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.


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.


A Guide To Engage Your Audience With Facebook Advertising

December 19, 2012

3 TIPS ON HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA SIDEBAR

There are now over 1 billion people using Facebook and it costs over 1 billion dollars annually to keep this world connecting social media giant afloat. If my math is accurate, Facebook could charge its users just one dollar a year to access the site to keep things running smooth but this plan would oppose their original idea of keeping Facebook free, so they turned to advertising.

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If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. This massive reach is a great benefit for marketers and advertisers to expose their brands to the masses but advertisers are attracted to Facebook’s ingenious way of collecting rich detailed information from it’s users to develop precise and accurate advertising messages that provide a high ROI.

Facebook Ads are gaining popularity among local businesses and research shows that the top reasons they continue to use them include ease of use and the ability to start and stop campaigns.

To develop a social media strategy that raises brand awareness and engages your audience you must dig deeper into the Facebook platform and create more than just a brand page. I’ve compiled a list of the Facebook advertising tools and methods to help guide your marketing efforts on the most popular social network.

1. Your first objective is to decide what your Facebook advertising should accomplish.

Do you want to gain more likes, drive traffic to a website, highlight a special offer or advertise an upcoming event? Once you’ve checked this off your list you need to know how the advertising works. Here is some background into Facebook’s approach.

2. Advertising on Facebook may seem like a tedious task but it’s easier than you think.

Facebook users share a lot of information that makes it simple to target a narrow audience. Where they live, their hobbies, political views, their favorite restaurants, birthdays and what they “like” is rich data that you will use to create your ads. Facebook also targets their ads based off information they get from other people. For example, a bicycle store might show an ad about a bike sale to the people who visited the bike stores website.

Targeting with Facebook Ads allows you to advertise to the right people based on their real interests. You can even target people who are friends with people who already “like” your Page. This social context will show up around the ad,” says Grady Burnett, VP of global marketing solutions at Facebook. “A study from Nielsen shows that on average, people are 68% more likely to remember seeing an ad with social context than without, twice as likely to remember the ad’s message and four times as likely to purchase.”

QUICK TIP: A cost-effective way to generate new likes for your page is through the Facebook email list tool.

3. The image is your main hook

When you create your Facebook ad, approach it like a print execution and include informative graphics and clever copy. The design and content of your Facebook ad needs to appeal to a specific group of people and fulfill a certain need. Be sure to create various ads to run at the same time to test which ad recipe receives the highest click-through rate.

Do your research on your competitors to find out which images in your market receive the highest click rate. You need to figure out what image best represents your brand, product and service. The image is what grabs the attention of the Facebook user and is what influences the most clicks. Here are the technical specs for the image of your Facebook ad:

  • The image can’t be larger than 110 x 80 pixels
  • The image must have a 4:3 (or 16:9) ratio
  • The image can’t be larger than 5 kilobytes

Enforce your call to action with the title text

Facebook pages are cluttered with distractions but the ad placement on the page is in your favor. Fixed on the right side of the screen and as a result of our reading style from left to right, these ads are hard to miss. The important part of your message should be in bold placed on top of the image and the body text should introduce your brand and describe the offer.

You can say a lot within the 135-character limit but don’t feel obligated to use all the space. Engage your viewer with a bold remark about your brand or ask a question. There is enough rambling on Facebook so make your ad bold and make it pop.

Develop multiple ad combinations to find out what works

Think of your ads being displayed to a focus group the size of a billion people. One benefit of advertising on Facebook is the ease of testing your ads with your audience so take advantage of swapping your ads and try new designs.

Create at least 4 ads for each campaign and run them for a couple of days then review your Facebook ad statistics to see which performed the best. It’s recommended to then create a new ad similar to your best performing ad and apply a few adjustment. Facebook’s ads are social ads and have a very short shelf life because they target specific people whom are repeatedly exposed to the same messages. The best way to prevent “ad blindness” is to refresh, re-try and deliver new ads on a set routine.

Use Facebook ads to kick-start your new Facebook page and grow your fans or to drive traffic to your website. What ever your ad does, remember to think of each click as the beginning to your campaign. Give your audience more to keep them coming back. The click is a doorway to your social media world and your brand/product/service so invite your audience in and treat them to your social snacks.


Enhance Your Direct Mail Campaign With Digital And Social Media Tools

December 5, 2012

THREE WAYS TO SOCIALIZE YOUR DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN TO ENGAGE YOUR RECIPIENT

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Digital applications, smart phones and social media are hot off the press channels these days for delivering your brands message to a precisely targeted and massive audience but they do not gain the trust and loyalty of consumers like traditional direct mail. You must first earn the trust of your audience in order to build relationships to increase your ROI and recent findings show direct mail is the best place to start.

Marketers must look beyond the reputation of direct mail as “Old school, outdated and expensive” because U.S consumers rank it as the top choice to receive brand communication materials in various categories ranging from health to household products, to household services, insurance and financial services, including credit card offers.

The magic happens when you pair the trusted channel of direct mail with the high reach of digital marketing. Together they create a ripple effect and engage your audience on many platforms. Imagine direct mail as the tiny pebble that makes a splash and social media outlets as the ripples that keep your message flowing.

