How Slack Is Accelerating Digital Marketing

Since its inception in 2013, Slack has quickly become a staple in many offices and workspaces around the world. As of this year, the platform boasts 10 million users per day, and a whopping 43% of Fortune 100 companies use it in one way or another.

At first glance, a simple instant messaging tool for teams doesn't seem very revolutionary, albeit convenient & lighthearted. (Slack's loading screens greet users with witty banter like, "The Elders of the Internet are contemplating your request..") Slack's interface is impressively clean and simple too, which doesn't sufficiently reveal the vast capabilities hiding within the platform either. But Slack is more than just another tab in your browser or another platform you have to remember a login and password for. If used to its fullest capacity, it's a robust command center for marketers and marketing teams to execute each of their tasks. Let's briefly review some of Slack's capabilities and features.

A Marketer's Dream Command Center

Digital Marketing - Teams can manage entire campaigns from channels within Slack and keep data separate. It can also be integrated with other popular marketing platforms like MailChimp. Manage your editorial calendar, content marketing strategy, analytics, and even finances and invoices. You can also set campaign reminders and get help at any time from your personal assistant, Slackbot.

Statistics - All team members can access performance statistics and share relevant content on the designated channel. You can also monitor social media marketing budgets, respond to customer feedback, and share results from email campaigns. With Slack, teams can pinpoint KPIs and ensure they are met.

Content Sharing - Teams can share links, documents, videos, and screencasts with a simple copy and paste.

So what are the implications of such a diverse, multi-faceted, and widely-used platform?

Email on the Backburner

Image result for email is dead

For several years now, some marketing experts have harped on the idea that email is dead - or will be soon. Yet, many professionals haven't seen a hint of evidence of that. Many still spend their days plowing through emails, trying desperately to organize the influx of information in their inboxes. But for those that still insist the end is near for email, Slack would be just the platform to deliver that final crushing blow. It's a team communication tool that is more direct than email - Simply click the name of the person you want to speak to. It's also more conversational, which saves time by cutting the fluff and formalities you'd often find in an email.

Seamless Integration & Automation

The biggest gamechanger Slack introduces for digital marketers is simple automation. Social media apps many teams are already using like Hubspot and Hootsuite can be integrated with Slack, along with automation tools like Zapier and Marketo. Users can create tasks in Hubspot for every Slack message they need to take action on. Hootsuite users can send specific social media posts to Slack and add comments or solicit feedback from team members. Zapier can help with tasks like automatically sending all Facebook posts to one Slack channel. In this way, teams are virtually limitless in how they can customize Slack to meet their unique marketing needs.

By learning to navigate Slack using quick keyboard commands, users no longer need to switch between their own email, social media, data platforms, and email marketing platforms as often. All information is gathered in a central hub where every team member has instant access. Not to mention, teams can say goodbye to silos. Something as complex as launching a product can be simplified with custom Slackbot reminders and integration with Google calendar. For data, tools like Statsbot can pull information from Google Analytics right into Slack. Surveys from SurveyMonkey can be brought in as well. For organization, tools your team already uses like Trello and Asana can be integrated. There's no limit to the amount of data teams can review together.

Global Knowledge

1 online geniuses slack

Not only is Slack uniting and simplifying communication on teams, but in entire industries. Marketing professionals worldwide are joining Slack channels like Online Geniuses and Open Strategy, which is where thousands of digital marketers now go to learn, share information, and ask questions. Some channels even interview well-known entrepreneurs and open the floor for questions. These channels serve as hubs of expertise in the latest marketing trends. Startups can also create channels for its userbase or membership to raise questions, report issues, and even celebrate the brand. Channels can be unique in that they invite users into direct, informal communication with the company itself.

 

 

Marketing and data automation is one of the fastest-changing industries thanks to ongoing advancements in technology. Keeping up can be a serious challenge, especially for smaller teams with more limited budgets. In this sense, Slack is leveling the playing field with an accessible, affordable platform that provides access to all the essentials - marketing, data, and collaboration.

