Crafting Your Online Marketing Campaign: Insider Tips & Tricks from #SESNY

Posted in Online Marketing, SES New York

Welcome back to aimClear’s #SESNY 2013 live coverage! The only thing that excited us more than seeing the sun out this morning (Spring, is that you?!) was sitting front row, coffee in hand, at Matthew Bailey’s 4 Steps to Building an Integrated Online Marketing Campaign session. How much time and money should a business invest in Social Media? As an SES advisory board member and President of Site Logic Marketing, Matthew set out to prove that is the wrong question to ask if you are attempting to develop a strategic marketing plan. You need to back-up and re-evaluate your entire approach. Matthew showed us that you can eliminate the guesswork by implementing social media, analytics, online PR, blogger relations, link building, content development and content marketing within one central plan, which will set you free and lead to success. Check out the full recap of genius gems below!

Matthew started out answering the “How and the Why.” A lot of companies are getting bogged down in the details, always wondering, “How much time and money should I spend on social media?” Matthew pointed out this is the WRONG place to start the conversation. You need to back up.

Before you start talking about social media, ask yourself, “How do we make money and how do we make money in those ways? Why are we successful in those areas?” If you are not doing this then you need a reality check. Seriously.

Matthew explained, “I enjoy social media, but I don’t like it.” Social media is full of experts who every conference season have a new favorite toy telling everyone they HAVE to play with it – it’s the latest and greatest. That gets exhausting. Boggles his mind hearing a session about HAVING to be on social media – but people love the new flavor of the month; unfortunately it is all just shiny objects. You could be told to incorporate something that may not work for you/your brand.

He provided an example – Dell makes 3.2 million with using Twitter. Impressive right? Well, not so fast. What you don’t see is that Dell’s total revenue is around 61 billion, so that 3.2 million is .01% of Dell’s total revenue. Still impressed? He asked the crowd – how many of you can afford to spend to get .01%? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

This is what Matthew called the ‘Iceberg Effect’ – you need to be careful of people telling these stories. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples in terms of expenses and revenues. Don’t get caught up in the glitz and glam of these statements.

News alert: Social media was not made for marketers. Social media was in fact around longer than our modern internet, when there was green screen bulletin boards, before HTML and so on. Social media comes from these roots – being unfriendly to a marketer because social media is for like-minded people getting together and sharing information and learning from each other.

So let’s talk Social Media Marketing. Matthew outlined the following as four crucial steps in the social marketing mix. Note them, please.

  1. Narrative
  2. Development
  3. Interaction
  4. Planning

Figure out who you want to target and the message you have to target them with. Develop a plan of interaction – how will we interact with people who are going to respond to our message? Companies that are consistently good in social media are companies that consistently plan. The #1 thing Matthew asks clients for is the plan. Facebook interaction is fantastic BUT what do you PLAN to do with it?

What about narrative? Narrative goes back thousands of years, all the way back to Socrates who said, “Know thyself.” As a company, know who you are and what you do. If you can’t do that in five words, then you lost me. Plain and simple.

An example provided by Matthew regarded the UK cigarette brand, Death Cigarettes, who in a matter of years came to be the number one brand with the slogan – “Smoke more, die faster.” Death’s truth in marketing approach was to highlight the dangers of smoking. Take a lie, market the truth. What better way, then to act like you don’t care? “Love the brand, love the narrative,” said Matthew.

Another narrative example is looking at American Idol. Matthew asked the audience, “Who is the number one sponsor of AI?” Answer = Coca-Cola. And how do you know? Because it is woven through the fabric of the show (Coca-Cola cups in front of the judges, the room the contestants wait in is red room with bubbles and logos on the walls, etc.) Coca-Cola is so present within the show that most people can’t name the additional sponsors. That is some good-looking narrative right there.

Let’s look at a few other narrative examples… shall we?

  • Progressive – “The Voice of Reason,” also uses the character Flo – gives you the information, you decide.
  • StateFarm – “Your Friend, Your Guide,” calling up your agent – more relational and more friendship guided.
  • Geico – “The Entertainer,” who can’t name a Geico character? Impossible? We think so. The cavemen, the gecko, etc.
  • Allstate – “Fear: What if?” – this narrative is all about fear. Mayhem anyone?

