Category Archives for "General"

marketing mishaps and how to fix

3 Common Online Marketing Mishaps And How to Bounce Back

Everyone makes mistakes.

And as a marketer, it’s inevitable that one will happen on the job. When those marketing blunders do occur, make sure you bounce back strong and learn valuable lessons about preventing them in the future.

Here are three strategies for recovering from three common mishaps.

1. Social Media Slips

Using trending hashtags can allow more people to see your brand’s message. However, you must choose your hashtags wisely.

For example, Entenmann’s posted a tweet reading “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!” On that same day #notguilty was trending because of the Casey Anthony trial. Just minutes later the baked goods company tweeted an apology noting that they should have checked the trending hashtag first.

They followed up with, “Our #notguilty tweet was insensitive, albeit completely unintentional. We are sincerely sorry.”

How to Bounce Back:

In Entenmann’s case, a little research could have gone a long way. Before you tweet, get a second opinion from one of your colleagues.

And, if you do decide to go hashtag surfing with a trending hashtag in one of your posts, do your research about how that hashtag is being used elsewhere.

2. Data Breaches

Over the past few years data breaches have made headlines and have been the subject of nightly news reports. Large, well-established companies like Target, P.F. Chang’s, Albertsons, Neiman Marcus, Sony, Home Depot, and UPS were all victims of data breaches in 2014, Forbes reports.

According to Triple Pundint, fallout from the Target breach cost the retail giant $61 million. The money was spent on software updates, credit monitoring, customer reimbursement, and legal fees. But that’s not the only area where Target took a hit.

The Washington Post reported that the Target data breach completely destroyed consumer trust, leading to a 50 percent drop in the fourth fiscal quarter. Furthermore, a survey issued by Retail’s Reality found that 45 percent of consumers do not believe that retailers do enough to keep their personal information safe.

How to Bounce Back:

Whether the data breach is caused by malicious hackers or is the result of human error, a company must work to keep their loyal consumers informed. Many consumers were disappointed in the way that Target handled the breach because the retailer issued a statement three weeks after the breach was first identified. Addressing the security issue must come first, but it’s important to consider your customer’s best interest.

Companies must also inform customers how to identify suspicious activity on their account. According to LifeLock, in addition to company safeguards, consumers can protect their identities and keep their personal information safe by only providing their social security number when it’s absolutely necessary and creating strong passwords.

3. Email Marketing Mishaps

In 2011, and employee from The New York Times sent an email to 8 million subscribers with a message that was intended for 300 former members that had recently canceled their subscription. The email asked the people who recently canceled to reconsider, and offered a 50 percent discount as an incentive.

If this email campaign was executed properly, it would have been a great way to earn back subscribers. Instead, some subscribers assumed it was spam, others thought it was the work of hackers, and most unfortunate, loyal readers were enraged and sounded off about the discount.

Employees responded quickly and told their subscribers that it was simply human error.

How to Bounce Back:

This email marketing nightmare could have been avoided by double-checking the recipient list. If you’ve experienced an email marketing mishap, take note of The New York Times‘ approach. Offer an apology to your customers, and continue to provide quality service.

In this case, the best thing to do is move on. Just remember, for your next email campaign, check your list twice before you hit “send.”

social media strategy and integration

Necessity – Not a Luxury: Digital Integration With Social Media

So you have a social marketing campaign running.

But just having one is not enough.

We’re talking about digital integration: the art of coordinating all of your marketing efforts in order to present a unified and consistent brand to the consumer throughout all of your marketing channels.

So, how do you make sure that your social media offerings are productively integrated with your other digital assets? We’ve got some tips for you today.

Coordinate your social media profiles

One of the first steps is simple enough to be a no-brainer, but people continually seem to get it wrong: you have to keep your social media consistent within social media. This means stretching your brand across each outlet, only allowing for minor variations in theme or context if they’re appropriate for the channel.

Make sure that your color scheme, profile photos, and other details are as consistent as possible. Then, use a tool like TweetDeck to coordinate and schedule your posts to make sure your profiles march in lockstep.

Social media is not an Island

The first rule of digital integration is that no effort is unilateral, and no effort is made in a vacuum. Your efforts on social media are just as much a part of your marketing efforts as any other.

