For the 156th episode of The Marketing Book Podcast, I interviewed Rohit Bhargava, author of Non-Obvious 2018 Edition: How To Predict Trends And Win The Future.
By Douglas Burdett on January 5, 2018
By Douglas Burdett on January 5, 2018
For the 156th episode of The Marketing Book Podcast, I interviewed Rohit Bhargava, author of Non-Obvious 2018 Edition: How To Predict Trends And Win The Future.
By Guest Author on January 4, 2018
Major marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, come with restrictive seller policies. These venues downplay merchants’ branding to maintain their own homogenous image.
Sellers with their own online stores play a different game. They have complete control over their customers’ experiences. Whether it’s rearranging product placement or highlighting a store sale, merchants can use their website to directly connect with their customers and encourage purchases.
But with so much freedom, online store owners may not know where to begin with curating their shop.
To start attracting buyers and retaining loyal customers, here are our 20 killer tips for creating a successful online store. These strategies cover how buyers experience each element of your online store to explain how each aspect should be crafted to attract buyers and drive up sales.
By following these strategies, sellers can target customers’ interests through their online store so that their business stands out amongst less savvy merchants.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best product possible in your niche and the best customer service on top of that—if your store’s web design is lousy, your online business presence is doomed. According to a Kissmetrics study, 93% of buyers consider visual appearance to be the most important factor when making a purchase.
To create a profitable online store, you can either pay a pretty penny to a web designer or take it upon yourself to learn to code. Alternatively, you can just get a ready-made template and customize it to your needs. Fortunately, there are thousands of great ecommerce templates on the web provided by sites like TemplateMonster, TonyTemplates, Apollotheme, and others that have clean designs, intuitive layouts, and follow the latest web design trends.
Design elements should captivate visitors, such as using full-width images and avoiding distraction with minimal text. Here is a design example that Reebok chose for their online store:
And this is a ready-made option for your online store:
Here are a few actionable tips for improving your web design:
If a visitor goes to your “About Us” page, that means they are already interested in you and are giving you a chance to prove to him or her that your product is the best. What you need to do is clearly spell out what you are, what you do, and, most importantly, what you offer to the clients. All testimonials, achievements, and any kind of social proof is welcome there.
Make sure you don’t waste this opportunity as it may lead to gaining a customer.Your contact information should be clear and easy to find on your about page and throughout your website as well. Be sure to mention your:
Packing your “About” page with too much information can be overwhelming for site visitors. Some online stores, like Tens in the example below, opt for a minimalist design to keep information clear and easily comprehensible.
“Contact Us” information is usually placed at the bottom of a website, and users are used to finding it there.
Here are a few actionable tips for creating your “About Us” page:
Giving your hard-earned money to a little-known company isn’t easy for most buyers. Establish your reputation by showing which companies are working with you. They don’t necessarily need to be on the scale of a Coca-Cola or Apple, but even small companies can add a degree of trustworthiness to your enterprise.
The more partners you have, the better. This is how Amasty shows their established relationships with partners:
Here are a few actionable tips for partnering with other brands and influencers:
Your consumers need to know they will have support after they make a purchase, if needed. Guaranteeing troubleshooting after the purchase and consulting before the purchase can convert potential buyers into loyal, returning customers.
The most comprehensive, helpful type of support is a live-chat feature that works 24/7. This tool can increase your site-wide conversion by 10% or more. If you don’t have the resources to offer round-the-clock support, you should still provide some type of service to help people during working hours.
As an example, check out how clothing store, GitmanBros, offers live chat to their customers:
The company keeps the chat feature easily accessible, yet unobtrusive to buyers in the bottom lefthand corner.
Here are a few actionable tips for offering excellent online support:
No online store can exist without payments. Offer a wide variety of popular payment options for your customers so they can always easily make a purchase.
PayPal reigns as the go-to payment solution, but there are other popular options for your business to consider. Check out Entrepreneur’s list of 15 other widely-used payment methods to see if there’s another service that fits your business’ needs.
Here are a few actionable tips for providing payment options:
Advertising on social media channels is a powerful way to connect with lots of potential customers in creative, fun ways. Social media advertising can be anything from a simple Facebook feed post to a taco-shaped lens on Snapchat.
Use tools, like Google Analytics, to track which channels your target customers are using most, and focus your marketing efforts on these platforms. If you get confused by the relatively new terrain of social media, check out these guides to Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising, and Snapchat advertising to get started.
Here are a few actionable tips for advertising on social media.
Running a blog is an opportunity to generate more store traffic. Posts that contain SEO keywords and contain useful information for consumers are likely to rank high in search engine results. Blog posts that rank well and encourage people to visit your site are a stepping stone to people visiting your product pages and completing purchases.
A blog is also a medium to connect with audiences on a deep level. Seeing how customers respond to the content that you produce can inform your strategies for meeting buyers’ needs and wants. Blog posts build buyer trust when they provide some sort of value to the reader, like offering expert advice on your product usage or an industry-related topic.
Here are a few actionable tips for creating a store blog:
Reviews and ratings of your products boost your trustworthiness immensely. Online shoppers can’t meet sellers in-person, so they rely on other buyers’ feedback to assess merchants. Ratings on product pages save consumers’ time by quickly showing what other customers think about the product.
