Online Marketing

How Marketers Use Social Media for Recruitment

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To compliment the brand new classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss how social media is used for recruitment, and how employers can benefit.

 

What if I told you that 94% of recruiters have reported using LinkedIn to vet candidates?

Or that the number of employers using social media to screen candidates has increased over 500% in the last decade?

If you’re looking for a new job, you might think I’m trying to give you a piece of conventional wisdom: “Keep your online presence professional.” (And that’s still true!)

But here's something you hear less often: if you’re looking for a new hire, then you already know these social stats spell far greater changes for recruitment and human resources than for jobseekers, unless they too aspire to become recruiters.

The Great Talent Tug of War

Before LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were used to headhunt the best talent, Human Resources was the primary driver of talent acquisition.

But over the last 10 years, social recruiting on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms has revolutionized the way we hire, so that now what was once a job for the accounting team has become a job for the marketing team.

So how did this great talent tug of war wind up on the marketing end of things? Short answer: the Great Recession.

When huge job losses started occurring around 2008, HR departments became understandably less concerned with filling positions and more concerned with compensation and risk management.

Around the same time, all of our most popular modern social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) were undergoing a development renaissance, all while performing an admirable job of bucking the Recession’s downward trends and revitalizing the online economy that had crashed at the beginning of the 21st century.

The net result of this decline in hiring and ascent of social media was that social recruiting became many companies’ primary resource for not only scouting talent but acquiring it.

Where we once followed recruitment protocols that relied heavily on HR spending, talent scouts, and physical energy to go forth and fill a company’s talent pipeline, we now inhabit a world where free social recruiting technology has placed a vast and easily accessible talent pool right at our fingertips.

This heightened selectability has altered the job market’s center of gravity in major ways. If you’re an investor, then you might say what was once a seller’s market became a buyer’s market. If you’re in HR, you might say what was once an employee’s job market became an employer’s job market. And if you’re a social recruiter, you might say what was once a hustle for HR to fill an abundance of positions is now headhunting: the practice of sifting through hundreds of perfect-fit candidates to fill a choice few jobs with the best talent possible.

Yet with all of the convenient recruiting this talent acquisition revolution has created, there are perhaps an equal number of complications that arise from vetting people online. Chief among these is the age-old HR question: “How do I know I can I trust this person?

How to Know: Using Facebook for Social Recruiting and Talent Acquisition

Using Facebook for social recruiting requires a very discerning eye, but if used wisely, the world’s largest social network can be an excellent tool for talent acquisition.

One of the first reasons Facebook emerged as a tool for talent acquisition was largely a negative one; in its early years, Facebook was a more personal posting platform where employers could research whether prospective new hires behaved badly outside of work and could result in a PR nightmare for the company.

Rest assured, Facebook can be (and still is) used in this way. But many prospective hires know their Facebook pages will be vetted, so they often take precautionary measures that render the process of using Facebook to root out the bad apples less effective.

But there are still jobs for which Facebook vetting remains a highly recommended recruitment strategy. In fact, some of the web’s best social media managers were picked up from scrolling organically through News Feed and coming across users with carefully curated Facebook posts and great, engaging voices. Others use Facebook to cultivate and monitor an audience of enthusiastic fans, followers and groups that can be used as an excellent resource to mine brand advocates whose skill with word-of-mouth messaging could make them excellent candidates for new marketing jobs.

How to Know: Using LinkedIn for Social Recruiting

At first glance, LinkedIn might seem like the easiest tool to use for social recruiting. After all, it was created to connect job seekers with job offers, right?

In fact it was, but its features have grown in number and complexity since the service’s inception, so that now users have to navigate interfaces such as LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Pulse, and constantly think about how to execute a content strategy or promote their brand outside of the seasonal job search.

That makes good leads out of job candidates who regularly update their profiles with new content, experience, and education. But as with print resumes, social recruiters should trust but verify what they read on a job candidate’s LinkedIn profile and cross-check all of the candidate’s online profiles for consistency, credibility, and digital footprint.

All these layers of complexity mean that those who want to engage in social recruiting as a form of talent acquisition should be working hard to revolutionize their marketing strategy on the micro-level every day, especially if their brands, businesses and HR departments want to stay on top of the job market.

 

How are you using social recruiting for talent acquisition? To learn more, check out OMI’s brand new selection of classes. Our expert educators cover social recruiting, human resources, talent acquisition, and many other topics. For ten days, access is completely free.

 


Infographic: Choosing The Best KPIs to Boost Your Growth

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Editor's Note: Colin Cieloha works for Skilled, where a version of this article first appeared. Today he joins us to share a comprehensive strategy for choosing the best KPIs to grow your business, all in a simple infographic.

 

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are an essential part of modern business planning and goal setting. These carefully chosen and specific metrics can be tracked to indicate the performance of a department, employee, marketing strategy, or any other object oriented venture.

This diverse utility makes KPIs a unique tool for achieving your business's vision and objectives. However, when it comes to implementing KPIs, managers often find it hard to isolate the most useful ones to track. That's no wonder: the average Internet Marketer has over 20,645 potential options.