Digital marketing can quickly become a monstrous job that takes up too many team members' time and energy. With Slack's help in automating tedious tasks, teams are spared both the mental and digital clutter of doing everything manually. That's more time spent on the important stuff, less time wasted on busywork.

 

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If you'd like to learn more about how you could leverage Slack to maximize the use of data and automation in your marketing flows, feel free to contact us, we just might be able to help!

 


Marketing Automation and Big Data: A Perfect Match

In an age where digital data is not only valuable but ubiquitous, organization and automation becomes a marketing agency's pillars of time management and financial advantage.

 

More needs to be done to understand the motivations of a consumer. Content creation and targeting are only the tip of this iceberg and the start of a deep dive to converting a customer into a lead or sale. It's data that educates a marketer on what makes an individual tick. Through data, they'll be able to establish what exactly triggers them and the most efficient way to do so.

 

To do so, you need to build a customer profile:

 

"Through marketing automation systems, we should be able to build better-rounded customer profiles through variable data field capture during different communication touch points."

 

Using big data can gain a marketing agency advantages when it comes to developing relevant content and messages, collecting and analyzing data on how customers interact, and delivering a more consistent, positive customer experience across devices.

 

Digital advertising isn't just posting an ad online and hoping for the best. Leveraging automation enables agencies to determine what type of content is best at attracting leads, how they find you, and why they chose to connect with you. It can help figure out how, when and where customers tend to interact with you, as well as what platforms and devices they're reaching you on.

 

Even though we're online, you still have to imagine a face and personality behind that screen.

 

Online marketing may have muddied the border between buyer and seller, but it hasn't completely eroded it. The intimacy of conversation may get down to bare bones quicker, but getting to know one another, in order to build up a level of trust from the seller's side and understanding from the buyer's side, has not been completely lost.

 

Now instead of asking questions, you're simply provided with profiles through those variable data fields we just mentioned. You get to know their behaviors, tendencies, and interests, while marketing automation and big data work "together to create an effective way to collect, sort and gain insight from thousands of data points about customers, campaigns and products or services."

 

This can partly be done by the miracle of predictive analytics, which can predict the future by mining the past. Consider Amazon; they gather past purchase data, wish lists, similar purchases and customer ratings to predict future shopping patterns. They simply acquire all the data they need to build up an accurate enough profile that will efficiently usher you from point A to point B:

 

"With the increased accuracy of self-learning algorithms, marketers will be able to better deconstruct big data to create incredibly targeted and optimally timed user experiences."

 

Getting a customer from each of those points requires a meld of data and automation; the data working as the blueprint, and automation working as the tools, delivering quickness, accuracy, and an improved user experience, one that puts the user in the driver's seat:

 

"They can access the exact information they want, how and when they want it. But every potential customer isn't necessarily going to want exactly the same information. With automation, you can also create multiple paths, so each person can have a different experience, based on their own needs and interests."

 

When "80% of your sales come from only 20% of your customers", automation is a necessity to pinpoint just what type of customers will react and how. For example, say you're running an email marketing campaign and you're trying to deliver the best possible user experience, you might monitor:

 

  • When your customer open emails
  • When they engage with content
  • What content they engage with
  • The frequency with which they choose to engage
  • Conversions that take place

 

Platforms like AutoPilot can deliver a tailored experience that accommodates each and every one of your leads as a unique individual, rather than just another part of the catch-all. Sure they might share similarities by way of being interested in what you're selling, but they all have different triggers and ways of going about things.

 

On the other end, the Zapier platform can help gather that data and turn it into data you can use to create a more efficient workflow and finish routine tasks quicker.

 

These platforms and tools will not only help you get better organized, but they'll help you draw in more leads. You can't treat your audience as a monolith. They might all like your product or service, but they all arrived there differently, are using different devices, react to different content, and come from different areas where the product or service might serve a different purpose.

 

You may not see them, and that disconnect and widening gulf isn't helping, but there's still a person behind the screen and the only way to turn them into a sale or lead is treating them like one.


Google Wallet’s Gmail Integration: A New Awakening for Email Marketing

Another player to the mobile payment phenomenon has joined the match.

