Author Archives: Roy Revill

The Pandemic In-Box | Email Marketing Strategy During COVID-19

The rapid onset of Covid-19 forced many businesses to quickly halt or adapt their existing email marketing strategy. Content needed to be evaluated for appropriateness, execution and segmentation strategies reconsidered for a disrupted market. For many, the fast-fix was a letter from leadership discussing how their company specifically would manage the challenges of the pandemic. 

The Email You’ve Probably Already Sent Out

Fast Company explains that the unprecedented upset Covid-19 had on commerce created “a tidal wave of automated emails from every single company you’ve ever bought anything from in the history of your life”. The online magazine categorized the first batch of Covid-19 corporate emails into three tiers. Which one of the following did your company send out?

The Service Orientated Email:

Emails that explained how the pandemic would tactically impact customers. Southwest disclosed how they would handle flight cancellations, Starbucks shared that the store is switching to drive-thru only mode and TJ Maxx informed customers that they were temporarily closing both their online and brick-and-mortar stores.

The Brand Friend Email:

Fast Company calls this the “We’re in this together” email. “This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation.” The content’s sole purpose is meant to evoke a feeling of camaraderie.

The Obviously Auto-Generated Email:

Referred to in the article as “the ones that belong in inbox hell” these emails were scheduled before the pandemic hit. For example, a drip mail containing language or promotions that might have been well received in better times – but fell flat during the pandemic. 

3 Things to Consider Before You Send Your Next Email

Email marketing strategy can be one of your strongest tools right now. Shelter-in-Place brings with it a level of isolation that makes us value inbound communication. However, it’s also a time when patience is limited and the tolerance for time-wasting or tone-deaf content can quickly alienate targets.

  1. Avoid Covid-19 Oversaturation:

    Take into consideration that your target has likely been hearing, reading and talking about Covid-19 for the past month. Unless you have new information to share about the subject, such as a newly launched philanthropic campaign supporting pandemic efforts, let it take a backseat. Focus on ensuring your messaging is relative to the headspace your target audience is in without overtly discussing the pandemic or be prepared to get roasted on social media.

  2. Don’t Fatigue Your Audience:

    Many of us are operating from a place of fear as we navigate this new period in history. Sending out a high volume of emails undermines your status by conveying to your target that your organization is fearful of losing their business. Take the time to read the email delivery strategy Marketo’s Carmi Lopez-Jonarmi lays out and consider turning down the volume in favor of fewer, more meaningful emails.

  3. Understand That Your Audiences’ Experience Differs:

    The demographics and psychographic data that you used to segment your emails don’t guarantee a shared experience when it comes to Covid-19. While there are certainly portions of your audience that would appreciate a boredom-buster email, others are out of work or working the front lines as essential personnel and may not. Review content to ensure that your organization is being sensitive to each target’s unique situation.

Limited, strategic, and relevant email marketing is valued now more than ever. Invest the time and audit your ongoing and scheduled outbound marketing campaigns. Lastly, make sure drip campaigns, subscription confirmations, and other auto-send emails are appropriate as well.

The post The Pandemic In-Box | Email Marketing Strategy During COVID-19 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

How to use SMS web pages to communicate during a crisis

Everything from a cyber attack, to something as seemingly simple as an office power cut, is a potential threat and crisis situation to a business. Clearly, it isn’t possible to prepare for every eventuality. But whatever type of crisis or emergency you are facing, there is no doubt that with the right tools, you can position your business for effective disaster recovery. As time is often precious in these situations, it is necessary to choose simple but powerful tools and this is where an SMS Web Page can be really useful. SMS Web Pages are simple mobile landing pages, which are both easy and quick to create. Once created they can be sent to all relevant parties via SMS.

3 steps to communicate in a crisis, using an SMS Web Page

Whether there is an internal business emergency, or a national crisis, it is vital to act as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your business needs to ensure that all information is sent to recipients immediately. An SMS Web Page can be created in just 3 steps and host a wide range of content including: text, images, a call to action with links to another site, meaning that this is a really effective way to convey information to recipients in an emergency.

The steps to creating an SMS Web Page are as follows:

  1. Select your template: simply select a layout template from the options available. 
  2. Upload your images and write your text: add the necessary text and images, for example your company logo. You can then change the background and font colour and size. 
  3. Preview your web page and send!: once created, preview the page and make sure all of the information is clear and easy to understand. Once happy, click to send the campaign. 

Internal communication during a crisis via SMS Web Pages

During a crisis it is crucial that you communicate with your employees, to ensure everyone is updated as the situation unfolds. You can send an email, but it may go unread for hours or even days, especially if sent outside normal working hours. With SMS, your message is sent via a channel in which 90% of all messages read within just 3 minutes. But in some situations, it may be difficult to convey the information within the SMS character limitations and your message may require imagery to better illustrate points or even calls to action employees must follow. It is in these situations that an SMS Web Page can be particularly effective. Your landing page can be used in the following ways: 

  • To communicate the crisis and provide explanation
  • To notify individuals of changes in working hours and methods
  • To share rules of conduct
  • Keep employees updated as a situation unfolds
  • To request information from employees, for example, ask them to fill in an emergency form

External communication during a crisis via SMS Web Pages

Just as it is crucial to update staff, it is also vital to update customers during a crisis. You must notify your customers of any actions your business is taking and how this may impact them in both the short and long term. SMS facilitates rapid communication and when combined with a landing page, allows you to give all the necessary information in a clear format. In particular, it allows you to advise of:

  • Sudden closings or different opening times
  • New services active in emergency situations
  • Scheduled event cancellations
  • Price policies, active behavior in emergency situations
  • Collect the data of those who want to use a remote service because they are unable to move

The importance of communicating well in a crisis 

The reality is, all businesses need to communicate well in a crisis; but especially those within the healthcare, education and the public sectors, as individuals will be turning to these organisations for immediate guidance. During these times it is necessary to communicate in a timely and complete manner and just a few examples of these comms are as follows: 

Healthcare

Can use SMS Web Pages to communicate the hygiene rules to be followed if a health-related emergency is underway, or they can activate online counseling services and use the landing pages to collect the contacts of those who want to activate this service remotely.

Public sector

Could send instructions to citizens regarding the most up-to-date rules of conduct and ask to share the link to the landing page, so it reaches as many people as possible. 

Education 

Additionally, organisations in the education sector, will likely need to communicate with parents and teachers, to advise on potential lesson suspensions and provide details of an online lesson calendar, if this service is provided.

Finally, banks, supermarkets and pharmacies also have a lot to gain by implementing SMS Web Pages. These web pages could be used to convey basic rules to follow in the event of a crisis, how to use services in the event of an emergency and perhaps most importantly, for pharmacies they could be used to organise prescriptions and thus avoid overcrowding.

To find out more about how to implement SMS Web Pages into your business continuity plan, or speak to us about how you can introduce SMS into your processes today, email us at info@textmarketer.co.uk or call us on 0117 205 0202.

The post How to use SMS web pages to communicate during a crisis appeared first on Textmarketer.

Restaurants Fight Back Against Pandemic with Paytronix Order & Delivery

Pop-up grocery, margaritas to go, and ghost kitchen are some of the innovative offerings created to help brands reach their guests

Newton, MA – May 20, 2020 – The toughest situations foster innovation and experimentation, and that’s just how companies using the Paytronix Order & Delivery platform have tackled the COVID-crisis. Paytronix Systems, Inc., the most advanced digital guest experience platform, recently highlighted five brands that have successfully ramped up their takeout business with such innovations as grocery and alcohol sales, a ghost kitchen, and email marketing to support their online sales

“Paytronix Order & Delivery continues to add functionality, such as our Rapid Launch, that empowers restaurants and c-stores in this time of industry transition,” said Tim Ridgely, head of Order & Delivery for Paytronix. “It’s great to see brands like Little Greek, Local Cantina, Zukku Sushi, Elote Mexican Kitchen and Oliva Italian Eatery take advantage of all that we offer to quickly come up with ways of extending their businesses and helping their guests in these unprecedented times.”

When Florida-based Little Greek Fresh Grill noticed that its customers were having a hard time getting groceries, they leveraged Paytronix Order & Delivery to open takeout community groceries in most of their 44 restaurants.

“[Paytronix] did a beta test of curbside delivery and that just really – we were fortunate to get that set up right away. That’s been a huge help because customers can order online, pay online, and pick up their food and have a team member bring it out to them. There is no human interaction, if you will,” said Jennifer Bujalski, director of administrative services, Little Greek Fresh Grill. “We’re able to buy product from our distributors or our vendors … especially at the beginning of this when people couldn’t find chicken or ground beef or eggs, cheese, potatoes, gloves, toilet paper, paper towels – that’s all stuff we were able to get. We were able to sell that to our guests online.”

Here is how each of the five brands cited – Little Greek, Local Cantina, Zukku Shushi, and Elote Mexican Kitchen and Oliva Italian Eatery – put Paytronix Order & Delivery to work for them:

Employing the latest cloud technology, Paytronix Order & Delivery enables rapid processing of digital orders. It has an easy-to-use guest ordering interface, digital ordering management tools, more than a dozen POS integrations, and the best loyalty integration on the market today. In addition, Paytronix has partnered with premier third-party aggregators to help enhance the online ordering experience.    

Restaurant and convenience store brands can learn more about Paytronix Order & Delivery and schedule a personalized demo here https://www.paytronix.com/platform/order.

Learn how both restaurant and C-store sales are rebounding in the Paytronix blog: Data Dive: Mother’s Day Bump Helps Ongoing Restaurant Recovery

About Paytronix Systems, Inc.

Based in Newton, Massachusetts, Paytronix is a provider of SaaS customer experience management (CXM) solutions for restaurants and convenience stores. Through its innovative software design and integrations with more than 30 widely used point-of-sale systems, Paytronix empowers more than 400 brands across 30,000 locations, giving them the flexibility to deliver unique, revenue-enhancing guest experiences. Through one-to-one engagement with more than 285 million guests via Order & Delivery, Loyalty, CRM, and Stored Value, Paytronix generates Big Data consumer insights that motivate increased visits and spend. For more information, visit www.paytronix.com.

The post Restaurants Fight Back Against Pandemic with Paytronix Order & Delivery appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

The Ultimate List of Types of Marketing [41 and Counting]

Like many of the people who work in the industry, digital marketing was born in the 1990s. Back then, email was the age of most college graduates, AT&T launched the first banner ad, and the CRM industry was just starting to thrive.

Needless to say, marketing has evolved at breakneck speed since then, sprouting many more types of marketing. Some are definitely more effective and relevant than others, so read on to learn about the top types of marketing around today.

The Ultimate List of Types of Marketing

1. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing refers to brand promotion on any kind of channel that has been around since before the advent of the internet. Because information wasn’t as easily accessible and readily available, the majority of traditional marketing relied on outbound tactics such as print, television ads, and billboards.

2. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing refers to intrusive promotion such as print ads, TV ads, cold calling, and email blasts. This marketing method is called “outbound” since the brand is pushing their message out to all consumers to spread awareness — whether they are in need of it or not.

3. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is focused on attracting customers rather than interrupting them. The majority of inbound marketing tactics fall under digital marketing as consumers are empowered to do research online as they progress through their own buyer’s journey (more on that later).

The focus for inbound is on creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business to pull prospects and customers to your website with relevant and helpful content. Once they arrive, you engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat and by promising continued value. Finally, you delight them by continuing to act as an empathetic advisor and expert.

4. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing, leveraging technology that didn’t exist traditionally to reach audiences in new ways. This type of marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers. We’ve broken some of these down in more detail below.

5. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, includes all activities in the effort of ensuring your business’s products or services are visible on search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a top result for that search query. The two types of SEM include search engine optimization (SEO) for organic search results and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for sponsored SERPs.

To get started with SEO, you must familiarize yourself with search engine ranking factors and produce content for search engines to index.

To get started with pay-per-click SEM, you must work with the search engine you’re looking to purchase placements with. Google Ads is a popular choice. There are also ads management tools to make creating and managing PPC campaigns a breeze.

6. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a key instrument in inbound and digital marketing because content is what allows audiences as well as search engines, such as Google, to find the information they need on the web. By definition, it involves creating, publishing, and distributing content to your target audience. The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets, like tools, ebooks, or webinars.

With content marketing, the goal is to help your audience along their buyer’s journey. First, identify common FAQs and concerns your buyers have before they are ready to make a purchase. Then, create an editorial calendar to help you create and manage your content. It also helps to have a content management system to make publishing easy.

7. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is creating content to promote your brand and products on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Remember your audience as you create content. No one logs on to social media looking for something to purchase, so think through what types of content that is useful, informative, entertaining, and/or compelling. Your unique content should be tailored to the specific platform you share it on to help you boost your post’s reach.

In order to make publishing content across platforms easy, there are a number of social media tools out there such as  that simplify the process.

8. Video Marketing

Video marketing is a type of content marketing that involves using video as a medium. The idea is to create videos and upload them to your website, YouTube, and social media to boost brand awareness, generate conversions, and close deals. Some video marketing apps even allow you to analyze, nurture, and score leads based on their activity.

9. Voice Marketing

Voice marketing is leveraging smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to educate people and answer questions about their topics of interest. Optimizing your website for voice search is very similar to optimizing for organic search, but beyond that, you can also get inventive by creating a Google action or Alexa skill.

10. Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending educational or entertaining content and promotional messages to people who willingly subscribe to your receive messages from you. The primary goal is to deepen your relationship with the customer or prospect by sending marketing messages personalized to them. Pushing that idea further, you can also use email marketing to nurture leads with content that moves them along the buyer’s journey.

Depending on your location, you must stay compliant with GDPR, the CAN-SPAM Act, and other regulations governing email. At their core, they boil down to responsible commercial email sending: Only send to people who are expecting messages from you (i.e. they’ve opted in), make it easy for them to opt out, and be transparent about who you are when you do make contact. 

With that in mind, the first thing you’ll need to do is strategize how you’ll build your email list — the database of contacts you can send email to. The most common mechanism is through lead capture forms on your website. Then, you’ll need email marketing software and a CRM to send, track, and monitor the effectiveness of your emails. To push your email strategy further and maximize productivity, you may also want to look into email automation software that sends emails based on triggering criteria.

To learn the ins and outs of email marketing, you can take the free email marketing course from HubSpot academy.

11. Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is the ability to have 1:1 personal conversations across multiple channels, meeting customers how, when, and where they want. It is more than just live chat, extending to phone calls, texts, Facebook Messenger, email, Slack, and more.

When you’re getting started, you’ll first identify which channels your audience is on. The challenge, though, is being able to manage multiple channels without slow response times, internal miscommunication, or productivity loss. That’s why it’s important to use conversational marketing tools, such as a unified inbox, to streamline your efforts.

12. Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing is a viral marketing strategy that leverages refreshingly creative content, interactive events, and community influencers to generate word-of-mouth marketing and anticipation for the product or service the brand is about to launch.

Buzz marketing works best when you reach out to influencers early and have a plan in place to generate suspense and perhaps even mystery. To track your buzz marketing efforts, it’s best to use social listening software to keep a pulse on how your audience is responding.

13. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers on social media. Influencers are considered experts in their niches. These individuals have a large influence over an audience you might be trying to reach and can be helpful marketing to those buyers.

To get started with influencer marketing, you must first create your influencer marketing strategy and define what type of influencer you’re targeting (their niche). Then, you’ll want to create a list of criteria that would make an influencer in that niche a good fit with you, considering things such as the size of their audience, how active that audience is, and the vibe on their profile. 

From there, you can find influencers and reach out to them by: 

  • Manually searching on social media
  • Using an influencer marketing platform
  • Hiring an agency to do the influencer research and outreach for you

From there, you’ll want to understand that the influencer is the one who knows their audience the best, so maintain a good relationship with that individual and allow them some creative freedom with how they handle your promotion.

14. Acquisition Marketing

While all types of marketing is geared toward acquiring customers, the majority of types have broader and softer goals such as improving brand awareness or driving traffic. In contrast, acquisition marketing is laser-focused on acquiring customers. 

Acquisition marketing is an umbrella type of marketing that employs the tactics and strategies of other types of marketing but focuses on how to turn those marketing benefits into revenue. Ultimately, the focus is on lead generation from the results you get driving website traffic from inbound marketing, including content, social media, and search engine marketing.

Once you have website traffic, you must turn that traffic into leads and, eventually, sales. That’s where acquisition marketing comes in. Acquisition marketing may involve a number of tactics to turn a website into a lead generation engine, including offering freemium products, launching education hubs, tightening the copywriting on the site, conversion rate optimization, and lead optimization. It may even include a lead optimization and nurturing strategy to facilitate the hand-off between marketing and sales.

15. Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing is targeting online users with different ads on websites and social media networks based on their online browsing behavior. The number one way to make contextual marketing efforts powerful is through personalization. A CRM combined with powerful marketing tools such as smart CTAs can make a website seem more like a “choose your own adventure” story, allowing the user to find the right information and take the right actions more effectively.

Contextual marketing takes strategy and planning, so start off on the right foot by accessing HubSpot’s free contextual marketing course.

16. Personalized Marketing

The goal here is to be thought-provoking and generate discussion so that your brand is remembered and associated with positive sentiment. 

In order to begin brand marketing, you need to deeply understand your buyer persona and what resonates with them. You must also consider your position in the market and what makes you unique from competitors. This can help shape your values and what you stand for, giving you fodder for storytelling campaigns.

17. Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is shaping your brand’s public perception and forging an emotional connection with your target audience through storytelling, creativity, humor, and inspiration.

The goal here is to be thought-provoking and generate discussion so that your brand is remembered and associated with positive sentiment. 

In order to begin brand marketing, you need to deeply understand your buyer persona and what resonates with them. You must also consider your position in the market and what makes you unique from competitors. This can help shape your values and what you stand for, giving you fodder for storytelling campaigns.

18. Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is when a brand hires actors or celebrities or uses pseudonyms to promote their product or service without consumers realizing they’re being marketed to. Some examples of stealth marketing are hiring actors to subtly promote products to the public, sockpuppeting, paying influencers to post about a product or service without disclosing that it’s actually an ad, creating fake viral videos, and product placement in movies.

19. Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is placing bold, clever brand activations in high-traffic physical locations to reach audiences in a creative and cost-effective way, grow brand awareness, and spread the word about your brand. Examples of guerilla marketing include altering outdoor urban environments, targeting indoor locations such as train stops, and promoting during a live event without permission from the sponsors.

20. Native Marketing

Native marketing is when brands pay reputable publishers to collaborate in the creative process of crafting a sponsored article or video that covers one of the publisher’s main topics and looks like a regular piece of content on their website. They also pay these publishers to distribute this sponsored content to their massive audience through social media and their website. In sum, when brands pay for a publisher’s native advertising services, they can leverage their editorial expertise and reach to help their brand tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.

In order to benefit from native marketing, you’ll need to either reach out to media publications yourself or go through a native advert network that helps find and facilitate ad placement.

21. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer rewards a website with a commission for each customer they refer through their promotion of one of the online retailers’ products. The website, often called an affiliate, will only get paid when their promotion generates a sale.

If you already have marketing assets that are performing, such as a website that generates traffic or an engaged network on social media or elsewhere, affiliate marketing is a great way to further leverage those assets. Choose a product or brand that closely aligns with what you sell (but does not compete with you) and promote it to your audience.

22. Partner Marketing

Partner marketing is attracting new partners to sell your product or service to another pool of customers. For example, a HubSpot, we have an agency partner program where inbound marketing agencies sell our product to their clients, and we give our partners a cut of the revenue.

23. Product Marketing

Product marketing is bringing a product to market and driving demand for it. This includes deciding the product’s positioning and messaging, launching the product, and ensuring salespeople and customers understand its benefits and features. This can be done through many of the marketing methods discussed in this article but with a focus on the product rather than an organization as a whole.

24. Account-based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hyper-focused marketing strategy where teams treat an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. Marketing teams create content, host events, and launch entire campaigns dedicated to the people associated with that account, rather than the industry as a whole.

The advantage of this is having personalized campaigns for your ideal client. Here’s how you can start: 

  1. Identify key accounts. 
  2. Create messaging based on issues that matter to those accounts. 
  3. Learn how to put that messaging in action with HubSpot’s introductory ABM lesson
  4. Find ABM software that can enable your efforts.

25. Customer Marketing

In contrast to acquisition marketing where the focus is on acquiring new customers, customer marketing is focusing on retaining your existing customers, delighting them with your product or service and customer service, and turning them into advocates for your brand who can spread the word about your brand. This is a great strategy because the cost of acquisition is much higher than what it takes to retain or upsell existing customers.

Customer marketing relies on constant improvement of the customer experience — or the impression you leave with a customer after you’ve provided service. Simple ways to improve the customer experience — and, as a result, tap into customer marketing — is by eliminating friction in the customer service process, providing ways for them to self-service such as through online knowledge bases, and using customer service software to manage and improve customer communication.

26. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is customers’ recommendations of a brand, which is the most trusted form of marketing today. To create as much word of mouth marketing as possible, you need to stay laser-focused on developing the best product or service possible and providing top-notch customer service. In other words, you need to serve your customers’ needs before your own. Only then will your customers turn into a loyal, passionate tribe that will recommend your brand to their friends and family.

27. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is a type of customer marketing that focuses on cultivating deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers to ensure long-term brand loyalty. Relationship marketing is not focused on short-term wins or sales transactions. Instead, it’s focused on creating brand evangelists that become promoters for the long-haul.

The key to doing this is by focusing on delighting your customers who are already satisfied with your brand. Start by using customer feedback software to run a Net Promoter Score (NPS) campaign to help you find out who those customers are. Then, come up with ways to turn those happy customers into raving fans. From there, you can request that they leave a testimonial, participate in a case study, or help you achieve your customer delight goals in some other way.

28. User-generated Marketing

User-generated marketing is when businesses ask the public for ideas, information, and opinions on social media or run contests to help them craft better marketing material, like a logo, jingle, or commercial.

29. Campus Marketing

Campus marketing is hiring college students to become campus ambassadors for your brand. They usually market your products or services to other students by setting up booths around campus or hosting giveaways.

30. Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing is when brands use Beacons, which are Bluetooth devices that send alerts to people’s smartphones based on their proximity to one of their stores, to promote discounts to any customer who walks by one of their stores and has their app. Beacons can also pinpoint people’s locations in a store and send them deals on the products and brands that are in the same section as them.

31. Event Marketing

Event marketing is planning, organizing, and executing an event for the purpose of promoting a brand, product, or service. Events can take place in-person or online, and companies can either host an event, attend as an exhibitor, or participate as a sponsor. Many organizations leverage their unique experience in the industry to provide present helpful informational sessions in exchange for the cost of admission and the brand positioning that results after being seen by attendees as an authority on the topic. Alternatively, or in conjunction with that strategy, there may be a pitch at the end of the event to prompt interested attendees to make a purchase.

32. Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing encompasses in-person events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between a brand and its target audience. Experiential marketing takes event marketing just one step further with the goal of making the experience magical for attendees, providing something they can take with them after the event is over — other than just information, of course. 

At HubSpot, we do our best to make our INBOUND conference an immersive experience that extends beyond breakout sessions by including networking opportunities, entertainment, parties and happy hours, food truck lunches, and other immersive experiences. Instead of a conference, INBOUND becomes a celebration.

33. Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing is an innovative type of marketing where your audience can interact with engaging visuals or videos within your content. This new form of marketing unleashes your creativity and, in turn, allows you to tell more gripping stories, crowning it as one of the best ways to capture your audience’s attention. Examples of interactive marketing include immersive video and interactive infographics.

34. Global Marketing

Global marketing is focusing on the needs of potential buyers in other countries. Typically, a global marketing strategy requires a business to do new market research, identify countries where the business’s product might be successful, and then localize the brand to reflect the needs of those communities.

35. Multicultural Marketing

Multicultural marketing is devising and executing a marketing campaign that targets people of different ethnicities and cultures within a brand’s overarching audience. Not only does it help you relate to and resonate with minority groups, but it also recognizes their ethnicities and cultures and helps majority groups realize that most countries are melting pots and not dominated by one main ethnicity or culture.

36. Informative Marketing

Informative marketing is a kind of marketing that refers primarily to the type of message your marketing gets across, focusing more on the facts and less on emotions. This marketing tactic highlights how your product’s features and benefits solve your customers’ problems and can even compare your product to your competitors’ product. Although this type of marketing relies on facts and figures to trigger a desired action, it’s usually framed in a compelling way.

37. Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing blends neuroscience and marketing to help brands gauge the emotional resonance of their current and future marketing campaigns. To do this, companies like Immersion Neuroscience and Spark Neuro have developed technology that can gauge certain neurochemical and physiological responses, which both signal emotional engagement while consuming marketing content.

38. Persuasive Marketing

Persuasive marketing focuses more on the emotions and less on the facts. It aims to make an audience feel something, associate those emotions with a brand, and trigger a desired action.

39. Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a type of corporate social responsibility that aims to simultaneously improve society and boost a brand’s awareness by promoting and supporting a charitable cause.

Sheryl Green, author of Do Good to Do Better, a book on cause marketing, describes this scenario: “There’s nothing fun about selling widgets … [so] Susan is about to discover the power of Cause Marketing. She pledges 1% of her gross sales to support her local food bank. She spends her Saturday mornings at soup kitchens serving the homeless. She has donation boxes set up in her employee break rooms and gives comp time to her employees who want to volunteer. And, she has switched her commercials from a description of the widget making process to a story about how her employees give back to the community and how they’ve served over 6000 meals in the last year. Susan is no longer selling widgets… now she’s selling warm fuzzies.”

All of this is because Susan, the fictitious owner of the widget company, chose to marry her business with her desire to support the community. 

Cause marketing begins by answering three questions: 

  1. What causes do I care most about? 
  2. How can I leverage my company’s position to support those causes?
  3. How can I tell my prospects and customers about my efforts so that they can get involved? 

That last question benefits both your business and the cause/charity you’re supporting.

40. Controversial Marketing

Controversial marketing doesn’t aim to polarize an audience. It’s an attention-grabbing technique for stating an opinion, and brands use it to spark productive conversations about certain moral values. In recent years, any stance taken on sensitive social issues can be considered controversial marketing. While you may turn off potential customers who disagree with you, your audience who agrees with you will be more committed to your brand and more likely to promote your message as it aligns with their world view.

41. Field Marketing

Field marketing is creating sales enablement content like case studies, product overviews, competitor comparisons, and more to help sales close their prospects into customers during the last stage of the buyer’s journey.

There’s no right or wrong way to do marketing — as long as it’s effective for connecting with your desired audience. Many companies use one, a few, or multiple types of marketing to promote their message across campaigns and other efforts. 

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose what works best for your buyers, niche, budget, and resources. It’s up to you to be on top of current trends and leverage that knowledge as you create your marketing plan.

19 Social Media Marketing Myths to Leave Behind in. 2020

Like any major marketing strategy of the past decade social media has had plenty of time to accumulate some big, inaccurate, myths.

And despite the fact that data has disproven a number of marketing myths today, some marketers will still hold on to few, simply because it’s hard to keep up to date on what’s really going on with social media.

Yes, social media landscapes change dramatically every day. However, as a marketer, it’s important to identify myth from reality in order to create an effective social media strategy. 

To help you separate fact from fiction, I put my Mythbusters hat on and drudged up some of the most common social media myths out there.

Let’s dive into some social media myths we’ve all probably heard around the water cooler. Then, I’ll explain why you need to leave these old ways of thinking behind. 

19 Social Media Myths to Leave Behind

1. My customers aren’t on social media.

In 2019, over 2.39 billion people worldwide were active on social media. Today, it seems like there’s a social platform for everything and everyone. While family and friends connect on sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; professionals are networking all over LinkedIn.

Odds are, at least one one social media platform has an audience that will align with your brand. Not sure which one is the best for you? Check out this blog post which highlights need-to-know social media trends.

2. You should join every single social media network immediately.

Just because I can name a lot of social networks, it doesn’t mean I should set up a profile on all of them.

By all means, research other social networks. Set up a company profile or page and give ’em the old college try. But you may find that some aren’t really worth your time. If that’s the case, consider removing your profile and move on. You should only devote time and resources to the platforms that align most with your audience and marketing tactics. 

The best marketers use data to identify which marketing activities yield the best results — if a social network isn’t helping you out, cut it loose. For a little help evaluating the usefulness of new social networks, reference this blog post, “8 Questions to Evaluate Whether That New Social Network Is Worth Your Company’s Time.”

3. Pinterest is only for B2C organizations.

It is totally awesome for B2C marketers, to be sure. But usually when someone says a channel is only for B2C, the B2B marketer in me takes that as a challenge to prove it’s not so. Turns out some of my colleagues feel the same way, because one of them wrote an epic blog post detailing exactly how B2B organizations can get value out of Pinterest. You can also check out the accounts of brands like GE, Microsoft, Econsultancy, and yours truly for some B2B Pinterest inspiration!

4. You should only try to get fans and followers that will become customers.

Quality is important, yes, but don’t underestimate the power of a large social reach. Remember some of these points next time you bemoan acquiring a fan or follower that lives outside of your sales territory or target demographic:

  • More fans and followers means you’re gaining access to their fans and followers.
  • If they’re an influencer, their clout transfers to you by association.
  • When they share your content, your SEO improves.
  • They may still refer business your way.

