Friday, December 18, 2009

@ omgzam: KUTGW

In a December 17 post on Social Media Today titled 10 Tips to Get Retweeted, author omgzam instructed us to “use longer words and more syllables.”

“Avoid abbreviations and emoticons but instead use better language with more syllables,” he wrote. “Don’t treat everyone on Twitter as stupid.”

While I don’t necessarily agree that better language and more syllables necessarily go hand-in-hand, to his raising the issue of language I say, “Hallelujah.” That’s a four syllable word for anyone who is counting.

As a long-time admirer of the written word, I wholeheartedly applaud the use of phrases such as “my condolences” rather than ☹. And I’ve always been more partial to “excuse me for one moment” than “BRB.”

My love of words aside, B2B marketers take note: Yes, your customers are busy. No, you shouldn’t waste their time or make them work too hard to understand what you have to offer them. But you shouldn’t dumb down your messages, either. Nor should you abbreviate every word so you can tell them everything your product has ever done and everything it ever might do.

Use your 140 characters wisely, not as an abbreviation or an emoticon dumping ground. That’s just my $.02. And KUTGW? According to didyouknow.org, it means “keep up the good work.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Receive, open, click, ugh!

So you think you have the perfect email campaign, do ya? You have a killer offer, a targeted and segmented list, you’ve followed all the best practices when it comes to design and copy and then what – you send them to your corporate home page – no that’s just not right!

Five do’s for landing pages:

  1. Do support your brand – don’t damage it. Be sure the creative maintains your brand image. The page should be simple and consistent to the campaign that is directing your visitors. The idea here is to compel your visitors to take action, not to distract them, and turn them into prospects.
  2. Do keep forms simple/ short – don’t make visitors work too hard to get the offer/more information. You want them to supply essential information so you can contact them directly – you are not looking to write their biography.
  3. Do keep them focused – don’t include tons of links that can distract the visitor. You want them to focus on the prize, not everything else going on at your company.
  4. Do entice visitors with valuable content – don’t include information on your landing page that they can get anywhere else. This is your chance to show your value – make it worth their time and effort.
  5. Do build on the lead – don’t just collect their data and forget about them, after all that work you just did, that’s ridiculous. Start building that relationship and turn that visitor into the customer you’ve always wanted!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The New “Face” of PPC

If you’re like most people, when you think of venturing into the world of Pay-Per-Click advertising, the first name that pops into your mind is good ol’ Google. And with good reason – they are the biggest and have the easiest user interface and reporting structure available – in the humble opinion of this blogger.

But there are some drawbacks. (Insert clap of thunder here.) No matter how well you target and refine your PPC efforts, you’re still at the whim of random people that have no interest in your offering clicking on your ad.

Enter Facebook PPC with its nifty, handy-dandy demographic targeting ability.

This means, simply, that your ads will only appear on the Facebook pages of the people that mirror your target audience. You can drill down and focus on age, gender, relationship status, interests, groups, the list goes on an on. With Facebook, you can be super-specific in your ad copy. Forget general statements like “Find an ideal relationship,” and focus more on “Ladies, are you 32, single, and enjoy golf?”

Now, the only drawback is that you can’t point these ads directly to your existing landing pages. It’s suggested you send them to your Facebook page and let them socialize with your brand. That’s where the beauty of social marketing comes into play. They get to know your brand, but don’t feel like they’re being hit over the head with marketing lingo.

Facebook PPC shouldn’t be a substitute for more traditional PPC efforts. But it is a great way to talk to –and befriend – your exact target for far less than you’d ever spend on Google.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congratulations to the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco!

KLM is proud to be the marketing partner of the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco, who yesterday hosted the annual Financial Woman of the Year luncheon with record attendance and success. Congratulations to all involved, and thank you to the FWA for including KLM!



KLMer Mark Beyer attends the 2009 Financial Woman of the Year luncheon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adwords. To go.

One of the newest offerings you’ll find with Google AdWords is the ability to start having your ads appear on mobile phones.

Pretty cool, eh?

But before you start targeting your PPCs to the on-the-go audience, ask (or text) yourself the following questions:

Are your ads mobile ready? Google will only show your ad if your landing page/site is adapted for viewing on mobile phone screens.

If you sell stuff online, can customers enter billing/credit card information securely?

Is your display URL for your mobile ads over 20 characters? If so, you need to edit it down. And .com, .net, or .org counts as 4 characters already - so you only have 16 left to play with.

If you cleared the above hurdles, keep this in mind: Tracking conversions from the mobile market is very difficult. A significant percentage of mobile browsers don’t support cookies. (The mobile browsers that DO accept cookies have a shorter shelf life than that found on computers.) And since cookies are what help advertisers track who converts – and who doesn’t – this little hiccup can skew your ROI findings.