Product reviews are more convincing when they’re plentiful. To encourage more feedback, don’t be shy about asking your customers to leave a review after making a purchase. Customers who are satisfied with your product often won’t consider leaving a review because everything is already fine. Give them a gentle push, and they’ll likely be glad to share their positive experience with others.
Here are a few actionable tips for using product reviews:
Your online store has to receive traffic in order for purchases to happen. The key to generating traffic? Search engine optimization. By incorporating SEO keywords into your product titles and descriptions, your site is more likely to rank higher in search engine results. The increased visibility is the key ingredient for greater site visits and more conversions.
If you’re unsure about how to find SEO-friendly keywords or how to incorporate them into your store, check out this helpful guide on SEO optimization of ecommerce websites.
Here are a few actionable tips for making your site SEO-friendly:
With the growing use of phones for online shopping, merchants have to ensure that their site design is mobile-friendly to make sure buyers can make purchases, no matter what device they’re using. Tech-savvy sellers can check operating system requirements, like these iOS guidelines, to ensure that their site is responsive. Merchants can also use online store design templates that are already set to be mobile-responsive to make their site device-friendly.
Here are a few actionable tips for ensuring your site is mobile-responsive.
Online store owners can’t improve their growth strategies without monitoring their progress. The best way to track your selling activity and customers’ behavior is to use a tool like Google Analytics. This program provides sellers with clear metrics about their store, such as the percentage of product sales, the number of site page visits, and the number of abandoned shopping carts. You can easily set up Analytics for your online store by following these instructions.
Continually track your selling metrics with Analytics so that you can form long-term insights on how to engage customers more effectively and encourage more purchases. Merchants who need help setting up Analytics or are unsure about how to form data-based insights should check out our guide to using the tool with your online store.
Here are a few actionable tips for tracking and iterating on seller activity with Google Analytics:
Thanks to Amazon Prime, free shipping is now an expectation of online shoppers. The added cost of standard shipping can easily dissuade buyers today from completing their purchase at checkout. Sellers who can afford to offer free shipping should provide the service if they aren’t already to incentivize purchases.
While the upfront cost of offering free shipping may hurt at first, many merchants see a greater return with increased purchases after offering the policy. To make sure customers are noticing your generous policy, highlight on your online store that you offer free shipping, as Thrive Market does in the photo above on their home page.
Here are a few actionable tips for attracting buyers with your shipping policy.
Growing your business involves more than your customers — you also have to reach out to individuals in your industry that can help you reach more buyers within your target audience. Networking with the right groups allows merchants to generate product buzz and extend their reach to connect with as many customers as possible. Sellers should consider reaching out to:
These four groups can quickly spread the word around your product, so it’s worth reaching out to network and share why you might be valuable to work with.
Here are a few actionable tips for building your outreach list:
Merchants who don’t have a coding background should consider using software, like Shopify and BigCommerce, to set up their online store. These programs have built-in store templates, so sellers can easily customize their sites without any knowledge of programming or graphic design.
Shopify allows sellers to easily customize their online store design.
Here are a few actionable tips for using ready-to-go storefront tools:
Customers browse through online stores looking for the lowest prices and the best overall shopping experiences. To keep buyers attracted to their store, merchants should identify shops that are similar to their own business that they can compare against. Are these stores offering 60-day or 30-day return policies? Do they offer free shipping or only paid options? Figuring out what makes competitors more advantageous enables sellers to determine what they need to change about their business to keep returning customers loyal and attract new buyers.
Here are a few actionable tips for assessing your competition:
Humans are visual creatures. We process images in 1/10 of a second and understand visual information 60,000 times faster than words. With this natural tendency towards visuals, product images make a strong, immediate impression on buyers. It’s critical to use clear, high-resolution photos that highlight the products’ details to quickly attract buyers without losing their attention.
Show multiple angles of your product with photos so buyers can fully imagine the item and are aware of all of its details. Unable to see the product in-person, buyers will feel more secure with their online purchase if they have a complete visual understanding of the item.
Here are a few actionable tips for using high-res product photos:
Online store owners don’t have to worry about marketplace rules that limit what they can include on product pages or in communication to buyers. Merchants with stores should take advantage of this control by offering incentives to buyers. Whether it’s a pop-up discount at your store’s homepage or a promotional email about an ongoing sale, sellers should actively reach out to buyers with different types of incentives to make purchases.
Merchants should use data-driven tools (see tip 11) to segment their customers and target incentives at different buyer groups. For example, you might send an email offering a discount on a first purchase to site visitors who visited product pages but never completed a purchase.
Here are a few actionable tips for offering incentives:
Organic word-of-mouth marketing on social media can drive your ecommerce business growth. Public discussions of your brand and products on social media channels serve as social proof — the psychological phenomenon of people assuming others’ behavior reflects correct behavior. Online buyers can’t see your products in-person, so they consider what other customers have to say about your business on Facebook to determine whether they should make a purchase.
Encourage social media buzz around your product by starting a campaign that encourages sharing. For example, a brand might offer customers an entry into a contest if they leave a comment on a social media post or tag a friend. Merchants should also encourage social sharing by making their social media channels easily accessible on their site.
