Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Using Forums to Market New Products and Services to Existing Customers

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Patrick Clinger – Enjoy!

proboardsBusinesses of all stripes are always looking for new customers to buy their products or services. However, sometimes businesses ignore the best place to look for new sales:  through customers who have already purchased products and services in the past.  Tapping into your existing customers to boost your sales is smart because you’ve already done the hardest part of the sales cycle with them:  you made that first sale.

The easiest path to new sales is often found through those who have already made a decision to buy from you.  The key is getting a sense of how the products are perceived by customers, how the services are used, and what add-on or upsell products and services are a good fit to market new offerings to an existing customer base.

Internet Forums

One of the best tools for learning more about customers who already use your products and services is social media, with Internet forums being one of the more dependable tools for gathering information.

According to a 2012 study by Awareness, a marketing firm based in Burlington, Mass., one-third of marketers are looking to social media and Internet forums as the platform of choice to reach customers.  Nativo, a content marketing firm in Long Beach, Calif., says 20 percent of Americans use forums to discuss and recommend products.  Nearly two-thirds of women in online forums make product recommendations on these boards.

Marketing to customers via an Internet forum delivers this proven path and helps ensure success by enabling a series of regular and intimate communications between the company and the customer. Spending time on Internet forums where your customers can be found often reveals relevant marketing information about products in demand, services used, strengths of competitive offerings, and weaknesses in products or services offered by a competitor.  This sort of intelligence is ideal for putting together a sales pitch on new or related products and services, or to make a compelling offer to customers of your chief competition in order to acquire new customers who were unhappy with their offering.

Internet forums also help to build customer loyalty. The seeds you plant today, through the intimate two-way communication forums provide, help make products better and allow the company to fix potential problems, while ensuring product launches are more successful — just by leveraging the loyalty built through the regular interactive engagement with your customers.

Spend some time finding out which forums your customers read regularly and do some “lurking” where you read each post and response without actively participating.  Take careful notes.  Identify current customers on the forum.  From their posts and comments, what other products or services would improve their experience with your company based on the first purchase they made?  Do they offer advice to others buying similar products or do they warn prospects about the purchase they made from you?

Stay in Touch

If you detect something is wrong, you can proactively contact them and fix the problem.  If it’s a competitive offering, how does your product or service address the shortcomings of the competitive solution?  Can you put together a program to encourage these customers to try your company?

Internet forums provide a great way to stay in touch with your customer base.  But there are some “rules of the road” for participating in a forum and using it for marketing purposes.  Follow them or you could risk being banned by the forum staff:

  • Develop a good profile so forum participants know who you are.  Make yourself approachable.  Make sure there is contact information so it makes you accessible to your customers and prospects.
  • Introduce yourself to the forum members in the appropriate section.
  • Be smart about commenting; never insult a poster.
  • If you are alerted to a problem, play a role in getting it resolved; encourage other posters to ask you questions.
  • Make valuable contributions to the forum; provide good information.  Don’t spread rumors or make bold claims.  Be helpful and humble.  Be objective.
  • Don’t hard sell new products and services when you make a new post, and always expose any biases you have.  It’s great to help people who have questions, it’s bad to spam.

Patrick Clinger Headshot - 300dpi-jpg 05-16-13Patrick Clinger is founder and CEO of ProBoards, the world’s largest host of free forums on the Internet (www.proboards.com).  The company has been hosting forums for more than 14 years with over 3.7 million forums created on its platforms.  The company’s forums record billions of page views every year with tens of millions of registered users.  ProBoards’ Forums.net white label forum service allows small business to quickly and easily create their own branded Internet forum that is fully managed by ProBoards.

 

Marketing Automation for Small Business

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Wendy Coombes– Enjoy!

photo credit: iStock Photo

photo credit: iStock Photo

If you are a small business marketer, you know that the number of channels across which to deliver your key messages has increased considerably. While it is great that we have so many opportunities to attract and engage our ideal client, managing multiple channels effectively can seem like a full time job.

