Archive for June, 2013

5 Steps to Successful Integrated Marketing Campaigns

Marketers are always trying to utilize new channels, reach their entire audience, and deliver content that people want. However, that’s not always easy to do.

To reach those goals and objectives, many companies are striving to deliver integrated marketing solutions.

Wikipedia defines integrated marketing communications as “the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost”.

Does that sound good to you? I’m betting that it might.

Here are five steps to successfully accomplish that:

Know What Your Audience Prefers
Find ways to record and honor each contact’s preferences for receiving communications from your company. Ask them during the initial opt-in process. Allow them to manage and update their preferences easily through future communications. If you do not have any of that data, create simple surveys from time to time that seek to gain valuable feedback from your list, but yet that rewards them at the same time.

Prepare & Plan
This one is pretty much a given considering words in the definition (“coordination”, “program”)… but in a world where we seemingly all have to do more with less, we may be tempted to skimp on the time we invest in planning and hop right to execution. While that doesn’t always doom us to immediate failure, a lack of a plan will absolutely leave us with expectations that were not completely fulfilled. We will miss opportunities for follow-ups or for quick transitions if things need to be adjusted on-the-fly.

Maintain Branding & Consistent Messages
Yes, our tone might be slightly different in a channel such as social media as opposed to print. But we must have a goal as to how we want people to feel about our company, products, and services. All of the channels that we use should aim to leave that same impression on the audience.

Be Relevant
This one certainly goes along with knowing what our audience prefers. But it requires more than that. It means that we must be committed to creating multiple variations of our content (yes, they’ll have the same overall goal, but they’ll be written so as to appeal to different groups); it means investing in technology that will allow us to create and send out personalized customized communications. Yes, if our customers and prospects have taken steps to tell us what they are interested in, we must abandon the “spray and pray” approach.

Track, Measure, & Analyze
Designing and executing an integrated marketing campaign can actually be kind of fun (“I’m using everything at my disposal!”). But we must also be sure to capture every piece of data that is relevant to those actions. Analyze the data to look for trends, successes, and failures. Then, share the results with various departments in your organization.

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3 Ideas for A/B Testing

Which one would you choose?

Analyzing data from a campaign helps marketers find ways to make the next marketing effort even better.  One way to execute the “best campaign possible” is to perform A/B Testing on your marketing efforts.

A/B Testing typically involves putting in an extra effort to execute a campaign in order to see what gets the most response!  Here are 3 ideas for A/B Tests that you could run:

Subject Lines
This one can be fairly simple to execute, but it’s not done very often. You might have valuable content in the body of your eNewsletter. But if people don’t open the email after reading the Subject Line, everyone is missing out.

Here’s an idea: Divide your list into two groups.  Send the first half the newsletter with a Subject Line such as “[CompanyName’s] Newsletter”.

Then, send the 2nd half the newsletter with a Subject Line that includes topics from the body of the email. For example, if the articles in your newsletter discuss QR Codes, customer service, and best practices for putting on a webinar, the subject line might be “QR Codes, Customer Service, Best Practices for a Webinar and More”.

After sending out the email, you should then check your reports to see if one Subject Line earned more Opens and Click-throughs than the other.

To Personalize or Not
There are very few people that would discount the effectiveness of one-to-one marketing, but not all attempts at personalization are created equal.

You could try splitting your list into multiple groups, and then delivering a heavily personalized introduction to one group, and then a very general introduction to another.

Another tip to try might be putting a personalized URL on a direct mail piece to one group, and a general URL to another. At the end of the campaign, your reports should tell you if more people responded to one setup vs. the other.

The Giveaway
Every company wants leads. However, what’s really important is receiving qualified leads. People who truly care about your products or services.  On the other hand, you cannot succeed with an empty marketing database! So, from time-to-time, giving away something in exchange for a response may be an effective technique.

You could run an A/B Test to see what works on your target audience.  We know of a paving company that pushed out a direct mail piece, and they split their list into 3 groups.

  • One group received a direct mailer that contained an offer for a gift card to an ice-cream shop.
  • The 2nd group received a direct mailer that contained an offer for a DVD and informational kit on the paving company’s products.
  • The 3rd group received a direct mailer that contained no special offer whatsoever.

Guess who won? Well, in their case, more people replied from the DVD and info kit group.

Are you curious as to how your target audience will respond? There’s only one way to find out…. Start testing!

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Make Your Own Content

The internet is absolutely full of content. Articles, videos, pictures, interviews, podcasts, blogs, you name it. This influx of material is exactly why your company should create its own content. Tailor content to match the mission of your organization and create literature and multimedia that draws people to learn more about what you and your company have to offer.

Having an organized and effective social media platform requires new content on a regular basis. To regularly upkeep with your tweeting and Facebook status updates, you will need new articles and links. One sustainable source of content is a company blog. Having a few staff members write blogs on a regular basis not only increases search engine effectiveness, it also becomes content that can be promoted on all company channels.

