Top Trends to Market Your Business

1. Revving up reviews
Online reviews matter, but buying them is unethical. So people will be finding new ways to generate legitimate positive reviews. One example: Grade.us builds a “review funnel,” channeling customers from their experience with you directly to review sites via URLs and QR codes. You must make it easy for fans to play up your business’ name.

2. Visual appeal
Increasingly, marketing will help people think in pictures. “Infographics will dominate not only for social media marketing, but support graphics for editorial articles and press releases,” says Melih Oztalay, CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing. “These visual representations of knowledge present complex information to be easily consumed by the reader.”

3. Social scale-back
“After falling in love with all things social media, small business owners are cutting back, limiting their involvement to two or three tools, rethinking networking and introducing measures for their marketing efforts. Many have wasted precious time and money [on social media] in 2013 and now are looking to be more strategic and pragmatic about what’s working and what’s not for 2014,” says Donna Marie Thompson of Peak Profit Potential.

4. Local leverage
Micro-shopping will continue to build momentum in the coming year. “Small and local business will be hot: Shopping local and locally grown will become more popular.  People are recognizing that when they shop locally, this keeps dollars local,” says Bill Corbett Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations. Business owners should be looking for ways to build up their home-grown credentials in all their marketing.

5. Return to roots
It will be the year for keeping it real. “Do what best fits your brand. I would never do video. I just don’t feel comfortable doing that, but I love print and radio interviews,” offers Dave Wakeman, principal of Wakeman Consulting Group. “Your marketing needs to reflect who you are and not what some ‘ninja’ or ‘guru’ is telling you that you have to do.”

6. Embrace the basics
The tried-and-true will still hold sway. “Some ‘old’ techniques like traditional direct mail are seeing a resurgence as online mailboxes become more and more full and traditional ‘snail mail boxes’ remain relatively empty,” says Linda Pophal of Strategic Communications LLC.

7. Reward the repeaters
Regulars are the life-blood of any business and as such should be rewarded for their year-in, year-out devotion. As small businesses look to hold their ground in a still-uncertain economy, the smart ones will be giving their regular customers discounts, special sales and invitation-only events to help keep them incentivized,” suggests David Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly.

8. Newsjacking
“Brands are taking advantage of current news topics in the moment things happen and attaching news to their brand in some way to capitalize on the newsworthiness,” according to Melissa DiGianfilippo and Alexis Krisay, owners of Serendipit Consulting. “This can be done through relevant blog posts, social media sharable graphics or media opportunities.” Approach with caution: Not every event can be leveraged for PR purposes.

9. Making websites work
“According to research recently conducted by Peer 1 Hosting, 81 percent of online shoppers will not shop on a site that can’t deliver a faultless online shopping experience. Further, 65 percent say they’ve abandoned an online shopping cart because of website time-outs and slow page loads,” explains Robert Miggins, SVP business development at Peer 1 Hosting. The ever-growing emphasis on online contact will bring with it a marketing imperative to keep pages working seamlessly.

10. Instream advertising
“It works by pitching a format-appropriate message in the social portal of your choice. In the past it was only big business’ game, but more and more small businesses are jumping on board since it’s possible to set geo-targeted parameters very specifically and therefore pay substantially less than you would for a nationwide campaign,” says Daniel Zayets-Volshin, managing partner of WebsiteBoston.com. “The growth of instream advertising models is going to be one of the most fruitful marketing trends of 2014.” (How 3 Small Businesses Use Instagram for Marketing)

11. Mobility
Mobile apps. Mobile messaging. Mobile advertising. Whatever your marketing strategy, make sure it fits on a phone or tablet. Do it strategically and thoughtfully—but do it. Smart phone = smart marketing.

Calculate Marketing Return on Investment!

Marketing ROI can been extremely simple and then again extremely complicated. Everyone has a blog, article, book, opinion about it, which isn’t surprising. Let’s apply the KISS principle by keeping it simple.

