Automating your Social Media? Here’s how to get started

As marketing technology and artificial intelligence gets smarter, there are more options available for automating certain tasks such as social media management. For companies of all sizes, being able to refocus employee time and energy to bigger and more strategic initiatives is positive for both business and the bottom line. However, there is no one-size-fits all approach to any social media management solution, so how do you know which one to choose?

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Copywriter vs Content Marketing Agency- There’s a Difference and Here It Is…

Both are responsible for helping you write and create top notch content to fit your project needs…

But what is the difference?

Copywriters produce marketing and promotional materials at the request of people and businesses. They are masters of content creation and work to create copy in all sorts of mediums to fit their project goals.

Content marketing agencies do the same, but their job expands far beyond this. Rather than just writing the content they are responsible for the whole creation process and can help design and ensure alignment within your business’s content strategy.

Both are great and will provide you with quality content, but with a content marketing agency you get so much more.

 

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Can AI make your email marketing campaigns more successful?

Email marketing is no easy task. Especially given the amount of emails that cross your inbox everyday. But when it works, it works – leading to increased awareness and revenue.

Finding the right mix of messaging, click-worthy subject lines, and optimal send times is like trying to fit together pieces of a puzzle. And while stats from past campaigns are essential to preparing for the next campaign, being able to make changes on the fly or send emails tailored to each recipient can make a world of difference. As technology, especially AI, continues to evolve, email marketing is starting to get a whole lot smarter, and more effective.

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Are Newsletters Dead and Marketers Moving On…?

Newsletters. A timeless tactic that almost all marketers are sure to have employed at one point or another. Whether you’re offering up the latest on your solutions and services or serving up valuable thought leadership, they are a great way to connect with prospects and customers. But you may ask yourself how effective are newsletters? Are they worth the hassle? Wouldn’t some other new marketing approach be better?

Well I wouldn’t rule them out just yet…

This article from ecommerce business sums it up nicely, especially when they say,

“Customers with a strong attachment to a particular company spend 23% more than average consumers, and the newsletter is a prime candidate to distinguish a brand from the competition.”

So at the end of the day, why should you keep up your existing newsletter or think about starting one up?

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Using AI to create a more personalized customer journey

With many customers purchasing products and services online, the customer journey has become an important part of the sales and retention process. But how does a company keep this fundamental experience from becoming monotonous and cold? Fortunately, as marketing AI and automation become more attainable, companies can now take their customer journey to a new and more effective level with a personalized experience.

The importance of personalization

44% of consumers are more likely to be repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, the human connection is getting diluted. Think about the last time you tried to contact a customer service department, only to run into long hold times. Or spent the afternoon cleaning out your inbox of email offers that don’t really apply to your current needs or wants.

It is often the little things that make all the difference for a customer – whether it is a tailored offer or a more personalized message. This especially rings true as your customer makes his or her way through their journey to purchase. Imagine the impact of offering upgrades or add-on packages that make sense to his or her specific situation, or being able to offer around the clock support, should a question arise during or post purchase. I am sure you can already envision the difference these simple suggestions would make to a sale or to a long-term customer relationship.  Continue Reading

AI in marketing is here, are you ready for it?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere. It has slipped its way into our everyday life without most of us even realizing it. The Echo Dot that is streaming music in my living room is a good example. It didn’t take long before the device became integrated in my life and I started to rely on it for traffic and weather every morning. These smart devices are just the tip of the iceberg. AI has integrated itself into just about every industry, and that includes marketing. What does this mean for marketers? To remain competitive and relevant, it is time to start integrating AI technology into your marketing strategy. But before you jump feet first into the world of marketing AI, it is ideal to have a good understanding of the technology and how it is effecting the industry.

How is AI incorporated into the marketing industry?

In an industry that relies heavily on engagement and personal connection, it is hard to imagine how machine-based interactions can be integrated successfully. Often times, the use of AI is subtle, such as chat boxes and recommendation engines. It can also be used for collecting and analyzing data at faster rates (think hours instead of weeks), opening the door for more personalized marketing experiences. And to think, these are just a few examples, the possibilities are endless.