Here are a few actionable tips for encouraging social sharing:
Email marketing is an easy way for merchants to build relationships with their customers. Merchants can send out targeted messages to segments of buyers that address each group’s specific wants. By appealing to buyers’ interests, email marketing is a powerful tool for encouraging sales and increasing revenue.
To get started, you’ll need to collect the emails of buyers and make sure that they want to receive messages from you. There are plenty of opportunities to ask buyers whether they want to receive email notifications, such as at the checkout process or even in a pop-up window while they’re browsing.
Not every buyer will agree to sign up for your email list, but the group of customers that do will be an eager set of buyers who are excited about your brand and will likely respond well to your email marketing.
Here are a few actionable tips for using email marketing:
Buying a product online with a limited return policy is risky. The customer can’t see the item in-person, so they have to hope that the product is actually as-described. With the possibility of the product not being up to their standards, most buyers won’t buy an online product if returns aren’t accepted.
Sellers can build buyer trust and incentivize purchases by offering generous return and money-back guarantee policies. Allowing customers to return an item if they change their mind or if it doesn’t match the product description shows other consumers that you trust your buyers and want to provide them with value.
A money-back guarantee is very important. You need to give your customers a way to respond in case they do not like the product. It doesn’t mean they will necessarily ask for a refund. Of course, some of them will, but most people just need to know there is a back-up option. People, by nature, are not risk takers, so this flexible payment policy will be attractive to them. As a result, you’ll get more customers than you would if you didn’t have a money-back guarantee.
Here are a few actionable tips for return and money-back guarantee policies:
Online stores give merchants complete autonomy over the customers’ experiences. Instead of following a marketplace’s policies, a seller can set up their own online shop by their terms to shape their buyers’ product interactions.
Merchants with this freedom as an online store owner can encourage more conversions if they know how to craft each element of their shop. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, merchants can become more aware of how customers perceive every store element and apply that knowledge to create their shop. Curating an online store to align with key buyers’ wants and motivations gives sellers an edge over less mindful competitors.
The post 20 Killer Tips to Create a Successful Online Store appeared first on Sellbrite.
By Guest Author on
The post Empathy, Web & People: Improving The B2B Customer Experience appeared first on the B2B Lead Blog.
By Michael Brenner on January 3, 2018
At the end of 2017, we were not merely discussing what the future of marketing will be like. We were living it. No longer are artificial intelligence, VR, voice activation and other tech next-generation concepts reserved for big budget brands to play around with.
Nor are marketers trapped by the traditional tame, safe, and well-defined brand-consumer relationship. CMOs and marketing leaders across the board are using the future in today’s marketing strategies, turning what was once viewed as ‘radical’ into the riveting, ever-changing new version of ‘conventional.’
As a nod to a year that jet-propelled digital marketing into new frontiers, here’s a look back at the best moments, ideas, and breakthroughs of 2017 with the year’s top articles on future marketing trends.
It’s a metaphorical fact. It’s much easier to get a clear view of what’s ahead from the top of the mountain. This article is a round-up of the predictions by the industry’s most visionary marketing directors, CEOs and chief content strategists. So, what are we looking at?
More organizational shifts, greater time and resource investment in building brand communities, hyper-relevancy, more sophisticated analysis of vast stockpiles of data – and lots more video.
At the end of 2017, marketing automation is nothing new. With 2018 a stone’s throw away, automation is everywhere. From seemingly psychic buying recommendations to SMS app notifications that land at just the right time, modern marketers are becoming best friends with their automation software providers.
This article examines the fundamentals of automation and how it has changed the way marketers track and respond to customer behavior. If you think you know what marketing automation entails and where its limits are, this is a must-read before the next year starts.
The work of managing customer relationships has become so complex, so data-infused, that having a ‘single Master Customer record’ is no longer practical. Moving forward, no longer can the distinct advantages and applications of CRM, automation, and data management platforms be superimposed. Here’s a post that explains the nuances of each to ensure your team is getting the most out of your customer data.
It’s time to talk virtual. Virtual assistants that is. While not everyone is asking Alexa for a quick dinner recipe and a rundown of stock price movements when they get home from work, usage of virtual assistants and other AI-interfaces is heating up, fast. Once smartwatches catch up with mobile phone usage, people are going to start thinking of Siri and other virtual assistants as old friends.
This technology is changing the way consumers interact with their tech devices. Marketers need to pay attention to how this AI movement unfolds.
Machine learning and neural networks are often thought of as tools for digital marketing. But new technologies are being used to enhance the in-store experience as well. What’s interesting is that the store experience will become more personalized – in a small town nostalgia, the-store-clerk-knows-what-you-like-better-than-you-do type of way. However, it’s not the shop owner who understands and meets his or her customers need. It’s AI.
Says global digital consultant, Jeff Barrett, “…physical retail can do a million things. Through alerts, AR, lighting and music, physical retailers can take shoppers anywhere they want them to go and make it an experience.”
