14 Quick Takeaways From #IMV16, ICYMI

We’ve already arrived in August, and this has been one busy whirlwind of a summer. Between major elections, summer vacations and Pokemon catching, we’ve all had our hands full. Point being, it’s entirely possible you missed out on some quality, free marketing education.

We’ve already arrived in August, and this has been one busy whirlwind of a summer. Between major elections, summer vacations and Pokemon catching, we’ve all had our hands full. Personally, I can’t focus on anything for longer than an hour until I finally get my hands on a Jigglypuff. (Millennials, amirite guys?)

Point being, it’s entirely possible you missed out on some quality, free marketing education. You might remember I wrote a little about the Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference, an event near and dear to my heart, in a post a few weeks ago. The virtual conference in all its expert marketing glory was live on June 23, and now you can access it on demand whenever your schedule clears up until September 27.

In the meantime, I took to the Tweets and compiled some of the best little nuggets of integrated marketing goodness that show attendees took from the numerous sessions and resources offered throughout the day. Ready for some lightning round takeaways and tips? Here goes!

  • Be more responsive than customers expect to create a great customer experience. -Jay Baer #imv2016 #IMV16 — Melyssa, ABC (‏@melyssa57)  June 23, 2016
  • Hug Your Haters! 1/3 of customer complaints are never answered. #IMV16 @TargetMktg — Kendra Morton ‏(@KendraAtAllCom) June 23, 2016
  • A great #customerexperience = exceeding customer expectations. #IMV16 @jaybaer — Polaris Direct ‏(@PolarisDirect) June 23, 2016
  • Kicking off #imv16 by learning about organization haters. Need to answer every complaint in every channel, every time to + customer advocacy — KathyDanielsPearman ‏(@kathyldaniels) June 23, 2016
  • Most customer complaints on social media go unanswered. “Blow their minds and win their hearts” #HugYourHaters @jayBaer #IMV16 #IMV16 — Dani (‏@danidoll11) June 23, 2016
  • 80% of Americans trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, via @jaybaer #IMV16 — Daniel Burstein (@DanielBurstein) June 23, 2016
  • Avg time it takes for a company to reply to complaints on #socialmedia is 5 hrs, but users expect 1 @jaybaer #IMV16 — Sales&Marketing Adv (@SalesMktgAdv) June 23, 2016

salesmktgadv1

  • “Customer service is a spectator sport” … so follow @jaybaer’s rule and don’t feed the #trolls #IMV16 – Nancy Simeone ‏(@100indecisions) June 23, 2016

dontfeedthetrolls

  • [#digitalmarketing] Answering a complaint online can increase customer advocacy by 25%. #IMV16 – Cyfer Solutions ‏(@cyfersolutions) June 23, 2016
  • Solid #marketing intel with @DanielBurstein from @MECLABS. Finding the gaps and exploiting the heck outta them! #IMV16 #IMV16 – Mary Rose Maguire ‏(@MRMaguire) June 23, 2016  
  • Great information about bridging the gap between #marketing and customer expectations in #IMV16. – Kimberly Weitkamp ‏(@k_weitkamp) June 23, 2016
  • According to @annebot at #IMV16, most people start scrolling on mobile before the page loads. – mobilefomo ‏(@mobilefomo)  June 23, 2016
  • Speed is king when it comes to mobile; if you put in the time, you will reap the rewards. -@annebot #IMV16 – WearableFOMO ‏(@WearableFOMO)  June 23, 2016
  • Your content needs to DRIVE customer experiences to truly be successful (and with that comes so much more!) #IMV16 – Sass Marketing ‏(@Sass_Marketing)  June 23, 2016

There you have it, a fresh sampling of marketing granola, perfect for the pro on the go. And hey, when you have an hour or two of downtime from hunting that Geodude or counting how many Pokemon references the media can make in a week (Spoiler: don’t bother, the limit does not exist), you can check out the full show and all its sessions for yourself.

The agenda is full of more than a dozen webinars covering all the marketing topics on your mind in 2016, led by cream of the crop experts. There’s also a fully stocked virtual exhibit hall and resource center, where you’ll find tons of free resources you can download for immediate use.

Go on and have a little click. Totally worth it, I promise you. Let me know if you check it out, or tweet your takeaways with the #IMV16 hashtag to add to the growing pile.

Till next time!

How to Write Killer Content

Writing can be easy. If you know your market, you probably already have everything you need to create great content marketing. But it’s also easy to get lost on the trip from what you know to what you write. Here are five tips to help you stay on target and turn out great content for your audience.

WritingCavemanWriting can be easy. If you know your market, you probably already have everything you need to create great content. But it’s also easy to get lost on the trip from what you know to what you write.

Here are five tips to help you stay on target and turn out great content marketing for your audience.

