Email & Viral Marketing

GDPR is 56 days away. What are you doing?

In 56 days the new European data privacy laws will come into effect. The exact date is May 25, 2018. But how prepared is your business and what steps do you need to be putting in place to protect your business?

In order to help you navigate the minefield that is GDPR, I thought I'd compile a list of useful sites which may you offer you some help and guidance. :

Wired magazine's What is GDPR? The need-to-know guide is a really nice primer on GDPR. Ideal for both those who've never heard of GDPR and those wanting a little more detail.

The Information Commissioner's Office has some very practical advice. Check out their 12 Steps To Take Now document.

The What is GDPR? section of the CIM website has practical tips and even has a selection of articles related to marketers (as it would!). You might find 7 GDPR tips marketers need to know a useful read.

Econsultancy have a long list of useful articles in their GDPR for marketers: best practice, tips and case studies. And you won't be surprised to find that, like the CIM, they also offer training on this!

Marketing Week takes a different approach and offers general marketing articles on the subject/tag GDPR, such as their take on Waterstones' decision to start from scratch with customer data. Did you know they deleted 700,00 customers emails!

This is an article written by Business Wales which also features links to workshops going on across the country How to Prepare your Business for the General Data Protection Regulation.

And this comprehensive article by Simply Business is also well worth a read: GDPR for small business

As many of you marketers may have guessed Dave Chaffey and his team at Smart Insights also have GDPR covered on their site. Take a look the article Implications of the GDPR for marketing in UK and Europe

Looking at SEO and PPC implications, you may find this discussion on Moz and this one on Search Engine Land of interest.

For you email folks out there Mailchimp has a couple of articles.

And Hubspot has a number of useful/insightful articles on their website, under the heading of GDPR Compliance


9 Things An SME Should Do BEFORE Using Social Media

I run Social Media workshops and have done for the past 6 years and in this time I have trained hundreds of people. Yet it never cesases to amaze me how many people want to start using Social Media applications when plainly they need haven't put the digital marketing building blocks in place. B2C companies want to create a Facebook page but haven't sorted out their primary web presence, B2B's want to set up a Twitter account when they have no idea who is looking on their website or where they came from. I decided to come up with a checklist of 9 Things an SME Should Do Before Using Social Media and encourage you to read them and, if you can, add some more ideas in the comments section.

Build a Decent Website - it goes without saying that you should employ a designer/developer who knows how to build websites - that are attractive, easily navigable and can be picked up by the search engines. On the Digital Marketing Planning module we teach, we discuss the idea of customer acquisition and conversion objectives and look at how you should be focused on targeting the RIGHT audience (through Search Engines, Social Media, Directories, Online PR, etc) and sending them to the RIGHT website.

Your website should tell people who you are and what you do. Navigation to products, services and company profile should be clearly visible and easily reached. Don't forget the mantra of Steve Krug, website usability expert: Don't Make Me Think. To a certain degree you should design your website like others as quite possibly customers may be searching sites of the same genre. Don't forget that powerful solutions can be built yourselves by using tools like WordPress, which are designed to be spidered easily by the search engines.

Consider Calls To Action (CTA's) - let's assume that you have managed to get the right customers to your web page, what next? What do you want these Highly Valuable Visitors to do? As a business you should know what you want customers to do on your site and you may also consider where people may be in the buying process - viewing, researching, evaluating, buying or post-buying. CTA's may include contact forms, phone numbers, email sign-up forms, downloadable pdf''s, buy buttons, reserve buttons, call-back facilities, product evaluators or even calculators. They may include Social Media share buttons and widgets, product videos, press packs, images and much more. Their inclusion should signify that you have carefully considered your target audience and thought about their needs and expectations on arriving to your site.

Do your on-site SEO - have you thought about the content that you will display on your website? Do you actually know what keywords people are using to find your site?  Have you used online tools like Google Suggestion Tool or Google Trends to discover words? You will need to think about creating high quality page titles, using keywords that your target audience may type in to Google, headlines which match and content which follow the theme. You will need to pay attention to the use of keywords in anchor text (though not for the page you're on), image alt attributes, meta description and the URL. And make sure to keep away from keyword stuffing!

Do your off-site SEO - this is primarily achieved by people linking to you. Through company websites, blogs, news sites, directories, associations, even Wikipedia. You also have to add in to the mix social media and online PR. Ideally, people will want to link to you for the quality content and relevance of your site. They will, hopefully, link to you using anchor text, which looks like this: Social Media Course London. You may want to use tools like MOZ's Open Site Explorer to discover what your competitors are searching for and start speaking to those who rank highly for your targeted keywords. Here are some top tips from MOZ on the subject:

Get your customers to link to you.
Build a company blog. Make it a valuable informative and entertaining resource
Create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking
Be newsworthy.
Find directories or listings of relevant resources.

Add your site to Google Webmaster Tools - tell Google that you're the owner of your site. All you do is add a html page to your site, a html tag or connect your analytics and your site will be verified by Google Webmaster Tools. This resource allows you to upload sitemaps to Google, view 404 errors, find out who links to you and a whole lot more. It also allows you to control which sitelinks you DON'T want to appear in Google searches for your website. Webmaster Tools also allows you to add sitemaps of your website.

