5 Easy Black Friday Marketing Tips You Still Have Time For

Black Friday (November 23, 2012) is going to be the most popular shopping day of the year in the United States and your company has the opportunity to participate. Whether your business is a retail store, local restaurant, or complex B2B software provider, you can take advantage of the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (November 26, 2012).

Why are these days important to your business?

  1. Customers are in the emotional mindset to spend money. Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is now fast approaching. Black Friday is typically the first opportunity to grab some great items before the budget starts to get tight.
  2. Customers are engaging with your marketing. You spend the entire year trying to grab the attention of your customers and prospects through with marketing collateral. At this time of year, your customers will come to you. Finding deals and discounts becomes a game and your marketing is useful research material!
  3. Customers expect your participation. There is so much participation in this pseudo-holiday that your customers will expect you to offer them something. Use this as an opportunity to show appreciation for their continuous business. A special offer for loyal customers can be a very effective “Thank You.”

5 Black Friday Marketing Tips

  1. Start today – Spend some time mapping out what your special offer will be and don’t be afraid to build some buzz before the big day. You’ll have a lot of competition for your customer’s time and attention. Grab them now.
  2. Schedule an emailEmail marketing is a fantastic marketing tool to deliver your timely Black Friday message. I’m always surprised at how often many small businesses miss this easy opportunity. If you’ve got a list of email addresses that you regularly send to, create a special communication and schedule it to go out on November 23rd.
  3. Grow with social – Black Friday is a great opportunity to start or build on your social media. You’ll naturally create content that you can spread across your Facebook Page, Twitter Profile, Pinterest board, and LinkedIn company page. If someone shares your message, take the time to thank them and start a conversation. The worst thing you can do is be purely one-way marketing. Create some relationships.
  4. Capture demand digitally – Search engine marketing is not a marketing tool that creates demand, it’s a medium that captures it. You’ll be getting a large number of prospects and customers looking for you as you promote your offers, brand name, and specials. Make sure they can quickly find you by buying up your branded keywords in Google and Bing. You’ll be happy you did.
  5. Focus on future sales – Use this opportunity to build a foundation of future sales. Collect phone numbers, email addresses, and information that you can use to target your prospects/customers in a few weeks or months. If you get a lot of new names then use coupons or expiring offers to bring them back.

More Useful Black Friday Marketing Articles

  • Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Small Business – View Article
  • 9 Small Business Marketing Tips for Black Friday – View Article
  • How To Sell More Before, During and After Black Friday – View Article
  • Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Non-Retail Businesses – View Article

Track Your Marketing with a Campaign ID

As marketers, we’ve all heard John Wanamaker’s famous quote…

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

The reason that this quote is so popular is because it resonates very well with business owners, entrepreneurs, and advertisers. It turns out to be fairly true due to the fact that many people don’t or don’t know how to set up their campaigns efficiently.

Agencies and marketing employees continuously attempt to justify their advertising budgets but they end up using buzz words like “awareness”, “frequency”, and “reach.” Although these are important concepts, the truth is they pop up because of a lack of insight into the true number of conversions. This is especially true for complex industries where a product is sold through multiple third parties or for long purchase cycles with many prospect touch points.

So what do you do?

One idea is leveraging the power of the Campaign ID. By Campaign ID, I’m talking about the “Lead Source” or where the customer, account, or prospect came from. If you have multiple touch points, it may be advantageous to track multiple Campaign IDs or create rules such as first/last Campaign ID attached to that lead wins. The important part is that you know where your customers and prospects are coming from and attributing their transactions with their related marketing campaigns.

The way to accomplish this is to store your Campaign ID inside of your customer relationship database (CRM). At the time of entering that contact, whether via a sales rep or an online registration form, you must pass the “Campaign ID” into a field in the database. It’s easy to accomplish this online but also possible through in-store sales, tracked phone calls, and traditional advertising. You just have to always ask “How did you hear about us?” or “Have you seen any of our marketing lately?” When you get the answer, be consistent and add your Campaign ID to that customer.

What can you track with a campaign ID?

  • Paid Search
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Webinars
  • Phone Calls
  • Billboards
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Television

For some of the more traditional advertising such as billboards, magazines, newspapers, and television you’ll need to develop a strong call-to-action (CTA) that drives people either online or to call a phone number. Make the phone number unique for each campaign and measure your conversion rate. How many people called the number and became customers? Compare that with some of your other campaigns and you’ll begin to see where you can spend your advertising dollars the most efficiently.

Brand awareness is import. If your prospects don’t remember your brand or recognize who you are then they likely won’t become customers anytime soon. That being said, it’s also important to be driving towards advertising that is efficient, measurable, and sales centered. Focus less on the impressions/views and more on the engagements that are further down the purchase funnel. That is the goal of utilizing the campaign ID.

The History of Marketing [Infographic]

If you’re looking for a quick and easy Marketing 100 class then look no further than this great infographic created by HubSpot and designed by BlueGlass.

Quick summary:

It’s amazing to see how marketing has transformed over the years and even more impressive is the rate in which a single message is distributed instantly to millions or billions of people. Starting with mass printing, the infographic moves you through the different mediums of posters, magazines, newspapers, and billboards. In 1922 radio advertising kicks in, followed a few decades later by television commercials in 1941. With the rise of telephones in most American’s homes, telemarketing becomes a common tactic. New technologies give rise to new means of communications with the personal computers and mobile phones but older mediums such as newspaper advertising still dominates. It’s not until 1990s that television overtakes newspapers as the largest ad spend. SMS messaging on mobile phones gets introduced in 1992 and twenty years later is still at it’s infancy. Internet advertising spikes in 1995-2002 as the dot-com bubble grows. Search engines jump onto the scene in 1995 and 1997. Do you remember AltaVista? Anyone? Search engine optimization (SEO) naturally follows, mostly defined by keyword stuffing and other on-page tweaks.  Google launches in 1998 and launches paid search marketing through Adwords. Blogging comes onto the scene in 1998 just before the bubble bursts in 2000. Email marketing becomes heavily abused by spammers and in 2003 the CAN-SPAM act is passed into law. Social media spreads in 2003 and 2004 with Myspace, LinkedIn, and Facebook. SEO becomes a common key-phrase claimed by every webmaster and developer in 2005 and on. Twitter launches in 2007 and doesn’t stop growing. Email marketing struggles to push through the spam filters and text message marketing begins to take shape. The shift starts to happen from batch blasts to creating valuable content that drives people to your business. Google launches G+ and continues to adjust it’s algorithm in 2011. Mobile, tablets, and hand-held devices are skyrocketing as computer towers and laptops sales drop. E-commerce becomes more personalized and marketers are able to target smarter and faster. According to the infographic online shoppers will reach 184.3 million, up 3.3% from 2011. What do you think will come next?

The History of Marketing

From: HubSpot Marketing Software

Content Marketing is an Investment

Your customers are looking to buy your product or service, but why should they choose you? As a responsible consumer, they do research online, read industry magazines, and ask their colleagues and friends about it. They have narrowed their search down to you and your number one competitor.

Imagine they visit your competitor’s website and your competitor gives them the basic manufacturer specs or product details. The site contains stock photography and a few generic sentences about performance as well as links to a few customer reviews.

You could offer the same. Or you could contrast your competitor’s site with a content-rich website. What do I mean by this? Your site includes a full write-up of the benefits of your products and how they perform. Your site includes professional photographs taken from various angles as well as user submitted photos of customers using your product or benefiting from your server. You’ve written several articles about the capabilities and created a call-to-action through an “act now” discount.

Which website will likely gain the consumer’s business?

Creating custom content for a website is crucial to a successful marketing campaign or product launch. It helps to define your site as a leading authority in the industry. Anyone can slap manufacturer’s specs on a generic template. Today’s technology can have you up in literally minutes. Only an industry leader would take the time to ensure their customers know exactly what they get for their hard-earned dollar.

It is important to understand that content is not automatically defined as the written word. Content in marketing encompasses a wide variety of mediums including pictures, videos, graphs, infographics, white papers, podcasts, newsletters and magazines. Content in marketing is defined as persuading the decision-maker or adding value by solving a customer or a prospect’s problem.

Content can be used to generate brand awareness and sales leads. However, in order for a content campaign to succeed, it is important that it be original. As with the case above, specifics trump generalization every time. Your content must be fresh, inventive and ever-changing.

Content should provide relevant information to the consumer in a way that is easy to digest. The idea of quality over quantity applies. A thousand word review regurgitated from the parent site is nowhere near as powerful as a concise, high-quality infographic demonstrating important features without overwhelming the reader. Content should demonstrate the total value of the product or service as defined by the seller and establish the business as the best.