In this infographic, we outline a comprehensive strategy for choosing KPIs that will optimize the success of your business. We cover common mistakes that lead to the adoption of poor KPIs, and aim to give you a feel for the metrics that are relevant to your goals. Before diving in, here's a summary -

Using KPIs

Good Practices

Before choosing KPIs, you should have clearly defined goals that follow the rules of SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited. Here's a cheat sheet for factors that correspond to common desired outcomes:

  • A website visitor count can help to predict and understand customer needs.
  • Income from leads helps to predict future sales based on projected traffic and conversion rates.
  • A visitors to leads ratio helps you to gauge the value of your current traffic.
  • Optimizing response time leads to faster engagement between your sales department and prospects
  • A leads to clients ratio helps to diagnose areas of your sales funnel that need improvement.
  • Customer lifetime value indicates the revenue that a customer is likely to generate during the span of their relationship with your company

Marketers should understand that the best factors for gauging success change depending on business type. For instance, a content website should focus on click through rates and time spent on page are important; these factors are less important for e-commerce sites, which should focus on cart abandonment and products per order.

After selecting the KPIs for your business, its important to monitor them on a regular basis. Analysis will help to determine

  • What changes your company should make to attain desired outcomes.
  • Which KPIs are more useful than others: the poorest should be weeded out.
  • How often your KPIs should be tracked (weekly, monthly, quarterly?)

Worst Practices

Common mistakes when choosing KPIs include:

  • Measuring factors that are irrelevant to your success
  • Tracking too many KPIs at one time
  • Choosing factors that are difficult or even impossible to measure

E-commerce stores frequently overrate certain KPIs, and overlook better ones. Examples of overrated KPIs include,

  • Number of visits
  • Pageviews
  • Emails sent
  • Twitter followers
  • Bounce rate

Underrated KPIs include:

  • Revenue conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Task completion rate

Continue your crash course in choosing KPIs with the infographic below. Feel free to save for future reference, or pass it along to your colleagues!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Web Analytics Fundamentals for a Data-Driven World

Planning SEM Campaigns: Establish Goals & KPIs

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

 


What’s AdTech & MarTech, and Why Should Your Business Care?

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To compliment the brand new classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to introduce AdTech and MarTech and explain their ever expanding role in marketing.

 

AdTech & MarTech are two of the biggest buzzwords and most difficult-to-understand practices in the modern marketing industry.

There are two reasons why:

    1. AdTech & MarTech are still developing. Trying to understand them is almost like trying to understand two teenagers based solely on the fact that they play the same sport. In other words, it's too early to know where they will end up with any certainty.
    2. AdTech and MarTech are virtually becoming the online marketing industry. Any time you use a service that provides you with analytics and feedback on how people see and engage with your business online (think: Facebook and Twitter for Business), you’re harnessing the power of AdTech & MarTech networks. Translation: AdTech & MarTech are an ever-growing part of an ever-widening industry.

Despite the fact that they’re moving targets, we can say two things for certain: AdTech & MarTech are converging, and they have been riding waves of venture capital-backed search interest for at least ten years.

But arguably the biggest reason they are so important is not because of top-down investment, but because of bottom-up interest. That is, because businesses are recognizing that AdTech & MarTech​ affect their digital footprint​​, no matter how large or small that footprint is.​

Look no further than the top three search results the next time you google your business or industry—those first three returns will likely come from Google’s Search Network, an adtech service hosted by Google AdWords. If you or your business isn’t in that network, it will appear below those entries.

Complex search algorithms are at work behind adtech systems like Google’s, and these algorithms require some awareness of data management to properly integrate advertising platforms. But ultimately, that integrated advertising platform - or omnichannel - makes online advertising much easier to use and understand.

Definitions for AdTech & MarTech: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Despite the growing size and complexity of the marketing industry they influence, AdTech & MarTech can be broken down into simple definitions that parallel and complement each other.

AdTech (noun; adj)

  1. Short for "advertising technology."
  2. The industry name for any tool or application for researching audiences and delivering targeted advertisements to them.
  3. A group of platforms and software for hosting the automated exchange process of buying and selling advertisements through a machine-based ad network or marketplace (e.g., Adobe Advertising Cloud).
  4. Used in a sentence: "Were you able to attend that conference on AdTech in NYC? Reps from Fortune 500 companies sponsored a great exhibit on this adtech and artificial intelligence platform that helps you advertise on social media."
  5. See: "Facebook Ads," "Google Ads," and "MarTech" 

MarTech (noun; adj)

  1. Short for "marketing technology."
  2. An industry term that encompasses a vast body of tools, platforms, processes, and applications that we use to market online products and services (e.g., Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Marketing Analytics, and Marketing Management).
  3. Platforms and software for managing marketing data and automating marketing processes (e.g., Oracle Marketing Cloud).
  4. Used in a sentence: "Did you see the martech issue of Ad Age? They did a cover story on how the number of companies in MarTech has grown exponentially since 2011."
  5. See: "Facebook for Business," "Twitter for Business," and "YUGE DEAL."

Advertising is just one form of marketing, and AdTech is just one form of MarTech. As such, it's best to think of AdTech & MarTech as two sides of the same coin: AdTech is the front (what most people recognize a coin by), and MarTech is the tail that most people touch and see everyday without noticing.

So What (Do AdTech & MarTech Mean for My Business?)

Data and Targeting

Because AdTech and MarTech are driven by data collection, data analysis, data presentation, and data management, they have a much more nuanced research methodology for delivering ads than traditional methods of marketing and advertising.

Traditional methods tend to operate on the principle of "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" (e.g., billboard ads, radio ads, television commercials, and online banner ads). Traditional methods do involve at least a small amount of research, such as finding the best locations to air an ad for a targeted demographic. However, they also reach a substantial number of people who are not the intended audience for their particular product or service. This overreach can result in annoyance (or worse, distrust) for brands that are particularly repetitive or intrusive. Just think about the last time an infomercial for cleaning products interrupted your regularly scheduled programming when you weren’t in the mood.  

