A Family of Followers

A Family of Followers

Illustration of people

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way online audiences consume content. Comscore, which uses data science and advanced insights to evaluate media consumption, recently reported that audiences are engaging in digital content at a clip that is 31 percent higher now than before the virus began in the US.

So, with over 56 billion total digital visits in the US on a weekly basis (based on Comscore’s look at 10 key categories), you would think that it would not be hard to find your audience – right? But, if you consider that more people are spending more time online and consuming more content in a digital format than ever before, it makes sense that your audience might be more distracted and overwhelmed with messaging than ever before.

That’s why, despite the deluge of “new normal” practices being developed to adjust to changes to audience behaviors, companies continue to cultivate their own audience lists. If you have a spreadsheet with hundreds or thousands of contacts who have opted-in to learn more about your product or service, and you are not using that list to drive engagement, you’re missing out.

Some companies have recently dialed back their advertising and messaging because their product or service has been interrupted due to COVID restrictions. As they begin to determine how and when to re-emerge from their quasi-hibernation, the best approach may be to connect with their closest friends, allies and consumers first. That’s where those spreadsheets of customers, sample requests, and newsletter signups come in handy. Those are groups that you can continue to engage with, even as business is shifting. It’s a group that can also be a test market for determining the right time to turn on the lights. And, it’s the consumers you want to spread your brand messages and insights when the timing is right.

While this may seem simple, some organizations are not used to cultivating a following. It requires a shift in how you think about your audience and your messaging. Instead of broadcasting messages and talking at your audience, cultivating a following requires two-way dialogue and treating your customers like they are part of the family. Plus, you own your database, and no one else can take that from you or suddenly start charging you more to reach them.

Here are some helpful tips for cultivating and managing that online following:

  1. Ask people to sign up. Offer an incentive, giveaway or something of value that will encourage them to give you an email address.

     

  2. Give those who sign up the inside scoop on your brand, products or services. Let that email list become the resource through which people get more information about a product or service, see a preview of coming attractions, offer coupons or share something they can’t otherwise get online.

     

  3. Offer opportunities for engagement – create surveys, polls or open-ended questions that solicit a response. Give those people something for responding. Most importantly, let them see how you are using their feedback to make them feel like what they offered was valuable and important.

     

  4. Turn them into brand ambassadors and influencers. Give them something to share. Make them feel like you value and respect their role as a consumer.

Who do you turn to in your time of need? Usually it’s family. So, it’s good to have that family of followers who you can turn to in the aftermath of the #summerofcorona to start the conversation about your brand, products and services. Hopefully, you’ve been building the relationship with that group for a long time and you’re already treating them like a family member. But, for some, we realize that spreadsheet has some digital dust on it and needs to be brushed off and repurposed. There’s no better time than now to begin engaging your allies in a meaningful way.

Once you have that database, read more about how to start leveraging it through Account-Based Marketing.  

4 Quick Tips to Boost Virtual Engagement

4 Quick Tips to Boost Virtual Engagement

Woman having conference call

We can’t manage other people’s internet connections or background distractions, but as we gain more experience and gather knowledge from the teams that have already been doing this for years, we can boost engagement and find the technology and formats that work best. Bouvier Kelly has been exploring these issues – even before COVID – and we wanted to share a few tips and ideas that have worked for us.

 

A Virtual Event Doesn’t Have to Be Digital Only

Though many conferences are seeing record registration numbers, many registrants aren’t showing up or sticking around. One idea to boost engagement and attendance is to generate pre-event connections and excitement.

  • Go old school and send out a pre-conference goodie bag/prep kit. Try including helpful tools like a headset or webcam.
  • Add some of the fun factor back in with prize cards with QR codes or selfie accessories for your networking chats. What you include should be aimed at your attendees, what they like and most importantly why they like coming to your event.

 

Improve Virtual Presentations

For formal presentations or webinars, to help boost your confidence and not lose your audience as you work to communicate your subject matter, the number one tip is the same as it was in “real” life: practice!