This explains why the biggest group of marketing automation buyers are small and midsize businesses. So let’s take a look at this trend and marketing automation’s effectiveness for small business.

What is Marketing Automation?

As businesses realize they need get on board with web marketing strategies, they typically “bolt on” solutions. They open up a Twitter or Facebook account, dabble in LinkedIn groups or do an email shot using a free cloud-based email marketing solution.

Managing communication programs across multiple applications is a logistical nightmare; it lacks overview and the ability to measure its effectiveness.

Marketing automation enables businesses to execute campaigns, automate processes, and measure their impact.

How can you benefit from workflow-based lead management?

The most frequently requested feature of marketing automation solutions is lead management. Leads are the lifeblood of business, so it is easy to see why marketers consider lead generation their biggest challenge and most important goal. Marketing automation assists in a number of ways.

First, to attract on the web you need valuable and optimized content. The best marketing automation platforms let you create:

  • optimize site pages
  • calls to action and landing pages
  • (smart) forms

Other capabilities that play a role in lead management let you:

  • view which content your leads engage in and present leads with further content they will find relevant
  • score leads
  • do progressive profiling
  • set up event triggered email workflows

Besides these lead management capabilities, it should offer closed-loop analysis, search engine optimization tools, email marketing, and other tools to manage online multi-channel campaigns.

There’s no substitute for marketing planning

Whilst marketing automation can increase the effectiveness of lead generation and result in increased revenue, it is not a substitute for a customer-centric marketing strategy. Effective marketing plans start with a thorough understanding of your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey as they research and evaluate your products or services.

A look at the business case

Traditionally used by large e-commerce organizations, marketing automation has become more widely adopted and therefore more available, affordable, and practical for small business. Marketing automation combined with inbound strategies offers measureable benefits for small business:

  • lower cost per lead
  • improved customer lifetime value
  • increased revenue
  • improved sales effectiveness
  • better ROI on your marketing investment

What is important to recognize is that it is not a quick fix solution. If you start with a low-traffic base and want grow traffic organically, do not expect to see significant increases in traffic for 9 months (maybe somewhat shorter if you have ample resources to pump out good quality content).

On the other hand, if your site is already getting good traffic but you are not converting sufficient leads, you may see results much sooner by utilizing best practice conversion methods.

What to look for in a marketing automation platform

If you plan to research marketing automation solutions, look for things like:

  • What is included in the minimum license fee? Many providers will charge you based on the size of your contact database. Check how many contacts are included in the base rate. You really want a solution that is scalable but you might want to know whether charges are capped once you reach a certain number of contacts.
  • What is the minimum license period? Many require an initial12 months. Ask if the entire license fee is payable up front or whether they accept monthly installments.
  • Read real case studies of businesses like yours who have adopted marketing automation and see if you can get in touch directly with current users to hear their experiences first hand.
  • Is user training included? It is not unusual for training to be charged additionally. Check what training is included.

As mentioned before, there is no substitute for good marketing planning and strategy, but once you have your goals and roadmap set out, marketing automation can do some of the heavy lifting and provide you with the analytics to achieve sustainable lead campaign success.

Wendy Coombeswendy profile photo_150px copy is an inbound marketing consultant with a background in Technology and B2B marketing as well as e-Commerce.   Her inbound marketing agency, Brite Kite, is based in Sydney Australia. Wendy is passionate about helping traditional professional service providers such as lawyers and accountants, transition to online lead generation and realizing a better ROI on their marketing investment. Connect with Wendy on twitter via @wendycoombes.

 

Gambling with Facebook Ads: How to Win Against a Stacked Deck

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Claire Pelletreau – Enjoy!

ducttape-oCPM-screenshot“Facebook Ads is just like gambling! I got this rush every time I looked and saw that my numbers had gone up again!”

Not everyone has this reaction to Facebook ads, especially their first time out of the gate. Running paid campaigns can also bring about that crushing disappointment of gambling: your money runs out and you’ve got nothing to show for it.

But you have a lot more control over the results of Facebook ads than at the Blackjack table, so this investment could be the very risk your business should be taking.