One of the most noteworthy rifts, separating where the industry is going from where it has been, is the emergence of meaningful brands on a wide scale. Socially conscious companies are no longer on the fringe. In today’s zeitgeist, with a rainbow of high-contrast views and a never-ending carousel of extremes, from extreme violence to extreme solidarity, brands have to lay their values on the table and draw out their red lines.
In 2017, for the first time, brand activism has morphed from trendy to normal. This article is a fascinating look at the new role brands have to take on from a designer’s perspective. The ethics of AI, an obsession with transparency, and the end of brand neutrality will put pressure on marketers going forward to live a more examined life.
There have been a few ground-shaking trends in video marketing in 2017 – 360 videos, projection mapping, interactive animation, virtual reality. But the one that has really taken hold this year is live video. In this post, you’ll find a handful of examples of live video that made a huge impact this year.
Just like the trend towards more in-person events, live streaming has become an engaging medium as consumers are starving for more authentic interaction. Live videos provide a sense of being there, in the moment. They are more captivating, less scripted. If there’s one thing we’ve learned recently, this is the quality consumers are craving more of.
AI and machine learning – what are we going to see from ‘robot intelligence’ in the future? Where marketing automation and data predictions have permeated every facet of digital marketing, AI and machine learning are just starting to dig their claws into mainstream modern marketing. So far, we have machines handling a chunk of our customer interactions, image recognition software that can identify how consumers are engaging with products by sifting through social media images, and text content, authored by AI. We’re watching tools like multi-sensory communication and ‘mind-reading’ voice search capabilities up the ante even more. Considering there are more than 10,000 martech companies out there coming up with new ideas and AI becoming more sophisticated, we may be in for a stellar ride in 2018.
Here’s a great outline of all the more common applications of AI in marketing today. A lot of these may seem like simple functions to the consumer, like chatbots and ad targeting, but from a marketer’s perspective, we know how transformative they are – and that they are only the beginning.
It’s true. These profound shifts in marketing technology, being applied across platforms from mobile to social media and email marketing, are going to impact the very consumers we’re trying to keep pace with. In our attempt to be one step ahead of the customer, we’re also driving consumer expectations forward even more. And so, the chase will forever continue.
This article is a fascinating exploration of how consumer attention is evolving and what tools and insights content marketers can use in the future to keep pace. It’s a thought provoker you definitely should read.
By Guest Author on
Imagine you owned a business with two locations next door to one another. One of them has not been updated since 2005, but it contains the reception area. The other is a freshly updated, beautiful and highly functional corporate headquarters. When a customer or prospect shows up to see your beautiful company HQ, they first have to go to the reception area in the outdated, downright scary one.
Assuming there are no updates and the whole place is stuck in 2005, there are likely things that are broken, spots where there are cracks in the paint, dirty windows and computers still running Windows XP (scary, right?). The lights are flickering, and some have burned out in forgotten days. Everyone in there is stuck in 2005, too—they keep trying to talk to you about whether you saw Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire or the latest episode of Lost. They’re all still not sure what to make of this new thing called YouTube.
“Come with me! Trust me, you’ll love the company!” you say to the prospect as you walk them from the one building to the next. Will they manage to make it from the scary building to the nice one? Even if they do, you’ve created a poor context—first impressions and all that.
The outdated building is like an outdated website. If you don’t update your website, it’s like neglecting a physical work location—one that people are going to see. The outdated décor and dirty areas will be off-putting. The old technology may not work as well. Plus, the messaging is old and doesn’t resonate with prospects. You can try and pull them through your website with reassuring content and website copy, but ultimately, if it’s unprofessional, it will turn them off.
Let’s take a step back.
Ok, so a website is an inseparable part of your company—but what is it supposed to do?
Ultimately, your website is an embodiment of your company. While it’s technically separate from your physical company, in today’s digital age, your company and website are really two parts of the same whole.
A website should have three main functions—to impress, inform and inspire. These three functions are inextricably linked to design, technology and most importantly, content.
If a website is aesthetically pleasing, you’re automatically getting bonus points in the head of a prospect or customer. In that vein, it should also be impressive on mobile. Your website should be in line with current best practices. There should be images, video and a user experience awesome enough to make your competitors envious.
Your website should be impressive in terms of content, too. It should tell your company’s story—not just its history. By that I mean not stumbling over minutiae and exhaustive facts about the company, but giving your audience the story of why your brand is better and different than your competitors’.
Now look, you don’t have to drop huge amounts of money on your website. But you do need technical maintenance, and AT LEAST a pleasant homepage. Otherwise, you’re not even being considered in the same league as your more technically savvy competitors. In this respect, your website is not done. There is always more you can do to impress your audience.
It should be full of useful content. It should be filled with meaningful copy—not crap. Your website should have a clear statement of your company’s value to them (keyword them, not you), useful links to pages that people would want to read and images and videos to back it all up.
Your website is the home base for all of your content. Your company should always have a constant stream of content designed to appeal to your customers. Stopping the flow of content on your website is like stopping the heart of your company. In this respect, your website is not done. Ever.
No, it doesn’t need to have a picture of a dolphin jumping into the sunset with the word “believe” scrawled across it. Not that kind of inspirational.