Without researching your balance sheet, quickly pencil down a ballpark estimate of the following:

  • Your firm’s Total Revenue last year.
  • Your firm’s Total Advertising Expense last year.
  • Your firm’s Total Referral Fees paid last year.

A simple yet useful calculation of your marketing ROI

Add Total Advertising and Total Referral Fees together. Divide that number into your Total Revenue number. That is your Marketing ROI.

For example:

$10 million (Total Revenue)
$1 million (Advertising expenses) + $2 million (Referral fees paid) = $3.33… which means you are generating $3.33 for every $1.00 you spend on advertising.

To put it another way, this is an ROI ratio of 3.33 : 1.

Why referral fees are a marketing expense

You may believe that referral fees are not a marketing or advertising expenditure. They’re just part of the cost of running a law firm. You should take out referral fees from this calculation.

By removing referral fee costs changes things dramatically, from a ROI ratio of 3.33 : 1 to one of 10 : 1 increasing the efficiency of your marketing dollars (and your profits) by about ten-fold.

Referral fees aren’t a fixed cost like rent. They are what you pay to acquire clients, which clearly makes them a marketing expense. If you don’t include referral fees in calculating your marketing ROI, you are artificially inflating your ROI and managing with flawed information.

The inefficiency of referral fees

If law firms included referral fees in calculating their marketing ROI, they would find that these fees are a very expensive and inefficient use of their marketing dollars. Yet, most firms blissfully prefer to pay out 33% to 45% of their top line revenue as referral fees rather than consider paying out a much smaller percentage of their revenue as advertising. That is, they choose to accept a much lower return on their marketing investment.

Why?  First, most firms don’t calculate their marketing ROI. They are flying blind, with no idea of how efficiently their marketing dollars are working. Second, the referral fee system is comfortable; it’s the way things are done. Law firms who operate this way really aren’t focused on financial success. And that’s okay, money is not everything but if you don’t care about making money, why are you reading an article about return on investment?

Consider this hypothetical self test:

You examine your theoretical financials carefully at year-end. You find that your firm collected $10 million in gross legal fees.

If you could choose one of the next two statements to be true, which would you prefer?

  1. You find that your firm paid out $3 million in referral fees on those cases and your ad budget is very small for a marketing ROI ratio of 3.33 : 1.
  2. You find that your firm spent $2 million on advertising in that same year and you have almost no referral fees paid out for a marketing ROI of 5 : 1.

Think about it.

Your specific preference will likely determine your Advertising ROI and your outlook on your practice.

Improving your marketing ROI takes more than calculating it

If you have not yet figured out your marketing ROI, it is probably not the highest and best use of your time to start working on it now. First, improve your personal ROI by committing to doing whatever it is you do best (lawyering, managing, leading, inspiring, or dreaming) and hire a serious marketing professional to manage your marketing. Give them KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to obtain.  You’ll be amazed by the results.

Time and time again during my years of marketing law firms, I’ve seen a financial transformation occur when firms decide to base their marketing decisions on real information versus intuition or tradition or simply hope.

 

Become Client/Customer Obsessed in 2014!

For today’s business owners, your only source of competitive advantage is your relationship with your customers. In the Age of the Customer, successful enterprises are those that have powerful relationships with powerful customers. Here’s how you can develop those relationships:

A Database of Record

The first thing that your business needs is their own database of record, which needs to be synched with your CRM (customer relationship management) tool. To gain a wider aperture of customer context, you need to gather that rich behavioral data – your customers’ web activities, the links they click, the keywords they use, the content that they read and share, and the campaigns they respond to.

Building the Brain

Once you have that core database, you need the “brain” to sift through that data. You need to map you data to the customer experience – that’s how you make the seemingly random buying process make sense. Decide which content should be sent to each segment, and which content should be send right after that.

