The Digital Marketing Guide

A Guide for Navigating This Hyper-Connected Digital World

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Monday’s Marketer Must Reads

Marketers are outstanding communicators.

We kind of have to be, it is, after all, our job. Specifically, we are one of the best groups out there for sharing relevant and useful content with each other. From stats to best practices, the Internet is packed with great information for marketers, and it is constantly being updated. This week, here are a few marketer must reads that have recently come down the pipe:

Worry Less in 2014! Stats & Tips for the Stressed
Out Digital Marketer

A curation post from the Search Engine Journal of outstanding metrics merged with some great to-dos and overall helpful advice to help you as you do your 2014 planning. A summary of this post is best put in their own words:

“All of the digital marketing trends in 2014 point to getting to know and interacting with your target market.  Gimmicks and tricks are so 2013…Being a thought leader in today’s business world means you must hit your: content creation, email marketing, mobile marketing and social media hard.”

How To Ask People for Things Via Email: An 8-Step Program

Great advice for marketing emails or just in-office communication is delivered by 99u in this post. The key take away: People aren’t stupid, stop emailing them things that would suggest they are. Be interesting, be helpful, and be honest when preparing an email. If you can’t do those three things you probably shouldn’t be emailing people anyway. Check out these 8 steps that are great and easily actionable.

Why “Simple” Websites Are Scientifically Better

Get into the science behind website design and visuals with this post. This is amazingly well-researched article written by Tommy Walker for ConversionXL should probably be at the top of this list. The most technical of the three, it digs into some real case studies and overall research. You’ll be amazed and what huge impact small changes to your website design can have.

6 Steps for Successful Content Marketing Using
SlideShare’s Secret Search Sauce

If you consider yourself a digital marketer and don’t know what SlideShare is, then it might be time to reconsider calling yourself that. This little tool has risen in the ranks of sites for content marketing quickly. This blog post helps you understand how to maximize using SlideShare by tapping into the sites impressive SEO power.

 

What marketing resources have you come across recently that you’d recommend? 

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Kickstart Your Email Segmentation Plan

Everyone wants to feel like their special.

This includes your prospects. The absolute last thing they want is a generic message that barely applies to them because it’s also trying to market to 50 other personas. Every digital marketer today knows this—or at least we all hope they all do. Yet so few implement a segmentation plan. Why? Because it takes time and quite a bit of effort.

Despite the lack of implementation, several studies will show you that segmentation can increase your open rates by 20-30% in addition to better conversion rates and delivery rates paired with lower unsubscribes. If you could add those numbers to your monthly reports wouldn’t it be worth it?

So get started segmenting today. Here’s a few things to help kickstart your segmentation:

1. Get an email marketing platform.

There are quite a few amazing platforms today including Marketo, HubSpot and Eloqua. Find a platform that works for you and implement it right away. It will be a nightmare trying to create a powerful segmentation system with out one of these powerhouse programs in place.

2. Start small and start basic.

It is easy to get lost in the hundreds of options available to you for email list segmentation. Using one of the programs listed above you can get extremely specific in your segmentation. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Instead of sending to someone who

Is from random-town, Arkansas, has a name including the letter “g,” works for a company that’s name includes “saw,” and clicked on your two month old blog post, maybe just go for segmentingby  companies in the manufacturing industry.

3. Don’t forget to ask why.

Ask why you are segmenting a particular way. What specific message do you want to get across to that specific audience. Like everything in marketing, don’t just do something to do it. Make sure you can answer the question of why you are doing it.

4. Test, test, and don’t forget to test.

Implementing a solid segmentation program is worthless if you don’t measure the results. Test a value prop message to a certain audience. Try out different subject line by segmentation. Make sure you use your segmentation to learn even more about your target markets. And make sure you know what you’re testing before you send the email.

This is just to get you started, so that’s the end of the list. But there is so much more to email segmentation than getting it off the ground. You’ll have to experiment and explore to find out what works just right for you and your company.

