B2B_marketing_strategies_video_marketing_tips

Expert Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Video Marketing

So you’ve been writing fun blog posts, sending out e-newsletters, even sharing infographics through social media; but you’re missing a key piece: video marketing. More than blog posts, infographics or white papers, video is a game changer that can make a distinct emotional impact on potential customers.

How is video a game changer? It can tug at heartstrings, make you laugh and make you cry. It elicits powerful emotions in your audience and connects people with your brand. When people feel connected, they want to engage with you, share your content and ultimately, do business with you.

With all its emotional punch, video is a great way to tell your company’s story, educate your audience and offer unexpected value.

But, you’re probably scratching your head on how to start experimenting with video marketing AND how to make sure that you know it works. Just relying on the video view count on YouTube isn’t enough, you need proper tools combined with your automated marketing platform to track who’s watching and when.

With the following expert tips, you’ll ace video marketing campaigns easily and quickly!

Learn How to Narrowcast

Because not every video can score the kind of reach of a Super Bowl ad, you’ll want to learn how to narrowcast your brand message and focus on building the best video for your target market. The more specific your video, the better it’ll perform when it comes to conversions because it won’t be burdened by unqualified views or those who aren’t interested.

The first step in narrowcasting is understanding your niche. If you’ve got your target, you’ve got your focus. The next step is to find a creative way to package your video campaign to appeal to your niche.

Take a look at this above example from Cvent. The hilarious ad goes through a stressful scenario of planning a corporate event that every marketing event manager can relate to. The hook is that using Cvent will make event planning that much easier and help managers avoid drama. When you find a fun way to package your video campaign, your audience will respond to it.

The Lesson of Successful Narrowcasting

Weave your target audience’s everyday situations into your videos and showcase how your brand can solve their problems and make the scenario easier on your audience.

The best videos you can create are the ones where you talk directly to your niche about why you do what you do. The best story is when you focus not on selling, but talking to your audience about what inspires you, why you’re passionate about your industry and why you believe in what you do.

What’s your theme? Are you passionate about helping people connect? Do you make technology exciting or connect people to causes they care about? Find your overarching theme and find a way to effectively communicate it to your audience.

How do you know when your narrowcasting has been successful? When strangers who are unfamiliar with your brand can watch your videos and automatically identify with the people or profession the video is designed to cater to; you’ve nailed the narrowcasting approach.

Now that you have narrowcasting down, here’s 6 crucial steps on how to create a killer video campaign.

6 Steps to a Killer Video Marketing Campaign

1) Tie Your Video to a Clear CTA

Before writing a script, you must determine exactly what you want your audience to do after they finish watching your video. Do you want them to subscribe to your blog? Download a case study or simply go your website for more info? Always make sure you attach a clear call-to-action so your audience knows where to go next.

2) Figure Out How to Measure Your Video’s Performance

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As you create more videos for a campaign, it’ll become more important for you to be able to determine whether a particular video was successful by measuring how videos are contributing to your sales pipeline.

To properly measure how successful your video is, make a list of 2-3 quantifiable objectives that you want your video to achieve. Maybe you want to collect a certain amount of leads with that particular video, have X amount of leads follow through on your CTA or increase your click through rate by X % by using video in email. Figuring out what your goal is will make writing the video content that much easier.

3) Craft a Compelling Story

Good storytelling in your videos can jumpstart your audience to take action. By eliciting a particular emotional response such as laughter, excitement or fear, you can motivate your audience to take action.

If you want to provoke laughter in your audience, you could try making a joke about your products, such as this funny ad from Kmart. It’s funny, shareable, relateable to most shoppers and there’s a product advantage within the message as well.

When you’re planning your video, start off by identifying how you want your audience to feel and how your story will create that emotion.

4) Build a Dedicated Landing Page & Make the Video the Star

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When you’re embedding a video into your website, it’s important to take visual impact into consideration. If you’ve built an entire video campaign, you’ll want to have a dedicated campaign landing page. The landing page can feature text-based content such as blog posts and white papers that evolve around your videos.

5) Track Quantifiable Video Data

on site metrics

After connecting your video to clear goals and releasing your content, look at video analytics to understand your performance.

Returning to the video goals you set up in step two, you should track the following metrics for your campaign on a daily basis for a set period of time (be it two weeks or longer):

• Average time spent on your dedicated landing page
• The click through rate on the landing page (what percentage of viewers clicked ‘play’)
• The video’s attention span rate (What percentage of viewers watch all the way through and when do viewers typically drop off?)
• The percentage of those who follow through with your end-of-video call to action
• The total amount of your video content leads consume (how many videos do individual leads watch in a day? A month? A week?)
• Which specific videos (or combos of videos) did converted leads watch?

• Click through rates on video thumbnails: Test out thumb¬nail images and identify which entices your audience to click and watch.
• Device type: What type of device are your viewers using to consume your video content? Consuming video on mobile is quite a bit different than on a desktop and this can influence how you package content. You’ll want to make sure campaigns are optimized for mobile if that’s where your audience hangs out.
• Geographic Location: Is your content relevant to the geographic demographic from which most of your viewers are watching?

6) Follow Up With Those Really Engaged

Finally, you’ll want to organize timely follow up with those who engaged with your video. If your video engagement data is connected to your marketing automation platform, you’ll be able to set triggers to notify you when leads watch a certain percentage of your video, or even send automated emails encouraging engaged leads to view more related content, connect with you on social channels and more.