Your website should inspire people to act. Even if they are impressed by your website and informed by its content, your website is useless if it isn’t inspiring action. To inspire action, you have to make them want to get in touch with you. Make it easy to reach out with contact forms. Make your downloadable content irresistible. Inspire them to read your blog. In the constant process to make your audience care about your company, your website is not done.
If your website is broken in any way, you’re losing leads and credibility. You’re probably also getting penalized by Google—further sabotaging your online traffic.
If you have a pop-up ad that renders navigating the website impossible, you’re losing people. People don’t want to struggle through your website—their time is limited and their options are many.
Make sure your website is maintained properly. Even if a small plugin on your website breaks, it could take down the whole site—which is a lot more common than you might think. Make sure your website it usable on different types of devices.
Every now and then, you’ll say, “it’s time to redo our website.” It’ll be a big, all-consuming project, but just because that heavy lifting is completed does not mean you’re finished. Your website is not done. It’s a constant work in progress—like your company. It needs to be updated and taken care of on a technical basis as well as on a content basis. The best websites impress, inform and inspire with quality technology and content. They give users a reason to care—they inspire users to reach out.
Approaching your website like an e-billboard or e-direct mail is a flawed approach. The best practices to make a quality website are different from writing good ad copy. Direct mail is sent to people. Billboards are placed in front of people. Websites are found. They are discovered by an individual who has a need. But there are plenty of other competitor websites that they can find just as easily. You need to assume everyone is going to shop around. They’re going to inevitably find the site that impresses, informs and inspires them.
If your site is full of fluffy words, crap content, broken links and out-of-style images, there’s no way they’re going to care.
To make the best website, think on your brand image. Create the content strategy to form the core of your website and mold your website’s design and architecture around the needs of your customers. Always test everything; always create something of actual value.
Most importantly, be real. There are no magic words, and people can see through bullshit a mile away on the internet.
Your website is not done. It is a constant work in progress. If you slap it up and say, “All done!” you’re going to miss out. Start with content, build your digital image and get out there and show them how awesome your company really is.
The post No, your website is NOT done appeared first on Scribewise.
By Michael Brenner on January 2, 2018
Editor’s Note: We’ve updated The Best Marketing Conferences of 2019.
Network, learn, discover. The best marketing events are where we grow in our field and get our dose of marketing inspiration. There were dozens of fantastic marketing conferences last year.
Whether you attended some and are planning your event schedule for 2018 or you are excited about trying your first one, make sure you put one or more of the leading industry events on your calendar.
And if you’re looking for the best marketing speakers for your event in 2018, check out Huffington Post’s Top Business Speakers To Hire and See in 2018. Or Entrepreneur’s more recent post on top inspirational speakers (in both I am so honored to be featured!)
Here’s a full list of the best marketing conferences for 2018. These are the industry meccas where the greatest minds in digital, martech, content and inbound marketing convene. You don’t want to miss out.
(Need help in activating your internal thought leaders to tell better stories? Contact me today.)
Date: February 15-16, 2018
Location: Delhi, India
Content Marketing Summit, as the name suggests, is a premier event where some of the greatest minds in Asia, savvy brands, renowned publishers, innovative technology enablers and leading practitioners from across the world come together to explore the exciting world of content marketing.
Event: B2B Marketing Exchange
Date: February 19-21, 2018
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
This is a core event for B2B marketing, covering the current issues in B2B, including Demand Generation, Messaging Frameworks, AI and Audience Centricity. Is there yoga in the morning? You bet.
What are past attendees saying?
–John Coe, B2B Marketing – “The event maintained a high level of content and speakers throughout, and I’m sure everyone walked away with ‘things to do differently tomorrow.’”
Date: February 26-28, 2018
Location: San Diego, CA
A leading digital marketing conference, you’ll learn everything from how to take advantage of evolving traffic channels to the complex formula behind a powerful, conversion-optimized landing page.
–Megan LeBlanc, Harper Collins – “Traffic and Conversion has been mindblowing. You’re constantly learning something new.”
Event: Social Media Marketing World
Date: Feb 28-March 2, 2018
Location: San Diego, CA
This is one of the biggest conferences of the year, with about 5,000 attendees. Honing in on the latest developments in social media and looking at the direction it’s going in, this is a worthwhile event for both marketers who specialize in social media as well as for content creators. A top networking event as well, you can connect early on the conference’s social media pages.
Event: IBM Think Conference
Date: March 19-22, 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Learn from the brilliant minds behind everything from blockchain, AI, data, and cloud to IT infrastructure, IoT, security, and beyond.
(Note: I will be there as one of IBM’s “Futurists” so come and say hello!)
Date: March 20-22, 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
For content creators and marketing managers, this is the in-depth annual conference on content marketing strategy. From personas to new technology, the conversation is happening in Las Vegas.
Event: Skyword’s Storynomics
Date: March 22, 2018 (as well as 2 dates in April, 1 in June and more to come.)
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Using story to express your brand, connect with consumers, and drive growth is the qualitative transformation in marketing smart brands are paying attention to. Learn the art of the craft and how to apply it to your business – and to entertain without interrupting. Storynomics will also take place in Washington DC and New York City in April.