Execute Across All Channels

The third piece is multi-channel execution. Marketing automation allows you to send emails, or integrate with direct mail. Marketing automation now helps you to automate and measure inbound marketing as well – think social marketing and content marketing. Outbound marketing and inbound marketing, combined with rich data and mapping, brings customers the most relevant information, and fosters the most valuable relationships.

Make it Measurable

The last piece, of course, is analytics. How do your customers move through the buyer’s journey? Which programs are driving the most revenue? This final step is about moving marketing from being a cost center to a profit center, and it’s also about continuing to nurture your customer relationships. When the marketing department or your consultant can justify spend, you can justify asking for continued investments in your customer relationships.

So, How Do We Get Started?

This can sound daunting. When you have millions of contacts, how can you be “customer obsessed” with every one of them? The classic “I Love Lucy” scene in the candy factory comes to mind – the more you have coming down the conveyor belt, the more impossible it becomes to do everything yourself. To scale, you’ve got to apply the right technology and processes to your system.

If you haven’t done any of this before, start with an internal audit. What information about your customer do you have already? Operationally, how are you arranging your marketing today? How integrated are you today? Are you siloed, or are you breaking some of those silos down?

Once you know where you are, you can improve. How can you move closer to marketing that’s responsive in real-time? How can you create profiles of your customers with the data that you already have? It’s all about identifying white spaces, and then filling them in.

If you have no sense of your customer life cycle, start by asking existing customers – start small, with less than five customers, but be incredibly thorough. Do market research on the purchasing path of your most valuable customers, and you’ll get an idea of the path you want to create. How do your customers tend to hear about you? What kind of exploration do they tend to do? Which channels do they research your product on? What’s the timing of their path to purchase – is it all in one fell swoop, or over a long period of time? Once you have a high-level view, you can get more granular.

Finally, keep in mind that if customer-obsession is your goal, there are four things that your organization must be able to do:

  1. Run lots of campaigns, and do it fast. Your prospects and customers won’t all be influenced on the same channel, so your marketing needs to be on as many channels as possible.
  2. Forget batch and blast.  Segment your leads to each segment with relevant content.
  3. Understand your customer base. Who is ready to buy? In B2B, that entails lead scoring; in the B2C world, it means other kinds of scoring – who is a valuable, lifetime customer?
  4. Be able to measure and optimize the whole thing. This is a left-brained, quantitative world.

Garbarge In = Garbage Out: Make Your Database Clean in 5 Steps!

Face it!  Bad data costs your company money.  If you can’t quantify the bad data, you can’t quantify the negative effects to your bottom line!

Bad data infiltrates every database, in the form of duplicate contacts, irregularly formatted leads, and junk records. You can’t keep all bad data from entering your database, but once it’s in, you need to clean it out. Here are 5 ways to keep your database clean and in compliance.

1) Identify Duplicates

Once you start to get some traction in building out your database, duplicates are inevitable. So proactively scrub your data on a regular basis and eliminate duplicate leads as they come in.

Of course, you need to delete with caution, even when there is a duplicate. So dive into both lead records, determine which has the most pertinent data (i.e., email address or phone number), and then merge the records accordingly.

But who wants to sort through a database of thousands (potentially millions) of  leads? That’s why your database automation platform and CRM should have rules for automatically de-duplicating lead records. This also comes in handy when you’re uploading lists — you don’t want to create a bunch of duplicate records every time you bring new contacts into the system.

2) Set Up Alerts

You can use alerts to stay even more on top of your database. Say your platform automatically de-duplicates leads based on email address. But what if a contact comes in that has a duplicate first and last name on your form, but a different email address? If you have alerts set up, you can be notified and proactively decide whether the record is a duplicate or not — after all, some people have the same names.

3) Price Inactive Contacts

Consider implementing a filter to hone in on records that have been inactive for a given amount of time. Why aren’t those contacts participating in your marketing campaigns? Are they still working for the same company?

Once you’ve identified inactive leads, the next step is up to you. You may decide that some of your them are worth keeping, but keep them with caution; if those inactive leads are simply not interested, marketing to them may hurt your brand’s reputation.

