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10 ❱ 19 From Amplifying Social quantity to your email Media quality campaigns Supplement ❱

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The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations

Gary Tannyan

Vol. 27 • No. 6 • June 2014

Rev up your email campaigns ❱ 12

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Jason Warnock (l) and Jacob Ciesielski talk about tailoring email communications to the on-the-go and socially connected consumer t:7.5”

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EDITOR Amy Bostock - amy@dmn.ca PRESIDENT Steve Lloyd - steve@dmn.ca DESIGN / PRODUCTION Jennifer O'Neill - jennifer@dmn.ca Advertising Sales Mark Henry - mark@dmn.ca Brent White - brent@dmn.ca CONTRIBUTING WRITERS David Bell Jeff Bisset Jacob Ciesielski Justin Cook Bassem Ghali Derek Lackey

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Why email is NOT free

Vol. 27 | No. 6 | June 2014

Geoff Linton Jeff Novak Tom Sather Sarah Stealey Reed Colin Tener Jason Warnock

Dear Gmail users Demystifying the tabbed inbox

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Case study: WWF Canada 2013 Holiday Adoption Campaign

SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPLEMENT

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How data is driving email shift from quantity to quality

Design your store for SEO success

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Amplifying your email campaigns

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Cover Story Rev up your email campaigns LLOYDMEDIA INC. HEAD OFFICE / SUBSCRIPTIONS / PRODUCTION: 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Phone: 905.201.6600 Fax: 905.201.6601 Toll-free: 800.668.1838 home@dmn.ca www.dmn.ca EDITORIAL CONTACT: Direct Marketing is published monthly by Lloydmedia Inc. plus the annual DM Industry Source Book List of Lists . Direct Marketing may be obtained through paid subscription. Rates: Canada 1 year (12 issues $48) 2 years (24 issues $70) U.S. 1 year (12 issues $60) 2 years (24 issues $100) Direct Marketing is an independently-produced publication not affiliated in any way with any association or organized group nor with any publication produced either in Canada or the United States. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome. However unused manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by sufficient postage. Occasionally Direct Marketing provides its subscriber mailing list to other companies whose product or service may be of value to readers. If you do not want to receive information this way simply send your subscriber mailing label with this notice to: Lloydmedia Inc. 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Canada. POSTMASTER: Please send all address changes and return all undeliverable copies to: Lloydmedia Inc. 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Canada

Operations & Logistics

Engagement & Analytics

9 steps to a successful LinkedIn strategy

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3 common social media mistakes

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Oops!

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Putting things straight

Why you shouldn’t let an intern run your social media channels

Figuring out engagement in a hyperconnected world – Part 1

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Bridging the gap Environics Analytics responds to data shortfall created by government changes to Canadian census.

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Canada’s List Buyers Guide 2013-2014

How to execute a successful Twitter campaign

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Targeting & Acquisition

Email is NOT Free By Colin Tener

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ometimes it seems like the mass marketing guys have taken over email, measuring success by the sheer number of messages they can push out the door. What used to be an issue mainly at holidays and other peak buying seasons now seems to be the new normal for some organizations. Typical bad practices include: ❯❯ Daily offers that flood in-baskets ❯❯ Reminder emails of offers that have already been sent, often with the same creative as the original so that they are mistakenly deleted as “repeats” ❯❯ Discount after discount, until the recipient is trained to wait until the last possible moment before purchasing just to see how low the price can get ❯❯ “Special” offers that are actually the same that everyone else gets ❯❯ Irrelevant offers that bear no resemblance to past purchase behaviour On a number of occasions we’ve heard marketers extol the virtues of email, especially the belief that it’s free, or virtually so. True, sending an email is clearly cheaper than other channels, such as direct mail. But there are hidden costs that marketers ignore at their peril. Email is not free. Over and above the hard costs of data management, list rental and deployment, there are a number of “soft” costs that can become very significant over time. Increased opt-out The easiest thing a customer can do these days is simply opt out of receiving any messages. And opt out can come at a high price. Not too long ago we helped a client compare the purchase behaviour of customers who ❱ DMN.ca

had opted out with to those that had not. Even though overall opt out rates were modest, they were climbing. For this particular client, the difference between customers who opted out and those that didn’t amounted to an estimated annual profit difference of $15 million. That’s profit, not revenue. While we would not claim that all opt out is due to over-messaging, it stands to reason that at least a portion of that foregone profit can be attributed to bad email practices. Over-discounting Continuously bombarding customers with ever greater discounts simply trains them to wait for a better deal. After a while, it makes more sense for them to wait a few days (or hours) because they know that you will just lower the price. Moreover, the continued focus on price can lead to over-discounting. Why give away 20% if 10% will do the trick? Over time, the cost of that price difference adds up to some significant change. Brand devaluation The less immediate but perhaps more serious cost is the devaluation of your brand. How many times have you complained to a friend that such-andsuch company sends you too much junk? I’m sure we all have our list of favourite culprits (mine is in the cable and wireless business and rhymes with a U.S. baseball team). Respect for the organization and its brand image take a beating each time they’re disparaged by frustrated customers just trying to get through their in-box. The solution The solution is two-fold: proper targeting and a customer contact strategy that takes account of recency and frequency of both outbound

communications and purchases. On the targeting front, organizations needs to leverage the information they have to develop purchase propensity models that identify those most interested in the particular product or service. Just like other response models, these would be built from the extensive set of purchase and payment data most organizations already capture, as well as customer characteristics such as tenure, initial acquisition source, past channel preferences, etc. Only high scoring customers who fit the profile for a given offer are selected, helping to ensure that communications are more relevant. This will both increase sales and reduce opt-out. But the more sophisticated organizations take targeting one step further, identifying not only who might be interested but also analyzing past campaigns to determine what offer is optimal. One benefit of email is the opportunity to do quick, cost effective tests against small samples of the customer base. By establishing a proper test and control discipline, an organization can conduct offer tests across selected customer groups and then build predictive models at the offer level. These models indicate the optimal offer appropriate to each customer and help ensure that excessive discounting does not take place. Targeting models that indicate both purchase interest and level of required offer go a long way towards helping to optimize email efforts and reduce the soft costs of poor campaigns. The second part of the solution is developing a customer-centric contact strategy, beginning with a set of rules for Recency and Frequency of contact. The rules outline how many times you can contact someone in a given period, how long they need to be rested before reaching out to them again and what

the follow-up should be in the event of a sale. This should be standard practice for any direct marketer, but based on what’s actually going on out there that clearly isn’t the case. It may be a lot of work, and certainly has the potential for huge political battles, but working out which division or product line gets to contact a given customer at any one time can pay huge benefits as well. Rather than “spray and pray”, a systematic approach to customer allocation that takes account of model response probabilities and typical purchase sequences goes a long way towards ensuring that customers are not inundated with what they come to deem to be worthless messages. One client of ours had a rule that a given prospect was “owned” by a product line for 6 months. If they couldn’t upgrade them or cross-sell them something then the name went back in the hopper and the next product line got a chance. This may not work in all circumstances, but the principal is a good one and helps reduce the volume of communication that might otherwise go out. Email is not free. The soft costs, while sometimes hard to quantify, are nevertheless quite real. Anything you can do to improve relevance, either by better targeting or better communication practices will go a long way toward helping to ensure that your email are well received and lead to the sales outcome you’re looking for. Fewer messages, but the right messages, will yield greater success. Colin Tener is Managing Partner at CVM

Marketing Inc., a data analytics practice that focuses on the art and science of identifying which customers represent the greatest potential value to your organization and then helping to realize that potential. He can be reached at (416) 487-8200 x222 or colin. tener@cvmmkt.com. June 2014


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Case study

WWF-Canada 2013 Holiday Adoption Campaign W

WF-Canada’s holiday adoption program has been an annual campaign in the Canadian marketplace for years. In recent years the program was stable, but not growing. As an acquisition vehicle for new supporters, the adoption program surpasses all others with an unbeatable ROI and great conversion rates to high retention programs like monthly giving. Moving the needle by increasing awareness and revenue, particularly in new markets, was a primary goal for 2013. As WWF-Canada’s agency of record on the direct response fundraising program, the adoption program historically was not part of our scope. As an agency servicing the not-forprofit sector, up against the big ad agencies, we are often perceived as boutique. In early 2013 we decided to ‘delight and surprise’ WWF-Canada with a fresh creative concept for the adoption program – and they loved it! Core Creative The idea of using personal ads as a way to communicate the offer and the need was both out-of-the box for a charity and out of their comfort zone. But it struck a chord, and after careful internal vetting, WWF-Canada decided this was the creative platform they wanted to launch with for the 2013 holiday adoption campaign.

The Adoption Kit We designed an entirely new adoption product including a gift bag, 27 species posters and corresponding personalized adoption certificates, in English and 10 in French. We designed the new kit with the largest target audience in mind – woman buying for children. Marketing & Promotion With the core product design complete, attention turned to the print and digital marketing efforts. Feedback from WWF-Canada in the scope meeting was that previous years’ campaign concepts did not always carry through all collateral material in an integrated fashion. At every stage of creative development and execution, we ensured that all collateral material carried the core creative concept and integrated messages and themes that suited the target audience. The core campaign collateral included: ❯❯ E-blasts ❯❯ DRTV (English and French) ❯❯ Radio (English and French) ❯❯ Transit Ads ❯❯ Adoption Catalogue ❯❯ Direct Mail Package to existing adopters and donors ❯❯ Free Standing Inserts ❯❯ Print Ads ❯❯ Flash banner and digital display ads ❯❯ Social Media

The Team Blakely Adoption Program Strategy Lead: Kesheyl van Schilt, President & CEO Project Coordinator: Carolyn Miller, Special Projects Coordinator Creative Lead: Heather Vanderlinde, Creative Director Design Lead: Lisa Smit, Graphic & Concept Designer TV and Radio Spots: Michelle Carter, VP Channel Integration June 2014

Out-of-Home Advertising The DRTV ad was the driving force in moving the needle in bringing more new adopters on board. Through WWF-Canada’s own media partnership they secured donated television and radio spots in prime times, as well as transit ads. WWFCanada credited the creative concept as a driving force in securing the space. The Results “We didn’t just move the needle, we broke the needle”, Janice Lanigan, Director, Annual & Community Giving at WWF-Canada. Here are just some of the highlights: ❯❯ 31% increase in adoption kit sales ❯❯ 35% increase in revenue ❯❯ 45% increase in transactions (largely a result of new e-store platform driving conversions) ❯❯ 24% of revenue from television and radio spots ❯❯ 100% increase in revenue from re-designed FSI ❯❯ More than doubled the number of new to file adopters ❯❯ Project was delivered on time and under budget Look for WWF-Canada’s holiday adoption program in the marketplace this October 2015!

