Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Why and How of Repurposing Your Content [VIDEO]

The Why and How of Repurposing Your Content [VIDEO] image Repurposing Your Content

We all retain and gather information in different ways. Some of us respond better to pictures than with words. Some like interaction and creating a dialogue with another person. Some of us even get lost in pages and pages of a good story. If you have a interesting content piece, why not repurpose that content to reach an even wider audience? Sometimes an idea can only lend itself to one medium, but if you have a solid topic that can translate well across various channels, then go ahead and regenerate that content! Watch this video to learn more about why and how to do it well.


Repurposing Your Content

What does repurpose mean? It means taking an existing topic, research, text, images, and/or data and adapting it into a new content format

What are the Benefits?

  • The ability to reach more of your audience – those who respond to visuals and those who respond to words

  • As well as those who like at-a-glance pieces and those who like in-depth long form content

What are Different Content Formats I can utilize?

  • Blog Posts are good for presenting new content to loyal audience

  • Infographics are best for showing processes and showing data

  • Free Guides allow for in-depth content that has high-appeal

  • eBooks offer high-level insight that can expand with case studies, data points, and other supplemental info

  • Newsletters could be all of a content piece or just a preview that drives traffic

  • Webinars are great for presenting real time content while building up subscribers

  • Videos are engaging for an impatient audience

  • Presentations are a great way to boil down content

Try repurposing your content today, just like this video! This video is former free guide and blog post that you can read here!

Source: B2C_Business

The Why and How of Repurposing Your Content [VIDEO]

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Good Link bait

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Good Link bait image 053c5b85 d7c0 46a0 bcb0 83ba9f70c6977

You were that kid in the family. The kid who was disappointed on family fishing outings because your fish wasn’t the biggest, or maybe it just wasn’t as big as you wanted. Your kid brother or sister would catch a ridiculously small fish and grin at the camera, fully satisfied with the catch.

Not you. So you tried different methods—change the fishing location, change the lures, changing the time of day. Then, one day on the Discovery channel, you notice that the little fish attract the big fish, and BAM! An idea is born!

That is link baiting. You’re not trying to get the little fish to get your bait. (Not that you mind the little guys at all!) You’re trying to get them to look and to tell their friends so that before long, all the fish are waving their fins wildly and blowing bubbles about your bait.

Then, the big fish can’t help but notice. You aren’t trying to sell a product but to get the link—the bubble-blowing, fin-flapping kind of links. You are trying to get people to notice you because your content, your link bait, is irresistibly delicious.

You can throw corn kernels in the water all day and attract (and even catch) those little sunfish, but that’s not gonna get the kind of fish you want. Quality. That’s what you need—quality content that can’t be resisted, that attracts the kind of people you want and encourages them to link back to your site.

Before you begin writing your content, ask yourself these three questions:

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Good Link bait image Link bait 2

Write it down. Post it up. Put it in a place where you’ll see it everyday. Keep your goals in focus.

Target identified? Check. Now for the quality content.

Anyone can put together helpful content. It can even contain some quality information, but your content has to do more! Your content needs to make the audience come back for more! To help keep you on the right track as you write link baiting content, ask yourself these 7 questions:

1. Is it intuitive?

Are people going to finish reading your content and go “Huh?” If you’re trying to get people to link to your article on cleaning out your engine coolant reservoir on your car and you have no diagrams and use words few people understand, no one’s going to link to your page. As a writer, you are serving the reader, so make it easy to understand with both your writing style and visual aids.

2. Does it demonstrate expertise?

Use numbers. Quote sources. Get guest writers who have expertise on the subject. Don’t write fluff. You want to gain your readers’ trust. Trust is a hard thing to gain and harder still to regain.

3. Does it provide useful information?

Interesting is good, yes, but if it isn’t informative, your readers won’t come back for more. What are some areas that your readers will need to know about or how to do? Be that source for them.

4. Is it unique?

Give them something different. If everyone else is doing or saying what you’re saying, why should your website be anyone’s first choice? What little tips can you highlight? Are you a painting expert? Add some décor ideas or spackling advice or what to do when your little dog falls asleep in the freshly painted corner of the room and has paint stuck to his fur. Be where your reader is.

5. Does it relate to your target audience?

What personality would your readers like? What kind of personality do you want your site to have? Are you the sarcastic, dry-humored kind of content provider? Are you the well-polished expert? Are you the friendly advice giver? What kind of personality can you create that will make your readers enjoy reading your content?

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Good Link bait image Link bait 3

6. Does it address a newsworthy event?

Keep up with the news—not just headline news. Who are your readers? What kind of news would interest them? Are they interested in hearing about how Kim Kardashian is dating Kanye West? Do they want to know about the latest advances in science, a play-by-play of last night’s tennis match? Don’t just report it! Remember how we talked about the information being unique? Add your opinion or someone else’s controversial opinion. People link to that kind of content!

7. Does it appeal to a wide variety of people?

Remember being a kid in school when the teacher tried to get you to learn that 2+3=5? So you drilled and drilled and drilled. Then she asked you what 2+3 was and you didn’t know. Had she given you French fries to hold or made you hop around the room, you could have gotten the answer. Here’s a little secret: your readers are all different from each other! Find some way to appeal to each of them in each post. Add cartoons, embed videos, create a distracting game or amusing noise-maker (ok, maybe not the noise-maker).

Summing up

Your job as a link baiter is to attract and keep the attention of your online fishes. Keeping the attention can be the hard part, so remember—these content checks aren’t one-time only activities. Make your readers confident that your content is the best. Drop in that bait and watch the little fishies swarm around your deliciously irresistible expertise.

Source: B2C_Business

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Good Link bait

Pinterest May Be The Perfect Answer For Marketing Your Apparel Business

business marketing apparel

Social media is probably the best thing that has happened to businesses of all shapes and sizes. The viral nature of social media, along with the possibility of community and relationship building is an awesome deal that no business can afford to ignore. E-commerce stores that specialize in apparel are no exception.

You already know that many women are passionate shoppers and, apart from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the social media network that they frequent the most is…Pinterest!

According to Craig Smith of Expanded Ramblings, more than 80% of all Pinterest users are women.

Pinterest is growing at an astounding rate. With more than 70 million users and 2.5 billion page views, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networks today. It saw a whopping 125% growth in international traffic in the year 2013 alone.

So, why is it the perfect answer for your apparel business?

Traffic and Engagement

Sarah Mincher posted an infographic on Social Media Today, which reveals that Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular of all social networks. It gained its first 10 million users faster than any network.

Shoppers who are referred to a site from Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy. On average, Pinterest referrals spend 70% more than visitors from non-social channels. Call-to-action pins, on average, pump up engagement by an incredible 80%.

The average order amount placed through Pinterest is about $80 and the average household income of a Pinterest user is $100,000.

Clearly, it makes business sense to be on Pinterest. Given the visual nature of the medium along with the fact that most users on Pinterest are shoppers (or at least they have a tendency to shop more), it makes sense for your online apparel store to have a sustainable and growing presence on Pinterest. Plug in the combined power of other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and you have a lot going for you.

Traction through Visuals

We are all visual. The more visually appealing something is, the more we want it. Sure your e-commerce store may already have product images, but those are just sitting on your site looking pretty. Pinterest makes for a great channel for your visuals allowing your followers to engage, interact, comment, share, Pin, and even BUY. To get it right, however, you need to:

  • Make sure that your visuals are professional. Include real (and professionally rendered) photos for your products.

  • Include photos of real people – click pictures of your team, office and work life in general.

  • Avoid stock photos.

  • Bridge other social networks like Facebook and Twitter along with your Pinterest for maximum returns on your efforts.

  • Leave comments on other boards. Engage with others on Pinterest. Ask questions. Build real relationships.