Here are 3 ways to blend your next direct mail campaign and social media strategy together to expand your reach and earn the trust and attention of your audience.

1. Highlight your social media outlets in your direct mailer

You’ve spent plenty time managing your social media channels like Facebook and Twitter so show them off and include your social media icons on your direct mail pieces. These social media badges let your audience know you’ve established an online presence and social media is a transparent tool to instill trust in your brand.

2. Give more to your audience on your thank you page

The benefit of direct mail is the high amount of contact points you can integrate into a direct mail campaign. What happens after someone responds to your call to action? You have caught the interest of the person at this point so give them the option to learn more about your company. Embed a company video about your products and services on the thank you page and lead your audience to your company website.

3. Increase response rates with QR codes and personalized URL’S

Be sure your direct mail piece includes a call to action involving smart phone technology. If your objective is to drive traffic to a special offer, then include a QR code for the message recipient to easily obtain the offer. Make an offer too good to resist and people will share it on their social networks. Although it’s intuitive to think people will keep the offer for themselves, market trends show that consumers are likely to share deals and offers to cut costs and save some cash. Based on a survey of more than 9,100 respondents 75 percent of respondents would sign up for direct mail letters from a retailer if it would yield savings of 25 percent or more. An additional 67 percent would “like” a Facebook page and 17 percent would Tweet a deal. Those who socially share these deals seem to experience the largest savings.

Personalized URLs are a great way of getting the most out of your mailing list and allow you to include the recipients name in the URL. These create an engaging experience and create a personalized connection.

Consumers are personally connected to their digital devices and post, share and tweet without boundaries, making the digital space a war zone of information. The information is personal but consumers are becoming more dubious towards digital advertising. On the contrary, direct mail remains the trustworthy channel that you should use to kick-start your next campaign so follow these tips to maximize the reach of your offer.


How The Presidential Candidates Took Social Media Advertising To New Heights

November 7, 2012

SOCIETY EMBRACES SOCIAL MEDIA FOR POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE

The surge of social media has shifted the way information is delivered to the masses and this year’s presidential election represents the evolving phenomenon at its best.

Politicians got their start with social media in 2008 when Barack Obama joined Facebook and created an extensive amount of Twitter followers to announce his campaign. 2/3 of the Obama campaign donations were raised online while Twitter reported more than 20 million tweets on Election Day, making this years election the most tweeted about event in U.S history. Yes, even the president and Mitt Romney have Facebook accounts and there is no denying the momentum of social media. It’s a good idea when 88% of adult social media users are registered voters.

This year both candidates dove head first into social media and proved how this channel can reach a widespread audience. The social media interaction of Obamas campaign surpassed Romney’s and provided nearly four times as much content as the Romney campaign. Was this a result of social medias popularity among the tech savvy generation Y? Check out the new study.

Advertisers can learn from this years giant political campaigns that focused on 2 key factors of social media strategy: integration and personalized content.

Integrate your marketing message into each social media channel

-The key messages of Romney’s campaign were “A New Beginning” and “Commit to Mitt”. This message unified the voice of his supporters. A commit to Mitt Facebook app was developed and cleverly spread his message. The app showed you who of your friends lived in swing states then urged you to reach out and share your support with them.

-The videos of Obama were strategically organized over the course of the campaign. At first, Obamas website linked to his youtube channel but his videos were embedded into his site closer to the election. This was to filter the content and share only the videos Obama endorsed. The Obama campaign linked to 9 social media platforms, which may seem overwhelming to integrate into your social media strategy. They were Facebook, google+, Tumbler, Flickr, youtube, Pinterest, Spotify, Twitter and Instagram. Remember the presidents target audience is roughly 300 million people.

mi.tt is about the tiniest URL you can get for a website. When you type it in your web browser, you are re-directed to his main campaign webpage. Why such a tiny URL? mi.tt is a twitter tiny url. This url was brilliantly thought of to be used for the twitter campaign strategy. Twitter squashes down long URLs and provides a bunch of random characters too long for tweets, but mi.tt easily fits into the 140 character limit.  Each time you saw a tweet with mi.tt, you knew it pertained to the Romney campaign which is great for top of mind awareness.

Develop a company blog and content platform to share the story and core values of your business 

-The Obama website has a section of groups made up of supporters organizing the issues they care about. Each group contains videos and information related to Obamas support. The group titles are parents, catholics, sportsmen, small business owners, young Americans, women etc.. Categorizing support groups allowed people to relate to causes they care about and connect with citizens on a personal level.

-Blogs are a great way to express the core values of your company and they create relationships with your audience. Write on topics related to your industry to attract your target demographic. Consumers demand more information in this digital age to help them through their buying decisions or in this case (voting process). The Obama news blog kept all of his supporters informed at every step of the campaign by providing updates on his future agenda and political beliefs. When your brand promotes its’ products and services be sure to expand your reach and stand behind every claim, update your followers on a daily basis with engaging content and integrate your social media platforms.

Aside from your political stance, each campaign employed social media strategies that pushed the envelope of multi channel advertising far beyond the ordinary. Social media engagement is a critical component to influence consumers in the digital revolution.