Digital Direct Marketing and Social Media Management for B2B

March 13, 2014

3 ways to ensure your social brand is consistent

If you’re like most businesses, you have set up company profiles with several different Social Media networks. That’s great, because the more social your brand is, the better. But if you aren’t managing your profiles in an integrated way, you may actually be doing your brand a disservice.

Here are 3 steps you should take to make sure that your Social Media presence is integrated with your overall brand strategy:

Brand-building1. Choose Strong Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are words or phrases that tell your customer what your brand is about. You should know which words both entice your audience and carve your brand’s niche in the marketplace. Having strong keywords will make your SEO more relevant and enable you to rise to the top when your customer searches for you online. If you need help deciding which keywords will be the most powerful for your brand, you can use Google Analytics to view the top 5 keywords that customers use to reach your main website.

2. Use Keywords and Messaging Consistently

Once you have isolated your keywords and formulated relevant messaging that contains those keywords, use them in all of your social communications. Your repeated use of keywords on all Social Media platforms can bolster your search engine rankings and pay per click (PPC) marketing campaigns. Consistency will also prevent your brand personality from becoming diluted by changing tones and content on each Social Media site. For instance, how your brand interacts on Facebook and Twitter will be different because of the nature of those platforms. But, when you use the same keywords and messaging, customers will recognize your brand voice no matter where you are.

3. Manage Your Profiles and Track Your Engagement

Having multiple Social Media identities can get confusing, and it is difficult to stay on top of the responses your brand is receiving. Using online Social Managers like SocialMention.com or HootSuite.com can help you to Manage your profiles under one interface, schedule your Facebook and Twitter posts, see how your keywords and topics are trending, and even track what people are saying about you and your company.

These are just a few ideas for managing your social brand. For more information or help finding your brand’s keywords, contact frank@ClayCreativeResults.com.


The Role of “Lumpy Mail” in B2B Digital Direct Marketing

February 27, 2014

How a Direct Mail technique can get a digital response

Lumpy-Mail

Every successful Direct Mail Marketer knows that “lumpy mail” doubles the response of “flat mail”. Lumpy mail is anything with more volume, larger dimensions, weight, texture or bumps than normal mail. It might even make noise when shaken.

Successful B2B Direct Mail Campaign for WYANDOT Inc.

Lumpy mail gets better results because it peaks curiosity. What could be inside? Is it a gift? Most recipients will open lumpy mail, because they just have to know.

I would argue that this technique could be just as useful in the digital arena. To me there is no difference between offering a small gift or surprise in an envelope or offering it by Email. The trick is to be creative about how you package and deliver your content.

Here are the 3 things you should do to get results from Lumpy Emails:

Offer a Surprise

In Digital Direct Marketing, Email is the closest thing to mailing a letter to someone’s house, and your subject line is the envelope. Don’t waste those few precious words telling the reader about your brand. Instead, entice your customers with the promise of a gift or the ability to do something fun. Remember the “Elf Yourself” campaign OfficeMax launched in 2006? Imagine emailing a customer to invite them to elf themselves. That’s pretty lumpy Email, if you ask me. Try to think of something similar that reflects your brand or current campaign.

Keep it Light

You’ve gotten your customer to open your lumpy Email. Now what? You don’t want to lose them by switching into sales mode. Keep it light and give them what you promised. Whether it’s a silly online game, the ability to create an avatar or a link to a funny YouTube video, make sure what’s inside is as funny or interesting as they expect. Ideally, tie it back into your brand. The idea is to sponsor a little bit of fun in exchange for their attention. Once you’ve delivered that fun, they will be more open to your call to action.

Ask for What You Want

Like any marketing campaign, decide what you want the customer to do and deliver that message last. If you want them to call your office, take your call, visit a website, or provide personal information, make it crystal clear. You gave them something, so they will be more likely to return the favor.

Have you ever sent something you considered to be Lumpy Email? Was it successful? Share your comments and stories with me by emailing frank@claycreativeresults.com. I’ll share your responses in a future post.


Digital Direct Marketing Uses Social Media to Reach Niche Customers

February 13, 2014

5 ways social know-how makes niche marketing easier

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Unlike general target markets, niche markets are not defined simply by location or demographics, but by shared experiences, interests or ideas.

Niche markets are difficult to influence unless you understand the values of those in them. For instance, a realty company might want to target men who earn above $500,00 a year and prefer to live in golf course communities. To do this, the marketer will have to learn as much as possible about these men: What motivates them? What do they read? What do they look for in a golf course?