This means that in addition to making sure all of your social media accounts are productively linked, but they should be directly tied to your website or websites, your email marketing, and your search advertising campaigns. Everything needs to be coordinated.

Take your landing pages to the next level

So you’ve got your bespoke landing pages for your paid search campaigns. But do you have them set up for your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts? It turns out that this is very useful, and each media channel needs a slightly tweaked landing page to do its job in the best possible way.

This is basically a continuity problem: since your ads look different on each media channel, the landing page needs to change, too. This is because you don’t want to surprise your users or accidentally make them think you’re taking them for a ride. They need to feel comfortable!

For E-Commerce, consider using tools like Shopify’s Facebook stores so that your landing pages sit on your social profiles, thus eliminating the possibility for click attrition.  Once more sales channels are brought into the social media world, landing pages can exist on social profiles, increasing impulse buys and, of course, profit.

Digital integration with social media: no longer a luxury

Once you’ve managed to comprehensively integrate your social media accounts with the rest of your marketing, consumers will be able to travel through your brand channels totally comfortably, without feeling lost. This comfort should translate to increased brand trust, and hopefully, increased conversions.

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Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has  contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com

reputation integrity

Top 7 Ways To Repair Your Corporate Reputation And Protect It For The Future

warren buffet reputation quote

Warren Buffet Talks About Business Reputation

Warren Buffet has a famous quote about corporate business reputation.

Mr. Buffet says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.

As you can see, a reputation is a very fragile thing to deal with. The good news is that as long as you maintain a level of common sense, you should be able to do it very easily (for more complex reputation cases, it will take many months and sometimes years).

There are several ways in which you can repair and protect your reputation. In this article, we will be going over some of the top ways in which you can repair your reputation and protect it for the future, and we are talking about “online” today.

Here Are Top Ways To Begin To Fix Your Reputation and Manage It For The Future:

1. Authority.

The fact is, you will not be able to protect your brands reputation unless you have the authority of it (multiple assets from websites and external assets like social networks) on Google and other search engines. It is imperative that you are ranking well for your own brand name, and that you have built history, trust and equity. That way, you know that you are going to be able to control it sufficiently. Without having this authority, others will be able to rank your brand on the first couple of pages of the search results which will lead to your entire brands reputation being vulnerable.

2. Have A Plan Before Fixing It.

It is also essential that you have a plan before you even attempt to fix your brands reputation. You should always do whatever it takes to develop a solid plan on how to handle a reputation crisis. A lot of the times the best way to fix a problem is to not respond to the problem at all. Believe it or not, but a lot of the times your rebuttals might actually hurt you because they will push the rankings up higher for the offending comments.

3. Be Quick To Apologize To Customer Complaints.

It is essential that you do everything that you can in order to respond swiftly to your customer complaints. It is essential to respond to your customer complaints and/or comments simply because a happy customer is going to end up telling five of their friends. Whereas, an unhappy customer is going to be willing to tell 10 of their friends. At the same time, a customer that had their issues resolved sufficiently and quickly will tell even more friends. Therefore, it is going to be in your best interest as a brand and company to be sure to get your customers the best customer support and care that they need to be satisfied.

4. Control The Conversation.

Believe it or not, but you can actually effectively control the conversation about your brand if you set up a keyword and brand alert system correctly. Google.com/alerts is fairly easy to configure. You simply set up Google alerts for your particular brands name and/or other keywords you deem important to monitor. This will alert you whenever someone is talking about your brand regardless of whether or not it is good or bad. This is going to allow you to effectively control the conversation that is going on about your brand. If things take a turn for the worse, you will be able to respond quickly and swiftly to remedy the situation. There are free tools and paid tools to help you in this effort.

5. Understand The Complaints You Receive.

Another thing that you are going to want to do is be sure that you understand all of the complaints that your brand and/or company is already receiving. This is going to go a long ways towards helping you effectively eliminate the complaints all together. For instance, are the complaints directly towards your quality control? Are they directed at your customer service? Figure out what people are complaining about so you can work the best way possible in order to fix it.