  • Leave a social footprint on Pinterest by visiting, liking, sharing, and pinning. Have conversations. It’s called “social media” for a good reason.

  • Curate content that’ll be of value or interest to your followers on Pinterest. The more populated and engaging your boards are, the more followers you’ll gain.

Social Proof in Pictures

Suppose you sell T-shirts online, you could bring in real people wearing them and pose away – that will give you all the social proof you need! Create a gallery (as a separate board) on your Pinterest account and have your customers submit their own photos with apparel purchased off your site. You’d accomplish quite a few things with this simple initiative:

  • Say goodbye to cheesy model photos when it comes to your business. Real buyers with purchased apparel from your store make a lot more impact.

  • Potential customers get to see how the clothes you sell actually look on real people. This helps them to make better buying decisions, which is actually good for you.

  • “Buy” buttons allow for immediate purchase or at least direct links to product pages.

  • Pinterest is a social network. If they aren’t buying, they are sharing. What would you pay for engaging shares?

An Open Community

Newsletters are an inseparable part of your online business. Digressing a little from the world of apparel, Unbounce, Mailchimp, and Campaign Monitor have some great pins showing the effectiveness of newsletter and landing page optimization.

There are innumerable companies, large and small, that have used Pinterest to create a community around respective brands, products, and services. Each of these brands is an open board for the whole world to see.

Since Pinterest is visual and it allows for social traction, your own boards with pins make for a great and easy way for your customers to “check you out.” If nothing, you’ll at least succeed in building a passionate community around “fashion” or another niche your apparel fills.

Hannah Clark of Social Media Today has yet another list of five businesses that are nailing it on Pinterest. Can we take a few lessons from there?

A Parallel Channel

Pinterest works almost like your e-commerce store, if you think about it. Your pins can include a call-to-action, and emulate just about everything the product pages on your site can do!

You could balance your pinning and repinning while including rich pins on your site. Rich pins, such as article pins, can also help you with your content marketing strategy. Each of your product images can have product descriptions that you can optimize for SEO.

Working as a parallel and social channel for your apparel store, Pinterest falls straight into your marketing plan.

What social networks are you predominantly on? Do you have Pinterest as a part of your social marketing strategy? What do you do with it that makes a difference to your apparel business?

Republished by permission. Original here.

Pinterest Photo via Shutterstock

The post Pinterest May Be The Perfect Answer For Marketing Your Apparel Business appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Source: Small Business Trends

Pinterest May Be The Perfect Answer For Marketing Your Apparel Business

Facebook’s AppLinks: taking mobile browsers out of the equation


Another one of the innovations launched Wednesday at f8 takes frustration out of mobile links and app-to-app browsing. Through Facebook AppLinks, a user can go from a link in one Facebook mobile-integrated app to another without the conduit of a mobile browser and login friction.

Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar announced AppLinks in the keynote:

This gives you everything you need to publish, discover and navigate to deep links on mobile on any platform. … I hope this is the direction that mobile takes for the future. This is how the web works, and it’s awesome. Let’s keep it awesome.

One of the main frustrations for both users and app developers is the inability to have a fluid app transition. For instance, if a user taps a link or an ad on Facebook’s News Feed, they’re led to a mobile browser to view the website and/or log in. It’s a lengthy process that often turns the user away and doesn’t motivate them to continue the action — similar to mobile payments in the earlier days.

Facebook (and Parse) want to fix that.

More than 25 apps — such as Endomondo, Spotify Pinterest and Hulu — have already been using AppLinks in beta. The HTML aspect is fairly simple for developers, who previously had to hardlink without knowing if another app supported deep linking.

Jason Clark, an engineering manager at Facebook, said that the mobile experience should be on par and maybe even better than web. AppLinks is Facebook’s attempt to make that happen. Through AppLinks, developers and advertisers can create this cleaner and seamless experience through URLs shared directly from apps, posts on News Feed and ads.

Facebook Mobile Product Manager Vijay Shankar talked more at length about how AppLinks works with Facebook links:

Facebook is the primary source of discovery for mobile apps. So you may ask, “How much of this is related to linking?” Every week, the Facebook apps send an excess of 2.4 billion link clicks just from iOS and Android. Let’s unpack this for a moment. Most of these 2.4 billion link clicks lead people to your content today. And now, with the Facebook app supporting AppLinks, you can now provide people the best possible experience to consume your content.

Facebook also published a video showing how AppLinks works:

App Links Home Page Intro from Liquid Agency on Vimeo.

Readers: What do you think about AppLinks?

Photo by Praneendra Kuver for Inside Facebook.

Source: Inside Facebook

Facebook’s AppLinks: taking mobile browsers out of the equation

Transforming Twitter With More Images Means More Social

twitter tagging

You’ve most likely heard the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and it appears that Twitter would agree. It is now possible to tag multiple photos in a single tweet.

Twitter Tagging Photos

Twitter 6.3, the upgraded version of Twitter, brings multiple features which are expected to make use of the site more engaging. The most interesting among them is the ability to tag multiple photos in one tweet.

Twitter now allows users as many as four images in a single tweet and up to ten people tagged. The thumbnails of the photos you are planning to upload will appear in the Tweet composer. To see these photos full screen, simply tap them. You can also swipe each of them to move to the next image. The four images will appear in collage form in your tweet.

twitter tagging

Express Yourself Beyond 140 Characters

The limit anyone can use to express his or her thoughts on Twitter is 140 characters. So will the images take up some of the character space permitted? No, images are not counted under the characters so users can add images and, at the same time, express their thoughts in 140 characters.

Easy to Remove Tags

Not only can you easily tag individuals in photos, as displayed below, but you can just as easily remove them. Just tap on the image to get a detailed view of the tweet. An ellipsis sign occurs at the end of the tweet and you can click on it to see the “Remove tag” option.

twitter tagging

Monitoring Your Profile

Users have the option to monitor Twitter tagging in images. You can visit the security settings of Twitter and set up who can and cannot tag you in a photo. You can selectively view and choose existing tags to determine the ones you want to keep and the ones you want to remove.

A More Powerful Social Media Platform

Allowing more images in tweets takes Twitter a step closer towards becoming even more social.

But the question remains: With the increasing changes, has Twitter’s metamorphosis towards becoming another Facebook already started?

Tablet Photo via Shutterstock, Screenshots via Twitter

The post Transforming Twitter With More Images Means More Social appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Source: Small Business Trends

Transforming Twitter With More Images Means More Social

PMD Socialbakers launches unified analytics suite


Socialbakers, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, announced Socialbakers Analytics V3.0, which features an enhanced analytics capability that allows the comparison of unlimited social profiles, benchmarks or custom groupings against a full set of advanced metrics.

Using Socialbakers Analytics V3.0, marketers can now create custom reports based on head-to-head performance across all pages and platforms and then have it all sent automatically to team members.

Jiri Voves, head of products at Socialbakers, said in a press release:

Today, there are more platforms to post to, more communities to manage, more campaigns to optimize, and more data sets to analyze than ever before. To make things easier, Socialbakers Analytics V3.0 will feature a new customizable, multi-platform dashboard that will offer a unified overview of all platforms — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, VK, and later, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+ — in one view.

In addition to the social analytics suite, Socialbakers has also acquired social listening provider, Social Insider. This gives Socialbakers the ability to conduct in-depth multi-platform listening, trend analysis and data visualization.

Source: Inside Facebook

PMD Socialbakers launches unified analytics suite

B2B Marketing Tips – Creating A Balanced Success Story

B2B Marketing Tips – Creating A Balanced Success Story image KSSF7

Generally, people praise themselves for any accomplishments they make. But brag too and some find it annoying. It’s a balance that is often attempted in marketing. There’s always the fear of being overly promotional.