Learn more about why you need social media fans and followers who won’t even become customers in this blog post.

5. You should only schedule posts during the work week.

While you shouldn’t force your social media manager to work on the weekends, you certainly can schedule posts or launch social media ads on the weekends ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean it correlates to when people are using social media. Our social media scientist, Dan Zarrella, found out that you might actually have more success if you embrace contra-competitive timing.

CTR by day resized 600

While pique social media engagement times occur around the middle of the week, most platforms also have high engagement times during the weekends and evenings as well. For further details on the best times to post on various networks, check out this detailed guide

6. If your friends and family “Like” every update, your social presence will rock.

You can’t just have your mom and uncle Like every post you put up on Facebook. Although it might feel like you see a lot of posts that your friends or family members like, Facebook and other social media algorithms are a bit more sophisticated than that when it comes to determining which posts get seen.

To get social media feeds to favor your content, you’ll need a variety of people interacting with your content — both to grow your reach, and to show up in users’ news feeds. 

So, rather than encouraging just your friends or family members to Like or heart your posts, encourage your followers to Like, comment, or share to encourage further discussion and spread your brand awareness. 

7. You have to respond to social activity immediately.

There’s no doubt a speedy response is appreciated, but it isn’t always required. People understand that you’re running a business. There are other things going on. If you get back in a timely manner, but not in mere seconds, it’s alright.

There are exceptions, of course. For instance, Verizon runs a few Twitter accounts. One is @VerizonSupport. While Verizon will share blog posts and educational marketing materials on this Twitter, it also uses it to respond to questions or concerns from prospects or customers.

Because Verizon’s support account is for customer service rather than marketing, reps who manage this channel should be responding immediately to inquiries.

Another example could be if you’re running a social media account that receives a complaint which is public to all users and could hurt your credibility. In that scenario, you should consult your service team as soon as possible and write a thoughtful reply that shows you’re taking the feedback seriously seriously. 

8. Social media is only about engaging conversation, and not a place to share engaging content.

It’s not that conversations aren’t important. You can’t just ignore your fans. While it’s beneficial to stimulate conversations and discussions with your audience, it’s not the only point to social media marketing. Take a look at this data from Dan Zarrella, for example: 

reply percentafe resized 600

The data above shows there isn’t necessarily a positive correlation between the percentage of tweets that start with @ replies and the number of followers these Twitter users have.

Aside from allowing you to virtually connect with people, social media is a lead generator, a non-organic traffic tool, and a great place to share your best content. If you publish valuable posts, they might not always stimulate conversation, but they could lead people to your website and products.  

9. Social media marketing tactics don’t drive bottom line results.

Piggybacking off of the last myth, you can actually generate value beyond just “engagement” and “brand equity” from social media. Social media drives leads and customers, period.

Don’t believe me? Here are a few stats you should know:

  • Companies that use Twitter average 2X more leads than those that don’t.
  • Companies with 1000+ more Twitter followers get 6X more traffic.
  • 45% of marketers note social media has a below average cost-per-lead compared to other channels.
  • 62% of companies using LinkedIn for marketing have acquired a customer from it.
  • 52% of companies using Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer from it.
  • 44% of companies using Twitter for marketing have acquired a customer from it.

10. It looks tacky to seem relatable as a brand on social media.

The content you publish in social media should always keep your target audience in mind — but that doesn’t mean you can’t also publish content that shows your brand’s personality. Or, frankly, even your community manager’s personality.

There are people behind your company; don’t be afraid to show that with your own special brand of humor, pictures of people that work at your company, and links to news content that you find particularly entertaining … even if it’s not directly related to your industry.

11. Hashtags are essential for every post.

You know those tweets that look like this?

Love this article on #socialmedia #marketing that talks about #pinterest and has an image of a #puppy #lol

The point of hashtags is that they join together common conversation threads. So while it’s nice to have a hashtag for an event, like a webinar or a trade show, don’t lose your mind if it doesn’t become a trending topic. It’s not necessarily going to blow your leads goal out of the water if it does … think of hashtags as a way to be more user-friendly for those following the hashtag, not a way to make all your marketing dreams come true.

12. Social media monitoring takes forever.

One social media monitoring scenario: Glue your eyes to your computer screen, open five tabs for each of your social networks, chug three espressos, click between tabs and hit refresh like a maniac.

Alternate social media monitoring scenario: Use social media monitoring software that alerts you when important terms are mentioned; check back to your accounts briefly every hour or two to see if you need to respond to anyone, follow someone back, etc.

That second one takes you, in aggregate, maybe 30 minutes a day. No big deal. Everybody breathe. Everything’s gonna be alright.

13. Social media managers should be new graduates or have years of experience.

This isn’t just a myth. It’s actually an agist theory that should be completely abandoned — if it hasn’t been already.

Being good at social media marketing, or any job for that matter, has absolutely nothing to do with how young or old you are. You can learn the tools and strategies at any age, and make mistakes at any age, too.

Instead, of considering a social media manager’s age range, look for the candidate who’s both creative and analytically minded enough to manage your presence. To learn more about how to hire the best social media manager for your brand, check out this post.

14. Only young people use social media.

Think that the only people on social media are Gen Z and millennials? Think again.

Yes, 90% of 18 to 25 year olds were using social media in 2019, but, according to Statista, over 80% of 30 to 49 year olds, and nearly 70% of 50 to 64 year olds are on social media. 

Source

15. Newer platforms, like Snapchat and TikTok aren’t worth taking seriously.

Snapchat and TikTok are both mobile social media apps that have pulled in millennials and Gen Z due to their unique platforms. While Snapchat thrives on ephemeral content, AR filters, and Bitmoji features, TikTok highlights goofy, fun, or musical 10 to 60-second videos similar to Vines. 

Despite the fact that these platforms pull in odd content created by users, it doesn’t necessarily mean that brands can’t use the apps to gain credibility and awareness. 

At this point, a plethora of brands — from publishers to B2C companies — have created profiles or ads for TikTok. One of the most surprising and oldest brands to build a TikTok strategy is The Washington Post. Although the publication has a very formal social media presence on other platforms, they use TikTok to highlight the funny, yet human, side of working in a newsroom

Similarly, a number of larger businesses have also launched paid promotions or long-form Stories on Snapchat Discover. To learn more about these companies and the content they’ve launched, check out this blog post.

At this point, you certainly take any popular social media platform seriously. But, as we noted when debunking previous myths in this post, you should identify which platforms best match your audience and your goals before spending time and money to build a strategy for them. 

16. You don’t have enough content to have a social media channel.

The thing with social media is that it moves really fast. What’s posted today might very well be forgotten about tomorrow. It’s easy to think of this as a problem by saying, “I don’t have enough content to post.” But, alternatively, you could just repurpose content or reshare great content regularly.

If the topic your post discusses is evergreen, it will almost always be useful, even if you repurpose or repost it later. This doesn’t mean you should share the exact same link and update commentary day after day, but if a few weeks go by and you want to re-promote an something, go for it. Just do your loyal fans a favor and find a new interesting nugget of information to call out in your update.

17. Social media gives people a venue to publicly bash your company.

The truth is, angry customers already have plenty of venues: word of mouth, Google reviews, Yelp reviews, and many other places on the internet will allow them to give feedback when they aren’t happy. Not creating a Facebook page simply for fear of negative feedback isn’t protecting you from an angry wrath.

Instead, get ahead of the conversation by being aware when negative reviews are taking place, reading them, responding to the customer, and coming up with solutions. Then, when customers are pleased, encourage them to share their positive stories,

If you do need some help dealing with those negative nancies, we’ve got a blog post that will walk you through the steps to calm angry customers down.

18. Social media is too fluffy to have solid metrics around.

Again, social media isn’t about fluffy things we talked about earlier, like “brand equity” and “engaging conversation.”

Yeah, those things happen, but it doesn’t mean you can’t measure the effectiveness of your social media activities.

With HubSpot marketing tools, you can identify exactly how much traffic social media drives to your website, how many leads social media generates, and how many of those leads become customers.

From there, you can even calculate things like the average cost-per-lead and customer — across individual social media networks, and in aggregate — just like you do with every other marketing channel (right?).

19. Social media is completely free marketing.

It’s free to join, but it’s still a resource investment. Even if you are posting for free, you’ll likely need to pay an employee to manage your channels and build strategies. And, as your social media strategy grows more successful, you might decide to up time and money investments.

Luckily, social media is still one of the most affordable ways to boost audiences, brand awareness, and ultimately leads. This makes the investment worth your while. 

Navigating Social Media Marketing

Now that you’ve learned about the falsehoods and myths behind social media, it’s time to start looking at the actual research-back tactics that could make your brand successful on a given network. 

For more data that backs why you need a social media marketing strategy in 2020, check out this list of stats. For tactical advice on various social media tactics and platforms, read our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 but was updated in May 2020 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

How Can User Testing Platforms Drive Better Customer Experiences

Customer Experience is an integral part of every business right now. According to Forbes, 81% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator, yet many of them offer a sub-par experience that puts a dent on customer retention. Most brands still rely on traditional methods to gauge customer experience (CX) and the challenges posed by them are manifold.

Metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) are quite popular, but they fail to explain why a customer would recommend the brand or do not take into account consumer demographics. Brands relying on these metrics are in danger of ending up with an inaccurate read of their customers’ experiences. Most brands fail to monitor experiences at multiple moments in the customer journey and end up with invalid conclusions.

For instance, after placing an order for a product from a retailer, Mr. Doe was asked, “On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the recent experience?” As he didn’t face any issues while placing the order, he scored it a 5. The product was delivered to Mr. Doe a week later, but due to some quality issues, he wanted to return the product. He followed up with customer support, but no attempt was made to fulfill his request. Suppose the retailer now asks the same question to Mr. Doe, he would have provided a lower score.

User Testing Platforms is the way to go

It’s crucial for brands to capture CX data in real-time in order for it to be actionable – this is where user testing platforms come into play. CX platforms like UserTesting, Teston, UserExperior, Usersnap, and Usabilityhub use sophisticated capabilities that automate the data gathering process based on consumer demographics and make it easier for brands to track and benchmark relevant experiences over time.

The process is quite simple: As a part of the study, brands first determine the objectives (e.g. measuring the experience of user registration) and the target audiences (e.g. new users between age-group 18-35 from New York). Brands design relevant tasks and construct task-related verbal, written or rating-based questions to evaluate the experiences. Metrics like NPS, CSAT, etc. can be tracked for each of the tasks. Brands can then launch the study on the platform and observe in real-time the actions that targeted users take while performing the tasks, the ideas they express, and the concerns they voice using live video recordings. Default KPIs like task completion rate, time per task, CX metrics like NPS or CSAT, and other scale-based rating questions quantify the experience. Observed customer behavior along with verbal and/or written customer feedback provide additional qualitative data on the customer’s experience.

Meaningful and actionable insights are captured via User Testing Platforms

An Australian grocery retailer wanted to investigate the reasons for poor conversion rate on desktops. The retailer observed a significant drop in order placement, even though a considerable number of users were adding products to the cart. The retailer leveraged user testing platform to identify the friction areas from the “add to cart” to the payment part of the journey. The task encouraged users to add products to the cart and proceed to checkout until they reached the payment page. They were asked to highlight aspects of the journey they liked, disliked, and wished to see. The videos emphasized 4 key problem areas that impacted CX:

  • Minimum cart amount was not displayed upfront, hence users had to go back and forth to add products to the cart in order to meet the criteria
  • Number of steps to checkout was quite high vs. the industry average
  • Checkout progress tracker was absent
  • Order summary didn’t allow any product edits, hence users had to go back in the journey to add/remove products

Similarly, another retailer wanted to examine the reasons behind fewer registrations for their loyalty program. As part of the task, users were prompted to search for the retailer’s loyalty program, learn about the benefits and process of joining the program and then answer if they are interested in being a part of the program. From the study, the retailer observed that:

  • Loyalty programs were not promoted on the Home Page and link to learn more about the program was only available on the footer of the Home Page
  • The process of joining the program was too verbose whereas users wanted it to be more interactive
  • Users wished to have a calculator to calculate benefits in terms of future savings

User testing platforms highlight CX friction points that brands may otherwise have been unable to uncover. Furthermore, brands can leverage those insights to make CX changes that address customer pain points and conduct additional CX studies at a later stage to check the effectiveness of the changes made.

Using the right tool to analyze CX

It’s time for brands to retire the use of traditional methods to measure CX and replace it with sophisticated analytical tools that automate the data gathering process and capture meaningful and relevant customer data in real-time. By leveraging user testing platforms, brands can make intelligent use of the captured data to implement business changes that impact customer experiences in a positive way. By embracing these new agile techniques, brands can use CX to their competitive advantage and stay ahead of the game.

The post How Can User Testing Platforms Drive Better Customer Experiences appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

What can we learn from China’s retail industry

There are few industries that have been more affected by the Covid-19 outbreak than retail. 

Providing 3 million UK jobs and contributing an impressive £381 billion of sales in 2018 alone, retail’s ability to bounce back post Covid-19 will play a key part in supporting and restoring our economy. 

With that in mind, attention naturally turns to how retailers can begin to recover; what actions can be taken to start getting back to business? For this, we should take a look at how China’s retailers have started to recover. What lessons can we learn? What trends are emerging and how can UK retailers adapt their business now to gain a competitive advantage?

China’s retail industry at a glance

Covid-19 was first detected in China in late December 2019, consequently it was one of the first countries to go into lockdown to prevent further spread of the virus. China is therefore estimated to be around 4 weeks ahead of Europe in terms of the progression and impact of Covid-19. Consequently, the Chinese retail industry is one of the first in the world to begin to see green shoots of recovery.

China’s recommendations to the European retail market

The American Management Consultancy firm McKinsey held a virtual roundtable with some of China’s most influential retail giants, to discuss their experiences of managing retail companies during and post Covid-19. As part of this discussion, the retailers offered some advice to those European retailers yet to enter this phase of recovery. We have summarised these recommendations below. 

Focus on improving your online offering

  • O2O, e-commerce & Click and Collect are set to be growing revenue arms for retailers

[Quick summary: O2O refers to Offline to Online business and vice versa. The idea is around blurring the boundaries between a business’ online and offline proposition. A great example of this is Click & Collect whereby a customer can purchase a product online and collect in-store]

  • Expand online SKUs to meet growing customer demand
  • Community retail is set to become an influential player. Consider how you can incorporate new sales methods into your business – how can your brand interact more with the community? 

A fantastic example of community retail can be seen with Ikea in Warsaw who launched a program called: Kuchnia Spotkan in Polish.The initiative involves the opening of a community kitchen at the IKEA Warsaw location, that can be rented by customers free of charge and used as a space to host friends and family for dinner. This truly blurs the line between brand and consumer and helps to build the perception, trust and sentiment of the brand in a new and unique way that goes above and beyond price and product. 