Overall, use these six steps to run purposeful video campaigns and support major pillars of your brand messaging. If you find you’re always discussing a certain customer pain point, or using the same pitch to describe your services, scale your message with a memorable video story and – most importantly – track your success with meaningful metrics.

Using Video Through the Marketing Funnel

marketing funnel

Now that you know how to narrowcast and create a great video campaign, the question remains: how do you know how many and what kind of videos to have on your site?

Video works to promote initial awareness of your brand when you post top-of-the-marketing-funnel ‘explainer’ videos that work to pique a viewer’s interest. Once a viewer’s interest has been piqued, the rest of your videos should focus on guiding viewers through the research phase. The research phase is your opportunity to prove to visitors your expertise in a chosen area, the usefulness of your products and the fact that your brand can solve their problems.

Here are the 3 Stages of the Marketing Funnel

The Interest Stage

During the attraction stage, you’re introducing strangers to your brand and there’s no better way to do that than with engaging video content.

Aside from the initial ‘explainer’ video, all your videos should focus on why you do what you do and not on your products. Why should people buy into your brand message?

Explainer Video

An explainer video should be your value proposition and keep it short and sweet to about 3 minutes.

Your “Why” Video

Illustrate your brand’s overarching story and help your customers do amazing things and most importantly, why you do what you do. It might not necessarily feature your products, but what it should feature is why you’re passionate about what you do, your industry and what differences you’re making in the world.

Thought Interviews Video

Capture one-on-one time with your company’s VPs, senior management and industry superstars. Content by influencers is widely shared and you can leverage their social networks.

Event Video

Create fun videos of your staff who are about to attend industry events and include a CTA for visitors to come meet you at the conference to initiate in-person meetings with your audience even before the conference starts.

Fun Company Culture Video

Show your quirky staff and ultimately show your audience why they should care about them.

The Learn Stage (How-To Content)

High-level product reviews, how-to videos, repurposed recorded webinars and other educational pieces are part of the strategy at this stage. You’ll have a chance to convert visitors to marketing qualified leads by using email gating features to collect customer data and drive them to your website. Great content for this stage includes:

How-to Video Libraries

Showcase your expertise with how-to videos, they will give you the upper hand when it comes to searches

Recorded Webinar Content

Record your webinars and break them down by topic so viewers can find them easier.

Product Tour Videos

Give visitors a high-level overview of your products & solutions. If you map the path out into 4 or 5 videos, each one can lead to the next and you can gauge how engaged your visitors are by how much of the path they engage in.

The Extra Post-Sale Stage

If someone posts a frequently asked support question, for example, consider creating a video to answer it and sharing it via social media. Let customers know their questions are appreciated, answer the question and showcase your support staff.

Once a customer has opted in to your email campaigns, consider sending them a thank you video from all your staff. Not only will customers have a friendly group to turn to if they have an issue, they’ll know you care enough to make something personal.

Thanks for reading Part 1 on how to make the most out of your video marketing! Stay tuned for Part 2 on how to combine video with marketing automation, coming soon!

UTrip_ScreenShot

The Top 12 Calls-To-Action You Need for Your Marketing Campaigns

So you’ve created an amazing new website for your company or a cool e-newsletter that you want to share with your loyal customers and maybe get some new ones; but there’s a problem.

You’ve noticed that you’re not getting as many people clicking through to your e-book, your web form or your videos as you would like. But the links are clearly on the front page of your website and on your e-newsletter, so what’s going on?

Well, it could be that your audience has a tough time seeing your calls-to-action. A call-to-action can be a link and/or phrase that connects two very critical pieces in lead generation: incoming traffic and the opportunities to convert these visitors into new leads. In order to drive more traffic to your website and the offers you want them to opt-in to, you need to make call-to-action improvements.

So what kind of improvements should you be making? Here’s a list of the TOP 12 Calls-to-Action that you need to drive more traffic & get more leads.

1) Calls-To-Action Using Contrasting Colors

Freshbooks-Call-to-Action

The fastest way to grab someone’s attention is by making your CTA stand out from the rest of the page by making it dominant. You can do that by choosing a color for the button or link that contrasts the background.

There’s no rule of thumb or guideline to follow about choosing colors to make your CTA stand out on the page, except THIS ONE: make sure you choose a color that works with your overall website design AND avoid patterns.

If you’re using a background on your website that has a lot of different colors and shapes, consider putting a dark semi-transparent box behind your CTA to make it readable and give it a chance to stand out. Or, use white text for your CTA on top of warm colored (such as red, yellow or orange) boxes to make it stand out.

2) Calls-To-Action Presenting An Incentive

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If you place a CTA asking someone to download your whitepaper for instance, you might want to mention a bonus that goes along with it. Maybe it’s free, or there’s a discount available or even a bonus offer of a cool template or e-book to go along with it. Sometimes offering a compelling incentive with your CTA can go a long way in having visitors take the next step.

By offering exclusive discounts with your CTA, you’re allowing visitors access to a special club that allows them to experience everything you have to offer and more, easily and efficiently. What also works well is telling them that clicking on the CTA to get started will only take a minute. People respond well to taking action as long as they aren’t a long process.

3) Calls-To-Action Showing Product

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By showing your product or service with a CTA, you make the offer seem more tangible to visitors; they know exactly what they’re getting. It captures what you’re trying to say and show the value of what visitors will be getting. If it’s compelling enough, they’d click through your CTA

Having a screenshot or video of the product with the CTA gives visitors a visual connection between the two and makes the action more attainable. Placing an animation of a product allows visitors to get a feel for the product and its features themselves and take the next step.

