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Archive: Aug 2014

  1. What You Need to Know About Optimizing Video for Mobile

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    Although your entire audience hasn’t gone mobile just yet—especially in the case of B2B—it’s still important to consider how your brand’s video marketing assets appear on different devices.

    Your top-of-funnel marketing videos are designed to get you broad reach, but if the content doesn’t load quickly enough, or if it isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you don’t get a chance to impress this mobile, forward-thinking portion of your audience.

    You’re skipped over. End of story.

    Source: Vidyard, video analytics data, homepage video, 2013

    As it stands, adoption is increasing (some B2B brands are saying up to 30% of their audience is engaging with a mobile device), and multidevice optimization is no longer a “nice to have” for your marketing campaigns.

    Your audience expects not only video but also a great viewing experience, no matter how they choose to engage with your content.

    In this article I’ll guide you through some steps you can take to make sure you’re doing video right for mobile.

    First, though…

    Why bother creating your own video landing pages?

    With video, most marketers seem to be happy just to have created the initial asset—”Woohoo—we made an awesome video!”—and they then upload the video to YouTube and promote it via social channels.

    Well and good, but YouTube is only a small part of a video strategy. Ultimately, you should be driving folks back to your website to convert.

    Unfortunately, annotations (commonly used in YouTube videos to drive viewers back to your site) don’t work on YouTube mobile. Also, reading comments and looking at the video description (normally a place where you can link to more content) is not easy on YouTube mobile, so relying on it to drive viewers into your funnel isn’t ideal.

    Because your goal is to use (rather than rely on) distribution sites like YouTube to get folks on your site—where they’ll engage with more of your content and transition further and further down the sales funnel based on their viewing history—it’s time to start embedding videos on your own landing pages and promote those pages instead of your YouTube channel alone.

    Here’s how to ensure your landing pages fit the mobile bill.

    Step 1: Create responsive video players

    With video embedded on your site, a responsive player should be the first thing you tackle. You’ll want to make sure your video sizes are device-agnostic. This means your video content should be visible on both an iPhone (640px wide) and a large monitor (1,920px wide)—and everything in between.

    Ultimately, you just want to make sure the player’s dimensions look appropriate for every screen size.

    After building your landing page, you can optimize for mobile sizing when you embed your YouTube video asset on the page. You’ll need access to the HTML of your website to do this, and here are some detailed instructions to guide you through the process (via Smashing Magazine). If you’re using a video marketing platform with a customized player container, you can use the code samples here to adjust your player’s sizing.

    Step 2: Create big, bold splash screen images

    Because your video’s thumbnail image—splash screen—has the potential to become illegible on a small device screen, you’ll want to design the cover of your video with mobile users in mind.

    A big, bold image will work well at all sizes, and it’s good for visibility in search results, because your videos become easily recognizable.

    Take a look at the following simple splash screens that are not only visually stunning but also visible/legible at any device size. (With its yellow vertical bar, Jamie Oliver’s cooking videos are easy to recognize at a glance from the splash screen—every time).

    Step 3: Be clever about your calls to action

    Finally, to ease conversions, you’ll want to be careful with the design of your video campaign’s landing page.

    As I noted, YouTube mobile makes it relatively difficult to see a video’s description, one place where you can place links back to your site, and you can’t have annotations or clickable final CTAs in videos on YouTube mobile.

    For your own video landing page on your site (the one you’ll promote as the main campaign landing page instead of YouTube), make sure you create a CTA that’s external to the video but still above the fold. An example of this can be seen with Juniper Network’s Data Rap Battles.

    As you can see, you can vote on Juniper’s custom landing page and interact with other CTAs, and it all looks great on mobile. The campaign doesn’t rely on watching the whole video to reach a CTA, which is a good practice for mobile-friendly campaigns.

  2. How Consumers Engage With Small Businesses on Facebook

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    by Ayaz Nanji

    Most consumers say Facebook is the most useful social network for researching products and services before visiting a small business, according to a recent report from G/O Digital.

    The report was based on data from survey of 1,000 adults in the United States age 18-29 who are interested in buying products and services from local/small businesses and who own at least a desktop/laptop computer and a smartphone or tablet.

    Some 62% of respondents say Facebook is the most useful social network for researching small businesses before purchasing, compared with just 12% for Pinterest, 11% for Twitter, and 9% for Instagram:

    Below, additional key findings from the report.