4) Check for Uniformity

Uniformity is key to a clean database, but it’s also a challenge. For example, if you let leads type in their country of residence, rather than choosing from a drop-down menu, you’re bound to collect inconsistent results. Residents of the United States might write  ”US,” “U.S.,” “USA,” “U.S.A,” or “United States of America.”

That’s why your platform should be able to automatically clean similar data values. That way, if you want to email all of your leads in the United States, you won’t leave any out because of dirty data. Of course, being the smart marketer that you are, I know that will segment the leads for you  on a much more granular level, such as region, company  size, or interest… but that’s another story.

5) Eliminate Junk Contacts

Some anonymous leads will write in “asdf@gmail.com” or “blah@hotmail.com” to avoid  sharing their real email addresses. You don’t want these garbage leads polluting your lead database., so run smart campaigns to automatically identify records with bogus email addresses and then delete, blacklist, or suspend these contacts.

You might be wondering whether you should delete employees of your competitors. Often, competitors will subscribe to learn (and potentially imitate) the ways you market to your customers. You can’t really consider these “leads” and there is no reason to  market to them. On the other hand, if you delete them, you’ll loose potential insight into their strategy.

Have you used any of these techniques? How do you keep your database clean? Let us know.  Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more!

Search Engine Optimization – Best Kept Secrets!

Maintaining a high ranking on search engines requires a constant, dedicated effort on your part. For a lot of us, it seems like as soon as you rank on the first page, a competitor is there to bump you down to page 2. Whether you’re part of an enterprise marketing effort, or a team of one, we could all use a little secret magic in our SEO
efforts.

Think you’ve tried every search engine optimization tool in the book? Think again. I’m willing to bet there’s one you haven’t included in your overall marketing mix.

Press releases.

A press release isn’t only a way to announce information — it’s also a great little ball of SEO, for many reasons:

  • You can include keywords that people are searching to find your website.
  • You can hyperlink to specific pages on your site in the release.
  • You can publish each press release on dozens of quality websites. Google likes this, and will move you up in search results accordingly.

 

So Why Aren’t More People Writing Press Releases?

Good question. First, not everyone realizes how valuable press releases can be to your marketing strategy. Second, I think many people believe that writing press releases is
more complicated than it really is. Press releases can be mastered, once you understand the format and distribution options.

Tips for Writing Press Releases and Mastering SEO Once and For All

There’s no need to outsource your press releases — once you understand the rules, you can write them yourself. Consider this process:

  1. Start with a piece of solid news, like the award your company recently won, the major contract you’ve just secured, or a great new piece of content you want to promote.
  2. Find a press release template so you know what goes where. Some websites won’t post your press release unless it’s correctly formatted, so stick to the template.
  3. Incorporate keywords
  4. Find an image to enhance the visual appeal. This could simply be your company logo.
  5. Finally, plug in your info and distribute online.

As you become more comfortable writing press releases, you might experiment by including video or more hyperlinks. For more tips on writing an amazing press release, contact Miller Creative Strategies.

In terms of distribution, you may want to use an online press release distribution site, like Google News, or an industry-specific distribution channel. You can also send your release directly to journalists who you hope will want to write about your brand. If you do send your release to journalists, understand that their inboxes are already saturated with releases, so your best bet is to send your release out online, where you know it can do some SEO good.

Below is an example of a press release. Pay close attention to these components:

  • Headline: Succinctly explains what the release is about.
  • Summary: Tells readers, in a few sentences, what the release covers.
  • Image: This company used its logo. You want something dynamic, but clean.
  • Hyperlinks: Drive traffic back to your website, so that people can quickly see what you’re about.
  • Contact info: Make it easy for people to contact your company.
  • Social share buttons: Provide a simple way for readers to share the release.

Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more!

The BIG Problem with Implicit Opt-in for Email!

