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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.

 

5 Forgotten Offline Marketing Tactics

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Jayson DeMers – Enjoy!

With the rise in popularity of online marketing, many proven offline methods are simply forgotten when marketing campaigns are planned. Of course, online marketing is hugely important in today’s Internet-connected world, but offline engagement with customers still has unique and distinct value that shouldn’t be forgotten.

If you want to give your business a real marketing boost this year, start looking outside the box. Here are five forgotten offline marketing tactics that don’t require a big marketing budget.

1. Engage in offline guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing is a generic term for the use of unconventional marketing strategies, and because online marketing channels are so narrowly structured, offline is the best arena to flex your small business’s guerrilla marketing muscle. So, starting now, ignore what you know about marketing channels, and let your inner child out to play.

Offline guerrilla marketing ideas:

  • Leave sticky notes in random places (bars, coffee shops).
  • Use chalk to advertise promotions on a sidewalk.
  • “Accidentally” leave a branded pen at the bank.
  • Donate branded bookmarks to your local library.
  • Use sticky notes to create temporary images on buildings, cars, etc.

2. Drop business cards

This is one offline guerrilla marketing strategy that I want to talk about specifically. It’s more of a necessity than an option. If you run a small business, you must have business cards and dole them out! Don’t just share them when you first meet someone new. Drop them everywhere.

Places to drop business cards:

  • Leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant.
  • See a public bulletin board? Put up a business card.
  • Go to the library and place business cards in books related to your business.
  • When you see a contest fish bowl asking for business cards, drop yours in. Always.

3. Take pictures/videos of everything

Because social media marketing takes place online, many business owners and marketers forget that social campaigns can be boosted by offline efforts. One way to do this is by taking photos of company events and daily activities, and then posting those online. Videos help too. If someone from your company speaks at an event, for example, record it and upload it to YouTube.

Real-life photos from the offline world show the personality of your company and increase online user engagement. Facebook posts with photos, for example, receive 84% more clicks and twice as many Likes than text-only posts, according to Kissmetrics. And some of the most popular social networks (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr) are image-based, making photos ever more important for online marketing.

4. Donate gift certificates or products as prizes

By offering your product or service as the prize for a local contest, you can build visibility for your business while showing your commitment to the community.

If your business provides computer repairs, for example, you could donate a gift certificate for a 2-hour repair to a local non-profit organization. The organization may announce your branded prize to a room full of sponsors. Your business could also be listed in various publications, such as the organization’s website, newsletter, or even a press release.

5. Speak at events

Professional events offer a great way to meet new people, share your ideas, and build brand awareness. They’re even more effective if you speak at them. Find a local event related to your industry, come up with an educational topic you can speak on, and volunteer. If you don’t yet have the level of clout required to speak at an event, attending events can be just as helpful.

Remember, you don’t have to adopt all of these offline marketing strategies. Just try one. Write a promotion on a couple sticky notes, and put them in your pocket for the day. Who knows what could happen.

jayson-profile-google-plusJayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

10 Marketing Tasks You Should Be Delegating

It is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Amy Metherell – Enjoy!

10 Marketing Tasks You Should Be Delegating_DTM

Photo credit: Krasimira Nevenova

If you’re running a business, there’s no doubt that you have a lot of marketing tasks on your plate.  Yes, there are some things that only you can do, but there are also many marketing tasks you can delegate to an assistant. Yes, you really can!

Here are 10 Marketing Tasks You Should Be Delegating

1.     Blog Management

Have you ever wanted to start guest blogging to get your name/site out there but don’t have the time to implement it? Have someone else do it.  Someone else can easily do things like research blog topics, find images for your posts, find contributors for your blog, or even write posts if you are finding yourself short on time or really don’t like writing.

Do you find it a hassle to manage your editorial calendar? Don’t even have an editorial calendar?  Have someone create one for you and then manage it.

2.     Social Media

Is there a Twitter party you think would be good to participate in but don’t have the time?  Let your assistant do it.  He or she can also create a social media strategy and track and report on the progress.

An assistant can easily post and engage with your audience on any and all social media outlets on your behalf.

3.     Event Coordination

Do you have an idea for a live or online event but no time to make it happen?  Delegate it!  An assistant can secure venues, food, speakers, sponsors, and all the logistics that come with live events such as securing sponsors, bloggers, and prizes for online events.  An assistant can also handle the marketing for that event as well as reporting after the event.

4.     Prospecting

An assistant can easily make calls to qualified leads to weed out anyone who isn’t really going to make a purchase.  This way, you only spend time talking to true leads that are more likely to lead to a sale.  An assistant can schedule those interested prospects on your calendar so all you have to do is make the calls.

5.     Market Research

An assistant can create surveys, send them out, and organize the results into usable data.  He/she can also create and manage focus groups and conduct research about your competitors and your target market.

6.     Follow Up Calls

Follow up calls can mean the difference between accomplishing a sale or not, which means they’re really important but they also take time.  Why not have an assistant do this?  He or she can remind the lead of your initial call and feel out whether it’s worth pursuing.

