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.


New Orleans: On A Collision Course with the Tech Industry

Starting May 1st, over 20,000 attendees, including over 3,000 CEOs, will descend upon New Orleans for the Collision Conference, "America's fastest growing tech conference."

 

 

The event will be taking place at the exact same time as the famous Jazz Fest. Considering this is Collision's second consecutive year in New Orleans, it's safe to say their time last year had a large effect on where they'd be holding the event this year.

 

But there could also be other intentions involved. There are currently two prominent tech hotbeds that we know of in America: San Francisco and Austin. San Francisco is falling out of favor because of it's exceedingly high cost of living rates. Austin is reaping the benefits, boasting a corporate tax rate of zero, relatively affordable rent, and bohemian qualities of its own.

 

These hubs are on the West Coast and in the heart of Texas. Could it be time for the East to have a tech center of its own?

 

That may be determined by just how influential Collision 2017 is. The event's coordinators even discuss how they're "looking to feed off of the energetic, positive-vibe atmosphere created in New Orleans. [The city] has been looking to establish itself as a hotbed for tech, and having Collision there this year supports that effort."

 

Four types of people will be attending:

 

  1. Tech startups looking to pitch their idea and find funding to grow it
  2. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists looking for the next great thing to invest in
  3. Wanna-be startups that aren't quite at the pitch stage yet, but looking to explore technology to come up with their future business.
  4. Our very own performance ninja, Emira!

 

To summarize, there are going to be startups. There are going to be investors looking to invest in a startup. And there are going to be potential startups watching what type of startups are being invested in.

 

Those in the third tier should guide their interest to the IMPACT startups. With the current U.S. administration not too keen on the idea of environmental preservation, startups promoting sustainability could be a huge hit, in terms of private investment, for the future:

 

"11 of the world's most impactful startups are coming to Collision. These startups were selected from more than 200 entries to exhibit as an IMPACT startup in collaboration with Accenture Strategy. They were selected on five criteria including: product maturity, growth potential and ability to execute."

 

Collision's ALPHA program is also a channel for the promotion of specific startups with potential, as are the designated 'Mentor Hours', 'Office Hours', 'Roundtables', and 'Workshops'.

As far as entertainment goes at the event, the PITCH event looks like the go-to:

 

"PITCH is the startup competition at Collision that brings together the world's leading early-stage startups for a live on-stage battle.

 

The top 66 startups that apply will get to present in front of distinguished investor panels, influential media, and global partners. Startups will battle it out across three days for a chance to present in front of thousands of attendees on Center Stage and be crowned winner of PITCH at Collision 2017."

 

 

Now as far as entertainment goes, in terms of New Orleans, well, there's everywhere else. Among the 13 standalone conferences that are a part of Collision include 'Culture Summit', 'Sunset Summit', 'Pub Summit', and 'Night Summit', which are all further opportunities for startups to meet and mingle with fellow startups and even CEOs who venture into New Orleans' famous nightlife.

 

Remember: this will also be coinciding with Jazz Fest. There's a bar on every corner and literally every weekday is a party. Who's to say that a lucky startup won't end up receiving a $100 million investment at 4AM over Po Boys?

 

 

Every industry under the sun will be representing and pitching their ideas, while workshops will be held for code, content, data, design, e-commerce, enterprise, fintech, IoT, marketing, music, security, social media, and sports.

 

Aside from the four aforementioned conferences that will be taking place once the day ends, there will also be nine conferences with potentially less time with libations:

 

AutoTech: Leading gathering for autonomous vehicles, connected cars, drones and the internet of things.

binate.Io: World’s leading data conference, connecting data scientists, analysts, hackers, and engineers.

Creatiff: Leading design conference, connecting designers and creative.

FullSTK: Leading conference for developers, investors, futurists, engineers and computing experts.

MusicNotes: Leading music & tech conference where global brands, artists,   labels, marketers, investors and icons meet.

Panda Conf: For 5,000 marketers & technoligists where industry giants, global CMOs, leading brands, investors, agencies and adtech startups meet.

Planet Tech: Brings together startups, giants, influencers and voices from     fields of sustainability, green & environmental tech, energy efficiency and clean tech.

SaaS Monster: Connecting more than 5,000 CIOs and CTOs, buyers and sellers, experts and investors, startups and established companies.

Startup University: CEOs, founders, industry leaders and investors on what’s going to make your startup a success.