There are legal definitions of spam — in the U.S., for example, spam can be classified as any email that violates the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act or any other countries’ bulk email laws.  Canadian law prohibits senders from emailing anyone who has not explicitly requested that mailing, and Australian and European law require prior-consent.

In the eyes of consumers, however, the definition of spam can be even broader and less forgiving.

To consumers, spam might represent:

  • Any email they don’t expect.
  • Any email they don’t want.
  • Any email that prompts them to hit the “This is spam” button.
  • Any email they might have signed up for, but later decide they don’t want.
  • An easy way to opt-out.

That’s why it’s crucial to build your email marketing list in a way that promotes trust in your brand.  However, some common ways of building the list don’t always translate into this level of trust.

The Definition of Implicit Opt-In

Implicit single opt-in occurs when a consumer fills out a form, e.g. in order to download content or register for an event. Sometimes this happens when a consumer registers for something on a third-party site, and the site shares the email addresses with sponsors. In either case, the website’s privacy policy must state that performing this action automatically opts the user into email marketing.

It has many advantages, including:

  • Requires the least amount of effort on the part of both the company and the customer.
  • There’s no place for a subscriber to drop the ball, which can happen when she’s required to “confirm” her opt-in.
  • Quickly leads to a big list.

The Risks with Implicit Opt-In

There are risks with this approach. Any time you assume or use implicit opt-in (especially if you use a list of email addresses you secured elsewhere), you’re taking a risk that your valuable messages will be considered junk mail — even if you technically
have legal permission to send them.

For example:

  • The subscriber doesn’t connect registering for something to your subsequent email. If a subscriber forgets that he opted in, or doesn’t realize he has opted in, the risk is high that he’ll mark your email as spam. This is particularly true when too much time has elapsed between subscriber sign up and your first communication.
  • You got a name from a tradeshow list or other activity you sponsored. When a consumer registers for something you sponsored, lets you scan his nametag at an event, or drops a business card in a fishbowl, it does not necessarily mean he’s asking for future email marketing. If the recipient is not expecting your email, you may not be building trusted engagement.
  • Someone handed you her business card. An executive handed you her business card after being introduced by a colleague at an event. Does this mean she wants to receive your marketing emails? Probably not.
  • You already have a list of contacts. You give your admin your entire contact list to enter into your email database or CRM system. A month later, everyone on that list receives an unsolicited email from your company. This is a way to break trust — fast.

In some countries, implicit opt-in is actually illegal. (Check the laws of the countries in which you market.) But even if you have legal permission, in general less consumer effort in the sign-up process generally means less connection to your brand overall.
Less committed subscribers are more likely to mark you as spam, or actively or passively opt out of your emails later.

What to Do About It

There are a few techniques you can use to help mitigate these risks.

  • Welcome Emails. When a new subscriber enters his information, an immediate auto-response email thanks and welcomes the subscriber. This email includes a customized message that tells him what to expect in future emails, and when to expect them. It’s courteous, and it also serves as a good way to begin earning the trust of your subscribers while setting proactive expectations.
  • Explicit Opt-In. Requires the user to voluntarily (and explicitly) sign up for email marketing. Often, this takes the form an explicit sign-up for updates, or a checkbox on a registration page that reads something like, “I want to receive news and updates.”
  • Confirmed or Double Opt-In. After the subscriber enters their email, the post-subscribe thank-you page may alert him to look for an email. Once he receives that email, he needs to click on a link or button to confirm the subscription. This separates the committed from the simply impulsive; those who click on the link really want to receive your emails – though there is always a risk that an interested subscriber will get distracted before she can click “confirm” in the follow-up email, or, worse, that your email will get lost or filtered.  As a result, you may lose interested subscribers.

Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more!

 

 

 

J.Miller

Is Your Logo Effective? 5 Easy Steps to Determine!

For most businesses, acquiring or changing a logo feels like a momentous step. A logo, after all, is the face of your brand. McDonald’s is inextricable from its arches. Nike’s simple checkmark possesses almost supernatural communicative qualities.