  • Ask your team to do some run throughs so you can get familiar with the technology and feel more comfortable talking into the camera.
  • Your test audience can also make sure your microphone and connection work well and that your visuals support your ideas.
  • For sessions and presentations at virtual events, we recommend pre-recording. That way editing can take care of any blips or interruptions, and you can add in some interest by cutting between the slides and speaker. By adding a live Q&A session, you can get the best of both worlds.

 

Get Comfortable with Video Calls

Video calls aren’t going away any time soon, whether we like it or not, so let’s figure out how to improve them. Remember the human connection and relationship building that we lose by going virtual can be built back through the use of a camera, and use that as motivation to power through the awkwardness and keep getting better.

  • Similar to presentations, do test calls with your internal team and make sure you understand the software and have the right equipment.
  • If you can’t move your workspace to one with a less cluttered background or better lighting, consider purchasing equipment like a backdrop or some lights.
  • Interruptions are going to happen, so try to be patient with whoever you’re talking to as well as yourself. The more you focus on it, the more it affects the rest of the meeting.

 

Build a Digital Tool Kit

Brochures or one-sheets that are perfect in person and in print don’t always translate well to a screenshare.

  • Consider at least resizing for a screen and going landscape mode.
  • Going a step further, we recommend an engaging web page with all the information your sales team needs available at one click (or many clicks that have anchor links to the appropriate sections). You already have the content in your tool kit, you just need to convert it to a digital kit that’s designed for the job. And if you do it right, you’ll have a tool your customers or distributors can even navigate on their own.

 

The most important thing to realize is that virtual and digital aren’t going away soon. They were here before, and they’re here to stay. The best way forward is to embrace the change. If we cling to the way business has always been done and try to wait it out, we’ll be left behind. Adapt for the future while learning from the past.

Check out more tips on virtual presentations here.

The Power of a YouTube Video Ad Campaign

The Power of a YouTube Video Ad Campaign

youtube playhead

YouTube has more than two billion active users, making it the second most popular social media platform just behind Facebook. Videos have the ability to communicate through text, image, and sound making them engaging to a larger audience and highly valuable for promoting brands. Making a promotional video is an essential marketing tactic for any brand trying to gain the eye of the public.

While making a quality video may seem like a lot to tackle, having an agency partner can make the process go more smoothly. Not to mention, it’s absolutely worth the effort because it can be used anywhere! In addition to YouTube, you can leverage your new video on Facebook, Twitter, commercials, digital signage, and the list goes on.

Getting Started on YouTube

Once the video is complete, uploading to YouTube is simple. You’ll want to make sure the video is categorized properly and is tagged with relevant keywords. For example, if you’re promoting a lipstick, you’ll want to select the Fashion and Beauty category when you upload and use #makeup. This site is a free resource that can show you the most popular keywords associated with a topic.

Any video uploaded to YouTube can be promoted and turned into an advertisement. In addition to the use of keywords, YouTube’s algorithm shows your video to target audiences based on location, their Google user profiles, and other videos they’ve watched on YouTube. If someone is watching videos on the same topic you are promoting, it is highly likely that they will be interested in your business.

YouTube Ads have an average cost of $.010 – $.030 per view. The average cost of reaching 100,000 views is around $2,000. You can set a budget for your campaign based on your goals and the size of your potential audience. If you’re trying to generate awareness and are targeting a broader group of people, you may need to spend more, whereas reaching a more niche audience may be more expensive per person but also cost less in total.

Which Ad Format Makes Sense for You?

There are two different types of in-stream ads:

There is the “Skippable Video Ad” which shows up before, during, or after a video and viewers have the choice as to whether they want to skip the ad after five seconds. You only pay for this type of ad if the viewer watches the ad for more than 30 seconds.