TalkRobot: For AI, robotics and hardware experts, connecting thousands of leading companies, startups, investors, engineers, roboticists and researchers.

 

And what's a conference without its speakers, right? I bet when you clicked on this article you didn't expect me to announce that Jessica Alba (Founder of The Honest Company), Terrell Owens (NFL player turned philanthropist and entrepreneur), Ja Rule (Fyre), and Wyclef Jean (Musician and philanthropist) would all be speaking.

 

For those more interested in the technical side of things from prominent figures in their industry, though, we've compiled a short list of people with clout you may be interested in:

 

Neal Mohan – CPO YouTube

Alan Schaff – Founder Imgur

Alexis Ohanian – Co-Founder Reddit

Kevin Lin – Co-Founder and COO Twitch

Suzy Deering – CMO eBAY

Stan Chudnovsky – Head of Product for Messenger – Facebook

Jamie Moldafsky – CMO Wells Fargo

Karen Walker – CMO Cisco

Jason Robins – Co-Founder and CEO DraftKings

Nigel Eccles – Co-Founder FanDuel

 

295 speakers overall will be present, including an astronaut, journalists, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, and the former governor of Colorado.

 

This year's event could very well signify yet another tech migration and we're going to be a part of it. Stay tuned for our follow-up blog when we get insider information from our source within the event!


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!


Guide: How to Inject Personality Into Your Website and Stand Out

Your website is often the first impression a prospective buyer will garner of your business. And seeing as studies have reported that “you have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website”, it’s of extreme importance that your website is fully optimized.

 

It needs to be clean. It needs to be strategically concise in some areas, but lengthy and descriptive in others. It needs to be accessible. It needs to present a clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best for the job.

 

Basically, it needs to act as an extension of your business’s personality. Remember that this is essentially the first thing your next client (or buyer depending on what industry you serve) will see.

 

If I’m running a marketing agency and I can’t properly communicate my message, there’s a high likelihood that visitor will take their business elsewhere. How could they trust me to communicate their message when I can’t even communicate my own?

 

In broader terms, if you’re on a first date, are you not going to take the time to prepare yourself and put the best version of you out there? Of course you are! Because when your date sees you for the first time, you want to provide them with a clean, well-kept image before you even open your mouth.

 

Effectively communicating your services on a website goes beyond copy, which we’ll get to momentarily. Just like how you can communicate without saying a word, simply based on your appearance, mannerisms, and demeanor, you can do the same on a website through its design, layout, accessibility and quality.

 

Take pride in your website! After all, this is a representation of who you are. Ensure the photographs are colorful, original, and eye-catching. If you’re going for more of a sleeker, modern design, then be consistent. If you’re relying on neutral colors from the beginning, stay the course the entire website.

 

Accessibility, for both desktop and mobile, is perhaps the most notable and necessary website feature, in terms of the digital era we live in now. There is no better way to instantly lose website visitors than if your website is confusing, devoid of direction, and lacking key info.

 

Let’s step into the real world for a second again. Place yourself at the front of a large department store with a need to find a specific item. You enter and look up for the placards hanging from the ceiling to indicate which aisle has which items. They’re not there. Immediately your shopping experience is negative.

 

 

So you go through each and every aisle. You’d ask for help, but there are no employees in sight to reach out to. After awhile, you finally find your item. Now it’s checkout time. Oh, what’s that? You can’t even find the registers. Forget this. It’s too frustrating, so you just find somewhere else that’s easier to navigate.

 

Now apply the same principles to a website. You want something from a marketing agency—let’s say lead generation help—and you enter the website hoping to find if they can help. Instead, you can’t find anything. There’s information in there about lead generation, but you just can’t find it.

 

Maybe you can find someone to help? While it would be nice to have a ‘Live Chat’ or ‘Contact Us’ option, those, too, are nowhere in sight. After awhile, you get frustrated and leave to find a marketing agency that can actually cater to your needs.

 

Had your website been organized, helpful, easily navigable, and accessible, you wouldn’t have lost that potential client. This is the first step people are taking in this sort of territory and having them meet an inaccessible, confusing website is the worst possible scenario.

 

Make everything as clear as possible. In laymen’s terms, idiot-proof it. Ensure everything is right where it needs to be found and can easily be accessed. Place your contact information right at the top of your page so it’s the first thing they see. Have a search box available. Implement a live chat that pops up at the bottom of the screen. Give visitors a clear call-to-action button.

