Archive for the ‘marketing strategy’ Category

Feb 15
2013

Email Marketing Tips Part 1In case you missed part 1 and part 2 of this series, I discussed:

  • How and why you should segment your list
  • Quick tips on how to capture quality subscribers
  • Clean your contact list by optimizing your unsubscribe process
  • How to present information that will keep your subscribers engaged
  • And one of the most important tips – that spelling matters

In this post, I’m going to discuss avoiding “spam”-like subject lines, and how and when to assess the best time to send out your post.

Hook, Line, and High Open Rate!

9. Get creative with subject lines
Would you open an email with your own subject line? If you are selling a product or service, you will need to be creative in the way you communicate that in the subject line, sparking the readers interest, but without overselling it. Apple, for example, always has great subject lines that entice customers to open their emails (see image below).

apple email subjectline
“Overselling” or being too excited could otherwise lead your email into their spam folder and never be seen. Avoid using phrases, without qualifiers such as:

  • “CLICK HERE!”
  • “FREE!”
  • “BUY NOW!”
  • You won!
  • Don’t delete
  • Earn $$
  • Free!!!

Using ALL CAPS & exclamation marks almost guarantees your email will get lost in spam. Subject lines should be brief but also provide incentive for the viewer to open the email. Apple’s subject line is so great because of its simplicity. Their main goal is to sell the new iPad and they make sure to include the product in the subject line without quick sell phrases.

Check, Check, Ready to Send

10. Time it correctly
Now that you’ve got the right content, audience and subject line – it’s time to send the email. What is the best time to send? After some research, E-Nor finds it best to send out email blasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays around 11am PST for our clients. According to MailChimp, Tuesday and Thursday are the highest volume days. MailChimp (http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/when-is-the-best-time-to-send-emails) discovered that, “more people open email during the day than at night.” Below is MailChimp’s Email Opens by Time of Day Chart. According to the data, subscribers are more likely to open emails after 12pm, more specifically between 2-5pm (see chart below).

best time of day to email chart - mailchimp 2012
However, the real answer is it depends on the nature of your business. If your audience consists of working executives who check their email in the morning at their office, this might be a good time. However, if your audience consists of moms who check emails early in the morning before their munchkins wake up, you might have to adjust accordingly. The only way you will know though is to test, measure, and optimize. Send different types of emails over a few months and gauge what time gets the best open rate.

You may think that time and day doesn’t matter because the email is sent to the customer’s mailbox either way, but it makes a big difference whether a customer deletes the email or takes a few minutes to read it.

Conclusion

Following these tips will help you organize your emails & email lists. Most of them are pretty straightforward and in the long run will benefit your company’s open rate. Be sure to look out for more of our email marketing posts, including tips for email design, and measuring email marketing.

Feb 07
2013

Email Marketing Tips Part 1In case you missed the previous post, I discussed

  • How and why you should segment your list
  • Quick tips on how to capture quality customers
  • Clean your contact list by optimizing your unsubscribe process

In this post, I’m going to discuss the actual content, and how to present information that will keep your subscribers engaged.

Let’s Talk Content

4. Respect your subscribers
Your list is now clean. Most of your subscribers have “opted in” – they chose to receive your emails. They already like what you’re offering, so make sure not to bombard them with millions of emails.

Also, when sending emails to your subscribers, make sure your content is beneficial to them and makes their subscription worthwhile.

5. Short & sweet
Be concise and don’t waste your reader’s time. Online readers tend to have a very short attention span so send only the most necessary information. Think of the emails & deals you get daily, do you read every single sentence written? Most likely not.

If your content is more than 2 paragraphs, link the additional content back to your site. Most likely readers skim the contents of their inbox. If something catches their eye, they will read more carefully. So best practice would be to ensure very important information is at the top of the newsletter. If the reader is interested in the content, they will click to your site and read more. To learn more about getting creative with your email subject lines, look out for part three of this series.

6. What can you provide for your subscribers?
Make sure to entice your audience with helpful tips or special offers. For example, every couple months give your clients a chance to win a product or 10% off of a service you provide. To benefit you, send out a short survey to ask your customers how you’re doing, and by doing this sign them up in a drawing for a chance to win something. This will keep your subscribers engaged and helps you in getting feedback from customers.

7. Keep an open conversation
It’s proven that having a conversation with your readers – rather than throwing information at them -makes you more approachable.

The easiest way to engage conversation is through social media. You can ask a question in the email that requires an answer via Facebook or highlight your social media as part of the email. But to get viewers to answer and connect with you via social media, you will have to give them an incentive to join the conversation. Use giveaways like a free iPad, discounts on products, and/or special offers such as two for one deals to sweeten their interest. These types of offers will get your users more engaged on email and social media.

Note: If you use social media, make sure to constantly ask questions and promote your products. And think about sending your readers a poll to gauge your performance!

8. Spelling matters
This is a big one. Make sure your spelling is correct. It’s such a simple tip, but it goes a long way. Having something misspelled on your site, let alone an email, can turn your reader away from respecting you as a viable resource.