AdTech & MarTech make it possible to target your intended audience without as much overreach, so that video or banner advertisements will reach an intended audience that is not only more likely to be interested, but also most likely to convert.

Ad networks like those owned by Facebook and Google are particularly good at this, since they can deliver "native ads" in user feeds to appear more like solicited information than annoying or intrusive advertisements.

How are you using AdTech & MarTech?

Whether you know it or not, you probably already are. If you want to learn more about controlling the size of your digital footprint in marketing and advertising technology, view our new classes on search engines, data management, and integrated advertising platforms, free for ten days!

 


Using Predictive Analytics For Unified Commerce

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Editor's Note: Kate Lincoln is a business analyst, and graduate from the University of Suffolk. She also edits content for CustomerSurveyAssist.com, and joins us today to explore how Unified Commerce is changing online marketing, and how predictive analytics is the best way forward.

 

Although it has existed as a concept for decades, unified commerce is on the verge of becoming a reality. For many companies, everything from web-based efforts to mobile applications and traditional stores are connected in real time. With enhanced usability and speed, it is now easily possible to buy a new speaker from Shenzhen while chatting with a friend from Brazil about buying tickets for a concert in Germany.

While unified commerce has traditionally been pitted against omnichannel marketing, the distinction between them is no longer necessary or clear. With the right platform and design, multiple channels can be absorbed into a unified point of sale (POS), and there are good reasons for doing so.

Shifting Paradigms

A shift across the market to unified commerce seems inevitable at this point in history:

  • 77% of the world’s retailers say they plan to offer customers “buy anywhere, ship anywhere” services
  • 57% also report development of a shared cart that encompasses all channels, thereby simplifying the process of online transactions

The market is already highly efficient and competitive: according to an old principle elaborated by Vilfredo Pareto, the top 20% of customers provide 80% of the sales. Therefore, the struggle to gain customer loyalty will only lead to increasingly proficient marketing campaigns and cheaper products of higher quality.

Fortunately, the new, expanded digital universe produces vast amounts of data, and this trend will only increase as commerce becomes more unified. Centralized and processed by analytics software, the market’s mysteries can finally be unlocked for the profit of all, and sellers in particular.

In order to benefit, predictive analytics – or the use of data to determine the likelihood of future outcomes – must become a primary focus for online marketers far and wide.

Uses of Predictive Analytics

E-commerce has taken to the sky as a result of the new economic environment created by unified commerce. Competition has soared, along with customer satisfaction. Customer input is abundant, due to the feedback systems employed by almost every commerce-oriented business. This entails an ever-growing volume of data that can provide valuable insights.

First, predictive analytics can work toward the optimization of marketing campaigns, making it a new staple in the fundamentals of digital marketing. It does so by looking at the behavior of customers and their responses to certain stimuli via ads. Studying past reactions to specific images, words or entire products can turn up a better product, bringing a higher quality to the customer and increased profits to sellers.

Timeline of decision and execution is another point of interest: along every point of the sales funnel, your customers might change their minds about a purchase at any time. From a retailer point of view, if customers have a high probability of dropping purchases during a certain period of time, minimizing that period can only lead to more sales. As a result, the distance between decision and purchase has been increasingly shortened due to these facts uncovered by predictive analytics.

Essentially, companies are using predictive analytics to determine which products are most popular, which promotional events are most impactful and which special offers provoke the desired reactions in customers. Devised correctly and sustained by a long-term effort, a strategy involving predictive analytics can lead to much higher return on investment (ROI).

The Unified Customer Market

A single platform for commerce entails a single, unified customer market. The impact of sharing the same goods on a global scale is not yet fully understood: it causes changes and evolution in the quality of life for millions or even billions of people. The transitory period between fragmented national markets and unified commerce is giving rise to another breed of customer: the global buyer.

Not tied to any single currency, niche market or regional economic affiliation, the global buyer is capable of surfing a tremendous number of offers, and choosing those most relevant to his or her needs. Their voices become stronger and - if made consciously by enough people - their purchases gain more regulatory power.

Right now, the world is at a crossroads. The ingredients of unifying commerce and customer markets are already present, but they have not been fully mixed. The future is a realm of endless commercial possibilities and you, the seller, can doubly profit from what it has in store.

By using predictive analysis, your business can stay one step ahead of other modern producers, and miles ahead of old-fashioned competitors that struggle to set up a website.

Learn more with the following classes:

How to Grow Customer Value Through the Right Digital Experiences

Top of the Funnel Tactics for Inbound Marketing

Leveraging Analytics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 

 


Three Easy Steps to Write Better Emails

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Editor’s note: Sundeep Kapur is an educator and technology consultant who has teamed up with OMI to bring our readers a free Email Marketing Master Class. In preparation, he joins us to share his notes on delivering an effective message to email subscribers.

 

At the core of an email marketing campaign is the email itself, and this is where a brand succeeds or fails. After arriving in a prospect’s inbox, your email has one chance to make an impression. As such, crafting the strongest message possible is vitally important. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What is your brand’s value proposition?
Can you verbally deliver it in less than 30 seconds?
Would the listener or recipient remember your key points an hour later?

At every email marketing workshop, I ask my students to apply the less-than-30-second rule to these three scenarios:

  • You are at a conference; how would you introduce yourself?
  • You are calling to get an appointment; what would you say?
  • You are meeting someone you haven’t spoken to in a while (while your plane is taking off); how would you quickly (and not abruptly) deliver your message?

The answers I get for this exercise include the following terms: recognition, interactive conversations, brevity/succinctness, emphasis on key points, high impact messaging, something the recipient can remember, and value based messaging.