Granted, the mobile AdWords offering is new out of the gate. It’s bound to become more flexible –and I’m sure the tracking and technology to grow by leaps and bounds.

But these days with budgets being tight, it may be best to put this new feature on hold and use the money to further your existing CPC efforts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

videSEO

Numerous studies in the past year reveal that Internet searchers are about 50% more likely to watch a video than read an article. Here are a few tips to make sure the folks you want to find your videos do so.
  • Be sure your videos aren’t embedded in a Flash page, or pop up on their own page all by their lonesome. Properly tag all videos and surround them with keyword-related content.
  • Give each video its own URL and ensure that the word ‘video’ ends each URL.
  • Always include a linking/sharing feature, and allow video to cross-reference other topics/feature of your site or your company.
  • Extract the key words, topics and other information from your video content to ensure that whenever someone searches a term or phrase that relates to files on your site, the search results point directly to the relevant video content as well as text.
  • Use advanced navigation technology where every word/phrase/video image receives a time-stamp that enables your users to locate and go to the precise portion of the audio or video file in which they are interested.
If you are interested in learning more about video search, sign up for a free 60-minute brainstorm with one of our search engine marketing experts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Best Practices for email newsletters

These days seems like everyone is developing eNewsletters to support their customer retention and growth efforts. Makes a lot of sense, as long as you keep your customer at the top of mind when creating AND follow these best practices:
  • Design should draw the recipient in
  • Preview pane should include a logo or company name in a prominent position, a link to view the email online, and engage the recipient even if the images are blocked
  • Include a table of contents specific to the issue with links, either to each item in the email newsletter or to the full text on a web site
  • Use images as long as they add to the recipient's experience, not detract from it
  • Content should be easy to scan, using bullet points and white space
  • Personalize the content based on what you know about the recipient (info from sign up forms, web traffic, past purchases, etc.), whenever possible – technologies make this relatively easy.
And most importantly, make sure your content is relevant, benefit-driven content for your customer. First impressions mean everything here, if your customer doesn’t like it the first time, they’ll opt-out and we definitely don’t want that to happen!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

no strategy + no investment = no return on social media

When it comes to social media, the ability to measure ROI is a top-of-mind topic among marketers and agencies alike. Watch this video and learn ways you can track the payoff of your social media efforts.


video
KLM's Matt Pavledakes talks social media measurement.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Effective email, way more than the email itself.

So, a client shoots me a customer-facing email and asks any suggestions on how to make this more effective?
Looking at the email creative, I’m thinking “not so bad, decent layout, several call-to-actions in the right places, only a few minor tweaks and the creative looks pretty solid.”

Then, all the questions start…
Who’s the email going to? Is the offer compelling for this target? What’s the subject line? When is it being deployed? Have you sent emails to these people before? Any results on past emails?

There’s so much more to an “effective email” than the actual email, and as marketers we need to encourage our clients to look at all the pieces.

Things to consider with EVERY email.
1. The list. Are you sending the right information to the right person? Your email/message needs to be relevant to the person receiving it or else it will never get opened.
2. The offer. Is your offer compelling and targeted to your list? The combination of benefit-driven language and a relevant offer is key.
3. The creative - prior to opening your email, the subject line is your creative – make it work hard.
4. Test, test and test some more. Try to learn from every email you send out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Social media rule #1: don't masturbate

Fellow marketers often ask for my thoughts on the "dos and don'ts" of social media. Here's the short answer: do participate, but don't masturbate. Yes, you read that correctly. Now let me explain.

Take status updates. Too often people use 140 characters to talk about themselves in ways that simply are not interesting, informative or entertaining to anyone but themselves. And talking about oneself in a way that benefits nobody else is the social media equivalent of masturbation.

Let's look at some examples. The following are a mix of personal and professional status updates from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that are masturbatory in nature:
  • 'Can't sleep'
  • 'We want to be your Social Media Monitoring Partner'
  • 'Still in office at 10-ish on a Fri PM after a successful week of biz''
These updates are masturbatory because none of them talks to anyone but the author. None of them informs or entertains other people, at least not in any CONSTRUCTIVE WAY. If you are struggling with how to make social media benefit you or your business, start by talking about something more than you or your business. Put forth ideas. Share meaningful observations. Offer helpful hints for people in your network.

Here are two helpful tweets from folks I follow:
  • 'Cool Tip: You can bid for travel package & Conf Pass for JavaOne on Ebay, cool way to bundle up your trip!' (this update also included a URL)
  • '[Name] has a pair of tickets for sale to the Chicago Cubs/Dodgers game on Thursday night (May 28) if anyone is interested'
A colleague of mine once told me that social media is like a business meeting or a cocktail party: If all you do is talk about yourself, you'll probably speak to everyone in the room, but nobody is likely to listen.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Title Goes Here

One of the hottest requests I get from clients these days is to “optimize their site’s copy to improve their organic search ranking.”