Put List Building on Autopilot

List building is one of the easiest (and cheapest) pieces of marketing to turn over to Facebook Ads. It isn’t hard to entice people to click on an ad that offers something of value to them, especially if it’s free. A collection of 50 green smoothie recipes? Yes, please.  A free guide to getting bumped up to business class on every flight? Hook me up. Even if I’m on Facebook just to procrastinate or see what friends are up to, I’ll click on your ad if it offers me something useful.

And when you combine a compelling ad with a great landing page that converts – You just hit list building pay dirt. You can use ads to drive traffic to your landing page around the clock! But make sure you pay attention to the right numbers before you even launch your campaign.

The “Fine Print” of Running Facebook Ads

It’s important to remember that Facebook is the dealer here. He knows how to wrangle your chips away from you, even if it still seems like you’re winning. Let me give you an example:

One of the best ads to run is the Promoted Page Post ad. These ads can show up in your Newsfeed with the little word “Sponsored” at the top and bottom. If you don’t spot that “Sponsored” word, you can easily confuse these ads for posts from pages you forgot you liked in the past.  You can comment on this ad, like it, share, and click on the photo if it has one.

So let’s say you’re showing me a hilarious photo of a hipster cat with glasses. Chances are I’m going to click on that photo to see it full-size. Then maybe I notice your image caption talking about funny cat videos, and a link.  The hope is that I click on the link and head over to your site.

Here’s the catch, though: Facebook just charged you for 2 clicks. It doesn’t matter whether I sign up for your cat-laden newsletter, or if I ever return to your site again. You get billed for both of those clicks.

This may seem like nothing when you’ve got a super high CTR (click-through-rate) and these clicks are costing you $0.33 each.  But imagine that for every click through to your landing page, you’re paying for 2 clicks ($0.66). And you have an opt-in conversion rate of 25%, meaning 1 out of every 4 people who visit actually sign up for your newsletter.

So you spend 2 x 4 x 0.33 for one email sign-up: $2.64.

This is not necessarily a bad cost-per-conversion. It is, however, far from the $0.33 cost-per-click that Facebook had you focusing on.

“How can I keep my cost-per-conversion down?”

There are a few ways, but the easiest is to use Facebook’s Optimized CPM (oCPM) bidding option. This means that Facebook will show your ad to people who are more likely to take a specific action based on their previous behavior on Facebook. So if you want to get people to like your page, you choose that option and Facebook will supposedly make it happen. If you want people to click through to your website and check it out, maybe read a blog post, you can choose to have the ad optimized for link clicks. If you want someone to go from seeing your ad to signing up for your list, you choose the “website conversion” option.

“But Optimized CPM gives me a crazy expensive Cost Per Mille!”

It looks that way. Compared to those ultra-cheap cost-per-click numbers you’re used to seeing, a $12 CPM (or cost per 1,000 impressions) looks like it’s Facebook’s way of hitting you where it hurts, and hard.

But before you go back to CPC bidding, you have to do the math.

Let’s go back to the earlier example where your cost-per-click was $0.33, and you needed four people clicking on your ad twice to nail one email sign-up. You’re paying $2.64 per conversion.

If Optimized CPM shows your ad to people who are more likely to opt in to your newsletter, the conversion rate on your landing page should get a bump. If that bump can bring your cost-per-conversion down to less than $2.64, who cares how much your Cost Per Mille is?

So give Optimized CPM a try for your next lead generation campaign. In order to choose this option you’re going to need to have conversion tracking set-up and use the Power Editor to choose all the correct options.

Enjoy the rush of watching your list grow and even the sweet agony brought about by a painfully-low CTR. Don’t go all in on your first campaign – there are so many different ways you can “win” by testing out different versions of your ads.

And stay away from using photos of cats in your ads – there really is such thing as ad images that are too good.

cp-bio-photoClaire Pelletreau is a Facebook ads consultant and confessed conversion junkie. She’s been playing with Facebook ads since 2011 and sharpened her skills running paid campaigns for Laura Roeder’s five and six-figure launches. Now she applies everything she learned to helping other small businesses bring in more subscribers and sales than they ever imagined.