4) Calls-To-Action Using Great Text

Evernote-4

Before you place a CTA, make sure that you have a great description in place on what sets your product/service apart from similar products. You can reinforce the message about your product in your CTA as well.

A great message can also include incentives, add clarity AND set visitors’ expectations on exactly what they’ll be getting. Adding in a teaser to entice visitors to take the next step can also be an integral part of a great message.

5) Calls-To-Action Using Spacial Effect

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Don’t overcrowd your CTA with other surrounding text or images, you want to give it some space to stand out.

Separating the CTA from the rest of the content on the page means that it’s a separate item. So the rule of thumb is that if you have a tight connection between the CTA and another element on the web page, such as a great message about your product/service, then there should be less white space between them. Only keep the CTA separate from web page elements that have nothing to do with the CTA.

Make sure you have enough breathing room around a CTA to make it stand out and help the reader focus on all the important information on the page.

6) Calls-To-Action Creating a Sense of Direction

webuybooksuk CTA

Some of the most successful CTAs have arrows pointing at them that creates a sense of direction and guides visitors to important elements on the page. This prioritizes information and creates a traffic flow on the website.

Having a CTA with an arrow that points to the right follows the natural step in terms of reading left to right, so putting that on the front page draws visitors’ eyes to the next step.

Other visual effects can also give a sense of direction such as circling the CTA with a handwritten font.

7) Calls-To-Action For Email Generation

amy porterfield email sign up

You can also use a CTA to capture emails to build your own list of loyal customers that you’ll follow up with, notify them of discounts, promotions or special events and create your own captive audience that can become advocates for your brand and generate some amazing UGC for your marketing campaigns.

An element that can help entice visitors to enter their email addresses can be a great teaser for an event, telling them to sign up for updates on a conference. It would also help to notify visitors exactly what they’ll be receiving when they enter their email addresses, so that your company has complete transparency.

Reiterating what was said earlier about providing a great message with your CTA, don’t be afraid to add that the sign up process will be free and quick and that signing up will be hassle free and offer benefits. Also, by putting the entire sign-up process on one page, you are transparent with visitors and it makes the sign up process easier.

8) Calls-To-Action With Primary and Secondary Options

Air_BnB

Sometimes you may have two or three competing actions you’d like visitors to do, such as sign up using their email AND download your white paper.

You can certainly have more than one CTA on a page, but you have to decide which one is most important. Make that one stand out with a more prominent placement, different color and a bigger size so that visitors can differentiate between the two.

You can turn the primary CTA into a button and just make the secondary one a hyperlink to make the primary CTA stand out.

9) Calls-To-Action Facilitating Segmentation

Royal Mail CTA audience-segmentation

When you’re creating CTAs you should be thinking about the people you want clicking on them. Who are your buyer personas and what can you do to make each CTA more targeted to these audiences?

Easy! Let your community identify their own sub-personas by offering them CTAs that facilitate segmentation such as placing two CTAs on the same page but for two different groups (ie. For Students/For Teachers).

You can use bullet points to distinguish between the CTAs as well as images that convey distinct messages on what each segment identifies as.

10) Calls-To-Action That Make Good Use of Video

Capital One Venture landing page

Videos are a great format for educating visitors on certain concepts, a new product or what your company is all about and they also have the power to convey strong emotions that can prompt visitors to take action. They can be a great addition to a CTA or the video itself can BE a CTA.

You can add text encouraging people to watch the video and invite visitors to simply press ‘Play’ as a CTA.

11) Calls-To-Action With Unorthodox Shapes

dollar-shave-club-landing-page

Trying out fun shapes such as stars or ovals to outline your CTA with might increase the likelihood of a visitor clicking on it because it looks so different from anything else on the page. Don’t be afraid to experiment with shapes that are asymmetrical or rare.
Using unconventional shapes lets you stand out from the competition that are all using traditional shapes for their CTAs. Ribbons can also catch peoples’ attention because they convey exclusivity. Placing your CTA on the image of a Post-It Note also creates a sense of productivity and puts you in a mindset to take tasks off your list.

12) Calls-To-Action That Reduce Visitors’ Anxiety

Revenizer CTA

Sometimes even though your community may be motivated enough to download your resources, you need to do some extra work to assure them that their time and energy is well-spent with you. By guaranteeing that their information and privacy is safe, you can build a much more effective and loyal relationship with visitors.

Place a note near the CTA notifying them that they don’t need to give you their credit card and put a disclaimer that states you won’t give their email addresses to anyone without prior permission. Putting in extra time and effort to calm visitors’ anxiety could bring you more leads in the long run.

Stay tuned for more marketing tips!

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15 Cool Tips to Help Your Business Master Pinterest

By now, you’ve probably seen numerous Pinterest boards floating around online. Whether it’s a friend of yours sharing her board full of wedding inspiration and desires or sharing recipes, it’s a fair bet you’ve been shown several Pinterest boards full of fun and interesting hobbies.

But is it just a fun way to create galleries of all the things you love and share them with friends or is there more to it? Can you actually capitalize on Pinterest’s popularity for your business? The short answer is yes.

With this post, I’m not only going to show you some compelling reasons on why you should be using Pinterest for your business, but I’m also going to give you some cool tips on how to master the platform.

Why You Should Be Using Pinterest for Your Business

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Pinterest is a network that gives consumers the ultimate freedom: they can create boards and search for others based on their own interests and hobbies. By having a presence on the platform, you’re increasing the chance of your business being top-of-mind for consumers looking for certain interests, products or services AND the opportunity for them to pin images of your products and services to their boards.