6. Limit Potential Surprises.

For the future, you might want to own all of the domains that could risk your businesses brand image. That includes your .com, .net, .org and related extensions. And, if you own a particular brand, you might want to purchase a different URL – such as www.(yourbrand)sucks.com. By owning these URL’s, you are going to be able to control these domains and not let the content of them take you by surprise. These are domains that can effectively hurt your image a lot because they will rank higher in search engines organically.  It can take a professional reputation management company weeks, months or years to fix a badly damaged brand.

7. Use Testimonials.

By using real and believable testimonials on your website, you should be able to eliminate and/or reduce the amount of problems that you experience in regards to your company’s and/or brands reputation. This is because you are going to have real and truthful testimonials on your website that vouch for your brands reputation. By doing this, you are going to make it less important to seek out other third party information or testimonials to make a purchasing decision for potential customers.

One thing is for sure, the Internet has definitely changed the way that reputation is handled and the way that it is perceived. While it can take a ton of money to build a reputable brand, it can literally take seconds to have it destroyed.

It takes more than just search engines and social media to fix it – you may need to employ a team of SEO, PR and communications professionals to implement a repair plan, build new policies for your firm and create sound business strategies (both internally and externally) to fix it long term.

NOTE: Of course, we assume that you are a company of high integrity and trust, and that you simply got into an unfortunate situation that was out of your control at the time!

The good news is that there are logical and proven sequenced steps to getting your reputation management in order. And, it is essential to do everything that you can to protect it. Be sure to utilize the tips in this article to do just that.

millennials-your-business-future

How To Begin Shifting All Facets of Business Toward Millennials

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 92 million people in the Millennial generation, making it the largest cohort of today, accounting for $200 billion in annual buying power. The people born between 1980 and 2000 have a unique perspective on the world, radically different from previous generations, and any wise business will adjust to cater to its demand.
millennials and shifting your business strategies and focus

Responsive And Adaptive Websites

Being the first generation to grow up exposed to always-on digital media, Millennials are the tech generation. This demographic is more likely to play video games, watch TV online and conduct most of their daily conversations via text message. In a typical day, the average Millennial will use a computer, smartphone and tablet, sometimes simultaneously, which means you need to be targeting digital platforms if you want to get attention from Millennial customers. A business’s website needs to be designed or redesigned to be mobile friendly and perhaps eve in app form.

Responsive websites will change their look and functionality depending on the type of device the consumer is using. What may be designed as three columns on a desktop will be one column on a smartphone. Adaptive layouts collect data on the user, often stored as cookies, a change the look and functionality depending on the user’s responses. An adaptive website would drive male customers to pages that are generally considered male interests. A Millennial’s innate knowledge of web design expects this level of online interaction.

Take To The Cloud

Like the Internet, the youngest adult generation is going twenty-four hours, seven day a week. Another important company shift to capture the Millennial market is to move from a local, 9-to-5 workday to one that is global and always ON. Your business may need to use a cloud-based contact center to expand its customer service without adding a ton in overhead costs. This system will allow your business the ability to reach out to customers through digital media and have them communicate back via email, text or voice-controlled automated phone calls. Using this, the consumer has some form of customer care available any time of the day or night.

Make Marketing Social

According to Maker Studios Chief Content Officer Erin McPherson, Millennials do not dislike brands, but rather, they dislike advertisements based on inauthenticity. Because of the technology available to them, notably Netflix and other streaming services, they do not need to suffer ingenuous marketing. The new business’s marketing strategy should focus more on relationship marketing, offering genuine connections with consumers. Instead of devoting marketing funds to commercials that will fall on deaf ears, build a social media presence that will keep the customer coming back to engage. Write all of your Facebook posts in the first person, talk directly to the Millennial and create a relationship that is real.

Most Millennials will trust a blog, review, or Facebook comment over an advertisement. Social media is how Millennials determine authenticity. They ask friends and connections to weigh-in on products or services. Since the average Millennial has more than 300 Facebook friends, the review network is expansive. The Millennial-focused business will tap into this network with their own, trustworthy social media commentary.

How Graphics are Making the World a Better Place [INFOGRAPHIC]

Graphics are all around us – and graphics are used to illustrate concepts, and as a method of communication.

You’ll find them in logos, books, magazines, websites, on the streets, pretty much everywhere. Graphics are also used for entertainment.

Our human brains react to graphics in different ways. The elements of design are like ingredients in your favorite cake.

FREE WEBINAR: Register For Your Free Access so you can get more value from keywords and your content. Includes 2 bonus gifts not found in this article.