7.     Newsletters

Communication is core in building up a business relationship and newsletters help with this.  An assistant can create, edit, and send email newsletters for you.  Just provide an example or your ideas and let the assistant take over.  No need to spend hours of your own time on this task.

8.     Send Thank You Notes

Handwritten thank you notes tell your customers that you really care.  Have your assistant organize thank you notes to each new customer and any customers who have referred others to you.  Your customers will appreciate the thought.

9.     Email List Management

You know that huge email list you have?  It’s great that you have it, but what do you really do with it?  Have an assistant manage the list (remove bad emails, etc.) so it’s always in top shape.  He/she can also create auto-responders so you’re always in touch with your subscribers, and track and report the statistics of these campaigns.

10.    Networking

Networking is about making connections that lead to mutually beneficial relationships.  Yes, some networking you really do have to do yourself, but not all of it.  Your assistant can comment blog posts, monitor and comment on your social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc.   An assistant can also research online communities for you to join as well as networking conferences to attend.

Now you know 10 marketing tasks you can delegate, so why not try it out?  Try delegating 1 task and see how it goes.  All you have to lose is that huge to-do list!

AmyMetherell_BioPhotoAmy is a Virtual Assistant who started in early 2013 by attempting to get one client on the side of her full time job just to see if she could.  She got three at once and didn’t know whether to cry or do a happy dance.  She did the dance and “stumbled” on several more clients after that and her business has been growing steadily ever since.  Her alter ego is the ringleader of a circus (otherwise known as her family) consisting of a husband who DJs weddings, 2 rowdy kids, and a little dog, too.

Building Deeper Relationships with BatchBook CRM

CRM and small business are two things that should go together, but as I’ve written here before, there are so many CRM options, strategies and technologies that finding the right one is as much a matter of kharma as feature sets.

My take is that most of the popular CRM tools out there will work, the question is which one works for you to help you more easily meet your objectives. In a lot of cases that’s the one that is powerful enough to get the job done, but simple enough that you actually get it up and running.

Recently, I had the pleasure of testing driving a new small business CRM tool called BatchBook and I think this will be a great CRM answer for many small businesses.

I think the main attraction for me is that BatchBook seems to be set-up in a way that helps you build deeper relationships with the contacts that mean the most. It does manage all the contact details, to-do lists, and communication records very nicely, but the killer feature, in my opinion is the elegant way that it also gives you the ability to bring into a record that person’s social media activity.

batchbook

In this image above you can see my record with my twitter stream just below.

So, if you’re contacting a journalist to pitch a story, you have their blog feed and twitter stream right there at your fingertips as you craft your email. If you are following up with a hot prospect, you can have their Facebook status and Flickr photo stream of their vacation to the Catskills to inspire some seriously personalized responses. (Note: I am only talking about content that a person makes publicly available.)

I don’t know that this functionality is something that would go into managing 25,000 newsletter subscribers, but for lists of customers, journalists, strategic partners, prospects, and influencers this tool has some very powerful upside.

More 3rd party integration is needed but for now you can use MailChimp and GMail as your mailing engine and FreshBooks to keep billing information with your contacts. BatchBook is a very affordable tool as well. Single users get it for free and you can get up to 15 seats for only $19.95/mo. I am integrating it into a layer of my marketing efforts just as described above.

Software + Service Making More Sense

The Software as a Service (SaaS) model has changed the way small businesses are going to work and led to the creation of thousands of start-ups offering web applications for every imaginable aspect of running a business.

Then Google Docs came along and even created SaaS offerings for the last bastion of the desktop software model – the word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and contact tools – otherwise known as Microsoft Office to most.

I do think many started questioning the viability of Microsoft’s desktop software hold. The conventional wisdom is/was that Microsoft should just cave in and put it all up in the cloud and become the SaaS that they know they should be. But then, let’s not forget the millions upon millions of individuals who aren’t computing in the cloud too much, sort of don’t trust the cloud too much, and may never really want everything there.

Microsoft’s model seems to be making more and more sense and so does their moniker – Software + Service – the notion of enhancing the desktop suite you know and sometimes love to hate with web applications that extend the functionality and reach. Look, I like Microsoft, they’ve been great to work with, but I’m also painfully aware the rudder can seem stuck when it comes to the ever changing needs of the small business, but I think they actually may be getting around to getting this right.

I caught up with Michael Schultz, head of marketing for Office Live at a recent conference and he shared his views on the changing model

Just recently they added Office Live Workspace the Office Live product and now you can:
* Access your documents from almost anywhere
* Save over 1,000 Microsoft Office documents in one online place
* Open and save directly from Word, Excel, and Powerpoint
* Control who sees and edits files; password-protected sharing

And now they are inching towards the launch of something they are calling Office Web applications. This will live inside of Office Live and give users the ability to create online documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, much like Google docs, but with the seamless ability to use those same files offline inside the Office desktop applications.