 

Google rolled out further measures to their already-existing Google Wallet-Gmail integration, by giving recipients the ability to "receive or request money right from the email itself -- without having to install another payment app. They can even arrange for money they receive to go directly into their bank account."

 

While "Google Wallet has been integrated into Gmail on the web since 2013, [in the new update] Google is rolling out a new integration on mobile. Gmail app users on Android will be able to send or request money with anyone, including those who don't have a Gmail address, with just a tap."

 

Users aren't required to have a Gmail address, but must have the Gmail app on an Android device opened to participate. At the moment, only Android users can join in the festivities. "You can send money using their [the recipient's] email address or phone number and there is no need that the recipient needs to have the Wallet app."

 

Here's a demonstration of how it works:

 

 

Looks simple enough, right? It's basically a response to the functionality expansion of communication apps to include money exchanges. "Snapchat offers the ability for friends to pay others via Snapcash, Facebook has a similar feature through Messenger, and, outside the U.S., messaging app WeChat is becoming a mobile payment giant."

 

Plain and simple, "the goal, seemingly, is to take on quick payment apps like PayPal, Venmo or Square Cash, by offering a feature to move money right within Gmail's app."

 

Convenience is the driving factor in all of these developments and expansions. By turning your platform into an all-encompassing, versatile entity, you're obviously going to appeal to more users. Google especially gets a one-up with the fact that you don't even need a Gmail account, nor do you have to download a 3rd party app.

 

It's all done right within the one app, and that money can automatically be directed to a bank account.

 

What this also means, besides having yet another platform for mobile payment transfers, is the propping up of email addresses as an important marketing tool:

 

"Email is not just a channel, but also a personal form of identification superior to the industry-standard cookie, whose value is deteriorating thanks to the boom in blocking and browser privacy."

 

Google looks at email addresses as an ubiquitous touchpoint that distinguishes online users from each other. Think of it like a fingerprint or a social security number; no two are going to be alike. The worldwide search engine even cites how "a user's email address is the key to digital identification across all channels."

 

Think about it: what's the first thing Android or iOS/Apple asks after you buy their device and choose your language? Your email address! You use it to log into your devices, apps, websites, and accounts, and it's the first thing asked whenever you try to make a purchase on your mobile device. Once you do, you're automatically in Google or Apple's database.

 

Plus, it's such an essential part of life that it only makes sense to utilize email addresses as something more than a messaging system:

 

  • "Consumers have an average of 3.2 personal and business email addresses per person."
  • "73% prefer email over SMS, direct mail and app notifications for communicating with businesses."
  • "78% of 14-24 year olds say they have email addresses because email is part of everyday life."

 

Value is being discovered in the email address, which will likely lead to a surge of email marketing and development into other, profitable practices. After all, if this integration allows peer-to-peer transaction and the recipient doesn't even need a Gmail account, where does it end?

 

These peer-to-peer transactions only requiring an email address and the Gmail app sets an intriguing precedent. Knowing that there will be an inevitable adoption by iOS/Apple will only expand the market. This competition, initially spurred by the likes of Venmo and PayPal, will lead to a greater expansion of mobile payment capabilities.

 

If you're into predictions, then this should lead the way for a further transaction expansion overall, not just between friends going out to dinner and splitting a bill, but in the B2B and B2C market, as well. The next updates, once proven reliable and secure, could be businesses initiating sales through their email marketing efforts.

 

That sort of development would change the way we look at email marketing. It would actually encourage more users to open their emails. Consolidating the transaction process to an email would eliminate a significant portion of the buyer's journey altogether. Sure you might lose website clicks, but this is a non-issue when the ultimate goal for all retailers should be conversion:

 

"A new perspective on digital marketing in which brands view their email databases not as millions of data records, but as a collection of individuals to whom they must shape their messaging to reflect their personal needs, interests and goals."

 

Digital marketing strategies could be turned upside down. There's already importance in reaching out through that channel, but there's the possibility it could be turned into an entire marketplace complete with transaction capabilities in the future.