Still, sometimes you’d need to dial back the modesty and step into the spotlight. The problem is when it doesn’t bring closer to the balance. It’s not something you just learn from a book or watch from a video all at once. But failure is never be a reason to stop trying right? Here are some ways to define the process.

Expand your company bio

An individual can be self-absorbed from writing their own bio. Fortunately, in marketing, you’re representing a bigger organization. You’ll have more eyes for more perspectives on it, even from within. You can also ask someone on the outside to conduct interviews as they might ask questions you haven’t considered but are at the same time helpful.

Make main characters out customers

Want more outside perspective? Start collecting client testimonials. How did they come by your business? What did you do to solve their problem? Genuine testimonials don’t just put attention to your role in their story. It still remains to be their story and how you just simply enabled the best solution.

Random review

In the corporate world you may have heard of a random process that solicits feedback from people above, below and equal to you in the company food chain. The element of surprise can make it harder to lie or hold back. Start polling colleagues, clients, friends and even family for spontaneous insight on your business. The responses may not as flattering but brutal honesty can still be very helpful.

Social updates

One of the great things about social media today is that it takes just seconds for someone to send you feedback. It makes it easier to measure how often you should update those connected to you in order to generate their response. You get to adjust the rate of promotion in real-time!

Sharing a success story or an achievement isn’t really taboo. It’s all about where you get the facts and how reinforce them with different perspectives.

Source: B2C_Business

B2B Marketing Tips – Creating A Balanced Success Story

Replace the lamp

Replace the lamp image replace lamp

It happens so now and then that, just when you want to start your presentation, a message shows up on the screen behind you that urges you to replace the projector lamp… Luckily for me, the last time this happened, there was an A/V technician around who fixed the problem in a matter of minutes, and I could deliver my talk as planned.

This incident, however, made me reflect about why we –business presenters and public speakers– are actually so addicted to slideware, and why some of us seem to be completely helpless without Powerpoint, Keynote or Prezi.

  • Surely we’re all part of a visual culture. In our daily lives we are bombarded with a plethora of (static and moving) images offered by billboards, magazines, TV, social media and web pages that “help” us better ingest, digest, and retain information. Illustrations can make things more clear, more visible or more manifest. Children’s books are often illustrated with colorful pictures. The illustrations are as much a part of the experience with the content as the written text.

  • Some speakers (including me) are picture thinkers. I design my presentations on the back of a napkin and, most of the time, I have a graphical representation in mind even before I know the exact words of what I am going to tell. If you’re in the same situation, then make sure that what you show is complementary to what you say.

  • Other presenters use slides because they have a bad memory –at least that’s the excuse they come up with for not spending enough time on preparation and rehearsal– or want to add a level of detail to their story that is too complex for oral transmission. Data visualizations and infographics are good examples of how pictures may add value to words. But always beware of texty slides and bulleted lists!

Next time I enter the stage, I might just ignore the projector (even when the lamp is not broken) and start presenting “naked”… Stay tuned for a testimonial about the joy of naked presenting in a next blog post!

Source: B2C_Business

Replace the lamp

Facebook gives users more options for login, app permissions


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s new mantra of “Move fast with stable infra,” might not be as sexy as “Move fast and break things,” but it reflects Facebook’s shift in ideology. Now that Facebook is 10 years old and a publicly traded company, it is past the risky startup stage and is in a position to give developers, advertisers and users more stability and security.

Moving away from breaking things, Facebook is putting more control over app permissions and login into the users’ hands. Zuckerberg announced at f8 that users will have more granular controls over what data is shared with apps. Additionally, users afraid of the “Login with Facebook,” button now have a way to sign into an app without sharing any Facebook information at all.

As Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook is putting people first, he described the new controls:

Over the years, one of the things we’ve heard just over and over again is that people want more control over how they share their information, especially with apps, and they want more say and control over how apps use their data. … We take this really seriously. If people don’t have the tools they need to feel comfortable using your apps, then that’s bad for them and it’s bad for you. It will prevent people from having good personalized experiences and trying out new things, but it also might hurt you and prevent you from getting some new potential customers.

The new Facebook Login flow should be available in the coming weeks, while anonymous login is in beta with a few developers with a wider rollout planned in the next few months.

Many people are turned off to connecting to an app via Facebook because apps sometimes want access to the user’s friends list or personal information. Now, there will be a new flow that allows people to determine what is shared.

When a user connects with an app through Facebook, they can tap “Edit the info you provide,” to see a list of permissions. If someone is OK with their likes being fair game for an app, but not their email address or birthday, they can set those boundaries.

While this may seem like a stab at developers who want vital information about users, Zuckerberg said it’s an important step forward in trust and getting people to tap that login button with confidence.

Patrick Salyer, CEO of Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Gigya, feels that the new login process is key in developers’ quests to gain (or regain) the trust of data-shy users:

The changes Facebook announced today regarding Facebook Login mark a major milestone for trust and transparency between brands and consumers. First-party, permission-based data is integral to the future of marketing and better user interactions with brands but that can’t happen without transparency.

That’s why we think the changes coming to Facebook Login are a big win for everyone. Allowing consumers to control and understand what data they are providing brands with fosters more trust with those brands and will ultimately provide for a better user experience while making users more willing to share their data on mutually beneficial terms.

But what if a user doesn’t want to share information, period? Facebook now caters to these users too. Through anonymous login, Facebook is still the conductor of the login, but no information is taken from the user. Zuckerberg said this is somewhat of a “try before you buy,” tactic, where users can keep their data to themselves while trying out a new app. If the user wants to be a more dedicated user of the app, then they can choose to connect via Facebook.


Facebook blogged about anonymous login:

Sometimes people want to try out apps, but they’re not ready to share any information about themselves. For this, we’re introducing a way to log in to apps anonymously.

Anonymous Login lets people log in to apps so they don’t have to remember usernames and passwords, but it doesn’t share personal information from Facebook. People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app.

Readers: What do you think about the new login and app permissions features?

Photo by Praneendra Kuver for Inside Facebook.

Source: Inside Facebook

Facebook gives users more options for login, app permissions

Michigan Creates $6.8 Million Fund for Tech Startups

michigan pre seed fund

Economically speaking, the news concerning Michigan typically focuses on the purported death of Detroit.

To counter that negative trend, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is hoping to spearhead some new growth among high-tech startups. The Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 is actually a continuation of a previous effort. It will provide $6.8 million. That’s $5.8 million to high-tech startups in the state and another $1 million to help universities transfer technology to the marketplace.

A previous Pre-Seed Fund invested $20 million in 90 firms beginning in 2007.

The money to fund Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 comes from the public sector. The initiative is being managed by a private firm called Invest Michigan. Invest Michigan President and CEO Charlie Moret says his company’s goal is to learn lessons from the first version of Michigan’s Pre-Seed Fund and make smart investments.

The idea is to invest in private companies that are barely off the ground. Moret told Small Business Trends in a recent interview that the goal is to back those that will eventually pay back the investment. This would make Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 an “evergreen” fund continuing to invest in new startups into the future:

“We can be that kind of catalyst to drive these companies. A big portion of the evaluation process is – are these companies going to be sustainable? We are looking for those with the most viable business plan.”

Invest Michigan hopes to find tech startups in some of the following areas: advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, agricultural technology, alternative energy, homeland security, information technology, and life sciences.

New funding will become available in May first for companies that missed their chance to apply for the previous Pre-Seed Fund. Then the funding will be open to applications from new tech startups by June. Moret says companies applying for potential seed money from the fund will hear their fate within 45 days.

In a statement announcing the fund, MEDC Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Paula Sorrell said:

“These Pre-Seed Funds are intended to help innovative companies take those last steps to become commercially viable and more attractive to private investors. With the wealth of entrepreneurial talent we have in Michigan, we want to make sure good ideas turn into businesses that help expand and strengthen the state economy.”