Next, I ask my students to write a note for each of the above scenarios – “what if you couldn’t speak and had to type?” I offer them the following pointers:

  • How would you greet them?
  • How would you grab their attention?
  • Would you use an image/What image would you use?
  • What would you want them to remember?
  • What would you want them to do?
  • How would you measure the success of your message?
  • What would your next step be?

Then, I ask them to take what they have written and look at it on a mobile device. Most times, the message is too long, seems disjointed, and leaves the reader confused as to what to do next. Consider this simple advice to write better emails and craft better messages -

3 Practical Steps to Improve Your Email Messaging:  

1 – Go through the exercise of creating a message for a prospect. If I gave you a list of 100K consumers who were well to do, enjoyed a high level of online engagement, and were frequent buyers – how would you message them? Consider designing a series of messages – two to five emails to get your point across. Use the above bullets to think about the content sections and be brutally brief.

2 – A high impact, easy to understand, and memorable message should be designed like a movie poster. Take a look at the three posters below – they clearly tell you what their movies are about.

Like a movie poster, your message should be self-contained, brief, and highly impactful. Readers should be able to remember the core points of an email after one read, hopefully anticipating whatever you have on offer.

3 – In my master class, we cover a simple approach to messaging that has delivered results for many brands. Rich with case studies, my forray into email marketing highlights lessons from Anthropologie, Dillard’s, and Overstock.com. B2C, B2B, or even C2B:  these practical ideas will help you deliver on the perfect message.

Author Bio: Sundeep Kapur is an educator. After 24 years in corporate America as a business and technology consultant he returned to his passion – teaching brands best practices so they can achieve the same success. His email marketing class has been taught across the globe for more than 2,500 brands and he continues to receive outstanding reviews for his content.

Take Sundeep's Email Marketing Master Class for free, and learn everything you need to know about crafting the perfect message!

Join us Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 from 12:00 - 1:00  PM PST / 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

 

 


Why Email is the Ultimate Marketing Omnichannel

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our new Email Marketing Course, Josh joins us today to discuss email as the first step in an omnichannel strategy that can skyrocket your traditional or online business.

 

Despite the hype surrounding social media, email is still the most popular and effective marketing tool for gaining and retaining customers.

Why?

Longevity. Of all internet marketing tools, email has been around the longest, which means it had a head start in the race for global users. As a result, those users - and all potential users - have had a long time to get comfortable with the service email provides, and think of that service as a part of everyday life, like telephone, TV, and billboards on the side of the road.

Another reason is success. Email is the top channel driving both leads and conversions, especially when it comes to doing business with other businesses, as well as doing business with consumers who want to do business. In other words, there’s a good reason 80% of businesses use email for retention. It works.

In other words, email is the most trusted, time-tested resource for converting leads into customers.

The Biggest Reason

Those reasons alone make email an essential tool for acquiring and retaining customers.

But while success and longevity are good answers to why email is essential for acquiring and retaining customers, they are not the be-all-end-all, nor the most pressing and relevant answers to why email marketing is so essential today.

In fact, arguably the biggest, most relevant and underrated reason that email marketing is essential to the customer lifecycle is that - at a time when brick-and-mortar stores are shrinking - email is the ultimate marketing channel to unify online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Here’s why.

Omnichannel Marketing

Social media is an excellent channel for increasing brand awareness in marketing and sales, but when it comes to conversions, social media platforms do not lend themselves to customers making buyer decisions.

Email does. If a user is willing to give you their email address, you have already sold them on your journey. And they are certainly willing to listen to your offer, if not entirely willing to buy your product, wherever it may be.

When a customer gives you their email address, they are giving you permission to enter their private online universe. They are also expressing a certain degree of brand loyalty and customer trust that is greater than a like on social media, and greater than or equal to an in-store purchase.

But all this is to say: acquiring a customer’s email by their own permission falls along the same spectrum of customer loyalty as online and in-store shopping. Many customers are willing to give their email addresses during purchase, especially if it means access to promotions and discounts—which is what makes email uniquely suited to being the most suitable marketing channel to unify online and brick-and-mortar stores.

So, instead of worrying about online sales cannibalizing brick-and-mortar sales or vice versa, businesses should see email as a unifying marketing channel, or what’s known as an “omnichannel." In this case, omnichannel marketing is the practice of using online messaging to lead customers to brick-and-mortar stores, and brick-and-mortar messaging to lead customers to online stores, all of which works to keep the customer lifecycle of acquisition and retention alive.    

Something to Consider

It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retail stores are closing at a rate that could see 1 in every 4 U.S. malls shuttered by 2022. In 2016, the biggest retailer in the world, Walmart, closed 269 brick-and-mortar stores and bought Jet.com in an apparent bid to expand its online sales.

Meanwhile, Amazon.com continues to grow its already burgeoning online sales, and just last month expanded to the point of bursting its own digital bubble by purchasing Whole Foods and entering the brick-and-mortar business, wholesale.

Barring discussions of what all that says about the epic power struggle between Walmart and Amazon—which is impossible to say this early in the game—the expansion of each retailer into the other’s “domain” spells out what we’re seeing in the retail industry as a whole: a contraction for brick-and-mortar, an expansion for eCommerce.

What most businesses would rather see is a balance, which is why the first businesses to adopt an acquisition and retention model that can successfully unify online with brick-and-mortar could be the start of something new.

Why not start with email and add the ultimate marketing omnichannel to your business cycle?