Today, marketers don’t have to guess the answers to questions like this based solely on past purchasing information and shallow observation. Now, brands can get involved and participate in the Social Media Network of their niche market to learn firsthand about its not-so-obvious quirks.Here are 5 ways to more effectively use Social Media for niche marketing:

Choose the Right Social Media Networks

Did you know some Wall Street Employees are banned from using Facebook, Twitter and Google at work? Since they are at the office nearly 80 hours a week, a social media campaign targeting them through these channels would fail miserably. Rather than making assumptions about which Social Media channels appeal to your niche, do a little upfront research. As you can see from this example, it can make or break your campaign.

Get Involved and Participate

Once you know how your niche connects, it’s time to join the conversation. Visit chat rooms and blogs that appeal to them, and listen in. If you market beer, join a chat room for craft brew fanatics. You’ll learn what motivates your target audience and what language and activities they respond to. Feel free to participate and represent your brand, but be careful not to kill the conversation with a blatant plug for your company.

See How Your Niche Responds to Other Brands

Whether they are Tweeting about a brand or liking it on Facebook, you should know what your niche thinks about your competition. This will help you fine tune your position in the market and respond to your own brand weaknesses before your customer calls you out on them.

Create Relevant Content

To stay involved, you’ll want to create content to spread across relevant Social Media networks. If you sell bamboo fly fishing rods, host a YouTube video highlighting the top 10 fly-fishing rivers in the U.S., or write a blog that discusses which flies are most effective in different areas of the country. The more valuable your content is to your niche market, the more likely they are to find it and share it.

Position Your Brand as The Expert

In addition to sharing content, you’ll want to make sure that your brand is welcomed as an integral part of your niche market. Being an expert puts you in that position. Create studies, write a blog or host a series of teaching videos, and those interested in your expert opinion will seek more information from your business website.

For more information about using Social Media Networks to reach your niche market, contact Jessica@claycreativeresults.com.


Creative Ways to Integrate Direct Mail and Digital Marketing for B2B

January 15, 2014

3 proven tactics for achieving measurable results

Clay-Direct-MarketingMention Direct Mail to a room full of advertising professionals these days, and you will probably see some eye-rolling. Snail mail is considered passé, and digital solutions are all anyone wants to discuss. But let’s not forget that traditional direct mail tactics are the bedrock on which some of today’s greatest Digital Marketing strategies are built.

Interactive channels might be more dynamic, but they can’t do it all. Direct mailing lists are often more targeted, reliable, and more difficult to opt out of than emails. Customers are also more likely to open Direct Mail and more likely to actually read it. That’s why smart marketers still leverage Direct Mail to drive their Direct Digital Marketing efforts. Here are three examples of how you can do it, too:

Invite Customers to Opt into Email

Email blasts are easily filtered into the spam folder, and, even if they are opened, they are just as simple to opt out of. Try “priming” your customers with a Direct Mail so they are actually looking forward to your Emails. Use your direct mailer to announce a sweepstakes or offer a coupon, and then require customers to provide an email address and respond to your emails in order to receive the prize or discount. This is a more civilized way of ushering customers onto your email list of their own free will, which makes it more likely that they will stay there.

Use personalized URLs (PURLs)

It’s a no-brainer to use Direct Mail to drive customers to your website, but you can get greater measurability and interactivity by driving them to personalized micro-sites or PURLs. You’ll know how successful your mailing was by how many users access your PURL, plus you can provide an extremely targeted user experience once they get there. More and more, companies are using PURLs alongside their corporate websites to cater to specific customer types by providing completely different products and other features. These micro-sites can be used as informational social media hubs or they can offer customized product lines that make more sense when separated from the main website. PURLs offer unlimited possibilities, but without direct mail to drive them there, your customer might not find them.

Add QR Codes

Quick response codes (QR) are small icons made up of dots that translate into binary code. Smartphone users scan the icon with their phone to access online websites and videos that provide more information about a product. Although they are still used mainly by early adopter’s of technology, QR codes are becoming more and more popular with advertisers. In fact, about 10% of magazine ads now contain QR codes. Not surprisingly, codes that offer a discount, coupon or chance to enter a sweepstakes have a higher response rate. Direct Mail is the ideal traffic driver for websites and mobile platforms that use QR codes because you can easily target specific demographics within your existing customer base. Adding a QR code to direct mail ensures that your offer is as instantaneous as everything in the digital world.