But how do you measure the success of a logo? Short of a large-scale populist backlash on the order of the University of California’s recent re-design fiasco, success or failure is hard to quantify. There are, however, a number of questions you can and should ask as you consider a new logo. Here are the top five.

1. What was wrong with your old logo?

If your answer is “we didn’t have one” or “my kid drew it on Microsoft Paint,” then you can bet that your new logo is going to be a relative win. In most cases, however, the concerns are more nuanced. Typically, there are two reasons to redo a logo: either the
current one no longer reflects your company’s character or target market (you’ve changed but your logo hasn’t), or it just looks dusty and dated (the world has changed but your logo hasn’t). The second reason is obviously quite subjective, so do analysis and tread carefully. A refresh can be a boon for business, but superfluous changes also pose a risk – at the very least, of losing what you paid for an unnecessary design service. It could be that there was nothing really wrong with your old logo at all.

att

 

2. What do you want from your logo?

Amid the excitement of getting a new logo, it’s easy to lose sight of how the item actually functions.  Ultimately, the point of such a mark is to identify your business, but even this basic definition couches a question: do you want your logo to simply identify you as providing a certain service or belonging to a certain industry, or do you want it to distinguish you from competitors within that industry? If you own a dentistry practice, you may just want your logo to identify you as a dentist without the possibility of confusion. This is why so many dentists around the world use virtually identical logos (smiles, teeth, brushes, etc.) In most cases there is nothing to gain from setting oneself apart within the field– only a risk of alienating potential clientele. On the other hand, if you are looking to distinguish your brand from similar ones, it is worthwhile to choose a unique, non-obvious logo. The link between a peacock and a television broadcasting network is tenuous, but NBC’s design nevertheless served the company well, quickly taking on iconic status.

 nbcfamily dental care

 

3. Does it work across media? Integrate into a broader branding scheme?

A good designer’s first order of business is to correct the layman’s tendency to think of a logo in the abstract. In fact, logos are generally material things: they exist on business cards, websites, store windows and billboards. That means they have to be legible at the scale of a penny and a hula-hoop alike, and as distinctive in black and white as in full color. An overly complex or awkwardly shaped logo may fail this test, even if it looks decent on a blank page. A great designer, however, will further propose a logo that supersedes itself as a stand-alone mark, instead forming a part of a cohesive, overarching branding scheme. Choose a color palette that you’ll be able to extend across a website and perhaps physical space. Select a typeface that pairs well with what you might use on your business cards or future ads. If you find that your logo constrains your various future design projects more than it opens up promising possibilities, then it was not successful.

 applecoca-cola

 

4. What is the critical response to your logo and does it matter?

It’s reasonable to test the critical waters by polling your friends, family and colleagues about a new logo. However, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. First, not everyone’s opinion is created equal. Your designer is an expert (hopefully), while your
friends are not. Their emotional responses certainly carry some validity, but remember that they might not have considered all the nuances of branding potential noted above. Second, not everyone is a critic – in fact, most people aren’t. Asking people to actively evaluate a logo sets up atypical conditions; most of your potential customers, unless they are graphic design enthusiasts, will not subject your logo to an exacting inspection. They’ll simply use it as a tool for identifying your business – that is, as intended. Once the logo is set and printed across your assets, you’ll have to weigh the occasional negative remark against the cost of re-design, re-printing, etc. Short of a full on scandal like the ones precipitated by The University of California, The Gap or Tropicana redesigning beloved emblems, it is almost never worth giving in.  Human psychology promises knee-jerk negative reactions to change, but people eventually come around.

 gapuc

 

5. Is your design cookie-cutter generic?

As noted earlier, not every industry puts the same premium on an original-looking logo, and sometimes going into left field is even disadvantageous. A dentistry logo probably ought to look like a dentistry logo. Still, there are certain overused, cookie-cutter designs – an abstract, v-shaped man leaping for joy, a ring of crescents – that are fundamentally empty, failing even to identify a business with any meaningful concept. Something like this may work in a pinch or on a very temporary basis, but pay no more than whatever you think zero thought and a couple of minutes with Adobe Illustrator are worth.