Next Post: Part 3

Thanks for reading! Now that you’ve figured out what content to put in your email, it’s time to discuss subject lines & sending your email blast. Check back next week or subscribe to this blog for the next part of this post.

Jan 17
2013

Email Marketing Tips Part 1As 2012 was coming to an end, a lot of our customers were interested in sending end-of-year email blasts. It got me thinking about all the email marketing our clients have done and how this has benefited them in different capacities. A year ago, I began trying different ways in approaching email marketing. As long as it’s been around, you may be thinking, “are there really new ideas and tips for email marketing”? Simply put, yes, there really are. Whether it is segmenting customer lists or choosing the right subject line, I’ve found that simply adding the voice of the customer into your email blasts will benefit marketers that much more.

When creating an email blast, as a marketer, you easily remember what’s important to you (conversion, buying your product, signing up for your service, etc) but often you overlook the most obvious thing – what’s important to your audience. When an email encompasses what’s important to both you and your audience it produces the best conversion rate.

As a marketer, obviously your goal is to “sell”. However, the email reader isn’t concerned about YOUR goal – they’re concerned about theirs: “Am I getting a good deal or discount?” “Is this email relevant to me?” “Is it providing relevant and interesting information?” Readers are more likely to open an email if it’s relevant to them, which actually translates into a higher conversion rate for you.

Here are proven tips to best structure – and reap the rewards of – your email campaigns:

Who should I send my emails to?

1. Segment Your List
Customers are more likely to open an email that aligns with their interests. As a marketer, segment campaign/email lists based on people’s backgrounds e.g. their shopping history. As people sign up for your newsletter, separate them into lists by leads, customers, purchase activity, interest, demography or even geography. When it’s time to send emails, all you have to do is find the specific list you want to target and send (most online email marketing services allow you to easily do this). For example, I want to target women in New York. By segmenting my lists, I can filter for and target women that live in New York. Segmenting lists and sending emails to the appropriate demographic will prevent a high unsubscribing rate.

Figure 1 (Image Courtesy of Hubspot.com)- According to HubSpot’s Blog Post about segmenting lists, “39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue.“

2. Quality is better than Quantity
Many marketers think in terms of quantity but when it comes to sending emails, quality customers are key. It’s better to attract customers organically, rather than buying lists.

  • Have a subscribe form on your site, preferably on the home page or somewhere consistent on every page such as the header, footer, or sidebar.
  • Add a subscribe form on your social networks if they allow tabs.
  • Have a subscribe option on your checkout page when customers fill in their billing information, or even better, when they register to be a user.

3. Clean your contact list
When readers are searching the web, and find something they are interested in, the natural thing is to sign up for the email list. But what gets people to unsubscribe from that email list is that they’re receiving far too many and/or irrelevant emails. This is why tip #1 is very important. Segmenting your list allows you to send different types of emails to different types of viewers. Obviously trying to make sure every email caters to all your customers is virtually impossible but what you can do is optimize your unsubscribe process. When customers click unsubscribe, give them the option to unsubscribe to less frequent emails or only unsubscribe from a certain type of email that you send out, rather than unsubscribing completely. Ironically, by following this process you will find that your customers are happy because they’re only receiving information that they find relevant to them, and your list will be clean, thus proving to have a less unsubscribe rate overtime.

Next Post: Part 2

Thanks for reading! Now that you’ve figured out your contact list, it’s time to tackle the content of your email. Check back next week or subscribe to this blog for the next part of this post about content and how you can best serve your contacts with information that they actually want to read.

Mar 27
2012
© San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
© San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

E-Nor announces a Google Analytics Case Study with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art SFMOMA.  A pioneer in the online space, SFMOMA.org launched their website in 1995. Since then the museum has established a comprehensive online presence offering over 9,000 works of art via the website.

SFMOMA needed guidance on measuring success and reached out to E-Nor for assistance:

© San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Photo by Henrik Kam

© San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Photo by Henrik Kam

 

“User engagement and consumption of content were two challenges for SFMOMA. E-Nor planned and instrumented a robust Google Analytics configuration and reporting framework which delivered exactly the insights we need to continuously assess how our site’s content is being consumed.”

— Dana Mitroff Silvers, Head of Online Services, San Francisco
Museum of Modern Art 151 Third Street  San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 357-4000

 

 

 

 

Accomplishments:

  • Increased measurement accuracy by 15% – enabling true data driven decisions
  • Deep insights into user engagement with content now drive site optimization decisions
  • Able to correlate the most popular exhibitions for each marketing campaign

Download the case study here. We’d like to thank SFMOMA, Dana Mitroff Silvers and our Google Analytics Account team. It has been a pleasure working with Dana and SFMOMA.

It is E-Nor’s honor to offer discounts to non-profits. Please let us know of a non-profit you would like E-Nor to support in 2012. As a SFMOMA corporate sponsor, we have free passes to the museum, so let us know if you are in the area and would like to visit the latest exhibits!