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The Golden Key to Managing Marketing Projects

Our daily to-do lists just keep getting longer.

Everyone in marketing would probably agree on that. We are getting things done faster and more efficiently than ever before, but we aren’t stopping to enjoy that. Instead, we just add more and more to our list.

A golden key to not losing your mind underneath a pile of tasks, is learning how long it takes you to accomplish things and then creating some killer timelines. Not task-lists, not checklists, and not the simple to-do list, but real, concrete timelines saying exactly what will get done and when.

Making timelines as opposed to the traditional list let’s you get things done that need to be done in addition to making sure you know just how much you can accomplish in the time you have to do it.

If we are honest, being OCD would really help with this, but here are a few tips for everyone else:

Start with daily tasks.

What are tasks you have to do every day, or even every week? These are things you regularly have to get done. Find out how long these take you to accomplish first so that you can fill in the rest of your day.

Don’t forget about other people.

It’s pretty rare to have a day where nothing you need to get done is affected by someone else. This external factor is something to make sure to take into account when mapping out your day. If you are planning to publish a blog post that still needs to be approved by two people, learn their habits and how long it typically takes them to get things done. If you have the relationship where you can do so, go ahead and let them know your timeline so you will both be in-sync.

Learn to prioritize.

Emergencies come up, this is a fact. Learn to understand what has to be finished, what should get finished, and what could, if it had to, be pushed to tomorrow. Understand this for every single day’s timeline and you will be saved a lot of headache.

Plan ahead.

Timelines aren’t really a daily thing like a to-do list. In fact, they were much better if you start with a big task and get more specific, creating a timeline for the entire length of that task or project. For example, you need to create a new video. What steps are there in that process? A script? A pitch to management? Hiring actors? Lay out everything that has to be done and give each task a date to be done by.

Those are the basic to using timelines to manage your projects. What is your go-to method for staying on track?

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The Ten Commands for Living and Working in the Digital Age

Program or Be Programmed

“The net is not becoming a social medium. It already is one. The history of the Internet can probably best be understood as a social medium repeatedly shaking off attempts to turn it into something else. And it will keep doing so.”

A staple in the reading library of anyone who uses the Internet should be Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff. If you haven’t read it, do. In this quick read, Rushkoff explores and explains the fundamental differences between today’s digital world and prior to the existence of interactive media. He explains why we need to understand digital media before we attempt to use it, and that when using it we need to remember what he calls the “Ten Commands for a Digital Age:”

  1. Time: Do Not Be Always On

  2. Place: Live in Person

  3. Choice: You May Always Choose None of the Above

  4. Complexity: You Are Never Completely Right

  5. Scale: One Size Does Not Fit All

  6. Identity: Be Yourself

  7. Social: Do Not Sell Your Friends

  8. Fact: Tell the Truth

  9. Openness: Share Don’t Steal

  10. Purpose: Program or Be Programmed

There isn’t a single one of these doesn’t apply to all people using the Internet, especially digital marketers. Understanding all ten will help power your marketing by being backed with a better understanding of how we function within the digital realm as a society. Rushkoff touches on the Social Contract we live within on social networks, the necessity of being completely transparent and honest, and the power of becoming a true “symbol” today.

So again, please go get this book immediately. And do Mr. Rushkoff a solid by turning off your phone and getting away from the glare of digital screens. If you don’t, you’ll wish you had by the end of the book.

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Create Your Own Marketing Metric Benchmarks

There is a real talent in finding the numbers that really count.

Talent in finding the statistics that really matter and the metrics that will let you make real changes in your company. Filtering through all the data can be a frustrating and somewhat tedious process at times, especially if the base of metrics collection hasn’t been set up just yet. More importantly than finding those numbers, is finding the numbers to measure them up against. This can be even harder.

The Internet is packed with studies that contain “industry standards” and “marketing metric benchmarks,” and these are all very useful collections of information. But to truly assess how your own marketing program is doing, you have to know not only how you stack up against the industry as a whole, but how you stack up against yourself.