Invest further in delivery

  • Loyal high street shoppers have recently swapped to online purchasing and many look like they’re here to stay. Ensure your delivery service is robust enough to continue to serve such high volumes of online shoppers and home delivery requests

Communication is king

  • The correct channel, or combination of channels, can give companies the edge over competitors to reach a new type of customer. Consider what messaging would be most effective and which channels would be most appropriate for targeting your customers post Covid-19

Retail trends emerging post-lockdown in China

  • Cloud consumption is the new normal with a focus on contactless payments 
  • Supply chain diversification is of vital importance to ensure your business is less vulnerable. This will also improve your brand sentiment as customers are leaning towards more eco-friendly, locally sourced products and so having a variety of both international and domestic suppliers can strengthen your business and brand
  • Consumer demand trends have changed and will continue to fluctuate – consider adopting virtual or flexible stock
  • E-commerce and home delivery demand will continue to grow due to consumer anxiety around visiting crowded spaces – consider diverting budget to support these areas
  • Multichannel adoption is vital. Post lockdown your customers will be targeted and bombarded with marketing messages from an array of businesses. How can you ensure your brand stands out? Always consider: right channel, right message and right time.

The role of communication

This insight into emerging trends from Chinese retailers certainly offers a few signposts for how UK retailers can begin to prepare for a return to business. The common theme that underpins all recommendations and trends, seems to be that of communication. Whether it be related to a more tailored message to your customers, different conversations and approaches with your suppliers or communicating a more agile approach to logistics. Communication is the key to success.

How can SMS help?

Hailed as one of the most effective forms of communication, SMS exists on all mobile phones, and has an impressive 95% open rate. A flexible and direct form of communication, SMS can help support retailers to navigate post-lockdown life.

  • SMS Surveys can be used to understand consumer trends early, by surveying consumers around their shopping intentions. This will enable retailers to amend their marketing and purchasing strategies accordingly
  • Delivery notifications can be sent to alert customers of their order status and estimated delivery time
  • Click & Collect alerts can be sent with detailed instructions around how to collect their order, while also providing the unique order identifier 
  • Tailored marketing can be used to alert a customer around a new complementary product range or a new promotion running
  • Back in stock alerts. It is inevitable that retailers may continue to struggle with stock shortages during the early stages of recovery. By creating a personalised SMS alert system to let your customers know when the product they’re interested in is back in-stock, you will help to maintain the relationship with the customer and lead to a quicker conversion
  • Local store information. Some products might not be available for home delivery and so detailed directions can be supplied via SMS to ensure that your customer can quickly and easily find their nearest store
  • Customer satisfaction surveys can be used to efficiently gather feedback on new services, such as Click & Collect and enable you to make quick changes or improvements as required
  • Internal staff communications and shift rota updates. Shift patterns can quickly change as consumer demand fluctuates. Consequently the ability to quickly and easily communicate with your workforce is of vital importance to ensure your business can continue to run smoothly.

If you would like to find out how we can help your retail business on the road to recovery, please email info@textmarketer.co.uk or call 0117 205 0202 we’d be happy to help.

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Is Your Loyalty Program the Key to Reaffirm Customer Commitment During COVID-19?

We are well into the COVID-19 outbreak and at this point, most companies should [hopefully] have a reasonable plan to protect their businesses, and in some cases their livelihoods, during this time. But after solidifying the short-term financial decisions to defend against insolvency, this is a perfect time to reaffirm your customers’ commitment through the power of your loyalty program.

Barry Kirk of Martiz Motivation has put together an excellent short paper — with research and behavioral science as the foundation — that gives guidance to loyalty program managers during this time. Barry reminds us that “brands with effective loyalty strategies are best positioned to offer customers relief and assistance through this trying time.” He describes well established loyalty programs as “like a rainy-day fund, with stored equity being the goodwill and brand commitment they’ve built with their most engaged customers.” He continues to describe this “pandemic loyalty playbook” sufficiently and succinctly through the following four topics.

1) Acknowledge the human condition

Recognize that most of your customers are experiencing unprecedented disruptions to their normal lives. Their daily lives are drastically different than it was two months ago. Put your customer in your own shoes: your disruptions are probably similar to what your customers are experiencing.

All this changes means that for the next few months, your known customer life cycle is out the window. We’re in the life cycle of the pandemic now, and we have to respond accordingly. Barry leans on research from the 2019 Loyalty Landscape Study and turns to insights from behavioral science to further his guidance: loss aversion, the endowment effect, and temporal discounting.

2) Make Loyalty Your Customer Lifeline

Now is the time for reciprocal loyalty. This is the time to flip the script and show your company’s commitment to your customers and their needs during this challenging time. Ask the question: “What can our loyalty program do today to help our members?”.

Barry uses the Maritz Motivation Multi-Loyalty Framework as a guide as he describes opportunities to show loyalty to your customers. He encourages focusing the quadrants True Loyalty and Cult Loyalty i.e. optimize the experience and optimize the tribe. Now is not the time for Inertia Loyalty and Mercenary Loyalty i.e. optimize the barrier to exist and optimize the incentive. If you’re not familiar with the framework, then this may sound foreign to you, so we point you to the playbook as Barry describes the framework in detail there.

3) Use your program to activate the human drive to bond

The playbook recommends two ways that you can demonstrate your commitment to customers by leveraging your loyalty platform to support the world and their communities:

  1. Allow members to donate points or funds to national or local charities that support medical needs during the pandemic.
  2. Feature campaigns that allow your customers to join together to provide relief to friends, families, or first responders in need.

Barry gives specific examples of ways to execute these ideas in the playbook.

4) Be open to transparency beyond your loyalty program

Customers support value-driven businesses — obvious, right? — but how many companies actually act on that and prove it to their customers? Now is the perfect opportunity to show that commitment by committing to your employees.

A recent survey from Maritz Motivation shows that more than 60% of consumers say that the way a company handles their employees in this crisis will have a significant impact on their future buying decision with those brands. If you treat your employees well, your customers will return the favor.

This was just a synopsis of some of the recommendations from this playbook. We encourage you to fill out the form below to read the full 10 page report from Barry and his team titled Recognizing the Power of Your Loyalty Program to Reaffirm Customer Commitment.

Reaffirm Commitment to Your Customers With Your Loyalty Program

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What Is a Browser Cache? [FAQs]

So you’ve just finished redesigning your website. You’re excited, it looks great, and you’re patting yourself on the back. Before you start parading around this new great design like a kid showing off their new toy, you want to give it a whirl and see how it all looks from a visitor’s perspective.

And there lies your first problem: For some reason you can’t comprehend, your web browser is still showing the previous version of your site. What the heck’s going on here?

This is when your browser cache comes into play.

We’ve all heard this term before… but do we really know what it is? I’m willing to bet the majority of us have thought about our browser cache as some magical place that we have to go to and clear every so often so our site and others render as they should.

Show of hands? Yep — that’s what I thought.

Below, you’ll find a simple description detailing the ins and outs of browser cache that should clear up any misconceptions or questions about it you may have.

The Basics of Browser Cache

A web browser — such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer — is a software application that we use to fetch and see information living on the internet. In other words, a browser looks, finds, and presents to us websites and/or other pieces of information we look for via URLs.

A browser’s cache is its appliance or instrument through which it saves data, such as images and HTML, needed to see a website. The intent behind saving such data is to help with bandwidth.

So, the next time you go back to see a page, it takes less time to load as a cached version of the page has already been saved. In other words, because you have a cached version of a page, your browser will not need to send a new request to see that page.

How Browser Cache Relates to Cookies

Some of you may be wondering, “How does all this impact tracking cookies?” Let me explain.

Browser cache saves data like images and HTML, which are needed to see websites, right? Well, cookies are smaller pieces of data, such as names and email addresses, a website saves to your computer. This comes in handy because this is how a website knows who you are next time you visit.

Ever wondered how a website greets you by name? Yup, that’s cookies. A website picks up on the cookie it previously placed on your computer — therefore, it recognizes you.

The important thing to know is how a browser cache and cookies together can affect your work as it pertains to updating pages on your site, testing forms, and appropriately rendering pages. This is an easy variable to understand and usually one of the first ones to troubleshoot, as it can — in the vast majority of instances — resolve the issue(s) you’re experiencing with your site.

How to Clear Browser Cache

In order to eliminate browser cache as the culprit, you’ll need to clear it. The steps for clearing your browser cache will depend on the device and browser you’re using. Different browsers have different interfaces for accessing these settings. 

Here are the steps for the most common desktop browsers: 

Chrome

  1. Open Chrome. 
  2. At the top right, click the three vertical dots. 
  3. Click More Tools. 
  4. Select Clear browsing data. 
  5. Choose your time range for deletion. 
  6. Check the boxes next to “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files.” 
  7. Click Clear data. 

 

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on the cog symbol in the upper right corner of the browser. 
  3. Choose the Safety submenu. 
  4. Select Delete Browsing History. 
  5. Check the boxes next to “Temporary Internet files and website files,” “Cookies and website data,” and “History.”
  6. Click Delete.

 

Safari

  1. Open Safari. 
  2. Choose the Safari menu in the top left. 
  3. Select Preferences. 
  4. In the pop-up menu, click the Advanced tab. 
  5. At the bottom of the window, check the box “Show Develop menu in menu bar.” 
  6. This will add a Develop menu to your bar. Click that. 
  7. Select Empty Caches.
  8. You can also delete your browsing history by selecting the History tab. 
  9. Click Clear History. 
  10. Choose your time frame and select Clear History.

 

Firefox

  1. Open Firefox. 
  2. Click the hamburger menu (three stacked horizontal lines) in the top right corner. 
  3. Click Options. 
  4. Select the Privacy & Security panel. 
  5. In the Cookies and Site Data section, click Clear Data. 
  6. Check the boxes next to “Cookies and Site Data” and “Cached Web Content.” 
  7. Click Clear. 

 

Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Microsoft Edge. 
  2. At the top right, click the three horizontal dots. 
  3. Select History. 
  4. Click “Clear history” at the top of the new menu. 
  5. Check the boxes next to “Browsing history,” “Cookies and saved website data,” “Cached data and files,” and “Tabs I’ve set aside or recently closed.”
  6. Click Clear.

As you might agree, any good marketer is active and well-informed, and having basic knowledge on some of these topics, including HTML and CSS, can go a long way with impressing your colleagues or with a simple breakthrough in one of your projects.

After all, our inbound marketing world can be competitive, and these small nuggets of knowledge can make you more efficient, effective, and ahead of the curve.

The New Reality | Suddenly, it feels like it’s 2025. And things look good.

It feels like five years have been compressed into the last ten weeks. Rising trends have accelerated to become what feels like the norm, and new ways of doing things have burst into the open. Marketing, businesses, and brands have been turned upside down, and we are now experiencing the new reality.

There’s an old adage about how a frog will sit in a pot of gradually heating water until it boils alive, but if you put it into a pot of boiling water it would jump straight out. We are like the frog. We don’t notice an incremental change, but when things happen quickly it’s hard to ignore. And things have changed so fast that much of what has happened is hard to ignore, such as the contrast between then and now.

These are some of the changes that were either coming our way or have sprung up from nowhere. What ties them together is that they’ve had a profound, positive impact on how business works and customer attitudes – and hopefully will continue to do so. 

Now we all trust digital services

Growth in the trust of digital services has been created by necessity. The most important services, such as medicine, have been forced into digital, and if you’ve learned to trust a doctor online you might find it easier to trust a retailer, a real-estate agent, or a bank. 

At a basic, subsistence level the need to buy groceries has pushed people who have never shopped online into fully embracing it. Many won’t want to return to the old ways of buying. 

Businesses that didn’t have an online presence have scrambled to build one, accelerating digital’s dominance. Marketo’s sister company, Magento, is reporting big increases in demand for its commerce solutions, often from companies that didn’t need it before coronavirus. 

Until now, technology has generally moved ahead of society, which has often struggled to keep up with the pace of change. Suddenly it’s the other way round – society can’t get enough of technology, and we’re learning to put aside our doubts faster than ever before. The new reality is leading the way.

The business of volunteering

Gasfitters delivering food packages. Irish postal workers checking the elderly and vulnerable. Fashion brands producing masks and gowns. Corporations and businesses are helping out in ways that go beyond cash donations and the need to present a responsible face. This combination of practical and philanthropic is resetting expectations of what can be done. 

Post-pandemic, it’s going to be tough for any business that’s volunteered services to take them away. There may even be an expectation from customers that brands, having shown what they’re capable of, should do more. 

Fewer big events and more free stuff

Every major business event has been canceled, and many have been replaced by online versions which are often free. So no, we don’t get the interactions, the networking, the opportunities. But in return for nothing more than an email address we get a vast quantity of content, ideas and inspiration. 

Will it be worth putting on large events? The corporate events industry has long been under scrutiny for the resources it consumes and the waste it creates. The cost, waste and associated travel, especially in light of the massive reduction in emissions created by the pandemic, makes them tougher to justify.  And having had the doors opened for free, will anyone want to pay? 

Events will not disappear. We value our social interactions too much, and post-pandemic they’re going to be even more important. But it seems likely that many will have to work a lot harder to justify their existence, and many will be replaced by virtual equivalents.  

Goodbye presenteeism. Hello, flexible working dream.

We’ve been traveling towards increased remote working for years. Research from Global Workplace Analytics shows home working in the US has grown by 173% since 2005, but pre-pandemic only 3.6% of the workforce did it more than half of the week. Post-crisis, Global Workplace Analytics reckons it will up to 30%.  

It’s been a long time coming, but now employers can see that it’s not necessary to have everyone where they can be seen, all of the time. Enforced remote working has shown that it’s possible to carry on without having anyone in the office, and that trusting staff to manage their own time isn’t such a bad idea. Flexible working can now finish off presenteeism.

Employees want it and have shown what many already knew: that they can be responsible, productive and present without the need for constant supervision or even turning up for work. The side-effects are welcome: less commuting, fewer cars on the roads, less energy used in mega-offices. And with up 60% of desks always empty, there are better ways of using all that space.   

Doing more with less

Before the pandemic brands were assessing and often cutting massive agency budgets, taking creative work in-house or finding more effective ways to produce content. Lockdown has put an immediate end to wasteful, costly practices, removing at a stroke the resource of a huge film crew or big teams. 

It’s forcing creatives to be more creative and the result has been some rapidly executed, brilliant work, and possibly better than would have been made with more money and time. Brands have taken to producing their own work: Kraft Heinz employees made a commercial, complete with a voiceover from a plant worker. 

We’ve seen what can be done with less, and reverting to the big budget, big teams model is going to be harder, for agencies and clients. It’s made honesty a core value, something that often gets diluted by lengthy production and too much money. Leaner, smaller, and smarter has been approaching for some time. Now that the new reality has arrived, there’s no going back.