 

However you design it, just keep it simple and ensure it’s organized. The same goes for mobile, where “over 38% of web traffic now comes from”. That percentage may not seem like much, but it would be foolish to alienate four out of every ten visitors to your page because you’re not mobile optimized.

 

Once you have your layout setup and organized, you can begin the fun, and my favorite, part: Writing the copy.

 

Revisit what I said in the first paragraph: “You have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website.”

 

That quote applies to copy as much as it does your layout. You need to address what your business specializes in and it needs to be done in a dynamic way that’s going to get attention. Of course, this goes back to your layout. Copy can be stimulating, but layouts are the first thing people are going to notice.

 

Take for example our very own One Twelfth website. We capture the attention of our visitors immediately. The copy we place is concise, but it’s on a slideshow featuring several dynamic, interesting images that shifts every few seconds to the next one.

 

It’s quick. It’s efficient. It’s simple. You don’t want a wall of words as the first thing your visitors see. Making a creative, striking layout with branding and a basic readout of what your business serves does pass the test. However, you always want to offer your reader something that’s really going to capture their attention like, for instance, a slideshow.

 

Your website’s copy needs to consist of everything you can do in the most efficient way possible. But before even writing that copy, first create an outline and a flow that will effectively demonstrate your company’s services. Nail down all the pages you’ll be creating and what each will consist of, as well as which you think are the most important to your reader.

 

In the same way a retail business will showcase its best sellers at the top of its page, an agency can put its top services at the highest pedestal.

 

You want to separate yourself from the pack and there’s no better way to do this than through your copy. This is the opportunity to inject personality into your brand. That means avoiding common buzzwords you’d expect every other brand in your industry would use. It doesn’t mean to avoid them altogether, just not to harp on them continually.

 

Instead, have fun with it! Unless your brand is already well established and known, you have to find a way to stand out to convince clients to hire you. Here’s an explanation on how it works:

 

“People trust brands they know. If the voice of your website copy is bland, boring or cold you’re missing out on that magic connection. Use your personality to build that connection and draw people into what you’re talking about.”

 

That first point really rings true. It’s far more likely if you provide potential clients with transparency, as opposed to relying on the crutch of sterile information and cliché buzzwords, that you’re going to build a mini-relationship right then and there.

 

Plus, it gets them a little more intrigued. Again, you’re doing everything you can to stand out while still maintaining professionalism. You need to be informative and professional, but also instilling that unique personality only you can provide.

 

Pull back the curtain a little bit for visitors to see just who they’re dealing with. Exhibit how cohesive of a team you are by displaying pictures of your team taking part in after work activities; showcase any charitable work you’ve done; show life inside the office.

 

Transparency has become huge in today’s social media age. People now more than ever want to see who they could be potentially working with, simply because they know you can provide that.

 

Once it’s all said and done, give it time to see how well it performs. Use tools like heat maps to see where people are clicking and where they’re scrolling. That way you can make adjustments to your page to optimize it. You’d be surprised just how simple adding a CTA button can increase conversions. We’ve made numerous observations at our agency, when checking on a client’s website, where visitors click around on a certain space thinking it’ll redirect them to another page, only to leave disappointed.

 

And if you need any help doing this, I know of a certain marketing agency that specializes in website copy and design. Maybe you’ve heard of them.


Save Your Marketing Agency Hours of Work with Automation

Time is money when you charge clients by the hour, which makes every minute all the more precious in digital marketing.

 

At some point, in order to limit spending as much as possible without having it impact the quality, shortcuts will have to be made in non-creative/strategy areas. It has to come at a point where critical mistakes can't be made that would disrupt the integrity of a running campaign.

 

Say your goal is to acquire leads. You get the leads through a series of campaigns and then you need to offload them to a separate document. But if you have several hundred leads, copying and pasting every name, number, and email address is a painstaking task that would take hours.

 

The process needs to be consolidated, so that the same result is reached in a matter of seconds, rather than hours.

 

Automation allows the process of organizing leads and building processes to be expedited:

 

“You don’t have to manually add every client or lead into your database. If someone wants to work you or just inform themselves, you could have them fill out a form. Then, that information can be automatically added to the database.”

So rather than tediously combing through campaign after campaign and uploading them individually, marketers can simply link their campaigns with an automation tool that will automatically upload the leads.