According to comScore, Pinterest users spend more money on more products, more often than any other user on the other top 5 social media sites. Not only that, but Pinterest also receives an estimated 85,500,00 unique visitors in one month alone, according to eBiz.

Pinterest can drive web traffic back to your company website too. Placing the ‘Pin It’ button on any image on your company page will help drive traffic back to your website because every single one of your pins will include a link to the original source.

Convinced yet? Ready to create a Pinterest business account? Here’s how you do it:

How to Create a Business Pinterest Account

pinterest-business-1

Go to http://business.pinterest.com to set up your business account and click the red button that says “Join As a Business”. Select a business type, add all the contact details, including a password. Then fill out your profile including a company logo, a description of the company, your username and your website URL.

Here’s a tip for the business type you choose: The business type you choose with help your account rank on more relevant searches and provide relevant fields on your page

Three easy steps to create a business Pinterest account. So now that you have a business Pinterest account, how do you go about using it to elevate your business?

Here’s the list of 15 cool tips to help your business master Pinterest:

top15 pinterest tips

1) Promote Your Pinterest Account Across Other Platforms-Add the Pinterest button to your website and promote your account through your other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Consider launching a Pinterest contest and writing a fun blog post about it on your website

2) Create a Board on a Specific Topic (Ie. Weddings, Brunch Recipes, Classic Cars)-Taking this approach allows you to attract users passionate about a specific topic. Create resourceful boards using a few core keywords that you already use in your SEO strategy. Having such a board means being ready to add other users’ pins to enhance your collection.

3) Engage W/ Others’ Pins-Follow users that you want to follow you back. Like and comment on their pins; when they see you interacting with their pins, they might be more likely to follow you

4) Avoid Human Faces in Photos-Data shows that photos without human faces are shared 23% more than images with faces in them

5) Be Selective W/ Your Color Choices-Data shows that images with dominant colors of red, dark green and pink are shared 3X as much as images that don’t have them. Red or orange images are also re-pinned twice as often

6) Try creating a User Generated Board-Similar to the ideas I floated in my post about getting more sales through UGC campaigns; by allowing prolific users to contribute their own pins, you open up your marketing to an entirely new world of valuable content by involving fans.

7) Highlight Happy Customers-Encourage customers to send you photos or take photos of them at your next event-using your product or service!

8) Promote Your Blog Content-Use photos that could be successful on Pinterest for your blog posts. By pinning those images on Pinterest, you will drive traffic directly back to your posts!

9) Host a Contest-Another idea plucked from my previous post, asking dedicated users to take the time to create their own boards demonstrating what they love about your brand, products & services gives your fans agency and tells them you valued their input in your marketing. They’ll love you even more when you tell them that the best pinboard will win a prize!

10) Add the Pin It button to your website-Make it easy for people to share images from your website

11) Add Links to the Pin Descriptions-Adding links to the descriptions of your images on Pinterest will drive traffic back to your main website, which allows you to measure how useful the platform is compared to your other social media presences

12) Build a Video Gallery-YouTube and Vine aren’t the only places where you can share videos! Build a library of videos about your products and services along with relevant images to catch fans’ attentions

13) Use Hashtags-Hashtags make content more search-friendly and it can help you leverage a marketing campaign on multi-channels such as Facebook and Twitter

14) Feature Offline Events-Create a pinboard with the best photos and videos from your events to help promote buzz for the next one.

15) Embed Posts on Your Website-You can easily embed a Pinterest post on your website and increase the visibility of your Pinterest account on other websites

Hope these tips will help your business jumpstart new marketing campaigns on Pinterest and stay tuned for Part 2 of How to Master Pinterest for Your Business.

Mark wearewinter

Turn Dedicated Fan Content Into Sales for Your Company in 4 Easy Steps

With the rise of cool techniques on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Vine, consumers are consistently finding new ways to create, share and consume more content on a daily basis.

Consumer-created content isn’t just popular, it also has the power to influence other consumers.
How many times have you watched a how-to video posted to YouTube by a fellow user to learn how to create a certain design in Photoshop? Or read a restaurant review on Urban Spoon from another patron that ultimately led you to decide to NOT eat there? Or, even just seen a friend’s beautiful travel photos on Facebook and wanted to travel to the destination yourself?

We’ve all made decisions about products we want to purchase, restaurants we want to experience and destinations we want to travel to, based on user-generated content (UGC).

But how influential is it really? Millennials report that user-generated content (UGC) is 20% more influential on their purchases than any other type of media.

And yet, many retailers still aren’t capitalizing on the popularity and influence of social content.

In 4 steps, I’m going to show you how to convert influential and authentic consumer content into sales for your company.

Step #1: How to Build a Library of User-Generated Content

#GEInspiredMe Pinterest UGC campaign

#GEInspiredMe Pinterest UGC campaign

You can capitalize on getting value from consumer content by using one of the most powerful tactics: building your own UGC marketing campaign.

Building your own UGC marketing campaign allows you to use this word-of-mouth strategy to automate the content collection process. You don’t have to reach out to individual consumers to request permission to reuse their content and it collates all of the valuable consumer feedback in one place.

So what are some easy ways to create a UGC campaign?

Start with a hashtag campaign. Make it easy for consumers to enter the campaign with a designated hashtag. The beauty of hashtags is that they’re a common feature across many platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine, which allows your fans to choose how and where they want to participate; allowing you to pull off a cross-platform campaign easily.