Get more bang for your advertising buck – click here to grab Claire’s free step-by-step guide to list building with Facebook ads!

 

The Biggest Stereotype About Marketing Automation

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Alexandra Skey – Enjoy! 

It’s not our fault that most of us associate marketing automation with complex campaigns run by advanced marketers in bigger companies.

That’s how it took off in the last decade.

But that stereotype is threatening the future of small businesses…

How It All Began

We know content marketing works.

We also know that more information is being created every 48 hours than the entire amount we made before 2003.

So, every 2 days it becomes harder to create content to engage people, especially those who are interested in what you do and are likely to become your customers.

This is a serious problem.

Roughly 5-7 years ago, a group of companies saw what was happening and did something about it.

They were HubSpot, Pardot, and Marketo, among others.

These companies knew it would be almost impossible to succeed at content marketing without streamlining the process. So they started automating tasks their corporate clients needed, and combining them in one place.

That was the birth of marketing automation platforms.

Why They’re “Too Complex”

Since the key with any great campaign is delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time, one of the things the industry became focused on was automating emails. Specially, creating complex trigger scenarios so that you could deliver those messages on an individual basis, ideally converting more customers.

Now we send over 294 billion emails a day.

Unfortunately, that complexity plagues the stereotype of marketing automation. It’s what most people think of when you mention the concept.

Besides the price.

And while it’s certainly useful for businesses with significant traffic, the cost and time involved is prohibitive for many smaller companies.

The Irony

The irony of marketing automation is that it’s viewed as complex and time consuming – yet the goal is to simplify tasks and save you time reaching your most profitable customers.

It’s simply a way of automating mundane tasks, so you can be more effective and reserve those spurts of energy for creative projects.

Due to the rapid adoption of content marketing, and the associated challenges of creating successful inbound campaigns, it will become more crucial than ever for all businesses to start adapting these time saving techniques.

In fact, some may be doing it without even realizing it:

  • When you use an SEO tool like Yoast to optimize your blog, that’s marketing automation – because instead of learning the rules, Yoast shows you what to do.
  • When you use a plugin to automatically share posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social channels, that’s marketing automation.
  • When you schedule your tweets using a service like Hootsuite, Buffer or TweetDeck…
  • When you monitor mentions of your business on the social web using Meshfire or Google…
  • Even when you use canned email responses to answer common questions…

It’s not about saving 1 hour by doing something different.

It’s about streamlining the process, so you save 3 minutes here and 8 minutes there at every step along the way.

With marketing automation, everything counts.

What’s next?

The demand from businesses with smaller budgets and time requirements is growing.

While the first wave of automation platforms was built for enterprise teams and budgets, we’re now seeing companies like ScribeContent, Orbtr, Spokal, Nurture and others designing platforms specifically for smaller teams, making it easier for anyone to create successful content campaigns.

Raab Associates recently showed that over 75% of companies adopting automation platforms in the USA are now small and micro businesses. And B2B Online shows that over 50% have fully integrated automation into their marketing.

 

photo credit: B2B Online

photo credit: B2B Online

 

Here’s the catch.

As it becomes easier for small businesses to leverage tools to make their content better, it will become easier to create better content. This means the quality of content that businesses need to produce to attract potential customers (and nurture them over time) will increase.

This is fantastic news for customers.

And it’s good for small businesses too, because those who can implement time saving techniques into their marketing practices now will have an even better chance of getting ahead of their competition and succeed at doing what they love.

Henry Ford was right.

Automation leads to great things.

AlexandraSkeyAlexandra Skey is the co-founder of Spokal, an award winning marketing automation platform for small businesses, and author of Zero Friction, which explores the future of online retail and will be released in fall 2014.

She lives on the west coast of Canada and is obsessed with customer experiences, horses and kiteboarding. You can connect with her on Twitter.

