Author Archives: Roy Revill

The quickest and easiest way to get your software sending SMS messages

“Jack of all trades, master of none”

Is a saying that gets banded about when you try and take on too much, when you try to do too many things and never quite master one thing. And when it comes to your software and platform, you want to put all your time and effort into making exactly what your customers are using your software for and master it.

But to improve your software and platform you might need to add bits and bobs that make your platform more complete, things that help your customers get the most out of it and ultimately give your software the edge against your competition.

And this is where Text Marketer can come in… Building an SMS solution is very complicated, very time consuming and very expensive – trust us, we know!! However with our amazing API, you can integrate our powerful SMS solution into your software and platform – quickly and easily!

No complicated things to learn, expensive highly technical developers to hire, message networks to price up and route… simply plugin in our gateway and let your customers send straight from your platform. Below are just some of the software providers we integrate with or supply SMS too – more details here

Now once the integration is in place there are two ways this can be managed…

We take care of all customer accounts and billing
So once your integration is put in place, you can direct your customers to Text Marketer to sign up for their free account. They will then receive their API account details that they will then just simply enter their details into your SMS section within your software.

Moving forward we bill them directly and we take care of everything for you. So nothing to worry about regarding SMS – we take care of it all and give you peace of mind without adding to your workload.

You handle the accounts and billing
Some software businesses choose to take care of the billing themselves as they want to hide the fact their SMS solution is coming from an external party, we have absolutely no problem with that. We charge your business a flat rate price per SMS depending on volumes, and you would then charge your customers for their SMS messages at a price you want.

Both ways are fine by us and both ways are a great, efficient, low cost way to provide your software and platform with an SMS solution that your customers will love, and giving you the edge against your competition.

If you would like to discuss integrating your software with our SMS solution please email [email protected]

Digital Ads Finally Get Out From Under the Plumbing

The following is a guest contributed post by Daniel Meehan, CEO at PadSquad.

Why has digital advertising always been approached so differently than any other form of the art?

Banners were among the earliest iterations of internet ads, and they basically filled space. Engagement rates were low, users ignored them. Online advertising was seen as ineffectual.

But social media, increased bandwidth and mobile browsing ushered in an opportunity to create ads that were highly targeted, interactive, and yes, innovative as well. Or at least, they were supposed to be.

In the rush to take advantage of all of the new ad real estate, the industry focused on the infrastructure — the plumbing — of it all. Targeting became a distinctly precise science. Ad exchanges became the norm, and the focus shifted toward the delivery, versus what was actually being delivered to the end consumer. Viewability rates were established and then gamed — the more ads you jammed onto the page, the more “viewable” the ads.

The influx of poor formats that led to the rise of ad blockers could’ve served as a death knell for digital advertising. But it may actually refresh the industry. It ends up everyone was so focused on the plumbing for digital ads, they forgot that the goal is creating something consumers actually like.

Look at TV advertising. Every brand utilizes a mix of 15- and 30-second spots, for the most part. Targeting tools are similar. The container ubiquitous. It’s what you do within the container — the creative part of the ad — that’s most important. That’s where the science and messaging of a brilliant ad come to life. Whether or not it elicits those (positive) consumer emotions or reactions make all the difference.

And for a mobile device, in particular, there’s additional challenges, too. The container is so personal to both the publisher and consumer. It’s difficult to strike the right balance on a device that holds the story of a person inside of it (figuratively). But that’s where innovation separates those on the right side of the upcoming ad-blocker conversation and those desperately trailing behind.

Chrome’s ad blocker went live on February 15, and with it comes a hard reset for the ad tech industry. The plumbing can and will still change here and there, but it will revert to its rightful place as the background noise in advertising — behind the creative experiences brands are able to share with consumers as a polite aside to digital media. Television advertising’s never been singularly focused on the technology to deliver the brand spot during your favorite primetime show. We’re on the cusp of digital advertising finally behaving similarly.

Recent industry conversations have already shown an entire ad landscape willing to follow suit. On a macro level, the conversations are moving toward creativity and why it’s important to provide consumers with something they actually want (like TV ads!). Platforms, plug-ins and data are all important for ad delivery. And an ad could even be super-targeted to the exact end-user it’s created for.

But the question for ad tech will (rightfully) be: When the ad renders on that page, will the consumer pay attention? Because if not, the plumbing doesn’t matter.

In a fragmented media world full of screens in every direction, brands and publishers are competing for eyeballs like never before. This is everyone’s chance to take advantage of a rare occurence: the clean slate. With time and money better spent on serving up the best ad, advertising can finally be at the forefront of ad tech, and stopped getting disrupted by the technology behind it.

About the author

Daniel Meehan is the CEO and founder of PadSquad, an award-winning mobile creative company consistently introducing industry-defining, hand-crafted rich-media formats on behalf of Fortune 100 and 500 brands across all verticals.

The post Digital Ads Finally Get Out From Under the Plumbing appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Doug Stephens is at least partially right

There has been a ton of quality material written in the past year about the Retail Apocalypse. Whether myth or reality, the trials and tribulations of the specialty retail sector, especially the fashion retailer, have been at the forefront of these discussions and loyalty marketing chatter frequently seeps into the dialogue.

By Mike Capizzi, CLMP

A piece caught my eye this week from leading UK fashion publication BofF.  Author Doug Stephens argues that most retail loyalty programs don’t work, and marketing funds are being wasted. He sites many research stats to prove his point and concludes that fee-based programs are something to reckon with.  While I don’t agree with Doug’s blast of “loyalty programs,” I understand it’s a matter of definitions and firmly believe the underlying premise of Doug’s argument is one that all retailers should pay attention to.

First, the unwarranted blast.  Calling all this the “loyalty lie” does not do justice to a marketing discipline that has helped retailers for the past 25 years identify best customers, build a database, retain top spenders and use value added, interactive mechanisms to increase the yield on a per customer basis. Going back to a single 2012 study doesn’t cut it for me.  I have personally worked on over 30 retail loyalty programs in my career – many in the specialty retail or fashion sectors – and I can say without hesitation that programs work. These are smart merchants, if the programs universally were lame they wouldn’t spend their marketing funds on launching, operating and enhancing their loyalty efforts. He who knows the most about customers and can take relevant, intervening action, wins. So let’s be careful here, we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Programs that don’t work have inherent design flaws – flat funding rates, single tender value propositions, poor (or no) communications, lousy rewards, no soft benefits, inability to bonus or to tier according to value, inadequate social platform or e-commerce integration – the list goes on.  Of course, these programs feed all the negative publicity and “failure” stats. They are bad programs. This doesn’t mean that that loyalty doesn’t work. It means that bad loyalty programs don’t work. Plain and simple.

Regarding the lack of engagement and runaway membership stats, I agree whole-heartedly.  It is not about how many members a retailer can enroll – only to have them leave or suffer boredom later.  It is about best customers that will keep the brand afloat during apocalyptic times and growing during good times.  This is the real story behind the stats.  Never underestimate retention benefits.

Now to the good stuff.  Veteran loyalty marketers have always understood that the transactional and emotional sides of the value proposition were of equal importance. Many fashion retailers have long avoided soft benefits in favor of discount only schemes. This is a mistake and I share Doug’s belief – although we use different semantics to argue our point.

As for fee-based programs, I am a major fan and believe they are making a comeback. All the arguments and brand cases put forth in the BoF article are sound and certainly not new.  Does anyone remember Sheraton Club International in the late 1990’s?  Or how about the original Reward Zone from Best Buy in the early 2000’s?  To ignore fee-based components as part of a potential loyalty marketing program, or to consider them something other than a loyalty marketing program, is fundamentally flawed.  It goes beyond semantics. Any program which can holistically use all its channels, assets and creativity to recognize and reward best customers in return for a membership fee is a loyalty marketing program.

It has been this way for a long time.

Mike Capizzi is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP) and Dean of the Loyalty Academy.

The post Doug Stephens is at least partially right appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

Business Website: Free WordPress Template & Instructions

Service and retail businesses need a website that describes their products, shares their location and hours, and invites visitors to move forward with a purchase. Business website design doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need to get these basics right. A website that’s confusing or slow will reflect poorly on your brand, and…

The post Business Website: Free WordPress Template & Instructions appeared first on Fit Small Business.

5 Values to Look for in Your Next Technology Partner

Every year, there are more technology solutions asking for your consideration. Choosing your next vendor not only takes time, it also makes you continually redefine what you are going to value in this new partnership. Sticking to these values as your foundation will help you quickly thin the herd. But when it comes to choosing a technology partner, what matters and what doesn’t?

In this blog, I’ll show you five values to look for in your next technology partner to fuel growth. 

Ask Yourself, What Sort of Investment Am I Trying to Make?

Understanding the differences between long-term and short-term motives behind your decision-making process will help you determine what differentiation matters for your unique needs. For example, if you want to invest in technology you won’t have to rip and replace or re-evaluate in 12-18 months, then you are thinking long term. In this scenario, you want to make sure scalability is a primary focus. Which technology and which vendor will grow with me? Which can I grow into and get the most out over the course of my journey? Which ones will I grow past or run into walls with? Worry less about investing in something that requires a bit of learning, and more about outgrowing your investment and being stuck with less. Also, make sure to not only evaluate the technology but the vendor itself. This will help you make a more complete investment decision beyond capabilities and checkboxes.

What Does it Mean to Be a Customer?

You should feel pride and identify with the brand qualities of the technology you purchase. This investment needs to complement what you believe in, and the vendor should also feel the same about you and your choice. This is either a healthy partnership, or it’s not. You know how you feel as soon as you consider putting pen to paper, be honest with yourself. You are not just choosing technology, you are choosing people and a network of other customers. Find out how they treat their customers. Do they have fantastic events for you to take advantage of? Do they have a community of other customers that you can belong to and learn from? Do their customers stick around? How will making this investment impact your career over time? These are the things to think about when defining how you value being a customer.

Have Their Customers Achieved What You Want to Achieve?

To have a fulfilling customer experience, you must have a clear path to success. Learning from others and seeing their momentum is the best way to feel assurance in your investment. After all, before purchase it can all feel very abstract. It’s clearer when the road to success is already presented to you, by customers willing to talk and by a team dedicated to supporting your growth after you buy. Along those lines, don’t be afraid to get right into the depth of use cases and workflows. This is just around the corner when you begin to implement, so it’s beneficial to explore how a solution can be used like you have already signed the deal. Putting your potential partner through the paces is the best way to find out what their customer experience looks like, ahead of making any considerable investment.

Do They Understand Your Business and Speak Your Language?

This is relatively intuitive but often goes untested, causing challenges down the line. Building off of our third value, do not be afraid of digging in to validate that a solution can support your unique use cases. This will determine which companies not only want your business, but also provide clear evidence that they understand your business, and how to partner in your success. Red flags are easy to spot. If the points are not clear and the value isn’t fine-tuned with a short path to execution, then you have one fewer vendor to consider because they don’t really get you. However, be mindful that you’re offering up the opportunity for everyone to know you in the first place. Have you provided clear guidelines on your goals? Are you transparent about your needs? No one can demonstrate they understand you without your thorough involvement in that mutual discovery phase. If you want openness from your partner, be open with them too.

How Do They Invest Their Revenue?

Investment track record is a telltale sign of where your potential partner may be headed. Back to our first value, make sure you and your partner have similar goals when it comes to innovation and growth. Perhaps the revenue is invested in growing the team. Great! Wait, which team? Are we talking about more salespeople, more engineers, and support, or more customer success? Do your own investigating to validate what you’re told. Here’s a golden nugget: go on Glassdoor and on to the company’s career page. The reviews will tell you where they need help improving, the careers page will tell you if they are trying to attend to those matters based on the positions they are filling. Bottom line here is that you want to understand your partner’s goals and the most telling way to see them clearly is by seeing where and how money is being spent.

When it comes to choosing a technology partner, it’s important to ask yourself these questions. Consider your motivations and goals for your own business. Are you considering adding any additional technology partners in 2018? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.

The post 5 Values to Look for in Your Next Technology Partner appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

This Simple Diagram Will Help You Tell Better Brand Stories

Tell someone to write a poem, and chances are, they’ll freeze up. Tell someone to write a haiku, however, and we bet they’ll bang one out in less than 10 minutes.

The reason: constraints unleash our creativity. But how can you translate that to the complex world of content marketing? The below diagram will help you do just that.

The Story Funnel-Matrix

The funnel-matrix has two dimensions. The first maps loosely to the stages of a typical marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and acquisition.

What stories you tell will depend on your current relationship with your audience –where you are as a couple, to use the obligatory marketing-dating analogy.

When you first meet someone, your conversations tend to be around things that you have in common — your shared interests and values. This is why so many people make small talk about the weather. It affects everyone, so it’s something we all have in common.

You probably won’t dive into your health problems the first time you meet someone. You probably won’t share intimate details about the people in your life.

But after you meet, you might start sharing some of those things, especially if the first date goes well. You might start to paint a picture of your dream life: where you want to live, your ideal career, where you want to travel. Though you shouldn’t hit them with a marriage proposal at this point, you’ll start to share more about yourself — what you care about and what you want.

By the third or fourth date, you’ll naturally be sharing more personal stories than before. This is the way a relationship progresses. (Notice how storytelling is such a big part of what we do when we’re dating. It’s good for more than just marketing and publishing!)

This brings us back to our storytelling funnel-matrix. In the beginning of a relationship, you should tell stories about shared interests and values. As things progress, you can tell stories about the people in your life (like your customers or employees). Finally, as things start getting more serious, you tell stories about your products and services themselves.

The second dimension of the funnel-matrix adds an extra bit of planning help to your content creation strategy. This comes straight from the playbook of newsrooms.

The idea is to divide the stories you tell into three more categories based on time: timely stories that are pertinent based on news or current events; seasonal stories that are relevant because of the time of year; and evergreen stories that will be valuable no matter when the audience sees or hears them.

Take our client American Express, for example. Amex’s OPEN line of credit cards wants small business owners to know that they care about them. Building that trust is a key element of their B2B branding, so they tell stories in various places, most notably on OPEN Forum, a content hub and newsletter that attracts millions of small business owners each month. They’re mostly interested in staying top of mind, not driving conversions or talking about Amex’s products.

Instead, they tell stories about how small business owners handle challenges like hiring and growth. These are examples of evergreen stories.

Sometimes Amex OPEN Forum spots something relevant that happens in the news and writes stories about how it affects small business owners, like new overtime laws and tax policies. These are timely + top-funnel stories.

And one day a year, American Express sponsors a holiday called Small Business Saturday, where it encourages consumers to shop at local businesses instead of big ones. To promote the upcoming holiday, Amex creates videos about small businesses around the country that are making a difference in their communities. These are seasonal stories.

Shinola’s stories of its factory workers and their mission to transform Detroit are about both values (saving American jobs) and its company/people. So they are evergreen + top/mid- funnel.

GE Reports, which tells stories of how GE invents really cool products (but doesn’t try to get you to buy those products), are mid-funnel and often timely—as the company reports on new innovations—but also evergreen because many of the stories are still interesting after the news is over.

The Groupon stories we talked about fit into the category of timely + bottom-funnel. They’re stories about product deals Groupon wants you to buy on one specific day.

Zady’s stories about the Indigo Skinny Jeans are evergreen + bottom-funnel. They’ll be around whenever you are ready for them.

The smartest brand storytellers are constantly on the lookout for data to tell them what their audiences are interested in during each stage of the funnel and each segment of the Bullseye. They obsess over it. And that’s because they know it’s their secret advantage.

This is an excerpt from the Amazon #1 New Release, The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming Into the Void, and Make People Love You” by Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, available today.

 

What you need to know about GDPR when using mobile marketing

Now before we start it is important to note that, although we have had a huge team researching into GPDR and we are confident on the following interpretation, this article does not constitute as legal advice.

So let’s jump straight in at the deep end with the main two important questions on everyone’s lips at the moment, which are…

Can I still send customers text messages after the GDPR legislation comes into affect?
Yes. Yes you can continue to text your customers. 

Do I need to get my existing customers to re opt-in?
No. If you have been previously messaging your customers then you do not necessarily have to re-request their permission. However it’s very important that you read all the details below to make sure you are compliant with GDPR.

The basics of GDPR
The new rules and regulations of GDPR will come into full effect on the 25th May 2018. And one specific requirement reads: you must have a lawful basis in order to process personal data.

So what is meant by ‘processing personal data’?
“Processing… means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data… it is difficult to think of anything an organisation might do with data that will not be processing.” (Source: ICO)

So your customer database, and any emails or text messages that you send to businesses or individuals with that database would be considered as ‘processing’.

So what is a ‘lawful basis’?
Well there are six available lawful bases for processing and not one is more important than the other, however it is effectively the justification you have for processing the data.

Gaining consent is one of those six which seems to be getting all the limelight. It is a key takeaway point however where your existing customers are concerned, it’s probably not the most appropriate.

Do you have to gain consent to communicate with your customers after GDPR?
Not necessarily no. We think that the two lawful bases that most businesses will fall under when processing data are, consent and legitimate interests.

Consent is obviously more clear, have they said you can contact them, yes or no. However legitimate interests is a more flexible lawful basis for processing data, ICO state, “ways they would reasonably expect and which have a minimal privacy impact, or where there is a compelling justification for the processing.” (Source: ICO)

Any act of processing, sending an email or text message, needs to stack up against the 3 following questions:

1 – Do you have a legitimate interest for sending the message? This can include your own need to cross-sell other products / services or promote wider use of an already purchased item, for example

2 – Do you need to send the message in order to achieve those interests? If you could reasonably achieve the same result through other, less intrusive means (such as unprompted visits to your website), legitimate interests do not apply

3 – Have you balanced the act of sending the message against the individual’s interests, rights and freedoms? This comes back to the early statement about reasonable expectations on their part.

These three steps make up the Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA), which you should complete ahead of the GDPR coming into effect. There is a detailed explanation and a template for completing the LIA from the Data Protection Network here.

What you need to know about the ePrivacy Regulation
The ePrivacy Regulation focuses on rules and regulations around electronic communications, email, SMS etc. However these rules will not be in place until 2019, and for now, you should continue to comply with the existing PECR legislation.

Here is a post by the Data Protection Network that provides you with a reminder of what the existing requirements are. But to summarise an important key point for you…

You can continue to use a soft opt-in to send email and texts – A soft opt-in applies when you have obtained an individual’s details as part of the sales process, where you’re only marketing your own products / services, and you provide an opt-out in every marketing communication.

So to round up and summarise for you…
Most businesses will be able to continue to contact their existing customer base without interruption using legitimate interests. Providing you have assessed and documented it as your lawful basis of processing via your privacy policy (eConsultancy offers some great advice on privacy policies).

However when contacting prospects or lapsed customers, the “existing customer relationship” that makes legitimate interests possible does not apply, and getting consent with them would be strongly recommended.

We hope all that helps and if you do have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Email Marketing Lessons to Learn in the Year of the Dog

The Following is a Guest Contributed Post by Seamas Egan, Director of Marketing and Sales, Campaigner

On February 16, this Chinese New Year will celebrate the eleventh zodiac sign: the dog. Known as man’s best friend, dogs are America’s most popular companion animal — just as email is the most popular communications channel for business. As we approach the Lunar New Year email marketers can learn from these four tips to push their programs forward in 2018.

1) Understand Subscriber Preferences and Plan Accordingly

In Chinese astrology zodiac signs are paired with a rotating natural element, like fire and water. This year is considered the Year of the Earth Dog and people born this year are predicted to be communicative, serious and responsible at work. In order to emulate the Earth dog in campaigns email marketers should learn what content is most useful to their subscribers and take feedback into account while planning campaigns ahead of time.

As email marketers continue to add new subscribers to their lists it is important to adapt programs to meet the changing interests of these new consumers. To ensure they’re communicating content that consumers wish to receive, marketers should send a yearly survey asking them to rank what content they find most valuable, how often they wish to receive emails, and what products and services they are most interested in. This gives marketers better insight about subscribers and helps them develop planning calendars with deadlines and messaging that will resonate and ensure a regular communication frequency.

2) Learn From the Dog’s Lucky Times

There are zodiac beliefs that people born during a specific time of day will be more successful. Similarly, email marketers know that certain times of day are better than others for sending content to receptive readers, and that they can use this information to optimize their open and click through rates.

Marketers should note popular times to reach subscribers when developing their next campaign. For example, a recent Deloitte survey found that 40 percent of people check their email within five minutes of waking up. However it’s important that email marketers also trust their instincts and not send emails at inappropriate times, like 1 a.m. They should utilize tools like A/B split testing to determine the best time to reach subscribers and automate campaigns to hit their inboxes accordingly.

3) Don’t Pair Dogs With Roosters and Sheep

Chinese belief holds that certain character traits associated with the zodiac signs mesh well with others, but this is not the case for all. For example, dogs are considered adventurous by nature and rabbits are seen as curious — traits that complement each other and are believed to be an ideal connection. On the other hand, roosters are known to strut and be the center of attention, while dogs prefer to seek out intimate and loyal connections, traits that clash and can lead to trouble.

Similarly some subscribers are more responsive to specific content than others. Marketers can use segmentation and A/B split testing to match certain subscriber segments with the email content they’ll be most receptive to. A Campaigner survey found that the majority of millennials are interested in coupons, so marketers should segment their audience by demographics and pair millennial recipients with coupons when possible. Email marketers can also utilize A/B split testing to determine what content is most compatible for subscribers. By looking at how open and click-through rates differ for specific variables, marketers will be able to determine what content, subject line and even color palettes pique the interest of each subscriber group.

4) Treat Loyal Subscribers

As a symbol of good luck and best wishes in the New Year, it is customary to give friends and family a red envelope called a hongbao, which are typically filled with money. The act of receiving a red envelope is to invoke happiness and prosperity for the year to come.

Marketers should similarly reward loyal subscribers with special discounts and promotions to strengthen their relationship. Offering coupons to subscribers not only wishes subscribers luck in the New Year, it also helps marketers see an increase in ROI. Shopify found that merchants with coupons are 8 times more likely to make a sale. In order to capitalize on this year’s Chinese New Year celebration, marketers should offer discount codes that reflect the holiday with themed words such as loyal, lucky and fortune. Consider making these discount codes scannable so customers can use them in stores, and ensure they can be used online as well as offline.

As we enter the Year of the Dog, email marketers can align their stars to maximize the success of their programs. By developing a marketing planning calendar, sending at optimal times, and utilizing tools like segmentation and A/B split testing, marketers can create a strategy and content that builds brand loyalty and captures the interest of their subscribers. They should continue to experiment and develop content that can increase ROI, building good fortune for the new year ahead.

The post Email Marketing Lessons to Learn in the Year of the Dog appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

We’re paying attention to Toronto-based Drop

Registered card programs as a loyalty marketing enabler are not new. They have been around since the early 2000’s and were primarily the hype of certain credit card issuers and PLCC merchants. The premise sounded good – no loyalty card or special ID required, just use your registered credit card at POS and get your rewards.  With payments data already on the network somewhere, if that data were captured and linked to the registered card no special tech integrations and start-up costs were required to tie POS transaction details to a special ID vehicle and back end loyalty management system.

Most of these schemes failed. 

 By Mike Capizzi

Consumers pay at POS anyway they want; however they wish; and it was extremely foolish to recognize and reward best customers ONLY when they paid for their purchase in a specific manner.  Furthermore, not every best customer wanted another card, or that specific card, and were therefore disqualified from participating in a merchant’s loyalty program. Plus, there was always that uneasy feeling about registering your credit card number.

Fast forward to 2018 and we have new systems in place to provide real opportunity for the re-invigoration of registered card techniques.

Toronto-based Drop, whose loyalty app allows consumers to collect points for transactions they make and then receive reward offers, has secured a $21 million Series A round led by investors at NEA. The company has previously raised about $5 million in seed capital over the past year.

Drop’s concept is simple. Unlike traditional loyalty and rewards programs which are built around the retail point-of-sale system, Drop uses banking APIs to read your card transaction data directly, and gives you points for making purchases with partners in their program. These points can then be spent on personalized offers, such as a discount on coffee at Starbucks or a free ride on Uber.

Members download the app, register any number of debit or credit cards with the program and earn benefits whenever and wherever they shop within the Drop network of merchants and use any of those cards.

Drop picked up momentum in Canada in 2016-17 and is now poised for growth in the US.  Should anybody be paying attention?

At the Wise Marketer we always pay attention. We have been watching Drop for awhile and have reached several important conclusions. First, they totally fit the frictionless model we have been advocating since 2016. Easy to enroll, easy to earn, easy to redeem, no hoops to jump through. Second, this is really a coalition business model with a complete network effect – the consumer benefits at any one of the merchants in the Drop network, not just a single retailer.  Offline, on-line, with a large selection of top merchant brands. There is no merchant specific enrollment, just download the app or go to the website or use your mobile phone as the ID device and register your cards.  Third, those cards are not limited to single tender types – any number can be linked to your Drop account and both debit and credit can be utilized.  Fourth, Drop’s growing popularity stems from early adoption by the millennials and all loyalty practitioners have been chasing this group for some time now, often with little success.  Fifth, check out Drop’s management team, their security systems and the new round of venture capital to fund US expansion and you will like what you see.

Drop has reached as high as the second place in the lifestyle category of the Apple App Store, behind Tinder. Derrick Fung, CEO and co-founder, said the two apps are in many ways symmetrical. “We always joke that Tinder allows you to find love, and we allow you to find money,” he said.

The app currently sits in the top five of the U.S. for lifestyle according to AppAnnie data. The company says that it has hit one million users late last year.

Although we have never been a fan of loyalty apps, especially those specific to a single brand (who wants 40 loyalty apps on their phone?), Drop has two distinct advantages to help boost downloads. First, it is network app, not a merchant branded one. Second, it is targeted specifically to a millennial audience that is critical of and less engaging with traditional loyalty program mechanics.

Drop still has a way to go. The website is not very transparent about the earning of benefits and the value prop for the member is a little weak.  The burn side is mostly gift cards, but there is a mobile redemption component.  Credit earns more benefits than debit, but we all understand the underlying economics behind each payments model and are glad both are acceptable. Merchants who still have a significant amount of cash transactions will not be able to reap the true benefits of the Drop model. We did notice some use of bonuses – invitation/enrollment bonuses, some added points for non-card behaviors and extra credits for taking the brand’s own app.

Like all coalition models the key will be the network – especially the US build out.  The company has set internal goals of reaching 5% of the millennial market within 12-18 months, and then 10% of the market within two years.

We wish them luck and will continue to watch as they unfold.

Mike Capizzi is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP) and Dean of the Loyalty Academy.

The post We’re paying attention to Toronto-based Drop appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

Why Every Public Speaker Should be Using Messenger Bots

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, CA. It was my second consecutive year attending the event, and I wanted to give the audience something fresh  —  my talk was going to be about Facebook Messenger.

A few days before the talk, a member of the HubSpot Academy team asked me if I would be using Messenger to educate the audience on Messenger (very meta — I know). I surprisingly hadn’t thought much about it, but since our Academy team is full of smart people who know a thing or two about teaching, I decided they were probably onto something.

So, on the six hour plane ride from Boston to San Francisco, I built a Messenger bot to use during my presentation

Setting Goals: Why Do I Need a Bot During My Presentation?

I started by setting a few goals to ensure my bot would truly serve the objectives of my presentation. Here’s the list of things I decided my bot needed to accomplish:

  • Teach the audience about Messenger: The core purpose of my presentation was to educate the audience about Messenger. If my bot wasn’t going to help reach this goal, then there was no reason it create it.
  • Engage the audience during the presentation: The bot couldn’t make the presentation more complicated or challenging to follow. It had to contribute to a better audience experience overall.
  • Collect NPS after the event: The bot needed to enable audience members to share feedback on the presentation in a fast, friendly, and ultimately simple way.
  • Share slides with attendees after the event: Tracking down a speaker to get their slides after a presentation sucks. The bot had to make this experience easier for everyone involved.
  • Drive traffic to my personal pages to connect with the audience after the event: The bot had to encourage users to continue the conversation with me.

Once I had the goals and function of the bot firmly established,  it was time to build.

Creating and Unleashing the Bot

The first thing I did was build a temporary Facebook page to connect Messenger for the event.

Then, I developed a custom QR code with the event logo for audience members to enter the bot experience.

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This is no longer active, FYI.

This QR code was tied to a sequence designed specifically to accomplish my goals for the event.

The first message in the sequence welcomed users into the bot and allowed me to understand the audience’s familiarity with the subject before my presentation.

This gave me a good idea of how I’d need to adapt my presentation to meet my audience’s expertise level and expectations.

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About 20 minutes into my talk, I sent another quick message asking for audience questions. Instead of waiting for a prompt at the end of the session when time was running short, the bot enabled audience members to ask questions without needing the floor. It also helped me plan the rest of my talk accordingly.

Once the talk ended, it was time for NPS. I set the bot up to send this 20 minutes after my scheduled talk.  The results were great:

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Two days after the event ended, I sent the slides to everyone who opted in to my Messenger bot.

And finally, for some icing on the cake, I set up a persistent menu that would allow the audience to connect with me on Twitter and Medium. Oh, I also linked them to get a free HubSpot CRM, too.

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Did People Actually Use the Bot?

The results of this mini experiment were great. Here are some quick hits:

  • 70 people opted in to the bot, ~50% of the audience members in attendance
  • 51% of people responded to the NPS
  • 100% of NPS respondents were promoters (woo!)
  • Messages sent during the event had open rates of 
    98.5%, 96.9%, 93.8%, and 93.9% (not too shabby)
  • 85% of attendees opened the broadcast message 2 days after the event which included slides from the event
  • 25 people clicked to follow me on Twitter, 11 on Medium, and 5 clicked to get their free HubSpot CRM

As you can see, the numbers really speak for themselves.

By using Messenger before, during, and after my talk , I was able to effectively engage the audience and create a lasting, personal connection. Additionally, due to the topic itself being Messenger, I was able to educate the audience on the channel’s capabilities with tangible examples.

If you’re a public speaker, I honestly cannot imagine a reason not to be using Messenger before, during, and after your talks — even if you aren’t discussing Messenger.

The potential of the channel is unmatched. And, if you’re a speaker talking about Messenger, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity!

battle-bots

Seth Godin Advice, Quotes, and Books

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and best-selling author. He has written almost 50 books and he has started companies including Yoyodyne (bought by Yahoo!), Squidoo, and altMBA. His writing and advice covers marketing, leadership, entrepreneurship, product development, education, and how to behave as a human being. In addition he is a prolific blogger. Advice &…

The post Seth Godin Advice, Quotes, and Books appeared first on Fit Small Business.

5 Things Marketers Need to Know When Working With Their Legal Team

If you are a marketer, you probably think of yourself as a creative person, and when you think legal, maybe you think…not so creative. But is this a fair assessment? As someone with experience in both marketing and legal departments, I can say both are driven by a determination help the customer succeed. In this blog, I’ll outline five tips to help your marketing and legal teams work better together.

Help Me Help You

Perhaps the biggest misconception about legal is that it is their job to say no. But that is simply not true. Legal wants to say yes. Yes to connecting with the customer. Yes to showcasing our company. Yes to helping our team. In-house counsel wants to help you create the best possible relationship with the customer. At the same time, however, our job is ultimately about limiting risk. While this means we cannot always say yes right away, it also means we will work tirelessly to help you until we can.

We Like to Read…But Not That Much

It is not wrong to assume that most members of your legal team enjoy reading and writing since it is such an integral part of our daily work. I know I do! But here is a little secret; sometimes, thinking like a member of a legal team is as simple as using your critical reading skills. One of the best ways to help me help you is to put on your lawyer hat and read through a document before coming to legal. That way, you’ll have a much better understanding of what questions to ask, and how we can help.

All This = Creative Collaboration

Just as marketers work creatively and collaboratively to share their message, a legal team brings the same spirit to drawing up contracts and negotiating deals. This creative energy not only runs through teams, it can also exist between them. Next time you approach legal, instead of simply handing something off, consider ways you can work together to solve your challenges. With a little preparation beforehand, you’re already halfway to a solution.

We’re More Than Just “the Law”

It’s important to remember that, just as your interests don’t all center around marketing, your legal team’s interests don’t all center around the law. It’s also important to remember that legal advice regarding personal matters should be solicited from your attorney. The casual conversation with someone from your legal team at the water cooler about your neighbor’s incessant dog barking, and what you should do about it, isn’t legal advice. Just like this blog you’re reading isn’t legally binding.

The Secret Weapon of the Marketer

Last, but certainly not least, marketers can share their passion for the product they’re marketing with their legal team. You know what sets your product apart and makes it special in a way legal might not. Imparting this knowledge and passion with the legal team is a way to share your message. After all, it’s not just about reaching customers, it’s also about educating employees within your company as well.

How is your relationship with your legal team? What might you do differently when you approach a situation that requires your legal team? I’d love to hear about it.

The post 5 Things Marketers Need to Know When Working With Their Legal Team appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Facebook Continues to Emphasize Personal Content With New Feature

By now, it’s clear: Facebook is trying to convince everyone that it’s putting the “social” back in “social media.”

As the network begins to show a loss of followers under 25, is called out as a place where users argue with each other over contentious topics, and continues to face scrutiny over bad actors allegedly weaponizing to influence elections — Facebook wants the world to know, with no uncertainty, that it is making changes to emphasize content from friends and family.

And the latest installment of that saga comes in the form of Lists: a new feature that Facebook started rolling out today that invites users to make, as the name suggests, lists. Whether it’s a to-do list, a wish list, or a list of self-improvement goals, the feature is quite open-ended and allows members of the social network to itemize whatever they see fit.

Image source: TechCrunch

The feature, first reported earlier today by TechCrunch, is the most recent of a series of moves by Facebook to deemphasize branded Page content and help users see more posts from their personal networks.

It began with an announcement in January that the user’s News Feed would only feature Page content with a high level of authentic engagement from his or her own personal networks. Then, just last week, Facebook confirmed that it was testing a feature that would allow users to downvote abusive or inappropriate content.

Image source: TechCrunch

Though Facebook is only beginning to roll out Lists, it appears that it’s only available to individual users, and not to Pages — a move that HubSpot Social Media Social Campaign Strategy Associate Henry Franco says underscores the network’s “throwback” shift to what it was originally created to do.

“My guess is it’s a play by Facebook to bolster the person-to-person experience on the platform,” Franco explains, “like the status updates of yore.”

The Lists feature, he continues, is “building out functionality for users rather than businesses,” further signaling a move away from Page content in users’ news feeds.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this feature as it continues to be tested. As always, feel free to weigh in with your take or questions on Twitter.

New auto credit top up feature – so you don’t have to lift a finger!

We are always working hard to find new features that will help improve our Message Box platform to either help you get better results from mobile marketing, or to make your mobile marketing experience easier – we are working harder, so you don’t have to!

Last month we introduced our amazing SMS Web Pages, and it seems to have not only gone down a storm with you guys, but also your customers too – see how Star Cars Birmingham got 11,200 clicks through their SMS Web Page campaign.

Then before that we added Tracked URLs – so you could all see exactly who has clicked your short URL links.

Now everything we create, develop and design for Message Box either has to improve it, new feature or tool, or make it easier. As we are committed to providing you with the UK’s leading mobile marketing platform.

Our latest Message Box update comes under the ‘making it easier’ umbrella. Say hello to our new Auto Credit Top Up tool…

With certain services you want them to just run smoothly, no hiccups or hurdles – just setup a payment plan and forget about it. You don’t want to continually raise invoices and speak to your finance team to get them paid… You could end up in a loss of service or just an unnecessary  waste of people’s time.

Well with our new Auto Credit Top Up feature, all those troubles are now a thing of the past! Simply login to Message Box and click on your account Financials in the top right dropdown menu.

You will then see all your latest transactions and subscriptions, and on the Subscriptions section you will see a ‘Configure Credit Top Up’ button on the right. Click that and the pop up below will appear.

You have an invoice alert setup at the top, where you can select how many credits you want to automatically be invoiced for and select at what trigger point you want it to be raised – so how many credits you have left in your account.

Then below, if you switch the Auto Top Up section to on, instead of just raising an invoice, it will also automatically be paid – so you never run out of credits!

Just one of the amazing tools and features in our Message Box platform that makes it the UK’s favourite mobile marketing platform.

Sign up here now for free and get 10,000 free SMS credits on your first purchase.

Upstream Unveils Evolved Mobile Marketing Promotions Offering ‘Next Gen Promos’

Mobile commerce platform Upstream has just announced the launch of Next Gen Promos, an evolution of its existing marketing promotions.

The service, we’re told, now offers integrated social media sharing, and the ability to boost interactions over web, SMS and apps, which allows 100% of an operator’s userbase to engage with fun and interactive promotions.

As highlighted in Upstream’s 2017 Digital Services Emerging Markets Report, conducted with Ovum, 72% of consumers state that digital services are an important factor in deciding whether to stay with a network operator.

The innovative gamified user experience is unique to emerging markets. By adding Next Gen Promos to their portfolio, mobile network operators can raise their ARPU significantly through increased user engagement and improved customer retention.

Regarding the news shared with MMW, Chrysa Karamanidi, Head of Product at Upstream commented; “The recent explosion in the use of smartphones across emerging markets has brought us both opportunities and challenges. There are now more users than ever before who are able to access rich content on their devices, but at the same time, the range of devices being used is also the broadest it has ever been.”

The post Upstream Unveils Evolved Mobile Marketing Promotions Offering ‘Next Gen Promos’ appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Chirpify powers multiple Super Bowl wins

Super news from Chirpify about this year’s Super Bowl.  In case you’re unfamiliar, Chirpify is a US-based, new age loyalty solutions provider who uses a social platform approach for rewarding and recognizing a brand’s customers or prospects for advocacy and engagement.  The platform can be used as a stand alone offering by the brand or as an adjunct to an existing loyalty marketing program. Media campaigns or program web sites can be “activated” using a hash tag for direct response via chatbot.

During last week’s Super Bowl, several Chirpify clients used the activation system to put something extra into their TV commercials.  The combined results were impressive:

  • 58 Billion Impressions
  • 450K Social Posts
  • 150K Chatbot Messages
  • 50 Million Reward Points Given Out

Chirpify points out that “with Twitter’s ad driven CPM at about $6, you can do napkin math to see how 58 Billion organic impressions compares. Spoiler: you’d need to pay Twitter $336,000,000!”

By activating their Super Bowl hashtags for direct chatbot response, brands were able to drive organic engagement, deliver rewards points, acquire new members, and pile up a huge number of brand impressions.

Some examples:

Marriott Rewards

Marriott deployed a chatbot trivia campaign through the Super Bowl, asking questions during the game to elicit response. Using Natural Language Processing, bots can differentiate between right and wrong answers to questions posed by brands, delivering different responses and rewards based on these answers.

What’s the highest number of points scored by any team in the first quarter of a Super Bowl? Answer with #RewardsPoints by 6am EST on 2/5 and score 500 points if you get it right. #SBLII

Avocados From Mexico

After driving 3 Billion impressions using Chirpify in last year’s Super Bowl, AFM wanted to top their performance by activating their Super Bowl commercial for direct response. Viewers who saw the commercial and posted the hashtag were responded to with various smart messages, driving different outcomes.

Soccer.com

Soccer.com leveraged the platform for the “other football”, running a social contest with a sweepstakes outcome complete with chatbot responses to those fans that participated. The campaign was connected to their Goal Club Rewards program, so participants earned rewards points inside their Goal Club account for engaging. They also acquired new members into the Goal Club as non-members inevitably joined to participate.

What’s your favorite cleat from the @adidassoccer Cold Blooded Pack? Quote this tweet and let us know using #soccerdotcomrewards for a chance to win a pair for yourself #HereToCreate

Whether brand building, membership building, database building or driving transactions, the Chirpify platform certainly improves the odds of engaging any loyalty program member and having some fun along the way.  That’s a touchdown in our book!

The post Chirpify powers multiple Super Bowl wins appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

Top 28 Logo Design Ideas: Inspiration & Tips From The Pros

A logo is the first thing people often associate with a company. It reflects the company’s personality and vision. But it can be difficult to create a logo that stands out from the crowd. If you’re ready to start designing a logo for a client or for your own business, read on for expert ideas…

The post Top 28 Logo Design Ideas: Inspiration & Tips From The Pros appeared first on Fit Small Business.

A NodeJS Script for Accessing the Google Search Console API

One of the biggest challenges for SEOs is Google itself. The black box of Google, as Dan described it to me early on at my time at LSG, limits its displayed metrics in Google Search Console to representative calculations. Google causes even more SEO indigestion when you try to claw out a site’s historical performance from these tools and you run into the, now defunct, 90-day limits for GSC queries data. It gets even worse when you’re trying to compare dozens of sites you manage that target the same niche. If you know where this is going (which is a NodeJS script that connects to the GSC API and downloads all the analytics data for each site managed by a single Google account), feel free to skip down to the bottom. If you’re unsure of why this might be useful or what kind of day-to-day work this might replace, read on!

The old-fashioned way to get data from all your sites is to go through each property you can view, click through to the search analytics tab, and then export the data as chopped and screwed as you’d like. This is totally a valuable exercise that all SEOs probably need to do occasionally (and particularly at the beginning of their careers). Any SEO worth their salt could burn through those click-throughs in a matter of seconds, and are probably hindered more by their ISP/Google’s latency and the time it takes your browser to render the page than they are by anything else. But you might as well light your hands on fire as a sacrifice to the carpal tunnel gods at that point.