Michigan Photo via Shutterstock

The post Michigan Creates $6.8 Million Fund for Tech Startups appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Source: Small Business Trends

Michigan Creates $6.8 Million Fund for Tech Startups

Unbeatable Customer Delight: How Geico Makes You Laugh, And Buy

Unbeatable Customer Delight: How Geico Makes You Laugh, And Buy image GuessWhatDay GIF

A standout case of customer delight has earned April’s Microinteraction of the Month!

Last Saturday at 9pm, I announced dinner time to my cats using my Geico Hump Day Camel impression, just like I do every night.

“Guess what time it is! Guess. What. Time. It. Is!”

I momentarily forgot about the three people on our couch, so their laughter surprised and embarrassed me. Apparently, my camel impression was spot-on and my guests were big fans of the commercial, too. One of us wasn’t feeling very original and decided to quote the “MikeMikeMikeMikeMike” sequence several times, in a row, which was a little annoying. The point is – the ad wasn’t annoying – it was this person’s impression. The camel ad was the most awesome commercial of last year, in my opinion.

Customer delight at its finest

Unbeatable Customer Delight: How Geico Makes You Laugh, And Buy image MikesequenceGIF

The Geico Hump Day commercial is almost a year old. It made the rounds, but managed to fade away just before it became annoying. That’s why, when my wife received the direct mail ad below, I started to feel warm and fuzzy. I love that camel and everything he represents.

Unbeatable Customer Delight: How Geico Makes You Laugh, And Buy image GeicoMicro

Here are just a few of the ways Geico NAILS IT with this callback advertisement:

  • Instant brand recognition – I know that camel

  • Reinforcing brand loyalty – I LOVE that camel

  • Word of mouth – I shared a picture of the camel’s ad on Facebook (and here)

  • Marketing personalization – That camel knew my wife’s name

  • Top of mind awareness – That camel will be my first thought when I need to buy insurance

Geico and I have an inside joke

Advertising across platforms is ridiculously common, but truly nailing it is unique. The technique Geico uses here, the callback, is a fundamental comedic tool with value that translates perfectly into advertising and customer delight. According to Wikipedia:

“The main principle behind the callback is to make the audience feel a sense of familiarity with the subject matter, as well as with the comedian. It helps to create audience rapport. When the second joke is told, it induces a feeling similar to that of being told a personal or in-joke.”

It’s remarkable that a company can successfully create such a strong emotional rapport with potential insurance customers. In my extreme case, they’ve been so successful that I feel genuine affection for the Geico brand.

Happy Hump Day!

Source: B2C_Business

Unbeatable Customer Delight: How Geico Makes You Laugh, And Buy

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2)

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image ContentKing246X246part2

We’ve all heard the saying, “Content is king.” But who are the trailblazers who prove the power of content in today’s online world? Last week, we introduced you to five of them.

This week, we bring you six more innovators whose incredible successes should make anybody interested in content marketing sit up and take note.

6. Joe Pulizzi, Co-Founder/CEO, Content Marketing Institute

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image Joe Pulizzi

Pulizzi is said to have invented content marketing; that probably isn’t true, considering that John Deere’s magazine, The Furrow, has been around since 1895. But he did (partially) invent content marketing thought leadership. Pulizzi founded the Content Marketing Institute in 2007 as an educational and research hub for content marketing, which is kind of like predicting that the Internet was going to be a big thing in 1987. As far as we can tell, he seems to spend 15 hours a day blogging, hosting Twitter chats, or appearing in content marketing videos. He is possibly the most orange man on earth.

7. Brian Clark, Founder, Copyblogger

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image 2014 04 30 1138

Actually, maybe Pulizzi didn’t invent content marketing thought leadership. In 2006, Brian Clark—a former lawyer—founded Copyblogger as a one-man blog. Its goal: offering easy-to-use advice to help forward-thinking marketers build communities online. Since then, Copyblogger’s ebooks have become the gold standard for content marketing advice, as it has grown into an extremely successful business and thought leader.

8. Michael Brito, Group Director, WCG

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image 2014 04 30 1144

Agency folks get trashed a lot for only pretending to get this whole “Content is king” thing, but Brito is the exception. The former head digital man at Edelman writes one of the industry’s must-read social media blogs, Britopian. His new book, Your Brand, the Next Media Company, hits all the right notes as brands across the globe attempt to build newsrooms.

9. Dan Lyons, Marketing Fellow, Hubspot

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image 113

The former tech editor at Newsweek and editor-in-chief at ReadWrite, Lyons was a pioneer in the trend of journalists migrating to brands to lead their content operations. “There’s a lot to learn here, and I’ll do two things I love best: write and speak,” Lyons wrote about the move. “In my mind I’m still working as a journalist. I’m just not working for a traditional newspaper or magazine.”

At Hubspot, he covers the branded content movement and technology world with an honesty you don’t normally hear from marketers—because, well, he’s not one. Best of all, he created Fake Steve Jobs, possibly the best piece of tech satire of the mid-2000s.

10. Kobe Bryant, Shooting Guard, LA Lakers

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image 211

Can you tell I’m a big basketball fan? (I swear I hate the Lakers, though. #Knicks4Life.) When Kobe Bryant gave a detailed and riveting look inside the 2012 Olympic Games through his daily blog posts on Facebook, the result was an astronomical spike in Likes—from 316,000 to 13.5 million. Kobe’s social accounts remain some of the most riveting in pro sports, and he stands at almost 18.5 million likes today.

11. Shane Snow, Co-Founder/CCO, Contently

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2) image 2014 04 30 1159

It only makes sense that the 29-year-old founder of one of the world’s hottest content marketing startups should be a thought leadership machine. Half journalist, half tech founder, Shane is a regular contributor to Wired, Fast Company, and AdAge, as well as many other publications. He consistently tops the LinkedIn Influencer charts (his last post about Ryan Gosling and storytelling has almost half a million page views already). I call him Shane, not Snow, because (full disclosure) he’s my boss, mentor and friend at Contently, where he makes my job as editor-in-chief insanely easy. Simply put, he’s the smartest mind in content marketing—or brand publishing, as we like to call it. He’s also publishing a book this fall that will rock your socks.

Who’s your favorite content king or queen?

This post was contributed to The Conduit Mobile Blog by guest blogger Joe Lazauskas.

Source: B2C_Business

Content Is King – And These 11 Trailblazers Prove It (Part 2)

Spotlight On Moving Mountains Design: Staging Luxury Homes for Sale


This week we shine the spotlight on Moving Mountains Design. Those needing to sell a big luxury home in the Los Angeles area call on owner Michelle Minch. She and her team swoop in and choose just the right paintings, rugs, sofas and even duvet covers to make a property fetch top dollar. Minch says she has 6 part-time employees in all and has been in business eight years.

WHAT THE BUSINESS IS KNOWN FOR: Being the luxury home stager for the Los Angeles market.

Very few professional stagers own enough inventory to stage larger homes. Even fewer have the kind of higher end furniture, Persian rugs, artwork and accessories needed to complete these jobs successfully. Moving Mountains Design has a warehouse full of beautiful accessories, furniture, artwork, linens, throw pillows and lamps appropriate to luxury homes. At the Real Estate Staging Association International Conference this year, Minch presented a workshop on luxury home staging to a standing-room-only audience. The conference is kind of like a Ted Talks for professional home stagers.

HOW THE BUSINESS GOT STARTED: A trip to Kansas City to wow some home buyers.