The post The New Reality | Suddenly, it feels like it’s 2025. And things look good. appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Why SMS should form part of local governments’ emergency communication strategy

With the range of services provided by councils being as varied as it is, the range of threats that can effect those services can also be just as large. Whether it be adverse weather conditions causing school/facility closures, major roadworks notifications, internal IT system failures, or health and safety alerts, forward-thinking local governments should always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

There are two main points to take into account for this when planning an effective communications strategy. Firstly – the speed at which messages can be sent to staff/residents, and also the ability to make sure they have been delivered/read. Secondly, making sure that your message can be delivered to every recipient required.

Mobile messaging tools like SMS stand out as an excellent option at this point. They’re delivered almost instantly, and nearly all of the UK’s population now own a mobile device with SMS support.

Why SMS should form part of local governments’ communication strategy

  • 95% of text messages are read – and 90% of those within 3 minutes (Esendex / Techjury)
  • 95% of UK residents own an SMS-enabled mobile phone (Statista)
  • Text messages work for all demographics, including elderly people who are less likely to have a smartphone
  • You can receive replies and engage in conversation if it’s appropriate
  • Traceable messages mean councils can check when citizens have read messages
  • Messages aren’t going to get lost or moved to a ‘promotions’ folder – every text goes into the Messages inbox.

How can text messaging be used effectively by local governments?

Emergency notifications and facility/road closure updates

When an emergency strikes sometimes it’s not feasible to contact affected parties using traditional communication methods. Post is slow and expensive, emails get lost in inboxes and have low open rates, and manual calling is too time- and labour-intensive. 

SMS is an ideal alternative for things like IT outage notifications, road closure notices, health advice, and also local facility information, as they’ll be delivered straight to your audiences’ pockets on a device that gets checked on average 58 times per day (Source).

Councils have the option to deploy SMS in one of two ways. Firstly, via an API, meaning that SMS functionality can be integrated into your existing systems. This is great for minimising staff training as the functionality is in a system they’re already familiar with.

Secondly, SMS can be accessed from a secure online platform which offers the benefit of being accessible from any device with an internet connection – ideal in the event of an office closure situation or if your main software programs have been compromised.

To make life even easier, both options support customisable message templates. This means that you can save time by selecting a pre-composed message and personalising it for every recipient by using your own data.

Communications with staff/arranging extra workforce cover


From time to time emergencies arise which require extra staff to deal with it. For example, if there are not enough refuse collectors to deal with the day’s commitments, then more may need to be drafted in to help.

By sending out an SMS notification, you can communicate with non-working staff in a matter of seconds to see if they can help. This avoids the requirement of making calls and sending emails which may go unanswered for hours and helps to eliminate the risk to citizens. 

SMS can also be deployed as a 2-way messaging platform meaning that non-working staff can also reply/ask any questions through the platform.

Going the extra mile with SMS Web Pages


For local governments who want to increase their engagement with emergency communications by including images, branding and interactive functionalities, there are SMS Web Pages.

The ability to use multiple interactive buttons which trigger different actions means that once received, an SMS Web Page can act as a resident’s base to manage their digital relationship with that particular council in an emergency.

Links to frequently asked questions, access to the latest information relating to the emergency, or even linking to a chat with a member of staff through the resident’s channel of choice – it can all be accessed through an SMS Web Page.

How local governments can get started with SMS emergency messaging

We’ve worked with a variety of different councils to provide better ways of providing emergency communications.

To find out how SMS and our other powerful communication channels can form part of your strategy, please get in contact today with us on 0117 205 0202 or info@textmarketer.co.uk to find out more.

The post Why SMS should form part of local governments’ emergency communication strategy appeared first on Textmarketer.

7 Ways That Social Media Can Increase Customer Retention

Running a successful company takes a lot of work, energy, and time. From day 0, when our business might just be a lightbulb in our mind to a business small or large, or to this very day that we research how to increase customer retention. It is a constant process of improvement, adaptation, change, learning and relearning, with the sole purpose of maintaining, at least, a decent level of customers.

Most companies do this by dedicating a lot of resources and time to increasing awareness and lead generation, while not focusing on customer retention. We know that retaining a returning customer is way more affordable than acquiring new customers. So, why aren’t more companies focusing on customer retention? Is it because it needs extra work to be creative and differentiate your company from the overall competition? Is it less clear how to execute? Or are customer retention strategies just not the focus of management enough of the time versus a typical “marketing campaign”? Let’s explore some ways to increase customer retention in your business.

Customer retention is the process of engaging customers that have already, at least once, made business with your company by buying one of your products/services, and you wish to form mutually-beneficial, long-lasting relationships.

(Source)

Customer retention is becoming more difficult, as companies create more detail-oriented and personalized strategies to increase their leads and customers. As such, after someone buys a product from you, it doesn’t mean that they’ll remain loyal.

You have to create a strategy for customer retention. One of the main tools that you should use is social media. Social media can be very efficient and helpful if used correctly. Here are 7 ways that social media can be leveraged to increase customer retention.

1) Easy To Be Found

Social media make it easy for your customers to come in touch with you, research about your services, and contact you for extra information. You should adopt consistent, well-designed visual deliverables (logo, images, etc.) and engage customers to research more about you. Provide them all available ways of communication such as social media accounts, customer support forms, or email addresses.

2) Improve Customer Support

After someone decides to go with your products and services, you should have a comprehensive and fast-reacting customer support strategy. Social media can increase customer support, through live chats and messages, and make your customers feel appreciated.

At the end of each discussion, you can ask for their email address to send them an evaluation form of the support given. You can use free email marketing services that provide personalized and customized email campaigns, based on your company’s niche, values, and mechanisms.

3) Educate and Inform

Besides engaging with customers, you can use social media to educate and disseminate valuable information to your customers. By doing so, your customers will value you more by recognizing that you are an expert on your niche.

When giving extra information regarding your market, customers will know what to search for on their own. And when they see that your company provides everything and then some more, they will look to you for support and information. This will build trust and loyalty with your customers.

You can utilize different tools like podcast hosting, live videos and blog posts, and get creative with the way you share educational information. For example, you can share a live video from one of your team members discussing new ideas, tools, or strategies.

(Source)

4) Give Extra Value To Products

This is the most fun and creative part. Each company has products and services that are used in a particular way. But, you can get creative and let them know that your products have other uses — secret ones.

Let your customers express their creativity by engaging your customers and make them a part of your social media strategy. For example, you can create a hashtag campaign on twitter with the name of your product and ask your customers to give their own unique way of using your product. This would engage your customers, make your strategy more interactive, spread your message in different accounts, and even give yourself a chance to go viral!

5) Welcome Feedback and Use It Wisely

Through social media, customers will be more willing to provide feedback on your products and services. You should be prepared to receive any kind of feedback, educate your employees to respond appropriately to feedback, and have a strategy taking the feedback into consideration when planning your business development strategy.

It’s critical to understand that a lot of companies receive feedback on social media, and never reply or leverage the received feedback. If your company does, then you’ll be one step ahead of your competition.

Social media can provide customer feedback for your company.
(Source)

6) Storytelling Advocacy

As mentioned earlier, using social media properly can let you engage with your customers by making them a part of your brand. Especially if you are a B2B company, you can use existing customers as your testimonials.

Let them tell their story of what they were searching for and how your company has provided their answer.

This will be beneficial for both sides. You will have social proof of your high-quality work and services, while your clients will raise awareness of their own company to your audience.

7) Limited Loyalty Offers

You can use social media to schedule posts that privilege loyal followers of your accounts. 

You should probably take advantage of an efficient social media management tool, which will share platform-based posts on your social media.

For example, provide a specific discount code for a product for the next 2 hours. As such, customers that are loyal and follow your accounts will have the opportunity to take advantage of your discount code.

Such techniques are based on feelings of privilege, uniqueness and urgency, which create the right conditions to rapidly increase your sales.

Final Thoughts

(Source)

To make everything clear and simple, social media is one of the most effective means of communicating with people. With almost everyone checking their social media accounts daily, you can utilize this reality and engage with people.

Focusing on your existing customers and how you connect with them is vital for your customer retention strategy and improves your marketing results.

Don’t forget that by keeping customers satisfied and loyal to your brand, they will become the best advocates for your brand.

Let us know what you think about leveraging social media to increase customer retention. What has your company done so far and what are you planning ahead?

Till next time. Keep engaging your customers!

The post 7 Ways That Social Media Can Increase Customer Retention appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

A/B Testing on Facebook: How to Do It Right

According to HubSpot research, Facebook is the top distribution channel for content, and provides the biggest ROI for marketers.

In fact, over half of marketers agree that Facebook is where they see the most ROI, and Facebook Advertising is one of the top features for hitting those goals. Are you one of the marketers that can relate?

To illustrate, do you always have a tab devoted to Facebook Advertising efforts? Is one of your daily tasks to check the performance of your landing page ads?

Further, are you testing those ads before they get published?

Facebook offers so many ways to test the performance of your ads before they go live. One of the most popular tools Facebook offers is A/B testing.

A/B testing, or split testing, is a term used to describe the process of running marketing experiments to see which version connects better with your audience. Usually, they’re tested simultaneously, and the variables can be anything from layout, copy, or multimedia.

A/B testing is a very popular marketing method because it gives marketers an idea of what types of ads or UX visuals earn the highest conversion rates. Essentially, if you run an A/B test, you can begin to identify the performance of a piece of content before publishing.

Here, let’s dive into how you can A/B test your marketing ads on Facebook.

A/B Testing Facebook Ads

On Facebook, you can create A/B tests in multiple ways. This is dependent on the variable you want to test.

Fortunately, you can create an A/B test within the Ads Manager Toolbar. The Toolbar will let you use an ad campaign you’ve already created as a jumping off point for your new test.

Toolbar isn’t your only option, though — in the next section, we’ll cover all the ways you can A/B test your ads.

When A/B testing on Facebook, you can either access the Toolbar from your Ads Manager, duplicate a campaign or ad set, or use the Experiments tool.

First, let’s go over the Toolbar method.

How to use Toolbar to create Facebook A/B tests

Toolbar lets you quickly perform a test using a dropdown box located in Ads Manager. Here’s how:

1. Select “A/B Test”

When you access Ads Manager, go to the “Campaigns” tab. Under that tab, you’ll see an option for “A/B Test.” Keep in mind that you’ll need to have an existing ad campaign or campaign draft in order to complete the test.

When you choose that option, this is what you’ll see if you don’t have an existing campaign:

Select your desired campaign, and then you can choose which variable you want to test.

2. Choose A Variable

There are several different options for variable testing, and they’re categorized based on the goals of your campaign.

The variables are as follows:

  • Audience —This variable will look at the effectiveness of your ads based on the audiences you aim to reach. For instance, you can test different audiences based on region.
  • Creative — Creative A/B tests will focus on the visual assets of your ad. So if you want to test different images, videos, or carousel, you will choose the “Creative” option.
  • Placements — If you want to test where on Facebook your ad will be most effective, you’ll want to pick “Placements.” This option allows you to test automatic placements.
  • Delivery Optimization — This A/B test option is used to compare ads with budget optimization and without, in order to gauge the performance of both. For instance, if you are unsure if you should spend more to optimize a certain ad to gain more conversions, this would be the proper test to run.
  • More than one — Let’s say you want to test multiple variables on an A/B test in order to compare a strategy that’s more complex. In this case, you’d want to choose a “More than one” test, which will allow you to test based on the same cost per result or cost per conversion lift.
  • Product Set — If you want to test different sets of products, you’ll want to go with this choice. You can choose two product sets to run on Facebook.

All of these variables can be managed from the “Ad Set” tab in Ads Manager, which is right next to the “Campaigns” tab.

Once you’ve chosen your test type, you’ll be ready to perform your test. You can check the status of your test in Ads Manager, and choose how long you want your test to run. To find the progress or check the status of your ads, check your “Account Overview” tab, and look for the icon that resembles a beaker:

Ads Manager test resultsIf you find that you want to go with a different route for your A/B test, there are also options to set them up differently. For instance, let’s talk about duplication next.

How to use Duplication to create Facebook A/B tests

When you choose this option, you can easily create a test by changing one variable in a nearly identical campaign or ad set. This is for ads or campaigns that have already been created.

1. Access Ads Manager

When you go to Ads Manager, go to your “Campaigns” tab. Here, you’ll see a list of your campaigns that are currently running. You’ll also see your drafted campaigns. You can choose either for duplication.

2. Select “Duplicate”

After you’ve decided which campaign or ad set you want to test, highlight the section under the title and you’ll see a “Duplicate” option. When you click it, this is what you’ll see:

Duplicate campaign, step one

Select the option that notates creating a duplicate specifically for an A/B Test. Remember, this option will let you choose a variable to change to analyze performance, so choose a campaign that fits that criteria.

3. Choose A Variable

If you’re choosing an ad set to duplicate, Facebook will provide suggestions of which variable to change for you, and you can pick from there. I chose traffic, but you can choose based on your ad type or audience.

4. Publish To Test

After choosing your variable, you’ll see your tests next to each other in a preview. After making any necessary changes in this stage, you’ll be ready to publish. To do this, click the green button underneath the audience you’ve selected:

How to publish your test in DuplicateWhen you publish your test, audiences will be able to interact with them, so make sure you’ve ironed out all the details before finalizing. However, you’ll be able to check back on your test in Ads Manager to access the most current insights.

Next, we’ll cover my favorite option: Experiments.

How to use Experiments to A/B create Facebook A/B tests

The Experiments tool lets you create or duplicate ad campaigns to test. The difference between using Experiments to test instead of Ads Manager is the ability to fine-tune and learn more about the impact of your test while it’s running.

1. Access Experiments

This test won’t run in Ad Manager. Instead, you’ll go to the top of your Business account and select “Experiments” under “Measure & Report.” You can also search “Experiments” in the search bar. This is what you’ll see when you access the Experiments page:

AB test through Experiments step one

 

2. Select “A/B Test”

Click “Get Started” underneath the “A/B Test” option. When you do this, you’ll be taken to a menu that lets you fill in the ad details. For example, you’ll have to choose the campaign you want to test:

Experiments tool AB test details

 

Here, you can schedule the run time of your test, fill in the test name, and even decide how you want Facebook to choose the winning campaign. You can either choose cost per result or cost per conversion lift:

 

More Experiments test detailsWhen you’re finished filling in the details, Facebook will show you how powerful your test is. Essentially, this is to make sure that your draft fits the criteria of an A/B test before you publish. After filling out this menu, you’ll be ready to push your experiment live.

Facebook uses the same base technology to run your A/B tests. The different versions of tests you can run help you make the best choices to optimize ad performance. No matter which test you run, however, you can see all of your results in “Test and Learn” when they’re finished.

Next, let’s go over some best practices for running your A/B test on Facebook.

