Email vs. Social

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in email, Opinion, Social Media | Posted on Sep 24, 2012

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Email vs Social Media
[source]

With all the talk in the news lately over the future of Facebook, it’s natural for this question to come up. It’s not the first time, either; people have wondered about the utility of Social Media since the commercialization of MySpace in 2004.

So why don’t we have an answer yet? The reason most people give is that unlike email, where every customer reaction can be tracked and calculated to a T, social media lacks quantifiable benefits, creating an ambiguity that could potentially throw the argument either way. Basically, they’re saying that we can’t agree on an answer because there isn’t one. But the truth is simpler than that: Email vs. Social Media isn’t a valid question.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be constantly evaluating where and how your company markets itself. That IS important. However, boiling that decision down to a choice between electronic mail and networking sites glazes over the fact that the two media work much, much better together than they do individually. In other words, it’s not Email vs. Social, it’s Email PLUS Social.

Email + Social

So how do you integrate? The first step is doing what you may be already: including recognizable social icons in the header and/or footer of your emails. Whether it’s one, the other, or both, you’ll want to give your audience direct links to your social presence in the most obvious way possible. Icons have the advantage of being both visual and relatively small, making them attractive and easier to identify than text hyperlinks.

Social Icons

Next, you’ll want to highlight Social content in your emails. Are you running a contest? Attending an event and liveblogging it on Twitter? Let people know! Whether it’s a one-off or part of a regular newsletter, keeping your audience informed about your social promotions will boost engagement and ensure that your campaign makes an impact.

By now, you’ve probably noticed that email seems to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in this relationship.

Lifting Cat

So how does Social pick up the slack? By generating new contacts for your campaigns:

Social media networks are a great place to promote or even host list-generating sign-ups and surveys. By alerting your fans to these opportunities and providing proper motivation, you’ll be able to draw from a pool of users not regularly considered for email targeting. Additionally, you’ll want to consider using Social-driven contests to draw an audience.

Looking for more on the value of Social Media? Check out Why Facebook? and follow us to learn more.

3 Easy Methods for Improving Deliverability

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, email, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jun 14, 2012

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Mailbox

As fads come and go and Social Media changes around us, Email Marketing continues to be the single most effective way to grow a business online. So how can we improve it? By taking simple steps that will get our emails seen, opened, and followed by more people, more often, with better results.

Send Early

While you may hear some half-hearted arguments to the contrary, emails should be sent early in the morning, 6am-8am local time. This ensures that they will be one of the first things seen when your readers are opening their inboxes (around 9am).

Sunrise

Use Creative Calls to Action

The Subject Line is your one and only chance to grab your customers’ attentions and draw them into reading the rest of your message. You need to treat it like the unique opportunity it is and entice your readers to action. Words like “Buy” and “Check Out” are too direct and often get flagged in SPAM filters. For better results, use positive, engaging words like “Enhance” “Imagine” or “Grow” in short, attention grabbing quips. Remember, sometimes less is more.

Models

K.I.S.S.

This is actually a two-pronged approach brought about by the growing dichotomy of email buyer/supplier preferences: In general, people don’t like to read or do anything that makes buying your product harder for them. The most effective way to get around this is to make your emails very image-centric and focus your messages to tight, easy-to-process blurbs and Calls to Action. Unfortunately, most email clients pre-screen incoming emails on an image-to-text ratio and automatically flag messages that rely too heavily on pictures. Despite how annoying this is for marketers, we can generally agree that it’s good that spammers can’t send us images.

NOOOOOOOOOO

The trick to beating the ratio test while still appealing to your audience’s tastes lies in your emails’ formatting. If you’re using a template service, make sure that the designs are tested for deliverability before you select them. If you can’t confirm that, just try and pick a design that takes maximum advantage of the space available and can be customized to fit your needs (and remember, HTML elements like background colors aren’t counted as images). Once you’ve selected a design, you’ll be able to move onto content.

Always begin your written emails with a short pitch; get right to the point and make it clear why the reader is receiving this particular message. Once that’s done, present a Call to Action. This is most effectively done with buttons or images directing readers to other content like web pages or downloads. Make sure that you use Render Checking to ensure that your Call to Action is visible without scrolling down through the email. All additional information (resources, contact info, etc.) can be included at the end of your message.