 

However, there are going to be objections to the fact that you can now make payment transfers with something as simple, and seemingly vulnerable, as an email address:

 

Google defends itself:

 

"Gmail isn't vulnerable the way so many other email systems are; Google ensures that. Gmail as an email client is the best use case for email. It's user-friendly. It hasn't been backed."

 

This is where issues are going to emerge. As much as we use our email addresses online to connect with Apple or Google, there's still going to be a tinge of doubt once you start transparently trusting them to safeguard all of your financial information.

 

Again, this is even though you already trust them with your email address. There's just something about mobile payments and making transactions with something as simple as an email address that can draw reluctance.

 

Regardless, this is just another step closer to fully optimized convenience, where almost two or three steps of the buyer's journey is replaced with one. If you can make things easier for your audience through a new and innovative piece of technology, especially compared with someone else in the same industry, you will undoubtedly have the advantage.

 

What do you think of Google Wallet's integration with Gmail? Leave us a message on our Facebook or shoot us a call to discuss!


5 Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Campaign is Failing

Did you know the average person receives an email 100 times per day? That's a lot of content to digest, which is why most emails will never be opened.

 

Don't let this newfound knowledge deter you from crafting an email marketing campaign. When you meet a wall, you don't stand there and stew. You break that thing down! But you have to find a way to stand out since you're in competition with millions of other emails.

 

I like to use this one analogy when talking about this sort of crowded competition. Imagine there are millions of people dressed alike and they're all yelling, including yourself. There's a wild cacophony of noise that's impossible to decipher and only serves to annoy potential customers more than anything.

 

Now imagine you put on a funny hat. Now give yourself a megaphone. Now you're getting some attention. But you have to take it one step further now. So you do research and discover the words and phrases people want to hear. You hop back on the megaphone, yell those words and phrases, and the customer singles you out to hear more.

 

Discovering methods to make yourself unique is what marketing is all about. The Nike's and Apple's of the world didn't become massive on a global scale because they followed a pattern. Daring to be different is what separates success and failure in advertising.

 

And since you've found yourself here, you're off to a great start.

 

1. Uninspired Headlines

 

As is the case with any subject reliant on copy to hook its audience, the first words people read will likely determine whether they're going to move on to something else or be enticed into reading more.

 

The success of email campaigns are contingent on just how gripping the headline is, because it is always the first thing people see when scrolling through their messages. It's importance is heightened once you consider just how many emails the average person receives, with the average office worker receiving 121 emails per day, as of February 2015.

 

An average consumer that shops online is constantly being bombarded with emails. Every time they've given their email to a retail company for discounts, or forgot to click off of that pesky "Click Here If You Want Updates on Discounts!" box at the end of orders, that's just another email or two or three in their inbox every day. In all likelihood, they're ignoring them and/or sending them right to the trash.

 

Finding a way to stand out is an absolute necessity to achieve any semblance of success through email marketing. "33% of email recipients open emails based on subject line alone" and another "69% of email recipients report email as based solely on the subject line," according to a recent study by Convince&Convert.

 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to standout. This copywriter's method is to employ emojis, brackets and caps. In my personal experience of scrolling through my email clutter, I've always found myself stopping when coming across those three subject line traits, simply because they caught my eye. I may not click on them, but noticing the email is the first step towards clicking.

 

But there are certainly other ways. Here's a few suggestions with the stats to back them up:

 

  • 61.8% increase in opens when using the word "alert" in subject lines
  • Using the words "Sale", "New," or "Video" in subject lines boost open rates
  • The top five subject lines in a recent study all included "Re:"
  • Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened
  • Subject lines that create a sense of urgency and exclusivity can give a 22% higher open rate
  • Emails with "Free" in the subject line were opened 10% more than those without

 

If there are ways to succeed, there are ways to fail:

 

  • Emails with "Quick" in the subject line were opened 17% less than those without
  • Emails with "fw:" in the subject line were opened 17% less than those without
  • Subject lines with 3 or more words are opened 15% less than those without 1-2
  • 18.7% decrease on open rates when the word "newsletter" is used in subject lines

 

But opening up the email is only a portion of the battle. There's still much to be done in the way of content, including this one key that's guaranteed to deter conversions...