Email marketing is a HUGE marketing channel. If you want more in-depth knowledge about integrating email into your marketing strategy, check out our updated class library with brand new email marketing courses.

 

 


Email Marketing: Simple Ways to Get High Open Rates

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our new Email Marketing Course, Josh joins us today to discuss simple ways to get high open rates in your first email marketing campaign.

 

Most businesses know that they should be using email marketing to gain and retain customers.

But not all businesses know how.  

Even for those who do know how, many still don’t know how to net a higher open rate than 25%, or 1 in every 4 customers, where the other 3 simply delete.

So how do you set up your first email marketing campaign for high open rates?

  1. Be Deliverable: your emails should be delivered to recipients without setting off spam filters.
  2. Be Teachable: should be able to listen and learn from your customers.

Easier said than done? Not necessarily!

If you can follow the outline below during your first campaign, chances are high that your messages will be delivered and received without issue. That’s because you’ll have followed certain steps that ensure you’re listening to and learning from your customers—and not just to avoid their spam filters, but to deliver what they want most.

So start being teachable in order to be deliverable, and follow along to learn how you can set up your first email marketing campaign for high open rates.

Set a Target Audience

Do research, and find out who is most likely to be interested in your offer. If you’re providing an update to your service, find out who would appreciate it most and why. If you’re offering a new product, find out who is most likely to buy it and why. Avoid choosing a demographic that is too broad, such as “Millennials.” Instead, refine your search to center around the segment of your target audience that your message is most likely to hit, such as “millennials aged 25-40 who like us on Facebook.” If you can hit that target right on the bullseye, its impact will be felt throughout the market, likely reaching other people who may also become customers.

Prospect for Leads

Look for online spaces and brick-and-mortar places where your target audience is most likely to be found. Drive traffic from those spaces and places to your site via Twitter, Facebook posts, guest posts on blogs, and word-of-mouth advertising. Avoid scraping other sites for email addresses, unless you’re 100% certain they would be interested in what you have to offer, or your service directly relates to theirs (e.g., you know each other from an exposition). It’s very important you do everything you can to follow our next piece of advice.

Gain Permission

Prompt Facebook fans, site visitors, and especially regular customers to sign up for your email list. Promising a benefit such as free content, a discount, or a free trial goes a long way towards procuring this permission. It is always a bad idea to buy email lists. This is not only because it skips the permission phase of listening to your customer, but also because using it puts you in danger of violating laws that safeguard internet privacy and protect against spam.

Set Open Rate Goals

The benchmark open rate is 25%, but you can set your goal higher or lower, depending on the parameters of your campaign. If your target audience is relatively small, niche, or consists of regular customers, then you might set your open rate goal higher than the benchmark. Meeting that goal shows how well you know your customer. But if the target audience is a relatively large or a new market, you may want to set your open rate goal lower than or equal to the benchmark to be safe. Remember: in order to properly manage expectations, you should never over-promise and under-deliver. Instead, try to under-promise and over-deliver on open rate goals.

Write, Style, and Send

Writing, styling, and sending your email is the time to show your customer how well you’ve listened and learned from them. It is the most important step of the outline because it tests how well you’ve done your homework, as well as how deliverable and teachable you are. By this point, your written email copy should address the needs of your target audience and reflect a solution to all leads who have given you their email. If you write, style, and send an email but skip audience targeting, prospecting, or gaining permission, your open rates will reflect it.

Study Results, Rinse, and Repeat

Give your message at least 24 hours to be sorted by your recipients, and then check results through analytics provided by an email service provider. This is where you get to hear the verdict on whether you’re succeeding at being both teachable and deliverable. Deliverability is easy to measure. If you’re deliverable, then your bounce rates and spam flags will be low. Teachability is more difficult to measure.

If you’re teachable—that is, if you’re both listening to and learning from your customer, especially regarding their preferences—then not only will your open rates be higher than the benchmark, but your customers’ engagement levels and click through rates will be off the charts.

If that’s the case, then you’re doing something right, and all you need to do is rinse and repeat the process.

If not, then you need to learn more about how to set up email marketing campaigns for high open rates.

Email marketing is a HUGE marketing channel. If you want more in-depth knowledge about how to set up your first email marketing campaign for high open rates, check out our updated class library with brand new email marketing courses.

 

 


Twenty Measurement Insights from a Career in Marketing: Part 3

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career in marketing

Editor’s Note: Kent Lewis is the president of digital marketing agency Anvil Media Inc. Today he joins us to continue a series of measurement related insights he has learned over a long career in marketing, to help those who are on a journey in analytics/data related fields.

 

I never was much for math in school, so it’s ironic that numbers are central to my career. In the past few weeks, I’ve posted the first two parts of a four-part series:

Twenty Measurement Insights from a Career in Marketing: Part 1 of 4

Twenty Measurement Insights from a Career in Marketing: Part 2 of 4

In the first two installments, I shared 10 lessons in measurement from a career in marketing and analytics. This is the next installment of the series. Please enjoy.

Further Insights From a Career in Marketing

Relational data creates context

Dealing with data all day makes Johnny a Dull Boy. Even today, I struggle to gain insights from spreadsheets. To me, they look like the cascading numbers in The Matrix. Thus, I learned two tricks early in my career:

  1. Visualize the data and
  2. Create context via relationships

While I covered data visualization in part 1, I want to touch on relational data. In the world of marketing, improvements are everything. Optimizing traffic volume, conversion rates or qualified lead value is essential. I’ve found that ratios provide more meaning over time than other KPIs, especially for trending purposes. As seen in the above image, social media link growth increased 100 percent. At the same time, comments-per-like decreased 25 percent, as it doesn’t maintain a similar growth trajectory. Make sure your metrics have some sort of anchor: ratios do this exceedingly well.

