• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on January 22, 2015

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • Have you recently seen your email open rates going down? Are you wondering where to go next? It’s all about A/B split testing.

    Have you recently seen your email open rates going down? Are you wondering where to go next? It’s all about A/B split testing.

    Read on to learn all you need to know and start being proud of your email campaigns.

    To perform A/B split testing, you must:

    1)      Assess engagement levels from your emails

    2)      Make just one change to your email e.g. the subject title, the day you send your emails

    Once you have judged whether one version works better than the other, hey presto you can move on to testing something else. If not, try another variation until you reach a level of engagement you are happy with.

    Yes, it really is that easy!

    So what tests can you conduct?

    ·         Day to send: Generally speaking Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday appear to be the preferred days to send emails, generating the best open rates. This is because, the Monday blues have disappeared and people tend to be more focussed, getting on with their weeks tasks.

     

    ·         Time: This is a funny one. If you are sending emails on a Thursday, send between 8-9am, however on a Tuesday and Wednesday, whatever you do, do not send between 8-10am as they appear to only have a 5% click through rate. But why listen to me, test first and see what time works well for you.

     

    ·         Subject line: For the best results, ensure this is not too long and that it is clear. Misleading subject lines are a no-no as they will annoy your subscribers, affecting future engagement. Variations could include; positive subject lines, rhetorical questions, amusing phrasing, varying lengths of subject title, brand in the subject title, localised phrasing and word order of content.

     

    ·         The design: Font, background colour and images used may also be worth testing, encouraging an aesthetically appealing template to be created. If content is displayed attractively, you may find this will increase engagement for your business.

     

    ·         Tone of voice: Ensure your message is direct, clear and perceived in a way that suits your business. You could try being friendly, formal, localised, factual or funny.

     

    ·         Length of email: Test the length of your emails. Too long and you risk boring your subscribers, too short and they may wonder why they bothered opening your email in the first place.

     

    ·         Personalised emails:  94% of companies agree that personalisation is king, but what is the best way to achieve this? Do you write ‘Dear Mrs Smith’ or do your send generic emails to everyone? This may make a huge difference, try it.

     

    ·         Call to action: Try varying the text in which you apply a link to, known as an ‘Anchor Text’, by using different keywords. See how this affects subscribers clicking on the link.

    The trick here is to evaluate what you normally do, starting with making one of your better email templates even better! The good news is A/B testing will not cost you anything. Most email campaign software allows you to generate these reports so they will be readily accessible for you.

     

    REMEMBER, what works for one company does not necessarily work for another. You need to carefully consider what works for your target market.  Some Social Media platforms allow you to target your messages to your audience, be they your customers, channel partners or employees. Your audience will receive just the specific news they want, when they want it… not more spamming!!!

    Yes it can be time consuming to create the perfect email, but once you have you will wreak the benefits. Well worth a test I’d say. 

    Football pits the offense, the team with the ball, against the defense, which tries to prevent the offense from scoring. Yes, we’re all thinking about the Super Bowl, but what does that have to do with content marketing? Everything! Here’s why.

    Football pits the offense, the team with the ball, against the defense, which tries to prevent the offense from scoring. Yes, we’re all thinking about the Super Bowl, but what does that have to do with content marketing? Everything! Here’s why:

    Consider that your content is the ball. Through the process of ideation, creation, publication, and promotion, it moves across the field with the end goal of reaching your target audience. Touchdown! Right? Well, we all know that in the game of football, there are forward moving plays, and those that set you back. There are also various members of your team that help you contribute to your end goal, though, and their ability to succeed will directly impact your content’s success.

    Here are some things to keep in mind when executing your content marketing power plays, and how you can make sure your team is stacked against the opponent for that championship title.

    Ideation & The Punt Returner. Receives the ball upon kickoff and determines what the most efficient route will be for the first leg of the content process. This team member must be creative, goal-oriented, agile, and persistent in the face of the defensive line when some ideas don’t prove strong enough to make it down the line.

    Creation & The Quarterback. Leads the process by calling plays, and determining what moves to make to get the content farther down the field. This person can author the content, and run it themselves, or signal and hand it off to another member of the team. Plays including, but not limited to: Titles, Topics, Copy, Design. The rest of the team must trust this member’s judgment a great deal, in order to unify the team for success.

    Publication & The Running Back. Takes the content, and runs with it towards the goal line. Their ability to receive and block incoming blows from the defensive line makes them critical to finding the correct avenues to carry the content. Be it a blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and so-forth, the running back will determine the path of least resistance, and which channels will prove the most beneficial.

    Promotion &The Offensive Guard. Blocks for both running and passing plays. In the face of competition, and growing defensive pressure, the Offensive Guard will ensure that content integrity, value, and voice (even #deflategate) is blocked from the noise of outside sources via a strong promotional plan. They will know the ins and outs of things like: Adwords, Facebook Marketing, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Advertising and more.

    When you sit down to the Super Bowl this year, think about some other ways in which content marketing can relate to football. Can you think of what the defensive line might look like in terms of your content process? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    This infographic explains how employees can lend credibility to an organization because they’re considered more trustworthy than a company itself. But it also shows how organizations can benefit from socially engaging their employees. With employee engagement at an all time low (only 13% say they’re engaged at work), it would seem that there is a disconnect between what we know to be true and what we’re actually doing.

    The idea of employee advocacy, or allowing your employees speak on behalf of your brand, has been gaining popularity over the last year– the last few months in particular. Even when we know that something is important, it can be difficult to make a business case if you can’t prove its worth almost immediately. Luckily, there’s no shortage of research that points to the fact that employee advocacy is not only effective, but actually contributes to the overall success and atmosphere of an organization.

    This infographic explains how employees can lend credibility to an organization because they’re considered more trustworthy than a company itself. But it also shows how organizations can benefit from socially engaging their employees. With employee engagement at an all time low (only 13% say they’re engaged at work), it would seem that there is a disconnect between what we know to be true and what we’re actually doing.

    In order to sell the idea of an employee advocacy program within any organization, the first step is to understand how important it is for your company specifically to implement it.

    11 Employee Advocacy Statistics You Need to Know

     

    The growth of the mobile web has led many business owners to embrace mobile marketing by creating mobile websites and adapting their email marketing campaigns. The growth in mobile has continued for the past year as smartphones and wireless networks become more powerful. A recent study shows that app usage has grown tremendously in 2014.

    The growth of the mobile web has led many business owners to embrace mobile marketing by creating mobile websites and adapting their email marketing campaigns. The growth in mobile has continued for the past year as smartphones and wireless networks become more powerful. A recent study from Flurry Research shows that app usage has grown tremendously in 2014. This article will discuss the research and how small business owners can use it to their advantage.

    The main takeaway from this study is that people are spending more and more of their mobile internet time on apps. According to the data from Flurry Research, overall app usage grew by 76 percent in 2014. The study measured the number of times users opened an app and used it long enough to trigger what the researchers considered to be a “session”. The apps were divided by category, all of which showed improvement in the past year.

    Retail apps were in the group that saw the largest increase. Flurry reported that sessions in shopping apps on iOS and Android increased by a 174 percent year-over-year. The researchers noted that  for iOS, the “Lifestyle” category includes more than shopping. However, on Android devices, the shopping category increased by 220 percent.

    “As our mobile devices become more and more a part of our everyday lives, we are increasingly using them for always-on shopping, working, and communication,” wrote Simon Khalaf on the Flurry blog. “Where years past have seen massive growth in games and entertainment, 2014 was the year apps got down to serious business.”

    Flurry pointed to retail giant Target as an example of the power of mobile. Target stores have said it views “mobile as the new front door to Target”, and that mobile front door is increasingly in-app. Citing research from comScore, they noted that in 2014, 68 percent of the time spent on Target mobile properties was in-app vs. web, up from 21 percent in 2013.

    Mobile also makes it easier to reach consumers on the go and at home. The researchers used a sample of Android devices in the US to plot engagement with Shopping apps by zip code. They were able to estimate the zip code of “Home” versus “Away” by looking at the zip code where the most activity happened in the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. time frames. Activity outside of this zip code we labeled “Away. Using this method, they saw that Shopping app usage spiked during the commute time of 9 a.m. and lunchtime at noon. Since people can’t (or shouldn’t) be shopping during work hours, mobile shopping app usage spikes again during prime time at 8 p.m.

    What does this rise in mobile app means for small business owners. For one thing, it doesn’t mean that mobile websites are unimportant or that every business should run out to have an app developed.  When someone has a problem with an ecommerce website, it rarely matters what brand or model of computer they’re using. On app, the make, model, operating system, and version of a phone play a huge role in app compatibility and that can make customer service issues involving the app hard to diagnose and fix. Maintaining an app is more challenging than maintaining a website, so a business shouldn’t embark down that path unless they are truly up to the challenge.