The second type of in-stream ad is the “Bumper Ad”. It lasts for six seconds and is paid in a unit called CPM’s or cost-per-thousand impressions.

Now if all of this seems like too much and you don’t have the time or resources to make a video, there are also simple display ads that can be placed on YouTube.

The “In-Display Ad” is shown in the white column next to a YouTube video.

The “Overlay Ad” pops up on a video while it is playing, covering a small portion of the video, and stays up until the viewer hits “X”.

Lastly, there is the “Sponsored Card Ad” that displays an ad card for a product that is relevant to the video the viewer is watching.

YouTube is always testing new ways to advertise. They often create new ad formats while scrapping the old ones that have not performed as well. So even if you’ve passed on YouTube in the past, it may be time to take a second look.

Email Marketing in 3 Steps

Email Marketing in 3 Steps

Whether you’re starting from scratch or just looking to refresh, we’ve gathered the info you need to begin building an email marketing campaign.

 

Step 1 – Foundation

Before you start any digital marketing, make sure that your whole “ecosystem” is operational. It’s a lot harder to go back, tear down and rebuild than build it right the first time. It’s easy to silo the different elements of your marketing campaign and forget that by connecting pieces like your website, content, email and advertising, you can create more sustainable success.

>> Review the 5 Pillars of your Digital Ecosystem

 

KPIs may sound like just another marketing acronym, but key performance indicators can be a crucial way to track your campaign’s progress and know when things are going well or when you need to pause and rethink your strategy. KPIs can also help you pinpoint which elements of the campaign are the weakest link. If you have a high click-through rate and a high bounce rate, chances are you should start testing different ways to improve your landing page.

>> Make sure you know what success looks like – establish your KPIs

 

A finely tuned, segmented email list of relevant contacts is one of the best tools you can develop for your company. If you’re starting from scratch, good news, it will be much easier to start from the ground up. Think about your long-term goals as well as what you need immediately and try to build those parameters in from the beginning. If you’re working to segment an existing behemoth of an email list, that can be a little more daunting, but we believe you can do it. It’s a great opportunity for some sales/marketing teamwork.

>> Set your CRM up and segment your list

 

Step 2 – Build Your Email Campaign

Start out on the right foot and work on removing the word “eblast” from the conversation. It’s a subtle thing, but setting your intention from the beginning can make all the difference. When you develop emails to educate or share information and updates, your audience will be more receptive (especially if they’re targeted and relevant thanks to your segmented list). If you “blast” them with a message meant for everyone generally, you may still hit the mark with some, but typically your message will be lost on the majority.

>> Check out our Do’s and Don’ts blogs for quick tips as you start construction.

 

Step 3 – Test and Measure

Pay attention to your performance data. Try talking to your audience if possible and get direct feedback. Experiment with different CTAs, email layouts and deployment times. Find what works for you.

One last tip is to make your campaign manageable from the start. Go too big too fast and you will likely not be able to keep it going. Start small and build on your success over time.

3 Steps to Starting Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

3 Steps to Starting Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM is exactly what it sounds like: an approach to B2B marketing which targets a smaller segment of your audience with personalized messaging. It can be a great complement to broader marketing tactics and an effective way to give your sales team additional support when tackling key prospects. Here are three key steps to getting started with ABM tactics:

1) Identify Key Prospects

Depending on how large a set of prospects you’re trying to identify, you may be able to do this with all your own information. Your sales team likely has a set of prospective accounts in mind already that they would like to land. Remember, though: it’s not just the size of the opportunity that should be considered, but also how likely they are to convert. Compare them with your current customers as well as companies who have passed on your services in the past and evaluate accordingly.

If you’re looking at a larger group of prospects or are having trouble identifying or connecting with the right person in the organization, third party data can help. Depending on your industry, there may be a trade organization who can help you or there are data companies you can try as well.

Once you’ve identified the companies, make sure you know the right people to reach—including influencers as well as decision makers—to help smooth the sales process even further.