 

This cuts down hours of work that would otherwise be wasteful if done by any other method. It would literally take multiple staffers copying and pasting every name, number, and email address that we acquired, in order to save as much time as possible.

 

Since we employ automation, however, more time can be spent on important matters that need attention-to-detail, like creative and strategy.

 

Zapier, the automation tool we use, links with Google Spreadsheet, Facebook Forms, Twitter Forms, and Google Analytical Forms.

 

Automation is becoming an increasingly utilized tool because of how much it improves productivity. Backed up by Nucleus Research, “marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.”

 

Even more intriguing was a study done by The Annuitas Group, which found “Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience as much a 451% increase in qualified leads.”

 

For any size business, but especially for larger ones that can be inundated with hundreds of leads per day, automation is a means of consolidating time and improving organization, which obviously factors into time constraints.

 

Once you possess those leads, thus begins the process of creating a workflow to reach out. Here’s a good example of an automation workflow from Marketo:

 

 

We take this approach with email marketing campaigns. Once we gather our leads, we’ll strategize an approach to reach out to these leads in a manner that isn’t too overbearing, but one that reminds our recipient that we’re here.

 

Put yourself in the shoes of your recipient. You don’t want email after email every day, right? It gets irritating really fast and actually leaves a sour taste in your mouth about a company that you were formerly interested enough in to give your email to.

 

Instead, create a personal relationship that doesn’t rely on a sales-y approach that makes your motives clear. I’ll leave the email marketing tips for another blog (This one I already wrote, in particular), but any good marketing manager will attest to quality over quantity.

 

Above anything else, ensure that you already have a plan in place, including your email marketing nurture flow and the automation tool that works best for you.


How Hotjar Provides Landing Page Insights Metrics Can’t

Understanding audience tendencies is imperative to facilitating success, no matter the cause.

 

In digital marketing terms, it is especially important when creating a landing page or website that serves your audience. It must create enough convenience that the user easily finds everything they were looking for.

 

As important as metrics are, they can only tell us so much. Sure they can tell us how many times a button was pushed, but can it show us the user’s behavior beforehand? Can it show us where they had to scroll to find it? How far down they are scrolling to find what they need before giving up?

 

Hotjar, which considers itself “a new and easy way to truly understand your web and mobile site visitors”, specializes and excels in measuring this type of audience behavior.

 

Our team of analytical experts heavily utilize two key features to improve landing pages and websites:

 

  • Heatmaps
    • “Understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior

 

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  • Recordings
    • Identify usability issues by watching recordings of real visitors on your site as the click, tap, move their cursor, type and navigate across pages

 

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These features provide us with the advantage of seeing exactly how our audience behaves on a specific website we are monitoring.

 

When finding out just how much it helps, I asked Emira Oliveros, One Twelfth Performance Ninja (her words, not mine), to provide a specific example.

 

I got two.

 

She regaled me in a pair of success stories that centered on a recently constructed website for a new client; one about the placement of a ‘Learn More’ button, the other about the lack thereof.

 

The subscription service being offered on the website wasn’t receiving as many clicks as it should have. A lot of visitors were also leaving way too early, especially on mobile.

 

When she looked at the mobile website on Hotjar, she noticed the ‘Learn More’ button was well below the fold. With the main CTA being so low on the mobile site, users gave up and left. Considering the importance of mobile optimization, the inefficient design was practically turning away conversions.

 

It wasn’t until we recommended placing the button higher that subscriptions via mobile began to pour in. Users also stayed on the site longer.

 

The other case is something we’ve all dealt with at one point. You go to a website, see the product information on the top image, and assume this is where you click to access the products.

 

Instead, users were met with a dead end. The image wasn’t clickable, no matter how many times the user clicked. We were able to see this thanks to the Recordings feature, which allowed us to see sporadic clicking from numerous users on the website’s main image.

 

Our recommendation was to create a ‘Learn More’ button overlying the main image that directs users where exactly to click. Suddenly, the random clicking around stopped and memberships started to roll in.

 

The main learning was to include as much relevant info and a direct CTA above the fold that would require little scrolling.

 

While you who made the page may understand where everything is, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and assume they know nothing. Do everything you can to help them out by placing all the key info and CTA’s they need to convert right in front of them.

 

People want everything provided to them instantaneously. Make it as convenient as possible to ensure as little critical thought is necessary and that they don’t need to go on a scavenger hunt.