Event: Adobe Summit
Date: March 25-29, 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Customer experience. It’s the beginning and end of modern marketing. The Adobe Summit is a conference with more than 250 sessions and labs in everything from Content & Experience Management to Personalization, all geared towards teaching attendees how to lead and work within an experience-driven organization.
Event: Emma’s Marketing United
Date: April 9-11, 2018
Location: Nashville, TN
The event will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville. You get three days of inspiring, hands-on content from the smartest minds in marketing in a city that’s synonymous with having fun. We can pretty much guarantee you’ll leave with at least one mind-blowing, career-changing, unparalleled moment of your own.
(Note: My good friend and amazing speaker Jay Acunzo will be speaking there. I may just show up as well!)
Event: Clever Content Conference
Date: April 11-12, 2018
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
This Scandinavian conference is a fascinating summit of video producers, storytellers, AI and VR innovators and more. It’s a great event for getting a lot of different perspectives.
Event: AI Marketing Summit
Date: April 11-13, 2018
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
This year’s Digiday AI Marketing Summit may be one of the most important marketing events of 2018 because of its focus on unfolding marketing technology applications. AI is being used in more ways than most of us are aware of already. Find out what innovative brands are doing and what’s going on with AI and the marketing industry in the next couple years.
Date: April 12, 2018
I really wanted to go this event this year because I know these guys have done an amazing job every year. You should check it out.
Event: The CMO Club Summit
Date: April 18-19, 2018
Location: Marina del Ray, CA
An event designed for CMOs, this conference addresses tough issues CMOs face and dishes up actionable solutions in a positive environment.
–Evan Greene, The Recording Academy – “One of the most effective, engaging networking events of the year. The right executives, the right content, the right conversations, the right relationships!”
Event: MarTech West
Date: April 23-25, 2018
Location: San Jose, CA
This is the conference for marketing managers who are after insights into marketing technology and empowering organizational teams to step into the future with smart strategies and agile methodology.
–Shawn McCallum, Dell – “Excellent presenters that have vast industry knowledge and were very informative, and it’s a fantastic forum to meet and discuss issues and solutions with marketing technologist peers.”
Event: Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit
Date: April 29-May 3, 2018
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expect riveting talks by industry thought leaders, workshops and demos, with a focus on the digital transformation of marketing. Attendees can participate in Marketo University Day, with tracks suitable for everyone from beginners to seasoned users. Marketing Nation is also well-known for its excellent networking opportunities.
(Note: this is one of the best marketing conferences of the year and I expect to be there as well!)
Event:The Content Marketing Conference
Date: May 2-4, 2018
Location: Boston, MA
This event is a mixture of pure science of content marketing performance and art of content creation.
With content marketing industry ever changing, it is vital to master the art of content creation to present your customers with valuable information. On the other hand, the science of must be perfected n various channels to help you get customers orbiting at fast speeds.
The conference will showcase the latest strategies, technology, and methodology to amped up your content marketing.
Event: Sirius Decisions 2018 Summit
Date: May 8-10, 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Sirius Decisions is another B2B focused marketing conference. It’s a comprehensive look at the latest innovations and best practices, offering a wealth of research-based information.
–Anja Neupert, LinkedIn – “Summit provided highly relevant and applicable content, along with great networking opportunities and a fantastic vendor selection in the marketplace.”
Event: DigiMarCon East
Date: May 10-11, 2018
Location: New York City, NY
For staying ahead of what’s going on in digital marketing, the DigiMarCon conferences are invaluable. This year, find out the latest techniques and research in video marketing, SEO, mobile marketing, conversion rate optimization and more. DigiMarCon has events throughout the year all over the world so if you can’t make it to New York, check out their other listings – including a Florida cruise!
Date: May 14-16, 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
If you want to get a sense of what’s going on in Asia and more specifically Australia, the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum APAC is the place you want to be.
Date: May 15-17, 2018
Location: San Diego, CA
This year’s hot topics include the marriage of multichannel and CX, personalization, better marketing measurement and AI’s impact on marketing. This is a great one for actionable, relevant tips for marketing leaders across the board.
Event: Content Marketing Academy
Date: June 6-7, 2018
According to Ann Handley this one of the best non-US marketing events!
Date: June 18-20, 2018
Location: Boston, MA
For both marketing and sales professionals in the B2B sector, ZoomInfo’s conference includes brilliant speakers, sessions and workshops, all focused on promoting business growth, as well as plenty of happy hours and other networking events.
–Malcolm Gilvar, The Trade Group – “The event was unbelievable. You come to an event like this expecting to get a nugget or two and I’ve got a notebook full of strategies and tools I want to share with my team.”
(Note: I am speaking at this event and will be joined by some of the best marketing speakers in the business.)
Date: July 9-11, 2018
Location: Seattle, WA
SEO, content marketing strategies, social media…and lots of snacks. MozCon always puts on a great event and a good show. No matter what level marketer you are, you’ll learn a lot and get inspired as you spend three days in rooms filled with marketing professionals who love what they do.
–Mike Arnesen, UpBuild – “Attending my first MozCon literally changed everything about the way I did marketing. Since then, it’s been the industry event I look forward to most every single year.”