adobe

If you’re able to answer these questions truthfully, you should be in a position to broadly assess the success of your logo. That’s probably the best you can hope for; more quantifiable rates of return tend to prove elusive with logo design. What really matters though, lies less in the product than in the creative person or team that created it. A
designer who is skilled, trustworthy and responsive, who understands your business mission but isn’t afraid to challenge your design ideas, who thinks long-term and will be there down the road to carry out the innumerable little tasks that may arise, is invaluable.

 

Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more about logos and their effects on your business.

E-mail Marketing – Best Practices of the Trade

One of the most powerful aspects of email marketing is that it can be tested (and thereby optimized). Following generic “best practices” or fixed “rules” is not a path to success, because what works for one audience won’t necessarily work for yours.

Testing is your biggest ally. You should always ‘test for the best’ in your email campaigns.

What to Test

Historically, the subject line has been the most popular marketing email element to test, followed closely by the content of the message itself. But as MarketingSherpa highlights in this chart, there are many other elements of your emails that are just as testable.

Here are 25 elements you can consider testing:

  1. Subject line
  2. From name
  3. Day of the week
  4. Time of day
  5. Frequency
  6. Mostly-images vs. mostly-text
  7. Short copy vs. long copy
  8. Links vs. buttons
  9. Number of links
  10. Unsubscribe at the top
  11. First name personalization — in the subject line
  12. First name personalization — in the email body
  13. Animated gifs
  14. Font colors
  15. Font styles
  16. Opt-down
  17. Social sharing icons
  18. Social connecting icons
  19. Delivery by time zone
  20. Call to action — number
  21. Call to action —placement
  22. Post-click landing page
  23. Social proof
  24. Tone — human vs. corporate
  25. Copy length

Here are some results of real marketing tests to ponder:

How to Test: Eight Pro Tips

  1. Start simple. Test subject lines and headers first. It doesn’t take a lot of time or creative work to come up with a few simple variants, and the return can be significant.
  2. Test one element at a time. If you test more than one element, you won’t be able to tell which variant drove the success.
  3. Control for time of day and day of the week. If you’re testing other variants, then send on the same day and at the same time to eliminate the timing variant.
  4. Keep a log of all your tests. Record your findings so you can refer back to the specific variables tested and, more importantly, learn from them.
  5. Make sure testing is part of your day-to-day processes. Testing doesn’t have to be daunting, and it shouldn’t be something you put off due to a lack of resources — it should be part of your daily routine.
  6. Run tests on groups that are small, but large enough to determine a clear winner. The winning variables should then be incorporated into your larger mailing.
  7. Don’t forget that small differences can be significant. This is especially true if your sample sizes are large.
  8. Listen to what your tests tell you! All the testing in the world won’t matter if you’re not making decisions and modifications to your campaigns based on what you’ve learned. Unused data is sad data, indeed.

Contact Miller Creative Strategies, LLC, to learn more!

 

 

J. Miller

Face It – Your Business Can’t Survive without Social Media!

Social media is probably one of the most essential tools in today’s business. It may be difficult for businesses to survive without LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts as they help to increase customer base and generate leads. While Facebook has over 800 million users, Twitter has about 200 million users. In addition, a blog with regular comments goes a long way in enhancing business effectiveness.

Benefits of Choosing Social Media Marketing

Those who stop to ponder over the benefits of social media marketing are probably not aware of the immense importance of social media. When you make your presence on social media sites, customers begin to trust you because you are interacting with them and answering their queries.

Yet another advantage is speed. If your media message impresses people, it readily goes viral and thousands of people become your instant audience. But the real advantage of social media is that your constant presence along with content generation in your field of expertise makes you well-known. The community of followers and contacts respect your authority and trust you.

