Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This Is My Favorite Marketing Newsletter Because ...

I get about 60 digital newsletters a day. I love this one.

The graphic header is recognizable, yet shallow enough to show the crux of the blog post without scrolling down. So critical. 

Hubspot sends this out multiple times a day (two? three?). I always glance at it and I often read the intro. I click through maybe four out of 10 times.

Sometimes I tweet it. Every month, I draw from it for Marketing AdVents, the award-winning monthly newsletter of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DC), which I edit. 

This newsletter meets the objective: It makes me click through to the blog.

Yes, the blog content is superb, but the enewsletter design gets me there.

Finally, this is the only enewsletter I receive that looks like this and persuades like this.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Serving Enewsletters? Get to the Meat!

©CreativeCommons by Heather Joan
I got an e-newsletter today-- one of about 60. This one featured four boxes, each with a stock photo. Every box had a headline, 35 words of fluff copy, and a link to the company’s blog. The meat sat on the click-through. I never got there.

Here's a better recipe for electronic newsletter tidbits:
1. Skip the headline.
2. Cut the intro.
3. Jump to the meat.
4. Serve.
5. Repeat.

This copywriter served four dishes and four headlines:
• 10 Easy Ways to Grow Your Social Presence Now
• Is Your Brand Too Bland? Avoid These Pitfalls of "Wallpaper Copywriting"
• Reputation Management — the Secret Weapon
• 3 Twitter Tips That Will Boost Your Twitter Marketing

Not horrible, but very commonplace headlines. “Nothing to see here. Move on."

So what brought me back?
Nothing tasty, that's for sure. Just curiosity. A couple minutes later I wondered if these guys could teach us all a lesson. I went back to my trash folder, retrieved the email, and checked to see if they had anything to offer.

Here's my review.
• I've seen those headlines too often.
• The short 35-word intros to each item were even more trite than the headlines (for example, “Twitter is a fast moving social network. New content pushes older content out of the way fairly quickly, meaning that it's easy for your tweets to go unnoticed. If there's an important tweet that you want your customers to…”) [yawn]
• The meat was buried on the click-through link. I never made it there.

If you want readers to look further, tell us one thing we don't know. A single item we don’t know is better than four items of old news.

Sadly, the meat (see below) was there! But it was buried in paragraph three on the blog post. Why not put this on the cover page instead?

"When you pin a tweet, it's the first thing visitors will see when they come to your Twitter page …Here's how to pin a tweet:
• Locate the tweet you’d like to pin.
• Click the three little dots (extra tools) menu at the bottom right of the tweet.
• Select 'pin to your profile page.'"

Forty-eight words of pure meat. So why didn’t the writer serve me this tasty morsel first?

Beats me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How They Forced Me To Choose "Yes" and Like It

Crossroads by CarstenTolkmit @CC
GraphicDesignBlender came up with a sneaky way to push website visitors to choose “yes.”

I hopped from their excellent Design Blender newsletter to an article on the myriad benefits of featuring testimonials on your website.

When I landed at the article, a free offer popped up on the screen. The pop-up invited me to download a free ebook. I was in a hurry and started to click “no.” That's when I noticed the wording Design Blender had attached to my "yes/no" options:

___ Yes, please send me your free book on "How to Find Clients."

___ No,  I already have enough clients.

I didn’t particularly want the book, but I simply could not check a box that said, “I already have enough clients.”

Call it superstition, call if fear of tempting fate, call it gut reaction. I just couldn’t do it. I gave them my email address -- which was, of course, their purpose -- and downloaded the book.

Their spine-chilling “No” option was the only reason I caved.

Magic, huh? And an awesome way for copywriters to score.

p.s. The free download is actually pretty good.

scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Personal Branding A Load of Manure?

Photo courtesy of Ardonik @Creative Commons

In their early November podcast , Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster dissected the value of "personal branding."

Does everything we do (or don't do) -- on or off the social web -- end up creating our personal brand, like it or not? Should we care?

Mark says yes. Tom says no.

Check out their differing points of view.

Schaefer POV
• Today, we have the ability to create a reputation/image/brand through what we do, say, and write on the social web. Therefore, it's important to establish our reputation online to demonstrate our values, how we work, and how we think.
• A few years ago I had the opportunity to interview at a Fortune 500 company in NYC, but a friend of mine told me to be sure that I would be allowed to continue to work on my personal brand, even if I were employed by this company. I never thought of it that way before. In my experience, when you worked for a big company, you were subsumed by that company.
• Personal branding and authenticity go together. Tom has talked about how he is careful because he represents his company in some way. Like it or not, a certain "containment" or "formula" guides what we choose to present or not present on the web. That is part of our "brand."
• Marketing myself would never occur to me while I'm working for a company, but today that is probably a smart thing to do.
• What can an accountant, for example, do to become "known" for his brand? He/she could create a blog about new principles/regulations, which would create a brand. It's also about networking, speaking, and writing. He/she could become established on LinkedIn or other online networking tools to demonstrate, "This is whom I am, this is how I think."
• The brand you present can be commensurate with your experience. Even if it's not a lot of experience, you can show, "This is what I believe, this is what I read, this is who I know, this is what I am curious about, etcetera."
• Personal branding also involves being smart about building business relationships. You still have to connect person-to-person. Social media doesn't deliver business like personal relationships do.
• I would encourage marketers to think about personal branding strategically. Even if you are secure in your job today, think about creating a long-term online presence.