Below are some tips on setting up your own internal marketing benchmarks.

Start from the beginning

Not only start from the beginning but choose what you want the beginning to be. Are you starting from your very first marketing program ever? Do you have to start from today because you have no historical data? Or maybe you just want to start from the most recent year. There isn’t a wrong place to start, you just have to decide where and stick to it.

Decide what to measure

Ask yourself these key questions to help figure out what to measure:

  • What matters to you and to your company?

  • What kind of data do your supervisors care about?

  • What kind of data is truly actionable?

Figure out what to measure first, so you don’t have to go back and start over time and time again.

Grab a shovel and start to dig

You’re going to have to roll up yourselves to get your benchmarks put together. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been collecting data for years or are starting from square one, it takes some digging. If you are just starting out, you have to dig up the best way to gather your metrics; there are plenty of softwares to help with this today, but finding the right one can be tricky. If you are starting with a pile of data all ready to go, you’re gonna have to dig for those metrics you decided in the previous step were most important to measure. Either way, it takes some time.

Clean it up and start to sort

Once you’ve dug up the data you need, you have to make sure it’s cleaned up and accurate. From there you can start sorting it out into easy-to-update documents, often this is some sort of spreadsheet. Depending on where your “beginning” was, you may be able to create your initial benchmark from this data. Otherwise, decide how often you’ll create your benchmarks—monthly, quarterly, yearly—and make sure to keep up dating your documents with clean data as it comes through.

There will probably be some trial and error while you try to get through this process, and that’s okay. What you wind up with is being able to say that a campaign not only outperformed industry standards but outperformed company standards as well.

That’s always a good thing to be able to say.

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5 Reasons Why Your Marketing Emails Suck

Don’t worry, it’s not just you.

A lot of marketing emails are complete crap. With the constant changes being made to security settings, mobile functionalities, and just how we use our inboxes in general, it’s really no surprise that there is an issue. But that’s no excuse for some things.

Check out these 5 reasons why your marketing emails might suck, and see if you might need to rethink some things.

1. You abuse images.

It has never been a good idea to have your marketing email consist of one huge image, but with the advances in mobile technology, it’s even more important not to focus on big imagery to get your marketing across in an email. A giant banner may be beautiful on a 15 inch screen, but when you take that down two 2 inches and less, it more than loses it’s power; it can even be destructive to your marketing campaign.

2. You don’t know what preview text is.

If you don’t know, most inboxes are equipped to show “preview text” (sometimes called “snippet text”). This is that one line of text that shows up right next to the subject line. It is particularly prevalent in mobile mail platforms. With a tiny bit of code, you can control exactly what this text says. If you don’t take that step, it often will default to the first line of your email which could range from “Hello sir” to a bit of html code that got stuck in there by mistake. That’s a risk you definitely don’t want to take.

3. You never use bullet points.

If a lead opened your email it they are at least a little curious, but you can quickly lose them with nothing but heavy block text. Break out the key benefits in whatever you are marketing into bullet points. Short, sweet, and extremely clear bullet points. Lead’s aren’t going to read every word you put in an email, make sure they can find out the point fast.

4. Your favorite game is “I-Spy the Call-to-Action.”

Some marketers just love to cram an email with as much content as possible. They’ll put text, buttons, images, links one on top of each other creating an email that no one can even look at let alone understand what they are suppose to do. White space is good. The last thing you want to ask a lead to do is play I-Spy to figure out what you are asking of them.

5. You’re a font-collector.

Not all fonts are web-friendly. If you didn’t know that, you do now, so put it on a post-it note next to your computer because it is extremely important. Not only do you need to make sure to use a web-friendly font so that it renders correctly, but you also need to keep it to two fonts maximum. Using 5 different fonts isn’t design, it’s a mess and is extremely difficult to read.

So there you have it, the top five reasons your emails might suck. There’s more that can affect your emails, but if you can get these 5 down you are off to a good start.