2) Personalize Your Marketing

Based on your time, resources, budget and sales cycle, you can establish a set of reasonable goals. Then you’ll proceed like any other marketing plan—just with a narrower, more focused audience that allows you to get more personalized with your content and messaging.

For example, your content marketing can be adapted not just to the stages of the buyer’s journey and your broader buyer personas, but to the specific organization or even person you’re reaching out to.

Before you get too personalized and spend too much time customizing, make sure the lifetime value of the customer will justify the resources you’re investing.

3) Choose Your Tactics

ABM focuses heavily in the digital space with tactics like email marketing, social media and programmatic campaigns leading the pack. Tangible marketing tactics like direct mail or even out-of-home could have their place as well and should be considered in the light of how big an opportunity you’re going after. Digital tactics will often provide the most cost-effective approach.

Email marketing is typically the core of an ABM campaign as it is the most controllable, customize-able tactic. Setting prospects up in a sequence of targeted emails can help guide them through the buyer’s journey until they’re ready to meet or receive another personal contact.

Social media and programmatic ads are typically more effective on a larger scale, such as if you’re targeting a niche industry rather than a set of companies or individuals. There are opportunities in both, however, to get a little more granular.

With social media, you can target specific companies if they’re large enough. There will be some wasted impressions and the CPM will likely be much higher, but again this should be evaluated based on the potential value of the customer. Use retargeting efforts to serve up new ads to anyone who has visited your landing pages with tailored content can also provide an opportunity to get granular in programmatic campaigns.

ABM is overall just a more focused approach to marketing that can help prime your key prospects for sales to reach out. Alignment on goals and tactics between the sales and marketing teams will be key to ensuring success. Make sure to take the time to get buy in before you begin.

3 Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Direct Mail

3 Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Direct Mail

The next time you check your mailbox, look and see how much of what you received is marketing mail—it’s a lot, right? So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that around 58% of the mail Americans receive has a clear marketing goal (Source: USPS).

That volume may have decreased since the “bad old days” before the cheaper alternative of email, but many brands still see a return on their direct mail investments.

We’ve talked before about how print media is still alive and well, and according to the data we’ve seen in the last few years, the same can be said for direct mail, too. Here are 3 key stats that our caught our eye:

#1. Direct mail had an average response rate of 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018. (Source: Data & Marketing Association)

These numbers were almost double what they were in 2017. One theory for this increase is that lists are getting more sophisticated thanks to better data aggregation, so the people receiving direct mail campaigns are increasingly people who actually want that information. And with the right type of messaging and good timing, you can increase that response further.

#2. Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than people who didn’t get that piece of direct mail. (Source: USPS)

A tangible piece of mail has a much deeper impact on our brains than something digital. 75% of people can recall a brand from seeing a direct mail piece (Source: Marketing Profs) compared with 44% who just saw a digital ad. Plus, 90% of direct mail gets opened (Source: Data & Marketing Association), compared with only 20%-30% of emails. Add all that together and you have a huge opportunity to move the needle.

#3. Consumers aged 45-54 are the demographic group most likely to respond to direct mail pieces (Source: Data & Marketing Association).

Before we get too excited by the opportunity and risk over-inflating the data, confirm where your target audience falls. Younger consumers are still more digitally responsive, but it is heartening to note as well that 30% of millennials believe they are more strongly affected by direct mail (Source: DMN) versus the 24% who said they were strongly affected by email.

Of course, it’s easy to pull out a couple of stats and draw whatever conclusion we want to, but overall, the opportunity seems to exist. The key to seeing these results in your own campaign will be:

  • The quality of your list
  • The timing of your mailer
  • The offer you’re making
  • The way you offer it

Direct mail is still a hefty investment. So while you could use it to garner awareness, your ROI will be a lot higher if you leverage it for conversions. There is no silver bullet in marketing, but if you’ve left direct mail off your list of considered tactics for the last decade, now might be the time to consider it again.

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