Webster POV
• In short, I'd say personal branding is a load of manure.
• Where does "brand" come from? It's where a product or company tries to give itself a personality. I already have a personality, which is a result of what I have done.
• To me personal brand was invented and discarded by Tom Peters 50 years ago in his book on 50 ways to build brand "you."
• Personal brand is not about spreading your fame. What is most important is that a group of my colleagues and clients believe that I will do what I say I will do.
• Your personal brand needs to take second place to the corporate brand. When Mark talks about developing "personal brand," he is talking about displaying your skill.. which makes him unique from, say, an accountant.
• To me personal branding is telling a story about yourself, not simply having an online presence. Networking, for example, is as old as the hills.
• I get that it's good to have things you own that demonstrate who you are: content and so on. The dark side of personal branding is that inexperienced people who do this, often demonstrate that they aren't very good. In other words, mere links, if they're weak, don't drive business.
• In the early phase of social web, you could be at the top if you were good at content marketing. However as the web matures, you also must be good at what you do, not just good at content marketing or how you present yourself.

Thank you, gentlemen, for a fascinating conversation that, we're sure, is to be continued ...

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, September 22, 2014

Starved for Content? Feed This.

Creating content from other content isn't about repeating or copying. It's about repurposing. Start with a rich source, then add to, expand upon, enhance, comment about, or -- in this case -- condense from that source. Voila! New and different content. 

Recently, I downloaded Curata's eBook, "How To Feed the Content Beast." And now I have my own blog post, short 'n sweet.

In other words, learn and share at the same time.

1. Turn an ebook into a series of blog posts, or a series of blog posts into an ebook.

2. Create a transcript so content “snackers” can scan the information from a webinar.

3. Host a real-time tweet chat and republish it as a crowd-sourced blog post.

4. Pull sound bytes out of a long-form report and use them as tweets and Facebook updates.

5. Give quotes new life as graphics for use on visual platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You Might Think Everybody Does This. Uh… no. But Everybody Should.

Writers tend to do a lot of online research. As the editor of a marketing newsletter and a relentless blogger, I visit hundreds of websites, download dozens of whitepapers, pile up racks of statistics, and read a lot of blogs.

Sometimes a website will ask me to leave an email address and I will (though often reluctantly) IF I want the product badly enough. That’s what happened when I visited Vidyard.com to download their whitepaper “Video: the New ROI Star of Marketing.” What I never expected was the simple, non-pushy “nice-to- meet you” email that arrived 24 hours later:

Hi Nancy,

Thank you for stopping by the Vidyard website. I wanted to reach out to you to see if you were looking to learn more about video marketing or if you have any questions about Vidyard.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or if you think Vidyard might be a fit for your specific use case.

All the best,

From all the websites in all the urls in all the world, this is the first-time I’ve ever received an email like this. Phone calls from salespeople, yes. Thank you for downloading XYZ, yes. Glad you downloaded, now how about buying this, definitely.

But a simple, short, no-pitch email offering help if needed? Not once.

This classy follow-up tells me these folks are very good at what they do.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Spin Around the Web Shows How Nonprofits Are Using Tumblr

Photo by Debbie Courson Smith
Boise State University
Jason Keath on SocialFresh cited 60 brands using social media come-lately Tumblr, including IBM, Huggies, The Atlantic, and NPR. So, yes, Tumblr has commercial advocates. But what about do-gooders?

Nonprofits are also rolling with Tumblr: Doctors Without Borders,  Mercy Corps, Robin Hood NYC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Trevor Project have all taken a ride on Tumblr. A quick visit to NP Tech for Good shows more nonprofits who are Tumbling.

But why?
ArtezInteractive (artez.com) cites five reasons your charity or nonprofit should be on Tumblr, including: simplicity, Tumblr’s mobile app that facilitates mobile optimization, content aggregation ad sharing, ease of getting started, and Tumblr’s penchant for reaching the young 25-34 audience.

If you follow the blog, “When You Work at A Nonprofit,” you’ve seen Tumblr at work and the picture is clear.

And how?
For terrific tips on getting started on Tumblr, check out Mashable’s “Beginner’s Guide to Tumblr.”

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo