Every marketer is familiar with the traditional vehicles for brand awareness: TV/radio commercials, billboards and newspaper/magazine ads. But it almost goes without saying that the rise of media and audience fragmentation, along with the decline of print, have made traditional vehicles less effective at best. Which is not to say there’s no place for traditional advertising—just that it must be complemented by other means. And by “other,” we mean digital.
You’ve got to meet the people where they are, and that’s increasingly online. Long seen as a more transaction-oriented space when it comes to marketing, online has great applications for raising brand awareness. Some might surprise you.
If you think of online video as just a showcase for cats that say “no” to bath time, think again. From pre-roll that features more traditional spots to longer pieces that offer branded experiences, online video gives you an opportunity to tell your story in unique ways—ones that often wouldn’t fly on TV. A recent study found that 46 percent of online video viewers are likely to look up a brand that’s mentioned in an online video they’ve watched1. One of our favorite examples of online video is still Blendtec’s Will it Blend?, which has been going strong since 2007.
Content marketing is a real multi-tasker—it can do wonders for your search engine optimization and create loyal customers all while raising brand awareness. Content that raises brand awareness is content that keeps people not only coming back for more but also sharing across social networks. Bloomberg is a pioneer here—the company started out as a financial services provider, but it’s become almost synonymous with business news. In fact, Bloomberg.com takes you to their news site, not their company site.
Forrester Research recently found that 70 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, while only 10 percent trust advertising2. That means it’s not enough to simply have a social media presence. You have to make it one that is truly integrated with your customers. You can post about your products and services until the cows come home, but that’s nothing more than traditional advertising in social media’s clothing. What you want is to get engaged—have meaningful conversations, offer information or tools that are relevant and useful and make it easy for your customers to tell their friends about you.
There are lots of other ways to raise brand awareness in the digital age – even pay-per-click advertising can have an effect. What are you finding to be the best ways to give your brand a boost online? Tell us in the comments.
Imagine being able to walk into a store and when you open the door, the exact item you were looking for is right in front of you. Wouldn't that be nice? No more hunting, searching, asking someone, trying to find the right size or just leaving in frustration when you can't find what you're looking for.
Online can be that easy. For example, when someone is looking for Widget X using Google, advertisers can send them to a landing page that talks just about Widget X. No need to tell people about all of the other unrelated widgets, just send them directly to the one they are looking for and tell them everything they need to know about Widget X.
However, many marketers are still sending ads to the homepage -- and people are bouncing (the online version of just leaving the store in frustration). Think of it this way: your homepage is the entrance to a store, while a landing page is a whole department around the one thing (product or service) that a visitor is looking for. Which would you choose? Done well, a landing page helps people find what want and helps you sell more.
Here are some tips to help you get it right:
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. If you are buying any sort of online ads, you have some context into what they are looking for. Think about what YOU would like to see.
Make sure your landing page is a logical extension of the ad/search result that's directing people there. Don't try to bait and switch people with a landing page that sells something other than what they're looking for.
Track, track, track. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on the landing page with goals set up.
Remember the "inverted pyramid" style of writing: put the most important facts at the top of the page and more details below. Make sure the visitor can get the basics at the beginning.
Make sure you have a strong, clear call to action: If you are selling a product, make sure the visitor can, at least, add the item to their cart. If you're generating leads, make the form easy to use.
Another note on forms: Make sure you ask for the bare minimum information you need to qualify them. People are wary of giving their information, and it's better to have too many unqualified leads than no leads at all (I'm looking at you, landing pages that ask for my social security number).
Incorporate security seals, third-party validation, testimonials and no-spam promises to ensure that the visitor can trust you.
Limit the navigation to other pages on the site. Don't trap the user, but if you are certain that you've selected the correct page for them to land on, don't allow them to get lost in the store.
The one exception to this rule is that if you can cross- or up-sell. For example, if someone is searching for a particular red dress, it's OK to show them more red dresses. You don't want the visitor to leave because of limited options. Bonus points if you can sell them a more expensive dress.