Competitive data provides motivation

While sales has been a key responsibility for most of my career, I’ve discovered three ways to get things done, especially deals. One strategy is to use secondary research and social proof as appeals to logic and safety. Another strategy is to use primary research and customer insights for a personalized and often more compelling approach. The most effective technique I’ve used - particularly with senior management - is an appeal to the ego by means of competitive benchmarking.

Everyone wants to be a winner. And when your company or clients are in second place, there is motivation to invest in marketing to gain leadership. Three free tools you can use to benchmark competitors online (at least with relative data vs. absolute) include Alexa Internet, MOZ Open Site Explorer and Google Site Speed tools.

As you can see above, Alexa provides bounce rates, daily pageviews and time-on-site metrics across most websites.

The Google site speed tool above outlines responsive design and mobile/desktop speeds, which all correlate to conversion rates, user experience and thus rankings in search results.

The image above is of the MOZ Open Explorer, which includes data on domain authority. A site is more likely to rank for desirable terms in search engines when they have a higher domain authority, as it correlates with trust. No boss wants to lose the online marketing battle, so tell them how they stack up, then give them a roadmap to reach first place.

Facts tell, stories sell

As a huge fan of Mad Men, I get the tingles every time I watch Don Draper's Kodak Carousel ad pitch. The power of the 3-minute pitch is the reality that it’s light on facts, and heavy on storyline. The Kodak Cassette is a time machine or a carousel, which has nothing to do with resolution or technology, but everything to do with family memories. I learned this the hard way working with technology companies that sold chips, printers and software: messaging was always around humdrum tech specs rather than benefits.

Data should create actionable insights

For over twenty years my team and I have put together monthly activity reports for clients. I’ve also had the opportunity to see many reports from internal corporate teams and competitors over that same period. One of the most common shortcomings I see with analytics reports is a lack of value (insights and actions).

Too many reports are demonstrations of copy-paste efficiency, indiscriminately pulling charts from Google Analytics, AdWords and social media platforms. Even third party dashboards that streamline the process create bad habits for marketers, as they make report generation too easy. Value lies in analyzing the data, identifying issues and opportunities and developing specific, actionable recommendations. At Anvil, we’ve streamlined our reports, focusing on visualization of the data, a high-level summary of activities and performance,specific actions, owners and timelines. If your reports are falling short, it’s time to revisit.

Inspect, do not expect

Although I’ve been a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization for a decade, I’m sometimes slow to learn lessons in business. One business measurement lesson I learned the hard way was how to effectively measure my team’s performance. Early in my career as a manager, conventional wisdom (that many still swear by today) was to hire smart people and get out of the way. I got the first part right (hiring smart people), but I did not follow through to ensure they knew how to do their job and had the support they needed to be successful. Most importantly, I managed by instinct and perception, which became deadly.

Years later, my EO mentor advised me: “Inspect, do not Expect.” I immediately instituted a weekly status update, including goals for the coming week and an update on goals from the previous week. It has helped me to appreciate what my executive team can accomplish, where they need support and how often they get side-tracked by unanticipated emergencies. My only expectation nowadays is that my team will update me on a weekly basis. Inspect the rest. Related article: 3 Game-Changing Leadership Lessons.

Don't let good numbers create complacency

One of the surprising measurement lessons I’ve learned is this: success can breed complacency, and complacency creates major problems. We’ve all heard the old sayings about success going to your head. But I’m talking about a slightly different danger: if your car gets you to work reliably every day, it’s difficult to see why you’d open the hood to look for any issues, especially when you don’t see, hear or feel anything wrong. That was the challenge I faced at Anvil. We experienced five consecutive years of rapid growth. Essentially, the car we’d built kept going faster and it sounded great (at least to me). The problem was that under the hood, there was a good deal of duct tape and a few stray hamsters. By the time I figured it out, it was too late and had to completely rebuild the car while we were still on the road. I believe Johnny Cash wrote a song about this problem. Related article: 20 Lessons in 20 Years as a Marketer & Entrepreneur.

There is always a role for humans in analytics

I was interviewed by DMN about the role of humans in the world of analytics. I prepared for the interview by reading a few articles on the subject. That preparation turned into the following article: Underestimating The Human Element of Big Data Analytics. In brief, artificial intelligence combined with big data provides amazing new opportunities for all types of disciplines, including marketing. The good news is that humans still play an essential role in the machine-driven process, including knowing what questions to ask, how to structure the analysis, interpret and act on insights.

Map data analytics to your dream job

When I graduated college in the 90s, my uncle told me to stay close to the money (more on that in part 1). It took me a few years to realize that my role in measuring buying activity through analytics put me on top of the money. That insight has led others to join a booming industry which includes newer disciplines like sales and marketing automation. It also includes maturing roles like data scientist and data analyst. I recently penned an article on the roadmap to building a dream job in the field of analytics: Six steps to a fulfilling and financially-rewarding career. This article will help you understand if your unique abilities and talents are in the ballpark of analytics, and from there, you can network and identify job opportunities.

Build your own career plan dashboard

For those of you that already have a job or a general direction for your career, it may help to validate your level of happiness. I have an article for that: Take this quiz to find out if you have your Dream Job. This article provides evaluation criteria for what a great job looks and feels like, and it can help to objectively assess your situation. If you score well, congratulations! If you score lower, it’s time to rethink your job or career. Start by painting a picture of your ideal job: how it looks, how it sounds and even smells. Then map that ideal to potential employers, and network your way into that company or start your own. Reverse-engineer your career end-point back to the present by setting goals, associated timelines, actions, and execute them.