Production Lead: Brenda Rusnell, Operations Manager Data Analytics: Jeff Eland, VP Insights WWF-Canada Manager, Marketing: Anu Kalia Director, Annual & Community Giving: Janice Lanigan

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Data driving email shift from quantity to quality By Jeff Bisset

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s Direct Marketing magazine readers are well aware, a major shift from quantity to quality in email marketing is well underway. Although there are still some out there, hopefully we’ve seen the last of terms like “spray and pray” and “email blast” and the like for good. So it’s no surprise that email data and list quality is now paramount to email marketing strategy. ❱ DMN.ca

According to MarketingSherpa’s annual Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 32% of marketers say segmenting their email database is one of their top objectives. Furthermore, 52% of marketers say they have a great need to improve their email database. Expanding the use of list segmentation is consistently among the top three priorities noted in the majority of email marketing studies

over the past two years. The other two top priorities - Personalization and Relevancy - are similarly closely tied to email list quality as is segmentation. Let’s take a closer look at why these email tactics are the top three priorities for marketers , starting with segmentation. MailChimp recently sampled 2,000 of its users who sent about 11,000 segmented campaigns to almost 9 million recipients. When

measured across all campaigns, segmented campaigns distinctly improved email performance almost across the board with 14.4% better open rates, 14.9% higher click rates, and 0.8% lower bounce rates. Segmentation can increase engagement and conversions in email marketing, because smaller segments allow more targeted emails. The larger an email list gets, the more diverse June 2014


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Targeting & Acquisition subscriber demographics become. This makes it difficult to target content and provide relevant opportunities for engagement. Segmenting one list into multiple smaller lists drives more relevant engagements. We at Cleanlist have found great success in harnessing our client's email data to provide distinctions and attributes that offer insights into their email subscribers’ preferences and habits that can’t be found elsewhere. Furthermore, through the appending of additional data points such as home ownership, income, and gender, amongst others, we have helped our email clients hone in more specifically on different customer segments and increase email response rates through customized messaging. Personalization and relevant content Email marketers who want to increase engagement are looking at personalization as a leading strategy. According to Experian’s 2013 Email Marketing Study released this February, personalized emails achieve 29% more unique opens and 41% more unique clicks than generic emails do. Creating relevant content through targeted information, messaging and offers is the linchpin of successful personalization. Sure, it’s great to have a customer’s name at the top of your email message, but that’s simply the entry fee here. What your subscriber is thinking when they receive your emails and what other news or messages they have received can greatly impact their focus and motivation to engage with your email. At Cleanlist, we’re seeing a trend in personalization up scale from just merging a name into a template to incorporating transactional data (last purchase date, items bought, warranty expiration, etc). This

increase relevancy and value can also increase production complexity and risk of error so your source data must be carefully validated and tested using appropriate business rules and filters. Leveraging your customer data is also one of the best ways to create relevant content. At Cleanlist we help our clients gain a better understanding of their customer through identifying attributes that are good predictors of customer likes and habits. If a customer owns a home, then several topics become more relevant such as property taxes, municipal politics, mortgage rates, and renovations to name a few. Tapping other sources of customer data like discussion forums or social media can also help spark ideas and give you a better understanding of what your audience is interested in at a higher level. Things like trending topics, downloads, shares, social media mentions, and page views are some of the types of measurement that can add value to your email data set. Building and managing quality

email list data clearly generates results and as more and more people talk about the power of data, those behind the times have really started to listen. According to StrongView’s 2013 survey, 26% of marketers who did not prioritize data as a central element in their email programs before plan to take advantage of data in 2014. Along these lines, another growing trend we see at Cleanlist is more thorough and more frequent list hygiene. Why? A clean list means fewer customer complaints, a better return on your marketing dollars, higher engagement from your list, and even a better brand image for your company. By hygiene I’m talking about the identification and removal of people on your list who are duplicated, have incorrect email addresses, or who have not opened or responded in a long period of time. If you’re trying to build a list, it may seem odd to remove anyone, but it will lead to better results because a higher percentage of your list is interested in your company, a higher percentage will click on your offers. It can also

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deliver lower email marketing costs since many email service providers charge customers based on the size of their list. You’ll get fewer complaints because people receiving your emails want to receive them. A better connection with the remaining leads because it’s easier to understand customers who engage with you will also evolve. Jeff Bisset is Founder and President of Cleanlist www.cleanlist.ca, Canada’s largest supplier of Canadian contact data solutions, providing more services, more ways to access them, and lower costs than any other in-sourced or outsourced alternative. Organizations worldwide, of all types and sizes, rely on Cleanlist to help them acquire, clean and enrich the Canadian contact data they need. Cleanlist is a division of Interact Direct Marketing, Inc., a Canadian corporation with a long history of leadership in database marketing and one-to-one communication solutions and offices located in London and Ottawa, Ontario. Jeff can be reached at jbisset@cleanlist.ca or 1-800-454-0223, Ext 180

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June 2014

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Targeting & Acquisition

Amplifying your email campaigns Why 1 + 1 = 15

By Derek Lackey

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ocial media, properly used can have a dramatic impact on your direct marketing campaigns - including email marketing. We have created hundreds of amplified campaigns across all market sectors and we have learned a great deal of what works - and what does not work. To be clear, we are talking about creating promotions that people willingly share with their family and friends (through Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or email), in effect extending the reach of your campaign and improving the response and conversion. For example, one of our grocery product clients rented an email list of 100,000 and sent them a 2 for 1 offer on a popular item. The response rate was 4.2% - pretty good by all measures of direct response campaigns. But we asked people to share this offer with their family and friends and over the next 60 days (duration of the promotion) 4,200 responses became 64,238 responses! That was a 15X increase due to social media sharing. By carefully blending an email offer with social media links, we effectively amplified the entire promotion. While what we do is not rocket science, it should be managed carefully or it all comes apart. There are a few critical issues that, if ignored, will cause an amplified campaign to sputter: 1. THE OFFER - obviously the more unique the offer is, the more likely people will share it. For example, if Sears always offers 30% off, then it is unrealistic to expect an email ❱ DMN.ca

campaign offering 30% would cause much sharing. It is expected - even ho-hum for most people, so they are not likely to post it on their Facebook wall for their friends to see. So clearly - the more unique the offer the more social lift it generates. In the example above, our grocery client had never offered coupons for their product, so it was indeed unique (for them and their fans). 2. GEOGRAPHIC AREA - social sharing is a broad stroke. It is difficult to control the reach of an offer once it goes out on social media. You might start out with a Toronto based list and become National very quickly. This kind of amplification works best with truly National brands. A strong regional brand would likely generate “wasted” response in areas they do not cover. While still amplifying their campaign, they may also annoy people who are interested but cannot purchase locally. 3. CREATIVE - the offer must be clear and quickly communicated. No confusion. No 10 page explanation of what the product does or how it works or how it was created. Clean, compelling and simple carries the day when amplifying. People do not share what they don’t understand.

The job of your creative is to make it very easy to grasp and then make it very easy to obtain. 4. THE PROCESS - The recipient is sent to a micro-site where they register (opt-in) for the promotion. They simply fill out the form and click on the submit button which ports them to the share page. The one-click sharing is important simply click on the Facebook icon and the pre-written wall post pops up. Click the ALLOW button and the offer is posted to your wall. When you are finished sharing (or not) you move to the Thank You page where you download your coupon and you can click through to the client's website. It must be a quick, noninvasive and simple process. 5. SHORT FORMS - ask for as little info at this stage as you can. First Name, Last name and email address. You can collect more data points in future communications. Do not use a long form as it significantly reduces opt-in and the whole point of amplification is to increase response.

The software platform captures all the data in one place so you can understand exactly what is happening with your message while it is being amplified. This is a great email opt-in tool/coupon distribution method that provides accurate data so you know exactly what you accomplished - or not. If you do not wish to use a software platform, you can use Share This or any number of social media linking tools. While data reporting may be hit and miss, your results will be impacted. If you amplify your promotion well, you can expect at least a 5x lift in results. Even if you make all the "rookie mistakes" you should double (x2) your expected, traditional response rates. The main thing I have learned being a traditional marketer who has emersed myself in digital marketing since 2006 is: the real opportunity in social media marketing is the alchemy - the results of combining traditional with new tactics to dramatically impact results. So, remember, a well executed amplification campaign can transform your notions of math 1 + 1 = 15!

June 2014


Do you make decisions about your marketing operations? Are you responsible for customer acquisition, retention or loyalty? Is your department in charge of fulfilling orders or customer service?