Which makes total sense—with companies feeling the pinch of a tightening economy, and marketing budgets always being the first on the casualty list, nobody wants to pay-per-click if you can get folks to click for free.

But, as I tell my clients, the best-written, keyword-laden pages will take you just so far. If you want to score higher a higher rank, you have to optimize everything. Not just copy. (Though it’s a good start.)

So, let’s start with tags. Now most folks are already familiar with the Meta tag family—description, keyword & robot. But one they may not be on a first-name basis with is the Title tag.

Title tags are by far one of the most important—and overlooked—tool when trying to raise your search engine rankings. Here’s why:
• Search engines use the text contained in your Title tag to determine what the page is about.
• The text that makes up your Title tag is the clickable link that appears when your site is listed in organic rankings.

Add to that, as the name suggests, Title tags are the title of each page of your site. And they’re often what people first see while waiting for your site to load. And if they bookmarked a page on your site, yep, you guessed it, your Title tag becomes the name of their bookmark.

So, you need to make the most of them.

Here are a few Title Tag tips:
• Limit the text to 65 characters—including spaces—as most search engines & browsers cut off after that
• Include your company name in each tag
• Include up to two keywords in each tag that you want the page to rank for
• Create a unique title tag for each page—this is NOT the time to cut and paste
• Make each tag a concise statement about the main focus of your content

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don’t forget the subject line.

Why is it that the last thing people think about when creating an email is the subject line? It’s the first thing the recipient sees – right? It should be the first thing we write. Like a direct mail envelope, we have about 3 seconds to catch someone’s attention amidst all the other clutter they have to deal with in their inboxes. Make sure your subject lines works for you not against you.

Subject lines should:
1. Communicate information relevant to the audience
2. Contain a compelling offer
3. Demonstrate timely information
4. Be short and direct
5. Give honest insight into what the email contains.
6. Be tested and tested again

Friday, May 8, 2009

You say tomato...so I say tomato

I returned to B2B 3 years ago following a 5-year stint in B2C. And I still sometimes catch myself using phrases from my B2C past with my current B2B colleagues and clients that just fall...flat. Like "direct marketing."

In my B2C days, I marketed credit cards and related financial services industry products. We thought in terms of "list, offer, creative" in that order of importance. We used a variety of media: email, online advertising, paid search, events and promotions, mail, etc. We developed programs across the customer life cycle - from acquisition to activation, usage, retention, cross-sell/up-sell and even collections. And we called it direct marketing.

In B2B, we market products and services, which sometimes are called solutions. (Another topic for other time: shouldn't all products be positioned as solutions? What good is a product if it doesn't solve a problem?). We still think in terms of "list, offer, creative" in that order of importance. We develop programs across the customer life cycle - from lead generation and scoring, qualification, nurturing, acquisition, retention, cross-sell/up-sell, and hopefully not collections. But in my experience (and I'd really appreciate hearing what others have to say), when we call it direct marketing, folks just look a little...uneasy. Demand generation? Good. Go to market? Great. But direct marketing....that's junk mail, right?

My point? We all must think and speak in terms our audience is comfortable with and can relate to. Especially marketers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Key words or key messages?

Creative strategies, input briefs, strategy statements....they're known by different names, used by everyone in the business and frequently a bit too formulaic for my taste. Like all agencies, we have a Creative Strategy template that reflects our way of thinking and working. But it isn't written in stone. We get smarter with experience, and so does our Creative Strategy template.

Inspired by Aaron Kahlow's talk at the Online Marketing Summit earlier this year, we've removed retooled the key message section to focus on key words.

Why? Positioning your content according to how people search for information (and making sure they find you when they do) is much more valuable than a marketing message based on our idea of what people want to hear. Thinking in key words keeps us thinking like customers. And customers don't care about our products or services. All they care about is what's in it for them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome to 'Check in. Or carry on.'

In a world with nifty software like blogger available free of charge, a reliable Internet connection is all that separates the media from the masses. That makes me really proud to hold the never-used journalism degree I earned at considerable expense. While I was busy dreaming of winning a Pulitzer prize for an imagined article I'd never written, I should have been brainstorming a technology like Twitter - and using it to scoop the traditional press. Who knew?

In the not too distant future, businesses and consumers will connect in ways that seem unimaginable today. And I plan to be in-the-know -- a futurist whose words are of unparalleled wisdom. Rather than dreaming about having the most fans on Facebook (surely the soon-to-be equivalent of a Pulitzer), my colleagues, clients and I will already have moved on to the next big thing.

All of us at KLM (and hopefully you, too) plan to use this blog to post thoughts and observations about the world around us as it relates to marketing and life in general. So please, check in when you can, share what you wish, and carry on with your day.

PS: If you're looking for KLM Airlines, the number is 800-225-2525. Ask for Candace - she's the best.