Mar 20
2012

Do you know which social media channels impact your ROI? Wonder no more!

Today Google Analytics announced a new set of Social reports within Google Analytics which takes us from the social conversations to the impact on our investments. This social reporting suite  delivers marketers the final puzzle piece to make informed social media decisions based on results. Finally the social engagement and impact metrics we have all been waiting for!

The reports are based on pages or content social media visitors access during their visits.  The above report gives a macro view into  how social media delivers or does not deliver value based on outcomes. We can quickly see in the overview report a high level picture of social value.

Digging a little deeper, we want to see how each social channel is measuring up and contributing to conversions. Thus we turn to the Social Sources report. By Social Source we are able to track the conversions by social media source and the conversion value associated with each.  These reports will be available under the standard reporting tab.

A couple of Details:

The social reports are based on participants in the Social Data Hub.  These reports will be rolled out in the next few weeks, so keep checking back and share your thoughts with us as you gain access to the social ROI insights!

Included reports are:

  • Overview Report: see your social performance overview
  • Conversions Report: see your goals and how being impacted by social media
  • Social Sources: see how visitors behave differently between social souces
  • Social Plugins: see which content is being used socially
  • Activity Stream: see offsite social activity in Google Analytics

 

Nov 29
2011

 

landing page with bullseyeImagine you’re a used car salesman.  I know, you’re disgusted and feel like taking a shower now, but humor me.   A customer who has been searching for a Toyota Camry comes to your car lot because he saw your flashing sign for just that – a great deal on a Toyota Camry.   You tell him, “Sure!” and point him in the direction of the entire car lot.  “Find it yourself!”  Do you think you’ll close that sale?

How about imagine he walks through the lot with your Toyota deal in his mind, but you have salesmen calling him over trying to sell him BMW’s, Honda’s, KIA’s, etc.  Not only is your customer now annoyed that you made him search for the deal himself, you’re team is bugging him with promotions he’s really not thinking about or interested in.

Let’s say after that, your now annoyed customer sees a car lot next door, and ALL they sell are low priced Camry’s.  Who’s going to get that sale?

This is how you should be thinking about your site and competitors.    In particular, basic web usability theory says the internet make things so easy and convenient for us, that it’s trained us to be…well…lazy.  If you don’t make things as easy as possible for your visitors, your competitor will, and there is no penalty or price for your visitor pressing the “back” button and then clicking on your competitor.

10 Tips for Building Effective Landing Pages

The beauty of the internet now is that you can create targeted custom landing pages focused on closing one product or service without any distractions.  Landing pages are focused, eliminating confusion, putting your prospects into a “track” that hopefully will result in a lead or close.

In this post, I’d like to talk list some best practices on how to do that right.

1 ) Simplicity = Clarity.  This is a key point that not only web design and other media is based on in general,  but most of the landing page best-practices are based on this.   There is definitely a balance that needs to happen – all important information needs to be included – however, it’s important that information is succinct and that also there is no other fluff on the page that will distract the visitor from closing.  Hubspot (a great authority on internet marketing) calls this the “blink-test” – meaning it should be clear on the page (any web subpage) what the page is about within the first 5 seconds (before you blink).  How do you do this?  With clear headings, images, calls-to-actions and reducing all other distractions.

2 ) Maintain the Scent.  In many cases, your paid ads/email ads will be targeted and a landing page will be best to serve them, since the landing page can be focused specifically on what your ad/mail is talking about.  Like our Camry analogy, there’s nothing more annoying than coming to a page that says “Free Kindle!” but then all it says (and in fact is yelling), “Here’s a bunch of information that has nothing to do with that.”

Maintain the scent from your ad to your landing page
3 ) Headline.  In many cases, this is the first thing a visitor will see.  Make sure it maintains the scent of your ad if it’s from paid traffic.    Also, make sure it conveys what the page is about, whether it’s the name of your product, why they should purchase it, a promo you are offering, etc.   Again, internet surfers like to think as little as possible, if they scan your headings and don’t find what they’re looking for, there’s no penalty for them bouncing.

4 ) Salespoints.  Sounds obvious, but too many times we’ve come to a page and they dance around the main reasons why we should buy their product or contact them.  Understand your prospects, what they are looking for, what possible hesitations may stop them from taking advantage of your product/services.  Outline that then make sure it’s all included in your landing page.  Only thing to keep in mind is when you put them there, you don’t want to write a novel as to why visitors should buy.   Minimal, succinct words and phrases that best convey your ideas.

5 ) Clear Calls-To-Action.  Another one that sounds obvious.  Your design should clearly distinguish it’s call(s)-to-action.  It’s image should contrast (a bright button on a muted surface) or the link should be bright and big.  If there is only one clear button, and that’s the only place they can go, it increases their chances of them going there.   Also, minimize your calls-to-action and keep them above-the-fold (meaning it shouldn’t be at the bottom of the page where visitors have to scroll down to find it).  If your conversion element or call-to-action is a form, make sure it’s nice and big, stands out, and is above the fold.