What does this mean for marketers?

For one thing, the industry is changing. AI is taking on the tasks that are often tedious and time consuming. In addition, AI is also taking over some aspects of content marketing, everything from content curation to emails to creating the content itself. In 2015, Gartner predicted 20% of all business content will be authored by machines by 2018. Here we are in 2018, let’s see what this year brings.

As a marketer, this doesn’t mean you need to worry your job is being taken over by robots. Right now, AI is opening the door for increased customer engagement. Andrew Stephen, author of AI Is Changing Marketing As We Know It, And That’s A Good Thing, emphasizes the positive impact AI has on the marketing field:

Also, as consumers become even more digital and themselves automate more things using smart AI-powered tools and devices, the human part of a firm’s relationship with a customer will become even more important. More time for marketing teams to spend on human interactions with customers, thus, seems valuable.

What are the next steps?

Start by educating yourself on the different AI tools available. Similar to any technology, it will only help when used where it makes the most sense. Don’t change your process to work with technology, the technology should work with your process. Once educated, you can find the tools and systems that will support you and your clients with what they most need.

Still feeling unsteady? Stick with me as I work through my journey of understanding AI in marketing in a series of upcoming blog posts.

Are you prepared for Virtual Reality Marketing?

Virtual reality (VR), and its partner augmented reality (AR), came onto the scene expensive and out of reach for many consumers. Over time, the popularity of the technology has grown, and the price has decreased, making it is more accessible to the mainstream. This opens up a tremendous opportunity for companies to market their product or service in a new way. However, VR advertising can be expensive to create and not all companies have the necessary funds at their disposal. This doesn’t mean the end if you are priced out. Instead, view this as an opportunity to enhance your content strategy.

Taking a closer look at VR marketing

So, what does VR do for content marketing anyway? In a few words, VR creates a fully immersed, interactive experience. Instead of just “showing” or “telling” your audience the benefits of your product or service, they can actually experience it.

Mercedes, for example, created this video to position themselves as more than just an automaker but an actual driving experience:

You don’t need a VR headset to get the impact of this video, just use the 360-degree view option. The video puts consumers in the driver’s seat, taking them out of the living room and onto the open road.

You don’t have to use VR to have effective visual marketing

The cost to creating a VR video can be up to three times that of a regular video. For many companies, that pushes VR marketing out of reach. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything to address this future trend. Forbes contributor, John Hall gave some good advice in his recent article, 7 Tech Trends That Will Shake Up Content Marketing in 2018:

“So if you’re not ready to bring your content into virtual reality, just view this trend as a reminder to improve your visual content. Creating interactive graphics, videos, and apps not only makes for a more engaging content marketing strategy, but it also lays the groundwork for future experiments in VR/AR.”

 

What does this mean exactly? Visual content goes beyond just adding images to blog posts. It includes everything from creating infographics and videos. You can also use memes, presentations, stats and charts. Next time you are getting ready to promote something, ask yourself how you can visualize it.

And if you are curious as to why visual content is so important, here is some food for thought:

Content Quote

 

Now is the time to step-up your content game. A featured image in your blog post will no longer cut-it. As the new year approaches and you are building out your content strategies, ensure that more visuals are included.

Where to go from here

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Start by giving your website, social media channels and marketing materials a thorough review. This is a good practice to get into quarterly anyway, to ensure your materials have the most up-to-date information. Find appropriate places to add visual content. Make sure it is in areas that make sense and are useful to your audience.

Often times, it helps to have a professional marketing partner review your content and make recommendations. At Content Matterz, we regularly review client marketing materials and their online presence, making recommendations for updates and ways for improving SEO and visibility.

By taking steps now to add more visual content into your content, you will be ready to take the step into VR advertising when the time is right for you.

 

 

6 ways small companies can market like the big guys

Small companies often get inferiority complexes. It looks kind of like this:

“We can’t possibly compete with abc competitor because they have a huge marketing budget.”

“Those guys have so many people, they can really afford to do it all, we can’t keep up.”