 

2. Too Long; Didn't Read

 

I don't have to tell you about the shortened attention span caused by social media and journalism's easy bake oven of content that relies far more on quantity than quality. You already know this, and you've most likely applied it to your strategy. In order to succeed online, you need to be concise, succinct, and to the point.

 

Go any longer and you're losing your audience. People don't want to read. They want their information given to them immediately, oftentimes regardless of facts, so they can move onto the next source of sweet, sweet content. Take a look at a vintage advertisement the next time you wonder if everything used to be so short and directly to the point. You'll find those ads often include a few paragraphs of info detailing the product.

 

Your emails don't have to be descriptive novels. If a reader sees a huge block of text, they're not going to spend the time reading it. Eliminate all of the fluff and include only the key components that will drive the user to convert. Let the reader know what you're talking about and trying to get them to do, but keep it specific and don't beat around the bush.

 

Always use shorter sentences and simpler words. It's not a Creative Writing class, it's just an email headline. Just because you've been reading Tortilla Flats and want to invoke your inner John Steinbeck doesn't mean you should.

 

In fact, sometimes it's smarter to go no copy in the body at all, especially for sales. You would need a graphic designer to accomplish this, however.

 

There's one thing that's worse than too many words, though, and that is....

 

3. Too Many Emails!

 

As I mentioned before, people are already under the constant shelling of email artillery. They wake up, go through and delete their emails. They get to work, go through and delete their emails. It's lunch, they go through and delete their emails. So on and so on.

 

With the right subject line, there's no need to push three or more emails per day. Research the two best times to send emails and push there. The only thing worse than having people ignore your emails is having them notice your emails too much, clicking, and unsubscribing so they can never see your emails again.

 

Their mouth will be left with a sour taste because of how much you were trying to sell to them. There's nothing wrong with pushing discounts, but when you're repeating the same discount multiple times daily it can get tiresome.

 

Be substantive in your copy, unique in your subject headlines, and send out your emails at the right time. Of course, you always have to make sure that the right people are getting your emails.....

 

4. Targeting the Wrong People or Too Many people

 

What's the point of strategizing and intricately crafting copy when you don't have a clear focus on who you're targeting?

 

Sure you went after the biggest audience that may appeal to some, but your engagement rate is going to suffer, and, most importantly, so is your budget, since it takes more money to appeal to more people. The amount of people unsubscribing from your emails will also grow since they never wanted to see your emails in the first place.

 

Rather than appealing to the broad masses, narrow your search and target the people who are most likely to buy. If you're selling wedding flower arrangements, don't appeal to everyone who likes flowers. Go after the smaller group that's far more likely to buy; recently engaged couples and families planning a wedding in the near future.

 

But you should have known all of this before you crafted your emails and pinpointed your targets. If you didn't, your campaign is probably going to fail because you.....

 

5. Didn't Plan a Nurture Flow

 

Let's begrudgingly go back to school for a moment and think back to a time you really studied for a test. You did everything possible to get ready. You read the material, made flashcards to remember definitions, key people and dates. You even spent an extra few minutes each night stuffing your mind with juicy morsels of knowledge.

 

And when you were finally ready to take the test, what happened?

 

You aced it.

 

Why? Because you remembered everything. The extra hours you spent studying and the efforts to remember key details paid off because the knowledge ingrained in your mind was easier to recall and regurgitate. The same goes if you're preparing for a speech. If you spend the time getting to know the subject, you won't be nervous when the time comes because you're confident in knowing what you are saying.

 

Now how are you supposed to feel confident about your email marketing campaign when you don't plan for it? While it's not a matter of studying material, preparation is a heavy component of the campaign's success. This isn't the time to wing it. You're investing a lot of time and money, so there should be an incentive for you to prepare.

 

When you're creating the nurture flow, consider your whole audience and what your objectives are going to be. What steps do you want them to take? What type of product are you selling? Should you introduce relatable reading material beforehand? Should you tell people more about your company?