6 ) No Escapes.    I want them to look at the rest of my site!  I want them to see what other services I provide!  I want them to see my Facebook page!  By them leaving this page that nurtures the lead, you are significantly risking them losing the sale.  Remove all escape elements from the page – no navigation, no social networks, no other offers.  In the case where they may want more information on your company, you may provide one hidden escape to again minimize the chance of them getting distracted an you losing the lead (maybe link your logo to your homepage), but make sure to open this page in another tab/window so the original offer/landing page is not lost.  If you want them to see your certifications, high-profile clients you’ve served, etc – include that in the actual landing page design and layout.

urchin landing page with call to action

7 ) Reduce Distractions.  Aside from actual link “escapes”, design can get in the way too.  Too many images, background patterns, textures, rotating information, etc – can distract a visitor from your main “track”.  You may need to include some of these things, but minimize it.  Simple backgrounds, simple images, simple colors.   You can still be simple and be aesthetically chic.

8 ) Credibility Badges.  Any certifications, testimonials, client logos, authority certifications of your business will help legitimize you and could refute apprehension by your visitors to convert on your landing page.  The nice thing is now that your landing page is simple, it has space for this information.

9 ) Test! In design, it’s always important to understand – best practices are just that – “best practices”.  They are not written in stone and may not always apply, or a tweak to them may further optimize them.   It’s great to have hypotheses of how your visitors will act on the page based on their marketing personas and to also follow best practicesthis is a great starting point.  However, you wont truly know how your page will perform until it goes live, and you wont know if it’s doing the best it can do till you test different strategies, layouts, designs. You can have different landing pages under different campaigns to test, conduct user-testing, or you can try A/B testing services such as the Google Website Optimizer.

10 ) Thank You Page UPSELL!  This is something everyone neglects (even until recently, so did we!) .  You just closed a lead!  You can place a plain thank you message, or further your business by putting a promotion on the thank you page, upsell other products you have, or even better, add a social “share” link so that your happy lead can share this info with their friends.  Word-of-mouth sales close significantly greater than cold leads.

Oct 25
2011

I “liked” the Facebook Marketing Solutions fan page.  Awesome page that gives great training on marketing on Facebook (directly from them)! I am viewing Sheryl Sandberg’s live talk “Sandberg’s Quietly Audacious Pitch to Marketers: Put a Little Facebook in Everything You Do”.   Here are some notes.

  • 68% more likely to remember an ad with social context. 2x more likely to remember ads messages. 4x more likely to purchaseYour establishing connections to your customers, multiple times, and their friends, but its your job to keep them engaged
  • Strike balance – not too much bad content, good content
  • Talk “with” not “at” – just like your profile, put things up you think your friends will like.
  • It’s iterative – we can see what works. Put it out, see what works, then evolve
  • Drive convos with ads – connect ads back to Facebook page
  • Sponsored stories – make sure more people can see what your fans say about you
  • This is how you light your brand up
  • People tell friends about products, thats what sells products – WORD OF MOUTH
  • Dont go in set from the beginning – Monitor, Adapt, Leverage
  • Social needs to be the fundamental ingredient from the beginning- can’t just “sprinkle” social
  • Dont get rid of other ads – TV, print – create a cohesive campaign that connect.
  • Reach customers AND THEIR FRIENDS!
  • Link to social graphs – make everything the basis for on-going connection
  • Engage customer, write back to them so they keep coming back. This is how you get messages to go viral.
  • Inspire. Be creative. Put out experiences.  Get them to put their experiences, their childrens.  Great messages, videos, pics – these things get twice as much engagement.
  • The web has gone social, marketing can go social too.
  • Ex. Barista put out an ad with curse words.  Outcry on Facebook page.  They apologized, put up a new cut, and they got a great response for taking responsibility and listening to their audience.
  • First time you can have a comprehensive conversation with brands themselves.  Go iterate, get started.

Aug 11
2011

Facebook encourages marketers to have a “business” page, also known as a “fan” page (which is different than a regular Facebook profile – create one here). While there are great marketing benefits in having this kind of presence on Facebook, there unfortunately are some limits versus having a normal profile or even a group page. We definitely recommend having a Facebook page and working it properly by creating consistent engaging content will significantly enhance your business, just so you know what you can and can’t do, here’s a list of some basic pros and cons:

Pros

Tabs – Facebook pages give you the ability to add and customize tabs, which are like extra pages or menu items. These tabs take basic html, so they are extremely flexible, just as almost any general page on the web. This is very useful if you want to provide information that doesn’t necessarily fit within the default Facebook functions/media. For example, you can have forms, links to your latest products/downloads, videos, banners, etc. These tabs also allow you to also create optimized landing tabs that you can design solely for conversion of a certain promotion. For example, “Click here for you’re your chance to win a free ipod!” Here’s an article on how to add custom tabs to your Facebook page.