 

How to Be Everywhere Through Marketing Automation Magic

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Jan Marciniak – Enjoy!

marketing-automation-stairs

photo credit: Jiuck cc

When marketing your business you have a lot of ends to meet. Your goal should always be to systemize your marketing campaigns in a way that their success is repeatable and the process can be carried out by almost anyone. And since you do not want to do the same work over again and again you need to implement processes and systems that automate the technical and operational parts of your marketing efforts as much as possible.

1. Automate Lead Generation, at least a little bit

To automate the lead generation process would be a dream come true for every business. This step is the one where mostly manual labor is necessary. But you can systemize the processes that you need to go through in order to create a new lead generation campaign or landing page on your website and test it so that it is almost automated.

Reduce your time spent from the first campaign idea to a finished landing page by using tools that allow you implement quickly and change settings with ease.

In order to test out ideas for landing pages and their variations you can use tools like Unbounce or LeadPages to create a landing page from an idea within minutes and implement it without any programming knowledge. With their built in analytics you can easily see what works and what doesn’t.

On the backend you will need some kind of email marketing automation tool that lets you automatically segment your leads depending on the source.

2. The Mother of Automated Marketing – Perfect Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing is one of the most powerful but mostly overlooked marketing tactic that can be automated to almost 100%. It seems like everybody knows that having a newsletter is important. But what about an automated series of emails that give the recipient value, draw him closer to your brand and eventually make him buy your product?

You will keep potential customers engaged and informed over a period of weeks or months  without any extra investment of your time, 100% automated.

Services like aweber or mailchimp can be used by anyone without any technical knowledge; self-hosted tools like sendy need some technical knowledge to set up but are a lot cheaper.

3. Automate you Social Media Activities and Appear Everywhere

Like with any other marketing efforts you need to find the right balance between automation and manual engagement with your customers. In order to create an efficient social media marketing process you need to have the right automation tools.

You need to set up an automated system so that you do not need to post your message to every social media platform available. Instead you should use a service that lets you post to all services at once. You can use services that are designed exactly for that like buffer or create your custom social media distribution process with automation tools like zapier or ifttt.

The rest of the time you will need to monitor your social media activities, which can also be automated pretty easy. There are several tools to manage your social media analytics. With tools like twittaquitta where you can monitor all your unfollowers you can easily get insights into you social media campaigns without doing any manual analyzing.

4. Active Customer Communication in a Fraction of the Time

Communicating with your customers is a vital but time consuming task. There are however processes that you can implement which streamline customer communication. You will still need to actively communicate with you customers, but will be able to do it in a fraction of the time and have time for other important things.

Instead of repeating email texts over and over you should use text expander programs (Lh Texter; TextExpander). With a simple shortcut you can insert repetitive text blocks into your mails and save a ton of time.

An extensive and regularly updated FAQ section on you website will also save you a lot of typing and trouble.

5. It does not Stop with The Campaign – Automate you Analytics 

In order to fully automate your marketing efforts you will also need to have an automated analytics process. For many tasks a combination of Google Analytics can be used. By creating custom events for your relevant tasks you can get a fully automated report for every landing page or email campaign that you send out.

All tools that you need are out there, mostly free. Start setting up your marketing machine today to reap the benefits in the time to come. 

Portrait_JMAJan is the co-founder of TempoTrac time tracking, an application that helps you get your work time under control and blogs on business, social media and productivity hacks.

The 7 Best Ways To Utilize Outbound Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Jon Rognerud.  - Enjoy!

Outbound marketing is essentially any marketing that involves a business or person reaching out to customers directly. A traditional method of outbound marketing that was used for years (and still is) with great success was direct mail.

You can use outbound marketing in a variety of ways to create future success for your business. Outbound marketing is a newer type of marketing where you spend your time creatively reaching out to new and existing customers in an attempt to draw in additional business.

#1: Blog Outreach

ducttape-1The idea of reaching out to blogs is a seemingly simple one, but in reality there are plenty of nuances that you need to get in right in order to really be effective with this type of outbound marketing.