Branded hashtag campaigns can be powerful calls-to-action across all platforms, including TV, social and print.

Take, for example, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s marketing campaign for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They wanted to ‘own’ winter and establish it as Canada’s identity and they did this by creating the #WeAreWinter campaign, the largest ad campaign ever for the COC.

With social media as the prominent platform, #WeAreWinter featured well-known Canadian Olympians (and their social profiles) talking about how winter is at the core of who Canadians are. Documentary-style videos on the re-designed Olympic.ca helped tell the stories of the lesser-known athletes and showcased the drive and determination of the medal hopefuls.

The end result? The hashtag #WeAreWinter was used over 500,000 times on Twitter in Canada, over a million times worldwide, and was trending worldwide on the final days of the Olympics.

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Country Living Magazine’s Pinterest Page

If Pinterest is one of your major platforms, consider running a contest on it. Take the Pinterest contest run by Country Living Magazine. They asked pinners to follow the Country Living Pinterest page, launch a new Pinterest board entitled “My Country Living Dream Bedroom,” and pin at least 10 items that represent their dream bedroom (5 of which needed to be pinned from CountryLiving.com), all tagged with #countryliving and #dreambedroom. To submit their entry, pinners were required to comment on the contest’s pin with a link to their pinboard.

Whether you’re holding a Pinterest contest or having fans enter into a cross-platform hashtag campaign, here are some tips to get a UGC marketing campaign on the go:

• Offer an incentive for fans to share & tag their content, whether it’s a prize or a chance to be featured on your home page.
• Promote the contest/campaign inside stores if you have a bricks & mortar presence.
• Put a CTA for the campaign on or inside product packaging
• Include a CTA in your e-newsletters
• Promote the campaign through all of your social channels & share the best fan entries

Step #2: Capturing Data from Campaign Participants

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Suave #RadiantWishes Sweepstakes

When you’re running a UGC campaign, it’s important that you remember to comply with legal guidelines by having your consumers agree to the terms and conditions.

After having fans send out a hashtag tweet to enter a contest, you can send them a custom response form thanking them for their entry and asking them to accept terms and conditions in order to claim the prize.

Sign up forms are also a great way to have fans grant permission to allow your company to use their content across multiple platforms. You can also use them to capture any consumer info you choose, from demographics to contact info and hobbies. Leverage the data you receive from sign up forms to better understand your consumer base, learn their preferences and to tailor future marketing campaigns accordingly.

Also, by enabling opt-ins for your email campaigns and allowing your consumers to receive updates about future promotions, you can now build an owned audience and create deeper connections with fans on your social platforms and through your website.

Step #3: Turn Your Website into a Social Hub

Burberry's UGC campaign for their famous trench coats

Burberry’s UGC campaign for their famous trench coats

When you create a cross-platform UGC marketing campaign, don’t forget to include your website. Save the best entries, photos & hashtagged images from your UGC campaigns and display them on a dedicated landing page on your site.

Displaying rich, engaging user-generated content on your website not only drives up web traffic but increases opportunities for users to share their own content, as well as content from other users that they enjoy.

Here are some tips on how to showcase UGC across multiple platforms:

• Create online displays via your website and social media platforms that promote holidays and seasonal offerings such as winter recipes or a summer product line
• If you have a bricks & mortar store, put up a prominent display in store with the site URL
• Ensure that you place reviews and comments on specific products on those product pages
• Pull quotes from your website and use them across the social platforms
• Run a Pinterest board with your favorite user submitted how-tos/styles/photos
• Run an email campaign with users wearing/using your products & drive traffic from the campaign to a branded landed page on your website full of UGC.

Step #4: Drive Sales & Measure the Results

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Don’t just display user-generated content, employ tactics to actively drive sales. Associate UGC with product-related content as much as possible across your website, email campaigns and social media platforms, providing a clear path to conversion.

Easy ways to do this include placing a link to the product page behind each photo, making it easier for users to click through and buy or link to pages that display products in seasonal collections or for certain occasions.
By including trackable links with each piece of content, you easily track visits, shares, views and ultimately sales. By measuring the results of each piece of content, you can make informed decisions about what content works and how you can include it in your overall strategy.

Stay tuned for more on content marketing, including a post on how to turn brand advocates into content creators for your company!

Top Social Media Engagement Lessons From JetBlue, Fab.com, Kirkland’s & Zappos

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After hearing a lot about crisis communications case studies via social media for companies such as HMV and Burger King, I started thinking that there must be other cases out there of how companies got into some social media pitfalls and then used these lessons to improve their companies.

These examples, I thought, could help the rest of us small businesses learn how to prevent, deal with and learn from PR disasters & crisis communications situations and come out the other side as better business people.

Without further ado, here are some examples from the likes of Jet Blue, Fab.com, Kirklands & Zappos that I found, that I hope will help you become more PR & crisis communications savvy on social media.

Leader in Managing Public Image: JetBlue

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In February 2007, JetBlue made the grave errors of not providing over 1000 customers with adequate information as they sat on the runway for over 8 hours at JFK due to a severe ice storm, frozen wheels & the inability to return to the gates due to a lack of availability. What made the situation even more frustrating from passengers was JetBlue’s inability to book alternate flights for many of the passengers due to the storm.