Above everything else, stay focused. A poorly targeted campaign can fail just as hard as a poorly designed one. Follow these steps, make good emails, and send to the right people and you will do fine.

Looking for more Email wisdom? Try 7 Habits of Highly Effective Email Campaigns or go deeper down the rabbit hole with Why is Email Still #1? Also, be sure to Like Us on Facebook and Follow on Twitter for more Email Marketing tips and tricks!

5 Ways to Use Web Forms

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in email, Facebook, Networking, Opinion, Small Business, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jun 07, 2012

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Forms

Web Forms are a dynamic and engaging way to involve your customers in your marketing process. Form functions can be used to fortify your campaigns in a variety of ways that work to combine certain efforts and expand on others. This post will list a few of the methods that marketers have utilized over the years and provide a detailed description of how to create similar setups. To help illustrate my points, I’ll be using a Form builder available through Social Page Builder.

5. Surveys

One of the most basic functions of Web Forms, online surveys allow you to get direct feedback from your customers without invading their privacy or inciting a negative response. For best results, try asking your audience what they like in similar products or services.

Most Form builders include a generic set of tools. Once you have loaded your builder, look for a set of applications labeled “Survey”:

Survey Tools

From here, you’ll be able to set various questions and responses using tools like sliders, boxes, and tallies:

Survey Tools 2

4. Quizzes

Want to keep your audience interested in your brand? A good quiz can get your customers engaged in your website or Facebook Page. Whether you want to focus on your products or branch out is up to you, but, above all, BE ENTERTAINING. Nothing will turn your customers away faster than a lame quiz. (For some great examples, check out these quizzes by The Oatmeal)

Quizzes can be creating using generic Form boxes (fill-in-the-blank) or dropdown menus and check boxes (multiple choice):

Quizzes

To set up email notifications for quiz completion, go to “Setup and Embed” in your main menu and follow the email alerts instructions. Most Form builder programs have this kind of functionality:

Email Notifications

3. Email List Building

The most commonly used of the Web form functions, Email List Building is critical to any online marketing campaign and huge part of integrating your email marketing with other electronic efforts. Forms used on Web Pages or Facebook Tabs can help you fortify your lists with dedicated and interested leads at virtually no cost to you.

Email Forms are simple to set up; most Form builders have a default email option that can be selected from a series of standard operations:

Email

*Email addresses can be exported in notification emails (example above) to the address of your choice. Automatic list integration varies between Email Service Providers. For specific upload protocols, please consult your current Email Service Provider.

2. Remote Login

Want to give your customers easier access to their accounts? Just like any regular login page, Web Forms can be programmed to accept login information and remotely connect your customers to your product. This is great for eliminating extra steps in the login process and giving users more options when using your services.

To set up a remote login, search your advanced options for Username and Password fields. If neither are available directly, they can usually be fashioned through the individual boxes’ “Properties” sections:

Passwords

1. Contests

One of the best uses of Web Forms is coordinating and supplementing contests. Not only can Forms be used to integrate all of the functions above into one campaign structure, unique notification tools allow you to take those results and develop a legitimate, secure method for contest verification.

In addition to the standard options described above, Social Page Builder’s Form Builder also integrates an upload function which can be used to drive a submissions-based contest. Such submissions could then later be used to promote your brand (depending on contest terms):

Upload

Once you’ve set up your content, you can secure your Contest by creating strict parameters on multiple submissions (under “Preferences”) or inserting a Captcha (Under “Tools”):

Strict Submissions

Captcha

Lastly…

Make sure to include a “Submit” function with every Form you create. Most builders won’t let you publish a form without one, but it’s a critical last step:

Submit

Like this post? Then check out some of our other How-Tos: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Email Campaigns and How to Make a Great Custom Cover Photo. to get more updates like this one, be sure to Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter.

The 4 Types of Spammers

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in email, Opinion | Posted on May 01, 2012

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Spam

The Deaf Pan-Handler
Maybe you took a flier from him a while back. Maybe he found your email and just thought you seemed generous. Either way, now, he won’t leave you alone. You tell him you’re not interested, you try and avoid him, but the guy just won’t take a hint. His optimism is kind of endearing, in a pitiful way, but you’ve got business to attend to, damnit! Finally, you run out of options and report him. Guess what? He gets a new address and comes back. Eventually, you’ll just learn to ignore him.

The Nigerian Prince
Classic. He identifies himself as a stranger; someone who needs your help to get his fortune/valuables out of an insecure location and into your hands. It’s obviously too good to be true, but you can’t help but wonder, even hope, that it might just be for real. After a few seconds of tentative optimism, you trash his message – scams like that tend not to repeat.

The Lunatic
He has no shame, no fear, and nothing to hide. He will run around your inbox aimlessly, screaming incoherent gibberish while making you feel ashamed to be sharing the internet with him. He’ll get caught and shut down, but another three will pop up in his place. Fortunately, he’s easy to spot and easy to ignore.

The Skin Suit
At first glance, nothing seems much amiss. He’s from your bank, a local business, or someplace else that you trust. But then you really look at him. OHGOODJESUSNO he isn’t who you thought he was. He looks legit, even his address checks out, but behind that face you know so well is a stranger, a dangerous man who wants to destroy you. And as you stare into those cold, electronic eyes, you realize what makes him different; what makes him truly terrifying: This took time. This isn’t some regular lunatic out for your cash. This is someone patient, someone who takes pride in their work, and someone who, at that very moment, is manipulating your life in ways you don’t completely understand. You feel a crushing despair.

Then you mark it as spam and get on with your life.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Email Campaigns

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in email, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Apr 24, 2012

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Effective Email Marketing

Respect your Audience
The people that you’re emailing are not idiots. More than anything else, they’re aware of how you’re talking to them, and going about it the wrong way can do a number on your lists. Don’t mislead people or insult their intelligence. If you have respect for your audience, then you have the foundation for a successful emarketing program.

Have a Goal
Before you start sending emails, make sure you have a plan for your campaign. Be as specific as possible: Set some figure you’d like to hit or an open rate you’d like to achieve. Nothing motivates like a deadline.

Keep a Schedule
Plan all of your emails in advance. Chart them out or set up reminders for yourself to send at a certain time. Having a schedule will help you to stay focused and give your marketing structure.

Provide Incentive
Ideally, an email should benefit your audience as well as yourself. Give your readers an action to complete and offer them a reward for doing so. Including exclusive content or deals with your messages will ingratiate your audience and make you look better in the process.

Master your Content
Know your product and, more importantly, know what people are looking for in your brand. Anticipate questions or concerns that people may have and address them in your messages. Surveys are great for this. Stay current, be flexible, and use Spell Check. If people can feel confident in your expertise, they will feel confident buying from you.

It’s not the Size that Matters
Sending large mailers is important. It keeps customers updated and spreads awareness of your business. However, emails sent to big lists are only as good as the lists themselves. Be sure that you’re pulling your lists from reliable sources and that the people being mailed are generally interested in what you’re sending them. Also, make an effort to keep up with current email marketing standards; you never know when they’re going to change.

Once you’ve made sure that your list is good, you’ll want to double check that your emails are relevant. Sending messages to people who don’t want them is never a real marketer’s goal, so specialize your content and ensure that it’s going to the right audience.

Build Relationships
Email Service Providers like Infusionsoft now offer a wide variety of tools to help identify opens, conversions, and all sorts of other statistics on the success of your various campaigns. Take advantage of that information to tailor your emails to certain trends or, better yet, start entirely new campaigns for the groups you get responses from (Note: Don’t let people know that you know their email reading habits – it’s unsettling). Above all, pay close attention to your campaigns and always be looking for ways to improve your customer relationships.

3 Simple Ways to Sync Your Email and Facebook Campaigns

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, email, Opinion, Small Business, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Apr 14, 2012

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Merge

3. Direct Links in Email
If you’ve got an email campaign, chances are, right now, someone is reading one of your messages. Email is a huge part of how modern companies do business, and the easiest way to get your social media in on that sweet, ecommerce action is to build a pathway for it. Facebook provides numerous free icons that can be hyperlinked to your Page, and many email Service Providers support layouts encouraging fb tie-ins. Icons can generally be placed anywhere on your emails and, depending on the amount of attention you want them to receive, rearranged in a number of different ways. Don’t have the technical know-how to modify images? No worries, there are numerous applications designed around integrating social media into emails. The image editor in Email Design Builder, for example, allows you to add an icon and hyperlink it in one easy step.