At the end of the day, there are no real good options for doing this that doesn’t require an unlimited budget or a little technical know how; and even if you’re the best damn SEO in the land, combing through a thousand sites individually creates an absurd opportunity cost with literally every other thing you’re doing as an SEO. Even if you’ve got the best damn keyword tracker in the land, if it’s not setup flawlessly, then you’re probably missing some important keyword cannibalization issues that you didn’t even think about. Now, I’m not suggesting this script is a silver bullet for inter-site keyword cannibalization that will magick away all your micro-keyword optimizations, but this is a good start at significantly reducing that opportunity cost of discovering keyword competition/cannibalization between your sites that you aren’t aware about.  

An example of this unknown unknown keyword competition might be a few local car dealerships selling Kia’s in two different markets from two different websites. Let’s say one site is for a dealership in the DFW area in Texas, which has high sales volume, and the other site you manage is a dealership in a place like Lamesa, Texas, a small town that will have a comparatively low sales volume. If the small market, low sales volume site is kicking ass, and in particularly kicking the ass of your large market, high sales volume site, then knowing that can help you move your high volume site back to the top of organic search.

Moreover, what if you’re like Local SEO Guide and you’ve got clients with a hundreds, if not thousands, of websites within their individual portfolio? Well, you’d really want use the Google Search Console API, of course. There are some great scripts offered by Google for using Python to access the GSC API, but what if you’re unfamiliar with Python and have done some client-side JS work in the past? Well, Google currently doesn’t have any documentation with regards to how one might access using the NodeJS (Server-side Javascript) API, so I figure this will also be a good stand-in until the brilliant folks at Google get around to it. Thankfully, there were plenty of models for authentication and token exchanging provided by other examples with NodeJS APIs, so rest assured, a good chunk of this was written by those Google geniuses.

You can get the script here.

Now, for the nitty gritty details about the API. The GSC API limits each API to 200 queries per minute, and each month you are given a 100,000,000 query limit, which means you could fire off the max queries per minute and you will still have about 90,000,000 queries remaining on your quota. While this script is in no way optimized to fire off 10 million queries per month, it’s a good start on burning through your limits.

This script will access all sites authorized in your GSC account and export all queries by page over the past 90 days; and that’s just the default behavior. It also enables downloading queries using custom dates, accessing queries using most dimensions available within GSC (i.e. mobile, desktop, country, etc), and search types (web is default, but image search and video search are also available).

Just download the zip file and extract it. Inside you’ll find a detailed README written in Markdown that should be easy to follow. The script was written using Node 8.4.0, and so no guarantees it will work with prior versions of NodeJS. That being said, it does not leverage any super recent additions to the NodeJS API such as async/await, so it will likely work on most other Node versions down to 0.10.x.

If anyone has any suggestions or comments for improving or updating the script please let me know, as this will eventually be moved to github and added as an NPM package. My email address is [email protected]

 

The post A NodeJS Script for Accessing the Google Search Console API appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Why You Should Treat Partner and Customer Acquisition the Same Way

Acquiring both customers and partners is vital to any company’s success, but many pursue the two groups differently. While customer acquisition usually commands extensive strategy, partners and affiliates are often brought on passively.

If a lack of time, resources, or understanding keeps you from actively seeking out affiliates, you’re missing a significant opportunity. Affiliate marketing is outpacing social commerce and display advertising as a source of ecommerce purchases, matching the effectiveness of email efforts by driving 16% of those orders according to BI Intelligence.

Securing quality partnerships means devoting as much time and attention to your affiliate recruitment as customer outreach. Proactive affiliate recruiting strategies rely on standard customer acquisition tactics.

In this blog, I’ll show you strategies to create partner and affiliate relationships that perform.

Pursuing High-Performance Partners

Waiting for affiliates to come to you reduces your chances of landing quality partnerships. Though this is the most common recruiting method for affiliates, it is not necessarily the most effective strategy to land what you’re looking for. Likely, you’ll get hits from affiliate programs that offer discount prices in exchange for display on their platform. These coupon sites don’t really support your brand because they get paid just for passing along offers. So, taking a passive approach may garner misplaced attention from affiliates who can’t do much for you.

A little more effort yields significantly more brand-aligned partners. The ways you use paid search, Facebook, email, and other channels to acquire customers can also be applied to affiliate partnerships. Like customers, affiliates are people who are interested in your company and want to work with you. Why would you recruit them differently?

Putting Acquisition Into Action

A proactive affiliate acquisition plan combines traditional recruiting methods with the digital marketing channels that are typically used to reach customers. Integrating the two will help you find affiliate partners who are the right fit for your business.

When one of our clients challenged us with an aggressive affiliate recruitment initiative this year, this method worked well. Although our clients sought quantity, they were adamant about only accepting quality, brand-aligned affiliates into their program. To meet this lofty goal, our team approached recruitment in the same way other teams bring on new customers.

In addition to traditional tactics, such as cross-recruitment with other client programs and personalized email communications to prospective affiliates, our team leveraged:

Ultimately, any tactic used to acquire customers can also be used for affiliates. To illustrate: Just as you would retarget a customer, you can run Facebook ads and retarget affiliates when they come to your site for information but don’t sign up. You can also use referral bonuses for affiliates, just as you do for customer referrals. Offer a credit or a kickback to partners who refer others.

Because you’re engaging on various platforms, make sure you involve other departments in your affiliate marketing efforts to get your social media, paid marketing, organic search, and business development teams on board. Understand how those teams leverage their channels and how affiliate marketing assists their efforts to build a unified, multichannel approach.

Qualifying Your Strategy

Finally, maximize your plan by gathering feedback about your methods and measuring progress toward your goals. Testing is imperative. Our team continuously refined its approach based on incoming data, including A/B testing of content and subject lines and optimizing landing pages to enhance and scale acquisition.

Be sure to test the quality of affiliates by calculating the lifetime value of the partnership. Measure your affiliate performance by determining how much revenue each affiliate has driven, then compare that to the cost per acquisition to determine the return on your investment. While all companies want more (and better) partners, they’re not all actively looking for them. An acquisition strategy for recruiting affiliates that mirrors how you acquire new customers will make your program more productive, profitable, and performance-focused.

Do you have a strategy specifically for attaining new partners? Do your methods differ from mine? Tell me about your process in the comments. I’d love to hear about it and keep the conversation going.

The post Why You Should Treat Partner and Customer Acquisition the Same Way appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.