Start your journey today

The most difficult step in making a career move - especially when it comes to data measurement - is the first step. I’ve written another article that provides specifics steps for building a career in any field, but especially digital marketing.

12 Career Tips for Growth-Minded Individuals

It all starts by networking, researching, studying, applying and improving. The first step may seem like the most difficult, but it doesn’t have to be: I hope you find these twenty lessons in measurement and analytics helpful to your journey.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Storytelling in the Digital Age

Web Analytics Fundamentals for a Data-Driven World

Testing, Behavioral Analytics & Metrics Best Practices

 

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


6 Email Marketing Trends You Can’t Miss in 2017

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our new Email Marketing Course, Josh joins us today to discuss the biggest email marketing trends in 2017.

 

We’ve come a long way since “You’ve got mail.”

So far, in fact, that the reason people open emails has completely changed over time.

From its inception in 1971 through the 1990s, email was seen exclusively as an extension to the written memo or business letter. That’s why it was called “electronic mail” or “e-mail” for short: it was an electronic alternative to paper based communication.

email marketing trends

In 2017, email is the dominant platform used by working professionals to communicate with businessesIt comes as a surprise to many that even more than social media, email is still the most popular, private channel for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) messages.

Looking at recent and historical trends, total emails sent and total email senders are projected to grow 3% annually through 2019, as email’s sphere of influence continues to expand. This means the audience marketers can reach via email will continue to broaden. And because that audience prefers email to communicate with brands they trust, email’s potential as a marketing channel will only continue to grow.

But there are hurdles to such growth, and marketers have to be prepared:

1. Shorter Attention Spans

email marketing trends 2

A study recently confirmed what we all suspected: most online readers have shorter attention spans than a goldfish. While experts argue about the exact length of that attention span or whether its growing, consensus says that the average online reader has an attention span that does not surpass 9 seconds.

What does this have to do with email marketing? Well suffice to say, it doesn't bode well for your 2,000-word newsletter with no images. If you can't engage your recipients quickly and hold their attention, you're on a one-way-trip to delete-ville.

2. Sensitive Spam Filters

email marketing trends 3

Automatic spam filters are getting much more aggressive to corporate messaging. This trend represents increased interest in cybersecurity that may only climb as government officials and email oversight personnel pay more and more attention to webmail.

Sadly, there's not much you can do about this. But here's a hint: most spam filters are trained on human perceptions. If your email doesn't look like spam to a person, there's a better chance it won't get deleted.

3. Increasingly Complicated Styles

email marketing trends 4

The ever-increasing complexity of web design doesn't end with webpages. Email has moved away from text-only messages that look like newsletters. As a result, it is more difficult to make emails stand out and easier to let them stagnate.

To combat this stagnation, remain on customers’ radars, and hold their attention: businesses should watch all of these trends and learn how to make their emails appeal to customers’ sense of exclusivity, novelty, and personalization.

4. Exclusivity

One of the best ways to maintain a relationship with your subscribers is giving them access to exclusive content. This approach can work with offers of access to a video, a webinar, a study, a free trial, or any other content produced by your brand.

When sending out email offers, condense the most interesting information you have to offer in the email subject line. Make it read like a news headline, but don’t give too much away.

The goal is to give subscribers something not all of your readers can access. Conceal and reveal is how you should approach both your emails and calls-to-action (CTAs); retention and acquisition should be your guiding principles. If your subscribers freely share the information you’ve freely given them, this approach can increase customer acquisition. Keep tabs on open and click-through rates and other metrics to analyze how well your appeals to exclusivity work.

6. Personalization

The best way to remain on a customer’s radar is personalized email. What is personalized email? Let's break it down:

A personalized email knows:

  • What a customer likes
  • And what else they might like based on those preferences
  • And how to deliver it to them via recommendation engine and webmail...
  • ...at the time a customer is most likely to be at their device

While this might seem like a scary level of detail, machine learning makes this level of personalization possible on a large scale. Email template providers like MailChimp can provide detailed insights about reader preferences to businesses.

But when it comes to adding a personal touch, there is no substitute to corresponding one-on-one with actual customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to personalize emails with your own words as much as possible. Including your business’ address, telephone number, your personal signature, and a way to opt out of email from your business goes a long way towards accomplishing this goal. Doing all of this ensures that you’re complying with the CAN SPAM Act of 2003, and makes you appear reachable and human.

Email marketing is a HUGE marketing channel. If you want to know more about email marketing trends to watch in 2017, check out the new email marketing course in our updated class library for free!

 

 


Build a Social Media Presence From Scratch

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Editor's Note: Jo Robinson is a content writer for Media Shark. Today she joins us to explain the importance of a social media strategy for business, and how your company can build a presence from scratch.

 

As a business owner, your social media presence is non-negotiable.

On a personal level, you might find Facebook futile or Instagram infuriating. But professionally, if you want your business - and especially your online business - to succeed, an active presence on those platforms is crucial.

#That's a bit dramatic @writer', I see you tweet.

But it's not.

Your potential customers are active on social media and it's essential to keep yourself at the forefront of their minds; to increase sales, you meet your prospects where they are at.

Establishing a social media presence will also help you build relationships with your existing clients, strengthen their loyalty, increase your web traffic, and offer a point of difference to your competition.

Assuming, that is, you do it right.