    What Consumers Value

    • 41% of respondents say they care most about reading customer reviews and ratings for small businesses on Facebook; 19% care most about seeing featured products from businesses.
    • 80% of respondents say they are more likely to purchase products or services in-store if there are positive customer reviews on a company’s website, mobile site, or Facebook page.

    Promoted Posts vs. Offers

    • 38% of respondents say Facebook offers that can be redeemed in-store are most likely to influence them to visit the website of a small business.
    • Only 12% say promoted posts on Facebook are most likely to get them to visit the website of a small business; 10% say photo/video contents would; 11% cite sweepstakes; and 10% cite loyalty promotions.

    Engagement by Business Type

    • Restaurants are the small business type that respondents are most likely to engage with on Facebook (cited by 38% of respondents)
    • Beauty/spa and education/training businesses are tied for second place (14% each).

    About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted from June 30 to July 2, 2014 of 1,000 adults in the United States age 18-29 who are interested in buying products and services from local/small businesses and who own at least a desktop/laptop computer and a smartphone or tablet.

  3. Mobile SEM: Vital for Mobile Marketing and Your Online Success

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    by Leonard Tan

    Marketing your business is way more than just crafting a message and deciding how to split your budget; it’s also about keeping up with trends and putting your money where you’ll get the best returns.

    The Internet is a dynamic realm, and online marketing is in constant flux, including search engine marketing, which has evolved over the years with more sophisticated search algorithms and targeted results.

    If you haven’t started search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it’s not too late. If you have, then you need to complement it with mobile advertising. The key is to include mobile marketing as part of your overall Internet marketing strategy.

    Consider the following example:

    Does that sound familiar? We’re all guilty of being reliant on our mobile devices, and it’s something we can see all around us: Young and old alike have their eyes glued to their phones.

    But what some companies haven’t caught on to yet is that this new behavior can be a marketing opportunity for them.

    What We All Know About Mobile SEM

    • Highly targeted: One of the key benefits of SEM is its targeted nature, which is even more applicable for mobile. Location services on smartphones allow advertisers to go about their advertising in an even more targeted manner. 

      For example, if I operate a restaurant in the central area of Singapore and run SEM ads, I have the technical ability to strategically target users within a two kilometer radius who search for “restaurants near me.” Business owners can choose to target customers who are more likely to opt for locations in their vicinity. This approach can be a cost-effective method for advertisers who have a smaller budget but still want a presence online.

    • Lower cost: Compared with desktop cost per click, the CPC for the same keyword on mobile tends to be lower, according to the Search Agency. Furthermore, mobile and tablet click share has gone up 29% in Q1 of 2014 vs. Q1 of 2013. What this means is that you’re paying less for each potential customer while securing your position in an expanding market. Of course, desktops still account for the majority of clicks, but ignoring the growing mobile trend would be detrimental to business growth.
    • Response: The mobile phone is inherently a personal device, and that translates to user behavior: 90% of mobile users take some action as a result of a Google search, according to Google. Those actions could be in the form of a purchase, a visit to the business, or a continuation of research. No other form of advertising can claim such a high response rate or as much consumer engagement.

    Catching Clicks With Google Mobile Extensions

    We’re all fighting for the consumers’ clicks, and it’s no different on the smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Standard SEM best-practices also apply to mobile, of course, but Google has also implemented a range of extensions and features to increase conversions for mobile. Take advantage of them to get the most out of your advertising dollar.

    Click-to-Call Extensions

    Click-to-call extensions allow searchers to call your business directly without going to your site and looking for your number. Remember: people are conditioned to use the phone for calls; calling you for information on their phones comes naturally to them.

    Mobile Site Links

    These site extensions enable users to directly enter the page they’re interested in, without having to navigate through the rest of your website. The easier you make it for searchers to get to what they want, the less frustrated they will be and the more inclined to make a purchase.

    Location Extensions

    The best way to reach out to local customers would be through location extensions. Let searchers know where you are and how to get to you. The phone is a symbol of convenience, and your ad can show that. If your business is close to them, the more likely they are to want to employ your services.

    App-Promotion Ads

    A lot of time spent on the mobile is spent on apps. With so many apps available in both the Apple app store and the Google Play store, it’s hard to get noticed by users. The app-promotion ads (previously “click-to-download”) allow you to promote your apps when users search for you.