Social media offers you all the advantages of marketing at literally no cost. Your business reaches hundreds and thousands of people for free. In addition, unlike other marketing strategies, this method is a two-way traffic as you can communicate with your contacts and refurbish your image as well as address their problems.

Tools for Measuring Social Media Marketing Effectiveness

There are several tools that can measure the effectiveness of social media marketing. Some of them are Google analytics, page rank checker, Klout, and HootSuite. Page rank checker will let you know the page rank of your website from 0 to 10 with the help of Google algorithm. Klout is also a social media measurement tool that lets you know your overall influence across networks. The score range in Klout is between 0 and 100.

HootSuite lets you analyze your traffic growth. Google analytics is best suited for testing market effectiveness, while Facebook insight is ideal for clout analysis on Facebook.

Tracking your Social Media Marketing Effectiveness

You will never know how effective your social media marketing is unless you are able to track your marketing efforts. In other words, you need to know how big your audience is. You also need to track different kinds of statistics including their activities, likes, visitors to your blog, and the time they spend there.

There are social media applications that can help you analyze statistics in real time. Cyfe is one such application that will help you analyze data from Google analytics, Twitter, PayPal, Facebook and several other sites. Other than your reach, engagement is yet another measure of your marketing efforts.

Engagement in context of social media means the number of people that engage with your content through subscription or likes. It includes comments, retweets, sharing of your posts, youtube ratings, and clicks. Finally, conversions let you know the number of people who have taken an action in repose to your content which includes lead generation, sales, and registrations.

Social media is only as good as its effectiveness. So, just being present on social media sites does not promote your business efforts. But if you are active on social media sites, you need to know how effective your campaign is. In other words, your efforts need to be measurable for which there are several tools you have for utilization.

 

Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more!

What is Co-Branding and How Can It Be Used to Help Your Business?

How do you meet your marketing goals with a small staff and a tight budget?

It’s a crucial question almost every marketing team on the planet is struggling with right now. Easy answers are tough to find.

We can tell you, though, what is working for us, so that you can grab an actionable insight or two.

Our strategy boils down to one odd, little word: co-marketing (or co-branding – a term that is used quite often). It’s all about leveraging the resources and relationships you have, rather than worrying about all of the shiny new things you don’t have the time or money to do.

Co-marketing is the process of aligning your company’s interests, resources and marketing muscle with other like-minded companies to accomplish much more than you might on your own.

The concept has been around a long time in advertising. Any airline magazine has ads with the Top Steakhouses, Top Seafood Restaurants or even Top Plastic Surgeons.

Basically, these similar and complementary companies band together and unite their advertising budgets to cut the cost of an ad by 10 times or more (depending on the number of participants).

It’s brilliant.

And it isn’t all about just saving money. It’s also about brand and credibility.

Putting all of these top names together dramatically increases brand recognition, customer value and customer retention. Every time business travelers fly to a location where one of these top providers is located,  they have a ready-made reference to help them find a good meal … and, if need be, a top-notch surgeon.

Here are four quick tips we’ve learned from trial and error:

  1. Make it a win-win: Identify partners that align well with your business. Show them the value of joining forces with you by sharing data about what results they can expect based on past successes.
  2. Give more than you get: Selling your value to somebody else is the easy part. Strive to exceed your partners’ expectations by throwing all of your marketing might behind your joint efforts. Don’t hold back and expect your partner to do the heavy lifting.
  3. Make it easy: Asking somebody to join you in a marketing campaign is kind of like inviting them over to a backyard barbecue. The less you ask them to do or bring, the more likely they are to show up smiling. Create a simple checklist and a promotion kit, complete with sample emails, tweets and other collateral, and share these items with your partners.
  4. Do a debriefing: After every webinar we do, we link up with our partner for a quick debriefing call to review what went well and what we can improve on next time. This step is easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of a busy day. But it’s an absolutely critical step.

If you use these four tips, you’ll run successful co-marketing campaigns. And you’ll also build lifelong relationships with valuable business partners.

Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more!