Your attendance on social media is compulsory, but if you've been delaying the inevitable, do not be afraid: it's never too late. Now is the time for your brand to get socially active. Here are seven steps for building your social media presence from scratch, and gaining a meaningful following that will help you build your business.

1. Pick the platform(s) that work best for you and your brand

There are many social platforms to choose from these days: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Tumblr are just some of the mediums in a growing list of viable social networking sites.

The good news is, you don't need to be on all of them! In fact, spreading your resources too thin is counterproductive: there's nothing worse than Googling a business and finding an old, abandoned Twitter account sitting among half-baked hashtags and a default profile picture.

In the beginning, choose one or two platforms, and start there. Do some research, and pick the ones where your target audience is present. The quality of your content reflects on your company, so don't create profiles for the sake of it. Put your energy into growing and maintaining relevant platforms to avoid seeming like someone who isn't committed to their business.

2. Craft your profiles

You showed up, and made an account. Good job, but you're not done yet: your social media profiles should never be an after-thought. They're extremely powerful opportunities to strengthen your brand and communicate who you are, so it's essential that you give your profiles the #TLC they deserve.

Good Branding

Choose a profile and cover image that's consistent with your brand. Depending on the nature of your business, either a logo or a professional image of the business-owner works well. Low-quality images are a no-no, so make sure to use high-resolution images if you have them, or produce them if you don't.

Add your logo to all images throughout your social media and when you add any copy, consistently use the same font in line with your style guide.  

nutella social media

Nutella's brand imagery is front and center

Your biographies should be completed using your short and long business description, and all contact information should be filled out.

Make sure you add a ‘contact now' button to Facebook and Instagram so people can call you as an easy next step to their browsing.

Social media counts towards your SEO search ranking, so this is another golden opportunity to get keywords next to your business name on search engines. 

With informative and engaging profiles, social browsers who visit your page(s) will know that you mean business and you've got something worth their time, so never slack on this bit.

3. Share with your audience

On the Internet, it's easy to buy fake followers. Don't do this. Not only is it inauthentic, it's also completely unnecessary: if you produce engaging content that your market enjoys, your followers will grow organically and you'll also get engagement too.

Content is the currency of social media, so if you haven't begun a content strategy yet, now is the time to start. Here are some suggestions:

  • Attach a blog to your website, and write helpful articles related to your niche - you can hire writers to help you with this job, or invite guest posts from influencers
  • Commission white papers that reflect the state of your industry
  • On heavily visual networks like Pinterest, infographics are a proven strategy

Whatever you do, give to your audience, and they will have a good reason to stick around.

Nutella_Facebook_Posts.png

Nutella shares content featuring their own product to encourage interaction

Before your page grows, you need a small initial following. Start by:

  • Sharing your page with people you know, or people in your company
  • Share it with existing customers by email
  • If you're on Facebook, join relevant Facebook groups, and share page content there
  • On sites with tags (like Twitter and Instagram), adding useful tags will help you get discovered

Once you've made a start, your followers will grow organically and you'll know that people are there because they will be genuinely interested in you and your content.

4. Post consistently

We've all seen it. A nice, attractive page, a few posts bubbling with excitement about a new business, and then...

...nothing. nothing but a screen-based version of an awkward silence. Think tumbleweeds and crickets floating across your screen as people wonder where the rest of your content is. The last post was 40 weeks ago and your customers - protip: the people with money to give you - have no idea if you're even still in business.

Until you've built up a loyal following, you need to post regularly and consistently. This might be once a week, or it might be once or more per day. How often you post depends on the nature of your business and your market, but the key is consistency.

Unless you have a dedicated social media manager, uploading content on the fly will never work. You're a busy person and social media will always get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Spend some time scheduling content to make sure your reach is constant, and your followers know what they can expect from you.

5. Offer incentives for sharing your posts

All humans have a ‘what's in it for me' attitude, so once your immediate friends and family have liked and shared your page, it's helpful to devise incentive-based offers to create a traffic boon.

Offer goods to your audience and potential audience such as discount vouchers, a free product, or entry into a competition for sharing a post which will extend your reach.

Always check with your platform owner as restrictions can apply to competitions, and you need to make sure your posts always sit within their guidelines.

6. Respond to engagement

Your pages should be a welcoming environment where people can hang out, express their opinions, and feel included, so always acknowledge people who respond to your content.

Tag people in comments, and like/reply to reviews and posts on your page; yes, even the negative ones!

This is your opportunity to create strong relationships with your market and put yourself at the forefront of their minds. As your followers witness this engagement, they're more likely to pop over and follow you too, further building your audience.

7. Use analytics

Finally, most platforms now provide free analytics which you should take advantage ofPosting the wrong content at the wrong time for the wrong audience will bring you to a roadblock in terms of growth. Useful metrics to pay attention to include

  • Number of reactions/shares/comments on a post
  • Days of the week, and times of day that your users are most active
  • How many clicks a link received
  • Demographics of your audience: age, sex, location, interests

Using this information, you can build a better social media strategy while simultaneously boosting your marketing efforts. Pay attention to people, and they will pay attention to you.

Conclusion

Building a social media presence can be a slow process, but it has a snowball effect. Stay in it for the long haul! With consistency and effort, an active social media presence is well worth the benefits it will bring your business, so use the outline above to devise a strategy you can commit to.

Bio: Jo Robinson is a content writer at Media Shark, where she can be contacted. With an exciting background that includes police forensics and professional fundraising, Jo's a whiz with words and appeals to a wide range of audiences.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Social Media Brand: Expressing Brand through Social Media

Creating and Curating Content People Love

Leveraging Analytics

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.