Facebook A/B Test Best Practices

Keep these best practices in mind before you begin your split test — they’ll help you run tests that are valuable and applicable to your next campaign.

1. Choose one variable that’ll help you reach your goals.

When you A/B test on Facebook, make sure you’re only choosing one variable to test. There’s a separate multivariate test that you can run, but for A/B, one variable is key. Your test results will be more conclusive with only one variable.

2. Pick audiences that you want to reach with ads.

Choose a new audience for your test. They should be large enough to provide measurable results, but shouldn’t be the exact same audience as a campaign you’re already running. If they’re the same as a drafted campaign, that’s okay because they’re not published.

However, if you choose the exact same audience as a campaign you’re already running, Facebook’s system might mix up your ads and provide contaminated results.

3. Use hypotheses that are measurable and valuable.

In order to analyze your test results so they’re the most valuable to you, make sure your hypothesis is measurable. To put it another way: Make sure your hypothesis is clear, easy to understand, and able to be determined with an A/B test.

Your hypothesis can be as simple as, “Which method of delivery do my audience members respond the best to?” This question can be answered by using the Delivery Optimization A/B test on Facebook.

4. Make time frames that are ideal.

Recall that when you set up your A/B test, you can choose a time frame. You can choose to run your test for up to 30 days. Facebook’s Business Center suggests at least four days, which is enough time for the technology to produce accurate results.

5. Choose a budget that works for your business.

Facebook can provide an ideal budget for you based on your test details, or you can choose an ideal budget for yourself when you’re filling in test details. Setting an ideal budget will help you determine a winning strategy — it factors in Ad Spend into the success of your test.

According to one of HubSpot’s Paid Ads specialists, Nicole Ondracek, “A big value of split testing is being able to prevent audience overlap so you know that the same audience is not seeing multiple variants which could affect the results. That way, you can confidently say which one is the clear winner.”

A/B testing gives you a better understanding of audience behavior. Performing them on Facebook streamlines the process and gives you more comfortability with Facebook’s ad system.

Additionally, Ondracek mentions that depending on split testing results, advertisers can begin to shape what type of creative they need to use for the future.

How will you use split testing on Facebook to help your creative advertising efforts?

80 Things to Check Before, During, and After Launching a Website

Admit it: Launching a new website is stressful — even for the most seasoned digital marketers.

Websites are complex. There are so many things that are easily overlooked, like a broken link or a misspelled word. 

And of course, a handful of things could go very, very wrong. Like what if you forget to test an important data capture form and then lose out on generating a bunch of new leads? Or worse, what if you forget to properly set up site redirects, and those valuable search engine visitors get a page not found message?

Instead of worrying about the what ifs, wouldn’t it be much easier to have a comprehensive website checklist to run down before every site launch? One that you could use for enterprise websites, microsites, landing pages, and everything in between?

What You Should Do Before Beginning Your Site Design

Whether this is your first website that is being built from scratch or you are doing a website redesign, there are a few steps that you should take before hiring a web designer or diving in yourself.

1. Analyze your previous website (if applicable).

In order to make good decisions, you must first understand where you’ve been. That starts with your existing website if you have one. Ask yourself: 

  • What is the purpose of a new design or overhaul?
  • What haven’t hasn’t been accomplished with this existing site?
  • How will a new design serve the new organization?

The answers to these questions can help you identify your gaps, which can then inform goal setting for the new site.

2. Crawl your old site (if applicable) and document its structure. 

You can get an idea of your site’s existing structure, pages, and assets by using a crawling tool such as Screaming Frog. This is a necessary step in creating your website development plan because you’ll have a more concrete view of what pages existed before, what redirects are in place, and what the meta data currently looks like.

3. Obtain benchmark data from your previous website (if applicable).

Not only will you want to compare how your new site performs compared to the old, but you’ll also want to continue identifying gaps that will provide data-driven insights to aid your new strategy.

4. Identify your goals for the new design, how you’ll achieve them, and how you’ll measure success.

Once the gaps are fully fleshed out, you can begin crafting your goals for the design. You may come to conclusions such as: 

  • The current site is unwieldy, and we need ease of use. 
  • The current site no longer looks trendy, so we need a visual refresh. 
  • The current site doesn’t perform, so we need a more SEO-friendly structure with a better UX. 

Whatever your goals, you’ll want to understand exactly how a new site will help you achieve them so that you can craft its implementation accordingly.

5. Choose a Solid CMS.

If you’ve never launched a site before, the long list below might intimidate you. However, it actually shouldn’t take too long to run through most of the aspects on this list — especially if you built your website with a solid CMS. 

A CMS, or content management system, often allows you to design a website from a pre-created template, optimize your content for SEO, and edit content after it’s published. If you’ve already built your website, you might have already gained experience with using a CMS. 

But, if you’re still building a website, one way to make going through this checklist less time consuming is by building your pages on a CMS that already does a lot of the work for you.

For example, HubSpot’s CMS that allows you to create and edit content including landing pages and blog posts. It’s features also allow you to organize your content, schedule it, track analytics, and optimize it for SEO. 

Alternatively, you can also test out CMS platforms like WordPress, Wix, or even Drupal.

6. Develop a consistent brand.

Decide on a consistent brand message and tone, one that you’re committed to presenting consistently across. This will make you look more legitimate, credible, and memorable.

  1. Understand your value proposition.
  2. Choose a mission statement, vision statement, and tagline that represents that value as well as your brand identity. 
  3. Choose colors and fonts that convey that identity well. 
  4. Decide on the type of imagery that you’ll use to further convey your messaging.

7. Create your technical SEO strategy.

Take some time to ensure that your website has been given a solid foundation for SEO success. From site architecture and content hierarchy to metadata and XML sitemaps, do not leave any stone unturned.

  1. Perform keyword research and decide what you want to rank for. 
  2. Create a content strategy that satisfies those keywords. 
  3. Understand how your existing pages (if applicable) can be adjusted and which pages will need to be created new. 
  4. Figure out which pages are no longer necessary.
  5. Map out where unnecessary pages can be redirected to (using a 301 redirect).

8. Strategize your conversion paths.

Once you have an understanding of the primary pages that will exist on your site, you’ll need to figure out exactly what actions you want users to take and how you’ll capture their information. This includes thinking through: 

  • What premium top-of-the-funnel offers are needed
  • What bottom-of-the-funnel action will be presented on main pages
  • What forms need to be created
  • What landing pages and thank you pages need to be created
  • How conversions will be tracked
  • What actions will happen after a website visitor converts (email responder, etc.)

9. Set up analytics software.

  1. Choose which analytics platforms you will be using on the new site.
  2. Decide if any previous Analytics tracking scripts will be used or if new accounts/scripts are needed. 
  3. Set up new accounts (if applicable).

What to Check Once You’ve Built Your Site

Once you’ve chosen a CMS and built a site that you’re ready to launch, here’s a list of 80 things to check before, during, and after going live. Feel free to copy, edit, and make your own based on the software you’re using to launch and host your website.

Don’t have time to check all 80? Here’s a list of the most important highlights from each section:

We’ve grouped items based on pre-launch and post-launch, making sure to touch on page content, design, functionality, SEO, branding, analytics, security, and compliance. Keep on reading to make sure you don’t forget a thing before your next launch.

Website Pre-Launch Checklist

Before you launch, it’s important to review all of the content on your website with a fine-tooth comb. Of course, that means page content, but don’t forget about your premium content too. From data-driven content and downloadable documents to rich media such as videos and images, you want to make sure everything is in place, working properly, and looking beautiful.

1. Make sure text is accurate and error free.

  • Site content has been proofread for spelling and grammar.
  • Company contact details are accurate throughout the website.
  • Generic content, such as lorem ipsum, has been properly removed and replaced.
  • All premium content, such as case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, have been proofread. Spelling and grammar are correct.
  • Copyright date (perhaps in the footer) includes the current year.

2. Replace all placeholder images with final images and designs. 

On occasion, a website designer may use a placeholder image if they didn’t have the correct asset at the time of the page’s creation. It’s up to you to make sure each page is picture-perfect.

3. Ensure copy aligns with the new brand.

  • The text has been copy-edited to ensure consistent brand voice and style. 
  • All company taglines and mission statements are up to date.

4. Check that all styling preferences have been implemented.

  • Paragraphs, headers, lists, and other formatting are correct.
  • Brand colors have been implemented correctly, including link and button colors.

5. Ensure your design is aesthetically pleasing.

  • Scripts are optimized across web pages.
  • Images are optimized across web pages.
  • CSS is optimized across web pages.

6. Ensure that rights to images, fonts, and other content have been properly licensed or cited.

Even if you outsourced the design to a web designer/developer, the responsibility falls on you to ensure there are no copyright licensing issues. Otherwise, you could end up with a hefty infringement settlement on your hands.

7. Test the site for User Experience (UX).

  • Website pages are compatible across browsers.
  • Website pages are compatible across devices.
  • Images, videos, and audio files are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.
  • All premium content, such as case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, are stored in their proper libraries/databases and work properly.
  • Internal links across web pages are working properly. 
  • Social media share icons are associated with the correct accounts.
  • Company logo is linked to the homepage.

8. Check that the conversion paths have been implemented properly.

  • All necessary forms are present. 
  • Landing pages and thank you pages have been implemented. 
  • The correct buttons and calls-to-action (CTAs) are present in the proper locations. 
  • Everything is linked together appropriately.

9. Create your site backup strategy. 

You can prevent loss of data and protect against malware and other damages by properly setting up site security and regular backups. Check that:

  • Backup schedule has been created. 
  • Backup location has been identified. 
  • A plan for implementation is set to be put in motion after launch.

10. Store passwords and credentials in a secure place. 

Many individuals have likely been involved in the website launch up until this point, so ensure that passwords are reset when the time comes and proper password etiquette is followed.

11. Audit the technical SEO implementation for errors. 

  • Pages have unique page titles. 
  • Pages have unique meta descriptions. 
  • Each page has a specific purpose, and pages meant to rank organically are optimized around a single keyword or set of keywords.

Website Post-Launch Checklist

Let’s say you’ve done it. The button has been pushed, the domain is pointing to the new site, and you’re about ready to tell the world…

But wait just one second because you still have things to check for now that your site is officially live.

12. Test the site for user experience again. 

Just in case there was an issue with the implementation, you’ll want to ensure the experience is consistent with what you reviewed before it went live.

  • Ensure your design is rendering as you expected it to across browsers. 
  • Ensure your design is rendering as you expected it to across devices. 
  • Ensure CSS/HTML is properly validated. 
  • CSS styling is rendering properly.
  • Favicon is in place and rendering properly. 
  • Internal links across web pages are working properly.
  • External links across web pages are working properly, and open in a new tab.
  • Social media share icons are working properly.
  • Feeds are working properly (RSS, news, social media).
  • Company logo is linked to the homepage.
  • 404 Redirect pages are in place (page-not-found.aspx).

13. Test your conversion path’s functionality.

Take some time to test and validate all of the different features on your website. Lead generation forms, CRM integration, and any other technology should work flawlessly across your website.

  • Forms are submitting data properly.
  • Thank you message or page displays after form is submitted.
  • Form data is being emailed to a recipient and/or stored in a company database.
  • Auto-responders are working properly (if applicable).

14. Check that integrations with third-party tools are running smoothly.

Integrations such as your CRM, e-commerce software, and/or marketing platform link to your site and help you run your business. If there is a potential issue that can cause data loss, you don’t want to find out way after the fact. 

15. Make a copy of the final website for backup purposes. 

Now that everything is in place and finalized, you want to have a pristine copy of it should you experience data corruption or loss. 

16. Ensure that backups are running properly. 

Now is the time to check the implementation of your backup strategy. Check that ongoing copies of the website are being created and stored on a regular basis.

16. Make sure your site is secure.

  • 24/7 monitoring scripts are installed.
  • There’s a plan in place for updating plugins (if applicable). 
  • Ensure that all applicable parties are aware of your organization’s password etiquette policies.

17. Comply with all applicable laws.

Make sure your website complies with any applicable laws and regulations. Internet law can be sticky, and each industry has its own set of rules to follow. So it’s best to consult with your legal counsel to make sure you aren’t missing anything — this post is not legal guidance. Here are a few you might need to know about:

  • Web pages offer accessibility for users with disabilities (WAI-ARIA).
  • Web pages announce if the website uses cookies (required in some countries).
  • Website is compliant with usage rights for purchased or borrowed code, images, and fonts.
  • Terms and privacy policies are visible to website visitors.
  • Website is PCI compliant (if you’re storing and processing credit cards).

18. Crawl the site to ensure no errors happened on launch. 

Compare the crawl to the previous crawl and see if you find any inconsistencies that were not intentional. You’ll also want to ensure that all pages have the proper search engine indexing settings.

18. Check the technical SEO components for errors.

  • Page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs are all present and match the original technical SEO strategy.
  • Load time for site pages is optimized.
  • A dynamic XML sitemap has been created.
  • The XML sitemap has been submitted to search engines.
  • Page URLs consistently reflect site information architecture.
  • 301 redirects are in place for all old URLs (redirecting old to new pages).
  • rel=”nofollow” tags are in place on applicable links and pages.

19. Optimize your metadata.

  • Metadata is properly in place for any content in an RSS feed.
  • Metadata is properly in place for any social media sharing content.
  • Spelling and grammar are correct in all metadata.
  • Alt tags have been added to every image.

20. Set up analytics.

Make sure your website is set up to capture web data and analytics. This valuable information will allow you to continually improve your website going forward, so you don’t want to forget this stuff.

  • Your website analytics codes and tracking scripts have been inserted on website.
  • Relevant IP addresses have been excluded from analytics tracking.
  • Funnels and goals have been properly created in your analytics software (if applicable).
  • Google Webmaster and Google Analytics accounts have been properly synced.
  • Google Ads accounts have been properly synced (if applicable).

How Do You Announce a New Website Launch?

This (hopefully) wasn’t a vanity project; you did all of this work so far for the benefit of your website visitors, prospects, and existing customers. Your next step is to tell the world about your new site design. Here’s how:

21. Build anticipation with teasers before the site is live. 

A launch of a new product, a launch of a new movie, and — yes — a new site launch all require marketing before the actual release. Think of the last movie you watched in the theater. Did you see the trailer before you decided to buy those movie tickets and popcorn?

Teasers for your website launch can only help to build anticipation and get users wondering what the new experience will be like. This can build buzz and interest once you finally break the news.

22. Create a social media strategy for the announcement. 

Decide what channels you want to promote the news on, how you will make the announcement, and how long the promotion will last. As you craft your messaging, remember to focus on new features and how they benefit your audience. 

23. Identify exciting ways to promote engagement for the new site. 

For users who aren’t as involved in your brand, a new site launch might not seem like a big deal. Your goal, then, is to make it one. Provide an exclusive offer for the first users who visit the site. Or, create a contest that promotes engaging with the site’s new features. Whatever you choose, make sure you make it fun and interesting.