1. Answer the Questions Your Audience Is Already Asking
One of the counterintuitive things about creating marketing content is that coming up with new, creative things to do can be a mistake, especially early on in your content marketing strategy. You don’t need a stroke of genius to create great content. In fact, a lot of the best content doesn’t try to be unique, it just answers the obvious questions that are already on your customers’ and prospects’ minds.

What these questions are specifically depends on your business and its target market. But if you know your customers pretty well, or if you’ve built good personas, they’re not too hard to figure out. Business buyers have common problems in the industry they’re trying to solve. Consumers have common interests that drive them to  your industry.

Get the people in your company who know your customers best together and have a brainstorming session:

  • What questions are on that audience’s mind?
  • What do they search for online?
  • What do they like on social media?
  • What knowledge sets the noobs apart form the vets?

Then write about that. Outline a series of content pieces that answers those questions. That’s the content that will come up as results for those searches, get shared on social media, and helps the noobs stop embarrassing themselves.

2. Use the Specific Language They Use
This one can also be counter intuitive. After all, shouldn’t you show off how much you know with a lot of new buzzwords, jargon and 50-cent synonyms?

No. You should not.

In fact, the further you take your language away from the words and phrases your customers use, the more aloof you get, and the less accessible your content becomes.

Figure out the words your target audience uses when they talk about your industry, and use them. Use them exclusively. Use them from your headline, through your deck, lede paragraph, subheads and all the way through your conclusion.

Don’t use those terms in an unnatural way — unnatural repetition is bad for your readers and for SEO — but don’t try to swap them out for synonyms or euphemisms either. If those are the words your business is about, that’s what your content should be about too.

This has an added benefit in SEO, because it sends a clear message to the search engines that your content is about the keywords your audience searches for. That’s how writing for real people leads you to writing for SEO, too.

3. Give Them Something They Can Use Immediately
Content marketing is a trade. You’re asking the audience to give your brand attention in exchange for your content.

Your Top 5 Direct Marketing Problems

What do you consider your greatest marketing problem? Or perhaps of even more interest: What do your peers report as their top marketing problems? And if you could, wouldn’t you want to know what channels your competitors report as working for them?

Angry manWhat do you consider your greatest marketing problem? Or perhaps of even more interest: What do your peers report as their top marketing problems? And if you could, wouldn’t you want to know what channels your competitors report as working for them? I recently surveyed a few marketers with those questions, so today I share what’s on their minds, along with an analysis of those marketing problems and successful channels as we go into 2016.

First, the top five problems:

  1. “Finding new customers and reengaging the ones we have to buy again.”
  2. “Competitive pressure is relentless and we’re struggling to break out.”
  3. “Overwhelmed with channel choices and uncertain what channels to use.”
  4. “Marketing in general isn’t delivering like it used to.”
  5. “Profitability is too low.”

Next, the channels with the highest satisfaction:

  1. Email
  2. Websites/landing pages
  3. Facebook
  4. Video
  5. Direct mail

Combining these two topics, I offer this analysis in the form of three takeaways:

Takeaway No. 1
Problem No. 1, finding new customers, and No. 3, channel choices, are linked. If these two elements are your problems too, you may be limiting your profitability with the channels you’re using. The number of channel choices and the pace at which they evolve is dizzying. You need to be knowledgeable about them (or find someone who can untangle them for you). You may need to venture out into the unknown. As they saying goes, you need to “meet your customers where they are.” If they’re on a channel you’re not using, then you likely suffer from difficulties in finding new customers and reengaging past customers.

Now, let’s overlay these problems with the channels where your peers report satisfaction.

  • The marketers who I heard from are satisfied with email marketing. If you’re not happy with your email marketing results, maybe it’s time to more aggressively A/B test new approaches to identify winners. Don’t forget the importance of your landing page to close deals.
  • Consider A/B testing of video on your landing page and evaluate its impact on conversions. Or test a long-form video sales letter. A well-done video can create greater comprehension.
  • Have you tried Facebook remarketing? Promoted posts? Are you engaging your followers frequently, with meaningful content, to create raving fans? Once you build Facebook followers, you have to continue to deliver meaningful content before you see results.

Takeaway No. 2
Problem No. 2, competitive pressure, and No. 4, marketing not delivering like it used to, can also be linked. How do you break away from your competition? You may need to re-examine your unique selling proposition, and then reposition your product or organization.

Have you conducted a competitive analysis? Research what your competitors are doing online and the channels they are using. Document your findings, then make a list of the top five things they’re doing that you’re not and test new approaches.

Takeaway No. 3
Problem No. 5, low profitability, reveals that you need to find lower-cost channels, or make a higher-cost channel like direct mail work better. Another possibility: reevaluate your offer and price. The top three channels where marketers are satisfied (email, websites and Facebook) are typically less expensive than direct mail, but require ongoing content development. Video doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you’re able to use customer-generated video for testimonials.

If profitability is lower than you want, now is the time for two tests: One is to invest in lower cost channels. The second is to test new creative and/or production values in direct mail to either increase response, or lower your cost per response.