Track calls. There are some very complicated ways of accomplishing this that attribute a call to a specific keyword or website, but these are also very expensive. You could simply set up a new phone number (or, better yet, forward a Google Voice number) and count the number of calls. Make sure the only way you can see the number is through the landing page.
Give the visitors a way to ask questions. Don't assume they will buy now or give you all of their information, but provide a phone number (see above) or an easy way to ask questions (bonus points for live chat).
Test out different versions of the page. Try showing more information vs. less information. Try a red "buy now" button or blue "buy now" button. The possibilities are endless.
Landing pages are a great way to make it easier for visitors to do business with you. Next time you run ads, make sure to have an honest discussion about what landing page you will be sending visitors to. After all, you've paid for that visit -- make the most of it.
Everyone's got something to prove -- and that's increasingly true in marketing. But these days, it's less about winning a bunch of advertising awards, and more about getting results. Moving the needle. Showing ROI. That's thanks in large part to the rise of
interactive communication channels, which has enabled highly sophisticated means
of tracking what’s working and what’s not. It's making John Wanamaker's famous quote (you know the one: "Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half") more and more irrelevant.
But there's one area in which the benefits of “big data” have been more reluctantly embraced – social media. This has resulted in two common
patterns of behavior:
There are the brands that are late to the social party
(if they show up at all) for fear that they won't be able to track the ROI and
prove their success to upper management.
And there are brands that jump on the social bandwagon
without even considering tracking their success correctly (or how social media
even fits their marketing goals).
But you don't have to fall into either of these traps. We're
here to give you concrete metrics to show that social media measurement is a.)
very possible b.) very simple and c.) very necessary if your
brand is active in the social world.
1. Engagement: Although this one may seem like
buzz word, it's the most crucial aspect in social media measurement. We stress
quality over quantity. If you have 1 million fans, but they don't interact with
your brand or share your content, then what use are they to you? Important engagement
metrics to watch (all of which can be tracked in Facebook Insights):
2.Sentiment: Are fans commenting on your
posts and posting to your timeline with happy comments or constant complaining?
Dive deeper and discover what part of their experience they're happy or unhappy
with. If they're unhappy with your content, change things up. If fans are constantly
praising your customer service department, send an internal email out thanking
3. Fan/follower growth: Yes, we said to focus on
quality over quantity, but keeping an eye on the number of followers or fans
you're losing tells you something about the content you're sharing,
too. Important growth metrics to watch:
New likes/unlikes (Facebook)
New followers/unfollows (Twitter, Pinterest,
New subscribers/unsubscribers (YouTube)
4. Conversions: Whatever your end goal is for your
brand's marketing efforts, social media is just one extension helping you
achieve that. Maybe you want to drive more traffic to your website, gain email
subscribers, attract new fans, etc. Define a conversion, then track
it. Important conversion metrics to watch:
For email subscribers, maybe you have an
application host on your Facebook page collecting that information. Watch to
see how many visitors that app has, and how many subscribers and adjust your
creative, messaging, or usability of the app accordingly.
Still not convinced? Are there currently holes in
social media measurement? Sure. But I guarantee the measurement online is far
more advanced and accurate than traditional media measurement.
Have other quick and easy social media measurement tips or
questions? Comment below to share.
Facebook changes daily, and so do the rules you have to play by to win. Here are 8 quick ways to kill your business' social media efforts (and a couple may even help you get rid of a few personal Facebook friends too!).
1. Over-sharing: We know you want every last fan to see each post… but guess what? They're not going to. And while you're busy flooding peoples' news feeds with repeat content, your fans who have seen it over and over are hiding your content… or unliking your page.
Similarly, if you share every update your page makes to your personal profile, your friends are going to get sick of your spamming, and think your page is annoying and that the product or service doesn't speak for itself.
2. Content Trumping: If you have awesome content that could potentially help grow your page, share it! FROM. YOUR. PAGE. Once the page shares it, feel free to share it to your personal profile (thereby directing traffic to the original source - the brand's page).
3. Impersonal responses: Automated responses make me feel so special! Said no one ever. People are on social media because they want to feel special. Use their names and answer their questions as if the brand were actually managed by humans. Oh wait, it is.