Custom tab on facebook

Apps – There are some cool apps available only to Facebook pages, such as e-commerce apps that allow you to sell on Facebook, Youtube apps to display videos, “Bandpage” apps for musicians to display their music, etc. You can even hire developers to create completely custom applications for your company. Unfortunately, Facebook has closed the app directory, so you will need to search for any existing apps. One wayto find existing apps that might be great for your page is to go to pages similar to yours and see what apps they are using.

Search Engine Optimization – Facebook pages have great SEO, so even if you end up doing nothing with your page, it’s still a good idea just to have that presence. When creating a Facebook page, make sure to fill in all pertinent information – give it a good Title, About Us, basic info, local info and addresses, etc. Make everything as keyword-rich as possible because this is what will be read by Google and may index above even your website. Also, even when searching within Facebook, it’s a lot easier to find your needle in a smaller haystack of businesses than it is to find it in 750 million profiles.

facebook seo

Inbound Fans Only – While I list this as a con later, what you have here by default, is the members of your page are only quality leads. In outbound marketing, cold prospects may or may not be someone interested. Example, in Myspace, business pages had the luxury of sending friend requests. However, you’d find that members would just except them, either without thinking or just for the sake of increasing their friend count. This is opposed to now your members who had to consciously subscribe to you. Members like this will more likely have open ears to what you have to say.

AdsFacebook’s ads system is such a robust system because of its precision targeting. Profiles not only filling out their interest, but choosing already existing pages allows Facebook to pool everyone together based on interest, resulting in highly targeted, quality segments. With a page, you now have access to the most targeted market there is for your business – members of your page! Who else would want to purchase your product more than those who consciously joined your page because they were interested in you?

Aside from this, you may one day need to reach another market through Facebook ads. For example, you may be a musician similar to Justin Bieber and you’d like to market your music to his millions of fans. You can now target that pool of prospects and combine it with other similar pools to create significantly large, targeted audience that is likely to be interested in your page or product.

Sponsored Story’s – Someone says something good about your page – here is the key to viral and social marketing, the power and trust of word-of-mouth. Now, having a page allows you to extend that reach further – you can pay for “sponsored stories”, similar to an ad, you can increase the reach of that word-of-mouth and give it more weight to those that may not have necessarily seen or paid attention to the glowing review.

Insight – A huge benefit for having a Facebook page is Facebook’s built in analytics system that measures engagement to your page. You’ll be able to track, for example, how many likes you get a day. What posts are the most engaging? Has your engagement dropped from last month? Did a campaign increase engagement? By how much? Facebook’s API allows access to their data and can be used for different types of analytics integration, including Google Analytics Social Engagement measurement. Though the system can be improved (there are limits on what you can segment. Also, the definition of metrics like “likes” are too ambiguous – do you mean I got 10 likes to posts today or 10 likes to my page?), this is great for a general idea of what activity is happening on your page.

facebook insights

Cons (Limits of Fan Pages)

Inbound Fans Only?! While this is great from a consumer’s perspective – limiting spam requests – for marketers, it’s …well … limiting. Your market has to come to you. Similar to the “Opt In” vs. “Opt Out” email subscription discussion, while “Opt In” will get you more qualified leads and less unsubscribes, it also means you have to be a lot more creative in enticing prospects to sign up. You have a similar challenge here – businesses now have to come up with engaging content and promotions to make it of value for users to “Like” their page. While this has its benefits, it doesn’t make life any easier for increasing your membership.

Wall Updates don’t reach all your fans. With Facebook’s new EdgeRank algorithm, only posts relevant to users will appear in their feed (based on how often they interact with you page, how much engagement your posts get, etc.). It becomes the chicken-and-egg – no one will see your post if it’s not attention worthy, but then how can it get attention if no one sees it?! If your page is new or took a break for a little while, and people stopped visiting, your 1000+ fans you worked so hard to acquire may not even see any of your wall updates.

“Updates” page don’t trigger a “red” notification. There is a way to send notification-type messages called “updates” via your page. However, these do not trigger an update like regular Facebook inbox messages do. The fall into an “others” bucket, and may not be read right away, or if you’re like me, I don’t even read the “others” bucket at all. While this was meant to reduce spam interaction by putting all the “business” type messages in one bucket, I would even argue that this is more detrimental to consumers. They willingly wanted to get updates from these pages, and because of this, they may miss things they were interested in.

facebook red notifications

Unable to invite members to an event. While you can create an event under your page, you are unable to send invites to members of the page (though you can send invites to friends of your profile to that event). That means it will not show up in your members’ profiles under events (unless they willingly make the effort to find your event and attend). Thus, if your guests aren’t engaged with your page, very few may notice the event.

Unable to message event guests. If you do manage to get guests to your event, if the event was created under your page, the “Message Guests” feature will not be an available function. Instead, “Update Fans of Your page” is available, which means you can send a non-notification updates about your event, but to all your page members, not event guests.

message guests in facebook

While having consistently engaging content on your page is the standard way to engage your members and will eventually increase your membership, sometimes, you need a boost! The limits on Facebook page functions sometimes hinder this. In our next post, we’ll go through some “guerilla” viral tactics that use functions (events and messaging) that are available to your profile, your friends’ profiles, and your page, to maximize notification and engagement.