Many companies are shelving direct mailing lists they have spent years building because they are so focused on digital solutions. I hope this post gives you a sense of how to incorporate Direct Mail to enhance your Direct Digital Marketing efforts rather than wasting those valuable assets. If you have questions or comments, contact frank@claycreativeresults.com


Marketing Made in the USA Products Regains Popularity

August 20, 2013

5 reasons “American-made” resonates with consumers

Over the last two decades, Americans have had little interest in USA made products. Almost everything Americans were buying (includimarketingmadeintheUSAbrandsng the little flags we waved on the 4th of July) was cheaply produced in foreign countries like Taiwan and China, and the trade deficit continued to grow. Luckily, that is beginning to change, as American-made products are suddenly regaining popularity and driving sales. And it’s not just about sentimental patriotism anymore. Here are 5 reasons today’s consumers are looking to buy products that are made in the USA:

Job Creation

According to a Boston Consulting Group survey released in November 2012, over 80% of Americans say they are willing to pay more for Made in the USA products. 93% sited wanting to keep jobs in the USA as the main reason. It’s not hard to understand that after years in a recession and rampant unemployment, Americans are starting to feel the consequences of importing more than we export. Now Americans are voting with their wallets and making smarter buying decisions in order to tip the scales back in our favor.

The Environment

Many consumers take an interest in simplifying the supply chain, reducing our carbon footprint, and protecting the environment. For this reason, locally sourced products very popular. In a global economy, American-made is the equivalent of locally sourced, and consumers feel good knowing products are made “in their own backyards.” More importantly, America has stricter environmental laws than countries like China where there are unacceptable levels of pollution levels from manufacturing plants. That makes buying American an easy choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Human Rights

The same consumers that are concerned about the environment are also concerned about protecting human resources. They understand that many countries exploit their own people, including children, to make a profit.  When consumers buy American, they can be more certain that proper labor and fair trade laws have been followed.

 Better Safety Standards

Some foreign countries do not set even minimum safety standards for the products they manufacture. For example, China ships tens of thousands of toys that contain poisonous lead paint to the US every year.  When consumers buy American, they have more peace of mind knowing that standards are in place to protect them.

Higher Quality

Many consumers have finally grown tired of cheaply made foreign goods, and they are willing to pay a premium for quality, American-made products. When marketing Made in the USA products, a focus on traditional craftsmanship and quality is key.

As you can see, the new Made in the USA market is more sophisticated, informed and socially conscious than ever before. To drive sales, you’ll want to ditch the old approach of appealing to patriotism and spend more time providing quality information about your manufacturing processes, company heritage and high standards.

For more information about marketing American-made products, contact frank@claycreativeresults.com



Use Video for Integrating Your Digital Advertising and Marketing Communications

January 31, 2013

HOW TO MARKET YOUR BRAND WITH ONLINE VIDEOS

Remember story time? The late night bed time reading that kept you alert before sleep or the engaging class room story with picture books and sound effects made by your teacher. The years have faded away since then but the stories live on. That’s our goal at Clay Creative…to tell the story of your brand to make an ever lasting impression on your audience.

film_countdown_postcard-p239939635109173100envli_400The great part of this business is that story time never ends and it’s our job to keep your audience turning the pages inside the book we call your brand.

Chapter 1: Why use video to tell the story of your brand?

Integrating video into your online marketing efforts is vital for your growing business. Todays generation is driven by an urge to express their interests, hobbies and point of view and social media is the vehicle for most of this expression. Words are the ultimate force behind conversation but photos and videos are taking their place and are becoming much more search engine friendly.

  • Video helps your customers relate to you on a more personal level
  • Video connects with people on a deeper level: The audio and visual representation of your products and services will make stronger connections than wordy descriptions or pictures.
  • It is more common for search engines to pick up on key words in your video and this results in higher SEO rankings.

Chapter 2: Tell stories with videos to make life easier for your audience.

Prospective customers tend to know very little about you and have come to your site to learn how you can help them. They are strapped for time so you must make their navigation experience as easy as possible. Videos can accomplish what paragraphs of text can in 2 minutes or less.

  • Your video must provide value to the viewer and the best way to do this is to teach them something new. 
  • Create FAQ videos to answer the most commonly asked question about your products and services. For example, if you are a bakery, you may record an answer on “The best cakes to bake for catering to large parties or events”.
  • Record a video on how to best use your product or service or to highlight product benefits. Apple consistently uses video to tell the story for every new product release and it works by engaging the viewer and alluring them to the bells and whistles of their latest technology.
  • Pick a focus for your video and do not try to explain 15 things in 60 seconds.