4. Delayed responses: Fans these days are expecting responses from brands' Facebook pages in hours (preferably less than one hour). If you can't keep up, hire help, or prepare to lose business.
5. Not responding at all: Imagine approaching a girl at a bar. You say hi and offer to buy her a drink and she just turns around and ignores you. You're left alone, looking dumb, thinking to yourself, "What a B*%$@". This is what it's like to fans when you don't listen to them. Social media is meant to be SOCIAL. Take part or people are going to stop talking to you, and soon enough, it won't matter how pretty you are... you'll be going to prom alone.
6. Not posting regularly: Social media strategies are built to be flexible because it's imperative to serve up relevant, timely content. However, dry spells can lead fans to believe you're shady and unreliable. Always have a strategy and content calendar in place just in case.
7. Don't share what you think is cool: Share what FANS will think is cool. If I shared what I thought was cool to every single page I manage, Catholic Churches, cowboy boot manufacturers, and retail stores would all be sharing the latest Justin Timberlake album and memes supporting the 2nd Amendment. Yeah...
8. Don't post just to promote: Make sure your posts are of value or your fans will leave you, simple as that. If you're sharing the page's posts to your personal page - what will excite your friends about it? Stop selling them, and start engaging with them.
Luckily, these 8 steps aren't punishable by death or we'd all be goner's. They are however punishable by unliking and de-friending, so I urge you to evaluate your social media efforts and see where you can tighten up a few screws.
Have any other pet peeves or suggestions for social media managers? Comment below to share!
It all comes down to math. Dust off your calculators and
let's look at a pretend business that sells widget X.
Keyword: widget X Cost-per-click (CPC) for "widget X": $1
Average clicks per day: 10
Conversion rate (in this case, the number of people who come
to the site and purchase the product): 5%
Profit from each sale of widget X: $10
Let's do the math:
Cost: $10/day = $300/month = 300 clicks
Conversions/month (at 5%) = 15
Profit = $150
YIKES! We spent $300 to make $150! Not a great business
model (unless you're the government).
Here's the secret to Google Adwords: you have to make the
Have no fear – all is not lost for our fictional widget
maker. We can change any one of a number of variables to make it Google Adwords
a much more viable – even profitable – option for the company. Here are just a
One thing we didn't factor in is the average
lifetime value of a customer. Let's say the average customer buys one widget X
every month from us. So, our profit would jump to $1,800 from our original $300
Let's say we can do a better job with the
landing page, the page visitors are directed to when they click the ad. Optimizing
this page can make a huge difference. If we can increase that to a 10% conversion
rate = 30 widgets sold = $300. We'll break even. If we can even sell two
widgets a year to the customer, it's been worth it.
What if we could find a way to get a lower
cost-per-click? There are some creative ways to lower your CPC, including finding
undiscovered, undervalued keywords. For example, instead of bidding on the
"widget x" keyword, you find less competition on "best
widget." If that keyword costs $0.50, it would cost you $150 to make $150
with the same conversion rate.
You can quickly see how being able to improve any of these
variables can greatly make or break a campaign. It is, quite literally, the
difference between profitability and losing money.
Most of us use social media for primarily personal reasons –
keeping up with old friends and getting better acquainted with new ones. But
that’s something that businesses in the social media space tend to forget. They
post, comment and interact in a very, well, business-like manner. And when a
businessy, impersonal post shows up in the middle of someone’s all-too-human
feed, it just feels wrong – and turns your audience off.
That’s why developing a strong voice or persona for your
brand is one of the most crucial components when launching your social media
initiatives. Tweets, Facebook posts, pins, even LinkedIn communications – all
online messaging needs to be consistent with branding, and relatable to the
And like any friendship, you can’t neglect things if you
want your online connections to thrive. Your persona needs to be revisited by
Community Managers biweekly or monthly, just to make sure that everything stays
on-brand. It’s also important to take an in-depth look at the persona every
year to account for any changes in the audience or the brand itself.