What JetBlue Did Next: Using Social Media to Mend Customer Relations

 JetBlue shocked everyone by issuing a heartfelt apology. Using both traditional channels and YouTube, JetBlue’s founder and then- CEO David Neeleman issued the apology, taking full responsibility for the mishap and expressing genu­ine regret. He then created the JetBlue Customer Bill of Rights with the promise to handle future issues exponentially better.

Turning another PR crisis into an opportunity

When JetBlue pilot Captain Osbon experienced a mental breakdown in April of 2012, JetBlue tweeted updates and created a live-blog, keeping customers in the loop and creating the sense that JetBlue and their custom­ers were in it together. As a result, JetBlue won first place in the consumer-decided Simpliflying Heroes, demonstrating the power of social media in turning potential disasters into PR wins.

The lesson: Use social media to respond quickly and accept responsibility for your failures

For JetBlue, by re­sponding quickly and providing customers with real-time, honest information, even major crises like Captain Osbon’s in-flight medical emergency provide the potential for positive customer relations.

To sum up: use social media to respond quickly and honestly, while also keeping track of how your customers respond. You can simultaneously retain existing customers, cause those customers to spend more, and gain new customers who see your brand effectively engaging in customer service.

Leader in Generating Revenue: Zappos

zappos

Using Social Evangelism to Drive Revenue

Zappos allows buyers to easily share their purchases across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, with im­pressive results across social networks. For each ‘Share’, Zappos earns $33.66 on Twitter, $2.08 on Facebook, and $0.75 on Pinterest in incremental revenue. Facilitating the social endorsement doesn’t rely on Zappos’s social media presence but rather on the social media presence of their customers.

To top their social-friendly website, Zappos also leverages social media with custom sites like Pin­pointing, which utilizes Pinterest users’ posts to make shopping recommendations for them. This initiative, combined with encouraging and facilitat­ing social sharing, allows Zappos to generate both quantifiable ROI and more comprehensive ROF (Re­turn on Fan).

The lesson: Use customer endorsement to drive sales through social

While a strong social presence is essen­tial for overall success, what sets Zappos apart from other companies successful in social engagement is their ability to leverage consumers to sell products for them.

Leader in Leveraging Facebook to Increase Website Traffic: Fab.com

fab_instagram

Creating a website with social built-in

Fab.com has done everything from facilitating and incentivizing social endorsement to actually creating a live “newsfeed” on the site using Facebook Open Graph. This Newsfeed populates in real-time with user activity on Facebook, creating a constant influx of new user generated content and allowing users to browse and buy this socially shared content directly from Facebook or their website. Using these tactics, in just four months Fab was able to double its referral traffic from Facebook and ex­pand its membership from 1.8 to 3.2 million users.

The lesson: Incorporate social media into your website

Fab. com created a website entirely integrated with the social world and doubled its user base with a large percentage of high lifetime value customers. The more social value Fab creates – such as adding recommendations based on friend’s purchases in the live stream – the more users will purchase their products and share with their social graphs.

Leader in Generating Leads: Kirkland’s

New-Arrivals-13_Feb

Kirkland’s spent 2011 growing their social media following with a focus on Facebook: they now have over 580k Facebook ‘Likes’. Upon reaching their de­sired audience size and seeing higher traffic to and increased social spending on their site, the company shifted their attention to cultivating their following by creating valuable content.

Embracing social commerce: Kirkland’s Dream Room Giveaway sweepstakes

Kirkland’s used the sweepstake entry-for-email transactional method to create great value for both fans and the company. Fans entered their basic in­formation without ever leaving their Facebook page, combining Discovery (newsfeed), Interaction (pro­motion), and Transaction (entry-for-email). Using this value-creation tactic, Kirkland’s was able to gather 16,400 fan emails, 2,269 of which were new to their database.

$0.66/new qualified email address and other quantifiable benefits

The Kirkland’s Dream Room Giveaway led to over 2,000 qualified (qualifying a lead was based on the average spending for each email obtained through Facebook) new emails obtained at an average price of $0.66. More than just lead generation, the Dream Home Giveaway campaign offered returns not directly linked to monetary gains, with an increase of 40% in new Facebook ‘Likes’ and 47% more people ‘Talk­ing about’ Kirkland’s for the month of August.

The lesson: “Free” offers in social can drive ROI with the right exchange of information

The value of social media amounts to far more than driving direct sales and managing customer re­lations. By creating a free offer in exchange for an email address, Kirkland’s was able to cheaply drive qualified leads, filling the sales pipeline and driving revenue further down the line.

With every single one of these case studies, you can learn not only how and what to do regarding PR & crisis communications scenarios, but also how to better leverage social media to increase web traffic, generate leads and revenue without having to resort to using promotions such as contests just to drive engagement and conversation. You can use them as a means of nurturing leads as well.

What’s your favourite case study that’s taught you something new about utilizing social media?

For more on social media tools and the importance of leveraging platforms to create effective campaigns, check out my post on Tips on How to Leverage Social Media to Effectively Promote Events.

-Lilian

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Common Mistakes Made in Inbound Marketing

Inbound-Marketing-VS-Outbound-Marketing

After doing some research, I came across a great e-book on the ins and outs of inbound and outbound marketing. As a marketing student, years ago, we’d been taught that any internal communications meant creating newsletters and memos within the company and external was any type of communication/marketing that we would send out via direct mail, email, magazine ads, radio ads, etc. to the consumer.

But, the terminology and the strategies have changed. So what exactly is inbound marketing? Here’s the definition I found:

Inbound Marketing:

The process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.”