Send out a tweet saying there is a new blog up on the website, and do the same with a Facebook status. For even more klout, make a blog post complete with a YouTube video that you film right in your office. Now you are integrating your company YouTube channel into your blog as well. Videos are always going to be more captivating than words on a page. And it can be great content to recycle for later blog posts.

There is nothing wrong with recycling content.  Another way to improve your visibility is to link up your old blog posts with new ones.  Keep the revolving door of your own productions turning. Linking out to external sites is great, but ultimately you are trying to get people to stay on your site.

Also, you can use your content to fill more needs. Create content that is directly targeting certain industries. Your sales reps can then take the content created by your writers and show it directly to potential clients. Show the benefits and strengths of your products and services to curious businesses. Also, your content can be used by your PR or marketing departments to send off to relevant magazines, further expanding your reach.

And in simpler terms, creating high quality content will get viewers to return. Write thoughtful, creative blogs and add some personality to your Twitter and Facebook Page. Be proud of what your name is on, but avoid shameless promotion.

Having a thorough content library will only make your life easier in the future. Be able to package and redistribute what you have created and use it in the future to increase your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. Use social media as the vehicle to spread the good word of your company’s efforts.

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The Conveniences of Multi-Channel Marketing

Multi-Channel Marketing presents multiple benefits to the companies who implement such campaigns. It increases the chances for marketing messages to be received by your target market. It allows you to personalize your marketing, while retaining a consistent message and brand. And let’s face it, the more your target market hears and sees your message, as long as that message is consistent, your marketing will be a success! But there are some additional benefits, or conveniences, to using multi-channel marketing for your business.

One convenience is that you provide faster access to information – both internally and externally. With integrated multi-channel marketing platforms, you have all the information at your sales force’s fingertips. A sales person can pull up information ranging from what channel a prospect received a marketing message through, what that marketing message was and any special offers or discounts made via that marketing message and whether the prospect has yet acted upon the message.

For the marketing department, a multi-channel marketing campaign with clear measurement metrics can provide immediate feedback on the success of a campaign. They can see if certain messages are falling flat or if certain channels are less well-received. And having access to this information is imperative when managing the current campaign and designing the next one.

Externally, but using effective multi-channel marketing, you are providing your prospects and customers various ways to obtain information and purchase your services and products. Consumers like information and they don’t like to jump through hoops in order to get it. By making information easily accessible, you are providing your target market with an enjoyable experience, an important aspect of a successful campaign.

Another convenience is opening up channels to allow multiple points of purchase. Again, it’s all about making things easy on the consumer. Some want to be able to just visit a website and, with a few clicks of the mouse, place their order and wait for the products to be delivered. Other consumers may want to pick up the phone and talk to a live person, get questions answered and then place an order. Some people like to be able to go into their favorite store and pick up products in person. The point is, you want to make it as convenient as possible for prospects and customers to get their hands on what you’re selling.

If you have a store-front, what conveniences do you provide your customers? Do you have a website? Can orders be placed from that site? Can customers call in and place orders for pick-up or delivery? It’s easy to sit back and assume that everything is currently in “working order.” But you want to take a step back and think with the mind of a consumer. A busy consumer who has a lot of choices will typically choose what’s most convenient time and again.

The more integrated your multi-channel marketing program is for your business, the more convenience you are providing your prospects and customers. From sending marketing messages across multiple channels to allowing different options to make purchases to offering a personalized experience – it’s all about brainstorming up how you can provide the most convenient experience to your target market. Using multi-channel marketing makes it easy for consumers to fall in love with you!

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3 Metrics to Improve Your Cross-Media Campaigns

For marketing departments, cross-media marketing has proven to be a useful tool when it comes to increasing the success of a marketing effort.

Everyone is looking to increase the ROI that they receive from the things they create and distribute — including mailers, flyers, emails, and more. By integrating those pieces with other offers and medias, you certainly may increase the impact that the piece has on its target audience.

Well, once you’ve executed a campaign that utilized a cross-media approach, you cannot simply stop. Rather, by spending time analyzing the results, you will be better equipped to develop and execute a campaign that will perform better than your previous ones.

Here are three metrics that may prove beneficial during the analysis process:

Timing: When Did People Click
Thanks to the increasing popularity of devices such as smartphones and tablets, people truly can respond to your marketing efforts at whatever time is convenient for them.  They can type in their PURL at 6am while eating breakfast, and they scan their personalized QR Code before falling asleep at night.  They may even choose to read your eNewsletter on the weekend.

Marketers may reap benefits by researching and understanding when their customers and prospects are consuming information.

Are we pushing out content when it’s convenient for us, or when it’s convenient for our customers?

Sure, we can’t be awake and available at every hour throughout the day. But if a big percentage of our prospects are looking for help and more information while we are not working, we may need to find a way to better serve them.

