cold. It’s easier to assume that people just forget about images because they are just a part of written content.

The worth of a picture

We all know that a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but let’s take a look at some more quantifiable statistics to prove the point.

In a blog post on his site Jeff Bullas provides six reasons why images should be incorporated as part of the marketing strategy:

  • Articles with images get 94 percent more total views
  • Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent
  • 60 percent of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  • On an ecommerce site, 67 percent of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • Customers shopping in an online store think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63 percent), a long description (54 percent) and ratings and reviews (53 percent)
  • The engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37 percent where text only is 0.27 percent (this translates to a 37 percent higher level of engagement for photos over text)

So if you are still not using images as part of your content marketing strategy, then quite frankly you’re doing it wrong.

Doin’ it well

It’s relatively easy to slap a picture into the middle of a blog post’s text, but is that really more effective?

Images should be used to compliment, and break up, long form content. If the piece of written content exceeds 700 words two or more images can really help keep the reader engaged; if the images are relevant that is. Longer content would obviously benefit from more images; and if a chart or graph can be used to represent the data mentioned in the content all the better.

But what about images as a stand-alone marketing tactic, can that work? Take a look at this page on the smokeymountains.com site and see how effective their collection of nighttime images is.

So the next time you are preparing a piece of content for publication, remember these simple words from Jeff Shjarback, an Internet Marketing Consultant/Manager, “By placing one well taken, well conceived, and well thought out picture, a piece of content marketing can draw in many more viewers and potential customers than a simple article or word laden ad may.”

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Don’t Overlook Images in Content Marketing

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A-B Email Testing Basics

Email TestingWith spam emails being such a problem you would think that email marketing should be dead by now. Not only are the nice shiny email appliances that IT departments install blocking out emails that look like they are advertisements, but the recipients themselves are becoming immune to the noise that an abundance of email email creates.

But consider these facts:

      • Email marketing spending grows 10% year over year.
      • For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
      • 82% of consumers open emails from companies.
      • 27% of consumers were more likely to say their favorite companies should invest in more email marketing

When you see statistics like this you might wonder why more businesses aren’t using email as a marketing strategy.

One thought is that small-medium sized businesses don’t quite know what works when it comes to building a list or sending out effective marketing emails. This can be addressed through some basic A/B testing. Not only will this exercise help a small business fine tune their basic email marketing strategy, but it will give them a foundation on which they can eventually build on.

To get started with A/B testing it is best to undergo an extremely simple test to get your feet wet. One way to do this is to test which type of call to action will work best for your email campaign.

The simple approach

Building a list can be as easy as including a call to action on the bottom of a piece of content on your website. Take Trophy Central as an example, a small graphic with a link to their sign up page is all they use to capture contact information. The reader knows exactly what they are signing up for so the lead is already going through a basic pre-qualification. There are no promises of free gifts, discounts or anything else that might convince someone who isn’t interested into signing up.

Dressing it up with incentives

Other companies opt for a more glamorous approach to their call to action. They offer incentives that are delivered immediately in return for the visitor’s email address. Maybe they enter the visitor into a raffle or they provide them with a report or white paper that can provide useful information. Others use coupons and savings as an incentive to sign up. The drawback to this you have to wonder how many people are signing up because they want to hear back from you in the future or if they simply want what you are offering as an incentive.

Email testing

The simplest way to find out which method works best for your business is to perform a basic A/B test. First, measure how many emails you are able to obtain with each method. To keep the results a pure as possible, find a tool that allows you to rotate the two different calls to action so that they are both displayed an equal number of times on the same content.

Once you have your two lists segmented, one captured from the basic call to action and the other that used incentives, begin pushing out your newsletter or other emails. Now start measuring the following from each list and compare:

      • Number, or percentage, or subscribers
      • Open rates
      • Unsubscribe rates
      • Conversions

Once you are comfortable with the method that works better for your business you can start thinking of ways to increase your sales using emails. Different A/B tests can be set up to track the performance of sales and incentives in the newsletter, different newsletter formats or even different types of content. The key is to get comfortable with a couple of easy tests before you move on to the more sophisticated ones.

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A-B Email Testing Basics

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