After you’ve found your partner blogs, you will need to actually cultivate that relationship, understanding who runs the blog, making sure to contact them on a regular basis, and most importantly you need to personalize the content and track how your engagement is actually paying off. Think of how you can best provide value to THEIR audience via your content.

Fortunately there are a few tools to help you out with this task: GroupHigh and BuzzStream.

#2: Sending out emails for limitless results

ducttape-2Sending out emails is a far less time consuming method of outbound marketing than trying to cold call hundreds or even thousands of people. While you should invest in a quality email list (including always building your own house-list), in the end this investment will be well worth it if the list is marketed to correctly. The key to getting results when using email for outbound marketing is by utilizing a targeted list.

Two of the most popular email services are Aweber and Mailchimp.

WARNING: Make sure that you are allowed to import outside data, and that it has been fully vetted. Read and understand their guidelines and don’t spam.

Another good tool to use is Streak’s CRM.  It will help you manage all of your prospects and give you the ability to mass merge personalized emails.

#3: Building a Brand on Social Media

ducttape-3If you are just getting started with social media, a Facebook page is a must for your business. From there, you can move on to Twitter if you are looking to interact with your customers more regularly, and Pinterest if you have more of a visual brand and would like to interact with a female-biased audience. Google+ and LinkedIn will serve you as you continue building out your social platforms.

Managing multiple profiles can be a pain, therefore a tool like Buffer will save you a significant amount of time.  One of the most powerful features is custom scheduling so that you can post high quality content on sites like Facebook & Twitter during peak use hours.

SproutSocial is slightly more advanced and powerful, offering advanced features such as customer relationship management through social media, team collaboration, and much more.

#4: Utilizing Pay-Per-Click Advertising

ducttape-4Paid search engine traffic is a great way to market your business, especially when you work with someone who knows what they are doing.

Companies wouldn’t utilize this great resource if it didn’t work, and the best part is that you can get started for as little as a few dollars a day. There is plenty of information online to help you learn the ropes.

Wordstream helps with managing paid search campaigns via easy to use software tools and great support.

#5: PPV Advertising

ducttape-5This type of advertising is often considered derivative of paid search, but in reality it is anything but that.

Have you ever seen commercials on online television, or on websites that you navigate to? This is PPV, and it is growing faster than most other kinds of outbound marketing today.

Companies like DirectCPV let you customize your PPV campaigns to target a specific type of customers, and you can reach a large audience.

#6: EBook Giveaways

ducttape-6You know what just about any customer loves? That’s right, free stuff.

Since you can give away copies of an eBook for effectively nothing, these books can also be used as effective outbound marketing tools. You simply have to write an eBook, or even just pay to have on written.

Once the book is written, all you have to do is add a few links to your company and give it away to anyone that you want.

When it comes time to actually put the book together, you will want to get help from a graphic designer like the ones that you find at 99Designs to really set your eBook apart with a beautiful cover and even a theme for the individual pages.

#7: Multiple Competitions with a ‘Priceless’ Reward

ducttape-7One way that is less well-known is using competition to market your company.

Shopify did something like this when they first got started, offering prize money and a priceless meeting with a major entrepreneur to the company that could achieve the highest revenue in a Shopify store during the competition’s timeframe.

While this might not seem like a form of outbound marketing, Shopify was able to get their name out there in an extremely competitive space by offering something that was more valuable than money to their customers.

Outbound marketing has been around for awhile, but because of the Internet it is now available to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

jonrognerud-headshot-ducttapeEntrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after SEO and Digital Marketing Experts for Small Business. He is famous for his high-returns and passionate approach to optimizing websites and integrated marketing solutions that brings process, profits and brand loyalty…without wasting time. His brand NEW website optimization book, “The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website” from Entrepreneur Press/McGraw-Hill is in bookstores now. Act today, and get a FREE website coaching session here.

 

The Best Marketing Doesn’t Feel Like Marketing

It is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Mark Penson – Enjoy! 

photo credit: Survey Anyplace

photo credit: Survey Anyplace

The relationships we have with the brands in our lives hinge on the quality of the interactions. The more relevant these brands are to us, the more apt we are to read, listen, or watch the outbound marketing content they manage to get in front of us. The best brands manage to find out just what it is that interests us before they get in touch: what problems they can solve, how they best fit into our lives.

