Over the last couple of days, the internet and TV world has been ablaze about the recent video the Administration launched to help push conversion rates in the exchange amongst the “millennial” generation. Depending on what aisle of the party lines you lay on, the campaign was either great or just outright inappropriate. However, taking party lines out of the equation, you have to just acknowledge that the campaign.. in essence, worked. At the end of the day, this blog post doesn’t even have to do with the Affordable Care Act and if they hit the numbers to make it effective. I’m writing this because I feel that in my everyday life as a marketing professional, I am asked the questions “why should I pay for a strategy, can’t you just put something together fast and cheap?” The answer is yes, but it won’t be successful and it won’t be worth the money or “risk” you put up front to produce it. Do you think that the campaign that was produced was cheap? Or that it would have been successful if someone didn’t come up with the idea, develop the strategy and execute on it accurately? It excited me to hear the analytics reported out after the campaign went viral, because it made me feel proud of the type of work our industry does. According to a USA Today article, within less than 24 hours of that video going viral there were more than 890,000 visits to the site and Tuesday’s traffic to Healthcare.gov was almost 40% over Monday’s traffic.
I spoke to some of my older, more conservative mentors about this campaign, excited to show them what success is, and instantly it was balked at. They said how they didn’t like it and it was “stupid”… however, to that I answered – that campaign was NOT targeted at you. That’s why you don’t get it. However, if you look at the statistics, it clearly did work. There were 19,000 people who enrolled into Obamacare in less than 24 hours. Yes, maybe that number doesn’t do that “big” of a dent considering the population size of America, but that doesn’t neglect the fact that the Funny or Die video campaign hit the exact demographic of individuals it was aiming to target. The group that is the so called “key” to the ACA working… you know those young, healthy energetic millennials who will be the life long investors of the Affordable Care Act (start them young, right?).
At the end of the day, whichever side of the political line you lay on in regards to the Affordable Care Act, one fact remains and that is that a targeted, strategic campaign, executed accurately, can drive any company or brands conversion rates. Using ALL of your tools accurately, social – website – media – word of mouth, can create the ROI marketing results and new revenue you’re looking for.
IKEA is launching a new marketing campaign in the UK this weekend called “The Wonderful Everyday,” which will explain the brand’s values and sustainability ethos to consumers, according to Marketing Week.
The first ads, which launch tomorrow (February 8), mark the Swedish retailer’s first sustainability-focused campaign. Created by Mother, the UK’s largest independent ad agency, the first TV and radio spots will focus on touting energy-saving LEDs as an alternative to incandescent lightbulbs, which IKEA has committed to phasing out by 2016.
“This is a sustainability campaign but also a brand campaign,” IKEA’s UK and Ireland marketing manager, Peter Wright, told MW. “We need to explain what we stand for and celebrate that.”
The first round of TV ads show a dark forest, which slowly becomes illuminated, tree by tree, with the voiceover saying: “By 2016 we will only sell energy-efficient LED lightbulbs. Sometimes small things can make a big difference.”
Wright told MW that the campaign is paying homage in part to the company’s roots in Smaland, Sweden, where people are “thrifty and resourceful” and sustainability is a natural way of life.
Wright said he believes now is the right time for IKEA to speak about its commitment to sustainability as people increasingly look for ways to reduce their energy consumption and bills. He claimed that by switching to LED light bulbs, the average household could see up to a 85 percent decline in that cost.
According to MW, the campaign will of course include a social media component, featuring tips on more sustainable living, with plans for a broader social media push later in the year.
This isn’t the first time the home-goods giant has encouraged more sustainable consumption: In October, IKEA launched its “Second Hand” campaign, which aimed to resell customers’ used IKEA furniture alongside new products through an online “flea market.” The campaign successfully sold every used piece that was selected to be a part of the program.
IKEA seems to be practicing what it’s about to preach with regard to more conscientious consumption: The company also announced earlier this week that it has expanded the use ofsustainably sourced cotton in its products to 72 percent, up from 34 percent in 2012.
What happened over the last few weeks though is that we collected a number of awesome tips to post on social media, that didn’t quite all fit together. So we thought, why not creating a list of unique tips, that might not have that much in common, but are hopefully still very useful for you!
So, here we go, a list of six rather random social media tips to help you improve your marketing today:
1. STOP MAKING THE MOST COMMON TWITTER MISTAKE
Here’s a quick tip about a mistake that is made all the time on Twitter. In a HubSpot post, Jay Acunzo was kind enough to offer up his own experience with this for us to learn from.
Here’s Jay’s Tweet, which he used as an example:
The mistake is an easy one to miss, but it all comes down to the very start of the Tweet. Starting a Tweet with a username (this one starts with @HubSpot) means thatonly the sender, the person mentioned and anyone who follows them both will see it.
In this case, Jay and HubSpot will both see the Tweet in their timelines, and anyone who happens to follow both Jay and HubSpot will see it in their timelines.
Of course, anyone who scrolls through Jay’s whole Twitter profile would see it as well, but we want to focus on getting your Tweets into the timelines of your followers.