 

Where Hotjar really came through was the fact that this was a new business that was only just starting to gain traction. Sample sizes were going to be too small to appreciate a collective outlook, so we had to take an individualized approach.

 

Our client being a new business actually helped our cause because it allowed us to set the foundation for our audience’s behavior. Since we were able to understand where people clicked and what drove them away, it set a precedent for the future of this website and any other pages that may follow.

 

Measurement tools like Hotjar stand out because they offer marketers a different take on indicating marketing success. It should be in the best interest of every marketing professional to utilize every resource necessary. Hotjar obviously won't help you figure out the best strategies for your website, but it can help you create a fully optimized, easily navigable website.

 

Have you ever used Hotjar? Leave a comment on our Facebook and let us know what you thought of it!


What Stops People From Converting (And How to Make Them)

"The more they pass their heart around, the more jaded that they become."

 

I never thought I'd reference a Drake lyric when discussing conversions, but it's actually appropriate for the topic we're about to dive into. I'm talking of course about the buyer's journey.

 

Allow me to explain.

 

First, let's examine the lyric. What Drake is making reference to is how women can become more suspicious of a person's motives with every break of their heart. The more they try to love, the more suspicious they become of perfidy and that they may get hurt again.

 

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We've all been guilty of putting our trust into someone that turned out to be deceitful. You learn from your mistakes and take that newfound experience with you, but you also become dubious of a person's intentions. As a result, you sometimes paint with a broad brush, rather than tacking it up as a singular event.

 

Now, let's apply this to a potential buyer on your website and why they're cautious about buying. We'll conveniently ignore any financial issues and assume that the buyer is well-off, but remains hesitant about pulling the trigger on a purchase.

 

There are several reasons for this, and one of them is they don't want to get burned and garner the loathsome feeling of buyer's remorse again. This, too, we've all been guilty of. We've all seen a shiny new product and allowed a salesman to smile in our face and convince us that "You absolutely need this!", and "How much it will change your life!", and "How life will be so much simpler and easier!"

 

Then we bring it home and realize it does nothing that was promised. Not only are you out however much money you spent on it, you also feel bamboozled. You always believed that you'd never be the one to make a poor purchase, yet here you are now with five three-packs of Shamwow's when you could have just bought ordinary paper towels for more than half the price.

 

You just might require counseling if you let people know about your purchase and become a source of mockery as the 'Shamwow Guy'.

 

Naturally, you become more guarded. Your arms become shorter when you reach into your pockets and you catastrophize every future buy. You don't want to lose out on anymore money and you certainly don't want to feel like you were bested, so you question each purchase more and more.

 

Now you're looking at the purchase button with a cart full of books, just to use an example, and are hesitant to buy. Because some books you've bought in the past haven't been as resourceful and helpful as you thought, however, maybe you reconsider this haul.

 

You question it, and the more you question it the less likely you are to buy. So you decide to wait another day when you have more money, or if you could find it online for free, or if you even really need them anyway.

 

The full cart is now left in purgatory, overflowing with books that will never be read by their prospective buyer.

 

It's up to the marketer to navigate the buyer through this process and prevent them from abandoning for one reason or another. There needs to be a level of trust between the buyer and seller that promises the buyer they are going to receive exactly what they're expecting.

 

Transparency is an effective way of bridging this gap between seller and buyer. If you're selling a book, why not allow the buyer to get a small sample of what they'll be buying by offering them a chance to read a few pages first.

 

Amazon and eBay excel at transparency because they provide access into the seller's habits. There's a star rating, a counter of how many sales they've made, access to their full online store, a description of the product and reviews of the product from other buyers. In my experience, the first thing I do when buying a product on Amazon is look for the seller with the most customers and highest star ratings.

 

Let's say you're a traditional seller, though, and don't rely on individual sellers to set up camp on your website and sell their products. I liked this suggestion from Copyblogger:

 

"Everything on your site needs to show you can be trusted: Real contact information. Your photograph. Thorough responses to FAQs. Clear, reasonable calls to action."

 

Putting a face to your product shows potential buyers that they're not dealing with some faceless corporation that could care less if you're satisfied or not following your experience. When a seller puts their face and name to their product, they're plunging into precarious waters because they're putting something as important as money on the line: Their reputation.