 

Mar 30
2011

Supercharge MarketingYou just attended an informative digital marketing and analytics conference and you’re pumped to make it a banner year for your organization. Your analytics and marketing goals are set and now you are serious about making a difference and you want to:

  • Better understand your customers
  • Improve your site performance
  • Squeeze every bit of ROI from your marketing initiatives, and
  • Provide valuable insight/recommendations to the business

Lofty goals and they should be. But are they achievable? Yes! Supercharge your marketing by implementing the 6-step Analytics Framework outlined in this post (although, for those of us addicted to data, it seems as though we might benefit more from a 12-step program :) ).

Before I dive into the framework, and for the (hopefully small) minority that is still getting familiar with analytics, it’s time to get serious about measurement or risk falling behind. Here’s why everyone should jump on the analytics bandwagon:

  • Millions of sites, from start-ups to Fortune 25, use enterprise-class analytics solutions such as Google Analytics to improve their site performance.
  • Today, analytics literature is abundant. Do a quick search for “web analytics” on Amazon and you’ll get over 200 results.
  • Even in this day and age, it seems that only a few companies are serious about measurement and analysis. It’s time to move beyond the basics and treat data as a strategic asset. So if you’re looking for gold, it’s clear where you have to dig. Big companies like IBM can’t acquire analytics companies fast enough!

So we have established that there is more interest in data and more access to enterprise level analytics – but what is missing? We need smart people and commitment to a process. And as importantly, we need practical tips to guide us through the web of analytics. Assuming you have (or can get) smart people who care about the business and ask the right questions, here is a tried and tested framework guaranteed to take your marketing optimization to the next level.

The 6-step Analytics Framework

  1. Know Thy Channels
  2. Metrics: Less is More
  3. Segmentation: Give Me Context
  4. Intelligence at Your Service
  5. Reporting
  6. Automation

Let’s get started!!

1 – Know Thy Channels

Campaign Segmentation

Your traffic is skyrocketing and you don’t know why. Not a good thing. You deserve more visibility. And since you’re smart and up-to-date, you know you can’t measure every channel using old metrics and by using just one tool. Hello Multiplicity! The good old pageviews won’t cut it anymore. Because channels are constantly evolving (did you know of anyone measuring “tweets” three years ago? :) ), it’s crucial to understand the characteristics of each channel and identify meaningful metrics specific to that channel.

For example:

  • If you are a content site, and you are busy producing videos, you want to measure the success of this digital content. Look at user behavior and events (play, pause, forward etc) and understand where and when your audience is most engaged with your content.
  • If blogging is your forte, measure number of comments, average words per post and average words per comment. Successful blogging is comprised of an engaged audience. We use WordPress’ Blog Metrics.
  • If you’re one of the millions on FaceBook, listen to the conversation through comments, ‘likes’, shares, etc. Today, conversations happen outside of your own site.

Blog Analytics

Power tip: Identify all your channels and document what engagement and outcomes you expect and want to measure.

2 – Metrics: Less is More!

Are you drowning in rivers of data? To prevent sinking, critically examine your load. Just because you have access to large amounts of data and reports in Google Analytics (and the four other tools you have on your site), you don’t need it all. When sorting through data, remember: less is more. Just focus on what keeps your CEO awake at night (or jumping for joy :) ). Focus on key results, here are recommendations:

  • eCommerce: report on revenue, ROAS and compare to expected outcomes
  • B2B businesses: report on qualified leads and cost/lead
  • Report on conversion rates and what channels are best/worst performers
  • If you are just starting your analytics journey and you don’t have your analytics solution fully implemented, reporting on a “basic” yet powerful metric such as bounce rate will help you identify your worst offenders (campaigns and pages) and that’s something you can improve fairly quickly
  • If you’re really advanced, develop your own custom KPIs. For example, check out how philly.com has done it. This newspaper website is measuring engagement on a new (and slightly complex) level. They are asking very thoughtful questions to help them understand their user behavior.

Power tip: Identify and trend 2-3 metrics for each of your stakeholders (business, marketing, IT, product, support)

3 – Segmentation: Give Me Context

Last month, you had one million visitors to your site. Sounds good, but is it? Not if you had three million visits two months ago. So always give your data context, segmentation is key. With Google Analytics, you can apply advanced segmentation capabilities to slice and dice your data in almost every other way you need (e.g. paid vs. non paid searches, engaged vs. non-engaged, geography, visitor type, browser, time comparison, etc. you name it). If you are the deep-dive type, you should then zoom in on your segments for more meaningful data and whatever makes sense for your business.

  • If you have an eCommerce site, report on sales this month, planned sales, sales last month and sales during the same month last year

eCommerce Segmentation

Power tip: Review your current dashboard and assess where to add an additional dimension to each report

4 – Intelligence at Your Service
Let computers do all the number crunching. Make faster, smarter decisions with reports that automatically detect and surface significant changes in your key performance indicators. It’s your site and you’re responsible for it. So log into Google Analytics, set your preferences, and let intelligence do the work. As a result, you’ll have more time to analyze and properly present your data.