Date: July 10, 2018
Location: London, UK
Considering last year had a Tech Playground specially made for marketing professionals, if you can make it to London this summer, don’t miss this one-day event. Predictive analytics, cognitive marketing, tech stacks and a lot of excitement – and some of the best speakers in the world.
Event: Content Marketing World
Date: September 4-7, 2018
Location: Cleveland, OH
Everything content, this is where the greatest minds in content marketing meet every year. With hundreds of speakers, dozens of workshops, and attendees from all over the world, you can gain a lot from this experience.
(Note: I’ll be doing a workshop again this year. This is one of my favorite events of the year. Join us?)
Event: Hubspot’s Inbound
Date: September 4-7, 2018
Location: Boston, MA
With more than 21,000 attendees last year and super star keynote speakers like Brene Brown and Michelle Obama, Inbound is one of the bigger marketing conferences and is definitely geared for the smaller business. I have never been but I know many people have found this event to be worth their time.
–Taryne Thorpe – “Inbound is such a great experience to have all of us marketers in one place. We learn from each other, we network, and we get reassurance on things we already know – and the best part is that we have fun along the way.”
Date: September 12-13
Location: Cologne, Germany
Date: September 25-26
Location: Las Vegas, NV
This is one of my favorite events of the year. I attended it the first 3 years when it was in my home town of Philadelphia. And then came back as a speaker in 2016. Great speakers. Great attendees. Amazing folks running this show as well. Definitely check back on their website as they announce this year’s theme, agenda and lineup of speakers.
Event: Martech East
Date: October 1-3, 2018
Location: Boston, MA
MarTech’s east coast version, because cultivating marketing technologists is that important.
–Jennifer Gruniger, Dell – “It was great to pull together all of the MarTech unicorns in one room and hear all about the work they are doing. Excellent speakers.”
Event: Marketing Profs B2B Forum
Date: November 13-16, 2018
Location: San Francisco, CA
Want relevant marketing info, the type of stuff that will help drive your brand ahead, and a lot of laughs? This is always an inspiring event with thought-provoking speakers and just the right amount of entertainment. Hey, you learn more when you’re in a good mood.
–Anonymous, Financial Sector Marketing Director – “I love this event…I met fantastic marketing professionals, gathered countless tips that I can implement right away, and was inspired by every keynote speaker.”
There are still even more value-driven events for marketers happening all over the world. If you have any to add, let me know in the comments below. The more the merrier for all of us!
I use a combination of personal branding, consistent social audience building, and support in creating authentic and ongoing thought leadership content. I’ve done it for myself. I’ve done it for the companies I’ve worked for. I’ve helped activate hundreds, even thousands of thought leaders to tell better stories. I’ve done it for numerous clients. And I can do it for you.
If there’s one golden rule of marketing, this is it:
It doesn’t matter how cool or revolutionary your product, service, or company is.
If you’re tooting your own horn and talking about how amazing your stuff is, that’s just… not very compelling.
If you have influential people within the industry saying all these nice things about your product, on the other hand?
That’s a different story altogether.
When it comes to influencer marketing and influencer campaigns, it all boils down to this one magical word:
Think about it: 86% of the most popular beauty videos on YouTube are made by influencers (as opposed to the 14% which are made by beauty brands).
It’s crystal clear:
People prefer consuming content by influencers (whom they can relate to!) as opposed to doing the same by faceless, soulless corporations.
Want to jump on the bandwagon, and start working with influencers to promote your products?
In this article, you’ll learn all about how to find, reach out to, and work with influencers.
The best part? You don’t need to have a huge marketing budget to embark on your first influencer campaign.
Let’s dive right in!
The first step is to look for influencers who are a good fit for your brand.
No idea where to get started? Here are a few options!
Go ahead and stalk your friends and acquaintances (even your high school classmates whom you haven’t seen in ages). You might just find a couple of newly minted influencers in the mix.
Once you’re done, repeat the same stalking process, but now turn your attention to your friends’ friends instead.
Take it from me: the world is a super small place.
That influencer who posts on-point #OOTDs, and keeps popping up on your ‘Explore’ feed on Instagram?
She’s probably your high school friend’s ex-girlfriend. Or your cousin’s spin class buddy. Or your mom’s friend’s daughter. You get the point.
Once you’ve sifted through your personal network, the next place to turn to is influencer platforms such as Influence.co.
These platforms are pretty awesome, in terms of functionality.
They let you search for influencers based on their follower count, location, and more.
Plus: you can sign up for their basic plan for free. What’s not to love?
This one’s pretty straightforward.
Go to Instagram, and search for hashtags such as #sponsored, #sp, #sponsoredpost, and #ad.
Boom. Access to tens of thousands of influencers, all at your fingertips.
If your competitors run influencer campaigns as well, a sneaky way to go about this is to follow their social channels, so that you know who they’re working with.
If you’re a smaller company who’s trying to establish yourself in the market, this might be a good tactic to employ. By engaging the same influencers as your larger competitors, you’ll be associating yourself with these more legitimate companies.
However, if you want to differentiate yourself from your other competitors, then skip this one.
Now that you have a list of potential candidates, it’s time to start reaching out to them!