Sign up NOW for a free subscription to Direct Marketing magazine. Visit our website at www.dmn.ca and learn more about the magazine Direct Marketing is a Lloydmedia, Inc publication. Lloydmedia also publishes Financial Operations magazine, Canadian Treasurer magazine, Canadian Equipment Finance magazine, Payments Business magazine and Contact Management magazine.


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Cover Story

Rev up

your email campaigns Tailoring email communications to the on-the-go and socially connected consumer By : Jacob Ciesielski & Jason Warnock

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ustomers are becoming more and more elusive - ducking and diving more frequently than ever. They are managing the relationship with the brand on their own terms, using communication channels that are best suited for their needs. It seems as though maintaining relationships with customers is like trying to maintain a consistent liquid level in a strainer. However, while customer retention at every lifecycle stage isn’t easy, it is definitely possible. In today’s marketing environment, email continues to play a key role in customer communications because it allows for preference-driven targeted messages to be sent to each consumer. It’s no surprise that email is among the most effective marketing channels; it fosters a two-way conversation, it’s easily utilized, and it’s intimate. It enables contextually relevant content to be delivered at the right time and in meaningful ways. It allows personalization based on consumer interactions with the brand and their purchase history. However, not all companies follow the best practices for delivering relevant customer communications.

❱ DMN.ca

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Cover Story

Far too often brands are encumbered by unrealistic sales goals and, as a result, email is frequently used as a promotional engine, instead of a conversation starter. It’s imperative for marketers to keep in mind that not every consumer wants the next discount, or has use for a free shipping offer. In fact, communications that incorporate meaningful details, such as appointment or event reminders, will garner higher engagement and loyalty than countless discount and sale offers. Building long-lasting sustainable relationships with customers has never been as doable as it is today. Yesmail recently published a report that sheds light on mobile’s role as today’s primary email platform: after evaluating more than six billion messages from Q4 2013, we found that 55% of all emails were opened on a mobile device. This figure was a stark contrast to 2012, when many of Yesmail’s clients had a mobile email open rate lower than 30%. Given the drastic jump in mobile email opens, marketers should be adapting to consumers’ rapidly evolving behavior and leveraging consumer intelligence to drive communications. When designing an email campaign, each marketer should understand how to use the functionality offered by their email platform and keep the following in mind: ❯❯ Optimize each campaign for the mobile inbox ❯❯ Design content for the mobile screen ❯❯ Develop content for the mobile context ❯❯ Leverage mobile functionality ❯❯ Include social media 1. Optimize each campaign for the mobile inbox Our attention span is now 8 seconds— shorter than a goldfish’s (9 seconds). Capture customer attention by laying your stake on prime inbox real estate: the “from” name, subject line, and pre header text. 2. Design Content for the mobile screen To promote readability and therefore

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Building long-lasting sustainable relationships with customers has never been as doable as it is today.” interaction with brand messages, regardless of customers’ device, marketers should implement scalable and responsive design. These two techniques allow email marketers to tailor campaigns to their mobile audience and ensure higher engagement with their campaigns. 3. Include content for the mobile context Learn about your customers and shape your messaging accordingly. Consumers often use smartphones for short periods of time to seek information quickly and immediately. In addition, they’re utilized at home and out-of-the-home 60% and 40% of the time, respectively (Google). People frequently start online activities —surf the web, shop, watch videos, and more — on their smartphones and then continue on to a computer or tablet.

increasingly shifting their focus towards addressing the customer demand for more control by adopting the Customer Managed Relationship (CMR) approach. Customers are now acting as brand advocates and creating new relationships on a brand’s behalf with fellow customers via social networks. Imagine if marketers could leverage their email marketing programs via these customers’ existing social networks?

4. Leverage mobile functionality Email marketers can encourage customer engagement by leveraging mobile devices’ unique features. For example, calls-to-action can direct readers to: ❯❯ Maps – Help customers find a store or class ❯❯ Add to calendar – Allow people to add sale and event dates to their calendar as reminders ❯❯ Mobile apps – Ask users if they’d like to open an email link in a mobile browser or smartphone app; if the latter, possibly reward them for using the branded app.

With the explosive social marketing opportunities at hand, marketers need to find solutions that allow them to have the customer sell for them when they cannot. Picture a consumer sharing an email campaign on almost any social network with just the click of a button. Once shared, that subscriber’s friends and followers can see the marketer’s email offer and interact with it, thus amplifying the exposure of the offer to previously unaware or unengaged consumers. Here’s an Example ❯❯ John Smith belongs to Acme’s mailing list ❯❯ Acme sends John an email campaign ❯❯ John Smith socially shares Acme’s email campaign on his Facebook page ❯❯ Chris Jones, Facebook friend of John Smith, notices the shared email offer and clicks on it to view the email campaign ❯❯ Chris Jones subsequently subscribes to Acme’s mailing list and purchases an Acme product

5. Leverage Social Media to Increase Revenue Instead of managing customer relationships using the traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) model, marketers are

When properly tracked, this type of Customer Managed Relationship grants marketers visibility into the value each of their subscribers brings beyond email opens and clicks. In the example above, Acme did not

have a relationship with Chris Jones prior to John Smith’s social sharing. This positive result can influence how Acme communicates with John Smith going forward, perhaps incentivizing him to share more offers that bring in trackable and attributable revenue. This new concept of social attribution gives marketers the ability to grow their opt-in email lists, monetize their social media landscape, and measure the effectiveness of their email-driven, socially-shared campaigns. Intrigued by this concept? So were we! Wait until you see what we’ve done about it. Using these 5 basic strategies can have a tremendous influence on a marketer’s multichannel program. They work together to deliver a seamless cross-channel customer experience while providing palpable results and strengthening the customer-brand relationship. Jacob Ciesielski is the General Manager and President of InfoCanada from Infogroup. He brings his data-driven marketing expertise and his dynamic energy to InfoCanada. With a client-centric philosophy in business, Jacob’s solution based strategy provides a new approach to business development and aligns InfoCanada to be a major player in the competitive landscape of data and digital marketing. Jason Warnock is Vice President of Market

Intelligence & Measurement, Yesmail Interactive. He is a seasoned veteran of email deliverability and digital marketing. Jason joined Yesmail in 2006 as the Director of Deliverability where he transformed Yesmail Deliverability Intelligence into an industry leading solution through enhanced offerings of technology and client services.

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Engagement & Analytics

Putting things straight Time to figure out engagement in a hyper-connected world (before it’s too late) – Part 1 By Geoff Linton

E

ngagement is the most misunderstood word in marketing. If you ask digital marketers, you get 50 different definitions and measures. Most of the measures are too narrow or short sighted and have little to do with behaviour. It’s time to put things straight. In the old days (10 years ago), marketers didn’t fret about measuring engagement. It was about share of market and purchase intent metrics from market research. Customer satisfaction was an okay benchmark of success. Marketers focused more on pushing their idea/message to the right target through the right media. Things have certainly changed! In my attempt to write an “engagement manifesto,” I did a lot of Google searches, read numerous whitepapers, and scoured the top books on marketing. The research results are scary. The big challenge for marketers and their agencies is that the media landscape has shifted. Shoppers are consuming media differently. Digital is filling the voids of time for consumers who are mobile. The traditional AIDA buying funnel has been replaced with “the loop”. Advertisers are not in the persuasion business anymore. Marketing is about managing customer behaviour. But before you can influence, you need to engage. Studies indicate that marketing messages aren’t as relevant or targeted as they should be. It is common that 20% of the messages sent are not relevant.1 Outbound “push” messaging needs to be more carefully planned in the increasingly complex, hyperconnected world. Too many marketers are too busy on tactics and as a result 33% of companies are doing a poor job on Customer Experience.2 Since engagement is a subset of Customer Experience, I decided to look at the eleaders for some clues for success. A small minority of marketers (3%) are doing an excellent job at Customer Experience. 3 One of them, Amazon, makes the claim that they are “the world’s largest engaged community”! What makes Amazon so great? Wide selection of products, ❱ DMN.ca

simple to use website, mobile friendly communications, trusted brand, and of course, collaborative filtering through a robust recommendation engine. The payoff for better customer experience is incremental purchase, higher customer retention, and a bit of word of mouth (ratio of 12:7:1). The payoff can be substantial because a 10% lift in the Customer Experience Index can have a +3% increase in gross revenues [Source; Forrester Research, Customer Experience Survey]. But how do leaders get better engagement? Leaders take a more holistic view to messaging and interactions. Given advances in technology (software and hardware), marketers have the tools to listen to social media and better coordinate outbound messaging. Eleaders give different teams the messaging tools but coordinate centrally. Tesco in the UK has two full-time employees who act as air-traffic control. Some of our Canadian clients use a Marcom Planning Tool that centralizes the details of all campaigns across multiple brands/divisions. The result is better orchestration, improved engagement, and a better customer experience. Smart marketers believe that customer engagement is the number one priority. According to a McKinsey Consulting study, 31% of marketers believe that improving customer engagement generates the most potential value (big data was 19%, automation 15%). Defining engagement (the three headed monster) Marketers should never use only one metric to measure engagement! Engagement is a multi-faceted concept; it has many layers. Academics define customer engagement with a specific brand as “the level of a customer’s cognitive, emotional and behavioural investment in specific brand interactions.”4 One of the key words is investment. Customers invest their time and money with a brand and they have certain expectations. They learn about the brand and its value proposition and benefits. Ideally marketers want

them to get emotionally invested and embrace. Engaged/Invested customers become loyal (just look at the constant stream of Starbucks customers). But engagement just doesn’t happen… it builds over time. It is the cumulative outcome of all the interactions and experiences with a brand. Leading consultant McKinsey & Co says that “in today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related activities.” Some activities are initiated by the brand and other interactions are started by the customers. McKinsey advises companies to think of engagement as an enterprise wide initiative and all groups should adopt a “pervasive marketing mindset”. Contacts and interactions need to be aligned and timed right. Digital agency Razorfish thinks even more broadly, “Engagement isn’t just about a channel. It is about the consumers’ relationship with a brand, his or her ability to choose how and when to engage, and the value each channel represents.”5 From a practical perspective there are multiple factors that marketers can use to build engagement. Razorfish conducted an empirical study of engagement based on their client data and they shortlisted the factors (in order of priority) to: Valued, Trust, Efficiency, Consistency, Relevance and Control. It is interesting to note that the first 3 factors most correlate with engagement. A quick description of the factors are below: 1. Value – When companies deliver on their value proposition and email marketing promises. Unique content from the brand. Plus relevant information and offers targeted to end user. 2. Efficiency – How easy is it to engage with the brand - When a company reduces friction for the customer. Streamline the services to improve the experience – i.e. creating a shopping list, sending messages to the right device at the best time 3. Trust – When a customer feels

confident that a company is credible and respects its privacy and data. Explicit permission is best for email marketing. 4. Consistency – When the company presents uniformity in communication and messaging. Messaging augments each other and improve the customer experience 5. Relevance – When a customer feels the messaging from a company is interesting and applicable to their needs. i.e based on your shopping history or your desired preferences outlined in the preference center 6. Control – When a consumer feels they can determine, if when and how a company will communicate with him or her. Timeliness of feedback. Truly engaged customers are committed and may have several digital relationships with you. Getting their email permission is the first level of trust but if you can get them to opt-in to mobile SMS and share their social identities, then you have the trifecta. Customers who engage through 3 channels generate response rates 30x the average.6 Remember that engaged customers also believe in reciprocity; if you are good to them then they will support you as a shopper and maybe as an evangelist. From the customer perspective But who cares what the marketers think… the customer perspective is the most important!! It’s a global and digital marketing world which means that information is only a key stroke away. As a result, customers are smarter, better informed, and “always on”. It is getting trickier in the hyperconnected world because customers have more devices and the purchasing loops are more complex. They also have high expectations and are careful with their trust. There’s no normal, linear sales purchase path. Marketers need to keep in mind the following considerations for the 24/7 world: Customers are Bombarded with Messages: Customers receive messages in various formats: mail, phone, email, social, digital signage etc. The average June 2014


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Engagement & Analytics consumer subscribes to at least 13 commercial email programs. Over 45% of Americans have more than 10 online “handles.” 7 ❯❯ Customers Don’t Delineate/ Differentiate the Type of Message… it’s all the same brand to them. ❯❯ People Consume Content on Demand: consumers choose the media on their own terms. ❯❯ Customers Act on Messages that are Relevant & that Resonate: Time is precious. They only have a limited amount of time to read/browse ❯❯ Clients Expect a Better Experience: they use email and social for customer service to resolve customer service issues. They want streamlined processes and relevant info at their fingertips. ❯❯ Customers are Always Connected: 45% of consumers own 3 or more internet devices (desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet) and 41% have more than 6 online identities (different email addresses, various social accounts). [Source: Digital Loop Aima] Marketers need to throw out their traditional assumptions about media consumption because digital behaviour is still evolving. Consumers are absorbed by smartphones. Look at real individuals and their interaction patterns. Content and context of the message are big factors. Note that many B2C marketers are seeing interesting nuances in tablet and device behaviour. Some experts estimate that 10% of web traffic is now on tablets but our B2C clients see that email readership on a tablet is double that. Engagement behaviour in different sectors A marketer’s dream is to create a critical mass of engaged evangelists and supporters. But the product and

Where does email messaging fit in the digital plan?

When you stop to think of it, marketers have similar, fixed attitudes with tried-and-true channels because of the same ubiquity, longevity, and familiarity. Websites are constantly being tweaked and optimized, whereas email is often categorized as a cheap direct response vehicle—and is treated as such. Yet customers may still derive a lot of value from email—value that is not optimized by some marketers because they pigeonhole that channel. service category also has an influence on their propensity for engagement. Most consumers are not as involved and engaged in insurance as they are with their favourite retailers. Sexy categories such as entertainment get higher engagement due to consumer interest in the category. Grocery has high email clickstream metrics and good engagement because families have to eat each week and people like food. Digital provides great utility for grocery shoppers because it makes shopping easier and saves them time. For grocers, the key action each week is the battle for the shopping list. Grocers take great care to help their customers prepare shopping lists through apps and emails. There are significant differences in mobile grocery shopping behaviour between Moms, Men and Millennials.8 The grocery sector is undergoing a complete digitization transformation. Service businesses such as banks have different challenges. “Shopping” for new services is not as frequent but there are lots of interactions and customer service moments of truth. The growth opportunities for financial marketers are typically tied to six different journeys. Onboarding new customers increases cross-selling propensity and also has an impact on long term retention. Buying a home or getting married is another key lifecycle journey that banks leverage. Note: a regular monthly email newsletter reduces attrition and can have a big

Highest user adoption

impact, but it needs to be delivered at the right time. For highly time sensitive messages, our banking clients use SMS as the preferred channel. One of the most frustrating customer service experiences is the monthly bill. Telcos have found that using digital video bills can reduce call center traffic considerably. One of our clients creates a video explanation of the bills for new clients. We deploy personalized messages with links to their email or SMS. These messages get huge open and click metrics and most people watch the entire video. It saves our client a ton of money in call center costs. Marketers also need to keep in mind the context of the message and the optimal send time for any outbound message. Each individual often has “small windows” of time to engage and they consume different content on different devices. The question is when to engage them and with what content. Where does email messaging fit in the digital plan When you stop to think of it, marketers have similar, fixed attitudes with tried-and-true channels because of the same ubiquity, longevity, and familiarity. Websites are constantly being tweaked and optimized, whereas email is often categorized as a cheap direct response vehicle—and is treated as such. Yet customers may still derive a lot of value from email— value that is not optimized by some

Lowest cost of ownership

marketers because they pigeonhole that channel. Conclusion Marketers don’t think holistically about engagement. Many just want the magic metric that says they have a healthy base. But engagement is not a simple goal (or milestone)… it is an outcome. It’s a cumulative byproduct of many marketing factors. If marketers do them well and listen to customers, the customers become engaged. Engagement is the path to stronger relationships and customer intimacy. Provide a better customer experience and the desired behaviour and monetary benefits (yes profits) will flow. The hyper-connected world provides some challenges but also bring opportunities for better customer experiences. Upcoming Rant: Part 2 of this article will outline how marketers should measure engagement. Forget the neuroscience & intent measures, we will talk data, reports and analytics. Geoff Linton is the President of Inbox Marketer. 1 Aimia Digital Loyalty Loop study 2013. 2 Forrester Research North American Technographics Report 2012 3 ibid 4 Dr Linda Hollebeek University of Auckland Business School 5 “Liminal: Customer Engagement in Transition”, Razorfish, 2011 6 SDL, Email Experience Council conference 2014 7 “The Four Futures: Digital Loyalty Survey”, Martin Hayward, VP AIMIA 2013 8 Tapped Mobile

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June 2014

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Engagement & Analytics

Bridging the gap

Environics Analytics responds to data shortfall created by government changes to Canadian census By Amy Bostock

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hen the government made the long-form census voluntary going into 2011, quality concerns led Statistics Canada not to officially release National Household Survey data at the neighbourhood dissemination level. For marketers, who use dissemination area (DA) data to make informed decisions about trade areas, service districts, merchandising and media planning, this left a big hole in their campaign toolbox. In order to fill this hole, Environics Analytics released the newest version of Census Plus which combines the popular variables from the 2011 Canadian census and enhanced data from the National Household Survey as well as small-level, neighbourhood data that was not officially released by Stats Can due to changes in their methodology.

❱ DMN.ca

“We had our statisticians and methodologists spend many months trying to fill in that gap, developing processes to produce data usable for marketers at the smallest neighbourhood level, the dissemination area or the DA,” said Michael Weiss, Vice President of Marketing for Environics Analytics. “As many of you know, many marketers use DA level data to make informed decisions about trade areas, service districts, merchandising and media planning. And Census Plus is designed to provide business, government agencies and non-profits with the data on which they rely.” “Canada is the only country in the western world that we know of that has a voluntary vehicle for a censuslike product. There are other countries that have surveys and do surveys there periodically. There are other countries

that rely on administrative data. But the concept of a survey that is designed to give a detailed portrait of a national population and making that survey voluntary … Canada is unique in that as our methodology,” said Jan Kestle, Founder of Environics Analytics. “The implications of that decision (to change the methodology) were that there was a 67 per cent response rate to that voluntary national household survey, which is what we used to call the long form census. So, when we now talk about the census, we are talking about those very small number of questions that were asked of everyone. That is the census. “And now, there is this other thing called the National Household Survey, which was collected from 67 per cent of the population. When you collect in a voluntary fashion on surveys, you are very happy with a 67 per

cent response rate. But it is also not unexpected at all and, as a matter of fact, expected, that there would be some bias in who would choose to complete and not complete. Typically, in sample surveys, the response rate varies quite a bit by age, by gender. The lowest on participation rate in the census was very often young males of a certain age. And certainly, by income level, there is a lot of variation in response. So, when the results were compiled, there was a lot of work done on understanding how that response bias affected the census. And there was a decision made by Statistics Canada not to release the data for the smallest level of geography for which they had traditionally released data, which is the census dissemination area level.” But for most marketers or analysts or people working in the social service sector, small area data is viewed as

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Engagement & Analytics neighbourhoods in which people live and customized trade areas, and so, the decision, that the data were not of sufficient quality to release the smallest area units for the use by marketers and analysts and social scientists, left a big gap. “Census Plus is our product from Environics Analytics that attempts to fill that gap,” said Kestle. “We do not believe that this is a replacement for the long form census data in the sense that we acknowledge that it is unlikely to be as good. But we don’t have any way of knowing since we have no truth out there now to go and compare with. But what we do know is that we use the best practices and that we created variables by looking at the trends between 2001 and 2006. We were also able to bring in data from external sources, things like immigration data, information about income that we could get from other kinds of administrative data, and create, using what we believe would be the methodologies that most statisticians and experts in the field would agree are the best ways to approach the problem.” Census Plus contains a data set of about a thousand variables. It is not every variable that would typically be acquired from Statistics Canada in a profile series database for dissemination areas. But it is a combination of variables that Environics Analytics determined are most important to the marketplace and also variables where they felt confident in doing a good job and meeting their quality level of producing data to fill that gap. Why we need census data According to Doug Norris, Environics Analytics’ Senior Vice President and Chief Demographer Informer, Director General of Demographic and Statistics at Stats Can, one of the real justifications of the census is that it is the only source of reliable, consistent information for all the parts of our country. “And yes, we get data for metropolitan Toronto once a month from the Labour Force Survey and lots of good data. But there are lots of small towns, villages, places like that, that only the census provides data for. And so, it was felt for a century that it really justified the cost. It justified the nature of the census as a mandatory vehicle. Asking citizens, yes, we need this because you are all benefiting from the results that businesses, organizations and government make with this June 2014

information. It improves your lives. Nevertheless, the government decided to make the long form voluntary and it was a 68 per cent response rate. It is not the 68 per cent response rate that is the problem. If the 68 per cent response rate was right across the country, Stats Can could adjust the data and it would be really good. The problem is that parts of the country had a 90 per cent response rate and parts of the country had a 30 per cent response rate. And that variability, in some cases, variability in very close proximity of one area to another, made it very, very difficult, in fact, pretty much impossible, for Stats Can to take the survey and to modify it or adjust it or, in technical terms, weight it, to represent the total population. It just can’t be done when you get such a wide variation in response rates. Stats Can did the best they could. But at the end of the day, they decided they just couldn’t put out the data for small areas.” One of the things that the new Census Plus has done is bring consistency to the total population in the National Household Survey and the census. “Another area where we were able to detect some issues is in the ethnocultural data,” said Norris. “The reason we were able to do that was because the question around mother tongue was asked in the census. So, we had a pretty good benchmark, a gold standard, for mother tongue. And mother tongue is related to country of origin, related to visible minority status. So, we were able to look at relationships and spotted some real strange relationships that, historically, didn’t seem to stand up. So, we were able to develop some techniques to make adjustments to some of the ethnocultural data, immigration and visible minority status, in particular. “Finally, the income area, Stats Can really had a very, very strong warning about the income data, clearly, underestimating high-income earners. But they couldn’t put out, for example, estimates of low income, so-called, poverty measures. Traditionally, they didn’t release those. They used an alternate methodology. So, there was a real sign to the income data. The problem with income is not only the 30 per cent who didn’t fill out the questionnaire, but in addition, even those who got partially into the questionnaire, many of them never hit the income question. So, there is missing data in addition to the 30 per cent. So, there is a lot of missing data,

essentially, on income that Stats Can had to impute or estimate or try and adjust for, much more than in the past. That makes the income data very, very problematic. So, we took an alternate approach of turning back to Stats Can census data, tax data, and using trends in tax data to try and model the data we used.” Norris and EA’s modelling statisticians spent many months applying industry best practices to develop estimates of DA-level data for the NHS. These methods filled in missing values and eliminated random rounding for both NHS and Census data. The key inputs for creating reliable DA-level NHS data included custom-ordered NHS tables, suppressed for confidentiality but not quality. The result is a dataset for NHSbased variables that is consistent with the 2011 Census data derived from the compulsory Census. CensusPlus provides more than a thousand demographic variables available for any geographic level—be it standard census and postal geographies or custom client trade areas. “Marketers use this data to

understand areas and create easily-defined trade areas but also increasingly use data at the neighbourhood level, the neighbourhood being just a couple hundred households, to append characteristics to customers in a marketing database,” said Kestle. “The other is to say, based on where you live … I may know what you spend in my store. I may know how many times you visit me. I may know whether or not you donate to my charity. But I don’t know that much about you. But because you live at a particular address and I know your postal code, then I can make a good inference based on highquality, small-area data about whether or not you are likely to be living in a family and what your income level is and what your education is. These kinds of attribution of small area data to consumers used in the aggregate have proven, over the years, to be extremely accurate and valuable in terms of predicting what consumers do. They also reduce the respondent burden for consumers considerably. They are an essential element of what marketers use.”

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Operations & Logistics

Dear Gmail users Demystifying the tabbed inbox By Tom Sather

L

ast summer, Gmail unveiled the tabbed inbox. The new inbox sorts emails into tabs - Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums - based on how Gmail classifies an email. Understandably, this move caused nervousness amongst marketers. Marketing emails would be viewed in the Promotions tab, and many were left wondering if Gmail users would visit the promotions tab, or visit it less frequently Primary tab. Many businesses began a series of proactive “Move us to the Primary tab” campaigns so marketing emails would be visible in the main tab. Are these campaigns effective? Even if the campaigns are effective, recent developments with Gmail may cause many to reconsider this tactic. Return Path’s latest research report, The Tabbed Inbox, looked at consumer data to see how users’ behaviors were changing after the rollout of Gmail’s new interface. Looking specifically at the “Move Me” campaigns showed that Gmail users were largely unmoved. Out of 65,507 email messages seen during the time frame, only 61 campaigns landed in the Primary tab. In the month of October, 10 major brands were still using the “Move Me” campaigns, but none of them resulted in anyone actually moving the message to the Primary tab. This means one of two things. The subscribers didn’t see the “move me” message since those landed in the promotions tab, or they simply don’t work because Gmail users prefer having their email sorted into different views. The research overwhelmingly supports the latter. The data supports the idea that Gmail users love the tabs. By looking at how Gmail users configured and reconfigured their inboxes after the change, a mere 0.25% of Gmail users turned off their tabbed inbox to return to the old view. Also, Gmail users are complaining less about marketing emails clogging their inboxes. Messages delivered to the Promotion tab had 0.16% subscriber complaint rate versus a 0.26% complaint rate for messages delivered to the Primary ❱ DMN.ca

folder. More telling, subscribers aren’t necessarily reading less marketing emails. The amount of email being read by subscribers has nearly stayed the same and has even increased for heavily engaged Gmail users, and even certain industries see higher read rates than before. Having marketing messages land in the Primary tab may actually be harmful to email marketer’s reputation and deliverability. Gmail has stated that email from businesses with a positive sending reputation will have their promotional messages land in spam less. Not only will messages land in spam less, reputation metrics like “this is spam” votes will have less of an impact for messages in the Promotions tab. In fact, Return Path analysis showed that subscribers were marking the same messages as spam even less if it lands in Promotions versus emails that land in Primary. Gmail also released a way for Gmail users to experience their Promotions tab called Grid View. Grid View turns Gmail’s Promotions tab into something akin to Pinterest, where now people can see emails come through as Featured Images, rather than plain text that only shows the sender name and subject line. The catch is that Grid View only works in the Promotions tab. Emails in the Primary tab appear as plain text as always. Early indications show that Gmail users like the new view, and if it catches on even more, we may see email campaigns saying “Dear Gmail Users - Please Move Us to Promotions.” Tom Sather is the Senior Director of Research at

Return Path. An email data and deliverability expert Tom has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behaviour was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post. June 2014


Social MEDIA

inside

supplement • Design your store for SEO success • 9 steps to a successful LinkedIn marketing strategy • You might be making these 3 mistakes on social media • Why you shouldn’t let an intern run your social media channels • Are you missing out on social media marketing opportunities?


Social MEDIA Design your store for SEO success supplement

T

here are a lot of things you can do to market your store online viz. social media, paid ad campaigns, email marketing, affiliate programs and SEO. Out of these, optimizing your site for search engines is the easiest task to implement and has the highest impact on driving traffic to your store. I say easiest because optimizing your site involves making changes to your own website code, which is fully under your control vis-a-vis say getting a link from a popular site or asking some popular personality to share your content both of which you can influence but the outcome is not under your control. Let’s look at the key challenges for an ecommerce site from an SEO perspective: ❯❯ Too many pages, too many images, too little text content - makes it difficult for search engines to understand what is the page all about ❯❯ New pages being added regularly, old pages getting removed regularly - work done previously gets lost when pages are removed. New pages require fresh effort all over again. Now let’s look at some simple things that you can do while developing your store to ensure that search engines can crawl it properly and rank it well. Tips to optimize for search engines For any ecommerce store, the 3 main pages to optimize are: Home page, category page and the product page. Of course other pages are also important but not from a search engines point of view. We’ll look at each of these 3 pages one by one but before that let’s quickly go through some optimization tips which are common to all websites, ecommerce or not: ❯❯ Each page on your site should have an unique Title and Meta Description tags. Key pages should also have Meta Keywords tag ❯❯ Heading tags (H1, H2, H3) should be used properly ❯❯ All images should have alt tags ❯❯ All links should have a title tag ❯❯ Page url should contain the main keywords of that page ❯❯ Robots.txt file for controlling access to your website files Now let’s look at optimization tips for the 3 important pages: ❱ DMN.ca

Home Page Usually, there is hardly any space to add any text on a homepage. Generally, you can put in a write-up of some 150-200 words containing your top keywords. You can highlight your keywords by making them bold. You can also link to a few important category pages from here. Category Page Category pages remain constant on your site while the products under them keep changing. You have decent scope to put in text content on the category pages. These advantages make the category pages perfect place to direct all your optimization efforts. They will serve as landing pages for traffic coming through search. You can write keyword rich content for that particular category and can also do some selling. You will find that you can break-up your product line into multiple categories which people are searching for. Ideally each of these categories should have a landing page of its own. However, if you do so, your navigation will become dense and complex. To overcome this problem, what you can consider doing is linking lower level categories from the main category pages and not from your main navigation. For example, on a formal shirts category page, you can link to full-sleeve shirts and half-sleeve shirts category pages. These two sub-category pages need not be linked from your main navigation. Product Page Deep thought needs to be given to each and every item on product page because this is where the sale happens. However, I won’t touch the items that are important but do not have a major impact on search rankings. The items that do impact your rankings are as follows: Product Title There is not much room to play here. Along with the product name, the title can also have variant details like colour, type, etc. The title should always be in H1 tag. Product Description There is ample opportunity to include useful keywords here. However, care should be taken to

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not make it look stuffed and unreadable. It should balance SEO objectives with conversion objectives. In any case, product description should always be unique and not fully copied from manufacturer’s description. Page Title Importance of page title is well known. Hence, I won’t go too much in detail over here. The challenge with an ecommerce site is that it has potentially thousands of product pages and writing titles individually for them can be a herculean task. Since most of the ecommerce sites are built on some content management system, this task can be automated. The best option is to copy the product title along with a small call to action or USP like ‘Free delivery’. This may just improve the click through rate. Meta Description Meta descriptions have very little impact on ranking. However, they do influence the click through rate significantly. These can also be auto-generated as stated above by including the description written for the product with a few USPs of the site or call to actions. Product Video Product videos are difficult and expensive to make. But they do help in improving click through from search results and actual conversion on product page. Embedding video correctly on product pages enhances the search listing significantly. Such enhanced listings tend to catch attention and hence improve click through rate. Reviews Running an ecommerce site and not collecting reviews is like standing on a gold mine and not digging. Reviews are a good way to collect customer feedback, but from a ranking point of view, they are an awesome source of unique, fresh, keyword rich content that keeps accumulating on an auto-mode across thousands of your product pages. Iksula, an ecommerce services company, implemented this methodology for an everyday essentials website and it increased the conversion rate for the products by a whopping 23%. In India though, it has been observed that we are June 2014


Social MEDIA

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not very forthcoming in sharing our reviews unless we had a really poor experience. However, there are ways of getting over this reluctance: ❯❯ Send an email to customers a few days after they’ve bought the product asking them to write a review. ❯❯ It is always difficult to get the first few reviews. Hence, you can consider incentivising reviews initially to get it up and running. You may consider offering an X% discount on their next purchase. ❯❯ You will obviously get negative reviews as well. But don’t get worried, online buyers are smart enough to smell something fishy if every review is too rosy. Questions & Answers Questions and Answers pages provide roughly the same benefit as reviews. Lots of fresh, user generated content with is auto-seeded with long tail keywords. If the questions are answered promptly, it can also help in improving conversion. Micro data Micro data helps search engines understand your content in better detail. This in turn ensures much enhanced search listing improving click-through rates. Micro-data are standardized tags that you need to add to different items in your code to make them identifiable by search engines. You can get more detail at schema.org. You should also consider adding Open Graph tags which help Facebook understand your content better. This in turn means that Facebook will be able to pick up the right items from the page when visitors share any page on your site. Page URL Of course you need to have your product name in the url. But there are a couple of things you need to be careful about. First, category names should not be included in the url especially if there are more than one. Second, since there is a possibility of two products having identical names, you should also add a unique product id at the end of the URL. Keywords in URLs help a lot, e.g. - http:// www.iksula.com/online-marketingservices.php, where “online marketing services” is the keyword phrase you attempt to rank well for. Social Buttons Though it is a trend these days to have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest buttons on product page, I think they serve as distraction when the prospect is planning to buy. You should have ideally have these on order confirmation page where the customer is more likely to flaunt his purchase. June 2014

General Tips These tips are not specific to any page but are still important. Breadcrumbs Breadcrumbs are being overlooked these days. But they are still as important. In addition to improving the navigability of the site, it also improves the internal linking of pages helping in SEO. Page Load Time Page load time has a direct correlation to bounce rate. When pages take a long time to load, users get pissed off and move away. If that was not bad, even search engines look at high page load times negatively as they spoil user experience. Hence, optimizing your code and hosting for high performance is a must. Sitemap Sitemaps are important to improve navigation across your site. Online marketers know that there are two kinds of sitemaps. One that is for the visitors and the other that is for the search engines. The latter helps search engines locate all the pages on the site. It is difficult to have a visitor sitemap on an ecommerce site with all the product pages listed. At max, you can consider having all the key pages including category pages listed there. Product pages are just too many and end up crowding the sitemap. Hence, they should be avoided. However, the sitemap that you make for search engines (sitemap.xml) needs to have all the pages, including the product pages, listed. If you try to include all the urls in one single sitemap file, it may become too large. Instead, it is a good practice to have multiple sitemaps with an index sitemap. An ideal sitemap structure: ❯❯ sitemap.xml: Sitemap index file that links to all child sitemaps given below ❯❯ sitemap_products.xml: Sitemap of all product pages ❯❯ sitemap_categories.xml: Sitemap of all category pages ❯❯ sitemap_blog.xml: Sitemap of all blog posts ❯❯ sitemap_pages.xml: Sitemap of all other static pages Besides the above points, there are other on-site metrics like pages per visit and time on site that help improve your ranking on search engines. However, these metrics are dependent more on your merchandising skills. Well that’s about it for this time. Hope the article helped you learn a few new tricks to improve your search rankings. For any questions or comments, do write to me at neerav@iksula.com.

9 steps to a successful LinkedIn marketing strategy By Bassem Ghali

L

inkedIn is the most business-oriented social network that exists. Whether it is networking, job hunting, audience or lead development, LinkedIn is a powerful platform for both professionals and businesses. Top 9 LinkedIn company page marketing tips: 1. Complete your company profile entirely: Complete all company information, Product Pages, Service Pages and include images, banners, videos where appropriate. You also have the option to customize Product and Service Pages and have different versions visible to different audiences! 2. Create showcase pages: A Showcase Page is a dedicated sub-page of your LinkedIn Company Page and is designed to highlight part of your business brand (eg – a dedicated Page to highlight your Marketing Department, or Education Services). Showcase Pages provide an excellent opportunity for targeted marketing and longterm engagement. 3. Share relevant content: Share content with your audience and provide it in a simple, easy to read format (eg – a top 6 list or infographic). Be sure to vary the type of content shared and learn what resonates most with your audience. Keep the amount of selfpromotion to a minimum, your audience is already a fan. Instead, hold special promotions and/or deals exclusively for your online fans! 4. Use engaging titles, images and videos: Grab attention by using interesting information/facts in article titles and headings. Showcase your expertise like a journalist! Successful Company Pages share high-quality images and videos that are eye-catching and relevant to their audience. 5. Ask questions: Learn about your audience and understand their behaviours, interests, concerns, etc. Encourage audience engagement by asking questions and responding to comments. 6. Share company news: bring your audience ‘behind the scenes’ and share honours your business has received, or awards/ accomplishments earned by employees. 7. Sponsored updates: Drive leads from your Company Page by using Sponsored Updates and promoting your best content or current promotions. LinkedIn has specific audience targeting capabilities that are unique to the platform including: seniority, company size, industry and more. 8. Editorial calendar: It is important to be consistent with social updates in order to develop trust and engagement with audiences. In addition to developing connections and monitoring comments it is beneficial to have an editorial calendar and plan your social updates in advance. 9. Test, evaluate and amend your LinkedIn strategy until you have found the optimal combination of update frequency, timing and content that works for your business!

Bassem Ghali is a search engine marketing strategist and speaker with more than 8

years of experience managing online marketing strategies for some of Canadian’s largest. Bassem is the driving force behind online marketing company Green Lotus (www.greenlotus.ca) and has an knack for creating innovative online marketing strategies for medium, large businesses and non-profits.

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You might be making these 3 mistakes on social media By David Bell

W

hen I audit a business’ social media efforts, I encounter the same three recurring issues. The first issue is a business has been told that in order to market their brand effectively, it’s necessary to be online everywhere at once. The second issue is when companies post the same piece of content to Pinterest as they did Facebook and the same content to Google+ as they did Instagram (also known as content mirroring). The third issue is that when users engage with a business, the business will respond without doing any background research on the customer, which makes for a conversation that is not only impersonal, but may not adequately address the issue at hand. It’s quite obvious that as a business in 2014 that you need to establish a presence on social media...but, you have to do it right. As a business you do not need to be on every platform. The reason you should not be on every social network is because you probably don’t have the capacity to create value added content that is unique to 6 different platforms each day. That is the honest truth. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Your business might have established a voice on Twitter, but might not be generating the same results on Instagram. Your business might have developed a solid reputation on Facebook, but might have trouble sparking conversations on Twitter — this isn’t a bad thing, but where you see success, focus more effort there and you will continue to succeed. Your customers are not on every single platform; find out where they are and the spend the greatest amount of your time there. If you’re going to involve your brand on more than one social platform, publishing content that varies from one platform to another is essential to getting the most out of your business. Creating a single piece of content and publishing it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ can have negative

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connotations as it may give off the impression that a brand is uninspired and lack motivation. If you are unable to dedicate time to creating pieces of individual content for each platform, there’s no harm in dwindling your efforts down to encompass a select few so that each one of them can have a mind and voice of their own. Content will still employ the same resources and retain the visibility you want for your brand, but be tapered and tailor made to fit who your visitors are. One of the many reasons why you don’t want to mirror content is so that you can limit customer fall off. For example: Bill has decided to follow your company on Facebook and Instagram. Bill has a vested interest in what you do and wants to learn more about how your brand. Bill decides to take a 15 minute break from work on Tuesday to scroll through his Facebook news feed. You’ve caught his attention by posting a great piece of content which provokes him to reach out to you. Then, Bill decides to check what’s happening on Instagram. He sees the same piece of content on Instagram that your company just posted to Facebook and unfollows you because it appears as though your brand - will begin to, or already has - fallen into a pattern of repetition, with no end in sight. Until you convince him that you’re capable of producing content that is specific in nature to the platform you’re advertising on, Bill will no longer frequent one - if not all - of your social media outlets because he has no reason to. The same message has been duplicated. It’s already been acknowledged that Bill likes your brand, so give him a reason to explore your multiple channels and engage with each one of them in a different facet. Mirroring content makes your businesses social media efforts look sloppy. Each platform has different official and unofficial rules for posting: sizes, colours, text allowances, etc. If your business has taken the plunge to build equity within social media, do it with substance and create native content to be distributed

to each individual social channel. Don’t mirror. The last mistake that you might be making, which could be one of the biggest social sins, is not doing research on a user before interacting with them. Treat every conversation on social media like a mini-professional meeting. Are you going to walk into a meeting without knowing the person’s name and a little bit about them? Of course you aren’t. If a person interacts with your business, spend 2 minutes scrolling through their Twitter feed or even do a quick Google search on the person so you have information that will allow you to develop context. This will lead to valuable conversation that can have real-life implications. There’s nothing I dislike more than when auditing a businesses social media presence or even interacting with a brand personally and they respond with a monotonous, corporate pre-written message. When talking with users, be personal and fun; let loose a little. You will be amazed how much better your users interact with you if you talk to them as a friend and not a contact in your CRM. My last piece of advice on this subject: always remember that there is another human being on the other side and treat them as one. Social media is the most powerful platform to grow your business. Choose the right platform for your business to begin storytelling, create native platform specific content, and have meaningful conversations with your customers. From there, the sky's the limit. David Bell is the co-founder of DASH — a Canadian based social media agency working with brands to effectively story tell and engage their customers by building equity in social platforms. If you have any questions at all, feel free to send him an email: david@ wearedash.com You can follow DASH on Twitter, @dashagency. http://www.wearedash.com June 2014


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By Jeff Novak

I

t’s amazing how many companies still have an intern or junior running their social media channels. Businesses don’t leave their customer service management, real time content and brand monitoring to an intern offline, so why they do online continues to puzzle social and digital media professionals. Customer service JD Power published a study in February 2013 indicating that “67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing”1, with servicing defined as asking product/service related questions or looking for resolutions to their problems2. The number of people using social media channels as the first point of contact for customer service with the brands they interact with is only going up. It is time that companies recognize that social media is another customer service channel and that it requires the same attention as their other channels. Companies invest a lot of time and resources training customer service representatives, developing policies, guidelines, handbooks and escalation processes. They pride themselves on statistics like how quickly a phone call is answered, customer satisfaction rates and first call resolution statistics. Yet, these same companies have no guidelines for responding on social media. Rather, they have someone unqualified to respond to customers on these channels or even worse, ignore customer posts and tweets completely. There are many benefits to companies that properly leverage social media as a customer service channel: 1. It is often where their customers already are. According to the Globe and Mail, 14 million Canadians log on to Facebook every day3. That is almost half the population. Companies introduced new customer service channels like email and live chat because that is how their customer wanted to interact with them once the Internet came of age. The same is true now of social media. 2. It is relatively inexpensive. Compared with the costs of setting up and maintaining a call-centre, social media is a bargain. Social media managers can access social media channels from anywhere at anytime. Compare the overhead in maintaining a 24/7 call centre compared to hiring a social media agency whose managers are equipped with Smartphones and this is a no-brainer. 3. It is public. A lot of companies see this as a negative, but that is the wrong attitude. If matters are handled promptly and properly, companies should want it to be public. It is an opportunity for a brand to demonstrate its ability to satisfy its customers. A customer who has had an issue that is June 2014

Why you shouldn’t let an intern run your social media channels quickly resolved is a happy customer. A good social media agency will amplify that goodwill beyond just that individual customer. 4. It is efficient. If one customer is having an issue, chances are other customers are as well. Answering questions in the public forum allows brands to provide that feedback once and still reach a large number of customers. Real-time content I know of several companies who have attempted to counteract the inexperience of their social media managers with a content approval process. Content is developed well in advance and approved prior to posting. While it is recommended for brands to develop social media content calendars that outline all of their planned posts across social media channels that cannot account for all of their content. There must be a certain percentage of content to reference current events and unplanned surprises. Social media is an extremely dynamic forum, one that unfolds quickly and in real-time and a social media manager must have the ability and the authority to respond. Providing room for spontaneity allows brands to develop content that is apropos for a current situation. When it is announced that a city is in the middle of a heat wave, that is a perfect time for Coca-Cola to remind people how cold and refreshing its product is. It also allows for brands to act quickly when planned content is longer appropriate. I once worked with a brand that was launching a large campaign featuring a song performed by an up and coming band. On the day the first post was planned to go up, one of the band members died in an unfortunate accident. We immediately changed the content from hyping the new song, to expressing our sorrow and sending regards to the band members and their families. Imagine the possible backlash had an intern following the editorial schedule posted the original, approved messages. Brand opportunities Responding to customer service requests and negative comments are one thing, but an inexperienced social media manager is also likely to miss other opportunities. Discussions about a brand (either yours or a competitors), or about the vertical a brand occupies, are rife with valuable information. A social media agency will recognize important conversations, capture the relevant information and escalate it to the appropriate decision makers with recommendations for action. While many companies respond to negative posts, it is just as important to respond to positive ones.

Engaging with satisfied customers is an effective way to grow and nurture a strong community. A strong community will come to the defense of a company in the face of negative posts, and “trolls”. A brand’s response to even a seemingly benign comment made by a user in social media can quickly go viral and reach millions of people. That can either be a positive or a negative. Knowing when and how to enter conversations is an important decision that should not be left to the inexperienced. Many companies fear social media, but they can no longer avoid it. Unlike a customer service email, a complaint to a salesperson or call to a call centre, a post broadcast in social media and a brand’s response, is immediately public, with the potential to be seen by millions of people. A tool with that kind of reach requires the proper resources with the experience and knowledge to be able to both promote and protect a brand. Many people believe they can run social media for brands because they manage their own Facebook page, or have hundreds of followers on Twitter. That does not make them qualified to speak and act on behalf of your brand. Hiring an agency to run your social media channels provide access to not just one resource, but often an entire team of qualified experts that have the experience and wherewithal to effectively be the voice of your brand. How to choose a social media agency You need to make sure you have a good rapport and clear communication with any agency you hire to represent your business. Beyond a comfortable working relationship based in mutual trust and respect I advise you: 1. See if the agency you are looking at practices what they preach 2. Do they have experience executing the sort of projects you have in mind? 3. Are you able to meet the people performing the work on your account, or just the sales team? 4. How do they propose to measure their performance? 5. Do they have an escalation policy in the event of a crisis? Jeff Novak is one of the early pioneers of social media in Toronto,

and has written social media strategy for some of the world’s top brands, including Coca-Cola, 3M and SAP. He is currently VP, Social Media at Hooplah, while also teaching social marketing at George Brown College. 1 http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2013-social-media-benchmarkstudy 2 http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2013-social-media-benchmarkstudy 3 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/10-million-canadians-usefacebook-on-mobile-daily/article16976434/

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How to execute a successful

Twitter

campaign

By Justin Cook

I

’m constantly shocked by how every marketer I come across seems to just love Twitter. Or perhaps it’s not the platform itself they’re in love with, but rather the idea that “people are there, therefore we need to be there”. With 255 million monthly active users and half a billion Tweets per day, it’s understandable. However, simply “being there” is a far cry from a successful campaign, any more than shouting in a crowded subway station will successfully sell product. Deriving any sort of benefit from using Twitter for business requires proper expectations, a strategy, and good old hard work. And it’s worth stating that while the cost versus benefit ratio of Twitter remains fuzzy, a business should first ensure their SEO and paid search campaigns are running well before diving headlong into Twitter. So what is Twitter Actually Good For? There’s a general misconception about Twitter; that it is the place to advocate your brand (or personal

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brand), and that people naturally want to hear what you have to say. The result of this is a whole lot of unsocial ‘noise’, similar to everyone just getting up on the roof of their building and shouting at the world. The harsh reality is: no one’s listening. So, what is Twitter good for? It’s a fantastic media outlet, great for company announcements, and even better for customer service. It’s extremely useful for live events and conferences. And since you’re thinking marketing strategy, yes, if done properly it’s good for engaging in conversation with like brands and influencers. What Not To Do Here are nine simple rules to help you avoid common pitfalls of using Twitter for business: 1. Don’t expect sales 2. Don’t even necessarily expect leads 3. Don’t expect your website’s “SEO” to be affected 4. Don’t shout 5. Don’t waste people’s time with valueless ‘fluff’ (e.g. random thoughts for the day)

6. Don’t delegate Tweeting without proper moderation 7. Don’t just share your own content, but share industry experts as well 8. Don’t duplicate tweets 9. Don’t use automated replies or Direct Messages every time you get a new follower Examples of Poorly Executed Campaigns (a.k.a. “Wasted time & budget”) One of the more terrifying aspects of Twitter (or any social media) is the social aspect of it. Ultimately, you’re relinquishing control of the conversation. If you have an amazing product, and/or great customer service, that can work in your favour. If, on the other hand, you’re McDonald’s, it doesn’t! In 2012, McDonald’s created a campaign to promote their farmers’ stories using #McDstories. Within 2 hours disgruntled patrons used the hashtag to share their horror stories! Lesson learned: always think about possible misuses before promoting a hashtag.

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Another great example of a bad example is Lee Jeans. With full force behind “real-time marketing” they tried to capitalize on the sensation of the #Skywire tightrope event. By the end of it they’d produced a whopping twelve (12) ‘Favorites’, which may or may not have sold even one pair of jeans. Not to bash the brand (I’m sure the jeans are great), but it drives home the principle of not wasting time and budget, and how easy it is to both with Twitter.

❯❯

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What To Do To achieve success with Twitter, it’s Important to first define the end goal – what is it you actually want to achieve? This will help you further define your strategy for content promotion, sharing and outreach. But what does this mean in real-world terms? How to Define a Strategy – Step-by-step Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to create a basic Twitter strategy: Step 1. Define your Target Audience Who do you want to reach? CEOs? Moms? Teenagers? It’s critical to know who you’re talking to, in order to know how to talk to them. Step 2. Determine Objectives What do you want to achieve? As stated, it’s rare you’ll drive direct leads or sales via Twitter. However, do you want to increase traffic to your website? Enhance your customer service? Simply grow your followers to promote your brand? Understanding your clear objectives will allow you to easily decide which tactics are of value and which are a waste of time. Step 3. Tweet. This may sound overly simplified – after all, you’re reading this article because you’re Tweeting now and nothing’s happening. Here are some objectives, with ‘pro’ tactics: Objective: Increase traffic to your website. Tactic: Ask and answer questions people ask. ❯❯ Search for questions you can answer using tools like Twitter’s search or Topsy. ❯❯ Use the person’s @handle - it will also be seen by their followers ❯❯ Answer questions directly and share content that solves problems ❯❯ Use tools like Twyalh.com and Klout.com to find and share for relevant content ❯❯ Embed images and videos to increase engagement ❯❯ Automate Tweets using tools like HootSuite.com, SocialOomph.com or Twitter’s own TweetDeck.com Objective: Increase followers Tactic: Engage and reward ❯❯ Have one-on-one conversations by using the public channel (@ feature) ❯❯ Thank people who re-Tweet or favourite your blog posts and ask for their thoughts to start conversations.

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Use #FollowFridays or #FF to recommend people to follow, and add a reason people should follow them (like an introduction - “Follow this people for content marketing advice @handle1 @ handle2 #FF”) Re-Tweet content from Twitter users that may be interested in what you have to say At a conference make a public list. Add people to the list who Tweet the conference. They will be notified; you will be seen as a connecter/organizer Use tools like Tweepi.com or Followerwonk.com to find, follow and engage with industry experts

Step 4. Measure It is of utmost importance to measure the impact of your Twitter campaign. This will enable you to gauge success, as well as modify tactics over time based on what’s working - or not. Depending on what your objectives are, the metrics you ‘care’ about will vary, as will the tools you use to measure them. The simplest metric is your number of followers. But unless your objective is just to increase followers, it’s hardly important. Here are some more meaningful metrics to review: ❯❯ Follower location and behaviour (using followerwonk) ❯❯ Link engagement (using bit.ly) ❯❯ Referrals to your website (using Google Analytics) ❯❯ Re-tweets & mentions (using Twitter Analytics) ❯❯ Competitors’ activity and engagement (using Twitonomy) ❯❯ Overall reach and impressions (using Tweetreach) ❯❯ Day-parting effectiveness (using Tweriod)

Twitter Dont’s

1. Don’t expect sales 2. Don’t even necessarily expect leads 3. Don’t expect your website’s “SEO” to be affected 4. Don’t shout 5. Don’t waste people’s time with valueless ‘fluff’ (e.g. random thoughts for the day) 6. Don’t delegate Tweeting without proper moderation 7. Don’t just share your own content, but share industry experts as well 8. Don’t duplicate tweets 9. Don’t use automated replies or Direct Messages every time you get a new follower

Twitter Do’s Step 1. Define your Target Audience

Who do you want to reach? CEOs? Moms? Teenagers? It’s critical to know who you’re talking to, in order to know how to talk to them.

Step 2. Determine Objectives

What do you want to achieve? As stated, it’s rare you’ll drive direct leads or sales via Twitter. However, do you want to increase traffic to your website? Enhance your customer service? Simply grow your followers to promote your brand? Understanding your clear objectives will allow you to easily decide which tactics are of value and which are a waste of time.

Step 3. Tweet.

This may sound overly simplified – after all, you’re reading this article because you’re Tweeting now and nothing’s happening.

Conclusions There truly is a lot of confusion as of how to use Twitter effectively. Due to its simplicity, Twitter is easy to ‘do’, but even easier to ‘do poorly’. As a summary, if you wish to market effectively with Twitter and not waste time and money, follow our four-step process above. Be sure to track your successes, and adjust your campaign accordingly. Remember: as much as you may feel confused, Twitter marketing is new to the entire planet – we’re all figuring it out as we go! Justin Cook is Partner, Director of Internet Marketing at 9th Co

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Are you missing out on social media marketing opportunities?

Why 60 percent of companies don't offer social customer care By Sarah Stealey Reed

I

n 2012, Gartner made a bold statement about social media customer service. “Organizations that refuse to communicate with customers by social media will face the same level of wrath as those that ignore today's basic expectation that they will respond to emails and phone calls.”1 Now, there is no denying that social media has become an integral part of our culture. The numbers change rapidly, but recent statistics show astronomical activity across the social media landscape - 1.23 billion Facebook users, 187 million unique visitors to LinkedIn each month, and 500 million tweets sent daily. Then of course there is explosive growth across Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, WhatsApp…you get the idea. Companies clearly recognize the marketing opportunity that social media provides. Yet in an often-cited study by evolve24, a Maritz Research company that specializes in social media analytics, they found that approximately 70 percent of customer service complaints made on Twitter are ignored. And for those who do receive a response, the times are slow. A 2013 study by eDigital Research reported that 80 percent of social media responses took an average of 12 hours. In the above-mentioned 2012 Gartner report, they went on to say that, “For organizations that use social media to promote their products, responding to inquiries via social media channels will be the new minimum level of response expected.” Edwin Margulies, the vice president of social and mobile product management at Five9 refers to this as the ‘normalization of social’. Essentially, social as a customer care channel is naturally becoming more commonplace. However, it sounds like there is a discrepancy, as the ‘new minimum level of response expected’ and the ‘normalization of social’ is certainly not social care reality. The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) conducted a survey in February 2014 of its contact center community in North America, including Canada, on preferences and behaviors of social media customer service. It found that while 73 percent of organizations report having a social media presence, only 39 percent formally supports social media as a customer care channel. Most companies don’t feel they have the right resources or tools in place to support customers via social media. The biggest challenges that customer service teams face when trying to offer support via social media are similar across Canadian and American businesses. They include: ❯❯ Providing accurate reporting and analytics ❱ DMN.ca

❯❯ ❯❯ ❯❯ ❯❯ ❯❯

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Listening to all the social activity Integrating social with CRM Observing and coaching agents Prioritizing customers Arming agents with tools to quickly and effectively solve problems Eliminating SPAM from agent queues Routing posts to the correct agent

That’s not to say that 60 percent of companies NEVER respond to their customers through social channels. Rather, we see that another 20 percent are communicating socially with customers, but do so on a sporadic, emergency, or ad hoc basis. This new ICMI research underwritten by Five9, focuses on an often-overlooked aspect of social customer care. ICMI was interested to compare the preferences of contact center leaders as social media users, against their behaviors as providers of social customer service. Where are the discrepancies? Why are there disparities? And can this knowledge be used to better convince organizations to provide the ‘new minimum level of response expected’ for social media? With 68 percent saying that social media is a necessary customer service channel, it is obvious that contact center leaders still need assistance with strategy and implementation. Other key findings: ❯❯ 58 percent of organizations see a social media connection to increased customer loyalty ❯❯ Almost half of social care users (49 percent) reach out through social for customer service at least once a month ❯❯ 64 percent of respondents said they were more loyal to brands, products, or companies that they followed on social media ❯❯ Of Canadians who had used social for customer service, 71 percent of Canadians say they use Facebook compared to 58 percent of total respondents ❯❯ Only 14 percent of Canadians have used Twitter to receive customer service compared to 42 percent of all respondents ❯❯ While Canadians do not differ from the average when asked “If you are not offered the customer service channel you prefer, BUT still receive good service, how satisfied are you as a customer” (the majority – 59 percent – would only be somewhat satisfied), they are less likely to base their higher satisfaction on channel preference. Sarah Stealey Reed is the content director and senior analyst

at ICMI 1 “Gartner Predicts That Refusing to Communicate by Social Media Will Be as Harmful to Companies as Ignoring Phone Calls or Emails Is Today,” Gartner, Inc., August 2012

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Resource Directory FUNDRAISING

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30

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// 29

Resource Directory LIST SERVICES

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// 30

Resource Directory Unaddressed Delivery

adm_dm_4c.pdf 1 5/24/2013 4:35:39 PM

Direct Marketing Magazine With a qualified circulation of 6,400 primary readers and another approximate 11,000 secondary readers, Direct Marketing reaches a unique audience of marketing executives and their agencies who are responsible for creating, managing, supporting and fulfilling more than $51 billion in annual sales generated through a range of direct response channels. To advertise in Direct Marketing Resource Directory Contact: Brent White, brent@dmn.ca Mark Henry, mark@dmn.ca

to advertise in direct marketing resource directory Contact: Brent White brent@dmn.ca | Mark Henry mark@dmn.ca


DIRECT ENGAGEMENT CONFERENCE


Profile for Lloydmedia Inc

Direct Marketing Magazine June 2014  

Direct Marketing Magazine June 2014  

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