    You’ve Got Them Where You Want Them… Now to Keep Them There

    A study by Google and AnswerLab (PDF) on 100-plus mobile users provided valuable insights on user behavior on the mobile. As expected, it found that attention spans tend to be shorter. Accordingly—and keeping in mind the smaller screen—the information you display should be of utmost relevance to the customer.

    Customize Mobile Sites

    Keep your calls to action prominent, where users will not miss them. Visitors to your site will have an easier time trying to contact you, while secondary information can be kept below the fold. If you have menus, keep them simple. Mobile users typically don’t have the patience to scroll through an extensive list of options, and what works on the desktop won’t on the mobile.

    A Search Function

    If you’re looking for something specific, the natural inclination would be to search for it. Of course, the results have to be relevant. The participants in the Google and AnswerLab study judged a site’s search based on the initial page of results returned and did not bother swiping to more than one search results page. Added functions such as filters, auto-complete, and auto-correction of misspellings can aid you in making sure the results are relevant to the customer so that they stay on your site.

    Ensuring Conversions

    Getting them into your website is half the battle won, but making sure they convert is a much more complex task. A turn-off for mobile users is having to register before purchase, especially if they are unfamiliar with the brand. Offering a guest checkout prevents users from getting frustrated and questioning how registration would benefit them. It boils down to one thing: The smoother you make the process, the better the chance that the customer will follow through.

    Form Entries

    Entering text into forms can be one of the most tedious tasks to do on a mobile device, but it doesn’t have to be; just small, simple tweaks make a world of difference. Streamline the information-entry process by automatically presenting number pads for fields that require it, such as birthdays or telephone numbers. Do you have a long list of options for certain fields? A drop-down menu offers a straightforward method of input. Finally, real-time validation offers users immediate feedback regarding the information they enter and prevents the need to resubmit; it serves as a guide for users and alerts them of any problems before they hit submit.

    Site Usability

    If you’re designing a mobile site, commit to it and have your entire site mobile-optimized instead of just specific pages. Participants in the study had more difficulty navigating sites that had a combination of desktop and mobile-optimized pages vs. pure desktop-version sites. Be careful of your labels, though, and avoid offering a “full site” option, which causes users to be wary that the mobile site was condensed and contained less information.  If your mobile site contains all the necessary information, consider doing away with the option of clicking to a “full site” version; if you must, label it “desktop site” to help avoid such perceptions.

    What Next?

    On mobile devices, everything boils down to one thing: convenience. Customers are out there looking for you and what you offer. Mobile marketing has become a component of search marketing that you shouldn’t miss out on.

    You can use mobile to get the attention of searchers; use it to ensure they follow through and become your client instead of just another site visitor who left without taking action.

    Incorporate the techniques noted in this article into your online marketing, and you’ll see your conversions on mobile rising faster than you can say “Hello!”

  4. How Marketers Handle Global Email Campaigns

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    by Ayaz Nanji

    Three-quarters of marketers who run global email campaigns say they do not maintain a list of regional preferences and instead manage localization on an ongoing basis, according to a recent report from Lionbridge.

    Most marketers surveyed (57%) say they do customize/translate email copy for specific countries or regions, and a majority (53%) also create multiple versions of their Web links.

    Less than half of respondents customize images (47%), brand messaging (45%), calls-to-action (43%), and colors (19%) for specific locations.

    Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 570 marketers in 25 countries.

    Who Handles Global Campaigns 

    • Most respondents say they execute email strategies internally using either an email marketing system (35.6%) or a marketing automation system (31.4%). Only 7.2% of respondents use an external agency for email.

    • 64.1% of respondents say they handle global campaigns centrally at their corporate headquarters.  
    • Who is responsible for email marketing varies from company to company, with 34.4% of respondents saying it is the responsibility of Digital Marketing in their organization, 40.2% Marketing Operations, and the rest split among Customer Care, Promotions/Program Management, and “Other.”

    Motivations for Running Email Campaigns

    • Respondents say they run global email campaigns for many reasons, including: customer engagement (74%), product announcements/news (71.3%), customer acquisition/product sales (63.3%), brand awareness (57.9%), customer service (45.3%), and customer/industry research (30.8%).

    Compliance and Frequency

    • 60.4% report that an internal team handles global privacy and legal compliance for email programs and 26.1% say their email system manages it.
    • 45.2% of respondents place no restrictions on the frequency of global email campaigns.