“Why should I add another link to my emails?” You may be asking. “What’s in it for me?” The answer is, put simply, that Direct Linking is for Facebook what dynamite was for digging holes. Or fishing.

Blast Fishing

The new Facebook Timeline format prevents businesses from designating landing pages from within the site. However, outside sources can direct to any Page feature with a url, including Like-Gated Applications and other conversion-generating content. Giving your customers the option of following these links will net you fans and help ensure that your business has a strong social media presence.

2. Cross-Promotions
People who opt-in to your email or social campaigns are expecting updates from your company. This interest can be leveraged by both platforms to draw business for themselves and each other. Say you start running a contest over Facebook. Send an email out letting your customers know about it. Running an email campaign? Alert your Facebook fans to send you their email addresses for a special promotion. Knowing how and when to best use tactics like this can be tricky at first, but your ability to identify opportunities will develop quickly once you get started.

1. Facebook Signups
While having followers on your social pages is a great way to update people about your company, exposure is spotty and you don’t really have control over who sees what. To get your Facebook fans more engaged with your marketing, try creating Applications offering special deals or exclusive content that require an email address to sign up. Be sure to include a clause about marketing materials and BAM, contacts.

Contacts

To set up a form-based Application, you’ll need a Facebook Tab creation tool, like Social Page Builder, and a dedicated list building service to pass the addresses to. How you treat these contacts is up to you, though it’s important to remember that they came to you from a social setting and are probably used to a fairly informal exchange.

5 Common Email Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, email, Opinion, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Apr 10, 2012

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Email Mistakes

5. Flooding
Staying in contact with your customers is important. The longer a person goes without hearing from you, the sooner they’ll forget about you. As a result, many businesses send a rolling schedule of emails and updates to their customers. This is a normal and, if executed properly, a very smart thing to do. However, you need to be aware of how often your customers want to hear from you. Most companies run on a weekly/bimonthly schedule. Audiences expect that kind of thing and are willing to take it so long as the messages are helpful and varied.

Email Flooding

Where lots of businesses run into trouble is in bland or repetitive content. At best, you’re boring. People will tolerate it, but they won’t be engaged by what you’re sending them. At worst, you’re annoying, and that’s when you start to lose customers. A business should be evolving constantly, so use your development to keep your audience in the loop and interested in what you’re doing.

4. Over-Concentrating
Different products are relevant to different people. Yes, the group that most appreciates your marketing is invaluable to your business’s development, but they’re not your only potential customers. Right now, most audiences are segmented and left to their own campaigns. That’s great for the short term, but after a while you’ll be micromanaging several small strategies instead of a master plan.

Targets

Occasional crossovers between product groups should be encouraged. Try creating an email that uses multiple products to appeal to a larger portion of your audience. Be sure to stay relevant to all involved. Most Email Service Providers will allow you to select multiple groups to broadcast to, so this shouldn’t be difficult.

3. Miscommunicating
The first thing anyone will see in an email from your business is the Subject. If it doesn’t appeal to the reader, then the rest of your message won’t have much hope. Always be sure that your subject lines are grammatically correct and relevant to your target audience. Remember, nothing will get you flagged as a spammer faster than misspelling words.

Confusing Email

2. Over-Stimulating
Most desktop email clients disable images by default. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.* So how do you get your diligently-rendered jpegs and pngs to appear on your targets’ screens? Sadly, most of the people who open you email will never view the full message. While all of the tips in this article will help get people interested in your marketing, only those who are legitimately engaged will override their email settings to see your layouts. Those targets are valuable in their own right, but to make sure your message gets across, you need to include text and proper placement.

*Many desktop clients also filter incoming emails based on a preset image/text ratio. If you exceed the limit, it’s likely that your message will be blocked before it can get to an inbox.