Google Analytics Intelligence

Power tip: Set Google Analytics custom alerts for each of the KPIs on your dashboard

5 – Reporting
It’s the end of the month again and reports are due and you know that your site is no longer the center of the universe. You have offline data sources, campaign cost data, mobile applications, surveys etc.) So you want to blend the data for a meaningful presentation, insight and actionability. For your Analytics dashboards, bring in data from different sources and organize it under one framework.

Reporting Framework

Power tip: Trend and report on those 2-3 KPIs you identified earlier

6 – Automation

Better manage your time by automating your reports. Manual reporting can take so long that we eventually neglect properly analyzing the information. Many tools are available to send data to your inbox (or dashboard). So once you have selected your key performance indicators, and to the extent possible, automate report generation. Why you might ask? Trust me, you’ll have much more time to act on the data. But, wait, there’s more!

Reporting Automation - Google Analytics to Excel

For example:

  • Say you run an eCommerce site and you are using Google Analytics, find your favorite tool in the Google Analytics Application Gallery and get that data out of GA and in to your favorite application. Check out the application from our good friends at ShufflePoint who leverage the Google Analytics API to export data into Excel and Powerpoint (we simply are very impressed by what they have done and do recommend their solution to our clients). Done are the copy and paste days. Voila! One click and your data is in Excel! You can then use simple trending/charting options, advanced pivots or more elaborate dashboards as you see in these snapshots. Analyzing the data requires smart people, but getting reports should be a piece of cake. Now, spend your time wisely on important things (like reading E-Nor blog posts :) ).

eCommerce Reporting Automation - Google Analytics to Excel


Concluding Notes

To summarize, marketing optimization is not a one time thing, or something that we “set and forget”. You want to “measure.. analyze… optimize” and start again. I encourage you to establish a weekly, monthly and quarterly set of activities to improve your measurement framework. The details will depend on your business and marketing activities but you definitely want to audit what you do to ensure you:

  • Stay updated on new marketing channels
  • Measure only what matters
  • Run reports efficiently
  • Dedicate time to analysis
  • Upgrade your team’s Excel/reporting/analysis/presentation skill-sets
  • Act on findings to positively impact the business and make sure the organization is aware of the impact!

So here it is. The 6-step framework to supercharge your marketing optimization effort! I hope you put it to use and I welcome your input, comments and feedback.

Related Posts

Jun 25
2010

A multimedia presence (i.e. such as TV, Radio, Magazine ads, etc.) has always been an imperative part of a complete marketing strategy. The Internet, in a way, has skyrocketed each of these forums to the next level. For video marketing, YouTube would be that rocket.

Whether you’re a small business or large corporation, YouTube videos/channels are as key of a component in having a comprehensive online marketing presence as having a main website or social media channels.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of YouTube, I was thinking to myself, “Ummm, not everyone can afford a video camera.” “How large are video files anyway?” “No one is going to go through the trouble of converting these gargantuan video files then uploading them.” “Why would someone want to display their videos for the world to see anyway?” Of course, my psychic intuition was horribly, utterly, and ignorantly wrong. :(

Your freedom to upload and share almost ANYTHING – personal movies, clips, slideshows, even audio with still backgrounds – is quite liberating and the attention feels great.

On the other end, that “play” button is like a shinny red button to a toddler calling our names – “PUSH MEEEEEeeeee!”  Rarely does it disappoint ether – “OOOOooooh, moving images and colors!”  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video may be analogous to volumes of books.

A world of moving images are at your fingertips – find anything – from videos on how to make tiramisu to personal home videos of your buddies breaking the world record for eating the most peanut butter sandwiches in a minute.

With the embed code being so easily accessible (and even sites like Facebook automatically translating YouTube urls into embed’s), it’s easier than ever to SHARE your videos.  Mix in “heeelarious” content that your friends have to see and pass on, and born is the viral video – spreads like a virus – millions of views in a small amount of time.

YouTube.com now is the second most used search engine (next to king Google). It would only be a matter of time before advertisers/marketers (including all major corporations) took notice of the value of this amount of views and would devise plans to take prime advantage of this phenomenon. For example, Dell attributes 2 million of its sales to YouTube.

YouTube and Your Business

How can you take advantage of YouTube to market your products or services? It’s 100% free to create a channel, and easy to customize and brand as your business’s own video page. Upload an unlimited number of videos that are automatically indexed and searchable by not only YouTube, but google as well.  Make your videos easy to share.  Finally, generate enough interest and your YouTube videos can go a long way in bringing you attention, potentially resulting in revenue.

General Tips for Maximizing YouTube Marketing Value

Good content – bottom line – content is king. Nothing can replace good content. If your goal is to have a video go viral, your content should hopefully accomplish the following.