I’ve worked with companies big and small and there is one constant in marketing, there’s never enough time, money or people. And actually, usually the percentage marketing budget per revenue often goes down as the company gets bigger. They may get some economies of scale, but with it usually comes a lot of bureaucracy and hassle.

If you’re a small company, you need to forget about your possible shortcomings and think about how you’re going to grow! Some ways that you can compete head-to-head, without breaking your budget:

  1. On your website – no one can tell how big your company is. Keep it up to date and modern looking, publish regular content to your blog (ahem) and ensure your services and messaging is current. Out of date stuff definitely gets side eye from visitors and is an indicator that you might not have your stuff together.
    Also, pay attention to the small details on your website. It doesn’t cost more to be creative.
  2. Post to social media regularly – When you update that blog, get over to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and publish your new post. It takes five minutes and there’s no point in writing that post if you’re not distributing it. And, even small companies can grow a lot of followers on social media. Think of innovative topics related to your business and keep it going. You can also hire services to help you grow your presence even faster.
  3. Get really targeted – You might not have a huge budget, but if you know (really know) who your best customer is, the one that pays you the most, for the least amount of effort,  then you have a blueprint for who you want to reach. It may cost more per lead to reach those unicorns, but there are much fewer of them, so the overall cost can be less, plus you’re maximizing your budget only bringing in the best.
  4. Choose one big marketing effort and put your budget behind it – You can look like one of the big guys by going all out on one thing. You might have to shoe-string the rest of the year, but the right place/right time to spend your dollars can sometimes be worth it. A Super Bowl ad might cost $5 million, but the cost per person reached is actually a bargain, plus you get the extra lift from all the sites that talk about the ads.
  5. Leverage and repurpose everything you create – If you do one big research report each year, make a full meal deal out of it. You’ve got dozens of blog posts, tweets and social ads from that one report. You can promote that data seven ways to Sunday. You’ve only funded one piece of content, but you’re making the most of it.
  6. Be consistent – A hallmark of small, new or struggling companies is doing marketing inconsistently. You start a newsletter, but skip some months here and there. You promise regular communications, but fall off after the first month or two. Get on a schedule. Stick to the schedule and delight your prospects in the process.

Never be intimidated by the bigger, more-funded companies in your market. No one has your voice. No one has your unique perspective. No one can do what you do. You just have to make sure your prospects know about it.

15 Ways to Use Snapchat for B2B Marketing

It’s real. I know, we marketers have to give social platforms some time before we invest a bunch of time learning how to use and optimize. But the time is now to start counting Snapchat in. If you’re in B2C marketing, you probably already reached this conclusion, but for B2B, you may have been avoiding.

Here are some reason why you can’t avoid the ghost any longer.

  • 60% Of Snapchat Users Are Between The Ages Of 18 And 34 (hey, that’s the age where people work real jobs, and buy B2B products!), Snapchat
  • There are now 150 Million Snapchat users! –Adweek And, if you apply the first stat – they’re not so much teenagers anymore. That’s a lot of buyers for you.
  • 40% of Snapchat users are in the US and Canada, Fortune
  • 10 billion video views every day, Digital Trends
  • There are now more Snapchat users than Twitter users
  • You want to reach millennials, right? “Facebook (including Messenger) remains the most popular social platform among Americans 12-24 years old, with 32% saying they use Facebook most. Snapchat is second with 26%, far outpacing Instagram at 17%.” Convince and Convert
  • There are very few B2B campaigns happening on Snapchat today. Advertising is dominated by B2C – this is your chance to stand out!

So where do you begin with marketing on a platform where messages disappear after 24 hours? Here are 15 ideas on how you can do this for B2B:

  1. Recruiting millennials? Post daily about what it’s like to work at your awesome company.
  2. Employee takeovers – add a more personalized approach to showing how great your company is, let one employee a day “take over” your Snapchat account and discuss what it’s like to work at your company and how much they love their job.
  3. Employee pets – Do you have an office dog, or employees who work from home with their pets – snap about it!
  4. Cover company events with live interviews with speakers and play-by-plays of live presentations
  5. Cover industry events the same way – give your followers a taste of the event they couldn’t make it to by being their eyes on the ground to all the action at the show
  6. Product demonstrations – Videos are a HUGE part of Snapchat–see the 10 Billion number above. Give potential buyers sneak peeks of the coolest features of your products (keep the salesy-ness to a minimum, this is fun).
  7. Product sneak-peeks – What’s coming out soon? Give your followers that exclusive experience of seeing behind the curtain to the work in progress.
  8. Doodle your… – Snapchatters love to be-dazzle and doodle up pictures. Ask your followers to snap a pic of something relevant to your brand or product and post a doodled version. Offer prizes for the best doodle.
  9. Holiday cards – Create a holiday card (be creative, try Flag day or donut day) that Snapchatters can screencapture, doodle and share with their followers.
  10. Keep the engagement going with teasers for tomorrow – With messages that disappear every day, encourage your followers to check back for something cool tomorrow.
  11. Client takeovers – Do you have a great client advocate? Let them takeover your Snapchat account and post about your product for a day, demonstrations, interviews with their other employees – your followers will feel the love.
  12. Interview industry experts – Videos are super short on Snapchat, so it can be easier to get influencers and experts to say a few words on camera.
  13. Feature your CEO commenting on an industry change or event.
  14. Use the geofilters advertising feature to do a super targeted marketing campaign. Hint, you can target a single building and the cost is pretty minimal. Could be useful for Account Based Marketing. Bonus – you don’t need to have a big following to reach a lot of people this way.
  15. Use geofilters to advertise at a specific event.

Companies like Gatorade and Taco Bell are using Snapchat advertising to push their brands forward, but no one is talking about the tremendous B2B potential. Think outside the box. You want millennials to buy your products, you want them to work at your company and you want them to have a great time doing both. This is the platform they are using so you should too!

Photo credit: KUNVAR sanjeevkumar Singh 

The Introvert’s Guide to Working an Event

So you’ve got a big event coming up… ahem Dreamforce starts today! You know you need to rock it. Maybe you’re marketing yourself, maybe you’ve got a big booth and you’re marketing your company. But… you’re scared, that’s a whole lotta people you have to meet and be your best self for. I feel ya.

With Dreamforce #DF16 this week and many other events going on during the Fall. It’s time to make a game plan. Here’s your step-by-step survival guide.

  1. Set your goals for the event. Before even forking over the admission fee, you should have a plan for what you want to achieve at the event. Is it great leads, more contacts, potential employers? Whatever your objective is, write it down and gear all your activities at the show toward it to ensure you get what you paid for out of the event. Keeping your goal in mind will help you push past any social reluctance that might hold you back.
  2. Plan ahead and reach out to schedule meetings with people you want to meet. It’s really hard to grab people (or even find people) once you’re on-site at a big event. And it’s even harder for the introvert. You won’t get everyone to commit to a meeting but reaching out starts the conversation so if you happen to see the person at the show, you’ve already introduced yourself.
  3. Get on that hashtag. Every event these days has a dedicated hashtag. Start tweeting–live tweet sessions, comment on the food, participate in vendor contests–everything goes. And when you get some interaction going, see if anyone wants to “tweet-up” for some coffee. It’s a great way to meet some new people who might have similar interests. Plus, you’ll collect followers like a boss.
  4. Sit with people you don’t know at meals. Groan, I know. This is hard for me too, but mealtimes can be some of the best places to meet  new people. Grit your teeth and do it. I sometimes have to practice a couple of ice breaking questions in my room ahead of time. Go simple – Where are you from? What company are you with? Did you see the keynote this morning?
  5. Don’t overbook yourself. Introverts need some quiet time to recover at the end of the day. Even if means skipping that networking happy hour, you’ll be better the next day if you give yourself that time to recharge, alone.
  6. Don’t forget the follow-up. After the dust settles, reach out to those you collected cards from. Jog their memory with what you talked about. How can you help them? How can they help you? Keep the conversation going. If nothing else, hopefully there will be a friendly and familiar face at that lunch table next year.

All the constant social interaction at a big event can make introverts want to stay under the covers, but going in with a game plan can give you the oomph to keep up the smile and keep going. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself–#5 is very important for you to have a great event. Now get out there and rock that event!

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