The first home Minch staged (and got paid for) was for an interior design client. They asked her to help them get their Kansas City home ready to sell. Minch was flown from Los Angeles. She did a lot of editing, rearranging and upgraded the kitchen with granite counters and new backsplash. The sellers expected the home to take six months to a year to sell, which was the norm at that time in Kansas City. It was the early 2000′s. They went under contract almost immediately and closed escrow about two months later – shockingly fast. Minch didn’t call what she did staging back then. She just told colleagues she was “getting the house ready to sell”. But back home, one of her neighbors was a real estate agent. When she heard about Minch’s success, she started calling her to stage listings. Word got out and other agents started calling. And the rest is history.

BIGGEST RISK TAKEN IN THE BUSINESS: Taking a line of credit for high end inventory

The biggest risk was a home equity line of credit on a rental property which Minch used to grow her company and keep it in the black. She says if her business hadn’t prospered, she could have potentially lost that property to foreclosure. The end result is that she has been able to purchase a very large stock of higher end inventory, furniture, artwork and accessories. This allowed her to position herself as a luxury home staging expert.

BIGGEST WINS? Professional Stager of the Year and More.

In 2010, Minch was voted Professional Stager of the Year by the Real Estate Staging Association. Being chosen as the best professional stager in the United States and Canada by her peers- over 1,000 professional home stagers- was a huge honor. This year she was voted RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager in the U.S.

Winning these awards has given Minch “street cred.” It has given her great credibility with her peers, her clients and with the media. It has also been a wonderful marketing and public relations opportunity.

IF THIS BUSINESS WERE A SONG, IT WOULD BE: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Minch says she’s an eternal optimist. She surrounds herself with optimistic people. Her company culture is optimistic, creative and up-beat. Since the work the company does is very physically demanding, it helps to be surrounded by happy people, Minch says.

Runner up would be “High Hopes” by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen. Minch admits her favorite version is by Jiminy Cricket.


Though Minch feels her team is a pretty diverse group, she says she’s never had anyone say no to Japanese food.


“Big doors swing on little hinges”

The quote is attributed to businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone.

Image: Kevin Edge

The post Spotlight On Moving Mountains Design: Staging Luxury Homes for Sale appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Source: Small Business Trends

Spotlight On Moving Mountains Design: Staging Luxury Homes for Sale

A primer for Facebook’s f8


Facebook’s f8 conference, not held since 2011, returns today to San Francisco. It is rumored that Facebook will announce a mobile ad network.

We will have all of the coverage, as well as livetweeting by Editor Justin Lafferty.

Readers can watch a livestream of the event, starting 10 a.m. PST, by clicking here.

Here’s a look back at our coverage so you can get up to speed:

Source: Inside Facebook

A primer for Facebook’s f8

Google AdSense Bans Publishers So They Don’t Have To Pay Them

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I saw over on Shoemoney a link to an open letter by a person claiming to be a former employee of the Google AdSense team. This person is claiming that Google was/is banning AdSense publishers (that’s most of you guys) so they wouldn’t have to pay them.

On the surface, this sounds nuts. If you ban a publisher, all it means is you get to keep at most 60 days of the publisher’s earnings. And Google claims they never kept earnings since the money was earned against the TOS, so the money was returned to the advertisers. Even if Google kept the money, it means they won’t be making any more money in the future from the banned publishers. Why ban someone to keep $5K, when you can keep making $5K a month off them?

Having said the above, I can say that if any of these claims are true, Google is in serious trouble with the law. Time will see how this plays out. What do you think? The open letter is below.

I am a former Google employee and I am writing this to leak information to the public of what I witnessed and took part in while being an employee. My position was to deal with AdSense accounts, more specifically the accounts of publishers (not advertisers). I was employed at Google for a period of several years in this capacity.

Having signed many documents such as NDA’s and non-competes, there are many repercussions for me, especially in the form of legal retribution from Google. I have carefully planned this leak to coincide with certain factors in Google such as waiting for the appropriate employee turn around so that my identity could not be discovered.

To sum it up for everyone, I took part in what I (and many others) would consider theft of money from the publishers by Google, and from direct orders of management. There were many AdSense employees involved, and it spanned many years, and I hear it still is happening today except on a much wider scale. No one on the outside knows it, if they did, the FBI and possibly IRS would immediately launch an investigation, because what they are doing is so inherently illegal and they are flying completely under the radar.

It began in 2009. Everything was perfectly fine prior to 2009, and in fact it couldn’t be more perfect from an AdSense employees perspective, but something changed.

Google Bans and Ban Criteria

Before December 2012:

In the first quarter of 2009 there was a “sit-down” from the AdSense division higher ups to talk about new emerging issues and the role we (the employees in the AdSense division needed to play. It was a very long meeting, and it was very detailed and intense. What it boiled down to was that Google had suffered some very serious losses in the financial department several months earlier. They kept saying how we “needed to tighten the belts” and they didn’t want it to come from Google employees pockets. So they were going to (in their words) “carry out extreme quality control on AdSense publishers”. When one of my fellow co-workers asked what they meant by that. Their response was that AdSense itself hands out too many checks each month to publishers, and that the checks were too large and that needed to end right away. Many of the employees were not pleased about this (like myself). But they were successful in scaring the rest into thinking it would be their jobs and their money that would be on the line if they didn’t participate. The meeting left many confused as to how this was going to happen. What did they mean by extreme quality control? A few other smaller meetings occur with certain key people in the AdSense division that furthered the idea and procedure they planned on implementing. There were lots of rumors and quiet talking amongst the employees, there was lots of speculations, some came true and some didn’t. But the word was that they were planning to cut off a large portion of publisher’s payments.

After that point there was a running gag amongst fellow co-workers where we would walk by each other and whisper “Don’t be evil, pft!” and roll our eyes.

What happened afterwards became much worse. Their “quality control” came into full effect. Managers pushed for wide scale account bans, and the first big batch of bans happened in March of 2009. The main reason, the publishers made too much money. But something quite devious happened. We were told to begin banning accounts that were close to their payout period (which is why account bans never occur immediately after a payout). The purpose was to get that money owed to publishers back to Google AdSense, while having already served up the ads to the public.

This way the advertiser’s couldn’t claim we did not do our part in delivering their ads and ask for money back. So in a sense, we had thousands upon thousands of publishers deliver ads we knew they were never going to get paid for.

Google reaped both sides of the coin, got money from the advertisers, used the publishers, and didn’t have to pay them a single penny. We were told to go and look into the publishers accounts, and if any publisher had accumulated earnings exceeding $5000 and was near a payout or in the process of a payout, we were to ban the account right away and reverse the earnings back. They kept saying it was needed for the company, and that most of these publishers were ripping Google off anyways, and that their gravy train needed to end. Many employees were not happy about this. A few resigned over it. I did not. I stayed because I had a family to support, and secondly I wanted to see how far they would go.

From 2009 to 2012 there were many more big batches of bans. The biggest of all the banning sessions occurred in April of 2012. The AdSense division had enormous pressure from the company to make up for financial losses, and for Google’s lack of reaching certain internal financial goals for the quarter prior. So the push was on. The employees felt really uneasy about the whole thing, but we were threatened with job losses if we didn’t enforce the company’s wishes. Those who voiced concerned or issue were basically ridiculed with “not having the company’s best interest in mind” and not being “team players”. Morale in the division was at an all-time low. The mood of the whole place changed quite rapidly. It no longer was a fun place to work.

The bans of April 2012 came fast and furious. Absolutely none of them were investigated, nor were they justified in any way. We were told to get rid of as many of the accounts with the largest checks/payouts/earnings waiting to happen. No reason, just do it, and don’t question it. It was heart wrenching seeing all that money people had earned all get stolen from them. And that’s what I saw it as, it was a robbery of the AdSense publishers. Many launched appeals, complaints, but it was futile because absolutely no one actually took the time to review the appeals or complaints. Most were simply erased without even being opened, the rest were deposited into the database, never to be touched again.

Several publishers launched legal actions which were settled, but Google had come up with a new policy to deal with situations such as that because it was perceived as a serious problem to be avoided. So they came up with a new policy.

After December 2012: The New Policy

The new policy; “shelter the possible problem makers, and fuck the rest” (those words were actually said by a Google AdSense exec) when he spoke about the new procedure and policy for “Account Quality Control”.

The new policy was officially called AdSense Quality Control Color Codes (commonly called AQ3C by employees). What it basically was a categorization of publisher accounts. Those publisher’s that could do the most damage by having their account banned were placed in a VIP group that was to be left alone. The rest of the publishers would be placed into other groupings accordingly. The new AQ3C also implemented “quality control” quotas for the account auditors, so if you didn’t meet the “quality control” target (aka account bans) you would be called in for a performance review. There were four “groups” publishers could fall into if they reached certain milestones.

They were:

Red Group: Urgent Attention Required

  • Any AdSense account that reaches the $10,000/month mark is immediately flagged (unless they are part of the Green Group).

  • In the beginning there were many in this category, and most were seen as problematic and were seen as abusing the system by Google. So every effort was taken to bring their numbers down.

  • They are placed in what employees termed “The Eagle Eye”, where the “AdSense Eagle Eye Team” would actively and constantly audit their accounts and look for any absolute reason for a ban. Even if the reason was far-fetched, or unsubstantiated, and unprovable, the ban would occur. The “Eagle Eye Team” referred to a group of internal account auditors whose main role was to constantly monitor publisher’s accounts and sites.

  • A reason has to be internally attached to the account ban. The problem was that notifying the publisher for the reason is not a requirement, even if the publisher asks. The exception: The exact reason must be provided if a legal representative contacts Google on behalf of the account holder.

  • But again, if a ban is to occur, it must occur as close to a payout period as possible with the most amount of money accrued/earned.

Yellow Group: Serious Attention Required

  • Any AdSense account that reaches the $5,000/month mark is flagged for review (unless they are part of the Green Group). All of the publisher’s site(s)/account will be placed in queue for an audit.

  • Most of the time the queue is quite full so most are delayed their audit in a timely fashion. The second highest amount of bans occur at this level.

  • A reason has to be internally attached to the account ban. Notifiying the publisher for the reason is not a requirement, even if the publisher asks. The exception: The exact reason must be provided if a legal representative contacts Google on behalf of the account holder. But again, if a ban is to occur, it must occur as close to a payout period as possible with the most amount of money accrued/earned.

Blue Group: Moderate Attention Required

  • Any AdSense account that reaches the $1,000/month mark is flagged for possible review (unless they are part of the Green Group). Only the main site and account will be place in queue for what is called a quick audit. Most bans that occur happen at this level. Main reason is that a reason doesn’t have to be attached to the ban, so the employees use these bans to fill their monthly quotas. So many are simply a random pick and click.

  • A reason does not have to be internally attached to the account ban. Notifying the publisher for the reason is not a requirement, even if the publisher asks. But again, if a ban is to occur, it must occur as close to a payout period as possible with the most amount of money accrued.

Green Group: VIP Status (what employees refer to as the “untouchables”)

  • Any AdSense account associated with an incorporated entity or individual that can inflict serious damage onto Google by negative media information, rallying large amounts of anti-AdSense support, or cause mass loss of AdSense publisher support.

  • Google employees wanting to use AdSense on their websites were automatically placed in the Green group. So the database contained many Google insiders and their family members. If you work or worked for Google and were placed in the category, you stayed in it, even if you left Google. So it included many former employees. Employees simply had to submit a form with site specific details and their account info.

  • Sites in the Green Group were basically given “carte blanche” to do anything they wanted, even if they flagrantly went against the AdSense TOS and Policies. That is why you will encounter sites with AdSense, but yet have and do things completely against AdSense rules.

  • Extra care is taken not to interrupt or disrupt these accounts.

  • If an employee makes a mistake with a Green Level account they can lose their job. Since it seen as very grievous mistake.

New Policy 2012 Part 2:

Internal changes to the policy were constant. They wanted to make it more efficient and streamlined. They saw its current process as having too much human involvement and oversight. They wanted it more automated and less involved.

So the other part of the new policy change was to incorporate other Google services into assisting the “quality control” program. What they came up with will anger many users when they find out. It involved skewing data in Google Analytics. They decided it was a good idea to alter the statistical data shown for websites. It first began with just altering data reports for Analytics account holders that also had an AdSense account, but they ran into too many issues and decided it would be simpler just to skew the report data across the board to remain consistent and implement features globally. So what this means is that the statistical data for a website using Google Analytics is not even close to being accurate. The numbers are incredibly deflated. The reasoning behind their decision is that if an individual links their AdSense account and their Analytics account, the Analytics account can be used to deflate the earnings automatically without any human intervention. They discovered that if an individual had an AdSense account then they were also likely to use Google Analytics. So Google used it to their advantage.

This led to many publishers to actively display ads, without earning any money at all (even to this day). Even if their actual website traffic was high, and had high click-throughs the data would be automatically skewed in favor of Google, and at a total loss of publishers. This successfully made it almost impossible for anyone to earn amounts even remotely close what individuals with similar sites were earning prior to 2012, and most definitely nowhere near pre-2009 earnings.

Other policy changes also included how to deal with appeals, which still to this day, the large majority are completely ignored, and why you will rarely get an actual answer as to why your account was banned and absolutely no way to resolve it.

The BIG Problem (which Google is aware of)

There is an enormous problem that existed for a long time in Google’s AdSense accounts. Many of the upper management are aware of this problem but do not want to acknowledge or attempt to come up with a solution to the problem.

It is regarding false clicks on ads. Many accounts get banned for “invalid clicks” on ads. In the past this was caused by a publisher trying to self inflate click-throughs by clicking on the ads featured on their website. The servers automatically detect self-clicking with comparison to IP addresses and other such information, and the persons account would get banned for invalid clicking.

But there was something forming under the surface. A competitor or malicious person would actively go to their competitor’s website(s) or pick a random website running AdSense and begin multiple-clicking and overclicking ads, which they would do over and over again. Of course this would trigger an invalid clicking related ban, mainly because it could not be proven if the publisher was actually behind the clicking. This was internally referred to as “Click-Bombing”. Many innocent publishers would get caught up in bans for invalid clicks which they were not involved in and were never told about.

This issue has been in the awareness of Google for a very long time but nothing was done to rectify the issue and probably never will be. Thus if someone wants to ruin a Google AdSense publishers account, all you would have to do is go to their website, and start click-bombing their Google Ads over and over again, it will lead the servers to detect invalid clicks and poof, they get banned. The publisher would be completely innocent and unaware of the occurrence but be blamed for it anyways.

Their BIG Fear

The biggest fear that Google has about these AdSense procedures and policies is that it will be publicly discovered by their former publishers who were banned, and that those publishers unite together and launch an class-action lawsuit.

They also fear those whose primary monthly earnings are from AdSense, because in many countries if a person claims the monthly amount to their tax agency and they state the monthly amount and that they are earning money from Google on a monthly basis, in certain nations technically Google can be seen as an employer. Thus, an employer who withholds payment of earnings, can be heavily fined by government bodies dealing with labor and employment. And if these government bodies dealing with labor and employment decide to go after Google, then it would get very ugly, very quickly ….. that is on top of a class-action lawsuit.

Source: John Chow Dot Com

Google AdSense Bans Publishers So They Don’t Have To Pay Them

How to Use Email Marketing to Segment Customers and Generate Loyalty

segment customers

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You may have heard the saying “the money is in the list” and I’m willing to bet that the first place your mind went is to thinking that a bigger list is better. While this is mostly true, it isn’t completely true. Having a bigger list will definitely yield results, but it’s the engagement level of your list; the degree to which they do what you ask them to do – that is even more important and profitable.

This is where so many of us (that includes me and many of the gurus of email marketing) are always looking for ways to get close to our list, provide real value and generate engagement, conversation and conversion.

Without a doubt, the single best way to accomplish this is to segment customers.

Segmentation literally means grouping. When you group your list into categories that represent the subjects that your audience is most interested in.

Why Segmentation is Critical to Your Success

Imagine walking into a room full of people who are your potential customers. Chances are that all of those people aren’t sitting in one big group. They are grouped into smaller clusters having specific conversations. You wouldn’t walk up to a group talking about football and suddenly start talking about gourmet cooking.

Every time you send a mass email to a broad group of people on your list – your are doing exactly that. You are talking about what matters to you instead of what matters to them.

Segment Customers to Save Money

Let me explain. When you segment customers and group your list into specific segments, this allows you to target your communications and conversations around topics that are meaningful to them.

Research shows that targeted and segmented emails generate an 8% click-through rate compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% click-through rate. Furthermore, Jupiter Research reveals that relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

Common Segments to Consider

If you’re just starting on the path to segment customers on your email list, then there are several options that you can try:

  • Where they are in the selling cycle: Look at the data you already have available. Figure out the most logical groupings based on the information your recipients want from you, the questions they might have, or their stage in the buying cycle.

  • Awareness (know): Leads have either become aware of your product or service, or they have become aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.

  • Evaluation (see): Leads are aware that your product or service could fulfill their need, and they are trying to determine whether you are the best fit.

  • Purchase (buy): Leads are ready to make a purchase.

List Segmentation Tips:

  • Give your audience lots of ways and reasons to opt in – emails, blog posts, websites, squeeze pages.

  • Create a list of keywords and phrases (PDF worksheet) that you want to be found for.

  • Create a series of free downloads that include ebooks, videos, white papers, templates and checklists.

  • Create squeeze pages with specific offers and gifts around different topics your audience might be interested in.

  • Create feature box opt-ins inside your website. Where you might normally have a feature article, place a featured download where people can opt in.

  • Insert an opt-in inside an article or post on a specific topic. This is an ideal place to use the summary of an article with a “read more” hyperlink. Then, when the reader clicks on “read more” an opt-in box pops us asking them to register (for free) to see the rest of the article. Then you can place them on a specific interest list that matches the subject of the article.

  • Another creative opt-in feature is using an opt-in bar or “toaster” pop-up bar that appears or pops up after a certain period of time such as 10 seconds. Don’t worry, you can always create a setting that makes this option only appear once for people. You can insert text that says, “Is this your first time here? Register to get access to more articles like this.”

  • Place box ads that feature a download or video that will educate your readers and when they click, route them to a simple squeeze page where they can get more info and register to receive specific topics.

Separate Photo via Shutterstock

The post How to Use Email Marketing to Segment Customers and Generate Loyalty appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Source: Small Business Trends

How to Use Email Marketing to Segment Customers and Generate Loyalty

The Unconventional Wisdom of Ultra-Long-Form Content

The Unconventional Wisdom of Ultra Long Form Content image Shares by Content Length

Conventional wisdom said that people have short attention spans, that they’ll only consume online content in small bites and that they don’t read anymore. Marketers everywhere latched on to that conventional wisdom, and soon we had businesses of all stripes publishing massive numbers of short pieces. Tumblr and Twitter and Vine and Snapchat came along, offering a more concentrated and powerful medium for short-form content, and businesses couldn’t sign up fast enough.

Shorter is better, the experts tell us, and they follow that up with both logical and psychological why shorter is better. They inundate us with eye-tracking data, A/B studies and bounce rates. They wax poetic about short attention spans, small smartphone screen sizes and busy lifestyles.

But then a funny thing happens: Amid the cacophony of gurus, pundits and panjandrums expounding on best practices and industry expectations, someone comes along and does exactly the opposite of what conventional wisdom says they ought to be doing.

And it’s a big hit.

The power of ignoring the experts

Take, for example, Slow TV, a format that the national public broadcasting company of Norway, NRK, has been pursuing. The Slow TV format involves continuously broadcasting an event that takes a long, long time to complete, reminiscent of the TV channel that broadcasts nothing but a fire in a fireplace during the holiday season.

What would be the point of broadcasting, for example, an 18-hour video of salmon swimming upstream? Or 100 hours of a chess grandmaster moving his pieces around a chessboard? Or 134 hours — 5-1/2 days! — of a ship traveling almost the entire length of Norway’s western coast?

It’s odd. It’s counterintuitive. And it’s exactly what NRK did, and that funny thing happened: It worked.

The NRK’s first attempt at Slow TV was the broadcast of a 7-hour train trip from Bergen to Oslo in 2009, and it was watched at some point or another by about 20% of the population of Norway. (One estimate even put it at 30%.) For comparison, about 20% of Americans watched Johnny Carson’s final farewell from The Tonight Show in 1992, a figure that hasn’t been matched in the 22 years since.

The 5-1/2-day sea voyage was even more revealing. In June 2011, the M.S. Nordnorge set to sea armed with 11 continuously broadcasting cameras. By the time it docked in Kirkenes in extreme northern Norway, about half the Norwegian population had tuned in to see some of the action — or lack of action in this case. What’s more, during the Nordnorge‘s voyage, locals who had been following the broadcast hopped in their own boats and went out to meet it, hoping to get their own faces (or at least their boats) on TV.

Here’s the entire 134-hour voyage of the M.S. Nordnorge, condensed into a “brief” 37 minutes.

In comparison to the Nordnorge‘s 8,040-minute broadcast, Leica Camera’s 45-minute commercial seems positively terse. Nonetheless, it’s still a far cry from the short-form, short-attention-span content we expect customers to eat up.

The Most Boring Ad Ever Made? from Leica Camera on Vimeo.

The Leica video shows a white-gloved Leica employee polishing a stainless steel camera shell. By hand. For 45 minutes. It’s really a genius way to highlight the care, craftsmanship and pride that go into the manufacture of one of their cameras.

These aren’t isolated cases

Of course, conventional wisdom and virality are often at odds; we’re often left wondering why something so off-the-wall would interest so many people. But unlike most viral content, these aren’t isolated cases. Long-form content has more marketing value than we have been led to believe. BuzzSumo’s data reveals that longer content — 3,000–10,000 words — is earning a lot more shares in the five top social networks than content of less than 1,000 words.

This should tell us something. It should tell us that we should stop thinking of the Internet as a snack bar that people come to for little bites of information. People are coming online to dine fully, and they’re sharing the best meals they find.

Why it works

I have my hunches about why these types of beyond-the-norm tactics actually work. I lack the hard analytical data to support my beliefs, but I do have all of human history to analyze. The last century ought to be enough, though:

It gets people involved. As the Nordnorge steamed along the coast, people boated out to meet it. In the Leica video, the voiceover encourages the viewer three times in the first two minutes to simply stop watching the video — those watching are forced to make an active choice about whether or not to reach for the mouse. Two and half minutes in, the voiceover and background music stop, the polishing continues, and a message that directs viewers to jump to the last minute of the video appears. Again, viewers must actively decide whether to stop watching, to skip ahead or to just let the video roll.

Gone are the days of families sitting around a glowing television, passively absorbing your marketing message. Today’s audiences are active, and they like it that way. The content that engages an audience —intellectually, emotionally or physically — is the content that people will willingly give their time to.

The very fact that it’s different holds our attention. Ultra-long-form content bucks convention. We know immediately that this isn’t “just another piece of content,” and knowing that, we become willing to give it more than a cursory glance. We shouldn’t be surprised by this. We have a long history of finding meaning in and praising people and projects that do the opposite of what market research, convention and tradition say they should.