  • Share-worthy – Your video should make viewers want to share with friends. It’s best if this increases your views exponentially, meaning every 1 viewer passes it to at least 2 people.
  • Replay Value – Your video should cause viewers to want to replay it.

Generally, viral content is usually gut-busting comedy or captures something absolutely amazing and rare to see. Another great way to get a lot of views are “How-To” videos – answering a common question with a brief instructional video. Of course, creating content like this is easier said than done. :)

Call-To-Action Slide – Many videos begin and conclude with a slide that has an organizations branding, call-to-action, or contact information.

Take FULL Advantage of Social Networks – by now, if you’ve jumped on the social media bandwagon, you’re checking your Facebook or Twitter as much as your email. You’ve probably added friends you’ve never even really met. You may even realize that you’re connected to a huge web of millions upon millions of people – an extremely valuable marketing resource if you can tap into as many connections as you can.

  • Post the video on your facebook wall, twitter wall, blog, social bookmarks, myspace etc!
  • Post often and ask friends to share and post as well!
  • Note: just be careful to be balanced and not to spam your friends’ feeds, which will cause the opposite reaction – everyone to ignore you.

Best Time to Launch a Video – it’s argued that Friday and Sunday are the best days to launch a video, either during lunch or after work.

YOUTUBE SEO: Increase Your Ranking in YouTube Search (and even Google)

“ike any search engine, youtubes ranking is based on certain algorithms in which key criteria may be important. Here are some basics on how to optimize your videos so they rank better.

Tags/Meta Data – for all you SEO geeks, these fields - title, description, tags, etc. – all go into an algorithm that will your rank/index your videos in YouTube search results. The closer your video is to the top of the page when someone searches for your keyword, the better the chance it will be clicked on.

GOOGLE – It’s important to note that YouTube videos rank on GOOGLE search results as well, so having an optimized video may end up helping your SEO more than you think. Your site may not end up ranking on Google if your keyword is really popular, however, your video may end up at the top of Google organic search results.

Keywords – Optimize your video for certain keywords and sprinkle them in your meta-data as well as descriptions. For YouTube keyword research, use https://ads.YouTube.com/keyword_tool

Link Building/Interlinking – Linking to other videos in the descriptions or annotations also helps your video’s SEO.  Also, link to other sites through urls in your description (“http://” text is automatically converted into hyperlinks).  Link to a landing page on your main site.

Related Videos – You might think Youtube’s main search is best way to get your video noticed, but actually, majority of YouTube organic views (views not generated by paid ads) come from related videos. Thus, relating to the right video can be crucial. Related keywords should be taken into account in your SEO efforts.

Activity – The more active your video has, the better your ranking. Views, comments, stars, interlinks, etc, all count activity. One way to generate activity is to actually reply to comments on your video and get discussions going!

Annotations – Annotations count as activity. It engages the user with your video – engaging the user is always a plus. Ask people to comment, bookmark, subscribe to your channel, go to another video, etc.

Geographic Location – If your organization does local services, it’s always important to indicate geography in your profile since some search results can be geo-targeted.

YouTube Settings and Configurations

Title – Having a good title may make a difference in enticing a viewer to select your video. A video that’s called “206485.mpg” probably won’t attract as much views as a video titled “MOST AMAZING SKATEBOARD STUNT EVER!!!!”.

Description Field – You have 27 characters before your message becomes “…”, so use that space wisely. Link to your website or state a call-to-action.

Thumbnails – Though YouTube limits the thumbnails you’ll be able to choose to represent your video, it’s important to choose a good thumb from the options they do give you. Obviously, a still with an attractive looking person is more likely to entice viewers to click over say a blank black screen.

Playlists – Playlists show up on YouTube search results, so be sure to create good playlists.

Channel – Your channel should be treated like a landing page.  It’s your organization’s video page!

  • Profile – Make sure to fill out information about your organization – sites, interests, about/bio, etc. Users will land on your channel and look to this area as a birds-eye view of your organization.
  • Featured-Video – Make sure to choose an important featured video that you would like to draw attention to. Also, make it auto-play so your YouTube channel views will be counted towards video views.
  • Activity Feed – Use your activity feed to update your subscribers – similar to any social networking newsfeed.

Measuring Your Progress

Traffic On YouTube: YouTube Insights – YouTube now offers some great statistics on every video you upload. Login to your account on each video on your video page you’ll find an “Insights” button. This dashboard allows you to see for each video your views per day and the demographics of your views (geographic location, gender, etc). You can measure the success of a YouTube campaign by seeing if it caused your video views to spike on certain days/months.

Traffic From YouTube – Using analytics tools such as Google Analytics allows you to see if a popular video has generated traffic to your main site or ecommerce product. You can adjust your marketing strategies for your videos based on these metrics. Say adding a link to your site in the description of your video increases traffic to your site. You now know to do that for all videos!

Summary

  • Create an interesting video that will make viewers want to pass it on to their friends.
  • Increase your ranking by following good YouTube SEO Practices
  • Set up each video to have good branding, call-to-actions and conversion links to your respective site/product.
  • Measure your videos’ performances.