Google Places for Business - if people use a Keyword + Local Search word, e.g. "Cardiff Hotels", they will probably be served up with a SERPS page that has a few organic listings at the top (under the Google AdWords) followed by around 60 7 Google Places listings and then more organic listings underneath. People are increasingly clicking on these listings to get to website content. Make sure that you have claimed your Google Places listing and added descriptions and content. You may also want to encourage your clients to leave reviews on Google reviews, too - these will display when you type in your local searches.

Google AdWords - OK, we've completed all of the above and we still want more traffic. Well, Google AdWords could be the tool which will help you get to those customers who your SEO and Google Places can't reach. It can also help you target people in different countries and help you entice customers away from your competitors. But beware! You have to carefully plan and structure a Google AdWord campaign and think carefully about what you want to achieve. AdWords are triggered by keyword searches, in much the same way that organic listings are, and work on the principle that the advertiser only pays when their ads are clicked - the cost of each click can range from a few pence to upwards of £20 or more for high value words.

Set up Google Analytics - if you're driving traffic to your site, you will want to know that it is the right traffic and to find out what people are doing on your site. Google Analytics is an application that allows you to see where people are coming from, what keywords they used, what countries they're from, and what they're doing on the website. It lets you know which keywords resulted in which sales, where people came out of your website and which online activity works best for you (Google Organic, PPC, Email or Social Media). Every digital marketer needs to have as much information as possible to tell them how their online presence is working and Google Analytics does this - for FREE!

Email Marketing - we mentioned customer acquisition and conversion before, well Email marketing is one of the key tools for customer retention and extension. With your website presence you should be able to develop a quality database of contacts - from people purchasing, downloading documents, trialling your products, enquiring or just adding their name to your email list. These are people who ave taken the time to learn/buy/understand your business and its offerings and they are also people who will listen to you. Email marketing is one of the great tools of digital marketing and, when used correctly, can deliver huge rewards to your business.


Social Media Is Great But Have You Put The Basics In Place?

As anyone who reads this blog and follows me on Twitter and Facebook will know, I am a big advocate of Social Media . I deliver training courses and provide consultancy for clients on Social Media. I read about it every single day of the week and use its applications alll the time. I've bought the book and wear the t-shirt. However, I also believe that companies need to learn to walk before you they can run. Quite a few businesses and organisation have asked me about developing Social Media strategies, yet so many of them lack the basic foundation blcoks of an Internet and Digital Marketing presence. They have heard the magic words, "Twitter" and "Facebook" and want to jump head first this brave, new world. However, I would caution against jumping straight in.

Before you can run with Social Media, make sure that you can walk with the following:

Website

  • is it built according to the needs of your target audience?
  • have you created a strong navigation system and added calls to action?
  • do your customers know what you expect them to do?

SEO

  • have your pages been optimised for the search engines: page titles, H1 tags, internal links, meta descriptions?
  • are you writing rich, relevant and fresh content for your website?
  • have you created quality inbound links to your site?

Webmaster Tools

  • have you verified your site with Google?
  • have you added an XML site map to Google?
  • are you happy with the sitelinks that Google has created for you?
  • have you checked for errors that Google has identified?

Google Places

  • have you verified your Google Places listing?
  • have you added in the right information for your business?

Google AdWords

  • have you considered using Google AdWords? Are your competitors using it?
  • have you identified the right keywords and ads for your campaign?
  • have you set up conversion tracking on the 'correct' pages?

Google Analytics

  • have you added the Analytics code to all pages of your site?
  • are you measuring the right metrics?

Email Marketing

  • have you added a sign up form to your website?
  • have you figured out the right type of email l to send to your target audience?
  • are you sending out regular updates to your target audience?

 

In the majority of I cases I would say that if you're comfortable you have completed and/or carefully considered all of the above, then you should start looking at Social Media.


How Is Your Company Using Email?

This morning Facebook sent me an email to say that I hadn't used Facebook ads for a long time and that they thought they'd send me a £30 voucher to spend in time for the holiday season. And who said the spirit of goodwill doesn't eminate forth from companies at this time of year?. Well, on the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing we explore the various ways that companies use email and I thought I'd share some of the ways companies have used email to speak to me over the past week.

1. To reactivate a relationship.

Facebook's system has identified that I have spent some money on Facebook ads over the past year and have identified that I, like many others probably, have not been running ads for a while. To re-ignite that relationship they have fired off an email to me with a tempting offer. Notice how they reinforce the benefits of using Facebook ads: to reach target customers, convert more sales and to control costs.I will probably redeem this voucher shortly!

2. Notification of renewal deadline.

Emails like this one from GoDaddy I receive on a frequent basis. They tend to send them well in advance of a domain requiring renewal and there often seems to be an element of urgency about them. The domain that they are flagging up has been on red alert for around 2 months and is not due for renewal until the end of January. A very neat tactic from a very smart ecommerce company leader.