 

Are you trying to convince people to stick around? Send them an initial email, then wait a week and send them another with an added incentive. Still no response? Send them one last email that offers the incentive, but also include an ultimatum that tells the user it will be the last time they'll receive an email.

 

P.S. PROOFREAD

 

This should go without being said. Time and time again, though, someone makes an egregious mistake, sometimes with hilarious results:

 

img_2581 (1)

 

This should be the easiest part of the process since all you have to do is read. It takes no longer than a few minutes, since the email is concise, and it'll help you immensely in the long run.

 

Email marketing campaigns aren't like social media campaigns, where you can sometimes go back and make an edit or at least delete the ads. Once the email goes out, that's it. It's hitting inboxes across the globe and whatever glaring mistake you made is what your audience will receive.

 

Remember to always take time after finishing to proofread the copy. Even if you find nothing wrong grammatically, you may stumble across some wording that doesn't sit well with you. So this isn't only the time for a grammar check, it also presents another opportunity to make edits and craft your structure better.

 

Plus, you took all of this time to craft and strategize. Why not devote ten more minutes to perfecting it?


slack

Slack: Communication at Its Peak

In an increasingly connected world, communication has become king.

 

Actually it goes beyond simple communication. We're in the age of instant communication, where messages that aren't replied to within minutes are grounds for pestering follow-ups and questioning the recipient's reliability.

 

It makes one wonder just how patient and thorough our ancestors were. A message sent across an ocean took months to get to the recipient and months to get back, and that's with the off-chance the ship transporting the message actually survived. The messages must have also been extremely detailed, too, seeing as the last thing you'd want to do is forget a detail and have to send a follow-up that was halfway across the Atlantic.

 

I can imagine it now. A British general asks a higher-ranking officer in England what to do about agitated colonials contemplating war, receives a message 3 months later to ignore it, and then 3 months later another message comes in saying, "You should probably stifle that", only for an all-out war to be in its opening throes.

 

No, communication was not kind to sudden changes. Fortunately we've evolved and the improvement and accessibility of communication has become a priority. Now sudden changes of thought and perspective can be delivered on a whim, rather than on a ship that may or may not leave your message at the bottom of the ocean.

 

Communities across the world are now on a path of discovery sharing never-before-learned information about cultures, lifestyles, and ideas. It has its obvious benefits for relationship purposes, but instant communication over short and large distances has become an absolute necessity to the office.

 

That's where Slack has excelled. This platform, which you may have learned about from their innovative, visually-appealing commercials, has delivered our office with instantaneous and organized messaging that has made us all the more efficient and connected.

 

 

Naturally there is an area where you're able to send direct messages to co-workers. However, where Slack really separates itself is its community-building by allowing users to create channels made for specific projects.

 

For instance, on our version of Slack, we have a channel for each client where we discuss projects and easily upload documents. If we need to get someone's attention, we use the '@' sign and they're alerted via flashing from the website's tab. The same is done for any direct message.

 

Channels can even be locked to prevent others from finding them. You know, in case any employees out there need a chat room to vent about work.

 

What's even more impressive about this platform is how you can add a specific image to appear in a channel whenever a certain word or phrase is uttered. There is also an extensive (And I mean EXTENSIVE) catalog of emojis that liven up conversations. As efficient as Slack is, these emojis can derail a day's worth of work.

 

Nevertheless, it's these little details that separate Slack from pretty much every other social platform I've come across and used at work.

 

The communicative possibilities stretch as far as your imagination can. We've set up channels for clients, general information about work, and even one devoted to Game of Thrones, which is perfect for non-watchers to avoid hearing about the show and for watchers who missed a recent episode to avoid spoilers.

 

You can even have different companies set up through Slack even if you're using the same account!

 

Our productivity and efficiency can't be quantified, but anybody who works here can tell you how Slack has been an absolute benefit to their work life. Its wide-ranging communicative capabilities have made information-sharing, urgent or not, a far more enjoyable and efficient experience.