It is important to create content relative to the industry while still targeting the specific product. This lends credence to your claim of “leading authority” while demonstrating the foresight necessary to ensure your customers are aware of their options.

Content marketing is a vital component to any successful marketing campaign. Persuading consumers that you are the best in the business provides a basis for trust and future patronage.

Do you have this type of content supporting your brand’s website?

  • List of benefits
  • Infographics
  • Competitive reviews
  • Top 10 reasons you need ______ today
  • Customer reviews
  • Video customer testimonials
  • Video demonstrations
  • Regular related blog posts
  • Customer service via social media
  • FAQ page
  • Guarantees or trials

Replace Marketing Best Practices with Testing

As marketers, we sometimes get pulled into the black hole of thinking that best practices are the answer. We dive into case studies, we research articles, and we have discussions with peers about how other companies have achieved their success. The problem with relying on building our marketing on case studies is we don’t really learn anything for ourselves. Every business is different and just as importantly every product inside of the same company is different. Each can target a different audience with a different buying cycle.

If a campaign or advertisement works for one product or company, labeling it a “best practice” does not ensure it will work for another. Even more dangerous, the marketing campaign could be led down a path in the wrong direction from the very beginning.

So what do we do about it?

We need the answers to these questions!

When do I send out my message? How long should my email subject line be? What color will grab the attention on this direct mail postcard? At how long into the commercial do I ask them to ‘like’ us on Facebook? What dimensions do I create that banner for?

We should be figuring these answers out for ourselves.

  1. Have a clear marketing goal. Go back to the very simple reason of what the marketing department is tasked with. Is it driving sales? Leads? Registrations? Clicks? Visits? Understanding what the goal is will affect how it’s measured and therefore the results. It will quickly be apparent that the discovered “best practice” on our desk is for a company with a different variable.
  2. Build a foundation of testing. Set up a campaign to measure the end goal as an experiment. Continuously benchmark against the progress of the campaign and adjust as necessary. Build testing into the DNA of every campaign. If the campaign can’t be measured then take a good look at the reason it’s being run.
  3. Look at the results of the experiment. People are busy. We all are. But without the results there is no measure of success. We need to take the time to present them in a reasonably easy to understand way. If our CMO or executive board spends more time on the format than the data, it’s been done wrong.

Marketing can be a fine-tuned and running machine in every company. No matter what the product or company, each has their own needs. Relying on best practices will not only take a marketing team down the wrong path but it will set them up for future failure.

Undoubtedly, we’ll run into a situation (especially with the way technology evolves) where there is no best practice to choose from. Would we rather have a system in place to figure it out ourselves or wait until someone else does, so we can read their “best practice”.

6 Insightful Blog Quotes for Marketers

Below are some useful quotes for marketers who are looking to put all the marketing pieces together. Whether you’re a blogger, a small business entrepreneur, or a corporate CMO, you’ll find some value in these articles by some smart people.

 

 

1. On Success Through “Thinking Small” with Content Marketing

Somewhere, we got away from this notion and started to embrace a “bigger is better” philosophy with regard to publishing (and now content marketing). We need to swing the pendulum back the other way, and start atomizing our content. convinceandconvert.com

2. On Staying a Healthy as an Entrepreneuer

I believe that taking care of oneself only fuels our ability to dig deeper, to persist longer, and to give more to our co-workers, community, and causes. Exercise in fact might be the best investment you’ll ever make towards the success of your startup. – under30ceo.com

3. On Making Money By Blogging

If you want to make money with your blog for the long haul you MUST help as many people as you can succeed with their blogs first. You must sell YOU… selling you gives you full control of your product with no surprises in the future. – johnpaulaguiar.com

4. On Growing Your Twitter Followers, By Thousands

Grow your following organically by producing sharable tweets that people want to pass along to their own followers. When your tweets get re-tweeted and, thus, your twitter handle shared, it acts as an advertisement for you. This free, word-of-mouth buzz will help keep you attracting new followers. – ann-tran.com

5. On Telling Your Story

Good copy not only introduces a product or service to the audience, it creates a relationship between the product and the audience, and compels that audience to act.  Stories help you connect with your audience in a meaningful, natural manner. – bizziwriter.com

6. On Public Relations Damage Control Planning

Key to managing issues is to be plugged into media and the environment in which your company does business. Be aware of what regulators such as government officials are doing, and understand that even though you may manage issues well, a crisis will happen. – getsocialpr.com

Digital Content Created Every 60 Seconds [Infographic]

I recently attended a digital marketing conference where they showed this very interesting infographic as a slide in their presentation. I found it so interesting that I’d thought I’d write a post and share it. The infographic was created by a web design company called Go-Globe. It summarizes all of the activities that happen online in 60 seconds.

Some of the more interesting stats include:

  • 12,000+ new posts on craigslist
  • 98,000+ tweets
  • 100+ new LinkedIn accounts
  • 6,600 Flicr pictures uploaded
  • 695,000+ Facebook status updates
  • 695,556 Google search queries
  • 168 million emails sent
  • 60+ new blogs created
  • 1,500 blog posts
  • 70 domains registered
  • 13,000 iPhone apps downloaded

See entire infographic below:

We’re living in an unique time where everyone is empowered to create, interact, and share with the entire world. I’m amazed by just how many blogs and domains hit the website every minute. There is no shortage of content and people developing that content, increasingly in the mobile environment.

I’m also interested in the stat of how many people are posting on Facebook (695,000+) compared to how many people are searching Google (694,445+). Google used to be the center of everything someone did online. Even if I knew the domain, in some cases by habit, I’d simple search it in Google’s browser plugin. It just seemed easier. Now it seems that more people are “living” in platforms such as Facebook and connecting with others through it. If you search inside of Facebook it automatically populates with web results powered by Microsoft’s Bing. Clever on Bing’s part to drive up their usage.

As a digital marketer, three thoughts come to mind.

  1. People want to share. We’re living in a modern information age in which people are sharing and communicating quickly and frequently. It’s easier than ever to get your message across multiple devices and across platforms, and it spreads like wildfire. People want desperately to have their voice heard by their peers and uniquely demonstrate that they are innovators.
  2. People connect with brands they like. Companies are able to leverage this movement by putting their products and services in front of their customers. Their customers are willing to share these messages and develop a “relationship” with companies. Companies in the New Economy are becoming personalized and connected. I don’t just buy an MP3 player, I like the Company Page, I review the product, I share the features, and I connect with customer support.
  3. Your message has a lot of competition.  With all this content being generated, it’s easy to see that people’s attention span has some competition. Your message can’t just be louder than everything else, it needs to be more targeted and personalized. It’s expected that you know something about your customers. Use that to give them exactly what they need when they need it. Leverage your CRM and marketing automation tools to message them and measure those conversions.

Another infographic I found by Go-Globe shows some more interesting stats on the hardware and product side. Did you know that every minute 81 iPads are sold, 11 Xboxes are sold, or 1,100 acres of land are farmed in Farmville? Interesting…

Success Tip – Learn to Say No

At any given time, you can choose from an infinite amount of ways to spend your time and marketing dollars. Marketers, and people in general, get caught up in always trying to accomplish more and more. What they end up doing in most cases is spreading themselves too thin.

Multitasking isn’t productive when you split your focus between goals or objectives. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but take the time to optimize. Whether it’s traditional marketing, digital marketing, viral marketing, guerrilla marketing, or social marketing, concentrate on only the top performing channels and remove the rest.

It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important. – Steve Jobs

I’ve seen many cases where companies will keep themselves busy launching campaign after campaign. It amazes me sometimes that they don’t take the time to stop, say “no” to new ones, and rework what’s already there.

Sometimes your best results can be right under your nose.

SnapTags vs QR Codes

A colleague of mine recently introduced me to a marketing tool to engage with mobile customers and prospects.

It’s called the SnapTag, powered by SpyderLynk.

With the rise of mobile smart phones usage, readable codes have gained popularity among marketers as a unique way to engage with customers and prospects. Many companies have had success by getting their audience to scan with their mobile phones and submit their contact info for a contest, donate to a charity, or simply visit the brand’s website.

One problem is that these scanable codes are visually non-descriptive of the product or company. Although codes, the QR code seemingly becoming the most popular, work when scanned by an mobile smart phone, there isn’t anything to distinguish one brand from another. They ‘re mostly random dots, squares, or other shapes.

The SnapTag is a solution to that problem. How would you like to have your logo the code? How would you like to add some brand awareness points to your marketing dashboard?

Snap Tag vs. QR Code