So, how do we solve this? If you really want to start your Tweet with a username, add a period to the beginning, like this:
Gary Vaynerchuck even created a 44-page slideshow for this one Twitter mistake. It’s definitely worth flicking through it:
So next time you want to Tweet about someone, don’t forget to add a period at the beginning if you want all of your followers to see it!
2. SCHEDULE YOUR UPDATES TO POST JUST BEFORE OR AFTER THE HOUR
Convince & Convert founder Jay Baer shared a great tip in this Social Media Examiner post for scheduling your updates at just the right time.
If you’re trying to reach business people like marketers, office workers or managers, this is especially handy. Jay sets his Buffer schedule to post updates just before or just after the hour. He does this to catch people who are checking social media just before or just after a meeting.
Here’s Jay’s example:
Meeting is scheduled from 1-2 pm. Meeting lets out slightly early at 1:57 pm, and attendees check Twitter on the way back to their desk. Meeting goes a little long, and that dip into social media occurs at 2:03 pm.
Jay also makes a note that scheduling Tweets around common lunch and dinner times (if you can–time zones can make this a bit difficult) is a good way to make sure more of your posts are seen. When look further into the science of timing, there’re alsosome other great tips beyond Jay’s ideas.
3. FOLLOW OR FAVORITE ALL PEOPLE RETWEETING YOUR ARTICLES TO GROW YOUR AUDIENCE
One tip that I learned from Leo when I joined Buffer was to keep an eye on who shares my content on Twitter.
Just by monitoring mentions of my username, I can find people who are interested in the posts I write, and then quickly follow them or favorite their Tweet.
Try searching for your website’s name or URL, your full name and any specific keywords or hashtags that you use. If you don’t have time to reply to all of the matching Tweets, a quick favorite can help you make contact with those users.
Being able to get more Twitter followers with a number of tips that simply show gratitude are my favorite, since they’re completely non-intrusive and build on your previous efforts. We’ve written about more examples here.
4. KEEP AN EYE ON FACEBOOK’S CHANGING GUIDELINES
Facebook has had some pretty strict guidelines for running promotions on your Page in the past, and it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re not in breach of any of these. In fact, their recent big algorithm change, turned the Facebook marketing worldupside down.
What you might not know is that Facebook has actually lifted some of the rules for running promotions (they’re fond of changing things at Facebook). A recent Socially Stacked blog post looked at five of the guidelines Facebook has removed:
1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
You can now run promotions on your Timeline or by using a third-party application.
2. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.
Now that you can run promotions on your Page’s Timeline, you can require a Comment or Like on your post for entry. You still can’t ask fans to enter by sharing your post on their own Timeline, though.
3. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
Not only can you ask fans to Like or Comment on a post to enter your competition, but you can use Likes as a voting feature now, as well.
4. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism.
You can actually use a Like on your Page or a check-in to your business as entry into a promotion, now. Since Likes aren’t differentiated for promotions, however, the Socially Stacked team don’t recommend using this option.
5. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
Facebook has relaxed this guideline, so that you can now use the comment stream, status updates, your own blog or website, and even email or Twitter to notify winners.
Long gone are the days when announcing a new product was simply a matter of putting together a news release, sending it off over the wire and counting on major news outlets to spread the word. Today, because consumers are able to get information from a variety of sources and platforms, a successful product launch requires an integrated approach; one that includes traditional, social and online marketing tools. Here’s a look at how to focus these approaches into one concerted effort around a product launch. (View Original Article Here)
1. Traditional Methods
Even though new media seems to get all the glory, traditional television, print or radio media outreach remains an effective way to expose a never-before-seen product to the masses. Be sure to clearly spell out the elements of your product that make it newsworthy. How is it different from your existing products? How is it different from other similar products? What benefits does it provide to the consumer? You can also go a step further and subscribe toHelp a Reporter Out, ProfNet and NewsBasis. These are great resources for connecting with journalists who are looking for experts and story ideas.
Don’t discount other proven methods like advertising, trade shows, speaking opportunities, promotional events and direct mail. Ignoring them can lead to wasted opportunities. If you invest the time to truly understand the demographics and behaviors of the people you’re hoping to reach, you’ll know if these traditional methods are worth your time and investment.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Before you begin your online efforts to market your new product, you must have a “home base,” which ideally is a search-friendly website or blog. When launching a product, to aid both potential customers and contribute to optimized search engine performance, consider creating a product-specific landing page that features photos, descriptions and/or video. Make sure this page is appropriately coded for search, complete with keyword-rich copy, title tags, header text, a unique URL and meta information that succinctly describes your new product. Make sure this page is visible and easily accessible from your home page, at least for its initial release.
To build your online content library, consider enhancing your traditional media outreach efforts and social media news presence by distributing your product press release using paid services with both text-only and multimedia options, such as PR Newswire, PRWeb andPitchEngine. If you’re looking for a less expensive route, Free Press Release and PR Logallow you to share news for free.
3. E-mail Marketing
E-mail marketing is a fantastic way to provide specialized content to people with whom you’ve already built relationships. Consider offering a pre-order for your new product, exclusive only to e-mail recipients. Or, offer a sneak peek at the new product before it’s released to the public. This will help to nurture and reward your existing relationships and continue building on the trust you’ve already earned.
Additionally, you may set up an e-mail drip campaign that sends messages on a regular schedule at timed intervals to keep your product or service top-of-mind with your customers, and also to keep the sales funnel flowing.
4. Online Advertising
Tools such as Google AdWords (and other pay-per-click services) can boost awareness and funnel parties directly to your product. Online advertising allows you to get in front of a specific audience but with wide reach.
Another option is to do some research to determine the most widely read blogs and sites in your industry and also those frequented by people in your target markets. Advertising is often the main revenue generator on these sites and blogs, so it’s a great way to begin building relationships with the editors and site operators for a chance to get in front of the people who are most inclined to care about your product.
Don’t overlook opportunities to advertise on social networks. Some have predicted that $4 billion will be spent on Facebook advertising alone in 2011. Marketers are already realizing the benefit of getting in front of this giant’s more than 500 million users.
If you choose to pursue any of these options, make sure the ads are clickable and direct all referrals to a targeted landing page on your company’s website. This page should have content specific to the new product, along with information on how and where to purchase it.
5. Social Networks
When your product is ready to go, inform your current customers and brand enthusiasts by updating your existing social networks. Whether you have a presence on one of the well-known platforms and/or another niche social network, craft catered messages for each. But, don’t just post to any of these social networks and walk away. There are many tools available to help you manage multiple social network profiles, keep the information up-to-date and continue to communicate with your connections, while providing the social proof needed for people to buy.
Naturally, these networks are filled with potential for people to share your information. For this reason, make sure you provide valuable content. Try different mediums for discussing your new product, such as videos, podcasts, photos and/or live chats. Many people are nowgetting their news, or topics of interest, from social networks and e-mail sharing, so this is a perfect place to get your product information in front of an audience that has already been “sold” on your business.
If you have a physical location your customers frequent, utilize geolocation tools likeFoursquare or Gowalla to further your marketing gusto. By closing the gap between online marketing platforms and a physical store, you are encouraging sales through different channels and fully connecting the buying experience. Offer special deals for your business’ mayors, and promotions for your best customers; this kind of strategy goes a long way in creating a lot of buzz for your new product.
7. Group Buying Sites
Groupon, Living Social, Deal On, My Daily Thread and other collective buying sites continue to grow in popularity and offer the opportunity to introduce and incentivize the purchase of your product to an opt-in audience. These sites give you the ability to customize your product offer by market and expand the product’s reach beyond those who are already familiar with your company.
8. Blogger Outreach
Blogging has grown tremendously in the past five years. Even though Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2010 report found that 65% of blogger survey respondents are hobbyists, it’s likely you’ll find several bloggers in your industry who have very active communities and traffic/subscriber numbers that blow traditional media websites out of the water.
Blogger outreach goes hand-in-hand with traditional media outreach when it comes to generating interest for a new product, and the approach and methods used are much the same. Understand the blog, its audience and its content before sharing information about your product. If it makes sense, offer your product for the blogger to review.
When working with bloggers, remember this golden rule: Treat them with the same respect as you would traditional journalists.
9. Social Media Influencers
Using a strategy similar to traditional media outreach, take the time to research, locate and understand the most active social media users in your target markets. These people are at a unique advantage, having earned a large and tuned-in set of viewers, listeners and followers. While the payoff might not be immediate, creating relationships with these highly influential people can lead to valuable long-term opportunities.
While there is no universally accepted way to define and measure influence, using tools likeTwitter Grader and Klout will give a good indication of the major players in the social space and in your specific industry or market. You can also take it one step further and narrow your search by category. Tools like Twello allow you to search a directory filtered by self-identified expertise, interests and professions. This can be especially helpful for identifying Twitterusers in a subfield that directly relates to your new product.
10. Online Retail Sites
Invest in partnership opportunities with well-respected online retail sites to improve the availability and credibility of your business and product. Advertising on sites such asAmazon, eBay and Google Product Search will place your product in an environment searched by people that have already identified themselves as inclined to buy.
Amazon, specifically, offers a program called Amazon Advantage that allows sellers to delegate order fulfillment and shipping to Amazon. In addition, these products are eligible for “Free Super Saver Shipping” and are labeled as “shipped and sold by Amazon.com.” This provides buyers with the peace of mind they might not have when buying from an unknown vendor or site.
Get Customer Feedback
After your product has launched and your marketing and public relations strategies are underway, use a program like Radian6, Awareness, Netvibes, HootSuite, etc. to monitor your customers’ responses to your new product. This is a prime opportunity to open up the lines of communication with your customers and to show you care about and will listen to their feedback to improve future products.
To include your customers in your company’s product development and initiatives, consider tools such as UserVoice or GetSatisfaction to get an idea of what the people would like to see in the future.
With all of the social media tools available today, companies are truly missing out if they don’t evaluate the opportunities to execute a social/online strategy that complements their traditional marketing and PR programs for a product launch.
While it’s not commonplace for all of these tactics to be used, they should serve as a launching pad for your company to be creative and to choose the best strategy for you.
What experiences do you have with integrating traditional and online methods to make a product launch successful? What opportunities would you add?