24. Send an email to your existing database. 

You may want to give existing leads and customers a head’s up about the new design, especially if it will cause any confusion when they next visit. You can break the news as a matter of courtesy but also sneak in ways to underscore the value you’re providing.

25. Continue to promote the launch for a month. 

Just because you post about your new website once on social media does not mean that your audience will drop everything to visit the site in droves. Make your launch a big deal, and keep the new functionality top of mind so that your audience is prompted multiple times to check it out.

Resources for Launching Your First Website

Launching a new website can be a tedious task, but you can alleviate some of the stress by using this comprehensive website launch checklist.

If you’re just getting started on your first website, here are a few tools that can help you streamline your process

  • CMS: As mentioned above, a CMS can help you design your website, optimize and publish content, and track your analytics once it’s launched. If you’re looking to test out a few CMS options, start by checking out our 14-day free CMS trial.
  • Blogging Guides: If you’re interested in using your website to publish a blog that could help you boost brand awareness, it can be helpful to start brainstorming topics. Here’s a great guide to how to be a better blogger with tips from our team.
  • Landing Page Templates: A landing page is a great way to highlight a product or resource that your brand is offering. It’s important to know what elements lead to a landing page that will convert. Here’s a guide with examples. Additionally, when using a CMS like HubSpot’s, you can create landing pages from pre-designed templates.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in August 2014, but was updated for comprehensiveness and freshness in May 2020.

Customer Journey Map | 6 Steps to Build It Successfully

A customer journey map helps businesses see their products and processes from a customer’s point of view. Plotting a customer journey map gives business owners and marketing and design teams valuable insight into common points of friction so they can improve customer experience and ultimately make more sales.

In this article, we’ll explore what customer journey mapping is, followed by a complete step-by-step guide to plotting your own map.

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

“Your customers are human… You should understand their challenges and their vernacular, from both a macro and micro level, and then connect the dots back to your product or service.” – Forbes

You are not your customer. What’s intuitive to you may not be intuitive to them. What’s attractive, alluring, and inspiring to you may turn off your target market. It’s not just preference, either. Your behaviors and habits, your limitations and concerns, and your life experience all shape your purchasing decisions. And, chances are, yours do not align with your ideal customers.

Customer journey mapping allows you to become your customer, to walk in their shoes.

You want your customer’s experience to be seamless from start to finish and across multiple channels and touchpoints. Questions will inevitably arise, and you want your customers to find the answers and reassurances they need to commit to a purchase. By tracing the experience step-by-step, your map will help reveal issues with siloes in your business, issues that are specific to your customers, that are not assumed or predicted but grounded in your customer’s unique reality.

The benefits of customer journey mapping include:

  • Identifying where customers interact with your business
  • Determining whether the customer journey is logical
  • Identifying and focusing on different needs at various stages of the buying funnel
  • Revealing gaps between the desired customer experience and the real customer experience
  • Allowing businesses to allocate expenditure on development priorities that matter most

How to Create a Customer Journey Map

Step 1: Determine Your Objectives

Why are you making a customer journey map? What goals are you directing this map towards? What experience will it examine? Which type of customer will it follow?

These objectives will guide the remainder of the plotting process, so be sure to think long and hard about the who, what, and why.

Step 2: Create Customer Personas

“If your brand is like many others, you might not be able to map out that customer journey. And the reason may stem from a deeper problem: You can’t identify the customer.” – AdAge

You cannot track a customer’s movements if you don’t know who they are, what they like, their pain points, and their aspirations. One of the best ways to flesh out your customer personas is to survey and test real-life people that have engaged with your brand.

Some valuable questions could be:

  • How did you hear about our brand?
  • Have you made a purchase with us? What was the deciding factor?
  • How easy do you think our website is to navigate?
  • Have you ever contacted our customer support team? If so, was it helpful?
  • What goals are you trying to achieve with our company? What problems are you trying to solve?
  • What attracts you to our brand?
  • Is there anything we can do to improve your experience?

Research and questionaries will likely leave you with several customer personas, different distinct groups that interact with your brand. Your customer journey map can’t effectively cover them all, so select one or two to focus on.

Step 3: Identify All Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the places on your website and online that your customers can interact with. For example, adding a product to cart, engaging with a social media post, opening an email newsletter, and so on.

You might find that there are fewer touchpoints than you expected – could this mean customers don’t hang around your site long enough to make a decision? Or, there could be more touchpoints than expected – could this mean your site is too complicated and there are too many steps to get to an end goal?

Step 4: Decide on the Type of Map

The type of customer journey map you decide on will depend on your objectives. The main types of maps include:

  • Current state. The most common type of map, the current state map allows you to visualize the actions, thoughts, behaviors, and emotions your customers experience when interacting with your brand right now.
  • Day-in-the-life: This maps your customer’s day from morning to night. It details their habits and activities, whether that includes interacting with your brand or not.
  • Future state. These visualize what you predict will be the actions, thoughts, behaviors, and emotions your customers will experience during future interactions with your brand.

Step 5: Plot the Customer Journey

You know who your customer is, and you have narrowed your focus. Now, it’s time to plot the customer journey step-by-step. At this stage, just focus on actions. What actions are your customers taking, and at what time?

Step 6: Take the Customer Journey

This is the crucial step – put on your customer’s shoes and work your way through the customer journey you plotted in step five. Take note of pain points, moments when you don’t get the information you need or the experience you expected. Analyze actions that feel natural and identify why.

This step allows you to focus on the areas where your customers’ needs are unmet. From there, you can fine-tune your offering to ensure that brand engagements:

  • Provide a valuable, intuitive experience
  • Solve your customers’ problems
  • Promote trust
  • Feel personalized

Follow these steps to create your own customer journey map. Do it well and you’ll find that it not only serves your customers but also delivers value to your business.

The post Customer Journey Map | 6 Steps to Build It Successfully appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Protecting yourself against coronavirus SMS scams

Understandably the coronavirus pandemic has made many people worried about their wellbeing. Though there have been many heart-warming stories amidst the outbreak, unfortunately there has also been a growing number of scams.

Cybercriminals have been capitalising on individuals’ uncertainty and fear, and in the UK alone, there have already been over 500 COVID-19 related scams, totalling £1.6 million in losses. Many of these scams involve messages to recipients under the guise of organisations such as the NHS, WHO and even national government. These messages aim to trick individuals into downloading unsafe applications or include requests for personal information such as bank account details.

What’s more, this isn’t just a problem in the UK. Australia’s Cyber Security Centre recently urged people to remain vigilant, as it reported SMS phishing scams, also known as smishing scams, were on the rise and similar trends have also been identified in East Asia and North America. 

To help tackle the growing issue, the UK government has added both UK_GOV and UKGOV to the list of restricted SMS Sender ID. Ensuring all text messages sent using these sender IDs are automatically stopped by mobile networks, and therefore are not delivered to recipients unless coming from an official channel – please see example message with sender ID highlighted for reference.

This is in addition to measures networks first announced in early 2018, as part of the SMS PhishGuard initiative which introduced an official SMS SenderID Protection Registry. However, as cybercrime researcher Chris Monteiro states – “arguably, the issue is not that spoofing is easy, but that identifying a legitimate message is inherently hard.”

Helping you identify legitimate messages

Phone with padlock, implying security

As alluded above, it’s not always easy to identify a legitimate from a fraudulent message, but the below outlines a few tips which may be useful in situations where you need to make the distinction:

1. Take a moment to consider the sender ID

With the exception of government and charitable groups, businesses and organisations are only able to contact you if you have opted in to receive communications. So, when you receive a message take a moment to consider whether you are expecting the message and if you previously opted in to receive these communications from the sender identified in the sender ID.

2.     Review the message content

It may seem obvious, but often these messages will be written in such a way to try and make the recipient panic and act quickly. Try to stay calm and properly review the message content. Is the tone consistent with other messages you have received from this organisation? Is the message asking for personal information? It’s very unlikely that a business will ask you to convey personal information via SMS. 

3.     Contact the organisation or business directly

If you are still unsure whether the message is legitimate or not, contact the business or organisation directly and ask. A simple phone call can quickly confirm this and put your mind at rest. Just be sure to use details you either already have stored for the organisation, or those you have found online, as details within the message may be fraudulent.

Reporting SMS scam messages

In addition to following the advice above, if you do receive a suspicious SMS message in the UK, you can report it to your network provider by forwarding it to 7726. Reporting these campaigns enables mobile network providers to continually update protective protocols to protect future recipients.

If you have supplied personal information

If you believe you have provided personal information in response to a fraudulent campaign, remain calm, notify your bank and update relevant passwords as soon as possible. Thankfully many organisations can usually identify unusual activity on accounts, but it is always best to be cautious.

At Esendex we understand how important it is to help reduce spam and have always had robust measures in place. All accounts go through a four-step account verification process and we have various safeguards and filters which cover both the content and selected sender ID of all message campaigns. We are committed to working with mobile operators and staying up to date with the latest cybercrime trends to ensure we continue to protect our customers and their businesses.

If you have any concerns, or would like to find out more information please phone one of our friendly advisers on 0117 205 0202

The post Protecting yourself against coronavirus SMS scams appeared first on Textmarketer.

#34: 119 Customer Loyalty Ideas to beat COVID-19

On 20th March 2020, Adam Posner posted a call to action on LinkedIn asking loyalty and business professionals worldwide to collaborate and contribute ‘119 customer loyalty ideas to beat COVID-19′.

By the 7th of April 2020, the target of 119 ideas was achieved and an eBook was compiled featuring expert insights from 63 loyalty experts around the world.

In this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” I interview Adam for his favourite customer loyalty ideas and share my own. A super useful eBook at this unusual time of challenge yet with some emerging opportunities to evolve.

Listen to last week’s episode: #33: Loyalty Insights From Epsilon

If you are reading this and you serve a market that you feel like we are not covering adequately, then please reach out to submissions@thewisemarketer.com. We welcome ambassadors from the professional loyalty marketing and customer loyalty industry that are willing to participate. We can give your “local insights” a “global platform”. Thanks for reading.

The post #34: 119 Customer Loyalty Ideas to beat COVID-19 appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

How to Write the Perfect Page Title With SEO in Mind

In high school, the hardest part of writing an essay for me was coming up with the title.

To be honest, titles are still a struggle for me to this day.

However, writing titles for blog posts or page titles are a part of my day to day as a marketer.

And now I have to think about SEO as well.

If you’re anything like me, it’s helpful to learn best practices you can refer to when you’re writing a title.

Below, let’s learn how to write the perfect page title while keeping SEO in mind.

Page Titles and SEO

A page title is the title tag that tells a search engine like Google what the title of your web page is.

However, a “title tag” is distinct from the “H1” of a page. Your web page can have an H1 that’s different from the title tag, though they’re often the same by default unless changed in the HTML header of the page.

For example, an article title is your H1. If you had a creative idea for an article title, but wanted Google to index a title tag that’s more likely to get clicked, you could edit the title tag to be different from the H1.

When you type in a query on Google, title tags are the titles you see on the search engine results page (SERP).

So, why do you have to keep SEO in mind when you’re writing a page title?

The main reason is because your page title (and other meta tags) signal to the search engine what your page is about. Your page title helps search engine’s determine if your web page satisfies search intent and answers a user’s question.

Now, you might be wondering, “How can I get started?” Below, let’s review the best practices to keep in mind when writing SEO page titles.

Best Practices for Writing SEO Page Titles

1. Be specific.

Every page on your site should have a specific purpose. Think about the page in front of you, and try to describe it.

If you’re using “and” to combine multiple thoughts on this page, it’s time to make some new pages.

When writing the titles for each of these pages, keep the specifics of the page in mind. If this is a page just about “toasters”, the title should include your keywords centered around “toasters”, and not a more generic keyword phrase like “kitchen appliances.”

2. Explain why this page is unique.

Just like every page title should be specific to each page, you should also make sure that each page title is unique across your entire site.

This helps prevent traffic cannibalization, which is when two pages from the same domain are ranking for the same keyword, and therefore stealing traffic from each other. With unique page titles, you’re less likely to create pages that Google believes are serving the same keywords.

If you’re following the first rule and making sure that every page is laser-focused on a single topic, it should be extremely easy to also make sure that each page title is unique.

3. Be compelling.

When you’re looking at a search engine results page, there’s only three things that appear for a visitor – the page title, the page description (bonus points if you’ve got a unique and targeted meta description), and your page’s URL.

Try and treat your page titles like the titles for your blog posts, and make them compelling.

In the example below, HubSpot used a unique and compelling title to tell user’s that the CRM software is free and compatible with small and enterprise businesses.

4. Don’t be repetitive or stuff keywords.

Your page titles shouldn’t include multiple variations of similar keyword phrases.

A great example of a bad page title is “Toaster, toaster oven, kitchen toaster, college toaster, 8 slice toaster, bagel toaster | Chris’ Toaster Emporium”.

Titles like this promote worst practices and often lead to having the same page titles used across most (if not all) of the pages in your site.

Plus, it doesn’t help user’s understand what’s on the page.

5. Pay attention to length.

Google will cut your title off around 70 characters, and you’ll be left with a set of ellipses at the end of the title – and everything you’ve written above the 70 character limit is essentially negated.

In the example below, the blog post title was too long and the user is left unsure of what’s on the page.

Long page title on Google.

6. Don’t put your company name at the front.

In most cases, your website will already rank high for your company name.

Leverage the fact that search engines allocate more weight to the words that appear at the beginning of a page title, and form your titles using your keyword phrases first, and then your company name.

Keep in mind that CMS’s will sometimes add your company name in the front by default. As a content creator, you’ll need to remove them from the HTML header field if you don’t want it to show up on Google.

7. Include your primary keyword.

While you don’t want to stuff your page titles with keywords, it’s still a good idea to include your primary keyword.

If you can, putting it near the front can help search engine’s and user’s determine what your page is about quickly.

If you can’t include your primary keyword, you should try to include some type of variation of your keyword that satisfies search intent.

8. Write for the user.

At the end of the day, your content should be written for the reader, not for the search engine. User experience is far more important than a search engine.

While writing titles can be hard, it doesn’t have to be. Keep these best practices in mind when you’re crafting your next page title.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples You'll Want to Steal

You’ve done it. You provided valuable content to your readers and they’ve converted into leads. Now, it’s time to nurture these leads into opportunities for your sales team.

Trouble is, cutting through the inbox clutter isn’t an easy feat. And many of these folks just aren’t ready to buy yet.

That’s where lead nurturing comes in: It’s a way to stay connected to the leads you collect that aren’t ready to buy from you yet, and build up trust until they are ready.

If you want to learn more about lead nurturing in general, you can check out this guide. But for the sake of this post, we’re going to dive deep into one of the best channels for carrying out your lead nurturing efforts: email.