So what fits into the definition of inbound marketing? Content is the crucial key inside inbound marketing. Utilizing everything from blog posts and videos to white papers, case studies and free trials, you can create content that educates, inspires and compels your audience to share it with their networks. This content can take the form of articles, webinars, white papers, eBooks, slide presentations, videos and more, and can be shared via blogs, third-party sites, and social media where your prospects “find” you.

By placing SEO-optimized keywords in your content as well as using social media such as Facebook, Twitter & Google+, blog syndication sites like Business 2 Community and even social media clout sites such as Empire Avenue to promote your content; prospects will be able to find you online. Doing this can help you maximize your reach and increase traffic to your blog.

But, mistakes in inbound marketing can happen.

How Inbound Marketing Goes Wrong

  • Your aim is too wide: You spend too much time running “carpet-bombing” style campaigns, under the belief that they will reach the most people and then wonder why you don’t produce better results. To connect with prospective buyers –you need to switch to delivering high-quality content to the right people in an engaging way – and doing so across multiple channels.
  • Some prospects find you, others don’t know you exist:  There are two things happening here. First, some people don’t realize they should or could seek you out. Think about it: If you don’t know about something, you can’t search for it. You may not be sharing the right type of content or sharing it in the right place for your prospect to find it. For example, you might create white papers about your product, but if prospects are searching on terms related to their problems and you only talk about your solution, potential buyers probably won’t find your content.
  • Others may know you exist, but don’t understand what you do: Think about all the companies whose blog posts you read or Twitter accounts you follow. Do you really know what each of them does? You must share your content where your prospects spend time, taking into consideration industry- and location-focused sites and other venues, and even less popular social media sites. The key is to understand where your prospects spend time and then to establish a presence there
  • You aren’t reaching the decision makers: Why? It’s unlikely that CXOs are going to spend time trolling the web for blogs or other content. It’s far more likely that they assign this exercise to someone working for them.
  • Sometimes you can’t break through the noise: Many times companies pour lots of effort into their inbound marketing around big events such as trade shows. Unfortunately, that is the hardest time to get noticed.

In a future blog post, I’ll be focusing more on how to balance out some of these mistakes in inbound marketing with a hybrid strategy that includes outbound marketing.  For more content strategies & tips, check out my post on 22 Ideas to Beat Writers’ Block.

-Lilian

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Insights From the Top Marketers in Social Media

social-media

For this post, I decided I’d do something a little different. Since I’m always looking for new insights, tips and guides for new tools in marketing, in a continual bid to educate myself on what’s new in marketing and social media; why not look for actual advice?

After doing some research, I came across a great e-book, filled with insights from some of the industry’s top marketing experts. From ideas on how to effectively engage your audience to advice on how to properly measure how successful a campaign was, this e-book has it all.

Without further ado, here are some of the best marketing insights that resonated with me.

 

The Rules of Engagement

“More is not necessarily better. Post things that are relevant, useful and thoughtful, rather than just lots of posts”- Paul Odnoletkov @Geosoft Global Marketing Associate, Geosoft, Inc.

“When someone posts on a social channel, you need to try and immediately respond. Don’t fall victim to poor “listening.”- David George @SystemSensor Director, Marketing Communications, Honeywell

“Try not to post too much company centric news–you will almost always be bragging too much. We learned to post more relevant industry and analyst news to balance out our promotions.”-Lauren Twele @Symplified Online Marketing Manager, Symplified

 

Measure and Iterate

“Integrate your social media tactics into a tool that tracks your outreach, so you can see what works and what doesn’t”-Marchell Gillis @MarchellGillis

“Always test to see what works in paid advertising. And then constantly re-assess based on your findings.-Jill Petre @jillpetre Marketing Coordinator, SendGrid

 

Ideas to Generate Social Lift

“For everyone who follows us on Twitter, we give them access to a piece of content.”- Katherine Fawcett @buildingengines Marketing Associate, Building Engine

“Friday freebies! We do a small giveaway every week. We get product feedback, use cases, and product development information. We also get a “soft” lead for sales to follow up on.”- Brandi Brown @brandiheinz Social Media and eCommerce Manager, ETA Hand2Mind

“While running contests and collecting email addresses, make sure to send periodic lead nurture updates throughout the contest so the entrants stay familiar with your brand.”-Nicole Aguilar @COOPTHINK

 

Social Marketing Words of Wisdom

 “If you don’t do it, you don’t make mistakes!”-Emily Hossellman @ehossellman Marketing Goddess, Centercode

“Don’t commit and then stop. You need to maintain and build.”- Steve Susina @ssusina, Director or Demand Generation, Crain Business Insurance

“Don’t abandon traditional tools–bake social into every existing app!”- Craig Probus @RevCultCraig Practice manager, RevCult

 

Content Is King

“Make sure you are always on top of content generation and thinking about the next post/engagement.”- Simon Poulton @SPoulton Marketing Analyst, LaserFiche

“People love video! Visual content is key on social channels. And remember not to censor comments.”-Nimmy Reichenberg @AlgoSec VP of Marketing, Algosec Interactive Marketing Manager, Co-op Financial

 

Social Is a Group Effort

“We have learned that in social media marketing we have to both guide our customers and teach them how to share our content.”-Sarah Sullivan @Sarah_Sull Social Media Intern, Healthcaresource

“Our social strategy relies on influencers and industry leaders. We provide content that is full of data and analytics. This works as a preview to our larger reports.”- Eugene Ko @PhoCusWright Manager, Digital Marketing, PhocusWright

 

What are some of the best pieces of advice related to marketing and social media that you’ve received?