Office Web screenshot – application not available just yet

Personally, I think this will have broad appeal to many Office users who don’t want to be tethered at all times to the web, but do realize the power of online sharing and collaboration. Now, could this have been launched two years ago, probably, but the game is still evolving and this looks right, right now.

Office Small Business 2007Your bonus for reading this far: I have two full copies of Office Small Business 2007 ($450 retail) that I am going to send free of charge to the best two audio answers given to this statement: The Best Referral I’ve Ever Received was . . . Call this number and leave your answer (214) 615-6505 ext 6998 – it works like voice mail so just listen to the prompts. Make sure you add why it was such a great referral and feel free to tell us your name, business and web address. I will pick the two winners and post the audios here so you can also get some nice exposure for your business. (Send me an email with your shipping address too! john [at] ducttapemarketing.com)

Two Great Software Titles, One Great Price

As you may know I have partnered with Palo Alto Software to produce a marketing planning software based on my Duct Tape Marketing System and book. The software is very practical and functions more like an action planning tool than a document creation tool. It is called Marketing Plan Pro powered by Duct Tape Marketing and early reviews have all been very positive.

I’m also a fan of ACT CRM software from Sage. There are lots of choices in this category these days but ACT!2009 is still one of my favorites for small businesses.

So, have I got a deal for you! Palo Alto has bundled these two great titles and is offering the bundle at $150 off the price to acquire the two separately.

Sorry for the overtly commercial message here, but I just had to share this with you.

Buy Marketing Plan Pro and ACT!2009 for $150 off

Get Your Google Alerts via RSS

Google AlertsI’m a big fan of Google Alerts because it allows you to easily monitor all kinds of names and phrases online, including the writing of journalists you might be targeting for story ideas.

The service made what I think is a nice upgrade over the weekend. Now you can get your alerts via email, as before, and via RSS. So you can subscribe to alerts and have them delivered to your Google Reader page instead of email. I like this because it allows you to more easily file, sort and share the alerts with the built in tools, but, now that it’s RSS you can bend it some other cool ways.

For example, let’s say you are tracking mentions of your awesome product via alerts. You get it sent to your Google Reader account, you like what your read so you hit the Share feature in Google Reader and the alert content shows up on the your Facebook profile via the Feedheads application or post your RSS to Twitter via Twitterfeed.

The Telephone Doesn’t Use Any Gas

Technology and data speed advances have made the use of web meeting technology a no brainer for even the smallest of businesses. In the fast paced world we live in, the ability to get a group of folks together online is such a powerful way to conduct business.

As more and more folks use this technology (and with $4/gl gas) it even starts to make sense for the local business to conduct meetings across town. Think about how many times you have jumped in the car, driven 30 minutes to make a 10 minute presentation, chit chatted for another 20 minutes, jumped back in the car for another 30 minutes and, let’s see – invested 90 minutes in that 10 minute presentation. As you utilize web and other tools such as web collaboration tools and teach your customers to use them as well, your effectiveness and efficiency will soar.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you never venture out and grab some face time, I’m just suggesting you can be smart about employing technology to help you get more done with the same 24 hours everyone has in a day.

Here are some great ways to use webinar or webcast technology

One to one seminar – When you create a webinar or sales presentation using a web technology you can invite someone who calls in to jump online and walk through the archived presentation on the spot.

Peer to peer seminar – Get two or three happy clients to agree to be panel members for a discussion about the problems in their business or industry and gently explain how your business or product is addressing this for them. The key here is transparency. Don’t let your guests sell. Make it a thoughtful, meaningful discussion among peers that you just happened to host.

Live with you – If you’ve got a workshop or seminar you are currently presenting, take it to a teleseminar. Invite clients and prospects to attend via the phone. Create an ongoing series and watch attendance climb.

Interview an expert – You would be surprised at the quality of guests from around the world you can convince to present to your clients and prospects. It’s a win for all involved. You get great content and the presenter may get added exposure for a book or other project with little time investment on their part.

Co-branded panel – Gather up a couple related businesses and put on a panel discussion on a hot topic. Everyone on the panel invites guests and everyone gets exposure.

Sponsored show – Go out and find a sponsor who would like exposure to your audience and allow them to promote in and around your teleseminars. For instance, if you are a CPA with a series of tax savings presentations for small businesses maybe a company that sell tax software would sponsor your sessions. There are lots of businesses out there that want to jump into this kind of marketing but don’t want to do it themselves. Give them the opportunity to help you.

Q and A time – Set a time each week, say Friday at 2 pm and advertise an open line to get your burning questions answered about a topic. Maybe it’s interior design trends, best software tips and trick for business or anything of interest related to your business. You promote the free time, hang out on the line and answer questions when they come in.

Another powerful benefit of systematically presenting information in events of this nature is that you can and should record the events and interviews you conduct and archive them on your website or turn them into an audio CD to distribute through other forms of marketing.

There are many choices for web meetings these days. Let me know what tools you have found and what ones you like and don’t like.