Who Viewed the Landing Page but Did Not Submit
Yes, sales reps want hot leads! They want people that responded to your campaign, that filled out the form, and that requested help ASAP. While that group of people should certainly be given the attention that they deserve, we may reap benefits by looking at another group of folks too.

Take the time to look at who visited your landing page, but did not submit their entry on the response form.
Those people have already displayed some kind of interest in your offer — either they typed in a URL, clicked a link, scanned a QR Code or took some other sort of action.

If you can find a way to target those people in a special fashion the next time, you may be able to push them further through the funnel.

Which Content and/or Products Are Popular
The Wikipedia page does an excellent job in discussing the tie-in between personalization and cross-media.

However, companies that execute cross-media campaigns with personalized URLs may fall into the path of simply personalizing the most basic of information — First Name and perhaps Company.

But with technology today, it’s easier than ever to learn and understand what someone is interested in. By tracking what links people click on in your emails and landing pages, as well as what answers they provide on your response forms, you may be able to truly deliver one-to-one marketing materials that appeal directly to them.

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8 Tips on How to Develop an Effective Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign

In order to compete in today’s economy, you need to get your products and services in front of your target market. And the best way to do that is to use a multi-channel marketing campaign that integrates consistent messages with different channels to reach your desired prospects and customers. By reaching out in different directions, you have a greater chance to get your message to these people and provide an experience that is relevant to their needs…which in turn will get them to act and purchase your products and services.

Need some tips on how to develop that effective marketing campaign using multiple channels? Here they are:

  1. Focus on the end goal – reaching your target market.  You can’t be all things to all people.  Nor do you want to be!  So stay on target and keep the laser beam focused on the people who matter.
  2. Work closely with your sales department.  You want to make sure that the sales end is aligned with the marketing department so that everyone is aware of what is going on and what everyone can anticipate with the upcoming marketing campaign.  Plus, your sales people may have some really good ideas on how to get to your target market or how to position your message.
  3. Bring the customer service department up to speed on your multi-channel marketing efforts.  The customer service experience should be just as consistent for the target market as any other interaction with your company.  So it’s vital that the customer service department be kept in the loop.
  4. Don’t shy away from new technology.  Sure, some things may seem like a flash in the pan.  But don’t let fear or ignorance of the latest and greatest in technology scare you away from possible marketing channels.  Learn about the technology, or work with someone who knows it and then make the decision of what to use (or not to use) to get your marketing messages out to your target market.
  5. Don’t discount direct mail.  Many consumers are influenced by direct mail pieces and while it’s easy to concentrate on more modern technology such as social networking via the internet, direct mail shouldn’t be tossed by the wayside.  Direct mail is oftentimes less “in your face” than other mediums and consumers prefer the chance to look over, read the piece and have time to take the message in.
  6. Develop measurement standards before you implement your campaign.  You won’t know how effective parts of your campaign were unless you have measurement standards in place.  But you can’t decide how to actually measure results after the fact.  You need to have the plan set and the metrics created before campaign implementation.
  7. Test your campaign on a smaller scale.  You’ve got lofty goals.  And it’s easy to get excited and rush to get the word out to consumers.  But you want to make sure that the message is personalized and sent to the correct people, through the correct channel and at the correct time.  To do this, you test and then use those measurement standards to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign. This is your chance to tweak and make adjustments before you go gung-ho and release your big campaign.
  8. Brainstorm on how you can launch an effective campaign that integrates both online and offline efforts.  Your prospects and current customers can be found through many channels and you want to reach them through both, if possible.  As long as you keep that message consistent, and personalized to your audience, you’re on the right track!

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3 Tips for Keeping an Active Blog

It can sometimes be daunting: sitting down at the computer screen with a blog assignment and a critical case of writers’ block. This is when having a well thought out strategy for your blog is just as important as having a strategy for the rest of your business. Here are some tips on how to keep the content coming in your blog.

Come up with a plan.  Create a document with forty or fifty ideas to blog about. You don’t have to use all of them, but having some direction is the best way to start a blogging content strategy. Sitting down with the intention of blogging and having no preconceived idea of what to write about is dangerous. You will find yourself out of ideas very quickly.

Don’t be alone.  Have various team members at your business available to blog. Blogs from different perspectives and areas of expertise create a more diverse, interesting blog. Plus, the weight of the entire blog on one person’s shoulders can become tiresome. Have two or three dedicated bloggers, and hit a wide range of topics.

It’s more than just text.  Don’t think you have to write the next great American novel with every blog post. Create videos with your team members about relevant topics or industry trends. A three minute video can have just as hefty an impact as a well-crafted 1,000 word blog post. Also, breaking blogs down into countdowns or subheadings, much like this post, can also be effective. Choose your words wisely, captivate the fleeting audience.

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