    About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in March and April, 2014 of 570 marketers in 25 countries.

  5. Shopping for an Email Service Provider? Six Tips for Optimizing the RFP Process

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    by Marco Marini

    We see it all the time in marketing. A business wants to switch email service providers (ESPs), and so they begin at the seemingly logical—yet dreaded—place: the RFP.

    I suspect the dreaded request for proposals is as common as it is because marketers see it as a way to jumpstart the selection process: It’s a way to get started when you’re not sure how to get started.

    I also suspect, though, that RFPs are common simply because they seem to have always been with us. Yet, sometimes, there is a better way than the way people before you did it.

    Most organizations using an RFP whittle down a long list of vendors to a short list, and then the real work of comparing and contrasting (and ultimately contracting) begins. But a lot of time and energy is spent just getting to that point.

    It is possible, though, to get to the short list stage faster, saving you time and money—by optimizing your RFP process.

    I have seen more RFPs than I care to remember, so I have some definite ideas about how to go about doing an RFP right. Based on those experiences, I offer you six tips for optimizing the process and making it go faster, smoother, and easier.

    Tip 1: Talk about why you’re making the switch

    First and foremost, have a conversation about why you’re switching ESPs.

    Discovering the dissatisfactions and disappointments that led your company to the decision to switch ESPs could have a huge impact on the criteria you put in place for your new one. Was there frustration over poor reporting tools? Or an inability to segment lists? Maybe it was subpar customer service?

    Whatever the causes of the need for change, find out what they are, get to know them intimately, and be ready to ask vendors about them.

    Tip 2: Do your homework. No, really: Do your homework!

    Tackling your homework—i.e., figuring out what you need—will also save you time and effort when doing an RFP. Start by figuring out what your requirements are, and categorize them as follows:

    1. Have to have
    2. Would like to have
    3. Wouldn’t it be cool to have!

    Once your needs are prioritized, stick to this list!

    Those requirements in the “have to have” category are those you can’t do without. If an ESPs can’t meet all of the requirements in that category, don’t even talk to them. Do not be distracted by the cool bells and whistles! You can look at bells and whistles later, but those whiz-bang features are the last thing on your list, quite literally.

    Tip 3: Talk to the right size ESPs

    Your next homework assignment is figuring out what size or type of ESP you should be considering. There are three: ESPs geared toward small to midsize businesses, mid-market ESPs, and enterprise-level ESPs.

    Your fit is not based on your company size; it’s based on the size and complexity of your email marketing program. Yours might be a midsize company, but with a massive send volume, complex segmentation, and a need for detailed email analytics. In that case, it could well be that the ESP for you is the enterprise-level one.

    You also need to consider projected growth. If you’re anticipating rapid growth in the next two years or so, consider moving up to the next size ESP so you don’t outgrow your email partner and potentially stifle that growth.

    Once you have all that figured out, consider only the ESPs that are of the size you need (or will need). In fact, you can start a short list at this stage.

    Tip 4: Start taking names

    Now that you have a good idea of your current and future needs and what kind of ESP might fit the bill, start taking names: Ask around to find out who uses which ESP and why.

    Ask your industry association and maybe even your vendors and partners. Also figure out which ESPs are used by your competitors. Finally, look at companies comparable to yours in the size and complexity of their email, and find out which ones they use.

    Then ask around to find out what people think of their ESPs. What do they like or dislike about them?

    Based on all that input, continue forming your list.

    Tip 5: Focus on the 20%

    You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, of course. At ClickMail, we have our own version for comparing email service providers: About 80% of what an ESP does is the same as about 80% of what every other ESP in that category does, so you need to focus on the 20% that’s different, because that’s where the real comparison will happen.

    And what’s that 20%? To find out, go back to the results of Tip 1 and 2, where you did your homework and prioritized your needs. Focus on the differentiators as you add ESPs to your list of potential candidates.

    Tip 6: Skip the RFP and go straight to the shortlist!

    If you followed all of these tips, you could quite possibly get to the short-list stage without even needing to start an RFP—or, at a minimum, send out a shorter RFP to a smaller list and focus just on that 20% that really matters. How’s that for saving time?

    We are talking about optimizing the process to save time and to focus on what matters, but one caveat about time: Don’t rush the process! This is an important decision you’ll have to live with, and it will affect the success of your email marketing programs for years to come.

    Although you’re saving time by doing your homework and legwork, take the time to make the right choice.