 

A person only has one name and one face. If they're deceitful, it will follow them everywhere because they staked their reputation on it. If John Smith sells a lemon of a product, it would only take me one Google search of John Smith to know not to trust him, especially since his face will be accompanying him in those searches.

 

Everything you do when selling a product needs to revolve around creating a trustworthy environment for your buyers. The product is an extension of yourself and your identity. It's your idea come to life, so treat it as such. If you thought it was a good enough idea to turn it into something tangible, then you need to be honest with your potential customers.

 

Trust is difficult to cultivate, especially with someone you just met, mainly because of their past experiences. Your buyer's jaded and you need to lay it all out there that you're different. The only way to break through someone's tough exterior is to make yourself vulnerable first by genuinely letting buyers know who you are and what your product does.

 

Once the customer is satisfied with their experience, the all-important foundation of trust has been laid.


What Every Digital Marketing Agency Needs to Have

A digital marketing agency should work as a well-maintained machine. Each piece will serve its purpose and the assembly line-like hierarchy will seamlessly build the product from start to finish.

 

The cogs all work together in perpetual harmony. One works off another and so on, creating a chain reaction that will inevitably spur the final result.

 

That may seem sterile, but there's truth to it. Every agency should have a hierarchy that pushes projects from one step to the next, beginning with an initial idea and ending with a finished product bestowed upon targeted consumers.

 

Before it gets to that point, however, it has to make its way through these five professionals that every digital marketing agency should have under its employ.

 

Account Manager

 

Before the objective and direction is given to the copywriter to convert into words, it has to start with the account manager.

 

The account manager is another messenger of sorts, except they serve an integral role at the beginning of campaigns, as opposed to the implementer who proves their worth at the end. Their role is crucial as they lay the foundation for what the campaign’s message will be based on.

 

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They provide the necessary marble, while the copywriter and graphic designer chip and sculpt away until they create the art they believe the client wants to see. But before it gets there, the account manager is tasked with conveying the message, maintaining it, and updating the writer/designer on any changes to the original idea.

 

Edits that need to be made are also first given to the account manager, before it works its way down the agency hierarchy. While it’s up to the writer to put the client’s thoughts into words, it’s up to the account manager to transfer those thoughts to the writer.

 

Without this crucial step, the writer is left directionless and won’t understand the true intentions of their client. It’s like building a house. It’s not going to be structurally sound if the foundation isn’t constructed to its specifications, nor is it going to be well-received if it doesn’t match what the client desired.

 

Campaign Analyst

 

After the account manager grasps the idea of what the client wants, but before the copywriter receives it, a target audience must be set up. Advertising needs to be propped up where people can see it, but it also needs to be seen by the right people. If you're in Florida, you're not going to have a billboard on I-95 trying to sell skis and snowboards. If I want to advertise my arthritis medicine on TV, am I going to advertise on CNN or Nickelodeon?

 

If I'm creating a campaign for radios for the public safety industry, I'm going to target police departments, fire departments and EMT's. That way I have a better chance of capitalizing on sales and reaching people I know for a fact will be interested. Even if they don't buy then, they'll at least have it in their mind that I sell a product they may want in the future.

 

But you have to find them first. The campaign analyst will locate these targets by using tools that will steer them to the correct keywords their targets are most likely to search. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is imperative in targeting as it allows the copywriters to know which keywords to use, so they can seamlessly integrate it into their text.

 

Besides search engines, campaign analysts are also tasked with locating relevant websites that can support a banner or display ad.

 

The analyst also serves a significant role at the project's conclusion as the reporter. With so many tools to analyze and aggregate, there are also a lot of stats that come with it. Campaign analysts are tasked with deciphering these metrics, picking out the most important numbers, and creating a report that gives a clear indication to the client of how the project performed and what needs to be changed in future campaigns.

 

Copywriter

 

How do you expect your agency to become a success without the help of a professional writer? Besides the work they’ll do for clients, they’ll also serve as the face of your agency from a written standpoint.

 

They’ll write the ads promoting your agency. They’ll write the social media posts promoting it, as well. Their expertise is invaluable because a good copywriter is aware that they have to place themselves in the shoes of their audience.

 

They have to know what the people want to hear, something that should be every agency’s greatest objective. Not only that, but they have to be creative, too. With so many competing agencies, a copywriter helps brands become unique, attaching a distinct voice and tone that’s exclusive and can’t be replicated.