Consider Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol and The Blair Witch Project. Each of these was innovative and unique when it hit the scene. Each found both critical and popular acclaim and denunciation. Each now stands as a historical marker that current artistic techniques and theories trace their roots back to.

Which means, unfortunately, that each of these once innovative, nontraditional experiences has become conventional.

The future of ultra-long-form content

Is ultra-long-form content the next big thing (no pun intended) in marketing? For many, probably. But it won’t work for everyone.

Is ultra-long-form content here to stay? Probably not. As the Internet fills with more long-form content, we as an audience will acclimate to it. Hordes of content creators will, like Elvis impersonators, take the most interesting characteristics of it and turn it into something expected, if not a clichéd. By then we’ll be looking for that next innovation, the next thing that will break us out of the new box we’ve built out of long-form content.

My point isn’t simply that you’ll reach more people by loosening your restrictions on content length (though the data say you might). It’s that you can reach a wider audience by looking beyond conventional wisdom.

If you’re doing something that seems to be working, by all means keep doing it, but don’t limit yourself to only that one thing. Consider your current strategies, your self-imposed limitations and your brand image and question each of them in turn. Filter each of them through your creativity and your gut instincts and then take risk.

Do something you’ve never done before. Do something no one has ever done before. Sometimes the opposite of conventional wisdom is outrageous lunacy, but with forethought, introspection and creativity, it could just as easily be unconventional wisdom.

Image Credit: Flickr

Source: B2C_Business

The Unconventional Wisdom of Ultra-Long-Form Content

How Email Marketing Helps Your Small Business [GUIDE]


If you’re wondering how email marketing can boost your business, you’re not alone. Plenty of savvy business minds have pondered that question. VerticalResponse is here to get you the answers you need.

Like any smart business owner, you want to know the benefits of email marketing. There’s a whole list of benefits, which we’ll cover here, but one of the most compelling reasons to use email marketing is its return on investment (ROI).

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing brings in about $40 for every $1 you spend. That’s one of the highest ROIs for any type of marketing.

While that statistic is impressive, we know you desire more information to make an informed decision, so we turned to Jill Bastian, our Community Education and Training Manager. With her help, we’ve outlined five ways that email marketing can help your business.

1. Email marketing can increase sales

You want your email efforts to pay off in sales. By sharing information about your business through emails, you help customers see how valuable your product or service is, Bastian says. That leads to money in the cash register.

What kinds of emails bring in the most sales? The best way to increase sales through email marketing is to send a variety of emails to your customers, but there are a few types of emails that generally help drive sales more than others:

Promotional email

Nothing entices a customer more than a great deal. Your customer saves a few bucks and your bottom line gets a boost. Not bad, right? Keep in mind, promotional emails aren’t reserved for only things like, “Don’t miss our 50% off sale.” A promotional email can offer other perks too, like free shipping or a free product trial. For example, J.Crew offered free shipping in this email.

New arrival email

When a hot new item, service or update arrives at your store, an email spreads the word about this must-have product. In the email, include a link so shoppers can make a purchase instantly. Electronics giant, Apple, does this with its new products. Check out the example below.

While these emails can boost sales, you can’t sell 24/7. Your customers want more than that. Every email you send can get customers one-step closer to making a purchase, which is why a variety of emails is the best strategy. Emails help you build trust, establish a relationship, and improve brand awareness – all of which play a role in the purchasing process.

2. Emails keep your business top of mind

Email marketing can help your product or business remain top of mind to your consumers. Emails serve as gentle reminders about your business. Let’s say you run an auto body shop and regularly email your customers promotions and car maintenance tips. When Susie gets in a fender bender, your business springs to mind because of your consistent emails. As a result, Susie heads to your shop for repairs. Emails help you stay in front of your customers on a regular basis, Bastian says.

What kinds of emails keep your business top of mind? There are several actually. These emails are more about staying in touch with customers and less about selling. Here are a few examples:


A company newsletter is a great way to update your customers about your business. The sky’s the limit for newsletter content. You can offer small history lessons about your business, talk about upcoming events, highlight employees, or offer industry-specific news and tips. The newsletter below even offers free downloads.


A holiday email

When a holiday rolls around, you can send your customers a holiday email. It can be a three-sentence email that wishes everyone a Happy New Year, or a colorful banner that celebrates the Fourth of July and offers customers a discount. It can be a nontraditional holiday, too. Either way, a holiday is a good reason to reach out to your customers.


3. Keep customers coming back with regular emails

Emails help you build a lasting relationship with your customers. You don’t just want one-time customers; you want loyal customers who keep coming back again and again. Email marketing can make that goal a reality. By regularly reaching out to your customers, you encourage them to make another purchase. Just like bumping into a friend on the street can lead to meeting up for drinks later, an email works the same way. The email is the spontaneous meeting, and a purchase is the result.

What kinds of emails keep repeat business booming? Again, a variety is best, but there are few emails, in particular, that help bring customers back into the sales cycle.

Reorder emails

If you have a product or service that is consistently needed, a reorder email is an excellent way to remind customers that it’s time to purchase. For instance, if you sell printer cartridges, you can send an email to a customer two weeks before the cartridge is set to run out. This requires some tracking, of course, but it’s a great way to encourage repeat business.


‘We miss you’ email

When a customer has fallen off the sales grid for a while, you can send an email that encourages them to come back. The email can say something as simple as, “We miss you.” You might include a discount to entice the customer to come back again.


4. Use emails to establish your authority

Email marketing can help you establish authority in your field. You want to show customers that you know your business inside and out. Through creative emails you can showcase your knowledge without bragging. The best way to do that is to send emails that provide value to your customers.

Plus, emails that provide value get shared. It’s like virtual word of mouth. When you send Bobby an email that’s helpful, he may forward it on to his buddy. You’re establishing your business as a leader in the industry and gaining customers. There’s an array of emails that can establish your vast array of knowledge. Here’s a look at three options:

Product use tips

Help your customers get more out of your product by giving them helpful advice. Offer maintenance tips or highlight features of a product. For instance, if you sell silver jewelry, you can send emails that show customers how to keep their accessories from tarnishing. A camera retailer sends this simple email to its customers. The email takes customers to a blog post that highlights winter maintenance tips.


Industry news

Give your customers information they care about by highlighting news in the industry. If you sell tax software, send an email about new deductions.If you sell women’s clothing, send an email like the one below that gives ladies a fashion tip.



A newsletter is an effective way to share news, tips, how-tos, events and even a promotion or two. The mix of information makes newsletters valuable and informative.

5. Establish and nurture relationships through email

It’s human nature to rely on those you trust. It’s no different in business. You can use email to establish and nurture a relationship with your customers. Think of emails as a virtual handshake or a conversation between you and your customers. Emails give you a chance to make a personal connection. Whether you’re courting new customers or engaging with loyal members, an email campaign is one of the best ways to build a relationship. A variety of emails serve this purpose, but here are a few that are perfect for relationship building:

Welcome email

When a new customer signs up for your email list, a welcome email can introduce them to the company and its products or services. It can be a quick welcome email with a promotion, or you can try a welcome email that offers more information, like the one below.



Newsletters make customers feel connected to your company. It’s a big piece of the relationship puzzle.

Testimonial email

Use email marketing to share customer reviews. By sharing a testimonial you reaffirm your customers’ choice in your business. That’s helpful when you’re nurturing a relationship. Here’s an example:


Of course, VerticalResponse is here to help you make the most of every email you send. We’ve got helpful resources and a team available to help you create emails that can set your business apart. We’ll help you make each one of the benefits listed above a reality.

Get started today. It’s free!

This guide written by Lisa Furgison and edited and produced in full by VerticalResponse.

© 2014, VR Marketing Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Source: Vertical Response Blog

How Email Marketing Helps Your Small Business [GUIDE]