1. Trapping
Probably the worst thing you can do in an email marketing campaign is make people feel trapped. A bad email is one thing, but a bad email you can’t stop will start a customer service nightmare. Fortunately, most large Email Service Providers require built-in opt-outs, so this is a disaster most marketers won’t have to deal with. Still, it’s often a good idea to request a second opt-in from customers, especially if they haven’t been contacted in a while. At the very least, this will show you how many people are still interested in your marketing.

Trapped

For more email marketing tips and tricks, you can check out Email Design Matters or The State of Email Marketing.

Content Type Across Digital Marketing Mediums

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Content Marketing, email, Facebook, Landing Pages, Social Media | Posted on Feb 01, 2012

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Content May Be King, but make sure the Right Content Governs the Right Kingdom

An admittedly nerdy title, but I think it makes a good [enough] point. Producing unique content is crucial for a marketer’s success online, but content is definitely not ‘one size fits all’ (maybe that is a better title). Yesterday I talked about how important the form of your Facebook page, email designs, website, landing pages etc… is for your digital marketing success. Today I want to talk about content, and cover two main points: Amount of Content, Type/Tone of Content.

Amount

The amount of content you provide is crucial. Too little content and you leave the visitor with too many questions. Too much content and the user gets bored. Be aware of both your audience and where you are publishing this content!

Website
A website should cover everything and anything about your company insofar as it is strategically placed and linked effectively. You want to give a history of the company, talk about milestones, talk about your product(s)/service(s), include what people think of you, utilize visuals to increase security etc…

Your website should be able to answer any questions that your visitor has and also build trust and rapport with your prospective clients. Since your site will likely be large with information spread across many different pages, utilize a ‘Search Bar’. There are two reasons you need a search bar: if you are monitoring what people are searching and on what page the visitors are searching, you can notice trends. If people are searching for similar terms on a particular page you should probably include that information on that page.

Facebook
Facebook requires much less information than a website, though you should include basic company information under the ‘Info’ tab. You should include clear calls to action, e.g., Like us, sign up for our newsletter, etc… On top of the static content on your Facebook page, you also should post short blurbs with industry information that engages your often.

Landing Page
Landing pages are a very focused ‘island’ of information. The content should be about the product or service with a clear call to action, e.g., Buy Now, Fill out the Form for a Free ebook, or Register Today. Your landing page needs to be focused on the single task at hand while building a sense of trust and security (especially when you are trying to make a sale).

Email
Similar to landing pages, this amount of content on an email is limited. People know who you are so you don’t need information like company history or executive listings. The amount of content needs to be focused and consistent with the Subject line.

Type/Tone

Website
Content on websites is focused on informing the customer. So the content that is produced here is in large part asymmetrical and dense. There is variation in the tone of website content, particularly among Web 2.0 companies. Some have taken a very relaxed approach, and while this may work in B2C a more serious approach is maintained in the B2B realm. 

Sites really require the ‘full monty’ when it comes to content. Text, images, videos, you name it.

Facebook
Facebook content is casual, helpful, and thankful. Companies on Facebook are trying to build a personality and rapport with their fans. The type of content that is posted is very light including questions like ‘What are you doing this weekend’ or asking trivia questions.

It is important that a company varies the type of content they post on their Facebook page. The EdgeRank algorithm dictates who sees the content you post, and varying the ‘weight’ of your content is necessary for a good EdgeRank.

Landing Page
A Landing Page is straight and to the point. There is a clear call t o action that lists the benefits of the service, product, event, etc…Videos have been known to keep people on a Landing Page longer. Normally you want your page to have great looking images, a list of benefits, testimonials from users and security icons.

Any type of content you post, be sure to test it to get the most out of our landing pages! Landing pages should never be stagnant, even when you have a ‘winning’ landing page.

Email
The type of content you provide in an email varies on how obtained the recipient’s email address. Remember content is not ‘one size fits all’ and this is particularly true with email marketing. Even if you compiled the greatest newsletter with the most important information that is laid out in a way that just pulls the eye’s of the reader in may be flagged for SPAM if it is something the eyes don’t wish to see.

Assuming that you are sending to people who want to see the type of content you send, be sure to have a good ratio of text to images in your emails. People generally have their images turned off, so don’t rely on your images on the initial opening of the email.

Hopefully that clears up the content you should be posting, what would you add or remove?

Facebook, Website, and Email Design Solidarity

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, email, Facebook, Landing Pages, mobile, Social Media | Posted on Jan 31, 2012

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Unify the User’s Experience

Currently there are many places companies rest their hat. It used to be that having a website was sufficient, but obviously that has long since changed. Customers would come to websites learn about your products and then purchase a product. As websites gained minority, companies would inform their customers about their new virtual homes via email.

Email is still, and will continue to be, an effective marketing tool. However, new virtual homes have emerged in the past few years. There seems to be a never ending rise of new social networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit, Digg, Delicious, etc…

Companies have been trying to keep up with the ever emerging social networks, and by doing this are fracturing their online identity. Granted the UI of each social network is more rigid than the website a company owns, however most networks allow for customization of the pages. This customization gives companies the opportunity to unify their digital marketing efforts between their website, emails, landing pages, and social marketing efforts. And just to throw a monkey wrench into the ring, all of these things need to be mobile optimized as the adoption rate of smart phones continues to increase.

With so much to consider (and we aren’t even discussing print marketing), how do you effectively build a digital presence? some people would try to just mirror their websites on Facebook, disregard mobile thinking ‘My site is optimized enough’, create landing pages and emails that lack any of the necessary visual clues that would maintain solidarity among their marketing mediums.

This type of work can be overwhelming, but if you remember this tip you will have a fundamental understanding of how to approach this whole ‘digital marketing’ thing.

Websites, Emails, Landing Pages, Social Networks, and mobile phones are distinct but require similar visual cues.

You want each of your sites to resonate a similar branding, but you shouldn’t just copy and paste you website’s layout for any of the other digital marketing mediums.There are really two things to keep in mind when developing pages the variation in form and the type/amount of content provided.

Form

I remember my 7th grade teacher saying this to the class almost daily ‘Form Follows Function’. Though this was about different physiological traits, it still holds true for digital marketing. Users have been trained to view and interact with each marketing medium differently. Keep this in mind when you develop your website, emails, and the works. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Websites
Think of your website as your company’s very own online encyclopedia. People want to know who you are, what you can do for them, how it works, etc… If you do not supply this information in a coherent, digestible, and easily navigate-able (I know it isn’t a word but give me a break) then your website’s form will not follow the function that user’s expect.

Email
If a person is receiving an email it is safe to say they know who you are (insofar as you aren’t a dastardly SPAMmer). Emails need to have a clear call to action that is above the fold. Best practices for emails have pushed for a eye catching design that is in the F-shape pattern.

Images are often turned off by default in a recipient’s inbox. This being the case it is important that you have a healthy ratio of text to images. If you are sending an email that is one gorgeous image done by your incredibly talented graphic designer, you will likely miss out on the chance to convert that customer since all they will see is a red ‘x’ or nothing at all.

Landing Pages
Landing pages will have a similar feel to a website, but think of them as a highly specified ‘island’ geared at getting a particular action for anyone visiting the page. Since this is an information ‘island’ only provided the bare essentials and minimal navigation. Focus on benefits of your products, and layout the content above the fold.

Facebook Pages
Though there are many different social networks, Facebook still accounts for 95% of the time spent on social networks in the United States. If you don’t have a page get one, and if you do have a page make sure to optimize it properly. A Facebook page ought to be the following: Like-Gated and oriented vertically.

By Like-Gating your page, you will be giving exclusive content to your fan base and entice new visitors to like your page. Since people are looking for deals when they visit your page, this will help bring unique visitors into your community. From here, you will want to have a page that is vertically oriented. Facebook users are far more inclined to scroll so you do not need everything above the fold. Obviously your main call to action, whether it be a ‘Visit our website’ or ‘Sign up for our mailing list’ should remain above the fold but add more to your page. Videos have been known to keep people on a page longer, try adding rich content.

You can get away with content below the fold because Facebook has trained users that if they want more they will have to scroll. Since your page is narrow like the wall users already know they must scroll down to stay updated.

Mobile Optimization & Mobile Pages
If you aren’t considering mobile apps or optimizing your marketing efforts you are fighting a losing battle. Mobile phones, simply put, small. Websites can recognize the device that is viewing it, you should have a mobile friendly version that has large text and big buttons.

The worst thing you can do on a mobile phone is make it difficult for the user to access your content. if a user has difficulty clicking a link, they will move on. As more people are accessing all things Internet on their phones, you will need to adapt.

Final Thought on Form
Form is crucial for your digital marketing success. Make sure that you unify the experience by using similar color schemes and images. You want people to recognize your brand regardless of where they interact with you, so solidarity is key.

I’ll cover the differences in CONTENT tomorrow.

Including Social Media in your Digital Marketing Efforts

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Content Marketing, email, Facebook, Social Media | Posted on Jan 05, 2012

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Consistency is the Name of the Game

In 2011 companies and marketers sought to combine social media marketing and traditional marketing. Obviously social media marketing is just one tool under the marketing umbrella, however people continue to think that it is this alien entity. If there is one thing you take away from this post let it be this:

Social Media Marketing is like any other marketing tool, treat it as such.

I have put together several posts on social media tactics. Any regular reader knows that I believe if you are taking part in Social Media without clear, measurable, and realistic goals you are wasting your time and money. Would you run an email campaign and not analyze the data? Would you not analyze your ads performance and just dish out dollars without knowing your return? OF COURSE YOU WOULDN’T! So stop doing that with social media.

Now that I went off topic with my standard Social Media Marketing rant, let me get back to the post I wanted to write.

On the surface it looks like social media and other marketing outlets are completely different. The audience has different expectations on a Facebook page than they do when they see an email, visit a website, or click an ad. The following is the fundamental differences between digital media:

Type & Amount of Information Displayed

Digital marketing has many different nuances, you have a website, landing pages for ads, email marketing and social media marketing. A user expects a particular type of information from an email, and to deviate from this would negatively affect your campaign. If you are sending an email that is promoting X% off of product Y, you wouldn’t include information about product Z (assuming this product is not on sale too).  Why wouldn’t you include information on product Z? Because it adds more information than your user needs or wants.

This same logic applies to your Google Adwords. When you are running an adword campaign, you do not want to send a user to your home page. There is too much information on the home page, and whatever the user was looking for when she clicked your ad will be more difficult to find. Landing pages are great ways to increase content because it serves up relevant content to a user who is actively seeking it out.

A website is the encyclopedia of your company, it has all the information of your history, your staff, your products etc. A website also has a professional tone that speaks to people rather than engaging them in a conversation. There is an incredible amount of information for the user that is looking for it, and this information is presented in a way that builds confidence in the user about your brand.

A Facebook page has much less information than your website and this is by design. Users can learn the basics about your brand and then move on to the most important part of a Facebook page, interact. How you post information and share data on Facebook is completely different than a website. You aren’t talking to people on Facebook, you are talking with them. This greatly changes the type of content that is on your Facebook page, rather than being the encyclopedia of your company it is more or less your brand ambassador.

I like to look at landing pages as islands of information. The people who land on these pages are expecting a certain amount and type of information, it needs to be digested quickly and be sufficient enough to entice the visitor to act. These pages, by design, have very little navigation and limited information. Landing pages can get increasingly personal with geo-targeting and other cool tricks, but the type of information that landing page’s display must fall in line with the visitor.

In most cases, you have the most information about your user when sending emails out. People receiving your emails have opted in to your marketing efforts and are expecting messages from you. The better you segment your lists, the better your campaigns will perform. Since you have so much information about your audience when sending emails out, you can send highly targeted messages to a crowd that will have a positive response. Including merge fields can make emails very personal. An email is arguably the most personal form of digital marketing, which is why a message can have minimal yet targeted information.

So what?

Well now that you know the amount and type of information that is to be concluded on your different media outlets, you need to develop a consistent way to display this information. Much like when a user clicks an ad they expect to see information that is reflected in the ad they picked, you want to have consistent branding across your pages to solidify your marketing efforts.

One way to do this is through consistent design and visual branding, which is why we have been developing a digital marketing suite to reduce the hardships of coding and designing.