 

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Plus, how do you expect clients to stick around? Sure some will come around just asking for measurement and analysis. But what about the brands that need to establish or further their brand’s presence? Only a copywriter can deliver the creative text that leads to conversions.

 

Research is a necessity for the copywriter. Knowing what your audience wants to hear isn’t solely based on perspective. It goes beyond that. The copywriter must know what type of words people want to read or don’t want to read. It sounds strange, but there are plenty of studies indicating people are more likely to convert on a post depending on what words are used.

 

We also can’t forget the significance of proper grammar. It’s an extremely unprofessional look for an agency to misspell words or use run-on sentences, even in something as mundane as a business email. Your words serve as a conduit representative not only of yourself, but also of your brand. It’s difficult to be trusted as a reliable and professional agency when even your emails are riddled with errors.

 

It’ll make your recipient wonder if their project is going to be error-filled, too. It’s all about the attention to detail.

 

A copywriter also plays a key role in the development of a content strategy, including conjuring themes, deciding what types of posts to use, determining what day or time is best to post, and which images should be used.

 

And speaking of images….

 

Graphic Designer

 

The graphic designer often goes hand-in-hand with the copywriter. While a copywriter can rely on outlets like Shutterstock for their image needs, a graphic designer provides a professional, personal touch to the brand that only they can provide.

 

Also, being generic only leads to stagnation. An agency’s creative component can only provide so much through text and generic images alone because of how important branded images, as well as videos, are throughout social media.

 

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A compelling piece of copy can convey a strong message, but it’s the image that’s likely going to earn most of the attention. It’s just the nature of the beast. People are constantly scrolling through social media, searching for the next stimulant, and they’re more likely to be caught off guard by an image than copy.

 

Like a copywriter, this isn’t something you want to leave for an amateur. Just like people will notice a grammatical error, they’ll also notice poor photoshop jobs, sometimes to the point that they’re immortalized on the internet forever.

 

You’re also more likely to capitalize on events and holidays with a graphic designer in your employ. Rather than the generic ‘Merry Christmas from X’ attached to a generic image of a Christmas tree, a graphic designer can integrate your brand into a Christmas setting. It adds a personal touch and will likely lead to more engagement because it’s unique.

 

Creativity should never be stifled, but rather embraced and encouraged. Employing a graphic designer can further that by tearing down the roadblocks copywriters and content strategists faced when strategizing.

 

Implementer

 

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Often unappreciated, the campaign implementer is tasked with the taxing responsibility of sending the created copy and images out to the online world.

 

Sounds easy? It isn’t. It’s a laborious chore that’s as mundane as it is mind numbing. But it’s an integral portion of the campaign’s journey. The work has to be distributed, and it’s up to the implementer to painstakingly proofread every last word.

 

Otherwise, the agency is pained with creating all of that work for no reason other than showcasing that they don’t have an attention to detail.

 

Implementers have the patience and attention to detail because they recognize the heavy burden they have to carry. If the copywriter creates the message, consider the implementer as the messenger; caring for the message, shielding it from disasters, and protecting it along its voyage to the recipient.

 

Human Resources

 

Campaigns are demanding. They can take a lot longer than projected, reference material might become outdated, budgets can be restrictive, and the perennially fluctuating mind of a client can send even the most patient marketer into hysterics.

 

That’s where Human Resources steps in. Since alcohol consumption in an agency is only acceptable at the tail end of a week (if you’re lucky), there has to be another way to de-stress. An HR rep serves as a work psychiatrist, listening to complaints and concerns and just letting their co-workers vent.

 

Employees are at their job for nine hours a day and oftentimes longer, which is a vast majority of their waking day. A lot can happen in that time and rather than keep that stress bubbling and boiling inside, it’s a considerable relief to vent it to someone, even if they don’t fully understand what the issue is.

 

Have you tried working angry? It’s extremely distracting. You can’t focus on your work and it’s often compromised because you’re not thinking correctly since your mind is on other things. That evil inside has to be let out, otherwise it’s only going to ferment and turn into something worse that could have been avoided.

 

Resentment is a dangerous feeling that should be addressed immediately. Give your employees a place to vent and relinquish those emotions so they don’t fester and result in an unfortunate diatribe against the client during a meeting.

 

Or stock your agency with a mini-bar. Depending on how stressed your agency is, however, that may end up costing you more in the long run.


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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.