    Rather than develop a dedicated app for their business, small business owners should look for ways they can get their business, products or services listed on apps that people already used. The easiest way to do this is by using mobile ads on Facebook. Facebook is the most popular app on Android and iOS and most businesses are already set to use Facebook advertising. The same is true for Amazon or eBay. These selling platforms have popular apps that automatically work with products listed on the platforms’ main sites.

    Business owners should use the increase in mobile app usage to increase the reach of their marketing campaigns and find new ways to engage consumers. By getting products listed on retail apps, or developing an app on their own, marketers can take full advantage of the marketing revolution.

    For more tools that can help mobile marketing efforts, read this article with three recent changes from Facebook that can help mobile marketers.

    Great ideas mean nothing if they stand in a structure that can't support them. To those of us in marketing roles or at agencies, building a channel strategy seems like a piece of cake. Many times, however, these pitches and presentations fall apart because we've overlooked how they're supposed to actually work. Want to make sure your big ideas get buy-in? Build a process strategy that sets everything up for success. Here are a few things to consider along the way.

    At this point, I probably sound like a broken record to my clients and students, but it's true: Great ideas mean nothing if they stand in a structure that can't support them. To those of us in marketing roles or at agencies, building a channel strategy seems like a piece of cake.

    We know platforms like the back of our hands, and can build user personas at the drop of a hat. Many times, however, these pitches and presentations fall apart because we've overlooked how they're supposed to actually work.

    Want to make sure your big ideas get buy-in? Build a process strategy that sets everything up for success. Here are a few things to consider along the way.

    Involve the Stakeholders

    The stakeholder interview is one of the most important steps of strategic design. Talking to key decision-makers in a variety of departments and roles across an organization uncovers things that you may not have thought about, even if you're in-house at the organization itself.

    While part of your interview should focus on the marketing objectives, another part of it needs to address the functional framework that currently exists. In other words, you should leave these interviews with a clear understanding about what your process strategy needs. Helpful things to think about during your discussion:

    • Department structure: Who reports to whom? How does this chain impact the approval your ideas will need, or delay any realtime initiatives?
    • Internal savvy: Do the stakeholders on the front lines have the same knowledge that those behind the scenes have? What gaps exist that will need to be addressed in order for your ideas to make sense to everyone who touches them?
    • Willingness: Everyone is inspired by an edgy marketing campaign. Not everyone is comfortable executing one at the end of the day. Where is the line taht you can't cross? For those in highly regulated industries, what does your legal and compliance team feel comfortable with? Most importantly, how do these boundaries impact how things get done?

    Think About Scale

    Whether your task is to start something from scratch, reinvent an old approach, or build on last year's success, you can't ignore scale. In the case of process strategy, I'm not talking about how your email campaign targeting gets more aggressive YOY or what your content looks like on Facebook; I'm talking about your resources.

    Often times during stakeholder interviews, I'll discover that my clients only focus on marketing as part of their role. If we're just starting out with something, it's easy enough for them to devote part of their attention to it, but if I don't address what happens once my clients reach critical mass as-is, the strategy I've built falls apart. A good, scalable process strategy accounts for:

    • Marketing implications: How will this campaign's success change the customer's expectations of my client/team? 
    • Human assets: Who will we need as marketing efforts become an increased area of focus? Who are the hiring priorities for my client/team? What does that team look like as it grows? Is it even realistic for my client/team to make these hires? If not, how does that impact our efforts?
    • Financial assets: How is the budget we're working with going to scale with success? Are we factoring the costs of hiring the right people to support the ideas into this? What happens if we don't get the money we need?

    Manage Expectations

    Especially on the agency side, we're eager to impress clients with ticket items that go above and beyond the task at hand. For clients who have deep pockets and aren't particularly risk-adverse, this can be a great way to win new business. For everyone else, this can be a process nightmare. It's our job as team members or partners to know when to sell that big idea... and if it's not the right time during the initial strategy conversation, it's important that we lay out what our strategy aims to do. 

    If you leave out that timeline or those projections, I can guarantee your digital team will burn twice as bright, but for half as long. Let the process dictate what you promise - and stick to it. A solid strategy is being measured and optimized regularly, so let the numbers and the resources tell you when to revisit things. Just make sure that when you do, your process can support the changes.

    What does your strategic framework look like? How do you make sure your ideas work? Share your insights in the comments.