3. Word-of-mouth promotion.

Marketingprofs has sent me an email to see if I can help them extend their reach to my friends and colleagues. The promotion says that you may be interested in giving your acquaintances a different Christmas gift this year - membership of the MarketingProfs site. It's not a bad idea in that they feel sure that I will know people (more than likely) who work in the field of internet/digital marketing and who may be interested (benefit?) from membership  of MarketingProfs. Bit surprised they didn't incentivise me.

4. Customer survey input

I am a subscriber to Fortune magazine and they have invited me to take part in a customer service survey. That's it! And for my pains they will enter me into a draw for one of ten prizes of £100. I often receive these email surveys and virtually all of them have this 'we-will-enter-you-into-a-prize-draw' element attached to them. Otherwise, people wouldn't be bothered.
5. Sales promotion

This is a standard sales promotion. Jelly Egg are a company that specialise in selling Crocs. I have bought Crocs from them before and, just in time for Christmas, I am being offered the chance to buy these special Blitzen adult or kids' Crocs for 20% off. Like GoDaddy there is an urgency to this email but unlike GoDaddy this offer will finish within 4 days. Companies like Jelly Egg will typically fire off this type of email on a fairly frequent basis. The key is to make sure you have offers to tempt people.

6. To improve online customer service provision

I use Google AdWords a hell of a lot and it looks like I used their AdWords help centre at some point recently. Well, Google have obviously identified this and are now asking me for some feedback on how good the service was and if I have any advice on how it could be improved. As we are all reviewing and rating products and services more these days, Google can feel quite confident (or probably knows) that response rates to these emails will be fairly good.


Seth Godin On Tribes, Email, Twitter, iPod and Even His Name

Here's an interesting interview by Loic Le Meur, of Seesmic fame, with Seth Godin. There are interesting little nuggets for marketers throughout this interview. Enjoy!


One Way to Build Your Subscriber Base

I was just on the Marketing Pilgrim website when this article grabbed my attention (as it would!):

Andy Beal, Internet Marketing expert, was inviting visitors to the site to sign up for an RSS feed or email update and in return they would be entered into a draw for the new Kindle 2. Here's the offering:

Kindle2

This is a simpe but very effective way to build your subscriber base: offer visitors something of value to them but which, in real terms, is of no great value to yourself. Also make sure that you offer a product which the target audience has heard of - is 'topical' and, importantly, would be something they would be proud (happy?) to own.

For Marketing Pligrim this offer makes sense as they have many thousands of people visiting their site each day - a whole bunch of whom haven't signed up for an RSS feed or email update yet. Add to that the 7,752 followers on Twitter and it makes perfect sense:

Andy-beal-twitter

I just wonder whether he'll post the Kindle 2 to me in the UK if I win the competition.


Permission Marketing and Strawberries

I spent this afternoon strawberry picking with my son, daughter, wife and a couple of good friends. It was nice to spend time with family and friends and take a break from the Internet and developing my business. The weather was glorious (you know it won't last in Wales) and we managed to pick a couple of kilos of strawberries at Hendrewennol in the Vale of Glamorgan. Needless to say, the kids (and adults) managed to eat a couple of kilos themselves whilst picking!

What was interesting was that on the way out the person on the cash desk invited us to write our personal details, including email address on a piece of paper. She told us that when the picking dates for different varieties of fruit were about to begin, they would email us notification. Brilliant! When I deliver the eMarketing Award course I always recommend to students that they look at offline techniques to try and build up their contact base. And this demonstrates that principal beautifully.

From a Web 2.0 perspective the possibilities for this business are endless:

What about blogging?
Uploading images of the crop and people picking them on to Flickr.
Using RSS to notify people of start dates for crops.
What about YouTube videos?
Have they considered Facebook and using Social Ads.

As you can see I took time off from the Internet but I didn't completely switch off from it!


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Viral Marketing At Its Best

In a small, rural village near Malaga a huge viral marketing success came about. Jesús Rodríguez is the lead singer of a "Rustic Rock Band" called El Koala and who's mainly being doing gigs in and around Malaga (much of it for the past 20 years). He tried, without success, to get one of the record labels in Madrid to sign him up but they weren't really interested in a guy whose music and lyrics is firmly routed in the country.

Well, it looks like he's going to have the last laugh as his song, 'Opá, yo viacé un corrá' (literally Dad, I'm going to build a farm), is in all the record shops, is likely to be the hit of summer and he is the new rock celebrity, being invited onto all the major TV shows. What's also interesting is that the song is not song even in Castellano but in the dialect of his region.

And all this success can be attributed to a simple video clip that he made over 3 afternoons at his friends' farm. The clip was uploaded to the Internet (you can find it on You Tube and Google Video)  and traffic was generated through emails and people blogging about it.

The current number of downloads for the song is over 3 million and people are even starting to make their own video versions of it. And what's more - this song is likely to run and run for the next few months as we head into summer. I have even come across a website where the lyrics are tranlsated into Shakespearean and Rap English and a version of it with George Bush puppits (and telling his dad he's going to invade Iraq!).