Chapter 3: How to differentiate content for B2B and B2C

The content and strategy of your video must be tailored to your audience and this depends on whether you’re targeting businesses or consumers. The key point to acknowledge is that businesses are people too. Remember businesses that market to other businesses are relationship driver and businesses that market to consumers are product driven. Here is a list to understand the video content you should use depending on your audience.

  • B2B videos should outline your company objectives, mission statement and history.
  • Focus on product attributes and services for your B2C videos.
  • B2C marketing is usually more products driven so focus on appealing to the emotional side of the consumer.
  • B2B sales are usually longer cycle sales so it’s important to be in-depth in describing your company’s core attributes and success stories.

Use video to tell the story of your brand and highlight your products and services but remember to use the visual medium with a mixture of all types of media. Pictures and shared content can be used to support your video. Our brains are hardwired to make a story out of all of the information we consume so give your audience a reason to connect with you on an emotional level. With content sharing at its highest peak companies must embrace visual story telling through media. Recent research from ROI shows that 44% percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures and videos.

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3 Tips On How To Grow Your Business With LinkedIn

January 3, 2013

USING LinkedIn TO EXPAND YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT ON A PROFESSIONAL PLATFORM

The rapid emergence of social media networks and tools in the last five years signifies the need to enhance the sharing of information for both personal use and branding. There have been many social apps that have failed to impact the social media world and we can argue that it’s a result of not carving out a major niche.

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Look no further than Instagram for quick mobile photo editing and sharing (aka combining the digital camera with the smart phone to bring out the professional photographer in all of us), Twitter for allowing us to communicate with short phrases during an era of information overload and Facebook for becoming our online social diaries and connecting us to our friends and family.

The major theme carried throughout every social media tool is ‘sharing’ but each tool/network emphasizes a particular niche to separate itself from the rest. Before LinkedIn, an online social network for professional use did not exist. Founded a year before Facebook in 2003, LinkedIn has become the most popular social media distribution channel and more marketers are using this media channel for content distribution, according to recent findings from the Social Media Examiner.

Here are 3 ways your business can use LinkedIn to turn connections into leads:

1. Create a clean, concise and easy to navigate profile

Your LinkedIn URL should be customized to strengthen branding and make more searchable. With your name in the URL, it is more likely for your profile to rank for searches for your name because search engines look for relevant keywords in the URL. To convert your random digitized URL into a personal link of your company name:

  • Go to the “Settings” link at the very top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select the “Public Profile” link under the “Profile Settings” heading. Once selected you can now enter your new custom link.

Before developing your network and creating connections, be sure to optimize your profile to 100% completeness and link your business website to your LinkedIn profile and blog. Encourage every employee of your company to include a link on his/her LinkedIn profile to your business website.

Include your company’s most popular keyword phrases in your company’s personal profile. For example, if you are doing an online ad campaign, match the phrase of your ads to your company description profile to present a consistent image to any potential customers.

2. It’s All About The Groups: Join Them, Create Them and Promote Them

  1. Join groups comprising of likely suspects who can later be turned into prospects. Some groups may be closed off to the public; most will be open to all LinkedIn users.
  2. Create a group for your industry, not your company. People are more likely to join a group when it’s not simply for fans of your company. A group is no good without members so use these tips to promote your group within your LinkedIn network:
  • Invite coworkers, past colleagues, and customers to join and start discussions.
    Use your existing network to get your group started.
  • Promote your group on Facebook, Twitter and your company blog.
  • Include LinkedIn and your personal URL in all of your marketing efforts. The next time your company attends a conference, a good idea is to display a QR code to send spectators directly to your LinkedIn group page.

3. How To Make All Of Your Connections Count!

When your profile is complete and your connections are fastened its time to share your areas of expertise to generate queries from prospective clients. LinkedIn has become a major player among the content sharing social sites and you must use the share feature to educate and inform your connections. Share links to interesting articles, best practices and case studies that demonstrate your company expertise.

LinkedIn has increased the amount of channels to share information through and connect with thought leaders. The content shared on LinkedIn is more valuable than a “status update” and members are encouraged to keep content more professionally focused.

As a group leader for your company, take advantage of LinkedIn’s questions and answers. Ask good questions, ask for the opinions of others, provide your unique insight and feedback on as many discussions as you can and contribute content that creates conversations.

Forming connections on LinkedIn and expanding your professional network will help you navigate through job related roadblocks throughout your career and is the major benefit of Linked in for individual use but businesses are starting to see the value it provides for increasing brand awareness and generating new leads.