Most marketers and entrepreneurs reach out to influencers via emails. (To get their email addresses, just check out their social media profile bios!)
Alternatively, you can also tweet your influencer, or leave a Direct Message (DM) for them on Instagram.
I’d recommend this as more of a follow-up strategy, though – your influencer probably checks their business email more regularly, and you have a higher chance of getting a reply if you contact them through there!
In your first email to your influencer:
Introduce yourself, tell your influencer why you’d like to work with them, and give them some key details about your campaign.
(Key details include the deliverables from your influencer’s end, campaign objectives, deadlines, and more.)
Plus: in an ideal world, your emails should be 100% personalized to each influencer you’re reaching out to.
However, real life often gets in the way, and I get that you might not have the time to do this.
Don’t sweat it – by using these awesome templates, and just switching out a few sentences here and there, you’ll be able to craft genuine, personal emails with minimal effort.
If you never hear back from your influencer, it isn’t the end of the story.
Maybe your email got stuck in their Spam folder.
Maybe they meant to reply, but they got busy.
Maybe they’re on vacation.
There are a million reasons as to why you haven’t heard from them – so don’t give up hope just yet. Send them a follow up!
Pro-Tip: Follow up emails are a great way to display some personality, and show your influencer that you’re a fun company to work with.
For example, check out this absolute gem:
Image from Blog.Close.IO.
Did you get a chuckle out of that? I sure did.
Now that you’ve found an influencer to work with, it’s time for the fun part: crafting your influencer campaign!
Once you have a clear picture of your goals and key metrics, it’s half the battle won.
Your goals might look something like:
And your key metrics:
Under no circumstances should you skip this step. Without clarity on your key metrics and goals, it’ll be a case of the blind leading the blind!
One easy way to track sales? Provide your influencer with a unique promo code which their followers can use.
If you want to track the number of click-throughs that you get to your website, you can also provide your influencer with a unique link using Bit.ly.
Plus: make sure you’ve got your Google Analytics set up. GA is insanely powerful – you can really get down to the nitty gritty with this tool!
At the most basic level, make sure you get your influencer’s input on what type of content jives well with their audience.
Think about it this way:
The more creative freedom you allow your influencer in the campaign, the more stoked they’ll get about this project. The more stoked they get, the more enthusiastically they’ll share it with their followers!
If you want to go a step further, consider using an affiliate model or a performance-based payment system as well.
With an affiliate marketing model, you’re giving your influencer a cut (say, 5%) out of every sale.
With a performance-based system, you can reward your influencer based on how successful the campaign is. For example, you might pay $300 as a base fee, and $200 more if the campaign generates over 100 sales.
With these two models, your influencer will be incentivized to ensure that the campaign is a roaring success!
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room:
Instagram shoutouts by influencers are so overdone.
If you want to supercharge the effectiveness of your campaign, you’ll definitely need to come up with more interesting content.
Let’s say you’re a fashion eCommerce store. You could do something along the lines of:
Both these ideas are super low-cost to implement, and they’re way better than a generic Instagram shout out.
Get your friends, family, and colleagues to share your influencer’s content, and engage with it. Bribe, beg, or coerce them if you have to – just get them to do it!
Don’t forget: the more engagement a post generates, the more Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm will prioritize the post (and have it show up on the respective feeds).
When this happens, those people who see it on their feeds will also start sharing, and that’s how posts gain traction.
So start tagging, commenting, and sharing, ASAP!
If you don’t want to spend on ads, you could just call it a day and end your campaign here.
But trust me on this: ads featuring influencer content and testimonials are crazy effective.
With these ads, your creatives can be fairly simple. Just feature your influencer in them (make sure their faces can be seen clearly, and that it’s a recognizable picture of them!), and slap on an impressive-sounding soundbite for good measure.
Go ahead and run your ads – I guarantee you’ll see a positive ROI.
Last but not least, it’s time for your post campaign review.
Go back to your campaign objectives, and look at whether you’ve managed to achieve all these.
If yes, that’s great!
If no, take the time to evaluate where things went wrong. Was the campaign not compelling enough? Was the campaign duration too short? Or did the influencer bring you low-quality traffic which was super hard to convert?
Make sure you put some effort into troubleshooting so that you can understand why your campaign wasn’t as successful as it could’ve been.
Pro Tip: If you aren’t already, consider offering a subscription box on your store, and working with influencers on an ongoing basis to promote it. That way, you get recurring revenue every month – every business owner’s dream!
Given that influencer marketing generates $6.50 for every dollar spent, you owe it to yourself and your business to at least give it a shot.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, check out this Daniel Wellington case study.
The Swedish brand launched back in 2011, with just $15,000 in capital. They’ve grown into a multi-million dollar business since – and they owe a huge part of their success to influencer marketing.
Want to grow your brand to become a multi-million dollar company, too? Everyone starts somewhere – and in your case, your “somewhere” could be your first ever influencer campaign.
It’s time to up your marketing game, and bring your business to the next level!
If you liked this article, please share it with your marketing and entrepreneur friends!
The post How to Find, Reach Out To, and Work With Influencers (Without Breaking the Bank) appeared first on Sellbrite.
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