To help you better understand how to pair the two concepts, check out the lead nurturing email examples below. From ecommerce to product marketing, there’s something for everyone — no matter what industry you operate in. 

Pro tip: Use the following anchor links to jump to examples within the industries that interest you most: Ecommerce, B2B, Retail, Travel, Food & Beverage, Services, Product Marketing.

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples to Inspire Your Strategy

Here are the top lead nurturing examples that you can refer to and review while developing your emails. 

Ecommerce Lead Nurturing Email Examples

1. Framebridge

Not all lead nurturing emails need to be strictly promotional. Engagement will lead to sales, so it’s important to send recipients something they’ll want to open and read. Framebridge does something in their nurturing emails that works like a charm: education. By teaching the reader a helpful skill, they are providing value in exchange for an ask from their recipient (reading the guide).

It’s also worth mentioning that they only use one clear call-to-action — “Educate Me.” According to WordStream, simply using one call-to-action (CTA) in an email increases clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

Source

2. Casper

Your product is only as good as its reviews — in fact, most customers read a review or testimonial before making a purchase. In this traditional abandoned cart email, Casper adds a bit of social proof with a fun customer testimonial.

Casper’s abandoned cart email is clever and to-the-point. It asks the reader if they’d like to revisit a cart they have added to, shows what they were shopping for, and includes two simple CTAs.

casper lead nurturing exampleSource

3. Sephora

For visual products, video is a great method of communicating or explaining. Sephora includes a fun video from an employee with educational content as well as product offerings. They do have a lot of calls-to-action, however, the main focus is to watch the tutorial which is helpful to the reader. A visual email for a visual brand, it grabs your attention and shows off the products in a unique and interesting way.sephora  lead nurturing example


B2B Lead Nurturing Email Examples

4. Litmus

Triggered email messages yield 67.9% higher open rate and 241.3% higher click rates than standard email messages, according to Epsilon. In other words, when you use a person’s behavior — lets say that downloaded content about email workflows — to trigger a relevant email based on that action, it will perform well.

Here’s a great example from Litmus that demonstrates how to use clever, clear copy to provide recipients with a relevant email that adds provides even more value.

litmus  lead nurturing example

Retail Lead Nurturing Email Examples

5. Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods shows their products in context and creates a Pinterest-inspired section for each different aesthetic. Each collection has a featured CTA and the email feels more like a curated pinboard than a sales email.

Not to mention, this email is also very mobile-friendly, which can play a big part in the success of an ecommerce lead nurturing email: 56% of email is opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus.

Uncommon Goods Email  lead nurturing example

6. Chubbies

Chubbies is well known for their cheeky marketing and their emails do not disappoint. With over 1.68 million Facebook Likes, they put the social, fun aspect of content first. Their email newsletter serves as a hub for user-generated content, promotions, and all-around humor.

Part information, part fun, this email encourages its reader to enjoy reading it even if they aren’t planning to buy anything in that moment. The copy relates to its audience, the visuals are on-brand, and they offer multiple CTAs (purchase clothing & follow on Snapchat).

s  lead nurturing example

chubbies2.png


Travel Lead Nurturing Email Examples

7. JetBlue

JetBlue has some of the best email copy around. Not only is this email funny, helpful, and full of great puns, but it also reflects JetBlue’s commitment to engaging and retaining customers through email. One of JetBlue’s email objectives is to convert current or past customers into TrueBlue members, as demonstrated below.

(Want to learn how long your emails should be? Check out this helpful blog post that takes audience and message into consideration.)

JetBlue Email lead nurturing example

8. Airbnb

Airbnb’s emails have one goal in mind: give their readers wanderlust.

This email has a clear CTA, highlights beautiful travel destinations, and doesn’t ask too much of the recipient. Not to mention, company anniversaries are always a good opportunity to reach out to subscribers without seeming pushy. It feels personal and curated.

airbnb lead nurturing example


Services Lead Nurturing Email Examples

9. Handy

The combination of clear buttons, information about the service, and a nice photo make this email from Handy feel uncluttered and effective. More specifically, the photo of smiling customers is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. It helps to draw attention to the effect their product has on those who buy it: happiness.
  2. Human photos saw 95% higher conversion than object photos, according to VWO.

Handy Email  lead nurturing example

10. Freelancer

I’m a sucker for a good illustration and Freelancer’s caught my attention immediately. They prove the value of the service through a drawing, then provide a clear ask in the CTA: “Get Started Today.” If you can align images in your email while educating your readers, the message will stick with them for longer and have a higher impact.

Freelancer Email lead nurturing exampleSource

11. Skillshare

At the top of this email, Skillshare includes a nice reminder to its recipients that their trial is about to expire — a smart move that’ll hopefully result in a renewal or purchase.

The reminder is accompanied by some unobtrusive, helpful CTAs for various educational classes. Notice how the simple, stylish boxes stand out as an alternative to a traditional button.

Skillshare Email  lead nurturing exampleSource


Food & Beverage Lead Nurturing Email Examples

12. Thrive

When a person hears something, they’ll remember 10% of that content three days later. However, when paired with a relevant image, they will remember 65% of the information three days later. This concept is referred to as the picture superiority effect.

Thrive takes advantage of this theory through their use of product images. They highlight their products in an attractive way, include a good amount of content, and encourage the reader to start shopping.

Thrive Food Email lead nurturing exampleSource

13. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts used an announcement for a new item as a way to reach out to its audience. This simple email asks its readers to find the location nearest them, showcases the new drink, and has a secondary CTA to add them on Snapchat. (Speaking of which, check out this guide to Snapchat for business.)

DDPerks Email  lead nurturing example

Product Marketing Lead Nurturing Email Examples

14. InVision App

Newsjacking is defined by HubSpot as “the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” By mentioning a current, trending topic into your marketing, you can bring in a new audience and engage with your current users.

InVision monopolized on the “Stranger Things” trend by highlighting its typography in this email and relating it back to the design industry. They also used it as an excuse to teach their newsletter recipients through workshops and training.

invision lead nurturing example

15. Zapier

According to DemandGen, leads that are nurtured with personalized content convert into sales at 20% higher than those who aren’t.

This email is from the CEO of Zapier asking how he can help them get setup proves that they’ve got a handle on the whole personalization thing. This user is being targeted with a name personalization token as well as a trigger indicating that they are yet to setup the product.

For technical products, friendly, helpful emails based on activity can perform extremely well. Notice how they even include a link to their help documentation for added value and clarity.

zapier lead nurturing exampleSource

16. Sprout Social

Sprout Social uses a new feature as a reason to reach out to leads. They teach the audience about this new feature, let them know that their trial is expiring, and provide helpful feature descriptions to inform their decision.

By giving your readers a taste of your new products and services, they will be inspired to learn more, so be sure to also include relevant links and information for them to continue their research.

Sprout Social Email lead nurturing exampleSource

17. Typeform

Writing email copy is difficult. It’s important to be friendly, helpful, and straightforward.

That’s why Typeform really hit the nail on the head with this email. In the example below, you’ll see that they’re not only being relatable and honest, but they are also strategically taking advantage of their user’s inactive status to position the outreach. And the challenge to look at their leaderboard is a nice secondary CTA that doesn’t ask too much.

Typeform Email lead nurturing exampleSource

18. Square

Holiday marketing is a common type of lead nurturing. Both B2B and B2C companies take full advantage of running holiday-themed campaigns throughout the year.

Square leverages the Valentine’s Day holiday to encourage its recipients to take action with their own customers. They provide a helpful and powerful statistic to prove value, and keep it short and sweet.

Square Valentines Email lead nurturing exampleSource

19. Duolingo

Duolingo taps into their users’ affinity for learning by asking them to nominate a favorite teacher for a contest. This is a great way of engaging with your audience while providing a helpful and fun reason to click.

They also make use of two different types of testimonials. They tell the reader to join “350,000 teachers” as well as including two quotes from teachers using the product. What a great use of social proof.

Duolingo lead nurturing example

Now that you’ve been inspired by these great brands and products, learn how to write email copy like a pro and create compelling images.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Simple Link Building Tactics to Grow Brand Authority

It is no secret that link building is one of the most challenging, yet most vital tactics in search engine optimization. Google holds such high regard for high-quality backlinks, because they are the best indicators of whether or not your website is authoritative in the space.

Through basic crowdsourcing, Google can use website data (number of links pointing toward your website) to determine the viability and relevance of your website on certain topics. 

So why is link building so difficult?

Over the years, SEOs from all over the world have been able to manipulate Google’s algorithm through black-hat link building tactics like link farms and link buying. In response, Google has determined what patterns are a result of such tactics and severely punish websites who continue to use these methods. 

As a result, websites must now be creative with how they utilize different strategies that result in a higher volume of backlinks naturally. There are several things to consider, however, when executing link building strategies, including:

  • The difference between unique referring domains and backlinks
  • The importance of link flow
  • The influence of digital PR

Focus on unique referring domains

When you are approaching link building, it can be tempting for your team to chase after as many backlinks as possible, regardless of where they come from. That may be beneficial for the first few links; however, after a while, you will start to see diminishing returns.

The reason why the crowdsourcing analogy is so helpful to explain this is simple: the more that authoritative websites approve of your website’s content, the more Google will recognize your website as authoritative as well. 

If you continue to receive backlinks from the same website over and over, Google may think that you are participating in questionable techniques, and you may be impacted negatively. 

By having a goal of increasing unique referring domains, you naturally go after links from a variety of websites rather, minimizing your risk in getting negatively affected by Google’s algorithm. 

With that being said, there are plenty of websites that use content aggregation methods, like Databox, where you can easily obtain a link. You will not ruin your authority by submitting content through their website because:

  1. Databox is an extremely reputable source of content. 
  2. The number of links that you get in return from them are not high enough for Google to flag them as an issue.

The best advice I can give is to additionally seek other unique link building partners to improve your overall authority even further. 

Why link flow is critical

Link flow is defined as the rate at which new backlinks are flowing into your website. To understand why link flow is important, you must grasp Google’s E-A-T guidelines. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

To determine authoritativeness and trustworthiness in your industry, create new content that gains high volumes of quality links. This continuous flow of content and links shows Google that:

  1. You are active in your industry and community. 
  2. Other authoritative websites are still cosigning your authority. 

A slow link flow can indicate lost relevance or trustworthiness in your industry or on the internet as a whole. Continue to create relevant content and actively engage your audience in an ongoing attempt to gain quality backlinks. Quality over quantity is the key. 

Influence of digital PR

Digital PR (public relations) is a pillar of digital marketing that focuses on media relations, thought leadership, and relationship marketing. While link building is not the primary (or even secondary) goal of digital PR, it can be a pivotal link building tool.

One of the main focuses of digital PR is brand awareness, which can include outreach to relevant podcasts for a company representative to be a guest or pitching the digital media to cover a new company story. Most of the time, when you, your company, or a subject matter expert at your company is featured on a podcast, is at an event, or is in the media, the website will link back to your website. 

These tactics do not directly affect your SEO goals, but if your website starts gaining backlinks from highly authoritative websites, your ability to rank for more challenging keywords will improve significantly.

It is crucial to have your PR team and web strategy team work hand-in-hand on digital initiatives. For an effective digital PR strategy, you need:

  • A designer to create infographics or other marketing materials
  • A dedicated outreach strategist who is the face of the PR team
  • A web strategist who works hand-in-hand with a link building lens

Some creative teamwork can help improve your digital outcomes drastically.

3 tactics to try on

Because link building can take a large portion of your time, think of creative ideas that are simple to execute on and powerful enough that your return will be worth it. 

I have broken down three data-backed link building tactics that have proven continuously to grow brand authority.  

Thought leadership

Think about all of the blogs, newsletters, or podcasts that you consistently read, listen to, and refer to on a daily basis. For marketing blogs, it’s Marketo, G2, and SEMrush. For general business blogs, it’s Mashable, Business Insider, and Forbes. In tech, it’s TechCrunch, Gizmodo, and ReadWrite.

There is a reason as to why you keep returning to these blogs. Why? They are known to publish content representing high-quality, their content is data-driven, and their pieces are written by experts in their respective industries.

Not only do people constantly refer to them verbally; they backlink to these sites as well. 

Business Insider ranks with an Ahrefs rank of 242 (out of the entire Ahrefs database), with over 114M backlinks from over 458K websites.

TechCrunch ranks with an Ahrefs rank of 294, with other 73.1M backlinks from over 319K websites.

link-building-backlinks-seo

Depending on the industry your company is in, these thought leaders differ vastly. However, one feature is very much consistent: good authoritative content generates a high volume of backlinks with the right audience. It’s not rocket science. 

Unique research

Some companies create reports that cover multiple verticals or sub-verticals. For example, for digital marketing that would be content, social media, SEO, email, advertising, web strategy, and market research. They create unique infographics for each research report and make them highly shareable, with little to no friction.

link-building-backlinks-seo

By putting out the annual report, they generate thousands of backlinks from many websites, in addition to generating unique referring domains.

By creating a report that is widely respected and referenced in your industry, you can generate a large amount of SEO value, in the form of authority, to your website.

Guest posting

Guest posting (or guest blogging) is the process of sharing content with or writing content for another website, with the hopes of gaining a backlink in return. Companies utilize guest posting strategies to produce high-quality content on authoritative publications throughout their industry. Guest posting can also improve companies’ organic reach through SEO, social media, and more. Overall, it helps your brand be more visible and shows that other companies trust you to share your expertise as well. Think about it, they trust you enough to share content on their own website.

In return, the writer typically includes a useful link back to their website to further authoritative value. Depending on the company you write for, they may reserve the right to remove that link whenever they please. If you haven’t already written the content for them, you might have to burden that risk. 

Regardless, guest posting can be helpful in your digital PR efforts and improve brand awareness to audiences that you previously have not had access to. You may gain a link directly from that website, and you also might indirectly gain backlinks from the subsequent readers of their website and blog.

Directive utilizes guest posting as one of their main drivers of referring domain growth (as seen below).

link-building-backlinks-seo

Key takeaways

Link building is, and always will be, one of the more influential ranking factors in search marketing. Google continues to view quality backlinks in high regard and will continue to crack down on inorganic link building schemes that “trick” their algorithm.

Building audiences who continuously consume your content will, at the least, slowly link back to your website. Creating relevant and unique content will organically build links to your website. Creating professional relationships with other websites in the same space and sharing content will continue to build links for your website.

There are other simple link building techniques such as broken link building and brand mention outreach; however, these should not be the centerpiece of your link building strategy. 

Understanding the power of the basics of relationship and content marketing will prove to help you out more than anything else. Take advantage of the relationships you have set, and focus on creating more down the road. Continue to provide value to your target audience and to partners you work with, and link building will be smooth sailing from here on out.

The post Simple Link Building Tactics to Grow Brand Authority appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.