Click on the infographic to see the full presentation of the psychology of graphics. (credit: thanks to bigstockphoto)

the psychology of graphics humans worldwide

Click to expand the psychology of graphics (INFOGRAPHIC)

CRM data to drive traffic via targeting measurement and personalization

How Your Existing Customer Data Can Help You Predict the Future

Your existing CRM data is a treasure trove. But, you are likely not using it properly. Certainly not in today’s new ways of extracting and positioning that data for online use in your marketing. You are missing a huge opportunity. You can use that data (that you already own) to drive more targeted business using your existing customer data. Learn more about your own data, use it wisely in your marketing, and you can begin to predict the future for potential traffic, sales and bottom line profits.

Gone are the days when print marketing was used to reach existing and potential customers. Today’s marketing professionals understand how using CRM data to synchronize sales and marketing efforts, across various digital mediums, is an imperative part of an effective business plan.

A positive, return-of-investment ad campaign is only deemed so when the click-though and purchase rates are satisfactory enough to justify the time, effort and financial costs associated with them.

This is where the union between measurement, targeting and personalization all come into play.

Measurement

Setting pre-defined goals for each campaign allows marketers to determine whether a campaign was a success.content marketing data metrics strategies

Whether it is through the use of A/B testing, a percentage of views/clicks/submissions or through the use of some other metrics, the goal is to target an audience and have them end up, not as a customer in the monthly/quarterly/yearly sales cycle, but as a life-long business relationship.

Regardless of which type of advertising  medium, or combination thereof, a business will choose; the goal of all effective advertising campaigns is to reach a customer, despite where they are (online, off-line, mobile). An effective marketer can only measure customers he or she has reached.

What about the others that slipped away?

Targeting

Look-alike modeling, also known as a Lookalike Audience, is currently a marketing practice used by social media giant Facebook.  A Lookalike Audience is a group of prospects targeted based on the customer personas a particular business wishes to reach.

look a like modeling crm data

In addition to gaining new followers for your business and boosting your brand’s social media presence, these prospective custom audiences are also an asset when vying for additional landing page sell-through revenues. Other online big data service marketing providers like Liveramp – provides lookalike audiences for CRM.

Targeted groups can be reached during various points of the customer lifecycle stage and look-alike modeling can be used, not only as an inexpensive way to gain new prospects but to test the effectiveness of new calls-to-action.

With metrics factored in, a business can have measurable results based on existing customer bases while capturing new, Lookalike Audiences and evaluating their response rates.

Personalization

To ensure both active and potential customers receive personalized service, multi-channel marketing can be implemented throughout the use of social media outlets. Interactive digital campaigns should be used to deliver online ads to an intended group of consumers previously served by email or direct mail.

marketing personalization avatars campaignsWhen these personalized marketing campaigns are cohesively aligned with CRM programs, actionable results can include:

  • Cost savings from having to pay for direct mail-related expenses and the avoidance of mail not reaching the intended recipient.
  • Reduction of emails being sent to spam folders; thus never being read.
  • Client reporting becomes easier as each specific campaign’s overall performance metrics are actionably measured, reported and archived for future use.
  • Ability to increase a business’ social media presence through the use of instant social media postings, landing page redirects, video marketing and other new-media.

Can Traditional and Digital Media Be Used Together In the CRM Experience?

The answer is certainly yes; if it will help increase your business’ overall bottom line and provide superior customer service. Again, this is where understanding your targeted customer demographic and personas come into play.

When implementing the true form of multi-channel marketing, customer interaction and acquisition are the goals. This means customer engagement and response could come from a direct mail catalog, visiting a business’ retail location, reading updates on a social media site, or instantly connecting with a mobile application.

Since an audience will need to be receptive to campaigns, A/B testing was mentioned earlier, but don’t forget about frequent digital content updates and making them relevant. Remember, the first 160 characters in any message are the most important, especially those delivered on mobile devices.

Attention-grabbing headlines, promotions and calls-to-action are a priority, and when executed effectively, can help increase a business’ CRM database, overall service reputation, attainable digital audience, and prospective yearly revenue.

To learn more about utilizing your existing customer data, and how you can leverage it for driving traffic and real customer engagements – get more information here.