Easier said than done, though. Getting specific information from our customers and prospects involves engaging them as close to their interaction with our brands as possible. Mobile surveys and quizzes allow brands to interact with consumers as they actually experience a brand. It’s an unprecedented opportunity afforded because of the near ubiquity of smartphones and tablets.

When to use mobile surveys or quizzes to gather once-unavailable consumer insights

Gathering consumer insights at every stage of interaction with your brand represents a goldmine of opinions and information. It forms the foundation of meaningful future messaging that won’t feel like marketing messaging. With mobile surveys and quizzes, the information you collect is available in real time: no more waiting days or weeks to collect and analyze data collected in the field or hoping your email surveys get answered. Here are just a few examples of how to use a short mobile survey or fun mobile quiz in situations that were once thought to be inaccessible.

  • New product introductions – get instant feedback about a new product formulation from customers in-store by having them sample and then swipe their feedback on a tablet you present them or on their own mobile device.
  • During in-store promotions – incentivize consumers to engage with you with a contest or other payoff. On your signage or packaging, simply include a URL or QR code they can use to access your survey or quiz. The quality of the input you’ll get as they interact with your brand will be much more valuable than a follow-up effort (if you even have a way to contact them) days or weeks later.
  • At trade shows – turn the face-to-face interactions into real-time information gathering. Using their mobile device or one you provide for their feedback, learn of their specific interests, their purchase intent, or why your offering does not intrigue them.
  • During events – the people who attend your events have invested their time (and sometimes money). They’re a great source of information if you make it easy for them to give it to you. Intercept them throughout the event, with kiosk-mounted tablets with short, fun, potentially rewarding quizzes or surveys on them. Project your survey URL on screens and compel them to give your their feedback.

Unique in-the-moment feedback helps you create more relevant outbound marketing content

Having collected real-time information from customers and prospects during the situations above will give you relevant insights you can use to create your outbound marketing messaging. Knowing why most people said they’d buy your new product just hours or days earlier should guide your copy development to lead to marketing that resonates with potential buyers. The more relevant and timely the content of outbound marketing is, the better the response to it will be. Mobile surveys and quizzes help you collect uniquely insightful and specific consumer insights when they interact with your brand.

Creating a mobile survey or quiz is fast and requires no design or technical skill

Marketers, event planners and organizations of every size are leveraging the power of mobile surveys and quizzes—and building them by themselves—with point-and-click ease online. They’re branding these new mobile tools automatically by simply uploading their logos. They write the questions and answer choices and can even add photos, video and audio files to make the questions more interactive. When they’ve finished the short creation process, the online platform generates a unique URL and QR code that their audience will use to access the survey or quiz—without needing to download an app. Results are uploaded the instant respondents finish the mobile survey or quiz, giving marketers information they can use instantly to adjust event elements or marketing messaging.

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing

The closer your relationship with your customers and prospects, the more intimate you’ll be with what is important to them. Getting in-the-moment feedback from them as they consider your product or service, as in the midst of your event, is essential to making your marketing efforts sounding genuine and well informed. The more natural the conversation you have with consumers, the more believable it will be. Believability builds trust; trust induces trial and builds loyalty. Loyal customers will, in turn, pay your marketing forward, recommending a brand they believe in to others. Consider it the return on the investment you make into asking pertinent questions and proving that you’ve heard the answers.

 

Mark-PensonMark Penson is CMO of Survey Anyplace (www.surveyanyplace.com). Survey Anyplace Mobile Surveys provide an app-free mobile survey and gamification tool that generates real-time customer insights at the moment of experience.

The Power of Video Throughout the Customer Journey

It is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Brad Jefferson – Enjoy! 

The business benefits of video for brand discovery, web traffic and customer engagement have been widely documented over the years. But do people really find videos helpful in making purchasing decisions? In a recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, we learned that videos created by businesses really do help people make more confident shopping decisions and feel more connected to a brand. A whopping 96 percent of all respondents said they find video helpful when making purchase decisions online, and 73 percent said they are more likely to purchase a product after watching a marketing video. These are pretty convincing reasons to invest in video!

SMB Survey Infographic

photo credit: Animoto

 

Before you dash off to the scripting table, it’s important to understand that not all videos are created equal. Videos play different roles throughout each phase of the customer lifecycle, and the best approach is to create videos that are useful for each situation.

Stage 1: Drawing them in

At the acquisition phase, first impression is everything — and video can be the most personal and engaging way to reel in customers. The visual and storytelling nature of video lends itself to engaging prospects in a way that evokes emotion, reminds them of a need or desire, or teaches them something new.

The survey revealed that 64 percent of consumers find it helpful to watch videos to learn more about the company they’ll purchase from. Whether it’s a funny video that’s low on branding but likely to be shared, or an informative video introducing your business, products or services, make sure it’s easy to find and not too long. Eighty-three percent of consumers we surveyed said the ideal length of a video to inform a purchase decision is five minutes or less. Post video on your homepage as well as Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. Include a call to action at the end, such as an invitation to visit your website, so viewers know where to go to learn more.

Stage 2: Inspiring action

After hooking the prospect, you need to inspire action. Videos can play a big role in converting sales since they provide a quick and simple way to bring a product to life and turn a prospect into a paying customer. Ninety-five percent of consumers surveyed said they find video helpful in researching a product before they buy, and 93 percent find video useful when comparison shopping.

Videos at this stage should include product features and use cases in greater depth, as the prospect is looking to understand your offering better. A good place to start is with simple informational videos, or if you have a tangible product, a 360-degree view video. Sixty-seven percent of consumers surveyed said they watched an instructional video in the past six months , and 57 percent watched a product or service demonstration in the same time frame.

Brief customer testimonials explaining the problem your product or service solves can also give the prospect the connection they need to feel compelled to purchase. If you’re selling professional services, consider giving people a behind-the-scenes look at the people running your business so prospects build a personal connection to your team.

Stage 3: Building loyalty

It’s imperative to keep communications strong after purchase to earn loyal customers who will spread the word about your business to their own networks. Video can be a great post-purchase touch point. Ninety-three percent of consumers surveyed said that instructional videos related to products they have already purchased are useful. They are also likely to seek more video from a brand after an initial purchase; in fact, 87 percent of consumers find video helpful for researching additional items from the same company.

When done well, videos can make people feel a strong connection to your brand. Seventy-seven percent of consumers consider companies that produce online videos to be more engaged with their customers, and 71 percent agree that videos created by companies leave them with a positive impression of the company, brand or product.

With increased loyalty and brand affinity comes the powerful strength of word of mouth. Because online videos are so easy to share, they are a great way to raise brand visibility and bring the customer lifecycle full-circle. Eighty-nine percent of consumers surveyed said they are likely to share video if they consider it educational, 86 percent will share if there’s an incentive (e.g., a promotion or discount), and 80 percent are more likely to share if there’s a “share” button included.

Get started

Video has been an incredibly powerful marketing tool for quite some time now. Yet only recently has it become a tool that’s accessible for marketers and businesses of all sizes with clear benefits to both customers and businesses. If you haven’t discovered video for yourself, there’s no better time than now to get started.

About Brad Jefferson, CEO and co-founder, Animoto

Brad JeffersonAs founding CEO of Animoto, Brad leads the charge in driving Animoto to be the global standard for automated video creation. Prior to co-founding Animoto in August 2006, Brad spent eight years with Onyx Software, an enterprise software company. At Onyx, he was Director of Sales Operations and managed the national team of sales engineers. Previously, Brad managed Onyx’s Professional Services team and customer base in the western US. Through Brad’s career at Onyx he saw the company grow from a 17-person start-up to an 800-person public company, and eventually an acquisition. Brad graduated from Dartmouth College and currently resides in Oakland, California, with his wife and their two children, both of whom are stars of his frequent Animoto video creations.