What’s important to note about the above examples is that the characters resonate more with people than the company does. Remember people identify with the story, with the narrative. It’s not what you will see with the ad but the ad measured against the narrative.

Condense your company’s mission statement into 5 words. We dare you. Think about, what value do you bring? Double dare. Can you do it? Doing this is the first step to finding your narrative. Once you find it, run with it!

The second step? Figure out how you will bring this message to the market. “The medium is the message.” This goes all the way back to the 1960s when a new technology was sweeping the nation…known as…the television.

An example showing the power of TV goes back to the presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy. Because the TV was a newer toy only ½ of the households were watching it while the other ½ were listening to it on the radio. There was follow-up poll after the debate to find who people thought won. What was interesting is the group that listened to it thought Nixon won the debate – he had more control and better understanding of the issues at hand. People polled who watched it on TV said that they thought Kennedy won – he looked better and more presidential. Interesting, for sure.

So what do we learn from this? NOT all channels are equal, meaning NEVER put the same message on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. because readers interpret updates/content differently.

  • LinkedIn = No Hashtags
  • Twitter = Hashtags
  • Facebook = Relational conversation

Manage each channel differently for the greatest amount of effectiveness. Identify the best medium for your message. Determine the best way to communicate who you are targeting.

Blogs vs. Websites
Blogs are updated more often. If you own the blog you can change the info, you can put analytics on the blog, all the data is yours, all the information is yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

Websites, on the other hand, have a hard time getting off the ‘couch’ per say – typically have the company’s latest releases on there (sometimes dated back a few years) and overall website is not updated a lot.

Blogs have 55% more visitors, 97% more links and 434% more pages. Blogs are powerful because they are more often updated which Search Engines love because there is information on there that others want to learn.

Take for example – Black Hills, South Dakota, travel blog. This blog was developed to help visitors know the inside information (i.e. best food in the area, best fishing, best trails and so on). Because this blog was putting out content that they knew their visitors wanted to know, it ended up becoming one of the top websites in that region. It was designed to teach people what is going one, where to go and inside info you need to know.

“Blogs are great!” Matthew added. Because they are a way to interact with the audience.

Which brings us to… Interaction. What is the meaning behind interaction?

  • Support
  • Research
  • Education
  • Networking
  • News

Blogs are also the best way to share “high trust” information because you are not restricted by character counts or networks. Therefore equalling a high trust index.

So when do you use blogs?

  • Increase Search Visibility
  • Build for Long-Tail Content
  • Community and Marketer Education
  • Communicate High-Trust Content
  • Build Lists, Conversions and Reach
  • Build Brand Value and Equity

Get those email addresses, people! Why? So you can market to them!

Let’s take a look at the search aspect of blogs. When people look for branded product they go to a search engine not the brand website – check out the stats below!

  • 57% search engines
  • 20% brand website
  • 18% retailer
  • 3% Facebook
  • 2% Twitter

The problem with search? Not usually the most direct route to find what you are looking for.

Successful searches are 1 in 4, 42% require refinement and 44% of the search sessions last a day or more – the decision making process is taking longer and longer. Search is a reflective medium, written in the same words and style of a search phrase. If you have information that is brand new, search won’t be a great way to promote it because people need to know about it in order to search for it. Make sense? OK let’s keep going!

Did you know email is an increasing means of increasing your bottom line in terms of revenue and profitability – by 28% overall to be exact? Why? Because no one is spending any money on it and because of the use of mobile nowadays is a dominant activity at 41%.

Matthew brought to our attention an excellent study on Subscribers Fans and Followers – what this study showed is how people start their day. Something every marketer should know:

  • 58% check email first
  • 20% portal or search engines
  • 11% Facebook.

If you want to reach people, then you need to understand where they are going. Simple enough.

How do people interact online?

  • 93% are subscribers
  • 38% are fans of brands
  • 5 % are followers

Look at your strategy and your message and from that figure out the most effective way to reach them.

Moving on to You Tube
As the third largest website in the WORLD, it is also the second most popular search engine. Want more? OK – You Tube has 4 BILLION views a day, 60 hours of video is uploaded every 60 seconds and 3 billion hours of video are watched each month.

Per Matthew, “You Tube is INSANE!” What is great about video is it allows you to incorporate a bunch of different features, which can benefit in influencing search results.

Take for example, Thundermist Lure Company. This company set out to have a different presence in the online space by developing a handful of videos, one of which being, “How to Fillet a Catfish”… surprisingly enough, a search Matthew did with his daughter after catching a catfish. Key takeaway from this – It doesn’t have to be good-looking to be effective.

When is it appropriate to use You Tube?

  • “See it to believe it”
  • Highly visual
  • “Portable” reach
  • Re-publishable
  • Influence search results
  • Present content in different methods
  • Extend reach
  • Earned media content

You Tube + Google

  • Enhance rankings
  • Additional channel for rankings
  • Increased visibility
  • Influence search results

How about the latest favorite child of social media…Pinterest
It’s not for everyone, that is certain. And it’s OK to not like Pinterest. (GASP! Kidding.) We know this, right? It really depends on what you are doing and what industry you are in. If you are a travel agent, for example, then it makes sense. Why? Because people LOVE to post/pin photos of where they have been and where they want to go.

Matthew doesn’t see a lot of big businesses on Pinterest or if they are, a lot don’t use it to the best of their ability because it is all over the place as Pinterest is highly topical and not broad.

When do you use Pinterest?

  • Highly visual
  • Create idea lists
  • Re-publishable reach
  • Discover motivations and networks
  • Extend reach
  • Earned media content
  • Develop for others to use
  • Ideal for narrow focus

How about some LinkedIn
If you are in B2B, then you better be on LinkedIn.” Couldn’t agree more, Matthew.

  • 161 million members in over 200 countries
  • 4.2 billion searches in 2011
  • 22% of members access by mobile device.

LinkedIn is also the most affluent membership.

Why and when should you use LinkedIn?

  • Primarily B2B
  • Highly targeted
  • Develop segmented networks
  • Discover motivations and networks
  • Target title, region, company size
  • Engage in relevant communication

Again, let’s reiterate, realize where you are and whom you want to reach. You could be missing the most effective communication if you are not targeting correctly.

Expectation for Twitter

  • Access to celebrities
  • Access to News
  • Access to Brands

Why follow brands?

  • Give Feedback
  • Provide Ideas
  • Insider Information
  • Freebies and Discounts

Reasons to fan or follow?

  • Incentives 77%
  • Discounts 46%
  • Solve Problems 39%
  • Entertain 28%
  • Interact 26%
  • Market Directly 21%

In one survey, results found that if they like your brand, it does NOT give you permission to market to them. People see liking and following differently than a marketer. They see it as lending support. They don’t want you to sell to them. They want free stuff.

The power of Twitter

  • Immediacy
  • Time-sensitive information
  • Utilizing follower networks
  • Direct consumer contact with brand
  • Direct consumer contact with experts
  • Samples, discounts and freebies
  • Insider information

Matthew easily summed up Facebook in three words:

  • Connection
  • Self-Expression
  • Entertainment

70% of Facebook users are fans of brands. But again, remember, being a fan does NOT mean marketing.

Have you looked closely at the Facebook guidelines? Have you shared with your legal team? You should. Matthew mentioned he presented to a group of lawyers once, sharing  the information and they about all fell off their chairs.

Basically, what Facebook is telling you is that yes, you own what you put on Facebook, so do we and so does anyone else who sees your content. Another reason why Matthew loves blogs. “It’s mine, I own it.” And he couldn’t be more right.

Any social media medium can do whatever they want because as soon as you post it, it’s no longer yours. It is theirs, it is not yours. Get over it already.

What is amazing about Facebook is that it has become a daily activity. Much like sleeping, working, eating, watching TV, etc. So… that is crazy.

Ultimately, when it comes to Facebook, people want conversation. Simple conversation. Not shouting or announcing or tweet updating. Reach people where they are. You need to give people the opportunity to talk about themselves, after all, Facebook is all about promoting yourself, right? Facebook gives you an opportunity to share with them. It’s how you build your brand communication – give them the tool, let the communication be on their terms.

So when should you use Facebook?

  • Conversation
  • Sharing
  • Social interaction
  • Reach targeted segments
  • Stories

Social media is going to change
Every year there is a brand new social media channel. Matthew points out that in the past 11 years many social media outlets have gone by the waist side and disappeared. Friendster, where did you go?

There is a guarantee that ‘stuff’ is going to change. So then the question is – how do you build a strategy that doesn’t change based on social media? Your strategy needs to survive regardless of the tools you use.

What it comes down to, is the planning phase.

Step one: What people want. Rely on search data. How do people search for stuff? What are the words and content they use? What are they interested in? What do they want to educate themselves on? Search data can give you ideas for finding out what people want to know.

Step Two: When do they want to know these things?

  • Build a long-term content plan. Get into Google Trends and start comparing search terms, what people want to know, etc. Know what they want to talk about and when it is critical in reaching those people and how you need to plan per that timeline.
  • Create a daily content plan. Look at Google Trends and see what the terms are for the past seven days. What are the top search terms in 2013? Facebook, Google, You Tube, Yahoo, Craigslist, Weather and Amazon. “If people searching Google for Yahoo doesn’t give you little hope for the human race, I don’t know what will.” YIKES. What are the rising search terms? Things like NCAA Madness, Powerball and Spring Breakers. To give you some perspective. Find out what is rising now and how you can take advantage of it. Add this in a daily content plan  and get an article or blog up on your website that morning.
  • Plan annual content. What this is, is content you have in your back pocket. WRITE THIS DOWN – great resource for developing such a calendar – www.holidayinsights.com/everyday.htm. Find annual events and look to see if you can create a tie into your brand. If you can have this ready to go months in advance and publish it the day it makes sense to.

Step Three: Create a publishing schedule. THINK like a publisher.

  • Introduce
  • Develop
  • Close

You want to get your information ahead of the curve and you want it to be there when the curve happens and as soon as it happens, close it. Look at the trends to find out when people are searching for this information. Content needs to be done in advance of the trend so you have time to build some links to it.

Figure out what the best way to communicate information according to the channels we have available to us. The key? Plan your marketing according to your content.  Once it’s on a plan your day is spent executing a strategy rather than reacting. Planning is wondering – it FREES you! Brilliant, brilliant concept Matthew. We dig.

Step Four: Model and measure. Model what you think will happen and measure what did happen. Look at your segments and see how people are monitoring them. What words are they using? Look at the concepts. How do they arrange them? Take the majority of the words you find and plug them into trends.

Keep in mind…

  • Search Term
  • Seasonal Variation
  • Bookings
  • Demographics
  • Psychographic Profile

Another example going back to the South Dakota website. During the month of August, South Dakota holds the largest biker event in the nation – Sturgis. Because those managing this site know this is happening they adjust their website and content with keywords to accommodate the thousands and thousands of bikers that will be traveling to South Dakota during that time – making maps prevalent with the best biker routes, best rest stops, etc.

The results of these efforts for the search term ‘maps’? Check it out below!

Initial numbers:

  • 14,000 visitors
  • 2:13 time on site
  • 4 page views
  • 43% boucerate
  • 0.5% conversion
  • $0.20/visitor

After a couple years…

  • 42,000 visitors
  • 7:31 time on site
  • 10 page views
  • 12% bouncerate
  • 4% conversion
  • $5.60/visitor

We must say, quite impressive!

Key takeaway from Matthew’s presentation: Get an educated view of what people want and when they want it. If you do that you will be successful.

Matthew ended the session with a point he referenced to in the beginning. “Why are you here today? The answer – To make more money. Never forget that you are here to ultimately to make more money. Because making money is the ultimate measure. Figuring out whether you had success or not is determining whether or not you made money.

Bravo Matthew! Thank you for such a great session. Stay tuned to aimClear blog for more live #SESNY coverage!

photo credit: marsmet544 on flickr