Here are the basic steps to developing a social media
1. Research the audience.
How old are they? Where do they live? What are their general
interests? Why are they connecting with your brand? What are they hoping to get
out of the social connection? If you don't understand the audience, how are you
supposed to be able to entertain them, speak with them, and, ultimately, sell
2. Develop personality traits from the audience research.
Now that you know the basics about the audience, you can
define their character. By pinpointing 5-7 strong adjectives that describe the
brand's persona, you’ll get an idea of just who will be speaking to fans and
followers, and what he or she will sound like. A persona described as
"intelligent, thoughtful, nurturing, quiet, and articulate" would
interact far differently with an audience than a persona described as
"gregarious, witty, involved, funny, and enthusiastic."
3. Find a visual (famous) character who fits the persona
to use as a model.
A Facebook page for an upscale women's clothing line
wouldn't speak in Will Ferrell's persona, and a children's learning center
probably wouldn't speak as Chelsea Handler. Find a character who fits the
brand's persona, so that visualizing the person sharing updates and responding
to feedback and more tangible.
4. Compose sample posts.
Get a feel for both the content the brand will be sharing,
and the way it will be shared. Does the persona use exclamation points? Does
he/she ask open-ended questions? Are posts straightforward and informative, or
conversational and light? These also serve as good back-up content when the
brand is getting away from the persona’s messaging, or is in a content
So, there you have it! 4 quick steps to helping develop a
strong social media persona. Any you would add? Comment below to share.
We don’t shop like we used to. Yet we “shop” for everything.
Whether we’re looking for shoes, a doctor, a great burger or where to get an
MBA, we dig for information like never before. What does it mean for marketers?
Well, forget the classic purchasing funnel.
Here’s what that process looks like today.
Notice we're calling it a "floop" because it's still funnel-y, but it's also more loopy. Here's the difference: The “consideration” step used to involve conversations with
co-workers like, “You have a Ford truck. Do you like it? How’s the gas
mileage?” Now, we research purchases like we’re writing a college dissertation.
Even little things like batteries. Before we go to the store we Google
“batteries” on our iPads or Kindles looking for reviews and coupons. We even
stand in the battery aisle with our mobile phones pulling up batteries.com,
shopping sites or other stores to compare prices. If claims seem too good to be
true, we ask our Facebook friends. And when we finally buy the darn batteries,
we write reviews and tell our friends just how great (or lame) they are.
That means if you’re a battery brand it’s not enough to be
on TV, show up in shopping flyers and have a big display at the store. You have
to be where people are actually “shopping” -- and that’s online. (Google has
coined this new shopping phenomenon: The Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT.)
Just how prevalent is it? Take a look.
70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews
before making a purchase1
79% of consumers now say they use a smart- phone to help
83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV
commercials for products that interest them3
So if you haven’t put a digital strategy in play, odds are
you’re missing customers.
1. “The New Info Shopper,” Penn, Schoen & Berland
2. Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT, “The Mobile Movement Study,”
April 2011, N=5,000
In 2012, many people were proclaiming “native advertising”
the buzzword of the year, with all the fly-by-nightness that implies. But signs
indicate that content will not only continue to rule, but do so with an iron fist,
which means that native advertising is here to stay. And just like any trend,
there’s a right way and wrong way to do it.
What is native
The term refers to digital ads that blend into a site’s
content. You can “place” native advertising on social media (sponsored stories,
promoted tweets, featured videos) as well as editorial and news sites
(sponsored content, featured partners). Done well, it becomes part of the
user’s experience (as opposed to interrupting it) and nets higher engagement
rates. Done poorly, it paints brands – and publishers – as disingenuous,
out of touch and untrustworthy.
An infamous lesson on how not to do native advertising comes
from The Atlantic. The venerable
magazine’s online outlet published a
sponsored piece on Scientology – and got a face full of backlash. And not just
because the “sponsored” nature of the piece wasn’t as obvious as it should have
been. It was a bad fit in terms of sponsor and site, and made The Atlantic look like they cared less
about their readers than about ad revenue. After the outcry on social media (as
well as a mocking Onion
article), The Atlantic removed
the story and apologized. But the damage was already done.
If you’re ready to go native, you should first get very
familiar with content marketing: what
it is and how to do
it. From there, it’s really all about understanding the publisher’s audience
and speaking its language. Because the last thing you want is to look like a