For more marketing tips & social media tools, check out my post on the Top 4 Tips for Blogger Outreach

 

-Lilian

 

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The Science of Neuro-Marketing

child heads with symbols

The same primitive impulses that helped early man survive against the evolutionary odds also draws shoppers to pairs of tan suede shoes. At least that’s the theory behind neuromarketing, an emerging field that uses the tools of neuroscience to understand the secrets of the consumer brain.

By having a subject wear an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap with electrodes placed all over his/her head, it records the electrical impulses on the surface of the brain. Eye tracking goggles also reveal exactly what he’s looking at when the computer records a flash of emotion. And one agency is at the forefront of this technology in Canada.

Diana Lucaci is the founder of True Impact Marketing, which is currently the first and only neuromarketing research company in Canada that uses both EEG and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to try to read consumers’ minds. Her company owns the EEG cap and eye tracking goggles, but must buy time with hospitals and universities to use the fMRI machine. Using both these technologies, the company measures three key metrics: engagement, attention, and memory. The company also measures levels of positive and negative emotion as well because businesses want to know if its brand elicits a particular emotional response, if it’s positive or negative at a particular point in time.

As a marketer, Diana always wanted better tools before going to market with a campaign. “When you know that a campaign requires millions of dollars and putting it together takes months and months, and the only data you have is a survey, and often you don’t even have that, so you just cross your fingers and hope that people pay attention,” she said.

All of this is just the beginning of neuromarketing in Canada. But the industry is growing. The first Neuromarketing World Forum was held last April in Amsterdam. And the Neuromarketing Science and Business Association say there are now more than 75 companies doing neuromarketing research all over the world.

What do you think about neuromarketing? Can science really help marketing? For more on marketing theories and their impacts on marketing campaigns check out my post on Maslow’s Hierarchy.

 

-Lilian

 

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Making Pasta with Cosmo Meens

Homemade Clive and Cheese Tortellini with Pancetta Caper Cream Sauce

Homemade Clive and Cheese Tortellini with Pancetta Caper Cream Sauce

Thanks to a thoughtful birthday present, I attended my first cooking class in over a decade just last week.

At Cook Culture, my partner and I along with ten or so others, learned the fine art of making fresh pasta from Victoria’s own Chef Cosmo Meens, owner/chef of Mo:le and The Hot & Cold Café.

I’d always wanted to try and make fresh pasta, but I was a little apprehensive about trying to figure out how to use the pasta machine, particularly how to calculate the different thicknesses of the dough.

I didn’t have to worry though. Cosmo was very thorough in walking us through how to create the pasta dough using a food processor, how to use a potato ricer to create fluffy potatoes for homemade potato gnocchi and even how to twist individual portions of freshly made pasta into tortellini.

When it came time for my partner and I to use the pasta machine to make fettuccine, apparently we misjudged the different thicknesses of the dough. Our machine didn’t have the numbers listed on the dial and we rolled out a chunk of pasta dough almost to the correct thickness, but we missed a step. The thickness of our fettuccine looked more like udon, according to Cosmo, but, hey, that would be closer to me, culturally speaking anyway.

After we all took turns making the fettuccine or angel hair pasta along with learning how to twist the tortellini properly, Cosmo talked about how to make the proper cream sauce for the tortellini and how to create brown butter, which I’d seen before on the Food Network.

The meatballs for the spaghetti were rolled and baked, while the asparagus for the gnocchi dish was blanched. As we cooked, Cosmo shared stories of all the restaurants he worked in and had previously owned and talked about some of his current projects.

We were each served three plates of the pasta we made. I would have to say though everything was delicious; my favourite dish by far was the gnocchi, simple and easy to make, but hardly plain or bland.

Want more of Cosmo’s stories? Check out how a Canadian Olympian became connected to my first cooking class in over a decade.

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-Lilian

 

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Third & Final Stop on the Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria Tour: Vista 18

I saved the best for last to close out our Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria Tour. We chose Vista 18 partially for the beautiful views of the city and the waterfront but also to try out some amazing food.

After perusing the menu, we decided to try the $30 selection. Our server, the ever easy going and good natured Russell, commented that many people were averse to trying the steak dish in the entrée after being told what sweetbreads were, but having developed a taste for pate, sweetbreads didn’t scare me.

My partner and I both decided to try the chicken terrine as an appetizer. It has less of a spreadable texture than I thought it would, but it was still tasty paired with the rosemary crackers that had come in our bread basket.

For a main course, I did choose the steak with the sweetbreads and onion Yorkshire pudding. My partner went with the pan seared sablefish with spicy tomato and octopus ragout. The steak I had was even better than the one I had at Spinnakers a few days previous, but Russell was right, the crowning achievement of the dish was definitely the crispy breaded sweetbreads.

They were so good, I’m still craving them now, in fact. My partner did enjoy his fish, but the ragout was a little too spicy for him.

To round out the evening, he had the flourless chocolate torte with peanut butter ice cream for dessert, while I chose the cardamom panna cotta with a cardamom shortbread cookie. My partner was addicted to the peanut butter ice cream while the panna cotta and cookie were so good, sometimes I feel like I can still taste them.

Overall, I’d say Vista 18 was definitively the winner out of the three restaurants for me and I can’t wait to have dinner there again.

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-Lilian

PS. Missed my post on Chez Michel or Spinnakers Gastro Brew Pub?

PPS. Sorry for the blurry photos, forgot the camera and had to make due with my partner’s phone.